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    Default [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    The Bloody Crown - Continued


    In that dread desert, beneath the moon’s pale gaze, dead men walk.

    They haunt the shifting dunes of the breathless, windless night, brandishing weapons of bronze in mocking challenge and bitter resentment of the life they no longer possess.

    And sometimes, in ghastly dry voices, like the rustling of sun-baked reeds, they whisper the one word they remember from life. The name of the one who cursed them to their existence of more than death but less than life.

    They whisper the name, Nagash.

    OOC

    Without the winter sun that had warmed them when they last travelled it, the road to Hartmut's Fall was cold and dreary. Baldred's wagons rattled and jolted at every rut in the road, and sporadic showers of light rain crossed their path from north to south.

    The wagons were heavily laden. Leather, ceramics, iron tools and bales of wool; Baldred seemed to have a little of everything. The other wagon-driver was a Bretonnian from Alvarran named Pepin. He seemed to have a peasant mentality, taking his lead from Baldred and speaking little. The two guards were more interesting partners in conversation, though they saved their words for when they were not watching their surroundings. Named Sorin and Skender, Baldred explained they were tribesmen from the Raven Hills. With their bushy black hair and ragged furs, they seemed more like savages than honest men to Adelbert, Elsa and Viggo's northern sensibilities. When they talked to each other, they spoke in a peculiar dialect that sounded almost like Reikspiel, or sometimes Breton - however hard he listened, however, Adelbert could not understand them.

    Nevertheless, the two brothers were quick to laugh and generous with the big hide-wrapped flask of spirits they carried between them. Sieghard couldn't tell what it was, except that it was strong. He hoped that what he'd heard about the hill tribes drinking human blood had been an exaggeration.

    When the sun began to go in, Baldred took the carts off the south side of the road, where it ran close to the edge of the Black Karst. Sheltering in the lee of a broken limestone spire, Baldred and his followers produced two sturdy canvas tents from among their goods, and began to pitch them.

    "We've got six guards instead of two," said Baldred, "so you'll be doubling up the watches. Skender, Sorin, you can take a watch with one of the new boys each." He looked across to Elsa. "There's three watches. Seems only right the lady should have first choice."

    OOC:
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    Unless you guys object, we'll keep the order of watch decided here for the whole trip.

    Please feel free to also give me:
    • Any instructions about marching order
    • Any conversational questions you might want to pose to Baldred and his chums during the journey (with an accompanying Gossip check if appropriate).


    Baldred is not planning to stop long at Hartmut's Fall tomorrow - just long enough to take on water. If you guys are happy for me to skip over that, please let me know - any purchases or other minutiae can be handled in the OOC thread and incorporated into the GM update if you wish.
    Last edited by LCP; 2013-10-27 at 10:51 AM.
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Sieghard

    "I can see pretty good in the dark. I'll take the second watch. Put me with whoever you like."

    ------

    (At some point where Sieghard can talk to Ludo and Adelbert without Baldred, Pepin, Sorin or Skender overhearing)

    Sieghard nudged Ludo.

    "Give the scribe his share of what was in the box."

    ------

    OOC:

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    Sieghard will march near, but not at the front of the caravan. Close enough to get a clear shot with his crossbow if there's danger and to get into close combat if needed, but not so close that he's forced into close combat before he can put his crossbow to use. He'll keep the crossbow ready and loaded and while they're in the Karst, he'll be watching the cliffs just as much as the road. He hasn't forgotten the rocks.

    We could see about getting Elsa healed in Hartmut's fall if there's enough time. Sieghard will get a meal there and top off his waterskin, but otherwise has nothing noteworthy to do in Hartmut's Fall.

    (1d100)[69] vs 39 gossip test to see what Sorin and/or Skender will tell me about the Raven Hills.

    Also, Sieghard will ask Baldred about their planned route and dangers he might be expecting that we should be ready for. Doesn't seem like the sort of thing a gossip test would be needed for, but If you disagree, feel free to roll it for me.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    By the time they arrived, Elsabeth was a bit tipsy from overindulging in the strong drink offered by Sorin and Skender; she did have her own bottle of brandy, but it just seemed rude to refuse a gift. The other members of the caravan were somewhat rustic, but hardly unpleasant to be around. The pyromancer could only imagine what her parents would say if they knew what kind of company she kept nowadays.


    "There's three watches. Seems only right the lady should have first choice."
    Baldred's chivalry appeared to amuse Elsa. "Why, thanks. I'm not what you'd call an early bird, so I'll go on the first watch, if nobody minds."

    She spent the early evening watching how her fellow travellers set up camp and trying to help them whenever she could; the skills might prove useful in the future.


    Spoiler
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    Marching order: Elsa will stay near the back, as she doesn't like people looking at her from behind (a bit of healthy caution learned from being a young woman travelling alone).

    Gossip 29 for generic questions about the Border Princes: (d100)[62] (If passed, Elsa will shell out 200 xp for Common Knowledge (Border Princes).)
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2013-08-25 at 07:57 PM.
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    Playing:
    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    "Oh, please." Ludo said cheerfully. "Us halflings can see in the dark, you know? That said, i'll take whatever watch is offered."

    He hopped down from the first cart, where he had been riding despite the wagon-driver's looks. Short legs meant he had trouble keeping up with them on foot.

    Timesplit
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    Ludo gave Sieghard a stern look, or one that was at least intended to be stern. "We gave the box back, remember?"


    OOC
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    Ludo will, if possible, ride in one of the carts: whichever one will take him, with a preference on the front.

    He'll have been talking to whoever will talk to him, but likely about entirely inconsequential things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Lad View Post
    Viggo Hirtzel

    "No not at all Herr Schreiber," he answered as he passed over the packs of dry rations and bloated waterskins, "I didn't know if you were hungry or not so I bought you a couple of pies just in case."

    Handing over the four rolls of stiff paper to the scribe, he continued "I hope this is enough for you?" Viggo fished into his coat pocket and pulled out the owl pendant that he had found for Adelbert, giving it over to him the young lad examined the scribes face for possible signs of dissapointment. "The Owl is blessed of Verena isn't it Adel.. Herr Schreiber? Is it ok?"
    Adelbert Schreiber

    Adelbert smiled in thanks as he took possession of the material. "My thanks Herr Hirtzel, you have done well. The paper is better quality than I expected to find south of the Empire and the pendant is indeed the symbol of Verena, my patron."

    Putting the pendant around his neck the scribe took place in the middle of the carravan. He looked startled at the mention of the stolen box but when Ludo reassured him he closed his mouth without saying anything (even if he looked less than happy about it.)

    When the subject of watches came up he glanced at Elsa and almost said he'd join her on the first watch, but then thought how it might look and reluctantly said: "I'll take any watch, I er, don't mind."

    OOC:
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    (1d100)[33] Gossip Roll vs 36 for any useful information.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Sieghard

    Timesplit

    Sieghard gave Adelbert a funny look. He turned back to Ludo and lowered his voice.

    "Trying to cheat him out of his share?"

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Viggo Hirtzel

    Despite his misgivings about leaving Alvarran so soon after arriving, Viggo had to admit that it felt good to be on the road again, and at least this time I'm traveling in safer company.

    Viggo was fascinated by the savage brothers and although he didn't take them up on their offer of a drink, always keep off the strong stuff his mum had told him, he did engage them in conversation, telling them off colour jokes and doing his best to imitate their strange accents.

    When the carts pulled off the road to set up camp Viggo pulled out his own small tent from his pack, doing the best he could to make some sense of the tangle of willow poles and rumpled canvas. Believing it the honourable thing to do he sheepishly approached Elsabeth and offered her the use of his meager accommodation. "Besides," he said trying to put a touch of bravado into his voice, "I like to sleep beneath the stars."

    Viggo volunteered to take the middle watch, not that he did much 'watching' truth be told. He spent most of the night sat next to the fire, telling stories and playing his flute lightly so as not to wake up those who slept.

    OOC

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    Marching Order: Viggo will for the most part walk besides Adelbert, occasionally drifting off to chat with the others. He hasn't quite got the idea that he's supposed to be looking out for trouble.

    During the day he'll ask the brothers about their homeland and he'll try to pump Baldred for information about Last Water and the towns there etc.

    Gossip: Brothers Savage: [38] +10% Mastery - (1d100)[7]
    Gossip: Baldred: [38] +10% Mastery - (1d100)[83]

    Since it's nearly end of day I'll use re-rolls just in case.
    Brothers: (1d100)[36]
    Baldred: (1d100)[19]

    LCP

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    During the night Viggo will change into his common clothes (everything except his fancy boots and he'll keep his posh blue cap on too! ) he'll also wear his throwing axes in their harness's under his coat, buttoned up for now.

    Last edited by Northern Lad; 2013-08-27 at 07:38 AM.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    "I didn't realise he was getting a share. I thought that was my due as the... The theif." Ludo pulled the fourth share from his coin purse and gave it to Sieghard. "You can tell him that we kept it, though."
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Viggo's offer brought a smirk to Elsa's lips. "If you like to sleep beneath the stars, by all means, go ahead. But I've got my own tent. I do appreciate the offer."
    Spoiler
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    Playing:
    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Baldred weighed up his volunteers. "Alright," he said. "Sorin, you take the first watch with the lady. Skender, you can take the last with our friend here." He indicated Adelbert. "Make sure they know what they're doing, eh? You two, middle watch's all yours." He nodded his head to Viggo and Sieghard.

    The tents were pitched, and Baldred and his men made a small fire. As night fell in earnest, the jagged rocks to the south turned softly from solid stone into a wall of shadows and silhouettes, fading up into the darkened sky.

    After they had eaten, Sieghard took the time to ask Baldred about the road ahead. The merchant didn't seem too reticent to share, and soon began sketching their route in the dust with a stick.

    "This is Alvarran, see? And here's Hartmut's Fall. The karst road should be safe enough, if the soldiers there are doing their job. There's a few robbers lurking between the crags, but they stay away from large groups. Haven't been any proper bandit chiefs in this part of the karst since Alvarr first burned 'em out."

    The twig scratched through the stony soil, tracing a path through what might generously be interpreted as an artist's impression of hills.

    "Down through the Raven Hills, now, that's why we've got Sorin and Skender. Used to be that anyone passing through was fair game for the hill tribes. Since the duke made a friend of their Jarl, they've been a bit more discriminating... but it still pays to stay on their good side." He made a dot in the dirt and tapped it with his stick. "There's a village down in the eastern hills called Greasy Drop. Miserable little place, but safe enough - not claimed by anyone in particular. We'll stop there to resupply."

    The stick continued its scritchy path. "After the hills, that's where the real danger lies. Turnpike Hollow, just here," - he made a little 'X' in the earth - "lies right on top of the road, down in a rocky defile at the edge of the Broken Crags. The villagers there are all thieves and robbers. They'll lie in wait up on the valley walls when they hear there's a wagon coming, with bows and slings." He nodded to Sieghard. "That's where you and your friends'll come in. They've got no stomach for a fair fight - if you're wise to their tricks, you can pass for a much fairer toll." He shook his head. "I'd go around if I could, but the ground there's too rough for my carts - and Turnpike's the last place to take on water before the Waste. Goblins up in the crags too... or that's what the Turnpike folk say."

    Using the edge of the stick, he smeared a patch of dust flatter than before.

    "Three days along the edge of the desert, if we make good time. More if we're unlucky. If the wind gets in the west, you get sandstorms blowing in off the Waste. Sometimes the dunes shift, too, try to lead you off the road. Wander too far into the Waste and you'll never come back." Spiking the stick down into the earth, he leaned back and smiled and looked across at Sieghard. "But hey - after that, we're there!"

    When everyone was done eating, Sorin and Skender kicked out the embers of the fire. It made for a cold night ahead, but a little cold was preferable to drawing the attention of anything that might be lurking in the karst. For all the talk of how Alvarr had made his dukedom safer, it seemed the natives of the Border Princes had caution bred into their bones.


    1

    Aubentag, 9th Nachexen

    The night had passed uneventfully. In the morning, they woke cold and stiff, bleary-eyed from their watches. Ludo was the only one who'd had a full night's sleep, and seemed infuriatingly well-rested.

    Baldred wasted no time in getting their little convoy moving. Soon they were back on the road, rattling up the increasing gradient towards the snarled edge of the Black Karst to the west.


    A little more confident in each others' company, the travellers soon fell into casual conversation. Baldred was riding on the second cart today, and Adelbert and Elsa hung back to talk to him. The caravan's master seemed companionable enough, but Elsa seemed determined to find as many new ways to put her foot firmly in her mouth as she could. Perhaps she couldn't hear it, but every question she asked about the Reaches seemed to come out as some kind of indirect slight by comparison to Altdorf. Adelbert spent a lot of time trying to rephrase her questions more tactfully, but Elsa seemed oblivious and Baldred thick-skinned enough not to care; the scribe's heroic efforts went unappreciated.

    Viggo and Sieghard, meanwhile, found themselves more at home in the company of Baldred's two guards. Sorin and Skender seemed to have taken a liking to the young minstrel in his brightly-coloured clothes - in Sieghard's opinion they seemed likely to adopt him as a mascot if he clowned about for them any more than he already was.

    When Viggo asked them about the Raven Hills, they were only too happy to tell him - albeit in their own peculiarly distorted Reikspiel. Viggo heard the story of the hill tribes, who had lived in the Raven Hills ever since Morr himself had granted them the land in the dawn of ages (or, as Sieghard had heard it, ever since they had raped and murdered the original inhabitants). He heard the great deeds (or as Sieghard had heard it, violent sheep theft) of their various petty clans, until the strange family names began to run into one another in his head. Most interestingly, he heard about Jarl Rorik Wolf-Risen, the ruler of the Raven Hills.

    "Jarl Rorik is northman, yes? Like you, Viggo!" Sorin clapped Viggo on the back. "Rorik and his seven bloodsworn, from the lands across the frozen sea. He killed the Cattle King and claimed the Throne of Morr."

    The Cattle King it seemed had been the hill folk's ruler before Jarl Rorik came - a weak man upon whose memory Sorin and Skender spat with equal enthusiasm. When Viggo asked what the Throne of Morr was, they seemed to feel it was self-explanatory. The only further detail he got was that it was what gave Morr's Seat its name. That was the first Sieghard had heard of it, either, but by then the hill men seemed to be enjoying the air of mystery they had created. They insisted that their pet minstrel would have to come to Morr's Seat to see it with his own eyes, so he could write new songs to sing of Rorik's hall.

    It was getting late in the day by the time they came to Hartmut's Fall. For Ludo, Viggo and Elsa, it was the first time they had seen the fortress. It was certainly impressive, its ruinous towers jutting up out of the karst like the broken teeth of some stone giant. Huge wounds gaped in its walls where old trebuchet shots had broken them open, weeds and wiry little trees growing up over the long-settled rubble.


    A crow-picked skeleton hung shackled to a wooden post outside the gates, just where Sieghard and Adelbert had seen him last. A wooden placard hung around his neck, with the word

    THEYF

    daubed on it in bold, crude letters.

    By contrast to the fortress' imposing exterior, the village inside the walls was squalid and cramped. Everywhere they turned, Alvarr's soldiers were in evidence, and their presence made the back of Elsa's neck itch - she still remembered her treatment at the hands of Arnaulf and Fauchard.

    Fortunately, Baldred didn't plan on lingering long. He traded two casks of salted pork with the fort's quartermaster, acquiring a handful of coins and two tuns of clean water drawn up from the castle's deep well in return. When they had refilled their water skins too, the traders were soon on their way again.

    By the time night fell, they had left the jagged spires of the Black Karst behind - something for which Adelbert, remembering his narrow brush with bouldery death on the road from Elmridge, was intensely grateful. Ahead of them, the dry, rocky shoulders of the Raven Hills sloped away into the distance.


    "We make camp here," said Baldred, when they reached a hollow between two ridges. "Same watches as last night. Keep your eyes peeled, now."

    Pitching the tents once again, they settled in for another cold night.


    1

    Marktag, 10th Nachexen

    Making another early start, it was still well past noon on the third day of their journey when the party reached the village of Greasy Drop. It came upon them suddenly: cresting one of the many rises in the winding switchback road that led through the hills, the village appeared nestling in a tiny valley.

    There seemed to be precious little down there. Viggo could see the white flecks of sheep grazing on the far hillside, and the boundaries of a few rough fields - further out, and far more numerous, were the faded outlines of others that had been abandoned and overgrown by weeds. The villagers' houses were made of wattle and daub, and half seemed empty, with roofs caved in or walls slumped inwards. No violence seemed to have been visited on them. The whole village just seemed to be in an advanced state of decay.

    The road passed through it, though, and Baldred brought the carts to a stop in the middle of the muddy square that served as the village's centre. A few malnourished-looking peasants gathered round to gawp at the newcomers. Elsa thought they had an unpleasantly hungry look.

    "Sorin, Skender, you watch the goods," said Baldred, clambering down from his seat. "I'm off to find whoever's calling himself village elder these days." He looked at Adelbert and the others. "Come along if you like, or go exploring if you don't. If one of you wants to stay and help the lads, I wouldn't take it amiss."
    Last edited by LCP; 2013-08-27 at 04:57 PM.
    Spoiler: My Games
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    WFRP 2E - Tales of Perilous Adventure
    The Hour After Midnight
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Ill Met By Morrslieb

    Dark Heresy 1E - Wake of the Byzantium
    Episodes: I, II, III, IV, V

    WFRP 2E - The Bloody Crown
    Threads: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Adelbert Schreiber

    Adelbert had to admit he was intrigued at meeting some of the locals and volunteered to accompany Baldred.

    "A scholar needs more than just water to quench his thirst."
    He said and laughed. When no one else did he sighed. "It sounds better in the original Classical..."

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    [Accidently edited this post. Whoops!]

    * post roll count doesn't match database
    Last edited by TheSummoner; 2013-08-29 at 11:03 PM.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    All too glad to stretch her legs, Elsa slid down the wagon. She had thought Elmridge was backwards and miserable, but that was before she had seen this excuse for a settlement. Why would anyone choose to build a home here? What could there possibly be in this place that could not be found elsewhere? Then again, in a lawless region like the Border Princes, perhaps the worthlessness of this place was in fact an advantage; nobody would bother raiding or conquering it.

    Since leaving Alvarran, the pyromancer had found she was now enjoying the company of her fellow travellers, crude and rustic as some of them may be. It was the kind of life she might never have experienced had she not been forced out of the Empire. Even Sorin and Skender were not unpleasant company, and Elsa appreciated the former's decent attitude towards her (this far at least) during their night watches together.

    Elsa headed towards one of the peasants who had gathered around to watch the caravan's arrival as if it were the most exciting to happen here in months.

    "You there, speak Riekspiel?" Elsa asked one lazily, tossing him a copper coin with a flick of the thumb. "Where do you people usually go when you get hurt?"

    Spoiler
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    If Fellowship 34 helps: (d100)[62]
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    Playing:
    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Ludo hopped down from the cart and began following the others into town. Stoutheart, who had been curled up on a sack, yapping at pidgeons for most of the journey, followed him.

    "Does anyone see a well, or a pump? I should keep my waterskin full."
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    Viggo Hirtzel

    Viggo found the tales that Sorin and Skender told him fascinating. If it weren't for the fact that his new companions seemed hell bent on heading further south he'd be tempted to go seek out this Throne of Morr.

    Greasy Drop seemed entirely deserving of the name as far as Viggo was concerned, but he was no highborn who looked down his nose at all those who were short of a coin or two.

    "If one of you wants to stay and help the lads, I wouldn't take it amiss."
    Viggo indicated that he would stay with the carts, there was after all a ready made crowd forming. They probably don't have two brass pennies to rub together but they sure look like they could do with some laughter.

    Since Ludo was off to fill his waterskin Viggo asked if the Halfling would oblige by filling his up too. Addressing the huddle of peasants before him he then launched into a jolly little tale about a Lordling who made a pact with a witch and ended up turned into an Ass for his troubles.

    OOC

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    Storyteller: FEL [38] +10% Mimic - (1d100)[67]
    Re-roll - (1d100)[39]
    Last edited by Northern Lad; 2013-08-28 at 06:51 AM.

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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Bloody Crown II

    The village was built in a rough crescent around a dark pool of water that lay in the cleft between the hills that sheltered it. Taking the waterskins, Ludo trotted off in its direction.

    The pool was about two hundred feet across at its broadest extent. Fed by a piss-trickle of a stream that carved an overgrown path down the hillside, its banks were a tangle of moss and shrubs - except on the side that faced the village, where they had been trodden into a bare expanse of sucking mud. The water was still, dark and murky. Two sheep fixed their idiot stares on Ludo from the opposite bank as he came to the water's edge, jaws still moving while they chewed on the tough sedge grass they had been pulling up.

    Back in the square, the peasant who had caught Elsa's coin turned it over with dull-eyed interest, examining the strange designs. Though it wasn't gold, he bit it. Perhaps he thought it might be edible. When it turned out to be copper, he put it in his pocket and walked idly away, without a word to Elsa.

    Viggo, however, seemed to have the villagers' attention. "Crowd" wasn't exactly the word for the audience he attracted - but Viggo doubted this village could muster a crowd even if every soul in it turned out to listen. Too many of its hovels stood empty, doors and windows gaping like toothless mouths where they had been stripped of usable materials. Weeds were reclaiming the thatch of the abandoned homes, and their walls were crumbling and discoloured.

    Nevertheless, villagers stopped to listen to his story. They were a thin, glum-faced people, but he thought he saw a few chuckles. There were more than a few children among his audience, mostly without adults accompanying them . They seemed to appreciate the tale more than their elders.

    When Viggo was done, his listeners moved on, without even an attempt at the paltry shower of coppers he had become accustomed to in Alvarran. Only a couple of the children remained. A small boy with a snotty nose approached and held up a withered apple as an offering.

    "Can you tell another, please?"

    ~

    Baldred, Adelbert and Sieghard found the villagers' leader in a low, long house close to the edge of the pool. A couple of women were scraping hides in a yard in front of it, ringed by a tumbledown drystone wall. They looked at the strangers with unwelcoming eyes.

    Inside the air was thick with smoke from a firepit in the centre of the floor. Adelbert tried not to cough and failed; his watering eyes could not see far through the fog of woodsmoke, and he could smell it leaching into his clothes.

    A gaunt figure was seated cross-legged by the fireside. A man in a plain black woollen robe, it was difficult to gauge his exact age. His pointed beard reached down to his belt, a lustrous black shot through with streaks of grey. His face was lined and bony, but when he opened his eyes they seemed sharp and clear. A mane of greying hair swept back from his high forehead, reaching almost down to his shoulders. Most of all, though, Sieghard noticed the iron sickle at his belt. A tool, not a weapon, but it looked to have a wicked edge to it all the same.

    "Good day, friend," said Baldred, coughing.

    "Are you?" asked the bearded man. His voice was a sonorous baritone - it reminded Adelbert of Vengist's, but with a softer, subtler edge. Baldred looked confused.

    "Sorry?"

    "Are you our friend?" The man turned his head to look Baldred in the eye. "It seems to me we have not met before."

    "The last time I was here, I spoke with a man named Lafoux," said Baldred. "Are he and his men still here?"

    The bearded man shook his head. "He's gone," he said. "They're all gone."

    "Where did they go?"

    The man shrugged his bony shoulders. "They were wicked men. They were bad for this village." He turned back to his fire. "They moved on."

    Clearing his throat, Baldred started again.

    "My name is Baldred, and these are my men. We're headed to Last Water, and we'd be much indebted to you for your hospitality." He paused, only to be greeted by an uncomfortable silence. "I have many things to trade."

    "Is that so?" asked the man. There was a pause, then he slowly unfolded himself from his seat on the floor. Standing at his full height, he towered over Sieghard. "Well then," he said, "welcome."

    "My name is Armin," he said. "I speak for these people now. We may not have much, but we do at least have space to keep you if you wish to stay the night." He gave the slightest of nods towards the door. "Let us speak in the open air."

    Stepping outside, the four of them headed back towards the carts. Sieghard noticed that the villagers seemed to take notice of Armin as he passed, acting with an air of extreme deference.

    "Things are looking better than last time I was here," said Baldred, trying to make conversation. "No more sick?"

    "The gods have spared us further cruelty for now," said Armin, and that seemed to be an end to it. "Let us see what you have to trade."

    As they reached the carts, Viggo's audience was just beginning to disperse. The four of them watched as the little boy offered the minstrel his apple, and Viggo became uncomfortably aware of the tall, bearded stranger watching him from the edge of the square.
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    Viggo Hirtzel


    "Can you tell another, please?"
    Feeling unusually self-conscious under the gaze of the gaunt, stern faced elderly gentleman, Viggo knelt down beside the young waif. "Here now lad, you keep that," he spoke gently and tousled the boys hair, "Of course I can tell some more!"

    Keeping a wary eye on the grim looking newcomer Viggo motioned for the other children to gather around him a little further away from the cart, "Now then you little mites, which one of you can point the hoity toity Lady over there in the direction of a healer?" He pointed over at Elsa and whispered conspiratorially, "I bet she'll even give you a penny for telling her."

    Once he was sure he had their attention Viggo began telling a story he'd loved as a child. A fairy-tale involving a brave Prince who defeated a fearsome cave troll and won the hand of a fair maiden.

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    Healer Gossip: [38] +10 mastery - (1d100)[13]
    Storyteller: [38] +10 mime - (1d100)[63]
    Re-roll Storyteller: [roll]1d100[/roll] ooops! Re-rolled in OOC
    Last edited by Northern Lad; 2013-08-29 at 07:24 AM.

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    One of the children giggled at Viggo's theatrical whisper when he asked where to find a healer for Elsa. The giggling soon died away, however, as they noticed Armin at the edge of the square. The boy pointed mutely in the greybeard's direction, and the two of them ran off without another word.

    Approaching ahead of Baldred and the others, Armin seemed to look straight through Viggo, Elsa and the brothers from the Raven Hills, examining instead the contents of the carts. Turning back to Baldred, he said:

    "We have no gold to give you. The people here lead simple lives."

    Baldred shrugged. "Happy to trade in kind. Got salt mutton, dried fruits and grain, if that interests you."

    "Our flocks have recovered. The fruits and grain we will take."

    Baldred smiled. "That's if you can meet my price, old man."

    The two began to haggle, though Armin seemed to have little taste for it. They finally settled on the promise of hides and wool in exchange for the foodstuffs, in addition to a handful of jewellery and old clothes that Baldred insisted on examining later. Viggo didn't like the tall man's statement that the last items' owners "no longer had need of them".

    "You will eat with us tonight," said Armin, though his sombre face seemed far from a picture of hospitality. "Tomorrow, you will be on your way."

    It seemed much more a statement of fact than a suggestion.

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    Just to clarify - Viggo can refund himself the fortune point he spent on the unused Storytelling test.
    Last edited by LCP; 2013-08-29 at 05:10 PM.
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    Elsa handed the little boy two pennies for being more helpful than the cretin she had first addressed, and eyed the bearded man warily. The villagers did not look too threatening, but she would not be letting her guard down; they might just be desperate enough to try to steal from them.

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    I'll continue once I know what the others, Baldred especially, have to say about the "invitation".
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    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
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    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    "That's very kind of you," said Baldred, the soul of diplomacy. "We thank you for your hospitality."

    He nodded to his other followers. "Pepin, get the carts out of these peoples' way. Sorin, Skender, you go along with him, make sure everything's secured. You too, Herr Scholar," he said, motioning to Adelbert. "Help 'em count out the goods we need for our friend Armin here."

    Setting to the work they had been given, Pepin and the two brothers began to move the carts out of the village centre.
    Last edited by LCP; 2013-08-29 at 05:14 PM.
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    Elsa walked over to Armin and made a perfunctory bow. "...Herr Armin? I was told you had some knowledge of the art of healing. I'm of course willing to compensate any service you have to offer."
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    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
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    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Sieghard

    Sieghard went to help Pepin and the brothers with the carts.

    "Baldred mentioned something about this place being in better shape than last time he passed through. Any of you with him then? Kinda hard to imagine things even more run down."

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    Having moved the carts out of the way, Pepin clambered down from his seat and began unharnessing the mules. Glancing sideways at Sieghard's question, he made a vague gesture in the direction of the empty houses.

    "There was plague here," he said. He had a strong Bretonnian accent, and his Reikspiel was limited. "Year ago, two year. Killed many men, many animals. Before, duke and Jarl both wanted this place.." He grunted as he lifted the yoke off two of the mules. "Now no-one wants it."

    Shifting a bundle of tackle onto the back of the cart, he pointed across the road. Sieghard wasn't sure what he was pointing at, until he noticed the raised mound of earth, only a few feet above ground level. Downhill from the village, the grass and bracken that grew over it were noticeably younger than the surrounding plant-life. A little cairn of lichen-spotted stones had been raised over the centre.

    "See that?" he said. "That is their grave, for all the dead."

    ~

    Armin beetled his black eyebrows at Elsa's question. "Do you take me for a shopkeeper?" he asked, but if he was annoyed, his annoyance didn't linger long. "You have the accent of a child of the Empire. Where are you from? What is your name?"
    Last edited by LCP; 2013-08-30 at 07:05 AM.
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    Elsa straightened. "Elsabeth Holt, of Altdorf. You may call me Elsa." She omitted the whole House of Holt thing, as she was fairly sure prestigious titles or names did not carry much weight in a place like this.
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    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Viggo Hirtzel

    Moving off with the others as they moved the carts, Viggo listened as Pepin explained the grim situation to Sieghard. He found himself nervously wiping the hand that had tousled the young boys hair against his coat.

    As a child he'd witnessed what sort of damage plague could do to a town. The Show had once passed through village after village where the only folk left living were to ill or too deep in mourning to come watch, that's if the village had anybody left in it at all.

    "Plague you say? It won't still be catching will it?" Viggo kept his voice down he didn't want to upset their hosts.
    Last edited by Northern Lad; 2013-08-30 at 08:35 AM.

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    "Elsabeth Holt, of Altdorf. You may call me Elsa."
    "The great city," said Armin. He didn't sound like he approved. "A pool of degeneracy and corruption."

    He looked Elsa over. "How are you hurt?"

    ~

    "Plague you say? It won't still be catching will it?"
    "Let's hope not," Pepin grinned. It was the first time Viggo had seen the little Bretonnian smile. It was unnerving.

    "Ignore him," said Sorin. "We all came through here with master Baldred four months ago." He thumped his chest and grinned through his tangled beard. "Do we look unwell to you?"

    "Rhengi's dead," quibbled Skender.

    "That was a crossbow," said Sorin, "not the sickness."

    "Still counts."

    The two brothers set to bickering with the same energetic good humour they approached everything else with.
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    Elsa let out a brief snicker. She could not deny there was plenty of degeneracy and corruption going on in Altdorf. It would be an awfully boring city otherwise.

    She pulled up the sleeve of her left arm to show Armin the bandages. "Let's both pretend it was a wood-chopping accident, shall we?" she said wryly. "It just needs some better care. The last healer did a horrible job."
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2013-08-30 at 05:58 PM.
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    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
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    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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    Sieghard

    Sieghard paled slightly at the mention of plague. He let his eyes linger on the grave for a while, as though he expected to see tiny plague demons swarming across the mound. Sorin's words reassured him slightly, but not nearly enough.

    "Sooner we've moved on the better."

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    She pulled up the sleeve of her left arm to show Armin the bandages. "Let's both pretend it was a wood-chopping accident, shall we?" she said wryly. "It just needs some better care. The last healer did a horrible job."
    Drawing an alarmingly sharp knife from inside one of his voluminous sleeves, Armin cut away the bandages. The wound Jager had dealt her was still very much in evidence underneath, dark and crusty with scabs.

    "A sword-wound," he said, his face showing clearly his distaste for Elsa's manner. "Yet here you stand." There were unanswered questions in his voice, but he seemed to feel it beneath him to ask them.

    "I can heal these wounds. The question is, what will you give the people of this village in return?"
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    Elsa grew serious and pursed her lips. "How's a gold crown's worth of food from our caravan?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

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