Port Lorrel

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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Viking-Sensei » September 12th, 2008, 9:01 am

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Lucas handed the flyers around. "There's a real range of very dangerous and infamous mountains, the actual "Mountains of Madness", just to east of this place... this is built on the foothills surrounding the two westernmost of the chain, near Volk... Valk... Fulkanberg, or something like that. It's sort of a trashy tourist nightmare... of course, both the Veracians and the Tsuirakans eat it right up."
How could a plan this awesome possibly fail?
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Graybeard » September 12th, 2008, 7:01 pm

It felt good to be back in the forest and mountains again, Grope thought; really good.

Even with a stop to hunt and devour a wild pig (and, of course, add its Wisdom to the Robe), he calculated he'd make close to a hundred miles today, which would get him nearly half way to the Mountains of Madness. The combination of game trails and abandoned roads were allowing him to jog easily through the forest while keeping a low profile -- not that it really mattered, since the Farrelian farmers stuck to the lowlands and didn't encroach on ridges like the one he was on. Far to the south, over the Small Ones' city of Port Lorrel, he could see a thunderstorm, but up here, the clouds were just keeping it pleasantly cool for travel.

And best of all, his mate was speaking to him through the Robe, of an earlier time when they'd passed the other way, along this very ridge, bound for the unknown countryside of the islands that made up Tsuiraku. The sadness that he felt at Zhbrigeeul's physical absence was much relieved by the knowledge that she was still with him in the Robe, and would be forever -- one of the many regards, he reflected, in which it was much better to be a troll than a Small One. How could life be tolerable when the death of a loved one was a permanent thing, severing one spirit from the other, and not even allowing contact via a Many-Fathers-God-Wisdom-Robe, let alone the communion that the Flesh Ceremony allowed? He'd heard that some elves mourned their mates for hundreds or even thousands of years after they died -- unusual elves, but still. Who would want to live such a life?

He ran these thoughts around and around in his head, for miles and miles, as the mountains drew nearer. There, now he could see the central massif in the distance. A brown cloud rose from one of the peaks; the dwarves at their forge, he thought, remembering a legend of the tribe, although he'd learned enough of the Small Ones' science to know that what he was looking at was called a "volcano." And the lower foothills were becoming more distinct; by now he could see ...

Wait a minute. What was that that he could see on the twin peaks on the range's southwestern edge? He was pretty sure that that hadn't been there when he and Zhbrigeeul passed this way a few years back. He squinted his eyes ...

No doubt about it: the Small Ones had sheared the entire top off the low mountain, and put their own strange construction on it. (Why? As yet, he had no idea.) Lights winked from the mountain top, clearly man-made since the clouds kept the sun at bay. Most perplexing of all, he could just make out one of the Small Ones' airships, lifting out of the strange town-like clearing and heading in the direction of Port Lorrel -- and the thunderstorm. He'd seen enough of the strange aerial constructs (were they living things? -- he didn't think so) to know that they couldn't land at the cities with a thunderstorm raging overhead, but there were surely places along the way where the airship could find refuge. But why was it starting from such an improbable place?

Strange, strange, strange; everything is strange. What is going on here,
he asked himself as he paused to meditate and consult the Robe.
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Sareth » September 13th, 2008, 1:27 am

I glanced at the rather obnoxious cat and the bauble that had apparently slipped out of the envelope. "If it really was magic, it probably would have blown us all sky high already in this nutball place. I really doubt you..." I paused as a curious paper was thrust in my hands. I glanced at it, looked away, glanced again. "Waaaaaaaaaait." I tossed an accusatory look at Lucas. "Are you trying to tell me that some bunch of nuts turned a lost Veracian mine into a tourist attraction? Don't be absurd!"

It was. It was patently rediculous. And yet... "Volkanenborg... That's where the article says the old man brought his goodies... And while the experts rule out the southernmost parts of the mountain range... They did suggest the west or northwest..."

I broke out a smile. "Who wants to go to an amusement park, anyone?"
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Graybeard » September 13th, 2008, 9:28 am

There wasn't much else to do until the storm subsided, so Elke made a crystal-ball call to her opposite number at Volkanenborg.

"I think they're on their way. The airships aren't flying in this weather, so they'll probably have to travel on foot. Keep an eye out for them." The voice at the other end grunted assent.

"Remember, the one called Jamie is traveling under our protection. Jamie is ... distinctive. There is also a necromancer named Marcus who has attracted the attention of the high mucky-mucks. Young kid, travels with this weird folding skeleton. I'll want a report on what you think of him. They're both to be kept alive, no matter what -- at least for now. As for the others ... pffft, whatever. Don't do anything bad for business, but don't let them either."

She broke the connection and thought, Well, with those whackos out of my hair, I can finally get back to good old graft, protection rackets, and extortion. But I will have revenge ... eventually.
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Weirdonian » September 13th, 2008, 10:11 pm

Toivo examined the amusement park flyer as he sat and ate his breakfast, Domo at his left on the table and Stooly scraping his backside on the carpet in apparent glee. He looked out a nearby window and noticed the encroaching darkness outside and droplets now hitting the windowpanes with some regularity. "I'm glad I have a wide-brim hat" He said quietly to himself with a degree of displeasure.

"Well, I guess I vote for the route through the Mountains of Madness. Lots of forests with plants I could catelogue, probably villages full with farmers I could chat with, and lots of open space I could practice my Geomancy in." He paused as he finished the last few bites his eggs n' toast. "And as for the question of other guests currently staying here, we could check the guest book over there at the front desk."
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby AdamZero » September 15th, 2008, 3:22 pm

Marcus nodded at the idea of checking the register, vaguely wondering if he had scrawled an alias on it the previous night. He scanned over the names, looking at them with a cool intent.

He didn't like the sound of the theme park, bad things happened when people held festivals and any sort of joyful events in places where deaths occurred en masse, exceptions to those specifically honoring those who passed. He was uneasy about the whole thing, but he'd do what he'd always done in this situation. He'd wing it.

He pushed back the urge to make one final register in the book, decreeing the place should be demolished and turned into a fishery, but decided against putting his hand to the pen, at least in this case.

"Hmmm" he said through closed lips. "From this... I gather naught." He shrugged. "Let's just beat feet before Lucas's vortex of madness draws any more shenanigans down up on this poor, unkept, inn." He shot a glance at the odd man. He seemed human enough, but he didn't like how everything just seemed to bend around him.

It was rather dreadful really.
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Graybeard » September 19th, 2008, 10:19 pm

[OOC: I've been off line for a week, will be back in full communication Saturday. Just to get things moving in the interim: /OOC]

Grope was only about five miles now from the oddly sheared-off hilltop, and the more he looked at it, the less he liked it.

For one thing, the place positively reeked of magic. At least he thought it did; certainly something was irritating his troll-magic-phobia-meter, even at this absurdly long distance. And it was weird magic. Whoever had created this place had a distinctly warped sense of how magic should be used, although he wasn't close enough yet to know exactly how and why.

Not quite sure how to proceed, but inclining to give this Small Ones site a wide detour, he fingered his Robe for a moment and rumbled to himself, "I do not like this strange place."

And in perfect troll-ese, but in an impossibly high-pitched voice, an answer came back from somewhere in the vicinity of his left ankle:

"Yeah, I think it's pretty weird myself."

Stunned, Grope looked down at his feet, where a chipmunk was standing on its hind legs and looking at him.

With glowing, red eyes.
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Graybeard » September 20th, 2008, 11:07 pm

"Who ... or what ... are you?" Grope asked the talkative little animal, having successfully suppressed his initial temptation to eat it, rather than talk to it.

"A talking chipmunk, of course, you big ape. What do I look like?" The chipmunk rolled its red eyes and got ready to run, but Grope was too intrigued, despite the beast's obviously magical nature, to do anything but continue the conversation -- possibly an indication that he'd been around the Small Ones too long, a corner of his mind nagged him. Ignoring it, he said, "Well, then. I am Grop(click)ior of the Red Mountains Tribe. Most humans find my name hard to speak, and so I am called simply Grope. Do you have a name?"

The chipmunk answered slightly less insouciantly than before. "Chippy. Yeah, I know, original, but the full name is Chippy Number Seven Hundred Fifty-Two, and that's just too much of a mouthful, wouldn't you agree?"

"There are 752 of you?" Grope was growing more intrigued by the minute.

"Well, there were that many of us, and more," the chipmunk said. "They probably made a thousand or so of us total, but most of 'em got eaten by weasels or stepped on by patrons of that amusement-park abortion over there," indicating the sheared-off hilltop. "We have kind of a short life expectancy, you see. I got outta there as fast as I could -- weasels I can handle, but this business of getting squashed, forget it. Speaking of which, would you mind moving your left big toe about a foot that way? It's making me nervous."

"Amazing ... why would anyone make a thousand talking chipmunks? And who made them?" Grope mused, aloud although mainly to himself. Another rolling of eyes, as though the chipmunk thought it was talking to a painfully slow child or the like, and then it answered:

"The people who made the park, of course. We were its ground surveillance system."
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby AdamZero » September 21st, 2008, 12:21 am

(ooc: okay, SOMEBODY has to hustle us out of town, if anyone has any complaints...meh... we need to get the hell outta dodge anyway))

Marcus sighed as he walked out of the Port. He knew the rest of the group, such as it was, followed a bit behind him. He wondered how they'd gotten out of town so swiftly. He remembered something about a fish, a hamster, and a liberal amount of bacon fat. He decided not to dwell on it. Things usually went faster that way.

He threw a shout over his shoulder. "Hustle folks! We want to get there before the storm decides to turn that way." He had Boris hidden under the cloak, he walked up the road.
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Re: Port Lorrel

Postby Graybeard » September 21st, 2008, 10:04 am

"Ground ... surveillance ... system?" Grope echoed, growing more puzzled, and more intrigued, by the minute.

"You know, to keep track of the customers, check up on the toys, look out for trouble, stuff like that," Chippy said. "If a ride went boom, we were supposed to notice. Same if somebody was getting mugged behind the scenes. It probably seemed like a good idea to use us for that kind of eyes and ears; I mean, who's going to feel funny because they're being watched by a chipmunk? Don't want to upset the paying customers, now. Of course it never occurred to the big brains that it's one thing to see something wrong, and another thing to -- whoops." He interrupted his monologue as a shadow plummeted toward him from overhead, apparently some kind of hawk attracted to the possibility of a chipmunk munchie.

As soon as Grope saw the shadow, his attention was diverted upward, as he prepared to intercept the hawk if he could; this conversation was proving entertaining, at the very least, and he'd defend Chippy if possible. But there was no need. The chipmunk's eyes glowed more brightly, and a beam of magic shot upward. About 20 feet off the ground, the bird exploded in a cascade of feathers.

"Excuse the mess," Chippy said. "After about the 500th surveillance munk got eaten, they figured out that it would be a good idea to equip us with some stuff for self defense. Problem is, I can only do that once at a time, so things that hunt in pairs are still big trouble. Okay, so where was I?"

"You were talking about seeing something wrong, and then you got interrupted," Grope prompted, glad that he hadn't yielded to his initial impulse to eat the small animal rather than talk to it.

"Oh, right. Anyway, they didn't think about a communications system, and our voices don't carry, so they had to enchant a bunch of crows for passing messages. They like to talk, you know. There were all sorts of other things too -- aerial surveillance, sanitation, site security. They had pigeons to do the eye-in-the-sky thing, and --"

Grope interrupted. "Why not hawks for the eye in the sky? Aren't their eyes a lot better?" He was getting right into the spirit of the thing...

Chippy gestured toward the smoldering feathers. "That's why. Can't have one batch of hired help eating another batch, and hawks will hunt, that's what they do. Anyway, packrats did the sanitation part. They were about perfect for it: anything they couldn't just eat, they stashed in a midden somewhere."

"And security?" Grope asked, thinking he already knew the answer.

"Skunks."

"Ah." Grope marveled; he'd been expecting cave bears, but animated chemical warfare was even better than plain old muscle. The people who thought of this system were brilliant, if in a slightly ... twisted ... way. But one thing bothered him... "I notice you keep using the past tense. Why?"

"Well, there was a problem," the chipmunk conceded.

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[OOC: EDIT: To get things moving in the city... /OOC:]

Of course, there were other mercenary outfits out there; this was Farrel, after all. And the party didn't get far from the World Traveler Inn before straying into the territory of one of those other groups.

The storm had moved on, and a band of street grifters were plying their trade in the wet city center -- "their trade" in more ways than one. As the band played, the jugglers juggled, and the mimes mimed for tips, the real business was being done by a short, nondescript young woman on the edge of the crowd -- one of Lorrel's most accomplished pickpockets. Experience had taught her (and the grifters) just exactly what fraction of the crowd she could rifle the pockets and purses of, without drawing unwanted attention from the rudimentary "official" police force in the city. She was already well on her way to making her quota by the time Lucas and his merry band walked by.

It wasn't the pickpocket who noticed the group, however, nor was it their status as wealthy-looking foreigners that caught the chief juggler's (and gang leader's) eye. "Stooly" made such an instant impression on the man that for the first time in years, he nearly dropped one of the beer mugs he'd been juggling. Ah, the rackets we could run if we could get our hands on that thing, he thought ...

He caught the last of the mugs in mid-air and received the applause of the crowd, as the pickpocket scored a nice coin bag off an overdressed woman. They made eye contact, and he nodded toward Toivo and Stooly: follow that man, went the unspoken message. The girl winked acknowledgment and started to move unobtrusively toward the travelers.
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