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Topic Subject:The Silver Chalice
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Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 07-12-00 05:11 ET (US)         
This is the third part of the story of Wendolin, Thoren and their companions.

Cast of Characters
Benson - Benson has traveled extensively never staying in one place to long but often revisiting many of the places he passes through. He prefers to be in nature and tends to befriend animals wherever he goes. He is tend to be a loner and even in when traveling with groups tries to find way to spend time alone. He does not make friends easily but is very loyal if you gain his friendship.
Eme-Redser - the current alias of Wintersong, the Elven Queen. She is in the guise of a mysterious stranger. She wears trousers, a long shirt, and a long, bulky cloak. All of her clothing is muted green and brown. She carries a large bundle of things, all wrapped in a mysterious fabric that no one has seen before. She rides a beautiful horse, one that is warm cream in color, and whose mane and tail are a rich chocolate color. The horse's name is R'edaine, the meaning of which is undisclosed at present. Eme-Redser is an unknown entity at present, and her guise of The Elven Queen is also unknown at this time. She has the ability to disappear at will, and her other diverse talents will be revealed as the story progresses.
Gillandra - High Priestess of Coranmaire. Mysterious character - fights for good over evil. Known throughout the realm for magical healing and spiritual abilities. Soothing voice. Wear's a deep purple and white gown, and long silver cloak, showing her coat of arms on the back. Rides a silver-grey mare named Misty. Worships at the temples of Eir. Also has a pack-horse, carrying essential supplies.
Jayhawk - Wandering minstrel, troubadour, tall (6'4") slender, dark haired, sea green eyes, that seem to be able to change colour. Plays a 12 stringed lute, with fair competence. Has travelled the realms extensively and has an incredile knowledge of lore and myth. Some of his travels have been with Chunky. There may be more to him than meets the eye. Rides a black stallion by the name of Aran.
Lysette - Daughter of King Damodred, who sold her in to slavery to a cruel traveler she came to know as her "master." Has survival skills like any road-wise child, but is relatively innocent at heart. During the Quest for the Cloak, she spent 5 years in an alternate future and has now set her mind on marrying Thoren.
Rides Leeta, her chestnut mare, given to her by Thoren.
Thoren of Torvald - Norseman from the Lodge of Torvald. Torvald came into his heritage as his father was slain on the Towerfields. When he entered Torvold he found out his throne was usurped by Mordred, who's champion he defeated in single combat, thus regaining his throne.
Gruff and somewhat belligerent exterior hides a thoughtful, sometimes sensitive nature. Skilled in long sword, battle axe, short bow and knife. Unusual ancestry. Some say he is descendant from Roman and Norse stock. Rides Vorth, his Norse-bred stallion.
Wendolin - Clonmaire County Palladin. Somewhat of a mystic, experienced traveller, adventurous by nature. Friend to kings, noblemen and townsfolk of all races and types, but prefers the company of travellers. Fights for Right. Wears a long black dress made out enchanted material,
which may look like a fine gossamer web, but is in fact as hard as steel. Wears a ruby-red cloak, with deep purple & gold trim. Jet black hair - dark eyes, pale face. Also wears a magical ring on her right hand - amethyst in colour, it seems to glow when danger is near. Rides a gold coloured horse named Whispering. Close friend of Gillandra the High Priestess. Has prowess in sword and mace, and carries a golden shield.

The Quest

The Silver Chalice has been liberated from the evil mage Zordemon the Black[/b]. The party is now on it's way to the Candscent Creek in order to find the Sacred Springs with which water, once poured on the Chalice, the Hill People can be restored.

Wendolin's New Map

Quest Part 1

Quest Part 2
Updated character descriptions...

[This message has been edited by Jayhawk (edited 07-13-2000).]

AuthorReplies:
Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-07-00 13:26 ET (US)     51 / 147       
Sorry Civis and Jay. Yep Jay too many Diablo2 for me, but I'm trying to stop playing it (but I can't, not when I have one more quest to complete the game in normal mode!!!!). Jay, when did I mention town porals and way points?
Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-07-00 13:27 ET (US)     52 / 147       
And one more thing: where are the people in the post Jay wrote, and who are they?
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-07-00 16:00 ET (US)     53 / 147       
Jayhawk: Unfortunately, I never saw the "Rescue An Angel" story thread. Must have been before my time. My first exposure to the Chunky character was in this thread's first part, the Quest For the Cloak Of Z'al when it was started by Chunky. All I know about Chunky is that he has a problem with elves, is something of a loner; but otherwise, he is rather easy-going, a solid citizen and a good swordsman. Why are you describing Chunky to me? Did I miss a cue somewhere? Last question. Are you expecting the others to catch up with you or is your's and Chunky's adventure a side adventure?

Ishay: The people Jay wrote about are no longer on the map. You'll have to use imagination to visualize where they are. Think North-by-Northwest.

____________________________________________________________

Eme-Redser continued to rest, progressing slowly yet unquestionably healing. Thoren was getting restless. He sensed the plight of his people and knew he was their last hope. It was no surprise that his sullen behavior could be easily sparked into anger by the slightest provocation. Late the next day, a provocation presented itself in the public area of the inn.

"No!" said Lysette loudly. "And take your hands off of me." She gave the intoxicated traveller a shove with both hands. The man staggered back, tripped over a chair leg and crashed into a table, upsetting it.

Speech slurred and motion shakey, the man rose to his feet his expression changing from feigned goodwill to the beginnings of anger tinged with diabolical intent. "I yust want a... a... (hic)kiss, pretty girl and you... you...(hic) pusht me on the fl...(hic)oor. You're not being (hic) nice to me."

The others at the tables were doing nothing other than being amused by the antics of the drunk and the reaction of his target. They didn't notice Thoren coming down the stairs quietly appraising what was going on. So focussed on warding off the drunk's advances, Lysette didn't notice either. The intoxicated traveller persisted and began to approach Lysette once more. This time she slapped him. Prepared, the drunk did not fall backwards this time. He grabbed her slender wrist and made as if to move closer.

Suddenly he felt a strong hand grab him by the back of his coat and a cold metal knife blade at the base of his neck. "Apologize to the lady! Now!" the words hissed from the infuriated Norseman's clenched teeth.

"I don't see why..." weakly protested the drunk.

"I said now! Or this knife will make your neck its sheath!"

"Thoren! No!" exclaimed Lysette. "He doesn't know what he's doing. You know how I feel about this!"

"Thoren? Are you Thoren of Torvald?" asked the drunk.

"Yes, cretin. I am Thoren. Why have you dared to treat my future wife this way?" The man's expression completely changed at Thoren's confirmation of his name. Where there had been the face of a drunken commoner, now could be seen the face of a fully sober man.

"Forgive me Lady Lysette. I knew no better way to verify who you were than to play this little charade. We cannot be too careful. There are shapeshifters about and I had to be sure. Thoren, release me please, I have a message for you from Ragnar."

Thoren looked about. "Alright stranger. Upstairs. We want no spies to overhear." Lysette, Thoren and the stranger climbed the stairs and entered Eme-Redser's room. Wendolin and Gillandra rose at Thoren's and Lysette's entrance. They and Eme-Redser (in her bed) stared with curiousity at the man who had been "drunk".

"We are all here," began Thoren. "Now tell us what you came here to say."

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-07-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-08-00 10:38 ET (US)     54 / 147       
Whoops. Chunky did appear with some input in some of the Rome related ones. You've been here long enough for me to consider you part of the furniture, so...

The angel one was rather hilarious, as Chunky, PAC and Incon joined in the Rescue of a certain angel who was held hostage by AoE fanatics. I think I ended up playing AoE with Pratchett's DEATH.

Ish, Chunky and I are of to faraway Sana, to retrieve a copy of a lost Tome that has information pertaining to our current quest, i.e. the one concerning the Dread Lord, Askane. This land lies across the Bitter Sea and consists mainly of red desert named the Lone and Level Sands. Sar Dalaam is the many towered city that holds the Library containing this book.

As for catching up with us, I'll keep the two of us moving steadily North by North-West. If you can think of a way to meet up with us, fine, if not, I'll carry us throug hin a couple more posts. However, Realm time wise this will take at least another 3-4 weeks to get there and then a similar amount to get back.

I'm open to suggestions.

Skye is crowded with traders from many a different clime and one more bedraggled minstrel and swordsman passed completely un noticed. Their horses clattered down the streets as the two approached the harbour.

Jayhawk stops in front of an inn named The Kraken and the Mermaid. The two dismount and enter the pleasantly lit inn.

"Hail minstrel, " the tan innkeeper calls across the bar and pours them a mug of light ale,
"I haven't seen you or your friend in years."
"Long time no see, Gar ibn-Sala" the Jayhawk replies.
"We need to sail for Sanisbra. Who is sailing?"

Civis, here's a chance to set up a delay to catch up if desired. We can easily waste a week or so in Skye, while you and the others catch up.
Your call

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-08-00 21:36 ET (US)     55 / 147       
Furniture? Gee, thanks. I think.
Let's all work at getting the companions reunited, okay?

____________________________________________________________

IN SKYE:

"I am!" growled a one-eyed man sitting at a table nearby. "In about 7 or 10 days."

"Why so long from now?" asked Chunky.

"Need to refit, hire a crew and sign for cargo. Need a tree for a mast, a few men and what's coming across the desert on the backs of two dozen camels. Can't go till the cargo gets here. Due in about 7 or 10 days from now."

"We really don't want to wait that long. Is there another ship you'd suggest? asked Jayhawk.

The scruffy bearded captain started to laugh a phlemy, rheumatic laugh. "Not since (ha, ha, cough)the Cartesian pirates made off with all of the ships (cough, cough) in this part of the world. Go ahead, find another ship, I dare you (ha, ha, cough, cough, cough, choke). Blasted herbals!" But he lit up another even as he continued to cough and choke.

Chunky and Jayhawk turned to the innkeeper with questioning looks. The innkeeper read their faces clearly. "He's right, I'm afraid. They raided this port and seized all of the usable ships. His ship escaped because it was dry-docked on the beach for bottom scraping and remasting. The only one that was, I might add. He was lucky."

Chunky and Jayhawk looked at each other. No choice they concluded together as if one. "I guess we had better talk with the man," said the minstrel to the swordsman. They both walked over and invited themselves to his table. The negotiations began over tankards of ale bought by the two travellers for themselves and the captain. When demand exceeds supply, it is best to treat the supplier well... for the moment.

____________________________________________________________

MEANWHILE - IN MADRIGOLD:

Eme-Redser had a strange feeling something was amiss, but she had no time to make her strange feeling known. No sooner had the door closed behind him then the "messenger from Ragnar" drew two throwing knives from his shirt.

Lysette screamed a warning even as the man hurled the first throwing knife in his left hand at Eme-Redser. Thoren spun around to see the first knife whizz past him on its mission of death aimed at the Elven Queen. He saw the other knife in the man's right hand poised to be thrown at him. Thoren ducked low and launched his body at the man's midsection. He crashed into him so hard the man was thrown backwards and slammed against the door. The force of the blow was more than the door's hinges could handle and so the door flew off its mountings sending the men onto the balcony overlooking the public area of the inn. Men below leapt to their feet and rushed to the far side of the room to see the source of the noise above.

The knife fell from the messenger's hand the minute he felt the force of Thoren's charge into his midsection. Weaponless, he beat upon Thoren's back even as the Norseman's body tackle drove him through the door and into the wood floor of the balcony. Somehow, the messenger managed to get his knees, then his feet under Thoren, pushed him off and against the outer wall of the balcony rooms.

As Thoren's shoulders slammed into the wall he saw the messenger regain his feet, grasp the fallen throwing knife lying nearby and bring his arm up as if to throw it. Thoren grabbed a chair by the wall and threw it at the messenger. Startled by the sight of the object airborne and heading his direction, the messenger hesitated just enough to be unable to avoid it. The chair collided with the messenger pushing him against the railing. Once again the stunned man, teetering over the railing, dropped his throwing knife. This time it fell over the railing to the floor 14 feet below. He leaned forward to regain his balance... and met Thoren's clenched fist with his nose.

The force of the blow sent the messenger over the railing and onto the floor of the public area. Thoren leaned over the railing and saw the man lying at an unnatural angle on the floor. Broken neck, for sure thought the Norseman. But what's this?

The skin and body of the messenger began to ripple and move as if being undermined by dozens of moles. His skeletal features shifted and what was at first a man, became an unnameable thing, that finally became... A GOBLIN!

"A shapeshifter spell," said Eme-Redser, who had made her way out of her bed with the assistance of Gillandra. "That's what I was sensing. If I were fully healed, I would have known right away what it was. I'm sorry Thoren. I should have warned you sooner."

"Not your fault, Lady Elf. There wasn't time. You are not hurt?" said Thoren suddenly remembering the knife thrown at Eme-Redser.

"No. His aim was close but not accurate. The inn will need a new pillow, but I am all right."

"So now we have a big problem, don't we Thoren," stated Wendolin matter of factly.

"That is true, Wendolin. Ragnhild's people know to look here. We must leave or we will be hunted relentlessly. I propose we catch up with and join Jayhawk and Chunky. Eme-Redser, can you travel?"

"Not by horse, Thoren. Not yet."

"Then we will improvise, won't we." Thoren looked at Lysette, Gillandra and Wendolin as if to say 'where there is a will, there is a way'.

A few hours before, Ronen had decided Madrigold was farther than he thought and the man fallen by wolves needed to be put in his final resting place. Ronen buried him in a shallow grave piled with stones to ward off scavengers. Now, hours later and close to Madrigold, he saw three riders (women he assumed by their dress) leading a cart out of the town with two horses tied to its rear. A man guided the cart and there was another person in the cart lying on a bed of straw and blankets. Interesting, he thought. So the young paladin impulsively decided to follow them not quite understanding why he felt so compelled. He put spur to horse and then turned to make sure the black mare followed. It did.

Meanwhile, Thoren snapped the reins of the horses drawing the cart to urge them to greater speed. They must put a fair distance between themselves and Madrigold as quickly as possible. Eme-Redser paid little attention to the cart's speed as she slept on the straw and blanket bed made up by Lysette, Gillandra's herbal brew working in the Elven Queen's body to hasten the healing they all wanted for her.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-08-2000).]

Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-09-00 02:59 ET (US)     56 / 147       
Who is Eme-Redser? is she the Elven Queen?

[This message has been edited by Caesar Ishaius (edited 08-09-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-09-00 05:29 ET (US)     57 / 147       
"Part of the furniture" is a Dutch expression that doesn't seem to translate well. What is basically means is that you see someone as always having been part of a group of people.
In your case, to my mind you seem to have been always part of these forums.

Chunky and Jayhawk had managed to secure rooms in the inn on the promise the minstrel would perform each night they were there.

The captain, his name was Danner, had promised them berths when he'd sail. Chunky meanwhile wandered the streets and had repairs done to his arms and equipment.

The precense of pirates was worrisome, though and they wondered if they would meet more trouble, once they were out on the open sea.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-09-00 15:50 ET (US)     58 / 147       
Jayhawk: It translates just fine from the Dutch.
BTW, the Cartesian Pirates shall appear to be more like "Jolly Robbers" if you know what I mean.

Ish: Read the biographies in the header to this thread. The answer is yes to your question about Eme-Redser. Will Ronen be part of the story? I have a way of injecting him into the action in my next post if you intend to support this thread with follow on posts. Please let me know.
____________________________________________________________

FIVE DAYS LATER:

"Okay, so what town is that in the distance?" asked a weary Thoren.

"Skye," came Wendolin's economical reply.

Lysette and the others straightened weary shoulders and stretched stiff necks to see where Thoren pointed.

"Skye," they repeated to each other, not having the energy to say more.

They were five riders now, the cart having served its purpose and Eme-Redser well enough to ride R'edaine once more. The journey had been uneventful but exhausting. They followed as closely as they could the way they suspected Jayhawk and Chunky would go. Indeed, as they inquired along the way, there were a number of travellers or roadside peasants who remembered the swordsman and the tall minstrel passing them only a few days before.

The companions were confident they were on the right track but none of them had any expectation that Skye or any village in particular would be the place where they would find the other two. They would meet where they would meet and that was that.

As they approached Skye they could see the waters of the sea stretch out into the horizon and knew travelling by horse was at an end. But where to? They would have to find out from anyone they could where the minstrel and the swordsman had gone. The inn, they decided... Let's go to the inn and see if anyone there knows. This was their intention as the five riders guided their horses down the main road through the middle of the town where in the distance they could see a single ship at dock and before it a building with a swinging sign that said:

SKYE BLUE INN

At the far edge of the village a lone rider drawing a lone black mare behind him, watched as the five companions pulled their horses up to the hitching post before the inn, dismounted and slowly walked inside.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-09-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-10-00 04:28 ET (US)     59 / 147       
Last I heard from Ish is that he wants to join so we'll give him one more chance

Wendolin walked up to the innkeeper and told him they are looking for a tall minstrel. The innkeeper frowned and put down the mug he's rinsing.
"Tall fellow? Dark hair? Good voice?
Pshaw, you won't find him here. He's settled at the Mermaid...and has been there all of last week."
"Why do you seem mad with him, " Thoren asked.
"Pshaw, he's been playing there ever since he arrived and even regular my customers have forsaken the Blue for the Mermaid. Unfair competition, I say."
Thoren barely managed to hide his smile.
"So where can we find the Mermaid?"
The innkeeper threw them a disgusted look.
"Pshaw! You foreigners are all the same. Down by the harbour, opposite the Port Authority building."
"Thank you, kind sir, " Lysette chimes as they leave the Skye Blue Inn.

Several minutes later they are at the waterfront approaching the Mermaid. Bright green awnings keep the sun out of the building proper. The dulcet tones of a lute pour out of the door and windows.
"Jayhawk" Lysette smiles and enters the inn.

The minstrel is seated on a window sill, strumming his lute in simple sounding patterns, infinite variations on the same theme, each slightly different from the next. A goblet of fine red wine stands next to him. Chunky's sitting at a nearby table, a number of maps unscrolled before him. His dagger forming a counter weight to a pitcher of beer, keeping the maps flat. A dozen or so patrons, shipmasters and a few sailors are drinking and talking.

As the first shadow crosses the door the minstrel looks up. His eyes light up and a smile brightens his face. He closes the chord and puts the lute down, then sweeps a courtly bow.
"Wendolin, well met once more.
Oh my friends you won't believe how gald I am to see you all safe and sound."

Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-10-00 13:43 ET (US)     60 / 147       
Thank you Jay, but I'm really blocked. If u or Civis can just make Ronen talk to the other.
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-10-00 15:30 ET (US)     61 / 147       
Here you go, Ish!

Before Wendolin could respond to Jayhawk's welcome, the door to the inn swung open and in walked a stranger sporting a long sword at his side. It was obvious from his looks that he was a young man in his twenties, not too distant in age from Thoren, and that he was in strong need of a cleansing bath. He had travelled far and the look of travel certainly was about him.

"Innkeeper," he called out loudly. "A room if you please and a hot bath." He then turned and bowed to Wendolin, Gillandra and Lysette. "Greetings ladies," he said with a jaunty air. "I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long."

The three women struggled to hide their amusement at the effect this man caused. Jayhawk remained passive. Chunky looked at the man curiously. Thoren tensed up. He didn't like the man's attitude to the ladies, but was not yet decided if any action was necessary. Kept them waiting indeed, he thought to himself.

"Introduce yourself, stranger," said Thoren, "so that we may have the benefit of knowing who it is that's annoying us."

The stranger laughed. "I mean no annoyance to anyone. My name is Ronen and I've been following you these many leagues." Thoren's hand instinctively went to the front of his shirt but this time he hesitated before seeking his knife.

"And why, pray tell, have you been following us? said Thoren to Ronen.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-10-2000).]

PETRVS
Pleb
posted 08-10-00 18:06 ET (US)     62 / 147       
OOC: Forgive me, but what does this post have to do with CIII? Shouldn't it be on a fantasy board? Unless it has something to do with Rome that I missed...

(BTW, sorry for interrupting.)

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-10-00 20:49 ET (US)     63 / 147       
PETRVS: I appreciate the apology but you interrupted the story nonetheless. If you have a question like this direct it to one of the Angels (I suggest Angel Jayhawk)using their direct e-mail links, not the thread itself. See the main page to CaesarIII Heaven for a list of Angels and their embedded e-mail links. I'm sure they will be more than happy to answer your question.
Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-11-00 05:29 ET (US)     64 / 147       
Oh thank you so much Civis!

"Well" Ronen said and now looked seriously at Thoren.
"I have been searching the world for a quest to solve. But a few weeks ago, not so far from Spectrewoods, I encountered an attack from wolves. I killed them of course" Ronen leaned his hand on his sword and twisted it a bit. Thoren focused on Ronen's sword and saw it was like his sword. "But I arrived there too late and the wolves all ready killed a man. When I was about to travel to Madrigold, a black horse with a white blaze on its muzzle. I saw you coming and something inside my head told me to follow you. So here I am".

He stopped and looked at them. He hoped someone of them will believe him, or know who owns the horse. He hoped it was a magical horse that will give him a quest to prove he is a noble paladin like his father...

MRed94
Pleb
posted 08-11-00 16:55 ET (US)     65 / 147       
Eme-Redser's ears perked up at the description of the horse....

"Where is the horse now?" she asked.

"Why, in the stable across the street." Ronen answered.

Eme-Redser looked at Wendolin, and with that look, walked as quickly as she could out of the tavern, with the others looking after her with perplexed expressions.

Wendolin, also watching her, said to the group, "She will return once she satisfies her curiosity."

They turned once again to Ronen, and continued their conversation.

Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-11-00 18:12 ET (US)     66 / 147       
Hello there MRed! How are you?

Ronen looked at the group and then glanced at the door, waiting for Eme-Redser to come in. He turned again to the Innkeeper. "As I said before Innkeeper, a room and a hot bath". The Innkeeper walked to a closet with keys, took one and put it in Ronen's hand. "Room 6. Go up, and turn left- third door on the right".

"I shall see you all when I finish my bath" He looked seriously at Thoren, and then looked at the ladies and smiled. He ran up the stair case, going two steps every time.

"Strange Paladin" said Jayhawk and they agreed.

After half an hour, a whole new man came down the stair case. If he wouldn't said hello to the party they wouldn't recognize him. This Ronen was clean. His long messy hair was now short and tidy. He was wearing long brown robes and was only carying a very short sword.
"Now that we are all here, I can tell you what is that horse" Eme-Redser, which has returned said and looked to see if they all listened. She then said in a low voice...

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-11-00 21:13 ET (US)     67 / 147       
"There is a puzzlement here, my friends, and I must sort it out before I say what I know. I could so easily be wrong, but if I'm right we have part of our solution in hand to the threat to the Realms. Please bear with me while I think some about what I have found. I will share it with you when I am truly sure. For now Ronen, take good care of that mare. She will be invaluable to you and perhaps to us."

Thoren softened his voice responding to Eme-Redser. He had come to appreciate her skills and knowledge and was quite happy to see her back in top form once more. There were qualities in the Elven Queen that mirrored his Lysette quite closely and that opened a doorway into his otherwise coldly objective heart. "We understand, Eme-Redser."

Jayhawk spoke to Ronen. "Now, Ronen, tell us why you followed us to this place and inn. I think we should know, don't you?"

"If it were so easy I would," replied Ronen. "All I can say is a voice in my head compelled me to follow. Any time I strayed, it spoke clearly to me that I should stay close to your company; but not too close."

"Didn't you recognize the voice?" asked a suspicious Thoren.

"No, I did not. But the voice knew of your journey and its purpose. And now, so do I. May I join you?"

The companions looked at each other. Eme-Redser spoke first. "I have reason to say he should be allowed to join. Do any of you feel so strongly against him that you would yourselves leave this quest if he were to join?"

Thoren frowned, never the one to trust too closely or too soon; but he raised no objection. He trusted the Elven Queen's judgement. Jayhawk said nothing as well. In Thoren's mind this was as much a 'yes' as anything. Then they all turned to Chunky.

"What?! I didn't say anything. What are you all looking at me for?" protested the swordsman.

"Well, aren't you going to say yes or no?" said Wendolin.

"Hey, no problem for me. You all do what you want." Chunky went back to studying his map.

"So it seems like we're all in agreement... sort of," observed Thoren, looking with annoyment in Chunky's direction. "I guess you've found yourself a quest, Ronen."

They all shook hands with the newest member of group, who promptly yawned and announced he would retire for the night.
The others stayed behind to talk among themselves.

MRed94
Pleb
posted 08-11-00 22:31 ET (US)     68 / 147       
Eme-Redser spoke quietly to Wendolin and Lysette, asking them to come to her room to talk.

The women went with the Elven Queen, and the men were left to wonder what they had up their sleeves......

Benson
Pleb
posted 08-13-00 23:37 ET (US)     69 / 147       
As the group sat talking of old time and the time to come the sould of the inn keeper scared voice got thier attention.

"Wild Animal, kill it!Kill it!"

"What" came the sound of a very familiar vocie, "are you talking about my frind here" In the door or the inn stood a familar site. A dusty armor cland mail wiht short sandy hair and unshaven face. He stood there leaning on a stalf wiht a hald smile on his face and at his side stood a half grow panther.

Wiht all eyes on him he walked across the roon the the little group. "What you you guys tring to do sneek on on another adviture with out me or something" he siad then sat down. "So what is our next adventure here?" he asked then the all started to bring him up to speed on what had happend since he left the party. after a while they all started to go to their rooms untill it was only Benson and Thorin.

As Benson got up to head upstiars Benson looked at Thorin and said.. "Remember that I will aways be thier to help you cousin." Wiht that he turned a walked up the stairs wiht the panter in tow..

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-14-00 06:44 ET (US)     70 / 147       
Jayhawk studied Ronen and smiled when the young man looked at him.
"He'll do, " the minstrel thought.

As the group of them was having dinner that evening, with roast of lamb, fresh bread and peppers, all doused lavishly with large mugs of the local white beer, a knock on the door sounded.

As Benson opened the door a slender man wearing a chainmail hauberk with a white surcoat entered. On his breast blazed the eight armed cross of the Paladin's of Clonemaire.
"Forgive my interuption, " he stated and walked to, then kneeled before Wendolin.
"My lady, " he spoke, "I have urgent news."
Wendolin looked at him, put down her mug and stood.
"Come with me, Seldaren."

A short while later she returned a grim look on her pale face.
"Gillandra, we need to pack and ride by morning. A great evil is a foot in the forests of Clonmaire."
She turned to the others.
"We need to leave you. Although your quest is perillous, my country has need of me now. I hope we'll meet again under less auspicious stars.

Ronen, my blessings go with you. Do not shame the badge you wear."

In a softer voice she continued.
"Luck, my friends."

She turned on her heel and left.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-14-00 15:43 ET (US)     71 / 147       
My how their little group had changed over these last few months thought Jayhawk, as he watched them walk up the ramp onto the maindeck of the aging deep sea galley. Gone were Tomas, Randorian, Wendolin and Gillandra. Still with them were Thoren, Lysette, Chunky and Eme-Redser. Returned or new were Ronen and Benson. Including himself, a magnificent seven on a dangerous quest. Jayhawk chuckled. "Magnificent Seven"... "Catchy, Jayhawk," he said to himself.

Then the minstrel turned to walk up the ramp himself. He looked around. Once it was a queen of the seas, this weather beaten galley. Now its claim to fame was as a survivor of the Cartesian pirate raid of some weeks ago. Once brightly painted, the colors on its sides and castle were now faded and difficult to discern. Blues faded into reds, into yellows and into greens creating a continuous blur of pattern seemingly without logic or intent.

The exception could be found on the high bow where on each side an eye was crisply painted in minute detail. Black outlined each eye and each blue pupil suggesting the hint of a reflection strongly contrasted with the bright white on which it rested. These sailors cared little it seemed for the looks of their vessel, but cared greatly that it be able to see where it sailed. Some superstitions seem to persist regardless of learning or time gone by.

Jayhawk looked at the top of the tall mast placed in the center of the galley and at the sail roped tight to the cross mast. Adequate, he thought, for these times. The "Age of Sail" was yet to occur. While long in tooth in many ways, this vessel was as good as it gets technically. Their voyage should be no different than usual. That is, if the Cartesian pirates stay away from the galley's chosen course.

Suddenly there began a great surge of activity as the captain's first mate began yelling orders to the able seamen on the dock and on the bow. Ropes were cast off the dock and onto the bow and the men of the dock ran up the ramp to gain their place on the deck. Slowly the galley pushed away from the dock as stout wooden rods pushed against the pileons. Then oars were run out of rows of openings in the sides of the vessel. These moved in unison as the paddled ends slapped water towards the bow in their attempt to move the galley backwards. The galley responded and moved in the direction the captain decreed. Then the oars stopped as if one and reversed their direction. Now water was pushed towards the stern and the galley slowly advanced by the bow, gently turning to face the open sea. Soon afterwards, the sail was loosed and the prevailing breeze was captured in its folds. The galley lurched forward and the oars were removed from the water and returned to their places within the belly of the ship. They were underway.

It was time for Jayhawk to add detail to the plan and to share it with the others. He gathered them together in the bow to do precisely this thing.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-17-00 05:23 ET (US)     72 / 147       
They gathered in the Captain's room around the map table. Chunky had unrolled the large vellum maps he'd been studying these past few days. After unrolling them he'd taken position near one of the stern windows.

"Well, " Jayhawk started, "we're here on our way to Sana, to retrieve the Tome of Zalander the Architect. I'm fairly sure it contains some references to our current problems with the Dread Lord Ashkane.

We should be landing in Sanisbra in a few days, where we will get us some camels and other desert gear to cross the Lone and Level Sands to Dar Salaam."

Eme-Redser, still looked a little annoyed to be parted from her mount, but she'd agreed with the minstrel that it would not be a kindness to the horse to make it cross the desert.

"The trek from Sanisbra should take us no more than a week, ten days at more, but we'll have to cross the Plains of Fire to make it in that time. I can assure this can be done, as Chunky and I have done it before.

Once in Sar Dalaam, I think I can convince the Caliph to allow us access to the Library, so I can copy the necessary information. Be careful in both Sanisbra and Sar Dalaam, they're customs differ quite a lot from ours."

The minstrel looked at his companions and raised a goblet,
"But first, let us enjoy the calm of a sea trip."


Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-17-00 21:25 ET (US)     73 / 147       
The rooms shared by the travellers were in the high bow of the ship. Sometimes they could hear the slap, slap of the waves striking the bow as it plied its way to Sanisbra. The gentle rock and pitch of the ship lulled them into a sense of ease. These were quiet times allowing them all to partake of relaxing activities and quiet conversation.

Two days before they were to arrive at Sanisbra their reverie was brought to an irreverant halt by the sudden appearance of...

THE CARTESIAN PIRATES!

The door to Jayhawk's and Chunky's cabin flew open as if a giant hand had struck it dead center. Chunky, startled from his nap in his hammock lost his balance and ended on the floor looking up at the apparition in the doorway. The apparition spoke. "Jayhawk, my old friend, too long since we last saw each other! 'Tis I, Gaball! Come out of there and let us talk."

Jayhawk's expression changed little. "So how fares Gaball, the King of the Cartesian Pirates?"

"Well! Join us!"

Jayhawk knew he should follow. He grabbed Chunky's arm, hoisted him to his feet and followed Gaball onto the deck. There the seraph found his comrades and the trireme's crew sitting together on the upper deck. The men were bound and the women were closely guarded by other pirates.

"We would have missed you entirely if this young one (pointing to Lysette) hadn't said 'Jayhawk will answer for me' when one of my men urged her along the walkway a little too strongly.' We couldn't find you right away cause that blond one there (pointing to Thoren) made such a fuss over the girl we had to calm him down with a club."

Jayhawk followed Gaball's finger where it pointed to Thoren and noticed that the Norseman had an unusually dull look on his face, eyes open and glassily looking around. "How hard did you hit him?"

"Oh, not so very hard. Just more than once. Thick-headed that one is."

"They are all my friends, Gaball."

"So I've discovered," he said seriously. Then his expression changed. "Ah well, for your sake my friend we will not do what Cartesians do best." He turned to his men. "Release them all! And now, Jayhawk, will you join us in a celebration?"

"What are we celebrating?"

"You! And... well who cares! We'll celebrate something! Join me on my ship!" There beside the trireme was a remarkable vessel twice as large as the trireme and much sleeker in design. It sported twin masts and sails on both.

"Quite a ship, Gaball. What is it?"

"We call it a caravelle. Yes, she's a beauty. You cannot imagine how much booty... er, how much money it cost to have it designed and built. Only one of its kind in the world."

"I imagine so," commented Jayhawk.

So they agreed (the ladies reluctantly so) to join the pirates for an evening's celebration. Jayhawk convinced the captain to part with some of his cargo as a "gift" to the pirates. "Better to part with some than with all" were the words he used convincingly. The captain joined them in one of the small rowboats that carried the travellers to the caravelle of Captain Gaball, King of the Cartesian Pirates.

Lysette was eager to learn how Jayhawk managed to befriend the pirate king. Thoren's head hurt too much for him to care. Chunky knew but kept silent. The other's leaned in to hear Jayhawk's story.

The midfielder dribbles the soccer ball forward, sees an opening and passes right. The striker flys to the ball from behind the midfielder and dribbles it forward. Feint right, feint left... it's the net! It's open. He shoots...

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-17-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-18-00 06:07 ET (US)     74 / 147       
Seems just the two of us, Civis. Where did every one else go? I think, I might open up a petition on the forum to see if people want us to continue this story...

While the two cabin boys kept refilling pitchers of beer and goblets of wine, the rich meal was being demolished with gusto. Gaball drank and ate for two and kept bursting in to raucous songs. Some of his officers were seated at the same table, including a tall, dark haired woman Gaball had introduced as Iseult. Striking rather than beautiful, with wide, dark brown eyes and pale skin, dressed in a loose blood red shirt, leather threws and boots she had seated her self next to the minstrel. Lysette wondered about the two of them as most of the meal they seemed to be wrapped up deeply in conversation.

By the time the meal neared it's end even Thoren was feeling better as the pounding in his head reduced to a mild throb.
"So, " Lysette asked, "are you going to tell us?"
"It's a long story, are you sure you want to hear it?" the minstrel teased her, a sparkle in his eyes, belying the off hand tone of his voice.
"Come on Jayhawk, " Benson said " we know you want to tell it."

The minstrel smiled.
"Some years ago, Chunky and I were in Skye. We had heard tales of ghosts on the Isle of Lemnon and went to have a look for ourselves. I thought, it might make a nice ballad. We arrived one foggy morning in the little port of Spree. Lemnon is a barren island, of fishermen and shepherd, the land is craggy and wild with seals, seaguls and sad faced puffins living on the rocks. The coast line is rugged with many a cove. Some of these coves have been used by smugglers for generations."

Jayhawk smiled at Gaball and sipped his wine.

"We stayed a few uneventful days, drank uishgy and I swapped tales with the locals, then one night his kid comes running in the tavern. Yelling about ghosts. So we and a few villagers, followed the kid and sure enough a glowing, man-like being was prowling the cliffs above town.
The locals ran off in terror, yet we continued up hill. There ws a certain something with the 'ghost' that just didn't feel right.

After prancing around for a while, it moved back down the coast and we quietly followed it. The glow around the ghost faded and it disappeared down a cave. Down and down we followed it and after a while the roar of the waves got louder and a light showed up niot so very far away. A small fire, burned with witchy light as the salts in the wood burned and our ghost was taking of it's rags and showing a lovely length of leg."

Jayhawk gasped as Iseult jabbed him in the ribs with an elbow.

"To cut a long story short, Gaball and Iseult had been shipwrecked and Gaball had taken a wound to the side, that kept him immobilised and in pain. Iseult had take to scaring of the locals to prevent them from accidently stumbling on her partner. It worked like a charm.

I helped heal Gaball and we were invited to join him on a few of his adventures. Needless to day we accepted. It was a wonderful adventure and a few ballads, hornpipes and jigs remind me of our times together."

"Why would you make friends with a pirate?" Ronan asked. He'd been pale and withdrawn ever since they'd boarded the pirate's ship.

Jayhawk fixed him a piercing look.
"Gaball is not an ordinary pirate, you could say he works in redistributing wealth. They seldom kill, and seldom leave a merchant with nothing at all."
"If only so he'd come back to donate more of his wealth the next time, " Gaball guffawed.
"Besides, " Jayhawk smiled, "it was fun."


Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-19-00 13:16 ET (US)     75 / 147       
Seems like it, Jayhawk. We'll see what develops.
____________________________________________________________

Jayhawk and the others watched the caravelle disappear in the distance. They could hear each other let out a pent up sigh of relief.

"Strange folks," commented Thoren. His thumping headache had disappeared but two tender knots on his head remained to remind him of his twice over meeting with a pirate's club.

"Unpredicatable for sure. I value my friendship with them for a number of reasons, a few of which can be characterized as plain old convenience," admitted Jayhawk. "Well, I guess it's time to make plans for Sanisbra and what we will need to do there."

Lysette wandered over to listen in on the conversation between the minstrel and her husband to be. "Jayhawk, what is that point I see on the horizon there?" she asked.

"Sanisbra."

Thoren laughed. "Well, I guess it is indeed time to plan."

Half a day later the bow of the trireme gently bumped against the dock of the port village of Sanisbra.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-19-2000).]

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