The Storm: Part 2

Korbel's one-shot game

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Benedict
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The Storm: Part 2

Post by Benedict » 26 Feb 2017, 09:52

Some weeks later...

Spring has finally arrived, the scenery once again transformed by the eternal cycle of life and death. Bare ground now hidden beneath young green grass, and leafless trees donning their flowery attire. All kinds of animals, from the lowly ant to the mighty eagle, all labor in this time of rebirth. The serenity of the meadow is broken by a harsh and foreign sound.

The cacophony of clashing steel.

Two armored figures are standing in the middle of the meadow, both brandishing long training swords. One is wearing a battle-worn set of armor, composed of various pieces of plate, maille, and linen. The other, resembling a silvery statue of a man, is clad in a highly polished exceptionally crafted suit of plate armor, covering the man from head to toe. Ten men armed with spear, shield, and maille, surround the pair in a wide circle, and two weapon racks bearing various implements of war are placed behind the guards.

The man in the ragged armor raises his sword in the high guard, a move mirrored by his adversary. Suddenly both attack with diagonally downward cuts and their blades clash. After a short pause the outcome is clear: the first winds his blade around the silver statue's blade, cutting his opponent's inner forearm then bashing his shoulder with a pommel strike in one flluid motion.

Both combatants step back and raise the visors of their helmets.

Then the man in the silvery armor, clearly Lord Erich, speaks.
- Good job Ruthard... It seems I forgot a thing or two.
- It's only natural Lord Erich. I've been doing this for a living as long as I can remember myself. You on the other hand are a Lord now.
- True. That's two points for you young one.


Turning to the guards, Erich says:
- Give me my shield boys, we're gonna try something different.

The guards give Lord Erich a blunt arming sword and a heater shield.

Likewise, Ruthard walks up to the weapon rack and picks up a sturdy club and a heater shield too.

Without a word Erichh rushes at Ruthard, pushing him off-balance with the shield. As the albino stumbles to retain his footing Erish presses the attack. A wicked blow with the rim of the shield, that Ruthard evades by jumping back at the last moment possible.
- I haven't forgotten everything it seems... That's one point for me.
- True. Besides, I'm a renowned swordsman, not an armsmaster.
- You see, many times you won't have the luxury to pick your favotire weapon.


Without a word Ruthard lunges at Erich, who expected exactly that. With uncanny speed for his age, Erich bashes Ruthard at the shins, but the blow is nullified by the albino's armor, who hits and pushes with his shield Lord Erich, knocking him square on his back.
- I'd never assault a downed man during practice.
- I expected as much from you young one. That's two points for you. Again.


Erich walks to the rack and grabs a long pole.
- Grab your sword boy.

Ruthard discards his gear and grabs his sword. Then they start circling each other, looking for an opening.
- Come on, attack me! demands Lord Erich.

Without hesitation Ruthard complies. The familiar dance starts again. The sword dives from the high guard, the pole blocks its descend, the blade snakes around the haft, and with a sudden reversal, a heavy pommel thrust hits Erich in the belly.

Ruthard steps back and flashes a grin.
- I believe that's the fifth, and final, point.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 26 Feb 2017, 10:34

- Yes it is, you've won! - Erich is winded more than Ruthard, but he tries to hide the fact.

For the last weeks he was holding Karl's wife Hilde, and his son Otto, hostage in a room on second floor, always guarded by his men. And Karl and Ruthard were forced to work for him. Until now, he didn't speak with them much, usually busy in his room, or talking about politics with his guests. But yesterday he received a message which clearly intrigued him. This morning he spent some time preparing his armor, and then asked Ruthard for a practice fight. Now, after the match, he takes him to his rooms to speak without witnesses.

- You did very well, you must've spent years with a sword in hand - he starts.
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Benedict » 26 Feb 2017, 10:47

- You know my reputation Lord Erich. There's a reason I am called the "White Devil", besides my strange appearance. This is no boasting, only plain fact.
A measured pause to gauge Erich's reaction, then continues.


- I hope this won't offend you, I'm only being honest and to the point. I can say that you proved honorable and worthy of your title. In all honesty, I didn't expected as much. That snake Georgius with his vile experiments controlling the villagers... I really thought you were behind this. Turns out you were played by that bastard.
Ruthard winces at the mention of Georgius, and spits as if to clear his throat from that vile name.

- As two men of honor - one a captain of men, the other a domain lord - I ask of you. What is your intentions and dispositions towards me and my friends?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 26 Feb 2017, 11:37

- Let's leave Georgius and all of this behind... What are my intentions? I'll be honest, when I saw you fighting, I was impressed. How you overcome my guards was really masterful. You reminded me about my past days, when I was a young soldier just like you, with sharp steel and passionate heart. Sentiments aside, I realized I could use your skills sooner or later - and this opportunity has come just now. I need you to deliver this letter - he reaches under the desk - to baron Siegfried von Altenburg. This is very important and under no circumstances let anyone else open it, give it to baron himself. You'll take two guards with you, they'll show you the way to his castle.

Erich walks to the window and looks outside.
- But that's not everything... - he lowers his voice - not long ago, archbishop Paul has gone missing. I've found out that he is probably secretly held in Siegfried's keep. A person like him could be used in political plays like the most powerful weapon, forcing church to make certain... moves - his face looks dreamy for a second - and Siegfried's recent behavior clearly states that he's preparing for something big.
He looks at Ruthard, making sure he follows.
- The thing is simple. When you'll get there, you'll find a way to bring archbishop to me. In return I will release you - and Karl, Hilde and Otto.

- Obviously, they won't let you inside the castle armored. But I can give you this - he presents a black gambeson, very nicely shaped, with silver buckles and other accents - this is a fully functional armor, but looks very in place on court or in noble's rooms and that's exactly what I've used it for when I was younger. Please, try that... See? Almost perfect for your build... And Ruthard, you will have to improve your manners - he points at saliva on the floor.

- What do you say? Can you manage that?
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Benedict » 01 Mar 2017, 07:09

- I've sworn to protect Karl and his family. Yes, I will do as you ask. Or die trying.

- However I have two requests of you Lord Erich, please consider them carefully before you answer.

- First, should I fail in this mission - which means I'd be dead - I ask that the family of my friend will be well provided.

- The second concerns my company on this venture. Remember Hans Foth, the person those hounds were hunting? With your permission I'd like him to aid me in this. He could pose as my servant, as I will be your emmisary. His skills and disposition will be a boon in bringing the bishop here. Also, two men enhance the chances of the mission's success, should one perish. I believe it won't be too hard for your men to locate him.

- So, what say you, Lord Erich?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 01 Mar 2017, 11:59

- I give you my word, I care about Karl because he's one of the best guards I could have. And his family will be safe, at least as long as I can provide that. Keep in mind your task is very important. And don't even think about failure, baron will be aware that it is me who's sent you and if he finds out what you were trying to do for me, we're all doomed. He's got more men and resources and we are not ready to oppose him.

- But about this Hans you were talking about... You overestimate my power I'm afraid, I'm not emperor. Yet. And I need my men here. If you want, you can tell those two guards from your escort to try and find him, but I wouldn't be overly optimistic about this. If professional man-hunters are after him and they can't catch him, what are my men supposed to do? we don't even know where Hans is and we don't have the time to look for him, we need to hurry and capture archbishop while we still have the opportunity to do so.
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Benedict » 03 Mar 2017, 05:42

- Let's leave Hans out of this then. Even if my gut feeling says he will play a part in this.

- Your word that my friends are safe my Lord is the greatest boon you could provide for my mission's success. Since time is of the essence I will be off immediately. But before that, one last thing.

- I am a mercenary captain, not a courtier. Any advice on what to expect from Siefried and his court?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 03 Mar 2017, 10:47

- Well you're not going there to negotiate anything, just to deliver the message. He will treat you like a servant I guess and won't speak with you much, he's too proud to deal with people of low status. But if he does, just answer politely and ALWAYS call him a Lord. Act with respect and you should be fine, simple as that.

He pauses for a while, gathering thoughts.
- His men will probably be quite suspicious, I bet they will search you once or twice. And they're usually not the nicest persons in the world - just grin and bear it, you don't need any trouble - Erich smiles.

- As far as I know - I've been there on occasion - Siegfried has got dozens of guards in his castle. Most of them are simple crossbowmen, performing basic duties on walls... but there are also professional men-at-arms, well equipped - be aware of them, they have seen many battles like you and I.
Baron Siegfried is very wealthy and he's got more knights as his vassals then my lord does. Hundreds of peasants work for him in numerous villages. But archbishop Paul is influential, too. They say he's friend of the emperor himself. I'll have to think how to use him for maximum benefit of ours - we could play his saviors, ad exemplum - but now the most important thing is to bring him here. Hopefully, without Siegfried noticing the fact too early.


Quite unexpectedly, Erich lays a hand on Ruthard's shoulder.
- You're everything I... I mean, all of my hopes are in you. Now go, the horses are ready.
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 04 Mar 2017, 09:59

Next day...

A stone throw away from the road, under a big single hazel tree, Ruthard spots a group of people. An old woman in ragged clothes, two peasant men and a priest. One of them is holding a rope and it looks like the woman is trying to explain them something.

Ruthard slows a little, but one of the guards hurries him:
- Come on, we have a work to do.
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Benedict » 08 Mar 2017, 12:55

- I know. However something looks off place here. Be vigilant men while we approach.

Ruthard approaches the people on horseback, ready to draw his sword.

- Good day to you. Is there a problem here good people?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 09 Mar 2017, 09:31

The guards stay a few paces behind.

When Ruthard closes, he draws everyone's looks. The first to respond is the priest, young still but with the first signs of rounding around the belly. His long hair reach shoulders, and the face is dominated by a big crooked nose. He's wearing ornate robes.

- And what makes you think so, you weirdo? Leave us alone - he's frustrated, but at the same time he fails to hide the fact that his voice is a little shaky, like from fear or maybe just lack of confidence.

The men accompanying him exchange questioning looks.
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Benedict » 09 Mar 2017, 13:20

- You are quite indignant for a priest, aren't you, chubby? You should hold on the insults when I'm cordial to you. Especially when you are unarmed. While I am *not*.

Ruthard draws his sword an inch, a not-so-subtle reminder that he is armed, then adresses the old woman.

- Hey oldster, is there a problem?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
― Touchstone
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 09 Mar 2017, 14:01

The priest tries to give a hasty step back, steps on his own robe and awkwardly falls to the ground, painfully bruising his sorry ass. Then he retreats on his four, stands up and take to his heels throwing curses under his nose.
And his friends do the same, just without the shameful display of changing their positions to horizontal.

The old woman:
- Yes, beside the fact that I've just lost a well paying customer... But I believe he will come back to me sooner or later, this stupid priest. Oh, it's not this kind of business - she laughs seeing Ruthard's face - I am a fortune teller. And who are you?
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Benedict » 09 Mar 2017, 14:14

- I am a soldier. I'm sorry to frighten your clients away, its just that I've seen many strange things the past weeks. Three men with a rope and an old woman speaking to them? That did seem strange. As I said, I am sorry.

- But what is the problem fortune teller? Can I help?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
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Re: The Storm: Part 2

Post by Korbel » 09 Mar 2017, 15:05

- I'd rather ask: can I help you? You seem a very interesting person... Maybe you would like to find out what destiny awaits you?
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