Down to Earth IC

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AuthorTopic: Down to Earth IC
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Remember to read the OOC first!


For centuries, Aesinian Kingdom and the Meher Empire have been living in peace. Trade has flourished, and this has brought both of the nations great prosperity. Great advancements have been made in the fields of arts and science, and even despite their vast physical and mental differences, people have gotten along well.

However, even good things aren't ment to last. During several past decades, problems have began to rise: Finang Carnesir, the king who has guided the aesinian people for almost a century now, has lately become increasingly frail and senile. As he has been losing the ability to co-ordinate his kingdom, the general of his army, Aurean Rauthrond, has hoarded power to himself, and this has had grave consequences.

Aurean is a cold, calculative bastard, who tolerates humans only because their money keeps his kindom running. He has constantly increased tariffs collected from human merchants, build up the strength of the aesinian army and frequently insulted imperial administrators for their inefficiency in keeping smuggling and other illegal actions near the border in check.

The Empire, in all its might, didn't care too much about this, untill Aurean made a particularly nasty decision: he stopped supplying the Empire with iron, demanding humans to pay much higher prices for this valuable resource than they had in the past. The Empire, which had been expanding its territory in the east, south and beyond the ocean, didn't take too well on this; its imperialistic goals required huge amounts of iron, and submitting to Aurean's sudden whim greatly hampered their economy. In respect for the long-running friendship of the two nations, Daniel Faltrast III, the last emperor, decided not to take any immediate actions 'cause of the matter, but ever since the relations of the two nations have been growing colder...

Bad politics of the two countries are best reflected on their border: huge amounts of new troops have been deployed to the border, and new bureucratic instructions about crossing it have made the lives of normal tradesmen a horrible pain. The upkeep of the soldiers often falls to ordinary peasants, who usually aren't very happy about it as new recruits often lack in the way of manners. Although generally illegal activities have decreased, many lowlives are coming up with new, nasty ways to profit from the situation, and this is bound to cause many uncomfortable consequences for the common folk.

One place, in particular, has taken a big hit. The city of Somala has officially always been two towns, as the border splits it from the middle. However, before this was never evident in the life of ordinary people living there; neighbours happily fetched water from the same well, regardless of which side of the border it officially belonged to. Humans and aesins lived together, worked together, had fun together, and sometimes even married each other! Not anymore: the human side of the city was given orders to treat all aesinian people living on that side of the border as illegal immigrants, which resulted in many people being driven away from their homes. Military presence in the area has been heavily increased, and this has led to many akward situations as the new soldiers don't have the same feelings of kinship the old inhabitants do...

All in all, the athmosphere is tense, and the situation is only getting worse as the high-ranking politcians and officers continue supplying the town council with arbitrary orders and commands. Most people in town still hope that the situation may be salvaged, but the chance of that happening is lessening every moment...


It was a cold, spring morning. Last bits of melting snow were sliding off from the shaggily build log walls of Fort Amity. Outside those same walls, Jussi Varis wandered around aimlessly, admiring the scenery while chewing a piece of salted meat. What a start for my day, he pondered. One can almost forget how screwed up things are around here. Fort Amity... once, he had liked the name. Nowadays, its irony caused him to chuckle grimly. How differently things had once been...

Suddenly, a distant voice of blowing horns alerted him. Was about time, he pondered, and waited for a whistle to answer the call from within his fort.

That didn't happen.

Jussi waited and waited, but the fort remained silent. Gah. What now?, he wondered and snuck back in through a particularly wide gap in the fort wall. After that he quickly headed for the sleeping quarters of his new rookies. "I'm gonna flay those slackers", he muttered and took another bite of his breakfast. What the hell is wrong with those city boys anyway? Didn't their mommies teach them to wake up early? Knowing that the answer was "no" didn't really help his bad mood.

Opening the door of the shaggily build log building serving as a the sleeping place for new recruits, Jussi took a quick look around. Excluding the few guys who were snoring loudly, it was cozily still and silent. Jussi aimed his angry stare on the nightwatch, a boy barely fifteen years old, who was sitting on his chair, naturally, fast asleep, the aforementioned whistle hanging from his neck. The sandglasses he should've been watching had all run out of sand. "Just freakin' beautiful", Jussi muttered, and then leaned towards the sleeping watchman. "Wake up, mommy's gonna make pancakes for breakfast", he whispered with a ridiculously high-pitched tone. The watch sluggishly opened his eyes and first fixed his eyes on the empty sandglasses; "Is my shift over already?" he asked.

"I could say so", Jussi snarled from behind him. When the boy recognized the voice the shock caused him to fell off of his chair. "I-i'm so sorry,, sir", the boy muttered as he quickly stumbled up. "I-i think I fell asleep..."

"No kiddin'", Jussi replied, snarling his teeth. "Now, fulfill yer duty and wake those other slackers up. We don't have all day." The boy, shaking nervously, lifted the whistle up to his lips and blew with all his strenght. For a few seconds, a sharp, shrilling noise filled the building. The sleeping soldiers didn't even twitch.

Dissatisfied, Jussi walked to the middle of the bunks and sleeping bags, kicking up one of the snorers in the process. "Hey, what are ye do-" the rookie began, but shut his mouth when he saw who had woken him up. He then turned to look at the nightwatch, who just shrugged and gave an apologizing smile to him.

"WAKE UP, MONKEYBOYS!" Varis barked, disregarding the fact that most of the rookies had no idea what a monkey was. This time, though, the reaction was what he had expected. The surprised soldiers hurriedly threw away their blankets and bags and stumbled to their feet. Jussi walked around, poking few of the rookies who still hadn't got the hint. "One of ye fell asleep during watch" he began after every single soldier had gotten up. "That's right. We're going to do some running today. After ye have first cleaned this hovel from floor to teh freakin' ceiling. MOVE!" After listening to the choir of "Yessirs!", Varis turned his back to his recruits and left them to their chores. He had things of his own to do.

"And I thought this job'd be easy", he muttered while limping toward the tent working as his office...

Life is a neverending carneval where everyone has multiple costumes. I just hope mine are pleasing to the eye.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
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‘Forget Aldala, Meridium, Corregar, Far’gara or even Maltra…this is where it’s at!’ Shouted Crow as his stallion Avalanca marched proudly over the hill that overlooked the divided city of Somala.

Fergund’s steed Greywood marched right behind Crow, ‘Weren’t we going to Fort Amity?’ The teenage Aesinian inquired.

‘Oh but we will,’ smiled Crow, ‘But we have to take this step by step… the base must be made here… we deal with Fort Amity later.’

‘I still don’t understand how a conflict zone like this will help establish your business… are you sure this is a good idea? War may brake up anytime… we can still rejoin the caravan to Meridium… after all, they are only two days…’

‘Fergund, Fergund, Fergund...’ Interrupted Crow in a very condescending way. ‘You have much to learn.’

‘You are only four years older than me.’ Fergund replied, somewhat annoyed.

Crow went on rambling ‘I have been to all corners of this beautiful continent…and if there is one thing I have learned in my travels it is this…’

‘What?’ Asked Fergund.

‘When there is conflict, needs will be plentiful, when needs abound, opportunities thrive.’ Completed Crow in a solemn manner.

‘Wow, human wisdom never ceases to amaze me.’ Comented Fergun in a cynical tone.

‘Shut up!’ Snaped Crow, ‘I’m sick of your whining… its not like you have a choice anyway…you know damn well you owe me your allegiance, remember it was me who…’

‘…who saved you from the ferocious Wargs of the freezing tundra at the Karag plains. When will I hear the end of it.’ Complained Fergund.

‘When you have served me for 50 years or you are released, that’s when!’ said Crow, ‘That is the way of you Aesinian mountain folk, is it not? I saved your life. Can you get that through your pointy ears?’

Fergund looked away into Somala with his sharp yellow eyes.

As soon as you have helped me establish a base here I will release you, then you may go wherever you please, but first you must help me… I will need an Aesinian to gain the trust of your people on the northern side of Somala. I can deal with the humans to the south, I have a contact waiting for me there.’

‘This is by far the most dangerous business you have attempted Crow… I hope for our sake you know what you’re doing… if the Aesinians find out you’re smuggling Iron out of…’

‘Tss!’ broke up Crow. ‘We have talked about the ‘I’ word before, don’t you mention it again in Somala, remember…’

‘You do the talking… I know.’ Fergund replied.

‘To Somala we go, Hya!’ Shouted Crow, as he whipped his white stallion into action. Avalanca rallied without complain, Fergund and his steed Greywood followed close behind.

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying."
Posts: 469 | Registered: Thursday, May 1 2003 07:00
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In its own macabre way, Luca was glad of the work.

He had chosen the spot at the top of the ravine, rather than within it to avoid the spring melt off. A towering aspen grew precariously close to the edge five paces to his right, its branches just beginning to show the buds that were delayed by the late winter. Luca grunted softly as he tossed another spadeful of packed dirt onto the pile. He needed the exercise – the weeks of walking had built up the calluses on his soles, but the ones on his hands were beginning to disappear. He could tell that by the end of the morning he would get at least one blister on his hands, and his forearms would be sore the next day, but he didn’t mind. At least the ground wasn’t frozen any longer.

The sun rose, and eventually the hole was completed. Luca put his spade done and pushed the body into it. Half a moment’s rest, then he began spading the dirt back into the grave. He found that as long as he kept his mind on methodically spooning the earth back into its original location, he could ignore the rank odour that emanated from the corpse through the rough burlap. Somewhat.

The sun rose higher, and finally a mound of loose dirt lay beneath the aspen. Not pausing to rest, Luca drove the marker he had carved the night before by the fire into the ground. The poplar crosspiece bore the simple inscription “The Gardener knows this one.” He reached a hand into his belt pouch, hesitated for a moment, then drew out a sprig of mentha and dried herb-of-grace. After he twined the two around the marker, he grabbed his waterskin and sprinkled the grave with a few drops.

Only then did he drink from the skin. Once he was sated, he picked up his spade and began heading north. He would have to stop at Fort Amity before he entered Somala. Someone would have to be told.

[ Wednesday, September 05, 2007 19:10: Message edited by: Dintiradan ]
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
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Despite the recent invention of the wheel chair, Lt. Sulfi still fought to use what strength his legs could yet give him. Maroda, was discouraged by this; however, she was accustomed to the old man's stubborn attitude.

"Stop pacing, you'll lose your breath," she politely asked him.

"I can't help it. Can't you feel the tension in the air. I came here hoping to be free of these conflicts. They seem to find me wherever I go." He breathed before entering a fit of coughing. He quickly placed a cloth in front of his mouth. When he finally managed to calm himself down, he noticed a small spot of blood. Nothing new, he thought to himself. The combined effects of his shattered lungs and his age were starting to get worse...

Lt. Sullust
Quaere verum
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
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Building of Fort Amity first began some nine years ago, four years before the Iron Farse. Originally it was meant to be only an extension to the older garrison residing north-east of Somala (some 5 miles from Fort Amity), a training place for new soldiers and so forth. For the first years of its existence, it remained largely unused, with only a dozen soldiers and few civilians keeping it running. Varis was called to lead it few months before the problems began. He remembered how he had stepped through the sturdy iron doors (the only decently-built part of the fort), ready to take care of his new positions. Seems like a nice place. Shouldn't be too hard keeping this place runnin', he had thought back then. Oh, how wrong he had been!

With a sour expression on his face, Varis shuffled to his tent. Originally, Varis had used a small cabinet in the kitchen building as his office. During his first year as the fort manager, that cozy little room had been more than enough. Then, the Iron Farse had happened, and suddenly Jussi's near-empty fort was flooding with rookies, messengers, bureaucrats and what-not. His old office had soon become so cramped with paperwork that he could barely close the door. Nowadays it worked only as an archive for old records and correspondence. Snarling his teeth, Jussi sat upon a box containing brass lanterns and began looking through recent messages piled upon another storagebox.

Most of the information wasn't very usefull to him. Knowledge about new rookies or problems at the old garrison were important, but what the heck would he need market prices of religious idols for? Sighing, Jussi separated meaningfull records from the pile and stuffed the rest into a fireplace built to the center of the tent. They'd come in handy later. He was about to rise up and leave when one of his rookies stumbled into the tent.

"What is it, got yer bunks cleaned already?" Varis asked. "Uh, no sir", the rookie said. "There's, uh, a messenger at the gates. Says he has something to tell you. Should I bring him here or...?"

"Nah, I'll come with ye. Was about to leave anyway", Varis replied and rose up. "Besides, I've got training in schedule. Gotta get the boys runnin'..."

Life is a neverending carneval where everyone has multiple costumes. I just hope mine are pleasing to the eye.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
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A small snap echoed to the bartender as he approached an elderly Aesin who was drowning his sorrows in Aesinian ale. He poured the man a drink, then went back to the rack where he kept the bottles of waiting alcohol and selected a particularly vicious-looking one. He brought it back to the man who had made the bid for the drink, where he found several small coins lying on the counter. The man thanklessly took the drink and downed half of it with a single swig. He then returned his attention to the bottle-rack, staring one down almost as if it had done him some unknown wrong. There was the sudden tinkling of a bell, and Marxis stared more fixedly at the bottle for a second. The reflection shone briefly, and then vanished. It was enough for him, though. He watched the Aesin's progress through a mirror behind the bar. Eventually, he choose a small table in the corner. Marxis waited. He was sure this was the man who had wanted to meet with him, but he wanted to make sure he wasn't followed. So Marxis continued to wait.

After half-an-hour or so, the man got impatient. "Typical. No, frickin' wonderful. I finally get someone skilled enough, and he's decided not to show." The man made to stand up.

"One must be careful, Povell," Marxis said quietly, seating himself across from the man. He was short and plump, looking like something that had been compressed by an elephant. However, he also wore the robes of someone who knew money, and lots of it.

"And late. Didn't I promise good pay, Helios?" Povell asked. After further thought, he added, "And how do ya' know my name?"

"I already answered both. Only an amateur or a fool would openly greet the interested party. The latter are in the business for but a short time, if you catch my meaning." Marxis watched his quarry carefully, amused at both the use of his street name and the expression on Povell's face. It wasn't everyday that you learned that the person you were trying to hire has been spying on you.

"Well I'm not comfortable with this... place," Povell said delicately, "and I'd prefer to conclude our business quickly."

"Really?" Marxis said, falsly incredulous. "I was under the impression that you came here almost daily. And not because of the liquor." Marxis glanced at a nearby pillar, which had the figure of a succubus carved at the top.

Povell shook his head. "Anyway, I'm looking for someone to recover an Aesin artifact from someone who doesn't know or understand it's worth. A gold ring, one that's not particularly pretty, but it's a piece of Aesinian history. I'll pay well for it to be placed in my possession."

"How well?"

Povell was silent, then pulled a large sack of gold from under his coat and set it on the table. "This should be sufficient."

Marxis looked at it carefully, then opened it. He shuffled a few of the gleaming gold coins inside the sack. He eventually closed it again and leaned back to survey Povell again. "This is quite a bit of gold for the simple matter of getting a trivial item. What's the catch?"

"It's location is a bit... tricky. It's in the Havior mansion, and I think you know where that is."

Marxis sighed as he thought about it. A blatant foray into hostile territory was not what he had in mind. But, it was still a living. "Fine. Expect the relic tomorrow." Marxis got up and left the tavern.

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AmnesiaWitch HuntWhere the Rivers MeetFoul Hordes
Posts: 2686 | Registered: Friday, September 8 2006 07:00
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Lt. Sulfi arose to feel a sharp jolt in his remaining arm. Maroda was once again 'bleeding' him. The diseased blood leaves and fresh healthy blood replaces it. It didn't make much sense to him--but then again, he wasn't a doctor. What he did know was that over the past three years his conditioned had only worsened.

"This place will be very dangerous soon Maroda. I think it would be best if you'd head deeper into the kingdom." He spoke softly to his attendant.

"I'd prefer to stay as far away from those barbarians as I can. Besides, who else would take care of an old stubborn man like you?"

"I don't think you'll have to much..." His words trailed off as he passed out. Maroda sighed and began closing the wounds. She hoped that the next time Lt. Sulfi had woken up, he would be in a more cheerful mood.

Lt. Sullust
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Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
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When Jussi returned to his office, he found a letter bearing the seal of the Emperor sitting on his desk. Sighing, he sat down, broke the seal, and began to read.

Warrant Officer Varis,

The iron crisis has reached new heights. The barbarians in the lands to the south are proving more stubborn than we originally thought. Several weapons caches have been raided, and we have found that leather armor is ineffective in the plains there against the wild horsemen.

You are hereby ordered to round up all iron in Fort Amity and the village of Somala that is not currently used as army weapons and armor. It is to be carted off to Westhaven where it will be melted down and reissued to soldiers in the south.

It is suggested that you especially look to cookware, gates, and weapons of the citizens of the town. With the increased numbers at Fort Amity, you should be able to garrison some troops in the town proper (I believe there is an inn or several) to patrol the streets. Unfortunately, we cannot offer you an increased budget, so you will need to use your better judgement.

With regards to the Aesin population in town, we do not want to increase tensions with their government and Aurean. But they are far removed from Somala, and do what is necessary to make the Empire's citizens feel safe. Remind them that their security comes with a duty to the Empire. Make an example if you need to.

Brigadier Yael Shahar
Commander, Northern Reaches

"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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You can take my Mac when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the mouse!
Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
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‘Halt!’ Shouted the Aesinian guard from the watchtower. ‘By decree of the Aesinian Somala council, no Meher human is allowed into Aesinian Somala without a royal permit or a day pass.’ He added.

Crow turned to Fergund and winked at him, Fergund got the sign and started the speech they had prepared during their travel.

Fergund stepped forward, ‘Greetings fellow Aesinian, my name is Fergund Aldulaith and this is my human servant Gregory Fartizian. I am a traveller from the northern plains of Karag.’

‘You are far away from home young one. What is your business in the border?’ Inquired the Aesinian guard.

‘Family issues sir, there is a contract I must settle with some of my relatives here.’ Fergund waited expectantly.

‘Very well,’ answered the guard, ‘But you must register your servant in the customs office and he cannot move about the city alone, you must be with him at all times.’

‘Will do sir.’ Answered Fergund as guards opened the wooden gates of Somala for them. The tower guard was waiting for them at the other side.

‘Take this main road to the centre of Somala right into the court; you will know you at the court when you reach the new wall we are building. The customs office if will be the white building to the north, can’t miss it.’

‘The wall?’ Asked Fergund.

‘Why yes, we are doing it to keep a tighter control of Iron contraband, it’s getting through everywhere these days.’

‘What does the Meher Empire say about this?’ Fergund inquired once again, this time Crow gave him a slight elbow push in an attempt to shut him up.

‘They have no say in this matter’ Replied the guard, ‘this is Aesinian territory and we do as we please.’

‘Master, the horses are uneasy…should we move to the customs office?’ Asked Crow, evidently pushing Fergund to finish the dialog.

‘Err…why yes Gregory, we don’t want to keep my family waiting. Thanks for everything officer.’

The guard nodded back at Fergund and past by Crow without acknowledging his presence. As soon as he left Crow slightly pushed Fergund in the back.

‘What do you think you are doing? Stick to the script…don’t throw in your little enquiries next time.’

‘I got it, I got it… just keep it down or people will get suspicious.’

‘To the customs office then, so far so good.’ Said Crow as he mounted Avalanca.

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying."
Posts: 469 | Registered: Thursday, May 1 2003 07:00
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Wris Storn hammered with a vengeance at the small lump of bronze sitting on his anvil. The dull clang it made stood in marked contrast to the piercing ring of iron. He stopped, startled, when he heard a voice nearby.

"Master Storn?" asked a self-important man standing at the entrance to his workshop.

"That'd be me, sir." he replied warily. These official types always meant trouble.

"I have bill of acquisition for certain goods in your possession."

"A bill of what?" They loved their big words.

"A bill of acquisition." replied the official in a condescending voice, "It means that you have something, and we are taking it." Wris longed to wipe the smirk off his face. "It's all quite routine, I assure you."

"Routine for you perhaps. Just what do you intend to take, and by what authority? I assure you I have no contraband goods, I'm a blacksmith, not a thief."

The official took out a scroll and opened it. "By the authority of Emperor Faltrast, this agent is authorized to seize any and all iron products possessed by the citizens of Somala."

Wris laghed. "If you think I'm still working with iron, sir, the way prices have soared recently, you'd have to be mad."

The agent found no cause for mirth. "Master Storn, I am authorized to seize all iron products. Surely that anvil is not made out of bronze. Nor, I believe is that hammer."

The laughter died on Wris's face. "You are mad. You'd have to kill a blacksmith before you'd get him to part with his tools."

Now the agent smiled. "Funny, I didn't think a dead man would be much use to a wife seven months pregnant. I doubt your little boy would be happy his daddy died to save his tools either. Now step aside and let my men collect your iron, or face the consequences. You wouldn't be the first to resist, but I assure you it didn't do the others any good."

Wris felt his heart sink to his stomach. This bastard was going to take away his livelihood and there was nothing he could do about it. Seething, he stepped aside.

[ Monday, September 10, 2007 19:39: Message edited by: WiKiSpidweb ]

"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." --Albert Einstein
Posts: 536 | Registered: Sunday, September 7 2003 07:00
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The registration in customs office went as planned, the only thing Crow was unhappy with was the tag around his neck which marked him as 'servant Gregory of Fergund'.

Fergund on the other hand found it very amusing. 'Funny how the tables have turned.' He smiled.

'Yeah, yeah. Just remember you are still under my service...c'mon, we have no time to waste. To the Siver Knight pub, our contact should be waiting for us there.'

'Who is this contact again?' Asked Fergund, trying to keep up with Crow's fast walk.

'Elsar Uldomel, one of your kin, an important businessman in northern Aesinian territory. He owns a couple of mines up there and has been struck heavily with Aurean's decision of elevating the price of Iron. I met him in my travels and told him I could double his income by skipping the customs office and selling it directly to the Meher Empire.'

'That's were Fort Amity comes in right?' Asked Fergund.

'Exactly!' Snapped Crow, 'you heard the conversations in the customs office didn't you...the new decree in Meher Empire to take any and every bit of iron available?' Asked Crow as he turned a corner in the busy streets of Somala.

'Why yes but...'

'There you have it then!' Interrupted Crow. 'This is the chance of a life time don't you see?' He turned to look at Fergund and pushed him into an alley. 'The Meher Empire are desperate, they will take the deal without thinking it twice and if that wasn't enough we have plenty of manpower in the Meher side of Somala who would gladly join our cause. Just think about all those blacksmiths and other tinkers who have been left almost broke by the Meher Empire...they will be joining in droves to our little enterprise.'

'But what if Aesinian Somala finds out? We might loose our heads!' Fergund exclaimed.

'How many times have I told you? I have this planned already...come, we are late for our meeting with mister Elsar. You will see why I'm so calm.'

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying."
Posts: 469 | Registered: Thursday, May 1 2003 07:00
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Profile #11
It was near nightfall when Jussi finally returned to his tent. The day had been good; the boys had endured the run to lake Suvanne well, and they had finally managed to clean the third sleeping cabin. Varis had almost forgotten about the early messenger when his eye fixed on a lonely letter sitting upon one of the storage boxes. He dully noted it had the imperial seal on it. Ah, now i remember. Told Stone to bring it here he recalled and sat down sighing. Not very hopefull about the news it would bear, he broke the letter's seal and began to study. What he read quickly ruined his good mood.

Sighing again, Varis put the letter down. Should've paid more attention to it this morning he thought, while wondering what to about the orders the letter had contained. The people of the old garrison were probably already on the move; that place always got the news first. I have to go & meet captain John about it. I need to know what they've done already. Scratching his chin, Varis threw the letter to the fireplace. He would come to regret it later, but at the moment it helped to clear his thoughts.

New rookies will arrive tomorrow, he pondered. Good. Might as well put 'em to work when they get here. That door can go first. And now I finally have use for that old wagon lying behind the supply store. Jussi made a mental note about notifying Stone about his thoughts later that evening, and then opened the storagebox to find some flint and steel. He proceeded to light up the unfortunate orders, almost hoping doing so would make his problems really go away...

Life is a neverending carneval where everyone has multiple costumes. I just hope mine are pleasing to the eye.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
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Profile #12
Wilhelmina sits down at her mirror and stares into it at her reflection. She raises a hand to her one ear and inserts an emerald earring. She does the same to the other ear and then picks up her horsehair brush and begins running it through her hair. Today will be a day like any other in this palace.

Just then she hears a soft knocking at her door. Reaching for her dark blue robe, she wraps it around herself and goes to the door. Opening it a crack, she looks out at a youth with an eager face who is staring up at her. Opening the door fully, she motions her in. Looking up and down the hall, she spies an old janitor whom she has seen many times before. He was busy polishing ornaments on a wall and seemed to be engrossed in his work. Satisfied that there is no one important watching, Wilhelmina closes the door and turns to the youth, who is standing next to the mirror waiting for her with an envelope in her hand.

"Begging your pardon, Mina, but a message just come for you."

"Do you know where it came from, Elspeth?"

"I'm not sure, but it might say on the envelope. I wish I could read."

"You will child, in time. I'll see to it. Thank you, Mina. Here's something for your trouble."

Reaching into her pocket, Wilhelmina removes two gold coins and presses them into the young girls palm while taking the envelope from the girl's other hand. The girl looks at the coins and smiles back.

"Oooh, thank you ever so much, Mina."

With that, the girl leaves the room with a broad smile on her face. Wilhelmina sits down at her mirror and examines the envelope. Cheap, worn vellum with a criss-crossed "D" in the upper right corner. Realizing who its from, she opens the envelope. Unfolding it, she reads with intense interest.

Dear Mina,
News has reached me that a new order is being placed throughout the empire. All iron is to be seized and used for weapons for soldiers on the plains. Were you aware of this and if not, how shall we proceed?



Crumpling the letter up, she throws it into the fireplace and watches it burn. Then she takes a bronze poker and destroys the ashes. Pulling her long hair back, she ties it in place. She then goes to her door and opens it cautiously. Looking up and down the hall she sees the old janitor now working on dusting a wooden stand that has an old vase on it. Closing her door, she locks it behind her. She walks down the hall and passes the old janitor, who looks up from his work and watches her as she passes. Looking back when she is a distance away, Wilhelmina sees that he is still staring at her. She stops and faces him.

"And what do you think you're looking at?"

Startled by this sudden accosting, he turns back to his work. Satisfied that she has quelled another inquisitive onlooker, she turns around and walks towards the king's quarters. Upon reaching the door, she knocks loudly and soon a voice from within beckons her in. Entering the room, she finds the king is taking one of his rare baths, with servants attending to him. Startled slightly by this, the stops dead in her tracks.

"Oh, if you're busy, sire, I'll come back later."

"Oh, my dear, Mina, don't go. I'm just having a bath, nothing to get embarrassed about. Sit down in that chair next to the tub and tell me what's on your mind."

Wilhelmina hesitates slightly and then decides to do as he asks. Sitting down, she is careful not to make too much eye contact with him.

"Well, sire, I was just wondering what your further orders will be for handling the iron seizure you called for. I was just informed by one of..."


Cutting her off in mid-sentence the king stands up from his bath and when he realizes what he has done, he quickly sits back down again.

"What's this you say? I didn't give any orders to seize iron! Who told you this?"

Wilhelmina, still taken aback by his sudden exposure, composes herself and replies.

"I-I don't know, sir. A letter came to me from someone saying they were one of your generals. They said that the iron seizure was going as planned and they wanted to know if they should start taking iron from traveling caravans as well."

The king looks about in confusion, and noticing that a servant is nearby, he summons for a towel and clothes.

“Mina, I want you to get the cabinet together, immediately! I never gave an order for the acquisition of iron, but I want to know who did!”

With that, he hops out of the tub and starts drying off as Mina speedily retreats out of the room. Once outside of the door, she thinks to herself.

So, the plot thickens. The king didn’t give that order. Someone else is trying to set up power for him or her self.

With that, she rushes off to locate the other cabinet members.

"Keep your wits about you, the game is afoot!!" - Sherlock Holmes

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