Old February 9, 2015, 06:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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All roads lead to Castellian Keep

[Spring Post Fractum XXII

The rain poured down from the night sky as Cal finally gave in and pulled his hood up to shield him somewhat from the relentless raindrops. Rhystlin and Cal had set out from Port Alyx shortly after dark on their errand to Castellian Keep. The journey would take 2 days by horse, but Cal had decided it would be far safer to make the trek on foot. The roads leading west were not safe anymore and were littered with thieves and thugs all who still looking to capitalize on the lawlessness since the Xet invasion.

The plan, was to swing north of Medonia, avoiding the city all together and then head directly southwest through the Medonia woods. With a little bit of luck they could be at the foot of the Fae'rel mountains by the end of the 3rd day and onto Castellian Keep in time for Lunch the following day.

The route which Cal and Rhystlin had mapped out the previous night was hardly the most direct route, but it did accomplish their goal of keeping them off the main roads at they trekked across Enamoria all the way to the very border of Lauryl Province.

Cal looked ahead to Rhystlin, the girl from the Crown Inn had proven an excellent travelling companion on the road from Prime to Port Alyx and he was greatful to have the company on this new trek.

How are you holding up out there? Safe to say my decision to go it on foot isn't looking so insightful at the moment" If you spend enough time in Port Alyx though you come to appreciate the fact that it always seems to rain. It should improve as we get farther away from the coast

The last comment was either the confidence of a true Enamorian speaking, or the sound of a soaking wet man and his wishful thinking.

The pair had been on the move for the better part of the night and we now well into the wilderness. The dark and rain slowed progress ever so slightly but did over them a vail of security as they crept steadily westward. The morning would soon come as the first of the two suns rose, and with it, Cal suspected the pair would be able to increase the pace towards their final destination.

again, perhaps to stir conversation, or simply to lighten the mood from beneath his damp clothes Cal egged on Rhystlin,

It's okay, you can say it! Im a paranoid man and horseback on the road we would almost be in Medonia by now. You know you are thinking it.
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Old February 9, 2015, 06:56 PM   #2 (permalink)

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Old February 9, 2015, 08:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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oocWall of text incoming. Sorry D:

It was Spring, sure, but the air still held a slight chill to it before and after the suns could rise. A little chill was nothing, however, for a cloak that had kept her through the mountain winters of Nexus Prime, and as such she had not been concerned at first. But as the initial droplets of rain began to hit their noses - and as more and more began to follow suit - the chill managed to seep its way into the bones and cause the leather of her armor to chafe against the skin.

To say the half elf, her hair matted against her face and the water streaming from her lashes, was not a little miserable would be a lie. The mud caked onto her boots, the creak of wet leather as she moved, the occasional shiver that overcame her small body was enough to make her second-guess her decision to leave the relatively comfortable beds in Port Alyxandria.

It wasn't Calaban's fault. In all honesty, she could not help but agree with his reasoning for avoiding the main roads, and it was a good thing they had not brought along the horses as well. The rain had softened the earth to the point of producing something nigh on quicksand, and the task of dragging the large beasts through the mucky earth may have been a difficult one. The mud that came up to her thighs was proof that she, herself, had learned the hard way.

Her breath came heavy past her lips as she trudged along. She had nearly forgotten about Calaban in her brooding silence. When she heard his voice she paused and turned to look over her shoulder, peering through the darkness at his approaching silhouette. She hadn't realized she had created such a distance between the two of them, and so she silently waited for him to catch up with her before carrying on.

Her fingers gripped tightly to the edges of what was now a fairly useless cloak. She was busy contemplating their next course of action for when they would finally reach Castellan Keep, which was why for the most part she hadn't spoken much. But as the first tendrils of the suns' glow began to wrap themselves along the horizon like fingers at the edge of a cliff, Calaban's voice filled the silence again.

She glanced over at him, her expression blank for a moment, but as his words seeped in she cracked a half-hearted smile and chuckled. The humor came as some measure of surprise to her and as such, she could not stifle the laugh. She realized that for the darkening she must have given him the impression that she was angry or upset. She hadn't thought much about that, and now she couldn't help but feel sorry.

"You know," she said, her soft voice indicative that she still was lost in thought, "I was born here. In the Enamorian Midlands. My parents were mercenaries who traveled great distances together in search of renown and adventure. They were so taken with their way of life that they were still on the way to Port Alyxandria when I just... decided to arrive." She gave a breathless laugh as she continued to trudge alongside him, her eyes fixated on the ground but gazing at something Calaban would never see. "When my mother died, I was brought to my guardian, Myach. He said he would never forget that darkening when I arrived. Cold, wet, shivering. On a rainy darkening like this one, just before the suns would rise."

Her eyes lifted up towards the horizon as the glow of the morning deepened, a herald of the day to come.

She sighed. Obviously setting foot in this place dredged up something deep for her, but the exhalation of breath was her attempt at letting go.

She nudged the human in the side with her elbow playfully, dismissing the subject as suddenly as she had brought it up. "I can't believe I let you drag me out here, Calaban Alamshere. I'm beginning to believe you about that luck thing."
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Old February 9, 2015, 09:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
"You know," she said, her soft voice indicative that she still was lost in thought, "I was born here. In the Enamorian Midlands. My parents were mercenaries who traveled great distances together in search of renown and adventure. They were so taken with their way of life that they were still on the way to Port Alyxandria when I just... decided to arrive." She gave a breathless laugh as she continued to trudge alongside him, her eyes fixated on the ground but gazing at something Calaban would never see. "When my mother died, I was brought to my guardian, Myach. He said he would never forget that darkening when I arrived. Cold, wet, shivering. On a rainy darkening like this one, just before the suns would rise."
"Ah ha!"Cal exclaimed as if some eureka moment had come to him,

"We share Enamorian blood, hence we are both have a high tolerance for hardship. while its true the citizens of Arkdun and their dessert often claim about having it the worst, tell me, honestly. Would you rather be enjoying a nice leasurely day in the sun right now....Or trudging your way through ankle deep muck with a constant drizzle in your face. Pampered desert born wouldn't last a week out here"

Cal chuckled, grateful for the momentary distraction from his wet feet drenched garb. In truth he meant what he said. It was nice to know Rhystlin was from Enamoria. Nobody from Enamoria was coddled, they all had a story bred through hardship and perseverance.

As Rhystlin detailed the story of her birth, he was saddened to hear about the passing of her parents. That she required a guardian was the telling sign that it obviously came when she was much too young. Cal knew what it was like to lose family and could empathize with her.

As Calaban finally closed the distance between them, he was happy to see that the rain hadn't dampened her spirits too much, her playful jab a reminder that she could take whatever Telath threw at her,

Quote:
I'm beginning to believe you about that luck thing."
Oh this is nothing. Its when long forgotten artifacts, ancient demons and undead armies led by Archmage necromancers start appearing out of the woodworks. Then you can blame my bad luck.

The morning sun was coming up, and with it hopefully a respite from the rain.

I notice you have a carry a bow. Is that just to scare away the drunken men you pickup at the Crown or are you able to hunt with it too?

The two of them had some time to kill, and Calaban had spotted a hare not far off. For the moment anyways, the hare hadn't noticed their presence and made for an appetizing round of target practise.

oocmy pc is qualified to train in bow use if you require it. If you don't then an excellent opportunity to show off...lol..
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Old February 9, 2015, 09:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The half elf chuckled. Although she hadn't grown up in Enamoria, it was a kind attempt on his part to lighten the rain-riddled mood. In truth, she had grown up in the mountain fortress city of Nexus Prime. But she had traveled with her guardian through the years, and she had seen the variety of lands around Telath before the Xet invasion. After that had occurred, however, their travel had all but halted, and her journey to Demios and then all the way here had been the first time she had set foot outside of the city since that dreadful war. She supposed that despite the rain and muck, it was nice to be out and about and... alive.

Her brows lifted at his speak of demons and undead, curious as to what manner of stories the man had to tell. She loved stories, but at the same time she was envious of how many everyone else had to share. She was eager to begin melding stories of her own, should she live to tell any of them.

"Oh this thing?" She shifted the strap that crossed her chest, the one that held her quiver and bow to her back. "Yes to the first.... You're lucky you weren't drunk. The second..." She shrugged. "Well, I'm not the best with it. I'm more acquainted with the sword. The bow is still new and... a bit awkward, for me."

Her brow creased in a frown again. She recalled her time with the Rahgrhnd woman who had hunted with her outside Sancta Nova. Even then, she had had trouble hitting a rock. But that was not something she'd tell her companion.

oocHey, neat. I don't actually have the level in my bow skill yet, even though that training thread technically occurs before this one. It's still in progress. So I guess we can safely assume I can't claim to know those skills yet. :)
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Old February 10, 2015, 03:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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OOC"A rather cold intro, as I don't want anticipate the outcome of any of the IC encounters that take place before we meet here, on the road.

From a distance, a black man on a black horse watched the two travellers - and sneezed in profound annoyance.

Wait for me, the prince said.
It will be fun, he said.


The rain had wetted Blacken's hood to a point where it was only thievish Khemite pride that the young... - Highwayman, would be the term, yeah - the young highwayman refrained from putting on a very unhandsome woolen cap, and a similar woolen scarf, and crawl into fetal position until the miserable chattering of his teeth would stop.

By the Shadow, Blacken could well have lived with the Bugs colonizing the colder places of the world well before they came to his desert home.

At least, he thought bitterly, it didn't rain there as much.


But then, in sudden epiphany, the young rider cocked his head:

Don't I know those two?

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Old February 10, 2015, 08:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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"Yes to the first.... You're lucky you weren't drunk. The second..." She shrugged. "Well, I'm not the best with it. I'm more acquainted with the sword. The bow is still new and... a bit awkward, for me."
Calaban put a finger to his mouth in a hush signal and motioned with a glance toward the still unsuspecting hare as settled next to some damp foliage and began to eat.

“Take out your bow, knock the arrow and set yourself to the target. How you setup the shot is probably the most important part. Once you are in the correct stance and alignment, the bow does the rest of the work”

Cal turned Rhystlin by the hip slightly to help correctly line her up,

” keep your plant foot solid, knees bent slightly . Don’t forget to keep breathing, just like normal and use your left arm to steady the bow and aim, and then gently pull back with your right arm…..take a final deep breath and release.

He retraced the motions alongside her as she setup to poach them some breakfast. If she made the shot, great. They would eat rabbit for breakfast. If she missed. No worries, they would eat dried rations instead.

In any event Cal figured the practise would do her some good, should they meet some unexpected trouble along the route.
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Old February 10, 2015, 09:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Rhys unstrapped her bow and brought an arrow down from her quiver, humoring Calaban at least. She had spotted the hare as well, although she wasn't sure what could have brought the poor creature out of the woodwork in such awful weather. She recalled the stance and deemed his instruction legitimate based on her past lessons with Ylva. She wondered, however, whether the rain might alter the course of her arrow. She had not shot in such weather before.

She brought her arrow up and drew it back in one fluid motion, three fingers grasping loosely at the string of the bow and the nock of the arrow, together. She did not pull it back as far as it would go; in her mind she could still hear Ylva's voice: "You pull the arm too high, too far back." She breathed, aware of any tension in her body that she could afford to let go of.

She gazed with both eyes down the shaft for but a moment before letting the arrow fly.

She was actually curious to see whether the downpour would affect the course - although she wasn't sure if the course would have been predictable even in the best of weather. She had given it a legitimate attempt, but still didn't expect to land a shot on something so small as a hare. It was always worth a try.

oocI am assuming we have not seen Blacken yet?
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Old February 10, 2015, 10:22 AM   #9 (permalink)

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Intermission:
Blacksen felt his horse snort in annoyance in response to his sneezing and brooding. But it was not until he noticed the two figures colluding that he had any reason to worry.

--

The rain and fog made it difficult to see anything at all. So it was not the best of conditions to play archer.

Still, Calaban was a gentleman and Rhystlin was an eager student. Combine those two? Viola: archery lessons!

Nocking the arrow was less cumbersome for the female merc, her natural dexterity and smaller fingers making the task that much more intuitive. But drawing a bow required a special set of technique and strength. None of which Rhystlin had a chance to develop yet.

So when she did all that 'breathing and drawing and then breathing' nonsense, she felt a twang of pain followed by a long hiss as her arrow flew.

And swerved sideways.

--

Blacken saw the arrow. His horse neighed and kicked back some dirt to avoid the loosed missile, narrowly.

Were those two feth-tards shooting at him??
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Old February 10, 2015, 11:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Blacken sneezed again, this time, in distress.

He had seen the arrow, and the arrow's course.

It seemed obvious to him that he was about to deal with two morons.


- Well, dark times required dark deeds, and this one at least would be some good, clean fun.

Calming his horse as good as he could, he spurned Babieca, and rode from his relatively dry hiding place outside into the rain, and towards the two all-too-idle travelers.

"Hey! HO-OH, there, with the archery! I come in peace!"

Provided that they would not interrupt his advance, perhaps with another misplaced shot, Blacken would go on:

"I think saw you some time back! We were all drinking, at the same place, one evening! That famous alehouse, 'The Crown and the Tankard', or whatever its name was, in the Imperial Capital! I am Blacken, former squire to Prince Alexis!"



Blacken removed his hood, showing his young, soft face.
He held his arms up, his left hand, empty, his right hand carrying - an apple.

Yeah, you imbeciles, I will get you, and I will get you good. Might take your horses, but really, should take your clothes, for almost crippling me. - Distract, distract, distract, and STRIKE!


OOC"Bold/Italics = Speech. Italics = Thoughts. Just some friendly banter ahead. ;)
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Old February 10, 2015, 12:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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OoC Hope I'm joining correctly, I am assuming a few things of the Drinks at the Crown thread. Tell me to edit if necessary.

After the discussion of travel to Castellian Keep, the Dracon had informed the pair to continue on ahead of him from Port Alyxandrya. He had remained behind to pay a quick visit to a good smith he knew there, and then seeing as the Calaban fellow had suggested travelling on foot, Marty thought he could catch up to them by flight once business was cleared up.

Well... turned out, it wasn't that simple. The weather had become horrible and rainy... as long as he followed the route though, he expected he'd find them.

There had once been a time when the previous incarnation of his arcana would've permitted him to connect vision to shadows, and spot his companions-to-be in the low light... but that was a whole different rant. No, for now he would have to trudge along the accepted route, making the occasional wingbeat-jump to cover some more distance. He wanted to call out... weighing it up he guessed he might as well. "Serale!? Rhys, Calaban?"
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Old February 10, 2015, 01:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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OOCSorry guys, didn't make it on yesterday! Hope that's not too big a problem!

As the giant approached, he was a bit concerned by the arrow, hoping there was not another meant for him. Gorl had no desire to be target practice. Raising his hands, he called out to the small archer.

"Hold your fire," he shouted. "I mean no harm!" Cautiously closing the distance, he continued. "An acquaintance in the city said the bunch of you were on some sort of quest to reclaim a keep. I offer you my help if you would have me."

'Especially if we run into those annoying bugs,' he added to himself. Frustrating, but they still died when crushed under a hammer. Gorl was glad there was only one of the fething creatures in his last encounter with them though.

"After all," he mused, "if a wall needs to be removed, I'm your giant." His only concern was that one of this group would be in the way of his heavy hammer. That maul was not the fastest of weapons, but it carried momentum and hit hard.
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Old February 10, 2015, 06:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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OOCapologies in advance if this all seems scrambled together, just trying to fit everything in as best I can to make the post work.....Nice to see everyone made it.

Quote:
So when she did all that 'breathing and drawing and then breathing' nonsense, she felt a twang of pain followed by a long hiss as her arrow flew.

And swerved sideways.
"Dried rations it will be then", Cal gave Rhystlin a half hearted nudge, the shot wasn't going to be easy in fog, and it was clear that she was still honing her craft with the bow.

"I trust if a brigand has me at knifepoint you will come to my defense with the sword, as opposed to the bow" Cal flashed a wide grin, the first one indeed since they had left Port Alyx. He wanted to be sure that Rhystlin didn't mistake his wit, for unwarranted criticism.

The path of the arrow drew Cal's attention towards movement in the bush. Sadly, not the hare, but rather a traveller, heading in their general direction.

The archery display had cost them any chance of subterfuge, and Cal reach for the hilt of the Phoenixsword, preferring the wise old adage of better safe than sorry.

The figure identified himself, and Cal's muscles relaxed and he withrew his hand from the hilt of his sword, letting his cloak fall back into place at his hip.

It was the man from the bar. The one who had graciously bought the rounds.

Blacken, former squire to Prince Alexis, its unwise to sneak up on people in the wilderness these days.

before the newcomer could answer, two more figure approached from separate directions. Martellus had been expected to join the group having hopefully concluded the business matters he had mentioned back in Prime. Cal had left a message with Elanara to ensure Martellus was pointed in the correct direction.

The Giant on the other hand, Cal recognized him immediately. Having only ever met one other Giant before in his life, they tended to leave a lasting impressions wherever they went. The Giant before him was no other than Gorl, the warrior he had met outside Imperia last winter.

As the group decended upon the spot where only moments before Cal and Rhystlin had been attempting to secure their breakfast, the former Veldar Elite took solice in the fact that none of the would be assailants, turned out to be assailants at all.

pleasantries were exchanged, and after some brief moments of catching up, Cal explained to the others why he and Rhystlin were picking their way through the Enamorian back country.

Although as Elanara had put it the mission was simple enough, Cal politely offered the others a chance to come along with them to Castellian Keep. If they were headed towards Lauryl province anyways he figured there was safety in numbers.

turning to Rhystlin however, he couldn't help himself.

I suppose keeping a low profile is likely out of the question now." He shot a quick glance in Gorl's direction.

"That is one insanely large hammer though."
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Old February 10, 2015, 07:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, chalk it up to her to manage to embarrass herself like that. But she supposed it had been worth the try. The short little archery lesson was fun while it lasted, but the reality was that her bow would be more for show for the remainder of their trip. It would take far more time and practice before she'd be able to make practical use of the weapon.

Rhystlin snorted at Calaban's jest. "Believe me, that'd be safer for the both of us."

Like Calaban, Rhys's first reaction was to bring her free hand to her weapon when she heard the new arrival emerge from the woods. Her fingers were curled around the hilt of her shortsword, her dominant foot midstep backwards when she realized she recognized the fellow. She opened her mouth, about to speak when Marty's arrival interrupted the thought.

"You made it. Good!" For some reason her eyes were still on Blacken. There was something a little off about that guy. Maybe he was just eccentric, but she had a hard time trusting him completely.

And then the giant. It was like everyone was coming from out of nowhere!

Rhys's eyes widened at their newest arrival, and she quickly proceeded to put her weapon away. Gods forbid that impressive figure ever got the idea she was not his friend. She was incredibly relieved to know that he and Calaban were acquainted, and that he hadn't come along to seriously ruin their day.

"Well then, it's good to know it's not just the two of us," she said to them all. She hadn't really discussed anything with this Blacken fellow though, and wasn't sure if Calaban had, either. She turned to him and his... apple. "Was your intent to join us as well? Or do you make a habit of wandering these dangerous lands alone?"
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Old February 11, 2015, 12:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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She didn't know much. In fact, all she knew that she knew was that her feet hurt. Then again, what didn't? Alessia had been traveling longer than she could remember being a child, though that didn't equate to much. The only thing she could really remember about her childhood was her father's favorite saying, "Piety requires more than just faith. It requires discipline, commitment and overall, sacrifice." Sacrifice. Oh, how Alessia knew that.

And so she walked, dark blonde hair falling in stray locks here and there. Her longsword and shield were strapped in place, allowing her hands to be free to brush back the hair.

As she came upon the gathering fellowship, Alessia cocked her head. She hadn't been at the Crown Inn, and she had no idea who these people were. At first, she just assumed they were a hallucination caused by weariness, but as she observed them, she was not so sure. The young Eunesian shrugged and sauntered forward, tired and aimless. She did not offer a word to any of them, not at first. Speak only when spoken to, that's what her father had said.
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