The Road to Salaband

For in-universe game play. Journey through both familiar and foreign settings, explore lost ruins and forgotten cities, and try to bring light to the darkness of the world... or, you know, blow stuff up. Either way.

Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » August 22nd, 2013, 6:20 pm

Old vines with woody bits could be cut, but not easily. Jade was up to that task. Aden watched but did not struggle - he wasn't up to it. She took a step - and was trapped again. Curse it, the man was barely over ten feet away. He was on his knees but not showing fear. (Feeling? Maybe. Showing? No.) His face betrayed more weariness than anything else. He wasn't even clutching his ears at the soulless sexless male laughter or flinching from the dancing, laughing skulls.

"Shut up!" she shouted at the skeletons with a confidence she didn't feel.

The noise stopped and suddenly. And a crunch of feet in dead vegetation turned her gaze to the left where she saw a man, a fearful apparition in his own right.

A good six feet this man, lean, and old - maybe fifty and maybe more; the sun had been unkind to his complexion and made his true age hard to guess. His hair and beard were ungroomed, with dead and dying leaves stuck in by carelessness rather than ornamentation. His eyes under shaggy brows....well, in this light, everything looked a little green, but Jade was pretty sure they'd be green in any light. And their aspect was unforgiving, alive, fanatical -- the look of a man who'd dedicated a long life to a cause, and would sacrifice anyone or anything for it. (And from the look of the rest of him, that cause was not "grooming and hygiene.")

The stranger's tunic and trousers were old but very sturdy, with leather patches covering his elbows and knees and heavy gloves his hands. A trowel hung from his belt, and his left hand gripped a short walking stick, but the design of it told the veteran weapons merchant there was more to it than that. A tarnished amulet with a skull design hung around his neck, just below the collarbone. It hid behind his beard most of the time, but when he turned and talked you could catch a glimpse.

The stranger spoke, and his speech was heavily accented from one of the wilder countries of the Northern Confederacy.

"So! You come for the secrets! These are death to the stranger!"

Aden's eyebrows bounced up, "Growin' half-dead hops is a secret?" - he had earned his strength in farm labor and well recognized the family resemblance of some of these climbing plants. "Hey, I'll keep it, man. But a li'l fertilizer and you'll get 'em a lot healthier, just get yourself some sheep..."

"Silence!" He pointed at Aden with his staff. "If you come to take the secrets away, you will die! If you come to say you will not take the secrets away, you are lying and you will die! If you say nothing, you will die! And you will laugh with the other stranger spy intruders!" He gestured at the vine-entangled skulls that still adorned the edges of this clearing.

"So," said Aden, "What can I do to get you to let me go?"

"To ask me that question is to make me very angry, stranger spy intruder who is doomed to die and then laugh! I think you will be shutting up now!" He pointed at the ground with his free hand and twirled the finger. A half-dead, half-sickly creeper wrapped itself around Aden's neck but did not squeeze too tight just now. Aden got the message and piped down.

The wizard turned blazing eyes on Jade and tapped a gloved palm with his stick. "And you, intruder, why should I let you live?"
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 23rd, 2013, 7:27 am

Between the disheveled old man's bizarre powers, the threats he could clearly make good on and the sociopathic lack of options he'd offered it was obvious to The Blacksmith that she was in a spot of bother. Her mind scrambled for the right reply, cursing her lack of a firearm for the fifth or sixth time that night.

'Think damn it! What would Leo do in this situation?'

'He'd bluff.'
Replied the more sober side of her thoughts. 'He'd bluff his arse off and leave with the old fart's valuables.'

"Why?" She said, hearing the steel creeping back into her voice as she sought the confident tones her boyfriend adopted when convincing someone of his authority. "Because there's a dozen officers of the law not a hundred yards away waiting for me to return with this criminal, and if I'm not back in the next few minutes they'll know something's wrong and come looking. He is condemned to die for his crimes already sir. If it pleases you we could add his purposeful violation of your sanctum to the charges against him. I just wish to see justice done."
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » August 23rd, 2013, 8:37 am

Someone less intelligent or resolute than Jade would've assumed the situation was hopeless and panicked or despaired, or done something really stupid -- but Jade was smart enough to see there could be some kind of right answer...why else would he be talking at all? (Besides the fact that he was obviously less than fully sane.) And as a bold adventurer she had often stayed alive by not panicking.

"Because there's a dozen officers of the law not a hundred yards away waiting for me to return with this criminal, and if I'm not back in the next few minutes they'll know something's wrong and come looking. He is condemned to die for his crimes already sir. If it pleases you we could add his purposeful violation of your sanctum to the charges against him. I just wish to see justice done."

"It's true, man, they're there, GHHK!" began Aden. The stranger had pointed at the ground again and twirled his finger once; the garrote around Aden's neck had tightened just a tad.

He sneered at Jade. "I like your lies better than his."

"But I didn't say aNNNNGGGGHK!"

"But," the dirty bearded secrets-loving mage went on, "the Falkenrohrs is not coming in here, and before them the Gewehrs and the Eisenfausts know better than to come here too, and the Waffenbruderschafts were wise to stay out too! Only the fools are not wise and the fools are laughing now! Is the living who do not laugh and do not come to take secrets!"

Well, that was interesting. Luminosita knew how or why, but apparently this weird hermit-like wizard kept in some kind of touch with the outside world. Even recent news - the Falkenrohr Patrols were very recent indeed. Her mind raced to review all she'd seen and heard here so far...

"I think you are an intruder trespasser stranger spy seizer of secrets stealing espionage deceiver preparing herself for laughter!" When the words poured out like that his angry passion intensified. "So no more lies for why you should not laugh with the other intruder stranger spies!"

[OOC: I was half tempted to modify this to the classic exchange. "Right now, at this very moment, there are a dozen officers of the law not a hundred yards away waiting for me to return with this criminal, wouldjabelieve it? A dozen officers not a hundred yards away!" "I find that hard to believe." "Woudljabelieeeeve, half a dozen officers less than half a mile off...?"

btw, though it's obvious he has some kind of respect for Jade that he doesn't have for Aden, there is nothing sexual in his looks - he's not giving her the old up-and-down or anything similar. Obviously Jade isn't really-for-real dying, though she doesn't know that; but her response, and whether it keeps things going, may radically change how she survives and what she sees, learns, and gets to do.]
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 23rd, 2013, 2:13 pm

"I represent the Black Guard of Port Lorrel. We were unaware of your authority here." Jade continued, trying look unperturbed by the psychotic gardener's fixation on killing people and using their bones for a botanically-themed puppet show. In truth she'd half expected him to call her a liar regardless of what she'd said, but one of things she'd learned from her conman other half was the importance of commiting to a fiction after making the decision to tell one.

'Never backpedal, act important, include unnecessary details...'

"The Guard are the militia of Lucas Amadeus Logan. One of Port's wealthiest businessman. At his behest we've chased this scoundrel." She took a step towards Aden with her weapon levelled at his chest at this remark, drawing a little closer to the newcomer as she did. His actions had shown he needed a little time to command the vines to move. If circumstances forced her hand she could try for a quick surprise lunge to end this game before things got out of control.

"This man murdered Logan's men and stole guard property. That's something my employer is willing to commit a great deal of his considerable resources to rectify, and he has very little patfence for those who'd stand in the way of that." There was the stick, now for the carrot. "However, I can tell you with certainty that he is also very generous to those who make such irritations easier to solve..."
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » August 23rd, 2013, 5:00 pm

"I represent the Black Guard of Port Lorrel. We were unaware of your authority here. The Guard are the militia of Lucas Amadeus Logan. One of Port's wealthiest businessman. At his behest we've chased this scoundrel. This man murdered Logan's men and stole guard property. That's something my employer is willing to commit a great deal of his considerable resources to rectify, and he has very little patfence for those who'd stand in the way of that. However, I can tell you with certainty that he is also very generous to those who make such irritations easier to solve..."

"And when last he was heard from," said the stranger, "your employer, who is a purveyor of merchandise most inferior, and from whom we need nothing, was preparing to be crushed out by the Eisenfaust. He shall not rebuild his fortunes with our secrets! What kind of folly-ridden dimwitted laughing foolish fool shall send his spies of espionage to steal our ways he cannot comprehend? It is hopeless folly for him to try! It is only the man most extraordinary who can do what we do and this foolish frivolous purse string puppetmaster of spying strangers has no hope to be part of the true secret craftsmanship!

"And you lying spy stranger must contemplate this on the Trellis of Woe!"

Several of the vines reared up towards Jade, and their thicker parts were covered with little black mushroom balls - but at that moment the mad wizard was distracted. Aden had been trying quietly to cut the dead-hop-creeper from his neck and sucked in breath as he nicked himself.

"So!" said the stranger. "You cut your own throat in my woods? Then I shall save your bleeding life blood from killing you...with a tourniquet!" He began to twirl his finger again, as a living-dead vine wrapped itself around the wounded man's neck once more. If Jade had actually liked Aden that would've been a sad sight to see, the freedom-loving fugitive bound on his knees and being choked to death, and when he tried to cut himself free, he just cut himself, period.

"Stranger spy intruder says I need fertilizer. Stranger spy intruder can be fertilizer." He made complicated gestures to bind Aden more thoroughly. No doubt his attention would be back on Jade in a moment.
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 24th, 2013, 4:19 pm

With it becoming increasingly obvious that the old lunatic could not be reasoned with, coupled with his attention being focused elsewhere, the course of action before Jade was an obvious one. After a quick backward swipe at the closest of the creepers seeking her legs she broke into a short sprint, making a beeline for the creeper king, and launched herself at the sorcerer's back. She extended her arm before her to give her weapon it's maximum reach. The sword was long, but the distance was perilous, and whether the mage bastard could react in time to the attack was an issue beyond her control. Her die was cast.
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » August 25th, 2013, 4:38 am

Jade's slicing away at the half-dead plants warned the half-mad wizard so that she didn't have half a chance. A creeper snagged her foot, and when she hit the ground, the little black mushroom balls exploded, puffing out their soporific spores. She choked, she coughed, she lay still...

It was midday when she awoke. Unarmed and with her clothes loosened but not undressed. She'd been searched and every sharp thing taken. She was bound on a long row of old oak trellises, all covered with vines, and these vines bound her to them. Five yards to her left Aden was also so bound. He gave no sign of being alive. Her arms ached, her wrists chafed, her hunger nagged, her thirst choked her, and she was still coughing from the spores. Her struggles were doing no good and even thinking clearly was hard.

From the looks of things whatever had been grown here had not been cultivated in a while - the trellises were rotting away, their paint mostly flaked off, the vines that had her bound weren't anything useful or ornamental, and there were no people around. The only moving things besides her were the caterpillars...

Oh, yes, there were quite a lot of those, hairy little black-and-indigo things. They crawled over the trellis, the vines, her boots, her hands...and she couldn't shake them all off before one got in her pants. It tickled...

No, it didn't tickle. In a moment it itched. These were poisonous caterpillars and if you had one on your skin long enough, you got an itching rash you wouldn't soon forget. And Jade couldn't scratch it.

For hours that seemed like months she struggled, to break the vines, to slip the vines, to cruch the offendering creature between her knees, to keep the next one out of her sleeve, to keep her sanity - but the itches got more numerous and they did not die out. She was hungry and thirsty but that was easy to forget - she was itching and she could not scratch.

How many hours this agony went on, Jade could not say, but at long last, for all her toughness she screamed.

And was heard.

Off to the left, she saw a movement beyond the next rise. It looked like rescue! And then the running figure - in his boots, pants, and sashed tunic - came jogging along at the best case he could make. His blonde hair and beard were growing back fast, but hadn't made it yet. He carried his staff with ease and ran with the determination of a man who is by no means a natural runner. Yes, it was Udo Fujomori, and he'd be there any minute.
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 26th, 2013, 9:39 am

OOC Just a short one to keep the ball rolling. Doing this on my phone at work atm./OOC

'Damsel in distress' was not a role Jade was used to playing. Being the only girl in a family with four children had given her a tough, tomboy exterior since she'd been old enough to walk and talk. But captured without an escape route, and with insects driving her mad was enough cause to put her pride on the shelf.

"Help! By Luminosita's jockstrap, HELP!"

'I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry...'
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » August 27th, 2013, 3:38 pm

Udo chugged up at the best pace he could manage - he was not a sprinter, but he was a lot more durable than he looked.

His quarry was tied up over there, but there was a lady in distress here, and first things had to come first. He had no suspicion they'd already exchanged petting and hugs and even taken a tumble in bed.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

Jade explained with whatever degree of patience seemed appropriate.

"Right, then," said Udo. Leaning his staff against the trellis, he drew a knife from his boot (which knife he'd taken from Jargalan's body the other day) and began sawing away at the vines that held Jade up. To get at them all he'd have to do some climbing, but he was up for that. With luck he could get through this without any embarrassing pratfalls or accidental wardrobe malfunctions. But Udo wasn't always lucky...
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Re: The Road to Salaband

Postby Alberich » August 29th, 2013, 10:13 am

...and when he finally got the last of the vines cut, accompanied by Jade's frantic and angry instructions, the pair ended up tumbling to the ground in a tangle. That brought a WHOOF! from Udo, but his body broke the impact for Jade. That left her free to do what she liked: to scratch like a dog with three days' fleas? say thanks to Udo? steal his weapons? steal his pants? slap him? kiss him...?
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