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Found 460 results

  1. Eoin Wallace

    Bad News At Olav's Hall

    previously When he returned home, Eoin was greeted by a worried looking man who said he was sent by Jarl Olav of Nordhiem. The man also told him that he was expected there for a meeting in two days. So two days later Eoin was on the doorstep of Jarl Olav's hall, when he saw a familiar face. It was his friend and fellow Karl, Douglas! So after their reunion, the two went inside for a very long and boring meeting about everything from this years harvest to the troublesome Orcs and greedy Dwarves. Jarl Olav tended to yell a lot so by the end all the Karl's ears were sore, and none were brave enough to cover their ears for fear of offending him! So Eoin was very worried when he was yelled his new assignment. "YOU HAVEN'T BEEN DOING YOUR DUTIES! NOT A SINGLE PATROL IN A WEEK?! INSTEAD GALAVANTING OFF ON SOME ADVENTURE?! I'M MOVING YOUR ASSIGNMENT TO FORT CANDER" So there it was, he was now Karl of the wooden fort Cander. The assignment was to secure the area and make peace with the local Dwarves and Orcs (hopefully) then develop the wooden fort Cander. C&C Welcome!
  2. Book 3 Challenge 4 A A build for the queen. Fair warning: This is a long, picture heavy thread. By the request of @Exetrius, I have made the nominal picture size smaller for those of you who don't have automatically resizing browsers, so I hope this helps. Click on each of the pictures to see it full sized. This is particularly useful with the panoramic shots. Late one night, Queen Ylspeth stood on the balcony of the tallest tower of her keep, looking out over Cedrica. The reports she had received were troubling. The rumors that had been circulating for months appeared to have some merit, and even worse, they were connected. Historica was going to be torn apart and would descend again into chaos unless she acted, but who could she trust? She had pored over the lists of guild representatives and thought back to those that helped her win a united victory over Lord Raavage and the Black Spire. She had written messages, carefully selecting the most trustworthy representatives she knew from each guild (with the exception of Varlyrio, where she had invited Rego Amancio by default, not having much diplomatic relations with any of the leaders there), requesting their presence for a secret meeting in her private council chambers in a fortnight. Now she waited, hoping she had placed her trust in the right people. ---------- A fortnight later, the guild representatives had arrived, conveyed secretly through Cedrica and into the castle by covered carriages, covert paths and back doors. They met in the queen's private council chambers, a secluded room beneath the keep reserved for the most sensitive of conversations. The queen stood near the table as the representatives took their seats, and a solitary figure in a black hooded cloak sat next to her. Queen Ylspeth surveyed the representatives: Rego Amancio for Varlyrio, King DeGothia from Avalonia, Sir Glorfindel of Mitgardia, Lord Gideon of Kaliphlin (the first to arrive), and finally Lord Vladivus of Nocturnus. "What is the meaning of this summons, and why have we been smuggled in here like common thieves?" demanded Rego Amancio, banging his fist on the table. The other representatives looked at one another and the Rego, perhaps a little surprised at his boldness with the queen. Queen Ylspeth took the question in stride, not betraying her thoughts on her face. "You would be wise to remember your place, my good Rego," she began. "I am not one of your family's adversaries. I am your queen, and I do not summon my subjects lightly or without reason." She took a few strides, letting her gilded chainmail jingle and show under her robes, positioning herself between the Rego and the door, subtly letting him know that she was not afraid of his threats. He visibly calmed, gaining a bit of respect for a queen he realized he might have underestimated. The queen balled her hands into fists and leaned on the table, looking at each of the guild representatives in turn. "Thank you all for coming here tonight at my summons. As you are aware, I value the freedom of the guilds and allow each guild a great deal of latitude when it comes to their own affairs. Particularly during this time of rebuilding after all of the civil wars, I found it most important to allow the guilds to police themselves. There is much left to do in each of our guilds, but I would not have called you together in such secrecy without great need." Queen Ylspeth stood up straight, removing her hands from the table. "We have in our realms a shadowed enemy who works even now against each of us, trying to turn us against one another." She paused to let this sink in. "We have all heard the recent rumors about demons, secret alliances, spies, lizard people disguising themselves in human skin, enormous animals tainted by magic, our ancient enemies of the drow and even Revolword himself returning. I was skeptical of these rumors until reports began piling up. Before calling everyone here tonight, I had to find the truth of these rumors, and have had to spend considerable time and resources gathering evidence. I have learned that these rumors have some basis in fact at their core, and we must band together or Historica will be torn apart and we shall perish. The utmost secrecy was required because this enemy is like a spider with its web everywhere, and I could only count on my most trusted allies." "What is this enemy you speak of, your majesty?" asked King DeGothia. "There is a band of renegade elves working to take over Historica and enslave its inhabitants," she replied. Queen Ylspeth held up her hand to stymie the murmur of disbelief spreading through her audience. "I understand it seems far-fetched. I had a hard time believing it myself, but these are no ordinary elves. Magic has wrenched apart their souls and has consumed and emaciated their bodies. They know no pleasure except in accumulating more power. Gathering this information has taken longer than I would have liked and claimed the lives of several good patriots, but here is the history as I understand it." "Almost a thousand years ago, a small group of young elves broke away from their clan in the Isles of Avalonia. These adolescents had known nothing but prosperity, and their parents had afforded them everything they could wish for. They had grown weary of their lives of luxury and sought something more, something exciting. Their leader, the wily Dion, had studied the arcane arts, and led her friends deep into the Enchanted Forest. Not before stealing many of the most advanced and dangerous spell tomes from the elven library where she studied, however." "At first, the young elves laughed and played. Dion used her summoning spells to produce food and drink, and conjured servants to attend them. Her original intent was not clear; it may have been that she only wanted freedom from authority, but we will never know. What we do know is that Dion began to summon more and more dangerous creatures, and some of the young elves became afraid. They returned home to their shame, which is how we know any of this story at all. The elven elders became concerned that Dion was not just having fun, but rather up to something sinister. They sent a small envoy to meet with her and surreptitiously inspect the keep in which she had set up residence." "When they arrived, they found that she had summoned demons and had been experimenting with powerful evil sorcery. They reported back to the elders who decided to put an end to this work. They sent a group of powerful mages and soldiers to stop the evil magic and arrest Dion and her followers. When they arrived, they found Dion had forseen their approach and a disastrous magical battle ensued. The old keep that Dion and her followers had been using was destroyed. No trace of Dion or her followers could be found, and, after cleaning up the remaining summoned demons, the elven force returned to the elders, declaring them dead." "Exactly what happened in the intervening centuries is unknown, but Dion and her followers had survived. However they had survived the blast, they had regrouped and rebuilt in the catacombs under the ruins of the elven keep where the battle took place. It appears that they have been plotting, patiently and slowly working to enslave all Historica under their control." "Your Majesty, may I ask how you have come by this information?" Lord Vladivus asked quietly. The queen nodded. "Unusually large creatures, called dire animals, were found in Avalonia. These were investigated by a local wizard and traced to their source, a ruins deep in the Enchanted Forest. The wizard, from a concealed position, observed unusual looking elves dumping magical waste into the local streams. This magical pollution led to the creation of the dire animals who drank from the contaminated water supply." "So you've been selling us food that has been tainted with contaminants?!" the Rego asked King deGothia, who glared back at him. "Unless you've been eating giant fowl or enormous ears of corn, no," the Queen cut in. "There will be time to discuss the effects and what is to be done later." The Rego settled down again and the queen continued. "The wizard realized he was in a dangerous situation and wisely returned to the local lord, who hired a skilled operative to discover more information." Queen Ylspeth turned to the short individual clad in black standing to her side. "Our infiltrator Silas scouted the ruins, inside and out. I will let him explain." The spy stepped forward to address the assembled lords, bowing slightly to the queen as he went. "I am here to witness to you what I observed while scouting the ruins." Sir Glorfindel held a hand to briefly stay the man and ask a question. "Are these the ruins of the original tower that the elves inhabited hundreds of years ago?" Queen Ylspeth nodded. "We believe so, yes." "Please, continue," Sir Glorfindel admonished the spy. "Wait," Queen Ylspeth commanded. She turned to Lord Gideon. "Did you bring the potion I asked for?" Lord Gideon rose and produced a bright yellow-green potion in a glass flask. "Yes, your majesty. I have brought the truth potion you have requested." He handed it to her. The queen turned and handed the potion to Silas. He took it from her and looked rather upset. "This was not part of the agreement, your majesty!" he said quietly. The queen looked at him sternly, and addressed him openly for the whole room to hear. "I do not like such magical coercement, but the situation requires that this story be told in full and without question of its authenticity. No one in this room is to ask you of any of your prior activities or secrets while under the influence of this potion. Is that clear?" she asked the room. The lords gave their assent. Seeing he had little choice, the spy sighed and drank the potion. A moment later, he looked at the queen, who nodded. Silas began: "I scouted the ruins around the outside at first. I approached the ruins early in the morning and carefully picked my way around, wary of traps. Moss and vines covered the ruins, and had I not seen occasional comings and goings of these elves, I would have thought the place abandoned." "However, the few elves I had seen had emerged from the chasm near the back of the structure. After observing from a hidden position, I found that there was a concealed entrance behind some ivy leading to the catacombs beneath the ruins. This chasm has a small stream that runs at the base, concealing footprints and movement of people in and out. I waited until all was clear, then snuck in. There is a magical trap near the doorway, and it requires a command word that I overheard the elves repeating. Beyond the doorway, the catacombs are immense under the structure, containing many winding corridors and many rooms. Some have been caved in from above or ravaged by fire, but the farther in you go, the less the rooms are damaged." "There are a number of magical workshops and libraries where they are conducting experiments on animals, humans, dwarves, elves, and a host of other creatures I didn't recognize. I don't understand much in the way of magical writings, but the mundane writing next to the magical texts spoke of experiments meant to bring about a race of super warriors, longevity, and construction of magical items. I helped myself to a few gems and precious stones for my troubles." He clenched his fist and grimaced at the effects of the truth potion. The queen raised her eyebrows and smirked, but otherwise remained silent. Silas continued. "Most of the way through the ruins is a vast cavernous room with an opening in the ceiling to let in light. A pool sits in the center of the floor and beyond it a raised dais. The room just beyond this dais is the main workshop. It contained all manner of magical experiments, a small library of tomes, and on a large desk a collection of journals, each labeled with one of the guilds: Mitgardia, Avalonia, Varlyrio, Nocturnus, and Kaliphlin. Each one contains detailed notes on progress of their schemes meant to undermine the authority of the crown: uprisings in Mitgardia, support for Lord Raavage and the Black Spire years ago in Nocturnus, the disappearance of Artorious Rex of Avalonia, unusual undead activity in Kaliphlin, the appearance of demons from a nether realm in Varlyrio... the web of deceit and plans was complex and vast. I was shocked, and I have seen quite a bit of treachery in my line of work." He quickly shut his mouth, about to say more, but choosing silence over blurting out more truths he did not want to speak. "Most disturbing was that in all, there were notes on a magical superweapon designed to wipe out entire castles at once. This was mentioned in all of the guilds' journals, tied in to the elemental powers that Revolword had tapped into. Despite the elemental helm being lost to another dimension, the elemental forces remain, and this group of elves was constructing a new device to harness these powers into a weapon. The details of the weapon seem to have been written in a magical language in another tome, but the mundane writing described that each use requires a soul, and that each of the guilds houses an elemental power necessary to construct it. It also seems that the weapon is nearly finished, if not already so." "The last pages of the journal implied that an army was being raised by these elves to attack all of the guilds, with the aid of the super weapon, while each of us was fighting amongst ourselves due to the rumors, lies, and hostilities that these elves had been sowing for years. " "The more I read, the more dangerous I realized the situation was, and I had to return with this intelligence. I retraced my steps back out, but was held up about halfway back: an interdimensional portal opened and a large group of evil creatures came through. I ducked into a room and pulled the door to. Through the small crack at the edge of the door, I watched as a whole host of skeletons and demons paraded by. They were followed by strange, emaciated elves. Their leader is an elf with black hair who has magically modified herself, or maybe mutated, having given herself antennae. They seem to have some sensory power, as they looked at me when she passed. I remained frozen and she passed by without incident, but it was unnerving to say the least. I estimated around a dozen of the elves, maybe 20 undead skeletons, and another dozen or so demon creatures of various types, including some with the capacity for flight. After that, I high tailed it out of there, and reported my findings." When Silas finished, the guild representatives gave one another worried looks. King deGothia was the first to speak. "This news comes as a surprise to us all I think," he glanced around the table to affirming looks, "but it also comes at a bad time when we are all rebuilding. How are we to raise an army to fight this foe?" Sir Glorfindel agreed. "Mitgardia is dealing with its own rebellion internally right now. We cannot commit large numbers of troops to a battle against this enemy." "Raising an army from Nocturnus will prove almost impossible," Lord Vladivus chimed in. "The destruction there is worse than the other guilds, and loyalties are still fractured." "Kaliphlin is still dealing with the Desert King and the undead apparently raised by these elves," Lord Gideon added. "Varlyrio is starting to see these demons," Rego Amancio stated. "Has anyone reached out to these elves and tried to bargain with them? They may be interested in reaching a deal." The queen shook her head. "We have not discussed anything with the elves. Indeed, they do not even know that we are aware of their existence. I thought that it was wise to retain the element of surprise, and besides, a small group of individuals raising an army against the state, sowing the seeds of rebellion, and developing a super weapon capable of destroying an entire castle... that is quite clearly treason, is it not? Those are not the actions of a group interested in bargaining." "What do you propose we do, your majesty?" asked Lord Vladivus in his calm, quiet manner. "It is clear that the Guilds of Historica are not at full capacity and to face a foe of this magnitude on an open battlefield would likely end in defeat," the queen began. "The only way that I can see for us to prevail is to strike with the element of surprise. We will need a small force of diverse talents to enter the ruins and eliminate these elves and their minions before they are able to gate an entire army into our world, or worse, use their superweapon." "The force would need to be stealthy," Lord Vladivus began. "And have formidable warriors to combat demons," Sir Glorfindel added. "These elves are magic users. We will require some mages as well," Lord Gideon spoke up. The lords at the table continued their discussion of the force amongst themselves for a few minutes. Then the queen spoke. "I ask that each of you return home, choose five of your best, plus one commander, and send them in a fortnight to the Golden Goblet tavern in Belynia, Avalonia, on the eastern edge of the Enchanted Forest. Silas will meet them there and lead them to the ruins." The lords discussed the proposal briefly and assented. The queen then spoke again. "Before we leave, there is the utmost need of secrecy. You cannot tell even your champions why they are going into battle. I have here a bottle of water that has been enspelled to prevent anyone who drinks from it of speaking of the subject that is uttered before it is complete. I propose a toast," she said, pouring water into everyone's goblet. After everyone had their goblets filled, she lifted her glass. The lords did the same, even Rego Amancio. "May we not speak of the conversations that we have had here tonight with anyone else until after the task is completed." She drank from her goblet, as did all the lords and Silas. "Thanks to you all, and may Historica prevail!" the queen entoned. The lords, now finished with dinner, took their leave, and the queen and Silas stood for a moment in silence. Then the large panel with the sigil of Historica on the far wall opened, and out came a dark skinned, blue-haired elf from the under regions of Varlyrio. "My queen," the elf curtsied. "The Kolgari are in support of the crown, your majesty. I appreciate your allowing me to remain hidden in front of the Rego." Queen Ylspeth shook her head. "It is against my better judgment to keep secrets from my subjects, but if some of the rumors of the Rego's ambitions are true, then we should be wary. With any luck, the Rego will send troops and then we shall have two contingents from Varlyrio." "We shall send our champions, your majesty," the elf replied. The queen then poured her water from the same bottle and made another toast. "May we not speak of the subjects spoken of tonight until the task is complete." The Kolgari drank with the queen. ---------- Two weeks later, the troops began filtering into the Golden Goblet. Silas gathered them in the private banquet room to keep them out of sight. The Avalonians, Kaliphlinians, and Nocturnians had already arrived, but only quiet conversations and a few drinks were had. As the hour grew late, everyone began to wonder where the Varlyrians and Mitgardians were. But then, several hooded, cloaked figures entered the room. Throwing back their cloaks and hoods, they revealed themselves to be Kolgari elves, from beneath the surface of Varlyrio. "I see our Varlyrian friends the Kolgari have sent us support," Silas said. Murmuring broke out amongst the other troops. Many had heard of the Kolgari but few had ever seen them. They were stunning to behold in their golden armor. The Kolgari commander held a fist to his chest and bowed. "The Kolgari are at the service of the crown," he said. A moment of silence followed, then the Avalonian commander stepped forward and extended his hand. The Kolgari commander took it, and a cheer went up. The troops then began to greet one another and were soon talking like old friends. A round of drinks later, however, it became clear that the Kolgari would be the last to arrive. Mitgardia and the above ground inhabitants of Varlyrio had not sent troops. With this realization, Silas rounded up the troops, paid the bar tab, and led them off into the darkness of the night. The darkness grew even deeper as they entered the enchanted forest. ---------- Two days journey in, the pace became slower as they drew closer. The troops were on high alert and traveled quietly as they stole their way around brambles and loose rocks. Finally, on the evening of the third day, they arrived at the ruins, crawling slowly in the underbrush on the nearby hill to gain a vantage. Silas pointed out the location of the secret door. They waited until nightfall, and saw no activity. Quietly, Silas led the group down into the chasm, said the magic password, and led the group into the catacombs. The group went room to room, seeing little activity, but seeing exactly what Silas had told the guild leaders about: laboratories and animal experiments. Silas continued down the hallway, motioning the others to follow, stopping just before the large room with the pool that Silas had described to the guild representatives. The group peered through the doorway and saw a long, high ceilinged room with light filtering in from a hole above, shining down onto what might have been an ancient elven room of worship. Some of the decorations had fallen and the raised dais on the far side of the pool was broken, but much of the original stonework remained. The light reflected off the water of the pool onto the walls, which were overgrown with ivy and moss in one corner. Unlike the ruined rooms and hallways of the catacombs they had seen, this large room had a strange, unearthly quality to it, and might have been a beautiful place to visit in better times. Silas paused at this room to listen and observe. The other three entrances to this room, one on the dais itself, and the other two on opposite walls, were dark and evidenced no movement. Only the quiet splash of water from the fountain located along one edge of the pool could be heard. "Let us make our way along the wall to the door on the northern side," Silas whispered. He led the troops along the wall to the left, picking his way carefully uneven and broken stone floor. As he peered around the doorway, a demoness stepped out from the darkness into the light. "What have we here?" the demoness asked in a loud voice. Silas sprang forward to attack and silence her as quickly as possible, but she moved with supernatural speed and knocked him to the ground. The troops quickly spread out to surround her, and as they did so, more demons appeared behind them from the hallway they had just exited. They moved to back to the other doorways, but elves and demons poured forth from these as well. The troops kept backing up until they found themselves standing in the pool, surrounded. A tall, emaciated elf dressed in black trimmed in light green, with black hair and strange antennae protruding from her head, stepped forward onto the dais, flanked by two hooded acolytes. She carried a wooden staff from the top of which glowed a magical all-seeing eye that darted this way and that at the troops. "Welcome to our home, feeble guild members," the black-clad elf said. "I am Dion, the leader of the Enlightened." She paused, then smiled a crooked smile and laughed as she looked at them. "Did you think that you would surprise me? My all-seeing eye detected you leagues away from here." She basked in the disappointment written on the troops' faces as they realized they had walked into a trap. "We are not unkind, even to those that would assault us in our home. If you lay down your arms now, we will show you mercy and you may live out your days as our servants. If, however, you choose to fight, you will be killed without mercy, and those of you who survive will have your souls removed to power our elemental weapon." As she spoke, human troops filed in, followed by skeletons, trolls, and orcs, some riding wargs. Worse still, ghosts appeared, and even three powerful trolls. The guild troops looked to one another, knowing that they were doomed; they were outnumbered and overmatched. The leader of the Avalonian troops stood up tall and rallied the courage of all the allied guild troops. "Are you going to fight or try to bore us to death with talk?" he asked in a loud voice before dropping his visor with a loud *clank* and raising his sword. The guild troops cheered, raising their weapons and preparing for battle. Dion frowned and raised her staff. A loud cry went up from the evil forces, and they charged. Battle had been joined. The mindless skeleton forces marched in first, doing little damage against the seasoned veterans, but distracting them while the evil elves rained down magical fire, ice, and lightning on the allied troops. Not to be outdone, the allied mages fired back with magic of their own, though most of their efforts were absorbed by the ground troops that the elves were using as fodder. With several allied troops now down, the next wave of the evil army hit, this time real troops supported by orcs and wargs. Flying demons dive bombed the allied troops all the while. More allied troops fell, and fewer of the evil army this time. The ranks of the allied guilds shrunk and the group in the pool became smaller. The next wave hit, this time consisting of the demons, the ghosts and the powerful trolls. The troops from Nocturnus, mostly intact to this point due to their undead nature, took heavy damage now from these magical attackers. The Enlightened began to draw nearer. The last few allied guild troops tightened their circle once more and were surrounded by the evil army. "Goodbye, worthless guilds," Dion said, before raising her staff and firing a lightning bolt at the group, striking down the Kaliphlini mage. The evil army began to advance for the final onslaught as the allied troops braced to receive the charge. As the monstrous army advanced and all seemed lost, a horn sounded, loud and low, echoing off the stone hallways. The demons and elves facing the dais turned around just in time to see a ferocious sight coming from the tunnel: a charge of bear cavalry. The Mitgardians had arrived. The legendary dwarven bear cavalry of Mitgardia plowed into the lines of the evil army. Their charge had not been resisted in over four hundred years, and today was no exception. The massive bears with berserker dwarves flowed over the demons and elves like hot lava on a meadow, tearing apart their ranks as they came. "Sorry we're late!" yelled one of the dwarves as they followed their screaming leader, Jarl Thimolir on the back of his massive polar bear into the fray. The allied guild troops, rallied by the late support, cheered and pressed hard against the enemy line. "First one to her head has a free keg!" yelled Jarl Thimolir as the bears plowed around the pool and up onto the dais. Dion, seeing that her lines were broken and thrown into chaos, desperately threw fire at an advancing bear only to have her head cleaved from her shoulders by the axe of another. The lines of both sides were now mixed, and chaos reigned. The allied troops, bolstered by the insane charge of the dwarven bear cavalry, began to cut down the evil army one by one. Multiple magic users ganged up on the trolls as the dwarves pounded them with their hammers. The ghosts were cut with magical blades of the Kolgari and dissipated into nothing. As the evil army began to be outnumbered, the troops began to flee, and were chased down by the bears. Finally, the last of the demons and Enlightened were vanquished, and the remaining allied guild troops gathered together, congratulating one another and cheering on the Mitgardian bear cavalry. "Not so easy to get a bunch of armed dwarves riding bears through elven lands in Avalonia when you can't explain what you're doing there," Jarl Thimolir said as the battle died down. "Glad you made it," said the Kolgari leader, grasping his hand in a shake. "How did you find us?" "After we reached the tavern and everyone was gone, our bears picked up your scent and we tracked you here. We came down, heard the commotion, and followed it to the battle, despite getting a little scorched by a magical fire trap on the way in." "If you'd been any later, you might not have had anyone to save," the Kolgari said with a smile. "Your timing couldn't have been better!" "I'll drink to that!" the Jarl said, producing a skin of ale and sharing it with the elf. The allies cleaned up the battlefield, laying their dead to rest in the forest around the ruins (including the spy, Silas), and standing guard as carts were brought in from a neighboring Avalonian community to haul off the magical and mundane books to be examined back in Cedrica. The animals and other humanoid creatures held captive were freed, and the extra-world portals demolished and sealed. The ground the demons died on was consecrated so they could not be raised again, and the other remains burned to avoid their return as undead. ---------- Queen Ylspeth met with the troops and the guild representatives at the Golden Goblet and congratulated them on a great victory, now able to tell them the entire story, which she did in detail. They mourned their dead and raised their glasses in salute to the fallen. The queen then made an announcement. "We shall erect a monument of the battle and for the fallen at the site of the ruins, memorializing a day when all of the guilds of Historica came together to defeat a dangerous foe. We shall not soon forget your deeds, or our strength together." "There is still work to be done. The main threat is dispersed, but it is unknown if there are survivors of the Enlightened, parts of their summoned armies may yet exist, and their spies still run freely in each of our guilds. I am assembling a group of scholars from each of the guilds to study the writings found in the ruins and we will try to discern as much detail of the plans of the Enlightened as we can. Keep guard! The battle has been won, but the war is not yet over."
  3. Grover

    Ambassador Gisela

    The Tales of Lady Gwenllian 8. Ambassador Gisela Due to the recent attempt on his son’s life, Staffen Conzaga decided to send his children away from him for their safety, choosing a different location across Historica for each. Distrustful and crafty by nature, Staffen sent false ‘official’ word of the locations and travel plans of each of his children ahead of them to confuse potential attacks. Only his daughter Gisela stayed behind in Varlyrio, but even this was a ruse. After a few weeks at home, Gisela set off to attend a concert of one of her favorite Nocturnian bands who were playing a show in Avalonia. She traveled light, and by all appearances, she was only going to be away for a few days. However, Staffen had secretly met with Gisela and her bodyguard Mohatu, directing them to attend the heavily guarded concert and connect with the many lords in attendance to secure a safe location for Gisela to reside while Staffen ruthlessly hunted down the source of the attack. Gisela was annoyed: she did not fear assassins and felt that she could take care of herself. She was not about to disobey her father when he was so furious, but she had little intention of begging some foreign lord for shelter while her family was under attack. Thus, she saw an opportunity to go to a concert, have some fun, and return home ‘unsuccessful’. She took one of her father’s nicer ships (loaded with all the comforts of home) across the sea, accompanied by her bodyguard Mohatu and several servants. Her ship anchored in the mouth of the Afondraig Riverat the fledgling rural community of Prenmôr and here she had attended a concert of The Rolling Bones. The concert was heavily guarded due to the number of nobles in attendance, and had drawn a huge crowd from across all the guilds. Gisela had enjoyed herself and the music, happy to be anonymous for a night, lost in the crowd. She hadn’t made a great effort to meet with the lords and ladies as she was more interested in listening to the music. The few she had met were from impoverished communities in Avalonia, the frozen wasteland of Mitgardia, or the desolate sands of Kaliphlin, none of which were appealing to her. At the conclusion of the concert, when Gisela had searched for accommodations for the night, she had found that this area was terribly underdeveloped, without a single inn or tavern yet. Faced with the unappealing choice of demanding shelter of some dirty peasant family or spending the night on her ship moored in the river, she chose the latter. In the morning, she had a mind to set sail back home, but, being the astute politician, had thought the better of it and decided to meet the local lord of this new community. Although she had no interest in asking the lord for a place to live, she had learned at an early age that it paid to make as many connections as possible, particularly among the nobility, in the case there was an advantage to be had. After all, this lord had put on the concert, so it was possible he was better connected than one could assume. After the servants had rowed Gisela and Mohatu to shore in the ship’s dinghy, Gisela had to make her way through the unseemly campsites of the peasantry who had attended the previous night’s concert, being careful not to dirty her skirt. Inquiring where the local lord might be, she had been directed to some temporary housing on the large elevated rock outcropping that overlooked the ocean, river, and the fields below. Without a carriage, and without a nice, paved Varlyrian street, she was beginning to regret her decision to make the climb when she finally reached the top. Several neat wattle and daub, timber-framed, thatched-roofed houses, surrounded by roughly hewn wooden fences, sat in a disorganized fashion near a well. Filthy peasants were delivering stone from a nearby quarry to new foundation footings being set for structures of some sort. Gisela set aside her distaste for the rough living conditions and made her way to the largest of the houses that bore the green flags of Avalonia, assuming that belonged to the lord. A little peasant girl in some low-cost clothing was on the side of the house feeding chickens, and a few soldiers were in a side yard practicing at swordplay. She bade Mohatu knock on the door, which he did without complaint. He stepped back, resting a paw on his sword hilt while keeping one eye on the door and the other on the soldiers to his right. A moment later, the door swung open, and a rather pleasant lady greeted them. She wore the green colors of her Avalonian lord, but Gisela was a little taken aback that she was wearing pants rather than the more proper skirt or dress. She hid her surprise well as the lady addressed her. “Well met, m’lady,” she said in slightly accented Avalonian speech. “What brings you here this fine morning?” Gisela ignored the unrefined direct manner of the lady, replying with a polite Varlyrian greeting. “I bid you a good morning. I am Lady Gisela Conzaga of Varlyrio, and I seek the lord of this house. Is he home?” The lady seemed amused at this notion. “Indeed m’lady, there is no lord of this house, but a lady, and she is here.” She gestured with an open hand to the two soldiers at practice. Gisela directed her attention to the soldiers practicing melee in the soft earth that doubled as a pig pen and quickly understood, surprised yet again. With their helms and armor on, she had a hard time deducing which one was the lady of the house, as both wielded their arms with terrific skill and force. The woman in the doorway led Gisela and Mohatu across the yard to the edge of the pig pen’s fence. “M’lady Gwenllian!” she called out, and the fighting stopped. “Lady Gisela Conzaga of Varlyrio is here to see you!” Both combatants walked over to toward Gisela. The taller of the two wore full plate armor with a visored helm and wielded a hand-and-a-half bastard sword in a single hand like it was a matchstick. The other more slight individual wore a closed helm with scale mail under a green Avalonian tabard and carried a mace. Gisela assumed the latter was the lady of the house due to her stature, but it was the other who sheathed the massive sword and strode forward to the fence, shooing a pig out of the way with a gentle shove of the foot. With practiced hands, the helm was quickly unlaced and Gisela was confused when a cascade of long, dark red hair flowed out of the helm as it was removed, to reveal a sweaty, smiling face of a woman in her mid 30s. Tucking her helmet under her left arm, she removed her gauntlet and glove, pushed some wet red hair out of her eyes, and extended her hand to Gisela in a warrior’s greeting. “Well met, Lady Gisela,” she said with the same slight accent as the other woman. “I am Lady Gwenllian. I see you have already met my Lady-at-arms, Lady Seren.” The usually unflappable Gisela actually hesitated a moment from shock, and started to curtsey before realizing that she had best return the greeting offered her. She took Lady Gwenllian’s hand to shake as she had seen her father’s warriors do many times before. She immediately noticed the feel of Lady Gwenllian’s hands: they were callused and incredibly strong, like the hands of a smith or a soldier, having obviously known hard work, and were not the smooth hands of nobility she was so used to. She sensed Mohatu stiffen ever so slightly to her side, not entirely sure of this strange and potentially dangerous woman. If Lady Gwenllian was at all distressed by an armed lionel standing before her, she didn’t show it. Gisela had always been tall for a woman, taller even than some of the male soldiers of her family’s home, but Lady Gwenllian matched her every inch and then some, standing several inches over six feet, with broad, squared shoulders and a muscular frame. She looked imposing in full plate armor, but her rather plain face and inviting smile put Gisela at ease and she quickly regained her senses. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Gwenllian,” Gisela began formally. The handshake ended and Lady Gwenllian smiled as she continued. “I am of the house Conzaga from across the sea in Varlyrio. I attended the concert last night and wished to meet the lord of these lands before I departed.” Pausing a second, she added, “The concert was quite lovely, and I greatly appreciated all of your effort in sponsoring such a lavish event.” Lady Gwenllian held her hand up. “I am glad to meet you, but I cannot take credit for the hard work of my household and the villagers that put up the stage and trappings you see below.” Just when she didn’t think that she could be more surprised, Gisela was. Here this noblewoman was giving credit to peasants? For labor they were supposed to be doing anyway? What? “How generous of you,” she offered. “I’m sure that you had many hours of planning involved." Lady Gwenllian smiled again. “Your compliments are what is generous,” she said with a laugh. “How about some tea? May I offer you a drink and a place to sit while we talk a bit?” She gestured to her house. “Thank you, I would be honored,” Gisela replied. She followed Lady Seren as Lady Gwenllian clanked into the house in her armor. Inside, the home was neat and tidy, or at least as much as a dwelling with a packed dirt floor and an open thatched roof could be. She found herself somewhat put off by this sparse, rural dwelling. The two-story house had a fire pit on the bottom level that fed heat into the upper level by means of a hole in the floor above that formed a sort of balcony. Lady Gwenllian led Gisela upstairs, which had a wooden floor, and offered her a chair while she doffed her armor on a stand near her bed. Gisela wrinkled her nose as she carefully wiped the chair off with a handkerchief before sitting. Mohatu took a post not far behind her, standing. “What’s your family business?” asked Lady Gwenllian rather bluntly, as she looked at Gisela over her shoulder while continuing to remove portions of her armor. “We are vintners, growing some of the highest quality grapes and fermenting some of the best wine in Varlyrio,” Gisela replied. “Very nice,” replied Lady Gwenllian. “I am originally from Albers, and my family were brewers.” Suddenly, everything was clear to Gisela. She remembered hearing of the land of Albers, far to the north of Varlyrio and west of Avalonia, across the sea. She recalled that Albers was a matriarchy, with families ruled and inherited by the first-born woman. She had always been fascinated with tales of this land as a small girl, wondering what it would be like to have the kind of power and respect her father and brothers did. She never thought anything past it being just a fantasy, however, and had forgotten about it as she grew up. The revelation that here, in front of her, was a real-life example of her childhood imagination was exciting: an intelligent, confidant, and capable lady who was completely oblivious to the male-dominated culture that she was now a part of. Gisela’s disgust with the backward, dirty village and home was temporarily lost as her interest was now piqued: this was no widow of some male lord, holding down the household until another man came along to marry her, as Gisela had assumed. No, this was the noble in charge around here, and it opened many new possibilities in Gisela’s mind. “We have not yet had a harvest,” Lady Gwenllian continued as she sat down across from Gisela, wearing her sweat-soaked dark green tunic and heavy breeches. Lady Gwenllian leaned back in her chair and crossed her legs as Gisela had seen her father do so many times before, but rather than seeing his fancy shoes, she saw a muddy leather riding boot crossed on Lady Gwenllian’s other knee. “But we hope that our first will offer enough wheat, hops, and oats to brew some ales and lagers this winter. One of our first priorities is our brewery, after we finish the forge for our blacksmith, of course." The same small peasant girl Gisela had seen feeding the chickens earlier arrived with some tea as Lady Seren joined Gisela and Lady Gwenllian. Gisela then understood that Lady Seren was not a servant, but a minor noble of sorts herself, as the Lady at Arms and seneschal of Lady Gwenllian’s household. The serving girl then interacted with Lady Seren in a way that made Gisela realize that she was not a serving girl at all, but the daughter of Lady Seren herself. This household was full of surprises! The conversation devolved into some discussion of the Conzaga family fermentation process, something with which Gisela was familiar but by no means an expert, so she confidently fabricated the details she didn’t know. When Lady Gwenllian began explaining the brewing process (which Gisela really couldn’t care less about), Gisela was more interested in the plain and direct manner with which Lady Gwenllian spoke. It was clear to Gisela that there was a great opportunity here: Lady Gwenllian would be underestimated by almost all the men who met her. Combine an underestimation of Lady Gwenllian’s ability with an adversary’s overconfidence and it would spell disaster for anyone who opposed her, and by extension, be a boon for those allied with her. For her part, Lady Gwenllian was similarly impressed with Gisela. She had been happy that a young lady had the temerity to approach her without a man (even if she was wearing a dress), something that had not yet happened since she had arrived in Avalonia. Listening to Gisela describe her family’s business, Lady Gwenllian realized that Gisela was extremely socially adept and that she was likely very good at something Lady Gwenllian was terrible at: politics. Lady Gwenllian’s direct nature, while beloved by the peasants of her land, had not been particularly well-suited for the court in Albers, relegating Lady Gwenllian’s family role to more physical activities like swordplay and jousting while her mother and sisters played political games. With the rest of her family having been murdered in Albers, Lady Gwenllian was now on her own and her household had a need for a shrewd politician. She thought that Gisela might be a great liaison for the neighboring tribes, communities, and fiefdoms, so she tried to steer the conversation in a direction to interest Gisela into staying. Little did she know that Gisela was already thinking along the same lines. “It’s not much now, but we have some designs on turning Prenmôr into a thriving community and a strong outpost. Lady Seren has already drawn up plans for the castle itself, along with some sketches for the surrounding lands.” She turned to Lady Seren. “Lady Seren, if you could please bring the parchments, I would like to show Lady Gisela the construction that is underway.” Their tea finished, Lady Seren rose to collect the plans, and Lady Gwenllian tossed a chain shirt over her tabard, fastening it with a belt. She led Gisela and Mohatu downstairs and outside. Lady Gwenllian motioned to the man she had been training with, who was sweeping up. “Chwyd, go fetch my sword,” she directed him. The man diligently scurried off without complaint. Gisela smiled to herself at the thought of male servants carrying out her every whim. “I prefer to be prepared for any eventuality,” Lady Gwenllian explained as Chwyd and Lady Seren returned. “You never know when you will be called on to fight.” After fastening on her sword and scabbard (much to Mohatu’s chagrin), Lady Gwenllian led Gisela around the grounds, showing her the foundations of the buildings in progress. Lady Seren walked alongside Lady Gwenllian as an equal, holding the unfurled scroll of parchment with the plans for the castle as Lady Gwenllian pointed out the areas where different parts of the fortress were to be laid and discussing the military strategy for each. Gisela did not have a formal education in engineering or military tactics, but it seemed to her that these two women knew what they were doing and had spent a great deal of time planning the strongest possible fortress. Lady Gwenllian stopped by the foundation of the blacksmith’s forge that was underway. “As you can see, we have some way to go, but by setting a priority, we will build the most important logistical and defensive structures first.” She looked around the high plateau, then back to Gisela. “I am in need of a strategist and liaison with the neighboring communities. We are surrounded by humans, elves, dwarves, hobbits, and other races, all of whom we need to trade and collaborate with in order to flourish and remain safe here. As we are a new community, we cannot yet bring great leverage to the dealing table, so we need someone practiced in negotiation to help provide as favorable a position as possible for Prenmôr. You strike me as such an individual. Would you be interested in taking up the position of Prenmôr’s official ambassador? At present, I cannot provide vast wealth, but I can assure you a living wage, room in my personal residence and such comforts as the area allows, plus travel to the neighboring communities and whatever entertainments and victuals accompany these, until such a time as our permanent residences are constructed.” Gisela paused a moment to take everything in. “May I have a moment?” Lady Gwenllian nodded, and Gisela took Mohatu aside. Gisela assumed that he would be displeased with the lack of fortifications of the area and would try to bring her to a safer area per her father’s instructions, so she was determined to force her will on him. “We shall be staying here. I know you’re going to argue that it doesn’t have high walls and all the troops of Varlyrio, but my father’s instructions were explicit that I find a lord willing to take me in until this family trouble blows over. I expect that you will send word to my father that this area and this lady are acceptable,” she finished with a pointed look. Mohatu held up a paw and shook his head. “My lady, I shall take no convincing and will wholeheartedly report that this area is secure. What it does not have in high walls and fortresses, it more than makes up for in its obscurity. With a population this small, outsiders will be noticed immediately, making it difficult for assassins to blend in, and this geographic site,” he motioned with his paw around the plateau, “provides a vantage over land, sea, and river, making it impossible for an advancing army to take the area by surprise. These ladies have done well in selecting the most defensible position, and while the lady herself,” he said, inclining his head toward Lady Gwenllian, “regrettably does not have a bodyguard, she looks… formidable,” he finished with a low growl and an almost begrudging respect. Gisela was pleasantly surprised, although she never let it show to her bodyguard, and smirked after turning away from Mohatu. She returned to Lady Gwenllian. “I accept your offer and the position as Ambassador of Prenmôr. I have a few household servants and my bodyguard Mohatu, who will require residence here.” “Of course,” Lady Gwenllian replied. “I will have space made for the servants with the rest of my household. Mohatu,” she turned to him, “you shall have a place downstairs in our residence with Lady Seren and her daughter Alis, while Gisela and I shall share the upstairs.” That settled, the servants began transferring Ambassador Gisela’s possessions from the ship to Lady Gwenllian’s home, and Lady Gwenllian’s household began making room for the entourage to share space with them until their permanent residences could be built. Gisela looked around the plateau, taking in the salt smell of the ocean, watching the gulls soar on the sea breeze and the peasants busily toiling away on the land below. Yes, this was going to be the beginning of a very profitable relationship.
  4. Louis of Nutwood

    [AoM: Stables - Phase I] Wash away

    Previously: Chapter 10. Don't look back Chapter 11. Wash away The sun had long set behind the mountains, so we rode by the dim silvery light cast by the full moon. Shadows formed between the branches and trunks, and made my mind see images that I could only hope were not there. We left the road and entered the woods, only to trust the moon and the stars and the echoes and the cries to guide our paths. Hours had passed and the horses kept their slow pace, careful not to trick or fall on the stones and broken branches hidden in the dark. The forest once coated with white snow gave way to dripping icicles hanging from the trees and slippery pools formed under their trunks. Lifeless leaves held ponds of ice that fell to the ground as we passed, melting in the dirt. Slow and steady. The earthy smell of grass and moss grew stronger as the sound of a flowing river grew louder. We are heading south. Dazed with the throttle and lost in the whistling sound of the wind and tinkling of our coins, I only came to my senses when a shout echoed between the trees. - Hold on, boys. – Hob had walked to the shore and stood next to the frigid green waters of the river, staring at the water. What is he looking at? It started with one splash. Tap. Then another. Tap. And then another. Tap, tap, tap. Soon, the whole pond was splashing with falling waterdrops, poking our heads from the sky, and wetting our cloaks on their way to the ground. A light tapping sound suddenly became a thunderous ovation among the trees. And then, the sky sunk on our heads. A huge lighting crossed the clouds and suddenly it was day again, but only for a second. The light was followed by a deafening roar that made my chest tremble and the trees shake off their dead leaves. A forewarning. Hob opened his arms, leaned his head facing the sky, so that the raindrops would hit him in the face. And he laughed. He laughed louder than the roars of the rain. Louder than the waterflows of the creaks. Louder than the blowing wind and crackling of leaves. - Freyr! We thank you for your kindness! We thank you for your gift! Soon we shall dine and drink in Odin’s Hall! – Hob shouted at the grey skies, saluted the gods and laughed, laughed, laughed. - It seems the god of rain wishes to take our lives, brother. – Shouted the man with a fuzzy hair. - No, my friend! Freyr is on our side. And he just made sure no one is to follow us here. – Hob stared at the trail behind us, where once were the markings of our footprints, now washed away and faded among the dirt. Hob laughed again. Only this time, he was not laughing alone. ________ Louis of Nutwood This is an entry for Age of Mitgardia: Stables - Phase I. It is also a little break from such cold and snowy environments. So we are heading to warmer lands in the south for a little bit. For the first time I adventured myself in using this fully SNOT technique for the tan rocks (which I think looks super cool!) and transparent studs as ice and rain (that I'm not that sure about). I hope you like this chapter. Please, let me know what you think. Skål! ________
  5. The saga of Bob the unemployed Avalonian plumber continues.... "I've gotta get out of these one-off contract jobs," Bob thought to himself as he worked on the broken water feature in the subterranean cavern. The smell of the bear poop was overpowering, and, mixed with the dead bodies that were being carted off, was enough to make him wish he hadn't hit the bottle so hard the previous night. "I'll quit drinking tomorrow," he muttered to himself as he continued work.
  6. Entry for Book III Challenge IV, Category B "The Crown in Daily Life". Memoirs. I jumped out of bed, panicked with the pounding sound coming from the other side of my chamber door. No sunlight came from the outside, meaning it was still dawn. I ran out of the room and there, covered in the shadows of the trees, stood a tall man with a thick brown bush under his nose. - Five minutes. We are going fishing. My father was not an early riser. But if something could take him out of bed before the sun casted its first light, it was important. That morning, he had fetched a horse, tied his bags onto its saddle and prepared breakfast so we would not starve on the road. Make no mistake. It was important. The days in our village were cold, frosty, windy, and slippery. Everyday, through the whole year, through each of the seasons. But there were these other days – only a handful of days, when the gods were good and the clouds would clear out, the wind would stop, and the sun was so warm it made our skins burn. Those were the days my father would go fishing. He taught me the art of catching fish. But not only choosing a bait, casting a net and waiting for a bite. No. He taught me to read the tides and the wind. To hear the forest and perceive the scent of the trees. To observe the animals and learn from their instinctive survival drive. That was fishing for him. - Hear that? It’s a cormorant. This big black bird, called cormorant, I learned, was known for hunting fish. According to my father, no animal in the forest could smell fish like a cormorant bird. So, we would track this big black bird and follow him to the shores, only to find a pond flooded with either salmon, trout or bluegill. - Now, just remember to be patient. Move slowly and steady. Put your hands together and dip them into the water. Feel the flow. Just focus. Breath in. Breath out. It could be a matter of seconds or even hours. - You never go for the fish. You let the fish come to you. And when it does... You grab it. But it sounds much easier that it is. __________ Hope you can all find the hidden crown piece. Let me know what you think. Make sure to check my other entry for category A in this challenge: Louis of Nutwood.
  7. Eoin Wallace

    A Betrayal In The Woods

    previously Eoin had decided it was time to do something about Sarkon. He was going to leave him, alone in the woods. He had decided to do it in the morning, before Sarkon got up. But the first thing he saw took him completely by surprise, he had wondered where that orc had gone! Quickley backing around the other side of the nurse log to escape him, he soon found Sarkon standing with his sword drawn at the other side of the clearing! So the duel began, with the orc standing a little off to the side making sure he could help Sarkon if needed. "I knew you would dessert me!" Sarkon screamed in anger."I'll become lord of Mirandor you'll see!" And soon he gained the upper hand! But Eoin had a trick up his sleeve... Quickley slashing upwards, he got Sarkon's leg! And then, taking advantage of Sarkon's weakness he ran back to Nordheim! This is my last entry to the 2019 Summer Joust. Thanks to everyone running it, it's been very fun this year! C&C welcome
  8. Eoin Wallace

    Nordheim at Night

    previously After the loss of his friend Erdan, Eoin had gone to Nordhiem to have a little break from all the fighting. He had just turned a corner when he saw someone he hadn't seen before, and he knew all of the other lords of mitgardia. and it was definatly another lord he saw but based on the colours on his shield he looked like he was from Nocturnus! He even had an orc with him! He went up to the man and asked him his business. "My castle was destroyed by soldiers from the spire in the last war and they had stolen an ancient family heirloom, my great great grandfather's sword! my name's Sarkon by the way" Eoin asked if he could help. "Oh sure you could help it would be very dangerous though, I had actually come up here looking for it. We best be on our way if we are going to find it. What is your name?" "Eoin Wallace" responded Eoin. Well just as he tried to relax he had gotten himself involved in something else! Here are some additional pictures: This was my no grey entry to the Summer Joust. thanks to everyone running it, it's been a lot of fun!
  9. previously After the battle at Fort Cander, Eoin and his soldiers had set out for Cedrica. They had not left any survivors so they did not have to travel under cover, and they had all decided to stop at an inn before going to the palace for more information and a good night's sleep. Eoin had decided that he also need a drink, so he approached the bar and got in a conversation with the bartender. He also noticed the crown and guild colours which he had seen a lot in Cedrica. "Rumors?" said the bartender "Those aren't true! The queen would never do such things, where did you hear that!" "A friend told me" said Eoin. "I thought it seemed to fit,didn't she just get back from a trip to Nocturnus?" "Eye that she did, but it is still preposterous even with the Undead rebellions in Nocturnus!" replied the angry bartender. Eoin then took his drink back to his table, not wanting to start a fight or draw attention. Below are some more pics. C&C welcome!
  10. Eoin Wallace

    Fort Cander

    previously Eoin had been living at Fort Cander for three weeks now, and had an escaped thief, an orcish sorcerer, a blind archer and some wolf thing called a Gnoll who had shown up on the second week he was there. It was a huge step down from having dozens of soldiers and a massive castle under his command. He was also very far away from any civilization but he was excited because he had just gotten last week's issue of the Weekly Mitgardian! Eoin had enjoyed all of his saturday morning reading the paper when, he heard a commotion coming from the woods! And he recognised Erdan running across the rickety bridge from the woods being chased by mitgrdian soldiers! "Help!" screamed Erdan, as he hopped gracefully off the falling bridge. Against what most would probably say was his better judgement, Eoin attacked the soldiers who were chasing his old friend. So after a chaotic battle, Eoin questioned Erdan about the whole event. Erdan told Eoin of how Queen Ylspeth had recently been to Nocturnus to practice necromancy. "I saw it all with my own eyes!" he said. "She was trying to summon her dead brother back from the grave, but the power corrupted her and I am on a mission to stop her from destroying Historica from within!" And Eoin agreed to help him. Here is som additional pics: Hope you like it,C&C welcome!
  11. Eoin Wallace

    A Stroll By The Sea

    previously Eoin was starting to question his choice of joining Sarkon in his quest to find the sword, for many reasons. For one he didn't know where they were going, and Sarkon wouldn't stop talking! He talked and talked about a few sensitive subjects, such as the mitgardian government and about how he should be made a lord or even jarl. His plan was that when he found the sword he would scare the jarl into making him a lord, using the swords magic properties. Eoin knew he had to do something... C&C Welcome
  12. previously It had been a very long ordeal that led to this, as well as a very sad one for Erdan that had led to his decision to leaving Mitgardia. Mitgardia had been his home for all his life! He had never even left, but now as an outlaw he had to. He had disguised himself with a dark cloak so nobody could catch him. He decided that when he got to where ever he was going he would probably take a job as a hired sword or bounty hunter, at least it would pay well. C&C welcome, see ya next time!
  13. 7b. Palisade As the summer began and more people began to settle in Prenmôr, the peasantry became a little more anxious about their safety. Rumors abounded of lizard people taking human form, drow looking to invade again, the Mitgardian civil war reigniting, and to top it all off, there were rumors of the nearby Enchanted Forest harboring an evil elven sorceress who had been twisted by magic into a grotesque beast. A town wall was planned for around the community, but it would be a few years before all the stone could be quarried, cut, and finally built into a permanent stone structure. In the meantime, a temporary palisade was built, made of logs sunk into the earth with the skyward ends sharpened into points, held together with boards and tied near the top with rope. Unlike a wooden fortress, this temporary wall lacked wall walks and other features of a permanent structure. Simply meant as a deterrent to any potential attacks while the stone walls were being built, the palisade had a rudimentary wooden gate and was shored up with supports from the rear. While the foundation of the castle rested mostly on solid bedrock and overlooked steep embankments, the town wall was different. It was to be built surrounding the adjacent farmland with a foundation on the flat earth there. Thus, the laborers dug a ditch in front of the wall foundation where the palisade now rested, carrying out dirt and rock to be piled behind the palisade. This ditch would remain once the stone walls were in place, forming a dry moat around the town to add to the layered defenses.
  14. 7a. Rumors Lady Gwenllian was surveying the progress on the town’s palisade when she heard a commotion from one of the nearby farms. Quickly heading over to see what was the matter, she found a farmer obviously terrified. “What’s going on?” she asked the farmer. “M’lady!” the farmer said, and quickly bowed. “It’s the chickens! Please, come see!” Lady Gwenllian followed the farmer over to a small grassy area where his chickens and a few pigs were milling about. A man with a black beard, dressed all in green, carrying strange odds and ends strapped to his belt, stood watching the chickens. The man, however, was not the strangest part of the scene: in fact, the man was watching one enormous chicken amongst the others. His head turned to watch Lady Gwenllian and the farmer approach. “M’lady, this huge chicken came over to my flock today! I’ve never seen anything like it! It has to be some sort of demon chicken!” Lady Gwenllian looked over the chicken, which stood some five feet tall. Besides being a monstrosity, it appeared to behave like a normal chicken, pecking at the ground for bugs and plants like the others. The man with the green hat spoke. “This is no demon, my good man,” he began. “M’lady,” he said, tipping his hat to Lady Gwenllian. “It is in fact what magic users refer to as a dire animal, one that is enlarged unnaturally by a magical malady of some sort.” Lady Gwenllian looked at him. “And are you the wizard responsible for this bizarre creature?” she asked bluntly. He shook his head. “No, m’lady, I am not. I am here, in fact, because I am trying to track down the source of this beast. It is not the only dire animal I have encountered in this region, and I would like to know the source. There is word of an evil sorceress in the Enchanted Forest who, once a pure and good elf, has been twisted by powerful magic into a ruthless, power hungry monster. If this is true, these realms could be in peril.” Lady Gwenllian considered him, then the chicken. “What is your name, good wizard?” she asked him. “I am Razin, the traveling wizard, at your service, m’lady.” “It so happens that my household is in need of a wizard, Razin. How would you like to become Razin, the grand mage of Prenmôr? I have a very keen interest in solving this mystery and finding out if there is any truth to this rumor of an evil sorceress in the forest.” Razin bowed. “I would be honored, m’lady.” “Good, then it’s settled. I will have your belongings brought up to the temporary housing for my personal household.” She gestured to the wattle and daub houses on the high rock outcropping above. “Now what about this chicken?” she asked. Razin shrugged. “Other than being extremely large, it is just a chicken.” Lady Gwenllian looked at the farmer. “Get a spear. We are having chicken for dinner tonight.”
  15. Eoin Wallace

    Duel In The Ruins

    Hey ya'll, I just thought it would be good to make an index of my mocs so far for this story, in case there is someone reading this: AoM Tower Phase One AoM Tower Phase Two Mirandor Castle Woodland Ambush Orc Outpost I will also be away for the next little while but i'll try to have another build in around 2 weeks. Now, on with the story! Eoin had made up his mind. He had sent his scouts out to look for the base of the orcs and after a few days, they had found it! It was close to the heart of the orc marshes, in a ruined watchtower. So Eoin had assembled his finest warriors expecting a fight, but Erdan had come out and challenged him to a duel! Of course he had to accept it was the only honorable thing to do. Besides, it would resolve this whole incident once and for all! Soon, the duel started going badly for Erdan... he fell in the water! Eoin thought he drowned. he was not so lucky... As Eoin was leaving Erdan bobbed to the surface, spluttering and cursing and moved out of sight. Then vowed to get his revenge on Eoin, no matter the cost...
  16. Eoin Wallace

    Woodland Ambush

    After a long and uncomfortable journey, Erdan was woken suddenly as the carriage was knocked over! He was being taken to Erikson to go to a more secure prison than the one at Mirandor Castle. Now that he lifted his head and looked around, he saw an orc war party coming to attack! First they attacked the guards and then one even came around the back broke the door open and one asked him "why were you arrested?" "I tried to sneak into Mirandor Castle" replied Erdan, "why did an orc war party come to help me?" " We were told by one of our own that you were trying to sneak in, and that he gave you directions. So we watched the door and you didn't come out" said the orc " we were all very nervous when they assigned Eoin to the castle near the marshes, because we thought they were trying to take our lands and we thought you might know more. Can you help us?" "Alright, i'll try" said Erdan. More photos on flickr
  17. Eoin Wallace

    Challenge III Mirandor Castle

    This is my entry for challenge 3 what will tomorrow bring, on the fortifications categorie. Erdan was feeling jealous. He had recently been visited by his old friend Eoin who had told him he was getting put in charge of a castle near the orc marshes. Erdan was jealous because he secretly believed himself the better leader and that Eoin could have paid someone for the leadership! He had followed him there and planned to sneak in and find out. After circling the castle, he found an orc who told him he could sneak in through a grate near the keep to get in. He found the advice helpful and found himself thinking: maybe orcs aren't that bad after all? Soon he found himself in a small secluded pool, right beside the keep. All he needed now was some way to get insite... After stealing the keys he found it easy enough to get in. Unfortunately, when he opened the door there was someone sweeping the floors! He was going to be spotted! So he drew his dagger and killed the unwary servent! He soon managed to climb in to the study, if there was any evidence it would be here! But just as he got to the desk he heard voices and saw Eoin and some soldiers coming up the ladder with swords drawn! he had failed. "Erdan?"said Eoin "why are you here? and looking at my papers..." then Erdan interrupted saying "I was just curious if you had... " Then the captain of the guard jutted in "you are coming with me Erdan, down into the dungeons for breaking into this castle, whatever your reasons were!" then he turned toward Eoin and says "I'm sorry for this unpleasantness, it's sure a good thing that you got here when you did!" This whole encounter left Eoin feeling very uneasy, he was very glad he had a castle at his disposal especially with all the rumours going around. What would tomorrow bring? Here are some photos of the rest of the castle:
  18. Eoin Wallace

    AoM tower phase II

    Eoin had not anticipated the journey to his castle to be so eventful. One of the more memorable times, was when he had stayed the night at the home of one of his old friends from the army. His friend, Erdan, had taken up residence in an old abandoned tower located just east of Falkidalr. One day during his stay at the tower, Eoin was just waking up when he heard a great commotion going on outside! After he went outside he saw a group of orcs coming to assault the tower! Apparently the orcs didn't want him getting to his castle that was situated in the mountains close to the orc marshes...
  19. Book III Challenge 2 - Category A : Bread Looking for another cart Now with Lord Faladrin to be saved from a wreckage in the south and an expedition to prepare, Lady Walaehria had to find horses and carts to charge the needed supplies Faladrin asked her. But it is time when Our Great Queen Ylspeth ordered to redistribute bread to those in need. Lady Walaehria was looking for a cart to rent when she assited to this scene in front of the baker shop in Falahuas : "Sorry ! This cart is full !" Yelled the coachman. - Do you have place for this cask ? Please, just one cask more ? Asked the baker apprentice behind the cart ready to departure. - No ! No ! Sorry ! You'll have to look for another cart !" And the last cart Lady Walaehria could expect to recruit left the city to deliver bread and apples to the needies. "Well, I'll just need to make me build new carts, then." She thought And she headed towards the wheelwright workshop. A little build I have planned for my story and I can use in this challenge. Hope you'll find it nice.
  20. A mysterious stranger nonchalantly sets down a sack laden with unknown contents. After a few minutes, he walks away, leaving the sack behind. Within moments, another figure appears and, after looking about to see if he is being watched, picks up the sack and moves quickly away. What exchange has just taken place? Historican politics are notoriously secretive…
  21. Lady Gwenllian gave some thought to the Queen’s decree that all municipalities should participate in some sort of revelry. Prenmôr was still a fledgling community, and practical considerations had to be made. There weren’t enough townsfolk to staff an elaborate fair, jousting tournaments required large prizes and housing for more guests than Prenmôr could accommodate, and there were no traveling circuses at the time on the western coast of Avalonia. Thus, Lady Gwenllian settled on a concert. The stage was relatively simple to build and was adorned with the flags of each Guild. No seats were needed as the grass field served as a suitable seating arrangement while a special raised platform was constructed for invited guests of Lady Gwenllian. There was plenty of room for the crowd to camp on the undeveloped surrounding land, while Lady Gwenllian hosted as many of her invited special guests as she could in homes of her household. Two bands from Nocturnus were hired for the event: a zombie band, the Grateful Undead, opened for the headliners: the famous, ever-touring, centuries-old Rolling Bones. The day of the concert, commonfolk swarmed in from the surrounding countryside in the morning. The crowd swelled with the monstrous horde that followed the Grateful Undead from show to show. As the day wore on, fans from farther away, including Mitgardia, Kaliphlin, Varlyrio, and Nocturnus, began arriving to hear the famous bands play. Many of the lords and ladies of Avalonia made an appearance, and even some from Kaliphlin and Mitgardia as well. A few were flown in via dragon (courtesy of Lady Galaria, the mistress of dragons). The night grew dark and the skeletal band from Nocturnus made their way onto stage to the backdrop of magical fireworks provided by the band’s roadcrew wizards. The crowd was surprisingly large, having drawn from across the land. Lady Gwenllian’s family fortune had been built on brewed drink, and although she was unable to brew her own beer owing to the fact that Prenmôr had not yet seen its first harvest, she picked out the finest local beers, meads, and ciders for the concert, with some special wine in reserve for her invited guests. Some of the ladies of the guilds, Lady Eleanor of Bluevale, Lady Gwenllian, and Lady Galaria mistress of dragons, toasted one another with some spiced wine. Lady Seren poured wine for Lord Faladrin while Conrad the Sly waited patiently in line behind him for more drink. The guard lets Count Julian Arfelan back into the private section with his food. Naill chatted up a member of the local stonecutter's guild for leads on skilled labor for his community. Not all the concert libations were about the drink... Card tricksters hawked their game near the concession stand. A few of the concertgoers got a little wild. Visitors appeared from all over the realms. As the band played on into the night, a good time was had by all! Note: this build is 41x49
  22. The Tales of Lady Gwenllian 0. Introduction 1. The arrival of Lady Gwenllian aboard the Cedar Serpent 2. Scouting a Site 3. Early Spring in Prenmôr 4a.(Prelude) Restoring the Shrine 4. The Fishery and Shrine at Prenmôr From her high rock outcropping, Lady Gwenllian had a good view of the coast and had watched throughout the spring as the villagers from Flewd had moved to their new home in Prenmôr. Now that it was early summer, Lady Gwenllian wanted to see how the villagers from Flewd were settling into their new life, and wanted to inspect the work that the elves and dwarves had completed on the shrine to Neptune. She and Lady Seren rode their horses the half mile or so to the rocky escarpment that defined the edge of the land, separating it from the beach. She found that the villagers had sailed their boats laden with their meager belongings down the coastline from Flewd, had assembled lean-tos for drying fish and set up a small net repair station on the beach. The dwarves and elves had done an excellent job on the statue to Neptune, which sat overlooking the sea and was already laden with offerings and gifts from the villagers. Lady Gwenllian smiled as she saw the villagers hard at work. Because most of the young men had been lost during the drow raids, the remaining elderly, women, children and the local village idiot all had jobs, from killing and gutting fish to shooing away the seagulls that inundated the fishery. The locals greeted Lady Gwenllian and Lady Seren warmly, happy to have a new home in a safer location. This is the original build that I had envisioned with the shrine that didn’t get completed in time. I think it was a little too ambitious. On the other hand, it’s nice to see the idea finally come to fruition.
  23. Grover

    Scouting a Site

    The Tales of Lady Gwenllian 0. Introduction 1. The arrival of Lady Gwenllian aboard the Cedar Serpent 2. Scouting a Site Sailing from the northwest, Lady Gwenllian first sighted land on the coast of the Enchanted Forest of Avalonia. She and her small crew followed the coastline up the channel between the Enchanted Forest and DeVine Isle, stopping to resupply several times from villages, streams, and what resources as were available, all the while scouting potential sites for a new home. The horrible battles of her homeland's civil war taught her difficult lessons on fortifications, and she was determined to find the best possible site to build a castle. Ideally, she desired a site with a nearby quarry, accessible by land and by sea, on high ground, access to timber, and with ample farmland. After scouting several locations without luck, she and her entourage came across a rocky outcropping at the mouth of the Afondraig River on the northeastern coast of the Enchanted Forest. This flat, treeless area boasted steep rocky cliffs on two sides to deter attackers, and a narrow rocky strip along the shallows of the river that would make for a sheltered landing site. The rest of the high rocky area overlooked flat meadows that would be perfect for farms, and these ended about a mile away at the edge of a large forest. Anchoring the Cedar Serpent in the calm flow before the shallows near the mouth of the Afondraig River, Lady Gwenllian and her entourage offloaded supplies and set up a temporary camp. The fall colors were spotted about in the bushes that interspersed with the dried grasses, and made for a rather pretty scene. They could not be distracted by this beauty, however: after inquiring about local claims to the land, they would have to petition Queen Ylspeth for a charter to build, survey the land, and build temporary shelters for the winter. Over the winter, Lady Gwenllian and Seren, her Lady at Arms, would draw up the plans for the castle, whose construction was to begin in the spring. More pictures on Flickr.
  24. With the weather warming, Lady Gwenllian decided to travel about to meet her neighbors. One of the nearest settlements was just down the coast from Prenmôr, the small fishing village of Flewd. Upon meeting with the town elders, Lady Gwenllian found that this village had been particularly hard hit by the drow raids (a terrible chapter in Avalonia's history that Lady Gwenllian was just learning about), losing almost half their population and over two-thirds of their buildings, including an ancient shrine to the sea-god, Neptune. Coupled with several seasons of poor fish harvests, the villagers had no money to rebuild and were beginning to starve. The sight of starving children and townsfolk broke Lady Gwenllian's heart, and she vowed to help the people of Flewd. Conferring with Lady Seren on the spot, she devised a way to help. Speaking to the village elders, she laid out her plan: Lady Gwenllian would help the villagers rebuild their homes in exchange for their work. She could afford to pay them to fish the waters around Prenmôr, and if the fishing was not good, they would have work as laborers helping to build her castle. They would use the money made from their fishing along with help from what coffers she had brought with her, to build new homes. Lady Gwenllian offered to let the villagers build new homes in Prenmôr as residents, or would rebuild their homes in Flewd, as they chose. The elders gathered a council of the entire village that evening, and Lady Gwenllian was invited. The villagers were grateful of Lady Gwenllian's offer, and after some discussion, the villagers were excited about the offer to move a short distance down the coast to continue their trade under the protection of a lord and a fortified town. Flewd held too many bad memories of loss, and its vulnerable position was highlighted by the drow raids. Most importantly, the villagers voted to move the ancient shrine to be rebuilt at Prenmôr. Lady Gwenllian agreed, and offered to find a dwarven sculptor to cut the main statuary out of stone and an elf to decorate the site surrounding the statue with copper scrollwork.
  25. Challenge I : Repairs on the Elvish port of Falahuas Lord Faladrin being absent, it is to Lady Walahaeria, the elf Princess of the old evish clan living in Falahuas, to supervise the repairs of the old part of the port. The port was built by the Elves long time ago and suffered many damages from the Drow during Lord Raavage reign of terror. The main warehouse was totally burned down and was left with only ruined walls. The actual repairs were focused on rebuilding the roof of the warehouse and conforting the walls to support the new roof. Hopefully for the port activity, the lighthouse was kept nearly intact and was kept functional. The elvish falconer was already at work sending eagles and hawks all around the country from the top of the lighthouse. It is an important part of the mailing system of the city of Falahuas, but riders are still usefull too. Speaking of riders, there is a green rider arriving ! He stopped his exhausted horse at the level of the elvish princess, bind to her and deliver the message : "My Lady, I have been sent by Lord Faladrin. His ship, the Bouncing Frog, sprang a leak during its return trip and had to reach land at the southwestern coasts of the Enchanted Forest in a quite deserted area. He needs asistance to repair the ship in order to drag it to the city. So I was sent to you to require your help. Here is the list of the materials he will need to repair the ship." Lady Walaheria thanked the green messenger and ordered a team to leave immediately to reach the position of her husband. Here is my entry for the Challenge. A quite heavy build for me... I integrated the story of this challenge build in my main storyline and hope to continue soon this story ! Hope you'll like this build !