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Found 477 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. kahir88

    Riddlers Guild

    - Good job Gang! We finally captured her! - said the blonde swordmaster, to his gang gladly. - Jeepers Dred! - wonders the elf sorcerer. - Selma was right. We don't need a huge difficult trap, to capture her. A simple bear trap was very effective. - Zoinks! Yeah! - said the bard. - And you wanted to be the prey once more, Right Doob? - Woof! - barked his loyal companion. * - Enough talk. - Dred ended the conservation, about his unsuccessful traping plan. - Let's see who really is Queen Ylsphet! With that, he grabbed the hair, and pulled. Surprisingly it came off very easy, with the rest of the mask. - Jinkies! - the dwarf girl almost dropped the torch. - Lord Raavage? - the gang was surprised when they saw him. - No you fools! I'm his brother, Ravaage! And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!
  4. A continuation of the story from "Pass it on", my Challenge III build, and of the misadventures of Shivering Ettu. The rebellion of Lord Bleywood and Lord Ulfgang is slowly beginning to take shape. With the help of the mercenaries of Theodore Bruin, these lords are hoping to gather more support from displeased nobles and break away from the leadership of the Steward in Valholl. Defensive preparations are being made as the risk of open conflict draws nearer and in Ulfgang land the stockades are being erected in all strategic places. According to the lord's deal Lord Bleywood has sent a group of prisoners to his ally to be used as workforce in the constructions. It's mostly just an excuse to show of my Ulfgang faction. Wolfpack shields and insignia, with dark red and dark green colors, and the nice tartan printed legs from Tartan Batman. I have a few ideas on how to bring this story forward, but I'm not sure how much time to build I'll have from now on. Maybe it will have to be a long term project. I did work a bit with the Mitgardia map to give you a bit of a hint of where this takes place. The map shows the southwest corner of Mitgardia. Blue+Gold: Bleywood, Dark Green+Dark Red: Ulfgang, Green+Yellow: Valholl, Mitgardia Capital
  5. KevinyWu


    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.
  6. KevinyWu

    Outskirts of Petraea

    The outskirts of the Kaliphlin capitol are as busy as ever, with bustling markets selling everything from fresh produce to weapons. Merchants and travelers constantly come in and out of the guarded gate, hoping to make a small fortune from the traffic of trade. This was built for the Middle Eastern Setting category of the Summer Joust. This is my first creation in the middle eastern style, so I'd like to thank all the Kaliphlin builders for inspiration!
  7. 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.
  8. A mercenary's story: Part VI (epilogue) If you missed, here is the previous parts: 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 Home sweet home! Conrad returned to his homeland after so many years. While he was away, the local lord gave a name to this region of Avalonia. They call it now Deep Garden, after the place is a bit under the sea level, and full with orchards. Conrad arrived at Rosebury, the biggest town in the region, where he and his father went on markets day. He left his followers here, and he went, to find his parents home. He found it, or at least the ruins of it. He didn't find anyone there, just a sole tombstone. So he went to the nearby farm, maybe, someone could explain what happened here. The neighbor was new too, he bought the farm from the previous owner, Conrad was glad, cause he used to steal apples from that neighbor. But, he wasn't so informative, he told Conrad what he knew about his family. The last three or four winter was really harsh. And the crops wasn't much, in those years. The lord, who named the region, eventually run out of money, after the exports, to keep his subjects fed, and to try grown new crops. One day he disappeared without any trace, some says, he traveled to Kaliphlin, to start over his fortune again. And he left everything behind. The soldiers without their payment left the region, or in the worst case, they went rogue and started pillaging the remaining supplies what we had. And Conrad's family was one of the victims. He heard about two male corpses. When Conrad asked about his mother and sisters and the tombstone, the neighbor knew little about them. The tombstone was raised for a women, maybe for his mother. And her sisters were married to someones Conrad was shocked, he blamed himself for he wasn't here, when the bandits attacked his home. But he quickly realized, he couldn't do anything to save his family, and it's sure, he would be dead too. He returned to Rosebury, to his men. They didn't go for the promised adventure, what Conrad told them. They spend the night here, Conrad wasn't able to sleep, many thoughts harassed him during the night. He felt bad, for what happened here, while he was away, but maybe this was his fate. Maybe every action what he made, lead him to this. Maybe it was the time, to show the world, what did he learn. The next day they armed themselves and rushed into the town hall. The mayor of the town become pale as snow when he saw the armed warriors walking inside in the room, demanding his presence. But Conrad quickly told him, what is this all about, and offered him his help. In the afternoon, all of Deep Garden knew about the new martial law, which was lead by Conrad. He promised, to take the position, as Protector of Deep Garden. He also promised, he would solve the bandit problem, and find a way, so Deep Garden can prosper again! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And this is the end of Conrad's backstory. I really enjoyed the writing, the building, to show you guys, how did I imagine my sigfigs story, and how did he become part of Historica. It took longer than I expected, challenges, CCC, real-life things, but it is finally done! For my next builds and stories, now you know Conrad the Sly, but not yet know the stories of his closes friends: Zan, Lok, and Boris. They all have their little backstories, how they joined to Conrad's army. There will be more twists, more action, more dark humor, and of course, more Builds!
  9. Many of you guys already told the backstories of your SigFigs. Now is the time, to I join too. Hear the story of Conrad, the Sly Many of the ladys and lords of Historica came from great families. Legendary ancestors, heroes, merchants, explorers. But there are, who didn'tcame from a wealthy family, like Conrad. Conrad was a middle child of an Avalonian farmer. His early years, he lived, as the other kids, in the countryside, Helped his family, around the house and farm all day, and sometimes he played with the other kids, like cow tipping, ferret legging. But one night he overheard his parents talk, and he learned that night. The truth. And what fate, his parents planned for him. As the second son, he can't inherit anything from them, cause his older brother will inherit it. They wanted him, to become a priest. "- A priest? -he asked him self...- I show them... I will become the greatest warriorin the world! Not a muttering monk..." The next night, when everyone sleept, he got away. Grabed his slingshot, and jumped over the fence. The night, the wilderness, the thrill called him. "- I will show them" -repeted him, as he gone in the darkness... Follow his story, to learn how this farmboy become a fearless mercenary...
  10. *Your entry has earned 3 XP* Dreighton, a sandy ball of rock with nothing to offer but Clawmice, Sand-leeches and an abundance of minerals. Located in one corner of the infamous 'Dreighton Triangle', it is a place avoided by most, for fear of ghost ships and mysterious disappearances. The Galactic Empire, however, is not as superstitious. It has constructed a massive mining complex on the planet, with tunnels kilometers long. It is here our heroes have taken a pit-stop, closer to their location than Imdaar. Here, they are negotiating with the requisitions officer to acquire much-needed building materials for their base. Arias, more at home with other troopers than in the murky field of logistics and politics, strikes up a conversation with the Sandtrooper guards outside one of the many base entrances. A former Scout Trooper himself, he befriends the Stormtroopers and ensures that they have allies on the ground, should they ever need to come back. As they talk, a 11-3K Viper Sentry Droid stands guard, its two heavy blasters at the ready. Inside, Ruby negotiates with the surly requisitions officer. She has a valid requisition order, but she's after some supplies not listed on it - supplies that will increase their odds of survival on the planet to which they've been assigned. The two haggle for some time - the officer is unwilling to accept Ruby's explanation of 'the mission is classified' and she's unwilling to divulge classified information. Eventually, though, they are able to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. It turns out that requisitions officers aren't paid too well, so Ruby makes a kind donation to the requisitions officer break room, so they can install a dejarik board. \ With the supplies secured and negotiations complete, the two set off back to the Strix - with the newly acquired Sentry Droid in tow! BEHIND THE SCENES: Continuing the story of Arias and Ruby, we head to one of the worlds of the Dreighton Triangle - the planet Dreighton itself. A sandy mining world that appeared in Rebel Assault II, the planet was perfect for the sand challenge (especially since I had managed to scavenge more sand-coloured parts, and had more confidence). In this diorama, the crew gather supplies and allies before setting off for the destination of their base. The build was too small to fit the Strix in anywhere, so it's off-screen today. I enjoyed trying to do what I could with the little sand parts I had (this was basically my entire sand collection). My favourite part by far is the little cave I made for the sand scorpion! Greebling the wall for the mine was an interesting challenge - I still struggle with greebling, so I'm trying to work on it a bit. I decided early on I wanted some outflow pipes and some stained sand nearby - evidence of the Empire's short-sighted policies polluting the planet. I used dark tan tiles to show that the sand around the base had been permanently stained. The doors do work - they're not pretty, but they do work. At the time I made this, I already had put aside a fair chunk of my parts for the base Ruby will build, so it was interesting seeing what I could do with what was left over. The inside, I wanted to make look drab and utilitarian - it's full of storage lockers, crates and ventilation ducts (to whisk the sand back out, I imagine). It is a crossroads, with a large vehicle access straight through, and a smaller personnel corridor off to one side. On the other, we have our grumpy requisitions lad and his cramped, uncomfortable office. You can just barely make out that the room ends in a doorway behind him in his pic above - leading to the break room off-screen. Overall, I feel a lot better about this build than I do the previous one. The storytelling is better in the Sand and Deliver build, but the actual construction of this one, to my eye, looks much better - and the hill looks better than the previous one, too! Thanks all for taking the time to read this. I hope you're enjoying the little adventure our characters are on here. The next one isn't going to be for quite some time - I have to make a temperate forest, and I have almost no green parts at all! Acquiring them will take time :) Time I'll use to learn some decent foilage techniques, methinks. And no, this droid isn't going in the Factions III contest either. Not creative enough. I've left a little clue as to what I WILL be entering here. The parts are coming. Stay tuned.
  11. *Your entry has earned 3 XP* -Admiral Sarn (Disguised) The two officers took the time to pack their things and have them (and a requisition order for supplies) transferred to the hangar, before they headed down there themselves. They were greeted by what looked like a half-dissected, misshapen egg and a ground crew officer in full gear. The three made short work of the loading process, with the help of the two astromech droids Ruby had requisitioned for the construction process. Though she'd have liked something bigger, possibly one of the 00-99 Imperial Orbital Load Lifters, none were currently available. No matter, one was on back-order. The two pilots were rather impressed with the room the container could hold - two large weapon crates, ten supply crates, four fuel crates and four MSE-6 droids, also boxed up. Sadly, it wasn't designed with passengers in mind, and mag-sealing two chairs down meant offloading some of the supplies. The two, although excellent pilots, knew that if they were in the hold, it meant the shuttle would be leaving without them. As the loading ladders were retracted and the cargo doors swung closed, they started to discuss plans for establishing a perimeter and maximizing their chances of success. They quickly reached an agreement - they were going to need more supplies than this, and Ruby knew exactly where to get them. As they talked, the speaker built into the hold flared to life. The procedure went smoothly. The shuttle used repulsorlifts to position itself over the detachable cargo container, then clamped the two halves together. A recent improvement, it allowed for rapid deployment of troops and vehicles without risking damage to the shuttle or pilots. The Strix was one of the first production run of the updated Sentinel-Class design. In under a minute, the ship was locked, loaded and ready to fly. BEHIND THE SCENES! Hi all! I am pleased to present the flagship for Arias and Ruby's adventures in the Dantus Sector - the Strix. A Sentinel-Class shuttle, she is built from the parts of the two sets that Lego has produced for this ship. Despite being outwardly very similar in appearance, her insides have been completely redesigned! The cockpit has been modified (inspired by the Tydirium Lego kit) to (barely) accommodate two pilots, so that eventually both Arias and Ruby can fly it together. The cargo bay has been completely hollowed out, with attachment points for various kinds of cargo (and passengers if needed), and has been made completely detachable from the main body of the shuttle! This in particular was difficult and time consuming to figure out. However, the end result is sturdy - you can actually just straight out drop the cargo bay from the shuttle onto the battlefield, and it'll take it! Redesigning the cockpit structure to not rely on the cargo bay for support was an interesting experiment, and one that took a fair bit of time. However, I am pleased with the result. The wings have also been modified so that it can include the classic 'bent wing' design of the nucanon Sentinel and Lambda-Class. This is intended to be a hybrid of both the legends and canon version. There are some parts I'm not 100% happy with yet. The side wings have way too many studs on a design that almost completely hides all the studs on the ship - that's something I intend to redesign, possibly by making the wings a SNOT design similar to the top fin (which needs a little reinforcing, once I get the funds). Overall, though, the build is durable, swooshable, and packed with play features. I'll continue to update it over time, and eventually I plan to upscale it (to approximately the size of the UCS shuttle), but for now it is a fine transport for our character's adventures. The locking system is super simple - the two bricks with the brown bits hanging out? Just pull them out, and the entire top section can fly off freely. Stick them back in, and the container is locked in tight. I took inspiration from the Lego City's Volcano Heavy Lift Helicopter for this mechanism, though mine isn't quite as elegant. I'm still learning, I'll get there :) The one thing that has confounded me, and I can see no solution to, is a separate landing gear for the shuttle without the cargo bay. Due to the shape of the ship, it's not really something I can work in seamlessly. I've decided to leave it for now - in-story, the ship simply relies on repulsorlifts (like a Landspeeder) when it is parked. Thank you for taking the time to view my little creation - I'm happy with how it turned out. I'll update this thread with any modifications/changes I make to the build. Next stop - the sands of Imdaar!
  12. Of Dragons and Druids Chapter 3: The Kitchen of Druidham Gahlen knew that he should be going back to the cellars to help Stenkarlek delve them, but he did not want to go back just yet. The dwarf did not particularly like him, considering the boy more of a nuisance than a help, even with a dragon to help moving the rock. And that was all they did, Gahlen and Koeden. Bring one load of loose rock up to the surface after another, until Stenkarlek decided that they had done enough for the day. Gahlen grumbled at his father silently, since it was he who had volunteered the boy's services to the dwarves. But that had been months ago, and the dwarves were still digging. They were nice storerooms and cellars, expertly hewn, painstakingly precise in their corners and utterly smooth in their floors. But the job was tedious, and the seven-year-old wanted to go run around outside and bother some of the other children of the island. And so Gahlen was stopping by the kitchens, hoping to draw Jalme away from his chores. Jalme was the son of the steward, Dervin, who ran the day-to-day affairs of Druidham, assisting Gahlen's father Henjin. The two boys were almost the same age, though Jalme was eight and a bit taller. As he approached the kitchen doors, Gahlen's mouth began to water; succulent smells were wafting on the air currents of the hallway to his nose, reminding him that it was nearly time to eat. Koeden nudged him the back, indicating that he too would like a snack. Hadn't he fed the dragon today already? Young dragons were always hungry, though, and were always growing, too. Perhaps he could sneak a snack from Gregi, the butcher, for Koeden and something from Grishna, the orcwife, for himself. Gregi was busy chopping the heads off of chickens when he opened the door. A faint smile flickered in the corner of the bald man's mouth when his eyes saw the boy and beast framed in the dim doorway. At least Gahlen thought it was a smile; the butcher's beard was so thick that it was hard to tell. Another head popped into the bucket at Gregi's feet, and he slowly slid the whole bucket of heads towards the door. Marni, scaling fish at the same table, clucked in disapproval, but said nothing. The old matron had a soft spot for the roguish youth and his dragon, and the boy exploited it whenever he could. If only he could sneak in and see Sorna; she always had a pie or cookie ready for him, but he would have to avoid the eyes of Jalme's aunt, Julippa, who ran the kitchen and had no use for rascals in her way. Unfortunately, Sorna was talking to Kupika about berry pies as the elf brought over a sack of gooseberries for a pie. Several pies were already cooling on the table; probably currant pies, judging by Sorna's pile of currant sacks by the table. Unfortunately, Julippa was sharing a table with Grishna as the two prepared a stew and some salads. That meant no snack from the orcwife today. Grishna was the best, always doting over the young dragonrider whenever she saw him, giving him big hugs and lots of treats. Her husband Urglan, was a dragonrider, too, the only orc to become one so far. Jalme was looking decidedly unhappy as he turned a spit with a large islebird over the fire. He was definitely hot, and always grouchy. But there was no way that he would be able to get away from the work without getting into serious trouble with everyone in the kitchen. Bummer! Gahlen lingered in the doorway for a moment longer, before deciding to go outside and try to find one of his sisters to bother. Or maybe his mother, if Galaria might be around somewhere and not busy. But he was done with carrying rocks today. He grabbed the bucket of chicken heads and a bit of cured sausage that Gregi had tossed to him, too, and went back the way he came, out into the lower courtyard of Druidham, into the bright sunshine in the midst of the Mystic Isles. (with updated lighting) ____________________________________ ........................................................................ More pics: C&C welcome. I'm not as happy with the lighting in this one as I would have hoped. There are too many different pieces to it: a lamp under the roasting pit, a flashlight behind the bread oven, light bricks and another flashlight lighting glow crystals in the wall, and another lamp shining through a bank of windows (out of shot) to imitate daylight coming in. It was ambitious, and perhaps I'll give it another go before tearing it apart; the results here are "good enough" but not great.
  13. STAR WARS: FACTIONS THE INVISIBLE WAR It is a time of great strife. The great GALACTIC EMPIRE is beset on all sides by a coalition of terrorists, revolutionaries and traitors calling themselves the Rebel Alliance. Striking from hidden bases and fading into obscurity before the Empire can react, the Rebels have proved to be a deadly and frustrating foe. At the edge of the galaxy, Grand Admiral Martio Batch, known as THE INVISIBLE ADMIRAL, hatches a plan to give the Rebels a taste of their own medicine and restore peace to the galaxy... Dantus Sector (J6), aboard the Super Star Destroyer Terror... The interior of the Super Star Destroyer Terror was surprisingly bland, lacking the highly polished floors of the Executor and the silent bustle of terrified crew. The atmosphere appeared somewhat more laid back - although the navy ratings and officers remained quiet, it seemed more from a sense of honest professionalism than fear of Lord Vader's wrath. Little wonder, since they were at the opposite edge of the galaxy to the drama that had recently engulfed the Anoat sector. Flight Lieutenants Arias Mercer and Rubee Blue both arrived outside the briefing room at exactly 0700 - and were somewhat surprised to see each other there! Before either could speak a word, however, the doors slid open with a quiet 'hiss'. Awaiting them were a pair of Imperial Navy soldiers - a starfleet Captain with a gentle smile, and a grim-faced Sergeant of the navy troopers, presumably a bodyguard. The two pilots were a little taken aback - the man hadn't yet introduced himself (and in their experiences, ALL officers wanted their subordinates to know exactly who'd be taking all the credit for their victories as soon as possible), and had even broken protocol to offer snacks. Arias smiled, but Ruby's expression was carefully neutral. The grim-faced Sergeant, his eyes hidden behind a reflective visor and his face twisted into what seemed to be a permanent frown, reached up and withdrew a pair of canisters with some kind of glowing blue liquid inside from the cupboard beside him. A blast of chilled air hinted that the cupboard - and therefore the drinks - were cooled. Without a word or any change in expression, the Sergeant gave one canister to Lieutenant Mercer, and the other to Lieutenant Blue. Arias smiled wide in thanks and took a thirsty gulp, whilst Ruby nodded silently in thanks but didn't actually drink. After the Sergeant resumed his post, the Captain turned his attention to the viewscreen behind him, his expression hardening slightly as he moved on to business. He turned his gaze to Ruby, before gesturing out to the stars with a gloved hand. The captain smiled, apparently satisfied with Ruby's answers. He took a bite from his cookie, before pressing a button on the console mounted to the ugly table that dominated the room. The scratched, dented thing whirred quietly, and a holoprojector built into the center flared to life. Displayed in blue was Arias Mercer's dossier - not his current Navy one, but the one he'd had as a part of the Imperial Army, years prior. He watched the holoprojection for a few quiet moments, then began to interview Arias. The Captain pressed a few buttons on his console, and the holoprojection changed. Now, it displayed a map of the Dantus Sector. Planets were colour-coded depending on purpose, allegiance and current status. Five of the planets were pulsing with a white light. The three exchanged a final salute, before Ruby and Arias turned and left. They talked animatedly about the briefing and the mission all the way back to the guest quarters area, before returning to their separate cabins. After they were gone, the grim-faced Sergeant turned to his commander and, under his visor, raised an eyebrow. He had concerns, and with just the two of them remaining in the briefing room, he felt free to put voice to them.
  14. Hi all! I'm back after a few weeks off ..Well kinda..My wife and I have a freshy new born young little girl, so life has been busy these past few weeks! This build is also for the Summer Joust 2019 It's based on abandoned parts of the farms and city of Oxenfurt when it got terrorised by a decease. Old ruins of Oxenfurt main by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Old ruins of oxenfurt Right by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Detail 2 by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr hope you folks like it!
  15. Hi all, I had some time to make pictures of my latest MOC, It's for the HSS program, to get my town on the map hehe :) Oxenfurt watchtower and blacksmith main by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Oxenfurt watchtower by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Oxenfurt blacksmith close-up by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr No story today. Just a blacksmith and a watchtower, located in Oxenfurt, Avalonia.
  16. kahir88

    The Lone Wolf

    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 Boris, the Houndmaster. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Conrad was happy like a child. After many years of only hearing about the most famous bounty hunter on this side of the Rakath Mountains, he finally meets him. Boris acquired quite a fame during his long working years. It says if you want to get rid of someone, the hardest part, to find Boris. After that, you can rest assure, cause Boris always finds his target. - I told you, boy! - grumbled the old bounty hunter to Conrad. - I'm not interested in your boy scouts team. Sod off! Conrad didn't intend to give up that easy. If he could recruit the old man, his mercenary army can be more reliable. A famous person in their ranks, he needs to break his stubbornness. - But Boris. Your name is known for decades. But let's face it, you grew old. There will be a day when you won't be able to complete your task, and your fame will pass away. - Conrad grabbed his cape and pulled it. cause a tree branch was stuck on it. - If you join us, you don't have to hunt alone anymore. We can provide you intel, gear, manpower. Whatever you need. - I'm never hunting alone! - said Boris, and pointed to his two hounds. - They always at my side. They are loyal, never whining for a share. - he stopped and looked back to Conrad's escort. - Like most of the humans. - But... - Conrad wasn't able to continue, Boris raised his finger to his mouth signaling to be quiet. Then pointed to one of his hounds. The dog was motionless, her ears were raised, sniffing in the air. The other dog did the same. They were listening to a bush, a very suspicious bush. And then at the same time. The dogs charged to the bush and a shadowy figure jumped out and started running away from the pursuers. - Hah! I knew it! - Boris followed his hounds. - No one escapes from me. I don't need any help, especially from you boy! - We shall see it... - said Conrad in a lower voice, while smiled. Then ordered his men, to follow Boris. The pursuit didn't last for long. The wanted person quickly climbed up to a tree, with cats agility. The hounds followed and started barking at the tree. Soon, the others arrived. - Alright, come down. You can't escape. - shouted up Boris to the top of the tree. - We will see about that! - said the runaway in a female voice. Woah, the old man didn't see that coming. With that said, the woman continued her escape, by jumping to a tree to tree. - As you wish! - Boris puts a bolt in his crossbow and lifts it. - You will be good as dead. - and he aimed. But he was old, as Conrad mentioned earlier. He tried to focus on the women, but she was faster. He scratched his eyes and lifted his crossbow again to shoot, but it didn't help. The woman was a blurred point now. The old man put down his weapon and looked to the smiling Conrad. He was angry. - Alright, alright! - shouted to him. - Don't just smile there, and help me get her down here! - Aaaand? - asked Conrad with a bigger smile. Conrad was victorious once more: - Alright Scarlet, we got him! - shouted to the woman. For Boris surprise, the women stopped and started jumping back. She arrived at the tree, where she started and jumped down. - What the hell? What is the meaning of this, answer me! - he was completely lost. - Calm down, darling. - the women asked nicely, while she removed the hood. She has a scar across her face. Then she turned to Conrad: - Did it worked? Is he with us? - Not yet. But he said, if I get you down here, he will reconsider my offer. - Oh, you son of a ... - a loud bird tweeted not far away. - You tricked me! It was all your plan, isn't it? - Your mind is sharp as ever. - said Conrad, and reached for a pouch of coin, to pay Boris. - She is Scarlet. She works for us too. - the women bowed. - This was the only way to meet with you. I still ask you to come and be part of our army. Now you admit it too, you need some help, and we also need you. Boris looked at Conrad. If you could kill someone by looking... He took the money and grumbled something, then whistled to his hounds and left the mercenaries. - Is this is a yes? - Asked Conrad with hope in his voice. - As I said. - Boris didn't turn back, to answer him. - I will reconsider it. - You know where to find us! - shouted Conrad. Boris stopped and turned back. He also smiled: - I always find who I'm looking for...
  17. As @Grover gave the idea, before I continue the next backstory, I should tell more about my trees with red leaves. Avalonia is full of mystery and secrets, and there are so many myths and legends about this region, there are many theories, about this type of trees. Let's stick to this one: The story of Redhgar, the Red Druid. Like the other druids, Redhgar helped shape Avalonia. In this era, most of the plants get their look, thanks to the druids. But at old age, Redhgar had a stroke. He recovered, and he was able to help the orhers furthermore. But. He didn't recovered fully. Now he had partial colorblindness, he mixed some of the colors, but mostly ghe red and green. He didn't understand, why the otheres coloring the leaves to red, and he tired to correct it. The others first, tired to warn him, about his wrongdoing, but he was also a stubborn old man. Later, they try to correct it, but they become tired of this, and leave it. "No one will ever comply about why have some trees reddish leaves..." This is how they encourage each other. Many centuries later, looks like only the trees are still here, the other plants lost this gene. They become rare, but in every tree's genes, there is a chance, to have red leaves. Imagine this like the blond hair gene.
  18. Servertijd

    Smugglers path

    Hi all, I had some spare time so I made a small moc. "Oxenfurt is full of dense forests and small dangerous paths. Those small paths are perfect for smugglers. the taxes on wine are pretty expensive, those two young smugglers are getting rich." Smugglers path Oxenfurt by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Thanks!
  19. 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 Zan, the Black Arrow. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was almost autumn, in the same year after meeting with Lok. Conrad was traveling with some soldiers, to find a new recruit. This time, a psychopath. His name was Zanzarah, he is an expert archer, many claims, he is better than most of the elves. A wanted person, for murdering, poaching and stealing... but mostly for murdering. Conrad was hoping, he would join them, or at least take the huge price for his head. His small party was approaching Zanzarahs last known location, a ruined tower inside the forest known as Deep Grove. The watchtower was built to keep away poachers and keep the forest safe. Ironic, now it is a hideout of a wanted murderer. The tower was in sight, stood in the middle of a grove. When they arrived at the border of the grove unusual sight welcomed them. The place was littered with skeletons, all of them died in the same range. None of them was nearer to the tower. The last victim was a young boy he was picking mushrooms. Looks like he ventured too close to the tower, poor soul. Conrad checked the boy. He was already cold and pale, maybe he was killed in the morning. He wasn't older than Conrad when he roamed the forests. - We will bury him, but first, we have business here. - gave the order Conrad, and slowly started to approach the tower. Suddenly, an arrow landed next to him. It came from the tower, as a warning. And if this wasn't enough, another warning came from the same direction. - That's close enough! - came the shout from the tower. - I already killed today. You should feel your self lucky, Go now, or the next arrow won't be a warning. - Zanzarah! I am Conrad, leader of a mercenary group. I'm here to talk to you! - shouted back to the tower, while he took two steps back. - I have an offer for you! - I don't wanna talk. Go and talk to your man, and leave me like the rest of the world. I'm not afraid of wolves...- shouted back the tower. A tough talker. This taught ran through Conrad's mind. Negotiation won't help this situation, maybe threatening... - You can't hide forever! Sooner or later someone will hire Boris... - Conrad took a pause in his speech, to give a weight it. - He will come for you, and there will be no mercy... Silence, no reply. - Alright! - came the answer finally. - If you can reach me in the tower, I will hear your offer. Before Conrad was able to react, one of his soldier step forward, and offered his service: - Boss, let me help you! - he raised his thick shield. - Stay behind me. - with that said, he started advancing to the tower. He didn't reach the border of the grove. A loud crack and he fell backward. The arrow penetrated the shield and killed the soldier with one shoot. This would be a remarkable feature if this act didn't cost one of Conrad's men's live... - I said, only you alone must come! - shouted the tower again. Conrad had to choose which is deadlier, the arrows, or the threats. - Or leave! To show you how generous can I be, I let you bury the deads. Conrad ordered his man, while he started removing his armor. - Boss, shouldn't you wear any protection against him? - Armor won't help in this situation. - he removed his shirt too. - I must rely on speed, to reach him. He took a deep breath, planned his path and start running. He quickly changed direction and rolled two, to reach a trunk. He was right, the next two arrows landed behind him. Behind the trunk, he panted: "Damn, he is fast..." thoughted Conrad. But before he could continue with his thoughts, he heard a crack above his head. "Damn!" And he jumped away from the trunk before the next arrow penetrated it. He remained out of sight. - Hey Conrad! If you still draw breath, wave out from the tree! Haha! - again, the shout came from the tower. Conrad was trapped. He was sure his next move will be his last. He saw the trunk with two arrows, the path in the leaves from the jump.... Leaves. Got it! He quickly signaled his men and told them his new plan. ... Meanwhile, in the tower, Zanzarah was waiting for Conrad's next move. - Which way will you jump away from behind that trunk? - smiled the archer. - I bet you will go right... They always go right. But something wasn't right. No movement from the leader. And then he saw it. Fiery arrows. Came from the forest, but only reached the bottom of the tower. Not reaching the tower itself. - Amateurs... - thought Zanzarah. - You must come closer to smoke me out of this tower. Sadly, if you came closer, you will die. But this time he was wrong. The dry leaves catch on fire and the dense smoke covered the entire tower. The archer damned their luck, he quickly tore his clothes and covered his face. He tired to look outside, but the smoke covered the place. - Clever move... *cough* - smiled the archer behind his mask. But before he could say another word, down there, the door smashed open, and footsteps can be heard on the stairs. - Damn! -turned Zanzarah around and aimed to the hatch, while counted the steps. The tower has fifty stairs, and a ladder to the top. He knew it, cause he had to climb it every day. - Forty-four.... forty-five... - continue the counting. - Come on thee more! Forty-eight.. forty-nine... And silence... only the crackle of the fire can be heard. He was beneath the archer, only the hatch separated them from each other. Zanzarah was ready to fire his arrow. He held his breath, the next breath would end in coughing. He was wondering, how Conrad wants to reach him, in caution open the hatch with something. Or will he charge in? No one will ever know how the mercenary leader wanted to reach the top of the tower. Zanzarah couldn't hold back his breath any longer, he took his last breath. He was right, and he hated when he was right. He coughed... His location was revealed. But it was too late for him. A loud crack could be heard from beneath his feet, and before he could react, another followed it, and the whole floor collapsed, and both he and the furniture fall down to the next level of the tower. When he freed himself from the debris, Conrad was already there, stand next to him, with his axe. Zanzarah looked around, his bow was far away, and his arrows were scattered. This was truly a defeat. He was escorted down, during that time, the mercenaries take out the fires, and waited for their leader. - So, what's next? To the authorities? - asked Zanzarah. - Maybe. - replied Conrad, while he re-equipped his armor. - Or you can hear my offer. Join us! You won't be a wanted person any longer. Don't have to hide in the forest, and fight for survive. - he paused. - And thanks to you, there is a job opportunity in our ranks. There won't be a next time If you won't take it now... - Then, mercenary life, or the gallows? You gave my tough choice. - scratched his neck the archer. - But sounds good to me this new life. Today, Zanzarah died in the tower. Call me Zan. My friends called me that if I had one...
  20. The Stad

    On Shifting Sands

    The man hated this place. He hated coming out here, into the depths of the Badlands, hated meeting with those withered creatures, hated waiting for them in the cold shadow of this great, unsettling thing. Yet, here he was, nonetheless. He first saw their tiny figures when they mounted a distant dune. He watched them steadily descend its face into the next valley, then several moments later they appeared again, closer now, still coming at an even pace, unhindered by the rising heat that began to pulse in shimmering waves off of the endless sea of sand. They reached the crest of the penultimate dune, and his horse, which had been idly pulling at the burnt stalks of some long-dead shrub, came to him nervously pressed its head against his shoulder. Even she didn't like these meetings. In a few more moments they were there before him, and the first among them spoke. "Your task is done, then?" it rasped, its red eyes flickering behind the rags that held it together. "Of course," the man answered stiffly. "The proper people were paid, the peasants were fed, the shows went on., as promised." "So say our listeners. You have again performed...more than adequately. Your payment will be delivered to the oasis south of the Fallen Angel on the fifth day hence. A portion will also be delivered, to be used towards our efforts. Return to this place in two fortnights for further instruction. This is an adequate rendezvous, is it not?" "I'd prefer somewhere closer to water," the man said slowly. "My horse doesn't do well so far out here." "Perhaps a camel would suit you better," the creature dismissively returned. "No, closer to water is closer to eyes that might see that which must not be seen. Our meetings must remain unmarked. Besides, this place is significant to us." The man didn't respond. He'd tried, though he didn't expect to get much better from such dealers as these. He began to turn to leave when the creature spoke again. "Do you know why this place is notable?" Its voice seemed distant now, its gaze rolled slowly up and down the strange grey stones of the spire, and still the man didn't respond. "This marks the site of a great victory for our kingdom. Here, where lay their last great city, was the final gasp of an ancient empire, who came before even the god-kings of old. In their time they knew power unrivaled, ruled over lands innumerable, counted themselves as masters over earth, sky, and sea, and yet they are gone, and we remain. Our armies crushed them to a man, their halls and towers were torn to the ground, and our mighty king wrapped the very stones in the loving arms of this desert. Such is the fate of those who would stand before us!" Its eyes flashed brightly as its voice came to a crescendo, then just as suddenly the creature was silent. "As you say." The man bowed his head and turned, walking his horse back past the spire, the way he had come. "Remember," called the creature, and the man paused and looked back, "Our great master is generous to those who serve him well. Give thanks, and pray that you never fail him." The man bowed his head again, and both parties turned and left. When he was sure the creatures could no longer see him, he mounted his horse and spurred her away as fast as she would run.
  21. A mercenary's story: Part V If you missed, here is the previous parts: A mercenary's story: Part I A mercenary's story: Part II A mercenary's story: Part III A mercenary's story: Part IV Days passed since Conrad had blood on his hands. After that day, he becomes an official member, of the army. The leader employed him, as his squire. He kept his armor clean, and his weapons sharp. He allowed the boy, to sleep in his tent, so the others can't bother him. After the first month, he received his first payment. Conrad never saw that many coins. Actually, he never saw any... In return, later he taught him. First, reading and writing, after that, strategies, tactics, and the arts of war. The boy was happy, after many years, he found his place in the world. After a few months, he was allowed, to train with the other soldiers. Conrad was trained in every type of weapons. From swords to archery, he tried to master them all. He even was able, to learn some use of exotic weapons too. The others started to like the boy. His spirit was inspiring to others too, to everyone become better. Many days had passed, they become weeks, and weeks become months. The months become years, and finally, a decade has passed. The boy was not a boy anymore, but a young man. Trained in the arts of war. Conrad becomes the leaders most favorited soldier. Later he was tasked, to go on recruit missions. During that time, he earned his title: Conrad the Sly. He earned it, with the methods, he used, to persuade the new recruits, to join. Again, another few years have passed. Conrad becomes more experienced and becomes more valuable to the army. The leader even chose him, to become one of his generals. He ordered his own recruited soldiers in battles. In fact, his men were trained not to face the enemies face to face. He preferred a more subtle approach, to deal with his enemies. But every good has to end somehow. A soldiers life is always full of wars and conflicts. It was the time when Revolword rebelled, and he released the elemental monsters to conquer Historica. The mercenaries were hired too, by the lords of Historica to help defeat this threat. For them, it was easier to send former criminals to die, then their own men. A battle against the elemental monsters and their masters was the mercenaries last battle. During their last battle, the leader was killed, and many of the soldiers used this, to abandon the fight in the chaos. After the disaster, the remaining generals of the army wasn't able to choose a new leader among them, so they decided to disband the remnants of the army. Many of Conrad's recruits wanted to follow him. He planned to go home, show his parents what he has become after many years. And after that, he could start adventuring. The story will end here.
  22. kahir88

    Taming the Wild One

    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 Lok, the Wild One. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A few years ago, Conrad was traveling through Avalonia, with some of his soldiers, and two new potential recruits. They had to venture through a small forest, known as the Thin Forest. The forest got its name, by growing along next to a small river centuries ago. The only way to cross the river, on a small bridge. And Conrad was sure, the bridge wasn't occupied, when they crossed it from the other side. A young boy, wearing leather armor customized to fit for his size, stood on the middle of the bridge. -What's the matter, boy? - started Conrad. - Are you lost? - All who wishes, to cross this bridge must pay its toll! - the boy didn't show any fear against the armed men. -When I crossed this bridge not long ago, there wasn't any toll for crossing it. - Conrad tried to resolve this small conflict with peace. He admired the boy for his courage. He reminds him when he was that young. - And what's the toll? - Five golden coins! - came the answer. - Hah, that's not much for... - ...Per person for the crossing! - the boy interrupted Conrad with his sentence. Conrad was amazed. He wasn't prepared for that answer. His pouch wasn't empty, but he could spend that much gold for other things, more important. He turned around and start counting his soldiers, and captives. At halfway he stopped. He felt he was fooled. He turned back to the boy: - Alright boy, here is the deal: let us cross your bridge and we won't slap you, while we crossing it. - Conrad allowed himself a smug smile. - Can you count how many slaps will you get, if you being so stubborn? - Non! - replied the boy with such bravery. - Cause the others will beat the gold out of you! - He whistled, and the Thin Forest filled up with bandits. Conrad was sure, there were more human in this small section of the forest, then trees. For last, a large brute arrived at the scene, wielding a staff. He leads them, Conrad made the conclusion. - Alright... - his voice was calm and powerful. - The toll raised. Handle over all of your weapons, and equipment, and be gone! Conrad was in bigger trouble than this, but he had to think fast. He had to come out from this situation as a winner. He looked around a bunch of lowlifes, dwelling in the forest. Living day by day, with no future. He remembered how harsh was for him. That's it! - And what if I offer you something instead... - the brute raised his eyebrow, above his intact eye. - I'm offering you, and your man a chance. Work for me, I can give you a home, food, and payment. No longer have to live in the forest, rob others to survive another day! I know how hard the forest can be, be reasonable, think for your people! The bandits looked at each other with questions on their faces. Their leader saw them too it was tempting to accept it, but he didn't want to lose their freedom. He also had to think fast: - You say you know how hard to live in the forest. - he took the staff from the boy. - Then you know it rules. We follow only the strongest. Beat me! - and he threw the staff to Conrad. - And we will follow you. - And if you win? - asked Conrad while he put down his weapons and armor. - I guess you still take our wealth and equipment, right? - I heard they give good money for slaves in Varlyrio... - smiled the brute. This gave Conrad the creeps. If the duel was about smiling, Conrad was surely lost it. They stepped on the bridge railing and looked to each other. For the spectators, it felt like an eternity. Then, the brute grabbed the staff with both hands and started swinging wildly. Conrad considers to not parry them, only to dodge them, and find his opponents weak point. After a few unsuccessful strikes, the bandit decided, to change his tactics, he started swinging more rapidly, more wildly. Conrad used this as an advantage and after a dodge, he hit the brutes knee. He roared in anger and pain, then he raised the staff above his head to strike down. Again, Conrad was faster and hit his chin. He lost his balance and to regain it, he had to step back. But Conrad was counting on this, he struck the staff behind his opponent, and pushed him. His own weight does the rest. Birds flew away when the quiet of the forest was disturbed with a loud splash. And another. Everyone was watching the water, under the waterfall. -Bruaaahhh! - surfaced the brute. The temperature of the water surely helped him, not to blown up, from his anger. He swam to the shore, where one of his men helped him out, he looked up. Conrad stood on the conquered bridge. The rest of the spectators, both bandits and mercenaries were looking at him and waiting for his answer. He blow some water out of his nose, he felt the bruise on his chin, but the cold water eased his pain. The others still waited for his answer. - Let it be. - came the answer at last. - If you lead, we will follow you. Both sides started to cheer. Conrad not only recruited new members for his army but found someone who will be his loyal friend. There was one more formality... - We not yet introduced our self. I am Conrad the Sly. The leader of the Wolf Brigade mercenary group. - You can call me Lok. Lok the Wild One...
  23. Soon after Artorious Rex had ascended the throne of Avalonia, something strange happened. Late one night, as he sat in his private study writing the charter and laws of the fledgling guild by candlelight, his study door swung open and a stooped over, wizened old elf with a cane entered. Artorious looked up, not with fear but curiosity. “Who are you and how did you come to be here, old one?” asked Artorious, wondering how this ancient elf had circumvented his guards. The old elf stood before Artorious’ desk. “Who I am is unimportant, but I am a seer, and what I have foreseen concerns you. This peace for which you have fought so hard shall not last. Dark forces are gathering in the realms of men and the realms below that will usurp all of this land and only the heir to the throne can save it.” Artorious took in this information. “I appreciate you bringing this to me, old one, but I have no intention of dying or letting my family be harmed in any way, regardless of the enemy.” The old elf shook his head. “You sit on the throne, but neither you nor your kin are the heirs I speak of. The next to sit on the throne shall be the heir of the ancient druids.” Artorious laughed. “Everyone knows that fairy tale: the fabled heir of the druids will possess the bluestone of the elements and the seal of the druids. The problem is that no one knows what this seal looks like or what the ‘bluestone’ is, and the druids have been gone for thousands of years.” The old elf moved to the desk and set down an ancient scroll, carefully unrolling it before Artorious. He moved the candle nearer for better light and Artorious studied it. “I have found an ancient scroll depicting the seal,” the old elf began, pointing to a circular seal drawn in charcoal on the parchment. “The form of the bluestone is still unknown, but it resides in the Enchanted Forest and is a source of magical power.” Artorious looked at the parchment, then the old elf, and shook his head. “Even if this document is authentic, what would you have me do? Search every inch of the Enchanted Forest for this ‘bluestone’? And what is this seal? Is it a stone carving? On some golden headdress? How could anyone ever find it?” The old elf held up a hand and stood up straighter. “I am only the messenger,” he replied, and turned for the door. He stopped and faced Artorious as he exited. “Good night,” he said simply, and walked out the door. Artorious got up and walked to the door, sticking his head out, thinking to talk to the stranger, but the elf was gone. Artorious walked out into the long hallway, looking up and down, but he was nowhere to be seen. Closing the door and returning to his study, he looked again at the parchment before rolling it up and storing it. Could any of this be true? It didn’t matter: there was nothing he could do about any of it, and right now he had a new country to hold together. He made a mental note to tell his advisors of the parchment and this encounter the following day, then returned to his writing. The old tower was buried in the tall forest trees, but could still be seen some distance off. Penelope stopped some 200 yards from the tower and hunkered down in some brush, waiting until nightfall to disguise her approach. As she waited, she reflected on her life that had brought her to this point. As an infant, Penelope had been found by an elven ranger in the Enchanted Forest, wrapped in a simple linen and stashed on a bed of moss in the crook of an old oak tree. Her crying had caught his attention, and, after making sure that this strange find was not a trap, picked Penelope up and comforted her, finding a bronze medallion wrapped in her linens. It was strange to find a human this far into the Enchanted Forest, let alone an abandoned babe. He searched for tracks from whomever dropped her off, but found none. Without any other options, he brought her home with him, where his wife and children helped feed and nurture her. For a week, the elves of the forest searched high and low for Penelope’s parents, but there were no humans in the forest that could have left her, so the ranger adopted her, and she grew up with elven siblings. Penelope and her brothers and sisters would play in the forest, and though she was never as quiet as her elven siblings, she learned to be quite stealthy for a human. Her adoptive father taught her about the animals of the forest and how to use a longbow, and she came to understand the environment around her, careful to respect nature’s gifts. Although the ranger and his wife were very kind to Penelope, many of the other elves of the community treated her differently, and she felt like an outsider growing up, playing mostly with her siblings and few of the other children. In large part it was this isolation that led her to study magic. She had grown into a young woman, with strange golden hair and fine features, when she began her studies with the elven mages. Her elven teachers were practiced in the magical arts and she learned quickly, but they were wary to teach her all the magic of the elves, so she eventually had to leave her home and travel to Albion. In Albion, she was appalled at the way food was wasted, animals treated, and the awful practices of the lumberjacks. She had thought she would fit in better here, but her unusual golden hair and her mannerisms from the elven society she grew up in left her again alone. She did, however, make a few friends. In particular, she fancied one of the soldiers who guarded the house of her wizard mentor, Halad. It took her a few tries to pluck up the courage, but she finally talked to him and they went out for a few drinks. Their relationship grew, and as it did, they spent more time together, sharing stories about the elves and about his time in the war against Raavage. Penelope learned how to handle a sword, and she taught him a few things about magic. As is often the case with young love, their relationship ended with heartache, when Penelope caught Halad in bed with another young woman. Mercifully, she had reached the end of her apprenticeship, so she bid her mentor farewell and set off for home, heartbroken and angry. Penelope had been gone several years, but the elves tend to take life slowly, so she had not expected very much to have changed. She had felt she didn’t belong with her adopted elven community, but after living in Albion, she realized she loved the forests and needed to return to see her family. All, however, was not the same when she returned. She walked the paths back home that should have been familiar, but were not. Where there were once well-tended yet neatly camouflaged paths, there were disused trails overgrown with thorns. She hurried quickly home, and found her community in ruins. Much of the village was gone—destroyed by powerful magic. The few townsfolk who remained told a terrible tale of woe, how elves, corrupted by evil magics, had taken many of the town prisoner and slaughtered the rest. Her father had fought back, but was slaughtered, along with the rest of her family. The magic had taken its toll on the forest, too—choking vines, weeds, and poisonous plants were taking over the once vibrant understory of the village, and some of the amazing ancient oaks and weirwoods were dying from blight. Distraught by the loss of her family, and still angry from her recent heartache, Penelope vowed to track down the evil elves who had done this. For months, she had searched. She learned that these elves had once been a clan of mages, but their thirst for more powerful magic had led them to seek out a wellspring of magic. This font of magic had been too much, and had corrupted the elves’ being, sustaining them without food or water, twisting their features and leaving only husks of their former selves. They had allied with whomever would help further their power-hungry ends, and were led by the evil enchantress of the wood. This enchantress had taken up residence at an old tower deep in the Enchanted Forest, and it was there Penelope now went. She knew that she would likely never return from her self-imposed mission to rid the forest of the evil spell, as the enchantress was powerful and her minions many, but it did not matter. Her family gone, her lover treasonous, she had only her love of the forest, yet that, too, was being taken away. Little else mattered to her but the thought of ending the rule of the enchantress or dying in the attempt. The sun now finally down, Penelope shook her head to clear it of the memories, and stretched her limbs, focusing on her task at hand. The tower itself was an old, stone, square tower. Despite its age, it had been well maintained and looked to be quite solid. Some of the older elves of the forest had been in the tower centuries before, and had told Penelope that there were two levels to the tower, aside from the roof, plus a basement, and that all the levels were joined by staircases. Penelope had reconnoitered the tower and had planned to approach this evening during a party to cover her movements. Penelope stole through the thorny undergrowth that had become thick in this part of the Enchanted Forest since she was last here. She used her understanding of how to move through the forest to be as quiet as she could, even if she was not as silent as her adoptive elven family. Her stealth was unnecessary, since her intelligence was correct: the party was in full swing by the time she arrived and there was enough noise coming from the ground floor to have covered any mistakes she could have made. Because she had no invitation, she couldn’t use a disguise to come in the front door. She had thought about a number of methods, but finally had discovered a small rodent den near the base of the tower. Shrinking herself to the size of a mouse with her magic, she crawled through the mouse den and into the basement of the tower. Carefully making her way down toward the floor, she popped back to her full size, startling the dog wrapped in chains. The poor animal, obviously abused, barked fearfully and backed away from Penelope in the darkness. She lit a torch on the wall and then fed the dog some bits of meat, talking gently to him in the way that her ranger father had taught her. Wary at first, the dog warmed up to Penelope, and then calmed down. She looked around the basement and found a baby dragon caged against the far wall, and an elf, near the point of consciousness, badly beaten and caged as well. A table sat in the middle of the floor, stained with blood, and containing implements of torture. On a hook on the edge of the table was a key. Taking the key, Penelope moved to the imprisoned elf, and whispered to him. He stirred and looked at her with disbelief. “My friend,” she began in the elven tongue. “I am here to destroy the enchantress, and you shall be free.” She unlocked the door and helped the weakened elf out of the prison cell. She offered him some water and food, helping him to eat and drink. “Who are you?” the elf asked in disbelief. “You are human, yet you speak elven as if it were native to you. Are you another magical illusion created to torture me?” he asked. Penelope smiled sadly at him. “No, I am no illusion.” She pressed his hand with hers, showing that she was quite real. “I am called Penelope, and I am of the Brightleaf clan a few days’ ride from here. I was raised by an elven ranger and his family, though I am not an elf.” The elf seemed puzzled, then an expression of knowing came across his face. “I recall hearing of such an adoptive family and know of your kin,” he said, sipping water as his strength returned to him. “I am glad to meet you, Penelope. I am Methir of the Willowstream clan. Blessed greetings to you, and praises be that you have found me. How did you get in here, and how are we to leave?” he asked. “I used magic to enter,” Penelope explained as she crouched beside the elf. “I cannot bring you out the same way, as my magic will not let me take anyone much larger than that dog there,”shesaid, pointing to the dog. “However, I can arm you, and you can make your way out the front door.” “I have no strength left in me,” Methir said. “How am I to fight my way to the front door? There are guards, the enchantress, and her disciples. I am no match for them, even were I in top condition.” Penelope shook her head. “My hope is that you will not have to fight anyone on the way out. There is a party upstairs right now, so there are many guests. Once I create my distraction, you will only have to simply slip in with the crowd to escape.” “A distraction?” Methir asked. “How do you know that the partygoers will want to leave?” Penelope smiled a wicked smile. “I am quite certain that once things start, not even the guards will want to stick around. I plan to kill the enchantress.” Methir raised his eyebrows. “Really? I suspect that will be more difficult than you have anticipated.” “Perhaps,” Penelope conceded. “Whether successful or not, I suspect that a battle with the enchantress of the tower will prove a worthy enough show to cause the partgoers to leave.” Methir nodded. “I would like to see that,” he smiled weakly. “I will do my best to escape. How will I know when the time has come?” “I would think when the screaming starts,” Penelope responded. “Tell me, what do you know of the enchantress and this tower?” “Upstairs is the receiving floor, where guests are entertained. At the back of the hall is a spiral staircase leading to a small hallway before the private chambers of the enchantress. Inside the private chambers are her laboratory and study where she corrupts the magic of the forest towards her evil purposes. You should know that there is some sort of blue gemstone that she uses as the source of her power. I think it is something ancient from the forest, but have only seen it once so I don’t know much about it. She keeps it on herself at all times, but with it, she is too powerful to defeat. Her disciples guard her private chambers, and the will fight to the death for her. She also keeps a dragon chained on the roof that does her bidding. If she can make it to the roof, expect to fight the dragon as well.” Penelope frowned at the thought of fighting a dragon. The enchantress seemed a tall order herself, but if she were able to take her by surprise, there might be a chance. With a dragon? This seemed impossible, but Penelope gritted her teeth and let her anger and hurt flow through her. If she could not defeat these evil creatures, she would injure them as severely as she could, hopefully buying a reprieve for the creatures of the surrounding forest. “I am going to free the dog and dragon,” Penelope said. “I will take them with me and free them when I can. My magical bag has an extra dimension of space and I can fit them inside,” she explained, pointing to her satchel. “You are too large, but take this dagger and my bow and arrows,” she said, handing him her weaponry. “Take this water and food as well, and rest near the door at the top of the stairs until you hear the excitement start. May Corellon guide your steps back to the freedom of the forest,” she said. “And may his blessing smile upon you this night,” he responded, taking the gifts offered him and slowly making his way up the stairs. Penelope unchained the dog first, scratching him behind the ears and feeding him some more bits of meat, before uncaging the dragon. That process was a bit more dangerous, but her father had taught her about magical creatures as well, and, with a few singed fingertips, she managed to feed the dragon some meat and water, starting to befriend her as well. She reached into her bag, pulling out her formal dress and stowing her ranger gear. She put on some makeup, changed into her dress, and made sure she looked proper. She then calmed both the dog and the baby dragon before stowing them in her extradimensional bag and walking up the stairs. She stopped on the landing before the door where Methir stood. He looked at her, now in a dress, with her golden hair let down. “I see you have come prepared. Good luck!” With that, Penelope opened the door, stepped into the hall, and quickly closed the door behind her. The light and sound from the party washed over her and she moved to the side of the room. Looking around, she noted the partygoers. There was a mixture of humans, elves, and elves twisted by magical power, easily noted by their malnourished, emaciated look. A servant moved around the room with drinks, and Penelope grabbed one from the tray. The food was obviously for the human and elven guests, as the evil mages derived all their sustenance from magic and had no need to eat. Occasionally they would enjoy a drink or some sweets, but these were purely for entertainment. The food looked good, though, and Penelope realized that the enchantress must be courting some of the local elves, trying to win them over or gain their support, making it easy to take over the forest. She recognized several representatives of local lords, including one lord himself. It disgusted her to see them entertaining the notion of selling out their own people, but she realized that the enchantress may have become too powerful and these politicians may be here trying to save what remained of their people. She could not see the enchantress after a few minutes of scanning the room, so she made a meandering path over to the staircase, setting her drink down along the way, and quickly ascending the stairs. She slowed as she made the top of the staircase where the second floor grew quieter. A shield hung on the end of the wall, and a set of windows overlooked the back of the tower grounds. To the right, there was a door. Penelope stole her way silently to the door and listened intently. She heard a discussion on the other side and recognized by the context that the enchantress must be there. Trying the door slowly, she found it locked. She pulled out her set of lockpicks, but it was to no avail—she was not nearly as good a thief as she would have liked, and this lock was expensive and high quality. As she toiled away, she heard the conversation abruptly end and she knew she was found out. She dropped her lockpicks, stepped back, and cast a spell of force with a shout, breaking the door down instantly. The door crashed to the ground in front of her, but the enchantress and one of her disciples were ready, and Penelope narrowly dodged a bolt of magic that soared past her. Penelope’s eyes glowed as she spoke the arcane words of power and hurled a flaming bolt at the enchantress. The enchantress’ eyes widened as she understood that this was no mere disgruntled elf that stood before her, but a determined attacker that would take some attention to deal with, so she barked an order for her disciple to kill the intruder as she climbed the ladder behind her to the roof. Penelope knew she was going to set herself up from her greatest position of power on the rooftop with her dragon, but there was another mage to defeat first. The disciple, clad in blue with a black hood and a black cloak, threw a lightning bolt at Penelope. Penelope countered with a jet of flame, deflecting the bolt, and then burning the evil mage to death. The crash of the door and the roar of flames had been heard below. The dragon on the roof began shrieking, and that was enough for the partygoers. Screaming and panic ensued below and Penelope heard the crowd flee out the door. She hoped Methir was with them. Penelope wiped some soot from her face and prepared for her last battle. She ripped the skirt off from around her waist, leaving her hardened olive green breeches beneath. She reached into her bag and grabbed her forest green armor, fastening it over the top portion of her dress. She pulled out her longsword and traveling cloak, donning these as well. She cradled the impossibly small dog and pulled him out, watching as he re-expanded from the magic. She scratched behind his ears and wished him luck as she shooed him out of the tower. He sat for a minute, then turned and slowly walked out of the room. The last item she pulled out of the bag was her bronze medallion that she had been found with as an infant. She held it, looking at the strange symbols on its surface, wondering what they meant, and would become of the medallion when she was dead. She clasped its long chain behind her neck, deciding to wear it proudly in her last moments. Her preparations done, she laid a hand on the baby dragon in her magical bag, determined to release it as soon as she was on the roof, then climbed the ladder to meet her fate. She popped open the hatch and was hit with a stinging magical stunning bolt. It was all she could do to roll herself out onto the roof to avoid falling back down the ladder. The enchantress stood across the roof from her in a long black dress, her black cape blowing in the strong wind, her white hair done up in a braid about the top of her head. To her left stood a green dragon, chained to the rooftop. “Who are you that dares to come here and attack me?” the enchantress asked. “I have command of the elements,” she began, holding up a large blue gemstone. “I have command of dragons,” she gestured to the dragon beside her. “I control this entire forest. Speak. Who has sent you here to try to destroy me?” Penelope struggled to catch her breath as the stinging magical shock slowly subsided from her body. Her one thought was to free the baby dragon before she was killed so it could fly away. “No one sent me,” she said as she grabbed the baby dragon and threw it out into the wind. “Lies!” The enchantress roared, and sent another stinging bolt at Penelope. The next events unfolded in the space of only a few seconds, but to Penelope everything seemed to move in slow motion. As the enchantress sent her bolt into Penelope, the baby dragon unfurled its wings and began to fly in the strong wind. The adult dragon saw it and roared, straining against its chains. The enchantress looked over at the baby dragon and then her eyes went wide as it circled toward the larger dragon and landed at its feet. Despite the pain coursing through her body, Penelope saw this scene and realized that the baby dragon she had freed was this dragon’s baby. The enchantress didn’t have some incredible power over dragons, and wasn’t controlling this one with a spell: she had been holding its offspring hostage to make it carry out her desires. Now that Penelope had unwittingly freed its child, the dragon turned on the enchantress and attacked. Penelope saw her opportunity and summoned her remaining strength. She pushed herself up from the ground and drew her sword. The first couple steps were painful, but she fought through, and walking became easier. The enchantress was throwing all her magic at the dragon to keep herself from being eaten, and Penelope moved in behind her, slicing her sword through her neck and beheading her. Penelope roared with pain and excitement as she held the enchantress’ head aloft. A moment later, she dropped the head and began searching the body. On it she found a few coins and random spell components, and in her hand was the large blue gem she had seen before. Penelope picked it up, feeling the magical power contained within, and pocketed it. She then moved to free the dragon from its chains. A bit of magic and some bashing with the hilt of her sword and the chains came loose. The dragon looked at Penelope gratefully as it flew off into the night with its daughter. Penelope climbed back down the ladder into the study to find the dog waiting for her, wagging its tail. She petted him, still shaking from the adrenaline, and looked around the room. She quickly went through the books, stowing the spellbooks and useful arcane tomes in her magical bag, then headed downstairs. As she had suspected, the place had cleared out, and the door to the basement was open. She hoped that meant that Methir had escaped. Grabbing an apple and and a bottle of wine on the way out the door, Penelope and her new canine companion walked briskly out the front door and into the night. That evening she camped in the woods. The next day she got up and began to boil some water for tea as she stoked the coals from the night before. As she sat drinking tea, wrapped in her cloak with a dog beside her, she wondered what she would do next. She hadn’t really considered what would happen if she managed to kill the enchantress. Her hand went to her pocket, finding the blue gem. She studied the large, cut stone that was about the size of an unshelled hickory nut. Assuming that it would likely fetch quite a price at market, she decided to sell it and use the proceeds to help rebuild her home community as best she knew how. To do that, she would need to go to the large Albion market, and to get there, she would need more supplies. She walked the trail to the nearest village, intent to buying supplies for her journey, and found it all abuzz with activity. The villagers were very excited about something. She walked up to the well in the center of town and asked one of the girls collecting water there what was going on. “Haven’t you heard?” the young elf maiden began. “The enchantress is dead! The news has been going around all morning. There was a great ruckus at the tower last night, and this morning all her disciples were fled and her body found atop the great tower!” Penelope thanked the girl and began to fill her waterskins from the well while looking for a farmer willing to part with some food for her journey. As she finished filling her skins, and the townsfolk bustled excitedly about, an old elf stopped in his tracks and stared at her. She looked at him, seeing that he was not just old, but positively ancient. He had almost no hair left, and was hobbled over, holding himself up with a staff, and wore simple brown robes with a hood that was down. He raised a crooked finger at Penelope and said: “You!” Penelope straightened up, fastening her waterskins to her belt to make a quick getaway, thinking maybe this old elf was some friend of the enchantress and was upset that Penelope had killed her. She started to turn to flee, but the townsfolk had already gathered around her. Her new dog companion tensed at her side. Seeing that she was trapped, Penelope faced the old elf. “I don’t know you and have no quarrel with you, friend,” she said in elven. The old elf smiled and hobbled closer. “No, you do not know us, and we do not know you, but we have been waiting many years for you.” Penelope was stunned. “Ummm…. How are you waiting for me if you don’t know me?” she asked, confused. “An ancient prophecy tells of one who will arise to cleanse the forest of a great darkness. This champion will be the heir of the druids of old and rule the land.” Penelope looked around. “And you think that’s me?” She laughed. “Do I look like a ruler to you?” The old man pointed to her medallion. “You wear the seal of the ancient druids. That medallion is older than this forest, my dear. I forsaw this event decades ago and am pleased that I have lived long enough to witness it. Tell me, do you also possess a large, magical blue gemstone?” At this, Penelope was a little taken aback. How did this old elf know she had stolen the blue gem from the enchantress? She wondered if this was some sort of scam to steal the gem from her, but then realized it would be difficult to have the whole village in on it, and the whole village was watching now by the looks of it. She slowly reached into her pocket and produced the blue gem, holding it in her outstretched hand for the old elf to see. He took a long, slow breath. “I see I am not mistaken.” He turned to the crowd. “This is the heir of the ancient druids, bearing their seal, and the bluestone of the elements. She has defeated the evil enchantress and returned the forest to its people. She is the rightful queen of this forest, and this land.” The old elf turned and bowed as low as he was still able. The villagers kneeled before her. Penelope did not know what to do. A moment later, she recovered and reached forward to the old elf and helped him stand upright. “Please, don’t kneel,” she said to the villagers. “I was raised in a village not far from here, just like you.” The villagers looked at each other and seemed unsure of what to do. The old elf spoke again. “It may well be that you were raised in a village near here, but you are not just another one of us. You are descended from the ancient druids and it Is your responsibility to lead us all now.” Penelope looked around at the villagers in stunned silence, unsure of what to do. “Come, we shall ride together to Albion.” The old elf bid one of the others to bring two horses, and he led Penelope on horseback down some trails while her new (as of yet unnamed) dog followed alongside. Penelope found herself wondering why she was following this old elf, not believing for a second that she was the heir to anything but bad luck. She thought about bolting on the horse, but the horse wasn’t hers, and she had a feeling the elf or some villagers would come looking for her after the big scene at the well, so she resigned herself to travel with him to Albion. She smiled, thinking of the politics and chaos of Albion, the big city that she had lived in for so many years. This old elf was crazy if he thought that he was going to ride into the capital from some small village with a freshly minted mage and have her crowned. They’d be laughed out of the city. She sighed as she listened to the old elf ramble on about druids, the enchantress, his home village and a host of other things. It took several days to get to Albion, so she had plenty of time to listen. Finally they arrived at the gates of the city and rode through. This old elf was determined, and rode straight into town, through the inner sanctum and straight up to the great keep. Penelope had never been there and was more than a little intimidated, now under the scrutiny of the guards. “OK, I rode all the way here with you, listened to your stories, tried to humor you… but I don’t think we should bother the regent. I’d rather go home than go to prison.” The old elf dismounted his horse and waved his hand. “Nonsense. These are honorable men and we have committed no crimes.” He helped Penelope off her horse and then grabbed her arm and gently pulled her into the great keep with him. Penelope’s new dog followed them both. Entering the great keep, they found that they had arrived on a grievance day, where any Avalonian could wait in line to beseech the king, or in this case the regent (due to Artorious’ absence), for a remedy to their problems. The regent looked bored, sitting on his throne, listening to locals’ disputes over water rights, chickens, and other mundane issues. Finally, their turn in line came, and the herald greeted them. “Who comes before the king regent?” the herald asked. “I am Aoer Darkmoss, and this is Penelope Brightleaf,” the old elf replied, and the scribed copied down their names into the ledger. “And what grievance have you brought before the king regent?” the herald asked. The regent, slumped to the side in his chair and holding his head up with his hand, yawned. “We have no grievance for the king regent.” Aoer began. “I present to you the heir to the throne, Penelope Brightleaf.” The scribe quit writing for a second, and the regent looked up in surprise. The rest of the hall went silent as the townsfolk present waited to hear what came next. “His majesty King Artorious Rex has not been shown dead,” the herald began, “and as the rightful king of Avalonia, cannot be replaced at this time. Thank you,” the herald said dismissively, and waved the next petitioner forward. “I am not speaking of King Artorious or his line,” Aoer replied, stopping the advancement of the line. “This is the last descendant of the druids that stands before you, and as such, is the rightful heir to the throne.” The herald looked to the regent, who was now fully engaged. “What proof do you have of such an outlandish claim?” the regent asked. “Penelope has killed the evil enchantress of the Enchanted Forest,” Aoer stated, resulting in a gasp from the audience. “And she possesses both the bluestone of the elements and the seal of the druids,” he finished, pointing to the medallion on Penelope’s chest. “Show them the bluestone,” he whispered to Penelope. Feeling all eyes on her, Penelope slowly and reluctantly pulled the bluestone from her pocket and heard another collective gasp. “Come here, my dear,” the regent said to Penelope, and she obeyed. He examined the bluestone first, and then the medallion. It seemed that a glimmer of recognition passed over his face, and he called a page over to him, whispering in his ear. “Where did you come by this medallion and this stone?” he asked Penelope. “I was found with the medallion as an infant, abandoned in the Enchanted Forest,” Penelope replied. “The stone I retrieved from the enchantress after I defeated her.” “If what you say is true, we owe you a debt of gratitude for ridding the forest of the evil enchantress at the least,” he said. The scribe returned with a scroll, and the regent unfurled it, looking at the design. He held the scroll next to the medallion and stared in disbelief. Penelope peeked over the edge of the ancient scroll and saw a drawing of her medallion on it. She was confused and not a little scared. The regent called his advisors over, and they all discussed the medallion and the scroll. The regent then called the court wizard over, talked for a moment in a low voice, and the wizard then retreated to a side room. A minute later, he came back and nodded to the regent. “I am pleased to announce to everyone that the evil enchantress of the forest is dead. It has been confirmed that she is slain by a woman matching Penelope’s description. For that, we are grateful. I must adjourn the rest of the grievances today for a council meeting.” He turned to the herald. “Summon the entire council, at once.” He moved with his advisors and attendants to the council chambers. The guards moved to usher the townsfolk out of the hall, but the herald held Aoer and Penelope back. Within a few minutes, they were left alone in the hall with the guards. “So, what just happened?” Penelope asked Aoer. “They are starting to believe,” Aoer smiled. “They have seen the ancient prophecy that predicts the return of the line of the druids, just as I have, and with confirmation of the enchantress’ death, they now must decide the fate of the country. Shall we remain leaderless with an absent ruler, or shall we embrace the prophecy and restore the line of the druids?” Penelope swallowed hard and looked around the great keep. Was this really happening? Could she really be crowned? It seemed too much to take in. And now, it is up to you, the reader, to decide: is Penelope Brightleaf the rightful heir to the druids and the Avalonian throne? Or is this just a fanciful dream of a young Avalonian child?
  24. kahir88

    A new king will rise

    The queen ran down the corridor, to catch up with N'ri. He was called away for something, but the queen's curiosity drives her crazy, and she must know why the royal advisor was needed elsewhere. Finally, she finds him, but the clatter of her shoes betray her, and N'ri turned back, only to saw Ylspeth's approach. - Your Grace. - bowed down the advisor. - How can I be in yo... - Are the rumors are true? - she interrupted him, but before she could continue, she took a deep breath. - Tell me N'ri! - It depends what rumors are you interested your Grace? - N'ri continued his walk to his destination. Ylspeth followed him, but she wasn't very happy about the answer. - Don't play riddles with me! Tell me, is it true? Did someone find Artorious? - I'm not sure about that. In the gatekeeper's report, they let in two men. One is Lord Trian Burress, and the other is a knight-errant from Avalonia. He doesn't resemble Artorius. Moments later, they have arrived at the small councilor's chamber, where the two knights waited for them, actually, they waited only for N'ri. The door opened, first N'ri, then Ylsphet entered. The knights quickly kneeled down. - Your Grace! - they simultaneously welcomed the queen. It felt they were practicing this for days. Ylsphet smiled, she bowed to the two knights and take her seat. The two men stood up and waited to be introduced by the royal advisor. Protocols... - Queen Ylsphet, High-Queen of Historica. - started the introduction. Then he turned to the knights: - Lord Trian Burress from Mesodraconem, and Sir Ardo Ungar, a knight from Avalonia. The knights bowed again, and now all of them took their seats. Awkward silence started in the chamber, but Ylsphet broke it: - Lord Burress, rumors came to my ear, that you met with Artorius Rex, is it true? - Yes, my Grace - answered the old knight - And I can suggest your next question, but I must tell your Grace the bad news. He died not long ago. The awkward silence continued its reign. Ylsphet bit her lips, after hearing the bad news. She wasn't able, but N'ri continued the asking: - But, did he named someone, as a successor to Avalonian throne? - asked N'ri and raised his eyebrow. Trian and Alto looked at each other. The old knight nodded, and he started: - It's a long story, I will try to make it short. It started a few days ago. I was at my home in Mesodraconem. Tending the back garden, after the civil war it's relaxing. But a servant came to me, cause some guests, they said, they are good friends of mine. At first, I don't recognize them, a young knight and an old hermit. The old man smiled and greeted me like we knew each other for years. His grip was strong for an old man, and the fires of youth burned in his eyes. It took me a while to recognize him. Artorius... Trian Burress saw the surprise on Ylsphet's and N'ri's faces. - Yes, I looked like that too. - I quickly ordered some refreshments and offered them seats in my garden. Then Artorius started his tale: He told us, about the failed expedition. They were scattered on the Mystic Isles. All of his men went missing or died. He didn't meet anyone on that island, where he woked up. Then, he told us about the strange isle, where the time doesn't work, as it works on the continent. He counted two weeks on the isle when he finally finished his makeshift boat and left it. But when he arrived on the shores, he not only discovered, that three years already passed since his disappearances. But also he started aging very strangely. The aura of the isle done this to him. He knew he didn't have much time, and must reach Mesodraconem before it's too late. But it was fate, who brought together Artorius and Alto, and with his help, Artorius reached me in time. I wanted to help him, advised him, to bring here the best sages and sorcerers to cure him, and also inform the council, the return of our king. But he declines it. He felt his end, but he won't leave Avaolia without a rightful ruler. And he already finds someone. - May I ask who? We must reach him out, to fulfill Artorius last wish! - asked Ylsphet in haste. - We don't have to. - answered Trian. - He already passed the reign. - He took a deep breath, stood up from the chair: - Let me introduce you, Sir Ardo Ungar! King of Avalonia, first of his name. - then, he put a document on the table, signed by Artorius. Also signed and witnessed by Trian. It's a common habit, to name a room in the castles, after a historic event. Events, like signing peace contracts or after a famous person. In this case, they can name this chamber, the Chamber of Awkward Silence. Cause this happened a lot in the past few minutes. Again, N'ri broke the silence: - But, how? And why him?. - I will continue the story of Artorius. - came the answer from Ardo, before Trian were able to continue it. - I spend much more time with him in his final days, then everyone. Both of us was shocked when he declared me as his successor. But he started telling us the facts, about his choice: "He said I was the only one, ho helped him. And also not for any fame, or payment. A good king must act selflessly" "He thanked me when I gave him my food, in turn, It wasn't much for both of us. A good king must serve his people." "He mentioned the help, what I gave to a farmer, whos cattle stuck in the swamp. A king doesn't be afraid to be dirty, to help others. " "And for the last, he must possess good diplomatic skills. He told us that encounter, when I was able to resolve a conflict, without bloodshed. " - I tried to tell him, I'm not a ruler type. I know only one thing, to serve Avalonia with all my capabilities. I even don't know how to lead. He replied: when he took the throne, he was the same as me, a young knight, with the same fears: how to lead, what is good and what is wrong. "Listen to your heart, it will guide you to the right path." He said, and for everything else, there will be advisors too, to help your rule. - And you accepted, to become the new ruler? - Asked Ylsphet. - I said: If this is the way to serve Avalonia, then let it be. Click here to see, how the story ends, in the official challenge entry! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A little freebuild/ prelude for the Avalonian Mini-challenge. Before the entry for the challenge, I wanted to show, what events lead to this. Enjoy.
  25. My first freebuild in a year or so. I'm quite happy with it and finally someone helped me with the pictures, that was always big trouble for me. Attack on breezerock cabbin. The northern rangers got a message that a dragon was spotted near Breezerock village, so they sent three of their rangers to the village to investigate, At their arrival they already saw him landing at the cabbin, so they hurried up there. Captain Finn took his brother David and a rookie, Fredd with him to Breezerock. David "Now you can finally get some real action Fredd, this is nothing like your training!!" Fredd "I don't care, I trained for this my half life, I am ready!" As soon as they were at the cabbin, the dragon came down like he smelled fresh meat. He immediatley attacked with a couple of ice blasts, one right at Captain Finn. Finn "pfff I have had hotter enemies, get it David? Because it's an ice dragon haha" (Finn is not one of the most funny captains luckily) David *whispering* "How did he ever get to be captain......" Right as David is going to charge the dragon, it almost seems as if the dragon knew his attempt and blasts a big beam of ice at him. David "oeh luckily the mage blessed my shield with an anti frost potion, otherwise I would likely be as cold as a deep Mitgardian winter's night right now!" Finn "You're taking heavy ice David! Get it, instead of heavy fire?? Hahahahaha" Lady Sue with her young boy are not so happy with the dragon attack! Two pictures of just the dragon. I am quite happy with the moc and I think this is my best dragon so far. I was heavily inspired by the videogame Skyrim for the shape of the dragon (more a wyvern actually) and also by a moc on mocpages by stormbringer I saw a couple of months ago. It is also a contest entry on flickr for a dragon contest by Nuju Metru. Please let me know what you guys think, I really appreciate it! Thanks!