A Wicked Age Undreamed Of


BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#1
"Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and in the years of the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet"

- The Nemedian Chronicles

"Come the Daughter of the South
To weave her dark and sorcerous art
Come the Daughter of the North
To cleave and slay with warrior's heart.


- scrawled in demon's blood within the Scarlet Citadel, author unknown.



The half moon rises above the towers of Arenjun, the City of Thieves, nestled in central Zamora, southeast of Crater Lake in the Skarpash Mountains that formed the natural border with Corinthia and the lands of Hyboria. Its nickname was well deserved, for this land was renowned for its particular breed of criminal scum, and Bel, God of Thieves, was the patron of this very city. For the two exiled women, one of grey and grim Cimmeria and the other of shadowed and sinister Stygia, coming here had been a natural, if subconscious act.

To the barbarian, the legendary cities of Zamora were reputed to hold the greatest and most debauched zests of life. The good and the bad, mingled into one. Here at least, she might see the wonders of the civilized world, and perhaps find her place in it, for in her journey through the Border Kingdoms and the grasslands of Brythunia, she had only experienced the repeated sight of petty wars that she neither understood nor relished the thought of dying for. As a mistrusted savage, she was told to move on under threat of violence, and often the worst was assumed of her. Here in the heart of the downtrodden district known as The Maul, an unwashed warrior woman like herself was just one more oddity lost in a sea of the other cast offs...

For the runaway scholar, her headlong flight from her homeland had pushed her into desperate circumstances. She had stowed away on caravans heading north into Shem, and from there she had sold many hastily stolen temple trinkets to be hidden in a caravan heading East. The destination at that point had not mattered, simply that it be somewhere beyond the reach of the Priests of Set. And yet, was there truly such a place? Cold dread had been her constant companion for those many weeks. Then at last the caravan master had told her that he had reached the end of his trade route, here in Zamora. At least here, in a land of strange foreign gods, unaligned sorcerers, and criminals both high and low, her pursuers would find few loyal allies. She had as much chance to disappear here as anywhere...

The establishment was a drinking house that was situated next door to a large brothel. Men of many nations were deep in their cups, sharing stories of daring deeds and crimes that they had committed. There were a pair of Brythunian toughs who had spoke of driving off bandits from a merchant prince's wagons, and a Gunderman who claimed to have been a successful village raider in the wildlands. A bearded Shemite spoke of a golden goblet he had stolen from the dinner table of a Priest of Ong, and a Khauren harper spun a tale of an old barbarian chieftain who ascended to the heavens as a demi-god. As the stories were spun, serving girls brought mulled wine and leaned themselves upon the men, wearing beguiling smiles and promising services in return for coin. At the bar, a stout ugly man with a bald pate, deep inset eyes, and pudgy jowls eyed his patrons beadily and grunted orders to a dark Zamoran youth who darted here and there among the men and would disappear and reappear from time to time out the side door which led to the brothel.

For Hebeny the runaway and Rylynn the exile, coin was in short supply. Both had next to nothing to their name, and the question of feeding themselves and surviving was spinning through their minds. In Zamora, women and children were regarded as property, owned by either father or husband or simply a master if they were a slave, so each of them reminded themselves to be careful how they tread among the lowlifes.

"Ho ho there, lass!" A drunken Zamoran said as he lurched into the establishment and took a seat next to Hebeny. "Such a slight thing, sitting here by yourself, I almost sat on you! Ha! Should be the other way around, I figure. Who's your master here, girl? Are you come to show a man like me a good time? I've got a purse of coin for you and perhaps a pretty bauble if you're very sweet to me. My, you've got an unusual look about you. Not Shemitish, no... Stygian I'd say! What a real treat to have you here!"

The drunk Zamoran reached an arm around Hebeny's waist, seeking to scoot her closer to him.

Meanwhile, Rylynn sat quite closeby, and she could sense some attention coming her way as well. This was the fourth time the bar owner had eyed her and whispered things into the ear of that little gutter rat of a boy who was disappearing all over the place. A group of three Zamoran men with a grey blue brand on their bare biceps had arrived through the side door, following the boy, and were now listening to the bar owner and casually sliding glances at Rylynn out of the corner of their eyes. Perhaps these city folk would not notice such things, but she was a Cimerrian. She knew when the wolves were circling.
 
Last edited:

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#2
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Rylynn stared at the mug of ale in front of her. It would be one of the few pleasures she had left by which to enjoy herself with, as the coin that she did have went terribly fast in these civilized cities. It always did, what with no shortage of escapes to spend it on. She was starting to understand the vices of civilization. The barbarian didn't mind the cheapest of wines by which to feel a little joy, and yet the drink here was the best that she had tried anywhere thus far.

And the women... well, they weren't bad to look at either. Often beautiful and smiling, as there was much to smile about for those that worshipped the coin. The men at least in this establishment, were all too quick to spend it on them. She eyed the other girls sitting about. Those that weren't already in a man's arms were soon finding the attentions of lustful strangers trying to get lucky tonight. Save for her, that is. Perhaps it was her toned body, more warlike in suggestion than fragile, that warded the men off, or maybe it was her expression of 'stay away' that kept her from being the recipient of the bar's usual flirtations. In truth, she had gotten a little lonely, though it was something rather difficult to admit even to herself. Even the most solitary of hunters could appreciate good company every now and then.

But good company was not here to find her tonight, it seemed. If anything, it was the opposite. She didn't need to know the social subtleties of civilization to understand when she was being watched, as to her, it was a far more primal affair in nature. The slug of a barkeep had set eyes upon her far too often for it to have been a passing interest, and Rylynn was all too familiar with the look of a predator upon its prey. But even the meekest of Cimmerian women had at least some degree of bite--and she was far from the most timid. She turned her head ever slightly to the left. It wasn't a direct stare at the group, but it would be enough to notify the three thugs that she was all too aware of their presence. Going outside might be a mistake, as she was furthest from help there. At least here, if they were to make their move, she could attempt to ignite a massive tavern brawl as a diversion. After all, she had gotten caught up in one or two, and understood the enveloping chaos that could quickly consume all once such an event got started...
 

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#3
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Hebeny snuck another look under her armpit at the muscled girl in the corner. By Derketo, I want to lick her everywhere, the runaway thought to herself. She had a woman's feminine features, yet she was corded as if she were a big, strong man... a litany of delightful and/or arguably terrible things running through her mind, with the big strong stranger the focus of all of them, and all manner of blissful expressions being drawn into existence to replace the surly-yet-intriguing glower she was wearing right now.

Some loud drunk snapped Hebeny out of her reverie. She somewhat resented that he'd interrupted her just as she'd finished sussing out the tiniest of smiles from her fantasy-stranger, bound up and finally having relaxed in embrace as Hebeny pleasured her with her fingers... but on the other hand, this man seemed hungry for company, and she was hungry for his... coin.

She did more than scoot closer - immediately, Hebeny swung herself up and into his lap, her arms around his neck. "Does it really matter to you who my master is, stud?" Her fingers slid up to caress the man's cheek. "Come, why worry about such trivialities when you have such a specimen as I in your lap? Let's not talk about other men right now... let's talk about..."

Hebeny pulled herself in close, her breath warm against the man's face as she whispered into his ear. "Silver."

For a moment, she almost felt as if she were home... almost as if that book and that big, heavy bow she had under the table weren't her burdens anymore. Payment was rarely ever the topic she chose then... and just as rare as it had been in Stygia, was how common it had become now.

http://docs.google.com/document/d/1sBD3Oc3xpRnphfKTR_qbyjBvtPMkN_uXmH5xLwwiOuA/edit
 
Last edited:

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#4
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The three marked men saw Rylynn's challenging acknowledgement of their presence, and yet her refusal to bolt for the door or call for help seemed to embolden them. They approached her directly then, the leader among the trio putting a thick, tanned and scarred hand down on the table top in front of the Cimmerian.

"We have been informed, on good authority, that you appear unaccompanied tonight," The man says in a jagged voice that reminded Rylynn of boots crunching on gravel. "We have, in fact, been informed so on several nights that a woman, a Cimmerian she-wolf with muscles like a man's, has been alone on the streets of the Maul. It's a dangerous place to be for a foreign woman on her own, especially one who is unschooled in the ways of Zamoran culture. Here, an unclaimed woman can be taken and sold on the block.

"My name is Susorun, servant of the priests of our holy pantheon. You would be wise to let a generous man like myself take you to a place of safety. There is a sanctuary for unfortunate women not far from here, blessed by the gods of our people. For a small service to the clergy, you can be kept safe. My friends and I urge you to take advantage of our offer."

As he finished the two men on either side of Susorun crowded forward and crossed their arms. To Rylynn's right, some of the bawdy laughter from the young Gunderman died down even as the Shemite thief poured more emphasis into his stories. The tawny haired youth with a ponytail had seemed to notice the presence of the thugs standing behind him, and he followed their predatory looks down to the Cimmerian girl, and made a questioning glance her way.

---

The drunk man was portly, flush and damp. He also smelled of horse. But Hebeny saw the weight of his purse and knew that he had a decent amount to spend tonight. It wasn't a fortune, but if she worked him right, she could perhaps relieve him of it.

"Oh, why yes! By Bel, you're the reason why a man like me works for it! Ah, but let me see what my money is getting, eh?"

The man's heavy hands took hold of Hebeny's cloak and slipped it away from her gorgeous frame, showing the rest of the room her figure and meticulously cleaned skin. The drunk inhaled sharply, and several of the serving girls, as well as nearly all the male eyes in the room (including those three bare-armed toughs that were now surrounding the muscled girl Hebeny had been admiring) were drawn to her.

"Ong flog me!" The drunk man said, his eyes bulging as wide as saucers. "10 silver! Full pieces! I'll have you tonight and you'll be on my lap while we drink to my good fortune!"

Lying with this drunk pig of a man was not the sort of thing that a sacred prostitute of Derketo would normally approve of. There was a difference between a temple prostitute and one of these wretched common whores. In the temples, this man would be cleansed, rubbed with scented oils, and made to praise the goddess before and during the carnal acts. There would also be guards close at hand to ensure that the priestess was in full control.

The man's offer of coin was generous, almost too generous. And spoken so loudly, Hebeny could feel the serving wenches' stares harden and burn hot spikes into her back.

"Well girl? What do you say? The sight of you is driving me mad, don't deny me!"
 

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#5
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Hebeny's ears prickled at the mention that a woman with no master could be sold, just like that, here. That was exactly why she wanted to get out of here, as quick as she could.

Despite her need of street smarts ever since she'd fled home, Hebeny hadn't picked it up very well... she possessed sharper wits than most, but those wits were simply unused to the wariness and mistrust in everything that she needed now that she was on the run. That's why she hadn't taken any real heed of the toughs now cornering her object of sapphic desire until she heard them talking. Knowing the room had its eyes on her, though, Hebeny thought she might be able to help the woman out some...

The Stygian girl, still perched sideways in the drunk's lap, slowly lifted one leg straight up into the air, her poor excuse for a skirt falling away, exposing her unmodestly - and she made sure the three thugs had a very good look. Her leg then bent, crooked at the knee, and then descended, foot behind the man's back. Hebeny cooed, still pressing her body up against her first suitor of the night, even as she contorted as she was. "Mmm... I'm not just a beauty, you know... I am very, very good at what I do."
 
Last edited:

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#6
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Rylynn fought the urge to frown even further as the thug stated the obvious, and reminded her of how alone she was in such a place. Yes, she appeared unaccompanied... and he had repeated himself in more detail than she cared to listen to at the moment. Provided, she did catch a bit about slavery, which naturally bothered her and managed to put her even more on guard. Was it a threat?

And though his offer was delivered in a much less... aggressive manner than she had prepared herself for, the Cimmerian still appeared unconvinced. "Do I look like an unfortunate woman to you?" she responded, as if challenging him to confirm. "I have to ask what kind of services to the clergy you mean. The blessings of gods aren't things I care to trust." What she did trust was her blade at her hip, the fist clenched beneath the table. They had gotten her out of more trouble than any prayer, after all. "If you're looking to convert me, I'm not interested."

She didn't go without catching the look of interest from the Gunderman, but she was far too proud to give him any explicit cry for help. Instead, she did her best to look annoyed while awaiting the trio's response, showing that she wasn't overjoyed about such an offer.

Then, the Stygian beauty not far from where she was made a surprisingly lewd display, even for a tavern wench. Looks-wise, she was far too good for this random drunk, who smelled as badly as he looked... and yet there she was, shamelessly putting herself on display. Rylynn couldn't help but raise a brow herself at the distraction, hopefully drawing some attention to it so that the men surrounding her might follow her gaze. How ideal it would have been for the men to start fighting over her right then and there! Anything to get her out of that awkward solicitation. She slowly stood up, her eyes searching the room for a nearby target by which to blame a stray punch if she were to deck one of the three. Finding no one, she took a breath in through her nose and planted her foot into the back of one of the three, forcefully kicking him into Hebeny and her customer. If that didn't make the drunk mad, nothing would. She would have to count on the loyalty of the other two men and assume that they'd back their friend in the ensuing brawl.
 
Last edited:

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#7
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The alluring movement of the caramel-colored Stygian did not go unnoticed by Susorun or his two companions. All of them turned as one to regard the southern beauty, and their mouths hung slightly open as she flashed her sex to them for a short moment.

"Perhaps we should take her, as well?" Muttered one beneath his breath, softly, but not so soft that the Cimmerian didn't hear it. Well... if he wanted her so badly, why not help him get to her?

Rylynn slowly stood as the three men had their gazes drawn away from her and lined up a booted kick to the one on the left of her. Her heel made solid contact with the man and launched him sprawling forward, head first into the stool upon which the drunk and Hebeny had their combined weight. The man's skull collided with the stool leg and snapped it with a crunch. The drunk man and Hebeny crashed down awkwardly upon him.

Susorun turned on Ryl.

"Like that, is it? Just as well. We'll sell you on the block ourselves, once we've had our way with you, troublesome bitch!"

"Har! Sultry foreign women and a fight! This night's getting better and better!" the Gunderman said with relish and stepped up to the remaining ally of Susorun who was not currently unconscious under the weight of a drunk and a runaway temple doxy.

"Bel's cock!" Shouted the drunkard, whose jingling bag of coin had jumped from his clutches during the tumble and had landed 10 feet away, spilling open in the middle of the common room. Hebeny watched it spill and then in a moment saw that the two serving wenches, the Shemite talespinner, and the Brythunian sellswords had seen it spill as well. There was a half second where the onlookers glanced from the spilled money, and then to one another, and then in the next moment, they were hurtling toward the silver pouch, shoving and elbowing one another, while the bar owner clawed at his face in frustration as to what seemed about to happen.

Meanwhile, the drunk roared at the possible, imminent loss of his coin, and was jostling with Hebeny, trying to throw her to the side in an attempt to join the clutter for his money. Despite being slim, Hebeny is unwieldly for his inebriated hands to discard quickly, and the two of them slow one another down as they paw at one another.

Rylynn knocks one enemy out with a kick dealing 6 non-lethal damage.

Initiative Order!

Rylynn (23)
Shemite (15)
Gunderman (15)
Susorun (14)
Susorun's Companion (14)
Brythunian A (11)
Serving Wenches (9)
Brythunian B (9)
Hebeny (5)
Drunk Man (3)
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#8
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Rylynn tried her best to hide a growing smirk at the chaotic results of her gambit. From her hapless target's brutal tumble into the pair, to them falling on him, and the drunkard's coin spilling everywhere... along with the mad dash to grab the loose silver. It was absolute madness, and she wouldn't have had it any other way. Susorun turned to her with fire in his eyes, and his utterance, to her at least, was merely a showing of one's true colors. 'Civilized' people were all too often like this; full of sweet words and promises, but all too quick to tuck them away once their own ends were met. It was as if the true nature of every brute in the establishment came to light with but a single action.

The barbarian woman was all too ready with a retort as her hand gripped the stool behind her. "So that's what you were after. Should have said it in the first place!" She lifted her front leg, as if to throw a kick. But that was a feint; it wasn't her real intent. After all, she wasn't stupid. Stupidity in her terms wasn't being illiterate, it was repeating the same attack into the guard of an opponent expecting it. While the Cimmerian knew little about deception with words, she was all too familiar with the language of actions. Her leg then swung backwards, giving her momentum by which to smash Susorun over the head with the stool she had once sat upon.
 
Last edited:

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#9
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The barstool whirred through the air with bone-crunching force, but Susorun ducked it just enough to avoid joining his friend in unconsciousness. The stool skimmed the man's head, and he retorted by trying to rush his shoulder into Rylynn, but she twisted and threw him past her into the wall, snarling, he rounded on her, his hand going towards the dagger in his belt...

*CRUNCH*

The Gunderman's hand connected with the other thug's jaw, but didn't knock him out. He followed it up with a hook at the thug's side, which was deflected. Then the thug fired back with his own fists, but did nothing to damage the energetic youth's advance.

In the center of the room, the Shemite was the first to get to the coin pouch and held it triumphantly above him with a grin. The Brythunians both tried to tackle him, but the bearded man was more nimble than his appearance suggested, and neatly side-stepped them both as they flew by. He then snarled at the serving wenches, who paled and jumped back, evoking a barking laugh from the victorious thief.

By this time, Hebeny was struggling to make her next move amid the chaos that the tavern had become. Her prize in silver was in the clutches of the Shemite, but at least her ruse had given the muscle-bound Cimmerian girl an edge that she'd taken advantage of. The now penniless sod beneath her was bellowing in anger, and could be a problem if she didn't move soon...

Hebeny's turn to act is now.
 

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#10
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

A brief look of confusion flickered across Hebeny's face before man collided with stool and she crashed to the floor. This wasn't what she'd wanted at all! The world spun for a brief moment before she hit the ground. The girl took a second to let her rattled senses clear, and then her fingers were on the counter, hauling herself up. As soon as her feet were under her she'd start hauling the drunkard under her to his feet, pointing at his purse in the Shemite's hands.

"I don't know what you expected, siccing a buncha louts on someone like her in your own drink hall," Hebeny said off-handedly to the barman, afterwards. They'd been talking to the barman as they'd come in or something, hadn't they? Now that she wasn't entertaining thoughts of lust about the stranger or this drunkard, it seemed a lot more obvious... She bent to scoop up her things, getting ready to bolt, in case she needed to.

It was too bad, this hostler fellow seemed like he wasn't a cunt - a somewhat more uncommon trait than she'd expected of the men she'd run into during her flight. She would've liked making him scream for Derketo, even if he'd be a little more... smelly, than would've been appropriate.
 
Last edited:

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#11
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The bar owner growled at Hebeny, seemingly stung by her perceptive statement. Yes, clearly he hadn't wanted a brawl. The louts were supposed to have convinced the savage cunt to go with them outside, into an alley someplace where they could subdue her quietly. Then they could have come back for this Stygian whore, but she had distracted them, and the northron had shown her fighting spirit. No, this was going all wrong. He'd have to step in as well.

Hebeny watched as the rotund man with thick eyebrows and bald pate stooped below the counter and returned to view with a thick, gnarled club in his hands. It had a wrap of cloth around its shaft to help with gripping, and crudely etched into the weighted head was its name "Problem Solver."

He harrumphed, testing its weight, and then eyed the budding sorceress.

"Now don't you do anything stupid, wench! All harlots in this place pay for the privilege of its location. If you're not one of the madam's girls, then you're infringing on her business, which is my business! Now sit your pretty arse down and maybe we'll have a civil discussion about it, but for now..."

The owner bumped through the swinging door that led from behind the counter and was rounding towards the direction of Rylynn with his club raising high.

"... I've got a problem to deal with!"

Rylynn's turn!
 

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#12
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Hebeny brought a hand up to cover her mouth - daintily, just with her fingers - in concern when the man brought out a big, ugly looking club - though the name carved into it would've struck her as funny, were she not so worried about the man's threat.

"Well! I hope you don't mind if I take cover behind here until its time for our little discussion, then," she said, hopping up onto the bar, intending to take cover behind the counter - long enough to summon something that might help the muscled woman beat down this lot before they could trouble Hebeny, too. She liked people wanting to fuck her, but not so much wanting her to do sorcery for her. Having the word get out that she was a sorceress on top of a whore would most assuredly get her all the wrong kinds of attention.

She hoped the noise of the brawl would hide her voice, just as the counter hid her actions and her body. Clutching the little amulet of a hound dangling off her bead belt, Hebeny slid over and behind the bar, and waited 'till the barman was out of sight, before beginning to chant the sorcerous intonations to summon a beast to help them, her free hand beckoning, as if one were just in front of her...

Casting Summon Beast to call some sort of dog to fuck these people up. I kinda specifically want it to either chomp the barman in the nuts or help Ryl with the other two by giving her flanking bonuses, if that matters.

Summon Beast is on page 254-ish in the core pdf, by the by.

A-also I guess I'm just posting this as my next turn because shit at timeliness.
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#13
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Rylynn couldn't complain about the sudden appearance of such an unexpected ally. Even then, she had her own problems to worry about, as Susorun managed to avoid her initial smash. She didn't fail to spot his hand going towards the blade at his side, and already she was following suit with her own sword. "Cute," she started, "but lacking in size." The gleaming blade of her well-kept weapon shone in her part of the tavern, and the barbarian decided that she would beat the would-be slaver to the punch by employing her superior range to strike a gash from his chest to his shoulder.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the fat, bald one approach with an armament of his own. But that fact couldn't distract her from the task at hand. For now, she would have to focus on getting Susorun out of her face.
 

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#14
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The barbarian's finely honed steel cut a crimson swathe through Susorun's flesh from belly to shoulder, spinning the slaver around in place, a horrid shriek escaping him as his blood colored the floor and a bit of Rylynn's baggy pants and exposed abdomen muscles.

As the thug went down, a look of dismay came over the last remaining man with the blue-grey mark on his arm, but he couldn't dislodge himself from his fisticuffs with the Gunderman. They continued to trade blows, neither connecting with a meaningful strike by the time the Shemite thief, hoisting up his prize in silver, darted for the tavern's front door.

"A good haul, and I'll not be tarrying here for when the guards come. Plenty of fleshpits in the Maul for me to celebrate my latest success! Har!"

As he opened the door, the Shemite swore in his own tongue as a large hound stood at the threshold, and with a bound, ran past him slobbering towards the barkeep with his club.

The dog was a stray that had fought off others of its type to claim the off cuts of this block for itself. It was big and ill-tempered, and it remembered the bar owner's boot heel well. Hebeny's sorcerous call had awoken it from its sleep in the alley across the road, and in an instant it had responded.

The dog charged the man with the club, barked and then snapped at the man's left arm, snapping its jaws onto his arm. The man roared with pain, and was slightly pulled off his intended course of attack. Now Rylynn rounded on him, seeing what his intent had been.

Across the room, the Brythunians cursed and chased after the Shemite, while the serving wenches retreated through a side door, into the brothel area, screaming their lungs out as their 'master' was assaulted by the beast.

Back to the top of the round. Rylynn is first in initiative.
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#15
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Rylynn glanced down at her foe as he fell to the ground in a rather gruesome manner. She didn't flinch at the splatter of his blood, as she had fully expected the result. After all, the barbarian didn't unsheathe her sword for show. It was hard to say what these men had planned in store for her, but even so much as showing her a dagger with harmful intent was a slight that she wouldn't let pass easily.

Next to gain her attention was the barkeep, who had most likely orchestrated the whole confrontation. He was big, no doubt, but the prospect of fighting him was better than looking over her shoulder every few seconds to see him uttering words about her. She was used to gaining negative attention here and there for being seen as an uncivilized brute, but more frustrating was to have everyone say it in whispers. This, to her, was the mark of cowardice.

And then there was a dog, choosing now of all times to attack the burly man. Rylynn didn't understand how or why it was happening, but what she did know was that it was as good an opportunity as any. She rushed forward, stepping over various patrons and sprinting into a massive leap with sword raised high to cleave down at the man from above.
 

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#16
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

With the dog dragging him down from the arm, the barkeep is unable to defend himself as the Cimmerian fury charges and leaps through the air at him, her sword crashing down upon him in a cruel arc. The man lifts the "problem solver" above him to ward the blow, but the wood splinters as the sword cleaves through it and follows on, burying midway into the man's skull with a sickly sound.

His eyes roll upward and he falls in a wet mass. At the sight of his last ally being felled, the remaining thug cuts and runs away from the Gunderman, who swears as a haymaker flies by the man and lands in the sturdy woodwork of the wall.

The dog looks up from the fresh kill and with the flicker of a mental command from Hebeny, gives immediate chase. The thug disappears through the front door, then too the dog. A short pause is felt before a high pitched scream mixes with curses and then calls for mercy. The Stygian priestess feels more than knows that the cursed slaver has gone to the bosom of whatever strange, fell Zamorian god would have him.

The room is quiet now, the combat done with. Rylynn and the Gunderman catch their breaths and Hebeny peers over at them from beyond the counter top. On the floor, having not moved from where he toppled, is the bleary eyed drunk Zamorian fellow, who weeps slightly, massaging his leg which has caught on some wayward edge and is split open.

"A fine night, ruined by ill luck! All my loot! Bel 'ave mercy on my soul!" The man said. Then, there was a shine from across the room, and he spied the silver pouch of the dead barkeep.

"Ah, thank you Bel!" He muttered, beginning to crawl slowly, pathetically, towards the dead man's moneys. The Gunderman dubiously stepped out of the way as he crawled past. Instead he threw a cheery, winning smile Rylynn's way.

"You seemed to clear them up pretty nicely. Three to your credit. Well, maybe grant that mutt with a half! Har!" the young man barked a laugh at his own joke, shaking his short pony-tailed head. As with most of his race, he preferred to grow a beard, but the lad was young, perhaps no more than eighteen years, and his facial hair was short still, and patchy in some places. He'd do better for himself if he shaved.

Suddenly, from the other side of the room, a man stood. Neither Ryl nor Hebeny had noticed him before, for he had remained quiet during the fight. As he stepped into the light, it became clear why. He was an older man, edging perhaps into his sixth decade, and he leaned heavily upon a cane, which was to help with his noticeable limp. He was dressed in plain, well made robes concealed further by a simple cloak and cowl, which he had thrown back to reveal dark brown, wavy hair speckled with grey, and a full beard to match his pate.

"Astounding bladework for one so young, let alone a woman. Though I would not question the well-known ferocity of your people, Cimmerian. It serves you well."

Like yours, the man's accent is not local, though he is difficult to place. A Hyborian most likely, but of mixed heritage. Aquilonian perhaps? Ophirian? Nemedian? It is difficult to tell.

"My name is Nimedes, a craftsman of the jeweler's guild here in Arenjun. I have need of young, capable people, and a pair of confident women would do nicely for my purposes."

He held up a hand. "Nothing like that, I assure you. If all I needed were a woman's touch, I could head through that door without a problem. I've something more complex in mind, but I assure you, it will pay handsomely, if you're at all interested."

"Ho, Nimedes!" The Gunderman said. "Is this offer just open to the ladies? If not, I am always interested in a good paying job."

"That depends. Are you willing to risk your life for good coin?"

"Hah! It would be nothing new to a sellsword like myself! Jann of Brythunia is my name!"

"Brythunia? I'd swear upon my mother's grave you were a Gunderman." Nimedes said with a slightly raised brow.

"Apparently my father was such a fellow, and my dear mother swears I took all his looks. Handsome devil he must have been, though I never knew him."

Nimedes nods at this, but quickly looks back at Rylynn and Hebeny. He seems to be much more interested in the both of them, for whatever purposes he had in mind.
 

Takimaru

Tentacle God
Moderator
Apr 22, 2010
1,493
63
#17
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

And with her final, resolute stroke of the short-lived conflict, Rylynn sent the barkeep into a bloody heap. It was a somewhat relieving end to a long and unnecessary series of bad looks, murmured insults, and seedy plots. The remaining man had done the wise thing and fled, but the dog gave chase before Rylynn could. She heard his screams, and smirked a little.

It wasn't the first time she had slain someone in a dispute--after all, wars between clans were common where she was from. But Cimmerians didn't go out of their way to hide ill intent, like these civilized folk did. She looked up at the Gunderman, her apparent ally, and silently wondered if he, too, had any ulterior motives. Civilized folk were so hard to figure out sometimes.

"I'm not fond of religious solicitation," she replied, "nor of people who would see me enslaved. Whichever they were going for, the result would have been the same. I can only assume you're not a friend of those men, either? I'm not prone to getting help from strangers. And here, in one visit, I've received assistance from you AND a dog. Though at least the dog's motives are easier to place. What of yours?"

She couldn't help but stare at his beard, a puzzled look on her visage plain for him to read. The Cimmerian didn't have to ponder that issue for long, however, as her attention was quickly drawn to another newcomer. Rylynn couldn't deny his observations about her skill with a sword; if there was anything that she could get absorbed in as a youth, it was the arts of defence. Be held accountable for your own safety and for that of your family--that was what she had always been taught, and so she took her training very seriously.

"That it does," she agreed aloud, "seeing as my kind is rarely welcome in many of the lands I visit."

Then she heard the words 'good coin', and couldn't help but find herself interested. Rylynn wasn't a particularly materialistic woman, but she knew that things didn't come for free in these lands, and that her own funds were all too low. It was as good a time as any to pick up a job. Who or why wasn't all that important, but she was more interested in what was involved.

"Nimedes," she repeated, "and Jann, was it..." A Brythunian? She would save the comments for later.

"I am Rylynn. So you need a woman, preferrably one that can fight--I am both of those. But why a pair? And how... complex, is this task? I am not one for social acrobatics. If there's fighting involved, I'm in, but for subtleties, maybe you should ask someone more..."

Beautiful, perhaps? She turned an eye to the bar, where one of the other girls had hidden--one that had managed to capture more attention than any of the other whores about.
 
Last edited:

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#18
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Hebeny clambered to her feet, rising from behind the counter - each hand wrapped around the most expensive bottle of drink she'd seen in the few brief moments the fight had lasted once she'd finished her spell. The bottles clinked against the wood of the counter, and then Hebeny bent down to gather up the rest of her things - her bow, her quiver, her book, and... well, that was about it, really.

Slamming the lot on the table, Hebeny quickly scavenged the counter for anything else that might be nice to have. "Well, it seems like a much nicer prospect than staying here to deal with the mess, or the brothel-mistress coming to break my legs for trying to make a little silver," the dark-skinned Stygian said. Hebeny raised a bottle in the air as she scooted over the counter once again - spinning in her seat, legs kicked high into the air, before she crossed them, facing the others - her cloak swept open, for the most part, by her movements. She pressed her free-hand's fingers splayed to her chest, and gave a little bow in her seat. "I am Hebeny," she announced, "Just Hebeny. And I think we ought to leave, before the brothel's goons or some 'protection' men come to see what's happened. Let's perhaps chat elsewhere?"

Hebeny handed a bottle each to the muscled subject of her lust, the jeweler and this sell-sword a purloined bottle each. She tried to keep her eyes from roaming the Cimmerian, playing bashful... though she looked into the woman's eyes as she handed her - Rylynn - her bottle, letting her gaze linger just a bit too long, fluttering her eyelashes and giving the woman a small smile.

Hebeny eyed the drunkard with regret, but otherwise spent the rest of the while observing Nimedes, glancing at him from the corner of her eyes, listening to his words, and wondering what exactly he wanted them to do.

Sense Motive on Jann, I guess, to see if he's lying?
 

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,068
63
#19
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

Sense Motive results: Hebeny believes Nimedes to be sincere about offering a job. There is of course room to believe he may have ulterior motives, and possibly a grander deception in mind, but if this is so, she cannot sense it. He does not come across as obviously shifty as Susorun and his brethren were just moments ago.

"My intentions?" Jann said with a broad grin. "A good fight, and maybe a kind look from a fetching lass? These Zamorian slaver types are a common but ill-welcomed occurrence in my homeland. I need little excuse to bloody their noses."

He seemed to notice that her eyes were more on his chin and cheeks than his own, and his face gave a twitch as he self-consciously put up his hand to scratch and muse at his beard. It was at that point that the guildsman had emerged from the shadows with his introduction and hasty offer to the two women.

His eyes met with Hebeny's and in an instant she suspected she knew why the man had included her in his offer of employment. The very act of opening oneself to the powers of magic has an irreversible effect upon the soul, changing it in ways that are instantly recognizable to to another sorcerer, as well as any demon or outsider from the Outer Void. It was one of the high rules of sorcery - The Rule of the Sorcerer's Soul - that they should know one another. So it was that Nimedes recognized her, and she him, as practitioners of the arcane art. With a little concentration, the Stygian girl perceived that for all his excess years, the man was not a powerful sorcerer, perhaps only a dabbler in fact, for his reserves of power were less than her own, and his soul, while showing a very slight taint that often accompanies sorcerers of some experience, showed him to have only a very small, minor corruption.

Hebeny had already experienced the feeling of her soul darkening in the lavish halls in the temple of Derketo, where she had participated and born witness to a desensitizing array of sexual debauchery. Only through long periods of self reflection, culminating in the incident with Kephamos, the Priest of Set and member of the House of the Black Circle, had she found the will to repent of the Stygian-styled worship of her goddess, flee the grand capital of Luxor, and start her life fresh and renewed.

Nimedes waved away Rylynn's initial questions and instead made a gesture to the Stygian girl with his hand.

"Hebeny is perceptive to the nature of this city. We had better be away before any number of men come to make trouble for us. Follow me, and I will lead us to a place where you may lodge safely for the night. There will be food there too, no doubt. When we are safe, I will tell you more of my offer."

Though they had little reason to trust the man, following him was more prudent than remaining at the tavern or wandering the streets of Arenjun's Maul district, penniless and alone. At least this way they were together in strength of numbers: Rylynn with her bloodsoaked sword still drawn, Jann with his hastily retrieved traveling sack and simple hand axe, and Hebeny with her trinkets, her satchel with her precious book, and the nameless dog, who stepped in stride with her as they came upon it in the street, licking its chops.

They were prepared for betrayal and ambush, each in their own way, but one never came, and they left the Maul, heading north to the merchant district and the city center. Arenjun was a walled city situated in the foothills of a large mountain range. It was founded upon a large, rocky plateau, which legend had it was criss-crossed with tunnels beneath its streets. Often was it whispered that strange horrors lurked within, and that only the bravest thieves, armed with the luck and wit of Bel, could traverse these passages of darkness to move about the City of Thieves unseen. The streets themselves were a maze within each of the districts, but a main thoroughfare separated each district from one another, and like spokes on a wheel, met in a great plaza in the middle.

Through this plaza, the four of them, plus the mutt, stole through the night, arriving at last at a building three stories high, with a view overlooking the plaza. Marked on the door was the white hand symbol of a crafting guild, and within the palm of the hand was painted a fine red jewel, to signify the specific nature of the guild itself.

"This is my residence," Nimedes said, "Though I share it with a number of the other skilled crafters, most of us foreign born, drawn to this city by the great Zamorian noble houses who pay well for fine work, and expect only the best. It is within that we will be at liberty to talk more freely."

Extending a key drawn forth from the sea of cloth that he wore, the jeweler unlocked the iron-wrought gate that was built across the oaken door and opened outwards. He then produced a second key and made his way through the reinforced oaken door and bid the others to enter.

"In the City of Thieves, what is yours is only yours so long as you can protect it. Our locksmiths are of top quality, and masons of the highest caliber design pitfalls for an overconfident thief. The noble families, who have the most to lose, have private guards and exotic beasts guarding their treasures." Nimedes explains as he re-locks both the gate and the door, then moves up the stairwell to the top floor, where a third key grants entrance to his quarters.

A serviceable living area, dominated in one corner by a workman's table lined with odd looking devices of metal and glass, greets the trio as they follow their host inside. Three rooms depart to the north, and there is only one window in this room, though it is large and in fact leads to a small balcony that could be stood upon to take in the view of the central city.

"Welcome to my humble home," Nimedes says, and then motions to the other rooms. "In there you'll find beds, and chairs that you can rest your legs upon while you listen to what I have to say. I would get them for you myself, but I fear old age and my leg would make it difficult for me, while you are young and your limbs still do what you command them to do with gusto and no complaint."

He sits upon the edge of his workman's bench with a sigh, removing his cloak and setting it aside, before leaning his cane in the corner. When his guests have claimed seats or refused them and are ready to listen, he commences his tale.

"I am told by many that I have a bad habit of circumlocution, so I will make an effort to be brief and to the point. The men that gave you trouble today are members of a group known as the Cold Brotherhood. It is a gang that used to be much like any other in the poor sections of the city. They are cutthroats, kidnappers, slavers, and degenerates, and they make no apologies for it, nor should they in a place like this, where criminality is blatantly worshiped. In more recent times, the Cold Brotherhood has swelled its ranks, become bolder, more connected, and better equipped. It is painfully clear that they have a patron who is using them as muscle for some purpose or another, though what that purpose is at this point, is not clear. All the noble families of Arenjun deny responsibility, and the priesthoods do as well, though any one of them could be lying. Information about this mysterious patron and to what allegiance they claim would be valuable to the right people. I am a jeweler by trade, but I am also a man who deals in knowledge. I would be willing to pay for the identity of the new power in Arenjun, say 300 silver to each of you, were you able to bring me that name.

"I have tried to discover it for myself. My sojurns to the Maul, hiding in corners of popular watering holes, has been a part of the effort - but there are certain places I cannot go and methods of investigation that my physical limitations deny me. I have only gathered that the Cold Brotherhood has begun to target foreign-born females, carrying them away and secreting them to somewhere that they are not heard from again. When I saw you both, Rylynn and Hebeny, I thought you just the type to appeal to their mysterious desire and no sooner had I perceived this that I was proven right by the appearance of those thugs. I think that both of you are, in your own ways, capable women, able to handle yourselves in a dangerous situation. You would be able to get bottom of this investigation where I could not. If you agree to discover the name of this patron for me, I will not only pay you the silver upon completion, but I shall give you the bands of the jeweler's guild, which will offer you protection from future would-be kidnappers. To steal a woman from any guild in Zamora is asking for a painful end - for our patrons are the most powerful men in the nation. So, what do you say?"
 

GargantuaBlarg

Lurker
Moderator
Sep 23, 2009
2,818
83
#20
Re: A Wicked Age Undreamed Of

The sorceress frowned, when she caught Nimedes' eye, and knew his nature. That meant he knew hers - and that meant another loose end, were any of her countrymen or their beasts or shadows came searching, here in Arenjun. They were sure to do so sometime... it was a perfect place to hide, after all. It was quite far north from the sands of her homeland... but shadows grew long. Gather power here, to fight back, or keep running... Hebeny wondered if she were capable of the former, and when they would catch her, with the latter...

And then Hebeny put those thoughts aside. She had the present to attend to, after all. The Stygian sauntered into place beside Rylynn as they made off from the scene of the fight - making sure to stay on her non-swordhand's side, in case they ran into problems. Her things were bundled under an arm... which left one hand free. She placed it lightly on Rylynn's arm, suppressing a tiny shudder as she felt the woman's muscles under her fingertips. The once-priestess wondered a bit, what the Cimmerian would have said, had she not trailed off earlier.

Once Hebeny noticed the dog had started following them, she gave him a pat on the head and a scratch behind the ears. Stray and mongrel he might be, but Hebeny liked to think that she sold companionship, not just sex... and was there ever a stray that didn't need a companion? If she'd managed to find any sort of food behind the counter - she'd certainly looked for it, given the sudden prospect of silverlessness that the 'brawl' engendered - Hebeny would give him some, as well.


The Jeweler's Guildhouse certainly didn't compare to the magnificent temples in Stygia... but it beat out most of the places she'd had to make due in since leaving her magnificent temples behind. Hebeny thought little of fetching the chairs once they were told - though she would try to sit at Rylynn's feet. Hebeny was a little curious as to how she'd react... and hoped what she saw indicated she might get to see more of the woman's muscles a little more intimately later.

"So you're saying we should have dragged that unconscious thug along with us, then?" Hebeny spoke once Nimedes had explained things to them. "Well... either way, for three-hundred silvers and safety against slavers, I'm most definitely interested." The Stygian mentally clapped herself on the back. A Stygian with sibilant speech! Good image for her to cultivate, she thought. Maybe she should draw out her S'es, too. Hmm.