Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:"Men and women," he acknowledged, "These are dangerous times. Though the Bulls have been recognized as a legitimate faction by the Classic Emperor, that does not grant us automatic safety. Also, it seems Orion been haunted by demons of late. This may just be superstitious gossip, but still...keep a weapon by you at all times. Let's go."
Jerral had made a n astounding discovery in Orion. The Rebel Resistance. It had happened suddenly, when he had entered a bar with a couple of his companions and had ordered drinks. After a few minutes, after the drinks had arrived and they were sipping at them, another person entered the bar; a short, muscular man with blazing red hair and giant sideburns. Displayed upon his chest was the Bull symbol. Jerral and his companions gaped as the Bull plodded to the bar, hoisted himself up onto a seat, and demanded gruffly, "A pint of Dragon's Milk, if ye please."
The man soon turned and eyed Jerral squarely.
"Ye a bloody Falcon?" he snarled.
"Uh -- no, why to you ask that?" Jerral managed to respond.
"Yer lookin' at me funny."
The Bull's drink had arrived. As he fumbled about for a coin Jerral stopped him and produced his own purse.
"Let me pay for that." he offered.
"'Oo the bloody tyco are ye?" demanded the Bull.
"We're Bulls." replied Jerral.
"Where's yer Bull tunic?" snapped the Bull.
"Hidden. We thought Orion was hostile to Bulls."
"Not any more. Ever since the Resistance settled 'ere and teh Em'per said a few words, no 'un paid us sec'und 'eed."
The bartender harrumphed and Jerral passed over the coin. The Bull eyed Jerral, then said, offering a rough club of a hand "'M Joshhu."
"Jerral." Jerral took the hand and shook, "An' this is Mogted and Mardlan."
"Ye sound Bull 'nuff." observed Joshhu, "'M inclined teh believe ye. Ye from Bull Isle?"
"Aye. I was sent by Gerrik. He wondered of the fate of Lord Barbod and the fleet of Bull ships that sailed north to aid the Forestmen."
"Bloody tyco, ye've been under eh stone for eh while, aye?"
"You could say that...we've learned much, about the BloodVaine War an' all, but we still don't know the exact whereabouts of Lord Barbod."
"Ah, I see. Well...I could...well...yeah..."
Joshhu seemed to be undecided on some point. At last he said, "Ye swear on the crest of the Bull that ye be Bulls and harbor no ill intensions?"
Jerral, Mogted and Mardlan all swore. Joshhu seemed satisfied.
"Ri' then...I'd better take ye ta Bersun..."
"Bersun? Who's he?"
"E's a Black Falcon...part o' teh resistance, an' is in charge o' teh rebels Falcons an' Bulls in Orion."
This was certainly news to Jerral. He had never heard of a Black Falcon Rebel Resistance. He pressed Joshhu for answers as they left the bar and tackled the crowds outside. Joshhu answered the questions to the best of his ability, explaining the presence of the Rebels and their association with the Bulls. After ten minutes Joshhu stopped in front of a wattle-and-daub house and knocked three times. He was admitted, and after muttering a few things to the man who had opened the door, he gestured for Jerral and his companions to follow.
They were led into a small room that appeared to serve as a study. It was mostly bare save for a rug and a writing desk, and a small bunk in the corner. At the desk sat a man, a Black Falcon, garbed in a deep navy blue robe. He was unusually pale, and across his faced were several deeply lined scars.
"Hello, Joshhu." greeted the Black Falcon, "Who are these men?"
"Bersun, sir, this be Jerral, and Mogted and Mardlan. They swear they are Bulls and are in search of Lord Barbod."
"Indeed? Welcome, then. I'm afraid I can't offer anyone chairs, we aren't exactly a well-funded organization."
Bersun smiled and stood. "How did you come to Orion?"
Jerral explained his mission, Gerrik's thirst for information, and the journey northward.
"I see." Bersun said when Jerral was finished, "Well, I see nothing suspicious or untrustworthy about you or your quest."
"Here is the official seal of Gerrik." Jerral offered.
Bersun glanced at it, then returned it. "Having never met the man, I cannot confirm it. However, I trust your word. Xonyer?"
The man who had opened the door nodded and stepped forward.
"Would you please fetch something to drink or eat? My tale I need to tell Jerral and his friends will take some time."
Xonyer left and Bersun turned back to Jerral.
"Now, time to fill you in on all the current events with the Bulls, Black Falcons, and other related issues."
The whole retelling took over an hour. Jerral listened, while Mogted and Mardlan took notes. Joshhu stayed because there was food. When the telling was complete, Jerral said, "I never knew so much has happened. To think the Bulls are on the verge of regaining their land! And Lord Barbod, in the Royal Knight capital...I would have never guessed."
Bersun swigged tea and wiped the droplets from his droopy moustache.
"It may sound strange, but it is true."
At that moment Xonyer reentered, a small piece of parchment clutched in his hand.
"Bersun -- read this..."
Bersun took the proffered parchment and read, his eyes moving back and forth quickly. He put down the paper, then announced, "That was from the Lone Falcon. We are to head north, to Vassalton, a city only a few leagues from Falconis City. It seems the opportune moment is now."
He stood, then turned to Jerral.
"Will you and your team accompany us?"
Jerral nodded vigorously. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."