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 Post subject: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:00 pm 
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In the small town of Harlot's Cross, the town crier is belting a new message and word is spreading quickly. The bravest in the lands are being summoned to the nobleman Sir Fletcher's compound in nearby city of Kingstown. The Commander of the Western Armies requests any who would heed the call, for danger in exchange for high reward. Kingstown is a two-league journey from Harlot's Cross, and the trip alone is enough to dissuade the majority of the commoners.

The townsfolk wonder what Sir Fletcher would want from heroes, considering he commands the fiercest army on this side of the continent. Given his renown for wealth and generosity, the general opinion is that it will not matter. Anyone in Fletcher’s employ is reputed to be well paid; however, they are not known to live long lives. Only the brave need apply.

Is the Commander growing his army with special recruits? He has never expanded his armies with candidates who have not gone through his own rigorous training program, so this is particularly unusual. Perhaps this is something… different.

If you decide to make the journey to Kingstown, report to the guards outside the compound. Give them your name, class, race, gender, and any special skills you might have. If the guards consider you unworthy, count it a blessing. You would not impress Fletcher’s generals either.

If the guards do consider you worthy, think twice. It may be your last chance to discover old age.

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:19 am 
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Yearn tipped his chair back further into the shadow provided by the awning over the tavern's front. The view of the compound across the way wasn't particularly picturesque, but it promised to afford him some possible entertainment as he nursed his ale bought with a copper earned bringing in the troll who had been poaching from the local herds. Finding and feeding off dead-or-alive bounties wouldn't earn him a bards song to be remembered by, but that suited Yearn just fine.

"Thinking of answering the call?" The tavern keeper asked as he stepped past to collect the bowl Yearn had emptied moments before.

Yearns tongue played with the gap between his left molars briefly, almost impulsively. "Heh." He caught himself doing it and took a swallow of his ale from the stein. "I'm sure there will be plenty of kids looking to prove their metal who will. Always has been, always will be."

The tavern keeper took a moment to look at his only guest more closely. Despite having the place to himself, Yearn had taken his meal outside. It occured only now to the keep that where Yearn sat would be difficult to approach without being seen first and almost impossible to block off from leaving without the help of a good sized group. Yet mid-afternoon shadows from the building and awning made it more difficult to see much, and one would have to look closely to make out what appeared to be a fairly average height, slightly stockier built human in a dark cloak common to folk some called rangers. Getting a closer look wouldn't reveal much more other than he likely wasn't a loner purely by choice. But whatever else he was he wasn't alive due to pure luck even if he bore a few scars suggesting she still played a role in his survival.

"You're right, the young never know the value of life even when they have the most of it to lose. It will be the lucky ones who the guards tell to head back to cut more wood and carry more water before they're ready for the next time Sir Fletcher needs bodies to throw into the maw of adventure. So, then, what's your interest in this if you aren't heading off to sign up yourself?"

Both Yearn and the Keeper watched as a young lad stepped out from the front of the arms dealer with his new kit ackwardly strapped down in all the wrong places, guaranteed to leave more blisters than times the boy had likely even blushed at a woman.

"Sometimes it's helpful to see exactly who they're accepting to get a handle on just what kind of trouble is being stirred up." Yearn finished the ale. "Or if they're looking for a stick to do the stirring."

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The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa


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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:39 am 
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"Have you heard anything about this special task force?" The first guard barely moved his head as he spoke, trying to maintain a stately posture.

"No, and I don't think anyone will unless they are accepted to join." The second guard was also as still as a statue.

"The captain told you nothing?"

The second guard hesitated only briefly, attempting to suppress mild irritation. "You were there when he gave us the assignment. You heard everything I did."

"It's unusual, that's all. Usually the entire kingdom knows what Sir Fletcher's goals are, since they usually translate into the army's goals. But this... I'm not used to the secrecy." The first guard shuffled his feet slightly and felt a twinge of regret for having to move. Guard duty at the compound was an honor, and paid very well... but there were standards to maintain. The nobleman's guards were reputed for strict discipline. No one should see them move, unless they are approached by company to the compound. He hoped the second guard hadn't noticed.

"I don't need to know, and neither do you. Our task is to screen out the weak and any others who would waste the Captain's time."

The first guard regathered his composure. "You needn't remind me. I know what we have to do. It was curiosity; that's all."

"Save it. Concentrate on the task at hand."

The first guard was about to fire back when they saw two dwarves approaching, so he stifled his retort. The big one was 4' 10", wore padded armor and had a small wooden shield. A short sword was strapped to his hip. The smaller dwarf, about 4' 2", was dressed in black leather. He wore a dagger on one hip and a rapier on the other. The big one stepped toward the guards. He stood as tall as his frame would allow, put his chin forward and spoke in the most confident tone he could muster.

"Is this where we answer the nobleman's call?"

The second guard would not admit it to himself, but he was relieved for the company. It felt good to finally have an excuse to move. He looked down at the big one who spoke. "Dwarves, eh?"

"That's right. Sturdy and ready to fight! Well... for the right price."

Almost imperceptibly, it was so fast, the second guard unsheathed his sword and swung the flat of the blade at the big dwarf's shoulder. Neither of the dwarves saw it coming, and the big one hadn't realized he'd been whacked until he was laying prone on the ground. The second dwarf, surprised at what just happened, reached for his weapons, but the first guard was too fast. He raised his shield and swung it at the little dwarf, knocking him to the ground as well.

The big one looked up at the guards and whined, "Ye don't fight fair!"

The second guard chuckled. "If you're looking for a fair fight, go watch a show. This assignment is not for the likes of you."

"But... but..."

"Go on. Take your leave. Be grateful I just saved your pathetic lives. Come back when you've grown a foot or two!" As the smaller dwarf tried to get up, the guard placed a foot on the little one's rear end and kicked him forward, back to the ground. It didn't hurt anything but the dwarf's pride. They both eventually found their feet and shuffled away, dejected.

The guards resumed their statue-like poses. "That was fun."

"Yes it was. I could do that all day."

They stood in silence for a minute before the first one said, "I wonder if anyone decent will show up for this..."

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Last edited by Perfume on my Mind on Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:04 pm 
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Before he dismounted, he prayed to his god. This was not a time to forget his master. Whispers of the seriousness of Fletcher's mission were abundant, and although Zandor knew they were likely little more than rumors, this was no time to take chances. Besides... any time was good time to commune with Pelor, God of Light.

After the moment of reflection, Zandor slid from his mount, straightened his mail, and approached the guards, saluting.

"I am here to see your captain. I am told Sir Fletcher is in need of special assistance. I can provide that assistance."

The guards seemed unmoved by this speech. The one on the right reached for his sword, but Zandor was faster. "Stay your sword hand, sir, should you intend to keep it!" He was gripping the guard's wrist without yielding. A flicker of anger crossed the guard's face, but then he relaxed.

"Make your way straight to Captain Jasper's quarters. Do not wander. It is at the front and center of the compound. The path is straight and clear. Walk, don't ride. Be quick."

Both guards resumed their pose at the gate as though nothing at all had happened. Zandor led his mount into the compound.

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:41 pm 
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Zeb looked up from sharpening the barber’s scissors. “What’s all the commotion around town today?”

The barber rolled his eyes. “Sir Fletcher’s calling for heroes, good Tinker, so every damn fool in town who fancies himself a rescuer of princesses or a slayer of dragons is reporting to the guards. What does Sir Fletcher need with heroes?”

Zeb put the finishing touches on the scissors, his whetstone glowing faintly. He traded the scissors for his usual fee. “Adventure or war — maybe both.” Which way are those guards?”

The barber laughed. “Surely you’re neither hero nor fool.”

Zeb smiled and winked. “Truth. But either way, there’s coin to be made.”

He whistled a tune as he headed for his wagon.

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​“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”

― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951


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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:36 pm 
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Zandor's pace was neither quick nor slow. He kept a steady gait, absorbing his surroundings. The compound was a training ground for war, and soldiers of all experience levels were carrying out various tasks. Swordsmen were sparring with training dummies. Archers were firing arrows at round painted targets. Off to one side were jousting lanes, and all along the back of the compound was what seemed like an infinitely large building: the men's sleeping quarters. In front of that, however, was the focus of the compound. It was the Captain's Tent, a massive, gaudy spectacle, ornately decorated with the royal seal and other regal symbols. To it's right was a corral for the war horses, and to the left was a giant forge. A barbarian was forging steel with a giant hammer.

Zandor led his mare Sallytooth to the corral and tied her to the post. She started drinking from the trough immediately. Zandor stroked her white mane and whispered, "I shall return shortly, my friend. Drink well. The journey may be long." He glanced up and took another look at the army's latest recruits. He chuckled and made his way to the Captain's tent.

Two more guards stood at the opulent tent's entrance, but they made no move as Zandor approached. Apparently, these ones were just for show. The guards at the gate we the real ones to worry about. He ducked his head and walked inside.

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dim light inside the tent, but when they did, he was surprised at the size of the man sitting at the table dominating the room. The Captain did not look up from the maps spread out in front of him.

"You have balls to come in this tent. Large balls. I can name several reasons why you would have to have rhino-sized balls to enter this particular tent on this particular day. If the guards let you in, you must have some... experience. State your name." The Captain's voice was quiet, but powerful.

Zandor stood his ground. It would serve him no good to lose himself now. "My name is Zandor. I have heard the call and come to assist in this matter."

The Captain laughed. "And what matter would that be?"

Zandor tightened the grip on his shield briefly, but he recovered. "Am I wasting my time? I was told Sir Fletcher had important business and was in need of worthy agents for hire. I consider myself one. Am I wasting my time here? I can find other clients in need. Do I need to speak to someone higher up the chain...?"

The Captain finally looked up. He smiled, but there was nothing happy in it. "All right... Zandor. Perhaps you could be of some use to the team. That is... if you have skills. What do you do?"

"I fight with mace and shield, if that is needed, but I can be most useful as a combat healer. I can tend to wounds in the heat of battle."

"Man of the cloth, are you?" The Captain chuckled as he sized up Zandor's armor. It was polished to a fine silvery gleam. "Cloth" was not quite the right word.

"Let's just say that I take my oaths to life and light seriously." Zandor's eyes never left the Captain's.

Jasper looked at him for a long time, as though he was considering whether or not he was worthy, but the Captain knew this healer would have to do. It was a dire time, and Sir Fletcher was more desperate than he let on.

"Okay then," he said finally. "There are VIP quarters behind the jousting lanes. Go there to stow whatever possessions you've carried, and then help yourself to a meal in the mess hall. Once the others assemble, you will be summoned to receive more details."

Zandor coughed. "More details? You've told me nothing." Then something else occurred to him. "Once the others assemble? What others?"

The Captain threw him a wink, and his smile was genuine this time. It was the most surprising thing he'd done so far. "I don't know yet. We shall see."

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:38 pm 
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The bar was deader than usual. It was strange. Usually at this time, he'd have at least a couple dozen customers to worry over. Not tonight. He had the one stranger out front, but it was empty inside. Nobody had even come in for directions, or the salvation of a glass of water in the heat.

It was the guy out front, just sittin' there. It had to be the guy. He was keeping the customers away. Was he gonna sit there all day, jinxin' his business?

It was a lie to himself. The truth was you could barely notice the stranger unless you were looking for him. It's like he was hiding in plain sight.

But the barkeep knew he was there. Oh yes. He watched the man watch the compound. The man had his eye on that damn compound gate all day. Just watching it. What was he waiting for? An engraved invitation?

The barkeep remembered when he first took over the bar. What wasn't to like? The place was right next to a huge army compound! Lots of potential customers, right? Well, not really. Turned out Sir Fletcher frowned upon his men partaking of the drink. It was strictly forbidden in his ranks. No wonder the bar was for sale. All his customers had to come from somewhere else.

Still, it was a bar, and people did come. Just not from the compound, and apparently, not tonight. He decided to wander on over to his one patron and see if he wanted another drink.

"Have you decided yet?"

The stranger shot him a serious glance. The barkeep had broken his reverie.

"Have you decided it's time for another drink?"

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:50 pm 
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As the barber watched the tinker pull his wagon away, he wondered what would make a man want to risk his life and limb for mere coin, and shook his head. Thinking this, he noticed an item drop off the back of the tinker's wagon as it rolled over a rock.

He walked calmly up the road and saw the fine hammer laying on the path. It looked quite expensive. He looked up and the tinker had not stopped. He picked up the hammer and walked back to his shop.

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:42 pm 
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"Oh, yes. Of course. Your ale suits my mood and thoughts well, Keep."

------

Yearn had watched with interest as the young lad had first approached the guards. Had they let him in, Yearn would have known immediately what kind of adventure this would be. Long marches to nowhere specific intended as a distraction to an enemy force at best, fodder to be served up in order to better assess the strength of an unknown creature or darker magic to preserve the trained troops more likely. When instead they didn't even acknowledge his proclaimed willingness to serve but continued to stare fiercely past him until he gave up and left, dejected but better for the lesson becoming an adventurer is more than putting on the right kit, Yearn resolved to watch on.

The two dwarves were more the type Yearn expected to see hired on. Young enough, for dwarves anyway, to have the itch, wants and appetites bigger than their coin purses, and enough of the polish buffered out of their weapons and armor to suggest they knew what it was like to take life, see it taken, and still drink ones ale in the evening. His expectations shifted from hoping for some mild entertainment to genuine curiosity, then, when instead of being let in or asked for their training pedigree the guards attacked without warning. To be vigilant enough to recognize the guards intent and react in time to stop or reverse it was not a test most would pass. Even a veteran of many wars would be hard pressed to react in time. No, this test suggested certain skills were needed that Sir Fletcher wasn't going to find among soldiers or farm boys.

Creating effective decoys was a necessary skill in Yearn's vocation. Many a troll had gone to whatever darkness accepted their souls believing they were about to feast on the flesh of a lone wanderer lost in thought and mesmerized by their camp fire, never realizing the real human they couldn't scent coming out of a shadow behind them would be burning off its putrid blood and brains to purify his short sword in that very fire even as the nervous system of the troll still twitched in anticipation of a meal that was little more than some mud and branches wrapped in a special cloak enchanted for just this purpose.

Had anyone asked the Keep, he'd have sworn Yearn hadn't moved all afternoon. He'd swear on his ancestors honor he himself had an eye on him the whole time. His mind convinced he had never stepped back into the kitchen to check on the stew, found a few items out of place, and spent nearly a full minute blissfully unaware Yearn was in fact slipping off to find a tree from which to gain some vantage into the compound. His decoy brooded in his place, pondering thoughts unavailable even to the gods.

Like a good military compound, trees outside the camp that afforded a spy the chance to count troops or observe manuevers had all been removed. But with a slight gesture and stoking of a feather held by an Amber bead tied to his cuff, suddenly where Yearn had been was instead a camp robber Jay bird.

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The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa


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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:23 pm 
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It was an hour later that Yearn returned to relieve the decoy of it's watch under the taverns awning before the Tavern Keeper had decided to intrude on his thoughts. He felt little wiser than before, having watched with interest as the Cleric had bested the guards, been granted entrance to the compound, and then audience with the captain. But he had learned little beyond what he already expected from what had been said.

Eavesdropping as a Jay is harder than many might think, not realizing the anatomy of a bird wasn't formed by the gods to perform human tasks, and instead imagining that the rangers mind merely occupied a smaller space instead of transforming every whit into that of a bird with special awareness of it's needs and self. Even the act of making out single words strained the birds brain and compelled it to attempt to mimic the tone and rythym rather than comprehend it's meaning in some human tongue it could not speak. Yearn had learned from experience it was best to shift back and rely instead on stealth to do work suited for humankind. Then, once his objective was accomplished, change again only to make his escape. It was far easier to ask a bird using another gift of Nature what it saw when needing to gain information in a location where shadows and the forest could not hide him.

------

"Your ale, sir." The Keep was unhappily working out the accounting for the day and optimistically planning ways to repurpose the stew for tomorrow which could only be better as it certainly couldn't get worse than one taciturn guest for an entire day. "Could I interest you in some other attractions in our town? I hear the dancers at the Whispered Vows Inn are worth every silver coin they disappear between their bosum. Or perhaps you're more interested in learning? The alchemist Treyvor and our historian Sean Locke both keep fine establishments where someone interested in more intellectual pursuits than staring at a gate all day could make good use of their time as well as prosper the establishment in the bargain."

Yearn downed the ale and slipped an entire gold coin from his pouch and put it on the table. "For your example in patience, good Keep. And your curious ale." Yearn tipped forward and to his feet, gave the Keep a final nod, and made his way to the guards.

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The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa


Last edited by honorentheos on Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:18 pm 
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The guards were vigilant inspite of the monotony of their post. Not that it mattered to Yearn, but had they been less watchful he'd consider simply slipping past them. He'd seen how the guards inside were far less alert, leaving him to wonder if this spoke well or ill of the Captain. Many a strict, disliked officer has been discovered in their bed with their airway opened from a blade. If Captain Jasper did not fear his men, perhaps they did not need to fear him to follow him as well. Or, perhaps the lax guards who barely glanced at the Cleric had orders of their own? Yearn stopped himself. These were thoughts for the decoy to ponder, not him as he had to be at his best. Focus on the two in front of him, then perhaps his curiousity concerning the other guards will be next satisfied.

Yearn approached them directly and announced, "I have an appointment with Captain Jasper."

This was not what the guards were expecting to hear having spent their day rebuffing would-be heroes.

"Your summons?" The guards were wary of a ruse and their training called for one to monitor the area for surprise threats as the other worked quickly to verify the visitors credentials and usher them in, dismiss them, or decide to detain them for questioning in the garrison under armed watch.

Yearn pulled a rolled parchment from the hidden pocket on his cloak, bearing the Captains personal seal still unbroken.

"How do you know it's a summons if the seal is still intact and the message unread?" The guards were in unfamiliar territory with their sense screaming something was wrong but unsure what to target or even exactly why.

"Because he is going to want it back from where I took it. That being, his desk this afternoon. And before you draw weapons on me or call out consider what that means for your own sakes. If I walk in on my own, this will find its way back onto his desk and no one the wiser that it took a little walk. You make a fuss, and you'll be telling the Sergeant at Arms how you managed to capture someone who offered themselve to you openly with a letter they took from the Captain's desk. Under your watch. Besides, I have the feeling Sir Fletcher is needing more than just muscle and quick reflexes for whatever he has planned."

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The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa


Last edited by honorentheos on Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:37 pm 
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Was it to their credit they let him in or a mark of their overvaluing their own worth? Yearn wondered as he walked through the gate opened by the two guards, who had only paused briefly and without verbal conference before nodding and letting him pass. But he shook his head to exercise his mind of such thoughts. It would be a fool who didn't value their own hide enough to have recognized their situation offered little upside for choosing valor while risking potentially fatal consequences were the Sergeant at Arms to believe they had failed in their duty as guards.

Honor of a kind that would lead a man, woman or beast to sacrifice themselves for another person who was close to them Yearn understood very well. But loyalty to a banner, cause or even a god? Such things seemed tinged with darkness whenever he let them occupy the center of his mind. Best to not dwell long on why some let their lives be taken so cheaply when they were obviously esteemed as little value by those to whom they were given. Yet why then did most choose to lead lives under a banner? Nature, when She came to him in dreams, offered no answers for these questions. She simply let him see. The fox killed the rabbit to survive. The rabbit ate the grass to survive. The owlbear ate anything including the fox, rabbit and grass but in time would pass to be eaten itself by the smallest of Nature's charges. The grass grew greenest where the owlbear, fox and the rabbit's remains had been taken back to Nature. The rain fell on good men and bad. The wind blew for nobleman's vessels and pirates, and at other times becalmed them as well. The dragon took life and gold and brooded always over its horde. For this in spite of their strength and magic they became forever the object of hate and attack until even the mightiest were found and killed. While the meekest of birds in the forest was left to live it's life to its natural end. These things Nature showed Yearn. And he learned from Her the arts needed to live like the bird, the grass, and also the owlbear, fox and the rabbit.

When he had flown into the compound that afternoon as the Jay, it had been boiling with activity and noise. Now, with the approach of evening the soldiers had changed their tasks from those of combat to those of care. The animals were being fed and groomed, swords wiped of the grime that came with training, and a multitude of other mundane but necessary tasks were underway. Guards armed with arrows remained vigilant at their towers and the watchfires were being well supplied for the coming night but otherwise the overall noise and bustle of the day had broken like a wave on the coming dusk. The setting sun still provided sufficient light that Yearn found his way back to the captain's tent with ease though the surroundings leading to it looked quite different from eye-level compared to when seen from the height of a bird and understood as a bird understands the world of human objects.

Captain Jasper was in small conference with a few of his officers when Yearn arrived at the door of the tent. The two guards at the entrance had changed since that afternoon, but appeared no more inclined to harass him other than to ask him to wait while one stepped inside to ask if Captain Jasper wished to allow him to enter or wait until he was done with the other officers? The ranger eyed them warily, wondering again if their apparent indifference was a mark of their own confidence that anyone approaching unescorted from inside the camp must have passed the test of the first guards? or if this was a sign of something else?

"Let him enter." Yearn heard the Captain through the door himself but waited to be gestured to by the returning guard before doing so.

The three officers sat in chairs in front of the large table that were the main furnishings in this room of the tent. Two of them turned in their chairs as Yearn entered while the third stood with obvious intention to freely access his sword were the need to arise. Captain Jasper remained seated. Even still Yearn could see he was a large man, almost inhumanly large though not quite the size of a troll or small giant. For a hunter of the unnatural it was enough to leave Yearn more on edge than even his normal discomfort being indoors could explain. As he focused more Yearn made out from the Captain's expression something that surprised him - relief?

"State your name."

"Yearn."

"Yearn. You are here to answer Sir Fletcher's call I presume though I question that you bested the guards through strength with arms like the wings of a roasted chicken such as yours. I'd ask how you managed to best them but given your cloak, sword and bow I'm going to guess you either bewitched them or they have no idea you are here." Jasper gave a dry smile. "I'm hoping it's the first."

"They let me enter." Yearn's eyes were unfocused looking roughly between the officers and over the Captains shoulder as he answered, allowing him to take in as much of the room as possible and see any movement made in his direction though it did not allow him to focus on any detail. That the Captain guessed he had used cunning rather than strength to gain entrance did not surprise him but he didn't intend to be caught off guard if this news offended the Captain.

Captain Jasper appeared to wait for Yearn to expand on his answer until it became apparent that was all Yearn intended to share.

"Well then. I'll do the talking. You're skilled in hunting and tracking?"

"I am."

"Do you prefer the sword, bow or some other weapon when you hunt?"

"The bow when hunting or if I've been seen. The sword if otherwise."

This answer led Jasper to nod. "I think we understand one another then. I suppose you're wondering about the party you'll be joining? I'll tell you more now but frankly there isn't much to tell. A devotee of Pelor is the other occupant of the quarters you'll share and..."

"You presume I'm here to join. I've not confirmed this is my wish to you, nor to myself." Yearn was aware both of the seated officers were preparing to stand now, and took the measure of the room. The tables size was to his advantage if they chose combat as it meant the Captain could not engage easily. But three against one, with two guards at the door was not the kind of situation Yearn entered into intending to pick a fight. "It's not my wish to offend. It's just, I value many things over the promises of gold and fame Sir Fletcher might offer. Had your guards been letting anyone with a sword enter, I'd be on my way back into the forest this very evening. It seems you are both desperate for help yet can't afford to accept just anyone for whatever purposes you have."

Captain Jasper had been taken aback by the ranger's sudden interruption though he did not show it. He had not risen to his rank nor earned this trust by being easily antagonized but he was perplexed by the ranger's words.

"You've found your tongue. And you are right in what you say. Sir Fletcher's needs aren't for an army or adventurers more eager than experienced. I'm not able to say more now as the nature of the business requires it be shared with the party as a whole. I should tell you that we can ill afford a stinking forest beggar whose curiosity is bigger than his balls. But you know that is not true. So I'll ask instead what it is that you suspect you may hear that may sway you?"

Yearn shifted his pose slightly to expose the hilt of his short sword to the Captain's view. "For most of my life I've hunted the unnatural beasts of the forest that murder and hunt our kind and those allied with us. My own life was almost taken when I was a child but for Nature's chance glance that felled one such corruption, and while I can't say why I feel it is so I sense that your need has also caught Her eye. Perhaps there is something in your purpose that you recognize in this that enlightens you why I am here if it is still dark to me?"

Captain Jasper let Yearn's words sit in the room as he contemplated what this ranger may already know. Had he been hiding here before and overheard a whisper of a rumor and was playing this card to see how Jasper would react? Or was he sincere?

"I'll take your presence and prescience as an omen. I can't promise that what you will hear of the mission when it is time will be to your liking. But I believe it will both satisfy your curiosity as well as perhaps make more sense to you than to me why you may be compelled to join."

He looked hard at Yearn's face for several moments and then appeared to yield slightly. "I'll offer you this much. You may leave now without consequence or stay to hear the briefing when it is time. But if you do stay and then choose to not join, I must compel you to remain here in the compound in the cells under guard until such time as I am assured your knowledge will not be a danger to the others. Do you agree to these terms?"

As he heard the Captain's words, Yearn's thoughts were gathering around a vision from the past, of trolls, of death, of fire, of one person's voice calling out...

"Agreed. And yeah, I'll stay."

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The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa


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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:06 am 
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After the ranger left the tent, Jasper and his officers sat in silence briefly before the Captain asked, "Do we have a mole?" He didn't look at anyone directly. He focused straight ahead as his words settled over the room.

The other officer's were stunned. Where had this come from? What had the stranger said?

Finally, one of the lieutenants found his voice, but had little to say with it. "Sir?"

"You were both standing right here, and I pray you were both listening with earnest. How did he know about the rift?"

Fearing the Captain might think he was not paying attention, the other lieutenant said, "He never mentioned the rift, sir. I'm... sure of it."

"Does a man need to say explicit words for you to understand an explicit message? Have you ever heard of an implication, or perhaps an inference? He said he thought this mission was related to a concern of Nature, as though nature were a goddess. As he put it, our mission 'caught her eye.' If there is one thing a rift is, it's a concern of nature. If she's alive, she's likely pretty angry right now."

The first lieutenant was beginning to understand, but not completely. "But sir, you've already said there is nothing we can do about the rift. It's not the mission."

"It's not inconsequential to the mission either. In fact, without the rift, there is no mission. At least, not a mission in need of a special team. A small dispatch of soldiers could handle it if there wasn't the spatial displacement to worry about."

"True, but bowman was only asking. He might be crazed, for all we know. Even a blind squirrel can find a nut occasionally." The other officers were regaining their confidence. They didn't like to anger the Captain, but this didn't look like one of those times. Both lieutenants knew they were keeping the mouths shut about the mission, so why should they fear? Neither was a mole. They just had to keep their feet on the ground and remember what was real... unless the Captain happened to go on one of his rare irrational tirades...

The lieutenant's words did seem to calm the Captain somewhat, although it was always hard to tell. The Captain was a still water running deep.

"Yes, I suppose it could have been a lucky guess, or perhaps even a suspicion borne out of his profession. Occupational hazard, if you like. Let me ask you this, though: do you think a man like that is often wrong on matters concerning the forest, or the dirt, water, flame and wind, for that matter?"

His officers were puzzled. "Just what kind of an bowman do you think he was?"

Jasper couldn't contain his laughter. "You think he was just a simple archer? You are a bright young man with a promising future, but you have much to learn, son. Much indeed. He was just a bowman like the rift is just a little rough weather."

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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:44 pm 
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For most of his life, Boden had ridden everywhere he could possibly wish to go, and did everything he could possibly wish or be required to do on horseback. He had once decapitated an entire band of kobolds from horseback with a single move of his arm, the grip on his normally two-handed sword as strong as a black smiths was on their tongs as they swung their hammer with the other. The slight shifting in his saddle it required was done with barely a thought given to the actions involved.

But that, THAT was a life boring old men told of to their boring young grandchildren when the winter fires made the shadows that brought these stories to life appear far grander than the reality turned out to be. War, eh?...by the gods, what for was it to benefit? The fear in the anxious faces preceding it, the distant stares in the eyes of many that survived it, the cold eternal distant look of those who didn't,...bah. It was hardly worth the effort of putting on armor these days.

None of this could compare to the fire that rose in one's belly when one stood before a crowd holding a lute and bewitching them with song. Now THAT was exciting! That was a life Boden could find reason to keep living for and tell his own grandchildren about someday when not only the winter winds but his own lute and drums would make glorious his legend put into song. It was the will of the gods that he take up the lute, surely. Why else did his pulse quicken when he thought of song in ways he no longer felt when striking down a dark knight or carving through columns of orcs? Why else had the crowd at the inn cheered and laughed when the sour old elf declared Boden's song a sure sign he was destined by some god to give up his daily labor for the life of the lute?

So, finding a lute at a shop that had been left in place of money but never reclaimed, he purchased the lute for what he was certain was a fair price and began a new life. He wasn't sure, but since he did not recall ever seeing a bard on horseback he decided his new life demanded he also go on foot as well. It never occurred to him that he couldn't recall seeing a bard anywhere but when they were singing in a town square or at an inn for entertainment, and that perhaps their lack of mount was circumstantial. But then again, few things naturally occurred to Boden that weren't obvious. And often those had to be explained to him as well.

The day was winding down as he came into the town. He did not know it's name but the compound at it's center suggested it catered to soldiers and those who supported them. Boden knew a thing or two about such towns having spent much of his boyhood as a squire running errands for his knights among their buildings, fighting other squires to prove their knight was the strongest and their banner's colors the boldest. As he had grown older and sent squires of his own to run those errands while he and the other knights ate and spent time with the women of the establishments in their occupation, he thought fondly of those times. There had been promise in his future then, promise not turned to dry ash from repetitive existence. Promise he had forgotten existed until he took to song and took up the lute.

Of course the first place to stop would be the tavern near the compound. It was here he was most likely to find an opportunity to strum his bardic instrument in front of all, to entertain and make merry, to...find the tavern empty of all but the keeper?

The tavern keeper looked up at the promise of a second customer on this, the most bewildering of days. The gold coin left by the ranger had been a shock to him, scores over the value of the stew and ale he had consumed and making up for the strange hex he had seemed to have brought on. It was odd he could afford to spend so wantonly though by all appearances his needs were few. Perhaps giving up the coin was of less cost to the ranger than it was of value to the keep? Perhaps. He suspected that the normal patrons would have ordinary excuses for why they had not came in from their labors to enjoy his ale, and that it would be merely coincidence that all had such excuses on this day. Yet...the keeper was a man for whom coincidence was just an excuse for failure to anticipate the ebb and flow of business so it was not something he could let alone. His best guess was perhaps the proximity to the compound and the unusual call for heroes had left the normal towns folk wary of getting too close to the guards on duty, especially since they appeared unusually inclined to strike out without warning or provocation. It didn't quite settle his mind completely, but for the keeper it did offer some explanation and one that he could live with.

The man in front of him was perfect for this day of days. His golden hair, steeled oxen muscles and two-handed sword swung over his back proclaimed him to be just the sort of hero Sir Fletcher sought. Yet he had a used basic lute of a kind typically given to a child first learning to play slung over his other shoulder and appeared to carry no more belongings than fit in a saddlebag he had refitted for his own use slung to his side and strapped to his thigh to hold it close. It made no sense to the keep, and normally he'd not ask as it was bad for business to be too nosey. But on this day that had left too many questions unsatisfactorily answered already, he decided he would risk offending the guest rather than add to the weight and bewilderment his mind carried already.

"Welcome, good sir, to the Gryphon's Roost. I'd guess what business brings you to our town, but I must say you present a puzzle I can't unravel. I'll bring a stein of ale, a gift of the house, if you'll be straight with me in your answers."

"I'm no fool who would turn down the houses' ale to share what I'd gladly give away for free. Even more so as I'm looking to entertain and your tavern seems exactly the place where my playing could improve your business." Boden gave a meaningful sweeping look around the room with its many unoccupied tables.

"Ah, yes. I assure you, most days the Gryphon's Roost would be the center of activity in town as the town's folk congregate here knowing they can not only enjoy themselves but have the soldiers a mere shout away if they are needed. Yet because the soldiers are forbidden drink of the, eh, spiritual kind, there is little risk of real trouble. Today, though, is not most days. So...you are a bard, then? I must say, you carry your sword at least as comfortably as your lute so I was unsure."

Boden beamed as he knew his sword carrying was so comfortable the comment was the first time in hours he'd thought of its presence, speaking even more highly of his lute carrying by the tavern keepers own mouth without having even heard him play though it's presence on his back was practically the only thought on Boden's mind.

"Indeed, and your tavern would please me greatly if I could advertise, let us say a two week's residence with performances at times you see most fit? Knowing your clientele does two performances a night seem enough or should we plan for more?"

The tavern keeper chided himself for putting his nose in his guests' business and resolved to return to his old ways. Who was this man who came in, unknown and for all appearances a soldier making a poor attempt to pass himself off as a bard, bargaining for privileges even bards of local renown would blush over if they felt to request them? Certainly he had angered some god for this day to end even more bewildering than what had come before. He must have missed leaving an offering at a shrine while walking along a forest road or unknowing pissed in a ring of mushrooms at a stop along the way while purchasing firewood.

"Forgive me, but I don't believe I've heard of your, ah, infamy sir bard. By what name are you known that honours the Gryphon's Roost with a residency and on such terms as you suggest?"

This hadn't occurred to Boden that he could choose his bard name. Boden was short for his knighted title - Sir Francis Boden of Havenshire, Champion of the Felled Tower, Deliverer of Quidwarf, Mercy of Archtemple, Sword of the Lost King. But like most soldiers who found courts and ceremony even more boring than battle he was known to most by his family name only and this had been enough. But that name, Boden, it was the name of a boring life. Certainly he could choose one better suited to the exciting life of a famous bard? He thought of the sour elf who had inspired him to take up the lute.

"Elvish. My name is Elvish."

"Elvish? As in something pertaining to elves?" The keeper stopped thinking the day couldn't get any more bewildering.

Boden hadn't thought of that, and this put him on his heels which was a surprising feeling itself. "Er, I mean I go by my elvish name. Boden." It was probably best to keep his name anyway. He wouldn't have to remember the new one this way. And without time to think he was at least self-aware enough to recognize he couldn't come up with one better before the keep would recognize he was making it up. And that might hurt his chances at being given his residency that would begin his legacy as he had sensed the keep was not as excited about the opportunity as Boden was himself.

The keep had heard enough of the elven tongues to know Boden was not elvish but he'd learned his lesson when it came to asking questions this day.

"Well, Boden, while we have no guests perhaps you could entertain me as I get you some stew? I'm sure once I've heard your song I'll recall hearing of the famous bard known by his elvish name, Boden. The stew is a copper for the bowl in advance if it pleases you. I'm sure the guests that get drawn to your song will more than compensate you for your talents as well, which will please us both to be sure."

The keep took the coin Boden had pulled from a side pocket on his saddlebag, appearing unsure how to interpret the keepers words but not seeing any reason to read more into them than their straight meaning. As the keep headed to the kitchen, Boden unslung the lute and began to tune it. Or, that is what his actions suggested he was doing. The notes from the lute itself suggested he might have met his match in this task. At a point that seemed no different in the instrument's tuning than when he had begun, Boden seemed to satisfy himself and coughed, signaling he was about to sing. In spite of his misgivings regarding the bard, the keeper stopped to watch.

The noise that came from Boden's throat was startling. The keep felt a moment of vertigo as his stomach seemed to drop into his bowels and a local dog took up with a suitable howling chorus in accompaniment. The chord that the lute emitted in response left little doubt in the keeps mind that the sooner he could stop this Boden from performing the better.

"GOOD GODS!!" The keep shouted, surprising Boden with his enthusiasm. Encouraged, Boden made to hit his next chord but the keep had moved across the room with unexpected speed and stopped his hand. "I just remembered! The captain has ordered that any visitor to the town must report at the army's compound first as there is a...ah...well, to be honest our Lord, Sir Fletcher is in need of people of special talent for a special task. And for this reason the guards are to judge all who arrive if they are worthy of a mission sure to bring fame and great fortune to all who are accepted. Had they heard your playing and singing before you had reported, I'm afraid it would cause us both trouble that I can ill afford with the guards. Perhaps you could first visit them and, if they are obliging, then feel free to return and we can resume with your song and my stew?" The keep was catching his breath between words as he spoke, so urgently he felt the need to stop Boden's song.

Fame? This was all Boden could hope for, and if it meant a chance to perform for the lord of this land he had wandered into then all the better.

"I thank you, keeper of Gryphon's Roost. If the promise of fame is the terms of service to your lord, then I hope we do not meet again this evening as I expect my talent will be more than welcomed by the guards and the captain himself." Boden downed the last of his ale and made straight for the guards. As soon as Boden had stepped onto the road, the keep closed his door and dropped the inside bolt into place. Even the most bewildering of days must have an end, he thought as he made to close up early and put it behind him once and for all.

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The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa


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 Post subject: Re: (Roleplay): Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! Heroes Needed!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:00 pm 
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The guards at the compound's main gate had remained quiet since allowing the ranger to enter. Neither felt inclined to discuss it, instead feeling a greater need to more perfectly perform their duties without sound or movement. Had either been asked why this was so, they might have expressed anger at the suggestion they would perform their duties in any other way. But inwardly they had a sense they had failed in some manner as the ranger's letter had clearly came from within the compound and neither could guess at a means by which this was possibly other than he had somehow made it past their watch. Certainly the guards on the towers would have spotted him attempting to climb the walls, and there was no chance he could have dug under the walls as each of the large trees that had been felled for their timber to construct it's walls were buried a third of their enormous height into the ground. With no other means to react, their steeled determination to not be fooled again was all that was left them as action. And they were men of action, to be sure.

When they spotted Boden striding intently towards them from the tavern across the way, their adrenaline spiked at the promise of just the sort of action they needed to relieve them of the sense of having failed, and the promise of proving they were more than capable at their jobs.

"I understand your captain is looking for those of special talent, seeking fame and fortune. I hope to prove such a talent." Boden waited for them to open the gates. but then jumped back as both without word had drawn their swords and swung in a pincer movement in reply. While intuitively he recognized their intent had been to catch him between the flat of their weapons, likely expecting to ring his bell quite badly had he not reacted quickly, the threat of any form of violence in response to his declaration triggered instincts that overrode his reason.

Boden turned sideways and forward, placing both of the swords to one side of him and isolating one of the guards who he struck hard in the face with his elbow. Fluidly continuing the same motion, he twisted his chest and hips back to center with the sword arms of each guard now crossed in front of him as the guard he had struck began to slump to the ground. Boden grabbed and pushed down on the arm of the remaining guard and kneed the guard in the stomach, doubling him over.

Boden stepped back, slowly coming back into control of his senses and watched cautiously as the conscious guard he had kneed struggled to regain his breath, making sucking noises like a carp left on the bank of a river to die. Before he could decide if he should call for help he noticed the gate begin to open and a third guard stepped out.

"Sir knight, you passed the test. Sir Fletcher will certainly be pleased to have you in his special task force." The guard made sure that his motions were nonthreatening and clearly intended to be welcoming.

Boden nodded and brightened as he seemed to see the vents snap into some form he could better understand. "Ah. I thought it odd that these two would react so but now I see. Fame isn't given to just anyone. Pity the nose of your comrade will not likely mend well, and I do regret not holding back with the blow. I full intend to honor him when writing the song of my saga, this he can at least take some solace in being able to answer when asked that it was due to a blow dealt by Boden the bard at the dawn of his fame."

Bard? the third guard thought to himself, but didn't intend to question this newcomer. "If you please, Sir Boden. Make your way to the tent of Captain Jasper. You'll find it straight ahead as you enter. He is just finishing with small conference so you may need to wait a moment. But I assure you it won't be long." The guard waited for Boden to enter and proceed down the way to the tent before he could turn his attention to the injured guards. Their replacements stood behind him waiting to take their positions while four men with staffs and cloaks set to make stretchers to carry them on stood just behind them as well.

"Thank you. And it's just Boden." Boden thrilled at the good fate and fortune the gods seemed to place before him. Surely his destiny as a famous bard was about to be fulfilled.

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The world is always full of the sound of waves..but who knows the heart of the sea, a hundred feet down? Who knows it's depth?
~ Eiji Yoshikawa


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