[RP Episode] Tales of the Town: The Order


#1

The Order

It is evening in Maruba, darkness has just fallen upon the smoking rooftops. A chill wind is howling through the alleyways, and biting in any exposed flesh it can find. In one of these alleyways, a man is standing. He is slouched against the wooden wall of the building and completely invisible to the naked eye, owing to the positioning of the street light on the street behind him.

The man stands there for quite a while, not moving a muscle. Minutes turn into hours, and the wind is gaining in momentum as clouds build up above the city. Then footsteps can be heard through the howling. Yes, it must be. What more, the owner of the footsteps seems to have company. An echo of steps split the borderline eeriness that so far had filled the night. A shadow flickers past the gap of the street that the man can see. More follows, shadow after shadow, foot after foot, they move past his hiding spot. He waits until he is certain that the sounds are dying away, before climbing the rough wall and setting after the disappearing sounds of crackling gravel.

The hooded figures move east through the sleepy town, nearing the Dunír. Just before reaching the city centre however, the party stops, lifts a manhole cover from the road, and descends into the darkness, one after another. The watching man bites his lip. He hadn’t expected this. Shadowing someone above ground was one thing, but doing so while to your knees in muddy water was impossible. Balancing on the ledge of the three-story building he stood on, he caresses his short, black beard, deep in thought.

A plank in the roof is dislodged, and slowly but surely, it begins to glide. Just as the last figure disappears down into the black void below the streets, it reaches the edge and tumbles down onto the street, where it breaks into seven pieces with an earsplitting clatter, which causes the observer to spin around, and just in time too. Vaulting down backwards off the roof, he just avoids the purple blade aimed to cut him straight in half. Dropping down a story at a time, he jumps the last eight feet and sets off at a sprint. He was caught.


[CANON RP Episode] The Great Tournament
Maruba Full List
#2

With a near inhumane velocity, the man veers onto the main street towards the usually ever busy Freedom Square. It is completely abandoned at this hour however, as there is but one way in to the Red Harbor, through the wall. This makes it harder for the man to hide. Steps approach from his right, as another man leaps out of the darkness between two street lights, another purple blade blazing in his hand.

The fleeing man reaches within his robes just in time to pull out a short object, which ignites similarly to his two pursuers’ had – but with orange – and he parries the oncoming foe’s blade with an otherworldly, almost echoey sound. The change in direction and velocity had, however, unbalanced the man, and he tumbles sidewards. Parrying another blow while still on the ground, he straightens up quickly to face the two hooded figures approaching. The one on the right aims a swing at his feet, which he jumps, parrying the other blade, as its owner tries to pierce his chest. The echoes ring out into the night, faint whispers which go by unnoticed by the sleeping citizens of the town, drowned by the whistling winds.

Despite parrying blow after blow, the man with the orange blade is forced ever backwards, past the Torch, past the market stalls, and right to the ledge of the square. Tired, he attempts one last jab at the left man, actually grazing his shoulder and making him cry out in agony, but it wasn’t his sword arm, so his situation was no better than before, worse even, for his attack had been exploited massively by the second figure, who forces him into jumping onto the balustrade to avoid being cut in half. Another swing is issued by the figure, and the sheer force of the clash of blades knocks the man point blank off his balance and putting the blade out in the last second, he lands head first in the black water below. He does not resurface.

The purple glow fades as the two figures reach the edge and look down. They stand and watch the water for a long time. A very long time. Their cloaks billowed eerily in the wind, but they seemed not to care, all their attention was on the water. But their wait is for nothing, and as the sky opens up and begins to turn ever so slightly red beyond the Eastern Gate, they pull open the nearest manhole and vanish out of sight, just as the first fisherman of the morning makes his way around the corner of the Copper Inn for a shot of strength before taking on the might of the Calledian Sea. Morning had come.


#3

The light house had appealed to Danek the first time he saw it. Sturdy and tall it marked the entry to the inner docks and the Red Harbor. Seeing it shooting out from the monotone hilly landscape appearing along their right gave him a whole new sense of euphoria however. The adventure had come to and end at last. He was home! As he stood up, the wind caught hold of his short, amber curls, forcing him to sit down again. Despite this, one could not argue that the day of their arrival back to the capital was a fine one. The sun stood high in the azure sky and the water blooms marking the beginnings of spring were covering the surfaces of the stone walls of the docks.

They were passing the light tower now. Looking up, he saw the guards above look down upon them and put their right fists to their chests; the greatest salute you could get off a roklavian. The town had prepared for them. Most likely tipped off by one of the many birds the Jarl had sent off late the previous day, they had draped the harbor and even the Freedom Square with banners in the national colors. He was astonished to see that they even had managed to switch the flame of the Torch to red, the color of strength.

Looking around, he spotted his Jarl, deep in conversation with the lásemen, explaining all about the different views of the city in a murmur. Councilman Bogdán on the other hand, was standing up in the ship just ahead of their own, happily waving to the crowd assembled on shore. Most of his fellow champions mimicked him, and possessed by a sudden urge of juvenile happiness he cried out, from the bottom of his lungs, only to hear his voice echoed back hundredfold.

As they reached the docks, ropes were thrown down to them which they attached to pegs in the water, before disembarking and taking the steps, Valdemar, Virion and Meira in the lead, up onto street level. Applauds issued from the crowd, as the Jarl raised his hands into the air, and shouted, “my dear Marubans, we have done it!” Further clapping issued at this statement. A group of marblers came bustling forward amidst the ovation, led by a freakishly tall woman with thick black hair. She approached the Jarl while the rest of the officers formed a passage for them to follow, towards the square. Valdemar nodded at what the woman said, then beckoned the party forwards.

As they entered the square, again to a round of applauds, the rest of the council came into view, standing behind a long, beautifully patterned carpet, leading from the east entrance of the square to where they stood, and all over stood people, men, and women, and children, human and marubi alike, only held back by the marblers, forming a continued passage for them. The council stood on a newly erected wooden stage at the foot of the Torch, where usually the fountain poured, with the Statue of Protection looming over them with its large shield casting them somewhat into shadow. The marblers followed them until they reached it, and proceeded to stand in a semicircle around it. The champions were told to stand in a line before the stage, while the officials walked up onto it, shaking hands with the other council members, and turning to the expectant crowd.

First up, Valdemar stepped into the middle of the stage, and put his hands together ceremoniously. “Marubans!” he cried out, “my dear marubans! Over the last weeks, these brave, young souls have shown a never subsiding thirst to accomplish what no man has ever managed before them. They have tackled giants! They have split arrows with arrows! They have gone and unequivocally proven to the North, that they, you, the people of Maruba, are none to be underestimated!” A great cheering came at this, so the Jarl paused to let the words sink in before continuing. “I am however, most displeased, my dear citizens,” he continued, “that while our fierce champions delivered above all critique, the ruler of Roklavia, the woman you all know as Valentina I, cancelled the diplomatic arrangements before they even had time to commence.” Angry muttering spread like wildfire around the square, but the Jarl raised a hand to usher silence.

All is not dark however,” he said, “while there is little doubt that the roklavian withdrawal was most cowardly, I managed to get a deal across before that time!” The silence intensified. “A new migrational pact has been agreed upon!” Valdemar finished with great satisfaction “It has long been our hearts’ deepest sores to go on without our loved ones, some of whom, were lost to us in the time of the hellish uprising. A new agency will be implemented from next full moon however in both capitals, to match names and descriptions to bind severed families back together. Once a match is made it shall be permitted for all free citizens of both nations to move across the sea one direction or the other, to reunite.” One standing outside the east wall might have thought a bomb just went off midtown, that was the extent of the cacophony that greeted the last announcement.

Catching a glance from Vitéz however, Valdemar cleared his throat, and said, “Marubans, I could go on further into details, but I do believe that our champions deserve an introduction!” With those words, Bogdán took his place. “First up, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to present to you, first up onto stage, a young man who’s shown a skill with mallets that few believed of him. Although finally defeated in the quarter finals by the berserker of Smergrad, Antonio Cladovoi, he single handedly fought through five rounds of opponents of all shapes and sizes from every corner of the high north! Petyr Askovic!” The man farthest to the left jumped up onto the stage to receive the ovations of the crowd. He had a fine golden mustache that Valdemar quietly thought would serve him well one day when he sought to settle down with a woman. After bowing for the umpteenth time, Petyr stepped back and stood at the back of the stage, allowing for the speaker to continue. Bogdán continued to summarize the deeds of each champion in alphabetical order. After each name the crowd cheered and clapped, and medals of service were handed out.

When all of the people who’d participated had been called, Valdemar once again took the stage. “Never forget, marubans, that this day shows why every man who gets to call him- or herself a Maruban, ought to do so with pride. Walk tall, marubans, and never forget! Qi juat’v nhi bonh!

The crowd began dispersing and together with an escort of marblers, the party began moving up the main street towards Fehérvár, where the champions would be enjoying a feast before dispersing themselves. The Jarl and the lásemen walked a bit behind the others. “What do you think so far, my good Virion?” he asked the young man.

@ProfessorPekka


#4

“I must say, Maruba is very comfortable. A warm welcome, good company, proper houses - no quartz monoliths - and a delightful ceremony: what else could you want?”
    The group continued exchanging pleasantries for a while, as the ground beneath their feet became ever steeper, until they reached the stairs leading up to a gargantuan castle, towering atop a mountain and so visible above the other buildings. After climbing the many stairs, Virion and Meira were escorted by a female servant to a prepared room, and told to be down in the dining hall for the feast in an hour’s time. There they were welcomed by Valdemar, then parted ways to enjoy the festivities. After the feast had finished, Valdemar went and found Virion and Meira, sitting in a corner of the dining hall, enjoying a pudding. “In spite of Valentina’s cancellation,” he said, “we would still be interested in forging an alliance with Lásenor. Trading routes would be set up of course, as well as the two nations agreeing to mutually come to one another’s aid, should they require it from them.”
    “I’m afraid I don’t think we’ll be too helpful with defense,” Meira said, “but an alliance would certainly benefit both nations.” “Indeed so it would seem,” Valdemar said with a pleasant smile. “Of course, forgive me, before such matters can be fully agreed upon, I will have to arrange audience your mother, princess, and inspect the land with which we are to forge such links with. If all is as it should, and nothing problematic arises, then I see no problem with the what we’ve discussed so far. I suggest we make a draft of what each party would want out of such an alliance tomorrow morning, the journey has taken a toll on me at the very least, and I suspect that you feel similar.” Virion nodded. “Alright! I hope you’ve enjoyed the feast, friends! Sleep well!” and with those words he left them there and went on to speak animatedly in a tongue neither of them understood with another man.

Formatting tomorrow


#5

Valdemar was satisfied with the feast. Surely, the lásemen had appreciated the warm welcome, even though it had been mainly arranged for the glory of the champions. Alma had been babbled on all about how their son, Attila, had become completely fluent in the language of the marubi, and had gone on to study kaldarossi. He was happy to hear this, as he’d had much issue transversing with the aquatic citizens up until now. Soon after the lásemen went to bed, Valdemar followed suit, and slept heavily all through the night.

At midnight the guard at the gates changed. As the new sentinels took their positions, the two now at ease, yawning widely, began the descent into the city below. On their way they walked past a pub, where the remainders of the lowlife was sleeping off the night on the benches outside the dark windows, heads tucked in beneath their coats to protect from the biting winds. They continued down the street, the moonlight shining their path amongst the buildings.

Just as the guards turned another corner, two of the slumped figures outside the pub rose their heads. Looking around to check the street for company, they stiffly rose and set off down the street in the opposite direction. When they reached the nearest manhole, the figure in the front lifted the lid and held it aside for the other figure to enter. Hesitating at the revolting stench, the fellow eventually shrugged and began climbing down the walls into the darkness. The figure holding the lid up followed suit, and fastened the square piece of metal after himself, leaving the street above as still as ever.

Down below, it was pitch black, and possibly even colder than on the surface. The men reached for the nearest wall and dragged themselves up, out of the dirty water. It was a cramped space, barely enough to walk upright, with the ceiling arching together somewhere out above the black water of the sewer. The man in the front held up a hand and stopped the second. “Stop there!” he said hoarsely. It was a calm voice, but an alert one at that. The second man stopped, and they listened for a few minutes at the quiet sound of the stream beneath them, with the occasional dripping sound of someone in a distant part of the system taking a midnight leak.

Mester,” the second man said carefully, “I think we can go on!” No reply came. Instead a a short whirr could be heard as an orange string of orange light appeared in the tunnel. Originating from the thin metal blade in Mester’s hand, it reached straight out in a line of about a four feet. It illuminated Mester’s face, making his features glow ghostly. His red beard was aflame, along with the prominent scars on his left cheek, and his piercingly blue eyes. “Yes,” he croaked, “I think you might be right there, Kato, stay close!

Off they went, along the tunnel, creeping along the walls, turning right here and left there, occasionally crossing sides with extreme care as to minimize their noise output. Mester’s orange blade cast light upon dark brick walls, which, despite their relative lack of age were looking ancient, as any sewer wall would. How Mester knew the way, Kato had no clue, but the bearded man led with a brisk pace and seemed to walk in a determined fashion, so he could do nothing but to follow along, a shadow in the dark. Now and then, the scurrying of rats could be distinguished, as the creatures fled the light with an astonishing eagerness. Kato supposed that they must be afraid, some of them perhaps never seeing light throughout their entire life spans.

They had studied rats, Mester and him, back at the temple, but what they’d learned of the rodents’ life energy and habits were trivial to him now. His favorite animal by far to study had been the roklavian sparrows, which the elders said were related to the phoenixes of legend. With his childhood memories so vivid in his mind, he was caught completely off guard as he rounded a bend in the tunnel they were currently in, and collided with Mester’s firm back. Blinking, he saw, or felt more like, a shadow in the passage ahead of them, just outside the glow of the blade in his mester’s hand. “Your weapon, boy!” a croaking voice came. Kato fumbled a little with removing it from his leather belt, but then ignited it as well.

In the combined light from the two daggers, the outline of a man was visible. Just barely, mark you, but still definitely distinguishable from the wall behind his cloak. He wore a hood, which concealed his face, but other than that, he looked rather accurately like mester Aldassy had described them to him, just hours before, on the sunlit porch of his favorite pub. “Step forth and reveal yourself!” Mester said commandingly. The figure stirred. “Who are you and what is your business here at this hour?” Another stir. Then a voice, more chilling than perhaps anything Kato had ever heard up until that point sounded: “Who am I? WHO AM I? I shall tell you, I shall!” and with those words the figure lowered its hood. The face below was oddly distorted, into what Kato thought was a rather painful looking grimace. His cheeks were shriveled like a raisin, yet he looked rather yound otherwise. His complexion was grey as the wall behind him, and his eyes, his eyes wore a most peculiar glow. A pinkish glow. Kato felt a shiver down his spine in spite of himself, and he felt his hands grasp even tighter around his dagger. Whoever this was, he had an idea it wasn’t going to be an enjoyable encounter.


#6

The man stepped forward, an unsightly grin stretched across his grey face. Mester raised the pulsating blade in warning, but the man didn’t stop. He dislodged a blade of his own instead. From what Kato could see, it was of a slightly different fashion than theirs, but clearly still the same type. The dark knight ignited it in a whizz of light. The shining flame that filled the chamber and bounced off the walls was a deep, bright purple. He advanced, and aimed a blow at Mester’s right thigh, which Mester parried, before embarking on a swift counter attack of precise swipes. Trying desperately to do something of more use than standing in the sewer ledge looking like a fool, Kato jumped down into the murky water and, dagger raised, circled the raging battle step by step.

If only he could get behind this dangerous stranger, he could surely help his master. He never got that far however, for more steps could suddenly be heard amidst the sounds of clashing ether. They were coming from the same way they themselves had come. Were they surrounded? Doubling back, Kato reached the bend just as another cloaked figure came around the corner, purple dagger lit. The apprentice instinctively stabbed ahead of himself in sheer surprise, and the light shortened as it penetrated the darkness, only to appear again on the other side, bright as ever. Stiffening, the figure staggered, and as Kato drew the blade back, he burst into a cascade of smoke.

Astonished at this unexpected end, Kato looked around the bend, only to see three more cloaked figures approaching rapidly. “Mester, we’ve got to go!” he exclaimed, bracing himself. “Mester! They are coming!” The clashing sounds became louder. Mester was on the retreat. “Run, boy, run!” the bearded man shouted, “I’m coming,” he croaked as Kato remained, frozen to the spot, “just go!

Kato set off along the corridor, only to see another purple light ahead. Tackling it head on, he managed to unbalance the holder, who fell into the water with a yelp, disappearing for a second beneath the waves. He took this opportunity to look back. Mester was running, some thirty feet away and drawing nearer. Right on his tail were now a horde of cloaked figures, Kato could even see some on the opposite side. Using the dagger to light up the scene ahead, he found a ladder leading up to street level. Climbing it with the shaft in his mouth, he tried to push the lid of the manhole aside, but alas, it wouldn’t move.

The steps became louder beneath him. “Quick, boy!” Mester’s voice floated by. Taking the blade into his hands once again, he pushed IT through the thick metal instead. This time the effect was better. Cutting through the tin like butter, he’d soon cut a hole large enough to stick his hand through.

Down below, Mester had reached him, and were now keeping three cloaked figures at bay at once, swirling at a pace near a hurricane to parry, stab and strike every incoming blow. Kato put out his dagger, and returned it to the scabbard. A faint light was visible through the newly cut hole, but it was quickly extinguished once more, as the young man reached through it, searching frantically for the handle. At last finding the handle, he pushed it down and felt the click as the lid swung open. “Mester, it’s open!” He looked down.

It was hard to see where the beard ended, and the dagger began. Still parrying blows like a madman, he grabbed hold of the lowest peg on the ladder, and pulled himself up a bit, while burning the hand of a cloaked knight. Kato reached the street and climbed out, ready to shut the lid after the master.

Who’re you?” a surprised voice sounded. Spinning around, he saw a young man in green garments approach. “Stay back!” he shouted, “get lost!” The man didn’t budge. At that moment a shriek issued from the hole by Kato’s feet. “Who’s down there?” the young man inquired, now with a sharp tone in his voice. “Go,” Kato groaned, “forget you saw anything and just go!

Too late, before getting to his feet to stop the man, he had stepped over Kato, and peered down into the darkness. “What the…” he exclaimed, shocked. Kato looked down again Mester was a few pegs further up now, but he seemed exhausted by the sheer act of keeping his grip. “Mester!” Kato roared, “Mester, grab my hand!” Mester climbed two more pegs, and extended his dagger arm upwards, and Kato, to his surprise aided by the stranger, grabbed hold, and began pulling.

Mester’s chest glowed lilac as they pulled with all their might, managing to get the entire body above ground. Kato let go and turned to slam the lid shut, but a cloak was already ascending from the depths. With a battlecry he leapt onto it. The figure raised a purple dagger to parry, but in that motion, the hood fell, and sunlight leapt across the drey, wrinkly skin. He opened his mouth to cry out, but before any sound had escaped him, he had been reduced to smoke. It fluttered in the wind, before dispersing and vanishing all together. Finally slamming the lid shut, and burning the lock shut with the dead knights saber, he turned to his master. He did not move.


#7

Virion awoke at an ungodly hour, and, try though he might, found himself completely unable to sleep. He decided he’d go for a walk, and initially had a pleasant stroll through the city. However, he heard a racket coming from a dark alley. Turning the corner, he discovered a dead body.

Still a stranger in Maruba, he decided he would prefer not to implicate himself by investigating further. He hurriedly searched around for Valdemar. It took him far too long, but eventually he found the ornate chambers. He knocked on the door.

“Valdemar,” he said. “There’s been a murder in an alleyway not far from here. But the damage, it seems unworldly. I think this is important.”

@Kung


#8

Valdemar had also woken before the light. Unable to return to the pleasant land of dreams where he’d spent so much time during the dark hours, he got dressed, and taking an oil lamp from his bedside table, he scaled the spiral staircase to the oval council chambers. No guards were in sight. He went on unrelenting nonetheless, for he was aware that the guard at night was reduced to the entrances and towers of the castle. After all, this had been how he’d ordered the routine. Nevertheless, the lamp made an eerie light in the long deserted corridor and the shadows of the floor tiles grew long ahead and behind. After what seemed like an hour, he came to the end of the corridor, facing the fine wooden door, framed into the mountain wall. It squeaked as he slowly opened it ajar. Inside, all was pitch black, save a distant light emanating from the crack in the wall. It was too weak to propose any proper visibility, but to Valdemar it was a welcome sight all the same. The light came from the wall and the towers outside and the sense of eeriness lifted somewhat.

Closing the door behind him, he took a piece of parchment and a quill with ink and sat down by his lamp in his usual chair. The crack in the wall made a mysterious shape with the faint light peering through in shades of yellow and red. He dipped the quill in the ink, hovered it above the jar for a moment while glancing at the window, then he moved over to the parchment and began drawing lines. He sat there, making the drawing clearer and clearer. As the twilight approached, he had enough of it done to continue without the darkness.

His lantern was burning low by the time Virion found him, and as such had lit the torches on the walls, which flared merrily in their holders when the door was swung open. The Jarl was not too shaken at first, even after hearing of the murder. Crime was not unheard of, nor as rare as he assumed it had to be in Lásenor. Marble would surely handle it just fine, but out of courtesy he put the quill back into the ink, and left the chamber with the láseman. On the sight they were met by a police blockade and the officer present redirected them to a precinct for more information. There they met with the chief of marble, Andras Hösi.

The man bowed deep, whereafter he said to Valdemar; “I hear you have queries in regard to the murder here last night? That correct?
Yes,” Valdemar replied, “This gentleman was one of the first on the scene.” Andras eyes Virion suspiciously. “Ow va gociw so vitto?”* he asked the Jarl. “Ho ren ethi juw it wove!”** he replied angrily, “I trust him!
Very well then, my jarl!” He turned to Virion. “One moment!” he said. Then he walked over to his desk, where a pen and a small note block lay. Picking the items up, he turned back. “Could you explain what you saw in that alley, sir?


*Are you sure of him?
**Don’t take me for a fool!