Archive for September, 2014

Old wishes lantern

Summer 6 Bear

The brigand leader Jessep is not typical, not for a brigand, for we know he is the son of a Mount Oryn Earl. But Jessep detested his Father and that life style. He had everything, but chose to follow a different path of righteousness, clearing out a rogue’s guild that ruled in central Mount Oryn.

His Father’s reaction even further infuriated impulsive Jessep, who spoke back to Earl Driscol in not very kind terms. Resulting in Earl Drescol disowning his son,  Jessep, in response.

Now Jessep is a master with the Two handed axe and he knows no rival as an expert with one such as he. Taking this unrivaled skill and having no home to call his own, Jessep finally did what he desired so much. Challenge the rogue guild ‘Red Crosses’.

Red Crosses encompass two districts in their claimed territory. Jessep knows of about 60 members in the Guild and he aimed to defeat every last one personally.

—–

With many claims in battle Jessep is an unrivaled Master Axe man. He spent two years hunting down the members of the Red Crosses. Jessep had actually been so focused on his goal that the very Nobles he once sat with as friends now drove Jessep out of their districts.

Then there was the ending day, as he calls it.

Cornering the Guild leaders and remaining Red Crosses members in a Tavern in Central Mount Oryn.

Master Axe Man Jessep had called upon the City Watch to arrive at mid day. Jessep though planned to be at the Tavern much earlier.

Unfortunately as plans go this one got delayed as well. Jessep showed up at Crowsnest Tavern only an hour before the good City Watch arrival.

In Jessep’s rage, 32 people were killed and another 47 were injured during the battle, by both parties, with this conflict between Jessep and Red Crosses. A Lieutenant and a couple other members escaped the wrath of Jessep. Their Guild leader, Turin was captured alive, as the City Watch arrived.

True Jessep won the day, was bloodied and exhausted. But he won … Sort of.

The Guild’s escaped lieutenant put out a 50 Royal Flair bounty on Jessep’s capture, alive. Ten Royal Flairs for a dead Jessep’s head.

The City Watch executed Guild Leader Turin for his role in city life as a Rogue up to those disastrous days.

No one ended up happy, not even Jessep. He was pursued so relentlessly by folks wanting to collect the Noble Ransom of Fifty Flairs, his only choice is he had to secretly exit Mount Oryn.

Realizing his resolution to the dilemma would be his death, Jessep crossed the four kilometre wide river by barge, to go north into the semi wild north woodlands. North away from ‘civilized’ people.

He was accosted by an unaware band of brigands shortly after he arrived in the area, but again Jessep survived and he took leadership of that unruly band.

—–

Today Summer 6 Bear, Jessep has held that role of leader for more than a year. Leader of a Brigand band in the wilds of northern Kannoral, he had set them up with a well defendable hidden settlement of a few small buildings. Jessep kept the band culled down in size to keep their band easily manageable and to keep from attracting the unwanted attention of Kannoral’s Guard or Army. They have success so far.

Well, today he sits here with Joan Dearc, the band’s Wise Woman. Joan, a Jalfem of some 67 years age is chiding Jessep on his recent decisions, but Jessep is only partially listening to Joan.

Quietness … Jessep comes alert and Joan smiles, “Are you going to listen now that there is silence?”

Brigand Leader Jessep frowns upside down sarcastically , “Seven Hell’s Joan, you tell me this daily. Tell me something new. I am tired of the crap.”

Joan reaches for the lantern next to her on the table and then hands it rudely  to Jessep. “In about two hours the Gods, Stonewire and Imvor will pass the western horizon, taking their light from our sphere. Take this magical lantern of wishes and follow the path it guides you on. Can you do that you simpleton?”

Jessep laughs and looks at the old lantern he is holding. A well made old metal and glass, hooded lantern. With the reservoir full of lantern oil, the wick dry the lantern is ready. Jessep nods while laughing and then he answers good humoured, “What ever you say Joan. At dark when the Night Gods rule I will follow the path of light. You really want me to believe it will lead me to the resolution? This old lantern I have seen sitting on your table for two seasons?

Joan smiles demurely, “Follow its path and see you skeptic. For a leader you are awfully close minded. But that is probably your noble birth side. Don’t let it block you tonight Jessep. You want resolution? You want to lead? This will help you with both. Get out of here before I charge you several high fees for sitting in my house.”

Jessep chuckling answers slowly and dryly, “Only you get away with that Joan. Only you.”

Jessep departs Joan’s house and waits for the day gods to leave the sphere.

—–

Taking a small brand from his fire place Jessep lights the wick of the old hooded lantern. Once the wick is burning evenly Jessep closes the shutters enough to only allow limited light to escape. Enough light to see to walk through the extreme blackness of a Kannoral night, no more light than that. No need to warn anyone of his approach.

Dressing for the warmth of the clear skied night Jessep picks up the lit lantern and his Two Handed Battle Axe. Never leave home without it, is Jessep’s motto.

Jessep steps outside into the windy darkness of another Kannoral night. Frowning he notes the light is more to his right, Jessep walks into the brighter lit area. Following this method Jessep walks through the woods of the temperate north lands for two hours or so.

Frowning, as there is only two hours of oil left, Jessep stops, peers out into the night through slightly awkwardly squinting eyes. Eager ears tensely listening for any out of place noise.

He pauses, there was a hick-up from the darkness to his right. A suppressed hick-up, but he picked it out of the strongly determined cacophony of night sounds.

Walking towards the detected noise Jessep spots a dirty bare foot sticking out from under some obviously hastily placed broken bush branches.

Lifting his axe to be ready Jessep looks around the area then stops at the blatantly exposed foot. He can hear the muffled crying that sounds like woman’s sounds.

Jessep sets the dimly glowing lantern firmly on the dry ground of the forest’s littered floor. Then he reaches out suddenly and removes the cover of dead branches. “Come on out now. are you alone?”

What Jessep discovers is a poorly dressed Toyfem who is  obviously in her forties and hungrier than a Raven that has been involuntarily fasting. Taking a strong hold of her right, thin elbow Jessep stands her up. Jessep is satisfied she is alone and has been for some time.

Jessep coldly asks, “What is your name, if you understand Jal?”

To Jessep’s delight she responds in a very educated Jalnoric dialect, “Onna. Please don’t kill me Master Jessep.”

Jessep lets go of her arm slowly and he steps back into semi darkness, leaving Onna in full light of the old wishes lantern.

Amused but curious Jessep asks. “And how do you know me?”

Onna quivers somewhat frightened replying, “You are well known Master. We all fear your wrath and avoid you and your people the best we can.”

Jessep nods knowing a fearsome reputation out here keeps him safer. He curiously asks, “How do you come to be here alone?”

Onna falls kneeling on the ground, still in fear she answers, “I became lost while searching for healing herbs for my healer’s kit. In my panic to find my way out of your area I lost my kit. Spare me, I will leave your area.”

Jessep has been listening to Onna and calmly thinking. He laughs enthusiastically now, “Pick up the old wishes lantern. Follow the path it guides you on. I will be with you.”

Confused Onna does as directed by this most feared of brigands. She takes hold of the metal and glass, hooded light source and stands up shakily. Onna looks down and around, obviously lost and confused. She starts walking slowly. Jessep walks a little way behind her as Onna twists and turns through the night woods. The echoes of insects, birds, canines and other creatures are heard the whole time.

Onna stops and gasps, pointing at the ground near her bare feet.

Looking down Jessep nods and commands. “Pick it up. Is it yours?”

Onna smiles shyly but then quickly supresses the smile, “Yes.”

She carefully squats down and quickly picks up her newly recovered healer’s kit.

Standing back up she looks at the dusty pouch and then at Jessep, tears streaming down her thin face Onna enquires. “Now what?” she asks hesitantly in fear.

Jessep smiles knowingly with an answer already on his tongue. “We follow the path. My turn though, we only have an hour of lantern light now. Then we will have to wait for the gods to rise before walking further. Lets go.”

Jessep gingerly takes the old wishes lantern from Onna and starts cautiously following the uncertain path the lantern lights for him.

Confused but more afraid now of being alone Onna follows Jessep carefully. Her bare feet seeking clearly defined safe steps.

The duo walk for almost a full hour and then the light from the lantern slowly fades out, leaving the absolute darkness of night for the two of them.

Jessep almost curses  but then laughs, as he reaches for Onna’s hand. Jessep walks through the darkness with a new determination. Avoiding walking into most obstacles as he leads the way, then Jessep calls out after ten minutes or so. “Darious, I need light and food!  Quick man, or you will have restricted rations. Food for two, now at Joan’s.”

Footstep are heard rapidly scurrying through the area ahead, soon a young Jalmal is silhouetted by a dim light, running.

It is okay Onna we are at my village. You will have a meal, clean up and get your kit ready. You have a patient.” Jessep leads Onna forward carefully picking their way through the darkened obstacles. Walking her between the barriers of wooden and iron spikes out into the concealed light of his small hidden village.

A cough to their right alerts them another guard also is present and being vigilant. Jessep doesn’t respond as he leads Onna to a smaller building, maybe 20 feet square, with one obvious door and three windows on the two sides the pair can see.

Jessep opens the door abruptly and forcefully gestures for Onna to enter as a female voice calls from the musty interior. “Seven Hells knock damn it. About time you got back. Why are you so late?”

Jessep carefully follows Onna into the house and then carefully closing the weakened door. “Joan quit complaining, you knew I would be back. Your damn lantern ran out of oil but I saw the Village signal lamp luckily. Here is our solution … This is Onna, a healer with some observation skills, but gets lost way too easy. She will help cure your Bloodfires in your leg if you shut up and don’t complain. Complain too much and I will leave you die and Onna can have your house.”

A very excited and cheerful Joan laughs, “I told you didn’t I. Thank you Lord Jessep. You can go now. Don’t worry about the oil I have more.”

Joan  rapidly stands up onto her left foot and passionately hugs Onna. “Hello. Don’t mind him he is always that way. He is leaving us to our work. Thank you for coming.”

Onna is even more confused by all this, returning the unexpected hug from this strange old woman who seems to get away with back talking to a man deeply feared by many.

As Jessep opens the door to leave he calls back, “Darious is bringing two rations for the two of you. You might cook it this time Joan, at least for your healer.”

Jessep closes the door behind him and frowns sadly. There is enough darkness left he should be able to rest for a few hours.

Jessep walks tiredly back to his quiet house and acquires rest.

In Joan’s house Onna looks at Joan’s right foot and leg. The Bloodfire is deep and hot. “I will have to cut it off before treating for Bloodfire but I have the things I will need. At the knee will be best.”

Joan frowns unhappily, grumbling ashamed, “Seven Hells lets get on with this. Yes, the knee. But you will have to work for me afterwards until it heals over. Understood?”

Onna still not certain if this is real or a delirious dream, nods in acknowledgement. Setting out her tools and supplies conveniently located. Onna is startled as a knock raps sharply on the door and a young male voice calls in Jalnoric, “Food for two.”

Joan now has a little slurring of her words from her medicinally liberal use of rum, calls back. “Darius bring it in and cook for us.”

The light weak door opens gingerly and Darius steps cautiously in setting the two rations on the near by table, “Sorry Joan, I can’t. I am still on watch. I have to get back to my post or Jessep will dock my rations.”

Joan sputters, “Damn him and his rules. Okay get lost, I will eat later.”

Laying prone on the room’s dirt floor, with a basin under her dark red leg at the knee, Joan bites down on the willow branch as Onna cuts off Joan’s right leg. The stench from the retched Bloodfire is strong but Joan doesn’t notice as she passes out.

Joan got her wish. A resolution to her Bloodfire in her right leg, caused by being viciously bitten by a small local domestic cat.

Summer 7 Bear

Jessep awakens and as he dresses for the day he recalls his last night of events.

Dressed, Jessep walks quickly over to Joan’s house and unceremoniously enters. He spots Joan sleeping soundly uncovered on her feather mattress bed, but missing her right leg at the knee and down.

Onna is curled up tightly near the burned out fire pit, with a worn aged blanket protecting her from the cold cruel world.

Joan’s lower right leg lays on the dining table, clearly cut off with precise expertise.

Jessep picks up the diseased leg and exits the house quietly closing the house door behind him.

Walking over to the small confined, village burning pit Jessep quickly tosses in the stinking rotting flesh, then tosses in a bucket full of sulphur scattering it on top of the dark red flesh. Watching the flesh burn Jessep wonders how this will all evolve.

Onna will be part of their village now.

Hopefully Joan lives as well.

 

Challenge contributions:

September 12 2014

oldAria – Favorite creature: Penguin

lantern Aria – Person would like to know from history: Joan of Arc

wishesAria – If could teleport any place for one day would like to go to an old Scottish castle

SummerAria – There should be more tolerance in the world

6Aria – Doesn’t like super heroes

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Notice to Readers and followers;

Thank you, too all my readers.

At this time I would like to make a note for you.

The post was missed on a couple occasions recently due to moving my office.

My next regular post for the Blog will be on Friday September 26 2014.

As a new twist, one of our followers asked me to write a piece based on another character and in another location in the world of North Amara. I cheerfully take up this challenge. She supplied me with the challenge word contributions to get the post started. The location and character have been chosen. So the Friday post will involve a character named Jessep and take place in a stronghold called Owerton. I hope it will be worth your waiting.

Thank you and until September 26, peace be with you and good tidings
Rusty.

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Legit fearless daughter

Summer 76 Bear

Bloodgrue looks at the young new customer, a girl standing expectantly in front of him. He is contemplating her current request.

The east winds are very cold today and this girl was very annoying in making her request.

Bloodgrue knows not all his customers are interesting, good looking, or have decent personalities. But Elina annoyed him as soon as she started speaking. Bloodgrue wants to turn her away but he could use the work currently.

The destination is well known to him and he can make a full day of it and see some friends.

West Madison, the low class Toydon region on the North Docks. Strict in its acceptance or rejection of outsiders and she is an outsider even if her claim is correct. Which is yet to be seen.

Bloodgrue looks intently at Elina wondering what annoys him so much about her. She isn’t pretty, not even plain. But you can’t really call her ugly. Her voice isn’t as grating as some he has listened too. She is tall, but skinner then anyone Bloodgrue recalls seeing of her height. Taking a guess, five foot ten inches or so, but less than one hundred and fifty pounds. Considerably less by Bloodgrue’s guess.

She tells Bloodgrue she is a weaver and has saved enough coins to pay for his services.

Seven hells Bloodgrue got it, its her personality! There isn’t any. She has an unappealing personality because she presents as neutral with no emotions. Damn that’s it! Okay.

Elina I want to take you to West Madison but it will cost one Dyns. Can you afford that? Another five dusters if I help introduce you. With no guarantees of acceptance by them. Understood. If they tell you to leave you leave.”

Elina takes a small red well made cloth sack she is carrying and pours the contents out onto Bloodgrue’s table. Dirty coins, they look to be hundreds of years old and that they might have been buried in the soil of some field. Carefully counting out fifteen dusters Elina pushes them quickly to Bloodgrue. While she sacks the rest of her coins Bloodgrue counts, six dusters. The coins are probably her sole remaining fortune, Bloodgrue can’t take it from her.

Bloodgrue cleans his newly acquired coins as he inspects them and says, “We leave in a few minutes. If you need to use the privy it is through that door. No mess please… We won’t be stopping until we get you to 1001 Lively Street. That is where the family you seek lives. Then it is up to them and you. Please don’t talk as we walk along our way. … And definitely don’t talk in West Madison until we get to the house.”

Bloodgrue surmises Elina is wise enough to follow instructions even if she might not be smart enough to understand them. But who knows with this girl if he is correct. Bloodgrue estimates she is around twenty years old, it would be easier to know if she cleaned herself up better.

When Elina enters the privy Bloodgrue places ten of the now clean dusters into his sturdy oiled leather West Madison pouch. The rest he drops into a small clean clay mason jar, then locks  the jar in his newly purchased oak chest with its thick walls and heavy class three iron lock. As Bloodgrue locks the lock onto the iron clasp Elina returns obviously more relieved.

Bloodgrue wraps his good cloth cloak around him and leads the way straight directly along Oak Street up to the 5th Avenue intersection.

As instructed Elina never spoke, but her insistent low soft moaning was annoying.

Bloodgrue stops and sighs looking at the distraught Elina. “Okay don’t speak and stop the mumbling moaning or any of that. Stand tall and look proud or you won’t get anywhere here. You say you’re a journeyman weaver. Folks here would kill to be journeyman anything. So be proud and you might succeed here. Understood?”

Elina silences and stands slightly straighter but does not speak in reply.

Bloodgrue sighs lightly and turns to look down 5th Avenue, shouting sternly, “I’m home honey. Where is the ale?”

Then leading the way he begins the short steps to the waiting point. Several metres later three burly Toymal and one burly Toyfem step out from the buildings near by and walk casually over to the pair.

The burly average height Toyfem enthusiastically claps Bloodgrue’s shoulder, “Nice to see you brother. Noah’s busy though so no audience today.”

Bloodgrue eagerly clasps arms with her and answers somewhat sadly, “Damn it to the Seven Hells what is wrong with that boy. I came all the way here not to see him. … Sorry girl I am on business for this customer. Streets safe today?”

The shortest Toymal laughs heartily, “For you! The same as usual. Go ahead Blood. Come back out this way though so we know you made it out safe.”

Bloodgrue respectfully clasps arms with the man while eagerly addressing him, “Thank you Shortest, you know I miss you too. I will come back out this way. If I don’t, I ran into trouble. Won’t be here after dark, promise.”

The other two respectfully slap Bloodgrue on the shoulder while nodding silently.

Internally Bloodgrue is relieved Elina stayed silent. There is trouble in the streets today.  Leading the woman without further word Bloodgrue walks to Lively Street and turns west.

1001 is at the far end of this quiet street. The poorest of poor, mostly families with only one parent reside here. This is such a poor district within North Docks that the streets are in dire need of repair. You need to watch each step you make.

Arriving at 1001 Lively Street Bloodgrue notes the old wicker door is on weak hinges. As he approaches the stone steps up to the sagging door a young girl of near fourteen or fifteen cheerfully address them as she friendlily opens the door, “Hello Master Bloodgrue. News is you are a Dragoman now for real.”

Bloodgrue smiling as he cheerfully retorts, “Well who is telling lies now Enna? I am only a journeyman Dragoman with a Freeman ticket and a North Docks Territory License. I want to be a Master but I am not yet, so stop telling lies. … How are you doing my young friend?”

Enna laughs and presents herself a slightly more alluringly. “I am not so little anymore Bloodgrue. A good Dragoman can use a really good apprentice right?

Bloodgrue sighs deeply with dark sadness, “No, Enna you aren’t as little as last time I was here. But I can’t afford to feed an apprentice yet. I will keep you in mind. Your mom and brothers home?”

Enna pouts but quickly nods “Yup.”  

With short bouncing steps she heads back inside. “Mom. Bloodgrue is here with some girl.”

The pair of intruding new comers wait outside as bare foot footsteps are heard. Then a middle aged woman comes out, wearing old worn dull looking thin buckram tunic and wool leggings. She is barefoot, though that is common for folks on this street. “Hello Bloodgrue. Thanks for helping my sister last time you were here.”

Bloodgrue nods appreciatively as he slowly tosses her his West Madison pouch. She smiles knowingly, and empties the ten dusters into her greyed hand, counting each single coin, handling them like long lost treasure only a few would ever see. She smiles as tears drop rampantly from both old appearing blue eyes. Bloodgrue notes the similar appearance from Elina to Anna while thinking, ‘It is possible.’

Before Bloodgrue can speak again though, Elina calls out softly but forcefully, “Momma?”

‘Well that brings the rat out of the hat’ thinks Bloodgrue, he steps back silently while Elina walks up to Anna.

Anna looks cautiously at Elina appearing to questioning everything present, “I don’t think so girl.”

Elina blurts out eagerly, “I am your legit daughter Elina. You gave me up to the Weaver’s wife twenty one years ago. It is you I know you are my Momma. I am certain. You have a scar behind your left shoulder, my adopting papa said.”

Bloodgrue grins slightly as Elina has Anna there, he saw the scar once when Bloodgrue met Anna to help with Dennan, when her ill son needed a healer and Bloodgrue brought the Healer into West Madison for them. It is about six inches long but quite faded, looked ragged like a tear or from a broken pottery gash.

Anna rapidly hands Bloodgrue his West Madison pouch, as is accepted custom by all in the area that Bloodgrue helps out. She tightly clutches the ten coins as she steps away, trying for some distance between her and Elina. “What do you want? You could of heard that anywhere. I have nothing. I never had a daughter twenty one years ago. I had only three children with my husband. He’s dead now. There isn’t anything to steal. Go away.”

Watching Anna Bloodgrue sees the fear he has seen in so many lower class women. She did have a child out of wedlock. It adds up in Bloodgrue’s mind strongly. Rejection and denial are the norm for these women. Society is cruel in some instances, women having children without the community knowing who the father makes for a very difficult life for the mother, as they are outcast from their homes and communities.

Anna acknowledging having Elina at this point would be devastating for Anna. After more than twenty years of denial this could break Anna.

Bloodgrue reaches for Elina’s elbow to try to lead her away, but Elina persists eagerly, “No. I didn’t come to take anything from you. I want to tell you, you can come live with me. I have my own shop and I make a comfortable income. I can take Enna on as an apprentice, she is my sister. Right?

Shock washes over Anna and she rushes inside her dark house.

A young boy of near eleven years and another slightly taller older boy exit the house. The older of the two boy talks first, “So you want us to believe you are our sister and you have come to give us stuff?”

Elina nods silently with some emotion now, of such sadness?

The younger boy simply walks back into the house without having spoke. Not really caring one way or another about this intrusion.

Dennan on the other hand stays and continues, “What gives  you the right to come here and say that?”

Elina states again, “I am your sister. That is what.”

Some people are more stubborn than others but Bloodgrue sees such strong determination here. Such a strong fearlessness wanting to be heard and accepted. Elina calls out again, “Momma I am your legit daughter I know my papa died before I was born. There is no shame.”

The cautious sound of slow bare footsteps on creaking wood floorboards is heard and then Anna looks out the open old door way, “He was such a generous boy. A dreamer. Wanted to be a warrior in the City Watch. Killed in training by a rogue trainee. … You can’t come here like this.”

Elina smiles, “But I did. I heard. Come live with me momma.”

Bloodgrue is revising his opinions of Elina, but not sure if his opinion is getting better or worse. It goes both ways for Bloodgrue.

Ladies I am leaving, you are on your own now. Both of you. Use the gift wisely.” Thus Bloodgrue steps away not knowing which way this will go. But Bloodgrue is needing to leave quickly as agreed at Oak Street.

Bloodgrue mulls over what had been said as he walks away. He had heard recently Anna had been seeing a recruit when she was twenty. He never heard any more about it though. One of those rumors Bloodgrue never listened intently to. But if he is going to be a Watcher Bloodgrue will have to start listening to all of them.

Bloodgrue hurries north along 5th Avenue back towards Oak Street watching both sides of the lonely deserted street which is getting darker by the minute.

Getting to Oak Street as Stonewire fully leaves the sphere dropping below the horizon and Imvor is on his way down as well arriving at the distant western horizon.

Turning to the east buildings Bloodgrue salutes quickly and politely. Calling respectfully to those watching, “I’m leaving Honey. See you soon.”

Walking out onto Oak Street Bloodgrue turns west to walk the long noisy distance home.

Oh well he will learn the outcome later, one way or another.

A small a stone wizzes past by his left arm as Bloodgrue is thirty feet or so along Oak Street. That was close enough he thinks. Slings and stones.

 

Challenge contributions:

September 9 2014

LegitMila

DaughterMila

FearlessMila

SummerMila

76Anonymous – None

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