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The Winds of Ysgard - Part One

Discussion in 'Winds of Ysgard' started by Nimue, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard sank into a chair, his eyes on Farrun and his mind reeling as the older man spoke. The aromas of the food set before him made his mouth water, but his stomach churned with dread. What was he getting into?

    He waited as Addison spoke, pondering his own possible contributions to this quest -- if he managed to stay alive. Maybe there were things he could do that others couldn't. Hadn't Mother taught him to swim and sail, to cook his own meals and navigate by night? When the redhead fell silent, he cleared his throat.

    "I don't know a thing about dragons or riding them," he began, "and I'm not a fighter of men or beasts. I'm far and away more at home on the sea than on the shore. But show me the stars on a clear night and I'll show you any direction in any season. Give me meat and fire, I'll make a meal. I can tame a boat like others tame horses or hounds.

    "My life thus far hasn't been easy, and I'd be a fool to think this quest will be any better. But if the gods saw fit to bring me here today, then they clearly believe I have some worth. There's little I want more than to believe that as well."

    His piece said, he sat back, looking from one companion to the next.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  2. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke grabbed a honeyed roll and tore off a piece, stuffing it into his mouth.

    "Good food," he said, heading over to the fireplace. It seemed a small feast had been prepared for them, another dazzling picture. The Wolf Queen would have none questioning her generosity as host.

    "As I have already declared my intention to the people of the Western Kingdom it would be impolite to abandon you now."

    He pulled down his trousers and began to relieve himself into the fireplace. "For almost a decade I fought the elves, fighting with few I trusted and with little support. Through forests and mountains I raided, surviving through forage and pillage." He finished, shaking himself off and pulling up his trousers. "I know war, but I also know survival. It is those skills I offer you."

    He walked up to the table, drawing his seax. "I will not need money. I have wealth enough to pay my own way." He took a game bird he didn't recognise, slicing off a leg. "And should I compose a poem or two." He smiled wolfishly. "I will be most generous in my description of each of you."

    The bird's meat was juicy and tender, well-seasoned, but by what he could not tell. He would have to ask, sometime.

    "Of course," he said, through a mouthful of food. "If we can kill some elves I would not be opposed."

    He caught sight of the elf boy, Einan. "Oh, not you." He smiled in reassurance, grabbing a flagon of mead. "Other elves. The evil ones."
     
  3. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison turned her head when Loke readied himself to water the flames. As she heard the hissing sound she grumbled, "I know you said heroes needn't mind social courtesies, but I'd much appreciate we set some boundaries before we travel the continent together. Namely, an open flame's for keeping warm and cooking meat if you don't mind me saying."

    She finished off her wine, then decided on tea for her next drink.

    "I've been a part o' many otherwise-all-male hunting parties. Certain things're done behind trees when possible. I prefer to sleep away from men—not near, not with to be blunt—and unless someone's gotta strip to patch wounds or for some other bare necessity, I'd very much like the private parts to be just that."
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  4. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke turned to Addison and smiled. "My back was to everyone and I see no trees to stand behind. You may sleep apart, if you wish, but I have always fought beside women and, like men, they slept wherever there was space. Though I must admit, it is strange to see a huntress so bashful."

    He sliced another leg of his game bird. "Cleaning a kill is a bloody and intimate affair, after all."
     
  5. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Bendalitz did not take a seat, but rather stood his ground, watching, like always. "There is a large difference," he said, "Loke, between cleaning a kill and pissing onto a hearth. Do go ahead and realise it, whenever you can."

    Before Loke could address him Bendalitz turned his attention to the supposedly near useless Rikhard. "Bendalitz Agrippen, at your service. I can assure you that any skills you have, however few, will be deeply appreciated."
     
  6. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Farrun leaned back, pouring himself a cup of wine. He raised one dark eyebrow, just a little. "There is a closet down the hall and up two runs of stairs, if anyone else should need it," he said. In the queen's castle, pissing in the fire was a privilege reserved for the very drunk, but it was common practice in many of the Folk keeps in the country.

    “That is a fine point, Addison. If we are to travel together, men and women, most strangers or nearly so, we must abide by each other’s principles. Folk customs are not the ways of everyone in Ysgard,” he said mildly. Though many of that people thought it was so, as had become clear to him over the years. “Women are welcome to sleep where they choose, though I must ask that it is within calling distance, in case of danger. If anyone disrespects any man or woman’s privacy, or carries out advances against their wishes, they will have me to answer to.” His voice brooked no argument. It was a shame to darken the mood like that over their first meal, but it had to be said. Farrun took a deep draught of wine and cast back his cup, adding, “My first mentor was a mountain witch, and she taught me some, ah, interesting curses.” The corners of his eyes crinkled, but inwardly he was thinking.

    It wasn’t often that he needed to throw his weight around, for most men heard in his voice the sound of Thoros’s growl--as though he used the dragon as some manner of enforcer, which would be an injustice to both of them. He doubted that the same implied intimidation would work against a war hero famed for his fearlessness. But it was clear now that Loke would be the catamount of the company, and possibly the root of trouble. Whether his mettle would temper well or break in the forge of longstanding acquaintance remained to be seen.

    For now… “Well, I know Bendalitz Agrippen, and I know of Loke Bloodaxe,” he said aloud, using their full names in case anyone else had missed them. “And Addison Lane has introduced herself.” He gave a wry smile, and turned to the other end of the table. “But I don’t believe I caught your name, navigator, nor yours.” He nodded to the pair in country tunic. “Where do you hail from?”
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  7. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison silently enjoyed the aroma of her tea. The mix of herbs was strange and new to her. She sipped slowly as Bendalitz and Farrun spoke, and decided that her words had been said enough, for now.

    While Farrun addressed the younger members of the group, Addison decided to walk up to Loke. She reminded herself not to accept a handshake if offered.

    "Bloodaxe is your surname?" And 'Dragonsbane' was Karl's. Do the strongest men change their names? "Your weapon o' choice, then? I prefer the axe meself."
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  8. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard wrinkled his nose in disgust as Loke relived himself into the fireplace. He was about to respond when Addison and Bendalitz did the same, and he decided to keep his peace.

    He glanced at the food in front of him -- some kind of roasted game, with spices he couldn't identify -- and took a few bites. It was tender and juicy, and soon hunger overcame his nauseating dread enough for him to continue. He inclined an ear toward Farrun again, and had to suppress a shudder at the warning against disrespecting others' privacy or wishes. He had no intention of doing such things, but the mention of it brought back memories he was in no mood to relive. He knew of one person in particular who could do with a curse upon him, courtesy of Farrun.

    When Bendalitz glanced his way and addressed him, he dipped his head in embarrassment. "Forgive me. My name is Rikhard."
     
  9. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke sipped from his mead. So the huntress did not bristle or jump to offence. That was good to know.

    "Farrun Ramshorn and Bendalitz Agrippen are named for their villages but I have never known a true home. My earliest memories are as an elven slave." Without thinking he reached for the locket hidden under his shirt but he caught himself and quickly returned to the bird. "After I escaped I travelled always–often in the company of hunters or poachers–so I have no true 'surname,' as it were. Bloodaxe is an… an epitaph, and only one of my more common. Bloodaxe, Elfslayer, Wyrmborn, as well as others less well known, and some less generous."

    He sliced expertly into the flesh of the bird, finally realising its kin. "Oh, it's a ptarmigan! I recognise it now." He grinned like a madman, celebrating his realisation with a mouthful of mead. "It is very well cooked!"

    He continued picking away at the ptarmigan, turning once more to Addison. "It was from the hunters that I first learned to fight. Those who roam the forest can be ruthless, as I well know. Now, you are Caernish, so you will not have known our hardships. This is not to belittle you," he quickly added. "Merely to explain. To me, a weapon was not a thing a human owned. Weapons were for elves or for those the elves empowered. Thrall militia, mostly, terrible fighters and very often cruel."

    He emptied his mug and set it aside. "So for me, a weapon was a strange and forbidden thing. I learnt to fight with tools, mostly from the hunter's trade. Knives, boar spears, wood axes, slings–though I could never quite take to the bow. The axe I could carry in one hand while holding a shield in the other. Furthermore, an axe could deal a heavy blow, even to armoured adversaries. I now own swords, of course, and I am skilled in their use, but the axe became my weapon and the one for which I am known. I will challenge anyone in any land to throw an axe as well as I."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  10. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    As the others talked, Einan found himself a mug of mead and a stretch of wall beside the fireplace to lean against. Usually, he would be in the middle of everything, talking and enjoying himself, but something about the gathering had put him out of the mood. Perhaps it was the casual way everyone seemed to be talking of killing elves.

    Or perhaps it was that man, Loke--Einan turned his face away, lip curling, as Loke pissed in the fire. It was a common enough habit, but for some reason he felt personally offended.

    Let it go, he told himself, taking a sip of his mead. There's no need to cause discord.

    His gaze turned to Troia, who was just taking a seat beside Addison. Ari was at her elbow, as always, but he knew the elaborate feast on the table wasn't in danger. She'd trained the dog to only take food that was offered to him.

    As he watched everyone else, Einan's thoughts turned to their upcoming journey. For the first time, a sense of trepidation mounted within him as he pondered the thought of venturing into the wild of the Dragonbone Mountains. Firin was poised on the mountains' edge, of course, but he'd never actually entered the true mountains, even when hunting, sticking instead to the familiar dales and heights of the foothills. He'd heard stories about those mountains--everyone had.

    And some of them were not nice stories indeed.

    At Farrun's voice, he pulled himself from his thoughts and stepped forward. "I am Einan Garrunsson, from Firin. It's a small village in the foothills, closer to Ysgard than we'd like. It's mostly a town of former runaways."

    Troia

    Troia smiled as she slid into a chair beside Addison, her gaze sweeping over the spread on the table. "Gods, but that's a lot of food," she commented. "And doesn't it look fancy?"

    The roasted game bird seemed the dish that looked least like it would take personal offense at being eaten by a country bumpkin. Troia took out her belt knife and carved a few slices from it, her mouth watering as fragrant steam wafted up from the meat. It was so tender that it fell into pieces as she scooped it onto a plate.

    As she began to eat, Farrun said something. It was only when Einan introduced himself that she realized the dragonrider had asked them their names. She paused with food halfway to her mouth, face flushing. Quickly she set it down and cleared her throat, trying to shake off her embarrassment.

    "I'm Troia Beirardsdaughter. I'm also from Firin...my parents were both slaves, but they both ran away before the rebellion, so I was born free. My father fought in the war."

    Behind her, Einan spoke up. "I, however, was a slave, as were my parents, and the one younger brother I had at the time. We and many of our neighbors made our way to Firin after the rebels liberated our village--no one wanted to stay there."
     
  11. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison enjoyed the warrior's words. "Your hardships, I don't know 'em first hand, and I won't insult you by pretending otherwise. Slavery and war're foreign to me. I've been lucky in that way. I won't be throwing me axe; I got just the one. If it comes to a ranged fight, me arrows'll cover the far targets, and I'll trust you to take closer targets with the throwing axes."

    Keeping her voice down, so as not to offend, she went on, "The young ones have their purpose or the Seer'd not've picked 'em, but it's no mistaking yours and mine're martial skills, in part. The better we know each other's arsenal up front, the better we can protect the rest." She reached into her cloak and drew a strange orb. "This is me shocker. We get rushed by more than we can handle, I drop one. It won't kill, but it can hold a large beast. For several seconds... which, as you know, may as well be eternity in a fight."
     
  12. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    For the first time since the Seer had begun selecting them, Loke was truly intrigued. His experience of magic was limited to druidic magic aiding him and elven sorcery trying to kill him. This was something new.

    "A fascinating device," he said. "I can well imagine its uses. What kind of magic is this? I have not seen its like."
     
  13. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    The globe rested in Addison's palm was a few inches in diameter. There were pinholes in it, spaced half an inch apart, if that, and the device was divided into hemispheres. Upon closer inspection, it seemed the hemispheres would be able to rotate.

    "It's a dwarven device. Made o' starmetal. Don't weigh nothing." Addison held it out to Loke. "Hold it if you want, just don't set it off. We'd survive it, but I don't think Farrun would see the humor in it. Me ol' boss told me it was a dead trap, but it ain't that. It uses lightning, and me axe can harness lightning. Not sure how it works… I think it senses vibrations or something. Goes off when me prey gets close; ain't failed me yet.

    "Last time I used it was the one time I trapped a man instead of a beast. He danced a jig, but told me later—well after our differences were settled—the pain was quick and sharp, then he just couldn't move, like his limbs just decided to take a break. But after a minute, if that, 'twas as if nothing happened to him."
     
  14. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Troia leaned over and studied the orb, careful to avoid touching it. Magic. The art of druidry was practiced some in Firin, but it was the old druidry of the Folk, weakened by things lost or things added on each time it was passed down to the next generation.

    "It's beautiful," she said, and she meant it. The orb's simple design was elegant yet deadly looking, its metal skin gleaming sharp in the light.
     
  15. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Bendalitz's attention, which for a moment had been on Rikhard, now flashed to Addison's orb. A non-lethal stunning device... He wondered why he'd never heard of them before – it would have proved so very useful so very many times. "And here I was just shooting people in the leg with my crossbow. And that's where I'll stay if we do get into a tussle, in the back with my crossbow. It seems our two hardened warriors will handle the melee," he shot a quick glance from Farrun to Loke, "and we have an experienced Caernish hunter to catch our game, and even a cook and navigator!" He now looked to Troia and Einan. "What will you two bring to the table?"
     
  16. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard stared in fascination at Addison's lightning device. He'd never heard of or seen its like before. He kept silent as the others asked the questions burning on his tongue, and Addison answered each one.

    "Where did you get it?" he asked her. "Have you lived or traveled among dwarves?"
     
  17. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    In response to Benalitz's question, Einan approached the table and laid his bow and quiver down, as well as his hunting knife. "That's all I have, I'm afraid. The bow may be small, but it's powerful, and I'm a good shot."

    Troia held up her knife. "This is my only weapon."
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison sank back into her seat next to Troia. She took out her carving knife and said, "You'd be surprised what one o' these can do." But of course, it was the shock trap that caught everyone's attention.

    Rikhard's question was the easiest to answer. "Me ol' boss gave it to me. I don't quite understand how it works. Me boss, Karl… he told me it's like a spell's cast into it, trapped in the globe, or maybe lightning just spins around in there. Just twist and drop, and its pretty lights' ll hold a large beast steady. He used 'em exclusively on wyverns. Like I said, I only faced one meself. Karl killed three—in squads, mind you—but his kills, those three. One for each decade as a hunter. The first earned him a name, and the second brought considerably more funding. He found a dwarven grandmaster smith to craft his gear. After killing his third, he used his surplus to upgrade his gear, and his squad, meself included, inherited some very fine hand-me-downs.

    "Picked out a fine axe for me, he did. But the shockers ain't supposed to work more than once. He kept 'em with the rest of his old things, and only showed me one to explain how me lightning axe works. I set off the trap—what he thought a dead trap—and after I'd done it twice, he gave me the other."

    Addison looked for a bird that still had a leg, and sat back, ready to tear into it. Daintily, she reminded herself.

    "Me lightning axe's back at the inn." Turning to Bendalitz, she added, "I got me axe for the front, me bow for shooting from afar, and me traps to keep us from getting rushed. But one thing's for certain. I ain't the cook." She took a big bite from the drumstick, adding with a mouthful, "Not if you like to taste your food."
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  19. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard nodded, smiling at the explanation. "Your boss sounds like quite the warrior.

    "A knife and a staff are the only weapons I have to offer," he added, looking to Farrun. "I might be able to whittle myself a spear if I need anything better."
     
  20. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison agreed. "I see it now. For a time, I thought he was full of himself. It wasn't until we faced the breel—what the locals called that particular wyvern—that I understood him. We lost a man on that hunt. Big, strong, nineteen and gung-ho. He wasn't the first to die against that beast, but the only one to die in front o' me eyes. He took the loss hard, me ol' boss."

    Addison sipped her tea, keeping the rest of her boss' story untold. Instead, she suggested to Rikhard, "Why not see if you can grab a weapon here?" She flashed a smile at Farrun. "If the wolf-queen's offering horses and gold, I imagine it's not much to add a few things like spears, short swords, shields, crossbows. For those who've a need, that is."
     
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