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Ankheg

GM_Verdigris's page

2,627 posts. Alias of verdigris.


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Sosiel's flicker of confusion disappears in a laugh, "I'm afraid you do, Cole. Aron is the expert on tactics. He's amazing when it comes to siege engines as well. I tend to take on the more pastoral issues."


"Hello, Cole. It is a pleasure to meet you." The cleric of Shelyn opens the tent with a smile. There is a snag of recognition in the back of Cole's head, though he can't really place him. "I'm afraid Aron will be a moment, but I'm happy you've come by."

The tall, dark man cuts a striking figure in his pristine armor and wide smile, "I'm Sosiel Vaenic."


Cole Zeff wrote:

Cole takes the information, barely remembers to thank Nurah, and heads off to find the supply master for the trip. He is hampered by the lack of knowledge as to who the person is, having no name, but surely someone must know. He does his best to track them down. He rushes through the area, questioning everyone, haste measuring his steps.

While he's hunting, he keeps an eye open for Aron Kir, the other person on the short list of meetings this morning.

Cole doesn't find the supplies master, but does find his assistant. "The good Master is out gathering the final supplies. I'm sure he'll be ready for the send off this afternoon."

Finding Aron Kir is easier; he is pointed to the most beautiful tent in the area. Stately, it seems to almost repel dirt with it's clean lines. The faint sound of music comes from within, then ends slowly.

from inside, he can hear voices. "There now. I told you there is always time for art, Aron."


Just a reminder, now is the time to gather any locals that would like to take with you.

I'm still running pretty slowly, but I'll answer as I can.


Sorry all, I'm going to try to head off a cold tonight, so likely no more posts tonight.
Tomorrow, hopefully, you can gather any of the Kenabraen folk that you would like to go with you. And then, the farewell audience with the queen.


"Four and 1/2 days, but then there's Drezen." she says, knowingly. Suddenly, she brightens. "But I'm sure if we pack well, we should be fine. So long as we don't draw attention to ourselves so much that the big guns come back from the south."


Cole, perhaps more aware of such things now, feels the weight of a variety of glances fall upon him as he heads through the Queens area. caution...fear.. resentment seems to catch at his person as they watch him find his way.

Eventually, he is directed to Nurah's quarters; a low slung place near the provisions. Looking up as he approaches, her smile is warm and inviting. "Good day, Sir. You must be Sir Cole. I was told to expect you'd be by." Of average height for her kind, she comes up no higher than Cole's waist. Her thick braid is slung over one shoulder and her bright green eyes sparkle.

"I'm glad to hear you're thinking about such things. The trip won't be easy, but the first part, the march to Vala's Gift shouldn't be all that bad. It's easy enough on the horses. It's beyond that that'll get tricky. But the queen showed you the map, didn't she? It should be more or less, kinda sorta just like that, only worldwoundy, if you get my drift?" She looks him over and laughs somewhat. "From the looks of you, I bet you do."


Once all those gathered are situated, a hush falls over the room. It lasts only a moment before Irabeth steps through the door. Her armor shines and her hair is pulled back; her helm she carries beneath her arm. She steps smartly to the side with a salute, announcing,

"Her Royal Majesty, Good and Just Ruler of Mendev and Sword of Iomedae, Queen Galfrey!" Her feet snap together and she gives a quick glance to the assembled.

Two dozen knights march in first, their step in time and strong enough to be felt through the flooring.


************************************************

Six days after the Wardstone Incident....

At midnight of the sixth day, messengers come from Irabeth to gather the companions to Defender's Heart.

Company is Coming.

The clatter of mounted knights through the streets of Kenabres echoes off the remaining cobblestones, but otherwise the visitors pass without fanfare.

perception:20:
While the knights are varied, they all wear some combination of red and blue clothing upon their person, and each bear an Iomedaen longsword insignia upon their shield and/or tabard. To the front and center, a beautiful blonde woman rides astride a large white horse. Her poise and nobility shines even amongst a band of religious warriors such as these.

percpetion:20, plus knowledge nobility:20:
The noble blond paladin can be none other than Queen Galfrey herself, the ruler of Mendev, and leader of it's army.

Deirdre is waiting as the companions report, sending each in turn to Irabeth's conference room.

"The Captain will be with you shortly. Please, do be on your best behavior." she says, reaching out to straighten Beagan's beret as he goes by.


Cole Zeff wrote:

"OK then. Laina, dad and I were just talking, and we thought we might head home and see about fixing the place up. When it's livable, which may take some time, we'd like you and your mother to move in with us. At least while things are unsettled. Safety in numbers."

Laina waited until the home is sound and Maurice and Klarah are busy inside before addressing things with Cole. [b]"Cole, I... I was thinking. I mean, Mother is happier than she has ever been. And Maurice does not seem to mind her presence. If you both think it a good thing, then we should stay.

Cole Zeff wrote:


If the home is substantially sound, Cole will spend the next couple days cleaning it up and scrounging for whatever might be lacking (at least one more bed, extra chairs, that sort of thing).

It took most of the remaining days to set the house to rights, but by the time they were done, Klarah had claimed one room for her dollhouse and settled in. The only drama erupted over who would take the third bedroom. Laina is quite sure she'll be fine sleeping below, and sees no need to put Cole out of his room.


@ Serra

"N-no, no. I... that is, I think I might work with Amber. You and your son are welcome to any and all of it, Ser Serra." The woman sniffled.

Serra:
Kastor returns to Defender's Heart somberly when Serra is ready. That night, as he tried to sleep, he mentioned sleepily. "I don't think she has anyone, Sir. Except for us, and Miss Amber. "


As Serra talks to the Widow she begins to tremble. "Th-thank you, Ser Serra. If he is well and truly dead, I am free. I will not go down there again. Not ever." Draella gathers herself with grace and dignity, and returns with Kastor and Serra to Defender's Heart.


Elyanias Myoch wrote:
"I, uh, shouldn't have... I'm sorry, Avery, that wasn't expected."

"No need to apologize, Ely. I think we've all been a little lost now and then. Come, let's get back and call it a day, shall we?"


Serra Iondri Phaer wrote:

Angelic Serra decends, saying,

"I hope to be quick."

Aasimarra descends into the basement, the stench becoming nearly overpowering. As he rounds the last corner, he is confronted by another door. It bears numerous locks, but was apparently left open the last time it was used. Inside, the scene proves more hideous than the smell.

The room appears to have been arranged for a wedding. Dead flowers stand in large vases and ribbons of lavender and black mark a walk way up to an alter. There, any resemblance to something good falls apart. Attached at one end to the altar, four manacles lay empty in silent accusation upon the floor. The remains of a man's body lies in pieces in front of the alter, covered in a large pile of the gray ash. Long blond strands of hair and torn lavender lace remain clutched in the man's hand.

From up the stairs, The Widow's voice calls down, "Is it over? Is it...done?"


"Don't be silly, Ser Serra, I am sure... Kastor, is it? and I will be just fine waiting in here in the foyer. I do appreciate the offer to check the rest of the house, though. Yes, we'll shall wait just here." The Widow Draella nods and straightens her gloves before settling down on a invitational by the door.

"Yes, we shall wait here."

Serra's walk through the house proves mostly uneventful. Certainly floors one and two seem the empty and perfectly normal. At the set of stairs leading down into the basement, the scent of rot grows stronger. Much stronger.


Elyanias Myoch wrote:
"Avery, I think... I can catch us... a glimpse of the future." He wiggles his fingers, then gets distracted while watching a hand with wrinkled fingers wiggle in front of his face.

Ely:
Flashes of senses flare within the wiggle of the fingers, blurring and sharpening once again. He stands in a hall, so large that he cannot see the walls on either side of him. Ahead, he hears a familiar voice singing a familiar. Her hair, it shines like the setting sun dappled on leaves in a fall wood. She is close, so close he can smell the faint herbal scent of her after a gathering day. One step... two... her voice grows closer, full of love and calling him close... The vision fades, the song still thrumming in his ears as the spell ends and he is alone once more.

"Ely? Can you hear me? Come on man, come back to me...As comfortable as this is, I would hate to spend the night here."Avery stands over him, shaking him slightly. A sigh of relief brushes Ely's face, tinged with whisky and more than a fair share of fear.


Beagan Berelcar wrote:
The Gnome looks at Quednys very, very closely...and babbles

Quednys' laughter slows, then stops as Beagan continues. With effort, he is able to follow where the gnome goes in the conversation, at least he *thinks* he follows the conversation. "There is a mark, you say? A swirl? In a hard to see location?" He breaks off as the BlackWing comes into view.

"Oh look, let us continue this inside, shall we? There are some things that are best discussed privately, don't you think Beagan?"


Two streets over, and one street down, the Widow Draella finds her house. It is in fact, lavender, with bushes of the flower clinging to life near the gate. The house, while empty now, houses a mound of grayish ash and smells of rot. On the walls, paintings of her husband's family hang in haphazard arrangements upon the wall.

"There now, see? Aren't you glad we didn't turn back?" There is a faint tremble in her words, and though she still giggles, it lacks any joy.

"Can I get you a cup of tea?"


"No No! I think not, Ser! I must needs return to my home. It is right over there! I have seen it, and surely you have seen it as well. How many lavender homes can there be in one town?" Her voice rises higher at the mere thought of not returning to her home, the Widow Draella snaps her fan in frustration, but refuses to return to the Heart.

"If you'll not see me there, I will go... alone."


"What? Oh dear, I had hoped you knew the way! I just moved here a few months before the terrible things began. An arranged match, as they say. My poor departed husband's family has been in Kenabres for a very long time, but I had yet to really get my bearings. Perhaps... yes, I think it was this way..." She says, though there is a decided lack of confidence in her voice.

"The house is a lovely shade of lavender, with black shutters. At least it was. Ooh! There, can you see, perhaps two streets over." Her hands flutter as she waves, and there between two houses, on a block in the distance, there is the faintest smudge of lavender.

"Please do not hold it against Amber. I should have mentioned it, but honestly, I thought of knight of such stature would be of local heritage. Where did you say you were from?"


Serra Iondri Phaer wrote:
Serra goes in the afternoon.

"I'm sure Draella will know the way. It is her home, after all."

****

The Widow Draella is waiting with Amber when Serra and Kaster arrive. Though close in age and height, there the similarity ends. Where Amber is somber and matter-of-fact, the Widow Draella (for that is how Amber introduces her) giggles frequently.If she has hair, it remains hidden beneath a lavender veil with fringe that dances when she moves.

"Thank you, Sir Serra, I do so appreciate the escort back to my abode.I... I think it is this way." she vacillates at a corner, as they approach, hardly knowing which way to turn. "Do you think it was this way?"


Elyanias Myoch wrote:

Eli follows suit, taking comfort in getting off the street, and not hearing any strong sounds of distress, either animal or mechanical.

"This does sound promising, Avery. If I'm able to help, let me know. Otherwise, tell me where to stand so I don't endanger either of us, or where I might keep watch, er, an ear out."

Further into the bowels they go, and soon they reach a room very much like the one before, only dry as a bone. The noise of the pump is quieter, in its well tended condition.

Avery laughs to find it so, reaching for his flask. "We should have chosen this one first, Eli, and we might have finished all of them before a single day was done. Oh well, we're here now, and I've viands from Kimroth that will make a find lunch here. We've the whole walk back, afterall, and no one wants to do such as that on a dry stomach."


@ Serra On the third day, after Cole and his father have left to check on the family home, Amber approaches Serra by the training dummies.

"Serra, do you have time to do one small favor for me? One of my suppliers is looking to return to her house, but she is the only one left of her family. Would you mind terribly much going to check it out for her?"

***

@ Beagan

Quednys laughs softly and pats the gnome on the shoulder as they continue to make their way back to the Librarium. "Perhaps you should tell me of these myths? The Librarium has been my life for many years; I am sure if anything... mythical, or legendary has happened there, I would have heard of it." The man seems genuinely interested in what Beagan has to say.


You're both rotten. I'm looking to start book 2 on Tuesday. (2, Tuesday, get it?) So I will be working quickly today and tomorrow to tie up loose ends. No, that does not mean the strings on Maurice's blindfold, Cole. You'll just have to sleep downstairs. If anyone has anything special they would like to do, before then, please speak up now.


@ Cole

Cole finds his father helping to sort refugees with Dierdre. "I think it's best we all go together, son. I know where I left the traps, after all. And of course Laina and Klarah should live with us." He starts, as if there is more he would say, but bites his tongue as the two women show up. It's clear, though, that he would rather not leave Klarah behind when they attend to the house.


Avery is ready and waiting when Eli rises the next morning. He is quiet as they approach the last Water pump, and doesn't seem to relax until they are within the stone casing.

"So far, so good, eh Eli? I don't hear the squelching like in the other."


Avery meets Eli at the cask, looking none the worse for wear, though he grips his mug tightly as he tops it off. "We're to go out again tomorrow. She said 'First Light'. " the man shudders and takes a long drink. "You'd think she'd understand the need for sleep, but no such luck."


Cole Zeff wrote:

Alone, this close to the wound, was a bad idea.

Drawing close to the Wardline once more brings a return of the mounds of gray dust, though they are rare enough this far from Kenabres and on the Eastern side of the warding.

Cole does not sleep, not all night, but aside from the worries of his mind, he is disturbed by no one.

Laina wakes early and offers to let him sleep, though she is not surprised when he turns her down, again.

On the way back to Kenabres passes slowly, and soon they are back at the Northern gate, just before sundown on the 3rd day.


"That was... cold!" Laina laughs over breakfast, then helps clean up to leave. Still no great swimmer, she feels much more confident around the water.

"I'm sure we can go much faster now." With that in mind, she keeps up with Cole as they head North and West.

The land, which had grown greener and more natural on the way East, reverses the trend as they head back toward the wound. The ground grows dry and weeds more numerous. By the time they reach the edge of the wound, even the sky to the west has grown odd and ugly; violent clouds hover in the distance, like clotted blood on gangrenous flesh. It is nothing new to someone from Kenabres, but after the relative normality and beauty of the pond, the contrast is sharp indeed.


"S-sure..."

Laina follows Cole into the water, stepping in gingerly up to her waist.

"I... I don't know how to swim." she admits.


Cole Zeff wrote:

"It is cold, but it's invigorating. We can take an early swim tomorrow if you wish before heading back north to check the line."

He makes camp, gets a fire going, cooks a little, and general relaxes and enjoys the neighborhood - likely turning in early.

Laina wakes early to find Cole still tending the fire. "Did you sleep at all?" she asks, still blinking the night from her own eyes. "You should have woke me."

She settles in next to him. "You could sleep now if you want. And then maybe we could try the swimming thing?"


"What? Nooo, not me, Eli. I *am* good with my hands, with my tools. Sometimes it seems like something else, but that's really all it is." The man shrugs again, but puts the rest of his effort into creating a litter to move the drink back to Defender's Heart.


Elyanias Myoch wrote:
"If you think we've seen enough to report to the captain, I won't argue with our return. That cask, though. Do you think we should try and secure that at least? Perhaps a later time." Eli shakes off like a wet dog, and starts back towards the Heart, glad at least that Avery and he are in one piece.

"Ahhh! The cask! I nearly forgot! No, we should at least secure that cask. And then, back to the Heart." Squelching as he walks, Avery moves as quick as he's able back to the Heart.


"Wait! Let me..." Avery tenses as Eli lends his hand, but seeing no ill comes from it, he relaxes, grateful for the help.

"We should head back. We can go north tomorrow."


Again and again, Avery takes the pebbles,presses them against the previous one, until the hole is blocked, and the bubbles still.

"There. That should hold for now. I hope." he says, as he surfaces for the last time. "They're just rocks, for a patch." Avery shrugs, clearly embarrassed by the scrutiny.


Avery presses himself against the wall of the pump, running his hands over it. "I don't think it's too bad, actually. But it'll get worse if we don't fix it." He calls Eli close, then sinks beneath the water, only to pop back up again.

"Yep, right here. I can do it by myself, but an extra set of hands would sure be helpful."

When Eli joins him, Avery hands him a small handful of pebbles. He dives under and begins fitting pebbles into the whole, then somehow smoothing them out and onto the wall.


Avery takes off his tools - pack, bandoliers and all - then strips out of his outer clothes before moving down the ladder. The water reaches to his waist by the time he moves away to address the wall of the pump.

As he moves to his left, a series of bubbles come from the wall to his right. Immediately after, the squelching sounds from the same place.

"Right. There it is. There's a hole. Are you coming in?"


Laina helps as she can with the digging and the burying, but her attention keeps straying to the water.

"Isn't it cold?" She asks, reaching down, she cautiously dips her fingers into it, then shakes them off to follow Cole to the tree.

"I brought one. Maur...uhh, uh, your dad told me to bring it. He got it from one of the guys he plays cards with, I think." Not afraid to get dirty, she digs in to help.

Cole Zeff wrote:
"Now you don't tell anyone about this mind. This is for family."

Laina takes in his instructions,nodding once. Her eyes, already wide with the responsibility, prickle and shine. Quickly turning to study, well, anything but Cole's face, she answers.

"I won't tell a soul... Uncle Cole."


Elyanias Myoch wrote:

"Alright, Avery. Let's move quickly. We make too much noise to have any chance of catching anything unawares. Especially the deeper we go. Let's not be reckless, as we're only two shovels against any pile of manure more than three..."

[dice=Perception]1d20+9

The squelching grows louder, until they finally reach the source of the offending sound.

The tunnel opens into a wider area, a five foot walk way circles what should be the pump room. The elaborate pump machinery sits in the center, sticking up out of a softly eddying pool of water.

"And there's your squelching, Ely. I hope you can swim." Avery nods, pointing out the ladder disappearing into the water below.


"Of course not!" Her face reddens and her stride more than matches his. She bristles for awhile, but in time, the journey draws more of her attention.

Still, they reach the pond just before sunset, the russet and burgundy clouds reflected in the depths of the water.

"Wow!"


"I wish I'd seen her. I've only ever seen dragons in my picture books." She blushes at the admission, realizing how young she must sound, and feeling entirely too old all at the same time.

"I mean, well, if not a celebration, at least an acknowledgement. Something. We're still alive. That got to count for something."


@ Cole

I don't know about that. I'd be... well, something terrible... right now, if not for you." Her shudder is nearly imperceptible as she recalls the multiple times her uncle and his friends had saved her from a terrible fate.


"Cole..." Laina begins, after Ivan and the knights are behind them, and they trudge along alone once more.

"You didn't tell them." she states simply. A flick of her gaze is the only sign that this is a conversation rather than a stray comment. Her step doesn't change and she continues to peruse the nearby brush, looking for dangers.


Serra Iondri Phaer wrote:
'"No, I shall likely not Ascend.... But we shall see what happens, won't we?"

Kastor looks both saddened and relieved by Serra's words, but the small veiled child simply laughs softly to herself. "yes, Sir. We shall see."


@ Cole

Cole and Laina spend an uneventful evening with Ivan and his knights. In the morning, then men are ready to head out, but are headed in the opposite direction as Cole and Company.

" Travel safe, Cole. It's been very quiet out here. I just... well, I saw them go, but I don't trust it, you know. It's never been this quiet before."

He smiles to Laina and wishes her the same.


Beagan Berelcar wrote:
The Gnome's eyes widen, he's cheeks flush a bit. "Oh, maybe I'm mistaken. It's probably a myth. Errr, ahhh, probably just the Librarium and its work." It's really not likely that the rumors were true in the first place, that the swirl means nothing, and even if it does, it's probably not Ara's organization in any case, right?

"Oh, aye, I'm sure that's the case, Ser Beagan. Will you be joining us, then, to work in the Librarium?"

sense motive=14:
He seems to be studying Beagan with much more scrutiny than before.


Elyanias Myoch wrote:
Eli directs Avery's attention to the sound of sucking. "Uh, Avery, is that... normal? Is that part of the ambiance?" Eli even goes so far as to attempt to recreate the sound as best he can, hoping Avery takes on a jovial, 'you fool' attitude.

Avery tips his head, listening. "Uh, N-no-no.... that's not normal. Come on, we need to see to that, right away. The engineer begins to hustle towards the sound, all his tools jangling as he goes.


Serra:
Kastor blanches, his attention caught by his young friend's words. "Do you think so, Helen, truly? Ser Serra is a most devout knight. I should have seen it sooner. Ser, will you take me with you when you ascend? That I might attend you there as well?"


"Nothing, Ser Serra. I just wanted to remember this moment, before you join them." Both respect and a deep sadness color her words.


@ Eli

"We're fine. We go this way. I can't see that well beyond the light of my helm, but my ears are well tuned to the sounds down here."

Eli can also hear the sound of equipment, water, and a squelchy suckiness from the distance.

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