A Colder War

Entry 29: Random Battles, Open Bars, and Orc Wrestling – A Few of the Kings Favorite Things

Entry 29: Random Battles, Open Bars, and Orc Wrestling – A Few of the Kings Favorite Things

- We start this chapter aboard the lightning rail express headed to the Capital City, Wrote. I sit here upon my bunk surrounded by the chaps as we leisurely prepare for bed. It has been quite a day in the lap of luxury. The perquisites of first class travel are well worth the coin, dear reader, especially if that coin is not yours but your publisher’s.
- I spent most of my day following the others, but I cannot say I did not take advantage of the spa car, or the luxurious food within the dinning car. I took a little time to groom Jack’s horse Steve aboard the stable car and enjoyed my time with the beast. Speaking of beasts, the Orc has somehow managed to put a hole through our bathroom wall. It seems he found it difficult to operate the latching doors of the private bathroom within our stateroom car. I can only hope we are not charged for it. Jack spent his day in the rooms of other passengers. He is a man of the people and loves to hear the stories of others. It might be misleading to some readers but I must mention that many of those he visited with today were of the fairer sex. Make nothing of it, dear reader, only know that Jack Tobias is a man not afraid to be approached by the common people. Lord Gut spent the majority of the day within our Stateroom. He seemed to be communing with some greater force. I interrupted him briefly to interview him but he seemed not to want to be disturbed so I left him with many questions unanswered.
- In our interview he told me that “Chaos Reigns”. Perhaps that shall be the title of my first book about the man. I asked him if he did not think chaos an evil thing and he explained to me that chaos is balance. If all were ordered there would be no balance. The two must exist together. He explained to me that he was risen as a revenant to bring this message to the world. He is a living artifice of this philosophy: that order must be balanced with chaos. The DoomBringer hinted that he lived beyond the body he currently inhabits that he was alive beyond the “planier degree” that mere mortals can understand. The most puzzling thing he said is that chaos and the order he somehow associates with it “is what holds everything”. Take this as you will reader, but I myself am very intrigued.
- That is strange. There is a tapping from the ceiling. I wonder what it could be.
- Goodness me, some strange creature has busted into the window nearest Jack and is swooping toward Lord Gut.
- Lord Gut was prepared, pulling his bow as soon as he heard the tapping. He loosed an arrow at the creature and it screeched in agony as it connected. In response several more screeches were heard out side of the stateroom’s broken window.
- I believe the creature to be a NightWing, a creature of pure negative elemental energy. It appears as a darkness, a hole in reality shaped like a giant bat with glowing red eyes and long grasping talons.
- After it recovers it immediately flies for Lord Gut and grips him up in its talons in a way that can only be described as gentle.
- Jack aids the DoomBringer by leaping onto the creature and taking it to the ground.
- What’s this? Above me now the roof is peeling away. As it does the Orc has begun to shout at us the details of how to rid our selves of these creatures. It would seem he has seen their like before. He tells us that if we can kill one or two the rest will flee.
- *EDIT From the hole emerged two giant vulture-like talons. Between them emerge a vultures beak made of darkness. It snaps at me and grabs my book, but the Orc in a moment of graciousness saves my work by severing the creature’s neck, freeing me from its grasp.
- *EDIT The head bounces off the floor and hops back up to snap at the Orc’s neck before it dissolves into nothing. The Orc’s fine armor has rescued him so in part I have repaid the debt I might owe him for saving me and my notes, moments ago.
- *EDIT meanwhile Jack and Lord Gut still battle the first creature. Jack pulls a blade and stabs the creature in one of its red eyes. The creature screams and then dissolves to reveal Lord Gut where he lay under it. Jack hoots in triumph and helps the DoomBringer to his feet.
- *EDIT From the hole comes another of the winged horrors and without warning it lands atop me. It pierces my leather to stab me in the gut, but I did save my notes. I scramble out from under the creature but the beast has busted my potion of healing within my leather pouch.
- *EDIT The Orc impales the creature that has landed atop me causing it to burst into a mist that swiftly dissolves into nothing. Above several more screeches are heard as I glimpse the fiery eyes of one of the creatures through the hole in the roof. It bounds away into the night and the screeching fades into the distance. The Orc has saved me once more. The creature might be a brute but his is loyal to those he travels with. I must find a way to repay the Orc, even if it means spending more time with him.
- After the brief moments of terror we have all just experienced I believe it prudent to inform the conductor of what has just occurred aboard his train. As I limp off to do so Lord Gut rushes into the car behind us to see if there are other threats nearby.
- After the conductor uses his spell of minding to fix the ceiling and windows (and the hole in the wall the Orc had made earlier which I might have led the conductor to believe was left by the NightWings), I tried to rest, but the conductor had opened the minibar and Jack and the Orc began to celebrate their victory, as is their custom. My wounds pained me but even though I got little sleep I felt better in the morning. Perhaps my wounds were not as deep as I had believed.

- We have arrived In the Capital City of Wrote. It is a place I am well familiar with, a beautiful city, if not as grandiose as Sharn then more regal by half.
- At this point the party splits up to go about various tasks.
- I make my way to the castle to visit with an old friend, High Priest Dosal. A man that is responsible for keeping the city in order, neigh the kingdom. If we are to see the king I must at least give my old friend a heads up first.
- I have procured an audience with the king in two days hence. It was good to see Dosal, the old chap. He is still his cynical self but he sees the value in the Hero Jack Tobias, and believes that if we play our cards right we shall be able to convince the king to give us an airship for our book tour. I have found a way that even the Orc might aid in this gambit. It seems the King is a fan of wrestling. He especially likes to best those of the monstrous races, such as our fair Orc.
- *EDIT While I visited with Dosal Jack and the Orc went to a tavern they once frequented. Not surprisingly, Jack ran into an old romance, and left the Orc to his cups. After a turn of events that I will not describe here – though the good captain made sure to give me every detail in the most thorough of terminology – Jack ended up in yet another tavern across the city getting reacquainted with two women of his past. It would not be until the next day that he met Mezmeralda. The daughter of one of his wayward lovers of an age that matched Jack’s last visit to the city and that favored Jack with her fair skin and open charm. I cannot say that Jack did not dote on the young lass. Alas, he could spend but a little while getting to know her before duty called him away to another location. It would seem that during this period the Orc had created a bit of a scene in the tavern Jack had left him in.
- *EDIT In the few hours it took Jack to reacquaint himself with those he had known in the city during the war, the Orc caused such a scene as to almost be thrown out of the city. While Jack visited, the Orc drank. He drank so much in fact that the Low Road Tavern, in which Jack had left him, ran out of hopped ale (a favorite of the Orc). So having “no choice” as he would later explain, he switched to stronger spirits. The problem began when the barman asked him to close out his tab. The Orc had not intended to pay it seems for instead of complying he tossed the man out of his own establishment and barred the doors. By the time Jack came around to talk sense to the oaf, the guard had been called and a standoff was in progress. The Orc was screaming that they come look him in the face. He begged for a challenge worthy of his warrior’s prowess. Jack somehow managed to talk the guard (and the Orc) down and usher his fool-hearted companion across town to where we were lodged. Needless to say the two were forced to lay low for the two days until our audience with the King.
- *EDIT Lord Gut spent his time more wisely. He took the opportunity to visit the trade house of the Madonie. He visited long with their house historian, Anomin, looking for clues about the elven woman’s quest. Anomin told the DoomBringer of Elenon, the ancient tomb that the elven woman spoke of. He claimed it very well protected and within the tightly controlled dominion of the medusa warlord Ken. This Ken is said to have legions at his command. Anomin suggested that if we are to make it into the tomb we would have to use much stealth, for it would be impossible to battle through the many monsters at Ken’s disposal. Ken is known within Droam as one of the most warlike of the tribal leaders, and it is unlikely that he would not be aware of the treasures within the tomb.
- *EDIT Lord Gut also asked about the Emerald Claw and was briskly told that they were banished from Wrote at the end of the war. That leaves the question of why they ever were allowed access to the capital city in the first place.

- The next few days we all lay low along with Jack and the Orc, for the most part. Though, Lord Gut spent much time in the local libraries and I visited with my old publishing house Wynard Publishing. I informed the Orc of his upcoming competition with the king and this set him to preparing, though even two days after his rowdy episode he still seemed hung over. Jack seemed to be preparing for his audience, but the Hero was close lipped about his plans.

- The day has arrived and we have made our way to the castle to meet High Priest Dosal. He takes us through the many defensible rooms stock full of enchantments and wards to protect the king. I glance sideways at the Orc and he glares back at me with that special look that says he’d love to toss me over a high wall. I can only hope the brute has sense enough not to kill the king. It is not as if he will easily take victory, but if he does I worry he will get carried away. I am sure, dear reader, that you remember the poor guard in the shrine to Onatar the fire god. I can only hope there is not a repeat performance today.
- We are now entering the King’s Court. King Boranell sits slouched in his thrown. He radiates the essence of the relaxed commander. It is quite clear that he is in control here and he is well aware of that fact. The man favors a bear in the silks of a king, save his battle hardened leather belt and cap which each holster several blades, mostly axes. The man is the vision of the warrior king. An avatar of verbosity and regal majesty. It is no wonder he is much beloved within his realm.
- As we approach the King he greats us with regal ennui. The Hero Jack Tobias gracefully bows in an acrobatic display. The King tells him to stand in self-abasing grace. Jack begins to praise the King but the king has eyes only for the Orc. He demands silence from our hero and addresses the Orc by name. “You must be Cyrus” he says, in barely concealed glee. It is clear that His Majesty longs for battle. The Orc only nods, and the king begins to remove his weaponry and armor. The Orc’s insanity peeks through as he grins in reciprocated glee.
- The Orc stands his ground and allows the King the first blow. The king swipes the Orc but the Orc somehow dodges and retaliates. He grabs the King by the head and pulls him into a headlock but the King uses his shoulder to ram the Orc and knock him to the floor. King Boranell leaps at the prone Orc. The Orc attempts to catch and throw the King but the Royal Bear is too heavy. He comes down on the Orc and puts him in a leg lock. The poor Orc struggles but can find no purchase against the Kings grapple. The King begins to laugh hysterically. As he twists and lifts the Orc to slam him into the marble of the floor. The King Stands over the poor defeated Cyrus, impatient for the fight to continue. The Orc stands, and where he rises from there is a visible indention in the floor. I can only imagine, dear reader, that that ocr shaped indent will cost the Royal purse gravlely, for the ornate marble of the floor is of the rarest quality. Or at least it was before the Orc’s monstrous mug left its permanent mark upon it.
- The Orc stands, not yet discouraged and begins cracking each of his joints in turn. The King motions to the Orc to bring on his best, and the coarse beast abides. The Orc cracks a monstrous smile, just before he charges. The King side steps and puts the Orc into a full nelson. He asks the Orc to wisely yield, but the brute will not listen. The king grins and laughs once more as he brings an elbow down to once again slam the Orc to the floor. The Orc tries to rise but he is done. The King stretches in victory and sits back on his thrown still shirtless and without his armor or weapons.
- What a mighty King the nation of Breland is blessed with. King Boranell has bested a beast I have seen take on three guards at once with little bother. He has trounced the powerful Orc as once the Hero Jack Tobias did in the legendary arm wrestling match I have wrote of before. This King is himself a hero it would seem. And I feel confident now that he will see the wisdom of Jack’s proposal, and grant him his airship. What a Regal King indeed.
- Jack is taken aback by the Kings victory over his Orc. He shows deference to the King who is a brisk man and not given to be charmed even by the most charming of heroes, like Captain Jack. In the end Jack lands on humility. A face he seldom shows but one that is at the root of the Hero Jack Tobias. The King in his magnificent grace grants Jack and our party our request. I help explain to the King our plans of national unity and adventure in the name of the Kingdom and of prosperity of the realm. He likes the idea and gives us a ship and the crew to run it. He makes sure to include one of his pet changelings, Agent Trace of the Dark Lanterns. What this will mean only time will tell, but I rejoice that we have found our victory and Captain Jack will have his airship. At least for the next three months.
- I examine the good Jack. He seems down though he has found his victory. Perhaps he is worried about his Orc, or perhaps the King’s briskness has chaffed his ego. The Hero is a complex man and it is not always clear what he is thinking.
- From behind the thrown a small humanoid emerges. This is the Agent Trace the King has told us of. Weather it is male or female is unclear. It has a dandelion puff of bright green hair and its eyes are pure white. Its face is amorphous hard to focus on in a way that sends my eyes to watering. The creature is hideous, but it is also somehow beautiful. I have very rarely seen changelings, at least that I am aware of. The experience has left me questioning my own preconceive conceptions on what defines appearance. What is Beauty? What is hideousness? I must think on this, dear reader, and get back to you.
- Trace stands beside the King as he congratulates us and calls for ale to toast our agreement. We all bow low to the King’s graciousness, and take hardy gulps of ale along with him.
- In a moment of inspiration I ask the King if he would allow me to interview him and write an article about his most exciting adventure. He has agreed and insisted we go out into the city of Wrote to crawl the pubs and taverns. We all go forth to see what the night will bring us within his royal presence. What a King Boranell is. What a Hero Jack. And though Lord Gut did not play a direct part in the acquisition of the airship, he did do his part in researching our options and standing by with plan B as he ever is. Even the Orc played his role. I almost begin to respect the wayward Cyrus, but then I remember that he is and Orc, for he reminds me with his brooding and his wild actions. Perhaps he is redeemable yet, however. Only time will tell.

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