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Wednesday, 20th July, 2005, 02:52 PM #51
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Good thing I never metagame at all.
Well if it's ever told to Cassock, I'm pretty sure heads would roll.
Can't wait for the next one.
Wednesday, 20th July, 2005, 03:50 PM #52
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Apparently your emails are an hour behind this morning getting to me.
I replied to both.
Wednesday, 20th July, 2005, 04:21 PM #53
Novice (Lvl 1)
Lol. I keep responding...I don't know what's up...and I'm getting emails from other people...so...
I think you just need to break down, hack your government computer...and install Yahoo Messenger...so you can bug me continuously
Wednesday, 20th July, 2005, 04:28 PM #54
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
they are starting to speed up now.
and I already did that, but still need to break the network in order to take it further.
but then I would never get work done.
Wednesday, 20th July, 2005, 09:11 PM #55
Novice (Lvl 1)
Great update, Funeris! You're right...it is pretty gritty, but I love it. Keep the updates coming!
Wednesday, 10th August, 2005, 02:30 PM #56
Novice (Lvl 1)
Ok...so its been nearly a month. And I'm not sure how many readers I may have lost from that last post. A brief excuse: I've been without internet (at home) for just about two weeks now. Before, that the internet only worked at random spurts. But now, since I called out my Cable Company...they did what they always do...they screwed everything up. I have no internet. And I'm suffering withdrawal.
Ok, maybe it wasn't so brief. That being said, I have resorted to moving files from my home computer to my work computer by way of a good old 3.5" disc. [Sarcasm] Damn I feel technologically advanced. [/Sarcasm]
Oh well...whatever gets you your updates
Last edited by Funeris; Wednesday, 10th August, 2005 at 03:09 PM.
Wednesday, 10th August, 2005, 02:33 PM #57
Novice (Lvl 1)
Chapter 1: Fate's Weave Continued
“Thank you for the drink,” Cassock said as he set the mug of ale down. The frothy fluid swirled within the wooden cup, a light scent of cinnamon and some exquisite, roasted bean overpowered the typically rank odor of alcohol. Cassock glanced about the Mayor’s modest room.
A single wooden table with three rickety chairs stood alone in the cramped room. Bearing down upon the furniture, the stone walls stood quiet in judgment, disapproving. Three sketches attempted to brighten the unbending nature of the walls. Each portrait was of a different female, all three beautiful. Slightly pointed ears pierced the shaded hair of the youngest female sketch; angled features emphasized the difference between this portrait and the other two. A definite family resemblance linked the first two canvases.
Cassock’s eyes glanced downward, silently examining the worn fur coverings upon the floor. He lifted the delicious ale to his lips, letting its warmth couple with the rugs and nearly making the coolness bearable.
“I must apologize again for your Captain,” the cleric began. “We young folks can be a bit anxious. I’m sure the Captain only meant the best.”
“You need not apologize for my Captain of the Guard. I knew his personality well when I had him replace his father at the post. Leiban’s a bit quick to rouse. But he is a good man, and a better soldier. With a little more time, hopefully, he’ll become a little wiser to the ways of the world.” Mayor Rowen finished his own mug and returned to the kitchen.
“I think you may want to allow the Captain to make his report though,” Cassock added when the Mayor disappeared behind a wall.
“Oh? Why’s that?”
“Ultimately, it is your decision to forward the report along. If you allow Leiban to, at the very least, create this report, then his ego, pride and honor should be satisfied.”
A chuckle preceded the reemergence of the Mayor. “Too bad you weren’t available last year when Leiban’s father passed. You would’ve made a good Captain, possibly even a better mayor than I.” Rowen sat quickly, setting his refilled mug down and sliding Cassock a fresh mug. “Now, if you don’t mind the abrupt segue, why have you come to my town?” The old man’s hazel eyes noiselessly interrogated the seeming warrior.
“Ah. Well, that is quite a long story.” Cassock sipped from the new mug, forcing a respite. “But I would have to ask first, can I trust you?”
Rowen smiled almost knowingly. “If you’re a bandit, then I might have to ask you enjoy the humble furnishings of our cells. At least, until you leave. But fear not, it would be rent free.”
Cassock chuckled. “I’m nothing quite so dastardly, at least in spirit and intent. I am a priest of Cael.” His medallion slid easily from behind the armor.
“Hmmm, a priest of the God of Death. I have townsfolk who believe you should be sleeping in the dungeon.”
“What they don’t know will not hurt them. I’m not here to disturb the peace. Rather, I believe Cael has sent me here to help in your current predicament. You have a young woman in need of rescue. I’m here to do the rescuing.” The last of the new mug of ale was quickly drained. This brew consisted of a sweet flavoring, not unlike a candy Cassock had enjoyed as a child. The priest stood and moved toward the kitchen to refill his own mug. “Of course, I’ll need more information to complete my task. That is, if you’re not going to throw me into the prison.”
The mayor laughed. “No. Religion has no place in politics, in my opinion. You’re welcome to stay here. You may not want to openly display your religion however. Others may not be so tolerant.” Cassock brought to full mugs back to the table. “How much information do you need?”
“Well, I take it no ransom has been asked for.” The mayor shook his head. “Then, what was special about this girl? There must be some reason why she was kidnapped. If not for money then why take her? I need more knowledge about her background.
“Also, I’d like a description of those that attacked the town. I need to know how many and what they looked like so I know what to expect. Give me a full account of the events of today. Did anyone note the direction the attack came from, or the direction the attackers fled?
Taking but a quick breath, the priest continued, “I’d like to know why the prisoners in the dungeon are suspected. If they’re not a part of the kidnapping, then they should be released. Perhaps they can help me track down the true kidnappers, if only to clear their own names.” Cassock lifted the ale, signaling a completion to his requests.
All was quiet for a moment while the mayor collected his own thoughts before beginning. “Ariel was my adopted daughter. That is her face,” he motioned to the portrait of the youngest upon the wall.
“I found her five years ago when she was four. I was out for a walk when I stumbled across a nearly unconscious man in the fields. He was curled oddly upon the ground. I bent down to offer my help and bind any wounds he may have had. He was, after all, resting in a pool of blood.
“But when I touched him, he kicked at me. I fell beside him, but not before seeing the child he was trying to protect. He was elven. It took a lot of convincing for him to allow me to even look at his wounds. The wounds were not deep. The arrows had barely pierced his flesh. Once I removed them, however, I knew the man would not last much longer. The arrows were poisonous, I could tell by the Church’s insignia. The elf had been hunted and wounded.
“He knew his own death was fast approaching. Because of my kindness, he entrusted the child to my care. Her name was Ariel and she was a half-blood. I couldn’t deny him his last wish.” Rowen wiped a rough hand across his eyes seemingly due to tiredness. “So I brought Ariel back to the town. The elf died in the fields and I buried him in an unmarked grave. I’ve raised the child since.”
“What about the other two portraits?” questioned the priest.
“The portrait on the top is…was my wife. She passed away almost ten years ago. The portrait below is Ana, my daughter. She left after her mother’s death.
With a quick clearing of his throat, the mayor continued, “The band that attacked the town was about twenty-strong. All except one wore a mask. The leader, supposedly, was an elven ranger. Varying accounts portray the other members of varying heights. Some were of average height, but others were dwarfish in stature.
“This is what led to the imprisonment of the other two travelers. One is a half-elf, the other a halfling. It is assumed that they fell behind the raiding party. They’re now resting in the dungeon. I don’t believe they have anything to do with the murders and the kidnapping. They were found to the west of the village. The raiding party headed east however. But, until they’re questioned in public, the townsfolk will demand retribution. The tolerance I’ve worked so hard for my entire life has all but fallen apart in the last twenty-four hours.” Weariness spread its fallow claws through Mayor Rowen.
“You said the brigands wore masks,” Cassock interjected. “What did the masks look like?”
“Oh. They were solid brown except for a black leaf embroidered upon the forehead.”
“And was anything taken aside from the girl?”
“No. She was taken then the brigands set fire to several homes in the area.”
“Mayor Rowen, I don’t think the elves would have taken the girl back by force. They’re not as villainous as the Church’s myths paint them. It could be a rogue elf, however. Also, I don’t think the prisoners had anything to do with the murders. However, I won’t be sure unless I can question them. Could you produce a writ giving me access to the prisoners? Maybe allow me to remove them from the prison? They would be easier to question if not in an uncomfortable setting.”
Gabe Rowen stared at the priest for a moment. “They would probably be in better hands with you. Some of the guards had abused them upon their arrival. I have no problem issuing a writ.” He walked into another room and grabbed a sheet of parchment, jotting instructions quickly with a quill.
As the mayor signed his name, the door to his home swung open. Stepping in, a young woman slid the door closed again. The mayor turned his attention to the intruder and fell backward into his seat, one hand clutching his chest.
"Hi father, I’m home.” Ana smiled.
“Ana…” the words were whispered and pained as they escaped the Mayor’s mouth. He attempted to stand, but only managed to feebly wobble while spilling his ale over the rugs.
“Who is your guest, father?”
Cassock grasped the woman’s hand and brought it to his lips as he bowed. A brief and proper kiss leapt from mouth to hand. While still bowing, the priest spoke. “My lady, I am Cassock of Cael. I am just a priest of an old religion.”
Ana nearly backtracked as Cassock’s medallion reflected light. Instantly, she recognized the symbol as one of those carved into the adamantine box she now owned. She shifted her pack awkwardly and smiled.
“I am Anastrianna Rowen, daughter of the Mayor. It is a pleasure, Cassock. I hope I wasn’t interrupting?” She stared at her father. The old man had barely changed in the near ten years. As thin as ever, with only a slight loss of hair, the rogue noted. Gabe stumbled about the room, placing another mug of ale onto the table and pulling out the third chair.
“Please, sit daughter.” He motioned her over with a wave, but before she could sit, the mayor lunged. His arms wrapped tightly around her in an unbreakable embrace. The tears which had been wiped away before now fled freely down the Mayor’s face. “My gods, the fates take one daughter away and return a lost child all within a day.” Cassock turned slightly away in respect.
Ana pulled free of the embrace and carefully slid into the chair. “What do you mean by that? And what the hell happened to the town? And where did this keep come from?”
“All long stories, dear…”
“Do not fear, lady.” Cassock interrupted. “I am going to retrieve your adopted sister.”
“So you have been hired then by my father? What qualifications do you have?”
“Not hired. I have volunteered. And my God has set me upon this path.”
Ana smirked slightly. “I hope for your sake then it is a good path. The divine only seems to lead people astray anymore.”
Cassock bowed stiffly. “I’m sure it is the right path. If you will excuse me, Mayor and Lady Ana, I have some prisoners to collect.” The priest swiped the writ from the table and, bowing once more, exited the room.
“What other daughter?” Ana turned, now curious, toward her father. Gabe Rowen took his seat next to his child and began his tale.
Wednesday, 10th August, 2005, 06:52 PM #58
Novice (Lvl 1)
Chapter 1: Fate's Weave Continues
...And for my loyal readers....here's another update (albeit brief)...
Cassock slid quietly between the commoners. With controlled effort, he silenced his armor, as much as possible. The background was filled with a din of noise; barely controlled terror and anger rippling like a stream upon the voices. He kept moving, forbidding the private discussions access to his mind. His task lay before him. All else was merely distraction.
Two conscripts stood wearily beside the iron door into the dungeon. With eyelids drooping, both appeared exhausted. Cassock moved for the door and the guards snapped to attention. They moved to block the door, shields guarding their torsos and longswords at the ready.
“Wha’ ye doin,” grunted the older and hopefully wiser of the men.
“I’m here to collect the prisoners.” Cassock slowly lifted the parchment.
The guard snatched the paper and unfolded it. “The Cap’n said those whelps don’ leave.”
“That may be. However, I’m sure the word of the mayor overrules your Captain’s orders.” Cassock smiled smugly. The guard was attempting to read the parchment upside down.
The second, younger guard leaned in to look at the parchment. Noticing the position of the writ, he flipped the paper. Quickly he glanced down the orders.
I hereby authorize the removal of the prisoners by the man presenting this writ. The prisoners will be transferred to his custody, and will now be his burden at least until the day of their public judgment. Furthermore, any crimes that may be committed by the prisoners during the course of their temporary release shall be this man's responsibility.
Authorized on this day in 576 A.E.
~Mayor Gabriel X. Rowen
“Thank you.” Cassock grabbed the writ as he passed. However, the guard grabbed his shoulder.
“You’ll need a guide.”
“No I won’t. I’ll be fine.”
“Eh…well, you’ll need a torch at least.”
Cassock pivoted a bit, and brought his stare in closely to the conscript. His black iris-less pupils bore into the man’s own eyes.
“No. I won’t.” Cassock slipped into the chamber and pulled the door closed behind, preventing further interruptions.
Quiet murmurs from filled holding cells followed the priest down the hallway. With his gifted vision, he could see prisoners huddled in the cells. They blindly looked for the noise that would give their intruder’s position away. The darkness was too deep. Cassock did not stop for these others. His task waited at the end, near the flickering torchlight.
A gruff, spiteful laugh echoed along the corridor. The last ten holding cells were empty. A buffer between the common vagabonds and the ‘murderers’, Cassock realized. The laugh sounded again but was accompanied by jingling and a voice.
“At’s right, you lil’ fu**ers. I’ma piss on yur graves ‘omorrow morn. Right after ‘e hangin’!” An obese man strolled out of the farthest cell and into the light. Cassock stopped his approach, staying within the shadows. The watchman struggled to adjust his belt forcing the ring of keys to chirp metallically. Once the belt was tightened and somehow managed not to snap in half, the corpulent man stepped up to the nearer of two cells.
“Fu**in’ half-breeds!” A blob of discolored phlegm erupted from his mouth and flew into the cell. The sound of bare feet pressing lightly against stone preceded a half-elf slamming into wrought iron bars. His arms had extended to grasp the overweight fiend. Stepping back, the watchman eluded the grasp. He smiled maliciously as the prisoner crumpled against the floor. Rasping breath was quickly overcome by a female sob in the furthest cell.
Cassock grimaced. With one hand on his warmace and the other on the writ, he stalked out of the darkness like a spectre.
Thursday, 11th August, 2005, 02:09 PM #59
Novice (Lvl 1)
Thursday, 11th August, 2005, 02:10 PM #60
Novice (Lvl 1)
Chapter 1: Fate's Weave Concluded
The faint torchlight reflected off the red and black links of Cassock’s mail as he pulled to a stop mere inches from the watchman’s face. Cassock had to look down at the short, obese bully. The light flickered as well off the whites of Cassock’s eyes while the pitch-black pupils devoured the rays.
“Guard! Control yourself. You will not be desecrating any graves on the morrow. AND you’ll be releasing the prisoners into my custody.” The priest shoved the writ into the man’s plump hands along with a hearty shove. Shifting backward, the watchman stumbled slightly barely remaining on his feet.
“Oo’ the ‘ell you think you are, peasant!? They’re prisoners! ‘Ere my prisoners, an’ I’ll treats ‘em ‘ow I want!” The watchman slipped his hand onto his sap, curling his fat fingers around the blood and flesh permanently joined to the rough leather.
“It’s all in the writ.” The watchman grumbled and released his sap, proceeding to read the letter. His face fell in horror or shock, Cassock knew not which. Quickly, a bright red hue flooded the cheeks of the guard as he returned the writ. Mumbling, the watchman reached cautiously for his keys.
The guard skulked toward the cells and quickly unlocked both. The heavy doors swung open, easily and silently. Cassock peered at the prisoners. Both were unclothed, although with a quick glance no one would have noticed. Thick purple and black bruises spread over their entire bodies, crisscrossing muscles and joints. With the dried blood, the prisoners almost seemed to be fully dressed. The halfling was curled in a corner, hands covering her naked torso. When the watchman approached, she shrunk back to near nonexistence.
“Did you do this to them, guard?” Cassock’s voice was cold, hardened steel. He could feel the anger energizing his limbs.
The watchman stifled another malicious laugh, “Course not. They was like this when they came into my charge.” A wholly unbelievable grin crossed his face.
“Liar!!!” The halfling threw propriety to the four winds as she leapt from her position and attacked the watchman. Her nails couldn’t puncture the hardening layer of lard, or the guard’s armor, however. The sudden weight caused the guard to step backward, he grasped for his sap again and raised it in an attack.
As his arm swung, a hollow whir split the air. Cassock’s warmace collided with the watchman’s hand. The guard shrieked as his fingers snapped unnaturally backward, bones splintering through the flesh. The sap landed impotently against the stone wall, covered as always in blood.
“You will not lay one hand on my prisoners. I think its time you learned some manners. I will be giving Mayor Rowen a full report of your behavior and activities. Also, I will take these prisoners directly to the mayor, so he can decide on a proper punishment for your mistreatment.” Cassock slid the warmace quickly back into its leather loop. He stooped downward, picking up the keys and with his other hand ushered the halfling out of the cell.
“Until the mayor has had a chance to decide your punishment, feel free to enjoy your stay in that cell.” Cassock kicked the door close, hearing the lock snap into place. “Grab your gear, child. And tell me if anything is missing.” Cassock moved to the next cell and leaned over the half-elf. With a quick prayer, healing energy flowed through Cassock and into the prisoner. The halfling brought Aramil’s clothing over and both dressed quickly, slightly embarrassed by the priest’s presence.
“Is everything there?”
“Yes. All our gear is here,” the halfling responded.
“Good. Oh, and watchman, next time, be careful who you address as ‘peasant’. If any of their wounds are permanent, I shall see you before the next inquisition.” Abruptly turning on his heel, Cassock led the pair of prisoners into the darkness.
Last edited by Funeris; Friday, 19th August, 2005 at 02:37 PM.
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