Stone Man Pass

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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » May 1st, 2010, 5:58 pm

"Rose, forgive me if I'm prying. This may be something that you don't want to discuss. But you've mentioned these Albigensians more than once. Who were they, exactly?"

Sister Rose winced slightly, but the pain from the Albigenish Incident had receded into the past (not to mention being overridden by ... other ... pain from her time in the Special Forces). It took only a moment for her to formulate an answer.

"Albigenish was -- probably still is -- one of the cities that make up the Northern Confederacy," she said. "The Northern Confederacy isn't exactly a country in the same sense that Veracia and Tsuiraku are. It's more a loose confederation of city-states that have a common currency and such, but the states are mainly self-governing, as long as they stay out of each other's hair. That means the individual states conduct what amounts to their own foreign policy -- including, if they want to, border raids, or even outright wars. Albigenish was on the border with our country, and some years back, a party came into power there that was, I guess I'd say, particularly interested in expanding into Veracian territory."

The memories were coming into sharper (and more painful) focus now, but she plunged ahead. "The Albigensians were the raiding parties they used on forays into our country, including the one that got so bad that the people in Emerylon decided to make a full-fledged punitive expedition against them, which is where I came in. They were a scary, odd bunch. Quite a few of them were half elves, recruited from Luminosita alone knows where. That turned out to be important at the end of the Incident, because when the diplomats started to get together so we could exact reparations from Albigenish for the damage they'd done, the government of Albigenish basically said 'hey, these weren't our people, they were just renegades and mercenaries not even of our own race. We had nothing to do with them, sorry.' Hmph," she sniffed. "My outfit provided security for the first round of the negotiations, and we just happened to notice that the Albigenish militia were wearing exactly the same uniforms as the people that we'd killed -- and that had killed us. But the politicians chose to ignore all that when the treaty was drawn up. In any event, by the time we started those negotiations, not a half elf was to be seen."

Well, actually, that wasn't completely true. There was one half elf still around ... and just the barest mist formed at the corners of Rose's green eyes, because that first night in Albigenish was also the first night that she and Kenny had spent together in any capacity other than as fellow troops on a deployment. So maybe the pain of the Albigensians wasn't so totally submerged after all ...
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Drannin » May 2nd, 2010, 6:33 pm

Argus sighed. "Politicians," he said, which somehow managed to sum up the entirety of his feelings on the matter. "They're the same no matter where you are." He paused for a moment, then winced as a revelation came over him. "So this city-state... was using half-elves as expendable cannon fodder?"
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » May 2nd, 2010, 8:58 pm

"So this city-state... was using half-elves as expendable cannon fodder?"

"That's about the size of it," Sister Rose answered, sadness in her voice. "Truthfully, we never really understood the relationship. All we knew is that once they decided the battle was lost, the half elves simply vanished like dew before the sun -- the ones that weren't killed, anyway. We have no idea where they went. Probably some became the kind of -- problems that Drusia has had to deal with." She looked over her shoulder at the elf.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Sareth » May 2nd, 2010, 11:14 pm

"That's... awful," Lillith spoke, her voice subdued. "How could anyone..." She sighed.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Drusia » May 3rd, 2010, 1:54 am

"That's... awful," Lillith spoke, her voice subdued. "How could anyone..." She sighed.

"People do awful things," I reply. "Particularly during times of war. It brings out the worst in a society. Even the noblest people can commit terrible atrocities."

That said, I return to my magical quandary. I wish Maudin and Rose weren't so thoroughly occupied, I'm rusty on magical theory and three heads are better than one.

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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » May 3rd, 2010, 8:42 am

Sister Rose winced again as she turned her attention back to the road. "Even the noblest people can commit terrible atrocities." Yes ... that would explain some of the things that happened up there, the things I didn't tell Argus about. And Luminosita grant that he won't ask. Can I change the subject, at least a little? "Argus, you were a battlemage if I understand you correctly," she said. "Did you ever face combat yourself?"
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Drannin » May 3rd, 2010, 2:02 pm

Argus nodded solemnly. "Quite a few times, actually," he replied. "Frequently in the far north, so I've had my own run-ins with the Northern Confederacy. Rather alarming and... intriguing... run-ins." The weaponry some of the city-states possessed... fascinating from a scientific viewpoint. "Tsuiraku has had some brush conflicts with the cities, and our explorations brought us into occasional conflict with a few fringe sects, both benign and otherwise. And of course, there were," he shuddered, "the trolls."

Argus didn't like trolls.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » May 4th, 2010, 8:27 am

Sister Rose started to say something in reply to Argus' well-known dislike of trolls, but just then the wagon rounded a switchback in the road down from the pass, and the view it provided caused a sudden change of the subject.

In front of them, rising above the trees, lay the crumbling ruins of a fortress. It looked to be built to much the same model as the castle in Provatiel, but unlike that one, the fact that it lay in decay, rather than being in current use, was clear even at a distance. The top of the largest turret had fallen in, and there were obvious breaches in the walls. Nobody was moving on the walls or elsewhere, as far as could be seen, although the wagon was still far enough away from the castle that it was hard to be sure.

Rose turned a sardonic look on Maduin. "Well, there's your enchanted castle, you demonic Tsuraky-an, you."

Brad tore himself away from his Lillith-adoration long enough to chuckle at the idea, and there were snickers from elsewhere in the wagon -- but Rose noticed that Kim wasn't snickering.

"I -- don't like that place," Kim said, even though Rose was pretty sure that she'd never seen it before.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Porcelain Fish » May 4th, 2010, 9:49 am

Maduin brushed away Kim's words with an airy wave.

"Well it would definitely need some industrial-strength cleaning, but I bet it'd be a fantastic place to have a party," he said thoughtfully, already imagining the place lit with hovering glow-lights, refreshment tables and a wooden dance floor surrounded by crumbling walls, a band playing in one grassy corner, the cloudless star-filled sky for a ceiling.

"How about it Kim dear?" Maduin said, tapping her on the forehead and gifting her with illusory black horns as well. "We could go haunt our very own enchanted castle and have a smashing good time while we're at it. Within a week everyone would want a chance to be a Tsuraky-an for an evening." He rested his chin on his palm, elbow braced on his knee. "Housekeeping costs would be low, and I can't imagine the rent is all that much. The property value in the neighborhood could definitely use a boost."

He turned to wink at Argus, letting his horns and Kim's melt away. "How about it Dr. Cleiviein? Want to go into the nightclub business?"
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Drannin » May 4th, 2010, 2:02 pm

Argus snorted. "Give me a model, and I can handle the redesign," he commented. "Though I suspect that greeting the patrons would be a bad idea for me. Depending on what kind of nightclub you want it to be, Harker could even do the murals."
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