Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 44573 times)

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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #525 on: August 15, 2018, 02:02:29 pm »
Raft told his tale for the third time. The avid stare from Droghera’s Mayor who had arrived late to the questioning and who had demanded Raft repeat his story, caused Raft to have a small shiver in this last telling. When Raft’s words ran down and no more questions followed, the large number of men packed into the Mayor’s office held their breaths and their tongues, waiting to see if the mayor took this with some sort of seriousness. It was impossible to read the mayor’s face.

“That was this morning, just before Terce you say? Is there any proof the nobleman is still there?”

All were quite, there was no proof.   

“That is what I thought. I can’t afford to waist our efforts on prattle!” The men in the room raised their voices at that. The mayor’s hard stare turned from Raft to everyone else. “I have my orders!” the mayor’s gruff voice yelled out. “There is war in Meara, gentleman, and I mean to follow the king’s will and get this ragged lot of soldiers to Cuiltriene by noon tomorrow. There to meet up with the King’s army. Where we will travel over the Cloome mountains then on to Cloome Valley and to Laas. Hear me! I will not disobey the king’s orders. Not even for this… this...lordling!”

Shoots of disagreement filled the hall from behind the young man. Raft cowered standing there between their anger and the glare of the mayor. Then a hand was on his shoulders and the Watch Captain stood tall beside him, Captain Stev’s voice yelled louder than the others. “Lord Mayor, the man in question is no lordling, he is the brother of the Duke of Corwyn. Do you not see the honor this town would gain by rescuing such a man as he? He is worthy of our time and our lives.”

“Phuuff!” the mayor puffed up, then stared at Captain Stev, who did not back down from that stare. Too well, the mayor knew the determination of his watch captain and he reconsidered his next remark.  “I see you’re point in this. Very well, Captain. You may take 12 men with you. Guard the ruins; see that no one escapes there. Even attack it if you dare. Though the night is coming on, and we all know the hauntings that come from that place. When you give up this stupidity. Then you are to race your sorry behinds to Laas and rejoin our march to there. Do we understand each other.”

“Thank you, Lord Mayor. I understand, completely.”

Captain Stev pulled Raft with him as he left the room. He left before the mayor could change his mind. “I am going with you.” the young man Raft said to the captain.

“Aye, I need you to show me exactly where you were and what you saw.”   Back out in the barracks courtyard, Stev waved his second over. Get me 12 men, men who aren’t afraid of those old ruins. We have less than an hour before the sun goes down. Be at the gate in twenty minutes. We need several ropes and ladders. I want to see that ruins before it gets dark.”

“Aye sir!” said the man as he dashed off.

Raft hefted his bow back on his shoulders and tightened the belt that held his hand axe. He would be the one to save that Duke’s brother. He just knew that he would.

Edited to add the order for ropes and ladders
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 02:33:48 pm by Laurna »

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #526 on: August 16, 2018, 03:55:38 am »
“Very good to see the first volunteer is a guard from my company. Andrew, you have your bow and a fresh quiver of arrows? Good. I will need you to also carry that length of rope, down to the ruins.”   The captain of Droghera clapped his fellow guard upon the shoulder. Then he moved down the line to the young man standing before him. “And who do we have here?”

“Herdsman Remy, sir!”

“Good to have you with us, Remy. That axe is sharp?”

“Yes sir!” the young man said with a clip.

“And this next young man?” the captain inquired stepping before the third man.

“Darius, Sir, from the Finlay homestead down the valley. My dagger is sharp, Sir?”

“Good to know,” the captain said while turning back to include Remy. “I am entrusting both of you to carry one of our two ladders. This is an important task. Without the ladders we can not gain entrance to where we go. Understand?”     

“Yes, sir,” both youths said as one. 

Captain Stev turned to the empty space beyond Darius. “What is the hold up? Where are the rest of my men?”   
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 12:53:51 pm by Laurna »

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #527 on: August 16, 2018, 12:35:36 pm »
The Captain watched in disbelief as the next group of men came quickly toward him.

“Cletus, What are you going to do with that pitchfork? We intend to climb ladders and through crumbled stone ruins.”

The farmer Cletus looked back at the captain very seriously. “I am go’na spear them ghosts and I am go’na toss them aside the way a woo’d a bale of hay. And in them fallen walls, I’m going to turn me’ pitchfork around and use it as a walking cane. That’s what!”   

“O...K... “  the captain said shaking his head and moving on to the next man. 

Standing tall next to Cletus was the candle maker’s son. “Matt, did your ma’ say you could come.  And where’s your weapon.”

“Of course ma said so. She had nice words with the priest who had been in good company with the missing nobleman. She thought it right proper to help out all we can.” Then Matt pulls out his dagger from his boot top. "I sharpened this right plenty.” he said as he let the shine of the dagger catch the setting sun.

That reminded the captain they were running out of time. 

“You convinced your friend Willy to join us, didn’t you?” the captain said to the next tall young man, here was another son of a merchant from town.  “Willy glad to see you’ve got your father’s sword. Willy now you and Matt are in charge of that second ladder. It is important that we get it to the bass of the ruins, Right?”

“Right, Captain!” both young men said together. 

“Hamish!” The captain nodded to another of his guards.

“I’ll stab that evil mercenary right through the heart!” Hamish declared as he stabbed his sword forward into the air.

“Good, now put that away before you stab one of us.” Stev ordered. Hamish sheathed his sword proudly and stood tall.

“Hurry up you five,” the captain said to the last five men.  “The sun is not going to wait for us. Pick up those ropes and torches. Let’s get us moving across the valley to the ruins. March it fast now. Want to get into the shadow of the ruins before Drogh the Troll starts hunting down by the river. Even Drogh stays clear of those ruins, you know, so we will be safe from him there.” Captain Stev said with a malicious grin. His guardsmen all laughed at the long standing joke; the town folk didn’t think it so funny.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2018, 01:22:55 pm by Laurna »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #528 on: August 16, 2018, 01:20:25 pm »
Darcy Cameron guided Sigrun through the dark, quiet streets of Rhemuth toward the Rivergate.  Father Columcil followed on Spean along with their borrowed Haldane squire on a horse he had been loaned from the stable.  Darcy would have liked to quicken the pace, be he had no desire to trip over a drunken sailor laying in the road.  Reminding himself that this was Rhemuth the Beautiful and not some seedy port town, he picked up the pace.

Even this early in the morning, townspeople were beginning to stir.  A wagon pulled out in front of them from a side street.  The driver waved an apology as he moved along ahead of them.  Darcy slowed back down; he needed no trouble that would delay their departure.

The guards on watch at the Rivergate waved the wagon and its driver through.  Darcy and his companions pulled up as one of the guards approached.  He nodded to the priest, looked questioningly at Darcy and then recognized the squire.

“Ho, Robert!” the man greeted him.  “His Majesty said to expect you.  Hold a moment.”  The man entered the small gate room.  Darcy thought Robert stiffened a bit, but the guard soon returned.  He handed a rolled parchment to Darcy.  “I’m to tell you this is your warrant for safe passage through our troops, should you encounter them.”

Darcy nodded his thanks and tucked the parchment inside his tunic; he would read it later.  He fingered a second parchment he had placed there but decided this was not the right man to give it to.  The guard waved them through.

The three companions said little as they rode past the warehouses toward the ferry landing.  Each seemed lost in his own thoughts.  Darcy contemplated what could be the futility of this mission from the king, firmly keeping his thoughts from straying to the lady still asleep in the Queen’s Tower.  Father Columcil reviewed the conversations he had with his grandfather, the Archbishop of Rhemuth.  Robert hoped he could ride unobtrusively to the ferry and beyond. 

Darcy noted that they were not the only ones making the first crossing of the day on the ferry.  Besides the wagon, there were two others on horseback and four others on foot.  All of them exchanged polite nods of greeting.

One of the men on foot approached Father Columcil, guiding an older man beside him. 

“Excuse me, Father,” the man said and bowed slightly.  The older man stood very still.  “This man is my father; he’s been ill for some time, and we are on our way to St. Theresa’s Hospital.  Would you mind giving him your blessing?  It would ease his mind about what’s to come.”

“Of course,” Columcil said and dismounted.  Darcy could not hear the low words the priest spoke to them, but the younger man looked greatly relieved as Columcil gave them both his blessing.  Columcil remounted Spean as the ferryman opened the gates of the ferry for loading.

The wagon was loaded first, the ferryman taking care to keep it in the middle of the ferry deck.  Next the five horses boarded, followed by those on foot.  Darcy was pleased to see that the ferryman knew his trade well.

They crossed without incident, unloading in reverse order when they reached the other side of the Eirian River.  Darcy took note of a well-dressed man on horseback off to one side, holding the reins of another, larger black horse beside him.  The horse was saddled, is if the man was expecting someone. Startled, Darcy took a closer look at the horse. 

“It can’t be,” Colmucil muttered beside him.  “But I know that horse!”

The man with the horse approached them.  “Lord Darcy, Father Columcil,” he said in greeting. He nodded toward Robert.  “I am Lord Jamyl Arilan.  I am commanded by King Kelson to give you Sir Washburn’s horse and dagger to take with you.”  He pulled the dagger from his pack; the light from a dockside torch danced off one of the rubies in the hilt.

“Whatever for?” Darcy asked, taken aback and suddenly suspicious.

Jamyl Airlan’s voice took on a slight edge; most do not question His Majesty’s orders.  “His Majesty did not provide that information.”

Darcy considered refusing but doubted his refusal would carry much weight.  “I’ve provisioned us for only three horses,” he finally said.

“I’m to bring yours back.  It will be stabled until you return.” 

“Nay, it won’t be me riding that fine beast,” Darcy said hastily.  “I’ll stick to my trusty Sigrun.  What about you, Robert?”

Robert shook his head quickly.  “Much as I would like to oblige, I don’t think I am the best choice.”

Darcy looked across at Columcil.  “That leaves you, Father.  You have ridden him before.”

“I could take Spean,” Robert volunteered.  “We can send this horse back with Lord Jamyl.”

Father Columcil hesitated for the briefest of moments.  “If I must, I will do my duty.”  He scowled when Darcy started to laugh.

“And hate every minute of it, I am sure.”  Still chuckling, Darcy watched as Columcil gave Spean an affectionate pat after dismounting and accepted Shadow Dancer’s reins from Lord Jamyl.  Spean nuzzled Robert’s shoulder before the squire mounted his new horse.   

Lord Jamyl reached across and handed Darcy the dagger.  Darcy studied it a moment before putting it in his sea bag.  “Might I ask a favour?” Darcy asked as he reached for the second scroll inside his tunic.  “Would you give this letter to King Kelson?”

Jamyl accepted the scroll and started to move his mount and Robert’s former horse toward the ferry.

“One more question, if I might,” Darcy continued.  He looked pointedly at the impressive black war horse that fidgeted slightly under Columcil’s control.  “Are we to find Sir Washburn, or is Sir Washburn supposed to find us?”

Lord Jamyl gave Darcy a blank look.

“Never mind,” Darcy said with a wave of his hand.  “I was being too subtle.”  With a nod to Columcil and Robert, he turned Sigrun and began to ride down the road away from Rhemuth.  Columcil and Robert quickly followed.

Something in the back of his mind nagged at Darcy, but he couldn’t think of what is was.  It would come to him later.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #529 on: Today at 03:05:39 am »
“Deep in the bowels of the earth lives a nasty troll named Drogh.” Wiley half sang as they walked down the valley road. “In the dead of night, he will climb up out of his cave deep in that hill on the edge of our town and prowl the forests, snatching unwary travelers or young children if they played outside at twilight.”

“Must you tell that tale?” the Captain said sardonically to Wiley. The young man grew silent, thoughtfully carrying the fore-half of a ladder.

Wiley could not contain his snicker as his friend Matt holding the back half of the ladder behind him, pick up the tale where he had left off.  “Drogh would drag the young chillins into his cave, stick them on spits and roast them alive over his fire. He’d use their bones to pick his teeth after they’d been eaten.  Sometimes, wisps of smoke could be seen escaping from the ground and the villagers would know another poor soul had perished.”

“Really boys,” the captain again interrupted.  “Haven’t you noticed, it's nearly twilight, you trying to scare each other? We’re trying to rescue a man! We're not after no Troll, nor no ghosts. So Desist!”

The two young men turned sober. It was Cletus who then sang:
“When Drogh’s has had his meal
There will be nothing left to heal
Not but a bone and a soul wandering the deep rills, you a ghost.”

The two youngest in the party shivered; the older men laughed. The captain decided the only way to combat stupidity was to quicken the pace.

They reached the road that veered to the right, intersecting with the old road on the left that once ran to the fallen Abbey of the Micheline knights.  The height of the ruin walls, atop the small knoll out on the spit of land surrounded by the lake, shinned in the last of the afternoon sunlight.

“Raft, point to where you saw the man standing.” Inquired the Captain. Raft did just that. Pointing out the lowest part of the tower wall. “He was there,” the young man declared.

((Note: all NPC’s have 3 hit points. Any failed dice roll loses a hit point. (A roll success is showing a 5 or a 6) If the town folk reach 1 hit point left, they will run away. If the guards reach one hit point they will stay where they are and hold the spot in guard detail. The captain has 4 hit points, he will not give up.))

“Yep, We go in where the rubble is the least: that entrance there, under that south transept.” The men rearranged themselves, the three town guards Andrew, Hamish and Egan going first. The fear of arrows from whoever might be in that tower kept them from lighting their torches to see their way. This proved futile as the land bridge connecting the old abbey to the road had long since gone wild with overgrown thickets and reeds.
((First 1d6 save test to get half way across the causeway.))

Andrew (1d6=1) lead the group of fourteen. And as it would be, he was the first to misstep and fall, disappearing beneath the tips of the reeds. A curse word was all anyone could hear to judge where he was at. All eyes on that happenstance caused not one, but two others to lose their footing, by tripping on roots and various marsh pockets of routing water. The Blacksmith Roy (1d6= 1) gave a “Ufff” falling to his knees, only the thick hide of his leather pants saved him from not breaking his leg. Spitting pissed, he swung his axe at the foot-grabbing root, freeing himself but having a limp thereafter. Not but a moment latter, Dariaus(1d6= 3) tripped in a marshy bog, the ladder in his hand slipped as he caught his balance. Captain Stev (1d6 = 3) dove for the ladder, last thing the captain wanted was to break the long poles that would allow them to scale the short cliff before the south transept. He caught the ladder indeed, with his head. Remy(1d6=5) behind him balanced the long ladder allowing Dariaus to get back to his feet and the captain to rub the bump that would soon rise over his eyebrow giving him one sorry black eye.

Wiley (1d6=3) and Matt (1d6 =3) and Cletus (1d6=2) had a hard time carrying the longest ladder between the three of them. They stumbled and cursed aplenty before they were even half way across the land bridge. Raft (1d6=3) and his cousin Todd (1d6= 2) came last. Both should have been watching their steps, but instead the curse of this place was slowing them down. Even when they tried to encourage each other to be brave, they both tripped up, discovering the meanness of the plants. To them it was a sign of evil. Uncle John(1d6=6) behind them picked both boys up and pushed them on.

((Those not named passed the first test with a roll of 5 or 6.))

Seeing that at this rate they wouldn’t even make it down the causeway, Captain Stev ordered the torches to be lit. At least if they could see the plants under their feet, they just might make it to those ruins.  Anxious the group huddled to light the torches. The flames in the darkness offered hope. Although, any possibility of stealth was now gone. They made their way forward with determined purpose.

The group was nearly across, when a freak wind with an evil coldness blow at the flames on the torches. ((Second 1d6 save test)) Nothing short of a typhoon should have blown the flame out on the oil-drenched rags. Yet, half the torches sputtered out. The boys Raft(1d6 =3) and Todd(1d6 =4) were the first to flee in fear. Uncle John (1d6=2) was tripped up as the boys retreated. He would have retreated too, but for the Captain who yelled, “John, I need your cool head, your boys are too young anyway, let them go back to the road.”

“Hear that son, nephew? Go back to the road, slow and careful like, and wait for us to return.”

Back in the dark again, Darius(1d6= 2) took a second fall. This time he was slow to stand.”Your done here,” the captain said. “Go back and watch the boys.”  Furious with himself, Darius handed his half of the ladder over to Roy. “Get through this for me,” he said to the blacksmith.

Prideful Hamish was sure he had the lay of the land figured out. He and the Captain started to disagree on where was the best footing for the ladders to climb up the rocky cliff side. Centuries ago, there had been a bridge over this part, but the bridge had long since been destroyed and sharp cut stones of rubble proved the footing to be unsure.  A rock under Hamish’s (1d6= 2) boot shifted and moved. He fell forward grabbing the nearest shoulder, which happened to be the Captain’s. Stev(1d6 =1) cursed as he too was pulled to his knees. His left knee gave a small crack, biting his lip he said nothing, but the pain was in his eyes as several men with re-lit torches came to lift him up. Ashamed Hamish stepped aside, rubbing his own hurt. The guard Egon, who remembered being the one to repair the noble knight’s rent chain-mail, took the lead at a nod from his Captain.

Soon enough the two ladders found secure placements and men started up the ladder rungs, everyone in silence, realizing this was not to be an easy task as they had first thought it would be.
((Congratulations to everyone not mentioned, you had a successful second test))
« Last Edit: Today at 03:05:16 pm by Laurna »

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #530 on: Today at 07:48:14 am »
Feyd watches the approaching towns people with a bit of a laugh. "I think you were spotted while you were dangling for your life." He says to Washburn knowing that Wash can't do anything about it. "It is high time to remind them about the troll and this place is haunted."


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