Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Touring the Flanaess
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly Denizens
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - Chapter 1: From Ice and Stone, a Rose
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Expedition to the Land of Black Ice
    Chapter 1: From Ice and Stone, a Rose
    Author Message
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:08 am  
    Chapter 1: From Ice and Stone, a Rose

    The snows swirled about in a glittering riot of white chaos. The wind drew it in great gusts across the open water where it raked exposed flesh like the nails of a scorned lover.

    He walked along the docks, a kicked hornet's nest of activity. The first day of Patchwall did nothing to dissuade Corus' workers from their morning tos-and-fros. He passed all three Anzah brothers loading their nets onto a fishing boat, their little sister Marta doing all she could to help, struggling with all her might to get one of the great barbed harpoons over its side. One-armed Farisi barked orders at the men from the deck of another boat, and a group of their number began to fix the sails to the craft's mast behind the foreman. Past them, the sky was the dull color of iron. It matched the hue of the sea so precisely as to make the marriage of the two at the horizon invisible but for the falling snow above and the white-capped waves below.

    Next to the gangplank that led to the Wayfarer – the Old Man's boat – he saw Gerti Hannesdóttir. Þora's mother had her young son Breki, still too young to speak but not too young to be amazed by the primal power of the sea, and she approached him with a smile.

    “Well-met, Dagsson,” she said, greeting him in the native speech of their shared homeland. She was one of the few in Corus that spoke aught but the Cold Tongue, and its familiar sound never failed to rouse a smile to his lips. As per usual, she had her basket of snow poppies in her arms. From the wicker container, she produced one and proceeded to tie one of the blooms into the pleated braids of his hair. No one was sure how she was able to grow the flowers here, in the tiny garden she had – yet every year, it teemed with their spectacular blue and white petals. They were said to be lucky to those who tread the waves.

    “My thanks, amma,” he said, while she tended to the task. “Is Þora already aboard?”

    She nodded. “Aye, Dagsson,” she said, weaving the stem into a pleat by his temple. Even in the wind and amidst the snowfall, he could smell the bloom's fragrance. “She is. It looks to be good fishing weather, does it not?”

    Little Breki seemed fascinated by the buckles of his boots. Sævil looked out onto the grey sea beyond the ship's bow. From within its hollow, he could see the Old Man stirring. He was wading through the men as they seated at the oars, made ready their nets and spears. He looked to be coming their way. “Aye,” he replied. “Pray Vatun your flower brings me fortune against what we might catch that is not a fish.”

    The Old Man found the gangplank. He met Sævil's eyes as he walked its length in their direction. “I will pray the Northern God that all you catch are fish, instead, good Dagsson,” she countered. Her smile faded gently away. “Bring my daughter back to me.”

    He nodded. “You have my oath, amma.”

    The Old Man sidled up beside her, almost like her silhouette given motion for his darkness. Tough like weathered leather, his flesh was colored the deepest brown he had ever seen before in his life. It bore deep furrows like the crevasses of mountains. Sævil was more than two heads taller than him; even Hannesdóttir dwarfed his elderly frame. He seemed to inspect the warrior from the soles of his boots to the top of his helm. Apparently, he liked what he saw. He offered him a grin, the gap between his front two teeth – all pearly white as the claim of the ocean – wide enough to pass two fingers betwixt.

    “Hail, Old Man,” he returned his smile. It would have been an insult, passed to another in his homeland. This was the only name that he was known by to the men and women of Corus, though. He had dwelled within the city so long that it was said that he had once known Sirillion Ro personally. Those that still remembered his actual name said that it was impossible to pronounce properly, and so, they simply called him by that which he appeared to be: An Old Man. He was of a goodly nature and bore the name with some whimsy. No one seemed to know from whence he'd come. “We tread kindly waves today, it seems,” he nodded in the direction of the sea, its waves crashing in icy spray against the wooden docks.

    The Old Man frowned gently. “Nay,” he said. He was difficult at the best of times to understand. He had, it seemed, tried to speak in the tongue of the northern men some time ago and never quite mastered the language. The way he said the single word, however, cut the sound of the wind and the waves with a perfect clarity to his ear. “Nay, Dagsson. You will be meeting the Little One today, yes?” The way he said it, it was not a question.

    He pointed in the direction of the single spire that loomed over the remainder of Corus like the crooked finger of a wizened norn. “She awaits you at the Icepick,” he nodded. Dagsson followed his finger to the ominous form of the tower, then glanced back over his shoulder at the Wayfarer. The men had paused in their labors, were all staring upon him. Their expressions were that of those watching the damned and condemned, facing the ghastly shadow of the gallows at sunrise.

    The Old Man's smile, usually everpresent, had disappeared. “Go, boy,” he said, nodding at the distant shadow, as if to encourage him forward. The wind, at his back, blew long and cold, as the open blades of a handful of hurled razors. “She waits.”

    In her basket, Gerti Hannesdóttir's flowers were covered in frost.


    Last edited by Kraftwerk on Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:58 pm; edited 5 times in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2530
    From: LG Dyvers

    Send private message
    Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:09 pm  

    This is an interesting start, Kraftwerk. Is it a story-telling of an adventure you participated in, or a pure work of fiction?

    SirXaris
    _________________
    SirXaris' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SirXaris?ref=hl
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:20 am  

    SirXaris,

    Thanks for the kind words! A few weeks ago, I agreed to run a small PbP Campaign for Greychat stalwart w80, in order to help him get past a bit of "DM block". The esteemed Pluffet Smedger was kind enough to give his blessing to hosting the game on Canonfire. When I see him next, I intend to ask him if we can get a division incorporated into the thread to allow a separate OOC and Player Roster series of posts, as well. In said series, you would also get to see all the "behind the scenes" things I've done with the Flanaess and the city of Corus for the purpose of the game.

    Currently, we have three players that have made known their interest in the game: w80, Jig (also from Greychat), and the inimitable Smedger, himself. I have a fourth player who is interested as well, and I'm currently in the process of vetting his character.

    Are you interested in joining us as well? From a mechanical standpoint, we're going to be playing 1e rules; all characters will begin play at the 5th level of experience. If this interests you...please let me know! very happy


    --K
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:22 pm  

    Sævil's smile wavers at the Old Man's words, and he brushes his hand across his chest to feel the smooth and comforting touch of Blárfestóbresta, its unbreakable 100` feet securely coiled around him, "Já, I go then. If I don't return tell Skorri that he'll have to push Þora on someone else." His fondness for both obvious despite a coolness of voice compared to his usual humor.

    Slowly he trudges away from the docks, touches the name of Asajapura once, whistles some lines of an old Perennlander marching song about Sterich women, and then with a final glance at the sea, Sævil begins striding toward the spire in the distance.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:01 am  

    Sævil's smile wavers at the Old Man's words, and he brushes his hand across his chest to feel the smooth and comforting touch of Blárfestóbresta, its unbreakable 100` feet securely coiled around him, "Já, I go then. If I don't return tell Skorri that he'll have to push Þora on someone else." His fondness for both obvious despite a coolness of voice compared to his usual humor.

    The Old Man flashed his gap-toothed grin. “Hah!” he replied. “You’d best return for his sake! Skorri’ll pull his hair out if you don’t change her name. And the sooner the better! He and Gerti want many grandchildren to spoil rotten – and none but you will do to rear them in Þora’s eyes!”

    Her mother’s cheeks gained a distinct blush. “Don’t give a thought to such foolishness, Sævil Dagsson,” she offered him a disapproving frown. “You are a free man of the Xeai and you may do as you please.”

    The Old Man simply smirked. He knew better. And in his heart, Sævil supposed he did, too. Þora had made it plain that she fancied him. Apparently, he was not the only one that had noticed it, too. In the distance, at the bow of the Wayfarer, he could see the young girl, busying herself with spooling a thick cord of rope. He watched her as she pulled its length, curving it and then again. She was a head shorter than he, thin and lithe, yet work-strong and determined. Her tomboyish frame belied a lovely face and figure, when she deigned appoint it as a lady. Her freckles spattered the tops of her cheeks as the stars made constellations in the clear night sky. Her hair, tied now into pleats and secured by a broad green sash, was very nearly the color of an open flame. She hadn’t noticed him and there was something about that, watching her at her labors, that made him smile.

    “Aye, Dagsson,” the Old Man stirred him from his reverie with another jibe. “You may do exactly as you please.”

    Slowly he trudges away from the docks, touches the name of Asajapura once, whistles some lines of an old Perrenlander marching song about Sterich women, and then with a final glance at the sea, Sævil begins striding toward the spire in the distance.

    Turning his back on the docks, he put the wind at his back and began into the heart of the town proper. For better or for worse, Corus was not a large settlement and so his jaunt to the Icepick would not be a long one. Indeed, it was only several score strides before he came upon the central avenue that ran from the front gates of the place of his home and terminated at the spindling tower near its rear. The town was abuzz with life and activity, even with the gentle snowfall that tumbled to the ground all around him. The laughter of children at play filled the air, a group of five of them bouncing a ball between them in front of a home to his left. Gavin Dougal was selling roots and vegetables from his cart to the right, the lamed warrior offering him a polite nod as he passed. He could smell freshly baking bread wafting from the open windows of Liddie Rabbitwarren’s home. The gnomish baker probably didn’t care that the falling snow drifted inside; the sales from enticed passers-by likely made up nicely for the inconvenience.

    Perhaps two hundred feet from the heavy, iron bound doors of the Icepick, Sævil could see the two Town Guardsmen that barred the path forward. Clad in chain and bearing halberds at rest, he knew both of them well: Kelvan Agaard and Lucion Marstren. Both had been Shield Landers from an island called Scragholme when that goodly realm still existed. Each seemed agreeable enough, he supposed, but it was obvious that they were not taking their exile well. “Hail, Sævil Dagsson,” the former nodded in his direction.

    “Come,” the latter offered a thin smile. “The Little One expects you.”
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:53 pm  

    Sævil stops whistling, "Agaard, Marstren, 'ware those pole-axes don't freeze to your hands now!" He makes an exaggerated face of pain while flexing and waving his hands about, his eyes crinkled in a smile throughout.

    He steps forward toward the Icepick.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:31 pm  
    Kahss: Fifty Paces, Blindfolded

    Fifty paces distant, Mariusz looked back and flashed his macabre, lopsided grin. “Not bad, boy,” he nodded. “Not bad at all.”

    Kahss watched him pull the flight from the center of the target with a rough, wrenching motion. He had hands like a bear’s paws, he mused, while he began striding back in his direction, stamping the snows covering the sparse grass flat with the act. Such was the size of the callused fist that it almost swallowed the arrow whole, revealing only its head and feathers. All black and blue and misshapen by repeated, brutal blunt force, he determined that had the ugliest knuckles the young man had ever seen in his life.

    Mariusz Wójcik was a beast of a man. He stood very nearly seven feet tall and weighed, Kass supposed, somewhere in the area of twenty stone. All of it looked to be lean, purpose-sculpt muscle. He would not have been surprised in the least to discover that he was possessed of monstrous blood of some type, perhaps that of an ogre. He had heard tale in the inn that he had broken the back of the stone giant that killed his brother Casimir and ruined most of his face with his bare hands. To look at him, he was apt to believe it. It took little imagination to work out why they referred to him as The Gorgon.

    He had met him the day that he had come to Corus. Captain Fireheart had looked at Kahss with her impossibly blue eyes – the kind that only an olve might have – as if to impress upon him the significance of the moment. “You will be living with Mariusz and his family for the first three months you are with us,” she had said. “Do you understand?”

    He’d looked at Mariusz, staring, even though he tried not to. When he was younger, before his maiming, he probably looked normal – perhaps even handsome at a certain angle and in a certain light. Half of his face remained that way. The other half bore the long scars left by the giant’s talons, raked from eyebrow to chin. They looked like the furrows in a farmer’s field, after plowing. Even when his mouth was closed, you could see his teeth, so it was as if he had a permanent grin on his face. When he smiled, he looked like a child’s picture puzzle, misarranged. He was lucky to have managed to somehow keep his eye.

    Kahss had nodded. He understood. Every newcomer to Corus lived with Mariusz Wójcik and his family for the first three months. During that time, it was his responsibility to watch over them. One had to be sure not to allow foxes into the henhouse, after all. And he imagined that The Gorgon could smell a fox far better than any ordinary hound.

    The snows swirled in miniature tempests on the way to the ground, tossed about by the wind in a glittering chaos. In his hand, the wood of the bow was cold. The bandanna in his free hand rippled like a ship’s sail at sea. Mariusz arrived at his side and handed him his arrow. The owl feather fletching was undisturbed. “I’m impressed,” he nodded again, his basso voice something like the sound of stone grating across stone. “You’ve done that before.” The way he said it, a statement, not a question.

    Kahss nodded back. “Yes,” he said. “Once or twice.”

    He handed him back his bandanna. The truth was that he had done it hundreds of times. Perhaps even more than that. The Covenant had prepared him to shoot in all manner of conditions. Darkness was one of them. Hitting a still target blindfolded – even in the brisk and chill wind – was second-nature to him, by now.

    The Gorgon grinned. Sometimes, the act looked painful. “Are you done, then?”

    Kahss looked at the target once more. The practice field was a simple affair. Perhaps five strides wide and a hundred long, it was the part of Corus he was most familiar with. Until Mariusz was satisfied that he was no danger to their society, there were few other places he was allowed to go. None of them he could visit by himself. “Yes,” he nodded. Shooting was…good. It alleviated the tedium of his semi-confinement. It had been two weeks; it seemed like two years. “Thank you.”

    A murder of crows had come to alight on the low fence that served as a boundary for the range. They seemed to be watching him, patient spectators, with a score of utterly black eyes. He could smell the sea, some distance away, hear its surf gently pounding against the shoreline. He suddenly found himself possessed of the desire to see it for himself. Mariusz turned and began to lead him out of the range, through its back. He hardly seemed worried that Kahss had his weapons and he had but his ugly knuckles. Perhaps he had come to a decision regarding him already.

    He was aware of motion well before he saw its source. The hairs stood stiff on the back of his neck for a moment and he felt his whole body tense. He almost drew his bow, nocked an arrow, when he heard the laughter of children.

    Two of them, no more than waist-tall, came tearing about the corner in their direction. “Papa!” shouted one, then the other, sending them both into riotous giggles. It was the twins, Anna and Wiola. Kahss watched both launch themselves into their father’s arms. With a deftness that belied his size, he gathered each one in an arm, lifting them high into the air. It sent them both into new giggling fits.

    “Ho, tiny ones!” he greeted them, spinning the two about in a small circle. Kahss noticed how nimble the man was, the way that he moved and shifted his enormous weight. He imagined that, as the snowflakes fell about them, so he flashed steel when his foes crossed his purpose. “What do you do out of the house so early today? Come to watch Mister Kahss ply his trade, hm? ”

    From the heights of his embrace, his children looked down upon him. Anna, closest to him, smiled bashfully. “Hello, Mister Kahss,” she said. The girl had the same dark hair that Mariusz might have had before he began shaving his pate bald. The way she avoided his eyes with hers, a vivid springtime green, was adorable in the way only a child’s can be.

    Ten steps behind them, another figure came about the corner. It was Wojtek, one of Mariusz other children. If he had to guess, Kahss would say there were seven of them. It was hard to say, though, the way they sped about with their boundless energy. He supposed they ran their mother, Karolina, ragged. Of them all, Wojtek was the oldest, perhaps sixteen years of age. He was built nothing like his father. He was all gangly and awkward, a mess of long limbs and tousled chestnut hair. He always seemed to be watching Kahss, as if to constantly take his measure. “My son,” Mariusz greeted him with a smile. His pride in his children always seemed to shine through in his expression when he addressed them, but never so much as it did when he spoke to his first-born.

    “Father,” he nodded, then looked in the direction of his charge. There was something serious in his tone, in the look of his eye. “Mister Kahss. Captain Fireheart’s looking for you.”

    He worked his mouth before he spoke again.

    “The Little One,” he said, at last. “She would have words with you.”


    Last edited by Kraftwerk on Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:46 pm  

    Sævil stops whistling, "Agaard, Marstren, 'ware those pole-axes don't freeze to your hands now!" He makes an exaggerated face of pain while flexing and waving his hands about, his eyes crinkled in a smile throughout.

    The former offered the slightest smirk. With the gesture, the wind picked up anew, setting the falling snows aswirl about them once more. In the glittering chaos of motion, his advice seemed especially salient. Perhaps that was what motivated Marstren to turn slightly, grasping the massive portal's handle behind him. He pulled it open slightly and Sævil instantly felt a wash of the warmth within caress the flesh of his face. "Fortune be with you," he said with a curt nod, stepping aside to allow him entry.

    He steps forward toward the Icepick.

    Sævil walked inside the spire. The act seemed to extinguish the light of day, suffocating it with dimness and a sense of expansiveness. He had been here before; it did not surprise him, though the change was stark, nonetheless. Much of the Icepick's volume above the ground was hollow. A thin stairwell ringed its outer wall, spiraling skyward until it at last disappeared in a square in the stone ceiling, perhaps thirty feet overhead. That left an open agora in which he stood, lit by flickering torches, spaced all along the stairwell and even measures. He smelled their burning substance, felt the heat they radiated. The latter was a welcome respite from the cold and the snow.

    In the midst of the open area, Sævil saw a raised dais. Atop the dais was an ornate wooden desk. It looked terribly out of place in the room, something baroque and elegant. Sitting behind it in a comfortable-looking high backed chair, he could see the Little One. Kalindre almost looked absurd there; she could barely see over the edge of the huge piece of furniture. Nonetheless, she carried on perfectly normally. The top of the desk was scattered with sheets of parchment, one of which she worked at busily with a quill.

    As he stepped forward, she stopped. Her eyes, appointed by a pair of fine eyeglasses with golden rims, lifted from her work and met Sævil's. She smiled broadly. There was something serene to the gesture. Her black hair, so many curls as it fell down her back, was shot through with streaks of silver. Crow's feet tugged at the corners of her eyes. She was wearing a dark blue shirt that might have become a dress, below the desk. She was no bigger than a human child.

    "Well-met, Dagsson," she greeted him.

    The smile lifted knowingly at a corner of her mouth.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:31 pm  

    Dagsson bows from the neck, "Mayor - you requested I come. Here I stand."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:11 am  
    Sævil: The End of the Strand

    Dagsson bows from the neck, "Mayor - you requested I come. Here I stand."

    The Little One appraised him for a moment. She looked him up and down as if to take his measure. Had a man of his folk done the same, he would have expected the ugly music of sword and axe to follow. As it was, though, she punctuated the moment by offering a bit of a smile. She took her spectacles from her face, folding them neatly, then swung her legs off the tall chair on which she sat. A moment later, she stood on the dais, no taller than his waist. "Sævil Dagsson," she said, approaching him, "you have not been with us overlong. Yet your deeds have distinguished you greatly from your peers. You have used your skills as a man at arms to protect our community as a Defender. This is an important role to the city of Corus. It is an acumen that requires courage and fortitude."

    The Little One walked right past him as she spoke. She was watching the flickering torches, gazing at the dance of the flame in the cold air within the Icepick. "But moreover, you have distinguished yourself by your seamless assimilation into your community," she continued. "Here, among strangers and outsiders, you have found friends. You have availed yourself to the folk of Corus, embracing them, and in return have so been embraced. Here you are liked and loved in turn. In my eyes, as the Mayor of our community, this is far more important. I have seen that Corus has become something central and important to you. It is no longer a sanctuary. It is now home."

    She turned back towards him. "And now you must forgive me, my friend," she said, a sudden weight coming to rest upon her brow. "Because it is because of this that I must ask much of you today, Sævil Dagsson."

    "Very much, indeed."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:45 am  
    Njord: Kings and Queens

    “My mother would take me there when I was small,” he said, his eyes cast down at the flinder of driftwood in his palms. “We would pass the great marble colonnades, listening to the songs of the birds that perched at their tops. We'd cross the great stone bridge that arched 'cross the Duntide. If it had been a good year, my mother might buy me a bit of marzipan from the peddler that used to sell sweets on the other side. Still, I could have neglected even that rare treat – even as a boy with dreams of candies dancing in his head – in favor of what awaited us still.”

    Njord's eyes cast out upon the sea. The expanse of it swallowed the whole of his sight. Forever-blue white-capped waves crashed and churned upon themselves before dashing in a thunderous spray upon the shoreline rocks. The vista was breathtaking, awesome in the way that only nature's grand majesty can claim to be. The sheer immensity of it, its fearsome elemental power was...humbling. As far as he could see, nothing interrupted the panorama but the wind and the waves, the clouds and the snow that fell from their leaden bellies. It was as it should have been.

    Ranett continued on. Njord glanced down to his palms. In their hollow, his knife worked expertly at the wood, shaping it. It was something he liked to do while they stood watch, to occupy his time. He was good at it, too; his small carvings would have fetched a fair silver, if he deigned sell them. He never did. The sea has given to me, he would say. I could put no price on its bounty. Instead, he gave every one of his carvings away. Each of the ten that he had done in Njord's presence, he had kept. They rest upon the mantle, above the fire in his small home. “In the home of my birth, there are great gardens,” he explained. “Wondrous, spectacular things, planted by the men of ancient kings for the common man to enjoy and marvel at the beauty of the green and growing world. Flowers of all shapes and colors thrive there, some great and some small. The air is thick with their fragrance and the hummingbirds buzz about their petals, courting one another in an aerial dance. It is a magnificent place, Njord,” he smiled, still never looking up. “But in the heart of the place is a huge structure, its walls made of gauze and glass. Within are kept the rarest and most beautiful of the flowers. To open the door, your breath would catch at all the colors and the scents.”

    Njord could imagine it. Ranett had a way of painting the skies of his imagination with his words. He could almost imagine the flowers, if he tried, almost smell their nectar filling the air. A gentle smile crossed his lips. One day, he decided, he would very much like to visit his friend's Rel Mord and its gardens for himself.

    “As a boy,” he sighed slightly, “I knew, that Pelor willing, I would one day return to that place. To dwell there forever amidst the flowers and the swarms of their--”

    The voice from behind them seemed to shatter the reverie with an unkind abruptness. “Spinning another of your yarns, eh, Mitratakin?

    Njord looked over his shoulder. Along the rocks that led to their position, a pair of figured ambled up to meet them. From Corus' outermost wall several small stone half-circles bubbled outward. Through one such post's crennelations, he and his friend stood watch over the city's southern shores. The way that had been designed, the paths to those positions were thin, falling away into trenches. He supposed they had been constructed that way to hinder the advance of enemies. Today, though, the only intruders came in the form of the murder of crows alighted on the walls to their left and right. Aught else but the wind and the snow, the clouds and the waves.

    Captain Fireheart strode to their position, undaunted by the climb. In her own way, she was just as fierce as the waves that pummeled the rocks below. The tip of the spear in her hands glistened like a star in the morning light. Behind her, still making his way upward on his stumpy legs, Njord saw Jiwen Stonehewer, the dwur huffing and puffing slightly as he struggled to follow her path. She never looked back, her mien and stoic and impassive as ever. “Your eyes see little, cast down at your whittling,” she said, her incredibly blue eyes – bluer that the sea or a thousand of its waves – fixed sternly upon his fellow Guardsman. The azure ribbon in her hair whipped about behind her as the wind bared its teeth anew.

    Jiwen's axe clattered on the stone battlement as he climbed the remainder of the way to meet them. “Forgive me, m'lady,” Ranett began to apologize.

    “Guard Mitratakin was merely gathering a moment's strength,” Njord interrupted him. “We've been taking our turns at watch. This was mine,” he nodded.

    The Captain paused. Nodded. Njord was relatively certain she knew it wasn't so, but said nothing of it. He might have detected a bit of a smile, for a moment, then gone, upon her lips. “Indeed,” she said at last. “In any case, I have need of you, Guard Tholjorsonn. Guard Stonehewer will replace you at watch. You are relieved of duty.”

    Njord's brow furrowed slightly. Never before had anything of the like happened before. Instantly, he realized something was amiss. Still, he knew better that to gainsay the Captain's wishes. He simply nodded and stepped back from the wall, ready to follow her away.

    Captain Fireheart glanced back at Ranett and Jiwan. “As you were.” Terse. Pointed.

    She turned about and started back down the path. “Ranett,” Njord said, his voice a whisper in the wind before he trailed her. “In the structure...in the gardens of your home. What swarms so enchanted you as a boy?”

    His friend simply smiled and extended his hand. He placed the bit of wood he'd worked into his palm. There, resting in the flat of his hand was the effigy of a beautiful butterfly. Its wings were spread wide, as if floating gracefully upon some unseen wind. It looked so real, Njord half-wondered if it might come to life, take flight from his grasp. “Kings and queens,” he said with a broad smile. “A flawless catastrophe of kings and queens.”

    The Captain looked back in his direction. Njord looked up at Ranett and offered a smile of his own. A moment later, he was at her heels. He held the carving gently, fearing for its fragility. The snows, caught in the chill wind from the sea, whirled around them like the beating of a million gossamer wings in his imagination. Orenta would have adored the carving.

    They descended, making for the city's center. His fellow Guardsmen began to receded in the distance. “You will forgive me the interruption of your duties,” the Captain said. Njord had to strain his ears to her her above the banshee-wail of the wind. It seemed to cut the flesh like a handful of exposed razors where it touched upon it. “I realize that this is highly unusual, but I assure it is not of my doing.”

    She looked back, paused a moment so that he might catch up to her.

    “The Little One wishes for you to attend her presence.”
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:16 pm  

    Sævil nods, "I'm glad to help, and if the stories earn me a few drinks, it will have been worth the time!"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:23 pm  
    Sævil: The End of the Strand

    The Mayor offered a wan smile. Such was the gravity of her personality that it seemed easy to overlook her minute height. "You are you as I once was," she replied, "so I will forgive the ease with which you are wont to discard your life."

    The comment seemed to make the air in the Icepick go utterly still. Sævil was aware of the sound of the torches consuming themselves. Louder still seemed the beating of his heart in his chest.

    She turned around to face him again. Pacing idly, as if fraught with nerves. "Tell me," she said. "What do you know of the Land of Black Ice?"
    Syzygyst
    Guest





    Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:40 pm  
    Njord: At The Captain's Call

    Njord briefly caught the Captain's gaze. He nodded, then abruptly looked down, slowing his pace to keep a distance between them. She was lovely, and capable, and intense. Eye-contact with her was dangerous: he might drown in that ocean. He could feel the embers deep down within coming to light. The heat in his belly and loins was pulsing, uncomfortable. The sigils on his body started to itch, to tingle. He'd felt this way around her before and did his best to suppress the urges then. The rumors helped; Fireheart was said to have a lover that was an Enchantress, and he'd like to keep as far away from that kind as possible, even indirectly. If the gossip was true, the Captain liked women. He held to that thought, even hoping that she cared not at all for men. If he just kept his breath steady, perhaps the fires would subside.

    Njord slowly filled his broad chest with the snow-flecked, cold air. His fingertips glided along the small wooden butterfly that Ranett had generously gifted to him. It was delicate, yet solid. This helped Njord to subdue the stirrings within, and his mind turned to the strange "Little One" he was about to face: the halfling matriarch of the island. "Mayor": an odd word. Nothing like that existed where he came from. This whole place, this Corus, was odd, but slowly becoming something of a home. He hoped that it would eventually be able to erase some of the memories from his past. But Mayor Highmountain was yet another weaver of magic, a female weaver of magic, and that unsettled him -- and perhaps rightly so.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:47 pm  
    Njord: Kings and Queens

    Captain Fireheart seemed content to conduct their passage through Corus in silence. The persistent howl of the wind, like a lament-song for a lost lover accompanied them, instead. Its bitter quality typically left the streets of the city all but empty and today was no exception. A few children played with a ball at the end of the main avenue than ran the center of the settlement. A peddler selling vegetables and roots from his cart offered him a slight nod of recognition, perhaps a bit of a smile. All the while, about them, the snow continued to fall from the dark skies above, disaffected by any bit of it.

    Njord's eyes were drawn to his right, away from the merchant. There, the massive spire that served as Corus' heart rose skyward from its firmament. Imposing in its monolithic size, he could feel its shadow engulf him as Captain Fireheart led him in its direction. Bracketing the great iron-bound door that served as its entryway were two of his fellow Guardsmen. He knew that Aagard and Marstren were there names. As he eyes the massive halberds they clutched, he realized how little he knew of either of them. He had had precious few postings with either one of them, He thought he remembered that they had come from some land south of their new, mutual home.

    Both stiffened slightly as the Captain approached them. Njord noticed Aagard's eyes fall upon the red pommel of his sword, as if to count the black spots upon its surface. Neither said a word as she passed betwixt them, opening the door with a rough tug. It was as if neither dared. She might have grunted an approval.

    Instantly, from within, Njord felt the heat within the building wash over his exposed flesh. He saw the crackling dance of torchlight.

    He heard the sound of voices.

    Fireheart nodded in the direction of their sound.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:11 pm  

    "Mayor, my people - the Xeai - live along the Tusking Strand, as close to that dark place as any people known. North of Logndail where I was born, there was a hill from which you can see the stain." Sævil stops and considers, "But to say I - any of us - know it would be too great an exaggeration for me to boast while you look so serious."
    Syzygyst
    Guest





    Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:57 pm  
    Njord: Into the Icepick.

    Njord took a step forward in the direction of the light and sound, keeping a safe space between he and the Captain.

    "I may enter?" he said with deference, in his accented Common-speech, his head bowed and his brow raised.

    He might have proceeded without the query, but it gave him a parting chance to look into her visciously enticing blue eyes, gleaming in the flickering light. Something he knew to be a bad idea. He subconsciously held the butterfly figurine a bit tighter, it still carrying the chill from the outside. It was something to hold on to, countering the fear of falling in.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:15 am  
    Ohrin: Transmutations

    “It's getting worse, isn't it?”

    Verenna dared ask the question that was on all their minds, really. And with her voicing it, all of the light and liveliness seemed to be drawn out of the air, leaving a somber vacuum in its wake. The chamber suddenly had all the humor of a funeral party. “I...I don't honestly know,” Zoltan replied. As he paused to gather himself, his thoughts, the sound of the bubbling from the apparatus between the three of them sounded like thunder for the stillness.

    All at once, he allowed a great sigh. He had decided. “Yes,” he said, closing his eyes. “Of course, he will not say it, but I believe it to be so.”

    Into the flask atop the table, Ohrin watched the first of the drips plummet from the end of the winding coil of glass tubing that wound itself in so many spindled knots. He followed its labyrinthine path backwards past the separation receptacles and the vents that issued tiny wisps of steam into the air above the apparatus. Past the collection basin and condensation trap, all the way back to the flame beneath the small iron cauldron where the transformation initiated. Then, his eyes traced the whole of it back again as the tiny green droplet fell, turning the red liquid in the ceramic bowl beneath it into a brilliant, fluorescent chartreuse. The process was complete. There was a morbid parallel between the bit of alchemy and their situation.

    Verenna sighed as well. “Damn,” she said, through closed eyes and a set jaw.

    Zoltan made his way to the room's corner, where his cloak was hung, amongst ours. He whisked it away quickly. It was plain that he couldn't bear thinking about it any longer. “I must go,” he said, already beginning to steel himself against the cold. He had remarked on many occasions that the home he had once fled in the Yeomanry never once saw the sort of clime Corus endured throughout the year's passage. His rail-thin frame and bald pate lent him little comfort against the wind and the snow, either, Ohrin imagined. “He has need of an unguent from the Pelorites. In his ill-humor, I daren't keep him waiting overlong. Have either of you have need of anything, as well?”

    They exchanged glances. “No,” she said, speaking for both of them. “I should think not.”

    Zoltan nodded. He tried on a most unconvincing smile. “Very well then,” he said. “I'll return as soon as I'm able. Do try and ensure that the transformation continues to proceed well,” he glanced back at the brobdingnagian alchemical equipment atop the table while he made his way to the door. Even opening it a sliver seemed to drop the temperature in the room palpably. “As I said, today's findings have left him in a most foul mood.” Snowfall whirled about in the air around him while he slipped out into the day's gloom.

    He closed it tightly behind him. Verenna crossed her arms about her ample chest and shivered slightly. “It seems impossible, does it not?” she mused. “All that snow....” Her blue eyes seemed to try and follow him even through the thick stone wall. She had once been a woman of Leukish, he knew; the frigid depth of winter was no stranger to her. Still, the cold beyond the chamber's walls was far different than anything Urnst ever saw. And truth be told, her shivering was only brought about in part because of the temperature. That much, too, he knew.

    The girl crossed the room with a suddenness that surprised him. She flung her arms about him, crushing herself to his chest. Her breaths were heavings; she was close to sobbing. “Awful,” she managed to mumble into his ear. “Simply awful.” In his arms, she was light and lithe as a swan's feather. She was still quaking everso slightly. The moment was full of weight and implication. Ohrin supposed one might be moved to such lengths when the whole of the world they knew was about to crash down about their ears. He held her gently and rocked her to and fro. Her hair smelled slightly of thistle and heather, soft against his cheek like the down of a doe's spring coat. It would change nothing, yet in the peculiar kind of alchemy of a young girl's heart – far different than the one two steps behind them – it could still make some difference.

    When the door opened once again, it did so with an abrupt suddenness that made Verenna stiffen in his arms. Once again, the wind and the snow roared into the workroom for an instant before it slammed shut again. When it did, the figure of a Guardsman stood before them. Covered in winter white, he shrugged roughly, shedding much of it from his heavy cloak and helm onto the stone floor. “Damnable snow,” he grunted, kicking his boots clean, as well.

    Jelden Riverstone cocked up the front of his helm slightly, eyeing the two of them. Their situation brought a wry grin to his lips. “G'day, you lot,” he greeted them with a nod. Verenna slowly allowed her embrace to melt from Ohrin, distancing herself a step beneath his gaze. “Apologies for barging in like this. Frightfully cold outside, and all.” The half-elf was relatively sure, to judge his smile, that he wasn't so sorry about it in the slightest.

    The Guardsman nodded in the direction of the mazework of glass and liquid behind them. “I hope that isn't very important,” he said. A bit of mirth flickered in his eyes, a kind of green that existed solely in the gaze of an olve. “I've got orders.”

    Verenna glanced at Ohrin.

    “The Little One,” he finished. “She needs you, straight away.”
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:51 am  
    Sævil & Njord: Fire and Ice; Passion and Warfare

    Njord took a step forward in the direction of the light and sound, keeping a safe space between he and the Captain.

    "I may enter?" he said with deference, in his accented Common-speech, his head bowed and his brow raised.

    Captain Fireheart nodded once. Her intensity was such that it was almost a physical thing, to be touched and felt. It was intimidating, after a fashion. She could speak a thousand words, each one like the sound of thunder, with but a glance.

    He might have proceeded without the query, but it gave him a parting chance to look into her visciously enticing blue eyes, gleaming in the flickering light. Something he knew to be a bad idea. He subconsciously held the butterfly figurine a bit tighter, it still carrying the chill from the outside. It was something to hold on to, countering the fear of falling in.

    In her gaze, Njord saw both ice and flame alike. Passion, roiling like the Oerth's lifebood beneath a furious shield of warfare. It was something difficult to stare into. It was like holding the ember from a fire in one's palm. It was an experience unlike any he'd ever had before in his short life.

    Within the Icepick, ahead, the voices continued.

    "Mayor, my people - the Xeai - live along the Tusking Strand, as close to that dark place as any people known. North of Logndail where I was born, there was a hill from which you can see the stain." Sævil stops and considers, "But to say I - any of us - know it would be too great an exaggeration for me to boast while you look so serious."

    The Little One nodded. “Aye,” she agreed. “There is much talk of this place. I have heard many things regarding its vast darkness since I first made Corus my home. None of them supported by any proof, of course. Such is the way of legends, eh?”

    As Njord walked ahead, he saw that the great spire was largely hollow within. Its walled were ringed inside with a single, slender staircase that spiraled up high above, finally disappearing in a small rectangle in the ceiling. Blazing torches were appointed at even spaces along that causeway, crackling and shedding a wan light and heat into the heart of the structure. There was a sense of immense emptiness within the tower that inspired awe.

    In the center of the emptiness, he saw a raised stone dais. Rising from it was a large desk, made of fine wood. Candles burned brightly atop it, shedding light across a field of scattered papers. Standing directly in front of it was a man. Tall, powerfully built, Njord saw that he had a weapon of some sort strapped across his back, oddly-shaped and utterly, completely black. It seemed to drink the light from the world around it. Even from behind him, at a distance, he realized, he knew him. His name was Sævil Dagsson, a Defender of the Corus. He had never spoken to him personally but had watched as others had done so. He seemed to be well-respected, had many friends in the city.

    Just to his left facing him – and so, too, Njord – was Mayor Highmountain. The Little One. She stood perhaps to the waist of Sævil. She had dark hair, silver flickering through its long curls as lightning cracks the night sky. She wore a dark blue shirt that blossomed into a dress, its bottom gliding across the cold stone floor of the Icepick like a phantom's passage. She might have been mistaken for a human child, if not for the crow's feet at the corners of her eyes and mouth. Encroaching age given form.

    “I see we have company,” she looked past Sævil, nodding in Norak-Mora's direction. “Come forward without fear, Njord Tholjorsson. You are expected here and amongst friends.”

    She glanced back and forth between one another. “Know ye of one another?”
    Syzygyst
    Guest





    Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:01 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick

    Njord answered the halfling leader's invitation, stepping further into the immediate candlelight. But he was not about to let down his guard, despite her reassuring words. Or, perhaps, it was in spite of those words. He kept what he considered to be a satisfactory distance from the current lord of Corus, as well as from the other warrior. More important was the space between himself and the "Little One." If Njord had not known of Saevil and his reputation, however, he might have kept a similar distance from that warrior, given Dagsson's size and that sinister-looking sword at his back. Njord's own sword, a well-crafted hand-and-a-half, was formidable, but almost friendly-looking in comparison. The stone at the pommel of Njord's weapon was reminiscent of a ladybug due the black spots upon its body, gules. It could be seen at the base of the hilt, which protruded from beneath Njord's black fur cloak.

    "Mayor Highmountain," he offered, bowing his head. "Indeed, we two have met for only brief time. If not for mutual duty of protecting the town, we may never have made acquaintance," he continued in his slightly broken version of the Common-tongue. Turning and nodding to Saevil, "Greetings again, good Saevil, called Dagsson. It is pleasure to officially be introduced. But i find myself wondering the reason for this meeting." He led his eyes back to the mayor, questioningly. If it weren't for his general unease in her presence, his gaze might well have been lost in the impressive expanse inside the Icepick.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 5


    Send private message
    Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:48 am  
    Kahss: Fifty Paces, Blindfolded

    “Father,” he nodded, then looked in the direction of his charge. There was something serious in his tone, in the look of his eye. “Mister Kahss. Captain Fireheart’s looking for you.”

    He worked his mouth before he spoke again.

    “The Little One,” he said, at last. “She would have words with you.”

    --

    Looking intently at Wojtek, Khass acknowledged the summons, and thanked Wojtek for the message. "Understood."

    Turning to watch the giggling spectacle of Mariusz lifting the children into the air so gracefully, and satisfied with hearing the song of the bow once again, he spoke.

    "It seems as if you have your hands full Mariusz, so I best see what what words must be spoken this day. I have come to hear that it is not usually in ones interest to leave The Little One waiting."

    Feeling it was difficult to obtain acknowledgement from The Gorgon in the clamor, he turned to face the Icepick and started of in its direction.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:57 pm  
    Re: Ohrin: Transmutations

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    Once again, the wind and the snow roared into the workroom for an instant before it slammed shut again. When it did, the figure of a Guardsman stood before them. Covered in winter white, he shrugged roughly, shedding much of it from his heavy cloak and helm onto the stone floor. “Damnable snow,” he grunted, kicking his boots clean, as well.

    Jelden Riverstone cocked up the front of his helm slightly, eyeing the two of them. Their situation brought a wry grin to his lips. “G'day, you lot,” he greeted them with a nod. Verenna slowly allowed her embrace to melt from Ohrin, distancing herself a step beneath his gaze. “Apologies for barging in like this. Frightfully cold outside, and all.” The half-elf was relatively sure, to judge his smile, that he wasn't so sorry about it in the slightest.

    The Guardsman nodded in the direction of the mazework of glass and liquid behind them. “I hope that isn't very important,” he said. A bit of mirth flickered in his eyes, a kind of green that existed solely in the gaze of an olve. “I've got orders.”

    Verenna glanced at Ohrin.

    “The Little One,” he finished. “She needs you, straight away.”


    "You are getting snow all over our floor," Ohrin said while frowning at his friend before turning to stoke the fire in the large hearth. He then ladled warm broth from a kettle in the fireplace into a cup before turning to offer the cup to his friend. "Drink. You are foolish to wear metal in these temperatures. Also, who does the Little One need? Myself? Verenna? Both of us? Sit in front of the fire and tell us what you are going on about."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:29 am  
    Kahss: Fifty Paces, Blindfolded

    Looking intently at Wojtek, Khass acknowledged the summons, and thanked Wojtek for the message. "Understood."

    The boy met his eyes. There was something difficult to describe in their quality. They stayed overlong upon his before he finally nodded and averted them, looking over in his father's direction.

    Turning to watch the giggling spectacle of Mariusz lifting the children into the air so gracefully, and satisfied with hearing the song of the bow once again, he spoke.

    "It seems as if you have your hands full Mariusz, so I best see what what words must be spoken this day. I have come to hear that it is not usually in ones interest to leave The Little One waiting."

    Feeling it was difficult to obtain acknowledgement from The Gorgon in the clamor, he turned to face the Icepick and started of in its direction.

    The massive man surprised him, though. “You have not been misled,” he said, bouncing his daughters slightly in his arms. The act brought mirth anew from their lips. Mariusz' tone, however, was staid. His brow furrowed. “It is most unlike her to offer such a summons frivolously. You should make haste, indeed.” Kahss noticed that Wojtek had disappeared, just as abruptly as he'd arrived.

    The ranger did as he said. He slipped the Contessa across his back, offering The Gorgon a final nod. His daughters seemed to realize what was happening as he left the training area, peppering their father with a fusillade of questions, even as Kahss skirted the corner and made for the massive spire in the city's center, cutting an ominous silhouette into the grey sky above. The snow was beginning to pick up in earnest now, whirling in a glittering frenzy all about him. The way the wind hurled it in great gusts caused it to bite the exposed flesh of his face roughly. He found himself scowling slightly, picking up his step to escape its wrath as promptly as possible.

    The streets of Corus were almost empty, now. Even Gavin Dougal had covered his cart full of roots and vegetables and rolled it away for shelter, he noticed. Now, only the Town Guard remained outside, conducting their constant vigil regardless of the weather's bared teeth. Two of them – Kelvan Agaard and Lucion Marstren, it seemed, from his distance – stood outside the great iron-bound doors of the Icepick, their halberds at the ready. Fifty paces came and went and he found himself before them.

    The latter nodded. He noticed that their faces had been smeared with a bit of some sort of oil or lard. Both their beards were going white with frost. “Enter, Kahss Seltaren,” he said. “The Little One awaits.” He turned slightly and pulled at one of the metal rings on the door. It took some effort to strain against the gathering weight of the snow at its foot, but the port slid open nonetheless. Instantly, Kahss could feel the warmth inside the structure, soothing against his flesh.

    Within, the flickering of torchlight. The sound of voices.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:31 am  
    Ohrin: Transmutations

    "You are getting snow all over our floor," Ohrin said while frowning at his friend before turning to stoke the fire in the large hearth.

    “I am, indeed,” Jelden nodded, his mirth piqued. “Welcome to Corus.”

    He then ladled warm broth from a kettle in the fireplace into a cup before turning to offer the cup to his friend. "Drink.”

    The olve took the cup into his gauntleted hands, sniffing at the steam rising from its top. “And how do I know this isn't one of your concoctions, brewed for Master Retlishin's approval? Will I turn into a toad to sip from it?”

    Verenna scowled. “Hmph,” she tsked. “Witness the manner in which our honorable Town Guard receives hospitality.”

    Jelden seemed mildly mortified by her admonition. “Forgive me, Ohrin,” he nodded in his direction, gazing briefly through the steam before taking a drink of the hot broth. “I only meant to brighten your day with a bit of mirth. I can see plainly that I am not quite so funny as I might have hoped to be.” For her part, Verenna nodded gently. She seemed satisfied with his contrition.

    “You are foolish to wear metal in these temperatures. Also, who does the Little One need? Myself? Verenna? Both of us? Sit in front of the fire and tell us what you are going on about."

    The Guardsman reached to the shoulder of his armor, grasping it by a seam. He pulled it forward, revealing a bit of what within. Ohrin saw heavy, layered cloth beneath the frigid metal. “Fear not, my friend,” he said. “Your honorable Town Guard takes preparations against Corus' balmy clime.” Ohrin didn't think it looked like much in the way of protection, but Jelden didn't seem to be shivering. He supposed there might be more to it than it seemed.

    Nevertheless, the olve drew close to the fire, as he was bade. “The Little One calls for you alone, Ohrin,” he said, pausing to glance at the woman between them. “I am sorry, Verenna. I know nothing of what she might wish of you, but I can tell you this: She was of a very serious mien – even for her – and was very insistent. Whatever she might want, it seems to be of grave import.” All of the levity and sarcasm had fled Jelden's tone. There was little question that he was convinced of what he'd said.

    Verenna looked at Ohrin. She made a little face.

    “I'm to fetch you as promptly as possible,” he continued. “So as grateful as I might be for your broth and the comfort of your fire, we should make all due haste to the Icepick.”

    It was his turn to make a face. “The Little One is not the type of hobniz to keep waiting.”
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Sat Jan 30, 2016 8:35 am  
    Re: Ohrin: Transmutations

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    It was his turn to make a face. “The Little One is not the type of hobniz to keep waiting.”


    "Very well. Verenna, you'll have to continue the work here without me until I return. If Zoltan returns, or if you see Master Retlishin, please tell him about the summons."

    Ohrin then turned to face Jelden. "I know you are in a hurry to be off but give me one moment to prepare for the cold outside. Your gambeson may be warm but my robe is thin. I have no intention of throwing a ridiculous amount of layers on, else why be a mage?" he asked with a wry smile. Ohrin then began a ritualistic chant during which he rubbed his hands together, as if to warm them. At set intervals, he interrupted the chant briefly to blow on his hands. After a minute, he ceased chanting and, briefly, he glowed with a faint, ghostly blue-white light.

    Grabbing his hand-a-half sword as it rested in a belted scabbard against the wall, Ohrin quickly buckled it on his left hip before opening the door and saying, "After you, my friend."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:52 am  
    Ohrin: Transmutations

    "Very well. Verenna, you'll have to continue the work here without me until I return. If Zoltan returns, or if you see Master Retlishin, please tell him about the summons."

    Verenna nodded. "I shall," she said. She looked a bit...concerned, perhaps? He imagined that she might well have asked to accompany him, were they not in the midst of a transmutation.

    Ohrin then turned to face Jelden. "I know you are in a hurry to be off but give me one moment to prepare for the cold outside. Your gambeson may be warm but my robe is thin. I have no intention of throwing a ridiculous amount of layers on, else why be a mage?" he asked with a wry smile.

    The Guardsman rolled his eyes. "You are a poor excuse for an olve, my friend," he sighed. "They already think our skins are paper-thin, you know."

    Verenna wrinkled her nose. "You are a fool, Jelden Riverstone," she scoffed. "This is Corus. None speak ill of you or your forebearers behind your back."

    He shrugged slightly. "You are enlightened, Lady Matrask," he replied. "But I would expect such a view from you. Unlike many mannish folk, I understand you hold a deep admiration for the virtues of the olve." He allowed his eyes to slowly wader back to Ohrin.

    She looked about ready to curse. "Ah-ah, milady!" he interrupted, the sly smirk returning to his features. "Magic afoot."

    Ohrin then began a ritualistic chant during which he rubbed his hands together, as if to warm them. At set intervals, he interrupted the chant briefly to blow on his hands. After a minute, he ceased chanting and, briefly, he glowed with a faint, ghostly blue-white light.

    Grabbing his hand-a-half sword as it rested in a belted scabbard against the wall, Ohrin quickly buckled it on his left hip before opening the door and saying, "After you, my friend."

    Jelden opened the door. Outside the wind whipped and the snow swirled. Even he could only see a scant few feet past its opened threshold. Ohin never felt a bit of it. Instead, the air about him, trapped within the gently glowing envelope of his prayer, was like that before a roaring fireplace. "Good day, m'lady," he bowed slightly before departing the laboratory, Ohrin only a few steps behind. He was almost certain the loud sound of its shutting downed out a slew of shouted curses and untoward promises.

    His friend had to almost shout himself, just to be heard over the gale. "It's so easy," he smirked, despite the terrible clime, "when you know how."

    The two of them made for the shadow of the Icepick, straight ahead.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:03 pm  
    Sævil: The Meeting in the Icepick

    Quote:
    “I see we have company,” she looked past Sævil, nodding in Norak-Mora's direction. “Come forward without fear, Njord Tholjorsson. You are expected here and amongst friends.”

    She glanced back and forth between one another. “Know ye of one another?”


    Quote:
    "Mayor Highmountain," he offered, bowing his head. "Indeed, we two have met for only brief time. If not for mutual duty of protecting the town, we may never have made acquaintance," he continued in his slightly broken version of the Common-tongue. Turning and nodding to Saevil, "Greetings again, good Saevil, called Dagsson. It is pleasure to officially be introduced. But i find myself wondering the reason for this meeting." He led his eyes back to the mayor, questioningly. If it weren't for his general unease in her presence, his gaze might well have been lost in the impressive expanse inside the Icepick.


    "Aye, I've seen you at your duties, " Sævil's eyes trace briefly up and down Njord's length, his eyes hooded, "You're the guard with that hungry wolfish look about you." At this Sævil smiles warmly and follows Njord's eyes back to the Mayor.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 5


    Send private message
    Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:01 am  
    Kahss: Fifty Paces, Blindfolded

    The latter nodded. He noticed that their faces had been smeared with a bit of some sort of oil or lard. Both their beards were going white with frost. “Enter, Kahss Seltaren,” he said. “The Little One awaits.” He turned slightly and pulled at one of the metal rings on the door. It took some effort to strain against the gathering weight of the snow at its foot, but the port slid open nonetheless. Instantly, Kahss could feel the warmth inside the structure, soothing against his flesh.

    Within, the flickering of torchlight. The sound of voices.

    --

    Kahss stepped cautiously forward and into the flickering torchlight; his green eyes burned cautiously for an instant on the room before him. He knew his entrance may not only be heard but would be seen by those within. His hand tightly wrapped around his belt buckle, he glanced around making sure all was as it should be, and stepped forward once he was sure nothing was amiss.
    Syzygyst
    Guest





    Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:01 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick

    Njord shot his eyes back toward Saevil, taken aback by the comment, but trying to hide the fact. Raising his brow questioningly, he pondered the words for a moment. Was it a joke? Did Njord actually come off as some sort of underfed dog? He had never been offered such an observation before. He smiled, a cordial half-grin, then gently shrugged, as if to accept Saevil's opinion, regardless of its accuracy. Nodding a bit, he responded diplomatically, truthfully, yet with a bit of a bite. In the best Common phrasing he could muster in the circumstance:

    "I am not priveleged of seeing you at tasks, Saevil, but you have solid reputation. Perhaps some day, hopefully, we can stand together at labors? And then i will find what animal lurks under your skin?"
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:18 pm  
    Sævil: The Meeting In The Icepick

    Sævil grins and whispers rapidly to Njord, "An otter maybe, I do love eating while lying down!"

    He stifles a laugh, "But I aspire to the lazy life and harem of a Walrus!" He then returns his attention fully to the mayor.
    Guest






    Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:40 pm  

    Njord let forth an unexpected chuckle. He was glad for the moment of levity. But then he, too, turned his attention back to the Mayor, the Little One, who assuredly harbored big secrets. The brief laughter wafted away into the attics of the Icepick and, accompanying the silence, Njord's unease returned.
    Syzygyst
    Guest





    Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:42 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick

    Njord let forth an unexpected chuckle. He was glad for the moment of levity. But then he, too, turned his attention back to the Mayor, the Little One, who assuredly harbored big secrets. The brief laughter wafted away into the attics of the Icepick and, accompanying the silence, Njord's unease returned.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:19 pm  
    Sævil, Kahss, & Njord: The Invisible War

    "Aye, I've seen you at your duties, " Sævil's eyes trace briefly up and down Njord's length, his eyes hooded, "You're the guard with that hungry wolfish look about you." At this Sævil smiles warmly and follows Njord's eyes back to the Mayor.

    Njord shot his eyes back toward Saevil, taken aback by the comment, but trying to hide the fact. Raising his brow questioningly, he pondered the words for a moment. Was it a joke? Did Njord actually come off as some sort of underfed dog? He had never been offered such an observation before. He smiled, a cordial half-grin, then gently shrugged, as if to accept Saevil's opinion, regardless of its accuracy. Nodding a bit, he responded diplomatically, truthfully, yet with a bit of a bite. In the best Common phrasing he could muster in the circumstance:

    "I am not priveleged of seeing you at tasks, Saevil, but you have solid reputation. Perhaps some day, hopefully, we can stand together at labors? And then i will find what animal lurks under your skin?"

    Sævil grins and whispers rapidly to Njord, "An otter maybe, I do love eating while lying down!"

    He stifles a laugh, "But I aspire to the lazy life and harem of a Walrus!" He then returns his attention fully to the mayor.

    Njord let forth an unexpected chuckle. He was glad for the moment of levity. But then he, too, turned his attention back to the Mayor, the Little One, who assuredly harbored big secrets. The brief laughter wafted away into the attics of the Icepick and, accompanying the silence, Njord's unease returned.

    The halfling watched their banter with the play of amusement crossing her features. She seemed content to listen to their exchange in silence until they'd concluded. “It pleases me greatly to see that the two of you have friendly relations with one another,” she smiled gently. “Likewise, it pleases me that you obviously possess some sense of humor. Both will prove most valuable, I suspect, should you choose to accept that which I set before you today.”

    She pursed her lips, as if to speak further, but before she could, the Icepick's door opened once more. A sliver of the dim light from outside issued inside the structure in a morose wedge. The chill of the wind and the snow rushed along side it, a constant companion.

    Kahss stepped cautiously forward and into the flickering torchlight; his green eyes burned cautiously for an instant on the room before him. He knew his entrance may not only be heard but would be seen by those within. His hand tightly wrapped around his belt buckle, he glanced around making sure all was as it should be, and stepped forward once he was sure nothing was amiss.

    “Kahss Seltaren,” her voice greeted him. “Your presence is most welcome.”

    The Icepick's interior was a great open space, he could see. A thin wooden staircase wound all around the wall, making a great spiral until it disappeared in a small bit of darkness in the ceiling, perhaps thirty feet overhead. All along the stairs, in evenly-spaced intervals, torches flickered and crackled, filling the air with a wan, inconsistent light and a breath of warmth. In the center of the room was a large dais, upon which a desk of dark timber stood.

    Before him, wearing a frock, blue and then dark, stood Mayor Highmountain. The top of the hobniz' black, curly-haired head rose no higher than the level of his waist from the stone floor beneath his boots. Standing not far from her were two men. Both were tall, strong-looking of body. They seemed to eye him carefully. He knew neither of their names, but their faces were familiar enough. He was certain he'd seen them in passing, since he'd arrived in Corus.

    The Little One nodded at the one furthest, first. “Kahss, this is Sævil Dagsson,” she introduced him. “And this is Njord Tholjorsson. Both, bards well-versed in the ugly music of swords, like you. Please, join them and hear what I would say with a careful ear. As I have said to your fellows, I would ask much of you today. You would do well to weigh my words carefully.”

    She began a slow pace of the floor, back and forth before where the three of them stood, all in a row. “I will be blunt,” she said, pausing occasionally to glance up and meet their eyes. Of what she might have seen in their quality, she said nothing. “The settlement of Corus stands upon the precipice of great peril. The city in which we dwell lies under a siege most dire from an enemy we cannot see nor can we strike against. I engage in no exaggeration when I say that, indeed, every moment of our inaction brings us so much closer to catastrophe.”

    The hobniz looked up at them again. The weight to her words seemed immense. In just the brief moments in which she'd begun to speak to them, she seemed to have grown weary for the labor of speaking them. She seemed to have aged a lifetime. “Each one of you has called our city your home long enough that the frigid winds and the wet snows are no strangers,” she continued. “Perhaps you have been here long enough to notice that they grow worse by the day, as is the wont of the season. But know you this: This winter's ravages are far, far worse than the one before it. Too, that one was worse than the one before it. So it has gone for years now. Likewise, where once the spring and summers that smiled warm respite upon Corus spanned half the whole of the year, those seasons have drawn shorter and shorter. Once, they measured long, clement months. Now, the sun shines upon the good folk here but for a matter of weeks.”

    The Little One paused for a moment in her pacing. She eyed them carefully once more. “This is not a natural occurrence,” she told them.

    “The city of Corus is under attack.”
    Syzygyst
    Guest





    Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:09 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick, The Invisible War

    As the Little One's paused, Njord shot quick glances at Saevil and Kahss, hoping they were as uncertain as himself. The silence continued, and so Njord broke it, hoping to topple the wall of angst building inside.

    "Under attack? I am sorry, Mayor Highmountain, but what is the attacker? Foul demons? Evil sorcerer? The skies can be enemy some years. Could be Mistress Nature? She can cast great harshness upon the world."
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:20 pm  
    Sævil: The Meeting In The Icepick, The Invisible War

    Sævil focuses intently on the mayor without losing his grin, however he begins fidgeting with the sheath of Asajapura where hands from his belt.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:51 am  
    Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    “The city of Corus is under attack.”

    As the Little One's paused, Njord shot quick glances at Saevil and Kahss, hoping they were as uncertain as himself. The silence continued, and so Njord broke it, hoping to topple the wall of angst building inside.

    "Under attack? I am sorry, Mayor Highmountain, but what is the attacker? Foul demons? Evil sorcerer? The skies can be enemy some years. Could be Mistress Nature? She can cast great harshness upon the world."

    Sævil focuses intently on the mayor without losing his grin, however he begins fidgeting with the sheath of Asajapura where hands from his belt.

    The halfling offered an easy smile and a subtle wave of the hand. “Peace, brave Tholjorsson,” she replied, looking up at Njord from near his knee. “Our enemy is indeed Lady Beory. But I fear her wrath has been direction upon our fair settlement by a poisoned whisper into her ear – from one who bears us great malice.”

    She looked as if she might be about to continue, but was interrupted by the movement of the Icepick's door, the chill breath of the wind that ushered in behind it. The three men before the halfling struggled, squinting into the momentary sliver of light to determine who interrupted their meeting. They were able to see aught but the silhouette of the stranger, hidden first by the brilliance outside, then by a flurry of colorful spots once the door was closed behind him. Somehow, the Little One was unperturbed by the light. She smiled in recognition at the stranger. “Ah, Ohrin,” she greeted him with a gentle nod. “We are now made whole and can begin in earnest.”

    Ohrin! At the sound of the man's name, he walked into the torchlight, filling his shape with contour and color. The Little One nodded in their direction, making plain her desire that he join them. The truth was, though, that none of them knew much about him at all. It was well known that he worked at the elbow of Master Retlishin, the enigmatic magi that called Corus his home. Aside of that, he was almost as much a mystery. It was said by some that he originally might have hailed from some land far to the south. Perhaps the young maids of the settlement might know more. When he was seen about the walled city, it was usually in the company of some starry-eyed girl.

    He didn't look as if he was dressed appropriately for the weather. Despite a lack of heavy furs or fabrics, he trembled or shivered not. It might have had to do with the twinkling lick of starlight that seemed to occasionally limn his body, like shimmering sunlight when it kisses the surface of a placid lake.

    The Little One nodded in the direction of the rest of them. “Ohrin,” she said, “perhaps you know of Njord, Kahss, and Saevil? I was just discussing the matter of Corus' steadily worsening clime with them. Considering your nearness to Retlishin, I presume you may already know something of the matter, hm?”

    She looked across at each one of them in turn. “Today, I will tell you what we will do about the situation at hand,” she continued.

    “And, moreover, what your role in our plans will be.”
    Syzygyst
    Guest





    Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:27 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick, Revelations

    Njord looked from the mayor to the newcomer. He had never met Ohrin, had only heard rumors. But of one thing was certain -- he was a spellcaster. So Njord now stood between a powerful female, and a mage. The combination was not to his liking. For him, he might as well have been forcibly crammed between a rock and a hard place. The Icepick was beginning to feel as open and spacious as the hand-tool of the same name.

    "Greetings, Ohrin," Njord said with a nod and a hint of a smile. "I'm afraid i have not had pleasure of making acquaintance with you."

    As he eyed the magician, looking, perhaps, for signs of "trickery," but trying to seem pleasant, Mayor Highmountain's last words began to sink in.

    A "role" had been assigned to him in the past, and he quickly barred the memory of that ordeal from his mind.

    Perhaps Corus had not been his best bet after all?
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:47 pm  
    Re: Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick, Revelations

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    She looked as if she might be about to continue, but was interrupted by the movement of the Icepick's door, the chill breath of the wind that ushered in behind it. She smiled in recognition at the stranger. “Ah, Ohrin,” she greeted him with a gentle nod. “We are now made whole and can begin in earnest.”

    At the sound of the man's name, he walked into the torchlight, filling his shape with contour and color. The Little One nodded in their direction, making plain her desire that he join them.

    The Little One nodded in the direction of the rest of them. “Ohrin,” she said, “perhaps you know of Njord, Kahss, and Saevil? I was just discussing the matter of Corus' steadily worsening clime with them. Considering your nearness to Retlishin, I presume you may already know something of the matter, hm?”



    Syzygyst wrote:
    "Greetings, Ohrin," Njord said with a nod and a hint of a smile. "I'm afraid i have not had pleasure of making acquaintance with you."


    "Gentlemen, I hope you are well," he added with a sincere smile as he gave each a brief nod in greetings before turning to face The Little One.

    "I have only recently come to learn that our current studies are related to the changing weather patterns as Zoltan and Master Retlishin have kept things close to their vests, so to speak. I stand here curious to know more and how I may be of assistance."

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    She looked across at each one of them in turn. “Today, I will tell you what we will do about the situation at hand,” she continued.

    “And, moreover, what your role in our plans will be.”
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:19 pm  
    Sævil: The Meeting In The Icepick, Revela

    Sævil smiles at Ohrin in greeting, but remains silent, waiting to hear more of the threat.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 5


    Send private message
    Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:01 pm  
    Sævil, Kahss, & Njord: The Invisible War

    Kahss nodded towards the newcomer out of respect and remained motionless without emotion at the last of the mayors words; silently surveying the conversation going on beside him he chose to remain silent, and once the silence resumed he turned towards the little one.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:08 am  
    Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    The Little One cast her gaze across their gathering in the process of her pacing. Their was an undeniable weight to the quality of her stare, a palpable intensity that was difficult to describe but impossible to ignore. In the moment, it was easy to forget that she was half the size of any of them. Such was the force of her personality and presence.

    “The changing face of the weather is no mere turn of nature's demeanor,” she said, meeting their eyes for a brevity, each one of them, in succession. Of whatever she saw reflected in them, she said nothing. “The winter's teeth grow ever sharper. The snowfall becomes heavier. The cold has become such that it could freeze a man's blood in his very veins. Even the ocean's waves have slowed to a churning halt. They become a plain of ice surrounding the Brinks for miles, lapping there in tired tides of thick slush. Indeed, you four have seen this for yourselves,” she nodded. “but none of you have dwelled amongst us long enough to know that this is no normal winter, even here, far north of the towns and thorps from which you hail. Of any of us, I have called Corus my home longest. Many winters have I seen take this land in a snowy embrace. Winters enough to know that this is no ordinary season.”

    The Little One's eyes lingered upon Ohrin for a moment before moving along to the others once more. “Master Retlishin has dedicated much study to the nature of this peculiar weather,” she informed them. “Ere yesterday, his work concluded and confirmed what I both suspected and feared. This turn of winter has been brought upon us by an outside agency: One capable of wielding magical forces of almost unthinkable proportions. Aye, what Master Retlishin has discovered has terrified him so that he dares not investigate that which he has touched upon with any greater urgency. Considering the arcane might that is his to bring to bear,” she paused for a moment before continuing, “the mettle of our unseen enemy is truly frightening to consider.”

    The Little One stopped in her pacing. For the first time since she'd begun speaking, she allowed a slight smile to cross her lips, grim and full of portent. “Yet the populace of Corus is not composed of a group of simpering cowards,” she added. “Regardless the power our enemy might bring to bear, we will endure. We will face that which assails us with resolve and courage – and we will prevail.”

    “In this, I have assembled the four of you,” she said, casting one more glance across their collective number. “Today, I ask you to perform a great service for your friends and your neighbors – and for me, as well. For though I intend to bring steel and fury to our enemy, I would not see icy doom brought to all those who dwell within our community, should we fail. There must be recourse, should the worst come to pass.”

    “It is in this where your role, should you accept its burden, lay.”
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 02, 2016
    Posts: 112


    Send private message
    Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:04 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick, The Invisible War

    Steel and fury -- he had both to offer, Njord thought to himself. The question: would he indeed bring it forth in the service of Corus, and place it at the behest of this mysterious woman-ling? This one loves her secrets, he thought. Do they all? He didn't care much for his own secrets. He wished he could simply wash them away in the icy brine. No such luck -- he had already tried. But, then again, did he have any option other than to push onward with the people of this little island?

    Mustering as much courage and patience as he could, Njord spoke, meeting the Little One's gaze. "Lady Highmountain, where i am from we call Fell Winter Spirit, Kakasho. He is terrible being that prayers to the Warming Winds not often succeed. He takes many lives. If it is such a foe mayhaps blade and rage will not be enough. I cannot accept task without knowing enemy and duty. Please...continue."
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:45 pm  
    Sævil: The Meeting In The Icepick, The Invisible War

    Sævil muses, just loud enough to be heard, "I wonder what sort of 'great power' resorts to such indirect means of accomplishing what ought to be a direct action..."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:10 am  
    Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    Sævil muses, just loud enough to be heard, "I wonder what sort of 'great power' resorts to such indirect means of accomplishing what ought to be a direct action..."

    The Little One's mirth seemed piqued by his remark. "When we gather 'round the fire to tell tale of our adventures, once this matter is behind us all," she smiled, "I will be sure to let you know, first of all, young Sævil. I intend to garner the answer to your question rather personally, you see. You are hardly the only group setting forth from Corus, come the morn, should you accept the task I set before you. Among the three other vessels that will leave our settlement's shores, one will carry myself and Master Retlishin, amongst others, to Blackmoor's misty shores. Quite unlike whatever foe should meet us there, I favor -- how did you say it? --" her smile turned into a wry smirk, "-- direct action in the resolution of such affairs."

    She glanced back in Njord's direction momentarily before resuming her pacing. "But I outpace myself," she nodded, her smile melting away to be replaced by a more serious demeanor, once more. "I would not expect any of you to agree to a task involving any sort of real danger without knowing the name of your enemy or what might be required of you along the course of its completion. Know any of you the name of the Egg of Coot?" she lifted a dark brow, casting another glace across their number.

    "It is this one," she nodded, "that Master Retlishin is certain that is responsible for the turn of Beory's countenance than threatens to freeze our collective blood within its very veins."
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:23 pm  
    Saevil: Revelations

    Sævil's brows furrow and his eyes widen at the name, "Some sort of god-thing fallen or infecting the earth? How can we hope to succeed against such a power?"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:03 pm  
    Re: Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    ..."I would not expect any of you to agree to a task involving any sort of real danger without knowing the name of your enemy or what might be required of you along the course of its completion. Know any of you the name of the Egg of Coot?" she lifted a dark brow, casting another glace across their number.

    "It is this one," she nodded, "that Master Retlishin is certain that is responsible for the turn of Beory's countenance than threatens to freeze our collective blood within its very veins."


    Ohrin frowned as he gathered his thoughts. "I only know what I have heard since arriving here. Strange tales told over ale on cold nights. If I recall correctly, the tale goes something like thus: the Egg of Coot, an entity quite skilled at magic, conquered and destroyed Blackmoor Town and Castle for unknown reasons scores of years ago and left a large number of constructs in the area. No one seems to agree on who, or what, the Egg of Coot is, though."

    Ohrin pauses to allow the others to chime in. Once they have, he continues...

    "You have told us the name of the enemy but not yet the tasks that may be required of us. Please elaborate as I am quite curious as to how Master Retlishin thinks I may be of service in such a venture."
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 02, 2016
    Posts: 112


    Send private message
    Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:10 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick, Revelations

    "Afraid i am not help at all," Njord said, almost apologetically. "I have heard of hen's egg and 'old coot,' but not of two together. I assume that this 'egg' will not be easy to crack?"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:00 am  
    Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    Ohrin frowned as he gathered his thoughts. "I only know what I have heard since arriving here. Strange tales told over ale on cold nights. If I recall correctly, the tale goes something like thus: the Egg of Coot, an entity quite skilled at magic, conquered and destroyed Blackmoor Town and Castle for unknown reasons scores of years ago and left a large number of constructs in the area. No one seems to agree on who, or what, the Egg of Coot is, though."

    Sævil's brows furrow and his eyes widen at the name, "Some sort of god-thing fallen or infecting the earth? How can we hope to succeed against such a power?

    "Pray your gods our fellowship is successful, Sævil Dagsson," the Little One said, "and that you need never know. Pray instead that I am able to tell you how the fray was won with the turn of a new season and good Sol raining warmth down from the skies upon us both."

    Neither Ohrin nor Sævil was sure they understood her. Yet it seemed as if Mayor Highmountain was ready at last to explain herself to them all. Then, they both realized, much would become clearer.

    "Afraid i am not help at all," Njord said, almost apologetically. "I have heard of hen's egg and 'old coot,' but not of two together. I assume that this 'egg' will not be easy to crack?"

    "You have told us the name of the enemy but not yet the tasks that may be required of us. Please elaborate as I am quite curious as to how Master Retlishin thinks I may be of service in such a venture."

    The halfling nodded. As if a ship cast adrift, wandering at last to rest upon some distant shore, she ceased her pacing and came to a standstill before them. "Come the morrow," she said, "I will be leading a fellowship of many of Corus' most formidable personages away from the Brink Islands to the rocky beaches of Blackmoor's coast. Twenty will we be in number, each one of us an experienced and accomplished adventurer in our own right. We will not wait until our settlement freezes to a lifeless floe. We will bring war to the very seat of the Egg of Coot -- and we will return the seasons to their normal passages."

    Her eyes swept across their number. "However, as you have said, the Egg is no niggling slight to be trifled with," she allowed. "The possibility exists that we will fail in our aim. If this should come to pass, we must ensure that...contingencies exist that see to the survival of the citizens of Corus. There are hundreds of men and women that place their trust in the settlement's leadership to ensure their safety -- and that is a trust I will not betray, my friends."

    "Therefore, Master Retlishin and I have planned exactly such a contingency," she said. "And it is in this that your role, the four of you, lies. Of all of our citizens, we have chosen you to lead a second fellowship. We have chosen you for your particular skill. We have chosen you for the rare courage and strength of character and resolve each of you has demonstrated in your brief time amongst us. We have chosen you...for if we fall -- the Brink Isles will surely follow suit soon thereafter. You will see to it that the folk of Corus have a sanctuary to flee to, to call a new home, should the worst eventuate itself."

    She looked across them again. "It is known to us that the Egg of Coot fears the Land of Black Ice, to the north and the west of our settlement. This is not unique. It is a strange place and the tales of its odd and foreboding landscape puts dread in even the heart of the Old One himself." The Little One turned her head and spat upon the Icepick's floor, as if the very name put a foul taste in her mouth that she could not rid herself of quickly enough. "Though the legends paint it as a place of harrowing menace, Master Retlishin and I see it as a place of rare opportunity, as well. If we could somehow find a manner to make harmony with it -- somehow carve a place in its dark snows in which we might find comfort -- we would find for ourselves an unassailable sanctuary. Such a place would ensure safety for our community forevermore."

    "If you deign take up the task," the Little One said, "it would fall to you to lead an expedition to the Land of Black Ice. In this way, you might yet save the good folk of Corus -- when even its mightiest protectors failed."

    A final look of her steely glance fell upon each one of them, in turn.

    "What say you, then?"
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 02, 2016
    Posts: 112


    Send private message
    Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:59 am  

    Njord had tried to lighten his mood a bit by his last comment. It hadn't worked. The frown he still sported now turned to a grimace after Mayor Highmountain's words. So, not only was there a formidable foe to face, but the odds didn't look good. Escape plans were in order. Maybe it was time for himself to seek an exit; the Black Ice was known to his homelanders: known and feared.

    "Good Mayor, would not it best to include us in attack on strange 'Egg of Coot'. If you think chances small, is not better to bring all swords and skills against it?"

    Njord believed he knew, and dreaded, the answer that was coming: success was so remote that her main strategy was actually abandoning the island. The four men in the room were truly the first fellowship. Hers, the fellowship that would likely be destroyed, regardless of reinforcements.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:50 pm  
    Sævil: Revelations

    Eyes still wide, Sævil's face alights with a smile. "You tell me I'm to scout the Land of Black Ice, and perhaps carve a place for us there? Now that will be a story worth many drinks!"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:25 pm  

    "Well, I don't know what I was expecting you to say, but that wasn't it. I'm not sure how much use I would be in determining a location fit for settlement, but I suppose I could use the Uncaring One's blessings, and my own arcane power, for divinations and fire magicks to help get us there."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:01 am  
    Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    "Good Mayor, would not it best to include us in attack on strange 'Egg of Coot'. If you think chances small, is not better to bring all swords and skills against it?"

    Njord believed he knew, and dreaded, the answer that was coming: success was so remote that her main strategy was actually abandoning the island. The four men in the room were truly the first fellowship. Hers, the fellowship that would likely be destroyed, regardless of reinforcements.

    The Little One paused for a moment, as if to consider how best to answer the northman. That briefest hesitation confirmed to Njord what he had suspected: Her group did not go forth with any confidence that the Egg would break beneath their rain of steel. Their sacrifice was not meant to buy victory; they meant to buy them precious time.

    She looked up at Njord, something in the quality of her smile confessing as much. It was a secret shared in a glance between them. "The most powerful of us, a score strong, will go forth to do what must be done," she told him. Something in the corner of her eye seemed to twinkle. "If we fail, brave son of Tholjor -- then all the rest of the men in Corus will avail us not. To throw them against the foul Egg in vain would be a fool's errand. I do not count the lives of those I am responsible for with such cavalier flippance. I will not lead them down the path to the hungry maw of the Abyss, if it can be helped."

    Eyes still wide, Sævil's face alights with a smile. "You tell me I'm to scout the Land of Black Ice, and perhaps carve a place for us there? Now that will be a story worth many drinks!"

    His remark brought a smile, something broad and earnest to the lips of the mayor. "Ah, Sævil," she chuckled. "Would that I had a thousand men with such steel in their spines. I knew that I could count upon you to make the best of this grim morn."

    Kahss, as was ever his way, said nothing at all, standing statue-still alongside the rest of them. The Little One looked up, finally, at Ohrin. In contrast, he seemed disquieted by the revelation of the truth of the task set before them.

    "Well, I don't know what I was expecting you to say, but that wasn't it. I'm not sure how much use I would be in determining a location fit for settlement, but I suppose I could use the Uncaring One's blessings, and my own arcane power, for divinations and fire magicks to help get us there."

    She nodded, considering what he'd said. A silent pause followed the gesture, perhaps longer in span than he might have expected. "You know," she told him, "When Sirillion Ro came upon the tiny village at the foot of the Yatils where I was raised, I was but a silly, bright-eyed halfling girl. I had no idea how big the world under the vast blue tapestry of the sky really was. He was handsome and charming -- and I was restless and curious. When he promised me adventure beyond my wildest imaginations, I leaped at his offer without a second's indecision."

    "Since then," she continued, "I have seen things that would stagger your belief beyond easy counting. I stood as a boon companion amidst legends. I called one of the greatest wizards to stride the Oerth a confidante and my friend. I traveled the landscape of the Flanaess to see the sun rise and set across the oceans that bound it, both."

    "Now, I am an old halfling maid," she smiled. "I have no children, no heirs. I only have tales of former glories and a town full of folk that I dote upon as if they were the fruit of my loins. I have gained the wisdom to know that I have learned so much and so little of the world, in the same breath."

    She fixed him with her gaze again. "You are right to question your role in this venture, Ohrin," she nodded. "But I can assure you that Master Retlishin would not have chosen you -- of all his assistants, you -- if he questioned your importance in its success for even a moment. And, if I might be so brazen to impart you with a bit of that which I have learned in a live given to danger and adventure: No fellowship, no matter the power at its disposal carried in sharp steel and mighty thews, can ever count amongst its number too many men of thought and wisdom. Many were the days I spent alongside Master Ro that intellect availed us, where sword and shield failed."

    The Little One nodded, smiling up at him. "Master Retlishin considers you the most clever of those left to his charge, by far," she told him. "One who bears such a distinction might comport himself well upon the path you prepare to tread."

    "Indeed," she finished, "they might mean the difference between success and failure -- for all of us."
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:50 pm  
    Sævil: Revelations

    Still smiling, Sævil looks over to Ohrin, "The Lord Mayor speaks true."

    He glances at Njord, "We've one to fight." He turns to Kahss, "We've one to silently watch," his gaze settles back on Ohrin, "and if my time with That's No Jungle! is anything to go by - I think we've one who thinks deep thoughts."

    Sævil's face splits into a grin and he thumps himself on the chest, "Though, of all of us mine is the greatest purpose - for I am the one who drinks!"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:01 pm  

    Ohrin is clearly touched by what the Little One has said and stands there speechless for a moment before saying, "If Master Retlishin feels that way about the help I can provide, who am I to disagree? What's the plan and when do we leave?"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:34 pm  
    Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    The Little One nodded and offered both a gentle sigh and a wan smile. "Know you all, before anything else should pass," she said, "that you have lifted a great burden from my shoulders. I do not exaggerate when I confess that my worry for the good folk of Corus haunts my every waking step. It is a yoke of responsibility under which I strain and bow, given what we know of our enemy. The knowledge that you will work to ensure our community's survival, should our fellowship falter, lifts both that great weight and my spirits alike. It gives me courage that we just might, should the gods smile upon us, see this terrible trial through. For that, you will forevermore have my thanks."

    "Moving forward, the plan is thus," she nodded in Ohrin's direction. "I have arranged that a storehouse in which we typically store foodstuffs has been cleared, cleaned, and appointed with sturdy furnishings. A stone edifice, it is hardy and easily defended, should the unexpected come to pass. Henceforth, this structure will serve as a headquarters from which the four of you will plan and make whatever arrangements you deem necessary to meet with success on your expedition."

    "As we speak, I have instructed Captain Fireheart to inform the City Guard of the situation at hand. Her men," she moved her gaze to Njord, "will put out a call amongst our community for volunteers to aid you upon your quest. They will not know the whole of what you might accomplish, as I think that information best kept a careful secret, should spies or turncoats walk amongst us. Still, I would expect no few to avail themselves of us in our time of need. A list of the names of those willing to join you will be compiled for your perusal. I would encourage the four of you to consider carefully those you accept and those you will reject. I would expect that -- as is the case with my own group --" she opined, "--when all is said and done, you will number perhaps a score strong. To take a larger force would not only risk drawing the attention of our enemy in your direction, but would threaten to leave Corus without an adequate defense, should they take advantage of our mutual ventures and strike directly at the settlement," she nodded towards Sævil.

    "For the nonce, this is your mandate," she continued. "Gather your fellowship. Fill it with the strong and capable; the trustworthy, the brave and the wise. Then, once you are whole, begin to plan your path across the Land of Black Ice. Be full of care and thought -- but be as swift as you can, at once. Ever do the days go colder and the nights more frigid still. We must act before action is no longer possible."

    "In the meantime," she added, "I will do what I can do to arrange the best supplies I can muster for your journey. Our most powerful weapons and good equipment will travel with my group to meet the Egg upon the field of battle. I would wish it could be another way, but if we are to have any hope of survival at all -- let alone success -- so must it be. Yet I would not see you traverse into the dark snows of the unknown completely bereft of aid. I will see to it that you have the all that is possible for us to give."

    She looked back and forth across them all once more: Four heroes, as one. Their actions might prove the salvation or the doom of the friends and neighbors alike. Only Istus knew which might come to pass.

    "Have ye any final questions, champions of Corus?"
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 02, 2016
    Posts: 112


    Send private message
    Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:16 pm  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick, Revelations

    Njord glanced about the room, briefly examining his companions: the exuberant Saevil, the more cerebral Ohrin, and the quiet Kahss. One could find worse companions. At least if things got really grim, he could join Saevil in drink. But he had not yet consented to this plan. Was this a repeat of his earlier initiation? No. He had a choice in this. And he chose.

    "I will attend this duty, with these fine gentlemen. My utmost i will do to find such place to rebuild Corus. But i am no plan-maker or strategy-maker. Fishing is joy, not gathering the pole and bait. I will lend what i can to preparations, but i will likely be more service on the land...or ice."

    "For questions, i have more than fingers and toes, but i think they wait."

    And now he realized why the decision had been made easier. His blood was racing, and swirls of heat were warming several areas of his body. He focused on the single question in his mind. Might Captain Fireheart accompany the mission to the Black Ice?
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:55 pm  

    Ohrin's face betrayed his surprise that their group would be leading a large party.

    "May I ask when your party departs? I would ask Master Retlishin for advice before he departs."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 27, 2014
    Posts: 186


    Send private message
    Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:20 am  
    Kahss, Njord, Ohrin, and Saevil: Revelations

    "I will attend this duty, with these fine gentlemen. My utmost i will do to find such place to rebuild Corus. But i am no plan-maker or strategy-maker. Fishing is joy, not gathering the pole and bait. I will lend what i can to preparations, but i will likely be more service on the land...or ice."

    “Whatever role you choose within your fellowship,” the Little One nodded, “your service is most appreciated – both by the good folk of Corus and myself, personally. You demonstrate both your courage and the strength of your character in offering yourself up in such a manner. Regardless of the fate that awaits us, I can promise you that this will never be forgotten.”

    "For questions, i have more than fingers and toes, but i think they wait."

    “Of course,” she allowed. “When you have collected your thoughts and are prepared to offer them to me, do so without hesitation. I will do my level best to answer in one in turn.”

    And now he realized why the decision had been made easier. His blood was racing, and swirls of heat were warming several areas of his body. He focused on the single question in his mind. Might Captain Fireheart accompany the mission to the Black Ice?

    Ohrin's face betrayed his surprise that their group would be leading a large party.

    "May I ask when your party departs? I would ask Master Retlishin for advice before he departs."

    “We set forth three days hence,” she told him. “I would expect your group to follow no more than three more days afterward. It may be of tactical significance to delay slightly, in order to confuse those that may watch the settlement, looking for reinforcements at our heels. But to tarry too overlong would be a mistake. As I have said, ever does the weather's demeanor turn the fiercer.”

    “You should have more than adequate time to consult with Master Retlishin,” she assured him. “I expect that you will have much to discuss...but nothing that cannot be resolved by the time we make for the Blackmoorian coast.”

    She paused for a moment. Then: “I would urge you to go forth,” she said. “Settle your affairs as you must, then visit your headquarters. If they are not to your liking in any way – make your needs known to me and I will see to it that they are met. I will do my best to make it so that the list of volunteers available to you awaits you when you arrive to inspect it.”

    The Little One smiled. “We shall meet again, before our fellowship sets forth, in any case,” she told them.

    “By then, I should have time to decide how I will give voice to my farewells.”
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 12, 2003
    Posts: 273
    From: Boston

    Send private message
    Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:13 pm  

    Ohrin respectfully nods towards the Little One and turns to face his compatriots.

    "Gentlemen, may I suggest that we go visit our headquarters right away? Once there, we will get a better idea of what we might wish to grab for it from our various residences. We can then each get our own affairs in order in a timely manner and meet back up, ready to proceed with our planning. Thoughts?"
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 02, 2016
    Posts: 112


    Send private message
    Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:55 am  
    Njord: The Meeting In The Icepick, Revelations

    Ohrin's words echoed through Njord's brain, momentarily rousing him from his troubling reverie.

    "I think this good idea," he said to Ohrin as he stepped forward and bowed his head, acknowledging both the notion and the fact that they were now comrades. "Would like to see place...eh...head-quarters."

    He turned to look at Saevil and then to Kahss, beckoning their responses.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 13, 2016
    Posts: 113
    From: SF, CA

    Send private message
    Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:10 pm  
    Sævil: Revelations

    Sævil nods his affirmative to examining the headquarters.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 29, 2016
    Posts: 5


    Send private message
    Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:04 am  

    Kahss' eyes twinkled in the torch light seeming to come to life once again after silently surveying the conversation before him. The bitter winter's chill would be his friend, and comfort him in the place of memories from his past. Kahss first turned from the fellowship and addressed the captain, "Captain Fireheart it is with your privilege, excellent to once again be in service of a noble cause. I fully intend..." his mind wandering to the vision of innocent Anna and Wiola launching themselves, laughing uncontrollably, into the arms of their father Mariusz, and then he continued "to ensure the safety of those that have clothed and housed me these last weeks. I agree that no magic should be allowed to harm the denizens of Corus."

    He then swiftly turned to the newly formed fellowship bowing his head in salute - crossing his fist across his chest - and exclaimed in barely over a whisper "Mabuhay the four!! You have my service -- To the headquarters."
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> Expedition to the Land of Black Ice All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum


    Forums ©


    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.52 Seconds