The Darkest Night

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Jess Incognito, Jun 22, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. second.jpg
    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg

    The air hangs stagnant, scented with fear and damp stone. The sun will not rise over the city today as it has not risen for the past month since the last earthquake that collapsed the mouth of the cave. Men and women work to pull boulders from the wreckage, attempting to carve an escape to the light, but many citizens have sent their hopes off with the others who went into the tunnels. All order was crushed in the cave-in, along with the city's Lord. If the people do survive, it will be a very different place.

    Order is tentatively maintained by the Conservatory Council, made up of members who had power before the quake. Their aim is to keep the populace in check and distribute stores as evenly as possible.

    Of course, others have seen the opportunity this great tragedy has given them. The balance of order and peace has been disrupted. A bit more pressure and it may be toppled completely. These are the crime lords and the ambitious slumdogs who recognize now is the very time to convince the people that there can be a better society, one free of hierarchy and oppression.

    #1 Jess Incognito, Jun 22, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016

    Ivaar woke from his sleep with the weight of a heavy palm on his shoulder. He brought a hand to his brow, rubbing the sleep from the tight skin there. He didn't know what time it was and quite frankly it didn't matter. Daytime was a concept lost in the earthquake. He, like many others, simply found sleep when they could, but it seemed that at the moment this sleeping station had been his alone. They'd erected a few temporary structures around the remaining parts of the city to house those who had been displaced by the earthquake. Ivaar's own home still stood, but it leaned dangerously close to the rubble and living there would only tempt the precarious mountain of loose, but heavy stone.

    "Sir, you're needed at the Wall," the boy said before he'd a chance to sit up properly on his cot. The Wall. Someone hung that name on the barrier blocking the city from the rest of the world and it stuck. To Ivaar, however, likening it to a wall made it seem all the more impenetrable.

    "Another cave in?" he asked, voice devoid of surprise. He didn't want a thing like death to be commonplace, but the Reaper certainly set his claws deep in this city.

    The boy's mouth twisted up as he chewed on his lower lip. "No," he responded cautiously, "The digging has stopped." Ivaar took a moment to inhale the news. It just had to be him; the one they expect to mediate.

    Ivaar pulled a shirt on and followed the boy into the streets, shadows dancing from the flaming torches lined up along the paths, in every window and sometimes in hand. The pair made their way to the Wall, under a portion where a fight seemed to have broken out between two men, with a third holding the larger one back. The boy with Ivaar, Tago, who was actually more of a young adult, though he couldn't help but think of him as a boy still, with him so thin - Tago rushed into the open circle and checked the other man with his shoulder. The blow couldn't have done much damage, but it knocked him back in surprise. Ivaar, groaning somewhat that this was the way everything was handled, followed. Tago stood adamantly between the two men, defending himself as the one he checked told him to move himself.

    "What's going on?" Ivaar asked, his deep voice demanding attention.

    "We ain't digging anymore," said one. "This tunnel'll collapse any day now and I won't be in it when it does." Ivaar nodded his head. He understood that perfectly well. A few others standing around mirrored the sentiment with nods and murmurs. "And the next tunnel we dig will collapse, too. You know that."

    "Then go home," Ivaar said simply, "You don't need anyone's permission." The man who had been fighting him straightened himself, fist raised, "What? We need all the help we can get!" He looked to his enemy, "If we die in here, it's on you."

    The man shirked his shoulders and turned, stalking out of the crowd. He would not dig today. Ivaar didn't know what they thought had been keeping them here. "Everyone here is a volunteer. If any man or woman here doesn't want to dig, feel free to leave at any time." He looked around at them all, challenging any who caught his eye. A few grumbled and turned their heels as well, but most stayed put.

    "I will dig today," Ivaar said to no one in particular before grabbing a pick and a helmet, heading into the darkness of the tunnel. It was the furthest any of the digging teams had gotten so far. The others had all collapsed. But still, it was not nearly far enough. Diggers followed him after a few beats passed over their skeptical faces. They worked and worked harder than they had before the outburst. Ivaar had that effect on people. He didn't stand around talking, instead preferring to get started. He wouldn't stop until the point of exhaustion. The fact that he had been one of the only ones thinking and doing immediately after the quake - well it was the only reason he was the man they woke when things got out of control.

    #2 Jess Incognito, Jun 22, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016

    One thing Miranda hadn't intended as she stepped foot into the charming cave city Dod was spending the rest of her days here. Don't get her wrong, it was an enjoyable place enough but the idea of being stuck in a cave till she was wrinkled and old disturbed her and she refused to let it happen. As soon as she woke from her room at the inn she was up and running, ready to map, chart and graph wherever the tunnels lead them today. Tying her hair into a messy bun she made her way out the inn and into the lamplight. She stopped by a street vendor and bought herself breakfast, a small but sweet pastry.

    As she ate her eyes scanned the city. Back when day and night was actually distinguishable, she had always looked forward to the evening, when the cave would only be lit by torches and lamps. They made the cave appear to be illuminated by hundreds of fire flies and the scholar considered it to be quite the sight, perhaps a childish one, but a sight regardless.

    When she arrived at the tunnels, Ivaar had just arrived a moment earlier. Silently she watched from behind as he addressed the men. Miranda has seen and met a lot of people in her life. A lot of them were compassionate and caring and a fair deal of them were horrible and utterly disgusting. One thing that had occurred to her over the years she's spent travelling is that few of them were ever leaders. It was nice to see that Dod had someone like that during a crisis like this. The raven haired woman watched as he disappeared into the tunnels and smiled, up until a few moments ago they were clearly sick of it and ready to leave yet he reaffirmed them with just a few simple words and a showing of action. He was a leader, and a humble one at that. She couldn't help but hold some respect for him.

    "Ahah. I see you got yer' eyes on our slightly crippled but inspiring leader, eh?" A gravelly voice spoke from behind her, followed by a dusty gloved hand around her shoulder. The smell of cinnamon and booze filled her nose and the woman coughed as she pushed him off of her. And here was a man who was the exact opposite of Ivaar - Jeb. He was her talkative neighbor in the Inn and regrettably the man assigned to holding a lamp for her. Quite frankly she was surprised to see the drunkard mercenary up so early.

    "Don't be idiotic Jebediah, if you can help it." She remarked coldly before turning to the tunnels herself and pulling her mapping paper and pen out from her backpack. "Now let's hurry up before you get us left behind, again."

    "Oh, my wounded heart, how will I ever recover from such an insult--" The mercenary moaned dramatically as he grabbed a shovel after her. He laughed, his voice filling the tunnel as they entered together. He nudged her and offered a wink when she turned to glare at him. "--oh wait I know - by drinking!"
  4. Jamie Lane

    As Jamie woke she was instantly welcomed to vaguely lit room. Glancing around she toke in the site of her messy house. All around her were different inventions all with different purposes. Practically jumping out of bed Jamie rush around changing into her normal attire and quickly heading out the door to go get supplies for her latest project. Since the collapse Jamie has taken it upon herself to make something to help get them out faster but so far all experiments have been a failure. As she walked the streets of Dob Jamie couldn't help but wonder how the digging was going. It didn't take long for Jamie to reach the dimly lit garbage dump. Going over a check list in her mind Jamie got to work scavenging what she needed before heading towards her house.

    On her way home Jamie stopped by the tunnels to check how far they've gotten and to measure the height and width of the cave. Upon arriving she noticed Ivaar walking into the tunnel with a helmet and pick. Ivaar was the only person to really believe she could make a tool to help move rubble faster. Following the group Jamie stopped at the entrance and started taking measurements.
  5. Rojvol Kavka

    Rojvol Kavka was standing atop the Mason's Guild guildhouse, largest and tallest building still standing in the cavern. He tried to make a parallel between the immeasurably immense mass of rock that cut them away from the outside world, and some ancient great beast, and to liken himself to a hero of yore. The hero was always fearless, always true, always brave, and always won over the best, be it by some sort of wise ruse or perhaps some magical sword. He wished he could be such a hero, but what he faced was not some abstractly absurd creature, but a very real and very bad situation without some easy, powerful solution. His magical sword were people, streaming in and out of the mining pits and adits that pocked the cave in, in vain hope of getting through the mass before the supplies ran out.

    From up here, one could see the supply situation going from bad to worse already. The mining effort had preferential supply rights, and as such the miners were the only group in the city with abundant amount of torches. Mining in dark was even greater madness than mining in unstable rock. The rest of the city was noticeably more dim. The lamp oil was running out, and as such, only third of the city lamps were lit at all times, until substitute would be found. Some part of the city were lit by jars full of glow-worms, found in the nearby caves, or by dry torches made from certain kind of lichen that grew in the dark, but it was poor substitute for actual fuel.

    The food, building materials, medical supplies... whatever item you could name, it was all imported from the surface. The city was rich in mineral resources, iron, nickel and sulphur and petrified wood, but everything else was imported from the outside. Unless they figured out something soon,the dwindling supplies would collapse the so far orderly morale of the cityfolk, and would be replaced by fear induced madness and chaos.

    "Sir, the Council has gathered, and is waiting for you downstairs," the adjutant, walking up the stairs to the guildhall's tower, said.
    "How do they look?" Rojvol asked back, needlessly.
    "Afraid as everyone else, I think," the adjutant answered.

    The Guild of Masons generously offered their guildhall for the Conservatory Council to use, assuming their Guildmaster would have a seat at the council. Everyone saw it as a small price to pay in order to secure access the most respectable, and coincidentally, most defensible building still standing. The council counted eight members, and was seated around a round table in the guild's grand hall. The Guildmaster of the Mason's Guild, Patrician of the city, First among Miners, Master of the Mint, Captain of the now-ruined Palace Guard, Vendrick Rahman, a notorious smuggler, Rojvol himself and Ivaar Bel. Ivaar was nowhere to be seen.

    "You said the Council was gathered," Rojvol whispered to the adjutant.
    "The Patrician thinks there is enough of the Council present," the man whispered back.

    Thrice damned fool. We do this enough many times, and the toy soldier will decide to use us as a scapegoats next problem shows up, Rojvol thought. He had his own opinion of Ivaar, but he kept the common folk in fold when the coins were counted. The people trusted him, and not the Patrician, who provided useless as a tin can opener on a pick axe.

    Rojvol reached the table, nodded in greeting and seated himself. The adjutant added some of Rojvol's ledges to the pile already present on the table. "Very well then. Since the Council has gathered, we might go with the weekly report and prognosis on the supply situation and progress of the miners..."

    Through the first minutes, it was clear as day the situation was just as bad as last week. Rojvol was grateful that the Prior of the Abbey of the Stone and Salt was not allowed to join the council. The fool thought fervent prayer, fasting and self-flagellation was solution to every problem. Rojvol decided to leave the monks to what they did best. Truth was, since the Abbey decided to fast en-mass, it saved food for those who were of actual use to the effort. Rojvol saw the self-flagellation as a nice bonus.

    Some time into the meeting, Rojvol's slipped into a trance of despair, staring down at a ledger containing numbers that showed how quickly was the city's fruit and vegetable deteriorating. The Guildmaster and First of the Miners were arguing about how to proceed with the mining, and Patrician was trying to stab Vendrick with his eyes. Rojvol hoped for a miracle.
    • Like Like x 1

    Ivaar worked for some time, driving at the stone with slow, measured blows. He sensed the rhythm of the workers and peeled from his place. He took step with the head man, whose main duty it was to foresee any error that might lead to injuries and death."We'll find you more diggers," he said in low tones.

    The other drew in a deep breath, "Some of them may return yet." He didn't sound so convinced, but either way, he would work with what was given. Ivaar nodded and made his way from the deepening tunnel to return his pick and helmet. A basin of water had been placed near the mouth of the tunnel and he used it to clean the layer of accumulated dust from his face. Beads ran down the back of his neck, making tracks in the dirt. The one necessary thing they hadn't been cut off from was water. An underground basin further back in the cavern had always been the seaside city's source of freshwater. It was then he noticed the short figure hovering at the tunnel's edge.

    "Jamie, good to see you at work," he said in light tones. She was always up to something - that much he could appreciate. It seemed lately, that no matter how much people wanted to taste the fresh air again, they were starting to lose the motivation to make it happen. It could be that a neighboring city had sent workers to haul away stone from the outside. They could be pounding away right at this moment, but Ivaar wasn't a man to put his life in the hands of Hope and Prayer. He pulled himself from these thoughts, focusing again on the young woman. "Let me know if there's anything I can get for your ideas," he said, as he'd said before. He had to bid her an apologetic farewell, remembering something important.

    Ivaar was late, but didn't hurry. As little as he liked the men on the Council, he couldn't doubt its necessity. Left alone, the stores would be depleted in two months' time, supplies hoarded unevenly in every house. A month before that they would all be complaining about the blandness of grain and mushrooms. He started up the steps to the Guild of Masons, which took on a grim appearance in the torchlight. Two large columns extended up, holding aloft a simple, but impressive pediment. The darkness between those columns could be the open throat of some great beast.

    "You're very late," said the doorman to the interior chamber in the flattest voice he could manage. Of all people, the doorman to the Guild survived and he wanted to go on being a doorman - something about all order being lost if a society couldn't maintain the hierarchy. The doorman was pleased not to be the highest or the lowest. Ivaar's eyes shined out icily from under a heavy brow. There were no further inquiries.

    Two of the members were arguing when Ivaar entered. They paid him no mind, but a few of the others either nodded or glared their acknowledgement. He wasn't suited to this, but he feared what would be done if he did not attend. He made his way to the empty place with his uneven gait.

    After catching what of the topic he could, Ivaar interjected, voice low though it managed to silence the two going at it, "Half of your volunteer diggers quit today." He looked at the First Miner with grave eyes. Most of the men who returned to their work after the earlier incident had been miners before the quake. They were volunteers now, certainly, but most considered themselves lucky theirs were some of the only jobs not made fruitless. The others, the real volunteers, were the ones flip-flopping over their willingness.

    "Some of the people don't think their efforts have anything to do with survival." He'd said as much before, and certainly it's only a portion of the population caught by such pessimism, but pessimism spreads quicker than sickness. "And if that doesn't change, it doesn't matter how many turnips we still have," he added, looking to the one called Rojvol, who seemed to be the most diligent about keeping up with the numbers on stores.

  7. Rojvol Kavka

    Rojvol blinked and looked up. A searing dry stab in his eyes made him realize he must have been staring at that book for a prolonged amount of time, time noone in the Council bothered to ask him for his opinion. Seeing Ivar suddenly present at the table and noticing the awkward silence that now filled the room reminded him of classes he was given by a private tutor during his youth. The old man would slap him across his palms with fresh hazel twig every time he'd notice Rojvol not paying attention. Sadly, the real world of grown up people was not filled with vindictive dry old men, waiting with fresh hazelnut twigs for men to stop paying attention.

    The vindictive dry old men would usually be armed with cloaks and daggers.

    "We have two week supply of turnips at the most, I'm afraid, unless we manage to discover some currently unknown food warehouse from underneath the rocks and rubble," Rojvol automatically responded to hearing the word 'turnip'. It was true, warehouses known to contain food were one of the first things to be attempted dug form underneath the cave-in, and the still intact foodstuffs helped significantly bolster the supplies still remaining in town, but warehouses full of food at the moment of the cave-in was a resource that ran dry among the first.

    Then the rest of the conversation caught with him. He gave a look to the First of the Miners and the Guildmaster, but neither seemed too keen on getting into the obvious verbal trap. Clever bastards, Rojvol thought. "The volunteer situation is... vexing , but ultimately, we need to keep the general attention focused on hope that the Council is working towards the city's survival, else it will focus towards general despair. The mining effort seems to be the wisest direction to focus our resources at the moment, and besides, it can actually provide some sort of lifeline with the outside."

    Oh yes, we will dig ourselves out eventually. What you don't know, Ivar, is that the First of the Miners and the Patrician both know it will take at least four months at the current pace, and we have food for two at best. Or do you know already? Did someone else made the connection and told you? I imagine that when that news will get out, people will throw down their mining picks, volunteers and real miners alike, and turn towards holy faith and the Prior. Will the gods listen to their pleas? I think it will take good hour or two for the good god fearing folk to rape and pillage their way through the Abbey after they get tired waiting for the answer. Then they will head for our heads down here. But we still have the Palace Guard on our side. Whatever the result, food will not be scarce for a while.

    "But I assume you wish to propose some sort of an alternative approach, Ivar?" Already lost the battle, Rojvol thought. Might as well join the winning side.
  8. Jamie Lane

    Jamie had just finished the measurements when she heard a voice behind her, "Jamie, good to see you at work" Looking behind her she see Ivar standing there seeming lost in thought. "Of course! I have so much to do." Jamie stated excitedly. He offered his help for anything she might need before walking off most likely going to a counsel meeting. Looking back at the cave walls Jamie muttered, "7ft high, 10ft wide." Nodding to herself Jamie sprinted back to her house, bag full of supplies.

    Upon reaching her house Jamie practically flew inside, closing the door behind her. Rushing over to a table full of scrolls of paper Jamie set her bag on the table pulling out it's contents, 5 screws, two wooden cogs, and a single plank of wood. Looking over to her left Jamie placed the plank of wood with the stack of others. returning to her table Jamie took out her journal and flipping it to her latest plan. She had designed a man powered drill that could potentially help them get out but, she needed more wood, cogs, screws to make it and she wasn't sure how long it would take to get all the supplies she needed. Sighing Jamie pulled out a pencil and began working out the details of her sketch.​

    He sat patiently through Rojvol's report of the turnips. Even Ivaar didn't expect to find another buried store. From maps drawn of the city before the quake, dated though they were, most of the remaining warehouses lay a mile beyond their deepest tunnel.

    "I agree," he said, dipping his head, "Unless those we sent into the tunnels return, mining is our only way out."

    "But until one of those plans works," he said in a different tone, " I say we stop handing out food to every hungry mouth." He'd been considering this for some time, but the devastation of the quake always seemed too close at their heels. It had been a month now, presumably enough time for grief and shock to dissipate and allow for a more normal order. He didn't understand those who had cried and cried for the past four weeks, not lifting a finger to help themselves or anyone else, but he had respected it. At some point, however, the world needed to move on.

    Ivaar shifted his weight forward in his seat, his palms carrying his weight into the tops of his thighs. "Feed the children and the sick, the elderly, but the able-bodied men and women should be working for their portion." He looked around at them each for a response. "Tie their efforts to their survival. We'll have either more volunteers or more turnips. Both cases look better than the current situation."

    Some of the people would cry foul, but it was more of a return to normalcy than anything. Work for pay; a simple transaction. Those ready to give up could do so without hurting the rest. Ivaar understood the darker possibilities of his proposal and he certainly hoped for more volunteers.

  10. Rojvol Kavka

    "I do not think the people of the city are lacking in enthusiasm for saving themselves, and I am quite sure everyone is well aware of the dire situation at hand," Rojvol started in a diplomatic tone, but First of the Miners jumped from his seat so fiercely his chair tumbled away and the table jumped an inch. He slammed his huge hand onto the table, putting the wooden furniture to a test. "INCONCEIVABLE! HOW DARE YOU, THIS BLASPHEMY!" His face was so red it resembled a fat beet. "FIRST YOU DARE TO SEND VOLUNTEER MINERS TO HELP THE REAL MINERS! VOLUNTEERS, UNTRAINED AND UNSANCTIONED BY THE RITES OF STONE!" The man fumed and wheezed in his anger. Rojvol imagined he could pass as an ancient beast a hero would be sent to destroy, for glory and wealth, for immortality in legend.

    "BUT NOW YOU WANT TO FORCE MEN INTO THE HOLY WORK OF STONE?! YOU, YOU LITTLE HERETICAL..." The man's temper made hard for him to find proper invectives for Ivar. The city lived and thrived from the products of the miner's work, and as such, miners were traditionally a strong and influential faction. When First of the Miners spoke, even the Patrician listened, though not always obeyed. To become a miner was to become a man doing holy work on the body of the Stone. Just to become a full miner meant the novice miner had to spend seven years working in various mines around Dod. Then he would travel to the Abbey to spend seven weeks pondering about the nature of Stone, before finally receiving his blessing. If the work was not done by a man properly blessed in the Abbey of Stone and Salt, it was seen as blasphemy and heresy against the holy body, though people not coming from a miner's background were far less fervent believers than those who did. The current First of the Miners, Hanry Grumals, lost his left hand in a mining accident some years ago. He recovered, but one handed miner was of little use in the actual work. Hanry was seen as a wise and dependable man, though, and since part of his body was one with Stone, he was elected as First of the Miners in the next and following elections. It only served to strengthen his faith in Stone.

    While the great beast was gathering strength to continue his verbal onslaught, Rojvol jumped in. "I do think you misunderstand Ivar, Hanry," he started. The First of the Miners lost bit of his colour and looked at Rojvol. "What do you say?!" he asked. "I think Ivar did not intend those... motioned to service to work in the mines, yes?" Rojvol asked in the direction of Ivar. For the love of everything unholy on and under this earth, say yes. "There is... other way to help secure a way to the surface, after all." Last thing the city needs is a religious schism about Stone worship, and the caves could take care of some of the hungry mouths. He's seriously not thinking about sending merchants and cobblers to the mines. The work is going slow as it is, they don't need more unqualified manpower. Right? Rojvol looked at Ivar with a smile on his face and slight hope in his eyes.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Love Love x 1
    [BCOLOR=transparent] [/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]"Vi. Vi. Wake up. You can't hide in your room any longer, I won't let you." [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Videlle opened her tired, pissy eyes to Arvin. A tall, slim man who was not born with his confidence, but earned it. A man who had been her father's best friend, a man who now took care of her, and insufferably so. But she was still grateful. If he wasn't going to let her die, at least he gave her a bed to try on. She waved her hand, a symbol that she heard him and was getting up now. She listened to him let out a sigh, something strained, and tentatively shut the door behind him. Slowly, she sat up. A mirror faced her. What a bad idea to put the mirror opposite of the bed. It forced her to look at the disgusting self she had become. Her once lovely hair was clumped together and stuck to her face in pure, sad chaos. Her muscle tone had been deteriorating and her stomach started to sink in, and her skin looked sickly and yellow, and despite all the sleep she had been getting, the bags under her eyes grew even more prevalent. She reeked of disappointment. [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]Breakfast had been waiting for her when she went downstairs. Arvin's eyes met hers, and then quickly rushed over her body. He wanted to mock her, she could tell. Scold her for her flimsy outfit that had little sense of authority. It was a shame if you didn't dress like how you were, but she didn't see the point in dressing like she was one of the wealthiest in the city, for she knew she would lose everything soon. She had already lost so much.[/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent][/BCOLOR]
    [BCOLOR=transparent]But he stayed quiet. At least she had gotten up.[/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]She took a bite, and another one. She wasn’t hungry at all. “Vi, I’m done going to the council for you. I can go with you, but you have to take responsibility like your father wanted you to. You don’t want your family’s name to plummet in record time,” he lectured. She didn’t. But she missed her paranoid mother, her charismatic father, and the warm, lovely sun. Oh how she missed the sun. She was scared that if she did, somehow, someway, gracefully take the throne of her father’s fortune, would her parent’s be forgotten? [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]“Your father’s warehouses had been dug up. We can go visit them if you want later, if that’ll make you feel better. But for now, you must go to the council. They’re already meeting, you better hope they’ll let you in and they don’t mistake you for a random volunteer.” She didn’t answer, but silently she agreed. He expected it of her. She was an obedient child once she was awake. She pushed her food away, with more than half of it left, and swiftly walked out of the house. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]She still wasn’t used to the morning dust that filled her nose. She had always woken up to fresh air from the outside. Everything felt stifled now, fake almost. She walked to the council building. She didn’t plan on saying anything. In fact, she was planning on telling Rojvol that she and Arvan would retract their say from any council meetings, and wouldn’t plan on showing up to any more. She would let them do what they wanted from her father’s old warehouses, and she would help them with anything if need be, but otherwise she would disappear into the common crowd. Yes, this sounded good. And maybe she would tell Ivaan instead of Rojvol, he was much less intimidating. They wouldn’t miss her. She doubted they would even recognize her. She barely recognized herself. [/BCOLOR]

    [BCOLOR=transparent]The doorman sneered at her and said something, but she didn’t process whatever it was. She blew by him and slipped into the meeting. Under the screaming, Arvan told her there was always old men screaming, under the fear and intensity of their discussion. She was doing what Arvan told her to do. She let herself feel a little bit proud of herself, though she wasn’t paying the least bit attention of whatever was being said. [/BCOLOR]
    • Like Like x 1

    Ivaar bowed his head and took the verbal abuse. He was not a man without temper and it took all his will not to enter the shouting match. His fingers dug into the soft flesh of his own thighs beneath the table.

    His eyes fell on Rojvol, the only one willing to break up the outburst. He didn't trust that smile. Not because it belonged to Rojvol, but because of the thoughts it hid. Hanry was a man who bore all his thoughts on his sleeve. Ivaar could deal with the man because everything he believed hung out for all to see. They stood on opposite sides today, but he couldn't help but feel more aligned with the man than some others.

    "The city is in a crisis," he started, looking around the room, "But no, I'm not only speaking of miners." He too, knew there was no sense throwing unseasoned workers into the tunnels, but he understood still that they needed manpower there. The rites of the Miners could be put aside during this time of desperation. He had already argued with Hanry on this point. This time, however, he let the topic sink under the tides of the conversation.

    "We need miners as much as we need scavengers and lamplighters, builders and distributors." Ivaar's eyes wandered to the open door as a young woman snuck in quietly. For a moment, his train of thought snapped. He frankly didn't recognize her, but guessed she was the one for whom Arvin held the place. He hadn't previously noticed the man's absence.

    "The best way to go about it would be to compile a list of positions and assign trusted individuals to head the groups," he continued, "Present the people with their choice." Ivaar looked to the First Miner, "You can vet your volunteers any way you choose. Don't put a pick in their hands if you don't want, but there must be some way to alleviate the Miners' work." Give them a wheelbarrow and have them drag the rubble away from the site. Ivaar knew he wasn't the First and it wasn't his decision. But he hoped volunteers could at least be put to work.

  13. Rojvol Kavka

    Rojvol nodded, visibly relieved as the situation was defused, at least for now. Hanry's fare regained more sober shade of red and the big man picked up his chair, sat down and pulled the table back to its original position. The Patrician smiled and spoke up. "I think we all agree on your proposition, Ivar," he said and looked around the table for signs of dissent. The Patrician Konrad Villius was a political animal, cunning as a fox and sly as a weasel. The position simply killed any lesser man, as the long line of paintings of previous Patricians, each with plaque holding curiously short time interval, at the Long Hall of the now ruined Palace showed. "The staff of the Census and Tax office had little to do in the past days, sans filling out obituaries. I'm quite sure they will happily jump at the task. If any of you gentlemen wish to request any specific person in the city for your activities, send a runner with the list to the Arsenal Square, as the Census and Tax office is currently station in the old barracks."

    Rojvol looked at the Patrician while the man continued to talk details with the First of the Miners and Guildmaster of the Mason's Guild, as the two already had a list of people they wished to demand for their works. Bit bold, Konrad, don't you think? Just like that, in full view of anyone and everyone, try to grab power over the city again? Are you so tired of us, sitting here those endless hours, debating pointless things, getting nothing substantial done? Are you afraid, reckless? Do you know more than we do? Do you want your city back that badly to risk pissing over the toy soldier sitting across the table? Each of us sans him know you well enough, Konrad. We're here because were not foolish enough to go against you. Are you not afraid? Are you underestimating him? Or is he just one of your pawns, even? He looked at Ivar, and wondered what his reaction would be. The air in the room felt thicker and less bearable to breath with each passing moment.


    That it was the Patrician who first answered was no surprise. His agreement, however, was. Ivaar need not hold his breath for long, of course. There seemed to be strings attached at every one of his somewhat puffy fingers. The Patrician hadn't been asking, as he was now already plotting with others in the room who had been all too quick to let him make a decision for all men present.

    The Bureau had been doing no real work since the quake as far as Ivaar could tell, but he had already lost that argument some weeks before. We are keeping the death records, very important when the city finally emerges again. Ivaar would have preferred to see their hands at work like the rest of the city. Paperwork could be worried over if there was anything left to document.

    Even if we do fall, the documentation should exist to ensure any future explorations know what happened here. Everyone had been against him that day. You would have all those deaths forgotten. These men and their records, their control. You could say Ivaar had fought to protect all that once, but he saw it as protecting the people, not the records of the people and certainly not their ghosts.

    "If we're all agreed," he looked around at the table, finally having pulled himself from these quiet thoughts, "Then we can announce it tomorrow and have registration begin the next day." He would have to take as much as he could get. Ivaar pushed his chair back calmly and stood, leveling his gaze on Konrad, "Just be sure each man works for his portion." Including your own men, he thought icily. His pride kept him from seeing it, but Ivaar grasped for the power on the table just as desperately as the rest of them. They all believed they held the right in things - whether it was right for the city, for the people or for their own gain was more difficult in saying.

    "We're done here?" he asked, turning to the rest of them. None seemed to have anything else to add that day. He was already too long away.

    • Like Like x 1

    "Ouch! Goddamit!" Kyren looked over his shoulder to see John, another kitchen hand nursing a bloody finger. There was a half grated turnip spotted with blood rolling into the kitchen corner. Kyren frowned. "You're doing it all wrong. You need to move more slowly and pay attention to where you put your fingers."

    The other boy turned around and glared daggers at Kyren. "Easy for you to say. I didn't grow up in a kitchen. This is girl's work."

    Kyren turned back to his own turnip and resumed his task. They had been charged with grating the turnips that were in turn to be made into flour. Girl's work or not, him, John and everyone else working in the council's kitchen knew better than anyone that what they were doing had to be done. Besides, they had no reason to complain. They did fair work for fair rations, and even then, a few of the more dishonest workers took a bit more than they were allowed. If they continued down that same path no doubt the council was going to find out. Kyren prayed they didn't. It would cost everyone in the kitchens their job, both honest and otherwise.

    He inhaled deeply and sighed. He was lucky enough to work at one of the tables near the window. It was convenient on days when there was a lot of cooking, boiling and baking going on and the kitchen was sweltering hot, but the real reason Kyren loved the window was because he could see down below. The roadways, the brick and wooden houses, the brilliantly burning torch lights at the dig site which gradually faded into the dull glow of jarred worms further away. The kitchen was one of very few big buildings left standing in the city. It was only a two story stone structure separated into many different rooms for different tasks upstairs and a dining hall downstairs, nothing like the guild hall where the council met, but he liked it still.

    Kyren loved being able to contribute, but he wanted more. He wanted to go out there in one of those tunnels with a battalion of the bravest men and he fantasized day and night over what he might find. Would it be freedom from the cave? As much as he hated to admit it, that thought scared him a bit. Freedom meant he'd have to give up his dreams of being a hero and he wasn't ready for that reality. He would much prefer to find a horde of terrible monsters to slay, or an underground paradise where the city could relocate to, and he could be their warrior king. That thought was inspiring. A King, just like he was meant to be.


    Kyren felt the steel mouth of the grater bite into his skin, pulling him out of his fantasy. He looked down at his bloody finger and he felt the heat rising in his cheeks as he slowly turned to face John. Surely enough, he had a smug smile on his face. Kyren frowned.

    "Shuddup," he stated defensively as he turned around to resume his grating.
  16. Rojvol Kavka

    Rojvol watched the conversation happening around the table with mild amusement. He could see the two worlds collide. An animal politicum representing the power of bureaucracy, clashing with the toy soldier who saw the world as a series of obvious solutions to obvious problems. Rojvol knew well how pointless and despicable appeared the colossal amount of paperwork he city required to keep running, and also how much of it was actually necessary. He wondered if it would not be best for some huge piece of stalactite to be loosened from the cavern's roof, to fall on the Mason's Guild and kill all of them. He closed his eyes. Maybe it was already in flight.

    Five seconds later, he opened them again, only to find himself still seated at the round table, surrounded by arguing men. "It would appear as such, Ivaar. We have discussed all the points on the itinerary. Thank you all for coming, gentlemen. As usual, we will gather here again in three day's time. Please send your talking points by usual means." With that, the meeting would be over. Books would be closed and collected by adjutants and assistants, chairs would move and posteriors would lift. The members of the Guild of Masons would begin shuffling the furniture around to prepare the hall for the evening meal. The First of the Miners and his entourage were invited to stay and dine with their Stone worshipping brothers, the other groups would leave on business of their own.

    Rojvol picked up his hat and left the building through the front entrance. The streets outside were deserted. The other members of the Council were gone already, and there were only a few sporadic torches burning to provide the absolute minimum of illumination. Not to mention how, with so many perished in the cave in, the whole city was unnaturally quiet. No children's crying in refuse of sleep, no drunks holstering on their way from various establishments, no barking of dogs in the distance. "It's a damn tomb," Rojvol muttered under his breath. "And a cold and wet one at that." He pulled his coat closer to his body and started walking towards the Mirrorwater Hall, ancestral home of his family.

    The mansion occupied a gentle hill in what used to be the expensive part of the city, though a veritable barrage of falling stone that followed the tremor caused a bit of a landslide in the estate market. The Mirrorwater Hall itself had one wing crushed under a huge stalagmite, but Rojvol did not care. The Mirror, a pool of clear water in front of the mansion, filled by a gentle stream springing from somewhere in the cavern's roof, was unaltered. The building was just a building, but the pool gave the place it's name and genius loci. Lose it, and... and lose it all, Rojvol felt. The pair of guards at the front gate, each of them equipped with a Kalthoff repeater, gave Rojvol a sharp salute as he passed through.

  17. Videlle watched patiently and blank face as the men argued and bickered. How could anybody expect her to do something like this? She saw no point to this endless yelling between men who were too power-hungry to listen to anybody else. And if she threw herself into the mix, what would happen? Like nobody understood, she was not her father. She could not pull herself up by her bootstraps, especially when everyone else would be trying to shove her down to gain more leverage. She saw no appeal in being the leader of this broken city. She saw no appeal in people looking to her for guidance when she had no idea what to do. She saw no appeal in failure, and have all eyes on her when she was. These men were dangerously loud and red faced and annoying, but she still had respect for them. These men were cut from the same cloth as her father, as Arvin. She wondered. Would Arvin really be upset if she took herself out of the council? She knew Arvin must get headaches from these meetings, just as she did.

    The men gathered their things and left the room, leaving an almost visible trail of confidence. What did she leave behind? She was sure once it was pure happiness and naivety. Now she pictured herself a line of dark, muddled blue following her everywhere she went, marking her disgrace.

    She stood. After all the men stood though, she did not want to be in the same power level as them. So she stood after the chairs had emptied and made her way over to Ivaar, her heart beating against her chest like a steady drum. She cleared her throat, partly to stop her hesitation, and partly to get his attention.

    "Hello, sir? Mr. Bel?" she started. She tucked her hair behind an ear, and looked him in the eyes, trying to show all traces of her father that she held in the sharpness of her eyes, the arch of her eyebrow, "I'm sure you don't recognize me. My name is Videlle Cassidy, daughter and heir of the Cassidy Fortune and Trade," she stuck her hand out to be shook, like a proper gentleman, "I'm aware my father's warehouses were dug up. I am very able to help you with anything you might need in those regards, and can find you any paperwork you ask for. Though, that's not really the reason I came here today. I just wanted to let you know that Arvan and the Cassidy name will be retracting themselves from the council, thank you for the opportunity."
  18. Shaylee Rayne

    Shay woke to a wet face and dog breath. She groaned and raised an arm to cover her eyes, though that only made Marley lick at her arm instead. "You have no concept of time" She grumbled and made herself sit up then looked to the big white dog before offering a half smile. "Alright, I'm up, I'm up" She said, reaching over to rub his head then standing to stretch. She dressed and washed then found the leash so she could take Marley out for his walk.

    The looks she got were always the same, the people didn't like to see someone who was only half human, though now they had no choice but to accept her. She was one of the few left with medical knowledge, the earthquake had helped her in that way, but that did not mean the people liked it. She walked quietly, in part because it was her custom and in part because she was still tired from her late night. Emergency surgery had been needed on one of the volunteer minors that had gotten hurt a couple of days ago and she had been called in last night to preform it. He was alive, but she had written on his file that he should try not to lift anything for several weeks at least. One less worker there, one more mouth to feed for no work. At least it was something she couldn't be blamed for, she hadn't even been called in until it was nearly too late to even save his life.

    She shook her head, looking around herself again then finding a seat to watch Marley play for a little bit in the dog area before she would head home again. She needed to try to sleep some more unless she was called away on another critical case. It was funny, they disliked her for her heritage, but they still had to admit she was one of the best they had left, even with incomplete training.
  19. Rha'Tak'Inar stood on a ledge far above the muted bustle of the city. He found how they functioned pretty alien and in his opinion pretty inefficient. They're stuck with the belief that they'll claw their way out any day now, and to believe otherwise was borderline heresy. These creatures are innovative though. It took them maybe a single span to realise they can use things other than torches. His kind had no need for torches in the slightest, but a light source are an easy means to draw out prey to hunt. Most creatures on the deeper caves are spineless, as the deep elves named invertebrate, and so they are attracted to light rather easily.

    He had his fill of watching however. He felt like he needed to help these creatures understand a world he knew like the back of his hand. In return he hoped one of them would explain the things he didn't understand. Like the sun or trees. He felt a wave of giddiness and excitement flood over him as he fearlessly strode through the open to a massive building. He'd seen several of the same creatures congregate by this building. He had planned to present himself to the entire group, but one if them shouted like Vha'Da'Seer mating call. Approaching that noise had always been a bad idea, and so he decided to believe that here as well

    He had hoped a few were still in there. If they weren't, he'd have to either wait or make another plan. Believing that, he stealthily went through the door and looked for the very biggest room. Common logic dictated that the leaders wants the biggest. Even male leaders should follow that pursuit, if not these creatures are truly alien.. He stumbled straight into some grand hall with a table made of.... What was that made of? Chitin? No it was smooth, but it didn't have the texture. Besides to find something this big to carve a table out is simply impossible. A sort of fungus? It did have a grain, but it didn't feel like it had wiry structure.

    He blinked. He got distracted by the table. He mumbles to himself when in thought. Loudly if he recalled. He frantically looked around the room to see if someone were inside, if there wasn't he would be relieved. He wasn't planning on introducing himself by investigating..... Whatever it is that table was made of. He wanted to do a big display of him not going to hurt them. He looked rather intimidating to them, no doubt.

    The problem was there were two still in the room. A man who looked like he was in some sort of combat career and a little girl.

    This wasn't going to end well.

    He could just awkwardly look at them, wanting to have met them but never really thinking it through until now. They didn't even speak his language.

    This is really not going to end well
  20. Rojvol Kavka

    The dinners in Dod were, even for men of means, rather meagre and sad meals nowadays. The Kavka family gathered around the long table in the Dining Room, which was mercifully spared by the giant falling rock. Rojvol's miserable mood quickly filled the whole room and spread on the other members of the family gathered there for the evening meal, and they ate in sullen silence. Rojvol would keep chasing his boiled potatoes across the silver plate in front of him, until everyone else would finish their food and leave the room. He held his breath for a moment to lessen the noise he made, hearing only his heart pounding in his chest. Rojvol looked around the room filled with ancient and priceless articles of art and his family's lineage. It was late, and he was drowsy from the long and taxing day he had. It was easy for his mind to let go, and start wandering in the surreal world of dreams and fantasies...

    He was a king, old and venerable one. He was sitting on an ancient stone throne, carved from a granite rock that once was a statue head of a sovereign in a kingdom he gloriously conquered. The throne room was lavish, gold and marble everywhere, hewn and forged into wonderful pieces of art. But the room was silent. There were no servants or guards, no petitioners or foreign heralds to receive. He could hear no murmur from outside as well. He rose from his throne and walked across the throne room, the polished floor showing his reflection pacing fervently. When he tried to open the heavy, reinforced door, the door would not move, and he realized the horrible truth: he was not in his throne room. He was in his tomb.

    He woke up with his face resting on the remains of his dinner, cold sweat on the back of his neck and heart pounding at nearly painful pace. He rubbed at his temples, trying to calm himself from the shock of waking from a nightmare. Sleep could wait, especially if it would provide with more of such joyful experiences. He got up from the table and left the house. The guards at the front entrance merely nodded him a solemn greeting. It was not the first time he headed out for a night walk. Were he heading for the city, at such late hour, they would surely stop him, or at least insist on escorting him. The streets in the half lit and half populated city were dangerous to lone walkers. Rojvol, however, walked a path no sane living man would walk.

    The Pit was one of the last remaining warm places in Dod, but for such establishment, it received somewhat cold clientele. Corpse-burning pyres tend to be that way. The Pit was situated in front of a cave opening that was known for its constant draft, blowing away from the city. As such, the nauseating, thick oily black smoke was carried away and did not made the morale in down even worse than it already was. Mr. Kopferkingel, the appointed undertaker, approached Rojvol, who was leaning wearily against his walking stick, watching a pile of bodies merrily turn into ash. "Sleepless night, mister Kavka?" he asked warmly, his oiled hair opalescent in the firelight.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.