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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Group Story (Fantasy) (Read 21,009 times)
Darwinist
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Group Story (Fantasy)
Feb 10th, 2013 at 1:59pm
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Group Story


Thin shafts of slanting afternoon sunlight pierced through the high forest canopy, dappling a narrow trail and the several riders upon it with bright splashes. Fragments of song from unseen birds and the smells of black mold and green moss embroidered the moist, motionless air between the trees. The soft earth of the trail swallowed the sound of plodding hoofs. In a semicircular gap in the trees to one side of the trail, the forest had almost finished reclaiming the decayed ruin of what had been a woodcutter’s shack, if one was to judge from the several cords of moss-shrouded short-cut logs stacked in long ranks along one wall, and the tumbled remains of a noddy heaped with still more cut wood. In the midst of such plenty there is scarce a reason but coin to hoard so conspicuously, Shayl thought. Suddenly weary, she checked her blade to make sure it was secure, closed her eyes, and surrendered herself to the palfrey’s slow, rolling gait and the smell and gentle creak of saddle leather. She might even have dozed then, but for the low chuckle beside her.
« Last Edit: Mar 9th, 2013 at 10:24am by Darwinist »  

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Limey.
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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #1 - Feb 10th, 2013 at 8:08pm
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“’Ere, Shayl, love, ‘ave yer sin that tit Derek up yonder? Total out-of-character. Wanker. ‘Ere’s us, on us way ter t’festival, reyt, an’ there’s ‘im, poncing is arse off as Lord Bleedin’ Tosschops one minute, then on ‘is bloody Blackberry ter t’office the next. Dick.”

Shayl slumped down, her bubble burst. Nice though it was, a fantasy never lasted. Especially with Wayne hovering around. His phlegmy cackle was regular, his fragrance ( just sweat?) constant.
She glanced over at him.

Fat, big, strong, ugly.

If only she didn’t look this way, she thought, men like Wayne might show interest in her, instead of appearing to assume that she was simply one with them, one of the lads, and not a lass to be dallied with.

“Why, Wayne, do you persist in this strange jest? What is a blackberry but a fruit? Who amongst this band adopts a character? Surely, what we journey to is not a festival but a solemn rite, and one where your strange foolery will be most ill placed? And, sir, Lord Derek is your lord, and you his vassal.”

Wayne took a defensive air. “Orright, orright, keep yer ‘air on love. Jesus. Ah wuz only ‘avin’ a laugh.”

The path was wider now, evidence of carts showing amongst the early Autumn fall of ash, beech and hornbeam leaf. Heavy horses too, maybe carrying armoured men, a day ahead of them.

They rode in silence perhaps a chain, then Shayl began to set out her plan for the gathering.
« Last Edit: Feb 11th, 2013 at 6:39am by Limey. »  

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CubaLibre
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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #2 - Feb 11th, 2013 at 9:58am
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The gathering was to be a momentous event. Nobody in the group, with the exception of Shayl, knew the true purpose. For though Shayl publicly proclaimed loyalty to Lord Derek, privately she had sworn allegiance to the New Dawn Brotherhood, a union which outdated even the long-fallen First Kingdom.

Unbeknownst to the nobles, the New Dawn Brotherhood had been recruiting from within their ranks of knights. In three days, at the annual regathering of the nobles and their knights, Shayl and the other New Dawn members would exploit the resentment many of the knights had for their lords, and spark an uprising. The objective was to end the reign of the nobles and bring about the foretold Golden Age which the ancients told of.
  
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thetycoon
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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #3 - Feb 11th, 2013 at 12:24pm
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Dardanuck couldn't believe it. He was the one who saw them first and he wasn't even a master crawler yet. In fact he was among the lower ranks of the observers. He Dardanuck son of Kelmar, was the first one to spot them! Two dozens of horsemen surrounding and protecting what was probably the catch of a lifetime! These arrogant war-men, covered from head to toe with metal were walking at a leisurely pace toward their doom, the nets, the ditches filled with booby traps, snakes and scorpions, everything was there, and could be activated in only a few minutes or rendered harmless and almost invisible by the simple moving of a few planks. These people had no idea that from this moment on they were nothing more than preys, made as defenseless as kittens by their heavy equipment and their unawareness."We'll kill all the war-men." Dardanuck thought. "Their braveness makes them useless as slaves. They are more trouble than they are worth. They don't work. All they do is fight and order their servants to do everything else. Even if we tame them, it would take forever to teach them a craft." "The worthy ones will share the survivors." Dardanuck was pleased with himself. The fact that he spotted them first meant he would be authorized to choose a female for himself. He smiled broadly with anticipation.
  
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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #4 - Feb 11th, 2013 at 8:18pm
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Dardanuck's smile faded as he looked  more closely.

There was only one female, and she didn't look like too much of a catch.

"Oh duzzocks," he swore under his breath, "What a moose. We'd better call the ambush off".

Such contempt for womenfolk was a feature of his clan, the Tasavaltainen.

But how was he, a mere Junior Crawler, to effect such a change? Looking at the tense warriors surrounding him, he was very aware of his status. His own dull blade, shabby leather armour and plumeless bronze helm marked him out, amongst the gaudy finery of these fighting nobles.

He bit down his thoughts of a public, permanent pairing with the prize, and prepared to accept whatever came.
  

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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #5 - Feb 12th, 2013 at 12:35pm
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The ambushers bided their time as the trailriders fed themselves deeper into the trap, all unaware.

Wayne cantered forward, pulling up apace with Brother Wood, the melancholy adept of Aes who rode a cream-colored gelding in the van at the right hand of the bannerman Maryn. Brother Wood was so cheerless of feature, and so taciturn in demeanor, that he brought with him from his temple a snickered nickname which had haunted him since his days scrubbing floors and polishing altar-pieces as an acolyte: Mourning Wood. Wayne, talkative, tactless, irreverent and rude, quick to lather on the double entendere and quicker to pepper conversations with off-color jokes usually involving a series of barnyard animals and someone's mother or sister, was Brother Wood's natural predator.

Wayne leaned in his saddle toward the brown-robed cleric. "Brother Wood," he began in a stage whisper, "'Ave you ever fancied 'aving a go wi' our big-boned Shayl back yonder?"

The dolorous Brother turned his head within his cowl which did not itself move so that only his left eye and cheek were visible, and looked into Wayne's bearded leer. "Drop dead," he said. Then, as if his words had been a prayer to be answered, Brother Wood saw a yellow-shafted arrow bury itself almost to the red fletching in Wayne's right temple, the broad triangular arrowhead exploding through the left side of his head, splattering gore. Wayne reeled and dropped from the saddle, and hell broke all around.
« Last Edit: Feb 12th, 2013 at 12:42pm by Darwinist »  

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CubaLibre
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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #6 - Feb 12th, 2013 at 1:58pm
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The woods, which had been deathly quiet mere seconds before, were now alive with the war cries of the ambushers; the once-still air thick with their arrows.

Brother Wood dismounted his horse and ducked low to the ground while his comrades fell left and right. Just then he heard a grotesque sound, something that resembled a dying toad. His suspicion that this was a signal of some sort was confirmed when nearly two scores of ambushers broke their cover and rushed at the still-shocked knights.

Brother Wood moved toward where poor Maryn had fallen and, saying a quick prayer, took up the standard, ready to make his stand. As an attacker rushed him, Brother Wood dealt him a skillful blow to the left side of his head, shattering the attacker's jaw and sending him flying several feet. In a fluid motion, Brother Wood adjusted his grip on the staff and brought it crashing down on the unprotected head of another unfortunate attacker, splitting his skull wide open.

Meanwhile, the surviving knights had recovered from the shock of being ambushed and began to fight. Towards the rear, Shayl cursed the gods for her bad luck. Her hand reached towards the crystal vial she wore around her neck. Should she release the power, even though it would surely mean blowing her cover?
  
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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #7 - Feb 12th, 2013 at 3:41pm
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Shayl wasn't what she appeared to be. She had been selected by the secret order of the druids ever since her fourth birthday after one the higher ups, Gondolfo himself actually, saw her play with other children in the middle of a squalid yard of a small village. His trained eye immediately recognized the signs of a very gifted and highly intelligent girl with promising abilities. The order only recruited the best that humankind had to offer. After a brief series of tests confirmed what his instinct had told him he went to see her father who was easy to convince to part with her for a moderate bribe. The serf would tell his liege that the girl had died of swamp fever and that he had to burn her body. The girl was then brought to the temple where she would receive years of the finest education in the magic arts that the world had to offer. Shayl was gifted even among the gifted; she understood more and more quickly than any of the children her age and pretty soon she was regarded as an equal and even a superior by children five years older. She was the pride of Gondolfo,  his crown jewel, the only one he authorized to stay at his side when he knew that he had only a couple of hours left in this world. He gave her his ultimate secrets.
Shayl was in fact a striking beauty, but for the mission she had to appear ugly if only to discourage young men from looking at her too closely, but now she would have to use her power to ward off this attack and skillful as she was it was beyond her capabilities to keep her appearance and make use of her magic at the same time, even the most gifted among the druids had their limits. Her cover was important but so was the preservation of the group. She had to decide and decide fast.
« Last Edit: Feb 12th, 2013 at 4:02pm by »  
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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #8 - Feb 12th, 2013 at 4:44pm
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Brother Wood swung the heavy ash bannerstaff like a cudgel, connecting with a shoulder here, a knee there, a skull there. The outlaws drew back, awarding him a wide circle of respect littered with several inert and bleeding bodies of their companions. Similar islands of space had opened around the few remaining riders who had fallen into the trap, Shayl whose blade had created much red art, and two knights who stood back to back, their mail clotted with gore.   

The cleric breathed heavily through his nose, glaring at the now-quieted attackers. Sweat speckled his brow and sluiced from his blond sidelocks, overwashing peachfuzzed cheeks. He spat on the ground in contempt. "No more?" he questioned the ruffians around him. A man wearing a faded green tunic and russet hose stepped through the press, carrying an oblong leathern case from which was casually extracted a darkwood bow which he began to string. "I think not," Brother Wood said dolefully, and made a small gesture with his left hand while uttering a quick syllable in a language no longer spoken but by Adepts of his Order. The bowstring parted like a rotted hemp line.

The archer looked slightly surprised for a moment, then peered closely at the cleric. "I have more," he said.

"No," breathed Brother Wood softly, with a hint of a smile. "You don't." The archer reached into a leather purse at his side, and withdrew only a handful of shreds. "Nice trick, that," he observed. "But as you may have noticed I am not the only bowman in this little gathering of friends. One of us will bring you down, priest. Be assured of that."

Brother Wood said, "That may be. But not with arrows, not unless you choose to use them as daggers. All your archers will find themselves short of bowstrings now."
« Last Edit: Feb 12th, 2013 at 11:30pm by Darwinist »  

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Re: Gonna try this again: Group Story
Reply #9 - Feb 13th, 2013 at 11:28am
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A great commotion arose, as the attacking archers found their bows rendered useless. In frustration, a rash young archer drew a small dagger and charged forward. Brother Wood swung his staff low, knocking the young man's feet out from under him, then brought the head of the staff down with a sickening crunch on the archer's back. The would-be attacker convulsed briefly, then moved no more.

Shayl was surprised to see another mage in the group, though she had always suspected there was more to the holy man than met the eye. "Well", she thought to herself as she skewered an attacker, "I may not have to blow my cover after all".

It seemed as though she had spoken too soon, however, for the man in the green tunic drew a horn fashioned from the tusk of a wild boar. Putting his lips to the mouthpiece, he blew, producing a sound like the cry of an ox that has become mired in a peat-bog.

There was no immediate response to this signal. "Where are your reinforcements?" called one of the two knights, mockingly. "Perhaps they had too much ale and had to sleep in a pigsty", answered the other knight, with a chuckle. The archer simply stared, smiling wickedly, and waited. Suddenly, the ground began to rumble ever so faintly.
  
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