A Game of Pawns

Discussion in 'The Salty Dog Tavern' started by Baerron Jael, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. Baerron Jael

    Baerron Jael Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2016
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    282
    Richard's right hand shook violently and he squeezed the remains of his fingers into a tight ball and pushed it into his leg to steady it. The harsh, frigid winds of Dagger Isle added a new level of torment to him than he was used to merely by the means of Baerron Jael. This was Lord Soth's domain, and it bit into him like a rabid wolf.

    The red voice crept into his ear. "The Wizard of Paws is proving quite useful to our cause, but we must determine precisely the sort of man that he is." Richard did not understand. He cast his dark, sunken eyes to the jars, urns, vases, and boxes containing various organs and limbs harvested from those that the daemon murdered. The daemon did not collect from every victim, and only chose specific parts from specific people, but Richard did not know the reason behind it.

    "There is one way to determine what sort of man he is... There is one way to get him to reveal his thoughts to us." The voice continued in his mind. Black ichor oozing from the growing pustule on the side of his face froze in the biting wind. "Send the revenant, tell him to meet us in Covetous."

    The revenant was the creation of the daemon, the culmination of his mastery over the thread of death. It was a slow, unintelligent corpse that was reliable to deliver a message. The revenant's skin was ghostly pale, having no blood to circulate. Its eyes were dark and lifeless. There did not appear to be a trace of hair anywhere in its face or head. Richard relayed the message to the revenant and it steadfastly set about bringing the Wizard of Paws to Covetous.

    "What do you mean to do if he even comes?" Richard asked aloud to the cold indifferent gales.

    "Oh, he will come... There are several things he simply will not resist, and the challenge of pawns is one of them. The candle of Ragar is the other. He will agree to the game and it will reveal to us his inner thinking, his tactics and strategies..." Richard was beginning to understand. The crimson hell began to bleed into his eyes and he once more felt submerged under a pool of boiling blood and filth. Baerron Jael rose to the top of his conscious mind. To Covetous!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As the daemon expected, the Wizard not only showed up, but agreed to a game of pawns, with the candle (and metaphorical honor) of Ragar Truesword as the stakes claimed by the winner. Richard could feel the daemon's amusement, something that does not occur very often at all. Quite quickly, the game began.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After the opening moves and several turns, Jupiter began to reveal his strategy of sacrificing pawns in defensive maneuvers to protect higher-ranked pieces.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After losing many pieces to Baerron Jael, Jupiter did not change strategy. The daemon was beyond amused. The Wizard not only sacrifices pawns for mere defense, but sacrifices all but the highest ranking pieces to save himself. He is not a man of offensive capabilities, and is more than willing to throw numerous bodies to their doom in his own short-term defense. For a man so vested in the light and the virtues, his strategy was one of cowardice and fear, the daemon mused; fear of losing the two highest pieces on the board, which ultimately proved to be his undoing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The coup-de-gras came, sealing Jupiter's defeat in the game of pawns. The candle of Ragar would remain with Baerron Jael, and the Wizard revealed a great deal about himself in the process. "If only he knew how much he was helping us..." the voice echoed in the caverns of Richard's mind. This was the most fun the daemon had since the centuries spent in the Stygian Abyss.

    Richard blinked. The red faded slightly and the hypothermic tundra of Dagger Isle rose up around him. Frost bite quickly set into the remainder of his skin hanging off of his arms. He was numb, for once.

    The revenant stood motionless in the snow drift, staring straight ahead. Richard... no, the daemon, could sense what passed for a semblance of thought within the revenant. After Jupiter's defeat in Covetous, he was preparing to do something... The thoughts were difficult to discern amid a jumble of memories from the revenant's former life. Jupiter was hiring a great deal of mercenaries and gathering people together to escort... what? Ahh... the essence of the Sapphire Maiden... The daemon struggled to piece together further thoughts and memories of the revenant. Where was the essence going? A scout was sent out... a man named Aragorn, to see if opposition stood in the way on the road to... Yew! Baerron Jael would not take that bait and reveal himself.

    Jupiter was gathering his pawns to protect the two highest ranking pieces on the board: himself and the Sapphire Maiden. In the game of pawns, he was quick to discard the lesser lives for the sake of the 'greater good', but would he truly do that with lives he proclaims to care about? Baerron Jael grinned wide, something that always burned Richard deep in the back of his mind. The daemon was going to find out.

    Before setting out to intercept Jupiter's escort, Baerron Jael sensed something... familiar... in the nearby tundra. A man of ignoble repute and tainted with more than a small amount of daemonic corruption himself... Xi was a willing volunteer to spearhead the vanguard into the escort. The crimson hell washed over Richard rapidly, the thudding beat of his decaying heart filled his ears and at once the sizzle and burn of magic and death followed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The ambush was fierce and rapid, followed by multiple skirmishes en-route to Yew. It was difficult to get an exact count, but Jupiter's escort consisted of about four free people of Paws, one or two poor conscripts from who-knows-where, and about ten to twelve hired mercenaries and four pack horses. The mercenaries fell, most of the freefolk of Paws fell, all of the horses fell. As Baerron Jael thought, Jupiter gladly sacrificed all of his pawns and high ranking pieces.

    Baerron Jael learned all that he needed to know for the moment, and collected a great deal of body parts that would be greatly useful thanks to the wasteful nature of Jupiter's strategems. He spent several moments dismembering the bodies of the fallen.

    Somewhere south of Yew the daemon broke off his attack. He had a small amount of the Sapphire Maiden's essence clutched in his rotting, boil-covered hand, but it was not what he sought. He watched the remains of Jupiter's group from afar. After their stunning losses, the group decided upon drinking their sorrows away. The daemon was too amused to simply let this be and wanted to observe closer.

    The daemon nearly gave himself away in his mirth when the human known to him as Dun Scaith took a newlywed couple upstairs and murdered them in cold blood. Baerron Jael sensed a darkness lingering deep within that one... He might carry the light of Paws on the surface, but it cast a great shadow. The daemon could sense this was not the first time Dun Scaith murdered.

    [​IMG]

    Upon Jupiter's arrival, the daemon revealed himself for his own self amusement.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Richard dropped the essence of the Sapphire Maiden on the counter top. All that trouble to transport it, all those lives lost, and it did not occur to them that the location of the Sapphire Maiden was of no real consequence. She had a very specific aura to her, something that Baerron Jael could sense half a world away. He could find her wherever she might hide, if he ever had need to do so, but he would prefer to keep clear of her. Whereas the daemon had this finger pressed against the thread of death in the grand tapestry of all things, the Sapphire Maiden held close the thread of life.

    [​IMG]

    Taking the severed body parts of the fallen, the daemon cut them open and removed their livers.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Richard never felt the daemon so content and amused. The hell voice of the fel beast wrapped around the inside of Richard's skull. "Keep sacrificing your pawns, Jupiter. You are giving us what we need."
  2. Syphilis_Jack

    Syphilis_Jack Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2014
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    83
    After a hard night's drinking, Michael Blade, the "former" pirate once known as Syphilis Jack, headed back to the Crow's Nest to open for the morning. He was greeted by Paddy O'Brien, looking a bit more paranoid than usual.

    1.jpg

    "Ugh, it's terrible!" Paddy O'Brien exclaimed as hurredly pushed through the door of the Crow's Nest Tavern.

    "Paddy, I can explain..... the stew... mebbe it weren't cooked thorough enough.... a bottle of strong liquor an' a rag should clean it right up..." Michael Blade replied, thinking of the patrons who requested food the previous night.

    "No, no, that's not it. It appears that some newlywed couple was murdered here last night and I just had to deal with the guards who were investigating. Such a mess. And more of a mess than usually left by a bunch of rowdy drunken pirates!"

    "Murder?" He tried to recall the events of the previous night. He had a few rounds of drinks with infamous thieves BlackEye and Pockets but murderers they weren't. "When I left the bar and left Garth in charge, it was empty save fer the rats." Blade replied.

    "Yes, murder. No one really cared about the pirate who lost his head during a heated card game, but this is far worse. And the place reeked of pure evil.... and not just the usual aroma of stale beer, vomit, and pirates who haven't bathed in years! Garth can't tell me anything... as you had to hire a mute barkeep who had his tongue cut out at some point in his pirating days. What little I could gather from him, it has something to do with Jupiter and the villagers of Paws. I've got a public relations nightmare to deal with here. I can't be known as the guy who opens businesses only to have non-gorilla related deaths occurring in them! I'll be ruined!" Paddy exclaimed. "You should lay low while I deal with this, we can't have the guards asking you too many questions, lest they realize a certain resemblance to the wanted pirate, Syphilis Jack. In fact... perhaps you should go to Paws and find out from the locals or even the Grey wizard himself what's going on. I'll take care of things here while you're gone, and deal with the guards inquiries..."

    "Very well... but don't expect me to get involved. I'm retired..." Blade said as he turned away. He didn't necessarily feel like a long journey, but it sounded much better than sticking around only to be thrown into a dark prison cell for a crime he didn't commit.... or for the crimes he committed in the past for that matter.
    "Back to the shrine... I never can shake meself of that place..." the former pirate thought.

    The Shrine of Spirituality, and the community there now had a certain connection to him. In his younger days he had traveled there in another realm to start his life of adventure, which eventually took a dark turn and led him to war. He had once traveled there with the gathering of pirates known as the Sea Lords, to behead the mysterious oracle of Paws. Once, he aligned with the Grey wizard and the villagers of Paws to help retrieve a missing journal. He lived there briefly after serving as a lighthouse keeper in the ill-fated settlement of Cape Adalet. The last time he was there, he ran the Broken Oar Inn, until departing on a journey to his home realm in search of his beloved gypsy lass. Maybe he'd find answers from the Grey Wizard, or the Seamstress of Paws, a friend and regular of his tavern.

    Michael Blade, the former pirate and assassin, packed his backpack with provisions and set out on the way. It would be a long journey by foot since he liked to avoid major towns and roads. The road to Paws was long, but sometimes when evil brews in the realm, all roads lead to Paws... and once again, the Shrine of Spirituality.

    2.jpg
  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,142
    Likes Received:
    2,880
    This story has been added to the oral history of Paws.

    MEMORIZED!​
  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,142
    Likes Received:
    2,880
    The grotesque human form greeted Jupiter as he returned to the Rune library after completing his training in Compassion. As the creature spoke, and moved, it seemed to spew the necromatic cocktail that had brought it into creation.

    "My Master bids you join him in the depths of Avarice," as he spoke the final words the corpse staggered passed Jupiter and as it descended the stairs it seemed to decompose, leaving a trail of corrupted reagents.

    Of course Jupiter knew this was a trap, but he had to glean whatever new information he could about this fiend that had been casting a shadow along the roads. He took a torch and lit it at the shrine, then he cast his spell to take him to the front of the Dungeon Covetous.

    However, his spell did not take him to the entrance as anticipated. Instead, he appeared in the dark chapel deep in the heart of the dungeon.

    Jupiter agreed to the chess match full aware of the risks he was taking. For in such a contest of will and wit, one cannot help but give away some bits of information. But the channel is open both ways, and he had to get some more insight behind this foul death knight.

    As the game went on, Jupiter focused on the light within him, yet as he peered across the table to his adversary, it seemed as though a great daemon loomed over him and whispered in his ear. As soon as he thought he saw this though the vision was gone, an before him again was only the Dark Baerron. Jupiter felt beads of sweat fall from his brow. "What insight had I surrendered during that moment?" he thought.

    As the game continued, Jupiter surrendered piece after piece. Constantly trying to guess at the Baerron's goal. Then the final piece was moved, and the match was called.

    "I have learned much from you, grey Wizard," the Baerron mocked, "We shall perhaps continue this another time. Perhaps you will yet recapture the light of Ragar?"

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


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

    Jupiter returned to Paws weary in all aspects of his being: spirit, body, and especially of mind.

    He found Hypatia the healer, and Dun Scaith conversing near the village center, just outside the tower.

    "It was a rotting corpse, and I'm glad I dispatched it. It wasn't natural," Jupiter overheard Dun Scaith explain.

    "But you didn't even try to offer him aid?," Hypatia always favored the path of healing in any situation. But in this instance Jupiter was sure Dun Scaith had chosen well.

    "Hypatia, the abomination was indeed a herald of the Baerron," Jupiter reasoned, " and it is best he was dispatched. Although I worry that even after the destruction of it's physical form, if the entity is not still roaming about."

    Jupiter motioned them closer and then spoke quietly, but only for a moment so as to conceal his hidden message.

    "We must distract this menace, and lead him to misinterpret our intentions, as we thus far have clearly not understood his. I shall organize a caravan under the ruse of transporting the Sapphire Maiden's essence. The task will serve to fulfill two vital objectives - First it will distract the Baerron so that we can move the animating essence to safer location, and Second - should we succeed by any measure, it will help us rekindle the fire within the hearts of at least those who travel with us. Now more than ever, we need those who carry the light of life within them!"

    Then, without care to conceal his words anymore, Jupiter sent Dun Scaith and Hypatia to find recruits to aid the caravan. The path they would travel, the cargo they sought to convey, were all overheard, Jupiter was sure, and he was counting on it.

    The Baerron's attack was calculated and ferocious. He met them at the bridge where it was nearly impossible for the group to avoid his blasts and forcing half of the caravan back across the bridge, while the others were forced forward to face the full brunt of the Baerron's attack.

    The group fought without falter, and they fled along the road. The horses perished one by one, as each of the Baerron's attacks grew in ferocity. At last though, they made it to the Empath Abby, and there the group collected what was left of what Jupiter had claimed was the Sapphire Maiden's essence.

    "The light of Sapphire Maiden can never be lost, so long as even a spark lives within any one of us!" Jupiter praised the group. And in the back of his mind, he only hoped his ruse had succeeded.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,142
    Likes Received:
    2,880
    i liked this bit a lot. nice.
  6. Aragorn - OCT

    Aragorn - OCT Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2016
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    220
    [I had intended to stay for 20 minutes, but stayed much longer and drew some ire from family members... but, boy was it worth it. Great event. And Baerron Jael! I thought I had you a couple of times... I've never been very good at PvP, but you rocked it. Jupiter, well handled and tons of fun. I appreciate the time you two (and others) put in to this. I look forward to seeing where it goes. Look forward to contributing as needed.]
    Halabinder, Alex Caember and Jupiter like this.
  7. Dun Scaith

    Dun Scaith Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2016
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    327
    Piss poor ale in that place
    I have something for you, will have to bump into you again I hope.
    PaddyOBrien likes this.
  8. PaddyOBrien

    PaddyOBrien Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,745
    Likes Received:
    2,427
    Well the place IS run by pirates.... maybe you're right :eek: hahah
    Dun Scaith and Jupiter like this.
  9. Dun Scaith

    Dun Scaith Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2016
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    327
    I should have ordered the rum.
    Jupiter likes this.

Share This Page