Exile of the Fifth Son

Elvario

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Melia was somewhat surprised by Retili's words, but didn't show too much of it. She did, however, ask him one more question before he'd enter the cabin. “I can't help myself from wondering. Why would you show such loyalty?” She couldn't grasp how a former slave, accused of theft, would suddenly be willing to risk his life for someone he rarely knew. Whether it would be an excuse or not, she wished to hear what Retili would say to it, but would let him go afterwards.

As Retili entered the prince's room, he'd find the prince studying up on a foreign language. Being good at reading and writing himself, he might recognise it a rather old runic script that's found in various ruins through-out the continent, although few knew how to interpreted it.
 

conman2163

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Retili
@Elvario

Retili stopped by the door for the moment as she asked him the question. He cocked an eyebrow as if the answer was obvious. "I am surprised you don't know the answer to that already. I am simply repaying the favor the prince paid me by saving my life from execution. Slaves do not have rights, I would have died for my crime. I owe the prince my life in return." With that he entered the cabin with the tea. As he set about pouring the drink into the wooden mug for the prince he noticed him hard at work. Retili spent much time in the presence of nobles. He found that those who were in command of large estates or had made their money often settled into hobbies, so it was no surprise that one of the status of the prince had his own interests. As he placed the mug at the side of the prince he peered down at the script for a moment. He faintly recognized the language as the topic of some interest to different learned nobles throughout the kingdom. "An ancient script, what language might this be my lord? If you do not mind my impertinence that is."
 

Elvario

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The prince looked up from his reading upon Retili's question, putting the book aside for a bit to smell the tea that had been prepared. “Thank you.” He said, once the scent of coriander filled his nostrils. He took a sip of it, before answering Retili's question. “It's one of the oldest scripts on the continent. Most historians think it's Dwarven, but few suggest it might've been used by the Elves as well. The weird thing about it, is that remnants of it have been found all across the continent, way before the Kingdom of Edfield grew into what it is today.”

The prince took another sip of tea, before he continued. “One of my older brothers, prince Miles, researched it extensively. He gave me this book before our departure, saying that this script might even be found in the Hinterlands. Outside of the historic value and my interest in drawing the same characters, it might be very valuable to be able to read it, in case the script really does exist there. Even so I've been studying it since our departure and still can't make much sense of some of the runes. They combine in ways that clearly have some logic to them, but there are too few of them to figure out what that logic is. I only managed to pick up on the basic words and signs and from what I've gathered, my brother didn't get all that far either.”
 

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GALT

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Rage low. Galt calm now. Galt let out breath of air, body shrink. Galt know not of magic, Galt think he just strong. Galt roar in triumph, shake fist at sky. Galt did it! Galt beat Scurvy!

Galt finish triumph, then join friends in vick-tree drink! Galt drink fair share, Galt good at drink! Galt smile. Galt content.


Galt do nothing on board next week. Galt HAVE no-thing to do. Galt wait. Galt need fight more scurvy. Galt watch sea, Galt help row boat.

Galt calm now.
 

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Chapter 1: The City of Bells
When the bells toll..

Plot-progressing post.

@Valkan @LondotheGreat @TubaPope @conman2163 @ItariChan @Jaguar Warrior

The City of Bells
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The City of Bells is the latest addition to the Kingdom of Edfield. It is a former city-state that has volunteered itself to annexation after seeing the stronger neighbouring kingdoms fall to the Kingdom of Edfield. It also forms the last civilised part of the continent, bordering a small mountain-chain that leads into the Hinterlands. These mountains also make sailing into the city's small bay the easiest way to reach the Hinterlands, as there are no roads or easily traversable plots of land connecting the City of Bells to the rest of the Kingdom of Edfield. Only the most adventurous would try to go to the city by foot, trying to navigate through the dangerous and twisting paths. Whilst the waters around the city are mostly safe, there are a few rumours that the sea north of it, along the shores of the Hinterlands, is filled with all sorts of monstrosities. The latter is enough for even the most daring sailors to go no further than the City of Bells, which makes it one of the primary starting points for expeditions into the Hinterlands.


The next few days of sailing to reach the City of Bells passed by uneventful. However, as soon as they sailed into the bay in which the City of Bells was located, the sound of ringing echoed towards them across the waters. From the low sound of a few heavy bells in clock-towers to the high pitched sounds of what could be thousands of small bells ringing, it was clear to what the city owned its name before they were even able to set foot on its docks. As they got closer to the docks, they could see the sources of them. Everyone, including elderly and children, was wearing bracelets and belts with bells attached to them. Some even had them as hair accessories or earrings, or woven into the fabric of their clothing. In fact, it didn't even stop at the humanoids. Even the animals, such as cats, dogs and cattle, were all wearing bells in some way, shape or form. Lots of the buildings had chimes hanging on them, which were chiming in the gentle breeze passing through the bay.

With the helmsman having passed away, Okeanos himself sailed the ship towards the largest pier of the docks, which was still a relatively small one. It was clear that this city didn't have too many visitors. The latter was also why quite a few people had come out to observe the newcomers. The town's pier was creaking dangerously under the weight of the many spectators, but it was holding up thus far.

The moment they left the ship, they were greeted by an older-looking man.
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There were a few guards with him, wearing a rather unique attire.
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All of them were wearing bells as well, even the guards.

The older looking man was quick to greet the prince. “Welcome, your highness. I am Achaikos Polycarp, counsellor of the City of Bells.”

“Thank you, counsellor.” The prince was clearly unsure of what to say, as there was an odd kind of unease in the air.

The counsellor was quick to spill the beans. “I'm afraid I must inform you and your companions of a rather unfortunate situation in our city, but before that, please put these on. They are vital to your safety.” As the counsellor said it, a few crates with bracelets, belts and other accessories with bells attached to them were carried towards them. Some of them were clearly made for aesthetics, whilst others were made to be of a more sturdy and practical kind. “The ringing of bells soothes the protector spirits of our city and shows that you're a guest or resident, so that they won't attack you.”

Mila and Retili might recall having seen a noble from the City of Bells during a high society gathering, as nobles from the City of Bells stood out quite a lot for wearing suit and dresses aligned with many bells. It was clear that bells were a very serious business in their society, both among commoners and nobility.

The prince gave a nod in acknowledgement, as he put on two bracelets with small silver bells and a necklace with golden bells attached to it, which seemed to have been set apart from him. Melia followed suit, being given both bracelets and anklets that were similar to the ones worn by the guards. They were a lot sturdier and a lot less flashy, but they rang all the same. Oswald scoffed, as what he was given was only half as fancy as what the prince was wearing, but he too put on some bracelets and and a necklace with bells. Even the captain and the sailors, who were coming ashore to bury their dead, were given accessories with bells.

The first one to speak up about it was Morana, who really didn't seem eager. “Are these really necessary?”

The counsellor turned towards the small woman. “Yes. Without them, you'd have to rely on the ringing of the bells around you to keep you safe, which might normally suffice, but the situation has grown rather problematic lately, so I must insist for you to wear them.”

Morana clicked her tongue and put on some bracelets with bells. It was up to the others whether or not they would also wear the accessories, but with how serious everyone was taking this and the warning hanging in the air, it was clear there was a considerable risk to refusing. Please state if you put on the accessories, and if so, which type and how many.

Once all those willing were outfitted with belled accessories, the counsellor led them into a meeting hall close to the docks, where they were able to talk behind closed doors. The prince, as well as all the other exiles, were welcomed and given a cup of a rich smelling tea along with some flat bread and honey to dip it in. The counsellor didn't take long to explain the situation. “Our city has been protected by the spirits of our ancestors ever since its foundation, but something has gone terribly wrong as of late. The spirits no longer seem as easily eased by the bells as they were before. They normally kept the wolves from the Hinterlands at bay, for example, but more and more wolves manage to reach the outer edges of the city, forcing our guards into dangerous fights in order to hold them off. To make matters worse, the spirits themselves are starting to attack our citizens and cattle. At first it were merely cuts on some of the sheep that strayed from their herds and got their bells clogged with wool or dirt, but lately, the spirits seem to go after all life that isn't surrounded by the ringing of bells. Unless you have someone or something making sure that bells are rung wherever you are, day and night, there's a chance that they'll come after you. The moment you feel yourself cut by something invisible, it's the spirits, at which you should run for a stronger sound of bells as fast as you can, or they will slowly cut away at you until you bleed to death. It's a horrible fate that normally only befalls the creatures trying to attack our city.”

The counsellor sighed. “I honestly wish I could've greeted you under better circumstances, your highness, but the situation is dire. We're doing what we can to figure out what is causing chances to the spirit's behaviour, but we cannot agree on what might cause it and on what to do against it. I'd normally not ask for your help, seeing as how the Kingdom wishes for you to leave its grounds, which would include our city, but I fear that safe passage into the Hinterlands is impossible whilst the spirits are acting as they are. I fear they'll shred anyone to pieces if they stray too far from all the city's bells.” The counsellor was clearly struggling with the situation. “I beg of you and your companions to aid us in solving this problem.”

The prince was clearly taken aback by the request, but eventually found his words. “My apologies, but I am not sure how to aid you, even though I wish to do so.”

“All we need is some new insights, as we're at a deadlock ourselves. One of the city elders, lady Manjusha said she knows what causes this, but doesn't wish to tell me. Our historian Tariku and sister Adraidne, as well as myself, also have our theories on what might be causing this, but we need others to help us test them and to provide a more neutral opinion.” The counsellor glossed at Galt when he said his next words. “We could also use any aid to fend off the wolves that could be given to us. Our guard captain Hereward wishes to host a short expedition to someone living a bit away from the city, who might also know some things, but we cannot spare enough manpower to go there.”

Meanwhile, in the wilderness surrounding the City of Bells, Lorraine would find herself troubled by the wolves. They were far more ferocious than normal, going as far as to hunt for the kill rather than for food. It was threatening to bring an end to Lorraine's time in the wilderness, where she'd been spending her time after she lost her kingdom. Whilst she had eventually managed to flee her home continent to that of the Kingdom of Edfield, she ended up preferring the company of animals over that of humanoids, which brought her to live in the wilderness bordering the Hinterlands. Her loyal pets had kept her safe thus far, but even they were getting tired from fighting off wolves day and night. To make matters worse, Lorraine had seen small cuts appear in the centipede's exoskeleton. Whilst they wouldn't harm the creature, their sudden appearance was reason for concern. Both the wolves and the cuts were reasons for her to start considering to seek out the nearby City of Bells, which she'd seen and heard from a distance. Even so, marching into the City whilst riding a giant centipede and bringing a gargoyle monster along was a recipe for disaster, so she'd have to carefully consider how she would attempt to approach them. One thing thing was clear; the threat of the wolves would only grow if she didn't seek out aid.
 

conman2163

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Retili

Retili had not been on deck even as he heard the ringing of the bells and the call of the sighting of the city from the sailors. He was down below, looking taciturn as he studied some of the dried herbal teas he had taken with him. A rat had gotten into his pack, and while he thankfully left the precious Zentail plants alone, he had not been so sparing in his taste for some of the other greenery. A good half of the stock of tea in his pack was now ruined. He would have to see if some could be attained ashore. Elsewise he might have to rely upon foraging for the stuff, and as resourceful as he might be in a city environment, he was no herbalist.

Retili felt strange as he stood upon the dock for the first time in those many days since they'd left the capitol. Adjusting to standing on a surface that wasn't slowly rocking back and forth took a moment or two. Even then he still felt a bit strange as he walked behind the prince. He was mindful to stay within sight of the prince's guard. She seemed eager to defend him, and he hoped that a conscious effort on his part to stay within view might help her relax a bit. Besides he was starting to feel endeared to the woman, she was certainly selflessly devoted to the prince. One thing had gnawed at him about her for a bit now though. Why on earth had she, clearly a seasoned warrior by this point, jumped back in such obvious panic during the battle with the seafolk?

As Retili was lost in thought he almost didn't see the procession stop and nearly bumped into the prince in front of him. Instead, he smoothly moved off to the side and even assisted the prince as he put on his necklace of bells. Retili for his part chose a set of rather plain looking bells. Two dull leather bracelets with attached bells and a further leather necklace that stuck under his shirt. There was no question or insolence on the part of Retili for the request. Nobles of the city seemed to hold them in high esteem. He had once seen a visiting noble from the city of bells have a servant whipped who lost one of his golden bell bangles. The man at the time had seemed fanatical and almost terrified to be without them. To a noble of any other town or city losing such a thing might seem trivial, here it seemed more like a matter of life and death, even for those who happened to have many on hand.

As they were lead away from the docks to the meeting hall Retili drank in the sights of the city. This was most likely his favorite part of being a servant. It was part of his motivation to become an envoy for his own house aside from his obvious loyalty to his masters. The architecture of the place was fascinating, and he couldn't help but let his mind wander to a vision of what this place had probably originally looked like, marveling at what it had become. He had always been fondly told by his masters that he had a "savages fascination" of the world. He supposed that his masters were probably right, as they usually were.

When he was offered flat bread, honey, and tea he politely refused all of them. He was a servant and would not partake of such activities in the presence of his master. This was likely the first time any of them had seen a person so little as Retili. Shrouded by a veil as he was they might think he was in fact a child in the service of the prince. Few of them would probably understand what he was or why he could not eat bread, fruit, or even most vegetables. He quietly listened to the pleas of the city's counsellor but waited for the prince to finish speaking before speaking to the prince directly. "My lord if it would please you I am experienced enough in negotiation. I could go and speak to this elder on your behalf. The sooner this is solved the safer you will be."
 

Elvario

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The prince turned to Retili and considered his offer, but he seemed to be in doubt. “Whilst I appreciate the offer, I'm not sure how she'd react to someone of your species.”

Oswald, picking up on the conversation, laughed at the prince's deliberations. “Why don't you just give him a chance? Perhaps his exotic nature will only entice the lady to talk.”

Whilst it wasn't clear why Oswald was supporting Retili, he actually managed to take away some of the prince's doubt. “That might be true...” He turned towards the counsellor. “Could you describe what lady Manjusha is like?”

The counsellor scoffed. “I thought she was a wise old lady, but with how she's been acting up until now, I'm feeling forced to revise my opinion of her. I'm sorry, but I don't think I can predict her thinking lately.”

With that, the prince passed the decision on to Retili himself. “I'll trust your judgement on whether or not you think you'd be able to get her to talk.”

If Retili wishes to so so, he can leave the meeting early and move onto lady Manjusha's house before the rest decides upon their course of action. He'd be given a some rough indication of where her house is at, but it wouldn't be too difficult to find, as it was located on one of the higher levels of the city further towards the shore. It was only slightly bigger than the average house, but in a much better condition. The main thing that'd stand out, is that the entire house is aligned with colourful chimes, which is above the average, even for the City of Bells.
 

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Vromdeir aep Cremmidrann
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Vromdeir was quick to snap into action. As soon as he heard the alert, he prepared for the worst up there. Seeing the Zentail scurry outside the room, Vromdeir followed suit. Unfortunately, fate didn't seem to have him fight in its plans. While rushing towards the main deck, the unusual rocking of the stormy waves countered his great balance, so when he bumped into a sailor, he lost his footing and fell down. Slamming his head on one of the cannons. He had learned to take hits to the head over the years, but this one was so sudden and unexpected that it put him out of commission instantly.

Vromdeir would wake up the following day, to a calm sea and happy cheering. The sting on his head quickly made him realize what happened. His usual relaxed demeanor was somewhat eclipsed by a mix of guilt and frustration. He slowly made his way to the noisy crowd celebrating with a feast. Vromdeir didn't bat an eye at this, instead heading to some secluded area of the ship to meditate and try to ignore the remaining pain he felt on his head. No work done, no reward. Is the thought that came to his head, he didn't have the guts to look at everyone else who actually fought the storm and the visitors it brought and eat their hard earned reward.

The following day, the headache was mostly gone, and thus, Vromdeir changed his schedule for the rest of the travel. His training was noticeably harsher and his knife practices became more elaborate and acrobatic despite just being practice. And now, instead of relaxing during the afternoons, he practiced his balance on the rail of the ship with jumps and maneuvers. All those years jumping from one tree branch to another and he messes up in a slightly unstable flooring? Shame on him. If his father still lives he'd probably never hear the end of it, and he would agree.

Vromdeir stopped his knifework practice as soon as he started to hear bells, lots and lots of bells. Vromdeir took a closer look at the bay they were approaching. Indeed, bells everywhere. Strange, but nothing that would bother him much. He did wonder what was the purpose of such a peculiar aspect of this town. Once in the actual dock, it looked like they attracted quite a bit of attention. Vromdeir focused on the man who more than curious, seemed to be expecting them.

After a brief introduction, it was vaguely explained by the Counselor of the purpose of all the bells. Vromdeir thought of it for a moment. Given how committed everyone here was to the bells thing, he decided to play along. Putting on a sturdy set of bracelets and anklets, similar to Melia. Before following along to a more secluded area.

Vromdeir kindly took the tea, appreciating the rich aroma and flavor. But remained focused on the conversation, where the Counselor went more in depth about the reasoning behind the bells everywhere. Vromdeir simply sipped his tea as he listened. Death by a thousand cuts, or having noisemakers around you all the time, it was clear which was the wiser decision. The Counselor continued, and explained their fate if they didn't help solve this. He offered several avenues for it. And although he clearly had Galt in mind for the last task he suggested, Vromdeir decided it was time to speak up. He set his tea aside and cleared his throat "I'll help with the wolves, if no one minds. It just sounds like my kind of job" he threw a quick glance at his group. Would they still believe in him after the fiasco on the ship? If not, he'd very much like to right that wrong.
 

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Mila Rosencrantz
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As the ship approached port, Mila's focus on her work was disturbed by the ringing of bells. The immediate pang of annoyance she felt slowly transformed into trepidation as she realized the significance of the sound. Mila quickly packed up anything delicate and headed to the deck to watch the ship sail into port. As they got closer, Mila observed the people at the port and their clothing. Mila vaguely remembered seeing- hearing was more appropriate-a man from the City of Bells at a gala that Percy had attended. From that one encounter, Mila had assumed that bells were reserved for the nobility; she was now mildly surprised by the ubiquity of bells across the populace.

Mila walked onto the port with a knapsack over her shoulder. The group was greeted by the counsellor, and Mila greeted him back with a small curtsy as she passed by. Obeying the traditions of the city as Polycarp described them, Mila fished through the box of bell accessories, trying on a few that caught her attention. She opted against wearing a wide brim sunhat with a bell attached to the strap. She also decided not to attach a bell to her tricorne, since the ringing at a close proximity to her ears was incredibly irritating. After a few more minutes of browsing, Mila opted for a simple necklace with three small brass bells separated by lines of miniscule jade-colored beads. Although she wasn't a fan of the constant noise, she thought it looked fairly nice.

In the meeting hall, Mila graciously accepted the cup of tea, adding a small amount of honey and stirring the drink with a torn of piece of the flatbread provided. As Polycarp described the situation, she procured a notepad and a stick of charcoal from her knapsack, and jotted down some notes as he spoke. It would be difficult to apply her area of expertise to a problem that was spiritual in nature, but Mila could still attempt to rectify some of the more straightforward issues of the matter.

"...I do not believe I would be of much help with Lady Manjusha, but I would like to meet with Mr. Tariku and Ms. Adraidne to better understand the situation. Then, if the expedition has not started at that time, I would like to examine the wolves- dead or alive- for any abnormalities."

Mila glanced at Vromdeir and Galt as she spoke. Vromdeir had volunteered to deal with the wolves. During the seafolk boarding, Mila had been preoccupied with her own survival. After the battle, she had assumed that the elf had been contributing in some form. Mila knew Galt's prowess in battle and knew that he would be quite at home as long as he was involved in some form of violence. Mila hadn't previously interacted with either of them, mainly because she was completely absorbed in her own research and cared for little else, but if they were to work together, Mila supposed she would have to get to know them a little better.
 

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Lorraine Vertolia
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It was a beautiful and calm morning, the sun shining, the birds chirping and the forest somehow looking greener than ever. It was indeed so a few days ago... Before the wolves started biting and scratching, and hunting like a bunch of maniacs. Those were the good times and frankly, Lorraine was not sure how long she'd be able to handle not being in those good times again. The stress was accumulating bit by bit and she was even starting to lose her sleep over it, and so did her loyal servants.

Enough was enough. "This is becoming much too annoying... Not to mention we'll tire out at one point, unlike those barbaric wolves, so I suppose it is time to go and finally greet the locals and tell them to clean up this mess." Lorraine had certainly not been to civilization in a few years, but there was no choice in the matter, unfortunately.

She got onto her centipede and laid back. It lifted a segment of it's body up slightly, so that Lorraine could simply sit on it, with her back pressed against the centipedes. Whilst it did mean around ten of its legs were not touching the ground and it couldn't move as fast as it wanted too, Lorraine preferred sitting and leaning on something instead. And so their relatively short journey to the City of Bells began...

On the way she had dozed off and hence before she even noticed, they were already close enough to the city that she could easily make it out at this distance. Looking around, she realized her Basilisk was nowhere to be found. She guessed it probably didn't intend to show itself in the city, but was nearby. It disliked showing itself in front of people, even actively avoiding hunters or gatherers that passed by in the forest. Nevertheless, she, along with her mode of transportation, would attempt to enter the city.

Lorraine's clothing consisted mainly of different types of animal hide and wool. Her footwear consisted of a piece of wood and the wool of a sheep, her lengthy skirt was made of seemingly wolf and fox hides and her "shirt" consisted of both wool and hide. She also had a rather big pouch hanging off her waist. Her hair was not particularly well kept and by the time she had woken up, there was a small fox like creature with two tails on her shoulder, sleeping rather peacefully. She also had numerous scars on her body, including her face, but most of them would be covered by her clothing.
 
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LondotheGreat

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GALT

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Bells ring. Bells. Ring. Ring. Ring. Galt cover ears, sound no fun. Galt hate bells. Too loud. Noise, noise, noise. Ring ring, Galt hate ring ring.

Low growl from Galt belly, "HRRRR... GALT HATE NOISE."

Galt want more fight. Galt no take bell, "GALT WANT FIGHT SPIRIT. GALT PUNCH SPIRIT." But Galt get chance to fight!

"GALT WEAR BELL IF GALT FIGHT WOLF." Says Galt, take a bell, strap to wrist, "TELL GALT WHERE FIGHT WOLF." And Galt go to where fight wolf. Galt want fight wolf. Good if fight spirit too, but Galt want fight wolf too.
 

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Chapter 1: The City of Bells
Plot-progressing post.

@Valkan @LondotheGreat @TubaPope @conman2163 @ItariChan @Jaguar Warrior

The City of Bells
cpfR25w.jpg

The City of Bells is the latest addition to the Kingdom of Edfield. It is a former city-state that has volunteered itself to annexation after seeing the stronger neighbouring kingdoms fall to the Kingdom of Edfield. It also forms the last civilised part of the continent, bordering a small mountain-chain that leads into the Hinterlands. These mountains also make sailing into the city's small bay the easiest way to reach the Hinterlands, as there are no roads or easily traversable plots of land connecting the City of Bells to the rest of the Kingdom of Edfield. Only the most adventurous would try to go to the city by foot, trying to navigate through the dangerous and twisting paths. Whilst the waters around the city are mostly safe, there are a few rumours that the sea north of it, along the shores of the Hinterlands, is filled with all sorts of monstrosities. The latter is enough for even the most daring sailors to go no further than the City of Bells, which makes it one of the primary starting points for expeditions into the Hinterlands.


The discussion they were having was suddenly interrupted by a man storming in. Considering nobody stopped him, it was easy to conclude he wasn't hostile. He was also quick to explain his sudden entry. “Sir, we've got some big trouble coming! Have any of the exiles offered their aid to defend our city? We'll need them.”
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The counsellor nodded. “The Elf and Orc both offered to aid us.”

At that, the man turned to Vromdeir and Galt. “Great, please come with me immediately! I'll explain more on the way.” As they would (hopefully) follow him, they'd hear the familiar ringing of bells coming from him, although it didn't draw out his worried voice. “The wolves were bad enough, but one of our scouts noticed a monster they've never seen before heading towards our city. It might reach the outskirts at any moment now... the man described it as some horrifying snakelike monster from a distance, making its way across the terrain and heading directly for the city. He wasn't sure, but he said it looked like it might've even been carrying something as well. Whatever it is, I doubt it's any good.”

They'd rush through the city at a pace that required quite some stamina to keep up with, which was a feat considering the armour the guard captain was wearing. After running up multiple wooden stairs and through various relatively small paths, they eventually arrived at a small guard-house at the edge of the city. There weren't any walls keeping the city safe, but the forest was less dense here to provide clear vision of anyone that'd approach them. It was also one of the few paths that provided a relatively accessible entrance into the city, as the mountains, dense forests and bay protected the other sides.

Around a dozen of the city guards were already assembled, standing there confused and worried, armed with spears, swords, shields, bows and crossbows. They'd clearly been given the same amount of limited information as Galt and Vromdeir. It was also safe to assume the rest of the city guard was dealing with wolves elsewhere and that this was all they were able to assemble on such a short notice, which further explained the need for Galt and Vromdeir to aid them.

The arrival was well-timed, as it didn't take long for the mentioned monster to arrive. Lorraine, having made the very questionable decision of simply marching her centipede across the quickest way into the city, would find herself greeted by a dozen guards, along with the Guard Captain and (presumably) Galt and Vromdeir. Seeing her presence atop the creature, the guards were able to hold-off attacking on sight, but it was very clear that they would do so for the slightest reason, as they were eager to attack the terrifying creature before them and the very suspicious individual atop of it. Especially those with bows and crossbows aimed at the 'witch' atop the giant centipede seemed trigger-happy. The Guard Captain swallowed, managed to find his voice. “Stand back or we'll attack! What is this monster and why did you bring it here?”

Meanwhile, back at the hall in which they were offered something to eat, counsellor Polycarp sighed deeply. “The guard captain isn't easily shaken, so for him to come running means that the situation is serious. Let's hope they can handle it...” He then shook his head. “No, I'm sure they can. Let us focus on our own tasks.”

Counsellor Polycarp turned to Mila. “You'll find both of them in the temple underneath the rock-arch. I should mention that both of them are relatively new to the city. Sister Adraidne came her two years ago to represent Edfield's Church of the One God, almost immediately after talks of us joining the Kingdom of Edfield finished. She's not been very successful, as the people here don't take kindly to others trying to convert them, but she's still as devoted as ever. Mister Takiru is an older nobleman that came here around ten years ago to study anything related to the Hinterlands, although he's also uncovered a fair bit of our history while at it. They can best explain their theories themselves though, as I wouldn't want to put any words into their mouths. Anyhow, I can have one of my assistants show you the way.”

Mila, were she to follow, would end up following the silent assistant across various small paths and stairs of the city, following a small path through the trees, would suddenly find herself in front of the temple. The building was absolutely massive, but it wasn't in the best state. Whilst it was clear that repairs were being done on the regular to keep it structurally sound, its decorations had many signs of wear and tear and the paint was fading and falling off. The lower floor of the building was mostly empty, save for a small altar to the back of the room and some lit candles across the walls. The sound of a young woman praying echoed through the hall, stemming from a girl in habit kneeling in front of the altar. Stairs towards the upper floors (where she was told by the assistant that Takiru would be found) were seen I a side-room to the main entrance. As the assistant left, it would be up to her who she'd approach first and how she'd approach them.

Back in the room with the counsellor, Oswald spoke up short after Mila (presumably) left. “It's been nice to meet you, mister counsellor, but I shall take my leave for now. I'll be at the trading guild.” He stood up, gave a short bow to the counsellor and prince, then left without much further word. Either he wasn't interested in helping at all, or he'd found his own manners and methods.

The latter did hold true for Morana. “With all due respect, I'd prefer taking a look around by myself.” She too bowed towards the counsellor and prince, although it seemed at least a little more sincere. “If you'll excuse me.” With that, Morana left as well.

The prince spoke up. “Then, if Retili wishes to address lady Manjusha and miss Rosencrantz is visiting mister Takiru and sister Adriadne, I'd gladly discuss things further with you, counsellor.” Considering Melia was going to stay at the prince's side, they had their grounds covered. Although Moira joining one of the groups would likely help them out, regardless of whom she'd chose to back-up. Alternatively, she too could chose to explore more on her own.
 

Jaguar Warrior

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Lorraine Vertolia
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Lorraine was still trying to properly wake up by rubbing her eyes, because otherwise, she'd have to make the conscious decision of being surprised by the rudeness of these soldiers. Not only were they pointing bows at her, but also asking, quite frankly, stupid question. No, she was definitely awake. That is quite peculiar. "Did.. Did you expect me to travel by foot?" She couldn't help herself, but let out a sigh.

"Regardless.. Soldiers being afraid of an insect, quite peculiar. In any case, can you people hurry up and take care of the wolves already, they're becoming quite a nuisance." Lorraine had lived in that forest rather peacefully for the past god knows how many years. She had become rather fond of it, so the faster she could stop talking with these "soldiers", who were scared even of insects, the better. Better yet, it'd probably be better if she could speak with someone of actual importance, rather than grunts. Like a a Guard Captain or someone else competent.
 

TubaPope

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Mila Rosencrantz
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After jotting down the counselor's advice, Mila gave him a small curtsy and departed, silently following the aide. Upon reaching the temple, Mila tried her best not to let her amazement show at the scale of the building. As she got closer, her eyes narrowed as she discerned the weathered details of the temple. "This church, when was the last time it was renovated?" she would ask to the aide, seemingly ignoring any answer the aide gave as she ran her gloved hand across the exterior, deep in thought. A few moments later, she'd snap out of her reverie and enter the building proper.

Mila squinted as her eyes adjusted to the lower light level within the temple. A nun's prayer echoed through the hall, although she couldn't recognize the prayer. Mila tried her best not to interrupt her by treading as lightly as possible, but the heels of her boots still click-clacked against the hard floor of the temple.

Assuming the nun did not stop to formally greet her, Mila would ascend the stairs. Approaching the side room, she'd knock lightly on the doorframe without passing the threshold. "Excuse me. Is Mr. Tariku in? I was sent by Counselor Polycarp regarding your theories on the bells and the spirits."
 
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LondotheGreat

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GALT

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Galt slam fist into hand, "GALT LOVE FIGHT. SHOW GALT WHERE FIGHT." Galt say, then follow human guard.

Through city, we go. Galt keep up cause Galt strong. Galt come with guard. Galt see big bug. Galt smile in hope, "GALT WANT FIGHT BIG BUG. LET GALT PUNCH BUG." Galt say, push way to front of line. Galt want be first to fight bug man.
 

ItariChan

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Moira heard the city before she saw it. Her first thought was that if it was always this noisy. Her second was how anyone could stand the noise. It might have been better if there was some sort of order to it, but instead it was just a huge cacophony of noise. It reminded her of a show her cirucs had once did that had required her to wear bell on her costume. She remembered them being annoying and getting in the way. Still, she put on a couple bracelets when offered. There was obviously a reason to all the madness.

After hearing the explanation of why everyone wore bells, she couldn't blame them. Having constant noise was a better alternative to dying to a thousand cuts. She wasn't really interested in helping with the wolves and since the prince's retinue had decided to talk to the elder, it seemed her best option was to go with Mila, who was the only one alone. She hesitated before following her though. She hadn't had many interactions with the woman, but had a feeling she didn't have the best opinion of her. Seeing that Mila had already left, Moira quickly ran after her, "Wait! I'll go with you."

Moira couldn't help but gape at the large temple. She had never been a religious person, but had always been appreciative by the amazing buildings and art people built. She followed Mila quietly, keeping a little bit behind her.
 

Elvario

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Chapter 1: The City of Bells
Plot-progressing post.

@Valkan @LondotheGreat @TubaPope @conman2163 @ItariChan @Jaguar Warrior

The City of Bells
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The City of Bells is the latest addition to the Kingdom of Edfield. It is a former city-state that has volunteered itself to annexation after seeing the stronger neighbouring kingdoms fall to the Kingdom of Edfield. It also forms the last civilised part of the continent, bordering a small mountain-chain that leads into the Hinterlands. These mountains also make sailing into the city's small bay the easiest way to reach the Hinterlands, as there are no roads or easily traversable plots of land connecting the City of Bells to the rest of the Kingdom of Edfield. Only the most adventurous would try to go to the city by foot, trying to navigate through the dangerous and twisting paths. Whilst the waters around the city are mostly safe, there are a few rumours that the sea north of it, along the shores of the Hinterlands, is filled with all sorts of monstrosities. The latter is enough for even the most daring sailors to go no further than the City of Bells, which makes it one of the primary starting points for expeditions into the Hinterlands.


City Outskirts
The guards were clearly taken aback by Lorraine's words and tone. Some were insulted. Some were confused. Some were angry. Most were a mixture of all of that. Guard Captain Hereward was able to regain a somewhat calm demeanour when Lorraine was speaking rather than fighting, but even he didn't quite like her tone. Even so, he addressed Galt relatively calmly in an attempt to talk him down. “Whatever she is and whatever she's riding on, she doesn't seem here to fight us. For now, please hold your... fists, but please remain on guard.”

He then turned towards Lorraine. “I don't know who you are, or why you think you can command us, but I suggest you adjust your behaviour.” He clicked his tongue, than sighed. “At the very least we seem to share a common enemy, as the wolves are equally bothersome to us. I'm afraid we've yet to figure out how to deal with them, although calming the spirits that protect our city might be a good first step...” He paused, scanning Lorraine and spotting a particular lack of something. “On that note, you're incredibly lucky the spirits haven't attacked you yet. Without the sound of bells to sooth them, they are prone to attack someone until they die by a thousand cuts.” He threw Lorraine an old bracelet with bells on it. “That's a spare. I suggest you wear it if you know what's good for you. Now that you're so close to our city, the spirits can set their sights on you or that creature of yours at any moment. I suggest not leaving that creature of yours in silence... or do just that and save us the trouble of having to worry about whether or not we should fear that monstrosity.”

He then turned back towards Galt and Vromdeir. “I'm sorry, this seems to have been a somewhat false alarm.” He looked at one of his men. “Go report the situation to the counsellor.” As the man ran off, he sighed. “Well, that didn't go as expected, but no worries. There's a building a bit away from the city, housing someone that might know more about this mess. I wouldn't wish to risk leaving the city undefended, nor would I want my men to venture so far away from the city, but with the three of you, we might make it there without having to sacrifice any lives to the wolves. What do you say?”

He clearly wished for just the four of them to head out there, so that his men could stay behind to protect the city. Were they to agree, he'd lead the way across the opening and onto a small path through the thick of the woods. It would be up to them how they'd brace themselves against any potential wolf attacks and whether or not they'd share some words along the way. The guard captain himself was entirely focused on guiding them through the correct path, although he'd still gloss over to check that Lorraine or her creatures weren't doing anything weird from time to time.

Temple
Meanwhile, Mila and Moira had made their way to the temple. The assistant had given Mila a pretty short reply. “It's always being renovated.”

The sound of Mila walking didn't cause the prayer to stop. Whilst it was difficult not to hear her, the nun seemed to ignore it, thus allowing Mila to ascent. As she knocked on the door, she heard a chair moving and someone making their way towards it. An older man soon opened it.
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“That would be me.” He glossed over Mila. “Good. Come in.” He apparently liked what he saw, although he hadn't even noticed Moira yet. The entire second floor of the temple was one big room, other than the 'halls' to the sides at which the stairs up and down were located. It was also filled with all sorts of 'stuff'. Stuff was quite literally the only way to capture it all, as the variety was simply too large to find another common denominator. There were shelves filled with books and scrolls, stone tablets, tools of various metals, types of rocks and minerals, statues of various compositions, some sort of research tools, a few old looking toys, all sorts of bells, some almost rusted to dust... Mila would even recognise some of the many items there as alchemists' tools, although the type had gone out of fashion long ago.

Moira, were she to look around for a bit, would eventually stumble upon one thing that stood out more to her than anything else. It was a simple throwing knife to most, but she'd recognise the brand as the one most commonly used by her troupe's performers, as she'd have used the same type herself. Whilst the particular type could certainly used as weaponry, the way it was crafted made it far more balanced to used as throwing weapon in an act, rather than in combat.

After giving the two a chance to look around, likely because he was proud of what he'd gathered here, Takiru gestured towards at able with some chairs at the centre of the room. “Please, take a seat, miss..?” He did so himself. “So, the bells and the spirits.” He tapped the table. “Let me guess, they told you that the sound of bells calms or soothes the spirits? However, did they tell you anything about how it does that?”
 

TubaPope

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Mila Rosencrantz
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As she was leaving for the temple, one of the other exiles, Moira, had ran up to join with her. Mila looked back and did a visual once-over on the smaller girl, only making eye contact once to note the color of her eyes. After a few moments, she silently nodded in acknowledgement, then pivoted on her heel and continued following the aide.
----
As Mr. Tariku welcomed her into the second floor of the temple, Mila gave him a small curtsy and crossed the threshold. As she walked towards the seats that he had offered her and Moira, Mila's head was motionless, though her eyes were constantly flitting about the room taking in every minute detail.

"Mila Rosencrantz," she responded to the historian as she took a seat. Before anything else, she placed her notebook on the table and procured a piece of charcoal which she had sharpened to a point from a pouch on her side. At the historian's question, Mila would shake her head.

"Counsellor Polycarp informed us mainly of the modus operandi of the spirits- clogging the bells, invisible attacks, et cetera."
 

Jaguar Warrior

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Lorraine Vertolia
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Lorraine couldn't help, but appreciate the orc that seemed to at least be able to refrain from showing fear.. in front of a bug. In fact, it seemed as though he wanted to fight it instead. If the man talking to her wasn't effectively giving orders left and right, she might've actually considered Galt to be the actual leader of this little squadron of soldiers. Still, she decided to entertain the orc's idea right now. "You want to fight my "bug"? How about this? If you clear out the wolves from the forest, I'll give you something better to fight at some point? Far better than a docile insect, yes" If the centipede could express emotion, he'd be overjoyed of Lorraine making an attempt to probably save his life from the orc that looked and probably was capable of squashing between his arms.

As much as she wanted to clarify who she was, so she answered, honestly of course. "I'm a queen, which is reason enough, but you can freely call me Lorraine." However, what he said next piqued her interest. She had remained in the forest for quite a few years and only had some minor issues at the start of it all, after just "arriving". Most inhabitants of the forest just generally stayed away from her or either accepted her to some extent over time. Naturally enough, one of the reasons was a certain "servant" that was generally around her, as far as the more "alive" creatures were concerned.

The bracelet with bells that was thrown the little two-tailed fox would jump up, catch and give to Lorraine. "Well, do not worry, I only plan on staying here as long as those wolves are out there making chaos. In fact, if it speeds up the process, I can have my servants help you deal with this common problem. Also; don't call it a monstrosity, it's a rather sensitive centipede."
 

LondotheGreat

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GALT

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"FIGHT WOLF?" Galt mull over. Would be fun fight wolf. Galt want Glory. Galt nod head, "GALT SAY YES. GALT GO FIGHT WOLF NOW." Galt say, and push past rest of men to get to gate.

Galt no know where wolf is. Galt walk to trees. Wolf must be there. Galt will fight wolf.