Author Topic: The Continued Adventures of House Dodger  (Read 530 times)

JDodger

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The Continued Adventures of House Dodger
« Topic Start: April 14, 2019, 04:08:04 AM »
The night was dark, and somewhere in the distance an inhuman shriek rent the chilly air.

An old man picked his way through the ancient ruined shell of a noble manor in Gor Ault.

Had Heimar been the kind of man for musing, he might have mused at the irony of his situation. Alone in a lost and monster-infested land, surrounded by all the dread of dark and creaking boards and spiders and Creator knows what else scurrying off into the gloom, he feared none of it half so much as he feared the very thing he sought.

But Heimar was not a man for musing. He was an old soldier, burned out from too many battles and too much raaha smoke to cover the pain of lost friends. So he did not muse. He pushed aside his fears, his very thoughts, consigned them to the dark place behind the well-built walls of his soul, and continued on his mission.

The thing he sought - and it was a thing, for what other word can describe that which cannot be called human, and yet is not spirit, nor elf, nor beast, and yet moves as though it had will, and sense, and kills and kills again? - was somewhere within these crumbling walls, somewhere in the shrieking plains of Gor Ault where man was predator or prey or long gone.

Heimar had been sent by a master he'd once loved to find this thing to which he had somehow become bound, this killing machine that had turned his life into a nightmare unending, this yoke he thought he'd escaped twice, only to be dragged back under its crushing weight. That weight had smothered all love in his heart, until all that was left was duty unshirkable and the yearning for the release of death.

For now, Heimar believed, death was his only escape.

He found it collapsed in a dusty corner, like a doll tossed aside by a storming child. The yellowy eyes stared blankly off at empty darkness. The cruel mouth twisted in a meaningless grimace, exposing sharpened teeth behind the cracked and ragged lips. The clawlike hands twitched intermittently, spasmodically, on the ends of arms askew, splayed out at angles unnatural to the human form.

Heimar drew in a slow breath, shoved his hands into his pockets as he looked down at it. Was there life within? If so, it showed no sign of seeing him or sensing his presence. He thought - but perhaps it was the wind through the cracks in the rotting walls, but he thought - he could hear shallow rasping breaths.

He hoped against hope that he was too late, that he would fail in this "last" duty and go back to his peaceful life as a beggar in the streets of Agyr. But he knew better. As he drew forth the stone chip the nameless Khalkar brother had thrust into his hand by surprise as he sat smoking on the docks, he could feel the power within it surging forth as it never had.

It had led him here, and now he must complete the mission.

The thing stirred even before he pressed the stone to its convulsing palm, a great creaking shudder up from the base of the spine to the base of the skull. Heimar drew back and fought the urge to vomit.

"Can't be helped," he muttered to himself after a moment. "Made an Oath..."

Forcefully, he pressed the stone into the outstretched palm. A wheezing gasp racked the  supine form, the spine arching toward the ceiling. Heimar backed away as it siezed and shuddered, rasping groans grinding forth from between the desiccated lips.

At last the limbs shot out at crazed angles, the yellowed eyes opened fully, the mouth opened, and a rasping scream worse than that of a tortured animal burst forth from between the sharpened teeth. Then it collapsed, and was silent.

Heimar hoped again, briefly. But the thing stirred, slowly this time, the claws seeking purchase on the warped floorboards, turning itself, forcing itself to its hands and knees.

The head rose slowly, lanky hair parting to reveal the strange, barklike skin of a face halfway between human and monster. The yellow eyes glinted. It bared its sharpened teeth in a savage, bestial grin.

"Captain... Heimar," it rasped.

Heimar drew breath, fighting the wave of nausea that threatened to overwhelm him.

"Lord Kilhorn," he said, clearing his throat. "You have been assigned a task."

If a tool of murder can be said to smile, the thing known as Kilhorn Dodger smiled.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

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Re: The Continued Adventures of House Dodger
« Reply #1: April 19, 2019, 09:38:23 AM »
Kellan strode up and down the length of the allied camp, giving orders here and suggestions there. He was only of average height and appearance, with a plain, well-lined and sunbeaten face covered in multiple scars. His salt-and-pepper hair was almost all gone in the front and middle, leaving only the sides and back of his head covered.

But he was broad of shoulder and strong as any younger man, his eyes sharp and piercing. He bore himself as a man born to command, upright of posture, with a firm handshake, the kind of man that looks everyone in the eye and sees them for who they are.

He was dressed all in black as was the Dodger custom. Between battles on a hot summer day, he wore a simple cloth tunic and pants, his House arms and signs of his rank presented neatly on his collar. In battle he would wear black scaled leather and mail, and a war mask of black iron. Its blank and forbidding visage was known to terrify foes.

His soldiers were heavy archers, and while in times past they had been known to ride swift Udorian coursers into battle, firing from their saddles as they danced among the lines, these days they dismounted from humbler steeds and lined up with the rank and file.

But they were Khalkar soldiers one and all, takers of the Steel Oath like Kellan, with the scars on their palms to prove it. Some Darkishmen from the Isle, some Perdanese, some even from Garuck Udor and Unterstrom in Dwilight. They were trained in the Khalkar ways, ready to die at a moment's notice, and armed and armored with Perdan's best.

Kellan would need them today. Perdan would need all her soldiers today.

He continued making his rounds among the tents and pickets, as if his last-minute adjustments could stay the hand of Fate...
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

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Re: The Continued Adventures of House Dodger
« Reply #2: April 19, 2019, 09:39:38 AM »
Kellan rolled up a smoke. 

He could watch the whole camp up here, just sitting on a mat on top of this little rise in the land.

It was a good spot for drifting off into thought, this little rise that, while only a few feet really, seemed to boost one so much closer to the clouds.

He lit the smoke and drew a deep breath.

He thought of the Dark Isle where he'd grown up. The way the towering thunderheads rolled out along the coast to pelt the earth with great teardrops from the sky. The way the dense salt fogs of the Mistwood drifted dreamily among the rough and gnarled trees, hung with creeping mosses. The way the darkish lights skipped airily over the little bogs that collected in the low-lying areas in the wet months, which were many and most.

His land. His father's land and the land of their ancestors. Won from the dark elves known as the Remnant in a war that never really ended, that waxed and waned in intensity over the centuries as the Remnant waxed and waned in magical powers, as the Darkish waxed and waned in singularity of purpose.

With nothing but steel and grit and bound by their Khalkar oath, the men of the Isle defended her from threats within and without for centuries. But Kellan was not born in those times. Kellan was born in the dark days of a foreign empire known as Arcaea taking dominion over the Isle and installing their foreign lords, first the Arcachoni and then the Coralynthi, over her inhabitants.

The Dodgers were always known as the worst kind of Darkish insurgents, the ones that lived off in the bogs down paths only they knew, the kind that talked like aristocrats and lived like brigands. Always the Dodgers, the Gegs, and the Shadow Clans giving the Arcaeans fits. Banditry, piracy, extortion, and murder for hire - all in the name of freedom.

All in the name of the Khalkar.

Kellan exhaled and looked down at his hands, the palms blackened and scarred from the taking of the Steel Oath, not once but twice. On his seventeenth birthday he'd stood with old Merrit the steward, who'd helped raise him after his father's murder by a Remnant lichlord. He and Merrit and Grathe Geg and a fresh-forged sword, still red-hot from the blacksmith's fire.

A year or two later he and Grathe stood with Lord Jonn, just the day before Jonn's victory in the tournament at Enlod, and took it again, to bind themselves to the Oath through the noble line of passage.

Ever since he'd come of age he'd been at the center of it all, from his accidental win at a tournament that got him a marshalship at 17. The last wars of the Far East, keeping the Dark Isle and Cathay alive with Lord Jonn until all their enemies were overthrown and the temples of the Sartanists burned even as the Far East sank into the waves. 

Coming to the east, the mad Xerarch, Selenia's betrayal, coming to Perdan after the failed rebellion. Climbing the ranks to a throne and the unsought position of Supreme Allied Commander.

A brief absence... and now he was back.

Much had changed. Kellan's life, it seemed, was very quickly getting back to its normal.
Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.

JDodger

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Re: The Continued Adventures of House Dodger
« Reply #3: April 19, 2019, 10:00:50 AM »
If anyone is reading these and likes to comment or ask a question feel free.
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JDodger

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Re: The Continued Adventures of House Dodger
« Reply #4: August 01, 2019, 07:15:03 AM »
Roleplay from Kellan Dodger 
Message sent to all allied nobles in Meuse (28 recipients) - 3 hours, 40 minutes ago

Kellan smiled as he set out for Winkamus, he and his Khalkar warriors winding through the great gnarled old trees of the Meusen woods.

Of all the places in the Westland, for so the East Continent was called among Kellan's people, the forests of Meuse and Mulhouse most reminded Kellan of home.

The trees were ancient and strong, some of the expansive roots crawling out of the carpet of fallen leaves so high one needed to ride around them rather than over. In the summer months the rainstorms that blew in from the not so distant coast filled the low places with a mucky bog.

In many ways, so like the Mistwood of Mnalor, where Kellan had grown up.

He hummed a Darkish marching song as they went, and soon his men caught up the tune. Some laughed, for it was a song for homeward marches, usually not sung before battle. But after Kellan had sung the first chorus, he reflected that perhaps for him, battle was the closest thing to home for him...

(You can just barely hear Kellan and his men singing through the trees. It sounds something like this: https://youtu.be/lQFKMar4x-w )

Why then Selenia should DEFINITELY come to visit? Richer AND Happier you say? That must be seen to be believed.