Chapter #1d - Swallowtail Tales: The Bard's Tale.   Posted by Lunk.Group: 0
 NPC, 1 post
Thu 29 Aug 2013
at 11:22
Chapter #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale

Lunk was sad.  He had worked hard through the night.  Gorvi had told him that all the junk needed to be removed from the streets by dawn.  Lunk had done that.  He had worked hard.

But Lunk was so tired after working all night that he had fallen asleep near the Junker’s Edge.  Now he was awake, but no one was around.  Lunk was lonely.

Lunk was a big man.  Standing at least 6’8” and weighing over 300 pounds, he was a truly impressive physical specimen.  Unfortunately, what the gods had given Lunk in terms of physical gifts they had taken from him in mental ones.  He knew he was not very smart.  He knew a lot of people made fun of him for that, even though he was easily the biggest man in Sandpoint.  It made him sad.

Lunk was sad a lot.

Lunk was a gentle man.  He never got mad.  He had been big from childhood, and his late mother feared that his size would land him in prison.  There was little chance of that now.  But every so often Lunk wished he was different.  Smarter.  Better.  Madder.

Lunk heard a noise like a lot of people laughing.  Something tickled in the back of his mind.  He scratched his head and thought hard.  He was cleaning up last night for a reason.  A lot of people were coming into town.

He remembered!  It was the Fall Party!  The biggest Fall Party ever!

Lunk was excited.  He stood up and looked down Junker’s Way.  There were people down near the church.  So many people!  Lunk began walking down the way towards the people.  He wondered how they were going to have the Party with so many people.  It seemed like too many.

That made him sad.

As Lunk approached the huge crowd of people, he saw the most amazing thing that maybe he’d ever seen.  Butterflies!  So many butterflies, flying down the street, through the air, with laughing children chasing them.  Lunk smiled a huge smile.  He liked children’s laughter.  Not the hard laughter of the mean ones who made fun of him.  The pure laughter like that of the children chasing the butterflies.

Lunk reached for a butterfly, but it flew away.

He stood still as butterflies and children swirled around him, wearing the biggest smile he had ever worn.  It was perfect.

Lunk saw a small figure approaching him.  It was his friend Pisca!  He liked Pisca.  Pisca made him laugh in a good way.  She never made fun of him.  She talked to him like he was a smart person.  He liked that.  He waved at her.  “Pisca!  Pisca!  Over here!  Are you going to the Party?”

This message was last updated by the player at 00:56, Fri 06 Sept 2013.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeolgist, 13 posts
Thu 29 Aug 2013
at 14:03
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale
The strawberry blonde gnome tipped back her head, and, with a hand to hold onto the big floppy brimmed hat, looked up for any butterflies who might be inclined to light upon a gnome for the few moments requisite to the transfer of good fortune.  The hat, being a hummie hat, was, of course, far too big for her.  Even with the fullness of her hair, the thing just didn't want to stay on very well.  But the hat had once belonged to the Cinderlander before he was killed at the battle of Flameford, and Pisca told herself that a little inconvenience was worth carrying around a little piece of history.

Since leaving Jubrayl's employ, she had opted for the Shoanti look, shedding the colorful Varisian skirts for stylishly slim tan leather leggings, an authentic leather jacket with fringes on the sleeves, and a soft vest of faded crimson, also leather.  All in all, she was pretty happy with the look.  Though, perhaps next week it would have to be river pirates.  Something with a jaunty head scarf.

Glancing into the sky once again, it occurred to the gnome that a right-sized person such as herself would be at a disadvantage among so many overly-large hummies.  The butterflies, as butterflies are wont to do, fly high.  The heads and shoulders of the hummies, being higher up, would be the first places that the butterflies would likely look to for a resting place.  This thought drew a frown to the peach-pink complexion of the gnome, and also served to remind her of how difficult it was to walk amidst a crowd of hummies who never bothered to look down to see the incredibly historical hat that they've just bumped.  Or the bow on her back that they've just jostled.  Or the pack, or the rapier, or the whip, or any of the many things that were hanging off of her person because she didn't have a pony to carry them for her.

Pisca stopped stock still in the middle of the flowing crowd.  She folded her arms across her chest, and her mouth formed into a moue of decided dissatisfaction.  One foot began to tap inside its soft moccasin boot.  "I'm waiting," she said to no one in particular.  but for what or whom was not exactly clear.  To anyone.  Most especially to Pisca herself.

Ook.  Soon enough, though, the young gnome noticed the number of odd looks that she was drawing from curious passersby.  Ook. Double ook.  Pisca began moving again, affecting a casual nonchalance.  No.  It wasn't that strange-odd-curious-weird to stop in the middle of a crowd as she just had.  She waved at a hummie here and she nodded at a hummie there.  She'd just been thinking to herself, right?  And besides, it never would have happened if she'd had a pony, now, would it?  No.  Of course not.

What was that?  Pisca looked left and Pisca looked right.  Her name.  She heard her name.  Pisca looked behind herself.

Then she looked up.


A crowd cannot stand before the relentless charge of a gnome.  It must give way and part.  Pisca barreled through the forest of hummie legs and threw herself upward at her friend.  In a mad scrabbling flurry of hands and feet she climbed, climbed, climbed, up the clothing of the giant, until she lost momentum and ...

"Ook.  Um.  Lunk?  Could you get me down from here?"

After being placed safely again on terra firma ...

And, after straightening her jumbled gear ...

And, after retrieving her Cinderlander hat from where it had blown off in her mad dash ...

Pisca looked up at her giant friend.  That is to say, her friend who was, in actuality, a giant.  This, despite the fact that everyone else thought him a hummie just like the other hummies that inhabited Sandpoint.  She knew better.

"Lunk, we're at the fair!"  The gnome threw her arms wide to encompass the totality of it as she beamed a broad gnomish grin up at the giant.  "We are at the (pronounced with an 'ee') fair.  Fair, fair, fair, fair, fair, fair, fair.  So, what do we do first?  Maybe get some food.  I think I could go for some crispy squirrel bits."

"How about the archery contest?  Would you like to see me shoot?  Or, or, you could do the Ogre Stomp!"  And the gnome threw her elbows out and stomped around in a circle.  "Or the Lighthouse Smash.  I bet you could smash the lighthouse.  Pretend you're a dragon!  Eeraaaahhhh."  Pisca hooked one hand into a claw and tore the masonry from an imaginary lighthouse.

"Or, we could go to the Puppet Theater.  Yom, yom, yom, yom, yom, yom, yom."  The clawed hand of the dragon became a sock-puppet, jabbering away in time to Pisca's nonsensical string of syllables.

But then the face of the irrepressibly effervescent Pisca grew still and quiet.  "No.  You know what I think I want to do?  See the Harrow reader.  My Aunt Hattie used to read the cards.  I bet she's not as good as Aunt Hattie.  I miss her, Lunk," she said.  "Come on.  Lets go."

The gnome reached up to take the hand of the giant, fitting her small pink hand into his much larger one.  And she led him off through the crowd at the Sandpoint Swallowtail Festival.

Ven Vinder’s “Devil Hunt” Archery Contest (Near Area 26)
Das Korvut’s Ogre Stomp! (Near Area 15)
Aesrick Battlehorn’s Lighthouse Smash (Near Area 24)
Cydrak Drokkus’ Puppet Theater (Suitable for All Ages!) (Near Area 23)
Harrowing Fortunes with Nishka Mvashti (Near Area 28)

This message was last edited by the player at 17:28, Thu 29 Aug 2013.

 NPC, 2 posts
Thu 29 Aug 2013
at 23:59
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale

Lunk smiled as little Pisca charged through the crowd at him like some sort of mad midget rhinocerous.  When she reached him, she leapt and clambered about 2/3 of the way up his great bulk before getting stuck.  He gently disentangled the little gnome and placed her back on the ground with a delicacy surprising for such a large man.  He watched contentedly as she picked up the various items lost during her charge and began chattering on about what she wanted to do at the Party.

He liked Pisca.  He smiled at her.  Happy.  Lunk was happy.

Pisca wanted to go to Madame Mvashti’s Harrow readings.  Lunk shrugged agreeably.  He had lived in Sandpoint all his life.  He was comfortable there.  He knew exactly how to get to the old woman’s tent.

He looked down at the young gnome and thought hard.  She was small.  There were a lot of people at the Party.  They were all bigger than Pisca.  She might get hurt.  That would make Lunk sad.

Lunk smiled as an idea struck him.  He picked Pisca up and, to her squeal of delight, placed her so that she was riding on his shoulders.

Once Lunk ensured Pisca was secure, he began walking down Main Street.  Lunk was careful not to jostle people too much; if he did they would get mad.  Lunk didn’t know why people got mad just for being jostled but they did.  So he tried not to do it.

As they walked past the Guard House, Lunk saw a guardsman and his family hugging.  Lunk smiled wistfully.  He wished he had someone to hug him.  But he wasn’t smart enough for girls to like him.  Several had told him so very plainly.  It felt mean.  It made Lunk sad.

“Have you ever been to such a big Party?”  Lunk asked Pisca as they walked past the bakery.  It was closed for the Party.  Lunk knew all the people who cooked were making lunch for everyone at the Party.  He wondered when that would be.  He was hungry.

He saw Mr. Chask reading to a group of people on the other side of the street.  He waved.  Mr. Chask was always nice to Lunk.  Sometimes, if he had time, Mr. Chask would read Lunk stories.  Lunk loved the stories with adventure and brave knights and daring rescues.  Sometimes Mr. Chask would get a sad little look when he read to Lunk.  Lunk didn’t know why Mr. Chask would be sad when he could read such amazing stories.  He wondered if Pisca would want to go hear Mr. Chask read stories.

Lunk wished he could read stories.  But Lunk wasn’t smart enough to read.  He knew that.

Lunk continued down Main Street, past Mr. Vinder and his pretty daughter doing their archery contest.  Mr. Vinder seemed very intent on the competition; the redheaded girl seemed bored.  Lunk was too big for that contest.  The first and only time he had tried, he had broken a bow.  Lunk had been sorry, but Mr. Vinder had still not been happy.  Lunk’s cheeks burned at the memory.  He wanted to think about something else.

Lunk passed Mr. Ilsoari’s orphan home and school on the left.  He pointed it out to Pisca.  “That’s where I lived after my mother died.”  Lunk said.  He wondered if Pisca had a mother.  He missed his mother.  She had loved him even though he was really big and wasn’t very smart.  Not many people did.

As Lunk took a left onto Water Street, he saw Madame Mvashti’s tent set up in the southern town square.  There was a line in front of the tent.  Lunk got into line, still carrying Pisca.  He saw Mr. Quink and his new assistant get into line behind them.  Lunk tried not to talk to Mr. Quink.  He never understood what the man was saying.  He couldn’t remember the name of Mr. Quink’s new assistant.  But he looked nice.

After a bit, they reached the front of the line.  He put Pisca down so that she could go get a reading from Madame Mvashti.  Madame Mvashti was an old woman.  She had been old for as long as Lunk could remember.  And wrinkled.  She looked concerned about the reading she had just done.  Madame Mvashti always looked concerned.  Lunk thought maybe that was why she had so many wrinkles.

“Welcome, child,” Madame Mvashti held out her hand to Pisca, nodding subtly to a coin jar on the table.  “What is it you seek from your Harrowing?”

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeolgist, 16 posts
Fri 30 Aug 2013
at 02:13
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale
Stars of Desna!  A gnome could be happy up here.  Pisca wanted to wave down at the hummies below and call out 'Hi' and 'Hullo'.  But ... Big Folk could get somewhat ... pricklish about that sort of thing.  Stars know why!  Maybe Big Folk just can't get enough ... Big.  Size envy.  Inwardly, Pisca rolled her eyes to the heavens.

"Every day's a party in Kaer Maga, Lunk," Pisca had replied.  And she went on to describe all the people who crowded Hospice and the Down Market.  She told him of The Bottoms where the Freemen charged about, head-strong and fiercely insisting on their independence, despite the fact that no one really challenges them on it anymore.

"Gnomes don't live with their mothers either, Lunk," Pisca answered rather matter of factly as they passed the place that her giant friend had spend a hummie life growing up.  "Well, that's not exactly true.  We have a mother and father that we're born to, and then, after that, all gnomes are your mother and father.  I grew up mostly with my Aunt Hattie.  She reads Harrow cards too.  She loves all things Varisian."

The chatty gnome lapsed into silence however, as they got into line for the Harrowing.  She sat on Lunk's shoulder, fidgeting.  She kicked her feet, idle sorts of kicks.  She hung over Lunk's shoulder on her belly, first frontward with a view of the Harrow reader's tent.  Then, backwards for variety.  She wiggled her fingers at the two hummies behind her, one old man and one young.  By then, it was her turn and Lunk set her down and the Harrow reader spoke to her.

Pisca, on the other hand, did not immediately speak back.  The gnome put one hand on her hip and pushed the big floppy had back on her head with the other.  She tipped her head to the side to examine first one side of the table, then the other.  She reached up on the tips of her toes and peeked over the edge of the table where she was presented with a plane that stretched off into the distance until it dropped off just beyond the seer's hands.  Pisca looked up into the face of the seer and she tried.  She really tried to like her.  But, in the end, it wasn't enough.  This wasn't right, and she couldn't overcome it.

The strawberry blonde gnome turned to walk away.  Then she stopped.  She fished in her pouch and brought out a silver coin.  Reaching up again to the tabletop, she placed the coin on the edge.  "Rivers wander where they will," she said in perfect unaccented Varisian.  "And they bring many curiosities along with them.  Harriet Tenpicky of Kaer Maga, a sister in the Harrowing, sends her regards."

With those words, she turned and walked away.  "Lets go, Lunk," she said, reaching to him to be picked up.  "Take me to the Archery.  I think I'm sad."

Please mark one silver off of Pisca's CS.
 NPC, 3 posts
Fri 30 Aug 2013
at 15:11
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale

Lunk was confused.  Pisca had wanted to go to Madame Mvashti’s, but once they got there it seemed like she wanted to be anywhere else.  Standing in line with Pisca was like standing in line with a curious weasel.

Lunk had held a weasel once.  It was squirmy.  Like Pisca.

By the time they finally entered Madame Mvashti’s tent, Lunk was ready to sit down and watch a Harrowing.  But Pisca had just said some strange words, left a coin, and departed.  Lunk wondered what the strange words had been.  He thought they might be magic.  Lunk didn’t know much about magic.  Maybe Pisca had cast a spell on Madame Mvashti?  But spells were supposed to make people burst into flames or turn into sheep or something.  Lunk cast a glance back over his shoulder as they left the tent.  Madame Mvashti seemed unsheepified.

So it was that Lunk and the maybe-magical Pisca emerged from Madam Mvashti’s tent unHarrowed.  That didn’t bother Lunk.  Harrowings just confused him.

Lunk lifted Pisca back onto his shoulders and began retracing his steps to the Sandpoint General Store and the Vinders’ archery competition.  Lunk wasn’t sure how well Pisca would do, but he was happy to take her.

He didn’t know how far someone so short could even shoot a bow.  Bows seemed like they should be bigger.  Pisca’s weapon seemed like a toy.  Lunk shrugged to himself.  Sometimes small things could be dangerous too.  Like spiders.  Or broccoli.

A good-sized crowd had gathered near the makeshift archery range set up by the Vinders’ store.  An occasional cheer went up as they watched shots by the competition's various participants.  As they approached, Lunk pointed Pisca to Shayliss Vinder, Ven’s bored-looking daughter.  “If you want to sign up for the contest, you’ll need to talk to her,” he said.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeolgist, 18 posts
Fri 30 Aug 2013
at 21:58
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale
"*Sigh*," Pisca sighed.

"*Mope*," Pisca moped.

"*Tarnfrazzle*," Pisca tarnfrazzled, which was an emotional condition of her own creation.

"Have you ever missed home, Lunk?" she asked semi-rhetorically.  The semi part being clear from the fact that she never paused for an answer.  "I miss Kaer Maga.  I thought visiting the Harrow reader would make me feel better.  My Aunt Hattie reads the cards.  But it just made me miss it more."

"My home," the gnome murmured in a muzzy voice.  "Myhome-myhome-myhome."  They rose and fell, she and Lunk, to the rhythm of Lunk's great strides.  Together, the gnome and her faithful giant companion navigated the river of hummie heads as it flowed between the buildings and houses.  He waded against the flow.  She rode above it.

"I'm glad you're my friend, Lunk," she said.  Pisca hugged the giant around the neck.  Not an easy thing to do when you're riding on a shoulder.  "It's nice to have a friend when you're away from home."

"I know."  Pisca sat bolt upright.  "Why don't we do something you want to do.  Um ... um, um,um,um,um.  I know.  I saw you wave at that hummie reading the book.  Lets go listen.  Archery later.  Story now."  Ignoring the directions to the archery contest, Pisca scrambled down the height of her giant, descending to the shadowy floor of the human forest.  She reached up for his hand and began towing him behind her until, at last, they reached the storyteller.

She tugged at Lunk until he sat next to her, at which point she settled herself into his lap, eager to hear a story.
 NPC, 4 posts
Sun 1 Sep 2013
at 08:23
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale

“No, Pisca,” Lunk replied dutifully, scratching his head and thinking hard.  “I guess I can’t miss it, because I’ve never been away.”  Lunk listened agreeably as his friend went on to talk about her Aunt Hattie.  It was a strange name, he thought.  He wondered if she made hats.  It made sense.  Pisca liked hats.  A lot.

As Lunk pondered the mysteries of gnomish hat-making, Pisca suddenly jumped down and started pulling him toward Mr. Chask, which was strange, because Mr. Chask didn’t shoot bows.  At least, as far as Lunk knew.  But he was happy to be pulled along.  He liked Mr. Chask.  Mr. Chask told good stories.

Mr. Chask looked up as they approached, giving them a slightly quizzical smile.  “Hello, Lunk,” he said kindly, “and hello to your friend . . .”

“Pisca.”  Lunk supplied helpfully.

“Pisca,” nodded Mr. Chask, as he knelt down before the gnome, extending his hand with a smile.  “Well met, Pisca.”  He looked up at Lunk.  “What can I do for you Lunk?  I just finished a story and I think lunch is starting soon.”

Lunk hoped Mr. Chask had time for one more story.  “Can I have a story, Mr. Chask?  Just one? For me and my friend.  She’s never heard you tell a story.”  A note of pleading crept into his voice.

Chask sighed, then smiled.  “Okay, Lunk.  One story for my favorite listener.  What story do you . . .”

“Ursion the Eagle Knight!!”  Lunk stated with authority.  It was his very very very favorite story ever.  He never got tired of it.

“Again?”  Mr. Chask raised an eyebrow as Lunk nodded.  “Very well.  Why don’t you two sit down and make yourselves comfortable.”  Mr. Chask reached for a thin book with a battered green cover.  It looked well-loved.  He settled into his chair, opening the book to its first pages.  “Let us begin, then.”

Mr. Chask’s voice dropped into a pleasant baritone.  “Ursion of Cheliax was disinherited by his father, Grachius, for two unforgiveable crimes:  supporting the Andoran’s people’s revolution and falling in love with the Lady Pontia, Grachius’ ward and a direct descendant King Gaspodar, the last of the great Chelish kings prior to Aroden’s death.  Grachius planned to marry Lady Pontia to Lurconarr, a scion of the powerful and diabolical House Thune, pretender to the Crown of Cheliax through its dark association with infernal forces.”

Lunk scowled.  He had no love for House Thune.

“Undeterred by his father’s wrath and unable to stand idly by as Grachius offered to bind the woman he loved to such devilry, Ursion left the family estate to assist a young Reginald Cormoth in helping Andoran escape Cheliax’s hellish yoke and grant true freedom to its people.”

Lunk grinned.  Mr. Chask had another story about the adventures of General Cormoth that he liked almost as much as this one.  But not quite.

“Months later, back in Cheliax, a group of Chelaxian knights and priests, guided by a Harrower . . .”

“Ursion!!“  Lunk said excitedly.

“Don’t spoil the book for Pisca, Lunk,” Mr. Chask said reprovingly.  Lunk looked abashed.

“. . .sought Grachius’ hospitality.  Unbeknownst to Grachius, Marcellano, a wealthy local merchant, had provided aid and comfort to the Andoran revolution.  His guests intended to capture the merchant in the morning, confiscate his wealth, and interrogate him regarding any revolutionary connections.”

Mr. Chask’s voice indicated that this interrogation would not be pleasant for the unfortunate captive.

“But in the dark of night, the Harrower stole out, warning Marcellano of his impending arrest and assisting in his escape from Cheliax.  Marcellano repaid his debt by offering the Harrower a suit of armor and a warhorse to participate in the tournament at Ostenso, a city near Grachius’ coastal keep.  For in his wisdom he deduced that the Harrower was, in reality, a knight.”

“A GOOD knight!”  Lunk clapped his hands together happily.

“Queen Abrogail herself presided over the Ostenso tournament.  On its first day, a bout of individual jousting, a mysterious masked soldier, identifying himself only as ‘The Eagle Knight’ . . .”

“The Eagle Knight!”  Lunk exclaimed enthusiastically, earning a brief glance from Mr. Chask.

“Yes, Lunk, ‘The Eagle Knight.’  The Eagle Knight made his appearance, defeating some of Cheliax’s best lances, including Ser Pavo . . .”

Lunk’s visage darkened at the mention of Ser Pavo.  Ser Pavo was a bad man.

“. . . who was widely-regarded as the flower of Chelish martial prowess.  The masked knight declined to reveal himself, even despite Queen Abrogail's request, but was nevertheless declared the champion of the day and permitted to choose the Queen of the Tournament; an honor he bestowed upon the Lady Pontia.”

Lunk blushed.  He thought Lady Pontia might be the sweetest, most wonderful, most beautiful woman ever.

“A melee defined the second day of the tournament.  The Eagle Knight . . . “

Mr. Chask glanced at Lunk again, who controlled himself.

“. . . was chosen as leader of one party, but most of the leading knights of Cheliax, including Ser Pavo and the other opponents the Eagle Knight vanquished the previous day, flocked to the opposite standard for their revenge.  The Eagle Knight's side was soon hard pressed and he himself beset by multiple foes.”

Lunk glanced over at Pisca to make sure she wasn’t too worried.  He had been very upset at this point when Mr. Chask had first read him this story.  Pisca seemed fine.  Lunk thought she was very brave.

“Suddenly, another knight, whose failure to take part in the battle to that point had earned him the sobriquet ‘The Sluggard,’ rode to the Eagle Knight’s rescue.  The rescuing knight, having evened the odds by his action, then slipped away.”

Lunk bounced where he sat.  He loved the Sluggard.  Although he wasn’t sure what a “sobriquet” was.  It sounded like a wine.

“Though the Eagle Knight was instrumental in the victory, Queen Abrogail, displeased with his behavior from the previous day, wished to bestow her accolades on the vanished Sluggard, but the Sluggard’s departure forced her to declare the Eagle Knight champion.”

“At this point, being forced to unmask himself in order to receive his coronet, the Eagle Knight was revealed to be Ursion himself, returned from Andoran, much to the consternation of both Queen Abrogail and his father Grachius, who was also attending the tournament.”

Lunk thought Grachius was a terrible father.

“Because Ursion was severely wounded in the competition, and because Grachius refused to have anything to do with him, Ursion was taken into the care of Aula, the beautiful daughter of Marcellano, who was attending the tournament in disguise.  In the black of night, she stole away with Ursion and a pair of her most-trusted servants to her father’s house, where she felt Ursion might be best treated.”

“But Ser Pavo had been taken with Aula’s beauty and posted spies at her rooms.  He thus knew of her flight and saw it as an opportunity to abduct her.  He captured Aula and the wounded Ursion on a forest road, killed Aula’s servants, and forcibly took the pair to his border-castle of Torrock, near Brastlewark, where Grachius had also repaired with Lady Pontia in preparation for her wedding to Lurconarr Thune.”

Lunk glowered.  Lurconarr Thune definitely did NOT deserve Lady Pontia.  She deserved a hero.

“But all was not lost!  An army, led by the black-armored Sluggard, appeared and besieged Torrock, demanding the release of the captives!  When the evil Lurconarr threatened to kill the captives if the besiegers did not disperse, they stormed the castle, which was betrayed from within by a freedom-loving gate-guard who lowered the drawbridge at the moment of their attack.”

Chask looked up to ensure his audience took the full import of this critical event.  Lunk knew he did.

“Fearing defeat, the black-hearted Ser Pavo drew his sword and made his way to the tower with the intent of killing the captives.  Much to his surprise, he was met by Ursion, still injured, who had managed to escape from his bonds.  Ursion and Ser Pavo engaged in an epic battle, the end of which saw Ser Pavo sliding, lifeless, from Ursion’s sword.”

Lunk smiled.  He thought Ursion was the most-heroic man ever.  He wished he could be like Ursion.

“Lurconarr Thune and Torrock’s remaining garrison surrendered to the Sluggard, who revealed himself to be none other than Reginald Cormoth, Ursion’s comrade-in-arms from Andoran.  Reginald, Ursion, Pontia, Marcellano, Aula, and Grachius all returned triumphantly to Andoran, with Lurconnar in chains.  Lurconarr was placed on trial for consorting with demons, and eventually executed.”

Lunk nodded in satisfaction.  Served him right.

“Reginald, who had fallen in love with Aula, won her heart and her hand.  Reginald was united with Aula and Ursion with Pontia in a double marriage that heard church bells ring across Andoran.  It was the ring of freedom.”

At the instant Mr. Chask finished the story, church bells actually began to chime!  Lunk looked around in astonishment.  Mr. Chask smiled at him.

“I think those particular bells have the ring of lunch, Lunk.”  He said.  “And we’re a little late.  Would you and Ms. Pisca care to join me walking up to the cathedral?”

OOC:  Pisca, I have a universal lunch post ready, so if you would rather post after I post that just let me know.  You are of course welcome to post now if you like; just end your post up at near the cathedral for lunch.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:14, Sun 01 Sept 2013.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeolgist, 23 posts
Mon 2 Sep 2013
at 04:27
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale
Pisca hopped out of Lunk's lap where she had been attentively taking in the story.  The smile on her face was a reflection how much she had enjoyed it.  "Certainly.  Thank you, Mister Chask," she said in reply to the offer of lunch.  "And thank you for the story," she added.  Pisca took Lunk's hand in her right and the storytellers in her left, placing herself in the middle.  And so the strawberry blonde gnome marched toward the new church with a giant in one hand and a human in the other.

"You know, Mister Chask," Pisca said after a short bit of marching and of humming to herself.  "For a moment there, I thought The Sluggard was going to be Blackjack.  Blackjack wore a mask too.  Blackjack is my favorite hero."  And Pisca grinned up at both Lunk and Mister Chask to show just how much Blackjack was her favoritest hero.  You know why Blackjack is my favorite?  Because Blackjack could be anyone."

"Do you want to hear this?  This is a Korvosa story.  You see, in Korvosa there was a famous sword master - the most famous sword master in Korvosa.  And among his students he had two exceptional students.  One was a young man, and the other was a young woman.  Humans, though.  They were all three of them humans.  The sword master and his two exceptional students, that is.  The sword master and his female student were very close.  There was a bond between them of love as well as respect.  But the young male student fell in love with the female student too."

"Hummies do that a lot in stories.  Fall in love with the wrong person."

"The young male student challenged his master to a duel.  Both the sword master and the female student tried to talk the young man out of it.  But the young man was in a jealous rage, and would have none of it.  When the day of the duel came, the young man was so good, and so angry and relentless was he, that the sword master had to deal him a crippling wound in order to survive.  The young man was driven out, never to be the swordsman that he was again.  The young woman left the fencing school soon after.  She was unable to face the sword master again.  Eventually, she joined the city guard, and rose to become the Commander."

"I bet you're wondering what this has to do with Blackjack, right?  Well, a year or two after that fateful duel, the rightful king of Korvosa died of a mysterious wasting disease, and his young queen of Chelexian birth came to power.  The queen mounted her own investigation into her husband's death and quickly charged a young portrait painter who had been doing a painting of the king with the crime of regicide."

"Everyone knew this couldn't be true.  Well, they didn't know, but it sounds better that way.  The painter had been thrown into the dungeons and was to be executed because she knew something about the king's death.  Well, comes the day of the execution, and the painter lead to the block.  But just before the axe comes down, a hooded man dressed all in black swings down on a rope, rapier in hand and drives away the executioner.  He drives back the Gray Maidens, the queen's special guard.  He sweeps the painter up in his arms, he drinks a magic potion, and he flies away with her."

"The crowd that had shown up for the execution was all abuzz.  They had seen the black masked rescuer.  They had seen his hand.  That hand had six fingers on it instead of five.  Six fingers, like the hero who'd been a legend in Korvosa for over a hundred years named Blackjack.  A city wide manhunt turned up nothing.  Neither Blackjack nor the painter were to be found."

"But a few days later, there was a reunion of a sorts at the fencing school of the famous sword master.  The student who had been forced to crippled showed up with the city guard in tow.  And in their number was the woman who had become the Commander of the guard.  'I was there at the execution, and I watched Blackjack fight,' declared the crippled and very bitter ex-student.  'I watched his style, and it's exactly the same as yours!' he said and pointed an accusing finger at his old teacher.  The sword master declared his innocence.  He seemed undisturbed, until the city guard searched his house and discovered a hidden compartment in the back of his closet.  But when they opened it, they found that it was empty."

"The sword master seemed as surprised as the others.  The only one who wasn't surprised was the young woman, who the sword master once loved and who was now the Commander of the guard.  She drove the crippled student out, and sent her guardsmen back to the barracks."

"'You knew they wouldn't find my old costume in the secret compartment,' the sword master said to the Commander once they were alone."

"'Yes,' the woman Commander replied."

"'I didn't dress up as Blackjack and save that painter from the headsman's axe,' the sword master said."

"'No,' the woman who was the Commander of the guard replied, 'It was I.  I saved the painter.  There's a difference between justice and the law.  And though I command the city guard, I serve Justice.  It's what made me love you, ever since I learned your secret,' she said.  And they ... well, they didn't live happily ever after.  But they did have lots more adventures."

"That's why Blackjack is my favorite," Pisca said as the cathedral and the prospect of lunch loomed near.  "Because anyone could be Blackjack.  A woman could be Blackjack.  Maybe even a gnome."
Chask Haladan
 NPC, 1 post
Mon 2 Sep 2013
at 05:18
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale

Chask Haladan always enjoyed a good yarn, but he wondered if Pisca’s story selection had been random or if she had chosen the tale to send a particular message.  He eyed her thoughtfully as she enthusiastically related the legend of Blackjack’s heroism.  Lunk smiled broadly as he listened, although the furrow in his brow indicated that he might not have completely understood the more subtle aspects of the story’s plot.

Watching Pisca interact with Lunk, Chask decided that she could only be what she seemed; a charming young adventure-loving gnome with no ulterior motives.  He gave his two companions a genuine smile as they walked into the town square abutting the cathedral.

Lunch was provided free of charge at the expense of Sandpoint’s dining establishments.  Each brought its best dishes, or in some cases completely new creations.  After all, the Festival Lunch was as much a marketing push for new patrons by Sandpoint’s inns, eateries, and pubs as it was a way to feed a hungry Festival crowd.

It soon became apparent that the darling of the lunch was (again) Ameiko Kaijitsu, the proprietor of the Rusty Dragon, whose remarkable curry-spiced salmon and early winterdrop mead slightly but definitively overshadowed the other offerings, such as the Hagfish’s lobster chowder and the White Deer’s peppercorn venison.  Not to say that these other offerings were not top-notch, but Ameiko was well-known as a culinary wizard; the creativity and skill behind her Swallowtail Festival dishes was legendary among those interested in such things as far away as Magnimar.

As Pisca moved to her chosen table, received her meal, and retired to one of the crowded, makeshift picnic tables quickly set up to service hundreds of people all eating simultaneously, she was impressed by how such a small town had organized to serve such a relatively-large number of people.  As she attempted to eat without spilling her food all over herself, she heard snippets from the conversations occurring around her . . .

“. . . about the latest lumber mill fire?  The one in Soggy River . . . ?”

“. . . STORVAL boy won?!?  What about Barett . . .”

“. . . say Shalelu has a new apprentice; maybe she can keep this one alive . . .”

“. . . salmon is great . . . too bad her father is a killer . . .”

“ . . . ridiculous hat . . . “

“. . . say Chopper’s ghost set the church fire . . .”

“. . . as Desna is my witness, guy left the tent white as a sheet . . .”

“. . . think PODRICK is in with the Sczarni?!?!?  Don’t be silly . . .”

“. . .a GNOME was riding him . . .”

“. . . wouldn’t travel out that way, the Foxglove Estate is haunted by the spirits of . . .”

“. . . makes three mills so far . . .”

“. . .bugbear killed the last two, didn’t he . . .“

“. . . WHO won the herb challenge?  What happened to Willow Sanderson? She . . .”

“. . . and then Alergast TACKLED him, guess the guy can’t stand losing . . .”

 “. . . can’t believe Giants would . . .”

“. . . hear about Katrine?  Apparently she’s shacking up with some guy from the mill.  Ven’s in a state . . .”

“. . . they were best friends, it’s sad . . .”

“. . . Scarnettis have the only mill left . . . “

“. .  ‘clear out the glassworks tonight,’ he said.  Where am I gonna sleep . . .”

“. . . don’t think Lonjiku is a KILLER . . . just an asshole . . .”

“. . . Mvashti’s given out some disturbing readings this year, guy probably got one . . .”

“. . . put it past Titus to burn the competition . . .”

“. . . with that acolyte boy, they’re a cute couple . . .”

“. . . want to be that guy, Ven’ll beat him to a pulp . . .”

“. . .you would be too if you got cuckolded by an ELF . . .”

“. . . produce a guy like Aldern?  Man’s a charmer . . .”

“. . . always thought Barett was a stand-up guy . . .”

“. . . Hayliss says she has evidence . . .”

Given its size and rural location, Pisca probably shouldn’t have been surprised that local events and personages are frequent topics of discussions here in Sandpoint.  Eventually the meal service wound down and the Festival patrons head back out into the town to participate in one or two last events before this evening’s consecration ceremony . . .

This message was last edited by the player at 05:59, Mon 02 Sept 2013.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeolgist, 24 posts
Mon 2 Sep 2013
at 23:19
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale
Pisca had everything for lunch.  Tiny dollops of every little thing on all of the collected menus.  She arrived at the table with little islands on her plates.  Two plates.  And she didn't eat a quarter of what she took.

"This is a map of the Cinderlands, Mister Haladan," she said, mashing the delicious-but-more-interesting-when-mashed salmon to the north of her plate into the right shape.  (North being the direction away from Pisca, of course.)  "This is Kaer Maga, where I'm from, Lunk.  It stands at the very top of the Storval Rise."  Pisca places a peppercorn at the south of the salmon, sitting on the very edge, overlooking a precipitous drop to the plate below.  "Only the bravest gnomes fly Uri's kites out over the thousand-foot drop to the green lands below."  The gnome makes the shushing sound of air as she glides the tip of her spoon through the air above the plain of the Storval Salmon.

By the end of the meal, what had began as neat little island of food, wound up a miniature sea awash in the various colors of food.  Surprisingly, not a small amount of food actually wound up in Pisca's stomach.  (Which was, understandably, a smaller stomach than most.)  The gnome came through the meal, also a surprise given her involved engagement with her food, without a spot, a speck or a crumb on her clothing.

"Well!  What's next?"  Standing on seat of a chair built for the Big People, the strawberry blonde gnome contemplated the options.  "We could go back to the Archery Contest, Lunk and you could watch me win.  Or ... "  And a sly-ish smile came over her face.  "We could go Goblin Tossing.  hehehe.  Come on, Mister Haladan, ever gone Goblin Tossing?" she asked, without adding that she had never gone Goblin Tossing herself.

"I think that settles it," the gnome declared, sans any discernable form of discussion.  She threw a small pink fist into the air and called out in a voice loud enough to be heard by every single member of the departing lunch crowd - a high clear voice that, in fact, was surprisingly loud for such a small person, "LETS GO GOBLIN TOSSING!"
The Raconteur
 GM, 73 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Thu 5 Sep 2013
at 19:08
Re: Thread #1d - Swallowtail Tales:  The Bard's Tale
FADE TO BLACK . . . (continued in Message #10 of Swallowtail Tales:  The Fighter's Tale).