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Old 07-23-2010, 04:25 AM   #1
Mary the Prophetess

Loremaster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,472
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OOC: /ON

I thought I might put forth an interactive story for all to participate in if they like.  The plot revolves around recovering an item from the Temple of War in Freeport.  I will set the stage, and then withdraw from the story, and let you writers take it wherever it may go.  You may introduce new characters and new plot lines along the way, and indeed I hope that you do.  Please no god-modding and killing off of another's character without their permission, or attributing motives to their actions you could not know.

These forums have been very quiet of late, and I worry that there are not enough active writers still here for this type of thing to work.  We will see.

At any rate, here is the set up, where it goes from here, (if anywhere), is up to you.

__________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

Seremella was tired. The walk from the docks alone hadtested her strength. She sat down on the bench, herbreathig heavy, and labored.

Lady, are you well?

Seremella looked up at the Paladin, worry etched onhis brow.

Yes Veon, I am just a little--tired. Here, give meyour arm and help me rise, it is only a little bit further.

Stooped over, and leaning heavily on the big warrior'sarm, the old woman moved slowly through the marketplace in the Willow Wood.

Thank you Veon, this is far enough.

Across the cobbled street, a modest two-storiedbuilding. On the sighnpost, in simple letters;

House Amaranthine

Seremella sat looking at the building for a longwhile. Behind her, ever vigilant, the big man grewrestless.

Why are we here? he finally asked. This is a waste oftime!They don't know, and even if they did, they wouldn'tcare.

Veon had no love for Elves. To him they were littlemore than children, whose only interests were singing,writing poetry, and dancing around with garlands in theirhair.

Seremella answered slowly.

How long has it been Veon, since you took the vow?

The Paladin stood quietly.

You know, Lady.

Yes Veon, she said softly to ease the rebuke. We havebeen together now for twelve years, and you haveserved the Order and I faithfully and well.

I am an old woman, and now my time is near.  I can sense it. 

Veon started to say something, but Seremella raisedher hand, silencing him.

Do you not find it ironic, Veon? Even the youngestthere, she gestures at the house, was in their youthwhen my parents were children. Most were alive when mygrandparents were in their prime.

Yet their vision is the vision of youth. Elves are notlike us.

Two generations hence, they will be in the prime oftheir lives, long after we have passed through theveil.

If they act like adolescents, it is because they are.Twice my age, yet still full of the energy of youth.

How can we get them to take anything seriously, thereis great danger. Something must be done NOW, not ahundred years from now!

Fear not my good friend. Youths they may be, but theyand their kind are not fools. And their memories reachback to times before the Blessed Twins breathed lifeinto the firstborn.

Seremella rose uncertainly to her feet, Veonsupporting the fragile old lady.

Do you think she knows? he asked.

Yes, yes I do, but I do not think she knows she knows.

Together, the old woman and the tall warrior madetheir way slowly through the crowd toward the warf.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

The old woman and the tall warrior waited patiently amid the bustle of the docks.Newly arrived refugees stand about looking bewildered while sweating dockworkers methodically load cargo, and the Harbor Master checks and stamps cargo manifests. A street urchin approached tentatively under the scowl of the big man asking for some coppers. The old woman chuckled softly, and from her purse gave a couple of copper coins to the young Ayr 'Dal.This is for being brave, she told him, not for begging.After a while a small, lanteen rigged boat glided up to the warf. Emblazoned upon the sail is a single red rose.Strong hands helped the old woman on board, followed, as always, by her companion. The bold Ayr 'Dal lad looked on from the warf.Just before they cast off, the old woman glanced ever so briefly behind her shoulder toward the village, and then gestured to the boy to come closer. As he bent down, she said something softly, and handed the young lad an envelope and several more coppers.The boat cast off and sailed slowly in the general direction of the Qeynos docks, rounded a bend, and was lost from sight.The lad ran off toward the village, and at a spot across the cobbled street from a modest two-storied building, he placed an evelope on a bench.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

The envelope:

Jessamyn,

May the blessings of Erollisi shelter you and all within your House.

My name is Seremella, of the Sisters of the Rose of Erollisi Marr.  Our order has information that is of great importance to you and those whom you protect.

Recently, an expedition was undertaken by our Order to Freeport to try to recover anything from the old Temple of Marr and the Guild House of the Knights of Truth as could be found. There was not much left as the Temple had been taken over by the Overlord, and the Abbey, now abandoned, was in ruins and had been completely ransacked.

However there was one very significant item discovered, (probably because it did not appear to be important), that has become the focus of intrigue and controversy.  Sadly, we were not able to take possession of it, and it remains under the control of the Militia.

This item is known as the Dargon Tapestry. It is written in the Druidic tree writing of Kelethin, and so it is not readily apparent that it is a document at all.

The reason it is important and being sought is because it is a geneological tree of the bloodlines of the royal houses of the Feydwer.

The actual history of the Elves is much more convoluted and ruthless than the mythos that has emerged from Felwithe with the ascendancy of the previous royal family.

With the old order swept away in the Shattering, the old claims and inter-nacine fighting have again re-emerged, particularly here in Qeynos.

Make no mistake, those that seek the tapestry are ruthless and powerful; and not to be trifled with.

The Sisterhood is aware of the repurcussions of existence of this item, and although we have no direct stake in this power struggle, we are quietly trying to accumulate information on any survivors who may be linked by blood to the Houses on the Tapestry.

No matter how far removed, any connection, no matter how tenuous the link, may prove fatal.

There is one residing within your House whose name appears on that tapestry. The Sisterhood has taken it upon themselves to find, identify, and observe any branches that may still exist. There were many petty kingdoms, sub-kingdoms, and clans that existed, and sorting out what claim is legitimate is nigh impossible. In the end it is likely that force of arms will prevail.   Until then we will gather information, observe, and wait.

You and your House may be in great peril.

Please meet with me personally at Caer Windstalker or at the office of the Mother Superior in South Qeynos.

Your obedient servant in Love,

Sister Seremella

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Why you little weasel! Try ta cheat me will ya, I'll slit ya from crotch to crown fer that!

Chairs overturned, and drinks went flying as the big man made a grab for the Ratonga sitting across from him. The Ratonga deftly avoided the big man's grasp, and slid easily between his legs, leaping onto his back piggy-back style. The big man howled in pain as sharp teeth fastened onto his ear! Round and round they spun like dervishes, as the Barbarian tried to simultaneously spin the Ratonga off, and reach behind him at the same time; hopping first on one foot, and then on the other. Patrons doubled over with laughter, and coins plopped down on the bar as wagers were made. In the midst of the commotion, the tavern door opened and two figures momentarily blocked the dim light streaming in through the door. The room fell suddenly quiet, the big man standing stupidly with the Ratonga still riding piggy back; both staring. All eyes were on the two strangers, and an odd sight they were--especially there at the Mermaid's Lure. A truly enormous man in full plate armor, wearing a white surcoat, stood silently; his hand on his sword hilt.That in itself caused a few raised eybrows and side glances, but it was not enough to put this crew off, as they were a rough lot, and used to handling themselves both at sea and ashore. No, it was the man's companion that drew all the attention. An old woman, stooped over and leaning heavily on her staff for support, slowly made her way to the bar. She wore a white habit and cloak, with a single red rose embroidered above the left breast. A Sister of the Rose of Erollisi Marr. The patrons parted for her silently as she approached the barmaid. The Ratonga quietly slid off the big man's back, and people turned back to their drinks. The show was over, and the talk was low. The old woman offered her hand to the barmaid; I am Sister Seremella, and this, she said, gesturing to her companion, is Veon. The big man nodded slightly, but said nothing. I have been given to understand that those who have dealings in Freeport may sometimes be found here. Is this so? The barmaid somewhat stupidly nodded yes, despite the elbow jabbed hard into her ribs by the tavern owner. Seremella smiled, glancing over at the Ratonga near the wall. Would you kindly see that one whose name is Ixixic recieves this?  He comes here often --or so I have been told. She handed the tavern owner an envelope. It was unaddressed, and was sealed in wax with the symbol of a red rose. The old woman nodded in acknowledgement, then turned and made her way slowly to the door and out into the street, followed silently, as ever, by her companion.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

The note:

Passage is required aboard a sound ship with experienced captain and crew for six passengers. The destination is Freeport, and to a location north by northeast of that place some three hundred leagues.

The voyage is expected to last three to four weeks.

A payment of two hundred gold crowns per passenger, with an additional three hundred crowns to be paid to the captain is offered.

A partial payment of six hundred crowns will be provided in advance, with a further two hundred crowns upon safe arrival in Freeport, and the remainer upon safe return to Qeynos.

If interested, please make arrangements to meet with our representatives, Brother Tirno and the Ranger Conner, at this place four days hence at vespers.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

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Old 07-23-2010, 04:25 AM   #2
Mary the Prophetess

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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,472
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Seramella sat with her back to the door, silently looking out the window. Behind her, a soft knock, and then someone entering.

Without looking back, she spoke quietly,

What news of House Amaranthine, Veon? Were they successful in reaching Freeport?

The silence behind her gave her the answer.

The old woman said nothing for several moments. With her back still turned she asked,

Did any escape?

We do not know M'Lady. They were - betrayed.

Thank you Veon, you may leave me now for a time.

After a long while, she pulled out a scroll from the drawer beside her, and jotting down a quick message, she sealed it in wax, and placed it in a carrying tube.

Veon?

Seremella faced the big man as he entered.

Have one of the squires, one that has some experience, take this to the Bridge Keep in the Steppes. See that he has a mount as well. He is to deliver it there to the Ranger, Turan, who has worked for us before. If he should fail to find him at the Keep, have him leave it with the Bard's representative there, with instructions to deliver it as soon as he is located.

Yes M'Lady.

Alone again, she watched the clouds building on the horizon. A storm was coming in. Seremella sighed. She knew what she had to do. Kneeling on the hard stone floor, the old woman began once again to recite the words she knew so well. __________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

Seremella sighed as she penned her report.

Reverend Mother,

It is my duty to inform you of the fall of House Amaranthine. From reports reaching us here, it would seem that there was an ambush of their company while enroute to Freeport.

This expedition was conducted on their own for their own reasons; no member of the Order or any of our agents accompanied them. The fate of the survivors, if any, is unknown.

The Guild House is empty and locked, and there has been no activity there for a number of weeks. The House in the WillowWood was observed to be unoccupied as well.

The one whom I informed you of was with their group when it was attacked, but that is all that is known.

The fact the the Guild was attacked in the vicinity of Qeynos as well as in the Commons, leads us to believe that they were not random victims of marauding Orcs. Their company was large and experienced; more than a match for any raiding party. I have reason to believe that they were betrayed by those with influence here in Qeynos; but, as is usual, there is no solid evidence of this. Without such evidence, we dare not bring our case before the Queen.

The Guild Leader was in Qeynos when the attack occurred, but she too has disappeared. Foul play, again, is suspected.

They had been informed of the existence of the tapestry, and had been warned; but apparently had dismissed the warning as not being relevent to their House.

I made the decision at that time not to inform the Guild Leader of whom they sheltered in their House, and it is I alone that must bear the responsibility for that decision. Apparently, others had already discovered the fact. We could do no more.

I await your further instructions concerning this matter, and accept whatever judgement you may see fit to give. As always, I am your obedient servant in Love,

Sister Seremella

Seremella rolled up the scroll, tied it with a ribbon, and sealed it with the sign of a single red rose. Handing it to a novitiate, she said simply,

My child, please see that this is delivered to the Mother Superior's office in South Qeynos this afternoon.

Turning back to her table she began to write again.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

Sister Seremella was troubled.

The old woman put down the report she had been reading and stood up slowly. At her desk was a satchel containing twenty-one scrolls.

They had been recovered recently by a ship's captain, (one Delgue by name), who was employed ferrying survivors to the Isles of Refuge.

Captain Delgue claimed that he had penetrated deep into the Ocean of Tears itself, braving pirates, drakotas, and sea furies to a small isle where he had found a band of refugees claiming to be affiliated with the Order of Erollisi Marr.

They had placed the scrolls in his care to be turned over to the Order when he returned to Qeynos, with assurances that he would be amply rewarded for his efforts.

The refugees themselves, however, had refused transport and chose to stay at their isolated refuge.

The story was preposterous of course; obviously just another attempt to extort money from The Order by yet another charlatan.

Still, she had paid him a small fee on the possibility that perhaps this time there might be something of value recovered.

Gazing out the window at the mill and it's great wheel, she went over the sequence of recent events for what seemed like the thousandth time.

The expedition to Freeport, the Tapestry, the betrayal, the ambush, the fall of House Amaranthine, and now this.

It seemed as if everything was going wrong all at once.

The failed expedition had been her idea. She had presented it to the new Mother Superior, and had urged that it be attempted. It had cost the Order a great deal; both in terms of funds, which were always in short supply, and more importantly, in lives.

Sisters Nartea and Alcara, as well as Brothers Tirno, Onono, Erstel, and the Ranger, Conner; all gone.

So too, it had been her decision to withhold information from Jessamyn about a member whom she sheltered unknowingly within her House.

So many lives lost.

Seremella prayed silently for guidance; and for forgiveness.

Something kept gnawing at the back of her mind. Some thought that stayed just beyond the edge of her concoiusness.

Sighing heavily, she gazed absently at the great wheel turning slowly in the mill pond, her thoughts wandering.

Wheels turning,--wheels spinning,--spinning wheels--wheels within wheels,--circles,--cyles,-- patterns,--signs,--portents,--prophecies,-- Her head snapped up.

She opened the satchel at her feet and picked up a scroll. Gazing intently, she began to read.

KODEKS DE AN-RE-SKI-DE BEN-TAS.

SOL LEM AD OM-DE VEST-TAS TRAK BEN-TAS CAN-LE LEG KODEKS.

KODEKS DE AN-AMO:

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

Veon knocked softly on the door to the old woman's room. There was no answer.

He had been summoned from Qeynos by the young novitiate, Veasse. She had told him that none had seen the good Sister in two days now, and there was no answer to their quieirs at her door. They were worried.

M'Lady, he called, are you well?

Nothing.

He tried the latch, but it had been secured.

Stand back, he told the young novitiate.

 Veon was a big man, and powerful. He put his full weight against the door, and it burst open with a crash.

Seremella was sitting in a chair with her back to the door gazing out the window.

Lady, we were worried. You did not answe....

The old woman heard not a word. She sat staring; her eyes glazed over and unseeing, her lips dry and cracked, a small dropplet of spittle running down her chin.

Veon did not touch her, but said quietly without turning,

Summon a healer, and send a messenger to Qeynos. Quickly!

At her feet lay scatterd a number of parchments and scrolls. Veon glanced at them briefly, but they made no sense to him, so he bundled them up and passed them to Veasse.

Send a novitiate to Qeynos with these as well.

If he had known then what he held in his hands, he would have been far more cautious; and far more frightened.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

Gwynneth was being hunted, and she knew it.

She ran.

Blindly tearing at the shrub and brush in her way, she tried to force a path through the tangle. Her heart was pounding in her chest, her eyes wide with terror, all reason gone.

Behind her she could hear the howls of the wolves.

They were closer now.

Torn and bleeding, she was near the end of her strength.

The satchel she was carrying caught on a thorn bush. She stumbled and fell.

Entangled, she scratched and tore frantically at the straps, wild with fear. Tearing herself free, she tried to run, but tripped again on the roots.

Crawling now, she sobbed, desperately trying to escape. Then the wolves were on her.

__________________________________________________ ______________________________________________

OOC:/ON

There you have the foundation of the story, and it is here that I depart and leave it in your own hands to do with as you please.

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