Fox and Dragon

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Fox and Dragon

MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

16 Feb 2011, 07:17 #1

Presenting another tale of might and magic, honor, and piety, this time set in the dwarven kingdom of Ironhold, deep in the heart of Anterris. Enjoy!




“Fox‘s Honor, Dragon‘s Pride”



The door to the Iron Mug opened, and a silent figure drifted in, covered from head to foot in a midnight blue, form-fitting outfit, revealing only a pair of dark brown, almond-shaped eyes. The patrons glanced up from their various tables; some eyed the figure warily, others simply shrugged and went back to their latest bout of drinking. Most of them were dwarves, though there was a smattering of other races, as well, particularly humans and a gnome or two.

A tall, well-tanned human with dark hair to his shoulders, warm blue eyes, and a long mustache looked up from his meal of fried potatoes, muttonchops, and steamed cabbage, frowning briefly as he noted the way the cowled figure moved, like a shadow given substance. He noted also the slender yet shapely form beneath the soft linen night-suit. Definitely a woman, he thought, as her eyes darted about the room, appearing to take in every detail in a quick sweep. He had seen that look before- the gaze of one well acquainted with dealing death. That fact was even more evidenced by the long, slightly curving scabbard with a straight, leather-wrapped hilt at its end, which had only the smallest of guards at the tang. She carried it on a long silken ribbon tied across her back, but appeared otherwise unarmed.

He watched as the small, petite woman glided up to the bar and ordered a cup of tea in a soft, heavily accented voice. He raised a brow at her choice- tea was not the usual fare of the locals, but then, he could tell by her manner and stature that she was hardly local. He had caught the faint lilt of elvish speech, though it was a dialect with which he was unfamiliar. Eban Trueblade could not help noticing the woman’s grace, and found himself wondering what she looked like beneath the cowl. As if she sensed his watchful gaze, the woman half-turned to stare back at him, and he found himself embarrassed to be caught staring.

He was still sizing up the newcomer when the door banged open loudly; a dwarf strode in booming like a thunderhead, his thick-heeled boots thumping loudly, his full suit of spiked armor clanking and squeaking with every step. The dwarf was typical of his race, with a short, stocky build, long, full beard to match a head of red hair, and a ruddy complexion, large stubby nose, and heavy brow. He was still a young dwarf, from his lack of wrinkles, though he seemed completely at home in his armor. He carried a hammer and a flail strapped across his back, and one could see that his armor was well used, with many small dents and scratches. He strode boldly up to the table nearest the bar, and thumped his fist on the table as he sat down.

“Hey, Algrim, bring me a mug o’ Dwarfblight!” bellowed the newcomer to the proprietor, a gruff-looking older dwarf with dark coppery hair and an apron. The innkeeper scowled, and shrugged off the order, as he continued to wipe down the counter.

“Ah, Thordar, keep yer bellerin’ down, aye? Ye’ can come o’er ’ere an’ git it yerself!” grumbled the innkeeper.

The blustery young dwarf grumbled to himself, but got up and thudded toward the bar. The man went back to his dinner, thinking that the minor entertainment was done. He was wrong. The dwarf glanced over at the dark-clad female at the end of the bar, sniffed, and grimaced.

“I smell elf,” he said in a low growl, and turned to face the slender woman. The man looked up again, and saw that the woman had turned to the dwarf slightly, eying him coolly with those dark eyes. It was then that Eban noticed the tension in the air. Surely they were not about to fight in the middle of an inn?

“With that big nose, I would not doubt it,” the woman said, her voice indifferent, but with a hard edge that made Eban’s nerves jangle. No doubt about it- a fight was in the making, or soon would be if someone did not prevent it. He sighed, and set down the fork he had been holding, as he prepared to head off the inevitable brawl.

He rose from his seat, tossing back his travel cloak to free his long sword, should it come to arms, and strode toward the bar with a grim expression. He might not be the local constabulary, but as a paladin to Sorden, he was sworn to uphold peace and the law- which at the moment meant keeping civilians from murdering each other over a minor insult or two.

“Excuse me, good, sir, milady, but this is not the place for a brawl, and most certainly not for armed combat. I would advise you both to simply let the matter drop.” He tried to muster as much authority as he could, but Eban could already tell that neither intended to back down.

“As I am unfamiliar with the customs of this land regarding affairs of honor, I will comply,” said the woman, surprising him with a low, formal bow, “provided that our stout companion refrains from any more such remarks. I have cut out the tongues of men for such dishonor.”

The dwarf snarled. “Bah! What does an elf know about honor? Always skulking about in the woods, hidin’ an’ usin’ magic an’ arrows to win yer’ fights. A dwarf fights his enemies face-to-face!” He tapped his chest, puffing up to glare at the female disdainfully.

The woman seemed fully ready to draw her blade at that, so Eban stepped between them, and placed a hand on her arm to stay her hand. “Lady, there is no call for bloodshed here. Do try to restrain yourself, and remember that he is young.”

“As am I. Being young is no excuse for being a fool,” she replied, “but there is truth in what you say. Very well.” Her eyes flashed toward the dwarf one last time, then she bowed to Eban and glided toward the door.

Eban stopped her after only a few steps. “Wait. You seem to have forgotten your drink, milady. Would you join me at my table? It’s free of bothersome dwarves,” he added softly as an afterthought. She regarded him from behind her cowl, then nodded slowly. The dwarf stood glaring after her for a moment, then shrugged and grabbed the mug the innkeeper had placed before him, and stalked back to his table, muttering.

“Yes, I suppose it would not hurt. I dislike wasting good tea.” He had the impression that she was amused by his offer, though he could not fathom why. Did she think it was an attempt to flirt with her?

Eban led her to his table, teacup in hand, and was only a little surprised when she seated herself without waiting for him to offer. He had a feeling she was used to doing things her own way. Only when she was in her chair did she finally remove her hood, revealing a face that was all sharp, exotic beauty and smooth bronzed skin. Sure enough, her long ears tapered to delicate points, and her coppery-black hair fell just below her shoulders, in a thick braid that had been coiled atop her head.

Suddenly Eban realized why her speech was so strange- she was from the lands to the west, the ancient elven Empire of Kitaka. Wood elves, if he was not mistaken, but unlike those of the Tangled Forest just beyond the western arm of the Borian Mountains. The Kitaki elves were rumored to practice strange customs, similar to the Chianzhou Empire in the far western lands near the Far Sea. He knew enough of tales from those lands that both cultures viewed honor and ceremony as serious concerns, and paid as much homage to dead ancestors as they did to the gods.

“I have not yet had the pleasure of knowing your name, milady,” Eban said, as he signaled to a plump dwarven serving woman for a mug of the dark ale the inn was so famous for. Ironguts, it was called, for one practically needed to have such in order to drink it. The elven woman ignored him for the moment, seeming deep in some meditation over her cup. She inclined her head down over her drink, her hands together in some silent prayer, then wiped off a spoon that Eban had not used and stirred the tea slowly nine times before wiping the spoon again and bowing slightly over the cup. At last she lifted it to drink.

“I have not yet heard yours, either good sir, so it appears we are even,” she said casually after she had taken a sip. Eban noted the ghost of a smile on her lips, and berated himself for neglecting his manners.

“Oh, yes, how silly of me. Eban Trueblade, Knight of the Silver Crown, at your service, fair Lady,” he said with a chivalrous bow, hoping that the title would impress her. He had only recently earned his rank within Sorden’s holy order, and was justly proud of the achievement, as few knights reached so high a rank at such a young age. Only a little more than twenty-four winters, Eban was one of the youngest knights to achieve such an honor. Only a few others could even make such a boast.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Eternal Nightmare
Celestial
Joined: 21 Jun 2008, 01:11

16 Feb 2011, 13:17 #2

Really good so far. I like the character descriptions in particular.
[img]http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee109/kacangpool/vida/2010-tavern-awards-stanlee.jpg[/img]

[img]http://spiralgoddess.webs.com/IMG_20171107_103942.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.freewebs.com/eternalalanna/Screenshot%202017-12-03%20at%203.35.02%20PM.png[/img]

[IMG]http://eternalashlotte.webs.com/Screenshot%202017-12-18%20at%2011.49.20%20AM.png[/IMG]
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

17 Feb 2011, 10:14 #3

Well done!! You know I love me dwarfs. Very nice characterizations and fine eye to detail!
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

17 Feb 2011, 19:35 #4

Tahnks to the both of ye! And yes, I know how you love your dwarves, Feral- and you're going to LOVE this!
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

18 Feb 2011, 04:21 #5

A little more to enjoy!



“I see. Sordenite? I am truly in worthy company, then,” she replied, with a hint of a smile. “I am Kage Mito of the Fox Clan of Mito Shogunate. I am honored to make your acquaintance, Daimyo.”

Eban frowned, puzzled when she mentioned her clan. “You are a noble? I know little about the ways of your country, but I seem to recall that the Mito family rules that region. Are you a member of that family?”

“The Shogun is my great-aunt,” she said, nodding. She sipped her tea again, as Eban watched her thoughtfully for a moment.

“I see. So what brings you so far from home, Lady Kage? Are you here on some diplomatic mission?” he asked finally.

“No,” she said, suddenly turning cool and distant. “I seek to recover my family’s stolen honor,” she replied flatly.

Eban sat in silence, taking that in, and took a long drink of his ale before he spoke again. “What was stolen?” he asked, sensing that she was speaking of some symbol of that honor, rather than an abstract idea.

“It is a personal mission,” she answered stiffly, “what is it to you?”

Eban shrugged. “I thought perhaps you might need help. Obviously it’s something important or you would not have come so far to find it.”

“It is our family’s most valued treasure- a sword. The Sword of the Spirit Fox, our clan’s guardian. It was taken some months ago, and sold. I have tracked it this far, but I have been told that it was taken by a tribe of orcs into the mountains. They murdered the person who bought it. It must be returned, or the Mito family will lose its honor.” Kage scowled fiercely at the thought of the sword’s disappearance; it was her task to retrieve it, to restore the lost honor of her clan before they were disgraced.

Eban held up his mug in salute, and smiled. “In that case, allow me to aid you, milady. It sounds like a worthy cause, and since I’m between tasks for my order at the moment, I would be honored to help you find your sword.”

Kage grimaced; the last thing she needed was some human with misguided notions of helping some damsel in distress getting in her way. She had come this far on her own- she could complete her quest without the aid of a human. “I thank you, but no. This is something I must do myself,” she said, waving off his offer. She could see the dwarf still eying her from the other table. She glared back at him, and he scowled.

“I understand, milady, but there are many orc tribes in these mountains. You could wander for years and never find the right one, let alone win back your sword. I can help you with that.” Eban had been waiting for weeks for word from the church in Kalleris, to no avail. He was supposed to be receiving his assignment from the Order, yet here he was, sitting idle in Ironhold, and still there had been no letter from his superiors. What was a knight to do? Without knowing what his next assignment would be, he was adrift, without purpose. For a holy knight, that was akin to being dead.

Kage sighed; how in the name of Tannos was she to dissuade this idealistic fool? She knew well enough that he spoke the truth- there were numerous orcs in the Borian Mountains, but she had some notion which direction to search, and she was patient. She could search much more easily alone, when her stealth would give her an advantage. At last, she pretended to consider his offer, and gave him a thoughtful look.

“Do you know these mountains?” she asked. If he was familiar with the terrain and the local wildlife, he might at least prove of some use, though she had no illusions that she could travel quickly- or more important, quietly- with an armor-clad warrior in tow.

“Some,” he conceded, nodding. “I traveled here from the kingdom of Deepvale several weeks ago, on a mission for the Church. Before that, I was stationed in Kalleris. I was told to wait here for word from my Order, but it doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. I can help you if it comes to a fight, which it surely will if orcs are involved. Moreover, I can help you find a guide who knows the area- where all the tribes live, their approximate numbers, whatever you need. I have connections, you see.”

Kage sighed again, and sipped her tea. It was not as good as the teas from home, but she would take what she could get. It was the tradition that mattered. “Very well, Sir Eban. You do not take no for an answer, do you?” she asked pointedly. His wide grin said all she needed to know. Kage rolled her eyes.

“If I allow you to join me, let me make one thing clear- you follow my lead, do not ask questions when I give you an order, and remain silent unless I give permission to speak. And for the love of the gods, if you must wear any heavy armor, find some way to silence it. I do not need some clanking fool alerting every orc for a dozen miles to my presence.” There, Kage thought. Let him chew on that, and see if he still wanted to join her.

He surprised her by agreeing. “I had thought as much,” Eban said after she finished. “You don’t seem the sort to go into a fight headlong. Don’t worry, Lady Kage. I’m used to following orders.”

“That is good. I have no patience for those who cannot.” She gave him a long look, and he had the distinct feeling that there was more beneath her words that was left unsaid.

Eban nodded. “Then it’s settled. I expect no compensation, of course, as it is my duty to aid worthy causes. However, any guide you hire most definitely will. Will you need any help with that, milady? I can see if there are funds available from the Church to cover expenses.”

“That will not be necessary, Sir Eban. I have all that I need for expenses. Perhaps you could recommend someone, though?” She lifted one dark brow in query, and Eban noticed how lovely she was, in an exotic way. Not that he was interested in her, of course; but a man could appreciate beauty when he saw it, could he not?
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

20 Feb 2011, 10:16 #6

I`m really liking this Ducks!
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

20 Feb 2011, 20:45 #7

Thanks! And I'm glad you like it so far- these characters are all of my hubby's creation. All three are PC's he has played in our games.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

25 Feb 2011, 09:28 #8

Well your hubby creates some darn cool characters!
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

25 Feb 2011, 22:59 #9

The dwarf is his favorite, of course. For some reason he usually dislikes elves..... Except for Kage here. He LOVES ninjas!!
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

28 Feb 2011, 19:55 #10

Me and Mr. Duck have some dwarf love going on don`t we? =)
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

04 Apr 2011, 05:20 #11

Erm- yes..... LOL!! [whutntme] :twisted: That sounded SOOO wrong, LOL!! More on the way!
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
Reply
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

04 Apr 2011, 05:39 #12

And here ye are, my dears! As promised! 'Tis short, I know, but I could not wait any longer to add this!



He thought about that for a few moments, and then shrugged. “I may need to ask around for reputable guides, but the Church enclave here is bound to know of someone who can help. What you need is someone who knows these mountains and the locations of tribes very well- and preferably has experience fighting them.”

At that moment, the noisy dwarf called out from his table, having clearly overheard the conversation. “I be knowin’ how to fight ‘em! ‘N I be knowin’ these ‘ere rocks, ‘n all th’ holes what riddles ‘em, too! Spent me whole life roamin’ ‘em, and huntin’ down nasty stinkin’ orcs.” He tossed down his mug of ale- it had already been refilled once so far- and motioned for a dwarf serving wench to fill it again as he eyed the pair, his small eyes squinting as if in concentration.

Eban gave the dwarf a dubious look, and wondered if it might be prudent to suggest leaving. The dwarf had not even been here ten minutes, and was already on his way to getting roaring drunk, with emphasis on the roaring part. “Sir dwarf, I hardly think this is a matter that would interest you. The offer is appreciated, but the lady requires a subtle hand.” He had put it as tactfully as he knew how, and hoped that the dwarf took the hint. Unfortunately, the implication seemed to fly right over his bearded head.

“Subtle, eh? You mean quiet-like, right? Ha! Elves always want to go sneakin’ around, never like a straight and honest fight!” He laughed, and banged his fist on the table. “What ye need is a dwarf to show ye’ what’s what about fightin’!” He barked, smacking his meaty fist against his own barrel-chest, clanging against the spiked plate of his armor. How he could wear it at all without endangering his own limbs from the many sharp points was anyone’s guess.

“I know how to fight, thank you,” the elf-woman sniffed, wrinkling up her nose at the dwarf. Just when she thought she had been rid of his presence…. She turned back to the human. “Sir Eban, I would be most pleased if you could find a guide for this expedition. I can pay well, of course.”

“Pay?!” The dwarf’s ears seemed to perk up at that. “Stones, woman, why didn’t ye’ say so? If’n yer payin’, I’d be right pleased to show ye’ any old orc holes ye’ want!”

Kage sighed, and rolled her eyes. It would seem the dwarf was bound and determined to horn in on her quest, and for no better reason than greed. Still, perhaps he might make a good distraction, she mused. If nothing else, she could always send him barreling by the entrance to whatever cave the tribe she sought called home, and then simply sneak in and take back the sword while they chased the obnoxious dwarf.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

04 Apr 2011, 08:43 #13

Ha! Oh I`m really enjoying this Ducks!
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

04 Apr 2011, 16:40 #14

Naturally! I know how you like your dwarves!! Let's just say Thordar is one of his more entertaining PC's..... :lol3: ;) :P
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
Reply
Like

Eternal Nightmare
Celestial
Joined: 21 Jun 2008, 01:11

04 Apr 2011, 17:05 #15

I'm really liking the dwarf's character.
[img]http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee109/kacangpool/vida/2010-tavern-awards-stanlee.jpg[/img]

[img]http://spiralgoddess.webs.com/IMG_20171107_103942.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.freewebs.com/eternalalanna/Screenshot%202017-12-03%20at%203.35.02%20PM.png[/img]

[IMG]http://eternalashlotte.webs.com/Screenshot%202017-12-18%20at%2011.49.20%20AM.png[/IMG]
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

04 Apr 2011, 17:36 #16

Thanks! we always get a laugh when hubby plays him. One of his best lines ever in-game was "Orcs don't come in blue..." In a very confused and thoughtful tone. (He's tough and strong, but not too bright....)
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
Reply
Like