Cambrya the Second Age

What Can You Say
Richard

An excerpt from the journal of Richard.

What do you say when someone gives you something that there is no way to repay them for? I was given a gift that I cant even think of a way to thank or repay King Redfield for. It all started after the captain of his guard called us in to discuss some important matters with us. He caught us up on the news and proposed that we act as an envoy to the kingdom of Grayson to pave the way for the army that would soon be in their backyard. An interesting idea to say the least. After it was proposed to King Redfield he announced that he would be giving a speech. Now I have seen some speeches but never one where everyone turns out for it, over one hundred thousand people came to see him speak. His shaman created huge projections out of magic so that everyone could see and hear his speech. The speech is kind of a blur to me I know he talked about marching south to help out against the drow and shadar kai, that half the army would go to Grayson and half would stay, and then the part that broke my head as far as coherent thought went, he gave me immunity for being a drow placing me under the Norths protection so that if I wanted to I could walk around with my face shown everywhere.

After the speech in the fashion of the north prayers to honor the gods and a massive celebration was thrown. We attended the meetings for Bahamut, Khord, The Raven Queen and I attended Sahanine. I have to say all of which were interesting, Rynn tried to out lift a barbarian with his mind, he failed but earned some respect in his own way. We also had a long discussion with Mia oddly enough she is upset that she is going to lose Roslyn. Point of note, shifters have great sense’s of smell, the high priestess for The Raven Queen smelled the woman Audgheir banged at the Khord ceremony pretty much shooting himself down without realizing it.

I haven’t figured out if I want to walk around with my face shown, I’m still thinking about what could happen either way. But for now it is kind of fun to show my face in the north.

So that brings us back to the original question of what do you say, and really at this point I am still at a loss for words but I will start with “thank you”.

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rolling storm edited

Thats it I have to break something. I go storming off and all I can think is I need to break something as I stomp through the camp I shoulder someone “sorry”. What the fuck, I just said I’m sorry, I never used to say I am sorry. I would have laid that pale faced stable boy out for being in my way. GRRRRRRR What the hell have I become. Looking out over the camp I see men a horse.. I grind my teeth and it is like flesh being flayed from my back that the first thing I think seeing them is I can’t fight them it would cause problems. “ARRRRGGGGGGHHHH” Five heads turn towards me as I storm through the camp to a tree nearby. I walk up and instantly send splinters flying with my first swing… the second swing… and even more with the tenth and thirteenth.
p.
Dammit hes right. I haven’t been part of the wilds of the north for too long. I cant even finish a fight and its eating away at me. I don’t seem to be one of the southerners and I am no longer a northman I am from no where. I haven’t been from the north since they all died. I still remeber it.
p.
"Audgheir!!!!!! HE.l..p… our cook abruptly snapped quiet, a pair of huge claws piercing her leg and shoulder and a gaping wound, where her voicebox used to be, cleanly opened by the griffon’s beak. I slash at the man in front of me his uniform swelling blood and I can hear the crunching of the gryffon finishing her off. I break his jaw as he falls clutching his wound while I kick him off my sword. I look around and I see so many dead and others dying I start to run to the tent albrecht is in and there is a jarring pain followed by blackness. As the fog from my mind clears I remember walking away the next day from the most gruesome bloodbath I have ever seen. When I took that walk I left behind everything including who i was. i just didn’t realise it till now
p.
CRUNCH!!! I hack the tree again. Pups eyes are glassy and dead and in the distance I look up and see the dead from redfield’s camp standing behind Book and his mother quietly waiting for me to say something. I look left and right at the alleys of brightcliff. The houses are on fire, the streets are running with blood and looming over them is three dragons. The icy beast in the center looks right at me and says in the feminine I first heard her use on the shore. “This is all your fault you bring the storm” and the fog of my revere is broken as I look past the splintered tree at Richard.
p.
“There is a meeting audgheir cmon” I hear Richard say and I do not care. I scream at him till he goes away. All I can think about is how I don’t belong anywhere and how death seems to follow me. The southerners don’t accept me they all think I am barely a man, the seamen barely see me as a passable deckhand, and it seems the men from the north don’t see me as a man anymore. The problem is…their right. I am nothing but thunder before the storm, the wind before a hurricane, or just a storm crow.
p.
“Thats it” like a lightning bolt my mind is lit up with the solution. As I walk into the tattooist I had spoken to about the dragon tattoos I steel myself and bark out “I have found that I am no longer a man of the north and I am not a man of the south. I am the crow that rides in before the storm and I want you to make sure everyone who sees me will know the same thing.” I say it with force but deep down I know I am cursed. I have no home, I have no people, I have no title and I have no honor. I felt maybe I could return to the north the frozen home I have always known and be welcome. To hell with it what to those meat heads know they are just nameless grunts in redfield’s army.
p.
I got my tattoo finished and went out to the speech. I may be cursed to bring death with me wherever I go but I am still a northman and no nameless grunt will take that away. As richard likes to put it thats when the other foot dropped. That no named, dim witted, no glory sell sword walked out next to redfield and he is one of his generals. If Redfield considers him worthy of being a general then he must believe in him and if I believe in redfield then I must also believe in the man. H’roak must be right, I am no longer a northman. That means I am a man from no where as well as a man who brings death wherever I go. dammit twice cursed and I couldnt even see it.

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I Love the North But I Hate the Cold

Excerpt from the journal of Richard

So the shoe dropped in the form of a blizzard dragon, Rynn and Frostfire said its a type of dragon that’s elemental in nature as opposed to the metallic kind. We managed to kill it but everyone in the Goliath village was dead. We only knew them for a night but they were good people that opened their homes to complete strangers, the world is a colder place without them in it. They will be missed.

We build a funeral pyre out of one of the house the dragon destroyed and let them all to rest. We plan to set out in the morning. Evening comes and we hear noises that sound like people from the dock. To our surprise we have a group of men from King Redfields army. After an interesting discussion where we are told we are stupid for the pyre because it will attract raiders, we manage to get them to agree to take us to speak with the king. They don’t trust us and my being a drow only leads to further mistrust. They only agree to take us all if we give them our weapons which we do. Its cold, its wet, its dark, its the north and even though the trip on the boat and the ride on the horse’s only took around half a day it felt like it would never end.

Here we are at his army, words do not do the sight justice. Tents and structures are everywhere, filling a valley, there must be over ten thousand people there. This army is a magnificent sight. Looking at it all, taking it all in, all I can think of his that if this army marched on the south they would decimate any force in front of them. These northerners are tougher, bigger, stronger than any average man in the south, what we consider strong they consider weak.

We arrive at the kings tent and everyone starts dismounting, Rynn and I had to rid bitch and the captain picked him up and set him on the ground. Not really wanting to get down that way I rolled to the side, did a little flip and landed on my feet. It was funny how fast they reacted yelling no sudden moves. The look of irritation on their faces when I said, I just wanted to get down without being picked up, was somewhat priceless.

Backs to the tent we are lined up sitting on the ground while Prince Ridian and Rynn enter the tent to speak with the King. Time passes, we are brought food, hot food, I keep forgetting the north has heat. The King comes out, he is polite, down to earth, a really nice guy. It really makes me start to like this place, now if I could just get there to be less cold up here. As he introduces himself to each person and they to him, they shake hands. He comes to me lastly and asks me a very interesting question that I hadn’t thought of up to this point. “Are you a man or are you a drow?” I don’t even think I respond “i am a man” good he says then we will treat you as such until you give us a reason to do otherwise. When I think of everything I have seen the drow we have encountered do, it doesn’t surprise me my response. All I have seen from the drow are the work and actions of monsters with no humanity.

I wonder if I can walk around the camp without the hood and mask up?

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Just a Peasant
By Anthony - Interlude for Deriac Riddian

Two months ago…

“All hail Prince Deriac Riddian!”

The voices called out in cheers as Prince Riddian walked though the streets of the War Quarter. A simple visit for the soldiers to keep morale up. He passed by barracks and supply buildings, barely able to see their doorways with his father’s soldiers lining the streets. As well they should, Deriac thought to himself. My instructors tell me that there are foul smelling peasants in this Quarter. They have the nerve to beg for food when my father provides them with shelter from war and worse. If they wish to eat, they should work harder for the kingdom.

“It’s an honor to meet you, your grace!”
“Prince Riddian, my sword is yours!”
“May my children serve you as I serve your father!”
“Long live the Riddian line!”

The soldiers yelled their pleasantries over the hum of the crowd, but Deriac could tell that they were lying. Their smiles are as fake as their professions of undying love for their king. These people don’t love my father. He cares little for common men and they know it. These people are tools for his victories and advancement.

As Deriac gave his own fake smiles and waves, something in an alley caught his eye. Between two well-armored soldiers, he saw a pair of the most beautiful brown eyes that he had ever seen. She was about his age, fresh into adult hood. Lush locks of rich, earthen brown hair fell, framing her face. Her face had a smudge of grime on it, about the chin. Her manner of dress was clearly that of a peasant, but Deriac couldn’t tear his eyes away. His world seemed to move in slow motion and as his view of her was obscured by a soldier’s head. His breath held until he could see her again.

“…He’s casting a spell! —-Get the prince down!”

The yelling suddenly erupted around him and two soldiers forced him to the ground, hard. Their gauntlets surely bruised his shoulders, but Deriac didn’t protest. He was still dazed from the sudden surge in the crowd. His eyes tried to find his brown-eyed peasant girl, but to no avail. All he saw was the shuffling armor of the soldiers as they crowded around him.

Suddenly… FSSSHHHHHHOOOOOM!

Deriac heard the ignition of an arcane fireball and heard the impact hit nearby. The yelling continued, “Take him down!” From somewhere in the crowd he heard a fanatical yell, “The arcane arts should be free! We will no longer stand for Riddian’s oppression! We are the—-gurrrk

The prince heard the yelling turn into a guttural cry and knew that the soldiers had taken the terrorist out before he could harm anybody else. The commotion continued for a few minutes longer, until Deriac was finally able to stand. His guards still flanked him, but his eyes were able to make out the damage the fireball had caused.

There was a peasant man with a gnarled, burnt hand. He was screaming and howling in pain as the guards were yelling for a healer. Next to him was the charred remains of what was once a child or a halfling. It bothered him that he didn’t pay enough attention earlier to know which it was. Then there, on the ground, he found those brown eyes again.

She was laying there, half of her lovely head of hair burnt away. Her eyes and most of her face remained unscathed, but her body and clothing were a mess. Deriac knew that the flames must have hit the ground near her feet and blasted upward into her body. His breath caught in his throat and it felt as if a dwarf was gripping his heart.

She looked up at him with those brown eyes, those perfect brown eyes. Once again, the world moved in slow motion as he saw people yelling and moving about. One of his wizard instructors, a wise old mage named Uwen approached and grabbed his shoulder, “Prince Riddian! We must leave these streets at once!”

Deriac turned, blinking. “U-Uwen? She’s… she’s dead.” The old mage followed his gaze to the charred remains of the woman on the ground. The old man gasped, but then broke into a relieved smile, “Your eyes deceive you, boy. Look at her manner of dress. She was just a peasant.” He squeezed Deriac’s shoulder, “Come. Let’s leave this filthy place.”

As the prince was escorted away from the carnage his eyes tried to find hers amongst the moving bodies. In his last gaze into her eyes, she was finally looking back at him. His heart soared and sank all at once as he wondered about her name, her smile, her laugh.

“Just a peasant”, he whispered to himself. “Just a peasant.”

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The Shoe Always Drops

Excerpt from the journal of Richard

It never fails, every time something good happens something very bad follows. Here we are after a great trip on a ship, best week I have had in a long time. Now we are in this god forsaken frigid wasteland of cold and death. We get to shore, trudge through the ice, scale the sides of the cliff, fall down to a village we find ourselves in a Goliath village. At least Book’s house is warm, warm is that thing I forgot existed after all the ice. The cliffs we scales were bad but not that bad, the north seems ot have two exports ice and death. Still waiting for the shoe to drop.

As I cook like a woman for Book and everyone else, Rynn tells him stories of our trip and the things we have done. Rynn gives my spice set away in exchange for book helping us find the King of the North. Overall I guess its a pretty fair trade, though Rynn does owe me a spice set now.

Fish soup for breakfast, could be worse I guess, at least its warm inside and hot food. Unlike the frigid wasteland from hell outside, why did we come here again? For that matter why would anyone come here? Audgeir lets in cold air as dumps the chamber pot damn him, better him than me though, that thing was massive. He comes back in with a story about a beautiful woman on the shore waiting for someone making him sound a little crazier than normal since when we look out we see no one there. Finally we are leaving I will miss being warm, but the sooner we get out of this place and finish this mission the sooner we go back down south the happier I will be.

We say goodbye to Books mother and we get into his boat departing. Cold wind blows across the water into us. The north needs a new export something warmer and less cold. We hear a roar, and look to where it came from the village. At this point it dawns on us that the woman Audgeir saw was most likely a white dragon, though really it could be any kind but don’t the while ones like cold? Either way it seems that naming ourselves Dragons Bane only served to draw more dragons to us. Why cant we meet friendly happy dragons that don’t have the hobbies of murder and eating people? That shoe I mentioned, it dropped, its large and dragon shaped.

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Change of Heart

Frostfire swept the ashen remains of the bird droppings off the edge of the ship, only to have the wind scatter the remnants into the sea. Even though the weather was cold, frigid even, the work made him pant as he breathed fire onto the decks and then swept up the remains. He looked up from his work, stretching his muscles and realigning the scales in his back to see “Adam” chopping wood with a large axe.

He watched him for a moment, amazed. I never would have thought the Prince capable of such back-breaking work, he thought to himself before shaking his head and pushing the brush on the boards again. The man we met just a few days ago would have scoffed at labor that “peasants” did. The man we met a few days ago would have demanded to pay for the privilege of not working and would have disdained our barbarism. What happened to that man? Was it just a front? Was it a mask to hide his fear? Is this the mask? Where is the Spoiled Brat Prince?

Frostfire breathed a wave of fire over the next section of the ship and noticed and ignored the nervous glances from the sailors. Fire on a ship was dangerous, but he had enough control that he could ash the guano and not harm the boards underneath. As he began to sweep the next section, he thought to himself, Ever since the Prince got drunk, he’s been…a regular guy. He says he wants to live like peasants do, and at first, I took offense that he was looking down on us. After the first day, I had purposely not spoken a word to him for fear of offending his spoiled sensibilities and ruining our chances of bringing him along. But…the prince seems like he’s serious, and that bothers me.

Another wave of fire breathed out over the deck, ashing guano that had accumulated on the bannister on the edge of the ship. He dipped his brush into the bucket and began scrubbing the corners. What changed? he asked himself. Does he now respect us? Has he seen how we care about the people just as much as he claimed to do? Was he ashamed of his haughty attitude? Frostfire glanced up at the prince, who was even now struggling with the axe and sweating buckets as he chopped wood. I don’t trust the change he’s made…yet. The man has an ulterior motive in his attitude shift, and I’ll find out why.

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Run

The storm had passed, captain said it wasn’t too bad, but Rynn was convinced it was the end of the world.  The ropes had been secured and he had a few minutes to himself.  He looked to the clouds rolling away heading for the coast, part of him wished he could be there.  He missed the city and its streets, the hustle and bustle of the market.  He missed running through the alleys and across the buildings.  He missed the simplicity of his old life.
 
He looked around and returned to the reality of his new life: complicated and dangerous.  As Rynn double checked his ropes he continued to wrestle with himself; why did I do this, why did I join this group?  Even after all this time he still can’t seem to figure out why he’s still here, why he hasn’t run.  He’s always running that’s all he knows how to do.  Rynn headed for the bow of the ship and looked off into the distance, his mind racing through the possibilities.  There are few good outcomes, and none of them seem likely.  Still, even with the possibility that he may die, even though he misses his city, even though he is scared out of his mind; he won’t leave.  He can’t leave.  Something is coming, he can feel it.  It’s like the world is rumbling, he sees its vibrations, just out of the corner of his eye.
 
Rynn hears Grimm yelling at him, he turns and realizes that he needs to undo his ropes.  He rushes there and begins working the ropes to adjust the sails.  He does his best to put up a good show of effort, but the more he does it the less he cares to hide what he’s doing.  Still, the captain said not to let the others know, so he continues to put up the show.  He watches Adam, still struggling a bit with the wood, but at least he’s earned some respect on the ship.  No doubt, he’s earned some respect from Rynn.  Even though Rynn can still see the “royalty” in him and still feels his contempt; Adam is definitely making an effort for the first time, more than likely, ever.
 
As the day winds down, Rynn follows his friends to get some food.  He genuinely enjoys their company, thinking it’s the closest he’s had to family since the Old Man.  He finishes his food and heads back out on deck to see the sun set.  As he stands there looking out at the ocean watching the movement of the waves and the blue-hued trail they leave behind he thinks about his future.  The movement of the ship echoes in his mind each footstep vibrating along the hull causing slight variations in “hum” of the boat.  Rynn never understood why he liked running, why he always felt he had to run, but he realized while watching the sun drop below the water he can’t run anymore.  He won’t run anymore.

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A City Burns

Excerpt from the journal of Richard

So we have rescued the prince, slain the dragons mate, saved Captain Brighton, and defended the Port of Atria. So many people have lost their lives in the defense of the city. We also found out that we missed at least one drow in the woods because there were frog men sent specifically to the town to kill everyone in the house we discussed staying at. Filthy animals starting a war in the shadows and killing so many innocent people.

In a somewhat amazing turn of events the prince has finally grown up and decided to be a better man. Granted it took getting really drunk to get to that stage. Also publicly announcing that we are going to the north may not have been the best idea. I am confident the drow know our plan and are going to try to kill us all along the way, but knowing that we will be ready for them.

We settle on taking a ship to the north and elect to work so the passage is cheaper. This may be the best thing to happen to me so far. The rocking of the ship and the salty air, I have missed this. I truly hope that nothing prevents this from ending well. Happily I have been assigned to the kitchen and have set about improving the quality of the food. Now if I just had slightly more intelligent helpers.

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slight slip
ROPES TWO OK!!!!!

The smell of salt fills me and I can see why Sho’ourn the great turtle eternally swims its depths and churns its waters. There is a calmness to the nothing and a purity in the salty air. It reminds me alot of home where things can be simpler. If someone works hard they are rewarded and if they don’t they dont. Everyone lives and dies by what they and the one next to them do and I don’t feel I have to watch out for any of them. Everyone just works, well except for Grim he yells and works.
ROPES TWO OK!!!!
I can’t believe I almost slipped again trying to clober that fool of a prince. Damnable high and mighty bastard decided to make a speech while drunk. I thought he was going to make things worse by announcing where we were going and by making a fool of himself drunkenly in public. Guess I was wrong. I can’t help to think though what the people thought when the prince made a drunk speech and then dissapeared into the night. Either way the speech he made didn’t affect his standing nearly as bad as I thought it would.
ROPES TWO OK!!!!!!
Today I am enjoying for the first time in a while being strong being the answer. I miss days like this, no princes to babysit, no grifters to contend with, no social customs to obey, just hard work and being done with hard work. I wouldn’t mind being talkative with the crew but seems that isnt how its going to be. Gnarm however gets along REALLY well with them.
ROPES TWO OK!!!!!!
I, however, have not been getting along so well with Gnarm. Think I insulted him pretty bad the other day and I still am not sure why. He didn’t help us kill the dragon why would he want a dragon tattoo. Well meybe he will get a ship or something to remember this time, heck maybe he will stay. They like him here and he is good at what he does, probably wont have to worry about people wanting to gut him either. Now that I think about it they don’t want to gut the drow either. I dont disagree with this attitude but it makes me suspicious cause nobody here seems to think that way. Probably just hackles raised at the dark.
ROPES TWO OK!!!!
Old Father Oak would have had his patience tried in the waiting, but it seems that arrogant ass of a prince got replaced by a halfway decent man when I wasn’t looking, that or its a changeling who really likes giving himself blisters. I wish he had someone who was better at showing him how to be a good person than us. We are a motley crew of misfits and not really qualified as being good role models. I miss Albrecht for that reason. He always knew what to say to people and had a much better hand at controlling my temper than I did. I pray the spirits find a place for him in the great story. A spot he deserves.
ROPES TWO OK!!!!!!
I miss Halbrecht too; dam fine dwarf, good drinking buddy and full of piss and vinegar, and I miss his grouchy dragon blessed butt. I may have to get a bahamut emblem to wear and add to my prayers to the great spirits for my friend. Wherever he is I hope he has a good ale to keep him warm and a good friends to keep him company. When I see him again I will have to buy him an ale and maybe a woman too.
ROPES TWO OK!!!!!!
Sigh, thinking of women…. I swear everyone in these southern lands only cares about money anymore. Wendy had been a fine nights entertainment.. three times…. and once the next day, but when she showed up outside I should have known she just slept with the dumb barbarian to get at his money. If she had a child and I found it to be mine I would have given her a good life. We would have raised a strong child and then many more after if she had wished it and I would not have begrudged her that life. Approaching me the morning after kid in hand and complaining of her insides was just clear skullduggery and an underhanded thing to do. Should have known, the red haired ones are always full of passion and fire in bed and cold burning and treacherous intent when they aren’t. I truly miss the north. When a child is born the whole group celebrates and raises it together. Strangers to the camp or good friends can spend a night deep in their cups and warming each other’s bed and not demand money the next day. Great sky I miss the north.
ROPES TWO OK!!!!!!
I think I enjoy the sea life. When this war is over I may have to talk frostfire into following me onto the ocean. A man could lose his worries here, letting his muscles talk and his soul be free of burden, and not care that his worries had left him.

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Oh barnacles!

Emiel hangs from the side of the boat, like a ball on a string. With the sun baking him and bouts of the sea spray chilling him. He swings a worn out dagger at the barnacles latched onto the boat’s side. And with a light use of a magic, blasts the barnacles off without causing damage to the ship itself.

Not the most respectable use of my skills I’d guess, but it does make the job easier. I’m sure teacher would be less than thrilled to see her family’s fighting style put to this use, but I need to be as ready as possible… for anything can happen.

Thought the waves drown out most of the noise to Emiel’s ears, he can still hear the shouts of the sailors and his comrades as they do their work. Over that he can hear the ships second in command Grim, a good name for him at that, as he chew out “Adam” as he chops wood.

I bet this is the most physical work the prince has done in his entire life and from the way this is going it may kill him, if not by one of the sailors themselves. But the prince did want to be in disguise… new haircut, new name, new look and along with that you have to act the part and work like anyone else. Not that real work couldn’t hurt him, I mean in his drunkenness he wanted to be like the “common” folk, sleep in a normal bed and whatnot. Though his ramblings led him to give a memorable speech to all that would listen from the Bitter Mammy. The pompous ass was almost a different person, bringing some hope to a port that was almost wiped from the map.

Emiel stares upward to the sun trying to guess the time of day to no avail when, like a spark, a thought dawned on him.

Crap! When I think about it, the prince and I are kind of similar. We both have a legacy that we are trying to live up to and we both as trying to prove something, not just to ourselves, but to those we respect and admire. When I started this journey I was a pompous ass myself, thinking that because of who my brother was, that the world owed me some respect. It took some beatings to my thick skull to make things more clear, what was important, how to treat others, and the world isn’t so simple. That strike to the jaw may have been the best thing for him, got him reorganizing his priorities in life. I guess we shall all see if he becomes a better prince or more importantly a better person because of it.

Emiel feels the rope tug around his waist as he begins to be lifted back onto the ship.

Maybe I finally need to apologize to “Adam” for yelling at him… maybe.

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