Author Topic: Episode 01: A Cold Sythus Morning  (Read 572 times)

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Offline fraz

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Episode 01: A Cold Sythus Morning
« on: March 20, 2005, 12:06:37 PM »
Episode 01
A Cold Sythus Morning

[Saturday 19 Mar 05]
[updated 26 Apr 05 by [i:3bc271e6ab]fraz[/i:3bc271e6ab]]

Cast of characters:
Jarmok: Johan
Kit: Dray
Laren: Matt C.
Maal Brengain: fraz
Ragnar: Rob C.

---------------------
Sythus [Spring]
Valley Year 237
Gorrish Arek Arkus [22 April]:

Threshold, the frontier town. The last settlement on the edge of the Valley of Mist.

Jarmok's Introducton:

To you the cold season has been almost unbearable. However, the kindness of Mercer?s hospitality has kept you warm and fed. In the time that you?ve been with Mercer he has taught you the details of hunting here. ?to feel the skin of the land?, as he says.

While out on a hunt Mercer stops and says, ?Jarmok, my years are coming to an end and I must move on. I need to go to the valley and make my peace. You?ve been a good friend and an excellent learner. I will miss you. I?ve spoken with the town council to let them know of your story. I have corrected the innocent mistakes of your method to survive during the cold. You are now, once again, truly free. Come let us finish the hunt??

The two of you make your catch and go back to the cabin. After supper while sitting at the fire Mercer takes out his pipe and stares into the flames. At length he says, ?Not all of my kind are bad. Of the ones here most are quite friendly. Usually many outsiders come to make a fresh start. They seek to find acceptance.? He gets up and walks to a chest across the room. He reaches in and pulls out an axe. He walks to you and hands it to you. It?s an axe the likes of which you?ve never seen. As it gleams in the fire light you notice that it has a wood grain look to it. The flat of each blade is gilded with the gold leaves from the trees on the ridge across the river. Mercer says, ?once every year the druids allow one single goldleaf tree to be felled for certain crafts. Only the most gifted of artisans know how to work the ?bronzewood? as it is called. Only the most trusted are ever given such a crafted item. There are events taking shape Jarmok. I feel that this land is at the dawn of a new age and Threshold will need your help. I would ask that you become my successor. The people no longer have any reason to fear you. Your axe is a sign of your trustworthiness. The statue of Havigaard stands tall over on the hill, watching. As I am a distant child of his so to have I watched as a protector. Again I ask that you carry the torch that I have for so long. Will you?? Jarmok accepts the offer.

?I have a friend across the river who can help you if you need healing. His name is Ashe. He lives on the river below the goldleaf trees. His cabin has a symbol of the tree of life. <Mercer shows the symbol> Ashe is an old friend of mine and can be trusted just as you trust me. Do not despair good Jarmok, someday you may return to your homeland but for now please accept Threshold as your home. I?m leaving early in the morning and like me the night gets old so now I will sleep.?

Jarmok stays awake all night reflecting on the sudden change and cooks Mercer a fine breakfast for his journey beyond.

Gorrish Arek Basque [23 April]: Morning

Jarmok accompanies Mercer as he leaves town.

They talk further:

Mercer explains vaguely that changes are coming to the town. The guards will be called away, though they and the people of the town don't know it yet. This is the dawn of a new age. As Jarmok knows, several months ago a great voice was heard over the land: "I have awakened". Mercer explains that he believes the voice is that of Zebulon, Mahiya's champion.

They walk through the town and surrounding woods to stand before a statue of a winged man wielding a sword. The statue is that of Havigaard a distant ancestor of Mercer. Havigaard once lived in Threshold during the Shadow Wars. He was the champion of Threshold and the grandson of Pak Savage who was one of the Chosen.

After continuing onward, Jarmok and Mercer finally say their farewells as they reach the edge of town. Mercer departs and Jarmok turns to head home to his cabin.

Maal Brengain's introduction:

The cold winds of Venric start to give. It?s lucky for you because the bitter frost blowing off of the Dragonteeth Mountains was nearly the death of you. It isn?t usually so bad when you?re being protected by the sod dwellings of your kin. However, that is a luxury you had to go without. Through the seasons slow travel you saw new lands and things unknown but alas, you have finally come to a place that reminds you of home. Until you saw it you didn?t realize how much you really do miss the Wildlands. Then again, that?s part of the price you know you must pay. Still it?s the most inviting place that you?ve seen since leaving. You arrive into the town and see a tavern just across Angelhawk Bridge called the Mushroom o? the Stump. Smoke floats up from the chimney and the smell of warm food fills your senses you then realize that this is the first warm place that you?ve seen in weeks.

Cold and hungry from many days of travel, Maal is tempted to enter... Yet she knows that she has nothing to barter with or offer in return for any food. She approaches the entrance, yet hesitates again before entering.

The tavern door suddenly opens and a very small man (a halfling) stands before Maal, startled by her unexpected appearance. He introduces himself as Garret and kindly invites her inside where she is also introduced to his twin brother Eldon.

Eldon and Garret welcome Maal warmly (though she has yet to introduce herself or even provide them with a name) and offer her food and a warm fire in the hearth. Maal explains that she has nothing with which to compensate them, but they insist that she not worry about that right now. They insist that they can work out any details later. Maal accepts their kind hospitality and finally sits down to eat a warm meal by the fire.

Laren's introduction:

That dark vision keeps jumping through your mind. ?maybe I should have gone back?I should have at least tried?? you keep thinking. ?I?ll wait here just as he said.?, you say under your breath. ? what if they find me? What if he doesn?t arrive? Oh dammit! What if the sky falls? I?ve got to push this out of my mind or it?ll get in the way!?, you think loudly to yourself. Hmmm?.they?ve got some excellent mead over at the Mushroom o? the Stump?I had some last night and it was divine. Those twin brothers are laugh riot... and they?re my kin which is even better. Sounds like a plan. To the Stump I go?

After making his way up the street from the inn, Laren enters the tavern and chats with Eldon and Garret. He soon has his food and drink and settles down at the bar for his meal. The tavern is empty, except for the twin owners and a tall stranger chowing down her food near the blazing hearth.  She appears to be a Wildlander from the northwest.

Maal listens (while eating somewhat sloppily) as Laren chats casually with Eldon about this and that.  A family with several children enter and are served some food...

[Laren is beset by a powerful vision]

Kit and Ragnar's introduction:

Kit, your travels have allowed you to see much of Vychia. Being on the move during the Venric seasons isn?t easy but you always managed to find a warm place with food, some good and some bad. The snow break was just what you were waiting for. Finally you got the chance to travel far and wide without the cold biting into you. You had been told of the beauty that the Valley of Mist and thought that might be a nice place to visit. Maybe you could actually have some time alone to sit in the sun and get out of your mind for while? something you?ve never done before. Along the way, while stopping in Sukys, you saw a face that you?ve only seen back home? the face of a Xanthakos slave. Odds are that he escaped his slavery given his remarkable strength. Something strikes you as oddly familiar about him, though, and he seems he would offer great protection if it?s needed. Quickley you become acquainted and he tells you his name is Ragnar. As you arrive over the bridge you hear a splash and terrified cry for help.

Maal, Laren and the others within the tavern also hear these noises, but Maal and Laren non-plussed. Maal continues to eat her meal, the first solid warm meal she has had in days, while Laren casually moves to the window and peers out, trying to see what is going on.

Kit and Ragnar run to the end of the tributary where it meets the larger river where the boy is out of arms reach and quickly floating away.

Kit, reacting quickly, ties Ragnar's rope around her slim waist and leaps into the icy river water to save the drowning boy.  Ragnar pulls them out of the water and the boy's mother appears and takes her son, Peter, thanking them.  Many townsfolk have emerged from their homes to witness the rescue and now applaud.

Laren, still peering out through the window sees the townsfolk looking and pointing to something out of view and hears their applause. He relates this information, adding that the crisis, whatever it may have been, seems to be averted.  He soon returns to his meal.

Garret has run out to investigate and help out.  He introduces himself and invites the heroes (especially the wet and shivering Kit) to the warm inn to dry off and rest.

Kit and Ragnar follow him inside where Kit immediately settles down in front of the blazing hearth.  She is soon aware that a very rough-around-the-edges woman sitting close by is staring at her.  She uncomfortably avoids Maal's gaze as Garret brings her a blanket.  Laren approaches the hearth and takes a seat in between Kit and Maal (much to Kit's relief). Maal is done eating and sits cleaning the dirt from beneath her fingernails with her teeth, while casually listening to Laren's, Kit's and Ragnar's conversation.

The family asks where the closest inn is and Garret directs them to the nearby Thornhedge Inn.

Meanwhile, Jarmok sees the rescue activities from a distance. Upon noticing the large, shiny skinned man he knows that he?s seen his kind somewhere before but can?t exactly recall where.

[The shiny skinned man awakens something inside of Jarmok; visions swim murkily at the edge of his memory. This outlander, or this [i:3bc271e6ab]kind of[/i:3bc271e6ab] outlander represents a piece of Jarmok's past.]

Insatiably curious, Jarmok heads that way to investigate. He enters the tavern quietly and unnoticed and moves off to the side to observe the newcomers. However, he sees Ragnar and immediately notices the marks upon the backs of his hands.  Those marks, an eye on the back of each over-sized fist, ellicit more images in the depths of Jarmok's mind; violent images. Disturbed by this, he exits very quickly.

The others notice someone exiting and Ragnar, who is quite paranoid, decides to investigate. He hurries outside, yet the only thing he sees is a few branches swaying.

Maal (still staring at Kit): "Where's your friend going?"

Kit, a bit flustered at being left alone with the strangers, exits quickly, still cold and wet. She finds Ragnar just outside looking about and convinces him to come back inside. He follows her back in, glancing back one last time as the enters. Kit sits back down at the fire again (this time a bit further away from Maal, though).

Garret eventually approaches the group and asks if they are planning to stay in the town. He recommends the Thornhedge Inn. Maal reminds him that she has nothing to offer in way of compensation, but he insists that she not worry about it for the present. He takes her aside a bit and produces a piece of paper which he carefully stamps with his signet ring. He hands the paper to Maal, instructing her to pass it on to Keltan Kym at the inn. Maal accepts this, quietly thanking him.

Laren knows the way to the inn, so the others follow him there. They soon enter the inn (a "V" shaped building with the entrance at base of the "V"). They meet the innkeeper, Keltan Kym, who welcomes them, offering room and board. All accept the offer, except Ragnar, who needs to think about it. He leaves to explore the town, seeking out Threshold's leaders.

Maal explains that she would like to stay for at least a few days, yet has no way to compensate Keltan. She produces Garret's stamped note and hands it to the innkeeper. Keltan examines it closely and then tells her not to worry about the compensation.

Keltan hands room keys to Kit and Maal. Kit takes hers gladly and immediatley heads off to her room as Keltan promises to prepare a bath for her. Maal stares at her key... She doesn't actually know what it is for, since keys are generally unnecessary in the small Wildlander villages. Keltan kindly explains and then demonstrates its use to her. Maal plans to rest for a bit. Laren, meanwhile, already has a room here at the inn and leaves to explore the town a bit more.

Meanwhile:
Jarmok observes the companions from the Stump moving southward through Threshold. He moves to watch them from a distance. Watching them enter the Thornhedge Inn, he moves in that direction. He takes up position in the thickets out in front of the temple across the street from the Thornhedge Inn and settles in to watch.

Ragnar is undecided regarding acommodations at the inn. He decides that he needs to look around the town, and to talk with someone in charge.

Ragnar wanders through the streets and finally finds and speaks to the Town Officials in the Council House. Jarmok, sticking to the shrubbery and following the large newcomer, watches as Ragnar enters. He also sees Garret enter.

A well dressed man named Julius Hawkhaven appears to speak with Ragnar. Ragnar explains that it was he and his friend that saved the boy from drowning in the river. The Council wants to meet Kit and the others that were present at the inn this morning.

Jarmok watches as Ragnar exits with Garret and Julius Hawkhaven, who happens to be one of the Council Members. Garret heads back towards the tavern while Ragnar and Julius enter the inn. Keltan and Julius talk briefly and Keltan heads upstairs to summon the rest of the newcomers.

Keltan summons Maal and Kit, who had both been resting in their respective rooms. Laren is nowhere to be found. Maal and Kit are introduced to Julius Hawkhaven who mentions their heroic deed of rescuing the boy from the icy river that morning. Julius notices that there are only three of them and asks where the fourth is. Kit explains that they all barely know each other, having only just met very recently. Maal further explains that she and the halfling, Laren, actually never had anything to do with the rescue. She is uncertain as to why she has been summoned to join them.

Julius reveals that he has a proposition for them. He explains that the Vychian guardsmen that have watched over Threshold are unfortunately being called away and that the town needs new recruits to take their place. The Council is offering free room and board at the inn and a salary of 15 gp per month to those who will agree to help guard the town. Kit is a bit dubious; she asks how the four of them are supposed to "take over" for an entire malitia. Julius states that they can do only what they can do, and that there is another that is coming as well.

Kit agrees, although Ragnar seems uncertain. Maal, listening intently, never says a word either way...

Laren eventually returns and enters the inn. Keltan immediately summons him over to the group and he is brought up to date. Laren has several questions regarding what will be expected of him. He had not planned to stay in the town long, but is willing to sign on for a week or so initially. He requests payment up-front, but Julius gently tells the halfling that they are paid in arrears. The conversation concludes and Julius rises to leave. Kit returns to her room to prepare for her bath. Laren and Maal remain seated at the table, enjoying the ale that has been provided for them free of charge.

?Drinks are free?, quips Laren, "Well then, drinks all around!?

Meanwhile, Jarmok has been eavesdropping outside of the window of the common room. He recognizes Julius' voice and is intrigued by all the discussion. Feeling that the conversation is winding down to a close, he departs and walks back to the Council House to await Julius' return. Julius soon arrives and recognizes Jarmok.

Jarmok asks about Ragnar, but Julius doesn't know much about the large man. Jarmok questions the councilman regarding the tattooed eyes on the back of Ragnar's hands, and Julius tells Jarmok that those are the symbols of slavery to the Empire of Xanthakos.

The Councilman believes that Ragnar (and the others) can be trusted. He is aware of Jarmok's situation and makes the same offer to him that he has made to the others. Jarmok is uncertain.

Jarmok takes his leave and, returning to the inn, finally enters.

Seated in the common room of the inn are Maal, Laren, and Ragnar, who is seated off in the corner by himself. Enter Jarmok: a lean figure standing roughly five-and-a-half feet tall. He wears well-worn armor, carries a small shield and bears a magnificent battle axe. His face is round and his large eyes are somewhat bulbous. Pointed, somewhat cupped ears stand high on the sides of his head and protrude out from under thick black hair that is crudely tamed, pulled to the back of his head through a leather collett to fall past his shoulders.

Jarmok looks about the room and approaches Ragnar slowly and deliberately. Ragnar tenses - tightening his grip on his spear. The tension is thick.

Jarmok seats himself across from Ragnar and begins asking simple, straightforward questions.

Jarmok: "You a rider?"
Ragnar: "No."
Jarmok: "Where are you from?"
Ragnar: "Here and there."
Jarmok: "Why are you here?"
Ragnar: "I came with the woman upstairs."
Jarmok: "You work for Hawkhaven?"
Ragnar: "Yes."

Satisfied that he has heard enough information for now, Jarmok rises and backs slowly away from the table.

Kit, coming down the stairs, notices this stranger, and calls to him, saying, "Are you the new guy?" Jarmok takes no note of Kit, however, and quickly exits.

As he crosses the town, finally returning to his cabin, he briefly notices in the distant evening sky, what appears to be a winged serpent...
nothing