A Pair of Crows - Kanday

A place for members to provide other with game reports; narratives on what happened in their ongoing Hârn games and what kooky things their players did during their sessions.

Moderator: Spartan

Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#1 Post by stirling » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:41 am

Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#2 Post by stirling » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:43 am

Leaves were just starting to unfurl, in this mist of springtime. The wind was from the Southeast, with the touch of salt still upon it. To the East there stood a torrent of gray slabs of stone - which built a wall around a castle, the green was light - made of piles of elm, oak, and maple Groves that distinguished one field from another. Within each one was field or follow depending on the use it was put to. The Castle was small - but the only one for dozens of miles, thus it had a command seated on the hill. To the west there were a few fields, but it rapidly gave way to orchards and then to the woods beyond. It was slightly higher than the Meadows of the castle, and equal to the redoubts that pinnacled the upper walls of the fortress within. A river flows north to south with a very turgid and brackish hesitation, brown was the color of the stream which men called “Tepp”. The only thing that could be said was that it was wide.

Here and there, there were peasants tilling the soil - or more likely weeding the already planted rows - ignoring everything, and most especially the three men who were wandering across a smooth plane. That it was laid out so precisely said to anyone who looked carefully that it was the field of combat during the day, and at the twilight the roaring wave of dancing and flirting. In the day prowess rolled the field, and at night it was the gentlemanly ways of flirtation. But one could see from the three men that the clothes were made only loosely, and one could say shoddily. This was a spec of rough-hewn, as opposed to true finery. One could tell from the faces, that this was recently conquered from other hands, and given such refinement as was possible. There were no merchants from Coranan - nor were there goods from the land known as Tharda - the richest land of the isle of Harn. Which is not saying very much - because the island was very well known as the arse of the world, and sad to say, proud of this fact.

This island - that was three times as large as Britain - almost everything was new, especially the realms which competed to occupy territory. Thus the name of therealm was also new, “Kanday” it was called - and the feudal structures were also in flux. Once it was the territory of the Theocracy of Tekhos – a dark, and staining blot that never the less peasants look on with a kind of terrible reverence. They admit that their lives are better now, but older ones remember the stories that have been passed down of being in the wars when men were terrible and fierce - though few of these tales are in fact, true. And truthfulness was, in fact, one of the things that the three men held in high regard.

One was clearly the master, but not by the things he wore - but his youthful presence, stern jaw, and piercing right eyes. Even without being introduced, everyone knew that this was the local power of the land - that is. the Baron of Terhune, whose lands are almost the same as the olden kingdom of Homarty - and master of the castle Sepire. While slightly taller than most of the knightly rank, he is not tall by these measures, and his build is slight. But his force is shown in many small movements, and his slightly balding blond hair is neatly coiffed - showing a hint of style in these dank and occult lands.

“Well do you think we shall have time to set up all for the tourney?” His voice was deep, and he was talking to both of the men underneath him.

First one to reply was the older of the two, easily a grandfather with white curled locks. While it was clear that he had some means, and his sword was of a better style than most, his voice was deep and quiet. It was clear that he had a great respect for the Baron, as he had with the father who came before him. He to was almost gaunt, as if he were always doing things at his baron's command. “ there are some things that we need from all the Guild and the Order, but this can be done with a gentle shove.” there was a slight emphasis on Guild and order - and he knew that both men knew what he meant by the names, and what he was implying by a gentle shove.

The second nodded, and hardened his face - because he knew that he would have two do the gentle shoving when it came down to it. He was not as tall as either of his two companions, and his chain mail and cloak were much lower in scale, but he had not only a sword but several daggers at various places. It was clear that he was the chief of the baron's guard. Broad face and straight of hazel here, he too was clean shaven - but rough around the edges. Like his companions, he to was trim of figure - again a bit to trim. His cloak melted in two the green towards the coast, as if he had dealings with the Tepr Bog and it's denizens. He was about to say something when he looked up, and saw to men of his guard escorting a man who was even taller than anyone could imagine. While he was not armed with chain mail, he did have a bastard sword over his shoulder, and boots that were not made in this area. Though they were a trifle worn, the form and figure suggested that the were of an Elvish manufacture. The tall man looked almost through the three, as if he too were searching out the bog. As if he too knew the dangers.
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#3 Post by stirling » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:46 am

The gloaming of the sky was two reflections - one to the east was a vast pall of even gray clouds - above the treetops and the hills, with no connection to the land. The other one was from the East, and it flowed through the nooks that made up the Tepr Bog - it seemed to join from the land upwards - as if it were a hand reaching up, reaching up towards the grey mantle. And it seethed, as if alive, and waxing and waning in its strength. Against this backdrop from the heavens, it was clear that the man in custody was with the fog and air - is if he to was part of the Western misted, and indeed part of it. The baron shook his head, though there was nothing mystical or magical about him, he had taken in the natural into his body - and this exuded from his skin and beard. The beard alone was enough to Mark him as different, and that it was mid-range and scraggly meant that he was nowhere close to noblity, but that it had shape meant he was no part of serfdom, or peasant . But still and all, the Baron was much afraid, and he must have known that it showed upon his face - whispering lines, and etched creases.

But is voice betrayed none of the things that showed on his face, and with a wave of his hand - he communicated to not touch their captive. “So, happy day to you - tell me why you are here.” it was a gruff greeting, which was more than most people in these parts would do. And tone was seeped through with nobility - because before he was a baron his ancestors were Kings, though in this end of the world that meant very little compared to the great realms on the continent.

Everyone expected to see the prisoner react - either positively or negatively - and begin talking as to what he was doing. Either he would prostrate himself as a villein would do, or he would report as a warrior would do, or stand his ground and explain as a knight word do. However, he did none of this - and bore his eyes strictly into the Baron, and uttered not a word for what seemed like an age. Then he spoke:

“My name is Luthoar, and when I serve, the men call me Captain. I came out of the north from your capital, and bare a letter from one who serves your king.” the eyes never left the baron, and this too is two subservient men into a vile air of hatred and loathing, either one would happily slit his throat - if given the order.

At this the Baron scowl, the man before him was proud - there was no love lost between him and his king, which he regarded as a fool, and questioned his obsessions in private. He also did not care for the relatives which he held counsel from. The only good thing was that he should have gone to the Earl, which the Baron served. He wondered why the King's man had skipped over his superior, and sent a man to him. This was not the way of any of the king's subordinates, rank was extremely important in this realm. Which meant that even this could be interpreted in two ways: and he knew which way was safer on which to bet. In the back of his mind he envisioned all of the possibilities as to who sent him.

Next to the Baron, and interruption came from the shorter of his two men, who at once snarled and grunted from his throat - “Do you have this letter?” Then he turned to his baron and made a motion with his arm to hold back the bearded man. “It could be a trap, my liege.” his muscles tensed, and one could see that he was lean and trim in his figure, that tensed behind his armor.

From the bearded man came a laugh, or at least a chuckle. “I thought that this would be more formal, or at least more polite.”He did not make any motion, however -he was as stiff as a board. Also - not a muscle moved towards his sword.

Though the Cape of the Baron moved slightly from side to side, his eyes bore in two the bearded man, though his arm shot out to belay the gesture from his man who was guarding him. “ let us not engage in any form of fisticuffs, yet. First, let me see the letter.Then it will be easier to make up my mind.” though the bearded man had ruffled his bearing, the baron was still in charge -and it showed on the faces of his men.

Almost delicately, the bearded man lifted his right arm and coaxed out a parchment, with a seal. With two fingers, he extended his hand, and offered it to the baron.Baron caught his head to the left, and without needing a command the shorter man grasped it in his right hand and opened it.Without a pause he then read:

“My dear Baron,

"It may seem a surprise for me to write directly to you, but are liege Lord, the King, has decided that you must take this duty for me, without any intermediaries.”The shorter man had trouble with “intermediaries”, but struggled with them. “I send him to you becauseI need to look into some questionable things in the bog. And you of all my people have more knowledge than almost any other.”Again, “questionable” and “knowledge” were tricky for the shorter man. But the Baron knew this, and was teaching his men how to read as well as how to fight - it was the way of his clan.

The shorter man looked up at his baron, and then decided to plow ahead with the writing.
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#4 Post by stirling » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:25 am

Etching of the Baron's hand rising up to stop him, the guard's voice trickled to a whisper and then halted. The two men looked at the Baron, and waited for his pronouncement.

“Give the scroll to me, and I will read it myself. Take the prisoner to the minor home which is used as a study, and watch him closely - whereupon the Baron shall attend him and question him alone.” he used the formal sense of “the Baron” to indicate that this would be a formal affair - though for what was still too the imagining of the people involved. Them he strode off, perhaps to do something for the tourney - but who is to say?

Immediately two did the bidding - with one must say cruelty in each gesture. His arms were bound behind his back, and they moved him at a march towards the castle, towards the drawbridge which separated the outer keep from the inner. The scraggly bearded man simply rolled his eyes about this - clearly he knew something that the others did not. It was also clear that he knew just what the followers thought of him, and that he did not care. His concern was only for the baron, and the coded message which was now in the barons hands.

Underneath the drawbridge, and into the center of the castle - through the main hall and towards one of the most guarded rooms. They then proceeded to sit him down on a lanky chair with no cushion, which was made of elm - and inlaid with magical figures that no one knew what they were - griffins and dragons were only the start. It towered up to an enormous height, even the scraggly bearded man was dwarfed by it. The bearded man proceeded put his legs over one of the manchette and immediately set himself to work picking the dirt from his bigger nails, completely oblivious to his minders. His minders did not dare utter a single word, but the shorter one grimaced little bit and stared in two the older ones eyes - but the older man did not reply at all. In the ways of court, he knew his place and did not utter or move a single muscle.

Unknown to all of them, it was at least an hour before the Baron decided to alight them with his presence. Each man had done different things to fill the tedium, with the shorter man looking out of the slits to the outside - and seeing the peasants doing their work, and the Guild members attending to their areas different specialties. He then realized that there work, in part, was the keep of the castle. And that he benefited from their labor. This softened his attitude towards the prisoner just slightly, because the Baron had some use for him, and he should do his duty whatever it was.

The room was almost 20 feet long, but only less the half as wide – With red tapestries hung beneath the long thin the lancet windows and slit hole. The rock was very qualities, and much of it was slated - stacked high until the ceiling arched. It was only halfway arched, and continued to the great Hall, which was to the left. In the room there were a dozen long chairs with a table leading up to a full step, which housed an enormous desk which was covered with parchment and vellum, and girls with which to write on them. There was new order to things, and it seemed that the Baron had to be dragged to finish his work until late in the night - this was seen by the splotches of ceiling wax which were dripped around the documents, which needed and applied seal to verify that the Lord or his Chancellor had authenticated them.

Then finally the door creaked open, there was not a doorkeep to keep it level and correct. Then in the frame of the door, stood the Baron with his cloak that made him look even larger. As he opened the door, is two men leaped to their feet, and awaited their instruction. He dismissed them with a wave of his hand and watched as they left - his eyes chasing their faces for any clue of their intentions. It was easy to see that they did not think much of the bearded man, for any one of a dozen reasons. They felt that the castles business should be done by those who were in the inner sanctum. As soon as they were by him, he shut the door with his foot - and leisurely made his way to the tallest chair behind the desk. Then he turned himself around, sat with a unhurried pace - and looked in to the bearded man's eyes. It was obvious that the bearded man was not looking at him but at his nails, and slowly brought his gaze to the baron's.

“The one thing that the note did not say is how you are not engaged by the presence of someone who is your master.”

“I am outside of the hierarchy of nobles, merchants, and villiens - and as such I only look to money as my interest.”

“Have you no loyalty?” murmured the Baron.

“I do not fight for the cause of evil, if that is what you mean.” The bearded man went back to looking at his nails, and then looked up as the Baron.

“Duly noted, that is the best that one could wish for, under the circumstances.”

“It's the best that you could wish for, and I would take it if I were you.”

It was with a cool case that the Baron regarded his – opponent? Hireling? In the event it was clear that the letter inflicted the bearded man's presence on him, and it clearly had a mission. A mission which was needed by the King, or someone underneath him. The Baron stood up and peered over his desk, leaning towards the bearded man.
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#5 Post by stirling » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:45 am

For his part, the bearded man stopped looking at his nails at all - and straightened up in his chair, he was suddenly an equal to the Baron, rather than someone who was a part from the system the Baron lived within. “While I don't know the exact details of the letter of recommendation - I know that it inflicts me upon you. And I think that you and I should come to some agreement, so that I may be let upon my way - and you have some assurance of what I am doing. Can we do this?”

It was a stark turnabout in both manner and style - no longer was he a warrior but had some sense of being noble - and the Baron responded to that. The change had come about in every sense of the bearded man, and in every foot of his demeanor. Thus, it took some reviewing of the situation on the baron's part - he had expected a very different kind of encounter when he came in. And in this light, the Baron saw things which would not be noticeable otherwise - it was not just his height, though that should have been a clue to his real station in life, but his hands were not the hands of a peasant, or even a merchant - they had a delicacy and manipulation which did not come from either of those two classes. There were other details, which were noticed, and finally, the image of this man - shaved and dressed in finery had captured the vision, where it had not before. He was good, very good, at being in disguise - a detail that the Lord in his finery would notice and store in his vast memory.

Turning away from the bearded man, in instead looking out one of the windows - which was covered in two inches square glass, because glass was expensive in these parts of the world - he looked out on the meadows and ramparts and beyond towards the moor.

“Out along as far as the eye can see, my land is bordered by a great bog, and within it are strange and sometimes unnatural creatures. If this is what you seek - then perhaps an arrangement can be come to.”

From the chair came a creak - which meant that his guest was standing up. The Baron reminded himself that he needed to get these chairs replaced, so old were they. He heard The bearded man's breath in his left ear, realizing at once that the angle meant that it came from meant that the bearded man was at least 6'6” - where as the Baron was 5' 8' - it really towering figure. At first, he thought that there was something sexual, and encounter which he did not want - the he knew that one of the reasons the shorter man was while to him was his proclivities for illicit encounters with boys. But then he realized that the bearded man wish to say something to the Baron alone - something private and hidden in its nature.

“Do not move, we are being watched, from a keyhole beside the table. I think you has better check your retinue - you have some creature of one of the dark gods - and Agrik would already have attacked.”

With that, the Baron slightly nodded, and gently peaked behind him to see if he could manage to see the keyhole. Slowly he tilted his neck - and then a dirt came whizzing towards his head. But the bearded man docked with him in tow - a smash was heard from the window, and several leaden mullions scattering outwards. They both spun around, with the Baron arriving just barely first. Immediately the Masters voice called for reinforcements, and sounded the alarm. Rapidly they both entered the wide hall and looked for the assailant - but only the right foot going around the turn was visible. Suddenly there were several people - all hunting for the attacker - but there was one who was not present. The Baron noted this, and came quickly to the conclusion that this man had been working on the inside, and had gotten a letter. He spun into thinking about all of the conclusions, and how the bearded man fit in with them. He looked at the bearded man, whose back was towards him he thought as to whether he would have been in on the connivance - and decided that was unlikely, but that the person who had orchestrated this had known that this would occur. Which meant that the servitor of the King was either in league, or at free least watched, by whoever had wished him dead.

He thought about this, because the King was not well liked by him - but in no sense did that mean that he thought the King was on the other side. But he was not as certain about the Earl of Sarkum – Ranald Milaka. It might be a plot from there - either by the Earl or one of his ilk. This would have to be examined in more detail later, first to try to hunt down the attacker - and send the bearded man on his way for his mission. Reduce the number of balls in the air.

The hunt died down in about an hour, with nothing found of any importance. The Baron thought that this meant that the entire thing was meticulously organized, and the attacker was probably dead - failure without penalty, was not an option. Clearly a Council of his best men should be called, with the exception of the one he thought to be in on this. Should he send the bearded man away before the Council, or ask advice? Decisions, decisions - it was his stock and trade. He felt he should be in charge of a greater chunk of territory, and the King not agreeing rankled him immensely.
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#6 Post by stirling » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:19 am

2

The stick planted itself in the ground, the hand which moved it belonged to Luthoar. It was a camp under the forest leaves, which were in the process of blooming - it being that moment where spring has finally gained the upper hand over the dying of winter. The stars were finally visible.

He was alone, seated, but thinking of how he had gotten here. There was little noise but the conversation - mainly tales told, some of which were true - and the hopes for the end of the mission and what people were going to do with the money. He did not need to listen to any of this, there were other thoughts in his head. But that did not register on him at all - instead, he remembered back at the castle and the town which lived under its protection, while waiting for the Baron and his counsel to decide if - or more properly how - his offer of service was to be employed. Remembering back onto that cloudy day, with looming low clouds coming in from the West - knowing that the Baron had already decided what to do, and was trying to make the men underneath his command see the logic of it. It was his guess that the Baron would actually listen to his counselors, and put in suggestions. But it was the Baron's will that drove the discussion.

On that bright morning, the day after he had then introduced to the Baron and some of his counselors, he was let into the town, and headed straight for one particular destination - a dreary cove which was the inhabitation of the Shek-Pvar. On such a place as this, it would be counted a chantry - but Luthoar saw through the façade of this - it was hovel, not more than that. But from the outside as he came down the alley, he saw that there were quite a few people in residence - there were several indicators of this, from the lines which held washing, to the garbage which was outside waiting to be thrown in to the river. At least it had plaster covering between the large oak beams, and their were bits and pieces of handiwork. The windows were open but the door was closed.

He ambled his way to look at it one last time - he could see men in robes on the second level, and there were discussions which were just out of hearing. He started to make his way to the door, when he heard a brightly feminine voice above the caterwauling, and he heard the voice lecturing on some bit of wisdom. If he had not known that this would be the voice he was looking for - he would have been surprised. But, as it was, this was the person that he wanted to meet - though he did not know her true name, he knew that she would respond to Moira - an old name for the goddess of faith, that is to say, another name for Peoni, in one of her darker modes. Strolling forward - he reached the door and the voice was high pitched - and still explaining the details of the point she was trying to make. As it was, he did not need to know any of this, he just had to know that she was probably right and the person receiving the information was wrong. This was all he needed to know that he had made the right choice - and the Baron had made an inopportune commission in seeking the best talent which he had. Bought the parent sought only his own guidance, and the guidance which made his job easier. This was less.

Pushing his way to stand in front of the door, he pushed with the flat of his hand and extended his arms all the way forwards, and took in the sight of the chantry. There were a number of people looking at plants and herbs, in drawers no less - which was a very expensive way to store things - along the back wall, which was only half of the building. A long counter made the people working distinct from the people looking - it was maple and highly polished. There were things on the counter, again in jars, but no one touched them except a slightly shorter than average, plump man. In fact, he was one of the few who carried any meat on him at all - most people in the region were gaunt, as if hunger were the normal circumstance. Of the many people looking, all were of merchant dress - even here there were standards that were not broached. The man was talking to a couple, and was making signs with his hands, and indication that there was magic involved. In fact, the inside was distinct from the outside, in that the outside was non-distinct but the inside had almost of features which would be in a room that was from a much larger town. Polishing of the woodwork, a clean swept floor, things of various unspeakable natures hanging from the ceiling - all pointed to a great deal of wealth invested in strange things that most people avoided, and others sought for the wonderment that could be produced. It was in short, a room that did not match the rest of the town at all - a garden of wisdom, in an otherwise bleak hamlet.

There were also tables on the outside with two and three people discussing various things - the feminine voice was seated between two men and a slightly old woman who was embroidering and decidedly keeping her mouth closed. The two men had realized, that on this point of discussion at least, they were outclassed by their feminine counterpoint. So they drank their beer and listened to what she had to say.

Herself, was lithe and very short, not even reaching 5 feet. Her clothes were of an ornate, but not too ornate, status. She was stressed in a skirt dyed of green, and a frock which was white - and had flurry cuffs which showed off her delicately crafted jewelry and her exquisite wrist. It was obvious she was a lady, even though she did not have much more jewelry. Her hair was flaxen, and her features were then and delicately arranged. Her mouth was wide, and moving very quickly indeed. Her ears stood out with a fragile delicacy of their own, with two green gems as earrings.
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#7 Post by stirling » Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:04 am

In the moment where he was about to speak, it was her voice that resounded first: “ and what do our wondering eyes should appear, a man dressed down and from far away. Tell me, oh man, what are we to make of you - and please do not lie, because this is a chantry, and no place for even fibs - let alone mendacious untruths.” It was a bursting, like the arrows from a skilled archer - the first having not fallen before the last was joined into flight.

With this he pondered what is next move was, he could be very much in command - with that deep voice that deserved respect - but instead he took a more modulated tone, and held back his deep resonance. “ I can see that I was not misinformed about you.”

“And why would anyone notice me beyond the boundaries of this corner of the world? Having not done anything of note, one would think that it would be an act of spying.” The words came tumbling over each other almost instantaneously.

“I was seeking a guide to the moor, and your name cropped up more than once, and I did a great deal of digging.”

“This is rather surprising, especially since you probably wear many guises - because your garb is not matching your figure at all.” That was the beginning of her mouth pursing up and to seriously regard the bearded man.

“And what do you see of me?”

“A man born noble, or some variation of it - yet who dresses down. He wears a beard, though the style in this land is for clean shaven, and keys on his pants which bespeaks of command - though he has no followers. This leads me to believe that your followers are hidden, because I do not believe you are without them.” She chattered off this list as if checking off items.

“You seem to speak with great authority.”

“One should speak with authority, or listen intently to one who does.”

“And what do you think I would speak with authority on?”

“That is easy - command, horses, men of battle.” 'Lowered her voice as to be more secretive, she had also noticed that another man had closed the door.

With an edge to his voice which faintly ended of command: “And what would you say if I were to hire you. I want you to be my guide to the West and the lands beyond the King's control.”

“That's a ploy for negotiation - after the way of soldiers. Telling one and all that it is your intention to make a claim. Of course, you know, this is not the way that members of the sect in this chantry would do such a thing. Quite pleased you are. So having given you a bargaining tool - left us go up the curved staircase to my room, and discuss this in my way, not yours.” It was clear that her mood darkened, and their was a bitterness.

So, first her than him, they trudged up the stairs - with his spurs dangling behind him and occasionally eating into the wordwork.
As they reached the second floor and moved on to the third, she remarked: “Your spurs being gilt with gold was also a clue, though most people in these parts would not have noticed.”

“And what does that mean to you?”

“In all the world it means the wearer is a knight - so you are either one, or have some arrangement with someone who will supply you with no questions asked. The latter would be a perversion, and does not seem like you would stoop to such levels.” His eyebrows raised up, because he'd had not thought that she would notice - but then he realized that she was from court in many lands - so a reading of everyone she met would have been almost second nature.

“I should be watchful of you in future, you have a keen sense of perception.”

“It would be bereft not to notice certain things. Having said that you were a commander of armored men - that should have implied that an examination of your implements.” they were going up to the third floor, along the iron guardrail. On the wall were curved out all the wood certain images, most of which were grotesque and meant to scare away things both living and sacred. Every inch was devoted to protection of this place and its inhabitants, even the carvings on the wall.

Then up in her room, which was at the top of the building, with gabled dormers bringing in the light, she at once sat down on her bed, which was of heather and with six layers. At which point she pointed at the stool by a very short desk, and her face deigned to give him leave to sit in that. It was a crowded room, with two armoires, one of which had a mirror, and in addition to the bed and desk, there were neatly arranged three file folders - which was unusual. But then, by now, she was a very unusual woman.

Cross-legged upon the light blue heather she waited for him to make the first move. She did not have to wait for long:

“While my being here is not much of your concern, the King wishes me out of his hair, but within range of his scouts. So I have been sent to reconnoiter the Tepr Bog.”

“What does this have do with me?” He thought that she could easily have said “as if I did not know.” but reasoned the better of mentioning it.

“Within this place there are many forces at work, some who have great magic or great faith to work wonders.”

“Go on.” Her eyes narrowed at him, and he could not guess whether she knew what he had in mind.

So he came out with it: “You have been known as a great speaker of languages, as well as an accomplished prestidigitator. Thus, I came to hire you for my scouting mission.”
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#8 Post by stirling » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:01 am

It was on her face, the only detail was what the price was - and he had a range of numbers already.

This was the memory that he saw as he looked at Moira, asleep and dreaming. Dreaming that awful dream which only those who used spells can know - not a place which others can follow. Apparently there were worlds beyond this one which can only be accessed by those whose body is but a dream. He was not a dreamer – but he gather some that were. The star beamed down upon his cowled cape – and he felt them, slowly moving at their own pace - from East to West in a grand procession that began before he was alive, and ended long after he was dead. He had first encountered someone who thought differently, it was also a she, and was very slight - even slighter than Moira - because she was an elf. Sindarin. A faerie figure on a human stage.

He looked around and thought he saw her up one of the maple trees, but he was not sure. And her name? That was a story and a half to tell.

It was on the road, between Tharda and Kaldor – the kingdoms – but actually between Coranan and Tashal, the cities. The cities where trade and commerce took hold. He was moving between the ruined lands that once held a kingdom, and the sacred lands that were held not by men – it was Evael the kingdom of the elves. Though the word kingdom was a human construct, and did not really apply to the way things were.

Behind them was Trobridge, which was a seed of somewhat civilization, or at least what passed for it. He had led his party of armed men, some of whom are mounted, off the main road, but he thought still in the human controlled realm of Kaldor. But things were dicey about who controlled what in these realms. That his why he was vigilant and instructed his men to be so as well. It was fading light, and he directed his men to set up camp. This was a time of deep uneasiness - for many times beasts would attack when the men were laying out tents. He remembered a long learned lesson - many were not day or night oriented, but lived between day and night in the shadows. With every crackle, on each band of a bow he turned his head to assure him that it was only the wind and the flora speaking to each other. It was so far ordinary in its murmuring. He hoped it would stay that way, but felt sure that the time will come when it was not. Perhaps today was the day.

They were far enough off the road that they were among the oak and maple trees, the climax of the forest - not the birch and aspen trees which had grown up since the road was cleared, and that was not that long ago. He remembered checking this for anything that smelled of large beasts - whether animal in nature, or something which was created by magic. Hit not seen anything, exactly, but there was something wrong - if only he could put a finger on it. He had not seen much in the way of insects, which was a clue. No ants in rotten tree stumps, no bees along boughs, no dragonflies here and there, nothing at all. He then realized that that was a sign, and then he looked for a cause. It was then that all that seemed natural, became unnatural. Where were the sounds coming from, if not from insects and the things which hunted them? He looked about and saw no birds, though he saw bird nests in abundance. A thought occurred to him that they should march beyond this place - which had not been here the last time.

Then a twig broke and he turned to face it, and immediately realized that that was the response he was supposed to take - he had this confirmed by the knife that was held to his throat. He did not move around but instead waited for the intruder to speak. Leaves were falling from the branches, it being the beginning of summer into fall.

The voice was both high and melodious, meaning that it was an elf, a female elf. If it were human he would say it was young, but elves did not live in a short a time as humans, or even the dwarven folk of Azadmere. And rang out and sang more than said:

“You had best get your company back to the Salt Road, it will be safer for both you and we. And tell them to put aside any thoughts of violence, we have them surrounded.” The first thing that occurred to him was that Evael felt it owned the stretch of land he was occupying, and that this was a warning shot - and there may not be another. He was facing West, and watched the sun sink down into the mountains.

“There is no sign which said we were on another's property.”


“That gamble - that we would recoil from your human use of the word property - but we have our own ways of doing things, and they can be stricter than the ways you humans do things.” Yes, he had made that gamble, and noted that he was caught - he would not make that mistake again.

“I was simply trying to save some time, it is a long way to Tashal.” his voice was calm, in every syllable.

“By rights, there should be punishment for having set foot on our lands.” There was a kind of hesitation.

“I sense that you want something more profitable.”

“Profits and losses are not what we bargain for.”

“What is it that you bargained for?” he sensed an opening, though how to gain from it was in doubt.

“We shall go back to our place to talk of this.”

“Where is that?”

“It is called Bendith.” The word was short, and sharp - clearly this elf did not like talking to humans, perhaps it had something to do with the harmonious nature of her speaking.
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#9 Post by stirling » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:43 am

He had realized that he had no good picture of the elvin woman - he realized that she was short, but her hair was bound up in some sort of hood - and for the rest he only saw a black garment, of which he could make nothing out of it - the sun had gone down and all was darkness. It was at this point that she motioned for the troop to follow her, she gave commands by moving her hands and pointing her fingers, in a military way. Clearly she knew the language that scouts and soldiers and mercenaries used, and to great effect. There was little to be done until they reached the stage base, and with it the town of Bendith.

Gradually, they realized that there was light - but they did not know where it came from. Luthoar look around in every direction, and it finally occurred to him that it was from the crown of the trees - and therefore he looked upwards, and then saw that the entire town was in the foliage of the oaks and maples. Light grew stronger, and gradually the humans could see what was obvious to the animals - and why the animals stood away from this place, this place of elves.

A top of the rest of the world - or so it appeared - was the rustic architecture which the elves had lived in for a very long time. Longer than the humans had had the notion of the fineries of construction. There were at least a score of houses – each one eas rounded in shape - perhaps more like an egg, nestled in one of the enormous trees, and connected to others by the same rounded tunnels - which opened up from the top to let sunlight in. it then occurred to many of the humans, that this was the way that elves could go out from tree to tree without being seen - because they were light footed, and did not talk - but made strange cries, which the men had thought were animals. The houses were not like humans - they did not announce themselves at all, but were blended into the workings of the trees. He thought occurred to Luthoar - that magic had to be involved in keeping these trees alive, because they were older than they should be, by far. He began to realize, that while the elves might look human, they were strange as any beast made with magic. He would note this, and never forget it.

Had last they reached, in particular, the, and in the strange light, which ranged from purple to blue and back again - he finally saw a figure of the elf. She was clearly shy of 5 feet, but not as short as 4 ½ feet. She was clad in black leather, and he realized that her garments were trousers rather than dress or skirt, over this she had a cloak which was also with dark leather - and which seemed to flutter. It seemed to have a life of its own, and even made something like gestures as it moved. He could also see the face, finally - it was paler than anything other than death - and as smooth. Her features were tiny, and thin - especially the nose, which was pointed down. Her expression was severe and restrained, and she spent more time looking at him than the rest of his people - perhaps because she knew that she was in command, and was studying him to find out what she could. He hoped there was nothing that she could use, but he knew that someone as observant as this would find out many things that he would not wish to be known. Internally he placed a veil over his face, and made it as hard to read as he could. He knew that this might be good for humans, but he was not sure the same could be said for the piercing gaze that he was subjected to.

She spoke, and it was a shock: “You will find the keepers of horses, and they will show you how we do things - you will stay down here, except of course your captain - which will be above you, and speaking of many things. If that is alright with him.” Luthoar nodded, not willing to make a sound. After this she produced a fine rope, and gestured towards it. “This will take you to my house.” suddenly he realized that this woman having a house was a strange concept. It seemed obvious that the inside would be as strange as the outside was.

At that point, he wrapped his arm around the rope, and was surprised at how quickly and forcefully he was drawn up - and alighted some 50 feet in the air. The entrance of what seemed to be a natural form from out of the trees growth - but he knew that not to be true - loomed large. It seemed like a gourd, with a roundness which somehow seemed natural. The rope slipped away from him, and he decided to enter, the light was stronger here than on the ground, and he could easily find his way along it. It was like the full yeal - the moon which is in the sky.

Within the cottage he started to look- but for he could register anything more than impressions, a sound came from over his back, the elvin woman was standing on the platform. She began with a challenge:

“Now what should we talk about?” Knowing full well what she had in mind.
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#10 Post by stirling » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:59 pm

Light brought forth light, but not to serve in heaven. It came from everywhere and nowhere – it infused even the air, though making little clouds with its wake. It was almost like being underwater, only the slowness which was present in water was not there. Or was not there quite - there was a disconcerting slowness, or perceived slowness to the motions that were enacted.

But it was in the room that was shocking, no humans could have built this room - or at least humans as he knew them. Instead of hard wooden chairs, with occasional small cushions - cushions which had tassels and embroidery on them - the seats were cushioned all over, with no projecting appendages of any kind of wood - and they were not embroidered at all - everyone was smooth in its nature with only one color. Though the colors were different. He did not know how they did it.

Rolling onto one of the cushions, she luxuriated in its decadence - and then popped her head up: “ this is the life, and all of us wish that you humans would get to this level.”

“All of us?”

“The elves, most of which you do not know even existed.”

“There are more?”

“Most of the elves you see are what we call 'Sidarin', and we have a fascination for humans. But there are deeper elves, who take very little notice - and that is why your services are required.”

underneath it all, he knew that there was some reason for this - he looked aside and was startled by a small human figure, about 4 inches high - and sprouting wings like a dragon fly. He looked at this, and saw a tiny human face which was black in nature - with two white eyes staring back at him.

She laughed. “How do you think we read ourselves of the various pests which are carried around by you humans? These are the real faery folk.” Only for an instant did he contain me to stare, and then set his gaze upon her and her black garment.

“I suppose then you have a mission for us?” since his moneybags were almost empty, he was willing to find out what was wanted.

“This is a mission from on high, it was decided that one of our number should be assigned to you - and report back if any deep elves should be found.” she had rolled up into is sitting position, and was talking intently. Clearly he had been watched for a long time, before they had decided that he was one of the best for their mission. He looked down and saw the grain of the floor, though it was similar to the wooden floor that most humans used, it was also alive - as if it had a kind of consciousness. Looking up, there was another revelation - he could see out all of the sides, because from the inside, they were like windows. The vision took his breath away, and he had to control it - because he still needed to know certain things about her station.

“And we could go on with the missions we contracted with? And are you going to participate in them?”

“Yes - on all accounts.” her speech was laconic, and he realized that she did not speak his dialect very well - there was a strange accent to it. But it was not noticeable unless you knew what to look for.

“Will you obey my orders?” Admonished he looked into, knot the flesh and the blood of her, but the soul. It was at that point that he realized just what intricacies were there. Part of his mind retreated from the recoiling, and part reached out to taste more of this strange evanescence.

A long sword stuck in the floor, then standing up - she then responded: “Yes.” her stance was almost a challenge, as if she could do anything that a human could do. And he believed that to be true.

There was a negotiation, but that was just haggling. It was clear that haggling had no interest to her.

He remembered this and looked up at the yeal, and around at the followers he had acquired. At this point he looked deep into the woods to see if another follower was present - whether it was Thurothgrart, or his shape as a bear. This to he remembered, when he was alone and up in the northern part of the island - now called Orbaal, since it had been invaded from the north by Vikings originally it was the last kingdom of the original settlers of the island – the Jarin. But a younger son of a king from Ivinia saw a chance, and thus begin what the Jarin often call “the century of woes.” Thurothgrart was definitely one of the woes that they were speaking of. As a man he was clearly 6 ½ feet tall, and has a bear even taller than that - but that is a story unto itself. As a man he was a the beserker, and as a bear, he was - well - a bear. He was not a bear with the mind of a human, but a bear with the mind of a bear. With teeth that rend, and jaws that catch.

It was years ago, and he was just inside the fjord, and deflected by the massive rock cliffs from the northern sea. He remembered being drenched in the foamscape, and wet with water in every inch of his clothes. He did not know who control the land, and it changed from day to day. It was a smooth kind of grassy and then he saw a stand of white pine trees. But there was something magical about them, and he stopped...
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#11 Post by stirling » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:06 am

3

For all the times forgotten, for all the times remissed – there are other time with clarity unforgotten and demyst. He recalled the dappled shadows – on the leaves so bear, which bewitched, even bothered, though he did not know from where. With slow and unsteadied tracks, he heard a growling sound – but of what he at that point did not know – though he could guess, and was in fact, half right. But that is not the same as right, and he would pay dearly for this – and soon. But for now his bastard sword and bow were over his back, and his hands were teaming through the thicket.

He gently lifted feet through the tangle vines – almost feeling their hunt for a tree or bush to hang on to, and wondering if the could hold to him. And on the feet he felt the smallish creatures – like centipedes and insects that were woken from tender homes – screaming mad at his intrusion, and the going back for something to eat: for they were ravenous to a fault. But it was the eyes that tried to hold his attention to – despite the other senses – because he knew the something humongous was shadowing his movements. It crept with him, mimicking his movements - he imagined trying to decide whether to attack or flee.

Not moving in one direction, but turned himself over and over again - and tried to catch whatever it was that stalked him. His eyes glanced from left to right and back again - seeing trees, and finds, and the occasional wildflower - in a profusion that came only a few times in each season. When the wind and waves calmed down, and there were no storms that would pelt down anything which grew. And then there was a sudden blackness, and he knew at an instant that the stalker had one of the battle, he was being dragged down. He wondered if this was it - and decided it would not be without a fight. While his sight was disabled - his hearing told him that it was a brown bear, and the smell told him that it's sex was male, a very stinky male looking for a chance to mate.

It was obvious that the bear had played his gamble - and reached out from behind a giant oak tree to haul him down - and if it had been most men, he would be on the ground, and spending the last few moments trying to fend off the feeding frenzy. But he was not most men, and with a flick changed the tables - he first squatted, and this made the bear's front claws loosen themselves. It was not without its price, because the nails from the bear scratched his face, and drew deep cuts along his cheek and neck, with it a profusion of blood going every which way. But at last he was free of the stronghold that the bear had tried to put him in, the bear was on for paws - but beginning to stand up again, and unleash a right backhand into him.

But Luthoar was prepared for this, and brought his bow to meet the attack, having whipped it out rather than protect his face. The bow caught the paw, and bounced it from its pull - it was a longbow and it was inordinately stretchy.

So the strategy worked - the bear was thrown back, and was on its side for a moment - but got up again and reformulated his attack. Being a bear, he selected the simplest form: taking both his forepaws and trying to mow his opponent down. While the blood was still gushing out, it had stopped enough to no longer be an annoyance - thus he dropped his bow and pulled out his sword - and waited in a ready position for the bear.

Challenge by a brutish howl - the bear snarled, which was its way of beginning the attack. The right forepaw was stretched out, much longer than the arm of a man, but not the distance that a bastard sword reached. With a small tilt of the rest, he easily peered The long claw, and bound up both of the forepaws in a grip with the sword. It was a unique trick, which he had learned long ago from his father.

At this point he thought that the bear would go running off, or at least try, but instead the bear began whimpering. With his arm he brushed off the blood on his face, and watched as the bear humbled himself. This was finally unusual for the bear to do – so he watched, but the bear did not move.

“I haven't seen this trick from a bear, or anyone else for that matter except some men in Rethem - who tried to get out the situation they were in. but you don't look like a guard, or been trained by them. So what are you?” but the bear continued to whimper, it did not put up any defense at all. The puzzlement ended when he saw on the bear's waist an insignia made of gold and etched with runes made by the dwarves of Azadmere. He then realized that this was probably a human changed into a bear - and he wanted, however dimly, the badge to be pulled off. There was a war between the bear was a bear and a human soul without intelligence wanting to be human.

But how to off the badge without roiling the bear's temper?
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Author's Note

#12 Post by stirling » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:08 am

(For the next month I will be teaching a summer class, and other things - the posting should return around 10 August.)
Stirling Newberry

User avatar
stirling
Woodward
Woodward
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:23 pm
Location: Boston MA USA
Contact:

Re: A Pair of Crows - Kanday

#13 Post by stirling » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:19 am

Two things happened, or at least he noticed that they had happened. The first was that the sky had grown darker, much darker, in fact. He tried not to look at the sky, but it was an effort - it seemed that turbulent clouds, which stretched upwards and called attention to themselves - they were thunderstorms, almost assuredly. The second one was internal, in that he realized he was not going to die of this particular instant. This gave him confidence and nimbleness to his fingers, he strode forward and ripped the medallion from the bear. And then he waited.

It was not long thereafter that the form of a bear began to change until it was the shape of a big burly man, with broad shoulders and black hair on his forelocks and beard. His eyes were, however, blue - and a steel called blue. He had a paunch, which ruled along his waist as if it were another being to itselv. He was dressed in furs, perhaps the only way that he could come back to man shape and still have a little privacy.

The first words out of his mouth: “ thank you, I should explain myselv: a witch melded the gold to my breast - and that made it so that I was a bear, for as long as the spell held. It's been six months.” then realizing that he had not introduced himselv: “My name is Thurothgrart – as you can see I am a man from Orbaal, not one of the natives. And who are you?”

“Luthoar,” No other last name for either of them, on this point they had understanding, already. “What happened to the witch?”

“She will not bother anyone in this world. And I do not know if her goddess, Helea, will be nice to her in the next.”

“But she turned you into a bear.”

“A nasty, ill-tempered bear, who had just the wit to tear her from limb to limb. Though there was a spell on her lips, she did not get it off in time - apparently not quick enough. She was very young, and she did not think through her actions.” He tilted his head slightly to the right and stuck his tongue, clearly he was proud of this.

At this point, Luthoar began to look, and decided that if he could perhaps convince this man to join him it would be better for all concerned. Especially for him, and most particularly when it was a bear - then it would be better to be on his good side - knowing what his bad side looked like, or so he imagined. An image popped in to his mind of a young woman torn down the middle. It was not pleasant.

However, Thurothgrart interrupted his musings: “So what are you doing here? You are not a viking, nor are you of the peasant class - the Jarin. That means you have some sort of purpose here. What is it? If you don't mind my asking.” It was obvious that his viking companion was talkative, perhaps it was just that he had been loosed from a sort of prison, a prison of the mind.

“I am a mercenary, and decided to recruit a company.”

“Either you have just started, or have not had much luck yet.”

“The former.”

“Then I would be your first recruit. But I will tell you I don't like to be second in command, or first or third. I will take orders only from you - not from anyone else. Not as a man, and certainly not as a bear.”

“Do you want your other half to be well known?”

“It comes and goes, of its own accord sometimes. I have therefore little control over who finds out. Which means I don't worry about it at all. Usually the other person has to worry a good deal more. And I like it that way, it gives me an edge in negotiations.” By “negotiations” he met “fight”.

A thought occurred to Luthoar: did this made him vulnerable. He decided not to test the anger of the man, because it might be much like the bear – angry.

Again, his friend proceeded to be garrulous: “ you might want to wait out the thunderstorm - and unless I miss my guess it is from the north sea - and will take a while. Then we can stop near a town - I know it well - and I will equipe myself, though the tools will not be off any standard that you would think well of.”

“And why would I say this?”

“A look at your bastard sword tells me that you carry fine weapons - unless I miss my guess that is elvish made, and very very old.” Apparently he had a fine eye, at least for weapons - it was indeed elvish and made a long long time ago - it had passed through many hands within his family.

So they waited for the thunderstorm to pass, telling tales and bawdy jokes - and wondering about the crackle of lightning. By the time it had subsided, it was already dark. The other point was that they were friends by the end. Raindrops fell from the leaves - while his mate told the story of how he got the power to change into a bear and back again. Apparently the wizard at first turned him into a female bear, perhaps as a joke. This did not set things, until words had been spoken, and the wizard rectified his error.

They made their way along a trail that his compeer had pointed out - towards a small village, a village where brethren who were loyal to the large beefy man would open their shutters and allow him to take anything he wanted. Not that there was anything much to take, the fine Wolvesguard swords were not on offer. They spent the night at a distant cousin of Thurothgrart, he making an offer of service to be paid some time in the future. Then on the next morning they set out for a place that had ominous tidings on it - a place where giants lived.

He was in the present now - having remembered how he and the man-bear had first met - and he could see the fur in the distance, and he knew that it was watching intently.
Stirling Newberry

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest