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Thread: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

  1. #21
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    ***The Heir***

    Riddles and teases. Alwyn thinks to himself. I have no stomach for this.

    "And just who would you suggest a potential loan might be taken from?" the heir asks. "I've no intention to put my House in debt unless I need to and the money can be made to breed."

  2. #22
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    THE HEIR

    Mortymer looked like he could explode with pride. -Lord Wendel Wendwater. -He finally said in a low voice, a step closer from your table. -Young Alwyn, the answer was right under our nose this whole time. As part of my work I'm constantly dealing with our neighbors, their stewards, trade officials and merchant guilds, and between these men there are many rumors about Lord Wendel's coffers. Apparently his third son Walmon returned from his travels in Essos a few days before the Blackwater, and with a ship full with riches from the east. By what I learned, and it was not easy to find this kind of information, Lord Wendel's treasure was never so full.

    You remember Lord Wendel well. He often visited Greenwalls with his children, and he was a good friend of your late father. Or at least that was what everyone thought until the war came. Your uncle Balian told you about his cowardice in the field, and how his cavalry stood in silence as the wolves sliced through the ranks of the lions. He certainly could not change the course of the battle, as the defeat was obvious, but with one precise charge he could have saved your father's life and the lives of so many others, allowing the men to retreat in order. Wendel the Weak, you uncle called him, saying that if Jaime Lannister was not a hostage from the North, he would personally cut the man head from his shoulders. Since they return from the Riverlands, the lord hid himself in his castle and was never seen again.

    -He owes you, Alwyn. He owes your whole family. And he knows that, he knows that every man north of the Kingswood knows his shame. And he certainly fears the King's wrath. I believe we can use this in our favor. We can approach him as if asking a loan, and during the negotiations we could remind him of his debt to you. A blood debt. That you could graciously forgive, for gold. -He showed you the account books. -If the man has any remaining shred of honor, he would be obliged to help us, giving us enough gold to endure and thrive again. Enough coin to help your people, your land and your brother.


    THE KNIGHT

    While Willem quickly instructed Jasper to bury the dead, you faced the heavy rain again, running back to the fig tree. Meryn and Garth received you, the boy silent with Sugar ready in his hands, and Garth still scared. -He is really dead? Larry? But... but... -The guard gasped, unbelieving. Your silence and Willem's sad face was enough to shut him up. The four of you mounted again, riding in the rain now with you and Willem in the front.

    You rode and rode, hearing little beyond the strong windblown against your face, the constant clinging of the cold water in your helmet, and the occasional thunder in the sky. The rain was becoming a storm, you thought. The horizon was divided in two: the grey of the rain and the black irregular past. Sugar was starting to get weary, with her hooves getting stuck in the mud, when you finally saw the line of trees that divided the Gargon and the Blount lands. Meryn shouted, making all of you stop. -There! -The boy pointed to a small formation of rocks were a small band of men were reunited. -There they are! Our men! -Those rocks were in truth terribly old pillars sculpted by the First Men that lived in the Kingswood millennia ago. Maybe one day they were part of a bigger structure, maybe an altar, but now they were nothing more than big chunks of stone covered in moss.

    Getting closer to the guards, you recognized Buckets. He was a bit older than you, with pox-marked face and a huge round red nose. -Captain! -He waved his hand, walking towards your horses. -They killed Larry, Ser Willem. Just sliced his throat as if he was a fucking pig, damn stags. We followed them at a distance, until they entered the woods. Nine stags in total. Probably most of the band that is stealing from the folks this last weeks. It is good to see you, I was thinking about going back to the castle for fear of being ambushed.

    You looked to the other guards, waiting in the rocks. Lamprey was a lean, older man, with the looks of a fisher, not a guard. Samm was a young man, about Meryn's age and with wet hair covering his eyes. He was obviously afraid, looking nervously to the line of trees of the Shivering Woods while holding his spear. -How were they armed? -Asked Willem in a low voice. -Axes and clubs, but one of them has a bow, and he is good with it. Half of them were clearly men at arms, deserters for sure, the others little more than thieves attracted by the loot, Ser. But down there in the woods, I don't know. I don't think it is a good idea to go after them like that, Captain.

    Willem reached you, asking you discreetly, as he frequently did when divided by doubt. -What do you think Austace? Nine of them. Seven of us. They could be the whole band for what we know. Maybe we can even take them by surprise. But I think this is only possible with the best sword of the Kingswood. -He pointed to you. -So what do you think, my friend?


    THE BASTARD AND THE FOOL

    Eddard silently walked down the stairs without being noticed by Norwell and his friends, who now apparently are not so interested in fighting as they were moments ago. Muttering excuses and threats they retreated, stepping back and going outside with their knives. Norwell lingered a little more, fearful of Meldred's blade but angry enough to not move. That is, until he saw Eddard in the stairs. Then he raised a menacing hand and pointed to Eddard with contempt. -You watch yourself, Greybard. There may come a day you will not have your friends here to protect you, and when you least... -Meldred's sword sliced the air missing Norwell's nose for a finger. The saltworker jumped in fright and almost fell over his own feet, running outside in fear as Meldred threatened to run after him, stopping at the door. With a smile, the warrior sheathed his sword. -What? I was not going to hit him!

    Well, apparently it was finished. For now. Allyn stared the rain outside. It was becoming a storm, and that means the salterns will stay halted for at least the rest of the day. So the saltworkers will have a lot of freetime to plan their revenge. Or at least Norwell will. Tanda immediately started cleaning the place again, without questions. It was possible to hear Big Tom's muffed voice as he talked to his wife upstairs.


    THE SOLDIER

    Polliver waved his hand, dismissing your gratitude. -Alright, alright! You're acting like my wife, there is no reason to get emotional. Just bring my son, convince him to get off the garrison. If he is too stupid to comply, then talk to your sister, to Willem, to anyone, so they kick him out.

    Going out to the rain, you abandoned the heat and comfort of the blacksmith to have the streets. The small village was filled with people, refugees from the Riverlands mainly, desperate people received in King's Landing with closed gates. Many have come pulling carts, wains or wagons, and have been building small shacks to live this whole year. The population has tripled since the beginning of the war, so most of the faces you saw watching the rain in the windows and running from the storm were completely unknown to you. And that is not a pleasant situation.

    You walked to the sentry house in the heart of the village, where you probably could find Otto. The sentry house was a big cabin with heavy wooden walls and a base of stones, the oldest structure in the village. A pair of guards were watching the door steps, and you could see and smell that the interior was full with men. You walked in, dripping a lot of water, only to find yourself in a dusky and cold place. There were probably two dozen men in the sentry house. Some were seated in the two large tables next to the entrance, some were talking silently close to the windows, and a few young lads were cleaning the place, going in and out the back door, and a few were outside, under the big extension of the hoof, talking loudly and chewing sourleaf. The place smelled like sweat, old leather and oil.

    -M'lord, can I help you? -Said an older man when you entered. He was closer to the entrance, seated in the table, and trying to pierce new holes in a belt with a knife. You recognized him as Jared, one of Captain Willem trusted men. For what you could see there was no sign of both Willem and Otto.
    Last edited by Saturno; 08-28-2015 at 04:22 PM.

  3. #23
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    THE FOOL

    Eddard bowed mockingly as the others fled from the den;

    "I am of course your humble servant," he smiled, watching them leave hurriedly, before he turned to Allyn.

    "Well, that was bracing and it appears that I owe you again. No doubt you'll come up with some task that I can help you with. You always do."

    He looked back upstairs and sighed, "I'd best get those two lovebirds home and get back to the castle. I'm sure your brother will need my help with something."

  4. #24
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    ***Heir***

    "Gold could be useful, and Lord Wendel must somehow compensate us for the losses his cowardice has inflicted." Alwyn agrees. "But if he stood still to let the wolves eat our men, why would he have the honor to empty his coffers for us now? How many horse and foot eat from his tables? How strong are his walls? I fear that if he rejects our proposal it could mean we are needed to use force in order to back up our claim least our word is considered weak. Or is there some other way to ensure that he will not throw our rightful request in our face?"

  5. #25
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    The Soldier

    Balian looks over at Jared as he speaks. Moving out of the doorway so as not to impede anyone Balian moves over to where he can speak with Jared in a semi-private conversation.

    "Thank you Jared, actually you can help me. I'm looking to speak to Otto and Sir Willem. It's in reference to a request from his father."

    Glancing around the room Balian catches hinself as he remembered all the times that he had spent doing the same preparations before a battle. Pulling himself back from the daydream, Balian sits down across from Jared.

    "His father is gaving a rough time since returning from the war. The loss of his arm has only aggravated the situation. He wants Otto to step down from the garrison and to help him at his smithy.

    The problem I see with that is that if he's half as good as his father at being a soldier then that's going to be easier said than done. Yet I owe a debt to his father that can never be repaid.

    From one soldier to another, what is your opinion about Otto?
    "

  6. #26
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    At least, time to finish up the porridge, Allyn thought.

    "Oh, please Eddard, what are friends for other than protection and loyalty? All is for free, all is safe and sound when it comes to you and me and our friendship - know that. No need to return the favor." the bastard smiled crookedly.

    When the castle fool started walking away, Allyn made a remark in a very easygoing manner

    "Oh and, while you are there - in the castle - will you see if you can find out who transports food to the kitchens? It's for a bet, Meldred here and me seem to disagree who performs that function, and made a wager about it too."

  7. #27
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    Eddard gave Allyn a curious look and rolled his eyes. No doubt there was more to this request than Allyn was claiming. He'd get the answer and ensure that if they are asked to do anything, they would let him know.

    "My thanks Allyn, Meldred and I will of course find out the answer to your little request."

    He gave Allyn a friendly wave and walked back upstairs to check on Dalla and Tom. She would soon be in a state to go home and then he could get on with a few thing.

    At least he was able to go home fully clothed.

  8. #28
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    Austace - The Knight

    Austce's mouth twisted as he had disapointment in his face. He felt tense, but not for himself though.
    Those men were as much soldiers as that drunkard this morning was a septon.
    Those were the men he would be leading. But then again, they'll be fighting bandits.

    -These stags were broken in Blackwater. - Said him him with a voice low enough to be heard just by the soldiers. - They are cowards and murderers. Each of you is a better man then they are. You were trained by Will, there's no way that you would be defeated by them. They are the ones running. Let's show them how we treat unpleasant guests!
    5D6 = [3, 1, 1, 5, 1] = 11
    http://www.coyotecode.net/roll/lookup.php?rollid=95874

    Final result = 10(Damn! I hope they have low will! )

    Austace turn directly to Willhem and said:
    - Will, I'll go ahead with half the boys, you stay some meters back with the other half giving us cover. If you spot the archer scream the direction and wait for my orders. If he's close we will try a run for it, otherwise unless I say otherwise use the trees. The wind is in our favor today.

    Following for the woods after it.
    Last edited by Tyrondir; 08-17-2015 at 09:29 AM.

  9. #29
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    THE HEIR


    The rain outside turned into a storm as you listened to Master Mortymer's words. When inquiring him of his certainty about Lord Wendel's treasure, you noticed he almost anticipated your objection. -Precisely, young Alwyn! Any other day I would agree with you, and wouldn't put a second thought about this little proposition... but alas, your faithful servant here has good friends in Lord Wendel's lands, and from those friends I've learned that Wendel is fearful of repercussion from King's Landing for his actions in the war. Your uncle, Ser Balian, is probably the loudest survivor of the Whispering Woods to vocally expose Wendel's actions, and his words have spread deep through the smallfolk, reaching Lord Wendel's lands. His own people are calling him a traitor, it seems. So I believe the Lord of Wendwater is more than inclined to resolve this enmity between the two Houses locally, without the Crown interference, and to even accept a disadvantageous negotiation if this means the fading of his terrible reputation. -That was something new for you. You were always aware of your uncle's wrath towards the Lord of the Wendwater, and how your mother more than anyone suffered and hated Lord Wendel for his cowardice, but you would never imagine the Lord's own folk would turn against him, even if only in taverns, while drinking, and never in his face. Your father always told you that every lord's castle was as strong as the love of his people.

    The plump steward looked over his shoulder, as to make sure you two were completely alone. -I've put some thought about those news, young Alwyn. It could be very possible for these associates of mine telling me this secretly by order of Lord Wendel himself. It could be this is his discreet way to make amends with your house without submitting to the shame of coming to your castle and ask forgiveness to your brother. Of course, he could never imagine we're in need for coin and that his purse could means our salvation!


    THE FOOL

    Allyn's protection has a price, you wondered. It would be easy for you to move a few pieces together and make some food sidetrack to the castle for Allyn's place. With that kind of high quality supply he could expand his business from simple gambling house to a major inn. Of course the obvious obstacles to this enterprise would be Mortymer and Master Symon, always lurking in the castle trying to stop any kind of leak. But the major problem is the risk. This could be a dangerous game for Allyn, a game he would not be prepared to play, as the penalty for such a grave crime would surely be hanging. Perhaps you could offer him something else in return for his help, and convince him that it is for his own good. Yes, perhaps.

    Upstairs, your thoughts are interrupted by the massive Tom, who was carrying his moaning wife in his big arms. He was still wet from the rain, and his face was sad and angry. -This is not the end of it. I'll take care of my Dalla now, but we're going to speak again, you and I. -He said before going downstairs and leaving the gambling house. And he was right. Norwell's actions could not go unanswered. He would probably lay low for a while, but sooner or later he would come again after you. Maybe he would find Tom's ear again and set him up against you, maybe he would find a brute willing to sell his fists for a few coins, or maybe he would even meet you with a knife in a dark corner of the now bustling village. It would be probably good for you to stay inside the castle for a few days.

    For your surprise, someone approached you silently while you were getting your stuff ready to go in your room. A dirty man, probably one of the group that was sleeping in the common room. He just tossed a piece of paper in your direction, and vanished, walking back to his straw bed with his friends. You didn't recognized him, but you could barely see his face under his messy beard and dirty hair.


    THE BASTARD

    Back to your porridge, you and Meldred watched the Grey Bard going back to his room and Big Tom walking down the stairs, holding his barely conscious wife in his arms, covered in blankets. He gazed you and your half-brother cautiously. -Dalla is to never step again in this place. -He said between hard pressed lips, waiting for your understanding, and then walked off to the rain. Tanda was closing the windows again, as the winds were getting stronger and stronger, and after a while watching you eat your porridge in silence, Meldred prepared to leave too. -Well, I'll take care of that business with the Maid. I'll come back with your coin, brother. Tanda, you take care of him. -He said with a smile, taking a cloak over the balcony to face the harsh weather outside.

    You watched Tanda finishing cleaning the place, and later her sister came to help her with the cooking. Sooner it would be midday and the folk would come to eat. Many of the new mouths in town were hungry, and you found that you could charge them a considerable sum for even the simplest lunch, so there were Tanda and her sister cutting onions and preparing soup. Saddly it was difficult to buy more food, one more reason for you to find a breach under the castle's kitchen. You could even arrange somekind of arrangement for the garrison for them to eat daily in your establishment. You know Sour Symon was impossible to reason with, but Mortymer would see some sense in such proposition - without knowing he would be paying for his own food, of course. Anyway, this kind of negotiation should be made with Alber himself, as the hot-headed lord was more gullible in matters of trade than his silent young brother.

    In less than an hour, your establishment turned from a gambling den filled with drunks to a small tavern, with folk trying to escape the storm and fill their bellies with Tanda's soup. They were mainly fishers, but there was a trio of woodcutters, a merchant with his servant, a pair of travelers and two Shelling guards clothed in green. Tanda's sister, Nelia, could not attend all of them, and so you went to serve mead for a few of the men. When bringing the guards some mugs of mead, you could not help but listen to their conversation with the merchant.

    -...know where this man is staying, so all I need is men willing to finish this kind of work. It is not pretty, I tell you that, but I want his head for what he's done. I'm willing to pay you enough coin to bought this whole place if you bring it for me. -The merchant was obviously dornish, thanks to his olive skin. He was richly clothed, but his fine cloth was covered by the heavy soaked cloak he wore over his shoulders. His servant was also dornish, and stayed on his feet without moving the whole time at his side. A rich dornishman willing to open his purse was not a common sight, you thought leaving the mugs of mead on the table. -Wine for me. Water and a leaf of bread for the boy. -The dornishman told you, without even looking at you.


    THE SOLDIER

    -Ser Willer is burying them. The dead. Otto last time I saw was yesterday at night, playing dice at Allyn's place. -Jared waved his hands for the other men to leave the table, pointing the wooden bench to seat. He dropped the belt and sheathed his knife, listening your words carefully as other guards passed in and out the sentry house. -Aye, I know Polliver and his problems, Ser. -He told you, his face full of wrinkles. -He is a good man, and his work was good too, everyone here can tell you that. But his new boys can't do shit. This knife here is good only for piercing belts, see how it is already cracked? Bought from Polliver not long ago thinking it was as good as his iron once was, but it's already useless. Sooner or later will break, luckily inside a stag. -The guard showed you his knife. Indeed the blade was already dented, proof that the metal was ill-made. -Now Otto is another story. Ugly as hell but a good man indeed. Not very bright - he laughed - but a life around his father's forge made him a strong man, and good with weapons too. -A little more serious, Jared came closer. -If you want my opinion, Ser... take him away from the guard and the garrison will lose one of it's best swords to gain an average blacksmith. -He told you looking you in the eye. -But then, to have no smith at all as it is now, is even worse. -He laughed, realizing he was not being very helpful. -Well, there he is!

    Jared pointed to outside, and from the rain emerged the smith's son. Otto had broad shoulders, big ears and a broken nose. His eyes were small and seemingly stupid, and he was already losing hair in his late twenties. His father was not a pretty lad, but Otto was even worse, gaining the title "Otto the Ugly" by the other men of the guard. His face was stern, as if he was mourning. One of the other guards shouted from far away. -So how were the dices, Otto? Won enough to visit Sassy Sara? -You knew that Sara was an expensive whore from the Red Garden, the brothel in the Wendwater land's famous for it's redheads. He shouted in response. -I must be missing something, because every night I try to reach one of the Red Roses only to wake up fucked by the Grey Bard! The garrison exploded in laughs. At least the man have a sense of humor, you think.

    -Otto. -Jared called him. -Ser Balian wants a word with you. -The smither's son suddenly grew quiet and tense, only now noticing you in the room and making a reverence.



    THE KNIGHT

    Your words were met with uncomfortable silence by the men, looking at each other. Buckets readily gathered his things to follow you, while Garth was a bit more incredulous, trying to say something but unable to. Meryn stayed quiet too, as he was too obedient to object, but you could feel in his silence that he really wanted to go with you and Buckets, and not stay in the rearguard. Ser Willem glanced at you one last time in approval, before you went to the woods with Buckets and Garth.

    Bolts of lightning crossed the sky in the horizon, and it did not take long for you to hear and feel the thunder in the sky as you and the pair of guards crossed the wall of trees that formed the beginning of the woods. Fifty feet behind you Willem was leading Lamprey, Samm and Meryn, and as you entered the woods the trees started blocking your view of them. Buckets, on foot, was right in front of you, while you was on Sugar, and Garth, right behind you, with teeth clanking, mounted on his brown horse.

    It was darker under the tall trees, and you could hear the howling of the wind bending the woods with it's strength. A small stream blocked your path, with it's water spattering under the rain. The other margin was higher, with rocks covered with moss. These were Blount lands now, you thought.


    -Ser Austace! -Buckets called you while crossing the stream, axe in hand. -Best to follow unhorsed, Ser-AAARGH! -His words were interrupted by the sound of wood cracking, and Buckets fell on the water, his shield pierced by a spear. A second spear crossed the air, coming from the rocks upstream and hitting the tree next to Garth, who screamed in fear. And suddenly you felt a punch in your chest, as if hit by a giant, and the world started spinning with the sound of shouts around you. You leaned back, holding the heels of your horse, pulling yourself back to the saddle, only to find an arrow nailed in your chest and more spears being thrown at your men. You're alive, so the armor stopped the arrow, but not completely: you feel the point in your flesh, you just can't feel the pain yet.

    On the other margin, over a big rock, were three stags, one of them with the bow that shoot you, but at the same time a band of rugged men started charging downstream, coming from your left flank, with axes and maces in hand. Buckets was rising from the water to meet them with his damaged shield. Garth was to your right trying to control his horse, and you prayed that Willem and the others were coming to your aid.


    [OOC: This first round was a surprise attack, with the bandits successfully hitting you and Buckets. You took 12 damage from the arrow that hit you, -7 from your armor to a total of 5 damage. You can soak in your Health or absorb with injuries. Now comes the first round of combat. There is no need for Initiative right now, consider that you act first, then the bandits, then your allies, unless you use Warfare (Tactics) to make your allies act first, then the bandits, then you. Willem and his party will only enter combat on the second round.]
    Last edited by Saturno; 08-24-2015 at 07:19 PM.

  10. #30
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    Re: (IC) - The Price of Power - Chapter 1: Whispers of the Dead

    THE FOOL

    He watched Tom and Dalla leave, feeling a little sorry for her getting caught up in Norvell's poor attempt at revenge. Last night would be the last time and there were other ladies who might deserve his attention.

    Spotting the message that had been left for him. Eddard read the note, memorising its contents before lighting a candle and burning the contents. He gathered up his belongings before heading downstairs and moving up close to Allyn.

    "Allyn," he whispered, "I think I know what you are planning about the food, but considering current circumstances, it may not be the best idea. Let me think on it and I'll see what I can do. There may be other opportunities afoot that could be used. I will send word and may have need of your talents to secure it."

    With that, he set off back to the castle, happy to have a few guards between him and Norvell, even if everybody did tend to underestimate him.

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