Storygames Home City of IF
Free online storygaming
 

Chapter Five: The Longest Time
Click here to go to the original topic

 
       Storygames Home -> The Children of Leyond
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject:  

This was supposed to be up last night but was stalled due to technical difficulties, however, here it is. Enjoy!
-------------------------

Chapter Five: The Longest Time

"There you are, good as new. Now remember to stay back from the big carts when they come through the streets alright Rydin?"

Alsdair smiled as the young man grinned, waving his arm and flexing his fingers which, until a moment before, had been mangled and limp. Rydin's mother was dabbing away the tears with the hem of her apron, brusquely dealing with them before opening her arms to her son and holding him tightly.

"Five Bless you and keep you sir." Her speech was genuinely grateful, accented lightly as was common with the lower class in Eresinne. The woman obviously worked hard for a living, likely a cleaning woman, and there was no doubt in his mind she'd never have been able to afford a healer for her son's arm. The boy had reached out to touch the hubcap of a merchant wagon, a common game among street youths, and instead had gotten his fingers in the spokes. Had he survived, he'd have lost the arm...and there wasn't much call for a one-armed man these days.

So it was with a better sense of purpose that Alasdair continued working his way through the market, doing his best to return the smiles of the whispering crowd. This wasn't the first such 'display' he'd put on. He wasn't doing anything he wouldn't have done back home, wasn't changing who he was just because he was away fro the north. The only difference was here, healers were so scarce that he was the only person doing it. The Leyondese wondered how the Northern 'barbarians' were so healthy? It was simply that when you saw an injured person, you healed them if you could. And you didn't ask money for it, healing was a gift of the ancients. You asked money if you were actually doing a transformation, you accepted gifts, but to be paid for healing...it was an affront to his skills.

There were hungry eyes in the crowd, he could feel them slide across them, but it was a fruitless search for the thieves that worked the crowds. Targeting him wouldn't get them a thing. He didn't have any obvious signs of wealth on him aside from his clothing, well made black leather trimmed in a thick blue-white fur that was never seen this far south. It was still thinner than what most of the residents were wearing, the frosts of autumn already carrying the bite of Leyond's coming winter.

His massive sword was a comforting weight on his back even though he'd been reluctant to bring it. After all, he had his friends with him, and he doubted there was a challenge the market of Eresinne could throw at them that they couldn't handle. Still, his thoughts were wandering, he needed to keep his focus on what he'd come here for. Trinkets and baubles were passed by, except for a stall selling prettily beaded hair ribbons. He bought several of those, giving the stammering girl behind the counter an extra pair of coppers and telling her to buy herself a sweet roll.

"These people are starving Ranaulf, look at them. I don't understand it, Astor's nation is not a poor one nor is the land suffering. It is rich and bountiful...but the common people do not see that bounty. There is famine coming, and disease, and he does not see it. Where is he putting the crops?" Alasdair couldn't understand it at all. Only so much could be stockpiled for an army to feed upon and Leyond had enjoyed uneasy peace with it's neighbors for at least twenty years.

Ranaulf shrugged, scratching his silver-shot brown locks. "I don't know. He's not sending it north, we both know that. And I doubt he'd depart his senses and send it south. Which means it's either going into Haga'Dir in the east, or Falverald in the west. Take your pick from there."

The thought kept troubling Alasdair all the way to the little shop, tucking in what amounted to a back alley between two rundown looking warehouses. The sound of their footsteps echoed strangely in the small space and the noise of the busy market not four buildings distant seemed...muted. The creak of the door opening and the jingle of the small bell over it seemed to be the only real noises, loud and bright.

It was packed full of odds and ends, papers spilling in a tumble from shelves overstuffed with books and scroll cases. Statuettes and charms hung from all surfaces, interesting carvings and jars lining the floors. And in the center of it all, an elderly man snored away on a desk. An uncorked bottle stood upright near his left hand, an overturned cup near his right. A thin line of purple liquid still dribbled from the rim of the glass, staining his white mustache.

"This...this is him? Yevard, the creature of the Great Seals?" Ranaulf snorted in disgust. "He's an old man that can't hold his wine-"

Alasdair's upraised hand cut him off as the blond man made his way toward the sleeping Yevard. Reaching out, he pulled away the drunkenness that had put the old man to sleep, so that he'd feel fresh when he woke. Which he did, sputtering and swearing, at Alasdair's gentle touch. "Summoner Yevard, I am Alasdair Dhakkonson and-"

"I know damn well who you are. What I want to know is what you want? What do I have to offer a Prince of Leyond? What can this 'humble' old Summoner do for you. Or are you going to come ask the impossible of me just like everyone else? I thought I made it plain, I'm drained. I'm dry as dust. Not even a spark left. Those damn Seals took every ounce of magic I had. So if you're looking for a Summon you can just go elsewhere."

Alasdair held up his hands in a pacifying gesture, shaking his head. "That's not true, I can see the magic in you now Yevard. What you say is true, you'll never make another seal again, but what I want is very possible for you to do. I've even got something that will, without a doubt, make this the easiest Summon you've ever done."

He leaned in close to the old man, whispering quietly in Yevard's ear lest anyone be listening in. When he finally pulled back the old man was staring at him hard, chewing on the wine-soaked end of his mustache. The frail figure stood, stooped a little with age, but still full of a corded strength. As if the years had pared him down to just the basics, trimming off all fat and excess.

"Alright...Alright. I'll do it. But if you're not telling me the truth, young Prince, then I assure you that I will haunt you like no man has ever been haunted before. Because if you're not telling me the truth...if you're fibbing in the slightest, this spell will kill me."

"Summoner Yevard I may gamble with my own life but I would never, under any circumstance, gamble with that of my wife nor that of any other living creature. I am not a thief, I will not steal what doesn't belong to me."

The aged summoner squinted at Alasdair's midriff unwilling to look up at the barbarian's face now that they were both standing. He snorted, turning and shuffling toward the back of his shop. "Alright, alright. Help me get everything set up youngster, and for your sake I hope that you're not gambling against odds too high for you."
------------------------------

The preparations took longer than Alasdair thought they would but Summoner Yevard was unfailingly exact. It was one of the reasons that Alasdair had come to him, for his skill. The other was the fact that though the Summoner had fled Falverald, he held absolutely no love in his heart for Leyond his adoptive country. And he held less for those 'brightly plumed pudding swillers that call themselves court mages'. That particular outburst had brought a brilliant smile to Alasdair's face.

The Summoning circle had been painstakingly scribed, the blood dried to a black and smoldering crust on the floor. They'd needed to keep replacing brushes as the dragon's blood had corroded through them faster than Yevard had thought. But the power that thrummed through the circle was an easy thing to sense, even to Alasdair who had no summoning magic to speak of. In this venture, he trusted Yevard's expertise and he'd loaned the elderly man every ounce of power he could spare.

"You're sure she's ready? Would you like to check again, one last time before I send the spell?"

"No. Chances are she's packed the mirror. Calling her would only ensure she had to dig through her pack to get it again. She said she'd be ready for us, my wife doesn't usually lie or exaggerate. And at any rate, Summoner, I'm fairly certain that we're going to lose our opportunity if you don't do it now."

Yevard shook his head, muttering into his beard as he struck a match and set fire to the last stick of incense. Something to the effect of youngsters having no patience. The effect of wisdom was spoiled by the fact he nearly set his beard on fire, cursing as he slapped at it. Then, with a deft gesture, he waved the smoke of the incense into the shape of a door in the air and charged the circle.

Light instantly lit the room, cold and clear and bright, bringing with it a blast of chill air that snuffed the candles and frosted ever surface. It was Winter in the north, the true winter. When the breath in your lungs would freeze if you weren't prepared and your blood would turn to ice. Through the doorway of smoke the frozen stones of a battlement could be seen and beyond the wall, a flat expanse of frozen white.

A figure, lined in the white, made dark by the brilliant light, stood only a few paces from the doorway. Lifting the pack near it's feet, it moved slowly and steadily forward until first one booted foot and then the other was through. In only moments, the heavily swathed figure stood in the center of the circle and Yevard let the spell drop. Instantly the chill was gone and so was the light, leaving them in blind darkness for a few moments until a light was struck and the candles relit.

Alasdair was sprawled out on the floor, his head awkwardly cradled in the lap of a woman who was clearly pregnant, her long red hair spilling out of it's braids and along the buff tan of the furs she wore. To a man, the escort that had come with Alasdair went to a knee while the blond barbarian smiled upward, raising a tired hand to stroke the pale cheek of his wife. "Hello love, I missed you."

Yevard spat, staggering over to his work bench and pulling another bottle of wine out from under it. "Mush, pure and simple. Alright Prince, you've got what you came for and you've left me a generous payment. And as I'm sure you figured out before you even came here I'll keep my mouth shut. So will you and your private army get out of my shop? I was nice and drunk till you all showed up, now I've got to go and get nice and drunk again."

With a groan Alasdair got to his feet, picking up the pack of belongings his wife had brought, smiling at her and kissing her again. "We're going Yevard, we're going. Many thanks."

"Yes Master Summoner...you have no idea how grateful I am to be back with my husband again." Kyrie's voice was soft as she held tightly to Alasdair, face turning to press against him as she breathed in the scent of him again.

The trip back to the palace was mostly uneventful although the locals did wonder where the new northern woman had come from. She was distinctive, with her long thick braid of brilliant red hair and a height nearly as impressive as that of her husband. Taller than most of the men, and yet as slender looking as a willow. Or she would have been were it not for the obvious bulge at the front of her furs. The going was slow and careful, in deference to her condition and the fact she was adjusting to a different set of temperatures. Late autumn in Leyond was closer to early autumn where she'd just come from.

Kyrie didn't like the palace very much, Alasdair could tell from the way she wrinkled her nose at everything. She did, however, approve of the bed in their rooms. She quickly got out of her heavy winter furs, stripping down into a lighter set of breeches and a tunic she'd packed. Alasdair couldn't keep his eyes off of her, his hands either. You couldn't pry him more than five feet from his wife, nor her from him.

Finally, as they sprawled on the bed together, he held her gently, hands resting on her belly. "How are things at home Kyrie? What has been going on in my time away?"

She sighed, her hands resting on his, her body snuggled contentedly against his own. "Things are quiet. No attacks in over a month. The Gate is secure, even though nobody's allowed me to get near it since you left." There was a note of weary reproach in her tone that he chuckled at, kissing her neck to silence any argument she'd have made.

"Your Grandfather called the Lords together a month past to discuss the reports of attacks coming out of the sea. He's worried that the Gate of the Way might have opened. If it has...there's no way to fight that for now." Her hand tightened around his and he stroked her belly gently.

"Not until after our child is born and safely tucked away at least. But if the Gate of the Way is opened...then Falverald would be seeing attacks. Likely they are but haven't said anything, they won't let the rest of the world know that the legions of the drowned dead are marching until it's too late."

She turned, staring at him with eyes the color of spring grass. "Don't worry love. Things are not dire yet. The incidents are isolated and few, as though the Gate was opened briefly, then closed again. No Gate is without guardians, perhaps the situation has already been fixed."

"Perhaps...but still...I feel it's my duty to inform Astor of the possible threat."

"He's going to think you're mad Alasdair...or do you plan on telling him everything?"

For a long time he stared at her, holding onto her tightly, grateful he'd brought her to him now. He knew she was safe here, or well safer than she would have been in that palace to the north. Besides, it was imperative that he be with her for the birth of their child. Terrible things could have happened had he been thousands of miles away. But still...the idea of telling Astor that the old legends and fairy stories were true, that they were history not bardic fiction. That was not a task he relished.

"Perhaps he will believe me love."

She snorted. "Alasdair Goldenclaw perhaps a swine will grow wings as well. You do what you have to love, but don't expect belief from these southern folk."


"I will Kyrie, I will. Now, tell me all about how on earth the young Torbald set the stables on fire..." And with a laugh she indulged him, telling those stories from home she'd hinted at but never really gotten through to him on their mirror discussions.
-----------------------------

So something is happening, you don't have all the information yet, but it seems Alasdair does. The question is, how does Astor react to this fanciful story...and who else might be listening?
------------------------------

I hope you enjoyed.
Back to top  
Lilith



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 1597
Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:58 pm    Post subject:  

Well his highness obviously snorts at Alasdair's story in public.. but if Alasdair cornered the King and talked with him alone, and in private.. with the exception of Khafi lurking in the background somewhere or maybe just invited. Lukan and Tess I think are a bit young to understand what it means...

But that's it! Corner the King with Khafi, who will surely believe Alasdair, and tell him together.
Back to top  
Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject:  

LOOOOVE it!!!

i loved the way you did the scene when they were alone finally. it was simple, but beautiful. just like a real couple should be.

i liked Lilith's suggestion of pulling him aside...and i liked the appeal of having Khafi be an uninvited guest to the discussion...perhaps if Astor doesnt believe Alasdair, Khafi will & they can form a plot to aid with the Gate together?

keep it coming!!!
Back to top  
Shillelagh



Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject:  

I suspect that Khafi is off doing whatever is needed for his scheme with the mages. He's the obvious scoundrel/spy type, which is why I don't think Astor would be careless enough to let Khafi eavesdrop on him.

That being said, someone should overhear the conversation (or maybe just part of it?) to make the story more interesting. I don't remember which character is from Falverald, but that character probably already knows about the gates, and will actively want to keep everyone out of the loop as to how bad the situation is- especially Astor, if he really doesn't know the truth. My guess is that he does, and just feigns ignorance.

If it were Tessa, she would probably happen to be nearby, either trying to get her way with the housekeeping staff old enough to remember her, or trying to manipulate people in the court. When she overhears the discussion, she'll try and use it for manipulation, blackmail, or social leverage, although she will have no idea how serious of an issue it really is. She might not believe it herself, but she would use the fact that other people believe it to her advantage.

If it were Lukan, he would just happen to be playing in the hallway or whatever and overhear it. He would instantly believe it, and he would probably want to talk to somebody about it- probably Alasdair, given their friendly introduction, but perhaps there is somebody on the castle staff whom he trusts?
Back to top  
PopeAlessandrosXVIII



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1858
Location: Surrounded by many beautiful naked men

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:29 am    Post subject: I Think.......  

A most wonderful glorious tale indeed! The contrast between character creats an interesting dynamic, as well as the skipped time between each chapter. I love this! Ar eyou sure you're not a pro?

I have to say, thus far, I like Khafi the most, and Tessa. . . .Is far more annoying then I imagined her to be. Hearing her BG, and her plans for the people, I looked forwards to actually seeing her in action, and she acted soooo different then what I was imagining! It's a nice little jolt, but that doesn't make me like her any better :lol:

As for the DP, I think. . . .It's time for some colaberations. I'd say Khafi overheard enough to not only interest him, but to worry him, and Al knows he overheared. Khafi, for sly reasons perhaps, drops hints about what he heard to Lukan and Tess, and when the tension starts building, have Al arange a meeting with all of them. The two yonger ones are still open minded enough to believe on pure faith, and I'm sure Khafi is well informed enough to know the truth of the matter. I also think that Al won't have enough faith letf in the king to inform him with the expectations of him either believeing him, or even if he does, him doing anything about it. So, Khafi overhears, hints to the kiddies, and Al brings them all together to duscuss the matter!

It they all know about it, then there'll be some fun dynamics like, will Tess tell the king to curry favor, or will Lukan feel all heroic and try to solve the matter to prove his worth. That's my thoughts! I can't wait to see more from you on the, keep up with the superb work!
Back to top  
Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject:  

Only a few more hours to get your comments in. Poll goes up later tonight.
Back to top  
Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:18 pm    Post subject:  

YAY!!
Back to top  
Muaddib



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 1765

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject:  

Another great chapter!

A servant overhears Alisdair's tale and tells the story to anyone he meets. The rumor spreads throughout Leyond and people begin to panic. Which was Alisdair's plan to begin with. He knew the King would not truly listen, but he wanted the common man to be alert to what was happening in the North. Phew.
Back to top  
Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:13 am    Post subject:  

That's a lot of options ladies and gentlemen. And each of those options has a very different set of consequences. Similar though some are, this is one of those decisions that may only become clear with hindsight.


Choose wisely and good luck.
Back to top  
PopeAlessandrosXVIII



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1858
Location: Surrounded by many beautiful naked men

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:24 am    Post subject: Winning!  

Yay I'm winning! Mwahahahahaha!!!!
Back to top  
Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:48 pm    Post subject:  

Tied vote, tisk tisk. I don't want to break it myself either...I give this another couple hours to find a tie-breaking vote and then I roll a d4 and see what the outcome is.
Back to top  
 
       Storygames Home -> The Children of Leyond
Page 1 of 1


Powered by phpBB Search Engine Indexer
Powered by phpBB 2.0.16 © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group