Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Eternalfire61, Jul 29, 2014.

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  1. A Story To Be Told
    "You think there are folks that still live in Dulermar?"

    Carth's father raised a brow at the boy and shook his head. "All of us who used to live there now live here. Those who didn't escape died with the fires."

    Carth was silent for a moment, he had never known Dulemar. Gehennian soldiers had raided Dulemar many years ago, but the pain that was caused to those who survived has made it feel as though it had only been weeks. Carth's father and mother were one of the few who made it out. They retreated to the trade city of Biltmore where they became farmers.

    While those in the lower sect of Biltmore farmed and raised animals for the city, there was much to be done.
    It was the middle of day during summer, the hard working time of the people. Everyone was milling about, even if it seemed they had nothing to do they were doing something. In fact in the next couple of days the festival of Artindus will begin.

    Artindus is a common folktale told to children by the folk of the western kingdoms. Once every summer a white tailed fox will travel through the lands and help give fertility to the harvests. When the fox has past over the participating city, the city shall have a feast celebrating the blessing.

    Isaac Tilbak, the tailor, was making garments for Lord Biltmore today and was closed because he was working so efficiently. Lord Biltmore had been making arrangements all throughout the month for the people, and there was excitement to be had.

    The carpenters were ordered to refurnish the festival tables, as well as the seats. While they did that, food was gathered to begin the preparations for the feast. Many delicacies of the city cooked in ovens, making the air smell so wonderful. Delacies such as Fishwater elk, yellow herb bread, and Helodfater the children's favorite.

    Carth's assignment for the festival was to deliver cattle to the butcher. Then he would spend the rest of the evening doing work around the city. This was the life of a farmer's boy, but soon that life would be replaced by one of great adventure.
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  2. [​IMG]
    When an adult looks at a child, sometimes they will know if that child will grow up to be average, ugly, or a beauty. For Vriona, her family and friends thought that she would be average, as her freckles ran amuck on her face, and she was on the heavier side. But in the past year, as the harsh winter, and plentiful harvest wore her down, Vriona's baby fat melted away, and her freckles became endearing instead of obstructive. Her normally curly hair was tamed due to her friend instructing how to use a small heated iron; and so long as Vriona properly managed her hair, she could do this everyday.

    So, it became a surprise to those in her part of the town to see this new blossoming woman enter the streets, basket in hand, to procure that day's groceries. For Vriona, the attention was unwarranted, as she was a tomboy at heart, and strode the markets in a tunic and linen pants, hair fastened back with a brooch.

    With her father and mother busy with their lives, Vriona was left to fend for herself. She would take over her mother's business of course, as was tradition, but in retrospect, she wanted nothing more than to take over her father's blacksmithing business. There was something about the hot forge and the pounding of a hammer on an anvil that made Vriona love the work. She hated chatting, and she certainly wasn't a good cook.

    Her mother wanted her to bring home a goat leg so she could make it into a stew for their guests, so Vriona made a stop at the butcher's. It was a pleasant surprise then to see Carth, her childhood friend, leading cattle to the back of the shop. She hadn't seen him since the winter months--the days and nights were harsh for traveling, and she was busy over autumn selling foods to patrons--and wandered over to smile in greeting.

    "'Lo Carth. Fancy seeing you 'round 'ere," she greeted in her lilting accent.
  3. [​IMG]
    "We only live a short distance, friend. I see you are on your way to the butcher."

    The farmboy patted the top of the cow's head as it mooed softly. Many of the townsfolk dodged past the two friends as they continued to speak. Everything in the town was moving at a fast rate, as they were trying to keep on schedule.

    Carth brought the cow along with Vriona to the local butcher. They arrived to in and out customers and many workers running back and forth. Carth handed the cow off to one of the servants before they entered. There was a couple of customers before them but they were moving rather quickly, so they were able to place an order.

    "Are you going to be at the festivities?"

  4. [​IMG]
    "Aye, I am. My ma wants me tae tend tae the tavern for a wee bit afore I enjoy myself though. I dornt think that will go over very well, considering all dem drunkards that come by."

    The aromas of the day's cooking, along with the fresh kills from the butcher permeated the air. There was a hustle and bustle that could only be found during the summer months, and it was an intoxicating atmosphere. Even the adults were catching it, and Vriona noted it in their lively steps, and their easy smiles.

    She nudged him with her elbow, jerked her chin in the direction of an elder woman whose hands clung warmly to a slightly younger man. Vriona was grinning deviously.

    "Fancy that, seeing liddle Miss Cleary with the man of her dreams. She's been eyeing him for some time now; I cannae believe she's actually done it."

    She watched with mirth in her eyes as the mismatched couple disappeared around the corner.

    "So have you seen the white fox tailed fox anywhere round 'ere? None of the patrons are talking 'bout it, but you must know something. Right, Carth?"

  5. [​IMG]

    Carth eyed the pair who passed by before he answered Vriona. "They have watchmen on the walls and in lower Biltmore keeping watch. Biltmore has everyone working for the festival while the soldiers sit on their arse."

    The pair was finally served after a couple before them purchased lamb. Carth and Vriona were met by a large man holding a butcher's knife. "Whut kis it 'ou want."

    There was a pause before Carth spoke. "I'm here to sell my cow. I assume you will need it for the festivities." The butcher nodded, setting a coin pouch on the table he turned to Vriona. "Ish she 'ere fer sumthin' else?"

    Carth turned to Vriona waiting for her answer.

  6. "Oh aye. I'd like tae get some goat's leg if ya have any," and placed three gold coins on the table.

    "Yer lucky miss. I only gots one leg left."

    He hauled the hunk of meat on the table with a grunt, and wrapped the thing in a piece of cloth for Vriona to carry around. It was a big, heavy thing, certainly something a girl like her wouldn't be able to carry, but carry she did, and with little struggle.

    Some of the women--and men--eyed her with surprise. Normally a task such as this would have been borne by a strapping young lad, and some of those gazes were accusatory towards Carth. ("How dare he, letting a young'un such as her carry that thing herself.")

    To a stranger, it didn't look like Vriona was bothered by such comments. But those who knew her, those like Carth, noticed that her lips were pulled into a taut line, and her shoulders were pulled back farther than what would be called a comfortable posture.

    As the duo left the butcher's, Vriona said amicably, "So ya still dinnae answer my question Carth, and ya making me a wee bit curious. Have ya, or have ye not see the elusive white tailed fox as of late?"

    #6 Zen, Jul 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014

  7. Carth didn't care for the looks, but he knew that Vriona could carry herself. That's what he appreciated about her. From an early age he was taught not to open doors to strangers, not to trust those who come for money, and to never let your guard down. Carth was cautious toward others, and for a while he didn't have many friends. The only person who seemed genuine when he was younger was Vriona, and from their young age they have come to hold to grand relationship.

    "If I had seen it, I doubt I'd be here. I'd most likely be on a wild goose chase with my father. Luckily, I was able to spend some time in the city."

    Carth smiled at Vriona as they continued to walk through the city. The sound of metal against rock became evident as they came closer to the mines. The miners worked day and night to excavate the Groltongue Mountain. Many of those who resided in the town were either miners or owned their own business. Biltmore itself was a compilation of retired warriors from Stonegate, traveling merchants, and those who searched for somewhere to settle. Lord Biltmore was at the top of it all with an estate above the city. The man kept to himself in his estate, though he does makes appearances from time to time for the people.


    Vriona and Carth soon arrived to many of the guests of the tavern gone. Many were out dealing with the list of to-dos or helping with preparations.
    The pair set their things down on a wooden table in the back, and Vriona set the leg on the cutting table. Carth pulled chairs up for him and Vriona.

    "I assume your parents are busy."


  8. [​IMG]

    "Aren't they always?" she replied with a sardonic smile.

    It was a homely tavern, one that was well built, and constructed with care and love. While time did weather it down, it still held its charms. And since it was managed by Vriona's mother, it had a feminine touch to it, if you could count the bird cage and the candles a feminine touch.

    However, Vriona called this place her second home, and what a home it was. While she never cared for small talk, she did enjoy it when the soldiers came home and told their stories. Of course, Vriona always kept a knife close at hand in case the drunkards felt brazen with their hands and eyes, but she had otherwise enjoyed the tales.

    A meat cleaver slammed down onto the bone of the goat, slicing it in two on the cutting board. Behind Vriona a cauldron was bubbling away on top of a fire.

    "Open the window, would ya Carth? It's hot as the nine Hells in 'ere, it is." She wiped the sweat off of her brow with a sleeve. Vriona noted the pulled up chairs. "Ya staying are ya? Dunna have anything to do 'fore the festival starts?"

    She cut off several more pieces of the goat leg and tossed it into the cauldron.

    "Ya know, my ma wants me tae settle down. Have some babies. Can ya imagine, me, Vriona Berthwall, a muther? Suppose that's where the name sake comes from. Berthwall. The woman are known to have lots o' babies."

  9. [​IMG]

    Carth knew the same pain that she knew. His father only wanted him to take over his farm, a farm of cows and chickens. Carth twiddled his thumbs thinking about what he truly wanted. Carth wanted to fight alongside the great warriors of Arendanna. He wished to be live within the walls of Stonegate, and be praised for his bravery. The farm didn't matter to him, it only mattered to his father.

    "My parents want me to take over the farm when I'm older. They will marry me off to some merchant's daughter, and then I will have children of my own. Sadly, they will earn the same fate as me."

    The farmboy stopped twiddling his as he leaned back in his chair.

    "Do you ever think about running away?"

    Carth had considered it many times before, but if he did his family would fall apart...

    "Biltmore is such a droll place. Even the festivals run together."

  10. Her pretty face was plastered with guilt, and she looked around the room before responding.

    "Truth be told Carth, I have, but I..."

    Vriona paused, and in that moment of silence she continued cutting up the goat leg until the entire thing was cubed and placed into the cauldron. The woman was stalling, that much was certain, and when she placed the lid on the cauldron, her hands were trembling. She wiped the juices off on a piece of cloth, sat down, wrestled with the hem of her shirt, looked fervently around, and sighed deeply.

    "I want tae be a warrior. I want tae go on an adventure, like the lads 'ere talk abot."

    She bit her lip then, chuckling hollowly. "But I know it ain't gunna happen. The army dunnae take girls. We're suppose tae cook, and clean, and have babies. I dunnae like any of the men 'ere Carth." She frowned. "Well I like ya, but not in that way. I surely dunna want tae bed ya, and I know ya dunnae have those thoughts."

  11. [​IMG]

    Carth nodded to Vriona. He figured that she was one of those women. The Biltmorian women are strong, can wield a sword, and often know how to cook.
    The farm boy wished to not be a farm boy anymore. He wished to be a warrior, an archer, or just a messenger. There was a whole world to be explored, but sadly there was only one city for Carth.

    Carth leaned forward on the table laying his hands flat.

    "I have yet to have any adventures, unless you consider farming an adventure. This festival will end with the fox not being captured. Then many of the adults will be stumbling around Biltmore in a drunken stupor."

    The farmboy set his head down on the table and sighed.

    "If I had a chance to leave Biltmore, I'd do it in an instant."

  12. [​IMG]
    She smiled wistfully at Carth, and almost ruffled his hair when she realized that her hands were still coated in the juices of the goat. Vriona strode over to the cauldron and stirred the contents with a large wooden spoon. With the stew bubbling away, savory smells filled the back of the room, and they heard the first few patrons arriving in the tavern.

    Vriona grimaced. She grabbed a knife by the table, sheath and all, and stuck it into the pocket of her linen pants. All of this was done without explanation.

    "We could join the army," she said when she sat back down. "I'll have tae hide my chest, but a liddle bit of gauze should do the trick."

    She glanced down at herself, relieved that she had a slender and agile figure. Although her mother assured Vriona that she would fill out once she grew up, as did all women in her family.

    "And the bleedin'. I'll have tae do something abot that. What do yer think Carth?"

  13. [​IMG]

    Carth had never considered doing that, especially if they had gotten caught.

    "That's ridiculous. If we were to be caught we would be hung for treason. Then our graves would be put deep inside the mountain, and everyone would forget us!"

    Carth put his head into his hands. He knew that he was still too young to be put into the army, and even if he was taken his father would bring him back. For Vriona it would most likely be a life of cooking and child birthing. Fate is never decided by a single decision. Carth knew that fate was a decided by coincidences and opportunities. There wasn't anything he could do about it.

    "Maybe we could run away together, run off to some distant village. I could take my father's horse, and we could pack our belongings."

    Carth stood up and he began pacing.

    "We can't run off tonight, but maybe we will have a chance by the morning."


  14. [​IMG]
    Vriona looked trouble by this, lips turning down in a frown, eyes cast downwards. She didn't say anything for several minutes, merely stirred the contents of the cauldron with pensive eyes. The sounds of patrons filled the entire building, and both of them could hear Vriona's mother chatting away. It was hearing her mother's voice that spurned Vriona into talking.

    "I dunnae like this idea much. It makes me... Queasy. Carth, I know nuthing abot survivin' on my own. Yer a farmer, ya can live off the land. I only know how tae fashion a weapon, and I need tae be in the city to do that much. Och, I dunnae like this a'tall."

    But she fell deathly silent once more.

    "Say Irene, where's that daughter o' yours. She's normally out makin' her rounds about now. My tankard's nev'ar been this empty in months."

    "Oh yer rascal. Me daughter's in the kitchen, cookin' up tonight's special. Yer can see when she's done, should be ready in a few minutes if yer willing to wait."

    The chuckle was too far too insidious for Vriona's liking. Of course the old man was willing to wait, he was always willing to wait for her. She remembered how many times that hand tried to swat her bottom, and she remembered the many times she wanted to cut off his hand.

    "I changed me mind," she said stiffly. "I'm comin' with ya. Mind, I have one condition and that's if yer come with me tae the festival. I dunnae want tae go alone, not with drunks abot. I'll end up killin' one of them a'fore the sun comes up. So where are we meetin' up?"

  15. "Fine. We will meet outside of the tailor's shop, it will be quiet later tonight."

    Vriona and Carth shook on it, and then prepared themselves for the festival. Carth was the first to leave out of the two so Vriona could find the best way to sneak out. The bar was full, and Vriona's mother was the only one tending to it.


    The town sparked with energy as the sun faded behind the mountains. All of the farmers laid down their hoes and pitchforks to prepare themselves for the festival. Citizens from all likes of Biltmore clung to the city as lanterns were struck. The bards began to strum their lutes and sing the songs that had been passed down from bard to bard. Carth had seen this scene many times in his life before, and those memories were something he would always hold onto. The farmboy dodged through oncoming citizens as he made his way toward the tailor.

    Carth finally reached the tailor after some time. He set his back against the wall and began to stare at the sky. Tonight was going to be his last night to be able to see Biltmore's skies, and he would always wish to see it again.

  16. Did the idea of sneaking away from her mother and father ever struck Vriona was crazy? Insane even? Oh yes, it did. However, it was anger and the thoughts of opportunity that made the girl take the risk of running off. Sure, if her parents found out Vriona would receive the beating of a life time, but she had no intention of being caught. Of course, as the night wore on, Vriona thought about abandoning this quest about a hundred times, wondering how she and Carth would survive on their own.

    With this worry plaguing her mind, the teenager began sneaking in bits of food into a burlap sack: bits of deer venison, wheels of cheese, flasks of red wine and water, flint and tinder, a dagger, and some twine were stolen from the tavern. It was far more difficult for Vriona to sneak out, considering how her mother liked to rely on her to fetch the drinks. It was this lack of concern for her daughter that made Vriona see red. As the males of the city tried to get her on their laps, Vriona's mother was seen flirting madly with these same men. If only her father knew...

    At an hour til midnight, Vriona exited through the back door, grateful that the bards and dancers were there to entertain the guests. She was panting by the time she reached Carth, hauling the burlap sack over her shoulder.

    "Och, that took longer than I'd like. Sorry abot that, me ma wanted me tae fetch the men drinks. Wot now?"

  17. [​IMG]

    Carth's eyes panned over the celebrating people as he collected his thoughts.

    "I'll need a sword, a horse, and a set of heavy clothes. I can go home and get a sword and clothes, but I need a horse."

    Carth folded his arms while he leaned against the wall of the tailor's shop. Most nights in Biltmore were quiet, but this festival always brought the city to life. As the pair continued to talk, Carth's family arrived to the city. Carth's mother and father both had worked themselves all day, and were very tired.

    "Come Martha, I assume Carth is feasting in the tavern."

    "Of course Jacob, you know he fancies that red haired girl."

    "If he fancies her, then he should marry her. It'd be good for business."

    "In time Jacob, the boy is still young."

    While Carth's parents were searching for him, Carth began his search for a horse. Money wasn't an option, so he was going to have to steal a horse. Carth and Vriona darted toward Biltmore's gates to be able to reach Lower Biltmore. The sounds of drunken people echoed through Biltmore as the two sped past oncoming citizens. But soon, they found themselves at the gate. The guards told drunken stories to each other as Vriona and Carth passed through.

    The sound of the festival died slowly with their departure. Carth's only thoughts were of the road, of leaving, of being able to start a new life. As they reached Carth's home night had finally settled in. The farmboy went into his home and gathered his belongings. His father's sword, a large cloak he used in the winter months, and a crossbow with a set of bolts. He had some experience with the weapon, since during the early summer months the wolves would try to eat their cattle. Carth put the sling from his crossbow over his shoulder and then he sheathed his sword.

    Carth pulled the cloak toward his body with a swift move, then he was finally ready.

    "You have one last chance to go back if you choose. I have already made my decision."

  18. [​IMG]
    There was a deep concern in Vriona's eyes over the crossbow and sword that Carth brought along with them. The concerns were thus: one was over how Carth's family was going to survive should they need such items. Being the daughter of a blacksmith, Vriona knew how expensive it was to procure such items. Wouldn't his mother and father need these weapons at some point? And the second concern was whether Carth thought they would need these items for their adventuring.

    "Just where do yer think we're goin', luggin' all those weapons along with us?" she hissed to her companion when he returned. "Dunnae yer think yer ma and pa would like those things when winter comes, or do yer not care abot them being taken care of?"

  19. [​IMG]

    Carth held the sling of the crossbow, giving Vriona a questionable look. He needed his crossbow because it was going to protect them. The farm boy let go of his sling and let it fall to the ground.

    "We need to protect ourselves, if you don't want that then go ahead and leave your weapon."

    Carth held his father's blade close to him, but he never let it leave it's sheathe. He understood what Vriona meant, he understood that she had concern for his family, but he knew his parents would live. His only concern was whether or not they would live. Carth had never left Biltmore, he had never left his home. All the farm boy knew was the farm, and he wished for more. But, Vriona wouldn't leave unless he did what she asked of him.

    Reluctantly, Carth picked up the crossbow and set it up against his home along with his bolts. With a sigh, Carth began his walk toward the forest. At the edge of the forest there was a small set of stables. It's stables were filled with at least a bounty of horses, because of the festival. The pair hid behind a pair of shrubbery before trespassing onto the stables. As Carth began to move forward, but was then stopped by a loud yawn. There was a guard on duty, one of the guards Lord Biltmore had deployed to look for the fox. The fat guard held a torch firmly as he scanned the area.

    "What do you think we should do," Carth said in a hushed tone.

  20. [​IMG]
    Vriona did not need further urging, and scooped the crossbow into her arms. It felt clunky, but relief flooded her shivering body; she would at least have a weapon to protect herself with, even if that meant Carth's parents would be without protection. Perhaps they wouldn't need it. Perhaps they would learn how to make do. Vriona could only hope.

    Squinting at the guard in front of them, Vriona grabbed a large stone and chucked it towards the forest. The guard, perhaps thinking it was the white fox they needed to catch, bolted towards the sound and into the trees. Vriona grabbed Carth's wrist and led him into the stables. They were met with three good sized horses, two of which were stallions.

    "Take yer pick," she hissed, sliding over to the white mare in the stall. "Unless we're only takin' one."

    A seed of concern was planted in Vriona. Oh this was a reckless move, and she was wondering if she was regretting it. She wasn't sure if Carth was acting out of his nature. It was true, both of them hated this place, but stealing his parents' weapons, and the horses were bold moves indeed. Would he be willing to face the consequences? Would she? Vriona wasn't sure if she wanted to face the answer to that question.
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