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gwangi32

Tears of the Goddess

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Disclaimer I will be using Conan the Role Playing Game/ Pocket Edition as the rule system for this thread. It is published by Mongoose Publishing. I intend this to be for entertainment only. This is an open licence game and any d20 character generated should be usable, but the Conan RPG has specific rules to make Hyborian Age play seem more like the REH vision.

 

::):

 

In an age lost in the mists of time there were glittering kingdoms, wise kings, conquering madmen, vile sorcerors, beautiful but troubled queens. All this and more passed away like a morning fog leaving little but few memories and a handful of tribal names. But for an initiated few there is a history of these times left by scholars from a lost kingdom called Nemedia. Come near and open the timeworn pages of the Nemedian Chronicles and read of an age undreamed of.....

 

 

We begin in extreme northeastern Aquilonia, in the city of Gauren. Aquilonia is the proudest of the Hyborian Kingdoms. She has reason for pride, this is a wealthy land, with possibilities and freedoms not found anywhere else in the world. Though the current king is weak against the power of the barons there is a concensus amongst the powerful in the Kingdom and so trade flows, and peace prevails among them.

 

Though the kingdom is at peace there are raiders at the borders. And the fiercest of these come from the north. Cimmeria, Vanahiem, Aesgard, Hyperborea raiders from these barbarian lands strike often. Each border Baron must keep troops and there are times when retaliatory raids must be made.

 

Some years before our tale began a raiding party from Hyperborea fell on a caravan as it approached the city of Gauren. This caravan was carrying treasure and jewels destined for a Shrine to Ishtar maintained by an exiled prince from Ophir in the area near Galparan. Survivors from the caravan reached Gauren and a patrol quickly gave chase. The raiders were captured in the hinterlands of the Border Kingdom mere days after the raid. Most of the raiders were dead, the treasure was gone and the story the raiders gave before they were executed was difficult to believe. Rumor has it that there was a falling out among the thieves and they killed each other and hid the treasure in the wild region of hills and mountains where Cimmeria, and the Border Kingdom touch known as the Silverhorse Hills.

 

All of the above is information that your character would pick up or know from living in the Gauren Region. It is spring and you are newly arrived in Gauren. You have lived nearby for all your life. You know that the Baron here is Karlus Taspasian. You know that spring festival is rumored to be wild and you look forward to it. You have found a reputable stable for your horse, and fair lodgings at the Winged Cat Inn. On the border, you can wear your weapons but during festival only guards on duty wear their armor.

 

You are amazed at how the people look. Food is out in abundance, various meats, sausages and breads on cooked on sticks. Roasted pheasant, fish and other things you have never eaten are available. But more distracting is the lack of decent clothing. It is warm but not hot and the locals have shed most of their clothing. All throughout the city there are tubs of water being heated and the bath houses are all open. This is the cleanest day of the year. On the outskirts of town huge piles of winter refuse are being burned. But for a country boy so much near nudity is disconcerting. It brings back all of your mother's warnings about the insanity to be found in cities.

 

One woman in particular catches your eye. She can't be much older than you and she is wandering around with the same bemused look that you have. It is obvious she is not an Aquilonian. Her appearance is Cimmerian, but she is allowed to carry weapons, there is a heavy sword strapped to her back and a dagger at her waist. She is close enough to speak too and wandering slowly toward a vendor selling meat stew in bread bowls.

 

You are in a large crowd. There is much happy banter going on. You can approach the woman, you can search for action in the crowd or you can move on.

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Obviously an outsider, the awed horse-lord wanders through the festival day crowd, his attention drawn from one wonder to the next. Uncomfortable without horseflesh beneath his seat, his bow-legged walk is an oddity in itself to these city dwellers and he draws many stares; making him even more uncomfortable. Suddenly in the crowd, he picks out the face of a young woman. She is the first person here to actually look him in the eye as she passes and he sees in her gaze the same confusion and separation from these people that fill his own heart.

 

The girl is a welcome site after the strangeness that he has been exposed too this day. Although not Aquilonian, her appearance and demeanor bring a strong resemblance of home compared to the outlandish city folk. He decides to approach her as she stops at vendor’s stall. Besides, a hot bowl of stew would help to assuage the sudden growling of his stomach!

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:wow: I will reverse the trend of my first post. If the post is part of the narrative it will be standard text and character notes or choices will be in italics or bold.

 

You wait a moment as the woman is served. Somehow she has noticed that you are intersted and she says, "I've got a pitcher of cold water and some mugs over by that tree," she motions with her elbow to a large oak tree with tables set up underneath, "Why don't you come over and you can talk as well as stare." She smiles and wanders off toward the tables, through a crowd of jugglers, street performers and walking vendors selling trinkets and foods.

 

The breadbowl fills both hands and is filled with a savory beef stew, tender cubes of meat, chunks of mushroom and carrot . Having taken your coins the vendor asks if you'd like a bottle of Ionea Wine, a vintage from Poitan. You have plenty of coiins left and the price seems right.

 

You can buy the wine or not, it's one quart in a leather bag. Then you have a choice to join the young woman at the table she is now sitting at or not.

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The aroma of the stew wafting into his nostrils is enough to drive all thoughts of thriftiness out of Mycaelis' mind and he hands the vendor more coins for the wineskin. Then he trots over to join the young woman. There is a long period of silence between the two as they eat their stew as if it is their last meal also savoring the coolness of the water interspersed with long draughts from the wineskin. Finally, their appetites appeased, Mycaelis breaks the silence.

 

"It's good to see someone here who is as unfamiliar with the city as I am. I am called Mycaelis. Tell me, what brings one such as you here?"

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The woman looks up from her mug of water, “Directly to the point,” she says with a smile, (she has an accent that involves rolling the gutturals, something you recognize as common for Cimmerians), “Not very civilized of you. I am Cruidha and I am from the Border Kingdom. I am of clan Drounaug. This may seem a silly to you but it is (she struggles for a word) important. I suppose that you may have heard that there are lost treasures in the hills (she points to the north and east). I believe that I have found clues to the whereabouts of one of these treasure troves. I am from the region and that should help to verify that this isn’t a wild goose chase. I need a couple companions, we would share out the treasure equally. I have more story to tell but I want to know I can count you in on the trip.” She stops and stares at you. Her green eyes locked on to your own. You are forced to see a strong willed person, where before you had seen a beautiful woman.

 

You may have questions that you want to ask out of the character flow. Either drop them at the beginning in italics or bold, PM me or put it in the gathering thread. Just let me know where it will be. I rolled once for you to recognize the Cimmerian accent. Another thing your character would recognize is that Cimmerians are typically straightforward, blunt by civilized standards.

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"I apologize if my manner seems abrubt to you." Mycaelis replies. "I am unused to the sights and sounds of the city during festival and am not quite myself."

 

"I must admit that I am intrigued by your offer. Part of the reason for my being here is to find work to earn money to help support my village. My skills as far as the kind of work that city folk need are few, but I am a tireless worker and a quick learner. However, if we found this treasure that you speak of, my village would easily be able to purchase the supplies that we need in order to survive. The past winter was harsh and our resources have been severely drained. I would be honored to accompany you."

 

 

 

For off-topic questions and comments, I'm more used to posting them in the Gathering threads, so that is what I will most probably stick to if that works for you. However, if we get more players and there is something more sensitive/private in nature, I will be sure to PM you.

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Cruidha grins and now seems a playful girl. "Well would you be honored enough to give up a half share and let me keep three quarters of the treasure?" She looks around, but there isn't anyone nearby. "I suppose we had best be quiet on that score. You are the first person I have told. But then I didn't trust the look of most of these ox brains." She gestures at a particularly large and dirty man who walks by carrying a load of furs. "That fellow has been trying to pinch me for the last two days. You might be the only man so far to look me in the eyes, at least part of the time." She finishes talking and grins again. She stands up and stretches, striking a provacative pose. You notice that many men wandering by glance over to watch.

 

"I think it would be best to meet back here at nightfall. We'll slip out during the dancing tonight. I know a place where we can set up camp a few miles out of town. I have a pony for carrying things. It looks as if you know something of horses so I expect you'll have a beast to ride. Try to get a couple days food. It's early in the season so foraging might be a little rough. "

 

Before you have much chance to reply she has moved off into the crowd. As you follow her progress through the crowd a voice intrudes "A very direct and spirited woman, looking like a young warrior goddess." You turn to find an older man has joined you at the table. He is looking longingly at your small remaining bit of wine.

 

"I am parched or I would tell you some of the tales of the treasures in the mountains. I overheard only a little of what was said. I know that you will not be the only ones leaving for treasure hunts. Every year after festival men and some few women go searching for the legends in the hills. Again I say that for the small price of some wine I will tell you tales of that treasure."

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"Well would you be honored enough to give up a half share and let me keep three quarters of the treasure?"

 

"Well, I don't know. I guess...uh" Mycaelis stammers, then realizing that she is being playful, he blushes a deep shade of red that only deepens as the attractive young maiden flirts with him and stretches her lythe body. Then, suddenly, she has arranged their meeting time and disappeared into the crowd.

 

When the old man approaches, Mycaelis is a bit taken aback at first, not realizing that anyone was within earshot of their conversation. Regaining his composure but keeping his guard up, he hands the old man the wineskin. "Take it, old one. It is yours. I would hear your tale."

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"You are too kind boy, much too kind. A more cynical man would be moved to take advantage of young people like you and the girl who just left. But I, "the old man sighs heavily, "I am cursed with a compassionate soul."

 

He sips the wine, savoring the rich, fruity taste. "Well it seems my son that some years ago there was an uprising in Ophir. This is a land far to the south of here where the worship of Mitra has faded and that of Ishtar has grown. But the people are of the Hyborian stock as are we. And they have connections, at least in the ranks of the nobility. In this uprising a family with connections was uprooted and fled here. They actually settled in Tanusul, to the west."

 

"This family was made up of an elderly man of wealth and position, his young wife and a daughter who was older than the wife but still a young woman. There was as might be guessed some tension in this family. The women competed for attention. The wife continually tried to set up marriages for her step daughter. The father favored his daughter and always allowed her to make the choice not to marry. In fact, the young wife realized before long that she was an outsider in the house. Used as a fancy plaything on the old man's arm at parties or on trips to court. The old man kept her in a separate room and had little desire to be passionate. He was a thinker and he had his daughter to talk ideas with. They invited scholars, priests and philosophers to discuss all manner of strange and wonderful things. But the wife was never included."

 

"All the people in the house were of the nobility in Ophir and had they been able to stay in Ophir the wife would have had some recourse, through family connections. But the old man valued his possessions and that is how he saw his wife. The daughter hated the wife. It would of course be awkward to be older than your mother. But worse, the wife was charming, beautiful and intelligent. The daughter was clumsy, plain and very smart. So in that house you can see jealousy, envy, pride and intolerance all placed at the table. Something would be made of those ingredients don't you think. I will mention that these people are still known here abouts, that is why I avoid names, though they don't live in the north anymore."

 

 

 

:poke:The old man pauses as do I. It's time to cook dinner and such. I'll post the rest of the story as soon as I can.

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Mycaelis listens to the old man's story with great interest, chewing absently on a stick of sweet candy that he had purchased earlier in the day.

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With a sigh the storyteller returns to his tale. "As might be apparent something had to give. It was the wife. Young, attractive, intelligent and bored. She decided to stop trying to find matches for the daughter and looked for lovers for herself instead. She found a discrete nobleman of some wealth, from the central provinces. This man I shall call the lover. The lover had wealth and position. And as the old man was in exile, it is possible the lover could have just taken the wife away. But that would have been scandalous." The storyteller pauses for a sarcastic grin and a final sip of wine.

 

"The wife and the lover decided to buy a separation. The old man was fond of possessions and searching for knowledge. Knowing his true passion the wife fell into the idea of bring a necklace of strange pearls from Ophir. This necklace was held in a temple of Ishtar in Ophir and was rumored to have the ability to extend the owner's life. Because the wife had some power over the priest in that temple she promised to have the necklace delivered for her 'freedom'. And the old man agreed."

 

"It is the tragedy of humanity that we are fickle and make decisions that seem counter to any logic. That the wife would be gone should have made the daughter happy. She felt betrayed instead. The daughter had found contacts in the city, had made friends and lovers of her own. She searched among the lower elements to find some way to sabotage the deal that her stepmother and father had made. What she determined to do was have the necklace stolen. An agent hired Hyberborean Mercenaries to attack the caravan carrying the gems using her inside knowledge. And the bandits made good on their promise. Raiding the caravan and carrying the gems away. But they did not meet with the daughter's agants. The bandits dissappeared into the wilderness, most losing their lives and losing the loot. A few were brought back unable to describe what had happened to them and were executed."

 

"That ends the tale of the jewels I presume you are going to look for. If you are curious and have a small silver coin I can tell you how things sorted out for the old man, the wife, the lover and the daughter."

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"Unfortunately, you have hooked me." Mycaelis replies, shaking his head and flipping a small silver coin to the man. "Finish your story, old one."

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"You are a generous young man," replies the storyteller. Smiling he takes the coin and flips it along the his knuckles. "It seems the scheme of the daughter was found out by the wife. The daughter was holding a tiger by the tail at that point. The wife was now actually in love with her new man and he with her. The old man was angry that a possible magical artifact had slipped through his hands. So it seemed the best course was for the daughter to run. Which she did with a trunk of gems and a pair of servants. She ended up in Argos where she had set up shop as a trader. Her father stayed where he was, alone when his wife decided to leave with her new paramour. There was the inevitable scandle, which passed by almost unnoticed by the loving pair, they live in the capitol trading in horses. The old man was not much for passion so he moved on and acquired more property and is now a very reclusive scholar. He has visitors from many strange and far lands but has almost nothing to do with the locals. He does occasionally hire people to search for the lost necklace."

 

"And so, I have given you a bit of knowledge and you have given me sustenance. I thank you and wish a prosperous life and good fortune to you." The storyteller bows and moves off into the crowd. You have at least four hours before your meeting with Cruidha. You have some coins and some goods. You chose weapon skills in weapons that you do not own, so shopping might be an option. Or we can skip up to the meeting. Or you can look around, there's always more to see at the festival.

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Mycaelis thanks the storyteller for his time and wonders what he should do next. Looking around at the crowd, he decides to check out the vendor's stalls and stock up on any supplies that might be needed for the upcoming journey after all he had some spending money and his sword was looking pretty sad. Also, while servicable, the sword was not his favorite weapon and it would be nice to find a nice, solid battleaxe. It would certainly asssuage any concerns Mycalis might have when the need arose to cleave some skulls!

 

It also wouldn't hurt to stock up on arrows and feed for his horse. Just do not be a fool and spend it all in one place. If this venture falls through, you'll need something with which to get by until finding suitable work.

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The sun is at it's highest point for the day. It is bright and warm, the crowd a mingling group of colorful cloth and pale skin. Everyone seems glad that it is spring. As you watch two men get slapped by pretty women. Laughter follows in both cases. There is rowdiness without violence. But the day is early. There are three areas in town given to the merchants during festival. One for livestock, one for household utility and one for the warrior/hunter. It is early for the farmers to be selling their wears but food vendors are around. A child runs past with some sort of meat on a stick, it smells delectable but it's shape is mysterious. A huge barbarian wanders by soon after, the heady aroma of dark Gunderland Beer wafting from the bucket sized silver tankard he is carrying. You catch a glimpse of Cruidha moving toward the weapons tents.

 

The standard for trade will be the silver piece (sp), for flavor I will use coin names and put the value I am using in parenthesis. Though and Aquilonian Luna will be worth 10 silver, you may get shaved or degraded coins worth less than the weight value, silver coins can be clipped into halves and quarters as well.

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