Author Topic: Camberland: The Lords of Air And Fire  (Read 3118 times)

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Offline MerchantDeryni

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Camberland: The Lords of Air And Fire
« on: June 03, 2012, 09:11:03 PM »
The Office of Special Projects

Camberland, Year 1  Month 1

Anders knocked on the rough wooden door of the hut and entered at the gruff “Enter”. The hut was a single room, a small cot in the corner and tables lining the walls. One table was in the center of the room with chairs on either side of it. The hut was lit with handfire. In one chair sat a very slender and dangerous looking man with flat dark eyes. Anders did not trust him on sight, the eyes were a giveaway every time. He knew, his own eyes had that deadly look to them.

“Hello Anders. I am Simon. I'm going to be your boss for the foreseeable future, possibly the rest of your life.”

“Pleased to meet you, I remember you from the trip of course, but I was in the bottom deck with my goats, we never spoke. As for being my boss, boss of what?” Anders spoke pleasantly, maintaining an air of puzzled innocence. Simon smiled.

“I am the leader of the Office of Special Projects and Operations. We're not sure if we will be special projects or special operations, we haven't decided yet. What we will be responsible for is the continued survival of the people of Camberland as a whole, the Deryni in particular, and the preservation of the skills and knowledge that give the Deryni their powers.” Simon stated simply.

“That's a hell of a list of jobs. I'm a goat herder, I've got a couple of dozen goats running around on the island now and I hope to increase them. We can use the milk and leather.” answered Anders.

“What you are, or were, was a very successful smuggler who used goat herds and huts on hillsides to hide a network of portals that crossed half a dozen Kingdoms. You smuggled spices, cloth and stolen goods all over the Kingdoms. When the backlash came you smuggled people out when you could, gt caught in a trap and lost much of your fortune. You and a few friends made it out and headed to the coast. What you did smuggle out provided a lot of our supplies for the voyage, and I thank you for that. You maintained your cover and did not seek power or influence on the voyage. Now you are working to provide needed goods for our village. But I have need or your unique skill set.” Simon answered him.

“You seem to know a lot about me, and my past. How do you know so much.” asked Anders. “I have spent a lot of time not being known, and working hard to maintain that.”

“Oh that's pretty easy. I mind ripped a few of your former employees during the Dark Times and found out about you. And scanned and influenced a few people you brought on board before we set sail, and have had a couple of them reporting everything you say and do to me ever since we left.”

   Anders stared at Simon in disbelief. “You sit there and say you ripped minds as if it were nothing, are you completely mad?”

Simon interrupted. “I am a professional, they suffered very little permanent harm. I learned my trade from a long line of people well versed in the art of ferreting out secrets. I could probably have a job in the eleven Kingdoms plying my trade, but I dislike the rulers on a personal level. So I have sworn my loyalty to making sure our small, motley band of refugees survives on this tropical island. I plan to see we all survive, and I will do whatever is within my power to see that we do. Do I make myself clear?” Simon stated flatly.

“So what would you want me to do?” asked Anders.

“Keep up with the goats. We need them to breed before we start harvesting them all, too small a herd and we will get inbreeding too quickly. So we will have most of them sent to another island to keep them away from hungry hands. On the island you will teach Deryni and half Deryni Portal construction and use. You will also craft and empower Wards Major cubes and teach others how to do that. We will build a network of portals on the islands close to us to allow supplies to be moved around. Then we see about safeguarding us from the Natives. They are too many and we too few to make a single mistake. We have to be the unseen guiding hand and control the events of the entire area in a way that allows us to survive and grow.” Simone stated. “You will start attending the planning meetings and developing a long term strategy to deal with the Natives, and focus our efforts on things that will help us prosper.”

“Well I never said I would take the job...” began Anders.

Simon interrupted ,“I never asked if you would take the job Anders, I just said I would be your boss, and told you what you would be doing. There is an important difference. We need this to happen, we need your skills. Do we understand one another.”

   Anders grinned. His respect for Simon had grown. He had been thinking there had to be a plan for the island, a long term plan. And now he was going to have a  say in making and implementing that plan. “One thing, when we get back to using money, I want a raise.”

Simon tilted his head at this and thought for a moment. “Done.” he said. “Pick out your men and I'll introduce you to your students in the morning and we can get started. We have a lot to do.”

“You got anything going on right now? And what is your attitude towards underlings who have ideas, because I have some ideas.” Anders replied. “And my crew is always ready to move.”

Simon grinned and leaned back in his chair. “Okay, what topic first?”

   Anders added his own handfire to the hut and began to lay out his thoughts on the future of the new nation.

Offline MerchantDeryni

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Re: Camberland: The Lords of Air And Fire
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 09:14:15 PM »
 First Raid
Camberland Year 1 Month 3

   Tristan sat in the thatched hut and tried to look as unimposing as possible. His guard was a very determined looking warrior with a very nasty knife in his belt. Hammond motioned that he was going to lay down and sleep and the guard nodded curtly at him.

   Stretching out he began a series of mental exercises that calmed his nerves and sharpened his focus. Once he had gathered his strength he touched the medallion that hung around his neck and sent a focused thought outward.

“Mark! Mark! Are you there? We've got trouble.”

“I am here, no need to shout, you are only about 10 miles away. What's wrong?” came the dry response in his head. In Cambertown Mark leaned back in his chair and touched the medallion to help him focus the connection. He raised his other hand and snapped his fingers and pointed to himself. Around him the military leaders of the island paused in their discussion and waited for him to inform them of new events.

“Junai grabbed me, told me I was not to spread lies anymore. He took me out of the trading hall and tossed me into his own hut. I have a guard staring at me. Several other islands have shown up, probably forty to fifty warriors. They are having a big party, and took all the booze from the hall.”

“Are you okay?” asked Mark.

“Yeah, I am fine. They roughed me up a little to show how tough they were, but other than that I am okay. My guard looks like he wants to slit my gizzard though.”

“We will get stuff in motion here. If they are in the Hall we may not be able to use that portal, so we will have to use the other one. Hold tight and keep your head down. We are coming for you.”
The connection ceased and Mark opened his eyes. “Junai gathered the islands and took the trading hall. He is into the booze we left. Tristan is in Junai's hut under guard. Once they drink their fill they plan to raid, forty to fifty warriors and their women are in the main village right now.”

“We expected this, but the numbers are not good. We will have to transport a lot of humans over.” offered one of the other planners. The sand table was cleared and a rough map of Junai's island was sketched onto it. The two portal locations were placed  on the map. “OK, the portals are close together, we can send in men and get to the village in under an hour, even marching on sand. Straight up spoiling raid.”

“I think we figure out what islands sent warriors and hit them as well.” offered another.

“”Which won't be possible right now, because we have no portals on other islands. This is the closest island, and we never trusted Junai, because he is not trustworthy. His greed was too big to control, and his family too eager to fight. So we deal with him and then move on from there.” Eilan said. “I want everyone called in and ready to go. Everyone with a communication link call them and have them send whatever forces they can to us. Get humans and Deryni side by side in squads. We leave in 45 minutes. Let's move”

   Tristan stayed quiet and still on the floor of the hut. He could hear the could talk of the warriors outside. Occasionally one of them would wander drunkenly by the door to the hut and taunt him. He did not reply, and acted terrified and cowed when the body language and mental signature of the native indicated that was what he should do. Mark kept in touch with him a few times, letting him know that help was already on the island. His mental voice grew stronger as he got closer to Tristan.

   The battle touched off early, a woman saw movement in the trees and raised an alarm. She was cut down with a few well placed arrows, but the warriors responded quickly, if drunkenly. A skirmish line was formed, and warriors dashed to get bows and weapons from the warrior hut. Flaming arrows set the thatch alight and provided light to the battle. Some Deryni conjured handfire in the trees to give the archers light to shoot by.

   Tristan concentrated on his guard, and reached a hands out towards him. A bolt of energy flashed from his hand to the guard, striking him in the center of his chest. The guard looked shocked at the flash of light and then fell in a daze to the ground. Tristan rolled to his feet and grabbed the guard by an arm and dragged him into the cover of the hut. He grabbed the dagger and shoved it into his belt. He paused, then placed his hand on the warriors chest. A simple spell and energy flowed from the warrior into Tristan. He drew deep, replacing all the energy he had expended communicating, managing emotions and attacking his guard. The guard's breath stuttered and caught, a low moan coming from the guard's mouth. Tristan stopped pulling energy and called out to Mark, “I am on the floor of Junai's hut. Do I come out and run to the treeline or do I stay here or what?”

“Stay tight, we are pushing them down the beach. I am almost to the hut.”

   Tristan crouched in a corner of the hut, watching the door in case a warrior checked on the prisoner. The guard's breathing stuttered to a stop in the darkness. 'Drank too deep, I'll have to watch that in the future.' thought Tristan.

   The Camberlanders pushed forward from the southern end of the village and forced the villagers further up the beach. More archers had slipped past the village and were firing on the villagers as they fled up the beach.

   Mark and a handful of humans came to the hut and Mark called out. “Tristan? You still alive?”

“Yeah, I am coming out, don't let me get hit.” Tristan called out and moved to the door. “Thanks for coming for me.”

“My pleasure. Let's get to the waterline and burn a few boats, trap these guys here. Nobody is escaping tonight.”

   The troops gathered the boats together and piled firewood around them, Deryni called fire and set the mass alight. The village was put completely to the torch. All foodstuffs were destroyed, bows, weapons, nets, tools. The villagers would have a hard time rebuilding for the foreseeable future.

“So what is the plan for this island, now that they finally attacked?” asked Tristan. He was covered in soot and  ash.”

“I think we should take prisoners of Junai and his family, and the big warriors, tell the women and kids they are being sold as slaves the the western tribes, to pay a price for their treachery. But we'll take them to the island and use them to power the Portals being built on other islands. Then feed the bodies to the grenatha and turn them into chicken feed. Simpler in the long run.” answered Mark.

“Sounds good. We'll guide the survivors to elevate a family we control into power, and have them be allies. Then we can come back in and help rebuild and gain favour with them. It's too bad the sickness spared Junai and his crazy family. Bloodthirsty savages the lot of them.” Tristan said.

   The Deryni and humans gathered together at the remains of the village and formed up into double lines. They moved in an organized pace and two by two flickered away from Junai's island and back home to Camberland. Tristan knew the survivors would not attack Camberland for a long time. That was good enough for him. He nodded to the human next to him, held the man's shoulder and adjusted the balances and went back home.


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