Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ancient Dread: Totuga - Strongbow, Mug & Alta

Arriving at Totuga, the party disembarks the Virtuous Maiden for a few days while the ship resupplies.  Ka-Rhan, the gnome assassin, says his farewells and departs.  
Inport - Strongbow, Mug, & Alta
Asking Mug, his Orc servant, whether he would like to go into town and perform any devotions to his faith, the Church of Taut, Mug repliesMug taught to be open to all paths of faith. Mug not know how to worship Taut"

"Mug apologize for being deficient"

Knowing that Mug has been raised a slave, it comes as no surprise that his former owners kept him as ignorant as they could outside of what they felt he needed to know.  Strongbow has no such foolish reservations.

"No need to apologize. Would you like to visit a church of your faith or explore other options?"

"Mug shall do as Master wishes. If Master wish to show Mug new path, Mug shall follow."

Over the course of the next few hours, Strongbow explains the basic precepts of the True Church of Dragonwright, his own faith, to Mug.  Mug proves to be an enthusiastic learner.  True enchantment fills his eyes as he listens to stories of Kym-Nark-Mar, Korameth, Zandragal and even Styphon, the dark god of the pantheon.  During the instruction, everytime Strongbow mentions Kym-Nark-Mar’s name, he gets a flash of giant reptilian eye and the feeling that it is expressing a deep, foreboding interest in him as well as a sense of patience as the wheels of a universal plan slowly turn in place. After a time, he sends Mug out to pick up fletcher supplies, rooster feathers and willow by Mug’s preference.  Turning, he finds Alta, the ship’s mate, standing by him. 

During the voyage, she felt that she had seen him before but couldn’t remember where.  Finally a memory struck her.  At a formal function many years before, a noble family was present from the Far Pendletor region of the Land of the South Winds.  Her family, prominent fishing magnates, had also been invited to attend.  Among the noble party was a tall, dark haired male, the same male that had been travelling with them on the Virtuous Maiden these last few weeks. She confronts him with this fact and asks him pointedly why an Elf from such an important family is out playing adventurer. 

“It’s a simple story”, he explains.  “ My older brother is a gifted politician but he comes across as aloof and standoff-ish.  The people don’t love him.  I have little desire to be involved in all those games so have spent my time out with the soldiers and the common folk.  I left home for a time to make his ascension easier when our Mother retired.”

"Any good sailor knows that a competent leader is better than a likeable one. So long as he has good people to smooth things over” Alta responds.  Her tone strongly implies that she has someone in mind when she mentions ‘good people’. 

"Oh I fully support him. We both just needed to get our feet wet and strengthen our positions first.”
"Then your house shall find good standing I imagine. How is your line?" Again she uses a suggestive tone. 

Strongbow responds with his own suggestion "We're one of the last elven houses in the world, it's sometimes hard to find new blood.”  He winks at her with a smirk on his face.

"Oh my, is m'lord flirting with a humble fishing girl?”  She draws in close to him. “What would the others say?"

“I don't think there's anything 'humble' about you and yes I am. I doubt a group that accepts a broken boy and a goblin love slave will be concerned. “

"Well then, my Lord, perhaps we can see about keeping the elven blood strong in the South Winds, should your wit prove strong enough to go beyond mere words".

Strongbow pulls Alta even closer to him “Is it my 'wit' you're wanting now?"

"Your 'wit,' yes.” She replies, ”Also more than a night's consideration. Assuming you are as skilled with your arrow as you are with your bow"

"Then we'll take things slow and see where they lead."  The kiss the they share doesn’t end on the deck.  

 Later, he takes her to a café in the heart of the city.  They spend the hours talking about their lives.  She spends most of her time on her years at sea and talks almost none of her home life.  She also asks little of Strongbow’s time at court but is more interested in his adventures across the Palladium world. It’s late when they return to the ship, walking much closer to each other than they had been previously.

Back on the ship, Macintyre seems impressed and comments that Alta has rebuked other suitors in the past. Those that pressed too hard wound up with their literal pride wounded.

"I wish you luck lad."

Alta takes to singing every now and then usually to help keep up morale singing chanties and the like, but tonight she's singing a song about love. Anyone who listens is captivated by her voice.  Strongbow with an unusual sense of intuition for a male, whistles along.  She notices and smiles.   

Follow the story here.

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