Sleeping Dolls and Bleeding Soldiers

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by The Mood is Write, May 10, 2015.

  1. A tiny doll traces history's making...

    A whole big world, with steampunk or Victorian technology, is experiencing big changes. Firearms are replacing crossbows, and growing in popularity. Soldiers are discovering camoflage. The upper crust display their wealth with gigantic, fanciful clothing, while the lower class goes hungry. Armies are taking to the field, and the roar of guns fills the air, sending many able young men to their deaths. Together, we will tell the story of this torn world through the travels of a doll and the person who discovers her.

    A Sleeping Doll Rests

    The three sides in the conflict are the Ruvans-- natives to the area, the rebellion-- peasants rising against their Ruvan overlords, and the Hildi-- war-hungry soldiers from the south who are suspected of arming the rebellion.
    #1 The Mood is Write, May 10, 2015
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  2. Name: Unknown
    Aliases: Hound, The Grand Master, Lady Winter’s Wolf, Fang of the North, The Dog of War
    Age: 63
    Apparent Age: Mid to late 30’s
    Nationality: Drengrheim
    Eye Color: Dark Amber
    Skin Color: Pale White
    Gender: Male
    Hair: Timberwolf Grey
    Height: 6’4
    Notable Characteristics: Heavily scarred, missing right eye, missing left arm, clockwork left arm
    Wanted Dead or Alive for: Insurrection, Murder, Theft of Sovereign Property, Sabotage, Arson, Smuggling, Kidnapping, Piracy, Terrorism and High Treason.
    Reward: 500,000 Golden Sovereign
  3. The pops of Ruvan rifles sounded distant, but not distant enough for the small troop of rebellion soldiers-- little more than farmers given the guns of the kingsmen who fell to pitchforks and bows. The soldiers were getting closer, and no amount of pots and pans hammered into helmets would save the peasants who had already ambushed two scouting parties-- especially with Ruvans on one side of the house, and the clarion cries of the Hildi's horns approached from the other side, announcing their presence in a grand show of cocksure ego-- they had the better weapons, they had rested soldiers, and they had more soldiers than Ruvea could gather, even if the rebelling peasantry laid down their arms and swore allegiance back to their king.

    "Haakon." A thin woman whose frail appearance was every bit a lie spoke. "They're going to find us." Her voice was quiet as she glanced toward the door. Two boys-- twins, barely adults-- gripped their rifles as they peered through the dusty, clouded windows. They were the woman's grandsons, and survived childbirth only by a miracle.

    They looked like each other, thought like each other, and mvoed like each other in eerie unison, as though they were one boy. They used to laugh in unison as well, but that stopped when they saw a childhood friend meet his end in a public execution for mere suspicion of being part of the rebellion.

    The woman looked back at their leader. "What are we going to do?"

    A gaunt man who claimed to be thirty, but looked closer to Haakon's own age, glared at the old woman. "We'll find a place in here we can hide. It's a big house, probably has a big basement we can use as a choke point-"

    "They have a whole army, and this house is only wood." She hissed back.

    A breeze flitted through the house that hadn't been there before. Neither the old man nor the old woman noticed it. It was cold, like Haakon's homeland, and not quite as stale as the rest of the air in the cobweb-choked old house.

    One of the twins by the door sneezed, independant of his brother.

    "Sir, sir, sir!" A simple-minded man hurried forward, gripping his cookpot helmet on his head. "I found preserves and wine that are still good!" He beamed.
  4. He flinched at the woman’s voice, both a visible and noticeable action. It wasn’t for her tone, or even voice, but for the word she spoke. His birth name was a hated subject to him, and even uttering it was enough to earn his ire. Yet he couldn’t blame these people, they didn’t know. He’d become so accustomed to working with his own men that he’d almost forgot what it was like to hear it, up until recently that is. Through a dread and terrible mask he looked upon the woman, all trace of a person beneath hidden. “Hound. It’s Hound,” he stated gently.

    As much as he was tempted to snap at her, he knew it wasn’t her fault. This rebellion was home to all who were fed up with the lavish lifestyle of the nobility, wasted taxes and an unfair system. Thus it would stand to reason children were swept up in the actions and there is no more curious a creature than a child. Truth be told, it was his own fault. Leaving his belongings out where they could be seen; it was only a matter of time before someone stumped upon his old letters and found his name. When it was, word spread like wild fire about the enigmatic soldier from far off lands.

    Rolling his shoulder under the weight of the bastard sword he carried upon his back, he brought his hands up to rest on the back of his head. Fingers of flesh and metal interlocked as he pondered the question. The icy breeze that passed through the decaying halls brought back memories of home, one that he’d tried and failed twice to save. A mournful sigh escaped as he made his choice.

    “We make for the basement. We barricade ourselves inside and let the forces clash above us. We’re outmatched and out gunned, we will win by hiding and living to fight another day. Move the wine and supplies into the basement. Set the guns aside and switch to melee weapons. In close quarters they will serve you better any way. No one gets drunk until we know we’ve made it out of this. Spread the word and let’s get moving.”
  5. The trio who gathered around the Hound dispersed to spread the word among their fellow rebels, and they followed Hound's plan-- filing into the basement slowly and putting aside their rifles. They grabbed instead their pitchforks and the rough spears they'd made. None of the weapons looked like they would survive another fight. Down in the dark, the farmers and blacksmiths and other village people chattered quietly, nervously. The twins stayed near the door, listening and alert, waiting to make sure everyone was present.

    A wind, icy, shot into the basement during those moments of stillness while the twins waited, and they yelped. The door they held open dropped shut and clonked both on the head, as they exclaimed in their eerie twinspeak-- the language they made up that only they spoke, and only to each other.

    A white mist passed Hound.
  6. So too did Hound stand at the door, waiting for all to make their way down into the basement. His own gear had been set aside, at least what he was willing to part with at the moment. Necessities, really. A backpack full of a field gear, bed roll, blanket and other such things. Most of his weapons were there as well, all save for a broadsword hanging from his hip and a few knives. He was secure in the knowledge that none would try and pilfer them, or at least he hoped they had enough respect for him to not try. Mail and plate shifted as the fell wind cut through the doorway, slamming it shut on the unlucky twins.

    A brow perked beneath his mask and with a single fluid motion his weapon rang free. “Hold the door shut when the last arrives. I’m going to go investigate this. Pass phrase is ‘Fires Far’, don’t open for anyone else,” he ordered the two while climbing the steps out of the basement and into the decrepit manor. Intent on at least checking for some abnormalities, he couldn’t rule out rogue weather patterns. He didn’t know the land well enough to make such calls. Still, the house was not so decimated that it couldn’t block the wind. Speed and care had to be taken for he knew the two armies would be clashing in the nearby fields soon. Getting caught up in the battle would do him no service. He could only hope that it didn’t spill over into the house. Yet its strategic position couldn’t be denied, it was on a hill with decent cover and with some work could be made into a livable place for soldiers who weren’t going to stay long.
  7. The twins nodded as the Hound left. "Fires far." They repeated quietly before they closed the door tightly, then held it shut tightly.

    Wind wove through the house, following several paths. Outside, the sounds of fighting began as two forces clashed together like great waves. Even from inside the house, the rain of gunfire was deafening, and drowned out the sounds that were undoubtedly present-- sounds of young men dying and old men shouting at them.

    Inside the house, the staccato of volleys seemed to become quieter and quieter, and the air slowly became more still as he advanced through the house, until, as it became dead, he found himself on the second floor of the house, at a closed door that was covered in deep gouges. Each gouge was nearly deep enough to go through the wooden door, and the handle was smashed shut.

    After only a few moments of time, the sound of gunfire was no longer muffled, and the air no longer felt dead.
  8. To the song of conflict and battle, Hound was no stranger. Its chaotic chords and turbulent notes had been a lullaby for him as long as he might care to remember. The rumble of guns, the screams of the dying and the still silence of the dead; they were an orchestra playing discordant, cacophonous pieces that came together in horrendous unison to create the sounds of war. Yet they slowly descended to silence as if the song was coming to an end, deescalating with each terrible sound until they were muted completely.

    Finally reaching the origin of this fell mist, his outstretched hand reached out to the marred and wounded door. Gloved fingers slipped along the scarred wood, touching at the deep gouges and cuts that accented its surface. It was a perplexing thing to look upon, the broken knob told of someone attempting to seal up the door yet the attacks told another story all together. Something was behind that door and he intended to figure out what. Stepping away as life came back to the world, he hauled back a foot and drove a powerful kick forwards into the door, aiming his iron shod boot towards the point where several of the marks intersected, the weakest point. Unless otherwise reinforced, it was enough to shatter and destroy most woods, much less an old, batter and dry rotted door.
  9. The door cracked and exploded away from him as his well-aimed boot shattered it. As the dust and wood settled, a room came into view.

    It was decorated all in warm colors, with red velvet seats and rich dark woods. The walls were covered in red and gold cloth glued in place, though it was falling off. A fireplace stood at the far end, and on either side, massive windows let the evening sunlight in, each broad beam filled with dancing motes as air, still for years, was stirred about.

    The dust was thick in the room, and looked almost like snow.

    A few beams from above told a tale of the roof collapsing , and if he peered up, he could see the attic of the house, stuffed with trunks and boxes.

    The room was serenely still, though the sense of being watched was hard to shake.

    A keen eye could spot a tiny human-like figure rested on one of the plush chairs of the room, facing the door and very still and pale. It, like the room, was covered in dust. The cobwebs around the figure were dense. If the Hound cared to inspect the figure more closely, he would discover it was nothing more than a doll, her skin bleached by the sunlight.
  10. Old, dusty and unused, the now dreary and deathly room had once been something of beauty no doubt. The lavish furniture and padded, rich walls were tell tail sings of the age the building must have possessed. Dropping his guard for the first time since his arrival to this lonely house upon the hill, he stepped forwards into the beams of light that pierced from old cracks and long broken windows. As the wisps of disturbed dust danced over rays of sunlight with seeming randomness to their urges, he examined the loft above. The crates, boxes and trunks may have supplies they could use or at the very least be taken to transport cargo.

    Yet the roof above troubled him, for if their stacking had prevented the roof from falling in above them, they would have to stay. This also meant that he and the rebels she get out as soon as possible least they become trapped in the basement below. Taking a moment to see if this was the case, he’d send a few men up after the days fighting to fetch them. If it was however, they needed to stay as they were. Other than that, the room was fairly unremarkable, or so he thought. As he stepped back towards the exit, content to leave the room mystery unsolved, the suns ray filtered down through the cover above, putting a shine to the flawless doll which sat before him. At home for the cobwebs and spiders for far too, Hound reached out with his sword, parting the spiders nest and clearing her away from the threads. Slowly reaching inside, he removed the Doll from the corner. Examining the thing, he figured it would make a prized toy for some young child or, if things were dire, a decent relic to sell for coin. Either way, the small figure made its way inside one of his belt pockets after being wrapped in woolen cloth. Old, dry and stained with blood and oil, it had seen a long history of use.

    Taking it with him as he closed the door and made his way back down into the basement, his wrapping knuckles soon came upon the door and the call sign from his lips. "Fires Far, now let me in."
  11. The doll only barely fit-- it took some careful shoving for the small thing-- the length of an infant-- to fit, but she did.

    The walk back through the house was uneventful, and the music of war sounded near, but not so near that it was urgent. On arrival, he found a large scratch on the door, not unlike the ones that had been on the door to the doll's room. It wasn't as deep, and it was hard to tell if it had been there before or not.

    The twins opened the door slowly, and peeked out, one head on top of the other, before they threw the door open for him, eyes wide as they looked past him mutely. They waited for him to enter, and when he did, they closed the door behind him, plunging all into darkness.

    A few people whispered nearby. The woman from before, grandmother to the twins, stood from her spot near the bottom of the stairs, then moved close to the Hound. "We need to have words." Her voice was quiet in the darkness. "Something's..." She trailed off as a scrape came from outside the basement. Someone in the dark basement wailed-- thankfully not deafeningly.
  12. The gouge in the door wasn’t ignored so much as it was unnoticed. The house was old, falling apart and well worn. It blended in seamlessly, that and he wasn’t keeping an especially alert eye for a detail so minute. Thus he passed it by, though the look of dread instilled in the expressions of the twins was less difficult to notice. Lifting a brow as he passed them by, he swiftly entered the basement before the door was shut and they were drowned in the inky void of darkness.

    Amongst the hushed whispers and murmurs that stood out against the distant backdrop of battle, there was but one who approached him to explain the fears they all seemed to share. He’d clearly missed something in his time away. At her approach, he nodded softly, granting the request to discuss whatever it was that troubled the group. Yet with that single deep rasping sound coming from the stairwell outside, he could guess what they were so concerned over. The lamenting howl of terror was silenced with a harsh sound by Hound, demanding silence as he honed his senses on the door, abandoning all others in the hope of hearing what lie beyond.

    Drawing his sword, he ushered the twins away from the door with a wave of his hand. Should they heed his orders, he’d take the posting instead, waiting for the noise to come again. Whatever it was, he assumed it was no human but a creature, beast or spirit. A human would have knocked, beat down the door or tried something more forceful than to simply scratch it down. When and if the sound came again, he’d be ready for as soon as he heard it, he planned to hurl open the door and strike whatever it was that troubled them with it before descending on the foul thing with his sword if needed. He just hoped he didn’t have to wait too long, it seemed the thing was rather eager.
  13. The people in the basement went silent, too frightened to speak. Someone muffled the mouth of the wailing man from the far corner. The twins let the Hound push them out of the way, moving away from the door gratefully, only to stiffen as they heard something.

    "Dogs." The word was more of a sound, a quiet rasp outside the door. "Dance." Another sound similar to a word, and then silence as the room filled slowly, from bottom to top, with icy air that made cloth heavier and sent fingers of cold through any gap in a person's coverings.

    "Dance!" It suddenly screamed, and something slammed and rattled the door. "Dance!" It howled. "Dance, dogs!" Horrible, slow scrapes of something against the wooden door, and then nothing.

    "It criessss." The hissed words were quiet, almost relieved. "Criesss..."
  14. Strange barely scratched the surface of the oddity that croaked out its bizarre statements. Brow furled as he readied himself, sword clenched tight in hand. As the icy fingers of the frigid air scratched and clawed through cloth and flesh alike, Hound stayed on guard. Waiting for the right moment to pounce, he held fast upon the door, keeping it shut against whatever foul screeching creature lay on the other side. As the door rattled and the creature bawled its commands, Hound readied himself, knowing he would soon face this thing, whatever it was. At the last scratch and as it spoke of weeping, he threw open the door. Hurling himself out at whatever their tormenter was, he would meet the threat head on with sword in hand.​
  15. Instead of an unknown monster, Hound found emptiness. Deep gouges scarred the wooden floor, and a lonely, cool breeze faded to nothing. The doors were scarred to near uselessness, and all was silent. Behind Hound, his group of rebels cowered and whispered. One voice whimpered, wishing quietly that he had stayed home.

    All was quiet, and the house seemed as empty as it had been when they first discovered it.

    The sounds of battle had grown closer at some point, and someone shouted nearby. The words were hard to understand through din and distance.
  16. Following the namesake of the sword he held, he stood steadfast against the dark and the cold. Knuckles under his armored gauntlet turned white, skin taunt against bone as he growled in frustration. Reaching behind, he took hold of the door and looked over his shoulder to the twins. “Same pass phrase,” he muttered before shutting the door. Climbing up the stairs, he focused on the senses of sight and sound, almost able to hear the air moving as he focused on the immediate surroundings. The din of the battle faded, the distant gunfire, howls and order barked falling silent to him as he climbed higher and higher into the house until at last he reached the attic one more. Leaving the door open, he turned about to face the only way inside. Taking from his pack the doll, he held it aloft in one hand. There he stood stand, vigilant against the threat that pressed upon those few who held up inside the house. “Come and face me, creature. Is this what you seek? Is this what I have robbed of you? Let us end this.”
  17. The attic was very dim-lit, with only a single hole from above to allow in the light of the sun, and the gaping hole that led to the doll's room to allow indirect, hazy light. His movement stirred the dust and air, setting motes dancing in lazy swirls around him. As he lifted the doll, something on its cheek glinted in the dim light. Its dress was wrinkled and creased by its time spent stuffed into a pouch, and its snowy white hair stuck up at one side.

    As he held her up, time passed slowly, ticking seconds in what felt like so much longer.

    The doll remained a doll, and the thing that so tormented the men in their basement made neither appearance nor sound.

    A voice came from below. "Check for any traps, men! The bellow was strong and booming. "Just because we're away from the fighting doesn't mean we're safe!" The accent wasn't local. Many feet, none quiet, tramped through the old house, some growing more distant, and many coming closer.
  18. Remaining vigilant, silent and ultimately, bored, Hound waited on great length for seemingly nothing. The warriors stand eventually become a warriors waiting, and was at last downgraded to waiting for the bus. Though usually eloquent, serious and well-spoken, Hound looked around, giving a small shrug while walking in a small circle. “Any time now…” he grumbled eventually knocking on the walls with the flat of his sword and prodding through the old wreck and ruin. There was little within of interest, rats and birds nest and the droppings of each. Old bug corpses, spider webs, dust; it was about as much as he expected to find and it was duller than then the flat side of paper. “Bluuuuh…” he groaned after a while, giving up on it. Someone was having one over on him. “About as exciting as watching fly’s fuck,” he complained aloud as he picked up the doll and looked over the odd little thing. Part of him wanted to destroy it simply out of frustration, to toss it against the wall or pitch it and slap it with the broad of his sword. He did neither of these and put it away once more, deciding to give it to the next child he saw. It was a play thing, after all. He could only hope that those people in hiding hadn’t suffered for his failed endeavor to draw out the beast.

    Stepping out of the attic, his gauntlet clad fingers stroked over the ragged fragmented edges where he’d kicked through it. Perhaps he would never know what haunted his manor. He’d be fine with that because he was going to burn it down after he left, to hell with the beast. Yet his fiery fantasies were put on pause at the howl of command. “Ah shit,” he rumbled with a low moan, gripping his sword tightly once more. Looking at the weapon, he bowed his head to it, pressing his brow against the blade. Approaching the stairwell he'd used to come up, he maneuvered himself behind and crouched onto his haunches while slamming the sword tip into the floor boards where he could easily draw it. Instead, he drew his combat knife from its sheath. So honed he could have split hairs with it, he gripped it with his index finger along the flat as if he were going to cook with it. “Time to get to work.”
  19. A shout came from below. "We found people!"

    Someone under Hound shouted back. "Get them restrained, and feed them if they're hungry!" The voice was surprisingly young, but wore the air of command like he was not only raised for it, but bred for it. He spoke more quietly now, to himself. "I wish they wouldn't shout. If Ruvan soldiers were waiting here..." He clicked his tongue and shook his head.

    At least they shared a common enemy.

    "Sir?" A second voice nearby spoke.

    "Go down, make sure the people aren't hurt. Treat them well. Nobody gets hurt until we know the situation here-- especially after that... howling we heard."

    "What do you think it was?"

    "I don't know, but if there are people in the same place we heard it, they're probably pissing themselves scared already. Go."

    "Yes, sir." The second person hurried away, and the first sighed.

    The first, who clearly had some level of command, began to climb the stairs. He held his arms open, as though walking on ground he was frightened of. His eyes were on the stairs as he climbed them.

    "Dance." The voice of whatever creature Hound heard before sounded so close, like it was whispering in his ear.

    The man climbing the stairs heard it too, and his head snapped up. He gaped a moment, and he reached for something at his hip, only to hold up a white flag. Parlay. "Sorry, I don't dance. I think we have your men downstairs. Need a meal?" He looked like he was not even full-grown, and he looked exhausted. Deep circles rested under dull green eyes, and his red hair was shorn short, but clearly as filthy as his face and uniform.

    He wore the colors of Hilde-- green, brown, and gold.
  20. Listening intently and collecting information, he remained silent as the grave while waiting at his perch. Settled upon his haunches, he pressed his index finger upon the ornate flat. The gentle creaking of the stairs beneath him stole his focus even more than that harsh whisper did. Teeth grit behind his mask and as he saw the dirtied red hair of the officer come into view, he swooped in like a hawk from above. Reaching down, he grasped hold of his uniform by the collar. With alarming strength, he pulled the lad from his feet, leaving him dangling in the air several inches off the ground. His dagger fell, sweeping up to his throat with the piercing tip forced against his jugular.

    The white flag was spotted and for all intents ignored. He’d been burned by lies and deceit enough in his many long years that he trusted a white flag all the same as a cloaked dagger. “Make but a sound and I’ll cut you to the bone and watch you writhe around on the floor while you bleed to death,” he snarled while looking down upon the boy with his terrible funerary mask. A grim and horrible face to match an equally terrible fate. He hauled the boy up roughly, dragging him over the lip of the stair well and out of sight, all while keeping him pressed to the blade. Once out of view, he remained crouched with lethal intent. “Who are you, and why are you here?

    Sorry for the delay, been super busy)​