Gideon's Wake

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Snakey, Jul 1, 2016.

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  1. Spring Showers

    A Sealed Letter
    Dear honored sir or madame,

    We at The Wilkes Merchant Family thank you for your correspondence and are pleased with your decision to take on our task. It is our deepest hope that you are able to find our Gideon within a reasonable amount of time and with minimal complication.

    It is advised you make way to the Igrosian hamlet of Mirth immediately, the last proper settlement before you head further north into the Seared Lands. There you will meet with one of our family members, the extraordinarily talented Vernon Wilkes. Vernon is leader and organizer of the expedition, hand picked by the highest authorities within our house for his unique brand of skills and spectacular competence. Listen to him, build his trust and keep his wisdoms close for he is better prepared to take on this task than anyone else. You should find him on the northern outskirts of town, he is the tall one with the cannon. What that means will become apparent when you see him. Once you meet him show him this letter as proof of your employment, after that all plans fall into the hands of Vernon.

    Remember, you will only receive payment when Sir Gideon's remains are recovered and returned to our estate or a sufficient amount of time has passed in which there is no reasonable hope for the remains to be recovered.

    From your friends at The Wilkes Merchant Family.

    The air hung damp over Mirth, it had rained heavily the day before and the dark clouds overhead threatened another bout, but for the moment held their hand. This temporary reprieve from the spring storms spurned on a wave of activity within the northern hamlet; farmers tried to offload their perishables on wary travelers and pale housewives alike while thatchers ran to and fro with armloads of hay, their purses and bellies both fat with the bounty of their trade. Despite all of the hustle and bustle within the village, what took the attention of the curious was just outside. A caravan, if one could call two mules and a single autonomous cannon train a caravan, had attracted a small crowd; Most of which kept their distance, just there to admire the exotic nature of the artillery piece, but a few had taken to interrogate the lanky owner.

    "Do you have a letter of recommendation?" Vernon simply asked those approached, not bothering to lift his eyes from a scroll as Olegg inspected and rattled off the contents of the pack mules, the lack of conviction in his voice suggesting it was at least the third time he had been instructed to do so. Vernon dismissed another man begging for a job with a wave of his hand. "Recommendation or leave." he muttered, only taking his attention away from his manifest when the beggar turned aggressive. A casual movement of his hand to the handle of his pistol quickly shut up the man and sent him retreating back into the village proper, a string of colorful profanity following.

    "And that's all there is," Called Olegg, having finally finished his inspection, "Want me to go over a sixth time just to be really sure?"

    Vernon rolled his eyes and rolled up the scroll, depositing it into a convenient case at his belt, "No Olegg, that's fine for now." An air of frustration hung around the young artificer, already the expedition has been delayed for a day due to seemingly endless rainstorms and despite the figurative deluge of vagrants and would-be adventurers not a single soul could produce a simple letter indicating that they're actually supposed to be there. "Such poor organization." he mumbled, looking over the crowd for anyone that resembled a proper mercenary.
  2. Daro - The First to Arrive

    The cloaked form of the Omedren tracker moved through the streets of the damp town of Mirth with a relative ease. His clothing was wet, from constant walking in the rain; and his boots were caked with a well-trodden in layer of mud. On his back, he carried a hefty burlap sack; filled to the brim with whatever-the-hell he thought was necessary to travel with. Also on his back, and perhaps more noteworthy a thing to notice, was a hefty Greatsword, bouncing gently in its well-worn sheath. A number of scratch marks and tiny holes riddled the leather, but from the ornate-nature of the handle, it was likely a very well made sword.

    Moving through the town of Mirth, Daro tried to avoid bumping into the quickly moving people who called the town home. He managed to glide through them all with a relative dexterity that was perhaps unexpected for a man who wielded a Greatsword. He moved quick, despite the obvious weight of his equipment, and soon found himself in front of Olegg and Vernon.

    The shorter man looked up at the exceptionally large Vernon, and lifted a piece of paper to the man before he could even ask for the letter. His letter from the Wilkes Merchant Family was kept pristine, at least compared to his weathered cloak, and boots. “So I'm guessin' you're Vernon?” He said, with a dull, bored sounding drone. His voice was deep and leathery, like a well-used wallet. His accent hinted at both Omerda, and Igros. Mixing the two, but leaning more towards the Steppes than the moutains.

    He glanced over at the Mules that Olegg was tending to; noticing as they sniffed at the air, and pawed at the unfamiliar truth. They slowly edged back from him, cowed by the presence of the bestial-blessing that lurked underneath the skin. His inner-monster did not stir much, sated by the taste of flesh from the night before. He had answered the call of a bounty, and feasted on the flesh of a child-murderer last night. Someone that none would miss. It would keep him honest, and the beast from trying to take over, for a while at least.

    So, uh…Sorry ‘bout that.” He said, nodding towards the spooked mules. He looked Vernon up and down again, taking a moment to glance over at the cannon as well, and suddenly feeling very silly that he didn't take the letter more literally.
  3. Gathran's journey hadn't gotten off to a good start. He had skimped on travel costs and joined a merchant caravan instead of buying a carriage, which he had quickly realized was a mistake. None of the merchants or guards were willing to help him with his heavy chest of magical reagents and apothecarial supplies, and it had been jostled far more than he liked on the bumpy cart ride to Mirth. His seat was on the back of a wagon, horribly bumpy and uncomfortable. To top it all off, almost the entire trip had been rainy. He had spent more than one night trying to cover both him and his chest with his cloak, while trying to fall asleep in the rain.

    As a final insult to injury, when he finally got to Mirth, he tried hopping off the wagon with his chest in hand, only to lose his balance and fall flat into the fresh mud. He could hear the guards laughing as they passed. Three days out and I already hate this. He was skeptical of joining the mission to the Seared Lands. Though the prospects of exploration and discovery were somewhat alluring, they were already being outshined by the difficulties of travel. I'm a doctor, not some rough and tumble explorer. Unfortunately, Gathran's 'financial crisis' made this trip a necessity and made the decision for him. Spotting Vernon didn't take long; the tall and lanky Wilkes family artificer was hard to miss, especially with his golem nearby. Gathran strode up, struggling with his chest.

    “Letter of recommendation?” Vernon asked.

    “Huh?” Gathran was caughtoff guard by Vernon's challenge. Ah, He must think I'm some kind of peasant or commoner, what with all this mud. “Right, now where did I put it?” He set down his chest and opened it, rummaging for the letter. “Umm, it should be here somewhere....” He began to grow more frantic and worried as he couldn't seem to find the letter anywhere. “By the long dead kings of Mecrundyr, where did I put that damned le- oh, right.” He reached into his robes and pulled out his letter of recommendation, slightly crumpled, somewhat water damaged and now smudged with a little mud. “I look forward to working with you, Master Vernon,” he lied. He wasn't looking forward to anything save the day this accursed adventure ended and he got his damn money. He found some place to set down his chest and started wiping the mud off of it and his clothes.
  4. Morgana Balinor - Witch of the Wilds

    Ignoring the constant bumps of the carriage, Morgana read silently over the instructions of the correspondence letter. Her amber eyes scanned each line for around the fourth time now. She felt a bit foolish to be honest, thinking back to how nervous she was when she first decided to get involved. But at the moment she was feeling more annoyed than uncertain.

    The men who accompanied her in the carriage made it even more apparent at how much she would stand out as she arrived, as they lacked any attempt to hide their stares. Granted, her robes were quite revealing and left little to imagination - a violet sleeveless hood that left both her chest and hips exposed as well as a black, feather adorned skirt that ended as high as her thighs in the front and as low as her ankles towards it's back. It was practical during her years in the wilderness, but she was far from the forests now.

    "Continue to gawk at me fool and I swear I'll be the last thing you ever see." The witch threatened towards the particularly touchy villager sat next to her. The words instilled a fear in his eyes she was used to seeing in the bandits she killed. Her rose red lips curved into a small smirk as he apologized and scooted away from her.

    When the carriage finally lulled to a stop at the southern entrance of Mirth, she quickly hopped off, careful not to fall into the mud. The driver of her carriage had been a villager she saved a few months ago and so he did not ask her for any payment before he went off. With slow swaying hips she entered the village and quickly made her way through the village commons, garnering more stares as she went.

    With one hand gripping her dark wood staff and the other holding on firmly to her letter she finally arrived at the northern entrance where people had begun to gather. Morgana pushed her way through the crowd, ignoring any stray comments as she made her way through them. She approached the tall standing man by the canon and handed him her letter when he asked. The witch said no more as he nodded her in and made her way to a tree stump where she sat down to wait.
    #4 Bears, Jul 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
  5. Hannelore Salander

    After waking, Hannelore was in no great hurry to find Vernon. She had arrived late the previous evening, in the midst of the rainstorm, and had been too drenched to bother searching the hamlet for an inn that may or may not have existed. Instead she had knocked on the door of the first reasonably sized cottage she came across and asked to spend the night. The miller who had answered the door was initially hesitant, but the revealing of proper coin had ignited the spark of generosity dwelling inside his breast, and he had graciously let Hannelore take over his and his wife's room.

    Unfortunately, the first hour or thereabouts of Hannelore's attempts at rest had been sullied by unpleasantly sweaty visions, until eventually she had given up and thrown her travelling blanket across the floor and slept there. Now her joints creaked and a highly intrusive kink refused to release it's sinister hold upon her ill-done by spine. I suppose adventurers must become accustomed to such uncomfortable nights, she mused as she pulled on her now only faintly damp travelling clothes. Gideon must have learned to sleep as softly on a slab of stone as I do upon a bed of feathers.

    Once she was fully dressed, with travelling blanket neatly rolled and tied atop her pack, it was time to seek out Vernon. After she thanked the miller and his wife for their hospitality, of course. And when they offered that she stay for breakfast, it would be the height of rudeness to refuse. Much the same to their curiosity about the life of nobility in the heart of Ingros. Day to day life, the latest news from the capitol, her business in Mirth. Subjects merged and flowed for what must have been several hours before Hannelore apologetically insisted that she must leave.

    "It's truly been a pleasure," she said as she left, clasping the miller's hand between hers for the fourth time in as many minutes. "But I must go, lest the caravan leave without me. Thanks once more for your wonderful hospitality."

    "Of course, of course! The man said jovially. "We've kept you to ourselves long enough. Good luck on your quest." A few more quick exchanges of departing pleasantries and Hannelore was off, searching for Vernon and the others that would be joining them. A rather simple task, as they drew the collected attention of the hamlet to it's outskirts.

    Handing over her letter of recommendation to the lanky man in black - the letter had not been misleading when it claimed he would be easy to recognize - Hannelore offered up a smile. "Hannelore Salander, at your service. Blood of a kind, though I have little envy and less for the fellow who tries to plot out the specifics."
    #5 HerziQuerzi, Jul 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  6. Seline Mith

    Seline struggled through the gathered crowd of onlookers, doing his best not to start a fight or make a fool of himself as he lightly tapped people's backs or shoulders with the head of his staff so that they'd let him past. Still, as he came close to the front, he found himself knocked aside by a more forceful individual passing through. Leaning heavily on his staff to prevent himself from slipping into the mud, Seline grumbled a mild protest and righted himself.

    As he finally breached the crowd, he drew forth from a satchel hanging at his side a large book, seemingly protected from moisture by some magical enchantment. He quickly flipped through the pages, muttering a brief incantation, and a single sheet of paper was torn from within, floating to his hand as he sheathed the tome.

    "Proof of my employment," he stated simply, holding the page for Vernon to look over, but seemingly unwilling to relinquish it outright. He glanced back at the crowd anxiously, looking for faces he knew he would be unable to recognize even were they present. "I can't say I'm not eager to get going."
  7. A tall and lithe elf made his way through the crowd, though the few people who recognized him moved out of his way, making it easier to traverse the gathering of people. Others he simply moved to the side if necessary, though is path through the crowd had very few people truly in his way. Once he made it to the front of the crowd of people, he approached the desk, his expression that of annoyance. He holds out the letter of recommendation once the person in front of him was done with their business. "Greetings. You must be the 'Vernon' mentioned in the letter. I am Adrian Liadon." His once annoyed expression had dulled into neutrality, though his usual air of arrogance was rather muted. "I wish to accept this job offering of the Wilkes Merchant Family, as detailed in this postage." He keeps his voice as professional as possible, simply to show that he lies above the rest of the masses around him.
  8. The sky threatening to rain seemed to dampen the spirits of many different people around. Camilia looked around the area, her rifle slung over her shoulder, her pistols in specialized holsters on her sides. So many people were looking for work. They should know to work their way up to it, yet, here they were. Was she any better though? The young woman pulls out an umbrella and pops it out over her head, simply making her way through the crowd without too much difficulty. The combination of her pale skin, being armed to the teeth, and umbrella, was enough to convince most people to let her through when prompted. It also didn't hurt that members of the crowd occasionally felt an unnatural, uncanny chill, as Zathras moved through them to stay close to Camilia.

    There, out in the crowd, she glances at others. Wordlessly, her cold eyes start to evaluate them.

    A short man, 5'4. He seemed gruff and straightforward. He carried with him a blade large enough to cut through more than one man with a single swing: A front line fighter. One that seemed to lack much in the way of armour. Yet, his battle scars spoke of many lived experiences. She would have to watch his back in fights, keep people away from back so he could focus on everyone in front of him.

    Next was a nobleman. A dirtied one, even. A small, confused frown crosses her lips as she fails to discern any purpose to his being there. Was he some sort of scholar? Was he here to record their adventures? Her frown quietly melts away. What an amusing thought that was.

    Then, a third. A woman, who, judging from her wardrobe, was perhaps the smallest bit deranged. She wore little, and yet shot angry glares when men stared at her. What was her objective in being here? Camilia glances down at her own clothing. Perhaps she was being too modest? Perhaps this woman lived off in the wilds, all by herself, for years. Which brought up the valid question of how a letter carrier reached her person and gave her instructions, or what she did to earn the Wilkes' family's trust. Regardless, her purpose seemed unclear to Camilia... Perhaps she was a wizard?

    Then, another woman. This one however was far more clear in purpose, wielding weapons of war. Large ones, at that. It seemed the short man would have a companion on the front line, which was good for Camilia--it kept her away from that same front line. Yet, this one wielded a lacklustre amount of armour as well, and no shield--it seemed simple bandits with a few bows could do half of their group in. A troubling thought. This one, however, was at least properly dressed, so she was a welcome addition.

    A fifth one, yet another wo-- no... No, this was a man. A thin looking man, one who's appearance clearly screamed to her as a foreigner more than any other. The only reason she could conceive of his being here was that he must have great talent with magics beyond her little corner of the world. So, he would likely be in the back line, with her. What kind of spells did he use, she wondered.

    Finally, the last one her eyes lay upon is a high elf. A heavily armoured, sword-wielding high elf. One look at the sharpness of his jaw and the unflinching arrogance portrayed on his face only served to further reinforce Camilia's views that she would be playing second fiddle. A position she was more than comfortable with, if just to ensure she would not have to live with the stress of failure. Yet, still, the armour was a welcome change--he might not die instantly upon sighting archers.

    She glances up and spots Vernon Wilkes. She stares at him, looking him over, realizing he was a member of the family that saved her from herself. Was he the one to order a duplicate? She grasps at a small necklace underneath her shirt, and pulls it out. It looked cheap. She brings the gemstone up to her lips, and pretending to briefly pray, she closes her eyes and whispers a command to Zathras. "Watch the crowd. Alert me if there is trouble." Her eyes follow the spirit briefly as it floats away. She knew nobody else could see it, so she draws her attention back to the man demanding papers, as she stuffs the necklace back underneath her shirt.

    She speaks, with a loudness that seemed uncharacteristic for her, so that all of her other compatriots could hear her. "I am Camilia Marcellina. I have worked for the Wilkes family for years, and I bring my firearms here to help find an honoured member of the family. Here is my invitation." She reaches into a bag, slung at her side, and thumbs out the opened envelope. She, specifically, looks at Vernon as she continues speaking loudly. "What would you like me to do?"
  9. Akra drew stares as she walked through the village called Mirth, and she left excited chatter in her wake. This was a normal occurrence for her. The blessed armor she wore looked rather exotic compared to normal plate, which was only to be expected of armor forged and enchanted by the great dragon Culdranth, but of course these nonbelievers had no way of knowing that they witnessed the passage of his chosen champion. Many of the snippets of chatter she head behind her revolved around her helm, which was shaped like a roaring dragon's head with the eye slits peering out from the dragon's mouth. That was also entirely expected: even the nonbelievers knew the majesty of dragons, so it was fitting that they were awed by the sight.

    The village was poorly named. Akra noticed no especially mirthful behaviors or attitudes from its residents. It looked just like any of the dozens of other little settlements she had passed through on the way here, and nothing she saw gave her reason to do anything but keep on walking through. In fact she had reason only to pass through, as the commotion on the outskirts of the village was the only interesting thing nearby, and likely her intended destination. As she neared the wagons, a crowd of fools blocked Akra's way, but only for a few moments. Those at the back wisely moved out of the way, and the sudden movement drew looks from those ahead, and soon enough she was past the pack of gawkers without having broken stride from the moment she saw the village on the horizon.

    It was obvious that she was not the first to arrive. A few others stood or sat around the wagons, clearly part of the venture unlike the pack of observers behind her. Akra was not impressed by what she saw. Only a few of them had swords, and of them only the elf had proper armor. There was a muddy man and another in robes that both seemed useless in a fight at a glance, though perhaps they were users of magic. The woman sitting on a nearby stump was dressed like a harlot, so perhaps her purpose was to entertain the men on the journey ahead. The last was a woman with guns, dreadful noisy things that made effective weapons, but only some leather for protection that would do little to stop a blade. It seemed Akra herself was the only one who even had a shield. She hoped that whatever dangers lurked in the Seared Lands did not know how to use bows or guns, else most on this journey would meet a quick end.

    Akra was easily able to spot the one who drew all the attention, the man who must be the Vernon named in the letter, a tall but skinny man who also lacked armor. That was unfortunate, but if he was the leader of this expedition then it was her duty to protect him. She felt confident in her ability to protect at least this one man from most ranged attacked, but the others would be on their own. Akra approached him, heedless of the gun-carrying woman standing before him, and showed him the letter. "I am Akra Shamash." Her voice reverberated through her helmet, distorting her voice into a deeper, almost manly pitch. "I am at your command until this job is done." She stuffed the paper back into the little pouch hanging from her hip, then reached up and removed her dragon helmet, revealing a face few would have expected from a warrior and freeing her blond hair, done up in a single tight braid to keep it secure under the helm. Akra bowed her head to Vernon, then walked over to stand beside one of the wagons holding various supplies, paying no heed to the others and looking off north toward the Seared Lands.
  10. One day, long after this expedition was finished, Ilya would be wealthy, able to retire from mercenary work and rest on the laurels of his fame. Maybe he would have a sobriquet, such as Ilya the Valiant or Ilya Monsterslayer, with bards from Sciczia to Omedyr singing his praises. That day, however, was not today, and the only sobriquet he could honestly claim was Ilya the Poor. As he made his way through the decidedly mirthless town, traveling bag slung over his shoulder, he ran through a quick mental inventory of his equipment. Armor? Check. Axe? Check. Arming sword? Check. Dagger? Check. Shield? Check. Clothes? Check. Alcohol? Check. The pleasure of having shared the bed with that pretty barmaid he’d seen last night? Unfortunately, not a check. It was a shame, really, seeing as how he’d probably not get another chance like that anytime soon.

    At the sight of the small crowd gathered around what he presumed was the Wilkes caravan, Ilya made his way over, pushing and jostling his way through when necessary. Once he reached the front of the crowd, the first person he took notice of was a man even taller than he was, lanky and bereft of muscles, asking for letters of recommendation. ”You must be Vernon, then,” Ilya said as he brought about his traveling bag and began rummaging through it for the letter. ”If I’ll be honest sir, I was expecting someone a bit more...rugged in appearance when I received your family’s message, but I’m sure you’ll do fine, eh?” Having found the letter at last, he closed his bag and presented it to the man, adding only the barest hint of a smile to his face as he did so. ”Ilya Vladimirovich, knight and mercenary at your service.” With that exchange, one-sided as it was, over with, Ilya took a step back and looked over his traveling companions.

    First, there was a small man of the steppes, presumably a fighter, judging from the greatsword that he wore on his back, although he didn’t appear to be wearing armor of any kind. The next man looked to be a noble of some sort, though he’d appeared to have fallen and gotten mud all over him, a mental image that pleased Ilya just a little bit. The third person in their little group appeared to be a whore, at least that’s what Ilya thought, since she was wearing an outfit that left little to the imagination. The Wilkes’ had a plan in case any of the help wanted entertainment, it seemed. As for the rest, they were unremarkable, save for the woman in the exquisite armor, the woman with the guns, and the woman in the garish and colorful outfit armed with a flamberge. Ilya may have been paying just a tiny bit more attention to the women than usual.
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