Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:03 AM
Don't call it a comeback!
It's been far too long since FEEF's had a proper spritefic to keep up with. In the tradition of Metal Genesis, Burning Strike, and others, here comes a new story.
As with my other stuff, character submissions are open until I specifically declare otherwise. Post a mug in the thread and I'll do my best to work him (or her) into the narrative.
Table of Contents
Blonde-haired woman: Enough, captain. I won't hear another word of this.
Soldier: I've held my silence for too long, princess. I can't continue on in good conscience without letting you know where I stand.
Blonde-haired woman: You serve my crown, Corazo. Your opinion is appreciated, but my father's kingdom will not collapse under my watch. If you cannot abide how I conduct this house, then you are free to hang up your weapon.
Corazo: But— mercenaries, Princess Morgana?
Morgana: You question my judgement? Lord Virgil and his company protected my father for years before the war. Entrusting the safety of the capitol city to them bolsters our security without breaking the terms of the treaty.
Corazo: You know I would not dare, princess. I am simply offering my advice as your vassal.
Morgana: It seems the prudent decision to me, captain.
Corazo: All I ask is that you take my men as your guard instead of Lord Virgil's. Mercenaries are businessmen, Your Highness. Given enough coin, I cannot guarantee that one will not slip a blade between your ribs—
???: You wound me, captain.
Corazo: Virgil. I stand by my words, sellsword.
Virgil: Hn. You doubt the loyalty of my men, lapdog?
Corazo: Their loyalty to the crown, perhaps. Their loyalty to gold is unrivaled across the land. Would that the princess placed them under MY command—
Virgil: Oaths and promises do not a better soldier make. The view from the top is foreshortened, isn’t it, Corazo?
Morgana: Both of you. Enough. There will be no hostilities in this court.
Virgil: My apologies, Your Highness. I forgot myself.
Corazo: Please consider my words, princess. I have an arrest to make.
Virgil: Oh? Personally?
Corazo: The thief lord, Jericho. My man Derek has intercepted plans to strike a supply convoy.
Virgil: A worthy quarry. But have you men enough?
Corazo: …They will have to be enough.
Morgana: You could be far less combative with him, Virgil. More division is the last thing I will have in this country.
Virgil: Forgive me, Your Highness. If I may I speak freely?
Virgil: The captain’s heart lies in the right place, but he is a creature of war in a time of peace. Our spats used to be the conflict he seeks – but to go hunting a thief lord?
Morgana: I’m not sure I see your point. It is the duty of a guard to apprehend criminals.
Virgil: Jericho is little more than a myth, Your Highness. Nobody’s seen the man in person since the war. Corazo’s clinging to the past.
Morgana: You suggest I replace him, then?
Virgil: By no means. Despite our personal differences, I respect the man’s abilities – but we lost the war, Your Highness. Since the king’s exile…
Morgana: My father did not lose the war with Cyronne, Virgil. He made a treaty.
Virgil: ...Perhaps I spoke out of line. Never mind it, Your Highness. I’ll send some of my rookies with the captain.
…He’ll need them.
Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:04 AM
It is a period of rumbling unrest. In the twin kingdoms of Thecia and Cyronne, the dust of war is settling, both nations crippled by their recent campaign of attrition.
After the final surrender from Thecia, neither nation could retain the strength to stand alone – though enemies for the past six years, they formed an allegiance of necessity. The king of Thecia, ashamed in defeat and disgraced by having to rely on the very kingdom that bested him, now lives in exile.
Her military reduced to little more than the surviving city guardsmen, Thecia counts on mercenaries to protect her people, plagued by entire networks of bandits and thieves.
The mastermind of these attacks – a man known only as Jericho – manipulates the robberies of entire caravans from the shadows, and suspicious disappearances are on the rise...
Though the war has ended, the story is far from over. For one young mercenary, the true players are about to emerge – not kings and armies, but bandits, thieves, and the wretched and outcast, all linked by a place as old as the kingdom itself.
Welcome to the Underground.
Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:56 AM
Orange-haired boy: “Dear Sylvia— Hope this letter finds you safely. My—” Eurgh, no, that won’t work. Uh, “Dear Sylvia— Hope you and dad are both doing well…”
Orange-haired boy: “How long has it been since my last letter? I don’t know if the news will get home ahead of this, but—“ Tch, no, let’s see— “This letter might be a bit late getting to you. I’ve been re-assigned again, but get this: I’m in the capitol city!”
Orange-haired boy: “It’s farther from home, so I don’t think I’ll be able to visit much, but Plover and I both miss you. Wish you were here; the castle town’s every bit as grand as the books say! The money here’s better, too, so—“ Gah, no, she doesn’t need to worry about that. “I’ll be sending more—“ No…
???: Writing to your sister again?
Orange-haired boy: Hey, Plover. What's new?
Plover: She's so lucky to have a big brother like you, Lerion, all mushy and sentimental and all that shit. Here, let's have a look at that—
Lerion: My letter! Come on, give that back.
Plover: "I don’t think I’ll be able to visit much, but Plover and I both miss you..." Man, I don't give half a damn about home, I dunno what you're on.
Lerion: She likes hearing about you.
Plover: Oh, does she now?
Lerion: Not like that, asshat. Come on, I need to finish that and get it to a scribe's before Clerk's Boulevard closes—
Plover: Not tonight, you don't. We've got work.
Lerion: What, night watch? Don't remind me. I feel like the regular guards are stabbing me with their eyes every time I take a shift.
Plover: Nah, new orders from Virgil. We're to report to Captain Corazo's unit for some "special duty."
Lerion: You know that's code for "slave labor," right? He's probably just handing us some escort job the regulars can't—
Plover: Black Corazo, though! The guy's a legend! Come on, man, this could be something interesting.
Lerion: Isn't he the one always on about how much he hates mercs, though? Besides, I don't think "Black"—
???: "The Butcher of Haven's Pass."
Virgil: No saluting, gentlemen, please. I know you're rookies, but this is not the military. I am only your employer.
Virgil: An honorary title, if that. "Sir" is fine, if a bit... regimental.
Plover: Yes, sir. If I may — "butcher?"
Virgil: Yes. Corazo's other nickname. Perhaps you'll get to see how he earned it tonight, if he finds what he's looking for.
Lerion: ...Sir? All due respect, you never come down to the tavern. Is something wrong?
Virgil: Just delivering a message I didn't feel safe putting in writing. I need you two to keep an eye on Corazo for me.
Plover: Foul play in the castle, sir?
Virgil: ...Perhaps. He suspects me of treachery. Take his orders, but watch him closely — he is a man of honor, but...
Plover: ...you don't buy it. Will do, sir.
Virgil: Hn. By your leave, gentlemen.
Plover: "By your leave, gentlemen." Who the hell talks like that?
Lerion: People who pay us a lot of money. Let's go find this captain, I guess.
Plover: Your sister. She doin' okay?
Lerion: I thought you said you didn't give half a damn about home.
Plover: A quarter of one, maybe. I know she's important to you, and all that. You're my friend, and you give a damn, so... how's your sister?
Lerion: She's... alright, I think. I don't know how much the post between here and Cyronne censors my letters, but I only get a little bit of what she writes back.
Plover: What the hell in your letters could break the terms of the treaty?
Lerion: Eh. I tell her where you and I are, who we're stationed with, that kind of thing. In case dad keels over...
Plover: ...you want her to have names to ask after. I get you. Money okay, though?
Lerion: Now that we're in the capitol. Look at us, huh? 'Few years ago, we—
???: Stop! THIEF!
Lerion: —never mind. Gods, not a regular in sight. Catch up with you later, Plover; I'm gonna earn my keep.
Plover: Good huntin'.
Player Phase - Thecia City, Southwarren
Lerion: I know you're here, pickpocket! This street's a dead end!
???: For a guy in thirty pounds of armor, maybe.
Pickpocket: Up here, dumbass.
Lerion: You're... under arrest?
Pickpocket: Sure, if you can climb up here and get me, handsome.
Lerion: (A girl.) Don't think I'll go easy on a lady just because—
Pickpocket: Yeah, yeah, political correctness everywhere. Pleased to meet you and all that. Look, you're not a regular, I can tell that much from the fancy armor-- so you've got money even if you don't catch little old me. Do we really have time for this?
Lerion: ...Keep running, thief.
Pickpocket: Wait, you're not seriously going to—
Lerion: ...Tch. She couldn't even have been my age... Then why did I—?
Lerion: "Every bit as grand as the books say." Yeah, right. Why can't I shake this feeling something's wrong?...
((More coming in short order. Just wanted to post something before I sleep.))
Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:32 AM
Posted 17 September 2012 - 10:50 AM
((You guessed it -- Underground will be following the same chapter structure as Chronomancer, cycling through Player, Other, and Enemy Phases like the games.))
Other Phase - Thecia City Outskirts
Pickpocket: Three Silences, those mercs. Throwing a spear at me! Probably punched a hole in the roof of that house—
???: You there, halt!
Pickpocket: Oh, you are kidding me.
Guard: Sorry, ma'am, but I'm under orders to stop any outgoing traffic from the city for questioning.
Pickpocket: I, uh— I see. Is something wrong?
Guard: We're looking for a cutpurse who had her way with the market square earlier today. Short, dark hair, wearing cured leather, maybe carrying a knife— seen anyone matching that description?
Guard: A bit snarky, with grabby fingers, perhaps? Doesn't know how to keep a low profile to save her life?
Pickpocket: Okay, Sebastian, knock it off. I know that's you.
Sebastian: Heh. Nice to see you, too, kid. What was it, the helmet? The new ones don't really fit my head — gonna have to steal another, I guess.
Pickpocket: Yeah. The helmet. Totally.
Sebastian: Right. So what'd you find out?
Pickpocket: That the new mercs have shit aim, for starters.
Sebastian: I'm serious, Coltella. Is this going to work?
Colt: Hey, hey, no "-ella" while we're aboveground. Come on, you know that.
Sebastian: I'm sorry for impinging on your extremely well-thought-out alias.
Colt: Ah, shut up. Look, the guards know Jericho's up to something. There's a group of soldiers gathering outside the Southwarren gate to go on a manhunt.
Sebastian: You catch the unit number?
Colt: Fifth, I think.
Sebastian: ...Shit, Corazo's squad. I'm supposed to be posing as one of them.
Colt: I'm coming with you. I'll stay out of sight, I promi--
Sebastian: No, Colt. We went over this. Get back to the Underground and make sure Palia's alright. I feel uneasy leaving her alone.
Colt: Women and children to the shelters, yeah, yeah--
Colt: I'm going! I'm going.
Corazo: Our decoy "caravan" is nearly in position. You men remember the plan?
Soldiers: Sir, yes, sir!
Corazo: You two. You are prepared for this? If I had any other recourse...
Soldier: Prepared to lay down my life, sir.
Corazo: Hide yourselves in the false merchant caravan as soon as it crests that hill, then. With luck, Jericho will hold to his pattern and strike with a small group--
???: Captain Corazo, I presume?
Corazo: ...Bluesteel armor. One of Virgil's dogs? I told him I had men enough for this, damn it!
Plover: Just followin' the boss's orders, sir. We're at your disposal.
Plover: My, uh, comrade should be comin' up behind me. He got held up detaining a pickpocket back in the Southwarren.
Corazo: A common thief? The "specially trained" mercenaries do the Watch's job, now, do they?
Plover: Due respect, sir, there wasn't a regular in sight. (Maybe if you hadn't dragged a bunch off like this...)
Corazo: Tch. You and your "comrade" can--
???: Huff... huff... I'm here! I'm here.
Lerion: Reporting for duty, Captain.
Corazo: Red hair. A Cyronnian? Virgil sends the enemy to spite me?
Lerion: We'll do whatever you ask us, sir. Due respect, Plover and I've been living in Thecia since long before the war. We're no loyalists.
Corazo: And how can I be sure you haven't been paid off to sabotage me?
Lerion: I would never turn trait--
Corazo: Alright. Fine. Tch...
Corazo: ...Alright, Cyronnian, I've just had an idea. This is your day in the spotlight. In a few minutes, a merchant caravan will be passing through on its way to Ravenwood. You two will be hidden on it.
Corazo: You mercenaries want to prove your worth? This once, I am offering you a place in a Watch operation, against my every better judgement. The thief lord Jericho personally extolls money from this merchant every time he passes here. On my man's signal, you will reveal yourselves and delay him long enough for my unit to close in.
Lerion: That sounds like we're bait.
Corazo: It does, doesn't it? But it will not be Thecian -- or Watch -- blood spilt.
Plover: You son of a b--
Plover: This is suicide. Virgil's given us a death sentence. Jericho's supposed to be a crazy good swordsman.
Lerion: You wanted to see "Black" Corazo...
Plover: This isn't about that now! He could just pull out his troops and screw us over!
Lerion: He wouldn't. He's got a look in his eyes.
Plover: I'm not riding in that cart because you think you saw "a look in his eyes!"
Lerion: He's like you.
Lerion: He wants to prove something to someone. He wouldn't have gotten to where he is he wasn't at least a bit honorable...
Plover: Man, you are way too optimistic. ...Tch. C'mon. Let's go get in position.
Robed man: They are aware of us.
Masked man: I'd expect them to be, Caspar. We've been holding to this pattern for too long. Can you see their numbers?
Caspar: Mm... nine, all told. The captain, five soldiers-- no, four. Sebastian is among them.
Masked man: Ooh, that magnificent bastard. Suddenly I like our chances a bit better. The other three?
Caspar: Two Cyronnian mercenaries, and... hm.
Masked man: What?
Caspar: Young mistress Coltella.
Masked man: Kid just can't keep away, can she?
Caspar: Evidently not. Shall I make my entrance?
Masked man: When you please. I'm going to go have a chat with our merchant.
Plover: This is stupid.
Lerion: It's a good plan! In his eyes, we're expendable, but we've got more training than all those regulars put together. We've got a surprise for him in store. Have a little trust, huh?
Merchant: Hush down, back there. He usually comes out around here--
Merchant: Ah-- Jericho. Pleasure, as always.
Jericho: As much as I'd like to agree, you and I both know this is less than pleasant business. Now, you're a reasonable man -- I'm sure you have no problem with me taking a little extra this month on account of the mercenaries hiding in your cart.
Merchant: Mercenaries! P-please, my good man, I would never. You know I'm q-quite content with our arrangement.
Jericho: Indeed. You can come out, now, gentlemen. I've no intent to harm you or yours if I'm given what I came for.
Corazo: At the first sound of steel, we go in. Not too quickly -- I want to see what these mercenaries are made of.
Soldier: By your command, sir.
???: Ah, gentlemen.
Caspar: If I might have a moment of your time, Captain?
Corazo: At arms. State your name and intention, shaman. We're on sensitive business.
Caspar: I'm afraid you're mistaken, Captain.
Caspar: I am no shaman.
Corazo: Wait. That tattoo-- the Three Silences?
Caspar: Correct. I am Caspar, the Silence of Thought.
Corazo: A bold claim, stranger.
Caspar: No bolder than hunting a man like Jericho in the open. The "thief lord," you call him?
Caspar: Mm, there it is. Realization.
Corazo: I've no quarrel with your dead religion today, Silence. For whom have you come?
Caspar: All of you.
Corazo: Ready weapons, men-- not without a fight, you aren't.
Caspar: You misunderstand. I am not here for ministry. Business only, on my employer's behalf.
Corazo: And what business is that?
Caspar: Simply put -- to distract you.
Jericho: Only two, then? Caspar was right again. That's a drink I owe Sebastian.
Lerion: You're under arrest, Jericho. Resist and we will not hesitate--
Jericho: Yes, I'm aware. I've been given this speech a few times.
Plover: (Ler, come on.)
Jericho: Your allies are being dealt with as we speak, gentlemen. Please. There is no need for hostility.
Lerion: (We can take him!)
Plover: (You're a dumbass.)
Jericho: Tell me-- have either of you lads heard of the Underground?
Jericho: I thought as much. It's a movement I lead. There's money in it -- good money. Not as much as you make now, I'm sure, but we work on the far side of men like Corazo. What do you say?
Lerion: You think my allegiance is so easy to sway?
Jericho: Virgil's is. How long until he turns on you and finds a better deal?
Lerion: What do you know about Virgil?
Jericho: That he is by no means the gentle giant he pretends to be. His heart is as black as the rest of them, like it or not.
Lerion: He gave me the chance no one else would, you blaggard!
Jericho: Mmf! Good arm. We could use a fighter like you in the Underground.
Plover: Ler, stop--
Jericho: You're good, lad...
Jericho: ...if a bit too quick to act!
Plover: Shit, he can jump--
Plover: Gods dammit, that's a bad wound. You cur--
Jericho: He struck first. I defended myself.
Jericho: And what say you?
Plover: To what, your shady bullshit? No!
Jericho: Very well. The choice is y--
Corazo: Jericho. You are under arrest. Resist and I will not hesitate to exercise further force.
Plover: Corazo? That wound--
Corazo: I am aware, mercenary. A scar well-won for this prize.
Corazo: No other can claim to have bested General Jericho of Cyronne.
Jericho: It's been a long time since Haven's Pass, Corazo.
Corazo: Not nearly long enough. You, mercenary-- with me. Leave the wounded where they lay.
Plover: What? Like hell am I leaving Lerion to bleed out--
Corazo: Idiot. One of my men is tending our wounded. He'll care for your friend -- it's the least I can do for you sellswords now that you've proven your worth. I need you to help me with this lout.
Plover: ...Tch. Alright.
Plover: ...I'm comin' back for you, man.
Colt: Jericho in the castle's hands. Not good. Not good...
Colt: Hey, what-- Silences, he's alive.
Sebastian: I told you to go back--
Colt: Seb. They took Jericho.
Sebastian: ...I know. Caspar barely got out alive, too.
Colt: What're we gonna do?
Sebastian: We'll... figure something out. Here, help me patch this guy up.
Colt: I was just gonna take his armor. That's expensive bluesteel--
Sebastian: Colt. We are not killers.
Colt: He threw a spear at me!
Colt: Fine! Fine. You don't have to pull the name card, jeez. You got bandages? I used mine up the other week--
Sebastian: I do back home. His shirt'll do for now. C'mon, let's wrap him and get him standing.
Colt: ...You're seriously taking him home?
Sebastian: What else can we do? Palia can fix him up. Come on.
Sebastian: We're taking him to the Underground.
Posted 19 September 2012 - 04:30 AM
Also, if you're accepting character mug submissions, I may get to work on one--no promises, I'm way out of practice.
Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:42 PM
HERE'S AN UPDATE
Lerion: Mmn... hm?
Lerion: ...Huh. Bandaged. And... conscious. Where...?
Lerion: ...Nothing to do but try the door, I guess...
Lerion: Wh-- Okay, where the hell--
???: Goodness, awake already?
Lerion: Uh, hello.
Black-haired woman: Hi. We can't have you walking around with a wound like that, I'm afraid. Whoever hit you did a neat job -- that could open up again if you just lean the wrong away.
Lerion: Mmnh. I'll live. Look, I know I'm probably feverish and manic, but-- who are you? Where are we? While I'm at it, where's my armo-- agh!
Black-haired woman: Tch. I did say to be careful, dear. Let's get you back in bed.
Lerion: I'll-- be fine--
Black-haired woman: My name's Palia. If I answer your questions, will you follow doctor's orders?
???: You could start by telling him who dragged his bleeding ass down here.
Palia: Coltella, dear... later, please?
Colt: Look, he's fine. You've taken worse hits and come out smiling. Give him the tour of the place, as long as he's stuck down here with us.
Lerion: Wait, I know you--
Colt: Yyyep. Nice aim, pal.
Palia: Coltella, I really don't think he's in any shape to be up.
Lerion: ...Can someone just tell me what is going on? I was writing a letter this morning. Now I have-- I don't know, I have organ damage or something and I'm getting snarked at.
Colt: ...Well, I was gonna say it.
Palia: Okay. Fine. You're in the Underground.
Lerion: Jericho mentioned something by that name--
Colt: --before you and your friend got him arrested, yeah. We're keeping you down here until we decide what to do with you.
Lerion: "Down here?" You mean it's literally under the ground?
Palia: Old catacombs right under the city. We found them about five years ago. Started building a place to live where certain people couldn't get to us.
Colt: People like him, yeah. I still say this is a bad idea.
Colt: But yeah. Catacombs. Some run as far out as the border, but there are... things, in the tunnels out there. We stick close to home.
Palia: Speaking of the border tunnels, shouldn't you be on watch?
Colt: Yeah, yeah, going. Talk more later, deadshot.
Lerion: That kid, I swear...
Palia: You know her?
Lerion: Uh, only kinda. I threw a spear at her.
Palia: Be glad you missed, else you'd have a lot more than Jericho's arrest to answer for. She's... precious to us. Been through a lot, her.
Lerion: I'll keep it in mind. So, my armor?
Palia: I think they're sizing it up to be sold, even with the crack in it.
Lerion: What? But that's worth--
Palia: --quite a lot, yes. It could probably feed us and keep the tunnels clear for months.
Lerion: ...oy. Fair price for my life, I guess.
Palia: Maybe. We'll talk once Jericho is back safe. I'll show you around-- but if that wound acts up again, it's back to bed, alright?
Lerion: Alright. What's down this big--
Lerion: --whoa. Saint Aster.
Palia: I trust you're familiar with the legend.
Lerion: Sure. The Four Riders. We have Sunbringer's statue out west in Cyronne, but that's at... hm.
Palia: Something wrong?
Lerion: Sunhaven is his tomb, is all.
???: We haven't found Aster's burial chamber, if that's what you're asking.
Caspar: We are not total scoundrels, here. The Fire Emblem remains lost to all.
Palia: Good morning, Caspar.
Caspar: Miss Palia.
Lerion: The Fire Emblem?
Caspar: Supposedly buried with one of the Riders, or so the story goes. Tomb plunderers have confirmed none of the other three have it. Alas, we are no luckier, though I hesitate to imagine what my colleagues here might do if they found it.
Lerion: I thought it was just a myth.
Caspar: I can entertain you with the full story some time later, if our dear leader decides it's in our best interests to keep you-- young Lerion, is it?
Lerion: How do you know m--
Palia: I left your pen and prayer ink in the usual place, Caspar.
Caspar: Ah, fantastic. If you'll excuse me, then.
Lerion: ...Okay, color me a little more than weirded out. Do I recognize that symbol on his forehead?
Palia: The tattoo's... another long story. For another day, if Sebastian decides to keep you alive.
Palia: Relax. He probably will.
Lerion: Reassuring. So it's just the... what, the four of you? Jericho made it sound a lot bigger...
Palia: Six. Seven, with you, if Sebastian decides you're worth it. There's Eschar, but he doesn't bother us and we don't bother him. And Jericho.
Lerion: I get the feeling I'm stumbling into something more than what I bargained for, here...
Palia: Mm. Maybe. Come on-- I'm taking you to Sebastian, as long as you're awake.
Enemy Phase - Thecia City Keep
???: You haven't said a word since you were thrown in here.
Virgil: Something on your mind, "thief lord?"
Jericho: Please don't call me that.
Virgil: So you can talk.
Jericho: ...What is this?
Virgil: Ale, cold -- these nobles can afford ice out of season, with anima magic. Go on, drink. You look like you could use it.
Virgil: I have very little to gain by poisoning you.
Jericho: Mm. You're Virgil. Fought a pair of your boys -- good spearmen.
Virgil: Glad to see my reputation extends even to the Underground.
Jericho: ...Tch. It's not what you think it is, you know. The propaganda engine has to do something after the war's end, though, I suppose...
Virgil: Being free with your information now that Corazo has you?
Jericho: No. No locations, no names, even if Corazo's interrogator will eventually get those out of me. But I can change people's minds about it -- get Corazo to stop hunting us down, maybe, especially now that I'm here in the heart of the government.
Virgil: You're a prisoner here, not a politician -- but I'll bite. What is it, then? The Underground?
Jericho: A... hideaway.
Virgil: For whom?
Jericho: I said no names. Especially not to a mercenary.
Virgil: Fine, then. For what purpose?
Jericho: To give those without a home a respite, out of the crown's eye. They're people of all walks of life -- thieves, soldiers, priests. People who just want a rest from the constant warring and politicking and broken promises.
Virgil: I find that hard to believe. Corazo says you have a Silence working for you.
Jericho: I'm not at liberty to discuss that, if you're on speaking terms with the man. We... have an old grudge, and he's vengeful, to say the least.
Virgil: Hm. Afraid your band of misfits might catch his ire?
Jericho: You underestimate his old scars. Go and ask him about your Cyronnian boy.
Virgil: ...He wouldn't have.
Jericho: Welcome to the war, mercenary. Corazo's war. For him, it never ended.
Virgil: Plover. What are you doing in the keep?
Plover: Sir, I was hoping I would find you--
Virgil: Did the other lad come back with you? Lerion?
Plover: ...Wounded in action, sir. Corazo had a medic patch him up.
Virgil: Have you seen him?
Plover: I... that's just it, sir. Haven't caught a whiff of him, yet, and it's been hours. Nobody in the infirmary except the regulars.
Virgil: Damn it. Take the night, lad. Report back to Corazo when you're rested. I need eyes and ears on him. Understand?
Plover: ...Is he okay? Lerion?
Virgil: I don't know. I'm going to find out. If I'm right, we can't let this go in the direction Corazo wants it to.
Plover: I'll follow orders, sir.
Virgil: See that you do.
Morgana: But you apprehended the man?
Corazo: Only thanks to Virgil's agents, Your Highness. I believe I'm beginning to recognize the value of these mercenaries' special talents.
Morgana: I told you employing them was the prudent decision. Such a horrific scar, though, Captain...
Corazo: But a scratch. I have taken worse.
Morgana: Don't patronize me, Captain. I order you see a healer at once.
Corazo: As you wish, Your Highness. Being inflicted by eldritch energy, though, I have my doubts Saint Aster's light magic will do much--
Morgana: Ah, Lord Virgil. The captain was just singing the praises of your troops.
Corazo: Something you need, Virgil?
Virgil: I won't beat around the bush. My man Lerion did not return from the field. I have a feeling you know why.
Corazo: The Cyronnian? My medical officer says the battlefield was clear when he arrived. I'd assumed he made it back on his own.
Virgil: Don't lie, damn it, captain! Where is my man?!
Corazo: It's-- it's possible something else has befallen him. I'm also missing one of my unit -- I suspect a spy in the ranks, truth be told.
Virgil: A spy for whom? The war is over! You're jumping at shadows!
Morgana: Both of you! Enough!
Virgil: Rrrgh. If I don't see Lerion in another day, there'll be hell to pay, Corazo.
Morgana: Lord Virgil.
Virgil: I... yes. Apologies, Your Highness.
Corazo: Perhaps I had best leave for the barracks. No doubt you have patrols to re-arrange, being short a man. I'll see what troops I can lend.
Morgana: I will see to it this city is secure and fully guarded. We'll find your man, Lord Virgil.
Virgil: ...yes. Thank you, princess.
Posted 24 October 2012 - 04:52 AM
Player Phase - The Underground
Sebastian: So you're with that mercenary band that's taken up with the nobles.
Lerion: Yes, sir. For a few years, now.
Sebastian: And do you know what you've done?
Sebastian: Don't call me that. I may wear the armor, but I haven't been a watchman in years.
Sebastian: Again. Do you know. What you've done.
Lerion: I expect you'll tell me.
Sebastian: Tch. I'd have had you whipped, for insolence like that, in my unit. What you've done, mercenary boy, is sentenced Jericho to death. The castle's been trying to get its hands on him for decades.
Lerion: I was only following--
Sebastian: --your orders. Yes, I know. I brought you back here instead of putting you out of your misery on the field for that reason.
Sebastian: The question now, of course, is whether you're a noble's lapdog through and through, or if you were hiding morals under that bluesteel.
Lerion: Are you... going to kill me?
Sebastian: Hardly, boy. I'm going to give you a choice. Look around you -- what do you see?
Lerion: I... the Underground. Catacombs. They're a lot bigger than I thought.
Sebastian: Get used to them. You live here, now.
Lerion: I thought you said I had a ch--
Sebastian: Getting to that. The room you woke up in this morning is yours, now. We'll get you some clothes that aren't my old ranger gear, once a buyer for your armor turns up.
Lerion: I'm wearing your clothes?
Sebastian: They sure as hell aren't Colt's. Now-- that wound is going to scar. Badly. It'll probably disrupt your movement for the rest of your life, even with the medicine we have. No more mercenary work for you, if that happens.
Lerion: Worse than I thought, huh.
Sebastian: However, we have a healing staff. One charge left on it, then it's a fancy stick.
Lerion: I think I see where you're going with this...
Sebastian: Sharp boy. Your choice is this: either you recover naturally and walk out of here as soon as you're healthy, and you go find some cobbler to apprentice yourself to...
Lerion: Not likely. My second option?
Sebastian: Palia uses the staff, and you stay here. We'll pay you whatever your boss gives his men, feed you, and give you a place to live out of the nobility's watch. In exchange...
Lerion: ...I help you get Jericho back from Corazo. Right?
Sebastian: You've got it. We all owe him debts, and this is how I'm going to pay him back. The Watch usually holds a prisoner for a month or so before they execute him -- we'll need to act before then.
Lerion: Alright. Done.
Sebastian: That easily?
Lerion: Yeah. I... have a debt to pay, too.
Sebastian: Good. It'll give you drive. Go find Palia and get yourself healed -- after that, I have a job for you.
Other Phase - The Underground
Colt: Welp. South tunnel, day four hundred and twenty-one: the big purple glowing shit is still there. Still doesn't do anything.
Colt: Hnh. May as well get some practice in...
♫For whom do I weep?
No name hath she:
The lark in shackles,
Who once was free.♫
♫For whom does she sing?
A knight, a lord?
Or for the soldier,
With spear and sword?♫
♫Come listen, come hear her song,
Whispered soft to the night so long;
Songlark, come sing to me
Your song of silences three--
Lerion: Whoa, whoa! Knife down. Silences, you're jumpy.
Colt: Were you listening?
Lerion: Only kinda. Your voice echoed. Look, Sebastian sent me--
Colt: Tell no one.
Lerion: I, uh. I won't.
Colt: I'm serious.
Lerion: I won't!
Colt: Hnh. You're not limping any more. Took Seb's deal? That's five I owe Eschar...
Lerion: I'm supposed to... stand watch with you. He said I'd be tagging along with you until he comes up with a way to rescue Jericho.
Colt: You are kidding me. You tried to kill me, and now I have to make nice with you?
Lerion: I was aiming for your leg!
Colt: I can name every vital blood vessel in the human leg off the top of my head. I do know how to use this knife, you know, deadshot.
Lerion: *Sigh*-- Look. You don't like me. I get that. Can we let the past stay in the past? Start again?
Colt: Fine by me, as long as you don't go champion-javelin-thrower again.
Lerion: (This is gonna be a long month...) Okay. My name's Lerion.
Colt: I know. It's on the haft of your spear. "For Lerion." Blacksmith friend?
Lerion: Yeah, back home. And Palia called you, uh... Coltella?
Colt: No "ella." Just Colt.
Lerion: Right. And this thing is...
Colt: Oh. Uh...
Lerion: You don't know, do you.
Colt: We have no idea. It showed up about a year ago, and it just... floats there. We can't get in and out of that hall, any more, either -- it's like there's an invisible wall.
Lerion: Where does it lead?
Colt: Under the keep, I think. Caspar reckons this spot is right about at the south wall.
Lerion: What's that guy's deal, anyway?
Colt: Caspar? He's a priest of the Three Silences.
Lerion: It's a religion? I didn't think "silences" was anything more than a curse...
Colt: Hardly anyone knows it still exists. They're assassins, so they stick to the shadows a lot.
Lerion: Makes sense he'd end up working for someone with Jericho's reputation, then--
Colt: Oh, he doesn't work for us. He's assigned to Sebastian.
Lerion: What, to kill him?
Colt: It's... a long story. Sebastian does know, before you ask. I don't think it's my story to tell.
Lerion: I get the feeling there are a lot of stories down here I haven't heard...
Colt: Sure. Everyone's got a story. Jericho's not just a "thief lord." I'm not just a pickpocket.
Lerion: You're a pickpocket with quite a voice, certainly-- ow! Hey, only teasing. Silences, you can punch.
Colt: And you've got a story, I'm sure. I won't ask who Sylvia is.
Lerion: Wh-- How did you--
Colt: I helped change your bandages. You talk in your sleep. Look, my point is there's a lot going on down here you don't know about. Keep your distance, and I'll keep mine, alright?
Lerion: ...Fair enough.
Colt: Then come on. West tunnel's next.
Lerion: Strange girl.
Colt is singing to the tune of Greensleeves.
Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:49 PM
Interlude - The Kingdom of Cyronne, Sunhaven
Admittedly, I didn't expect peacetime to be so... peaceful.
Looking back on the war, though? I fought well. I led my country to victory from the front lines. The way it should be. My father the commander, I the soldier. My brothers in their rightful places, clergymen and politicians, winning the war from home. We won this peace with blood and sweat.
This gods-damned boring nothingness.
There was no parade for the war heroes. No celebration. Just... a sigh of relief, a dusting-off. A whimper to end a conflict that deserved a roar. The fighting never reached the city -- these people don't know just how desperate things got, at the end. Just how many men I watched die for their sakes. How many I made die.
Part of me wonders whether this city knows its "lost" prince walks among its people, a common swordsman back from the road. Whether it even knows if the prince is lost. What kind of cover story did Ianto concoct for me this time, I wonder? Probably some sudden illness or fever. Anything to cover up the fact that his little brother Ivan is getting his thrills as a sellsword.
Did the Riders feel like this, when their struggle was over? This... emptiness? I won my peace.
???: Mister, you alright?
Ivan: Just... thinking. What can I do for you, lad?
Boy: Message for you, mister.
Ivan: Oh? Are you sure you have the right man, lad? I haven't-
Boy: He just said to find a guy with a fang necklace hanging around looking sorry for himself. Mister.
Boy: The guy's words, not mine, mister. You gonna take this?
Ivan: I-- yes, thank you. Here, for your trouble. Get yourself a treat at the markets, hm?
I fought the war for longer than that boy's been alive. Not sure what to make of that.
Let's have a look at this message, then...
Belthasar? What could he want with me? He hasn't been in Cyronne since--
Well. Best not to think about that. Suncourt, eh...
Ivan: Been a while, Sunbringer.
Ivan: How're you holding up?
Ivan: I've been taking good care of the Aegis. They let me keep it as a badge of office. The axe had to go back, though-- heh, you probably missed it.
Ivan: Yeah, you're about as talkative as I remember. Listen, there-- there's something that's been on my mind... What did you, uh. What did you do after you and the others fought off the End?
Ivan: You were never royalty or anything like that. Everyone remembers Sunbringer the general, the warrior. Did you just... retire? Am I supposed to be comfortable with that? "War's over, everyone go home?"
???: He might have asked the same questions, you know.
Belthasar: War is hell for the thinking man as much as it is for the soldier. Often, it leaves us with more questions than it answered.
Ivan: ...I'll agree with that.
Belthasar: Mm. I apologize for my absence, my prince. I meant to come for you sooner.
Ivan: Come for me?-- Where did you go, Belth? You didn't leave any word when you left...
Belthasar: My business--
Ivan: --is your own, I know. That tattoo is... new, though.
Belthasar: No. I covered it with makeup when you knew me.
Ivan: Wh-- all that time?
Belthasar: A necessary precaution, during wartime. Now, however, I am free to tell you that I am Belthasar, the Silence of Action.
Ivan: The what?
Belthasar: Thought, action, truth. I am the second.
Ivan: Belthasar, you're making no sense--
Belthasar: I need not. The Action has been carried out. Your part in the grand story is at an end, Ivan of Cyronne.
Ivan: Guh-- Belth, you--
Belthasar: The warmonger prince, consumed by wanderlust after his fighting days were done. A hero in his own right, in his day, but in the grand scheme of things... a supporting character at best. After the war's end, he was never heard from again.
Belthasar: If it is any consolation, I am sorry.
Ivan: I'll gut you where you stand, cur--
Belthasar: With a punctured lung, I doubt it severely. Now, be Silent.
Belthasar: The story must continue without loose threads. Goodbye, Ivan.
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