Tales All Roads Lead to Alliria

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Maude, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    At least that was what the clues kept telling her.

    She'd been on the road for nearly three months now, traversing from the fishing village at the far north and down along the spine through the burnt town of Knottington. From there it was near far as south goes until she hit the impenetrable trees of the dark forest. A city called Annak'Tul where wisened old men trained ravens for carrying letters. Here she got her first real break in the quest to find Eodar.

    A cloak - one whose owner's smell was faint but unmistakably Nordenfiir. He'd left it there years and years ago, an unnecessary layer for the Norden in these warm lands of summer. He meant to head west, following the mountain range of the spine, across the Allir Reach to Alliria, and that was all they knew.

    So to Alliria she would go.

    ~~~

    The Boggart's Bowl Inn, Alliria
    Evening


    A ruckus had erupted approximately an hour ago after an armored woman challenged a drunken dwarf to an arm wrestling match. What proceeded after that was a growing crowd of people and a growing betting pot. She'd defeated every challenger and her own stack of coin stood a little taller with each victory.
     
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  2. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    A silent night or so he had hoped as he had wanted to drown himself in drink, he had purse that still held a few coins and a desire to spend them all in misery. When he arrived at the Boggart’s Bowl, one of the lesser establishments, he found it to be louder than normal and for a moment he wanted to leave. He turned his foot away from the door and came to a halt, a scent it was hard to pinpoint because of the stench of piss, blood and whatever else washed through this decrepit establishment, but it was there.

    “That scent...” He murmured to himself, It smelled a lot like one of his own, could it really be? He was curious and that alone was enough reason for him to enter the establishment. The man was a giant compared to most in that place and he stood out from the moment he entered, it wasn’t long until a shout came from the crowd.

    “Hah! I bet you can’t beat that big fella that just walked in!” Some random bystander pointing at Gunnar, he didn’t want the attention but he should have known better when he stepped in.

    “Arm wrestling…” He peered over to look at the armored woman at the center of the crowd, a bit of a surprise there to see a woman sitting there, but it explained the crowd. He didn’t react however as he moved to the bar, he needed a drink first and a large one at that. “Gimme your biggest mug of mead, or ale.. Or whatever swill you’re serving today.” He said, obviously a little temperamental by nature.

    “Maybe the big guy is afraid he’ll get beaten!” He heard someone shout from behind him as he was served his drink, he took the mug and tightened his grip. Someone was calling him out and his petty pride would not let that go unheard.

    “Who said that!?” He said, turning around with a scowl on his face that could make a proper lady faint, luckily there were none here. “You step out here and say that to my bloody face you coward!” He downed the large mug, lines of liquid falling from corner of his lips as he gulped.

    Of course no one in the crowd answered him directly, he was not known by name by everyone but plenty of people had heard something about a mercenary of his description and his aggression.
     
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  3. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    There was sweat on her brow and a paleness to her face and, by god if there was anyone that could catch her scent over the stench of the place it was another Nordenfiir. Maude, unfortunately, was in the throes of a strong illness and couldn't smell a thing. Lucky, that, or she'd be able to know that beneath her armor leaked the smell of infection.

    Everyone here was too drunk to notice.

    A breather, then, after the last challenger walked away less every coin in his pockets. Maude gave her respectable stack a glance, attempting to recall the value of each coin here, and determined she still hadn't enough. She wasn't feeling well, but fuck if she couldn't stop yet. This coin was what she needed to get better.

    Green eyes sifted through faces to the hulk of the man at the bar. Big boy - that didn't come natural down here very often. Testy, too. She smirked.

    "Oh fellas, that's hardly fair. I'm all warmed up and he's comin' in cold. He doesn't stand a chance."

    "TEN GOLD ON THE WOLFBANE!" shouted a man from the corner behind Maude, causing a fresh bought of yelling from the crowd.

    Someone knew who Gunnar was. Knew him by one of his various namesakes and his penchant for hunting werewolves.
     
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  4. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    He spat on the floor, more in annoyance than conviction, he didn’t want to be involved in this but his pride would not let him walk away, it never did. He moved between the crowd and threw his mug to the wall. He walked up to Maude and it wasn’t until he was close that he could smell her and something else, it was hard to pick up on through all the other scents here but he was certain that she was a Nordenfiir like him.

    He had heard one of his nicknames called and it didn’t surprise him too much. “Fine, you want me to beat this woman, it’s hardly fair contest!” He said, overly confident or perhaps just compensating for his hurt pride at earlier comments.

    “Ready to lose?” His green eyes gave her a once over as he moved to put his arm on the table, he was not in the mood for games and he was angry by the looks of it, frustration bubbling to the surface. “After I beat you, you can answer a few questions.” Before hushing his tone, a little. “Nordenfiir.” Enough so she could hear him but not others, for better or worse he didn’t want people to know what he was. Certainly, the Nordenfiir weren’t like werewolves but plenty of fools around these parts didn’t know one shape from the other.

    “YEAH!!!!” The crowd started to shout excited, perhaps it was because she wasn’t from around here and had beaten local people, they wanted someone local to win. Gunnar may not have lived here all his life but he had been here for quite a few years already and that made him more of a local than her.

    Gunnar didn’t seem to care too much that she was a woman, or a Nordenfiir, right now she just kind of reminded him of the king and his hurt pride never truly got over his defeat. If he was to admit that it wasn’t the king’s fault then he didn’t know who to blame for his own powerlessness, he needed to blame others and she reminded him. He would beat her and perhaps mend just a little of his pride. “Struggle too hard and I’ll break your arm.” Whether he could do it or not was hard to say, she was a Nordenfiir as well after all, but she was sick, even if he didn’t know it and Gunnar was no small man.

    It would have been obvious to her even that there was something personal in this, the way he looked at her held a lot more than simple anger over being called out.
     
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  5. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    Maude leaned back in her chair with her flagon in her off-hand set on her lap and watched the man part the crowd with mild amusement. The woman gave a sniff, at his words and fixed her own green gaze back upon him. It might've been a more menacing, intimidating sort of stare were it not for the puffy redness of a Nordenfiir suffering from allergies to the local flora.

    Flowers, Alliria was ripe with them. Ugh.

    The woman turned her head and sneezed. Sniffed. Casually grabbed the shirt of an unconscious drunkard slumped over the table next to her and wiped her nose on it. Sat back up. Emptied her flagon. Cracked her neck. Lifted her right arm to the table and clamped her hand around his.

    He was much bigger sitting across the table from her than he looked across the Inn.

    Struggle too hard and I'll break your arm.

    ["You coming on to me Wolfbane?"] spoken in perfect Fireviik.

    The dwarf, her first challenger, came over to the table and clamored up onto the chair at the side. The sounds of the crowd around them were getting louder, rowdier, drunker, but all Gemaudelene of the Frozen Halls saw was the man she'd witness challenge and lose to King Iordahn stare straight back at her. Oh yes, she knew who he was - wasn't often a young, hotheaded man of little renowned challenged the King. He'd put up a good, honest fight and for that she had a great deal of respect for him. Nostalgic as it was, this wasn't a Havraekae and, for a moment, she felt real bad about what was going to happen.

    But she needed the coin and her off shoulder was really starting to hurt.

    "Challengers ready?" the dwarf bellowed, his hand over both of theirs, "Winner. Takes. All! GO!"

    The match lasted less than three minutes. Wolfbane put up a good effort but for some reason the woman's strength was disproportionate to what her size and mass should have allowed. She backed off him at first, letting him get a good degree in on her before pressing into his palm and slowly shifting the tides back. Maude's jaw was set but it was clear, this close up, she wasn't putting an exceptional amount of effort into it.

    Likely the sweat beading on her forehead had nothing to do at all with the strength needed to flatten his knuckles against the table.
     
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  6. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    She spoke Fireviik, he however didn’t reply to her in the same language… "You wish." He didn’t want to speak it, it only angered him more and he would bash her to the floor if needed to put her in her place. He held her hand put in all his strength as best as he was able and yet, she hadn’t been beaten yet. It only served to anger the short fused Nordenfiir as he tried his best but in the end was beaten by this woman who had strength well beyond her size and stature, he couldn’t believe it.

    He got up in anger after losing, both his pride and his arm felt the consequence of his loss. He took the table they sat upon and threw it in to the crowd. “What the fuck did you do!?” He said, his hand moving to the hilt of his rather large axe. “You using magic or something, you fucking cheat!” He wasn’t amused, in his head it was impossible that he would have lost to a woman of her size unless she used magic.

    His pride was hurt once again, even this time against this woman he was unable to win and it only proved to further his shame from his past. Gunnar wanted to lash out and his face was red as a tomato because of the anger that flowed through him. “FUCK!” He said in frustration, and rather than anyone approaching him it seemed like the crowd backed off. Gunnar had a reputation for his anger and even though he had lost the fact that he was big, strong and had a large axe while in a fit didn’t escape anyone’s attention.

    “What are you all looking at!?” He shouted at the crowd, who were all looking at him with a light worry and intrigue as people have when something interesting and dangerous happens. He finally turned back to Maude, gritting his teeth so hard one could almost hear them crunch up against one another. “You got anything to say for yourself, CHEAT!” He shouted at her, he had gotten larger and stronger but in his foolish pride he was still the boy that had challenged a king and lost, he did not handle loss well.

    He needed something to regain some of his hurt pride, another meeting with one of his own and he had suffered another humiliation! She even reminded him of the King and it only served to exacerbate his anger. He walked back and forth between the crowd as if trying to get a hold of his unbridled rage, he wasn't sure what to do.. On one hand he wanted to grab his axe and attack her but at the same time, deep down there was a small voice that told him this was not the way.

    Frustration put him at an impasse as he waited for his surroundings to react to him.
     
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  7. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    Maude was infinitely grateful she'd had the mind to tuck away her earnings into a pouch and finished her ale before the table went flying. Unfortuantely she hadn't the foresight to think that the man who had called for 10 gold pieces would get flattened by said table.

    The woman remained seated as she was, watching the man's rage build and build. Eogorath's fury, she wasn't in the proper condition for a good whalloping but she'd manage just the same.

    "Yeah," replied the cheat, casting a glance about the room, "where's my fucking gold?!"
     
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  8. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    He didn’t care that he had knocked out some random asshole, he would knock them all out if need be. It wasn’t until she talked and asked for gold that he had enough. “Not even enough fuckin’ balls to admit you’re a cheat! Asking for gold!” He said, he let go of his axe, he could do this with his fist. He bull-rushed her as best he could, woman or not he would get some bloody satisfaction from beating that smug face of her in to the ground. She may use magic again but in his foolish confidence he still figured he could win, if he had only calmed down and thought to himself, he might have been able to recognize the strength she had.

    The strength Maude had was exactly the same strength that the King had, she was family of the king and both in appearance and strength did she remind him. Gunnar however was too distracted by his anger to recognize sheer logic. He had bull rushed her and hopefully with sheer weight and strength he would be able to get her on her back, he figured if he had her on her back, he could easily knock her out and in the process regain some of his pride.
     
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  9. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    Maude's initial reaction to seeing the steaming bullox heading towards her was:

    "Oh bother..."

    The pair crashed to the ground in a glorious explosion of steel, armor, braids, and wooden shrapnel from the chair, a piece of which she felt lodge into her right leg. Her layers of armor saved her from what could have likely been a good deal of pain in her off shoulder, but it didn't save her face from a royal fonging.

    An already stuffed nose now gushed blood and she was pretty sure her cheek and lip were now split. Flattened beneath him in a heap on the floor with the crowd writhing around them yelling and hollering and placing more bets - how did they even have this much money? Maude waited for the man to wind himself up for another pummeling before reaching over and grabbing the nearest thing with her right arm to heave at his head.

    The nearest thing happened to be a leg attached to a a fully armored dwarf. Straight to the face like a damned runaway plowhorse.

    Dwarven steel was hard and heavy - dwarves were small but their mass was compact and concentrated. The hollering wrecking ball sent them both toppling into a table to the side.

    Maude used the chance to get back to her feet, blood dribbling down her face and front. She'd have liked some mead to wash the taste down with.

    "Quit while you're ahead..." she stammered to the man as he picked himself up, "whose got some gold on this round?"

    The crowd immediately pitched in and began wagering. Maude chuckled and shook her head with a lopsided grin, on her feet and ready for him.
     
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  10. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    He felt her weight under her, ‘success!’ He thought to himself as he gave her a good beating, that in itself felt like satisfaction from this cheater, no way she could have won without some sort of magic. It was because of that thought, he didn’t consider her reaction as the Dwarven armor hit him straight in the head sending him stumbling to the side, he tried to get up immediately but it was obvious he had gotten a good head ringing because of it as he had a little trouble regaining his balance.

    “You bitch!” He shouted, his hand moving to his head to wipe away a steady stream of blood from his head wound, admittedly he had not seen that coming and he was the fool for having left such a large opening. He finally got back on his feet only to see that she was already up and despite her blood exterior she was ready to go for round two.

    “Quit my ass, come in here ‘n fuckin’ think you’re the shit!” He said, his speech just a little slurred from the head blow. “I’m gonna kick your ass.” He shouted before charging her, he was wide open but the weight of his body and his punch were definitely incoming, one could dodge or retaliate but it’d probably be difficult to do both.

    He shouted like a madman, having ignored her witty line about gold, he was just engulfed in anger close to a Berserker in rage, or perhaps just plain frustration.
     
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  11. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    She sure felt like shit.

    This marked the second time she was truly grateful for the necklace hidden beneath her armor. The first had been during the attack from that orc horde to the east.

    Ooop, he was winding up again.

    "You really don't want to-" she tried to warn him but he was bellowing his rage at her and making for another stampede. Big boy packed a lot of punch, she knew she'd be feeling it for at least a week, but he let his anger get to him far too much. Maude crouched, taking a step back to ready herself, and at the last moment lept to the side across a table.

    The man's arms flailed through thin air and he ran straight into the wall and smashed his torso through it, headfirst.

    Half laying across the table, having knocked its occupants flagons and plates aside in her strafe, she pushed herself to sit up amidst the cheers of giddy onlookers. This Inn had never seen such a show. She looked to him, half strewn through the wall, and winced.

    A moment later she threw her fist into the air in victory with a holler and the crowd cheered. The armored dwarf from before picked himself up on wobbly feet, "Did ah miss it?"

    She glanced over to him, brows raised, "Alright there? Sorry bout that."

    "Feathers! Blurf-" he coughed through his beard, "yeh got arms like a troll, woman!"

    Maude laughed and made her rounds collecting her winnings from the pot. A healthy stack of gold, far more than she needed. Tired but pleased with the outcome for the evening, the Norden approached the bar and the very bemused looking innkeep. She passed him a small pile of gold coin, "Don't let a single one of these dolts leave until their pissing drunk...and for your troubles and your wall."

    "Yeh take that trouble with yeh," the innkeep said, snatching up the gold in a huff and pointing a finger at the heap that was Gunnar Bergstrom.

    "Me? I'm not his keeper."

    "Take him or the guards will take yeh both."

    Maude made a face, sniffed and gave her opponent a glance, "That's fair."

    ~~~

    Out in the alley behind the Inn Gunnar found himself with a bucket of water being dumped on his head to rouse him. His weapons were gone, or at the very least out of sight, and he was propped up against the side of the building. She at least had the decency to ensure she hadn't put him in a puddle of shit.

    Maude stepped back and tossed the bucket back up the alley then waited for him to come-to.
     
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  12. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    He had her, that was the last thought that went through his mind before she dodged, what came after was nothing but a mental ‘Oh Shit.’ Gunnar’s fist flew by and his head hit the wall enough to make him in to a giant rag doll as he crumpled through the wall, he was out.

    The last thing he heard before he was knocked unconscious was the cheer of the crowd watching him and Maude tossing about, admittedly the whole fight was useless and he let himself get goaded in to it, as he always did.. And then there was darkness.

    It felt like only a moment had passed by, a sensation of drowning as he shocked away, gasping for air. “What!? Where..!?” He then grabbed his head. “Ngh.” He groaned loudly as he held his head, the man went through the ringer and probably had a concussion to show for it.

    He finally and slowly came to his senses, rubbing his eyes and trying to will away his pounding headache to no avail. “You…” She came in to sight and he started to sort of remember what exactly was going on. “Lost a second time.” This time it wasn’t anger that he displayed as he muttered that to himself, a little more downtrodden by the result as he knew he had been beaten. Then again it wasn’t like he would be able to pick up the fight where he left off.

    “What do you want?” He still knew she used some kind of trick or magic, it made no sense that someone of her size would be able to overpower him in arm wrestling, but it didn’t really matter at this point.

    “You’re Nordenfiir like me, you’re from the Capital if your language is anything to go by… Why are you here?” He looked up at her, far more calm than he had been, admittedly all he wanted was to drink his shame away. Gunnar however was stuck in an alley, wet and beaten at the mercy of a woman.
     
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  13. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    She could still hear the rowdy crowd inside the tavern from where they stood. Someone had struck up a chord on a citar and a Bard was singing merrily - his song a drunken melody of a dwarf with his hammer avenging his god. The innkeep must be doing well to keep the ale flowing, they sounded drunk as pigs.

    The woman watched him closely as he woke, her gaze panning to either end of the alley every now and then. Perhaps she might not have made such a scene with her arrival, but she hoped that the drinks of the evening would wash the memory from the heads of everyone in attendance. For her sake ... and for his.

    ["I am looking for someone,"] the woman replied in Fireviik, head tilting to one side as she examined the man on the ground, ["do you yield?"]

    She'd like to think he meant to cause her no more trouble. A man like him would be useful at her side in regaining the throne.
     
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  14. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    He was obviously put in to shame, he could hear the people making merry in the inn and in his mind all he wanted was to get as drunk as possible and forget about this day. That idea was dispelled the moment she spoke to him in Fireviik, painful memories of a lost home is what it meant to him.

    [“You’ve beaten me, fair or not I’m not going to fight anymore today”] He said as he slowly got up from his seat, he was still a little unsteady and used the wall behind him to keep him steady. He had finally regained some of his perception when it came to his surroundings and like a sudden shock he reached at his back.

    “My axe?” He seemed if only for a moment a little panicked before he calmed down to realize that it was probably still in the inn or she had taken it away for her own safety.

    [“Do you have my axe?”] He asked before inquiring about this person she was looking for, it was part of who he was, the only thing he had left from his parents despite having had it re-forged with silver later on.
     
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  15. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    They weren't the words she was looking for but they would have to do. She was too tired and too in need of finding a Healer to push the subject.

    "Above your head," she replied with a nod upwards. She'd set his axe across two support beams that crossed the alley between the buildings. Maude had needed to stand on the bucket to reach and get it up there, he'd barely need to roll up to his toes.

    Waiting until he retrieve his weapon, she rummaged through her packs and tossed a small sack of coins at him, "For your head. Wasn't my intention to make a fool of a fellow Norden. I just needed the coin, but not quite that much."

    There was a hunch there as to why the defeat cut so deep, but Maude didn't like to think of herself as terribly intuitive.

    "I paid off the innkeep. That lot will be lucky if they can remember their own names in the morning. Now, where is the nearest Apothecary or Healer in this place?"
     
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  16. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    He seemed surprised that he hadn’t looked up but then again, when you’re his size you don’t spend a lot of time looking up. He retrieved his axe and gave a forced but genuine word of thanks. [“Thanks”] He said, more instinctively than anything else in Fireviik.

    “You remind me of King Iordahn.” He said, it was an admittance but it came from him with some difficulty. “Same strength too.” Subconsciously he recognized that strength, it felt similar in feeling and essence even if he couldn’t consciously figure that part out. Gunnar obviously didn't know the king was dead so he would have never connected who she was and what she held because of it.

    “You’re not the first to make a fool out of me, not even the first that has done it for the like of coin.” Gunnar his hot head had led him in to a few impossible situations, pride overruled common sense and he was left with a few more bruises and more hurt pride. Deep down he knew he was a fool at times but he felt that if he admitted that to himself now then that would be all he was, a fool… If he kept it up and held strong then perhaps his pride might one day be justified.

    The closest one is not that far from here, not too expensive either.” He said as he leaned his axe on his shoulder, regaining some steadiness in his step. “Follow me.” No more words needed to be wasted for the moment, apart from introductions. Gunnar Bergstrom.” He said, not looking back to her. He was a prime example of a Nordenfiir and perhaps it went a little deeper than most in how stubborn he was, in the end it had left him alone in this world and too proud to admit he was alone.

    In the end at least he knew how not to hold a grudge over smaller events like this, just over the big ones.
     
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  17. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    In knowing who the man was before her, she felt a modicum of sympathy for his plight. The desire to reveal her identity was a strong one, but after the last few run-ins with mercenary bands sent her way she opted for a safer route.

    "Dea'roh," she replied to his name, deciding upon the one she'd been using in correspondence with Arnor Skuldsson. She followed at pace, her eyes glanced upwards along the man's broad form to the back of his head. Mountain seemed appropriate. Maude failed to mention that he reminded her of Borvenir.

    They arrived to the Apothecary before long, Maude patiently awaiting a moment with the elf who ran the shop. She couldn't be sure if she was sweating from the poison or from the apparent warmth of Alliria. The town was a far cry from snowy tundra, though it wasn't exactly summer either. To the people of the city it was a cool spring evening.

    Clearly she was overdressed.

    "Seven hells," the elf greeted her with a wild blink, looking rather alarmed, "what's happened to you dear? Are you alright?"

    Maude blinked, sniffed, and realized that she was still freshly covered in blood. She'd tried to clean up before rousing Gunnar with the water bucket but clearly she hadn't done a very good job.

    "Had a frank exchange of ideas with ...someone," she replied.

    "Let me get you poultice and something for the pain. I'll have you fixed by morning-"

    "No," she shook her head, "not that. I need something for poison."

    "Poison?" the elf glanced at Gunnar with a brow raised, "What sort of poison?"

    "I was struck by three orc arrows on my way here. I'm fairly certain the arrowhead still lodged in my shoulder was poisoned."
     
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  18. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    ‘Dea’rog’ He worded silently to himself, it didn’t mean anything to him, it wasn’t a name he knew so he shrugged at her introduction. After they arrived at the Apothecary the woman went straight to her rather than him, certainly he had blood over him but it seems he was given in to the hands of the assistant.

    “Are you alright Sir…” She said with some trepidation, with the blood on him and the axe over his shoulder it looked like he had just walked out of a slaughter and were it not for the dry state of his axe, he might have been the cause of it.

    “I’m fine.” He said, stubbornly as he listened intently to the exchange between Maude and the Apothecary. ‘Frank exchange of ideas….’ He shook his head at that remark but he said nothing about that, though as she named the fact that she had been poisoned, rather than be concerned he just felt slighted and shamed even more deeply than losing did.

    Should she see his expression she’d see his brow furrow and frustration appear on his expression. Gunnar was a man full of frustration, lost hopes, dreams and regrets all tied together by narcissistic pride that he wouldn’t let go no matter what happened.

    “Poisoned…. Hey Elf.” He said, interrupting the Apothecary in a rather rude tone, he didn’t like Elves either, elves were the ones that killed his parents and with such harbored anger, any association made him lash out a bit. “Can orc arrows make her temporarily stronger?” He wondered if that was it perhaps, there had to be an explanation for his loss. It wouldn’t be hard for Maude to notice that he was volatile at best, even if perhaps he wasn’t truly a bad person. Just a truly trouble one.

    He folded his arms as the Apothecary put her on a cot and sent the assistant to fetch her some ingredients from her storage, no doubt this Apothecary was familiar with orc poisons. So she asked Maude.

    “Show me the wounds Miss, it’ll help me identify what poison they used, once I know it shouldn’t take too long to make an antidote and you should be back to strength in a week, perhaps two.” The elf was very pleasant and friendly, which was a stark contrast to the looming presence of Gunnar in the corner of the room. One could almost wonder why he was still here but it wouldn’t take more than a few thoughts to conclude that it was because he wanted to know what trick she used.
     
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  19. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    Strangely enough it felt really good to sit down.

    The woman raised a brow at Gunnar and his query to the Apothecary and would have snorted at the notion if her current condition allowed for it.

    With a deep sigh she slowly began to peel off the layers. The leather straps that held her twin swords at her back went first, followed by those that kept her cloak over her shoulders second. Gauntlets and bracers next. Pauldrons, then, with the help of the elf. Chestplate. Leather cuirass.

    By this time the stench of infection could be caught by anyone in the room, something to which the elf remarked as she stepped around to Maude's back and helped her remove the linen shirt beneath. The woman was left in a woven compression wrap common among the female warriors of Nordengaard, especially those more well-endowed. It didn't do to have ones breasts escaping during battle, nor did it make for well-fitted armor. The compression wrap was the answer to these womanly woes.

    Her back to Gunnar in the corner, he'd be able to see the wound from where it stood. A large, sickly looking welt surrounded by blackened and festering skin. The arrowhead, it's spine sheared clean off, still remained lodged in her shoulder. Along with it he'd also see her glyph - a unique one in itself, the marking spread across both shoulders of the woman and down her back. They weren't often so large and rarely were they found across both sides of the body.

    "I couldn't reach to get it out-" Maude replied to the elf as she leaned to take a closer look, "how bad is it?"
    "How long has it been in there?" replied the elf in wonder.
    "Three days."
    "How in all of Arethil are you still alive?"
    Maude grunted as the woman began carefully cleaning around the wound, "Had some potions with me," she lied.
    "Can we remove this necklace?" the Apothecary shifted her hands to push Maude's hair out of the way. Gunnar would glimpse a necklace upon which some rather familiar looking bearclaws and amulet rested.
    "No," Maude growled, "work around it."
     
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  20. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    Now that he got another look at her, she was a pretty attractive woman, which was something he had not been able to notice through his anger and frustration. His mood had not recovered much, he still emanated an aura of frustration but he was able to think a little more clearly as time went on, admittedly seeing a strong woman get undressed was a plus as well.

    His face scrounged up for a moment as he saw that wound, at this point he no longer suspected a trick in the fact that she won… This was something else entirely, unnatural if you asked him. “You beat me with that wound? No way.” He said, loud enough for her to hear but not expecting an immediate answer, perhaps it was those potions she mentioned but… He shook his head, what potions are that potent, it made no sense to make one time use potions of such potency, even he knew better than that.

    It wasn’t until he caught a glimpse of that amulet that the cogs in his brain started working, of course he did not connect that she may have been family to the king, or even that the amulet was the original. “That amulet, it looks familiar.” It had been 12 years since he last saw that amulet so his memory was fuzzy at best, but the fact that she didn’t want it removed only proved his point. He felt it had to be a magic amulet.

    “That’s what allowed you to beat me wasn’t it.” He spat on the floor, it regained some of his pride in the fact that he felt confident she couldn’t have won without it. “I knew you couldn’t have won over me without cheating.” He felt validated, even if it was an assumption on his part.

    He growled a little but he had in his own mind found an excuse that explained his loss, which made him feel a little better at least. “I knew it.” He reiterated to himself, he had obviously doubted his own sanity after the match and the fight.

    “I hope it hurts.” He said with a smirk, a little payback as he looked at that vile wound, he had to admit her glyph was odd, but he was fairly young and uninformed after he left Nordengaard, so he chalked it up to his own ignorance on the subject. He didn't want her to die, but he wanted her to suffer a little for the shame he had put him through, nothing less than she deserved in his mind.

    The Apothecary got to work rather quickly, not paying any real attention to Gunnar or his words, she could guess that the two of them had a scuffle. The fact was that this woman needed her attention if she was going to survive, so dire was the wound in her mind. "It may take a little longer than a week to heal this.." She said somewhat doubtful in tone, she wasn't sure what kept this woman on her feet, any average person would have been dead and even greater people would have been in agony at the least.
     
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  21. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    Maude did her best to simply ignore the man, head hung in exhaustion, shoulders rounded to brace against the pain. After three days the initial searing agony of the wound had festered into a widespread throbbing across the entire joint. By now it was effecting her nerves, causing the sting to travel down her arm and into her fingertips. It made keeping a grip on a flagon of ale quite difficult - thank goodness for the handles.

    But there was a curious effect of the amulet she wore on her body as well. Maude knew, absolutely, that she never would have made it here, never would have beaten Gunnar, never would have outrun the orcs were it not for the amulet. Her body felt stronger, more resilient than ever, but it was not immune to the exertion of the pain. Simply more tolerant.

    "I don't have a week, Doc. Need to be on the move in three days or less."

    "That's a tall order for a festering wound such as this," the Elf replied, "and I'm not a doctor, but you can call me Syndell. Marqei, get her something to bite down on. The arrowhead seems to be intact, but the skin around the wound is necrotic. I'll need to cut it away to-"

    "Just do what you need to do, Syndell," Maude took what she recognized as a piece of whale bone from the assistant, Marqei, and bit down on it.

    Gunnar would get his wish. The extraction and subsequent debriding of the wound was excruciatingly agonizing.

    ~~~

    Maude had no idea how much time had passed when they were finished. Sweat beaded her forehead and exposed flesh, her face was red from enduring the excision. Her jaw and teeth ached, her throat was raw, and fuck was she tired. Syndell bid her stay the night so she could keep an eye on her. The woman eased herself back onto the cot and closed her eyes.

    "I know who you are," she muttered to the man still standing in the corner. It was quite amazing to her that he was still there, really.

    "I stood witness to your Havraekae against the King."
     
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  22. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    #22 Gunnar Bergstrom, Dec 31, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    For better or worse it seemed that during the show of her intense pain Gunnar neither smiled nor showed concern, he was obviously conflicted on how he should feel about such a thing. On one hand he wanted her to feel pain for the shame she had caused him, and on the other hand he lamented seeing a woman go through such agony. It was because of his internal conflict and her care after the brawl, that he decided to stick around.

    He waited for several hours, simply standing in the corner, mulling over his own thoughts while looking at her and the amulet. He concluded after talking to the Apothecary while she slept that it was probably the Amulet that kept her alive, otherwise he might have considered taking it from her… But even though he thought her dishonorable at best, he didn’t wish for her death and all the pain she went though partially made up for his lost pride.

    “Yeah?” He answered as she claimed to know who he was, though what she followed up with made his jaw clench, the muscles on the side of his face visibly showing. “So, you figured, let me rub it in a little more by humiliating him with the use of a magic amulet?” He sneered at her, it was hard to get through to him when nearly everything that was said he took as a slight towards him.

    “I lost and got humiliated then too, because of magical things, an amulet not unlike that thing you’re wearing.” He spat on the ground at the thought. “And then he offered me a place in his royal guard, like I was some kind of little kid that needed some candy to feel better.” He knew better than that, the king didn’t want him to leave at the time but he was in a mood and all he wanted was to lash out, to feel better. Gunnar wanted relief from this frustration that had built up in him for so many years, this was however the first time he was beaten akin to back then.

    “You know who I am and all I know is that you’re named after some bloody flower and you wear a magic amulet.” He pondered for a moment as he looked at her, he was so intensely angry and disdainful of her, yet at the same time he was still here when he could have left her at any given time. “Steal it did ya?”
     
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  23. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    There certainly was a whole lot of pent up anger in this man. She wondered how long he meant to hold on to it. Anger was a strong emotion, useful in some cases, but Maude was convince it put otherwise healthy men and women into early graves.

    She didn't immediately comment on any of his transgressions. Frankly, it was a lot to take in.

    "Bird," she said quietly, eyes still closed, mouth dry from having no present use of her nose to breath, "Dea'roh is a bird."

    A beat, she pondered her choice of words, and despite his presence of burning fury she found the distraction from the pain to be welcome.

    "You fought admirably that day," Maude remarked, "and with honor. Far more than I can say for what your brother has done."
     
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  24. Gunnar Bergstrom

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    Gunnar Bergstrom The Exile

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    “Bird, whatever, my Fireviik is rusty, it’s been twelve years since I last spoke it.” He waved it away dismissively, seemingly annoyed by being wrong. Gunnar himself didn’t even know what he was angry about anymore, something had gotten under his skin when he was young and like a cancer it never went away, only growing within him in a ball of resentment and anger that only alcohol seemed to dim, he was sober now however.

    “I was defeated by magic, where is the honor in that? Where is any honor in any of it, spouting words of peace while good people died defending against threats that weren’t taken seriously.” He didn’t know about war nor did he truly know about the situation back then, this was simply what he theorized to himself, something to validate his anger.

    “My brother…” He considered that for a moment, his anger faded if only because he hadn’t thought of his living family in ages. “What do you know of my brother, or my family?” He said, waving his hand at her dismissively. “You saw one fight and you think you know who I am.”
     
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  25. Maude

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    Maude Grumpy B(heir)

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    "For centuries the Kings and Queens of Nordengaard have wielded the might of Eogorath through his amulet. Whether gained by might or right, everyone knows what they must face when they challenge the King to Havraekae. You took that challenge knowingly and willingly and you did it with honor."

    "How many have challenged the King in my lifetime? I can count on a single hand alone ... three men. All failed to defeat him, two of which were honored to serve, instead, at his side. One thought less of himself than anyone else in witness that day for a fight that was ...quite spectacular, actually. I'll remember it until the day I die."

    Her brows rose in levity at this. Yes, she remembered that day well. A man of her generation facing off a King of 60 years, tried and true and battle tested, loved by many, revered by most, feared by few. Iordahn's following did not think poorly of this man who spat at the floor and grit his teeth. What they might think of him now...however.

    Maude breathed deeply, green eyes slowly opening to stare at the ceiling, "Borvenir came in the night and slaughtered the King where he slept ... along with all the King's family and loyal followers. Children carved in their beds by soldiers thrice their size, age, and strength. Loyal warriors beset upon by gangs of Borvenir's regiment, barred into their homes and burnt alive. Citizens tortured in the streets, non-Nordens put in chain and dungeons simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

    "Tell me again about your broken honor, Gunnar Bergstrom."
     
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