Farm of Death

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by The Mood is Write, Jun 14, 2016.

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  1. Morning came with bright light through the window, and And lifted a hand to shield his still-tired eyes as he blinked at the morning sunlight. Warmth beside him urged him to remain, and he groaned, rolling over to check for his wife.

    The pillow beside his was empty,. He let his eyes travel down, and they landed on a fluffy, light-colored hen beside him. "Good morning, Paul." With a sigh, the man rested his hand on its feathery back for a moment, then pushed it off the bed. A lazy smile formed on the leather-faced farmer's lips as the bird clucked and trilled and kicked about before pecking at a hand the man left carelessly in reach.

    "Tch!" And withdrew his hand and shook it. "Oh stop it. Now, where'd you leave my breakfast?" He looked around, then paused as he noticed something pressed against his rear.

    "Nasty bird." He reached back and picked up a single egg, carefully checking for more as he slowly rose, thankful he noticed the egg before he carelessly moved around much more. "At least your eggs are getting bigger." He threw his legs from the bed and rose with a wince before he began to shuffle across the packed dirt floor and toward the round-bodied iron stove. He stoked the fire, then dipped his hand into a jar of fat that he dropped into the pan. With his other hand, he cracked the egg and dropped the innards in, then wandered away to wipe his hands and toss the shells into a pan to crush for the animals.

    He'd read somewhere that feeding shells gave animals stronger bones, so he ground it very finely and spread it in their food.

    In the mean time, he grabbed a wooden cooking tool and began to fold the egg over itself, again and again in the fat-greased pan before he used the tool to eat the egg straight out of the pan while a certain hen pecked at his bare leg.

    Meal finished, he flipped the pan to bake the grease in, then set out to find some clothes to ward off the shrinking chill of the morning.

    A few minutes of dressing found the man straightening an undyed tunic. He tied the sleeves into place on his wrists to ensure the shameful burn scar there was hidden, then wrapped the bottom hems of similarly undyed trousers so they didn't drag on the ground. A pair of simple boots, a belt to hold his tunic against his body, and he stepped out into the warm sunlight.

    Except that warm sunlight had gone away, and rain promptly drenched him.

    "Son of a whore." He cursed as he sneered at the sky. Well, someone had to tend the farm, and like hell it would be him! He put fingers to his mouth and whistled, high and loud and sharp, and then he went back into the house, cursing.

    A dozen skeletons emerged from various buildings and began to pull weeds, feed animals, and otherwise wander through And's farm, doing the chores that And really, really didn't want to do today.
  2. "Alright. Mission has been received. Discover the necromancer's secrets. Filch any artifacts. No kills." That last part disappointed Grigori some, but a job was a job.

    Grigori Valpetri, merc for hire, was on the move. He had been given a location but no description; when he thought of an evil wizard, doom fortress came to mind...or dark castle. Either way, he did not want to run into the magician himself. That would end badly.

    Though the request was 'no kills', Grigori kept his longbow on his back regardless; sometimes self-defense was inevitable. He trudged up the mountain towards his destination. The necromancer lived hidden amongst the crags, if his employer were to be believed. A perfect place for a doom fortress, that was certain.

    Grigori reached the peak of another rise; this was likely where his target resided, as there was a sizable valley beneath him. He gazed down on...what the hell was this? Skeletons were working on farmland, an idyllic little piece of land in between all the mountainous area. There was no mistaking this was the necromancer's locale, but...a farm? Grigori was puzzled. This wasn't 'necromancer-y' at all.

    But in the end, a mission was a mission. Grigori laid down on the ground, just in case the bony fiends could see him and report. He snuck around the crag, finding a more secure vantage point, and surveyed the area.

    Looked like there were plenty of little constructs dotting the farm, but most were rather small. They were probably storage of some sort. Only one house was large enough to comfortably live in, so Grigori deduced this was likely the necromancer's home. Was he inside at that moment? If so, infiltration would be difficult.

    Grigori made his way to the other side of the house as stealthily as possible, avoiding the skeletons at work. He skulked down to the outer wall of the building, eyes peeled for danger, then pressed himself against it, sneaking up to a window nearby. He peered in, trying to locate the necromancer or any living bodies. Locating his target was the first step to figuring out when he could break in and investigate.
  3. The rain helped hide Grigory's passage down to the valley with its idyllic, if muddy, farm. There was a barn, a few storage houses, and the main house, though of them, the barn was largest. Inside, animals dozed, listening to the rain as their ears swiveled. A cow stood still while a skeleton in gloves milked her, and some hens roamed freely. A few sheep stared out a gap in the door, occasionally bleating mindlessly. as they spotted the newcomer, but did nothing more.

    Inside the house, the pot-bellied stove warmed the house against the chill of rain and morning, and the simply-dressed farmer sat on a simple stool as he spun some wool into yarn on a spindle. His old hands worked dexterously, and a chicken sat beside the stool, feathers fluffed about her.

    There was no sign of wealth, save a glimmer of chain visible about the old man's neck, the rest of the adornment hidden under his tunic, where a heavy-seeming amulet pressed against the fabric.

    But in the visible room, with a bed and kitchen combined, nothing of value was apparent. The other room had no window, and the door was closed, with a heavy copper padlock to seal it.

    The man had an honest-looking, tanned face, and from his movements, he was no fragile geezer.
  4. Grigori did not see the old man, but did not get complacent. He could still easily be somewhere else in the house, or in one of the storage rooms or the barn. He brushed his fiery red hair out of his eyes, blowing a few rain droplets off the tip of his nose. More recon was necessary if this was to be a successful heist.

    He skulked around to the other side of the house, his eyes training on the nearby skeleton crew and their animals and tools. He chuckled lightly to himself at the lame pun, then focused back on the task at hand. There didn't appear to be any other windows on the building, which was disappointing, but if he watched the door, the old man was bound to come out eventually.

    Grigori hid in a bush, stashing his longbow beneath him so it would not stick out. From here, he could watch the front door safely to see if and when the man entered or left. He would have to eventually, and Grigori was a patient man if nothing more. He checked his inventory to make sure he had everything. Quiver? Check. Garrote wire for chokeouts? Check. Poison pill if he were caught and interrogated? Check. Everything he needed.

    Grigori staked out the entrance a while, waiting for some activity beyond the boring ones out in the field. He had to wonder why a necromancer would run a farm and then make the undead do his chores. That seemed downright cruel, in fact. The dead were dead; making them come back to do manual labor seemed almost evil. Then again, maybe he WAS evil. He was on a mission to steal his secrets, after all.
  5. Hours passed before the rain let up and the door shifted, then flew open. "Damn thing." The simply-dressed old man grunted as he sighed, then looked around. "Thank you for your help." He murmured as he put his arms out, fingers splayed, and the skeletons turned toward him, then began to sink into the ground peacefully. He assumed that now that the rain was gone, he could finish the chores.

    He paused as the scent of something unfamiliar, but dismissed it and waited for his chicken to exit after him before he closed the door, though it bounced back ajar. The old man glared flatly at the thing before he tried again, slower, to make the door stay shut. "Damn thing." He grumbled as he watched it slowly swing back open. "Every damn day!"
  6. Well, the skeletons were gone, at least. Grigori sighed and relaxed a bit as the old man fumbled with the door. It looked like he was going to leave at last, which would make life a little easier for him. He stayed absolutely still in the bush, watching the old man attempt to shut the door. This was getting excruciating.

    Grigori could only stay in one spot so long, and his stomach was growling. Thankfully not very loudly, but he was hungry after a several hour stalk in the pouring rain. Once this mission was over, he would have to go out for something nice...on the client's dime, of course. He shifted ever so slightly, waiting for the man to get some distance from the house.
  7. And continued to fight against the door for several more, long minutes as his scowl deepened. "Oh damn it all!" He slammed it, and the house shook. The old man grimaced and ran a hand along the door frame, as though apologetic, before he made another attempt to close it.

    "This is ridiculous." He grumbled, then looked around. "Well... Not like anyone comes around here anyway." He moved his hands in a complex pattern along the door, touching the frame at different points with one finger before he touched his own wrist.

    It was a common alarm spell, by the lazily-muttered incantation, and could be broken if another user scratched the points, though finding the invisible points could be fairly difficult, and many magic users set alarm 'strings' around the frame to alert them. And, it seemed, was no exception, though his strings were sloppily laid, using loose movements rather than precise.
  8. Grigori didn't know what the old man was doing, but it looked like some magical incantation. Maybe an alarm of some sort since the door seemed to refuse to shut. "No way am I going through there, he muttered to himself. He snuck back around the side of the house, lifting the window up. It wasn't even locked. Wonderful. He quietly slipped into the house, now assured that the man was not inside, and silently traipsed around the room.

    He knew the old man could come back at any time, so he tried to make things quick. The padlock was the most intriguing thing, but it could be a trap. He searched the room first, finding nothing of note besides farming things, which were of no interest to the mercenary. He had to find magical things. The padlock might be his only clue.

    Stepping to the closet door, Grigori withdrew a few thin pieces of metal: his lock-picking equipment. He stuck the pieces into the lock, quickly fiddling around within, trying to stimulate the tumblers into opening for him. It wasn't particularly noisy, but it WAS engaging, so he was working double-speed to try and get it open, lest he be found.
  9. The small window was open, having no glass, but instead thick curtains on the other side and wooden shutters on the outside. There was just barely enough room for Grigory to pass through, and once he did, he could see the inside of the house more easily. The most expensive things visible were the pot-bellied stove and the padlock going to the windowless room.

    The tumblers inside the lock moved stiffly, and though the clicks as each pushed into place were nice and loud, they took their time getting into position. By the time the last opened, the man had been working at it for half of an hour, and though the door had no latch save that padlock, it appeared stuck in the frame.

    If he took the time to shove it open, inside he would find a set of stairs leading down into darkness, and beyond the long, long flight of stairs, a hall lined with doors. Each had a lock, and stood firmly in place.
  10. "What in the bloody fuck..." Grigori walked down the stairs, amazed such a hidden basement could even exist underneath a simple farmhouse. "Where to start..." Every door was locked; clearly he had a lot of secrets to lock the passage in here and then lock every door from there on out.

    He walked up and down the hallway, unsure which one to pick. He closed his eyes as he paced, opening them after a minute of walking to stare at one of the nondescript doors, identical to each of its brothers in design and lock choice. "Guess I'll start with you." Grigori began work on unlocking this door as well; he knew he'd have many trips to make to discover everything. That would not be fun. Even as it was, he was risking capture. But he had no other choice, as it appeared the old man did not leave this valley for any reason whatsoever. These thoughts spurred him on harder as he worked.
  11. Purest chance brought And back to the house. Carelessly, he pushed the door open and walked through, only to stiffen as he felt the alarm on his wrist activate. He winced, then shook his hand and released the spent spell before he looked up to see the second room standing open.

    Blue eyes narrowed, and he approached the door silently, the dirt floor muffling the sound of his feet as he looked down into the basement. The dark hall was still dark, but he could hear sounds below.

    Slam! The door shut suddenly, thrusting Grigori into full blackness. A resounding click of a lock secured followed as And locked the basement, and began to murmur as he lifted his hands outside the door, so he could find a corpse beneath to be his eyes in the darkness, to discover if someone was still below.

    Underneath Grigori, the hard dirt floor shifted.
  12. The instant he heard the door slam upstairs, he knew it was over. He had been found. Grigori grit his teeth; this might come to combat after all. And in these cramped corridors, his longbow was useless. He was about to draw his bowie knife, go at it the hard way, when the ground beneath him started moving. Fuck, could that be an undead thing or something? He couldn't fight a can you kill what's already dead?

    "Fuck, fuck fuck..." Grigori swore to himself multiple times as he thought of what to do. In mere seconds he was going to be skeleton food! And with the last hopes draining away, he heard a 'click' as the lock he had been rushing to undo finally unlocked, and he ducked inside before the skeleton could raise out of the dirt. He had no idea where he was, but there HAD to be a way out. He wasn't going to just die here and join the man's undead army or something. He refused to. With no other options, he felt his way around the room, searching for ANYTHING that might help.
  13. As Grigori held the door shut, a sound came from behind: a sound of clacking and soft thumps of weight setting on the packed dirt floor. The blackness of the room lessened as soft light came from behind. More clacking came, all of it dull and quiet, but so loud in the near-silent room, punctuating Grigori's own throbbing heart and uneasy breath.

    The light slowly grew, and the door remained firmly shut, held in place by something outside.

    And unlocked the basement door and walked down, then looked toward the skeleton that held the door shut and stepped in front of the door. He lowered a small door and looked in. "What do you want?" He snapped as, illuminated by some flickering light source, his sour face was half-shrouded in ever-shifting shadow.
  14. When the little door slid open, Grigori instinctively hit the dirt, rolling behind a bookshelf so that he was out of sight. It was a desperate, foolhardy move, but what little choice did he have left? If he was found, then it was all over; he would die or commit suicide, and he would depart from this world a failure. A mercenary lived on the cutting edge, after all.

    He held his breath and did not budge an inch, praying the old man did not spot Grigori in the milliseconds of time he would have had. He remained absolutely still, unmoving and silent, praying against prayer that the old man would search elsewhere or chalk it up to an undead gone rogue. Or something. He didn't know what to think anymore.
  15. The light, enough to see by enough to get behind a book shelf, came from the far back of the room, and seemed to follow Grigori. The young man could see the soft fuzz of dust and how, through the small lit rectangle in the door, the old man's gaze turned toward the book shelf. "Grab him." He snapped.

    Thin, bony hands grabbed Grigori by the arms and yanked him from his hiding place as the area of illumination narrowed, but brightened. A skeleton with brightly-glowing eyes gripped Grigori by the arms and shoved him against the door, so his face shoved against the small opening.

    And stared at the stranger, then sighed. "That sort of roughness wasn't needed, but I suppose it serves." He lifted his candle to get a better look at Grigori as he spoke. "What do you want, boy?" With his calloused hands and weary face, he looked like a plain and simple farmer, but the house and the magic Grigori had seen, and part of the brand barely visible on his wrist were evidence aplenty that he was more than he appeared. "Actually, don't. Don't answer. I don't bloody well care. To make up for this, you can shovel manure for the rest of the day. If you do it well enough, I'll think about letting you go home. Deal?"
  16. Grigori was surprised when a sketelon out of nowhere grabbed him, roughly dragging him to the door. It was all over now, wasn't it? Grigori groaned with pain from the harsh treatment. He was gonna die now. He was totally dead...he was...being let go for chores? Grigori stared the man in the eyes, confusion mixed with stoicism riddled across his face.

    He considered the offer. Being dead was worse than being let go, but...returning without the goods was worse than being killed in the line of duty. What to do, what to do? Grigori shook his head at the old man, the harsh stare in his eye evident enough he was not pleased.

    "Negative. To return with my mission a failure is a fate worse than death. You would do better to kill me than spare the humiliation of forcing manual labor on me, THEN letting me go home to be killed, necromancer. I would recommend making it swift...such is the life of a mercenary. To be cut down during the mission is far more honorable."
  17. "You're a shit merc." The old man stared, then shrugged. "Well, I guess you can serve me after death if you're that obsessed with dying. Most mercs, they fail, they just don't report back, unless someone got stupid and made a guild." He shook his head, then huffed. "Take his equipment and leave him in the back room." With that, the old man slid the small window shut, scraping Grigori's nose, before quiet footsteps walked away.

    The strong grip on Grigori didn't let up, but one hand detached from his hair and began to pull things from his body roughly. Cloth and leather dug into his flesh before giving away, and objects snapped before the assault, until Grigori was left nude and bruised. However, the skeleton did nothing more, and simply stood there, holding Grigori against the door with its cold bone grip, as though waiting.

    Outside the door, the old man's voice snapped. "Well? Take him to the far room!" He sighed as he closed his eyes to check on his captive, only to snarl as he remembered that skeletons weren't smart, and this one was no exception, having torn off everything from Grigori's person, including clothes. "Hells." He swore as he climbed the stairs to get some clothes for his 'guest', to give him some dignity.

    The skeleton continued to grip the mercenary as it opened the door and began to drag him by one arm toward the darkest part of the underground hall.
  18. Not report back? The thought was deplorable. They would search for him if he went MIA, and his clients would find him for certain. Then what would be the point in going into hiding? There was none, simple as that. Grigori knew it was over, one way or another. What could he possibly do? Nothing. It was over and done.

    He made no sounds as the skeleton forcefully stripped him down, ripping his clothes and gear from him. One exception was a whimper of misery as he felt the longbow get snapped in half by the skeleton's clumsy movements; he had made that bow himself and losing it was like losing a part of him.

    Now naked, alone, and miserable, he did not resist in the slightest as the skeleton dragged him away, to the darkest part of the hallway. He wondered what was going to happen to him. An execution? A ritual where he joined the necromancer's ranks? He didn't know, but it didn't matter anymore. He was as good as dead.
  19. The door locked behind Grigori as the skeleton left him, and a few moments later, a small sliding window opened in the door to let in flickering light. "Sorry about Bobvlick. He literally does not have a brain. The bruises should go away. Did he break any bones?" The man asked a moment before he shoved some clothing into the window. "Get dressed, and you can wait in there until I finish my work, and then we can talk."

    Idiot mercenary. Probably was part of a guild. It'd be best to dump him somewhere he'd be found and make it look like a wild animal did it, to keep whatever group it was away from him. He'd already been burned once by discovery, and this guy didn't even care enough about life to bother begging for it.

    And might have kept him as an apprentice, but he needed someone who wasn't suicidal.

    "Maybe find your balls while you're at it." He slid the window shut and locked it into place before he left.

    The room in which Grigori found himself was empty, save some rusted chains hung from the walls. The room was small and empty, and a few irregular lumps in the dirt were the only possible signs the place had ever been looked into after it was built.
  20. What the hell was with this old man? Why did he care how Grigori was? He could not comprehend the old man's concern for him. And his refusal to let him die was strange. His client was a very rich, very powerful didn't matter if he fled. He would be found and executed without a doubt. But with Grigori alone now in the dark room, he had an opportunity to gauge his position. Not good.

    He sighed and pulled on the clothes the old man gave him, deciding it would be best not to be naked, at least. His entire body ached from the skeleton's rough treatment of him, and he just wanted to go to sleep now. But he couldn't. Adrenaline was running too high, heart was beating too quickly. He just couldn't rest. The room was bare of useful materials to escape, and he had none of his equipment. He was good and stuck.

    It was then he finally broke. Grigori let out a wail of despair, pounding on the door relentlessly with miserable desperation. Why did it have to end like this? Why did he have to fail the most important mission of his career? He was alone, trapped, and had not a friend in the world who could help him now.
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