The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #151

    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    The Abbot bristles with indignation at Faust's reproach; his mouth agape, unable to muster a retort. With Brysen's diplomatic offer he finally relents, and hangs his head in mute resignation. The Lord Shawe, on the other hand, makes his disapproval known: "You misunderstand, your graces. No mere contest of arms does Wit demand, but a trial of spirit." He matches your gaze for an uncomfortable time. Finally he continues, "Yet I see you have no desire for immediate satisfaction."

    With guard in tow he withdraws from the gathering, calling loudly and openly to the public: "The House of Shawe will retire to Wodengard tonight. There is nothing more to accomplished - for there is no god to be found here." Striding across the grounds he mounts the charger upon which he arrived mere hours prior, as his servants disassemble their camp and prepare for the march. If uninterrupted they shall be departed in short order.

    This latest disruption breaks the ranks of peasantry into a disorganized confusion of whispers, who amble apart into loose knots of discussion. Rumor will no doubt begin to fly, yet at the moment you seem to have at last gained some measure of calm. Your captives are relieved by some trustworthy of the abbey's care, accompanied by men of your own, to be locked away until the matter can be settled.

  2. - Top - End - #152
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Brysen breathes a heavy sigh of relief, letting the truth of his feelings show in this minor expression of honesty. He was learning quickly that it was in short supply amidst the brew and skein of rumours here in the Fringe. Quickly masking himself once again, Brysen approaches his men and passes out instructions: to those guarding the prisoners, to not let them out of their sight and to keep accurate tally of who visits and what is said, however trivial; to those guarding his chambers, to keep swords loose and eyes sharp; and to those who had rested already, to fade into the background and keep a close eye on the remaining Nobles at the Abbey. What'll keep us alive here, boys, at the end of the River, is each other and more importantly information. We have sailed into dangerous waters, so we must needs build a chart, savvy?

    After making sure his retinue had their instructions, Brysen approaches Faust and bows to the stranger, now blood ally in a single night. Fried Faust, I owe you and your weaponmaster a debt. Your prowess tonight was inspired. I've seen many a knife-fight and a ship battle or two, but in terms of sheer ****'s water bravery, I've never seen the like.

    Wanting to deruffle his companion's feathers, he adds, And nary you mind Shawe's words. Be not the pike who seizes the offered lure, the rest in a whisper for his ears only, Forget not that the traitor monk's below were Shawe men ere they were assassins. Mayhaps they still are Shawe men....

    He claps Faust on the shoulder and turns him towards their chambers, walking and talking. Do not let yourself be baited so easily. We will not win this war with only your blade and the size of your oar. We must needs be patient and choose the right moment to strike.

  3. - Top - End - #153
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Your words speak truth, Brysen. But I had to acknowledge Shawe in some form; to ignore him invites unnecessary insult, and to outright deny his request after my fervor would invite doubt into the crowd. Hence why I left the matter to you; you're better at saying "no."

  4. - Top - End - #154
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Quote Originally Posted by The Void Dragon View Post
    Your words speak truth, Brysen. But I had to acknowledge Shawe in some form; to ignore him invites unnecessary insult, and to outright deny his request after my fervor would invite doubt into the crowd. Hence why I left the matter to you; you're better at saying "no."
    Aye, you did need to acknowledge his challenge, and a fierce notice it was. He won't soon be drawing steel on you again. We have sailed into dangerous waters, truth, and we will need both my skill in untangling ropes and yours in cutting them when warranted. What does your martial mind suggest we do next?

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Faust inhales sharply through his teeth, before letting out a sigh.
    Truthfully, I do not rightly know. I had initially considered taking up Lord Zarboche's invitation, but the ill deeds of this night have complicated manners. There is now the issue of Mull's daughter inheriting, informing the Criers of his last words, and other sundry locations and people warranting investigation. Never mind the fact that, with our former compatriots so abruptly abandoning their task, we are looked upon as untrustworthy foreigners. Our situation can rightly be described as a mess.
    Last edited by The Void Dragon; 2019-09-18 at 07:06 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #156
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Quote Originally Posted by The Void Dragon View Post
    Faust inhales sharply through his teeth, before letting out a sigh.
    Truthfully, I do not rightly know. I had initially considered taking up Lord Zarboche's invitation, but the ill deeds of this night have complicated manners. There is now the issue of Mull's daughter inheriting, informing the Criers of his last words, and other sundry locations and people warranting investigation. Never mind the fact that, with our former compatriots so abruptly abandoning their task, we are looked upon as untrustworthy foreigners. Our situation can rightly be described as a mess.
    Untrustworthy foreigners, aye, and not just because we are not Fringe-men I'd hazard. Your consideration of Lord Zarboch's invitation is well-reasoned, I say. It's probably the least predictable thing for our little company. Perhaps he will divulge some information of use when away from the other Lords? I also do not deny the attraction of leaving these kuan-cursed grounds as early as possible for I feel the prickle of the Fringe blades at the backs of our necks already.

  7. - Top - End - #157
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Aye, the tickling of daggers lined for one's back often proves a most expedient reason to seek new grounds. Hopefully, Zarboche can help guide us to the hands that hold them. Let us gather our men, pack up our provisions, and take up his invitation post-haste.
    Last edited by The Void Dragon; 2019-09-21 at 09:29 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #158

    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Whatever good will remained within the hallowed halls of Dom Doren had been spent by that wretched day’s end, as the ire of every man within seemed to fall upon your shoulders. Though the matter seemed settled and the eve’s true villains awaited proper justice, the public eye must have witnessed otherwise. Brysen’s council did not go unheeded; yet even his expert spies hear little, as the whole abbey seems to be struck not only dumb but mute.

    For their part the noblemen of the Fringe fare little better - the loss of their cousin has left a visible weight, as had the bullish antics of the Shawe. They do not tarry after the departure of the Wodengard patriarch, the Lord Tawic being the next to withdraw. The indignance he once wore replaced with naught but an empty stare, he leaves slumped low in the saddle. Croom follows shortly thereafter, leaving only Zarboch and Guisa - the majordomo left to represent Gristing. As the grounds are nearly vacant, with guard in tow the latter slinks toward your company. “I do not rightly know what befell you in deep, but for the time I am willing to believe you,” he states plainly. “We of Gristing will remain in Dom Doren until our lord’s body has been readied for travel - such that he may be interred within the land of his name. I…regret that I was not of greater aid.”

    After a pause, presumably of meekness, he continues. “The matter of succession must be addressed. I do not presume to command your graces, but your word would not be unwelcome in ensuring Lady Cyna retains the family’s station.” His part said, he bows and takes his leave.

    At last the day yields way to night, and all retire from the rising moon. Paranoia sees the nightly watch doubled, tripled even, across all remaining camps yet the eve is mercifully quiet. Come the dawn and a runner reaches your door bearing word from the master of Udwald, bidding you heed his invitation and join in the journey north. Upon discussion of your plans, Lord Crofte finds your assessment agreeable. “Best to keep the locals guessing,” he harrumphs, “and not play all our cards yet. I shall remain in the abbey and conduct our business as would be expected. Perhaps we may find an ally in Zarboch? He seems yet undecided between either of the local divisions.”

    With guard and provision set you meet said nobleman at the abbey gates, such as they are. The dawn is barely ended and the air crisp, without hint of the yesterday’s storming. The Lord of Udwald greets you with a wolfish grin you are fast coming to recognize. “A wise decision, your graces, to heed my call. You shall soon find that us northmen know how best to wield this land.”

    * * *

    For three days you ride north along slim, poorer trails rather than the principle passageways. By taking to the open country you skirt Gristing entirely, at Lord Zarboch’s insistence. “Word will have spread of their master’s death,” he explains, “and my presence would surely agitate the matter. Better to hold to these older footpaths than risk trouble.”

    Affer’s Bridge proves to be much alike with its predecessor, Stathes’ Crossing. The outwash from those centermost summits, the Otten Peaks, produces a swift current that tumbles across gullies of protruding stone – cutting through the mountain vale, with few offerings for safe passages. The late rain has raised the waters higher still, and you are forced to take the bridge: a wooden affair guarded at either end with a palisade of timber stakes. Though the toll is only a trifle, rumor may now spring of your passage north.

    Across the span you are met by Anton, the younger of Zarboch’s sons. He is as tall and gaunt as his father, yet bears the vigor of youth. By the end of another day you take rest and restock your supply at Unwald. Here within his own country Zarboch leads you along the principal roadways, stopping at seemingly every hamlet or homestead along the path to display the bounty of his lands – and truly there is a bounty.

    The harvest has nearly arrived, and you are treated to the good order emblematic of the Shambryfolk. Though Udwald is unlike the Fringe’s southern span, with a greater density of hills and sharp ridges; jutting boulders and copses of stubborn juniper bramble, its back has been broken. Orderly rows of buckwheat and rye are carefully tended; goatherds ramble over the slanted rock, tended by sharp-eyed shepherds; and through the far distance the plains have been divided by leagues of stone wall. “Beautiful, is it not?” Zarboch proudly states.

    * * *

    At last you arrive to Udwald proper, the city densely clustered between two risings hills; the Grey Road passing straight between. Modest homes lines neatly-tended cobbled streets, bustling with activity. There is the scent of industry carried on the air: burning coal, boiling wort, leathers set to tan, and more. At its center sits the keep; a looming edifice of old design, tall and austere, leaning over the streets like a stern father. Through its wheelhouse you are taken and finally reach your travel’s end.

    Your welcome is warm – the fire roars already in the great hall, food and drink awaiting. There is fiery strong wine, bread and native cheeses, game fowl and roasted meats. The hall itself is long and dark, lit only by some few braziers, the walls bedecked with trophies. The heads of wolves, elk, boar, and even some Thurs leer from their perches.

    “And now,” from his seat at the table’s head Zarboch addresses you, “is the time to talk. You have seen my lands; seen their plenty. I only ask, need you see more? Or is the matter settled?”

  9. - Top - End - #159
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    I must say, Faust begins, your lands are well tended, your trophies, he gestures at the Thurs, admirable. There is just one thing lacking; your sons. I had heard a good deal about those young men and was looking forward to meeting them all.

  10. - Top - End - #160

    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Zarboch takes a long moment to observe Faust, as though taking his measure. At last he answers: “My sons are of the age where they need me no longer - instead I have need of them. My lands have been wrought; beaten into shape as a smith beats iron. To do this - to achieve eden anew - requires a man of staunch will. They call Wit the gardener, whose song makes the world beautiful. We must strive as he does.” He stands and drifts about the room, trailing his thoughts along behind.

    “You are both foreign-born, and as I judge of good stock. You see my blood: we are a thinly-stretched folk. My father...had name alone, but not substance. Udwald, nay the Fringe in whole, needs strength from its nobles - a visage to inspire. Now more than ever.” He turns his gaze back towards you, twisted to grimace and harshened from the half-light. “You saw the Shawe. Of late he is bolder and bolder. I fear he relishes the thought of war and so seeks it openly, lustily. Mull was weak; had he not been poisoned his own fat would have drawn him to the grave. Yet Tawic and I are now old, and his son is dead already. What shall we do this next time the Shawe births havoc?”

    There is another long pause as he returns to his seat, the air pregnant, awaiting the lord to continue. “My sons must be strong, to answer this threat. Anton and his elder brother, Arthur, must be able to work iron with their bare hands. They must have the will to rule - so I task them as agents of my will, to do my work until I am no more and then they shall take up the mantle themselves.”
    Last edited by Boethius Junior; 2019-10-13 at 07:48 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #161
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Brysen can't help but tally the goods and inventory the harvest as they travel into Zarboch's lands. His merchant mind filing away ledgers of rye, bushels of sheep, and columns of ore, the trader keeps his face neutral though he can't help but see the potential profit in these hardy lands, if only it could be opened to trade with the greater Wuvd.

    At Zarboch's keep he eats heartily, though only drinks sparingly, maintaining his sobriety to navigate the conversational currents that had already begun to swirl. He sips the excellent wine, allowing Faust and Zarboch the first exchange, the better to evaluate reaction and counter-action. The Lord's initial character taken, Brysen raises his glass to signal a toast.

    Lord Zarboch, our thanks for sharing in the bounty of your lands. That we are here today enjoying the fruits - and meats and ales! - of your folks' sweat instead of the mealy gruel some outside the Fringe snicker to themselves is all this stretch of Wuvd offers is testament to your measure and your measured rule. he lets the words "measure" hang for a half second longer than natural Here's to the Lord Zarboch and the results of Wit's good work through him! After taking a drink, the Authman continues.

    Speaking for myself, Lord, I am most heartily impressed with the fare and the rugged environs. So different from the lands around Dom Doren, but equally as impressive. As fire requires friction yet gives heat and light, so too might the Lords of the Fringe's competition ignite the potential of these lands. But fire must be carefully managed, no? Feed it too fast and it roars out of control, impossible to harness to productive use. Too slow and it sputters, effort wasted. Balanced, like the keel of a well-tuned ship, is how flames must be tended. There are those we have met who, alas, will likely learn either one of those lessons. Judging by yon hearth, I doubt you are among them.

    I do not fear the Shawe as much as I fear the chaos haste would make of the progress made here in the Fringe. Despite the violence and evil we have witnessed, I find it harder to recall than the good works we have seen and that you have etched deeper. I would see more and meet your sons, the better to honour our good host and his own fruits.

  12. - Top - End - #162

    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Zarboch nods along with the Authman. "Aye," he agrees, "you understand of what I speak. Our plenty is wearily won, and my home is like dry tinder - it awaits an inevitable spark. I only hope that my sons are readied to weather the coming storm..." Across the hall a door creaks and a servant hurries to her master's side, ending his thought abruptly. They exchange hushed words, and your hosts rises again from his seat. "Please excuse me your graces, my presence is required abroad. You shall be attended momentarily." Briskly he exits, following the messenger from the grand chamber by the same passage she entered moments before. The fire crackles quietly in this new pause, and for a moment you seem to be alone.

  13. - Top - End - #163

    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    In the warm dark of the great hall you host's absence starts to weigh. Though his servants come and go, ensuring your cup is ever full, they are either unwilling or unable to answer your inquiries into the matter - offering only in meek tones that he should soon return. "Unquiet news from the road," they say, "soon to be amended." Yet after the bells toll their evening chime still has he not returned, and even the porters seem less populous of late.

    The hall has emptied but for your seats, and the quiet is abruptly breached by the sounds of muffled shouting then cut short. The servant's entrance creeps open, revealing three figures swathed in midnight black robes; their faces obscured with similar wrappings. They carry arming swords and knives, already drawn and whetted with use. The front of their number stalks towards Brysen's half of the table - "Where is the Zarboch?" he growls, voice thick with an accent you cannot at once place. Behind him the others circle towards Faust, approaching from either of his flanks.

  14. - Top - End - #164
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [The Burning Wheel] Beneath the Delirious Moon [IC]

    Faust tightens his grip on sword and knife, giving the answer of naked steel as he charges the wordy assassin.

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