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Across Avalonia, disagreements are traditionally solved in duels if words do not prove enough. In Mitgardia, the equivalent is usually drinking contests, and in Kaliphlin they often use the strategic board game Jeddar to settle disputes. However, in the wild lands of Nocturnus, it is not uncommon to see arguments solved the old fashioned way. No finesse, no wit, and certainly no rules are involved; in Nocturnus, they prefer to brawl. Of course, brawling is more than just a way to settle arguments nowadays. In fact, many consider it a sport (of course, many innkeepers who have to break up the brawls would argue otherwise). Drunken or otherwise, brawling is a part of Nocturnian life in many areas. In Rockwail, they do it differently. Across the sprawling city exist several buildings marked with red rings above the doors, telling those in the know that the building is home to silent brawlers. One such building is the Black Rat Inn. Silent brawlers do it differently to most- instead of stopping when the opponent submits, the fight stops and the winner is decided when someone makes a noise. Most claim to fight for pride and glory, but it does help that winning a silent brawl can yield a good deal of prize money. Red ringed buildings- usually taverns- also feel the benefits of hosting the brawls, as many customers flock to watch and bet on the fights; and, of course, drink. Two fighters stood on a raised wooden section of floor by the bar. One was a snarling red orc with tied back hair and fists wrapped in bloodied rags. He was huge by human standards (though terribly average amongst orcs), and covered in muscle. Broader than the door to the inn, his opponent wondered how he even got into the place. The red skin on his bare chest seemed to be scarred and mottled, in some places discoloured, due to a skin condition. His opponent was a heavily tattooed Kaliphlinian man of medium height with wide shoulders and toned body. Though he looked strong, he was not nearly as fearsome as the orc. His hand wraps were crisp white- they had not yet seen a fight on that day, whereas the orc was on a long winning streak. "Go on," one of the onlookers hollered, "hit him!" "Alright, silence now!" yelled the barkeep, and quickly the audience's murmuring died down until the Black Rat was silent. "Begin!" The orc moved fast despite his size, but the man had been watching his previous fights and knew to expect it. Smoothly, the underdog feinted to the left then strafed to the right, avoiding the huge, scarlet fist of his opponent, then swiftly jabbed at his stomach with his fist. The orc smirked ravenously, and the underdog knew this would not be easy. He swung again, but all his fist hit was air as the Kaliphlinian ducked under his punch. The only way to beat someone bigger than you is to be faster, this the Kaliphlinian knew, but it was proving difficult to dodge the swinging hammer arms of the orc. As he swung again, he scraped the face of his opponent, who glided towards him and landed a strike on the orc's shoulder. Without so much as a grimace, the orc shrugged off the hit and used his newfound nearness to his adversary to his advantage, forcing his arms under the human's shoulders and clamping his hands onto his head, then lifting him from the ground. The Kaliphlinian winced, but knew better than to make a noise, and drew his legs upwards, then kicked back into the orcs knees. The titan's legs buckled and he fell backwards, releasing the human from his grasp. With a slam he hit the floor, and the Kaliphlinian grinned broadly. He raised his leg above the orc's head, preparing to stomp him, but the orc grabbed hold of his foot. The man kicked back against the crushing grip, hitting the orc in the face with his own hand. With a snarl, he then fell onto the bloody-faced orc, landing elbow-first onto his heaving, scarred ribcage, which let out a dreadful crack and caused the orc to grunt in pain. "That's a noise! The challenger has won," the barkeep announced, to the roaring cheers of many amongst the crowd.
Under Rockwail The mausoleum door swung open slowly, creaking on the rusted hinges. Keel entered the pitch-black room first, followed by Remington, who clutched his lute tightly. The mausoleum was impossibly dark, and the only thing the bard could see was what was illuminated by the streetlamp outside shining through the open doorway. Keel, however, had it easier; being an orc, could see clearly even in intense darkness, and he scanned the room quickly. The walls were covered with ancient dwarven rune writing and opposite the doorway were the ornately carved sarcophaguses of three dwarven warriors. Across the floor and the ceiling, intricate mosaics showed scenes of great battles, dwarven triumps over their enemies, and the construction of the original Rockwail walls. In the centre of the mausoleum was a spiral staircase that wound down into the catacombs below. Keel pulled his gemstone out of his pocket once again and passed it to Remington. "Take this. You may not be able to see, but this will show you the way; at least, it always has for me," the orc whispered. Remington felt the stone writhing and turning in his hand, tugging it forwards in the direction of the staircase. "Looks like it's already started working. It's a soulstone. It guides you to what you seek. It took me to Rockwail and it'll take you to whatever it is you're looking for in here," he explained. Remington let the stone pull him forwards, and slowly walked towards the staircase, then carefully down it, into the catacombs. Keel followed after him, and noted that the stonework as they descended into the tunnels gradually became rougher and less decorative. Instead of carvings in the walls, there were small alcoves to hold skulls, and the tombs were open and built into the walls. The one thing that remained consistent was the tiles on the floor, except now they were aged and cracked, and any mosaics were simplistic and unrefined. It was also considerably colder, and the walls were sleek with a damp slime. It was quickly becoming obvious that the catacombs were much larger than Keel had remembered. The hallways seemed to stretch on for miles in all directions, forming a web of bone and brick. In places, he could see rooms, presumably for the richer or more well-known of the dead. His nose twitched as he caught a chillingly familiar smell on the air. In spite of his dulled senses, Remington could smell the scent of death on the icy, stale air. It was strong and it was old and it was close. He shivered, but the soulstone tugged forwards, towards the smell. "You smell that?" Keel whispered. Slowly, Remington nodded. It was only then that the unearthly silence of the place became so obvious to Keel. "Let's get moving," he said finally. The bard nodded again, and started to walk blindly forwards, following the pull of the soulstone. The sound pair's footfalls rang out roll-call bells and echoed through the catacombs. For the first time in days, Remington could feel his heart moving in his chest- not beating; barely throbbing, but moving nonetheless. Keel's heartbeat was much more obvious, and to him it was almost deafening. In the darkness, they could hear faint creaking, but it was impossible to know it if was coffins opening or the very city above them coming to life. With every moment, Remington couldn't help but feel that there was something out there that he couldn't see watching his every move, always about to pounce but never really doing so. The pair drew into a small room. There were multiple tombs, and on one of the walls hung a shield and three swords. Quickly, Keel removed the largest one and weighed it up- it was surprisingly light, and the only damage to it was a few chips and a spot of rust on the crossguard. The creaking was much louder now, and Keel could make out something stirring in the corner of the room. A skeletal arm moved in one of the alcoves in the wall, grasping out for something, until it caught hold of the stone surface of the wall and dragged itself out. The skeleton wore a corroded helmet and brandished a battered scimitar. "Uuh, bard... You may need to defend yourself," Keel whispered, as he noticed another skeleton emerge from its tomb, dragging a shield and a flail with it. Remington shoved the soulstone into his pocket and held his lute by the top like a club. "Whose idea was it to bury them with their weapons?" the orc hissed quietly. The two skeletons approached, gradually building speed as they stumbled forwards. Keel decided it was best to strike while they were still slow and moved towards them, careful not to make too much noise as he did so. The first skeleton raised its sword above its head in preparation for a swing, but Keel intercepted and swung beneath its ribcage, collapsing its spine with a thunderous clatter. It fell to the ground as a pile of bones. Holding out his lute as a makeshift mace, Remington had began to spin around in circles, and as the second skeleton neared him, his lute found connection with the skull, knocking it clean off and sending it flying into a wall. Keel then finished it off with a kick to the pelvis, rendering the skeleton a pile, like its comrade. "Nice job, now let's keep-" Keel was interrupted by a series of deafening thuds, making their way closer and closer, until a huge mass of bones stood before the two. It seemed to be the skeleton of something that was once very big; a troll, or a werewolf, or something along those lines. Why it was there, they didn't know, but it was big and it looked angry. It held in one hand a sword the same size as the two men standing before it, and in the other a shield of equal stature. It raised its sword above its head and Keel prepared for a strike to the undead behemoth's pelvis. "Gertie, no! Stop that right now, young lady!" a woman's voice shouted angrily. The skeleton hesitated for a moment, then sullenly lowered its sword and looked to its feet. From behind Keel and Remington, a tall woman wearing red leather armour and carrying a longbow entered the room. She carried in her other hand a long pole with a lantern on the end, which illuminated room, momentarily blinding the two before they quickly adapted to the light. "That is no way to treat our guests, young lady," she scolded. Keel lowered his sword and looked the woman over. "Without being rude to the person that just saved our behinds, what's someone as young as you doing in the catacombs?" Keel questioned. Remington opened his mouth to speak, then internally cursed his predicament. He felt the soulstone in his pocket trying to pull him towards her. "Trust me, I'm not as young as I look, but it's always nice to get complimented. I'm The Weaver, and I look after these catacombs with Gertrude and the other skeletons. They can be very rude, though. I see you already dealt with them." "Ok, second question. What is Gertrude? Was she an ogre, or something? I've never seen anything like her." The Weaver smirked. "Close. She was a Mitgardian housewife. Now, I believe you and your companion here are looking for the Hall of Songs, yes?" she asked. Keel looked questioningly over to Remington. "We are?" Remington nodded enthusiastically. "Can't speak, huh? That'll explain it. Are you ready for the journey? It's not exactly easy." The bard stared at Keel pleadingly. "I guess I don't have anything else to do..." he sighed. "Right then," The Weaver said with a smile, "let's go." --- Extra Pictures Remington Rot is now one step closer to getting his voice back. For a change, my next moc won't be about Remington; instead it's going to expand on the city of Rockwail. C&C welcome, hope you enjoyed!
Since departing from Baron Lonnidas, night had fell, and Remington wandered through the lamplit streets almost aimlessly. "You can't miss it; they say all paths in Rockwail lead there." Remington was dubious as to wether Lonnidas's statement was true, as he had been walking for several hours and the only thing he'd found that even resembled the mausoleum was a small undertaker's shop, the owner of which was convinced that Remington must try out one of his coffins. He also noted another peculiar thing about Rockwail; while there were quite a few people out and about during the day, it was nowhere near the amount of people on the streets at night. It seemed the entire city was nocturnal- even cold-blooded creatures like snake and frog people. Somebody around must have known how to get to the mausoleum, but asking for directions was more than difficult with no voice... If he could curse under his breath, he would have. Eventually, the bard came to a cross in the roads. He looked down the pathways and saw that they all seemed to diverge out into more and more roads, all expanding outwards from his point. So where was the mausoleum? Suddenly, Remington was distracted by the sounds of a struggle, and peered down the unlit path where the noise came from. Out of the darkness ran a snakeman, clutching something in his hand. Under the light of the lamp beside him, Rot could make out that it was some sort of yellow gemstone. Then another figure burst out of the shadows, wearing a leather cuirass, and a large helmet. "Stop that man! My diamond!" cried the figure. Remington shrugged. What was the worst that could happen? As the snakeman passed him, he swung his loot into his nose, knocking him down onto the ground. The other figure caught up quickly and stumbled to a stop, panting heavily. Once he regained his composure, he picked up and pocketed the gemstone, then turned to Remington. "Good sir, that was a mighty swing for a bard! I do hope your lute is undamaged." He spoke loudly and with a regal accent. Remington looked over his lute and ran his gloved fingers across it. Other than a small blood stain, it seemed to be ok. He raised his thumb to the man. "Excellent! That is good news. My name is Sir... Sir Knight... Ahem, Sir Knightington!" The bard raised an eyebrow. "Sir... Crownknight?" "Fine," he sighed, dropping the accent to reveal the ragged, hissing voice of an orc, "it's Keel. That diamond is a family heirloom. Listen; I owe you, big time. If there's anything you need, I'll do it." With a smile, Remington pulled the letter out of his pocket, wiped a droplet of blood from the snakeman's nose, and scrawled 'mausoleum' on the back of the paper. "The mausoleum? It's right there... How did you not notice it? Anyway, if you're going in there, I can help you out. It's pretty dangerous, but I've been before," Keel responded. "So... What are you waiting for? Let's go!" --- Sorry about the poor quality of some of these photos, I didn't notice until after I'd taken them. Some more pictures of the moc: I'm not as happy with this as I was with my last moc, because when I built it I was pretty low on parts from being too lazy to break down my previous builds. I'm probably going to build some more Rockwail stuff in the future, but this should be one of the last builds of the Rockwail streets for a while. The next build you can expect from me will be of the catacombs beneath the city... C&C are welcome, have a great day!
Remington Rot knew from the moment he entered Moruth that it was going to be uncomfortable, but he never guessed that I would be quite as bad as it was. The air in the swamp was so thick you could cut it, and the strong, stale smell of the moat water (if the oozing, green mass could even be called that any more) lingered in the back of the dead man's throat like an unwanted guest. Out of the ground before him rose the looming outer walls of Rockwail- the safest place in Moruth. Unlike many of the swamp villages, Rockwail was built on a bed of rock; in fact, the whole fortress was believed to be carved out of one huge boulder by dwarves hundreds of years prior. The place was surrounded by a field of smaller boulders, floating in the stagnant waters of the swamps, giving the local area the name 'the Boulderbogs'. At the gates of the stronghold, Remington handed the guard on duty a letter. The man looked Rot up and down scrutinisingly, before scanning over the letter and handing it back to him. "Hmm. Sounds believable to me. I'll take you to the Baron." Remington nodded. The guard inserted a large key into one of the doors and twisted it. With an audible thunk, the door unlocked, and he hauled it open. "Come on in. I'm gonna guess Theophraster told you how to get here?" Remington nodded once more. "Figures. Him and the Baron were close. Y'know, you're lucky to be here. Not many people outside these walls know that this place exists. That's why they call it the secret city." The two passed through the gates and walked briskly down a long, twisting, cobblestone road. Being inside the walls showed the place to be less of a stronghold and more of a small city- crooked, towering buildings lined the streets and dark shadows were cast over the ground by the makeshift wooden walkways above them. Rockwail was a sprawling, squalid maze of narrow pathways and haphazardly constructed dwellings that leaned into one another like drunkards. The style of architecture seemed to change from building to building, and Remington recognised several different species and ethnicities as he and the guard wandered through the town. "You didn't see all this from the outside, huh? Yeah, not many can see through the magic shield Theophraster put up when he and Baron Lonnidas started to put Rockwail together. Takes a very powerful mage to see through it. They say people don't even see the walls of this place unless they're expecting to." As they began to reach the north-easterly corner of the city, the houses seemed to thin out and the paths got thicker. The very corner of the wall was in sight. Remington recognised the dwarven stylings in the wall; they reminded him of the lavish guild halls he used to sing in. The ground was no longer cobbled- instead, it was simply rough stone, and they walked down a gravel path. Wooden scaffolding was put up in the corner, where it seemed the last of the dwarven tiles lay. The beaten, crumbling walls really showed the age of the place. "There used to be a shrine to some dwarven god here, hence the fancy tiles, but it collapsed in an earthquake. It was a long time ago, though- before any of us, or anybody else alive for that matter. Before they even built the walls. They reckon this spot was what Rockwail started from," the guard told Remington. He wasn't sure how long the guard had been talking, as he was too busy taking everything in, but he got the gist of what he was saying; Rockwail was old. Remington spotted a tall man standing at the bottom of the scaffolds, and guessed by the epaulettes that he was the baron. He was a heavyset man, wearing worn scale-mail, a thick, grey cloak and the beige sleeves signature to the guards Remington had seen around the city (and, indeed, beside him). The Baron carried a longsword and a slightly rusted shield from the Ssilyrrlith era. A black eyepatch covered one of his eyes, and Remington could see the pink end of a ragged scar poking out beneath it, running down his cheek. "Baron! I have a man here to see you, name of Remington Rot. He can't speak, and has a letter for you to read- it says he knows Theophraster," the guard spoke up to the baron, then handed him the letter. Baron Lonnidas nodded as he read through it, his long hair bobbing slightly, and when he spoke, his moustache wriggled like a caterpillar. "Hmm, very good, Petir. You can leave now, I'll talk to the boy." The guard, Petir, then left hurriedly. "So, boy, you know Theophraster? He's an old friend of mine, a good man. I understand you're looking for your voice?" Remington nodded enthusiastically. "Well, you're in luck. I know how to help you out; one of the guards, Gawyne, had a similar problem, and he found his voice in a place in Avalonia, called the Hall of Songs. i don't know the way there, but he said he was guided by a traveller named The Weaver, and I do know where to find them. In the middle of the city is an ancient dwarven mausoleum known as the gauntlet. You can't miss it; they say all paths in Rockwail lead there. The mausoleum leads to a series of catacombs, where The Weaver trains. But, by the looks of you, you won't make it through easily on your own. I'd look for a mercenary to help take you to The Weaver." Remington processed the information slowly, then finally nodded and smiled. "Glad to be of assistance. Any friend of Theophraster is a friend of mine. Good luck, Remington Rot." --- So, that's part deux of Remington's story. Now time for some extra pictures of the moc. The whole moc! The back is super ugly, and I sorta forgot to make battlements for the rear of the wall (y'know, where they're most needed... :| ). The scaffolding, and a closer look at the dwarven architecture. Well, I think that's all. C&C is welcome!