Author Topic: Wolves of War: House Dodger  (Read 850 times)

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Topic Start: July 18, 2016, 06:01:52 AM »
I recently found a bunch of old RPs from my different chars, so I'm  going to compile them all here. Unfortunately many of my favorites have been lost, and these that remain are no more than scattered episodes written over the last two years, so there is no cohesive narrative. I will attempt to summarize context where I can.

We begin with the unexpected arrival of an unknown nobleman to Askileon, after being lost at sea for many years...
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #1: July 18, 2016, 06:08:51 AM »
The battered husk of what was once a proud ship limped into the docks of Askileon, its tattered,  flaccid sails catching one last breath of wind, like a dying man fain to see the other side but too far gone to fight.
The city's dockmaster dug furiously at his right nostril as the wreck crept in. Extracting a choice morsel, he examined his crusty prize studiously before tucking it away between lip and gum. A gull cried. He paid no mind to the wreck or its captain; such a ship was neither enemy frigate nor merchant schooner, and if there was no alarm to be raised, no bribe to be bribed, then let the salty fools handle their own mooring.

There was something in the captain's shout that shook the dockmaster from his reverie, a strength and confidence that rung across the harbor like steel on steel, or perhaps the crashing of a purse of gold cast heedless upon some high hall's marble floor.

"Damn it, Thursday!"

The ship was a strong breeze away from the river's bottom, the words made no sense, and none of the usual Empire men had told him to expect a special guest, but the shiver down the dockmaster's spine told all. This man was nobility, and more than that, a warrior. He swallowed his snack and hustled to the dock, stepping to the tune of the nobleman's rage and indignation, all of which seemed to be directed at a day of the week.

"Is today even Thursday?" He mumbled to himself, nervous and bewildered. "Ah well, at least it's not me he's cussin'. Ho there!" He shouted up at the ship's passengers,  which he could now see were two, neither one less ragged than the other. The one doing all the shouting  was tall and long in the legs, longer still of burnt gold hair and beard, both of which were shot through with streaks of grey. The target of his loud and eloquent abuses was a shorter man, strong and stocky, of swarthy skin and coal-black hair and beard. Neither had felt the barber's touch for months, if not years.
"Ho there! " he shouted again, hoping to be heard.
"Ho yourself! " the captain shouted back from the helm, at last casting a baleful gaze down at the dockmaster, who shrunk beneath the power of the nobleman's half-mad stare, the kind of gaze that pierces through a man like so much glass, as if he were no more material than the air itself. The dockmaster barely noticed as the other man began casting down lines.

"Well don't just stand there!" The command shook the dockmaster from his terrified stupor, his ears waking to the sound of the hempen ropes thudding onto the planks of the dock around him. Frantically he began securing the ship. No sooner were two lines tied than assorted baggage began raining down around him as well, making the process a bit like dodging arrows in a siege. The captain was cursing Thursday,  the blackhaired man was hurling luggage, and the dockmaster was considering once again how he really should be getting a better salary.

The lines were all tied and the dockmaster had just begun picking up the assorted crates, bags and satchels strewn across the dock when the ship's gangplank came crashing down with a thunderous crack, splitting a plank of the dock and frightening the dockmaster half to death, so much so that he dropped all the luggage and had to begin picking it up all over again.

A noble procession in miniature commenced  down the gangplank,  the swarthy man flanking the noble captain, who walked with the air of a king home from war, no small feat considering his legs were obviously reacting poorly to land's firm stance against them. His right hand held fast to the pommel of a sword at his waist, his left clasped the last scraps of what once must have been a magnificent sable cloak to his shoulder. As he reached the dock, he looked about with disdain.

"Where should I.." the dockmaster began, but the nobleman silenced him with an upraised palm, his eyes roving the harbor and the city beyond. The dockmaster was sweating beneath the weight of the luggage, the hernia he'd been battling for months on the brink of intestinal victory.

At last the nobleman spoke, his voice betraying an Eastern accent. "What is this place?" he asked.

"This is Askileon, greatest city in the world, your.. my.. uh, sir," the dockmaster gasped. What did they call nobles in the east, anyway?

The nobleman raised an eyebrow. "Smells like a fish market."

The dockmaster grimaced, nodding politely. "These are the docks, sir."

"Smells like a brothel in a drought," the nobleman murmured,  distracted. He nodded to himself, as if the matter was settled,  and marched off wobbling toward land.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 12:19:25 AM by JDodger »
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #2: July 18, 2016, 06:18:23 AM »
(I believe we miss one rp in between here, one of my favorites which showed the serious side of jonn's personality (which became the only side of his personality over time) as he first goes off to Forland to fight the southern league. we catch up with him in Sir Woolston O'Deathh's camp on the eve of the massive and bloody battle of Thar Gortauth a couple campaigns later...)

Late was the hour, and the oil-lamps and campfires played at madness, sending shadows dancing in all directions. The encampment of the Damned United grumbled softly against the night, against the fervid silence of the eve of great battle. Far off in the distance, the intermittent winding of Dharan war-horns on the march, each soft-arriving blast a thunderbolt in the dark. A red day for the proud men of Luria, outnumbered and unyielding in their camps, come the sunrise.

The sudden approach of hooves sent a tremor through the camp. All noise ceased save the loosening of swords in their scabbards, the soft slap of wood on flesh as pikes were palmed. A surprise attack? Had the Dharans sent an advance force under cover of darkness, the far-off horns a ruse? The seconds stretched out into eternity.

At last a signal was given. A ripple of relief passed through the camp as the watchman gave the all-clear, and the palisade gates were thrown open to welcome the unannounced guests.

Eight riders materialized out of the gloom, their head clad in all black, hooded and cloaked. The encampment burst forth in a gale of cheer as the pair who flanked him came into view, for one bore a stark black banner, the sign of House Dodger and the Wolves of War, at whose side the United had fought in the skirmishes along the road to Thar Gortauth. Four riders followed these first three, soldiers all in black, and in the rear a man dressed in the grey vestments of a healer, riding a mule. These latter five bore great rucksacks to either side of their saddles.

The lead rider dismounted, followed closely by the two who had flanked him, and cast off his hood with a flourish. A tumble of long golden curls flowed forth, held back only by a slender circlet of spun truesilver, which glowed with a light uncast by moon or flame. Jonn Dodger, head of House Dodger of the Dark Isle, now Knight of Askileon, beamed as Lord Woolston O'Deathh of Niselur, now himself a foreign Knight of the Silver City, strode forth to greet his guest. They clasped forearms firmly, exchanging warm greetings as the usual pleasantries as the encampment once more burst into cheer; the rucksacks had been thrown open, and the riders began distributing their contents freely among the assembled men: smoked redfish, wrapped in grape leaves, and great loaves of black bread.

"Excuse the late hour of my coming, Sir Woolston," said Sir Jonn, clasping the Niselurian by the shoulder. "I would have availed myself of the hospitality of your camp before now, except that we found ourselves preoccupied with taking the region for the Realm, and once that deed was done, a brief fishing trip along the coast. Now I fear it may be our last chance to sup together in peace, as tomorrow brings us unwelcome guests to share our food and board, and I know not what kind of appetite these D'Haran lords possess. If you do not object, let us repair to your command tent, and we'll share a morsel; perhaps, if there is time, you might also share a tale of your realm that has been lost, for I am fascinated by this land of which I know so little."

Sir Woolston having no objection, he ushered Lord Jonn and his two companions to the command tent at the center of the camp; they were followed by the grey-clad healer, who brought with him the fifth rucksack in silence. This last one made ready to serve the others around Sir Woolston's austere table of undecorated wood as Sir Jonn introduced his companions. The banner-bearer, whose brown teeth never ceased to show for his incessant smiling, was Captain Oswald; the grim-looking man with the dark and foreign complexion was oddly named Thursday, which Sir Jonn mentioned as if nothing were amiss. "And this one," said Sir Jonn, indicating the healer, is Selmon of Askileon, a most competent healer, and more importantly, the best campfire cook I have encountered in all my travels." Selmon looked up briefly, blinking; he did not return Sir Woolston's nod of greeting, but demurely returned to his rucksack.

The conversation flowed as Selmon set forth course after course. A crusty white bread, baked with herbs, served with grapes and goat cheese; smoked redfish with capers (the capers reserved for the noblemen and their closest attendants, of course) upon leaves of spinach; and at last, jars of a curdled milk sweetened with honey. Sir Woolston raised an eyebrow to see such fare served on the eve of battle; he was unused to such luxury in the field. Sir Jonn laughed and sat back in his chair, patting his belly.

"I see you are unused to such things in war, Sir Woolston. You must forgive me; I fear I am a bit of an epicure, and an expert in procuring what sates my tastes. You see, I come from the Dark Isle, in the far-flung Far East. It is a land rich neither in resources nor gold; my people long ago learned that the fine things in life are taken by the sword. I am a descendant of bandit princes, and a bit of a privateer myself; in my youth I was known to predate upon the Southron merchants that braved the waters around my homeland, merchants being far too wealthy for commoners, and foreigners besides. I have found this region of Thar Gortauth quite hospitable for my tastes, and I and my men have availed ourselves of her hospitality quite liberally." He laughed again, and Sir Woolston could not help but laugh along.

"So come, my dear comrade-in-arms, and help me finish this meal; we have brought enough for breakfast as well, and if those maddening war-horns are any sign, our guests shall arrive with the sunrise. We have brought a different meal for them, a splendid feast; so let us enjoy these hours before dawn, and then we'll fete our foreign friends, and give them a taste of Lurian hospitality."
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #3: July 18, 2016, 06:29:51 AM »
(after the fall of Aveston, Imperial Magistrate Aldrakar requested the nobles of Luria to send him exceptional swords. seeing that no one had done so and eager to increase his standing in the realm, Jonn rises to the task...)

"Someone to see you, m'lord."

Aldrakar looked up from his work at his man-at-arms, surprised. An unannounced caller before sunrise, in wartime no less. Even in a well-guarded city like Shinnen this was unexpected.

"Who is it?"

"Couldn't say, m'lord. Man don't speak." The guard shifted uncomfortably as he seemed to search for something more satisfactory. "Ah! He wore a brooch, though,  m'lord, a sigil, if you like. Some wolves and a bird, and some funny letters. Seen a banner like it once, on our side of the lines."

"Sir Jonn's sigil," Aldrakar mused, more to himself than the guard. "Yes, a knight in Lord Idesbald's service. See the man in."

The guard nodded, smiling, and left for a moment before returning with the man in question. Aldrakar was struck by his most singular appearance; broad of stature, skin near as dark as the sable fur in which he was cloaked. He dressed all in black, from jerkin to boots, a most richly dressed messenger, and tucked under one arm a quite long and slender box, itself wrapped in a rich sable fur. The brooch in question, more of a clasp really, was indeed the sigil of House Dodger; two wolves rampant flanking a shield, a crow or perhaps a raven above, and some words in a foreign script below. Where was Sir Jonn from again? Some island somewhere, who could keep track these days.

More striking than both the rich quality of his dress and the shape of the parcel he carried, though, was his face. Keen eyes peered out from beneath bushy eyebrows and over a pronounced nose to take in Aldrakar's lodgings with a steely regard, until they came to rest impassively on the Imperial Magistrate himself, whom he seemed to observe a moment with no more interest than that which he had shown for the furnishings.

After taking a moment, as if to confirm for himself that Aldrakar was indeed the man he sought, the messenger sketched a bow, more of a nod really, and with his free hand withdrew from beneath his cloak a rolled and sealed parchment, which he extended toward Aldrakar without a word.

A bit taken aback, Aldrakar cleared his throat. "It is customary for messengers in our realm to announce themselves and their purpose, but since you and your liege are foreign to our lands, perhaps.." Aldrakar shook his head and blinked, a strange morning indeed. "I am Aldrakar Renodin, Imperial Magistrate of Luria Nova,  Lord of Giask. And you are?"

The man's eyes laughed, and with scroll in hand gestured to his mouth, shaking his head. Not a word, indeed. Perhaps a mute, then, strange choice for a messenger. Aldrakar sighed and gestured for his attendant to retrieve the scroll. This being done, he broke the seal with the knife he kept for the purpose and unrolled the parchment. Before reading, he looked up. "You may put the box down, if you like," he told the messenger, who placed it delicately upon the table that separated them. Aldrakar began to read:

"To Lord Aldrakar Renodin, Margrave of Giask, Imperial Magistrate of Luria Nova.

I hope this letter finds you in good health and humor. I send it to you from Shinnen Purlieus just before travelling to Garuck Udor, in the hands of my most trusted associate, Thursday. I hope his peculiarities have caused you no offense. His muteness I believe to be cultural rather than biological, his people speaking by means of hand signals rrather than the speech of most men; his lack of deference for authority I cannot account for. Regardless there is no man I would rather trust with a task of such import, by virtue of his unflagging loyalty.

I wish to thank you for the kind words you sent to me a day past, as of the writing of this letter. I shall endeavor to deserve such esteem as you expressed, and continue to serve your noble realm faithfully.

There is, of course, the matter of the parcel which accompanies this note, which I trust you shall enjoy. It has pained me to see your recent requests go unanswered by the realm, and upon finding the work of a smith I commissioned in the Purlieus for repairing my men's gear to be far beyond the norm, have decided to fulfil your request with a blade designed especially for the purpose.. celebrate our victory in Aveston.. the smith is a Lurian veteran.. great patriot.."

Aldrakar's heart leapt upon the confirmation of his hope that the case laid before him did indeed contain a sword such as he had requested, and he quickly found he could not concentrate on the rest of the message. The same anticipation he'd felt as a boy gripped him now, his great passion for the stark beauty of well-worked steel. Unable to contain himself, he stood from his chair and drew the sable wrap back from the wooden case. The case was as rich as its covering, a dark mahogany, with the Lurian emblem carved beautifully into the center of the lid. Below it in small letters was carved:

"Commissioned by Sir Jonn of House Dodger, for Lord Aldrakar Renodin in this Spring of the Year Twenty-Nine."

Undoing the steel clasps that held the case shut, Aldrakar raised the lid to reveal its contents. Laid upon a cushion of what else but sable ermine was a blade that near took his breath away. He took it by the hilt and laid the blade across his palm delicately to examine it closer.

The flickering candlelight played across four feet of pattern-welded steel, artistically made to give the impression of ripples on water. The blade was slender and deadly sharp, edge and point; the crossguard curved into thorn-like tips, the pommel hefty and pointed itself. Each part of the sword seemed designed for use in combat, its deadly intent the work of a master swordsman's mind, and yet that took nothing from the weapon's beauty.

The foot and a half long hilt was wrapped in a leather tanned honey-amber, soft to the touch, and at the quillion, the centerpiece of its aesthetic design: the emblem of Luria Nova, the Imperial shield. Its red quarters were of a rich carnelian, the blue, a dark topaz. The double-headed eagle was done in gold, and the shield's border in a brilliant silver. Turning the blade in his hand, Aldrakar saw that the design was repeated on the opposite side in perfect symmetry. Perhaps best of all, the hilt fit perfectly to his palm, and the blade was light and well-balanced for its impressive length.

He shared a glance with the dark messenger, whose eyes smiled to see his obvious reaction to the gift, before returning it to its case and settling to finish the letter.

"I regret my inability to deliver this gift myself, but duty to the realm ever calls, as I am sure you know better than most. I truly hope the blade arrives to you safely, and that you are pleased by it.

As for the matter of the promised reward, I must politely refuse it. My estate in Askileon has made me rich beyond my capacity to spend, and believe me, that is an art in which my capacity is second to none. Thus, should you find it a worthy blade, my sole request is that you apportion some of the gold to restoring the defenses in Poryatown and Aveston, that the weak points of our defense be bolstered.

And good tidings to you and good health, until we meet again.

Your comrade in arms,

Jonn Dodger
Knight of Askileon"
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 12:28:23 AM by JDodger »
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #4: July 18, 2016, 07:23:58 AM »
(we head back home to the dark isle, where unbeknownst to Jonn he has a cousin who is about to come of age)

The forest fell silent, as it always did when she approached.

The two boys stood panting, the fog of their breath filling the early spring air, like puffs of smoke from a smith's chimney when the bellows are put to work. Each bent, hands on their knees, sweating through their linen tunics despite the morning chill, colder still for the closeness of her presence.

The song of the birds had gone silent first, then the clacking of their heavy wooden swords as realization dawned, for they knew the signs. She was sharp-tongued at the best of times, worse when displeased. It was wise to cease all activity and greet her with one's fullest attention.

The ravens would be next, and sure enough they came, silent at first,  filling the treetops with the quiet fluttering of great black wings. They surveyed the two boys from above, their blank black eyes inscrutable, impassive. The weight of the murder's collective gaze was heavy as lead upon them, made worse still by the dread.

They locked eyes a moment, still panting, for they were boys of the First People, soon to be men, and swordplay was no game to them. A dozen scars apiece and fresh bruises and cuts from the morning's practice decorated their young bodies, for they sparred full contact, unafraid of pain. Yet fear now filled their eyes; Kellan Dodger, last of the line of House Dodger of the Mistwood, and his companion Merec, son of Meritt, a commoner, though uncommon for his father's position as Steward of the House, held since the death of Kellan's father in the days of their youth.

This was about to change, as were a great many things,  though they could not have known. For this day was a day shy of Kellan's seventeenth year,  the eve of his ascending the seat of the Mistwood by the tradition of the First People. And so it was only appropriate that she should visit on this day of all days, though her visits were few.

Who can say the reason for the fear the Lady of the Mistwood inspires in the hearts of the bravest; perhaps the ghostly silence of the forest as she comes, or the ravens. Or perhaps they have seen the things that stalk the woods at night, and heard her sing to them in the strange tongues of the ones who walked the Isle in the days before the forests rang with the speech of Men. Perhaps her steely gaze, those eyes that seem to leave the soul bare, naked and shivering,  bereft of all secrets.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 12:30:04 AM by JDodger »
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

Victor C

  • Moderator
  • Noble Lord
  • *
  • Posts: 147
  • I didn't know what to write here, so I wrote this.
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #5: July 20, 2016, 12:02:49 AM »
Quite an interesting bunch of roleplays.

I enjoy suspenseful situations which is why I probably enjoyed the last roleplay the most. It's a shame you didn't write more.
"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." - Ronald Reagan

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #6: July 20, 2016, 12:55:52 AM »
thanks, there will be more once i find time to dig thru the random mess i found these in. sadly many of them are incomplete, intended to have followups i never wrote.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

Gabanus family

  • Board Moderator
  • Mighty Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 1121
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #7: July 20, 2016, 11:01:04 AM »
thanks, there will be more once i find time to dig thru the random mess i found these in. sadly many of them are incomplete, intended to have followups i never wrote.

Have read some of them and look awesome, have to get through the rest though. And I know the feeling of the not following up, some things just get lost in all events and stuff to do :)
New account active chars:
Garas: First Oligarch - Goriad: Astrum - Goriad II: Obia'Syela

Bronnen

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #8: July 20, 2016, 03:56:06 PM »
Oh god, I remember when they first implemented sea travel, I had one of my characters find a giant sea wyrm and kill it, then he turned into a pirate and made the wyrm his ship. He literally floated along in the rotting carcass of a giant snake and raided ships (rp wise he did)

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #9: June 29, 2017, 01:42:06 AM »
(Jonn got bored of Luria when the southern league war slowed down, and is drawn back to the far east by the anti-Sartanist war, concerned that Arcaea will invade the Dark Isle again. At this point he is in Cathay, who seem to be winning at this point, ironically trying to get them to make peace with Sorraine and trading with Kellan on the Isle, who we rejoin some time later as General of Coralynth and a much wealthier young noble...)

Kellan spat in the dirt. Hunting monsters was no fun with so many damn archers around. "Time to string up the bow again," he muttered to no one in particular.

He'd seen Lord Grathe show up just in time to watch the fun. While the archers ran to collect arrows and trophies they approached each other from across the lines, clasped forearms. They exchanged small talk as their men packed up for the next leg of the journey.

A short ride brought them to the shore, where Kellan gave Grathe the grand tour of the new dockyard. The docks themselves weren't much to look at, but the ships were another story.

The early arrivals were all connected to Lord Jonn one way or another. Lurian galleons that looked more like military vessels than mercantile unloaded glasswares, coal and stone. The big-bellied carracks with the colorful sails were from the traders of Garuck Udor, who brought linens, spices and horses. Big lumbering junks from Cathay brought in silks, precious stones, and most importantly steel, which Lord Jonn had praised as the best in the world.

And gold, lots and lots of gold. Most ships took on even more than they unloaded, and both Northern lords were set to make a killing on tariffs alone. Timber and furs were the main commodities in Rapael, and the ships from Dwilight took special interest in these. The Cathayans mostly loaded on barrel after barrel of salt fish.

"It's the glacier," Kellan explained. "All the fish that used to be in the south are here now. Lord Jonn says it's changed the currents in the ocean."

A pavilion was set up by the shore where they ate and watched the ships as they loaded and unloaded, came and went. Some back home, some on to Itomazh, where they'd pick up salt and ceramics and more fish. Kellan absentmindedly considered investing in a salt industry for Rapael - it'd take years to pay off, but maybe - and on placing limits on foreign fish sales. With the prices the Cathayans were paying, the domestic market was going to take a beating. Not good for a bad farming year.

One of Lord Grathe's men interrupted the meal with news of monsters in Mnalor. They finished their meals quickly and stood to prepare for the march.

"You never told me where the money came from," Grathe commented as they headed off to gather their men. He gestured at the docks, no cheap undertaking.

"I'm sworn to secrecy," Kellan replied. He laughed as Lord Grathe raised an eyebrow. "No, really. Lord Jonn hasn't told me much, and what he has I'm sworn to never reveal."

Grathe shrugged his shoulders, made to leave. "Wait," Kellan said, "speaking of oaths, I got word from Lord Jonn when we got back to the Isle."

Grathe grinned.

"You did too, I guess," Kellan said laughing. "I thought as much. After this little hunt in Mnalor I'm headed to Soniel; after that we'll gather everyone up in Enlod and make it official."

They clasped forearms again and split up to rally their men.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 01:51:35 AM by JDodger »
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #10: June 29, 2017, 01:57:55 AM »
(Jonn visits the Isle to win the swordfighting tournament in Enlod celebrating the brief peace in the Far East and to officially reestablish the Order of the Khalkar on the Dark Isle, referred to just previously. While there he gets the news that the peace has been shattered by the plotting of Sorraine and Claudio Kabrinski, Cathays army has been slaughtered in Colasan. He arrives back in Cathay no longer a peacemaker, but head of its army in a war that seems impossible...)


Upon the highest rampart of the Farsight Wall of Taop a lone figure stood. Tall, dark, brooding, his erect and noble posture and impassive gaze hid well the turmoil of a troubled mind.

Lord Jonn wrapped his sable cloak tighter around himself as an icy gust kicked up from the south. He smiled grimly as he thought of his uncle Habbo, who so many years before had walked these very walls alone. That was a different time, a different war, but not so different after all.

The city had flown another banner then, the shield-and-swords of Antoza. Now a golden lion danced in the stiff wind, winter's last assault upon these walls until the cycle of seasons brought winter back anew. It would be a cold spring. It was always cold in Cathay these days.

Jonn thought fondly of the balmy southern shores of the Euschean sea, far away now, of his seaside estate in Garuck Udor, a land he'd won for his deeds in a war he'd half forgotten. He had been happy there for a time, occupied with the needs of his people and his Udorian wives, his union with whom had sealed his alliance with the proud and independent Udorian merchant lords. They had made him rich and happy, and they would walk together on the beach at night and make love under the stars.

He missed them. Talea had been pregnant when duty called him back to the Far East, and she remained in Garuck Udor in the care of her father Fabri, the richest of the Udorian native nobility, whose wealth exceeded even that of many of the Lurian high lords whose rule he begrudgingly accepted as safe and profitable. Jonn had not yet had word of the child, who should have been born by now. Yet another weight on his mind.

He had brought with him Shayna, daughter of Kemros, the second richest man in Garuck Udor and Fabri's bitterest rival until Jonn had brought their families together. But she too was far away now. They had been in Enlod when word came of the Sartanists' treacherous attack on Cathay, and Jonn had been forced to make the difficult decision of leaving her behind in the care of his people. Kellan and Merrit would take good care of her, and she would learn the ways of the First People, Jonn's people, the natives of the Isle.

The Lord Marshal laughed, a sudden moment of joy to warm him against the wind. How strange to be in Taop while old Merrit and Kellan son of Habbo were on the Isle. His mirth was short lived as he recalled Merrit's accounts of the war between Antoza and the Grand Alliance, seven strong realms against one, which had ended upon these very walls. A great many of the Antozan nobles had taken their own lives rather than surrender. He hoped it would not come to that for Cathay. He would not let it come to that for Cathay.

In war, hope is more valuable than gold or good steel. Desperation can be even better, but it must be tempered with courage and a determination to at least die with one's sword drawn and teeth bared. Jonn had never much believed in the courage of mainlanders, but he hoped the Cathayans were a different breed.

"The last of the free kingdoms," he sighed into the wind. The lion banner above flapped its somber reply.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #11: June 29, 2017, 03:13:30 AM »
(Enter Kilhorn and one of my favorites, Captain Heimar. There are VERY SADLY  :( two of my favorite writings ever missing at the front of this tale plus another that was fun. Brief recap:

Kilhorn is so weird its impossible to write from his perspective, which I invite you to interpret as you will. The stories are told from common as muck, jaded soldier Heimar's perspective. Heimar was captain of Jonn's last two units and Kilhorn's only unit on Dwilight. Yes, three straight Captain Heimars.

The first story was a character intro in which Heimar tells his yellow eyed, sharpened teethed, bark-skinned new Lord about a scout report or something and Kilhorn just sits in the sun ignoring him. It lasts about two paragraphs and ends with "Sir Kilhorn lay in the midday sun, his strange skin glistening as if covered in oil," or something like that. I wrote that, died laughing and hit send, it was complete.

The second story introduces the fact that they are drug runners and pirates and due to a really long sailing bug takes place on a ship headed for Fissoa's Isle of Madina illegally to conduct raids during peace talks that is caught in a doldrums. All Heimar and a growing cast of cronies want to do is die high. All I can hope is it turns up one day in some random file.

Third story they got all riled up about potentially being punished as pirates and got ran off the Island by Baal Zephon Beldragos, the "green priest" and his militia. With barely twenty gold to show for all their trouble. They could take consolation in the fact they wouldn't need to worry about piracy charges... Kilhorn had a trump card to deliver to a man in Shinnen, and while nothing went as they would plan, it would all come out right in the end...)
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #12: June 29, 2017, 03:15:07 AM »
The Heart of Palms was an enchanted place, Heimar thought. The way the sunlight filtered through the high fronds, the wind sweeping down from the canopy of the thicker palms around it. "A place of powerful energy," Sir Kilhorn had called it. Their guide had brought them here the first time,  now Sir Kilhorn led the way.

The rest of the men had envied those few who made the first trip. Heimar had been Sir Kilhorn's first choice, to his surprise. He expected to be left in command of the Ravens as they made the long grip to Giask via Irvington.

Instead he had saddled up alongside Sir Kilhorn, Rather and Tusk and Mama, who rode with another horse tied behind. The rest of the men were under command of Malkin, Heimar's second, who was given the captain's uniform and insignia to wear in his stead. The less questions,  the better.

As the rest of the Ravens marched southeast to Nuas, Sir Kilhorn led them north through the trees of Kamade. Their sure-footed horses tread silently across the thick carpet of fallen leaves, their riders mindful of every muffled sound through the thick forest.

Half a day's ride brought them to the Dead Forest, the southern edge of the Palm Sea. Here the desert sands had invaded the forest, choking out the life therein. Broken and dessicated trunks stood like stakes pounded into the earth, their sharpened edges guarding the army of green behind.

And yet within sight was the beginning of a forest of another kind, a sea of green waves glimmering with the reflection of the sun. Sir Kilhorn circled his horse at a canter until a great column of dusty sand flew up. And soon another cloud of dust was seen, the slow-growing worm of a caravan making its way across the sands, leaving the cover of the palms.

The arrangement had already been made by the Udorian merchant-lord Fabri, and few words were needed for the transaction. The native merchant was given five horses in exchange for four camels. The camels were to be re-exchanged with his cousin in Vaal, who would provide them with four hardy riding horses to take them north.

The merchant also provided a young guide, himself mounted on a camel worthy of the best of the caravan guard. Silent, he led them under the edge of the Sea, motioning for them to cover their faces. Glances were exchanged, but Sir Kilhorn drew his scarf tight around his nose and mouth, and drew his hood down over his eyes without a word.

Heimar and Rather and Tusk followed his lead,  and they would soon be glad they did. As they made their way into the sun-blotting shade of the Sea they heard it, a hollow roaring, growing before them. The wind plucked at their garments as the camels protested quietly beneath them.

The boy guide chattered at them in his language as they moved closer and closer to the roaring. Soon a hiss was heard all around them and beneath them. In the dim green-tinged light, Heimar could see just enough to know that the sand was shifting around the plodding feet of his camel. He fought against the surge of terror growing in his chest.

The boy's chatter turned to singing as the dark grew darker and the sand grew higher. Soon it was whipping about his ankles, and the roaring was all around. The camels grunted and groaned with fear, the boy's voice and its bright melody maddening in the terror surrounding them.

And just as it was at its worst, and the whipping sands reached his waist, hissing the promise of drowning on dust, the camels suddenly fell into file. And soon they were breaking through, and in the blinding glare of the sun Heimar could see that they were in a new place entirely.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #13: June 29, 2017, 03:34:02 AM »
(Business handled in Shinnen, they refit in Askileon after a long trip. On the coast of Garuck Udor, a welcome party awaits)

The march back to the Silver City was uneventful until they reached the bridge of Ciarin.

It was always a breathtaking sight, the ancient bridge; stretching across the great Strait of Ciarin, miles long, it dominated one's vision and imagination as soon as it came into view.

Yet it was not the bridge that occupied Heimar's thoughts as the Ravens marched along the coastal cliffs, but the bright and many-colored mass that shifted and danced around the small village at the bridge's northern end. Step by plodding step the colors became shapes, the shapes figures; men and horses and camels and carriages.

An Udorian caravan. And from its size, it was not difficult to guess to whom it belonged.

The shape of Fabri men Bolkos was easy enough to discern, even from a mile out. No other man of such girth could have handled a horse with such grace, wheeling and cantering his proud Udorian stallion at the head of the caravan train, kicking up a cloud of dust to greet them as his followers assembled.

Sir Kilhorn rode ahead to greet the greatest of the Udorian merchant-lords, his cousin's father by law. He motioned for Heimar and Malkin to join him. With a shrug to Tusk and Rather, Mama and Kipping, Heimar spurred his horse to catch up.

Lord Fabri was a rare man, the kind of man whose weight only added to his gravitas. He sat upon his graceful Udorian steed as if born in the saddle, his prodigious belly resting comfortably upon the horse's back, his eyes sharp and unwavering. He smiled broadly as Sir Kilhorn approached, ignoring the two soldiers at his side.

"Ah, cousin," he exclaimed, extending an arm to embrace Sir Kilhorn as their horses drew within reach of each other. "I am hearing of your victories day and night. I trust my kinsmen in the northern desert showed you appropriate hospitality?"

Sir Kilhorn replied something in his usual rasping whisper, which sent Fabri into deep, sonorous gales of laughter. Heimar shook his head; while most men shivered to see Sir Kilhorn, Fabri seemed to find him endlessly entertaining.

"Ah," Fabri cried suddenly, "I had almost forgotten. Talea, my daughter! Come show our Knight our newest kinsman." With this he snapped his fingers twice, as if summoning a servant, and from behind him a camel lumbered forth, led by a dark-skinned driver. Upon its back was a huge and colorful hawdah, a kind of large box meant for comfortable human transport, its sides draped richly in multicolored textiles.

Heimar's heart skipped a beat, for he knew that within it was one of the greatest beauties of the world. He had been everywhere from the utmost shore of Morek to the Fissoan Isle and never seen her like. He had lain with the finest women of the finest brothels from north to south, and yet he knew he would never taste such perfection.

Talea men Fabri, wife of Lord Jonn Dodger, drew back the hawdah's curtain with a flawless hand. Her head was covered in silk and golden thread, her neck and wrists blazed with jewels of a dozen hues. Her eyes were dark and heavy-lidded, rimmed with black kohl; her lips were full and moist and expressive; her cheekbones high and noble.

Yet it was what she held in her arms that drew Heimar's gaze. A tiny figure wrapped in bold red linen, its wrinkled face greeting the Ciarin sunset with a squalling cry, its miniature hands balled in miniature fists as if ready for a fight. A born warrior, a son of the Isle and Garuck Udor both. Lord Jonn's son.

Talea presented the child in hushed tones to Sir Kilhorn, who regarded the babe as one might a chicken or a duck at market. He quickly turned to converse with Lord Fabri, and the two rode off a short distance to discuss matters unheard.

Heimar waited until their backs were turned before easing his mount toward the hawdah. Talea smiled to see him, and his heart threatened to give out entirely.

"Captain Heimar," she greeted him smiling, her Udorian accent only slightly thicker than her father's. "So good to see you after such time."

"M'lady," he replied with a slight bow. He could not take his eyes from the child. "May I?"

"Of course," she said, holding the baby out for his inspection. Heimar extended a callused finger, which was quickly grasped in a tiny, chubby hand.

"So strong," he murmured, overwhelmed. "What have you named him?"

"Jonn Shintuk," she replied smiling, wrinkling her nose as if the words themselves were odd and wondrous. "As his father wished, should the child be a boy. His people have such strange names." Her laughter was like windchimes in a gentle breeze. Heimar could only stare as the baby pulled at his finger, eager to explore all the wonders of a new and unfamiliar world.

His reverie was broken by a deep and commanding voice behind him. "Ho, Lurian! Who dares approach my sister?"

Heimar wheeled his mount to face the source of the challenge, and his face broke into a smile to see Telos, eldest son of Fabri, and sometime soldier in Lord Jonn's Ravensguard. "Ho, Udorian," he replied, "who dares let months pass without word to his comrades?"

Telos laughed, and they embraced over the manes of their horses. A glint of steel caught Heimar's eye, and he raised Telos' saddle-blanket with a quizzical eyebrow raised. Telos shoved Heimar's hand away with a disapproving grunt, covering once more a wicked-sharp killeen, the deadly saber of the Udorians.

"We have some matters to take care of," he murmured in a gruff whisper. "This night I ride with you."

Heimar did not have time to press his old friend for more, for Sir Kilhorn was suddenly behind him, tapping his shoulder. "Come," the yellow-eyed Knight rasped, "there is work to be done."

Heimar did not want to know, but he asked anyway. "What is it, my liege?"

"Unwelcome competition," Sir Kilhorn rasped, and with that he wheeled his steed and rode back toward the column. Telos nodded, and they both spurred their horses.

Heimar took one last long look at the baby, fading off into the distance, before he and his mother and the hawdah were all lost in a cloud of dust.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
    • View Profile
Re: Wolves of War: House Dodger
« Reply #14: July 01, 2017, 06:48:27 AM »
Heimar shrugged, smoked a joint, and lived happily ever after.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.