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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:22 am    Post subject: Campaign Thread Reply with quote

Prologue: The Journey So Far

Hestor Rum's crew for the Jovian job assembled for the first time in the yard of an inn on the outskirts of Akilas. A few of you had met each other before - some had been closer than others - but some were strangers to each other, Hestor playing his cards close to his chest when it came to picking his people.

You were:

Henn, Hestor's personal driver and sometime bodyguard, a short, round man in his late twenties with strong-looking arms and a mop of dark hair. He stood tending to the horses, his pale face red from the cold.

The Fox, a brown-skinned woman of about forty, her dark curled hair touched with grey and pulled back under a beaten-looking tricorn hat. She wore a long coat that matched the hat, and under the coat tough-looking riding leathers, with a long knife sheathed on one hip. She kept to herself at one side of the yard, watching the rest of the crew as they entered. Something in her demeanour warned the others to leave her alone.

Bela Gin, Hestor's young money man.

Richard Slade, a thief.

Paula Ridgeway, an actress, newest to the crew and unknown to the others.


As we begin, I'd like you all to describe yourselves as you looked on that first cold morning, walking in to the yard where you'd been told to meet, luggage in hand.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A dashingly handsome young man, looking like early 20s, came out of the inn and into the yard. He holds nothing but a couple bags of clothes. He gives a brief smile and nod or wave to Hester, Henn, and The Fox.

To the other two, individually or, if they are near each other, together:
"Hello. You must Paula and Richard. I know of you, since I handle the payroll. I'm Bela Gin."

(Hey, can you roll to see if I'm actually dashingly handsome? Laughing)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paula drew her coat collar closer in with a gloved hand trying to keep the cold morning dampness at bay. Her carpet bag was heavy with her costume, clothing, makeup, and a few precious momentos. She had typically been able to load it onto cart when she was with the troupe but it appeared that she would have to carry it all the way to Jovian. 'Oh, well,' she thought to herself, 'no need to complain. The exercise will do me well.'

She was feeling excitement this morning as generally comes with the beginning of a new trip. She had had misgivings about the reason for the trip but quickly swallowed them when Hestor had mentioned Jovian. She had planned to go there with her troupe but they were travelling next in the opposite direction. She was in pretty desperate need for the money anyway so this was the next best opportunity. She just hoped that Hestor was good for his word and not expect her to do anything overtly illegal. Then again, if it meant finding....

'Well, enough of that, girl,' she said to herself. 'Focus on the prize.'

She entered the area. passing the woman with the knife with a pleasant good morning nod. She felt a little silly wearing her jaunty plumed hat after seeing the tough-looking woman's hard glare and self-consciously adjusted it as she passed. She wasn't unaccustomed to rougher characters. In fact, she had entertained enough of them in her career. But, she still understood danger when she saw it and decided that she needed to treat that one with utmost respect.

She saw another man tending horses but he did not look up when she passed. He looked familiar and Paula recalled that he had been present when Hestor approached her for this job. Counting the horses it appeared that there was enough for everyone to ride. Thank goodness. Hestor Rum wants to make good time.

Paula then saw a dashingly handsome young man approach her, hand extended. She smiled, acknowledging the introduction, and extended her own hand.

"Yes, I am Paula. It's a pleasure to meet you, Bela."
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for not being more descriptive upfront - there were, in fact, three vehicles in the yard. The lead carriage is small but expensive looking, painted black with gold detail. Behind it are two covered wagons, rather more plain looking.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard Slade took in his surroundings, as he always did when preparing for a job, or preparing for a walk (or preparing for anything that involved other people). He had grown accustomed to surveying potential dangers in any situation. He wore a dark overcoat, ideal for concealment of anything that he wished to conceal, but it also kept him warm in the cold morning air. The coat had a worn look, but not tatty. In truth, he was rarely seen without it; it looked cumbersome but was in fact very manoeuvrable, made of tightly woven wool fabric. He wore plain, grey trousers and sturdy, comfortable shoes. All his clothing was designed for him to be able to move quickly and easily if required. It was also designed to *not* stand out - part of his profession required an ability to blend in and not be noticed. He was a man of around 30, weathered looking, but some would say handsome in a certain angle and a certain light.

Richard was familiar with Henn, who glanced his way briefly and then continued to tend the horses. Richard assumed that Henn would be very protective of his master given the need. The Fox was largely unknown to Richard - she looked formidable, and openly aggressive. Danger rating: very high. Richard also had some knives about his body, but they were concealed rather than open and threatening like the Fox. Richard was also a dangerous man if he needed to be.

It was impossible not to notice the natural beauty of Paula Ridgeway, shimmering in the dull morning light. Her danger rating was high in a different way. However, looking forward, she would serve as a wonderful distraction if Richard had to steal something without detection. Equally beautiful was Bela Gin, with fine features and a youthful look, who Richard had seen a handful of times. Bela had paid him for the small jobs that Hester had commissioned him for back at home. Richard wondered about how someone of his youth had become Hester's money man. There would be an interesting story to this man.

Paula took Bela's hand and politely, and charmingly, acknowledged him. Since Bela extended his hand to Richard, he took it and said pleasantly enough "Good to see you again, Bela." Turning to glance at Paula, Richard quietly greeted her, "Hello, I'm Richard Slade."
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As you finished your introductions, Hestor Rum himself emerged, not from the inn but from the black carriage. He stood on its step and looked across you all, his eyes stopping for a moment on The Fox, who gave him a small nod. A tall man, handsome, with a mess of red hair, he was dressed the part of the minor noble lord, in a blue breasted jacket and red pantaloons.

"I see you have all made it." With a smile toward Paula, he said, "Ms. Ridgeway, my dear, I am glad to see you did not reconsider joining us. I hope that you will find this venture advantageous, and I swear you will not regret it.

"Anyway!" He clapped his hands together, then hopped down from the carriage, stepping over to the next vehicle. "This cart here is for our cargo, but there is a little room in the back for luggage should you need it. This -" he indicated the third wagon - "is yours. Unless my man Gin here has failed me - and I am certain he has not - you should find anything you need within.

"I suggest you make your arrangements fast, as I intend to depart imminently. Any discussion of our work can wait until we are on the road." With a quick stride he was back on the step of his carriage, and giving a smile and a dramatic wave of his arm said, "Well met and good fortune, friends. We'll all be rich before long."

As quickly as he had appeared, he was gone.

*

In the crew's wagon there were two bunks and hooks for hanging hammocks. On the cargo cart there were hammocks, bedrolls, and two small tents suitable as a small shelter for one person.

The journey from Akilas to Jovian is about two weeks, and most nights you would need to camp out by the road. Henn had already claimed one of the bunks for himself. The Fox had her own horse and bedroll; she kept to herself mostly, and slept under the stars.

What did the rest of you do?
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paula smiled and greeted Richard Slade with a gentle smile and grace, noticing that he had not mentioned his role in this venture as Bela had. No matter, time would soon tell.

As she met everyone, she began to that this company was considerably different than she was used to. Other than Hestor himself, there were no colorful personalities here, no roguishness (with the exception of Bela), no one competing to be noticed, and no pomp and circumstance. In fact, she was probably the only one who stood out - which was probably what Hestor needed. It was good to stand out as an actress but without her troupe around her, she felt like a fish out of water. She wasn't a stupid woman so she made a mental note to keep her mouth shut and her eyes and ears open. She did not want to offend her companions.

She also thought that she should have a story ready in case they were stopped on the road or met other travelers.

She turned when Hestor emerged and listened to his speech, acknowledging his words to her.

With a look and smile toward Bela and Slade, Paula made her way gingerly to the crew cart to claim the other bunk, not wanting to be relegated to a hammock. She had tried a hammock once with the troupe and was dreadfully motion sick for hours after.
But, since they would most likely be sleeping under the stars, a bunk was not really necessary unless she wanted to rest during the trip. She liked to walk everywhere with the troupe and she welcomed the fresh air and exercise. It helped her sleep at night.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Well," I said, following closely behind Paula, as much for the view as for the sake of first-come, first-serve, "I guess the slow poke gets a hammock."

I drop my bags on the floor next to the bunk Paula had not already claimed, and flop down. "I hope Slade doesn't snore. And I'm sorry there's not another cart for you. Don't worry about my modesty, though. I won't be embarrassed if you change clothes in front of me. We're all just business partners, right?"
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bela Gin is certainly acting the way Richard expects. That's fine, Richard is not one to be the centre of attention - if Bela wants to take it all, so much the better. He leaves Paula to respond to Bela's jest.

"I'll take a hammock" he murmurs, and carries his small cloth bag over his shoulder, as well as a small leather valise by his side, which contains everything that is important to Richard for doing his job.

Richard would prefer to set up in one of the tents in the cargo cart, but feels it would look a little too unfriendly at this early stage. So, steeling himself, he prepares for the trip to Jovian.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you bring any particular possessions with you on the journey? Is there anything valuable or meaningful you're carrying? If there is something you would keep private from the others you can PM me.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard Slade carries some money on him, as well a concealed dagger, amongst a couple of other items. His valise contains most of his life savings, which he assumes is a trifle for the likes of Bela Gin, and Paula Ridgeway for that matter - she looks well off to Richard. It also contains everything that is important to Richard, and he has no wish for the others to learn its contents.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bela doesn't own much of anything. Having lived off of garbage for a few years, having food, clothes, and a place to sleep is all the worldly possessions he's wanted.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And so you set off on the road southeast toward the Heartland. It was a pretty uneventful trip, and although the close quarters made things uncomfortable at times, it also meant you go to know each other a little [you can assume during the journey you learned each other's background to the small extent it's been revealed so far in the character creation thread]. In the evenings you'd often take your meals around a fire at the side of the road, and Hestor would join you some nights, to discuss what he knew about Jovian and the job ahead. The Fox kept to herself, but she'd join the group whenever Hestor was out. Attempts to engage her in conversation at other times was usually just met with bad humour and insults, so you quickly learned to leave her alone.

Your small caravan entered the Heartland sometime on the twelfth day of travel. There was no border or boundary, nothing to mark the place where your world met this miraculous new place that had appeared just decades prior. Just the same winding road through lightly wooded lowlands, the ground beginning to rise into hills ahead of you, mountains visible on the horizon to the east. You camped out once again, in a small clearing beside the road, on what Hestor judged would likely be your last night before arriving in Jovian.

In the morning you set out with an air of anticipation, the knowledge that the easy part of your journey was over, and soon you'd be in a strange new place supposedly unlike any you'd visited before. Uncharacteristically, The Fox joined Hestor in his carriage, instead of riding her horse alongside the wagons as she had every other day of your journey.

As usual, Hestor's carriage was in the lead, Henn riding up front on its seat. Behind it, the cargo and luggage, and in the rear, the wagon you all shared, each vehicle pulled by a single horse, with a couple of spares - and this time, The Fox's own horse - on leads in the rear.

On this particular morning, what would you all be doing during the journey? Whereabouts would you all be and what would you be doing a couple of hours into the day's travel?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paula used the travel time mostly as an organizer/caretaker and entertainer. It was a good way to keep her mind off her anxiety.

She regaled the group in the evenings with songs and stories, even though her voice wasn't much. Still, she knew some clever and funny songs, and dances. Hestor, Henn, and Bela joined in on the fun, sometimes dancing a few steps with her and laughing at the humor, ribald and otherwise. Slade was as closed as ever but Paula was able to catch a gleam of enjoyment in his eye every now and then so she was happy to bring some cheer into his life, little though it may be. The Fox was.....well, The Fox.....and Paula included her in the audience but still kept her distance.

She also made herself useful to the group by fixing some camp meals (she was used to that while travelling with the troupe), cleaning up the cart, etc. She was motherly in that way, seeing that everyone was fed and comfortable.

On the last morning, she woke early and fixed a breakfast of dried fruit and cheese for everyone, making sure that the portions were equal. The wine from the night before had not yet soured and was well watered so as not to get everyone drunk before the sun had risen high. She boiled water for the last of the coffee and tea.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Despite his cautious nature, Richard had started to feel more and more comfortable in the last few days - he felt like he was slowly acquiring more of an understanding of his fellow travellers.

Bela Gin was surprisingly less of a stranger to Richard's way of life than he first thought. Bela spoke at times of his past - about how he grew up in similar circumstances to Richard - and of Hester's role in giving him odd jobs and errands. This resonated with Richard - the only difference in general was the type of job that Hester gave them, but even then there were some overlaps. Bela was actually a likeable young man (something that Richard had attempted, and failed, to be in the past. He had long since given up trying to be someone he was not).

Paula was truly a distraction: she was engaging, entertaining, funny, and really seemed genuinely interested in looking after her fellow travellers. Despite himself, Richard could not help but feel mesmerised at times by her presence. She spoke briefly one evening of her widowhood, but did not elaborate.

Richard did not reveal that much about himself, except where his past partly matched that of Bela's. He even mentioned some of his past roles (the theft part) - he figured they would find out eventually.

Over the last couple of weeks, Richard would spend a few hours of each day walking alongside the wagons, partly to keep from becoming slow and lazy, and partly to think about potential situations that might arise from the upcoming job. On that final day before arriving in Jovian, Richard once again checked his belongings, and looked ahead into the unknown future. Was this going to be his chance to finally become someone?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bored






Bored

Bored

Bored







Bored


"Thank you, Paula."


Bored


"Hey, either of you know anything about The Fox? Not a happy person."
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm gonna let you guys play this out a bit. You're moving along the road through a wooded area, at a fairly leisurely pace. Richard is walking alongside the wagon, while Bela and Paula are sitting up on the wagon's seat. It's a little warm today, so you didn't want to be cooped up inside the cart.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Hey Hey Paula."
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Hey, Bela," Paula responded with a smile and then jumped down from the cart to walk along side of it, not so much to get away from Bela but because she was tired of getting jostled in the cart. The day was nice and warm - weather she enjoyed - and she took her hat off and basked in the sunshine.

It was at times like these - when she would walk - she could be quiet, pensive and could let her mind wander. Memories of the past flooded her mind. She always tried to focus on the happiness rather than the misery - the warmth of her husband's arms or the sweet smell of her baby. Both gone from her now.

She shook off those memories that threatened tears and despair and focused on Jovian and the potential it held.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Fine, thanks. Yourse...?"

*looks around, confused*

I could have sworn...
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