Saturday, 23rd January, 2010, 01:24 PM #1051
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
City Under Siege: Part 8b – Aftermath
Sebastian sat brooding at the gathering of the Captain’s Council. This time they had the good sense not to convene in the square. And yet much of Freeport was present, filling the Sea Lord’s Palace as never before. It was almost like the old days.
Emric smiled at each of the remaining council members. Twelve seats surrounded the throne. Dirwin Arnig the gnome was there, along with the Altherian Liam Blackhammer, Lady Elise Grossette, Marilise Maeorgan, and the high priestess of Yarris, Sister Gwendolyn. Then he addressed the crowd, more man than boy.
“Freeport has lost much this past week. But in any time of sorrow, Freeport returns stronger than ever before. We mourn the loss of Captain Xavier Gordon, Captain Marcus Roberts, Captain Hector Torian, Captain Garth Varellion, and Captain Buster Wallace.” He nodded at the five empty seats, each represented by a wreath of flowers. No one mourned the loss of Arias Soderheim and no flowers were on his seat. “But in the interest of rebuilding Freeport, I hereby announce the following new Council Members.” He turned to special seats facing the throne.
“Petra Fricke.” The crowd cheered. The leader of the Guild of Craftsmen was a popular choice. Petra came forward, bowed, and demurely took her seat.
“Captain Baldric.” The crowd cheered again. After all his efforts, Baldric had finally gotten the seat he so sorely coveted.
The grizzled old captain hobbled up to the dais, tears in his eyes. He bowed awkwardly and took a seat.
Kham leaned over to whisper to Beldin. “What’s up with Baldric?”
Beldin shrugged. “Something about losing his cat…”
“Morgan Baumann,” said Emric, “Captain of the Kraken’s Claw.” Cheers went up. Captain Baumann had fought heroically during the battle and redeemed herself in the eyes of many, but not all. Morgan’s detractor glowered at her from a nearby seat.
Baumann marched up, her eyes filled with tears of pride. She saluted Emric and then sat down in the Council seat provided for her.
“High Priest Egil Thompson of the Temple of Althares.” A man of medium height and build, with fairly short brown hair, brown eyes, and no distinguishing features, clapped loudly, leading the crowd into applause. It was Steel, K’Stallo’s form for when he wished to walk amongst humans.
Egil was popular but his suspicious connections to ssanu, even if they were friendly, tainted his legacy. Egil humbly bowed before Emric and took his seat. His appointment to the Council paved the way for a bill guaranteeing amnesty for the Hitthkai ssanu. But that was for another day.
“High Priest Peg-Leg Peligro of the Temple of Cadic.” More wild applause. Most Freeporters knew Cadic was the reason Freeport was saved and they venerated him as much if not more than Yarris. Few caught Lady Gwendolyn’s frown.
Peg-Leg stumped his way up to the dais, managed an awkward bow, and took a seat.
“Drak Scarbelly, Captain of the Bloody Vengeance.” There was an audible gasp. Then all the orcs in the room went wild, cheering and hooting, and even crushing humans in bearhugs.
Scarbelly hobbled up to the throne and bowed low, lower than any of the others. He slowly, painfully took his seat.
“And last but not least, filling the Privateer Seat…Kham val’Abebi, Captain of the Divine Fury II!”
The crowd went nuts, screaming and whistling and yelling Kham’s name. Touldrix gave him a long kiss before the Altherian took the stage. Kham walked up to Emric, ruffled his hair, and sat down in his seat. He was seated next to Liam Blackhammer.
“Two Altherians and a priest of Althares on the Council,” said Kham with a grin. “Wonder if it’s another Continental plot to take over the city?”
Liam smiled back. “Don’t be so sure,” he said seriously. “Altheria issued a statement indicating that Althares was angered at the waste of his gift of blast powder. He’s taken the special spark away.”
Kham blinked. “How do you know that?”
“Because I tried to make some,” Liam said seriously. “And I can’t anymore.”
Kham looked skyward. “Wow, and I thought Cadic was a hardass.”
You know what would make dis a perfect scene? whispered Zoltan’s voice in Kham’s mind. A crystal floating around your head. You can pretend I’m an ioun stone.
Kham bit his lip. “Shh, Zolt,” he said to the emerald on his collar that contained a sliver of Zoltan Zaska’s soul.
“Hmm?” asked Liam.
Kham focused his attention back on Emric. “Nothing.”
“To replace our beloved Commissioner Williams, I have chosen the most morally upstanding citizen of Freeport, who laid down his life to protect our beloved city. Beldin Soulforge, please step forward!”
Beldin stumped up, his beard resplendent with gold fastenings at the tips. Windcutter had returned to him, bonded as it was to his soulstone. The dwarf received a symbolic key to the city, provided by Emric.
The crowd cheered. Beldin took his seat near Kham.
Kham leaned forward. “Psst! Where’s Sebastian? Doesn’t he get any accolades?”
Beldin shrugged over his chair. “I think he has all the power he needs. He said something about researching his heritage.”
Satisfied that the Sea Lord of Freeport was restoring order to the city, Sebastian stirred from his perch in the crossbeams of the Sea Lord’s Palace, nearly a hundred feet above them. He spread his wings and flew out a nearby window.
It was time, he decided, to reclaim his own birthright.
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Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
City Under Siege: Part 8c – Aftermath
A black-clad figure stepped into the Last Resort at precisely midnight. A nervous Bobbin Brandydale met him at the door.
“You must be Mr. Ducayne,” he whispered so as to not wake the other guests. “It’s an honor to have you here sir.”
Ducayne nodded, his pale lips curling in a feral smile. “The pleasure is mine. I take it you did not object to my requirements?”
Bobbin shook his head. “Not at all.”
Ducayne was dressed in a black fedora, trench coat, leather pants, gloves, and boots. Two pistols hung from either hip. He waited until Bobbin got the hint that he should repeat the instructions.
Bobbin cleared his throat. “You’ll have the Imperial Suite all to yourself. The door has already been painted according to your instructions. Automatic withdrawals will be made from your account at the Vault, to be paid in gold the first of each month.”
“Very good. I think our arrangement will work nicely.”
Bobbin led the strange man up to the Imperial Suite. It consisted of four rooms, the first being a reception area, complete with furniture Ducayne had purchased.
Whoever he was, Bobbin knew he was wealthy. He guessed that Ducayne was a Coryani escaping the war; although his manner of dress suggested an Altherian, his pale skin was more akin to a Milandisian. And yet he had a hint of a Canceri accent. He was probably an adventurer.
Ducayne hesitated at the door. It was painted with the words: DO NOT DISTURB in red.
“In the past, I am aware that you have suffered some unfortunate…incidents, here.”
Bobbin spread his hands over his apron to wipe the sweat from his palms. “That’s true. Between the samat attack and Coombs’ bombs, the Last Resort has suffered quite a bit of damage. But thanks to our arrangement, we’ll be able to pay off all the old debts. Unfortunately, orc labor’s not cheap anymore.”
The stranger allowed a slight smile. “Those days are over. From now on The Last Resort is under my protection.”
“That is all, Mr. Brandydale. Thank you for your time.”
Bobbin nodded and stepped backwards. Before the door closed, a squeaky voice reached his ears.
“So I gotta stay on watch all day in here, boss?”
“Not just here, Skiz,” said the man who called himself Ducayne. “I have other work for you to do…”
Then the door closed and Bobbin was glad he could hear no more.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Crisis in Freeport: Part 8d – Aftermath
Three evenings a week, cats from every part of the city congregated in an alley behind the Freeport Institute. And sitting at the front of the peculiar gathering of felines with a tiny black-and-white kitty.
“The Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign has suffered a crippling blow,” she said in the cat tongue. “But the rise of the Children of Leviathan was unexpected.”
One of the cats mrowed loudly from the back of the alley. “I warned you last week!”
“As I said,” the lead cat continued, “unexpected. As the Cult of the Unspeakable One lost its power, the Cult of Leviathan experienced a resurgence. We must not let that happen again.”
“I said that too,” muttered a large gray tabby.
“Pardon me,” said the instructor, “but some of us were putting up with drunken pirates on a ship, trying to keep their people safe and on the right path. I don’t need to remind you about that idiot chef Reed wanted to COOK me.” When sullen silence greeted her, she continued. “Now, we were able to keep casualties to a minimum during the war, but there is much rebuilding to do. And in times of chaos, evil takes hold. What have you discovered?”
“The Bleeding Fist Cult,” said a fluffy white cat. “They are popular amongst the disaffected orcs who believe all elves should be driven off the island.”
“Noted,” said the instructor. “The strays will need to keep track of Scurvytown.”
“We ALWAYS keep track of Scurvytown,” said the gray tabby. “Not all of us have our noses stuck in books.”
“Cuttleback’s back,” muttered a jet-black kitten. “Fishing for more brains…”
“Another Harvester has popped up,” said a spotted brown and white cat. “Eudokia Kasovar.”
The instructor sighed. “Great, I thought we wiped them out.”
“Lord Bonewrack’s awoken,” said a shorthaired orange feline. “That rift in the Plane of Shadow must have stirred him…”
“There’s something fiendish going on,” said the gray tabby. “I don’t have any proof yet, but your sorcerer friend has been stirring the pot and I think what he awakens will not treat Freeport kindly.”
“What in Althares’ eyes is going on out here?”
The lesson was cut off as a spectacled, middle-aged woman in a nightgown shone a light into the alleyway from a window. The instructor immediately returned to licking her paws. Every other cat did the same.
Wilimina Gertz chuckled. “Oh, it’s you. Well, try to keep your Council of Cats quiet, won’t you?” She shook her head and whispered, “silentium.”
The majority of the felines were magically silenced. “You’re lucky you’re such a good mouser, Miss Maya, or we’d have thrown you off the premises a long time ago.”
The malkin turned her head to squint upwards at the source of the light, as if noticing Wilimina for the first time. “Meow?”
“That’s what I thought,” said the professor. “I swear, sometimes I think you can understand me. Try to keep the noise to a dull roar; my magic can only do so much.” Chuckling to herself again, the professor closed the window.
Maya stopped cleaning herself. “Resolvo veneficus!” With the silence dispelled, the malkin rolled her eyes. “Now where were we?”
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Crisis in Freeport: Conclusion
Quintus sat on a chair, surveying his failing orchard. Without a war to fight or men to lead, Quintus was alone once more. The sun-dappled fields were beautiful nonetheless. He stared at them for a long time.
Quintus turned to his major domo. “I think we’re going to have to pack up this place. We’ll free the slaves and take what we can.”
The major domo looked surprised, but with his tongue cut out there was little he could say about it.
“I know,” said Quintus. “But we haven’t enough crops to sustain the farm.”
The trees had not been growing well. The season was harsh, and with war came demand. He had sacrificed what little harvest he had to the Rebels, secretly of course.
The major domo put one hand on Quintus’ shoulder, a gesture that could have gotten him killed. But it was one man to another, not as equals but as a family of sorts. He understood.
The sound of hoof beats broke Quintus out of his funk. A carriage pulled to a stop in front of the farmhouse.
Quintus got up as someone stepped out of it.
“Ilmarė?” he asked, hardly believing his eyes.
The elorii smiled and nodded. Then she turned away to scoop up a bundle on the seat behind her.
It was a baby elorii girl. She cooed and yawned in Ilmarė’s arms.
“The child,” said Quintus in wonder. “You’re both all right!” Tears filled his eyes. “I had thought…”
Ilmarė put a finger to his lips. “Shh. No more tears. The God War came and went. And you know what that means.”
Quintus shook his head.
“I don’t have to kill you anymore.” She smiled sheepishly at him, the silver in her hair reflecting in the sunlight. “Now that we’ve got that settled, my daughter and I are looking for a safe place to stay. Do you know of any?”
Quintus blinked. “I…you are welcome to stay here, but the farm is failing. I don’t think that we can—“
Ilmarė laughed. He hadn’t heard her laugh in such a long time. “I nearly forgot.” She snapped her fingers, and Quintus’ major domo dragged a heavy chest out of the carriage. With a groan, he dropped it at Quintus’ feet.
“Open it,” she said.
Quintus unlatched the chest and threw the lid open.
Inside was a glittering cache of gold doubloons. There were so many that the sun sparkled in Quintus’ face, forcing him to squint. An envelope sat in the center.
Quintus opened the envelope and scanned the note.
It read: “For duty and honor! V.”
“There’s got to be thousands of gold pieces in here,” said Quintus.
“Thirty thousand, to be precise,” said Ilmarė, rocking her baby. “Will that be enough for our room and board?”
Quintus laughed in disbelief. “I don’t know what to say…”
“Yes,” said Quintus with a broad smile.
“Good, now let me introduce you to my daughter.” She held the child up, who cooed and grabbed Quintus’ finger.
“What’s her name?” asked the legionnaire turned farmer.
“Anulee Persius Galen,” she said softly.
Quintus nodded, amazed at the baby’s grip. “In honor of your sister.”
“No,” smiled Ilmarė. “This IS my sister.” She abruptly handed the baby girl off to Quintus, who looked stunned at the delicate package in his hands. “Let’s go inside and I’ll explain.”
And together, Quintus, Ilmarė, and Anulee walked into his farmhouse.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The End...for now
Well folks, that's it. Even with me posting every friggin day, it took six years to get this campaign published on ENWorld. I'm not entirely sure, but it may be the most read story hour on the board and possibly the Internet -- if not, it's definitely ranked highly amongst them, and I have all of you to thank for that.
It's been a fun ride. But after awhile, posting so frequently was starting to become cumbersome. Toddlers don't like it when you type on the computer, and you can only play Yo Gabba Gabba videos in another window for so long before they get antsy. As much as I enjoyed writing and publishing this story hour, it was becoming a bit of a chore.
You'll notice that there's a little plot point with Sebastian that was never resolved. That was Hell in Freeport, which we still joke that we might play one day. If there's enough interest from players here, we may just get everyone together to do it -- or I may cheat and do a narrative game (where I tell the players what happens, we skip the combat, and just role-play the story and I write it later). But right now there's no pressing need...I'm working on my book, we've got our modern campaign to contend with, and the birth of my second child is imminent.
Oh right. So, the whole reason the campaign ended was because my son was born. That was nearly three years ago! Although the story didn't quite match the outcome (Ilmare's child was a girl) the timing was right...because our second child, due at the end of May, is a girl. And no, her name is not Anulee.
At least for a little while, I'm happy to leave the characters we lived with for so long to their happy endings. Quintus and Ilmare finally have their (admittedly weird) family they always wanted. Kham is a certified pirate with his very own ship. Beldin has respect and power. And Vlad's filthy rich. I like to think they will live out their lives to happy old age. I think they earned it.
Except Kham of course. He'll die a quick death -- if not drugs or alcohol, it will certainly be women. But I digress.
I'm in touch with all of the players in the game, so if you have any questions or you want to hear more about any particular character, I might be able to drag them onto the boards or at least relay your questions.
I've been reading a lot of Dr. Seuss lately to my son, so I think it's appropriate to quote him here:
Good night and God bless.Originally Posted by Dr. Seuss
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