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Loric Syntel..A Bards Tale
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Joined: 20 Sep 2012
Posts: 101
Location: Southern usa

PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:33 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a peculiar evening at the Salty Dog tavern last night. The normally upbeat patrons were uncharacteristically testy. There was some contentious air running though the smoky confines of the popular watering hole.

Rilien the Doctor was curiously perturbed about discovering some undead creature searching his room for some unknown item or reason.

Zoe was not her chipper self. She displayed a lack of usual patience with about everyone she spoke with. The monk and Zoe went at it with a battle of words that were not flattering.

Faeryl, the elven healer, decided to let her young niece Celestia try a bit of mead to calm her nerves. The two of them were visibly shaken from some horror they had witnessed at a condemned rural building.

Sofia the noble woman was her usual quiet self. She dismissed herself several times as she frequently does, leaving and returning later. Loric curiously wondered if it was always for fresh air. She was a bit of a mystery.

The bard did give Faeryl a not-so-firm warning of the dangers of giving seventeen year old girls mead. Later, as predicted, Celestia was quite tipsy.

The bard found her to be a pleasant offset to the viral words exchanged between The Monk and Zoe. Every venomous exchange was tempered with an ‘I love you Zoey!’ followed by a stupid grin. Loric could only chuckle as the girl seem to disarm the apparent effort of the two combatants to immolate each other.

Finally Zoe and the Monk had enough and stormed out. Celestia had enough and passed out. Faeryl carried her niece out and Sofia needed more air and walked out. Soon…the staff was alone except for Loric and Rilien, who proclaimed the night a victory for alcohol.

The bard’s thoughts went back to the business at hand. He pulled out a parchment and began to outline a course of action regarding the whole ‘Ghost of William’ affair. He would need to see the head abbot in Empath Abbey to retrieve the burial records and explain his reason for exhuming an ex-soldier. The bard saw no merit in being arrested as a grave-digging body snatcher.

The singer glance over at Rilien who sat at the bar quietly thinking. Loric had a feeling the good Doctor knew much about the subject of the dead. He spoke of dark magic and necromancy as academic prerequisites to being a mage.

The thought that there may be some undead problems at the gravesite had the bard considering hiring Rilien as a consultant. He may be able to control any wayward restless bones that clatter their way. Loric would have to hold that possibility in consideration as the man was suddenly gone.

The singer walked to the bar and got ale from Cybil the barmaid. As he started to go back to the empty table he noticed a woman who he had seen the night before at the tavern. After exchanging introductions the bard knew she was called Ilustra. She was quite pleasant and very friendly; a considerable contrast to the craziness prevalent in this evening's clientele. She was a decorator. They spoke for another hour and found they had a few things in common; She liked bards and he couldn’t decorate.

Loric tested out his new Halloween song on the lass much to her pleasure. There may have been a slight connection between the two, but the bard bid her goodnight and retired to the Cottage. He had enough distraction for the time being, but agreed they should talk again sometime. She was rather delightful.

The Cottage was empty as usual. Loric lay down on the oversized white couch he had contracted to be custom built. The fireplace was ablaze with a toasty glow. And, as he fell asleep to the sound of crickets, his fading thoughts were on things of leather; and the hopefulness that a pair of boots could not decay in seven years…
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:55 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The tall ranger Rye Lockman sat uncomfortably in the small vestibule at the structure referred to as Empath Abbey. His legs were far too long to stretch out in the cramped space. The chair was hard oak and the clock made that sound. The same ticking that he had to endure as a child while his father visited the annoying Loremaster Alistair in Moonglow.

Rye was doing Loric a favor by meeting with the head abbot Father Alexander to secure some old burial records for a case the bard was working on. Rye had become friendly with the friar back when the ranger worked to help rid the Abbey of the heretic, Castilius.

The door opened and the monk entered. Rye began to stand but Father Alexander signaled him to remain seated. “Good to see you again Mister Lockman. It’s been a while! How have you been?” greeted the priest.

“I have been well Father.” answered the tall man. “I’ve been spending much time doing what I love the best; patrolling the woods of Yew.”

“Of course you would, being a ranger and all!” The Monk smiled. “Let’s see…the last time I saw you was about year ago. You and the girl with the painted face were going after that scoundrel of a heretic.”

“Yes…me and the mime, Quin.” Rye answered nodding.”

The priest looked a bit taken aback. “She is a mime? Umm…but I thought…er…mimes were…you know…quiet and all.”

“Well...Quin is bit unique…as mimes go.” answered Rye. “She will talk.”

“She never stopped!” smiled the Abbot. “Damnest mime I ever saw.”

Rye smirked a bit. “Yes…she does travel to her own tune.”

The ranger felt a slight empty pang when the thought of Quin was resurrected in his mind by the friar. He hadn’t seen her in months now. She was like that. Quin would just wander out of your life with no word; then wander back unannounced later. She was an enigma to Rye. She harbored more insecurity than any woman he had ever met; yet so deadly confident in her archery skills. The woman could be hard as nails in some respects; and a small frightened child in others. She could be cold and aloof on one hand; and be warm and most loving on the other. He missed her.

“Rye?” prodded the friar. “Are you alright?”

The priest’s voice brought the ranger out of his reverie. “I’m sorry…I was thinking about something. My apologies Father” said Lockmen in a sincere voice.

Father Alexander smiled. “No worries. Now what reason do I owe the pleasure of your company?” The priest poured some Abbey wine from a pitcher and passed a goblet to Rye.

Rye looked at it suspiciously then looked back to the friar.

“Don’t worry Rye,” chuckled the abbot. “There are no drugs in the wine this time!”

The ranger hesitated another moment before he burst out in a laugh and took the goblet. He and the priest clinked glasses and drank heartily. He then began to outline the reason for his visit.

The ranger then spent the afternoon drinking wine... and filling the priest’s head with stories about ghosts, widows and graves with old boots…
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:55 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Three men stood quietly in front of the tall black bars that formed a spear like fence surrounding the old burial site. All of the figures wore hoods that protected them from the wet misty fog that blanketed the gloomy place of internment.

“Why does it always have to be rainy in these places?” complained Loric. “Can’t I for just once enter a graveyard full of sunshine on my face?”

The man to Loric’s left pushed his cloak away from the hilt of his long sword. “I do believe this weather is caused from something supernatural Loric.” The man’s hand gripped the pommel of his weapon in readiness as he spoke.

“Oh great!” smirked the bard sarcastically. “That’s just what I wanted to hear right before I enter a scary old cemetery.”

Loric looked to his right at the tall ranger. “How about you Rye?” continued the singer. “Do you too carry words of cheer like Lord DeBerge here?”

Rye Lockman gave pause to his study of their surroundings and glanced over at Loric. “Not yet; but I support Jericho’s assessment. I do not like the feel of this place.”

“Are you sure this is the spot the Abbot said the bodies were buried?” Loric asked of Rye.

“Quite sure.” answered the Ranger. “But let me remind you, the good Friar said there is no way to know the exact grave since the stones have been violated over the years.”

Loric tapped his upper lip thoughtfully. The bard knew this may present a problem but hoped there would be some evidence left to indicate the area to dig. “Well…all we can do is go in and poke around.”

Rye shrugged, threw the shovel over his shoulder and followed. “Just tell me when and where to dig Loric.”

Jericho Deberge, a holy paladin from Trinsic cautiously opened the rusty gate and slipped in. The other two followed slowly. Loric wished now he had found Rilien to come along. The bard knew Deberge was a scourge against the undead but Rilien might have been better suited to communicate with them if the need arose.

“The area we seek is behind the mausoleums toward the back fence.” said Rye as he looked at a small hand drawn map.

Loric nodded and the three continued to walk deeper into the foul greyness.

Just as they were passing the stone tombs, some clawing noises surrounded them. Sharp boney fingers were digging their way out of the ground around them. Skeletal bodies emerged and began advancing with ancient short swords and maces in their brittle hands.

Jericho calmly drew out a large sword and held it skyward. He chanted a few words“In Nomina Dominus Immolari.”

The sword glowed with white light that exploded into a brilliant flash. The undead tried to shield themselves as the brightness covered them. It was an effort in futility as they began to break and burn. In seconds they were gone.

Loric glanced at Rye with a bit of relief. “Glad he’s on our side.”

Lockman nodded and continued in a cautious advance to the part of the cemetery they needed to search. He stopped after a short walk and pointed to a twelve foot by sixteen foot area. “This is where the deceased from the orc uprising were buried. The stones are scattered as you can see Loric.”

The bard looked around at the mass of rubble and overgrowth. He began to examine headstones looking for a sign of some sort. The markers were broken and strewn everywhere. Loric realized this task was monumental. They may have to dig the whole area; a project that could take weeks or months.

“Any ideas where you want me to start digging Loric?” asked Rye.

Before Loric could answer, a sharp chill blew through him. He brought his cloak closer to keep warm. Breath was again vapor escaping his mouth and a shimmering figure appeared in front of him.

Jericho again raised his sword only to be stopped by Loric arm pulling his down. “Wait Lord DeBerge…I sense this one is not here to hurt us.”

The shimmer was similar to the one Loric saw in the barn with Thrade several days past. This time though, it was forming into the shape of a man…a soldier. Its jaw was missing and its face was disfigured. It stood still on a grave and made a noise like wind whistling through trees. The ghost then let out a sigh and sunk into the ground where it had stood…and was gone.

The three men looked at each other in silence for a few moments before one of them finally spoke.

It was Loric. He looked at Rye, pointed to the spot where the spirit disappeared, and said only two words….”Dig there!”
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:40 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Four feet down, Rye’s shovel struck wood. The top of a coffin was exposed to the three men who quickly removed the rest of the dirt and rock that covered it. Leather straps were fed under it and the men lifted the box out of the grave. They carried it onto a wagon they had parked outside of the burial ground.

Loric the bard nodded solemnly to the ranger, prompting the tall man to carefully start prying the top off. When the lid was removed, all three men quietly stared inside the pinewood container. The paladin muttered a prayer as he looked at the mostly decayed remains of a fellow soldier. A mold covered leather jerkin and leggings wrapped around some decaying bones.

Loric and Rye exchanged glances as they both eyed the pair of worn black boots still intact covering the feet. The bard slowly reached in and manipulated the left and right heel in sequence. He held his breath for a moment before exhaling slowly. The right heel was hollow. Inside Loric found and removed a small sealed leather pouch. There was some folded vellum inside the pouch that had miraculously resisted the dampness of the grave. He carefully unfolded the yellowing parchment and, after a cursory glance, told Rye to reseal the coffin.

“Did you find what you were looking for Loric?” asked Jericho DeBerge curiously.

Loric looked over as he tucked the vellum back in the pouch. “I found more than I expected sir.” answered the bard, “And I can assure you that this is the body of William Mullins.”

“What are we to do with it now?” asked Rye as he nailed the top back on.

A sigh escaped the lips of the singer as he studied the dirt stained casket. Much was milling around in his mind at the moment. Emotions and fact whirled and twirled in dizzying circles inside the calculating bard. There were many loose ends that would have to be rectified now. An unsuccessful end to this strange episode could very well be created by not following the proper order. This was a sticky proposition that could spell a disaster or a windfall for Mary Mullins depending on who the bard chose to trust with some sensitive information.

Finally Loric looked up at Rye Lockman and spoke in firm confidence. “Bring the body of William with us…The poor man has one more duty before he can rest….”

Last edited by Loric on Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:17 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The blond musician studied the tanned face of the barrister with a bit of apprehension. Had he misjudged the man’s decency? So far there was no indication either way as to where the man’s values lay on matters of integrity. The lawyer remained expressionless as he perused through the yellowing document found in the coffin of William Mullins.

Loric quelled his gnawing anxiety by directing his thoughts elsewhere. He was an hour removed from the Salty Dog tavern in Britain where he stopped to have an ale before meeting with Lord Pincher’s legal representative, John Carvelli. The usual suspects were all there, save Faeryl. There was some dangerous adventure ahead of them this eve. The bard shuttered a bit when he recalled the answer to his inquiry regarding their destination. Demons and undead were apparently in the immediate future of the trading company. Loric would have to decline an invitation due to this prior engagement but still remained curious. For what purpose the assembly wished to expose themselves to such unhealthy company remained unanswered. The bard then shook his head and reminded himself that it was quite reasonable to leave some questions unasked.

“Loric,” John finally uttered. “This is a legal bill of sale for the property in Skara. The signature looks to be authentic as well. It says the liability was paid in full and the deed was to be transferred almost eight years ago.”

Loric was relieved that his judgment of John Carvelli was accurate. Any man that could sympathize with a widow’s plight might well hold honor in his heart. “Why wasn’t it transferred.” asked Loric.

John looked straight into the eyes of the bard. “Greed would be my guess Loric. He saw a chance to double dip when the bill of sale disappeared. The property couldn’t be transferred without it. So Lord Pincher just ignored the fact it was ever sold.” Carvelli shrugged. “Sadly, this is typical behavior when it comes to men of great wealth.”

“Can we make this good?” asked the bard. “I mean can we legally correct this apparent injustice?”

John smiled. “I can assure you it can, and will be rectified.”

Loric looked unconvinced “How can you be so sure that Lord Pincher will not resist and attempt to deny his culpability?” questioned the bard.

“I am quite certain he won’t Loric.” answered the barrister clearly confident. "Meet me here in three days time. I will have the deed. Trust me."

“What makes you so sure a man of his obvious questionable integrity will submit without any fight?” asked the bard suspiciously.

John stared at the entertainer a moment before answering. “It’s not a hard thing to predict really. You see Loric, the man who signed that bill of sale can’t possibly object; for he’s been dead for 3 years.”

The bard shook his head slowly side to side and realized nothing ever changed in his life. The closer he always thought he was to answers… inexplicably… only created more questions. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose with a thumb and forefinger.

His only thought was: ‘Welcome to MY world…’

Last edited by Loric on Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:42 am Post subject: Reply with quote

The blond headed man stood alone under the spreading leaves of a majestic weeping willow. A few moments ago, a small audience had stood listening to the bard give his eulogy to the newly interred William Mullins. The soldier’s last duty was complete. William now rested under a canopy of green on a hill that was part of the land his wife and children now owned due to his foresight and sacrifice. A warm and gentle breeze rustled through he leaves as Loric the bard mulled over the last few days with an air of satisfaction. He loved it when a plan came together in the end.

John was a man of his word and returned in three days with a proper deed for Mary to sign. The barrister explained that the executer of the bill of sale found in the grave of William had been the deceased father of the young Lord Pincher. The junior Lord Pincher was far more idealistic than his penny pinching dad. John Carvelli explained he had worked for the family for many years and represented both the father and now the son. The senior Lord Pincher could never get enough, while the young lord’s view was he had more than he could ever spend. The new Lord Pincher not only provided a deed, but he also included restitution in the form of double any rent Mary had paid over the last eight years.

Mary cried at the signing. Her hand shook with both excitement and disbelief at the fortunate turn of events. She blushed a bit at John as he gently guided the widow’s hand to the spot where her quill should make its mark. The closing was at the Mullin's farm and Mary had prepared food and refreshment. The children were visibly more animated. Most likely, this was residue from the energy the news had provided their mother.

Loric swore it was the first time he saw John Carvelli actually smile. The singer might have noticed a ‘connection’ between widow and lawyer that was more than business. Regardless if this was true, the business was none of his and he would surely not begin any unfounded rumors. But he did think they might make a nice couple.

The funeral was lovely. Mary again cried. Flowers covered the new grave and filled the air with their sweet scent. The children were barely old enough to remember their father but were well behaved and patient during the ceremony. Loric provided a moving eulogy and a bit of song appropriate for a funeral.

As the ceremony ended, Mary kissed Loric’s cheek lightly in gratitude. The bard smiled and whispered how happy he was for her. The singer stayed while the rest of the gathering went to the farmhouse for food and drink.

Loric reached into his pocket and removed the old leather pouch that William used to hide the old bill of sale. He carefully tied the item to the wooden cross that marked the grave. A sudden wind stirred the willow and made a sound that suspiciously matched the sigh he heard in the graveyard; only a bit gentler.

“God speed William Mullin.” uttered the bard.

Just before the musician turned to leave he felt a tug on his pant leg. Looking down, he spied little Leedra Mullin. She looked up at him with a squint and a smile that revealed her missing tooth.

“Do you need something sweetie?” inquired an amused bard.

“Yeth” she responded.

Loric waited but the little girl just stared up and grinned.

“Well…What is it?” The bard chuckled a bit.

Leedra beckoned him to bend down so she could whisper something. The singer complied. The little girl quietly spoke into his ear. Her words brought a huge smile to his face.

“That, my dear, can be arranged!” announced the bard. Loric laughed and picked Leedra up, much to her squealing delight. He threw her over his shoulder and carried her to the farmhouse. He found her request reasonable… and would act on it appropriately when he returned her home.

The little girl wanted her nose back…..

Last edited by Loric on Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Aurelia Bretane

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:36 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

"In lor..." The spell was borne more of habit than necessity.

Darkness was no longer a troublesome companion. It concealed her form, her face, her purpose...and when the need arose, her tears. The Countess had languished in darkness for what must have been the better part of a year, undertaking a task that had seemed since the beginning an exercise in futility. But if there was the tiniest sliver of hope, she had to keep trying.

And so Aurelia carried forth with a diligence that bordered on mania, searching the desecrated corridors and cells of a place that was nearly as darkened and haunted as she. Having searched every corner of Sosaria that she knew to seek, she had returned here. If there was an answer to her question, she had to hope that it lay hidden in the dungeons of Deceit. It was a place he knew well, and had long frequented to bring light and hope to the spirits and souls of the damned with his song.

A tender note pierced the darkness. A song that echoed through the catacombs with ethereal and otherworldly beauty. But it quickly died away, and all that followed was the mindless clatter of bone on bone, and the sickening scrape of fetid flesh upon the stone floors of long-abandoned tombs that held the souls of the damned, but did not contain them. This song, too, was only the semblance of its former beauty-- a wistful prank that her heart had played on her mind so often during her dark months here, that she scarcely paused anymore to give it heed. If she would see her task to completion, she had no time for distraction, and no time for sorrow.

The hall ahead was beset with lavish furniture and riches that would have been spirited away ages ago, if not for the angry souls who jealously guarded them. She knew the room like she knew every scale on the back of her dragon, but she always had to hope there was one tiny detail that she had overlooked. And therein lay the crux of her grim chore.

"What is yer name?" Aurelia asked in a stern voice as she held an angry wraith at bay with her wildstaff. But her words were nothing more than a barely audible hiss, with variations that twisted languidly through the surrounding hallway-- the language of those no longer living.

The wraith stopped, seeming confused, but hissed a halting response. Aurelia's brow furrowed, and she uttered words in an ancient and foreign tongue. A spire of flame engulfed the wraith, and it disappeared without so much as a cry. Aurelia sighed. "Be at peace, an' find yer freedom. But let that be a lesson t'ye. That sort o' language is no more appropriate in th' presence o' a lady when yer dead, than when ye were alive."

Another spirit approached swiftly from her left. It caught the Countess offguard, and instinctively, she raised her wildstaff. But the apparition halted just beyond her reach. Something within her stirred as the hollow gaze penetrated her soul, and the wildstaff clattered to the floor at her feet. Her words were soft, barely a whisper, as she spoke. "What is yer name, spirit?"

There came no reply, only the images that flooded her mind. Memories that were not her own, yet somehow they were remembered to her as if she had experienced each one only yesterday. The last image she saw as the memories faded from her mind was that of a golden-haired bard standing beneath a willow tree.

Aurelia caught her breath, overwhelmed by the sight, and unable to fight back the tears she had so long denied herself. The spirit quietly faded from view until she was again quite alone.

"Thank ye, friend," she whispered. "Go in peace an' find yer freedom." Without another word, the Countess took up her staff and raced past the shambling inhabitants of the darkness, sprinting with skirts afly toward daylight.

Nothing else mattered at this moment. Loric had returned.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:13 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The bard walked into the dimly lit cottage still feeling satisfied from the day’s events concerning the Mullins case. The day slipped away in record time as the small celebration continued well after the sun went down. Loric was smiling at the memory of little Leedra and her missing tooth when he suddenly tripped over something stacked on the floor. The singer tumbled into the harpsichord. His hands hit the keys and produced an off-key chord just before he landed on the white bear rug in front of the fireplace.

“First day with your new feet?” snickered the man sitting at the desk in the corner.

“Loric sat up and looked back at the numerous piles of books stacked haphazardly all over the living room floor. “Apparently my feet weren’t briefed on the possibility of academic traps set all over my living room. What in hell is all this Micha!?”

“Its research Loric!” uttered Micha Jones the archeologist who was a guest at the cottage. “I know that word is one most laymen consider foreign, but it is a necessary step in finishing my project.” Micha’s tone sounded a bit smug with a trace of sarcasm.

Loric the Bard answered with the very same inflection. “Did you have to bring the whole Lycaem here?”

“Hell it ain’t even close to that number Loric,” answered the scholar. “Oh! Wait! I forgot! You bards live for a bit of overdramatic banter. Don’t you?” smirked Micha.

“Did you say you were finished… or finishing up your project?” retorted the bard.

“I’m finishing it up. I’m close but not done yet.” said Micha as he returned to his notes.

“Pity….” Loric uttered trailing his voice.

The bard picked his way through the books and plunked himself down on the stairs to the second floor. He watched the archaeologist study the handwritten pages by the light of a single candle. The thought of the whole mess catching fire from a wayward candle flame entertained him for a few moments. Loric’s apparent amusement was interrupted when the professor turned and spoke again.

“They all think me crazy, but I’m on the verge of showing them; the legend of Three Toed Willy is true!” claimed Micha.

“You know… sound just a bit…like a madman.” Loric held up a pinched forefinger and thumb. “Just a wee bit!” The bard’s voice was playful.

“Another skeptic I see. Well…you too will eat those words when I find the map on the remains of his ship tomorrow.” nodded the scholar.

“You, of course mean the map that leads to Three Toed Willie's hidden treasure... cursed by demons and such.” added Loric. “The one he stole from Lord British’s treasure ship hundreds of years ago.”

Micha nodded with a chuckle. “That is the one!”

“The same map that is ingeniously guarded by things yet unknown due to a devilish pact Willie made with a demon. Right?!” continued the blond man.

“Yes…all true!” agreed Micha.

“The very same treasure said to contain a powerful artifact. So powerful in fact…that no one even knows what it does?!” egged on the bard.

“You got it!!” growled Micha.

“And when this treasure is found you will be forced to go back to Moonglow and fill the museum for future posterity?” questioned Loric.

"Yes!...Now you got the flow of things!” Micha smiled.

The bard paused and looked around at the mess filling his living room. “Is there anything I can do to help you quickly conclude this marathon?”

“Oh Loric, you have done more than enough letting me conduct my research from your house. I’ll find this answer soon enough. So don’t worry yourself none, I’ll solve this mystery if it takes me all year!” Micha spoke determinedly.

Loric let out a quick breath. “Gods let’s hope not!” blurted the bard. “I mean…let’s hope it doesn’t take you a whole year. The bard looked up the stairway to the white couch he liked to sleep on. “I think I’ll retire now. Is the upstairs free of book traps?”

Micha laughed. “All my references are in this room. But be careful of the empty ale bottles up there.”

Loric chuckled and turned to go upstairs but stopped when Micha called his name again.

“I almost forgot. You had a visitor today. She wanted to know where you were. I remained very vague as you said I should." Micha continued, "The woman was rather insistent, but I stuck to my guns and told her I didn’t know where you were or when you would return.” said Micha.

“Did she leave a name?” asked Loric curiously.

Micha scratched his head a moment. “Yes…let me think a minute. I have a mind like a sieve for names sometimes. She had very pretty face though!”

When the archeologist finally uttered a name to go with the pretty face, Loric’s knees went weak. His heart skipped a beat or two. He struggled to contain the excitement that raced through his body. He now held some tangible evidence that what he thought lost was found. He held hope against hope it was true. Could it be that which he deemed dearest to him had returned?

Micha never met the woman. This couldn’t be some cruel trick played on him. She must have told him herself. How else would he have known to say the name of Aurelia….
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:06 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The ranger’s eyes narrowed as they took in the chaotic scene unfolding in the Yew cemetery. Retreating farmers had alerted the ranger to some unnatural occurrence in the old burial ground. They were not mistaken. The tall man watched in safety from behind a large yew tree close to the scene.

Undead were rising once again in record numbers. This had the same taint as last year’s horrible epidemic that almost claimed his life. The bone entities seemed to possess the ability to rip the very soul from the living and reform it into a walking nightmare. That in itself was enough to make the ranger Rye Lockman shudder, but now there was a new horror thrown into the mix.

Its color was the same red as a boiled lobster; its stench much worse. The creature walked on two legs carrying a shell-like body that glowed evilly. Its black eyes locked onto anything living and conjured all manner of vile cohorts to surround and extinguish. Rye slipped an arrow from his shoulder quiver without looking away from the scarlet atrocity. He nooked it and drew back; feeling the familiar tension the bow produced as he took aim. Rye was about to let loose on the creature but paused when he heard a slight rustle behind him. Glancing back, he saw a pale shape staring at him. Good discipline was the only thing that stayed his hand.

It was Quin. The painted female mime had run with him for a time. Rye had grown close to her in that stretch but inexplicably, one day she had just vanished. He hadn’t see her in a year or so.

“Quinn?!” uttered the ranger. “You trying to get yourself killed?”

The woman just stared as if in some sort of induced trance. Her dark eyes locked onto his with little or no expression.

Rye tilted his head curiously. “You alright?” he quietly inquired. “Damn if I never saw you go this long without wagging your tongue.”

Quinn’s eyes squinted ever so slightly. She finally broke the silence with words that made the ranger blink in confusion. “You said you’d never leave.” she quietly announced.

The ranger appraised her for a bit before shaking his head and speaking calmly. “Sweetie? I’m here and have never left….I think it was you that disappeared. Remember?”

Quinn’s mouth pursed in thought a moment. “Ohh…Right!...But I always come back handsome!”

Her voice was once again the enthusiastic one Rye was used to. The ranger shook his head and sighed. She seemed to instantly forget about what was allegedly bothering her a moment ago and bounced excitedly toward him.

“We gonna shoot something in the face?” Quinn asked with great enthusiasm. A smile formed as she readied a bow.

Rye raised a finger to his lips, lowered his voice and pointed toward the gravesite. “That creature looks quite dangerous. I was studying it for a weakness before encountering it. We should proceed cautiously.”

Quinn’s eyes took in the ghastly gathering and blew a loose hair from her face. “So Handsome…What are we waiting for!”

The ranger sighed again and reluctantly left the safety of the Yew tree to follow the reckless mime... who was already charging down the hill.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:29 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The blond headed man paused momentarily at the doorstep of the large Ashencrosse manor house. Its impassionate stone walls loomed upwards to blend in with the gloom of a grey twilight sky. The house, whose walls had witnessed years of joy and heartache within them, harbored no judgment; nor did it render any opinion or advice to settle the apprehension felt by the bard who stared at its heavy oaken door.

Loric Syntel knew she was inside. The bard could see the glow of the hearth through the thick glass of the curved window. What he didn’t know was what she was feeling. They had been separated for over a year due to his incarceration. The bard had no way to get word to her in that time. This he knew would not sit well with her but it was unknown to him what penalty this unplanned absence would render.

The words fire and ice kept inexplicably running through his head. The bard could not fathom why two opposite elements that tend to render each other powerless would pop up in his mind at this time. He pushed the curious thoughts aside and slowly worked the metal doorknob. The door creaked open and the house swallowed him inside.

Loric hung his black cloak on the entryway peg and proceeded to take the stairs toward the large hearth in the sitting room. As he slowly approached the fireplace, he saw her. She was back to him, staring at the fire.

“Well…Ye ‘ave decided to return home ‘a see Loric.” Aurelia’s voice was a bit icy as she turned to face him.

The bard considered her a moment as she slowly walked toward him. She looked far more beautiful than he remembered. A long emerald dress hugged her shapely form and barely skirted the floor as she approached. Her strawberry blond hair looked a little wild and her blue eyes resembled brilliant sapphires in the firelight.

A forming smile on the bard’s face was quickly removed by the stinging slap that Aurelia bestowed upon his cheek. Loric took the blow as stoically as he could and stared at her without malice. She looked at the reddening mark she produced and brought her hand up to gently touch it.

“Doon ye ever do tha’ again Loric.” whispered the Countess. She then wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer to her. She lay her head on his chest and exhaled, shuddering slightly.

Loric looked down at the top of her pretty head with a bit of indecision as to how to respond. The bard thought he should explain why he disappeared; to assure her it wasn’t intentional. He considered pleading his case and expounding his innocence. Then, he stopped thinking.

Loric could feel in her hug; she cared not for explanation. There was evidence in her grip that she only cared he was home. His hands slipped through her hair and softly caressed her head. The long drawn-out soliloquy of innocence was suddenly condensed down to three words. These he whispered into her ear with all the sincerity he could muster.

“I’m sorry Sweetheart.”

His words coaxed her to press tighter against him. She then wordlessly broke the embrace and took his hand. The Countess led him to the large four poster bed in the adjoining room. There they became reacquainted to the love they both held for each other. It was during this affectionate reunion that the bard realized how fire could melt even the most stubborn pinnacle of ice.

….and the walls would once again hold silent to the passion they would witness.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:42 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The two men sat in front of a warm fire that burned brightly in the brick hearth of the otherwise dim playhouse study. A duo of half filled brandy snifters sat on a small table between them. They were stretched out in twin, overstuffed easy chairs. The men were comfortable without conversation and traded few words. Both seemed lost in their individual thoughts and, as is the way with good friends, felt no pressure to carry on any artificial exchanges. Besides, there was much to think about.

The older man sitting in the left hand chair was Boston Grey. The elder bard headed up a small guild of musicians and other talent who worked tirelessly in the background to maintain some sense of balance in the world of kings, nobles and merchants. After exposing a plot by the nefarious Corgul to spread chaos though control of the maritime economy; it seemed no time had passed before this new threat to the stability of Sosoria arose.

Rumor had it, the attacks on the cities were orchestrated by Minax, the ancient enemy of Lord British and the Avatar himself. Boston was puzzled by the reasoning of these destructive incursions. Every one of them has been handled by the citizen’s dragons and the various militias. Unfortunately, the bards are not effective against these minions due to some apparent deafness they possess toward musical magic.

Boston maintained that the guild could help in other ways; such as information gathering and subterfuge. Presently, Boston fathomed Minax must know she can’t take all the cities by force. What end to these means then? The only thought that made sense to Boston was she might hold hope that with enough carnage and destruction, the people may revolt against Blackthorn if he cannot stop the raids. Or, she may try to offer the citizens an end if they agree to put her in his place. Farfetched as it may seem, there is some danger in public mobs and opinion.

Boston took a small sip of his brandy and glanced over at Loric in the chair beside him. The younger bards tented fingers and steady stare into the firelight indicated he too had things on his mind.

“How’s things with Aurelia Loric.” inquired Boston.

Loric barely heard the question. Recently he had been exposed firsthand to one of the Minax attacks. It was in Vesper when he was performing for the Trinsic refugees. The tamers appeared with dragons and made short work of them. Of course this was not until after the intruders had terrorized the civilians and destroyed more property.

Loric also noticed there were animals that were not normal. After speaking with Judas the bard, Loric discovered there has been some sort of mischief upsetting the balance of nature as well. Judas maintained it is unrelated to the Minax affairs. Judas seemed a bit disenfranchised. After having drinks at the Ashencrosse manor with Aurelia, Judas and Sofia, Loric deduced he lost his home somehow.

And as for Aurelia, the bard felt something was different. She was loving enough and supportive, but there was a change that he could not quite put a finger on. For brief instances she could be a bit aloof…almost unavailable. Was there some animosity hidden there? Some mistrust? Loric thought this occasional disconnect may be just his imagination, but he did feel a slight change. Maybe something was lost in the separation. Or maybe he was losing his mind.

“She’s fine Boston.” answered Loric.

Boston shrugged a bit and thought it prudent not to press for elaboration of the word ‘fine’.

“Listen Loric…are you busy over the next few days?” asked Boston.

Loric glanced over at the elder bard. “I was hoping not to be. But why do I have the feeling I will be?” smirked the blond bard.

“Intuitive I think!” answered Boston.

“What is it now? More ghosts? Bodies in the flooded gravel pit? Specters in the abandoned warehouse?” joked Loric.

Boston smiled. “No no…nothing so dramatic.” said Boston before a small pause. “You remember the fisherwoman that secretly deposited you onto Buc’s Den a while back?”

Loric rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Alena Hacke. Yes I remember her. She was sort of rough around the edges but seemed to know what was what in the world.” responded Loric.

“I had a visit from a fisherman that claims she is missing. He said she was having some trouble in Buc’s den due to our hiring her.” continued the older bard. “It seems she told this fisher to contact me if she disappeared suddenly.”

“And now she has?” inquired Loric.

“Evidently.” agreed Boston. “I was hoping you might look into it for me. You were so good with the widow woman!” Boston smiled as he spoke about the widow.

“You flatterer!” smirked Loric before taking a sip of the fine brandy. “Give me the contact. I may find some time for this.”

Boston nodded. “I was hoping you would. His name is Jonah Wales and he will be a guest at the Cottage for a bit.” added Boston. “You can speak with him in a few days when he returns from his fishing trip.”

Loric nodded and wrote down the name. Internally, he groaned about a new guest at the Cottage. He had just got rid of the archaeologist Micha Jones who finally traipsed off to find some long forgotten treasure. Loric sighed a bit as he stuffed the note into his vest.

When he retired that night, Loric the bard had the unpleasant thought that he could very well be tripping over piles of fish instead of books in the very near future.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:22 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

For two days now the strange melody ran though the bard's head. It was a catchy tune; sweet and somehow familiar. This was usually how a great song was born. Notes came unrehearsed and unforced into the head to be slowly defined then refined. Good lyrics were normally triggered by something emotional in the life of the songwriter; and almost always involved a loss…or a woman. But exceptional music just mysteriously appeared into the mind of the musician like some sort of rare gift.

Loric hummed the new melody and realized its great potential. The minor lows and major lift made for a very dramatic bridge. The words would have to come later, but the bard was sure the piece could be extremely moving.

The bard’s music faded as the man sitting across from him finished telling his story. The man was Jonah Wales, a fisherman and friend of Alena Hacke, the missing sailor woman who was periodically hired by the bards.

“…and that’s th’ last time ah sees ‘er.” affirmed Jonah Wales.

“So it’s been a month now since you saw her?” asked Loric. “Is it not unusual to be out on a fishing trip for more time than that?”

“Nay it’s not.” countered the fisher. “But it is unusual to find her boat driftin’ in the wind with no one aboard!”

Loric nodded. He remembered when Alena sailed him secretly to Buc's Den a few months back. She seemed really fussy about the condition of her boat, ‘The Catch of the Day’.

“Where is the boat now?” inquired the bard.

“It’s tied up near Skara Brae“, answered Jonah.

Loric quietly finished taking notes and laid down his feather pen. He blew lightly on the parchment to insure it was dry before folding and sliding it into his vest.

“I’ll want to poke around the boat tomorrow. Will this be a problem?” asked Loric.

“Nay…Ahh kin take ye there meself.” offered Jonah

“Alright…Make yourself at home in the cottage then till I return tomorrow. There’s food in the pantry and plenty of booze in the cellar.” said Loric

Jonah perked up a bit at the word booze. Loric got the sudden impression that the food would be a second thought. The fisherman was not quite as the bard expected in appearance. He was dressed in well cared for leathers and sported a neatly trimmed short black beard. He was tanned from the sun and rugged looking. Loric could see how Alena might be attracted to the man as he was not at all unattractive. Jonah was also smart enough to not be under any illusions of exclusivity with her. He had said she visited many ports and might have had many other ‘interests’. He merely chose to ignore this fact and appreciate the infrequent intimacies they shared.

“Very well, till the morrow then,” said Loric as he rose and made his way toward the wooden staircase leading out to the garden.

That melody returned during the journey back to Ashencrosse. Its sweet notes played over and over though the cluttered mind of the bard, separating itself from the nagging pressures he was feeling. Aurelia still seemed a bit detached and this might explain some of this tension. He decided to stay busy and let some time pass. After all, their separation had been difficult on them both and the reunion was still newly born.

Loric chuckled as he came within sight of the manor house. He amused himself with the thought of producing a few lyrics for the newfound melody. He was willing to bet his life that they would certainly revolve around a woman….
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:35 am Post subject: Reply with quote

“Why?” Quinn stomped a fallen acorn on the path. The crunch was so satisfying, she paused to smile, forgetting for a moment the tirade she’d been spewing since she left the gates of Moonglow.

Then, she remembered again.

“Why the Lycaeum? It’s not taverny. It’s not even friendly! Buncha jackasses there. And if Brother Thomas sees me, it’ll be hell. I’m not supposed to be within a hundred feet of that place. Whoever planned this little shindig is SO fired.” She paused in her trek, and her tantrum-fueled monologue. It seemed she had arrived.

Slipping inside the gate, Quinn peered around for Brother Thomas, or anyone else who might find her presence objectionable. But she saw no one in the courtyard. Just beyond, however, there was a small, friendly gathering at a single table.

“Judas!!” Quinn fairly leapt into his lap. “Where ya been Handsome?” Quinn hugged him tightly, seemingly oblivious to the patronizing pat, pat, pat, of his hand on her back.

“Here and there. It seems I find myself homeless.” His words carried the air of joviality, but Judas’ demeanour was as readable as any she’d ever known, and something heavy weighed upon him. He changed the subject, but Quinn promised herself she would revisit it, when there was time.

I don’t belong here.
I don’t belong here.

Her skin was beginning to crawl. The words repeated themselves in her head, sometimes soft, but often such a cacophony that she could scarcely hear the introductions of others sitting at the table. Quinn looked to the walls that enclosed Brother Thomas’ office. Smoke stains still scarred the stone above the windows, and small chinks in the stone betrayed where silver gears had been embedded in the blast. Silver gears bearing harlequin masks, used a shrapnel, for maximum damage. Each time her gaze returned to the wretched walls, the smoke was more apparent. The gears still embedded in stone and masonry. The office still billowing flame from its windows.

Rye Lockman watched her quietly. He followed her gaze, he touched her arm when her mind was lost to the illusion. And it brought her back. Mostly. His protective gaze. The steadfast set of his brow. He knew she was fighting something...and that it was something he he could not protect her from, and so he simply watched and waited for the sign.

I don’t belong here...I don’t belong here...I DON’T BELONG HERE!!

And the windows belched plumes of smoke.

I don’t belong here.

And the gears flew from every direction in the blast.

I don’t belong here.

And without warning, she saw from the corner of her eye the semblance of a squat monk, whose face she recognized without a doubt. Her hand went to the pendant she wore bearing a saint from another world, and she cried out to him.


She fled the table. Fled the faces who did not understand and could not know. Even the protective gaze of Rye. Even the eyes of Judas, which carried some burden unknown. Fled them all in search of the squat monk who’d sneak her cookies in the dark of night and give her saints to guide her way. But she knew he was gone -- knew it before she dashed into the room where he’d disappeared. And her heart sank as she allowed the realization purchase in her mind.

“Quinn?” The voice came from the door behind her, as hot tears slipped down her cheeks, ruining the crisp lines of her paint.

“I don’t want to be here, Rye.” She did not turn to face him.

“Then we’ll go. Come on.”

There was no further discussion. No reasons needed, no persuasion required. He simply knew what she needed...and he made it happen.

And that was the way of things, with Rye Lockman.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

~Paul Laurence Dunbar
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:30 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Otis Lee was not at home. The tall ranger sort of expected such as he poked around the man’s cluttered yard. After all, Otis was a loner who spent most of his life fishing at sea. There were many lobster traps and nets piled against the wooden frame of his weather beaten home on an island near Skara Brae. The property smelled of old fish and rotten bait.

Rye Lockman stepped over a few barrels while taking a cursory glance around for anything that might tie the hermit in with the missing fisher woman Alena Hacke. Loric the bard had found Otis Lee’s name in a recent journal found on her abandoned boat. Rye was asked to follow up on this lead since the ranger had some history with the troubled man.

Otis was a crew member on the fateful voyage to the hidden isle of the monster Corgul. It was on the return journey of this successful raid that Otis summoned a powerful being from the deep. He hoped the well-armed crew would defeat this clawed denizen to avenge its murder of his father. The act almost cost the lives of all on board. It was only some quick thinking and a lot of cannon fire that saved the crew. Otis disappeared after that; much to the chagrin of the sailors on board who wished to make him shark bait.

Rye’s thoughts were divided this morning. He left the mime Quinn sleeping at the cottage. She slept peacefully; a rarity from what he has witnessed about the girl. He studied her for a while as she slept in the large white couch at the cottage. The paint she cloaked herself with was streaked and half removed from her tears the night before. Her demons once again stirred within her. These unknown ghosts were the cause of her madness. They forced her to hide inside herself and disguise who she was under a layer of white greasepaint. She had no real direction in her life; no focus for any length of time. She could rage one moment and lose track of why in the next. Her persona could change from accusing and viral to exuberant in a flash.

But the red headed man loved her energy and her animated spirit. He loved the side of her that displayed a youthful curiosity and clever wit. It was when the demons called that frightened him. He could only try to keep her focused on simple things. Simplicity seemed to distract them and shake her free of the complexities they wrought.

It was during those times he saw how truly insecure she really was. He knew she longed for closeness but refused to trust in it. Quinn would talk tough and convince herself she needed nothing; but Rye knew she needed it all. Rye could only try to be consistently in her life; to show her that some things can be counted on. But he would never attempt to wash away the paint that she hid herself behind; although he did hope that someday…she would.

The ranger tried the wooden door to the shanty and found it unlocked. He slipped inside quietly and looked around. He spied a bunch of papers lying haphazardly on the top of an old desk. The ranger glanced at them one by one and found most to be orders and bill of sales for fish. But one document caught his eye. It was a letter from Alena Hacke asking about the whereabouts of someone very dangerous. Rye folded up the paper and stuffed it into his jerkin. His search produced nothing more of interest in the hermit’s house.

As he left for the mainland, his mind carried a curious question about Alena Hacke. What would a woman in her right mind want with one of the most notorious pirates that ever sailed the southern seas…
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Aurelia Bretane

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:00 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The dark places of the world held awakenings, and temptations unbidden. These were worlds where strength lay in instinct, and never in mercy. Aurelia had searched tirelessly for endless months, knowing the haunts where Loric had sought fame and fortune. But also where he sought to put to rest the things of darkness. And now, she wondered if she had become one of the very things that he would have dispatched without a second thought, if he knew the stirrings within her.

These were cravings and desires which had fallen away with her shroud of immortality years ago. She had struggled, on occasion, since that day. She knew what she was not, but uncertainty lingered empty within her, and she wondered what she might now have become. A deep cut on her hand had failed to heal in the month since Loric’s return. A reassuring sign for one no longer immortal. But its languishing despite salves and ointments left pause to wonder whether there was something more she required to mend.

Loric watched her as she fell into restless fits of sleep, and when she awoke, before she found the humanity she had struggled so hard to keep, she watched him. She tried to quell the quiet temptations that fretted at her edges. But inevitably the instincts that had kept her alive through months of searching, crept in. And she wondered just how successful Judas had been in his venture to free her of bindings that still sometimes seemed to hold her fast.

Thus is our lot ‘n this life, she mused. E’en humans fight t’ deny their basal desires - fight against their very instinct, t’ forge themselves as better men. no different.

And she passed her days convincing herself of this truth. But her preoccupation did not go unnoticed. She saw the uncertainty in Loric’s eyes when they met. Was he watching her for signs of the fall? Did he suspect the archaic longings within her? Did he see when he awoke, the nameless battle which raged within her silver eyes? Possibly, for he had taken a path of...almost detachment. It destroyed her, but if this was the path he desired, she could not force him to be otherwise. She would wait, and patiently hope, that it passed. And yet, when she touched him, she was certain there was still something deeper. A lingering and unintended gift from her Lord, as she still felt his strongest emotions when her flesh touched his. She could not help it if she wanted to, and she wouldn’t give up this gift now for all the world.

These moments were what gave her the courage to go on. Loric’s heart stripped bare of its armour. What doubts and misgivings he held, she could not begin to fathom. But she knew what lay beneath. Such were her thoughts, as she lay beside her sleeping, golden-haired bard. Her hand paused in its caress at the pulse she felt beneath his flesh.

she thought as she traced his brow lightly with her thumb. Better that ye should withdraw awhile if ‘tis what ye need. An’ I will ma’e sure th’ time doesn’t pass by needlessly. For surely as yer protectin’ yerself from whate’er it is that bids ye doubt....I’ll be protectin’ ye from what certainly should.
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