AngelLass x Oppenheimlich

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Oppenheimlich, Jul 2, 2014.

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  1. "A stupid law," he muttered, setting a small crate upon a small stack of equally small small crates. It was the last of things from the wagon, not that that was saying much in the first place, and Merrick was altogether glad to be done with the business of unloading. He was moved, officially speaking, and now his home (if a home it could be called) needed only the odd touch here and there in order to make it feel as if it were truly lived in by some creature.

    "Stupid, but smart," a voice came. It was the wagon driver, a rather kind fellow with an odd, too-short haircut which looked as though it belonged more on a young squire and less on an adult. Still, the dwarf had helped Merrick to pack and unpack his things; for that, the gnoll was grateful. After showing his gratitude with a coin tip, the dwarf-man let him be and went to other parts and places. Merrick had not bothered to learn his name.

    The gnoll shrugged as he looked about his new home. The dwarven fellow had had a valid point; the law was smart in theory. All persons who, and he was paraphrasing in his own mind, worked in the city proper must live in the city proper. It was a rather successful attempt at keeping more coin in the city and less out and about the roads and villages. Mind you, most anyone could come into the city proper and purchase things. Coin was welcome here as it was anywhere. Perhaps, Merrick had thought, it would be plentiful. His hopes at that had been enough to spur him away from his home village of Winterhaven, a tiny place not known for anything more than an occasional, half-decent blacksmith or other such "trivial" folk.

    This city was different and the same. There were few people who stood out amongst the crowds, and fewer chances than in a small city to make your name known. Still, Merrick had no desire to make himself known; he simply sought a comfortable life in his new home in the warrens.

    Looking about his home, he could see why he had been able to save the coin for a down payment rather easily. He had lived with relatives for a short while, though such a large creature in a lower warren home was certain to outstay its welcome rather quickly, and managed to work and toil his way to his own rock-hewn hovel in the warrens on the opposite side of the city. His home was rock-hewn in the sense that the city was largely built from naturally occurring stone; building such a large place with transported stone would have been impractical, after all. The warrens were the most noticeable of these constructions, with homes being little more than cozy-upped and well-carved caverns. The dwarven influence of this place was quite painfully obvious. Why, if one looked closely and luckily enough at a wall or floor corner, they might find a rune-signature from the long-ago carvers. Merrick had always had a fondness for dwarven folk, and, living in this place, he only grew more fond of them.

    Despite how much he enjoyed his new, more private surroundings, the gnoll thought he might benefit from some more fresh, and that's using the word loosely, city air. Leaving his home, he set out in favor of the upper wards of the city. He had never actually been to the cathedral-temple. Perhaps today would be the day, he thought.
  2. Aza frowned as she pulled the comb through her hair. On top of her regular duties to the temple, today would be the day she had a meeting with one of the most unpleasant people she had ever met. The Queen.

    A groan managed to break its way through her lips. Every so often she would meet with the woman, more or less serving as a glorified fortune teller... It was maddening, sitting with that woman, sipping on fine tea while the city was in such need of basics such as clean water. Sure, the levy systems were working now, but as she had mentioned, a drouth was on it's way-- and the city had so far taken no action to save any of the precious water.

    "Don't make such awful sounds." a woman scolded her from behind. A priestess, who wore a kind smile and light jade habit. "Surly today can't be so bad?"

    Aza turned in her seat, setting her comb down in order to braid her long hair. "Oh, yes. It could be." She said frowning. "It very well could be."

    The priestess, Niena, raised an eyebrow and walked over to her friend, sitting beside her and taking over the grooming. "You have to meet with the Queen. You've done so before." She pointed out mildly. "You've given her bad news before as well."

    "Yes, and I've been punished for it before as well-- or did it slip your mind that I was in prison for a week before the High Father convinced her I only meant the best by warning her?" Aza frowned, her head tilted back as her friends nimble fingers went to work.

    Niena was a dwarven woman. As such, braids were easy and enjoyable work for her. Intricacy and care went into the arrangement of Aza's golden locks. Everything the priestess did seemed to hold those same qualities. Attention to detail, and care. What was more-- she bore an undying loyalty to her friends, and her God. "I think you're over thinking this. Why bother even telling the woman if you think it will be so hard for you?"

    Aza frowned, looking at Niena through the mirror infront of her. "If I don't civil war is imminent. She's ruthless... If that happens, innocent people will die."

    The red haired dwarf shrugged. "Could always conveniently fall ill... I have a stomach tonic in the other room if you need a sip."

    Aza laughed as her friend finished braiding her hair, typing it off for her. "Thank you, but I would rather carry out my duties faithfully."

    "Would you, though?" Niena questioned mildly. She smiled knowingly. "If such a simple question gives you need to pause, you might reconsider."

    "Posh." Aza said dismissing the idea once and for all as she stood up. "I need to sweep the steps, then I'll be off to that meeting... I will see you for dinner."

    Niena nodded. "Alright then, dear. Take care to make sure there's no more of those Whilp leaves in the cracks of the steps-- they start to smell horrible once the sun gets to them. I still wonder why we keep that damned tree near the entry way. Smells to high heavens." the dwarf frowned.

    "Only in the summer. In Spring winter and fall it doesn't and the fruit feeds the hungry passerby." Aza reminded her friend. The human woman gave her a friendly hug before hurrying off to tend to her duties...


    Sweeping doesn't seem like a hard chore. Until, that is, you consider the amount and size of steps to the temple form the street below. It was downright daunting for most people, the fruit tree at the top of the steps shedding it's purple leaves making it look even more so. With the leaves on the ground you could really see the different steps... With them gone-- the white washed marble looked more like a gentle slope.

    Aza sighed once more as she shifted the broom in her hands. Sweeping was one of her least favorite chores. She much more preferred the weeks she was cooking or scrubbing. Still, her feet got to moving, over to the far edge of the steps. One at a time she began the slow tedious work of descending down the two hundred steps.
  3. The temple was a daunting looking thing. Actually, Merrick's mind dared not to think of it as a temple; this was a cathedral, a house of the chiefest of the gods belonging to the more proper and civilized races of the world. This place was the haven of Pelor and, to a lesser extent, the home of Moradin. Pelor, he had been taught, was the god of time and sunlight. He opposed evil in all its forms. Moradin was a god of artisans and miners, the lord of the primordial earth and the family hearth. Personally, Merrick favored Moradin, though the gnoll, in his daydreams of adventure, often gave prayers to Avandra in the half-hope that she would guide his fate onto a more exciting path. Sadly, she had not as of yet.

    The gnoll stood at the bottom of the stairs, his dark, deep-set eyes slowly following the incline of the many stairs until they were drawn to the purple, leaf-shedding tree. "It's beautiful," he murmured to himself. Merrick began up the steps, his long stride giving him the ability to skip a few here and there as he half-jogged his way up to the temple--cathedral--proper.

    - - -

    "Do I have to meet with that idiot? Priests and such are so . . . boring," the whiny voice of the young, spoiled prince crooned into the halls of Starling Rock Keep. It was a half-ostentatious and half-literal name, Starling Rock Keep, for it was both impressive to the eye and also a home for the bothersome birds. The place was usually called The Keep or Starling Rock or The Rock by the people of the city. From the lowest warren-home in Morgantowne Ward to the highest house in the noble district of Sah-Roce, The Rock was a place of power and mystery.

    "Of course you don't, Dear. Mother will take care of that boring business while you go about your studies," the Queen Mother cooed, retreating her teat into its proper place away from her nearly ten year-old son's suckling.

    "I want to play! No studies!"

    "You'll study and like it, My King. Go on, now. Mummy has things to do, hm?"

    The piggish boy-king left his mother's side, likely to become another person's issue. That was, at least, until he needed another milk-feeding.

    [OoC: I know that's hella' gross, but, I dunno', it seemed sort of fitting. xD]
  4. [ooc: Lol XD It's fine lol]

    Sweep... then step. Sweep, then step. It was a mind numbing pattern, though someone had to do it. Tedious work if there ever was such a thing.
    Her shoulders would ache by the time she finished, and more than likely a couple of shallow blisters would show up on her callused hands as she reached the base of the steps. She wasn't looking forward to the salt water soak that evening...

    She glanced to her right, her broom scratching lightly against the stone as a she worked. She was only down the first twenty five or so steps and had plenty more to go. Still, she paused upon seeing the tall figure jogging up the steps. A gnoll? She stepped aside, not wanting to get underfoot, as the man was apparently in a hurry. "Good morning." She greeted pleasantly once she thought he was in earshot. She paused in her sweeping long enough to hope he didn't trail many of the leaves in his wake.

    Gnolls were tall and often considered intimidating- sometimes even violent- though to her the new arrival was no more than a visitor like any other. As such, it was her duty to be a host. "Can I help you with something?" she offered as he reached her step. She noticed that he seemed to hold himself with pride uncommon in the citizens of the city. Either he was from out of town or new to the area.


    Servants hurried around the castle, working to prepare for the holy guest who would be arriving later that afternoon. Priestess Aza was known for her kindness to the staff, and as such they took care to prepare for her arrival perhaps a little more than the Queens less than favorable guests.

    As of late, Assassins, 'business' men, and a few... entertainers had arrived by the Queens request. Over the past few weeks, the servants had grown nervous. Rumors were beginning to fly, and unrest was building.
    #4 Saint Anne, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2014
  5. "Morning," he said in return, shooting a rather toothy smile at the human broom-meister as he passed her by a few steps. He was not surprised in the least to see a human woman near the temple; the priesthood was a surprisingly open and common place for those of the female persuasion. Why, there had been more priestesses than priests back in Winterhaven. He wondered what the trend was here.

    Merrick turned about, eying the woman for a moment. "Actually, yes. You might be able to," he murmured, scratching at the fur on the underside of his chin idly for a moment. His ears perked. "Is there any sort of altar to Moradin or Avandra in this temple? Or is this house only for Pelor? I'm just moved into the Morgantowne Warrens, I mean. I'm afraid I don't know a terribly lot about the city yet."

    "Back in Winterhaven it was only Pelor and Moradin. I wasn't sure if, with more people from all over, things might be different here."

    He offered yet another toothy, yet friendly enough for a gnoll, smile.

    - - -

    The Queen sighed as her handmaidens went about their tedious, and often dangerous, work of keeping the royal woman looking her best. "Don't pull!" she called angrily at the feeling of a brush being caught in her fine, deep auburn hair.

    "S-sorry Milady," the young, plain-pretty girl whimpered.

    "I must look my best. What will the people say if their Queen doesn't have an air of grace and beauty," she said, rhetorically.

    "They would say--"

    "They would say," the Queen Regent interrupted, "that their Queen is letting herself slip. They would think me old and feeble and unfit to teach my son how to rule his throne. And I am what, Girl?"

    "You are beautiful and fit, Milady. Always," the young woman said, almost as if she had rehearsed the words. She had, but that was neither here nor there.
  6. "You can find a temple to almost any God in this city-- though this is the center Cathedral for Palor." she confirmed. "If you pass through the the other side you'll see Moradin's temple not far from here. I believe beyond that is where you will fine a small shrine to Avandra." she explained kindly. "You must have moved to the city because of that new law." She mused. "I wish you the best of luck."

    The blond had a rare smile. One of real innocence. Not ignorance, or psudo-happiness. It was a simple, gentle, pleasant gesture.


    "My Queen," a messenger stepped into the chamber, bowing. "Your guest will be arriving behind schedule today. The High Priest has asked me to inform you that her duties to the temple must come first."
  7. The Queen scoffed lightly. "Oh of course they do. The airheads in the temples don't tend to concern themselves with mortal things like being on time or making good appearances. Ignorant clods, those people."

    - - -

    Merrick shrugged lightly. "It was the city or the fields, and I've done that since I could lift the tools. Which," he mused, rolling his broad shoulders in another shrug, "was honestly not that far-off from walking. It's a stupid law, though. Everyone wanting to work in the city seems to think so. My mother's family, the Amells--elves--in case you know of them, they've said the warrens have overflowed with new faces. That's not really a good thing; there's enough sickness down there as it stands, I've heard."

    "I'm sure it doesn't bother a priestess too much, though. You probably live in Middle-Town or summat," he mused quietly. "Not that that's a bad thing. If you've done well for yourself you've done well for yourself. Commendable."
  8. Something akin to sadness touched the woman's eyes. "... While people of the warrens bare resentment for people who appear to have things 'better off', I would happily trade places with any number of them in favor of the possibility of a family." she said simply. "I live here below the temple. I've done nothing for myself but be born."

    With that the woman got back to sweeping, her broom scratching against the stone in a rhythmic pattern. "Good day, General." she said, moving down to the next step. Merrick was greeted by a strange smell, though nly for a moment. It smelled metallic and distant, like O-zone before a storm. The very air around the woman had changed for an instance-- and she had called him General without batting an eyelash.

  9. "General?" he muttered. "I think you might have me confused, Ma'am. I barely did well enough for myself to be in the Winterhaven town-guard, much less be a general of anything."

    The gnoll watched the woman sweep for a moment. He sniffed at the air, the last scent of distant metals and a looming electricity last for a mere moment in his nostrils before dissipating into nothing. When it left, it left the scent of the city, the purple leaves, and the wafting scent of incense from the temple in its wake; it was gone as quickly as it had come.

    To be completely honest, the palpable change in energy about the priestess had unnerved Merrick a good deal. Then again, more supernatural and religious happenings and folk tended to unnerve him.

    "Are you all right, Miss?"
  10. The human had been about to speak before another voice cut her off.

    "Sister Aza. The Queen has sent for you immediately." a solider announced, making his way up the stairs.

    A fleeting look of disdain crossed the priestess' face as she turned her attention to the messenger. "Fine." she said, answering the gnoll beside her briefly before drawing herself up as much as she could. It didn't effect her small statue much as the solider reached her. "You may tell her Majesty that she does not come before the Gods. My duties to the temple come first, and she should know that by now." she said boldly. Just by the tone, Merrick could tell the priestess had a history with the man. More than likely not a very pleasant one.

    The solider wore a plethora of military garnishes. He was a loyal guard dog to the Queen. A tall man with a wide girth, he looked more like an over fed lap dog. His double chin turned more prominent as he inclined his head to peer at the priestess with a mirrored amount of distaste. "How rude." he muttered before looking to the gnoll. "You." he said sharply. "Have you no brains? Why don't you show the priestess the respect she deserves?" he droaned. "You mustn't stand above her, lest you anger the Mighty God Paylor." His words came out snide, condensending. "Or perhaps you're his vessel."

    Aza shifted her broom, moving it to her side, like she was about to swing it up at the guard. The blob of a man flinched. "Good knight Fortin, you really ought to watch your tone. insult me all you like, but if you continue to mock a God I highly doubt they will show the lenient patience I do."

    The knight pursed his lips-- looking like a pug more and more. "Is that a threat or prophecy, witch?"

    Aza held a level gaze with the man for a moment before holding one hand out. The knight hit his knees, covering his head like a coward as a modest breeze fluttered by-- stirring and sweeping away the leaves from the steps. The blond woman seemed amused for a moment. "Allow me to put my broom away. I'll be right back." she glanced to the gnoll with a fleeting triumphant smile before skipping up the steps, vanishing behind one of the pillars of the cathedral like a nymph.

    The knight sputtered as he stood up, dusting himself off, muttering to himself before shooting a glare at the gnoll. "Stop staring." he snapped, clearly embarrassed.
  11. Merrick simply stood there through the encounter between the priestess and the over-plump knight. He wondered if all the knights of the city were as, well, rotund as this gentleman and, if that was indeed the case, if they ever saw any battle at all. Clearly, however, the man called Fortin had, for he was well-decorated in a military sense.

    He had never heard of not standing above a priest or priestess; Winterhaven was not entirely known for its stairways as was this city. "You seem to not like, what did you call her, Sister Aza. Ah," he said, his words trailing lightly as he slowly thought it best not to engage with Sir Fortin. The man was, clearly enough, a coward. After all, the wave of a Pelorian priestess' hand had made him cower like a hungry street dog. Chuckling to himself lightly, Merrick noted that the man was anything but hungry.

    "Good day, Sir Knight," he said before turning and making his way up the stairs. He stopped and turned. "Oh! I hate to ask right now, but is there any possibility that the town guard would be taking on new swords? You see, I was on the guard in Winterhaven. I only thought, well, you know . . ."
  12. The man sneered, looking-- somehow-- down the bridge of his nose up the gnoll. "I doubt her Majesty would need for someone of you're... stature. Though the Guard is always taking on new recruits who can pass the entrance examination." he responded, sniffling as he drew himself up. At one point in time, it wasn't hard to imagine the girth of the man to have been muscle in a broad chest. Age had evidently taken it's toll-- and no doubt an over abundance of food and drink.

    He seemed to think for a moment, stroking his beard. "Tell you what..." He began his train of through slowly, carefully seeming to choose his words. "We could always do with some more muscle... though I doubt you would pass the written portion by looking at you... If you feel up to it, as General, it's in my authority to assign you an alternative test." he said, his eyes glancing to the side where the priestess had run off. "Be the Priestess Aza's Escort to The Keep. The blasted woman always seems to drag her feet for me... Bring her to the Keep for her meeting with the Queen within the hour and I will consider you to have passed the entry exams written portion. What do you say?"
  13. "I suppose," he said, scratching atop his head as he thought the alternative test over. "I mean, if the Lady Aza is all right with it, of course." The gnoll looked over his shoulder at the temple for a moment. "I wouldn't want to insult her or anything; I've only just met the woman."

    "Still, I'll see what I can do," he mused before taking off up the temple steps after the priestess. There were, he noted, an awful lot of steps. So many, in fact, that it made even a gnoll's powerful legs feel, if only a little, as if they consisted of the same stuff from which field slimes were made.

    "Priestess? Lady Aza?" he asked as he stepped into the temple proper, his voice carrying through the acoustically sound building. He narrowed his dark eyes, looking about. "Sir Fortin asked that I escort you to Starling Rock," he added.

    "Where is she?"
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