Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tales of a Failing Empire- Part 2 (Interlude)

Yolsan the 3rd 447, Third Imperial Reckoning (12 years earlier)

The tomb was found by a lamb. The shepherd's son wept as Grijolhd lifted the animal's corpse from the cleft, the dwarf using his levitation magic. The lamb had fallen in, breaking three legs, the boy heard its bleating cries and went to get his father. Eventually, word got out to the village hall, where, in turn, the 'adjutant marshals' received the summons.

Tamith was one of the fortunate villages that could afford adjutant marshals. The concept had taken root in Anfekor's wilder, outlying provinces. Some villages needed extra manpower and muscle to keep the peace. Such assistance proved difficult to find until an enterprising adventurer's guild offered to hire out their members. Since then, over a dozen guilds have provided such services to three of the Bright Empire's provinces.

Tamith assigned tours to their adjutants, the tour usually lasting no longer than a month. Tours were entirely dependent on how much of the village coffers were willing to be given out for maintaining order. The guild informed Grijolhd and Nefydd Foulkes that if they wished to extend their tour, some hobnobbing with the mayor and the village council would be necessary. Knowing the overall disposition of himself and his partner, Grijolhd surmised that they would be employed for two weeks.

Nefydd watched as the dwarf deftly grabbed the lamb and quietly slid the corpse into the boy's waiting arms. The father, a man named Udy, stood a few paces from his son, leaning wearily on his staff. Nefydd gazed into the cleft. It dropped forty armspans before it gave way to rock and mud. The mud was fresh in places, recently upturned. The cleft itself was about 8 paces long and only 4 wide. At its northern edge, some old masonry could be seen rising from the bottom, grey and archaic. Nefydd placed his eyepiece over his ears, the bridge of the device finally coming to rest on his nose. Taking a glance at the cleft, he turned and walked to the boy, who was now on his knees, still holding the lamb.

“Ah, if only all of Anfekor's sheperds were like you and your da.” Nefydd gently ruffled the boy's hair. “May your ewes have more lambs with spunk that gifts your family in smiles. Listen, I want you and your da to go home and see that the lamb gets buried proper yeah?”

The boy smiled through his sobs. Nefydd helped him up and tenderly nudged him toward Udy.

“Udy, make sure you keep your family and herds well away from this drop until Grijolhd and I can... ah, fence this off.” Nefydd flicked a silverfish to the shepherd, who grabbed the coin, nodded and led his son towards their home.

Nefydd and Grijolhd watched Udy and his son until they were out of earshot. Even then, they spoke only in whispers.

“Bloody, bloody hammer of Ganim!” Grijolhd spat at the ground.

“I think Aeremas is pissing on us right now,” Nefydd grimaced and removed his eyepiece. “Wish it was a damned tremor that did this.”

“A bloody gods damned bulette!” Grijolhd spat again.

“I wonder what brought it up this far Grij? And why in the infernal hells didn't it take that lamb?”

“Aye, weird. Only a week out on the Trim, and we've already got more excitement than a few lads in a brothel for their first plucking.”

“Speak for yourself Grij.”

Both man and dwarf laughed, breaking their whispered nervousness.

“We'll go back to the village and come up with a gods damned plan.”

“Yeah Grij. I'll have to send a pigeon to Anthin. We need help with this one.”

“Help? More like a gods damned divine intervention.”

“Lets not bring the gods and damnation into this.”

“Damnation!? We may already be there lad, bathed in the acid of five stomachs!”

“Six Grij, the bastards have six.”


Aeremas- god of travel and luck, and sometimes... protection

Bulette- a horrid monstrosity that burrows through the earth, having a beak shaped head and strong jaws, four strong legs with claws, specimens can grow up to 20 feet long, standing 12 feet tall

armspan- a length of measure, approximately 2 feet

Trim- term for the outlying provinces of Anfekor, also known as The Fringe

Ganim- a god of the dwarves

silverfish- one of the currencies of Anfekor, a silver coin

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