Fable - Ask The Tides of Fate

A roleplay which may be open to join but you must ask the creator first

Kol

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Kol looked around for a moment. "I'm sure Sindric will arrange some meals for us."

Though Kol himself felt not a pang of hunger. It was another boon of the Dark Gods, something that he rarely had to worry about. His eyes flickered over those around them, watching the people as they milled about and did their steady work.

This was a northern settlement, even though it was south of the Tundra.

Every man and woman carried themselves like a warrior, holding axes, swords nearby, or some sort of weapon upon them. The people here had been expecting a battle eventually, that much was more than clear. The only issue was numbers.

It was a small town they had found themselves in, and there were far more orcs on the shore than they could handle.

"Sorcerer."​

A man called over to Kol.

"This way."​

There was a jerk of the head, and then the man quickly walked off into the town. Kol watched him for a moment, then shrugged to Ruvsa and followed after him.
 

Ruvsá

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"I'd be happy for even a piece of bread right now," Ruvsá murmured, grimacing at the still lingering taste of bile and seawater in her mouth.

A rinse-off in some non-salty water would be welcome at some point too, but she wasn't certain when or if that would be possible.

As she looked over the town, she frowned slightly, then glanced back at the shore. They weren't as badly outnumbered as she and Kol had been on the island... yet. But it was close.

She turned when someone called out, calling Kol sorcerer. Which... well, she supposed he was, if she thought about it, and she followed close behind him, surveying the twists and turns of the meager streets as she did so, much in the same way as when they'd first entered the town on Sheketh. Noticing weak points in their defenses and hiding places... but also damage that had already been inflicted.
 
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Kol

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It took them only a few moments to cut across the town, and as they walked Kol noticed much of the same as Ruvsa.

These people were clearly under siege.

There were buildings with holes in the roof, smashed walls, broken carts. It seemed as though the orcs had been launching stones and as well as fire, though the destruction at least seemed to be mostly superficial. His lips thinned as they walked, but he said nothing.

Eventually they reached a large building with a thatched roof, two double doors hanging wide open and presenting a large pit fire that had clearly been burning for a long while.

At the head stood a gaggle of men and women, all of them warriors. "That one is Sindric."

Kol said quietly to Ruvsa as they reached the door, gesturing to a massive hulk of a man who towered over everyone else.

He stood two heads above Kol, likely dwarfing even a Nordenfiir in their bear form. Every inch of his muscles seemed adorned with dozens of tattoos and scars, as though the whole of his body were a twisted form of art. Despite that he spoke quietly to those around him, the man who had accompanied Kol and Ruvsa stepping away to get his attention.

While they waited a small girl ran up to the pair, a meager plate of food offered to them.

"Not quite a feast." The sorcerer said with a smile. "But we'll steal more later."

Kol told the shieldmaiden with a smile.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá followed Kol into the longhouse, nodding when he pointed out Sindric. He was quite tall, certainly taller than her own Svalen form, though there were a few among the Nordenfiir who would be taller.

She saw a few curious glances in their direction as they waited on Sindric, but made no effort to hide her own perusal of the warriors in the room. She may have been shieldmaiden trained, but she was also highly aware of her own lack of experience in battle. But hopefully her studies in tactics and subterfuge could be of some use, and certainly her unique Nordenfiir capabilities would be helpful, simply for stamina.

"Are they all Nordwiir?" she asked quietly. "Are Sindric's abilities similar to yours?"

When the girl came over with plates of food, Ruvsá smiled at her as she took it. "Thank you," she murmured quietly, then shrugged at Kol's comment as the girl trotted off on some other errand. "It's food. Can't complain about that."

It seemed to be hardtack and boiled meat and root vegetables, mostly. While she would like more meat eventually, right now anything to wash away the stagnancy in her mouth was welcome, and she sopped up some of the meat's juices with the hardtack before biting into it and offering Kol the plate as well.
 

Kol

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Kol shook his head. "No."

"Not Nordwiir."
If Sindric was one of his own things would most certainly have been different. This town...well, he wasn't entirely sure that this town would even have been under siege in the first place.

His people were fierce, crafty, and entirely unable to function peacefully. Asura would have been a burning husk before Molthal had any chance of coming to attack them. It was one of the challenges Kol faced, one of the things he had to change.

"They're of the North." He told Ruvsa quietly. "Above the reaches of your Kingdom, but below the Isles."

For a second he paused. "Sindric was a Warlord, coming south when he heard tales of the Fire Giant Menalus. He thought himself capable of de-"

Before he could finish speaking the man Kol had pointed out raised his head.

"SORCERER!"​

The voice boomed out as he spotted Kol.

"You arrived precisely when I needed you the most!"​

Sindric seemed almost gleeful.

"And brought a woman this time! Did ye finally wed? Always knew someone would tie a knot around your throat!"​

The Giant spoke as he pulled away from his group of advisors and began to stomp over towards the pair of outsiders.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá chewed slowly as Kol talked, giving the food time to settle in her stomach since it had been days since she last ate. She was swallowing when Sindric spotted them, shouting his greeting to Kol and interrupting him, though she was fairly certain that Kol was saying Sindric thought he could defeat Menalus.

As Sindric approached them, she snorted.

"No wedding, just bedding," she smirked when the man reached them, "but I don't think either of our people really do... marriage. Not like you humans do."

Placing her not-yet-finished hardtack back on the plate, she introduced herself, extending her hand. "Ruvsá, shieldmaiden of Nordengaard."
 

Kol

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"Ah, a Nordenfiir."​

He glanced at Kol for a moment, raising an eyebrow as though he were confused about something. After a moment though he simply shrugged, probably deciding that the question wasn't even worth asking. "She is a great warrior."

The Sorcerer simply added.

"Ah, well grand. We need plenty of those."​

He reached out and grasped Ruvsa's hand in greeting.

"I am Sindric, Jarl of this town."​

Kol snorted, though from the look Sindric shot him it was clear it had not been taken as an insult. Instead the man grinned at him.

"Someone had to take charge."​

"Indeed, and look how thats going." He said with a gesture back towards the dock. The Jarl only laughed again, shrugging his shoulders. "What's the situation really, Sindric? As bad as it looks?"

"Worse, I'm afraid."​

With that the giant of a man let go of Ruvsa's hand and gestured for the two of them to come to the end of the fire. There they found a large map, and saw just how many Blight Orcs were surrounding this town.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá bit back a laugh as Sindric looked at her with a bit of confusion. As if he had no frame of reference for a Nordenfiir being this far south... which to be fair, it wasn't something that commonly happened.

When Kol stated that she was a great warrior, she glanced back at him with a fond smile. He'd barely seen her fight, but she wouldn't contradict him in this situation.

Sindric took her hand, though, and she turned back to him with a grin, her grip as firm as strong as his, but laughed when Kol commented on Sindric's taking the title of jarl. She had some familiarity with the way the Nords ran their lands, and knew it was similar in title to a jorn.

She grew somber, though, as the banter turned to the situation at hand. Why, besides being kidnapped by slavers, she and Kol were there in the first place.

Plate still in hand, she followed Sindric to the table, looking the map over closely. There were... a lot of orcs.

"I hope you have some more tricks up your sleeve," she muttered to Kol. There wasn't a chance they would get out of this otherwise.

"How many of your people can swim?" she asked Sindric. "At the least, the trebuchets and siege machines need to be disabled before Menalus' troops arrive. It would be ideal, though, if we could sabotage them so that they will take out some of the enemy's soldiers when they try to use them."
 
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Kol

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"One or two." Though he wasn't sure that any of them were worth this little settlement.

A frown touched his face for a few seconds, his eyes wandering over the map that Sindric had laid out on the table. He studied the different positions that had already been scouted, the defenses that were noted. He heard Ruvsa speak, though her words barely registered.

Whatever they did, it likely wouldn't be enough.

"Oh they can all swim."​

The Jarl said with a chuckle.

"Would be shitty sailors if they couldn't."​

Kol absently nodded, though in his head he was doing the math that he was sure Sindric and his Lieutenants had already done. The odds of any sort of victory here were slim, very very slim. "Even better."

He suggest looking up at Ruvsa.

"If we can use a few of the engines to take out some of their ships." Kol was hardly a warrior. He had been in many battles, but he'd never preferred being on the front lines. It made his spells more...difficult. "The less transports they have, the more time we get."

More of a delay could only help his...works. "Then we sabotage."

He glanced at Ruvsa for her approval.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá held in a sigh at Kol's answer. She glanced at his face as he looked over the maps, saw that he was also coming to the same conclusion: that the settlement was doomed.

"Good," she muttered quietly as Sindric said that they could all swim.

As Kol spoke, she listened, her fingers tapping thoughtfully at the edge of the map, and when he looked over at her, she nodded.

"We need fighters that can blend in with the enemy. We swim up under the siege engines, and covertly take some of them over. Kill the ones manning it, change into their clothes, and they don't even know until we turn on them. The rest of the machines, we sabotage."

She couldn't help but scowl a little as she looked down at the map again, though, and then looked over to Sindric with a steady gaze. "What exactly are your intentions here? This place isn't valuable enough to defend with the lives of all your people. Are we buying time for an escape?"
 
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Kol

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People who blended in with the enemy.

Kol considered for a moment, glancing around at the Northmen. None of them looked even close to orcs of course, save for their size and general demeanor. "I can take care of the appearance at least."

The Sorcerer mused for a few seconds, glancing down at one of the grins that hovered just beneath Sindric's hips. The Dark God whispered something, but Kol ignored it's words as he always did.

"We're buying time for reinforcements."​

The Jarl answered quickly.

"They do not like retreat." Kol whispered quietly to Ruvsa. No one ever did of course, a fact that he was sure would not be lost on Ruvsa either. He doubted that the Nordenfiir liked retreat more than anyone else. His own people saw it as a tactic of war, but only after centuries of harsh lessons.

"I've sent my fastest ships to Kjos, Forjen, and Lekos."​

Three free cities of the North. All of them renown for their prowess in battle, all of them known for fighting with one another as much as anyone else. "Ah so we're clinging to blind hope then."

As Kol spoke the words Sindric let out an angry growl, stepping forward towards the Nordenfiir.

"At least I didn't abandon my own people once the job was done."​
 
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Ruvsá

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"The... enhancements won't be permanent, right?" Ruvsá muttered, but was thankful that it was an option. Sometimes bravado and armor were enough to fool the enemy from a distance, but any little bit to make the illusion more believable would be greatly helpful in this case.

A brow rose sharply at Sindric's answer about reinforcements, and Kol's whisper about them not liking retreat. She heard the man out, but rolled her eyes when Kol goaded the man with the comment about blind hope, and as Sindric growled and stepped forward, she sighed, and held up a hand, stepping back before she was stuck between the two glowering men.

"Whatever argument there is between you two, leave me out," she said firmly. "And settle it away from this table."

She crossed her arms and met Sindric's gaze again. "But let me make something clear: I am helping because I am able to and because I happen to be here. But I am not making any allegiance with you or your people. I will fight to my best ability to help your people, but I will not lay my life on the line for a fool's hope.

"And if you truly wish to take up your grievances with Kol, remember that he didn't have to speed Jakyll's journey back, nor even come this way at all."

Ruvsá took a breath, looked at each man, and when she was satisfied that they at least weren't going to fight right on top of her, she relaxed her stance.

"Now," she said, looking back at the map, "what if reinforcements don't come in time? What will our contingency plan be then?"
 
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Kol

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Kol let amusement flicker across his features, something that only seemed to aggravate Sindric all the more.

After they had taken the island The Sorcerer had set out with most of the Nordwiir who had come with him. Some had chosen to stay of course, and those were the ones he had 'left behind'. Kol felt no pity for them, not then and certainly not now.

One little island had not been enough, would never be enough.

Particularly when it was plagued with the northmen.

Such opinions would never be shared in front of Sindric, or even Ruvsa for that matter, but it was nevertheless the truth. His people deserved more, and when he'd left Kol had intended to seize it. The Dark Gods had not seen that wish fulfilled, not then.

It was still to come.

"Bah."​

Sindric said with a dismissive wave of his hand as Ruvsa practically pushed them apart, his gesture dismissing Kol as he stepped back around the table.

"We may...leave by ship until Menalus' navy arrives."​

The Warchief told Ruvsa, though it was clear he thought of the option as a last resort.
 

Ruvsá

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Kol stayed silent this time, at least, and much to Ruvsá's relief the subject was dropped fairly quickly. She was sure Kol had his reasons for the perceived 'abandonment' that Sindric had complained about. She may not agree with them, but if there was one thing she knew about this particular Nordwiir so far was that he did nothing without a reason.

"We may...leave by ship until Menalus' navy arrives."​
The Warchief told Ruvsa, though it was clear he thought of the option as a last resort.

"Then every person who is unable to fight should be on those ships, ready to sail at a moment's notice," Ruvsá said. "They should be living on those ships. And all your able-bodies, except for the very best swimmers, should be tasked with getting those people there. People can pack tonight, and get on those ships first thing at dawn."

She looked over at Kol for a moment. A night of rest would have been nice, but unless they knew for sure where Menalus' ships were and when they would arrive...

"While we still have daylight, we need to pick out which siege machines we're taking over, and assign the fighters who will be stationed at them. The rest of the machines, we'll need to sabotage. If the machines are each manned, it's going to be complicated to both switch out soldiers and sabotage without raising in alarm," she directed her question to Kol now, "but perhaps you can help with that?"
 

Kol

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"Perhaps you do not understand."

Sindric spoke with a confidence now, though not arrogance. There was something in his tone, perhaps pride. Kol had heard it before.

"If you think we could force people to leave, we might already have. We of the north do not retreat. Not unless we are forced. Women, children, even the infirm. They all fight in some way. By choice."

The Sorcerer stayed silent as Sindric spoke, mostly because there was nothing for him to add here. He leaned back against one of the pillars, simply waiting for the warlord to finish his speech of pride and arrogance. He watched Ruvsa as he did.

"Those who wanted to leave already have. I won't condemn the people that remain to death, that much I will give you. But do not think you can make Northmen go where they do not want to go."

Kol rolled his eyes, but did not counterman the Jarl.

"I can see us into the enemies camp, though if these numbers are correct. Even My magics will not shield enough to take out all of the siege weapons." He finally stated. "Perhaps if we destroy enough, they will become more weary."

Enough so to buy time.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá held back an annoyed sigh, crossing her arms as Sindric made his speech. She'd forgotten how strangely arrogant humans were. Certainly the Nordenfiir had their own pride, but she'd grown used to the lack of inflated egos among the shield maidens. She'd forgotten how male warriors could be.

"If they do not want to go," she stated quietly at the end. "Then as the leader, it is your job to make them want to go where you command, even when they disagree."

She wouldn't waste any more breath on it, though, and as Kol spoke up, her eyes returned to the map spread across the table.

"I can see us into the enemies camp, though if these numbers are correct. Even My magics will not shield enough to take out all of the siege weapons." He finally stated. "Perhaps if we destroy enough, they will become more weary."

"We should prioritize the siege weapons that will do the most damage to the town," Ruvsá said, pointing them out on the map, slightly modifying her plan. "Assign me a dozen of your best swimmers. We'll get rid of the those manning the machines, and sabotage the weaponry, and put up fake soldiers--scarecrows, of a sort--to make it seem that the machines are still guarded.

"Then, depending on how many Kol can disguise without too great of strain, we'll take over as many of the remaining siege weapons as we can, and turn them against Menalus' forces when they arrive.

"Whatever supplies need to be carried, I will carry as I swim. Whatever is on my person when I shift into my Svalen will be available when I shift back, but anything that needs to stay dry should go into waterproof sacks."

She looked back up at Kol and Sindric then, to see what they thought.

"Do you know when they next change out the guards on the siege machines?"

Surely, with the time they'd had to observe, that would have been noted.
 
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Kol

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"There won't be one." Kol was the one to answer, surprisingly.

"Blight Orcs are..." He shrugged. "They aren't like armies you'd think of, not like anyone back home."

That was a lesson he had learned on his first raid into the Blightlands. Things worked different for the creatures. They were fierce, tribal, and incredibly possessive of their roles. There were hints of that when they'd been trapped on the ship, but a crew wasn't an army.

Not in the same ways. "Each engine will have a crew, and only that crew. No guards either, they rely on sheer numbers."

If Ruvsa looked over at their companion she would see him nod in confirmation.

"Your plan will work well." He told Ruvsa.

"But the moment we are noticed things will go south." Which given the number of orcs it was doubtless one of them would notice eventually. "We will have to prepare to leave quickly."

And lose men on the way out.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsà frowned at Kol's information, and she saw Sindric's nod of agreement from the corner of her eye. A smile flickered at the corner of her mouth when Kol praised her plan, but she was already readjusting and rethinking parts of it.

If there was no shift in crews on the siege machines, then their likelihood of discovery was far greater.

She looked over the map again, one more time.

"We need a diversion that will lull them into complacency," she said at last, her gaze flickering back up to Kol. "Would it be easier to create a fog that would cover the whole area, and last for several hours--preferably past daybreak tomorrow--or to disguise everyone?

"It would help if the water could be choppy, too. To cover the noise of taking over the siege weapons."

Instead of aiming for specific machines, too, it would be better to work from the shoreline out. Leave the last few siege weapons that Menalus' fleet would encounter first intact, so they didn't suspect anything. They could kill the crews manning the nearer siege weapons and lash the bodies upright, so it appeared that all was normal. At least through the fleeting glimpses of fog.

Then they could commandeer a row of siege weapons between the ones they left untouched and the others, Sindric's people replacing the blight orcs that manned them.

But that would only work if there was fog.
 
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Kol

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"Fog is simple." Kol stated plainly.

With the soul he had taken from the island such a task would be easy enough, though creating waves in the water would be more difficult. The more magic he used the higher the cost would be. The Dark Gods would demand a price of blood.

He did not think the Orcs would do.

Lips thinned for a brief moment, but he did not speak an objection. Ruvsa's plan would work, and for now at least it would be the best one that they had. "We'll have to put out spotters."

The Nordwiir stated.

"When we see Menalus' fleet approach." Time would be tight, they would have to move quickly. "That is when we strike."

The window would be narrow, but it would give them the greatest chance of taking the siege weapons and using them before they were discovered. That at least would get them some dent in the army that they still faced.
 

Ruvsá

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Fog is simple he said. But Ruvsá didn't miss what Kol's statement also implied: that the other part of her request would not be. Her gaze flickered momentarily to Sindric, wondering if he was aware of the more... grisly aspects of Kol's abilities. Ruvsá was willing to wager that Kol had told her more of his Dark Gods and their ways than most others he'd journeyed with.

It likely wasn't a good move to tell your companions that you needed to make human sacrifices on a somewhat regular basis.

"We'll have to put out spotters."

The Nordwiir stated.

"When we see Menalus' fleet approach." Time would be tight, they would have to move quickly. "That is when we strike."

Ruvsá nodded in agreement. The crews with the machines would be distracted, and they wouldn't expect an attack to come from the water anyway.

"Now that that's settled," she said, picking up her plate of food again. "I'd like something to drink that isn't seawater."

When there was a moment where Sindric was distracted, she turned to Kol and quietly asked, "Is there anything I can do to help with the... magic?"
 
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Kol

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"Drinks we can do, lass."

Something the northmen were famous for; mead. There was a loud call shouted from the Warlord, and someone quickly went rushing out of the great hall towards some great barrel of Mead. Kol watched quietly for a moment, and then leaned over to Ruvsa when she whispered in his ear.

A small smile touched his lips.

"There will be enough when we take the Siege engines." He thought, at least.

There was always a chance that the Dark Gods would not take the Orcs. Some souls were...tainted in a way, and he couldn't help but remember the disgust he'd felt from his patrons the last time he had offered them those of the Blight.

Still, they could not sacrifice more of their own fighters.

Yet as that thought penetrated his mind, so did an insidious whisper. It was a quiet thing, almost unheard. Yet it rang within Kol's mind. He frowned for a moment, and then said. "But."

He heard an echo of a laugh.

"If I tell you to cut someone's throat." His tone was still. "Do it."

There was just a moment, a brief second of silence, then he added. "For it may be the only way we survive."
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá grinned at Sindric called for the mead, happy to take a mug of it or several. Bears liked honey as much as bees, after all.

As they waited, and Kol spoke quietly with her, she just nodded.

"So long as it's not my own," she murmured, though her eyes jumped from person to person in the room, vaguely wondering which one of them might be condemned by her own hand.

It wasn't as if any of them were guaranteed to live, anyway.

Ruvsá turned back to the map table briefly and retrieved the plate of food she'd set aside earlier. Other than the people she'd be working with directly to take out the siege machines and trebuchets, Ruvsá had no desire to get to know the people of the settlement. There was no point in making connections and bonds here when they might all be dead in a few day's time, and regardless of the outcome--short of her own death, of course--she'd be heading back to the Tundra anyway.

She continued eating at the meager portion of food while awaiting the mead, and found herself inching closer to Kol.

"Do you ever worry that your gods are just... stringing you along?" she asked curiously. "Making you their puppet, while making promises they never intend to keep?"

The same girl who'd brought her the plate of food trotted over with the mead then, a large mug of it that sloshed over the side more than a few times.

"Thank you," Ruvsá said with a smile as she raised it to her lips, sighing as the taste of it began to wash the salt and brine of the ocean away.
 
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Kol

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Kol did not eat, instead he leaned against a large beam that stood right besides the table. His eyes watched those around them carefully, studying the Northerners and watching who was among them. He recognized a few faces of course, but by and large most were strangers.

Briefly he wondered if any of his own kin were still here, or if they had grown bored of this place and moved on.

"I do not." Kol answered absent of mind.

His gaze flickered over the northerners, thinking back to Sindric's words for a brief moment before he slowly looked back towards Ruvsa. A smile touched his face.

"I know they are." He told her with a shrug. "Making me their puppet, putting me on their strings."

Slowly the Sorcerer looked over his shoulder, as though he could see something there. Then he glanced back towards the Nordenfiir. "But lucky for me their strings pull in all sorts of different directions, and I have just enough will to grab the one I want."

It was a dark, almost sick joke in a way, but Kol had long ago accepted that he had no free-will.

The Dark Gods lead his life, they pulled him along and showed him what path he walked upon. Yet there were a thousand paths, countless strings. One for each God who wanted to touch this world.
 
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Ruvsá

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Whenever Kol smiled--not the victorious or insidious smiles he was prone too, but the rare ones that appeared when he was relaxed or actually having fun--Ruvsá found herself wondering what he might have been like if his life hadn't been so hard. But in that case, they might not have ever met, and despite how different they were, she was glad she had.

She finished the last of her food and set the plate aside, slowly nursing at the mead as she listened to Kol speak. She saw him glance over his shoulder, but it seemed to be more like when he was looking at things that most people couldn't see, rather than anything actually there. Remembering the shadowed figures she'd seen in the waves of the storm... she didn't turn to look herself.

She doubted Kol was giving her a warning of any kind, but she heard it all the same.

Rely on the Dark Gods too much, and you'd lose control.

"I hope," she said softly as she lowered the mead from her lips, "that I have at least been an enjoyable string for you. Perhaps even one you might have chosen without their influence."

Ruvsá sighed then and rolled her shoulders and stretched her neck, starting to feel the aches and strain of having weathered the storm on the longboat.

"How long do you think we'll have till Menalus arrives?" Or at least his fleet. She would be surprised of Menalus himself graced this small town with his presence. "Do you think your storm delayed them at all?"
 
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Kol

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"A day, perhaps two if what Sindric said is right." He mused for a moment.

"The storm will have continued east, then cut north." There was always a possibility that Menalus' fleet had been within the path, but Kol would not have gambled upon it. His magics had created the storm, but he'd used natural tides to guide it. Anything more would have been too costly. "That being said, the Blight is not known for it's ships."

Meaning if they had encountered the storm the Fleet had suffered at least a few losses at least.

It would have been a blessing, really, though from the way Sindric had made it sound even that would not be enough. Given time the army that now surrounded them was more than enough to take this whole city, even if they hadn't yet moved.

A truth that was likely well known by all around them.

The Sorcerer shrugged. "We will wait, and prepare. Though if I had to guess, we will see one of the Fire-Giant's sons very soon."