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

    Part One: The Forest Mists


    The journey across the Dragonfall Ocean was a long and harrowing one. The four ships left the port of Whitestone as the last storms of winter began to subside, but that did not mean the weather was calm during the two month journey to the islands of the new world. The ships were hit by storms of heavy rain and sleet that, at times, threatened to overturn them or simply sink them under the weight of gathered ice. High winds tore sails and rigging, forcing the ships to share supplies to keep them all moving forward toward the horizon.

    It was early on the third day of Lathanderís Blessing, the first month of spring dawning, that the shores of the new world were first sighted. A cheer rose up from the crews and colonists on board the four ships, and after another day of sailing, they made anchor off the beaches of the unexplored island in a narrow mouthed bay of ivory sand and protective rocks.

    Already anchored in the calm waters of the bay sits the Eagleís Flight, the scouting ship that had been sent out the previous autumn to establish a base settlements and scout out local resources before the main body of colonist arrived. Already, as the long boats are loaded and lowered into the water, you can see men gathering on the beach, waving their arms in greeting. Behind them, a short ways inland, you can make out the roofs of several wood long cabins built in a rough circle.

    As your longboat grinds against the sands of the new world and you are finally able to disembark and set foot on solid ground again, a tall, swarthy man with dark hair and an overgrown goatee strides toward you. You recognize this man immediately. He is is Sir Donovan Dívollier, the commander of the scouting expedition who has been governing as regent of the colony pending your arrival.

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    Sir Dívollier removes his gloves as he approaches and offers a cordial, shallow bow, ĒMy lords and ladies. Welcome to Eagleís Landing. I am pleased to see you all well. I hope the crossing wasnít too difficult,Ē he greets each of you with a friendly smile as he gestures up toward the settlement, ĒCome, come. Iím sure you must be eager for some real food and drink. Iíve arranged for lunch to be laid out in my home for you.Ē

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    Lavender
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    "I've certainly had worse ocean journeys." Lavender replies, mentally chuckling to herself as no doubt few here knew how true that was.

    "Thank you for the kind invitation, Sir Dívollier. I would be more than happy to." she says, accepting his offer. She really hoped lunch was something other than fish. It's not like she didn't like fish. She'd been on the seas so long she'd gone from excited to discover all the new kinds of fish, to so sick of fish the very smell of them made her nauseous, and battling that for long enough to get back to appreciating them again and honestly longing for some if she went too long without any.
    Still, after two months out at sea she was looking forwards to something else for a bit.

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    Dwilla staggers off the boat, more than a little nauseous. While she doesn't have an issue holding her liquor or with sea sickness, the two combined result in something less than fun for her.

    She looks at the man who greets them, and mumbles something about pompous git... before shaking her head. It's... meeting you, she says. Is there wine or ale or something?
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    Gilvyre

    Gilvyre leaps off the boat, and walks briskly passed the man to the first patch of green she can reach and takes a moment to revel in its existence. The trip had been hard on her; never in her life had she been so far from the green wood for so long.

    She had found small moments of joy on the trip in learning of the sea life, at times diving in when waters were calmer, observing and later even becoming one of them. An afternoon as a reef shark had been quite enjoyable, swimming with speeds her elven body would never know. But still, more often than not she was trapped on the ship, and she had never really gotten her sea legs.

    Now back on land, Gilvyre feels more at home near these mysterious and foreign woods than she had in the last two months at sea. She takes a seat next to the scrub and rejoices in the feel of the land beneath her feet once again.
    Last edited by woodwalker; 2019-10-10 at 01:18 PM.

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    Elka, in no hurry, takes a deep breath and scoots out of the longboat. He then leans his backside against the hull and breathes deep again, surveying the shore and the people. When his eyes settle on Sir D'Vollier he offers a warm smile and begins toward him, needing to lean forward to separate himself from the craft. His gait is wide (for a halfling), half-stagger half-swagger. Another deep breath, It was nothing a good meal can't remedy, thank you. Adding I, for one, have been eager to learn what sort of cuisine these islands have to offer.

    The trip had, in fact been difficult on Elka. Made worse by his refusal to let it ruin any part of his appetite. Likely, he had spit more into the sea than anyone.

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    Mariel had handled the crossing in her typical stoic fashion, suffering the often bland, sometimes terrible food, bad weather, cramped conditions and lack of privacy or comfort in silence. It wasn't because she was immune to the stress and discomfort the long voyage had inflicted on her, but because she felt it was necessary to remain strong and steadfast, without showing the signs of fatigue and duress that others were likely feeling. She had, as she always strives to do, set herself as the pillar on which others could lean, and she refused to allow herself to crack or crumble.

    Still it was with some relief that she sets foot on the soft sand of the new world, taking a deep breath and letting the breeze tousle the few strands of her auburn hair that weren't tied back in her usual braid. She drops her pack to the ground at her feet, the armor strapped to it clanking, and she rolls her shoulders and stretches her arms to ether side, enjoying the freedom of the open beach after months on a cramped ship. She had dressed in simple, light clothes of pale blues and whites. Clean and well made, they were hardly the garb of a noble woman. Her weapons and armor were strapped to her pack, since she doubted she would need them right away.

    Seeing Sir D'Vollier she offers him a smile and a nod, "A meal and a drink sound wonderful, though a bath in fresh water would be divine if at all possible," Two months on a ship with no baths and only the occasional rinse with sea water had left her feeling grimy in a way that even weeks on the battlefield hadn't managed.

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    Evaliir Tel'Quessir, Knight Commander Illvenor Falcons
    Hit Poiints: 25 of 25 | AC: 17 (19) | Conditions & Effects: None.

    Evaliir was used to sailing on Quen'Telerin vessels, they were significantly smaller than the boxy vessels used by the Empire, nor did they toss around in the swell like a cork threatening at every wave to capsize. However, he became used to the movement of the Illvenor galleon in short order, and spent much of his time above decks, preferring the open air, the salt spray, the sky & sea as far as his keen elven sight could see. He had spent time with Lady Evenshire, engaged in a series of chess matches, that had left the two stalmated, so too, with the Agent of the Left Hand, Lady Carpenter, a series of archery competitions, first for sea birds, then for targets shot from the bow as the vessels extended beyond the birds ability to follow. He flitted from group to group, sailors, soldiers, scouts, and back to his officers. He spent some number of days acquainting himself with the colonists below deck, learning of their stories, the reasons why they had chosen to leave the empire behind and embark on a journey so far from their places of birth.

    Despite his stoic, friendly, demeanor, he was relieved when he first spied the birds who had returned to the sky, knowing that they preceeded the ships final landfall. And so it was when the coast came into view, even he, one of the Quen'Telerin who had witnessed sights none in the Empire could ever fathom, gasped in awe of the sheer majestry of it. He alighted to the large flat bootomed boat that would row them ashore with impatience, and as it closed to the beach, he leapt from the bow, and assisted the sailors in pulling the craft to land.

    As D'vollier greeting the contingent, Evaliir nodded aloofly, "Ser," the only greeting that escaped his lips, he then nodded his head, "many thanks for the offer of lunch. I trust you have maps of the region, and an accounting of the colony's progress thus far. Resources, terrain, and locations for suitable defensive emplacements?"
    Last edited by Zero Prime; 2019-10-13 at 06:52 AM.

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    Donovan bows again and gestures for the group to proceed him up the beach toward the settlement as he speaks, "We have some lovely cheese and dried fruits, and I had one of our sheep butchered just this morning. I'm sorry we can't off much else, but you must understand that there was no time to plant crops when we first arrived, and the spring fruits have yet to ripen," the regent explains apologetically. To Dwilla he smiles, "I have kept a fine bottle of 994 Ch‚teau de la feuille d'argent special for your arrival," and Dwilla knows that this is an expensive wine made in the high steppes of the Silverhorn Mountains, and the 994 is supposed to be an excellent year.

    As the group approaches the tiny hamlet that has been constructed, they see that it rests in the shadow of an enormous, primeval forest, with trees larger than any they have ever seen back in the old world. This includes the trees of the elven homelands. This is a forest that has not seen a woodsman's axe or even the skilled tending of the elves in well over a millennium, there is simply no other explanation for it untouched splendor. The only marks on it are the two dozen or so stumps right at the boarder where the settlers have cut down trees in order to build their cabins and fuel their fires. The group can also see that there is an ongoing construction of a palisade wall between the forest's edge and village, where already a half circle of sharpened logs stand, angled slightly out toward the trees.

    Passing between the buildings, the group are met with friendly greetings and many bows from the men and women who are now under their direct governance. The settlers seem healthy and decently fed, though some show dark circles under their eyes, and there are a few who seem to have injuries such as turned ankles or broken arms that have been wrapped in bandages and set to heal. There are only a small handful of children in the settlement, and they run around excitedly at the arrival of new people. A small group of girls, none of them older than six or seven, approach the new lords and ladies with bundles of brightly colored flowers. These flowers are unfamiliar blossoms of the new world, ranging in color from deep blue to a blazing red with black speckles. They have wide petals the size of a man's hand and velvety leaves on strong stems.

    Donovan leads the group to the largest cabin in the settlement, one that is easily twice the size of the others, and holds the door open for them to enter. Inside the cabin is divided into two rooms. The main room dominates the interior and is decorated with simple wooden furniture and a few pelts that look like they were taken from large, grey bears. There is a long table set with the food Donovan promised, and more than enough chairs for everyone to sit comfortably. There are no windows, but a number of tallow candles provide plenty of light, and a small fireplace in one corner has been built of field stone, but stands cold now as the heat of the day is enough.

    The second room of the cabin is clearly the sleeping area, and it has been set up with six simple wooden beds. The mattresses appear to be heaped sweet smelling grasses and ferns likely gathered the previous autumn and bundled together in cotton sheets. The blankets are deer hide, and there are several curtains of homespun wool hung up to separate the beds.

    "My apologies for the sparse accommodations my lords," Donovan says as he moves to the table, "It was the best we could manage before the snows came, and I will say that the winters here, though undeniably beautiful, are quite unforgiving. We lost six to frostbite, and three of our goats froze solid in one particularly harsh blizzard," he sighs and lifts a large glass bottle from the table, pulling the cork from the neck with an audible pop and proceeding to fill glasses with a rich, red wine.

    Turning to Evaliir, Donovan nods in answer to the question he had been asked, "Of course my lord. We've mapped as much of the coast as we could before the winter storms came, and I have set the men on continuing the process now that spring has arrived. Mapping the forest has proven much more difficult. There are no trails to follow, and the undergrowth is dense. I've sent a few hunting parties in, and though they have all returned in due course, they report sightings of unknown beasts and...strange occurrences that have dissuaded me from risking too many in the endeavor," he admits, offering the elven lord a glass of wine, "If you don't mind my saying lord, we are yet unsure of what dangers this land may hold, and I am loath to throw lives away."
    Last edited by The_Unknownbone; 2019-10-13 at 05:18 AM.

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    Evaliir Tel'Quessir, Knight Commander Illvenor Falcons
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    Evaliir reached out a slender hand, accepting the proffered glass with grace, nodding his head. "And well you should be loathe to waste such resources," even as he spoke, his mind drifted back to the Winter Wars and for a moment Ser Dívollier's face resembled that of Knight Commander Volkhard, the man's stubborn pride the cause for the monumental loss of life that occurred at Asturica. "For the Empire was created to act as shield to it's citizenry, and to squander those lives would result in charges of treason and incompetence." His noble brow furrowed, as if the words he spoke had only then touched his ears, "I apologize Ser D'vollier, I mispoke." An incline of his head as he regained his composure, "My restlessness from our journey has caused me to insult our host, please believe it was not my intention."

    The tall elf set down his glass, and walked to the adjacent table, where the survey maps were splayed out, he began to look intently at them, a fine finger tracing the lines of elevation and topography. "We should endeavor to clear the underbrush, such saplings and growth shall provide materials for construction, scaffolding, embankments and what have you. Lady Gilvyre may well discover heretofore unknown flowers and herbs which may be of use to our growing community and the Empire itself." Another pause, "By preserving the old growth forest, it provides shelter from observation and elements to the roads and byways that we will be forced to construct."

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    Dwilla, seeing how happy everyone is to see them, tries to put on a smile.

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    This is more for my own purposes than anything else, just seeing how well Dwilla keeps a facade of happiness up.


    She eagerly downs her glass, pouring herself another when the first empties. Despite her attention to the liquor, she does listen to Donovan, and when he finishes, asks What exactly has been spotted in the forests? I could lead an expedition in there myself, perhaps.
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    Lavender
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    Lavender takes the offered flowers with a smile and takes the time to appreciate their colors and scents. New sensations likes this was one of the reasons she wanted to see the world to begin with and unfortunately on lengthy sea voyages there were not a great many flowers to enjoy.

    As they sit down at the table she gently places the flowers down to one side. She takes her time enjoying just a single glass of the wine, giving a small frown to Dwilla's treatment of it. She'd certainly had far superior at the imperial palace, but this was still better than she had expected. Thinking of Dwilla's behavior she noted that she should ensure a private collection as soon as reasonable so that supplies might last past their first month here.

    She raises an eyebrow at Evaliir's words and tone and shakes her head. While she didn't exactly disagree, it was certainly poor manners to bring up the subject of treason upon a first meeting. Clearly something of his past made him speak out of turn, still as nobility now he would need to learn to better control his tongue.

    "I would not mind seeing this new land for myself, the opportunity to see new sights is why I am here afterall. So I would accompany you Lady Dwilla." Turning to look at Donovan she asks, "There would not perchance to be any sizable rivers or lakes in these places to your knowledge Sir Dívollier?"
    Last edited by Ramsus; 2019-10-13 at 11:21 AM.

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    Gil cautiously takes a seat at the table, a few of the flowers given by the children arranged delicately in her hair. Since joining the legion she had grown more accustomed to these sort of events, but was still not comfortable at them. She pours herself a small glass of wine and listens to the rest.

    At the half-elf's mention of leading a scouting party she winces a little. That...scout would get herself and whoever she took with her killed more than likely, wandering into unknown wilderness, especially drunk as she often was. If there was ANYONE here qualified to do such a thing it was Gil, and even she knew the dangers of the unknown. She would have to discuss this later with the Commander. For now though Gilvyre is content to sit and watch quietly.
    Last edited by woodwalker; 2019-10-14 at 08:27 AM.

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    Mariel follows the others into the settlement, smiling kindly at everyone they pass. When the children present the with flowers, she graciously takes them and slides one of the red blossoms behind her ear.

    Seeing the injured members of the community causes the paladin a small amount of concern, though the injuries don't seem to grievous. Still, after the group has assembled in Donovan's house, and after politely refusing the wine, Mariel asks, "Why are some of the people here injured? Were they among those you sent into the woods?" If something in the woods had caused the injuries, then it was definitely something she would investigate personally. She wouldn't allow anyone else to walk into unknown danger.

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    Elka accepts the flowers and is visibly impressed by their beauty. He spends the rest of the walk thinking over the type of garden he should have constructed, sparse housing and unfinished palisade nearly forgotten.

    Once the group arrives in Donovan's cabin, he wastes no time finding a seat at the table. Not noticing any servants on hand, he carves himself a healthy serving of lamb. While the others talk, Elka chews and sips. Only after his second serving does he speak. When will we have an opportunity to speak with these hunters? I would like to know more about what they claim to have witnessed. Also...what is that defensive structure you're building?

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    Donovan seems a little surprised by Evaliir's tone and he bows his head, "Of...of course my lord. I live to serve the empire," he attempts to mollify the elf, showing visible relieve when Evaliir apologizes, "Think nothing of it my lord. I am hardly your host. This is your land, and this is your home," he gestures around at the large cabin, "At least until such time as we can build you all proper accommodations," Donovan explains. He then listens respectfully to Evaliir's plans, nodding in understanding, "As you wish my lord. I will ensure your orders are passed on."

    The regent then turns his attention to the other questions that have been asked. First to Dwilla he responds, "Nothing more than shadows I'm afraid. The men claim to have seen signs of large beasts in the forest, but they have failed to produce any real proof of their claims. Of more concern are the reports of unusual burnt foliage, and claims that the very forest itself seems to shift and move when one isn't looking. It has caused a few hunting parties to lose their way among the trees, only returning once night had fallen and they were able to follow the light of our fires back," to Mariel he explains, "No, not as such. Most of the injuries were sustained in the course of normal labor around the settlement. Accidents will happen after all. I believe only Harmon, one of our hunters, twisted his ankle while in the forest. He claims a tree up and tripped him on purpose," the elder knight chuckles, obviously finding the claim ridiculous.

    Turning to Lavender Donovan nods and points to the map his scouts have put together, "As you can see there is a significant lake just north of us. But we've had scarce chance to truly investigate the area."

    Then, turning his attention to the entire group as a whole Donovan claps his hands, "Now then, my lords and ladies, if I may be so bold. I suggest we put matters of exploration aside for today. The people have been eagerly awaiting your arrival and have arranged a bit of a festival to welcome you and the new settlers to the New World. There will be feasting and music, and I believe even a few games of chance and skill. I do hope you will humor your subjects and attend," he looks around hopefully, "It would do wonders for moral and will give you a chance to meet some of the people."

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    Evaliir Tel'Quessir, Knight Commander Illvenor Falcons
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    As their host spoke, Evaliir nodded, his hand absently stroking his narrow chin. "The Quen'Telerin have long protected their own domain in a similar manner, there are certain among us," he glanced at Gilvyre, "who are acquainted with certain paths to primal powers. The ability commune with the spirit, the very essence of the land, and even, in some cases, make that land react to their wishes. Such tales among your forrester's could simply be fear and uncertainty regarding the forest, as it is booth awe inspiring and unfamiliar to them. It could, however, indicate guardians of the land who wish to prevent our advancement deeper into the interior." As he spoke he paced the length of the dining room, "However, as you say there is time for that anon. The spirit of the realm is of utmost concerns, and such festivities will bolster that spirit and sense of comraderie required for so difficult a venture as this."

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    "Getting to know our subjects does seem a wise thing to do. Thank you for arranging such a suitable opportunity and welcome for us Sir Dívollier." Lavender replies with a smile, leaving out the part where she thinks it would probably have been better to wait a day so those travelers who were unused to such long sea voyages could rest and recover first.

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    Dwilla looks at Evaliir, and asks Our first goal here is throwing a party? Really? she scoffs. You've let the nobility go to your head.
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    Elka quietly repeats the name "Harmon" and looks down into his wine glass for some time. At the talk of the festival he looks up and nods. Downing the remainder of his glass, Yes, surely we owe it to our subjects to spend some time among them. He sets is glass down and then hops off his seat.

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    A few hours pass, allowing the group, as well as the new settlers, a chance to get their land legs back and begins to settle in a bit. This time is also used by the colonists to prepare the festival. Tables made from rough cut logs are set up in the center of the tiny hamlet and covered with food and drink. Most of it is simple fare, but there are a couple bottles of wine, a keg of brown ale and fresh fruit is added from the supplies brought by the ships. A large section of ground is cleared for dancing, and a small stage is set up for musicians to play.

    There are even a few games set up. There is board tumbling set up, with colorful shells and small candies as prizes rather than the usual coins. A group of colonists look to be setting up a game of Castiloís Tower, and another group has marked out a short course for a foot race down the beach. A small range has been set up for an archery competition, and there is talk of a game of Catch the Leprechaun that will be taking place.

    When the sun begins to set the festival truly begins. Men and women with drums, pipes and lutes take tot he stage to play merry tunes, quick and rhythmic enough to set toes tapping. Dancers flock to the cleared area, while the parched and hungry gather at the tables. There is much chatter as tales are shared of a tough winter and a long voyage, while laughter and cheers come from the games. A large bonfire in the center of town dances into the sky, and dozens of torches ensure the entire festival is well lit.

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    Lavender
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    Lavender goes around, trying to introduce herself to everyone (including children and people's pets if they're around) and getting to know them a bit. At the very least trying to memorize their names. She doesn't talk about anything particularly deep, just small talk. Though if people volunteer their concerns she listens. She makes sure to eat and drink with the people of the community, rather than the other nobility. She also tries to get the names and basic information on anyone not present so she can make sure to introduce herself to them later. If people seem nervous about her being a tiefling she'll make jokes to ease the tension, if they're just curious she'll be matter of fact about it and answer whatever questions she can or say she doesn't know if she doesn't.
    Last edited by Ramsus; 2019-10-29 at 11:04 AM.

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    Gilvyre spends most of the first part of the evening with the children of the village. While she knows she's no great speaker or party guest, she understands children in the same way she understands the other young beings of the forest.

    Using some light magic she entertains them for quite a while while the party swirls around them and parents watch on. The flowers they gave her earlier open and close in her hair, a bit of breeze blows up their hair, a scent of wildflowers or of fresh rain or winter cold surround them for a time. Later she steps lightly behind a building, telling them to wait for a moment, then returns in a few moments, after changing out of sight into a squirrel. She looks curiously at them for a moment before playfully chasing them around, climbing up legs and backs, and hopping from head to head.

    As the night wears on and the children are taken to bed, she spends some time trying to search out some of the scouts or any woodsmen who might know anything about the rumors of beasts in the woods.
    Last edited by woodwalker; 2019-11-04 at 09:50 AM.

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    Elka is all smiles as he engages the revelry, leading the crowd in songs in the hours before the band. He will gladly oblige any curious children with a brief display of prestidigitation. If they begin to pester him with leprechaun-themed questions, he will lure them away with an illusion of a pot o' gold. While conversing with adults he participates in a wide variety of small talk, his chief interest is the archery competition.

    Once the competition is about to begin, he introduces himself to each of the participants. Noting their name and function in the colony. Afterwards he does the same for anyone with a visible injury, especially a sprained ankle.

    When the sun sets and the band begins to play, Elka requests a dance with every maid he sees, starting with the shyest.

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    Default Re: New World: The Forest Mists

    Dwilla, for her part, keeps interactions to a minimum. She manages a smile and a polite "Not now," if anyone asks for her time, though the more insistent they are the less nice she gets. She spends most of the festival looking for convenient hidey-holes that she can bolt to if people demand too much.
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