|#1Brom_BlackforgeApr 30, 2004 14:21:04||You're probably wondering what this is about. I had this idea, and maybe it's a bad idea, but I thought it would be fun to give it a try. So here it is: I'm proposing that we write a story together here on the Greyhawk board. Now, I know that shared stories are tricky - too many cooks, and all that. So, I'm going to ask that we try to maintain some consistency in the storytelling. Also, it may be hard to write something when we're starting with no clear end in mind. However, in his book On Writing, Stephen King says that he doesn't have an outline in his head when he starts writing, just a situation, and he sees where that situation goes as it develops; it obviously works for him, so maybe it will work for us, too.|
This isn't meant to be in-character, so feel free to comment. One convention that I'll ask be observed, though: if you want to comment on the story, or on how stupid this thread is, please do so in italics - or somehow differentiate it from the story. If you don't we can probably figure it out anyway, but I thought this would help.
Feel free to add characters or move everyone around as you see fit, but I'll suggest that the story should remain centered on our title character, Wil.
Here we go.
Wil Mitford dropped into the chair, eager to rest his sore feet. He had not realized that it was such a long walk from his father's farm to Greyhawk, nor that the city itself was so big. He doubted he had ever walked so much at once in his young life. He winced at a twinge in his shoulder that flared as he sat, and ruefully acknowledged to himself that sleeping on the ground last night did not help matters.
Around him, the other patrons of the Green Dragon Inn chattered and drank. A serving wench approached and he uncertainly asked for an ale. She nodded and, with a swirl of her skirt, strode to the bar.
Wil brushed his shaggy reddish-blonde hair out of his eyes, then rested his hand back on the well-worn scabbard that lay across his lap. He knew the quality of the sword was questionable, but it was the best he could afford - at least for now. When he had become a successful adventurer, he could afford a better one. But even this one was better than the tools he had used on his father's farm.
He remembered his father's anger at his decision to leave the farm to pursue what his father called "a dangerous and frivolous dream." But Wil was as stubborn as his father, and would not be swayed.
Now he just hoped he could find a way to make money before what he had ran out.
|#2ArgonApr 30, 2004 21:38:04||A small child like figure with the eyes of a man and the features of an innocent child approached the table where Wil sat. Sir, umm Master sir could I bother you for some assistance please, the small figure replied. |
Wil twisted his head swiftly to the left and right winching at the pain in his sore shoulder as he turned his head in anticipation of meeting a man important enough to be call Sir or even Master. You could see Wil's cheeks glow a rosey red when he realize this small creature was referring to him. I am no sir or master little one but why don't you tell me what bother's you so.
Yes, master I will tell you what troubles me. But before the small creature could continue Wil halted the dimunitive fellow from uttering another word. Please my little friend I am Wil and I can't claim to be anyone's master.
Ok master, umm master, umm master Wil. I was needing some assistance with talking to other big folk just like you. But many big folk don't rather much respcet me is all. So I was wondering if you would help me out with speaking to big folk sir. Wil could not of felt larger he was already receiveing some form of respect maybe this adventurering thing wasn't such a bad idea.
The serving wench brought over a frothed stein of ale but before the wench could set it down upon Wil's table the creature was taking hold of the large stein and handing it to Wil personally. Here's your drink Master Wil. While Wil's head grew to the size of a full pig bladder, he tried to gain a cool composure. Well little man you treat me with the proper respect so tell me exactly what it is you need and what is in it for me?
|#3Brom_BlackforgeMay 03, 2004 8:25:23||Thanks for playing along, Argon. I feel like I'm missing something, though. What's the child-like being? This seems like something more than just some halfling, but I'm not following your clues. Another hint?|
|#4Brom_BlackforgeMay 03, 2004 9:38:12||It just hit me who the small being reminds me of - it's not Dobby, I hope.|
|#5Brom_BlackforgeMay 03, 2004 15:37:27||Even as Wil stared at the small creature, waiting for it to tell him what his help was worth, Wil slowly realized that the volume of the noise in the place had suddenly risen. Too late, he realized that the rowdiness in the Green Dragon had just developed into a brawl. He looked up and could only stare as a sprawling warrior flew toward him, limbs flailing. Beyond, he caught just a glimpse of the other man's fist finishing its arcing follow-through.|
Wil braced for the impact, sure he was about to be leveled by the falling warrior. Just then, he felt a jerk on his tunic. He watched the warrior slam, unconscious, into the chair that he had been sitting in only a moment ago.
"Master Wil was in danger," the small creature said simply.
|#6ArgonMay 03, 2004 23:56:41||Brom the creature what ever you want him to be. I was eluding towards him being a halfing but go with whatever you feel on this character! |
By the way this goes for anyone who wishes to continue the story.
|#7Brom_BlackforgeMay 04, 2004 8:11:57||Okay, thanks for clarifying, Argon. The description "eyes of a man and the features of an innocent child" made me suspect the creature was more than just a halfling. I guess I just have a suspicious mind.|
|#8zombiegleemaxMay 04, 2004 15:16:46||I think I'll take a crack at this! :D|
Wil look down and was startled to see the stein of ale resting in his clenched fist. He managed to rescue the precious brew without spilling a single drop. "Not bad," he murmured to himself. He took a long pull from the stein, then handed it to his new friend. "Hang on to that for me would you?"
The small man took the mug, and looked doubtfully up at Wil, "What are you going to do, Mas...er Wil?"
"It looks like this is just what I came here to find," the young man replied. "Be right back!" Wil cracked his knuckles and waded in to the thickest part of the brawl....
|#9Brom_BlackforgeMay 05, 2004 9:06:35||Wil ducked a punch and launched his own fist back. He felt a satisfying crunch as he connected with the other man's nose. The other man stumbled back, blood flowing down his face.|
Wil grinned, a wild glint in his eyes. This was more like it! This was what his father didn't understand. Wil never felt more alive than when he was fighting.
|#10zombiegleemaxMay 06, 2004 19:32:33||With the exuberence of youth, Wil cried out, "I am invincib-" but his cry was suddenly cut short by a well placed upper cut to the chin. Wil's lower jaw clicked shut, and he staggered back for a moment, trying to keep his balance. The floor, no longer stable from Wil's point of view, seemed to heave and buck, throwing the young warrior to the ground. The wooden floorboards rushed up at his head, and Wil knew no more.|
|#11Brom_BlackforgeMay 07, 2004 10:46:40||Wil became dimly aware of the voices first. A relatively few men were speaking, mostly too quiet or too far away to hear clearly, and they spoke with tones of authority. Then Wil felt a booted toe nudge his ribcage. He groaned.|
“This one’s alive after all,” he heard a nearby voice report.
Wil opened his eyes, blinking them slowly into focus. He saw a man standing over him, wearing the insignia of the city watch. His head throbbing, Wil sat up and looked around.
Several members of the watch were spread around the Green Dragon Inn. Two of them had a grip on the man that Wil had seen throw the first punch. Another knelt next to a small form sprawled on the floor not far from Wil. That man looked up at the one standing beside Wil and said, “This one’s not.”
The man beside Wil shook his head. “Sometimes these brawls turn ugly,” he said, more to himself than to Wil. Then he turned back to Wil and said, “According to our witnesses, you weren’t one of the instigators, so you’re free to go. Just keep your nose clean while you’re here.”
Wil nodded. As the man turned and strode away, Wil’s eyes fell on the small, still form sprawled nearby. With a shock, he realized it was the small creature that had been asking for his help.
As Wil watched, the two watchmen began speaking to each other. “Find anything on this halfling?” asked the one who had spoken to Wil.
“He was carrying this knife and these thieves’ tools,” answered the other, holding up the items he mentioned. “He also had a sap, a garrote, and a vial of something – might be poison,” he continued, gesturing toward some items laid on the floor beside the dead halfling.
Wil stared. “Gods above . . . . This creature asked for my help,” he breathed.
Both watchmen suddenly turned their eyes on Wil again. “What did you say?” asked the nearer of the two.
Seeing their suspicious looks, Wil realized that he had just linked himself to a dead thief in the minds of the city watch. Speaking quickly, his words spilling over each other in his haste to explain, Wil told how the halfling had approached him, speaking respectfully and asking for his assistance.
“Must have made you out to be an easy mark,” the first watchman said. “You’ll have to be more careful if you’re going to remain in this city.”
“Look here,” said the other watchman, still kneeling by the dead halfling. “He had a key in his pocket.”
The first watchman leaned close. “Looks like a room key, probably an inn.”
“If it is, then we can match it to a room. Might even be nearby,” said the other.
“Nah, my money’s on someplace in the Thieves’ Quarter. Maybe the Gold Digger – lots of halflings frequent that place,” replied the first.
|#12Brom_BlackforgeMay 13, 2004 8:35:31||Still sitting on the floor, Wil cast a lingering glance at the thieves' tools, garrote, sap and poison and immediately decided that the Thieves' Quarter seemed the likeliest place to find information about this dead halfling. He opened his mouth to ask how to get to the Thieves' Quarter, then quickly shut it. Better to ask someone other than the city watch, he decided.|
At that moment, the man who had started the brawl began struggling against the watchmen who held him. He jerked free.
"He's loose!" one of the other watchmen shouted.
The brawler started throwing punches at anyone he could reach, sending one of his guards crashing to the floor. The rest of the watchmen converged on him, some brandishing clubs.
As the two watchmen nearest the dead halfling rushed toward the fresh brawl, Wil's eyes fell on the halfing's key. It lay on the floor beside the body. As he stood up, Wil leaned toward the body and scooped up the key. He quickly tucked it into his belt and headed toward the door leading out to the street.
|#13zombiegleemaxMay 15, 2004 11:38:17||The night breeze felt good on Wil's face as he left the inn. As he made his way through the still crowded street, he let his hands graze over the key in his pocket. He was about to ask a honest-looking passerby for directions when a meaty pair of hands pulled him into a dark alley.|
Wil struggled against his attacker, but the arms holding him were like granite and kept him pinned. As Wil tried to get free his eyes adjusted to the darkness, and he could see that his assailent was much taller than any person he had ever seen. He also became aware that there was a another, smaller man behind the brute. He was dressed in black leather, trimmed with a sickly looking green lace. Wil noticed that his eyes were two different colors; the right was hazel, the left shifted between brown and red as the shadows danced on his gaunt face.
The small man began to speak in a guiet, raspy whisper...
|#14cebrionMay 18, 2004 4:48:11||Sorry about the link business, but see the next portion of the story here:|
|#15zombiegleemaxMay 18, 2004 9:20:10||reading, but not particpationg, fyi (cool idea, Brom)|
|#16Brom_BlackforgeMay 25, 2004 11:20:59||As he waited for an answer, Wil tried to look calm, even though his heart felt like it would beat its way out of his chest at any moment. He still felt the heavy hand of the creature Gren on his shoulder, but thought that the grip seemed to have loosened a bit. The thought ran through his mind that he might be able to break free and get out of the alley.|
Then he heard a shout from the road. "Try that way! He can't have gotten far!" He recognized the voice as belonging to one of the watchmen he had spoken with in the Green Dragon Inn.
Wil's mind reeled. They must have noticed that the key was missing, and now they were looking for him. It seemed that his choice was to remain here or take his chances with the watch....
|#17Brom_BlackforgeMay 28, 2004 13:21:02||As Wil weighed his chances of escape, the smaller man with the leather and sickly-looking green lace began to speak again.|
"You were speaking to a halfling inside the inn," the man said.
It was not a question, but Wil answered anyway. "Yes..."
"Poor little bastard, now dead by an unknown hand." At this, the man chuckled. "He was carrying something that is of interest to me. I believe you may be able to help me with that..."
|#18zenpotatoMay 29, 2004 13:03:39||"Interest?" Wil managed to stammer out, "To you?"|
"Indeed," the small man said, as a slight breeze made the green lace flicker about.
"Uh... well, um... how exactly could I help you?"
"Oh, I think we both know how. I saw you grab something before you left, and I think that something is mine. Give me the vial," the small man said, with a threatening gleam in his multi-hued eyes. "I paid the halfling handsomely, and that vial belongs to me."
This was not how Wil imagined spending his first night in Greyhawk. He had imagined meeting up with dwarven warriors, or a holy knight on a quest, or some ancient wizard seeking out Wil's sword to do what even the mightiest magics could do not. Instead, he was on the run from the city watch, being shaken down in an alleyway by a lunatic who hired thieves and had a huge scarred manservant. Maybe Wil's father was quite a bit smarter than he had given him credit for.
Realizing the dilemna he was in, Wil decided that perhaps the truth would get him out of this situation. "The vial? I didn't take the vial. I took a key. I left the vial on the floor. The guards said it was poison, and I didn't want it. I was curious about the key."
Will shuddered as the small man's demeanor changed. He no longer had that slimy grin of someone working a mark. He had the cold face of a killer. And that wasn't what Wil was hoping to see.
"Ah, so you are worthless afterall. No matter. You shall meet the same fate the halfling was destined for, even had he survived that tavern brawl. You should have grabbed the vial, boy. At least then your death would have been quick."
With those words, all thought of escape left Wil. He was doomed. Gren's griptightened on his shoulder. Wil reached for his sword, barely finding the hilt in his haste. He started to pull the weapon loose, not caring that it would be of no use with the brute so close. Gren quickly moved to stop him though, stopping the hideous man from drawing his own dagger.
Wil life was spared for another moment. The small man reached down to hi sown belt, pulling out a dagger, as he advanced slowly on Wil.
"Hold him still Gren. Our Lord Nerull gains another soul tonight." And then the small man lunged.
With those words, Wil slumped. His knees buckled, and with Gren only gripping his shoulders, he nearly fell. Wil's own spinning head and weak knees had saved his life, for the small man's dagger missed his throat and instead punctured only air. Wil fell to the ground as Gren released his hold and drew another dagger.
From the entrance of the alleyway, there was a cry, as the city watch had finally found there man. "There he is, the brute in the alleyway!" the guard cried. "They're armed! Open fire!"
Crossbows clicked, and bolts erupted in the chest of Gren. A dull roar erupted from his throat, for he had no tongue with which to truly scream. The small man, unharmed, dashed for the other end of the alley and the shadows it contained. Several watchmen rushed after him.
Wil slowly got to his feet, not quite sure how he was still alive. He looked down at the scarred body of the thing known as Gren. In the light of a torch the watchmen carried, it was clear that it had once been a half-orc. What had happened to its face could only be guessed at, but the cry to Nerull left uneasy clues.
The city watch looked uneasily at Wil, unsure of his place in this. Wil's mind raced. Were they after them all this time? Perhaps they hadn't noticed the missing key. Or was that just wishful thinking? How could he explain his presence in the alleyway with a Nerull cultist?
|#19Brom_BlackforgeJun 03, 2004 13:06:32||Wil broke the uneasy silence first, expressing his genuine gratitude. "Thank you! I thought that creature and his master were going to kill me!"|
The watchmen still seemed unsure, and Wil noticed a couple of them reloading their crossbows. He reasoned that he was better off with the truth than any story, and decided to tell it to them - or at least most of it.
He told how he had been in the Green Dragon and been knocked unconscious in a brawl, and when he left after he awoke, he was pulled into the alley by the slain creature and the man who had fled. He deemed it best to leave out his theft of the key, and on a whim, decided not to specifically mention the vial, either. He closed with, "Apparently this creature's master had some business with the halfling that lies dead in the Green Dragon, but what exactly it was, I don't know." That, he thought, was at least mostly true.
The watchman at the head of the group looked Wil over, then nodded. "All right," he said, "but I'll need you to come back to the Green Dragon to talk with my supervisor."
Wil nodded his assent.
|#20Brom_BlackforgeJun 03, 2004 13:09:35||By the way, if anyone wants a quick reference to locations in Greyhawk, so you can see where Wil is, or decide where he needs to go, check out this map on Maldin's Greyhawk site.|
|#21OleOneEyeJun 04, 2004 0:46:57||Back at the Green Dragon, Wil stared in awe at the watch captain. Never in his life had he seen such beauty and riches. Pale blonde hair pulled back into a tight bun. The finest of Baklune silk flowed about her radiant figure. Gold rings adorned each finger. The thin rapier strapped to her side boasted a ruby pommell. This was no ordinary member of the Watch.|
"I will suffer your insolence no longer, you will answer me," she snarled; once again questioning Wil's presence with a dread follower of the Reaper.
Finally, he found the courage to squeak a response, "Honestly, I do not know who he was. He tried to kill me!"
With a motion that Wil's eyes were not quick enough to follow, she procured a vial from the folds of her clothing. "Perhaps this will loosen your tongue."
|#22Brom_BlackforgeJun 10, 2004 13:38:28||As Wil's eyes fell on the vial, he recognized it as the one that had been found on the dead halfling. Or at least it looked like it to him. When the watch captain spoke again, Wil lost all doubt.|
"This is familiar to you, isn't it?" she said. "Tell me what you want with it."
Until that moment, Wil had been awed and fearful, but at that accusation, Wil's indignant anger finally won out. "Now wait just a minute," he shouted, stabbing his index finger in the captain's direction. He started to take a step toward her, and was abruptly restrained by two other watchmen. He tried to shake them off, but they only gripped him tighter. Undeterred, he continued yelling.
"Listen, since I got here, I've been knocked unconscious in a bar fight and abducted by killers hiding in an alley. 'Gem of the Flanaess,' my arse!"
The watchmen looked uncertainly at their captain, preparing to force this unruly bumpkin into submission. She stared impassively, however, as Wil continued his rant.
"I already told you that the dead halfling approached me asking for assistance with 'other big folk.' I guess he figured I was an easy mark, like one of your men told me. Then this cultist and his creature attacked me in the alley because they saw me talking to the halfling. I haven't done anything!"
The captain's ruby lips slowly broke into a smile. "Spoken like an innocent man," she said.
Wil felt his anger drain away, replaced by a sudden awareness of how attractive he found this woman to be. Feeling a flush rise in his cheeks, Wil averted his eyes from meeting hers. Then, off to the side, he saw a shadow move and a flash of pale green.
"He's here!" Wil shouted.
|#23Brom_BlackforgeJun 14, 2004 16:21:32||As Wil cried out, he saw a flashing blur emerge from the shadow. A throwing knife! Watching the blade tumble end over end, Wil felt like time had slowed. He mentally traced the knife's trajectory and imagined it connecting solidly between the shoulder blades of the beautiful watch captain. He wanted to do something, to save her, but he couldn't move fast enough.|
Maybe it was Wil's shouted warning, or maybe it was just her own skill - Wil would never be sure afterward - but the captain threw herself to the side, twisting to avoid the missile. The knife sliced through a silken sleeve, but failed to find flesh.
|#24Brom_BlackforgeJun 17, 2004 10:01:25||As the knife clattered to the floor, it seemed to Wil that time resumed its normal march. The room erupted into activity. The watch captain drew her opulent rapier and began shouting orders. A couple watchmen hastily fired crossbows into the shadows, while the others scrambled to pursue the unseen assailant.|
Wil wasn't sure what to do. He scanned the shadows carefully, trying to catch another glimpse of the pale green lace that had spoiled the cultist's surprise attack, but couldn't. He thought of grabbing his sword and helping with the hunt, but when he had been brought back here, they had taken his sword away from him. After a moment, he caught a glimpse of it through the tangle of activity in the Inn, leaning against a wall away from the direction that the knife had come from.
Feeling that the watch captain now believed he was innocent, Wil saw no reason why they wouldn't allow him to be armed. He certainly thought he'd feel better under the circumstances if he had his sword. He took a few steps toward it, then noticed something on the floor.
The vial. In the excitement, the watch captain must have dropped it and forgotten it. Wil bent over to pick it up. As his hands closed on it, he thought he caught another flash of pale green out of the corner of his eye.
|#25Brom_BlackforgeJun 28, 2004 13:20:56||Wil launched himself forward. He twisted as he fell, careful not to land on the vial clutched in his hand. Another throwing knife clattered to the floor behind him, right where he had stopped when he saw the vial.|
He scanned his surroundings feverishly. No sign of the cultist with the pale green lace. He frowned.
Eyes still darting back and forth, Wil reached out. As his free hand closed over the hilt of his sword, he grinned with satisfaction.
Then, Wil saw a streak of pale green at the periphery of his vision.
|#26Brom_BlackforgeJul 02, 2004 13:23:23||With a sear of pain, Wil felt the dagger pierce his left shoulder. He spun toward where he had seen the pale green, off to the side in an alcove, and saw the cultist. The man held another throwing knife in one hand and a rapier in the other. His face was contorted in a sneer of contempt.|
Growling, rage growing in him, Wil raised his sword and charged at the cultist. He brought the sword down on the man like a blacksmith's hammer, but he blocked the blow with the knife and rapier together.
"Foolish whelp," the cultist hissed through clenched teeth. "You only prolong your death. Give me what I seek."
For all the man's apparent confidence, Wil noticed that his eyes kept darting to the sides. Then Wil thought he caught what might have been fear. For a moment, Wil thought that perhaps the great force of his first blow had shaken the cultist, but he reluctantly rejected that as unwarranted pride. No, what the man feared was an extended encounter, because such a thing would surely bring the members of the watch who now searched the inn down on top of him.
As if in response to Wil's unspoken thoughts, the cultist swung with the rapier and followed it with a wicked slash of the knife. Though surely intended as a finishing strike, both maneuvers failed. Wil sidestepped the rapier, and blocked the knife with his sword.
Blades still locked together, Wil lauched his free fist at the cultist's face. The action brought an immediate twinge from his shoulder. The punch connected, though, and the cultist stumbled back.
At that moment, Wil became aware of sounds growing behind him - approaching members of the watch. He spared a glance back, then when he turned again, the cultist was gone.
"After him!" Wil heard a shout.
|#27Brom_BlackforgeJul 07, 2004 8:27:24||As members of the city guard rushed past him, Wil fell to his knees, the growing burning in his injured shoulder becoming unbearable. His awareness withdrew from the activity around him, narrowing to a point focused on his throbbing shoulder. |
The wound felt strange to Wil, though it was not his first. He could feel the burning sensation spreading - down his arm, up his neck. Suddenly the room tipped on its side, and Wil's head hit the floor. Darkness swallowed him.
When he awoke, he was someplace he had never seen before.
|#28themannamedmeeJul 07, 2004 10:40:07||He sat up and surveyed his accomodations. He was in a small chamber with the only furnishings being the cot on which he was sitting and a small wooden table with a cheap tallow candle burning dimly. his eyes adjusted well enough for him to see a door across his small room. The floor and walls were made of stone and were slick with water. The dank musty smell confirmed he was underground. Just outside the door he could hear the muffled sounds of two distinctly different individuals having a heated debate.|
|#29zombiegleemaxJul 27, 2004 10:33:56||pssst...|
|#30Brom_BlackforgeJul 30, 2004 9:19:17||"I believe him when he says he's innocent of this." A female voice, familiar but Wil couldn't quite place it. |
Wil shook his head to clear the cobwebs that still gripped his mind. He instantly regretted it. A wave of vertigo swept over him, and his shoulder began throbbing again. He laid back down again.
Now the other voice spoke from the other room: "But he's been in the middle of this whole mess from the start. I don't believe in coincidences." A male voice, sharp and angry.
So, Wil thought, they're arguing about me. Wonderful.
Wil looked around again as he lay on the cot, wondering where he was. Beneath the sounds of the argument from the next room, he thought he could hear the muted sounds of city life. He must still be in Greyhawk, but where?
Suddenly the door swung open, and he saw the female guard captain who had spoken with him at the Green Dragon.
"Ah, you're awake. Good. We need to talk."
Wil tried to speak, found that his mouth was dry. He coughed, and tried again.
"Where am I?"
"The River Quarter guard station, just down the road from the Green Dragon," she answered. "You should be safe here, at least for now. I'll have some water brought down here, and then, like I said, we need to talk."
|#31Brom_BlackforgeAug 23, 2004 16:23:13||The female guard captain turned and spoke to someone in the other room that Wil could not see, then stepped into Wil's room and left the door open behind her.|
"Your name is Wil, isn't it?" she asked.
Wil nodded. He remembered giving her his name when she began interrogating him at the Green Dragon.
"I'm Shae Pardra, the ranking officer at this watch post."
"It's nice to meet you," Wil said, more out of politeness than out of any genuine sense of pleasure at the meeting. While Shae seemed pleasant enough, Wil wasn't sure anymore that it had ever been a good idea to leave his father's farm.
"Wil, you're clearly a marked man."
The words hit Wil like a slap in the face, sharp and abrupt. "Wh - what do you mean?"
"I'm not sure how, but you've gotten involved in something deadly serious. No random attacker would have come after you at the Green Dragon, not with so many members of the watch present. They're either supremely confident, or very desperate. Either way, you're in it deep."
Wil felt numb. He barely noticed one of the watchmen bringing in a cup of water.
"So, Wil," Shae continued, "why do you suppose someone would go to such lengths to kill you?"
Wil began to question whether it was still a good idea to keep quiet about what the cultist had said about the vial - or about the key on the dead halfling, for that matter.
|#32Brom_BlackforgeAug 31, 2004 13:20:20||Wil slowly picked up the cup and lifted it to his lips, sipping the cool water. Then he set it down just as slowly. When he looked back up at Shae Pardra, she was still looking at him expectantly.|
"I really don't know what's going on here," he said.
Shae held up a small, familiar-looking vial. "What about this?"
"Look, I don't know what it is. The halfling was carrying it, and the cultist wanted it. That was why he had his creature grab me and pull me into that alley."
Shae nodded. "That's probably why the cultist killed the halfling, or had someone else do it. We'll try to have the contents of this vial identified. Anything else?"
Wil opened his mouth, about to mention the key, then thought better of it. He still wanted to try to find his own answers, and that key was the only clue he had. He twisted his mouth into what he hoped looked like a thoughtful frown and shook his head. "Nope," he added.
Shae eyed him for a moment, then said, "Okay. Where are you staying, in case I want to talk to you again later?"
"I haven't got a room anywhere yet." He hadn't been in the city for long, and still had not taken the time to get a room. He wasn't sure he could afford one, anyway.
"Let me know when you find one, then. You're free to go."
|#33Brom_BlackforgeSep 10, 2004 9:43:10||Wil strode purposefully down the Processional, the grand central avenue of the City of Greyhawk, eyes restlessly scanning the bustling crowd around him. Even if he were not on edge from recent events, he would have been uneasy simply because he was not used to seeing so many people at one time. Still, as he walked, he gradually relaxed, becoming more and more fascinated by the people and places he saw. On his left, he could see the buildings of Clerkburg - especially the Free City Arena, some distance off of the Processional, rising above the buildings around it. Ahead on his left he could see a large pyramid-shaped building and he wondered vaguely what it was.|
As he walked, he passed the Silver Dragon Inn on his right, then farther down, the Black Dragon Inn on his left. Soon he was wending his way through the Low Market. Ahead he saw the Black Gate, beyond which lay the Thieves Quarter - and perhaps, some answers.
Meanwhile, Shae Pardra rolled up a parchment, slid it into a leather tube, and handed it to a watchman. "This is my report concerning the events at the Green Dragon. Take it to the Constable; she needs to know about this, but I need to continue my investigation."
The watchman saluted smartly and strode out of the watch station. However, once he was out of sight of the station, he stopped and looked around, then darted into an alley. He stood waiting, nervous, until a figure clad in leather trimmed with pale green lace emerged from the shadows.
"What have you learned?" the cultist rasped.
The watchman extended the leather tube with a shaking hand. "H-here," he stammered.
The cultist opened the tube and slid the parchment out, reading it quickly. He nodded, and tossed a small clinking pouch at the watchman. The watchman snatched the pouch out of the air and hurried back out to the street. The cultist paid him no further attention as he returned the parchment to its case and vanished back into the shadows.
|#34Brom_BlackforgeSep 29, 2004 16:22:41||Just a reminder: anyone is free to add to this story. If you've been reading along and have an idea you'd like to add, go ahead! I've been having fun writing in this thread, and I hope that other people have been enjoying reading it, but I always envisioned it as a collaboration with the whole board. With a few exceptions, however, it's mostly been me. Like I said, I'm having fun anyway, but I wanted to encourage everyone else to jump in, even if only to add a little Greyhawk flavor.|
|#35zombiegleemaxSep 29, 2004 21:52:57||It was a dark and stormy night when Wil entered the close prescincts of the Thieves Quarter. He carefully scanned the buildings as he picked his way amidst streets filled with clutter born on the rising wind. Passersby instinctively averted their gaze. Wil hurried along as best he could, trying to appear to fit in while carefully scanning his surroundings.|
"Ooooow!" Thought Wil. "I should _not_ have had that burrito before I set out." Now, he was surely in for it. A sudden tightening sensation and quick flatuent squeal caused in Wil a wild panic born of no certain knowledge that he could, with sufficient haste, unburden himself of his now heavy load. Wil concentrated, fighting for control. "Must. Not. Foul. Self." He thought, as beeds of sweat broke out on his forehead.
The wind now risen to a howling gale forced Wil to seek the shelter of a nearby alley. Looking around quickly in the half light of the burgeoning storm, Wil's eyes narrowed as a sly grin stole over his lumpish features. Maybe here! Surely, no one would be about in such weather!
Drawing back deeper in the alley, Wil hurried to be began his preparations. As the next to the last of the straps came away beneath his thick fingers, Wil moved into a half crouch.
"Well, well, well, what do we have ere?" The laughing voice was thickly slurred from the obvious effects of alcohol and held a note of menace scarcely concealed by any mirth.
Wil wheeled around in surprise, grasping for his belt and sword simultaneously. It was doubly too much. Wil lost control! Thoughts of swords and his dignity vanished in the onrush of sweet relief. Only too late did Wil see the giant of a man behind him. "My sword!" Wil's mind screamed. "OH GAWDS!" The stranger grunted as the sight and smell of Will reached even his inebriated senses. The two women, one on each of the big man's arms, catching sight of Wil howled with laughter and pointed at Wil. The impact was immediate. "My sword!" Wil's mind screamed as he frantically sought to cover himself.
The rain began to poor down.
[Okay. Next person go! Golly this is fun. I think I'm going to try to work in Elminister and some hampsters!]
|#36Brom_BlackforgeOct 04, 2004 9:44:32||Holy ! Be careful what you ask for! :D|
Also, when I asked for "Greyhawk flavor," I didn't realize that included burritos.
"Ooooow!" Thought Wil. "I should _not_ have had that burrito before I set out."
|#37Brom_BlackforgeOct 04, 2004 10:16:28||As the first big raindrops began pelting them, the women shrieked and ran for cover. The big man, however, stood his ground, wavering only slightly from the effects of his obviously massive alcohol consumption. He laughed.|
"He drops his sword and reaches for his dagger!" the big drunk boomed, either to himself or the now-absent women. Then he laughed even harder, clearly amused at his own cleverness.
Wil's cheeks burned red at the indignity. He perhaps should have realized that a big city like this would be different than the farm, but to be interrupted and then laughed at stung bitterly. He hiked up his trousers, keeping his eyes on the big man.
"I'm sorry to have bothered you," Wil said, fighting down the anger and embarrassment. "I'll just be going."
He bent down to retrieve his sword, still carefully watching the big drunk.
"No, I don't think so," the hulking brute slurred. He lumbered toward Wil.
Wil's fingers closed on his sword. He pulled the blade from its scabbard. By then, the brute was on top of him. Wil reeled as a meaty fist connected with his cheek. Then Wil swung his sword. The blade sank deep, and Wil felt a warm flow mingling with the cold rainwater on his hands. The brute fell. Wil quickly wiped the sword on the man's dirty clothes, sheathed it, and ran. As he reached the end of the alley, he looked back. Several rats were already crawling over the body. He left the alley and began looking for someplace dry off and wait out the rain.
|#38Brom_BlackforgeOct 04, 2004 12:25:45||Running through the rainy streets of Greyhawk's Old City, Wil's eyes fell on a well-lit shop hunched beneath the wall separating this part of the Old City from the Artisan's Quarter and the Foreign Quarter. The sign hanging above the door read, "Turin's Servant Agency." Sounded safe enough, and it certainly looked dry. Wil hurried to the door and stepped inside.|
"Hello there," came a female voice. "Can I help you?"
Wil turned and saw a young woman approaching him. She appeared to be a few years older than him, and she carried herself with great dignity. His eyes fell on the small silver medallion that she wore around her neck, and he was struck by its fine quality. Then he realized she was still waiting for an answer.
"Uh, hi," Wil said. "I just, uh, was just looking." Wil didn't want to admit that he just wanted to get out of the rain, because he was afraid she might make him leave.
"Looking at what?" the woman demanded. "This is a servant agency. We hire and train servants for those who can afford such things."
"Um, at you..." It came out more like a question, so tentative was Wil's response. He was starting to consider that it might have been better to tell the truth, but felt constrained to stay with his original story.
The woman seemed pleased, however. "Really? Did you recognize me? I haven't worked as an actress for a while, but I still... well, anyway, we should be formally introduced. I am Xerien Albhart."
"Pleased to meet you, Wil."
Xerien invited Wil to have a seat, and offered him some tea. They chatted for a while, and Wil learned that Xerien had indeed been an actress, although he suspected that perhaps she had not been a very good one. Wil told her about the bar fight at the Green Dragon and some of its aftermath, but left out the bits about the key and the vial. He decided he'd better not mention the drunk that had just attacked him, either. After a while, he noticed that the rain had let up. Wil expressed his genuine appreciation for Xerien's hospitality, and politely excused himself.
"If your luck doesn't turn around, Wil, come back and see me. I might have work for you."
Wil thanked her and left.
|#39Brom_BlackforgeOct 05, 2004 13:55:51||Wil walked on, past a fish-processing warehouse and what looked like a brewery. Ahead, he saw a huge mausoleum, its exterior worked with elaborate frescoes of various gods and their domains, and surrounded by statutes standing their silent vigil. Then, a little further down, across the street from the great crypt, Wil saw a rundown structure that caught his eye.|
The ramshackle little building looked abandoned, although it still had a sign hanging above the door that read, "Madame Serena's Fortunetelling." Another sign, this one nailed to the door, proclaimed "The Dead House."
As Wil approached the shack, he thought he heard the wind picking up. Then he realized that not a breath of air had stirred his hair or clothes. What he had taken to be wind now seemed more like indistinct whispers. Then the susurration resolved into words: "Stay here no more. Leave while you can."
Wil stumbled back.
|#40Brom_BlackforgeOct 07, 2004 13:18:22|
Reason: Masking removed, you know the rule
Oops, sorry Randal, and to anyone who may have been offended. I didn't think there was any problem with referring to an expletive so long as I didn't actually spell out the whole word. I know that we're all presumed to know the Code of Conduct intimately, but I really hadn't read it; I typically just rely on common sense. Would it have been more acceptable if I had used this smilie ?
|#41Brom_BlackforgeOct 08, 2004 9:20:15||Spinning around, Wil searched for the source of the warning. No one was nearby. He supposed it could be magic, but slowly his thoughts returned to the sign tacked on the door of the little structure - "The Dead House." Was that why the place looked abandoned? Had the fortuneteller who once lived here died, leaving her ghost to haunt the place?|
And if that was the case, was the warning from the dead fortuneteller? What had she seen?
Chills running down his spine at the thought, Wil could not help but shudder. Eyeing the Dead House warily, he gave it a wide berth and continued walking.
|#42cebrionOct 12, 2004 7:33:26||The next part of hte story is here:|
|#43cebrionOct 12, 2004 7:36:30||And the next part is here:|
|#44Brom_BlackforgeJan 17, 2005 11:55:58||It's been a while since anybody posted - thanks, Cebrion, for the excellent additions, by the way. I had wanted to take the time to write a longer post that would get our friend Wil well on his way into the next leg of his journey, but I haven't been able to find the time. I finally just decided to do something short to keep the thread from getting lost completely. If you get into the spirit and want to add something, feel free to do so.|
Wil shuddered as he sped up to put distance between himself and the Dead House. As he walked, he realized that the gloom of the earlier stormclouds which had made the day seem like night had given way to the lengthening shadows of twilight. He hoped he would reach the Gold Digger Tavern soon; he didn't think he wanted to be walking the Thieves Quarter after dark.
|#45Brom_BlackforgeJan 25, 2005 9:17:43||Ahead of him in the encroaching gloom, Wil saw the Highway Gate, beyond which lay the city's outskirts - a huddle of merchants' buildings just outside the walls of the city. On his left stood a large one-story building with short towers; the sign above its door declared it to be the Brass Dragon Inn. To Wil's right - and to his great relief - he saw the Gold Digger Tavern, backlit by the red orb of the setting sun.|
Just then, the heavy oaken door of the tavern burst open and a burly half-orc was sent sprawling into the street. He bounced once on the battered flagstone then did not move. Wil's eyes shot back to the tavern door in time to catch a glimpse of three satisfied-looking dwarves in the doorway as they turned and headed back inside.
Steeling himself with a deep breath, Wil strode toward the door, stepping carefully over the unmoving half-orc as he did.
|#46Brom_BlackforgeJan 31, 2005 16:49:42||Wil entered the Gold Digger and took stock of the scene before him.|
The place was lit, but not brightly. A haze of pipe smoke swirled around the rafters, and Wil was immediately struck by several unfamiliar scents. An assortment of dwarves, gnomes, halflings and a few humans sat at the bar or at tables spaced throughout the place. Three of the dwarves had spun, glaring, when the door had opened, but had relaxed upon seeing Wil; he realized that they were the same three that had just tossed that half-orc into the street. Fragments of a half-dozen conversations competed in Wil's ears: news of the Principality of Ulek and the orcish invasion from the Pomarj, tales of past adventures, rumors of great fortunes to be had, and more.
To one side, Wil saw a set of stairs leading up to the rooms for rent. Reaching into his belt pouch for the key found on the dead halfling at the Green Dragon, Wil headed for the stairs.
|#47Brom_BlackforgeFeb 24, 2005 8:58:21||From a table in the corner, a dark-cloaked figure watched Wil's progess toward the stairs with a hard, unblinking stare. As Wil began his ascent, the dark-cloaked figure rose and moved to follow.|
|#48Brom_BlackforgeMar 01, 2005 13:34:11||Meanwhile, in another part of the City, Shae Pardra suppressed a shudder as she watched the ritual unfolding before her.|
Shae was alone in a small temple antechamber with a priestess and the remains of a halfling slain recently at the Green Dragon. The priestess was chanting and gesticulating and clutching a symbol depicting a red skull. After a few moments, the priestess stopped and began to watch the corpse expectantly. Then she raised her eyes to Shae. As Shae looked from the priestess to the corpse, she saw that the dead halfling's waxy lips were moving.
"You may ask your questions," the priestess said.
"Who were you working for?" Shae demanded.
The pale lips moved soundlessly at first. Then, a gravelly voice came in a monotone: "A dark man."
Shae scowled and considered her next question.
|#49Brom_BlackforgeMar 04, 2005 13:10:38||Shae continued: "Who killed you?"|
Again, the gravelly monotone came in response: "A dark man."
The dead halfling did not respond immediately. Shae was about to repeat the question when the sepulchral voice resumed. "For what I carried," it said.
"What did you carry?"
"My belongings. And a key."
Key? This puzzled Shae, as her men had not reported finding any key on this halfling's body. "A key to what?"
"Death. Doom. Destruction."
Shae pressed the animated corpse for additional details, but it made no further response. Finally, it was clear that Shae would get nothing more.
Shae thanked the priestess for her help. The priestess responded, "My patroness appreciates the goals of the city watch. She is happy to aid in the search for a lawbreaker." The look in her eyes, though, seemed to convey an additional message.
Shae was prepared. She pressed a small sack of coins into the priestess's hand. "An offering as a token of my thanks," she said.
As Shae left the temple, the mystery of the key swirled in her mind.
|#50Brom_BlackforgeMar 07, 2005 10:03:48||Later, when Captain Shae Pardra had returned to the River Quarter Station of the City Watch, she quizzed her men about finding a key on the slain halfling. Reluctantly, two of them admitted that they had indeed found such a thing, but then the instigator of the fight had broken loose, and when they had returned from helping to subdue him, the key was gone. They chose to leave the key out of their official report rather than admit losing it.|
"What could it matter?" one of them asked.
Shae Pardra gave him a hard look. "We shall see."
|#51Brom_BlackforgeMar 25, 2005 13:14:11||At the top of the stairs, Wil paused and looked around. The light was more muted on the upper level, as was the sound that rose up from the common room below. Wil noticed that the doors on either side of the short hallway ahead of him were slightly staggered so that no two doors faced each other directly.|
He moved forward slowly, trying to remain as quiet as possible. The first door he came to, on his right, barely muffled the sound of voices within. Wil could hear two voices, one male and one female, both dwarvish, but could not pick out any particular words. He moved on.
The next door, this one on the left, betrayed no sounds from within. Wil tried the key. It slipped easily into the lock, but would not turn.
Wil tried more doors, skipping any rooms that were obviously occupied. He guessed wrong once and heard angry threats from inside. Then, at the second-to-last door, Wil turned the key and heard a click. Surprised, he paused. Then he turned the doorknob and pushed the door open.
|#52Brom_BlackforgeApr 01, 2005 15:28:19||Wil heard a click as the door swung inward. He felt a rush of air beside his cheek. He spun, stumbling to the side. To his surprise, he saw a dart freshly stuck in the wall opposite the door. He touched his cheek, found it unhurt. Blowing out a breath that he hadn't realized he had been holding, Wil turned back to the doorway. He approached it again, this time more cautiously.|
|#53Brom_BlackforgeApr 29, 2005 16:55:02||Meanwhile, a massive figure shambled through the back streets of the Thieves Quarter. It knew that its master was nearby. Ahead, in the dim light, it could see the Gold Digger Tavern.|
|#54Brom_BlackforgeMay 02, 2005 9:09:10||Wil peered into the darkness of the room, then stepped inside. By the light entering from the hallway, Wil found a lamp and lit it. Then he closed the door.|
The room was small and tidy. The bed seemed like it would have been too short for Wil, and as he looked at it, Wil realized it probably would have been quite comfortable for a halfling. On the bed sat a small backpack. Wil drew his sword and prodded the pack experimentally. Nothing happened. With the tip of his blade, Wil pushed the pack open. It tipped over, spilling its contents on the bed.
One thing caught Wil's eye immediately: a small black box, bearing intricate carvings of disturbing images. Dominating the center of the box's lid was a single rune, like a diamond shape balanced on top of an inverted V.
Just then, Wil thought he heard movement in the hall.
|#55Brom_BlackforgeMay 24, 2005 10:10:29||As the sound in the hall grew louder, Wil cast his gaze around the room. His eyes fell on the grime-smeared window and he rushed to it. He released its latch and heaved with his free hand, sword still gripped in the other. The window stuck, then grudgingly gave way. The tempo of the footsteps in the hall increased, then stopped altogether. Wil felt a chill as he realized that whoever it was had stopped right outside the door.|
Wil crept back across the room as silently as he could, teeth clenched in concentration. He pressed himself against the wall beside the door, sword raised, and waited.
The door opened by a crack, then stopped. Wil kept his breathing shallow, keeping utterly still. He still could not see anything – the door opened away from the side where he stood. After a seemingly interminable moment, the door opened further. The first thing Wil saw was a hand – with a familiar green lace at its wrist.
Panic gripped Wil’s heart, images of that dark alley outside the Green Dragon and the battle inside it running through Wil’s mind. Adrenaline surged through Wil’s veins. He struck, bringing the sword arcing down. It embedded itself in the dirty planks of the floor. Wil was sure he must have missed.
Then he saw the hand laying on the floor in a slowly-expanding pool of blood. The cultist’s screams of pain filled the room.
Wil heaved the sword free of the splintered plank. Then, sword gripped in one hand, he scooped up the dead halfling’s backpack and all its contents with his free hand.
As he turned back toward the door, Wil found his attention drawn back to the severed hand. It had fallen palm-up, and now Wil saw that it bore an intricate design, an unblinking eye surrounded by overlapping geometric shapes set in arcane patterns. Then he looked up and saw that the cultist was gone; only a pool of blood marked where he had stood.
|#56Brom_BlackforgeMay 24, 2005 14:51:28||Wil turned, readying for a run back down the hall to the stairs. A fleeting thought crossed his mind then: where did that guy go so fast?|
A sharp pain in his side ended Wil’s speculation. Wil spun, slamming his elbow into the cultist’s jaw. The cultist’s remaining hand lost its grip on the dagger it had thrust between Wil’s ribs. The dagger clattered to the floor. Continuing his spin, Wil brought his sword down. It caught the man full in the chest.
The cultist collapsed, gasping and gurgling. “May the . . . Black Rider . . . take you,” he rasped. Then he shuddered once and moved no more.
Wil returned to the halfling’s room and tore strips of cloth from the bedsheet, fashioning a makeshift bandage, which he wrapped around his chest. The wound burned and throbbed now. Probably poisoned, he thought. He had to hurry.
With a final glance back at the motionless body of the cultist, Wil ran back down the hallway, down the stairs, and out into the night. He tried not to think about the dark shapes he saw moving in the streets, thinking only of getting back to Shae Pardra’s watch station. Then he saw a massive shape he could not ignore. He stopped, staring in disbelief. But he could not deny what he saw.
“Gren,” he breathed.
|#57ividMay 25, 2005 4:11:11||*This is a great effort of yours, Brom! Although we others scarcely contribute, don't think you go entirely unnoticed!*|
|#58Brom_BlackforgeMay 31, 2005 9:14:46||Thanks, Ivid. :D |
Remember, anyone can feel free to add to the story - just try to keep it appropriate to Greyhawk. No more burritos, if we can help it. ;)
|#59Brom_BlackforgeJun 07, 2005 13:00:45||Wil watched in growing horror as the misshapen silhouette of the creature shambled nearer. The wound in his side had begun to burn and throb, and his limbs had started to feel weak. He doubted he would be able to fight the creature - or to outrun it, either.|
But the creature veered away from Wil. It smashed open the front door of the Gold Digger, prompting shouts of anger and surprise from within. Wil lost sight of the creature then, as the sounds of battle erupted inside. Wil turned and began to run toward the River Quarter.
|#60ividJun 08, 2005 4:31:06|
Thanks, Ivid. :D
As soon as I find the time, I'll do a smaller contribution. ;)
|#61Brom_BlackforgeJun 09, 2005 9:14:14||Enveloped in the shadows of the Old City, Wil ran. He felt his legs growing weaker, but he pushed himself onward. He feared that if he did not reach Shae Pardra now, he never would.|
He made it past several darkened buildings, perhaps a couple of city blocks away from the Gold Digger, before his legs gave out. He fell to his hands and knees. Sweat rolled down the sides of Wil's face. His chest heaved like a bellows, sucking air, though each breath caused him to grimace from the pain caused by the bloody wound in his side.
After kneeling on the dirty cobblestones for a while, Wil realized that men were shouting nearby. He sat back on his heels and looked up, into the eyes of a grizzled man in an unfamiliar uniform. The man seemed to have been appraising Wil, and now turned back to others, unseen in the darkness.
"Aye, he's wounded! I'm bringing him in!"
The man bent down to help Wil to his feet. Wil tried to retreat.
"You're all right now, lad. By the Cudgel, you'll be safe now - you're with the Nightwatchmen." Wil relented, and the man put an arm under Wil's shoulder, hoisting him up. As he did, he continued speaking: "Aye, you'll be safe now."
|#62Brom_BlackforgeJun 15, 2005 13:29:24||Wil woke with a start. |
He sat up, quickly taking in his surroundings. He found himself in a small room, on a sturdy cot, covered with a thick woolen blanket. He could see bright sunlight outlining the dark curtains of the room's single window. A bandage encircled Wil's chest, like a bigger sibling of the one still wrapped around his shoulder: the signs of two wounds received from the same cultist. Other than these, he was naked from the waist up.
Wil tried to remember being brought to the room he now occupied, but could not. The last thing he remembered was the face of the man who had helped him. That man now dozed on a chair near Wil's cot.
Wil saw his shirt, still blood-stained and torn, draped over the end of the cot, and he bent to retrieve it. As he did, the man on the chair roused.
"Oh, you're awake, are ye? Good, good. How d'ye feel?"
Wil moved his arms experimentally.
"I feel good," Wil answered. He was amazed to find that he was pain-free.
"That's the work of the Cudgel and his cleric. When I found ye, I was afraid it was already too late."
Wil unwrapped his bandages and found that his wounds had indeed been healed.
"Then you all have my thanks," Wil said.
"M' name's Tyvar Beckham," the man said, extending his hand. Wil shook it as the man continued, "And I'm curious t' know the story behind that cut ye had on yer back."
|#63Brom_BlackforgeJun 25, 2005 15:51:07||Wil quickly considered Beckham's request. Thus far, he had not told anyone about the key, but it might be hard to explain what he had been doing at the Gold Digger without mentioning it. Besides, the key had served its purpose: it had opened the door of the dead halfling's room, allowing him to find...|
Perhaps that was the thing that should be left out now. Just seeing it had made Wil feel uneasy, and he could not forget that people had been willing to kill for it already. He wasn't sure he should tell anyone about it.
And yet, these people had saved his life. Beckham seemed nice enough. Maybe he could trust them.
|#64Brom_BlackforgeJul 08, 2005 16:35:58||Beckham listened as Wil told about the brawl in the Green Dragon, the discovery of the dead halfling, being grabbed by Gren and his cultist master in the alley, and the encounter in the Gold Digger. Wil admitted to finding the key and using it to enter the halfling's room. As he spoke, he retrieved his backpack from where he had spied it on the floor beside his bed. He ended with, "I took this from the room," opening his pack and sliding the strange box out.|
"Ha' ye tole that watch captain abou' any o' this?" Beckham eyed Wil expectantly.
Wil looked sheepish. "I didn't tell her about the key." Wil liked Shae, and felt bad about deceiving her.
Beckham seemed to relax a bit. "Tha's just as well. Corruption runs rampant in the city watch. E'en if this captain o' yours is honest enough, ye can bet that plenty among her men are not."
Wil felt a chill, but also some amount of vindication for his earlier reluctance toward full disclosure.
"Wil, me lad, I have some people I'd like ye t' meet. Seems there was a bit of a ... disturbance at the Gold Digger after ye left, an' we've been talking to some of the witnesses. I was goin' t' take ye t' see one o' them, but that can wait." At that, Beckham eyed the strange box. "The priests of the Cudgel may have some answers fer ye about that thing. Get up, lad, an' get ready to go."
|#65Brom_BlackforgeJul 22, 2005 13:13:27||As they stepped outside, Wil blinked against the bright sunlight. He realized with a start that the sun was high in the sky - it must have been nearly noon. He wondered how long he had been asleep.|
Wil followed Beckham north along the Processional. Beckham kept pointing to places they passed and telling Wil stories about sensational crimes that had occurred there, or rumors that had reached the Nightwatchmen but had never been proven.
As they passed the Public Bathhouse, Wil asked, "What about that place? I bet lots of things have happened there." But Beckham shook his head.
"Nay," Beckham said. "All manner of thieves and assassins can be found there, but few ever disturb its peacefulness."
They walked on.
|#66Brom_BlackforgeJul 22, 2005 13:45:59||Even though it was full daylight, Wil shuddered as they passed the Dead House. To his surprise, Beckham shared no stories concerning the place.|
When they came to the Black Gate at the northern boundary of the Thieves' Quarter, Wil noticed that Beckham seemed to be eyeing the watchmen standing guard there with suspicion. He remembered then what Beckham had said about the rampant corruption in the City Watch. He still had trouble believing it was as bad as Beckham had described.
Then they passed through the open gate and entered the Artisans' Quarter. Beckham pointed out another Guildstation of the Nightwatchmen on their right as they walked by.
"How much farther?" Wil asked.
"A bit. We're headed into th' Garden Quarter - past th' River Quarter and Clerkburg, an' beyond the Garden Gate."
They were passing an open-air marketplace when Beckham suddenly stopped and pointed down a street heading off to their right.
"Down tha' way lies Maldin and Elenderi's shop. Watch out fer the both of them. They're sly, an' not always to be trusted."
Then Beckham set off again, at a brisker pace than before. Wil wondered to himself if Beckham's advice was based on personal experience, if he had once run afoul of those two shopkeepers. Judging from the scowl on Beckham's face, Wil suspected that he had. Yet for all his storytelling during their walk, Beckham did not seem interested in telling that tale.
|#67Brom_BlackforgeJul 25, 2005 16:24:52||After a few more steps, Wil realized that something was different. Beckham's ongoing travelogue had stopped. Wil looked at him and saw that he was still scowling. Curiosity warred with Wil's instincts for prudence and politeness, and finally won.|
"What did those two shopkeepers do to you?" Wil asked.
Beckham stopped suddenly and turned to Wil.
"Ye don't know o' them, do ye? They're no' jus' shopkeepers. They're mages - an' right shifty ones, too, if ye ask me."
At that, Beckham resumed his walk, and Wil had to hurry to catch up. Beckham said no more about the two mages, and Wil did not ask.
|#68Brom_BlackforgeJul 29, 2005 13:11:51||It was fun working in a reference to Maldin. If anyone's interested in finding out more about Maldin, go here:|
|#69Brom_BlackforgeAug 09, 2005 11:04:14||Wil continued to follow Beckham along the Processional, taking in the sights and sounds of the bustling city as it came to life. Ahead, another wall began growing larger as they approached, though it was still too far away for Wil to make out the guards that he knew would be manning the open gate.|
They passed a side street, and Wil realized it was the one that led to the Green Dragon and the River Quarter Watch Station. With a start, he recognized one of the pedestrians on that street as Shae Pardra. Her eyes were fixed on him, and she did not seem happy.
Beckham must have spotted her, too. "Oh, boy," he said under his breath, just loud enough for Wil to hear. Then, louder, "Good mornin' to ye, Captain!"
Shae's scowl remained unbroken as she stopped beside them, sparing a glance for Beckham before returning her gaze to Wil.
"We need to talk," she said. "Now."
"What is it?" Wil asked. The fact that she seemed so upset bothered Wil. He was sure that, whatever it was, it would mean more trouble.
"Not here," she replied. "Let's go back to my office."
Shae turned and Wil began to follow her, but Beckham stuck out an arm to restrain him. "Nay, tha's no' a good idea."
Shae spun on Beckham. "What do you think you're doing? Do you want me to arrest you for interfering with an investigation?"
"Captain, ye must know that th' walls in city watch stations have ears."
Shae's scowl deepened, but she offered no retort. Beckham continued.
"Come wi' us to the Temple o' St. Cuthbert. We can speak safely there."
Shae eyed Beckham a moment, then nodded. Without further discussion, Beckham struck off again for the Garden Gate and the Temple that lay on its other side. Wil fell in beside him, and Shae took the rear.
As they began walking again, Wil could swear that he heard Beckham mutter under his breath, to himself more than to anyone else, "An' there, we can keep a close eye on ye, Captain."
|#70Brom_BlackforgeJan 13, 2006 12:43:18||It's been a while since I've added anything to this tale, and I fear that anyone else who might have been interested in contributing has long since lost track of it. If you've never seen it, I invite you to take a look, and if you feel so moved, to make your own contribution to the tale. As for me, suffice it to say that real life intruded, and I haven't felt much like posting for a while. I didn't even visit the boards for a long time. And I don't have time right now to add to Wil's tale, either, but I wanted the thread to resurface, so consider this a rather long-winded "bump." :D|
|#71Brom_BlackforgeMar 17, 2006 14:58:46||Meanwhile, beneath the streets of the Free City, a shambling hulk made its way through the sewers. Clutched in its massive hands was a lifeless form clad in blood-stained leather and a pale green shirt trimmed in lace. Its destination - the lair of its master - lay just ahead.|
Plodding ahead, the creature remained unaware of the pair of eyes that watched it from the shadows.
|#72zombiegleemaxMay 19, 2006 16:04:33||As the three approached the gate, Wil noted that the temple had been here for some time. Vines snaked up through cracks and along masonry joins evenly along the imposing wall. The casual passerby, although seeming to pay the temple no attention, subconsciously kept a respectable distance from the wall and the gate. Beckham led them through the archway and into the courtyard. Thick vegetation adorned the simple path that led to the great oaken doors of the temple, one of which was slightly ajar - enough for a human to pass through without moving it. About the yard were followers of St. Cuthbert, ambling here and there with open scrolls in their hands, offering prayers and memorizing the various litanies of the faith. They paid Beckham and his companions no heed as they entered the temple through the open door.|
Once inside, an acolyte made motion to address the newcomers. Upon a look from Beckham, the acolyte stopped, bowed his head slightly, and turned back to his duties of filling the oil reserviors of the brass lanterns that hung on the walls of the vaulted, oak panelled chamber. Beckham ushered them down the side ambulatory and into a side passage with a number of rooms adjoined by simple wooden doors. At this point, Wil realized that Beckham had removed his hat and Wil quickly removed his leather cap lest he break some holy rule in this house of worship.
Shae, Wil, and Beckham were soon seated at a small table on stools within a windowless room lit only by a lantern. Sturdy stone walls surrounded them and they were separated from the outside world by a door that must have been four fingers thick by Wil's estimation. Beckham had even laid a plaid patterned rug along threshold to block the opening along the bottom of the stout door.
"Well, then," began Beckham, "We can talk 'ere, wi'out unwanted attention . . ."
|#73Brom_BlackforgeJun 14, 2006 10:40:05||Wil was about to begin with his story when he realized that Beckham was no longer looking at him. Instead, the night watchman's eyes were fixed on the guard captain, their intensity belying his otherwise casual demeanor.|
"So, Cap'n, I'm wonderin'... Ha' any o' yer men gone missin' lately?"
Shae Pardra scowled. "What have you heard?"
"I've no' heard any such thing. I jus' suspected it may be so. Probably in league wi' the ones who attacked this boy - or at least on their payroll."
Wil felt the tension in the room and wondered for a moment if Shae were going to strike out at Beckham. Even if Beckham were right, Wil was not sure the guard captain would admit it to him.
Then Wil realized they were no longer alone. The priest had arrived.
|#74drodainJun 19, 2006 23:55:36||srry that i have nothing to add right now, like the story just found it a little bit ago and would add something but not inspired by this point although u can expect me to revisit this thread and add my pp in when i get the inspiration|
|#75zombiegleemaxJul 19, 2006 17:02:32||Upon hearing the gentle rap on the door, Beckham rose swiftly to remove the rug and open the door for the Priest of St. Cuthbert. The priest was a man of age, a mere shadow of his former self. Despite the sagging of his skin and flacid muscles, Wil could see that he was once a physically powerful man of great build. An old and weathered scar ran from the edge of his receding hairline to his upper lip, spanning his left eye which long since collapsed and shrunken in from whatever terrible blow he must have suffered in his past. The priest nodded to Beckham's gesture of deference and moved to take one of the heavy oaken chairs. Beckham closed the door once again and replaced the rug for security. Once they were all seated, the priest said nothing but examined both Shae and Wil carefully for some time with his one good eye. Finally, he drew breath to speak . . .|
|#76zombiegleemaxAug 01, 2006 10:33:09||"You have shown yourselves to be pure by choosing to come here" the priest addressed them. "May I see the box in your possession? Careful not to touch it - just slide it onto the table". Wil wondered how the priest knew what he had in his pack, but he did as requested and decided he would ponder the wisdom of the clergy at some other time. The small box was certainly mysterious but didn't seem dangerous, however, the priest's good eye widened at the sight of it and he made the gesture of St. Cuthbert, lips moving in a subtle blessing. It was clear that the priest feared this item and the sneer of disgust showed in his upper lip and nostrils. "Know ye what god that mark signifies?" Wil shook his head. A quick glance at Beckham and then the priest began: "The God of Sickness and Plagues, Nightmare and Drought, the Destroyer of Life and that which is pure . . . " The priest's voice increased with intensity as he spoke and had the effect of unsettling those around him - even Beckham was disturbed and shifted uneasily in his chair. |
Incabulos! Wil had been told stories about the god as a child and there was never a day on the farm when the god's name had not been cursed when too little rain fell or insect swarms had eaten a portion of the crop. When weevils infested the grainary or a neighbor took ill, even after a poor night's sleep, Incabulos was at work. Why would anyone bear such a symbol on their person? Wil wondered what could bring a person to embrace such an evil god. He was very familiar with Incabulos, but never knew a symbol to represent him. No one would ever desire such a symbol to invoke his power in the village he once lived. At once, Wil felt ill. The thought of carrying such an object on his person made him wish to go to the river at once and bathe.
The priest saw the effect that his words had upon Wil and felt reassured that Wil was a young man who could be trusted. "I shall take this filth and see it destroyed, however, we must know the contents of it. The information it holds mayhap guide us to do St. Cuthbert's will and protect us from the horror of the Plague God." Wil nodded his assent. The priest began to invoke his own god for protection and to dispel the evil surrounding the box before he would carefully lift the lid to examine the inside.
|#77Brom_BlackforgeAug 17, 2006 13:12:45||Wil's eyes drifted from the priest and his incantation to Shae, who sat next to him. Her own sharp gaze was still fixed on the box. Then she looked up, her eyes shooting back and forth between Wil and the box, as if driven by the gears of her mind and the unasked questions churning within her. After a moment, she seemed to master her tongue sufficiently to make it work again.|
"Wh-where did you find this? How did it come to be in your possession?" she asked.
Wil drew in a breath, about to answer, when Beckham cut him off. "Hold a moment, m'boy. Allow me t' ask the good Cap'n here what'll happen when she files her report an' its contents get the lot of us killed."
Shae shot another cold look at Beckham. "My job is to uphold the law, not aid the lawless. I take pride in doing my job well."
Beckham appeared ready to launch another verbal salvo, but the old priest raised his hand. He studied Shae a moment with his good eye, his lips moving almost soundlessly, his other hand gripping the symbol of his god. Then he turned to Beckham and said, "Whatever the faults of her men, I sense no taint in this one."
At that, Beckham nodded and seemed to relent, though Wil was not sure that Beckham was entirely satisfied. But, for the moment at least, he fell silent.
|#78Brom_BlackforgeJan 25, 2007 9:42:14||Yikes! Has it really been this long? Was it really August when I last posted? Guess so. Huh. Meant to get around to adding something sooner than this, but I'm still not quite ready.... |
Of course, nobody has to wait for me. If you feel moved to add something, go ahead. My only request is that it not stray too far from the proper flavor. (No more burritos, if we can help it.) Just take what has already been established and go with it. It doesn't matter if it goes in a direction I hadn't expected; that's part of the fun.
|#79Brom_BlackforgeMar 19, 2007 15:54:33|
Sorry about the link business, but see the next portion of the story here:
Cebrion, I see that you did this with all three of the contributions you made. (I don't look back at previous pages very often, so I just noticed it now.) What prompted the move?
|#80Brom_BlackforgeMar 19, 2007 16:03:58||Back pressed against the cold stone of the sewer wall, a slender figure clad in leather armor peeked around a corner, eyes fixed on the shambling hulk it had been following through the sewers. The thing seemed unaware of the pursuer’s presence, and that suited the pursuer just fine.|
It had been curiosity, at first, that had prompted the pursuit. Now, it was with a rising concern that the figure watched. As the hulking creature and its bloody burden reached an intersection, a black-garbed sentry detached himself from the nearby shadows and inserted his dagger into a crack in the wall, triggering the release mechanism for a hidden door. Without a word, the creature shambled into the passageway revealed by the opening. The sentry closed the door behind the creature, then disappeared again into the shadows.
|#81shadzarSep 25, 2007 11:14:09||a sigh of relief narrowly prevented from escaping his lips almost gave the pursuer's presence away when again all had gone silent.|
what lied beyond the door? who was sulking around in the shadows to open it?
his heart beating faster he felt as though he must act soon or its very pounding would be the sound that gave away his position.
|#82Brom_BlackforgeMay 08, 2008 12:30:41||Wow! Has it really been this long? I keep meaning to get back to this, but I was surprised to see how long it's really been.|
And yet, after almost eight months, this thread had only fallen to page three. Does anyone come here anymore? Is there anyone left here to read this?
I'll continue to post when I get time (of which there has been precious little), and I'll encourage anyone who still visits this forum to feel free to add to the story as well.
EDIT: I just noticed that this post looks a lot like the one from January last year. I'm not surprised that time flies, but I guess I am continually surprised by just how fast it goes.
|#83Brom_BlackforgeMay 22, 2008 13:39:32||Now that the boards reorganization is done, I'd like to bring this thread to the attention of all those readers of the "Other Published Worlds" forum who never visited the old Greyhawk forum and never saw this thread. Knowledge of Greyhawk is not necessary to participate in this thread, just a bit of creativity. I'm still planning to add more to the story when I find the time, but in the meantime, feel free to jump in.|
|#84Brom_BlackforgeJul 07, 2008 8:55:28||I decided to restart this thread on the Canonfire! forums, here. It starts out in similar fashion, but I fully expect that it will take on a life of its own, as well it should. You're free to continue to post in this version, but I wanted to point out that it now has a younger brother....|
|#85Brom_BlackforgeJul 31, 2014 9:51:50|
This was an experiment that I started quite some time ago. It began life in the Greyhawk forum because it was set in Greyhawk, but after a forum reorganization it ended up in Other Published Worlds. I can't say that the experiment worked particularly well, and at one point, it suffered from a deliberate attempt to drive it off the rails. It has now lain dormant for so long that it might be wiser to leave it that way. But I'm going to offer it up one last time to see if anyone else is interested in giving it a try.
The rules are pretty simple. Read through the story so far, and then add to it. The convention that I had been using - and which I continue here - is that any non-story text is italicized. It will work better if you take it seriously and try to create something coherent. If you post nonsense, then the experiment will have finally failed and it will die the death of obscurity it will by then richly deserve.