The Road to Salaband

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The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » May 11th, 2013, 7:07 pm

[OOC: Picking up from here.]

After a day of rest, and a night of more rest, Udo and Angrist were ready to set off on their journey. For Angrist it was a chance to fulfill a promise, and a vague instruction to the fortuneteller - Bring Udo Fujomori to Salaband by the end of August. Do not let the wrong people take the hill. What could that possibly mean?

For Udo it was another exciting adventure, a training journey, to study unarmed combat at the hands of his Great Sensei.

Of course, there was no way Udo was ever going to learn the thamuically-enhanced strength-and-speed techniques Angrist knew. Those required years of ascetic living and stern devotions, foreign to the nature of the sybaritic ex-battlemage. Even were it otherwise, that was not a power to be shared lightly, especially not by one as concerned about unnecessary killing as Angrist was. But Angrist did know and could teach open-hand techniques that went far beyond what Udo had learned in his basic combatives courses and on the playground. That might make the world a little safer -- the more sure of himself Udo was in a nonlethal art, the less he'd have to rely on sharp things and shooty things.

Well, one could look at this way. Many adventurers who were asked to cross Farrel on foot would demand cash up front, a promise of large payment at the end, or at least the opportunity for some plunder. Udo? All he was asking was for Angrist to beat him up on a regular basis. Even Udo was a bargain at that price.

The first leg of their long journey was the the road to Ester. Udo knew this road. It was hilly, rocky terrain, with good ambush spots at every turn. "This is in between Eisenfaust and Gewehr territory," explained Udo, "and that's why it's so lawless. Thieves and ambushes at every turn!" He ought to have known. While he didn't bring this up, it was where his own abortive career as a highwayman had begun.

He did reminisce about his adventures on this road -- which included a fearsome battle with the Order of Expendables. Udo's telling was maybe more dramatic than accurate - he couldn't resist stopping to sketch tactical diagrams in the dirt, and if you believed him as much as he believed himself, his strategic acumen had been key to the whole victory.

(In sober fact, "strategy" had had little to do with it. Udo and Jamie had held off the enemy out of sheer bloody-minded stubbornness until nightfall. In the dark, Tamina had owned the battlefield, and the enemy had learned the hard way about night fighting with an enemy who sees like a cat.)

For all of Udo's warnings, the road was proving quite bandit-free, and whatever scouting the two travelers did revealed no ambushes, no hidden camps, no nothing. Just a nice, healthy walk in the early summer sunshine. And once Udo's tale-telling ran down, even peace and quiet to go with it.

It was afternoon, and well past the halfway point, when they first saw other humans on the road. Way to the front, a group of five armed horsemen -- carbines and sabers, said Udo's spyglass. They were making no effort to conceal themselves. Udo was all for staying on the road and saying hello to them as soon as they got close. But Angrist was the decisionmaker here. What would he do?
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Graybeard » May 11th, 2013, 11:14 pm

OOC: Here's something for you to play off of if you wish. On the other hand, if Therese and Mordan are extraneous to whatever you have planned for this thread, feel free to ignore them and they'll continue on their way toward the Far North. No big deal either way.
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » May 12th, 2013, 9:06 am

[OOC: PM from Graybeard confirms that Therese and Mordan are nowhere near Udo and Angrist -- who are way more than 26 whatever-they-ares from Salaband at this point.]
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Browncoat » May 13th, 2013, 5:09 pm

Angrist was lost in thought. Despite his unusual eloquence (or lack thereof), Udo had made some valid points about learning unarmed combat and Angrist was considering how best to teach. The upcoming strangers could well be the answer. If they were simple travelers, fine, but if not...call it "Lesson One". If they were innocent, no need to attack them. If not, a direct approach would imply naivete which would lead to underestimation. Angrist didn't even alter his pace.

[OOC: New job will mean less time for me to post on here. But I'll try to keep up.]
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » May 13th, 2013, 6:01 pm

The five horsemen and the two pedestrians were soon facing each other on a flattish piece of road. No one was pulling out weapons or trying to start a fight just yet. Udo tipped his hat back to get a better look at the strangers. Their leader spoke first.

"Falkenrohr Patrol," he said. "Guardians of Ester. State your name and business."

Well, there could be no argument about who spoke for the group here. So Udo did it. "Udo Fujomori, adventurer!" he said. "And this is Sensei Angrist, a Warrior of the Open Hand, whose strength comes from his purity -- for you see before you the one man on earth who never lies." He gestured dramatically. "Never!"

"And how can you say that?"

"Because he never talks. Anyway, we're just passing through town on our way to the east, but along the way we're looking for work, too, and maybe you know someone in Ester who's looking for some?"

"Try the Flatiron."

"Will do. I remember it well!"

"You've been to Ester before, then?"

"A few weeks ago, yes."

"Well - it's a quiet town now. Peaceful. And it's going to stay that way. Right?"

"Right, I quite agree, yes." The riders had been sizing these two up, and they didn't smell like "trouble" or "money," either one, so they let them by. These newcomers didn't even have weapons visible (the patrol had no skill to recognize Udo's staff for what it was), which in this country meant they didn't have money to buy weapons. No point in squeezing a toll out of them. The patrol and the pedestrians passed each other.

Udo commented further to Angrist. "When I was here before, those 'Expendables' were going to be the new guardians, 'cept they were mostly bandits themselves. After we finished 'em off, a bunch of locals were trying to get new groups together. I guess while we've been crossing the world they managed to agree on one, and these Falkenrohr Patrols must be it. Would've thought the Gewehr or the Eisenfaust were going to take over. Anyway, they've only got one boss in town, that'll keep it peaceful. Though we could prolly make a lot more money if there was two..."

Hours later they were there. Udo had taken the lead in going to the Flatiron in search of such work as befitted a pair of great adventurers like themselves. It was a cultural thing in Tsuiraku -- the Master left business details to his chief student, so that he could concentrate on spiritual enlightenment, mystic fistics, or whatever it was that Masters got up to when the students were away. And so, a few hours later, at the Flatiron, there was indeed some training taking place, the older generation passing on its secrets to the new:

"No, no, no!" exclaimed Udo, to the befuddled boy beside him. "You'll never get 'em clean using just your arms like that. You've got to get your whole body into it. Show some enthusiasm! You've got to learn...the Udo Fujomori Dishwashing Dance!" What came next was a sight to behold. Maybe it wouldn't've passed a time and motion study, but it got the job done, and would earn enough for a couple day's rations. (Since they had Udo's camping gear -- Gorielian stuff he'd purchased on a previous adventure -- they could save on inn rooms as long as they could handle wild animals, bandits, monsters, ants, and so on.)

Angrist, meantime, was free to do as he pleased in the village. The emporium of Scorz's Nephews - Traders in Weapons, Camping Gear, and Miscellaneous Bandit Loot - might have something useful for them, if Angrist had any cash to purchase it, or he might spend the time listening, or devising a true Lesson One for Udo --

What would he, in fact, do?

[OOC: This adventure's just you and me, at least for now, so post at your own pace. And congratulations on the new job!]
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Jack Rothwell » May 14th, 2013, 2:54 pm

OOC Just thought I'd post one to set up a possible encounter a little later on. Got the urge to write and I'm still waiting on the other thread so.../OOC

"Here I am, in foreign lands, trudging a lost highway..."

It was a fair singing voice which carried through the open countryside on the road to Ester. The rhythmic crunch of the gravel was it's companion. It was fitting percussion, given the smoker's rasp at the edge of the vocals.

"Knap-sack of crap upon my back, and not a place to stay..."

A truthful statement, the occasional clank from the heavy pack the traveller wore gave the impression it contained nothing but broken metal. Mostly, it did.

"My legs are tired from walking, my head is flyin' a kite..."

At least her ankle had healed enough to walk on, but weary was weary, and the horizon was still bare of civilisation. It was a joke, the journey; to first follow up a failed project with a financial disaster, then to travel back to the place where things had become disastrous in the first place. And why? For the almighty motivator of 'I-don't-have-anything-better-to-do'. If Jade had been more honest with herself she would've admitted it was really to sleep somewhere without fear of people trying to kill her. More so than usual in any case.

"A pint of old per-cu-li-ar will set my mind to rights..."

Well, maybe a bed was the second priority.
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » May 14th, 2013, 6:10 pm

The five-man patrol that'd met Udo and Angrist would soon come upon Jade. By sheerest coincidence, one of them had been singing the same melody --

"Oh, here I am on a lost highway, riding one more patrol..."

The singer wasn't much of an artist. His interpretation wasn't subtle or nuanced. But at least he could carry a tune.

"Lookin' for vultures and other dry-gulchers, to tear 'em a new asshole..."

This was a fairly straightforward rewriting of a local favorite, which he was hoping would become the Falkenrohr's official anthem. The odds weren't high.

"My blisters are hard as armor, and never an end in sight,
But a pint of the old peculiar will set me all to rights."

Soon enough they came upon the heavily-laden traveler, one whose adventuring life had started with a trip to Ester. The ex-Black Guardsmen who'd been recently inducted into the Falkenrohr were not on this patrol -- just in case their officers decided to come looking for "deserters" -- but they would certainly get a good look at any military-looking newcomers who made it into Ester.

This woman...well, she might be. For all she was by herself and heavily laden on a dangerous road, she looked able to take care of herself, yet she wasn't radiating "trouble." This was all to the good. The lead rider gave his standard greeting -

"Falkenrohr Patrol, guardians of Ester. State your name and business."

He was hoping for a brief and courteous conversation, where he could be assured she wasn't planning to bring chaos to their town, and maybe give her a little guidance.

[OOC: This is just to give you something to play off, Jack - feel free to give him dialogue and move it along as you like.]
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Jack Rothwell » May 14th, 2013, 6:41 pm

The woman froze guiltily as the patrol approached, the song dying in her throat as she saw the blades and guns they carried. She restrained her hand from dropping to her gunbelt and forced a genial smile on her face.

"Falkenrohr Patrol, guardians of Ester. State your name and business."

"Ja... Jasmine. Jasmine Landau." She said, hoping the fake name sounded natural. Deceiving people was hardly her line of work, but a pressing desire not to have the Eisenfaust or Logan's men find out where she was, or the distinct possibility that this group of armed men were working for them, was a powerful tool for motivation.

"I'm just looking for a bed." She explained, shifting her weight as she spoke. Unfortunately, the movement wrought an audible clunking noise from inside her pack.

"...and... uhh... looking for someone to buy scrap metal." She added.

OOC Thanks for the hook, Al. Can I leave it to you whether the patrol finds Jade suspicious? I'm still a little burned out from steering the last plot./OOC
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » May 14th, 2013, 6:58 pm

Only one of the men had to suppress a snigger at her "looking for a bed." No one made the obvious ribald offer. Some of these men were married, and all had a healthy respect for the weapons Jade carried. The leader heard the chink of hidden metal, the pause, and the excuse. He tilted his head.

"You should know," he said, "Ester's a quiet town these days. Peaceful with the neighbors. Going to stay that way, too." He'd been repeating these words a lot over the past day, and was starting to sound bored with them. "If you're planning to head on this way, mind if we have a look at this 'scrap metal' you're selling? Might want to place an order ourselves. Casting bullets, mending tea kettles, that sort of thing." And if she seemed legitimate, why, then, she'd be pleased to pay a small toll for the use of this road the Patrols were making so safe.

The "if you're planning..." was a hint that if she preferred to turn around and pick a different direction there'd be no trouble at all.
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Jack Rothwell » May 15th, 2013, 5:21 am

"Ahh... sure, sure, no problem." Jade replied, unslinging the pack and sending a silent prayer to a God she didn't believe in that the leader of the patrol wouldn't insist on looking inside it. The blacksmith's hand disappeared inside the bag and came up holding casing for a rifle. The parts had been all she'd been able to salvage from her workshop before her hurried exit from Port Lorrel, well... that and the one inventive weapon she hadn't sold to the Black Guard. A weapon which was currently nestling at the bottom of the backpack.

In a few seconds the rough outline of a bolt action rifle was framed on the dirt track of the road before the guardsmen.

"Some assembly required." The woman said, injecting a lightness into her tone she didn't really feel. "Is there a gunsmith in Ester? I thought I might be able to offload this crap if I could find one."
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