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  #136  
Old Jan 20th, 2020, 04:36 PM
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"I suppose I should have something to eat and drink. After that, I'll need to rest and heal..."
  #137  
Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 06:12 PM
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The 'Bloody Shield', North BuraThe Prince smiled mildly and left to attend to his meeting with some of the town officials, leaving the two veterans to ponder where to bring their companions to talk about his offer.

Atale had been in this town before, if only briefly, and therefore she already knew of a place where her meat and bone friends could buy a drink while they talked. Jo'Seph had only to follow the Golem, bringing the rest of the squad along as she located Tsehin and Keshtar. The latter mercenary was harder to find, as he had actually been in the battle northwest of Bura, but the slayers of monsters had only to send word.

So they found themselves in the 'Bloody Shield' a tavern and free house that was only somewhat worse for wear. Coincidentally being very close to the city wall had helped keep most of the taproom intact, since projectiles that were launched from below had apparently had a tendency to start hitting the buildings two rows over. There a lot of them were in ruins.

There were two uneven groups that formed, although on adjacent tables. The first was grouped around Atale and consisted of those people that she had travelled south from Meshkou with after witnessing the first wave of human attacks: The boisterous Uxian mercenary Keshtar, now only meekly cheerful after having fought long and hard only recently, the currently wounded Gettan archer with the disfigured and scarred face, Tsehin, and the dark-skinned human Nkasa, a scout who admittedly had not been born on the broken bridge but nonetheless ended up playing a part in saving parts of it from pillage and conquer. Keshtar and Tsehin were solemn and somewhat quiet after hearing about Patayas death. Tsehin had pledged some of his hard-earned coin to have the man buried properly, even though they did not know if that was the way of his people.

"So this royal wants some war stories," asked Keshtar into the silence. "I guess he's not had enough of it yet."

"I have stories to tell to the man," responded Nkasa, lifting her chin and staring at a stained wall. "And I want to see the inside of that boat."

"Like a turtle, that one." Tsehin whispered hoarsely, his throat somehow having suffered from days of bedrest and fevers. "It is of Poy-Ne make. It has to be, or it would be at the bottom of the bay by now. Not many of them around in Taytomac, all of them gifts."

"Yet the Prince has had no official communications to bear from his father," added the Gettan enigmatically, the suggestion being this was somewhat unusual. Maybe it was - a foreign noble joining a war uninvited and without any word of their liege, or father, in this case. Though also understandable that Vinione had not looked a gift packrat in the mouth.

At the adjacent table conversation had moved on to similar topics surrounding the princes offer. Here it was Jo'Seph, the Rak'Ari warrior Mali, already somewhat drunk but seemingly almost recovered from her near-death of a thousand cuts, the jittery Ux Sheedi, probably even drunker, even though he was modestly quiet by comparison, and the albino Bullywug Wahka who had her hood up over her face even inside. She was probably trying to avoid any possible abuse at the hands of those that did not consider her kind to be truly sapient, or 'people' in short. Bucket had declined to come. As far as anybody could tell, because the man had been crying and wailing incoherently, he had to bury his brother and make pilgrimage into the jungle of Vinione to do something about his soul.

"Prince is big man," Wahka said in her accented common. "Has mighty ship. If he wants to give me food I take it."

Her hand moved up to grip at her collar self-consciously, gathering fabric about herself. "But Wahka no talk. He no want to hear me."

"I'll talk alright," blurted out Mali, leaning over on Sheedi and almost squeezing the pudgy Ux to death before turning to Jo'Seph. "Whatcha gonna do about your fancy pigsticker? They don't make 'em like this here. Blood, they don't much make 'em like this in Taytomac."

"Prince 'as a good ship," added Sheedi quietly, his speech slurred. "Bound to 'ave good swords."

"Ha! But you're gonna sign up again for that?" Mali seemed amused. "That one is brewing something I guess. Maybe he wants to give us a ride up because the wars not as over for him as he says? I'll need a little more than coin to get back at it. A lot of coin, preferably!"

"Land," suggested the Bullywug.


OOCJust throwing some ideas and banter around to illuminate some things and potentially stimulate some conversations.

All that are present are on the whole alright with joining up with the Prince at a later date (after sobering up, in the case of some them), but you can end the scene any time by sending the prince a message down to his armoured ship. Any server in the tavern will freely do it for you on this day.
  #138  
Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 07:36 PM
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"I agree that signing on with the prince might give us something do to as the war winds down. I'm just worried about what we might wander into...I have NO idea what is going on, but strange magic is clearly at work..."

Jo'Seph will listen to folks talk for a while more...

Last edited by Ericg1s; Jan 22nd, 2020 at 07:37 PM.
  #139  
Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 11:05 PM
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Atale grows unaccustomedly reserved, perhaps catching the mood of her bone-weary companions. But something else is weighing on her. "I would rather be anywhere except on a boat!". She trembles slightly. "But I will go with you, because I have nowhere else to go right now and these invaders are bloody monsters and clearly I am needed if they are to be beaten back. Then I can dance in peace again, someplace nice and dry!". She does not appear to have much interest in the political discussion.
  #140  
Old Jan 26th, 2020, 06:44 PM
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The 'Bloody Shield', North Bura"All magic is strange," interjected the pale frog at the assessement of Jo'Seph.

Emboldened by the drink the normally shy and fearful Sheedi dared to disagree with her, though he did it only by slurring: "Poppycock."

As she leaned forward Mali slyly shoved Sheedis tankard off the table, spilling all the contents on the floor. "Yeah well, Magic is for those that can use it."

The Rak'Ari rose. "I'll drag this sod upstairs. Give him an hour or so. Before we leave I'll dunk him in a barrel of rainwater."

With ease she propped the wide frame of the young Ux up and led him away, which he let happen without much of a protest. Even though the drink had made him chatty and defiant it hadn't made him as brave as to refuse the bare-chested dragonwoman.

On the other table Kesthar the mercenary smacked his lips and grumbled as he took in what Atale had said about the invaders. "Monsters? More monster than me, perhaps, but I wouldn't think by much."

He downed his tin mug of watered wine and slammed it back on the tabletop. "You saw 'em up close. Looked like regular humans to me."

"They're not like me," Nkasa all but hissed. Tsehin put a bandaged hand on her shoulder, but Keshtar only shrugged.

"Of course not," the Ux said. "But monsters? Some of them might be, right at the top, but the rest seemed to be soldiers like any other. Soldiers do ghastly things when their leaders tell them to, and they all have to live with that, but seeing the whites in their eyes I saw only my reflection.""

This was maybe somewhat too poetic, as Keshtar laughed a little right at the end, then fell silent. The group lingered, but a few hours later all eight of them left for the docks, having sent word of their arrival through some street urchin.


Bura DocksThe lift that had helped transport goods from the docks below had been destroyed lest it be used by the humans to enter the city, so the group had to go around the rather long way, leaving the town altogether and walking to the foot of the hill. And when they arrived they saw that there was barely anything left that could be called a dock - almost every building had been consumed by fire, with even the stone crumbling under the heat. All that remained was bare cliff and rubble.

Though ships had anchored here, tying themselves to whatever they could find, one of which was the Princes turtle ship. And it was in a very bad way, with a large amount of its metal covering melted off or ripped apart. What had been a totally enclosed deck was laid bare as workers were replacing individual panels, stucked holes in the woodwork or doing other things to make sure the whole thing stayed afloat.

Gettan marine-soldiers wearing the colours of the Prince received the visitors and led them onto the ship and below deck. As they entered they saw that among the workers were a few pale skinned humans, most likely the prisoners that had been promised to the Prince. Though they were few in numbers, wore no armour and carried only tools. The group was brought into the Princes cabin. It was a large room as far as such things went on wartime vessels, furnished with a few good hardwood pieces and shelves full of scrolls - most likely maps and the like. The Prince was sitting behind his desk picking pieces of grilled fish up with chopsticks, looking up as the group of people entered. Behind him his female bodyguard stood with her arms folded across her chest.

"Splendid," Tay to Wei said after swallowing his latest bite. "You made it. I've had quite interesting talks with the town officials."

"You've eaten?" If anybody so desired it the Prince would call for a sailor to bring them some pickled fish with rice, wartime fare. "I've had such interesting talks with the city officials."

The noble seemed eager to relay his own tales even to mere soldiers, heroes or not. "First of all I learned how much my contribution to the war effort was worth to Bura. They offered me 30 slaves, five pieces of crystal broken off of the humans flagships, gold and of course the means to repair my own ship."

He shrugged. "I'm in no position to say if this is generous or not. In any case I gave the humans the choice: Work for me for a year, after which you will be released or enter paid service, or return to the prisons of the Dimi army. Six of them consented to this, so not a total loss."

The Gettan Prince finished off another piece of his food before smiling strangely. "Now they also paid me in information, something I value maybe more than all the gemstones in the world. Did you know the Dimi armies have translators among them? They found a human or two that can communicate with these savages, and they didn't even have to waste magic on it."

"Those that seemed to be their shamans, leaders, or whatever else one might call it were not forthcoming, or so it is said. But some of the footsoldiers apparently talked willingly about where they came from and what they are doing here."

He leaned in closer. "Oh it is a wondrous tale, I can say that. They confirmed that they are humans from the far north, from frozen wastes and swimming ice. Pushed there by other humans because of some difference or other, near starving for hundreds of years. It appears they are a fractured people, fifteen tribes all in all, that formed an alliance so they could attack those that ejected them from solid land. As I said those would be some other humans in a faraway land with a name I can't pronounce."

Tay to Wei clicked his tongue and continued: "So there was little food on the ice, but there is magic. They speak of a tower, or obelisk, made out of this miraculous crystal and nothing else. Jutting out of the empty ocean in the middle of nowhere, far away from any reasonable person, but within a day or two of their floating slabs of ice they call home. Normally it is sacred to them, forbidden, but they were in dire straits."

"Their enemies had more ships than they could ever build, defending their precious land with a ring of wood and iron. But if they used the magic, used the obelisk, they could maybe transport their entire army over hundreds of miles to strike at the heart of their kingdoms without having to fight their superior navy."

He smiled again briefly, without much humour. "As you might be guessing, it did not turn out that way. If they are to be believed then they transported near hundred ships and many thousand men over half the world. They had assumed they knew where they were, but when they found out they were lost they decided to stick to their original plan: Carve out a place on land for themselves."

Finally the Prince leaned back into his chair and folded his hands on the tabletop. "Have you ever heard something so strange? I am not sure if I believe it."
  #141  
Old Jan 26th, 2020, 09:50 PM
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"I have seen much strange magic. I can not stay that I am certain that is NOT what happened."
  #142  
Old Jan 26th, 2020, 10:52 PM
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Atale grinned tightly. She pipes up. "I spent several hundred years in a deep cavern, feeling neither hunger nor fatigue. But huge mountains worth of extreme boredom!" She laughs loudly. "So that is also something strange I suppose and I am not one to use the word impossible." She absently runs a hand along her worm-skin belt and grows more thoughtful. "But one thing strikes me as a little bit hard to accept. If they stumbled upon the Broken Bridge by accident and decided to attack on the spur of the moment, how did they launch their first assault with such precision? And how did they figure out to bring those burrowing worms to Bura? It seems to me they must have had inside information on the layout of the towns." She shrugs. "But I'm just a hunter so what do I know of military maneuvers? One thing is for sure, they could have tried...I don't know...talking to someone first! I am sure the folk of these lands are not ungenerous when starving strangers apply for aid. But instead they killed dozens of innocents, so I feel no urge to mercy now."
  #143  
Old Jan 31st, 2020, 04:51 PM
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A Royal's ship"A... hundred years in a cave," asked the Prince with some puzzlement. Though as he looked upon Atale his features smoothed again, as if all things considered this did not seem far fetched for what essentially was matter turned into living tissue anyway.

Eventually Tay To Wei let his gaze drop. "It is true, these are times when anything seems possible. And since there seems to be no solution more logical that presents itself other than the story the humans have supplied..."

The Nobles voice trailed off as he possibly mulled over other ways humans from the other side of a far away continent could have appeared without warning. Even if they came from this side of the human lands it was an incredible journey not make without landing anywhere. And if they had somebody would have sent warning - a lone ship always travelling faster than a whole army.

The further musings of the Golem brought the Prince back into the conversatin: "Ah, the beasts. Ghastly from what I've heard, but you would know much more about that than me."

He paused for a second solemnly, but then pushed on through what turned into an awkward silence: "Many prisoners were interrogated about them. It seems that they are solitary inhabitants of the ice, called a few names by the different tribes, the most easily pronounceable of which might be Rhemoraz. They tell us that it is a near impossibly thing to tame them, yet two tribes had managed the feat all the same. They were to be used against their original target of invasion, and I'm not surprised they wer still put to that use, even though they found themselves here. One castle lends itself to this much like another."

"Those out on the fields had their giant wolves to fear more than these wyrms," interjected Keshtar brashly, the only one here that had faced the human armies directly on the fields below Bura.

Tay to Wei nodded. "Yes quite, though I'm given to understand these are common in these northern human lands - a dire place indeed."

He shrugged, then moved on to the last item of puzzlement: "As for their precision I do not know. Their reconnaissance might have been magical. Where they quite precise? I have heard the village they struck first had little in the way of real defences to begin with, not against mighty balls of flame. It was told to me that they slung their fire at the town and then landed warriors and beasts more or less unmolested. It's a hovel with a rickety old castle, yes? Against an army of near five thousand it stood no chance at lasting longer than an hour."

"What I have further heard is that they brought little to no food with them expecting either instant death of conquer of at least one town with full coffers. This might explain their ferocity or lack of attempted - an army such as this is hard to control, needs an outlet. Death or glory. They do not speak the language of our lands either, and they had little time to learn. Now I am much appalled by the behaviour myself mind you, but I'm just trying to understand how things came to be."

Here the Prince stopped talking to look behind his shoulder at his bodyguard. The woman did not move, but it was clear that she was highly alart all the same. Wei turned back to face the former Soldiers and slapped his hands together: "Now! I am talking on and on - gladly I will turn the tables and hear your story in full, so we can all share the glory and the pain between us. Though I would first like to ask: None of you oppose sailing north to witness the final battle? The fleet has left some hours ago, so we would have to make haste. That is if you have not had enough of death and war?"
  #144  
Old Jan 31st, 2020, 07:05 PM
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"I would be willing to watch, purely to see an end to this war."
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Old Feb 1st, 2020, 12:14 PM
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Atale grows strangely withdrawn as the conversation goes on. But eventually she ventures, "I suppose there is nothing left for me on this island. I do not desire to be a spectator to war but I may as well come along for the ride." She lights up again, her eyes twinkling. "As for the battle against the rhemorhazes!" She seems to savor the new word. "The key to our victory was a poisonous paste that we were supplied for our weapons. I took the front lines, being immune to poison of any kind, you see!"

The diminutive golem goes on to relate the tale of the worm-slaying with a decided bias toward her own heroics. She jumps and rolls to demonstrate how she tumbled past the guards as the tunnel collapsed on her party, and incapacitated the first mage with her net then stabbed him with her toxic spear. "The cave-in took away our advantage in numbers, and as we discovered later it killed some valued friends! While my companions kept the line of human enemies at bay, I drove my weapon deep into the first remorhaz which expired twitching and shriveling into a husk." More somberly she explains how Bucket was grievously wounded and they dragged him into the next tunnel.

"This battle was much more dire, as the mage's bodyguard kept us at bay. But our might proved the greatest in the end!" With more jumping and spinning, she gives an account of the archers shooting the second worm, while she dashed into the side tunnel, turned, and threw her spear which found its mark and destroyed the second beast. Her story ends with the discovery of the exit passage and a proud display of her new remorhaz-skin belt.

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  #146  
Old Feb 4th, 2020, 05:23 PM
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Anchor liftedMost everybody agreed quite willingly to have the ship raise its anchor. There was a general feeling of wanderlust in the air, and though most wanted to go anywhere but closer to battle to keep moving seemed to be of paramount importance. Most did not know anything about Atales relation to water, so it was almost assumed that the Golem would have nothing against a journey at sea as the conversation moved on. Eventually she even agreed herself.

"Splendid!" The Prince waved a hand at his bodyguard, who slowly stepped over to the cabin door to relay his orders to some of the sailors outside. The rocking and rolling of the boat changed slightly, and before long they were well underway without even much knowing it. The few windows of milky glass that the ship had once had were boarded up when it was turned combat ready.

So everybody gathered around Atale to listen to the tale once more. Those that had been there made comments every now and then, and everybody applauded and roared with anger or excitement. Eventually the clapping faded out and everybody took a deep breath.

"What a tale," Tay To Wei said with a sigh. "Quite remarkable..."

He had some wine brought and filled tin mugs for everybody that cared to have some. For a few moments he held his own glass, looking down into the dark liquid contemplatively.

"Something else I've been meaning to aks you," the Prince said without looking up. "When you fought in the tunnels, did you see some of their officers? Their warlocks and wizards? They carry much jewlery made of this strange rock that they worship back home. It's said to give them power, and with what I have seen I believe it."

He smiled briefly and took a sip of his wine. "When I was gathering supplies in the market some shady creature tried to sell me one of the crystals. A ragged piece, broken and unpolished. He wanted a horrendous amount of gold for it, and I'm sure somebody will eventually give it to him."

"Rumours are that's why that one captured ship was sunk...," he divulged. "...so that somebody could chip away at the crystal underwater, where nobody would immediately see. Steal this substance that will surely be in high demand very soon... There was talk of traitors in the ranks."

The noble let that sink in for a second, then shrugged.

"Can't trust anybody these days," blurted out Mali unabashedly.


OOCA further bit of exposition. Should you so desire we will skip forward to the arrival.


Last edited by Phettberg; Feb 5th, 2020 at 05:51 AM.
  #147  
Old Feb 4th, 2020, 07:12 PM
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Atale wrinkles her ginger-brown nose in disgust. "To think someone would betray their country and kin in the midst of a foreign invasion! Well an undersea investigation is one mission for which I shan't volunteer! Besides riches are not of great interest to me. I love to explore and meet interesting people! And most of what I own, I crafted myself." . Atale stays as far away from open railings as she can as the journey proceeds.
  #148  
Old Feb 9th, 2020, 02:26 PM
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"Tell me more about this crystal..."
Jo'Seph is uncertain what is going on here....
  #149  
Old Feb 13th, 2020, 05:24 PM
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Sailing"Yes," the prince offered. "Managh island is not very large, and I think it won't be much fun to explore for a while. You may have to go abroad to find things of interest, which is something we can talk about at a later date. There's always need for craftsmen of skill."

Tay to Wei turned his head at Jo's request. He clicked his tongue and thought about it for a few seconds before responding: "As you may have guessed, the substance must have been taken from the obelisk these humans worship back home. It must truly be a behemoth given the amount they ripped out of it for their ships."

"As for its function - I am not a speaker, but the Uxian Moghs said that exposure to the crystal gives a person the power of many men when it comes to magic. No single wizard could fling fireballs this size otherwise. This is why I believe the stone will be in high demand very soon. I would not mind getting my hands on more myself."

It might be this was another reason why the Prince wanted to travel north, where the last of the flagships of the human fleet where. But the hour had become late, and the noble said as much: "We have talked long. You must all be tired, at least of me. There is space for you in the hull prepared where you can spend the night. I'm told it will be three days until we reach Meshkou. As promised there will be food and drink for you the entire journey, free of charge, and maybe we can talk some more."

So it was more or less decided, as the bodyguard moved to escord everybody outside, where sailors were waiting to show them into the bowels of the ship. There were three cabins with wooden bunks prepared, which was a step up from the hammocks they saw the regular crew use.

The first night passed uneventfully, as did the entire next day. The Prince secluded himself more than before, only entertaining his guests at dinner to make some friendly conversation. Yet he kept his motives guarded and talked little about his own future, only theorising on what the rulers of Dimi and Meshkou would do with the humanity that had attacked them. Banish them, enslave them, execute them - few would protest any such actions in the face of how these northern savages had conducted himself. Yet the human prisoners that Tay to Wei had taken over from the Dimi generals had been left without shackles, rowing under light supervision by the royal sailors.

Two more days passed, and on the afternoon of the third day Meshkou came into view.


Meshkou revisitedThe sun was almost set when Meshkou appeared over the horizon. In actuality there was little to nothing left of the village, but the many sillhouetted masts in the distance harboured the site of the naval battle. There were no more fireballs flying, yet there was plenty of fire around. Burning husks of vessels were sinking into the depths of the ocean. Ships that were still hale tugged those that were just about seaworthy towards the beach. A few of the boats were still engaged in fighting as it seemed, locked into each other after a ramming maneuvre, the crew slashing each other to bits on deck.

As promised the Prince kept his distance to the whole scene, so all of this was far away on the edge of what was visible. On land the ruins of the town had apparently previously been fortified to some extent, as there were stakes and small wooden walls that Atale had not seen before. Some of them had been already broken and razed. On land the fight was already conclusively over, with no more active combat visible anywhere. It was hard to tell who was of what side, but a group of a hundred or more figures was surrounded by a circle of warriors clearly about to be disarmed and bound.

"Bodies in the water," shouted a midshipman from atop one of the masts. Indeed there were many people floating about the wine-dark sea, some of which were holding on to planks while others were drifting face down on the surface.

"Pull them up then!" The Prince had sounded unsure at first, but seemed resolved to rescue friend and foe alike. Grumbling and frownling the ships crew regardless lifted northern humans and Vinione soldiers out of the water as the vessel passed them. Some of them could not be saved, and if these were human were offered back up to the sea. Those paying attention could see that the living and the dead humans were stripped of any little bit of crystal they may still have on them, even though the substance only appeared occassionally. Those that had survived their individual shipwrecks, twenty or so in all, were treated as best the crew was able directly on the deck, the two former sides glaring at each otehr.

"If my eyes do not deceive me I believe that the battle is decided," Tay to mac finally said to his guests. "If not ended. We must wait it out, but I daresay we could anchor and go ashore. I might enquire with an officer for a full report. What say you all?"

Last edited by Phettberg; Mar 24th, 2020 at 06:36 AM.
  #150  
Old Feb 13th, 2020, 06:22 PM
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Atale approaches the ship's rail for once, the distant fires a gleam in her beady eyes. She mutters, "There was merriment and dancing, and now look! So much suffering. I cannot wrap my mind around flesh creatures." She sighs and turns her head at the Prince's query. "Yes any excuse to get to to land, however grim the circumstances might be on shore." Although the little golem is not capable of tearing up, it is clear that she is deeply affected by the magnitude of the carnage and destruction.
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