Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Sun May 08, 2016 2:03 am

It was quite some time before Thorgrim was to be found in the Cup’s of Courage, snoozing in a corner with an empty pint in hand.

His day had begun with a new dawn, as many days do, but this dawn came after a turbulent night full of darkness that had lasted two days.

Thorgrim walked out of the stone halls his people had crafted as home and into the morning sun while Adrysse and Kasper communed. Arriving at Rochford should have been uplifting, but right now Thorgrim felt only a great and tiresome burden. He held in his hand the Hammer of Hambar, a True and Noble Dwarf who had passed when his wisdom and strength were needed most. Thorgrim had been running from facing the truth, But he held it in his hands, and felt it in his soul.

Not just the burden of taking up the mantle of Oathkeeper, Which would have been a moment of great pride, But the loss of one of the few true Kindred spirits he had left, one of the last of those he knew before he fell those many years ago. Together with all that he, and his companions, had to achieve… He felt he had so little time and so much he had to get done.

Normally this sense of purpose would have driven him, But now he felt he could barely stand.

The dwarf gathered his resolution and clenched the hammer tightly, and decided on a first goal. It had been many years since he had wielded a hammer.

In the open courtyard where Thorgrim was standing, Ketter was drilling the Dwarfish adults whose crafts were deemed non critical to warfare, forming a small but hardy militia. The Dwarfs had come a long way since last Thorgrim had seen them, and all of the clan knew one end of an axe from another as was only right. None the less, These were not true warriors, and Thorgrim resolutely hoped they would be kept on the walls where they stood the best chances.

Ketter was yelling obscenities of encouragement to the dwarfs as they sparred with the Spears and Shields they had been given. It was clear they were still getting used to the weapons over Hammers or Axes but the versatility would serve them well in the coming battle.


The scene served to remind Thorgrim further of the dire straights his people were in.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Tue May 10, 2016 1:59 am

The wilds hadn't felt like home to Torvus, not on the journey and not even when scouting for the war band. Though it's likely that it was the pace they had been keeping rather than wilds themselves, up until recently the wilderness had been a place where Torvus could move as he pleased, addressing issues as they arose or watching from the fringes as they began, striking or avoiding after consideration.

News of the bindings that had once held Mannah Roth and that would likely hold Dante if he survived, troubled Torvus, but if the oaths could keep one such as Roth from a dark path then maybe it would be of help to Dante, he certainly wasn't innocent but he was Torvus' brother. Torvus resolved to learn more of these oaths, if it wasn't just slavery and wouldn't harm him then so be it.

Absent mindedly following Thorgrim had led Torvus to a training yard of sorts, dwarves drilled mostly with spears and with a small assortment of other weapons. Seeking to take his mind off of recent events and expecting his Dwarven friend to spend some time swinging his new hammer, Torvus decided to move to the makeshift range. Standing some distance behind the few dwarves firing and throwing towards the targets, he drew his bow, knocked an arrow and with care and practiced hands released a shot that sailed past the dwarves close enough to surprise but far enough that they shouldn't perceive danger. The arrow met its mark and buried itself in the bullseye a fraction off centre, the dwarves on the range turning to look towards the elf. "I know, I know, bloody elves and their bows." He said walking forwards whilst drawing his pistol, as Torvus reached the line of dwarves he raised the pistol and fired, the shot landing near but not within the bullseye. Replacing his pistol and drawing his dagger, Torvus continued forwards "The thing is, it's all the same. Lining up a shot, leading a target." Torvus threw his dagger embedding it in the target, a fair shot but not as impressive as the others. "Hunting or fighting; bow, rifle, or spear; the basics will serve you no matter what you use." Torvus retrieved his dagger and removed the arrow before returning to the dwarves. "There may be more heroism in the sword and shield but I'd rather let my enemies die a hero, I'm generous like that. Now, who wants to learn how to shoot?"

Torvus spent a fair portion of his day teaching and advising ranged combat, unknowingly under the watchful eye of Ketter. Whether she would have allowed such a thing in different circumstances Torvus could not say, but training was training and the craftsmen could use all they could get.

After two restrung bows, a few near misses, who knows how many dwarves rotated through the range; Torvus finally found himself at the tavern, such as it was, sitting by the sleeping dwarf Torvus removed the empty tankard from his grasp and replaced it with one much warmer "Mulled wine, it's amazing what a couple of handfuls of horse meat will get you in a town like this." Nodding to the tavern owner Torvus raised his tankard, she smirked back grasping her own in both hands, enjoying the warmth.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Tue May 10, 2016 9:43 am

Merrick and Eadwine made it to the Cups of Courage, right where they'd been told it would be. That was good; Eadwine was beginning to get sick of things being different from expected. The young alchemist carefully set down his kit and flopped into a chair, mirroring Merrick.
"Ugh, we need some way of transporting that crate of yours," opined the ex-thief, rubbing his unmasked face. Eadwine was too exhausted to get worked up by Merrick calling it a 'crate', so he just nodded.
"Hopefully there will be some way of carrying it from North Watch. I doubt we'll leave on foot," he replied instead.

The pair took their bearings, but could not catch sight of any of their companions in the bar.

Looking further afield, Merrick spied Thorgrim and Torvus out in a nearby training field. Thorgrim seemed almost happy, having nothing more to occupy his mind for a while than re-learning how to wield a hammer. Meanwhile, Torvus had amassed a long line of dwarvish recruits who were rotating through a makeshift firing range. The occasional shot of a blackpowder weapon rang through the courtyard with an enormous crash, somewhat obliterating the quaint atmosphere of the little tavern.

It made a sick kind of sense to Eadwine. Every now and again he could hear a concussive boom from somewhere far off, and he wondered how close the orc line was to Rochford now.

He paused long enough to refill his waterskin at the bar, getting some odd looks in the process, then bid temporary farewell to Merrick. "Try not to get too smashed; he have a trip to make," he cheekily scolded the rogue. Merrick took it in good humour and ordered an ale.

Eadwine made his way over to the training field and joined the line behind a dwarvish craftsmen who was grumbling something about elves and bows and arrogance; Eadwine only caught every fifth word or so, because the majority of the cursing was in the dwarvish tongue. About twenty minutes later Eadwine came face-to-face with Torvus.
"Ah, I was waiting for you," Torvus said matter-of-factly.
"Uh?" came the eloquent reply.
"Just a moment, wait here," the elf said. He jogged off to a corner of the bar, saying hi to Merrick in the process, and returned bearing the orc champion's crossbow. "You want this, don't you?" It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yes," Eadwine answered, almost a little hungrily. The huge wound inflicted on him by the crossbow could still be felt, despite Adrysse's healing ministrations, and in an irrational way Eadwine wanted the crossbow to make up for the damage done to him.
"Well, it's yours then," Torvus said cheerfully as he handed the bulky weapon over. "He nearly took your leg off; I'd say it's supposed to be yours."

Wondering what that meant exactly, Eadwine accepted the contraption. It weighed heavily in his arms but was not unwieldy. Torvus proceeded to show the scholar how to load, aim and fire the weapon, taking special care to point out what to do if the mechanisms jammed or the string needed replacing. He also emphasised the need to keep the string dry.

The elf then moved Eadwine down the range a little, handed him a small quiver full of quarrels and asked Eadwine to practice shooting whilst he continued to instruct the dwarves. Eadwine practiced as though his life depended on it; as it well might.

This was going to take a lot of practice.


Last edited by Mifurey on Tue May 10, 2016 9:46 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Readability)
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Tue May 10, 2016 3:28 pm

Smarmy git, probably thinks he's my marm or something, Merick thought as Eadwine wandered off to the training field. He glanced around the place and he saw no sign of Adrysse anywhere. Thorgrim and Torvus were out in the field training with the dwarven clansmen and Eadwine looked keen to join them. Merick shrugged and called for an ale from the plain looking lady behind what apparently was the bar counter, even though it looked like nothing more than a plank of wood laid out on a series of barrels.

As he returned to his chair at the uneven table, he nodded at Torvus as he swept into the bar. Merick watched as Torvus picked up the orc crossbow where it had been stashed in the corner and he quickly hurried outside with it. Merick had no idea what Torvus wanted to do with it and frankly he didn't particularly care. He raised his mug and drank the dark fluid before sputtering at the horrid taste. The ale tasted like it was barely better than watered-down piss. Merick wiped at the dribble of ale that spilled out of his lips while several of the other patrons chuckled at him. The bartender shot him a furious glare and he responded with an overly contemptuous expression. The bartender gave him the two-fingered salute before she returned to cleaning the rest of her bar.

Merick drained the rest of his piss swill in a single draught before bringing the mug down to rest on the table. The fabric that served as the roof of the bar billowed in the cold wind and Merick shivered. The chill air that ran off the mountains was very different to the sea breezes that gusted at Auskell. These winds cut through whatever warmth Merick's clothes provided to him. What sort of shitty bar doesn't even have walls? he thought as he pushed off his chair and walked out into the open air.

To his right, Merick could see the dwarves running through some weapon training with everything from bows to spears to axes. Torvus was busy instructing the dwarves and Eadwine on how to aim and fire their crossbows. Eadwine seemed to be struggling with the crude but deadly orc crossbow but his shots did seem to be edging closer to the bullseye. Thorgrim was brandishing a new hammer as he trained with the other dwarves in attacking and shielding and Merick swore that the hammer seemed to glow as it struck. That dwarven woman, Ketter, was shouting and hollering with all the fury that he remembered from the last time they had visited Rocheford.

Merick stretched his arms and yawned as he welcomed the faint warmth of the sun hitting his face. That warmth was almost immediately sapped as another cool breeze gusted across the open field. He needed to find some proper shelter or something to take a break from the cold and he headed off in the direction of the main fortress. After he had passed through the gatehouse and into the inner courtyard, Merick moved towards the building on his left, which if he remembered correctly was the clan hall of Thorgrim's folk. He was fairly sure that the dwarves wouldn't mind one person resting in their dining hall for a while. It wasn't like he'd be a nuisance or anything either. He hefted his backpack as he entered the clan hall and he felt the heavy tome shift around. Just some reading to keep me occupied.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Tue May 10, 2016 7:08 pm

When Eadwine returned to recover his alchemy kit he found no Merrick. The human seemed to have fissioned into Torvus and Thorgrim during the intervening time. Thorgrim was nursing a mug, looking tired, and Torvus was smelling the brew in his cup. Whisps of steam rose from the cup between gusts of wind. Every puff made the little lantern's light flutter and dance, casting strange shadows.

Torvus moved over a little to let Eadwine sit. Nodding his thanks, Eadwine hauled his alchemy kit from below the simple table and, using the hem of his 'new' tabard, began to clean the 'crate'.

The apprentice alchemist was pleased to find that the majority of the contents had escaped unscathed. A few watchglasses had broken, but not enough to worry him. He carefully picked the glass shards out and piled them on top of some scrap parchment.

Unfortunately, the alchemical reference tables in the kit's lower compartment were all but destroyed. Trying to think positively, Eadwine scribbled down some notes from what could be salvaged, then burnt the rest in a nearby brazier. He hoped to be able to find some supplies in the fort, and maybe he could barter for some notes there too.

By this stage Torvus had finished his cup and gone for a refill. The tall elf passed Eadwine a mug too, saying "Don't worry, it's watered down." The scholar hesitated very briefly, then smiled and accepted the gift.

"Thanks. So, what's news?"
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Tue May 10, 2016 11:46 pm

Thorgrim had asked Ketter to spar with him to help reacquaint himself with the Dwarfish martial art of Karaki Grund Un Karin. The two spent some time moving slowly, trading blows and blocks in a steady dance of martial karta.

Each rotation of the moves, they would get steadily faster. When Thorgrim slipped up, Ketter made sure to let him know it, and did not pull her blows, But the two moved in silence for some time before Ketter spoke up. "What's got her nadgers in a Twist ye old koot? Ye be slowing in yer age right enough, but this is just sluggish even by yer own standards. And i can tell ye're distracted." She punctuated her statement with a swift jab to the gut that stalled Thorgrim.

The elder dwarf took a moment to repose himself. She was right, Thorgrim had been feeling light headed ever since the fight. He recalled going to inspect the remains of the Uruks the morning after, The three brutes had been much larger than they had realized, By the fire at night with only goblins beside them the Fullblood Orks hadn't seemed so large. Or rather they seemed as ludicrously large as any ork does near a goblin. That had served as a small balm to the near death of himself and young Eadwine.

Thorgrim stepped back into the starting position and began the cycle again. "Aye. Right enough. Perceptive by your standards" Remarked Thorgrim in Dwarfish with a fond snidness that was common between the two warriors. "We got into a spot of trouble on the road. Orks, as can be well expected. But it's not so much them that worries me as it does the state of my people." Thorgrim began to increase his pace. "The Elf as you can see is Able, whether you want to admit it you wouldn't be letting him train our cousins otherwise, and his skill is clear as day."

Ketter grumbled a half harted affirmation. The elf was a good teacher, and he had a way with drawstrings that passed on well to the Dwarfish Crossbows the militia would have to master. They could produce more quarrals than bullets in this weather, and they may well be in for a siege. Best save the Rifles for the better shots, she thought.

"The others... The lass is a brave one, But still young and subject to the horrors of this world. But she is the most promising of the Bunch. Such power." Thorgrim continued on "And the lad's, Their hearts are in the right place - Even the Burning man over there, tho he's not the words to express it. But they are unforged iron at best. We nearly died out there, when the Burning man ran off, and the new lad run right out into the open and froze up. The scarred up rouge then managed to loose control and pitch our cart and a horse into the lake! Gone right under.. nearly lost everything.." Thorgrim's emotional state was starting to bubble to the surface, and it was a measure of respect that Ketter chose not to call him out on it.

"Ahh, I ken." She responded "Canne' say i've not had similar worries bout' this bunch. But thats why we prepare em! You got some time yet before you go off to meet death and see who comes out on top!

"That's just it. I have doubts we can come out on top. And there is still so much to be done after that. I've awoken to a world on the verge of annihilation from every direction.. What happened to our people? Where are the humans i remember fighting beside who were strong and forged of stone! Where are the elves who gave us a run for our money in pushin' back the darkness.. I've not even seen old Shantoebal for nigh' over a month... And this!" he indicated the weapon he wielded and the duty's it inferred "I've not had but a moment to mourn the lad and already his Mantles' being added to my shoulders.. I thirst for the honour, but I'm unsure if im even close to ready, any more than the Children I've got following me to whatever Doom awaits us.."

Thorgrim began to pick up pace and speed, he knew how to wield his emotions in battle well, and used them always as a driving force.

"Well No Shite!" Ketter yelled as all semblance of order was thrown and she began to spar in earnest "We all stand't pick up the pieces, It's Learn now or die tomorrow. Either way the only fighting chance we stand is in a Fight!"

Thorgrim tried to respond to the challenge and compete against Ketter's onslaught. The elder dwarf had gotten most of his skill's back, But that was in the style of Karaki Az Un Karin, in which he had measure he could well take the young dwarf. But the hammer was still heavy in his hand, much heavier than he remembered. But then again, so was his shield right now. He locked weapons, pushed back and spread his guard open, signifying he was bested. "Aye.. I think yer right lass. But alot hinges on the next few weeks... I need a drink... feeling a bit light." Thorgrim lay the training shield down, But the hammer remained locked and chained to his hand, a Dwarfish training technique to help make a weapon an extension of the warrior. Literally. "Ill be in town a few Days, Help train them will ye? They are good fighters but need to know how to be aware on the battlefield. How to not loose their senses. And the boy needs to know to either fight or run! choose one!" he grumbled as he wandered off to the bar.

Ketter looked on, and chose not to say much, but if Thorgrim had looked back he would have seen a mischievous expression that betrayed her scheming.

Thorgrim sat down and got a pint, which he downed in one swift gulp. He fealt so thirsty for some reason, tho he had already emptied his water-skin. "Don't worry lad" Hambar said from beside him. "I was younger than you when i learned, and you studied most of it, even if you don't yet recall your classes" he said.

"Aye, mores the problem old Friend. I don't remember most of which i aught. Been writing it down but it's a pain to piece it back together so i recall properly" Thorgrim responded. I't was cold inside the hearth, But then again it was always cold this time of year in the mountain peaks.

"Figure it out then. It's all part of his big plan you seem to think the Ancestors have planned for ye." the young image of Hambar mocking him helped to take away some of the chill. He was a good friend.

Sitting and mumbling to himself in the impromptu Tavern, Thorgrim drew the attention of the others as his head slammed onto the table, and he passed out and tottered over onto the straw covered floor.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Wed May 11, 2016 1:51 pm

Torvus was just starting to answer when Thorgrim slipped forward, smacked his head and wobbled over onto the floor with a groan. Eadwine looked on, shocked for a moment, then leapt up and began rolling Thorgrim into the recovery position (which the scholar had learnt during his brief stint in the army).

"Blast!" He knelt down and felt the dwarf's breath on his ear; it smelled like ale. "He's breathing, at least."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Wed May 11, 2016 3:09 pm

The light that reached past the clouded skies during the chill touched day had waned until it vanished beyond the natural spires of the Cesdradin Heights. The streets (both cobbled and improvised) of this warring fortress were quickly illuminated by the combine efforts of strategically placed oil lanterns, cast iron braziers and wood torches. Despite night fall, Rochford continued to heave with effort. A relentless war machine that would not rest until victory or death. These were the final days, and for many defending these walls, each hour closer to the final confrontation would be most crucial.

He was shocked, yet concerned and to an extent, confused even. This was a side to Thorgrim that Eadwine had yet to see. Sure he had seen the dwarf down his share of ales at the Malt'n'boar. However, this was the first time he had seen the dwarf drink himself into submission. It was an odd situation to witness as it contradicted the dwarves usual Authority and Respectable nature.

Eadwine's concern began to swell when he heard a voice of calm and experience offer guidance. He turned to see a Cavalier, or more specifically Gaspard. The man was mature in appearance, but by no means old. In an attempt to fight the lofty gales, he had partially tied his long sandy blonde hair back with leather binds and had taken to wearing a pelt lined cloak.

Gaspard had spotted Torvus from the cobble street and decided to spend a ticket or two on a cup of courage while catching up with the Elven wilder. As he approached, the Cavalier watched the unseemly scene unfold, as he had so many times before. As the young alchemist rushed to his aid, Gaspard offered a hand in firm greeting to the elf seated before him before calling out to in the direction of the intoxicated and the concerned.

"Damn lad, he's drunk, he's not dying. Calm yourself, if yet to see a Dwarf be bested by any Brew after a few pints, yet alone this..." Gaspard sniffed at the tankard and went to continue his description before noticing Daphine's poised contempt. "...wonderful tonic?" The experienced rider seemed as if he were trying to convince himself more than his apparent observers. "Besides, i don't know if you noticed lad, but the Dwarf's beard is all white. No matter the race, that's a pretty clear indication of an individual's age. That, and if the reports are right, couple his age with the few nights you lot have had recently and a full day of training, well its no wonder hes on the floor. Best thing for it is to prop the old dwarf up and throw a fur on him. Hell be right. See to it then pull up a chair with me and Torvus here, there's a good lad."

Gaspard:
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*********************Somewhere Across the Kingdom*******************

The forest was still. fresh white snow lay as far as the eye could see, an undisturbed and pristine sheet of serenity coating every inch of the alpine wilds. Suddenly, what seldom few signs of life were evident within these stoic woods fell quiet. The Forest itself seemed to hold its breath.

It started low. It was feint, but ever growing. A vibration at first, steadily swelling to a rumble. Drawing ever closer, it was now as thunder. The earth itself seemed to roar in the dialect of a thousand hooves.

He had been gone far too long. Sure as the day was long and the sun would rise, it was a necessary abandonment, but no longer. It was time. The force swept across the tree studded slopes like the galling winds in the branches above them. He glanced from side to side. The watchers had seen and now they would act. Act as an avalanche bearing down the steeps of a mountain, as a hurricane upon a shore. He had seen the signs, confirmed his fears and now the risen corruption would answer to their fury.

He whispered to himself. He knew he would not be heard, but maybe the spirits would hold them, protect them in his absence. "Nae de'lem al eeth a'dim... I am coming old friend."


Last edited by Cowboy on Wed May 11, 2016 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Wed May 11, 2016 4:01 pm

Shaking the Cavaliers hand Torvus spoke up "He's not drunk, well I suppose he probably is, but only because he just drank more ale than he has blood left in him. Broth, we need broth." Torvus stood, looking around for a source of food "Adrysse might be able to help, but he's still going to need liquids."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Thu May 12, 2016 11:58 am

Eadwine was internally glad that Torvus was worried too, but he chose not to let it on; Gaspard obviously meant well.

He rose, politely saying "Thorgrim nearly died two days back, and so did I, so forgive me the paranoia." He shook Gaspard's extended hand. "I'm Eadwine, one of Thorgrim's new employees."

Torvus headed over to speak with Daphne about food, so Eadwine tried to strike up conversation with Gaspard. His gaze flicked back to Thorgrim periodically, despite the cavalier's assertion that the ancient dwarf would be fine come morning. "Thanks for coming to pick us up on the road. We had taken some pretty heavy losses on the trail and you were a welcome sight."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Thu May 12, 2016 12:34 pm

Gaspard kicked his feet up on a free stool and balanced himself upon it and the seat he had perched on. Still holding the 'wonderful tonic' he commented on moments before, he sniffed at it again apprehensively. Stiffening his upper lip the Cavalier took a brave gulp of the irksome brew before giving a warm smile accompanied by a humble wave.

"Ah well Torvus bought me and the lads a few too many pints last your master and he were fort side. Figured a short gallop would square the imagined debt. Besides, a small group of brave fools can go a long way to winning a war. That and my mother, light keep her, always told me 'Gaspard, reap what you sew'." The Ghenraen rider took another gulp, and each one that followed got a little easier.

Torvus has circled from Daphine's Bar over to the dwarf who had regained some measure of consciousness but no real coherency. Now propped against a heavy barrel, hidden from the chilly winds, Thorgrim sat covered by a fur wielding his bowl of broth.

As Torvus returned to the table. Daphine approached moments later with a small cauldron of broth, three wooden bowls and spoons. Each now with a bowl of tasteless mediocrity gladly consumed it, welcoming the warmth it brought with each spoonful.

"So, are the brave fools aiding the front here in Rochford?" Gaspard probed with a cavalier smile.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Thu May 12, 2016 1:31 pm

"After a fashion," Eadwine replied, sipping his broth. It wasn't horse meat, so he was happy for a change from the last few days. "The 'brave fools' are trying to head off some undead on the Eastern front," he continued. Eadwine turned a little to Torvus. "Maybe that's an appropriate name for us..." The scholar gave a pained grin. "We've got a companion who reckons she can handle their boss." He thought back to the lightning in the sewers below Van'Tese, and outside the looted mill. "And we're betting our lives that she can."
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Nick_Nork on Thu May 12, 2016 9:35 pm

Having neglected the broth and kneeling next to Throgrim, Torvus looked up at the conversing pair.

"Oh she can do it, I've seen it. Something black and smoky crawled its way into an orc champion, a dead one, and she put it down." Pausing momentarily Torvus decided not to add that Wyliam seemed to do his part too, and that it took a group of them shouting that chant to finally get it to go.

Gently slapping Throgrims face in an attempt to wake him seemed to have no effect "Broth will only work if he drinks it. Maybe his kin will be of aid, Eadwine keep an eye on him I'll go find some dwarves."

Bundling himself up in his furs Torvus ran off to find aid.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Fri May 13, 2016 12:42 pm

Chapter 3: The Might of the Cesdradin Empire

While scholars believe that the Cesdradin Empire was not the first civilisation to rule over the lands now known as Ghenrael and Dyrinin, it is universally agreed that they were one of the larger powers that ruled over the continent during recorded history. From the mountain range that now bears their name, the Cesdradin Empire ruled as the preeminent power during their time and demanded total obedience from their subjects and fear from their enemies. There were even fanciful tales where merciless Drow raiders, terrors of the continent since before human history, were forced to kneel at the feet of the Cesdradin Emperor.

The Cesdradin culture built their empire on military power that was insurmountable by their immediate neighbours. The source of their strength remains unknown to this day and the few fragments that have been recovered from Cesdradin ruins fail to shed light on how they came to dominate the land. Oral records from the first Ghenraen people that lived in servitude to the Cesdradin spoke of monsters and vile creatures that slaved as armies for the Empire. This is a possibility that has been discussed considerably by my forebears, most notably by Francois Hauteville of the University of Purdue. The esteemed Monsieur Hauteville wrote that "The Cesdradin were known to command the loyalty of creatures both foul and fair. This has been seen in bas-relief carvings of Cesdradin warriors riding beasts of war such as wyverns or commanding Ogroids to battle against their foes."

Monsieur Hauteville's findings as well as those of others who have researched the Cesdradin Empire are also corroborated by the observations in the here and now. The Cesdradin Heights were once home to the seats of power of the Empire but, since the Empire's collapse five hundred years ago during Lucien Daverax's uprising, the Heights now hold monsters and creatures that frequently terrorise the people of Ghenrael and Dyrinin. It is possible that, in the act of destroying the terrible Cesdradin Empire, Lucien Daverax may have unwittingly shattered whatever control that the Cesdradin had over their monstrous servants and let them loose in the Heights. The fall of the Cesdradin Empire is discussed further in Chapter 10 of this tome.

Merick closed the tome and gently rubbed his eyes. He glanced around at the common room that he had found inside the dwarven clan hall and he was surprised that the room was still empty. How long had he been reading? The rumbling in his belly answered that question and he quickly stowed the book in his pack before heading out in search of grub.

The dark night sky that greeted him as he exited the clan hall surprised him. Merick rubbed his chin as he tried to think on how much time had passed but he gave up as his belly and his head protested at more thinking. He had struggled quite a bit with the book considering how many strange words he had seen and didn't understand like "archaeology" and "insurmountable". Words had never been his strong point though, much to the frustration of his grandma. You'll never get anywhere if you can't read Merry! she had yelled before hitting him over the head with her cooking spoon. Merick smiled at the memory before he sucked in a big lungful of air to clear his head.

He began to make his way out of the fortress and back towards the Cups of Courage. They'd have to find a proper tavern or something to stay in overnight unless they were able to sleep in the militia barracks again. As Merick rolled his shoulders to get rid of a few knots in his back, he spotted Torvus dashing out of the bar and running towards the fortress. Merick waved at Torvus and began to greet him but the elf ran right past him. For someone usually so aware of his surroundings, it was unusual that Torvus hadn't noticed him. Merick shrugged and made his way into the bar, ignoring the glares from the two guards at the entrance.

He quickly spotted Eadwine in the corner next to a man that looked vaguely familiar. Once Merick had reached the table he recognised the man as the soldier that had escorted them into town although he couldn't quite recall his name. He also saw that Thorgrim was sitting on the floor and had been propped up next to a barrel. As Merick sat down on a vacant stool, he greeted everyone and scooped up one of the empty bowls. He poured himself some of the... whatever was in the pot and began to greedily drink it up.

"What happened to Thorgrim?" he asked between slurps.


Last edited by Popdart5 on Sun May 15, 2016 4:39 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Fri May 13, 2016 1:44 pm

Eadwine eyed Merrick, wondering how the man could go from being friendly to obnoxious so quickly. Trying to reclaim the feeling of comradeship he'd had earlier in the day, Eadwine answered "He's had one too many beers and one too few bowls of soup. Probably a week's too many late nights, and a life's too many near-death experiences."

Merrick continued slurping.

"He collapsed after practicing with Ketter," Eadwine relented, giving a concrete explanation. "Torvus has gone to the dwarves to see if they can look after him."

After another pause he felt like he had to keep the one-sided conversation going. "Have you met Gaspard?" the scholar asked generally, indicating the tall cavalier next to him.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Fri May 13, 2016 5:08 pm

As Eadwine told him what happened, Merick continued to drink his broth. Even though it was mostly empty of flavour, his belly began to quieten down as his hunger was satisfied. He was ladling his second bowl when Eadwine introduced the soldier to his left, whom had sat watching the conversation with a bemused expression on his face.

"Thanks again for helping us out in the woods, Gaspard," Merick nodded as he sat back down with his refilled bowl. "If you're ever in a similar spot of trouble, I hope I'm around to repay the favour."

He slurped at his bowl before turning back to Eadwine. "Yeah I passed Torvus on the way in and I was wondering why he was in a rush." Merick leaned over and poked Thorgrim's arm and the dwarf stirred in his stupor. There was some dwarvish muttering that Merick couldn't understand so he turned back to the table. "I'm sure Thorgrim will be fine."

Merick returned to consuming the rest of his broth while Eadwine continued to keep a close eye on the dwarf. Once he had downed the last dregs from his bowl, he signalled to the bartender for three mugs of ale. "I don't know about you two but I could go for a drink to keep warm. Even a cheap drink is better than no drink at all." He scooped up the mugs from the bartender and dropped a dozen copper in her hands before setting ales down in front of Gaspard and Eadwine.

"Here's," Merick raised his mug in a toast, "to whatever comes against us. We'll kick their teeth in and send 'em straight to hell!"
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Sun May 15, 2016 1:22 am

Thorgrim's mind continued to wander for a time..


He stood knee deep in snow and blood. Before him lay a besieged castle, And Thorgrim felt sorrow and it's demise. He tried to place the scene, but could not. Was it one of his lost memories? Perhaps. The Fortress was in flames, its defenders falling from the ramparts at the relentless assault of some unseen foe.

A Dwarf stumbled from the fog of war into Thorgrim's arms. He remembered this Dwarf, this Scene. Alvarik Coppermantle. He had died in the under-dark when the undead came. Before Thorgrim's mind had returned. He knew what came next.

"They came.. from.. Behind.." The dwarf collapsed and passed. Thorgrim looked at the destruction, then up at the Sky. This was not the battle Alvarik died in, So when and where was he? And where had Hambar gone? It was all so muddled...

Thorgrim stared at the unfamiliar sky and tried to recall This Fortress. The undead fell in droves from the ramparts, chasing their prey. Thorgrim simply stared at the Sky as it cracked open and fell like a poorly supported cavern in an earthquake. But it was not rubble that fell, But bodies. Thorgrim attempted to brace before the cascade of death-


*Bang*

Thorgrim looked about in a daze. everything was sideways for some reason. A bowl of broth was spilling up the wall. "Wake up ye' old Codger" a familiar voice said. Thorgrim's sense of up and down returned, and realising it was on the floor, he pulled himself up, using the hammer still braced to his hand to aid. Ketter, who stood before him was gracious enough to give him a hand back up.

"What the bloody hell happened.." he grumbled, his deep voice carried clearly, tho it was quieter than normal.

"You are a relentlessly stubborn bastards what happened." Ketter responded in her usual fashion, looking mighty happy with herself.

Torvus stood beside Ketter, looking mildly amused at the whole situation. "How long till he will be ready to go?" he queried.

"That'll be up to Nan" Ketter responded, then moved aside to let in another Dwarf.

Looking Slightly older than Thorgrim, tho much worse for ware, Nanna Egrid Silverhand was the dwarf's chief physician. Skilled in the old dwarf ways of medicine as well as any modern doctor, she tended to the wounded or ailing dwarfs and guided the younger generations in the craft. She had clear white hair with faint wispy-down chops and large intense eyes. She also had the attitude of a pissed of badger, tho managed to make it endearing in her old age.

"Bet yer arse 'n not soon" said Egrid. She bumbled over to Thorgrim, laying down a Large bowl next to a smaller mug that was simmering similarly. She proceeded to check the dwarf over, and none too gently, muttering and mumbling 'That's no good’ and 'won't do's in Dwarfish.

Torvus had arrived to get help just in time to find Ketter finish explaining to Nan that Thorgrim had seemed off, and with Torvus' explanation of the groups tribulations Nan had come up with an idea what was wrong and prepared a 'cure' for what she figured ailed Thorgrim, presumptuously without bothering to check him first. Tho her wisdom seemed to pay off as she seemed confident after doing so.

"Yer outta juice. Fek'n alchemy of voodoo or what'not helps mend wounds and helps ye in the short term. But it don't put back blood and meat's a fell out!" She punctuated her statement by thwacking Thorgrim on the head with a short cane. "Eat up!" she indicated the large bowl of fish smelling broth in the bowl she had supplied. "Bloodbroth. With a little extra. Will help. But for Ancestors stake eat boy! You're a Dwarf! not a stalk legged lanky elf - no offence" she said, tho without knowledge of the Dwarvish language Torvus was oblivious. "Eat big to get better. Also, probably still a trace of poison in yer chest where the axe bit, tho if ye ain't dead now you'll be better soon enough. Get some rest tho, also bleed less. Ye' Idiot. Two nights."

without delay the old Dwarfette turned on the spot and said to Torvus in the common tongue. "And get the manling to drink the pint all the same. Or he probably won't wake up tomorrow. up to em. If any poison was left he'd be dead already so i wouldn't worry about that. Still, more juice is good." she spoke much more gingerly to the Elf, tho had to crane her neck to look him in the eye.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Mon May 16, 2016 11:22 am

Eadwine clonked schooners with Gaspard and Merrick, then took a small sip. He toyed with the idea of getting drunk, but decided now was not the time. Casting about for a diversion, Eadwine was gratified when Ketter and an old dwarven woman showed up. He quickly sloshed the majority of the ale onto the floor outside the makeshift tavern (only after glancing over to make sure Daphne was not watching). He was pretty sure he'd gotten away with it in the commotion.

Glad that Thorgrim was going to be OK, Eadwine stood and went to excuse himself. "Is there anywhere we might find lodgings for the night?" he asked Ketter, Nan and Gaspard generally.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Fabulous on Tue May 17, 2016 3:06 pm

It had been a long day; struggling to keep her eyes open, Adrysse barely made it to the table in the Cups of Courage her companions were at. Too tired to care about what all the commotion was about, she sat down and devoured a bowl of whatever was on the table; she hadn't even realised how hungry she was.  

The priestess had spent her time previously with Caspar, teaching him the Exorcism ritual. After they both recognised that they would be far too drained to learn both rituals in the few hours spent together, Adrysse had agreed to return the next day to learn a ritual of Caspar's knowledge.  
The priestess had taught him all that she knew about the ritual; the required potency, range, invocation time, duration of the ritual, and the risks that rituals (especially this one) would have if failed.  

Just thinking about it now made the priestess's head hurt. Rubbing her temples in small circles, she was fighting the urge to pass out of exhaustion. Not even having the strength to ask for a glass of water, Adrysse just hoped someone would look after her if she fell asleep. Everything was a blur, she found it hard to concentrate, and she only now just realised that she was resting her head on the table.

When did I put my head on the table? How long have I been here?

Her eyes started to burn from being open too long. The conversation that had been going on around her was still occuring but she couldn't understand a word.

I'll just close them for a few seconds; it'll be fine.

Just before she dozed off, she hoped at least one of her companions would look out for her.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Tue May 17, 2016 7:27 pm

As Gaspard poised himself to answer the young alchemist question. A young woman trudged over to their table, like a piece of parchment lazily gliding to the floor, Adrysse drifted to a free place at the table.

She seemed distracted, certainly exhausted, the only thing she did with any enthusiasm was inhale what little food Merrick left in the serving cauldron after he had taken little more than a fair share. Eadwine had tried to ask in several different ways if the priestess was well or if he could aid her in some way, but his efforts seemed to go unnoticed. Not deliberately, rather it was simply a byproduct of the priestess once more finding the extent of her resilience (an act of growing frequency).

As the Priestess placed her had on the table, muttering something about the necessity of potent compounds, Gaspard let out an inward snort to accompany his trade mark grin. "Lads, there is plenty of room in the militia lodgings. The barrack's are full and most of the more quality lodgings in the fortress are reserved for officers or are being utilized as temporary hospices. So they've set up an encampment on the muster grounds. Its somewhere between camping and staying at an inn. Its basically a fancy tent with a descent cot in it. Talk to the quartermaster, flash him your papers and tell him i sent you. You'll be sheltered tonight lads"

Gaspard stood up and circled the table. He carefully moved the bowl to one side and the schooners to another. Adrysse was breathing heavily now, well and truly asleep. It wasn't so heavy to be called snoring but enough so to indicate her exhaustion. Gaspard seemed to pause a moment, visibly dividing how he was about to pick up the priestess. As he began to reach his conclusion he spoke again. "I should say my goodbyes with the elf, may as well take this one to the Stout Folk's long house. Seems that's where your more worn companions are finding themselves."

Gaspard gracefully, and with unexpected ease, hefted the priestess into his arms. He was careful, but it was apparent that no amount of disturbance short of actual harm would wake the faithful's slumber. As he began to leave he paused and took on a more serious tone as the boardwalk thug and the learned warrior were collecting their belongings. "If this young lady is the plan you spoke of Eadwine, you and your companions had better have a backup. Im sure she is a strong and capable young lady, but it is still unfair for four grown men to expect one such as her, as capable as she might be, to be the solution to an undead horde."

Two further communicate his comment was simply food for thought, as most of what Gaspard said usually was, he gave yet another customary grin with a warm wink and trundled off carrying his temporary ward.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Popdart5 on Tue May 17, 2016 10:49 pm

Merick tried to drink and ignore the hubbub that had managed to overwhelm their corner. He tried to chat with Gaspard, who seemed like a nice enough man despite calling everyone a fool for trying to travel from Van'tese. He even tried to get Eadwine to be jovial and to drink more but the snooty scholar seemed overly concerned with the unconscious Thorgrim. Blast it all, he did try to enjoy the night.

First it was Torvus coming back with two dwarf women, one of which he recognised as that hard-arsed fury known as Ketter. The last time he had seen her this close was almost a moon ago now, when she had been hollering about Thorgrim being an idiot and a blasted fool for waking the undead. Now though, she looked concerned about her kin and her brow furrowed as she spoke in dwarvish to the other woman. If Thorgrim was old, this other dwarf was perhaps even older than he was. He heard Ketter refer to her as Nan so maybe she was some wise old lady that would have some cure to make the world right again. That seemed to be the case as the old dwarf seemed to produce a bowl of liquid that could only be something like Grandma Sarles' miracle soup. There was also a mug that, if Merick had to guess, was probably dwarven beer or something. It certainly seemed to fix Thorgrim up but the old dwarf lady, much like any old lady, didn't seem satisfied and shooed him out of the bar and presumably towards the dwarven clan hall to get some rest. Torvus and Ketter left as well to ensure that Thorgrim didn't collapse again on the way back.

Merick turned back to try and fill his belly with grog but he was surprised to find that Adrysse had joined the table. He wasn't sure when she had arrived but she was already spooning herself a bowl of broth from the cauldron. Eadwine tried to make polite conversation with her but Adrysse only seemed to respond in quiet murmurs. He looked at Merick for help and Merick only shrugged and resumed his drinking. Gaspard smiled openly at the bemusing situation and swirled his ale before taking another drink.

It was quite warm in the bar now although Merick was fairly sure that was the ale finally flowing through his body. It was also fairly quiet without Thorgrim muttering dwarvish every once in a while. Eadwine turned to Gaspard and asked if there was anywhere that the Warband could stay the night. Gaspard opened his mouth to respond when Adrysse laid her head on the table and began quietly muttering something about compounds or something. Gaspard grinned again before saying there were a few places on the field where they could have somewhere relatively cosy to stay. Adrysse's breathing began to get a little bit heavier and it seemed that she had also had a rough day. Eadwine gently nudged her but it seemed she had surrendered to exhaustion and was lost to the world.

Gaspard stood up and moved over to lift Adrysse off her chair while Merick and Eadwine collected what belongings they had left behind. They had put everything in their packs and they were arguing over whose turn it was to carry the alchemy kit when Gaspard interrupted them. He warned them that expecting too much of the young priestess was unfair and that she might not be able to solve the problem of the undead by herself. Eadwine, ever the respectful sort, said that he was certain that Adrysse would come through for them but that he'd keep Gaspard's words in mind. Gaspard grinned and winked at the pair of them before turning to make his way towards the fortress and the dwarven clan hall.

"Oi! Hang on there Gasspard!" Merick called out with a little too much emphasis on the s. He walked quickly out of the bar after Gaspard and he only had to avoid two rogue chairs that tried to trip him on the way out. Eadwine's disgruntled shout that it wasn't his turn to carry the kit only faintly registered in Merick's drink-addled senses and he staggered after Gaspard. The cavalier turned around with another one of his bemused faces at the sight of Merick coming towards him.

"I think you need some comp'ny," Merick pointed at him while Gaspard's face swam in the firelight. He'd only had something like four cups or whatever but that piss must be strong to get dwarves drunk. "I don't think you know who youse is carrying. She is like lightning and glowy and magicky and stuff." Merick tried to mimic how Adrysse had cast that healing stuff on him but the wavy hand motions only served to elicit a snort from Gaspard. "She's poweefa...powafar...she's strong, right. I reck'n you need some proTECtion in case she goes all zappy." Merick wasn't sure that the zapping hands were quite working considering Gaspard had a smile that stretched from ear to ear but the cavalier cheerfully agreed to be escorted to the dwarven clan hall.

Merick hoped there would be some good ale once they got there.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Fri May 20, 2016 9:58 am

Eadwine watched Merrick follow Gaspard with a mixture of frustration and amusement. The lightning hands were certainly funny.

The scholar's little ploy to distract Merrick from following had failed (of course Eadwine would carry his own kit---he welcomed the thief's help, but did not really expect it). Maybe it was good that Adrysse had familiar company though, even if that company was drunk.

An errant suspicious idea crossed Eadwine's mind; what had Gaspard meant by needing a back up plan? Was he going to abduct Adrysse or something? After a moment Eadwine threw the unworthy thought away, reasoning that
- a) the cavalier would not be so idiotic as to abduct a priestess even if he were so inclined,
- b) the undead were likely to be dangerous and a back-up plan would be sensible,
- c) Torvus knew the man anyway, and
- d) that he, Eadwine, should be more careful with letting Merrick feed him unknown foods and drinks.

Still, maybe some level of paranoia was healthy.

Eadwine looked around and realised that Torvus had left the bar too. Time for him to make his exit, before unsavoury patrons began wondering who he was and why he was alone.

Hauling his kit off the table and tucking it under an arm as best he could, Eadwine headed through the designated 'door'. There he hesitated; should he follow Gaspard's advice and head to the field, or go to the dwarven clan halls where the rest of the band were (presumably: he wasn't sure of Torvus' location)?

With a sigh he headed off behind Gaspard and Merrick, who were a good fifty paces away by now. He'd need to get money for their boat trip from Thorgrim in the morning anyway, and the suspicious thoughts continued to nag at the back of Eadwine's mind. Probably the alcohol, little though it was.

Besides, he wanted to bathe, and the field probably didn't offer those facilities. The crusted remains of three pints or so of blood---his and Thorgrim's---still adorned him, particularly across his chest and right thigh.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Cowboy on Fri May 20, 2016 5:07 pm

Gaspard was followed closely by the drunken Merrick and the analytical Eadwine.  He trudged towards Rochford’s Longhouse with the young priestess in his arms. The fortress town, despite the lateness of the hour, continued its symphony of ringing anvils, and drumming woodwork. This chorus was occasionally joined by a rhythmic march or choir of officers delegating new orders.

The Cavalier eventually arrived at the longhouse, and was soon joined by his wayward followers. The Long house was constructed of masoned stone, matching the general motif of Rochford itself. Its wooded shingle roof was a worn grey, and from it protruded four dormers on each side. The long walls of the building had several sliding barn doors on cast iron mounts, each leading into the various rooms of the longhouse. Towards the centre of the structure was the chimney which a steady stream of smoke wafted, a tell-tale sign of warmth and comfort.

Gaspard approached the main doors of the Longhouse, near which an icon pole had been planted bearing the sigil of the Crystal Forge clan. The main doors were of the same craft and make as the nearby barn doors of the Dwarven refuge, though its purpose was fixed on iron hinges and fitted with matching handles and viewing hole. Gaspard pounded the door confidently three times and stood patiently in the cold.

The Snow had continued to fall throughout the day and showed no intention of yielding for the night. Sooner after Eadwine had caught up to the Cavalier and his companions, the door port opened and almost immediately shut. There was an audible sound of would one could only assume to be a stool or chair being moved from its position against the door before the door opened revealing a warm hearth surrounded by near two score of dwarves.

As they had all seen before the hall was large and generous with space, though there was nowhere intimate or private in this rustic refuge. Its minimalist interior had been draped and decked with clan belongings and memorabilia. The dwarves among the craftsmen and guards of this evening were here. Most had retired to their beds, but few were still awake conversing in hushed tones by the light of lantern and fire pit. Thorgirm’s carers had placed him among some furs and blankets comfortably by the fire, and nearby Torvus had perched himself on a high backed wooden chair resting his feet upon a convenient stool. The wild elf was a picture of comfort and satisfaction, staring mesmerised at the dancing flames as if its tranquil cracks and lashes were telling a humbling tale.

Gaspard gave a courteous head nod to the old Oath Keeper Casper who responded with an silent open hand gesture to his clan’s sanctuary. Confident in the old dwarf’s blessing, Gaspard quietly made his way to Thorgrim and Torvus placing Adrysse upon a bed of fur and blankets. On his way back to the main doors the Cavalier patted Torvus on the shoulder silently, accompanied only by a friendly grin. As he reached the door, he paused only to give Casper and his two drinking companions a jovial nod before stepping back out into snow dressed night.

Morning soon came, and with it the continued sounds of the gears of war. The craft quarter back to full production, rested forces mustering, wounded returning for treatment and reprieve. As each member of Thorgrim’s warband awoke, they were reminded of the grim reality, and their purpose. They were reminded by the echo of distant cannons and the wails of the wounded that their intended quarry was biding its time for a reason, and each of them should use it to the greatest effect.

************************** Two days ago in Torum**************************

Phillip was bored. No, he was monumentally bored… No! He was catastrophically bored. In the last days of autumn, the Harken hunters had been forced to defend the hard won city of Harken wood with an army of peasants. Well it wasn’t entirely hard won. Blackgate’s fall could almost entirely been attributed to the feats performed by the Vale Vangards, and among them, none more than the notorious Mannah Roth. However, most of them were absent in the defence of Torum against the King’s Crusaders. His army was strong but small, and when matched against sheer numbers manning Chevelion keep, they were found wanting.

The action and daring of months past made Phillip’s current appointment all the more boring. No! intensely boring. Arvian Delfar had asked the Hunters to keep watch over Chevelion’s west gate, which were to remain untouched, undisturbed and unopened. The peculiar mage had taken to drawing strange glyphs and symbols upon the masonry framing the iron gates. Over the weeks Phillip had been ordered to “guard” this position, he had watched ice steadily climb the iron bars. It was unnatural to be sure. Phillip did not need to be a hunter to know this much, but when he sent word to the mage, he was assured it was expected and to continue his watch.

Forty-eight dawns, forty-eight nights, thirty three ravens, twelve rats, twenty-one horses, a mere twenty-nine traveling merchants, four minstrels, three beggars, thirty-two sheep, six pigs, forty-eight beautiful women, nineteen no so beautiful women, eight not sure if they were women and three almost started a fight. Phillip perused his tally book as the scant crowds wondered near his post. As he hummed to himself he decided to add a new category to his list. It would revolutionise his game. No! it would tremble the very foundations it was built upon. Yes! Phillip would add them to his list, and counting them would give him great pleasure and he shall you it as a flaming blade of glory against the foul beast that was his catastrophic boredom. I thrust at thy heart you accursed beast! Phillip thought to himself as his finished scribing the new item upon his list. He looked down with a jovial smile to read the word ‘Carriage’.

Phillip’s gaze darted up with renewed enthusiasm. His game had just been made that much more difficult. Would he be able to count all the Carriages as well as all else we was tallying, only time would tell. Then he spotted it, the first of what might be scores, hundreds, thousands even. A carriage! Phillip pressed quill to parchment, and as he did a thunderous echo sung out across the keep. It was like a battling ram had collided with iron doors. It was so loud and sudden that Phillip nearly fell from his perch upon the railing of the overlooking ramparts.

What in the world caused that...

Gong! There it was again. The ground shook, and resting snow fell from eves and roof tops. However, this time Phillip was looking. The ice consumed gates shook and began to split. You had one job Phillip! He thought to himself as he leapt to his feet and ran to the west side of the rampart expecting to see an assembly of enemies, but no. The road beyond the west gates were clear…

Gong! It struck again. Phillip ran back to his original watch position and looked below to his assigned ward. Oh dear… oh dear, oh dear. Damn it Phillip, you had one job! Phillip leapt for the ladder and swiftly descended to the ground below. Gong! As soon as his feet touched ground he was off as swift as his an elven hunter could run.

He ran past hunters, craftsmen, militia and traders. Gong! He hurdled fences and gates, ducked and weaved past his path’s obstructions. Gong! He quickly paced up the castle’s steps and breeze through its halls. Gong! Phillip burst into the reading room where Arvian was commonly found like a catapult flung bolder. Arvian stood quickly in response to the abrupt intrusion. Before he could utter a word, Phillip released a menagerie of words.

“before you ask, I was at my post watching over the gates It had nothing to do with me, I didn’t touch anything, just as you instructed, but now its ringing like temple bells and there is nothing of note to explain why its making such a noise… also your ice wall is breaking.”

Arvian was initially looking at young (even by elven standards) hunter, first squinting in confusion. However, as the elf continued to ramble Arvian’s eyes grew wide with immediate realisation. “Phillip, muster the hunters and the militia. Meet me at the gates! Make haste!”

Sometime later, three hundred hunters and some five hundred militia had assembled before the west gates. Gong! As the final clash rung out, the last of the cracking ice had fallen away, but curiously this only occurred on one side. By this stage however, the glyphs had begun to resonate and the once iron bars of the west gate now seemed to glow. Gong!

The army stood in silence as the Mage stepped forward, he apprised the scene before him and came to a confident conclusion. As he did, a proud and honest voice queried the mage from behind. Arvian turned to respond as an earnest warrior stepped forward, clan in platted steel adored in marks of the House Gothard and bearing a talisman of light. The warrior’s eyes were an intense blue. His hair was long and blond, and (despite his best efforts to stay clean shaven) a stubbled jaw.

The steel clad warrior stared intensely past the Mage’s shoulder. “Is this the sign you were told to watch for?”

Arvian reflected his companion’s demeanour. “I believe it is, Leoren.”

“Will the ritual work Mage? Is it safe?” Both Arvian and Leoren turned to find they had been joined by Alari, the Eladrin Glade Guard. She was as alluring and as haunting as the stories mused when describing Eladrin. However, where most are described as old and wise in spite of their appearance, Alari was young but cautions.

“I assure you, it will be perfectly safe.” Arvian delivered his endorsement with confidence. However in truth, when it came to Mannah and his schemes, Arvian was never sure.

“Well. I suppose it is time the Vale Vangards were reunited.” Leoren spoke with both concern and relief. A tone his companions had grown accustomed to associating with the dutiful Vindicator.

Arvian gave a single nod in agreement and turned to face the icey gates. “Aecoom Dar Dan, Lek Dross, Nar Yeth Aesum Van Tese, Tyr Mai, Aecoom Dar Dar”

With each pledge made, the gates shone brighter. It was not blinding but rather a far reaching ambient glow. Arvian gave the signal to raise the gates. As they did the remaining ice wall was exposed to the assembly. It gleaned with an unnatural hue of deep to dark blue. Arvian turned to the assembly and his two companions. “The gate is open.”

Arvian, Leoren, Alari:
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Last edited by Cowboy on Mon May 23, 2016 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Comander.c on Fri May 20, 2016 11:36 pm

As the elder dwarf was led thru the pleasant drift of snow towards the longhouse, Thorgrim felt as if he was beginning to return to the land of the living.

His head still ached, but it had mostly cleared up with the consumption of Nan’s miracle stew. Blood-Broth it was called in dwarfish, and was an old remedy to help speed up recovery of most physical wounds. Everything a healing body needed, boiled up in a pot with ale for a few days. When done right it was a favorite of many a Dwarf, But the siege had obviously taken its toll, and rationing was in effect. The taste of Fish guts and whatever other leftovers Nan had sorced lingered in the back of Thorgrims throat. Still, it had helped. The broth could be made from damned near anything with enough time and proper Dwarfish Ale to brew it in.

Thorgrim had Thanked the old Dwarfette, and spent most of the walk back chatting to Ketter. The events of the Warbands last battle still worried him, But if he could shake this mood then perhaps he could come up with solutions.

He had just finished explaining how it had all gone wrong.

“Bloody hell, I’d say ye should remember to thank the Stalk leg and the wee Lass!” said Ketter.

Thorgrim, downcast, responded with a simple “Aye.” After a moment he continued “I’d thought it all over after that. Didn’t think we stood much chance of making it without the cart and what was in it, Not in time. Tho i'll throw it to young Merric, He undid what he had done best he could, and damned near died of hypothermia to do it. I can respect that, show’s guts. Tho id say i still need to talk to him, I know not what to say…”

They had pulled up to the door to the Longhouse, Nan knocking loudly and swearing that if she wasn't let inside on the count of three, the door watchers could do so from outside.


Ketter lay a hand on Thorgrims shoulder, and gave her best advice “They ain’t soldiers. There's not a warrior in your warband besides yeself. Not yet at least. If you insist on going to fight before they’re ready, then treat em as what they are. Seem’s that’s what gave the Elf and Lass the fighting edge that saved yer bacon.”

Thorgrim lingered out in the snow for a minute longer, as he let the words begin to ferment. Still pondering them, he went inside, stowed his gear and said a quick hello to his kin, then upon immediate demand went back out and too the section of the Longhouse the Dwarves had turned into a bath.

A deep pit sealed up with stone, and a series of copper piping that pumped water out and thru a boiler, the bath was simple with an industrial feel, and large enough for a dozen dwarfs at a time.

Thorgrim cleaned himself, and his gear in the adjoining laundry, and made use of the time and restored senses to figure out what to do next.

By the time the others found their way to the Longhouse, Thorgim had rugged up and was preparing to snooze. Eyes closed, he had been chatting affably to Torvus about the next few days. One heavy eyelid opened to watch Adryyse get layn down to rest, and Merric almost collapse into a similar state. When Eadwine arrived however, Thorgrim waved him over quietly.

“Ho lad” he whispered when eadwine came over. “As i've just been talking to Master Torvus here about, Look’s like we have a few days need be spent here before we move on to North Fort. I’ll be seeking some proper kit tomorrow, with luck the Dwarf smiths can spare some good mail and iron. Think on if there's any other expenses, or gear ye need. We shall talk it over with the rest over breakfast. Including transport, which i hear you and the Rascal Merrick managed to find. I’ve some tasks for you to do, but tomorrows a problem for tomorrow. For now..”

Thorgrim leant up, and grabbed a pint that had been resting nearer to the fire pit. “Drink up!” there was a twinkle of mischief in the old dwarfs eyes. “Taste ain't much, But after the trek we had, it will help put kick back in yer step.” Thorgrim made sure to watch and make sure Eadwine drank every drop before sending him off to the Bathhouse to clean up before rest. There was a spot lay’d out with a bedroll and warm furs beside the rest of the warband for Eadwine when he was clean.

Thorgrim slept like a rock that night, but dreamt of battles that were, battles that had been, and battles that may yet come to be.

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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

Post by Mifurey on Mon May 23, 2016 10:26 am

“For now... drink up!” Eadwine took the mug that Thorgrim handed him, wary of the twinkle in the dwarf's eye. Evidently there was another side of the old dwarf that Eadwine hadn't thought of: a cheeky side. It made Eadwine aware of the vast difference in age between them, and reminded him how far in Thorgrim's debt---both financially and otherwise---he was.

The mug's contents looked like some homogeneous brownish goo with the occasional noodly-object threaded through it, and smelt like a good stew with overtones of yesterday's rubbish. Bracing himself, Eadwine took a large gulp and forced it down.

It tasted surprisingly good, though the aftertaste contained hints of salty fish innards. "What is this?" asked the scholar, taking another draught and pulling a face involuntarily. Thorgrim chuckled quietly.
"Translated, we call it 'blood-broth'," he explained. "Good for those who have lost a lot of blood," he clarified, "not necessarily made from blood---although it is a common ingredient."

That was not a mental image that Eadwine needed... still, he could see the dwarf's point; magic and a bit of horse were all that had kept Eadwine going for the last day or two, and he'd only avoided passing out like the elderly dwarf because of his youthfulness. He had a feeling he couldn't get out of finishing the cup anyway.

Downing the rest in a few swift gulps was not too disagreeable, except for the mouthful of wormish meaty tubes at the bottom; Eadwine tried to force these down with the minimum of chewing possible.

Once Thorgrim was satisfied that the youngster had eaten his blood-broth he gave Eadwine instructions on how to get to the baths, explaining that he'd already heated water and that the laundry was just next door. Eadwine took off his unsullied gear (there was precious little of it) and tramped back out into the cold and around to the baths. Their warmth was greatly appreciated. Stripping off, Eadwine stepped into the slightly-bloody water (he really hoped that was from Thorgrim) and sank down until only his head was above. Removing his mask for the first time in days was a joy; he set it next to the bath and began rinsing his hair and beard.

Once finished, Eadwine looked around and realised he had not thought to bring a change of clothes (indeed, he didn't have a change of clothes). Casting around, he noticed a linen towel which he used to cover himself. Then, donning his mask again, he gathered up his soiled gear and headed through a tiny door to the landry. The two rooms shared the same boiler, so it was quite comfortable still.

He cleaned his mail shirt first, making sure to remove the blood thoroughly. He scrubbed the rust from the shirt---blood being an excellent catalyst for rust---and then hung it to dry close to the boiler. After this he dumped his clothing into a large tub with hot water and gritty soap.

Once everything was in place to dry Eadwine realised that he'd have nothing dry to sleep in. Oh well; there was the towel, and the furry bed waiting for him back in the main room of the longhouse.

The scholar dashed outside and back around to the front entrance, then hammered on the wooden frame as loud as he dare considering the late hour. He was sorely beginning to regret leaving his boots in the laundry when the door finally opened.

After enduring another fit of giggling from the dwarf (who found the young human's sparse covering of reddish, curly body hair highly amusing) Eadwine curled up in a fur, removed his mask and went to sleep.

**************************************************

Eadwine woke and desperately needed to pee. Torvus pointed the way to the latrine, and Eadwine ran over and relieved himself, then ran back and defrosted his feet near the fire inside. Thankful that Adrysse was still asleep, Eadwine put his mask back on and felt slightly less undressed.

He went to retrieve his gear from the laundry and was grateful for the clothing, despite the gaping hole in his pants which seemed to suck in cold air.

With that, the scholar applied a little charcoal dust to his eyelids.

Feeling ready to face the day, he walked back to find Thorgrim. The elderly dwarf was awake, sitting near the fire and evidently ready to get on with business.
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Re: Shadows in War: A Lore of Darkness Chronicle

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