Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Fri Mar 25, 2016 4:02 pm

As Eadwine's thoughts once more settled on his concerns for the others in the warband, the interior of the iron clad wagon was tanned by hues of orange. Outside, the Thorgrim and Eadwine could here commotion, along with the sounds of raging fire and the occasional discharge of pressurised glass and flammable material.

The wagon only had two thin long barred windows, and viewing visor on the rare door. Each designed more for air flow as opposed to actual windows. As they were placed too high, and both of the captives were bound by wrist and ankle to the wagon floor, only Eadwine was able to achieve the height needed to witness the events surrounding their travelling cage.

Much like the roaring fire Eadwine now beheld in his sights, his concerns surged to fear. The Alchemy lab, or rather what was left of it, was in ruin. Still engulfed in a powerful blaze, the pyre was also releasing a smog coursing with ethereal energies. Their were soldiers everywhere, some wielding buckets throwing heaps of snow upon the blaze in an attempt to diminish its threatening mass. Others had formed search patrols which were seen wielding both lantern and torch exploring every inch of the square and surrounding structures.

Centred in all the commotion was the Spriggan Alchemist Trusion accompanied by two apothecaries. The three of them looked as if they had pulled some wounded free of the ruin. As the wagon circled, undeterred by near by fallout, Eadwine gained a better view. Trusion's and the apothecaries were focused on Adrysse and Wylliam. Over the chorus of commands and yelling sung by all present, Eadwine was only able to make out fragments of Trusion's words.

"...before the pyre destabilises..." As a student of alchemy, Eadwine realised this catastrophe had not concluded, but was instead slowly escalating. Frustratingly, and despite any protest the wagon turned the corner and the tormented square fell from view. It rolled along the snow dusted cobbled road towards the barracks of Tudor Towers, pausing only to allow the structure's gates to allow entry. This dividing gate lead to the courtyard of, and entrance to, the prison spire and was seemingly guarded by the towering watch of the Van'tese barracks.

Eventually the cart came to complete stop in the Prison Courtyard. It was much quieter here and the imagination of both the dwarf and the scholar told them it was also colder. The wagon's occupants listened as the soldier accompanying their driver exchanged words with a guard. "Store these belongings in the armoury with care, these men will only be in our custody until the blockade of the East Districts has lifted...Oh, and bring two blankets." said the soldier. After an exchange of military gestures the soldier moved to the rear of the wagon. He opened the door, and what little heat Thorgrim and Eadwine had cultivated during their trundled trip was vanquished by the crisp night air. As the two stepped out from the wagon's depths they first saw the mass form of the Barracks, it was huge, rivalling the size of the East Bastion. By way of a series of stone stairs and bridges the barracks was attached to a sky-reaching tower, one that was arguably the tallest of all that contributed to the Tudor Towers form. Guards were posted incrementally in groups of two to four by large braziers acting in dual purpose, both for heat and light.

The solider assigned to Thorgrim and Eadwine gestured for them to take the lead, speaking only to give them direction. The group eventually reached the Prison's bridge. It was high up and assailed by the icey northerly winds. The spire on the precipice of the cliff that sloped down to the city below. From here the cohort could see the woods of Eagle's Perch and the looming shadows of the Cesdradin Heights in the west. Soon they were within the Prison spire, which was largely empty, with only a few exceptions.

The spire was divided into many levels, each accessed by on of two methods. The first was the stone hoarded stair that coiled around the spire's immense height. The second and more commonly used was the heavy oaken lift, supported by a network of chains and pulleys running along side the structure itself. Each landing, whether it was accessed via lift or stair moved through a choke point, which doubled as the watchmen's room.

The watchmen's room had two doors, one leading to the stairs and lift, the other leading to the level's prison cells. Through use of interlocking mechanics, at no point could both doors (on any level) be opened at the same time. The dwarf, the scholar and accompanying soldier stepped off the lift and onto the third level of the spire. As the did the soldier, in his gregarious nature spoke in a rhetorical nature. "Luckier than most that are brought here, in this cold weather Id hate to be sent to the peek, or any where near the top for that matter."

The group moved in side the spire and the first of the watchmen's doors were opened. In the room was a large and well cared for brazier a table and cot, accompanied by a small book shelf containing fictional texts to pass the time. The present watchmen rose waited for the three to move into the room completely before immediately locking the door behind them. Once he had done so, the watchmen then moved to the second door and after a moment opened the way for the three to move to the holding cells beyond. Like clockwork, once the three were within the hold, the gate was closed behind them. The soldier ushered the two into separate cells, before removing their bonds and securing them under lock and key.

The cells were sparsely furnished with a small stool, a chamber pot and wall mounted oak board supported by iron chains. Upon the board was a heap of straw and an old thick woollen blanket. Having completed his most recently assigned task the Soldier spoke once more before leaving.

"You are to be held here until the East Blocked is lifted or until someone of authority speaks otherwise. However, given the lateness of the hour and the situation in the garden court, I don't expect you'll be able to avoid your stay tonight. We had made contact and were working towards terms with the occupants of the East Bastion before you arrived on the Main, so I don't expect you will be held here for longer than two nights. Provided you act in the same manner you have afforded me during your stay here. I have requested additional blankets for you, a don't see you as criminals and I refuse to treat you as such beyond protocol and duty. A word of advice though... In future, if you plan on making an attempt to ride through the middle of a military blockade ordered by the lord, you may want to take the time to gather patent of appointment..." The soldier turned and began to walk away, but called over his shoulder as he did in an attempt to use humour as comfort. "...or hone your guile".

The hour was late and the night had not been kind to the warband. Before all that had happened, it was the coldest of nights had this winter. Torvus, while he had managed to secure a meeting with the East Bastion's guarding horror, was leaving with more questions than answers. However the Iron Elf did give him direction and the means to follow it, which was more than he started with.

Meanwhile, Merick, Dorn and Merin were being transported to the south Hospice for treatment and care after their encounter with Dante. Back in the Garden Court of Tudor towers, Trusion with his aides were toiling hard to rouse Adrysse or Wylliam to conciousness. The blaze and the fuelling alchemical compounds were quickly destabilising, threatening a greater catastrophe. A catastrophe that could only be ridden out or avoided completely with the intervention of a Mage.

As the dangers of the Garden Court grew, Thorgrim and Eadwine were well and truly secured within the Heart of the Prison spire, facing the freezing night ahead with little more than blankets to shield them. Unable to do more than observe the witnessed destruction in the neighbouring court yard, the two knew they faced a cold restless night.

***************************************************A day's ride out side of Van'tese*****************************************************

The night was cold and Charlotte was glad to be off her horse. She was angry, she knew it was irrational, but if nothing else that fact just made her angrier. He could have stepped up, he could have spoken out. As usual, Eawine was bound by duty, too shackled by it to support her, to choose her. When it came to that man and his duty, she was always found in second place, and since his conscription the distance between was forever widening. Despite Wylliam's warnings, Charlotte had stayed behind in Van'tese in an effort to say her good byes, in hopes that she could at least tell the bearded man child where she would be. She hoped eventually, at some point, thoughts of her would drift back to the fore with Eadwine and if nothing else she knew how he would worry if there was no explanation for her unaccountability. However, as usual he was no where to be found.He was half a world away when her mother took ill, he was stuck in White Harbour when she graduated with her first scholastic Medallion, and he was no where to be found when she had this task thrust upon her by the bastard drake, Wylliam. Never had she wanted to throttle someone so much in her life, but she supposed her love for the duty bound lumber head was as much the cause for it as his inability to support her. She knew his loyalties were calculated and well placed and the work he was doing had merit, but all Charlotte wanted, all she really wanted to hear was "sorry". She didn't care for the logical reasoning or the legitimacies of his excuses, she just wanted to hear that he was sorry and for once, just once, he would be there for her as easily as he was for the strangers whose company he now so easily shared. Despite her frustrations, she still hoped the letter she had left for him with Milburger would find its way to his possession.

Charlotte was born into a wealthy merchant family and was accustomed to the finery that came with that lifestyle. However, Siarn's haberdashery was comfortable and had a homely air about it, which to her was more valuable at the time. Charlotte had planned to ride through the night but to her surprise, her stubbornness gave way to her failing resilience. As she sat by the hearth of this evenings refuge eating the stew prepared by her host, she worried about the remainder of her trip. It would be near ten days ride to Auskell on horse back, a far way to travel for anyone alone without the skill or company of someone able in combat. Charlotte once more found herself cursing Eadwine for not being with her. She was glad that she had the mind to take her saved coin with her on the trip, maybe she could hire a sell sword to ensure her deliverance to Auskell. She looked over to her heaped belongings, specifically at the leather cylindrical case that housed her documents. Each time she looked upon it, her resolve hardened. These contract forged between the Faceless and the Chevalier Mydas, along with a letter from Tudor Towers would hopefully be enough to prove the treachery of the crown. Charlotte never liked to admit it, but by nature she was an agitator, and for a moment she allowed her self a mischievous smile. She wondered if Wylliam knew what we was doing when he set her loose on Auskell. He was a bastard, but she muse that that was the reason he was free of allot of the political shackles that entangle his father.

Charlotte's thoughts were broken when Siarn's door swung open, unleashing a brief tide of cold air and snow loose within the store turned inn. The man was huge, easily seven foot, and his frame was thick and weighed heavy with muscle. The giant man ducked to pass through the threshold unharmed and trudged towards the now anxious host. The giant wore crude plate armour, decorated with bone and furs, studded and ringed with iron trinkets. In one hand he clutched and worn bag sporting a single thick leather strap, burdened with various items of travel. However, in the other was a monstrous axe, likely matching Charlotte in height and weight. This menacing weapon in the hands of a veritable giant was defiantly the cause of the rising fear now present in the room. The man removed his horned helm revealing a long thick brown mane, with several thick woven plaits and his face was scared and tattooed with tribal markings. Seeing this, Charlotte believed him to be a Galt raider from the north, an assumption shared by all in the Haberdashery.

The tension of the room was soon released when the giant  dropped a few to many silver coins on the Hosts service counter, muttering in his deep foreign accent. "Supplies, food and bed for the night." Without regard for the other refugees the giant lumbered over to the bed indicated to him by the concerned host and eased his weight down upon its frame. As he began the task of removing his armour and once his axe was out of hand, Charlotte to the surprise of all in the Haberdashery had filled another bowl with stew from the fire and approached the hulking man. She placed the bowl on the near by bed side in offering before taking a seat on a convenient chair. "Sir, is your skill with an axe a service for hire. I am in need of a custodian..."

The Galt Giant:
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:11 pm

Middle Market was alive with the hustle and bustle of everyday toils. The winter snowfall was subsiding for the first time in days. As the early morning passed onto midday, the clouds slowly peeled away revealing the near forgotten blue skies above. As the companions travelled the streets they over heard many speaking of the events in days past. The citizens of Van’tese were remarkably resilient. To say they did not care or were not capable of comprehending the state of the Kingdom would be naïve. No, it would be more actuate to say the people of Van’tese, or more still Ghenrael, were simply unyielding to the sufferings. Thorgrim directed the cart down the busy market streets as his companions took inventory and planned their supply needs. Despite the task being relatively mundane, each of them struggled as their thoughts we clouded with the loss of Merin, concerns for Torvus and the tasks set before him by the Iron Elf and the battle they now prepare to face.

************************** Eadwine’s Thoughts ***************************

Eadwine, despite all that had happened was presently distracted by the letter he had received barely an hour earlier. It was from Charlotte…

My Dearest Eadwine,

I’m sure by now you would have heard that I have been liberated from my imprisonment. I am not ashamed of my stand in the court and my only regret is that my words were not heeded with the gravity they deserved. I was also disappointed in you, that you offered no words of support, or even protest when I was taken.

Our Kingdom, our home, is crumbling. Rotting away from the inside, and those in a position to stop it sit idle content to greet the mounting anarchy with open arms. I will not accept this fate, designed by our so called leaders. I ride now to Auskell on a mission entrusted to me by a likeminded liberator.

I did stay in Van’tese for as long as I was able, hopeful that I could say my good byes in person. To say the farewell and give you the explanation you deserved. Even though it is more than you afforded me when you left for White Harbour many months ago. However, you were not there… again.

I do not know if I will be successful, or even if I will survive the long journey to Auskell alone. Maybe if you had have supported my claims in court or if I had have found you, you would be with me. I hope the companions whose company you have so recently acquired and so easily share sees you delivered from harm. My only hope now, beyond the success of my mission, is that I see you again.

Patiently Waiting,

Charlotte.

Where was she now? Was she ok? How could she even think riding across the kingdom alone was a good idea? Who freed her? Eadwine had so many questions. As his thoughts began to overwhelm him, Eadwine recalled Milburg’s last words to him. “Remember Eadwine, I have taught you all you need to overcome your problems. Step 1: identify your known and unknown variables, Step 2: identity how to find the latter, Step 3: implement a plan, Step 4: continually re-adjust as necessary.” Eadwine let out a sigh as his mentor’s mantra focused his mind.

***************************** Thorgrim’s Thoughts *******************************

The winter snowfall had now ceased by mid-morning, and Throgrim pulled the cart to a Halt. Peddler’s Square was filled with Traders, advertising their wares from their wagons and stalls. The cart would not be able to manoeuvre the dividing thoroughfares, less so now with the addition of Ringo V.  As Thorgim climbed from his seat on the cart, his mind was rehearsing the moon cycles. Last night was the half-moon: Torvus and his ritual (a whole other problem in itself) required a crescent moon, and with the death of his clansmen Hambar, Thorgrim himself needed to find an oath sworn named Mersa Felvarn before the next full moon. The Iron Elf himself had charged Thorgrim with this task, or at the very least suggested it was in Thorgrim’s best interests to do so.
As if that wasn’t enough, Lore Keeper Kasper had also urged Thorgrim to return to the clan as soon as he was able regarding matters of great importance. Not to mention the Undead army marching towards Brightwater’s northwatch, if its unholy tides had not already washed over its stone walls.

******************************** Torvus’ Thoughts *******************************

Torvus’ mind was addled with the complexities of performing rituals. Wylliam’s mother was a skilled and patient mentor and Torvus briefly entertained the idea of thanking a higher power for his good fortune. Torvus was a wilder after all and was not accustomed to the academic approach to learning, and his mentor seemed to understand this. In the most practical ways possible he spent much of the previous day memorising many of the innumerable compound elements and basic ritual practises.

The cart came to a halt, and was quickly surrounded by commoners attending the markets in search of their day’s desires. Torvus’ revision briefly ceased as a result, and in its absence thoughts and concerns for his brother came flooding in. Torvus gracefully leaped down from his place on the cart. As his mentally took inventory of his possessions, his eye caught Thorgrim subconsciously counting something across his fingers while deep in thought. His awareness then captured Eadwine, who was staring off in the approximant direction of the North Gates, as if he were hoping to catch a glance of someone in the crowded streets.

Torvus smiled inwardly; he was not accustomed to traveling in the company of others. Least of all those he had found himself with. He briefly contemplated the concept friendship, a novel idea to elves, but not without merit. As he let his thoughts play out, Torvus moved to join Thorgrim supporting his eagerness to get supplied and on the road. As h did, Torvus looked back to the others and saw Adrysse was still in the cart. Curiously she had not noticed the cart had stopped and appeared beyond distracted.

****************************** Adrysse’s  Thoughts *******************************

“Eight and One, your time has come.”

The voices gave the words power and she could still hear them as if she were still there. Adrysse had come to the grips with her vision from beyond the Veil, but she could not help but dwell on it. She remembered Wylliam’s words from the day prior, after they had worked together to expel the untamed Aether energies from the Alchemy fire at the Tudor labs. “Think on your visions priestess, when you are ready you should speak with me or some from your temple. Those touched by the Veil, never leave unscathed and you would do well to find your ailment, however small.”

She could not help but remember the spider like legs reaching forth from the depths of the tortured tree. The very thought of it made her skin crawl and her heart race. She wondered for a moment if any of her allies were afraid. Thorgrim seemed fearless, maybe even to a fault. Such was the stubbornness of dwarves, or at least that is what she had been told. Torvus seemed indifferent, shielded by pragmatism and determination. Her gaze then settled on Eadwine, who had climbed from the cart but had forsaken any further progress in favour of staring at an invisible horizon. Eadwine had only been with Adrysse and her companions for a few days but he provided her with an unspoken comfort as a kindred soul. Adrysse’s attention was then snatched by Merrick who was muttering curses at his bruises while rubbing at his stiff neck caused by an unusual sleeping position. Adrysse found herself smiling as she recalled his cries from the night passed. “Curse you shelled fiends!” Merrick was dangerous and crude, but his antics were occasionally humorous…even for a Faceless. Adrysse look up from her daze, he focus slowly sharpening. As it did, her gaze locked with Torvus’. His brow was hardened with concern as he watched her climb from the cart, stepping onto the cobbled road bordering Peddler’s Square.

******************************* Merrick’s Thoughts ******************************  

Though the dust had run its course though his system, Merrick was now feeling the fall after the high. To his frustration he also added several decent shiners and a stiff neck, curtesy of Eadwine and Thorgrim. His experiment had failed, and any hope of trying again was promptly dumped into the D’bris river as a result of Eadwine’s noble intentions. Merrick considered himself a simple sell-sword with a shady morality and past. He could never have prepared himself for what he had experienced in the months past. He knew he needed more to be able to face all he has and all that he will. In fact he wanted to ‘be’ more so that he could in days to come. Most of all he wanted power. Merrick’s stomach grumbled, he could smell the aromas of chard meats and ember roasted nuts. His companions had already taken to climbs down from the cart and he Merrick made no delays in doing the same.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:00 pm

Wylliam set himself a pace of purpose, hastily navigating the halls of Tudor Towers. He had lost much of his morning dealing with the mercenaries he had hired to deal with the assassination attempt on his father. Wylliam knew his duties as one of his father’s agents (and as his bastard son) would prevent him from acting in a more direct way. However, Wylliam was well versed in Ghenraen politics and etiquette, thanks to his mentor Emriss Rosette, and managed to circumvent these issues with a great deal of success. While Wylliam was of course concerned, and certainly would have intervened where ever possible, it was lucky that the resourceful warband were still in Van’tese when he went looking.

Despite his near overwhelming anxiety at the time, setting the resourceful warband on the hunt allowed Wylliam to continue a more academic pursuit while tending his diplomatic duties. Dorn was not pleased they had to return to Van’tese weeks earlier, especially because they had encountered the Necromancer in the Linsfeild Church (or at least what was left of it). In spite of their injuries, both mental and physical, Dorn was determined to continue the hunt. Wylliam was always thankful that no matter how stubborn his ruddy companion was, he was never completely beyond reason (less he was in a blood thirsty rage). Wylliam managed to convince Dorn that returning to Van’tese was the best course of action, as he was sure the locations they had seen in their shared nightmare were real.

From the time they reached Van’tese, Wylliam spent every moment he could rifling through the tome burdened halls of the Towers, Sagewater and the Hall of banners. To by himself time, Wylliam convinced Guthed Brozgar to commandeer Dorn’s services to help train the Militia. Which prevailed to some success until the Ravens began to flock at the Black Pegasus lofts. News of the marauding undead army north of Brightwater Lake made Dorn more impatient with each passing day and Wylliam could feel his time was running out. Soon Dorn would charge out into the wilderness with only his axes and unrelenting fury.  

Wylliam returned to the Tudor Tower’s Hall of Studies. It was not as large as the Library of Sagewater, built by his great grandfather many decades ago, but in many cases the knowledge held here was more valuable. Sages and their apprentice scholars patrolled the shelved corridors, wielding oil lanterns and scrolls, conducting research and tending their duties to the lord’s archives. Wylliam found the desk he had been working from in weeks past. It was mounted by piles of books, littered with unravelled scrolls and papers. There were more still on the nearby benches and tables surrounding him. Wylliam inwardly cursed the Tower Sages. He asked for a short list and gave them detailed recounts of what he had seen. Despite this, what the sages returned with were the piles of scribed knowledge he was now surrounded by.

Wylliam had always preferred to learn through conversation, sharing in the wisdom of others, achieving understanding through practical application. Something his mother accommodated effectively allowing Wylliam to retain a great deal of knowledge regarding the art of rituals. Academia was not beyond him as Emriss had forced him to discover, but it was tedious, mind numbing and frequently frustrating. Wylliam hoped there would be no more distractions for the rest of the day, but as he attempted to reengage his research his thoughts became clouded by the events that had transpired the night before. The warband as helpful as they have been were giving reason for Wylliam to worry. As he explored the reaches of his thoughts his mind soon reminded him of Dorn who was currently held in Blackwell. Once released, Wylliam was certain he would once more continue the hunt they had started together. Knowing this, Wylliam gripped his focus and thrust it upon the pages before him. He would be prepared for Dorn when he was released, and when they charged forth from the north gates, it would be together and it would be with purpose.

************************* In the High Hall of the East Bastion ************************

Mannah was growing impatient, and dealing with Ghenraen representatives was intensely frustrating. He was from another Age when things were handled differently, or at least he was used to dealing in such matters differently.  In an attempt to extinguish his aggravating thoughts Mannah took to walking the halls of the Bastion. As the morning matured, Mannah found himself strolling along the upper most ramparts overlooking the east fields beyond the defending walls of Van’tese.

Mannah came to a stop and surveyed the vista before him. Content he shared no company and was free from prying eyes, the Iron elf began to slowly pull a veiled object from his satchel. He stopped when a woman’s voice called from the shadows cast by the arched threshold of the stoic bastion. The voice was cold, yet haunting and somehow alluring at the same time.
“Brother, my preparations are complete. When the sun is at its highest, we can perform the ritual.”

Mannah brushed his furred cloak over the satchel and turned. “Good. You have tested my patience to its utmost, we have sat idle for too long.”

The woman hissed back, her words sharp and fearless. “Remember who you speak to brother. Do not forget yourself with me. You may have cast your shadow over this city but I am the only one who loves you in this world.”

Mannah gave pause, her words were true and any threats he could make would fall upon deaf ears. They had survived this long together, and if Mannah wished her dead he could have left her with his Bebilith, rather than hunting it down in the darkest depths of Dromgardul, beneath the Zarunn Spire.

Mannah joined his sister in the threshold. “I am sorry sister, this place is tiresome and these rituals have always been as much an inconvenience as they are a necessity.”

The lady shade placed her hand upon the Iron Elf’s shoulder. “Be patient brother, this was always going to take time. Today we will see if the Eladrin wench was successful. Make you preparations, the others will be here soon.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Fabulous on Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:55 pm

After she had clambered off of the cart, Adrysse ran her hands across her face and rubbed her eyes. Even though the past events that she had endured left her feeling exhausted, she was even more so after not having a good night's sleep. Remembering the nightmare she experienced the night before, Adrysse was secretly glad for the distraction Merick had provided earlier; although his decision of consuming some of the Dust the group had acquired was highly idiotic, it presented an excuse for the priestess to sleep in a separate room.  

"Eight and One, your time has come."

The priestess could feel her heartbeat increasing and her hands started shaking. Closing her eyes and taking a slow, deep breath, she once again tried, and failed to suppress the voices and thoughts in her head. She even noted that the voices had changed the original chant in her head.

"Eight and One, his time has come."

Knowing that she hadn't previously explained what she had experienced and what she was currently experiencing to anyone, and the more urgent tasks that her companions were focusing on, she tried desperately to recall anything to think about instead; but no matter what she tried, the voices were resilient.

"Eight and One, your time has come. Eight and One. Your time has come. Eight and One. Your time. Has come. Eight. And. One. Your. Time. Has. Come."

Every time the sentence repeated itself in the priestess' head it felt like it was getting louder and louder. She could not help but remember the spider-like legs reaching forth from the depths of the grotesquely disfigured tree, and the impaled and dismembered elves.  

With her heart trying to beat itself out of her chest, and being too focused on trying to stop the voices, Adrysse hadn't noticed that her feet had started subconsciously walking away from her companions.  

“Think on your visions priestess, when you are ready you should speak with me or someone from your temple. Those touched by the Veil, never leave unscathed and you would do well to find your ailment, however small.”


Although it was barely a whisper inside the priestess's head, the words broke through the overwhelming voices and she knew where her feet were taking her; who she could talk to about her mental struggles while her companions sorted out their supplies for the travel north.

"I'm going for a walk,' she snapped as she continued on her path.  

The priestess flinched as the words came out sharper than she had anticipated, but she didn't have time to stop and apologise for her irritation. Becoming too overborn with her thought processes at the time, she hoped desperately she found Wylliam soon.


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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:01 pm

So much had happened in the last few days it was hard to keep up, between foiled assassinations, the return of lost family and the complications that followed, facing named horrors unperturbed and learning of horrors greater still, it was taxing. Since then he had learnt the seemingly impossible task he had been sent on grew ever more difficult and may involve walking paths he thought beyond mad, but if it meant redeeming his brother, much less saving him, then that was his path.

Looking back at the wagon Torvus caught Adrysse's eye, he had called to her in desperation and when she came he didn't even have to ask her to risk the trials that magic demanded, she poured healing powers into Dante without question, she was a good person. Torvus solidified his resolve, unless it were entirely necessary then she would never learn of the consequences of healing one in Dante's state, charity and selflessness such as that should never be burdened without cause.

Torvus feared that the events to come would cast a shadow upon his companions, those who aided him without question, perhaps companion was too lenient a word; he resolved that if there were a way to spare them exposure to such profanity then he would take it.

Noticing that Adrysse had looked directly at him Torvus smiled a little and nodded at the priestess, at that he turned not noticing the priestess walking away; Torvus moved to help Thorgrim supply their voyage, there may be precious little time to hunt on the road, especially if they were to reach their destination in good time. "Thorgrim, will we have all that we need for the journey? I can provide for us, but I'm afraid that it would take time we do not have." Distracted by thought, situation and the crowd around him Torvus barely heard the priestesses words as she left.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:03 am

Thorgrim had been keeping himself distracted with lists and itinerary, There was so much to sort out and keep him moving. Always moving. At the young priestess' tone the Dwarf woke up some. "That seem odd to you?" He said to Torvus.

Guiltily Thorgrim realized he had been neglecting to even ponder the lass' well being, What with his mind occupied by everything else and most attention payed to Mentoring young Eadwine it had not occurred to him to worry about Adrysse. None the less, for now he nodded, tho she wasn't looking so he followed with a shout "Aye, just meet back hear by Noon!". Always something else to focus on.

Turning back to Torvus "Aye, I'd say it best to defer to your wisdom. It's why we hired ye, Can i trust you to gather what we need? Kindle, Warm clothes and bedding, Food and water. Whatever you think we need." Thorgrim handed Torvus enough money for the job.

"I need to sort some business out before we go, Won't Be long." he said to the rest of the party. He waved some letters, including the papers for the Warbands name. "Ill just be Sending these letters and Saying good buy to me Kin. Back by noon no doubt."

Waiting just long enough to see what the group would be up to and that they would be back in time. He handed out some coin for anything that was needed before trotting off to meet Dorn in the Hospital...

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:41 am

Merick shook his head back and forth to clear his mind but that only served to agitate his pounding headache. It hurt worse than any drunken hangover he'd ever experienced and not even the generous hunks of meat at the Malt 'n' Boar had taken the edge off. The worst part of it was that the damn dust hadn't done shit but make him go on a massive trip. No magic powers or anything. Kreet probably did something to it back in the Scarlet Wench, he thought to himself and he scowled openly.

He stewed in his frustration and embarrassment for quite a while and it was only when his stomach loudly protested that Merick realised the cart had stopped. All of the others had already hopped out and Merick hurried to join them. His body protested as he slid off the back of the cart; it appeared his injuries from Dante and his drug-filled sleep tied to a chair had left him feeling sore all over.

Everyone was busy preparing for the trip north and Merick's mood soured again. He'd made it plainly obvious that he disagreed with trying to tackle an entire army of undead monsters but apparently his new friends were on the side of doing the right thing, even if it got them killed. The legendary Dwarven stubbornness was on full display in Thorgrim and there was nothing Merick could do to convince him otherwise. He just hoped the coin was worth it.

His eyes wandered across the market stalls and his belly rumbled at the smells of cooked meats, fresh bread, and something he wasn't quite sure of. It looked like stew. Merick was shaken out of his reverie by Thorgrim's shout at Adrysse and he only caught a glimpse of her before the crowds swallowed her. He pressed a hand to his forehead and limply waved goodbye to Thorgrim as he also wandered off. It was just him, Torvus, and Eadwine at this point.

"Oh yeah," Merick said as he withdrew a bundle of cloth from his pack and held it out to Eadwine. "Thank you for the cloak the other night Eadwine. I'm sorry about what happened to it but I'm no good at fixing the holes and tears and stuff."

"If we're all going to take care of a few things, I might go and find a cloak of my own. Also some grub," he said as his belly grumbled again before waving goodbye to Torvus and Eadwine.

Merick meandered through the crowds, picking his way to different stalls and acquiring a chicken pie along the way. His head still ached and the more he walked the more he was reminded of how his body needed rest. When he finally stopped moving, it was fortunate that he had stopped at some sort of cloth merchant. The merchant, a tall and limber man not much older than he was, asked him if he was interested in anything. Merick rubbed his eyes and pointed at a light brown cloak that looked like it would keep him warm. The merchant nodded in agreement and said it was a fine choice.

"Are you happy with the colour, mister?" the merchant enquired as he rubbed his hands eagerly in anticipation of a sale.

"What?" Merick's focus drifted in and out and he had to concentrate to figure out what the merchant had said. Damn this headache. "Oh, yeah. It's fine."

Upon leaving twenty silver pieces lighter and with a new cloak clasped around his neck, Merick glanced around at the markets that he had been perusing. A few of the locals were looking at him strangely and he shook his dreadlocks around to clear his thoughts. That proved unsuccessful and he was suddenly pondering an important question.

Where had they left the cart?

The Cloak:
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Fabulous on Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:09 pm

Making her way through the crowded market place towards Tudor Towers, the priestess suddenly got a flash of the alchemist's face in her head and, stunned, stopped with a jerky motion in her tracks.

It was her fault Meryn was dead.  

With another thought to add on top of the overwhelming others, she started jogging and pressing through the crowds, more insistent to find Wylliam; she couldn't deal with much more. Adrysse couldn't stop blaming herself for the events that had occurred; they all happened because she hadn't stopped Dante and his transformation.  

"Eight to One, your time has come." "It's all your fault." "Eight to One, your time has come." "It's all your fault."  


The voices melded together in her head and she could no longer decipher which voice was accusing her of what. Noticing a panic attack setting in, the priestess tried her hardest to take slow, deep breaths and concentrate on light, peace and calmness and she broke into a run. Adrysse didn't have any companions with her that could help her if she succumbed to a panic attack; she was alone. She wasn't scared of being alone, she was scared of what would happen to her if she was alone when she panicked. If worst came to worst, at least the priestess had her relic she could use to influence people of her importance; but she wouldn't take advantage of it, Adrysse would only use it if she absolutely needed to. Hopefully it didn't come to that; the priestess didn't care for fame but if Adrysse wanted to be known, it would be because of who she was, not because she possessed a trinket.  

Seeing the Tudor Towers coming closer and closer in sight, the priestess released a sigh of relief, and slowed her pace to a quick jog. The panic had disappeared but there was still slight anxiety running through her. Her heart was pounding, but that was because of the running also, and her hands were still shaking; the thoughts had quietened during her panic but now were starting to rear up again. Trying to distract herself and stay on the train of thoughts she was having previously, she managed to keep the voices at a constant volume in her head.  

"Eight and One, your time has come." "It's all your fault." "Eight and One, your time has come." "It's all your fault."  

Still, she wished they were slightly quieter. Feeling a headache start to set in, the priestess felt like kicking herself for leaving her water skin back in the cart. Pushing on, Adrysse knew she'd reach Tudor Towers soon. Hopefully Wylliam wasn't busy with other more important things.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:46 pm

It was nigh about twenty minutes before Merick reckoned he knew the way back to the cart. He had perched himself on one of the crates as he dumbly tried to recount his steps and where he had wandered. The sound of people hustling and bustling around the market was a constant roar that pounded at his head but he managed to focus his mind on where he had to go.

Merick pushed off from the crate and immediately staggered forward. His legs felt like they could collapse at any moment and he squinted as spots appeared in front of him. Still the roaring continued. Merick stood up as tall as he could and he willed his legs to move forward. His body howled in agony but he slowly walked forth and began to make his way through the crowd. Mothers held onto their little children while others glared at him in hostility as he stumbled along the street. Although he could not see it, Merick cast a grim figure: his eyes were red-rimmed and blood shot, his cheeks were sunken and pallid, and he was hunched over like an old quarryman.

He continued on in fierce determination and in defiance of his body’s screams of pain. There were only a few more blocks before where he believed the cart was and he promised his body that they could collapse once they got there. His legs said otherwise as he buckled and flailed out to his left and latched onto a boulder-shaped man. Merick could dimly make out someone shouting angrily before he was shoved aside and into the slurry of mud and snow in the centre of the street. Pain rocked through him again and he could scarcely cry for help over the deafening roar that assaulted his ears. He glanced to his right and he glimpsed a large shape moving towards him and the sound of rumbling thunder cut through the roar. His voice cried out for help again but it was barely more than a whimper.

Merick suddenly felt himself slide across the ground and lifted up as the thunder passed him by. Someone was carrying him and he smelt wet leather and stale sweat. The roaring of the markets died down and the glare of the sun also disappeared. Even through his dazed state of mind, Merick realised that he had no idea where he was or who was carrying him and he vainly tried to jostle around. His mouth was parched but he still tried to speak to whomever it was that held him.

“Where are we going?”

“Ease up, buttercup.” The gravelly voice of a man lanced into his ears and Merick winced in pain. “We’re almost there.”

Merick counted the steps the man was taking but he kept losing track after six every time he tried. Their surroundings became dimmer and dimmer before suddenly they stopped. The other man placed Merick on the ground and he thought he could smell rotted fruit nearby. He looked up at the man and he saw him wave at something off to his right. Merick tried to focus on his face but, even without the harsh glare of the sun, he could not make out his features aside from his bright blue eyes.

“Here.” The man squatted down in front of him and held something in his hand. It looked like some sort of powder and Merick tried to bat it away from him to no avail. “Salts will make you feel better, alright. Sniff it up.”

The man’s hand came towards Merick’s nose and he didn’t really have a choice now. He just hoped that the guy wasn’t trying to peddle some sort of drug. He’d had enough of those for a while. Merick snorted hard and he felt the powder burn the insides of his nostrils. He yelped in pain as it entered his body but he almost immediately began to feel his head clear. His muscles began to feel good again and his vision started to refocus. Unfortunately whatever this powder was hit his headache like a battering ram and he cursed at the agony.

“Chew on this.” The man held some sort of tree bark in his hand and Merick eagerly snatched it from him and began to chew furiously. The bark must have been a remedy as he felt a numbness start to spread from his mouth until it hit the centre of his skull. The pain began to subside but Merick continued to munch on it to make him feel better. It was only after about a minute of intense chewing that he finally looked at the man in front of him.

“You!” Merick blurted in surprise as he gazed at the man. The jawline beard and the long brown hair; the ear to ear grin that adorned his face; the mischievous gleam in his eyes. There was no doubt about it.

“No. Us.” Merick turned at the voice and he saw two other men step out of the shadows. One was a young man not much older than twenty with close shaven blond hair and a toothy grin on his face. The other was tall and upright with immaculately trimmed black hair. Two prominent Elven ears poked out as his hazel eyes gazed at Merick’s slack jawed expression.

“So,” the Faceless Elf began calmly, “where to begin?”


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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:21 pm

Sir Euan Bellamy stood boldly upon the Vigilance Ramparts. His hair was short and cropped, and he was as clean shaven as a Ghenraen could be when one only had a knife and a small mirror handy. The knights mask was simple, with a wreath of small spiked plated shields across the forehead. Despite being regularly polished and maintained, his armour never seemed to relinquish its battle worn appearance, not to his squires or to the north watch smiths. It had been winter for a few weeks now and the battle tested knight found he was already wishing for the warmth of summer. However, this was not the peak of his concern or frustration. In fact, compared to his current frustrations the winter frosts were of little concern to him.

Sir Bellamy cast his gaze down upon the lower cascades of the fortress. The few hundred soldiers he had were performing drills, shooting, halberd and sword combat, physical conditioning. The few that weren’t were manning their posts across the three aegis towers of North Watch, Vigilance, Honour and Courage. From the lowest tier, carried upon the chilled crisp air Bellamy could smell and unmistakable scent of burning coals rising from the workshops below. The few smiths and craftsmen he had at his disposal were working as hard as he was able to push them.

The North Watch was designed to be manned by one thousand able fighters. Yet Bellamy was only afforded three hundred Brightlen soldiers and a meagre fifty militia who had either seen too few or too many winters. Bellamy grimaced, he knew Marquis was under pressure and was presumably in a far more difficult position than he but Bellamy had served in the northern crusade. He knew what his defence was likely to face in the coming weeks. An enemy that didn't tend the rules of war as closely as he or his fellow man did, or even the rules of mortality for that matter.

He had sent word to Sir Gylliam days ago, urging him to relinquish the Monastery to aid in the Defence of the North Watch and the evacuation of the North Lake villages and thorps but there was no response. His cavalry had managed to safe many North Lake villagers but it was a bitter sweet victory. Soon Bellamy would be forced to line them along the North Watch walls, rifles in hand to add numbers without skill to his defences.

Bellamy knew this fortress, he had spent much of his military career here. He supposed that was why Lord Adhmar recalled him from the crusade. Even with such a meagre force, a man with his knowledge of this fortress could hold far better than any other lacking his experience. Though, that was a thought only applicable when facing the mundane and not the abominable tide that was trudging towards him.

The veteran knight threw his gaze over the Fortress walls and scanned the distances, as if searching for some tactical advantage he may have missed. The frosts were setting in on Brightwater Lake which had already conjured a thin plate of ice across its surface reaching near a kilometre off the shore. In the event his defence crumbled there were few options for retreat and only one was actually feasible. Retreat via the lake would men his forces would need to reach Norshore docks unhindered, and even if they did, there were not enough boats. The army he would soon face was closing in from the east, leaving only the west trail open. Though this would only lead to Rochford and would only serve to prolong their inevitable deaths. This left Coward’s Reach, the only feasible retreat option. Though he had never once in this thirty odd years in defence of this fortress witnessed its use, and he wasn’t about to change that.

Bellamy reluctantly looked out to the east. All along the north shore he could see rising smoke, scarcely veiled by the hostile weather. It was a foreboding sight, a demoralising sight, it lashed his soul to think of the countless he could not reach. He smothered his rising rage with discipline. This kingdom’s politics would be its undoing, in addition to his call to Sir Gylliam, Bellamy had also called for permission to appeal to Auskell for aid. He even opened the Silver hall and sent word to the wardens. Alas, Lord Brightlen rejected the appeal instead sending him the fifty militia, and the wardens were yet to respond. All Bellamy could do know is prepare all he had, and fight to his last breath.    

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:32 am

So much had happened that he could scarcely take it in. Eadwine clung to three things; Thorgrim's stolid assurance, the fact that money had been provided for his family for another month, and Milburga's instructions. He repeated the latter as though they were a mantra.

Step 1: identify your known and unknown variables.
Step 2: identify how to find the latter.
Step 3: implement a plan.
Step 4: continually re-adjust as necessary.
...

Charlotte's accusations hung about his head, weighing on his thoughts. Some stung him, others riled him; how was Eadwine supposed to avoid be drafted to the King's army? Why would he have added his support to Charlotte's outburst in the Lord's court, when doing so would lead to loss of the Lord's support?

Still, he hoped she was safe; as safe as one could be, travelling through hostile lands to an occupied city. Blast! Eadwine did want to help, but he wasn't going to stick his neck out prematurely!

Unbidden, Rosette's words floated through Eadwine's consciousness.
``How many people are on your side?'' the Lord's assistant had asked.
``Just one at the moment,'' replied Eadwine. Rosette appeared to deflate a little as he contemplated the alchemy student's apparent thickness.
``Your title only has as much meaning as the people who rally to it give it,'' came the explanation, carefully devoid of patronising tone.


Eadwine's gaze snapped abruptly back into the here and now. Here was a way he could play Charlotte's game and do his duty.

``Thorgrim, I...''
Eadwine realised that he was alone with the cart, though people pushed past it on both sides. For some reason he held a cloak which smelt faintly of alchemicks and sweat; the one he had left with Merrick.

How out of character that he would not notice the departure of his companions, especially considering how closely he had come to rely on them in the past days!

No matter; they were capable people and Eadwine would only start worrying when reason showed itself. He knew they all had enough on their plates.

Jumping back onto the wagon, he pulled out his notebook and tore out two pages. Then, balancing his inkwell on the seat beside him, Eadwine began to write, trying not to get ink on his new tabard. He largely succeeded, but some flecks of the gall ink spattered the royal blue fabric. No matter... there would be worse stains on it soon, reckoned the young scholar.

Milburga,
I thank you again, deeply, for the years of mentoring you have given me. Your teaching and your companionship have been an unspeakable balm to me through my trials. If I were the praying type, I would pray for your long life, good health and success.
You have risked much for me already, but I ask you to do so again.
You have no doubt heard that Lord Brightlen bestowed a title upon me; Champion of Van'Tese. This title means nothing without the support of the people. With their support, I will have some leverage to change the sorry state of our Kingdom.
If it is possible, please try to spread some word about the expedition I am heading out on. If I survive then the notoriety might be useful; if not then be sure to turn me into a martyr for our cause.
I have included details on a separate leaf. They are deliberately vague so that intelligence does not fall into the wrong hands. Please, do your best to spread the news and garner public support.
With my warmest regards,
Eadwine.


On the other sheet he wrote, in flowery letters,
Eadwine,
a child of Auskell,
and CHAMPION of VAN'TESE
by the decree of
LORD BRIGHTLEN
this day sets forth with the noble
WARBAND OF THORGRIM
to defend the
town of Rocheford,
the soldiers and citizens of Brightwater,
and the dwarves of the Crystal Forge Clan
from the foul depredations of the
Orc
and the
Undead
and
TRAITORS AGAINST THE CITIZENS OF GHENRAEL

Satisfied, he rolled these two leaves together and stuck the inkwell on top to stop them blowing away in the chill wind. The scholar rummaged in the back of the cart until he found his sheathed rapier, and decided that he would make arrangements for it to make its way to Milburga with the letter.

He gave Ringo V and Josline a biscuit of hay in their nosebags to keep them occupied, not being too familiar with horses. Then he sat and absently inspected the alchemy equipment he had been gifted, making a list of compounds and goods he'd need. Really, he was considering what to do about Charlotte.

Quick glances around the crowd, at an ever-increasing frequency, did little to alleviate the dull worry sitting in Eadwine's stomach. Where were the others?


Last edited by Mifurey on Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:50 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Spelling and formatting)
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:25 am

After twenty minutes or so Eadwine had finished inspecting the alchemy kit without incident.

Externally, the kit was a simple wooden box bound with brass strips and held closed with a wide leather strap and clasp. It was a bulky object around three feet long, half that in width, and approximately nine inches in depth.

Even a casual observer could tell that this was an heirloom of sorts, handed from master to student for decades; this could be deduced from the patina of age on the metal, and the polishing of the wood around the clasp by thousands of openings and closings. However, Eadwine, with his university education, knew that each kit was unique, and lineages of alchemical students could be identified merely by inspecting their kits.

It made him proud to be Milburga's student. Truly he was in her debt.

Internally, Eadwine's new kit was a carefully-organised and intricate creation of leather, wood, glass, fabric and parchment. Releasing the leather strap revealed that the top of the case opened outwards in two halves; the right became a small scribing table, complete with inkwell, and the left became a platform on which to mount a small set of folding scales and a test tube stand. A wooden platform then folded up from inside the kit, revealing a toolkit of pliers, tweezers, shears, tongs, a small hammer, and a magnifying glass.

The inside of the kit was divided into eight compartments, mostly padded with quilted cloths. Four of these, comprising the far row, were vividly coloured, and three were dull; one was completely un-lined.

The colourful compartments---red, blue, brown and white---represented the four elements, and were used to store raw or refined materials. These were currently empty, as alchemicks typically did not remain potent for long unless stored under specific conditions. Eadwine would have to replenish his stocks at the marketplace.

One held glassware in padded packaging; flasks, tubes, globes, beakers, watchglasses and so on. The fragilty of glass was an unfortunate reality of alchemy, given its many uses, so everything was wrapped in cloth to protect it.

Another contained protective gear including thick hide gloves that came up to Eadwine's elbows, waterproofing wax, and an apron which was treated to be fire retardant. There was also a set of goggles, but Eadwine did not expect to need these; he had his smoked glass eyepiece for the same occasions that one would require these goggles for.

The third non-elemental compartment held miscellaneous gear. There was a mortar and pestle nestled in the bottom next to a metal funnel, and the folded scales usually sat on top. Jammed next to these was a tripod which could hold beakers during experiments or extraction procedures.

The final, un-lined section was filled with an assortment of dry kindling and a foot-long seax which doubled as knife and hatchet. Fire was crucially important in alchemy, particularly Eadwine's brand of it. Another unfortunate fact; alchemical extractions and fires were a potent and uncontrollable combination, unless one had a mage handy.

Eadwine nearly forgot; at the base of the box was a drawer which could be opened independently of the rest of the kit, held in place with a small bronze catch. In this drawer were instructions on basic alchemical procedures, a simple categorisation guide (to assist in guessing which elemental aethers could be distilled from a particular object), and some of Milburga's field notes from her days working on saltpetre caravans. Eadwine added his own sheaf of notes into the compartment.

He looked up yet again and cast his eyes around the marketplace. There was no evidence of his companions. Fortunately none of the stall owners had asked Eadwine to move the cart; he could ride, but not steer a team of horses.

He gingerly packed eveything away and hopped down from the cart, rubbing his limbs to inject some heat back into them. Blowing on his hands, he began to worry in earnest.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:45 pm

Merrick’s haze started to fade. He recognised the blonde elf almost immediately. It was Aatrion, the faceless assassin the group had crossed paths with when they thwarted the assassination attempted on Lord Adhmar’s life (which would have been successful, if it weren’t for the timely intervention of Thorgrim’s Warband). The warband had cost Aatrion a great deal as a result of their meddling and it seemed the faceless were here to remedy their losses.  

Merrick looked around. It was immediately apparent that the malevolent trio had carried him into the labyrinth of alleys far from sympathetic or lawful eyes and ears. Last Merrick had seen these Faceless assassins they were disguised as servants to the Lord. Now they were dressed as commoners, best described as unremarkable, which Merrick knew would allow them to fade in and out of the crowded city streets seamlessly. Free of their former guises, Merrick was now able to see the each assassin wholly for the first time.

Aatrion looked as any elf did to a human, sporting the same alluring features common among his kin. His hair was kept short however and around his head the elf had tied a linen bandana, a common practise among the dock rats of Auskell. Still crouched before him was the burly man who had carried Merrick into the shadows. It was a Mul, and like most he was bald, and as Merrick had noticed earlier the brawny thug had a short, thick and slightly scruffy beard. His features were rugged and unappealing, an obvious result of the wharf pit brawling circuit in addition to the harsh sun and salty sea air. Finally there was the younger human who had filled the role of cup bearer during the assassination attempt days earlier. While his demeanour was defiantly a reflection of his chosen occupation, it was obvious to the more experienced and notorious that he was lesser in both qualities.

The Mul rose to his feet once Merrick had regained some semblance of focus and loomed over him. Merrick’s attention was then snatched by Aatrion as he began to pace from left to right before them both clicking his fingers factiously has he begin to speak.

“Where to begin… you and your companions have put my employer at a lost Merrick. 4g worth of Dust, simply dumped into the sewer, a tragedy if every I heard one. You also cost us the full sum of 500 silver pieces for the assassination of the lord, not to mention the deaths of thirty of our recruits.” The elf stepped over to Merrick and dropped the tarnished copper button into Merrick’s hand. It was the Cobalt Key’s vest button, and the only item he could offer towards Eadwine’s ransom when the warband confronted the faceless. Aatrion continued.

“Merrick, we want our dues. You see, The Faceless rather like Van'tese. Its big, the populous is impressionable and there are so many nooks and crannies for us to burrow into. We plan to stay here you see, set up shop. Were that not the case, we would not have bothered to set up a Dust supply. However,  to our frustration, you and your merry band of mercenaries have hindered our assimilation into this wonderful city and to top it off our intended benefactor is dead. Though, just like you we are resourceful and we will see our plans fully realised.”

Aatrion ceased pacing, and turned to stare at Merrick. His facetious tone turned dark and the threat he spoke next may had been brushed aside with the same disregard Merrick usually exorcized in under such circumstances, but this time was different.

“The Jailer has left the Wharfs of Auskell to drown in its own anarchy and has come to Van’tese. In fact, he was the one who masterminded much of the assassination attempt on the Lord and forged the alliance with the Chavalier. The actions of 'Thorgrim's Warband has gained his attention Merrick, and you’ve all successfully pissed him off…”

Merrick felt a mix of pride and defiance blended with concern, and maybe even fear. The Jailer was a ruthless Crime Lord, a notorious spectre, a person who moved from here to there as fast as rumors. One as hard to catch as it was to catch smoke in your bare hands. Few had seen The Jailer and no one who was stupid enough to cross this living shadow were snatched from the streets only to be mailed piece by piece to those closest to them. Along with all else he knew of The Jailer, Merrick knew if he was involved, the demands he would make and the consequences for failure would be very.

“You see Merrick, 400 silver pieces is a lot of coin, and 4 gold pieces worth of Dust is a lot of drugs to simply be dumped in the sewers. The Jailer, is hurt by your betrayal, but understands that you my have found new friends. He simply wants you and your companions to pay he what he is owed. Surely one of you knew we wouldn't let such trespassed go unpunished. Hell, your warband destroyed one of our hideouts, killing many of our people in the process. Now… you might know that the Jailer is an accomplished economist, able to value objects with a glancing appraisal. Lucky for your warband, he has begun collecting found something that belongs to each of you that would cover the expenses you have incurred upon our operations, including the compounding interest, in addition to the inflicted psychological damage. So he has taken the liberty of accepting each of your tributes as compensation. As an honest Merchant he has also decided to award you a weekly return on such an investment. He has asked me to give you a forward payment as a sign of good will.”

Aatrion reached into his pocket and removed small leather pouch handing it to Merrick. The gruff mercenary regarded the pouch with suspicion before loosening the draw strings and reaching inside. From is confines, Merrick removed a blood stained linen cloth. He began to unravel it and within moments an ear fell from its binds into Merrick’s lap.

The three assassins grinned darkly as Aatrion spoke once more. “The Jailer also has an offer that you and your companions can take advantage of at any time. Should you wish to exchange your original investment for a preferred currency, you can by contacting us and negotiating an exchange. We look forward to doing business with Thorgrim's Warband for the foreseeable future Merrick Sarles."

As the elf finished, Merrick felt a sharp impact strike him up side his head before his consciousness was snatched from him. He awoke later to the sound of three Watchmen calling out at him from the end of the alley. The ear and bloodied linen cloth was still in his lap but was currently hidden from the Guards view. Merrick used to be an enforcer for the faceless, and now he was being subjected to the same tactics he used to exercise on others.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:38 pm

Merick stirred at the sound of shouting that echoed down the alleyway and groaned as he felt the throbbing pain in his forehead. A swollen lump had formed just above his left eye and he quietly cursed himself. He had been so focused on the damn elf that he hadn't even noticed the filthy mul getting ready to beat his head in.

"Oi you! What are you doing?" one of the city guards called out.

"Just had a sit down is all. Nothing wrong here," Merick replied as he quickly stuffed the ear and the cloth into the little compartment on his belt where he kept Meryn's last experimental concoction. He'd rather not get in trouble for having a bloody ear that wasn't his own.

The guards murmured to themselves before wandering off and Merick quickly returned to the hustle of the markets. He shielded his eyes as he stepped out from the gloom of the alleyway and looked around to see where he was. Now that his head was clear, Merick roughly recognised where he was in the marketplace and he turned left to head towards the cart. Noon was still a ways off but he had his fill of wandering the markets today.

As he trudged back through the grimy mud that seemed to line the main street, he thought on what Aatrion had said. Four hundred silver and four gold worth of drugs was a lot and he'd rightly be pissed off as well. Shit. How could he ever get that sort of coin in a hurry? He felt the horseshoe in his pocket and he wondered when his luck would finally turn.

Merick thought about the ear that was now in the case on his hip. There was no way that it belonged to anyone from his family; that just wasn't possible unless The Jailer was some sort of super wizard that could travel tens of kilometres instantly. Still, he couldn't help but worry about his family: his mum, his dad, Corvo, and Ellie. He mouthed a silent prayer for them. Look after them Grandma Beth.

Merick had been with the Faceless long enough to know about The Jailer. One does not f@#k with The Jailer. The most heinous and diabolical stories were told about him and Merick had thought and hoped that The Jailer had been sucked dry like the other bigwigs in that warehouse back in Auskell. The fact that he hadn't and that he was now pissed at Merick and the others was not good. Not good at all.

Merick had been pretty happy being a lowly thug in the Faceless. He'd demand a bit of protection money here, break a few fingers and noses there, and just let everyone know who was boss. He'd heard stories about the other Faceless what with the torture and the drugs and other horrible stuff. That's all that he thought they had been: stories. I guess it makes sense then. Without the bosses to keep them in check, the crazies went berserk, Merick pondered as he rounded a corner and saw the cart in front of him. Just a shame that one of the worst psychos didn't go on a one way trip to hell.

"Eadwine!" Merick called out as he saw Eadwine blowing on his hands to ward off the cold. Merick presented a fairly lamentable sight: a bruise the size of a small egg had taken residence on his forehead and he was now wrapped in a cloak that looked as though it had been smeared in mud and filth. The underlying sunflower colour of the cloak poked out through the grime in several places and was almost equally unappealing. Despite his appearance, Merick managed to crack a smile at his pristine friend.

"Have you been waiting all this time, Eadwine? What have you been doing?"
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:10 pm

Eadwine looked around with relief, but his heart sank as he looked over his companion.
"What have I been doing?" the alchemist exclaimed, inspecting Merrick. The thief had acquired a new cloak, which looked to have been rolled in filth, and was decorated by a livid red lump on his forehead. "You look like you've been in a pit-fight. Not more after-effects I hope?"

Something didn't add up though; Merrick no longer bore the glazed expression he had worn all the way to the market in the morning, and he absently fiddled with the pouch at his waist as he stood grinning.

"Is everything all right?" Eadwine asked in an undertone, stepping closer to the mercenary.


Last edited by Mifurey on Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Punctuation.)
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:42 pm

The smile faded from Merick's face as Eadwine moved towards him. He didn't think he was letting on that anything was wrong but maybe Eadwine was good at reading people. It was either that or Merick was bad at keeping a straight face. That would explain why he kept losing at cards.

"You're pretty good at figuring stuff out, aren't ya Eady?" Merick leaned in closer and dropped his voice to a whisper. The clamour of the market almost drowned out what he said next. "I bumped into some people, some Faceless people specifically. Turns out they weren't too happy about us ruining their plans for killing the lord and they're out for payback. I got lucky," he said as he tapped the bruise on his forehead. "I heard they usually scar people that cost them as much as we did."

Merick moved past Eadwine to the back of the cart and he hopped up to seek some privacy. He gestured for Eadwine to join him and he waited for him to clamber inside before resuming the conversation. "Five hundred silver and four gold pieces. That's apparently what we owe them for all of their stuff that we wrecked." He let the sheer amount of coin hang in the air before continuing. "These Faceless are downright dangerous. I mean, I'm scum o' the earth but these guys are brute killers and real nasty people. They're led by one of the nastiest sons of bitches that I ever heard about back in Auskell and that's not good at all. This guy, this Jailer, he had a rep you see. He liked to bleed people and make examples of them and not in a nice way."

Merick nervously chewed his lip as he continued on. "I only heard stories, you know. About what happened if you crossed the Jailer. One by one your friends and family would vanish. Unless you settled whatever score or insult you caused, you'd get your lost ones back one carved up bit at a time." He ran his fingers through his hair before opening the case on his belt and retrieving the bloody cloth and the severed ear. He placed it on the floor of the cart between them and let it sit there in silence for a few moments. "It's bloody cowardly but those Faceless gave me this," Merick pointed at the bloody ear, "to show that we're now in his bad books. They said they were going after stuff we cared about. I don't know about you but that sounds like they're going after our families."

Merick sucked air in through his teeth and he shuddered involuntarily as he brought his knees up to his chest. "F@#k Eadwine, what are we going to do? We don't have that kind of money and they said that they'd give us cuts every week if we didn't pay up. Our families are going to pay for what we did and the bastards are just going to get away with it. What do we do to fix this?"
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:55 pm

Eadwine grew progressively paler as Merrick spoke, and he soon forgot the cold outside; the coldness growing inside was overwhelming. The Jailor was notorious; his exploits often featured in the Black Pegasus Times.

When the mercenary unveiled his bloody bundle Eadwine gagged a little and flushed, suddenly hot. He steadied himself with long breaths through his nose, until the cold air rushing in made his nostrils sear with pain.

He could not---would not---believe that his family was in danger, again. Blasted Faceless. Even Merrick was scared of them.

Morbidly, he poked at the ear. It looked to be a man's ear, though it was difficult to tell. The Key?

"We need to find the others," Eadwine said to Merrick, placing a hand on his shoulder. "They can't handle us as a group."

"As for our families"---he paused, imagining Aethel, Hrald and Father---"I think they are blessedly out of harm's way for the next week or two." With a gulp, Eadwine considered the fact that The Jailor might be working with multiple blasted warlocks. Hopefully none could communicate telepathically.

Merrick looked up and seemed to relax marginally. Eadwine looked him in the eye and tried to give a wry smile. It didn't work. "Let's hope this doesn't detract from the Key's rugged good looks," he said, indicating the ear.

Maybe a trip from the North Watch to Auskell was in order... After dealing with the undead. Merrick and Eadwine together could definitely attempt that journey. Best not to mention it to Merrick yet though.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:51 pm

Thorgrim traveled with due haste to the Hospital where his Cousin Dorn was being held. He had reasoned that he had enough time to visit the younger dwarf and drop by the Dwarven Embassy swiftly before he was due back at the cart.

In the small private room afforded Sir Wylliam’s Ward, Dorn was still resting after yesterday's events and the resulting surgeries. It was clear the dwarf would not be mobile enough to journey soon, and would be lucky to be out of the hospital by week’s end. But then again Dorn had always had a stubborn streak about him. Much like his late mother in that regard, Ancestors rest her soul, thought Thorgrim.

Thorgrim was anxious about waking the Slayer, and contemplated leaving a letter instead. As he weighed his options, he spotted Dorn’s axe lying in pride of place atop the remains of the slayer’s gear and clothing. It was a relic of the Dwarven people, though in truth it was but a damaged shadow of its former glory. It had once belonged to Thorgrim's love, High Queen Aranna, and back then it had been a powerful weapon. Mastery of Dwarfen metalsmithing, combined with Elven design, it had been a symbol of a time when the two races were close, though such things were now lost to time. Thorgrim recalled the stories he was told of the weapon, and had the eye to read them in the golden knoctork runes that lined the weapon. His own clan, the Crystalforges, had a part in its forging. They had used their art to empower a large diamond to enchant the weapon’s many runes. Both Dwarven and Elven artisans had worked on every aspect of the Axe, so the legends say. Thorgrim remembered with sweet sorrow the lass that had once born the weapon to great effect. He did not know when the weapon was damaged; however, it was intact when he had fallen to save the Queen. It seemed right that the Crystalforges took up the Axe, as they had taken in much of what was left of the Thunderforge Clan, and Thorgrim did not begrudge Dorn for wielding it. There was a large crack on the back of the heavy blade, and the diamond that had taken pride of place was gone. The Axe was mortal again, And to Thorgrims experienced hands, ever so slightly out of balance.

“You’re lucky ye’re an Elder, else yee’d be in Trouble for touchin’ that!” growled the deep voice of Dorn, not without humour and a little too weakly. Thorgrim smiled, and over-reverently placed the Axe back down within reach of Dorn’s good arm.

“How are ye healing Lad” Thorgrim said. Dorn tested some of his limbs and grunted in pain. “Fine” was his sullen answer. Thorgrim nodded silently and contemplated where to start.

“We are to head North to Northwatch. There we will put the Right of Exorcism to the test and try stop the army from being positioned to strike at our people” Thorgrim Braced as he finished the sentence. Dorn began to struggle out of his retraining bandages.

“What are we waitin’ for then, ey?” he said, his ire and urge to get to action rising.

“We, are waiting for nothing. We leave before noon. You are waiting to heal properly before going anywhere,” Thorgrim reasoned, trying to lay the blow as gently as he was able.

“Bollocks to that! I'm going!” shouted Dorn, now tearing at bandages. Thorgrim grappled to restrain the younger Dwarf, and caught a fist in the chin for his efforts. Dorn was even stronger than he recalled, but Thorgrim was lucky the dwarf’s left arm was still in a cast and robbed of the brunt of the blow. “I’ll not miss the fight! Not again!” The younger Dwarfs anguished cry finally drew in the attention of nurses, who, having no knowledge of Dwarvish,, simply stood back from the two burly dwarfs and awaited a doctor.

“No you will not! But his is not that fight!” responded Thorgrim, his commanding tone getting a modicum of attention from the Slayer, slowing but not stopping the struggle. “The others said the Banishment at the Cathedral would have set Him Back a time, That will be the true battle. We know there is another army out there unaccounted for. Him and that one will be the True Battle and you are the one sworn to be there, to die there.”

Dorn stopped struggling, and waved away the panicking doctor, who continued to try sedate him until Thorgrim sent him off in no unsure words. “Then what’ll I Do ey? I canne simply sit around and do nothin’! The Elf does his research the hard way and i sit around command’n chumps to jump. Now a week in a bed after not even havin’ a chance ta fight the Arachn’Tor.” Dorn’s pride was clearly as wounded as the rest of him, And so long without purpose was taking its toll on the Slayer. Thorgrim knew the feeling all too well.

“You won’t. Not any longer than it will take you to mend at least. But mend you must, for you will need your strength to survive to make the death you Seek. And if i'm being honest, I hope even that challenge won't kill you. The clan could use you back, even after He is done with.” Thorgrim handed Dorn a small journal. “I’ve made copies of all i've got and learned of Him. You already know most of it, But There is a new lead for you and the Lordling Will to follow.” Thorgrim lowered his voice. “Mannah Roth was alive in the time of the Old Kingdom of Cestradin, or so he claims. We know the Necromancer wishes to see that realm returned, so can deduce he is also of that empire. The two were probably pen pals back in the day.” Thorgrim said with incredulity. “Point is he mentioned a place to search, It's all in there. Could be a trap, But if anyone can make the truth of it and get out alive it's you two”

Dorn accepted the proffered book, taking the time to commit the place to memory. “Aye. That’ll do,” he said. The two Dwarfs shook hands in the warrior's way, grasping wrists, and Dorn wished Thorgrim luck as he went on his way.

Thorgrim made haste to the Embassy, and made solemn farewells to the few remaining Dwarfs in the City. It was a sombre scene, Each of them knowing this may be the last they see of old Thorgrim the Daft, as they had once known him. He returned the gold lent to him for his clothes a few days prior, and passed on a collection of letters to be sent, including the Mercenary registration, and a letter to Kasper that he payed extra to have sent under guarded priority to Rockford.

“THE LETTER HERE”

With businesses concluded and farewells said, Thorgrim made good time back to the Cart and his compatriots.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:56 am

Merick hadn't realised he had started shaking until he felt Eadwine's hand rest on his shoulder. He nodded as Eadwine spoke sense about the Jailer. There was surely no way they could have gotten to their families yet. It was all just bluster and bullshit right now. The threat was still very real though and he could tell Eadwine was worried too. Merick had never gotten to ask Eadwine what had happened to his family that made him take up the sword.

"Let's hope this doesn't detract from the Key's rugged good looks." Merick followed Eadwine's hand and stared at the ear. He hadn't gotten a good look at the Key's face behind that mask of his but he didn't think he'd be dumb enough to get caught again. It was odd that Eadwine had assumed that the Key had fallen afoul of the Faceless again, particularly after what had happened. Very odd.

Wait a moment. Merick patted his pockets down for that thing that Aatrion had dropped right before he started rambling. His fingers felt a small, metal disc and he fished it out of his right pocket. It was the bland button that the Cobalt Key had contributed to pay off the Faceless.

"Oh that motherf@#ker!" Merick's loud exclamation rattled around the inside of the cart and he had clearly caught Eadwine off guard. He held the button between his thumb and forefinger and showed it to Eadwine. "That's how those Faceless knew we ruined their shit in the sewers. I was wondering how they blamed us for it considering we didn't leave anyone alive down there but it was that bloody stupid Cobalt Key. If he hadn't rocked up at the ball and gloated at them, we could have gotten away with far less trouble and maybe not gotten mixed up with the Jailer."

Merick angrily tossed the button at the ear and watched it bounce along the wooden floor of the cart. There was always someone or something making his life more and more f@#king difficult. First there was whatever the f@#k attacked the warehouse that forced him to leave Auskell. Then it was those stupid damn Orcs and their stupid damn fire. The undead and that f@#king unkillable necromancer. Kreet being an absolute prick. Billy being an insufferable snob and seeming to show up just before things went to shit. Manah f@#king Roth arrived like some terror straight out of a nightmare and made everything even more shit. A goddamn terrifying monster that was Torvus' brother. And now that damn stupid Cobalt Key had to flaunt at the f@#king Faceless and prove that we ruined their shit twice over so now we've crossed the Jailer.

"F@#k my life," Merick exhaled sharply before looking Eadwine straight in the eye. "It'd be nice to have everything work out smoothly for once, you know?
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:17 am

"Yeah," sighed Eadwine, trying to recover from Merrick's outburst. He rubbed his face under his mask, smearing charcoal everywhere in the process (no matter, it was all under the mask). "Yeah, that would be nice."

"But we must focus. Do you know where the others went?"
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:33 pm

Dumping the pile of furs, supplies and produce down onto the wagon Torvus looked at the grim pair before him. "You found us then Merick, good."

Torvus looked to Eadwine, now much more alert than when the warband departed, he looked concerned.

Earlier, as the others left, Torvus considered what exactly Thorgrim expected of him. He'd seen travelers on the road and some of their garments were outright ludicrous, the wisest often looked the poorest wreathed in furs and blankets rather than coats and jackets, while the wealthy shivered. Food of course would prove a challenge, ordinarily he would simply hunt as he needed, but the warband would be seeking to set a quick pace and stopping to hunt would be an inconvenient delay, so trail rations were in order. The first few days would be the easiest, fresh meats could be kept for a few days through the winter with little concern, after that they would have to resort to dried and smoked meats; breads and nuts would last well if your preference for fresh bread wasn't too strong, and in the spirit of stealth Torvus had avoided cheeses, the scent travelled too far. Many a wagon train he had found by following the scent of cheese.

Eadwyne had climbed upon the wagon almost absentmindedly and shortly thereafter Torvus had led the wagon towards a quarter of the market more suited to the purchase of foodstuff, Eadwyne scarcely noticed the change of location and shortly after the wagon stopped he began sorting through his gear. Torvus left to purchase supplies and took the chance to gather some needed ammunition but unfortunately with little time he was unable to find more specialised gear.

The look Merick and Eadwyne gave Torvus made him feel he had missed something serious, and while he sorted what he had purchased, Torvus addressed his two companions "Have either of you seen Throgrim or Adrysse? The sooner we leave the easier we will be able to travel." Finally noticing the tension of the scene and the scarcely wrapped piece of flesh Torvus asked "What is that?"
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:01 am

Thorgrim hadn't had to wander too far to find the cart, and had made it back in good time. He had just been about to greet the party with an affirmative Reply to Torvus about not wasting time, but was stopped by the Elf's disquieted tone.

"Ey then, Whats What?" he said, pulling up to the Cart.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:21 pm

Almost everyone had returned to the cart by this point so Merick felt it appropriate to explain what had happened. He glanced at the crowd over Thorgrim's head but there was no sign of Adrysse. She'd just have to hear the story later.

"That," Merick began as he nudged the bloody cloth and ear with his foot, "is a signal from the Faceless. I bumped into them in the market and they were not happy with us. Apparently that one gold that we scrounged up to pay them off wasn't enough and now they're coming to collect."

He breathed out heavily before he continued. "They said that their boss, a nasty piece of work called The Jailer, wants us to pay back four hundred silver and four gold to square the situation with him. For every week that we don't, he'll take something from us that is valuable and give us a "cut". That ear there is pretty standard for what The Jailer gives as cuts to people. He snatches up friends and family and holds them until he gets what he wants."

Merick looked at Torvus and Thorgrim in turn before glancing at Eadwine. "I reckon he's going after my family and he'll probably send his thugs to go after everyone's friends and relatives. I don't know about you guys but I'd rather not have me mum carved up into bits and mailed to me. Although," he smirked at Torvus, "sorry for the joke Torvus but I'd like to see them try and get your brother."

"So yeah, that's more shit added to the pile that we need to deal with. If we go to North Watch as we planned, we could probably scrounge up the coin that we need." Merick scrunched up his face as he tried to count on his fingers but he gave up once he ran out of fingers. "That's a lot of undead skulls we need to crack for that amount of money."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:57 pm

Smirking at Merick's comment, Torvus couldn't help but consider the silver lining, if the faceless wanted a piece of Dante then they'd be welcome to try. Thankfully Torvus' parents never spent the winter in Ghenrael, the Orc raids aside his father wasn't fond of the cold and the dock work often froze over, they'd be far to the south at this time of year, with any luck out of reach of the faceless. Besides, at best they knew that some wilder elf and his bandit come demon-spider brother were in town, finding the identity of their parents in amongst who-knows-how-many roaming elves would be quite the feat. Still, that didn't help other more recognisable members of the warband and their families.

"Well I bought some more arrows and bullets, we could start by paying them with those." Looking around the group and the growing concern on their faces Torvus added more seriously "We could pool some coin, buy time, explain that our bounties are their best bet of getting paid, and that if any more pieces get sent with no reason then we'll take pieces from them." sighing and rubbing his head Torvus continued "We pay for now, until we have the time to take care of them. If they want to keep tally then we'll show them that it's cheaper to forget us than not."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:18 pm

Eadwine was somewhat taken aback by Torvus' seemingly nonchalent response to the situation. He was too busy trying to control his anxiety to comment.

"Adrysse first, talk second," he said brusquely. She was obviously troubled (little wonder) and could easily be unrestrained if attacked; Eadwine did not relish the prospect of explaining a group of electrocuted corpses to the Lord.
Alternatively, she might not fight back at all...

He realised on some level that the Faceless wouldn't be jumping Adrysse just yet---they were after gold, after all---but in his mind's eye the ear was hers...
And then Milburga's....
Then Aethel's...

"Where did she go?" he asked Thorgrim.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

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