Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Planets Minerva: Episode 3: The Walled Town of Sealedge

The ranger Catherine and her Half-orc companions Armigus and Gu’ro’Baen have left the encampment of the brothers and sisters of Osiris, gratefully equipped by them with water skins, a few coins, clothing, footwear and such; and with belts which, in the absence of sheathes or scabbards, managed to contain their bared compact swords, though awkwardly, and at least allowed their hands free. They have followed a well-beaten track through the strange hot savannah, their hoods a shelter from the large red sun.

At the tall brown stone wall of the town of Sealedge the windowless gates stand closed. Before it some merchant and his guards and horses wait patiently with their loaded covered cart as town guards patrol high above. The merchant assures the party that these outer gates will open soon while the inner gates close instead, and that this will leave the outer ring quarters of Sealedge at their disposal.

“And what sort of little hate-goblin is this?” asks Catherine, gesturing toward the tall grass where a mousey, almost doggish face glares at them. She slowly approaches the short creature who scurries backward and upright away from the ranger.

When the sturdy gates groan and swing ponderously outward, the merchant shows papers to the guards within; there are many of them in sight, all garbed in charcoal-coloured capes and red helmets, and the merchant and his men are waved on. The party, with no papers, are redirected toward one of the four large buildings which abut the inner and outer walls on either side of each gate, leaving a single well-trod road bisecting the dense outer “ring” community.

There are banners posted on their left and right hand sides of this intersection; one with a westward arrow hailing the Horse’s Ass Ale House and the other plugging the Thirsty Bastard Ale House to the east. The former bears a crude drawing of a horse looking back over his shoulder while the latter depicts a gentle-eyed bearded man staring placidly at the viewer. Catherine is startled at the image. Her hand goes to the hilt of her sword where the saint’s name is inscribed. “Look familiar?” she says. The others follow her gaze.

“It’s the same image Brother Leotho showed us,” says Gu’ro’Baen.”

“Saint Montreal,” says Armigus. Saint of the abandoned, they each recall. “We must pay this place a visit.”

“Guard,” says Catherine, “I must report a matter of possible concern.”

“Go on.” She tells him of the presence of a little ‘hate goblin’ hiding in the grass outside the gate. The guard thanks her and vows to have this investigated.

They are then ushered through a door below a sign reading Intake wherein guards relieve them of their weapons with the promise of their return before leaving Outer Sealedge, whether inward or outward as their fate yet avails.

Guro, as his orcish friend calls him, is separated from the others and interviewed well along the narrow room, within their sight but out of earshot.

The interrogator demands his name and those of his companions. Guro complies and that much goes well. “And where have you come from?”

“From the encampment down the road. We were guests of the pilgrims of Osiris.”

“Since when? Did you enter the Verge with them?”


“Where is home then? Not Orikland.”


“You are part Orik though.”

“I… yes.”

“From where originally?”

“We’re… wanderers currently.”

“Perchance you were born somewhere?” The man seemed irked.

“Of course. The city of Renown.”

The guard shook his head. “I’ve not heard of this city before. To what land does it belong?”

“It’s a long way from here.”

“Clearly. But what land please?”

“I know not how to answer that. It’s an independent city, with it’s own rulers and army.”

The guard stares at him unpleasantly. “How can you not know in which land it lies?

“It is it’s own land.”

“Are you enfeebled then? Or a lunatic?”

“No sir!”

Eventually the guard loses patience and Guro is taken and detained while Armigus and Catherine are each interviewed. They respond cleverly with geographical references gleaned from the clerics and are permitted access to outer Sealedge for the time being, but with the burden of sponsoring the suspicious Gu’ro’Baen and unburdened of their weapons. They are each assigned permanent unique visitor numbers which index their entry records. They are told when to return to this barracks where they might be approved for entry or else bedded for the night.

“Have you ever seen such a tight-guarded town?” says Armigus upon their release. “What are they so protective of, I wonder.”

“Unspoiled water?” says Catherine. ‘It is rare apparently, in this land at least.” They are outside staring again at the Thirsty Bastard Ale House banner.

“Saint Montreal,” says Guro, echoing the others’ thoughts.

“Whoever left those swords for us...” Catherine muses.

“Do they mean to direct us there?” says Armigus, “Where they perchance await?”

“Let’s find out,” says Guro.

“And hope they’re friendly,” says Catherine. “We’ve no weapons now.”

“Something tells me that guards will be present,” says Guro as he looks around.”

“They do seem everywhere,” says Armigus.

“I suspect we’re being observed,” says Guro. “Tested as it were.”

Hmmm. I’m a little concerned about this exercise. It was meant to serve as a concise record of game play but it has taken a turn for the prosaic. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Perhaps it is a symptom of the stage of the story. It is still very much in introduction mode and a lot of subtleties are significant. Perhaps as this world gains familiarity the narration will gain some speed and concision.   

No comments: