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Thread: [M] Heroes of the Realm (IC)

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    Default [M] Heroes of the Realm (IC)

    It was a bright, shining morning in County Birgh. Small puffs of clouds drifted across the sky like gently floating wisps of cotton while a light breeze kept the worst of the day’s heat off of the townsfolk. The peasantry itself moved like a sea of people, each on their own business. Today was one of the many dedicated days off, as decreed by the Count Greengarden and the Temple of the Sun Goddess. There was an air of general cheer and anticipation of the coming festival.

    That is, until the town criers announced the day’s news. On the corner of a cobblestone street, a mousy-haired half-elven boy stood atop a barrel and cried out,

    Count’s daughter vanished! Kidnapping suspected! The Count Greengarden will reward any with information regarding her whereabouts! Promises to reward handsomely any who return her safely! Report to City Hall for more information!

    The crowd stopped, considering for a moment. The Count’s daughter had a reputation for running off and causing trouble. Some turned and began heading toward the City Hall, doubtless imagining the kind of coinage the Count would give to them if they found his daughter. Elsewhere…


    In a back alley, two hooded figures were conversing in hushed tones. One said something to the other, who laughed a gravelly smoker’s laugh. They cocked their ears almost in unison as the town crier began his spiel again and the second turned to the first. Sigurd Stoneside was a human thief, known for his quick feet and quicker tongue. He was tall and lean, with greasy blonde hair and steel grey eyes. A few scars decorated his jaw. Next to him was Cailín, his recent partner in crime.

    “Now listen. I know you like to keep your anonymity, but the Count is loaded. You could make more with this one job than we’ve made in the last month. And a charitable donation may be just what you need to become a fully-fledged member of the guild.” As he spoke, he gestured with his hands. His sleeve slipped just slightly to reveal part of a tattooed crow on his right wrist.

    “Think, Cailín. You do this one job and we can disappear you so well, even you’ll think you never existed.” He chuckled at his own joke.


    In the wilderness, the ranger Rambat was undergoing yet another lesson. Ishmael spoke from behind his curtain of ivy, voice both impossibly far and near at the same time.

    “You must know the space about you beyond simple sight, for there will come a time when you cannot rely on what you can see. Close your eyes and allow your other senses to detail the room. Feel the wind and dirt, smell the woodsmoke and earthen scent, taste the cool air, hear the birdsong and the movements of the trees. They speak in their own language, and in time I will teach you to understand the birds and the trees.” Ishmael fell silent while he waited for Rambat to follow his instruction. Then, there came a sound from behind the curtain.

    All the while Rambat had been mentored by Ishmael, there had never been a sound from behind his teacher’s curtain save for his voice. But now there was a sound, like the shifting of wood and leaves.

    “That is all for our lessons for a time. I have a new lesson for you, one that will require all of my teachings hence. Venture into town and find the City Hall. Once there, ask for information regarding the Count’s missing daughter. Find the Count Greengarden’s daughter and the foul men who have taken her. Return her to the Count unharmed and strike down those who have wronged the forest. They have desecrated a site of great importance in their escape from the Count’s men and hounds. Go, quickly!”


    In town, two blue-coated guards were watching a half-orc with scrutiny. So far, he seemed like he wasn’t up to any trouble, but they were looking for any excuse to stop him. They muttered to each other for a bit, then crossed the street quickly. Both were human men, one with brown hair and a beard, the other blonde and clean-shaven. The blonde-haired guard was considerably older and tapped Golgoth on the shoulder.

    “Do you have a permit for that sword? Otherwise, you cannae have it out like that, ‘specially on a Day of the Sun. Count’s decree.” He held out his hand, obviously expecting a permit.

    “If not, you’ll be fined for illegal possession of a weapon. You may also spend up to a week in jail and be assigned up to 3 month’s work in the quarry. At any time after that, you may register your weapons with the Lawmaster’s Office and purchase a permit. That particular sword will be confiscated and will not be returned, however.” The guard continued in a droll voice. Despite his bored tone, his eyes suggested he was enjoying watching Golgoth squirm.

    A large red hand came down on the guard’s shoulder. The guard turned, most likely to tell the owner of said hand to piss off, but stopped with hard glare. Calog the Red stepped forward and into the conversation. The crest of the Emperor and the coat of arms of the Iron Claw declared him a higher authority than either of the guards. He nodded and in a deep, Northern accent introduced himself.

    “Calog the Red, Knight of the Iron Claw and Hand of the Emperor. I can vouch for this man and provide him with any necessary permits he may require.” He gave the guards a harsher glare, almost daring them to disrespect the authority of a Knight. The guard wrenched his shoulder away and the two turned and walked away, muttering angrily to each other. Calog turned back to Golgoth. In a much friendlier tone, he said,

    “I would recommend getting a permit. May save you the trouble next time. What is your name, warrior?”
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    Rambat answered Ishmael, "I am going now!" Rambat hurried out through the door, where it was hidden under that very large tree in that grove, and came out from there. He had on still his leather armor over him, with a knit scarf worn above it, having belt pouches, and his curved blade with sawback in one holster on a belt, and a longbow and a quiver of twenty arrows strapped over one shoulder, and the pack he had carried over the other shoulder. He made haste, as he could walk fast even with those things, for this was not the closest grove of trees to the town of County Birgh, but it was about as far as the main forest from the town in a different direction. He yet made it there soon, before midday, for these days he slept away from the town in the area of his mentor, yet Rambat knew his way around all of the town. He might have used the occasion, while here in town, to see his parents who lived there still, if the circumstances were different. But Rambat went straight to the City Hall, and there when he managed to have his turn speaking to the receptionist ignoring the looks he got he asked in an earnest way for what information could be given him for finding Count Greengarden's missing daughter.

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    Knight of Ishtaria Awean8's Avatar
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    His stomach rumbled violently. The last meal he had was a bit of rabbit and wild onions he managed to hunt and gather on the road. That was three days ago. It made a good stew but the paltry bit of meat had left him wanting. Golgoth came into the city hoping to find a meal or at least some work. He could always steal the food, damn whichever grocer who'd try to stop him, but Golgoth wasn't quite so willing to risk another incident...

    The half-orc had a ramshackle look about him. His clothes and cloak were frayed at the edges and patched haphazardly. His chainmail was tucked into his pack, the days' heat would have been the death of him otherwise. It was always too warm in the south he found. The greatsword which made his fortune was strapped to his back. He kept to the side alleys mostly, although he needed to walk the main road in order to follow leads. He was careful to keep his hood over his face. Cityfolk usually paid him no mind if he stayed in the shadows. Children might gawk at his size or try to touch his sword but generally city folk were far from perceptive. Sometimes he'd get driven out and that was the way of it. There was nothing more to do than to move to the next town. Hopefully, he could find work soon, he was in desperate need of coin.

    Fortunately, weak humans always needed work done. The usual work was rather mundane consisting of mostly extortion and debt collection which usually involved breaking some drunk's fingers until they felt compelled to pay off their exceptional debts. Occasionally he got caravan jobs, which paid well, had rations, and generally went smoothly. Bandits were less likely to try anything with a half-orc guard around. Rarely did he ever get hired to do any real soldiering although it did pay the best. Sometimes he had the opportunity to join in on ongoing campaigns, picking whichever side paid the best, despite whatever odds. Collect his pay and move on. Other times, Golgoth is forced to rely on the meager wages of various odd jobs such as working as a bouncer, a porter, or longshoreman. Physical labor suited him after all and he didn't mind either way. Gold was gold and a meal was a meal.

    It was just his luck that a festival was happening in town just as he arrived. Festivals and holidays were alien to the half-orc. They were days humans actually didn't want work done. He found the notion bizarre. Humans just picked days out of the year to drink and layabout in order to celebrate what? The sun itself? Truly weak and decadent creatures. They seemed to live without any drive or singular purpose, merely colliding randomly with whatever was around them like knucklebones. Maybe he could find some barrels of ale that needed to be carried somewhere.

    Just as he was standing there clutching his grumbling belly and pondering his next move, two guards approached. He thought he was being rather careful too. The flaxen-haired man's mewling voice betrayed his own vapid degeneracy. He was but a sack of brittle bones protecting softer insides. Golgoth could crush his puny skull like a grape. It would be all too easy! It was another thing Golgoth observed in humans. Those given even an ounce of power brandished their false authority about to whoever gave them heed, waving it around like a victory banner rather than the folly that it actually was.

    They talked at length about petty bureaucratic nonsense. Golgoth couldn't have gotten a permit if he wanted to. Not only could he not read or write, but he also didn't have the money to pay for such a thing. Golgoth truly didn't want another incident but if they attempted to confiscate his sword it would leave him with little choice other than to fight his way out.

    He began to reach over his shoulder to draw the sword from his back until a red dragonkin approached from behind the two guards. Quickly, he tried to hide his malicious intent.

    The dragonkin introduced himself as Calog the Red, a knight as it turns out. He vouched for him despite being both strangers to one another. Golgoth sized Calog up wondering to himself whether or not he could actually take him in a fight. He had some nice plate armor on him and also was nearly as tall as himself. Looked a bit like an oversized lobster. Knights die like any other man though. It wasn't enough to intimidate the half-orc, although he had to admit to himself that this one seemed different. This Calog the Red seemed far more disciplined, if not experienced.

    With great social grace completely beyond the half-orc, Calog the Red was able to get the guards to move on to victimizing other people not doing anything wrong. The dragonkin parrotted the same suggestion to purchase a permit and then asked him his name. He had to resist the sudden urge to reach for his sword.

    Not knowing how this situation might escalate he turned his back to Calog and simply said in a gravelly voice that had not been used in quite a long time, "Golgoth." His stomach growled loud enough that the dragonkin probably could hear it. He clutched his belly once more as if to silence the emptiness within. His attention snapped back to what he was doing. "Won't be here long. Looking for work."
    Last edited by Awean8; 09-11-2021 at 06:06 AM.

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    "What job?" Callin demanded quietly, wincing inwardly as if she still expected Oleus to start screaming at her again for being noisy. She almost wish the angry little wizard could. Almost.

    She didn't like being in this alley, out in the daylight. Most of her trade happened in the dark, away from both prying eyes and the sun's rays, as well as the cooling breezes that others could enjoy. Her wrappings were hot, uncomfortable, and making her sleepy.

    Her left hand rose instinctively to cover her yawn, hidden under her scarf.

    "Tired," she complained, glaring impotently at Sigurd from behind her smoked lenses. And what was this about counts? Only an idiot tangled with royalty. Worse was to become known to them
    Spoiler: ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ √Ăłł Єѵïł ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ 

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    Sigurd looked around briefly, then in a lowered tone, answered.

    “I’ve heard through the grapevine that the Count’s daughter got grabbed. The guild had nothing to do with it, but old Blackbird thinks that it could prove profitable. We don’t deal in people, but coin is coin, eh?” The ‘Blackbird’ Sigurd referred to was the notorious leader of the local thieves’ guild. There was so many stories about the man, it was impossible to tell what was real. There was even a pervading theory that he didn’t exist, but was a title similar to dread pirate.

    “Clean yourself up a bit and meet me at City Hall. Try to look less like criminal scum, yeah?” He laughed at his own joke, then departed into the throng of people once he was sure Cailín understood.



    City Hall was a short, long building, slightly recessed into the ground built centuries before when County Birgh had been little more than a hamlet by a river. The beams were old, but still strong and the floorboards had been replaced only a decade prior in a routine upkeep. It was a beloved building and reminiscent of an older time. On the interior, rows of benches provided plenty of seating, while a raised wooden stage at the far end allowed speakers to address the entire hall. Windows and sconces alternated on both walls for light and breeze to enter the hot room. The Count stood atop the stage surrounded by attendants and a dozen city guards.

    The Count was a tall, thin human with dark hair going grey at the temples. A finely groomed beard shrouded his mouth. He wore fine red robes with a silver trim, a saber dangling at his hip. While he paced back and forth across the stage, attendants scuttled around him like a swarm of mildly royal gnats. The clock on the wall indicated 10:45, and the gathered crowd buzzed with anticipation. Though most whispered, City Hall was still filled with sound. It seemed the Count would address them at 11, giving everyone time to arrive.



    “Golgoth! A fine name. If you’re looking for work, there is a board at City Hall where many advertise what they need,” he nodded in the direction of City Hall, “though today there is a bit of business. The Count’s daughter has disappeared and he is offered a hefty sum for information, more if you can bring her back. Suppose you and me go down there and listen, then I can buy you some breakfast?” He hoped the half-orc would agree, or at least accept the offer of breakfast. He enjoyed doing good in the world, and what better than to help a man in need? And if he wanted to search for the Count’s daughter, Calog would happily lend his blade in company.
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    The outfitted woman at the reception alcove explained to Rambat only the barest fact, of course the Count's daughter was missing, he knew she was certainly abducted, and it was only added to this that it had just happened, she was gone sometime between when she was seen last on the previous evening and the early morning when it was clear she was gone. Rambat did not learn then if there were witnesses, he was only directed to sit with others who had gathered, to hear the Count who would speak there, and also would hear what was called for. As Rambat came and sat then at one bench row among the several rows, where no one had sat yet, he observed basically dull looking townspeople sitting along other rows of benches. He figured out on his own then that there must be some reward that would be offered for any who found and returned his daughter. These people who had come did not look like likely heroes who would do very much for that. He had lived several years more independently from the town as he learned to be self-sufficient and to survive with what he foraged or sometimes caught in the wilderness near to where he met with Ishmael who instructed him. He would not need a lot of extra coinage much, though he could probably think of good use he might make with some coins he got. But as he sat, he thought of the words he had just heard from Ishmael. As a child he went to lessons to learn to read, and to write, and to use arithmetic, and he learned things afterward for use in a trade, and instead of useless things that would be learned after that and forgotten, he had found Ishmael and what he learned from him he always remembered, and it was just that way with this last time. He figured he could find where the girl was taken.

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    In the end Callin had to part with 3 silver pieces to pick up an outfit from the secondhand seller that was in good condition with a nice cloth hood to wear over her head. She kept the gloves and the filter scarf, however, wrapping her head well.

    "This is not a good idea," she grumbled as she entered the hall, then followed the pointing finger of the receptionist to where the benches were. Already there were a few people gathered here. Finding an bench near the front but not too close, she sat down - then saw the man sitting at the far end. She gave them a jerky nod and faced forward.
    Spoiler: ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ √Ăłł Єѵïł ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ 

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    "Hmmm." Golgoth had to stop and contemplate for a moment. He wasn't one to trust a stranger at their word but the dragonkin did offer him a meal so that was good enough reason on its own to accept his offer. Besides with such a lofty and esteemed knight close by every nosey guard among other malcontents won't be as eager to be such bother to the half-orc. Additionally work was also mentioned. A win-win really. He'd get free food and some easy money in his pocket, everything he was hoping for really.

    He'd be sure to keep a close eye on the knight being especially attentive to any body language or expressions that could indicate a betrayal. It was a skill that was instinctive for Golgoth rather than logical. Its a skill he convinced himself has helped him survive thus far.

    "I'll go." Golgoth turned to follow the knight, content with the seeming turn of his fortune. The Count's daughter didn't interest him in the slightest, but a job was a job. He couldn't complain. "Know and be warned however, I can eat thrice as much as any normal man."




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    Rambat had sat along that bench as others came in, sitting then along other rows where others sat, while none of them came to this same bench. That did not surprise Rambat. It was not at all that he was unclean, he kept up the practice at the start of each day cleaning himself up, where he stayed in solitude from others. He had never been befriended in that town when he was younger, even being schooled with others, as his family had come from another place far off, referred to as mystic isles, fleeing hardships there. But surviving on his own where he stayed for several years learning from Ishmael and training, he did not now have the appearance of the townspeople in the way he dressed, and was distinct carrying the curved blade with sawback in one holster on a belt, and a longbow and a quiver of twenty arrows, and the pack with him. But then a figure covered with a hood over the head came and sat on the same bench, at the end, turning briefly and nodding at Rambat. At that unexpected gesture, Rambat nodded back, but the figure had already turned again and faced forward.

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    It was, Lily sighed, supposed to be a happy festival day - with booths, and games, and all sorts of fun food. Instead, someone had to ruin everything by kidnapping the Count's daughter, removing all the happy vibes from the atmosphere.

    It was enough to make you want to pour lead into the bones of whoever was behind this.


    “Count’s daughter vanished! Kidnapping suspected! The Count Greengarden will reward any with information regarding her whereabouts! Promises to reward handsomely any who return her safely! Report to City Hall for more information!”


    She frowned as she listened to the cry of the newsboy. Well, she came to this town to see new things and to help people, so why not get started there?

    ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

    Entering the town hall, she noticed there was a man who was dressed differently from the rest of the people, sitting on a bench with only one other at the far end. Well, time to make someone's acquaintance! Hopefully he wouldn't be put off by her dark clothes or her white hair.

    "Pardon me," Lily the Witch asked Rambat, pointing to the seat next to him, "Is that seat taken?"
    Spoiler: ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ √Ăłł Єѵïł ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ 

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