Rallahiem

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Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 22nd, 2013, 5:50 am

The day was hot, then again, every damned day was.

Morgan pivoted on the creaky old stool he was perched upon and spat. A wad of amber-coloured gunk zipped across the empty space and landed in the charcoal fire with a satisfying hiss. The drink had been one of 'Aunty' Sullivan's concoctions that promised to leave anything but a nasty taste in the mouth but inevitably fell short. In this case, alertness had been the goal: so far he hadn't been alert to anything but the vile goop still lining his gums.

It was his own damned fault really. Between having to pull extra hours to make ends meet in the sparse, dusthole of a town and Travis running to him every other day with 'urgent news' of some 'salvage that had to be investigated-right-now-no-time-to-lose' a good nights rest was a luxury he could no longer afford.

It wasn't that Euden's Rook (The Rook, as the inhabitants called it) was as desolate or dangerous as some other parts of Marvis county. It was just a place people passed through on their way to somewhere more interesting. It was built a short stroll from the '85 road some hundred years ago. Exactly when was hard to say, keeping accurate historical records hadn't been a human priority for a long time. In any case wanderers had claimed it, renovated it, invited some people to stay and now here they all were, fifty miles east from Brackstone, eighty miles south of Hamilton, and scraping a living in the dirt.

The residents, at least, were a colourful bunch. There was the eccentric Mabel Sullivan; the closest thing the Rook had to a doctor, one who invariably treated everyone like rambunctious children regardless of their age, gender or species. Rothwell, the owner of the town's only bar, who spent half his days cursing and sweating in his basement brewery and the other half drinking away his profits. The town's few laws were enforced by the portly Sheriff Carter and his small team of officers, most of whom were either too old or too young to go prospecting, or simply hadn't the heart to take the risk. But while Carter was the law in The Rook, it's true leader was Yosef Logan.

He was the big farmer whose family had claimed the dozen or acres of semi-fertile land that lay nestled in the shadow of the mountain-like rise past the northwest quarter of the settlement some four generations ago. There wasn't a man, woman or child who lived in The Rook who hadn't bent their backs picking beans and corn for their supper there at one time or another. Yosef himself was largely regarded as a kind of father figure: admittedly a somewhat grumpy and tight-fisted one, but kind-hearted enough to those who were prepared to put in a hard day's work. His son however...

Morgan shook his head in negation. Now wasn't the time for idly hostile musings when he had a commission to finish. He sighed, and returned his attention to the old rifle on the bench.

OOC More on the way./OOC
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Graybeard » November 22nd, 2013, 11:31 pm

More! More!
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 24th, 2013, 11:49 am

OOC Thanks Grey :) . I'm going to be offline for the next couple of days... bloody cats screwed up the cables to my laptop so it needs to go get fixed. I'll get back to this and errant road when I can./OOC
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 29th, 2013, 8:11 am

It was past midday when Morgan stepped out into the fierce sunshine of Marvis County. For a moment he stood, blinking owlishly as his pupils adjusted to the light, drinking in the hustle of 85 street as he had a thousand times before.

The body of the noise were the familiar calls of salvage sellers and food purveyors voicing the quality of their wares to the trudging locals and the handful of travellers who'd elected to make the right turn off the old road and seek the comforts of the town. Morgan grimaced in sympathy as he saw a young man with little but the clothes on his boney back approach the hissing iron cart was that Sadin's grill to order something which the owner was undoubtedly swearing to the naive nomad was mutton but was almost certainly wumpi. The latter was more plentiful (provided one had a good rifle and the guts to hunt for them) , and with enough onions it was hard to tell the difference. As the traveller stabbed his fork into the bowl the techsmith decided it was time to make his delivery.

It was a short stretch up Langley avenue to old man Morris' home. Like most of the housing in the Rook it was a mishmash of old bricks and new mortar, what gaps in the walls there were and a large section of the original roof had been covered by rusting sheet metal and stones gathered from wherever they could be found. Morgan had heard of a disused quarry somewhere to the south-west of the settlement (another one of Travis' oh-so-interesting tidbits courtesy of his treasure hunting obsession) but had never been moved to investigate it. The Rook wasn't desperate for building materials in any case: the town wasn't exactly booming.

The door creaked open before he'd even raised a hand to knock, revealing a grey bearded face which had spent the last sixty years being baked by the unforgiving sun. Morgan wasn't surprised; the old man spent half his time people watching from his window. He'd probably spotted the craftsman as soon as he'd turned into the street.

"Got m' rifle boy?"

"Aye sir, cleaned, recased and ready to shoot."

"Glad to hear it. Come in and rest your bones a while lad. I could use the distraction."

Morgan shrugged and did as he was bid, mentally bracing himself for the bitter tea he knew the gnarled man would offer him.
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » November 30th, 2013, 9:53 pm

"Business been slow lately?"

It was a statement, not a question. Morgan didn't bother to reply as he entered Morris' accommodations. The familiar squeaks and musty smells greeted him as he was directed to an armchair that had seen better days. He sat as the old man busied himself by the stove.

"Always were a quiet one." He tutted. "Like the chair? Got it from a family headed to Brackstone a week ago. Their horse had keeled over 'fore they were halfway off the road from the weight of their personals. Traded the poor buggers for a string of guinea pig. Sad to say I went soft at the sight of the girl they had with 'em. Thirteen if she was a day, all skin and bone she was..."

The good thing about spending time with Morris, Morgan reflected, was that a visitor rarely felt the need to make tedious polite conversation with the old trapper, as he was up to the task of providing enough for both parties. The old man kept a lot of company to fill the silences in any case, even for a guest of Morgan's reserved character. The man was good at his job if nothing else.

The techsmith nodded and grunted in all the correct places at Morris' monologue, idly observing the furry residents engaging in a veritable life-cycle of activities, before a steaming mug was pressed into his hand.

"Heard the news round town?"

"I've been in the shop all morning."

"You need to keep your ear to the ground more often. Nary an opportunity was ever realised without discovery."

Morgan shrugged and sipped his tea. It was bitter, bracken but mercifully free of critter droppings.

"If it weren't for Old Morris and that young lad, what's-his-name, you would've never heard about that D'Vari tribe that nearly crossed our settlement."

"They were twenty miles away at the closest." Morgan muttered, doing nothing to stop his host's ramblings.

"...and there was that business with Logan's boy and that out-of-town trader's hides."

"Nothing got proven. No-one went to the box over it." No surprises there. The big farmer in town wasn't going to allow his progeny sit in a sun baked oven for the sake of a couple of leather coats.

"Well, someone's headed to worse than the box over this, I promise you. We've got bounty hunters in town lad, they arrived last night."
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » December 2nd, 2013, 8:57 pm

"Why here?" Morgan replied, his voice thick with incredulity. "There's been no body-snatchers* around for months."

"There's the nectar-heads camped out in the petrified wood."

"No-one pays bounty hunters to track down junkie scum. Even Carter's boys could handle an invasion from those."

The tech was speaking truthfully, but the fact was that the 'nectar-heads' were a persistent problem in Marvis county and far beyond. It was unsurprising, given the relative availability of the drug. 'Nectar' was just that, specifically a type found in the blossoms of a short, orange-flowered plant which sprung up in wooded areas even in the heat of the central band. It's users found euphoria and hallucinations in the early stages of their addiction, madness and feral-like rage in the latter. What was left at the end of that downward spiral could found roaming in snarling packs, on the hunt for unwary travelers to do nightmarish things to.

"Well, they're here for something. By my reckoning they're either looking for someone in town or looking for someone to point them in right direction."

"As long as they're directed far away from me." Morgan grunted. "Untrustworthy, morally bankrupt, egotistical fuckheads, the lot of them."

"Odd words for a lad who does his best business with those fuckheads." Morris' wheezy chuckle sent a ripple of squeaky chatter through the other occupants of the room. As if it were a signal, the techsmith found his feet. He drained his cup with a grimace and tipped a hand to the old man.

"I should be getting back."

"Aye. To your hole. Here." Morris picked up a cage and pushed it into the younger man's hands, who peered doubtfully at the pair of animals inside.

"These are old rabbits."

"This is an old rifle." Morris' reply was curt, although were was a gleam in his eye. "They'll feed you well enough boy, I wouldn't cheat you."

"Just skimp me from time to time."

"Just so. Now off with you, and remember what I said about opportunities."

"I'll think about it." Morgan muttered, as much to shut the old man up as anything else. He shut the door behind him with a clunk which brought a distressed bark and the gentle pitter-pattar of half of his payment losing it's tenious grip on it's bladder. The young man gave it a sympathetic look.

"Believe me, I know exactly how you feel."


*- Marvis county's term for slavers.

OOC Scene is set. Plot is rolling. The Rallahiem thread is open for business. 8-) /OOC
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » December 8th, 2013, 7:07 pm

It was an hour or so later and Morgan was back in his workshop. Although the only work he'd been doing for the last thirty minutes had been cooking something furry over the flames of his forge. The smell of gunpowder, hot metal and crispy rabbit was really quite an interesting combination.

The techsmith was pulling the skewer free from the fire when he heard the creak of the warped door opening. Sunlight flooded the room to the sound of heavy boots clomping their way inside.

"I thought this was the techie's, not a delicatessen."

Morgan looked at the figure silhouetted by the door frame with an expression of squinting annoyance. The voice had gravel in it but it was definitely female, although the glare from outside and the spread of the woman's duster made her difficult to make out. However, the tell-tale glint of smoked glass peering in his direction told him the most important detail about her.

"I'm surprised a bounty hunter would know what a delicatessen is." He said, straightening and making his way over to the workbench. "This is lunch, and I'm about to eat it. Perhaps we can argue labels at a later time."

"Time is money." She replied, pushing the door shut behind her. "Besides, the place was unlocked, that spells 'open for business' to me."

Morgan sighed, dimly noting that absence of eye scalding sunlight hadn't done much to add to his impression of her. The bounty's hunter face was a mess of dirt, grime, and chapped lips framed by a rat's nest of dark red hair and tied together by a pair of sunglasses made from twists of old wire. He dimly noted the revolver at her hip that had seen better days, along with the shinier hatchet on the opposite. The latter was no surprise to him; transporting an entire body across miles of wasteland was impractical after all. By her side was a moth-eaten bag clutched in rag-wrapped and sun-blistered fingers.

"You any good?"

The question caught him off-guard. The techie bristled, the woman chuckled.

"Alright, no need to get defensive. Just... take a look at this."

She swung the bag onto the workbench with a grimace and plunged a weeping hand into it's darkened depths. What she pulled out was little more than a rectangular box with a handle, but the sight of it stopped the breath in Morgan's throat.

"Don't tell me you scavenged this."

"Sure did. Chased some cattle thief halfway across Chanden Plain and found him crouched by one of their bunkers trying to lever it open. Blew his head off then went for a look myself."

The techsmith took the weapon from the bounty hunters hands and held it to the light of the fire with an admiring eye. It was a Krillian rifle. A sublime innovation by an elusive people who seemed to detest human beings almost as much as the D'Vari did. At least in the case of the few encounters he'd heard of they had the politeness to tell inadvertent wanderers into their territory to fuck off before they started shooting. Most nomads had the sense to make themselves scarce. The Krillian were a diminutive species, but their technological skills were unsurpassed.

"Place was abandoned of course. Pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down had been taken. It looked like the place had seen a fight. Lot of bullet holes, shrapnel scars on the surfaces...."

Morgan saw the damage to the gun as soon as the bounty hunter mentioned it. The barrel had taken some kind of impact that had dented it, preventing the compacted weapon from unlocking. As he tilted the gun he heard the faint rattle of something loose in its inner workings. His frown was met with a one word question.

"So?"

"I think I can fix it. But no promises."

"I guess that'll have to do." She muttered, turning her attention to the workshop's shelves and the knick-knacks upon them. "I suppose it would be too much to ask for ammo?"

"You'd suppose right." Morgan replied, reaching for a spanner, his lunch long forgotten. "Energy cells are hard enough to find in a place like Brackstone, the last time I saw one in The Rook was months ago."

"Figures. Well..." She hefted her half-empty bag onto her shoulder and began to leave. "...come find me in Rothwell's when you're done. I've got other business to attend to."

"You never told me your name."

"It's Jade." She smiled, an expression which contained no humour. "Just ask for the 'Bounty hunter bitch' if that's too hard to remember."
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » December 21st, 2013, 6:08 am

Rothwell's watering hole was the biggest building on the front street of Euden's Rook. It was a mess of logs harvested from the petrified wood strung together by planks and metal sheets. Slate tiles in various states of disrepair formed a roof which had little to fear from the sporadic rainfall.The bounty hunter contemplated her lodgings briefly, sparing an amused glance at the sun-stroked drunk slumped against it's entrance before stepping inside.

The interior was unchanged from her departure earlier in the day. The same surly handful of travelers and locals were scattered throughout the shady bar area, perched on weather-beaten stools. There was little to hear except the faint crunch of boots on sandy floorboards and the slap of cards being turned on a table. None of the denizens turned to look at her as she entered. None, that was, except for a tall, middle-aged man who was dressed as outlandishly as she was. He tipped the brim of his hat in acknowledgment as she walked to the bar to join him.

"The gun?"

"Being fixed. Hopefully."

The man nodded to himself and pushed a glass in Jade's direction. The container was filled with a clear liquid that looked like water but almost certainly wasn't. The two leaned on the counter, sipping the sinus-clearing drinks in a companionable silence that marked the pair as old friends. Although anyone who knew much about bounty hunters would have assumed so, the profession tended to breed competitiveness, sometimes outright hostility among those involved in it.

"Have we made any progress?"

"On the mark? Not much. Half these dreary cunts don't pay attention to the people passing through here, the other half want to trade rumors for alcohol."

"What rumors?"

"Well, according to the drunk on the doorstep a man fitting the description stopped off a few days back and did some work on the farm. He stayed less than a day."

"Did he say where he was headed?"

"No."

"Or what direction he left in?"

"No."

"Shit."

"We can head over and make inquiries later."

"Sure. Maybe the owner'll draw us a map and pack us a picnic."

......

Morgan set the rifle on his workbench with the air of a surgeon about to perform a delicate operation. The tech's trepidation was understandable; although he'd never seen the Krillian's weaponry in action he'd heard enough rumors about the damage they could cause. If he set the thing off by accident it would probably blow a hole in the side of his shop or self-destruct and repaint the walls with his internals.

"Stop it." He muttered, forcing the thought from his mind. He picked up a screwdriver which looked the correct size for the dark hollows which pitted the casing of his job, and clamped a steady(ish) hand to hold it firm.

"Right, you little bugger." He said, in tones more confident than he felt. "Let's see what makes you tick."
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Jack Rothwell » July 4th, 2014, 7:32 am

The bounty hunters, now weaving a little thanks to their extended stay at Rothwell's bar ('It felt like we'd been standing there for months!' Jade's partner had muttered) had made their way down the 85 road and around the outskirts of town as it branched off towards the big farmhouse in the middle distance. From its elevated position on the hill Logan's home appeared to be watching over the workers tilling the fields, not to mention the settlement that lay beyond it.

"So any word on the big farmer?" The sand encrusted mercenary queried, swiping sweat from her brow with the scruff of a sleeve. "Good or tyrannical? Greedy or generous?"

"He's a fair man, by most accounts." The man replied. "Which means he'll probably be wanting something in exchange for information."

"Just as long as it's not sexual favours I think we can work something out." She said.

The pair passed the fields of scraggly crops, earning curious looks and subdued whispers from the farm hands as they stepped onto the stone path that marked the last short stretch to the big farmer's house. Jade turned to meet the gaze of a scrawny kid barely in his teens, pushing a wheelbarrow laden with ears of corn, gawking unabashedly at the heavily-armed duo. Feeling playful, she shot the kid a wink which made him blush to his toes, then turned smartly to rap a business-like hand on the iron hard wooden front door.

The man who greeted them was younger than bounty hunters had been expecting. Jade put his age at around twenty, he was lean and fit with a handsome face which contained a veneer of arrogance in the curl of his lip and the unfriendly narrowness of his eyes which bore into the visitors like a laser beam.

'Yosef's son.' The woman thought. 'Judging by the cut of his clothes he could hardly be anyone else.'

"Yes?"

"Mr Logan? My name is Jade Hollister, this is my associate Bernard Dupree, we..."

"Are you selling something?"

"No, we were here regarding one of the men who worked here a few days ago. He-"

"Talk to my father if you're looking for employment records." The young man replied. Jade could feel the blood rising to her cheeks beneath the crust of dirt that covered them: being interrupted was one of her biggest pet hates.

"And where would we find your father?" Bernard inquired, impassive as ever.

"Out riding somewhere, maybe in the fields. I don't keep a tracker on the old man." His eyebrows raised sardonically, Jade found herself fighting the urge to step forward and punch the rude boy in the face. "Will that be all?"

"Aye Master Logan, and a good day to-"

The front door shut with a slam before the man could finish. The bounty hunters exchanged a look.

"What a shithead." Jade remarked.

OOC Hey hey! I'm back for a while thanks to my schedule finally clearing up. I'm trying to get the ball rolling again on this story. People are welcome to join in of course. I'll put in more info I'm ooc thread and make a character list when I get the chance. :) OOC
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Re: Rallahiem

Postby Graybeard » July 10th, 2014, 12:28 pm

Great to see you back writing again, friend! Keep 'em coming!

I'm back from a trip and will be getting the next Lorrin installment up shortly. There are only a couple more to go, after which I'll be switching to "The Continuing Adventures of Sister Rose" or some such.
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