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Author Topic: The Tamber Saga  (Read 26412 times)

Description: The Story of Tamalyn Traveler Continues

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Offline Lord Palatine

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1975 on: February 08, 2018, 11:09:10 PM »
"There's not much detail in the old maps, but depending on which map you trust, the grotto is either just outside the old borders, or just inside," the academic shrugged.

==============================================================

“Got us all registered with the land office,” Garth said as he climbed up onto the wagon and sat on the bench and took up the reins, it took a moment to properly situate the reins in his mangled left hand. “They were offering ten acres, till I showed them our retirement warrants for land. We’ve got 80 acres in River Valley Duchy, they say that we’re right over the river,” he passed a rolled leather roll to his partner.

Dag looked at the roll and down at the hook where his left hand should be. He heard a giggle and a pair of small hands reached out from under the canvass cover and untied the leather thong for him. “Thank-you Leetha,” he said and elbowed his partner in the ribs. Inside he found a map to their land and title to it. “What’s this?” he looked at another page.

“Says that they’re going to deliver timber and brick and all else we’ll need to build houses and barns.” Garth Harech replied.

“Nice of them,” Dag Ironskull said agreeably. “Who do we show this to?”

“Station close by,” Garth replied. “Reckon we show it to them and hope their quartermaster is worth his salt.”

“Be another pleasant surprise.”

“This ain’t like 7th Army,” Garth replied. “The man I talked to sounded like a soldier. Said if we waited until we got out of the city there’s a horse station just south of the city we’d find a coach inn that we can put up at for the night. Clean place, he says, good food.”

“Might take a liking to this place,” Dag nodded. Neither truly held out much hope from soldiers in the Frontier, they’d served with the 7th Army and bore the scars to prove it. Bad officers, mostly bad warrants, miserable food, horrible morale. “No slouches that I’ve seen so far,” Dag conceded. “Not like that lot they shifted us off to.

Both had been part of a transfer of soldiers from 5th Army to the 7th to try and bring the sad excuse for an army into something that could do its job. They fought for six months against apathy and indolence before both were mauled in a raid against a poorly set encampment. They were in the ambulance wagons, headed back to the Realm proper when they heard that the 7th and 8th were being demobilized. Far too late to help them. They’d heard of the Lady that came west to start a small barony, that turned into a duchy, that grew into a province, and the armies that they raised to hold it all. They saw no hope for that, others had tried. Then they heard of the many battles that rages to hold that land, and the eventual attack upon Gamedian itself to show them the error of their ways. This caught their attention, especially when they found out that the militia armies were under the command of a Lord Defender and former color sergeant. They both agreed that if he still thought like the highest warrant rank, perhaps there was something to this Tamber place. They heard and read more and decided, upon their release from surgeons care and their mustering out, that this was a place to consider.

“We haven’t got a lot,” Dag had pointed out. “Muster pay and what we saved. But we have enough to buy an outfit and go west.”

So they did. They found a condemned wagon from the old 8th and refurbished it themselves, then they found a good team of mules and stocked the wagon with the good and other things they’d need to travel out there. Then they found that they could pay for the tools and farming implements and even stock they’d need here and it would be delivered to them by Tamber Outfitters. They were skeptical of this until they figured out that the Outfitters was owned by the Grand Duchess, and they’d heard good things about her, and they knew the Name Traveler, and they were known as honest in business. So, with their carefully packed receipt for goods, they started west.

Their worries about the quality of the Frontier Army were confirmed when they saw the smoke of a burning farmstead ahead, along the road. Both still had their legion leather and mail shirts from their army days, as well as their weapons, and they wasted no time in accomplishing themselves for a fight. They saw the dust of several horses riding south and continued on warily. There were five left behind to loot the place, a farmstead with six houses and several outbuildings, all now smoking ruins. They stepped out of the smoke and demanded that the pair turn over their goods and wagon. The one talking took an arrow through the throat. They charged the wagon and the two men slipped off to meet them, one more falling to an arrow before the rest could get to them. Dag couldn’t use a bow at all, and Garth’s damaged hand slowed him with a weapon that he was quite skilled with, before.

Garth slid his arm into his shield straps and slipped his short sword from his hip, holding it in his good right hand, Dag brandished his hook and a short broad sword. The four made the men of the 7th look like experts, and the two quickly chopped them down and looked around for more. They found no raiders, just four children, two girls and two boys. Leetha Smallwood was 12, her brother Brend was 9, Karl Hardacre was 6, and Jessa Bowyer was 3. Just what two confirmed bachelors needed; bachelors they were, confirmed they were more afraid than certain of, but they were men of long service and knew their duty, So, two became six. They found what they could of keepsakes and anything they could use, and continued on their way.

At first they thought that they’d turn the children over to those in authority in Tamber, they’d heard that they helped freed slaves and orphans, but in the weeks on the road they both admitted, with affected grumpiness, that they were well and truly stick with the urchins. In truth neither found it to be too much of a hardship, they were farm children, so they knew what work was, and how to stay out of trouble, mostly. Each night they cleared a spot and assembled a good fire ring and scrounged up enough wood for their cooking fire. Leetha proved to be a competent little cook, at least with the simple fare of the road. Garth could usually bring down a few rabbits each day, or the occasional frontier hen, Brend and Karl made short work of preparing them for the spit and Leetha tended to the rest.

“Outfitter over there,” Dag indicated.

Garth nodded. “I’ll talk to them, see to the wagon?” He nodded to the fenced yard where it appeared many other wagons were pulled up for the night. Dag nodded and watched his friend walk off, Little Jessa scrambled to catch up to him and carefully held the two fingers of his left hand, careful now to tie up his sword hand. She grinned when his thumb rubbed her hand and he let her come along.

The clerk cheerfully looked at his receipt and his map and cheerfully told him that he’d send an order off to the closest outfitter and they’d deliver in a week or ten days. “That’s all there is to it?”

“I suppose I could try and complicate it,” the clerk grinned. “But I like my job.”

“Look what the man give me!” Jessa said to the other children when they came to inquire about the small cloth sack she carried so possessively. “Cannies!”

“He gave it to who?” Garth asked with a smile.

“Me!”

“For who?”

“Us,” she admitted and opened the pouch for the others to each take a pair of jelly drops.

“Week to ten days and it’ll all be on the place,” Garth told Dag.

“That simple?” Dag looked impressed, and dubious.

“Says he likes keeping his job too much to complicate it for folks,” Garth shrugged.

Dag made an impressed face and nodded. “Wagons going south in the morning,” Dag nodded to several wagons. “Say we can tag along if we’re ready to go just after first light.”

“Sounds good,” Garth nodded and set himself to work brushing out the mules as Dag and Leetha looked over the harness and the rest of the children tidied the wagon and dug out the packs with their clothing.

The inn was surprisingly clean, and agreeably cheap. Baths for all, and they scrubbed out their clothes and hung them to dry in their room before they went down to see what supper looked like here. They were again agreeably surprised, fresh, cold milk for the children, small beer for the men, cool, and rich, and a joy to their palates. Thin slices of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, bread warm from the oven, fresh butter, and stewed apples to round it all off. Jessa made a point of showing them how stuffed her rounded little tummy was, and the men noted the clean plates.

“We need to work on our cooking skills,” Dag concluded. “Or you need to find you a wife.”

“Why don’t you find a wife?” Garth chuckled.

“I’d rather learn to cook.”

“Find a woman to keep house and mind the little ones at the hiring hall,” the waitress said as she cleared away their plates and mugs.

“Don’t sound cheap,” Dag shrugged. “Coin is dear right now.”

It did make them think though.

It took them close to a week to reach their property, they found the markers and studied the land for a day before Garth rode one of the mules over to the closes station and showed them his papers. He was a bit surprised to find that the quartermaster quickly wrote out an order and sent it off with a runner. “That’s it?”

“Nothing challenging,” the quartermaster clerk shrugged and showed him a sheet with a few designs printed on it. “Take this back with you, they all take the same number of bricks and timber, so you can pick one when they arrive and they’ll start building.”

“They build it too? Garth was surprised again. “I figured that would be up to us?”

“We have a lot of people learning trades,” the clerk shrugged again. “You need a house, they need to learn to build one, it all evens out. Are you building both on the same plot?”

“That’s the plan,” Garth shrugged.

“Tell the foreman, we’ve done this before, they can fit a pair of houses together into one.”

Garth left wondering what happened to the army in the short time since he’d served. Even the 5th wasn’t this efficient.

“If I wake up and things are a mess and this was a dream, I will be mad enough to chew iron,” Dag said as they settled in for the night in the tent they shared with the children.

“You’re always mad enough to chew iron,” Leetha murmured tiredly, drawing chuckles from both men.

The farm was an eighth of a square mile, 80 acres, with half of a mile of riverfront, the soil looked rich and there were many trees, including a snarl of old, dying overgrown trees and shrubs at the far end. They built pens before the building goods and their other goods arrived, so they were ready when a cow and five weaned calves arrived, along with a dozen weaned pigs and five dozen chickens arrived, along with a pair of plows, and the spades, shovels, forks and other necessities for farming. The children were eager to play with the chicks as the two men built the coops from the lumber provided for that purpose. The chickens would live in a large pen of tightly woven wattle. There was more excitement when a pair of puppies was delivered the next day with a few tons of supplies, that went into a second tent. There was enough there to hold them for a year and a bit more.

Garth started the work of clearing land for their first garden patch, dragging a sledge behind a mule to scrape off the undergrowth. Leetha helped him, gathering rocks into the sledge as they found them, many large enough that Garth had to hoist them into the sledge. Dag spent his time training the puppies, that would grow into Dwarven Mastiffs, and weaving large baskets that they would fill with rocks to better anchor the corners of the pens. They all seemed to take the time to look down at the river from the bank close to their home site. It was a steep bank twenty feet above the water, and eight feet above the highest water mark.

They were pleasantly surprised when a few wagons and a pair of large barges rolled up on the eighth day and work began on the house and barn. They started with the cesspit and water pipe trenches, and then the foundation as others started the work of running clay pipe down to the river to draw water to a cistern, through a large sand and stone filter, the river made drilling a well somewhat pointless. Running the buried pipe gave Dag all the reason that he needed to build stairs down to the river, a perfect spot for them to fish.

The children were mostly helpful, but occasionally pleasant nuisances, as they excitedly watched the house and barn rise out of piles of timber and brick. There was a bit of dread when Dag offered suggestions, but when they realized that he was an engineer, they paid more attention. They shifted the chicken pen and houses to the fenced barnyard, the pig pen and roofed shelter on the other side. Garth spent his time behind the plow, breaking up the soil and plowing in manure from the mules and cattle, including the mules from the builders’ wagons, into the small plot. He fussed and cursed over the roots and rocks, but pressed on with determination to prepare the ground for spring, and get in a small crop before fall. Evenings were spent fishing, and they were all amused to find most of the builders down along the bank fishing with them, an added benefit was the benches that the builders added to the bank to give them comfortable places to sit.

In the matter of a couple of weeks more wagons from the outfitters arrived with simple furniture to get them started, a table and benches, with a chair for each end, and beds for them all, a few chairs for around the fire, and everything they’d need for a kitchen. Dag had pointed out that with two houses joined, it left a lot of brick that they wouldn’t use otherwise, so as they worked on the house, he and the children finished off a large hole the builders had dug under the great room. Dag laid a tightly-seamed stone floor and then bricked in the walls, surprising children and builders alike as he worked with startling efficiency with his hook. Unfortunately, the builders left before the thousands of pounds of supplies were carried down to the large cellar and carefully stored on shelves that he’d assembled from scrap wood and timbers not needed with the new design.

Garth continued the work in the house garden, planting a crop of onions, turnips, cabbages, leeks, parsnips, and radishes. When he and the children weren’t tending the garden, he was diligently plowing up an acre a day to open the ground for spring. Dag stayed busy, he set the forge under a sturdy lean-to, training the dogs and scything off large sections of grass and gathering it into large stacks close to the house yard for winter forage. The men gathered up the children for a trip to the nearest station once a month to collect their pensions, gather up small necessities, and gather their post, mostly letters from Dag’s family. After their second trip by wagon they discovered that the next month they’d receive their post and pay from a small ship that moved such things along the river, so when they returned home they felled and trimmed up a tall, thin tree and set a flagstaff, when they had letters to post, they’d hang a banner on it to signal the ship to stop.

They were surprised when they were offered a catalogue from Tamber Outfitter, several printed pages that described their goods and listed prices. The next time they flew the flag, it was an order for slates and chalk, books, puzzles and other things for the children. Come spring, they were told, there would be a school and small village a few miles from them, but they saw no reason to waste a winter. At Dag’s insistence Garth took the ship north to Tamber City and was gone for a week, returning with a young lady that would help around the house and farm, especially with the children. Leetha, in turn, delighted in helping her in the kitchen.

Dahlia was a freed slave, she’d spent her life in the kitchen of a man of business, starting as a scullery maid as a small child and working her way to cook. She was still a bit skittish around the men, men in general worried her, but these two with their various scars and missing bits were something to get used to, especially someone of her background. She was a bit crestfallen when she first saw her small room, the window was nice, it even had glass; but, the room was empty. That didn’t last long, they borrowed Jessa’s bed from the girls’ room, Jessa, preferred to sleep with Leetha anyway, and Dahlia saw the same nervousness in the young girl that she felt herself, but noticed that she was absolutely fearless with the men. Dahlia slept in the girls room for the first week, then came another delivery from the post ship, the men spent a rainy weekend painting her lime-washed walls in a pale lavender color that she’d admired in a dress, then came rugs and curtains and a small table and chair and even a wardrobe cabinet. She was quite pleased with their efforts on her behalf.

Dahlia did grow a bit nervous when Dag and Garth sat and discussed the need for a few men to help work the farm, come spring. Dahlia nervously observed that there were many women that worked farms at the hiring hall, field slaves, she called them. The men considered this, especially when she pointed out that men could easily find work, but there were a great many women that would have a harder time of it. She was surprised when they took her suggestion to heart, and then looked over their finances. They were deep into their savings, but still had the cushion of their pensions; they were retired at full pay due to the nature of their disfigurements, which meant that they received almost nine gold sovereigns between them each month. Dahlia cost them nine silver crowns a month, cooks and bakers commanded a goodly sum, and Dahlia’s cooking was well worth it, she beamed to learn. According to the catalog, it was standard to pay farm workers twenty five shillings a month, or two crowns and five shillings a month, plus they split a tenth of the crop’s value between them, plus room and board.

So, while Garth made another trip upriver, taking a thrilled Leetha with him, Dag and the rest started preparing two rooms upstairs, by Dahlia’s, for them. This involved a trip to the new outfitter, located by the school and a small, growing village, just three miles away. They were among the first customers, and the children roamed the aisles with wide eyes at all of the goods, but when they saw the candy jars behind the counter, they were fixated, much to the amusement of the adults in the shop.

They loaded rugs and beds and other necessities into the wagon, and Dag took advantage of Garth’s absence to stock up on a few things that he might consider a waste of money, including a few pounds of jelly drops, before they loaded back into the wagon and trundled off hole, now slowed by a small cart towed behind the wagon.

“Harnessing up four mules every time we need to make a run to the town is a waste,” he explained as they rode home. “This takes but one, and one day soon we’ll be taking the little ones to school. Handy for moving things about on the farm too.”

Dahlia nodded, he mind absently considering the bolts of cloth he’d added after he asked if she could sew. She smiled again as she recalled Leetha’s enthusiasm at that, the young lady had some experience, mainly at mending, but Dahlia had sewn quite a bit as he former owner was a cheap man that demanded that the women make the clothes for the rest of the servants. Freedom was odd to her, she really didn’t go anywhere, there really wasn’t anywhere to go, but the men had told her that she could take a mule to the village if she liked. The thought made her nervous. Still, she could speak when she wanted to, the men listened to her, and once she closed her door at night, none would come into her room. In fact, after they were done working on her room, the men never entered it. They stood at the doorway to speak to her, after knocking. She mentioned that she could sew and she had cloth, needles, thread, shears and anything else that the shopkeeper recommended, even a dress form. This didn’t feel...natural, but it felt good.

The house wasn’t as large as the one she’d worked in, her room was close to the same size, but she didn’t share that room, and bed, with three other women, and her bed was much softer and warmer. Downstairs was divided into the great room, the kitchen and the bath. There were large porches on the front and back of the house, the back looked over the small valley and river and was screened with thin cloth to keep out the bugs. Upstairs Dag and Garth had rooms the size of her own, at the other end of the hall. Then there were two larger rooms, one shared by the boys, the other by the girls, then six small rooms, including hers at the far end, the room across from hers was now the sewing room, and they loaded everything for that purpose into it, with a table that ran most of the length of the wall, under the window for the light. Dag also placed a large bookcase in the great room and lined the shelves with books and the children’s toys, slates and puzzles and looked mightily pleased with himself.

They heard the bell from the river one day, indicating a delivery and they all spilled out to see Garth walking down the gangplank, carrying a large bundle. He made three trips back and forth before the rest made it down the stairs to the landing, just in time to see two tall women follow him across on the last trip. Garth introduced them all to Vaela and Orissa before that gathered up everything and made their way back up. The two newcomers seemed surprised when Dag took up one large bundle under the arm with a hook at the end and hoisted the other onto his shoulder, Dahlia and Leetha hovered close to him in case he needed help.

The newcomers were surprised that they would live in the house, right there with the family, then they were surprised that they would have their own rooms. “I don’t know if I can sleep alone,” Orissa blushed deeply. “Never have. I shared a straw bed with Vaela and six others since I can remember.”

“We can put both beds in one room, till we can get a bigger bed,” Dag shrugged. “We can use the smaller beds so we have to less empty rooms.”

And that was that, no stern looks, no questions. They decided that they could make do with the smaller bed for now. That night the newcomers were full of questions as they bathed that night, standing in the large stone tub and scrubbing down before helping each other rinsing off. Yes, they really got paid; Dahlia even had her own account at the village bank. Yes, she could go and get her money whenever she wanted. Yes, the food here was good, in her humble opinion as the cook. Yes, the men worked, and worked hard on the farm. No, the men never made demands upon her. The questions continued, but both were careful to look at the scars on Dahlia’s backs and legs, and saw that they were old, and Dahlia assured them that they’d never raised their hands or voices to her, or the children.

They knew that the children were foundlings and they heard the story of their deliverance from Leetha the next day as they watched Garth carefully skinning a huge elk that he’d taken that morning and hung by its rear legs from a large tree by the barn. The two of them had taken down five bloodthirsty men, as Leetha described them. They looked again at the elk and didn’t doubt that Garth could use a bow, and the scars on his face, the eye-patch and damaged hand indicated he was a soldier at one time, and apparently the two men were still dangerous at need. Garth sliced off a section of liver and sent it with the boys to Leetha, asking her to book it for the dogs. The rest of the offal was sorted through and be prepared it to boil in a large kettle for the hogs. They women were all puzzled by this until he told them that game could have worms and other things that could sicken anything that ate them raw, he’d boil it all down and feed it to the hogs. The rest of the elk would hang in the cellar for a few days for the same reason, and then they’d butcher it.

Dag, Garth, Vaela and Orissa spend the next several days tending the garden and clearing all of the deadwood out of the sense growth at the opposite end of the farm, sawing the larger stuff to length and loading it into the cart. Over the days that followed they made a huge stack of firewood for the winter and cleared out the dead stuff and nuisance trees to let the rest grow. The women were again surprised when Dag had them help him create a large stone tank with rock and mortar It was thirty feet across and three feet deep with walls nearly two feet thick. He then buried linked pipe all the way down to the river and attached it to a windmill, then he ran other half-pipes out from it, so when the water reached a certain level if would flow out, they soon found themselves on the receiving end of a lecture on irrigation. The half-pipes ran to cisterns that slowly drained into the soil among the fruit trees they’d planted along the edge of the high bank above the river. Other trees had been planted below. A question about this led to another long explanation, this time about erosion.

It was haircut day that showed the ladies the true extent of the injuries that the men had suffered as they sat patiently on stools as Dahlia trimmed Dag’s long hair and cut Garth’s much shorter hair. The men’s chests and abdomen were covered in scars and the marks of ugly stitches that it took to close them up. The, after they’d harvested the last of the summer crops and planted the autumn crops, they woke on the first day of autumn and, as told the night before, they dressed in their best for a trip to the station, the men came down in their uniforms for what they were told was a day of recognition, which meant for and music and dancing.

“What are all of these?” Leetha asked, staring that the shiny metal on their scarlet baldrics.

“Medals,” Dag replied with a smile. “They mean we did good things.”

They found out later that the red ones were scarlet shields, meaning wounded in battle, and they each had many of them. That aside, it was a good day, they placed their own contributions to the feast on the long tables and mixed and mingled with the soldiers of the station and the people of the village. It was a happy and sleepy bunch that returned to the farm that night, good clothes were put away, uniforms hung until the next formal event, and they all settled down for the night, ready for the work of fall and the first winter of their new lives.

Offline Milady Kim

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1976 on: February 09, 2018, 12:19:34 AM »
"I would be interested in seeing a chippy of those old maps" Tamalyn told him. "Also, can you be available to help me catalog things tomorrow? "

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1977 on: February 09, 2018, 04:01:03 AM »
"The maps are in the museum," he replied. "But I believe that the Provincial Engineer has full copies of them all, you could probably get a full set from them."

==========================================================

“Have you ever seen so many ships?” Garth asked quietly as a forest of masts slowly passed their house, sailors waving back at the children, who waved all the harder for being noticed.

“I’m dwarven infantry,” Dag rolled his eyes. “I haven’t seen this many ships in my entire life.”

“They’re bringing slaves,” Vaela said quirtly.

“They’re bringing freed people,” Dahlia corrected her. “Like us.”

“Hope they find good people,” Vaela murmured.

“Wouldn’t want to see what happens to bad people,” Dag replied quietly. “The Travelers are a mean lot to those that abuse others.” He snorted. “I read that he told the government of Perenel that they had to do two things to survive, free their slaves and put their king’s head on a pike at the palace gates.”

“Did they?”

“They did, Gamedian thought they were clever and tried to keep them, that annoyed his daughter, our grand duchess, and she sent in the army and navy to free them all,” Garth said as he studied the ships. “That’s how you came to live with us.”

Orissa bumped her hip to her older friend. “And that’s why we have a better life.”

“I want bum bump!” little Jessa tugged on Orissa’s trousers.

“Your bum is too close to the ground,” Orissa giggled and lifted the little one to rest on her hip as they watched the ships.

They returned inside and Dag showed them the way they came north on the map that hung on a wall by the table where they sat and practiced their letters. Neither Dag nor Garth considered themselves teachers, but they knew their letters, so they taught what they could, and they took turns reading to them all each night, after baths and before bed. Both men considered learning important, especially Dag, who could not only read, but do complex math as part of his engineering training. They both looked forward to the spring, when the school would open.

============================================================

It was a few days later when they all assembled to move as much of the hay into a three-sided lean-to. All of them but Dag, who had broken a strap that held his hook in place and had fitted a new one that was too loose and working had blistered his stump. Jessa stayed with him in the house to keep her out of the way of pitchforks, and to keep Dag from using his left arm. Jessa was a bit of a tattletale. There was a bit of laughter as they returned for lunch to find Jessa napping in Dag’s lap, oblivious to his thunderous snoring as his head leaned back over the top of the chair. He jolted at the laughter and tilted his head to look at him. His hair was in three pigtails, one on each side of his head and one on top, and his beard was clumsily braided into several large plaits. “I’m up,” he grumbled with bleary eyes as he yawned and stretched.

=============================================================

“What are these?” Garth stepped down from the porch to look in the back of the wagon, the soldiers with the wagon smiled at him. “I suppose that you can call it a welcome present from the Grand duchess,” the lance corporal replied as two men lifted out a large bell. “This is to sound an alarm, if you hear the alarm from others, you know that they are in danger. Then we have a bow and score of arrows for each above the age of ten years, and a pollaxe for everyone over the age of fifteen.”

“Generous,” Dag said from the doorway as he stepped out. He looked puzzled as the soldiers all chuckled, Garth turned and looked to see that Dag hadn’t noticed his hair and beard yet and laughed uproariously. “What?” he wondered. Leetha presented him a small hand mirror, fighting her own giggles. “What in blood...” he caught his impending profanity early.

“I done it,” Jessa clapped. “Isn’t it pretty?”

Several more choked laughs as they unloaded a stray target from the back of the wagon. Dag stared murder at them all, and sudden head nods pleased the little girl immensely as she skipped back into the house.

“So,” Garth composed himself. “Two over the age of ten,” he fibbed a bit on Brend’s age, but the lad was tall. “Five over the age of fifteen.” They stacked five hunting longbows and two lighter short bows, with a large quiver for each, and five pollaxes, Garth signed for them and the wagon was on its way.

“Looks like we’ll be doing some training,” Garth looked up at SDag and laughed again.

“Get pronged,” Dag growled and was swatted by the females surrounding him.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 06:46:19 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1978 on: February 09, 2018, 10:23:24 AM »
"Very well" she nodded, "I would like to begin cataloging the find in the morning. I want the most unusual or expensive to go into the museum, the rest I plan to display and perhaps occasionally use. I will require your assistance to know which items should be placed into the museum, which should only be dissipated and which might be used."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1979 on: February 09, 2018, 10:57:16 AM »
"I look forward to it," he nodded.

“Three first rates coming into port,” Captain Blackwood reported to Taraborne as the sun broke the horizon.

The fleet admiral smiled. “Just as our reports said they would,” he grinned. “How many of the smaller stuff is with them?”

“Their smaller stuff is our big stuff,” Blackblood reminded him. “The flags say Balisere.”

“I don’t care who they are,” Taraborne replied. “If they aren’t ours, they surrender or we take them.” He glanced to the shield he’d carried a few days before, it was battered and scorched and hanging in the main mast to remind everyone that they too had power. “They used darkness and morning fog, but the fog hides things from their eyes as well.”

“That it does,” she nodded.

“General signal, advance on the mouth of the port in line of battle, engage the enemy.”

“Aye aye, My Lord,” Blackblood turned to her signalman and relayed the order.

“They should have stayed out of this,” Taraborne growled. “They know that the River Fleet is here, and they should know that 5th Fleet is all along this coast. They are sticking their heads into a hornet’s nest.”

Three huge warships led the way in a wedge, with just enough separation for them all to take advantage of the morning wind that blew into port. Then came consternation as four Selnen first rates turned to pursue behind them, their broadsides open to the smaller ships and the engines began raking the column following the lead wedge, then consternation and confusion as a ship to the left and one to the right erupted in flags, palatine flags on both and then the Royal Standard to the left and the Marshall of the Frontier to the right. Then great gouts of magical flame bust out toward the Royal standards, it was quickly smothered and the retaliation was brutal, blasting the left ship of the vanguard, dismasting it and sweeping its decks clear as the ship began to settle quickly at the stern, which was blasted wide open.

“They gave it all away the other day,” Taraborne said grimly. “If they’ll do it once, they’ll do it again. Ne nodded in grim satisfaction as a similar blast blasted the right-hand ship of the wedge. By this time hooks flew and ships of all sizes swarmed the flagship of Balisere like piranha, Taraborne led the boarders from his ship as others came across from the other side. He was scarcely aware of the following ships that went after the rest of the column.

The King of the Selnens led a wave of men onto the deck of a second rate, his sword shearing a bloody swath as others hacked away at the ropes that guided sails and supported masts while their comrades hammered down the enemy crew. The sight of the Royal guard behind their King was too much for many and they leaped over the side, taking their chances on the long swim to land. Most didn’t last long, those that made it to shore were met by Selnen Marines.  Oldwine and his guard swarmed and overran the upper deck of a third rate, driving the few that lived into the sea as marines and sailors hacked apart the rigging and crippled the ship. Marines swarmed from the keels into the smaller ships as engines shredded enemy rigging and swept the decks of others from a distance.

Taraborne strode to the quarterdeck and stared malevolently at the enemy commander. “Fleet Admiral Taraborne, Frontier Fleet.” He said over the blade of his sword, pointed directly at the enemy commander.

“Grand Admiral Badrek,” he replied with resignation in his voice.

“First, your sword,” Taraborne ordered, “then signal your ships to strike their colors and surrender.”

Badrek looked at the tall man in blood-splattered white, holding a sword covered in gore, and nodded, reversing his sword to hand it over. Color Sergeant Darragan stepped forward and accepted the sword.

“Send it to Her Highness,” Taraborne smiled at her, and then his voice turned hard. “Signal your ships, Grand Admiral,” he reminded him in a cold voice.

The battle lasted less than an hour, the order to strike and surrender wasn’t accepted by all, at first, but the fierceness of the fighting forced them to comply. “Get the crews off,” Taraborne ordered, “put prize crews aboard and get the ships capable of taking the river north ready to take freed folk home. The rest we burn.”

By midday, a large collection of enemy flags and the swords of the captains and admirals were sent to Tamber, with word that they’d utterly routed Balisere at the port.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1980 on: February 09, 2018, 04:30:21 PM »
"Perfect, I will let you go get some sleep and I will  arrange for help cleaning. Please do keep this in confidence, we ate working to secure the site, so we wouldn't want anyone hurt before then, it is very dangerous there currently" she added.

Tamalyn dismissed him and went home. "Brock, I will need some help cleaning and polishing the silver service sets rust were found in the grotto. There is a lot of silver" she added.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1981 on: February 09, 2018, 06:02:26 PM »
He held up a finger and led her to the ballroom, where two long lines of swords lines the floor to form an aisle from one end to another, on the outside of each aisle were dozens of battle flags, some on standards, others cloth alone. "It looks like the flags of Gamedian, Denenstaer, Quaraman and Balisere," Brock said with a small chuckle. "It also appeared that the King and Marshall Oldwine slipped down to chastise Balisere when they tried to overwhelm the Frontier Fleet in the port."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1982 on: February 09, 2018, 06:30:42 PM »
She looked at all the swords and flags, "am I supposed to displaying them in the ballroom? Or are they displayed at the militia headquarters? I don't really know why I received them" she admitted.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1983 on: February 09, 2018, 07:09:02 PM »
"You received them because you are the Grand Duchess and Governor of the Frontier," he replied. "The army army and fleet serve through you, so the trophies come to you, then you get to decide what to do with them."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1984 on: February 09, 2018, 08:56:21 PM »
"Then, I will think about it. But, I am leaning toward displaying them in the militia headquarters" she said thoughtfully. "Theresure are a lot of them" she added, "but, I think the militia would most appreciate them."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1985 on: February 09, 2018, 09:54:30 PM »
"Taraborne is just showing off," Brock chuckled. "Although the sword of the Grand Admiral of Balisere is a bit of a trophy."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1986 on: February 09, 2018, 10:58:11 PM »
"I see, well in that case, I will just send that one too the militia building. The rest can go into the museum for everyone to see" she said nodding.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1987 on: February 09, 2018, 11:42:12 PM »
:They are collecting a goodly-sized collection of battle flags," Brock observed. "I imagine they will display a few of them in the hall to Oldwine's office, remind those coming to see him that he leads a powerful force."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1988 on: February 10, 2018, 01:39:41 AM »
"Oh, I was actually referring to the weapons. I am fine with the flags being displayed. I may just give it all to Oldwine to deal with.  There is an impressive amount though" she added nodding.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1989 on: February 10, 2018, 06:19:35 AM »
"Better than trying to figure out the military mind to decide how they would do it," he agreed with a small smile. "They have rules and traditions for everything."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1990 on: February 10, 2018, 12:45:54 PM »
"Now that we have decided what to do with the weapons" she said, "I will require some help cleaning the thousand year old silver that was found in the grotto. It belonged to the Bartamber dynasty and was storied in tar soaked barrels, under water. I want to display some in here" she said looking to the walls of the ballroom. The more ornate or historical pieces in our new museum, and perhaps use some for distinguished visitors. I thought that this might provide some of the staff an opportunity to learn how to clean and polish silver."
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 12:47:34 PM by Milady Kim »

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1991 on: February 10, 2018, 04:10:28 PM »
"And I can imagine it will have to be done very delicately," he nodded.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1992 on: February 10, 2018, 05:37:20 PM »
"Probably true, though judging from the condition of the casks opened. It is in very good condition. Each piece will be cataloged as we work, so any that are deemed really delicate I will repair and clean" she added. "I think this is going to be fun" she added.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1993 on: February 11, 2018, 03:22:22 AM »
"I'm amazed that even tarred casks could have lasted more than a year underwater," he looked puzzled. "I'd have expected the barrels to have disintegrated and you'd be digging this all out of the silt."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1994 on: February 11, 2018, 01:09:40 PM »
"We don't actually know how long it was under water, and they could have sealed the room before flooding the grotto. Though, there was evidence of water in the room" she added. "It is even possible they used magic to keep the barrels water tight" she admitted. "We will need to be careful as we open each and check for cursed or blessed items as well as traps."

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1995 on: February 11, 2018, 04:31:05 PM »
"I see," he nodded. "Take along your magic tutor?"

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1996 on: February 11, 2018, 05:26:51 PM »
"I was planning to ask her to join me. I wanted to arrange help with the cleaning and polishing first because it will bee a lot of work. I will, of course, also have my guards with me. They can detect magic, so we can set those items aside if we can't clear the magic from it" she added.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1997 on: February 12, 2018, 08:48:51 AM »
Despite the tough schedule of the castle build, General Stonecutter sent the returning guards engineers, and more of the guardsmen to help fortify and secure the Grotto site, until further arrangements could be made.

===================================================

"Something just doesn't look right," a young engineer looked at the odd clumps of dirt above the cavern.

Centurion Helm Thunderpeak couldn't help but agree. He was much older than most centurions, he'd spend many years as a sergeant. He climbed the newly completed scaffold, he didn't want work going on below when the ceiling might come down on them, it should have been a touch decision for a junior officer, pressure was on to wrap up this exploration quickly, but quickly killed people.

He frowned and slipped a pick-hammer from his belt and hammered away at the densely picked soil, a huge section, nearly ten feet across and three feet deep fell away. He examined the crystal lattice that they expected to be stone stalactite. He squirted a section and wiped it with a cloth, it was a beautiful light violet color, another was bluer. He studied the size of the cavern that was above and to the east yet of the underground lake and river.

"I won't see the end of this before I retire," he sighed and scribbled out a dispatch.

"General Stonecutter,
The roof of the cavern before you reach the lake measures over an acre of ceiling space, it may be two acres before we're done excavating. We have found that the stalactites are pure crustal, I've just cleared away a rod more than a foot thick. It may take us months just to clear away the ceiling, and I think we'll find more buried under the dirt of the floor. I caution any that expect this to be a speedy process that they will be disappointed, at least if we are to carefully protect this site to show it in all of it's glory.
Centurion Thunderpeak"

Stonecutter read it and nodded before he forwarded a copy to the Grand Duchess. He turned to his adjutant. "Bump Thunderpeak to tribune, and we'll need to build a proper battalion around him. We'll call it an outpost, man it with an adapted engineering battalion. I want a hundred cavalry, three hundred infantry and three hundred engineers, when they're done. I'm going to need to scrounge two legions of engineers for the short term to build a stone outpost around the site, we'll call it Crystal Grotto. Notify The Grand Duchess and Marshall of the Frontier, I'll sign it as provincial engineer and we'll put my army command in smaller letters," he grinned, clearly playing politics. Write it up, make it sound official, I want to sign and send it in a quarter of an hour. I imagine that Her Highness will go straight there to see the crystal, we'll ask her to promote Thunderpeak while we're at it."

The dispatch was written as he'd directed and in her hand a quarter of an hour later.

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1998 on: February 12, 2018, 09:41:43 AM »
 Tamalyn was indeed interested in the new find. "Indra, could you gather the items necessary to give to our newest Tribune? Then we are going back to the grotto" she grinned.

It didn't take them long and soon they were back at the Grotto. "Hello again" she said to Thunderpeak, "I had not expected to hear from you so quckly. Before you show me the ceiling" she smiled, "please allow me to congratulate on your promotion Tribune Thunderpeak" she said passing him his new rank. "Please forgive me if I have not followed all the pomp and circumstance required for promotions. I am too excited to see the ceiling" she added.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 09:42:53 AM by Milady Kim »

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Re: The Tamber Saga
« Reply #1999 on: February 12, 2018, 09:57:46 AM »
A corporal relieved her of the stripe package and promised to have his uniforms updated. "Looks like you have to take the steward after all," the corporal teased him as he scampered off.

Thunderpeak favored him with a glare, then handed Tamalyn a piece of crystal the size of her head. "This broke off when we found the crystal," he said. "Which means we need a slow and careful approach or we could wreck large sections. So we're going to be building a huge amount of scaffolds, this is going to be a long and careful process, but I think it will be phenomenal when we're done."

 

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Do not bend, fold, mutilate, or spindle. No substitutions allowed. For a limited time only. This article is void where prohibited, taxed, or otherwise restricted. Caveat emptor. Article is provided "as is" without any warranties. Reader assumes full responsibility. An equal opportunity article. No shoes, no shirt, no articles. quantities are limited while supplies last. If any defects are discovered, do not attempt to read them yourself, but return to an authorized service center. Read at your own risk. Parental advisory - explicit lyrics. Text may contain explicit materials some readers may find objectionable, parental guidance is advised. Keep away from sunlight. Keep away from pets and small children. Limit one-per-family please. No money down. No purchase necessary. You need not be present to win. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Instructions are included. Action figures sold separately. No preservatives added. Slippery when wet. Safety goggles may be required during use. Sealed for your protection, do not read if safety seal is broken. Call before you dig. Not liable for damages arising from use or misuse. For external use only. If rash, irritation, redness, or swelling develops, discontinue reading. Read only with proper ventilation. Avoid extreme temperatures and store in a cool dry place. Keep away from open flames. Avoid contact with eyes and skin and avoid inhaling fumes. Do not puncture, incinerate, or store above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not place near a flammable or magnetic source. Smoking this article could be hazardous to your health. The best safeguard, second only to abstinence, is the use of a condom. No salt, MSG, artificial color or flavoring added. If ingested, do not induce vomiting, and if symptoms persist, consult a physician. Articles are ribbed for your pleasure. Possible penalties for early withdrawal. Offer valid only at participating sites. Slightly higher west of the Rockies. Allow four to six weeks for delivery. must be 18 to read. Disclaimer does not cover misuse, accident, lightning, flood, tornado, tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake, hurricanes and other Acts of God, neglect, damage from improper reading, incorrect line voltage, improper or unauthorized reading, broken antenna or marred cabinet, missing or altered serial numbers, electromagnetic radiation from nuclear blasts, sonic boom vibrations, customer adjustments that are not covered in this list, and incidents owing to an airplane crash, ship sinking or taking on water, motor vehicle crashing, dropping the item, falling rocks, leaky roof, broken glass, mud slides, forest fire, or projectile (which can include, but not be limited to, arrows, bullets, shot, BB's, shrapnel, lasers, napalm, torpedoes, or emissions of X-rays, Alpha, Beta and Gamma rays, knives, stones, etc.). Other restrictions may apply. This supersedes all previous notices.

Opinions in articles, posts and podcasts do not necessarily represent the views of The Fantasy Artists, RolePlayers & Writers Guild, aka FARPWG the Guild.

FARPWG The Guild © 2004-2017 Tim Boothby - All Rights are retained by those posting art, lyrics, messages and articles.

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