A Kingdom Divided

A RPG based on the setting of PoP 3, taking place roughly a century after the end of the unification wars
 
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 Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah

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Laisha

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PostSubject: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   16.11.13 15:31

Once the throne of the D'Shar Principalities, Torbah is little more than a destitute wasteland in the current day.  Ravaged by war, much of the city now lies in ruins, with only a few thousand of the hardiest or poorest souls calling it home anymore.  From the angle that the handful of travelers approach it from, few would realize on first glance that not far away, thousands of horsemen gather to raid and invade the rest of Pendor.

This day, the roads leading into Torbah are busier than they have been in years.  Small companies of men, some disguised, others proudly displaying their colors, march to the ruins in response to the gathering horde.  What this portends for Pendor is anyone's guess, though most, in the end, hope for peace.

To the northwest, a war party under the banner of the Griffons has fallen under attack by a small band of D'Shar horsemen patrolling the outskirts of the city for interlopers.  Though heavily outnumbered, the patrol of about a dozen has managed to stop the Griffons briefly, arrows from the horsemen raining down too haphazardly to ignore.  Ultimately, the attack is proving to be more of a nuisance than a legitimate threat.

Not far away, along a slightly more westward road, a company of the Dawn finds itself under heavier attack, having run into an encampment for the patrolmen.  Though the Dawn is well protected by its armor, most in the company know that swift action is required, lest the enemy's arrows or the heat slowly beat them.

To the northeast, dozens of Larian Outriders clash with an even larger force of tribesmen, giving some of their number a chance to break through the thicker defenses in that direction.  For some time, it seems as if the advance Clarion Call force would make it to the city relatively unscathed.  However, it isn't long before they stumble upon another conflict.  A party of their rivals in the Radiant Cross, obviously unfamiliar with the ongoing fighting in the region, is pinned by a large force of horsemen.

Along the more northerly road, a [purely] chance meeting [and definitely not a contrived plot device encounter] between a company of Dragons and Ebony Gauntlets forces them together for the first time against a small number of the agitated tribesmen.

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Laisha

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   18.11.13 7:09

To the east of Torbah, a lone ship struggles its way upriver, apparently not expect how dry and shallow it would be. Before long, a small party of the Eventide is forced to debark and travel the rest of the way on foot along the northern bank. The men see no foes as they trudge through the desert.

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Kharad Moriendor

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   18.11.13 14:01

It was times like these that Kharad realised just how much he craved the feeling of a solid deck beneath his feet, the creaking of the boards under the weight of his men, both the gentle and aggresive rocking of the waves as it crashed into the flanks, the feel of salt spray upon his face and the fresh smell of the sea air. Sand that constantly gave way underfoot and the bone dry, sun scorched dust that plagued his every step was exceptionally agravating.

His crew remained behind on the Maelstrom to guard it and tend to any repair work that needed seeing to. His Mauraders and Corsairs marched loosely behind him, equally vexed at having to leave the familiarity of the ship that they called home. Their march was leisurely; none where particularly bothered by any possible danger, only by the merciless sun that beat its light down upon them.

Kharad had his blades drawn nontheless though, resting upon his shoulders. He travelled at a steady pace with Ravys, eager to reach their destination sooner rather than later.

"Rumour in Ishkoman is that whoever leads this horde has ten thousand spears under his banner. Y'reckon theres any truth to that? Either way im eager to see it for my own eyes"

He grinned.

"And what rabble from elsewhere in Pendor that this gathering might bring"

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Ser Varys

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   18.11.13 15:13

After finding his footing after a particularly embarrassing and slippery sand dune, Rayvs stepped on a skull of an unfortunate traveler. His foot was met with a satisfying crunch as he stared into the remnants of the man.

"Ten thousand seems like a bit much. We'll find out the truth to these rumors soon enough anyway."

Squinting into blazing sun, Rayvs said, "This desert hides more than just the horde. Be careful; did I ever tell you the story of Zugor the Insane?"

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   20.11.13 6:09

"Its not one that I remember"

Kharad glanced back at the crushed skull that met its end at Ravys's boot.

"How, was that him?"

That he said with thinly veiled sarcasm.

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   20.11.13 12:55

Rayvs smiled at that.

"No, although I appreciate your curiosity. Zugor was a traveler, much like ourselves. Growing up as a street urchin in Singal, he made a living as most do; thieving and becoming a mercenary. Zugor was a bright boy, and grew quickly, learning much of the world. He traveled it, making ends meet through a mixture of illicit activity,  and honest work. After travelling a while, he began to find that he had a taste for it. Nothing beat the open road; the feeling of the wind on your face as you know that you can only go forward from where you stand, the brilliant sunrises and somber sunsets, the crunch of the dirt as you trod upon it, the dark nights that were lit up by millions of stellar bodies, the rush of excitement as you crest every new hill, the flora and fauna that you encounter, the people you meet, the feeling of minisculity as you gaze out onto the coast of the roaring ocean waves. Travel had become like a drug to him; addiction was dangerous and oftentimes deadly.  He was famed for his legendary expeditions, taking hundreds, sometimes thousands of men, and he was said to be able to conquer any land. He began to earn his keep as an explorer, and was at the height of his fame and influence.

One day, a mysterious note found it's way to his tavern room while Zugor was whoring and feasting in Avendor. It challenged him to the Great Desert, telling him that the final, greatest frontier had yet to be tamed. No one else had attempted to brave the Desert; death and desolation were well known to visit travelers there. However, something else must have been written on that note, for he organized the largest travelling expedition known at the time. Of course, his achievements have been widely eclipsed by the Amala adventurers and other, important explorations, but this was back when travelling was exceptionally dangerous and lethal.

There was rumored to have been five thousand men in his expedition. They set out from Singal, trumpets blaring, a crowd gathering to watch. Young children cried in delight as they saw the procession march into the unknown, babies screamed in annoyance at the noise, women swooned at the handsome, rugged explorers, and men envied the freedom these men had. As the procession marched into the night, the moon illuminating the desert in front of them, a dust storm picked up. These were usual in the area, but afterwards, it destroyed any trail that the men had left. Now, they were truly exploring the desert. Alas, if only they were truly aware of the danger.

Two survived. Two out of five thousand. Unfortunately for the two that survived, they had been enslaved by the tribes that roamed the desert early on in the exploration, and had managed to escape only to be driven insane by the hell that is the Great Desolation. They refused to speak about what they had seen in the desert, and silenced themselves with the embrace of death a few weeks later. No one knows what happened to the expedition, and all trace of them has been lost into the annals of time and history. The desert hides much; and much of what it hides, you do not wish to seek.

There are some secrets best left alone; some ancient forces best kept slumbering, where the twinkling daydreams, flowing through a sea of stellar bodies, broken only by the twinkling lights that pulse with unearthly power and brightness, smiling, nay, grinning about the notion, the idea of the earthly mortals above them that remain only figments of their immortal and unnerving imagination; where the alien geometry festers in the cracked, ruined temples of these unknown deities, these Elders, and the evil light that shines from empty torches casts it's dim glow onto your mind and body, festering you as an open wound, where the lonely altars and sacrificial pits howl with the screams of the tormented, the screams of the mortals; yes, these ancients are best left alone, where the flowing river of thought and time which encompasses their alien thoughts perceive nothing of the abominations that we must be to them; where the harmonies of emotion pour through the sieve that divides the conscious from the unconscious; the living and the undead; the terrible from the horrific; where the wafting, sulfuric smell of the denizens of the earth clogs their nostrils with a cloying smell of horror and fear, the temporal wastes in which they hide flickering, only appearing to us in the nightmares of the living, the dreams of the dead, where the senses, sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, fail, where the silent daybreak is nonexistent;

Truly, these ancients are best left alone to their dreams; their dreams of spirit and soul, gods and goddesses, where the soft, silky light of the watery world trickles down onto their faces as the rain falls onto a funeral, as the rain cracks a statue, so does this light crack their eyes, and they throw off the vestiges of amiable kindness, for when they wake, it shall be terrible.

For when the ancients wake, their wake will result in a catastrophic and terrible illumination to the mortal rats scurrying above on the surface of all that we can see. For when these ancients wake, the world as we know it will collapse on itself, as it has been, as if the coils of an immortal snake snapped tight around the entire world, it's hissing sounds roaring in our ears as the poison it spits falls like acid on bare skin. And this snake shall be eaten by another, and another, in an ocean of death and destruction, as the ancients rise and their wrath, their unnerving, unnatural, immortal wrath falls upon us, for reasons our own minds cannot comprehend, and if we try, we simply daze off, like a bright light shining in our faces has taken away our will to live, our reasoning, and replaced it with mesmerizing death. For when the ancients wake, we slumber."

Rayvs coughed, and spat out something from his mouth.

"Of course, superstition gets us nowhere. But beware the Desert, Kharad. It contains forces unknown."

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   20.11.13 14:02

Kharad gazed at Ravys, his eyes wide with surprise, astonishment even, at the speech his companion had given, as if from the void. A brief pause followed the end of Ravys's words, before a great guffaw of laughter found its way from Kharad's own mouth.

"Where in the name of the Burning Hells did that come from? Hah, its a sad thing to know that you became a Knight of the Eventide when the great universities of Barclay could have ensnared such an eloquent philosopher! Truly, I understand none of that except what you said about snakes, and even then only from many a drunken conversation with Vanskerry reavers about their 'World Serpent'!"

His laugh faded off until it was but a series of deep breaths.

"But aye, I know of the dangers from the Great Sand Sea. Now that you have mentioned it, do you believe that this horde gathering outside of Torbah may be...fleeing from something?"

Kharad's jovial tone took a sudden turn for the morose.

"And more importantly...how will that effect our goal in this desolate place?"

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   20.11.13 15:48

Rayvs shrugged.

"I don't know. We'll find out about the true intentions of this horde soon enough..and our goal would stay the same. It's relatively simple this time."

Coughing again, Rayvs frowned. "However...if they did turn out to be running from something...I fear what would make ten thousand men turn tail and flee more than I fear the Desert."

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   22.11.13 6:09

The Eventide knights trudged through the desert for another hour, periodically diverting to what was left of the river for some nearly stagnant water with which to cool off. Once, the group saw a patrol of tribesmen, which watched the knights from a distance but refused to approach.

By the time they reached Torbah itself, the road had deviated from the river to a straighter path to the city...or what was left of it. Even from a distance, the crumbling walls and edifices were visible. For what had once been rich trade city, it's current state was easily a sad sight for many.


[OOC: Don't mean to short-change you on scenery or detail, but I wanted to give you something to work with. So many things to do today!]

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   23.11.13 12:30

The condition of the once great city was a resounding surprise, even for Kharad.

"By the Gods, Ravys, I grew from boy to man within Singal's harshest slums, but even I would describe this place as a shithole. This horde must be truly desperate if they seek to make it their own"

He uncorked the skin that hung from his waist and drank deep of the water that he could come to cherish in this desolate place. His gaze fell upon the twinkling object that hung from an ornate silver chain around his neck. Many would wonder why he would choose to don a Noldor blade as a pendant. Then again, many did not know of his past, both its highs and its lows. His gaze lingered upon it for longer than was intended. Lëanëa...

After a fleeting, yet serene, moment his attention came back to the present.

"We should make haste into the town, before this heat begins to take its toll"

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PostSubject: Re: Prelude: IC Scene - The Outskirts of Torbah   24.11.13 4:40

Shrugging his shoulders, Rayvs gazed towards the ruins of the once great city, hoping to glean anything interesting.

"Torbah hides many secrets, and it scares off interference. I'm not surprised that they chose it as a gathering place. You're right though. We need to hurry."

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