A persistent world set in the Frozen North of The Forgotten Realms


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Quest for Music

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1 Quest for Music on Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:32 pm

Markus was miserable.
Witness a legend being built, write an epic that will immortalize your name.

bah, the only thing that would be immortalized was his frozen remains if this continued.

The natives were a primitive and bloodthirsty lot by the rumours,
little more than bands of roving bandits,
So they'd taken no chances, trying t avoid any contact with them.

He pored over the map he was drawing.
At least the map may be worth something, even if there was no epic to be had.

Epic? hah, the only epic thing about this trip was the misery he had to endure.

This was the first and last time he'd go with those exploring idiots,
looking for treasure and fame.

He bent over the parchment, drawing a few lines carefully in the light of the fire.
Some map.... who'd want a map to nowhere ?
Putting the map away to dry he took out his lute,
wich had seen better days for sure, and started playing a few tunes.
Singing in a low voice, one that that was starting to carry the strain of the severe environment.

Jonathon, sitting opposite him by the fire looked at him with his usual surly expression "Keep playing...

this place bores me."

Markus sighed, and hit a few keys when a loud scream pierced trough the melody.

The next moment the tip of a throwing spear burst from the chest of Jonathon, and large furclad shapes were

running over the camp, screaming and killing.

Markus looked in shock as a large dark haired man man ripped the spear out of the corpse in front of him and

looked menacingly at him.

The man was clad in furs and had some sort of tatoo or paint on his face.
As the man advanced upon him he just stared wide eyed, unable to move or even scream,
he heard the dying scream of another of his companions, his mind did not recognize whom.

Then the nightmare ended as darkness formed around the rim of his vision and closed inwards,
cowering everything.

Markus awoke in a large tent, the smell of furs and old sweat assaulting his nose.

A woman sat beside him.
She was clad in furs and was more broadshouldered than most men he'd seen.
He hadnt seen a woman in months, but this one made him think more of a she-bear than a woman.
She yelled something and three men came trough the opening of the large tent.

Two of them were large, one with streaks of gray in his hair.
He spoke something to the woman, who answered in the same tongue,
then he spoke to one of the others, a smaller and old man,
whose hair was completely gray with shots of white.

The third man was eyeing him with open hostility and contempt in his face,
he was the youngest of the three, and he recognized him as the one who had speared Jonathon.

The old man spoke to him, in broken version of his own tongue.
"You play. Solstice. Tribe close to your land coming season. Far now.
You not play, you leave now. Die in wilderness. You not hunter, you not live."

Markus nodded. He was sure he was in hell already but he was to terrified to disagree.

Some weeks later, Markus had gotten some of his bearing.
The tribe called themselves Stoneclaws, nomads traveling the frozen and rocky thundra,
mainly sustaining themselves by hunting, trapping and keeping a few animals.

The aging warrior was the tribes chief, and the old man who spoke his language was apparently some kind of priest or something...

The ugly brute of a woman was the chieftains daughter and considered a great beauty.
Which apparently was the reason for the youth's hostility.

They'd been impressed by his playing, and to both his own and the youth's dismay,
the chief's daughter very much so.

Some situation, but if these savages could be trusted to let him go once they were closer to civilization,
then he had the chance of a lifetime, a story unlike anything he'd imagined.

And he had little choice but to trust them, seeing as the old man was likely right, he wouldn't make it on

his own.

So the time went, and he played, and partook as best he could in the tribes way. He even drank the fermented

goats milk the savages drank instead of good ale.

He could even keep a little of it down as as time passed... the first time he had puked like a fountain.

The young warrior was watching him intently,
seemingly listening with more care than the rest of the tribesmen.
Markus found the scrutiny of the young warrior,
whom hed learned was the grandson of the Stoneclaws shaman, unnerving.

Markus took care to avoid meeting the youth, called Djerv, When others were not present.

He did not think the youth would understand that he was not interested in the woman,
and he had to walk a fine line between discouraging her advances and avoiding insulting her...
something he suspected could be fatal, so he could not be too blatant in turning her down.
And for all he knew that may enrage the youth even more...

tough why he'd want such a woman was beyond Markus.

The weeks turned to months, and Markus now knew bits and pieces of their language.
Sadly, as they neared the solstice, and would be nearer civilized lands, he got other worries than warding

off the advances of the woman, Sneven whose name meant Snow-fair, or fair as snow.
A ridiculous name by his reckoning, and avoiding Djerv, whose name meant bold or daring.

The climate and rough way of life was taking its toll, and had slowly worn him down.

A cold set itself in his lungs... and caught hold easily.
Now he lay in a tent cursing his luck... so close...
a coughing spasm wracked his body,
and after he wiped his mouth he saw a small amount of blood on his sleeve.

What a pitiful way to end, for a man who had been sure hed write epics
to stand unmatched trough generations...
tales repeated in countless taverns, almost unaltered.

Desperate, he even allowed the shaman to administer his heathen herbs, lichen and chants,
and for a short while, it seemed almost to work, but he got worse again...

The disease had taken his last reserves, and he no longer had any strength to fight off the sickness.

He was even glad for Sneven, the chiefs daughter who fed him soup and saw to it that he was not to cold.
But one day she looked down at him, with a sad expression, and turned and left the tent.

Markus breath was heavy, and each breath was a struggle to fill his lungs with air,
which seemed chill even in the tent, sending small spikes of freezing pain torugh him.

He couldnt feel his hands... he knew they were there,
but that was all... perhaps for the best.
What was not numb was in pain, it seemed.

That night, the tribe held a short rite to ensure that the skalds spirit either were welcomed by the spirits

of the land,
or could find its way to the spirits of his own lands, and not haunt them, before they moved on.

Most would miss his songs, but life goes on,
and death is not a stranger to people who carve out a living as hunters in the frozen high plains.

But one truly mourned the skalds passing, for his music had touched her soul.

Another walked in glum silence.
Elated by the news of the skalds death, but feeling ashamed that he would feel so.

And perhaps a bit cheated... he had wanted to defeat the foreigner, by becoming a better skald than him,
and thus win the heart of Sneven.

Thus Djerv worked to learn the language of the southerners from his grandfather,
whom some said had come from the outside.

Some he new but he never had the interest to learn it before.

A year later, he set out southward, to learn the art of the bard, a southern skald.
If the chieftain insisted allowing his daughter to choose her man,
and a good hunter wasnt good enough for her,
he would learn the foreigners way of lifting her heart and make her smile.

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2 Re: Quest for Music on Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:33 pm

The horror in the Moonwoods :

In the Moonwoods a skeleton walked and moaned,
I lifted my axe to put it to to rest.
"The stench of life is upon you" it spoke...
And soon it was I who were put to test.

It spoke then, "You amuse me, lets play a game"

Stinking cadavers rose from the ground...
by their mere touch I was bound.

Legs would not carry, fell magics arose.
A trap did surround me, and death it was close.

And so that grim reaper spoke,
Perhaps to mock with a sliver of hope ?

"Can you find your way, do you deserve your life ?
or shall I claim your soul as my prize?

Narrow is the path of life, death on all sides.
Can you even trust your mortal eyes ? "

Trapped in the Moonwood by a gloating lich.
That id never set foot here, oh how I wish.

Found the path threading carefully,
As the fiend claps his bony hands spitefully.

"You live for now" it spoke, then vanished.
But never dare i think it is forever banished.

The chilling sound of bony applause...
its not the end, its merely a pause.

So heed this warning, if in the moonwoods you walk.
Theres evil still there, and the living it stalk.

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3 Re: Quest for Music on Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:34 pm

Horror in the moonlands (part two: ballad of the Lichebard )

In moonlands sound a drum so dread,
foretells the presence of the dead.

It chills the bones and upset the stomach,
foretells that the horror is back.

Nefarious sound, rots food and fouls drink,
foretells famine as larders offer only stink.

Out from caves onto fresh air, a nightmarish sight.
Awaiting is the undead source of this blight.

Again I'm spellbound, as if cast in stone.
Then I walk forward, tough I'd rather be gone.

Darkly it spake "Here is my gift, come join me now "
And placed its bony hand on my cold-sweating brow.

Helpless I stood, watching my flesh, slowly be gone.
Sword-hand wither to no more than pale bone

Unbearable pain, and an unholy fate, just outsiode the wood.
The arm begain to feel dangerously good.

But as I fear every hope gone,
thinking ill soon be dead and done.

A man in red approaches the Lich, that has me stuck.
Breaks the fell magics, reversing my luck.

Freedom is gained from undeaths cold grip.
I run as soon as my legs can move an not trip.

Fear of death pale before fear of unlife.
Soul bound in eternal torment and strife.

My feet fly, to where i lose track.
Joyously my arm slowly gets life back.

Flesh returned as the dark spell fail
Covering up the bone so pale

When arm is well the heart recovers
I return to see what became of the others

A woman and man surrounded by traps.
But they seem to defeat them without any claps.

The lich is gone so I recount although it is long...
The preveious verse of this warning in song.

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