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  1. #1

    Open String Story (Context)

    Rap, rap, rap. Rap, rap, rap. This sound entered the mind of Trysalicus, and he believed that he should be able to connect some meaning to it, yet being half-asleep after a rather long night at the tavern with Rolon he was not quite sure. Rap, rap, rap. Trys (short form) finally opened his bleary eyes and gazed around his room. Everything seemed in order besides the fact that he could tell that the sun had not risen by the darkness behind the drapes. Rap, rap, rap. Recognition dawned on him as he realized that this sound was coming from his door. "Do you realize what time it is?" Trys groaned. There was no response, just an expectant quiet. Angrily Trys threw his woolen blanket off and grabbed a pair of trousers off the floor where he had left them night a few hours previous. He then marched over to the wooden door, threw the latch and slammed it opened, fully ready to blast the antagonist on the other side with a verbal beating of much consequence. He stopped mid-inhale as he focused on the wizened old countenance of Bedlan, one of Baron Randall's advisors. The grim set of his normally jovial face immediately removed any effects of the previous night's pleasures. "Sorry to come to you at such a late hour Trysalicus, but the Baron would see you in his chambers as soon as you are ready." The way in which he said this made Trysalicus believe that he was actually the 300 years old that most people claimed him to be. At this Bedlan slightly bowed his stooped form and slowly shuffled off. Trysalicus was left standing there in the portal of his room staring across at the stone wall of the corridor, ideas flashing through his head as to what the implications of this late night meeting might mean. He knew that it had to do with that ship that had pulled into port not a week previous. Ever since that day, the whole city had been on edge. What with it's strange runes on the hull and displaying colors none had ever seen. The most disturbing thing about the ship had been the seemingly non-existant crew on deck. This is why the rumor of Ghost Ship were running rampant through the city. Immediately trys has called a contingent of the guard to stand post at the ship's dock so as no trouble would be caused by the local folk. Within 15 minutes of the ships arrival an entourage of the Baron's council had approached the ship standing at the dock as if expecting something. Trys asked Bedlan what was going on and he was met with grim silence. Then the most shocking thing that sent most of the local sailors scurring off to the nearest tavern happenned. Out of nowhere a crystal stairway appeared from the dock to the side of the ship, right in front of the council members. At this Trys stepped in front of Bedlan and asked him again to tell him what was going on. Bedlan just looked at thim with what appeared to be sad eyes and motioned for him to step aside. Trys had never seen Bedlan act like this and knew that something very strange was going on, but was racking his brain trying to figure out what. In the meantime most of the six council members were already halfway up the stairs. Bedlan paused as he neared Trs and said "Do not worry Trys, all your questions will be answered in time, and as of now we are in no immediate danger, so you may step aside that we may speak with these visitors." Trys not knowing what to say, just bowed and took up post at the side of the stairway, motioning for his guards to do the same. Four long hours later, the council appeared above deck and walked down the mysterious steps, past Trys and his guards, and set back out toward the palace. Then as soon as the council was halfway donw the street, the stairway vanished, drawing a gasp from what appeared to be a throng of onlookers waiting to get a glance of something magical. Trys and his guards had to calm the people as some of them started hurling curses and obsecnities at the ship, and the words cursed and demonic could be heard numerous times. Eventually after Trys had doubled the guard of the ship he was able to calm the growing crowd and send most to bed as the sun was slowly setting. Trys could tell by the look on his soldier's faces that they were as unnerved as the crowd about what they had seen. He knew that he had to get some answers, so he set off to the palace, leaving Rolan in charge of the watch. He arrived at the palace and found two of his own men guarding the council chamber doors. "Step aside" Trys growled as he knew that something was amiss by the fact the council chamber was guarded at all. Tenlan, a blonde new recruit of no more than 16 years stammered out " we have explicit orders that none are to interrupt the council's meeting, sir." "Who gave these orders Tenlan?" Trys asked getting more irritated by the moment. " The, the Baron sir, he told us that if anyone so much as touches the doors before the council is convened, he will have our heads on pikes and set them in the town square for all to see the fate of traitor's" said Tenlan. Tenlan was now shaking as he stated this and Trys looked to John the other guard for confirmation. The older man of 30 years nodded his head at Trys's questioning look. Trys thre his hands up in the air, glared at both guards and stormed back out of the palace, questions running rampant through his head. As he walked the streets his mind was reeling. This was not like the Baron at all, never would he issue such an order, even less so without first asking Trys. There had never been a dismissal much less an execution of anyone of the guard for as long as Trys was a part of them which was more than half his life now. And never would the Baron threaten anyone of his people with open violence. This ship was stirring things up in a strange kettle and Trys was not sure if he was going to like the brew. He arrived back at the dock glaring at the ship and then looking at the questioning faces of his men. "What is going on?" asked Rolan. "I wish I knew" stated a now helpless looking Trys.
    The watches had gone on night and day for four nights running without incident, yet with two meetings a day between whoever was in that ship and the council. On the third day the Baron himself had gone onto the ship. Trys had tried to talk to him but the Baron just gave him a wihtering look that implied him to do his job and nothing more at this point. Trys was shocked at this, though he should have expected nothing less as since the ship arrived the Baron took his meals in his chambers and posted a guard outside his doors with similar orders as the ones at the council meeting room. Then last night if nothing more than to relieve some tension Trys and Rolan decided to go to their favorite Tavern, the Screaming Wench to wet their whistles and talk of what was going on. Trys had given command of the ship watch to Garen for the night and did not think anything of consequence would happen and if it did Garen knew where to find them. Well after many ales the ship was all but forgotten and it seemed as if everything was right again as Trys crawled into his bed in his room in the palace. All the previous tension came rushing back as Trys stood staring at the cold wall of the corridor acroos from his room. He then jumped into his room closing the door and went to grab a shirt to throw on, then thought again and decided to don his uniform, so as maybe to remind the Baron that he was in fact the captain of the guard and not the child the Braon had warded. After checking himself so as not to appear dishevelled, he buckled on his sowrdbelt and marched out the door, his pace quickening as he aproached the baron's chambers....

  2. #2
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    There were two guards at the door to the baron's chambers when Tyrs arrived
    there, but they didn't stop him. He opened the door and entered the room.
    "Alright Randall, am I going to get some answers now? I'm getting tired of..."
    He stopped in mid-speech, the baron was not alone in his quarters and Tyrs
    usually avoided addressing his lord by his first name when they weren't alone.
    But that was not the reason why he stopped his already planned speech.
    There were two other people in the room besides the baron himself, who was
    sitting on his bed looking like he hasn't slept for the last two days.
    The first was Bedlan who woke up Tyrs earlier, he was sitting on a chair near
    the baron's desk, he was looking at Tyrs with his usual half smile.
    Tyrs always felt like that look is saying "I know something that you don't
    know and I'm very pleased about it", but his eyes weren't smiling, they were
    tired and serious like the eyes of the baron.
    But the 3rd person in the room was the real reason why Tyrs stopped in
    mid-speech, it was a woman. She had a long smooth golden hair and her skin was
    snow white, she wore black leather pants and a black shirt that showed her
    nicely shaped figure, but the most distinctive detail about her look was her
    eyes, she had yellow irises not so different than the irises of a cat, despite
    that fact or maybe because of it Tyrs thought that she is the most beautiful
    woman he ever seen.
    "Hello, Tyrs, why don't you sit down?" said the baron.
    "Umm... I rather stand" said Tyrs.
    "As you wish, I suppose you want to know what is going on here, well you are
    about to receive some answers"
    It's about time... thought Tyrs.
    "Let us begin with introduction, this is Oriana, she came in the alien ship"
    Oriana nodded to Tyrs who replied with the same gesture.
    "Where did she come from?" asked Tyrs.
    Suddenly Bedlan stood up "All in good time Tyrs, now what do you know about
    the Great War?"
    Tyrs tried to think about the history lessons he received in the baron's
    castle when he was a child, he never paid much attention, he always preferred
    practicing with weapons instead.
    "Well, I know that 450 years ago..."
    "650 years" corrected Bedlan.
    "Alright, 650 years ago there was a great war that caused the fall of the
    Empire of Indirian, the empire that ruled over the entire continent at the time.
    The people rebelled against the Iron Emperors of Indirian and won, I know some
    of the myths claim that the people received help from powers from outside of
    our continent and the wildest myths even say those powers weren't human. But I
    never believed in those myths"
    Suddenly Tyrs came to some realization, is Oriana not human? Is that what
    Bedlan was trying to say to him?
    Bedlan spoke "Well, you remember well, I will only add some details, the
    rebels did have help from outside and the help did come from a non-human race.
    The Empire of Indirian was at the end of its life, a line of corrupted and not
    very able emperors made the empire weak and mistreated the people of the
    empire, and then the rebellion broke out. after 2000 years of total dominance
    the Iron Legions were defeated in battle after battle. The Iron Emperor sought
    a way to change the tide and to save his rule, and he succeeded...
    He made a pact with powers not of this land, I don't know how he contacted
    them, but he did, and the course of war was changed, the Iron Legions with
    their new allies started winning again and the rebels fell back before them,
    the rebels had no choice but to look for allies as well and they found them
    on the other side of the ocean.
    Those allies were Oriana's people, the Marodians. The war raged for many years
    but it ended with the fall of the Empire of Indirian and its allies and the
    return of the Marodians to their land, but now a Marodian has come again."
    Tyrs was puzzled, how come he never heard about all this? How come this
    part of history was not known?
    He looked at Oriana, a Marodian? He never heard of those people...
    "What is that got to do with this meeting, why was I called here?" asked Tyrs.
    "Let me explain." Oriana spoke for the first time.
    "When my people left this land we put a certain protection spell on it, it was
    supposed to keep out those powers that helped the Empire of Indirian in the
    war and other outside forces. But about a month ago the spell was broken, and
    I was sent here to investigate and try to find what happened."
    Magic? Powers out of history? Alien creatures? Tyrs didn't know what to
    believe anymore, he was totally confused.
    "So what do you want from me? Why was I called here?"
    The baron spoke "Well, Oriana doesn't know this land, she asked for our
    assistance and after Bedlan confirmed her story I agreed to help her, you are
    to be her guide."


  3. #3
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    "Her Guide?" Trys exclaimed in shock. "Couldn't you find someone more…qualified?"

    "Yes, Trys," the baron explained, his countenance serious, "but no one more loyal to me. You will guide her and protect her on our continent until such time as she needs you no more…or you are killed."

    Killed? Trys' mind was racing. In the space of two weeks, he had gone from the happy, confident captain of the Baron's Guard to a confused, bewildered guide. How was he supposed to guide her across the Indirian continent? He had never left Igthorn save when he journeyed with the Baron to the Wedding of Duke Anjon Hurik some two years past.

    "Where am I to guide her?" He asked, confused. "How am I to know how to get there?"

    Bedlan rose from his chair by the heavy oaken table next to the fire. His body was stooped and bent, and his arms as thin as rails. But his eyes were glinting with something. Trys would have sworn it was excitement if he could believe this fossil of a man were capable of such emotion. Bedlan reached beneath his heavy robes that kept him from the chill of the castle and drew forth a long parchment, rolled and tied, sealed with the Sea-Drake sigil of House Waylan.

    "This, young man, is very old, and very precious." Said the old man. "It is a map of the entire continent, made centuries before the Great War, before the roads were destroyed and the borders of the provinces closed. You will need this map to locate the places Oriana seeks. Keep her safe, and get her to her destination."

    "The borders are closed?" interrupted Oriana in her heavily accented speech. "But how can this man guide me if he does not know the way?"

    "My dear," said Bedlan, "He is as knowledgeable as any guide you can find."

    Before the Great War, an intricate network of Imperial Highways crisscrossed the continent, making travel safe and convenient. But during the chaos that followed, the highways were destroyed, and large sections of them lost as entire regions of the continent were depopulated. Many provinces closed their borders. Saen, to the North, had built a series of earthen and wooden ramparts along their northern and eastern borders that all but halted traffic. Over the centuries, those earthen works were reinforced with stone and steel. Many other provinces did likewise. Hence, travel across the continent was rare, at best. Most borders were closed, and travelers had to sneak across borders under the cover of darkness, or in the wilderness where there were no border guards. No one was familiar with overland travel. The Open Ports of the West Coast were the only means of travelling abroad for most people.

    Oriana seemed dismayed by the news, but tried to hide her disappointment.

    "Where am I to take her?" Trys asked Baron Waylan.


  4. #4
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    By asking the question Tyrs has agreed, without much choice, to the new role imposed upon him by baron Randall. The baron looked pleased, for he was sure the Tyrs would to a good job.

    Oriana stood and at full height and Tyrs's impression of her was amplified a thousandfold, his heart beat so heard in his chest he was sure they could all hear it. Oriana stood easily two heads taller then him and as she moved towards him he was not sure if her legs moved or she was just floating on air. She was truly the loveliest sight his eyes have ever seen.

    "why don't you sit down Tyrs?" the smile on her face almost made his knees buckle and if he didn't have some shred of politness and pride he would have sat right there on the floor. Still, Tyrs gatherd himself, straightned his back and went to the empty sit by the table. Bedlan was back in his own sit next to the baron across the table and as the only one standing, all eyes were diverted towards Oriana.

    Clearing her throat she started. " I am happy the you have excepted your job Tyrs and I trust the baron and his advisor that you will be most competent." she really hoped it would be so,Tyrs felt his face go warm and looked down on the table for fear of meeting anyones eyes. 'what's going on here' he thought to himself 'I'm acting like a twelve year old kid' he berated hiself on his lack of self control and made a note of behaving as proper for a man his age and rank. "As the baron pointed out I do not know this land and thus I will require a guide. Also, I do not know exactly where it is I need to be guided to."
    Tyrs let out a long breath " well, I don't mean to be rude, but how will I be able to help you if you don't know what you are looking for?" his questioning look met Oriana's eyes and he almost blushed again. " I did not say I don't know what I'm looking for,Tyrs, I said I don't know where I need to be guided to." She walked to stand beside the great windows of the barons room. Facing west they offered a panorama of the harbour and the sea. The sight of her ship made her feel a bit less nervous about all of this. She hoped deeply that non of her anxiety showed, she must appear strong if these people were to trust and help her.
    "let me explained" she turned back towards the table, "when my people put the protection spell on this land they centerd its power into several stone pillars, spread out through out the land.As a descendant of Dailor."
    "one of the Marodians that originally made the spell" she explained to the bewielderd look on Tyrs's face,the baron and Bedllan have already heard this.
    "I can feel these magical foci and locate them. I believe that one of them might have been damaged somehow,and that the damage might be the reason for the dissipation of the spell. I will need you Tyrs to help me reach these foci and examine them."

    Tyrs was overwhelmed with what he has just heard and was opening his mouth to talk when Oriana's face grew darker then a storm cloud. She sat down in her chair and threw her gaze around the table. with a weak voice that sent chills down Tyrs's spine and visible shivers down the baron's she added " I can not imagine what force could do that"

    [This message has been edited by drakon (edited December 16, 2000).]

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