Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by ze_kraken, Jan 24, 2016.

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  1. The Wilderness

    Nimlebrie found the silence of the woods unsettling. Perhaps it was that, having grown so accustomed to bustling city life, she found the notion of a place so removed from civilization disturbing. Or, as Barnabas had put sarcastically, the woods were only paying homage to a noblewoman. She had scoffed, stating that no magi was above nobility, but the warrior had only shrugged and rode on. The sound of hooves clapping against hard-packed dirt had already begun to ring dead to Nimlebrie's ears after the first day, and by the third, every sound had been swallowed by the expanse of the woods surrounding the two.

    "'Ya know," Barnabas began, momentarily tugging at his horse's reigns so that he rode parallel to Nimlebrie. "If the silence it killin' you, 'ya might-"

    The woman rose a still hand to cut him off. "I prefer the silence to your own trumpeting," she replied coolly, allowing her lips to stretch into a smile.

    "Trumpetin' 'eh?" The man scratched at his beard, usually well-kept, though now showing the weeks they had spent on the road. "If that's what you want to call it, Magi Lowell."

    "It would explain your ineptitude at hunting."

    "Are all highborn ladies as blunt as you?" He questioned, chuckling.

    "Only the ones you've never heard of," Nimlebrie remarked dryly. "Mothers have a tendency to keep the blunt ones stuck in some old woman's cupboard of a classroom, attempting to teach them to be proper girls."

    Barnabas' horse snorted and halted abruptly, tearing both their attentions from the conversation. The large man patted the animal gently across its neck and muttered something Nimlebrie couldn't quite make out. Her own horse had stopped as well, picking up a slow trot to keep pace with Barnabas' now-moving mount. Barnabas' sword scraped clean of its scabbard, the scuff of metal upon leather lost to the horse' steady clop clop clop. Almost instinctively, Nimlebrie began to reach into the air around her, ready to hurl it forward at a moment's notice.


    Nimlebrie reached into the edge of the Else, drawing energy from it, and shoved the air around herself and Barnabas forward, catching an arrow mid-flight and sending it sprawling harmlessly away from her mount. An audible woosh bellowed, followed by the sound of the arrow sinking deep into the earth of the trail. The sudden forward motion kicked Nimlebrie back into her saddle, throwing her off balance momentarily. Barnabas deftly slid off his mount, just in time to dodge an arrow that shot straight past where he had been a moment before.

    "Where are they?!" Nimlebrie called, throwing off another arrow.

    Barnabas jabbed an index finger forward, to the fork in the road ahead.

    "Let us carry on then, shall we?" She grimaced, urging her mount into a forward gallop.
    Once Barnabas had cornered the man, he had surrendered, turning over his bow, his knife, and his sword. From the looks of his nest in the path of trees between the road paths of the road, he had been there a while, a week at least.

    "And what gave you say to fire upon a Magi of the Towers?" Nimlebrie demanded, voice flat with stirring anger, overriding yet another attempt at apology by the man. "For what cause? Do the men of Broybrook often shoot at travelers?"

    "No," the man grunted in response. "We've had some unsavory folk in these parts of late - wagered you must've been outriders."

    "Outriders? Of what?" She asked, anger replaced by curiosity.

    "One house's army or another," the man shrugged, offering a glance down at Barnabas' blade, now firmly rooted at his throat. He swallowed hard and continued. "One've our woodsmen 'bout three days or so ago said he spotted 'n army headin' down the valley, so we went to postin' guards at the paths."

    "And what banner did they fly?"

    "The lad said he didn't see a banner's sig-"

    "Fine, fine." Nimlebrie snapped. "Perhaps your halfwit noticed this: what color was the banner?"

    "Said it was a blue banner, blue..."

    Nimlebrie and Barnabas exchanged dimly amused looks: the men who had been hunting them had outpaced them, and now, they'd walked straight into a valley infested with them.

    "What is your name?"

    "Gilliam, Gilliam Harper," the man replied. Nimlebrie nodded and Barnabas released the man, blade dragging away from his throat.

    "You'll take us back to your village, Gilliam, understand?"

    "I'm to-"

    "I'm not one to care what you were supposed to be doing. Only what you are to do now, and that is take my companion and I to your village."

    Better to hide among the other lambs.

    The village has been a stir of motion for the past few days, with preparations being made to secure the village's entrances. Scouts have been posted on the outskirts of Broybrook, and everyone knows of the potential armed force wandering around the valley. With Gilliam returning, with a Magi and guard in turn, people are beginning to question if the two are in any way related.

    #1 ze_kraken, Jan 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  2. The "Old Man" Bozidar

    Bo sat outside with his dogs and a recently acquired bag of apples. The three domesticated wolves followed Bo around and each a different hue. The black colored one was name "Pit", the grey-blue named "Leo", and finally the snow white being named "Snow". They constantly nudged against him and circled around him in an attempt to get the apples he was given. Ignoring the attempts to egg on their playful behavior he finally responded when the youngest, Leo, barked at him. In a quick movement he tapped the dog's head gently and smiled. It calmed down and the other two followed his lead as Bo took a seat on a log to feed them.

    "Alright, one for the runt..." Taking a juicy apple he tossed it to Leo and then opened the bag to dig around for more. "Another for the angel..." This time when he reached into the bag the apple he had was bruised and he tossed it. Leo, of course, saw and chased after the second apple with one snared in his mouth. Bo payed no mind as Leo wandered off and continued on to try and feed the other two. Pulling out two more apples he tossed them to his dogs and stood up, using his cane for support, with an apple for himself. "Now behave. We have to wait 'til supper."

    Bo walked on making his routine trip through the village. Being on the brink of old age and youth, Bo was asked to guard the village, as he had more experience in combat. It was the move of a coward to him. He did not consider himself old and sickly. He suffered little, but a damage appearance and inpaired vision from his accident, but yet, the village treated him as if he were on his death bed. He was often treated with kindness such as fruit or the like after losing his love at a young age due to his scarred body. He had no kin and no wife. Everything to his name would die with him, but in spite of this, Bo held his head high wherever he went.
    He had long forgiven his young love and often sat with his friend Madeline, the dyer, to chat. However, the recent events had made the village rather stiff and hunts were often done by younger folks taught by him. Some would come back and report if they saw any military activity outside of Broybrook. Since, they had been on high alert, Bo has not been able to enjoy the outside air and his dogs have had to stay within the confines of their village.
    Sometime during his walk he had run by a young lad just coming back from the woods. He looked out of breath and only rose suspicion and worry in such a condition. Bo reached out a hand and stopped him.

    "Boy, what is wrong?" He said quickly and quietly. His voice was stern and the empty gaze of his goggles terrified the young man.

    "Two travelers takin' out one of our archers. I came quickly before I was noticed." The young man stopped and caught his breath. Reluctantly he answered Bo's question, realizing who he was.

    "What's your name boy?" Bo asked with a sigh.

    "Norman, but why-"

    Bo patted his back to send him on his way, but with a word of advice. "Don't tell a soul 'bout what you saw. You'll 'cause a commotion."

    "Yeah..." the boy nodded as he slowly walked off from Bo, he mumbled underneath his breath. "...don't tell no one. He must be crazy." Shaking his head. Norman ran off.
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  3. [​IMG]
    She was laying on her stomach across the grass, a scrappy bit of paper and a coin pouch spread out before her. Columns and rows of numbers and words lined the page, neatly organized and written in a delicate, neat script. Across the top was written the name "ROYSE". Several coins spilled from the pouch across the grass, more laid out in small stacks of ten. There was a small fortune there, enough to buy a fair amount of ale, or perhaps a few new woven winter cloaks, or maybe fresh game for the week. She'd done well that day, and a proud smile was seated on her lips. Accounting day was always fun when she'd made a vast profit.

    The cool air was nice against her skin, the pale sunlight blocked by the hood of a gray woolen cloak. It was her trademark, and this particular spot by the outskirts of the town practically had her name on it. Nobody bothered Shanta much. She was a shadow in most ways.

    She rolled up her paper and tucked it up her sleeve before gathering the coins in a swift motion and dumping them back into the pouch. She tucked it into a fold of the cloak, lifting it up as she rose to her feet. It was a few inches too long; she hadn't bothered paying for it to be hemmed. Being of short stature she had long since learned to deal with her wardrobe problems in silence and acceptance. The ends dragged against the ground and collected dust and dirt, but it was nothing she couldn't 'brush' off with the help of a small breeze followed by a quick wash. After all, how could she be ashamed of dust on her clothes in a dusty, downtrodden town like this?

    Splendor was not part of Shanta's livelihood, but she could dream. A rather large cache, considering, was kept secret from the public. Her getting-away stash. Someday, she would leave this town, and find greener pastures. More pockets to pick, homes to break, people to ruin, all for greater profit and amusement. And, better yet, it would be much easier to get lost in a larger city than it would here. She was slowly running low on options.

    She pondered on this as she approached the town from her secluded spot, cloak sweeping across the grass which slowly evolved into dirt trodden paths. The hustle and bustle of Broybrook came to meet her ears, a hum that she cherished despite her despise of the place. It was home, even if it was shoddy. She slipped onto the streets largely unnoticed, making for her favorite inn and barkeep. She could spare a few coins to enjoy a night to herself, in celebration of a hearty accounting day.
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  4. [​IMG]

    Oliver wasn’t content to stay cooped up in the house all day. He and his mother had left Calledona a little over a week ago, because of the ill fortune that had befallen the once thriving town, and now it looked like Broybrook was experiencing its fair share of troubles. Oliver’s mother, Livian, wanted him to stay at home unless she accompanied him, but the young teenager was growing restless. Sedentary life was not for him. He only left home because his father made him. Broybrook, though, was Oliver’s temporary refuge, and he didn’t want to leave again. The kid was eager to get out there and practice his skills so he could help protect the town.

    After all, he’d never become a battlemagi loafing about and tending to the plants with his mother . . . .

    He shook his somewhat unruly mop of hair and hopped off the bed, bounding down the stairs with his staff strapped to his back. Oliver was confident he’d be able to talk his mother into letting him go out. She tried hard, but with his father still in Calledona, she sometimes went a little soft on Oliver. It made him feel a little bad that he was taking advantage of that. He just hated staying put in one place for so long. His boots thudded noisily on the staircase as he made his way down and shoved open the door, poking his head out. Not far from where he stood on the back stoop was a good size plot of land lined with rows and clusters of various herbs and flowers, with a few rows of fruit-bearing trees standing tall at the back like wooden soldiers. The soil here was not nearly as good as it was in Calledona, but his mother was quite talented, and all of her greenery was thriving well in her caring and capable hands. As Oliver squinted, peering into the never-ending sea of fauna, he caught sight of a figure in a green blouse and tan pants.

    “Mum!” Oliver called. The boy dashed from the stoop and skirted around the plants as best he could at near full speed. He was either surprisingly agile or profoundly lucky, because he managed not to rip, trample, or otherwise maim anything on his way to the tall woman with the long auburn braid, who was looking at him with one hand on her hip and one hand gently pressed to the side of her face.

    “Ollie,” she huffed, dropping her hands and picking a basket up from the ground that was filled with fragrant bunches of white flowers speckled with red and yellow. “Must you barrel through the garden like an enraged boar?”

    “Sorry mum, but I have to burn off all this energy somehow.”

    “Well here’s a novel idea, my darling little imp. Why don’t you help me tend to the plants? Just because we’re not in Calledona doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay focused on what kept our family and town thriving for generations. We tend to the land. Nurture it, protect it, and care for it, and it shows its gratitude with a bountiful harvest. See?”

    She walked gracefully along the rows, her hands lightly brushing the tops of several flowers and tall herbs, which seemed to bow at her touch. Livian stopped in front of a lemon tree and plucked one of the plump yellow fruits, whispering something and touching the trunk for a moment before tossing the lemon to Oliver. He caught it and gave it a hardy sniff.

    “I love the smell of lemons,” he murmured.

    “There is satisfaction in being rewarded for hard work, as well as in the work itself. In Calledona, we grew food for our families, and for travelers who came from all over. Here, our jobs are nonetheless important. Most of these plants are used to help people, Oliver. When they’re sick, or under the weather, or can’t sleep. Or worse things.”

    “I know,” the boy said. “I just . . . . I want to help in a different way. Making pumices and growing plants isn’t going to save Calledona. Something’s wrong, mum. And I think it’s happening here now, too.”

    “You shouldn’t talk like that, Oliver,” Livian said. Her voice was firm, but her face betrayed her calm tone.

    “But it’s true. And you know it. I want to do more than just grow things.”

    “I know, I know,” Livian said with an exasperated sigh. “ . . . You want to be a battlemagi.”

    A wide, joyous grin broke out on the boy’s face. “One of the greatest that ever lived. You’ll see.”

    Livian rolled her eyes and shook her head, yet was powerless to stop the chuckle that escaped. Oliver was still naïve and stubborn. His ambition and determination knew no bounds though, and his optimism was infectious. The woman had no doubt he’d try his best to accomplish his lofty goals. She just worried about him. Constantly. And she couldn’t watch the shop, and tend to the garden, AND keep an eye on him all the time. It was physically impossible.

    “Fine, Ollie.” she conceded.

    “Hah! I knew you’d understand! You’re the best, mum.” Oliver shoved the lemon in his pocket and hugged Livian tight before dashing off again, once more miraculously leaving the plants more or less unscathed.

    "Be careful! And be back in time for dinner!"

    He turned, grinning, and waved goodbye before opening the gate and disappearing toward the town square, a brief gust of wind making his jacket flap dramatically at his sides.

    Livian smirked and dropped her head in her hand. “Ugh . . . . What am I gonna do with that boy?”
    #4 A Clockwork Tangerine, Feb 7, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
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  5. Lara was gathering firewood somewhere in a forest to use as fuel for her blacksmith's forge. She was walking along a river with her donkey as she filled her waterskin and let her donkey drink some. As she was walking along the river she found an abandoned camp just ahead of her and walked towards it her scythe ready for if something was there. She looked all around and found some cheese, which still seemed fine along with a small keg of beer. She checked in a sleeping bag where she found a dead body. She sighed as she checked it's pockets for money and indeed found a few dimes which she put in her own pockets. She gathered some extra wood as she left back for her home.

    After an hour or so of walking back she arrived at the town and went to her blacksmith's where she began stacking the wood behind the building and took a few logs with her for the forge. She put the donkey back in it's small barn and fed him some vegetables as she began heating the forge up. She took her hammer and a few pieces of iron ore. She smelted the iron ore which she then proceeded to shape into bars. She checked her supplies for sale and noticed she was low on swords and daggers so she took a casting and put the melted iron in there. She waited a little and then put the hot iron cast in some water as it steamed and hissed cooling down. She put the sword on her forge and shaped it with the hammer. She did this for a while with some more swords and daggers.

    After she was done she put some armor pieces and weapons on a rack in front of her shop for show and the rest was put inside. She sat on a stool at the counter where she began reading up on some of the recent news. She took the beer she found earlier and took small sips from it along with eating the found cheese. She just sat here now. Waiting for costumers to come in and buy from her. This was her everyday routine. Gather, check, create, sell. It was a repetitive but fun routine due to all the persons she met
  6. Broybrook

    "So this is what you call home?" Nimlebrie snorted. "I had heard the outer reaches of the Houses were destitute, but to imagine this... I must say, I'm shocked."

    The muddy streets of Broybrook, the shanty wooden huts and poorly-constructed shanties, and the trailing smoke of cookfires and the smithy did not grant the town a favorable appearance. From the looks of it, the entire town stood watching the two horse-bound figures guided along by Gilliam. Small children coated in filth, men and women with hard-edged faces and sun-stained skin. Farmers and tanners.

    "You keep talkin' like that," Gilliam grunted. "People here'll stick you up and string 'ya from a tree 'fore you can through out some fancy tricks."

    "Was that a threat?" Barnabas harrumphed.

    "'Yer sword-hand isn't the sharpest o' the bunch, is he?"

    Nimlebrie smoothed down the sides of her robes and shot the bowman an agitated glance, bordering on furious.

    "Remember your place, bow man," she wanted to say, that confined noblewoman mentality screaming to be heard.

    "Where are you taking us?" Better.

    "I happen to run the inn here - Wench and Tankard," Gilliam shrugged, fidgeting with the quiver strapped to his side. At Nimlebrie's questioning glance, he added in an undertone. "It's what I do when I'm not stalkin' after noblewomen 'n sword hands."

    "Magi," she corrected.

    "You wear some rings, boast some tattoos, but you 'n 'yer friend here? You're still just mortal men at the end 'o the day."

    The group fell into silence and Nimlebrie set to investigating the town around her, glancing over and around thatched rooves, through trailing smoke and underbrush. Several villagers worked on preparations to turn the village into a mock fortress, stacking bound logs, stones, and spare bits of metal and leather into waist-high fortifications. They took a right at what Nimlebrie presumed as the town square - a patch of grass where four dirt roads met, completed with a mud-caked stone slab - and trailed down the path. Up ahead stood a humble two-story structure, easily one of the largest. A sign hung above the door, swaying in a gentle gust, embossed with a narrow woman hoisting a mug of ale twice her size.

    "Josha!" Gilliam barked as they reached the Wench and Tankard.

    A moment later, a young boy turned a corner and sprinted towards Gilliam. The man ruffled the child's hair and gestured towards Nimlebrie and Barnabas' horses.

    "Mind setting these in the stable out back?" Gilliam flicked the lad a copper coin from his coin purse.

    Josha nodded and made for Nimlebrie's horse.

    "Miss," he bowed clumsily. "Does m'lady require much else?"

    "No, Josha," Nimlebrie adopted a brief smile, dismounting in one fluid motion.

    "You get one day here," Gilliam remarked, holding the door open for the Magi and her bodyguard. "Way I see it, Magi 'n sword-hand in turn with an army on the march, means trouble. I'm not placin' these people's blood on my hands."

    Generous, Nimlebrie rolled her eyes.
    With the pair gone upstairs, Gilliam sighed with relief, letting pent-up tension ebb away: he had survived an encounter with an agitated noblewoman of a Magi and a warrior honor-bound to defend her. He could enjoy that victory, at least, even if an army came to Broybrook within the next day.

    The door to the Wench and Tankard swung open, and a recognizable cloaked figure stepped through and into the wide open floor of the inn. Pitifully empty, with only a handful of villagers sitting in a cluster in the corner, the floor was unusually silent. Gilliam himself sat at a round table, feet propped up against the table, tankard in hand.

    "Shanta!" He beamed, snapping to attention. "Been a while since we've had you this far into civilization. I thought you'd-"

    A young boy elbowed his way past the robed figure and dashed to the middle of the floor. He knelt panting for a moment, holding a hand to halt Gilliam's question. When he recovered, the boy stood up straight and called out:

    "The army's within a day's march! They're coming right for us!"

    Well, Gilliam stood. Small victories.

    Message passed along, the boy turned heel and dashed back out into the village.

    "Still going to take an ale, then?" He questioned, sinking gratefully back into his chair, adding with grim humor. "Suppose I can make it free this once."

    The army is here! The village, in the middle of preparations, will begin to panic, several will leave, and others will expect a fight.You have one post to describe your character's preparations for the evening. I aim to have the next GM post up next Wednesday, so you have until then to post for your character. If you need Gilliam, Nimlebrie, or Barnabas for anything, don't hesitate to get me involved.
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  7. Always Prepared

    Bo from there just stood where he was. With his rod he stood still, a lazy arch in his back, and watched everyone move past. Soon enough he saw another young man try and shoot passed him and he put up an arm to catch him. Sure enough this one stopped when the man reached his hand out and in an exasperated voice explained the situation without Bo asking.

    "You have to get out of here! The army is approaching!" The boy was frantic and Bo didn't want to discourage the boost of speed his fear gave him.

    "Alright, I'll take care of myself. Deliver your message with such speed that I see the demons at your feet. Go now!" Bo pushed the boy along, watched him run a few feet and took off in the opposite direction, looking for a certain archer. "Where is that boy..."

    As luck would have it, Bo bumped right into the boy, and he placed a firm hand on his shoulder. Noting the scared look on his face he could only think of three things; the boy was still terrified of him, he had gone and told someone and now felt guilty, or he heard the news. Ignoring all answers Bo skipped straight to the point.

    "String your bow and sharpen your arrows, strengthen mind and body while you can. Do whatever is needed for you to prepare to kill another man. War is upon us." Bo was calm and informative in his tone. His grip loosened as he walked past Norman.

    "Wait, Old Man Bo, what nonsense are you spoutin' now?" Norman turned, the worry in his voice obvious, as he threw his arms up and shifted his weight.

    "The kind that kills the ignorant." Bo gave a hand salute as he jogged off and whistled for his dogs that waited patiently where he left them. Quickly Leo stood and woke his siblings and in a sprint all three chased after their master. Bo would return to his home where the dogs were prepped for war. War paint carvings were done quickly by hand across their fur and their teeth were sharpened and brushed. After taking care of the dogs Bo took care of himself and after making sure his goggles and armor were clean he was ready fairly quickly.

    Ready for action he rushed over to the Inn to see if he could find out more on the situation. Reaching the door of the Inn he took a step in before noticing Shanta. He had never known the baker to drink or known her much at all, but he certainly did not expect her in the Inn today.

    "Word of the army reach here, yet or are ya' all still chugging your ale?"
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  8. Now we sound the drums of war...
    Three days. It had been three days so far, and other than cautious words warning of an approaching army, not much had happened in the town of Broybrook. Kieran hadn't known it in his younger days, but he had only just arrived three days ago. Accosted by one of the scouts, though not shown much hassle for it, Kieran learned of the blue-bannered army and offered to hold watch for a few days before he moved on to the next town. The outskirts are a rough place, so Broybrook was more than happy to have another under their number, even if only for a short time. Kieran felt good to be doing something good again, though - it was far too long since his last stop. Normally Kieran charged a marginally higher price for his service, but he was well-stocked and it really had been far too long since he'd last been able to settle into a new village. As expected with a grim foreshadowing hanging over the town, Kieran was put to work immediately as he was sent to the forest's edge.

    Three days. He'd been at this scout camp for three days now, and with little to show for it. His only company was a boy who was sent to him as a courier of sorts, delivering fresh food in exchange for news and making idle chatter as the hours whiled away. However, today seemed off, and when the boy made his routine appearance Kieran asked him to stay silent this time. Kieran was no stranger to surprises - he was always a quick thinker. It made him a good scout, and salvaged his meager swordsmanship. This awareness had saved his life many times, as well as those of others. This would be another of those times, hopefully.

    "Quickly, run back to town, and tell as many people as you can that the army is fast approaching." He spoke urgently, and the boy nodded in comprehension. "I'll be right behind you."

    After the boy was well down the path, Kieran ducked into the woods swiftly and silently as the blue banner came into view. He took a meandering path through the forest, in an attempt to throw off any attempts to track him as they would almost assuredly have seen his scout's encampment. At the rate they were marching it would take them about a day to reach Broybrook. Kieran would just have to get there in less. After making sure his trail was as confusing as possible, he bolted as fast as he could towards the village. More surprises notwithstanding, he'd be able to make it by the next hour if he didn't stop. The slim sword sheathed at his waist bobbed in time with his steps, and the faint padding of leather on dirt mixed with his breathing was the only thing he could hear.
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  9. [​IMG]
    Shanta's boots made a great deal of noise as she walked into the nigh-silent inn. It was dreary and empty--quite a sad sight, though Shanta's mood picked up when she heard Gilliam's bright greeting. She liked Gilliam a great deal. He was a good man and was reliable. Above all that, he wasn't prone to asking her questions about her business. Or, perhaps he didn't notice, or care enough to question. There was many a pocket she had plundered in these wall, and she had broken into rooms on several occasions. She was sure, however, not to damage the building proper. Wouldn't want to put the lovely man out of business, after all.

    She gravitated towards the table were Gilliam sat, though was edged aside by none other than a messenger boy before she reached it. She barely had a moment to wonder before he spouted off the most contagious of words: there was an army coming.

    Word of tongue had reached Shanta, but she had mostly brushed it aside. No army would come to Broybrook. What was there to take? Only a thief living in equally poor conditions would find anything of value in a town like this; no monarch or wealthy man would profit off of this dirt poor soil or foul air. The people themselves would be of little use to a conqueror. And so, she had ignored the news and the bumbling idiots around time, using the opportunity to garner extra pocket change. But apparently, there was a real threat.

    After the boy had left, run off to deliver the dark news to some other unlucky fellow, Shanta sank into a chair by Gilliam, smiling broadly. "For free? You outdo yourself. I could never pass up such an offer."

    The pair had settled with their drinks, beginning to make light conversation when yet another interruption came through the door. "Must everyone be in a rush?" she muttered to herself before turning to look at the newcomer. It was Bo, another of the strange people that occupied Broybrook. Shanta couldn't remember if she had swiped from his pockets before--no, she hadn't. Though from his ready stance she wished she had. Her day of peace was being shattered.

    "Yes, yes, the messenger boy came through not long ago," she drawled, rolling her eyes and taking another sip from her glass. "Still chugging anyhow. Have you come merely to alert us as well? If that's the case, you can go. We already know. Army is coming, so on and so forth."​
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  10. [​IMG]

    Broybrook certainly took some getting used to. Unlike the beautiful, rolling green countryside of Calledona, with fields of wildflowers, vast orchards, and uniquely crafted architecture, here it seemed the village had a dramatically limited color palette: brown and gray. There was a good chance his mother’s shop was the only place in the village that wasn’t a bland slab of wet dirt. The boy didn’t take that simple fact for granted either. His wanderlust not withstanding, sometimes he liked to walk in the garden and tend to the plants, or sit on the back stoop with a snack and enjoy the comforts of nature. It reminded him of home, and that was both a welcoming feeling and a painful one.

    The last letter they’d received from Oliver’s father, Ian, was several days ago. Livian assured Oliver that it didn’t necessarily mean anything. Could be Ian and the others who had stayed behind were just overwhelmed by all the work they were doing. Oliver wasn’t so certain. But he made himself believe it was true, because the alternative was unthinkable. The boy needed to hear from his father soon. In the meantime, Oliver wanted to make himself useful. If indeed things in Calledona were taking a more tragic turn, he wanted to be able to lend a hand, and he didn’t intend for that to involve ‘rain dancing’ for the fields.

    When he reached what passed for the town square, he paused, eyeing a strange trio making their way through. It was the innkeeper, Gilliam, and two strangers: a well-dressed, slender woman who looked a bit offended by her new surroundings, and a large brute of a man. The woman had markings on her skin. Tattoos. Oliver was immediately curious as to what they represented. The boy wasn’t close enough to hear what they were talking about. So, naturally, he trailed them. He wasn’t going to learn anything standing around like a lump. Not surprisingly, the trio ended up at the Wench and Tankard. Another boy around Oliver’s age came out and tended to the horses. Josha, he thought. A bit ham-fisted, but he means well. Oliver smiled and watched Gilliam lead the two strangers into the inn. Here, he hesitated. His mother disliked the idea of him going in there, especially by himself. Some less than savory people liked to hang out there. But he needed to know who the strangers were, and what was going on. Well . . . maybe if mum doesn’t know, she won’t get mad at me. I’ll just have to make it quick.

    Oliver cast a shady glance from side to side and started toward the inn when someone went blazing past him. He almost knocked Oliver on his arse, but the kid was nimble, managing to keep his footing with a few quick shuffles of his feet and a balancing windmill of his arms. “Where the heck is the fire?” he murmured to himself, looking a bit put out. Then alarm bells started going off in his head. Without a second thought, Oliver ran after him, freezing a few steps behind the 'village crier' when he heard the man spit out the words: “The army’s within a day’s march! They’re coming right for us!” This time, Oliver wasn’t so fleet of foot. After the warning, the random boy barreled past him again, and Oliver reeled back and bumped into a chair. His legs went out from under him and he sat down. Hard. Air sucked through his clenched teeth with a hiss. The boy didn’t dwell on the smarting pain in his backside though. It seemed there were more important things to be worried about then a bruised bum.

    He got back to his feet rather swiftly and dusted himself off, looking around the room with an expression that might have suggested nothing had even happened. Someone else had joined the small group now. An older man Oliver had seen around the village, but couldn’t place right away. His name started with a ‘B.’ I remember that much. The teenager cast a glance at the girl when she spoke up. Her name was Shanta something-or-other. At least he remembered her first name. Neither of the two drinking seemed all that concerned about the fact that an army was approaching in less than a day’s time. Apparently, such news was small potatoes to them. But Oliver was highly concerned to say the least, and not just for his own safety, but for his mother’s as well. And what if that army had already attacked other settlements on its way here? Calledona could have been just one of its many casualties. With a measured intake of breath, the teenager took a step forward, indicating the mugs of ale with a nod of his head.

    “Any chance you’re handing out free drinks to just anybody?” he said, trying to make light of the situation and steel his nerves. It hadn’t been a serious request. Though if Gilliam took it as such and told him to help himself, Oliver wasn’t so certain he’d pass up the chance, at least under the circumstances.

    Maybe just a sip couldn’t hurt . . . .


    With the plants tended to, Livian went about the usual business of ticking off the list of inventory items scribbled on a scroll, making a mental note of herbal remedies and ingredients that needed restocking. She had a decent collection of rose, lavender, yarrow, comfrey, and calendula, plus her small assortment of fruits, not the least of which were lemons. She’d already had anise and cumin drying in a pot over a low fire in the hearth. Once she took all the herbs and flowers she’d collected from that day’s work and put them away or got them ready for a treatment she was lacking, she carefully removed the lid from the pot and gathered the dried herbs in an earthen bowl and took them to the counter, where she began to crush them into a powder to bottle and sell later.

    This was the tedious part of the process, yet she would still feel satisfied later when the task was done. She only wished that Oliver appreciated the craft more. With still no word from Ian, Livian began to suspect the worst, though she would never admit so out loud. Voicing it was like admitting it had already come to pass. She needed her husband, and Oliver needed his father, so she’d do what she must to keep her and her son safe, sheltered, and fed, and pray that Ian was all right, and their beautiful city was finally on the mend. The woman longed to see the lush fields again. Being here in Broybrook, where everything was filth and mud and as unimaginative as ever a place had been was a wearisome sight to a woman who had known nothing but its exact opposite since birth. Livian could hardly wait for the day word would come and she and Oliver could go home, though she had to admit to herself that she would miss helping the people here.

    As she finished pouring the last bit of crushed anise and cumin into a small bottle, the front door to the shop opened. Livian looked up, wiping her hands on a clean rag, all ready to ask what the man needed when her voice caught, worry lines sketching across her face.

    “The army is less than a day’s march from here!” the man managed between sucking mouthfuls of air, his very manner and appearance suggesting he’d been running nonstop for a good portion of daylight. Without so much as another word, the crier turned and left, slamming the door unceremoniously behind him.

    Livian stood staring at the door for an unknown length of time after his departure. There’d been rumors of such a thing passing from ear to ear for several days now, but she hadn’t taken much stock in them. When it came to rumors, she never did. Yet wasn’t she the fool, to ignore them so completely? Livian secured the stopper in the bottle she’d been working on and set it on the shelf before gathering a host of ingredients from her stores. Before long, she’d need all the healing poultices and painkillers she could get.

    . . . After she tracked down Oliver.

    Muttering to herself, Livian threw on her cloak, locked up, and headed into town, frantically searching for her son amidst the growing clamor of the panicked citizens.
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  11. An Intermission

    The sound of boots crunching against the dry dirt of the path rang for a mile throughout the forest bordering Broybrook, intermittent with the steady clop clop clop of horses' hooves. Overhead, the sky hung heavy and overcast, a light, pale grey that foretold rain and storms. If the banner heading the column was anything to base a judgment off of, flapping wildly in the wind, sigil illegible, the storm would reach the column before it reached its destination.

    Jamond Folecy sat perched atop his mount, a hulking beast of a horse well taller than a strong man, one hand resting casually upon the hilt of his sword, the other clutching at the reigns. The other soldiers, the lower-born men-at-arms, strode aside him, giving the horse a wide breadth. He knew what they said of him. He was a monster, not even human. The Butcher they called him in hushed whispers, a legend of the northern reaches. The rank to his immediate right parted, and another mounted man eased his horse through the gap. Ealstard.

    "Ser," he began in a hushed whisper.

    Jamond's gaze shifted slowly towards the Magi, an inquisitive eyebrow raised.

    "Shall I send our outriders to-"

    "To alert them of our presence?" Jamond questioned. His was a powerful voice, not too unlike two boulders grinding against one another.

    "You must not believe that the town is not-"

    "No. Let the peasants wallow in the mud - their knowledge of our arrival matters not. The girl and her oathsworn. If they are hiding-"

    "If-if-if they a-are hid-hiding in the village, then they are j-j-just as well aware of our presence," Ealstard stuttered.

    "But if we send outriders shouting about how close we are? The filth is not intelligent enough to post sentries, let alone ones clever enough to gauge our distance from their hovels," Jamond sneered. "We press on."

    "As you will."

    Good for Business

    Right as Gilliam had set two foaming mugs atop the tabletop, partway through his retreat behind the bar, a boy tumbled into the Wench and Tankard, landing right upon the threshold. Before the barkeep could make a move to help the child up, he had stood, brushed himself off, and casually walked towards Shanta and Bo's table. His gaze fixated on Bo for a brief instant before flitting over to Gilliam, the youthful face brightening.

    “Any chance you’re handing out free drinks to just anybody?”

    Rather than offer a straightforward answer, Gilliam cocked his head to one side, slowly marching towards the child.

    "An' what brings you here?" He questioned, quickly dismissing the thought. "Bah, doesn't matter - pester Shanta here if you want a drink. My philanthropy is done - any further, 'n I'll not have a business if, gods be damned twice over, we 'ppen to be a'right to'morr'a."

    Gilliam awkwardly patted the boy on the shoulder and turned to walk back to his bar.

    "Since you 'aven't gone screamin' on 'bout some more shit to add to the pile," he continued, beginning to drag mugs from their place on a shelf coated in a fine layer of grime. "You're here to be here, so take a seat if 'ya want. I wager this place'll 'come pretty crowded here soon."

    Then, without another word, the barkeep grabbed a stained rag and began to work at polishing the mugs.

    You've shot at a Magi, survived, taken them back, offered them a room... There's an army on the horizon, the town is scrambling to turn shit to gold to keep them out... And here you are, an innkeep, polishing mugs. The sheer absurdity of the situation was not lost on Gilliam as he tackled a particularly stubborn spot of grime, intently watching the front doors to the Wench. And worrying about business to boot... Priorities.

    Overhead, a floorboard creaked. Agitated, Gilliam's head shot up and traced the source of the noise as another creak sounded, then another, and another. Soon enough, footsteps could be heard from the staircase. Gilliam slackened his grip on a kitchen knife stowed beneath the bar counter as he saw the Magi, Nimlebrie, stride gracefully down the stairs. For once, her armed brute was nowhere in sight. The barkeep let out a low sigh as the woman continued towards him, eyes flitting around the main hall.

    "If there's a rat up in 'yer room, 'yer sword-hand'll have 'to kill it," he grunted, unamused.

    "No - surprisingly enough, your rooms are well-kept," the Magi replied tranquilly. "What was it this boy was shouting earlier? I could not make out the words properly."

    "That army? It's within a day's march 'o 'ere."

    "I'll take a drink, then," Nimlebrie huffed. Gilliam only stared. "Wine if you-"

    "If you like sour grape piss, then this wine'll be 'fer you, but somethin' tells me you want one of those highborn vintages," Gilliam produced a newly clean mug from beneath the counter. "You'll want the ale."

    "I suppose so."

    The army is close, and they know it. A storm can be seen in the horizon - whether this be from magic or natural causes is unknown. With Nimlebrie, the source of the army's search, currently hiding in the town, things may turn bloody... Fast. Townsfolk are flocking to the Wench and Tankard to plan, spread gossip, and plot the next step. As with the last post, my next GM post will come on Wednesday of next week with the arrival of the army. Anything left in an open loop will be left behind, or must be closed at the start of your posts after that next GM post.
    #11 ze_kraken, Feb 17, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
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  12. The storm is brewing - I wonder if we will be prepared for it?
    Kieran ran until he saw the edges of the village on the horizon, at which point he slowed down and took a few minutes to rest against a tree. He was quick and light on his feet, but full-sprinting through the forest would put a toll on almost anyone who wasn't specially trained to do so. After he caught his breath, Kieran continued towards Broybrook at a brisk walk. Once the town gate was in sight, he hailed the guardsmen who were posted and received grim nods in return. He entered the village proper and saw that it was nearly as chaotic as he had anticipated it being. Wives and children were running to their hiding spots, the men who weren't taking part in the militia were bolting residences or escorting their families out of town. Those who were in the militia were scrambling to get ready and several of them were taking part in some last minute practice. That seemed like a good idea, so at his first chance Kieran took stance in front of one of the training dummies. After staring it down for a second to make sure his stance was right - he had always initiated fights using a stance some called the "ox" - Kieran stabbed forward a few times. He tried to visualize where the armor would be and aim for the chinks, as even the most heavily armored soldier could be brought down with a few precision strikes. That had always been Kieran's style, outmaneuvering an opponent rather than besting them by sheer force of strength. He wasn't a true front-line fighter, and he knew that. It was best to play to his strengths as either a swift distraction or as someone who could disable his opponent for a better fighter to eliminate. It was opportunistic, but in war you couldn't take chances by playing with honor.

    After taking his turn swinging and stabbing at the dummy, Kieran backed off to let another eager recruit try his hand at it. He smiled softly for a brief second before he turned away and strode toward the town center, nimbly dodging the occasional panic-blind villager. Of all the buildings, he noticed that the tavern was still open. Perhaps the militia were to muster their strength there? Or perhaps those who remained were simply drowning their sorrows in an attempt to black out this day from their minds. Either way, Kieran would be remiss to not check in - he might find some orders, at the very least. After adjusting the sword and sheath at his hip, he made his way to the inviting open doors of the Wench and Tankard. Kieran entered and immediately recognized at least one of the current patrons as Bo, the older fighter who teaches the younglings how to hunt. Kieran usually doesn't go out of his way to get to know people, seeing as his time staying in a village usually lasts about a week, but for some reason he was intrigued by the scarred old man. Perhaps it was the odd hair coloration that they shared? At any rate, Kieran raised a hand in greeting to the bar in general.

    "You've already heard the news, I'm sure, so I'll spare you the redundancy," he stated after catching something of a weary glare. "Instead, I'm here to possibly receive orders from one of you." He shuffled his feet a little with a mix of anxiousness and embarrassment. He wasn't a social butterfly, almost anything but in fact, but it still stood to reason that the only open building was his best shot at figuring out where he was needed.
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  13. [​IMG]
    Shanta laughed; a charming, light laugh for someone this particularly crude. Gilliam might have given her some charity, but she wasn't about to pass on the favor. "Sorry, poor Oliver. I don't have a coin to spare today. Unless you have a gift for me."

    Although few knew of Shanta's true profession, it wasn't uncommon for people to come to her with 'gifts' as she called them in exchange for coin. Little tidbits of knowledge, rumors, lost keys and coin purses. Anything that could be used to plunder, break in, or bargain with. It was a secret to all ears if you handed her off a rumor or a trinket and she promised to keep her mouth shut and to return it to the owner. She just never specified when and in what condition. The people of Broybrook were stupid, sometimes. But she didn't really care. She made out.

    She winked at the boy before continuing her drink, propping her boots up onto the table as Gilliam had done before her. The bar was only getting busier by the minute. Not a happy thing for a woman who enjoyed the silence. And it was filling with stranger and stranger figures, too. A woman, clearly highborn, came down the stairs and towards Gilliam. The way she walked showed she was familiar with him; and she wasn't from here, that was for sure. Besides her foreign posture and clothing she clearly didn't understand the types of alcohol a misfit town served up on a regular basis. Shanta wanted to laugh, but this foreigner piqued her interest. She tilted her head to the side, observing carefully, until yet another voice captured her small attentions.

    "Kieran? Fancy seeing you here. What sort of orders is a person like you looking for?"​
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