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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2010, 02:45 
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In a time where Holy Wars and Crusades ravaged the land across every kingdom, vying for dominance over the territories through battles, campaigns, and vicious and relentless propaganda which turned brother against brother as to what's to blame for these unfortunate times, madness, agony and despair claimed many unfortunate souls without the wills strong enough to endure this time of mankinds dark hour.

Yet there remained individuals you refused to let the sky fall upon them as the constant strife turned their world upside-down. Some braved though it and let the hardships mold them with stronger resolve, some taking advantage of those who were down and exploited every moment they could take, while others just tried to take a step back and make sense of it all while attempting to see the bigger picture.

Needless to say, there were some powerful forces at work and the few curious, still sane and individually thinking souls out their began their search to discover what is at the heart of the unruly imbalance, all while keeping their wits about them




*A simple farmhand returning home from his labor in the fields, had a few extra pences to spend on himself and decided to take a quick stroll through the nearby village. As he crossed through the gates and found his way to the marketplace, a few things caught his senses, mainly the banter of a new evil that's plaguing the land, and posters resembling wanted signs with a frightening visage scrawled on each*

Ordinarily he'd be pretty dense as shallow as far as his profession goes, but as a child his parents knew that the only way anyone could prosper in these hard times is if they were educated. Although it was outlawed and forbidden for peasants to own a book, they risked incarceration for a better life for their son, as he studied in secret as they borrowed, or even smuggled any piece of literature they could find.

This would prove to be inadequate learning conditions, since one needs a teacher to confirm one is learning correctly. But fortunately as a child, the farmhand saved a drowning lass, who happened to be a child of the upper class districts, so in return for his life saving act, and teaching her how to swim, she happily returned the favor to him by helping him to become literate and the two became close friends. Although as with all known civilizations, it was also forbidden for nobles to interact with the lowly working class as they were seen as filth, so they kept they're friendship secret as well.

And with the gift of literacy, the world opened up to him like never before, learning about many things of the land, the beasts that inhabit them, many crafts and arts and trades, even combat and magic. Although he was unable to ever grasp the concept of the magical arts, he made up for it by learning basic combat techniques with the random farm tools at his disposal during his free time, daydreaming of being strong and admired, winning the hearts of many, especially to fair maidens. But that was neither here nor there....


(OoC: First attempt at starting an RP, hope I didn't put too much up, I just kinda wanted to get a little backstory for my character so I wouldn't kinda put stuff up later on, fearing it'd sound like it'd be made up on the spot to suit the situation. x_X)

(P.S. Could a mod also change the title to (not so) instead of (no so)? Thanks in advance, I'm not with all my facilities often!)


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2010, 13:08 
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Cateline stood by her stall, trying to attract custom.

"Magic and potions!" she called. "Spells! Potions! Herbs! Everything you need for healing and protection!"

Her simple homespun woollen gown swirled about her ankles as she turned this way and that, calling to passers by, and her long, light brown, wavy hair fluttered in the breeze.

A well-to-do man on horseback rode into the marketplace. He must be from the town, Cateline mused. Or maybe one of the local lord's people. He certainly wasn't from the immediate neighbourhood. No-one in the vicinity of this village had that kind of money.

Money that he might be willing to spend, she thought, hopefully.

"Good sir," she began as he drew level with her stall, "may I interest you in..."

But he just rode on, ignoring her completely. Clearly the village was simply on his route to his destination and he had no interest in anything it had to offer. She fell silent, disappointed. It was just then that she caught sight of a young man nearby, looking at a poster fixed to a post. He was clearly just a poor peasant, but she did note the money bag hanging from his belt. Maybe he actually was here to buy things.

She moved across to the side of the stall nearest to him.

"Frightening, aren't they?" she remarked, raising her voice just a little so it would carry to him. "With all the talk of this new threat, you'd do well to stock up on some protective items, just in case."



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2010, 23:18 
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He was an Axe Master, battle axes as well as two-handers, to throwing axes to the honking huge staff-axes. You can't find a better master at axes then he. He was quite legendary and some of his exploits had spread to the far east of the land, lending him sometimes more trouble then it was worth. He was humble tho and he was heading into the town and awaiting his transport which has flung a shoe during his nights escapades.

His name, Lord "Axe" Azera. Many of his friends would just call him Axe. He was a Count for the humble Baron Houses. He didn't look it though. And he never wanted to, all the stiffness of the upper class wore on his nerves, as well as the attitude. He went about looking like a humble knight though except in one respect, he wielded an axe that looked like it could topple him backward. In truth it was a very strong axe, and quite light for its intended size and attack power. It was passed to him as a reward for the saving of a wealthy Lord, one day, in the deadly woods surrounding the homestead. Just now, he was outside the tavern awaiting not only his steed but a certain meeting informant he had heard inhabit this town.

He leaned against the building with his head down, eyes closed, arms and feet crossed, silently waiting. Not saying a word. The time wasn't right, and he was patient. He would wait, for he had nothing but time.



[font=Times New Roman]There are a million reasons why the universe refuses to conform to your idealistic views...I\'m one of them. -Me-[/font]


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 27 Nov 2010, 00:25 
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Jan Razorbeak felt the rough straw and baked mud of the hovel he was leaning back on dig into the leathery skin of his back as he eyed the hawker woman from across the square. She was probably younger than she looked, most of the common folk were. It was only when one trafficked with nobles and the wealthy merchants of the town did one actually realize that some women did not, indeed begin to resemble crones by the age of thirty-five. Regardless, it was the hair, the long streams of light brown hair that made her attractive. Almost unconsciously, the mercenary's gloved left hand reached for the battered falchion which he wore at his belt behind his cloak. For fifteen years, he had made what little fortune he had as a freelancer in the most literal sense. He was no famous captain, though he had served with a few. He was not sung of in taverns as either hero or blackguard, though he had probably killed a few who were. Even his name had been of his own make - a last name was a luxury for the illiterate son of a poor yeoman, but for a mercenary, it was all but necessary. Everything he had owned, believed or professed to love, he had taken himself, to take a girl for the night would have been trivial.

Maybe if she doesn't scream too loud when I take her, I'll leave her a few pennies for the trouble...

The mercenary pushed off the wall of the crude hut. He didn't spare a single backwards glance at the terrified occupants. The distinctive silhouette of the windlass and bow strapped to his side gave away exactly what he was. That crossbow was also what earned him his going wage - three shillings a month, enough to keep him in the ragged black doublet and dull trousers which he preferred and feed him with the hard tack, sausage and gruel which was the best he could afford. It was hardly a king's ransom, but the fact that said three shillings a month hired a man with a weapon which could punch through, at the distance of two hundred paces, coat-of-plate worth three hundred pounds as if it were wet paper was consolation enough for the abysmal salary.

...and of course, being a heavily armed mercenary has other advantages too...

Razorbeak licked his lips as he stepped closer. His hand closed around the wire hilt of his steel. It was serviceable, if not in particularly good shape. Regardless, his quarry remained completely oblivious, completely unaware and Jan had done what he was about to do many times before, enough for him to slip slowly into practiced rhythm as he stalked closer-

Wait-

Jan froze as the the glint of sun on steel caught his eye. Battlefield reflexes followed the shining point to a spot behind a man who was trying all too hard to look innocent. It only took a moment for him to recognize the familiar shape of a broad-headed battle axe. The mercenary smoothly peeled off from his set course, his eyes searching for and finding another loitering place. Weapon and bearing had made out the axe-man to be a noble of some sort, perhaps a knight. There was, of course, the chance that he would sit by and do nothing. Jan had dealt enough to nobles to know that even the most innocent princess of the most fanciful children's story would have callously sent a thousand men to their deaths had she existed in the real world. Regardless, it wasn't a sure chance. Perhaps the fellow was a knight-errant who was just looking for and excuse someone to cut in half, or the enforcer of some local lordling who would much rather that he got first molestation rights on the women in his fiefdom.

Not worth the bloody trouble...

Razorbeak shook his head slightly as leaned up against the wooden wall of a barn or stables or something or other and began surveying the square again, this time, making careful note of the man with the axe.



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 27 Nov 2010, 13:28 
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Cataline caught a slight movement out of the corner of her eye and glanced away from her prospective customer for a second. A man that she hadn't noticed before was leaning against a barn attached to a slightly larger house nearby. His clothes looked old and worn, but his cloak and doublet clearly indicated that he wasn't a peasant. What was more, he carried a crossbow. So, a fighting man then. This was someone who might well have a use for some of her wares.

"You too, sir," she called out to him. "I'm sure some good healing potions would aid you on the battlefield, and if you have any skill in the magical arts, I have spells to complement your weapons."

She stood hopefully, glancing back and forth across the intervening space between the two men, waiting for a sign of interest.



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 27 Nov 2010, 19:22 
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Razorbeak looked sullenly back at the woman which he had hungrily considered a target not mere moments ago. Pity, she was quite forward, maybe that would have translated into something else. The Mercenary kept his mouth shut for a moment as he put together a reply. There was no use garnering suspicion, especially not now. He pushed himself off the barn wall and turned to face the woman fully as he fished around for a response.

Hmm, what'd they expect of me? Ah yes! Sarcasm, sarcasm would do nicely.

"Aye, because I'd be sure to leap out of me trousers to trust a mysterious brew sold by a shady cunt wearing a bloody grain sack. I've fought for the Duke of Hammersmark, the Elector Count of Vallenheim and the Princess-General of Hautsturm-Hagen. They all had powerful magics, helped them fuck-all when they found themselves outflanked, out maneuvered, out thought and found their 'eads on bloody pikes. Magic fails in the face of tactics and numbers-"

Razorbeak nearly cut himself off. He was talking too much. He didn't get to where he was by not knowing when to shut up. If he said any more then perhaps the girl would have felt compelled to reply. That would have probably gone poorly.

"The best thing for a free-blade to have ain't magic or learning, it's the sense to know when to cut and run."

With that, the mercenary turned and began walking away.



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 04:41 
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Axe noticed a slight movement but didn't move, he had a throwing axe at his side and within easy reach of his gloved hand. He would have been quite fast and perhaps would have shattered the crossbow to which the man he noticed wielding as he checked a target. axe saw where he was pointing at too, a little female shopkeeper. Now why that one? Even if he somehow go the shot off, which was unlikely do to the fact that he would have destroyed the bow before it fired an arrow, what possible reward could she be worth? There isn't a single person, in this town, interested in a lowly shopkeeper.

He kept an eye on him just in case though and watched the girl try to get a guy's attention, then saw the other check himself and look ever so plaintively at, who else? Him. He smiled at that, so he was enough of an imposing sight to warrant a reaction from a person who was more mercenary than homeless peasant. It would have galled him to think the guy was stooping so low as to target a lowly girl in a poor ass town such as this....even with the nobles riding about. He saw him retract his steps though and chuckled inperctively to himself at the sight, but hadn't showed any sign of movement at all. He took note of the girl who, having seen the man, try to get his attention and subsequently getting an earful of debasing poison from the man with the crossbow. Then he stopped in his triad to give a last bit of guttural nonsense and walk away. Interesting to say the least. But it seemed more interesting to him to check out the potions, not that he thought he might find something, but he was curious all the same. So he did what anyone would, check out the girl's wares. He walked over to her shop and checked out the potions.



[font=Times New Roman]There are a million reasons why the universe refuses to conform to your idealistic views...I\'m one of them. -Me-[/font]


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 28 Nov 2010, 10:33 
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"Hmmph!" Cataline snorted. "A simple 'No' would have sufficed," she muttered more or less to herself, but just loud enough for the ungrateful mercenary to hear. Then she lowered her voice and and carried on grumbling to herself. "'Shady cunt' indeed! I'm a respectable woman, I'll have you know. How many other girls manage to learn herbalism and magic, and live from an honest trade, without parents or a man to support them?"

Her mumbled soliloquy was cut short however, by the approach of a third man. She had spotted him earlier, standing near the tavern further down the dirt track that passed for the village's main street, but now he was definitely making for her stall. He too was clearly a fighter - no-one else would carry such an outsized axe around, even in times like these.

"How may I help you, sir?" she enquired as he reached the small wooden trestle that served as the counter of her stall (and as a table and general work surface in the tiny hut just off the market place, that was her home).



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 00:26 
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Axe heard her mumbling as he approached and heartedly agreed with her. Ruffians all the same he wagered. He approached the hut-like shop and took in the assortment of the various potions and herbals. He always liked to see what people could do and even buy a few himself if he could. Who knows, stuff like this all would come in handy at some point or other.

He then inquired to her, "what do you have available?" He looked around the shop hoping to find some healing potions of a sort or energy replenishers. And maybe he might happen upon a few magic gems that might just help him in defense if he ever needed it. "I am looking for a few diamonds in the rough as well. Regular potion shops don't seem to carry any of the more 'exotic' concoctions. And I have been all through this land."



[font=Times New Roman]There are a million reasons why the universe refuses to conform to your idealistic views...I\'m one of them. -Me-[/font]


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 18:08 
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*hearing an enticing maidens voice speak to him, it causes him to drift off a bit, as her voice sounds strikingly similar to his late mother. Although not a carbon copy perfect match, it's soft, nursing tone is more than enough to catch me daydreaming about me few days with her as a young lad, even if the lovely merchant was just using her charms to get my attention and seal a potential sale*

[recalls a particular memory with mother as he drifts off a bit while looking at the poster, not even paying attention to the picture etched on it]

"Jericho! Come hither you silly boy! You can't just wander off like that, you know what kind of spirits and devils roam these lands?"

Jericho. Jericho Letholdus. Nothing too terribly special or unique about this child. Just like any other young boy. Breaming with life, always anxious and wanting to play, frequently getting into trouble and mischief, but quite mindful and obedient to both his loving parents.

"Mummy! Mummy! Look what I found! I picked it just for you!" *the mother chuckles at the child's act of kindness, bringing back nothing more than a mere colorful weed from across the plain* It's beautiful, I'll keep it with me always.

His mother Alys, and his stern, yet protecting father Geoffrey were so proud of their healthy son. He completed their lives and gave them the smiles and sometimes stressful headaches to aid them in these perilous days. He grew up having to 'put up' with many menial tasks and farmhanding, until......

*snaps out of his daydream daze as the merchant-woman's tone grew quite harsh and defensive, not even noticing the snark reply of the mercenary, and notices that there's a couple other strong, experienced looking warriors that the lovely lass is trying to make at least a modest sale with, as her words still echo in my head*
"Excuse me miss, what's this new threat you speak of? *looks back at the poster in my hands, giving it a more focused look, as it somehow seems faintly familiar, although the mass-produced picture isn't quite articulate in detail*


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 19:45 
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"What are you looking for, Sir?" Cataline immediately asked in response.

She began pointing out each item on the counter, as well as various baskets of unidentified dried plants standing on the ground around it.

"These potions here are excellent for curing all manner of minor wounds. Or for something more serious, I have salves enhanced with healing magic. Then over here I have various special brews that improve stamina or strength, and remedies for all sorts of ailments.

"Or if it's magic you want, then look: I have all kinds of spells." She indicated the neatly arranged scrolls along the back of the counter. "Elemental magic; healing and protective magic; spells to enhance a weapon's power or infuse it with elemental energy. or, if you have a ring, an amulet, or some other such trinket, that you would like to entrust to me overnight, I could enchant it for you and turn it into a talisman that will help to protect you against an enemy's magic..."

She was interrupted by the voice of the man in front of the poster, who seemed suddenly to have regained a sense of hearing after apparently ignoring her for the last few minutes.

"That threat? You haven't heard?!" she exclaimed, pointing at the poster that he had taken. "Are you a hermit? Surely everyone in the neighbourhood has heard by now of the foul creature that roams the land at night, snatching any traveller unwise enough to be abroad after dark. Many is the tale from folk passing through of companions lost to a shadowy figure with many heads that appears out of the blackness and vanishes again into the depths of the night."



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2010, 22:56 
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"I could do with some healing magic and some elemental weapon enhancements. However, I am short on trinkets to offer you at this time and I have a horse that I need to retrieve and a person of some interest to me to talk to, but thank you for that part of the offer all the same. I wonder though, what kind of magic can you yourself make as I see that you are a mage of some skill."

He turned his attention then to the poster looker and his question to which he had just posed, then to the woman and her answer to the query. "Yes, I too, have heard of this creature, though most would rather pawn it off as some child's fairy tail meant to keep the local masses in line, I however see no profit in that type of misdirection. I do remember though of an old legend that was once regarded as a true quest to slay the very creature that you just described. It was lost however with the baron houses that apparently had announced the initial quest in the first place."

He sighed sadly, "as it is the legend was lost and so were the houses in an as yet, if I remember correctly, unexplained fire that took down the castle and most of the old records." He shook his head slowly. It was a dark time even then. He broke himself of the memories and in a flash remembered something. "Oh sorry forgive me I have been remiss and have yet to properly introduce myself, I am Lord 'Axe' Azera, at your service miss." He bows deeply at the waist, in courtesy. "Most call me Axe."



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2010, 12:08 
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*still couldn't shake the familiar feeling of this fierce canine-figured demon on the poster, trying to get a grasp on why it seems to have some significant connection, the same kind of feeling that one has when smelling a smell or seeing a sight that one hasn't seen since they were a child, but once they have, the memories come flooding back. Although it seems his memory in particular had a dam backing up this particular flood, while acknowledging the kind info-givers in a humble, social manner*

A legend you say? It seems that either there's more to it than fairytales, or perhaps some are going as far to stir up trouble as using these stories to ones advantage and dressing up in beasts hides in the dead of night. With so many lost and desperate souls wandering about that have nay to forfeit, it wouldn't surprise me if such hooligans did so. I'm sure you've both encountered your fair share of colorful characters from time to time. Of course Heaven help us if there actually are devils out on the harvest. *chuckles slightly, making light of the legend and stories in conversation, by deep down he's actually intrigued and lately has been wanting a good excuse to take a break from mending the farmland and secretive tome-reading and see what answers truly await out there.....Myths fables and legends, or possibly demons, beasts and spirits roam the earth...*

Axe eh? It seems your parents had your profession chosen before you even had a chance my good fellow. *gets another hearty chuckle in before shaking the man's hand* I'm Jericho. And unfortunately I share the same fate. My Mother and Father had plans for me before I stood a chance either, if only they didn't have land to tend to.

*the modestly attired farmhand turned to the merchant woman to greet her warmly, as he does with all women, thanks to his Mother's teaching of manners and common courtesies he's read about. His dark hair nearly matched in length with hers, although men with long locks was actually common these days mainly due to the effort required to keep hair short was to menial and tasking for working men to hassle with. As to not advertise himself with unnecessary attention, his surprisingly bulk and sculpted physique cloaked under his baggy attire, more than a normal landworker would be but spent many hours not only working, but also training himself in the arts of weaponry with makeshift models he made in the smithing hut due to his strange desire for mastering the ways of combat.*

I failed to catch your name mi'lady, I tend to be quite daft at times, I pray forgiveness for such an oversight. I'm Jericho, and I'd be quite delighted to purchase your wares. A woman such as yourself must have slaved quite a load to create such potent potions. *gives her a welcoming smile, as he piles on the charm with his kind words to the fair woman, not only hoping to possibly get a decent deal, but has always enjoyed seeing the reaction of women fluttered by comforting comments, quite addicted to seeing them glow in delight*


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2010, 19:14 
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Cataline certainly did glow. She found herself blushing from a mixture of pleasure and embarrassment to be treated so courteously, not only by a man who had the appearance of a peasant but the manners of a gentleman, but also by a man who apparently was a genuine gentleman - a high-born one at that, since he announced his title as "Lord". To be treated with respect by a nobleman was completely outside her experience. On the rare occasions she had ever crossed the path of anyone from the local manor, their attitude had always been one of utter disdain. And she expected nothing more. She was a peasant; she knew her place. Amongst her own kind she had the confidence that came from knowing she could hold her own in almost any situation, but when confronted by this baffling behaviour she was completely nonplussed. What was more, the "peasant", Jericho, seemed to be chatting amiably with the Lord as though with an equal. Was he in fact a nobleman too?

She bobbed off a curtsey, nodding to each as she did so.

"You're too kind, my Lord," she said humbly, addressing Lord Azera. Then, trying to direct her words to both men simultaneously, she answered Jericho's implied question: "My name is Cataline. I am nothing but a humble mage, but it would be an honour to do business with you, kind sirs."

As she discussed the details of their specific requirements and picked out the required items she mused about Jericho's suggestion that the monsters people had seen were merely troublemakers in disguise. But one man - a strong, fit man - from this village had definitely gone missing, and she knew of two who had vanished from the next village over, not to mention reports from elsewhere. And there had been eyewitnesses. No, she was pretty sure whatever the menace was, it was real, and she intended to be ready if ever it came again.



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2010, 20:35 
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"I am not sure if the creature was so real or not, though I have come across more than my fair share of wild creatures, but never this creature. Never seen it's like. Like I said I only know of the legend about it that I was told, nothing more." He shook the man's hand, "Jericho eh? Good name, not one I have heard too often, so hearing it is a rare treat to my ears. As for my nickname, not my parents, just my friends, it seems everyone knows my skill with the axe. Though I will admit my parents wanted me proficient with the weapon."

He saw the look of confusion on her face as he talked to Jericho, "Oh you must be thinking about the supposed noble class of uppities that don't talk to people of their stature. I however, do not follow that convention and hate anyone who has the attitude that they are better than anyone else. It's a stupid attitude to have." He shakes his head of it, anyway Cataline, it is a pleasure to meet you. It seems you know what side your bread is buttered on. You too Jericho. Nice to have a civil conversation again without the secrecy."

He listened to the concoctions and asked if there was anyway to get electric and health stealing weapon incantations. "Those might be my best magic enhancements choices"



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2010, 05:58 
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*as he's getting acquainted with the two, Jericho can't help but look back and see a falchion-wielding warrior walking away, although he wasn't in the realm of reality during the man's mocking sarcasm earlier during Jericho's random recollection that briefly disconnected him from nearby happenings, but seemed like an interesting looking fellow, assuming he might also be the type to more about the dangers that occupy this land, as he turns back to resume his socializing*

Cataline, such a beautiful name graces my tongue as it rolls through. I shall remember it always my dear. (This poor woman seems like she has not come across kind souls frequently, I wonder what's keeping her staying in a place like this...) A humble mage you say? Does one come with spells of modesty as well? It'd do many knaves around here quite useful. *Hopefully tries to get a bit of laughter from the female mage with my daft humor, her lovely smile and gestures being a welcome sight to the dark and gloomy figures walking about, and almost coincidentally turns to Axe*

Aye, so the treats and treasures of the privileged life don't suit you well either? Although I suppose if I had a choice myself, I wouldn't mind dabbling in a couple of the finer things being an uppity has to offer. So you've never seen this particular beast have you? Quite a reclusive demon it must be, or in your case, it's probably fearing the business end of that blade of yours. Can't say I blame the foul creature, you could probably cleave quite a steak with that bargaining tool of yours. *enjoys keeping the conversation to a friendly hue as he lets the man make his selections first as he gathers his thoughts*


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2010, 19:00 
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Axe chuckled, "It might at that though, like I said, I don't doubt the existence, I've just never seen it myself. And yeah I probably could do some damage with it, I'd just rather avoid such situations. As for the upper class, it's the attitude, not necessarily the money or the people that put me off. Though, while people in the upper class do prefer to horde their money I, for one, am not the type to actually want too much money for myself, I have only what I need to survive."

As he talked, he had been watching the people around him and smiling at the innocence of the people who live their lives without worry. It amazed him still to find such, in a land where the dark times were pervasive. Ah well, he guessed that even in the darkest times, there will always be such things to see. He turned his head back to Cataline, time to see what she was willing to offer.



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2010, 19:27 
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Cataline picked out two scrolls. "These are the spells you're looking for, my Lord. But most weapons can't support both at the same time."

As she handed them to the nobleman for his perusal, Jericho made a couple of flirtatious comments that made her chuckle.

"You're quite the charmer, aren't you, Jericho! I can assure you, if I had a spell to instill a little humility into the local knaves, I'd be using it all the time!"

She grinned as she cast her eyes meaningfully in the direction of the still retreating mercenary. She noted with distaste that the local priest was approaching from the same direction. He was staring sourly directly at her.

"I can think of a few other people who might benefit from some humility magic too," she added pointedly. "I've lost count of the number of times he's told me I'm going to hell for practising 'the devil's arts'. If he had his way I'd be burnt at the stake as a wit..."

She stopped abruptly.

"Damn!" she muttered. "Looks like I'm in for another sermon. He's coming over."

The priest duly strode right up to the stall and slapped a noticed down on top of the merchandise.

"Read it!" he commanded. "I know you can. You read those evil scrolls every day."

Cataline picked up the sheet and read the bold, black text, her face turning white as she did so.

"Yes," the priest confirmed, gloating. "The use of magic is to be outlawed, by order of the highest authority of the church. From now on, those caught purveying or purchasing magical goods will be imprisoned. People like you cannot be allowed to bring damnation upon the populace by opening their souls to the influence of demonic powers. Only specially trained clerical practitioners, chosen and authorised by the church, will be allowed access to these very dangerous arts. You have two days to destroy all magical artifacts or you will be arrested by the soldiers of the church."

Wihout waiting for a reaction, the priest strode off, leaving Cataline still staring in disbelief at the notice.



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2010, 00:04 
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"I'm sure that mine could, I have had spells like it on this axe before in sets of three."

Axe watched the Priest in interest as he was pointed out and saw him headed towards them. Then saw the notice he slammed on the table and watched as Cataline read it and abruptly turn white because of it. Then listened to the gloating as he paid the money for the scrolls. He watched the cleric walk off.

"Outlawed eh? This magic is the only thing that saves the common people of this land from the very evils that inhabit it. I'm not even going to stop purchasing or using it, just because the Church says it is outlawed. Besides, to arrest me you will have to catch me...and I'm not about to let that happen." All of that as the cleric disappeared in the crowd.



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2010, 02:33 
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"Good day father..."

The robed priest looked up from his rounds to see Jan Razorbeak, leaning up against the side of the building. The first thing Jan had learned was that a mercenary who didn't listen to anything that could turn into an advantage would soon become a mercenary who didn't eat. The second was that those who tried to be heroes, especially those who tried to face the high nobility or the church, especially the church, alone was bound for a very messy and very bloody death.

"Yes my son? How may I help you?"

By the tone of his voice, the holy man made it clear that he regarded Jan as a 'son' the same way he might have regarded a bastard, retarded dwarf. Then again, he had replied and he had stepped off the middle of the street to listen. The priest looked at the steel-arced clipped to the mercenary's belt with a look of disgust and disapproval.

"You may be a freeman, but the Holy Mother Church has banned the use of such... weapons in these lands, though rival holdings inevitably war against each other, such an infernal device is against the order which God has imposed on us."

Razorbeak nodded in his best imitation of the humble and faithful man he most certainly was not but raised one finger in objection.

I'm on unsteady ground here, and I need to choose me words carefully. Too little, and he'll take me for a dullard, too much, and he'll catch on and most like take me to the delightful hands of the Holy Inquisition. I do not plan on ending my days taking the virginity of an Iron Maiden...

"I must correct you Father. The Holy Mother Church has banned the use of the crossbow against the faithful, for it does, indeed cause suffering both undeserved and inhuman. Heretics and Infidels however, are beneath also inhuman and are undeserving of the mercy of the noble knight's sword. Let the sting of the iron quarrel pierce their cold heathen hearts at any time when the flames of judgment cannot."

The priest nodded. Razorbeak's insides warmed. This priest had clearly seen no war. His heart was still aflutter with noble tales of heroism and courage against the infidel hordes. His crusader zeal was genuine, and Jan was more than happy to play the holy man's naivete to the hilt.

Now, to get his mind moving in the right tracks.

"I've fought heretics before and heathens too. I served in the Cardinal of Blanchefort's army and the Bishop-Marshal of Mortain Hill in his campaigns against the heretic cults in his diocese. I was raised, as all good men were, a humble servant of God and the Church, and will remain so to my dying day. Faith motivates me to do what I do, hunting those who would deny truth's light, and only mortal requirements of food and board force me to require payment."

Razorbeak had indeed fought the enemies of the church many a time. What he didn't mention was that he had fought against the blessed legions as many times as he had along side them. Nonetheless, the truth wasn't important, he needed work. The priest seemed to buy the lie wholesale. Jan had found a talent for talking out of his arse early on in his career, it has saved his life many a time, and he found himself being particularly poetic whilst dancing upon his stage of embroidered falsehoods. When the cleric spoke again, his tone had lost the hard edge of derision it had worn before.

"I suppose you did not interrupt my rounds to boast. What is it that you wish master-"

"Razorbeak, Jan Razorbeak, at your service as eternally as I am in the service of Almighty God."

A lord, or bishop would have dismissed Jan's flattery and the deep bow that accompanied it without a hint of favour, but this was no lord or bishop who stood before him. The simple village priest was quite clearly enjoying the boot-licking that he presumed he was getting.

"Very well Master Razorbeak, what is it that you wish to speak to me of."

Jan made a subtle nod of his head towards the general direction of the hawker woman, now hidden behind two buildings, a crowd and far, far out of earshot. The big man with the axe and the other fellow whom they had consorted with were out of sight too. His sniper's eyes made sure of it.

"I hear you have a heretic problem Father. I would be honoured to help bring the flames of justice to any of the Almighty's enemies."

The priest paused for a moment and looked around, no doubt performing the same visual check the mercenary had just done a moment ago, though he was far more obvious in doing so. When satisfied that nobody was particularly interested in their conversation, he nodded.

"Follow me..."



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2010, 15:46 
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"You may be willing to take risks, my Lord," Cataline replied to the man who had just become her final customer, "but few people will be willing to defy the church to buy magic now, even if I continue to trade in secret. But I can't make a living just from my herbs and potions. It was the magic that people would pay good money for."

She paused very briefly, before continuing defiantly: "Yet I will not be cowed by the machinations of those who would wield power over us."

Just for a moment she wondered if she had been unwise to speak her mind like that in the company of two virtual strangers. In these days of strife and hardship there were many who would take any opportunity to betray their neighbours to the authorities if it meant gain for themselves. But Lord Azera had just openly stated his intention to defy this new ruling, and her instincts told her that the extraordinarily genteel villein, Jericho, would not condemn her for personal advantage.

"My Lord, I believe you are right that those with magical skills are needed for the protection of the common people. I may not be allowed to sell my magic, but I will not cease using it, and if that requires me to leave this place and find some other way to survive, then so be it. I have nothing to bind me to this village. My parents died while I was still a child and the land they worked for the lord was reclaimed by him. I learnt my skills from a wise old woman who was revered by the villagers until her death, and I have supported myself through them ever since, so I have no feudal ties to the lord or the land. I am truly free."



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2010, 18:41 
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Just then as Axe was about to speak the crowd started to get a little thicker, there were people starting come and go from the main thoroughfare. As he turn to avoid them he noticed a folded sheet of parchment on the table. He picked it up swiftly after he pocketed the scrolls and unfolded it. The ink came alive to his touch and formed this single phrase:

The darkness calls, the castle walls abandoned.....winter is here, beware of the approaching storm.

As he read the words to himself the paper caught fire and disappeared in a flash. His eyes turned hard. He looked at the two new friends and told them this:

"It looks like the decision to have magic is already decided by another. Another town has fallen to this plague of darkness in our lands, there is a greater evil at work. We have to tread lightly from here on out. Would you two be willing to join me on my journey. But I won't just have this journey be only about me. I fear this journey will take us further than we might want to, and it may force us to look inward for our strengths, and demand we face our fears. Still the rewards could be great. Would you be willing?



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 08 Dec 2010, 12:12 
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Cataline was just about to turn him down flat. What sensible woman would even consider such an invitation from a man she had only met a few moments ago?

Except that this could actually provide a solution to the predicament she suddenly found herself in.

True, it was likely to be dangerous. It sounded like Lord Azera and at least one accomplice were somehow involved in investigating the current outbreak of evil. And if whole towns were being attacked, it must be far worse than the occasional peasant worker getting carried off. And then of course, on top of that danger from outside, there was the added risk of being a woman travelling with men. The two here seemed chivalrous enough, but who could tell how they might behave away from the public eye? And she knew nothing at all about anyone else who might be in Lord Azera's band. Still, she was pretty confident about her ability to stand up for herself. She might not be physically strong but she was quite sure she could wield magic better than any casual user amongst the lord's men.

On top of that, a lord must have land, and therefore wealth. She shouldn't go hungry travelling with him, and might just get to use her magic for something worthwhile into the bargain.

After some further mental debate she finally replied to the invitation.

"My Lord is very gracious to consider taking a commoner such as myself on your journey. If you would have me, I would be honoured to offer my skills in your service."



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 08 Dec 2010, 19:27 
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"My lady, I would be glad to have your company and thankful for volunteering. Yes, I could do with a magic user on this venture. What say you, Jericho?"

The crowd had since thinned and slowed down enough for him to stand upright at the kiosk in which the young lady had decided to try to make a living in. Such was the ages of dark times that now pervaded the lands in which he used to call home. He looked around at the sullen faces of the crowd and vowed he would rid this land of oppressors and tyrants, for he had little use for either. He waited patiently for Jericho and pondered the next move. He should have to get two more toygh steeds like his for the trip. He knew where to find the best ones, but he needed to work fast once he got his party. This time....time won't be so kind.



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 Post subject: The (not so) Dark Ages
PostPosted: 12 Dec 2010, 18:42 
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"So, Razorbeak, you say you can get rid of my heretic problem?"

The mercenary nodded intently at the village priest as he discreetly looked around the insides of the small chapel which served as the religious centre of the village. The stone building looked spartan at first glance, but years as a sellsword had taught him how to spot the signs of hidden wealth, and frankly, they were everywhere in this little building. The plain candlesticks all shone of silver, the faint shadows of locked strongboxes lined the bottom of the pews and most importantly, the scrupulously clean altar showed the slight bumps of hinges. Razorbeak had looted enough churches and banks to know a hidden strongbox when he saw it.

Dealing with this man will be profitable indeed, let's see how far we can ingratiate him...

"I hope from the soles of my feet to the crown of my soul that it is so father. I hope that my years as a soldier in God's service will give me the strength to root out this heresy which has so plagued you and thus return the undisturbed dominion of the Almighty to these lands."

Razorbeak made sure to throw in a few of the big words he had learned for himself. It always helped to seem more educated and higher born than you actually were, especially when dealing with the church, which tended to see education as a premium. The priest seemed to agree with the assessment, as he nodded and smiled. Reaching into the folds of his robe, the priest pulled out a coin. Jan's eyes widened; it was a gold medallion, engraved with some saint which the mercenary didn't recognize and the very identifiable seal of the archbishphoric. Such an object might not have been the coinage of the realm, but realms came and went - the church was forever, and the gold in such a thing could keep a man fed for a year, if not more. The priest continued, dangling the great disc of gold in front of Razorbeak like a talisman.

"I sent a message to the bishop asking for permission to arrest the heretic a week ago. Just this morning, I received word that the bishop has given the word, and furthermore, has sent an inquisitor to perform the proper rites of arrest and interrogation. The inquisitor also requested that I assemble a handful of local boys to be his guards. As a clearly experienced soldier and stalwart of the true faith, I shall trust you to lead them. If only if the inquisitor looks upon you with favour by upon his return, this medallion will be yours, understand?"

Razorbeak nodded.

"I understand father."

Bowing low, the mercenary kissed the plain ring (also pure silver) on the priest's outstretched hand. He walked out of the chapel with his head still bowed, seemingly in reverence. In reality, it was to conceal the vicious grin on his lips.



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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