In a land much like ours...

Banwalt, one of the four marshes of Harlant, 1622. While the newest heir to the Arzswin family is trying to gain influence over the city, the once renowned city guard is struggling to keep theirs as the need for grand adventure steadily declines. Even in a world in which magic is commonplace, people are afraid of change.

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 The Lush Portcullis, Closed - Theodora Arzswin
Percival Greenmantle
 Posted: May 12 2017, 11:38 AM

Sitting near the outer walls of Banwalt sits an inn. It is small and squat, wedged between row after row of houses, windows dark. It sits next to one of the grand gates of the city, one of the guardhouses directly opposite, the guards having left their posts for the night. A sign swings above its door, moved slowly by the evening breeze. The sign depicts a great portcullis, crawling with grapevines, fruit-laden. The windows shine with a comforting orange glow, casting light on the cobbled streets.

The inside of the inn is warm, lit in a flickering orange light by the fire burning merrily in the blackened stone hearth. The room is full of the low chatter of late night conversation, filling the air with a pleasant hubbub. The inn is small, but cosy, and packed with all kinds of patrons, Most of them working people, particularly city guards, stopping to have a drink after a hard days work. The barman, a red haired youth, stands behind the bar his hands constantly moving, cleaning flagons and pouring drinks. In one corner sits Percival, still in his full armour and noble regalia, polished spear leant up against the table and his helm resting next to it. He sits, one hand on a mug of ale, seemingly chatting to a small group of people surrounding his table. In a loud voice, he tells stories of his adventures, of his career as a knight errant.

"And there I was, deep in the great north woods of Drouwe. My only companion my spear and shield. I knew the bear had to be somewhere in the area, the locals had been talking about this creature for months now. A gigantic man-eater, they said it was a demon taken animal form, with great red eyes and claws like scythe blades. It had spent the last few weeks taking livestock and destroying barns for the food stocks, but recently, thanks to a famine, it had started taking travellers from nearby roads, and isolated woodsmen from the nearby logging camps. I stood outside of its den, a cave littered with bones and scraps of fur, my spear readied and shield raised, as I stepped into the darkness. I saw it there, a huge creature, its bark-brown fur coming out in great clumps, its eyes red and bloodshot. Those eyes looked into me for an instant before..." At this point, Percival stopped as he saw a figure on the edge of his vision, pinning him with a stare like wrought iron.

This post has been edited by Percival Greenmantle: May 12 2017, 12:11 PM
Theodora Arzswin
 Posted: May 14 2017, 11:31 AM
y/o & 4 posts

It was not often Theodora of Arzswin, third of her name, found herself in the small inn that had garnered quite a reputation among the guardsfolk and fighter types swarming the city. It was appreciated not only for it's grub and drink, nor the able barman whose family has held the place for three generations, but for its daring position outside the second wall, where the smell of the forest would still reach in dark and humid nights and the old guards with their busted knees and aching backs and the young ones, still filled with adventure, could all pretend like the stuff of the stories they told as the evening went on was right outside their door, waiting to be struck by their sword and bested by their bravery.

It was less often, still, that Theodora of Arzswin, third of her name, found herself listening to one of the stories told at the inn. The man had caught her fancy; and it was hard not to have noticed him, as he was rather loud in a way that was unkind to her ears. His story seemed like nothing special - a foul beast was a foul beast, and Theodora had slain many of them, some which others would call human - and yet he had gathered a crowd. Curious, she had eyed the stranger, needing to find what attracted listeners to his tale like flies. He had an old face, one that was weathered and tired and called his young voice liar, and mannerisms and clothing that betrayed his noble status. Theodora herself thought to be quite adept at hiding her class if she wished so, as she had done for the better part of the last century - not in Banwalt, of course, where her family name itself was a synonym for nobility. Even clad in the worn out clothes of a mercenary, the scratched armor with the worn through leather clasps and walking on the hard wood cane she had whittled herself the innkeep had insisted on showing her courtesy. The mug in his hand was still quite full, and a bottle in reach to assure it would stay just so.

When her gaze fell upon the insignia, interest turned into a numb cold, and she steeled her gaze. She hadn't recognized it right away, perhaps because she felt the warm comfort of spirit paw at her head and chest, perhaps because the light failed to illuminate his armor or his loud voice had masked his other features; Theodora took a healthy swig of ale. The man was Drouwic.

Northern, she thinks - must be. The style of armor and clothes so popular in Southern Drouwe, ugly and gaudy and fitted at all the wrong places, and making such a gruesome sound when split apart, she would have recognized between two heartbeats. Bold of him to wear his country on his chest, a patriot, an idiot - a Drouwe. Bold of him to speak so loudly, breathe so loudly, have his weapon displayed so proudly and glistening in the flickering lights. Bold of him to appear before her in his armor and regalia, begging her to demonstrate that gruesome sound. His voice, that had seemed simply confident to her before, was now overbearing, annoying, grating at her nerves, and she had to steady her hand with a harsh grip on her cane to keep it from screaming her agitation to the other patrons. She listened to his words, now, and it was clear that he was telling a story of home, not a story of adventure - or perhaps to him, it was both. To Theodora, it was unbearable.

Did the others not know? Did they not care? Theodora sneered; no, they wouldn't. They were too young to remember.

The Drouwe stopped, and his eyes met hers and she felt for a second as if he recognized her, too, as she had him - recognized her as his enemy. She lifted her head, tilted her chin backwards and straightened her back, never minding the dull pain spreading in her hip. She steadied her eyes, trained them on his icy blue, and found a smirk play around the corners of her mouth.

"Do go on, Drouwe", she spoke into the upcoming murmur as the crowd waited for the relief of tension, "Do go on and finish your little story, in your time." The cane in her good hand makes a hearty thump as she steps forward, to give her voice a figure. "But know just as well that any good and true Harlanter will know that there is no beast more foul and unlucky than a Drouwe that doesn't know when to quiet his voice."

Percival Greenmantle
 Posted: Jun 1 2017, 05:26 PM

Percival sits, utterly gobsmacked. His face, stuck in mid breath, hangs loose like a particularly vexed sailcloth, caught in a sudden gale. It had been quite a while since he got this bad a reaction. Of course, he knew of the war, and had had the odd comment on his nationality, but his well equipped appearance and reputation as an adventurer in some areas kept most of the stigma away from him. Nevertheless, seeing the expression on this woman's face, he knew for sure that she had seen the war at first hand. From his time travelling through his homeland, winding his way south, he had seen a great many fighters and warriors from this war, and he knew the look and attitude well, the cold eyes and scars told of the glory and honor of warfare. Although he would never class himself as a knight of any kind, he still saw the figure in front of him, and saw the fighting spirit that he had admired and idolised in warriors and especially the knights of drouwe and harlant all of his life.

He looks up, composing himself, and nods his head in admiration of the brazenness of the comment. "I apologize, I did not know that my accent was still such a sore topic in these lands, I thought you Harlanters were supposed to be so welcoming" He gives a slightly pained smile, before continuing "I would like to point out that my own family have caused you no injury, the Greenmantles have not been able to hold military positions for centuries. I am in your lands, true, but I seek no harm, what trouble do I cause by simply sitting in this corner and telling my tales? as you have no doubt noticed, i have certainly gained rather the audience" He flings his arms wide with a clatter of plate, gesturing to the silent group of faces around him, all of which watching the new figure with a mixture of fear, respect, and awe.

The air was thick with silence. It hung in the air like cold tar, coating every surface, and muting even the sundry sounds of the bar, the squeaking of mug on table, the uncorking of bottles, and even the grinding of chair on floorboards, dampened by the thick atmosphere in the room.

Percival looks up, and raises a shining, gauntlet-ed hand in simple military-style salute, while looking into the intense steely eyes of the figure in front of him, while he breaks the silence with "Knight of harlant. The grand duel is over, and your prowess won the day. It would be wrong of me to hold ill will towards my competitor now the games have ceased. Please, sit with me, and we can drink as fellows. I can tell you are a warrior yourself, perhaps you too have stories to tell?" He smiles warmly and genuinely, gesturing to an empty seat opposite him, even though he is obviously guarded with half an eye on his weapon at all times.
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