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Chronicles of Kriste, Chapter 7: Barren World

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Creator: Fire_Kame
Time: Apr 19 2012, 5:45 pm

Post #21     Fire_Kame Apr 21 2012, 7:06 am

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Devlin cursed under his breath as the lone man rode off, away from town. He had hoped he could avoid the entire confrontation by hiding in a dark pub until the kings' men had ridden off to the next town, but no luck. One of them saw him leave the pub, despite his efforts to sneak off, and handed him the scroll. Before he had a chance to follow recognize what it was, it would be too late - the scroll was in his hands, and the man who gave it to him was riding off into the distance. I knew I shouldn't have gone to town. While the hunting knife he had was going to dull with age, it was head and shoulders above what he was able to find before the commotion, and he had no desire to be anywhere near civilization again for a very long time. He turned the scroll over in his hands. He knew the scroll was charmed, but not how it was charmed, and ever since he was small the other children would taunt each other with grim stories of charms left to the wayside. There were plenty of helpful charms too or straight out as mundane as a charm could be, but he had no intention of finding out what type of charm through trial and error. He would have to report to the Castle, as was required, or else face the impending wrath of the scroll. He looked around. He was just on the other side of Marskel from the Castle. High light packing would give him a boost in stamina, and the way there was well known despite any recognizable path. He could make it in two days, tops, without stopping for more than a quick rest. But he would take his time. As long as he made progress on his voyage to the castle, what harm could the charm do?

After traveling for several days and nights, Devlin found himself on the outskirts of Astron, trying his best to look invisible as he observed. It was buzzing with the activity of every day life coupled with the flood of newcomers. The merchants that took up permanent residence - as well as the traveling ones that were able to elbow their way in - looked satisfied with their dealings as every weary and confused traveler came forth. Devlin could tell no one was truly paying attention to their purchases - the cost was far too high, and the quality was far too low. It would be best to wait until after the crowd died down before he made purchases. "You there," a man called to him from across the square. He was neatly but modestly dressed and looked intimidating. "You are called to the castle. Come at once." Having no other recourse - and taking it as a sign - Devlin marches on.




Edwin had lingered to the side while the kings' men had presented their decree. His father, the leader of the loose association of traders they joined, called him to go check on the commotion, but Edwin frowned. The message was vague at best. It would cause panic, which would mean rioting and pillaging, or a great increase in consumption. He couldn't decide which was worse - the fact that the traders were low on traveling gear - which was customary, considering the age of tentative peace - or the rioting. He saw the other men and women int he crowd receiving scrolls. A vast quantity....rather elaborate for a simple message. Might be magic, but still an unnecessary display of grandeur. Thoughts were streaming through his head. Each scroll had an eerie....sparkle, almost...to it. It was hard to describe, but he knew it was not a normal scroll. He was so curious as to what the scroll was, and whether or not it could be sold for profit (if it were a personal invitation, there would be some person who would want it), and what it said that he hardly realized he himself had picked up a scroll. He frowned. It was charmed. Even if he wanted to buy it from one of the people he doubt the charm would let him. It seemed more complex to him than the simple tracking charm some traders would use to track untrustworthy agents, but he couldn't put his finger on how. By the time he returned to the caravan a line had already at his father's rug. Before he was noticed he quickly hid the scroll in one of the small discrete bags he kept on his belt.

"There you are boy, come help me tend to these find people," his father said, beaming at the profits to be gained. The people were wild eyed, and the questions that flew around - and the answers combined with them - made no sense. By the end of the day he as well as the other traveling traders and shopkeepers of Stoire were cleared out of all travel related gear, which included tools, leather, furs, wool, dried goods, simple spices, bows, errors, daggers, and wood for framing, and his father and him were even able to convince a pair of wild eyed youths to buy gold and ruby amulets to bring them protection, more than a month's pay in produce, several dozen needles, and all the fabric and twine they had on hand. Edwin looks excitedly at his father, who looks weary but pleased.

"Father we must go to Astron," Edwin said urgently. His father groaned and rolled his eyes.

"We don't have the supplies or the coin to afford such things. Astron will be saturated - we don't stand a chance," his father said tiredly, before snapping to a realization. "Why, you don't pick up one of those blasted scrolls, did you?" Edwin resisted the urge to speak or grab the satchel. "Ah I didn't think you would. Good boy your mother raised - I knew you wouldn't be foolish enough to touch one of those things."

"So, we will go to Astron then?" Edwin asked. His father hesitated, but before he could disagree Edwin blurted out, "look, we can pass through Fort Stoire, then cross the river and edge along the Bittergreen Forest, trading coin for the furs and meat the trappers caught, and anything else they may have. We'll go up through Rallos, Fort Last Watch hit Astron, and be off to Kuarte to catch the stragglers. We have to redouble back down to the fort but the payoff will be worth it - it is a supplier that no one else will think to tap, and we're close enough we have first rights." His father was silent for a very long time, but finally agreed. Edwin received his cut from his father - the same amount he would normally make in two months, to his amazement - and left him for sleep.

When the company hit Astron, Edwin's buying power had doubled despite purchasing a heavy bag of Saffron. He brought up his purchase to buyers but was never able to strike a deal, and so he held onto it for later use. He occasionally traded tobacco for information, especially as his interest in the scroll grew. They had indeed reached the far corners of the kingdom to deliver it to everyone, but there wasn't so much as a whisper as to why. The rumors that he or his sources heard were so far over the top he chose not to pay them any heed. He thought briefly about tricking buyers into purchasing "enchanted" amulets, but knew it could wind him in jail for a very long time, and so took his chances. Edwin listened to the traveling merchants as they started to fall asleep. When the snoring and breathing became rhythmic, he quietly got up and sneaked off. He was at the castle gates in no time. Something told him that this could be a big score. "Your invitation, sir?" A guard said to him as he approached. Not sure what else he could mean, Edwin pulled out the scroll. The guard took it, found a way to open it (to Edwin's surprise, as he had tried numerous times to break the seal), and then rolled it back up. "The court will call upon you in the morning. Please follow me to your temporary quarters."

"A court? Sir, I have not done anything illegal," Edwin politely tried to persuade the guard as he led him through the marble hallways, "surely we can be reasonable about this?" He got no response. Edwin was about to lose hope when his guard opened the living quarters to reveal an elegantly decorated, although small, room with a bed, a side table and chair, and fireplace.




Johan VanDerSchmut traveled in secret as a 'pet' of a young boy making the trip from Gate's Edge to Astron. At first Johan had tried to give the boy knowledge in exchange for the free ride, but the boy's parents had start to think he was possessed for knowing the things he did, and so the frog halted this to make sure his escort stayed alive long enough for him to make it to the capital. Once they had arrived, Johan ran off, intrigued by the vast number of scrolls they all had. He knew of course their intent, but had no desire to tell anyone of it. Instead, he hopped into the bag of a traveling merchant destined to enter the castle, and waited for entry.




Athenos looked at the tied scroll in his hand for a moment, piecing together what just happened. A citizen of Kriste? He was no such thing. In fact, he found it mildly insulting how mortals classified him with such ideological barriers. Still, he smirked, it may make for something interesting. It wouldn't make the Miline trading company happy, but it can't be helped. For a humble salary and living arrangements, he traveled all over, protecting caravans or persons of interest from thugs or bandits.Not that it was an interesting occupation. He'd only been in combat a handful of times, and all but two have been minor skirmishes. Usually the sight of a few guards is more than enough to ward off any looking to make a profit. The best way to avoid getting robbed is to make the risk too high, they told him. They were right, of course. It was thanks to his efforts that faster travel through more dangerous areas of the country could be profitable.

"I'm leaving," he told the company leader, who opened his mouth and shut it like a guppy. Athenos rolled his eyes. "I've been called, the scroll is obviously some how enchanted, and we're all the way out in Fralle. It will take me several days to get to Astron, if I'm lucky," and even that he knew was being optimistic, given his normal speed all alone. And he still had to buy supplies before he left. He left the company leader half in shock as he walked away with a crushing grip on his scroll. Being on the port made him lucky enough to have a large amount of choices of shops to buy from, but they all seemed to have issues keeping up with demand. He anxiously waited, wondering how hard it could possibly be to run a store. By the time the sun had set, he had found himself with a new skinning knife, a long bow with plenty of arrows, his sword repaired and ready for combat, and two weeks of dry rations. Although it was night time, he set off for the capital city.

He rarely stopped except for the occasional drop in on a pub before continuing his march. There was something nice about the solo life, but he found that the like of conflict was going to become unbearable if he had to deal with it for much longer. By the time he was in Astron he had no other intention than to go to the palace, figure out why he was summoned, and to do as was asked. When he got there, the guard took his scroll, tapped it quickly with his finger to make it unwrap, and blinked at it, then at him, and then back at it. "Yes?" Athenos asked.

"Go on ahead, sir. I will guide you to your quarters until the court is ready to call on you." The guard was talking very fast now and was trembling. Athenos was annoyed that he didn't know what was on the scroll but relieved that it put fear into the recipient.




Rozen, native of Fralle but current citizen of Kuarte, squealed with delight after the king's men handed him an invitation. "It's like a super secret party that everyone's invited to!" He said, squealing again. No one else seemed as excited as he was, but why did it matter? They just didn't understand the gravity of being invited to a super incredibly important party! "I wonder what I should wear..." he thought to himself. He had several trunks of clothes waiting for him in his current living situation, but none of them seemed to fit the bill. The idea of leaving the clothes behind was a tragedy - who would want to be friends with someone hopelessly out of fashion? H e would have to find someone to carry his clothes, yes, an escort to help him get to Astron.

The road was miserable. The strapping young lad he had asked to help him barely talked for the sake of chatter and complained constantly about anything that crossed his mind...the heavy load of the trunks, the rain....no, actually, it was mostly the heavy loads. The whole thing made Rozen miserable, who only wanted to help the lad get out to Astron safely. Sometimes the easiest forms of kindness are not appreciated. After trying for nearly forty eight hours to get the boy to say something, Rozen gave up on him, stopping to talk to any other person that cross their way, completely unaware of their desire to continue with their journey.

they reached the steps a little later than they aught to. "Your invitation, please?" The guard asked. Rozen handed the scroll to him, beaming. He tried to start a conversation about the weather, but he was curtly interrupted. "Alright, come with me. I'll show you to your temporary living quarters." Rozen followed him up the stairs a bit of the way before the guard stopped. "Uh, your trunks sir?" The guard asked awkwardly, pointing to the abandoned trunks. Rozen felt a tinge of pain. Did the lad not want to be friends? Rozen skipped down the steps, blushing profusely beneath his mask, and pulled the trunks up the stairs behind him. The boy had been right, these were heavy.




Dan D. Lyons was busy working in his lab in Astron when the scroll came. He was busy running around a lab filled with various decanters of liquid, bubbling solutions and the rare piece of metal lying here and there. A messenger from the king cleared his throat upon arrival. "Oh good man come in, come in!" Dan said, taking the man brusquely by the hand and setting him down on an upturned cauldron. The man told him - more like yelled over the explosions, as Dan placed another piece of metal into a liquid that reacted to it - and held out the scroll for Dan. Dan stared at it, and paced around the guard carefully, scratching his chin the whole time. "A tracking charm, if I do say so?" Dan says, not looking for any response at all, "but it's been tampered with, or modified."

"Sir, you are required to report at the castle immediately -" the guard said carefully. Dan takes the scroll from him, and walks over to the row of beakers with solutions at a rolling bubble. "You can't do that, sir, I wouldn't recommend it!" The guard called out after him, "why don't you come with me? We have a carriage awaiting outside."

"I wonder what would happen if -" Dan fumbled around for his tongs and plops it precariously into a pink solution. The solution explodes, spitting out the scroll nearly untouched, but leaving Dan's hair fried and matted in black soot. He squealed in delight. "I don't know a damn thing more about this contraption but did you see that? It sparked! In blue!"

"Uh, yes, quite," the guard said, dusting himself off. "Sir, if you will come with me I will escort you to your carriage."

"Carriage?" Dan asks in a dazed manner. "Whatever for?" But even as he's thinking this, he's already following the guard down the staircase and into a carriage pulled by a horse out front.




Iam Onrefni
smirked. These fools, even the traveling merchants, were focusing only on the short game. They only cared about momentary wealth. But that was how it was out on the edge of the Darkfall Forest. Temporary survival and monetary game. But when the king's beckon is in play....well, there is much more to be gained there. He would of course answer the call. No questions asked on that. He looked around at the citizens that surrounded him. None seemed worthy of being a traveling partner, but he felt certain that if the need should arise he would be able to find someone in quick order. In the meantime, he would head to the capital city.

Finally there, several days later, he realized that the bulk of the commotion came from people like him. Some with the same intent as he, some for other forms of personal game, and a very few actually interested in helping the kingdom. He walked up the steps of the castle until he was stopped by a guard. "Your invitation please, sir."

"Of course," I am said with a broad smile and flourish of movements. The guard smiled.

"This seems in order. Follow me, we will keep you in your temporary quarters until the court is ready for you."



-~-~-~-~-~-~


The next morning, the guard calls for you and you are lead into a room with six other people in it, most looking antisocial. "The court will be with you momentarily," the guard says as he shuts the door behind you. The room is a solid tile and the light was coming in through a large window on the east wall, showing the rising sun. There are seven simply built wooden chairs facing three large sturdy chairs that sit on an elevated platform. Although it is clear that you cannot leave the room, you are free to walk around.


+
Map



+
A/N

This post was edited 1 time, last edit by Fire_Kame: Apr 21 2012, 5:18 pm.

lather the blood on your hands, Romeo
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Post #22     Sacrieur Apr 21 2012, 7:53 am

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Athenos took a quick survey of the other mortals in the room with him, apparently summoned for the same purpose. Odd thing, really. They didn't look like the fighting type. It was probably a draft of some sort, but this whole procedure thing was so boring. He sat down in a chair at the end and crossed his arms; patience was a virtue, or so the old man kept telling him.

For a limited lifespan mortals sure spent a long time waiting.

∫ | ⅛ ⅓ ⅜ ⅝ ⅔ ⅞ | π φ ∞ | ≡ ≈ ≥ ≤ ∴ ∩ | √ ⁿ | ✓ ✗ | א
α β Γγ ∆∂ ε ζ η Θθ Ιι κ Λλ μ Ξξ Π ρ Σσς τ υ Φ Ψψ Ωω
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Post #23     Vrael Apr 21 2012, 7:57 am

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Quote from Fire_Kame
Johan VanDerSchmut traveled in secret as a 'pet' of a young boy making the trip from Gate's Edge to Astron. At first Johan had tried to give the boy knowledge in exchange for the free ride, but the boy's parents had start to think he was possessed for knowing the things he did, and so the frog halted this to make sure his escort stayed alive long enough for him to make it to the capital. Once they had arrived, Johan ran off, intrigued by the vast number of scrolls they all had. He knew of course their intent, but had no desire to tell anyone of it. Instead, he hopped into the bag of a traveling merchant destined to enter the castle, and waited for entry.
Johan VanDerSchmut:
*wait until castle entry*
*sneak into throne room*
*catch fly for breakfast*
*scout for someone to offer wisdom to*

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Post #24     Tempz Apr 21 2012, 7:59 am

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It is alright with you for me to write in point form as i feel it is a lot easier for you.

Truth hurts. Maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with a seat missing, but it hurts.
- Drebin (Naked Gun 2 1/2)
Pm me for terrain requests (Jungle mostly)
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Post #25     Azrael Apr 21 2012, 12:06 pm

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Aw yeah, sporting the saffron. The part of the story about my character was the best :kame:

I want to spend any time I'm not sleeping in my quarters to mentally sort through the rumors I've heard about the current situation and determine which were most common and which were most likely, favoring most common over most likely. I want to keep anything of significant value on my person while I sleep, in the event something happens which requires me to make a fast retreat. I also want to maintain some level of suspicion about everyone, especially if they work for the King, and to flee in the event I can reasonably conclude my life is in immediate danger. Of course, if I do flee, do not leave behind anything of value.

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Post #26     Fire_Kame Apr 21 2012, 5:01 pm

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It is alright with you for me to write in point form as i feel it is a lot easier for you.

Yes, the first post was an 'exception' so that everyone could get to the castle in an order that fits their character. The following posts are definitely not going to be as long as this one.

So from now on posts are expected to be kinda closer to Azraels...you can include multiple steps (investigate room, paying attention to the tapestry, draw the patterns for future reasons...) BUT you must expect that your steps can fail or are impossible, such as when Azrael wanted to gather the scrolls but couldn't.

I'm going to leave this up for a little bit before I continue writing...probably Sunday night...unless there's a lot of activity on it by the time I get home from work late this evening.

lather the blood on your hands, Romeo
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Post #27     Bar Refaeli Apr 22 2012, 2:25 am

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Investigate quarters for anything interesting. Keep a look out for frogs, I am rather hungry.

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Post #28     :DevliN: Apr 22 2012, 3:02 am

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Quote from Fire_Kame
Quote from Tempz
It is alright with you for me to write in point form as i feel it is a lot easier for you.

Yes, the first post was an 'exception' so that everyone could get to the castle in an order that fits their character. The following posts are definitely not going to be as long as this one.
Unless I'm misreading your response, I think Tempz is saying he wants to post in point form rather than suggesting how you should write your posts.

:devlin: CURRENTLY WORKING ON :devlin:
Invasion: Ares | OMG TEH ZOMBIES!!!
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Post #29     Tempz Apr 22 2012, 3:05 am

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@Devlin and Kame
Yes that's what i'm saying.

Truth hurts. Maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with a seat missing, but it hurts.
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Pm me for terrain requests (Jungle mostly)
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Post #30     :DevliN: Apr 22 2012, 3:10 am

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I keep to myself, idling in whichever corner of the room seems most discreet.
I look around the room, sizing up the the others and making note of which seem like the most threatening and which would be the easiest to manipulate.



What weapons do I have on me, by the way? I know my starting narrative says I have a hunting knife, but are we going into this more-or-less naked when it comes to weapons and armor?

:devlin: CURRENTLY WORKING ON :devlin:
Invasion: Ares | OMG TEH ZOMBIES!!!
Summoner | Infection
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Post #31     Tempz Apr 22 2012, 3:55 am

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Go into the carriage, while at the same time checking myself for anything of use.

Truth hurts. Maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with a seat missing, but it hurts.
- Drebin (Naked Gun 2 1/2)
Pm me for terrain requests (Jungle mostly)
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Post #32     :DevliN: Apr 22 2012, 3:57 am

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Just so we're all on the same page:
Quote from Fire_Kame
The next morning, the guard calls for you and you are lead into a room with six other people in it, most looking antisocial. "The court will be with you momentarily," the guard says as he shuts the door behind you. The room is a solid tile and the light was coming in through a large window on the east wall, showing the rising sun. There are seven simply built wooden chairs facing three large sturdy chairs that sit on an elevated platform. Although it is clear that you cannot leave the room, you are free to walk around.
This was at the end of the long post about all our characters, and applies to all of us. So we're all in a room together.

:devlin: CURRENTLY WORKING ON :devlin:
Invasion: Ares | OMG TEH ZOMBIES!!!
Summoner | Infection
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Post #33     Sand Wraith Apr 22 2012, 4:51 am

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_ROZEN: ACTIONS_

Attempt small-talk with the people around (where they come from, favourite colour, occupation, etc.).
While distracting the other person with small-talk, read their minds to see if they think of anything interesting/important.

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Post #34     Vrael Apr 22 2012, 6:36 am

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Quote from Sand Wraith
_ROZEN: ACTIONS_

Attempt small-talk with the people around (where they come from, favourite colour, occupation, etc.).
While distracting the other person with small-talk, read their minds to see if they think of anything interesting/important.
Johan the Frog: *thinks about interesting aspects of the andromeda galaxy, like how many life forms the galaxy currently sustains, and how to open magic rifts to their whereabouts*

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Post #35     Fire_Kame Apr 22 2012, 3:44 pm

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Quote from DevliN
Quote from Fire_Kame
Quote from Tempz
It is alright with you for me to write in point form as i feel it is a lot easier for you.

Yes, the first post was an 'exception' so that everyone could get to the castle in an order that fits their character. The following posts are definitely not going to be as long as this one.
Unless I'm misreading your response, I think Tempz is saying he wants to post in point form rather than suggesting how you should write your posts.

Oh. Write however you're most comfortable.

Quote from DevliN
Just so we're all on the same page:
Quote from Fire_Kame
The next morning, the guard calls for you and you are lead into a room with six other people in it, most looking antisocial. "The court will be with you momentarily," the guard says as he shuts the door behind you. The room is a solid tile and the light was coming in through a large window on the east wall, showing the rising sun. There are seven simply built wooden chairs facing three large sturdy chairs that sit on an elevated platform. Although it is clear that you cannot leave the room, you are free to walk around.
This was at the end of the long post about all our characters, and applies to all of us. So we're all in a room together.

Yes. You're all in the room together. Please read the post - even other characters' summaries will help you.

Quote from Sand Wraith
_ROZEN: ACTIONS_

Attempt small-talk with the people around (where they come from, favourite colour, occupation, etc.).
While distracting the other person with small-talk, read their minds to see if they think of anything interesting/important.

...except I don't know what _ROZEN: ACTIONS_ are about. If you're attempting to make this into a joke, stop.

lather the blood on your hands, Romeo
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Post #36     Sand Wraith Apr 22 2012, 9:08 pm

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...It's a heading.

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Post #37     :DevliN: Apr 22 2012, 9:14 pm

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Quote from Fire_Kame
Quote from Sand Wraith
_ROZEN: ACTIONS_

Attempt small-talk with the people around (where they come from, favourite colour, occupation, etc.).
While distracting the other person with small-talk, read their minds to see if they think of anything interesting/important.

...except I don't know what _ROZEN: ACTIONS_ are about. If you're attempting to make this into a joke, stop.
Rozen is his character's name. Those are his character's actions.

:devlin: CURRENTLY WORKING ON :devlin:
Invasion: Ares | OMG TEH ZOMBIES!!!
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Post #38     Fire_Kame Apr 23 2012, 3:53 pm

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The Underscores seemed a little overboard. :\ But it's fine. I'll update later today.

lather the blood on your hands, Romeo
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Post #39     Fire_Kame Apr 23 2012, 6:48 pm

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Rozen looked around anxiously. Some of them were just standing there dumbly, trying to take in the expansive castle great hall. A Rozen approaches a particularly bored looking character, sitting gruffly in a chair on the opposite side of the room. He bounced his foot quickly, fingers tapping the side of his arm. He smoothed out his clothes and said brightly, "Hi! I'm Rozen! Nice to meet you," he held out his hand. The other glared at him for a moment, and then looked away. Rozen tried to look deeper into his thoughts, but was met with clouded vision. Huh. That's new, Rozen thought to himself, but still bent on trying to make friends, he removed the thought from his head and moved on. He stared at a particularly flighty looking individual, who blinked quickly. Rozen didn't even try to start a conversation with him before reading his thoughts...but to his dismay, the character was concerned with getting into....a carriage. This one has a screw loose, Rozen though. He did a double take on a shadow before realizing someone was there, and almost went up to him when a frog intercepted his path. "Well hi there little guy," Rozen said as he stooped over, the frog jumping up into his hand and made a ribbet. "I've never read a frog's mind before," he said quietly. But once he tapped the small frog's mind, instead of finding a preoccupation on flies, he found a multitude of information on far away places that no one had ever seen.

Devlin brooded in the corner, content on watching the actions of everyone else without drawing attention to himself. A traveling merchant clutched his satchel closely, but Devlin saw no thieves in their mist, so he thought it was an over exaggeration. Another member of the group eyed a frog hungrily. At least he seemed ready for combat, unlike the man holding the frog intently. In fact, some of the companions looked unfit for noble life, let alone combat. He assumed that this was the intent of their urgency, at least. a bit away in a comfortable chair was another man who looked like a born warrior. Devlin longed for his other weaponry, and hoped that before long they would have the opportunity to acquire weaponry. He looked along the walls and saw a few long swords and sabers of ornamental nature. In a pinch they would do, but very likely they were of poor quality and wouldn't last.

Edwin wandered along the walls, looking at the details of the rugs in earnest, mentally taking notes of the value of the pewter and silver on the tables. Occasionally he'd pick up a goblet or plate and eye it appreciatively in a way that made it look like he was appraising value, but his eyes were in reality going a different direction. He was hoping to find more in the way of exits, but only found the one door out and several others that probably led further into the castle. The room looked as if it was meant for dining and lavish parties, but most of the tables had been pushed out of the way and looked as if they had been for some time. He had traveled light, with most of his belongings on him at the current moment. He impulsively tightened or loosened his satchels to secure a good fit and comfort in the chance of a hasty get away.

He thought over the rumors he had heard in the market, the only tie in to each one was that the King had somehow been kidnapped. It was true that no one had seen him in quite some time, but the castle had assured the people this was a safety precautions in light of the recent threats on the kingdom. At least, that's what the castle said was the threat - unknown threats from an unknown source. The only hint towards any increase in crime was that mugging and murders were at an all time high within the city of Astron, probably due to the influx of foreigners. Strangely though, whenever one of these murders happened, the guard took care of it immediately and all traces of the event were gone. By the time the sun had set, it was nearly forgotten.

He had just set down a particular dull looking goblet when one of the doors to his side burst open. It must have startled some of his companions, because out of the corner of his eye he saw some of them brace impulsively before relaxing. Out first were three official looking men of different stature, followed by a lady dressed in all black, her vision was shrouded with sheer cloth, and she clutched a silk handkerchief. Behind them came three sets of guards, each with a massive trunk that echoed through the great hall as it was set down. One of the official men waved the guards away. The woman sat first in the middle of the lavish chairs, with a broad and built man on one side and a tall lanky man on the other. The third man, frail and short, remained standing. The lanky man waves at your chairs. You and your party sit at the seven chairs provided. In between the party and the royal party are the three chests.

Dan was no foreigner to court life (although he had been too busy to attend as of late) and new each of the faces. The broad, built man was the brother of the King, Sir Marcus the III of Kriste. The woman in mourning was the King's Second wife, Queen Margarite, the frail man was the Court Wizard that went by Estaphon, and the lanky man was Stanley Frade, Court Steward, a man who's family bought his way into a comfortable lifestyle. Stanley's gaze fell on Dan. "Ah, Dan Lyons, my old friend." Stanley said with hidden malice, "how good it is to see you here. We had a wager going as to whether you'd come, or whether you'd be no more than a few sooty piles in the ground at the time of summons."

"That's enough," Sir Marcus said tiredly, "let us get on with it. We have much to discuss." Stanley leaned back in his comfortable chair, pleased Dan did not have a chance to defend himself. "I thank you for making it to Astron. It is of utmost importance that we have as much corporation as possible from as many people as possible. We have already had many people fail on their...quest. Estaphon, if you will please describe the gravity of the situation?"

"Thank you, sir," Estaphon smiled, golden teeth gleamed as he stood in front. He was nimble for looking so fragile. "We have no time for pleasantries or small talk. I shall bring you up to speed as quickly as possible. Many of you are aware of magic in it's current form - simple enchantments or charms. In order for the magic to work, it must root back to an enchanted item, or artifact. Such as your invitations. They were enchanted in a way that would tell the guard of your authenticity, and in a way that you could not deny. We have reason to believe that this is no longer - or hasn't been - the case," He paused and cleared his throat, "some of you may have heard of the strange murders happening in town. Well, it is not just Astron that these were happening. We sent guards out to to the smaller cities to investigate, but they usually did not come back. Of the eighty we sent out, only one returned, and he came back with this." Estaphon reached into his pocket and withdrew a chewed hilt of a blade. It was smeared in a black, oily substance that was still wet. The woman sobbed quietly at it's sight and turned away, leaving Sir Marcus to comfort her.

"It looks like an animal," Devlin rambled off, peering closely at the marks, "but it is not an animal found natively in Kriste. Or Brayyn for that matter. And the oil, I cannot explain the oil."

"That is because we fear it is not a creature or animal of this world," Estaphon said. He paused again, wrapped the hilt in a silk cloth and handed it to Devlin. "I feel this will be more used to you than it is to me Devlin, sitting in my pocket." Devlin was only shocked for a moment that the wizard knew his name. "Where was I? Oh yes. Nothing is known about the creatures. The only man to have claimed reputably to have see them is the man that brought this hilt, and he is currently on bed rest. We fear bringing him here now to recount his tale could send him into shock, and so he must rest."

"What does this have to do with the king?" The restless character said at one end.

"Ah, Athenos, I think you are more concerned with what this has to do with you than with king, hmm?" Estaphon said, his eyes sparkling. Athenos did not respond. "The king is missing, and we fear he has been kidnapped - or worse," he added carefully, warranting another sob from the Queen, "and we require all the aid we can receive in finding him. On the night of the incident there had been a lavish party held in the King's honor. He had secured a trade agreement for Brayyn, and both kingdoms celebrated the prosperous agreement. After the party had died, and the King and Queen retired for bed, the Queen said she felt a draft."

"It was cold, like ice," she interrupted, standing now. Her eyes were focused on something in the distance. "It wasn't just a draft, not like the one that comes off of the Sea of Leaves. It was chilling, it felt like I had been dropped into a snowbank. I pulled the covers hire around me, when my lady in waiting came crashing into the room. The room was covered in icicles and her breath came out in icy puffs of breath, but she didn't seem worried. She told me to follow her at once, and I did so, slipping on the ice that had formed on the floor of my quarters. We ran to the king's quarters...but he was gone. His manservant reported a similar condition shortly before he realized my husband was missing. That was..." her voice broke suddenly "six months ago. The day had a cold wind, but the night did not warrant the castle to be frozen," she said quickly, "and no artifact like Estaphon describes was ever recovered. We have no idea what could have caused it."

"We need you to find the cause for this disappearance, and we need to know where the king is now. Every since the incident, trade and political tensions have increased between Brayyn and Tryvali and Kriste. Compensation will be provided when you return victorious, and it will be beyond your wildest dreams should you return with the king alive and unharmed."

"Whatever you want will be given to you," Estaphon said, his eyes resting meaningfully on each of you in the party. "Wealth, freedom, praise, stature...whatever you want."

"To aid in your quest we have the means to provide you with a starting stipend of 120 gold each-" Edwin choked at Sir Marcus' words. That was nearly double what he had made in light of the rush to the capital "-and within these trunks you will find armor and weaponry that should suit your needs. Should you require customization or specialized products, our fletcher and weaponsmith are also at your disposal."

"The castle is yours to explore," The Queen added, "anything you find within these walls may be of help to you." Estaphon cleared his throat, and the queen added quickly, "but if you plan on going to the third floor, the royal quarters, we ask that you be escorted. Several people have wandered up there and have gotten severely hurt or killed."

"If you have need for anything else, let us know. And you have my official invitation to the head table tonight at dinner, should you wish to learn more about the ... politics... of this court," Sir Marcus said.

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Castle Maps

This post was edited 1 time, last edit by Fire_Kame: May 2 2012, 8:44 pm.

lather the blood on your hands, Romeo
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Post #40     Bar Refaeli Apr 23 2012, 8:03 pm

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