Rose and Thorn: Prologue

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Toros
DM
Posts: 208
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:54 am

Rose and Thorn: Prologue

Postby Toros » Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:49 pm

Arabel is a sprawling city, and one of the major trade centers in Cormyr. In age, second only to the capitol Suzail. The citizens have historically had a rebellious nature, and the city was able to secede multiple times during her early history before being forcibly re-integrated. The people consider themselves Arabellan first and Cormyrian second, and they made no effort to hide this fact. In contrast with the rest of the kingdom, Arabellan citizens were allowed to own and openly wear weapons.

As is always the case wherever so much coin changes hands, there are those who live gilded lives and those who remain in abject poverty. In the areas where wealthy merchants lived, they competed to have the most opulent house, most exotic dishes at feasts. In the poorer areas, famine and disease were more common than rats.


On a day in early winter, several teens with worn and threadbare clothing had cornered a child no older than 9. The child had several wounds, ranging from a black eye to a split lip. They all appeared half-healed.

The leader of the teens, overgrown and pox-marked, pulls his lips back over chipped teeth in what might have been a smile.

"I heard you had a little run in with the guards, but you had already stashed it before they pinched ya. Lucky for you, that was the day you decided not to be a little bitch, for once. Now you're gonna tell me where you hid it or the beating we give you will make the last one look like love taps."

The child's eyes dart back and forth. He’s looking for an escape route that doesn't exist. A bead of sweat rolls down his temple, cutting a track through the grime.

"Real brave in front of the others, aren't ya?"

The teen laughs, but his smile had become a mere baring of the teeth. He steps closer to the child.

"How about I make you shit out your own teeth? Last chance Jerek, where'd you hide it?"



A flash of fear crosses the child's face, and for a moment he trembles. Desperation finally motivates him to speak.

"I... I'll f-fight you for it Dax. If you w-win, I'll show you. But if I win, you leave me alone!"

The child's fists are balled, shouting by the end. Like a cornered rat, fear left him. Dax, in contrast, seemed only encouraged. He turns to the others.

"You hear that men? This pipsqueak wants to challenge me!
Tell you what Jerek, you put up a decent fight or I'll cut your balls off so you can keep that lovely high voice the rest of your life."

Mean-spirited laughter echos off of the walls of the alley, which only grows louder as Jerek shakes with anger. He screams and throws a clumsy punch only to have Dax counter with a powerful strike to the midsection. Jerek wheezes and turns only to be knocked to the ground with a vicious left hook to the face, re-splitting his lip

"Get up you bitch, and fight."



Jerek staggers to his feet and spits out some blood, half doubled over. He lunges at Dax with another punch and Dax readies himself to catch it in his hand. Bending an opponent’s hand back until the wrist broke was one of Dax's favorite techniques.

Suddenly there is a flash of red and 5 inches of crudely sharpened metal blooms through the back of Dax's hand. Jerek releases the handle of the sharpened butter knife. Dax roars in pain and grabs his wrist with his right hand while Jerek slips past him.

A smaller teen with the beginnings of a mustache attempts to grab Jerek, who savagely kicks the teen in the groin. The teen is driven to his knees and lets out a whimper. Jerek begins to sprint away while murderous threats are yelled after him.

He runs until his lungs burn and vision swam, and then stops. Jerek draws a few ragged breaths and then dry heaves, but there was nothing in his stomach anyway. The streets are empty, night had fallen as he ran. Jerek painstakingly sneaks to a secluded spot just inside Arabel's fortified walls. He pulls on a stone, and it comes free from the mortar. Reaching inside, he draws out a small leather bag with cut purse-strings.

As he spills a handful of copper coins known as "thumbs" into his hand, the part of Jerek's face not swollen, cut, or bruised curls into a smile.

For the next week, maybe two, he wouldn't go hungry. Longer, if he could steal something else.
Image

Also, I play Galondel.

Toros
DM
Posts: 208
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:54 am

Re: Rose and Thorn: Prologue

Postby Toros » Thu Dec 24, 2015 1:08 am

A boy of 11 walks into the market square and looks around. Unlike most of the street urchins, he has bathed recently and his hair has been recently brushed. He flashes an innocent smile as the regulars see and make note of him. They grunt and move on with indifference.

From the south, a laborer moves with purpose through the market, heading home after a day’s work. He crashes into the boy, sending the boy sprawling. After being picked up a gruff “You alright?” is returned with a meek “Yes sir, sorry for getting into your way.” The laborer moves on, and Jerek watches him go.

Another scan of the marketplace doesn’t provide any easy marks, so he moves on. One of Jerek’s rules was not to steal from shopkeepers or regulars if he could help it. They had long memories and knew no one would ask questions if a street kid went missing.

After a few minutes of walking the sun set and Jerek arrived at a dilapidated shack with a green door, the home of Mr. “Falcon.” That door would haunt Jerek’s dreams for the next decade, though less often as time went on. It was an open secret among the street urchins that if you showed up after sunset, you’d leave the next morning with a silver piece, or “falcon”. Thus the pseudonym. Reaching to knock on the door, Jerek saw his hand shake, and frowned.

He took a few breaths to steady himself, and knocked three times. Mr. Silver opened the door, and the stench of old sweat and chicken grease swirled around Jerek.

“Go away! If it’s about the money I told them… Oh, it’s you! I was wondering when you would show up on my doorstep.”


Mr. Falcon’s eyes gleamed and he smiled with small yellow teeth in a gummy mouth. Jerek felt the urge to vomit, but nodded instead.

“Well, come inside so we can get a good look at you.”

Jerek moves inside, it is uncomfortably warm and a table is covered with old food and refuse.

“Ah yes, a little old but so handsome. You’ll certainly earn yourself a warm bed for the night.”

Mr. Falcon laughs, which loosens some phlegm that he spits on the floor. Jerek’s eyes dart to the two heavy wooden doors that lead off of the main room. Mr. Falcon opens one and gestures inside.

“Strip down so I can complete a more thorough inspection. I’ll be but a moment.”


Jerek undresses and folds his tunic and breeches before stacking them neatly. He faces the door and steels himself.

After a minute Mr. Falcon walks in, more cheerful and sweaty than he had been before. Jerek forces his face into the innocent smile he’s practiced so many times before, and Falcon strokes Jerek’s face. Bile rises in the back of Jerek’s throat. Jerek pulls the on the man’s hand with his left, and strikes with all his strength with his right.

A sharpened tent spike is embedded in Mr. Falcon’s chest, angled up into his heart. The man grunts, and a bubble of blood pops on his lips, spattering on Jerek.

His vison blurs and black spots appear. Jerek leans on the wall for support until he can see clearly again, then rapidly dresses and searches the corpse, He finds a keyring, a sheathed shortsword, and a coin purse.

Hurrying to the other door off the main room, he quickly unlocks the door. Inside, he finds a child of 6 or 7, in an iron cage. He begins trying keys on the lock as the child wakes up.

“…Jerek? Is that you? What are you doing here?”

“Yes Sam, it’s me. I’m here to get you out. Now shut up so I can find the key.”

“Key? But Mr. Silv-- Oh by the gods Jerek, what have you done? IS THAT BLOOD?”

Jerek manages to get the cage open but the child lunges out, screaming and scratching.

“YOU KILLED HIM! YOU RUINED EVERYTHING! I’LL KILL YOU!”


In a panic, bloody scratches down his face, Jerek manages to unsheathe the blade.

“Stop Sam! I don’t want to-“

The child lunges again, it’s face a mask of hatred and making animal sounds of fury. Jerek swings the blade, and it connects with the child’s temple with a sickening crunch.

“No… NO!”

Jerek pulls the blade free and looks at the dead body, which seems a lot smaller and less frightening than it seemed a moment ago.

He sheathes the blade and runs into the darkness. Jerek finds a quiet place, and only then do the tears come.
Image

Also, I play Galondel.

Toros
DM
Posts: 208
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:54 am

Re: Rose and Thorn: Prologue

Postby Toros » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:59 pm

A skinny boy, no older than thirteen practices swordplay in an alley.. A single torch and the stars provide light. His movements are practiced, copied from spying on guards while they trained. As the torch burns low, he sheathes the blade and wipes the sweat from his brow. Winter is underway in Arabel, and the chill air helps cool him as he catches his breath.

The torch is extinguished, and he crawls into a crate to sleep. It is old weathered wood, nearly the same gray as the stone walls. Inside hay and a ragged blanket provide some warmth, and sleep finds him with his hand on the hilt of the blade.

A scream pierces the night, high pitched and desperate; it is close. Jerek grimaces and tries to go back to sleep. An image flashes into his mind, of Sam’s last moments, of his own scream. Jerek’s skin breaks out in a cold sweat, and he no longer wishes to sleep. The rest wasn’t worth the nightmares.

Another scream is heard, and to the wakeful ear it is a young woman’s, or perhaps a girl’s. Careful steps bring Jerek out of his bed and to a ledge, and then a roof. He peers past a crumbling chimney, and sees a raven-haired girl in a red silk dress, a knife pressed to her throat. It was Dax, his hulking figure obvious even in the starlight. Dax’s other hand was pawing roughly at the girl’s body with an evil grin. He had a crossbow slung on his back, and two others Jerek didn’t recognize with crossbows pointed at the girl.

Something she said angered Dax, and he cut her face with his knife. She screams again, this time in pain and her hand flies to her bloody face. Dax laughs, a genuine joy at the misery of another.

A look of disgust crosses Jerek’s face that quickly blooms into fury. He backs up and charges his shoulder into the chimney and is satisfied as it gives way, stones tumbling through the air. A man’s scream rings out and is swiftly silenced as a fist sized stone splits his skull like a grape. The other man turns and fires his crossbow as Jerek ducks, the bolt skidding harmlessly across the rooftop.

“Get him!”

Jerek scrambles across the roof and hangs from the far edge, landing awkwardly on the cobblestones. He crouches down and draws his blade as the second man comes around the corner. He turns down the alley and Jerek’s heart beats so hard in his chest he is sure it will give him away. The man passes him in a moment that seems to last an eternity, and then Jerek lunges and slashes. Blood spatters and the crossbow falls. The man screams and whimpers as he realizes the back of his knee has been slashed and he is crippled. Bile rises in Jerek’s throat as blood pools, but he hears another scream and plunges his blade between the fallen man’s ribs.

He picks up the crossbow and walks around the building, and sees Dax holding the girl as a shield, knife still to her throat.

“Are you fucking kidding me? Jerek?”

Dax looks incredulous a moment before his face twists into pure hate.

“Someday I’m going to enjoy cutting you into little pieces, but for today I’ll make you a deal. Put down the crossbow, and leave or I’m going to gut her like a fish.”

Jerek appears to consider the offer for a moment, then fires the crossbow.

“Fuck you!”

It embeds into Dax’s shoulder, and he releases the girl. Jerek grabs her hand and runs with her down Arabel’s streets. He ducks down a side street and roughly pulls her into the shadow.

“I need to get back to the temple.”

He shushes her, and turns to listen for Dax’s heavy boots, which sound like he’s taken a wrong turn. She pokes him in the shoulder, hard.

“Take me to the temple of Sune, now!”

He shushes her again. She pushes him. He pushes her back. She stomps off.

“You’re going the wrong way.”

She stops, and stares at him.

“Fine. Just take me there.”

“Fine, now be quiet.”

They make their way across the city, across a marble square from the temple as the sun begins to rise over the horizon. For a moment, Jerek is in awe of the sheer beauty of the building, gleaming gold and covered in beautiful murals. He follows the girl to the heavy doors, and she knocks on them. A paladin opens the door, a worried look on her face.

“Did you get lost? Who is…” She looks Jerek up and down, her lip curling slightly. “That?”

“I was attacked, and he saved me.”

The paladin’s perfect eyebrows hike and she opens the door fully and gestures the girl inside.

“What is your name?”

“Uh... Jerek. What’s hers?”

The girl turns and smiles at him for the first time, and Jerek forgets how to speak for a moment.

“Anya. You know, with a bath you wouldn’t look so-” The color drains from her face as a curious sound like cloth tearing fills the air.

Jerek is confused a moment, as both Anya and the paladin are staring at his chest. He looks down and sees a crossbow tip sticking out of it.

He reaches up to touch it as darkness swirls at the edge of his vision, and tries to ask for help but all that comes out is a spray of bright blood.

His knees buckle and he doesn’t feel his head hit the cold marble tiles. He doesn’t feel anything at all.
Image

Also, I play Galondel.


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