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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Recent posts by Nomad D2
Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: Mansion, Grub and a wait

After the servant left the food, Heironymus was beaten to the punch (well, duck and other food anyway) by the half-orc. He could hardly be impressed with the Rogues table manners, but he did admire his gusto.

With a smile at the half-orc, the cleric took a plate of his own and started to get himself some food. He wasn't really worried about poison - if "the master" wanted them dead it was fairly obvious that he could have accomplished that many times over already. For example, he could have simply left them in jail. So he ate a good meal.

After eating he moved over to the chair and examined the two books that were there. He might as well see what the master had left out for them to believe he was reading. He would flip through the books fairly thoroughly. Afterwards, if they didn't deserve more time, he would move on to the book shelves.

Posted on 2010-12-27 at 01:09:50.

Topic: Crimson Crusaders QnA
Subject: Travelling question

To the group - it seems logical to me that the group will want to travel with horses and we should all request one with tack. Is that reasonable?

As for where to go- the Barbarian was inclined to talk to the one armed captain of the guard and the furrier - and anyone else he can find who explores the woods. Maybe the woodsmen, but he is little impressed by drunkards.

Trossach will almost certainly be staying with the halflings.

Posted on 2010-12-16 at 04:09:36.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: Christmas in Botkinburg

Trossach could not help but smile and thank the healers for their gift of the prayer bead. It seemed that there were some in this town who had sense, after all. Not the sense to give him gifts, but rather to recognize the seriousness of the situation.

He suspected they were right about the annoyed wizard. If the fool of a Baron had already annoyed him in only one meal, what must it do to those who were aware of the danger and saw it daily? Still, he suspected a barbarian half-orc from the wilds was probably not the right emissary to send. He hoped one of his new clan would be up to that task. But perhaps the one-armed captain of the guard who knew much of orcs? That seemed like the place for an experienced war captain like himself to go to seek information.

And he still wished to seek out the furrier and others who travelled these lands. Information was what he sought.

In the meantime he had other decisions to make.

The book - what an amazing gift. He would begin his studies as soon as the time for meetings was over.

The prayer bead - where to keep it? It seemed clear that it was the sort of thing destined to be held in a piece of jewelry. He didn't believe in fancy things, but a simple string of leather could hold it in a necklace over his heart. Where better to get in toon with the soul of the barbarian? And what better place to hold that which would keep him whole? It would work. He could do such easy bead work himself.

What other gifts would come their way? Clearly someone was taking this trip very seriously.

As he sat and listened to the healer he heard another reference to the "Halfling of Legend." He didn't think much of legends. Legends were made, not lived up to. This halfling would become a legend if he earned it. There was no other way for it. But somehow, the halfling he had already internally dubbed "wolverine" seemed likely to be up to the task. Although a betrothal before going off to war seemed a bit odd to the Barbarian.

Such thoughts made it easier for him to lean towards staying in the halfling community while in Botkinburg. Those in the Inn had not impressed him. Hopefully the Halflings would. One already had, but he was not a local.

As they prepared to leave the Chancel, Trossach thanked their hosts for everything. They seemed the kind of people that made all this fighting worth while. The leaders of this community might not be worth the effort, but as was so frequently the case, the normal towns folk deserved better. He might be able to consider turning his back on the Baron, but not on people such as the healers.

And where to begin this quest to defend the town and its good people? Again, he needed information. Although he was already leaning towards a first target - the Ogre. Why not make the first step be the acquisition of a powerful ally? And he had no desire to leave such a threat behind him. He didn't want an Ogre between himself and the protection afforded by the town. So perhaps they should take a pig with them when they started travelling.

Posted on 2010-12-16 at 04:06:46.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: And so we go North

When the voice spoke in his head, Heironymus paused and listened. He didn't like this. He was being manipulated and he knew it. It was bad enough when they forced his actions, but his mind was his own . . . or at least he hoped it was.

He looked around - it seemed that everyone was having the same internal discussion. No, not discussion - speech. A very one-sided speech. but they were all getting it.

Like good little minions, the group turned North. (I assume, Heironymus would anyway.) What new lie and deceit lay ahead? The cleric didn't know, he could only hope that his god would guide his footsteps. But so far in this world of eternal twilight, things hadn't gone so well.

It wasn't the first time in his life things hadn't gone well. But at least in the past he had always know who the good guys and the bad guys were. He had known which side he was on. There might be few options, but he had known the basic outlines of the issue. Here he was blind. For all he knew the good guys were back in the city. Very doubtful, actually. Nor were the good guys back in the cave.

Ok, so he knew a little bit. But not much else. Just because one side was not the good guys did not mean that the other side was good. Not all conflicts had a good and a bad side - some just had conflict. And why was this his conflict - aside from loyalty to those he had met in this world?

He needed information. And information of some sort would be available in the house to the North. The Shadow would provide some information. Perhaps not much. Perhaps all lies. Maybe truth. But still, pieces to the puzzle. They had already determined to go to the house - there was no reason to turn back now.

Hopefully he would get a chance later to make another decision.

Posted on 2010-12-09 at 17:27:27.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: Getting to know them one by one

Trossach couldn’t help but laugh at the Halflings comments. “And to think, all I needed to do to become a hero was to lift a corpse! A cheerful and welcoming people are always a pleasure!”

Before he could enjoy his fellow Crusader’s wit further Trossach’s attention was diverted by the local authorities. At first he was surprised to hear them both deny the dangers that had drawn the Crusaders here. Had the Crusaders not been attacked by some of these overblown dangers? But he realized that sometimes the authorities needed to maintain an image for the good of the local populace. Yet, when he looked around, there didn’t seem to be a local crowd that they were playing to . . . which left him wondering.

Trossach leaned down towards the Halfling and whispered, “I hope your kinsmen are either more honest or more intelligent, preferably both. Let us see what these others have to say when away from the Baron.”

Trossach had no further questions for the current leaders as they didn’t have much of use to say.

As they got up from their meal to move to the next stop on the local tour, Trossach moved over by Tohmaz the shaman. He was simply trying to get to know all of those in the group, and the Shaman had impressed him on the boat. “Shaman. I hope we can be the clan you spoke of. We will need each other in the days ahead, regardless of whatever these talking heads say. I admire how you honor the dead, and aid the living.”

Posted on 2010-12-07 at 03:03:33.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: Over the river and through the woods

When the man called out to "stop!" it was all Heironymus could do not to take off at a sprint. But he had dealt with guardsmen before, and the best choice was usually to assume nothing was wrong and not do anything to arouse suspicion. So he and the others waited for the guard to come closer.

After the note was passed and the guard left, Heironymus let his breath out slowly. The appeared to have made it out of the city. But he still wanted to put some distance between himself and the town as quickly as possible. But first, the note . . .

(Assuming the contents were shared with all)

"Well, that doesn't add much. We have a journey ahead of us. Let us continue." With that the cleric turned and headed off down the road/path.

*To the group - I assume that at this point there isn't much for us to do but continue towards wherever we were headed - the house in the woods. It seems we, or at least a few of us, should have a vague idea of where we are going. Is there anything to discuss? Also, don't we need a marching order? And exactly who all is in the group at this point?

Posted on 2010-12-03 at 20:06:54.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: Small Town Livin'

After finishing binding and disposing of the bodies of their fallen comrades, Trossach watched as the Shaman began the dance. He felt awkward joining into someone else’s dance, but also felt drawn to it. His tribe was also tied to the land and the winds, as clearly seemed to be the case for this shaman. Indeed the rains and winds were very dear to Trossach himself. So as the dance began, the half orc found himself wanting to join. He watched the shaman for a bit, and then joined the dance for awhile, bringing his own deities spirit into the mix as well. Intending it as a compliment to the Shaman’s efforts, not in opposition, it remained the Shaman’s dance, but Trossach was also true to his heart.

For the rest of the voyage up river Trossach kept watch carefully on the woods – and on the dead bodies that occasionally floated by indicating a similar fate for the other non-cursed crusader ships. But despite his concerns, none of them appeared to be alive or animated in any way. Still, he felt more secure holding a position sheltered by the sides of the boat and standing guard. They had learned a painful lesson – it was not wise to turn your back on these woods.

Once they reached Botkinburg, the end of one journey and the start of another, the Barbarian found himself surprised by the smallness of the Hamlet. He hadn’t expected a large city, but a one bar town hadn’t quite been what he had in mind either. This was the northern outpost of the empire? It wasn’t much of an outpost. Still, the people were here and a stand must be made somewhere against the dark forces that had once been vanquished. It might as well be here.

The walk through the town didn’t teach him much, except that these were a people with an appreciation of the simple life. They had better like the simple life, for it was all they had. But he was surprised by the freedom with which these people moved throughout the surrounding countryside and woods. With all that he had heard about the dangers in the woods and Mountains, and enough firsthand experience in the boat as well, he had not expected woodsmen to go wandering off alone in the woods. In fact, when he heard about the furrier, a man who apparently travelled the woods alone, Trossach determined that he would use a portion of their time here to speak with that man. What sort of man would travel these parts alone? What did he know about the surrounding lands? Certainly he must know about which places were safe or best to avoid? Yes, the Furrier would be a good place to start.

When the meal was placed before them at the tavern, Trossach found a seat and claimed his share of the food. He understood that eventually they would be on trail rations, and thus he determined to enjoy what he could while he could. He wanted to get to know his fellow crusaders better. It was always good to know who would have your back. He had a feeling he would need these people and it would be important that they see him as more than just a half-orc.

While sitting to eat, he started with the Halfling who had recently been buried under a mountain of a man. “This is a good meal. It seems that later we will be hosted by some of your people, bladesman. But I guess I know little about the little people. Are they “your people?” Or perhaps another tribe? It seems we have a choice to stay with them. Would you have any advice for a stranger to these lands and your people?”

When the chance arose he also broached the subject of the surrounding woods to the town elders. “If the woods are so dangerous, how far into them do your people venture? Do the evils of the surrounding lands ever accost your fishermen upon the river as our boats were attacked?” As a former commander of men, he immediately began to assess the risks and strengths of the town as a whole.

Posted on 2010-12-03 at 18:22:33.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: A new career as a watery grave digger

After the shaman suggested he help bury the dead in the river, Trossach nodded his assent. "If we are afraid of them returning as zombies, should the bodies be bound and weighted before being sent to the water? If so, do we have rope and weights? This is a ship, it ought to have rope, and perhaps a few extra scraps of non-magical armor unless the ship is carrying balast?"

If the others agree to this idea, Trossach sets out finding the tools of his new trade and begins burying their former shipmates.

Posted on 2010-11-27 at 16:33:11.

Topic: Crimson Crusaders QnA
Subject: River burial

Although Trossach would normally wish to bring the bodies to the city, if there is a reason to fear zombies or some such thing, than he would support a river burial.

As previously stated, he would suggest that all of the goods be given to the city to aid in its defense.

Posted on 2010-11-24 at 19:59:02.

Topic: Crimson Crusaders QnA
Subject: Computers

FYI - I am not sure about internet access for the next seven days. Trossach just posted, but it is possible (although not certain) that I won't be able to do so again until next Tuesday.

Posted on 2010-11-23 at 17:27:41.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins / Q&A
Subject: Posted

posted for the escape. FYI - I am not sure what sort of internet access I will have over the next week. Next ability to post might not be until next Tuesday. Maybe earlier, but I don't know.

Posted on 2010-11-23 at 17:26:16.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: A better escape plan!

As the elf dodged about making the wolfmen look silly, Heironymus grew to appreciate the tact that would help them escape. At the very least, it was better than fighting armed guards with a set of manacles!

When the others nod slightly and move out, Heironymus follows right behind them. He doesn't hurry, but seeks to make sure that they are all through the gate before the wolffish noses have returned to their poses. Just walk on out . . .

Posted on 2010-11-23 at 17:24:56.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: Now that is an opening!

"I Hate Orcs!"

"I Believe You Do Too!"

"That Should Make Us Allies!"

The Dwarf's shout was not what the big barbarian had been expecting. He had seen him before, quietly watching the action on the ship, and had assumed that he wasn't sure how to fit into the group. When he saw the dwarf approach he thought he must wish to discuss the attack.

But the shouted greeting could hardly be described as "discussion." Trossach smiled. The dwarf, it would seem, would not have an easy social life. If, indeed, he had any concept of how people interacted. Well, perhaps he wouldn't be the only outcast in this group. Better stick together...

"Orcs? I don't think this attack was done by orcs, but indeed I do hunt them. All the Crusaders onboard this ship will hopefully be allies in that quest."

While continuing to keep his eyes on the woods arround them, Trossach nodded his head towards the dwarf in a friendly greeting. "I am Trossach Graystone, once of the Balliquois Tribe. I am here to hunt whatever darkness stalks these lands and welcome your fiendship."

Posted on 2010-11-23 at 17:18:57.

Topic: Crimson Crusaders QnA
Subject: One potential issue

The barbarian would not have a problem with a rain dance, but . . .

Hammer - does Trossach already have the spear - the gift from his god? He only gets it through three rains, correct? Does this rain dance actually produce rain? If so, might there be another way to heal the wound - the cleric, perhaps? Otherwise we risk "using up" part of the time on a very useful weapon.

Posted on 2010-11-19 at 02:13:13.

Topic: Crimson Crusaders QnA
Subject: Trossach on Burials

I guess the first question Trossach would have is - how much further to Botkinburg?

If it isn't much further he would wish the Crusaders to get a real burial - and to have those in the town know what happened to them. But if it is more than a day ahead, the stench would likely make a river burial best.

As for loot - the Barbairan would not consider anything the dead were carrying to be his. He didn't know them, wasn't family and didn't kill them. He has no claim on their goods. Nor does he want it. To claim these goods would in his mind be unworthy. Instead, he feels that their goods - weapons, armor, etc... should be stored. A town like Botkinburg would almost certainly have a use for weapons and armor. The same goes for the arrows and bolts- if they are reusable, then save them to be reused.

Of course, if there is anything that might be of use in keeping them alive on the way to Botkinburg, then certainly it could be put to use.

Posted on 2010-11-18 at 14:02:28.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: Of Gnomes, Wolverines and Arrows

Trossach looked around the ship as he boarded. It was a mixed crew. Not big, but would do.

He found a comfortable place against the rail to watch the city and the other potential crusaders. It was always good to know who would be at your back. He surveyed the ship that would carry them northward. He didn’t like it - not at all. It wasn’t the ship, but the gnomes. In some way he didn’t completely understand, they were magiced. Enthralled is how the knight had described it, but whatever name you wish to put to it, it seemed very clear that they were not masters of their own destiny.

Trossach was not a fan of slavery. It looked like slavery to him. He didn’t like it. Was a slaver civilization worth saving? The lesser of two evils . . . what a thing to risk your life for.

So Trossach spent most of the voyage sitting with his back against the railing. He contemplated the woods around them, the state of the gnome sailors, and the nature of his companions. Some impressed him. Some did not. He understood amorous desires, even as a half-orc was unlikely to ever truly experience much in that way himself, but they seemed misplaced. And if the couples thought that this was their “last chance,” well, with an attitude like that it probably would be. The Bard’s music was nice, even if the audience was amusing.

The giant man and the Halfling brought a small smile to Trossach’s lips. The big man was a fool. No doubt he was strong and anyone that got hit by him was likely to stay hit for a long time. But needing to brag of one’s strength was a sign of weakness, a lack of confidence. Oddly, he found himself liking the little Halfling. He had rarely encountered Halflings before, so he had little personal experience to draw on, but the big man seemed to be making some foolish assumptions. He had seen the one called Drogo walk the ship over the last several days, and while he not drawn a blade, he clearly moved with the grace of one used to weapons.

The big man, on the other hand, seemed to assume that his small stature meant that little Drogo was not dangerous. Trossach smiled at that thought. Little Drogo sat there quietly and ignored the big man. To Trossach that did not look like the actions of someone who was not dangerous. A coward or a weakling would cower in the face of a mountainous bully. But the Halfling hardly appeared to be paying any attention – an appearance Trossach doubted was in fact the case. He had seen little beasts take on big ones before. There was a bit of the wolverine in the Halfing, he guessed. And he had seen wolverines take on bears many times their size. No, if the taunting came to blows, he would not have placed his money on the big man. But even as he grimaced at the actions of the big fool, the image of the Halfling as a wolverine made him smile.

Trossach’s thoughts were cut short by the sudden flight of arrows. From one second to another, the big man suddenly held more arrows than most quivers - and not in the best way possible. He tumbled over onto the Halfling. Arrows flew all over the ship.

Trossach kept his head down behind the side of the ship, grabbed his bow and quickly strung it. 3 seconds later he peered cautiously over the side trying to figure out whom or what had attacked them. There was nothing in sight.

With nothing to target, he kept his head down and scanned the sides. There was no sense in providing a target that he could not retaliate against. From his spot by the side of the railing he surveyed the damage – it was extensive. Many of the Crimson Crusaders lay dead on the deck. A couple more were injured. Only a few were, like him, uninjured. Even the little Halfling lay pinned beneath his giant tormentor.

After the ship had rounded a bend in the river, Trossach quickly rose and, keeping his head down, moved to the various fallen to see if any were still alive. Because he had seen no arrows hit him, his first move was to the side of the half-buried Halfling. Trossach lifted the man off, allowing the Halfling to squirm out from underneath.

‘Even buried in a burrow like a wolverine or badger’ he thought. “Come little Wolverine, let us attend to the wounded.” He hardly realized he had spoken the name aloud.

With the Halfling free, Trossach moved to examine the wounded. Only one was still alive. Trossach would have attended to her wounds, but there were others more suited to such tasks than he. So instead he examined the other bodies to confirm the fatalities while keeping a close eye on the surrounding woods.

The curse came to mind of course, but he immediately dismissed it – the crusaders had been killed by arrows, not curses. There was a real enemy out there in the woods. A real, physical enemy that could shoot arrows – and presumably, could be shot in the same way. But Trossach was ready to get off of the river, he felt far too exposed in the craft.

Posted on 2010-11-18 at 13:55:29.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: A disguise

"I am no expert in disguise, but I have had to conceal my identity plenty of time in the past. But I don't know this city well, and as such am open ot any suggestions you might have."

"What types of groups travel out of the city here? Is there a way for us to appear like a merhcants group or such? Should we remain as one large group, or several smaller ones? "

"I could wear my armor and act as a guard. Or perhaps we should switch roles since in all likelihood they will be looking for a cleric that matches my appearance. Carrying a blade tends to remove a lot of the clericish image."

Posted on 2010-11-17 at 14:58:26.

Topic: Crimson Crusaders QnA
Subject: Barbarians . . .

Trossach Graystone is tempted by wisdon, but chooses the more warrior like dexterity.

Posted on 2010-11-15 at 17:25:05.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: Supplies and heresy all in one . . .

"A heretic, eh? In a world with multiple gods, I have always wondered what the word heresy actually meant. Unless, perhaps, instead of creating a new faith, you have a variation of the old? Regardless, it matters little to me."

"But food does. Amazingly, I have all of my other supplies, but not much food. I would be grateful for 10 days to two weeks worth of rations."

"And once you return, we shall prepare to leave at the appointed time. Is there a plan for how to get a group of fugitives to the named gate?"

"For now, I wish some food and clean water."

Posted on 2010-11-14 at 19:29:53.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: From Methric to the Ruby Ship

Trossach Graystone quickly set out to join the Crusade. It was not a short journey from Methirc to Aesperdi, so he decided to find work on the way.

The sea offered one route, but Trossach had always preferred to keep his feet on the ground. He’d been in plenty of small boats on rivers, streams and lakes, and gone swimming many times. But he wasn’t fond of the impenetrable nature of the waves. Or the way that iron sank. Had time been short he would have taken ship, but as there was time, he sought out a caravan taking the overland route to Ascalon. From there he assumed he would have no trouble reaching Aesperdi.

The trip was uneventful. Almost surprisingly so. While the Southern lands were far safer than his homeland further North, it was hardly tame. But for whatever reason, it was an easy and fast trip. Trossach quickly found himself in Ascalon. There was a small group of potential crusaders staying at the same tavern in the big city as Trossach, which was headed towards the crusader ships. Although a couple of them were clearly uneasy about his lineage, he joined the group for the final leg of the journey. A few may have looked askance at him at times, but none dared openly confront the half-orc barbarian. Irritated, Trossach could only believe them fools as they left themselves exposed at night to avoid staying near the half-orc.

When he had reached the ships, the other crusaders rushed ahead and signed on to the Gold Dragon ship. When Trossach approached the stall, two of the other crusaders who had scowled at him laughed and jeered, “The Ruby Ship for you half-orc! See if a curse affects your ilk!”

Trossach Graystone simply ignored the fools. Yet they were correct, the other ships were all full. All that remained was the cursed ruby dragon. Trossach did not consider himself superstitious, but nor was he a fool. While most curses were simply scared people looking for something where nothing existed, he knew that in a world of magic, curses could be real. He would have preferred the Emerald Dragon.

Still, amongst the Balliquois, curses were believed to be all in a person’s mind. Any curse, even if mere words, could take effect in a weak mind. Trossach did not consider his mind to be weak. He would die if HE failed in battle, not because of the success or failure of previous shiploads. And as he glanced at the sparsely populated deck of the ruby ship, he liked what he saw. While there were not many there, they would be strong minded individuals, not the type to be frightened off by rumors of curses. Those were the type of people he would want at his side in dangerous situations - Not those fools who had signed on to the Golden Ship.

Trossach looked down at the knight signing people up. “Trossach Graystone, Half-human. I would be proud to ride the Crimson Ship.”

Posted on 2010-11-14 at 19:14:13.

Topic: The Crimson Crusaders
Subject: A Barbarian goes Crusading

The Story of Trossach Graystone, 1/2orc Barbarian of the Tribe Balliquois

For a half-orc, the story always begins with his parentage. It defines who they are and what they can do throughout their life. For Trossach Graystone, this was certainly true throughout his early years.

Trossach’s mother was a member of the Balliquois Tribe, a nomadic population that moved between the Aratoch Mountains and the Usedom Steppes as the seasons changed. When she was a young woman the tribe was summering on the slopes of the Mountains as usual. Young Tressa was hunting with some of the others of the tribe when a group of orcs that had moved South into the area attacked the hunting party. While several in the group were killed, Tressa was captured. The Tribe responded very quickly and a large group stormed the orc encampment and recued Tressa and another hunter. While the Orcs were destroyed and Tressa saved, for Trossach the story was just beginning, for Tressa had been ravaged by the orcs and was now pregnant with a half-orc.

The Tribe accepted the young child as one of their own, with the tribal elders declaring it to be an act of the gods. Still, despite the wisdom of the elders and the love of his mother, life was difficult for the young half-breed. The young men in the tribe were not as understanding as their leaders. When surrounded by his peers the young half-orc was constantly persecuted, for while many half-orcs show their parentage more clearly than did Trossach, still his orc side was visible to anyone who took the time to notice. The young “man” had grayish skin and piercing black eyes. He was also big boned with heavy jaws and shoulders. At 6’5”he was easily the largest individual in the Tribe, and his physical prowess no doubt intimidated the others.

In Trossach’s Tribe, a young man came of age in their eighteenth year. All of the young men of the season went on a hunt with nothing but their bare hands. They must survive in the woods for a week – and return to the tribe with their kill. During Trossach’s year one of the young men never returned. The others all returned, including Balquhidder Stonebear, the son of the tribes chieftan, who proudly returned with two deer to feed the tribe. Young Balquhidder spent the day of his return bragging about his exploits; sure that he had proven himself the best of the young hunters. He made sure to refer to the “orc who could not hunt.”

Trossach Graystone was the last of the hunters to return. As Balquhidder bragged of his accomplishments and ridiculed the half-orc around a large fire that evening, Trossach emerged from the darkness. He had gone to the peaks of the Aratoch Mountains, for the young half-orc had always loved the highlands. There he had claimed three of the wild rams that roam that land and returned with them to his tribe. On his way back he encountered a herd of deer and brought one down. Nobody had ever returned from the age hunt with 4 large game kills before.

Even as Balquhidder ridiculed him, Trossach became the hero of the day. The rest of that night was a huge feast and for the first time Trossach found himself the center of his tribes praise. But for all of the glory of the evening, there were those who hated the young half-orc for stealing the spotlight. Balquhidder had been sure that the night would be his, and grew to hate Trossach for stealing his glory.

A few days later after the celebration for the young men had ended, life returned to normal, which for the hunters in the tribe meant going into the surrounding lands to find game. The newly adult young men headed off to the North to hunt near several streams that ran down the Mountains near there. But what started as a peaceful day did not remain so. From the moment the young men left camp, Balquhidder taunted Trossach, who he believed had stolen his celebration. Such taunting was nothing new, these two had long been the leaders of the young men of the tribe, being easily the strongest warriors and hunters of the bunch. Two leaders naturally produce a rivalry, but today it was particularly vicious.

In the past Trossach had tried to ignore the taunts. He knew he was a half-orc. He knew what the word “orc” meant to people. It meant the same to him – those orcs had ravaged his mother! That he was the result of that night did not change the basic truth. But he also knew he was not an orc. He did not wish to be judged as an orc. He was not evil, and would not let that side of his heritage win – he was his mother’s son! He was not a slave to anger and terror – as a mere Orc would be. No, for Trossach, remaining in control and not being an “orc” was a deep felt part of his very being. He had always felt he was an outsider amongst his own people – there was little chance of anything else. Yet, he hoped to show that there was more to him than orcish blood. So, with a few exceptions when he was young, he generally ignored the taunts.

But this day his rival dug deep. The group had no sooner left the camp when he started suggesting that the orcs in the hills must have helped, “their boy!” The longer they walked the more he referred to Trossach as an orc. And then a Troll. A Troll who loved his orc friends. A Troll who was better suited to life alone in the woods with the sheep – did he enjoy catching those Mountain sheep?!! But he went too far. The longer they walked the more he increased his venom. When they reached the stream Mythrun, Ballquhidder dared to suggest that Trossach had better enjoy the sheep – for sheep and orc women were all he would ever enjoy. “Enjoy like your mother must have enjoyed that orc!”

Everyone in the group stopped at that comment as they knew the chief’s son had just crossed a line. Trossach’s mother had been dragged into the night. She had been the one person who stayed by his side throughout every problem a young half-breed might endure. Almost the only real fights the young Trossach had ever been in had been when someone insulted his mother. Everyone stopped and watched.

Barely whispering, Trossach turned on his rival. “You will take that back. Now. And apologize. Now.”

Ballquhidder’s eyes grew big. He was as aware as everyone else that he had gone too far. But he was proud. He could not back down with all of the young men around them. How could a chief’s son back down to a half-breed? So he didn’t. “Apolgize? He sneered, “perhaps when you apologize to those poor sheep!”

Trossach didn’t bother to respond. He dropped his bow to the ground and, grasping his spear, moved forward towards his rival.

Balquhidder stepped backwards. “Are you crazy?! The elders . . . “ But he didn’t finish, he grabbed a dagger from his waist and threw it at the half-orc. Such a tactic was clearly cheating according to all the rules of honorable fighting amongst the Balliquois, but he was terrified.

Trossach saw the move and swiped the dagger aside in midflight with his spear. There was a collective gasp amongst the onlookers, for the cowardly act they had witnessed and the fight that was just to begin. “A foolish move, Balquhidder. And cowardly. Yet, you say that I am an embarrassment to the tribe? Hah!”

And with that loud cry he sprung at his rival. Balquhidder was a good warrior. In fact, he was clearly the second best amongst all of the young men in the region. But he had picked a fight with the best. From the beginning it did not go well for the boastful chief’s son. Trossach battered him back and forth with the shaft of his spear. The Half-Orc gave him a half dozen small wounds, taunting him, as all those watching knew that he could have driven home any of those blows. Finally, his foe staggered, dropping to one knee and yelled, “Half-breed! You will never lead this Tribe! Son of a Troll!”

Trossach drove him down to the ground, stood over him and raised his spear, poised to deliver the death blow his foe had earned. And stopped. With his rival cowering at his feet, he first paused and then stepped away, never turning his back on the helpless man.

“I will not kill him. The enemy of the Balliquois people is out there, in the hills. We should not fight ourselves. Help him to his feet. Three of you will need to help him back to camp, although you may let him crawl if you wish. The rest of us shall return to camp. The elders must know of this. We go now.”

Upon his return, Trossach told his story to the elders of the Tribe, including his rival’s father. All of the other men supported him. The elders accepted the story. Trossach was not punished for his actions, although the arrogant Balquhidder was. However, things in the tribe were never the same, and they hadn’t been good to start with. The half-orc had nearly slain a member of the tribe. Behind his back there were constant murmurs that he was “too dangerous.” He wasn’t “one of them.”

Both of the two combatants seemed to be increasingly unpopular within the tribe. Ballquhidder for his viciousness and cowardice, Trossach for being a bit too strong and a bit unhuman. It pained him every day. He had done the right thing. He had defended his mother, how could they argue with that? He had not even killed the fool! Yet, he was clearly not welcome.

After several months, it became clear to Trossach that he would never be welcome in his own tribe. Bitter, he left, agonizing over leaving his mother behind, even though she encouraged the young man. He moved towards the more civilized lands further South. He knew he was a good warrior and assumed, accurately, that such skills would always be in demand, for what said civilization more than “warrior?” He knew his heritage would be obvious to those around him. He was tall and massive as many half-orcs were. He skin was grayish, offset by coal black hair. It was part of what had earned him the name of “Graystone.” He had always been drawn to the heights and his natural coloring allowed him to blend into this favorite environment. He had deep set, black, eyes. Some found them quite disturbing when he turned his stare on them. His was not the look of a pure human and he knew it. He just hoped that perhaps in the larger masses of the cities he could find anonymity and acceptance.

While he did not find all that he hoped for in the cities to the South, he did find plenty of work in Methric. A warrior of his stature and skill was always welcome. At first he found the most profitable work to be guarding caravans as they travelled the Southern reaches of the Aratock Mountains or out into the Steppes North East of the city, but that work was extremely tame. He knew there were orcs in the mountains and signed on with a nobleman who guarded the western reaches of Methric on the slopes of the mountains. There he sought to prove that he was not an orc by fighting orcs. It was vengeance for his mother, and satisfying as a demonstration of who he was and what he was not. Somehow, he felt that he needed to prove something to the world.

In the nobles service he became fairly well known in the region as an orc-hunter. It was in the service of this man that he returned to Methric as a guard for the man’s daughter on a business trip. Along the way, they were set upon by a group of bandits. Clearly the bandits had not expected such stout resistance as they were quickly driven off. As they fled, Trossach stood over the leader of the group, prepared to dispatch him with his blade, when he recognized him. His old tribal foe, Balquhidder, had also fled the glares and whispers of the tribe, but instead of honorable work had taken up with the bandits.

Trossach Graystone was momentarily stunned to find him there. Despite their past, he did not wish to kill a member of his home tribe. And so he did not. He yanked the man to his feet, yelled several loud profanities, and ordered him to run for his life into a more honorable profession that would not shame the entire clan. And he ran.

But the noblewoman was not pleased. All she had seen was her captain raise up a bandit and yell at him in a language she did not speak. Although it was clearly not friendly and the man fled in panic, she was left wondering who her orcish captain was. After that their relationship was strained until they arrived in Methric.

No doubt the relationship could have been salvaged, for Trossach Graystone had done much good work for the family and both sides thought highly of the other. But while still angry over having been falsely accused of assisting the bandits, Trossach saw the poster calling for a Crusade. It seemed to him a perfect fit.

He wanted a Crusade. He sought one desperately – a way to prove that he, Trossach Graystone, was more than half-orc. He was also half-human, and that was the more important side. He was a talented warrior and he knew it. Here, in the form of a Crusade, was his opportunity to show who and what he truly was. And the chance for glory, gold and honor did not hurt either. But what he truly sought was redemption from his heritage and how everyone else sought to judge him.

And so he became a Crusader. The young noblewoman was not happy about losing her captain, for she knew her father would be angry about the loss. But Trossach would not be turned aside from his new path.

Trossach Graystone would answer the Call to Crusade.

Posted on 2010-11-10 at 21:53:29.

Topic: Crimson Crusaders QnA
Subject: Got map, will travel

Got the map.

Working on the story. As usual with my intros, it is starting to get long . . . . may have to tweak it a bit. But at least it appears that half-orcs can be interesting well-rounded characters!

Posted on 2010-11-09 at 14:14:09.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: Pawns with few options

After Kyara had walked away and spoken to Arion, Heironymus spoke up again. "We all grieve for Ele. It pains me to have left her behind. But as I saw no choice at that time, I don't think I do now, either. Kyara, we do not exactly owe anyone anything, except perhaps Gronz here, but what are you suggesting? Do you have a plan to rescue Ele? I doubt it can be done by us here."

"As for bein a pawn . . . sometimes it feels good to vent. I hate being manipulated. But a skilled manipulator will leave you with no options and I am afraid that our providential hand is quite skilled. We needed to escape the prison and he offered us a way. We must escape the city, and he offers us a way. Once outside we will have more options, but will likely seek more information. And, again, a way has been offered."

"I don't like it, but I suspect we will be best off if we head to this home in the woods."

Posted on 2010-11-09 at 14:10:57.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: Rest for the weary

"That's it, huh? Well, I had hoped for more information. But it seems we have all been led here by seperate roads; yet all roads in shadow. I wonder why our old boss, well the old boss of a couple of us anyway, would have been paid off to change his story? We're nobody. Who is trying to make us out to be more than we are?"

Turning to Gronz he adds, "Here is your dagger sir. Regardless of who sent you and for what reason, I am pleased to be out of that cell, and thank you for it. My name is Heironymus Nattvakt, cleric. It seems we are likely to continue to share each others company."

Turning back to the group he adds, "Rest time it is. The adventures continues tomorrow. Unless someone else has information to add?"

Posted on 2010-11-08 at 13:44:24.

Topic: Realms of Twilight - A Journey Begins
Subject: I hate being a pawn!

"I hate being somebodies pawn!"

Heironymus didn't yell it, he was too aware of their status as fugitives to do that, but his irritation came through.

"Ever since I showed up in the hellish place I have been dragged from one problem to another - and none of the problems rightly belonged to me! Now I am to follow some mysterious figure who tells meto go West into the woods to do whatever is being done for whoever is going to show up whenever they might showup!"

"Ok, likely we have no real choice. Am I right that this is probably the guy who got us out of prison? Well, I owe him that at least. But before we head off into the wilderness on some errand that will likelyland us in someone elses htowater again, I'd like to know as much as possible. Speak up people, what do you know? Who was that message for? Everyone in the room or just the jailbirds? Don't keep secrets at this point."

Posted on 2010-11-07 at 00:11:15.


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