An Adventure to the West

Nathchi

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Often evenings between 5 to 11AM CET (central european time).
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Intermediate, Advanced, Adaptable
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Sci-fi, fantasy, magic, slice of life, supernatural, steampunk
In the early morning of Dunswile the sun rose from the horizon. The morning fog hovering over the green and yellow fields, ready to be harvested, moisted the air as small water drops rested on the leafs. A cold fresh wind that drives over the land wake up reminisce of last years winter that is soon to arrive once more. As far as the eye can see one would describe Dunswile as nothing more than plain open fields with moderately planted trees here and there as it colors the world of green and yellow in the summer, white emptiness in the winter and an indescribable beauty of colors in the autumn and spring.

Between the fields stretches a one way long long road of dirt and on each side follows an old molden wood fence that have on some parts lost the lower or upper parts, or have broken altogether. From the stretching fields one can follow the road beside the Dunswile forest on the eastern part of the land before arriving to different small villages close to a mountain called Heinrhie. In the opposite end across the fields waits a world of glory, sickness, adventure and horror that is unbeknownst of the people in Dunswile. Because when one from the village walks across the fields and enters the Forest of no Return, no one has ever come back to tell the tale of what lies beyond the fields.

In the village Dur, you, a simple person unbeknownst of the adventure that awaits you, wakes up to a noisy banging on the door. When opening the door you get greeted by an older slimmer man near his forties with long curly blond hair and long beard. With his big nose, squinting eyes and signature red bag you recognise this older man as Müllin the mail man. Müllin hands you a white letter with your name on it.
-" 'ere ya go." Müllin sighs as he straightens the pants.
-" Not often ya get a letter, eh? Maybe it's even a lov' letter?" Müllin says jokingly as he nudges on your arm. He than wishes you a good day and runs of to his next destination. You close the door and then open the letter. It's from one of your closest friends.

~ Morning to ya' friend! ~
I hope Müllin gave ya' a good knocking on ye' door!
I have som'thin' to show ya'.

Comy by my lodge as soon as ya' can

Gurn Bifel
 
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Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
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1-3 posts per day
Writing Levels
Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
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Ysanne awoke with a start to the sound of someone pounding on her door. Not Dheorin the village "wizard," nor his apprentice Torin. If the former wanted to jolt her out of her sleep to put her to work early, he would send the latter, who would stand at the door of her servant's hut and shout at her to wake up and get to work. Maybe he could muster a half-hearted kick at the door, but this kind of energetic fist-slamming was beyond him. Not that Ysanne minded Torin's laziness; in fact she was grateful. It meant that, while Dheorin would never accept a girl as an apprentice, he had one anyway. Sure, Torin got credit for her studies, and whenever she managed to get a spagyric or elixir done right, but at least she got to do more than clean up after the two men.

But the question remained: who would be banging on her door at this hour--or at all, really? To most everyone in the village, she was just a nondescript orphan who ended up with Dheorin because he needed a servant and she needed to eat. Ysanne threw her cloak on over her shift, and cracked her door open. Müllin? she thought, blinking with surprise. Before she could come up with anything articulate to say, he offered her a folded sheet of paper with her name on it. "'Ere ya go," he said. "Not often ya get a letter, eh? Maybe it's even a lov' letter?" Müllin said jokingly, nudging her arm. Ysanne blushed, but was still unable to find words worth saying before he wished her a good day and hurried off on his way.

She opened the letter and read its contents. Feeling a lift of excitement, Ysanne washed and dressed in a rush. If she was to make it to Gurd's lodge before day's end, she'd have to do it before Dheorin and Torin got up and started drowning her in chores. Finally, she pinned her dark brown woolen cloak on over a linen dress and slipped out, making her way to Gurn's lodge in the light of early dawn. Unlike Müllin, she knocked softly and waited for Gurn to answer...
 

Nathchi

Person of the unknown
Original poster
Invitation Status
Looking for partners
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1-3 posts per week
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Often evenings between 5 to 11AM CET (central european time).
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Advanced, Adaptable
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magic, slice of life, supernatural, steampunk
When a door opens one would expect to be greeted by another person in eye height but this time it's different. Instead Ysanne sees no one in front of her until she hears a drowsy voice below her.
-"Who… in his greatness… mind would visit a' this hou'?" A short man moans as he rubs his baggy eyes and looks up at you. The man has a handsome face despite his short height and green eyes that lack a bit of power. The white shirt is hurriedly tucked under the brown pants and bare feet standing on the dark wooden floor.
-"Oh! Ysanne! Are ya' here to visit uncle Gurn?" The man says in suprise as he scratches his sideburns.
-"Well, what are ya' standin' here fo'? Come on in!" The man gestures his arm as he turns around and walks further into the hall, making his dark brown bed hair even more visible from behind. The man who was greeting you by the door is a familiar face. It is Gurn's grandson Lars from a family established of dwarven bloodline, hence their short height.

In the village Dur there are not many dwarfs in the area except for Gurn and his grandson Lars who lives by the sidelines in his lodge. The people in Dur and the village Wolhtung that lies further northeast very close to the mountain have had since a long time ago a close alliance with each other. Wolhtung consist of a majority of dwarfs living close to the mountain, the people of Dur give the drawfs in Wolhtung wisdom and knowledge of magic as well as necessities such as cloth and crops from the fields. While the dwarfs in Wolhtung makes extraordinary clothes out of the cloth and tools from the mountains raw materials which the people in Dur can use. This coexistence has been alive for centuries but a small crack have slowly start to arise between the villages as of late.

In the tight hallway, barely keeping two people walking side by side, are four doors leading to the kitchen, library, Gurn's bedroom and a guest room that Lars have for the time being. Hanging on the wooden walls are different pictures of family members all sharing the curly messy hair in variety colors of red and brown.
-"As usual, be sure not to knock ya' foot into the dresser the'e" Lars warns Ysanne as they walk past a tall dresser standing in the small hallway. For Lars being used by the messy surrounding gracefully walks past all the different knickknacks on the floor. Going into the library there is a visible staircase down on the east end of the room.
-"Uncle Gurn! Ysanne is 'ere!" Lars calls down from the top of the stairs.
-"Atta boy! Bring 'er down here!" Gurn calls out from below. Lars turns to Ysanne.
-"I'll go fix the tea, ya' can go on right ahead!" Lars smiles and then goes back into the hallway. A moment later the sound of clatter can be heard.

Going down the stairs you can barely see the walls as the only light source is from two or three candle lights. The room is spacious and is the working space for Gurn. On the walls hangs different types of tools, some you recognize, some you don't and in the middle of the room is something big hiding under a white cloth. In front of it stands a man with his gray locks of hair shining and with a similar attire as Lars but with a brown leather overall and shoes. The short man turns around and looks at you with a big grin on his face as his goggles reflects some of the light. With a long beard and mustache as gray as the hair it hides most of his chest but the smile is clearly visible.
-"Ysanne!" Gurn calls out as he stretches out his arms to hug you.
 

Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
Posting Speed
1-3 posts per day
Writing Levels
Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne's eyes widened when she saw that it was not Gurn who came to the door but his grandson Lars, and the poor Dwarf had been rousted from slumber by her arrival. "Oh! Ysanne! Are ya' here to visit Uncle Gurn?"

"Uh...yes. Sorry Cousin Lars, I did not mean to wake you. He sent me a letter..." she stammered, but Lars ushered her in and brought her to the stairwell leading down to Uncle Gurn's workshop. Though the place was cramped and unkempt, and she had to duck under doorways, it felt more like home than her own spare quarters. "Thank you," she said to Lars as he went off to make tea.

Ysanne picked her way down the dark tunnel stairway, careful to avoid missing a stair or tripping over some knicknack. It felt like delving into an ancient underground labyrinth...and this time, the Unknown did await at the bottom. Ducking under the doorway into Gurn's workshop, her eyes momentarily fell on the large, shrouded object in the center of the room. What could it be? How did he even get that down here, she wondered. Restraining her curiosity, she directed her attention and her smile to the Dwarf standing in front of the mystery object, or objects.

"Ysanne!" Gurn called out, opening his arms for an embrace.

"Uncle Gurn!" Ysanne replied, rushing into his arms. "I truly wish I could come see you and Cousin Lars more often," she said, giving the small, stout Dwarf an affectionate squeeze. "I hope everything is well for the two of you," she said.
 

Nathchi

Person of the unknown
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1-3 posts per week
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Often evenings between 5 to 11AM CET (central european time).
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Advanced, Adaptable
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magic, slice of life, supernatural, steampunk
Gurn laughed his usual hefty laugh as he gave Ysanne a big warm embrace and then took of his goggles, making his brown eyes visible.
-"Aye, it has been some rough days but this ol' man can still run!" Gurn smiled as he scratched his head. His eyes seemed rather tired but were still strong with energy. Gurn then took his hand on Ysanne's back, directing her eyes to the large unknown object.
-"Ya' see I've been working on som'thing special..." Gurn said as he walked hastily toward the object taking his hands on the sheet and pulling it off. The object that once was hiding under the white sheet was now visible to the eye and it was indescribable.

The object, made of wood and steel from the mountain was almost like a horse but with two wheels on the front and back. On the front it had some sort of handle where you could grab it with both hands and a box resting in the back. The box had two big pipes connected in the back and some smaller ones on the sides. But what made it even more bizarre was the big thing on its side. It was some sort of hollow container where a person could fit, like a giant bag on the horses back that hung beside it. Gurn looked at Ysanne with a huge smile, waiting for a reaction.
-"Ya' see! This! This thing right 'ere!" Gurn couldn't hold his excitement any longer, eyes shining with fire and arms waving back and forth.

-"This... is the new revolution of traveling, my friend."
 

Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
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1-3 posts per day
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Adaptable
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Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne's eyes went wide with astonishment at the sight of Gurn's contraption. She had learned enough about mechanical things from Gurn to deduce the basics of its operation: employ some sort of prime-mover to turn at least one of the machine's wheels, thus propelling the device without need for a horse or other beast of burden. Here, she did not have to hide her curiosity, so she went over to examine the device with a face full of wonder. Instead of a transmission-belt, Gurn had created a finely-crafted chain to go from the wheelwork of what she thought must be the prime mover to the rear wheel--one of the rear wheels, for now that she was closer to it, she could see that there was a third wheel on the far side to support the passenger pod. Going from cog to cog, the chain would not slip as a belt could. The bar in front was clearly meant to shift the front wheel for the purpose of turning, like the tongue of a wagon. It had other controls on it, levers of brass and wood that urged manipulation.

Ysanne was careful to keep her hands clasped behind her back, however. Just as it would be unwise to drink from a flask in a wizard's lab without knowing its contents, it would be foolish, even dangerous to touch the controls or parts of a device like this in ignorance. Some of them she thought she understood, like a lever that seemed meant to pull a cord connected to a caliper readied to clasp the rim of a wheel. Others, not so much, and what the inscrutable indicator dials were meant to indicate remained a mystery. She turned her attention to the prime mover itself. The boiler she recognized, for Gurn used a larger version to turn a prime-mover he tapped by various means to power some of the tools of his workshop. But this prime mover had to be compact, and could not be fueled with chopped wood if it was to be mobile.

"This...is truly a wonder, Uncle Gern! The prime-mover alone...I dare say this will be the new revolution in many things besides traveling! Milling, chopping, pounding, nearly every process of manufacture, even the washing of laundry..." Ysanne had some rough sketches of just such a laundry-machine hidden under her mattress; it would have a drum one could put clothes, water, and soap into, with a set of gears connected to a foot-treadle, so that she could wash laundry while reading a book. She'd hoped to show them to Gurn once they were complete and she had at least some confidence the machine would actually work. But this, this was on a higher level entirely.

"May I ask, what do you use as fuel? A distillate of spirits?" Some substances, such as Alchemist's Firepowder or Fulminate of Mercury, could contain a great deal of energy in a small volume, but they were also quite volatile, and thus dangerous to handle.
 

Nathchi

Person of the unknown
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Often evenings between 5 to 11AM CET (central european time).
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Advanced, Adaptable
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magic, slice of life, supernatural, steampunk
Gurn smiled wide from the great amount of praise showering him as the young girl with intense interest looked at the contraption.
-"Aye gal'! With this there will be a new world waitin' for us!" Gurn laughed and tapped on the seat on the side. He then directed Ysanne toward the box with the different sizes of pipes going out from it.
-"Ya' see, this little beauty 'ere is being powered with the help of water being turned into steam." Gurn opened the box and revealed what was both inside it and under the seat where the main person would sit.
-"These are the two cylinder, double-action steam engine that powers this beauty. It has a water tank, burner tank to boil th' water and the six gallon boiler is built to withstand a steam pressure to 500 pounds! It only takes about 20 minutes to get the steam poppin' when the engine is cold. And if ya' need it to go faster ya' can take red powder 'n' steam it faster!" Gurn talked on and on as he showed the different tanks with pipes going left and right. He then showed a contraption going from the machine to the foot pedal.
-"This pedal 'ere operates the engine, stopping it automatically when the foot is removed! A foot brake operates on the back wheel 'ere!" Gurn pointed so that Ysanne could follow along his instructions. So bussy with the machine the two suddenly gets interrupted by a caughing sound. It was Lars, ready with the tea.
-"That's my boy!" Gurn said loudly as he took the cup and slapped Lars on his back. Being ready Lars didn't drop the other cup to Ysanne and only flinshed a bit by the hard backslap. Lars grunted a little, irritated by his uncle's sudden action. When the two took their respective cup Lars took the plate under his arm.
-"I'll be going now." He said.
-"Got to watch over the bulkies." Lars then headed up the stairs. The so called bulkies was a name Lars gave the big animals that they owned outside by the farm. They where big on four feet which could provide both in beast power and milk to drink. Gurn drank his tea and let out a sigh.
-"Hey, friend." Gurn said rather seriously as he looked towards Ysanne. His burst of energy was like a thing of the past as his eyes looked rather worried and sturn.
-"If som'thing ever happens..." Gurn started. Fiddeling with the cup.
-"..Would ya' ever be willing to take Lars with ya' together on this machine?" He turned towards his invention. Whatever was on Gurn's mind, he seemed determined about it.
 

Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
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1-3 posts per day
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Adaptable
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Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne was so intent on the machine and Gern's explanation of its operation that she nearly jumped out of her skin when Lars coughed. "Oh! Uh...thank you, Cousin Lars," she said, accepting the cup of tea he offered. Just as quickly as he appeared, Lars left. Ysanne followed his departure with a quizzical look. It was not as if livestock needed to be continuously watched at all times. By now, certain oddities were beginning to register in her mind. Such as: why did Gurn have Müllin bring her a letter, yet keep her planned visit a secret from Lars so that he would be unexpectedly awakened by her knock? Why was Lars in such a hurry to exclude himself from Uncle Gurn's presentation of his new machine?

"Hey, friend," Gurn said, his tone somber. Ysanne turned back to see him nervously fiddling with his teacup. "If som'thing ever happens...would ya' ever be willing to take Lars with ya' together on this machine?"

"Wh--but...surely it would be more a question of...would he want to take me--" she said, glancing toward the stairway whence Lars had departed so abruptly. "I mean, of course I would if--but if there is danger it should be you and him that flee with the machine!" Ysanne bit her lip as she started thinking through some of the darker implications of the new device and its possible effects on society. "We--" she said, then lowered her eyes bashfully at the presumptuousness of including herself, "you should be very careful in how you introduce this machine to the world. If it can replace the horse, it can replace the cavalry. There would be those who would want to destroy it to keep things the way they are...and those who would want to turn it into a weapon of war or try to take it for themselves...

"I will do whatever I can to help," she said, even as a sinking feeling rushed over her, that she was not at all qualified to confront the kind of forces that would be arrayed against her friends.
 

Nathchi

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Sci-fi, fantasy, magic, slice of life, supernatural, steampunk
Gurn's cheek started to slowly form a small smile, however his eyes still had this glint of sadness. Something was bothering him, yet he couldn't give a clear answer to Ysanne. Instead a sudden laugh erupted, killing the silence. Gurn turned to Ysanne as he clapped her on the back, hands warm from the tea.
-"Aye, Yer right." Gurn said. The positive energy started to come back to his face. It was a face of kindness and determination. The wrinkles on his face started to show more, the more he smiled.
-"Don't ya' worry! Nothing will happen'. This ol' man here knows bette' than to let fear get a hold of ya'." Gurn said.
-"I'm sorry to scare' ya' like that." Gurn said as he took of his goggles from his forehead, leaving red marks on the skin. He took his hand and dragged it from the front to the back of his head.
-"But it sure is a beauty..." He smiled gently, looking at all the sweat, tears and blood of hours the machine have taken from him. Some small sounds from outside could be heard as the animals Lars takes care of, started to move around. Gurn then turned to Ysanne.
-"Come on, let me help ya' back to the door." Gurn gestured his hand towards the stair up to the library as his other, holding the goggles, put them down on the table. The both of them then walked up the stairs and headed back towards the door. As Ysanne would make her leave Gurn gently grapped her hand and put a tiny scrap of paper into her palm, containing a short message: "The usual place, 4 days from now, at midnight." Ysanne would know the usual place as the apple tree on the very edge of the village that went out to the Dunswile fields.

Gurn continued to hold his smile as he whispered to Ysanne.
-"I woul' like to show ya' what the creation can do. I'll invite Lars too. Be sure to come." Gurn's face was like a mischievous child's brimming with excitment. He would then open the door and follow Ysanne out, standing by the door and looking at her as he was waiting for her to go back to Dheorin and Torin. With hands inside the pockets, hiding from the cold. The sun would start to shine as it went up from the hills on the horizon, making it clear that the minutes have passed.
-"Well? What are ya' waitin' for? Go on! Don't want lil' sturn ol' Dheo' to blabber off yer ear about being late' eh?" Gurn said jokingly. Knowing very well that he himself was much shorter than to call Dheorin "little". Yet one could not stay cold with Gurn's big smile under the moustache and beard.
 
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Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
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1-3 posts per day
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Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne gave Gurn a wan smile. The specter of danger, once raised, could not be so easily banished. Could he and the Dwarves of Wolhtung produce the machines in great numbers? She had already envisioned how its prime mover could be used to power tools such as drills and pounders, lifting the burdens of toil from the worker. But could it not also enhance their productivity? Gurn himself must have labored for countless hours to produce this machine. But now that it was made, could a troop of Dwarven craftsmen--equipped with prime movers, powered tools, and perhaps other machines--create them by the dozen?

On the other hand, it consisted of very many complicated parts that had to fit together with exquisite perfection. Just matching the drive-chain to the cogs of the prime mover and drive-wheel so that each tooth of each cog would slide into the links of the chain as the mechanism turned was a feat of measurement and manufacture that boggled her mind. And that was only one set of interlocking parts, out of many whose workings she didn't understand. So what if the vehicles were destined to be rare and incredibly expensive, playthings for the very wealthy and powerful?

Either possibility carried its own set of potential dangers. Ysanne followed Gurn up the stairs, only brought out of her ruminations by the grasp of his hand, and the feel of the paper pressed into her palm. As he whispered his invitation, she surreptitiously opened her hand to read the note. The usual place, the apple tree on the outskirts of the village where they had first met.

Ysanne gave him a subtle nod, then a quick hug so she could covertly slip the note into one of his many pockets. Once he closed the door behind her, he could toss it into his fireplace and no one would be the wiser. Is he being watched? she wondered.

"Uh, yeah, I had better go," she said, smirking a little at his characterization of her guardian. "Thank you for everything!" she said, then started for 'home,' willing herself to avoid looking around suspiciously, and act 'normal.'
 

Nathchi

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Often evenings between 5 to 11AM CET (central european time).
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Intermediate, Advanced, Adaptable
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magic, slice of life, supernatural, steampunk
As Ysanne walked back, the sun was slowly rising up from the horizon. The leaves on the trees danced along the wind, making sounds that would tickle the ear. The wind was now colder and already some of the trees started to shift from green to yellow. The small birds fluttered and danced between the branches and some of the animals were getting ready for the long long winter that would arrive once more to the land. However with a fortune of luck the snow wasn't too steep around the eastern part near the Heinrhie mountain, for the big rocky structure from the mother nature functioned like a giant wall. But because of that, the colder air was also more frequent than the snow, making it difficult for the people in the surrounding villages around the mountain to keep warm.

When Ysanne started to get closer to her home there was already a person standing outside by her house, waiting for her.
-"Hello? Ysanne? A-are you home?" The one calling out was a girl younger than Ysanne. Ysanne recognized her as Lora, the daughter of the Dur's village chief, she also worked as his secretary of sort. With a similar attire like Ysanne, it could be hard to recognize her at times. However the girl always had her hood down, showing off her curly blond-brown hair, making it easy to see her. Her nose was small and pointy and eyes green like the forest trees. Her voice was also soft and quiet, making it difficult to determine if she had to be mindful of what she was saying or if she just was a shy and nervous person.

The girl Lora would continue to stand by the door, waiting for what she believed was Ysanne being indoors. She would carefully make another knock on the door and then call again but to no avail, no answer. She sighed and turned around, only to be suprised with seeing the person in question right behind her.
-"Oh! Ysanne...! I-I thought you were inside...? What are you doing outside?" She asked, holding her hand by her chest from the sudden suprise.
 

Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
Posting Speed
1-3 posts per day
Writing Levels
Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
As she approached her quarters in the early morning twilight, Ysanne saw a human form standing at her door. Oh no! she thought, quickening her steps. As she drew near, she could see that it was not Torin, but a smaller figure in a hooded cloak not unlike her own. A small voice called out her name--Lora, the Magistrate's daughter. Ysanne felt a chill. What would the Magistrate want with me? Could it have to do with Gurn's invention? Ysanne was just gathering her resolve to speak, when the younger girl turned and jolted with surprise.

"Oh! Ysanne...! I-I thought you were inside...? What are you doing outside?"

"Uh, sorry, I...I was just taking a morning walk. If I'd known you were coming..." It would have to be something else, wouldn't it? If the Magistrate had any idea I'd be coming back from Gurn's, she wouldn't have been so surprised, Ysanne thought. "...Would you...uh...like to come inside?" Ysanne said, gesturing toward her door. Technically, a servant's hut was beneath Lora's station, but since she had come to see Ysanne rather than Dheorin, Ysanne didn't have the right to offer the hospitality of his home. "I could put a kettle on--but it's alright if you're too busy."
 

Nathchi

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Sci-fi, fantasy, magic, slice of life, supernatural, steampunk
Lora made a relieved sigh and then smiled upon hearing her invitation.
-"No, there is no need. I thank you for your hospitality." Lora said as she made a small bow, a gesture of a thank you.
-"I only came to get you since Dheorin and Torin is with a meeting with my father." She said with a smile. She started to turn towards the center of the village and then looked at Ysanne.
-"They should be done soon. Let me accompany you back to Dheorin's working place. I bet they will be waiting for you there." Lora said and then started to walk. As the two walked further in to the small village of Dur, there were people that were getting ready to work for the day. Either it be harvesting, taking care of the animals, hunting, gathering wheat for the winter or preparing bread for the people in the village to eat for the day. Some children were eager to play in the early morning and went of to the nearby forest. Other children that were older would be working together with their parents, offering help. The sun was now higher up from the horizon, painting the world with a warm yellow light. A mesmerizing view of the village as the varied colors of orange, green and yellow mixed in like a warm fireplace. The two were quiet for some time, taking in the view. Then to break the silence Lora was the first one to talk. Lora turned to Ysanne.
-"You're probably wondering why Dheorin and Torin are having a meeting together with my father, yes?" She said with a smile. She then turned her head, observing the village as they continued to walk.
-"I'm sure you are well aware of Dheorin's position here? As the Great Wizard of Dur village." Lora said, looking back at Ysanne.
-"You see, usually around this part of the year, many people get the autumn sickness and it's getting worse year after year. Very soon, we are fearing that it will affect more than half of the village." Lora said with a sad expression, biting her lip.
-"My father is having a meeting with Dheorin and Torin about this topic." Lora then paused, as if she was wondering weather to tell Ysanne more about it or not. But by now one could probably guess where this topic is heading. She continued.
-"...He wishes for an economic trade. An elixir that can halt the spread of the disease and in return give something back as payment to Dheorin." Lora said.
-"I'm sure they can tell you more about it once we head there." She said, smiling big.
-"Oh! And as for why I had to get you well..." Lora suddenly started to get fidgety.
-"...Torin asked me to get you in his place." Lora blushed a little.

As they got closer to the chief's house. The man himself opened the door as Dheorin and Torin got out as well. Lora's father had the same green eye color as Lora but his once blonde hair was now turning gray. The man was well built and tall, almost intimidating. He also had very nice pieces of clothing that accompanied a well sewn robe with the golden chief brooch on it's right side. The man had a stern look on his face. A strong chin, wide nose and bushy eyebrows almost like a beasts. The three men smiled and talked but Lora and Ysanne were still too far away to hear what they talked about. As they got closer Lora's father was the first one to notice them.
-"Aah~! Lora my daughter! I see you have the wizard's servant with you! Jane was it, ey?" The chief's voice as intimidating as his looks and deep with vibrato, but unlike many others from Dur village the dialect wasn't as visible as in contrast to Gurn's or Müllin. In fact, the same was true with Lora when she spoke as well. There were small hints of the dialect but not as strong.
 
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Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
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1-3 posts per day
Writing Levels
Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne returned Lora's bow, then followed as she headed into the village. Her relief that Gurn's machine was not at issue was tempered by mention of the Autumn Sickness. For a moment, she could see her parents' bodies as clearly as on the cold morning she'd found them. Ysanne pushed that thought away, returning her attention to Lora's chatter. Does Dheorin even have a cure? she wondered. What if his demands are exorbitant? She was pulled from her thoughts by a sudden nervousness on Lora's part. Then she mentioned Torin with a blush.

Does she fancy him? Ysanne wondered. Feeling completely out of her depth in such matters, she scrambled for something to say. "I hope he will appreciate your kindness," she finally managed as they approached the Great Hall. Ysanne had to will herself not to slip behind Lora at the sight of her father, especially when he addressed her directly. 'Jane?!' She didn't even know anyone by that name, and it certainly bore no resemblance to her own. She looked to her master and his apprentice. Neither appeared inclined to correct the Chief; her name was a minor technicality in their eyes.

Heart in her throat, she curtsied low. "I am...Ysanne, sir," she said softly.
 

Nathchi

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The big man leaned down with his hand by his ear.
-"You what? Sorry but this old man 'ere is getting old. Young people like you need to speak up!" Lora's father was in no way trying to get under one's skin, or appear mean. What he said was the truth but depending on how one would listen, his words may seem harsh. In Ysanne's stead, Lora took a step forward. She laughed at her fathers behaviour.
-"Haha, father! You got her name wrong! It's Ysanne." She said laughing. Her father, scratching behind his head, seemed a bit embarrassed by the misunderstanding and from Lora's laughter.
-"I'm sorry... Ysanne. It was not my intention to belittle you." He simply said, looking rather distraught. Lora bowed to Ysanne.
-"I too am sorry for my fathers inappropriate behaviour." Lora said as her father made a dissatisfied grunt. Clearly he didn't need his daughter to tease him, yet he didn't want to tell her that out in the open. The chief talked a little more with Dheorin and Torin as he then ended the conversation with a wide smile and a slap on Dheorin's back.
-"I look forward to see what you have in mind! I'll be keeping a check on your progress in the near future!" He said without letting anyone interrupt. With a serious glint in his eye, is almost gave off a feeling of "I will not take a no as an answer". The glint in his eyes gave shivers, probably one of many reasons as to why he is the village chief because no one really have the strength to oppose him. Lora however was in her own world right now and didn't sense the tense atmosphere. The two were then ready to say their goodbyes. Lora's father were the first one to step inside his own building, Lora then waved to everyone as the door closed. Leaving the three out in the open.

The warm sun was slowly rising higher and higher, giving light to the village. By now the time was probably around 8 in the morning. The once calm village is now rising together with the sun as everyone have woken up and are already ready to start their day. More and more people are gathering on the roads, walking east, west, south and north to their respective post. Some carries down the wooden barrels while screaming at kids to watch their steps, others, stand by their doorstep, waiting for their working partner to arrive. It is now the time when the village truly shows its spritis.
 
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Zarko Straadi

Edgenoble
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1-3 posts per day
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Adaptable
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Female
Genres
Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne felt relief wash over her when it turned out that the Chief was not angry with her for correcting him in the matter of her name. She waved back to Lora, offering her a smile of gratitude as the girl left. Then the three were alone, and Dheorin started toward his laboratory, his walking stick clattering on the cobblestones. "...checking on your progress in the future..." he muttered irritably in a singsong voice under his breath. "Ysanne! Go fetch the star charts and almanacs for autumn and bring them to my study, then get breakfast started."

"Yes sir," Ysanne said, then hurried ahead so she could have the books waiting for him when he arrived. One chore faded into the next while her mind wrestled with the problem of the Autumn Sickness. So far as she knew, none of the healers or herbalists had even come close to finding a cure, and neither had Dheorin. What if he can't find one now, with the Chief expecting results? The village could be wiped out! We have to try something that hasn't been thought of before...

It was nearly lunchtime when Torin's hissed whisper pulled her from her thoughts. "Ysanne!" She was up to her elbows in soapy water, scrubbing one of his tunics against the washboard. "Do you have any ideas?" The young man was visibly nervous. "He wants me to come up with a list of astrological correspondences to the Sickness, and to...to plants and elements? What would any of that have to do with finding a cure?" he said, crouching next to her while keeping an ear toward the door for any sound of the wizard's approach.

"Well...you know how it is written, 'As above, so below.' Astrological portents can often predict, or provide information and guidance about, things that are happening in the world. For example, the Autumn Sickness always happens in autumn, so maybe there is something in the autumn sky, like a conjunction or opposition of planets and constellations that relate to the Sickness. You should look for something that has been repeating each year, at least since the Sickness started, and that has been getting stronger. Master Dheorin may be hoping that, if the two of you can identify a set of correspondences to the Sickness, that you might be able to use that to pick out some plants or elements to experiment with as possible components of a cure."

"How?"

"You remember the correspondence tables?" she asked. Torin rolled his eyes. Sifting through charts and tables was the sort of thing he'd fob off on Ysanne whenever possible. "If you can find astrological correspondences to the Sickness, make note of which plants, stones, elements and so on those correspond to, then look to the things that correspond to those, either as oppositions or moderating influences. Then you would have a starting point for creating potions to experiment with."

"Right. But if the Sickness is being caused by the stars, what could we even do?"

"Well, it's not quite that simple. Astrological portents can tell us that certain things are more likely to happen, or they can give us insights into what's happening. But they don't necessarily cause things to happen. You might be able to tell that you're going to be late by looking at an hourglass, but the hourglass didn't make you late. And maybe if you look at the hourglass soon enough, and you make sufficient haste, the hourglass can help you not be late."

"You...think this astrological correspondences thing could work?"

"I don't know," Ysanne replied. "I would think that the herbalists and healers would have tried that sort of thing already. That would be another thing to do, find out what has been tried and what the results were."

"Didn't we have a lot of requests for charts from herbalists and healers last year?" Torin asked. "But...they weren't about the Sickness..."

"They wouldn't have been, not directly. They would have been trying to get the information they needed without letting anyone know what they were actually looking for, so Master Dheorin or anyone else couldn't steal their ideas and find the cure first."

"So they probably won't be very helpful in telling us what didn't work. But wouldn't that mean the whole star chart thing didn't work?"

"Not necessarily. They wanted us to find something without telling us specifically what we were supposed to be looking for. And maybe none of them were on the right track to begin with. But...yeah, they probably won't be too forthcoming about their failed experiments. If only there were charts for..."

"What?" Torin said, seeing Ysanne's eyes light up.

"What if we had a chart for what's happening here on the ground? No one has done that yet! Here's what we'll need to do: get a map of the village, a detailed map with each house. Then consult the village records, find the first case of the Autumn Sickness and then chart how it spreads each year. Is there a starting point? Places in the village where it doesn't strike? People who seem to be immune? The census records--"

"Oi, Torin! Where are you boy?! If I catch you playing with that sword again when there's work to do..." Dheorin's voice called out. Torin's face crumpled into an expression of anger.

"Go," Ysanne whispered. "See if you can ask Lora to help you with those records and the map. I think she'd be happy to help." Ysanne blushed a little at the thought of playing matchmaker. Torin gave her a quizzical look, but there was no time for further questions. Shuffling footsteps and the sound of a cane tapping announced the approach of the Wizard of Dur.

"Ysanne, have you seen--" The door swung open, and Dheorin's steely gaze fell upon the pair. "Torin! If it's a tryst you're looking for, you'll not find it here in my own house!" Torin and Ysanne both paled.

"What? No, I...I was..." Torin frantically looked around. "...asking her about my formal robe, if it was clean. I, uh, have an idea. What if we made a chart of...of what's happening on the ground instead of in the stars? With a map of the village and the census records...to see how the Sickness spreads? I would need to talk to Lora, and maybe the Chief..."

Dheorin huffed. "The work of a village scribe, not a Wizard," he snapped. "How can you be Wizard after me if you'd rather talk to a girl about laundry than study the Mysteries? Get back to your charts!"

"Yes sir," Torin muttered, and hurried off.

"And you! Don't even think of scheming to catch Torin's eye! I'll not have you bringing scandal down on this house! Don't think I believe he was huddling in here whispering with you about his formal robe!" Dheorin sighed, rubbing his head with a grimace. "I suppose you're of an age now where a girl's thoughts turn toward marriage and children. But I haven't got time to find a match for you now, what with the Autumn Sickness coming down on us all. Winter at the soonest, when the Sickness has passed."

"It's not me he fancies, sir," Ysanne said, eyes lowered. "He...was asking me about another girl...about how he might go about getting her attention."

"What other girl?"

"He didn't name her, sir. Please don't tell him I told you this sir, he's very private about such things." Dheorin looked down on her with narrowed eyes.

"And you don't 'fancy' him?"

"No sir," Ysanne replied, shaking her head emphatically. "I don't fancy anyone." I wish I could just climb on Gurn's steam-chariot and ride far away from here, she thought. Then the guilt hit. Flashes in her mind, of people dying from the Autumn Sickness, the funeral pyres... "Sir, maybe I could gather the information about the spread of the Sickness in the village for Torin's idea, if such a task is beneath a Wizard? Then the two of you could compare it with your star charts..."

The suspicion in Dheorin's expression seemed to increase for a moment, then he sighed again. "Very well. Finish with the laundry and serve lunch, then go. I suppose more information would cause no harm."

"Yes sir, thank you sir."

A couple hours later, Ysanne closed the door behind her, and started toward the Chief's house.
 

Nathchi

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The sun was still hovering above the sky as the clouds very calmly drifted towards the northeast, however compared to the summer times, the sun was now in a lower position and soon the days would be darker when winter strikes. As Ysanne started to head towards the chief's house the people in the village worked and there were no signs of stopping. Müllin could be seen running down the road towards his office and while doing so, carefully dodging the horses walking besid their master, dragging the valuable carriage. But something was standing out from the usual scattering and loud villagers. By the leather shop a large man with a mighty brown beard started to yell in an angry tone, gathering attention from other passerby, including Ysanne.

-"Are ya' kidding me?! What is this rubbish??!" The large man screamed so loud that his voice cracked near the end. In front of the large man was another person who was very small yet buxom and was looking straight up to the angry leather shop owner. The shorter male that stood out as a sore thumb was indeed, a dwarf. However it was not someone from this village which was clearly visible from how the dwarf was dressed. The dwarf had a thick scarf and a rather fine jacket ready for winter, and a noticeable feature on the dwarven's clothes was the black coal covering from head to toe. The coal was a clear sign that the dwarf's birthplace was from the village Wolhtung near mountain Heinrhie, the village that have a close alliance with Dur. The leather shop owner started to wave a paper in front of the dwarf, pointing at it.

-"This is not reasonable! Are ya' trying to rob me?!" The large man screamed, biting down his teeth hard. The dwarf however, didn't seem to budge by the overwhelming aura of rage. The dwarf simply put the cleaver knives wrapped in cloth back down onto his small carriage.
-"Hey mun'. I'm only doing business an-" The dwarf was interrupted by the leather owner pushing him to the ground and throwing the paper down at him, making it land on his head.
-"I don't give a damn about what ya' think, this is robbery and I will not accept it! I will find someone else who can sell with a reasonable price!" The leather shop owner then turned to go inside his shop and before the door closed the dwarf would yell back at him in anger, holding the paper in hand.
-"Ya' think ye' will find someone bette'?! Ya' people never listen! The mountain is dying I tell ya'!" The dwarf screamed and then turned towards his carriage and started to stomp his feet in anger as he walked away. Other two women who witnessed the moment started to talk in a lower tone to each other. Ysanne however was close enough to hear them talk.

-"I have heard that the dwarfs have started to sell their wares to ridiculous amounts." The first woman said in a green scarf.
-"Yes, my husband was very angry too. Apparently it's barely affordable to even buy clothes from them now." The other woman answered back. The woman in the green scarf scoffed.
-"I don't believe tha' one bit, I mean... How can a mountain die? I believe that they only want to suck us dry off our wares and meanwhile they continue to bathe in all their tools and materials from the mountain together with our crops that we give them!" The other woman agreed. The women would continue to talk as they started to walk away.

Ysanne was now outside the chief's house and the doors was almost weirdly enough, looking down at her in a looming way not too unlikely the chief. Not many people did come to see the chief without some sort of invitation or through Lora, except for some few who had to discuss important matter, either it be economical business or about the village. As Ysanne would reach her hand to knock on the door, someone was already ahead and opened it. It was Lora who had a bunt of scrolls and papers in her hand.
-"Oh!" Lora said suprised as she was very close to bump into her.
-"Ysanne! I didn't see you there! Was it something you needed?"
 
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Zarko Straadi

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Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne stopped in her tracks and watched the argument with worried eyes. 'The mountain is dying?' she wondered. 'What could that mean? Do they have a Sickness too? Or could they be running out of coal, or water? Ysanne's glance followed the departing Dwarf. Should I try to talk to him? Hearing the women's words, it occurred to her that he may have already received hostility from humans other than just the tanner. Either way, he was sure to be out of sorts, and at the moment she couldn't think of a good excuse to offer if he asked who she was and why she was taking up his time. Maybe I can try to find him after, she thought, getting a good look at his carriage as she resumed her course.

Moments later, the doors of the chief's house were towering over her almost like the Chief himself, staring her down and daring her to touch the knocker. It took Ysanne a few moments to gather her resolve. Finally she raised her hand, but the heavy bronze ring pulled away. The door swung inward to reveal Lora with an armload of scrolls.

"Oh! Lora!" Ysanne startled, unintentionally echoing the other girl. "I uh..." she stammered, blushing. "Torin needed me to make a map of the village," she said, hefting a scribe's bag of parchments, quills, inks and colored chalk, "and consult the village records if that would be possible, to chart the spread of the Autumn Sickness each year from the first case to the most recent. Oh, I also wanted to thank you...for standing up for me with your father," she said with a shy smile.
 

Nathchi

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Lora gave Ysanne a warming smile while she was adjusting her arm to hold the scrolls in place.
-"No need to worry. My father is rather... clumsy in that regard." She said with a chuckle.
-"Come with me." Lora said as she closed the big door behind her and walked down the stairs. She made a turn to the left and started to walk towards the right side of the building.
-"I know that my father can be intimidating, but I reassure you that he is a kind man. As well as misunderstood from his demeanor." The young girl said with a smile that crooked and eyes that shifted from Ysanne, to the ground and to Ysanne again. Probably a feeling of embarrassment from Lora trying to defend her father's behaviour, again.
At the side of the building there were some stairs going down, revealing a wooden door. Lora gave Ysanne a small key and asked for assistant to open the door. On the other side there were more stairs leading further down. One would assume this to be the cellar for restoring food before the winter, which it was.

When the two girls walked downstairs there were big bags resting on the floor, barrels and shelves with various food storage enough to feed the whole village alone. The air was chilly and frowzy and a smell of wine slipped through from the barrels, but it was not as cold compared to standing by the open fields where the wind would roar in anger. However tempting the supply was to get a look at, Lora advised Ysanne to go further inside. On the opposite end of the large room another wooden door could be seen and the two went inside. Lora told Ysanne to take a lit torch that was close to the door where they had came from and to light the other unlit torches in the dark room. What was revealed was a small room with a wooden table in the middle with one chair facing the door and several bookshelves packed with different books and papers. The air inside this room was dry and lukewarm and smelled of dry dirt. Lora put the scrolls on the table and turned to Ysanne.

-"Welcome to the basement. We have some older records hidden in here for safety." Lora said with a smile.
-"So you wanted records about the autumn sickness yes?" She said as she walked towards one of the many bookshelves, mumbling to herself while searching. After a moment, a triumphant 'aha' could be heard from Lora as she took out a rather lagre book and put it on the table.
-"Sadly we don't know when the autumn sickness began. We do, however, have records of family trees roughly estimated some 100 years ago." Lora started to flip through the pages to the end that showcased both files about birth and deceased in the village. Lora pointed to one name in the list.
-"Arregon Kalksten Himmer Dur is said to be the one who built this village 100 years ago. It is said that he, together with 15 other people, built this village in order to gain riches from the mountain Heinrhie. It was however already occupied by the dwarfs. Arregon then made a contract with the dwarven leader to form a trading bond between the two villages. Which is what helped the village grow to what it is today. The trading business gathered attention from others outside villages and soon more people started to follow along as some people decided to stay in Dur." Lora then took out a map of Dunswile and a map of the village. The papers were new in comparision to the old records. The map of Dunswile showcased surrounding villages and the mountain.
-"If there is something else you want to know, please tell me." Lora said as she started to gather the scrolls on the table from which she had carried before.

Illustration_mapDunswile.jpg
Illustration_mappfDur.jpg
 
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Zarko Straadi

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Female
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Sci-fi, fantasy, magical, modern, Steampunk
Ysanne smiled back at Lora as she used the key to open the door for her, then headed down the wide staircase with her. It's good to see that there's plentiful stores for the winter, she thought. The Autumn Sickness was enough to worry about without a looming threat of famine. Lora led her past the food stores, through a door on the far side of the cellar, and asked her to take a torch and use it to light several others that rested in wrought-iron wall sconces around the room. Ysanne did as she was told. As the torches guttered to full flame, their light revealed bookshelves weighted down with books and rolls of parchment, igniting her curiosity as surely as she'd ignited them.

"Yes," she replied to Lora's question as she replaced her torch in its sconce next to the door. She listened carefully as Lora explained the history of Dur.

"If there is something else you want to know, please tell me." Lora said.

"Thank you so much for your help. I don't want to take up too much of your time, but...when I was on my way here, Jorgumandr the tanner was arguing with a Dwarven merchant from Wohltung, saying that his prices were too high. The merchant said he had to charge high prices because 'the Mountain is dying.' Would you know anything about that? Do the Dwarves also get Autumn Sickness, or is it something else?"