Exile of the Fifth Son

Valkan

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Vromdeir aep Cremmidrann
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Vromdeir was happy he got to finish his tea, it wasn't long before emergency came to them. Without so much as a nod and a grunt, Vromdeir started tailing the captain. Vromdeir's running motions were smooth and fluid, like a stream of water going down a mountain. Even though Galt's language was lacking, it conveyed his thoughts somewhat. Whatever this was, he wanted to see it in person before actually preparing to fight. The man's pace was no trouble, he had way faster bounties, though for someone wearing that much armor, it was considerable. Then again, his bravery left to be desired, all these soldiers were clearly terrified. What could possibly shake them off so much?

The answer now lied before Galt, who showed how a real soldier should act in situations like these, sort of He had points for not showing fear, but running into an unknown threat was no good either. While Galt debated with the lady in the creature, sort of, Vromdeir made his way to the front. With Galt standing between him and the duo. Vromdeir did not hesitate in moving forward, these two would've attacked Galt by now if they wanted to from the start, now that he had in front of him, he sighed. What he had in front of him was a centipede. Larger than any he had seen? Yes, but that didn't really matter as the one sitting on top of it appeared to have it tamed. It's jaws may be an issue should it decide to attack, but that was a problem even with the regular ones.

Things settled down rather quick after the Captain came to his senses, informing them of the possible solution they could bring to this. Vromdeir realized he had remained silent all this time, so he decided to join in "The faster, the better, no? Let's get going captain" he was sure Galt would join the moment he picked up on it, which left the supposed queen, Lorraine. Given her words, she might not join in person, Vromdeir found that curious. "Interesting following you got there, Lorraine" He said eyeing the centipede and the two tailed fox for a moment, before getting a move on.
 

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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

Captain Hereward raised an eyebrow at Lorraine's claim to be a queen. “Assuming such a claim is correct, which I doubt, are you from one of the smaller countries taken over by the Kingdom of Edfield?” It would explain why such an odd woman would be roaming the outskirts of the Hinterlands with an entourage of odd creatures. Regardless of the truth of her claims, he knew he couldn't be picky, as they needed all the help they could get. To that extend, he was glad to see the Orc as hyped up as he was about fighting wolves. “Whilst I'm not sure what riled up the wolves, I at least know that the spirits acting strangely isn't helping, as the spirits normally cull their numbers around the city. If you and that monstrosity of yours can help fix it, I'm sure the amount of wolves in the forests will also decrease as a result.” He purposefully stressed monstrosity in his sentence, as he wasn't going to let some madwoman dictate him what he could or couldn't say.

As their journey continued, they eventually arrived at the 'building' that Hereward had mentioned. Or rather, what was left of it; the remnants of a wooden hut that was gnawed and clawed through by wolves, enough so for it to collapse in on itself. Although it spoke of both the buildings poor quality and the viciousness of the wolves, it was becoming increasingly clear they weren't dealing with normal wolves, were anyone still to have had any doubts with regards to such claims. “That's not good...” Hereward said as he looked across to remnants of the hut to spot its inhabitant.

As he did so, however, he spotted something even worse. The corpse of a goat was laying a bit away from the hut in a terrible shape. It had been cut so often that little remained of its fur and hide whilst a pool of blood surrounded it. It was clear that the animal had been cut by small cuts until it eventually bled out and died. In a few cases, the small cuts had added up enough to reach the bones of the goat, which must've been terribly painful. “Both the wolves and spirits have ran rampant here. Make sure to keep your bells ringing...” He looked at Galt in particular when he added; ... and just to make sure, the spirits are incorporeal. You can't fight them. I'd be like fighting the air.” With how the Orc had been behaving, he was starting to get worried he'd be foolish enough to take off the bells and get himself killed trying to fight spirits.

Short after he said so, they could hear the howl of a wolf nearby. “Perhaps he's still alive... We're looking for the young boy that lived here.” The Guard Captain clearly needed to steel his nerves for a second, but eventually nodded towards the others and headed in the direction of the sounds. If the rest were to follow-up on the sound as well, they would soon find themselves in a small forest clearing. They'd be able to see shadows moving along the treelines on the opposite side, looking like they were trying to surround an odd rock in the middle of the clearing. Vromdeir, having been a hunter, would immediately notice the behaviour as that of predators trying to surround their prey. What or where their pray was, however, wasn't entirely clear, other than that the rock was somehow the centre point.

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Temple

Shi sighed at Mila's reply. “That, miss Rosencrantz, is the type of thinking that keeps us stuck in this situation.” He took out a notebook of his own. “We've been able to confirm only a few things. The spirits have always been far likelier to attack targets that don't have the ringing of bells around them, but they've lately gotten far more aggressive.”

He procured a few types of bells and rang them. Each of them had a particular pitch to them. “I've gone through all the bells used in the city since its founding. Did you know certain bells went out of style and were replaced by bells of other materials? Not only that, some people started hanging chimes from their roofs instead of bells. Even the huge bells in the bell-towers, which they ring when people arrive at the docks, are relatively new.” He took out a small, greenly rusted copper bell. “These seem to be the oldest type used, but few of them remain in active usage.”

At this point, he assumed it was clear what he was getting at. “I've tried testing the different sounds and bells to see if they had different effects on the spirits, but I only had animals to work with. Sadly enough, they were killed by the wolves when I sent them into the nearby wilderness to test their bells in an otherwise silent area. I've been stuck trying to design another experiment that lets me test the effects of different sounds, as you can understand why nobody is eager to wander around in an otherwise silent area with a type of bell that might not work. Even though I'm certain that some of the changes in bell-usage through-out history has lead to the spirits acting as they do now, I'm stuck on figuring out what exactly and the counsellor says he can't afford to aid my research further, due to my theory merely being one of many."
 
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ItariChan

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"I'm Moira Rettig." Moira introduced herself after Mila. She picked up the small copper bell he took out and inspected it. "How long ago were the bells switched? Does it match the timing of the cutting starting? And if they bells have been changed in the past, has this ever happened before?" She fiddled with the bells on her wrists and then an idea occured to her "Do you still have animals to experiment with? I can help protect them from wolves from afar. I'm pretty good with throwing knives. If not well... How long does it take for you to die from getting cut? And does it stop right away if you start ringing a bell? If it takes a while for the cutting to get severe, and if it stops quickly once you start ringing a bell, I wouldn't testing it out myself once or twice." Getting cut a few times didn't seem too terrible. Of course, Moira would prefer to not get cut at all, but if the animal experiments didn't work, using people was the best alternative.
 

conman2163

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Retili
@Elvario

The moment that the prince gave Retili leave to do so, Retili bowed and left. The prince would be in good hands while in the city and would likely have plenty of servants even despite his exiled status, so him missing would cause no issues to Retili's mind. He left in the presence of a guide heading for Lady Manjusha's house. The trip was long but Retili was able to indulge his interest in architecture along the way, pestering the guide for details regarding the length of time different buildings had existed. Much to Retili's disappointment the man had very little to offer on anything aside from a local tavern that he frequented with his friends. Still, Retili picked up what he could.

Upon arriving at the manor home of Lady Manjusha Retili thanked and dismissed the guide, arranging to meet him later outside the manor to be guided back to whatever quarters they would take in the city. However unlikely it would that such a connection would be made Retili wanted to avoid any immediate association between himself and the city elder. It might sour the start of any potential negotiations after all. Retili used the iron door knocker on the large stained oak doors of the home and rapped three times loudly to announce his presence.​
 

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GALT

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Galt walk, and walk, and walk. Galt tired of walk, Galt want fight. Galt get to home. Galt see goat body dead. Galt smile when hear fight happen. Galt frown when hear leave bell on, "BUT GALT NO WANT BELL. GALT WANT FIGHT GHOST." Galt say, stomp foot. But Galt leave bell on. For now.

Galt hear wolf, Galt smile in ant-pat-ton. Galt follow. Go to place with big rock. Galt look and see Wolf. Yes, battle!

"GALT FIGHT NOW!" Galt scream, run at wolf on right (3) with fury. If Wolf no run away, Galt want swipe at wolf with both arms, knock into tree.
 

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Lorraine Vertolia
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In answer to the knight's doubts about her sovereignty and where she's from, she decided to answer quite honestly there. "It's Vertia. I somewhat doubt it's been taken over in my absence, however..." It did make her wonder about the situation happening there though. After she left, a massive civil war had just ended after all, it would've been a good opportunity to invade, she would probably try to get some information on that, since she decided to come back to "civilized" society for a bit. "Well, I don't really need their numbers reduced, just their aggression, they made for wonderful pets up until recently... In any case, this servant of mine won't be helping very much, you can think of him as my mode of transportation. Just make sure your soldiers don't flee in fear the moment they see my little helper." She also made a mental of note of him calling her centipede a monstrosity.

The only other person to properly hold his ground after her appearance approached her, shortly after the orc, whom she assumed was named Galt, left. He seemed to actually be interested in her servants, to her pleasant surprise. "Yes, picked the little one up when he still hadn't grown a second tail, I, to some extent at least, I'll live long enough to see him get a third one or perhaps even a fourth one, but that's unlikely. And this centipede here just started following me around. I decided to use him instead of walking since then. Regardless, who might you be?"

Lorraine had decided to keep going with the group, the faster this issue was resolved the better. She was curious about the cause and if it was man made, then that individual should get his just deserts for causing her such a massive inconvenience. Upon noticing the wolves, she looked around to see where her "lizard" was, to no avail. Despite his size, it seems he was rather decent at hiding from people. Or if nothing else, from her. But she decided to be ready to call upon it, if there would be a need. Although, knowing the way it functioned, she probably would not have to do that.
 

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Mila Rosencrantz
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Mila kept her hand and her head in her notebook as Shi Tariku spoke. To any outside observer, Mila's notes looked like chicken scratch, but anyone who could decipher her hastily scrawled handwriting would still be confounded by the heavy abbreviation she used to keep up with Tariku's talking pace. Many of the questions that she had were asked by the other exile, Moira, so Mila opted to stay silent and recorded Moira's questions, leaving spaces beneath each question for Tariku's answers. The white-haired alchemist would hold out her hand to Moira expectantly for the bell; once it was passed to her, she would record the basic physical properties of the bell, including how well it rung in its rusted state.

"This is most likely a rhetorical question, but I'd assume there's no quiet space within the city of the bells in which research could be done?" Mila absent-mindedly continued ringing the rusted copper bell as she spoke. "Assuming so, I do think livestock testing in the field with a constant watch may be our best bet. Some of our group already went out to aid in wolf extermination- perhaps we could ask for their assistance in this matter. I am doubtful that there is any need to put ourselves in harms way- such methods should be reserved only when all other options are exhausted."

She turned to Tariku. "I will talk to the counsellor when I can about the effects of the changes of bells on the actions of the spirits. In the meantime, I would be willing to run your experiment on livestock."
 

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
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Galt approached the dangerous wolves in a typical Galtian manner; namely by rushing in head-first. Whilst it was better than getting himself killed by the spirits, it was debatable what type of results it'd get him this time around. As he attempted to rush in towards the wolf, the creature backed up into the forest, easily outpacing Galt. However, rather than running away in fear, the wolf merely ran a distance away to further observe the orc and his companions. The rest of the wolves had drawn a bit closer, but they seemed to be waiting on something.

This behaviour seemed strange to Hereward, as he called out; “What are they doing? They always attack on sight!”

Lorraine, from her own experience, could back-up this statement. As for her claim of being from Vertia, it had gone by Hereward with a confused look that turned into a sceptical one. Vertia was far enough for most people the know little to nothing about it, but it still felt like a stretch for some wild-women to call herself its queen.

As Hereward was tring to assess the situation, he slowly approached the rock at the centre. “There must be something here that makes them act differently... That, or they're up to something, somehow, be careful.” Try as he might, he couldn't find anything. The fact that the wolves kept peering at them from just beyond the forest lines didn't exactly give him time to calmly and thoroughly investigate either.

Temple
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Meanwhile, in the temple, Shi was being thoroughly questioned by the ladies. Moira in particular, didn't even waste time on instructions. “It's been a gradual process, where the old ones were simply replaced by newer, different ones. As such, it's difficult to spot a clear pattern between changes and the increase in people being cut by the spirits.” The third question was a bit more difficult to answer. “People have been cut by the spirits before, but there were no recorded deaths, as people normally just ran to the nearest bells and were safe. An increase in spirit activity and that leading to actual deaths is unprecedented, for as far as I can tell.”

At the next part, Shi shook his head. “I didn't own any animals to begin with, so I had to buy them all and I'm mostly out of funds.”

The next series of questions was of a different kind. “It depends on how tough you are and heavy the attacks are. In most cases, it starts with a single cut and becomes a large amount of cuts in a small time-frame, unless someone gets to ring a bell. From what I've gathered, it normally stops right away, but well...” He paused for a bit. “The only people that say that ringing the bell works immediately are those who were saved by it. We can't confirm whether those that died without anyone to watch it happen tried to ring their bell without effect or never rang it to begin with.”

He shook his head at the final suggestion. “The spirits are already acting strangely, so I can't guarantee your safety if you were to try it out yourself. That's also what kept me from trying. That, and the age.”

At Mila's question, Shi shook his head. “I'm afraid not, or at least not somewhere that I can think off... Perhaps I should discuss it with the counsellor, although I doubt he'd free up a large enough part of the city to have sufficient silence.” At Mila's further suggestions, he smiled. “That's great! I'm glad to finally have some support. With your backing, I'm sure the mayor will invest more in livestock to continue the experiments.”

Manjusha's House
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Retili, meanwhile, had also been led to his destination. Although Retili's guide didn't have too much to offer, there was one thing that the guide could say. The buildings on the shoreline were the oldest ones. Both the buildings build further above the water and the buildings further inland were newer, with the buildings further inland being the nicer and more expensive ones. The latter was also where Lady Manjusha lived, although her house wasn't the least bit comparable to the luxurious estates that Retili would've worked in, it was still considerably nicer than a lot of the other buildings.

Short after Retili knocked on the door, he could hear footsteps slowly approaching. It was the Lady herself who opened the door, but blinked a few times upon seeing Retili. “Who are you then? I wasn't expecting anyone...” She lowered herself to look at Retili from up close, peering underneath the cloak. “Oh my, oh my..!” She immediately called out. “You poor child! You look absolutely ghastly! So pale and those yellow eyes...” She scuffled outside. “I'm not sure who you are, or why you're here, but you should go see a doctor immediately. Come here, I'll bring you to them. Don't worry about the money, I'll take care of it.” She extended a hand to Retili, expecting him to take it and be led away. By now, it was probably obvious that her eyesight wasn't the best.
 

conman2163

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Retili
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Retili was surprised to learn that the woman's eyesight was so poor, but age did affect the upper class just as much as anyone else he supposed. Rather then taking the woman's hand he removed his veil and hood so that the woman could see his silver beard and the black scar that ran across his face. He then bowed to the woman respectfully. "Your concern for me is admirable my lady. Few who see such a lowly race as the Zentail are not often charitable as a first reaction. While I appreciate the concern for my health though, medical care is unnecessary. I come on behalf of his Majesty the Prince Albert Ryker." He paused for a moment to let the information sink in. "If it would not be a burden my Lady I have been asked to speak to you on the matter of the health of the subjects of this city."
 

Valkan

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Vromdeir aep Cremmidrann
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Vromdeir observed as the captain continued to talk to Lorraine. He seemed to be antagonizing her a tad bit much for someone who seemed to be willing to help. He did not see the need for such a thing, so when she asked about him, he flashed a smile. "Never seen one myself until now, fascinating fellows these multi tailed foxes are indeed. My name is Vromdeir, I'm part of the Prince's entourage during his exile. Given your clothing choice, I take it you know not much of that and have just lived off your surroundings for a while now, have you not?" Vromdeir chuckled " Not like it's my business, but it did pique my curiosity since I lived in a similar way early in my life"

That said, Vromdeir followed the captain to the remains of the house. While yes, it didn't seem like a particularly sturdy house, it displayed the ferocity of the beasts who tore it down. Vromdeir's expression turned grim at the sight of the animal. That was far from a pleasant death it suffered, not much insight was required to see that. For now, he was just glad his ringing battle ornaments were in working order.

Following the captain into a clearing, the group came into a small pack of wolves closing in on something. Galt rushed to fight, while the captain stayed near the rock. Vromdeir focused on the wolves as he moved between the rock and the wolves, expecting something to jump out from either side in all honesty. He kept a determined pace as he inspected the rock's side, now seeing what looked like the alpha of the pack. These creatures could jump at them at any moment "I hope you came prepared for a fight, captain" he commented, seeing as Lorraine probably was used to this and Galt was already trying to catch one of the wolves, albeit unsuccessfully.
 

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
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.


City Outskirts
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The captain nodded at Vromdeir. He was more than ready to fight. He just... wasn't going to be the first one to move in further. He figured he'd stay near the rock to find out what was going on with it, whilst the wolves were keeping their distance as well. Even so, he didn't have any luck. The more he waited near it, however, the more something started to gnaw at the back of his mind. There was something about the person he was looking for... why couldn't he recall what it was? “Hey, orc! Didn't you want to fight the wolves really badly? I think we might need to get rid of them if we want to be able to really check out what's wrong here.”

Manjusha's House
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Retili was making great progress at lady Manjusha's place.

Lady Manjusha blinked a couple of times when the 'child' revealed his nature. “A Zentail..?” The gears in her brain were spinning. “Ah, so you're with those exiles. Oh my, that is quite different than I thought, isn't it? Oh my.” She was clearly trying to figure out how to handle this, until Retili offered her a way out by just ignoring the entire misunderstanding and getting straight to business. A faint smile appeared as a result.

“Right, of course, but do come in, lets get out of the streets first.” She'd step aside to let Retili into the house. The decorations and furniture were all 'average' by most noble standards, but probably still in the upper-class for this city. The most notable thing was the complete lack of servants. Whereas most nobles had at least a dozen staff members running around through-out the day, lady Manjusha didn't seem to have a single person working for her at at the current moment. It could be an explanation for why she skipped any pleasantries of offering him something and went straight to a table with some chairs around it, gesturing him to take a seat across from her. She seemed eager to talk about this matter.

“I'm glad the prince would listen to me, but I've heard he's a rather soft-hearted person. I'm not sure if he'd be the kind of person to...” She was clearly looking for the right words. “...correctly handle the type of issue that we're dealing with.” Her eyes, bad as they might be, wandered over Retili, before she spoke up again. “Does the same hold true for his servant, I wonder?”

"You are most kind." Retili bowed steeply before entering into the residence. It was interesting that there were no servants around. Usually he might have commented upon the fact, but he held his tongue. The lady likely had her own reasons for not having hired help around and he had no wish to offend her through a careless comment. As he sat down a thought crossed his mind that he did not judge her appropriately initially. The eagerness shown by her to discuss this topic made Retili wonder if he would really have to negotiate with her at all in order to find out what she knew. "The prince is indeed kind hearted. He has brought many in his company that he otherwise did not have to. However, the prince is wise in that he surrounds himself with people willing to do what must be done for his safety." Retili folded his hands in front of him on the table. His dull yellow eyes gleaming slightly as the lighting reflected darkly on his scar. "I am willing to help if you might provide a way to handle this issue."

Lady Manjusha didn't seem fully convinced by Retili's words, but she eventually spoke up. “Very well, I'll tell you what I know.” She paused a bit, before starting her story. “Few people know how the spirits came to protect our city, but my family still has records of it. It was through a magic ritual conducted ages ago, shown to the city's founder by the same mage that made the Hinterlands into what they are today. However, the ritual required the founder to sacrifice his own life.” She started at the table for a bit, before continuing. “A long time has passed since, enough for multiple generations to have lived here. So wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that the sacrifice has run its course? A ritual as powerful as that one has been might've somehow lasted us this long, but the fact that the spirits are starting to attack our own must mean it's run its course. Magic is a strange and volatile thing, anyone knows that, even more so those who've suffered some of the drawbacks from it. If anything, it's strange that it went well for this long. Perhaps the founder's life had enough value to sustain the magic for long, or perhaps the one who taught him gave him the power to make it function for this long, but it seems all the more clear to me that it's run out. Until a new sacrifice is made, things will continue to deteriorate.”

"Hmmm.... I see..." Retili pondered the idea for several minutes, appearing deep in thought as Lady Manjusha finished. "I think.... that would make sense. It brings a new light to all that is happening for certain." His tone sounded slightly uncertain at first, but grew more confident as he spoke. "Do you have any records on the ritual that was performed? Or any idea where we might begin to learn of the ritual? Even if it requires a sacrifice, it would be well worth knowing. "

Lady Manjusha gave Retili a sad smile when he agreed with her theory. “It's not something anyone wants to do, so I feared most people would immediately write it off. I'm glad you're more logical than that.” She nodded at his question. “The ritual took place somewhere at the heart of the city. Here, let me go get something...” She got up and slowly made her way to a bookshelf in a corner of the room, before making her way back equally slowly. She placed the book on the table and opened it, scanning through the pages. “I think it's this one, but I can't quite make out the letters, I'm afraid. Have a look though, it should say something about the ritual.”

Retili, upon investigating the book, would find out that it was mostly written as if it was a fairytale, although it had the historical sounding title of “History of the City of Bells” on the cover. It mentioned most of what Lady Manjusha had claimed, even including some drawings that seemed to be magic circles of sorts with the instruction to engrave them deeply into stone foundations and to let life-blood flow through them. “A lot of these stories are fairytales, but this story seems to have a deeper meaning to it. With all that's going on with the spirits, I'm even more convinced of it.”
 

TubaPope

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Mila Rosencrantz
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Mila lifted her writing implement from the paper and placed the bell back on the table. She laid back in her seat, and silently deliberated her options. Mila's first instinct was to ask for directions to a marketplace, but as an exile she was cut off from her usual income and would not be able to afford livestock to test with. For this reason, regrouping with the counselor was probably the highest priority. These thoughts and some other unmentioned deliberations lasted for a few awkward minutes before Mila opened her mouth to speak again.

"I suppose there's nothing left to do but bring up the subjects discussed with the counselor. Should he not agree, I will procure the means to conduct the experiment elsewhere." As the words left her lips, Mila wondered how that would even be possible. The prince, perhaps? Mila didn't want to rely on him any further than she already had, but if that was the price to pay for the work the exiles were conducting, she'd be willing to do so.

In the meantime, Mila placed her cutlery neatly in front of her and gathered her belongings before standing up. "Thank you for your time. I will keep you informed of any further developments." She'd give the man a small curtsy in farewell before pivoting on her heel and exiting the church, heading back to the area she had met with the counselor.
 
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conman2163

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Retili
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Retili's thoughts turned dark as the Lady noted that there were none willing to sacrifice themselves for the city. From his impression of the Elder, he thought perhaps the Lady was correct not to share this information. He would have certainly dismissed her as delusional and ignored any advice she had given. If this sacrifice was necessary though it could not be him, and it left him wondering if the ritual was real if the sacrifice needed to be willing at all. "There are both few who would be willing to be sacrificed and many who would be willing to standby and watch if they could. Seeing as time is a bit of a premium however, we must do what must be done." His tone was neutral as he spoke. As she returned and placed the book in front of him, Retili's eyes were drawn to the illustrations on each page. One caught his eye. Magic circles seemingly carved into rock. The words from before about the ritual being done in the heart of the city rang in his mind. "This offers hope if nothing else. Do you know what the oldest building in the heart of the city would be? I am aware your oldest buildings were on the shorelines, but I am unfamiliar with this city. The story here mentions carving these circles into stone foundations. If the circle still exists we can both prove this fact and we can ensure that the circles illustrated here are correct."
 

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GALT

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Wolf move away from Galt. Galt confused. Wolf no fight? Wolf like fight! Galt fight many wolf who like fight. Why this one no fight? Wolf afraid of Galt? Galt con-fussed, why wolf no fight? This wolf wait make enough to make Galt no fight yet.

Then human insult Galt. Galt WANT fight. This wolf no want fight. Galt growl, "YOU WANT GALT FIGHT? GALT SHOW YOU FIGHT!" Galt say, roar at wolf who wait for Galt fight.

Galt move to wolf who run away from fight, swing fists madly to hit wolf. Galt want fight Wolf. Galt fight many wolf if he can. Galt roar at other wolf to show who in charge. Galt, that is who.
 

ItariChan

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Moira thanked Master Takiru for his time and had been about to follow Mila outside back to where they had met with the counselor when she noticed the throwing knife among his clutter of items. "Mila go on ahead without me. If the counselor won't give you any funds for livestock, I could probably go into town and perform and get us something." She wouldn't be able to earn enough for a big sample size, but she could at least get them something to get them started. She picked up the knife to examine it closer. It was definitely the kind used commonly by her troupe. To her knoweldge, Monter had not passed through the city recently. Of course, it wasn't like Monter was the only troupe out there that used this brand of throwing knives, and it was possible the city had been visited by another group. But it was also possible that her family had passed through the city on their way into the Hinterlands "Where did you get this knife? Are you a fan of the circus?"
 

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Vromdeir aep Cremmidrann
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Apparently seeing nothing alarming on the rock itself, Vromdeir turned his focus towards the wolves, staring down the one he had the clearest shot on (1). With a flick of his wrists, one knife appeared in each of his hands, and with an equally fast switch in stance, Vromdeir hurled a knife from his left hand. His form was pristine, seeing as nothing interrupted it. As the knife was about to leave Vromdeir's hand, it was given a supernatural push. He used a bit of magic finely concentrated between the knife and his hand, making the knife blast at high speeds towards the wolf's head, cutting through the air with a high pitched whistle.
 

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
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[Wolf #3, taking a bit of time to get back up.]
[Wolf #1, left front paw heavily wounded.]

Galt was successful in provoking the wolf this time around, although whether it was luck or wisdom was unclear. As he ran at it, the wolf (#3) leaped out of the treeline at the last moment, aiming to bit directly at Galt's throat. However, the mad swings managed to get in the wolf's way. Whilst the wolf wasn't hit head-on, it was knocked away, leaving Galt with just a few scratches. Galt's lack of weapon-usage was going to be a challenge though, as unlike the seafolk, these wolves were relatively low-to-the-ground, which meant he'd have to wait for them to jump at him or hit downwards at an angle that would expose him to counter-attacks. Kicking would, of course, also be an option, but it'd expose his legs to jaws filled with razor sharp teeth.

Galt's situation was made worse by the fact that two other wolves went in on the attack. One (#2) was clearly looking to circle around and attack Galt from behind. The other (#4) seemed to keep its drooling teeth aimed at Galt's legs, suggesting it was about to try and bite down into them the moment Galt would carelessly look away from the wolf. The first wolf (#3) was also slowly getting up. If Galt didn't manage to deal with at least one of them soon, he'd be attacked from three angles.

Vromdeir, having managed to inspect a fair bit of the rock without anything happening, decided to go in on the attack as well. The knife-throw with its magic boost managed to hit the wolf, although not in the head. It'd pierced through it's front paw when it was trying to leap away. Oddly enough, the wolf tried to get back up and rather than attempting to run off, it tried to stumble towards Vromdeir despite barely being able to move on just three working paws.

The other two wolves (#5, #6), however, rushed at Vromdeir with enough speed to reach him in no-time. He'd have to be quick if he didn't want to be toppled by their clear plant to leap at him with all of their speed and power.

Captain Hereward was facing a different issue. The bigger, badder and meaner wolf had also come out and had rushed straight at him. “By the gods!” The man yelled out as he just about managed to intercept the creature with his spear before it'd bite his head off. It was clear this 'thing' was barely even a wolf at this point. Whatever had happened to it had made it a terrifying monstrosity the size of a small horse. Whilst Hereward was showing some level of competence defending himself from the wolf, it didn't look like he'd last long against it on his own.

Temple (downstairs)

Mila would've clearly noticed the excitement on Shi's face, which would show despite his age, as her commitment to his experiments clearly meant a lot to him.

However, as she walked downstairs, someone was awaiting her.

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The sister greeted Mila with a polite bow, before speaking up. “Welcome, and I'm sorry I couldn't speak to you before.” She didn't hide the fact that she was observing every detail regarding Mila whilst speaking. “You're here for the spirit issue, am I correct? Might I perhaps have some of your time?”

Assuming Mila was willing to hear her out, she'd gesture towards some nearby chairs that were standing in a row facing the alter. She'd turn one of them around so they could sit down and face each-other, before starting off. “First, allow me to thank you, both for hearing me out and for helping the city. However, as good as a man as he is, I do not believe that mister Takiru will be able to resolve this issue. His view is one that seeks for scientific answers in an issue raised by ancient magic, which is ignoring many of the root causes in its premise. Might I perhaps offer you my own view on the matter?”

Temple (upstairs)

Shi was a bit surprised when Moira suddenly mentioned the knife. He walked over to it to give it a closer look himself, but it didn't take long for him to reply. “Ah, that one.” He looked back at Moira. “Of course... the circus. Yes, that certainly puts some things into place.” He shook his head. “No, I'm sorry, but I'm not particularly fond of such entertainment. This knife was brought to me by the guards, who asked me to identify it. They'd noticed it buried in the flank of a wolf that attacked our city and hoped for me to be able to figure out who or what might've put it there. I've tried to, but I wasn't exactly able to give it my full attention considering the issue with the spirits.”

He took picked up the knife and showed her its blade. “Still, what baffled me was that it was clearly not made to be used for combat, yet it seemed to have been sharpened as best as possible regardless and used as an improvised weapon. I've been wondering why, but perhaps if it used to be a circus item, it'd explain something, although how on earth would such a makeshift weapon end up in the flank of one of the wolves attacking our city..?”

Manjusha's House

A sad smile grew on lady Manjusha's face when she heard Retili confirm that they had to do what was needed. However, she shook her head in regard to Retili's question. “I'm afraid I don't know, as most of the oldest buildings burned down during a big fire. There are rumours that at least some of the original basements might have remained, but by now, new buildings have been built over it all in no particular order, so I'm afraid it might be near-impossible to find such a place...” Then, she switched tone a bit. “Unless, perhaps, if we could convince the counsellor to have others help us look for them and force everyone to let them search their homes, but such a large search might need a lot of convincing...”
 

TubaPope

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Mila Rosencrantz
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As Mila waved goodbye to Moira and descended to the first floor, the nun that she had originally seen upon entering was waiting for her entry. Mila matched her bow with a curtsy of her own, making sure to end the greeting at the same time the nun did. "Of course," the alchemist evenly replied, "Any additional information is appreciated." Mila did her best to hide her initial distaste as the nun, who was Sister Adraidne, explained the kind of information she wished to provide.

Mila was reminded of a time where representatives of the church had visited the Alchemy Lab. Rather than turn them away or ignore them, Percy had invited them in. The resulting discussion lasted the entire evening and had forced Percy and Mila to work overtime the next day. After they had retired to their chambers, Mila had asked him why he had given them the time of day. In response, Percy smiled.

Even the most seemingly dubious of statements have value. Mila repeated Percy's teachings in her head like a mantra. As alchemists, and pursuers of knowledge, we have the duty to unearth the value from them.

Mila curtly nodded to the sister of the cloth as she took her seat. "A change in perspective would be valuable. I must inform you that I am a woman of science myself, but I will take your statements with all the respect I can muster."
 

conman2163

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The lady spoke truthfully about the convincing part. Not to mention that it would take some time to search every basement in the oldest part of the city. He had no doubt that the magic circle must still be there, carved as it was into the rock. He bowed his head in thought for a moment before speaking. "I will bring the counsellor around to reason. With your permission I will inform the prince of what we must search for. I will leave out anything about a sacrifice for now. I fear our time grows short and a small lie may save lives that might otherwise may be lost." Retili would wait for her answer. Afterwards he planned on begging his leave to go and talk to the prince. What he did not say is that he planned to leave regardless of whatever the Lady said. This was the best lead they had so far and so he would make it known, even if only in part.
 

ItariChan

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Moira gripped the knife tightly. Going by his explanation, it seemed likely that her troupe members had at one point, passed near the city. They must have been attacked by the wolves. Had they all been killed by them? No, it wasn't like her people were unprepared for these kinds of encounters, given the nature of their work. However, judging by the fact someone had resorted to using their performance knives to defend themselves, they must have gotten caught off guard. Or perhaps something had happened that had caused them to lose the usual weapons they carried for self defense? Either way it was the only lead she had. Perhaps she could talk to a guard to learn more. "Do you mind if I take this?"

After thanking Master Takiru again, she left the room, intending to go after Mila to find the counselor. Instead, she noticed her sitting with a nun in front of the altar. Moira had no interest in talking to a nun and so, left the temple and made her way to the city outskirts. If she rembered right, the city guards had gone there with Vromdeir and Galt to deal with the wolves. Perhaps if she went there and helped them, she'd have an opportunity to ask the guards more details about the knife.

She arrived to find them in quite a predaciment. Galt and Vromdeir were both fighting multiple opponents, whereas another man was about to be overwhelmed by the largest wolf Moira had ever seen. She decided to help Galt first. His big size made it difficult for him to hit the smaller wolves, but would be helpful against the large one. She drew a knife and threw it at a wolf who appeared to be attempting to circle behind him (2), using her magic to help it stay on course.