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Classic Castle Roleplay: October 2005

LEGO gaming, including group role playing games

Postby Lord_Of_The_LEGO » Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:53 pm

NOTE: Jack's tale was borrowed from this thread: http://www.classic-castle.com/forum/vie ... php?t=2916

Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:Dale did not engage much in the talk, though he listened with amusement. When he was walking next to Alice, he asked, “So, what will happen now, now that fall is nearing it’s end?”

“Well,” said Alice, “On the 31st of October we hold a celebration, called Oktoberfest. It’s an annual event celebrating the good harvest. It also welcomes winter. There’s singing and dancing and games for the little ones and --” Alice laughed “Beer for everyone else. It’s a wonderfully jolly time.”

Dale smiled.

“I can’t wait.”


Grid: P-10
Location: Hemmerington


Upon return to Hemmerington, preparations for Oktoberfest went underway at once. Dale set to work with the town’s cooper, or barrel maker, Brian Broughton. Brian was a giant of a man, bigger even than the brawny blacksmith Medao. He was rounder than the barrels he built, but he bragged it was all muscle. Dale had been skeptical until he saw Brian heave a full cask of malted beer onto his back and manhandle it into Hemmerington’s square. Dale had to make do with rolling firkins of cranberry wine along the dusty ground.

On the other side of the square, Kevin the Gong Farmer was dutifully scooping piles of fresh dung and piling them into his cart. He would toss a bit of dirt over the soiled ground before continuing onward to the next pile. He never stopped humming jovially.

The carpenter Donald Dwight was assembling a puppet theatre out of planks of wood with the aid of the twins Herman and Lansen, while Mistress Korvalt and Alice Clooney aided the seamstress Roberta Wheetton unrolled a faded but still colorful line of pennants. Roberta’s husband Clyde was already nailing up along sting of pennants, one end to the creaking sign of the “Pu”, and the other to the roof of Fredfry MacDougals’ shop.

“Oy! Dale! Get the apple barrel, will ya!”

Dale rushed to do Brian’s bidding. The apple barrel had original been a five-foot-tall barrel for wine, but it had been sawed in half. Dale rolled it easily next to the well. Maeve MacDougal and Matt Korvalt began to fill it, nearly splashing as much water on themselves as into the barrel. When it was finally full, Farmer McGregor dumped a whole two bushels of apples into it.

By this time, the puppet theatre was built, and the pennants were hung. Now came out the pumpkins, fat and orange. As the men finished hauling the heavy items and stabling the horses, and as the women began preparing the evening feast, the children gathered to carve the pumpkins, under the supervision of Alice Clooney, Orla MacDougal and several other of the older girls.

Dusk was just appearing and the were about to festivities begin. Everyone from Hemmerington had squeezed into the square. Several bonfires were lit, and spooky Jack-O-Lanterns glowed. Dale was standing next to Alice, eagerly waiting for the first attraction of the night: dinner, when something outside the ring of light caught his eye. He turned, as did Alice. Something humanoid was walking toward the crowds. Whistling trilled in the semi-darkness. Slowly, all of Hemmerington turned to look. At last, the figure stepped into the light. It was a man, with a beard and clan in green. He looked only mildly surprised to see an entire village staring at him.

“Brix and blox! Now this is sure an odd sight for ole Jack, indeed…”

He walked forward, smiling.

“Greetings, greetings! Ole Jack Craft is honored to meet ye!”

Healer Melkan moved forward, holding out his hand.

“Greetings, Jack Craft. Welcome to Hemmerington. I’m Healer Melkan. You’ve arrived just in time for our Oktorberfest.”

Jack Craft wrinkled his noise.

“Oktoberfest! Brix and blox, I always knew ole Jack had good timing. Why, there was that time I t’was floating all by my lonesome, ready to be a tasty treat for them fishies, and lo! I gets picked up by none other than the King of the Bulls! Lucky he spotted my tablecloth…”

The crowd laughed quietly as they parted to admit Jack. Jack made his way to the front, where some children were still carving pumpkins. Jack chuckled.

“My, my, Jack-me-lad, this brings a tale to my lips! Who wants to hear a tale?”

“Me!” cried the children.

“As you wish, younglings,” smiled Jack, “Jack be my name and Craft be my game. The crafting of tales, that is. Now, Jack's not one to toot his own horn-- not unless I happens to be working as a musician that day, anyway -- but this be the perfect time of the year to tell about something that happened to ole’ Jack meself many years ago…”

Jack Craft wrote:The autumn rains drove Jack south, hoping for shelter in the shadows of the rocks that bordered the imperial lands on the edge of Fright Knight territory. He fled headlong, storm and wrack following close behind, and just managed to squeeze into a scrape of overhanging rock as the full force of the deluge began. He didn't notice the other traveler until after flinging his wet pack and cap to the ground, and by then could hardly ignore her, since she had a short blade just under his adam's apple.

"Ware! Trespasser!"

Jack goggled a moment at the young Fright Knight that held him at knife point, her dark eyes glittering from lighting flashes just beyond the shelter. Her black hair, long and straight, hung in wet lines along her white face and neck. It was obvious she had been caught in the storm only a few moments before Jack had. From the rough weaving of tinder at her feet, it looked like she had been trying to get a fire started when Jack arrived.

"Er... easy there, your Ladyship. Jack's just a journeyman in need of a roof, same as you. No need to be cutting any extra holes in his pipes, please."

Her blade twitched nervously before moving backwards several inches. She sniffled slightly, and clearly suppressed an urge to wipe her nose.

"Who are you? These are Fright Knight lands-- we do not like trespassers. Are you a tradesman? A journeyman what?"

"Aye, all of the above. Jack's a journeyman mason-- well, maybe not for much longer, since my tools are back at the tavern in Hawks-narrow, and I'm not likely to be getting them back anytime soon. Anyhow, I've had enough of stonework as it stands. So I guess you could say Jack's neither, too."

Unable to decide if the strange wanderer before her was a threat or not, the Fright Knight pulled back another few inches, and seemed about to speak. She sneezed instead, and the knife bounced lightly against the ground as it fell from her grasp. As she sneezed again, Jack darted to grab it. She lurched for it at the same moment, and their hands met on top of the handle of the blade.

"It's my knife," she said, trying to pull it out of his hand.

"Aye, and it's Jack's throat-- so I'd like to keep the two separate, if your Ladyship doesn't mind!"

Lightning shuddered the rock walls, and a thunderclap like the crash of a battering ram froze both of them like a painting. Wind screamed outside.

"Odd's truth, you keep the knife, and I'll keep my windpipe, and Jack'll throw in a fire in the bargain. Deal?"

She eyed the shrouds of rain that whipped across the stones a few feet away. Jack cautiously took his hand away from the knife.

"Deal."

As she put the knife away, Jack began to rummage in his pack, making sounds like a knife-grinder's wagon at full gallop. He pulled out a small ceramic lantern, which began to drip thick oil on the floor.

"Brix and Blox! Must have gotten cracked in the storm. Or maybe it was the tavern brawl... or could have been... nevermind."

He poured the contents of the lamp onto the damp tinder, and eyed the empty, cracked lantern mournfully.

"That's not something even Jack could fix, I'd warrant. Aye, I'll have to buy a new one in Twimsdale, or maybe Larkspur."

He discarded the broken lantern, and after a search in his clanking pack, produced flint and a steel rasp. A fire blazed in the shelter not long afterwards. The Fright Knight had said nothing the entire time he worked, though she cast wary glances at him whenever he went back into his supplies. Jack quickly realized that aside from her small knife, she had none of her own. The rain outside had settled into a steady murmur.

"Now, your Ladyship, seems to me that I might have a spare plug of hardtack or biscuit somewhere in here, if you've a mind."

"Yes. Yes, thank you."

Jack nodded and offered up the morsel. A short, noisy search of his pack produced a tiny battered pot, and after holding it outside for a moment to collect water, Jack soon had it bubbling over the fire as he added various bits of dried meats and vegetables from his supplies.

"I'm called Jack Craft, your Ladyship. Well, to be fair, I've been called a few other things besides, but I'd not repeat them in a lady's company." Jack stirred his makeshift soup with an equally makeshift spoon.

"My name is Natali. Border watch, third talon."

"Natali?" Jack snorted. "I thought all you Fright Knights had terrifying names. Shouldn't you have been named Morticia or Spidera or something?"

Natali flushed a tiny bit, and frowned.

"I was named after the name mages use for the Funnel-eared bats that haunt our caves."

Jack didn't know what to say to that one. He covered by offering up a mug of soup, and Natali took it cautiously. She sniffed warily at the contents before taking a tiny sip.

"Suspicious bunch, you Fright Knights. Seeing plots and poisons everywhere." Jack helped himself to his own soup, and ate with gusto, happy to get some hot food into his belly."

"We've learned to be. Our ancestors were persecuted everywhere in Dametreos for witchery, driven from every realm. Your kind have always hated and feared the powers of the night..."

"Easy, now, your Batship? Jack's not done any witch-burning himself in nearly a week." He grinned at her over his soup, and she flushed again, embarrassed at the outburst.

"Sorry. It's true, my people have become very wary of outsiders. We do not like strangers. No offense."

"Aye, hence the border watch bit you mentioned a few moments ago. Do you always hoist a knife at passing strangers?"

"You startled me. I was too busy trying to get a fire started, and I didn't see you approach. I'm supposed to be guarding this part of the border-- how would it look if I let an outsider pass unchallenged? It's Fright Knight law; only travellers with legitimate business in our lands may pass. And we have to keep a record of them, too."

"So does that mean I pass? Or do you drive me back north into imperial domain?"

Natali took a swallow from her mug and considered.

"Making soup for border guards? I'll let that go as legitimate business." She finally smiled, and Jack thought it had been worth the wait.

**********************************************************************

By morning, the storm had blown past, and an autumn chill had settled between the crags. The wind still blew, scattering small pebbles and grit in its path. Jack shivered next to the ghost of the fire.

"Brix and Blox... it's colder than a witch's..."

He caught the glare Natali had leveled at him, and trailed off.

"Anyhow. It's cold."

Natali tied her coal-black hair back behind her head as she nodded.

"First frost. Harvest Moon will be tonight."

"Harvest Moon?"

She explained as they stumbled out from the shelter of the rocks. Jack blinked in the watery autumn sunlight.

"Harvest Moon is a Fright Knight holiday. We pay honor to the moon and the harvest of food it brings us for the winter."

"The moon? Aye, but doesn't the sun..."

She shrugged.

"Yes, crops grow by the light of the day, but we plant them under the watch of the moon. It's Fright Knight tradition. Tonight is one of the most important nights. The powers of the moon will be strongest-- our mages will cast some of their most powerful spells for the coming year."

Jack shuddered a bit at the thought of the necromancers and the spells they would work tonight. Natali caught his look, and smirked.

"You're not alone in that feeling. The ordinary folk-- the villains and townsfolk-- will stay close to home tonight. They're afraid of the forces that will be out tonight, and with good reason. They'll light banefires and share food, and won't go out for anything."

"Aye, sounds like a sensible lot."

"Well, I'm going back to my home village before sunset. You're welcome to come along, and see the Harvest Moon for yourself. I'd advise against traveling after dark, tonight-- it won't be safe. There are things that go abroad Harvest Moon night that no man should face."

She was half-smiling as she said it, her voice theatrical. Jack wondered how much she was joking about, but decided it was best not to ask.

Natali told him a bit more about the legends associated with Harvest Moon as they walked. She told him the story of Snatch-your-head, who lurked at crossroads for the unwary, and about the Fool's Fires-- sometimes called Dead Monk's Lanterns-- that lured the young into woods and swamps, never to be seen again. Jack, a little on the superstitious side, shivered appreciatively at each tale, and kicked a bit at the autumn leaves that carpeted the ground along their journey. An occasional slip of cold wind stirred the leaves into whirling shapes on the edge of the path, and Jack started at a few of those, too. Natali was just finishing the tale of the dreadful Pale Child-- and how when it found a new "mommy" or "daddy" would never, never let go of them again-- when they reached the outskirts of her village.

While Jack had seen a few Fright Knight cities before, he had never seen how the ordinary folk lived. It was somewhat disappointing how normal the village seemed at first glance-- a well, a small granary, a scattering of small cottages and fields seemingly thrown down at random, like the toss of dominoes. Then he began to notice the dark runes daubed on the eaves, and the bats and leering gargoyles carved along fence posts and rails. Still, children played among those carvings, and smiled shyly from behind hay bales. Not so very different, after all, Jack thought. Some of the macabre decorations-- bats and crescent moons cut from paper and cloth-- were obviously recent additions for the holiday. A few of the folk were building a stack of wood in the open space near the edge of a field, in preparation for tonight's banefire. They glared warily at Jack as he passed, but said nothing. Jack felt their gaze on the back of his neck as Natali lead him though the center of the tiny settlement.

"Everyone will gather in the barn, tonight-- it's the only building with enough room for us all-- and the banefire will be lit just outside. Between the food and the fire, anything lurking in the darkness of Harvest Moon will keep its distance. There's still much that needs doing before sunset, and I'm sure an extra set of hands would be welcomed."

Jack pitched in throughout the afternoon, hauling and carrying, hewing and hanging, and even telling a few lighthearted jokes here and there. Slowly, the sullen looks from the villains faded, and by late afternoon Jack had been largely accepted as harmless and occasionally useful.

The air grew colder as the sun slipped low on the horizon, and even Jack admitted to himself that the wind had an eerie chill that could not entirely be accounted for by the weather. Though he had been a solitary traveller many times, tonight he would be glad of company and a blazing fire.

"Aye, Jack-me-lad... Harvest Moon night in Fright Knight territory. There's things ye've a better time not knowing about."

He thought about the stories Natali had told him during their journey here, and shuddered. As the shadows of the trees around the settlement lengthened, they twisted and grasped in strange patterns on the ground. He wasn't the only one who noticed, either, as he watched several of the folk mutter prayers and charms before heading inside. Two of the men lit the huge banefire, and the light of the glowing logs seemed to drive the shadowy shapes back under the cover of the trees, while at the same time making them leap and caper in disturbing ways. The bitter wind mumbled at Jack's ear, or called, high and keening, from the woods. And something that might or might not have been a lantern bobbed along the ridge to the west of the village. Jack went inside.

A smaller fire burned in the center of the barn, causing smoke to curl along the roof beams before finding its way out though the upper loft. A few pots of stew and mulled wine already bubbled on the edges of the makeshift hearth. Bundles of turnips and tubers were cooking in the ashes. Some of the children had begun roasting apples, a task Jack cheerfully joined in on. His strange jokes and constant grin had already won him numerous friends among the younger members of the crowd. That, and the boiled sweets he had been handing out during the afternoon. A fiddler and a piper threw a tune back and forth between them, and the fears of what might lurk outside began to fade.

As the night went on, Jack juggled a bit for the crowd, struggled through a few tunes on the pipe himself, and danced more than once with Natali. He also ate too many spiced fritters, and drank more than his share of mulled cider. When most of the smaller children had finally fallen asleep under the watchful eye of their grandparents, they began to trade ghoulish stories over the red glow of the fire. Jack heard a few that Natali had already shared, and others more horrific still.

"...the tangle of branches hung above the camp, and in the light of the morning sun, they found only his raw bones among the twigs and leaves-- but of his skin, not a sign..."

Jack heard a whimper off to his side, and turned to see one young child who had not been asleep shivering at the gruesome tale. He knelt down next to her, and smiled.

"Here, now, young miss-- no tears, no tears, the Wood-witch isn't real. It's just pretend."

The child sniffled, not reassured. She knew what lay beyond the safety of the banefire this night.

"Aye. Jack has just the answer. His lantern will keep back the creepies and crawlies in the night. Hold on."

Jack rummaged though his pack for a long moment, then swore under his breath, suddenly remembering the broken lantern that lay discarded on the edge of the crags northeast of here. He thought hard for a moment, and grinned.

Grabbing up one of the turnips that had been too large to cook in the fire, he quickly hollowed out the earthy vegetable. He was about to carve out a simple square for a lantern window, when he thought better of it and made a silly face of crooked eyes and a grin to rival his own. He scooped in a few glowing embers with his spoon, and the face cast a flickering light towards the young girl. She giggled at the strange sight, entranced.

"W-what is it?"

"Oh, it's just Jack's ol' lantern. It'll keep the nasties at bay. See? None of them would dare to come face to face with this face."

The child ran to show the oddity to the other children, even waking many who were already asleep. And Jack was quickly surrounded by begging faces, each one wanting a "Jack's ol' lantern" of their own. He was kept busy for the next couple of hours carving up spare turnips, parsnips, and gourds into wilder and more imaginative faces, much to amusement of Natali and several other adults.

"Brix and blox! There's going to be more of these glowing faces than there are real ones in here, before long!"

A few other villagers offered to help, but the children wanted them only from Jack. It was well past midnight when the last of the youngsters had been given a lantern face to carry, and for the rest of the night the flickering, strangely cheerful lanterns cast their watchful light from the corners and walls of the barn. Jack fell asleep not long afterwards, though he continued to carve turnips in his dreams until sunrise.

**********************************************************************
Natali had gone back to the northern border by the time Jack awoke. He ate a spare breakfast by the embers of the banefire, watching a few of the village mothers collecting discarded turnip-lanterns from the barn. He smiled to himself, wondering if the children would have been so eager to have their lanterns if they had known it would mean turnip stew for dinner the following day. Still, he decided a few would probably want the same decorations for next year...

He shouldered his pack and said a few goodbyes among the villagers, thanking them for the safety of their celebration. The dirt road beyond arched both north and south, and he thought for a long while before he decided which would be his path.


At the end of Jack’s tale, the younglings were all staring, wide-eyed.

“So you invented the Jack-O-Lantern?” asked one child in awe.

Jack laughed and winked.

“Ye could say that.”

And so, with Jack Craft’s tale, Oktoberfest began.
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Postby Lord_Of_The_LEGO » Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:14 am

Formendacil wrote:"Here you are," said Modious, quickly scrawling something on a piece of parchment, and putting his seal on it. "That should take care of it. Thank you for stopping by, Lady Slacs-Sicl. It was a pleasure to me you."

"And you as well," said Cate. And, with that, they left Modious Morphous' study to seek the Archives.


Grid: L-7
Location: Hemlock Fortress


Hans and Adrian walked side-by-side Cate, dazed, not daring to say anything until they were most certainly out of earshot of Modious Morphous’ study. Then Hans turned and cried, “Dude, that, like, so totally rocked!”

Cate smiled.

“Seriously, Cate,” said Adrian, remaining slightly more composed, “That was some excellent acting back there.”

“Acting?” Cate giggled, “I wasn’t acting…all what I said back there was true. I am related to the Delhaerts, you know, and the Malders, of course. And I do think that Radjar is more befitting a mercenary than a prince.”

“As do most of the Dark Foresters, if that statue is any evidence.” noted Adrian, nodding, “Any, that’s one obstacle down…”

And so the trio returned to Andreas Farflax’s office. The Chief Archivist peered at the note suspiciously but grunted, “Very well. Come this way.”

Andreas Farflax led them down a short passage into a small, cramped room containing only four bookshelves.

“This is it?” blurted Hans.

Andreas Farflax wrinkled his nose.

“Yes.”

He remained by the door as Hans, Adrian and Cate fanned out.

“Doesn’t want us pinching anything.” muttered Hans, glowering.

“I don’t blame him.” replied Adrian, “Would you trust three foreign teenagers in your archives?”

“No…” admitted Hans.

As they did in the Forestmen archives, the trio split the work between them, each looking in the E, N and W section. It didn’t take long at all. Barely an hour had passed before they had finished leafing through the sections.

“Tyco.” muttered Hans, “Why isn’t it here?”

“Why don’t we search the rest?” suggested Cate, “It’s not like it’s going to take long…”

“Aye.” snorted Adrian, “My dad’s got a bigger personal library than this.”

So they continued, working steadily from shelf to shelf. Their labors yielded nothing. Hans went up to Andreas Farflax, who was still standing at the door stoically.

“This is absolutely it?”

“It is.” snapped Andreas Farflax, “Everything else is restricted. And--”

Andreas Farflax gestured significantly at the hourglass on the wall.

“Visitor hours are over. I must ask you to leave.”

Unwillingly, Hans, Adrian and Cate were evicted from the archives chamber. Hans muttered something uncomplimentary about “tree-hugging tycos”.

“Well, you could have been a bit less oafish.” said Cate, “You weren’t exactly pleasant.”

“He wasn’t either!” retorted Hans, “Treating us like kids!”

“The real problem is,” said Adrian, “What are we going to do now?”

Dejectedly, the trio elected to have supper in a local inn before deciding what to do next. Hans had a sausage sandwiched in an elongated bun with a fine pickle sauce, Adrian a meat patty with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and two types of sauces, and Cate a large mug of liquid chocolate. “Comfort food.” she called it. All three of them also had a king-size plate of ‘Freedom Fries’.

“Now this a humorous tale.” said Adrian, reading from Why Dark Foresters Drink Hemlock, “Every since early days of the League of Forestmen, “Forestmen Fries” have been a favorite among tree-huggers and lumberjacks alike. This popular meal was often prepared when tribes of Forestmen got together to trade. Potatoes were cut into thin slices and then fried in a vat of animal fat. These “fries”, as they are called, are crispy and greasy. If possible, they are also salted. Among the Forestdwellers they were simply known as “fries”, but to the rest of Dametreos, they were called “Forestmen fries”. They name stuck until 1776, when the Forestmen and the Dark Foresters officially split. The Dark Foresters, in a state of patriotic fervor (some say stupidity), renamed the famous dish “Freedom Fries.”. However, it remained known as “Forestmen fries” everywhere else in Dametreos, and it is generally considered that “Freedom fries” are of poorer quality.”

Hans and Cate laughed.

“Nations can be so silly some times.” said Cate, shaking her head and sucking on her drink through a hollow reed.

“Wait ‘til you hear this.” said Adrian, “in 1799, a tribe of Wolfpack lead by Grimfel Gnashtooth raided the Hemlock Fortress for the sole purpose of stealing the Dark Forester’s stockpile of potatoes, salt and cooking grease. Seems the Wolfpack supply was running low.”

Hans snorted and Cate’s drink bubbled as she laughed loudly.

“A battle over fries!”

Hans suddenly looked contemplative.

“Wolfpack raids…” he murmured, “Adrian, were there many Wolfpack raids against the Dark Foresters?”

“Do Dragon Masters raise dragons?” snorted Adrian, “There isn’t a month in history where the Wolfpack were not raiding the Dark Foresters, or vise versa…”

Then Adrian realised what Hans was thinking.

“Hold that thought.”

Adrian flipped to the back of the book, to the glossary.

“Raids…raids…types of raids…livestock…money…cloth…timber…ah! Books…page 456.”

Adrian flipped to page 456 and, after a bit of scanning, quoted, “In 1855, the Wolfpack dealt a blown against the Dark Foresters when they successfully raided the Hemlock Archives, carrying off a full half of the valuable manuscripts. They were never recovered are assumed to still be in Wolfpack possession.”

Adrian snapped the book shut. Hans chewed on a fry. Cate looked at both of them.

“What say you?” she said, “To the Wolfpack?”

“You willing to payroll it?”

“Of course!”

“Then let’s go!”
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Postby Formendacil » Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:13 am

Grid: C-3
Location: Emberlain Castle

Formendacil wrote:"I am entirely serious," he said. "For the salvation of the majority of my people, I must offer up my daughter."

"My father is correct," said Estella. "It is the only way."

These people ARE mad, thought Thomas.


"Sir, you can't do that!" said Thomas. "Sir Dractor only just got here. We can fight off the dragon, hide underground, do SOMETHING! We don't have to get passive and let the dragon control things!"

"I fear, though," said Lord Edmond, "that your Sir Dractor is dead, and Sir Yves, and the others with him. How else is it that the dragon is coming at us from the direction of Lake Wala, only an hour or two after he was to have arrived there and been killed?"

"I don't know!" said Thomas. "Maybe the dragon was smart and changed his habits? Maybe he smelled them! Who knows?"

"Your hope is valiant, young squire," said the Baron, "but I do not share it. Alas for my house, for Estella is the last of my line!"

"All more the reason not to do this!" cried Thomas, but the Baron wasn't listening.

Neither was Estella. She had dashed off to dress in the white dress that was customary of maidens being sacrifed to dragons, and even went so far as to tell one of the soldiers where to find the rope to bind her with. Meanwhile, the soldiers were waging a terrible battle against the dragon, showering him with stones, spears, arrows, even rotten tomatoes in attempt to drive him off.

Deciding that some people were too insane to even try talking sense into, Thomas went and joined the soldiers. It was a bit of a losing battle. The dragon's hide was too scaly for them to pierce, and all they were managing to do was keep him out of flame's reach. He was toying with them, Thomas realised, as if he knew what the Baron and Estella were up to. Maybe dragons could sense those sorts of things.

Just as the soldiers were starting to run out of things to chuck at the dragon, Estella reappeared, dressed in white, her hair laced with white ribbons, and her father shakingly tying her up. There were tears in the old man's eyes, and it was clearly hard for him to do what he was doing. His ability, Thomas thought, to do his duty was tremendous.

Estella seemed only a little emotional, though, keeping her face free of tears, and standing straight and tall as her father bound the ropes around her. She said a low word of good-bye, and was led onto the parapet.

The fighting ceased. The dragon stopped attacking the soldiers, who were only too pleased to let up.

The dragon flew over to the parapet, and perched on it, his great head taller than either Lord Edmond or Estella. It made no noise, but looked straight at the Baron, and slowly nodded. Then it flew up, grabbed Estella by the ropes and flew away with her dangling from his mouth. Thomas, Lord Edmond, and the soldiers watched in silence.

Less than an hour later, Sir Dractor, Sir Yves, and the outlaws returned, in perfect health.
Last edited by Formendacil on Thu Nov 24, 2005 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Formendacil » Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:43 am

Grid: P-10
Location: Hemmerington

Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:At the end of Jack’s tale, the younglings were all staring, wide-eyed.

“So you invented the Jack-O-Lantern?” asked one child in awe.

Jack laughed and winked.

“Ye could say that.”

And so, with Jack Craft’s tale, Oktoberfest began.


Healer Melkan chuckled at Jack's tale.

"It's a very good tale," he told his neighbour, Gherry Lorans. Gherry was a farmer by trade, and had been living next to Melkan for the past forty years. His children lived with him now, and were the ones who did most of the farming. Old Gherry spent his days hobbling around on his cane, recalling the old days with the other village elders.

"That it were," said Gherry with a nod, his hearing still sharp after eighty years, although the same could not be said for his eyesight. "This Craft fellow tells a good tale. But it wasna him what started them Jack Lanterns. We were making those when I was a youngin'. And that were a powerful long time ago."

"Back when we were ruled from Drullen Bell?" said Brian Broughton from the other side of Gherry. Melkan chuckled; the Dark Foresters had been independent for over two hundred years.

"Longer than that," said old Gherry, relishing the role of the old man. "Back in my day, we were ruled by old King Kris!"

Brian and Melkan both laughed.

"Do you want anything to drink, Gherry?" asked Melkan, getting up. "I'm going over to the Pu' to grab a sherry for myself."

"I thought that you healer types said drinkin' was bad for a man," said Gherry.

"Only in excess," said Melkan. "Taken in moderation, it is a gift from Chodan- and even healthy for you."

"Well, if I have your approval, I'll have an ale," said Gherry.

"Brian?" asked Melkan.

"No thanks," said the cooper. "Once I get started, I don't stop until I'm under a table, and it's too early in the night for that."

Melkan nodded, and walked around the edge of the square to the Pu', where the owner, Aelk Borom, was tending the bar from his front door. Thirsty, celebrating villagers came to and fro, bringing drinks to their places in the square.

"A bottle of sherry," said Melkan, "and an ale for old Gherry."

"Is that old weazil still drinking?" said Aelk, as he poured the ale. "I don't know what his secret is. He's been drinking since I took over the Pu', and that's been over twenty years now- and he's been ancient the entire time. Better watch out, or he'll outlive us all, Melkan."

Melkan nodded, and took out his coinpurse to pay. Aelk accepted the money for the sherry, but refused payment for the ale.

"It's a gift to an old patron," he said. "And a good friend. Old Gherry's advice kept my in business that first year with the Pu'."

"How'sh come yoush never give me free drinksh?" asked a man sitting in the mud beside the Pu's wall.

"Redka," said Aelk to the village drunk, "you'll always come back and buy more- even if I were to kill your mother. I don't need to butter you up. Besides, I gave you a free ale last Wednesday, and the Thursday before that, and about once every ten days for the past six years..."

"Okay," said Redka. "There'sh no need to get sho hot about it." Aelk shook his head and turned back to Melkan. "Give the old fellow my regards," he said. "And be sure to get stocked up on drinks before Mering Dance, 'cause I'll be in the band playing the washboard."

Melkan nodded, and returned to the others, drinks in hand.

"We were just saying," said Brian to Melkan as he returned, "what a fine young man that Dale is. You really worked a miracle with him."

"A healer's first duty is to do no harm," said Melkan philosophically. "I merely went from there."

"That young feller's got his eye on your apprentice, methinks," said old Gherry. "You might be having to give her some time off for a honeymoon one of these days."

"What on earth gives you that idea, Gherry?" asked Brian. "I hadn't noticed anything going on between those two."

"When you're my age, my boy, and have seen the rise and fall of great empires, you'll know the signs too," said Gherry. Brian appealed to Melkan for help. The healer raised his hands helplessly.

"Don't get me involved. I've seen Gherry be right on too many things too many uncanny times to dare gainsay him."

"Heh," said Gherry, "now there's a piece of wisdom you ought to apply yourself to, young Brian."

"By the way," said Melkan, settling back into his seat, "Aelk Borom sends his regards- and a free ale."

"The little cheat," said Gherry. "The deal was that he was supposed to give my companions free drink as well. He's learning too fast, that youngin."
Last edited by Formendacil on Thu Dec 01, 2005 6:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Formendacil » Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:23 pm

Grid: J-10
Location: Orion

Formendacil wrote:"Don't let word of this debacle get out, if you can help it," he warned Jayko and Arthur as they prepared to leave. "The Empire does not need news of such an embarrassing defeat floating around."

"Don't worry," said Arthur, "we aren't in any particular mood to spread it around either."


The five Cadet-Lieutenants were summoned to to meet with Marshal-General Theodosius upon their return to Orion. Gravely, they informed him off all that had happened.

"This is a most serious happening," was his comment when they had finished, "and will certainly bear more discussion by the High Command, but you have played your part. Return to the Cadet Barracks. Lieutenant-Commander Tierre has temporary charge of the Cadets."

The Cadet-Lieutenants rose to leave.

"Cadet-Lieutenants Falconensis and Vitore," said the Marshal-General, "I'd like you to stay a moment." Jayko and Arthur sat down again. Once the other Cadet-Lieutenants had left the room, Theodosius turned to them.

"Captain-Major Battista writes very favourably of your actions as reported to him, and from the accounts heard just now, I am inclined to agree with him. I am therefore promoting the two of you to the ranks of the Imperial Cavaliers, and those soldiers who remained with you and did their duty as well. The rest of the Cadets, who panicked and disgraced the order, will return to training for the full program. I'd like a list from you of those Cadets who held to their duties, in order to promote them. Your own promotions to Lieutenant of Cavaliers will be done summarily."

And so, in the presence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Cavaliers, Sir Jayko Falconensis and Arthur Vitore were sworn in as officers of the Imperial army, and as Lieutenants of the Imperial Cavaliers.

"Lieutenant-Major Locadere will find you quarters in the Cavalier barracks," Theodosius told him. "You will also receive your assignments in the Legions from him within the next week. Congratulations, Lieutenants."

With a bit of a strut in their walk, and letters of promotion in their hands, Arthur and Jayko left the Marshal-General's officer as Lieutenants of the Cavaliers.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Mon Oct 31, 2005 3:33 pm

Gyrioss sighed heavily. He was exhausted.


Grid: K-14
Location: Kinorapokar

Setting aside the crystal globe, Gyrioss laid on his bed for several long minutes. He felt as if all the energy had been drained from his soul after his talk with Vermicus. He spent the time just thinking. Thinking about his home, in the Western Knights' Kingdom, long before he and his brother were orphaned by the Bull raider scum and later taken in by the Shadow Knights, and he was contacted by Vermicus.

He remembered the sun, how brightly it had shone...The trees, pleasant and green...the smell of freshly baked bread...He and his brother, playing in the trees with their dog...Their father, Kyrious, smiling and proud...

Gyrioss's eyelids drooped as he began to sink into a peaceful sleep, when the creak of the battered door opening knocked him back into the dark reality of the tiny chamber in an instant.

The globe! he thought wildly. No-one must see it...Gyrioss, you fool!

The Shadow Knight sprang from his bed, and grabbed the crystal orb, hiding it in his sable cloak, just as his brother, Pyriuss walked in, a troubled expression on his face. Gyrioss let out a deep breath of calm, before speaking to his brother.

"Oh, er, hi, brother. What did they want you for?"

Pyriuss was in an unusually subdued and quiet tone. "Well, up there, the Vindicator, he...he gave me a mission."

Gyrioss forced a grin. "Brilliant! We can finally leave this basement and do something in the world. It's about time."

"No...that's not all. Thing is, they're making me go alone."

Gyrioss stopped moving for several seconds. The thought of being without his brother had only occured in his nightmares.

"Huh? What do you mean?" he whispered.

"The Vindicator told me that you meant trouble for the Shadow Knights, and that it 'd be best if you didn't go." Pyriuss answered slowly.

Inwardly, Gyrioss's stomach turned. Had the Vindicator found out his secret? Did he know about his contact with Vermicus? He knows, he knows! the young warrior thought. We've got to leave here, both of us, and get to Ankoria...

Outwardly, he tried to appear calm, but he failed. Instead, he stood up and clenched his fist.

"This is stupid! I...I can't stay here without...you. They know that. They're trying to break our loyalty to eachother, aren't they?" he fumed.

Pyriuss looked up, frowning. He was about to speak when he caught sight of Gyrioss's hand, clutching something beneath his robe.

"What have you got there?" he asked carefully.

Gyrioss went white.
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Postby Formendacil » Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:22 pm

Grid: C-3
Location: Emberlain Castle

Formendacil wrote:Then it flew up, grabbed Estella by the ropes and flew away with her dangling from his mouth. Thomas, Lord Edmond, and the soldiers watched in silence.

Less than an hour later, Sir Dractor, Sir Yves, and the outlaws returned, in perfect health.


Sir Dractor was not pleased.

"You did WHAT?" he demanded of Lord Edmond, as soon as he had heard that Estella had been sacrificed. "Why in the name of Mud didn't you wait for me to have a crack at the dragon?"

"I already told you, sir," said the acutely class-conscious Lord Edmond, "that I believed you dead."

"Because the dragon came from that direction?" said Sir Dractor, his temper fraying. "If the dragon had just battled with the ten of us and had our charred carcasses for dinner, why would be bother assaulting the castle right away?"

"To press his advantage," said Lord Edmond coldly.

"He's got the advantage for as long as he tyco wants it!" Everyone in the room was stepping back from Sir Dractor and Lord Edmond. Thomas had never seen the big knight so angry. "It's not as if an army was going to march in the next twenty-four hours and attack him!"

"I did what I thought was best," said Lord Edmond. "Don't think it was easy."

"Easy!" said Sir Dractor blisteringly. "I highly doubt that you would find thinking easy!"

"Alright," said Sir Yves, bravely stepping in. "Let's all calm down and decide where to go from here. If nothing else, Estella's sacrifice has won us some breathing time. The dragon will respect the one-year ban on attacking the castle or village that comes with the sacrifice."

A blood vessel on the Baron's temple was visibly throbbing, and Sir Dractor's eyes were shooting daggers, but they both calmed down.

"What's going to happen to Estella?" asked Thomas. "Will the dragon eat her right away? Or is it possible that we could go and rescue her?"

"The dragon won't eat her, lad," said William Jorgenson. "At least not yet. She'll remain alive for the full year, as long as despair, hunger, or loneliness don't get her. No, she'll remain chained in the dragon's cave until a year has passed, then he'll eat her."

"Why so long?" asked Sir Dractor. "The dragon has no difficulty eating a fully armoured knight after a battle."

"For the same reason that he'll leave the village and castle alone," replied William Jorgenson, "because that's the way it works. I don't know why. Maybe the dragon likes to have company. Maybe he enjoys the sight of a young woman. Maybe they taste better after a year. Who knows?"

"So we could conceiveably go to the dragon's lair, kill him there, and bring Estella back?" said Sir Dractor.

"Aye, you could," said William, "but a dragon's lair is probably the most dangerous place to fight a dragon. You'd be in a relatively cramped space, with him defending his home, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a second way out, if the main entrance was blocked. There'd be no falling back for Plan B."

"Does anyone know where the dragon's lair is?" asked Sir Dractor.

"We know that it's somewhere up on Mt. Greybeard, and we think we know the general vicinity," said Sir Yves, "but no one's been up there to confirm- for reasons you can well imagine."

"Alright," said Sir Dractor, taking a deep breath, "let's take a couple days to plan an attack as best we can, and to prepare ourselves for the expedition. If we've got a few months ahead of us, then let's make use of it."

"But what about my daughter?" asked Lord Edmond, "are you just going to leave her for that time?"

"At least we're going to rescue her in the end," said Sir Dractor coldly. "It's not as if you hadn't mentally abandoned here completely anyway."

Once again, everyone stepped back...
Last edited by Formendacil on Thu Nov 24, 2005 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Formendacil » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:16 am

Grid: L-7
Location: Leaving Hemlock Stronghold

Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:Adrian snapped the book shut. Hans chewed on a fry. Cate looked at both of them.

“What say you?” she said, “To the Wolfpack?”

“You willing to payroll it?”

“Of course!”

“Then let’s go!”


The three friends spent the night in Hemlock Stronghold, before setting out for the land of the Wolfpack the next day.

Since they were making for Daggerfall, capital of the Wolfpack, they went northwards from Hemlock, towards the port city of Jewel Reef, where only a month or so before, the invading Ikrosians had landed. From there they would take a ship to the Dark Forest portion of the Fell Isle, and then continue on foot to the Wolfpack territories and Daggerfall.

At the end of the first day out from Hemlock, they had gone about halfway north throught the Dark Forest, and had left the more thickly inhabited lands in the southeastern corner of the country, and were in the denser woods of the central part. The village in which they had stopped was fairly isolated, but was reasonably large, and was located along the main road from Hemlock to Jewel Reef.

The streets of the village was filled with young children flitted around, from door to door, covered in old sheets, asking for candy.

"It's a mainland Dark Forest tradition," explained Adrian, reading from Why Dark Foresters Drink Hemlock. "October 31st is historically remembered by the Dark Forest as the anniversary of the end of the 4th Wolfpack War in the 1880s- the Dark Forest fought all kinds of wars with the Wolfpack. The Fell War was about the tenth in their history. Anyway, this war was the worst of the bunch, and the Wolfpack claimed that their land was littered with ghosts as a result of the war. The victorious Dark Foresters (in that war), dressed as ghosts on the day of their victory, and the tradition continued ever since."

"That didn't sound like the book's version," said Hans.

"Why, have you read it?" asked Adrian.

"No," said Hans, "but I know what the book's voice sounds like by now."

"What about the candy?" asked Cate. "Does that fit in?"

"Yup," said Adrian. "The victory celebrations of the Dark Foresters were so boisterous that the candy flowed freely for the children, and the beer for the adults. Some smart kids went from house to house celebrating, and so the tradition was born. Incidentally, in some of the more remote rural areas of the Dark Forester part of the Fell Isle, the October 31st celebrations as known as Oktoberfest, and they take on an entirely different sort of tone- being a lot more adult inclusive, with more dancing, more drinking- and no sheets!"

"Hmm..." said Hans, "do you think we could find some treats and go candy-gathering, too?"

"I doubt it," said Cate. "We're all a head and shoulders over the kids doing it. We're adults now, Hans."

"Pity," said Adrian. "Because I still do some very childish things."

"Like play with blocks?" said Hans, with a grin.

"Yeah, something like that," said Adrian.

Cate rolled her eyes, but she was smiling as they sought out an inn.
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Postby Lord_Of_The_LEGO » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:33 am

Formendacil wrote:"By the way," said Melkan, settling back into his seat, "Aelk Borom sends his regards- and a free ale."

"The little cheat," said Gherry. "The deal was that he was supposed to give my companions free drink as well. He's learning too fast, that youngin."


Grid: P-10
Location: Hemmerington


Melkan laughed and took a good swig from his sherry.

“So, besides from your discussion of my former patient, what else did I miss?”

“Eric Korvalt falling face first into the apple barrel!” Brian guffawed.

“The poor fool.” Gherry commented, sipping his ale, “Though I give him credit for noticing the same thing I have.”

“What, about Dale and Alice?” asked Melkan.

Gherry nodded.

“Alice’s no longer available. Eric knows that. He tried to impress Sally Gribbons by bobbing for an apple blindfolded. With very poor results, I might add.”

Brian sudden pushed away from the two older gentlemen.

“Goodness -- Baby Margaret’s getting near those carving knifes!”

Brian exited rapidly in the direct of the pumpkins.

Gherry cackled and downed the last of his ale.

“Brian may ‘ave the strength of a ox…but he’s got a heart softer than melted butter.”

Melkan smiled at the image of the huge Brian cradling the tiny baby Margaret in on hairy arm.

“I’m quite frankly surprised he’s not found wife yet.”

“What? Big Brian?”

Farmer McGreger, a pint in hand, joined Melkan and Gherry, who nodded.

“Hate to say it, but the picking’s slim ‘round here.” said McGregor, “More and more I feel as if Hemmerington’s becoming a place of young babes and old geezers -- no offence, o’ course, Gherry.”

“None taken.” cackled Gherry, “And you’re right, Phillip. Too many youngin’s running off seeking adventure and abandoning home. First it was Joel Maker’s boy. Then the two Schwartz kids. Then Thomas Valt. Pity.”

“Funny how some wish to leave Hemmerington.” Melkan looked at Eric, who was now trying to try off with a napkin, “And some wish to stay.”

Melkan looked at Dale.

“Oh, I suppose I’d better fetch Redka, if he’s still conscious. The band looks like they’re starting up…”

The “band” consisted of three persons, not including the currently absent Redka: Felix Ffluffingar, Herman Kerry and Patrick Rochtinger, on the fiddle, banjo and drum, respectfully. Of course, Felix was the best, but Herman and Patrick were not bad themselves.

Felix, decked out in silky black and brilliant orange, leaped upon a hay bale.

“Alrighty, ladies and gentlemen!” he bellowed, his fiddle tucked under his arm, “Time fir out first dance! Thissin’ a fast ‘un, so lassies, grab your lads and get ready fer a twirl! Ah, there you are, Redka! Steady now and sit before you knock yourself out! Right, ready you lot? Let’s go!”

With a thump, Patrick pounded his drum and Herman and Felix stuck up a lively tune, with Redka drunkingly not keeping pace with his washboard. In a moment a large patch of Hemmerington’s square was filled with twirling couples. To his shock, Dale found himself among them, Alice swinging around at his side.

“I -- I can’t -- don’t dance!” Dale cried.

Alice laughed, her stream of blonde hair whirling, “Just go with it!”

And so Dale did.

Felix began to bellow a tune:

“Hey! Swing your partner left, swing her right!
Twirl ‘round with all your might!
Kick up the dust, stir up the dirt
Fling up the staw, ha ha ha ha!
Merge to the right, skip to your left!
Through up the hay, hey hey hey!
Ladies, give your partners kick!
Make sure they don’t trip!
Bum bitty bada bum bitty!
Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum!
Swing to the left, swing to the right!
Twirl right, twirl left!
Dance through the night!”

With a final powerful thrum, the song ended. The panting couples stopped, and the on looking crowd clapped. The band, Felix in particular, bow flamboyantly. Redka fell over. Dale laughed and clapped with the rest. Alice, by his side, pressed close to Dale as she applauded the music-makers. In the observing crowd, Gherry poked Melkan in the side.

“Diagnose that, Healer Melkan!”

Melkan chuckled.

“You win, Gherry. Let me by you a drink.”

“Nah, I’ll get it myself. Aelk knows he owns me a few more freebies…”

As Gherry shuffled off into the crowd toward the Pu, Felix, upon the hay bale, called out, “And now, ladies and gents, Alice Clooney has graciously volunteered to sing us a piece from that spooky tale that we all know so well -- The Ghost Of The Theatre, with Dale accompanying her on the guitar.”

Alice left Dale’s side with a smile and hopped onto the hay bale vacated by Felix. Dale moved over to Herman, who handed him his new guitar. Dale weighed it nervously in his hands, then sat upon another bale. He plucked at the strings familiarly and looked up at Alice. He nodded and she nodded back. Dale began to strum and Alice began to sing.

“Think of me,
Think of me fondly,
When we’ve said goodbye.
Remember me once in a while
Please promise me you'll try.

When you find that, once again,
You long to take your heart
Back and be free -
If you ever find a moment,
Spare a thought for me...

We never said our love was evergreen,
Or as unchanging as the sea
But if you can still remember,
Stop and think of me...

Think of all the things
We’ve shared and seen -
Don't think about the things
Which might have been...

Think of me,
Think of me waking, silent and resigned.
Imagine me, trying too hard
To put you from my mind.

Recall those days,
Look back on all those times,
Think of the things we’ll never do -
There will never be a day,
When I won’t think of you…”

The song ended. There was second of silent. Then the crowd burst into cheers and clapping. But Alice was only looking at one person. Dale. And he was looking back, smiling softly.
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Postby Formendacil » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:28 pm

The Classic-Castle Roleplay is continued in this thread.

~Michael A. Joosten - Gaming Moderator~
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