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Author Topic: The Unknown Lands  (Read 1642 times)

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Offline nealmorsefan

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The Unknown Lands
« on: Sat Apr 06, 2013 - 12:22:14 »
Rumors and legends had been circulated throughout the civilized lands for years.  Perhaps centuries.  Stories of tribes of fierce yet elusive dwarf-like people with vast wealth and unusual weaponry.  Humanoids that hid among the wild, snowy mountains of the uncharted north alongside strange, vicious beasts the like of which have rarely been seen by civilzed mankind.  The fact that Sir Rodney Balfor had chosen to make an expedition into that dark region some 8 months ago, was equalled in unbelievability only by the miraculous return of a single page from his party to tell the horrific tales of what happened.  By his report, the party was ambushed in a small mountain pass by dwarf-like people who were riding monstrous flying creatures with vicious claws.  Everyone fought valiantly, but, as Sir Rodney saw that they would all perish, he gave his signet ring to the page and charged him to return home to tell his tale while he held off the attackers. 

All the kingdom mourned the loss of the brave Sir Rodney.  But Xeran, the crowned prince, wondered at the truth of the report.  His father, not willing to lose another brave warrior on a foolhardy mission, expressly forbid anyone from venturing into the northern wilds because of the dangers.  But Xeran, with thirst for revenge and adventure, stole away from the kingdom a fortnight ago to see for himself the evidence of his friend's demise.  It's for this purpose that he finds himself at the Burning Hearth Tavern in the northern-most village of Watersbridge, the last vestige of civilization before encountering the edge of the northern wilds.

*****

Xeran enters the tavern dressed in burnt leather like a common hunter.  Knowing this village to be far outside of his realm's borders and realizing many enemies would jump at the chance to catch him alone in such a place, he has decided to play it safe and operate under a pseudonym.  He saunters over to the bar, eyeing the other patrons furtively.  They return his glances casually or not at all.  Apparently, strangers are not an unusual sight in this tavern. 
"What'll ye have?" the burly, balding barkeep snorts gruffly. 
"Ale." says Xeran nonchalantly. 
Within moments, the drink arrives in a rude, sooty mug that may have been clean at some point in it's history.  Xeran takes a draw from the mug and lowers his voice, inquiring of the barkeep, "Where might I procure a guide to lead me into the northern mountains?"
The barkeep shurgs uncaringly and snarkily replies, "May's well ask for our undertaker.  Plenty o' fools gone to dem mountains an' come back dead, out o' der mind, or not at all.  What bizness ye got dats makes dem so 'tractive to ye?"
"A good friend of mine headed into those mountains and has yet to return," Xeran replies frankly.
The barkeep simply harumphs...

Offline tennman

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #1 on: Sat Aug 31, 2013 - 18:31:46 »
Xeran turns away from the bar, resting his back against it and again lifting the mug to his mouth. A swig of ale and he lowers his glass to see a pair of bright eyes looking back into his. The older man with white hair sat at a table against the wall on the other side of the room. Fish bones sat in his plate, the only remainder of his meal and five empty mugs.

Xeran walked to the table and slowly sat into the chair across from the man.

Offline nealmorsefan

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #2 on: Tue Sep 03, 2013 - 09:37:36 »
"You seem to have some interest in my adventure, father.  Might you know a guide of proper mettle and willingness to assist me in my quest?" inquired Xeran hastily.  "I have silver termacs to offer as payment to the right man."
After an awkward pause where the old man didn't move a muscle, save a slight narrowing of his eyes, he asked, "What... is your name, noble sir?"
Shifting his weight in his chair and glancing at a few nearby patrons who seem to have forgotten his presence, Xeran responded with his chosen psuedonym, "Drake.  Drake Furmont.  And the nobility of my blood merely affirms that I am of common birth, raised in the home of a humble yet prosperous merchant."  Another awkward pause.  "And what do these fine folk call you, noble sir?"

Offline tennman

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #3 on: Tue Sep 03, 2013 - 10:43:17 »
The old man held Xeran's gaze for several seconds before finally responding. "Malen is enough for now. What do ye seek in the Northern Mountains? Have ye a death wish?"

The old man stood and walked away from the table, to the side of the bar where barrels of ale were stacked against the wall. He reached out to the wall and pushed a loose board to the side, pulling a small dagger from the compartment. He placed the dagger into a belt that was hidden by his cloak before returning to the table and finding Xeran's eyes again.

Offline nealmorsefan

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #4 on: Tue Sep 10, 2013 - 10:15:14 »
Intrigued and slightly irritated at Malen's aloof demeanor, Xeran offered, "What I seek and what I wish is not death but proof thereof or else not.  A good friend of mine some months prior rashly ventured into those dark lands and has not been seen since.  Only myth and legend survive to tell that he did not.  More will I tell thee, if ye be the facilitatorial sort of man of whom I seek.  Certainly ye are not of a mind to guide me thyself, for it is plain that the years of your youthful vigor have gone hence.  Yet I perceive that ye may be helpful in my quest.  So again I ask, might ye know of one willing to guide me northward?" 
Xeran reached into his tunic and pulled out two silver termacs, showing them furtively to Malen, then slapping them down on the table, covered by his hand.  Xeran narrowed his eyes and subtley dipped his head to add emphasis, "This is for your proven worthy information."

Offline tennman

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #5 on: Wed Sep 18, 2013 - 10:56:03 »
Malen gazed at the two silver termacs for nearly a minute without uttering a word. Then he extended his right hand and scooped them up, dropping them into his jacket pocket. "Follow me."

Malen walked out of the tavern with Xeran following. "They killed me brother - a mob with pitch forks and torches. But it be his son who can lead ye. He took work there." Malen pointed to a stone building with a sign that read, "Apothecary." "But none a better tracker will ye find."

Offline nealmorsefan

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #6 on: Tue Sep 24, 2013 - 09:10:43 »
"By what name might I address your nephew, sir?" queried Xeran, anxious to venture forward in his quest.

Offline tennman

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #7 on: Fri Oct 11, 2013 - 10:05:56 »
"You may call him Rowan. But he'll be making a decision on the matter, not I." Tell him it be I that sent ye. I'd go now if I were ye."

Offline nealmorsefan

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Re: The Unknown Lands
« Reply #8 on: Sat Oct 12, 2013 - 13:06:38 »
Placing his hands together in a praying action and bowing slightly, Xeran said, "My gratitude to ye, sir."

High above surly clouds of gray had been steadily building and the temperature had dipped considerably over but a few minutes.  Here and there droplets began to tap the already soddy earth.  Xeran pulled his cloak close, shuddering just a bit.  After furtively taking stock of the village square and finding nothing of particular curiousity, he strode purposefully for the apothecary's shop.   Pushing in the shop's door, an array of confusing odors billowed into Xeran's nostrils.  Pausing briefly to acquaint himself with the cacophony of herb essences and who knows what else in the room, he stepped inside.

The shop was astrewn with every kind of oddity one could imagine.  Flasks, idols, totems, charms, gauges, candles, tools that few knew what they were for.  Tomes and scrolls lay on tables, in baskets, tacked to beams, and generally stuffed in nooks and crannies everywhere.  Clearly, organization and cleanliness weren't high priorities for the apothecary.

"Well, is he just going to stand there and gawk or have he bizness here?" came a high-pitched, whiny, annoying voice from a back corner of the shop.  The voice belonged to a gaunt, well-weathered, bald man wearing a most bizarre pair of spectacles that caused Xeran to raise one eyebrow and smirk in amusement.

"My apologies, good apothecary.  I seek the council of your apprentice by the name of Rowan.  Where might I seek him?"

"He is hereabouts.  Perhaps this traveler is in need of a potion to help him resist the bitter cold about us?  Perhaps an elixir needs he for salving of his inevitable wounds, no?  For he surely doth present an air of mystery and an eye of vengeance.  Hmmm?"

"No need have I of..."

"Need?  Need he says!  What does he know of need in the unknown lands of the north?  But of mine apprentice, find thy purpose satiated through this door," he said motioning to his left.  With a nod and a tip of his cap, Xeran proceeded through the side door.
« Last Edit: Sat Oct 12, 2013 - 13:20:27 by nealmorsefan »

 

     
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