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  • Oathsworn [Quest]

    20th Decending Wood, western Hundred Kingdoms


    The rain, as usual, hisses down like arrows fired from a great bow from heaven.

    The overhanging elm and bamboo foliage provides some respite from the rain, but out on the trail overlooking the river's edge, you often receive the full force of the weather whenever the wind shifts. Your straw raincoat and hat provide only scant protection, and even then, cold drops from the hat leak through your wool jacket and stream down the line of your back, chilling you to the bone.

    "Forget the Season of Wood, this should be the first Season of Water", you glumly mutter to yourself. Xuansu, your horse, picks up the sound and snorts in response, flicking his ears and spraying drops. You reach down to reassure him, scratching underneath the jawline.

    "Relax Xuansu, we should be out of this weather soon, as soon as we come across a village or something", you say, more for your own benefit than his. To be honest, it has been 9 days since the last farmhouse, over which you have slept on the ground, eaten little other than tea and oatmeal, and been pounded on by rain and mountain wind. Your clothing is soaked, and you most definitely need a bath. Xuansu needs to be brushed, your armor likely needs to be dried, and to top it off, despite being trained as a cavalryman, your ass and back are sore from non-stop riding over rugged terrain.

    To put it short, you are looking forward to a hot meal and a dry place to sleep, and are even willing to part with some of your hard-earned copper coins to get it. If only there was a village!

    Which, to your pleasant surprise, there is, after you come around a bend in the river some time later. Clustered around a stream descending from the mountainside, surrounded by terraces churned into mud by the rain, is a small farming village. The peasant's houses, made from daub, wood and thatch, are rude, but look well-kept compared to the forests you have been sleeping in for the last week. Already, you can imagine hot bread and a warm fire, and you eagerly push Xuansu on.

    A couple of minutes later, you pass by the village outbuildings, and you almost instantly know something is off. Even with the almost-incessant rain, there should still be people about, either farmers working on some project or another, or simply children playing under the eaves. So far, nothing.

    Suddenly, there is movement in the corner of your eye! On reflex, you throw back your raincoat and free the chappe of your sword from its sheath, allowing it be drawn quickly. The movement reveals itself to be little more than a child peeking around a doorframe, a child that is quickly snatched up by a woman and the door slammed shut. Almost as soon as it happened, the village is silent again.

    It doesn't take a genius to realize that something has got the peasants scared. And, contrary to the popular opinion held by many of your social class, it usually takes a lot to set these hard-worn rural folk on edge like this. Over your travels throughout these parts, you have come to realize that the people are often as rugged as the land they work, often (sadly, you realized a while ago) as a result of defending themselves from bandits and raiding parties.

    Whatever happened here, it must have been bad. It doesn't look like the village has been raided recently, but there could have been some disease or something. But, you didn't see any signs of recent burials when you approached. Something else? Something ..... worse?

    Perturbed, you pull the collar of your jacket up around your nose and mouth as a precaution, and head further into the village. You are already here, so there is no use avoiding possible calamity. Underneath your coat, you keep your blade ready to be drawn, hidden from view.

    At the relative center of the village, there is an open spot forming a rough plaza of sorts, upon which sits the largest building in the settlement. The "common house" isn't usually used as a dwelling, but as a meeting-house, a drinking establishment, generic shrine and as a store-house for goods to be paid to the local lord for taxes. On top of all that, there is usually a warm corner or something that compassionate farmers would let a weary traveler sleep in to get out of the weather. Unfortunately, it looks like that won't be happening.

    On the veranda of the common-house, a couple of louts lounge about, drinking from clay jugs, throwing dice ,and avoiding the rain as best they can. As soon as you enter the "plaza", they perk up. Just from looking at them, from their unshaved appearances, to their rough-and-mixmatched weaponry, you can immediately tell what they are.

    Bandits.

    There is about 5 of them (unless there are more inside the common-house), and they are all in various stages of drunkenness. Two of them have clubs studded with metal spikes, one of them is kicked back in a stool next to a spear leaned up on the wall of the building, there is a crossbow (mercifully unloaded) in the lap of the drunkest, and the bandit that walks out to confront you has a heavy, broad-bladed chopping sword suspended from his belt. Thankfully, none of the bandits are actually brandishing the weapons, merely watching you approach with bleary eyes.

    All of this you take in from under the edge of your straw hat, as you ride up to the veranda. They are paying more attention to your horse and to your weapons strapped to the saddle than to you, greed apparent in their gaze. The bandit with the sword (whom you take to be their leader) calls out to you as you dismount.

    " Ho, there! A poor day to be travelling, especially with this weather. Come up and share a drink or two, and tell us some stories of the road"! The leers from his companions suggest the offer isn't being made in actual honesty.

    You don't reply, instead focusing as you dismount Xuansu, removing the bit and lashing the halter to a railing.

    "Hey, didn't you hear me! I'm talking to you, horse-boy!" Now the bandit's hand is on his sword, but he hasn't quite drawn it yet. Neither have his friends moved yet, content to watch.

    YOU:

    1) Draw your sword. A little less than a meter of fine, castle-forged Vaneha steel, double-edged and needle-pointed, your sword is already partly drawn and ready to go.
    2) Draw your spear. Lashed to the right side of your saddle, your spear is 6 feet of solid Mountain Ash, with another foot of razor-sharp spearhead. The reach provided could give you the edge in this fight.
    3) Draw your bow. Lashed to the back of your saddle, in a lacquered wood case, your bow is 3 feet long, made of laminated wood, bamboo and rawhide, and powerful enough to take down a deer at 60 meters. There is still 30+ feet of mud between you and the villains, enough space to get off at least one arrow, maybe more
    4) Try to talk the bandits down. You have always been told you were good with your tongue (especially by the castle maids /snerk), and doesn't your book on philosophy state that "to win without fighting is best"? Regardless, maybe nobody has to bleed today.
    5) Something else? -write insert-

    ** Both the sword and spear can be used solo, or with a shield that is hanging off the pommel of the saddle**
    ++ Keep in mind, the weapon you choose is going to be the weapon our character here is going to prioritize with, specialize with, in a fashion. We will almost certainly use all of them eventually, however, but the weapon you choose with be his "favorite"++

    OOC:

    Hello everyone!

    After hanging around this forum for quite some time, I have finally decided to work out the quest that I have had rattling around in my head.

    Feel free to ask questions, about the setting or about the characters or whatever, and I will gladly answer.

    So keep in mind that this is my first actual Quest thread, so be gentle. Constructive criticism is gladly welcome.

    First things first, the title "Oathsworn" refers to the protaganists social class, which is basically the combination of European feudal knights, Japanese Samurai, and Chinese Youxia. They are the military caste of the feudal Hundred KIngdoms, which themselves are a combination of Warring-States Era China, Sengoku Jidai Era Japan, and Feudal Europe. So ..... landlords, peasants, castles and stuff. They train as mounted and dismounted archers, spearmen and swordsmen (and women. So long as one can fulfill the obligations of the position, both men and women can be Oathsworn, and Lords for that matter), and fight for Lords in order to be granted lands (and therefore, food and money). The title comes from the Oaths they make when being invested, basically Chivalry + Bushido.

    Of course, not every Oathsworn starts out with an Oath of Fealty made, and therefore, they have to wander around the Hundred Kingdoms, fighting under different lords and making a name for themselves, until they attract the right sort of attention. This ..... doesn't always happen, and some, if not many, Oathsworn end up forsaking their vows to protect people, and end up as glorified bandits and mercenaries.

    Last edited by Boston123; 11-09-2016, 10:14 PM.

  • #2
    Outnumbered by drunken louts? The sword would be too good for them. Draw the spear. With the exception of that crossbow, none of their weapons can threaten that kind of reach.


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    • #3
      Spear... Although, with the benefit of hindsight, maybe it would have been better to stay mounted if we were attacking with that, jinete-style.


      On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

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      • #4
        Use your silver tongue to draw the leader into a false sense of security. Kill him with your sword and give the others a chance to surrender.
        Last edited by wonderandawe; 11-10-2016, 08:31 AM.


        Are you ready to rage? Discover if you are Brave Enough to fight for the soul of the world.

        The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by semicasual View Post
          Spear... Although, with the benefit of hindsight, maybe it would have been better to stay mounted if we were attacking with that, jinete-style.

          The majority (4 / 5) of the bandits are on the veranda of the common-house. Not saying we couldn't reach them with the spear, but they could duck behind the railing, and we would only have about the length of the spearhead reaching them.

          Plus, riding a horse across sticky mud at anything faster than a walk tends to be a bad idea.

          OOC:

          So far, we have 2 for spear and one for sweet-talk + sword. I'll leave it open to later tomorrow, and then we will roll with whatever the numbers say.
          Last edited by Boston123; 11-10-2016, 09:57 PM.

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          • #6
            Silver tongue, they are unworthy oh our blade.

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            • #7
              So,
              - 2 for spear
              -1 for sweet-talk + sword
              -1 for sweet-talk

              I'll leave it open till about noon

              Comment


              • #8
                I will change to sweet talk + sword.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm gonna vote for sweet-talk then swording.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Spear it is! To be honest, the humble spear has got to be my all-time favorite weapon.

                    In response, you reach around the saddle and grab the shaft of your spear, and with a quick twist of the hips, draw the blade from it's sheath. Holding in an a neutral mid-guard, you advance to the center of the plaza, mindful to keep the bandit-chief between you and the crossbow.

                    The bandit grins through stained teeth, than draws his sword into a high guard. Held in a two-handed grip over the head, this stance can deliver brutal chopping blows, especially with that backsword of his.

                    You are fairly confident that you are both better-trained and in a better mindset (aka not drunk as hell) than the bandit -scum in front of you. Individually, each wouldn't be much of a threat, but you are, indeed, outnumbered here, unarmored, and there is that crossbow to think about. Better hope they are too drunk to attack you all at once, since as your copy of the Thousand Correct Actions states, to divide and conquer is best.

                    The bandit roars and jumps forward, blade raised to split you from neck to navel. In response, you flick the speartip at his face. He jerks back, clumsily parrying the thrust at his midsection. He raises his blade again, in effort to get inside the reach of your spear, only for you to sidestep the swing and swing the backend of your spear into the back of his knee. Already off-balance, it only takes a slight amount of pressure to force him facefirst into the mud. You control the sword with the blade of your spear, then draw back and drive the point through his throat. He shudders, then lies still, blood mixing with the cold mud.

                    You straighten to see the two club-wielders charging you, one on either side. Despite being drunk, they are experienced enough to realize that dividing your attention is they way to win. Catching a two-handed downswing on the bottom third of your spear, you use the momentum from the block to pivot the spearblade up to the ruffians throat. Pulling the blade in a draw-cut, you open his throat up, while simultaneously shattering the other bandit's knee with the spiked bronze ferrule on the base of the shaft. He howls, falling to his knees, only to get finished off by the same ferrule to the gut.

                    Sudden pain! The spear-wielder used the distraction of his mates to thrust at your back from the side. Only the slippery mud and the tightly-wound strip of hemp cloth wound around your midsection prevent you from getting spitted like a deer. Regardless, the cut over the ribs burns, and the bandit grins at the sight of your blood on his blade. He drops into another full-out thrust, in effort to finish you off while you are distracted. Indeed, you are barely able to knock the spearhead aside with your own, and your sliding of the blade down his spearshaft was more accidental than intentional. The bandit cries out, dropping the spear and grabbing the remains of his now-half-severed hand. Gathering your wits in spite of the cold fire burning down your side, you take the momentary opportunity to drive your spearpoint into his chest. He falls back, and takes your spear with him, yanking the shaft out of your suddenly-weak hands! The blade is stuck on something inside.

                    Crossbow! Where is the crossbow! You need to deal with the crossbow! Now, of all times, is not good to be unarmed! You draw your blade and stumble-run to the veranda, where the drunken lout is still attempting to load his weapon. By the time you make it to the stair, he has the string drawn back, and he is clumsily fishing a bolt from the box by his side.

                    There is no way you are going to make it to sword-range in time.

                    In near-panic, you grab the closest thing you have at hand; your straw rain-hat. Ripping the hat from your head, you send it spinning into his face, where the rough straw scratches his eyes. With a cry, he buries the crossbow bolt into the floor of the veranda by your feet and grabs his face with both hands. Stepping forward, you whip your sword-tip up from hip to breastbone, disemboweling him with a twist of your hips.

                    That entire encounter was over in the space of about a minute and a half, a couple of score of heartbeats that are now pounding in your ears, a counterpoint to the rain on the roof. You are suddenly very cold and weak, barely able to grip your sword-hilt. You sink to your knees as the adrenaline leaves your system, replacing the cold fire in your veins with aching throbbing. The cut on your side throbs, and after pressing your hand over the wound, you are unsure if the wetness you feel is blood or rainwater.

                    Regardless, you are still alive for now, and for all you know, there might be more bandits skulking around. Using your sword to help you to your feet, you stumble out into the rain to retrieve your spear. You find the bandit you spiked in the gut earlier to be still alive, dragging himself through the mud and gasping up red froth. Your armsmaster would have beaten you stupid for leaving a living enemy behind you like that, but she isn't here to watch you almost get your ass kicked by common thugs, now is she? As an afterthought, you drive the bronze spike through his temple.

                    The rain continues to pound down on the earth and on the roofs, so you didn't hear the person walking up behind you until they lay a hand on your shoulder. In a panic, you grab the dagger thrust sideways through your sash, but another hand firmly grasps your wrist and turns you around.

                    In front of you stands an older man, tall and strong, in a peasants smock. He chuckles, then throws an arm around your shoulders and starts to lead you to the common-house.

                    "Relax there, son. My name is Ten-Sheaves, and I am the headman of this little village. You just did us a hell of a favor. Why don't we head on inside, where it is warm, and we can get that wound looked at and some food to eat?. Don't worry about your horse, I'll have one of the boys put him up".

                    You can't really argue with some hot food and medical attention, and so you let the headman lead you back to the common-house (leaning on him a bit more than you would like). Inside, you strip off your water-and-blood-stained outer clothing before a bevy of older women, who cluck and chitter in disapproval at the long cut over your ribs. From what you can see, the cut is long, but shallow, and already the cut is bleeding slowly, seeping rather than pulsing. They bathe the wound in boiled tea, then stitch up the sides, with you wincing all the while. After, with you all bundled up in a quilted blanket, you sit down with the headman for a hot meal courtesy of the village.

                    A succotash of corn and beans and pork, served with applesauce. Hot corn-pone bread, served with buttermilk, baked onions and potatoes, and hot pine-needle tea and hard apple cider. All standard peasant-fare and .........suspiciously generous for this time of year, in the weeks before the planting. They must have dipped deeply into their stores in order to put this on for you out of gratitude. You partake happily, only to stop when Ten-Sheaves clears his throat.

                    Setting aside your spoon and bowl, you look up to see him bowing formally at the head of the table.

                    "Our humble village thanks you, your Lordship, for his benevolent assistance in this matter. For this we are eterna.."

                    You dismiss the bowing and scraping with a wave of your hand "It was nothing, Headman. Well, almost nothing,", you say with a wry smile, gesturing to your bandaged side. " Regardless, helping the defenseless is one of my Oaths, and one that I take seriously. I am glad to be of service".

                    "And we are indeed grateful", he said, earnestly this time. "May I sit? And, without being presumptuous, ask your Lordship his name?

                    You gesture to the table, pushing over the jug of cider. " My name is Kasai." If your lack of a clan name is surprising, he doesn't show it "I take it that this feast, which is wonderful by the way , was not entirely out of gratitude?".

                    Ten-Sheaves hesitates, then looks you straight in the eyes. To his credit, he doesn't look away from your yellow wolf-eyes or wolf-pelt hair, like most superstitious peasants, and your opinion of him improves immensely.

                    "To be honest, Lord, this isn't the only problem we have with banditry". No surprise there, bandits and thuggery are like a chronic case of syphilis in the Hundred Kingdoms.

                    "If I may be honest, where is your Lord in all this? If you are having such a problem with bandits, why did they not deal with it?"

                    Ten-Sheaves shifts uncomfortably, " They have been interfering with us for quote some time now, since last Season of Water. We sent a runner to our Lord before they got entrenched. He ...." The man looks immensely uncomfortable.

                    You sigh, bringing a cup of cider to your lips, predicting what the answer will be.

                    "He .... well ..... he beat our messenger, told him to get back to our village, and told him to deal with the bandits on our own, that he didn't have time for this, and that we had better have the annual taxes on time!" Ten-Sheaves explodes, gesturing animatedly.

                    You rub your eyes to disperse a sudden headache. The whole "point" of the feudal order is that it is a system based on "give and take", peasants work the land in return for defense. Too many lords in your opinion have all-but forsaken these vows, and instead abuse those lower to better focus on their games of politics and war. Despicable. Your father always told you your word, your Oaths, was your life, and to fail to fulfill those promises was worse than death, a lesson you held close to your heart.

                    "Regardless, I assuredly just killed off a major part of their band, so they won't be able to give you too much trouble from now on." You rely, drinking deeply, only to choke on your tea when Ten-Sheaves replies.

                    "Ah, not quite, Lord. This bandit band is ...... uh...... quite large. The first time they showed up, they had about 40 people. 35, now." acknowledging your recent actions.

                    Your head is pounding, and you rest your head on your palms. " 40 bandits....... Gods, of all the prices I have to pay in return for some food and a dry place to sleep!" You rely, half-jokingly. "And, let me guess, you have no weapons here to defend yourselves with?".

                    "Officially, no", states the headman." Our Lord prefers us to only have access to weaponry at his leisure and only at his estate". The silence at the end of the statement is profound.

                    "Unofficially?", you sigh.

                    " We do, in fact, have weapons hidden in stashes in the mountains, as well as food. Which was helpful, when the bandits first showed up, took all the weapons we had in the village as well as most of our stores of food. We might be peasants, but we aren't stupid". replies Ten-Sheaves hotly.

                    "What have you got? Are there people trained in their use, or are they just wall-hangers?", from your position, deep in thought, head resting on the table.

                    " Mostly spears, a couple of crossbows and self-bows, some helmets. Mostly ....uh..... looted from battlefields". He sounds embarrassed, although you don't agree. Weapons are expensive and to let them rot on a battleground is a waste. Looting them is entirely practical. "And, we are capable of defending ourselves. We have fought off bandits before".

                    You nod," Just not against 40."

                    "And, not against a group so well-led"

                    Confused, you ask," What do you mean"?

                    "Most bandits are rather disorganized, only in it for the loot or blood. These ones are led by ........um". Again, he looks and sounds uncomfortable. " An ....... ah........Oathsworn, like your Lordship, ex. except you're not, you know ...... a bandit scumbag" he trails off.

                    You sigh, and consider the consequences of what you just walked into. On one hand, if you want to uphold your Oath (and you do), you can't just leave these peasants here at the not-so-tender mercies of the bandits, especially after you kill several of their men, something they won't be too happy to learn. The peasants would be lucky to escape with their lives, much less their livelihoods. On the other hand ..........40 BANDITS (well, 35 now, but the difference between 40 and 35 stab-wounds is trivial.) You might not make it our of that scrum with all your limbs or life intact.

                    YOU
                    1) Agree to face the (angry) bandits, like something out of a story. BLOOD AND GLORY
                    2) Challenge the Oathsworn leader to a duel to the death. Play with whatever honor they might have left.
                    3) Train the villagers to fight. They already have some experience, they just need something to "stiffen their backbone", as it were.
                    4) Make small talk until everyone goes to sleep, then slip out and ride away under the cover of night. 'Discretion is the better part of valor" and all that, and only you will know of your shame. You can make it up eventually ........right?

                    OOC:

                    Holy crap, that took, like, 2 hours to write out.

                    Some background info:

                    1- Yes, our character is a Wyld mutant, or, more accurately, the descendant of one. In my Hundred Kingdoms campaign, there were two major ethnic groups; Lowlanders (who live in the river valleys), and Hill-Tribes, who live in the mountains. The Lowlanders are similar to the Yamato, and the Hill-Tribes are similar to the Ainu, except with various Wyld Mutations (mostly derived from various animal traits, like wolf fur and eyes, etc. Nothing too squicky). They are discriminated against by the Lowlanders, and are largely marginalized.

                    Kasai is the descendant of a minor Lowland (who has an estate in the highlands) noble and the daughter of a Hill-tribe chieftain, and despite the connotations of that relationship, had a happy childhood. His parents loved each other deeply, and after his mother died in childbirth (ah, the most classic of origin stories!) his father raised him, and in fact wanted to legitimize Kasai when he came of age. "Polite" society, and his noble-born stepmother, would not accept that, and Kasai left in order to make his own fate.

                    2- Kasai is a mortal, as evidenced by his lack of anima and his bleeding everywhere. I am a fan of mortal stories in general, and I am unsure if Kasai will Exalt or not. If he is, it will be later in the story.

                    Anyways, how has it been so far? Too wordy, not enough dialogue, etc?






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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BadassOverlord View Post
                      I'm gonna vote for sweet-talk then swording.

                      Woops.

                      Sorry, saw your post after I wrote out the gigantic wall-o-text involving spears. If it is any consolation, Kasai did use his sword, and I can have him use said sword more often if you would like.

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                      • #12
                        Let's challenge the Oathsworn lord. We can't take out 35 bandits on our own. Maybe we can reawaken his honor and together we can take out the bandits.


                        Are you ready to rage? Discover if you are Brave Enough to fight for the soul of the world.

                        The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah, I probably spend about an hour a page on my own quest. Most posts are between two to four pages.

                          My only comment is to make sure the text formatting is all the same. The changes in font makes it difficult to read. Also, i always run my posts through Hemingway App. I don't fix everything it flags, but it helps with the wonky sentences.


                          Are you ready to rage? Discover if you are Brave Enough to fight for the soul of the world.

                          The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Boston123 View Post


                            Woops.

                            Sorry, saw your post after I wrote out the gigantic wall-o-text involving spears. If it is any consolation, Kasai did use his sword, and I can have him use said sword more often if you would like.
                            No worries! It's my fault for turning up late anyway.

                            Now it's time to d-d-d-duel!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              >2. Challenge to a duel!

                              I think your writing so far is fine, but I would recommend being careful about how you highlight bits of text. You should probably use italics instead of underliningfor emphasis, and I don't recommend shrinking text unless someone has suddenly started speaking in a whisper or trailing off.
                              Last edited by semicasual; 11-11-2016, 07:46 PM.


                              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                              Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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