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Charles of Tours

Adventure #01 - A Duke in Distress

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In a quiet valley that rests in a secluded corner of Britain, the smell of musty peat beckons local peasants home to Castle Riverbourne. The castle is a standalone keep in the Norman style, surrounded by thatched hovels that parrallel a zig-zagged, well-trodden dirt trail that leads southward to the Azure River. The clear blue waters give life to scores of fish who patrol the wide current, providing full bellies for inhabitants and travelers alike.

 

Today is a unique day, as three lone adventurers have answered Duke Christopher XII's plea for assistance in management affairs. Little does he know that these knights may very well thwart the forces that will soon assail his duchy and his claim to rule. These knights come from different roads, perhaps even different corners of the world, looking for justice, and some meagre payment as well! A day before the adventurers arrive, while the duke is planning a minor banquet, a caravan from the lands of Asturias arrives. The peasants spend their pittances of earnings on products of dubious quality.

 

The merchants wear exquisite linens and are surrounded by guards with scimitars and bows. The peasants ignore the appearance of their guests in order to examine their wares.

 

"Hear me, good people of Riverbourne! I am Alonso the Wise, for I can create and provide miracle elixirs. Behold my table, filled with such magical antedotes, available for varying sums of dinars."

"What's this one?"

"That will make your flatulence smell of roses! Ten dinars for a bottle!"

"And what's this?"

"A salve to rub on bread and cure scurvy, available for twenty dinars!"

"Does this yellow one do anythin' special?"

"Aaah, yes my friend! A very special potion from the realm of Hindustan! Pour it in a body of water, a lake, a well, a sea - and fish will spring forth into your very baskets!"

"How much for that one?" one asks.

"I've got thirty dinars!" says another.

"Thirty-five!"

"Forty!"

Alonso strokes his goatee and twirls his midnight mustache with his long fingers, realizing that these fishermen would give up a limb for a pouch of coins from selling fish. "Oh, my friends, you cannot expect me to run a charity. For a phial of that liquid, I can take no less than one-hundred dinars."

 

The crowds groan and shuffle away, as the mustached merchant shouts, "I will be here only for a week! Buy now during this one-time opportunity!"

 

Meanwhile, a guard informs a duke of the day's happenings around the podium the traders have set up by the river, surrounding it with their colorful tents and banners. One particular tent in the midst of them all is larger than the others, and a grim-looking Spanish guard stands at every one of its eight posts.

 

Somewhere in the distance, the adventurers enter the Riverbourne Valley. The faint smell of peat enters their nostrils, but they are still some hours away. Night is starting to fall, and they will have to choose whether to press on in the dark or rest until morning.

 

[OOC:] If you want to make short remarks like this without posting in the Conversation forum (for example, explain your thought process / problem solving) then use the "OOC" tag like I did here. It stands for "Out Of Character" - these comments come from you, not your characters. This is still only available for the players, as it should accompany a roleplay post, and longer stuff should go in the Conversation still. :)


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Do you crave a life of adventure? Check out our Adventures in the Duchy of Riverborne and apply here to join the action!

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Brother Goodman raises his head to the air. "I have smelled that before".....his gaze moves toward what appears to be an encampment across the river. "Arabs", he mutters - slowly squeezing the handle of his blade.......

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"... so it would seem".

 

Sir Charles turns his head towards the tall crusader.

 

"Allow me", he stretches out his hand. "Sir Charles Loring. I am heading towards the castle yonder, offering my services in search for employment. Shall we travel together?"

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Brother Goodman stared at the fellow. Distrust was something he was used to. Trust could mean death in the Desert. But....something about this gentleman spoke of trust.

"Surely, I take your hand in peace"....."My name is Brother James Goodman, late of The Order". You appear Saxon by dress, meaning no disrespect to you, good Sir." After an exchange of "manly grips", Brother Goodman asks "I too seek to offer my services to a well-deserving Lord."

Edited by Crusader1307

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As the last rays of sunlight sink below the horizon, a mounted figure crests one of the rolling green hills along the path to the south-east. The road, if such a narrow dirt trail can even be called such, twists its way down the side of the hill and past a grove of trees towards the river. As this traveler works his way along the path, the two knights are able to more clearly ascertain his appearance. He is mounted upon a shaggy grey mule, which is also carrying a set of saddle bags. A number of leather cylinders, canisters of the type used to store maps and scrolls, protrude from one of these bags. The man himself is of advanced years, clad in dark green robes which, although not of poor quality, seem to have seen a great many miles. In addition to a sword hanging from his side, this man carries a staff. Both sword and staff are elaborately engraved in the old Nordic style seldom seen these days. The staff is topped with an iron figure of a dragon with outstretched wings and the tail wrapping itself around the wooden shaft to hold this figurehead in place. The hilt of the sword has decorations of a similar style, and it is likely both were made by the same blacksmith and meant as a matching set.

 

Passing the grove of trees now, and disturbing a cluster of songbirds in doing so, the old man's mule stops abruptly. Having dismounted to attempt to lead his mount onwards, it seems he is slightly shorter than average, and an olive skin tone suggests he is originally a native of a Mediterranean country. With the mule, living up to every bit of its reputed stubbornness, refusing to move the man begins walking away, running his hand through his wavy, short grey hair in exasperation. The light breeze carries a few frustrated words spoken by a wispy in a foreign language to the knights watching the man's approach. As soon as he begins walking the mule follows a half dozen paces behind, prompting what would seem to be a sarcastic comment by the old man's tone of voice. Approaching within reliable earshot of the knights he calls out, speaking in a moderately accented English:

"Good evening fine sirs, it seems my companion here is just about done for the night. Would either of you know how far it be to Riverbourne castle? I had hoped to make it by nightfall, however it seems I was a bit off in my timing."

 

[OoC:] Just assume my approach is happening during any conversation you two are having. Also for reference, he sounds an awful lot like Richard Harris.

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[OoC:] Don't feel bad, Brother Goodman sounds a little like Sean Connery.

 

Brother Goodman turns cautiously. Slowly his hand falls to grasp his swordbelt - casually (it would seem). His hand now closer to his blade handle.

"Truly, Sir - I have been here a mere quarter hour, and good Sir Loring, just minutes. Goodman tilts his head slightly to the right, more to clear his vision from the sun (and focus on his target, if need be). "And WHO, good Sir - are you?"

Edited by Crusader1307

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"I am Julian Palaiologos, a humble scholar. I heard tell on the road that the duke of these lands was offering work, and being a little light in the pockets I decided that I have put off traveling to this particular part of the world for quite long enough." The old man replies, adjusting his robes while doing so.

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The three knights notice the shadows around them growing longer as the sun creeps more quickly behind the horizon. Faint glimpses of the moon and stars can be caught, as crickets begin to chirp their sweet songs.


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Do you crave a life of adventure? Check out our Adventures in the Duchy of Riverborne and apply here to join the action!

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Brother Goodman considers his two new companions. "Gentle Sirs, whereas we all appear to have similar needs - let us cross this stream and make camp. I have several rabbits caught earlier and will be glad to share them."

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"Very good. Let us camp here overnight. It seems the mule has used up all the steps he had for this day, anyway.

 

Also, there are three of us now. If we divide the watch between us, everyone should get a few good hours of sleep before we speak to his Lordship tomorrow."

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"Aye, Sir Loring. I am much interested in hearing just what this Lord is requiring AND if his payment is just. Shall I take first watch?" Brother Goodman asked, offering the first watch with respect to Loring. Loring yawns. Brother Goodman takes this as positive acknowledgement, and moves closer to the fire, settling in for his watch. His two fellows nestle down for sleep.

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While the knights peacefully sleep, a mounted figure appears on the horizon, slowly getting closer and closer with a small cluster of other mounted figures nearby. Before long, they are fairly near and in close view of the knights, who seem to feel threated by their presence.

 

Fearing for a bloodbath after their tense movements, Duke Christopher XII speaks. "Good e'en, how farest thou? My party have ventured out from Riverbourne Castle, in order to reach some aiding knights - but have been lost in the process in the nearby woods. May we stay here for the night?"


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The fields have eyes, and the woods have ears.

⁠— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

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[OoC:] This sounds suspiciously like "Henry V".........

 

Brother Goodman (having been relieved prior), alerts. Removing his sword, he assumes "The High Guard". "Stand and name yourselves as friend or enemy!" His eyes narrow on the personage of The Duke. Goodman (although a "goodly and god fearing man", has learned from his years in the desert that this could well be a trick). Better to air on caution and live, than be lions food!

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Thinking that he has now come across hostile knights, the Duke begins to fear for the worst. He slowly reaches for his own sword and some guards nearby also do the same in case of a rapid aggressive attack.

 

"That depends on your own hostile behaviour. Very well.. I am Duke Christopher XII of Riverbourne Castle. And who sir, are you?"


Quote

The fields have eyes, and the woods have ears.

⁠— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

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Upon hearing title "Duke", Goodman paused. This was perhaps the Liege that Sir Loring mentioned. In honored Templar fashion, Brother Goodman lowered his sword - bringing it down (point first), into the dirt in front of him. Lowering onto one knee, (head bowed but eyes still fixed) he says "Much apologies. My Lord. I am Brother Goodman - late of The Order and of Syria. I and my companions have heard of your need (remembering what Sir Loring said) and, unfamiliar with these lands.....well,...I have learned from the desert that "friends" often wear the robes of enemies!" After several seconds Goodman (wishing to put this man at ease) states, "My companions say that you have distress in your Kingdom, I thought it best to be "on my feet" and not "on my back".

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"Thank you kind brother Goodman" remarked the Duke, whilst disembarking from his horse, Everard. "Tell me, do you have some place we can talk more privately? I have some urgent information to tell you which is both alarming and disturbing."


Quote

The fields have eyes, and the woods have ears.

⁠— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

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"Sire," Brother Goodman motions towards a stand of trees..."Will this serve?" Goodman followed behind the Duke. Soon they were partially obscured behind the trees and bushes he had mentioned. In a whispered tone Brother Goodman asks, "What of your concerns, Excellency?"

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Sir Charles un-notches the arrow, that he had already attached to his bowstring - slighly embarrassed.

 

"Errm, Greetings Mylord.

I hope you will not take our attitude for ill will, but we had thought to find you inside that castle over there, not outside of it and certanly not at this hour. Well, what is it that distresses you so?"

Edited by Nigel

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Isaiah, who was running a bit late, soon finds the area where the other knights had stopped.

He listens carefully to the nearby underbrush and enters in on the conversing knights somewhat unexpectly.

 

"My apologies sire, I was running a bit late because my master made sure my armor was in tip-top shape. Hopefully I wasn't interrupting anything important my liege. My name is Isaiah, and I am eager to serve you." Isaiah states as he rushes in on the scene and bows humbly at the Duke's feet.

Edited by Isaiah

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"I'm not quite sure where to begin..." started the Duke in a whisper. "I was planning a minor banquet, and while it was ongoing, Outlaws started ransacking the village from the nearby Forest. I.. I started to try and get the men ready, but before long it was too late and the outlaws were too strong in number. Worse still, there is a traitor in the Castle. I do not know how, but somehow the gates were left open for them to come rushing in without a fight.

 

What knights I could gather quick enough managed to escape, but we were lost in the woods yesterday as a result. Most my belongings were left in that Castle, and possibly either now stolen or destroyed."

 

The Duke stops abruptly after hearing the rustling of bushes nearby. He starts again, his voice even quieter. "We must be careful. The enemy has many spies now and we do not know who may be listening."

Edited by Lord_Chris

Quote

The fields have eyes, and the woods have ears.

⁠— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

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"I wonder Sire," Goodman muses as his sight drifts over towards the distant merchant camp - "What a small force of men, suitably disguised - could do once infiltrated inside your Castle?" Goodman ponders a trick used once in Damascus, when members of The Order dressed as merchants with wares to sell. "I would take a little planning, but it could work". And Brother Goodman said in hushed tones, "If you chose Sire, only myself and my companions would serve. Since none of us know anything of your Kingdom - there's no fear of treason. A map of the castle interior should serve, drawn by you only." Brother Goodman made a finer point to the Duke, "Tell NO one. Not even your surviving Knights. my Liege".

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Charles Loring bends over close to his new companion.

"Brother Goodman, this idea is so crazy, it may actually work. And it does have the advantage, that I will actually get into the castle after all. I am craving for a good cup of coffee from the castle citchen, and if nothing else, that's what I should be anble to get.

 

But let us hear what the other friends think"

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"A mystery to solve! Quite exciting if thou ask me; I'm all for it, " Isaiah proclaims loudly before remembering that this would be a top secret mission.

 

"What's our plan -- Once we infilitrate the Duke's castle, what do we do next. The last thing we want to do is walk in without a strategy and a back-up plan if things go wrong as that will leave us vulnerable. Furthermore, if some bandits can manage to enter with ease, then these bandits probably have their own plans and will be ready for us, " Isaiah whispers in an urgent voice, "We need to determine a way to sneak into the castle unnoticed, figure out who the culprits are, and find a way to get rid of them."

 

"Also, I'm very nearsighted and unable to perform very well in battle. My strength lies in the tactics and resources I use, " Isaiah states in a calmer whisper.

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Brother Goodman motions for The Duke and his fellow comrades to come closer. "Of course, there will be risks. Life is a risk, at best". Goodman continues "First and foremost, are the disguises. We are Merchants selling our wares. At best, we bring and ply them with strong wine and ale, earning their friendship. At worst, they drink our stores and bade us leave. I think if we are cunning enough to get them to loosen their tongues they will reveal more of their intentions with regards to the Duke's Castle." Studying his comrades still closer, Brother Goodman goes on. "Bandits are NOT warriors. They have no Code. They are men of opportunity. We may even be able to spend the night." As if to bring home his plan, Goodman continues. "We will learn their numbers, weapons they have and more."

At this Goodman studies the faces of his companions. After a moment to let his plan set in he adds..."God Willing to The Right, we may have to kill."

Are we all prepared for this act?

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"Ah, a good plan, but what do we do if caught; we should always have a back-up plan if the worst happens, " Isaiah suggests as Goodman stops talking.

 

"In addition to the aforementioned plan, we should stay alert. Look around, see if anything looks, moves, or seems suspicious. Also, trust ABSOLUTELY NO ONE once inside the castle besides us. Warriors or not, the bandits were smart enough to enter the gates unapprehended. Furthermore, they were stealthy enough to butcher the Duke's fine men. Therefore, they are atleast cunning, so we shoud not underestimate them. I'm quite certain one of them will try to befriend us and tap us. Don't fall for it, be strong my comrades, danger lurks near, " Isaiah explains as he watches his cmrades slowly.

 

"Also, I would prefer not to fight as fighting solves nothing and at best sheds the blood of those who train to fight, and at worst sheds the blood of defenseless innocents. Therefore, I recommend we avoid combat at all costs, " Isaiah suggests as he prepares himself mentally for the task that lies ahead.

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