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Found 507 results

  1. A place of knowledge and refuge, guarded by arcane power and a dragon. In the early stages of the war, it was the site of many councils between Avalonia commanders. It was here that the planning was carried out for the relief of Albion in the First Great War. The Citadel remained in the mages hands afterwards. Hope you like it. Thanks for watching. Citadel of the Mage by Arfelan Nest, en Flickr
  2. Grover

    Brewery at Prenmôr

    After the castle forge was completed, attention was turned to the brewery. Many castles had a small brewery, but Lady Gwenllian had planned a large facility located prominently in the inner ward next to the kitchen since it would be a significant source of her household income. The structure sat directly over a small fissure that had been excavated into a makeshift cave that allowed for a climate-controlled fermentation area. Like the blacksmith shop, it would eventually form part of the inner curtain, so the roof was built to slope only one direction. The brewery had been completed just before Ambassador Gisela was to leave for her journey back to Varlyrio to avenge the attempt on her brother's life. Lady Gwenllian wanted to tour Gisela through the brewery before she left, and they now walked to the large new building. As they entered the finished brewery, Lady Gwenllian showed Gisela around. Mohatu stood guard outside under the pentise, having learned to trust Lady Gwenllian as much as his training would allow. Looking around, Gisela noticed that someone had filled barrels with water and grain, but no one was around aside from several terriers that scurried about. "Might I ask who you have found to brew, m'lady?" Gisela asked. "I have not seen any new servants, and I see no one here." Lady Gwenllian laughed. "I myself am brewing." Gisela raised her eyebrows, but had learned not to be surprised by her liege. "Brewing was my family's business, so I am well versed and I will have to do the work myself until I can train a brewmaster," Lady Gwenllian replied. Gisela bowed her head. "As you will, m'lady." "How familiar are you with brewing?" Lady Gwenllian asked. "Not particularly. Could you please explain it? I would be remiss if I did not understand the intricacies of my community's largest industry," Gisela replied. "Of course," said Lady Gwenllian. "The first ingredient is the grain. The best is barley, but almost any grain can do. Oats are the second choice. Wheat can be used, but is usually combined with another grain since it's hard to brew. Once you choose your grain, you soak it in water for several days." Lady Gwenllian showed Gisela the sacks of grain and the malting vat. "This is the first step in the malting process. Any fresh water will do at this point, so we will use river water since it is abundant." "Then you dump the wet grain out onto the floor to let it germinate," she said and gestured to a slight depression in the stone floor. "It just sits on the floor?" Gisela asked, both surprised and somewhat disgusted. "Not entirely. You have to turn the seeds, which involves picking them up with a wooden shovel and tossing them lightly into the air once a day for a week. If you think of the grains as seeds, it makes more sense. They are sprouting, which makes the seeds able to brew. If you want a detailed explanation, you'd have to talk to a druid or a sage, but if you don't let the grains sprout, they won't brew." "So that's why the floor is tiled with stone?" asked Gisela. "Yes, and also to keep the dust down so the beer is cleaner," replied Lady Gwenllian. "The real trick to malting is to kill the new seedlings before they grow too far. Not enough or too far and you can't brew," Lady Gwenllian finished. "How does one kill the seedlings?" Gisela asked. "Great question. There are two methods." Lady Gwenllian held up a finger. "The first is to air dry them. Air drying is best in the summer, when there's a lot of sunlight and heat. It usually means a smoother tasting ale, but it's slower and less precise, so sometimes you lose yield to spores that grow too far. We mark the barrels containing the summer’s air dried brews and charge more for them since they have a cleaner taste but are lower yielding." She held up a second finger. "The other method is kiln drying, which you can use year round. Our kiln doubles as a heat source for boiling." Lady Gwenllian pointed to the kiln. "Kiln drying is more precise and kills the seedlings quickly, but it can be tricky. Too hot and you scorch the grains, making them useless. If you use a smoky fuel, the ale tastes like the fuel. Sometimes you want that, but usually you don't. I prefer to use straw or sea-coal, but most people use peat or simply wood. It's more expensive since you have to pay for the fuel, and since fuel around here is in fairly short supply, we will have to minimize kiln drying until we establish a good fuel source. The expense of the fuel is made up for in the extra yield from killing the seedlings precisely and from the higher price charged for the ale made from the air-dried malt." "At this point, your malt is done. Malt is easy to store for a year or more. We will make sure we always have an ample supply on hand in the case of a siege. Once our reserves are full, we will sell the excess. Small breweries without enough floor space will pay for malt to avoid having to malt their own grains." Gisela nodded. "I shall make it a priority to cultivate trading partnerships with such establishments." She looked at the barrels of malted grain on the floor, then to the storage of grains in the rafters above. A few cats roamed the overhead storage, while on the ground level, several terriers happily patrolled about. "M'lady, may I assume that the animals are for rodent control?" Gisela asked. Lady Gwenllian reached down and scratched one of the terriers behind the ears. "That's right. The dogs are easier to train to stay in a territory, so they get the brewery floor. The cats roam freely in and out, but they can get into the higher and tighter spaces. Mice and rats are always a problem with the amount of grain stored here, but we should be able to keep the population under control with the dogs and cats." Next, Lady Gwenllian led Gisela to a large contraption with a hopper and three stone rollers in the corner. "The next step is to mill the malted grain." She pointed to the odd equipment. Gisela looked confused. "This does not appear to be any mill that I am familiar with. Are not mills usually two large, flat stones that lay atop one another and turn to grind grains?" "Many people grind their malted grain with traditional mills as you describe, but this type of grinding damages the husks too much, which makes the next step, the mashing process, more difficult. Small breweries get around this by hand crushing the malt in a mortar, but it's too time consuming for larger operations. My family invented this rolling mill for crushing the malted grains while being gentler on the husks." Lady Gwenllian demonstrated the hand crank that spun the three stone rollers. Gisela imagined the malted grain falling down from the hopper above and getting crushed in the rollers before falling into the barrel below. "It's been copied by a lot of breweries over the years, so it's not a great secret anymore." Lady Gwenllian walked past the door to the kitchen to the next corner of the brewery where a large lead vat sat atop the stone kiln. Next to it, a long trough stood, sloped slightly downward, and below it sat a barrel. Some steps led up to a wooden walkway around the lead vat. Lady Gwenllian climbed these and Gisela followed her. "The crushed, malted grain is dumped into this vat, and water is added. This time, the water should be fresh and as clean as possible, so we will have to cart in water from some of the nearby springs that feed the Afondraig River." "How is water sourced in times of siege?" Gisela asked. "In the case of a siege, we will use any stored clean water, but after that we can use either well or river water. Although it won't produce as high a quality brew, it will sustain our troops," Lady Gwenllian replied. Continuing, she gestured to the vat. "The mixture of crushed malt and water is heated from the oven below. This is called mashing and is the trickiest part of brewing. The temperature must be exact, or the brew will fail. Too cold and the mash is not activated. Too hot and the life of the brew is killed. The whole mashing process takes around an hour." "How do you know when the right temperature has been reached?" Gislea asked. Lady Gwenllian smiled at her. "That is the art of brewing!" she laughed. "The truth is that most brewers feel the temperature with their hands and only the good ones get it right all the time. My great grandmother found a way around this, and made our family famous for producing a consistently good beer." Lady Gwenllian climbed down to the floor again then unlocked and opened a chest, removing two candles: one white and one black. "These candles are made from special waxes by a secret family process. A cut of wax from each is placed in a small glass dish and floated on the surface of the mash. When the white wax melts, the temperature is hot enough. If the black wax melts, it's too hot, and you have to cool the fires quickly to avoid spoiling the brew." Gisela was suitably impressed. "Of course, these are actual candles, too, so their true nature is hidden well and if need be, you can burn them to prevent the secret from being revealed," Lady Gwenllian said. She reminisced for a moment on her old life. "When I escaped from Albers, I brought three chests from my family's castle. They contained gold, a few family heirlooms including the recipe books for our ales, and these candles. This is the secret of our craft that we must protect." Gisela nodded. "Of course, m'lady." Lady Gwenllian replaced the candles in the chest and locked it. She stood and dusted her hands. "The mash after heating is called the wort. Wort is sweet with the sugars, and has to be separated from the grains. The vat is drained from this spigot," she pointed to a metal spigot, "through a cheesecloth into a barrel to filter out the spent grain. The grains are poured back into the vat and warm water is used to filter it again, and then the process is repeated. Each filtration has less sugar in it, and makes a weaker brew. This is called parti-gyle brewing. The first extract is the 'single beer' and is sold. The weaker brews are called 'small beer' and are reserved for servants. The spent grains, called draff, are fed to livestock." "At this point the wort can be flavored. Many brewers flavor their drinks with herbs and spices. My family did as well, but hops can also be added as a preservative. Hops add a bitter taste so must be used carefully so as not to be overpowering, but the beers last much longer and are easily transported for sale great distances away. In Albers, there was another preservative plant, but I have not seen any here in Avalonia yet. If hops or other preservatives are used, the wort must be boiled with them for at least an hour. This uses more fuel, but the beer keeps much longer. Most brewers boil their beer anyway, since it kills some of the bad growth, which helps keep it a bit longer even if hops aren't added. Boiling also leaves a foam that is skimmed off, which improves the clarity. I have noticed that a few brewers here in Avalonia forgo hops and boiling to make their brew more quickly, but it spoils just as quick and has a sour taste." "M'lady, you have used the terms brews, beer, and ale. What distinguishes between them?" asked Gisela. "Brews are anything that is brewed, so it is a generic term," Lady Gwenllian began. "The other terms are more confusing. Back in Albers, we had a term called 'beor', which meant a drink made from honey, although I believe it is called 'mead' here. Brewers in Albers describe ales as a type of beer that ferments at warmer temperatures with a particular kind of yeast (lagers being another type), but here in Avalonia any brews made without hops are called ales while those made with hops are called beer." Gisela paused and looked like she wanted to say something, but didn't. "It's confusing, I know," Lady Gwenllian replied. "I'm not sure the terms have global agreement yet, so be careful to ask when you travel to different places to make sure it's clear what you're talking about. Ask what the brew is made from and if it has hops or not, and you should have a good idea." "Yes, m'lady," Gisela replied. "Once you boil the wort, you must cool it. The faster the cooling, the better tasting the beer, since less time is allowed for the growth of unwanted spores and such. To that end, we pour the hot wort into this long, shallow cooling trough." Lady Gwenllian pointed to the large trough that sat above barrel. "Because faster cooling leads to better beer, the best brewing is done over the winter, when the air is cold. This building is designed so the doors and some windows in the roof can be opened to speed the cooling process. If there is snow on the ground, it can be packed around the troughs for even faster cooling. For these reasons, malt is usually made and stored in the summer, and the brewing takes place during the winter. Poor quality brewers will make beer in the heat of summer and can have their brews 'foxed' if it's too warm outside. Foxed beers have a red color from unwanted growth. Our location on the coast helps keep the summer temperatures down, so we can start brewing earlier in the fall than some of the inland brewers." "After cooling, there's usually some sediment that falls out. You can see that the valve for draining the trough sits a little above the bottom. That prevents some of the sediment from draining. Small particulates are filtered out by a bit of cotton stuffed into the end of the valve. It drains more slowly, but has better clarity, and the plug is changed out each brewing." Lady Gwenllian walked Gisela over to a large wooden crane with various pulleys on it, suspending a barrel above some doors on the floor. "And now we come to the purification process. Yeast is added to the cooled and filtered wort, and the barrel is sealed with a lid. This part of the process takes a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the strength of the brew and the desired end taste. Usually the purification process must take place in a cellar to hold the beer at the right temperature. In our case, we were lucky to take advantage of a natural fissure in the rock that we dug out into a makeshift cave that serves the same purpose. These large doors close to keep the temperature in the cave constant. The barrels are lifted in and out of the cave by this rig," she said, pointing to the large wooden scaffold. "With the pulleys, a single person can easily lift a full barrel up and down without difficulty." "Is that rig built to the dwarven designs?" Gisela asked. "Yes, Sven used the design that you negotiated from the local dwarves to build this contraption. It is counterweighted with some stone from the top, and has gears underneath that allow the entire apparatus to turn back and forth to load the barrels. Nice work getting the design for such a low price!" Lady Gwenllian complimented. "Thank you, m'lady," Gislela curtsied. Pausing a moment and looking at the barrel, she then asked "Where does the yeast come from?" "For now, we're buying it from the baker in town, but eventually we will be able to hold back some of the yeast that settles out of our brews to begin our next batches, and in time, we will have enough to be sold to others," Lady Gwenllian replied. "Are the beers sold in the purification casks?" Gisela asked. Lady Gwenllian shook her head. "No, once the brews are purified, the barrels are hoisted back out of the cave and are opened and poured into new, clean barrels of various sizes. Excess yeast is harvested that can be used for the next batch of beer, and more sediment falls out, again improving the clarity. Then the casks of beer can be sent back to the cave for storage during the summer months, or stored in a shed in the winter before being sold or tapped and drunk." Lady Gwenllian led Gisela outside through two huge doors, finding Mohatu waiting for them. "The large doors allow for a horse cart to be pulled into the brewery to load the barrels," Lady Gwenllian explained. She gave Gisela a serious look. "Our first brews will be sold, since we need a source of income. I have spent most of my family's fortune on the beginnings of the castle, so it is important that you bring us the best prices you can for our beer, or we will have a hard time next year. I will mark each barrel with the flavors they contain and discuss prices for you to negotiate their sales." Gisela nodded. "I understand, m'lady. I will make sure that our beer is sold widely at the best price possible." As Lady Gwenllian closed the large doors behind her, she turned back to her new ambassador. "I'm sure you will. I wish you well in avenging your brother. I have assigned a small contingent of my guard to accompany you to help with your endeavor and keep you safe." "Thank you, m'lady," Gisela replied with a curtsey. Lady Gwenllian took her hand in a warrior's grasp. "Go with speed and luck!" she wished her new ambassador, and then watched Mohatu follow her down the rock outcrop to her waiting ship.
  3. Rogue Angel

    Historican Settlements - HSS

    HISTORICAN SETTLEMENTS Historica is home to many towns, villages, hamlets, and even a few Cities. The Royal Cartographer's Guild of Albion and the Avalonia's foreign affairs minister wish to officially recognize the many settlements of Historica. As a prerequisite to official recognition and inclusion in the "Royal Registry of Historica's Locations of Note" and "Avalonian Sites and Monuments: a comprehensive guide" each settlement must prove that they contain the minimum facilities to provide for their residents. To establish your settlement, you must post MOCs from the following categories. These MOCs CAN be already completed, but they MUST not already be referenced to a different location. (if you try to alter a description of an existing MOC to fit this challenge, you will not be allowed to enter ANY settlements, so do not edit topics you already posted. you can add a post later on in your topic, but if I see that the topic was already posted before Feb 14th, but edited after Feb 13th, it will not be allowed as part of this challenge.) There are a couple of building types that can be counted for multiple types (a Fishery for example can be counted as a nautical AND agricultural). Here are the categories: REQ - Agriculture - Grains & Produce: Farm*, Mill, Granary, Orchard Agriculture - Livestock: Farm*, Cattle/Horse Ranch, Swineherd, Sheepfold, Fishery Nautical: Harbor, Shipwright, Quay, Fishery*, Ferryman REQ - Military: Keep, Barracks, Gatehouse, Tower, Castle, Fort Religious: Chapel, Monastery, Temple, Shrine Medical: Apothecary, Herbalist, Infirmary, Physician Hospitality: Food & Beverage: Bakery, Butcher, Winery, Brewery, Tavern REQ - Hospitality - Lodging: Inn, Stables, Coach House REQ - Laborers: Lumber Mill, Mine, Stone Cutter, Mason REQ - Craftsmen - General Goods: Cooper, Wainwright, Tannery, Dyer, Glass Blower Craftsmen/Merchant - Arms & Armor: Blacksmith, Bowyer, Fletcher, Armorer Craftsmen/Merchant - Clothing: Cobbler, Seamstress, Furrier, Woolen Mill Craftsmen/Merchant - Specialty: Candle Maker, Wood Carver, Bookbinder, Jeweler, Potter Services: Herald, Cartographer, Money Lender, Scribe, Courier, Shipping House Scholars: Observatory, Alchemist, Philosopher, Astrologer Entertainers: Minstrel, Fortune Teller, Performing Troupe, Theatre Administrative (Town or City only): Town Hall, Chancery, Forum, Courthouse Now, the examples provided are not the only things you can build in a category, they are just options. Also, the build must be substantial - showing an interior of one room, or throwing a bunch of bricks up on a plate will not be acceptable entries. Hamlet - There are 5 categories that are required for a Hamlet (the minimum recognized settlement) - Agricultural (either one), Military, Hospitality (either one), Laborer, and Craftsmen. Village - For a Village, you must meet the Hamlet requirements plus meet a total of 8 of the 16 categories. Town - For a Town, you must meet the Hamlet requirement, plus a minimum of 2 Craftsmen buildings, both Agricultural categories, and both Hospitality categories, plus meet a total of 10 of the 16 categories. City - For a City, you must meet the requirements for a Town, plus one administrative building, plus meet a total of 14 of the 16 categories. Port - For a Port, you must meet the Village requirements, including one Nautical building. For this task, there is no time limit, and again, is open to all Historicans. I will be starting a separate thread for this once I get home tonight where you can post a link to your topics. Each person should have only one reply in this topic, where they will post all of their entries. You can have more than one settlement recognized if you wish. You should only have one post per Settlement. Feel free to ask questions, but I will delete them once they have been answered, and compile the answers in the thread below. Do not post for a settlement unless you have a build to post. I will delete any topics that do not contain a link to an existing MOC (no MOCs in progress allowed either) Let me know if you have any questions. Some further ideas for the categories are in this list curated by @Grover. But again, even this extensive list is not exhaustive; if you think your build qualifies for a category, put it there. Creativity is always encouraged! Agriculture Grains and Produce Farm Garden Mill Granary Marketplace Vineyard Orchard Livestock Farm Cattle/Horse ranch Dairy Swineherd Sheepfold Marketplace Kennel Beekeeper Fishery Nautical Harbor Shipwright Quay Fishery Ferryman Port Dock Lighthouse Military Keep Barracks Gatehouse Tower Castle Fortified Bridge Wall Beacon Cavalry Stables Ballista Tower Fort Religious Chapel Church Monastery Tomb Cemetery Temple Mosque Shrine Medical Apothecary Herbalist Infirmary/Hospital Mortician/Necromancer Torture Chamber Barber/Physician Hospitality Food & Beverage Bakery Butcher Winery Kitchens Brewery Café/Street Food Tavern Lodging Inn Stables Coach house Celebrations Wedding Festival Laborers Lumber Mill Grain Mill Mine Stone Cutter Wood Cutter Mason/Adobe Maker Stable Hand Cleaning Workers Field Hands Foresters Carter Diggers Quarry Craftsmen/Merchants General goods Cooper Wainwright Tannery Carpenter Dyer Marketplace Fishing Rod Merchant Glassblower Arms & Armor Blacksmith Bowyer Fletcher Siege workshop Armorer Clothing Cobbler Seamstress Textiles Furrier Woolen Mill Specialty Candlemaker Wood carver Stone Carver/Sculptor Goldsmith Bookbinder Florist Jeweler Horse Tamer Merchant's Hall/Guild Coal Merchant Magic/Potion Vendor Tinker Potter Services Herald Cartographer Money lender General Store Scribe Courier Trading Post Shipping house/Warehouse Scholars Observatory Alchemist Philosopher Library University/Academy Astrologer Entertainment Minstrel Fortune Teller Street Musicians Performing Troupe Brothel Sports Arena Theatre Administrative (Town or City only) Town Hall Chancery Forum Council Building Administrative Building Meeting Hall Customs House Palace Embassy Courthouse
  4. Henjin_Quilones

    The Old Mill

    The Old Mill A freebuild for Avalonia There are countless old mills around the countrysides of Avalonia, along every stream and river, wherever the local farmers can bring their abundant harvests from their fertile fields. They vary in style, with some being powered by the current of the river from below, while others, like this one, are powered by water falling over the top of them. More than any other building in Avalonia, more than the castles, the towers, the palaces, the mills symbolize the wealth, prosperity, and fertility of the realm. May the mills never stop grinding in the green fields! And it spins, too, if a tad aggressively due to the only LEGO motor in my collection being a single-speed RC car. C&C welcome!
  5. Long ago, dark and dim in the shadows of history, the land of Avalonia was inhabited by powerful Druids. But over the years, their numbers declined, and declined, until only one was left. Using all the power left in his old body, and the powers of his brethren stored in the stone of his staff, he cast one final spell, hiding the greatest treasure of the Druids and their most sacred shrine from the world. No one has ever found the shrine, hidden somewhere in the mist-shrouded Mystic Isles, nor the treasure it contains, though many have spent or lost their lives looking... __________________________________________ .................................................................................... C&C welcome, and all that. This build spiraled out of control, measuring at final count something like 110x80 studs. And I have now sworn off immersive landscape builds...
  6. Near the borders of the continent, where the Mystic Isles starts. There is a floating rock. Thanks to the strange nature of this place, it is a very common sight. The lighthouse, erected on the rock, serves as a guide, for those, who lost in the dense mist. Or more likely as a warning, to turn back...
  7. Hi all, I decided to do a build for GOH again, here it is! The city wall of Oxenfurt. The citywalls of Oxenfurt by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr The citywalls of Oxenfurt by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr detail 1 by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr detail 2 by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr
  8. Whenever Rienne gets a job, if it's something the Nightwolves haven't encountered before, she consults Merrick to find out what to expect and how to hunt it. Had a small amount of building time and figured this was an important part of the monster hunting business. Here's the build sans minifigures.
  9. - This is robbery! - shouted the pig herder, to the guard. - I won't pay one and a half pig for safe passing on the road! This is madness! It was a lazy day in the middle of autumn. The small outpost was filled with pigs. Their loud grunting could be heard from miles. The gentle wind started moving the stench around. In this situation, everyone could lose their patience... - Madness or not, this is the toll, to keep you safe from the brigands in the woods. - reply calmly the officer. He was a bit tired, almost every fourth traveler or merchant argued about the high taxes. This year wasn't too so pleasant in the country, so Conrad raised the toll, for using the roads crossing Deep Garden. - If you wish, you can try to use the wilderness, to travel, but for your own risk. - Fair enough! - and the herder started driving away his pigs. - I bet the brigands won't be that harsh! "Fool" ran through the thought in the officer's mind. "He will learn it the hard way, hehe". He watched as the herder navigated his pigs away from the post. The next two travelers tried to avoid them as they approached. Not much happened with them, they simply paid the toll, and they were on their way, to the market. But the next one. An ox pulled wagon, with a huge slab of marble. With each turn of the wheels made, the whole wagon squeaked painfully. The owner was a merry fellow, he whistled an unknown tune, while he arrived at the barrier, and made the wagon stop. - What's your business here? And what's your shipment? - asked the officer, but he already knows it. only formalities. - By the grace of the Traveler, I came from Mitgardia, to deliver this huge marble block, to the local sculptor. - He stopped for a brief moment, just to pull ut a paper from his pocket, to check something. - To Markol's Stonecuts. - Marble you say. - smiled the officer. - Fair enough, just let me check this week's charts, how is your toll will be calculated. What is the weight of your shipment? - Actually. - the man interrupted the officer and handed over the previous paper. - This document provides us safe passage on every road and free of taxes. - What? - took the paper, and started to read it half aloud: -"... the owner of this document...", "... free passage in Avalonia..." ... Hm.. hm.. hm... By the Pick-a-Stone stonecutters? - wondered the officer. - And for what reason? - Markol ordered eight huge white marble blocks, from the stonecutters. But one of them was damaged in the unloading. The dwarves quickly dispatched this block, and gave this document to me, so no one will bother me with taxes. - I see. - scratched the back of his head the officer. - Why does the sculptor need that much marble? Not curious, I just need to write in the... In the daily report, yeah! The officer looked to the other soldiers, maybe one of them heard about this Eight Patrons or at least one of them. He looked back to the man and shook his head: - Never heard of them. Who are they? - They are our gods! Each of the guards a profession, and help those who belong to that profession. Like: I'm a traveler, so, my god is The Wanderer. He is the god of exploration, curiosity, adventure, and so on. And every god has a counter god. For example, The Wanderd's counter god is The Wife. She is the guardian of the house and family, patron of women, and so on. - Alright... - said the officer, and ordered his man to lift the barrier. - I bet you are in hurry, so we won't keep you here any longer. - and he stood aside, so the wagon can go on its way. - Boss... - a guard walked next to the officer after the wagon was far. - What was this blatter all about? Have you heard anything about these eight pardons? - Patrons... - corrected his man the officer. - And no, never heard about them. But I'm sure Conrad didn't hear about this too. - he sucked his nose. - Get me a pigeon... A few moments later the bird was on her way. The officer followed it as far as he can, with his sight. Daylight turned to dusk and followed by night. The traffic slowly decreased, but life in the small guard post didn't stop. The soldiers outside just finished dinner, the officer inside filled the charts, about the income. - Boss! - shouted the lookout. Brem has signaled to us, is it safe for them, to come? "Finally" Now we can see the day's real tax. - Yes, tell them, the coast is clear! - shouted back. The lookout grabbed the lamp next to him, and wave it, in the air. A few minutes later, three black-cloaked figures emerge from the darkness, with some cattle. The officer came out from the post - Good evening. - greeted them. - I see, you meet with the pig herder. - pointed towards the pigs. - Aye! What a fool! - laughed the one who was called Brem and the others. - What else is did you get? - wandered the officer's look from the pigs to the sacks. - Not much. - shrugged Brem. - Spice, some coins, and other small valuables... - Boss! - interrupted the conversation one of the alleged robbers. - When will our shift end? Those berries killing my tummy, and we got only big leaves in the forest, which feels like sandpaper... -Don't worry about that. Conrad will send the next shift, to replace us. - he looked around at his man and smiled. - Maybe, they won't be little princesses like you. The outpost filled with laughter. And grunting. And pig stench. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HSS entry. Also, wanted to start my HSS too, with this build. Military - Tower The small tower of Oldfell was recently raised next to an abandoned house, to monitor those who visit Deep Garden. To ensure road safety the guards take a small toll, on the passengers. There are still dangers in the wilderness. *wink*
  10. 7 June 2021 - Added @The Stad's giant hare and @Grover's Nocturnus plants! Feel free to add your ideas or suggestions. And, of course, feel free to use those plants in your builds! ________________________ Natural History of Historica A collaborative herbal book Volume I - Herbs Marsh-mallow (Althaea Officinalis) Marsh-mallow is native to the humid western coasts of Avalonia. Mostly known for the candies that are made from its root, it also has interesting medicinal properties for the treatment of cough and throat ulcers. Parts : leaves, stem, flower Angelica (Angelica Archangelica) Angelica is a common sight in northern Historica. Since its appearance is quite similar to poisonous species, however, it is rarely foraged in the wild. Cultivated, it is widely used in the traditional Mitgardian cuisine - especially candied as a decoration for cakes. Its medicinal uses include, but are not limited to, the treatment of all kind of digestive troubles. It is also said to be an efficient magical protection against curses. Parts : leaves, stem, umbels NEW Deadly Lavender (Atropa Angustifolia) - by @Grover This rare flower is found naturally only in humid, swampy areas of Nocturnus, and when found is usually co-located with spreading starmist. The plant is noted by its black stem and three leaves. The roots, stem, and leaves are all highly toxic if ingested, causing hallucinations and delirium, and are sometimes dried and crushed to use in various poisons. In the spring, lavender flowers can sometimes be seen on this plant. Curiously, the flower is not toxic and is the key component in several medicines, poultices, and spells, so is harvested by herbalists and spellcasters. Hypericum (Hypericum Perforatum) Hypericum is generally considered as a noxious weed that challenges gardeners from all over Historica with its invasive growth and resilience to weeding. However, its is welcome in most herbal gardens since its oily extract is very useful to heal wounds and burns. Opinions seem to differ as to its magical properties. Many people believe Hypericum to protect from evil spirits, while gardeners seem to find the plant more annoying than any spirit it could protect from. Parts : leaves, stem, flower Mandrake (Mandragora Officinarum) An aura of mystery and magic surrounds the Mandrake. Native to Varlyrio, Kaliphlin and southern Avalonia, it's not easy to cultivate in Mitgardia. The result is worth the effort though, as this plant can be used to prepare one the most efficient sedatives known to the Guilds. It's also hallucinogenic and hypnotic, and is thus highly sought after by charlatans and fake shamans. Parts : leaves, stem, flower White nettle (Lamium Album) White nettle is a very common plant that can be found in grasslands and forests all over Avalonia and Mitgardia. All parts of the plant are edible (and have a surprising mushroom flavour), and the leaves can also help with melancholy. A so-called Aureum variant, which features bright lime leaves, can be found in the southwestern foothills of the Mitgardian Heavenly Mountains. A rumor says its unusual coloring indicates the presence of gold underground. The inhabitants of the little village of Horgaard know it's simply an horticultural experiment, escaped from the garden of a local herbalist… Avalonian Crown Lily (Lilium Avaloniflora) - by @Grover The Avalonian Crown Lily is native to the coastal areas of Avalonia, particularly in the Mystic Isles. Its occurrence is uncommon in most areas, but it is cultivated and traded around Historica, so is a common ornamental potted plant. It gets its name from the large white bowl shaped flowers ending in spikes like a crown and is noted for the pollen covered pistils, usually golden yellow, that protrude from the flowers.  Parts : stem, calyx, corolla, pistil Volume II - Bushes NEW Spreading Starmist (Prosopis Azure) - by @Grover Commonly found across Nocturnus, Spreading Starmist is a low-growing bush with bright blue leaves and a black stem. It grows in almost any soil and is considered a nuisance in many area It also leaves black stems everywhere when it is done growing, causing headaches for cleanup. The plant is non-toxic, and does not contain enough nutrients to feed livestock, so is not cultivated intentionally. The wood is sometimes used for cookfires where it imparts a smoky flavor to meats. Volume III - Trees NEW Purple Locust Tree (aka Red Pea Tree) (Robinia Purpura) - by @Grover This medium sized deciduous hardwood grows across lower elevations of Nocturnus and slightly into the other guilds in the area around Cedrica. It has occasionally been planted in other areas where it can become invasive. It is considered a nuisance tree due to the red pea-pod fruits it bears in the spring, which drop everywhere, requiring cleanup for landscaping. The wood is hard, but is not particularly useful for building due to the small, twisting, and generally spindly nature of the tree trunk, which limits the size of boards produced from it. Volume IV - Animals Common Field Wombat (Wombatus Agerus) - by @kahir88 A medium-sized rodent eats plants and smaller insects. Avalonian farmers have long struggled to drive them away from their lands. Males are particularly aggressive when their territory needs to be protected against other males. Many Avalonians take advantage of this and make to fight each other for amusement. Common Seagull (Larus Historicus) - by @Grover The common seagull is native to all the coasts of Historica and is a common sight there. These gulls flock in large number, particularly around sources of food, and are somewhat of a nuisance in coastal urban areas, making a mess wherever they are found. These birds are noted for their white color with grey and black wing markings. Omurtag Zwergpinscher The Omurtag Zwergpinscher, colloquially known as the Dwarven Devil Dog among Human communities, is a breed of domestic dog developed by the Mitgardian Dwarves of the Heavenly Mountains. Renowned for their vigilance and tenaciousness, Omurtag Zwergpinschers make excellent guard dogs and ratters. NEW Avalonian Giant Hare - by @The Stad Brought to Gammeltårn by refugees from Avalonia during the Elemental Crisis, the Avalonian Giant Hares were kept for their flavorful meat and supple pelts. Several years ago, four of the five breeding pairs on the island had been set loose during a violent storm, and now herds of the docile, dog-sized rodents could be found menacing crops around the island.
  11. Rienne, founder and leader of the Nightwolves. Rienne founded the Nightwolves after hunting the vampires responsible for her husband and daughter's deaths. After surviving the attack she sought out knowledge on how to kill what took her family and this search led her to Merrick. She has raised a direwolf named Ashla that she found in Mitgardia on a job. Aurelios- The group's resident healer and mage. A feisty elf whose love of wine always brings forth the question "When do I get paid?". Talus- Formally from Mitgardia, Talus is a very simple soul. He loves nothing better than making the world a better place, one swing of his mace at a time. Nothing makes him happier than combat for a higher purpose. He's often chided and made fun of by Aurelios. Ysova- One of the finest non-elven archers in Avalonia, Ysova learned to shoot very young by necessity. A starving orphan who happened upon a dead soldier and picked up his bow, she learned very quickly that missing a target meant not eating. Serana- A half breed shunned by both Humans and Drow alike. Rienne found her in Nocturnus and remembering the daughter she lost, decided to take her in and train her. She's quiet and not fond of sunlight. Bardan- The most recent member of the Nightwolves and the one with the most in common with Rienne. When he was a boy his parents were slain by what he only remembers as a "Demon Knight". He sought out Rienne hoping to learn how to find and kill whatever killed his family. Merrick- Having spent much of his life with his head in books, Merrick has very little experience or inclination to combat. Forced out of a leading university due to heavy drinking he was nevertheless quite the student of the "darker" mythologies of Historica. When the Nightwolves get a job, it is Merrick who details what they're hunting and how to kill whatever it is. Located in the eastern region of Avalonia this once fortified castle has been abandoned for quite some time. It was given to Rienne as payment for saving the daughter of a local lord. Most of the money earned goes to repairing the castle, now affectionately named The Wolves Den.
  12. Hi all, after being gone for a year(my daughter took alot of my freetime) I have finally found the time to build again. I have now my own lego building room! So the story of Robert Sigurd continues! Nothing spectaculair, just have to shake of the dust first :) Robert Sigurd and Stan Brander continued their journey to Robert's stronghold, They Would have to travel through the lush landscapes and forests of Oxenfurt, located in Avalonia. After they pass this road they will arrive in a small village, nothing spectaculair, but perhaps there is some food, drinks and maybe a bath. Oxenfurt forest, Avalonia by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Oxenfurt forest back, Avalonia by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr
  13. Not to be outshone by their northern ursine cavalry brethren, the elves of the Dragon Clan in the Enchanted Forest in Avalonia had long maintained their fleet footed stag cavalry. Or, if you like, the generic stag unit.
  14. kahir88

    Mortal Wombat!

    Have you ever wondered, how the people in the fields spend their days? Just like the ones, in the city. They work hard, and after that, they gather up to spend their time with their friends or families. Sometimes they gamble, but not with cards and dices. They leave them to the man of the city. Sometimes the fields are infested with a medium-sized rodent, Wombats. They eat almost every kind of vegetables, causing big troubles to the local farmers. If they manage to capture at least two, the fun begins there. The males could be very aggressive if another male enters their territory. The fight is fierce between these two little animals, some farmers claim: If you never saw two wombats fighting to the death, you don't know what bloodshed is. During the fight, te viewers can place bets, which one will win, and stay alive. The price of the winner is a quick and clean death, from the judge's cudgel. This seems cruel to most folks, but, after all... they are vermins. They gave many names to this amusement. The two most common are Mortal Wombat and Wombat Combat.
  15. kahir88

    The Wolves of Avalonia

    Now, I have finished all of my little wolves backstories, it is time, to collect all of them in one topic, so you guys don't have to spend hours to find all of them. The order of the links now in chronological order, not as I posted them. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Conrad the Sly. Leader of the Wolf Brigade, and Lord Protector of a small Avalonian country: Deep Garden. His story: A mercenary's story: Part I A mercenary's story: Part II A mercenary's story: Part III A mercenary's story: Part IV A mercenary's story: Part V A mercenary's story: Part VI. Epilogue ------------ Lok the Wild One. Former bandit and highwayman. After Conrad beat him in a duel, he and his crew joined the mercenaries. His story: Taming the Wild One ------------ Zan the Black Arrow. A killer and poacher. Conrad gave him a choice: the gallows, or to serve in his army. His story: I'm not afraid of wolves... ------------ Scarlet. Call her a harlot, or a whore, but know this. She is the only one, who was able to trick Conrad. Her story: The pup and the whore Part I. The pup and the whore Part II. ------------ Boris the Houndmaster. An old and famous bounty hunter. A reliable ally of the Wolf Brigade. His story: The Lone Wolf
  16. Grover

    Castle Palisade

    The Tales of Lady Gwenllian 10. Castle Palisade Concurrent with the temporary palisade around the town, a small palisade was built on the castle grounds. Temporary defenses for the castle grounds differed from the town because of the shallow bedrock that the castle would be built upon. This bedrock, and the location at the top of the rock outcropping precluded a surrounding ditch. The logs for the wooden palisade were placed directly on the shallow bedrock, and the wooden wall was shored up with rock and dirt at the base. The logs were staggered and reinforced with wooden rails for strength. Care was taken with these logs so they could eventually be reused for the castle timbers, since wood was in short supply due to limited logging rights in the Enchanted Forest (minimizing impact on the forest and pleasing their elven trading partners). To further reduce demand on timber, only the temporary housing for Lady Gwenllian's household was enclosed by the palisade, no guard towers were built, and only one large gate was constructed. Like the gates on the temporary town wall palisade, the gate was rudimentary, with two swinging doors, but unlike the town wall, this gate had a defended platform above for an extra layer of security. A wooden framed rock staircase provided access from one side, and the logs were raised along this side to provide cover to soldiers climbing the stairs. Outside of the palisade, Lady Gwenllian had begun training Gisela how to use a weapon. While some of the guards looked on from the wall and Mohatu stood close at hand, the women sparred with wooden swords and some spare shields Lady Gwenllian had grabbed from her armory. Gisela's father Staffen had sent word that their family had located the assassin who had made the attempt on Gisela's brother Bernaldo's life, and that retribution to the Varlyrian family responsible was at hand. Gisela of course, wanted to be part of the retribution for her brother, so she had obtained leave from Lady Gwenllian to temporarily return to Varlyrio. Lady Gwenllian had agreed on the condition that she take Mohatu and a small contingent of her own Avalonian guard for her protection. She was not keen on losing her new ambassador. She had further suggested that Gisela learn to defend herself, despite her ever-present and formidable bodyguard Mohatu watching over her. Never a shrinking violet, Gisela had readily agreed, although now in the heat of the summer sun, fighting the skilled and powerful Lady Gwenllian, she wondered if she had bitten off a little too much. Lady Gwenllian did not hold back and hit Gisela with the force of a kicking horse, numbing her arm with several hits to the shield. Gisela grit her teeth to push down the pain, ignoring her sweat soaked clothing and numerous bruises, focusing her anger at her family's dishonor on becoming skilled with a sword.
  17. Conrad met many interesting people in his life so far. Most of them become his allies, few of them his enemies. But there is only a handful of them, who has remarkable stories, how they joined, to the Wolf Brigade. This is their stories: This is the story of Scarlet, the Courtesan. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Click* The door of the small cellar opened and filled with dim light from the other room. Three persons came in and strode down on the stairs. The first with light, soft steps, the second one with powerful steps, like he struggled with something. The third one slowly and accurately, watching to bang his head on every step. Scarlet quickly lighted the candle on the table, and while she lighted every other one in the room, Conrad chained the third person on the wall. - Alright. - Conrad put his hands together and turned to the woman. - Give him the antidote, and interrogate him. Darlin. - Smiled Scarlet. - If he didn't wake up after you dragged him down on the stairs, my potion won't make any difference. Conrad scratched his beard. -And how long should we have to wait? - I don't know that either darlin. He got too much from my cocktail, it would take a while. Scarlet was sure he heard a quiet curse from Conrad. The man turned around, and took two seats and hoarded in front of the chained man, and sit down on one. Scarlet joined him, on the other. They sat there for several minutes. Only the low sound of their prisoner's breath could be heard, and some mice screwing behind the wall. The woman noticed a small smile on Conrad's face, with a little blush. She was almost sure what was in his mind. - This reminds me... - broke the silence Conrad, but turned his head away, so the woman would think he searches the source of the mice behind the wall. His real intent was, to hide his blush and blithesome smile. - Do you remember... - How did we meet? - continue the woman, and she smiled the same was as his partner. - Of course darlin, that was a night, I can't forget easily. - and she winked, then paused for a moment. - I still can't believe, you chose me, to be your first. - Well, me either wasn't sure about that too. - continued the mercenary, and flashbacks came in in his mind. - It was after I received a larger amount of share from a previous encounter. We were in Avalonia, and our leader wasn't pleased with the local garrison status of prisoners. He called the day, and give us free time, till next sunrise. So we could spend some of our money. Back in the camp almost every night the main topic was about girls and women. I felt ashamed, cause I never shared a bed with one. And I taught this is my chance. To become a real man! - So, you walk in our brothel? - Yes, I walked in. The Madam was kind, she showed the establishment around, and started introduced the girls. Before I saw you, I almost choose the red-haired girl. - What? -giggled Scarlet. - Lice Lucy? Woaw, if you had chosen her, you would have been in more trouble. - she kept laughing. - Anyway... continued Conrad - You know the rest of the story. - Oh, I do! - stoped the laughing, but kept the smile on her face." - The last great deception of my life. Or at least I thought it would be that the last one... You could not look away from my breast. As soon as you made your choice, I grabbed your hand and suddenly we were in my room. Do you remember, what did I asked from you? -"Do you want to know how I got these scars." - answered Conrad. - Actually, you never told the story about how did you get them. -None of your business! - she replies - I used, to start the conversation. Like a little roleplay. But you were just stood there and didn't have any idea how to answer back to me. Then I understand the situation, so I changed tactics, and asked directly. But when I asked how to do it, you simply turned to red like a crab. And then you came up with that strange request... Where did you hear about that? - Some soldiers from the camp talked about this... Let's say.. It kept me awake for the next nights. - Truly, you couldn't make my job easier, maybe if you willingly gave it to my hands. - winkled the woman - I just simply tied you to the bed, as you requested and stuffed your mouth... - Catapult... - Conrad interrupted the story. Scarlet looked at him in confusion. - My safe word would be the catapult. Awkward silence. The mice stopped the act of their reproduction. Maybe one of them used their safe word too. - I never thought this could be any worse for you - said the woman, mixing pity and sarcasm in her tone. - Worser then letting me watching you, as you undress, then dress up, packing all your shit in a bag, including my whole payment, and bragging about leaving this hole, cause the Big City Life in Varlyrio. - mimicking the quotation mark with his hands. - I was different back then. I just wanted to leave Avalonia, and all the bad memories behind, and start a new life on the island. Well, I thought I could... - she paused. - In fact, you never told me, what happened to you afterward? - I hade plenty of time thinking." - Conrad recalled most of his thought, how to torture the woman, who robed and humiliated him on that night. Including Whipping, drowning, maybe impaled. - No one was looking after me in the night. Only in the morning, came my boss accompanied by the madam, to find my naked, and tied to the bed. On that day, I learned an important lesson. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Click here, for part two.
  18. KevinyWu

    A Day at the Old Mill

    This old mill in the Avalonian countryside has always been a reliable source of flour for nearby villages. A couple peasants spend their afternoon toiling and relaxing at the peaceful riverside location. What a fun build to do! I tried to change up my usual style here, in both the landscape and building. My favorite part is the top half of the windmill, which incorporates this brilliant technique I saw from user Julien Andries.
  19. It was a warm day, even for autumn. Only some small embers in the fireplace reminded about the cold yesterday. The council almost finished it's meeting, about new trade lines between the guilds. For the queen's order, the servants filled the table with different fruits and beverages. "A necessary break", she called it, but most of the delegates know this tactic, a little show of. Not everyone was happy with the break and the food. Lady Helga's bodyguard was a hardened Mitgardian veteran, he was ordered by the Elders to watch over her. Rumors were spread, not everyone in Mitgardia accepts the queen's decisions. Next to her, Lord Breck Daniesh the Varilyrion representative, he knows a lot of tricks in diplomacy, he is a cunning man. On the opposite side of the table Datret Marblebrick from the Oil merchants of Kaliphlin, and Sir Jovell, selected by de Gothia to spread the will of Avalonia in this council meeting. Of course, Ylsphet and her advisor, N'ri were still present in this meeting. The Nocturnian emissary didn't show up. Maybe he was killed by rival armies, who seeks to gain control in Noctornus. - Ladies and Gentlemans. - started Ylsphet, after she wiped her lips from her drink. - I think we should end this little break, and finish this council, as soon as we can. Only your signatures required, and we are all done for today. - Finally! -cheered Datret, and take a sip from his pipe. - I must send a message back to my wife. To wait for me with dinner. Giggles filled the hall- Good for you, master dwarf. - said Lord Breck. - If I want to send a message back home, I could deliver it my self, cause no ship will depart sooner. - Then let not waste more time. N'ri! - Ylsphet raised her hand. Her advisor stepped away from the fireplace. - Get the paper, ink and my royal sigil. N'ri took everything from the small table and put them down before the queen. She quickly signed the contract, poured some red wax on the paper, and stamped with the Royal Sigil. Baam! Echoed the hall, Everyone looked to the queen, but she was surprised like the others, and she looked suspicious to her sigil. No one believed she hit that hard on the paper, but suddenly all doubts disappeared. Baam!...Came from the door, followed muttering from the outside. Baaam! Echoed the hall again. The guards quickly start running to the door, Sir Jovell and Helga's bodyguard also readied their weapons. But before any of them could reach the door, with a huge crack, the door broke open, and two soldiers ran in the hall, using a bench as a ram. They weren't alone the other ran in, with readied crossbows. - Drop your weapons! - screamed the guards. - Drop yours! - screamed back one of the mercenaries with the crossbow. - Everybody, calm down! - gave Conrad the orders after tossed away the bench. - Lay down your weapons, we aren't here for bloodshed. - I know it! - Sir Jovell pointed to Conrad with his sword. - Conrad you fool, what's with you this time? I'm sure, you don't do this for your self. - That's correct, Sir Jovell. - lowered Conrad his weapon. - But still, lower your weapons, we are here, to remove a poisonous thorn, from the Throne. Step aside! - Who hired you wolf? And for what price? - Lord Breck asked it. - He is only a mercenary, he works only for the money. - But not this one. - an elderly person entered the room. - He works for the Crown. - Loremaster Vernoll? - the members of the council were surprised. - But why? What is the meaning of this treachery? - asked Sir Jovell. - In time, I will explain everything. For now, I'm assuming you, this is act isn't against the Crown, but to serve it. - answered calmly the Loremaster. - Someone in this room is an impostor! Everyone looked to each other, try to figure out, who might be, the impostor. - It looks like, I was the only, who got suspicious, after the queen's return. Indeed, it was a glorious day for the kingdom. Raavage was defeated, and our long lost king's daughter arrived just after it. What a coincidence. - Are you trying to tell us, she isn't the real queen? - asked Helga. - No-no... Queen Ylsphet is the real queen. But she brought a parasite from Mwamba. Someone, who poisons her mind, and forces her, into strange decisions. Someone who is close to her... - he stopped, and looked into the eye of his suspect. - You! Everyone looked at N'ri, but he remained calm. - Be at ease in your own skin for you cannot shed it like a snake. Try to be like the turtle, at ease in your own shell. - he replied. - Why are you so harsh with me Loremaster Vernoll? Have I done something wrong with you? - You are the impostor N'ri, or whatever is your name. You aren't a monk either! - Again, hard words. - replied. - Have you any proof? If not, your age must trick you. Come, I have some refreshing herb tea, in my chambers, will you accompany me? - My memory is sharp as ever was, this is why I'm the Master of Lore in this castle, not you! - said the words Vernoll, not with anger, but with proud in his voice. - Do you need proof? I will tell you, what did I learn from the residents of Mwamba. Every eye turned to the old Loremaster: - I hired the Wolfs, to learn more about this island, its residents. I do not trust anyone from the queen's men, they can be... manipulated easily. The Wolfs arrived not long ago, with everything to busted you! - he licked his lips. - The residents told them about a monk order, living on the islands, but they not heard from them a long time ago. One of the oldest women told them, they were driven away by evil spirits. Conjured by Witch Doctors! - Witch Doctors? - laughed Datret. - What are they? Healers for hags? - and took another sip from his pipe. - No, they are some kind of shamans, or priests, who communicate with the spirit world. - answered Conrad. - The western island is full of their huts, totems, and charms. We searched the island, we didn't find any of them, but we felt some watchful presence. - he stopped for a brief moment and looked to the old Loremaster. - But we found neither the monks too... Only deserted ruins. - But that's impossible! - Cried out Ylsphet. - I came back from them not long ago. What could happen to them, in such a short time? We must send help there! - I don't think it is necessary, my Queen. - replyed Conrad, but he didn't look in her eyes, he watched someone else. - The place was abandoned years ago. My hound master, Boris is an excellent tracker. We only found strange dolls. - Conrad saw N'ri's eye twitched a bit. - They bore the same markings, what we found at the witch doctors' huts. - That's terrible! - wondered Helga. - But how can this be possible? If Ylsphet came back a few years ago, but the monks are missing more years then that. - There is a solution. - started Vernoll. - The residents of Mwamba told more to us about the witch doctors. They not only can conjure up spirits, but they can control others' body and minds. Someone hired the witch doctors, they captured you, my queen. Planted false memories about the monks. And when the time was at hand, they send you back as a puppet, to rule the kingdom, as they wished. - That's ridiculous! - laughed N'ri, and walk near to the fireplace. - Have you anything, to prove it Loremaster? - This. - said Vernoll, and stepped closer to the table, while reached inside his pocket for something. He put a small female doll on the table. - The Wolfs found more of this doll on the island. Voodoo-Dolls, they call it. they were there in every hut, and in the ruins too. But this one. - he pointed to the doll on the table. - This doll is from your room N'ri. Everyone turned to N'ri, maybe he can come up with some explanation. But he remained calm. He watched the small embers in the fireplace. - Let's finish this comedy Lord Vernoll. Your attempt, to frighten the crow and me is futile. This, tale of yours and your comedians are no longer funny. You have no proof about the monk disappearance, about the so-called witch doctors and evil spirits of your, and you only can show us a ragdoll, with the queen's hair tied to it, so I can mind control her like the witch doctors on the island? I advise you to leave with your dogs and start praying, for the queen doesn't punish you for this bad joke. - Wait! - said Jovell, lowered his sword and looked to the doll on the table. A reddish hair indeed was tied to the doll's body. - The Loremaster didn't say anything about whats with the doll's hair. And how the witch doctors use the dolls to bend their victim's will. How do you know it? - Yeah. - put down his pipe Datret. - What's with this all about N'ri? Chaos started. Everyone asked different questions. The guards were no longer sure, where to point their weapons. Even Ylsphet didn't move, she stood there like a statue, something wasn't right about her. N'ri used this turmoil, he quickly reached in his pocket and poured some dust in on the embers. Huge flames burst out from the fireplace, Even the bars were torn out. With a hand-gesture, N'ri pushed the flames in the direction of Vernoll, causing mass destruction. The first victim was an unware guard, the flames consumed him just in a second. The next one could be Lady Helga, but her bodyguard tossed her across the table, sacrificing himself instead. As the flames burned out, only piles of ashes remained from those who were in the path of the flames. N'ri uses this advantage, to escape through the window. But Conrad saw his intentions, and ordered his man, to shoot him down. One of his men readied the crossbow and fired a bolt at N'ri, But no one saw this coming from. Ylsphet suddenly moved, into the direction of the fired bolt, to save N'ri from death. The bolt hit her on her left shoulder, buying enough time to N'ri to escape through the window. With a loud crash, he jumped out, and turned into a shadowy smoke, and disappeared in the distance. - The queen is injured! Quickly, call for a healer! - yelled Lord Breck. - The queen is injured! Call for a healer! - the echoes came from the corridors of the castle... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The crystal orb faded. The small room descended into darkness, but only for a moment. The torches quickly lighted via magic and lighted the room. Five robed figures stood around the orb. Wearing hoods, and skull masks. - We are screwed! - said the brown-robed figure. - Relax, this was only a minor setback. - calmed him the green-robed. - We are not yet discovered. Only our puppet was discovered. - But she is dead! - the brow figure pointed to the orb. - We all saw it in the orb, at the end! - She isn't! - a voice filled the small room, it wasn't coming from any of the robed figures, but from the orb. A face appeared in the crystal, the twisted head of N'ri. - She is weak, but she is alive. I can feel it. My memory ended, when I escaped through the window that day. - Then, if she recovers, can we continue our plans? - asked the red-robed from N'ri. - I don't think so. - replyed to him, the black-robed. - We are not yet discovered, but they know our present. They won't let her rule the kingdom until our threat is dealt with. Silence descended into the room, but only for a minute. - I suggest we continue our plan, as we planned. - broke the silence the black-robed again. - We remain in the shadow, like until now. We will pull the strings but with more caution this time. If we not. - looked to the brow-robed figure. - We are screwed... Now, let's collect our selves. Are the shipments and provisions ready? - The provisions are ready, as planned. - answered the purple-robed figure. - We are a bit behind the schedule with the spears, we did not receive the promised wood, from Mitgardia. But the swords, maces, and axes are ready - said the red-robed figure. He looked suspicious to the brown-robed figure. - Yes... well... some of the merchants are not cooperating with us... - stuttered the brow-robed. - We can arrange some... deaths, to help our cause. - offered the green-robed figure. - Our contracts will gladly help us. - Good. - noded the black-robed. - We can still pull this together. And after this, we will restore our former glory in Historica. - he took a brief silence before he continued. - For the Skulls! - For the Skulls! -repeated the others. This build supports Queen Ylsphet's reign. Altho I injured her badly :D
  20. There is a small, noisy workshop, near the small town, in Avalonia. The owner saw a lot of winters, he is a professional clockmaker. He already does thousands of custom ordered clocks. He learned this profession, from the gnomes of Kaliphlin, and perfect it with wonderful elven woodcarving technics from Avalonia. Every masterpiece is unique. Many great houses already have at least one of his works. The workshop is a little mess, but he knows his ways in the chaos. The floor is littered with wood chips from the carving, gears, springs… even a half-eaten sandwich is hiding somewhere in the corner. We can see his current project. This will be a gift to Queen Ylsphet. This clock not only shows time, but with every Tick, a king shows up, and with every Tock, a queen shows up instead. Every figure is hand-carved out of wood, and hand-painted, by the old clockmaker. Also, this is build got motions too:
  21. Grover

    Prenmôr Forge

    The Tales of Lady Gwenllian 9. Prenmôr Forge One of the most important buildings in Prenmôr was the smithy. It was to be the first permanent structure in the castle, as a blacksmith was needed to prepare (and repair) nails, tools, weapons, and other miscellaneous steel and iron items. The need for a forge was immediate, so it was built with the first load of stone from the quarries and had little decoration. The initial stone from the quarries was irregular and contained smaller pieces than would eventually be used for the castle walls, so the blacksmith shop had a distinct appearance. It was intentionally located in what would become the inner ward for security and to ensure a steady supply of weapons and armor should the castle come under attack. Fire was always a concern in the confined space of a castle, so the smithy was made from stone, located near the well for a supply of water, and placed apart from the residential structures. To further mitigate fire risk, Lady Gwenllian purchased expensive slate from a nearby dwarven mine for the roof. The smithy's distinct appearance was not just due to its stone: the roof sloped one direction and only two small windows appeared in the side walls. Since the back of the smithy would eventually become part of the inner curtain a vaulted roof was unnecessary, and since the windows would eventually face the gatehouse and the inner curtain walls, their use as light sources was limited. Thus, two lanterns were hung inside the smithy to supplement the lighting. Lady Gwenllian and Lady Seren planned for the future by designing a forge large enough for a master smith that they hoped to eventually attract to the site. Despite being large, the forge had enough conveniences (such as a bellows with a pull chain) so that a single blacksmith could work alone if need be. A large horizontal window at the front doubled as a work counter, let in most of the light and fresh air, and provided an exit for the heat of the forge during warm months. This window was closed by a large wooden shutter that could be kept closed at night and in the winter. A stone shelf near the forge contained charcoal fuel, and several log rounds would hold work, tools, and the all-important anvil. A huge bellows would blow air into the forge to keep the coals hot enough for steel. Iron bloom, wrought iron rods, and steel stock were kept in crates and barrels around the room. Outside, barrels collected rain water runoff from the roof to supplement the water supply in the forge. A small bucket of water was located in the forge for immediate use. Lady Gwenllian’s blacksmith was none other than Sven, one of her family's blacksmiths from back in Albers. Sven had been raised in Mitgardia, where he fought and sailed, but had also apprenticed for a few years to a dwarven blacksmith. Sven was not a master of the forge, but his nails, horseshoes, and various tools were functional. His apprenticeship had taught him to let form follow function, and though his work was not always pretty, it could withstand quite a bit of abuse. At the beginning of the summer, the forge fired up for the first time. Raw iron bloom was smelted in a makeshift clay brick furnace in the yard, then stored in piles in the smithy. Sven wrought this sponge iron and stored it as bars and plates for tools, weapons, and armor. The initial pieces consisted mostly of nails and a few repairs on plows, picks, and shovels, none of which taxed the capacity of the huge smithy. Sven set up a cot in the back of the forge that became his temporary home until the permanent apartments were built, which was just fine with him, as he was the oldest of the household and was pleased to sleep in warm, a water-tight building. After watching Sven at work, Lady Seren’s daughter, Alis, became interested in smithing, and with Lady Seren's permission, Sven took her on as his apprentice. She worked the bellows, fed the fire, collected charcoal, fetched water, and practiced working on scraps of iron and steel as Sven handled the main load of work. By mid-summer, Alis had made great progress and was helping make nails, while Sven was starting to make more tools and even a few spearheads for rudimentary defense. Being more sociable, Alis also routinely dealt with customers, which greatly improved the relations between the workers and the somewhat curmudgeonly Sven. Particularly with the more unruly customers.
  22. 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.
  23. Prelude: The Spring of Hope Life in Avalonia had seldom been better. Even the old-timers, grey of pate and dim of eye, could not recall a time of greater flourishing. The scars of the wars were healing and fading, the fields were producing better than ever, and gold was flowing freely from Cedrica to Albion and down the rivers to the isles. The trade routes to Varlyrio had enriched almost every coastal lord, and by extension, the coastal cities. Inland, the towns were seeing a greater demand for their goods and better returns on their investments. Merchants were selling new and exotic wares from the far west, and even from the south new goods were arriving as the cities of Kaliphlin began to recover some semblance of order. Deep in the forests, the bandits who made a living off of the rich were themselves becoming rich, and had no lack of food. Their fortresses and lairs were better than ever, rebuilt after the devastation of the Drow, repopulated after the plague. And if life was good for the bandits in the forest, it was even better in the cities and towns. Everywhere there were festivals and banquets, often given in honor of Queen Ylspeth, the most blessed woman in all the lands. The number of girls named Ylspeth, Elspeth, Elisabeth, or some other variant had exploded, as had the population in general. Everywhere there were new mouths to feed, but at the same time there was enough food to feed them all, and then much left over to sell to the Mitgardians and Varlyrians at a hefty profit. The generosity of the queen was toasted at each table, and the new king, the old de Gothia, was much beloved and much praised. "Long live the Queen! Long live the King! Long may the Dragon fly!" was heard echoing through the lanes and byways. But in the halls of lords, their were rumors of troubles ahead; not from within the guild, but from without. Mitgardia was restless, it was said. Varlyrio was quiet on the surface, but there were rumblings of new alliances that did not bode well for the stability of the island. Merchants brought word that Kaliphlin was still trying to figure out what was happening with the Desert King's rule. And Nocturnus was far too much of a mess for anyone to even begin to discuss. The added gold was being spent building defenses and training new armies, getting ready for any eventuality. What would the armies be needed for? No one quite knew, but the leaders of the guild knew that they would side with Queen Ylspeth if any threat to her young reign should arise. More pictures of the forestmen hideout can be found on Brickbuilt. More pictures of the picnic here.
  24. socalbricks

    [MOC] Centaur w/ Tailgunner

    Centaur w/ Tailgunner (1) by socalbricks, on Flickr Centaur w/ Tailgunner (2) by socalbricks, on Flickr Some time after the city of O'Rai was destroyed, it civilians, now nomadic, encountered a clan of centaurs. Both groups had come into conflict with the various gangs of robbers and mercenaries that patrolled the plains and woodland of southwest Avalonia. A heavily armed, coordinated and agile cavalry was needed. The two groups chose to band together, and came up with the idea of combining a centaur and rider, with both of them often training together at a young age. This strategy would prove quite effective, with horde after horde of robbers falling to hoof, blade, and arrow. Riders now had a "cavalry" they could coordinate attacks with, and centaurs had their flanks (their one weak point) protected. --------------------------- A few months ago, back when I was researching weapons I wanted my centaur character (Ayra) to carry, I stumbled upon video by a YouTuber named Shadiversity, who mentioned that one of a centaur's best weapons would be a friendly human/elf/drawrf/etc. riding on its back. This gave me some ideas, and I got to building. For simplicity's sake, I chose to use Ayra as a template. On top of the addition of a "tailgunner", I also added clothing/barding to the character's lower/"horse half". This mitigated the open studs that existed on the original version, and in my opinion makes things look much cleaner overall. Centaur (w/out Tailgunner) by socalbricks, on Flickr --------------------------- Shadiversity Video Link: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNRf9VVAHIk" rel="noreferrer nofollow">www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNRf9VVAHIk</a> Link to the original version:
  25. KevinyWu

    Escape!

    A farmer hollers out as he searches desperately for his escaped pig. The pig, meanwhile, watches with amusement from behind a tree. This was my entry to the vignette category of the Summer Joust! I haven't seen many trees made with the new leaf pieces, and after finding them at my local Pick-A-Brick, I was inspired to design one.