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Basiliscus

Murder at the Golden Flag Inn

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Meiyo woke with a start. The bed was warm and yet she felt a chill inside her. Her feathers were drenched in sweat. She'd had the dream again - only this time the feelings were more intense. She lifted her hand to steady herself on the bedside table, and it was shaking. Ascending the cold grey steps, with only a single lamp to light the way and yet she felt the darkness encroaching on her, overpowering her senses.

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And there it was. The shrine. The resting place of her young brother, barely out of boyhood. The one she was to protect. The one she failed.

This time, she knew what had triggered her fears.

Two days past Mychel had received a messenger in Illaryian. After Meiyo had inspected the boy for weapons, and confiscated a knife in his boots, she had let him in to see Mychel. It was a message from his father, which read, "Depart the capital at once. Come to our country estate with your bodyguard and tell no-one of your goings. Staffen.". As always it was cold and to the point.

They rode across the countryside that afternoon, cloaked and without the trappings of power a Conzaga son could expect to travel with. Tired and covered in dust, they were summoned in to see Staffen immediately and, much to Meiyo's surprise, she was to join the Conzaga lords. Staffen's brute Minos confiscated her swords. She felt naked without them, but it was not her place to argue. Unlike the messenger, she hadn't given up her black knife tucked in the sole of her boot.

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Staffen was staring at the fireplace when they entered. Minos took up position, silently, in the corner of the room. The evening sun lazily made its way through the grated windows, falling onto the unlit fireplace.

"Father, I came as soon as I got your message", opened Mychel. He walked past his father to inspect the parchments on the table.

"In broad daylight. To one of our own. The insolence!", bellowed Staffen.

"To whom father? Of what do you speak?"

"If you haven't heard then Nestur has managed to keep it quiet. I hoped as much.", muttered Staffen, still staring into the fireplace. He turned to face his son, "An attempt was made on Bernaldo's life this morning."

"What? Is he hurt? Where is he now?", the concern on Mychel's face genuine.

"The idiot is fine, much to this family's detriment!", retorted Staffen.

"Father, you cannot...", began Mychel, but he was cut off.

"He was drinking away our profits from The Golden Flag in the capital, along with some of Nestur's men. He went to relieve himself, and when he returned one of the soldiers had collapsed from his stool. The men took him outside, thinking him drunk, but he began coughing blood. He had been poisoned. Stone dead, in the middle of the morning. Surrounded by our own men. Our enemies think us weak!", spittle flew from Staffen's chin, he was furious.

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"But who would do such a thing?", consternation clear on Mychel's face. He looked at the floor deep in thought.

"Oh, your brother has no end of enemies, acting the fool as he always is. Let's see, there's the Duc D'Elancon, his wife bedded; the miller who's daughter he compromised; the servant from Avalonia who's wife caught his eye, the list is endless! The boy needs to let off this unbounded energy in the heat of battle."

"And what would you know of battle old man?", thought Meiyo. She'd never be able to say it of course, the Conzaga's would take her head, but the old man had grown fat on trade and never seen the horrors. If he had, he wouldn't wish it on his own flesh and blood.

"Anyway, enough of that no good scoundrel", continued Staffen, "I did not invite you here to discuss his many failings. Until we can get to the bottom of this mess, I want you out of the capital. With the queen on the mainland so weak, we will need allies in case war erupts again. The last time Varlyrio was largely saved from the worst of the fighting, but that is no guarantee next time round. I want you to take your feathered pet", Meiyo stiffened at the insult, "and go far from the eastern lands. Bribe the dwarves. Impress the goblin clans. Find the elusive Kolgari elves. It won't be easy, but it will be safer there until this dies down."

And that was it. Her master was to escape the clutches of those wishing him harm by venturing into the little known. All Meiyo knew is that she had failed her brother. She didn't plan to add Mychel to that list.

 

Edited by Basiliscus

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Ooh - intriguing backstory and developments, Bas, and very nice builds as well!  The gondola and dock in the last one are great - love all the texture the tiles in the wall give! - and the wine is cleverly portrayed as well.  You've got some very nice wood-work and furniture going on in the second one too (I might have to steal that reclining couch!); I'm trying to figure out whether that rug is a sticker/print or if you've built it - looks great, anyhow! :grin:  And is that floor dark brown?? :drool:  The lighting is great as well, except that (my one nitpick) it would have been nice if you had put a backdrop right behind the wall - not the window, obviously - to prevent the light from seeping through.  But I absolutely love the light coming through at the top corner of the arches, though I'm not quite sure why :wub:

I don't quite understand the shrine on the first build, but I'm really glad that you've added that section to the story - looking forward to figuring out more, both about the past and the future here!  And great job with all these freebuilds - reminds me that I oughta get back on the ball! 

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Nice lighting on the first build here and impressive interior for the second - as I said on Flickr the cheese look great for the wall!  The height is magnificent too.  And the third MOC is a worthy follow-up, great panoramic view and the colors of the houses are well chosen.  Good job on the little gondola also!  Enjoyed the story as well!

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Lots of great builds here telling an intricate story of intrigue. Great stuff. Excited to see where this goes.

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I like your builds. Nice! Congrats! More and more Varlyrio builds pop up these days. Cool!

"Bribe the dwarves. Impress the goblin clans. Find the elusive Kolgari elves. It won't be easy, but it will be safer there until this dies down."

 :devil_laugh: It is safer there, i promise... :devil_laugh:

Edited by MaasEffekt

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Awesome atmospheric builds. I really like the current trend people have for detailed and well lit interiors. Love the story and the juicy details of the backstabbing over there.  I really want to know more! What will Bernaldo be doing? Will he brush this assasination attempt off or will it invigorate his lust for adventure? 

Looking forward to the next part.

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Ah, I've been waiting for this. And I'm not disappointed at all! On the contrary, awesome builds - love the light coming in on the 2nd one, while how exactly you managed to lighten the 1st one is a true mystery to me! My fav must be the 3rd one though, the dock, the colour of the houses.. it reminds me of my homeland, making Varlyrio all the more attractive for me, and I reckon you nailed the atmosphere (also, again, love the texture given by the tiles). Finally, I'm totally in love with the story :wub: really intriguing and well written; plus, we shall be seeing a few interesting places all over the island, sounds like - can't wait! :thumbup:

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Fantastic builds.  I especially like the interior on the second picture the detailing in the walls is insane, gives it so much depth.  The buildings in the last picture are also nicely detailed.  I like the color choices and the balconies.  Also nice story.  

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On 12/15/2018 at 12:50 AM, Garmadon said:

Ooh - intriguing backstory and developments, Bas, and very nice builds as well!  The gondola and dock in the last one are great - love all the texture the tiles in the wall give! - and the wine is cleverly portrayed as well.  You've got some very nice wood-work and furniture going on in the second one too (I might have to steal that reclining couch!); I'm trying to figure out whether that rug is a sticker/print or if you've built it - looks great, anyhow! :grin:  And is that floor dark brown?? :drool:  The lighting is great as well, except that (my one nitpick) it would have been nice if you had put a backdrop right behind the wall - not the window, obviously - to prevent the light from seeping through.  But I absolutely love the light coming through at the top corner of the arches, though I'm not quite sure why :wub:

I don't quite understand the shrine on the first build, but I'm really glad that you've added that section to the story - looking forward to figuring out more, both about the past and the future here!  And great job with all these freebuilds - reminds me that I oughta get back on the ball! 

Thanks! I've used that technique a few times (Tigelfah Abbey, Conzaga Manor) and I do really like it (plus I have thousands of parts for it, so it doesn't involve any Bricklink orders) even though it's terribly time-consuming.

The reclining couch is supposed to be a chaise longue, hopefully that comes across in the build. The rug is just tiles, some from the Dumbledore Brickheadz set and the rest medium dark flesh and dark tan tiles. Yes, the rest of the floor consists of 2x2 dark brown tiles, think I got them in a LUGBULK order some time ago. They're a bit more reflective than I would have liked however!

Yeah there's a few light gaps which aren't ideal, something I will need to remember for next time. I wanted to get these freebuilds photographed and dismantled before challenge II was announced to give Varlyrio a chance in the freebuild points, especially after Kaliphlin and Mitgardia have had a strong showing of freebuilds recently.

So the shrine in the first build alludes to the background of Meiyo - my plan for Book III was to drip feed her story in every build, apologies if that wasn't clear. The basic background is that Meiyo and her younger brother lived in Nocturnus and fled Raavage to go to Varlyrio, where since the wars weren't as bad they thought they'd be safer. On the way there, Meiyo's brother was killed and she had to bury him and continue the journey alone, something that continues to haunt her. The shrine in the first picture is a dream she keeps having whereby she goes to visit her brother's grave. She feels she should have protected him, and that guilt drives her to do a better job of protecting Mychel. I hope that makes a bit more sense now?

And yeah...Varlyrio needs you! Dust those bricks off and get building for challenge II!

On 12/15/2018 at 1:19 AM, Kai NRG said:

Nice lighting on the first build here and impressive interior for the second - as I said on Flickr the cheese look great for the wall!  The height is magnificent too.  And the third MOC is a worthy follow-up, great panoramic view and the colors of the houses are well chosen.  Good job on the little gondola also!  Enjoyed the story as well!

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the story and different scenes. The interior shot doesn't use 1x2 cheese slopes, those are actually plates layered up (2x4, 2x3, 2x2, 2x1) and covered in 1x2 tiles. The cheese slopes would have had a steeper incline, I liked the more gradual incline better.

On 12/16/2018 at 6:58 AM, mccoyed said:

Lots of great builds here telling an intricate story of intrigue. Great stuff. Excited to see where this goes.

Cheers man!

23 hours ago, MaasEffekt said:

I like your builds. Nice! Congrats! More and more Varlyrio builds pop up these days. Cool!

"Bribe the dwarves. Impress the goblin clans. Find the elusive Kolgari elves. It won't be easy, but it will be safer there until this dies down."

 :devil_laugh: It is safer there, i promise... :devil_laugh:

Exactly! :laugh: It felt a bit weird writing that, it might make more sense canonically for Mychel to stay at the Conzaga country estates than venturing off into the unknown, but I wanted to build more of Varlyrio (especially the western side of the island) so needs must!

22 hours ago, Muakhah said:

Awesome atmospheric builds. I really like the current trend people have for detailed and well lit interiors. Love the story and the juicy details of the backstabbing over there.  I really want to know more! What will Bernaldo be doing? Will he brush this assasination attempt off or will it invigorate his lust for adventure? 

Looking forward to the next part.

Thanks for the comments! Yeah, the good news is I don't know the answer to any of those questions, so it's very much make it up as I go along! :grin: I've got some ideas of how I can continue this story based on the likely challenge II categories, but I need to wait until they are announced to be sure it will fit in.

22 hours ago, en_zoo said:

Ah, I've been waiting for this. And I'm not disappointed at all! On the contrary, awesome builds - love the light coming in on the 2nd one, while how exactly you managed to lighten the 1st one is a true mystery to me! My fav must be the 3rd one though, the dock, the colour of the houses.. it reminds me of my homeland, making Varlyrio all the more attractive for me, and I reckon you nailed the atmosphere (also, again, love the texture given by the tiles). Finally, I'm totally in love with the story :wub: really intriguing and well written; plus, we shall be seeing a few interesting places all over the island, sounds like - can't wait! :thumbup:

So here's where I come clean...I cheated! The first one was lit normally and I used Photoshop to light it like that. It took a bit of trial and error (I used to be better with Photoshop but I haven't used it's more advanced features for some time) to get it the way I wanted.

As I mentioned above I hope to build more of the western part of Varlyrio depending on the challenge II requirements.

5 hours ago, zoth33 said:

Fantastic builds.  I especially like the interior on the second picture the detailing in the walls is insane, gives it so much depth.  The buildings in the last picture are also nicely detailed.  I like the color choices and the balconies.  Also nice story.  

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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Great builds man, that interior is amazing! Interesting where the story is going, I have to admit the beginning is a little abrupt, but it is nice how you got the first picture to look dreamy. 

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4 hours ago, Basiliscus said:

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the story and different scenes. The interior shot doesn't use 1x2 cheese slopes, those are actually plates layered up (2x4, 2x3, 2x2, 2x1) and covered in 1x2 tiles. The cheese slopes would have had a steeper incline, I liked the more gradual incline better.

Ah okay.  I thought that was an awful lot of double cheese. :laugh:

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The two all-LEGO scenes are excellent! I love that aesthetic (if you hadn't gathered already) and love to see other people doing it too. I think that the middle picture could have been improved by controlling the stray light behind the walls a bit more, not just the angled tiles in the walls but also at the base and around the fireplace. Perhaps I am just hyper-observant of such things, since it is the kind of thing I have been worrying about with my recent builds, but I think it makes a difference. As it is, the walls look more like giant walls of windows covered in louvered blinds (kind of like what is seen regularly on closet doors and shutters), which is cool but probably not what you intended. I love the quality of the light shining in through the window though, and the furniture is also excellently executed. The details around the top of the walls, with the 1x1 tiles at an angle, are also nice. The first picture is nicely dreamlike, but there's not too much to say about it besides that. The third build is rather simple in its textures, on the houses in particular - though the pier is nice with the tiles in there - but that allows the focus to be more on the action, which is appropriate. If we are too busy marveling at the walls, we forget that there is a body lying in the streets! I like the decorative columns along the waterfront, too. Very nicely done! I love the story, too, and I am excited to see where you take it in the future. 

By the way, where is the hairpiece on the flesh-toned female fig in the pic from, on the far right? I like the way that one looks, but don't recall seeing it anywhere before. 

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On 12/17/2018 at 2:02 PM, W Navarre said:

Great builds man, that interior is amazing! Interesting where the story is going, I have to admit the beginning is a little abrupt, but it is nice how you got the first picture to look dreamy. 

Thanks man! As I say I'm trying to tease out Meiyo's story slowly, so we'll see where that leads us!

On 12/17/2018 at 2:30 PM, Kai NRG said:

Ah okay.  I thought that was an awful lot of double cheese. :laugh:

:grin: I do love cheese mind!

On 12/17/2018 at 9:13 PM, Henjin_Quilones said:

The two all-LEGO scenes are excellent! I love that aesthetic (if you hadn't gathered already) and love to see other people doing it too. I think that the middle picture could have been improved by controlling the stray light behind the walls a bit more, not just the angled tiles in the walls but also at the base and around the fireplace. Perhaps I am just hyper-observant of such things, since it is the kind of thing I have been worrying about with my recent builds, but I think it makes a difference. As it is, the walls look more like giant walls of windows covered in louvered blinds (kind of like what is seen regularly on closet doors and shutters), which is cool but probably not what you intended. I love the quality of the light shining in through the window though, and the furniture is also excellently executed. The details around the top of the walls, with the 1x1 tiles at an angle, are also nice. The first picture is nicely dreamlike, but there's not too much to say about it besides that. The third build is rather simple in its textures, on the houses in particular - though the pier is nice with the tiles in there - but that allows the focus to be more on the action, which is appropriate. If we are too busy marveling at the walls, we forget that there is a body lying in the streets! I like the decorative columns along the waterfront, too. Very nicely done! I love the story, too, and I am excited to see where you take it in the future. 

By the way, where is the hairpiece on the flesh-toned female fig in the pic from, on the far right? I like the way that one looks, but don't recall seeing it anywhere before. 

Yeah, all LEGO scenes are the future. It takes it from a model into a world you could imagine being populated, and I love that idea. The stray light is definitely a problem, I didn't have much time to fix as I wanted to include this for the current freebuild period, but something to bear in mind for next time. Thanks for all the kind words.

I did reply to your note on Flickr about the hairpiece although it's annoying you don't get a notification about notes (I really hope Smugmug spend some money on the Flickr mobile app!), so you may not have been aware of that. I'm not 100% sure, because I generally don't buy sets and therefore the origin of pieces is often a mystery to me, but it could be this one? I'm pretty sure it was from a Friends set anyway.

On 12/17/2018 at 11:53 PM, The Last of Nergoue said:

awesome, i really love the presentation. 

Thanks!

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Excellent story development! Great use of multiple builds! My favorite is the (throne?/meeting) room, but the canal buildings are well done, as is the lighting on the first picture.

Poison is can be an indiscriminate killer. We will have to see how Mychael fares out east. 

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Very nice work!  I love the detail that went into the interior walls, the hinge pieces for cabinet doors, and the grill pieces around the fireplace that help give texture to the brown bricks.  The plates stacked with the jumpers to give a brickwork effect on the quay is fantastic.  It really lends to texture that's believable on the stone.  The entire housefront there looks very good and the color choices are bold, yet not outlandish.  Excellent work!

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Fascinating to see through Meiyo's perspective and the story is well written :thumbup:

Wonderful use of pattern and repetition for the interior scene, and the tan furniture looks great against the reddish brown walls. Speaking of furniture, you did well avoiding the typical designs
and coming up with some lovely, unique furnishings :wub:

Very cool door and window designs in the last build, and gondolas are always fun to see in Varlyrio!

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On 12/24/2018 at 7:12 PM, Rogue Angel said:

Excellent story development! Great use of multiple builds! My favorite is the (throne?/meeting) room, but the canal buildings are well done, as is the lighting on the first picture.

Poison is can be an indiscriminate killer. We will have to see how Mychael fares out east. 

I know! Bernaldo only just managed to escape death here, but his enemies may try again.

On 1/5/2019 at 8:13 PM, Grover said:

Very nice work!  I love the detail that went into the interior walls, the hinge pieces for cabinet doors, and the grill pieces around the fireplace that help give texture to the brown bricks.  The plates stacked with the jumpers to give a brickwork effect on the quay is fantastic.  It really lends to texture that's believable on the stone.  The entire housefront there looks very good and the color choices are bold, yet not outlandish.  Excellent work!

Thanks! Glad you liked all the little details in the interior scene. The houses were modelled on the South American colonial houses which are often multi-coloured, for example:

colonial-houses-at-plaza-de-la-aduana-ca

15 hours ago, soccerkid6 said:

Fascinating to see through Meiyo's perspective and the story is well written :thumbup:

Wonderful use of pattern and repetition for the interior scene, and the tan furniture looks great against the reddish brown walls. Speaking of furniture, you did well avoiding the typical designs
and coming up with some lovely, unique furnishings :wub:

Very cool door and window designs in the last build, and gondolas are always fun to see in Varlyrio!

Glad you liked the story. Hopefully the first bit made sense once you read the explanation in the comments - next time I'll make it more clear.

Thanks for the compliments on the interior scene and furniture!

Edited by Basiliscus

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