Liberty

Lose by a Hair Pt 1

Selwynsday the 6th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, 1:23pm, Rummage Glen, 23 miles north of Rosemellow Ridge, Country of Eiradun.

Captain Basil Stag-Hare led his patrol, a detachment from the 47th Boarder Rangers, across Rummage Glen. The grass was wispy and yellow, having been mostly killed off in the frost, it provided very little cover. Thankfully his patrol was made entirely of hares. He had eight in his patrol. Sargent Lionel Davipaw, Corporal Archibald Cleartail and Privates Crispin Snowfur, Dennis Ryealck, Elijah Brytail, Sebastian Owo and Titus Thorntree. His men were armed with light spears but they were stowed for a run, Rummage Glen was a deep long valley that stood between the high cliffs of Gengie and the south Balsam creek. If he didn’t want to make a three day detour he had to take it. Pacing themselves at a steady jog, the hares should be able to clear it in about an hour, longer then he’d like to be exposed but in this case… hopefully… worth the risk. Basil tried to keep his wits about him as he ran but often found his thoughts straying back to his last mission. Three Zemaya, on the door step of the fur and foot nation, in a border season. The world certainly wasn’t what it used to be. In his youth he’d of flogged a man who brought him such stories… now the impossible seemed standard. He stopped and froze every bone in his body. The unit was spread to keep from spell attacks but they stopped as one, Archi had one of the keenest noses in the entire nation, if he smelt trouble it was worth paying attention to. Cautiously Basil allowed a single ear to rise and slowly turn to see if he could catch a stray sound. Northing. After a full minute. Lionel slowly crept up to the point position to see what was up.

“wha’s troubling ya, mate” Lionel whispered trying to sound confident as he did so.

“eighteen licks up ahead, crouched in the raspberry scrub… I smell Preators… Lupin’d be my guess, but could be wolf, hard to tell on a whiff Sarg” Lionel looked the corporal up and down

“how many?” he asked

“At least three Sarg, hard to tell now, winds shifting, and the bush is hiding some of the scent” the Sargent nodded to him and slowly crawled back to his Captain

“Doesn’t look good Captain” Lionel said as he repeated what Archi had told him. Basil took a long moment to think about it before responding.

“We’re more than halfway through the ridge… if we bolt they’ll overtake us on flat open ground, Let’s hope for wolves and not Lupin”

“Mighty big gamble considering the cargo, Cap” Lionel offered, the Captain took the warning to heart.

“Who is our best swimmer, and who is our fastest runner?” Basil asked… the Sargent took a long moment to think

“Elijah by far would be our best swimmer, boys damn near half lutrae, as fer runners, that’s be a toss up between Crispin and Titus, Sir”

“Titus is damn good with the spear to… I want him here with me… spread the word, here’s what I want done…”

Within a few minutes the patrol was on the move. Six of them spreading out in attack formation towards the Rasberry brush, Crispin turning and hightailing it back out of the valley and Elijah b lining for the creek ready to make a swim. The preators broke from the brush and charged at the oncoming patrol

“Remember Mates, Not one of these flea bag bastards passes us till our boy Elijah is clear ‘cross that creek… you be getting me?”

“Aye Sir!” his men said picking up speed and tightening the grip on their spears. The Wolves, for that could be seen now, were about thirty feet away now, both sides ever picking up speed. The Hares to their credit didn’t falter as Lionel called their battle cry

“UGIE UGIE UGIE!”

“OI! OI! OI!” the men called back taking a final step and leaping to meet their mortal enemies in battle.

Basil flung himself in the air, he felt the jaws of the wolf just miss if foot as he shot out a might kick, spinning and stabbing at the fur lined creature with his spear. He drew blood, but the blow was glancing and would not fell the creature. As he hit the ground he rolled catching a sorrowful glimpse of Dennis, and hearing a thundering CRACK as the wolf that had grabbed him shook him violently snapping the poor private’s neck. That creature paid the price however, Titus came up under the creatures belly and leapt into the snarling beasts thin furred stomach driving home his spear, the yowl the creature let out echoed throughout the glen. Basil had not time to watch anymore, the wolf he battled brought its paw to bear, and years of steady training only allowed him to deflect the crushing blow with his spear. “Keep moving Basil” he cursed to himself “a still Hare is a dead Hare” he said repeating the old drilling line that had been taught to generations of warriors. He picked up speed leading the wold away from the group, not enough to outpace it but just enough to trigger its chasing instincts… then when he felt the moment was right, he stopped hard, rolled towards the beast and set his spear. As predicted the beast overshot with its gnashing jaw snap, his spear found its throat at full speed, and though he took the full force of the wolf crashing into him, he hobbled away… the wolf was dead. He limped back to his men who together had just brought down the third wolf. Taking stock it nearly broke Basil’s heart. Lionel, his loyal Sargent of four seasons lay dead. He sniffed, surprising his grief for another time and turned his attention to his men.

“Well done gents, well done… it’s not every patrol who can take on three Wolves and live to speak again of it…” he was interrupted by a slow clap they turned and walking from behind the Raspberry scrub camp a single Waylen in dark armor, clapping a sarcastic slow clap.

“Well done indeed noble hares, well done indeed” the raspy vile voice of the Waylen carried on the breeze to the assembled hares. Basil had never met Lord Shepard, but he knew enough to recognize him, and had seen what Meagre, a self-proclaimed unskilled and untrained Guard Mouse could do, he could only imagine what a Master Guard Mouse was capable of, if this was going to happen it had to be on their terms.

“UGI UGI UGI!” he cried flinging himself into the air without warning, his boys were already moving as they echoed the call

“OI OI OI!” Basil knew his leap was true, and his aim fine with his spear, he would come from above and split the mouse in twine. It was then just before connecting he felt his momentum slow, and then stop just out of reach, he then felt himself be flung backwards, at a glance he saw the same was true with Titus who’d matched his jump. Sebastians charge still held true however, until they heard the familiar hum of the waylen blade. There was a red flash and Sebastion’s head left his shoulders as the Mouse danced out of his way. Archibald had been hot on his heels but found himself tripping of his friend’s corpse. The Hare jabbed out with his spear attempting a glancing blow but the blade ripped down slicing the top of his weapon, and jutting back in time to deflect another Spear that Titus had thrown. Archibald leapt back and drew his knife, joining beside Basil and Titus, facing off against the menacing Mouse.

Basil looked at his last two men, both armed with skinny knives, his opponent was uninjured and not even winded; in fact, Basil was sure that the disgusting noise he was hearing was laughter. He did what any responsible leader would do

“Run boys, run hard and fast” he whispered. Titus looked at him as if ready to offer protest, Basil cut him off “that’s an order” Archi split left and Titus right As Basil charged. Archi made it maybe ten steps before he felt a death grip around his neck lift him from the ground. Basil had suspected this and levied his spear in the charge. As he was about to connect he saw the waylen blade come buzzing towards his spear, he dropped the weapon and jumped, kicking down as he leapt over the mouse, knocking him forward as he struck a blow on the back of the head. It must have caused the mouse a moment of confusion for Archi hit the ground and took off anew. Basil gave himself a grim smile for his success, as he saw Titus making good ground and it seemed Archi would risk the creek and swim for it. His gaze turned toward the mouse who now stood and faced him. Basil pulled his skinny dagger from his belt

“You will suffer for that Hare, no one had touched me in over ten years”

“Perhaps all yer needing is a good walloping to set yerself straight, I’d be obliged to offer ya one”

“You’ll learn to hold your tongue, Hare, I will see your entire people eliminated for your brash…”

“Oh lick me salty piss and get on with it, will ya” Basil said, sending the mouse into a rage. The smaller creature charged with basil leaping back and bringing his knife to bare, the battle in all honesty had begun.

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Tobars Journal Pt 3

Selwynsday the 6th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, 6:23am, Low Market, Bazaar District, Eiradun

I had been given a few days to figure out how I wanted to make this happen, good! I needed the walk anyway. Needed to put the cowl back on, bring out my true self once more. The sun was coming up, damn… I hate the dawn, it always feels like someone left the grass out on the lawn overnight. Things had been quiet in the Bazarr… between the Deacon trying to keep things quiet and the shake up in the Rouges House, there was very little for a do gooder who wanted to violently work out some emotional issues to do. It was just after 6 when I heard the cry. Not four blocks from my old house.

“My baby, someone has stolen my baby” the neighborhood was waking up to hear the cries of a mother in pain. I was on it. She had seen her child at two in the morning when she’d woken with nightmares… poor women, she’d sent the kid back to bed without looking, maybe the monsters under the bed were real. I happen to know a lot about monsters, especially the local sort. And beating some intel out of a source was right up my ally. Randy the Snitch… I gave him the name, told me about a new fellow just in from the Fire Nation. Lestor Macavoy, a weasel if a fellow who cleans up jobs for coin. He also seems to have a fondness for hanging around at public parks and watching kids play. I got mad and broke Randy’s nose, who sits on that kind of information when there are kids at stake. His house was on the edge of the Bazaar, just over the wall into South Gate. A neat little cottage standing cozy with a picketed little fence and pink shutters. Why is it that filth and refuse can so easily set the ideals that decency so wants? The buildings were small here so I had to come from ground level, I crept over the fence and into the house… seems like our friend was out, fine, gives me a chance to find the baby and get her home. I entered the house and my stomach almost emptied, he must have had at least a dozen cats, the stink of the creatures was too much, the windows were painted shut and the airflow was almost none. I searched the house high and low, looking for the child, nowhere… maybe my source was wrong? Maybe he was out with the child still, do I wait in ambush or move on? That’s when I noticed, the cats seemed to stay in the living room, licking at their bowls. I steeled myself to take a look, and found what I hoped I wouldn’t… the cats licking a skull in their bowl.


Selwynsday the 6th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, 9:52am, Ranny Lane, South Gate District

Lester Macavoy returned from his regular church ritual. He approached his well-oiled gate and quickly entered his home. He did not like to be away from his kitties for any length of time, but it was important to maintain appearances.

“Lucy, Chole, Shadow… Daddies home” he called as he entered his home, breathing in the rich and earthy aroma of his little fur babies. He took another two steps before stopping… it was quiet… where was the ever pleasant mewing of Jasper or Luna? Where was the welcome call of Misty or Patches? They should be excited to see him, for he had just given them their favorite treat last night. He took a step into his living room and screamed at what he saw… four of his little kittens head lined neatly on the mantle “Peanut….” He cried in disbelief as he staggered forward… he could not take the sight of it, but as he turned he found his shelves, and the back of his chesterfield lined with the heads of his remaining cats. “Why… oh by the gods… why…” the man wailed. Out of the corner of the room from the shadow stepped a burly masked dwarf.

“You killed that baby, you fucking animal…” the dwarf growled in a hoarse voice. The man seeing the position he was in too a deep sniveling breath to calm his trembling lip and then spoke.

“You have caught me then, call the Dentoni” he voice has steadied as he looked to the dwarf, a look of confidence held in his eyes, there would not be enough evidence here to convict him of anything, the dwarf on the other hand would surely be lashed, if not worse for the murder of his precious pets. The dwarf punched him in the stomach and Lester doubled over in pain.

“People go to jail…” the dwarf growled “… animals get put down”

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Tobars Journal Pt 2

Selwynsday the 6th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, 12:15am, Freemen Lodge, off Marshal Street, Southgate District, Eiradun

I stood in firelight, sweltering with a bloodstain on my chest like map of violent new continent. I felt cleansed. I felt this dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in the night. I have come to the Freemen Lodge, and have been inducted into the Society. I was asked how much pain I would endure for the Society and quickly found myself branded with a hot iron on my chest. The foolish think the fire can burn a husk. The Deacon had a few good words for us about bettering life for man, he worked hard to keep the main crowd impressed, before we split into the member’s only room. You see, the ontological fallacy of expecting a light at the end of the tunnel, well, that’s just what the Deacon sells, same as priests, clerics, the Dentoni or anyone else who wants money and power. See the Deacon he encourages your capacity for illusion. Then he tells you it’s a gods be damned virtue. Always a coin to be had doing that, and it’s such a desperate sense of entitlement isn’t it? Surely this is all for me. Me! Me me me. I I I’m so gods be damned important. I’m so important… right?” bullshit! All of it, and yet, deep down it seems to be what everyone wants to hear. The weak and dull minded believe his cause to be true. I have learned better, but keep my mouth shut till we make the members only lodge. Then we find out the heart of the matter, “sacrifices must be made for all causes” “who is willing to fight to protect the freedoms of those most in need” his propaganda lacks creativity and poetry, likely why he appeals to the bottom base audience of drifters, thieves, drug addicts and near dead. I listen to his words as the business of the night bubbles to the top of this wretched cauldron of propaganda and villainy.

Seems that the Freemen have a benefactor, and once again I watch as words are beaten and twisted, whipped and forced to take a shape of a cruel artist to do his bidding and will. A gnome named Altho, a bad gnome who committed many crimes, he was going to make things worse, and the Dentoni were going to let him go to do it… he needed to be put in the ground to protect the Freemen… to protect the city… heck event to protect the Dentoni, not that they needed or deserved it. Who would go… who indeed? My hand shot up like an arrow from a bow string, I wouldn’t last long chatting with these fiends, I needed credibility fast, and it looked like blood was the cost of it. The Deacon looked and was impressed, checked to assure I wanted to do this… I was sure. He picked two more experienced lads to work with me, to check and see that the job got done right. Teddy Baldwin, a shrewish looking man, with thick log like arms and squinty distrustful eyes. He’d been a freemen for a long time and stunk like the refuse that he associated with. Mike Scanlan was the other man assigned to the job, a skinny human, who had joined a little over a year ago. He knew what this job was about, and looked like he relished the feast of blood ahead. Such vile and darkness to either side of me, it would take a lot not to end these two pychos and move on… but I needed to go deeper… had to swim across the lake of refuse and moral obscurity to find the vile creatures who had stolen my love and my life… then the cleansing would come to pass.

When the meeting had been finished I walked out to get some air from the night sky. Looked up at the sky through smoke heavy with human fat and guilt, guess what… the god were not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. That is the only thing that makes sense now… no destiny, no purpose. We live our lives, lacking anything better to do and devise reasons later. Born from oblivion; bear children, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. There is no meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not the gods who kill the children. Not fate that chokes them or destiny that burns them alive. It’s us. Only us. The streets stink of fire. The void breathes hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice and shattering them. I am a ghost now, a shadow of my former self, but I am free, free to scrawl my own design on this morally blank world and find vengeance for the sins of man.

Altho… Gnomish Druid… hated by the freemen… being charged by the Dentoni… none of those things mattered, the only judgement that would matter now to Altho… was mine.

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Tobars Journal

Yoloday the 5th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, 8:45pm, Shrine of the Unkempt, soup and warming house, Bazaar District, Eiradun.

Another dead man in the street tonight. Cart wheel marked on his stomach. This city doesn’t know to fear me yet. The streets of the bazaar are extended gutters, gutters filled with blood and barley scabbed over. When I find them I will rip open the scab and drown the vermin. It has been 15 days since my loved ones were buried and their souls sent on their way. I have not sat idle. I had been investigating a cult that has been appealing to the homeless of the Bazaar district when I was so targeted. I feel that is the best place to find and avenge the killers. The district is infested with disgusting drug dealers and human traffickers, and the upper class turns a blind eye to it all. They had a choice, they could have followed in the footsteps of brave and good men, but instead they looked north to the Don-Ton aristocracy and built their own about it. They don’t realise that the trail they have chosen has led over a precipice and now it’s too late. Don’t you dare tell me that they didn’t have a choice! Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into a bloody void of nothing and all the Quims’ Liberals and intellectuals and fancy talkers…. Well all of the sudden they can’t think of anything to say… don’t worry your precious heads, it’s now a time for action and I intend to take it, I will find those vile murders and gods help anyone foolish enough to stand in-between and preach the innocence of ignorance to me. I am homeless now, and being homeless it has not been difficult for me to fit in. I met with a fellow known as Chester Wilcox. A tall stringing human who has been down on his luck for some years, and battling a healing potion addiction. Apparently he used to be some bigwig warrior… I don’t see it. He is weak in the mind, and if his body was once an asset, his addiction and a hard life on the streets has taken that from him now. Chester led me to the Shrine of the Unkempt. Not really a shrine as those things need to be registered and be linked to a particular god, cause female liberal wannabe leaders need bureaucracy to keep people down. According to Deacon McGinty (the fellow running the place) this is a location where good men can help other men without the constraints of religion, I might buy it if I didn’t feel the Deacon was a smarmy snake oil salesmen taking advantage, he is just another kind of scum, awaiting his turn to raise to the top.

On the surface things seem normal enough, the Deacon and his followers known as “the freemen” give the boys soup, blankets, unguents and oils as needed and speak of better times to come. They lap up his words as their bread soaks up the soup. The cold has dulled their brains and words can’t hurt you… right? Those who have been coming for a while have become loyal, very loyal. And often pledge to become a “freeman” themselves. That is where things get interesting. Freemen have finer clothes and hostels to sleep in, and work for the betterment of man. Again these are all nice things to say, but experience has taught me one crucial thing… where is the money coming from. I held out my bowl and ate the soup, a thick rich pork stew, with crusty bread to go with it… most soup kitchens have soup that is razor thin, with day old stale bread… not due to malice but because they are trying to make it last… who is paying for the soup?

Chester had filled his bowl and brought me around to the warming hut. A shitty little shack with a few braziers for warmth… I noted the braziers were not barrels and they were stocked with coal bricketts. We sat and ate and listened as the Deacon spoke. Nice bit about Chester is I think he is actually retarded… that means I don’t have to make small talk with him. The Deacon’s words were the things everyone wanted to hear. “It’s not your fault”, “the rich have done this to you”, “your time will come”. A few times I thought that these would be dangerous words for a Dentoni to hear, but who was I kidding, after dark in the Bazaar, there was no Dentoni about, they were likely sitting in their ivory tower sipping mulled wine and feasting on the delusions of their social superiority. After a long speech The Deacon and his fellows circulated through the crowd speaking with those around them. As I said I had been coming a few nights now and trying to build myself a reputation as an eager fellow, not easy to smile at a snake… but I didn’t want the Deacon, I wanted them all, and that meant playing the game for a while.. Tonight seemed to be my lucky night.

“John Douglas, right?” the Deacon asked of me… that is the name I had been going by

“Aye, that’d be me… fine words this eve Deacon” I had responded, the Deacon bowed his head with a smile. Quickly he and Chester and I got to talking about our futures. I had thought it best to let Chester talk more as he meant what he was saying, and the retard was the kinda chump that the Deacon was likely looking for, I echoed the fellows words where applicable and hoped that’d be enough. It seemed I was right as the Deacon said that he had two new openings into “the Freemen” and if we were inclined he would let us pledge, I had already made myself a pledge, to see this through, everything after that was child’s play. You’d think Chester’d found a bag of golden spirals the way he thanked the Deacon shaking his hand. I did my best to nod by gratitude and we were given the details to come to the lodge hall in South Gate near Marshal Street at the midnight hour. Here we could pledge and know what it meant to be a loyal Freemen. After the Deacon moved on I did my best to suppress a predators grin.

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Response to Hilda Flintlock

To: Ms. Gemma Flintlock, currently residing in Eiradun

From: Master Dorbin Welltright, Principal Advisor to Chief Hilda Flintlock

I have been instructed to respond you your letter, and verify your claims for Chief Flintlock. Assuming you are indeed who you claim to be, I am sure you understand that at this time the Chief is very busy, and that you are not the first to appear at a strange time claiming to be the long lost sister of Chief Flintlock. It is my understanding that you are currently residing in Eiradun, and that you believe that people or peoples may be intending you harm. At this time I can assure you that Clan Flintlock has not nor does intend you harm, nor is it our practice to dispatch assassins after people.

I have been instructed to arrange transport from the Dwarven Stronghold to Eiradun with the understanding of meeting you and verifying your claims. Should I find you to be truthful and should you be willing to sign a legal document invalidating your claim to Clan leadership, then our Chief would be very happy to meet with you and I am sure will be very pleased to be reunited with her long lost sister. If however I find that you are being false, and attempting to emotionally manipulate our beloved Chief, I am afraid I will take that as an insult to not only my Chief and I, but also to my Clan. I can arrange to be in Eiradun in two weeks’ time, if that is sufficient please send message on Where and When you would like to meet.

Wishing you the utmost prosperity and safety in these uncertain times

Master Dorbin Wellright on Clan Flintlock, Morgrain

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Stirings Pt 4

Yoloday the 5th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, Thimes Way, Just off the 3rd Circuit Manor District, Don-Ton

Yuren Burton exited his small manor looking for his daughter Fantine. His property was small and specifically off the main roadways. He maintained it well with an iron fence some twelve feet in height circling his grounds and thick tall hedges for privacy. A quick walk told him she was not here, and just as he began to worry. He noted the gate opening and saw her enter.

“Fantine…” he said as he strode forward to offer a hug “… where have you been my darling, I have been worried” the small gnome hugged her adoptive father tightly and looked up and him and blushed.

“oh father, I have had the most wonderful afternoon…” she said as he released her and stepped towards the gate to assure it was closed. He looked up and down the lane as he shut the gate, and was surprised to see two Black Guard patrolling the area, he quickly closed the gate before he saw them, only half listening to his daughters words. “… and he is so wonderful, and amazing and charming and I think I am in love”

“That’s nice my dear” he said not truly hearing her, he was distracted. What could the Black Guard want in this area? Had he been discovered? Did they know? It didn’t matter he supposed, if they did not know now it was only a matter of time before they did, he could not stay here anymore, he could not risk the safety of poor Fantine. As she continued to speak dreamily of her walk through the park he ushered her inside mentally taking stock of his belongings, how much could he liquidate quickly without raising suspicion? Could he book passage by ship? Or was it safer to go by carriage? Where to go? Eiradun perhaps? He would not be well accepted there but Fantine would do well… the Dwarven Empire? They were a lawful people; should his secret become known he would be sent back… he had to think… he had arrangements to be made. He entered the house locking the doors and shuttering the windows. Then beseeched his darling Fantine to occupy herself while he handled some “business”. She would be sad for leaving, she was finally feeling settled here, but this time he would find a place where she would be safe for evermore, that she would never need to run form again.

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Stirings Pt 3

Sonsday the 7th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, Beggers Vantage 6th Circuit, 7th spoke, Don-Ton

The room was crowded as Covafac bent over a table hearing the reports from the many supporters of their cause.

“At the Western Gate the sections are prepared” a portly human spoke

“In the Wing-Ti markets they are straining at the leash” Bamatabois added. Covafac moved pieces on his map as he studied the layout carefully “Our supporters consist mostly of students and workers, the rest will come like a flowing tide” the dwarf added. Covafac looked around the room, a serious look on his face

“the time is near…” he said “So near I can feel it stirring the blood in my veins. Becarful and wary my friends, do not let the wine go to our brains” he smiled looking at his cup, he had not meant to rhyme, but continued none the less. “Strahd is a dangerous opponent, he has weapons and warriors beyond us in every way. What we need is a sign, something to rally the rest of the people, something to call them to arms…”

Gavroche slowly entered the room and slipped towards a table pouring himself a glass of wine. The inn keep down stairs was an avid supporter and always kept the men well supplied. It was Azelma who noticed him first and spoke.

“Gavroche, your late… and look like you have seen a ghost.” She noted with some concern the gnome looked to her as he spoke

“not a ghost… an angel perhaps” his face upturned to a smile. Azelma let out a long laugh as she sipped from her mug

“By the gods…" her voice was light with laughter "Is Gavroche in love at last? I never thought I would see the day” the crowd jumped in to rib and tease the young gnome recently in love

Covafac approached with a sad look on his face as he spoke to the crowd and Gavroche

“Friends, it is quickly becoming time for us all to decide, do we fight for what is right? have you all asked yourselves the price yo might pay… Bamatabois and I have seen war…. But this can’t be a game. We must all understand… Gavroche you must understand that we all must adhere to a higher calling, leave this girl alone and move on as we strive for a larger goal, out little lives do not matter, it is what we achieve together that counts… the longest night will end at last!” the crowd cheered to Covafacs words and Gavroche nodded, he was committed to the rebellion, but deep inside his heart still yearned for Fantine.

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Stirings Pt 2

Yoloday the 5th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, Thimes Way, Just off the 3rd Circuit Manor District, Don-Ton

Gavroche was cutting through the manor district, he was lucky, and Covafac had been right, a change of clothes and a bath go a very long way towards not having the guard hassle you. He and his compatriots had few friends in the inner circuits, but the few they had were well worth the risk of informing. He had just passed off the word to a very powerful ally and was rushing back to inform Covafac of their adherence to the plan. He turned down the Prime Rose Path and stopped cold in his tracks. At the end of the path stood two large Black Guard. Their armor and suits sucking the warmth and light from around them. They were intimidating, and since the nobles often hated the feeling of them nearby he knew there was not good reason for them to be hear. He bent down pretending to tie his shoe, when he heard one speak

“You… Gnome… Approach NOW!” the voice was like a rusty chain being pulled through a metal tube, cold and metallic with a dangerous edge to it. Gavroche looked up at the Black Guard some thirty feet away and gestured to his chest. The Black Guard nodded confirming. Gavroche did what any young rebel would do… he ran. He ran fast scrambling over a fence and cutting across a yard. Then climbing under a hedge and rolling towards a wall where he climbed to a nearby rooftop. From here the gnome slid down the ease trough and ran down the ally taking a series of complicated turns. As he ran he pulled off his fancy had and coat, he pulled a red necker from his pocket. Two more turns put him into a park. He stopped by a fountain and wetted his hand slicking back his hair. He then tied the neck around his neck and began to walk with a small strut in a calm manner. Covafac had told him that a running man was guilty, if he could walk and blend in his pursuers would often miss what they didn’t know they were looking for. He turned down a path picking a late blooming daisy and walking down a path a few steps focusing to get control of his breath, that is when he bumped into her.

“Oh my… I’m sorry, I…” he looked up and was immediately lost. Before him stood what he would perhaps describe as the most beautiful women in the world

Please Listen while reading

She had a ponytail, brown, smooth, always existent. This is what made her unique, as if she could tie all her troubles away with that simple blue ribbon, tightly holding her luscious hair. Her face was formed oh-so perfectly in on Hithilum’s mighty forge. She was unspoiled perfection from the moment she was born. Destined to be someone with her ever changing magic eyes, the eyes that turned green in the sun, but were brown at all other times. The slender gnomish body, curvy, somewhat delicate, was strong and powerful. She was warm, kind of like an aura that blossomed off of her when she was happy. She has the most petite, wonderful hands a woman like her could have.

Gavroche said nothing he just dumbly stood their, the flower half extended

“Is that for me?” the girl asked, her voice like a double rainbow at sunset. He wasn’t sure how but he managed to nod. She laughed, a sound more delightful then any he had previously heard, then she noticed his state. “Oh my… are you ok? You appear to be out of breath” Gavroche felt the Everlast smile upon him and give him the words he needed at that moment

“It is because the Lady has stolen it” he said in barley over a whisper, for the rest of his days he knew that this would be the most suave thing he would have ever said. She blushed deeply at his words before offering out her hand for him to kiss

“I am Fantine”

“Gavroche” he replied bending and kissing her hand. He offered his arm and she took it, the two walking arm and arm through the gardens of Don-Ton.

Today I saw you and spoke to you for the first time.
It was like an earthquake; everything in me was overturned, the graves of my heart were opened and my own nature was strange to me.
I am old, and I believed I had reached the autumn of life.
I had wandered far, known much and lived many lives. The maker had spoken to me, manifesting Himself in many ways; to me angels had revealed themselves and I had not believed them. But when I saw you I was compelled to believe, because of the miracle that happened to me

A Poem by Raven Everlast

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Stirings

Hithaday the 3rd of Ready’reat 381 ONT, 10:14am, Macey’s Buns & Bakery, 3rd spoke – 6th circuit, Don-Ton

Covafac looked up as he heard the door in the outer room open. The old pech signaled the room to be quiet as he aged hands reached for his trusty short sword.

Tap
Tap tap tap
Tap
Tap tap tap tap
Tap

The timeworn pech relaxed a little, as did his companions as they recognised the code. He nodded to a young gnome, Gavroche, to open the door. In came an elven women, Azelma.

“Friends,” she said as she approached the huddled group “the rumors are indeed true, Lord Strahd has closed the city”

“Just Strahd,” Covafac said “… By The Stone, he is no Lord of ours anymore” there was a general murmur of acceptance to this. Azelma nodded and continued

“My connections with Fluid Dynamics unloaded two more crates, both filled with short swords, but were very clear that they would not risk smuggling under Strahds new decree, we are well and truly on our own”

“Where does that put our stores Bamatabois?” Covafac asked of a pudgy old dwarf. The dwarf made a few markings on a scroll before responding

“About 1,200 swords, 200 spears, 150 mixed weapons… axes, hammers and the like and maybe a thousand knives and daggers… we are very short on armor and potions, of that we can only equip fifty or so humans and maybe double that in dwarves.” The group was silent for just a moment before the pech spoke again

“How do we stand with supporters?” this time the young gnome Gavroche spoke up

“Who are ready to take this all the way?” he asked… the pech nodded “the dock workers might join us if things go well, but they are unwilling to sign on yet. The federation of carpenters, masons and lamplighters are in; as are the Porters, the dry smiths and grooms. All said we have about 2,000 folk with battle experience and another 3000 without. The Church of Moredakka has been back and forth on its support, The church of Kelezandri has told us firmly that they are following the laws of Don-Ton, even though fluid dynamics has been actively working with us. The church of Selwyn, Hithilum and Yolo have all implied aid should it be needed but won’t commit money or spells upfront. We have seven clerics to Raven and another two to Yemeri and a cleric to Aurora who have all said they would join our cause. The Wizards Guild remains firmly in Strahds pocket as does the Alchemist guild.” The group nodded at this Bamatabois spoke up again

“The rogue, the thieves guild, the house of K and the pathfinder society have all claimed neutrality. The Were community has been optimistic in their talks, but nothing concrete.

BAM

Covafac slammed his fist on the table “The people will rise up, they will join us, the guard, is the guard peoples guard, not Strahds, they will not see citizens slaughtered by undead in the name of Law. He is a tyrant and an abomination and I for one did not fight devils and thirty years to die in a city ruled by undeath… the people will join us and rally to our banners! Speak with your cells, disperse the weapons, the time of action is soon, we will take down Strahd and all the sycophant nobles who do his bidding, Don-Ton will once again be a free city!” the assembled group cheered corralling to their leaders cause.

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