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Campaign HQ    The Company of the Bright Star Campaign    Vampire

Jecht (KoHL's Character Story)

 
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Knight_of_Holy_Lotus
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Joined: 06 Nov 2005
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Location: Southern Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject: Jecht (KoHL's Character Story) Reply with quote

Jecht was born to a very loving mother and father. He has two older sisters, and when he was three his parents gave birth to twins, a boy and girl. As his family grew, their living area had to grow. Granted they were all halflings, but they still needed room for the new ones in the family (and the mother was expecting another as well).

Jecht's father Tiberias found a new place in the city. Life on the outskirts was fine, but now he needed some steady money for the family. He moved them all into a lovely home just outside the business district. His first job paid little, but he soon found steady pay with an adventuring guild that required a stealthy rogue type person.

Jecht was hooked on his father's stories. He loved listening to them. Soon the newborn girl was there, and Elvetta (Jecht's mother) was finally convinced that "six is enough for now". Those years were the happiest ever. Jecht learned from his older sisters when they came back from their schooling in needlework and in carpentry. They'd tell him what they learned, and he always re-purposed his new information. If Tinfa told him about a new style of seamstress darning, he'd take the needle, work it in the way she showed him, and pick the cabinet lock and steal his favorite snacks. He always shared the reward with his sister, though. "It always helps to have two trails of crumbs to follow. Dad's getting good".

Saliba (his middle older sister) was quite skilled at carpentry and framing. She had an eye for detail, symmetry, and balance. Jecht learned from her how to make the scene of a crime look just like it had before he got there. Her crafts were also of interest to his young mind. Sometimes he tried to copy work she had done, though he was not as good as she was.

As they grew, Tael and Parnel (the twins, boy the former) used Jecht as their favorite jungle gym. They'd mock-wrestle every morning before breakfast. This gave Elvetta enough time to prepare meals without having to worry about the terrible twosome. Jecht was swift, deft, and gentle with his siblings, knowing always how hard and soft to be with them. Once he had played too hard with Tael, and Parnel retaliated for her brother's injury. She ended up crying though, because she felt bad her brothers were both hurt now. The family looks back on this scene with a level of family pride, Tael confused on the floor, Jecht holding his shin bone in agony, and Parnel crying because her brothers were hurt. It was hilarious.

Soon Saliba and Tinfa moved out, Saliba married and Tinfa started hanging out with a group she was fond of, friends and friends of friends. She eventually met a girl whom she loved, and they got married as well. They came over often with their new families, who were all accepted by Elvetta and Tiberias without question. Tael and Parnel were growing like weeds, having almost the potential to reach 4'3" (an inch taller than Tiberias). They were learning the fishing trade with rapid success. They lived at home, but paid their way for food and helped the parents with rent in an increasing economy. The littlest one, simply named Aelshanio, began to walk and talk as infants become children who become young adults. She helped Elvetta constantly, and later we find out that she devotes her life to caring for her parents, and eventually joins a cleric's practice, learning how to be a nurse priest. All of that is another story though...

Jecht learned the trade of his father. Being the most like him, he tried to figure out how Dad did his job. Their favorite game was figuring out where the other one was, in many ways like hide and seek. The only difference is that they fought after they found the hidden. "Often you can hide, often you can run, but no one expects you to fight. That's where they fail. That's where you succeed, my son." Jecht took the words in like air. He learned quick, and soon joined his dad on smaller adventures. By the time Jecht was 14, he could have joined Tiberias on the bigger missions, but he was needed to carry on the family should he not return. Elvetta and the others would need looking after. Jecht couldn't argue.

Even as a younger brother, his older sisters looked up to Jecht for some reason. He had a natural presence of strength and cunning about him. Projects came easy to him, he could go for a day or two and not be noticed by anyone, he could hear into the next room if he tried hard, and he always got his way without being too much of a brat.

Soon Jecht made his way into the adventuring world with his dad in the real sense: they were asked by opposing sides to help their respective goals. Jecht joined a group supporting bakers and free tradesmen while Tiberias was asked to join the local militia to quell the worker's uprising. The whole thing was resolved without Jecht and Tiberias ever meeting in the field. No battle was even needed. Jecht negotiated with one of the leaders, while Tiberias was guarding the safehouse of a politician who feared assassination. When they both got home, they told one another their stories at the dinner table, and the whole family laughed it up. Jecht and Tiberias vowed that should they be on opposite sides of a fight, they single one another out, make a good show of their battle, come home after no one was watching and have a meal together. They would just be reported as missing, with a member of the winning side delivering their share to Elvetta at home.

It happened twice, each time worked like a charm.

Tiberias had many connections in the adventuring world, and soon got his son a good steady job at a local recruiting station. He would determine if a thief or a rogue would be able to handle the task they needed him/her for.

It finally happened though. Jecht's recruits were all under the bar for this particular mission, so he took it on himself. He got his first taste of war and combat with the likes that he hadn't witnessed before. He came home a little changed, but not much. He had survived and learned much, but he knew that life wasn't worth sulking over. He continued to have strong ties with his family and lived at home until he was 22. He moved out into a nice little halfling sized home two doors down from his sister Tinfa and across from the town butcher, a sexy halfling that he flirted with constantly.

Though it seemed to everyone else that she never gave him much consideration, Kitreah (Kih-tray-uh) secretly loved his witty banter and flirtatious nature, along with his generosity, kindness, and family style sense of duty. She didn't like the fact that Jecht used his slight-of-hand techniques to steal her favorite carving knife, leave a trail behind the shop to where the knife lay stuck into the wall next to a carving of the phrase "Pick you up a little past closing tomorrow?" The knife's edge repair came out of her salary, but she eventually warmed to the gesture.

They ended up dating and getting engaged within three years of his moving to the area. She moved in with him at this point. Jecht often gave the family the meat they received from her job, so Tiberias didn't much mind that they weren't married. Elvetta never questioned their intentions and was only happy her son was happy. In two swift years, they set the date and married. Their whole family was there, including most of the town they lived in.

Jecht now works as an adventurer, coming home when he can, but usually gets hired out to the military, small parties, and the like. He has seen some fierce combat, and doesn't shy away from true encounters.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When interviewed by the local authorities in Gatherhold, Paull said the following regarding the strange goings-on at the tavern:

"You say he might be involved?! Preposterous! The man is a stellar community man! He treats his wife better than anyone else I know, loving to his nephews and nieces, his parents are still in his life... the man's a saint, for crying in the mead! Look, he runs a local leather shop two doors down the street. Ask him. He was never there. Once I asked him about it, you see... he didn't know a thing. I can tell when someone lies to me, I'm a paladin, get me? I know things in this town. Jecht is not one of those Seven waves, or whatever... Granted I never see him out at night, but that's a good thing, right? He's got a family to look after. He's as common as they come, sir."

When asked by the same guards, Marela had this to say:

"Yeah right? Who? Jecht? Oh, the halfling with the wife on 3rd? Can't say I've ever seen him for more than a few minutes. He comes by, buys what he needs for his shop, I assume, and takes off. He buys polish for leather, knives for working with hides, once he bought silver sheen and I asked him about it because it was unusual. He said his father needed it for his door hinges. It's a fine lubricant, actually. As soon as he left, I tried some on my hinges here, two weeks later I haven't heard a squeak. The man is resourceful, I guess. Wife is nice too. She comes in once in a while and we gossip. She brings me tea and I give her some of Sal's --that's my husband, Sal... say hi to the nice men!--- (mumbled response from 'Sal'). Anyway, an old lady like myself loves hearing the new gossip from the young ladies like her. It gets boring here in this blade shop. If Sal would retire, why... we might finall........."

Rest of conversation did not pertain to investigation

When Tobi was asked about the mysterious patrons of his bar, he responded with the following:

"You can say that. These dark figures were mysterious, AND good tippers... but I never got a look at them, or know who they are. Some halflings, some men... mostly kept to themselves... always ordered three pitchers of beer for the table, though only the men seemed to drink.... the woman and two of the halflings didn't. Strange? No. Profitable for me? Sure... Usually the men drink and overpay for the table. I don't complain, and I don't bother them, see? What business is it of mine. I did catch one of the names they were talking about though.... I don't think I should repeat it though... it was your name, sir. They discussed something about the kick-back you deliv.... "

Rest of conversation omitted for prudent reasons by O'Henry, Guard on Watch.

Sworn Testimony of Guard O'Henry, Watchmen of Gatherhold for 14 years, citizen for 38 (entire life).

"I, being of sound mind and body, swear the truth of the following: I helped orchestrate and kid-nap the local bartender Tobi from his place of work for refusing to answer questions regarding an ongoing investigation of the Seven. I was discovered delivering the kick-back money to an unnamed local politician whose identity is indeed known, and therefore I attempted to hide the evidence by kidnapping Tobi. I am guilty, and hereby forfeit all rights of my citizenry to Gatherhold. I do so without my own free will, as I have been caught by the Seven, and forced to reveal my secrets. The investigation must discontinue. They seek only to rid us of criminals in office such as myself and the politician with whom I have had dealings. The Seven are among you. I seek the full penalty."

The following was announced several days after O'Henry tuned himself in and received 10 years in lockdown.

"The investigation will not be halted, but the politician did come forward and admit his guilt... in the form of a suicide note and his dead body hung in his own office. The identities of the Seven will become known, vowed here and now by Guardsman Torvend, Newly appointed Watchman of Gatherhold. They are not above justice. If you have any knowledge of who these criminals are, notify the local guard on duty. Together we shall clear our streets of the Seven's menace."

Jecht and his family smirked as they clapped along with the rest of the crowd.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As drinks were passed around the tavern "Innkeepers Drafters" (drunks always mistook this to read "Daughters"... which was an intentional marketing trick), stories were shared among the lighthearted folk of Gatherhold's West-End district. Rare is a time that Jecht found himself in a dive such as this, but he needed to take a break from staring at leather all day, as he put it to the barkeep's hand who served him some chilled fruit and a mug of something called "Drafter's Choice". He made a show of drinking, but didn't ingest a drop... and didn't touch his food, though he made as if he'd been eating for 30 minutes by the time his mark came in the bar.

No stirring. No looking. He didn't even think to check it was him. Jecht knew.

His mark was a tall, blonde woman of moderate attraction. She was a barmaid that was late for work... because of the very reason Jecht sought her now.

She took her cloak off and tied an apron around her waist without saying a word. The innkeeper only nodded at the sun to indicate her late hour... she only rolled her eyes and took 2 gold pieces out of her pocket and put them in the innkeepers drawer. He nodded his approval, and went back to serving beers.

She looked at Jecht. "Top you off, sir?"

"No, Cherry. Not necessary."

She gasped. She didn't do it audibly, or even to the notice of the horny young man sitting at a corner table watching her intently. Jecht knew the name struck a chord in her. She didn't want others to know she knew that name either. She didn't even want to refute it, so she merely went to the next table.

Smart, Jecht thought. She's done this for a long time. A pro. Too bad she needs to talk tonight, though.

"What'cha gonna have, hon?" she asked the patron. He requested two bottles of wine from her cellar. Just like Jecht paid him to do. "Cherry" went to the cellar, and came back empty handed. "I'm sorry, hon. We're all out o' those two. Want sommat else?" They asked for their regular order from that point on... no matter. They served their purpose. She saw that those bottles were empty.

Jecht now finished his fruit and pricked a hole in the mug to drain it behind the counter, completely unnoticed by the bar patrons (drunk and laughing at a story told about some lazy donkey screwing a dragon), unnoticed by the barman wiping up the previous weeks' beer stains, and unnoticed to "Cherry".

With his drink gone and his food finished, he left the bar and went across the street. He found a vantage point where he could easily see both the main doors and the back room door. The back door flashed light, and opened suddenly. "Cherry" was on the move again. Jecht waited until she crossed the street into an ally before he moved. He moved silently, without being seen, and with speed.

"Cherry" was being careful, he noticed. She had been followed before. A pro. Experienced at listening to the walls for sound reverberation, feeling the bricks for vibrations, listening for puddle splashes... she also knew not to move unless she was certain no one was following her.

She was certain. Only she was wrong too.

She also doubled back. A true pro. She had training. There was only one spot to move. Only one chink in her otherwise seemingly perfect defensive style of sneaking. As she approached her "boyfriend's" place, she turned the key and waited for three seconds... a code! She had everything down to a science. Once the waiting was done, she turned the handle and went in.

Here it is! The chink. The vulnerable spot. The sense of security that comes with a locked door.

Jecht moved like silent lightning. He made it to a window and silently slid it open. He knew the window, he greased it two hours ago. He had set this whole thing up. To a science. He's a pro too, after all.

"Cherry lit a lamp to illuminate the once pitch black home, to find her boyfriend unconscious on the couch... drunk. Unusual... he never drinks.... wait! Something was wrong... the bottles were from the bar she was just at... missing from the wine cellar. He was out cold... but his breath didn't smell like wine, she determined.

She turned in time to see Jecht standing in the locked doorway. She almost fell over in fright... "How did..."

"No. I ask the questions. Who did you see before coming to the bar?"

"Cherry" merely threatened Jecht with the usual... it's amazing how even the pro's can't fake this part. "If you don't tell me who you are or get out of here I'll call the guardsman!"

Tsk... Tsk... Tsk... Jecht thought silently.

"Tell them what... that you stole bottles from your boss's cellar only to find that your "boyfriend" drunk himself into a coma. You could go to the stockade for that, 'Cherry'."

"What?! How do you know that name? Who are you really?"

About time... Jecht thought. Usually they want to deal faster than that.

"I want you to tell me the name of the official you have been sleeping with. I want you to get caught with him tonight. I want you to drop your game and come clean, and I want to protect you from further harm. I know your father here is not your boyfriend. I know that you work at the bar to pay for his healing and his home. I know you're seeing a politician that can get him better for free should you only service him. I know that you don't have to work that way anymore, as we can get your father help. The bottom line is, Candice, we need your help."

The fish is in the bucket... and...

"I'll do it."

Arrow through the fin! Too easy, Jecht thought.

For now, go about your business. The next time you see the official, tack a nail to your door with your hand... it doesn't have to be big. We'll see it. Once your past security and through to his chambers, he'll go to the latrine..."

How does he know this... thought Candice...

"...once he's in there, unlatch the window that faces east. We'll do the rest. Timing is everything."

Candice turned to face her drunk father... "so what happens to him?"

"He's fine... just a little spell a friend of mine put on him. He'll wake up without a problem in about 7 hours. Remember your mission."

He left in a shadow.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"So let it be known..." the guardsman shouted to the gathered crowd at the town square at West-End District... "that he was caught in the act of soliciting from a local barmaid who will remain anonymous. He was tried and convicted that night, and was found with documents and sealed correspondence with a neighboring faction of anarchists. He was about to release their leader from our very own prison! Next to the incriminating documents, let it be known that we did in fact find seven wavy lines consistent with the Swift Seven's logo. They are allegedly responsible for bringing down this corrupt official. Let it be known that this act does not exonerate them in any way, and our investigation into who they are is still ongoing. They will be caught and arrested for vigilantism. If anyone knows who they are... notify the guardsmen. We are still the law in this town.

"Let it be further known that the official responsible is now stripped of his rights as a citizen and is now in prison. His position will be vacant until a new appointment from the other officials is processed. That is all."
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"They've hired him again" said a guard as Jecht passed by the pair in the halls of the Guard's watchpost. "They say the last guy he interrogated still hasn't shut up. He's blabberin' on an' on about some kind of conspiracy to overthrow the whole Talenta Plains with some crazy race of half-dragons..."

The two burst into laughter... "That's rich!" chimed the other guard. "Dragon men? What's next? Nice Drow? A heart-sick vampire? Some kinda ranger farming mushrooms?!" The echoes of their laughter spread through the hall. It would almost be joyous... if it didn't reek of creepiness.

Jecht followed the tall trainee as he led him from the lobby, down the hall where the two guards were having a laugh, to the interrogation room where he had been hired to discover the truth about the Swift Seven from another poor bystander. He had worked with this group of guards before. None of them suspected a thing. They only hired him because they knew he was good with his words. It's true that Jecht talked his way out of paying a hefty fine once, and he knows how to swindle the crafty tradesmen in the courtyard... but only for a few coins off the total price of his purchase... nothing vulgar... nothing obscene.

Until he is asked to do these jobs. These jobs paid better, and it made for easy information gathering as part of the Seven. At the same time he gained useless information from tortured peasants he gleaned information from the guards as to what they knew about the Seven's movements.

Once they arrived at the cell, the sight stiffened Jecht for only an instant. No one noticed. But Jechts insides wrenched. Sitting behind the bars was one of the Seven!

They caught one of us! Damn. This was going to be harder than he thought. Instantly the guy in the cell put on a show of disinterest, even though he too knew this would not end well.

They opened the cell and took both the inmate and Jecht into one of the interrogation rooms. Luckily it was one without weapons already in it. Sometimes they were just props used to scare folk. Other times... they played a more active role. Jecht made specific rules that he was never to touch a weapon nor see the actual torture take place. He was something of a "sealer" of the deal. He would come in and make the pain go away by twisting his words to sound like honey. Usually the inmate broke and gave what they had. The torture ended... and that's how Jecht justified going into such a demeaning place and working for the enemy.

As soon as the guards left the two of them to their devices, Jecht looked at his comrade in the eye, and looked back at the chief guard as he left. The guard said, "He was caught stealing documents that had to do with our shipping schedule. We think he's working for a gang of thieves surfacing in the north end of Gatherhold. They were after our caravans last month. Find out when their next meeting is and be quick about it."

Waves of relief swarmed over Jecht. He had read this situation all wrong. The guards were dumber than they looked... a true feat, to be sure.

Jecht swallowed hard, and asked him his name.

"Gale" came the fake response.

"Where are your compatriots hiding?"

No answer. Good job, ol' boy.

"You know... they don't have to kill you... they can hurt you, and leave you somewhere no one will find you or miss you... and wait for you to kill yourself to end the torment... you better play ball, 'Gale'."

"You don't know nothin'!" came 'Gale's' response. "I'll never tell you nothin. They're long gone, and forgot all 'bout me, I reckin'."

"If that's true, then you have nothing to fear from helping us."

Gale saw Jecht wink at him. It was quick. Now was the time to break. "South-end... they're based out of south end in house 23, the Bard's Whistle is their hangout. They frame other towns into thinking they're responsible."

"Why did you decide to tell us, 'Gale'?"

"Because I want immunity." Perfect... thought Jecht.

Jecht looked back at the guard. He nodded. "You'll get it as of right now, Gale. You did the right thing." Jecht heard the guards mumble "Once his cronies hear he gave them up, he'll be killed by they anyway..."

It was all Jecht could do to keep from laughing out loud.

Jecht and 'Gale' walked out of the prison separately, and met up two hours later at a blacksmith's shop in West-End. They waited for their other partner in the Swift Seven to show up. Kaleen finally appeared.

"Ok... so who sent the raid to the wrong house?" she asked.

"That'd be 'Gale' here." said Jecht. The three exchanged smiles.

"Gale, huh?" asked a comical looking Kaleen.

"I always liked that name, Kal."

"I'll bet. Anyway, the raid on 23rd went swift. They found two members of the political party having illicit dealings in the back room and..."

She stopped...

"Go on, it's ok." beckoned Jecht.

"... the governor's niece was one of the girls."

Stone silent pause...

"I had no idea..." Jecht said finally.

"Who would have? She was apparently urged to go by the local lieutenant after he saw her at a gala. There was nothing I could do to help her. She got herself into this, though. I couldn't risk us getting involved." explained Kaleen.

Elag 'Gale' Stonefur, the fighter, slammed his fist into the anvil next to him. "I never should have picked that place. I knew they were there... but I didn't know the niece would be there. She was a likely ally later on."

Jecht calmly defused the situation. "It's done. She's in for a blaming of a lifetime. It is likely that she will be placed as a martyr for the noble families, blaming her for the guards immoral acts. While she gets placed in the front lines, everyone will ignore the plight of those we've been fighting for. We can use this to our advantage. We just move up our plans..."

"You mean..."

"Yeah, Kal. Speak to the other Seven. We move soon, swift and hard. This town will be a democracy again. We just move the timetables up. Instead of kidnapping the Governor... now we'll kidnap their scapegoat."

"You can't kidnap the niece, Jecht. You have got to be serious."

"Trust me, "Gale". Nothing will happen to her... we don't even have to get to her. As soon as they think we will, though... their intentions will shift. They'll protect her thinking they have the upper hand. We'll strike then... when their numbers are low and hit our seven targets all at once. The nobles will be crippled. The niece will be guarded, so she'll be safe. The nephew will be with her... since he's a good kid and devoted to her. Their uncle is your target, Kal. Yours is the Aunt, Elag. Inform Mist that she grabs the Father, and Jonashel bags the Guardian. I'll tell my dad he gets to take out the Governor and Raidae takes the Brother."

"Who will you take, Jecht?"

"The witch guarding the prison. I'll take mother."
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

House Ghallanda, once the house that diplomatically ran this town, especially when all others left after the exodus after the war, were sadly sparse and gone. Most of the remnants of this area were new to Gatherhold. Only a few knew it was once a democratic city with light and music and trading. It's a sad place now... with the new government in place with the nobles who gathered all the wealth in town to claim it as their own. Shadows of a once beautiful harbor are now covered in corrupt dealings with offshore pirates.

Jecht and six others saw the cause of this threat. The cause of this pollution to their town was easy to spot once one looked beyond the money the politicians threw at them. Jecht would seek to restore the house to their power. The tribes were gone, but seven swift strikes to the political family would render them helpless.

The tale I tell you know is one of fact, and it happened a few years ago. It is the story of the return of the House Ghallanda.

Days before the niece was captured, Kaleen had sent word to the neighboring houses that Gatherhold's landlock was no longer enforced as of a few days from then. The ships could return, trade could resume, and people could start coming back to the town. Upon hearing that the people were coming back, The Governor made a decree that the walls be guarded and the ships be watched.

Less guards on the streets.

Once the niece of the Governor was arrested, Jecht leaked a rumor to the guards that the Seven may try to kidnap her and hold her for ransom. The nephew of the Governor ordered the guards be doubled around her cell. The Governor ordered the same.

Less guards in the barracks, house of the Governor, and the prison... where the vault was located.

Late that night... you could hear screams coming from six different locations.

An orchestrated, highly developed and timed attack against the royal family took place. The uncle, the aunt, the Father, and the Guardian were in different places, and were easily captured with the lack of guards posted. They were all brought back to a pier on the lake. Raidae had some trouble taking the Governor's brother, and Jecht's dad Tiberias almost lost his life capturing the Governor himself, but they were both taken to another pier on the waterfront.

The six members of the Seven switched sides in disguise, and spread rumors that the pirates on either side had kidnapped members of the noble family, and they should start their attack to save them... huge reward, and all that...

The battle was swift, as members of the Seven burned the lead ships to the bottom of the sea in the confusion. The pirates fought each other until both sides surrendered to one another... in this confusion... Tiberias accepted the sword of both captains and hauled the remaining pirates to another ship, along with the noble family members. They floated them out to the lake, tethered to the coast by a guiding line. If they tried to escape, Tiberias would sever the line and Elag would light it ablaze.

This only left Jecht to complete the mission.

Jecht moved in shadow to the dwelling of the witch, code named Mother. She was the one who gave all the power to the Governor in the absence of House Ghallanda. Now was the time. Standing before her was Jecht. There was no avoiding this fight.

In a flash she cast a spell of invisibility on herself. She moved to the left, and struck Jecht with a hard blow. The attack missed, as Jecht cannot be caught off-guard so easily. He struck with his short sword and twisted for damage she did not expect. He then shifted into a zone where she could not see him. Her invisibility gone, she made her way back to the door of the vault when on her way back she tripped on a line of wire two inches off the ground. Prone, Jecht struck her in the back of the head, knocking her out cold. He then bound her mouth and hands, blind folded her and bound her feet. He also removed all her rings, wands, and armor. She was well equipped for a witch. In fact, she wasn't a witch after all. She was more of an old wizard.

Nevertheless, Jecht used her keys to open the vault and left it hang open. He didn't go in, nor did he take anything. The money, of course, belonged to the people and to the Houses. Once they came back, they'd reclaim it.

Jecht put the Mother in the stockade until the houses returned. Once they did, they left her there for another day and then had her executed. She would serve as example for how controllers would be dealt with should they try to overthrow Gatherhold again.

Houses restored, peace once again reigning, the Swift Seven issued this note:

"Welcome back, brothers and sisters. We are the Swift Seven. We were here when Night fell upon our City. We were here when you left. We were here when the corruption reached it's zenith with the execution of the following brothers and sisters of our tribes. We were there when we decided to no longer be silent. We are here now, welcoming you back to a town free of oppression, ready for you to take over and restore peace and sustain justice once again. Know this, though... we are always here. We will not leave. We will watch, and you will not forget that we saved Gatherhold. Stray from Justice, Peace, and Fairness, and we will remind you swiftly. It is your corrupt we claim. Signed..." Seven wavy lines proceeded this note.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The captain of the House Ghallanda poured himself a drink once he returned to his home. The open, unblemished, and full vault at the back of the house vexed him, but was glad nothing was gone. The town was doing well, now that the corruption and devious tactics of the elves was gone. As it turned out, the witch/wizard was an elf impostor, playing halfling against halfling in the absence since the war was ended. For the most part the elves had kept to themselves in the long years that followed the great war. The halflings had driven them back, and now halflings seek for them to return to their homes and let things be. The elves, apparently, hold grudges.

The drink went down swift and sweet. He turned his head slightly as if savoring the drink. "You could knock one of these days, Jecht."

"You could always tell it was me." came a low voice from the shadow of the room. A passing torch illuminated his face for just a brief moment.

"You've been busy, member number 3." Harkonen said. His thick military voice coming clear over the rushing wind.

"I'm leader now. Tiberias decided it was time to retire as head, and I'm now the one you're dealing with, Harkonen." Jecht corrected him.

"Sit with me and have a drink, ol' friend. I know you wont, but I'll always offer. It's the least I can do to 'unofficially thank you'."

"So it won't go to the fliers?" Jecht questioned.

"No. You see, the houses agree that while they know you and your six waves were responsible for saving us, the public would not understand that vigilantes were on the good side. They deserve to know the truth, but then the truth isn't always known. Remember ol' Bucky from the third district?" Harkonen chuckled.

"Oh yes, good friend. I remember lying my ass off when he caught you stealing flowers for your sweetheart. I told them they were for your dying mother." Jecht smiled his response.

"No no... you said they were for your sick grandmother and my mother was taking care of her constipated goat!"

They howled in laughter.

"It would have been funnier if I said your sister was constipated...."

"Yes, you young rogue, but then again... you married my sister's daughter... so that would have turned out awkward later, eh?"

Laughter broke out again.

"So when do you all take power again?" asked Jecht.

"Well, you see... the other houses are working on a sort of egalitarian style of government. There won't be a need to take up the official power again. This house will be in charge when the tribes are gone again. When war comes, they are always welcome here."

"Thanks, Harkonen. I don't need the history lesson. I get how it works. But what's different?"

"The elves, Jecht. They're using poison to halt our expansion. They've taken to hit and run, like we did to them. They're a minor nuisance, since our victory gave us control of their stores and warehouses. We've freed those we could, and put in place their next step. As far as we know, they're going to take it, and the status quo will come in again. Problem is... we don't know when that will take effect. Best guess... it won't fully take. We need to be more willing to let other tribes have a piece of the pie."

"So that means we're opening our boarders to trade again?" Jecht asked.

"You better get back to your leather shop, Jecht, my friend. God's know you will owe me your round when the traders come back." said Harkonen.

"You said it yourself, my friend. I don't drink." said Jecht.

"You say that but when the chips are down... you..." Harkonen looked around, to find an empty room, and an open window.

"I hate when he does that."
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kitreah vowed to never pack a bag for a family member knowing they would leave and never come back. She always filled it too full, because she knew that as soon as it was packed and ready, they'd be leaving. She made time now though. Her husband was leaving her for the first time, and she might not see him again. She packed things in his bag that no one would think of, partially because she was trying to make a point, but also she wasn't sure how to pack for a type of travel he'd be going on.

For that matter, Jecht wasn't sure either.

Kitreah moved some old books into his bag as she spoke, "So you'll be back within the year?"

"I'll try to be back before the season, but I just don't know how long it will take to find him, and also to help him with what he needs. I've only met him once, and he said the job was worth it. If I can, I'll be sending money back here as best I can." Jecht replied. He kept taking things out of the bag as she put them in. His little sister and brother Parnel and Tael watched gleefully at the back-and-forth conversation and packing.

Kitreah reached for a glass bottle, filled with flower petals. "How do you know where to find him?"

Jecht took it from her hands before it made it into the bag. He placed it on the table next to their bed and looked her in the eyes. She was just beyond tears, but she was brave, and a little pissed at him for leaving, so they didn't come just yet.

"I know you're angry, and you have a right to be. Trust me, though. I helped get rid of the plight here... things are going back to normal... like when our parents were done with the war 30 years ago... there was a brief time of peace. This town has earned a break. I know it's hard to understand, but I owe it to Festavard. He helped us as outsiders... I must go as an outsider to help him. It won't be the end of the world or anything..."

For no apparent reason, Tael got a shiver down his spine.

"I know, Jecht. Just come back to us, so you can live your life for your family here... no dead hero ever hugged his children goodnight from the grave... regardless of how brave they were in two seconds of battle." Kitreah interrupted. She took out his extra belt satchel and threw it in the bag. Jecht... decided to leave that in there for now... and sit for a moment. He could tell when a good time to speak came up, and this was just a silent time...

He remembered the time he met Festavard in Gatherhold... remembered it well...

<<FLASHBACK SEQUENCE>> (For reference, check previous posting)

"So you have no complaints about the situation here, friend?" a gruff voice asked a soft voice.

"No... sir. I haven't seen or heard of any problems to speak of. If you like, I can keep a closer eye on things here...?" the meek voice chimed up, finally.

"It's not our business, friend. Carry on. Oh, but do you know anyone we could get more info from?"

The small voice merely pointed to a tavern. "Thanks." Festavard said, placing a silver coin on the table of the baker.

The four dwarfs entered the tavern where stories and drinks were going round like waves... back and forth, volume constantly changing, and people singing or telling stories. Everyone, except for two barmaids who were serving people, and a few other local patrons.

The four sat at a table away from the story tellers, and an obviously shaken barmaid took their drink order. She went to retrieve their order, then went back to a halfling at the bar. He said something that made her flinch for just a second, then left to take an order from another gentleman who made a show of asking for wine from the cellar. She went down to retrieve it, but it was gone. She came up empty handed, and the patron seemed to not care.

"Very curious, allies." whispered Festavard to the three other dwarfs. "She took an order, couldn't fill it, and the man who wanted the drinks didn't care she didn't have it."

"Maybe they're indifferent?" one piped up.

"Maybe... but no one who knows exactly what they want and doesn't get it gets draft ale after their wine choice isn't filled... their pallet is more sophisticated usually." They looked again, and sure enough, she was coming back with four beers for the three men who made the unfilled order.

"Other thoughts?" asked Festavard, always sensing a teaching moment.

"Someone wanted to give a signal? Here?" asked a disbelieving dwarf.

"Ah... the simplest answer may be correct." responded Festavard. "Let's watch. We may find out the one we need to see."

They turned back to find the barmaid grabbing her coat and leaving without looking back. "There she goes..." said one of the dwarfs.

Festavard was more interested in the wet stain on the floor that everyone else had missed. "Where's the halfling that was just there at the bar?"

The other three turned to find no one there, and a leaky mug from a pinhole at the base of the mug. "Wait here, and don't draw suspicion. I'll be back shortly."

Festavard left the bar, hoping to catch a glimpse of the halfling that left, but only found the barmaid four doors down the street. Following her might get me close to that halfling, thought Festavard.

He followed her at a decent pace, but not too conspicuously. He had also signaled his other companions back at the bar with a bird call to let them know to follow him should their be trouble. Soon, though, he heard commotion in the house she just went in. He leaned next to a window to listen in:

"No. I ask the questions. Who did you see before coming to the bar?"
"If you don't tell me who you are or get out of here I'll call the guardsman!"
"Tell them what... that you stole bottles from your boss's cellar only to find that your "boyfriend" drunk himself into a coma. You could go to the stockade for that, 'Cherry'."
"What?! How do you know that name? Who are you really?"
"I want you to tell me the name of the official you have been sleeping with. I want you to get caught with him tonight. I want you to drop your game and come clean, and I want to protect you from further harm. I know your father here is not your boyfriend. I know that you work at the bar to pay for his healing and his home. I know you're seeing a politician that can get him better for free should you only service him. I know that you don't have to work that way anymore, as we can get your father help. The bottom line is, Candice, we need your help."

Found him! thought Festavard. He slipped back to his companions and told them what he heard. "We'll meet up with this guy soon. Then we'll ask him about the goings on here. For now, let's get shelter at the inn here."

They went to the innkeeper, paid the money, and went into their room. Festavard let the men go downstairs for a meal and remained in the room for just a moment.

A wind picked up in the room. Festavard whirled to find nothing but air in the dark apartment. "You'll never know I'm here until I want you to know I'm here." called a voice... similar to the one he heard outside the barmaids home.

"We're not enemies, friend. I only seek information, though I do not trust an ally I cannot see."

"Then allow me to introduce myself." Jecht stepped out from behind the shadow of the bed, as though he was always there.

"Glad to meet you, sir. Festavard."

"Jecht." came the reply, with an outstretched hand. "What brings you to this town, and why were you following the barmaid?"

"Right to the point... I like it."

"I try"

"Well, we are protecting the interests of the land, and recently we heard that Gatherhold had been acquiring a fortune from the laborers. No trading leaves here with a profit. The town seems to be in dire straits. Why?" asked Festavard.

"New to the area, huh? We've been in dire straits for the last 25 years. My whole life has been spent hiding from a hierarchy set in place since Gallandra left. They used to be the caretakers of Gatherhold while the tribes were gone. Now it's up to a small group of militia led by yours truly to somehow shame the feudal system we're currently living in. We haven't seen any help for some time now. The last allies we had left years ago, as soon as we paid them. We don't have much, except what we steal from the guards and the witch controlling the nobles. We only know the halfling noble family is large, in control of the major wealth and military, and cannot be located in time to do anything about it. It's as if someone is hiding their presence." Jecht went on for a few minutes while Festavard listened.

"It sounds like you lead this militia... but you cannot be more than 26 years of age, my friend. You must command with example rather than experience." Festavard stated.

"As do you... I heard the teaching at the bar. A sound instructor never misses an opportunity to give advice."

"Right, Jecht. And here is mine for you. If you know the location of one enemy... you will be able to find the others. Use means that the direct approach cannot conceive. 'Kidnap' the one you know about, so that the others will reveal themselves."

"Attack all at once! It could work. It will take time to set up, but we can work with it. How did you know this tactic?"

Festavard shared a story of battle where this same idea worked perfectly.

"I see... Thank you, friend. I shall see you again if we are able to liberate this land. How do I find you?" Jecht asked.

"Look for the one called Nurik in Caamto (Tacoma-city name...). I'm meeting him soon."

"I know the way. I haven't said thank you to anyone in a long time, Festavard. Thank you for your aid and your words. We'll meet again, friend." Jecht shook his hand.

"Well met, Jecht. Good luck, and see you soon."

Jecht left through the doorway, out the hall and into the bar. He hadn't left by showing people where he was in such a long time... but he also hadn't met someone so willing to be honest and open with him. He would find him again.

<<END FLASHBACK SEQUENCE>>

Jecht now had what he needed packed, without the extras. He laid his armor and weapons next to his desk. "It's probably the last night I'll be able to enjoy citizen clothes in a free society for a while..."

Kitreah smirked, "You always look better in your armor, love."

"Oh?" Jecht swelled his chest with pride, and cut a comical dashing figure.

"Yeah... it's the kind of armor that helps you become silent and invisible, right?"

The twins howled in laughter in the other room... and raced in to point at a very deflated Jecht. He chased them into the living room where Tiberias and 'Gale' were having a beer. Jecht turned to his wife in the other room in time to see her wipe a tear away. Jecht returned and hugged her. "See... that's why I'll come back. You'll need someone to make fun of."

A tearful Kitreah leaned back form the hug slightly... enough to face him... and said... "Why... do you need my help all of a sudden? You make fun of yourself without my help."

They embraced. "That's why I love you... always joking."

"Knew there was a reason, Jecht. Come back." Kitreah softly commanded.

"As you wish, Kit." They slept soundly that night.

In the morning he was out the door after breakfast with Parnel. She was most like him of the twins. "What'll you miss most away, uncle Jecht?"

"Babysitting you two, Parnel. Oh... and your auntie Kit (hearing her wake up and walk into the hallway...). Keep an eye on her for me. You're in charge when Grandpa Tie isn't here. Kay?"

"Kay, Uncle Jecht. Leave it to me."

With that... he left for Caamto.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jecht roamed the streets of Khomtac as the group had dispursed, pursuing their shopping and their studies of the artifacts. Here was his chance to meet up with Festavard, though he did have some time.

Granted, he did not feel the pull of the mystery. His motivating force for being here was not to seek further insight into the arcane arts, or those artifacts. He also felt satisfied that the Hounds of Hoarfrost were gone. Why stay, then?

The wizard will have more luck reading up on such subjects than Jecht will. Even he will need some time though. All Jecht needed was a few nights rest, then he could be back on his way to Gatherhold...

... but then... what if...

The street he was walking down widened and a shop selling metal goods was doing business with about four people at once. Jecht got in line. An adolescent human made his way back and forth next to the line, offering people a discount should they join a membership to the store. Unfortunately, Jecht did not live in Khomtac, which made giving them an address (required for the discount) problematic.

Jecht patiently waited until his turn came up. When his number was called, a young dwarf asked "What'll it be, sir?"

"Fifty of these, made to this specification..." Jecht held out a shuriken... his last one. "I'll pay up front, if that will expidite the service."

Come back in an hour, you'll have your order, sir. Name?"

"Jecht."

"Sir Jecht, come back in about an hour and your order will be complete. Pay upon delivery and confirmation of quality. NEXT!"

Jecht made his way out of the store. He sat on a bench near the store, admiring an apple cart across the store. He watched as people came up to buy. They handed their gold and silver as they took their purchase... except for a few, who picked up an apple at the top of the cart, while pocketing an apple from the bottom of the cart with the other hand. A child's move, amateur at best. The shop keepers demeaner shifted each time he saw them do this. He never once spoke out though.

This cart keeper, an older human, was not blind, and was trained in thievery too. Jecht could tell at the way he could sense when someone was being dishonest with him. He didn't call anyone on it though. He just gave them the benefit of the doubt, though he was much less cheerful with those that were stealing from him.

Jecht moved to the apple cart, paid for one, and stood next to the cart as he ate. As a few people moved passed the cart, a child tried to swipe one on the run. He ended up running square into a woman carrying a basket of fish. She nearly dropped it, yet the child fell hard and lost the apple under the cart, next to the old man's foot. The lady busily moved passed in a huff, while the child sat in the street, nursing a bruised ego... and butt.

The shop keeper helped him up, and gave him the apple. Jecht stood in amazement. Whent he keeper came back, Jecht had put another coin on the cart's tray and taken another apple.

"Half the fun is gone when you know they're stealing from you, eh old one?" Jecht asked.

"I don't know what you're talking about, shorty." replied the elderly man with a twinkle in his eye.

"Sure you don't... you're noticing each time these thugs steal from you. I can see it a mile away. Why do nothing?" Jecht asked.

"Oho... so the 'trained' thief thinks I'm doing nothing, eh?"

Jecht stopped chewing.

"Listen, young short one, when you get to be my age, you see justice differently. Look at the young kid. Why did he have to steal?" the old man posed the question without taking his eyes off the apple cart. "Suppose he needed food for himself. Is that unjust to allow a child a chance to live without demanding the same thing an adult might have? Is it justice to ask for a widow to pay for the things a rich man could afford? What's wrong with you, shrimpy?"

Jecht looked again at the kid down the street with the apple. He hadn't eaten it. He instead gave it to a man on the street, who had been crippled for some time. Turns out that was his uncle. "What you do is unfair, sir."

The old man looked at Jecht for the first time. Their eyes met... as Jecht continued... "Blessedly unfair."

The twinkle in the old man's eye returned. You're starting to catch on, rogue. Think of this. I have an apple tree behind my house two miles from here. It costs me nothing to put the apples in the cart, and wheel it down here. It costs people nothing to eat one. Yet some people pay me. I use the money to buy food, water, whatever I need to survive... but notice there is no sign saying you must buy this fruit before you can eat it.

"It's a concept you halflings might know, if you're from Gatherhold, that is. When a witch imprisons the mind of a noble family, who is to blame for the actions visited on the community? The family, or the witch?"

Jecht froze. "How do you know that, sir?"

"It's not uncommon for travelers to pass through here from there. Talk of the Seven Waves reaches these old ears. Don't know who they are, but if you ever lived in Gatherhold for more than 10 years, you'd know 'em.

"Anyway, young sir... The witch is obviously the one at fault. So it is here... if the economy forces some people to beg for food, is it their fault to steal or take without pay? Or is it the economy's fault?" the old man finished.

"Neither. No one's at fault. It's not a blame-type situation. It's a system. Those who suffer because of the system are not usually looking for revenge or punishment, but someone to abide with them. They need help, not more pain." Jecht responded.

"So what needs to happen, small one? Stay with a group that can figure out a bigger peice of the puzzle, or go back and live simply? Which one offers help, and which one will only harbor more pain, via inaction?"

Jecht smirked. Well said, for an apple salesman...

Jecht turned towards the setting sun. Ten more minutes, and he'd retrieve his shuriken order. "Old man, you've got a point there. But what happens when the witch is punished, the economy fixed? What if the skills needed to combat are no longer in need?"

"That'll be the day! Ha. Not needing someone who can seem invisible. I haven't heard of such a day. If I were you, sonny... I'd go talk to the guards. They look like they need a break. They work so hard.... A roughneck like you should think about enlisting as a privateer. Perhaps there is some money to be made, information to be gathered, robbers to be followed, and so on. Use your skills for something other than combat, and you'll see my point, little 'un." the old man finished selling his apples with the last light. "If you ever need help again, tell someone here in town that you're looking for ol' El. They'll show you were I live."

As the old man packed up his crates and apples, a carving of some kind of number was now visible underneath the remaining apples. It sort of looked like an "8".

Jecht made his way across the street back to the store. He picked up his order, verified the weight and the stability, and paid a little extra. On his way out, he looked for the nearest guard, and asked where to find the chief of the watch.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jecht put his feet up on what used to be his table, as he reclined on what used to be his dining room table, and ate some trail rations from his pouch. Tears were in his eyes as he chewed. Some nuts spilled on what used to be on his hardwood floor... which he had completed two months before he departed to Khomtac. The wood which used to be his living room door hung on its hinges, and the boarders of what used to be his windows still smoked from whatever kind of fireball attack incinerated his town. He got up, moved towards the door, and looked at his once lively neighborhood. Heat radiated from once blazing embers of a playground near the town market. He could hardly feel his hands shaking... but they were. A bony hand reached for his, and grasped it. Jecht, terrified of what he would find... stared at the empty eyes of a skull, which was attached to a small halfling's skeleton, which used to be his younger brother Tael. The teeth didn't move, but it looked like Tael was smiling as he said, "Welcome home, Jecht. What kept you?"

In a cold sweat, Jecht awoke. Many years had passed since his return to Gatherhold. He had the same recurring dream for the last five years, and couldn't shake the fact that it was still coming... like a preeminent vision. Or it was the spicy food he ate yesterday... either way, it's been a rough six years.

When Jecht returned, not many knew what happened. Traders and sea merchants knew, though, and had told the tale of Jecht's adventures even before his arrival. When Jecht arrived, the ship's crew and sailors seemed more excited to see him than his own family. Tael knew, as he had been hanging out with his friends at the docks. When Jecht arrived back at home, the whole family gathered, Kitreah, Tiberias, Tael, Parnel, Elvetta, Sabila, and Tinfa, with their respective spouses. Jecht started to tell them about the different characters in the adventures he had, but Tael cut him off, and dramatically told the tales he had heard with the other dock workers. Some of the stories were exaggerated, some were left out, but for the most part, the story was accurate. Jecht corrected where he could, and left parts out that should remain confidential. Parnel was interested in the wild man that set them on the right path, and Sabila and Tinfa were grateful to hear about the corruption being exposed.

Jecht smiled at Tael's antics. He let the story carry, and let the fun continue. He and his family laughed, cried, and made sure to remember the names of his partners with good hopes for their safety.

Just as the festivities were dying down, Jecht mentioned that he had earned a fortune the likes the family could not imagine.

The whole family froze as Jecht laid 1,000 gold pieces on the table. "We're moving the family into the new house that I'm going to build. It will be four independent houses connected by one dining area and one living den. This will be our ancestral home. Generations of our family will call this new place 'home.'"

The family was overjoyed. For the next year, Jecht built a mansion that housed the entire family just four doors down from Tiberias' old home. He used wood from their home to add sentimental value to the property, the foundation was built around an old growth tree, and hollowed out castle rampart. The stones that made up the foundation were red sandstone, the wood floors and walls were insulated by river rocks and sandstone, and the den was designed just like Jecht's old home (which was the most comfortable home before the new one was finished).

When it was completed, Jecht brought Tael and Tiberias to a back wall in the den, where a secret switch revealed another room. This room was totally dark, illumined by a solitary candle in the center. Once lit, Jecht showed his two family members the new training room for the rogue. This is where he and his family would train new members of the Seven Waves. The room is soundproof to the outside world, but enhances the sounds inside to make it harder to sneak around. There is no residual light, unless the candle is lit in the center. Once lit, other candles can be added around corners and in positions that would remove cover, so that they could train to avoid loosing their cover.

Years passed...

Tael and Parnel were now in their teens, his siblings were excelling in their schooling. Tael was working on getting into the family trade as a rookie member of the Waves, with the retirement of "Gale," and Parnel was taking after her sister-in-law, learning to be a butcher at Kitreah's meat shop... which she now owns.

Kitreah was only working part time there, as her full time job had shifted to taking care of their first son, Crohnas (Crow-Nahs). At 5 years old, he was walking, talking, and taking after his grandpa, Tiberias. Tiberias retired completely, focusing his time on teaching and training Tael in the arts. Crohnas, the troublemaker that he's being encouraged to be (from Grandpa Tiberias), is sneaking into everything, and hiding from everyone. He's a happy kid, and will soon be better at sneaking around than when Tael was at that age.

Elvetta and Tiberias moved into their new home with the family first, taking the bigger bedroom, Jecht and Kitreah taking the room with Crohnas' adjoining room next door, Sabila and Tinfa took separate rooms, which had their own kitchens and dens, as they had separate families as well. Jecht and Kitreah's room shared a kitchen with Tiberias and Elvetta. Tael and Parnel had their own wings of the house, but they usually slept in the den as the fire died in the common room.

Jecht still worked at the woodshop, Kitreah hired more help for her meat market, Tinfa and Saliba worked out of the house, Parnel and Tael worked on different jobs until they found their trade. Jecht was certain Tael would become an adventurer, and Parnel would become a better adventurer... only not a sneak. He couldn't put his finger on it, but it always seemed that she was better equipped for the life.

The dream... it's unexplainable. It might never be explained. What he does know... it's only after he eats spicy food the previous night... and/or when the full moon is out.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tael's Journal, fifth day of the current month, same year as the last... I cannot be more specific, in case anyone steals this journal and translates it from the original Draconic.

(Parnel, if you find this, and translate it, I'll give you 40 gold to stop reading.... just find me and hold your hand out, blink three times, and I'll give you one gold a day for forty days. Stop reading now)

It's been six years since my older brother's return. He's such a good family man now, I wonder if he can perform his tasks with the Waves anymore. (Parnel, if you are reading this now... you didn't stop, and you're gold is hereby revoked. If you try to bluff that you haven't read this part, I'll know... you know I'll know.)

I've been working hard to catch up to Jecht, but it seems he has been working hard himself too. We were fighting the other day, and he slipped by me without a sound. In fact, he seemed to vanish, right in front of me. He learned how to bend light, make himself silent... something... I don't know how to explain it...

The problem is... he started working harder ever since that weird stone started shaking. I didn't see it before, but now that it started shaking, he had been holding it all day. He even slept with it in his hand. He won't go anywhere without it. Apparently he had been holding it ever since he arrived back from his adventures. Now he didn't hide it though. He even showed me at one point... but it looked just like a regular stone. I didn't pay attention to what he was saying... it was a stone... who cares?

Then one day... it giggled... he left our training, and went to the roof for a few minutes. He came back... seemingly fine, but he's not trained to hide his emotions like I am. I knew. I know. Something's wrong. For the next few days... he trained, tried to hide his feelings, and now it seems that he cannot smile anymore. Kit, my sister in law, cannot see it as a problem, but she knows he's going to leave again.

I told her.

I cannot stand to watch him try to lie. I cannot stand long goodbyes. I know whatever it is, he needs to do it. Maybe he can't stand to be going and coming so much... but I think it might be because of his kid. My nephew... Crohnas. Perhaps this will be his last trip. Perhaps he knows it.

One night... he left for the captain of the guard here in town. He does that. He talks to him. He might be his only friend in Gatherhold. When Jecht came back, he opened a closet I didn't know we had, and donned the armor and the weapons found within. I had never seen such armor. Never the blades were seen in our house.

I watched... I'm old enough to follow him, but I watched. Perhaps because I saw his eyes, and they were not forgiving... not welcoming. Not hate-filled... just unforgiving.

"What?" I asked.

"I must go... I pray I'm not too late. I have been too selfish these last few days... Never again. I'm going now. Pray you never have to make these decisions. You are now a rookie initiate in the Waves."

He handed me his short sword... his first one. Nothing special, but it is my first weapon.

"You are now able to use this whichever way you want. Know that your family is always yours, never be afraid to start your own, take care of yours and mine, and allow your talents to serve the purpose for the better good. Act, don't wait, like I did.... I pray I'm not too late."

And with that, he left.
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

During the battles that Jecht and his companions engaged in, many events took place for Tael. He practiced his talents, he maneuvered his cunning streetwise talents, and made a name for himself in the underworld of crime in Gatherhold. People feared the Seven Waves yet again, but only those that saw corruption as a way of life. Innocent folks were able to bask in the justice that a militia rogue group could offer.

Parnel was watching her brother train one day, and saw that he was leaving his left side wide open many times. Parnel had not taken the training of a rogue like her brothers. She merely watched and kept moving with her life. She didn't want to admit it, but she never really fancied herself an adventurer. She saw the pain it caused Kitreah each time Jecht left for the night or... now a days... for the lands beyond Gatherhold. She was happy enough making a home and living in it peacefully.

Nevertheless, she couldn't help but notice that Tael was leaving his left side wide open.

"Care to spar, little 'nel?" asked Tael in mid practice of a Deft Strike.

"Oh, you know me, bro... I gave it up when we were kids. You could always beat me, anyway. What good would sparing me do you?" Parnel smirked a knowing smile. Her words, while seeming good and noble, were her sarcastic attacks that drove Tael insane. He knew her well, and knew when she was being a pain. He grabbed two daggers from the rack in the training room, threw one to her, and she let it fall at her side, without trying to pick it up...

Strangely though, she noticed 12 points at which she could have grabbed it without effort.

She picked it up, and moved into the shadows like she had known how all along. Tael quickly blew out the candles and hid in his own shadow. Both were trained in stealth arts. Both were acrobatics. This was like a dance, where the waltz was just starting to take shape.

A sound... in the black... Tael pounced at it with a Deft Strike, missing the sound's origin badly. Parnel moved to the side of the wall, now aware of where her brother was. She moved like a silent lynx. She threw another piece of her dress in the middle of the room.

No sound. Tael had caught wind of her action, and caught the button with ease in the black! In a rush, Parnel left her position just as the thrown dagger embedded itself in the wall with a flash of residual light from the moon above. It did not light the room, but it was making things easier to see after they happened.

Parnel rolled to the other side of the wall, still hidden from Tael. He retrieved his dager and actively searched the room at the same time. Parnel was right in front of him, but he couldn't see her. In a mad dash, she flew to the other side of the room and stuck the dagger...

... in a space that had no one in it...

Tael had moved, just barely, out of the way and became invisible.

Parnel, with a cold sweat of fear at leaving herself wide open, jumped up in the air out of reaction to her situation. Two shurikens buried themselves in the floor where her feet were.

Tael danced behind the rack of weapons. Parnel threw her dagger in that direction, knowing where the shurikens were kept. The dagger hit the sleave of Tael's pants, but he made no sound, no confirming gasp, and now was actively hiding with his favorite move, one his father Tiberias taught him. He hid in plain sight, and nothing Parnel could do aside from moving him would cause him to become visible. He thought he had won. She'd retrieve the dagger only to find him standing over her and holding the dagger at her throat.

This plan would have worked on Tael, Tiberias, and even the "great" Jecht, thought Tael.

So it should work on my little sister, right?

Parnel saw through the plan. She didn't know why. She couldn't explain why she knew so much of what was going on. She had never been this toe to toe with Tael. These moves were beyond some of the best rogues in the waves... yet she found herself with the advantage.

As Parnel advanced, she didn't bend down to pick the dagger up like Tael thought. She struck him with another dagger from the rack that she had drawn in a flash of speed and skill. She missed the attack, so Tael took only half the damage, and she moved into the space behind him almost immediately and had the advantage over him for the next bout...

In rogue dueling terms... to have the advantage, means the victory.

Three candles were lit at the entrance. As their eyes adjusted, they say Tiberias and Kitreah at the doorway. Parnel was standing over her brother Tael in victory. Immediately she dropped the dagger and gave him a potion. This healed the cut she gave him, but not his awed expression.

Parnel backed up and noticed that each of them were staring blankly at her. Kitreah's mouth was agap, and Tiberias held the lit match a little too long and burned his fingers. The pain brought him back to reality before the other two.

"You... you beat him... easily... with a move i've never seen before. Where did you learn that, Parnel?"

"I don't know..." came the only reply. "I only watch... i never fight. I felt like I knew where Tael was the whole time though..."

"You did." replied Tael. I tried to hide, but you found me each time. I couldn't see you at all!"

Parnel hadn't realized that Tael had never seen her that whole encounter. Parnel quickly gathered herself, replaced the dagger on the wall, and ran up the stairs.

Tael followed. He found her on the roof looking at the stars. "What is it, sis?" Tael asked.

"You're not mad at me for that, are you?" Parnel asked weakly.

"Not at all, sis! That was a great fight. You should join the waves." As soon as the words left Tael's mouth, Parnel burst into tears. He quickly came to her side.

"Why?" she managed between sobs. "Why should I, when all it is doing is perpetuating hate between Halfling and Elf. I don't hate elves like you and the family. I know what they did, but I know what we do too. We don't deserve to kill each other!" She cried tears that had been held back for years. "I want nothing to do with your hatered of the elves. I want only to find my own way, to love and to hate my own ways... I cannot be a part of the waves!"

Tael placed his arm on her shoulder and his head against hers. He never knew his twin was so different than he. "My sweet sister, you don't have to join us. I only meant you were more talented than our big brother. I think even he would let you do whatever you wanted... after all, it's not like he could find you."

This broke her sobs into half laughter. She loved her brother, and was glad for his sincerity.

"You know, Tael, maybe I will find my own way in this world, but I can't do that with the burdens of this town. I need to leave."

"I knew you did from the time I saw you when Jecht left. You didn't watch him go like I did. Now it's time for you to go, and me to stay. Don't leave for good though, sis."

Parnel brushed tears out of her blue eyes. She looked fiercely at him. "You try and stop me from coming back, and you'll find how easy it is for me to slip past you."

Tension mounted, and then fell with laughter of siblings. Kitreah looked at Tiberias from the stairs leading to the roof, having heard every word. "They sound like kids again." Parnel and Tael chased each other on the roof, laughing and playing like they had in years past. This would be the last night Parnel was in Gatherhold as a child. She would come back many times, but as a woman in control of her own destiny, with passions, angers, loves, and stories.
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Gale" was down again. He took another strike from an agile elf fighter. Two elf druids surrounded Tael, while two more were taking down the last of the Waves. This was it. This was finally the moment of their defeat.

For two weeks after Parnel left the Wave's house, Tael had been taking a more offensive stance against the elves. This particular assassination attempt had failed, and now the elf guards were coming in through the gates of the priests house like a flood. The elf prince was still alive, hiding behind his throne. There were many imperial guards and many guild masters now in the room. Even if they tried to run, they'd be cut down. There was no escape.

Tael was willing to die. Ever since he had taken over the Waves, Tael was more of a liability than he was a leader. He cared for the people he took into battle, but he didn't care what kind of battle he fought. He lead with the sword more than his intellect or charm, which cost his crew more times than it saved them. He fought wildly, with strength over cunning. He was not completely ready.

The young fool, thought Jecht.

Jecht?

As the fighting was going on, Tael thought he had seen his brother outside the window. Then two horns blew from the outside. The elf guards dropped their weapons and held their hands in the air. Instinctively the Wave crew sheathed theirs, and tended to their two fallen comrades. Not wasting a moment, Tael had a potion down "Gale's" throat.

In Elven, someone called "Come out of the high chambers now, leave your weapons, and get on the floor NOW!"

The elves walked towards the door, as did "Gale", but Tael and two other Wave members who didn't know Elven stayed put. In common, the command was repeated, and the others followed suit.

After a few seconds, after the halflings and rogue squadron were disarmed, and the elf guards taken back to the guard tower, the elf prince ran out of the room waving his arms dramatically.

"Oh, wise councilmen and women, thank you for your timely intervention! They would have had my head for sure! I will erect statues of your likenesses in this courtyard and have you dine with me as my guest! Please, follow me to re...recie.... wha... who?"

The prince halted in his steps towards the group when he saw a halfling next to an elf dignitary. They were both wearing seals of the council that governed the area, and both were wearing looks of concern mixed with displeasure. The prince was beside himself.

"Elomina, governess, why are you with these halfling dogs?! They tried to kill me!"

"Silence, you drone. Here you are, but where is the master. Where is the puppetteer to this puppet?"

"But... but... what do you mean, my lady governess?" stuttered the prince, now more confused than ever.

Sighing slightly, Elomina waved her hand and gave the elf prince a chance to save himself from the effects, and he made it much easier this time. In a flash, he seemed to awake from a dream, and his eyes unclouded for the first time in a long time. He looked around, and noticed he was no longer in the grip of the caster he met so long ago.

Elomina turned to Elemeno, the princes sister, and told her to care for him now that he was back to normal. They both left the throne room, and left Jecht, Elomina, and about 12 elf guards to deal with the invisible caster lurking behind the throne itself. Jecht stepped into the shadows, Elomina cast a light spell on the throne, and revealed a human caster. The aged villain was squatting next to the throne, dazed from losing the hold on the elf prince.

It took Jecht the work of a moment to off the caster in his dazed condition.

After searching the body, they discovered a piece of parchment in the casters robes. One name was written at the end. It was written in elven. It was old.

Dovolos.

Vol.

Jecht swore under his breath.

"I trust this was the source of the feuds between our peoples, Jecht. Either this human was in league with Vol or we are made to think thus." Elomina said, placing a hand on Jecht's shoulder.

"Either way. The threat is gone, and we can finally end the death between our people. At last." Jecht and Elomina, ambassadors of their respective races, returned from the throne room and reported their findings to the council via sending stone.

Tael, still shackled and sitting on the floor, couldn't shut his jaw. He stared gaping at Jecht. He hadn't seen his brother in more than a few years. Now here he is, right in front of him, looking official and important. He's standing up straighter, taller, more official than ever...

"You sold out!" screamed Tael, the first thing he could think to say.

Jecht looked over at his brother. "You and your comrades should be dead. Your tactics cost you all your lives. If we hadn't stepped in, the next wave of guards would have destroyed you. Why did you try this desparate attack, boy?"

Tael was speachless. His brother was right, but did he have to be so cruel? He missed him, and this is the reunion he gets. He spoke out of anger, "Well, you weren't here to help your own people, so now you've sided with them, haven't you? Elf lover!"

"TAEL! You do not know what you say, my brother! If you're sister could hear you... what happened to you? Why this hatred?"

Oh, so now we're brothers, thought Tael. "You come here, and tell me I'M the one at fault, when I see you with this elf whore? They deserve death for what they've done to us in your absence. I've defended our family while you went and played hero for some other country, for some other race. Your halfling brothers need you, Jecht!"

"No, Tael. The elves, the dwarfs, the humans, the kalashtars, bugbears, ogres, orcs, warforged, even the halflings... we're all doomed if we cannot stand together, united, and look at the more realistic evils like prejudice, malace, jealousy, revenge, hate... these are teh villains worthy of fighting. These are the things we must protect ourselves from." Jecht's words fell on Tael like an anvil. His heart seemed to diminish.

He thought... You were like me... I was doing what you would have done. I slew many in your name, and now you come back at me and tell me it was for nothing! You can't be serious... I did it all for you, my brother... you were my hero... and you are so blind to the evils of the other races... I'm so angry... all the time... but I thought that's what you wanted....

Tale finally spoke, and as he did he removed his shackles easily and threw them at the feet of the elf ambassador. "Your cuffs, you elf whore! I will not rest until your race is dead at my feet." He looked at Jecht, who was lost for words, "You had a chance to make this right. You had everything going for you. I did what you wanted. You are now DEAD to me, you vile backstabber! I curse your family, Jecht! It's no longer mine! If you cannot help me with my vengence, I will find those that will. You will not know peace!" With that, he disappeared. In the same motion, the paper disappeared that had Vol's name on it.

"Something is wrong. There's another caster controlling him. Search the castle, find the caster." called Elomina. Jecht fell to his knees, weeping for his brother, now taken by a hate he never knew.

"I wish it were a caster, Elomina." Jecht whispered. "It's him, though. It's really him." Jecht had seen his brother turn to an evil he would not return from.

Parnel would be devastated, he thought.
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several months before Jecht's arrival to the Elf's castle, he returned to Gatherhold. They welcomed in a hero. There was a feast the whole town participated in, there was dancing, music, lights, games, and festivities. Wave Day would become an annual event, one in which the town of Gatherhold would celebrate for years to come, the day the elves and the halflings reconciled their differences.

Certain prejudices existed though, and there would always be tension around certain topics and peoples, but in general practice and in procedure, full union with the elves was now part of Gatherhold's law.

Later that night, Jecht and Kitreah sat together under the stars in front of their home, watching Crohnas play with his friends. He'd never need to know anger towards the oppressors Jecht knew in his childhood. A success for his life, he thought.

"Where's Parnel and Tael?" he asked Kitreah, all of a sudden. Kitreah went cold. She sat upright slowly, brushing past memories as she did. Flashes of their falling out still played in her mind.

"I'll tell you, inside." She rose and called Crohnas in. He ran to his grandpa Tiberias, who was telling stories to Enua and Vida, the twins that Kitreah was babysitting for the night. When they were all settled, she pulled Jecht into the other room, and told him this story:

Start Flashback

Parnel had shown amazing promise as a rogue. She didn't know how to use her powers, as she didn't know she had them in the first place. They came to her quick, and she renamed a few of them to suit her own perposes. She even chose a life that neither of them saw coming. With Tiberias' influence, she took on a role as a teacher, a master of the thieving arts. Subtlety, deception, lightness, poise, and cunning were her greatesst assests. This was, of course, nothing like what Tael demonstrated. He was brutal. He went straight for the throat each time, in situations that both called for it or called for subtle tactics in the Waves.

Parnel never joined the waves, and has since become more of a guildmaster in thievery. She set up her own house and created a guild with their own rules and guidelines. When Tael found out he was so proud. He asked for her aid in many missions, and always found her students talented and helpful. She never went though.

Parnel was a fine teacher, and taught her students to respect all life, and end it when it needed ending. Life when it needed life. And so on. A rogue knows the difference between the sheath and the sword point. When either are needed, the rogue knows the difference and the right application for both.

Tael was radically different. He sought to end the lives of all elves. His prejudice blinded him from their brother Jecht's teachings. She vowed never to fight alongside him again. This tore Tael up in pieces. She thought she had driven him to this last mission he was to go on, but then she knew better. She had him followed. She saw that this plan had been in the works long before they separated. Now she saw tha the wicked time was upon thier family, where she would have to make a choice: her brother or the reconciliation for the elves.

She had him followed, as I said, and once she got the report that he was going to assassinate the elf prince, she left for the castle. I think she was going to bring him back. That's all I know.

End Flashback

As Jecht listened to the story, he prepared to depart and head towards the castle, a two day journey. He'd make it in less than one. He knew the area well, he traveled fast and light.

He left, and found that the fighting had already commenced. He then joined the guard outpost of the elf castle, and informed the council representative of what was going on. Elomina joined him, and they sought to quell this assassination attempt together.

This is about where the previous post comes in... Tael fighting off the elves, Jecht and Elomina quelling the assassination attempt, Tael berating Jecht and leaving, etc...

This is about where Parnel comes in...
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