The Tales of TanCred: A Pursuit Into the Northern Territories of Hesa (Part II)
A Morning's Surprise.
The morning sunrise was a rare painting of color. Purple ran into the rich reds, which then dribbled into the brights of orange and yellow, all while pooling into the blue of the ocean and sky. Skolland was surrounded on all sides by seas, which gave many who set foot on its shores the chance to catch something beautiful. The Storyteller never took one for granted for as long as he could remember after coming to the island. He thanked all the old gods for the blessings bestowed upon him, each and every morning. This daybreak was no exception.
The Storyteller's tent was made of canvas and was large enough to incorporate a table and set of four chairs. He sat at the head of his table and began his day by picking at a few blackberries mixed in with various other fruits and drinking his morning ale. His bones ached and his body screamed at him at every movement, but he ignored the protests. He had his tent flaps rolled up so that he could take in the mornings painting and let some fresh air in.
A messenger just then entered his pavilion, "I have word from the shipwright's and Captian of the Matriarch." The Storyteller waved him closer in order to better hear what information was to be passed on to him. "The Captain wishes to inform you that the weather forming over the Dal Eburaedia is threating enough in which all sea travel is to be considered a fatal endeavor. The mayor of Shipwright offers you his hospitality and will take care of all your belongings upon entering the city." The messenger then bowed low and left the tent as briskly as he had entered. Looking out over towards the Port-Capital of Hesa, the storm system over the Dal Eburaedia looked ominous. The clouds were black as night trimmed with darkening gray thundercloud plums. Branches of blue-white lightning crashed down, electrifying the sky between cloud and sea. There was no need to risk ships while the gods of the sea and sky battled it out. The itch to tell a story began to overwhelm the old man.
Port City of Skolland
Entering Shipwright, Port-City of Skolland
The travel into the city wasn't difficult, the roads had dried significantly compared to the day before. Sunshine gave easy passage, even though a massive storm was moving up the coast. Entering ShipWright was always a spectacle, the towers climbed tall into the sky combined with the stone-arch based architecture and constant bustling by merchants and artists gave the port city a unique, yet solid atmosphere. The sight brought even the hardest of sea ventures to light tears, but more than likely this was followed up by a bare knuckle brawl to even things out.
As the Storyteller ventured into town, many of the regulars found themselves smiling and waving. For most of them had taken the trip north to The Tavern to experience a telling of stories and histories of the TanCred kingdom. He found himself searching about for a local shop, watering hole, or some sort of speakeasy to which he could scratch that oration itch. It wasn't until he neared the dock that he found what he was looking for. He stared out at the Matriarch, watching has familiar cargo was being loaded onto the deck of the ship, and a smile from a doorway caught his eye. It was there, she sold him the vibe. A story was a foot.
The Soggy Bottom
The streets were filled with mulling people from the layover at the docks. Each face carried a different level of contempt with a side of acceptance. Loud booms from the storm clouds carried over the sea and echoed throughout the populated square. Many ducked at a loud one and it was then, a wonder really, that the woman standing in the doorway of the Soggy Bottom was even visible.
The Pub's name fit, the roads were muddy and the side walkways told footprint stories of the hundreds milling about this day. It sat at the bottom of the hill, closest place to get a drink near the docks. It felt soggy down here thought the Storyteller, to which he began to pick his way through the masses. A few of those milling about, aimlessly and with time to kill, began to follow him as he made his way to the pub.
The woman was gone, upon reaching the front door. He continued inside and found a stage befitting a grand telling, with a nearing full room to match. He worked his way through the throngs to the barkeep, got the go ahead to orate, and lubricated his pipes for the evening. The lighting was dimmed, to create an atmosphere for a crowd that began to spill outside. The windows were opened to allow those drinking outside to hear the story.
A stool, a side table, and the stage were all the setting needed. A few "Lubricators," were sitting on the table. Condensation began to drip on the outside of the glasses. When he entered the room, he wore a black cloak and a black pointed hat which seemed to cast shadows about the room. Giving the chilling, spooky effect needed for this story.
The Battle for the Island of Hesa
"General King Rondulf was springing through the Northern Territories' forest. Being chased down by the Wendijgo, it seemed a futile plan to attempt making the rock islands to the west. I thought of his family, his kingdom in danger of Romiton occupation, the rolling fields of wheat and barley. Until he got hung up in what felt like a spiders web, a trap set by the pale creature. It's slimy stench filled the putrid air, causing Hesa's Warden-King to vomit. This is key because the stomach acids were strong enough to cut a patch in the silken trap and freed his right hand." The Storyteller took a long pull from the first glass, with obvious pleasure at the taste of the drink and gave off a most satisfied, "Ahhhh!."
It was then he wiped his cloak about him and cracking smoke bombs spooked the listeners, "The Wendijgo appeared soon after his nausea subsided and went for Rondulf's neck. Quick as lightning he pulled his sword and kept the creature back. It retreated with unnatural speed and laughed derisively, the creature then began to mumble some sort of chant with the intent to ensnare the General King's mind. The moon was full as dawn began to break the long dark. Warden-King Rundolf thought of his family and the strength needed to keep them safe. The chanting from his attacker grew ever louder, ever steadier, and more powerful and just as it seemed that he couldn't hold on much longer; a fire arrow came whizzing from somewhere out in the darkened sea, which broke the psych-warfare and allowed our hero to plunge his sword into the filthy monster. Thus freeing us from its evil.
The storyteller paused, giving the room time to digest the hook. He was far from done. "You see, the long night would turn into a long day. For you see, the Romiton general having knowledge of the Warden-Kings battle with the monster, had built back his army into a massive force.
The ship's Captain gave it to him straight with a rum to wash it down. 'You see,' the sea captain began, 'He started marching out of the forests, numbers just flooding out of the trees, filling the fields outside Hesa city. The was an order for a ship to search for you and hopefully bring you back in time to prepare for the inevitable siege,' He finished.
'Were you able to pick up my men at the border to the dark forest?' King Rundolf asked taking a slow drink from a crystal glass.
'They were not accounted for.' replied the Captain in slight dismay.
'Beach near the border, I will collect my army and meet you at the Capital.' commanded the Warden-King. To which, upon reaching the beach, he promptly hopped off the boat and blew his war horn 5 times. To which a reply of 2 short blasts came from the forest and the king ran in. He was met by over 10,000 men and they marched south to engage the Romiton horde of equal size.
It didn't take long for the two armies to line up, the horn blasts signaled not only friendlies of his whereabouts but also to the Romitons who no lined up on the eastern side of the fields directly across from the forests at the northern most tip of the Dock-city capital.