Author Topic: Avelyn Oldeguard, He who waits and watches  (Read 1506 times)

MidnightSyndicate

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Avelyn Oldeguard, He who waits and watches
« on: April 06, 2015, 12:25:31 PM »
Avelyn's fingers brush over the the leather bound journal that he carries to all his adventures. The leather creaked as he turned it open, letting the pages flutter as he took in the scent of parchment. He flipped to a more recent entry, and read it quietly to himself, as he sat waiting, watching, letting his charge practice her craft in the all but abandoned tannery in Vallaki.

Port au Lucine, a city under siege by its own people. Iíve returned to the city with my charge at my side. During the day, it looks like a beautiful testament to art and high culture, nestled on the shore of rich endless plains. At night, it sinks back into the mire formed by its own decadence. The criminal element has organized into all out insurrection, claiming half the city as their own as they go on a looting and raping rampage. The guards fall back to the richer parts of the city. That is Port au Lucine in its entirety.

A city that once sat on the edge of tomorrow, a beacon of virtue and innovative thinking, now finds itself tumbling back into the chaos of yesterdayís wounds. Iím told the war did this to the city, but I somehow doubt it. Sure, a war can be bad for a city. But a bad peace can be worse. Iíve walked the length of the Coastway in Faerun when I served the church. Iíve seen the damage negligence and corruption can do. Thereís a cancer here, though Iím not sure where yet.

I have my suspicions. The ruling class is always the first likely culprit. But when politics and bureaucracy are involved, it usually means there is a power struggle somewhere. Itís possible that someone in the ruling class is paying and organizing the criminal cartels to do the damage theyíve wrought. At first glance they just seemed like unruly mobs, enraged peasants, and caliban with no prospects of a future. But then we ran into some enforcers. They were well armed, well trained, knew the city intimately as they attacked from alleys and ran down well mapped escape routes. You donít get that good at bushwhacking without an experienced mind to teach you howÖ.

Then thereís the likelihood that the powers-to-be decided they had an overpopulation problem. Maybe they organized the thugs, or maybe they were already a threat and decided to use them as an opportunity. The only thing I know for certain, the guard isnít lacking in strength and number, so someone is ordering them to pull out and leave the killers to do the butcherís work.

Then there's always the chance of outside influence. An enemy of the city inciting chaos and riots. It's a cunning strategy. Why waste lives and resources when you can turn your enemies on themselves? The outside influence doesn't explain the absence of the rule of law though. There are too many parts that don't fit into this picture, and there are more that are missing. It'll be on my mind until I figured it out, Helm knows I cannot abide a mystery. It feels like home. Rae and I will do well here.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 04:55:53 PM by MidnightSyndicate »

MidnightSyndicate

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Re: Avelyn Oldeguard, He who waits and watches
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2015, 09:10:53 AM »
     The walls began to crumble. The high towers of defense, the impregnable bulwarks once raised high, the cold unyielding stone... all reduced to rubble. The constructs Avelyn and his charge had put up for so long to keep others at a distance gave way to the touch of pale flesh glowing beside a fire. Lips hungrily chased each other, and their arms greedily clung to one another. The troubles of the world had departed, leaving them to their solace for a moment, in the dark, beside the waning embers of their fire. "Appropriate," he thought to himself. His body was more concerned with keeping the shivering and soaked elf close, the warm heat radiating from him being stolen by the frigid jabs of the rivulets of water soaking through his clothes from her skin. His arms painted black with calligraphy enveloped her like dark wings. As he drank her kiss like a pauper drunk on wine and misery, his mind screamed with words he couldn't say after a night of revelations. "How can she stand it, sitting there like a waning fire, waiting for her light to go out?"

     He didn't have time for more words. His fingers combed through damp hair to clutch her head close to his chest, waiting as time forgot them for a brief moment. The cold unyielding calm that ruled over his mind was broken by the distant sound of Fyzgig's voice in the back of his mind. You won. He heard those words before. They were the words of a child, someone ignorant of the cost and quickly dwindling worth of a victory.


Avelyn didn't call it victory. He called it a beginning.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 08:35:47 AM by MidnightSyndicate »

MidnightSyndicate

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Re: Avelyn Oldeguard, He who waits and watches
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2015, 09:14:57 AM »
The day had waned, the sun was sinking into the ocean. Avelyn's body burned with the exertion of his regimen, recovering from practicing his form and the quick killing strikes he had been developing for his carefully precise combat style. Worn and exhausted, with Rae at work on her latest designs and batches of equipment at her workbench, he sank to the ground. Too tired to do more than crack open his journal and recant the morning as serpentine veins twitched numbingly over the thick mounds and channels of knotted sinew they snaked over, he began to immerse himself, adding to the entry before the memory turned bitter or hazy.

Fools, like me

   We found ourselves in Port-Au-Lucine, a company of four; including Jack, Yasz, my charge, and myself. A cloak of night was draped over the city's sky. Only a few lights were left to shine through the mantle while we waited for day in all its burning fury to chase the criminal element back into its hole.

   Elven eyes were turned skyward to wait for dawn. They were also cast downward to watch the reflections on the harbor. They turned around, dizzied by spires, the structures of man; monuments of iron and stone rising to make them feel small and put them in their place.

   My eyes were elsewhere... I had been watching Rae that day. I watched her shift between her moods; polite, smiling, solemn, cold. Something ate at her, as things often did. I knew I would never get to hear a word of it. For someone that valued trust so much, she always came up short on the giving half, unless of course it was one of her kin asking. It at least narrowed my suspicions. It had to involve her impeccable kin. Always plotting and scheming, driving and wedging a chisel into things that are just fine and beautiful the way they are, for the sake of their traditions and bigoted perceptions.

   I knew she had a falling out with Ae'ver, but little else. Too bad, I was starting to warm up to the gopher. I know her kind sees her attachment to me as shameful, though they wonít say it when they think I'm in earshot. I confronted a few of them, the cowards. F*ck them, the fools with their hand-me-down point of view and valiant counter-point bullsh*t excuses. They're so eager to sit there and deny all of their faults while tugging at strings and whispering to one another to try and manipulate Raeís destiny. I'm not too ashamed or righteous to admit my faults, and at least I let her OWN the decisions she makes, no less than I own my mistakes. But then, they love their whispers. Smiling and nodding pleasantly face to face, then quickly whispering and urging each other to try and draw my charge down another path.

   The bitter betrayals of her kind, and her own constant secrets made it hard to be around her, especially that day. Looking at her helped... she wasn't hiding who and what she was that night. She was plain to see, a new gown that clung to her slender shoulders; I'm sure it had its own tale I'd never know the full truth of; bright eyes sparkling, and pretty face tilted away from me to leave only a glimpse of those adorable ears; a face men have drawn steel for. It was easy to see the hurt through her guard. It would have been easier still to wait until it came crumbling down, until she was vulnerable and exposed, to be there for her at her weakest... but I didn't want to be that man. It wasn't just my oaths, I didn't want to be another Corax, another Fyzgig, or any other shameless coward that made a battle of something that wasn't mine to surrender, and fell upon her to only give her borrowed strength when she was at her weakest.

   I couldn't help the bitter laugh that came out when I thought of the river of blood that would flow for the sake of that face, the war of fools that would be fought, the constant vigil I'd have to keep against the shadows her own friends smiled from, all because my ears weren't pointy enough to satisfy them. She heard my laugh, sour and harsh as it was, and looked to me. She was curious, likely wondering what was happening in my mind and I couldn't hide my mirthless smile. I told her, "You're going to be so angry with me."

   Her voice was exhausted, mentally and physically when she spoke back, the closest thing to a conversation we had all day, "I currently do not possess the capacity for anger."
I remembered my promises at that moment, and I decided not to wait for her to be at her weakest to lift her up again. I guess I'm still off guard against that face. I shook my head, I was still too willing to take that leap, and I hated myself for it.

   I told her, "Not today, Serra. Centuries from now. We're dying a drop at a time, and when we're done bleeding, ever and always bleeding into the chasm, and that last drop of mortality seeps from us, when the veins run dry and these lives no longer offer us anything to bind us to these fragile bodies... I'll have to conquer Arvandor just to visit you upon its shores, and on that day you will be so angry that I do, because woe be to the elven souls who tell me I may not enter to see you."

   Jack, Yasz, and Rae... all those elven eyes turned toward me, and my blasphemy. They were equally stunned. Jack was the first to speak, "Avelyn the poet" he said with a growing grin. Yasz kept quiet, hard to say if she was insulted. Rae though... Rae melted, and for a moment, a familiar smile shone across that face, mirroring the dawn. It reminded me of better, sweeter days, before her kind tried to dictate who would get to court her. The mixed bittersweet conflict inside me wasn't enough to jade my mind. I could see the correlation between the dwindling smiles and the time she spent among her own kind.

   I could feel my face darken, but they thought it was bashfulness. I wanted to change the subject before they saw the anger for what it was, so I told Jack, "Every swordsman is a poet." One last look at Rae before the sun piqued told me that I'd be writing many haiku's at the edge of my sword... all because of the many fools that would be rendered helpless by that face. Fools, like me.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 10:48:39 AM by MidnightSyndicate »

MidnightSyndicate

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Re: Avelyn Oldeguard, He who waits and watches
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2021, 05:10:02 PM »
Calloused hands moved with a shake where once was a deftness stolen by the thief known as time. A sad replacement that could never measure up to what was lost. They unearthed a leather-bound journal from the depths of a pack, the cover worn from sinking beneath the chaffing contents that had risen above it in the hierarchy of use. Cracked open to the familiar scent of age and parchment, the pages spilled over themselves to the welcome and once familiar glare of daylight like an old man crawling out of bed to greet the morning. Finding a blank page, its owner began to scratch an entry into the forgotten treasure that once brought him a sense of peace.


Everyone I know is dead. Or gone. Missing. I met an elf that seems to increasingly gravitate to my presence. Each encounter seems to last longer. She listens to my stories when my mind begins to tumble out again. I don't know if I still have all the pieces. I think she does it to be polite, out of pity, perhaps. I feel old. I cannot think anymore. Something is wrong with me. Rae's curse? Maybe.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 05:15:12 PM by MidnightSyndicate »

MidnightSyndicate

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Re: Avelyn Oldeguard, He who waits and watches
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2021, 06:34:06 PM »
Feverishly scrawling, hands splotched with ink, fingers pushing and smearing the marks to shade and give lines context. Avelyn worked urgently. He must capture it while the memory was fresh, he must not forget. Around the image he had added to his notes he began to scrawl the events that had unfolded, straining his eyes against the haze where the dark of the night met the light from the lone candle that lent an ear to his ravings. Everything else outside that small sphere of radiance fell away into non-existence.



 I was walking, traveling south of Vallaki on the road that was to take us east through the woods with a man whose name has already been stolen from my memory. He was a sturdy man, in heavy armor, wished to understand the sciences. For a fair bargain, I offered to guide him to Midway, and tutor him. It is what Rinn would have wanted. Remember Rinn. Reinhart Rinn. He was a good man, you must not forget, not again.

  Scenes of carnage are not unusual in the early hours of the day, often left abandoned and discarded by the artists that had made them a tragic canvas for the dye inside of their skin. This was different though, it was a paradox. Four carcasses. One bear, meat gone to waste, fur stripped from its flanks. Poachers, or hunters. One in the same, but nothing new.

 The deer are what caught my eye. One seemed normal at first, but was dead and cold as a stone. Exsanguinated, likely the work of a vampire. I've survived enough of their short lived reigns of terror to be familiar with the work by now. But beside it, everything else was wrong. Another deer, ripped apart in feral form, a show of strength and brutality, as well as waste. It showed few signs of feast or hunger. The third carcass was the most confusing. A quick kill, chunks chewed off. Vampires need blood, not meat. Why was that there, so close?

 The proximity of these kills to one another raises unnerving theories, of those I believe one of two is most plausible. Either this creature is newly woken, and it did not know at first how to curb its hunger, so it killed with a ravenous urge, and found that the meat did not quench, but the rivulets of blood running from it did. Then it learned to drink, and drained the exsanguinated deer dry. But this theory is flawed. The deer would not have lingered so close together at the sight of the carnage, and I cannot imagine that it killed them at the same time with varying measures of force. Could the kills have spanned several days? I should have checked them better.

 The second theory, there were two beasts of different breeds. One that feeds on blood, and the other on flesh. The prospect of such an alliance makes me uneasy. This would indicate a cunning intelligence driving this violence. Creatures of these nature are usually territorial, and manageable because they do not work together. Who do I warn, who do I tell when there are no more Iron Wolves about? I should not have gone away for so long.



Another strange event took place along the humble journey. As I walked the road that paralleled the southern shores of Lake Zarovich, I noticed the waters had receded. The lake had sunk several feet, and in the process revealed a path that snaked to a sunken ruin in the shallows of the shores. Normally little more than a the hand of a drowning man breaking the surface in a large and misty vista, now accessible. A year ago it had not been so. I know not how long this way has been revealed, but I felt compelled to enter and know what had lain just out of reach for so long. The architecture had all of what I would expect from Barovian craftsmanship. Ancient, detailed, and artfully done. A skill they do not seem to practice or replicate anymore. The turf around it seemed sturdy, tended to, not waterlogged, and the path was reinforced with stone borders to keep flooding at bay. I could not tell if the grounds were recently tended, or this island turned peninsula surfaced shortly after my departure from Barovia.

 Some of the growth was old, the door was eaten away by the waves, nothing barred my entry. Within I found a journal recounting of a tragic and unfortunate fate for one who had formed a coven with a vampire. There she was imprisoned and entombed, I imagine until her dying day. Legends say vampires cannot cross running water. Is it possible she was turned and imprisoned there, and now the receding water that opened a path has allowed her to escape? Were the ravenous killings in the woods the product of her first feast? Was she something else, and now freed by the creature that had glamoured her in the journal? Either possibility could link to the recent finding in the forest. I know something is afoot, but I do not yet posses the answers. Helm knows I cannot abide a mystery.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 06:44:14 PM by MidnightSyndicate »