Origin Story (Thormar)

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Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:57 pm

"Thormar! May I have a word with you?" - A familiar voice is heard, which startles you, as usually you are uninterrupted during meal preparation. The voice is that of Dagonet Svet, the man of the house, and Sword to the Crown. While it is not unheard of for him to visit, it certainly is odd, as he is usually practicing his archery, or riding around his estate at this time of the morning. As you turn around to greet your guest, pausing from the soup you were preparing for lunch, you can see that he is donned in a tough leather vest, proudly displaying the twin red dragons over an inverse V of the Svetian house on his shirt.

He waits a second, and then continues to speak: "Tell me, how long will it take you to muster a meal for the estate? That's everyone: the children, the dogs, the servants. I don't want something lacklustre, for Lord Varthus will be present. I want boars, and plenty of wine.

Dagonet's words come across with purpose, and with the power delivered as that of a man who has no qualms with asserting control of a room, but he waits for you to answer.




Thormar, how do you react?
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:44 am

Thormar pauses for a moment, his thoughts circling like wolves about a cornered boar. He watches them - furious creatures of sinew-strength and pack-thought - repeatedly fail to take down the wary beast. Every snarling lunge meets teeth, tusk, or hoof. The wolves were too few to surround the boar. They needed more wolf-clan to savage the boar's hamstrings from behind, dragging it down to dirt-blood and death...

"My lord, my kitchen-kin and I-" Thormar gestures towards Joceim - the scrawny servant boy - then Faustus - the plump mouse-mauler cat - and finally back to himself: "-are four hands and four paws. Give me quick-fingered Hanna, and you will feast within the hour."

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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:28 pm

"It shall be so. Joceim, fetch Hanna and tell her to stop climbing on the roof, and make sure she assists you and Thormar. You understand?"

Dagonet turns to leave the kitchen, but hesitates, something he is seldom inclined to do. "And Thormar, I recommend you put your life into this feast. It would be in your favour to make an impression."
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:43 pm

Thormar bows in response, and waits until he hears Dagonet's feet clunk out of the kitchen. He then straightens himself up, standing a little taller than before. He can taste the challenge in the air - bloood-sweet and iron-sour - and he can feel the victory tingling in his palms. He snaps around: "Joceim!"

The boy is half-way through the garden door, but pokes his black-nettled head back into the room. The commands tumble out of Thormar's mouth like loosed horses in a stable-rout: "Give Hanna word - she'll come - then give Falstan word to gut a pig for roasting." Joceim's head disappears again, and Thormar hears him padding down the paved garden path. He bear-roars after the boy: "Flay your heels! I need you back today!" And the padding turns into slapping as the boy races off.

Thormar grabs a woven basket and an empty flagon from the large table in the middle of the kitchen, and sets off down the stairs. The celler is cool and dry. Like a clear winter day, Thormar thinks. He lets out a wry laugh: Smiling-spirit kinda day for hunting blood-meat and back-furs. Now I hunt ground-sprouts, dirt-gifts, and cold meat. He lopes beside racks of shelves, filling the basket as he goes: red onions, dusk nettles, falbejh shoots, garlic, and a half-dozen sides of salted pork. At the back of the cellar he fills the flagon with a heavy, dark stout from one of the barrels, then returns to the kitchen.

As Thormar tops the stairs, Hanna skips in. Skidding to mock-attention, she grins at him cheekily. There's grass stains on her knees, twigs in her curly brown hair, and dirt between her fingers. Thormar jerks a thumb at a small water bucket in the corner: "Clean yourself, briar-cub. Mud adds a flavour that rich men worked hard to avoid." While she cleans up, he adds the stout and a hefty knob of butter to a pan, and places it on the fire-grate.

"What did you climb?"

She turns at his question, hands damp but dirt-gone: "I climbed the stable roof to watch the horses dance and the birds squabble. Then I climbed the big oak you call squirrel-husk, all the way to top-branch," she recites. "I found squirrel holes, but no squirrels. Nut shells, but no nuts."

"What does your blood-sense speak to this?" he says, peeling onions. Their crimson skins crack like bones beneath his rough hands. She joins him, fingernails tearing at onion-heads.

"It tells me that to catch squirrels, I must be cat-quiet and..." she trails off.

"Cat-quiet and eagle-quick. Good. You speak and think like clan-born. Don't let your father know of this skill: he will be strange and jealous."

As they finish peeling and dicing the onions, Joceim returns. His black hair brow-slicked with sweat. Thormar points Hanna towards the garlic, then turns to the boy: "Joceim, today you are my blood-warrior, this burden is yours." He opens a small cut in his left palm with a kitchen knife, cupping it until the blood forms a small pool. Dipping his right forefingers into the liquid, he paints a leaf on the back of Joceim's hands.

"Svelvinvin. Green backs, red bellies. Death-poison. Grows in willow-shadows. Take a jar: I need fifteen leaves." He waits for Joceim to nod in ackowledgement, the boy's face iron-cast. "Good. Now, be courser-quick. Our master grows hungry by the moment." The boy dashes off again.

Thormar and Hanna continue preparing the meal. He adds a paste made from the falbejh shoots to the soup, along with a couple of handfuls of oats, transforming the light midday dish into a heavier meal. He places yesterday's bread by the fire to soften it. Crushed dusk nettles are added to the stout-butter mixture, their sickly-sweet odour filling the kitchen for a time. He pours the thickening black mixture into a jug, and hands it to Hanna: "Go give this to Falstan. When his pig is gut-free, cover it with this, and spit-roast it in the main hall." Hanna nods, and runs off. Thormar leans back on the kitchen table with a grunt, hand scratching his prickly white beard-fuzz.

I just need Joceim to be quick. Smiling-spirits guide his tread.

OOC: 22 Knowledge(nature) roll for Joceim finding the right plant.

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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:29 pm

You expect that your explanation of the flora was sufficient for Joceim, who while sometimes slow in the head, has enough knowledge about him. He better, after all that time he spends out in the woods surrounding the estate.

Breathing steadily, like the beat of a Numerian blood-drum, you prepare a soup fit for a king. All the while, Faustus sits comfortably and watches you prepare, and every small crumb misplaced is sniffed, to determine whether it is food fit for a feline of his stature. You are just placing the finishing touches on your delicacy, when you hear the distinct playful giggle of Hanna as she runs back in and says "I didn't do it! Falstan dropped the pig! It's in the fire now." and with this, she is gone, almost faster than she arrived.

What does Thormar do?
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:54 am

Thormar, looking up from stirring the soup with a large wooden ladle, explodes into action. He snatches the wash-bucket up and douses half the fire. Then, casting the bucket aside with a clatter, he launches himself after Hanna.

It's a short two corridors to the main hall, but his old muscles are aching at this unexpected stress by the time he arrives. He bursts through the entry-arch, roaring his fury: "FALSTAN! If you burn that pig scab-black, I will roast your gutted corpse in its place."

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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:51 am

The sight that reaches your eyes is one that demands swift action. In the center of the fire, you can see that one half of the spit has slid off it's hook, leaving the rear end of the pig to lie directly on the flames. At this point the arse of the pig is significantly darker than the head, and Falstan is no where to be found.

Hanna was quicker than you back to the pig, and has already gone over and filled a wooden bucket with water as much as her small frame could lift.

What do you do?
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:44 pm

OOC: DC14 Will save: 18+3 = 21

As the blood-fury rips his slipping senses from him, Thormar drags his robe over his head, baring a lean-muscled torso. His chest is a map of battles: each scar a ridgeline charged, each inky line a bloody river-crossing. He binds the robe around his hands as the world goes black.

Thormar stands on a battlefield. It is familiar. Dead and dying wash around his feet in a bloody torrent. He pounds forward, each footfall ichor-sloshing. The howls of war flood the crimson skies. There are no clouds - just a pale sun glaring down like a gaping wound.

Before him hulks a bear. Its fur cinder-grey - flickering in the haze. Baleful eyes burn molten-hot in its skull. He feels the heat blacken his mane.

A paw the size of tree-trunks lashes out, each claw razor-death. He curls aside. Another bone-ruining blow rushes by. He darts in, grabbing the bear's torso, hands plunging through fur to latch on searing flesh.

The pain is like exploding stars - overwhelming yet distant.

The blood-rush around his feet pulls harder, and the sun glares blindingly, and the pounding in his skull is a battering-ram at the gates of his mind.

He ignores it all. This is his realm of screaming strength and bloody slaughter. He roars his defiance, words tearing out his throat like choking flames:

"MY BLOOD NAME IS THORMAR HALF-HAMMER. I AM THROAT-RIPPER, BLOOD-SPILLER, AND HORSEMEN'S BANE."

He hauls with all his rage-might.

OOC: D20+STR: 1+1 = 2

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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:28 pm

Speeding across the room you grapple the roasting beast, and you push with all your might, trying to get the pig out of the fire. It is heavier than you expected however, and after you lift the fallen side around halfway back to it's resting place, the heat becomes to much, causing you to instinctively try to move your footing, however you stand on an odd angle and the pig falls towards you.

Next thing you know, there is a full sized, mostly roasted pig searing your flesh on your chest, as you are lying on your back. 1d6+2 -> 4 fire damage as you are burned.

Hanna shrieks, and throws the water over the heap of Thormar and animal, but then falls suddenly silent, and runs out the back door, as if she'd seen a ghost.

"What in the nine hells are you doing in my house! Lord Varthus will be here soon and you are ruining my meal and my estate, explain yourself." - The anger in the new voice, which is quickly identified as Dagonet is much aligned to the Barbarian bloodlords of your youth.

What do you do Thormar?
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:24 pm

OOC: DC12 Will save: 1+3 = 4

The weight of the bear crushes Thormar, burning with furious intensity. He can feel the skin of his chest and arms redden and blister. The whole world around him - howling wind and dragging blood-river - seems to enflame in response.

A dull, murmuring voice blows on the wind, its words ignored. Something about the voice's tone makes Thormar wary. He has no capacity for the breeze, as the rage streaming through him takes over.

He shoves the bear carcass aside, and stumbles to his feet. He tries to speak, but his voice cracks and chokes on the first attempt.

"Falstan. FALSTAN. FALSTAN!"

His voice builds, over and over, each scream shaking him violently as it rips itself free. He pounds ichor-water through an unseen maze of paths, his head full of the stench of everything. He can smell Falstan's trail: urine, leather, pig-fear, and hay. He can see it: a tenuous yellow trail in the bloody water.

Thormar hunts.

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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:54 am

OOC: 1d20+4 → [17,4] = (21)

Dagonet moves quickly up to you and grabs you by both shoulders and begins shaking you out of the rage you have been caught up in. With a roar he yells"Thormar, calm! I give you food, a place to sleep, and this is how you repay me?"

He looks around the room, and sees the fire, somewhat doused by now, and the half burned pig lying restfully on it's side in the center of the floor, glistening with water that was thrown on it but moments before.

"I thought you were civilised, rid of your barbaric ways. Tell me right here and now why I shouldn't banish you from my estate."
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:39 am

OOC: DC8 Will save: 6+3 = 9

With a roar of rushing water, shrieking steel and battle-screams, the rage leaves him.

Thormar slumps in Dagonet's grip, his spine returning to the subserviant curve that it has locked in for the last ten years. Tears sting his eyes. I am not Blood-Spiller. I do not rip throats. Horsemen would laugh to see me now. I should be called Thormar Half-Man: the other half is a failed coward.

Overcome with exhaustion - his muscles groaning and trembling - he drops to the floor. There is a thud and spike of pain as his knees hit the ground, but he does not feel it - he is lost.

"My lord. You are right. You are always right. Banish me! I deserve it. I am the lowest of low: muck-filth and coward-blood. I was only trying to make a feast worthy of you, and when Falstan abandoned his guard over the roast, I grew bitter angry: he was bringing ruin to it all. I only wanted to do right for you."

He leans forward, bowing his head and pulling his mane of hair aside to expose his neck. He mumbles low, so low that only he can hear: "I am lost. The earth will drink my blood-death, and the spirits will shun my weakness. I will not fight the endless battle. I will become bone-dust and empty howls."

OOC: d20+Diplomacy: 11+9 = 20

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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:55 am

Before you, Dagonet's stature changes. The anger departs, leaving an inspiring presence.

"Rise. You have served me well before this day. It is rare for your kind to be repentant and respectful. This is not a weakness, but a strength many Numerians lack. Finish this feast, like I know you can. There will be time for you to earn my trust again later."

If you do not say anything further, he will depart the room. What do you do?
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:59 am

Thormar remains kneeling, listening to the sizzle of cooling meat, and Dagonet's fading footsteps. After a moment, he feels a soft hand edge-wise across the nape of his neck.

"Like that?" Hanna's voice sounds in his ear.

"Yes," is his simple, cracked response. He hauls himself shakily to his feet, and staggers off towards the kitchen.

"What does it mean?" Hanna asks, following in his footsteps.

"It means you are victory, and I am lost."

Joceim is waiting for them in the kitchen, drenched in sweat, but carrying the small pot triumphantly. His brown eyes grow wide at the sight of Thormar.

"A fire," Thormar explains, dismissing the boy's questions before they can draw steel. "I see your power, blood-warrior. You two must finish the meal: my body is fury-wrecked." He waves weakly towards the pot: "Crush the Svelvinvin leaves together with the garlic, then spread it on the salted boar. Then bring everything to the hall. The soup will cook itself for now."

He waits for a moment. Neither Joceim or Hanna make a move, both staring with disgust at the pot. Thormar sighs: Fear no death-poison: garlic works on it as well as blood-drinkers. Crush it together, and the mix will kill the salt-taste on the meat." The pair set to work.

Thormar grunts as he picks up a small footstool and slowly walks back to the hall. He sets the stool next to the fire-pit and - with muscle-straining effort - returns the iron pig-bearing shaft into place. He surveys the meat. The skin is mottled-black with burns, and charcoal streaks show where it fell onto the firewood. Salvageable. Cutting and cleaning is a simple task. He pokes the smouldering fire back into roaring life.

Soon the smell of roasting meat once again fills the hall. Hanna and Joceim enter, Joceim carrying a stack of boar-steaks, and Hanna a basket of bread. She places half a loaf between each trencher, circling the three tables that surround the firepit. Joceim lays the steaks on the smooth stones that separate the firepit from the polished wooden floor.

"You have worked well," Thormar tells them. "Joceim, take over cranking the roast. Hanna, inform master Dagonet that the meal will be mouth-worthy in minutes. I will handle turning the steaks, then clean myself up to serve the soup. I think the current sight of me could put his honour-guests off their appetites."

Hanna skips off. Thormar finishes cooking the steaks, and distributes pieces of them to each trencher. He then scoops up Faustus - the cat had been drawn into the main hall by the smell of meat - wincing as the cat's claws find hold in his shoulder. The wince turns to a grimace when the Faustus's curious face brushes against the burns on his chest - some of which are beginning to ooze.

Cursing the cat under his breath, Thormar sets off towards the kitchens.

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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  Nephilim on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:00 pm

Thormar, you have calmed yourself, and honed your abilites back to that of the cooking nature.

OOC: If you could make a Wisdom check to see how well you make the feast, and then list the food that Thormar and co has prepared, then that should be sufficient to wrap this origin story up.

EDIT: Add 1 class skill rank to Profession (cooking) and then tell me what you roll
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Re: Origin Story (Thormar)

Post  ubiquitous on Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:12 am

OOC: Cooking check: 10+7 = 17.

Thormar and his crew have prepared a meal that - while lacking in presentation flair, other than the pig roasting on the open flame - makes up for it in the wholesome quality of the food.

The outer meat of the pig roast - though burned to char in places - has caramalised from the dusk nettle paste, leaving it sweet and chewy, while the inside is cooked, though a little on the tough side. In comparison to this, the salted pork has been coated in svelvinvin, garlic, and onion, and quickly seared, trapping the juices within - juices caused by the destructive power of the svelvinvin leaf breaking down the meat, though the salt and the garlic quickly neutralises its deadliness, leaving the meat tangy and juicy.

Yesterday's bread - made fresh by the radiant heat - is from good quality flour, so it isn't too heavy, and has various herbs baked through the loaves.

As for the soup, the already hearty dish - made from a base of ox bones and shaved coruco nuts, with leeks and barley - has been thickened by the falbejh shoots and oats into an almost-stew. The coruco nuts give it milky taste, while the ox bones, leeks, and barley add a savoury body to the mix.

The food is assisted by Sir Dagonet's excellent cellars, which contain a broad range of casks, barrels, and bottles, ranging from simple pale ciders, to stout black ales, and deep red wines.

All in all, the fare - while perhaps too common for pure-blooded high society - has a simple charm that suits the practical inhabitants of Sir Dagonet's estate.

-----

There is a tentative knock at Thormar's door. He winces, as his startled hand slaps into the newly-bandaged burns on his chest. The room stinks of oil and aloe. He hears the door creak open, and spots Hanna in the warped reflection of his copper plate mirror. He sets to bandaging his hands. "Time already?" he sighs. "I will finish these burn-wraps and then-" He's cut off as the girl's small form collides into him, her arms latching around his abdomen, and her wet face pressing against his side.

"Why'd you have to be so stupid?" Hanna manages to say between sobs. Thormar stands awkwardly, hands paused mid-winding. The girl rushes on: "Why didn't you just pour water on the fire? Why'd you go and do that? It's only a pig! You got so angry. I was scared! You weren't you anymore. And now father doesn't want you teaching me anything. He says you have to be more civilised. But I don't want you to be like them: they're so boring, and they don't like me climbing. But I don't want you to be angry, because it's scary, and-" she descends into a full-blown summer storm of tears.

Thormar sinks down onto the hard, lumpy mattress of his bed, pulling Hanna into the crook of his arm. "Shhh," he tells her. "Don't cry. I can't leave: your father owns my blood. Or..." he trails off, a strange feeling stealing into his gut: "No, I speak coward-truths: you do."

"Huh?" her tear-streaked face tilts up at this.

"You do," he repeats with growing realisation. "You took what little victory I still bore. Your father is my law-owner, but you are my blood-owner."

The tears and sniffling stop. Thormar looks down into the face of twelve-year-old determination. Something in the girl's look worries him more than staring down an army of battle-bloodied horsemen. She wipes her face with the back of her arm, then speaks: "You're not allowed to be angry any more."

Thormar stares for a moment, mouth agape. "But...no. I can't. I am Thormar, Clan-Lord from the bitter crags. My veins are blood-fury, my body battle-born. I must always fight."

"You're not a Clan-Lord any more," she says. He feels the burn of molten fury. No. She is right, part of him says. You are no warrior. Not any more. You are weak and weaponless. You are a lost man.

Another part of him wants to rebel, to roar into heady haze of blood-fury and battle-lust and prove his mettle, but that part of him his weary body betrays, and it slips into silence.

"Yes," he says at last, and slumps back onto the lumpy bed with a thump. He stares up at the ceiling boards,
and past them; his mind picturing the endless battle's otherworldly realm. He will never shed blood on that mythic field, neither his enemies' or his own.

"What're you thinking about?" Hanna's voice raises him from the miasma of depressing thought.

"Purpose," he mutters.

"Father once told me a story about a stick," she begins, tucking her legs under her. "When it was born, it
was a tree, bringing forth leaves and fruit for animals and men. When the tree was cut down, it became a bow,
and ended the lives of many. And when it was old, and could not draw arrow-weight, it became a staff, carrying
stooped pilgrims about the land. But it could've been a fishing rod, a tent pole, or many other things. So, father said,
might a man have many purposes in his life, but each at its time was as worthy as any other."


A silence settles over the room. Hanna stands up. "Come on. You need to serve the soup. You have to disguise
your lordliness again and be a servant, while I have to disguise my girlishness to the guests and be a lady."


He pulls himself upright: "Where did you get such a sharpened tongue?" Hanna pokes it out at him: "Father
doesn't like me using swords, so I have to arm myself with something."
She giggles at his poorly-hidden smile, and - wiping her face once more - skips out.

Thormar pauses for moment longer, weighing her words thoughtfully. Then he finishes bandaging his hands, pulls on his spare robe, and follows her to the feast.

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