Tales from the Glastonbury Irregulars - many auteurs

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Tales from the Glastonbury Irregulars - many auteurs

Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:45 am

Found these gems... XLCS had 'em originally
Last edited by earthwulf on Wed May 14, 2008 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:46 am

Introduction (from the end…)

On a chair by the hearth on a chill winter's eve, an elderly friar sat rocking and quaffing from an old dented pewter tankard he had carried with him along countless leagues, through too many battles. His staff, chipped and worn from travel and norseman's blade, robes mended and washed too many times to cover the jabs of Lurikeen daggers. Long he sat hunched there, and long he drank - his age too difficult to tell in the flickering warmth of the coals.

This hearth was like no other, surrounded by a boisterous tavern whose lively patrons boasted of deeds and comradery of days past. It had a life of its own, the heavy ale-laden air. Clinking mugs and shuffling wood benches and chairs. Planks that creaked and spoke softly to the tapestries and paintings on the walls. Pictures of men and women revered in this small town called Glastonbury. Whispered at times, boasted from the watchtower at others. Scorned by nobility, admired by fellow peasants.

"Yes, indeed..." the old friar said to himself. He raised his voice for all to hear, breaking the din of a dozen conversations.

"Let us come forward now, an' tell th' tales of this motley band, o' th' Glastonbury Irregulars!"

"Oi, th' ol' fart is at it again, eh?" a farmer leaned toward his company and spake. "Last night he flew int' a grand yarn abou' takin' on armies o' monsters an' giants! Har!" the farmer exclaimed as his companions laughed.

The old friar looked around now, among the faces of the crowd. Blurry they were, and there were no friends he could see.

"They have gone now, back t' their villages and forges and farms an' trapping... but they're no' gone! Th' Irregulars live yet!" the friar bellowed half-heartedly.

"Is there not one among ye? One last Boar who would push forward now and tell us o' th' courage found in common hands, of th' Irregulars...?"


[OOC: The following are pretty much raw stories as penned on the Glastonbury Irregulars message boards, from early 2002 to mid-2003. They represent only a part of a rich history of roleplay, for what you see here in black and white pales in comparison to daily conversations and interplay, and especially the fine people behind each of the characters.]

- Excelsius
Former Holy Crusader, Wanderer, Crimson Cloak… and now Glaston


A visit to the Laughing Lion Tavern
« on: Feb 7th, 2002, 12:08pm »

Aimless wandering is often the most profitable sot of travel because it d to unexpected pleasant encounters. It was just such and occasion when Xaviera happened upon the Laughing Lion Tavern after vespers. In truth, it was actually during the office of vespers that she found the tavern; awareness of canonical hours was not one of Xaviera’s strengths. She swept in, sat down by the cozy fire, and put her feet up.

It wasn’t long before one of the serving women came over with a puzzled look on her face. “Good sister, while this is a respectable establishment, we are not accustomed to serving daughters of the church. Perhaps you would like some tea? We also have a very nice rabbit stew available this eve.” Xaviera glanced toward the tavern door when she suddenly became aware of Glastonbury Abbey’s bell marking the sixth canonical hour. She swore under her breath.

Returning her attention to the woman who was waiting patiently for a reply, “I’ll have the stew and mulled wine.” If you don’t have wine bring me mead, and if you don’t have that I’ll just drink this whiskey I took from some poor misguided cutpurse who was in need of Church guidance.” She tilted her head slightly to the right side and smiled. “I think I’ll drink this whiskey now. When you bring the stew fetch some mead or wine along with the food.” A look of shock danced across the woman’s face but she managed to nod and move off toward the kitchen.

Xaviera called after her, “if you can spare a large, strong, needle and some heavy thread, I’d be most grateful.” She dumped a bag of ears onto the floor in front her and began sorting through them. After taking a long drink from the flask she gestured toward some of the tavern goers staring at her from across the room. “You’d think there be a better way to collect a bounty on bandits than shearing off their ears but if that’s how Sir Dorain and the his hunter want it…so be it.”

The other patrons were still staring at her; some seemed amused, others perplexed, a few looked scandalized, another group appeared interested. “Oh for the love of Gaawd, it’s not like the Abbess has come for a visit.” She then took another sip from the flask and went back to sorting the ears.

Xaviera


Bowar stammered into the Tavern singing that same stupid song he always did. Loud and obnoxious he acted as though he owned the place, ... like he always did.

'Come trowl the brown to me,
Bully boy, bully boy,
Come trowl the brown tome;
Ho! Jolly Jenkin, I spy a knave in drinking,
Come trowl the brown bowl to me.'

"Oh geez Bowar will you give us a break already. How many times you going to sing that blasted song?!' said the barkeep, more than a little annoyed.

"Someone has to liven up this sorry lot" slurred the drunken armsman, in no need of another drink but approaching the bar with a fist full of coins nonetheless.

"Eh?" suddenly realizing what the sister is threading together Bowar stopped and turned back "What a fancy necklace you are making sister. I did not realize the church approved of wearing human flesh"

Grinning Bowar sits down with a grunt beside her "Mind if I take this seat?" he questions, but Xaviera knows it was more statement. "I don't suppose you are the lass who drank herself silly in a farmer's hay loft the other day are you? Best be a bit more cautious or you are bound to raise some eyebrows. Word spreads quickly in Glastonbury.... Now let me ask, what brings you here?"

Bowar


After taking a good look at the armsman who had plopped down beside her, Xaviera reminded herself to thank Zenob for secretly spiriting her out to taverns in Camelot. A slightly inebriated warrior was no longer cause for alarm. She put the needle down and tilting her head to the right smiled warmly at the fighter.

“In truth, the Church does frown on the use of human flesh for adornments, much more appropriate for Welsh Hobgoblins and similar creatures. I, on the other hand, have found it convenient to string these bandit ears together when turning them in for the bounty. It makes it much easier for Sir Dorian’s hunter to count them up and issue the correct number of writs.” She then paused and leaned in toward the fighter before continuing.

“Would you like a wee taste of whiskey?” she asked, and dangled a flask before the armsman. Bowar, with an amazingly deft movement for one who had been drinking, gently took the proffered bottle and raised it to his lips. Xaviera’s eyes took on an amused look. “Terrible but very stimulating don’t you think?” The warrior nodded and took another, longer, drink. “By the way, my name is Xaviera. You may call me that if you wish or sister or Sister Xaviera…and you are?” He paused between sips long enough to respond, “Bowar.” She nodded, “Oh that passed out friar,” she pointed to a brown heap of arms and legs on the floor, “is looking for you. Poor man, doesn’t seemed accustomed to strong drink, a pity really.”

“Now where were we? Oh yes, I never drink myself silly so you must be mistaken on that score.” Again, she tilted her head slightly to the right side while opening her eyes very wide. “Why I am here? It could be that as a good daughter of the church, I’ve come to convert you from your wicked ways.” She snatched up one of the unstrung ears and dabbed at some whiskey that had trickled onto Bowar’s chin. “Then again, I might not be what I seem at all. Perhaps, I am the daughter of a nobleman travelling in disguise through fair Albion.” Xaviera sat back as the serving woman returned with the requested stew and mulled wine.

Taking the bowl and the mug, she swung her feet back up and rested them on the small table before her. “Of course, it could be that by chance I came upon this delightful tavern, found it inviting, and decided to stop in for some food. Not to mention there is always the chance that one might meet some of the local patrons; charming…talented, people such as yourself, Bowar.”

Xaviera


"Charming? Talented?" a voice boomed up from the back, as a man walked up the stairs from the cellar behind the bar.

"Clearly ye don't know the boss too well..." Sixtus grinned at Bowar's frown; the armsman hated being called the boss. Topping off his mug of stout from the keg in the corner, he moved to a stool at the bar and sat facing the table Xaviera and Bowar were sharing.

"Well I can't say I can imagine a noblewoman dirtying her fingers stringing ears together. Ye can't be such a "good daughter" of the church, either, if ye go around slicing ears off corpses for a few coppers... and if ye were looking for people as charming and talented as Bowar they can be found in most alleyways throughout the land." Bowar grumbled something, and Sixtus just smirked at him.

"That leaves a few options... either ye came in looking for food and warmth, or ye are sizing us up. I would guess the latter, as ye seem to have slain quite a few bandits by that pile of ears."

The serving girl brought out the stew and wine and placed them before Xaviera, who started to dig out a few coins to pay for the meal. Sixtus waved the girl away.

"That one is on the house... dealing with Bowar is payment enough! At any rate, enjoy the stew, and I'll see about taking care of this friar who can't hold his ale." Sixtus chuckled and walked over to the table Winslow had been moved to.

Sixtus Anticetus


Xaviera smiled sweetly at her intriguing new companion. Bowar had slumped a bit lower in his chair; whiskey and a warm fire tend to produce a congenial stupor over time.

"Well what I may or may not be is of little consequence in the grand scheme of things. Now as for my interest in this tavern and the colorful characters that seem to frequent it, let me just say that the Lord's interest extends to the smallest sparrow."

After two more spoonfuls of stew, Xaviera prepared to take her leave of the Laughing Lion, for the moment. "Thank you for the food and drink, most enjoyable." When she passed by the place reserved for Winslow, she reached into her coin purse and placed a few silvers on the table. "Perhaps, you can convince a minstrel to give Bowar some lessons, since he seems so fond of singing."

Smiling she made her way to the door and paused, "May the Lord bless all who enter here and hold them safe when they go forth in the service of God, King, and Country." Xaviera then pulled the hood of her cloak up and disappeared into the night.

Xaviera
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:47 am

Of snow and flames, tears and blood
« on: Feb 12th, 2002, 5:50pm »

Sixtus sat beside the fire in the Laughing Lion, well after dark. The wintery winds rattled the shutters, which were now closed tightly over the windows to protect against the snowstorm.

Though he always drank, the paladin hardly ever had enough to get drunk. Tonight, however, he had been drinking in silence as if trying to extinguish a fire within his chest. Now he sat with a slight scowl on his face, seemingly oblivious of anyone else in the room. The barkeep, having already closed up, came and sat next to Sixtus on the bench.

"You know, paladin, I've always wondered why the hell you are in that business. You've filled in for me here before and always seemed happy in doing it... and yet you always pick that greatsword up again and head off with a frown on your face. That, and you're hardly what I would call a model priest, even for one who wades into combat."

Sixtus seemed to ignore the man, but looked up slowly after a few moments and stared at him.

"Why, ye ask?" Sixtus paused and stared off into nothingness for some time, and the barkeep thought perhaps he should just leave the paladin alone. Before he could get up, Sixtus spoke again.

"When I was twelve, my father and I were out chopping wood on an eve much like tonight. A winter storm was coming in and so we were doing our best to build up the wood we'd need to stay warm while we waited it out. The sun was just beginning to set when a man in a hooded cloak walked up from out of the snowy haze. My father must have seen my expression change, and he turned to see what I was staring at. The man threw his hood back, revealing a painted face topped with spiky hair... a celt, and deep within our homeland! My father raised his axe to defend us, but before he could take a step towards the invader, an arrow pierced his neck and he fell to the snowy earth."

The barkeep sat speachless, his mouth agape, as Sixtus continued to tell his story. His voice was completely emotionless, but the firelight reflecting off his eyes told a different story.

"I can still see my father, his axe partly raised, as that arrow struck him in the neck. A moment of shock on his face, and then he crumpled to the ground amid a shower of ruby droplets. I was too frightened to act... I remember slowing stepping backwards and just starting at the celt as he lowered his spear at me. A second figure joined him, slinging a bow over his shoulder and drawing two slim blades."

"My mother grabbed me from behind and started pulling me towards the house, screaming for someone to come and help us... not that any lived near enough to hear her though the gusting winds. The celt with the spear leapt over the pile of wood my father and I had just recently chopped, and struck at us... but he was a moment too slow and my mother yanked me through the door and into the house. She barred the door, but I was still in shock and only stood in the middle of the room, watching the larger celt with the spear approach the window. Using the butt of his spear he shattered the glass and was about to leap through when my mother smashed the lantern we kept near the door over his head. The oil inside sprayed all over the area and instantly burst into flames."

"The celt cursed in some tongue I couldn't understand and pulled back from the window to douse the flames on his arms. My mother turned back to push me into another room, but first one and then another arrow struck her low in the back and she stumbled and fell. She looked up at me and whipered "Go!" and then collapsed into the spreading pool of her blood. I started towards the rear of the house, only to be caught by the first celt, who tripped me with his spear as I tryed to run. Rolling over, I looked up at him, and he only laughed at my fear. He raised his spear and struck, but right before the spear reached me a shape smashed into the celt and kocked him aside. It was this that saved me... the spear was knocked off its course and pierced my side instead of my heart. Looking up I saw my father, the arrow still in his neck, wet and sticky from his own blood; he had struck the celt with his axe and pushed him aside."

"The celt lunged at my father and drove his spear through my father's abdomen. He cried out and grabbed the spear, then turned towards me and yelled, "Go! Run!" To the very end, my father held tight to that spear and would not allow the celt to pull it from his dieing body. With a last look I ran from the house and into the snowy woods. By now the entire front half of the house was ablaze, and I could hear the distant cries of the townsfolk coming to help. I can remember how warm my blood felt as it ran down from the wound in my side, but I don't know how long it was before I passed out. When I awoke the villagers asked me what had happened, but they never learned from me... traumatized as I was, it was six years before I would speak again."

Sixtus Anticetus
Cicero DeSonius
Sandore


Empty Summoning
« on: Feb 12th, 2002, 5:56pm »
<present>

Xarielle trudged through the woods, pulling her robe up to avoid snagging on every bush and root. Her heartbeat quickened as the cool dark of the forest sent a chill through her thin frame. The undergrowth grew thicker still, until it was a web of nettles, twisted roots, and gnarled shrubs. The young sorceress tripped over a dead tree, falling to the earth. She groaned, resting there for a moment. Xarielle took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of sweetly decaying vegetation. She smiled.

There the cabin stood, in its classic state of overgrowth and dissarray. Xarielle pushed herself up off the ground and gently opened the door. The twigs and leaves followed her inside, still clinging to her hair. She looked at an old lamp just inside the doorway. A small bit of oil still sloshed about in the bottom. Taking some stones from her pocket she struck a spark. Warm light immediately filled the room.

"Ahh Zelanith, I have never missed ye until now." Xarielle sighed, picking up a ring that rested on the mantle. She strode over to the crooked bookshelf and removed a thick tome. She inhaled once, twice, then sneezed dramatically, raising even more dust. The sorceress snatched the lamp and stepped out into the deepening night.

The trail was overgrown, Xarielle alternately lost and found it several times as she strode onward. The tome grew heavy under her arm. Xarielle looked upward, but the sky was obscured by the trees. Then, as if stumbling into daylight she emerged. It was not so much a clearing she entered, as a place devoid of underbrush. Moonbeams filtered through the trees, casting a pale glow upon a trio of stones. Their tops were broad and rounded, as if three huge toadstools had left their heads on the ground.

Xarielle blew out the lamplight, and moved to the center of the stones. She placed the book on the ground before her, and reverently slid the ring onto her finger. She also pulled a scrap of cloth, from the folds of her robe. It looked to be a bright blue against her mulled red shift. She placed it out in front of the book.

The sorceress opened the cover of the book. The pages appeared to be black, but the words glowed as if they were threads of silk scrawled across the parchment. She traced the script with a pointed fingernail. Her lips moved, but she said nothing. Xarielle's head rose as she noticed the moonbeams slowly shifting across the stones.

"There is no time..." she muttered. She began to read aloud from the page. The words were not those used to form speeches or sentences, yet they were not unfamiliar to her. Her tongue curled and her lips moved inward and outward, together and apart. Her voice droned on, unfaltering, unbreaking even as she turned page after page. Her voice rose in pitch and volume and still the pages turned. Finally, she yelled out into the night "Orec!"

Xarielle fell forward on her hands, staring at the motionless scrap of cloth. A harsh cackle, carried by a cold wind rose up from all around her. "You said you missed me child?" An apparition strode forward from a break in the trees. A wrinkled hag's face lit up in the moonlight. "You're far too weak to play with such things." the ghostly crone chided.

"I was wrong, I don't miss you. And I'm not weak any longer Zelanith..." Xarielle hissed, standing up.

"Is that so?" The crone stepped forward, brushing a yellowed fingernail across Xarielle's soft pale cheek. "Then why am I here instead of this.... Orec?" Zelanith's essence threw its head back and cackled. Xarielle reached her hand up to push Zelanith away, when she noticed the old ring glowing on her own finger with an amber light.

"No, I don't need you!" she screamed, pulling the ring off and throwing it on the ground. She ran back and lit the lamp once again. She jogged back along the withered path, the grating laughter fading in the night.

"You do need me, and you will be back."

~ ~ ~

Xarielle flew into the Laughing Lion like an ill wind. She left mud and dirt, twigs and leaves, across the tavern floor. She flopped into her chair by the hearth, biting her bottom lip. A barmaid walked over, "Lady Xarielle, can I get ye some tea?"

Xarielle straightened in her chair, wiping away an ill-concealed tear. "No. I need some mulled wine, now. And my writing materials." she hissed.

"Ye don't have to get snippy... Even a finger wiggler needs a drink now and again." The woman cocked her head looking at the sorceress. "An' you most of all by my reckoning."

Xarielle sighed, muttering a grudging thanks as the parchment, inkwell, and pen were placed in front of her. She wasted no time putting the pen to parchment. Xarielle didn't even notice when the wine was served.

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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:48 am

A public apology to the Sisterhood from the Glastonbury Irregulars
« on: Feb 13th, 2002, 5:12pm »

Bowar bowed slightly so that Danae could fasten the clasp of his cloak.

"How do I look Danae?" Bowar questioned.

"Like a peasant trying to fit in with nobles" Danae smiled.

"Good, I will not hide what I am" then pointing at the gathered crowd inside the doors of the hall he added "See them there, dressed in their royal purples and reds, and bearing the isignias of the majestic eagle, the powerful dragon or kingly lion. They will not let you forget their noble station, not ever. They despise us, I can see it in their eyes. They despise everything we stand for. And they especially despise where we came from, us lowly peasants who toiled in their fields only months ago. Well I will not let them forget my common birth. They force me to play this little game of theirs but no matter my words, when they look upon me they will constantly be reminded I am not one of them... that I represent the people they so desperately want to distance themselves from."

Danae managed a quick smile and pushed him off. And so it was that Bowar, once a pig farmer of Glastonbury, walked through the noble gathering to make his public apology to the Sisterhood for the words of one of his members. His walk and posture were equal to that of any man or women present but his garb stood out. Amongst the royal purples and reds, silvers and black, strode Bowar in the deepest of brown painted plate mail. Dents and scratches covered the surface and no attempts to fix them were apparent. Even his cloak, bearing the walking boar on a checkered field of brown and biege, stood as a reminder of his lowly birth. Bowar relished in the confused glances and upturned noses the garb produced but he contained his smirk. He did not wish to slight the Sisterhood, for whom he had high regard, but he would not pretend to be anything more than he was.

Bower stepped onto the platform and cleared his throat as he addressed those who had gathered.

"I come before you now to publically acknowledge the words of my man Frederyck, in regards to one of the most honorable Sisterhood, were made without claim and were most improper. He shamed you all publically with this comment and their is no excuse for that. The Sisterhood has done nothing to deserve this slight and on behalf of the Irregulars I offer my sincerest apologies. I wish no ill will between our respective guilds and it would truly pain us to find we can not ammend this situation.

On his behalf I will say this though, we here in the Irregulars are all mere peasants. Such insults and worse are commonly thrown around between our members and I fear this young lad may have forgotten his place. A man unjustly accused of murder and treason surely can not be totally accountable for the words he spews in his duress. Surely his head was not on straight and while I do not ask you to excuse him I do ask you to be lenient with him. So while it may be acceptable for us peasantry to speak this way to one another we must not forget our place amongst you noble lords and ladies. We must show you the respect you deserve and be aware of our station at all times. There is no excuse then for what he did but again, please remember the situation that aroused them. I beg of you all to hear his apology and listen to the sincerity in his voice. The lad truly regrets what he did."

Bowar


Watching from the back of the gathering, Xaviera heard the sotto voce slights and jests made at Bowar's expense.

"He bears himself well enough," she thought. Xaviera let a small sigh esacpe, she knew that It would matter little to the nobles that he came here to make amends. All they would see is a peasant, be amused, and more to the point, resentful of what he represents to the common folk.

Just as Bowar finished his apology, she slipped quietly out the back.

Xaviera


A Father's Tale
« on: Feb 11th, 2002, 10:04am »

A Father's Tale

Cellach pressed onward. He could hear the Welshman's ribs beginning to crack under the force of his mailed knee. The village chieftain must have been a strong warrior in his day, but the years had taken much of his former strength and the shattered pelvis and broken jaw had sapped the remainder.

"Do you accept the One, True God? Or will you condemn your soul to eternal damnation" He screamed, hot spit spraying down on the Welshman's broken face.

The Welshman could summon little more than a bloody gurgle.

"You stand at a precipice, dog! Your life is forfeit, your body broken."Cellach eased a bit, allowing the Welshman to take in air. "You can repent and accept the Mercy of God and His Holy Church," then reapplying the force, "Or burn in the eternal fires of Hell! Which is it?"

The Welshman shook his dead, defiance in his eyes.

"Very well, Pagan" Cellach lifted his hammer up above his head, "When you get to Hell, you tell them Cellach sent you!" and with a practiced stroke, planted the spiked pommel squarely between the Welshman's eyes.

Cellach stood up, over the broken chieftain, and surveyed the Welsh village. The fires had died down now, and only a few of the larger wood beams still smoldered. The sun was low in the west, throwing tall shadows about the ruins and bathing the scene in an eerie orange glow. Truly this was Hell on earth.

He walked to the three Welsh corpses he had set aside earlier. Only three. This was the worst one yet. Only three souls saved. Only three souls freed from their heathen chains. Only three souls sent to God. In some villages, he was able to rescue a dozen souls, or more. Once he had even left the women and children alive after they converted en-mass. He produced a vial of Holy Water and began final rites.

It was getting dark, and soon the wolves would come. Cellach was not going to let His faithful have their bodies torn apart, but there would not be time for 3 separate graves. He piled the corpses into one, deep hole. Their earthly forms would have to be content with one grave, and the wolves would have to be content with the rest of the village. Cellach prayed. He prayed that their spirits would find salvation, and that the Mercy of God would forgive the heathen deeds they did in life. He knew their souls were in His hands now. With aching muscles, but an easy heart, Cellach buried the three newest members of his Welsh congregation, and engraved God's holy symbol into a charged plank for a grave-board.

Missionary work was hard... but rewarding.

A Father's Tale (Part II)

It was almost midnight by the time Cellach reached the trading post. It had been a long day of proselytizing and conversions, and there would be even more missionary work tomorrow. He was thankful that at least he had a place to stay for the night, even if it was in a smugglers' den. At least these smugglers paid lip service to the Church. It was, after all, the King's laws they were breaking, not God's.

Cellach nodded to Thomas as he entered the trading post grounds. It wasn't much of a compound, just a fortified, two-story house, with a short pier. Thomas wasn't much of a guard, either. Cellach hadn't spoken to him at any length, but from what he gathered, Thomas was once an armorsmith. Something must have driven out of Camelot, because he now just sold what armor he could accumulate, from trade or otherwise. Thomas had a good eye though, and could spot trouble from a mile away. Cellach was thankful for that, Wales was no place to be weary, especially at night.

Passing out the cursory benedictions, Cellach tread though a sea of half-sleeping outlaws making his way to the ladder, and his small, second-story room. Normally reserved for their ringleader, Cellach was able to rent it for the exorbitant price of 10 silver a night. As far as he was concerned, this was still a bargain, was much safer than sleeping lightly among the rogues below. The tithe Cellach extracted from the Welsh was usually 20 or 30 times that, and could be more if he paid a visit to the ancient burial stones. There the Pagan dead rise to seek the flesh of the living (often bringing their burial-treasures along).

To his surprise and outrage, Cellach found someone sleeping in his bed. "Eh, you! Wake up!" He nudged the occupant not-so-gently with his boot. "I've payed good money for this room and I won't have your filthy arse sleeping in my bed."

"Cellach?" the man sat up, fumbling for a lamp. "Dia duit!"

The voice carried Cellach back to a different time, a different land. "Flannigan, you bastard, what are you doing in Wales?" he asked in stunned disbelief.

"I could ask you the same thing, brother." Replied the stranger, whose green eyes now shone clearly in the lamplight. "Conas tá tú?"

"Don't call me that, I'm not your brother!" barked Cellach, "And don't speak to me in that pagan tongue. I thought I made it clear that I never wanted to see any of you, ever again."

"Aithníonn cíaróg cíaróg eile, Cellach." The stranger smiled. "There's no denying your flesh and blood. It's been what, five, six years, give your baby brother a hug." He stood up, arms outstretched.

"Titim gan éirí ort, Flannigan!" Spat Cellach. "I'd sooner hug a Welshman. Now get out," he pointed at the trap door in the floor. "And take that Hibernian stink with you."

"It's father," said the stranger, sitting down and growing quiet, "He's dieing."

"He's been dead to me for years." Replied Cellach, turning away from the lamp.

"Surely you don't mean that, Cellach. He still loves you. You are his eldest son..."

"I am, was, his ONLY son!" Cellach interrupted. "You have no right to call him your father."

"I don't want to argue with you, Cellach." the stranger packed and began to put on his boots. "He just wanted me to find you, so that he could see you, one last time before he passed. He misses you terribly; these last years have been hard on him. I know you will probably never forgive him for taking my mother, but surely you can find the mercy in that stone heart of yours to grant a dieing man his last wish? Would you not do as much for a stranger?" The stranger drapped his cloak around his shoulders and began for the trap door. "Isn't Forgiveness a Godly virtue?"

Cellach lost himself in a flood of memories. It seemed an eternity had passed since those happy, childhood days in Hibernia. Maybe God had punished the old man enough. "Wait." He said, closing the trap door. "Wales is dangerous at night. We'll go in the morning."

"Thank you..." The stranger unclasped his cloak.

"But you sleep on the floor." The cleric interrupted, pointing at the far corner of the small room. He flipped over the straw mattress and threw on his cloak and saddle blanket for sheets. "And prayers first." Cellach set up a small, traveling shrine and they both kneeled before it.

After prayers, candles were extinguished as they returned to their respective corners. Not a word passed between them until dawn.

Cellach


Nightfall in Wales...
Nightfall in Wales...

Cellach stared across the campfire at the bandit minstrel tuning his lute. It was a remarkably mild night for Wales this time of year. As the musician began to play, Cellach drifted off into self-contemplation, loosing himself in the swirl of the cheap brandy he sipped from a wooden cup. His father's death and final request were still fresh in his mind. He needed to go, needed to finish what was started generations ago. Why was he spending his time with these scoundrels? Was the reward truly worth the risk to his good name?

"Father," Dylan, the cutthroats' leader called out. "Will ya lead da lads ina prayer uh thanks ta God Almighty... and His plentiful blessin's!" He held up fistful of pearl strings and golden chains looted from the last Welsh village the band had visited.

"Very well," Cellach stood up, and took his place, among the circle of raiders. Some planted their longswords in the ground and kneeled before the crossguard, others simply bowed their heads. He knew most of these scum couldn't care less about God or the Church, but their leader had them well trained. Dylan actually was a religious man, not that it stopped him from robbing, murdering or any other assorted villainy; he was just sure to make regular confessions at the chapel in Swanton Keep. A converted Arawnite, Dylan was also part Welsh, a quarter part by Cellach best guess. This, however didn't seem to stop Dylan from slaughtering Welshman, and in fact seemed to fuel his, often unreasonable, bloodlust. Cellach had grown quite fond of the bandit leader over the course of this last campaign; indeed they were not so very different.

"We gather this night to give thanks to you, Almighty God..." Cellach spoke the prayers with little passion. He understood that these "missionary" excursions into Wales were little more than an excuse to pillage the countryside and bring their spoils back to the whorehouses of Albion. It was a game of charades with willing participants in all courts. The mercenary scum were just as willing to raid in God's name, as any other. Cellach was willing to use their steel to extract what few conversions he could from the locals, along with his sizable "tithe" of the spoils. Even the heathen Welsh seemed complacent in their own slaughter, rarely mustering any organized resistance to oppose Cellach's death-squad. These prayers were just another form to observe, another ritual in this litany of blood, another pirouette in this genocidal grand-ballet.

He did not feel sympathy for the pagan Welsh, they were not deserving of that; they weren't really "people" after all. It was just the constant slaughter that took its toll. The crack of bone and bubbling hiss of spurting blood had lost its novelty in Wales. The countryside was bleak and barren; gray-brown moors with little more than tombstones and gnarled trees to differentiate one hill from the next. The only color came from the blood that flooded wherever the band went, and even that turned brown-gray all too quickly. Cellach had grown sick of seeing gray and brown, brown and gray; the sky, the clouds, the horizon, the lakes, the hills, the valleys; all an indistinguishable mass of brown and gray. Cellach finished the prayers and reclaimed his patch of dirt under his twisted, old, oak tree.

"Sometin' troublin' you, Father?" Dylan approached, limping from an ancient wound. "Yer prayers tonight had not der usual zeal."

"Nay, I just grow tired." He answered, ashamed that he'd let his mood slip into the service, "I've been to long in Wales. The stink is getting to me."

"Ah, I know what ya mean, Father" the old captain blasted the contents of his nose into his cloak. "The moors do release some powerful foul vapors wit da set'n sun."

"It's not just that, Dylan," Cellach felt he could share his mind with the grizzled old veteran. "I am beginning to feel our mission is Wales is futile. Sure, we can evict the heathens from this land, but never for long. We extract a toll in blood and gold from any Welshman we find, but still they come. And even save what rare souls we can, the Welsh breed more for their demon-gods. What good does our work here do Albion if our own lands fall to outland invaders. Would our efforts not be better spent fighting the Celts, Norsemen and their monstrous allies? They are the threat. Even now, my brethren in the irregulars are probably in siege around some Hibernian fortress, or matching polearms against some trollish horror."

"Yah, but ya trains well here, lad." Dylan grinned, revealing half a mouthful of rotting and misshapen teeth. "Why when I first met ya, yer was just a wee pup, ya could barely swing dat hammer without hit'n yerself and anyone wit'n arms length. Weren't ja just a lowly acolyte when ya first came ta Wales?"

"Curate." Cellach corrected.

"Aye, and now yer some 'Ecclesiastic' wit a seat on two 'ak-u-men-ick-al' councils, aye? All from yer missionary work in Wales!" The mercenary looked the priest over. "And that fine suit o' mail yer wear'n, I'll take it our tithe didn't go to waste?"

"No, and I had quite a sum left over to add to the Irregulars' coffers." Cellach waxed pensive. "But we cannot hope to 'win' in Wales. The crown sees no reason to send soldiers here to annex the country, and what few guards did come became bandits." Stopping himself, "No offense."

"None taken, lad," With another grin. "So, where's yer outfit fight'n now, Ireland?"

"Aye, that's what I hear. But I did not go." Cellach looked down, ashamed. "I should be with them, but I have made a vow, never to set foot in Ireland, unless it is at the head of an army. You see, Dylan, I have some history there, and have seen far too many good, God-fearing people perish in that forsaken land to add myself to the toll. I will return only when we can muster enough force to take territory, and the will to hold it! I have already broken that vow twice, but each time was able to return home on my own two feet. I will not tempt fate again."

"Ah, I hear some news from da front too. I hears it that that nobles from both armies joust about, or ignores one another on da field to raid each others baggage trains." The old man spits. "Such is nobleman's war. Dat's why ya'll find me in Wales, do'n da Lord's work and get'n rewards for it, in dis life and da next."

"Maybe you're right Dylan. Orec has already paid the price for charging out into battle unprepared. He was gripped by his own demons. Consumed by his father's shameful cowardice, how could he act differently; I cannot blame him..."

Their moment of silence was broken by the howl of a cold wind.

Cellach continued, "No, Dylan, I think this will be my last campaign in Wales, at least for the foreseeable future. With my new rank in the Church, I think I can begin to exert some influence. Soon, hopefully soon, I can present my case to the Archbishop. The nobles are now fully in control of the war, and I see nothing good coming of it. Already there has been mumbling about the Crown's discontent with the Irregulars, hushed plots and poisonous whispers envelop the court. It seems that armed peasants are beginning to be taken seriously as a force, and maybe as a threat. I hope to present His Holiness with a plan for a release for all this tension."

"A release?" The captain questioned, "What do you mean?"

"A Crusade!" Nodded Cellach. "What better place to keep armed peasants than on enemies land? They would not need to be fed, as they could forage, and if the season permitted, even plant crops. They would no longer make the Crown nervous, as they would be hundreds of leagues away. What's more the king could open his prisons, offering clemency, while the church could offer absolution, to any who joined the Crusade. The Crown could rid itself of 'riff-raff' once and for all by sending them into the frontiers. If the Crown would be so generous as to offer small land-grants for homesteads in conquered territory then they needn't worry about their undesirables ever returning. A good plan, don't you think, Dylan?"

"Bah, it'd never work, Father Cellach. The Crown's too greedy!" the old man paused, "But if ya can convince the Church, maybe ya'd have a chance, at least to build that army ya'd spoke of."

Cellach looked down at his holy symbol, and then to the Boar emblazoned upon his shield. "Maybe," he though, "Just maybe..."

Cellach
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earthwulf
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:49 am

A Note arrives for Bowar and Sixtus
« on: Feb 13th, 2002, 12:13pm »

It had been a long day and now she was angry. "Threaten me, how dare he, threaten me," she muttered under her breath, "then he thinks a simple apology would be enough to set things right, to remove the mantle of suspicion he, a knight, chose to wrap himself in."

"I must not lose sight of my purpose." Xaviera hunted for parchment, ink and a quill. Zenob had suggested caution should rule when discussing the events that took place in the cathedral catacombs and about Camelot. Yet, she had told Sixtus that one of the members of his company was possibly at risk. Now she was angry with herself and became critical. "Why did I ever bother to involve myself with that wandering, overeager, cabalist? Some pampered son of a wealthy Avalonian family no doubt, judging from the expensive clothes he wore while poking about in the depths of Mithra's Tomb." She sighed and shook her head, "how many times did I come upon him and bring him back before the soul fled the body?"

She tore herself back to the task at hand and began to write.

”Good Sirs,

I fear that one of your company may be at risk; pulled into some plot involving the safety of Albion. It is not possible for me to judge the exact nature of this business, be it for good or evil, at this point.

Last night a knight of peculiar temperament led Tanaburs down into the cathedral catacombs. As you know, this is sacred ground and one does not expect to see knights and cabalists skulking about the place. I confronted them and this knight, if he is indeed one, became agitated and hostile. There have been many strange and dangerous goings on about the palace of late. Royal guards have forsaken their oath and turned their cloak; I realize this must seem like a wild claim but I assure you it is true.

It seems to me that Tanaburs is a tad naive and perhaps led a sheltered life. I base this observation on my encounters with him in the Tomb of Mithra. I am concerned he is being led astray by this man and may suffer some grievous harm or mischief. I followed this knight and I have learned his identity or at least the name some call him by; it is Raicus. He wears a cloak adorned with what appears to be two crossed romanized swords upon a red and white checked field. His shield bears the same device.

The Lord is concerned with the tiniest sparrow.

Xaviera”

She placed the note in an envelope and wrote the names Bowar and Sixtus upon it, turned it over and struck her family signet ring into the sealing wax. She then went in search of one of the new postualtes to deliver it. "Esperanza, I require a service of you." "Yes, sister?" Xaviera thrust the sealed envelope into her hand. "Take this down to Glastonbury and deliver this note to the tavern keeper of the Laughing Lion." The young woman's eyes grew wide. "Sister you mean for me to enter...a...a" "Yes, to enter a tavern. It won't kill you and it's not a sin to merely go inside. Now off with you."

Xaviera returned to her cell, threw herself down on the bed and prayed her skull would stop hurting. She had forgotten, until last night when Sixtus' voice boomed in her head, that her nursemaid had once explained it might be possible to speak to another through thoughts. "Bloody hell," she mumbled, "why does it have to be so loud?"

Not much later, a slightly shaking postulate from the abbey handed the tavern keeper of the Laughing Lion a sealed note.

Xaviera


Bowar rubbed his forehead, the weight of recent events clearly draining him.

"This is all we needed" he said as he handed the note to Sixtus "What do you think friend? How do we handle this situation".

The warrior did not wait for a response as he dropped his head into the table with a thud.

"I think I need a drink. This is beginning to be all too much for me".

Bowar


Xaviera went to Lady Winchell to report the strange encounter in the cathedral catacombs of the previous night involving Raicus and Tanaburs. After explaining the evnets that led to her discovery of the two men in the crypts, she brought the tale to a conclusion by noting:

"This knight, if he is indeed one, threatened to do me harm and accused me of spying on him. As you know it was my day to attend to the maintenance of the crypt. I believe he would have drawn his sword against me if the cabalist had not restrained him. I had provided aid to the man in the Tomb of Mithra and he spoke of this and the knight seemed somewhat mollified."

Lady Winchell looked thoughtful for a moment, "Xaviera, do you know the names of these men?" "The cabalist is Tanaburs of the Glastonbury Irregulars. I followed this knight and I have learned his identity or at least the name some call him by. It is Raicus.

"Raicus, are you sure?" The words were said with such intensity that Xaviera involuntarily took a step back . "I am sure that was the name spoken." Lady Winchell began to pace, "Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Xaviera. I'm sure you know about the controversy surrounding this upstart band of peasants...the Irregulars, concerning the death of Lady Winterborne, insults to the members of the Sisterhood, and charges of spying." Xaviera nodded. "Raicus, a most noble knight and defender of the Holy Church is our shield in time of trouble against enemies from abroad and within." Lady Winchell emphasized the last word.

As she turned to leave, Lady Winchell placed a hand on her arm. "One moment Xaviera, there have been reports of a daughter of the Church visiting a certain tavern in Glastonbury. Have you ever heard of the Laughing Lion?" She tilted her head to the right, "The Laughing Lion? An odd name to be sure...it almost sounds like a name from one of the stories my nurse would tell me..." Lady Winchell's tone became more direct, "enough prattle, girl. Have you been to this establishment, yes or no?" "Yes, I have been to the Laughing Lion Tavern in Glastonbury." "If your mother were alive, she would be appalled and ashamed. A lady cannot be seen in the company of such scoundrels. I forbid you from ever setting foot in that establishment again. However, since you seem to be developing a fondness for wallowing in the muck, report to Sister Deane at Vetusa Abbey and tell her you are to tend the pigs for the next week."

"As you say so shall it be," Xaviera dropped a graceful curtsey to Lady Winchell. "I was led to believe that the Lord is interested in the tiniest sparrow. It would seem that the Church," she paused and smiled, "is only interested in sparrows of noble birth."

Xaviera


Sixtus took the note from Bowar and read it over, scowling slightly. As soon as he was finished reading he motioned towards the fire with it; Bowar nodded and Sixtus cast it into the flames.

"This is the second warning Xaviera has given us. At this point her motives remain a mystery to me, and I must say that her chance encounter with us in the Lion seems less and less a coincidence. The question I want answered is why is she helping us? She knows Racius is involved, and she must know the power he has within the higher courts. So why risk the contact with us?"

Bowar sighed and took a long pull from his flask before responding.

"I've no idea... and at this point we can't even assume that she is helping us. We'll have to speak privately with Tanaburs to confirm this though."

Sixtus nodded solemnly.

"If it does turn out to be true, Tanaburs can no longer be trusted... at least not toally. I would not think him a traitor to his friends, but who knows what leverage Racius may have over him?"

Bowar nodded, and put his head back down onto the table with a thump.

Sixtus


Requesting and Audience
« on: Feb 19th, 2002, 1:47pm »

Arguyle walked up to the gates of the Glastonbury Irregulars camp and knocked thrice on the sturdy wood. He then turned and looked out onto the field and saw birds landing and snatching worms, farmers in their fields and children playing among the tall grasses. It took him back to a time when he was but a young lad and had not yet chosen his future.

His mind drifted to a time some 22 years ago....


The laughter of the children could be heard throughout the village of Humberton. We small boys were playing a game known simply as "Stones". We would stack the bones of long dead cattle into piles with the skulls on top. Then we would take turns tossing stones at the skulls to see who had the best aim. As you missed they were eliminated from the competition. If you missed too soon the sting of the gibbing of your friends would hurt more than the disappointment of no longer being in the game. Those that made it to the next round would take 5 paces back and throw again. We would continue this until there was only one boy left. That boy would be known as the King of the Stones for the rest of the day. Twas quite an honor to hold that title.

I had been lucky to make it into the fourth and final round but to my chagrin I was up against a lad that had been the King of the Stones for a longer period than my young mind could remember. His name was Arnold MacTiernan. Not only was Arnold the reigning King but he was also the town bully. As I stepped up to the line to toss my stone I could hear Arnold in the background yelling insults to try and distract me. He called me plowboy and hayseed trying to draw on my disdain for my families peasant status and anger me. However, I was deep in concentration and would not be distracted by the ramblings of a chawbacon such as himself.

I took a deep breath, focused my eyes on the cow skull 30 paces ahead of me and drew back to throw my stone. Just as my arm came forward I heard Arnold say, "HAR and your mother be a whore!"

My concentration was shattered but I somehow kept the stone from leaving my hand. I turned toward Arnold with hatred in my heart and fire in my eyes and I raised the hand holding the stone. I readied myself to toss it at his head. He knew that he had no hope of engaging me before the stone left my hand and he began backing away putting his hands up around his head. Then suddenly I saw a man in beautifully shining armor step in front of me. My first thought was that he was a Guardsmen but then I saw it. The emblem of the Church of Albion embalzoned on his chest.

The man kneeled down in front of me and removed his helm. It was Sir William Mansfield and he was a Knight of the Round Table. He was known throughout the land as a fair and fierce Paladin. He looked at me and smiled and said, "Lad, do not throw that stone in anger at that boy. He knows not the folly of his ways. Have mercy on him I ask you. Turn and instead toss the stone at that skull. Take that which is most valuable to him. His pride. Let the Lord be your guide in all you do and you will never go astray."

I blinked and turned. I focused and I threw. The stone soared straight as an arrow and struck the skull squarely, knocking it from its perch. The other boys cheered as the skull fell and Arnold looked to the ground dejectedly. He knew that to strike the skull from this distance was no easy task and that he would have to throw truer than ever he had.

In the end Arnold missed the skull and I was, for one day at least, no longer a peasant boy. I was King! And Arnold bothered me no more.

That night I lay in bed and I thought of the words of the Knight.

"Let the Lord be your guide...."

Blink..

"Let the Lord be your guide..."

Yawn..

"Let the Lord be your guide..."

Sleep overcame me and I dreamed of Dragons and Damsels and of being King of the Stones. But mostly I dreamed of the Church.

When I awoke I felt as if I had been bathed in the Light of God. I knew what I was to do so I raised from my bed and set off for Camelot.

Hours later I arrived, a lad of only nine years, and I found my way to the Church of Albion. As I entered I was awestruck by the beauty of the stained glass and the sheer immenseness of the building. I saw a Priest and I ran to him.

"Father, may I speak to you?", I asked.

"Yes my son. I am Father Michael. How can I be of aid to you?", he replied.

"Father, I...well...I come to server my Lord God. I come to become a Knight."

The Priest looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. He then smiled and called to a young cleric.

"Brother Joseph, please show this young man to his new room and contact his parents of his whereabouts and our intentions to train him."

"Yes Father", replied Joseph.

As we walked towars the sleeping quarters Father Michael called out, "Lad, what is your name?"

I stood tall and I answered, "I am Arguyle MacFadden."


........the sound of the metal window in the gate grating against the wooden from brought him back to the here and now. He whirled and saw a gnarled old man peering at him through the window. The old man spoke in a creaking voice.

"Lad! I say what be yer name?"

Arguyle faced the man squarely and said, "I am Arguyle MacFadden of the Order of the Red Lions."

"What be yer business here with the Irregulars. We have no trouble with the Crown again I trust. Bowar had straightened that out so if'n ye be here to cause trouble just turn yerself right around."

Arguyle chuckled and said, "No my good man. I am not here to cause trouble. The exact opposite I think. I have a note that I would like to have delivered to Bowar."

The old man looked at him sideways for a moment and then replied, "Well....if'n ye ain't 'ere to cause more trouble then ye kin give me yer note. I'll see it delivered to Bowar meself."

Arguyle handed the note over to the man. It was sealed with a wax emblem resembling a rampant lion. It was simply addressed "Bowar of the Irregulars".

"I thank you for your attention to this matter good sir. It is very important," said Arguyle.

"Very good. I'll care fer it. Now unless ye have more business ye should be leaving."

With that the old man slammed the window shut and Arguyle was once again alone.

He walked to his horse which was hobbled not far away and removed the hobbling cords from its feet. He sprung into the saddle and spurred his horse in the direction of Camelot.


Later that afternoon Bowar was given the note by the old man at the gate. He recognized the seal as that of the Order of the Red Lions and wondered what these men wanted with him.

He opened the note and read to himself.


Bowar,

I would like to request a meeting with you if possible. I feel that the Irregulars have too long been, shall we say, separated from the rest of our soldiers here in Albion. I know your disdain for the nobles of our land but please meet with me and hear me out. I think it is time that the Nobles and the Commoners, I do so hate that word, come together in defense of Albion. You and yours have proven your mettle time and again on the field of battle. I pray you will not stand alone any longer.

Please meet me in Cotswald Village on the morrow. I pray that 7pm CST will be good for you. I fear that anything earlier may prove impossible for me.

Lord High General Arguyle MacFadden
Order of the Red Lions
Paladin of the 24th Circle
Riddle Master of Albion”


Winterborne's report
« on: Mar 2nd, 2002, 5:11pm »

<<a>>


M'lady Triss,

Under the auspices of The Sisterhood, I bore the blackened cape and armour of a rogue and followed Rembrandt and his company into Llyn Barfog. As suspected, they were within the camps of the renagade Soldiers upon the borders of Wales and the Avalonian village. I witnessed Rembrandt and his cohorts parlaying with the soldiers and the Lieutanant...I knew something was afoul! However, much to my surprise, it seems the Lieutenant and Rembrandt came to some sort of disagreement where then the renegade soldiers took to raise arms against the Knight of the Crest. Rembrandt and his 'knights' they quickly took flight to seek solace in the Avalonian village.

I continued my duty, still bearing the cloak and armour and followed the Knights of the Crest into the nearby village, where it seems that they had a small caravan waiting near the docks. Within the caravan, they were placing casks of oil and pitch, harvested from the blubber of the dred Afanc's eggs found along the shorelines. This lead me to believe that perhaps they were indeed planning to raize Cornwall Station with the rich firewood found in Barfog. With this evidence, I returned to my room within Snowdonia to rest for the eve and sent word immediately to Racius's investigator Albricht to head to Rembrandt under the banner of joining his cell in hopes of setting a trap.

I rode hard back to Cornwall Station the following morning to meet Albricht and seek the capture of Rembrandt and his Knights. As planned, Albricht had worked his way into the Knights of the Crest's cell and arranged a meeting while I gathered the Sisterhood to spring the trap upon them. We gathered into a small group, bearing arms and bows and barged into the Cornwall Station en masse and took to the upper quarters of the Station. We had sucessfully captured Rembrandt and from there, I shackled him and took him to the ruined tower three leagues from the Station.

Lo, I was unable to get much from him, despite M'lady Tiewin's interrogation tactics. But then, as the sun set the ghosts of the tower began to rise! Quickly, fearing for The Sisterhood's life, I took to arms to defend them. During the melee, Rembrandt was able to escape into shadow and fled back to the Station! We gave chase, with the aid of our minstrel Ashondar's spell of haste, and quickly caught up to the Knight. Much to our surprise, there was a cadre of the Knights of the Crest's number along the road! We all took to arms and accusations, but my investigations were cut short after Rembrandt drew forth a poisoned blade and struck me within the stomach.

My memory is hazy after that, as I awoke in the summoning tower just east of the Catacombs. Still dazed and weakened, I send you this letter. I have many theories about this, but I am assured that Rembrandt was the man I saw within the Guild of Shadows conspiring with the political anarchist Meril and the Glastonbury Grifter. I knew that Rembrandt's face was familiar, identified two weeks ago after the first attemped assasination upon my life following the meeting with Lord Racius Lutheran in Camelot. I fear a dark alliance within the Glastonbury Irregulars, a shadow-cell of select individuals whom conspire with other 'knights' loyal their anarchic ways. Both camps used the same poison, drawn from the lilac of the Black Mountains upon their blades.

There is insurmountable evidence now that further reinforces my theories. As to what I will do now, I do not know but rest assured that the Knights of the Crest will never find peace within Albion as long as I still breath air. I shall await your further instruction, M'lady...

Regards,
Winterborne
Fifth House of Snowdonia


<Albricht's Report>

Adding to milady Winterborne's current report, not only was Rembrandt's mind on burning down the station, he, several times during the night hinted at his ties to the Renegade Soliders of Wales. Not only him, but the antics of his allies in the Crest further back our evidence that there is a dark cloud surrounding their true intentions.

I have been chasing this man ever since the first assault on milady Winterborne, although I had frankly failed to learn his identity uuntil the other night. By manipulating Jardane into telling me their side of the story, I was able to make contact with Rembrandt, and that was the beginning.

While meeting in Cornwall station, Rembrandt revealed many thigns to me he probably shouldn't have...his personal motivations, and a bigger picture. He even tried to manipulate me into thinking the Sisterhood was the real root of evil, and a high ranking guild in this circle of terror.

While Winterborne and her ladies rode, I stalled him by overthinking the plan to burn down the station, in which he repeatedly stated his willingness to kill innocents to get his message to Winterborne.

Even if there were no evidence to support his ties to the renegades, this was enough to put him to trial.

Winterborne and her riders arrived, and busted through the room I had chosen upstairs, and apprehended him. I left and met them again at the broken tower deeper in to Cornwall, where the questioning began. Dispite threats, Rembrandt hinted at his ties, and his motivations. Being present, there was more than enough evidence to convict for treason against the Crown of Albion.

After a surprise attack by a group of undead, Rembrandt fled, but we caught him near the treeline, where I loaded my crossbow, and held it to his neck. After a bit more questioning, Jardane and Rembrandt's cronies showed up to his rescue, knocking my bow from my hands, and pushing us back. Winterborne and I were wounded in the process. My wound was merely a scratch, but the wound inflicted upon Winterborne by Rembrandt was the identical poison used upon her in the assault in Camelot.

This is the final piece of evidence I needed to conclude the Crest's involvement in the attempted assassination of Winterborne, as well as conspiring to sack Cornwall Station. There is also little doubt in my mind that many members, if not all of them, are tied to the Renegades in some way.

Beware, there is a larger force at work than we had expected.



-----signature-----

Albricht Whitethorne
Glastonbury Irregulars


Bowar nodded to Enuru and thanked him for bringing news of the events to his ears.

"I am losing control of the situation" the warrior replied as he slumped into a chair "Something must be down. When I first heard the different tales of this Winterborne I sluffed her off as a pawn, perhaps even a mad woman. It seems I underestimated her."

Clenching his jaw as he slammed a mailed fist into the table.

"Damnit! I thought by pulling away from Camelot we could lay low and escape these "games!" Bowar rose again, his face flushed with rage "Gather the Irregulars Enuru, we can not hide from this any longer."
Bowar
---
Trolfriend's Namequest
« on: Feb 23rd, 2002, 4:17pm »
Sitting back down at his cousins' table with his tankard, Trolfriend stared into the abmber liquid as if it held the secrets of the universe... indeed, there were those that professed that it did. As the revelry continued around the table, the small band of cousins and brothers pulled slightly closer together, as if to protect their kin.

"Och, ye skinny lad - do yer think that were wise?" Dragonwulf asked this in a tone that implied both sympathy and incredulity. "I mean, gettin' up like tha' in fron' o' God an ther Irregulars an' talkin' o' yer Ma an Da? Na' ter mention th' incident wi' those bloddy buggers..." He spoke in a hushed tone, so as not to draw attention to his criticizm of his cousin.

Wulfling place one of his massively gentle healing hands on Dragonwulf's shoulder. He did not say anything, just looked at his cousin with his deep, bicolored eyes. He was the quiet one of the group, speaking ony as much as necessary. He brother, however, was not beholdin' to any such dogma.

"Dragon, ye righteous bastid son of an elfwhore, do ye na' see how painful this is fer him? Do ye na' see tha' he is hurtin' enough fer all o' us?!?" Earthwulf sighed, exasperated at his sahadow-like cousins' thickheadedness. "Troll, what is it ye be needin'? Can we help ye in some way?" All three looked expectantly at the pale Cabalist.

"As I stated, family mine, I have work to do. I had a vision last night, a vision that was more than a mere dream. I was struggling in my sleep, and when I awoke, I saw an emerald golem standing before me. I was drained of power, and I knew I had brought this creature forth, e'en though I could not possibly do so, for such magik still lies beyond me. This golem was unlike any other I had seen or heard of," the student of Dark Arts paused for a long drink, then continued staring into his cracked earthenware mug.

Minutes passed before he spoke again. "Aye, this golem was different. It had the face of my father, and it spoke to me. It told me to seek out my Father's fate, and when I found it, I would find my true name. It then said that when it returned to the earth, there would be a gift for me to take, one that would be important in my search. Then is crumbled, as do all golems, eventually, and in its dust I found these."

He reached into he pouch, pulling out two emeralds, one the size os a gold coin, the other the size of a copper. They glowed faintly, s glow that eminated from within the stones. The larger was cool to the touch, while the smaller was warm.

As he handed the gems to his cousins to inspect, he asked "Will you aid me in my quest?"
Over a month had passed, and the cousins found themselves huddled together under a small outcropping of rock, high in the mountains. Between the freezing rain and their fear of discovery, no fire was present. One of the horses had already been lost to a wandering dragon, while another was injured when the thin trail gave way beaneath her.

Thunder cracked overhead, raging with Thor's fury here on the borderland. It was as if the evil northern gods could sense their presence, and were eager to alert their minions to the presence of the intruders.

"The old woman told you it was up here, Wulfling, the secret of the stones. Still, cousins, I cannot see any end to this misery, nor enightenment about the stones. If ye wish it, we may turn back," Trolfriend pulled his cloak tighter around his body.

The woman had appeared as if from nowere two days after they left Glastonbury, riding north to the lands of Midgard. Stopping to rest on the edge of a forest - a forest that was closer to being a bog, in truth - Wulfing had stepped off into the twilight to give thanks once again to the Goddess, when a crone appeared before him.

"Many pardons, Mother," Wulfling began, his deep, giant voice resounding with kindess and geltle ease. "I dinna see ye there. Might I ask who ye be? An apparition? A spirit? A voice o' th' dead? Or be ye The Goddess hersel'?" As these words passed his lips, he gasped, for if it were true... he fell to his knees.

"Up, Boy!" She tilted her grizzled head back, cackling furiously. " I have news for ye! I be Zelanith..."
"Zelanith? I have heard tell o' ye', but it be only spoken in whispers an' rumor. Do ye na' be th' Patron o' Xarielle, or somesuch?" Wulfling had been indeed puzzled, for this woman - this apparition - came fromnowhere and was no one he had ever had truck with before. Even Xarielle he knew only in passing, in a few pleasant encounters in the guild hall and tavern.

"Bah, laddie, d' y' thin' I na' knoe yer thouts? I read em like y' wer an primer fer th' kiddies. This be na abo' yer precious guil', ner abou drinkin er e'en th' upstart which ya said i wer patron o'. This be abou' th future... th' future o' yer clan, an' th future o' th' Irregulars." She cackled hideously, mournfully. "I dinnae knoe whyfer i wer th' one chosen ter give yer this message, fer I care na abou' ye, but I were chosen an so here it be. Lissen well, younun, fer i'll na be repeatin' mesel': Go to the North Mountains, where th' win blows hard an th' cold eatcher bones like achil snackin on swttes. Go there t' th lair o' th' Black wyrm in th' lan' o' th' Norsemen, an ye shall fin' th answers t' those acurrsed stones. Pah. I leve ye ter this!"

With that, she was gone.

Wulfling awoke from this half dream, only to ralize that it was better to be in the Dreamworld at the moment than here huddled against his lumpy cousins. Hopefully this storm would blow itself out before too long.

"Och. I ha' ter go drain me willie, laddies. keep the plce warm an' toasty fer me, an order me another meade," said Dragonwulf wryly. The tavern - any tavern, for that matter was hundreds of miles from their precipice. Dragon sauntered down the path, oblivious to the cold. Nothing hurt him, these days, save the suffering ofthe innocent. Nothing, he thought, could ever hurt him again, not after the death of his family.

Shaking the memory from his head, he unbuttoned his trousers, letting fly a strong yellow stream over the cliff and with the wind. In that moment, he realized he was not alone. In one swift motion, his blade was outand his body whirling towards the hand that had barely touched his shoulder. The point of the knife was put firmly inbetween the visitor's 10th and 11th ribs, poised to puncture the liver, if need be.

"Dragonwulf," boomed the deep, resounding voice of the figure before him, "Sheathe thy weapon." The man added, with a touch of humor, glancing at the still exposed groin, "And thy blade as well!"

Dragon could not believe his eyes. Quiclky, he did as he was told, then stammered "But... but... it can't be! You - you're dead!"

Orec just grinned at him.

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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:50 am

A note arrives for Xarielle
« on: Mar 11th, 2002, 1:20pm »

Her face hidden by the hood of her cape a woman enters the Laughing Lion Tavern and quietly walks over to the tavern keeper.

In a voice that could be described as barely a whisper, the woman hands the tavern keeper a sealed note. "Good sir, would you do me the service of seeing that this note reaches Xarielle and none other." A gold piece accompanies the note into the man's hand. As he examines the seal on the back of the envelope, the woman disappears back into the night.

”Dear Xarielle,

Although we have met only once briefly, I need to talk with another woman I can trust, which excludes all of the members of the Sisterhood. This must certainly seem like an amazing statement. However, since the night of the wedding of Willoe to Verronica, the other sisters all seem to be acting terribly odd.

I cannot find any trace of my dearest friend Alexxa. No one has seen her; no one has heard from her; no one knows anything about her. Maybe I am going mad but I see her in my dreams and I know she is not dead but she is not here either. It makes no sense. Perhaps I am mad.

There may be more than a little danger involved should you choose to meet with me. It is not necessary for you to come alone but what I must say can only be said to another woman.

Respectfully

Xaviera de Monfort.”


Xarielle reads the note with a raised eybrow. Snatching a quill and parchment from her shelf she pens a quick response. The witch seals the parchment with her own mark, that of a rat perched atop a boar's head. Xarielle hands the letter to the Tavern keep. "Should Xaviera return this way, make sure this note is placed in her hands."


”Dear Xaviera,

I am intrigued, and have been ever since word reached me of the events regarding Alexxa. I always felt they deserved more examination but I assumed it was being handled within the house of sisters. I look forward to meeting with you and delving deeper into these matters.

Sincerely,
Xarielle Aruspex”


Xaviera slipped quietly into the Laughing Lion and approached the tavern keeper. In a quiet voice she asked the man if her correspondence had made its way into the hands of Xarielle. He nodded and slid a folded note toward her. She snatched it up and read Xarielle's reply. A feeling of hope surged briefly through her. She thanked the tavern keeper and went directly from the Laughing Lion to the stable master in Glastonbury to secure a horse for the trip back to Camelot.

About three miles from Glastonbury the air was shattered by the power of three clerics casting spells designed to harm and not heal. The ground before the rider and horse was ripped apart. The horse died instantly. The rider was first stunned and then flung into the ditch that bordered the road as the last of the spells landed.

A moment later four women approached the dead horse. Two watched the road in opposite directions while one searched the horse's saddlebags. The fourth glanced down at the body from the road. They departed after the one searching the horse produced a cloak and shield marked by a distinctive fleur-de-leys.
Sitting on a bench in the square near the Cathedral the cleric pondered last night's events.

She was not sure where she had been for the past few days but her armour and cloak suggested hard walking and fighting. She had a vague memory of being knocked off a horse but couldn't recall why or by whom; just a flash of light, the sensation of being thrown, and then darkness was all that she could remember.

Last night she found herself, without understanding why or how, at the siege of a keep on a small island. Some of her countrymen battling the heathens and barbarians seemed familiar but she could not recall why nor could she remember any of their names. Alone among the army she did what she had been trained to do...heal those still alive and raise the fallen whose spirits had not yet departed. Her memory did not fail when it came to understanding which spells to cast and when.

Most of the night, for her, involved running back and forth between two bridges that had to held so the siege could go on; the outer door had fallen but the inner one still held firm and time was rapidly becoming the enemy. Her last clear recollection was standing at the near end of a bridge as a group of heathens swept across it toward the island.

Other than knowing that she had been trained to heal, the rest of her life was now a mystery. It seemed she needed to find people who could help her recover what had been lost. However, knowing where to find such people was yet another mystery that needed to be solved.

Xaviera


Jonn on his own
« on: Mar 14th, 2002, 3:38pm »

Brother Jonn looked over the hill at the wargs running around. He had been tasked with killing a goblin Mystic, and now it's spine was in his pack, along with the gear from 6 others who had been foolish enough to to try and aid him at various times in the fight. He knew he had been lucky, if all of them had attacked,at once instead of piecemeal, he would have been in trouble. But his enemies had not coordinated their atack, and now they were dead.

He now looked at the wargs in the valley, and realized he could not leave this vale in htis fashon. He would thin the ranks before returning to Ludlow with his prize. If he took out enough of the large wolves, he may even rate some new training.

He bagan to stalk the creatures. taking them out singly or in pairs depending on how healthy they looked. Finally he knew the time was getting close to when he would have to depart for Camelot , when he saw a wolf at the base of the hill, alone. It was among the healthier ones that he had been attacking. Taking his staff in hand, he leaped on it, and cracked it in the ribs, causing it to yelp in pain. Suddenly another warg that had been hidden until then leaped out of the grass, and attacked him while he fought it's kin.

Jonn was feeling confident, he was in good health and was fully rested. He was dealing with the first warg, knowing the second would also soon fall to his staff, when he was beset by a third wolf from behind. Becoming worried, he began to wonder if he had overstepped himself and was about to learn a hard lesson in humility.

His thoughts were answered in the worst way. A forth and fifth wolf joined just as the first one was dispatched. Now fully aware of his predicament, Jonn cast his haste spell, and called upon saints vigor, as now only these blessings would save him. Running would do no good, there were too many attacking him.

His staff whirled about him, striking his foes left and right, like a bolt of wood smiting from above. Yelps were heard as one after another of the wargs were stuck, but they in turn were taking their toll on him. He could feel his health drain away as he was bitten over and over again by the evil animals.

The second wolf went down, then the third. He faced his forth and fifth asailants, his Haste having been expended. He did not expect to survive this fight, but like any true Defender of Albion, he would not go down without a fight. Gripping his staff with sweat and blood wet hands, he continued to fight on. There was no let up or time to catch his breath, only endless teeth and claws striking back at him.

The fourth wolf went down it's back broken, and now it was just him and the fifth wolf. He was barely hanging onto his own life, and feared he would die in vain. Another hit and he would probably be another grave in the hills of the North Black Mountains.

He struck the final wolf, and hurt it terribly. It howled with pain. The death blow came at him, and Jonn felt he was about to die, when he backed and tripped on the body of one of the dead wargs, causing him to evade the killing blow barely. Jonn summoned his final reserves, he brought his staff down on the warg, cracking it's skull and killing it.

Jonn wanted to collapse then and there, but knew it would be foolish, with so many enemies around. He hobbled away, leaning heavily on his staff, not even having the energy to heal himself. He knew he had earned the right to further knowledge in Camelot.

(OOC It pretty mush happend this way, only I hit the next season with the death of the 4th wowarg, causing the 5th to go gray on me. I have no dobt that if I had not gained at that moment, I would have probably been killed, as one hit from the warg would have killed me. Next time I will make sure I do not attack in the middle of a spawn area. 4 pops in just a couple seconds, I was almost sick. I love Haste and Vigor. I never have had to use them to save me like this before, but am I glad I had them. )

Brother Jonn
Slightly more humble and very thirsty memeber of the Glastonbury Irregulars.


MacMystery
« on: Mar 15th, 2002, 2:16pm »

Earthwulf rounded the corner to the forge. It had been a gloriuos day, and with the newfound coin in his urse, he intended to seek out a new weapon, for his scimitar was becoming worn and bent. It was twilight, the time he was told to meet Macheath for a bit of conversation, and perhaps a lesson in the finer points of metalwork.

Arriving a bit early, he walked over to the street vendors, order a roast potato and a pot of that Turkish mud they called coffee. None of the others in his family could understand why he drank the stuff, but to him it was the nectar of the gods. He sat down in front of Mackie's stall, and watched some of the street urchins scampre about, playing their battle games. "Och, ye shall experience tha' all too soon, we uns," he thought, but smiled at their anctics all the same.

Macheath wasn't there... a bit unusual, mayhap, but everyone has other business at times. Earth was in no hurry. He could wait.

*******************************************

Three hours had passed, and still no sign of his friend. Earth asked around, but no one in the neighboring stalls had seen Mackie in a week. Finally, the concerned mercenary broke in. The stall was in disarray, tools and straw strewn about, along with other evidence of a great struggle. There were smatterings of blood around, and a finger in the middle of the floor.

The eldest of the Wulf clan stooped and picked up the finger, complete with a ring. The ring was engraved with a crest of some sort, one that he had never seen - yet often heard about. The crest, like the finger, like much of the spilled blood, was not human.

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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:50 am

A song for ye drunks
« on: Mar 26th, 2002, 8:14am »

I heard a minstrel singin' this, and thought it were appropriate for ye... If ye can find one that knows this, get 'em ta sing it! ((OOC credits at the end))

I'm gonna dive into a dive I've dove into before...
gonna haunt I've haunted, like, a million times or more...
A familiar joint where gettin' drunk's the only point
To frequent this place with any frequencey at all.
Countin' on a remedy I've counted on before,
Goin' with the cure that's never failed me...
What you call the disease, I call the remedy
and what you call the cause I call the cure...

((----Another Drinkin' Song, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones))

I couldn't hear this song without hearin' Jonn singin' about his lil' brown jug... <laughs>

Buford
Cleric


I may have to learn this one. Add some more songs to my repertiour.

(( I have more emote quickbars than i do healing and fighting, does this mean I RP too much?))

Brother Jonn
Will revive for drinks
Drinking, Singing, Hitting Friar
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:52 am

For the boar and Glastonbury!
« on: Feb 5th, 2002, 8:51am »

So bravely went they to the pass,
Elorian, Macheath, and Cad.
To Odin's Keep their path did take,
Aye! - the longest walk they had to make.

Through valleys and o'er hills,
through raging blizzard,
our fine friends struggled on this day;
Ice Lizard's and Goblins deftly avoided,
as to Hibernia's Keep they made their way.

Into one more valley did they plunge,
and then began to climb,
a slope so steep it gave goats pause for thought;
our band pushed on as though it were naught.

When finally to the keep they came,
they saw the green banners flapping in the sun;
but enemies of any hue,
sadly they saw them none.

Macheath he ventured a little too close,
the banner design to admire;
sadly he gave not too much thought,
for the Master Hunter perched much higher.

Strike one, strike two,
and down he went,
this young highlander's blood bravely spent;
running down the uncaring hill,
his body toppled forward,
and then lay still.

Elorian stiffened as if in shock,
then raised his swords to the heavens, and cried,
"For the boar and Glastonbury!"
before charging the foe,
and striking mighty blow after blow;
his madness carried him for some time,
before he finally succumbed and died.

A foolish gesture, yes to be sure,
but one born from a warrior's heart so pure;
so noble he looked as he went to attack,
the boar of Glastonbury gleaming on his back.

Cadeag stood, rooted to the spot,
his bow unused, his arrows unshot.
Tears of anger tumbled down his ashen face,
inside he burned with ire;
shouting,
"For the boar and Glastonbury!"
he raised his bow,
and prepared himself to fire.

The broadhead arrow sang away,
a mage did reel in shock,
before righting himself and casting a glare;
then destroying the scout without a care.

"For the boar and Glastonbury!" echoed in the hills,
for some time after the band did go,
and many Hibernians trembled a'bed in fear,
glad they had not been there to face this foe.

Let all that face Albion,
understand and know,
thy path will be hard to tread;
When ye hear,
"For the boar and Glastonbury!",
then will you know,
the true meaning of worldly dread.
Cadeag Ethelwulf
---
Face down the warrior chewed the ground,
Listening to his friends' brave sounds --
"The boar and more," they cried, and charged!
The ground beneath their feet soon marred

By blood not blue, but passing true.
But when 'twas done, and all was through,
Three lay dead on loam supine
Beneath the snow-bowed trees and sky.

Mackie's face was sad and long
For fighting weak the Irish strong;
"A waste of life! A foul mistake!
A dim, disgusting fool I make."

Such bitter thoughts ran through his mind
As he lay still, dead limbs entwined
With Irish soil and bitter roots.
He'd found but death where he sought loot.

But later, when he sought his friends,
He found Cadeag had made amends.
A mighty song of roaring thunder,
That took their pain and made it wonder.

"Nae so bad," the warrior thought,
"When Cadeag recounts, I feel not
As though me life were spent in vain.
He's gone and cured me warrior's pain!"

And saying so, he drained a glass,
Saluting Cadeag's versing mass,
And toasting fine companionship.
What else could epic make of slip?
"Devil in a Kilt" MacHeath
---
A simple tale
« on: Sep 16th, 2002, 12:10pm »
In a keep to the north
Stood the defenders to a man
In preparation for a fight
In defense of the land

The leaders in conference
The talk of plans
Discussion abound
In the defense of their lands


Edeor and Glavian
For the Knights of their command
Eshnar and Treyden
For the Brotherhood they did stand

Lynx and Moryan
For Vivium and Banders that was their steed
In the shadows Stood Hargrim
For Liam's was his deed

Then there were the Friars
Faces of stone
Excelsius and Trithik
For the Hero's of Glaston

The plan was outlined
Everyone had a job to be done
All were accounted for
But the Hero's of Glaston

But what of the Irregulars?
Excelsius asked
Are we not included?
With what are we tasked?

The keep is yours.
Edeor replied
Hold it fast.
And let not the enemy inside.


Around a fire
Off on their own
Sat the Irregulars
The Hero's of Glaston

The Captains approached
And told of the plan
The irregulars all nodded
Almost to the man

When the morning came
The defenders gathered
To say their farewells
To friend that mattered

Hands were shook
And tears were shed
For no one knew
Which friends would be bled?

The Defenders marched
The keep was alone
Just a few guards
And the Hero's of Glaston

The irregulars prepared
Weapons were checked
Of what was to come
None knew what to expect

It was some time later
The horde appeared
Upon the keep
It had steered

The irregulars made ready
They manned the walls
From the captains
The orders were called

Frederyck and Amys
Let arrows fly true
To make sure
The horde got its due

Glithereon and Gayle
Though duelists they be
Pulled their bows
At anything they did see

Mare and Nura
Readied their components
And tossed spell after spell
Upon their opponents

Danae and Lorric
Kept the walls clear
Never letting any of the horde
Get anywhere near

Gustovian stood on the walls
His armor shining bright
And weapon at ready
For the upcoming fight

Excelsius, Trithik, and Jonn
The friars three
Cast spell of mending
When their staffs were free

Deadus and Nazia
The warriors from the church
Fought along the walls
Those that made it to their perch

Deron, Matthew, and Rhenddad
Clerics all
Made prayers ready
For those that should fall

Chirigain the minstrel
His songs did fly
To make sure his friends
Spirits stayed high

The horde was unyielding
They attacked with all their might
Upon the walls
It was a horrendous fight

Thrice they attacked
Charging the door
And attacking the door
They did thrice more

The battle seemed hopeless
The horde too strong
But not one gave up
These Hero's of Glaston

Then over the hills
Came the wondrous sight
The defenders had returned
With all of their might

A cheer was heard
From the keep it did arise
The Irregulars fought harder
A victory to be their prize

The horde was sent scattering
Of it left standing was none
To might of the Defenders
And the Hero's of Glaston

There was great happiness and joy
The battle was won
Friends told each other
The tales of what was done

To this tale
Of insult meant to none
This was a simple introduction
Of the Hero's of Glaston

Proud member of S.N.E.A.K. -Local 214
Lorric-50 Sneak
Sieben-43 Bowman
Doil- 43 Dancer


"Aye, Lorric" spake the old friar
"Steadfast, strong, perhaps a bit stubborn,
heathan and pagan run upon sight of the ire,
For a Boar's heart be wild, wi' nay govern"

T'was long ago, far t' the North
Tha' first cry broke the icey still,
When the first Glastons did head forth
Echoing, "For the boar and Glastonbury!" upon snowy hill

Rich is our history, this group o' commoner
At odds wi' Crown an' Church be our lot,
But let nay man say we did no' defend her
The Boar be true t' Albion an' Camelot

We stand among friends, them that dare stand wi' us,
Knowin' full well we err as oft' as the next
But knowin' this tradition is one we proudly carry
So here's t' the Boar an' Glastonbury!

~ Excelsius Procinctus ~
... Friar of Camelot
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:54 am

A bloodied note
« on: Mar 25th, 2002, 1:05am »

Excelsius sat in his old chair, sipping a new batch of ale after a long day of chores and friarly duties. The past weeks of battle in the frontier had taken its toll, and he was happy to be back among his peasant folk, back in his small cottage deep in the South Black Mountains.

A hurried knock repeated upon his door as Excelsius started to nod off. He rose quickly, instinctively finding his staff and readied for confrontation. He composed himself in amusement. He placed the staff against the chair and opened the door.

An Albion runner, obviously exhausted from the journey, explained that he carried an urgent message from the Church.

Excelsius took the note, broke the deep-red waxen seal of the Church, and looked upon the message. The first thing he noticed was a few dark brownish-red drops near the signature.

He read the harrowing news contained within. The Friars of his monastary had discovered a dark influence in their order. They warned of a mysterious foreigner, presumably working with the elven heathans, who would come to claim the minds and souls of first the Friars, and then, the rest of Albion!

The message was signed by Friar Augustus Procinctus, head of his order.
Excelsius sped to the nearest stable and quickly made off. The sun had set, and as he rode the reddish gloam on the horizon turned to dark night. He drove his steed harder, making his way North through the Black Mountains to the isolated Abbey of the Procinctus Order.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Excelsius made the Abbey by midnight, hailing a couple of young Friars at the gates to have Augustus summoned. They stood in shock, as on the verge of saying something that dare not be spake of.

"Speak brothers, or make haste an' find Augustus!" Excelsius voice boomed through the still chilled air.

One of the Friars hesitantly began, "H-he... Augustus is... come with us"

--------------------------------------------------------------------

"What has happened to him?" Excelsius asked the others present as they looked in horror upon their former leader, instructor and brother. Augustus rocked back and forth, curled into a strained, kneeling ball, stairing at the floor babbling.

"His behavior began taking a foul turn the past few days... at first we assumed nothing" one of the brothers said. "But last eve, he began running through the Abbey wildly, questioning all he came across and accusing the brothers of evil acts. We subdued him and prayed... for a short while he seemed to have snapped out of it and wrote a hurried letter to ye, which we sent along...."

As the Friar spoke, Excelsius' eye was caught by something on Augustus' desk. There, under a scattered pile of scrolls and torn holy texts, he uncovered a stone. He held the stone for a moment, a flat, smooth stone one might find in a riverbed. On each side of it there was a carved symbol.

Excelsius held the stone up and asked, "where did this strange item come from? Know ye what the symbols are...?"

One of the elder holy men franticly interrupted Excelsius, "Put it down Brother! Do not touch i...!"

Excelsius felt an immediate hot fire, a sensation not of the body but within his mind. He writhed in pain for a moment, dropping the stone, and as it fell it vanished into powder.

"Those are dark marks! Evil most foul!" the elder proclaimed. "One is an elven mark, the other, a norse rune!"

Excelsius stood for a moment stunned, but he could not determine how much time had passed. When he regained his senses, the elder Friar told him of the likely origins of the symbols. Excelsius looked around the room. His eyes came across Friar Augustus once more, his leader, his instructor, his mentor.

"... watch, watchful, yes... thieves in the dark... yes, watch, seek... must find enemy..." the crazed shell of Augustus then stopped quivering. Augustus snapped his head to look at Excelsius, his blood-shot eyes stabbing into the Friar's, fixing him in place.

"You, yes... you shall be the one... find enemy... watch... seek... " what was left of Friar Augustus then broke into spasms, wreaking in pain. With a look of horror drapped over hollow eyes, the once pious leader of the Friars Procinctus expired.
Excelsius entered the lavish chambers of Bishop Gwyden. Rich tapestries depicting holy suffering hung from the walls, gold shone from candle holders and crosses. This, Excelsius thought, was why he chose the life of a wandering Friar.

Bishop Gwyden rose from kneeled prayer at an alter sparkling with candles. Exclesius was surprised how tall the venerable man was, and how much strength he appeared to carry still in his leathery frame. Gwyden turned, swinging one arm around to capture and hold a portion of his regal purple and sable robe. The bishop smiled at Excelsius, a smile that bore a touch of malignancy. He held a skeletal hand out to Excelsius; a finely crafted gold ring with the seal of the Church of Albion clasped one boney finger.

Excelsius felt blood rise in his cheeks, and with hesitant compliance, leaned forward and kissed the ring.

"Now, Friar Excelsius Pulvereus, I don't want to delay you in your duties very long, so I will be brief. I am personnally appointing a number of the clergy, one from each Order and so on... they shall have the duty and vow to protect the Church, and therefore Albion, from spies which we suspect may have infiltrated us. They shall have the uninhibited right to inquire and charge those found to be enemies of the Church."

"I have chosen you to represent your Order Procinctus in this task. You will do everything in your power to root out this enemy, and any that aide them. I trust you will not turn down this request."

Excelsius strained for a moment, unsure of what to say. His mind flared, a flash of light appeared in his vision. Any disagreement he might have had vanished. Excelsius kneeled before the bishop.

Bishop Gwyden sat back into a chair that resembled more of a throne, exquisitely carved dark wood set with gems and gold leafing. Then he expired a whispered word that was barely audible, "Excellent...."

The bishop spoke up in determination, "Go forth, Inquisitor Excelsius Pulvereus, and do your sworn duty to me and your Order to protect Albion!"

Excelsius


The return of Waltain
« on: Mar 29th, 2002, 11:16am »

As the evening grows dark around the Laughing Lion, the patrons settle down by the warm fire, and ale and stories are passed around in great amounts.

In walks a man so ragged and scruffy-looking, that when the drinkers turn around to see who it is, they first think him a beggar, coming in to warm himself.

However, a moment later, the stranger casts his rags aside, and gleefully exclaims, "Greetings ta ya all me friends, mind if I join ye in the merry-making this eve?"

As the patrons realize the stranger was infact Waltain Walry, the olde farmer-turned-adventurer, they invite him to sit with them and share an ale, and many ask him where he has been for so long, so he begins to tell of his time away from Glastonbury.

"Aye, I have travelled far, and seen much in me journeys. Far to the south have I been, where there walk men as dark as night, and tha lands hold nothin' but sand, fer as far as tha eye can see.

Great reptiles have I seen, tha' could swallow a man whole. An' I saw a most strange animal roaming the dunes, it had the body of a boar, but its skin was grey, and its ears an' tusks were easily the size of a man. An' it was thrice the size of the largest of oxes! I swear, tis all true.

An' did I mention tha heat o' tha place! If I hadn't found tha' small gathering o' water wit trees aroun' it, I surely would have perished out there." Waltain shuddered at the thought.

"Anyway, after followin' tha tracks o' some unknown creature out o' there, I found meself surrounded by tha tallest mountains I have ever seen, an' on the horizon between tha two biggest mountains, I thought I could see a city, nestled high upon an enormous cliff.

O' course, not havin' seen a city or even a house fer many moons, I headed towards it. Ye'll ne'er believe wha' I foun' there...but tha' story is fer another day. I am weary now, an' mus' find meself a room fer tha night.

I am glad ta be back, friends."

Waltain Walry
Man of Arms
Basher of Evil
Glastonbury Irregulars


A cloaked figure has been sitting near the fire, staring into a stein and occassionally stabbing a needle into a piece of imbued leather. She's nodded at tavern patrons and whispered to the barkeep, but others must be surprised when she pulls back the hood of her cloak and speaks aloud for the first time since entering: "Waltain! I've been asking after you. Do you remember this poor friar?

"I expect a full report on the monsters you've seen, once you've warmed up here."

Synne Agwisance
Ecstatic of the Defenders of Albion


"Lady Synne! Tis wonderful ta see ye again, after all this time. I'm glad ye found yer way ta tha Lion, please make yerself at home 'ere." <invites>

"Bartender! Can't ye see we're thirsty! Give us a roun' o' tha finest ye have!

An' Lady Synne, as fer tales o' me travels, I do nae think I am ready ta share them quite yet, but rest assured, they'll be heard sooner or later! Fer now though, let's enjoy a gud drink!"

Waltain Walry
Man of Arms
Basher of Evil
Glastonbury Irregulars


On the last night of winter...
« on: Apr 2nd, 2002, 8:18am »

Carac sat in the Laughing Lion, pondering over a mug of ale, shifting firelight casting dark shadows over her already dark mood. Lately, rumors had been spreading about a group of outsiders that had taken up residence in Albion, perhaps a mercenary band hired by nobles. Their apparent mission: to reclaim Albion’s lost glory. Scratching her head, she considered such a strange idea. Already she had lost her whole village, her parents, for this “war”, and even though she’d been out to the frontier to defend her homeland, glory was the very last thing on her mind. Carac’s eyes misted over on the reminder of all she had lost, and why she was here today, fighting for the land that nurtured her, and all the friends and family she had lost.

Reaching up to clear her eyes, she noticed that the chair beside her was no longer empty. With a start, she sat upright and tried to force a smile to the person sitting next to her…

Carac Dhun
-Armswoman for Albion


Buford plops down in the empty chair next to Carac.

"Heya lass... how ya doing?" He looks at her face, and frowns.

"Are ya okay? Somethin' on yer mind?"

Buford


"Buford, m'friend... There ent nothin' wrong, jus' doin' a bit o' thinkin's all."

Buford, intently listening, leans in a bit closer, grinning a bit and says, "Ya can talk to Buford about it, no?"

A real smile replaced the attempted smile as Carac relaxed some and began talking...
"I've been seein' some o' these groups around the hills when I'm runnin' 'ere or there... They ent new t'the hills, but they are. They all seem t'have that odd Welsh accent an' they ent too interested in anythin' but killin'. Now, I understan' tha's what we're doin' out 'ere, practicin' fer the war, the trainers spend 'nough time beatin' that int' me 'ead, but with these folks, tis diff'rent."

Carac's smile fades some as she searches for understanding in her friend's eyes. Ordering another ale, she continues, her voice not so quiet as it began...

"They seem like they come from somewhere t'gether, their manners, their accents, lots o'lil bits all paint a picture that worries me."

Glancing around, to see if anyone is looking, Carac lowers her voice and leans in toward Buford,

"I seen others like it 'fore. When I was a lass, a man in me village, 'e wanted t'be the leader o'the town, an' 'e sent out messages, an' there, in me own village was a group o' these same types o' folks! Tha' man in me village, 'e was tryin' t'muscle good folks outta their places, t'upset things so's 'e could take over... They was mercenaries, all o' 'em, an' when the money ran out, they were gone like that <snaps>!"

Nervously glancing around again, Carac whispers even lower...

"I'd be willin' t'bet that there's a noble lookin' fer favor with th'King behind all this."

As she sat up, the barmaid sauntered up with her ale and sat it down on the table. Carac took a drink and looked around the room, taking in the inhabitants of the Common Room...

Carac Dhun
-Armswoman for Albion
Contributor: http://haystackblog.wordpress.com/
Occasional winner: http://needleinthehay.net/
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earthwulf
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:55 am

Synne embarasses herself.
« on: Apr 15th, 2002, 3:13pm »

On one clear afternoon, two hooded and cloaked figures entered the Laughing Lion. One wore red cymric armor, and brandished a rather large staff. The other was taller, and wore dark, well maintained mail, with a similarly well-kept main gauche on each hip.

They walked with a like stride to the bar, pulling the hoods off their cloaks. Two women, with remarkably similar features -- only the shorter, leather clad one with a long, dark ponytail, and the taller mail wearer with short, loose, light hair.

They didn't look entirely comfortable, so it was understandable when one of them cried out at the barkeep for a simple statement. He asked what they'd have, "m'ladies," and no sooner had he shut his mouth, he had a main gauche held against his neck and a mercenary glaring in his face. "I'm neither your 'lady' nor anyone else's, and I won't be addressed in such a manner!"

Her companion sighed.

"Your friend here doesn't seem to take such offense at simple politeness," said the barkeep, in a choked voice.

"Synne likes being patronized no more than I do, but she's a polite bastard, and I'm not," sneered the mercenary. "I'm Synnove Agwisance, I'm from the Guild of Shadows, and you don't want to anger me -- I have friends.

"And, to answer your question, I want the thickest, darkest ale you've got."

Synnove slowly replaced her gauche at her side.

"My apologies for my sister, barkeep," said the other woman. "I'm Synne Agwisance, friar, and I'm glad to have met you. I'd like a spiced wine, chilled, if possible, and thank you."

The barkeep nodded slowly, still keeping an eye on that gauche.

While he went into the back, retrieving the women's drinks, they spoke quietly to each other. The odd combination of animosity and affection was obvious. They spent some time drinking in a quite respectable fashion, consuming enough alcohol with enough style to surprise anyone else at any other tavern. (In the Laughing Lion, it's a common sight.)

Once the ale and the wine seemed to start affecting them, they turned around from the bar to address the other patrons.

"Hello! I'm Synne Agwisance, friar, and I'm glad you've all accepted me into your 'merry band.'"

If anyone was paying attention, she didn't notice, and she wouldn't have particularly cared, either. This place had some good wine.

"I thought I'd introduce myself," she continued, far too loudly. "My parents were farmers in Llyn Barfog, and called themselves Aguish. Being simple people, they didn't want to call themselves by their real family name -- Agwisance -- because a ruler of a similar name had once attempted to best our former king in combat. The family didn't want to be associated with that.

"They were superstitious people, too. While my mother was sitting around looking like a whale, pregnant with me, my father consulted an astrologer, to see if I'd be good. As they didn't pay the astrologer enough, he told them I was nothing but bad news, and, while they're at ridding themselves of me, they should move to Camelot Hills, too, because the stars spoke better of the area.

"Needless to say, the Aguishes set their farm up in Camelot Hills, post haste. Within a few months, I was born, Arthur died, and their farm became overridden with some zombie pigs, or something. They assumed it had something to do with me, and, being religious people also, they decided to send me to Vestusa Abbey, where I would be cleansed ... or something."

Synne got another drink.

"So, I spent my youth in the abbey, making copies of the scriptures and being bored out of my mind. Once in a while, I was able to read the atlases in the library, and I was constantly thinking about exploring the world and seeing all its creatures. The church had different plans, though -- they wanted me to become a cleric, and bore myself more sitting in the back of parties, healing, and not even getting a good look at the monsters. I'd have none of that. I started practicing armorcraft in my cell at night, making leather goods, and waiting for a chance to escape -- since the 'orphan ward' didn't allow people to leave until they were much older.

"Finally, after a full day of rejuvenation training and total ennui, I managed to put on my new leather armor and went out the window. I broke a good stick off a tree -- more to support the ankle I sprained jumping out the window, than anything else -- and started making my way to Camelot, where I'd never been before.

"I certainly wanted nothing more to do with the church anymore, as I not only disliked pure healing, but I was suspicious about their true motivations. I had been into philosophy, too, though that's a story for a time when I'm clearer headed!"

The latest drink was done. Synnove was rolling her eyes.

"Actually, I believe my entire story should wait until I'm clearer headed. I think I'll go outside and practice some combat moves -- would anyone like to join me? Perhaps I can continue the tale of my training with the Defenders of Albion."

Synnove laughed. "Get her another drink, and maybe we'll be lucky and she'll pass out. Even incapacitated, she has an awful fear of actually facing hostile opponents -- she's never even tried!"

Synne glared at Synnove, then shook her head. Beckoning the barkeep, she asked for directions to the nearest inn.

"After resting, mercenary, I'll put fear into you!" Synne said, on her way to the door.

The other woman just laughed.

Neither noticed the reaction of the other tavern patrons, which is probably a good thing.

Synne Agwisance. Friar, Senior Tailor
Synnove Agwisance. Mercenary, Junior Smith
Audris. Sorceress.


Another friar steps up. Holding a large tankard in his hand, he hoists it to the two women who have joined the Irregulars.

"Well met. I am Brother Jonn, souse, louse, lecher, and, (rarely) preacher. If you have a taste for drink and a willingness to join for the common good of Albion, there is no better place for you than here. We will be at your side in need, and will always back you up. Welcome to the Irregulars."

Brother Jonn
Hitter, healer, ale drinker.


Moryan stumbles in, beating the dirt from her black chain. She tucks her helm under her arm, and loudly calls for her favorite brew. The barkeep serves it up with a smile, and makes sure to not call her lady either.

"Thanks ta ye mate! Here, keep um coming, I mean ta pass out tanight!" She tosses him a few gold.

She spies the two newcomers with a grin. "Ah another mercenary wench! Well met! I'm Moryan, and I'm nae a farking lady either. Twill be good ta have another mercenary ta associate with."

Alyzabeth


A bloodied note, Part II
« on: Apr 1st, 2002, 1:54pm »

Excelsius sat in a shadowed corner of the tavern, his blood-red cloak hood disguising his eyes, fingers tapping a pewter mug of ale slowly, methodically.

He had received a bit of information from a back-alley thug, after a little "pursuasion," that a foreigner, a Saracen, had been around Ludlow the past few days. The thug mentioned that this foreigner kept to himself, but appeared to be searching for something, or someone.

He would wait here, observing the locals for a few days. Would the thug's words turn true? Perhaps there would need to be more inquiries made....
The Saracen stood upon the hillside overlooking Ludlow as the sun's last orange light faded in the west. Long had he traveled. Twice had the moon veiled its face secretively as he passed thru strange, green lands toward his destination. He would complete his fathers last request, at any cost, to honor a friendship that passed years before with a Briton true of heart.

His father faught with the soldiery of Palomides, and during that time he befriended an armsman from the northern Isle. The armsman was not a talkative fellow, but knew the costums of the southern lands well from campaigns prior. The Saracen and Briton forged a mighty friendship, one of brothers and of comrades in arms. They had fought for years and saved each other in battle countless times before the armsman told of his life. A sad story it was, of being a common soldier and having a family in the northern Isle, and of being selected for foreign campaigns by virtue of combat skill. Of loosing his wife and young daughter to the plague while away from home, and of having to give up the charge of caring for his remaining son to the clergy.

It was of this last part that the Saracen, peering at the village below, now thought of. Before his father passed away, he requested that an item, an item of the Briton friend, be brought back to that abandoned son far away in the northern Isle. His father had promised the Briton this, and as his father lay dieing he had a vision of clarity from the world between. His father feared that this lost son of the Briton would be coerced into acts of evil that would spread throughout that island land, and this would be the beginning of much suffering to come to all.

The Saracen's father believed that, by completing his friend's last request, this evil seed might be stopped before it took root. His father expired as he handed him the item. And so the lone Saracen sped, using all the skills he had learned, to this place upon a hill overlooking a village in a land called Albion.

Excelsius Procinctus/Cervantes Villa Lobos


Part 1, Overdue Introduction
« on: Feb 22nd, 2002, 5:15pm »

I've never spoken much about my past, and most have been polite enough not to wonder, or at least not to ask. We all have checkered histories; somehow fitting it is that the checkered pattern is our badge of merit, if not honor. But, the time has come to tell the tale. Years have passed since I left my first home, that time seems like another life entirely. I'm thinking now that I finally have enough distance between myself and those events that I can tell them with a reasonable degree of objectivity. So listen if ye'd like. Beware though, that the tale and the hour will grow long together. It may take more than a single sitting for me to relate the events that lead me, eventually, to the door of the Laughing Lion...

Zelanith was always old to me. From her sagging jowls to her fingers with grossly swollen joints to her shuffling walk as she leaned over her twisted cane. Her eyes though, they were ever sharp. It did not take more than one glance to get caught like a fly in those orbs that glared out from pits of wrinkled flesh. Her words were just as hard, and often they laid traps of their own.

I used to try to make excuses for Zelanith. I knew her long, and despite her demeanor I learned most everything I now know from that crone. Yet when I look back on her acts, the part of her that was usually kept hidden from me, the chill down my spine knows the truth. She was no less than evil.

I had always known she wasn't my mother, or any sort of relation. To apply the word "affectionate" to Zelanith would be a paradox. For the first half-dozen years of my life I would've told any stranger that my name was "Girl". The "Girl" label didn't last, for I became curious about my origins.

"Who was my mother?" I'd ask, "Where are my parents?"

Zelanith grinned, "I chopped off my pinkie I did, and on a full moon I laid it on the ground so the nightcrawlers could eat at it.” She held up her left four-fingered hand and wiggled the foundation where her littlest finger would be. It could not even be called a stump. I turned my head away. “Aye, I came back the next morn, and there ye were, grown out of the bugs and dirt!" Zelanith threw her head back and cackled, a sound like gravel being poured on a chicken.

"I don't believe that!" I'd say, crossing my arms across my chest.

"That's the only answer a Girl like you's going to get! A Girl like you should be tending my herbs anyhow!"

It was obvious that I wouldn't find my answers in Zelanith's words or her herb garden. It was about then that I took to snooping in Zelanith’s books. I was kept busy always, except when the old hag slept. One restless night of wondering, I watched as the moonlight stream through the window and move slowly across the room. In the midpoint between night and dawn, the beam landed on an old stack of books.

I didn’t know how to read, but I’d seen Zelanith staring into the pages before. I knew there must be some secret power locked in the strange thin markings on every page. I just needed to find the key to turn the marks into meanings. Over the span of a summer, I looked through one book after another, page by page. The markings were always different, yet equal to me in their meaninglessness. Even so, I took a piece of coal from the fireplace and began copying the markings, as I’d seen Zelanith do, in a book of blank pages. I recognized about two dozen individual characters, but their significance was still lost to me.

At last, one evening I found a book with images to match the words. “Illustrative guide to Etruscan Herbs” was the key. Zelanith had drilled me often on the names of the herbs and their particular wants for water and decayed worm meal. The pictures of the herbs, the insects, the care methods, all these things fell slowly into place with their captions. I could barely contain my excitement.

The next night I pulled down one of the first books I had looked at. I read its title for the first time, “Xarielle, Aruspex of Etruria.” The pages turned one after another as I devoured them. Not all words were familiar, but the overall theme struck a chord. It was a story of a woman who knew things she did not see with her eyes, who was given visions of what was true, both present and future. There was so much I did not know at that time, so much I wanted to know… The moonlight faded and still I read on.

A familiar door’s creek jarred me from my readings. My head snapped up, but Zelanith was already out of her room and pulling me to my feet by the hair. I’d never seen her move like that before. The book fell from my hands to land with a flutter and a flop on the pile of other books that I’d planned to look at.

“What is the meaning of this? Who do you think you are Girl, tryin to read?” Zelanith chuckled even while shaking me.

I don’t know what prompted my words, childish bravado or being deprived of rest but I answered, “I, I want to be like Xarielle, Xarielle Aruspex!”

Zelanith’s cackles turned to hacking coughs and she released me to tumble in a heap across the dusty tomes. I sneezed.

“Well well, Girl, or should I start callin you Zar-eee-ell now?” she said the words mockingly. I stared up at her with my bottom lip stuck out. “Alright then, I suppose you’re the closest thing to an apprentice I’ll ever have. But there will be no more of reading this kind of fluff.” She kicked the book into the fireplace. “You’ll do double duty now, all of the gardening and cleaning with studying to boot.”

I couldn’t hide a smile, but it quickly turned into a gaping yawn.

“And don’t you be fallin asleep during any of it!” Zelanith poked me in the ribs until I rose to my feet.

****

I’ll get myself a drink before going on, all this telling has left me parched.
Zelanith was a horrid guardian but a fair enough tutor. She drove me out in the mornings with a switch in hand to tend the gardens. Yet my labor was a much lighter burden now that I had an evening of study to look forward to. I learned swiftly from Zelanith's suprisingly patient words. First, writing; second, the basic meditations; third, simple incantations. I even caught a hint of pride in her eyes the first time I successfully erected a magical shield about myself. Yet I was not at peace. Though these studies were fascinating, they answered none of the secrets of my past.

One evening Zelanith and I sat by the fire. We were both reading, as usual, when the flames burned low and thick smoke rose from the coals.

"Xarielle, do something about that fire." Zelanith barked, not looking up from her book.

I rose to poke at the wood with an iron rod but only ended up reducing the orange tongues to smoky embers. Zelanith put down her book and rose from her chair, snatching the rod from my hands.

"Incompetent wench!" she growled, stabbing my leg with the poker, herding me back into my chair. Zelanith bent over a bit, coughing and wheezing through the smoke that was leaking into the room. I winced, pulling up my skirt leg to see how bad the wound was. The crone was still muttering curses when she pulled back away from the fire, leaning heavily on the poker.

"Now I'm winded, look what you've done..." She whispered and fell like a sack of flour backwards onto the floorboards. Her chest rose and fell rythmically, but her eyes were closed.

I just stared from my chair for a few moments. Zelanith had never shown an ounce of weakness. She seemed like a grotesque weed, clinging to life through its intrinsically twisted nature. For the first time I wondered how old she was, and what I would do when the old witch perished. Freedom and despair, I decided I would feel both. She was the only person I'd ever known.

I dragged her into her room and onto the low mattress. I was suprised at how thin she felt. Not knowing what else to do I returned to my studies. In a few hours she awoke and shuffled out into the room, leaning on her cane. In her other arm she held a thick tome.

"I'm not even close to being done for, don't you even dare think it." She stared at me.

"It just means more work for you, for now we have to prepare for the ritual. I shouldn't have waited this long."

She dropped the tome down on a table and opened to the 20th page.

"Read this girl, page 20 through 110 and no more." Zelanith glared at me.

"Study the ritual and gather the required herbs tomorrow. This is no parlor trick we're going to perform. If you defy me in any way the consequences will turn you into a shriveling mole without sight or thought." With that Zelanith returned to her room.

I shivered and began to read.
The words were not difficult to read. The chapter was titled "Preparing the Necarelev Ritual". I read on. Most of the words were lists of herbs and stones, how they should be prepared, and how they should be placed on the ritual site. Nothing elaborated as to the purpose of the ritual.

I read only three pages before I heard Zelanith snoring within the tiny back bedroom. Pages 1-20... pages 110 to the end of the tome. How could I not look? Zelanith's threats meant little to me. What were a few more bruises compared to the secrets that might be held in those forbidden words?

I closed the book and took a deep breath. Slowly, I opened the cover. Black markings danced and shone as if lined with silver all across the first page. My stomach cramped instantly. To my eyes it seemed that the dark runes were undulating as if they were suspended on a vast roiling sea. The more I tried to puzzle them out the more nausious I became. The markings swayed and swirled even more violently. I could not make out a single letter. My head was pounding and I felt my meager lunch stir in my stomach. I gagged and slammed the book shut.

I silpped as quietly as I could out the front door. I stumbled out into the woods and became sick in the bushes. Over and over I vomited. Even when my stomach was more empty than it had ever been, still I heaved. It seemed like hours, and I do not recall what happened next. I only know that I woke outside, shivering, sweating, and aching.

I made my way back to the cabin by the light of the rising moon, there was no sign that Zelanith had been disturbed by my actions. I nearly felt ill again, just looking at the book. But I had to ease one tiny curiousity. I stared at the ceiling and opened the book once again. One, two, three, I mentally counted the pages as I turned them. Twenty-three. At last I looked down, there were the words I'd been reading before. They were no more strange or sinister than the first time I'd read them. Sighing, I left the book open and collapsed on my mattress.
I spent the entire next day harvesting and gathering the required herbs and minerals. Most were readily available in Zelanith's garden. The texts called for an open area to place them in, so I chose a field some distance from the cabin. The marjoram and limestone were placed together in one pile, sulfur and ladylash in the next. I continued until there were twelve points separated equally. Such a wide circle was made that the entire cabin would've fit within its bounds.

By this time it was nightfall once again. Finally the moon rose over the distant hills, and only then did Zelanith come out of the cabin. In one hand she held the tome, in another she held a flaming torch. Her eyes were glassy, and she stared right through me.

"A woman will be coming to visit me. Leave her to me and bring some water, I will need it when I am done here."

I did not move, I simply watched as she stood over the first pile. Her voice rose, and for once it was without gasp or wheeze. She chanted the ancient words with precise clarity, yet their meaning was beyond me. Finally, Zelanith quieted and lowered her tortch to the blossom and stone. Immediately, a blue flame rose from the first point. The entire scene was bathed in a pale glow.

I felt dizzy and knelt in the grass. Zelanith was chanting again, but I heard her voice as if from far away. I closed my eyes tightly but I could clearly see twelve dancing flames. Each was a different color, and I felt drawn to their heat. I shook my head and opened my eyes. In truth Zelanith had only lit the second flame. Orange and bright its light mingled with the blue.

I stood and backed away slowly. Zelanith began her chant again and I turned and ran into the cabin. I splashed some of the water from the buket onto my face. But whatever Zelanith's ritual had invoked in me, it was not yet finished.

Her voice droned on inside my head. I collapsed onto the floor. Again, the flames rose before me, I opened my eyes and closed them but the scene was the same either way. The heat called to my soul, it promised peace. It promised joy. But I would not be drawn into their circle. I knew that doom stood before me in the form of a crone, chanting and swaying.

For the first time I became aware of a bright light next to me. It emanated from a woman... Her hair was dark. Her form was long and thin. She felt familiar to me, even more familiar than my own reflection. I wanted to reach out to her, to beg her not to go forward. Yet on she walked. I felt childlike and helpless. The white lady, I knew her. I knew her once. Yet I had lost her, forever.

It was if a mist had been lifted from my mind. I remembered it all. I wanted to lay in despair, I wanted to sleep, I wanted to wake from this torrid nightmare. But there was a higher purpose. I grabbed the water and ran outside, this time I would not stand idly by.

Xarielle
Friendly Interloper
Net Mistress


<walks>

Here you go. Maybe this will soothe you throat. I know telling a tale can be hard at times.

Brother Jonn
Will revive for drinks


Part 2, Introduction's End
Thank ye much Jonn.

<stirs>

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I ran toward the field, trying not to splash all of the water onto the ground. I could see it from far off, like a bright sun burning in the midnight forest. A blonde woman now stood with Zelanith. They swayed as one, in time to the crone's chanting. The flames lept at every syllable, and the tongue of Zelanith's torch shifted from one color to the next, climbing ever higher into the night sky.

By the time I reached them, it was if the flame had decended from the moon to rest upon the torch head. I tried to pass into the light, to reach Zelanith. Alas, I nearly dropped the bucket as I hit something, some sort of unseen wall. There was a barrier now, dividing the forest night and sorcerous day.

Zelanith's voice rose and the perimeter flames jumped to twice my hight. It was as if they were climbing up join the torchlight. I saw some wisps of my hair curl and felt my skin scorch, but I stood firm. It was the heat that woke me to my task. I walked closer to the nearest flame, my entire world was now violet and orange. I reached out, tipping the bucket onto the ground before me.

The flame was extinguished immediately, as if it had been no more than a flickering candle. The next fire was a green and yellow beacon some twelve paces away. But before I could move, Zelanith screamed. She stared straight at me, and I was frozen in her gaze.

"Do you realize what you've done?" Zelanith screeched. The blonde woman collapsed to the ground and Zelanith's torch was snuffed by an unseen force. It now released only smoke into the night sky.

I managed to reply, "I've kept you from stealing another life, Zelanith. Yes, I now know what happened to my mother."

The crone's eyes widened and she strode toward me, pausing every few paces to wheeze and cough. The remaining flames collapsed into thin columns of smoke. The crone drew close. She reached out her hand and clasped my throat. Still, I could not move.

"This, this is unforseen." Shock was replaced by a twisted smirk on Zelanith's face. She coughed again.

"First, to resist my call as a child, then to remember what I had erased. You are more than I anticipated." Zelanith shook her head and began gasping.

A tiny trickle of blood ran from the corners of her lips and down her chin. She stood now, only by her grasp on my neck.

Her next words were but a whispery rasp. "This was the last of me. Zelanith has been beaten by a young witch and is no more."

Releasing her hold, Zelanith collapsed on the ground. What flesh was left on her thin frame seemed to turn to dust, leaving only a skeleton covered by skin and a tattered robe. I do not know why, but I knelt then and pulled Zelanith's thick silver ring from her stiffened finger. I placed it on my own hand.

Then, I heard the young woman sob and I ran to her. Her pale skin shone in the moonlight, slick with sweat. She was curled into a fetal position, her eyes were open now and they blinked up at me. I knelt beside her.

"Are you alright?" I placed my hand on her shoulder. She flinched at my touch. I sat back, biting my lip.

"I want to help you. Can you tell me your name? Or where you're from?"

Wiping her eyes the woman whispered, "Glastonbury."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When she was recovered she lead me here to The Laughing Lion. Her family had been looking for her, they had a farmstead on the outskirts of town. As for me, well I had a new life to begin. The Irregulars seemed a good fit for an uncouth young sorceress.

<smiles>

Xarielle
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earthwulf
Diddly Womper, 1st class
 
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:55 am

The End Of The Worlds...
« on: Mar 25th, 2002, 5:32am »
In the basement of his shop, Dragonwulf pulled the six inch needle - a needle that had been molten to the touch mnutes before - from the gut of his... guest. He cleaned off his instrument, for he had always been taught that cleanliness was next to godliness from the time he was a wee lad. Also, one of his teachers, the one know as The Albino, had schooled him that if infection overtook thei... patients... then they would be dead, and useless to the cause.

Dragon shuddered, placing the needle back on the tray with the others. This was his least favortie part of the job. He could not stand to see anything suffer, no matter how much they deserved it. He had only tortured four souls in his life, and never made it through one without vomiting. He never let his adveraries see it, of course - he was too professional for that. The Albino even told him that he had a special knack for torture, though this was not resurring to Dragon at all.

He left the room to go open his shop for the day. He sold trinkets, knick-knacks, toys, and candy to all of the little ones running around Camelot. He also had many other shops throughout the land, each with a different line of business, and a different "proprietor." This shop, however, was near and dear to his heart, and the only one that he ran under his own name. After he lost his wife, daughter, and baby, this shop was the only thing that had sustained him. Rarely did he charge to those who could not afford his exotic treats; he felt that all children should be given a chance to play.

The kobold in the basement he had purposefully sought out. He had used the blue deamon in the past to get information from, paying the deamon each time. Now however, it was different. There were rumors of an alliance forming between Albion's two ancient enemies, and even smatterings of talk that some in the upper eschelon of Camelot joining this alliance.

This was not what caused him to drag his informant from the lands of the North. That happened when he caught wind of a plot, a plot so deeply rooted and so pristinely absurd that there had to be truth in it. These allies in evil were calling for the destruction of two guilds, the only two guilds that were not under the sway of the noblesse. The Irregulars and the Band were to be destroyed.



It had been a long month, and Dragonwulf was tired. He worked harder than he ever had before, for this was no ordinary struggle - this was a struggle to aid those that welcomed his cousins with open arms, taking them in when no one else would. He told no one of his doings - not even his cousins, for if they knew, then the danger to them would only increase. And besides, what if he had found nothing?

Chuckling darlky to himself, he knew what a joke that had been. Nothing would have been wonderful, but nothing was not what he had found. The kobold lasted two weeks, only giving Dragon what he needed with the daemon's dying breath. Even then, it had only been a scrap of information, barely enough to be worthwhile. Still, it HAD been something, something he needed to get to the Irregulars and to the Band, and that something lead too..

The door of his shop flew open. He was in Caer Ulfwich, in his guise as the propietor of magikal goods. Hunched over, hair now whit and nose blasphemously distorted, he called out in a quivering voice "EH? Wh-WH-WH-o be there? I nnnnot see good, neh! Welcome ttto" A little hacking slipped out, securing the illusion of decrepit ageing "excuse me, ttto AAbernath's HHHouse o' Magggiks. WWWhat ye want? Sppake up!"

The behemoth of a man that was at the door strode across the room, covering the massive distance in two strides. Without warning, a lightning-fast fist slammed int Dragonwulf, knocking him across the room, into the wall, and out of breath. "Two broken ribs," he thought, grimacing. He always knew the state of his own body. "If only Wulfling were here."

"I want you dead."
Earthwulf


<Winslow>

"Touch him again and its the staff for you, lad. You won't even be able to feed yourself when I'm finished either" Winslow says in a low voice.

<The>

"Leave little one, or yer next".

Winslow


Winslow looks at the man as he steps forward, into the light, and blanches at what he sees.

"Did ye na hear me? Leave, er ye be dead! I shall suck yer marrow... ugrumumf" the staff in his mouth effectively cut short the end of the statement, an end neither Irregular particularly cared to hear. Winslow had overcome his shock at seeing the monstrosity, and was battering him with lightning-quick speed.

Perplexed, the giant figure just stood there at first, letting the staff swat him from head to toe. Yet, these blows that could crack the bones of the stoutest troll seemed not to phase this creature. With a speed unlike any Dragonwulf had ever seen, a giant had flashed out, snatched the staff from Wislow's hands, and casually tossed it back to the Irregular.

"Such a light an' easy toss," thought Dragon, as he opened the large sack in the shadows behind the attacker. "An' yet, it sprawled Winslow across t' floor..."
It laughed, a horrible, soul-wrenching laugh at it's handiwork.

Before even thinking about his actions, Dragonwulf Brought the huge sack down over the gian'ts head, covering it's body. Then, as it struggled, the burlap already beginning to tear, he scrambled to his friend, helping him up. "Come on, we dinna ha much time!" He grabbed the staff, and the two were out the door, disappearing into the night. Even from a distance, they could hear the rage of the creature as it tore loose from it's trappings and demolished the little shop.

Some hours later, at a seedy pub in an even seedier section of Thievesquarter, Winslow and Dragon spoke in hushed tones over pints of questionable ale.

"What in God's name was that?" Winslow asked, angered at the memory.

"I dinna knoe, rightly, but I c'n hazzard a guess. I came by some infermation tha' someone dinna want spread, an' so they sent it ter kill me. It is a creature tha' ha been magiked here, one tha ha ne'er existed before, an' methinks it portents the end o' th' world as we ken it..."

Earthwulf


A scroll sealed in red wax with the mark of Order Procinctus arrives at Dragonwulf's abode.

"Foul schemes have been sewn int' the fabric of our Realm, Dragonwulf.

I know of yer discoveries. Do not ask how. I have information that leads me t' believe we may be dealing with the same enemy. But I have not heard any word from ye of late.

That is why I send you this urgent message. I must find out what has transpired - what ye have learned. I must complete my task!

As I continue me search and inquiries, I shall await word from ye.

Signed,

~ E ~"

Excelsius


A young friar behind the bar
« on: May 7th, 2002, 9:24pm »

The heavy door to the Laughing Lion swung open with a crash and a few heads turned from the tables to see who was making all the racket. Instead of the burly highlander that they expected to see framed in the doorway, a young Briton in a robe stood there grinning. The friar twirled his staff; then ran through the doorway straight at the bar, holding his staff loosely in both hands. Just as it looked like he would run full tilt into the heavy oaken bar, he rammed the end of his staff into the crack between two floorboards and vaulted right over the bar, landing lightly on his feet beside the startled bartender. He grinned at the burly barkeep and then beamed at the Irregulars scattered around the room.

"What, have ye never seen a flying friar b'fore?" The young man chortled, amused at himself. "My name is Daylan, and I'm here to serve ye some fine ale, if this good gentleman will allow me of course." Daylan turned and flashed the barkeep his most charming grin. The grizzled old bartender glared and grumbled; but amazingly enough, he didn't throw the friar back over the bar. The young man whistled a catchy tune as he tied an apron around his waist and immediately started pouring drinks for the Irregulars seated on stools at the bar.

Throughout the evening, Daylan learned the favorite drinks of the warriors that wandered through the Laughing Lion, and even introduced a few to some new creations of his own. He laughed with them and even danced with a few, but he was busy the whole night. After most of the Defenders had left for the night (or fallen asleep under the tables), the old barkeep was snoring in a corner while Daylan quietly cleaned a few mugs and swept the floor of the tavern.He noticed an
armsman seated alone in a corner, and walked over to see if the warrior needed a mug to drain or an ear to fill. The armsman looked up and smiled, "Hello there, young friar. I am Rickon Bloodthorne‚ and glad to meet ye."

Daylan grinned back. "Aye, glad to meet ye as well; can I get ye anything?"

Rickon shook his head and nodded to the empty seat across from him. "Nay, just sit yerself down over there and tell me how ye happen to be sweepin' the floor in the Laughing Lion!"

Daylan laughed and sprawled in the worn chair. "Well, I am new to the Irregulars; I was once a member of the Crimson Band, brought in by my old friend Caerlyon" A look of pain flashed across his face, gone before it was even noticed by the older armsman. "I miss them . . . but I knew that the Irregulars had lost some good people." The young friar looked around at the Laughing Lion's common room, noticing an empty chair here and an unused tankard there. "I know that I cannot replace anyone who has gone, but I believe that maybe Glastonbury could use me." He grinned. "Besides, ye can never have too many friars, can ye?!" The grin vanished from his face as he spoke with a sudden seriousness. "I have good friends in this new Wayward Band, and they will always be dear to me . . ." as he spoke, there was a catch in his throat and he coughed, trying to be inconspicuous as he wiped a tear from his eye.

Rickon was kind enough to pretend that he hadn't noticed the emotion in the young friar's voice, and he nodded slowly. "Aye, good people there in the Band . . . and aye, we can use ye Daylan." The warrior smiled slowly, "and dinna be losing touch with yer friends, young one; they are what makes the battle worth fightin'"

Daylan nodded, "Aye, I know what ye mean . . . I hope they're still willin to talk with me." The two men sat quietly for a few minutes, both staring at the table and lost in thought.

Shaking his head, Daylan looked up and grinned, "well, there are still mugs to be cleaned and a bar to be scrubbed; I'll be taking my leave of ye good sir."

Rickon smiled and stood, "nay, ye willna': I'll be givin' ye a hand, Daylan. Ye could use a bit o' help, I'll wager." The two men worked quickly and silently, and soon the Laughing Lion virtually sparkled in the firelight. Nodding to each other, they each went to find an empty room in the inn.
Daylan
---
Moryan had seen the young friar enter the bar, and his nice little stunt of flying over the bar. But, she decided not to stay. It was still too soon. She quietly left the Lion before he noticed her, not wanting to spoil that brilliant smile on his face.

Aye, he'd been part of the Crimson Band, and he'd chosen not to join the Waywards. She didn't really blame him.. She was coming to accept why it happened. She held no ill will towards him at all. Perhaps she was getting too soft already, that she thought every person mattered.

As she leaned against the wooden post outside the Lion, she whispered softly, "Ye've done good fer yerself Daylan. The Wayward shant be the same without ye, but, ye are still an ally, and ye are still a friend. Dinna ye doubt that one bit. Nae one little bit." Inside, she vowed to renew her friendship with this young friar, recapturing a link to a bit of past, and a symbol of other friends that had gone their own way for their own reasons.
Moryan/Alyzabeth
---
Rickon sat in his room thinking about the jolly Friar. Seemed this Friar cared a lot about friends, fun, and family. (Rickon smiled)
"Hell if Caerlyon brought the Lad into the Band, then he must be quality" (Rickon winces at the thought of his old friend) "Caerlyon I hope yea are safe where ever yea are"
Rickon thought about the Friar's request to help out the Irregulars. "I shall have to tell Daylan to speak with Danae or Elorian. They should be able to let the lad know more than I. But I believe that I shall pass along that if Caerlyon would fight by him then I would also."

Rickon


Glenin paused at the door of the laughing lion, deciding whether ta go fer a drink or nae.

Her mind on other things, she decides against it, she would nae be company fer anyone in her current mood.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Later that same day, she hears about the antics of a former Crimson band member and wishes she'd gone in fer that drink, thinking to herself that it would have been nice ta see Daylan again.

'Ah well, i sure ta see him around' she mutters to herself 'if nae out hunting then definitely in the laughing lion by the sounds of it'.

As her thought drift elsewhere, a look of pain crosses her face as she mutters a quick prayer for departed and missing friends.

'BAH ! I dinnae even used to say prayers, must be associating too much with clerics' grinning to herself, she wanders on through the streets of Camelot.

Glenin


Carramon sits quietly alone a dark corner of the tavern, his gaze intent on the mug of ale in front of him. He glances up as the young Friar displays his nimbleness and a wry smiles creeps onto his face. A somberness overtakes Carramon as he vows to himself "Daylan took it upon himself ta aid me in me darkest hour...I shall nae e'er let any bring harm ta that one."
With that, Carramon gave Daylan a slight nod and grabbed his cloak, making for the door.

Carramon


"It's good to see you here, Daylan. How's my armor treating you?"

The lanky older friar spoke as she walked up to the bar for a glass of wine, leaving her sewing supplies in her customary spot by the fire.

After taking a drink, she continued. "Be sure to let me know when you reach your 25th season -- I'll get you another set of leather. Just please ... don't throw anything."

She cringed, and finished her glass.

Synne Agwisance. Friar, Senior Tailor
Synnove Agwisance. Mercenary, Junior Smith
Audris. Sorceress


Daylan grinned as Synne came to the bar and poured her a glass of the best wine he could find.

"Aye, m'lady; the armor is doing quite nicely, and the ladies seem t' think that I fill it out well enough too," he winked mischievously. "And I'll certainly tell ye when I reach my 25th season, but ye should know that I'm takin' time to smell the roses . . . I'm in no hurry through life." The friar smiled, then noticed that another Defender's mug was almost empty. "Well, mustn't let the Defenders run dry; sing out if ye need more wine m'lady!"

Daylan


A bloodied note, Part III
« on: Apr 23rd, 2002, 11:19pm »

It had been some time since that uneasy meeting with Bishop Gwyden. A month had passed as Excelsius began down his path of inquiry to find the evil that beset his Order Procinctus. He had questioned many - commoners and fellow clergy. With each questioning he grew more suspicious and heavy-handed.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Excelsius turned from the prisoner, and glanced at the dank slime-covered stone walls of the cell. Odors permeated the air which made the Friar wince. The prisoner moaned from a huddled position in the corner, beaten and afraid.

"We are getting nowhere with this one," Excelsius pointedly stated, and proceeded out of the cell with two guards in tow as the iron gate closed with a metallic, piercing echo.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Excelsius sat back in his chair within the confines of the abbey. Ledgers and note-scrawled parchments littered the dark chamber, a single white candle's glow lit the desk where he sat.

"No matter how hard I push, or who I question, I can not find this foreigner who threatens us," he thought. He looked upon a copy of the bounty post. He would be wise to let the enemy find him, if someone from outside could get close enough.

Excelsius drifted off in thought. He briefly recalled a moment from his childhood. It was his younger sister's birthday, and his mother had given her a music box. The siblings had never seen such a thing, nor even thought something like it could exist. It was somehow magical, but their parents explained that it was indeed the work of men, crafted by Saracen masters. The box could lock with a key.

Excelsius remembered how he came to possess the box, after his mother and sister succumbed to the plague, and his father left him to the priests for upbringing. He had made a promise to his father then, that he would keep the box safe till his father returned from the campaign. And his father would hold the key to the box, and return with it. Silly, he thought, but a sign of remembrance nonetheless. His father never returned.

A burning suddenly arose behind the Friar's eyes, bringing him to. He rubbed his temples to ease the pain. He was getting the spells more frequently now, each time they focussed his mind on the task at hand. But this time, he was too weary to respond.

He snuffed out the candle with his fingers, and fell to sleep in the chair.
The Saracen was taking a grave chance. He had ventured into Camelot, taking back alleys and using all of his training to avoid notice. Guards were stationed throughout the city, but luckily they had not noticed the blue figure in the shadows.

He approached a tavern that a peasant had mentioned to him earlier. Apparently, this was a spot that he might find people who knew of the holy man, the one he saught.

He slipped into the tavern from a service door near the back, trying not to draw attention to himself. There were only a handful of somber, drunken souls within the establishment. He moved toward the grubby barkeep, who was cleaning mugs and facing away from him.

"A thousand pardons, but would ye know any of those that go by the name 'Glastonbury Irregulars'?" the Saracen said in a low voice.

The barkeep turned, a look of surprise in his eyes - then burst into laughter.

"Well ain't that a fancy get-up!" the barkeep bellowed as he chuckled. "Aye, this be a regular Irregular meetin' place... Har!" The barkeep fell into laughter at his own choice of words. He was obviously as drunk as any patron nearby.

"I have important business with them - but as I am busy, I can'no just wait fer them...." the Saracen stated as he glanced slowly about the room. "When would be a good time t' find 'em here?"

"Well, they be an adventurous lot, with defendin' the frontier and vanquishin' the evil that done plagues most of the wildlands and all - but mostly they come here t' refill their casks and bottles! Har!" The barkeep placed the mug down and grabbed another, wiping it with the discolored rag.

The barkeep slowly became a little more serious, and said "ah, yeah... I know - they be gettin' together a lil' more regular... or irregular... hmm Saturday they might be givin' me some business I reckon."

"I see...," the Saracen trailed off as he placed a silver coin gingerly on the bar without a sound.

He glanced up at the bottles behind the barkeep, causing the old drunk to turn and look. When the barkeep came back around, the Saracen was gone.
Excelsius left the alliance meeting that saw the dissolving of Crimson Band and the Fellowship of Vetusta, and the formation and establishment of the Wayward Band. He had attended the meeting in a hurry, and was actually in the middle of investigating a lead that the blue-clad Saracen had been sighted by a guard near the forge. The meeting concluded, he immediately set out again to search out and bring the foreigner to questioning.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Excelsius returned to the guard that claimed to have spotted the man. For two hours, the Friar had searched throughout the city for the foreigner, and by the time he again reached the guard, his mood had darkened.

"I... I swear, a man matchin' yer discription DID pass us, didn't he, Ruwan?" the guard beseeched his partner.

"Heh, I was cleanin' me blade at the time... I did see a flash of blue, but buggar if I can even say wha't'was," the other guard blurted out.

Excelsius turned and left the guards in frustration and anger, whipping his staff into position beside him with a snap that made the guards startle with surprise.
---
"I must be mad", the Saracen thought to himself as he stealthily left Camelot and headed into the woods, moving towards Ludlow. He had entered the city, with full knowledge that there had been a bounty posted for his arrest, to send a message of his plans to meet the one who hunted him. This unsettling thought was only dampened by his knowledge that, should his plan work, he could escape capture and complete his task.

As he arrived in his make-shift camp within the South Black Mountains, he quitely chuckled. This was a far cry from his home far to the south. There, he lived in comfort and gentile settings. Ah, the rich culture of his land; the learned folk and the nobles he entertained with song. It would be some time before he saw this home again.

If he would live that long.
---
"I've had the guards make them to my specifications - they are based on examples confiscated from the dungeons of captured Midgardian and Hibernian strongholds...," Bishop Gwyden spoke as if he was nonchalantly guiding the Friar through a collection of fine art.

Excelsius looked upon the devices with a blank stoic expression. Each was a complex arrangement of cruelty. Gears, spines, blades, chains and other painfully precise mechanisms bristled from each monstrosity. This one a chair - that one a table. The table was paired with an array of surgical knives, and something like a plier mated with a scorpion, arranged in neat rows next to it.

"Every arrangement has been made to assist your inquiries, as you can see," the Bishop said as he examined the Friar slowly, as if relishing the evolution of his own creation.

Excelsius' mind was numb. His more frequent meetings with the Bishop were causing the spells to pierce him all the more, each time focusing him on his hunt for the foreign enemy. Only then would the unnatural pain cease.

"And now, Friar Excelsius, what of your search?" the Bishop stated, hands clasp before him in anticipation.

"The bounty hath bore fruit, Bishop. A number of me guild hath brought news of the foreigner. He still eludes us, but..." the Friar plainly spoke, his eyes fixed on one of the means of torture.

"Yes?" Bishop Gwyden interrupted, "you have a plan for his capture?"

"Aye," Excelsius said as he turned to gaze upon the tall skeletal frame of the Bishop. "And justice will be served in the manner that suits one so devious."

Excelsius/Cervantes "The Whisperer"


Kessaria lay in the care of the priests. She was feverish and muttering. One moment she would ask for her mother, the next she'd whisper something in her eastern tongue. One word came to her lips more than once, "Excelsius".

Kessaria


Excelsius read the note sent from Kessaria, a brief letter of contact with a "Whisperer" and news of her illness. The Friar thought for a moment about the foundation of his duties, his original vows; to defend Albion and heal her children, to move with the soldiery in times of war.

He anticipated the flash of light and searing pain now beginning to well within his mind. Lately he could sense the spells coming over him, so many times they had arrisen. He placed the note alongside others, and looked upon his journal of inquiry.

The pain resided.

"The hour has come, ye unseen enemy," Excelsius thought, "the trap had been placed, and the wolf now will be caught". Several reports of the Saracen's approaches had been received. The enemy would meet with Excelsius under light of the full moon in Ludlow.

"He is either very determined, or very foolish," thought the Friar, "or both..."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Back at the Church of Albion, within the safety of Camelot, Bishop Gwyden strolled among the garden walkways. The tall form seemed somehow out of place among the beauty of the fair city and this holy place, even donned in the rich attire of a high-level priest.

An albion runner sped into the grounds, caught eye of the Bishop, and ran to him directly. After a brief apology and exchange of scroll for coin, the runner left as fast as he arrived.

Bishop Gwyden opened the scroll and read. His stoic demeanor slowly turned as his face transformed with devilish glee. He began to chuckle, slowly and softly at first, then fell into louder, almost manic, laughter. When he did so, a brief green glow developed from his eyes. Doves broke ground and spiralled among the spires of the church.

Excelsius


Brother Jonn walked carefully around the corner of the stairway in the church. He was not as welcomed here as he was in many of the taverns and other place of "entertainment" to be had in Albion, but he still had friends in the government of religion. He was done visiting with them and gossiping for the day. He looked carefully around, not wanting to talk about the state of his soul with any one.

It was with some shock when, looking around the corner he saw Excelsius walking out with Gwyden. Excelsius had a resolute look on his face. That was not quite it though. Excel's face was, stoney, hard, blank, unreadble? Jonn could not place the look. Wooden? that was it. Excel seemed wooden. Jonn had never liked Gwyden. He reresented to Jonn that were wrong in the church, including hypocracy and greed. Jonn had heard from his friends who were still clerics some of the rumors about Gwyden, and if they were in any way partially true.... Jonn began to wonder what the penance for breaking his staff over the priest's head would be, and if he would even bother with it.

Jonn went back up the stairs to talk to his freinds and get some more specific info on some questions that had begun to form in his head.

Brother Jonn
Ale cask guard.


Cervantes lay in a dark room, his skull throbbing in pain. He slowly righted himself, dizzily, against the stone wall. The coolness of the stone felt good upon his aching head, and he lifted a hand to feel a sore lump behind his ear. The last thing Cervantes saw before blacking out was the form of the Friar walking towards him in the broken moonlight. A dark form it was, robed in black with a trailing, crimson cloak. Cervantes had time only to utter a few words, not noticing the other two men that crept up behind him.

"Briton, I am Cervantes Villa Lobos, minstrel of the court, Calahorra of Lord Alarifes, defender of Palomides kindred..."

With a painful thud, all went black.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

"Keep him here until the Church calls for his inquiry," Excelsius told the guards as they dropped the unconscious Saracen into the room.

One of the guards spoke up as they locked the heavy wooden and iron door, "Don' ye worry 'bout a thin' there, good Friar, we are among the most vigilant o' the Kings men!"

Excelsius raised an eyebrow and proceeded out of the tower. The crisp Black Mountain air felt cleansing as the first light shown from the horizon. Just then, a commotion stirred not a stone's throw from the tower guards.

A horde of bandits and robbers set upon the guards, and a lone, young fighter squared off with them. A few seconds later, all the guards were occupied with the assault. The young fighter faught bravely, and to the surprise of Excelsius survived; a quick gesture and blessing, and the fighter was healed completely. The bandits lay scattered among the guards, dispatched and defeated.

Excelsius turned to the guard who spoke earlier, "and just what was that?"

"err,... well, see, we have a little problem wi' bandits around 'ere. But we got it under control! See, e'ery once in a while we get advance word from the towns t' the south, and...."

"You assure me there will be complete vigilance guarding this prisoner - or I shall send word to the Camelot Guard to have him placed elsewhere!"

"Aye, we shall be vigilant, ye have me word!" the guard stated and snapped to attention.

"Very well. Know ye that this one is quite resourceful and dangerous. And the information he has is of prime import to the Church," Excelsius stated, and carefully examined the guard's reaction.

"We will send word within the next few days, do not fail us!" With that, the Friar climbed atop his waiting horse and made haste toward the south, galloping across the long stone bridge.

Excelsius


The saracen leaped from roof to roof, listening to the voices below. Whenever a key word caught his attention, he would sit and try to listen for more. It was amazing how few ever looked up in a city. He was able to gather much information in this way. Two nuns were talking as they walked past magic shop, one of Batir's favorite perches. He was able to pick out the words minstrel, saracen, and ill.

His interest was piqued, and since there was nothing good to listen to out of the academy, except for one of the librarians sneezing, he followed the sisters. He followed on the rooftop, and was able to catch enough to realize they were talking about Kessaria, who was ill in their care. The young minstrel's singing had entertained him before, and was concerned for her. His natural distrust of the church made him worry. He followed them from above so he might find where Kess was and help her if he could.

Batir


As Batir made his way across the rooftops, he drew close to a conversation that caught his ear. He was near the Church, perhaps a little too near for his tastes. He craned toward the roof edge to listen.

"... the guards gave me every assurance that he will be watched with utmost vigilance," a Friar clad in black and red said.

"Good, very good. You have done well, Friar. All arrangements have been made to begin the inquiry of this Saracen, 'Cervantes'. We will make his questioning particularly... painful. I would have you do it yourself, but alas there is one last important task for you," the tall figure said. This one wore rich purple robes, and seemed a little out of place.

The Friar stood expressionless as the the taller, guant fellow whispered something. Batir moved a little closer, slightly over the edge of the roof. The two below broke company, the Friar rushing out of the Church grounds, the taller man staying behind. As Batir withdrew, he noticed the tall man's head crook a bit, and he barely saw a face that made him wince.

Excelsius


Mare, Gustovsin and Lorric burst in to the room as if they had just seen a ghost… their faces whiter than the Snodinia storms, their breathing heaver than an over stuffed boulderling. But this tale shall start at the beginning.


After a particularly bad night in Tepok’s mine the adventures were sharing ale and cake in the Ludlow Tavern awaiting the arrival Brother Excelsius. The brother had arranged a meeting with Mare as he had made an offer of a new robe to her some time earlier. As time wnet on the festivities fell over into the street, it was then that Brother Excelsius made his appearance. As Mare had not made his acquaintance before, she thought nothing of the red cape he wore. When Gustovsin mentioned that it was odd that the brother had forgone the Boar, she shrugged off.

The small talk with Excelsius continued when he let slip the mention of a prisoner named Cervantes. After Excelsius took his leave, Lorric smelled trouble. On his suggestion the three Irregulars ventured to the twin towers to meet with the prisoner.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------------

Cervantes looked like a beaten man. He talked of a pain in his neck and head, he talked of how he expected that the Bishop would mistreat him once he was sent there… and he talked of a music box. He said that this box could bring about great changes in the land and ward off a great evil that is brewing. With that he revealed a key that was of the utmost importance… and it must be delivered. The three promised to take the key; it would find its rightful destination even if Cervantes could not make the delivery himself.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------

As fate would have it, Bishop Gwyden was behind the alter of the church as the three entered the church. His crimson cape flowed to the ground as if it were blood on a liquid glass. He seemed at lest nervous if not outright worried that three of the Glastonbury Irregulars were standing in the center of his church. An uneasy conversation started with Gustovsin and Lorric becoming more and more suspicious of the Bishop. As the conversation became more heated, the stealth training paid off for Lorric as he was able sneak his way behind the Bishop to block any possible escape. Bishop Gwyden had not noticed this and began to make threats, and not idle ones either. Gustovsin then mentioned the odd similarity of the cape both Excelsius and Bishop Gwyden wore. At this point the pole arm was pulled… Bishop Gwyden hastly made an incantation, though the tonge was not completely understandable, he called upon the witch’s powers to save him. With a puff he was gone… not even Lorric could spot him.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------------------------------

“It is this news I bring to all of you. It happened only moments ago and I am worried that there may be some very Evil deeds a foot!”, Mare said. Her breathing may be a bit more calm as she knows she is surrounded by friends she can trust, but the fear is still etched on her face.
Mare - Pest Caster
Hum - Herb grower
---
Batir bagan to wonder what was going on. first Kess in the care of Infidels, and then Cervantes, while he did not know him, was of his nation. Was the church beggining a progrom, a hunt for all who may not be of "faith"? Batir needed help, and as not sure what to do. Yes he could kill everyone in the church with some of the concoctions he had, but that would serve no purpose. He decided he needed another to work with, one who could help.

Batir leaped from roof to roof, running south, to the dark corner of Camelot. He hopped of the low roof that was there, for this very purpose, and ran across the yard in front of the Guild of Shadows. making sure no one was watching, he made a few descrete marks on walls around the east gate to the city. To most they were just scratches, but to one trained as an assassin, a dark one, they were a message.

Danae, I need Counsel. Batir.

Batir then went back to the roofs, to watch and listen.

Batir


A shadow through the night, two marks added just so . . the meeting was set.
-------------------------------------------

With growing apprehension, Danae listens to Batir's tale.

"Ach, I have been remiss, out fightin in the lands, when such plots be brewing. Yer right, it dies nae sound a bit like the excelsius we know, and I have no doubt that Gwyden be the root . . that man is evil, I know from when I were just a lass, and went to him fer justice."

"The only justice that man knows is what he can justify to the people after he has raped em, robbed em, and left em to rot."

"Do this for me, lad.... I want ye to be Excelsius' shadow . . do nae let him talk that ye do nae hear, do nae let him shat that ye do nae smell, even! I fear he has troubles, and needs help from his friends."

"For me, well, Gwyden owes me one or two, and I think I be fer lookin in at the abbey, and see what sort o payback I might be able to find."

With a barely noticeable hand sign, and whispered words of luck, Danae fades into the night.

Danae
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:56 am

A Twisted Man (RP Long)
« on: May 13th, 2002, 3:06pm »

The boy was different. Alexandyr shook his head sadly as he watched his younger son in the garden below his window. Young Daylan was hunched over a baby sparrow that he had found at the base of a tree, and he seemed to be trying to heal it. Alexandyr frowned slightly. For generations the Wyndhams had been fearsome warriors; knights of the realm in service to Arthur Pendragon and each of his forbears, and the Duke held great hopes for his two sons. Jareth, his older son, was tall and strong and was already becoming well known in Camelot as a fine warrior. Alexandyr had not seen Jareth for several months, however, because he was squired to his uncle Lord Hurbury. As a result, he had finally had little choice to notice his younger son, Daylan. Unfortunately, Daylan was nothing like Jareth.

Jareth was tall and strong, with shoulders so broad he sometimes had trouble going through doors without turning sideways; he looked more like a highlander than a true Briton. Daylan was tall, but was still dwarfed by his brother. Jareth seemed to take to weapons as if he were born to it; he never picked up a sword or hammer that did not look instantly at home in his burly hands. Daylan on the other hand had never shown any interest in the knightly art; he wandered all over the family estates every day, often with his tutors and combat instructors seeking in vain for him for hours on end. It was not that the lad was unable to defend himself; he was no weakling, but he lacked the passion for battle that the Wyndham men had shown for generations. Daylan was 12 years old now, and by this age he should have been squired to a relative; but he had managed to evade the issue and quietly keep right on not being a proper Wyndham. Of course, the fact that Jareth attracted most of the attention of his father and his father's friends helped him escape notice. Duke Wyndham was noticing him now, however, and he was not pleased. Not pleased at all. The boy fancied himself a healer! The Wyndhams were warriors, not flower-picking healers!

Alexandyr growled and turned from the window. Unfortunately, Daylan was the least of his worries right now. With Arthur dead, or gone at least, his brother Constantine had taken the throne. Duke Wyndham had never trusted Constantine before he was king, but he had always kept his thoughts to himself. One did not grow up in and around the royal court without learning a few basic lessons; and never publicly criticizing the royal family was a key one. The Duke had hoped that as the young king grew, he would become wise and just. However, Constantine had been in power for two years now and he was becoming worse, not better. Only yesterday, Alexandyr had finally had enough of the king's unreasonable taxation of the peasants and nobles alike, and he had spoken out against it in the Council of Lords. He knew that many of his peers felt the same way, but none were brave enough to risk becoming a target of the king's wrath. He also knew that there was a real possibility that there would be serious consequences from his condemnation of the throne, but the Wyndhams were not known for thinking before speaking.

As he sat at his mahogany desk lost in thought, there was a sharp rap at the door to his study. He grumbled and bellowed, "Enter!"

The door swung open and revealed a page in royal livery standing at attention. The young man barked out his message as if he were the arrogant young Constantine himself. "Duke Alexandyr Wyndham, Lord of Camelot Hills and sworn liege of His Royal Highness King Constantine, ye have been summoned to do battle in the name of your King!" The page seemed to expect some kind of response to this proclamation; perhaps he thought that Duke Wyndham would snap to attention and salute. The burly Duke sat silently in his chair staring intently at the young man, a cold fire burning in his eyes. Coughing nervously, the page shuffled his feet and then pulled a scroll from the pouch at his side. He walked up to the table and dropped it as if it might bite him, then turned and fled from the room, just barely keeping from running.

Duke Wyndham picked up the scroll and turned it over in his hands a few times before breaking the seal. As he read, his eyes narrowed at first, and then his shoulders slumped and he sighed.

"Alexandyr, 7th Duke of Wyndham and Lord of Wyndham Castle and the Camelot Hills,

We have recently received word that elvish rebels, refusing to accept Our divine right to rule their lands, have been harassing innocents in Our borderlands to the far north. We must know more of these activities before we commit Our troops, so We need a trusted emissary to go and discover what evils the elvish scum have been committing. We have also decided that in order to avoid attracting unwanted attention from these rebels, We shall send one warrior, alone, to seek information in the Pennine Mountains. You have been honored with this opportunity to serve your King, Duke Wyndham. Have no fear, We will personally look after your family in your absence. We pray, of course, that you will be successful in your venture, for the grief to your family if you were to fail would break Our heart. You will leave immediately, and your guardsmen will remain at Wyndham Castle. Go with the knowledge that you serve your King.

His Most Divine Highness and King of the Three Realms,

Constantine Pendragon"

Alexandyr was no fool; he knew that he was not 'trusted' by the King, and he did not miss the veiled threat against his family. He had no choice but to quickly put his papers in order and head for the armory. The Duke paused momentarily before he left his office, then turned back and sat at his desk. He wrote three letters as quickly as he could, put a name on each, placed the letters in the secret compartment on the underside of his chair, and then stood and marched out of the study with his head held high.
+++++++++++++++++++++++

Alexandyr rode down the path slowly, his burnished plate armor gleaming in the moonlight. His proud war-horse was breathing heavily, sensing his master's tension, and his breath made clouds of smoke in the icy air. The Duke had been alone in the mountains for several days now, and he was starting to miss even the relative comfort of Snowdonia Keep. It was bloody cold out here, and even with his bearskin cloak wrapped around him he was freezing. He felt as if someone was watching him all the time, so he had not lit a fire at night; and he was starting to feel the cold in every part of his body. He shook his head, angry with himself. "Not as spry as ye used to be, eh Wyndham?" The horse turned and gazed at him with one brown eye, then snorted and looked back at the trail. Alexandyr laughed and stroked the horse's neck. "Never mind me, old boy; I'm just a crazy old man who thinks there are enemies behind every bush. Too crazy to keep me mouth shut when . . ."

At that moment, a black crossbow bolt whistled through the air and buried itself in the Duke's chest, piercing his breastplate. He was knocked backwards, but managed to stay on his horse somehow. The horse, trained for battle, shifted to help his rider stay in the saddle, then began to prance in a tight circle to make it harder to hit them again. Duke Wyndham had regained his breath by this point, and ignoring the stream of blood trickling down his chest he pulled the huge sword from his back. Bellowing, he brandished the blade over his head and screamed into the woods "Come out and face me, ye bloody cowards! I am but one man! Do ye fear one old man!?" Another bolt hit him from behind, finding a gap in the armor on his right shoulder. He grunted, but still held the sword tight. Then another bolt hit his left leg and one pierced the horse's right flank simultaneously. The war-horse screamed, but did not throw his rider. Duke Wyndham felt himself losing blood quickly, but he gritted his teeth and yelled again, "Well, now ye have me bleeding from three of your blasted bolts; am I not weak enough to fight face to face yet?!" As an answer, three bolts from three different directions hit him at once, two in his back and one piercing his left arm. The duke slumped forward and slid off his horse with a sigh, unconscious. His horse turned, then stood protectively over his master, whinnying and prodding the Duke with his nose. A single bolt whined out of the woods and hit the horse right between the eyes, and he dropped beside the knight.

After a few moments, three shadowy figures in dark hooded cloaks glided out of the woods and stood in a circle around the fallen night. Their voices were barely audible, but deeply sinister in tone. Two were speaking while the third stood silently beside the fallen knight.

"Well, the great Constantine should be pleased now; his irritant has been removed."

"Aye, but what d' we do wi' him now? Constantine said t' take 'im alive and see that he disappeared, but what are we supposed t' do wi' 'im?"

"I should say that the Pit would be an excellent place for our good friend Duke Wyndham to spend the rest of his days, and we shall fetch an excellent bonus from the Keepers to add to our fee."

The second speaker shuddered before answering. "Well, I know right well they pay handsome fer 'subjects', but that place gives me th' jumps; those Keepers do things that I dinna like t' think about . . ."

As if in unison, the two speakers turned and looked to the silent third for his decision on the matter. After a moment of hesitation, he pointed his gloved finger at the ground; as if showing the way to hell.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Daylan stood in the middle of the garden, tears streaming down his cheeks. Soldiers in royal livery bustled past him, knocking him out of the way occasionally if he happened to be standing in their path. They were carrying everything of worth out of Wyndham Castle, loading it all into a series of carts pulled up along the road from the castle. Somewhere in the back of the young boy's mind a part of him listened to his mother's wails as she was led away in shackles and the sobs of the loyal servants as they too were dragged away by the King's guards. A small army of royal engineers stood off to one side impatiently, toying with their tools of destruction while they waited for the crier to finish his proclamation. Daylan turned as if in a dream to listen to the booming voice as it sealed the fate of House Wyndham forever.

"Hear ye, Hear ye!

By royal decree of his Most High Majesty and Lord of the Three Realms, King Constantine; all lands and property of the traitor Duke Alexandyr Wyndham shall default to their rightful owner, the royal house. Any suspected conspirators in the Duke's scheme to abandon his King shall be imprisoned in the royal dungeons for the remainder of their natural lives. As a further lesson to any others who may think of forsaking duty and honor, Wyndham Castle shall be destroyed and cursed with the most terrible incantations known in The Academy, and from this day forth it shall be a ruin and a cursed place; a gateway unto hell itself!"

As the royal crier ominously rolled the parchment scroll, the engineers began to swarm over the castle and mages began to loosen the mortar with spells of destruction. Daylan ran to a tree nearby and climbed to the top, sobbing the whole time. He sat there for hours, unable to take his eyes from the destruction of the only home he had known.

The boy finally fell asleep on the branch, exhausted with grief and terror. Hours later, he awoke with a start when he felt himself being prodded from below. Looking down, Daylan saw a friar smiling up at him.

"Lad, that branch canna be all that comfortable; ye wish to accompany me to the inn? I'll get ye a room wi' a bed that does na' mean a broken neck if ye fall out!" The friar laughed loudly at his own joke and pulled a battered flask from somewhere in his robes. He took a long drink from the flask and sighed with pleasure. Looking at the boy, he grinned. "I am sorry lad, but I dinna think this would do ye good; not yet anyway. Perhaps if ye stick wi' me I will give ye a taste someday."

Daylan never knew if the friar recognized him as the son of Duke Wyndham, for the friar never asked. In fact, none of the Order ever asked of Daylan's background, so he never told a soul. Over the next 7 years, he learned the ways of the friars and learned to forgive. Daylan became known as a healer throughout the land, but he never passed the ruin that was once Wyndham Castle without feeling a pang in his heart.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In a remote corner of Llyn Barfog the quiet of the woods was broken by a pounding that echoed through the quiet glen. It came from a fallen monastery, from a door that was hidden almost imperceptibly at the base of a staircase. With a crash, the door flew open and revealed an apparition of a man. He was dressed in rags that were soaked in fresh blood, and his face and hands were smeared with blood and gore. His hair and beard were long and grey, and he looked and smelled as if he had not bathed in years. What was most frightening, however, were his eyes. They looked like deep pits, bottomless pools of coal-black oil. He was so gaunt and haggard that it was amazing that he could stand at all, but the bits of flesh on his hands suggested that he had recently slain someone (or something) with his bare hands. He looked around sharply, as if looking for something else to kill, but grinned when he saw a stream nearby. He trotted over to it lightly and quickly cleaned the blood from his clothes and body.

An hour or so later, the old man sat quietly beside the path leading out of Llyn Barfog dressed in his newly cleaned rags. A young cleric trudged down the path, and the old man held out his hand as the priest passed. "Alms! Alms for the poor, good Father?" The cleric stopped and smiled down at the obviously destitute old man.

"I will do ye one better, greybeard; I am about to camp and will share my fire and my dinner with ye."

The beggar smiled gratefully. "Ahh, Father; ye are truly a saint! I have not seen such kindness in many a year . . ." The cleric made his camp while the old man helped feebly, the cleric talking the whole time of the state of the realm and answering the beggar's unending questions.

"Where have ye been, old man? Have ye been living in a hole in the ground?" The cleric roared in laughter at his joke, while the beggar smiled wanly.

"Well, good sir, something like that . . . something very much like that . . ." He whispered under his breath, and for a brief moment a look of cunning and evil flashed across his eyes. The cleric did not seem to hear, and he asked the old man's name. "My name is not important, Father; I am just an old beggar wandering the roads."

A few minutes later the cleric was hunched over the fire, banking it for the night, when the old man crept up behind him. The beggar held a huge branch in his hand loosely, betraying an immense strength hidden in his battered body. With a crash, he swung the branch and stove in the back of the cleric's head with one massive blow; knocking him face first into the fire. The old man dragged the cleric's body out of the fire with one hand and began to pull off his armor and put it on himself.

"Alexandyr. The name is Alexandyr; and I think that I just became a cleric!" His eyes flashed brightly, and he began to laugh.

Daylan


The woes of Carac...
« on: May 15th, 2002, 1:32pm »

Carac walks into the common room, head down, looking more dented than usual. Like Carac's mood, the sky outside was overcast, looking like it would spill over into a full storm at any moment. She shuffles up to the bar, leaning all her weight against it, and orders an ale from the bartender. Noticing her mood, he silently fills her mug. Leaving a few silver on the bar, she walks away staring into the dark brew.

Carac sits down at a table with a fellow Defender of the Common and nods a hello. Sitting her mug down, she eyes the friendly face across from her and starts talking...

"I was 'eadin' out t'the Catacombs, t'meet up wit' Wulf, wanderin' about.. mindin' m'own business, when a moor boogey shoots out from b'hind a tree an' starts t'munchin on me leg! <gulps> I weren't sure where I was goin', so I couldn't run, like it'd do any good anyway with me slow legs... <glug> So, as yeh can guess, tha' boogey won <points>. "

Flagging the bartender for another ale, she continues...

"So, there I am, on a rented 'orse (an' a poor ol' thin' 'e was!), ridin' back t'Cornwall. Tha's when I knew tha' death was wit'me t'day <drinks>. Anyway, I finally make it out t'the Station, then out t'Catacombs (after only gettin' lost once!), an I jus' make it inside, seein' Wulf an' a cleric busy at one o'them undead, so's I leave 'em to it (second mistake o'the day). Nex' thin' yeh know, the Cleric's dead an' Wulf's callin' fer 'elp... So's I jump on th'thin', but I'm too late, an' Wulf falls too! <glug>"

Carac wipes her forehead, finishes her ale, and calls for a couple more ales, and a round for those sitting nearby...

"If it weren't bad 'nough, gettin' Wulf an' 'is cleric friend killed, th'guy releases 'is spirit 'fore I can find one tha' can raise 'im. If'n I weren't feelin' bad yet, I would then. <glug> So's we go outside t'wait an' another o' our party shows up, then another, an' we finally 'ave a group o' about 5. I ent sure wha' happened at this point, we may 'ave lived or died, but I know Wulf 'ad t'leave, cuz tha's when leadership fell t'me... <drinks> An' I mean fell, cuz usually, I see tha' sorta thin' comin' an' do some fancy footwork t'evade such thin's! Well, fore long, I was nae jus' th'leader, but I was also the one wi' th'most learnin, so's I became puller too."

At this point, Carac looks very concerned, finishes her ale in a long pull and signals the bartender for another. The ales taking their toll on her, she continues...

"Seems I weren't cut out fer pullin' neither, 'cause no sooner than I'd pull one o'er... another'd come, an' then there was death, an' I ent talkin' bout th'undead dyin'. <glug>. Ent nothin' worse than sendin' good folk face down t'the dirt! Nex' thin' I know, we're face down agin... It was all I could do t'nae throw m'self t'the undead at tha' moment, cept I could nae move, bein' dead already! Bein' the cause o'such pain ent m'callin'! Ent a one o'them in m'group tha' gave up on us, an' tha' is a wonderful thin', tis!

Beginning to slur at this point, Carac's story drifts off into the unintelligible, while the friendly folks smile and nod at the drunken armswoman.

Carac Dhun
-Armswoman for Albion


Moryan overhears the armswoman, and chuckles softly. She's had plenty of days like that.

Her drink finishes, she picks up her helm, and saunters off through the door, on some errand or other.

Moryan


"Bah, days like that are meant fer a call t' yer mates," Excelsius stated from his shadowy table near the back of the tavern.

He took a long draught and set his mug next to several other empties. One look to the barkeep and another round was being brought to Carac's table.

"Should ye e'er need a lil' help, or just a kindred an' watchful presence in yer area, an' ye see me around... gimme a holler...," the Friar spoke as he left through the side door.

Excelsius


Rickon walks into the Tavern. He looks over and hears the Lasses comments, shakes his head, orders a drink and plops down into a chair in the corner.
"Bah, I was with Carac and Earth. Tis a shame things pulled me away soon after I stopped by."
Rickon chuckles to himself. "And those damn undead in the Catacombs do like to pick on the members of our class. I remember eating dirt many times there. "
Rickon thinks to himself that Carac shall be a fine armslass, takes a drink from his pint and ponders his own thoughts.

Rickon Bloodthorn


Sebastien sits alone at a table, his thoughts drifting to Melya, the sorceress that had smitten him a bit, then vanished for a second time. He overheard parts of Carac's tale and remember fondly the times he traveled with her. He was amazed at her graceful movements in combat, the gleam in her eye as she laid waste to anything that threated to pass her and harm him. Her usually chipper voice and hearty laugh, but he noticed a sour look on her face and set about to try and cheer her up a bit.

"M'lady Carac, surely there must be a reason you are furrowing up your pretty little brow like that. I heard your story and can't begin to tell you how it pains my heart to know you and those you care for suffered this day while I sat about and moped. " He reaches over and gently pats her hand reassuringly, "Carac, if you ever need my aid, know that you can call on me to keep you and yours safe from harm." He lowers his face to meet her gaze and pretends to pout, "M'lady, might you find it in your heart to at least grace me with a little smile? I promise you can wipe it away immediately after I see it, I just wish to see cute dimple you get instead of that furrowed brow." he says with a grin.

Carramon


<Sits> I have felt the same myself, and had days that just seemed that you could not get ahead no matter what. On days like htat , I will take a bit more time and sit down and talk to others in our alliance. helps to make things feel better.

You'll do alright Carac. Leadership feels heavy, but sometimes you just need to grit your teeth and do the best you can. It is all anyone can ask.

Brother Jonn
Will revive for drinks


Standing to find the little armswoman's room, a noticeable sway to her step, she trips over Sebastian and falls down into a heap of metal and empty mugs on the floor. Climbing back up, grabbing Sebastian for support, she stands and looks around at all the faces pointed at her...

"Thank yeh all fer yer kind words, yeh turned m'day 'round, yeh did!"

Stumbling, she heads off toward the door in back, a smile growing on her face as all traces of the days troubles dissipate.

Carac Dhun
-Armswoman for Albion


As Farris comes down the stairs from the second floor, he bumps into Carac heading for the back of the inn. Noticing her stance, he slaps her on the back which has the unintended effect of making her run towards her destination.

"Must be one of those days".

Farris smiles and shrugs as he heads out of the inn.

Farris Firebrand


"Tis often those most reluctant to lead wot make the best leaders... ye dinnae kill me, nor did ye kill tothers in yer group later on. Iffin people be pig 'eaded enough ter na' follow yer wisdom an' experience, tha be na ye wot is ter blame. Ha more conferdince in yersel', lass..." Earthwulf sits at the table, drinking only water for once. He knows that he needs to be there for his friend.

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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:57 am

Gallant faces the dragon and loses his love
« on: May 16th, 2002, 9:21am »

Lyssiah took Gallant by the hand, "Mlord I can nae let you go fight the dragon alone. I am coming with thee."

It took two full companies to fight their way through Dartmoor. It had been a long battle and everyone was exhausted. Ahead of them was the lair of the dragon. Against his wishes Lyssiah had joined the company, helping her love fight his way to the dragon. But now He must continue alone as the church demanded of him.

"M'lady thou knowth I must face him alone. I will be fine, though certain death doth await, I know I will wake as the church hath promised and we shall soon be husband and wife, and thou shalt wear a ring kissed by dragon fire, the only one of it's kind in the realm.

"Love I can nae let you do this it is to dangerous. I do nae want ye to die. Thy death will be painful. And what... what if they can nae revive thee"

Gallant took Lyssiah in his arms, kissing her tenderly. "I love thee M'Lady and I must wed thee. I would face a thousand deaths such as this if that is what they demanded". He tore himself from her arms and turned to stride towards the Dragon. He pulled the chain holding her ring from under his vest. He would hold it to his lips when the fire came; his kiss added to the kiss of the dragon.

Lyssiah shifted her weight from foot to foot not wanting to watch her love face the dragon. He had told her he would be fine but he can nae face a dragon. A tear rolled down her check. She could not believe he loved her so much that he would face a dragon for her. She gripped her sword so hard her knuckles were starting to turn white. She could not stand it! She had to be by his side. He told her to stay here. He was supposed to do it on his own. She heard the dragon roar and that was to much for her. Swinging her sword she ran into the dragon lair yelling her battle cry.

Gallant felt his love at his side more than he heard or saw her. "Lyssiah NO!...." The dragon got her quickly. She fell to the ground hard and was still. He whirled and faced the dragon, rage blinded him. He forgot his purpose and raced to avenge his love. The dragon roared and lowered it head to face him. Gallant felt the heat from the dragon's nostrils. He remembered his task, but would it even matter now. Lyssiah lay dead and the church had not promised to revive her. They may not even revive him since he had not come alone. But if there was to be any chance of wedding her, no matter how slight, he must take it. He brought the ring to his lips and kissed it. The flames engulfed him. He had never felt such pain before. He died quickly, her ring still pressed against his lips.

Gallant awoke in the church in camelot. Lady Triss was glaring at him.

"Where is she?" He asked, hoping against hope.

"Well... well... so you did face the dragon after all and yes we brought you back just like we said we would."

Gallant looks around and not seeing Lyssiah asks again "Where is she?"

"Lyssiah lies dead in Dartmoor, I believe ye saw her grave before ye died. Ye were supposed to go alone but ye could nay even do that, selfish fool! Now she is dead because of ye. Which is probably for the best child, as ye would have left her sooner or later for some other woman."

Gallant fell to his knees and wept bitterly.

Gallant


Gallant looked at Lady Triss not believing her. “Ye have to bring her back M’Lady, please.”

Lady Triss looked down at him; a look of sympathy briefly passed over her face, and immediately returned to its hard mask. “You were supposed to face the dragon alone. Leave my sight cleric! Lyssiah is gone to us forever.”

Gallant got up and ran from the church, tears streaming down his face.

Lady Winchell walked over to Lady Triss, “Sister you can not mean what you say. I have never seen someone in so much pain. He did try to do it on his own; you know she was the one who ran to him. Their love is strong; she could not let him die alone. Sister there is too much pain in this world; we should not add to it.”

“Aye sister… I suppose there is. It is good to see true love. For without love what are we fighting for?”

Gallant ran out of the church lost in his grief. ‘How could they; how could they let her die? Why not him? He was the one who had fallen. Lyssiah did not deserve such a fate.’

The rain started to come down again. He reached around to pull his cape over his head and then stopped. How could he even touch the cape that had so recently covered his love? He dropped it to the ground, letting the rain soak him through. What was life without her? For a long time he wandered the streets of Camelot before finding himself in the palace. He slowly walked up the stairs to the Round Table. This was where they first met. He closed his eyes and remembered that night.

Falling to his knees he pulled a dagger from his pack. He closed his eyes, lost in the memories. The tears had stopped. He would be with her soon. Lifting the dagger he got ready to strike the final blow.

Lyssiah


Lyssiah awoke in the church drawing in a ragged breath. Opening her eyes she gasped in surprise to see Lady Triss staring down at her. "Do not worry child ye are safe now."

Reaching out to help Lyssiah up Lady Triss says, "I never thought I would see the day come when Gallant would find a true love. Lyssiah ye do not need my blessing because the two of ye have already been blessed. To find someone amid all of this darkness is truly a wonderful thing. Go now child and find your love. May ye always live in happiness."

Lady Winchell spoke up, "Ye shall be glad to know that he will be known as Gallant LeDoue from now on and ye shall be known as Lyssiah LeDoue as soon as the two of ye are wed....Ye best hurry child, Lady Triss did not tell him we brought you back."

Lyssiah bowed to the Ladies and walked from the church. Where could he have gone, she thought to herself. She looked up the street and saw his cape lying in the road, a sinking feeling coming over her. Running to it; she picked it up, looking around desperately to find him. She ran through the streets of Camelot asking anyone who would stop, and even a few who wouldn't, if they had seen her cleric. Her panic rising, she finally meets someone who thought they saw a cleric enter the palace. Running inside she saw him there with a dagger poised over his heart.

Lyssiah screams "Love, NO.........."

Gallant places the tip of the knife against his heart. He thought he heard her voice, but realizes, he is only dreaming.

She runs over and hits his hand sending the dagger flying, looking into his eyes. "Love what art thou doing?"” Her heart still pounding, she cannot believe how close she had come to losing him. Tears coursing down her face, she hugs him close and kisses him deeply. "I love thee M'lord."

Gallant embraces her, unable to speak. Tears flow down his face. He kisses her passionately, tasting her tears as they flow into his. Could his love really be alive, or was he dead already? "L...love? Art thou but a dream? Do we meet in heaven?"

Lyssiah's thoughts flash back to the night they met by this great round table. She pushes him down on top of the table and straddles him. "Nay love this is not heaven, and I'm no angel..."

Gallant


The story of Carac's beginning...
« on: May 21st, 2002, 1:16pm »

Winters are long in the Dhundarre Mountains. The air is cold and malicious, beating on stone and tree. But, there is a small village in the cradle between the highest peaks, that is where Carac’s story begins…

The tradition goes that after spring’s first flower, a festival will be held in the town square with music and dancing and the trading of goods made over the winter. For such a mountainous area, the village of Darnethy was situated on a fairly flat hilly highland, with enough room for farmers and herders to get along fairly well. The village, though not large had a town hall maintained by all the villagers. Long, long ago, the King sent a noble up to rule and tax the village, but unable to enforce his rules, he left and told the King there was nothing of import up those mountains. The village would get together every few years and elect a mayor to make decisions and a council to keep the mayor in line. It worked well, and Darnethy continued on with relative peace.

During the Spring Festival, the musicians, having practiced their music over the winter, would come to the square and begin playing, and before long, like a herd of sheep the villagers would flood the town, arms full of goods. The youngest would take up dancing first and after the trading and bartering were done, the elders would join in. The town hall would be flooded with breads and stews and ales, and at dark people would move the merriment inside.

On the year that Carac left Darnethy, things went on as usual. She and her sister, Fyn danced and laughed and got along very well considering they had been cooped up together all winter. With all of the people laughing and talking, none really heard the strange noises outside. The mountain goats, pulling at bits of grass on the mountain above the town hall, bleated loudly, but it was drowned out in the din. As the sun dropped behind the mountains, the mountains began to move. Most people had gone inside, and the few stragglers howled in warning as a horde of trolls moved down the mountain toward the town hall. As luck would have it, Carac and her family were just leaving their house just across the square, heading to the town hall, when all of the chaos began. The mayor quickly pushed his girls back into their home, grabbed up his great hammer and turned to fight the trolls at the hall. The crash of beams, the sickening cries of people crushed and maimed, the sound of heated battle, all filled the town. The three stood at the table, making bandages and heating water, though none were trained in the arts of healing. As the sounds seemed to be dying down, there was a scraping sound outside the door, and Carac’s father pushed the door open just enough for them to see his bloodied form struggling for breath. With his last effort he looked at Carac’s mother and said, “GO!” with such force that the three jumped as his body slumped in death. Scrambling for a few scraps of anything useful, they gathered their coats and with a kiss, touched Mayor Dhun’s outstretched hand, then slunk out the back door toward the broken trail that lead down the mountain.

Barely able to contain their sorrow, they moved as gracefully as numbness would allow, down their mountain. The sound of troll grunts always behind them, they hurried forward without sleep. After two days of sleepless travel, the outline of Caer Hurbury was in sight, and like the wind, Carac and Fyn ran toward it, their mother just behind them. They reached the gatekeeper and fell to their knees pleading to be allowed in. Looking over their shoulders in fear of the oncoming trolls. After what seemed hours of talking, the gatekeeper opened a small door in the larger gate, just big enough for one person to enter. Carac pushed Fyn through the door, glanced back at her mother, then went through herself. Just as her mother took a step toward the door, she fell face forward and lie on the ground, barely moving. Both Carac and the guard jumped through the door and pulled her inside, slamming the small door behind.

The sounds of battle were drowned out as Carac stared down at her mother, lifeblood draining from her through the 3 arrows stuck in her back. She looked at the Caer’s cleric with such pleading in her eyes that the cleric did not have the heart to tell her that his gifts could not save her mother. The cleric hunched over her mother, praying as healing spells washed over her, but that same blank look never left her eyes. Shaking the cleric, Carac begged him to save her mother, but he just looked at her and said,
“There is nothing that can be done, she has no will to live.”
Carac grabbed Fyn around the shoulders and the two sobbed in a huddled mass near their dying mother.

Carac woke up and looked around, not knowing where she was. Sitting up she stared out a small window overlooking a yard surrounded by stone walls, blinking away the tears that started to form with the realization of where she was, she sat bolt upright and got out of the bed. She walked out the door only to find it locked.
“I ent yer prisoner!” She yelled, and a guard came to the door and unlocked it, grabbing her by the arm. Carac tried to pull away, but it was no good.
“Wha’d yeh do with m’sister!?” She spat at the guard as he silently guided her to a door.
“The Commander would like to speak with you,” he said dryly, and ushered her into the room.

The commander sat behind a large plain desk, covered in scrolls, he was anxiously reading one of the scrolls while sealing another with blue wax and a seal from one of the drawers. The young guard stood at attention waiting for orders, staring at the wall directly in front of him. The commander dismissed him with an order to have a messenger deliver the freshly sealed scroll to the captain in Camelot. With a sharp salute across his chest, the young guard turned and left the room. As the door clicked shut, the commander took stock of the young red-haired woman.
With a sneer, Carac stood and said, “I ent yer prisoner, an’ yeh best be lettin’ me an’ me sister go!”
The commander chuckled with a smile that wasn’t quite a smile, and said, “Sit down, young lady. You will not speak to the Commander of Caer Hurbury in that tone. You should be grateful we saved your life.” Pausing a moment to allow Carac time to do as she was told, he continued, “Where are you and your sister from, and tell me of these trolls that followed you!”
Although Carac sat down, the anger boiling inside her chest was not so easily subdued and it took all of her strength to remain the appearance of calm.
Clenching her fists, she blurts out, “I donnae ‘afta anser yer questions, I dinnae brin’ those trolls, an’ yeh can go t’ell!”
With that, the commander stands up and slaps Carac across the face then plants her in the chair.
“You will tell me just what I want to know, you arrogant little tart, or you will rot in a cell until you feel more compelled to follow orders! GUARD!”
As the young guard came back into room and reached for Carac’s arm, the Commander, with a glare at Carac, told the guard to take her to a proper cell. The guard took Carac by the arm and took her down the hall, his hard demeanor softening some as they walked.
“I donna know what yeh said t’him.. But yeh canna be doin’ that.. Yeh just got t’tell him what yeh know, an’ he’ll help yeh. He ent a bad man, just a noble, and they jus’ ent used t’ things not goin’ their way.”
Carac blinked and stared openly at the young man, about the same age as her, all dressed in plate armor.
“Yeh donnae know th’firs’ thin’ bout me an’ Fyn. We donnae need ‘is ‘elp! We jus’ need t’get out o’ ‘ere,” said Carac, some of her anger boiling down and the direness of her situation hitting her. “A proper cell! Oy!” she thought.
Smiling at the red haired lass, the guard said, “I’m Eddy, an’ yeh ent so tough!”
In silence, he escorted her the rest of the way to the cell, which was nearly as dark and dank as some of the others, and not nearly as comfortable as the room she awoke in.

Carac Dhun
-Armswoman for Albion


A bloodied note, Part IV
« on: May 11th, 2002, 1:08pm »

Excelsius stood alone, surrounded by thick, ghost-like mist. He could see no referrence for the ground; only the feel of cold stone below his feet told him he was standing. As the mist cloud swirled and danced slowly in wisps, a figure began to immerge and draw close to him. The figure gradually defined, and what appeared startled him and made him humble in reverence.

The form of a beautiful, gown-clad woman spoke in a whisper that penetrated his mind, "The King stirs in his resting place to the West. Soon his great army will arise again, and fell the enemy that stands before us."

Excelsius fell to his knee, lowering his head in shame and and pity, "I am not worthy of your presence," he said in a quivering voice.

"Alas, ye are - you shall go to the place of the dead to await their beckoning. There ye shall be made as one of the returned, and march forth with them when the time comes." The voice continued, "do this now, and do not diverge from the task."

Excelsius looked up hesitantly. He barely glimpsed the hazy figure as it vanished into the mist.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Batir had found Excelsius after much searching. The Friar lay sleeping under a large tree keep within the Campacorentin Forest. Batir had moved silently towards the Friar, but a strange sense caused him to stop short. Batir remain concealed and watched. A woman in a dark cloak, with silver symbols stiched into the trim, emerge from the trees near Excelsius just then.

The woman uttered a few phrases in a low tone, and although still a distance off, Batir's skills allowed him to notice that the words were not any he had heard before. He tried to see the woman's face, but the dark hood sheltered it at all times.

As quickly as she appeared, the woman left Excelsius and walked off a few strides. She then boldly said something, which sounded to Batir like a mage or sorcerer's incantation, and vanished in a dark swirl of purple mist.
---
"They are coming! Soon we will stand with the King and follow the path to glory!" Excelsius proclaimed as he ran through the Laughing Lion tavern, spilling his tankard on floor and patron and waiving his staff in whooshing circles.

"Have ye fell int' the keg, Friar?!" the barkeep screamed in frustration as he tried to catch several bottles of wine tumbling from the commotion.

"Methinks he's been in the sun too long..." a voice said from the shadows.

"You'll see! You'll all see! When the time comes, and they have risen from their long cold sleep, and the King of the Britons returns t' lead us... AH HAHAHA!" the Friar shouted in a crazed voice as he flew out to the tavern.

Excelsius


"I write this down, in the tongue of my forefathers, so that others might read and see the truth," Cervantes wrote. He used a piece of coal he found underneath the straw strewn about the spartan confines of the tower, and scribed on a crumpled bit of parchment he found in his pocket.

"I am Cervantes Villa Lobos, minstrel of the court, Calahorra of Lord Alarifes, defender of Palomides' kindred from the Southern lands. I came to the Northern Isle not as an enemy, but as a son of King Arthur's vision of peace. I came here to fulfill an oath made by men of honor, my father, a Saracen, and his comrade, a Briton."

"I have been falsely accused of crimes I know nothing of. Soon they will torture and, presumably, take my life. But they can not take my honor, nor my father's. I trust now in a few kind and stout souls to carry on my task. It is the only hope I have of," Cervantes stopped writting and looked up. He felt for an instant he was not alone.

He arose and glanced about warily. Nothing.

Then, a soft, lilting, barely audible whisper met his left ear.

"You should stop writting and follow me..."

Cervantes froze in fear. Could he have passed away already, this being the sound of an angel to guide him to heaven?

He fell to his knees and began to pray.

He heard the voice again, but this time it was a frustrated sigh. "Would you rather stay here, or follow me?"

Cervantes looked up. The shadowy shape of a beautiful Saracen woman stood next to him. Then he caught sight of the blades.

"W-what? Who are you?" Cervantes stuttered in disbelief.

"I'm yer farkin' ride out of here, now let's get!" the woman said under her breath.

CVL, Cervantes Villa Lobos (Excelsius under pen-name)


Getting work in the kitchens had been easy, a simple matter of a forged document and a slight alteration of my appearance.

The last week had been educational, but frustrating, there was certainly something big brewing, but everyone was so circumspect when talking about it, even in supposed privacy, that I still had no real idea what was going on. It was obvious, though, that Excelsius had managed to get himself smack dab in the middle of something very unpleasant, and for the life of me, I couldnt decide if there was a way for me to get him out of it.

Now, I have never been much for churches, ever since I was just a wisp of a girl, see, and in fact, the head mumbo jumbo here is part of the reason why.
Without dwellin too much on details, I will just pass on to ye that I was poorly used by the church in me youth, and when I finally figured out that maybe what was happening was wrong, I went to Bishop Gwyden, 'course, he werent no Bishop then, but he was supposed to be in charge there, and instead of easin my woes and helpin me in my time o trouble, well, Gwyden just managed to stack a little misery on top of what I already had, so there be no love for him or his church in me heart these days.

Things were shapin up to be pretty much a wasted fortnight, with the exception that I had decided I would leave a little surprise fer Gwyden when I left, and, in fact, on this very night, I had just slipped back into the kitchens with my mixture of "special" herbs fe rthe Bishop's tea when the ruckus started.

The stableboy, ye see, had been there when the men at arms rode in, fast, with a trussed up lad over a saddle on a spare horse . . he couldn't describe him, seein as how the poor thing had a grain sack on his head, but it seems they was treatin him none too gentle.
"Well" I says to meself, "This be just the sort o thing that I been waitin for, methinks, since they don't normally bring prisoner types here"
Perhaps this man was what the newly furbished torture chamber were waitin for.

Knowing now this was my last night in the kitchens, I added my little dose to the tea leaves the Bishop preferred . . Let's see how long he lasts when nothin he eats stays down, and his insides start eatin him up!

Leavin me apron behind, I slip off to the wine cellar, where I change into my work clothes, and set out to find this man, and see iffen I can't learn somethin worthwhile.

It's easy enough, sneak down near the new torture room, a little distraction, a guard bypassed, and now a single locked door to foil. I snicker as I work the tumbler, I could jimmy this lock one handed, blindfolded, and fallin down drunk.

I open the door to see a disheveled lad, younger than me, writin somethin on a scrap of paper.
Never one to blow a good entrance, I glide up behind him, and whisper in his ear,

"You should stop writing, and follow me . . ."

I nearly wet myself at the look that come onto his face!

I let him sit for a minute, he dint move, dint even squeak!Finally, I was gettin a little impatient,

"would you rather stay here, or follow me?"

I think maybe the lad had been beat a little much about the noggin, he was so slow on the uptake, but finally he manages to stammer enough to ask who I am . . Only Danae, I think, the silly lass that's riskin life an limb fer yer sorry arse . . but I don't say that.

"I'm yer Farkin ride out o here, now let's get out!"

With that , he snaps awake, finally, grabs hi spaper, and stands up shakily.

"Quiet now, there be a guard out there, you get yerself together while I put him to sleep, I'll be right back"

I sneak back up the hall, and, not havin a sap, end up havin to leave the guard sleepin for a lot longer than just a few hours . . his own fault, shoulda been more picky about who he worked for.

I get back to the cell, and my slow boy seems to think it is old home week. "I am Cervantes Villa Lo . ."

"SSHHH!" I put a finger to his lips . ."You just be as quiet as you can for ten minutes, then you can talk all ye like, a'right?"

He nods

"Good boy, now come on, times a wastin, and I be thirsty"

We slip into the hall, skirt the cooling guard, and in no time we are back in the wine cellar. I give the boy my kitchen outfit, and help him get it on.

"Well, yer about the second prettiest kitchen girl in the house now!" I tells him, "But we've no time for ye to go get pinched up, so you wait here til yu hear the shouts, then walk, don't run, up the hall to the right, ye'll come to the kitchen, and in the fuss you should be able to just walk right through and outside."

"Once ye get out, turn left out the gate, walk three blocks, and to the right you will see a tavern . . go in the alley beside it and wait for me there"

With his nod, I take my exit, and head straight for the main hall . .

It only takes a minute for these simpletons to figure out a girl in leather might not have honest business here, and a merry chase ensues! I'll save ye the details, but I only had to cut three of em before they quit tryin to catch me, and started wishin I would go away, which I did, seein as how sooner or later the odds catch up with all of us.

Two rooftops, a stableyard, and an alley later, I finally got to my chosen alley to find my little charity case waitin anxiously.

Another fun entrance!

I slink up to him, almost under his nose.

"A'right lad, ye think ye can clew me in to what Gwyden wants with a sorry lookin runt like yerself?"

After he quits screamin, he starts to tell a tale . . . . .

Danae


From his rooftop perch, Batir watches Danae take out the guards. Seeing she has it well in hand, he follows Cervantis, playing guardian angel. Several times a noise distracts a guard as Cervantis walks past them, and thus keeping them from looking to closely at the man in women's clothing.

One guard started to approach Cervantis from behind,, and Batir had to take him out discretely. A poisoned dagger caused him to slip quietly into the next life. "Inshaala" mutters Baitr. It is Allah's will.

As he climbs to the rooftops , he hears the minstrel scream. Thinking he had not watched closely enough, he runs to the sound, and sees Danae in front of the man, who is recovering from some startlment. Though he is a sober person, there is still a streak of strange humor that runs through

He drops to the ground behind Cervantis silently, and taps him on the shoulder.

"Greetings singer." he whispers harshly into the minstrels ear, who begins to scream again. Batir is ready for it this time, and clamps a hand over Cervantis' mouth so it is mufled. "Not so loud, you will awaken the dead." He smiles at Danae from behind the limp shaken body he is now holding.

Batir


Cervantes composed himself, thoroughly distraught from the adventure. He had figured himself a dead man, to be tortured at length in the Bishop's "workroom". And now this - a duo of stealthy and deadly infiltrators making his escape. His mind swam with questions and uncertainty - was this his salvation, or a variation of his doom?

He looked upon the two warily, and whispered, "I am Cervantes Vi...."

"Aye, we caught that already - save yerself the breath an' give us the nitty-gritty, times a wastin'," Danae interupted.

Cervantes raised an eyebrow, but continued in a low tone.

"Ahem, yes. Well, let's see. I have traveled far from the Southern lands of Palomides to find Friar Excelsius. I do so to honor a trust between two men of King Arthur's Realm and vision - our respective fathers. I brought a...," Cervantes face grows suspicious as he carefully thinks. "A keepsake, that his father handed to me father to take back to this Isle and return to Excelsius."

"When I arrived here, I found that the Friar could not be approached directly, as he was rounding up suspects - for what, I did not know at the time. I believe now that Bishop Gwyden somehow made him. The Bishop is evil t' the bone! I've heard him speaking in hushed tones near my cell, and have pieced together part of it."

"I tried to arrange a meeting through those close to the Friar, but when I arrived to give Excelsius the item, he had two guards waiting to capture me. I was wrongly accused of conspiracy against the Realm. I swear to you, I only wanted to give him the keepsake and return to my own home. But they captured me and prepared me for 'inquiry', without even a word in my defense."

"The Bishop takes delight in torture, ye know. It's as if he has two faces - one for the public and one for his 'workroom'. The Bishop speaks to Excelsius in a strange way, as well. It's not quite what he says, but how he says it."

"I've heard Gwyden meeting with a woman also. They are somehow working together. They speak of an army that will rise up, an army that is yet to be, but has already been. They speak as if they will gain much from this. And they speak sometimes in a tongue I've never heard before. Tis melodic and malign in sound."

Danae glanced at Batir, the two communicating without words. Then Danae spoke to Cervantes, "we should find you a safe place right now. Excelsius must be found. I will deal with Gwyden."

CVL
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earthwulf
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:57 am

Jonn's return
« on: Jun 2nd, 2002, 11:57am »

Jonn returned to the Laughing Lion, after a long trek helping out the outer setttlements with healing, ceremonies, and testing of ale. It had been his turn in his order to make the rounds. He enjoyed the journey, and it gave him a chance ot think, drink, walk, drink, visit and drink.

He walks into the inn, needing a long drink after such a long journey, to wash the dust from his throat.

"Daylan, bring me a tray, and keep em coming." Daylan fills the frist 4 tankards and sends them down the bar to Jonn. After the first two, drinking as fast as Daylan can pur them, Jonn notices that many in hte room are grinning at him. A little self conscious, he nods ,and holds his next tankard up to all. They all retunr the salute, and keep grinning at him.

For the first time in his life, Jonn puts down the beer he is holding unfinished. He leans over to Danae, who is standing next to him at the bar now.

"Am I missing something here?" He wispers to her out the side of his mouth.

She smiles, and leans up to him, and softly whispers in his ear (which sends shivers up his back), "Look at the mesage board. You may be ......surprised" she adds the last with an extra little breath. Jonn really feels the shivers run up and down his back.

Looking at Danae, he then goes over to the wall and reads the various notices there. He read all kinds of things posted by Carac and Earthwulf. It is when he gets under some of these, towards those that were psoted when he left on his jounrney, he is startled.

"Wait a Minute!" he yells as everyone starts laughing. "Who went and did this to me? I demand a recount! There has to be a mistake! Kess had to be drunk! The lass can't even drink enough to get properly drunk enough to make a desision like this! How can she think of making me an adjutant?" He keeps yelling as the patrons in the Lion pick him up and make him pay for a round of drinks.


"Hey there, Jonn, good to see you again, and congratulations on that promotion!"

Synne stetches in her chair by the fire, and sets her leather and needle aside. "I had to do that tiresome trek around the outer settlements last week. There wasn't nearly enough fighting to make me happy! I would imagine you were thinking the same.

"Oh, and thanks for the wine." She nods and drinks deeply.
Synne Agwisance. Friar, Senior Tailor
Synnove Agwisance. Mercenary, Junior Smith
Audris. Sorceress.
---
Tipping back her newly filled mug, Carac chuckles heartily at Brother Jonn's reaction. Walking up to him and clapping him on the back, she says,

"Brother Jonn, good t'see yeh back! Daylan's missed yer business while yeh were away, wha' with Wulf's trouble an' all... But so yeh know, recountin' ent gettin' yeh out o' anythin'!

Grinning mischievously, she finishes her ale and heads to the bar for another.

Carac Dhun
-Armswoman for Albion


The Saracen Paladin
« on: Jun 25th, 2002, 5:46pm »

The citizens of Glastonbury watch the stranger atop a regal mount moving down the main street at a slow pace. The steed was covered in gold and blue shining and muted plates. The movement of the horse caused the plates to make a whispering sound. On its back was a deep set saddle, covered in furs coloured red and blue. Within the saddle sat a figure in gold and blue platemail. The figure was clearly a woman from the adornments of the armour. In her left gauntleted hand she held the reins. In her right she held a massive curved blade, the hilt resting in a nook in the saddle. When the dying sun's light struck the blade. whisps of runes could be seen etched into the metal.

The figure's gaze was unwavering in the direction her steed led her. The stares of the citizens were trivial to one of her status.

The horse took an unwavering path to the large stone structure in the town. The Church of Glastonbury. The horse stopped at the foot of the large steps, whence came the friars and alter boys to greet the stranger.

From atop the horse, the stranger spoke in a commanding tone.

"I have come to see the Cardinal Minxisus IV, by the order of the grand Caliph Mustakir Pasha."

A rotund monk came forward. "Milady, the Cardinal is very busy and cannot be disturbed..." Before the monk could finish the stranger slipped her left hand into a pouch and threw a letter down to the monk.

"Take this to your master. I shall await your hasty return."

No more than a few minutes had gone by when the Cardinal Minxisus IV himself came waddling down the steps.

The Cardinal was extremely overweight. An elegant white and gold robe attempted to cover his voluptuousness. His fat fingers were adorned with gold rings, embeded with various precious jewels. He stood on the last step and looked up towards the mounted figure.

"The light of Camelot shine on you Paladin." The Cardinal opened his arms to greet the stranger. The citizens had gathered around to see who this stranger was that had brought out the Cardinal.

The stranger pulled on a thin rope at the side of the saddle and down rolled a set of steps. The stranger stepped down, sheathing the massive curved sword on her back. The motion was fluid and graceful, despite the platemail. The stranger stood a head taller than the squat, rotund Cardinal. She removed the adorned helm and held it at her hip.

The hair of the Paladin was covered in a light green silken cloth. The skin was olive/brown in complexion and bore no makeup or rouge. She bowed her shoulders to the Cardinal.

"Honoured one! I am Nazia daughter of Muttaqi, Second Commander of the Faris Order, from the shimmering sands of the Kingdom of Arabia." She looked up and at the Cardinal, "My services have been sent to help to rid the land of the druid plague and the onslaught of the pagans."

"Well met Lady Paladin. I have refreshments ready for you. Then we will speak more on your charge here."

"With all due respect Cardinal. I do not require refreshments. If you will have someone tend to my steed and show me to my quarters. Perhaps tonight we shall discuss my charge."

A few hours later, Lady Nazia met with the Cardinal in the church. After many formalities, the Cardinal told her, "First you must meet with and work with those known as the Irregulars. They are a strange bunch and not very organized, but they are our main defense against our enemies."

Nazia Mujahid
Saracen Paladin
18th Rank


Batir saw the sign from Danae. It was scribed on a rooftop where Batir would see it on his nightly run through Camelot.

Batir, Go to the cardinal. You are needed to meet one from home.

Batir stopped. Why him. He was least among this family. He was not of royal breeding, but then none of the Irregulars were. Sighing, and hoping it was not one sent to try and return him for having killed the Imam's son. Batir had not wanted to do it, but the circumstances had left him no choice.

Batir entered the Church in Glastonbury, not entirely comfortable. He did not have much to do with any from the Church in Albion, other than Brother Jonn. He was brought into a over decorated room, hung with rich drapings and over done in gold and satins. Batir had never like the ostentatious displays of the church, wishing for the simple building of his home.

The cardinal was seated faacing him, trying to make conversation with someone in armor. Likely a paladin. ONe of hte holy warriors of this realm. The Cardinal looked up and saw the Assassin enter. Quickly dismissing htel ook of dislike from his face, the churchman greeted Batir. "Please, come, there is one you need to meet and take to your guild." He motioned to the figure rising from the cahir.

Batir could tell it was a woman in the armor, but when she lifted her helm, he saw she was of his homeland. He bowed to her. "Salâmu-'Alaikum, welcome to Albion, how may I help you?"

Batir


The heat of Glastonbury's sweltering summer afternoon was slowly fading. The merchants would soon close their shops, the children retreat indoors, and the night would embrace those who sought shelter in the deep shadows and black corners. Yulian stood in his tower on the edge of town, smelling, tasting, absorbing the approaching night. The shutters were thrown open on all four sides to let as much of the coming night air seep into the small chamber as possible. The night was Yulian's playground.

But on this evening, so much like any other, a new aroma drifted across the cobbles of Glastonbury. Squinting against the glare of the failing sun, Yulian's eye found what his nose had already detected....a stranger making his way down the main road. He sat proud on his colorful horse, almost too proud. The glint of armor made it difficult to discern much at this distance, but the arch in the man's back was plainly evident. The armor, the steed, the confidence with which the warrior rode all bespoke one thing....a holy knight.

The knight grew closer to the tower, not knowing what lurked above. Paladins and cabalists had worked together in ancient tales but there was no love lost between them. Yulian watched intently as the knight rode unknowingly past. The knight was a bit smaller than Yulian had first thought. The scent was wrong as well...jasmine, honey, spices not found in this part of the world.

Yulian had to grip the shutter to stop himself from tumbling out the open window. The curves in the armor stunned him....this knight was a woman! He would wager a Saracen from her odor. Quickly the tower windows were closed, the candles lit, and the room prepared. Yulian had ways of his own to see the world beyond his sanctum, and tonight he would delve them all and find out what portent this young woman carried.....

Yulian Dragosani


I found myself back in Glastonbury. This place held a touch of the old innocence of the life I once had. The tavern was full this night. The air thick with the smoke from pipes and pungent cigars. It was also filled with the hum of gossip and strange tales regarding the arrival of a stranger. Not just any stranger, a female Paladin from Arabia.

Thoughts of Arabia tightened his throat, so he shook his head of the thoughts and continued to adjust his lute. It looked like a lute but it was an Arabic instrument from which the lute was fashioned after.

I could not help but wonder at who and why this Faris was here. Listening to the stories of how this stranger entered town, seemed very out of place for a Faris. They are not known for such pagentry. Unlike the Christian Paladins. And then the thought stuck him. Could it be her! But how?! She was just learning to be a Faris. But even then he had seen a more distinguishing character in her.

"Oye mate!" The tavern patron called to him. "Are ye gonna play dat thing or we gonna have to wait all night? He pointed to the lute.

"You are right good sir. Tis the time to play and make merriment!

I pushed the thoughts aside and started to play. Unbeknowst to me it was a tune from Arabia.

Chiraghdin Daaim


A haunting accompaniment rose softly from the back of the tavern. The subtle tones of the double wood flute, a maqrum, blended effortlessly with Chiraghdin's 'Ud chords. A Saracen figure slowly moved towards Chiraghdin, following the stringed instrument's melody.

Cervantes had heard of the arrival of the Saracen Knight, even from afar during his travels in search of answers to recent events. The arrival remained a mystery so far. He would have to stay near Glastonbury now, and find out what he could.

CVL


As I finished the song, I notice a Saracen heading towards me. He seemed intrigued by the song. It probably reminded him of home.

When he is near I bow and greet him in his native tongue. "Assalamu'alaikum brother!" I notice a brief sense of shock cross his face. I smirk. It never ceases to amuse me. The look on their faces when a Highlander speaks to them in their tongue. I continue to speak to him in his language. "Did you enjoy the song? I hope I did it justice, if you have heard it before."

I point to a table off to the side. "Would you care to join me for a drink and some tales?"

Chiraghdin Daaim


"Walaikum 'salaam, good sir. It is good to see one of my homeland in such a...."she looks at the opulent setting with disdain written on her face, "different place." She looks at Batir and speaks in their native tongue. "It seems that my commander and his superiors believe that there is the possibility of peace between these lands and ours if we merely understand each other better. I am no diplomat, unless steel is diplomacy, but here I am. I am tasked to help assist in defending against the pagan attacks. The Cardinal says you can introduce me to your organization." She stands, "I would be grateful if I could meet them soon, as I would like to begin my duties."

Nazia Mujahid


A bloodied note, Part VI
« on: Jun 26th, 2002, 8:53pm »

Excelsius walked among the crypt containing generations of friars and holy men of his Order. The crypt was beneath the abbey, and contained not only the remains of men and women but artifacts of great import to the Order. As such, the crypt was kept from common folk and only accessed from secret passages secured by intricate Saracen locks and stout friars.

He walked solemnly and slowly through the crypt, thumbing a rosary and chanting prayers to the dead. Shelves cut within the bedrock housed skeletal remains of dead friars wrapped in plain linen. He came finally to his destination, a simple tomb within the middle of a widening in the passage. Upon the tomb lid - a single piece of white stone - a simple cross and the words "AVGVSTVS PROCINTVS" was inscribed.

The friar stood, rocking slightly, and chanted prayers for a long while. As he meditated, his mind cleared of all thought. Without notice, he was slowly emersed in a vision. A vision of his former friar master.

"Friar Excelsius, your heart is burdened with my death. Do not be," the vision of Friar Augustus spoke in an ethereal tone.

"I failed ye, Augustus... I was part o' deeds tha' jus..."

"T'was the doing of Morgana and her ilk, Friar Excelsius. Ye held on longer than I could, so that your friends could help you, and thus break her plans," said the vision.

"Perhaps... but the scars be deep, Augustus... an' ye are gone,... the Order is in collapse..." Excelsius whispered.

The vision of Augustus Procintus smiled angelically, and reassuredly began, "The Order Procintus has not seen it's last days, good friar. It will flourish again, under new direction, new learning, new insight."
---
Excelsius emerged from the lower floors of the abbey, praying as he walked, thinking of the blessed vision he had received. As he made his way contemplatively out into the sunlight, he could see that the old abbey was again filled with the chanting of monks, while others swept paths or tended to gardens in the cloister.

The friar stood for a while, among the fruit trees and gardens in the central court of the cloister. "Aye," he thought, "the Order is more than Augustus, and will survive. Now I must return t' Glastonbury, an' tend t' me mates there. But first, a meditation afore leavin'."

The friar sat on a stone bench within the eden-like cloister, and poured himself a tankard of Friar's Special Reserve.

Excelsius
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earthwulf
Diddly Womper, 1st class
 
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:57 am

Hail Glastonbury Irregulars, Me New Family
« on: Jul 6th, 2002, 8:20pm »

I came ter a meeting o a company fine people in a bar by the behest o me friend Doil. They asked o me ter join in thar festivities, and ter join in thar fellowship. Well I accepted and they now be me family wich I be proud ter be a part of. I ave gone on a few sorties wit them and traded quips wit them and I tell ye the Irregulars be the finest group o peaple I ave ad the pleaser ter know.
<Lifts>
Ter the Irregulars, the finest group o chums a young Cleric could ave.
<hiccups>

Rhendadd of the Irregs.


The feelin' be mutual - ye about our 'initiation', aye?

Brother Jonn, get the tankards! Ye've a new recruit t' drink wi'!

Ex


Initiation? <pulls>

Ok, I'm ready go ahead<grins>

Proud member of S.N.E.A.K. -Local 214
Lorric-50 Sneak
Sieben-43 Bowman
Doil- 43 Dancer


The Great Drink Off
« on: Jun 20th, 2002, 9:01pm »

This has been rattling around in my head, since the other night. The poem is one of my favorite Shel Silverstien pieces, and it hit me that I could make a few changes to it. This is the result of my twisted thinking. Also, Daylan, no hard feelings, but I needed someone who was known for tending bar, and you were the one that came to mind.

In the fair and righteous realm of Albion,
There lived a friar who was well known, going by the name of Jonn.
He had been drinking most all of his life, and it was widely told,
That he could drink them faster, than any ‘tender could pour.
His legend finally reached Daylan, Friar once of the Crimson Band,
Well known for serving drinks to any that needed one.
With his hands on taps, and full of beer tap lore,
“No way can he drink them faster than I can quickly pour.”

So a note gets sent to Jonn, who was drying up Humberton.
Daylan want a drink off, for the champion of this world.
“Well bring him on” says Jonn, “I’ll drink until he drops.”
Says Daylan, “I’ll pour them for that sot until he ups and pops.”
So they rented out The Mug, and the word did quickly spread.
“Come one, come all that walk or crawl, the price-just one keg per head.
And from every town and hamlet, over land and sea they speed
The world's greatest drinkers with the Worlds greatest beer.

And the grand old house that Farris built is filled with the smoke and cries
Of fifty thousand screaming heads all drunk out of their minds.
And they play the national anthem and the crowd lets out a roar
As the spotlight hits Jonn and Daylan, ready for their drinkin' war
At a table piled up high with glasses, as high as a mountain peak
And hundreds of kegs, the best that they could seek.

And Daylan rubs his hands together, and Jonn, he just grins.
The crowd yells “GO!” And the great drink off begins.

Daylan flicks his magic fingers once and ZAP! That first one’s poured.
Jonn takes one swig with his mighty lips and WOOSH! that mug is hurled.
Then Daylan, he pours his Super Bomb that’d paralyze a moose.
And Jonn takes one super hit and SLURP! that bomb’s defused.
Then he pours three in just ten seconds and Jonn sucks 'em down in nine,
And everybody sits back and says, "This just might take some time."
See the blur of flyin’ fingers, see the red torches burnin’ bright
As the night turns into mornin’ and the mornin’ fades to night
And the autumn turns to summer and a whole damn year is gone
But the two still sit on that beer-filled stage, pourin' and rollin' on.
With tremblin’ hands Daylan pours his beers with fingers blue and stiff
Jonn coughs and stares with bloodshot gaze, and slurps through blistered lips.
And as he reaches out his hand for another mug of gold
The Kid he gasps, “damn it, Jonn, there's nothin' left to Pour!"
"Nothin’ left to pour?", bellows Jonn, "Are you some twisted Dink?”
“I didn't come here to fark around, man, I come here to DRINK!"

And Jonn reaches out, and grabs Daylan up, and puts him in a keg.
Pounds down the lid, tightly shut, and then shakes out his leg.
“I need a drink, right now is seems, and my bartender’s out of beer.”
Jonn looks around, and then goes out, to relieve himself, and find another drink.

In the fair and righteous realm of Albion,
There lived a friar who was well known, going by the name of Jonn.
He had been drinking most all of his life, and it was widely told,
That he could drink them faster, than any ‘tender could pour.
While off in Camelot, in an Inn once called The Mug.
There is a keg that rocks and knocks about, kind of like a bug.
And underneath it, like an epitaph, there lies a written scroll.
“Beware of being the bartender, when there is nothing left to pour.”

Brother Jonn


The Quary
« on: Apr 4th, 2002, 12:39pm »

Lorric crouched near the base of a tree and scanned the area. He had been three days hunting this Shadowblade. The two of them had fought a dozen times, and Lorric showed the signs of many cuts over his hide. She was as good as he was and he knew he had landed just as many blade strikes. He was sure she was feeling the after effects of his venom as he was feeling hers.

So far the battle was a draw. Every time they started to trade blows allies from one side or the other would join in the fight and forced a retreat of the outnumbered assassin. Once even a trio of Celts tried to eliminate the both of them, and the two were forced to team up for the moment to fend off these interlopers. All three fell to their blades and they had parted, neither having the energy to continue their own dance against the other.

Lorric looked around cautiously. The Battleground held other enemies as well, and getting caught unaware was not going to help him catch his quarry. Yesterday he had happened upon a wounded Warrior with a foul kobold kicking her, working up the courage to finish off the barely conscious fighter. He had stepped into the shadows and as stealthily as possible moved to save the helpless warrior. His blades had made short work of the foul creature, and it died with a look of utter surprise. As he checked on the downed fighter he saw allies approach over a nearby hill with a cleric in their midst. "You're safe now. A Cleric is on his way" and with that said he moved once more to the shadows and continue his pursuit.

It had been only a few hours before now that he came across a slew of Trolls and Norse hiding behind trees near the main road. His allies, he could hear, were walking straight into the trap set by these foul minions. Moving quickly he intercepted the force and warned them of the ambush. He was aghast as the leader of this band scoffed at him, telling him that since he was one of the lower classes it was understandable that Lorric should think there was a trap set, but as one of the Noble classes he knew the Barbarians weren't intelligent enough to use tactics as such. Lorric stepped back into the shadows and trailed the arrogant Noble, as much as he would like to see him learn about tactics the hard way Lorric was not about to let his countrymen die because of a foolish Noble. The trap was sprung and the hapless Albion's were set upon. Lorric picked out a troll and moved in. The fight was brief and the troll fell to Lorric's flashing blades. Fortunately the others with the Noble heeded the warning and had been prepared for the fight, and were upon the enemy with a quickness that Lorric hadn't thought possible. As the fight continued Lorric spotted a movement off to one side. It was the Shadowblade he had been after, and he moved quickly to engage her. But the battle was going against the Midguardians and they were in full flight, and Lorric once again had lost sight of his quarry.

Now Lorric needed to move quickly for he could hear the sounds of many of the enemy, and he knew he was near their keep. That meant safety for the Shadowblade and peril for him. As he crested a small hill He could she her. She was on top of a bridge within a stones throw of the keep. She had made it to safety and was Lorric wasn't foolish enough to try to go after her.

As Lorric watched the as Shadowblade stopped and turned. Waving and blowing him a kiss before she once again continued to the safety of the keep. Lorric smiled and waved back. They would meet again, of that he was sure. With that done Lorric once again stepped to the shadows.


OCC- Hope ye don't Mind me posting this here. A couple of ye were along for a bit of this adventure. And no Wulf ye are NOT the Noble in the story, That other Goof is.

Proud member of S.N.E.A.K. -Local 214
Lorric-50 Sneak
Sieben-43 Bowman
Doil- 43 Dancer


Half concious, lying face down on the ground of Thidranki, Carac pondered her rather prone position, mere feet from the bridge, and behind the group of attackers. Many times a troll or norseman would tromp past, unconcerned for her dead body lying in the mud. Luckily none of those dirty little kobolds had been near her.

The pull of the bindstone was growing stronger, but she refused to let go, in hopes that even in half-conciousness, she could somehow be of aid to her fellows. With little time left until the bindstone would call her home, a few stragglers from the Midgard camp came to watch over the bodies of the slain, with more than a few gestures. Just a troll and a kobold remained watching, and not well, the kobold was so distracted with jeering and taunting the corpses that he did not see the infiltrator Lorric sneak up behind him... In mid jump, Lorric's blades pierced his back, and just seconds later, he was lying dead, a victim of his own taunting. Laughter was contained by Carac's limited conciousness, but this was a moment she would never forget.

Carac Dhun
-Armswoman for Albion


"Oi, I canne believe hoe dense I be," Earthwulf thought as he fell yet another time 'neath the weapons of the North. "After I took tree o 'em down, I were gettin a wee bit cocky... must meke er note ter mesel': ne'er letcher emotions pull ye inter battle, 'specially when ye gots th' Cowards o' Light as yer backup..."

Still, all in all he had gotten his blood up and pumping again. He knwe that he must listen more to the wise ones amongst them next time, such as Lorric and Carac. He also knew that he needed more learning. And finally, he knew that he would never trust a Child of Light again.

Earthwulf


<grumbles> I still aint found her. But when I do....<fingers>

Proud member of S.N.E.A.K. -Local 214
Lorric-50 Sneak
Sieben-43 Bowman
Doil- 43 Dancer


Whiskey, the Lords Drink
« on: Sep 3rd, 2002, 10:34pm »

Some o ye may ave sampled o it, and most o ye may ave heard o it, but ter clear the mistery a tale i will tell(though it be breif fer i am no a good teller o tales).

One night after I lay me head down and dozed as I were contemplating where else ter look in me quest fer brew and fer gaining seasons on me fellow villager Credic, I were visited by a revelation from The Lord. He says ter me "Young cleric why do you stop ter rest without refreshment?"
And I says," Cause me bottle be empty and so do me travelin keg and i been travelin fer days and ave no been into a town with a Inn fer weeks."
The Lord says ter me then," Fear not Young cleric for all you have to do is look deep in your mind and you will find the knowlege there for My own Brews and will then have ye full bottles and kegs.
And you shall pass them to those you feel are friends and family for with this drink you will have the power to bring the Heathens unto My flock and restore order in the fair lands of Aurthur, your lost King.
Gaurd this recipe jealeously however for the heathens will try to steal it from you and they will try to deprive you of drink for the rest of your mortal life."
Says I ," Aye Me Lord so shall it be done, as me life is now pledged ter yer cause more than before. And I shall
strive me best ter convert the Heathens unto ye with this brew as a symbol o Yer power."
Then the Lord sighed and mumbled something bout drunkin clerics givin Him grey hairs, and turned round and left.
So remember whoever should see me bout should ask fer a sup and i'll proudly pass it round.
By the way as anyone seen Credic as o late i still can no find him.<sighs>Well back ter me quest fer learnin thanks fer yer time and such.<hiccups>

Rhendadd
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earthwulf
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Posts: 1908
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:58 am

Oi Deadus
« on: Sep 27th, 2002, 2:42am »
Stop hiding from iD.

<slap>

And when are you going to come hunting with Ribsy, never farking see you in Albion these days!
---
Dear Elorian

I object to your empty accusations of "hiding".

In my defense i would like to mention the high lord Iguru. He supplies me with fresh trout each day, which, i think everyone will agree, puts shame to your wild accusations of "hiding" (as you put it).

To further prove the emptyness of your incinuations, i would like to quote an article from the Camelot Mail, written by the very respected Captain Birdseye.

Elorian is a paragon of evil at its most wicked, but, as you know, Elorian's eccentricity is surpassed only by his vanity. And his vanity is surpassed only by his empty theorizing. (Remember his theory that a plausible excuse is a satisfactory substitute for performance?) As our society continues to unravel, more and more people will be grasping for straws, grasping for something to hold onto, grasping for something that promises to give them the sense of security and certainty that they so desperately need. These are the sorts of people Elorian preys upon. The idea of basing our entire society on pretentious cynicism is so far from reality, it's laughable. And that's all I have to say. Arr."

I think that proves my point suitably.

Deadus, the colourful Paladin


Goblin raids- The Defenders assemble
« on: Oct 11th, 2002, 10:22am »

It was a cool overcast night. The moon illuminated the landscape with a dull blue patina. Large round eyes surveyed the countryside. The violent eyes were set in a large head, sitting on a muscular body, with a curved spine. These were the goblins of the Black Mountains. The goblins served one master. Overseer Tepok. The goblins stood together outside of the mine that was their dominion. Tonight they would leave the comfort of their brutal mine and raid the humans for food, and entertainment. Puffs of white steam escaped their malicious lips as they grunted to each other. The raiding party moved down the mountain to take what they wanted.

* * *

The town center seemed busier than it normally was. There were lots of voices speaking at once. The fear and anger in the air was palpable. She did not involve herself in the matters of town folk but this time curiosity got the better of her.

“Ma wife has no awaken for two days now.” The rugged man said. “It was the goblins, I tell ya. They cast some sorta foul magic on her and too a few ma sheep and raided the grains locker.” Two young boys clung to the man’s leg. Fear evident in their saucer eyes.

The people around the farmer, listened and a murmur of frustration and anger passed their lips.

Another man came forward. “And what are we ter do ‘bout the loss of poor Ceile here?” The man pointed to a woman sitting on the dirt street, crying. Her chin pressed into her chest and she rocked back and forth, muttering something. The man continued, “She here has just had her baby boy taken away from her. We must save him and return him to his mother.”

At this moment, a short stocky figure entered the circle of people. The others gathered there seemed to recognize him. His name was Brother Excelsius, a friar and an Irregular.

He raised his hands to bring silence to the crowd. His speech was slightly slurred. It was well know in Glastonbury the drinking habits of this friar. But people respected him and his group called the Irregulars. “I have heard of the misfortunes that have befallen these two good people and others in our town.” Excelsius stopped to clear his throat. “I have notified the Irregulars to gather together and look into this matter. I have also sent pigeons to the Defenders to provide support to rectify this matter.”

“What will ye do? Go after the goblins?” A voice shouted from the crowd. “How’en ye expect ter find the missing boy and a cure for the woman? The goblins have most likely returned ter their mine.”

Brother Excelsius listened to the man and replied, “We indeed will return the boy, with the Church’s blessing, unharmed. We also intend to find a cure fer the ailing woman.” At this point a few of the Irregulars had made their way around their leader. “And we will do this by going into the mines.”

The crowd started to speak amongst themselves. Words such as “foolish”, “impossible”, and “death” could be heard.

Excelsius announced to the towns’ people that the Irregulars, Defenders, and any else that wished to join in entering the mines would be welcomed. They would assemble at a small outpost and depart within the hour.

At the outpost many gathered. Several Defenders and Irregulars had come together to ease the threat from these goblins. On this day, nobles and Irregulars worked together for a common goal for the good of the people.

Excelsius organized the groups and Sieben Dunham, master scout of the Irregulars, was chosen to lead the way into the mines. Lords and Ladies from the Royal Knights and Brotherhood of the Wolf were also present to provide assistance if needed.

Surround the mines were a few goblin guards. The gathered force dispatched them quickly. Sieben carefully led the Defenders into the dark mouth of the mine.

Inside the mine, the Defenders found a place full of horror. Piles of bones littered the corners. Webbing from very large spiders covered the upper and lower corners of the cavern. Beetle-like creatures worked on clearing the bones of any remnant of flesh. The walls illuminated the air with a strange orange glow. There was a constant ‘clicking’ sound in the background. The air was stagnant at times and then whistled past their ears. The air had a musty smell mixed with the scent of urine and feces.

The Defenders followed Excelsius deeper into the mines, after Sieben had returned from his scouting. The Defenders moved through the mines, combating goblins, giant spiders, giant scorpions, and other foul creatures. Giant bears, dark panthers and Trolls assaulted the Defenders. A few Defenders fell under the attack but were returned thanks to the Clerics. Oft times they heard the cries of a child echo through the mines. Sieben led them to where he thought the boy might be but…nothing. The Defenders moved deeper and deeper into the mines and all they found were twisted creatures. Goblins, trolls and mutated large beasts attacked them and each other at times. A few of the Defenders emptied their stomach overcome by the stench of the dead.

On one gigantic troll, a gruesome discovery was made. Within the belly of the creature was found the leg of a boy. It was freshly eaten, given the stomach acid had not broken it down. The Defenders were filled with a renewed determination to find the boy, if he still lived and to find the cure for the woman. They pressed on, until Sieben called for the Defenders to ready themselves for a fight against the Overseer himself. Drums filled the air. Howls and screams came from everywhere. The Defenders stood at a crossroads, backs to each other. Ready for what was to come.

Overseer Tepok appeared with several of his minions. Tepok towered over all the goblins and his face was even more cruel and twisted with hate than any of the other goblins. Akin to a dark wave of hate, the goblins and trolls fell upon the Defenders with pure malice in their eyes. Magic, both foul and good, radiated the air. Screams erupted from the mouths of the Defenders and the denizens of the mine.

After what seemed a very long time, the bodies of the goblins, trolls and Overseer Tepok littered the mine floor. Sadly, the bodies of a few Defenders also lay amongst the fallen. The clerics came to raise them again. After a careful search, a vial of bluish liquid was found on Overseer Tepok. The clerics said it would cure the woman of her ailment. The Defenders rejoiced with the news whilst they recovered from the battle.

Shortly thereafter Sieben and his party of scouts returned. They notified the group that they had spotted a small body in another cavern. It looked to be the dining hall of Overseer Tepok. They would have to go through a few more goblins and trolls to reach the boy.

The Defenders rose to the challenge and with magic and blade, killed what stood in their way to reach the boy. The clerics examined the boy, who was in a very bad condition. But it was proclaimed that the boy would survive. Although he would be left with only one leg.

The Defenders fought their way out of the mine and returned to Glastonbury victorious.

Chiraghdin Daaim


Excelsius applied a few battlefield prayers to the child, but knew the Clerics would be needed to return the lad to fair condition. The affair of the antedote he would leave in the hands of Sinestro - whom else would understand the workings of such majiks? T'was a good thing her knowledge of virulent and poisonous arcana benefited Albion, for such werks were indeed powerful.

"Tha' horrid mine is a bane t' the Black Mountians. Well done t' ye who entered it knowin' th' dangers!"

Ex


Into the depths of darkness
« on: Oct 30th, 2002, 12:13pm »

Sieben and Lorric followed the trail that weaved its way towards the north thru the frontier. Lorric watched the surrounding area as Sieben led on.

After several hours Sieben stopped. “‘Ere take a gander at this." Sieben said pointing to a small area.

"What is it?" Lorric asked as he knelt to examine the small patch of foam upon the ground.

Sieben laughed “‘Aven ye ever seen what's left over when some one tosses but 'as nothing ta toss?" Lorric grimaced as he realized exactly what it was he was looking at.

"Only thin that gets me bout this is," continued Sieben, "this be the end o' the trail. There be no tracks leadin anywhere from 'ere."

Lorric looked up at his brother "Ye telling me he jus disappeared?"

"Aye, as far as his trail goes no struggle, no fightn, jus poof, gone."

Lorric was just about to ask another question when a blood curdling scream was let out from up the nearby hill. As both brothers looked in that direction they were set upon by a score of Northmen. Several of the foul enemies quickly fell from the arrows of the bowman and the flashing blades of his brother. As the Northmen surrounded the brothers Sieben dropped his bow and the brothers fought back to back. Blades gleaming red with blood the brothers fought on against the seemingly endless hoard.

Lorric sat alone at his usual table in the corner, drinking a mug of Daylan's coffee, thinking back to that search for his friend Earthwulf. He missed his rambunctious friend, gone now to places unknown.

Bodies of Northmen, Trolls, and Kobolds lay strewn about. The dead encircled a lone body, slowly tiring to move. The invaders had left, returning north from where they came. Leaving the Lorric for dead. The fight had been fierce. The brothers had fought against hopeless numbers.

Sieben had used his skill with the bow until the closeness of the fight no longer made it useful. Tossing it at the nearest assailant he had pulled his sword and shield and protected his brothers back.

Lorric was a blur of blades, felling many of the assailants that came to close. The air around the pair exploded. Lorric spotting the caster had made a dash to keep him from throwing the magical death at the pair. Ducking past a Troll that took a swipe with a large axe, he had rushed upon the now frightened caster. He sunk his blade deep in the hapless figure, watching as the venom took its victim. Seeing a flash in the corner of his eye, his side erupted in pain. Lorric realized he was too far from his brother’s helpful shield.
Fighting off the red haze that threatened to overwhelm him, he struggled back in the direction of Sieben. Another arrow pierced his leg as he tried to get passed the axe wielding Troll a second time. The pain overwhelming him, he moved to slow to dodge the axe once again. Biting deep into his shoulder he collapsed in a haze or red, his last vision had been of Sieben being overwhelmed by a dozen invaders.

Lorric took a sip of the steaming mug. Something had snapped that day. These days the thoughts he had teetered on the edge of insanity.

Lorric slowly pulled his way to where he had last seen Sieben. His vision blurry with pain and exhaustion.

Passing out every few minutes, his determination to help his brother pushed him on. Slowly had got to the point he had last seen his brother.

Three things remained of Sieben, his bow, sword, and shield.

Of his brother there was no sign. In grief and anguish he let the darkness he'd been fighting against overwhelm him.
Lorric thanked the barmaid as she refilled his mug. He had been there for hours thinking of the past.

Lorric awoke to a dark cave. The only light from what he could see through the haze of pain was a small campfire. He could hear someone talking as the darkness of unconsciousness closed in once again.

Lorric looked around the Laughing Lion. A few of his friends lingered around, others off on some adventure or other task.

Lorric opened his eyes to the dark cave once again. Looking around he saw that this was someone’s home, furs lay about as bedding and a small cooking fire was in the center of the small cave. Lorric spotted his armor and blades across the room. Quickly realizing that sitting up was a bad idea as the pain from his wounds let him know they weren’t fully healed. Feeling his shoulder he found partially healed stitched gash. Moving his arm returned a sharp pain, and told him that the muscle under the stitches still had some mending to do. Looking around Lorric began to wonder how long he had been here. Several weeks at least from the partially healed wounds he had.

He could see his equipment neatly stored, the blood cleaned from it, and his blades freshly oiled. Next to it Lorric saw his brothers few items that had been left of the battlefield. A pang of sorrow hit Lorric as he remembered the disappearance of his brother.

He began to wonder who had saved him as well. That’s when the Elf walked in.
A smile crossed Lorric's face, the first in a long time. He took another sip from his coffee, watching several of the Gaston’s in a heated argument about something.

The Elf man knelt down next to Lorric. Reflexively Lorric tensed up, expecting some sort of attack. None came, the Elf simply checked the stitches to make sure they were ok. Lorric looked up at the Elf not sure what to think of this man who was normally an enemy. The Elf simply smiled and said something in a language that Lorric did not understand. The Elf went over to the fire and removed a kettle from the ashes. He dished up a bowl of what ever was in it and returned to Lorric. From the motions the Elf made it was apparent that he wanted Lorric to eat some of the stew that the bowl contained.

Hesitantly Lorric tasted the stew, and finding it rather tasteful, ate hungrily. The Elf's smile broadened as the starving Lorric inhaled the contents of the bowl.

Lost in thought again Lorric sat quietly. The times of peacefulness like this were few and far between. The war on the frontier was heating up again and the incursions on Albion territory were becoming more common.

The weeks had passed, and Lorric had healed quite well under the Elf's care. The Elf, Lorric had discovered was one of Hibernia’s rangers, which explained how he was knowledgeable of wilderness living.

It had, over the weeks, become they're daily routine to spar. In an effort to get Lorric healing muscles to remember the use of blade fighting. They showed each other moves and tricks. The Elf showed Lorric how to use a bow, and both laughed when it was obvious that he had no skill with it. Lorric showed the Elf a few tricks in the use of stealth, and again both had laughed when they had snuck up on a hapless doe. The two had become friends, although both knew that they would never be compatriots.

They spent the late hours deep in conversation, even with no knowledge of each others language. Words were gestures and drawings in the caves floor.

It was one night that they were sitting in conversation that the Elf got up and went to the sword, shield, and bow of Sieben.
Lorric looked up at his friends. These were the best of the best in his opinion. Common folk all. He watched as they talked and drank, some had started a game of darts, others were playing cards. Lorric had one more friend though. One who would never be welcome at the Lion, nor amongst the Glastons.



The Elf pointed to Sieben's remaining gear, and then pointed out the cave. Lorric understood immediately. Sieben lived.

The Elf told the tale, gestures and drawings. Sieben had been captured, and taken to the Northman keep.
Lorric stood to leave right then, but the Elf stopped him. As Lorric scowled at his new friend, ready to run him threw in order to save his brother, the Elf showed him a parchment, it was a drawing or the keep.
Suddenly Lorric understood, all those times that the Elf had left the cave when Lorric was bedridden, he had been scouting the keep for when Lorric was healthy enough to rescue his brother. Lorric scowl turned into a smile of thanks. The two sat down and immediately came up with a plan.


Lorric looked up as the Glaston’s captain Excelsius entered.

"The heathens are on the move. We are rallying at Savauge. All Glastons report there."

The Laughing Lion cleared, Glaston's gulping down what was left of their drinks and making for the nearby stables.

Lorric finished his coffee, savoring its flavor, it might be awhile before he was able to enjoy another mug.

Tossing the barkeep a silver he made his was to the stables, and after a quick exchange with the stable master, he was galloping towards Sauvage.

It was about midnight Lorric figured. The Elf and he were standing in a small opening down the back of the keep hill. From what the Elf had found in is scouting, this was an escape tunnel, probably for any Northman noble incase the keep were overrun.

The two moved silently down the tunnel. Coming to a door, Lorric pulled out a couple small wires and proceeded to unlock it. Making sure there was no one about they entered the keep.

With it being late there were no guards about, and the two made it easily to the dungeon area. The single guard fell silently to Lorric's blades.

Quickly Lorric searched the cells as the Elf kept watch for anyone coming down the stair. Finding the one that Sieben was held, he opened it.

Sieben had been tortured, the Northmen trying to get any valuable information out of him. But they had kept him relatively healthy, for further use.

Lorric woke his brother with a hand over his mouth so the silence remained. Sieben's startled look quickly relaxed as recognition set in. the restraints were dropped and the two made their way, as quick as they could, back to the Elf guarding the door.

No words were exchanged as Sieben looked at the Elf, and a reassuring touch from Lorric confirmed that he was a friend.

The three made a quick exit, where two had entered the small opening three left by it.

They had not gotten far when the sounds of horns filled the night. The Northmen had found the slain guard and the now empty cell.

The three moved with as much haste as the bedraggled Sieben could muster. Lorric watched their backs as the Elf led the way.

Lorric hated horses, and despised the long rides it took. He dismounted at Sauvage and rubbed his sore legs.
Many of the Albion’s had answered that call and the forces were organizing. Lorric fell in with the other Glastons, and made ready to move out.

The morning sun shown above. The three had successfully evaded all the Northmen sent to hunt them down.
Sieben smiled at the Elf in thanks, and Lorric shared another laugh with his new friend. As the two uncommon friends looked at each other, the smiles turned a shade of sadness, they both knew it was time for the brothers to go home to Glaston. With hand shaking and hugs the friends said their goodbyes.

Proud member of S.N.E.A.K. -Local 214
Lorric-50 Sneak
Sieben-43 Bowman
Doil- 43 Dancer


As Glaston and Defender drew near Castle Sauvage and dismounted their exhausted horses, steam snorting from the beasts nostrils, the fighting band immediately gathered and began grouping their forces.

"Heathans in our frontier! Only one thin' could be worse, an' tha's elflings!" bellowed Excelsius as he began blessing the forces before battle.

As the Friar turned to Lorric to bestow heavenly agility and strength, he noticed an odd look in the infiltrator's eyes. Excelsius hesitated for a brief moment, pondering what was going through Lorric's mind. He shook off the notion and continued his prayers and preparations.

Ex


The fighting in the frontiers had been fierce. It had taken days for the Albion army to push the invaders back beyond the mile wall guarding the reaches of Albion territory.

Lorric stood on the ramparts keeping watch. Many of the Glastons took this time to eat or to sleep, not knowing when the next opportunity would arise.

Lorric had many times, over the months, come back to his Elf friend's cave. The visits were a joy for both. They had had a few adventures and it always seemed no matter the odds the two were unbeatable.

This time, as Lorric approached the cave, he got a bad feeling. Lorric trusted his instincts, they had saved his life on more than one occasion.

Slowly Lorric moved into a spot where he could see the cave. There was an Albion guard patrol there. Kneeling in the middle, bloody and bruised, was the Elf. Lorric watched and listened. From what he could make out, these guard intended to murder the Elf and take his ears for the reward.

Without thinking Lorric sprung into the clearing around the small cave, impaling the nearest guard on his blades. The Elf quickly kicked the feet from a second and used the rope that bound his hands to strangle him. Lorric attempted to finish the final guard quickly, but the guard took off running towards the keep he had come from. Lorric let him go.

Lorric helped the Elf up and cut the bonds the held him. After checking his friend for wounds he looked to where the guard had run. As he turned back to his friend, the Elf nodded. It was no longer safe for the Elf here in Albion.

Lorric helped his friend pack, and together they went north towards the Hibernian outpost.

They stopped just outside view of the outpost. Both friends looked at each other a last time, for neither thought they would ever see the other again. The Elf gave Lorric a small silver shamrock so the friendship could be remembered. Lorric looked in vain for something to give his friend, but the Elf just smiled and held up an identical charm.

The two shook hands and hugged one last time, and Lorric watched as his friend walked back to the outpost.

The invaders threw themselves against the doors yet again. Lorric stood blades at the ready, as the doors were about to give way.

With a crack they caved in, and the invaders poured threw. Lorric jumped on the nearest one, dragging him to the ground, and piercing his armor with his blades. Seeing a fellow Albion fall he quickly engaged the foe, blades rang off blades, and swords were dodged. The fight was a flurry of swordplay, but Lorric always was the better of the two and his opponent fell. Lorric moved from invader to invader, with an unbridled rage, killing all he came across. The fight quickly turned against the invaders, and they fell back threw the gate and retreated full force back the way they came. The surviving Albion’s cheered.

That night the Glastons gathered around a fire, telling tales of the days fight. The dead had been buried, the wounded treated. The invaders were gone and Albion was safe once again.

Over a fresh grave a shadowy figure knelt. It reached down and placed something on the fresh soil, then moved off into the darkness. From there a small giggle could be heard, the vestiges on sanity leaving a poor soul.

Out near the Mile Wall that protects the Albion’s from the Hibernian invaders there is a grave. Upon this grave a silver shamrock lays.

Proud member of S.N.E.A.K. -Local 214
Lorric-50 Sneak
Sieben-43 Bowman
Doil- 43 Dancer
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earthwulf
Diddly Womper, 1st class
 
Posts: 1908
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:45 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:58 am

Northlands
« on: May 29th, 2002, 1:54pm »

Trudging aimlessly through the frozen mountains, Earthwulf felt the delirium set upon him again. Would it be as bad as last time? Would he see the evil one yet again?

It began weeks ago, after one he had once called friend responded poorly to a bit of teasing. Earthwulf, without a cruel bone in his body, thought that it was all in good fun, but the blasted Witch had not taken it as such, and had over reacted. True, she had asked him to stop, and his Ma always said that when someone says stop... but he thought she was laughing with him. He was wrong.

Ever since that fateful day long ago, ale had been his friend and companion, and even nourished his body at times. He was not a drunkard or a sot, but he could hold his own... aside from the occasional roof tumbling incident. The Witch took that from him, took from him the one thing that could block out his daemons, daemons he had shielded his younger brother, the giant called Wulfling, from. Dru - he spit at the thought of her name - had cursed him. He could drink no more spirits without severe and debilitating pain; she had even taunted him, telling him to try wine... and he found it to be as bad as ale.

Shaking, Earthwulf fell into the snow, trying not to vomit yet again. Then, the kobold was there, transparent, blue, and maliciously grinning.

"Heh, humie wont cure now? Humie say no afore, but humie on right path. Come Gramma Selpat, Gramma Selpat wait Humie." And it was gone, like the other spirits that had appeared before him. Each time, it was a call from one of the Northfolk. His shaking was gone, though, and he got up, thankful for the lack of bile, and trudged on.

Another week passed, and he found himself in the cold, frozen northlands of Uppland. Hungry, tired, and exhausted from the shaking, he fell into the warm, lit cave. Before he passed out, a lumbering old Trollwoman cradled him, bringing him inside. As he was losing consciousness, he heard her say "Ah, humie find Gramma Selpat. Ye c'n be cure now, as long as Wolfhumie pay the price..."

In his dreams he wondered wot that price could be. He'd pay it. He'd pay anything.

Earthwulf


Rickon, far to the south, had heard of the curse. Shaking his head, he still could not believe that the curse would be that bad. "Yea can't take a man's ale away from him. I shall have to talk to Dru. That's going to far. " Rickon wonders how Earthwulf is taking this. "I hope yea are stronger than me lad."

Rickon Bloodthorn


"Iffn I ha known wha tha toe be fer I wouldna e'er done it!!" Boomed the young Credic. Looking around the Laughing Lion he suddenly turned grabbing his cloak and mattock, "I helped do this ta 'im an I'll get 'im out o this." With that Credic stomped out of the inn with a grim determined look.

The two brothers Sieben and Lorric watched as the armsman left. "Well," commented Sieben, "we better go find Wulf before 'e gets into too much trouble. "Sieben looked to Lorric. "I cin find 'im easy 'nough, the boy leaves a trail like a troll in a library, but I think I gonna be needn ye 'elp ta get 'im back 'ere." With a silent nod from Lorric, the two stood and walked out with only a cold silent look that Lorric tossed Dru as their farewell.

Lorric


"Thaere ther, Wolfhumie, Gramma Selpat take care you."

Earthwulf awoke with a start, staring at the largest ugliest face he'd ever seen, less than an inch away from his own. Instinctively, he grabbed for his hammer, but they weren't there... no, that wasn't it... his hands wouldn't move. He wasn't tied, just... immoblie. The Old trollwoman cackled. "Gramma Selpat no want you hurt self, make Wolfhumie no move. Wolf humie free now," she spat thses words gleefuly, waving her arms. Earthwulf felt... lighter. He sat p on the crude cot he was on.

"Wolfhumie eat now, make strong!" A hot steaming bowl of foul smeling stew was thrust into his hands. The wooden bowl, while fitting easily into the palm of his hosts hand, was too large for Earth's. He had always thought his hands were big, but Gramma Selpat's... he shuddered. "EAt! Eat, or Wolfhumie no good. No want Wolfhumie die." She grinned a plit toothed grin, wider than her human guest's head.

Earthwulf sighed. He plunged a hand into the hot, pungant goo, and tentatively took his first bite. His eyes widened, and he began shoveling the stew in, is hunger descending upon him all at once. The food was savory, meaty, and warm, with unimaginably delicious spices.

When he was done, Gramma Selpat pulled up a boulder sized chair, carved from...well, a boulder. "Gramma Selpat lift curse on Wolfhumie, but first Wolfhumie do for Gramma Selpat, yes?"

Carefylly, Earthwulf nodded. "aye. Derpinds on wot Selpat ha' in mind."

"Gramma Selpat tell Wolfhumie..."

Three days later, Earthwulf was fully rested and ready to begin his journey home, though with a heavy, troubled heart. "I cannae promise ye I c'n do it. I jes... cannae."

Cackling again, the old trollkinsaid "Gramma Selpat knoe, but Gramma Selpat think Wolfhumie will do it. And GrammaSelpat will be watch Wolfhumie." With that, her hand whipped out faster than lightning, hitting Eartwulf in the back He felt a searing senssation, a burning to his core. It lasted a split second, but it felt like forever.

Gramma Selpat handed hum a mirror. With it, he could see an ee, no bigr than his thumbprint, tatooed on is shoulderblade. And the eye moved.

"Get it off ye witch!" He growled and lunged for his pack, pulling a dart he had kept as a souviner from a happier time. He japped the dart at the eye, only to have te point turned into th deep flesh of his tricep. Pluckingthe dat out, he threw it with perfect accuracy at Grama Selpat's own eye, only to see it stop, hovering a hair from the pupil. "Get it OFF!" He roared and lunged at the roll, but was easily pushed away. All the wile, the trollkin chuckled.

"Wolfhumie knoe how to get eye gone. Wolfhumie leave, Gramma Selpat bored now." With that, she turned back to her cauldron.

Earthwulf turned, defeated. He gathered his things, and walked dejectedly out of the cave. As he passed through the mouth, he turned back, to try to protest once again... but the cave was empty. In disbelief, he turned back to the path infront of him, the path home. The path to anguish, betrayal, and unspeakable evil.

Astonisehd, he saw that he was only a half a mile from familiar Glastonbury. Turning back to the cave, he saw it, too had vanished, to be replaced by the stream he an his brothers frequented for their reading outings.

He started home, seeing a familiar sight bounding in his general direction, laden as if for a long journey. The figure had not noticed him yet. Earthwulf put on the happiest smile he could muster, making sure the eye was covered, and called out to his new friend.

'Credic, lad, whar ye 'eadin'?"

Earthwulf


“I did nae know." Credic unable to look Earthwulf in the eyes said humbly.
"I'll find a way ta 'elp ye o this I swear. Camelot 'as ta 'ave someone wit the learnin ta 'elp." and with that Credic turned from his friend and hurried down the road to Camelot.
"WHAT DA YE MEAN YE FARKIN DON KNOW HOW TA REMOVE THE CURSE!!! YE BE A MAGE DON YE!?!?"

Credic yelled at the hapless mage held feet off the floor by the scruff of his robes. Credic shook the man with each word " IFFN YE CINNA DO IT, TELL ME WHO CIN!?!?"

Upon the uttering the last words several of the city guards burst up the stairs alerted to an armsman rampaging thru the Academy. Credic, his warrior reflexes kicking in, tossed the hapless mage into the oncoming guards. With a high pitched scream and a multitude of grunts the mage landed in the middle of the guards coming up the stairs, causing them all to go fly back down in one tangled mess. Giving him enough time to make a hasty jump over the railing he quickly brandished his mattock he swung at the nearest guard knocking the wind out of him. Quick Credic made a break toward the entrance of the academy swinging his mattock back and forth to keep the guards at bay. Spotting one of the other robed mages starting to mumble a spell he quickly threw his mattock at him. The mage caught full in the face by the hurling weapon slumped to the floor the spell never being finished. The noise of guards rushing towards him forces Credic to leave his mattock un-retrieved and make a run for safety.

On the streets Credic runs down alley and street alike in an attempt to escape. Turning a corner he slams into another robed man sending them both to the ground. With a swift strike Credic knocked the poor man unconscious and listened for his pursuers. He sighed a bit of relief as he realized he'd lost them for the moment. Scowling at his lost mattock and looking down at robed figure. "I be really beginning ta not like these mages." he said under his breath. Suddenly an idea forms and a smirk crosses the armsman’s face.


The guardsman peered down the street looking for the highlander in green and black armor bearing the boar of the Irregulars upon his cloak. The Academy was in an uproar over the whole thing, and wanted the armsman brought to justice. Three guards and two of the fledgling mages had been hurt and a cleric had to be brought in to tend them. All the gates guards had been doubled to make sure the man could not escape Camelot. Now there was just to find this renegade warrior.

Lost in thought and intent on his search the guard failed to notice the steel plate gauntlets on the tall highlander robed mage as he walked by.
Sieben and Lorric followed the trail that weaved its way towards the north thru the frontier. Lorric watched the surrounding area as Sieben led on.

After several hours Sieben stopped. “‘Ere take a gander at this." Sieben said pointing to a small area.

"What is it?" Lorric asked as he knelt to examine the small patch of foam upon the ground.

Sieben laughed “‘Aven ye ever seen what's left over when some one tosses but 'as nothing ta toss?" Lorric grimaced as he realized exactly what it was he was looking at.

"Only thin that gets me bout this is," continued Sieben, "this be the end o' the trail. There be no tracks leadin anywhere from 'ere."

Lorric looked up at his brother "Yer telling me he jus disappeared?"

"Aye, as far as his trail goes no struggle, no fightn, jus poof, gone."

Lorric was just about to ask another question when a blood curdling scream was let out from up the nearby hill. As both brothers looked in that direction they were set upon by a score of Northmen. Several of the foul enemies quickly fell from the arrows of the bowman and the flashing blades of his brother. As the Northmen surrounded the brothers Sieben dropped his bow and the brothers fought back to back. Blades gleaming red with blood the brothers fought on against the seemingly endless hoard.

A small deer retuned to her meal of grass and leaves, relaxing as the sounds of steel and men that had startled her fade into the echoes of silence once more.

Lorric, formerly Credic the Armsman


Dirt caked his face... his body. Blood, dried and fresh, painted him from head to toe. He had done it. He could dink his Nectar again, but at what cost?

Time had slipped by him... had it been months? Years? Or merely an hour? He did not know... all he knew was pain, and that he was finally free. Someone had destroyed the soulstone of the Gramma Selpat, and destroyed it at the exact moment that was necessary to aid in his escape. Selpat had screamed as Earthwulf ripped her heart out, and her face changed into that of her Mistress.

"You think this is over," Morrgan hissed in the apparition, "but tis not over. Your Irregulars shall suffer the wrath of a thousand hells when for a thousand infinite lifetimes..."

Her voice trailed off, and Gramma Selpats returens, now dead, eyes bulging from her sockets. She had told Earthwulf that the stone was hundreds of miles away in the deepest part of Morrgan's lair, where none but a ghost could reach. From what Earth had learned, if the soulstone were destroyed, the soul would return to the body of it's owner within seconds, but the owner would be vulnerable to everything in that time, immobilized and in agony.

Earthwulf lay there, trying to block out the pain. He had made the decision to fight Selpat, and would die in the attemp, he knew. A brave death, he thought, though for an ignoble purpose. The only possible way for him to succeed, especially in his weakened state, was if the soulstone were destroyed, and destroyed at the moment he made his attack. Earthwulf had had no hope of this.

Breathing shallow, rapid breaths as he lay there in the now-empty cave (where had it all gone, he wondered... was anything ever there?), he wanted to rest, just for a moment.

Eyes closed, he remembered the fight. Flinging his battered, bleeding, broken body at the ugly troll as she began to spoon the foul gruel that served as his only source of sustinance into his mouth, she laughed. His shattered arm draped limply about the creatures neck, the arm he had been building up drew back for one punch, all he had in him. She touched a jewel on her neck, and fire burned through him, from groin to brain.

And then it happened. Her piercing voice shrilly filled the air, and she froze. He body seemed weak, pilable. He threw his punch, and felt his hand smash into the chest of his tormenter. Grasping the beating heart, he pulled hard, and the green, pulsing organ came out in his hand.

He relished this, as he lie there, thirsty, hungry, and in pain... possibly dying. But he was free.

He wondered, however, who had destroyed the soulstone? And why right then?

Earthwulf


Lorric sat down against the wall of the cave, exhausted from the fight. Morrgan was back and far more powerful than before. He looked upon the shattered shards of glass and remembered what he had gone through to get this far.

It had been months, his search for his old friend taking him far into the debts of the darkest of evils. The information he had found on the Lich that had ambushed him had led him here, this simple cave. He had been in it's debts for days, following it's twists and turns, always downwards. He hadn't encountered much, a few walking dead, but not enough to worry him. That was before he had entered the final chamber.

Looking down from his perch he could see a force gathering, a veritable army of the foul creatures, surrounding a single figure. Morrgan. He knew her well, and he knew he couldn't beat her by himself.

He sat and watched, the army was moving out, leaving by a magical portal. He watched as Morrgan went through the portal. If he could keep the rest of this army from following she would be cut off, and perhaps what ever was on the otherside could defeat her. Quickly he looked about seeking the source of the portal.

He spied a gem on a pedestal, glowing the same hue as the portal. Quickly he jumped down from his perch. Moving in the direction of the pedestal. A few of the greater undead saw movement, his ability to move undetected useless against their unholy senses. The shriek they let out alerted the remaining of Morrgan's undead army to his presence.

Pulling blades he became a whirlwind of force, dispatching all who came near him. He fought with complete abandon, but it was hopeless, the undead were pushing him back. Knowing his own death was at hand, he was determined to take as many of these ungodly creations with him.

That's when a face appeared, an old man, ancient beyond years.

"The gem! To save yourself and your friend you must destroy the gem! Now! Do it now, boy!"

Without thinking he threw his blade at the gem. As it flew at it's target it began to glow. Then it struck, the explosion knocked Lorric to the ground. All light vanished.

It was some time later that Lorric awoke and stood. The cave empty, but for bones of the former undead army littering the floor.

As Lorric sat against the wall, he thought of Earthwulf. His friend he said. Could the old man have meant him? And if so where was his old ally. Lorric sat in the darkness and wondered many things.

Lorric/Credic


Trudging in and out of wakefulness, wandering without a thought, nothing reached Earthwulf's senses. Pain, hunger, thirst... he knew he had eaten, but didn't know where or when.. or even what. He only knew that he was free, out of the mountains, and on his way home.

And then he coud not go on.

He lay there, deep in some unknown forest, ready to die. There was a rustling in some nearby bushes, and Earthwulf steeled himself. Whatever it was, he'd not be able to raise an arm, much less defend himself. In the gleaming twilight, Earthwulf would die, but die free. The shining metallic beast loomed over him, great hammer strapped to it's back.

Earthwulf


Somewhere behind shadow and wall lurked something, or someone. Lorric's training was that of shadows, and little could remain hidden long from him. Large, black eyes. Angular facial features. Small frame.

Lorric pretended not to notice, but kept a steady watch on the creature. Then, to his surprise - it came forth from the shadows.

"Impresssive, very impresssive..." the creature sayed in a low, whispery voice.

"Sssneak hasss sssaved Nefrix much, Nefrix owesss you life! Mussst not tary, no! Mussst get on wisss journey!"

The creature began an incantation of some sort and transformed into a ghost-like shade, the words foreign except one... 'Arawn'.

The ghostly shade moved fast toward the west, passing through a solid wall.

Nephrix (Excelsius)


The Battle of November
« on: Nov 26th, 2002, 9:20pm »

Early on it began as a simple thing, two lone kobolds scouting the Northlands, killing one of Glastonbury's proud scouts. This was what set it off, after the Irregulars had claimed a piece of the forboding icelands for themselves.

That was all it took. Defenders from the land of Albion took up the cry, and soon a great force of over seventy of the bravest souls headed to defend the lone keep.

Wiping out the straggling kobolds, the Force moved forward, rushing to take one keep after another. In the middle of the fourth day of victories, there was a turn for the worse. It seemed the trolls did not like losing their ground...

Earthwulf was cold and weary, fighting alongside generals and peasants alike. His family, the Irregulars, were all there with him, and working well together. He was sick, but he was proud. Maybe, he thought, if they could push further into the frozen wastelands, they could retrieve the Grail, and finally cure him.

Unfortunately, thinking is not what Earth did best. It took a while for him to form those thoughts. A long while. A really long while. A really, really, really long while. Unfortunately, as he was not apt to be able to do more than two things at once, and he was walking already, he failed to notice the Troll with the rather large hammer sneaking up behind him (as those Trolls are wont to do, with their petite girth and unremarkable features).

It took all of about two whacks before Earth realized he wasn't hitting himself in the head with his own maces (as he liked to do for practice). He turned and began fighting, his weapons blazing aroung the creature in an effort to find it's wweakness... but to little avail. While he had significantly damaged the monster, he could not hold out. Death called to him, and he lay down.

All was not lost for our hero, however. those with healing hands found him, and restored his life energy... Rhendadd worked at a frantic pace, trying to revive and heal. Lorric snuck about, killing little blue men and large grey ones. Moryan looked sideways at her foes and killed them with ease. Fred's arroes flew, Danae and her blades whirrled. Myrth' spells flowed around them all like a river wild. The dirvish pair of Mare and Gusto fought and cast side by side, levelling the field. Dark magiks flowed from Sinestro, balancing Nazia's light. Posey was poised and quiet as she raised the fallen, and there wer others there too, comrades in the new Defenders of the Common.

But as hard as they fought, the hundred and more of the enemy would soon overwhelm them. Earthwoulf was ready to die for his companions, but not before killing. And killing he did, smashing a kobold's head in, a kobold wearing the fancy armor of the elite, no less. Earthwulf was happiest when he fought. He achieved a Zen-like state, for no thought but the battle was possible for him. Not that he knew what Zen was, much less spell it...

The end came quickly, killed by the castings of powerful mages, though he stood and fought by the side of the Lord of the Glasto keep, left mace swinging, right bashing...

Earthwulf


The making of a paladin
« on: Nov 27th, 2002, 11:19pm »

<Roryn>

"Very well," replied the highlander in a solemn tone. "I shall tell why I chose my path, or rather, how it chose me."

"I was born the last of four sons and three daughters of Donnagal and Murran MaCullach, of the clan MaCullach, in the village of Moull far to the north, on the very edge of Albion. We lived in relative peace as farmers and herders, save for the occasional clash with neighbooring clans."

"I was fourteen years old and learning how to tend sheep the first time I ever heard the bellowing of our village's war horns."

"'Go find yer Ma and sisters, Roryn. Take them to the church and then come find me at the great stones. Me and yer brothers must go ahead and see te the troubles.' I saw in my father's eyes a concern that was foriegn to me, though the tone in his voice told me that he knew this day would come. He and my brothers quickly took to their mounts and rode off toward our village."

"I took my mother and sisters to meet with the other women of our village at the great church that stood in the center of Moull. I briefly knelt in prayer with them, and headed off to meet my father."

"Even as I approached the ring of stones, I heard the sounds of battle cresting the rise ahead of me. When I finally reached my destination the battle was already raging in the glade below. I saw my clansmen in a desperate struggle with large men clad in strange armor and thick furs. There were scores of them, and I could see that my clansmen were being quickly overrun. It was then that my father came to me. His face was covered in blood, as were his hands and clothes. I asked him what was happening, who those men were, and where my brothers were. He looked deeply into my eyes and said 'Hemish and Garreth are with God... I do not know of Airwyn.... These men are from the north, but that is not important... You must go now, take you mother and your sisters and go into the mountains, they will not be safe in town, we cannot stop this force. Tell them I love them, and I will come for them when I can--but you must go now--you must be strong....' By now the battle had progressed, and the fighting was all around us. My father rose his sword and struck down a large northman and looked at me. 'RUN! GO NOW!' He screamed."

"I ran as fast as I could, and when I cleared the battle, I turned to see the swarm of northmen surround my father. 'RORYN!' he screamed. 'AVENGE ME!!! AVENGE ME!!!' I then watched as he was struck down by the Viking warriors. I again turned, tears streaming down my face, and ran as fast as my legs could carry me, back to the village."

"If there was any hope left in my heart it vanished as I saw the clouds of black smoke billowing over what was left of Moull. The northmen had already reached the village, and what was once a peaceful community now laid in ruins. I had no choice but to flee into the mountains as my father had wished."

"Horrible dreams plagued me that night, and I woke in the wee hours of the morning. I carefully made my way back to Moull and found that the northmen had already abandoned it. I walked amidst the rubble for what seemed to be an eternity, weeping for the fallen and searching for survivors.... My search was in vain."

"I was now alone.... I knew of no place I could go, or who would give me aid.... Only my father's last words willed me to go on. I decided to travel south, hoping to find a village or town where I could seek refuge. After days my weariness overcame me, and I colapsed."

"I do not know how long I laid there on the cold ground before I was found, but when I finally did wake, I was greeted by the sound of an old man's voice. Though I could not see him, his words were soothing to me and rung out clearly in my head. 'You have been chosen, Roryn MaCullach. The power of our lord God flows through you. I will teach you to embrace it, to harness it, and in time to unleash it on all of our lord's enemies. God is the hand, and you will be his sword.' And so began my journey down the path of the paladin."

<Roryn>

Roryn MaCullach


The mercenary reclined in a dark corner, booted foot carelessly resting against the nearby bench, her armored back snug against the wall. Dark and forboding was her face this night as she drained mug after mug of ale.

Yet when the paladin began to speak, she was drawn to his story, and she listened quietly to his words. Highlander born herself, her own family scattered to the winds she could understand his pain.

As he finished, she nodded to herself, "Well said paladin.. a'enge them well." Slowly she stood, stretched out her lithe, limber frame and made her way out to her newly rented rooms. The wind caught her cloak as she exited the door, black hair and the black fabric tossed by the winds.

Moryan


Chiraghdin sat at the bar, sipping his flavoured water. He listened to the young paladin's story. He let off a sigh as a touch of sadness touched his heart.

The sadness was not mainly for the loss that Roryn had felt in his life but the possible loss of life and soul the young paladin may find in his future.

He tried to shake the gloomy thought from his mind. Perhaps it was his own past life that surfaced, causing this sorrowness.

Finishing his drink, he felt his mood begin to lighten. He truely hoped that the path Roryn had set himself on lead to fullfilment.

Chiraghdin Daaim


"A Sad tale indeed." sounded a voice from a few tables down. "But the experience has made you mighty. At least in my brother's eyes."

The man turned around to face the two at the table, and removed his hood with a sly grin.

"Greetings. Myevon Alarein is the name. My brother Meyvon, recommended this tavern for its exquisite wine. He also gives word that a band of mighty warriors and learned Mages congregate here. I believe it would only be proper to assume you are one of these warriors?"

As his two companions looked at him curiously, the Saracen continued.

"Yes we are brothers. Twins in fact. Twins in body, in face, and in blood. But we are quite polar opposites. You see, I am the 'thinking' one of us two. He prefers to run in, daggers drawn, spilling blood all over the place until the job is done. I, however, seek more...."

As he speaks, the Saracen casts a glance towards a barmaid and beckons here over. With a wave of his hand, the expression on the barmaid's face goes completely blank.

"....creative, and subtle ways to spread my influence. Please, madame, a glass of your finest wine for me, and whatever these two desire. And charge it to Meyvon please."

The Saracen continued.

"See, My brother has taken up the Sword for coin, the life of a Mercenary, as you well know. I, however, care not for the bloodshed, and physical struggle. My conquest is that of the Mind. The Northmen of whom you speak in your tale are barbaric and weak-minded. They are powerful warriors indeed, but their thoughts betray them, and can be their undoing. Therefore I enrolled in Merlin's Academy to take the path of the Sorceror. With the knowledge I acquired there, I can twist minds, bend wills, and shape thoughts, if I want to."

The Barmaid returned with the three drinks, and after setting them down on the table, remained in place staring blankly into the distance. The Sorceror raised his hand slightly, and snapped his fingers, and the Barmaid instantly returned to normal. As the barmaid began to walk away, Myevon beckoned her once more. Upon her return, he waved his hand again, and said quietly.

"You do not know who ordered these drinks. You do not know how much the bill was. You do not know who the drinks were billed to. In fact, this is your first time coming over to the table, so you haven't taken our order yet."

The barmaid simply stared at Myevon as if in a trance. A few seconds later she snapped out of her trance and began to speak cheerily.

"Welcome to th' Lauging Lion! Can I getcha anything?"

Myevon smirked and turned to his two companions.

"Drinks anyone?"

Meyvon


<Roryn's mouth creaks into a slight grin as he stands and leans in toward the familiar looking stranger>

"Well met, friend, you share your brother's likeness in face. If you share his likeness in heart, you will always be welcome where I stand."

<Roryn>

Roryn MaCullach
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earthwulf
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:59 am

A Peculiar Visit
« on: Nov 6th, 2002, 4:08pm »

The rain was not the source of Myrthemne's troubled mind, though it was troubling enough. A freezing October rain, bitter and icy, it drove straight at the young magus like an angry spirit. The winds too struck at the man, licking the warmth from his bones and sapping his strength. Any commoner could see this was no ordinary storm - all but the dullest had bolted themselves inside their homes as soon as the first dark cloud had become visible at dusk. Now, with black clouds shrouding the sky, no light could be seen from stars or moon or lantern.

No light, except for the burning intensity of Myrthemne's eyes. Sharp and clear, their blue flame kept a constant path through the unnatural darkness of the country road. Whatever fell power was trying to keep him from his destination, the young magus payed it no mind. Tugging slightly at his blue cloak, the magus pushed ever onwards, ignoring the ponderous boom of thunder behind him and the growing fierceness of the rain.

Even a friend would have had a hard time recognizing him that night. Clad in light armor beneath his cloak and robes, he no longer appeared so frail as Avalonians normally do. A sword, trailing beneath his cloak, seemed equally out of place. Neither of these things were allowed of his Order, but he had traveled far to dark places that few living dared to go, and certainly none of his brethren. Of his staff, trademark of all wizardkind, no trace could be seen; instead, clutched tightly in his hand, was a scroll that had somehow escaped the damp of the rain.

The wind came more fiercely now, as if daring the magus to push through it, and the rain had turned to stinging hail. Amidst the din, almost imperceptible, a strange whispering danced on the edge of Myrthemne's hearing. With a wave and fey word, the magus cleared the winds around him, leaving a void of air a pace in every direction.

In response, the winds rose to a screaming crescendo, striking at the elementalist with the force a titan.

Myrthemne answered.

"The winds are my element, fiend! Nalle shiem callador!" With a snapping noise, a swirl of air and light materialized into the magus' staff. Holding it straight in front of him, never wavering a step, Myrthemne walked on, the blue light of his staff a guiding star that bent the screaming winds around him.

After several hours he finally reached his destination, a sinister looking tower. Releasing his staff in a swirl of sapphire light, Myrthemne ignore the flash of lightning behind him, and gave the wooden door before him three strong, distinct knocks.

For long moments he waited for an answer, and the lightning nearby split a tree not twenty feet away. At last, the door creaked open, and Myrthemne’s angry blue eyes fixed themselves on a person not at all happy to see him.

"We must talk Sinestro. About the Arawnites. About Morgana. We must talk, now."


Myrthemne


The sound of sawing echoed in the large round room. In the center of the room was a large metal table, capable of holding a troll or a Firbolg. The table was finely crafted. Arcane runes were inscribed around the sides or the table. On the table was a thin naked body. The had been pulled over the face to reveal the skull. Hiding the identity of the now deceased person. The torso was opened in a Y-shape. Streams of blood ran down the channels moulded into the table.

A tall thin figure was bend over the metal table. Strange multicolour lenses in a gold apparatus sat before the left eye. The figure wore a long black apron, stained with blood. Under the apron the porcelain white skin of the woman. The curve of her supple breasts evident from the sides. She wore black tight fitting leggings and high black boots. On her hands were black gloves, sunken deep in the chest of the corpse on the table.

Her hands moved with skill and precision of an master. Her eyes transfixed on the gory seen before her, not missing a detail. Her mind raced in logical paterns of thought. That is when she detected something in the periphery of her consciousness. She shook it off and went back to work. But the sound had come again.

She stopped her work and focused her mind. There was someone at her tower. Someone trained in the magikal arts. Otherwise he would not have known where to knock.

Scowling, she removed her hands from the chest of the corpse. Summoning the power from within she glided down the stairs.

The door to the outside opened as she stood before it. Flecks of pink dotted her cheeks and her face showed a sign of disdain for the person that stood outside of the tower.

"What do you want, Myrthemne?" The lilting, husky voice commanded of the person standing before her. Blood dripping from her gloved hands.

Chiraghdin


Somehow the woman standing before him disturbed him far more than the unnatural storm that raged around him. It was not the bloody, dripping leather gloves that caused this sensation, nor was it the peculiar gold apparatus over her left eye, or even the fetid stench of decay which hung about her tower...
...Myrthemne had to admit to himself, it was because despite all that, in some strange way, she was beautiful.

Shaking his head slightly, Myrthemne cleared his mind of such unworthy thoughts and forged right ahead to the matter at hand. He needed answers that few could provide - but perhaps this cruel, vicious, yet somehow loyal woman could provide.

"We must talk, Sinestro. About the Arawnites. About Morgana. We must talk, now" he began. "And I really do mean now - this storm is literally trying to kill me." He smiled slightly; he could never quite hold on to his hatred around Sinestro. "So if you would be gracious enough to let me in..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the young magus began his tale, the look of angry intensity never left his eyes.

"Three days ago I was sent for by an elder in my Order. No, I don't mean the Defenders...you have probably guessed I have some other, older affiliations. Two others were sent for as well, both wizards, both ranked highly in their guilds." Myrthemne paused to take a drink of whatever wine Sinestro had provided. Atleast, he hoped it was wine.

"I was delayed in my journey to his sanctuary by a personal task I had to attend to, and arrived a day later than my fellows. A fortunate error on my part, it seems, for the elder and my brethren were . . .dead." He took another swallow of the sweet substance, both as a ward against the memory of the fallen and the fact that his errand had been none other than fetching rare Nightshade flowers for Sinestro.

"Perhaps dead is not an accurate description, since when I found them they were still capable of shambling around and devouring things." Myrthemne's hand shook with wrath, spilling some of the win, and a slight sheen in his eyes hinted at tears. "I have never been forced to undertake a duty so terrible before - to put one of my own masters and friends to . . .rest."

"But you are probably wondering why I have come here, Sinestro Mephistophelean <sp>. I will tell you. My first duty done, my next was to find out why they had been killed; to discover why I had been summoned in the first place. I found the answer readily enough in the secret journal kept by all members of my Order."

The young magus paused for emphasis, his clear blue eyes shining, his brilliant white robes still wet enough to outline the layer of muscle beneath. For a moment, he looked more a warrior than a mage.

"He had discovered that Morgana has been summoning Arawnite minions, and worse. He had divined something about a Dragon as well, but had not yet determined which. But that is not why I am here." A dangerous glint entered Myrthemne's eyes, though it seem tempered by some other emotion.

"What I am here to know, daughter of the arawnites, is why they would support Morgana now.

I would know, because Avalon has fallen to them, and I will not leave here unsatisfied."


Myrthemne


Sinestro levitated in front of the person that had interrupted her work, her feet a few inches off the ground.

"You are a fool, Myrthemne!" She stated coldly. Her eyes looked him up and down. "And a cold, wet one at that."

She turned around and began walking to the back of the tower. With a bloodied left hand motioned for him to follow. She led the young Theurgist to a nicely furnished room.

Dominating the room was a large fireplace. Within it roared a brilliant fire, which provided most of the light in the room. There were a few wall sconces that created pools of darkness. A round woven rug lay in the center of the room. Near the fireplace were two cherry wood leather chairs.

Sinestro glided into one of the large chairs. The sides of the chair casting a strange shadow to her face, while the fire light illuminated the other half. She motioned for him to take the other seat.

For what seemed to be a very long time, Sinestro simply stared at him with her violet eyes. The gold flecks in her irises glowing from the fire. Her face revealed nothing, as she sat there with her hands clasped and her legs crossed.

Only the popping of wood in the fire and the soft padding of a creature that had detached itself from the shadows broke the silence. It walked on all four legs like a dog but its gait was not as smooth. Its back was flat and on it were two glasses filled with red wine.

The creature stopped at Sinestro’s side and waited patiently. Sinestro removed her bloodied gloves and put them on the creatures back. She took one of the glasses with a long porcelain white hand. The creature moved to Myrthemne and waited. Once he had picked up the wine glass the creature returned to the shadows.

Sinestro raised her glass to her maroon painted lips. She took a light sip and held the glass on the arm of her chair.

Looking into the fire her voice broke the silence between them. “What you have said is all false.” She watched his face contorted in frustration and loathing for her. She turned cold, narrowed eyes towards him. “You ask about things that are beyond your control. Even beyond the power of your Lelanthis Association.” She raised her glass to take another sip.

“Tell me!” Her voice was commanding. “What do you really know of the Arawnites?” She continued, “You have been taught about their evil ways and all the other propaganda that has been fed to you. But do you really know what drives them?”

Sinestro rose suddenly and walked towards the fire. Her tall, thin body silhouetted by the flames. Her face softened for a brief moment.

“Morgana is not summoning the Arawnites. She is disrupting the natural course of events to gain power for herself. She is summoning the corpses and skeletons of the undead Romans.”

She turned to face Myrthemne, her face grim. “When you are ready to listen with an open mind you may return. Perhaps it will take the combined forces of Albion to defeat the forces of Morgana and restore Avalon.”

Myrthemne suddenly found himself once again in the rain outside the dark tower.

Chiraghdin


Rage filled Myrthemne as he was cast out of the tower. He had come here for answers, damn that girl! With a loud cry he called forth his staff in a blaze of blue starlight, the winds racing to his will. For a moment his anger at both his own losses and Sinestro's refusal to help ran unchecked - Myrthemne came within a hair's width of summoning the Sigil of Azur, the Wind that Shatters, to tear that vile woman's tower down.

But he did not. (Later, he would remember that with all the wards and safeguards she had woven into the place, even the spell of Azur would likely only do superficial damage.)

With a deep sigh, and open tears in his clouded eyes, Myrthemne cast his staff away again. It clattered loudly against the ground before dispersing into the swirling wind again.

Now he had important work to do. He would need to find others that would aid him, men and women strong in sword and spirit. He would need to find someone...or something...that could reveal more about Morgana's true allies and intentions.

In all his years, he had known many brave men, and many leared scholars. He had contacts in Camelot, Lethantis, and even in the frontiers. But there was only one people, and one place he knew he could trust in a time like this. He set out for Glastonbury.

Yet, before he did, a single silent tear finally fell from his eyes, as the burning anger finally faded and died within them. It slid down his cheek, and dropped onto some small thing he had just drawn from his pack. Laying it down outside the tower, Myrthemne turned and walked away.

It was a single white rose.


Myrthemne


It was the kind of storm that had children crying in their parents' beds; the kind of storm that made old maids look up older, stronger warding signs to make in the air. It was the kind of storm that might tear the roofs off houses and toss livestock up into trees.

More importantly, it was the kind of storm that kept even the most devout worshippers of Bacchus home, and that was bad for businesss. Glastonbury was a snug little village, and the buildings were in little danger from the elements, but glastons were known for level heads (when sober), and none would brave the storm for a drink tonight.

Daylan had to admit to himself that he was not entirely sorry for this turn of events; it was nice to have an evening to put up his feet once in a while. And, after all, that was exactly what he was doing. The young barkeep had his feet up on a battered oaken stool as he leaned back into the comfortable chair and watched the flames in their endless dance. He pondered the worn leather of the armchair. It was older than he, and had been used by more tired farmers and warriors than he could imagine, yet the years of use had only made it more soft and supple. Daylan smiled softly. All of Glastonbury seemed that way: well worn, and yet more homey because of it.

As he stared into the fire, a troubled look flickered across his face. He had been hearing things at the bar recently, and they had him a bit worried. There seemed to be trouble to the south, and strange-looking people were passing through his little tavern with increasing regularity. What had been most troubling was the sight of entire households of Avalonian nobility trudging down the road with their possessions packed into finely wrought packs and bundles. The Isle of Avalon was mysterious and almost imaginary to the young friar, but apparently terrible things were happening there.

An explosion suddenly ripped through the room, followed by a blast of icy air and even colder rain. Daylan jumped to his feet and vaulted the bar, grabbing a hammer and nails from beneath the bar. Hurdling the bar nimbly, he dashed over to the broken shutter and quickly nailed it shut. His heart was racing, and he knew that it would take some time before he was calm again.

Something was happening, and whatever it was, he and the Irregulars must be ready to face it together.

Daylan


Sitting in his room high up in St. Augustine's in Glastonbury, Rhenddad looks at the messages writen to him by friends he met in his travels., alot having been from Avalon itself.
Most spoke of leaving as refugees, some having planned ahead and left beforehand. None the less all his aquantences sent of leaving.
" Maybe it be time fer me teh look into it."
"I wonder if the dark ones who reside in thier towers out o the town would care teh make the rest o us privy teh the exact goin's on tha they know 'bout."
Looking at the nasty storm out side he shakes his head. " Well i suppose it's nay to far down the street teh the Laughin' Lion. Perhaps Ole Daylan will ave some coffee brewin"
Steping out side St. Augustine's he notices one of the new mages headed for the Lion on the other side of the street. And the worst of the storm following him.
" I'll send teh me son in Camelot an see if he c'n come back here also after his early trainin." He thinks to himself and sets out boldly down the street towards the tavern as if all the world knows he walks in God's light .
People notice from closed windows that a faint ring surrounds the cleric where the storm does not touch him, " Thank God fer his mighty blessins o shieldin, brrrrr 'tis cold tehnight even though"

Rhendadd


Myrthemne barely noticed the older man bustling down the other side of the street. Mostly, he noticed the sphere of quiet in the midst of the storm, much like his own. Tired and strained to the breaking point in power and mind, Myrthemne did not realize they were heading to the same place until they both stopped outside the Lion.

"Evening, good Cleric. It is a fell night to be abroad...I am glad to see your kind about, it raises my spirits considerably."

Myrthemne summoned his staff, and it came, but the light was feeble and flickered softly. He had drawn too heavily in his long travels over the last two days, but haste was needed, and he was willing to risk the injury. But right now, he needed a friendly face and a warm fire.

After giving the door to the Lion a few sharp raps with his staff, he turned to the man beside him.

"I do nae know your name, father, but perhaps you could share it with me over a drink."


Myrthemne, Summoner Prime
Aaron, that guy


Eathan ignored the rain for a moment to admire his work. He'd shaped himself a fine little home in the side of one of the hills just northeast of Glastonbury proper. It would do, he thought. Just cozy enough, but with enough room to entertain if the need aroze. Even better, it left him surrounded in the earth, his element. Pleased with what he saw, he thanked his friends who looked at him with their usual stony expressions, and returned to their home realm.

Finally noticing the chill wind, and the rain, Eathan hurried inside. Just in time, he thought. I'll just have to work on straightening my belongings, he thought, few as they were. He carefully opened a small bag and from it pulled a few treasured possessions, mementos of his travels. Carefully placing them one by one in his newly formed mantle, he paused on each of them. When he came to a small, crude, yet perfect green stone, he froze. Something was wrong.

At the same moment, unrelated, he felt the earth itself give a sigh. Something indeed was wrong... but how could it be happening here and...? Eathan rushed out into the tempest, and trudged his way into town.

Ethan


Riding through town, the paladin drew her cloak tight around her. 'Tis times like this that I truly hate this cold land. What I would give for the warmth of my homeland! She stopped at the stable, turned her horse over to the gentle hands of the stable boy, and scurried over to the Laughing Lion.

She stepped into the room and shook the rain off her cloak. Greetings Father Rhendadd, Myrthemne. 'Tis truly a foul eve' to be about! Good Friar Daylan, please tell me that ye have a pot of yer coffee brewing.

She sat in the seat closese to the fire to try to drive the chill from her bones.

Nazia Mujahid


The Laughing Lion usually exuded an aura of friendliness and comradery in quantities only exceeded by the supply of ale. Tonight though, even the Lion's spirit seemed a little dimmed by the events transpiring around it.

The few Irregulars who sat by the flickering fire were uncharacteristically quiet; the only sound was the constant hammering of the rain and the occasional peal of thunder.

For a long time, Myrthemne just sat, staring at the fire, listening to it crack and spark as each piece of wood was slowly consumed. He felt a kinship to the fire. Well, more accurately, to the hickory it was attacking. In just three days, his own life had been similiarly attacked and consumed.

His master, the great summoner Ghared Cephratus, was dead. In all of Albion, he had never met a wiser, more learned man. In all of the world, he doubted there were more than a handful more powerful in the Art. But he was dead, and his eyes, once bright with knowledge, now kindled with the dark sorcery of undeath.

His homeland, the mysterious and triumphant city of Avalon, was in ruins. Destroyed by Morgana and her sinister new allies, Myrthemne's heart was as shattered just as proud Avalon's walls.

In the midst of his pain, Myrthemne had sought out answers. Why had he thought that girl would understand? What sinister influence had led him to think that she, of all people, could ease the aching in his chest?

After an hour of staring at the fire and considering these things, he finally concluded the fault lay with his own heart.

Well, no more.

Shifting quietly, he set down the flask of brandy he had emptied several times that evening, and pushed it away.

"Men and women of Glastonbury, you have always been a light unto this realm. While larger cities and greater men have fallen - where the High and Mighty have failed or fled - ever have you, the humble and meek, been there to pick up the flag of Arthur."

Myrthemne's voice grew passionate and strong, rising over the sound of the storm like a melodic tempest in its own right.

"Ever have you been faithful! When the first fire of war burned low, it was you who lit the torches of our victory, and the pyres of our dead! And now, war will burn again, as Avalon burns..."

His voice swept low and grave, resounding against the thunder.

"Will you rise up your standard once more, and call out our enemies? For Albion, for Camelot, for Arthur the High King - for Glastonbury your home....for the pride in your hearts and the blood in your veins, will you rise up and bring justice to those who want nothing more than our complete and utter destruction?"

Before collapsing in a drunken heap, Myrthemne managed to articulate three more words. They were spoken with the complete conviction of one who feels he has nothing left to lose.

"For I will."


Now, if he could only find out where to start.

Myrthemne


"I be Rhendadd me young friend, Abbot as of now ,but climbin me drunkin way up the ranks."<leans>"The Holy Mother Church rarely likes teh promote me but me deeds give them cause teh do so e'en with the heavy hearts an fickle minds they ave."
" Aye this be a dreary night."
After saying such he casts a prayer up to the Heavens and the young issuer of magik is surrounded by a lightly glowin shield like his own,"May the Lord keep ye from Satan's minions and His Fowl magiks, And may Aurthur our former Lord and King give ye strength against the comin night!"
Eying Nazia as she rides up he follows suit over her brow and holds the door open to the Lion.
"DAYLAN ME FREIND," he bellows bousterously," Ohh sorry laddie did nay see ye there, keepin it so dark in here ye are, let me help."
Rhen walks over and holds the shutters shut as the Flying Friar nails them fast.
"When we be done with this could ye put some Coffee on and bring a flask o the whiskey I keep stashed here'bouts,Thankee laddie."

Rhendadd


At first everyone thought it was the thunder that shook the tavern. Until the splinters rained down on those near the front door.

Instinctively most people in the tavern fell to the floor or took cover behind the bar. Eyes fell upon the now ruined door. Wind whistled past violently and rain began to stream inside. Those same eyes went wide at the sight of the creature standing in the doorway.

It was nearly seven feet tall. Its blood stained clothes hung loosely here and there on its lanky, muscular frame. It was evident that the creature was created from parts harvested from other creatures. The creature's eyes were serene. But its face held a grim determination. It reached inside its tunic and dropped a sealed container on the floor.

The wooden tube rolled on the floor and came to a stop at someone's foot. Ancient runes were carved into the cylinder.

Chiraghdin


Deep within the Black Mountains, the storm howled and whistled through animated limbs of great trees. A small cottage rocked and creaked with the energy of the winds and rain. Within it, a serene friar stirred a pot of dumpling soup over a small hearth.

The Black Mountains were known for their inclement weather, being so near the cold lands of Snowdonia. But this storm raged with an unnatural intensity. The friar continued his cooking chore with patience, centering an air of calmness within the cottage.

He sipped a spoonfull of the soup and smiled in satisfaction. As he placed the spoon back into the pot to continue stirring, he suddenly jumped with a start, knocking over the pot into the fire.

What he saw within made him wretch and sent a bright fire piercing through his mind. Maggots writhed within the soup among human eyes as the putrid mess bubbled and burned with a foul stench on hot coals and burning wood. The fire within his mind... he had felt it before.

"The Witch moves again!" the friar exclaimed wildly as he struggled to his feet, knocking over a shelf of utensils and pots.

His demeanor was insane and fearful, tears falling from his now wild eyes.

"Augustus!" he shouted as he scrambled to get a hold of his senses. He looked upon the hearth once more by accident, expecting to see the horror again. But there were no maggots, only burning dumplings and sizzling fire.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

By the time Excelsius reached Glastonbury, the fire within his mind pulsed with foreboding. As he approached the Laughing Lion tavern, he noticed with shock the blasted opening where the doors had been. As the storm drove harder he looked upon the shambled wreck left by some destructive force, staff ready and eyes scanning the tavern ready to heal or fight.

Ex


Two short horn notes blew
« on: Dec 5th, 2002, 9:30am »

It was the death of him, but he did not mind so much. Dying was a release from the evil castle that he and his two companions stumbled across on the rapidly surfacing Isle of Avalon. The castle held unspeakable horrors, an anathema which exuded such dark, baneful affliction that torchlight would not penetrate the gloom.

A moment before the arrow pierced Earthwulf's heart, he heard the horns, and wondered their significance. Maybe, if Gaia chose, he might be reborn, and return to find out. But for now, it was all he could do to remember how he arrived in Avalon Castle with the last few thoughts his brain would hold.

Hours earlier, when Sieben, Trithick and Earthwulf had gotten wind of this new, mysterious land surfacing off the coast of Albion, they chose to put all else aside nd make haste to this mysterious place.

They wandered for a bit, seeing haunted aple trees, headless giants, and a battleground that was beyond belief. These fortification, as Sieben pointed out, should be made by Albions in their own frontier... the vile Midguardians and Hibbites would not be able to pass thse fortifications. Logs of the greatest of redwoods were sharpened and stuck into the sides of dirt mounds, forts were scattered about, and warriors hastened about. Mist and smoke rose from this land of war, and beyond it lay the Dragons.

Daring to venture further out, companions three stumbeld laughing into abandoned towns, and gaped at the dogs that rose from the sea, with scaly turquoise skin and tongues of green. As they ventured into an apparently abandoned castle, they were taken unawares by some gostly inhabitants who overtook them wiht ease. This castle was evil, yes, but not the Evil they would soon happen upon.

The three regrouped, and bid scout Sieben farewell, for he was called up to patrol the North. Lorric, master Infiltrator soon came, and the three set out again,to wreak havok upon the undead. In doing so a Ring of great power fell into Trithik's hands.. but that is a story for another day.

After exacting vengance upon the undead knights, Heroes three wnet further, hoping to see more of interest. They would not know how... interesting... it would become.

Soon, Earthwulf would hear the horns.

Earthwulf


"Wulf get a torch lit, I cin barley see a thin here."

"Ah did."

Lorric turned around to see Earthwulf holding a lit torch that was giving off no light. A look of complete shock enveloped his face.

"Well this doesn't bode well." Muttered Trithik

Looking around the three squinted to see past the darkness, but to no avail. They slowly made their way down the street of what must have been at one time the fabled City of Avalon, now in ruin with a dark magic cast upon it.
The creatures that could be seen in the darkness were larger versions of the ones that the battlements they had passed were meant to keep at bay. Lorric understood now why those battlements were so extensive, in fact after seeing these creatures he thought that they wouldn't be enough if Morgain decided to simply attack with all her forces.

The three came around a corner and found what looked like a royal court entry hall. Two very large half human half dragon like creatures stood guard.

"I don like this." Lorric whispered

"I concur with that assessment." replied Trithik "We are severely undermanned for this endeavor."

Lorric and Earthwulf exchanged glances. "Um yea...Lets git."

Almost as slow as they had moved they made their way back to the entrance to the city. An urgency to get out of the cursed place driving them on.

That’s when two short horn notes blew.

Lorric


A message from Arabia
« on: Dec 9th, 2002, 7:33pm »

Wrapping her cloak tightly about her, the paladin shivers. Ah, I do dislike this cold. Every time I venture home again, it seems this land has become colder and colder. Deep in her thoughts, she walks down the street toward the Laughing Lion. Shouldering open the door, Nazia looks around the room for familiar faces. Seeing some Irregulars seated near the fire, she joins them and warms her hands. The Saracen looks troubled.

Greetings friends, I bear tidings from my homeland. I have just returned from my journey to consult with my elders about this new alliance with the followers of Arawn. They are not pleased, and some wanted me to stay there, never to return. They feel that I was sent to help defend Albion from the pagans, and now you have allied with another group of pagans that may be worse than the original ones! For now I am allowed to return, but I am instructed to study the lands of Avalon and these new allies. She bows her head. I am to report in again in two month's time. I only hope that I do not have to bid farewell to ye forever at that time. She sighs and retreats into her thoughts as the heat of the fire drives the chill from her bones.

Nazia


Excelsius notices the lithe lady Paladin's somber look and sees her clutching a note or missive. Somehow he gets the sense that Nazia's troubling thoughts are a mirror of his own. He glances again at the fire as those around cavort and drink.

The friar watches the wood, once live and green, now dry and hot, release the heat of life trapped inside. Like some spirit dancer moving to unheard music, the fire swirled and lept within the hearth. For a second, as Excelsius stared, he thought he saw two glowing eyes take shape in the flames....

Ex
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earthwulf
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 9:59 am

Eathan and the Case of The Silly Things Curse
« on: Dec 9th, 2002, 12:23am »

It was a day like any other day in the town of Glastonbury, slow as Molasses in an Arctic winter. In the offices of Dunham & Blackfur, Investigative Services, our Heroes sat sweltering in the unusual winter heatwave. It was hot, they were thirsty... that's how this case began.

"I could use an ale," Sieben muttered, "Page, go down to th' tavern an' tell Eathan t' bring me one, as he still owes me it from our last round o' mumbly peg." With that, the boy in the blue shirt that was too big for him scuttled out of the office and down the block to the Laughing Lion. A few minutes later, running faster than he'd ever run before and looking frightfully frightened, he scurried back into the old building, where the Scout was mapping and the Merc was napping.

"S...s...s...sires?" The young page stammered, obviously scared. "Ee' tol me ta tell yer sires summthin, but then tol me I'd mess it up, so ee done writ it down." He handed the paper tremblingly to Sieben. Earthwul snored on, a fly buzzing in and out of his open mouth.

Opening the note, eyes widening, Dunham saw something he'd hoped to never see again. The note was simple: "I'm afraid you'd find most of the other residents of Glastonbury more help than me... when your little page here gave me your missive and I told him this, he asked in his quaint highland way 'Ye cinnt lift an ale?' I told him to tell you Nay, tis a curse."
The note was signed by Eathan.

"Wulf!" Sieben barked. Earth awoke with a start, falling out of his tilting chair with a crash, and swallowing the fly at the same time. "We have a new mission!"

"Aye?" asked the groggy mercenary.

"We gotta break Eathan's curse."

This got Earthwulf's full attention, for he was no stranger to curses... the last one he had been under sent him to a tortured hell on earth with an old troll witch for five months. He had gone in search of a cure, and had paid the price. Now he would never let a fried of his suffer through one on their own. With determination filling his eyes (or were those tears for the suffering of his friend?), he stated angrily "Aye, I be good a' curse breakin'."

Moments later, they were off, heading directly to the Lion for ale.. er, to aid a comrade.

Through the doors they went, Earth's maces clanging and Sieben's bow twanging. "Eathan! " one or the other called out, " we be ere ter save ye!"

Eathan looked up at the two dashing figures in the doorway, just in time to see Dahrnkiel and Feneen crash into them, sending all four people sprawling (the moral of that being try to be dashing outside of a doorway). Up they all got, and all ordered ale.

Pulling up a chair at Eathan's table, where books of theurgical studies lay spread out, Sieben and Earthwulf looked intently at the man. "Ok, it be a good thing ye came ter us," Earthwulf said sincerely. Eathan looked puzzled, which concerned Wulf to no end.

"Came to you?" Eathan asked. Then he sighed. "Oh, the jok.."

"Aye!" Sieben cut him off. "You are right, we don joke bout curses, man, especially when they got to do with ale!"

Eathan, perhaps unaware of the nature or Earthwulf's anti ale curse of days long passed, muttered " Nothing is sacred. Haven't you heard?"

Sieben and Earthwulf looked at one another, appaled, then slowly back at their colth wearing friiend. In a shocked voice, Sieben whispered "Ale aint sacred?" Looking again at his buisness partner, he quailed "He IS cursed!"

Eathan, again looking puzzled and maybe a bit cajoling, sighed again, saying "Of course it is, Sieben..." He glanced around the Inn. "Has anyone seen Myrthenne?"

Drowning out Feneen's mild "nay," Sieben pounced upon this tidbit like a cat on a mousetail. "He the one that cursed ye?"

"Er, no," Eathan began, "No, he didn't curse me"

"Ye sure?" Inquired Sieben, listening closely. "He be one o them tricky finger wigglers." He glanced aroung the room.

Mildly amused, Eathan prodded "Like myself?"

Sieben looked at him in surprise, while Earthwulf was mute in horror. "Ye didn curse yeself by mistake did ye?" It was obvious that there was only one correct answer to that question.

"I'm afraid not," the theurgist answered, "I don't wear robes." This caused Earthwulf a little concern, for no one had asked him what he was wearing.

"Well," Sieben continued, "do ye know who did curse ye? That give me an Wulf someplace to start." He glanced at Wulf out of the corners of his eyes. Wulf looked... intensely focused, consentrating with all his might. Sieben had seen this look on him before, but usually only in the most dire of times. Like when he neede dto write his name. Or when he tried to walk, talk, and eat at the same time. Or, worse, when he tried to remember where the bathing area was for his monthly bath. Sieben remembered a specific occaision when Earth had been gone for two months trying to expand his horizons musically. This one time, after band camp, he had been gone for so long that he forgot where the bath area was, and he wound up bathing in the town drinking supply. Shuddering while remembering that, Sieben was thankful that the town was able to dig another well so quickly. The old well was still contaminated, and useful in many of Lorric's poisons.

"I was not cursed," Eathan tried again, "It was a jo..."

Jumping to his feet, slamming his fist down on the table and sending papers flying, Earthwulf growled "Ye was cursed by oo, Eathan?"

"Mebbe," Sieben said, "ye were cursed inta knot thinkin ye were cursed!" He Looked at Wulf witha fire in his eyes.

Shaking his head, Eathan said "well, i remember why I came to Glastonbury anyhow..."

The scout nodded. "Aye then. The first thing we gotta do is find out who cursed ye." He looked a Wulf, who was still standing and leaning on the table with clenched fists. "Coulda been that cabby guy in the tower we cinnt find." Pondering this for a moment (while the now redfaced and angry merc muttered "Jes lemme know oo, an I'll barsh their ead in"), he thought out loud "Makes sence, he be hidin cause he cursed Eathan."

"Myrthenne," Eathan went on, "Is no cabalist." This caused Earthwulf to unclench his fists, jaw and sphincter as he came to a realization that Eathan might just be further along in the curse than he'd originally thought. Earthwulf's gear in his head turned slowly, but it did turn as he thought "Why woul' ee tell us tha Myrth be no cabbie? We all know tha..."

Sieben spoke this same concern aloud. "Thought ye said Myrthenne didn curse ye."

Looking even more perplexed, Eathan replied flatly "He didn't." Then, "There's another hiding?"

Again looking at Wulf, Sieben asked rhetorically "Well, he's not very good at this investigating thing, is he?"
Earthwulf shook his head. "Nay, but then ee's, well, new ter this sort o thin'."

At that same moment, Eathan looked around the tavern, glancing out the window at some commotion in the street. "Note," he said to himself, "two earth theurgists duelling is a silly thing."

Sieben, concentrating on getting to the heart of the problem, wanted to take action, and take action quickly. "Now he's forgot, the curse is gettn worse... we better hurry." He took a long drink of his ale, and pondered the situation further.

Shaking his head, as if clearing it from his starign out the window, Eathan started to protest. "No..." he began, but was cut off. Earthwulf had finished his second round of ale (meaning four flagons full, as he put his ambidexterity to good use), and had come to another realization. Some small part of his already tiny brain had heard Eathan's mutterings, and he had come to a realization.

"Yer curse," he quearied,"it be tha yer a Silly Thing now?" He was hot on the trail of something, he could just feel it. Or maybe the magiked mace that Trithik had fashioned for him had shot him full of electricity again. One or the other.

Eathan looked dumbfounded. "Um, nay. That is the effect of casting a confusion spell on an invader." He now looked as if he needed a drink. Badly.

Realizing he had made a profound discovery, Earthwulf pounced on this tidbit of information. "So twas a confused invader wot cast a spell on ye an turned it into a curse?" He felt excited, his investigative skills were kicking into high gear. Or maybe his other mace had jolted his spirit again. It did that sometimes.

Feneen, fresh from disturbing anothe body in the graveyard, had been silently focusing on his new reanimation spelll in the corner up until this point. When the little red haired blue man looked up from his experiment, he thought he heard something strange. Walking over to the table where the Scout, the Merc and the Theurgist sat, Feneen asked "So, who be cursed?"

"Eathan," answered Dunham and Blackfur together.

"Ahh, by finger wiggler?" Feenen squeaked.

Eathan, looking more and more distraught, replied wearily "Nay, but methinks Earthwulf may be, though. Who is this finger wigg..." he did not get a chance to finish before the Highlander of the Wulfclan jumped in. Again.

"Nay, me own curse be done wi', i gots cured.. but this," he exclaimed, "this be good news! Ye say tha' yer curser's name be Th' Great Who, Finger Wiggler? Fin'ly, a name an a title.. we's gettin somewheres."

Dahrnkiel had joined the table at this point. "So what sort of curse befelled him?"

Sieben looked at Dahrnkiel, answering with a quick "We ain't sure, but it has somethin ta do with forgetin an ale." He motioned for Dahrnk to sit.

"Tell us," Earthwulf sid in his gentlest voice, one usually reserved for cajolling babies to sleep,"tell us aboot this Great Who, laddie. C'mon, Eathan, we needs ter fin 'im." He took another double drink of lager. "Out wi' th' details."

Stammering, unsure of what to say or how he got into this, Eathan could only answer honestly. "Earthwulf... I can't tell you."

Appaled by this sudden lapse in memory, earthwulf urgently replied "Och, ee's gettin worse by th second." Sieben agreed with a soft "aye."

Trying another tack, the mercenary asked" Wot aboot 'is residence? Ye know, th' place ee lives.. we c'n start there."

Eathan looked at the gathering crowed at his once bilssfully quite, private table. "I wouldn't do that..."

"Aye, Eathan, twill be a'right... we c'n start there." Earhwulf grinned a hopeful grin.

Sieben looked suspicious. "Uh-oh," he said, after a second's thought. "I think there be a part in the curse where it's a cursed cure."

Earth, still looking at the one he saw as afflicted, ask "Wouldn't do wot, Eathan? Jes tell us 'is residence."

Looking a bit more relieved, Eathan said "I thought you meant my residence, which is quite safe from cursing."

Knowing that denial is the first sign of a cursed friend, and that residences can easilly be bewitched, Sieben and Earthwulf felt they had to press him harder.

"No, Eathen, na yers. The Great Who's." Earrthwulf was stating easch word simply and clearly, as if talking to his touched-in-the-head cousin.

Sieben was nodding in agreement. "We could start there."

Eathan sat back, ordering a mulled wine. "Ah, if I knew who he or she was, I could perhaps tell you."

"Tell us wot?"

"Whatever it is you want to know."

Feenen squeaked in again. "An wot is that?" He looked concerned.

" 'Is residernce," Earthwulf said with absolute conviction. "Tell us aboot The Great Who's residence, then we can go there!"

"Perhaps it was Arwan," Eathan shot off flippantly, "Or, even, Morgan le Fey."

"Arwan? Or Morgan?" Wulf looked flabergasted. Was his friend truly this far gone? "Fer a Silly Things curse? Methinks na! Tis niedder o their styles!" He looked saddened, and took another of his patented double drinks. "One detail, Eathan, one crumb aboot there, an we're off."

Sieben agreed. "You know, with a name like The Great Who, he cinnt be hard ta find.. we should ask around." He was, after all, a Scout, and should be able to scout ou this tiny bit of information.

Roryn, a gaunt paladin, had joined the table some minutes earlier. Whispering under his breath, supressing a chuckle, he said "I can picture Earthwulf running around Asking people if they've seen 'The Big Who', heh."

At this point a shadow flicked quickly and quietly into the tavern. Eathan saw the Master infiltrator, and said "Danae..." She shook her head, and pressed her figer against her lips as she slid back out the door.

No one else saw her, but decided to humor Eathan. "Er, Hullo Danae!" Earthwulf said to an empty chair.

Taking his cue from that, Sieben began addressing the chair as well. "Danae!... we gots a problem." He was nodding his head vigorously, as if listening to someone speaking.

Eathan looked first at Earthwulf, then at Sieben, then at the crowd around his table. He began to feel... uncofortable.

"Danae," Earth was saying to the still empty chair, "Eathan be cursed by The Great Who, but he will not tell us aboot Who's Residence!"

Deciding to play along in hopes that it would clear things up, Eathan addressed the chair as well. "Mostly because I've no idea what they are talking about."

"EXACLTLY!" Bellowed Earthwulf, proud that he had made his point. "See ye be gettin' worse an' lookin piqued." Then he proceeded to "help" an invisible Danae out of the chair and out the door. "Well, good bye, Danae!" He stood and waved, unaware that across the street, hidden in the shadows, a confused Danae was waving back at him and wondering if she'd lost her ability to hide. If a lout like that Merc could see her.. she trembeled and ran off to practice her technique.

As he retured to the table, Wulf could hear Dunham saying "Well, many, ye be cursed to forget... sheesh, o' course ye don remember." Eathan was looking bak at him, mouth opening and closing slowly, like a dying fish struggling for water.

Dumbfounded and out of energy, he simply said "If you say so," and looked around for his wine. He kept trying to get up, but no one would let him, the little blue man saying something about intervention.

Earthwulf came back to the table, ad took anouther draught of ale. Addressing the small crowd, he said "Now ee's hallucernatin'. Ee keeps goin on aboot Danae, but she's na e'en ere!" He shook his head.

"Aye, the poor lad," Feneen eeped out.

Beginning to think maybe he'd had enough, the Theurgist spoke agian. "I'll certainly take the word of a mercenary and a scout over my own magical expertise," infusing his voice with subtle irony. Too subtle. Much too subtle.

The investigative duo looked pleased, and beamed as they took this compliment. Maybe their advertising with the town crier paid off, after all, they each thought.

"Ok," said Sieben with a renewed vigor, "we got it established tha we have more experience with curses an such, now we need to find this Great Who.' He looked ready, willing and able to take on the enormous task at hand.

Red faced and a wee angry, Eathan retorted "You'veestablishednothing!" He couldn't take this any more.

A horrified look passed across Earthwulf's face, and all the blood drained out of it. "Ee... ee.. ee cannae e'en talk proper, now! Ee's runnin 'is words tergether!"

A puffed up Eathan deflated with a loud, heavy sigh.

"Ye know," the Scout offered, "we be in trouuble if he forgets how to do that thing," He wiggled his fingers in an attempt at casting a spell.

This set the large Highlander off. Wailing in sorrow, he took another double drink and sputtered "Poor, poor eathan, yer such a dear man.. we'll save ye!" He continued crying. Oh, and drinking, of course. "But 'ow c'n we aid ye iffin ye dinna tell us aboot a home er a haunt o' this Great Who?" He looked expectantly at the Theurgist.

Eathan decided to try again. "Allow me to insert some logic into this discussion," he began, obviously forgetting who he was talking to, "it may be difficult your you both to understand. IF the curse involves a oss of memory to me, wouldn't it stand to reason that I wouldn't remember the durser's residence?" He looked expectant, and hopeful. Maybe...

Looking a Wulf Sieben stated "He's got a point." Eathan was beginning to look genuinely relieved.

Earthwulf stood and addressed the table in a whisper, keeping his back to Eathan. "Shhh.. now ee's tryin ter cover up 'is unferternate position by usin big words... Let's na be fooled Laddies, but we mus' humor 'im!" There were nods all around.

Eathan continued unperterbed. "The other possibility, of course, is that I'm not cursed at all, and therefore there is no curser's residence to find. And, Earthwulf? I've always used big words."

Earthwulf's face contorted in an exaggerated expression of over-interest as he glanced over his shoulder back at Eathan, nodding. He quckily turned his head back to the crowd, took a drink, and whispered even louder. "We donnae wanner upset 'im., fer twill make things worse." He turned back to Eathan, and grinned, braodly an nervously.

Eathan looked at the Mercenary with consternation. "Earthwulf, I can hear you."

Whispering out of the side of his mouth, back at the crowd, Wulf said "Och, ee's 'earing things now!" To Eathan, he said, with what was he hoped a look of concern and a calm smile, "Uh-huh, Eathan, wote'er ye say.. ye be right.. mmm-hmm, aye, yer right..."

Sieben, who had been in his thoughts, trying to figure out what was bother ing him about Eathan's statemient, suddenly lit up. "AHAH!" He exclaimed, thrusting a finger in the air. "Ye yeself said ye were cursed, sos ye yeself admitted ta beign cursed!"

Rubbing his temples, Eathan responded "Sieben, it was a bit of fun..."

Aghast, Sieben stated "Ye enjoyed it?"

Ethan began muttering. "Honestly, you'd think that with all the tomfoolery that goes on in here, I could participat in some... but no..." He took a long gulp of his mulled wine. "As soon as I try to give someone a little goodnatured ribbing, it's, of course assumed that I'm completely serious."

Sieben looked up. "Tom? That a miinion of the Great Who? And ye said that the curse entered into ye ribs? Dinnt worry, we ARE taking you serious! Ye'll get the best help we have!"

Earthwulf shook his head mournfully. " See? ee said it was a Silly Things curse, an ee's now talkin aboot parcipitatin in some foolery."

Again looking at Wulf, the Scout had a thought. "We should start With this Tom."

"Aye," agreed the highlander, "but do ee make people fools? An I donnae wanner parcipitae, niedder - it soun's painful."

"Well, with a name like Tom Follery, I'd assume so's."

Trying to ignore the what was going on around him, Eathan looked at his maps, muttering to himself, "So how does one reach Avalon?"

"AH-HA!" cried Wulf, overjoyed. "Avalon!"

Sieben nudge his partner. "See? I tol ye it were that tower."

About this time, a large groan came from behind the bar, and Yulian,Cabalist extrodinare, got up from where he had lay down the night before to sleep away the alcohol. "Hmmmm...." he said, clutching his head, "Where the devil am I?"

Rolling his eyes, the Theurgist responded "A madhouse!" Then tried to go back to his papers. Yulin was one of the three Captains of Glastonbury, and was looked at with some respect. A little, anyway.

Earthwulf, his one-track-mind-like-a-steel-seive had gotten an idea and would not let it go. "Avalon.. tha mus be 'is.. wotchercallit? 'Is subliminerationsl self talkin, tryin' ter ask fer help!"

Yulian stepped over to the crowded table. "What do the two of you seek?" He looked red eyed at the investigators.

Earthwulf grabs the hungover golem master by the elbow, taking him to a corner to whisper about what is going on. Eathan begins a chant, talking to the earth to evesdrop on the converstion.

"Eathan ha a curse put on 'im by a minon by th' name o Tom Foolery, oo works fer The Great Who on Avalon; ee's fergetful now, 'earing things, and hallucernatin' Danae were ere... ee keeps talkin like The Great WHo be an Earth Theurgist, an ee's beginnin ter run 'is words tergether. First ee swears ee;s cursed, now ee says ee ain't.. but ee's already named th' curse. Tis th' infermous Silly Things curse. Now, we's 'umorin' 'im, co its seems tha makin im mad er upsettin im makes it worse." He looked over at Eathan and smiled nervously.

Seeing an opeing in the crowd that Earthwulf eft, Eathan quickly gathered his thing, leaving a few of the more minor documents behind in his haste. "Well," he said hastily,"I bid you all good luck in your endeavors..." and he scampered out the door, as swiftly as he possibly could.

Sieben, unaware of what Earthwulf had come to realize, stepped aside, letting him out the door. "Be safe Eathan, we'l find this guy Tom fer ye..."

Earthwulf lunged for the door, but it was too late. "No... we cannae let 'im go to sleep!" He screamed after the fleeing Theurgist in horror. "Noooooooooooo!"

Earthwulf
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Postby earthwulf » Wed May 14, 2008 10:00 am

The Battle of Nightfall
« on: Dec 22nd, 2002, 9:12pm »

"I don't do treasure hunts Old Man." Meyvon remarked
flatly.

"Alright alright. Just hear me out, I promise it'll
be worth your while." A elder Avalonian stated
hastily. "Money is no object here, I only wish that
you leave to me what I am seeking."

"Now yer talkin my language." said the Glaston
Mercenary.

The Avalonian continued.

"I will pay you the sum I have written on this paper."
He said as he slid a piece of paper across the table
to Meyvon.

The Mercenary looked at the paper, and glanced around
at the various barmaids who were scuttling about the
Laughing Lion, waiting on their rather rowdy
customers. He glanced again at the paper, and allowed
himself a brief smile.

"Nice. I can agree to this. Now humor me Old Man,
what are YOU gaining from this deal?"

"As I have said before," the Elder man began, "You may
keep all of the treasure found within the Keep. There
is a substantial amount of hidden treasure buried deep
underneath the Keep, in the Catacombs below. All of
this is yours to do with as you please. You can also
take the Keep itself and do what you like with it.
There is, however, one piece of treasure which I am
seeking and will claim as my own."

"Alright, well before you get to that, lemme ask you.
What Keep do you wish taken?" Meyvon interjected.

"Dun Murdaigean." came the reply.

"Dun Murdaigean? Never heard of it."

"Yes, it is a deserted, barren battleground."

"So what is so special about this place? And what do
you want from it?" the Mercenary asked.

The Avalonian straightened himself up, and look
fiercely at the Mercenary.

"I seek the Chalice of Carfial. It is rumored to give
its wearer complete protection from Physical and
Magical attacks. It is an item of great worth to the
one who finds it. I know you cutthroat types. You
MUST honor this agreement, I am offering this in great
faith."

The Mercenary smirked. "No need to worry. You'll get
whatcha want. I keep the rest. Those are my terms.
Accept?"

"Yes. That is fine with me."

"Good. Now one last question. How does all of this
relate? This Chalice you seek, and this desolate, forgotten Keep you speak of?"

"You have never heard about the Battle of Nightfall? Well, then allow me to tell you the tale." The Avalonian said with a smile. The Avalonian took a sip of his Ale, and began to tell his tale.

"Many Many years ago, Dun Murdaigean was a major Hibernian Outpost. In those days, there flew rumors of a great treasure buried close to the Keep. Yes this is the same treasure I spoke of earlier. Many, from all Realms contested, and searched for this treasure. There were many Battles fought in the lands surrounding Dun Murdaigean. However the most memorable of these battles was the great Battle of NightFall. King Constantine heard wind of this great treasure, and sent an Army of 8,000 strong to claim the Keep in order to search for it. This huge army descended upon Dun Murdaigean as the Sun set, hence the name of the battle. The attack was a complete surprise, no forewarning, no standoff, nothing. The Hibernians mustered all the defensive forces they could and repelled the attack. The battle raged furiously for all of the night and much of the next day, ravaging the Lands of Murdaigean. The Hibernian magic, the sheer numbers of Albions and the magic of the Albion Mages devastated the land, leaving it a barren wasteland. Each side fought furiously, and there were many mighty warriors and Mages, and Heroes of both Realms who took part in this battle."

The Avalonian paused to order a few more rounds of Ale for himself and his company, as more people gathered around to listen to the story. Most notable were other members of the Irregulars, and a few members of the Sword and Rose. Many in the tavern were intrigued by tales of Battle, and stories of Heroes, and were thusly inclined to give the Avalonian their attention. The Avalonian took another sip of Ale, cleared his throat and continued.

"The forces of Albion were led by one such Hero. His name was Carfial Salerum. He was also know as Carfial the Holy. A Paladin he was, and a very skilled fighter. He was very devout in his Faith, thus the nickname he was given. It is said that he was blessed with the Power of God himself. He wore around his neck a sparkling Necklace. On this necklace is a Golden Chalice, which is the symbol of the Church of Albion. He wore it as a symbol of his complete and devout faith. The chalice is said to have magical properties. According to Legend, this Chalice was blessed by God, and repelled anything that might harm its wearer, whether physical or magical. At any rate, the Battle raged on, and Carfial led his forces into war. The Hibernians fought valiantly, but Carfial could not be stopped. Wielding his legendary Mace, which he named Chivalrous, he slew all who stood in his path. It is said that he alone killed 500 Hibernians that night. With the Chalice around his neck, he could not be touched. He waded through the Hibernians easily, smiting all he saw. The Albions smashed through the doors of the Keep, and rushed into the Courtyard and continued the battle. Carfial stepped into the courtyard and walked through a field of Arrows without getting hit by a single one. A Hibernian Spear-wielder came to confront the Mighty Paladin, and they clashed with mighty sparks of metal on metal. In the course of the battle, a lone assassin snuck behind Carfial and attempted to pierce his neck. The Paladin easily ducked the attempt, but in the process the assassin's dagger caught onto the Necklace, tearing it and the Chalice from the Paladin's neck. The Chalice fell to the ground, and was lost amongst the fighting. Not realizing what had happened, the Paladin continued his onslaught, killing both the Spear-Wielder and the assassin. He pressed on, undaunted, and proceeded to do battle again. It was in the courtyard that Carfial finally met his match, in a Hibernian Champion named Muyleran, who was an acclaimed Hero in his Realm. They battle furiously while the Albions set fire to the Keep. Amidst the blaze, the two Heroes squared off in what we would now consider a duel. After a good amount of furious combat, the Paladin was finally run through by the blade of the Champion. Without the Chalice to protect him from harm, the wound was fatal, and Carfial fell to the ground, dying a death worthy of a true Hero. The Albions pressed on, but without their leader they lost hope, and were finally driven back. However the Battle of Nightfall ravaged the lands of Murdaigean and completely destroyed the Keep itself. Once the Hibernians recovered from the great battle, they rebuilt Dun Murdaigean, and the Chalice was lost amongst the rubble and dirt, buried deep beneath. The treasure and the Chalice were forgotten, now passed off as a rumor, a story you tell your children at bedtime. Now Dun Murdaigean is such a desolate place, no one believes it worth going to. But if they only knew...."

The Avalonian stopped in midsentence, and looked up at the crowd that had gathered.

"Well, it is late friends. I must be off now. I do hope you enjoyed my tale, for I am not exactly a Minstrel." The Avalonian said with a warm smile.

Meyvon walked with him as the Avalonian made his way to the door. The Avalonian and the Saracen Mercenary had one last word before parting.

"So will you carry out this task for me, under the terms we discussed?" The Avalonian said.

"Yes, I will make my plans and gather who and what I need quickly. I will contact you again when Dun Murdaigean has fallen. Then we will discuss matters of recieving payment." Meyvon replied.

"Very Well."

With that said, The Avalonian and Meyvon Alarein, Saracen Mercenary of the Glastonbury Irregulars, shook hands to seal their arrangement, as is the custom when dealing with Mercenaries, and parted ways.

Meyvon


Redemption
« on: Dec 16th, 2002, 3:28pm »

Roryn traced his footsteps back and forth across his tiny bedroom beneath the church. His thoughts swarmed through his head as he wieghed the deeds of the past minth against his expectations of what had come to pass. Could it really have only been a month? It seemed ages ago that he first took to the field in Thidranki, and even longer since he'd become a member of the Irregulars.

He shook his head as he pondered the state of Albion. It seemed to him that he and his comerades were always fighting an uphill battle, not only against the large men of the north and the mystics of Hibernia, but also against themselves. His view of Albion as that it was a divided, leaderless nation with no true sense of itself. Of course, those always seem to be traits of whichever side is losing a war, but he did see hope. He saw it in his new family in Glastonbury, and he felt it the few close friends he had made.

Roryn had always felt like God had a plan for him, and though it once seemed so obvioius, he was now no longer certain. He started on this path to set things right for his clansmen and for Albion, but a rage grew inside him that was not directed at those goals. It was confusing for him, a man that was rarely unsure of himself, to be at such odds with himself. He began to wonder if the things he had done were right, or if they were born of hatred and malice. He cringed at the thought of the latter. He was a paladin. It was his place to perform God's will, not to execute the whims of his well hidden rage...

His head still turning, Roryn gathered his gear, secured his armor, and made his way out of the city. He was compelled to travel north, though by what force he was unaware. After several days of constant travel he found himself standing at the ruins of an old village. It was Moull, the place of his birth. This was the first time he had returned since narrowly escaping the attack of the north men. He slowly made his way toward the church where the women and children of Moull were so mercilessly murdered. Tears welled in his eyes, and despair enveloped his heart. He fell to his knees and began praying.....

*********************************************

The terrified villagers looked upon the blood-drenched paladin with a fear foreign to their hearts. Roryn continued his deliberate march to the large stone building at the far end of town without even glancing back at the half dozen northmen who lay dead in the street behind him. Somehow he knew this had been the staging point of the attack on his village so long ago; somehow he knew he would find redemption here.

As he approached the steps of the building, two more viking men attacked him, but Roryn would not not be touched by the blades of their axes. The world around him slowed to a crawl. He had already struck the first down before either of his assailants could raise their weapons. He had all the time in the world... His senses were so acute he could see every imperfection and blemish on his attacker's faces; he could hear the tensing of their muscles beneath their skin, and the creaking of their joints as they tried to manuever their axes; he could smell the gruel and ale on their breath as well as the oil they had used to treat their armor; he had time to mark his strikes perfectly as they tried futily to defend themselves. It was over in seconds. The shock was still present in the unclosing eyes of his victims as they lay at his feet.

Roryn's siege lasted only a few minutes and then he was done. The viking lord's hewn body sat on the meager throne of his main hall, and his blood crept along the stone floor. It was done. The words of Roryn's father echoed in his head as he left the viking village that night. The vengeance his father had seeked was done, they were all dead....all of them, save the women and children.

Tired and weary, the paladin finally laid down to rest, his mind no longer racing. In the morning his heart would pain for the lives extinguished by his blade this night, but not now. For now he slept peacefully, the tattered remains of his mother's quilt draped carefully over his body.
The morning sun crested the horizon, and the thin beams of light it projected crept along the the ground where Roryn slept, until a single ray bore its heat upon his face. He rose slowly and and looked on in awe of the sunrise that drew him from his slumber. He smiled to himself, and rose to his feet. He held the old quilt that had kept him warm in the night in his hands, and he slowly led his fingers over every inch of its surface. It was the first time since the day that he left that he was happy when he thought of his mother....or anyone in his family for that matter. He lingered around the remains of the old visit for some time that day and then headed off to find wherever his feet were leading him.

He traveled for several days, toward an unknown destination. When his feet finally stopped him, he was standing in front of a large cathedral crafted entirely out of the whitest marble the paladin had ever laid eyes on. Although he had never seen this place before, but he felt strangely at home. The shining gates opened as he approached, and a comforting voice called him in.

Beyond the small vestibule he found a magnifiscent hallway, the likes of which he had never experienced, not even in the great halls of Camelot. The voice that was calling him seemed to come not from one place, but from every surface of the room. The vagueness of the white hall beckoned Roryn further and further into its expanse until he found himself kneeling before a great throne, wreathed in silver flames. Something or someone sat upon this mighty throne, but the light pouring out from its being was too bright for the young paladin to look directly upon.

"Why have I been called here?" Asked Roryn.

From all around him a voice so wonderful and terrible at the same time boomed back at him "To answer your questions of faith, young one."

"But my faith is not in question, m'lord. My lord God has called upon me, and I have done by his will." was Roryn's response.

"Indeed you have, Roryn. You have done much good in your land of Albion, but still a shadow rests over your heart." Replied the voice. "I have called upon you to complete a task, and in the end you will have to make a decision."

"I don't understand." said Roryn. "Who are you, and what is it you are asking?"

"You know who I am!" Bellowed the voice, "And what I ask is all that you have to give..." The room fell silent for a brief moment, and once again the voice spoke. "I can only open the doorway for you; then it is upon you to take the first step. You know in your heart what it is you must do."

Roryn's eyes now fixed themselves directly at the being seated in the glorious throne before him, fending of the piercing light that had blinded them before. His voice echoed through the halls of the white cathedral as he addressed the angelic figure before him. "Open the door then, for I fear not what lies beyond! The hand of God rests upon my shoulders, and I fear no evil. Whatever your task is, my lord, I accept it."

With an approving nod, the being lifted his right hand and motioned for Roryn to turn around. The paladin did so without a second thought; he was proud that God had seen fit to assign him this unkown task. A doorway appeared out of thin air, and it opened into dimly illuminated hallway. Without hesitation, Roryn stepped through the mystical entryway and the door closed behind him.

As he took his first steps forward, a hissing voice whispered to him "The hand of God cannot protect you in this place, paladin! I thank you for coming so eagerly!" Roryn's eyes widened and he grasped the sword at his side.
Roryn squinted and wiped the mixture of sweat and blood from his eyes and rested his weight on the hilt of his sword. His breath was heavy and he tried desperately to catch it before another wave of demons came, or better still, so he could continue moving, though to where he did not know. He listened carefully, and at the sound of claws clanking on the stone floor, he lifted his weary body and moved forward once more. The voice was still hissing curses at him, and the hideous laughter it continually boomed into his head was starting to wear on the paladin's senses....for the first time, he wondered if he could make it out of this place.

How foolish it was, that he would believe that God had called him, someone as insignifigant as he, for some great mission. He wasn't even a major factor in the church much less in his own lord's eyes. He couldn't believe he walked into Satan's trap so easily.... It all seemed so real, but he now understood why the figure in the white palace never showed its face, but this was Roryn's own fault and he knew it. His hatred for the northmen showed the dark lord a weakness, and he quickly took advantage of it.

His thoughts quickly changing from contemplation to strict focus, Roryn unleashed a mighty blow on the demon before him. It was large and foreboding, with a maw as large as the man trading blows with it, and claws that could shred the hardest of armors, yet Roryn would not back down. He fought with every once of his might, desperately singing blessed songs that granted him strength and eased the pain of his wounds, and landed blow after blow with his sword. The demon rose and heaved, and after one final strike, it fell to ashes at Roryn's feet. When the demon withered away, a golden amulet lay on the ground where it fell. Roryn picked up the piece of jewelry, realizing it was once worn by another champion of God who had succumb to the evil in this place, and placed it in his pack. He quickly forgot about the item he had found, and returned his concentration to his journey. The beasts in this place seemed to be getting stronger, not weaker as he progressed, and in his heart he knew the end was drawing near.

Still, the paladin continued on, charging down the last corridor he found, rushing to whatever fate awaited him at the end, until-------he was there.... The troubles he had before withered in the face of what now loomed over him. The demon that had tested his every step paled in comparrison to the monster smiling at the young man.

"So, you have found me, Sir Roryn, and passed the last of my tests." said the creature extending an enormous hand, its voice no longer hissing. "You need only take my hand, and you will sit beside me as we crush the enemy under the might of our combined strength!"

Panting and exhausted, Roryn replied "Then you will indeed be dissappointed, for I will never stand at your side." Roryn slowly straightened his posture and brought his blade to the ready.

"Come, now, paladin. I have seen your thoughts, I know you have questioned your faith, and I am the answer." retorted the demon lord.

His voice rejuvinated with pride and defiance, Roryn shouted back at the fiend "Then you missunderstand faith!! God has granted me a mind with which to question, a soul with which to decide for, and a heart with which to follow! I HAVE questioned my faith, and everytime, GOD sends a resounding answer! I will never join with you, foulest beast of the planes!!!"

"Ha! I thought you were strong, Roryn! I guess I DID missunderstand, you are another sheep to be herded in the fields!" exclaimed the demon "Now, you will be slaughtered like the rest!!!"

With that, the demon lord leaped forward at Roryn, crashing down on the paladin, claws and teeth flashing. Roryn tried to defend himself, but he was no match for the beast, so he did something the demon did not expect. When the monster retracted from his first strike and was readying for the next, Roryn dropped to his knees and placed his golden sword on the ground in front of him. He began praying. He was not praying to be protected from the beast, or to be spared from an afterlife in the devil's service, instead he prayed for the fate of Albion. He pleaded with God to protect her sons and daughters, and to smile on those that would fight and die in her charge. He prayed that his brothers and sisters in Glastonbury be given the strength to maintain their immense valour no matter what occured. He prayed as intensly as he had ever done, and he paid no attention to the vile fiend that was about to set upon him.

The demon lord, hesitated no more. He laughted as he heard the paladin's pleas, and lunged his hungry jaws at the helpless paladin. It was over.
Roryn's eyes crept ever so slowly open as the morning sun beamed down on his face. He quickly lept up from the ground where he laid and scanned the area around him..... He quickly realized where he was, and it was not the bowels hell, rather, it was the hill that overlooked the glade above Moull. Could it have all been a dream? It had seemed so real, but Roryn knew better. He looked on the horizon and thought of his new home in Albion. It was about time he returned. As he was replacing his bedroll and blanket to his pack, a small object fell out. Roryn bent down and picked it up. A golden amulet lay in the palm of his hand, four words now inscribed on its surface....."Thine heart stay true" was all it said.

God had spared him. Roryn did not begin to contemplate why, he merely said a small prayer of thanks and set off before the sun rested in the middle of the sky....Glastonbury was just five days away.

Roryn MaCullach


A tale long over due- The Beginning
« on: Jan 20th, 2003, 12:06pm »

The young Brit stood in the doorway, longbow slung across his back, and kissed his Saracen wife. A tear rolled down her cheek. He gave her a smile as she put a charm necklace around his neck.
"No worries luv." he whispered to her. "Arthur will have us back home afore ye know it."

"Come-on Jimmie! They ain’t gonna wait fer us all day!" Hollered a man from horseback from outside.

"I be a cumin, jus hold on a sec an let a man say goodbye ta his family will ye?"

The Brit turned back to his wife and smiled as he wiped away the tear. Looking down two the two young boys standing at her side, he crouched down.

"Lorric." he told the elder boy," It be up ta ye ta take care o ye ma an ye brother Sieben till I get back. Ye the man o the house until then, ok?"

He watched as the young boy nodded, then grabbed both in a big hug, squeezed all his love into them that he could. Standing again he kissed his wife once again and turned to mount the horse that was being held for him by the mounted man. He smiled down at his family one last time.

"I'll be back soon. Arthur ain’t ever lost a fight, an this upstart Mordred will soon find that out on the fields o Camlan." With a wave the two riders took off, the small family watching them fade.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Lorric awoke to the sounds of muffled crying. He gave a slight frown. It had been 2 years since his father had left to fight along side Arthur at the battle of Camlan. Arthur had died there, as did Lorric's father. His mother still grieved.

Lorric glanced over to his little brother Sieben. Sieben slept soundly, unaware of their mothers sobbing. Sieben, like their father, was a natural with a bow, the little bugger could hit a tree at fifty paces. Lorric frowned again, he had no talent with the thing, and Sieben teased him about it whenever he could. Lorric thought about kicking the little upstart, but before he could he heard a new sound come from his mother’s direction. A cough. Winter was coming to the farm and it sounded like his mother was getting a cold. Lorric gave a small sigh, which would mean more work for him.


--------------------------------------------------------------------

"I'm sorry son. His Lordship can't have you here alone. With ye mother gone ye are going to have to get off the land."

"What about me brother an I, eh? What are we suppose ta do? We cin farm this as well as anybody!"

"I don't know son. I am sorry. It be his Lordships orders."

Lorric fumed as he watched the lords soldiers toss out the few belongings from his home. When his mother died from the fever in the last winter he had never imagined he would be evicted from their home. He was twelve, almost a man, he had been taking care of the farm since his father had gone. He didn't understand why he couldn't keep doing it. He had to take care of his brother, he had promised his father he would.

"Well Bugger Ye Lordship!!" He yelled after the departing man.

Lorric started grabbing things he thought they might need, and motioned Sieben to do the same.

"Where we going Lorric?" His younger brother asked.

Lorric stopped picking up items and looked at Sieben. After a few moments of pondering he smiled.

"Camelot! We go ta Camelot"
"STOP THIEF!!!!!"

Lorric ran as fast as his legs could carry him, turning corners and dodging people. Finally ducking into an old abandoned home. He watched as the guard that had been chasing him ran by and listened to the footsteps diminish into the sounds of the city.

Breaking off part of the stolen bread, he took a bite, putting the remainder in a pocket for his brother. Lorric looked about him as he ate the meager portion. The empty house was in shambles, garbage was strewn about what was once a floor of a wealthy craftsman home. He would have to go find Sieben and bring him here, this would be a good place to stay out of the rain. Lorric pushed aside some of the refuse and laid down, a nap would be a good way to pass the time while he waited for things to cool off.


"Sieben ye here?" Lorric called out in the alley that they had called home for the past year.

"Aye. I be here. Jus packn some thins."

Lorric gave his little brother an inquisitive look, he hadn't told him of the abandoned house yet. "Wha ye packn?"

"I gots me a job!" Sieben beamed at his older brother. "I going ta be an apprentice Fletcher."

Lorric stood there, stunned. How could he watch over he brother like he promised if Sieben went to work and live at a fletchers shop? "But."

"Look brother." Sieben interrupted, “This be better. I know ye promised Da ta watch over me, but this will be safer fer both o us. Ye don have ta take care o me, riskn ye neck ta get us food. Sides I wanna learn fletchn, an it's a good place. We've been living on the streets fer two years now. I be eleven now, an I be no good at all this. It be better fer both o us."

Lorric stood desperately trying to think of an argument, and failing. He looked around, examining the wood and cloth lean-too that they called home for now.

"Cin I visit ye at least?"

Sieben threw his arms around his older brother and squeezed a hug. "Aye, as often as ye cin."

Silently Sieben and Lorric walked together to Sieben’s new living quarters. Lorric looked the place over, not too bad a place, he thought.

"Ye take care lil brother."

"Ye too big brother"

Lorric stood and watched his brother walk into the building, giving a sad sigh. He was going to miss the little twerp.
Lorric stood over the body, dagger dripping with the other boy’s blood. He had never killed anyone before and was more surprised at the lack of regret over it than the actual act of killing. The other boy and his gang had tried to move into the abandoned home, and evict Lorric in the process. He was never one for backing down and the whole thing had ended up in a fight. Lorric looked around. The remainder of the gang had run off, leaving him with his dead assailant. He bent down and examined the body, looking for anything of value. Lifting a hand he found a gold signet ring, the boy was a noble’s son. Fear gripped Lorric, killing a street thug was one thing, no one would ever miss that type, but killing a noble’s son, that meant death. Lorric stood to make his escape from the scene, only to be gripped by an unseen force. Lorric stood helpless as a hooded man stepped out of the shadows.

"Well now, I suppose I should thank ye fer doing me job fer me." The shadowy figure spoke as he took off the dead boy’s signet ring and pocketed it.

The figure stood and looked at Lorric. "Now what ta do with ye? Ye in a spat o....." The figure trailed off into silence, taking a few moments to examine Lorric's face. "Well bugger me silly, ye look jus like me old friend Jimmie ye do." The figure stopped talking again as Lorric's eyes widened in recognition of his father’s name. "Oh Bugger, Ye be one o his boy's ain’t ye.’ell we gots ta get ye outta 'ere afore them guards get 'ere." with that the man tossed Lorric over his shoulder and ducked into the night.

Lorric


Wulfred walks in the bar, sits down next to Excelsius and Frederyck. He starts to make conversation and is immediately shushed. About to get angry, an ale arrives immediately, so he takes a drink and starts to listen.
Wulfred


<whispers> Wulfred, put your money away here. It ain't no good. ya see, Lorric, he's bloddy rich, he been sneakin inta all the heathens keeps and stealin some of that dwarven treasure. We just tell the barkeep to put it on 'is tab. <wink>
Frederyck, the Surly Carpenter
---
Lorric ate hungrily this was the first full meal he had in months. Looking around at the shadowy figures home, it was a moderate abode, nothing fancy. The figure reentered the room carrying a couple mugs, after setting one down next to Lorric he removed his hood. Lorric stopped eating, it was the man on the horse that had rode off with his father that day years ago. Lorric stared at the man.

"I see ye recognize me lad. Aye I there when ye Da said goodbye ta ye an ye mum. I be sorry ta 'ear o 'er passn, she were o good folk. I were wrong when I tol ye Da that she were a demon spawn sent ta steal his soul." The man leaned forward "What o ye brother then, 'e be alive, aye?"

Lorric nodded.

"Good, I be Dogun. Ye Da were me best friend, an I owe him me life. Now eat up lad an we'll get acquainted."

The night went on like that, Lorric learned how his parents met, his father rescuing his mother from Norse that had enslaved her. The adventures of Dogun and James and how Arthur had called on them for the most perils of missions. He learned of the final battle at Camlan, how Arthur slew Mordred but in turn received a mortal wound. How his farther and Dogun had cornered Morgan le Fay, and how in that fight his father gave his life to save his best friend. How Dogun had been left for dead and took three years before he had recovered enough to look for his friend’s family.

"By the time I got ta ye farm ye an ye brother were gone, I searched fer years. Fraid I 'ad givin up hope o findn ye. Tell me lad what ye been up ta all this time."

Lorric told of living on the streets, of moving from place to place. He told of Sieben's apprenticeship to Frederyck of Glastonbury, an how he made it a point to visit as much as he could. He told of his find in the home, and how the gang had tried to take it over.

"Aye lad I saw the fight. Ye be a goodun with a dirk. That boy ye killed was terrorizin the city, I were ordered ta eliminate 'im so 'is younger brother will be the next in line fer secession." Dogun paused in thought. " I think I gots an idea." Dogun smiled " Ach lad it be late tho, we'll talk o me idea in the morning. Go ta sleep now lad we got a big day ahead."

Lorric


<Quiet>

Mildred


<The>

Methinks I may be gaining some understanding of Sieben and Lorric. 'Tis good to know somone's background, she thinks.
Nazia


<Wulfred>

Hush, ye all, this be innerestin.. an ye dinna ha a tab ere, it all comes outta me pocket er Lorrics... Continue, Sneak..

Earthwulf


"So this is him eh Dogun?"

"Aye. This be Dunham's boy. The one I tol ye about."

Lorric looked at the two men, unsure what was going on.

"You think he'll fit in, huh?"

"Aye, I'll teach 'im eveythin I know. I owe 'is Da that at least."

"We all owe his father for something or other." The elder man sat in thought a moment, and then turned to face the young Lorric. "Welcome to the Guild of Shadows boy."

------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------

Time passed and Lorric learned what Dogun had taught. He had found what he was good at, and he grew to become a great asset to the Guild of Shadows. The missions they sent him on became more and more important, and more and more dangerous. Dogun became the father he never had as well, the two enjoyed meals and conversation when ever they could get together.

"Them Norse and Celts be encroaching on our land more an more. I feel a full war be cumin soon."

"A good fight eh Dogun?"

Dogun stopped and became serious "War ain't like a normal fight lad. In war ye ain't gots much control over what 'appens." Dogun looked at Lorric to make sure he understood, after a moment he smiled. "Bah, nough o this depressin stuff tell me o ye last adventure."

Thus it was for awhile.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------

Lorric moved in the shadows of this land called Thidranki, War was being waged here, and once again Dogun had been right. He watched as the Norse move off in chase of the few survivors of the small fight. A lone kobold stayed behind to torture a wounded armwoman. With his friends out of sight Lorric leaped from the shadows and impaled the creature with his blades. After wiping his blades off he knelt to inspect the wounds of the armswoman.

"It'll be alright lass, help should be cumin soon.

More Albion’s came over the hill, and a large mercenary made a b-line for Lorric.

"Oi! Who ye be!? An what ye done ta Carac?!"

Lorric scowled. “Me name is Lorric, an I ain’t done nothn but kill this kobold."

The merc look down at the dead creature, "Aye ye kilt 'im all right." he smiled at Lorric " Ah be Earthwulf, an me wounded friend ther be Carac. We fight fer Glastonbury in 'er militia tha Irregulars."

"Glastonbury eh? Me lil brother be apprenticed ta one from there. Frederyck be his name."

"Oi! Ye 'now Freddy! Well that makes ye Sieben's kin."

Lorric nodded. "Aye that’s the little bugger."

Earthwulf looked up. "Ach, 'ere they come again"

Lorric turned pulling blades and fought beside the merc. The Norse fell to the two as they held their ground over the wounded armswoman. When it was over the two turned and smiled at each other.

And thus an odd friendship began.
Lorric walked into the Laughing Lion, his home form months now. He and the big merc Earthwulf had become fast friends, and there had been many adventures together, tales to be told another time. Lorric was an Irregular now, he had followed his little brother in joining the motley band, and he was happy he had. He had many friends and compatriots, and when he wasn't on a mission for The Guild of Shadows he had a home.

Lorric walked up to the bar and Daylan set a steaming mug of koffee in front of him.

"This letter came for ye the other day Lorric." Daylan set the wax sealed note next to the koffee.

Lorric smiled and nodded, taking a sip from the mug before opening the letter.


I have need of ye talents. I have found a place where the one who killed ye Da might be. It seems that she be making a new attempt at Albion. Meet me at our training grounds.

Dogun



Lorric frowned. Morgan le Fay had made several attempts at power as of late, but this was something important. Dogun had become one of the council of The Guild of Shadows and it took allot to get the old sneak out of Camelot. He put the letter in a vest pocket and tried to finish his drink as quickly as he could.

Earthwulf came up to the bar next to Lorric. "Ah saw that look sneak. Wha be wrong an wher we goin?"

Lorric smiled up to his friend. "Not this time Wulf, I gots to do this alone. Ye a lousy sneak, an that’s wha be needed on this."

"Bah! Ah cin sneak!" With that Earthwulf proceeded to prove his point by tip toeing around the tavern. With a smile Earthwulf turned to the see the expression on Lorric's face but the sneak was gone from the tavern. With a frown he turned back to his table. "Ach, be safe ye sneak, be safe."
Lorric came up on the campsite slowly. The note Dogun had left at the training grounds said he had gone ahead to gather information he would be waiting here at this camp. The camp was quiet, no was one around, not too odd if Dogun had heard him coming, but Lorric was going to surprise his old mentor so had been moving silently as possible.

He examined the camp from the tree line, looking for a trap. The camp looked normal, nothing unusual but the lack one anyone there. Lorric cautiously entered the camp.

"Dogun?" he whispered. The hairs on the back of his neck were beginning to stand on end. Slowly he unsheathed his blades, and began to examine the camp. There were more than one person’s footprints here, although it didn't look like there had been a struggle. A rustle from the tree line caused Lorric to take his fighting stance.

From the trees stepped his old friend, Lorric visibly relaxed and sheathed both his blades. "Dogun ye scoundrel, ye scared the buggern death out o me."

"This time you'll not escape me infiltrator! You've been a thorn in my side too long.!" The words were spoke by Dogun, but it wasn't his voice that spoke them. Too late Lorric spotted the blood stained on his old friend’s chest. "KILL HIM!" The voice shrieked and the tree line spilled forth a mix of Draconian and Undead.

Lorric, once again blades in hand, charged his mentor. Ducking the sword that his friend swung in an attempt to fulfill the voices command, he impaled Dogun, and ripped upward to disable the lifeless corpse. Pushing past he made a break for the trees, ducking another sword swing, this time by a Drac. Lorric thrust upward and caught the Drac under the chin, the long dirk easily penetrating its brain. Rolling clear, he dove into the trees, running as quick as the forest would let him.

Lorric could hear his pursuers, the Dracs were longwinded and the undead had no need to rest, he wasn't going to escape this time. He desperately looked around for some way to even the odds a bit. Soon he spotted a small area of dense woods. Not the best, he thought, but it'll keep them from using all of their number.

Lorric got to the heavy treed area at the same time as the Dracs. He rolled into the first one cutting it behind the knees, a crippling move. A second Drac quickly moved in and swiped at him, catching him across the side. Lorric grimaced at the pain as he shoved his dirk into it's now exposed chest. Falling back a bit he watched as 4 more of the creatures charged into the area, the undead not far behind. Lorric sprang at the Dracs, he had to finish them before the undead reached the fight or their numbers would overwhelm him. With a few wounds he was able to impale the last of the Dracs just as the first of the undead entered the now blood soaked ground.

Lorric felt a stabbing pain in his leg. The Drac that he had crippled was pulling him down, its claws deep into his flesh. As he fell he watched as on of the undead raised it's sword to impale the now prone sneak. As quick as he could he rolled out of the way swinging sword, leaving part of the flesh from his leg in the Dracs claws, The surprised Drac could do nothing but scream as the sword ended it's life. Limping to a stand Lorric engaged the Undead.

The fight was not glorious or quick, Lorric was severely wounded and moving much slower than normal. But the undead were slower still and when it was over he was the last to be standing. Lorric slowly made his way back to the camp. His friend and mentor were there and he intended to recover the remains.

As Lorric reentered the camp the corpse of Dogun still stood, one side dangling where Lorric had made his attack.

"You are a resorseful one aren't you.” Morgan appeared as the mangled body of Dogun fell to the ground. "You should be working with me and not against me."

"Bugger ye." Lorric spat. “Ye’ll feel me blades fer all ye done."

"You'll not find that easy to do, little infiltrator," She laughed. "I already have plans that you cannot stop. You or the rest of your Irregulars."

"Ye will die, fer me Da ye will die."

"Your father? Oh yes, he has been an extremely useful servant. Here let me introduce you to him."

Lorric screamed out in pain as the arrow struck his back. Rolling foreword he leaped at Morgan, and met air.

"Silly little infiltrator, I am not quite that easy to kill. Enjoy your family reunion."

With laughing echoing in the air where Morgan had stood, Lorric ducked behind a tree looking for the archer. Spotting the undead creature, Lorric stepped into the shadows, maneuvering behind the creature. Stepping from the shadows once again he ended the creature’s undead existence. Lorric collapsed next to the creature in exhaustion.

Lorric lay on the ground for a moment before sitting up to examine the remains of the undead archer. It bared very little resemblance to his father. Morgan must have thought to throw him with the father thing, he thought.

Lorric’s father stood in the doorway, longbow slung across his back, and kissed his wife. A tear rolled down her cheek. He gave her a smile as she put a charm necklace around his neck.

Lorric looked at the creatures neck, there sat the charm.

He sat for a while staring at the charm. Then Lorric did something he hadn't done since he was a child, he cried.

<With>

<He>


Sitting there, ale in hand, Earthwulf is for once speechless. All he knows is he wants to hear more

Earthwulf


<gives>

Ex


<being>
A sad tale lad, but Ye'll git ye revenge I think.

Rhendadd


A sad tale, but it makes a better beginning than an ending methinks.

I must go for a bit lads, thanks for the tale and the ale.

<Joints creaking, Wulfred gets up slowly and leaves the Laughing Lion. He'll be back, but business must be attended to>

Wulfred
Contributor: http://haystackblog.wordpress.com/
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earthwulf
Diddly Womper, 1st class
 
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