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A Foreign Danger (Request Invite)

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A Foreign Danger (Request Invite)

Post by Mithridae on Fri May 18, 2018 3:17 am


Summary:


In a small settlement west of Kryo, spring has freshly sprung and the ground has just thawed for the first seeds of the year.  It should be a time of joyous celebration for a meager farming village of Noome, a time when the working class bust out the remaining casks from the winter stocks to bring good luck on another future harvest.

But Noome has new problems.  Men have gone missing from the fields, and their elders fear that before long, women and children will go to join them.  Or worse, enough hands will be lost that the harvest will never come, and famine will strike before winter returns.

The elders have had their council on the matter.  They have sent out word to the nearest settlements to send their heroes and mercenaries.  Whatever gold or trade remains in their stores by the time help comes, that will pay those who will help return the joy of safety in these troubled times.

Rules:



  • Request access from myself, I'm up for more people joining but I would prefer to keep it organized.
  • Humans only, human-affiliated dragons will have to be approved with reason.
  • Semi-realism, please.
  • I'll be GM'ing to start things off and to keep them moving, any antagonists or conflicts are welcome but I'd prefer to know about them first.


Approved Characters:



  • Mithridae (Mithridae)
  • Svadilfare (Baldirak)
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Mithridae

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Chapter One

Post by Mithridae on Fri May 18, 2018 3:18 am

Chapter One


The cart creaked and groaned, axles protesting the weight of passengers in heavy fur and gear coupled with the terrain. Around it, away from the oxen bickering as they pulled the cart along, was nothing but hills and rock. The hills were a gradient, stretching back into the horizon where white snow yet dusted their tops. Forward they leveled out, growing greener and more vibrant as they dipped into valleys.

This was one of those green valleys, where the grass was still trying to find a purchase in the cold earth, stretching up only to the ankles of the oxen as they dipped on and off the path. Large black stones dotted the landscape, a few boulders here or there providing purchase for a pair of sheep herders to sit. Between all of it, a thin line crossed over broken slabs of stone, leading from well behind the ox-cart, down into the valley, where fresh stone walls had been erected around a pit of mud with turf houses.

Of the group on the back of the cart, one had already jumped out to rush down the path. He was a lanky boy, his face still smooth but smeared with dirt, and his clothing simple leathers and cloth. Without a pause he slipped between the cracks in the small gate into the village, his feet splattering the mud on his way to the largest hovel there.

After a few moments of him rapping his knuckles against the door, it opened. Outside was the chill of a spring morning under a sky of clouds. Inside was darkness, accompanied by the faint heat and light of a dull fire.

"Elder Bracht," the young man greeted, his voice shaky as he took in cold air. "The men are here to help."

"Hmm..." Old eyes searched, the man looking across the surrounding valley while he stroked a wispy white beard. "And the Son of Kryo," he asked in a voice as scratchy as it was sharp, "He comes?"

"Yes, sir. I sat across from him, big as a bear and twice as strong, I could see."

"Good, good... may he prove to be the light's gift to our meager struggles. I'll meet them in the town square in a moment."

The boy splattered his way back across the muddy pit that the town centered around, returning to the gate as another young man began to push it. It was barely large enough for the oxen, wooden logs bundled together with points at one end, frayed with use and moist with mud and dew. The man who met them at the gate was dressed similar to the boy, similar to a few faces around; simple leather and fur shoes stitched together, leather pants to keep the cold away, tattered, dull cloth tunic, with furs thrown over for warmth. He was thin, with the modest body of a laborer, but the crude spear of a local guard, as if he were filling in for a larger man.

Just as the cart passed the portal, the door to the elder's hut opened. The old man stepped out, balding head glinting under the clouds. He was a pale man, paler than the others around, with a scattering of white hair left on him and weathered skin pressed into a permanent frown. Blue eyes kept watch over the cart and its occupants as it drew closer, but the man himself stayed near the door's entrance, hidden beneath a long robe of a dull red from his shoulders down to his feet.

The old man stood vigilant and watched, waiting for his heroes to disembark.
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Re: A Foreign Danger (Request Invite)

Post by Svadilfare on Sat May 19, 2018 7:52 pm

A messenger had arrived the evening before, asking the chief of Kryo to aid the people of Noome. The reason for needing help had not been made clear--the elders intended to reveal all when help had come. Leonidas needed no time to consider; Kryo was not known to turn away those in need, if only in the interest of showing off their people's strength and skill. And so, in the early hours of the morning, just before sunrise, the chief sent for the Pride of Kryo.

"Noome. I'm not terribly familiar with it." Svadilfare stood beside the chief, looking down at a map sprawled across a long table. "They are to the west?"

"Yes, just at the edge of these lands where the other seasons exist." Leonidas walked around to the other side of the table, putting his back to the fire pit at the center of his home. "It is three days' journey from here, perhaps a little less."

"A little more, with those creatures running around. What is the nature of the help they require?"

Though he had heard reports of the so-called monsters, Leonidas didn't believe they really existed. At least, they couldn't be much of a threat when they had yet to attempt an attack on Kryo. "To be revealed on your arrival. They are prepared to give all the coin and wares they have."


"And they ask for help from all neighboring settlements, not just Kryo?"

"No village--not even Gynaikes--and no city produces warriors like Kryo. But they seek aid from all around them, yes. So it could be Noome's matter requires more... diplomacy. Warriors are in case things go wrong. You will know for sure soon enough."

"I'm to go alone, I presume." Svadilfare looked up from the map. He knew the answer already but still expected to hear it.

"You are the best we have. Our best is always enough."

"Suppose your best doesn't want to take this job? I just returned from assisting the Kingdom of Moon. I wish to be with my wife and children for a while before I'm sent off to kill for a wronged spouse or fight another battle for some kingdom that doesn't want its soldiers to get their armor dirty."

"You don't have a choice. I am your chief, first and foremost. You will go to Noome. I expect to receive news of your departure in one hour."

"I will depart at a time I see fit... Father." Svadilfare left his father's home and walked through the village back to his own. It was two hours yet before first light, but already some were awake. A group of men were going to hunt and their wives were getting a fire ready for their return. A light snowfall had begun by the time Svad reached his home, twenty minutes' walk outside of the village.

Aerouant, the young NightWing Hatchling who was Celestia's adopted grandson, was curled up by the hearth. He heard Svadilfare return and greeted him. Until just recently, Aerouant had been afraid of Svad and his children, of humans in general. 'twas only natural, he being a dragon. His grandmother, Astral--though she now called herself Celestia--made living among terrifying creatures a little better, though for reasons he didn't understand, she almost never was her normal self anymore. But now he had grown to like them, especially the children, for they gave him all the fish he wanted.

Svadilfare smiled lightly at Aerouant before going to his room. Celestia hadn't even noticed that he slipped away; she was asleep still. Svad slid into bed and wrapped his arms about her. The warmth of her quickly lulled him to sleep.

"But you just got back." Amelia followed along beside her adopted father as he brought in an armload of wood.

"I know, Ami. I know. Where's Xander?"

"He's helping Leo."

Alexander, Amelia's twin, and Leonardo, their older brother, were gathering fish. The three were product their mother's first marriage, but never considered Svadilfare anything less than their real one. Xander and Leo performed their morning chore at a much slower pace than normal. They reasoned that the longer they took, the longer their father would have to stay. It would be well worth whatever trouble they might get in. Meanwhile, Amelia had gone on to bathe little Clementine and get her dressed. Aurelius, Clementine's older brother, was looking for Cassiopeia, their younger half-sister. Cassiopeia was the sum of a human, a dragon posing as a human, and a bit too much to drink. It hadn't taken the Kryoan nearly as long as he thought to get over that. He loved his youngest just as much as his fully human children.

Aurelius gave up looking for Cassi and instead played with Aerouant. Once Leo and Xander returned, the family, minus Cassiopeia and Celestia, sat down to eat. Normally, there was some conversation, laughter; this morning, even Clementine was quiet.

"I will be back as soon as I can," Svadilfare told the five of six children who were present, "I promise." He hugged Leo, Xander, and Ami first, then Aurelius and Clementine. "Behave yourselves, help Celestia."

"We will, Father." Leo spoke for all the children.

"Good." Svadilfare put his Moonstone around his neck and mounted his horse.

Four days later saw the arrival of the Pride of Kryo to the small settlement of Noome. His delay was caused by a run-in with a Skier on the second day. On the third, he came across a caravan of people answering the call of Noome.

Svadilfare brought his horse to a stop as a young boy native to the settlement jumped off the cart. A minute or so later, the boy returned and ushered the cart through the gate. Svadilfare followed behind, for the gate was scarcely big enough for the oxen-drawn cart to get through, let alone having a man on horseback trying to pass at the same time. Once the cart stopped near a house, in front of which stood its owner, the warrior/assassin dismounted. Svadilfare regarded the old man as if he were trying to determine how best to end his life. It was a trait that came naturally to Svad, to any who had ended enough lives. He tucked his Moonstone beneath his deerskin shirt but otherwise stood motionless as he waited for the elder to speak.

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Re: A Foreign Danger (Request Invite)

Post by Mithridae on Sat May 19, 2018 9:05 pm

There was silence from the group. The wooden cart groaned in protest as a few men dropped down to splatter mud beneath their feet. The wind was barely a gust, not enough to tug at the collection of furs and leathers that were worn. Somewhere in the distance, a man shouted commands at a beast before him, digging fresh grooves into cold soil.

But inside the square, there was silence. Even the few women who had poked their heads out of earthen huts could only regard elder and warrior band in uneasy curiosity.

"Goodfellows," the old man started in greeting. His voice was raspy and somber, and he conveyed no possibility of gaiety from his tone alone. "I thank you for coming with such haste this morning. If it were not such dire times, I would-"

"Enough," a man cut him off. Of the cart, and the horse that had walked in its path, five men had disembarked. The one who spoke with the voice of a bear happened to have the body of one too. He almost matched the tallest there, but his shoulders were wider and his hands calloused to the huge ax upon his back. The others around him were shorter, thinner, but they all carried the same flat faces and flaxen-yellow hair beneath their leather and fur caps.

"We came f'r pay, you tell us job," the bear of a man continued.

The old man cast his eyes down, then nervously glanced from the feet of the warriors to the one who stood alongside them. The last one, separate of the four for bringing his own horse, was tall and broad of shoulder as the bear was, but his hair was hacked shorter and closer to the color of mud, and his skin was a darker shade than the pale fighters at his side.

"Bandits," he rasped, not wasting another breath. "Our men have gone missing, we fear bandits from further west."
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Re: A Foreign Danger (Request Invite)

Post by Svadilfare on Tue May 22, 2018 8:46 am

The old man's voice was thin and frail as he, but not hard to hear. He began a greeting only to be cut short by a brute of a man. The Kryoan turned sharply and suddenly on his left foot toward the axe-wielder. His left hand came up as he came to a stop and loosed a knife. The blade passed close to the right side of the man's face. The tip embedded itself in the handle of the axe. "The next time your mouth opens before the elder has finished speaking," Svadilfare held up a second knife, "this blade will strike flesh. If you decide to put on a show for your friends there and seek a fight, mud will not be the only thing covering the ground." Svad's voice was cold as his village as he spoke. He took a moment to look at the four men. They were similar in appearance, which meant they came from the same clan. It also meant that of those Noome had sent word to, only two responded. When finished, Svad sheathed the blade he'd brandished and turned back to face the elder. "Please continue, Elder."

The elder went on, but he was clearly unsettled now. The Kryoan found his theory of bandits being behind the disappearances curious. What should bandits want with men from small settlements such as this? Perhaps they were fulling the demands of slave masters. More likely, however, if bandits were indeed responsible, they hoped for coin in exchange for the kidnapped men. "What makes you suspect bandits?" Svadilfare asked.

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Re: A Foreign Danger (Request Invite)

Post by Mithridae on Sun May 27, 2018 2:23 am

Though the elder had continued, there were words unsaid between the two largest of the warriors.  After the dark-haired Kryoan had turned away, the blond bear had grit his teeth and tightened his fingers around the handle of his ax.  He only loosened his grip when one of the others at his side pulled roughly at the side of his arm with calloused fingers.

"Lata', Dein," the shorter whispered.  "Rememba', money first."

The bear loosed a huff of breath through his squat nose, turning angrily from the proceedings.  The elder was more focused on the Kryoan anyway.  He was giving the man a thoughtful nod, only to stop and step aside.

"Forgive my manners, come- come inside.  Wouldn't do to have our guests stand out in the mud and the cold when there is warmth inside," he said, motioning towards the hut's door.  It was knotted wood, carefully pressed against the stone of the wall, and underneath the grass and mud that covered the home.  Behind it, revealed as he pushed the door open, was a leather tarp that kept the warm air inside.

Only one of the blonds took the invite to head inside, the one that had called away the bear.  This one was thinner, with a face that looked like it was pulled a little too taut across his bones, a too-large nose smudged with dirt, and one eye that moved a little slower than the others.  He led the way in, his lopsided-gaze focused on one thing after another.

Inside, the house ducked down where it had been dug out.  The dirt was covered by some kind of thatch, then covered again by leathers, then covered again by fur.  The walls were all pressed mud with fur or leather bolted against it, surrounding the piles of fur that held four older, wrinkled figures around a warm hearth that spit smoke through a thick pipe out of the center of the roof.

"There are simple explanations," the first elder spoke as he led the men inside.  "Our tracker told of signs that our men had been dragged west.  We sent him after them half a fortnight back, and he returned with grave tidings- smoke and noise of a camp erected recently, two days march to our west.  I can think of no other explanation for its sudden appearance and their sudden disappearance."

"Probably just miners," the scrawny blond muttered under his breath.
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