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Thread: Armorial of Ashbarex: Chapter the First: First Impressions

  1. #61
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    Yes, I'm positive that the table and hearth will be fine. Please lead on. Ashbarex says without missing a beat, though he can't help but to grin. I shall mention to your master about your skill at performing your duty today. The two of you are fine guards.
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

  2. #62
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    The helmed one pokes his companion in the back again, "Best that I take him back, lest you chance meet with someone and natter on, taking forever to get back." The unhelmed one grins and elbows him back with no sign of rancor, "Just because my company is desired by many..." The helmed one snorts, then reaches up and does something with his helm. It... folds unexpectedly, retracting away from his neck and ears. He then lifts it off, and flicks his ears in relief. Apparently, the helm is a fair representation of his face, complete with short horns, the nose, and tusks.

    You try not to stare overtly. The unhelmed one snaps his fingers with a metallic clang, "My helm, be right back!" The other rolls his eyes and as his friend races back loudly up the stairs mutters something about his friend forgetting his head if it wasn't attached, and runs his gauntleted fingers through his mane. The first returns, not out of breath, you notice, carrying his helm. You see that blind metal of his helm also is a fair representation of his face, leading you to recall the others who left the gate earlier.

    "Good merchant, if you will be so good as to follow me?" The guard turns towards the gate.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  3. #63
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    I'll follow.
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

  4. #64
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    You follow the unhelmed one, trying to puzzle out the matter of race and kind. You are momentarily distracted from your musings as you pass under the gate. An impressive edifice, and very thick, it appears to have been either constructed of massive blocks, or the blocks were carved from the living rock as pure decoration. It is shady and momentarily cool under the long expanse of the gate, despite the bright light. On the other side you see the rail-less staircase to one side, climbing up to a dark opening in the rock.

    Inside the gate you find a small courtyard, though starting across the bridge and looking back, you realize that it is actually a sort of large balcony for the gatehouse. There seems to be some sort of crevice between the gatehouse and the rest of the place. You are unable to see how deep it goes. You can feel the tugging hands of a strong wind. It makes your wings itch with sensation.

    The bridge is not that long, and soon you are in a courtyard proper. The sides of the hill soar above you forming a deep column. Windows and walkways adorn the surfaces above you. The courtyard is a sort of half circle, with a number of buildings built into the circular portion on either side of you. Before you a rises a blank wall with another impressive gate carved into it. The great doors are closed, and a shallow alcove is in the side of the lintel containing a gong and a padded mallet.

    Your guard leads you up to the door and stops in front of it. Reaching out, he snags the mallet and strokes the gong in a circular fashion producing a soft shivering sound. After a few moments, one of the large stone doors swings open surprisingly silently. The guard next to you braces at attention.

    You blink at least once, suppressing a startled reflex. Your initial impression of a monstrosity changes to that of a very old, severely injured, hunched over minotaur. You can't help but wonder how he survived such injuries, obviously so far from healing magic, that they healed into place. A half-cloak covers the arm on the right, the side which his twisted and hunched back forces him to cant. The other arm still bulges with hard slabs of muscle and a very large hilt protrudes above his head. He wears customized leather armor, but his head, neck, and exposed arm are laced with scars. One of his horns is more than half missing.

    He limps out and looks first at the guard, and then at you. Something twitches his face when he looks at you, but you cannot interpret his expression. He limps forward somewhat haltingly, one of his legs must be maimed, and comes to a stop in front of you. He angles his head so that he can look up into your eyes and regards you with an unwavering glare. His breathing is slow, but heavy, and he is close enough for you to feel it.

    His mouth works a few times, perhaps choosing what to say. Finally he speaks, a deep, horse, and gravelly voice, "It is a strange day when brought before me as a guest, is one of the lineage of whom I was oppressed. Not one alone doth thou stand, for upon thee the scent of another is clear...." After a brief pause, he continues. "Hear me. No servant will I employ here, for I am Master of this house, and mine own Door I keep, that none may enter, nor exit, save by my leave. Why should I grant thee entry, spawn of dragon-kind?"
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  5. #65
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    I come to barter for some of your herd. And to find out for what purpose the tides of magic have brought me here.
    Hoping to pique his curiosity.
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

  6. #66
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    He looks at you for a while, weighing what you have said. Finally, he steps back, and rubs his chin habitually. "That has the sound of a story. If it is a good story and has a good teller of tales, we may speak of that other matter. Be... welcome to my hall and hearth..." He pauses, glancing at the guard, who nods a micrometrical amount. "You may enter. Please walk with me." Though polite, his words still have the ring of unconscious command. He turns and limps away slowly.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  7. #67
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    Ashbarex allows the silence to sit for a moment before speaking.

    Unfortunately, it's not much of a tale and I am not much of a tale teller. That day started like any other, I had some errands to run a couple of acquaintances to visit. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, just after midday, without warning, I was caught up by an Effect. I was... pulled to this land. I don't know if it was the work of some god or if I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyway, shortly thereafter, I spoke briefly to a learned master. I asked for his patronage while I am here as well as his expertise to aid me in returning home. Before he would do either, he tasked me with bringing him some of your flock. I'm not absolutly sure why though. Perhaps your flock... what do you herd by the way?
    Ashbarex pauses to wait for the answer. No matter what the response, he shrugs and continues on. (I don't recall finding out what it was they herded. I saw my chance and took it)

    Perhaps they will be used in an experiment of some kind or maybe he is planning a party and needs a goodly meal for his guests. I don't know. In any case, that is my tale. I do hope you are not too disappointed in it or my telling of it.
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

  8. #68
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    You followed your host down some echoing main halls which jaunted at an angle every so often, preventing line of sight down the hall. You couldn't help but notice that there were tall narrow windows letting into the hall, a feature more normally associated with outer walls. As you passed into the main hall, you noted how thick and heavy the great doors were. The heights of the hall are lost in shadow, but part way down there are many shafts of light piercing the gloom and lightening the floor surprisingly well. Heavy tapestries start above a walled walk high above the floor, and then cascade down the walls stopping a good distance above the floor.

    There is a great table upon a dais, but your host leads you to one of the lower tables, and sets himself down heavily at one backwards, with his back resting on the table ledge, gesturing for you to sit. He listens attentively, and waves for you to continue when you ask about the herds murmuring, "We'll get to that."

    After you have finished, he looks you in the eye for a long moment, then hmmmms, and turns his head to look off into the middle distance, contemplating. During the silence, you notice that the hall has a number of people passing through it, though none approach the two of you. The hall is apparently a handy short cut to many parts, as you see many types of people pass. Your appearance garners a few double takes, and hesitation in stride, but in each case they move on. Watching the people pass, you realize that many bear marks of minotaur heritage, or are in fact full blooded. The rest seem to run towards a stocky build with blond or reddish hair, though you see not a few that are surely a mix of the two lineage.

    Finally, your host draws your attention back to him by speaking. "Not a tale to be sung by the fireside, not told like that... but it was truthfully spoken, and straight to the matter at hand. And truth told bears more weight in this house than any epic, no matter how prettily told. I am a warrior, and prefer my truths to be blunt and openly laid out, though I enjoy a good round-de-lay as well as any."

    He heaves himself to his feet with a practiced shove on the table. "You asked what we herd, I think I shall show you. Educational for you, and more time to think for me. Please come with me."

    He leads you down another main-sized hall, again with the odd angled jaunts. This hall has many cross halls, and many more people passing back and forth. All make respectful room for your host and yourself. Your excellent hearing catches many whispered comments about you, ranging from curiosity, to interest, to surprised unfriendliness. Apparently, the host is not the only one who dislikes your 'kind'.

    You enter an area that smells potently, a cross between a barn and a garbage pit. Large stacks of baled hay and barrels of something seriously ripe are stacked everywhere. Your host ignores the stairs immediately at hand on the left, and instead plunges into the dim room. You come to a clever arrangement of ropes and pulleys attached to a large platform with attached railing. The host begins heaving on a certain thick rope and the entire platform raises into the air jerkily.

    After only a short time, you have reached the top of a shaft rising out of the dimness of the room below into the blinding sunshine above. You are on a wall, the wall you saw on the other side of the river. The shaft is built into the wall, which itself is wide enough to race horses on top of. Walking with your host to the far side, you lean upon a sun-warmed waist high abutment, and gaze out over a broad, hilly, and wooded valley. The wind welcomes you back and plays with your wings.

    Glancing along the wall you see that there are several more arrangements of pulleys and ropes. At one such place, some of the large barrels and bales are being emptied or pitched over the wall through a convenient notch in the abutment. Loud sounds, the same sounds you heard in the distance sound from just around the hills, much, much louder than before. Entire trees shake and you can faintly feel pounding vibrations even through all the thick stone you are standing upon.

    Erupting from the woods and vales come... creatures. Giant creatures. Massively giant horned, tusked, hairy, spotted somethings which eagerly descend upon the food cascading down the wall into large low troughs. As they slow down to eat, you finally see that they are a mix of bull and boar, only enormous in size. Some hearken more towards boar, others towards bull, but they all are enormous, with broad hairy shoulders and necks and irregular patterns and spots of bovine colors on their sides and backs. Most have at least either tusks or horns, but quite a few have both.

    Your host booms to be heard over the unearthly racket, "Impressive, yes? We never found out how they came to have mixed blood, but it was the start of a new way of life for us all." At this juncture, a guard, not one you have seen before, comes up and salutes across his chest, waiting to speak. Your host waves you to the wall to watch the herds, and walks a distance away from the noise.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  9. #69
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    Impressive, most impressive indeed. The term shepherds does not do them justice at all. Now what do I have to barter with for such creatures? Especially something that's worth more than one or at least the pick of the herd?
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

  10. #70
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    Your host speaks with the guard, you notice some sharp gestures... you cannot hear anything over the racket, but he seems a bit agitated. When he returns to you, however, he is as composed as ever. That guard, on the other claw, certainly left in a hurry.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  11. #71
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    Ashbarex looks him over his host briefly as he returns. "It has occured to me that we were not properly introduced. I don't know your name. I presume it to be Master Horntusk or is there another name or title that I should use?" After he has responded, Ashbarex turns back to the herd, "I admit to being absolutly amazed at your herd. Tell me, does their temperment run more towards their bovine or porcine side?"
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

  12. #72
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    You hear a soft snort of breath, followed by a brief, very basso chuckle. "Just Horntusk is fine. No need to 'Master' at me. It's strange enough times as it is." He thinks for a bit, lagging in response to you. "It varies by individual. Most of them respond well to the blood of the House, and equally poorly to those not of that blood. However there are a few rare exceptions on both sides. Generally speaking, your best bet is to assume a temperament mixed in-between an angry bull and a threatened boar. They tend to charge and gore first, then sniff after... especially the males."

    He pauses, starts to say something, stops, and then speaks, "I have thought about that other matter. At first, I was going to refuse. But I am not old enough that I don't see a change in the sky. Had you come even a season or two earlier I might have refused anyway. I shall set you a task. Accomplish this task, and what you ask for from my herd shall be yours. It will not be easy, especially as the guards have already started searching.

    "My daughter has been upset as of late, and has taken to fits of temper. This time she managed to get out of the House uncaught. If you can find her and bring her back here, your task will be accomplished." He turns and looks at the herd a bit and then turns back to you and looks you in the eye. "If you find her, please keep her unharmed and bring her back safe. I may be a crusty old rock, but I still love my child." He offers you his hand.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  13. #73
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    Ashbarex smiles, "It seems that the magic has brought me to a land where I must become a man of action so that I may go home to a life of leisure. I will do as you say and, while I am not a father myself, I believe that I understand your worry and love for your child, sir. You said your people are already out looking. I presume they have already ruled out locations where she has been found in the past. Perhaps it would be wise to look at those locations again." There is a slight pause. "Also, it has just occurred to me - and I hope you won't take offense to what I am about to say - but it has occurred to me that there comes a time when young women begin to seek out romantic relationships with young men. Usually, they do so before a father is prepared for it to happen and often with a fellow that the father does not approve of. Is that a possibility in this case?"
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

  14. #74
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    Your host looks at you for a few moments. Then he gestures for you to follow him back into the house. After a short time, he speaks again. "You're insight is uncanny, and your words wise. I will have the guards re-check the areas they have already checked. As to your other thought... it is somewhat as you have perceived.

    "She was indeed taken with a particular man. However, that one was not so taken with her, see. And though a minstrel with sharp wits and eloquent words, he could find no way to gently dissuade her affections. He had been taken on as a tutor for some of the younglings including her, and as a merrymaker for the evenings. He had seemed to favor her, but perhaps that was simply due to her station. When talk of marriage appeared, he fled his post, and left this house. "

    He heaved a sigh. "She was devastated. She has behaved erratically ever since." By this time you have returned to the great hall. The place seems emptier, especially as you passed far fewer people on the way in, than you did on the way out.
    Last edited by nijineko; 10-27-2009 at 03:38 PM.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

  15. #75
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    "Well, I have to wonder where did this minstrel made off to. It would seem that she might try to follow him. I realize that you have searched and searched, but perhaps a fresh pair of eyes will come in handy with this situation. Perhaps you could begin by telling me more of the peoples of the region. He might have made contact with others to try to obtain employment once he left here."
    [ roll= d20 ] Rolling for no reason [ /roll ]
    Ashbarex Blue
    Shashakhad the Dark Knife Red
    Jacinth the Bright Purple

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