Archive for May, 2014

Cloak of the Harp of Hallucinations

Autumn 90 Pine

Bloodgrue looks out from under the eves of the old Library. Today is warm and winds non existent, the little patches of cloud barely move in the sphere.

Library Senarsis closed years ago. The locals never really had an interest in it, the scholars grew old and passed on, mostly. Today Bloodgrue is meeting the last of the Scribes from the library. Bloodgrue’s Dragoman master insisted Bloodgrue take this call.

Terri Scarmor, a Toymal who is nearly 90 years old, he walks like a fifty year old, swears like twenty.

Terri arrives about an hour after the second god rises in the sphere. The scribe is a little early, as well is Bloodgrue. The old Toymal smiles, “Blood young man. Nice of your Master to send you.”

Bloodgrue responds, “Master Terri, a wonder as always. What are we doing today?”

Smiling even more mischievously Terri answers, “We are seeing things that don’t exist here or now.”

Confused Bloodgrue assumes perhaps they will be moving old texts coloured with illuminations. But still the comment is odd as these texts exist here and now.

Blood do you play any musical instruments?”

Bloodgrue again finds the question odd considering Bloodgrue’s background and social class. “No Master Terri. Been too busy earning enough to eat each day. To little time to learn anything else. Other than the script you scribes teach me, for me doing errands for you.”

Okay apprentice, learn at least one instrument if you get an opportunity. Or at least learn a few songs to sing. I have no singing voice so I learnt to play the hand harp. Beautiful if played skillfully. Horror of horrors if played badly.”

Yes Master Terri. Perhaps I will learn to sing a song or two. Any bards needing errands that you know of?”

Why, yes apprentice I know a few! Will I tell you or introduce you? Depends on todays events. … Shall we enter? … I still have the key to this dilapidated piece of shit. A holy institute at one time, now a refuse heap because no one cares seven hells anymore.”

Turning to the creaking building, Terri produces a silver key of class three complexity and inserts it into a small opening in the door latch. Carefully turning the fragile key in the dilapidated lock, Terri unlocks the latch. He removes the key and returns it back into his pouch. Looking at Bloodgrue Terri offers, “Well now your job starts. Open and lead the way to the basement north room. If you can find it on your own, half the battle is won.

Bloodgrue is again confused as to being tasked something so simple yet again. Terri is either going senile, or this is a test. If its a test, Bloodgrue has no idea what it is for.

Reaching out with his bare left hand for the latch Bloodgrue hesitates. Then pulls back and looks over the door frame, door, hinges and latch. Then the wall around the door, and finally floor in front of it. Best treat this as an exercise decides Bloodgrue.

Satisfied but still curious now, Bloodgrue puts the old tattered cotton Glove on his right hand. Bloodgrue looks over at Terri to read the man, Bloodgrue finds neutrality. No humour showing. No anxiety. No impatience. Nothing. A clean grey aura with its swirling colours. True neutrality in all aspects.

Sighing, Bloodgrue starts to open the door then suddenly stops. A brief sliver of white light flashed in the crack of the door way. Backing up with the door still unopened, Bloodgrue wants to think a moment to determine his current situation. He looks around the door again. The lights of one god is red and the other is orange. So it wasn’t god light. Candles give various light depending on their manufacture. Lanterns depending on their fuel and enclosure. But Bloodgrue doesn’t recall a white light from any of those in his past experience. Magic! Bloodgrue heard some light from the dead soul or spirit, or from magic, can be white. He has never seen any but he has read and heard lessons indicating such happen.

Thus on the other side might be a dead’s spirit, soul, or, magic. So that explains Terri’s behaviour. Looking at the old scribe, Bloodgrue asks, “Did anyone die in there and not be removed or given Rights of Passage?”

Terri simply answers, “No.”

Bloodgrue looks for a window with a crack in its’ shutter, unfortunately none are accessible.

Steeling his nerve, Bloodgrue throws caution out. If its magic, its going to do what its going to do, and if it were lethal Terri wouldn’t be here now.

Slowly Bloodgrue presses on the latch lever and pulls open the Library’s wooden door. Even being over one hundred years old and despite creaking like a wind mill, Bloodgrue admires the craftsmanship the door had been constructed with. The hinges jerk as the door is opens. Bloodgrue looks around inside the entry quickly. There is no sign of the light in here that he had expected. There simply is the light from the gods shining down through the over head ceiling windows. The mixing of the streams of red and orange light still calm Bloodgrue, even after his life time watching them in different situations.  Stonewire and Imvor  are still shining strong after all their millennia as the twin gods, supplying life’s ingredients to North Amara.

Returning focus to the matter at hand, Bloodgrue recalls the stairwell is in the west wing. Briskly walking past the now empty tables and shelves, Bloodgrue leads Master Terri down the isle towards the west wing’s entry.

Reaching the exit from the library proper, into the rooms of study beyond, Bloodgrue stops suddenly again. Again he will swear he saw a white light flash on the other side of the portal …

Bloodgrue looks at Terri, serious now with curiosity enough to slay one hundred felines. “Okay, Master Terri! I keep seeing flashing white lights. I don’t know what they are. Do you see them also?”

Terri smiles, “If you see them, then, your master sent the right person. Keep leading apprentice.”

Bloodgrue frowns, not a denial, but not a confirmation strange indeed.

Taking a deep breath, Bloodgrue pushes through the parted heavy bright purple wool curtains. Darkness, that is proper. Smiling, Bloodgrue pulls out the special pouch his master gifted him with, for his apprenticeship. Carefully opening the pouch so he doesn’t blind the two of them, Bloodgrue removes the golden glowing coin. The golden glow lights up to nearly a ten metres radius, more than enough for their purpose here. Holding the coin in his bare left hand, Bloodgrue places the pouch back inside his tunic and using the gloved right hand, leads on to the far end of these rooms.

He has remembered correctly, here is the door to the stairwell. Damn its is locked thinks Bloodgrue.

Turning to Terri, “Do you have the key for this portal as well?”

Terri smiles and hands Bloodgrue the same class three silver key. Reverently Bloodgrue accepts the key. Thinking these keys generally retail for five Royal Flairs, if you can find a smith to forge one. Damaging, or losing one is not a viable option for Bloodgrue. To replace the key would cost more than Bloodgrue will earn in more than four years. Key in gloved hand Bloodgrue looks at the door and approaches. Inserting the key into the simple, tiny latch opening, Bloodgrue is almost blinded by the white flash of light. Freezing in place, the apprentice dragoman waits. … anything?

Nothing further happens, so Bloodgrue, feeling Terri accepts this strangeness, turns the key gingerly in its receptacle. The tumblers slide in place easily, smoothly, and quietly. The door is unlocked. Bloodgrue removes the key to hand it back to Terri, turning towards Terri, oddly the Scribe puts up the palm of his hand, “She has accepted you and passed ownership to you apprentice. Please, the key belongs to you now. Continue.”

No one ever talked this way about a possession before, to Bloodgrue, and never about him owning the possession because the object said so. Bloodgrue doesn’t even recall hearing any voice saying it chose him. Looking at Terri, Bloodgrue wonders about his sanity again. Placing the key carefully into his special pouch Bloodgrue sighs. Shining his golden light past the open portal Bloodgrue sees stairs downward just as he recalls.

Bloodgrue leads the way and walks down the first twenty seven stairs to the first landing, then without resting, down the last twenty seven runners to the basement floor. Stones cut over one hundred years ago, with the many feet walking on them over time, have no traces of usage.

Turning to look at Terri, Bloodgrue is again blinded by a flash of white light.

Music is playing, a well tuned and skillfully played hand harp. The sounds haunt Bloodgrue’s mind, but where is the sound coming from? Where is Terri? Why is everything so dark? Bloodgrue blinks several times, recalling his coin, he stops. He can feel the coin in the palm of his left hand, it should be emitting golden light. Yet there is only darkness and the music.

Bloodgrue slowly sees the emerging sounds, like light weaving forth in white threads. A voice cuts in, singing the songs for Toydon Rights of Passage, starting at the beginning of the Mourning song for the first feast. A deep rich male voice. Bloodgrue recognises the voice. Master Scribe Terri, a strong youthful deep baritone voice like none Bloodgrue has heard before.

The Reds and Oranges of Stonewire and Imvor flow into Bloodgrue’s vision. His mouth is parched dry as if he hasn’t had a drink in more than a day. Sitting up on the old wooden library floor Bloodgrue looks around him. To his right is Master Scribe Terri laid out in Toydon Rights of Passage fashion, still dressed as he was when they entered this building. But how long ago was that? Terri isn’t breathing and his skin shades show death has taken claim of him.

Bloodgrue notes he has a definite need to void. Thinking quickly he recalls the lavatory is in the east wing. Several stalls line a medium room and drain into the sewage system of the city. Standing Bloodgrue finds he is wearing a good wool cloak. Pure white and of the finest weave he can recall ever seeing. Taking the cloak off Bloodgrue neatly places it on the closest library table.

Walking stiffly, as if he hasn’t walked in a few days, Bloodgrue finds the stalls and there he voids. Cleaning up, he knows from the smell of the urine he hasn’t voided in a few days and his last drink was at least three days past.

Back with Terri, Bloodgrue discovers a small sheaf of fine vellum pages. His name is etched in  bold deep black Jalnoric script on the front page.

 

APPRENTICE DRAGOMAN BLOODGRUE

 

Taking the cue Bloodgrue opens the pages to find Master Scribe Terri’s, Last Testament, in clear precise Jalnoric script. Three pages that Bloodgrue learns much about Terri, the Library, Stonewire and the Cloak.

Terri calls this cloak the Cloak of the Harp of Hallucinations. A magic cloak that attunes once every seventy years to a new person. Terri explained that the white flashes were the Cloak calling Terri, the previous attuned, and, Bloodgrue, the new attuned, to it. The cloak communicates using song and the music of the Hand Harp.

Terri explained in the pages that his time has come to Pass on. The Cloak guided the two to it, and confirm attuning transfer . The cloak allows the hard issues faced in life to be eased mindfully. Bloodgrue had been comforted by the cloak during the days of Terri’s Rights of Passage, as Terri had no one left living in the world.

Terri thanked Bloodgrue for Attending and Guiding and wished Bloodgrue a good and strong life, but that Bloodgrue needs to know, no life is truly happy all the time, or even most of the time. Our ability, to make of what we have, defines our character and who we are, and who we will be. Happiness is made by choice and must be taken if we chose it.

Good life Bloodgrue, and may the Hallucinations of life be strong with you.”

Bloodgrue sighs, “Yah right!”

 

 

 

Comments

Happy Red Water

Summer 32 Bear

Bloodgrue looks down into the flagon on the dark wooden table in front of him. Seated on the padded bench Bloodgrue is pondering yesterday.

It was one of the stranger Summer days, the winds South and over 50 km an hour. Nearly blowing everything in its path south. Chilling folks to their bones if they ventured outside.

Bloodgrue woke to the howling winds. A little frustrated as he had had customers waiting to go down south to Templeir House. An old three story stone structure dedicated to helping lost children. These here folks believed their lost three year old son was found and taken there. Of course it was only rumors, but they wanted to check.

The Jal couple was young, the male being 22 years old and the female 20 years old. Middle class tradesfolk, they lost their son three six days past. An old family friend informed the couple, two days previous, he heard their son Erisob was seen in Templeir House.

The male, Esenar, Bloodgrue believed was more distraught then the mother, Lina. Odd to Bloodgrue, but each to their own. The couple offered to pay Bloodgrue his full fee plus twelve dusters extra. This peaked Bloodgrue’s interest the previous day when they approached him. But hearing the wind in the morning Bloodgrue had doubted his resolve to follow through.

Bloodgrue walked down the Inn stairs to meet his customers, to find only Esenar waiting. Upon asked where Lina would meet the two, Esenar informed Bloodgrue Lina wouldn’t join them, she had gotten an anxiety attack and said the gods dissuaded Lina from the journey.

Bloodgrue quickly ate his morning hard boiled duck egg, half loaf of dark wheat bread and an ale. The two men started their journey. Though south, the Templeir House is westward. They followed the main thoroughfares taking nearly three hours. The trip over all, getting to Templeir House, was uneventful. That’s where it got strange.

Esenar entered the House, with Bloodgrue waiting outside at the gate. The wait was terribly long in Bloodgrue’s mind, so he went in to find if Esenar found his son. Bloodgrue found the young man visiting with several young boys. A collection of Jalmals who appeared to range from two years to six years age. Bloodgrue found this not out of sorts until he got into hearing of the man’s conversation with these boys. Esenar was asking questions, such as, where each of the boys was from originally, what happened to their parents and so on. Odd but still not overly odd until Bloodgrue asked himself in his mind. ‘why was Esenar asking all these questions? He has no child by his side and what does it matter where these other children were from if all he wanted was his own son.’

Bloodgrue approached closer and spoke, “Esenar have you found your son Erisob? Is he here or does anyone have an idea where he might be?

Esenar frowned and hesitated a second or so, then replied, “No. Erisob isn’t here. No one knows where he is. I was asking these boys if they know where their parents are. If they have seen Erisob. But none know. I decided instead of going back to Lina without Erisob I would see if any of these boys needed a home.

Bloodgrue finding this odd backs up. thinking, ‘Of course these children need a home, or they wouldn’t be here. Esenar doesn’t seem overly upset Erisob isn’t here.

Bloodgrue waits inside, out of the cold south winds. Waiting for Esenar to finish up.

An hour or so passes and then Esenar leaves the boys, going into an office to speak with the old Toymal patron of the House. Another hour or so then the Patron opens his office door and calls in two of the older boys. Once they are inside the office, their patron closes the door again.

Bloodgrue frowns thinking, ‘what are they doing? Is Esenar buying a boy to take back?

After another while, Esenar exits the office with both Jalmal boys. Holding a hand of each boy, they approach Bloodgrue, “Well Dragoman we are ready to go home. Terren and Loab are traveling with us to my home. Which is now their home.”

Bloodgrue nods, “Will we need to get their belongings first?”

Esenar, “No. They have no belongings. We best hurry as the winds are cold and it is approaching evening. It will be dark soon and getting colder. The two boys have no cloaks or extra clothing. Shall we get going?”

So that all said and done, Bloodgrue escorts the three travellers to Esenar’s home. Esenar smiles and clasps arms with Bloodgrue. Then hands a leather coin pouch to Bloodgrue. It feels like it weighs enough for thirty coins so Bloodgrue doesn’t count, but opens it enough to see the coin values. Dyns, they all appear to be. Bloodgrue nods and thanks Esenar, then walks home to the Inn in the darkness of early night.

Bloodgrue looks down into the remaining red wine and happily ponders the 27 Dyns the man, Esenar, had paid Bloodgrue to escort Esenar to Templeir House and back home in one day. But, it still strikes Bloodgrue odd that Esenar was just as happy taking home the two unknown Jalmal boys as if they were his lost son. Odd indeed. But Bloodgrue is happy with the pay, part of which bought a jug of Red Water. The best wine north of Littleton.

 

Comments

Rusty

Greetings all.

My name in life is Kenneth. I write and game using the names Rusty or Darksky.

Born in 1963 in a small rural farming community of less than 1,500 folks, I grew up with very forward progressive parents.

We lived a hard life but the education of all family members was mandatory and extra effort encouraged, as much as we could afford. Now back then there was no internet, not even computers affordable or accessible. Our high school had a handful of typewriters in a small classroom. So most of our writing was pencil and paper. We later graduated to pen and paper.

Truth be told, I was horrible in my language arts classes and school grades over all rarely exceeded D. Language arts, zero marks for spelling and grammar. But every mark available for content originality and story telling, was mine, essays also had high marks for content and research.

I had something my mother openly encouraged and my father promoted on the sly when no one else was paying attention. Imagination and the natural ability to tell stories.

My first voluntarily written piece was done in a brand new primary scribbler, wide ruled with every second page unlined. I was armed with a number two pencil. I foraged my mind and placed the harvested result to words on paper. I was five at the time. The story was about a solo dolphin named George, the story ended at six or seven pages initially. But expanded to  twelve pages while we were on our annual family camping journey into the Rocky Mountain for a month. It felt right. It felt good. The writing had to be done. I haven’t stopped putting words to paper over the years.

1978.

Things got serious with a new turn, Role-play gaming. Stories that grabbed my imagination and later my mind. I knew this is where nature wants me, writing fantasy stories for others to enjoy.

The world I now use in my writing took birth. North Amara was born when I quite High School and was determined to support my self, I left home and went to work. I wanted to make my own choices and deal with the results. Not more than a month and I had a job. I could afford rent, utilities and grub. But above all I could write without others interfering.

1980.

Christmas, I went home to the family. At 3:30 am December 25 or there about, laying on the floor of my sister’s room, I needed to write. I wrote poems for hours.

1982

I decided to take up learning mechanical engineering. I needed to upgrade to enter university. In the college my English teacher encouraged me to read my poems to the class. 35 people in class, in less than 30 seconds, 35 people were with tears in their eyes. I knew I could influence others with my words. The professor encouraged entering competitions with my writing. In 1982 I won a competition. I was invited to Seattle Washington to read for 5,000 people, the chicken in me rose up and I declined.

Life goes on and 2 years later I left college due to illness.

While in college I found a group of folks who game. We told many stories through our gaming weekends together over 20 plus years. North Amara developed and grew steadily.

1989

Knights of the Square Table, was trademarked. I use it for gaming and writing.

2004

I checked out a Canadian bulletin board exclusively devoted to online gaming using a forum style. I loved it and joined a group. Then was asked to run my own as well. We soon had a following of more than twelve folks in Owerton. Due to trolls and others out there, the site was sabotaged and became unusable, instead of repairing it we all decided to move on else where. A few of the team followed me to the new bulletin forum. Again within a year it was sabotaged by trolls and spammers.

I decided to make our own forum and began looking for a host and a development team.

2006

Yuku forums became our platform. A customized forum was created by their team and security was set with strong privacy settings. In the first year eleven players were invited into being members and posting.

Owerton game became solidly rooted and strong.

We settled into a core of five posters.

Over the years I married, kids and five grandchildren arrived. Work became a strong focus and the priority. Writing faded in most forms except the Yuku board.

2009

Checked out Word Press. Awesome platform to express and record thoughts and writing.

2013

I joined the local writing group.

2014

Required to take short term disability leave due to illness.

I am making a second attempt at writing a novel, with using this new free time.

My fantasy novel ‘Laret’ is reopened for developing.

As well our writing club has asked for more submissions, I took up Dragoman Bloodgrue to be my focus.

Bloodgrue has been a recurring figure over the years when ever Mount Oryn was in my view.

This Blog is a place for snippets of Bloodgrue’s ventures in the Royal City of Mount Oryn to be posted.

I hope you all enjoy this.

Leave comments here or feel free to contact me at:

rusty_knight@yahoo.ca

Thank you readers and followers all, for your attention and dedication.

Comments

Greetings from Rusty

Hello,

Rusty, the Author and Keeper of Owerton making a note for you.

This page is to place FAQ and a PayPal Donations button is now in the footer on the blog page.

If you enjoy Owerton and the associated parts here and want more to be written, more often then every few months, please make a donation as this will help open up time to write, edit and publish.

I thank you all and find Becca Wei’s, Almost Spring, template great for our use. Thank you for the development of this template Becca.

I would also like to thank Word Press for their ongoing development of these forum blogs.

owertonna.com is the webpage hosting this blog under a front page tab labeled,  notes.

owertonna.com is in dire need of rebuilding to polish it into a more friendly and informative webpage for the world of North Amara.

All comments of even registered users must be approved by me before posting.

Take care everyone and enjoy reading. Currently the format I use to post in is being revised and tested. What will make this a success is your input on what you see needing improvement, removal, added or is great the way it is.

All Bloodgrue posts are going to be re-edited as time permits. Again fill me in on your thoughts.

Thank you, Rusty

Comments

Western Madison, Noah’s

Noah being Bloodgrue’s oldest friend, sometimes meets up with Bloodgrue for an ale.

Bloodgrue decided he was taking a free day and visiting his friend. Noah, 21 as of Spring 16 Bear, is a Toymal of slighter than average build but he makes up for the slighter build with a larger personality. Part of his intrigue for Bloodgrue.

One of Noah’s issues in his personality is when he wants something … he wants it right now. No patience at all and that can at times make life a little interesting when one is around Noah.

Noah lives in the Western Madison ward in the North Docks of Mount Oryn. It is an interesting place even without Noah. Add Noah and the salt hits everyone’s wounds.

Choosing to visit Noah takes some forethought. Being a Master Dragoman, Bloodgrue has freedom to travel the area without harassment, or supposedly he does.

Summer 21 Bear is calm but very cold as the two gods begin their journey. Bloodgrue knows to wait until the light of the gods shine upon Mount Oryn before he travels to Western Madison. Though, a smaller ward, the 12 square blocks hold some of the unruliest Toydon in the city. The labourers and apprentice tradesmen who live there, live almost as large as Noah, and that is certainly large.

No self respecting Jalnoric or middle class would willingly walk the few streets alone. But Bloodgrue is known to the residents, he receives joking and ribbing of all kinds but no one harms Bloodgrue. A kind of disrespectful respect. They like him and he is relatively safe there. That’s what matters but Bloodgrue does not push it too far and shows as much respect as Bloodgrue can.

The thing that makes this even odder is few know that Western Madison is his destination when he travels. You would think for safety he would inform as many as possible, but he does the opposite.

Turning from Oak Street to Fifth Avenue Bloodgrue glances ahead. This is the unofficial ward boundary. He is entering from the north, this is the most observed and runs varied risk depending how the residents like you. But few are unaware you entered when you go in here.

Bloodgrue laughs, today nothing will make chills run him. These are his friends as much as any are. Calling out Bloodgrue shouts, “I’m home honey. Where is the ale?” He hears laughter as two bull of Toydon males walk from the shadows. Both clap Bloodgrue’s shoulders.

“Nice to see you brother.” says the taller fellow. The other offers, “Noah’s in good spirits today he might even buy you an ale. Same place as usual brother, don’t trip on the way. You know you lose your pouch when you do and no one can find it.”

Both men smile. Those who don’t know, might be intimidated but they both go back to their observation seats. Bloodgrue has been assured his passage is safe and he has help if needed, Bloodgrue will be leaving Western Madison unharmed.

Walking the next block, Dragoman Bloodgrue receives a few more greetings of good will. Someone even threw him a loaf of bread. Narrowly missing his head, the heavy loaf looked relatively fresh as he caught it, probably baked today. He smiles and waves back, understanding almost no other Jals get such a passing greeting. Especially  someone of his ranking in the social classes.

Taking a bite, Bloodgrue wonders why he doesn’t visit more often. But he knows folks are simply feeling good today, tomorrow could be a whole different story.

Entering the Red Square tavern, it is easy to find by its sign with an Ox-blood red painted square, on an old wooden square sign hanging from ropes out front of the building. Bloodgrue smells the old stale ale that has built up over the decades, some areas of the floor being slightly sticky to walk on but most parts are okay.

Spotting the small man with the large personality, Bloodgrue smiles and approaches the table.

“Hey there grumpalot. Beaten any Jalnoric tradesmen up recently?”

The man shouts, “Gents look. A Middle class snob of a Jal. Bring him over here for a tuning.” The patrons laugh knowing both just offered greetings on friendly terms today. Likely meaning no fighting which means no damage or injuries. An old Toyfem brings two foaming ales to the table and sets then down. She smiles at Bloodgrue. Bloodgrue utters “You expect me to pay for that you old crone? There’s the man with the money sitting there already. Put it on his tab.”

Bloodgrue, as is his custom, only came with a regular coin purse containing ten dusters. He takes the purse from his belt, counts out four dusters and puts his purse back to his belt. Then, turning to offer them to the woman, he fakes her out and gives her a hug instead. “Hows tricks, Willa?” She eagerly takes his hug and offers a return. “Good, you young brat. Good to see you Blood.”

Releasing the hug, Bloodgrue gives her the four dusters and smiling sits across from Noah. They quickly clasp arms and soon the greetings are over. After the ale bought for the host, and friends greeted in open fashion, its now time to enjoy a good old visit.

“So Noah, who you been beating up this six day?” asks Bloodgrue.

Noah quickly answers in customary Toydon, “Your wonderful pa. He stiffed Reg again. You want to talk to him or should I?”

Frowning Bloodgrue answers, “You talk with him, I’m done. He doesn’t listen to his offspring.”

A young man walks over and Noah nods while saying, “Go collect.”

Bloodgrue asks, “Okay business done? Can we just visit now?”

Noah nods, “Been waiting for a friendly visit from the new Dragoman. You want our territory? You need to work for it, then we visit.”

Smiling, Bloodgrue reaches for his ale, as does Noah. They look each other in the eyes and wait.  … A coin drops on the floor and both men guzzle their drinks as quick and clean as possible. Custom has it the first done wins, but for every drop spilled you lose count. The one with the best count after penalties and all, can make a claim on the other. These two have done this so often some observers wonder if they even carry the challenge on in their sleep. No one would be surprised if the two did at the exact same time of day while in their sleep. It is never guaranteed who will win between these two men. There is almost never penalties applied. That said, they are pro at this and no one here challenges either man unless seriously willing to lose the challenges.

Bloodgrue sets his mug down with a tap. Then Noah does like wise; both men finished. The old Toyfem, smiling, observes the floor, chairs then table, mugs and finally the clothes. Smiling she looks around. “No pen. Clean drink. Winner is Blood.”

There’s a loud cheer from the patrons, more than a dozen total. Now, losing some men might get huffy and upset. Noah though, smiling offers a clasp of arms. “The territory is yours brother. You’re free to travel, I’ll let the others know.” Another cheer erupts.

With a smile Bloodgrue shouts out, “Okay you lot, shut up and drink. By the way who’s buying my next one? This one seems to have leaked dry.” Three hands go up as well as yet another rousing cheer.

Three mugs of ale are laid on the table and Blood pushes one to Noah as both men smirk. Blood asks loudly, “Any other business?”

There is a fifteen count of silence, then Blood and Noah slam their fists on the table together. Both call out, “Closed!”

The rest of the afternoon goes by with the two slowly drinking ale, sharing stories, mostly lies laced with truths. Folks wander over and talk with the two friends freely. Some leave gifts in exchange for tidbits of outside wisdom or a judgment from either man. But these type of interruptions are few. Most visits are simply socializing or well wishers. A good solid happy day for all involved. For a few hours Bloodgrue and Noah can relax as no one seriously bothers either when they are together. No one confronts them when they are together as it is double trouble intensified three times. As everyone knows, even when the two are fighting each other, if someone cracks either, then the two have each others back until its over. There are no better and trusting friends and everyone in this area respects that.

Evening begins to roll in and Bloodgrue empties dry his fifth ale for the day. “Ready to walk old friend.” asks Blood as he sets the mug down.

There is the silence of sadness in the Red Square Tavern, but all knew it would come to this. They just hoped Bloodgrue’s departure would  be later.

“Yup, I need to piss anyway.” They stand and walk towards the door.

The young Toymal sent to collect earlier, steps into the Tavern and approaching Noah. He offers Noah a small sack. There are bruises on the lads knuckles and droplets of blood stained on his forearm sleeves. Bloodgrue sighs and offers, “Did he pay full due?”

The lad nods fearfully. Bloodgrue nods and clasps the lads shoulder, “Its all okay. He needs to pay or stop borrowing. We’re good, you and I.” The lad sigh but knows not to smile, Noah takes the sack and opens it. He takes two coins out of the sack and hands them to the Toymal collector. Bloodgrue notes the metal, Dyns they are. Noah hands the sack to someone else and it disappears into the back of the tavern. The two know not one coin will be missing when Noah checks it later.

They walk back towards Oak Street and the greetings continue. At the house where Bloodgrue received the bread, Bloodgrue walks to the step and places four dusters down on the highest step. As every where Toydon live, the coins will only be picked up by the house resident. There is honor among folks even here. It is rarely broken and usually only broken on result of death. The most hungry person here will not voluntarily pick up even one of the coins.

So Bloodgrue came with ten dusters, he paid for the first round at their table with four duster. He left four on the steps, thus he has two left. He takes these in hand, as is his custom as he is leaving, and looks around then to Noah who is waiting. Together they start walking and Noah points to the left of the two men. A young Toyfem with child, approaches silently. She cautiously and waits as the friends stop. Bloodgrue gives her the two dusters. “Ena, send someone to Terington Inn and be sure to tell the man there your name. You are looking for me in room six. There will be two Dyns on the dresser they are yours to take.”

Turning away, the two men continue their walk to Oak Street. “Where is her family Noah? Who is the father?”

“Blood, she took it upon herself to sleep with an outter Toy. We don’t know who he is. Her family left her on the street. Thank you my friend, I will match yours.”

A simple reply, “Good enough.”

At the boundary, Bloodgrue waves to the observers, “Good day gentlefolk, Even you Miss Reren.” There is a group cheer, good day, and a few chuckles on the east side of the intersection. Bloodgrue offers his arm to Noah in farewell, but, Noah being who he is, ignores it and embraces Bloodgrue in a Toydon hug.  Smiling, he backs away. “Hope to see you again brother. Safe travel home. Was that address yours?”

“No brother, I live in room six on the second floor over at Tempest Tavern and Inn. But Arlen lets me drop off at Terington Inn. Its a safe room if you need it, two dusters a six day. See you later brother. Don’t lose too much of your blood next fight.” They laugh and Bloodgrue heads toward Tempest.

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