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Duel2 :: View topic - Jeb Story: Aruak City
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Adie
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You'll find this in next turn's newsletter too.
============================

Aruak City:

Four weeks ago, a private conversation in the Aruak City arena pavilions reserved for managers, ended with a prophetic comment... Light in tone it was... but by the recipient, it's true meaning was much... darker...

"Lady Fiona... my, you sound like my kind of a woman! Tell ya what, come on down to the Bulldog after the fights and we'll discuss Jeb and what should be done over a couple of ales. Who knows what the night might hold..."

The evening that followed was breezy and cool, but humid. Summer thunderstorms had rolled over the Aruaki Clanhold that afternoon and had left people a bit dazed with mud and heavy rain. It was clear as the sun set, but people still were clad in hood and cloak from the day's weather and looking for places to settle in for a nice summer night.

The Bulldog Inn, as usual, was bustling with activity, filled with gladiators of many stable houses, and none too few managers either. Kennelworth was there, serving up his best as usual, which was even better since Adeolar had added quite a few items to the menu since she had been made proprietor, and now co-manager. She was a connoisseur of good foods and drink, herself an excellent cook and hostess. She liked to hit the floor and meet the patrons... but Adie was not at the Inn that evening. The Priestess of the Sun in fact had been absent for weeks now, questing with Wise Old Fandil of Ardivent, and Master Cho of Khalhums as they sought to destroy the Blood Wizard of Lost Krael, Khaldren. Adie's presence had unknown effects at the Inn, generally keeping out some of the darkest patronage that could stroll into the Bulldog... and her absense allowed one of these, perhaps as Dark as Khaldren himself, to casually stride through the front door that evening.

JGW was emersed in a sea of foam as he slammed back a huge glass mug of stout beer to chants of, "CHUG CHUG CHUG!!!" and the rhythmic thumping of his gladiators' mugs on the table. Foam flew like a torrent of spittle when he slammed the empty glass on the table and spoke loudly for the bar to hear, turning in place for all to see him, "One down! For my Delarquan team mates who have crushed all these pathetic Andorians on the sands!" Turning back to his men he beckoned, "Drink up, you've earned it well."

At that moment, just as he was going to hail the ol' dog behind the bar for another drink, a shadow fell over him as a figure stepped up beside his table. A gravelly woman's voice rolled from under the hood of the stumpy fat woman who'd walked up. "Pathetic? I could not agree more..." The words had a hidden venom that made JGWs nearest compatriots hair stand on end. She tilted her head and ordered, "Over to that booth, now."

JGW scowled. He didn't like having his beer drinking celebration interrupted. "Who the #%$& are you?" he asked rhetorically, looking over the ugly hag. But he didn't give her time to answer, saying as he turned from her to hail the barkeep, "Beat it b!#@&"

The woman narrowed her eyes and scowled. A whisper of a voice danced through JGWs imagination. It distracted him for a brief moment, and in that time, his companions' drinks began to whisp with steam and they suddenly set their drinks down, shaking singed hands. In their yelping and bitching complaints, the fat woman spoke in his ear, no small tinge of annoyance and anger in her voice, "We had business this evening."

JGW looked at her and saw deep green eyes with hints of silver shards within. He took a breath and looked around a bit anxiously and then tossed some coins on the table. "Suck it up boys, don't be a bunch of pansy's. Drink up, I'll be back." Standing, he made his way to the corner empty booth, the woman following. As he sat down, and she made to follow, the lamps on the walls nearby dimmed of their own accord.

The fat woman slid into the booth and the air behind her seemed to thicken in shadow. JGW grimaced at the idea of being next to this ugly hag, so he began to scoot further around the booth a bit. A soft sensuous voice followed, "You truly are thick witted, human or not." JGW looked back at the woman and saw her features shift and melt, her features changing as shadows and light played across her features.

She pulled her hood and cloak back, which changed from a ratty piece of leather to a fine silky cloak that shifted in shades of darkness. The human features had become a sensuous elven beauty, with the same powerful eyes, but long radiant black hair, strands of silver woven into a couple braids. A bit of silver jewelry on her neck and hands, which were long and lithe. She raised one eyebrow, and the scorn on her face was obvious.

JGW smiled and subtlely licked his lips. "Fiona! It's great that you showed." He grinned more, and looked her over. She wasn't afraid of showing a bit of skin in her manner of dress. "You're always welcome to... show more." The pun and innuendo were obvious.

The elven sorceress' eyebrow raised again. "Typical male, always thinking with the," she glanced down as if looking through the table, "narrow end of your brain." She waved her hand and some shadows rippled. A silver decantur appeared with two goblets. She took it and poured a drink.

"Ooo... that's cold. But a nice drink is a great apology!" JGW reached a hand out for a goblet, but the elven woman kept it and took a sip with a bit of an evil grin. "Or not!" JGW replied casually, not particularly phased by her rudeness. He was more amused than anything, being a rude person himself. "I'll have to tell my boys to look for an opportunity to face you on the sands and teach where a woman's place in life should be!"

As much as Fiona would have loved to teach JGW a lesson (he could see it in her face), she merely sighed. "I am not here for 'games'." The double meaning was not lost on JGW. He may be a jerk and pig-headed, but he was not light in the brain. His look turned serious and he scooted back a bit closer. "Your timing to offer me to join you at the Bulldog was excellent. You normally would not catch me dead in this place. But the powers that be are not here currently, your... verbal nemesis, Tankesh... nor... others."

Fiona obviously doesn't want me to learn who her enemies are, JGW thought. No matter, on to business. "Jeb," he stated matter of factly.

"Jeb," she replied coyly.

"How about it, got any ideas how to get rid of this guy while Tank Boy is out of town?"

Fiona took a long smiling breath and let it out with a grin. Waving her hand whimsically after a sip of wine, she threw out, "I feel like... killing somebody."

It was JGW's turn to look surprised, and that didn't happen often. He shook it off and dismissed her posturing, something he always took for female bravado, "You're always talking and looking tough, you can quit the game..."

Fiona stopped him with a look that sent shivers down his back. "I don't kill without a reason," she said seriously, all the tantilizing sensuousness of her voice vanishing like a dream. "What is left of him will be used, it is not pointless. All I need from you is some Black Root, and a vial of Mordanti Bloodbane. I can not get those here so easily, your 'Larq connections could get them though. Can you do it?"

JGW mulled it over in his head. Bloodbane was a clear toxin that allowed blood to flow freely when a wound was inflicted, something found in Mordant. He'd considered using it himself for his teams, but it wasn't useful in the arena, healers were always on hand to stem the blood and the fights were short, not like long battles. Black Root was something found in the swamps of Niania, a product of Mordant as well, but it's uses were less well known to him. He was curious... "What are you..."

"Can you do it?" Fiona interrupted again giving him a hard look.

"Sure," he grinned. "You got it."

*** ** ***** ** ***

Two Weeks Later:

A beautiful morning in Aruak City, and a fine day for gladiator duels. The sun was low and the arena high, so it was filled with long shadows reaching across the colliseum sands. The stands were filling for the days fights, many tired from watching some of the night fights in the Dark Arena the night before. Many still bemoaned the fact that King Michael had banned actually killing in the Dark Arena, instead retiring poor gladiators early rather than sentence innocent people to death for the pleasure of their managers. Most people though were glad of this, for Aruak City was the Heart and Soul of Andoria, and murder was not condoned anywhere in the Andorian League (now Kingdom), especially by it's citizens.

The night fights were not the only dark places in the city however. It was an old structure for an old system, built with cages and dungeons for the ways of times gone past. But it was also built over the geologic fault system that ran straight through Aruak City and the city of Seam, which gets it's name from the raised earthen fault mound and the hot springs found there. The hot waters in this fault system cut tunnels and passages as it wound it's way through the limestone cracks underlying the city. Many were big enough for the local rats, indeed many shady people and dealings were found in these dark places. Some shadier than others. Out of one of these secret tunnels, and into the abandoned dungeons of the arena, came the darkest creature of all. It shunned the sunlight, which held a terrible power over it, but the creature had come here for a mission, one that was necessary for it's survival...

Silver Lining, gladiator for the Purple People Eaters, warmed up in his dressing room. He looked rather silly, all dressed up in shining silvery cloth. Metal armor was not his style, so he had to go with the avant-garde dress code to satisfy his manager, the wicked consumer of people, the one-eyed, one-armed, one-horned, purple scaled Purple People Eater! A beast that was as much a crowd attraction on fight days as the fights themselves! Silver Lining finished stretching and went to gather his weapons. Tucking his dagger into his belt, he reached for his epee and strapped his scabbard to his belt. He rubbed his fingers a bit and grimaced. There was some metal oil there... he rubbed it off on his pants in disdain. He thought he'd wiped it all of cleanly when he'd polished his blade. Well, no matter, he thought. It was fight time!

The gladiator stepped out onto the sands, which the sun was creeping across. Standing in the light was a towering man, almost 7 feet tall! "Geez, didn't his mother tell him to STOP eating his broccolli when he was a kid?!" They closed on each other in the center of the arena. His opponent was Jeb Merclue of the Tuft Tuggers. He was dressed in denim pants (which does not count as leather armor), a baggy lace up shirt, with a real huge cowboy hat on his head and a grass straw sticking out of his mouth which he mildly chewed on. Silver Lining remembered what his manager had told him. "Be sure you swing first, he's not as slow as he looks. And finish him quick or he'll slap you silly!" He checked his epee and drew it, and it gleamed in the sunlight... perhaps more than usual. Jeb however drew nothing, and had nothing! He just cracked his knuckles and stretched his neck. A shadow passed over head and the crowd roared! Looking up, a winged beast of the purple persuasion promptly landed in a manager's pavilion to watch over the fight. Silver Lining's manager had arrived to watch the fight, and the crowd was exstatic with delight. Looking at the Arenamaster, Silver Lining paused and glanced at Jeb's manager's pavilion... but nobody was there. Jeb was his own manager right now, both Tankesh and Adie being out of town. But at that moment, somebody else was thinking the same thing, looking at the same place, for other reasons...

"I am sure you will find this to your satisfaction," said a sensual voice. JGW turned in his seat under the shade of his pavillion, his eyes surveying his guest. Fiona stood there wearing an elegant and revealing dark green gown with her dark cloak over it. She held a black staff in hand that shifted and bent ever so slightly in his sight. "It will be quick," she noted, standing just behind to his side and watched the Arenamaster intently. JGW scowled a bit in thought and then he turned to watch the fight as he realized what she meant.

The Arenamaster waved his hand in a chopping motion, setting the duel in motion. Across the arena, Fiona's voice whispered through JGWs mind and like the shadow of a bird, lanced out across the arena where Silver Lining blurred forward, his epee stabbing suddenly with blinding speed! Jeb looked caught off guard! In fact, he seemed so surprised that he was just standing there motionless!

Indeed he was! Jeb was ready to spring to life and try to dodge the first swing; he knew he wasn't as fast as Silver Lining. But when he tried to move, he couldn't! The epee sliced into his hip, and when it was pulled from him, his hip gave way and he crumpled forward. Jeb tried to call out or try to raise his arm to stop the fight, or to shield himself. But Silver Lining kept coming, and a searing pain was moving through his body from his hip! Darkness closed on his vision quickly... Lunging again, Silver Lining stabbed Jeb in the forehead! "Gods, you're funny," Silver Lining chuckled, wondering how Jeb could be such a poor gladiator with all his experience. He spun around in a slash and struck Jeb again, this time on the throat! Blood sprayed on the ground! But Silver Lining did not notice as he whipped his epee back the way it came and hit Jeb in the forehead again. Before he knew it... Jeb had toppled lifeless to the sands...

"Oh $#!t" he whispered to himself, glancing at his epee. The crowd seemed to agree, it had suddenly gone quiet except for a few of the crazier blood thirsty fans. The Arenamaster waved for the healers and indicated the victor of the match. Purple People Eater howled with delight in the victory, and flew off. Silver Lining watched as Jeb was carried quickly away, then soon followed back to his warm up room.

JGW watched a bit surprised at the results and turned to Fiona. "Did you do that?" It was rhetorical. "Dang, you're freakin' evil!"

"It was nothing," she dismissed casually. "A minor spell." She turned and rubbed JGWs chest as she began to pass him. She then paused, bent over a bit and whispered in his ear, "Yes, I am quite... 'evil'". With that she passed out of his pavillion, leaving him longing for a bit more of that touch.

JGW licked his lips slightly as he watched her go, and let out an excited breath. He then flagged down a vendor. "YO! I need a beer!"

*** ** ***** ** ***

Down in the arena depths, the healer's pronounced the death of Jeb Merclue, and after cleaning up their mess, left his body ready to be taken away. The managers always came to deal with those they lose... But there was no Tuft Tuggers manager; and neither were any of the team's gladiators present. They were busy bringing new recruits up to speed on the arena system and what it means to be a gladiator.

But somebody did come for Jeb... and Jeb knew it! He was lying in a foggy state of mind, his body released from Fiona's paralyzing spell. He was weak from some blood loss, but that was mostly stopped by the healer's bandages. It was the cloudiness in his mind that was having the strongest effect however. He could barely think, let alone try to move, but he could open his eyes. He was looking around, all he could do because of the Black Root potion's debilitating effect on mind and body, when a tall strong figure come out of the shadows. He was of light skin, tall, dark of clothing, but with a fire in his eyes. There was an inner strength to him though... something fearful... dreadful.

"Good evening Jeb... I have come for you." He paused to survey Jeb. "No you are not dead... yet," his voice continued, answering one of the questions that had sprung to Jeb's mind. The other had been who this person was, and Jeb soon found that answered too. "You might recognize me from the evening fights..."

'Lord Kronos!' Jeb thought, finally placing the look of the man, although just trying to think made his head swim.

"That is right," Kronos answered. "And now you are wondering how I know what you think, and what I will do with you."

Jeb's mind froze with fear.

"Yes Jeb, you will die, because," Lord Kronos took off the bandages and began to allow Jeb's blood to flow into a glass jug, "you are one of Adie's friends... AND I need your blood to live."

Jeb's mind slowly faded into darkness, his eyes open while he became weaker and weaker from blood loss. The last thing he saw was bright red liquid in a glass, being consumed by Kronos, Lord of Vampires.
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Adie
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I used to write a lot more for DM, but fell out of the habit. I guess this is a flashback to my old days. Now I try to get Judith to do all the storytelling instead! Twisted Evil

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JGW
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

That is scary... I've never written a profile for JGW, but you hit him dead on... Bravo.

Well written and I love it. Thanks for including him.
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Adie
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I tried to play him full tilt, with an attitude and a love of beer. Figured I'd get close enough if I went that route! Thank you! And I wanted to make it fun for everybody involved, so I didn't short change anybody by indirectly insulting them or such, even if you are a 'Larq! Wink

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The Consortium
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quite interesting and good. Now we finally see the Steve of old! Loved the PPE descriptions, and the making "Silver Lining" appear like a dork was cool - and probably right on.

You need to get back to writing more - esp for Aruak City, pal.

And if Lady Adie doesn't get back soon, who knows what kind of people will begin congregating at The Bullgog Inn!

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Adie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The Consortium wrote:
Quite interesting and good. Now we finally see the Steve of old! Loved the PPE descriptions, and the making "Silver Lining" appear like a dork was cool - and probably right on.


Well, I didn't aim to make him seem dorky, but I was trying to stick with the color scheme for PPEs team. He was doing his job and looking the part. If I appear a bit calous in my depiction of Silver Lining, maybe it was subconscious. He did whack one of my guys.

The Consortium wrote:
You need to get back to writing more - esp for Aruak City, pal.


Do you realize how much time that took me! I do want to keep my job you know! I will try more though, I do enjoy it. I guess I've just gotten older and realized, 'Hey, nobody is PAYING me to do this, why bother!'

The Consortium wrote:
And if Lady Adie doesn't get back soon, who knows what kind of people will begin congregating at The Bullgog Inn!


Hey, tell the Scribe to get her and Fandil through their adventure already! Wink

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Rillion
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 7:53 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey want a job ghost writing for me for TOGS?!?
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Adie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 8:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Rillion wrote:
Hey want a job ghost writing for me for TOGS?!?


LOL! Seriously? I wouldn't mind some extra money! Is my writing that good, or does it just appear prolific (a requirement for TOGS)? I'm usually only prolific when I'm feeling creative, which is when I write my best. Then I tend to forget to edit it, which I can already see I didn't do above! Laughing

I had considered doing TOGS several times. I should have a few years ago when I wrote more. I have tons of stuff I could just whip out. All I'd have to do is get my warriors to win! One thing I kind of don't like about TOGS is how SO much stuff is written, that it turns me off just trying to read SOME of it! It is overwhelming. Sad

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Adie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 8:53 am Reply with quoteBack to top

HEY STREET LEGAL! No offense, but it just kind of sunk in that you haven't been in Aruak City for a while. What happened dude? To much heat? Twisted Evil

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Rillion
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Its the quantity. That one story above would be good for like 5 TOGS turns or more if broken up!
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Adie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:09 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Rillion wrote:
Its the quantity. That one story above would be good for like 5 TOGS turns or more if broken up!


Yeah, I was kind of wondering what I was smoking when I had looked at what I'd finished! It is a lot at one sitting, even for me. But there was so much detail I had to flesh out and it came together that way.

The fun was in the details. Fleshing out Fiona, JGW, Jeb and PPE. Setting up what's been going on in Aruak and highlighting features (like the arena and caves). The status of the Bulldog Inn and Adie. You have to bring the setting to life and let people get to know who they're reading about. Since I'd written so little in the past recently (except PAs), that took a lot of work. But a lot had been mentioned in previous stories ages ago, but needed rementioning, or it was ideas rambling around in my brain for a while that I hadn't put to paper (like that Fiona is a Sorceress of Shadow and Kronos is a Vampire Lord from another plane and came through a gate, effectively a "Demon").

I'm going to bug Judith to use them as bad guys (hopefully recurring).

But yeah, to end my rambling, yes, I'd guess I would rule on the writing end of TOGS if I was participating.

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Adie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Rillion, buddy, when are you coming back to Aruak? After TOGS? Very Happy Many of the 'Defenders' have left and now the new friendlier 'Invaders', mostly 'Larqs, are swarming in. Come on back to help, as JGW puts it, 'Show them up'. Twisted Evil

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
One thing I kind of don't like about TOGS is how SO much stuff is written, that it turns me off just trying to read SOME of it! It is overwhelming.


If you were in it, you'd probably read more--just because you never know who is going to insult/kill you off randomly in the middle of a spotlight. Keeps you on your toes!
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Adie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I haven't paid much attention, but is there any serious writing going on? I find some of the spots hilarious and fun to read, but it starts to feel the same. Are there any real epics that are more than just what's required on a turn by turn basis and not silliness or manager vs. manager ribbing?

Basically is there anything like what I just wrote and what Judith writes?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Adie wrote:
Rillion, buddy, when are you coming back to Aruak? After TOGS? Very Happy Many of the 'Defenders' have left and now the new friendlier 'Invaders', mostly 'Larqs, are swarming in. Come on back to help, as JGW puts it, 'Show them up'. Twisted Evil



Adie,

I saw this quote and had to chuckle. I put a team in Aruak a couple years ago, and just got around to running it a couple of turns ago, to time a couple guys for the summer face. I even modified my playstyle to adapt to the local rules. I have to tell you, I was a bit shocked to see one of the Andorian stalwarts aiming for vitals and using a high KD.

I only have one more turn before I shut down for a while again, and I'm still going to follow the local rules. It seems to me, though, that if you expect others to follow the Andorian values of your arena, then the Andorian residents should be setting an example. Otherwise, there's not much to defend, is there?

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