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Legends of Taltos:Crusaders

Steven Page

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Zeke sets to work driving pitons into the stone of the Wizard Tower, climbing and dropping a lenght of rope to Janara, "Start climbing, after you tie yourself in...."


Elsewhere, preparations continue for the morning service that will mark Gearge as a full Crusader......and Halbarad announces a "friendly test of arms" afterward to honor the youth's advancement......

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Start climbing, after you tie yourself in...."


Janara took a few steps toward the dangling end of rope, but then stopped.


"Nah! I best just wait down here.", she called up to him. She then walked back over to where Joe was standing.


He stared at her somewhat in surprise. "Are ya 'fraid to climb?" he asked.


"Naw it ain't that. I CAN'T climb. I got this dress on, and it ain't ladylike to climb in a dress." she replied. then giving him a hearty punch to his left shoulder for even suggesting that she was scared.


"He's prob'ly gonna be in trouble anyway. These ain't even his walls, and what good's it to climb up the outside of a tower anyway. Wouldn'it make more sense to show how it's done on some rocks or somethin'? Anyhow, if me or you wanted to get into a tower, we'd just knock..or bust the door down.. unless we was sneakin'...."


Janara rolled her eyes at Joe for the second time that day.


"Where'd ya say you found that hafflin'?"

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Roman finishes his morning vigil and sets to work poilishing his armor and shield for the upcoming ceremony. That done, he leaves his armor on its stand, belts his sword over his plain workman's clothes, and heads out to se if he can help with the preparations.

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"Done!" Calls McDonald as he finishes securing George's helmet in place. He slowly steps back and admires his handiwork. "Aye, it's a fine suit of plate you're wearing lad. It's some of by best work in fact, despite the rush." The grizzly old armour smith then steps in close to George. "Take care of it lad, and it'll take care of you. Come see me at some point and I'll teach you how to look after it properly. There's nothing worse than a knight who can't, or won't, look after his armour in the field."


"Thank you sir, and thank you for such a beautifull suit of armour. I'll try and be worthy of it." Says George, his words somewhat slow in coming out. He's trying to be more confident in his abilities, as befits a Knight of the Crusade.


"Best be off lad. You've to stand vigil in the chapel overnight." Says McDonal as he holds up George's little shield for the soon to be knight to don properly. "I trust Halabrad's judgement. You'll do fine."


With that, George bows slightly from the waist and turns on his heels and makes his way to the chapel. As he's walking, he lifts his visor and begins to revel in the sensation of the armour adorning his body.


The weight is something he'll have to get used too, but at the same time he finds it somewhat reassuring. His mail always seemed fairly substantive and he'd learnt to rely upon that in battle, turning his body into blows to make his own counter attacks more effective and trusting in his armour's protective qualities. He'd developed a reputation amongst the other squires-at-arms as a steadfast and reliable fighter, and he knew as he walked briskly to the chapel that his new equipment would only make him more so.


Feeling the need to test himself and his new suit, George began to speed up into a moderately paced jog, and finding that not too challenging he began to run at full pace. He found he wasn't as fast as before, and that he made a lot of noise as he ran, but the armour remained in place and seemed to adapt to his body's movement with surprising ease.


It didn't take George long to reach the chapel, and as he swings the door open, he notices the preparations taking place. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the preparations, he makes his way to a secluded area near the altar and sits down and begins to compose hise mind and body through prayer.

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As Licia starts to walk away from Ben, heading off herself to a secluded place to practice her knives, a small figure comes dashing out of the shadows and bowls into her. Legs, arms, and feathers go splaying in all directions. As Licia tries to pick herself up amidst the flurry of falling feathers, she sees a familiar face staring back at her with a goofy grin and glazed eyes.


“Dude I’m so sorry, did you see which way that yak went man? It was like here and then it was like….*poof*!” Exclaims the small elf in a dramatic ending talking as much with his hands as his mouth. “It was like so funky man, this thing was like moving faster then those yaba seeds I….” He then spends the next minute trying to blow a feather out of his mouth rather then reaching up and removing it.

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Taken off guard Licia starts to swear as a she is knocked over and showered by numerous feathers. But as the feathers clear and she see's who has just bowled into her her swearing tunrs to laughter as she shakes her head in disbelief. "Fin! Where have you been?" She then falls into a fit of giggleing as the elf attempts to dislodge the feather. Reaching over she plucks the feather from Fin mouth "There, That should help." Then sighing she gets up off the ground from where she landed and offers a helping hand to the elf.


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At the sound of his name Fin looks around all confused. “Is that guy following me again??” Lowering his voice to a whisper he continues “Just between you and me, I don’t think that dude is all there if you catch my meaning” he says while making a twirling gesture near his ear. He seems about to go when suddenly he plants himself completely upright as if he’s listening to something.


The moments that pass are long ones and when Licia attempts to speak Fin makes a shushing gesture. In a low whisper he says to her finally “did you hear that? I think those dudes are coming again!” He grabs Licia and pulls her into the alley he emerged from putting a hand over her mouth to keep her quiet. Within seconds a farmer leading some cows passes by in the street. After the farmer and the cows are gone, Fin heaves a large sigh of relief and removes his hand from Licia’s mouth. “That was a close one man!” He says to the confused woman.

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Shaking her head in exhasperation Licia just smailes at Fin. "Well, I don't know where you have been, but Halbarad called a meeting. Seems we are going to be going ofter those Darkspawn you and Roman found. After some ceremony to Knight George tomorrow that is. Anyway, it's good to see you. I've kind of missed you. Where have you been keeping yourself?"



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Fin tries his best to keep up with all the information that Licia is hitting him with but his mind quickly becomes more addled then usual. He ends up thinking there is a ceremony for him because some Knight and Roman missed the Darkspawn. Scratching his head he wonders why there would be a ceremony for him. Unless THEY know. No they couldn’t know, he just found out himself about the secret plans of those evildoers!


“Ummm, just been around…” Fin starts fidgeting as a child does when he knows that mom has just caught him doing something bad. “Just you know, here and there.” He blinks a couple of times, the glazed looking fading for a sec. “Hey! I know you! You’re…ummm…umm…” As Licia is about to speak he bowls right over her verbally “no, no don’t help!!! You’re….ummm..you were with that other dude, creaked a lot, liked to wear all that metal. Strange even for a human you know…”

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Ben follows after Rai at a quick trot and as he gets closer, he calls out to her. "Rai, please wait!! We need to talk...please!!"


"I think you've said quite enough already, Ben," she says sternly continuing her pace without looking at him. "I know have nothing left to say."


"Then you don't have to talk, please just listen." Ben says, walking swiftly to stay at her brisk pace. "I've acted like a jealous butt. I had no right to assume that since you were getting flowers from someone, that you had other suitors. I was an idiot to think that and if that is enough to convince you that I am not worthy of your affections, then I guess that you have that right. But know that I will always love you and I will not let anything that either of us has said in our anger spoil the feelings that I have for you!"


Rai begins to slow her pace until she is finally still. As she looks at Ben, her expression seems to have softened slightly however no smile can be seen on her face.


“Are you teasing me? One minute you’re practically yelling at me and now you’re telling me that you love me?” She sighs.


“I have given you no reason to be jealous! I have spent the last two weeks in a tower with Master Valandril, who, quite frankly, is a cold and methodical man. At least I did have Jasmine there with me! Every day I spent long, tedious hours in complete study sometimes even into the early morning hours. And though I am not complaining; I have learned a great deal and my powers have been strengthen, but in the quietness of study the mind has a tendency to drift away. Every time I let my mind drift, all I could think of was you,” she says with a small smile. “And though those flowers were not from you, I thought they were. I had no reason to believe anyone else would send me flowers. I do not know too many people here and I would not consider any of them to be a suitor. I carried them with me every day to the library so I would have a constant reminder of you.” She sighs again and shrugs. “I received more flowers this morning which was why I was all too eager when I saw you. It was not my intension to make you angry.”


"It is I who apologize, my Lady." Ben says quietly. "I have wronged you and I regret that. I was confused as well, and for some reason chose to show my confusion in the form of a jealous fool. If you never want to see me again, I completely understand. Of course, we may be assigned to the same mission anyway, and I am still bound by my oath to protect you, but if you wish for me not to speak to you in any other way than a servant would speak to his mistress, then I will honor your wishes; even if it breaks my heart to do it."


Rai tries her best not smile at Ben, but even her best efforts fail. “Now you are just being silly. Let us just forget this morning ever happened. We’re both sorry for the things we said so let’s just leave it at that. Like you said, we may be fighting together very soon. So, no hard feelings then?" she asks with a smile as she shly extends her hand offering a handshake.


"As you wish, Rai." Ben says sounding very relieved. He accepts her extended hand and bows down to it, kissing it tenderly. "Boy, I'm sure glad that's over and done with." He says, his quirky side-ways grin back in place. "Now let's see if we can't enjoy George's big day with him tomorrow!"


"I'm so happy for him. He'll make a good knight. Then prehaps we'll assist him in going after the darkspawn we found. I have a few more spells up my sleeve this time," she says with a proud smile. She pauses for a moment biting her lower lip as if hesitating on asking something on her mind, then finally she says softly, "Ben, I know I broke our dinner plans when we returned and I felt awful about it. I was wondering if the offer still stands? To be honest, I'm not exactly in a hurry to return to the tower."


"I would be honored." Ben replies, blushing slightly. "How about we finish off our shopping...together... and then we can find a nice quiet

place to have that dinner?"


Rai smiles, "Great!"


The two go about finishing shopping for their needed items then head toward the first tavern they cross, the Leaky Stoat, where they aquire a back table for a quiet dinner.

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After the meeting with Halbarad and offering congratulations to George, Erik heads back to the smithy. It'll be good to go out after the darkspawn; a welcome change. Thank Aurellius I had time to finish my armor. Thoughts of his newly completed set of plate armor brightens his mood, and quickems his step a bit. Stopping briefly in his small room to don working clothes, he makes his way into the smithy.


At his assigned forge, he sighs. He stares at the pile of arms and armor. Wishing won't make it done any faster. With a resigned scowl on his face, Erik digs out paper, quill and ink, then sits down to make an accounting of the salvaged arms and armor. Cataloging each piece is slow, deliberate work for fingers more used to a hammer and tongs.


Gods! Who could stand to be a scribe! I'm glad that's done with! Erik calls an apprentice over to help him load them into a cart. Wheeling the cart out of the smithy, Erik watches as George begins the final fitting of his armor with McDonald. It'll be a fine fit with McDonald making it.


George is still there when Erik returns from the QuarterMaster's office.

"Thank you sir, and thank you for such a beautifull suit of armour. I'll try and be worthy of it." Says George
...George bows slightly from the waist and turns on his heels and makes his way to the chapel.

Erik, watching silently as George leaves the smithy, has a look of .....an odd mixture of surprise and satisfaction on his face. Surprise that, even with no one around to impress, the knight-to-be was respectful. Satisfaction in knowing that McDonald had gotten his due as a master armorer. Maybe he's the kind of knight that the Duke keeps talking about. Erik chuckles to himself. We'll see come harvest time when he sends us out to the fields to help!


Later that evening, Erik sits on the end of his bed. Contemplating the contents of the chest open before him, he slowly shakes his head as if unbeleiving that the the armor and sword really did belong to him. A suit of full plate armor, and a bastard sword with an alchemically silvered blade lay in the chest. Both of them are plain in appearance, but not in utility. Both are the work of a master smith; made specifically for Erik.


Sounds from the hallway draw his attention. One of the other journeyman smiths half enters the room. "Have you heard about tomorrow?"

"Aye, I've heard. That fellow McDonald spent all day with,George, is being knighted."

"Yeah, but afterwards there's going to be a tournament!"

"Tournament!?!? Are you sure?"

"Well.......I think it's officially a 'friendly test of arms'. You're going to enter, aren't you?"

"Uh, yeah, I suppose so. I don't see why not."

Erik didn't really hear what else the journeyman said, but did raise his hand in farewell as the fellow left. A 'test of arms'. I think I will.

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"It's Licia, Fin, and the guy in the creaky armor was Roman." Licia tells the still guessing elf. Then sighing I seriously doubt he left the baskets. He's lucky to recall his own name most days! "Anyway, you still haven't told me where you've been. And where did you get all those feathers?" She continues to move on towards the Salle where she can practice a bit more with her weaponry "Say, I am heading to the salle to practice. Want to come along?"


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It feels natural for George to have his shield on his back and his sword on his hip, but the large mass of helmet under his left right arm just doesn't feel right.


But he assumes it looks right, judging by the smiles and what he assumes are appreciatory looks of the women he passes on his way to the chapel.


While the looks and smiles are relatively new to George, since he has never really had time for women due in part to his lack of appeal to them and to his punishing work schedule, the attention paid him is almost frightening. Several times he has to politely refuse offers of dinner and walks in the meadows and by the stream.


George is thankful to be through the gauntlet that is the streets of Denelspire as he finally sets eyes on the chapel. As he nears the sacred building, dedicated to Aurellius, he sees what looks like a familiar figure stood outside with one of the friars.


The figure seems dejected after apparently being turned away by the custodian of the chapel when his footfalls seems to bring the figure's head up and start it towards him.


It doesn't take many moments for George to establish that the figure is a woman, and George is preparing for yet another encounter with yet another would-be lady when he recognises the woman walking towards him.


"Mustafa George." Jasmine says, her face alight with the widest and most infectious smile George has ever seen. She stops a few feet from him and begins to look him up and down as if assesing his appearance.


"M'lady Jasmine." George responds, taking his cue from his friend. He already knows what she looks like, so he concentrates on her face, trying to fathom the reason for her smile, and subconsciously mirroring it back to her.


After what seems like ages, but is actually only a few moments, George holds out his left elbow, gesturing the cleric from a far off land to take his arm and join him. And without saying a word, the two young Crusaders walk to the chapel and kneel in front of the altar in prayer.


And with that, George's last night as a squire-at-arms begins.

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Falling in step with her Fin is still trying to figure out her name. Licia? No that doesn’t sound right. Fin begins to fidget a bit restlessly.


“Feathers? What feathers?” Fin begins looking at all his clothing and sees the massive amounts of feathers all over him. He begins to furiously wipe them off of his clothing looking up suspiciously at Licia as if it is her fault all these feathers are all over him. With a sigh he begins picking them out of his hair, and gives a large yelp when he accidentally pulls some of his own hair out.


“What are we going to practice? Are we going to practice bunny hopping? I was the champion bunny hopper at home, did I ever show you my champion form that one me many a race? I can teach you it but it has…wait I remember now, you’re name is LICIA!” he yells in triumph. Then quickly covers his mouth with both hands and looks around to see if anyone is watching him.

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