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Loreth

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Beneath the Blackthorn
« on: August 25, 2014, 07:48:31 am »
Everything in its place and a place for everything.

The world is forever in midst of a back and forth, balance swaying while the seasons roll through their cycles. Crops are planted, grown and harvested by hard working folk raised by the collective community centering around the small town square and the church at the head of it. Each family had been there for generations though the community grew every year until the farthest member was nearly part of the next village, spiraling out around the mountain covered in old trees. Many claimed that the mountain up used to be home to Old Man Oak but no one had spoken to him for generations. Some kids would camp in the edges of the forest in the hopes of seeing him though none do.

None except for Chamomile Longstone and her pet cat and the other witches in area. Every equinox he made his rounds to their homes and gave them advice for the coming quarter. When danger threatened their respective villages he warned them and offered help as needed, giving the villages a sense of security that the normal villagers took for granted.

*~*

Cammy sat on her front porch, fanning herself in the high summer heat while her cat sulked in the only shady spot as the sun beat down on them. Cicadas thrummed through the air to make the symphony of summer noontime. Her garden was tended though wilting, her laundry hanging to dry and her remaining chickens fed which meant little was left to do in the afternoon except wish for a rainstorm to cool off. The temptation to make it rain was strong but the chance of stealing rain from their neighbors was stronger so instead Cammy opted for a lighter chemise and thinner skirt raised indecently to her knees.

'Bart... I do not envy you that black coat my friend... Summer must indeed be a hell for you." Waving her fan at the cat a few times, she grinned pityingly. "At least this eve we can go to the lake and have a swim. Perhaps the breezes off the surface will help cool you off." Her smirk widened. "Or perhaps I'll throw you in. You could use a bath!"

Her laugh was half-hearted as the heat had stolen any vigor from her though her attempts to cheer up Bart were likely wasted. "Summer equinox passed just yesterday so at least we know fall is on its way. Grandfather Oak said that before the year ended we would face the greatest test. Do you think he means a test to see if you're freed or a test of my abilities... I hope just that this summer would be harder then the last few. It's to hot to think of any thing more challenging then not melting like a candle..."
« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 05:13:32 pm by Loreth »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 05:27:12 am »
It had been three years since the black-haired woman joined the Inquisition, but she had yet to get used to riding for long hours under an unforgiving sun. How the man she rode with managed under such heavy and dark cloth, she’d never understand. She cast her hazel eyes towards him to check for sweat. The eyes looked almost gold paired with the hues she wore, the gold and red of the Inquisition.

Constance did not hide what she was, nor did she hide what she had been. She was something of a mascot now, a witch turned Inquisitor. It was good for morale. It made the Church seem right, and she, of course, agreed. The Church was right. She’d seen what witches did, for she had been one. She had seen the way they could lie to the public, and feign goodness, while at the same time murdering infants and wrecking sources of water. 

No, they were the foulest sorts, tricking innocent people.
‘And he doubts me.’ Such was Constance’s firm belief about the man with her.

He knew witches well, too. She imagined it was his experience, and the Church’s own doubts that led to them working together on numerous occasions. Witches were tricky creatures of deceit, and for all the Church knew, she was no better despite her displays. She had magic, and truth told, the Church didn’t understand it. It was how she was an asset they wouldn’t just kill.

They would wait.
‘And they’ll wait forever.’ She would never return to that lifestyle.

Honestly, she didn’t think she could.

Church bells rang, and Constance shifted her gaze away from the man and towards the sound. The town was not yet in sight, but they were close.
‘Shade! Water!’ Her heart leapt at the thought of such petty pleasures. “I’ll race you,” though Constance didn’t wait for him to answer.

She goaded her horse quicker and it dashed ahead at a gallop towards the town, gold and red fluttering in the air as the pace quickened. Her sleeves were overly long, and the coat was split up so that its long tails also fluttered out. She wouldn’t wear the robes. Terribly impractical for horseback travel.


‘And we’re to see that Deacon.’
He was a young man, and he’d sent a letter with limited details, claiming the local friar in league with a witch. The short letter had drawn attention and concern, and so they were dispatched to investigate the situation more formally. The town was small, so it didn’t have the capabilities to truly deal with a witch on its own.

Runic Blade

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 09:30:48 pm »
A swim sounded good, although Bart had never tried swimming before.  He wasn't exactly sure how a cat was supposed to swim, but unlike other cats he wasn't afraid of water.  He still remembered what it had been like to swim as a human.  He licked his paw expectantly and looked up at Cammy as she spoke.

He thought about what she'd said about Grandfather Oak.  He guessed that the test which Oak foretold had to do with the warlocks' curse on the village.

Telepathically, he told her, “It seems that Grandfather Oak likes to talk in riddles.  No one can figure out exactly what he means, so how can he ever be wrong!?”

Bart rolled over on his back with his paws up in the air.  The sun warmed his chest.  His belly was full because he'd eaten a mouse last night.  The same couldn't be said for the starving villagers.  Their crops had withered.

“I think the curse will be a problem, and we need to be cautious.  The people will be looking for someone to blame.  You know how it is – they are superstitious and think that magic users are the cause of all their problems.”

Bart yawned, exposing his long, sharp fangs.  “I think we should go into the village.  We can buy some stuff at one of the village shops – you can pick up some cooking herbs – catnip would be good.  If the people see us shopping, perhaps they will think we are their friends and won't blame us for all their problems.”

Silentslash

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 06:19:53 am »
The hot summer sun was relentless and the blazing heat from the forge wasn't helping. Monroe's Forge was bustling with clientele today, some village folk felt the need to protect themselves with Monroe's good iron and steel. Old Monroe was inside handling the customers while Nico was outside actually smithing. He didn't mind it.

Nico's father always thought his love of blacksmithing was a waste of time.
'Witches don't need to work like that, son. You are essentially arming the humans to hunt us.' Those were the last things his father had said to him the last time Nico visited him up in the woods.

As far as Nico knew, no one suspected him of witchcraft even though he was one of the few whom didn't attend Church. All the humans spoke there were just blasphemy and crazed beliefs. Monroe was good to Nico and paid him well, but Monroe was convinced the Crown would want arms and it was good to have a surplus of weapons.

Nico removed the iron from the fire with the tongs and placed it on Monroe's old anvil. The iron was a glowing bright orange and under the apron, Nico was shirtless. He began hammering the iron carefully, Monroe wanted another longsword. It was then that someone rode into town on horseback, he knew those colors she wore. Gold and red.. the Inquisition.

Nico's eyes never left the woman as she rode by, anger flashing on his face for a second, but he was striking the iron harder than before when looking at her. Why were they here? When the longsword was beaten into shape, he shoved the longsword in the basin of water. The molten iron hissed upon contact with the water and columns of steam rose from the basin.


'I have to warn,Cammy.' Nico thought to himself, he knew she was a witch and the Inquisition's presence was not good for either of them. He took off the apron and hung it up and entered Monroe's store. Monroe was chugging from a horn of wine when he entered.

"Monroe, I'll be right back. I need to take care of some things." Monroe set the horn down and nodded. "The Inquisition just rode into town, Monroe."

"Well, it's about damn time! I swear they were going to wait until we all withered away before sending help! Go on about your business and hurry back, boy."

Nico knew Cammy lived a little bit outside of the village and he ran as fast as he could to her house. By the time he arrived, he saw Cammy and her black cat, Bart outside on her front porch. He was out of breath and took a second to restore air into his lungs.

Nico looked like a mess, drenched in sweat from the heat and running. His raven black hair clung to his face from the sweat, he had even forgotten to put his shirt on from the hurry he was in. His muscled arms were blackened from the close exposure to forge and burning charcoal smoke.


"Cammy.. the Inquisition is in the village. They must know about you or I."

As far as he knew, they were the only witches in the village.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 06:34:16 am by Silentslash »

Iorveth

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2014, 06:03:00 am »
"Youth.."

He thought to himself watching Constance spur her horse ahead and towards the town in the distance. He wasn't much older than she was, but in their line of work there were few old men. Her ability and enthusiasm to prove herself to the inquisition impressed him, however he did watch her like a hawk for any signs of the black arts as were his orders. He did in fact doubt her but he was forced into a situation where he needed to trust her, so he did.

He spurred his horse ahead not quite as fast as hers but he didn't want to arrive in the town too far behind her.  Their orders were fairly standard, Investigate the town, identify any signs of witchcraft, locate the source and eliminate it with a public execution if at all possible. He carried with him a copy of the original letter sent from the Deacon of the town. He could recall it fairly well, claims of Water and crops going afoul. Spoiled milk and meats.

These things did not worry Charon very much, minor signs of witchcraft nothing as serious as child abductions or seeing the dead walk. Those were the signs of warlocks, who were far more dangerous than mere witches. Charon had seen that some witches did attempt to use their ability for good, they were healers and teachers. They all burned the same when put to the stake, in his eyes they were on the doorstep to darkness, better to cleanse their souls before they could be corrupted forever.

Reaching the church he dismounted his horse and tied its lead to a low hanging branch. The church was not exactly a small one, it would have served the township and a large amount of the area outside of the town as well. It was well maintained and the grounds were kept with care. He did not see Constance's horse tied up here yet but he did not worry. She would be around in due time. 

He stepped into the church and was greeted by a rather short man with thinning grey hair, He assumed the local priest and made his introductions.   The short man nodded and spoke. He seemed nervous which was something that Charon was used to as an inquisitor. He was judge jury and executioner when it came to the church. If Charon said  you were a witch, then no one could argue that fact.

"Weclome Ser, I wish it were under better circumstances. Come, join us take shelter from the harsh sun. I was told there would be two of you,  Where is your companion?"

Charon gave his thanks and shrugged walking into the cool stone building.  He was lead to what he assumed was the main dining area for any of the priests who still served the church. There was a small spread of dried meats and preserved fruits and what he assumed from the smell of the bottles, Wine.

"Thank you Ser, Please go fetch the father. He'll want to be speaking to me I suspect"
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 06:20:29 am by Iorveth »

Loreth

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2014, 06:54:12 pm »
Nico came running up to her tiny farm all sweat and ash with his shirt missing blurting out the one name that brought a chill to her spine. The Inquisition. Forgetting her bare legs exposed and indecently low chemise, Cammy swallowed and looked to Bart. "They're here... Oooohhh this is bad..." Sitting up and adjusting her skirts, Cammy frowned while trying to think out a plan. "We can't let them know what we are. We'll burn for sure... I hope they don't assume old lady Dana is the witch. I mean, yes she lives by herself near the trees but the poor old dear couldn't hurt a soul!" Standing finally, she ran fingers through the mane of wavy light brown hair a few times, combing it out as if that would help comb out her worries. "We need to stay calm and not stand out." Pulling her chemise to cover her shoulders and be more modest looking, Cammy gives a smile and nods toward the cat. "Bart had a good idea actually. I'm going to be heading in to town and see what I can buy or trade. All my garden has managed to produce this summer are a few apples off Grandmother's tree... Maybe I can donate them to the Church for the less fortunate..." Tapping her lip, she looks in the direction of her wilted garden. "And... at some point we need to try and work together and find the source of this blight. If we can reverse it before anyone burns maybe the Inquisition will leave..."

Eyes closing a bit, she swallowed again. "Just have to remember to blend in and act normal..."

~~*~~


Seated at the only table in the small church kitchen sat the Father in all his common as wheat appearance. Neither tall nor short, Father Green had the broad shoulders of one who helped in the field as well as the soft brown eyes of one you could tell all your secrets to. Clean shaven both his face and his head, the Father smiled softly as he spoke in a voice that was as steady as the very earth he helped till. “Ah, good good. Welcome to our humble village. I am Father Green and this is Deacon Fisher. Was your ride a smooth one? You both arrived much sooner then expected. We’ve heard no complaints of bandits in many years but this plague on us has me worried. A few women will be by later with fresh bread for us to welcome you with." Standing and holding his hand out to each of them as they enter, the Father nods toward the chairs set for them. "Please, have a seat and join me? The water has been boiled and sweetened with mint left from winter. Our dear Cammy makes a wonderful mint tea if you’d like some with dinner tonight, I keep a supply of it on hand. But before then, would you like a chance to rest? I have two rooms for you here in the church attic that are clean and aired or two rooms in the tavern if you prefer.”
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 08:56:48 pm by Loreth »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014, 12:38:10 am »
The woman on the horse was attuned to certain cues. She did make her way towards the church, but took detours when she realized how far behind her dear mentor was. He would not be long behind, but this would allow her to go around a bit.

She could pick up signs from reactions, and the strike of metal on metal was one that drew her ears, but not her eyes.
‘Do not look directly.’ Not that they were going for surprise here, her arrival would be known immediately just by the robes. People would talk. What she was looking for was those who disliked the inquisition. Usually, they had ties to witches, either as friends or relatives. They had reason to dislike them.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the blacksmith, and she made note of him in her mind. She would ask about him later.

The horse continued about, mental notes taken until she arrived at the church. Charon’s horse was already there, and she tied her horse besides his and found her way into the church on her own, relieved to come inside.

She saw him before the plates of food and beverages, and walked by him to get herself a glass of wine, rather than the tea. Old habits died hard, and Constance drank nothing boiled, nothing mixed, unless she made it herself. Wine seemed safer, even if it was an intoxicant. Not to mention, it was cold. She brought the liquid to her lips as two men walked in, the Deacon and the Father. Constance inclined her head to both as she moved back to where Charon was, ill at ease.

Despite it all, she was never comfortable in the Lord’s house. She knew how she had offended Him. That He even let her pass through the doors unscathed was enough for her.

The Father offered his hand, and Constance accepted it, shook it.

They were told to sit. Constance glanced at the seats, and reluctantly decided to do the man that much of a service. Some individuals in the church, particularly those so far out, were wary of the Inquisition. It was usually best to be pleasant, at first anyway.


‘You talk a lot of nothing.’

It annoyed her.


“Sitting is plenty of rest for now,”
perhaps she was speaking out of turn. Her tone showed annoyance, but she did not apologize for it. “I thank you for your hospitality, and while we have privacy without the women milling about to deliver food or tea, perhaps Deacon Fisher would be willing to share the reason for writing us?” It wasn’t really a question, as the former witch let her eyes rest on the younger man, looking for him to answer, or for a sign that the Father needed to be out of earshot as well.

Private meetings could always be arranged from the superiors.


Runic Blade

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014, 09:08:12 pm »
When Nico arrived and told Bart and Cammy of the Inquisition, Bart was worried.  This was a big problem for him, because if someone found out he was a warlock then he'd be in even worse trouble than the witches.  He wasn't sure if the Inquisition would be able to detect what he was, especially in a cat's body, but he was still afraid.  He had a vision of a cat roasting on a spit over a fire.

Bart stood up and darted behind Cammy's legs, hiding from Nico as though expecting the Inquisition was right behind him.

“I think I may know the cause of the curse.  It is a truly dark magic which I am not sure we can handle alone”, he said telepathically to Cammy.  “To me, it seems like the work of warlocks... not that I'd know anything about that of course!”

He waited for the apples to be gathered and then jumped into the basket, sitting on top of the apples.  Perhaps donating the apples would cause the Inquisition to decide the witches were good and to look elsewhere for the source of the problem.

“You surely did not expect me to walk all the way to town on my own four legs,” he said.  “I'll just ride along in this basket!”

“And as far as looking normal, remember that talking to a cat isn't normal, so let's just pretend I'm a dumb animal when we get into town.  If we run into trouble with the Inquisition, I'll try to help with my claws and teeth.”

Bart pawed at the handle of the basket to illustrate the sharpness of his claws.  A couple slivers of wood broke off it.

Silentslash

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2014, 07:10:27 pm »
Nico had forgotten Old Lady Dana, she was quite the sweetheart but preferred to stay outside of the village and in the woods. That was a problem, it was said witches would dance and practice their magic in the woods away from human eyes.

Nico never did such a thing in this village, not with the work of the warlocks and the constant looming threat of the Inquisition. Not standing out was a good idea, it was one of the reasons why he chose to work for Old Monroe, he and his forge were well-known and Nico had earned a bit of a reputation as his apprentice. When Monroe was in his cups at the local tavern, he would boast that Nico would one day take over the shop proudly.

It was many a night Nico would go looking for the old man and bring him back to his home, the man had an insatiable thirst for wine and ale. Perhaps it was because despite his age, Monroe was built like an ox. 30 years of beating iron and steel did that to you.


"We will Cammy, the people need to know us witches aren't the villains. I must send word to my father about the Inquisition and perhaps he too can warn Old Lady Dana. I'll see you in the village, Cammy. Later, Bart."

He knew that was no ordinary cat, Nico knew he would understand him. Nico smiled at the two of them and ran back into the village, making a stop at his own house first. He sat down at his desk and pulled out a piece of parchment and his inkwell. He dipped the pen in the ink and began scribbling a letter for his father.

'Father, the Inquisition has rode into town. I do not think I am suspected of witchcraft, I have been careful as you have explicitly said. There are a couple other witches in the village, one is a friend of mine and the other lives near the woods. She is an old woman and very kind, but she doesn't really leave her home. I wanted you to be aware of the situation and was hoping you would warn Old Lady Dana. I do not dare to step into the woods with the Inquisition's eyes everywhere.'

Rook squawked in his cage, his talons clinging onto the cage and begging for Nico's attention. He rolled up the parchment and stamped it together with hot wax. He fed the raven kernels of corn before petting its head. He opened the cage and put his arm out. Rook hopped onto his arm, pecking it more kernels in his other palm.

"Rook, I need you to deliver this to Father. It is very important."
"Father! Father! Corn!" Rook squawked while unfolding his wings. Nico smiled and gave him some more corn. He tied the parchment to a piece of string onto Rook's leg and set the black bird free. Rook was very smart and knew where his father was residing already, his father also had a raven in his home utilized only when he needed to communicate with his son.

Rook flew towards the direction of the woods and with that Nico left his house, locking the door behind him. He casually walked back to Monroe's Forge, noticing the Inquisition riders' horses tied near the church. Of course the church had called them.

He found Monroe outside working on a plate of armor.
"Ah, took you long enough boy! Grab the hammer and help me out here."

He picked up the long handled hammer and Monroe would point out where and when to strike the plate of armor. Although, he was striking the glowing hot plate of armor with precision and power, Nico couldn't get his mind off the Inquisition and what was going to happen.

Iorveth

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2014, 12:54:08 am »
Charon took a seat next to his partner and accepted some of the mint flavored water. Bringing it to his lips the smell of mint was almost overpowering, which to most others might have been suspicious, but he knew way out here far from the capital lands, even simple things in hard times became a luxury and he suspected they were trying to show off a little for the inquisitors.

"Perhaps two rooms in the tavern would suit us best for the night. While we are members of the church, often times our methods are best not carried out in the house of the lord. Very little useful gossip you see.."

He did also consider the fact that his partner, the former witch was an oil soaked rag waiting to combust and the longer she was in the church and in the presence of the holy men she would be uncomfortable and that could lead to problems.  Better to get a room in town.

He had read the hastily scrawled letter to the inquisition several times and at this point could likely recite it from front to back just as he could the majority of the holy text, but hearing it from the source would be best. He suspected that the deacon had left out several details that he may not have felt safe including in the letter.

He thanked

He took a sip of the flavored water finally and found it like he suspected, over flavored.   

Disappointing.


Loreth

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2014, 08:33:36 pm »
Nico was right to worry, but Cammy still stood and set a hand on his shoulder. "don't fret. We'll be alright! We've never done anything to harm anyone so just be on your guard and help out as best you can. I'd just keep your head down and this will blow over for sure." A bright smile lit her face as she nodded. "Once things settle a little and the Inquisition people begin their search we'll see if there's anything more we can do on our end. Just keep your head down and your nose clean."

Her advice echoed in her head as she gathered up one of the few bushels of apples she had. The orchard her grandparents had wanted to start never took and they only had a few trees that bore fruit but in this situation is was better then nothing. Collecting what she could, Cammy made sure to offer half to the church to help those in need and used the other half to trade for what -she- needed.

Lugging the barrel of apples and black feline, Cammy sighed and rolled her eyes. "I know I shouldn't talk to you. Do me a favor though and see if you can find anything out. Pretend to chase a mouse or something." Wrinkling her nose and shifting the basket again, she almost glared at him. "And lose some weight, you're getting heavy." A wide grin and she winked at the cat, trying to hide how very nervous she was. "Besides why would anyone suspect me? I don't exactly hide or anything and make sure everyone knows they can come to me for help with anything! From watching children to making salves if they get hurt. There's no magic that they can see, just good sense and doctoring. I'm in church every sunday praying just as hard as everyone else this black curse lifts from us." sighing now, she paused in her energetic steps. "But Nico's right... We have to be careful not to do anything different. I think tonight I'll pack up something incase we have to run though. Supplies, herbs and my Grandmother's herb lore notes somewhere... Those might be mistaken for magic though really she didn't do more then make the same salves and teas I do." Setting the basket down again, Cammy adjusted her top to be more modest instead of sliding down her tanned shoulders. "Damn this heat though! If you're right and this is black magic it's going to cook us all before winter."

Basket picked back up, she maintained her usual grin as she headed toward town. It was something she never let falter, that smile, and even now as things were looking rough she did everything she could to bring at least a little smile to people with a joke or cheerful compliment.

~*~

In the church, the Father sat at the table and enjoyed his own peppermint water while the deacon relayed everything that he suspected with the honesty that farm folk were known for. "The tavern rooms will be arranged after Deacon Fisher explains. I'll have dinner taken to you there." Father then nodded to the deacon who stood to give his report.

"Oh, yes well our first sign that it may have been witchcraft was the ewes losing their lambs. not just losing them, mind, but the lambs were still-born. Every one of them! One is unfortunate but so many? We thought something was odd. Then the calves were born the same. Dead the lot of them! We checked with each of the farmers and none could name anything done different this spring, no new grazing grounds or odd plants mixed in and nothing odd in the water. Our women were scared but we had a few births go alright with no deaths, thank the Lord for that. We had the women boil water before eating or drinking anything and the other towns were doing the same just in case. Even the horses and cattle were getting water we boiled! We've not lost any livestock all spring so come summer and this heat we wondered if it was caused by witches too. By far it's the hottest we've had in ages but the crops were being watered from the local rivers when they got to dry."

Taking a breath, the deacon closed his eyes and the Father bowed his head. This was the point where the telling took it's darkest and neither wanted to repeat the story again. "And then... and then the fever started. Some of our youngest babes and elders took sick and nothing we could do help them. No tea or prayer was helping them and we lost them all. Every soul. Six deaths so far this summer but no one else has taken sick since though we lost four babes and an older couple. We thought that was for sure the worst that could happen and prayed for their souls when they were buried. The mothers still mourn the losses." both men drew signs of the cross and held a moment of silence for those lost from their community but the telling still did not end and the Deacon took a deep breath to continue.

"And now... our crops bear no wheat. The stalks grow healthy and strong but no grains. Not a single grain on any stalk. Green and gold as any farmer could wish but not a speck to gather. We'll have hay aplenty but no man can eat hay. Thatch and such we'll have but no bread. Fall is coming and with it winter and if this doesn't get turned about we'll be starved before long. Thankfully we still have nuts and fruits from the trees and we all wish the orchard had been started. A few seed trees are well and good but they won't give enough apples to last us the winter. The other villages are watching their crops closely and don't seem to be effected yet but they send a messenger yesterday that the fevers were starting."

Both men looked to each other and then the inquisition members. "We fear the source of this curse is closer to our town then the others and just hasn't hit them yet. Father and I have prayed and prayed for answers while we waited for you but we didn't want to ask around incase everyone got stirred up. Best not disturb the hornets nest, you know."

Father nodded, hands wrapped around the clay cup. "Already so many are afraid and whisper against their neighbors and I worry they may mob any that they suspect, killing innocents before we can find the true cause." Both men nod solemnly. "Help us find the real witches before we lose any more of God's children to this blight."

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2014, 11:47:28 pm »
No words of gratitude passed Constance’s lips, but there was a grateful glance towards Charon all the same. She could not verbally thank him. To suggest out loud that she wanted to stay out of the church seemed improper. That he either knew, or preferred the tavern anyway, was enough. His motives were sound.

They would hear more in the tavern.


‘And very little here.’


Constance had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from interrupting the long spiel of nothingness. They had gotten the signs already in the letter. If the signs hadn’t been convincing enough, they wouldn’t be here personally. Constance hoped at the end of this repetition, the Deacon would get to the business of suspects, but it seemed he was too nervous to do so. He did not wish to accuse.
‘Great.’

Charon didn’t look much more pleased, though it could have been the drink he held. He didn’t seem to be a fan of it from his first sip.

The people who might have an idea of who the witches were, knew nothing. Their training in the arts had apparently not attuned them to it.
‘Come now, you know that’s common.’ It was a painful reality. Witches learned to blend in. It wasn’t like they burned when they passed into a church. Her parents had pretended to be a good part of the community quite easily.

Constance knew better, though.
“Very well,” Constance said, a signal she had accepted all that was said, and would be accepting the task. “It seems the details match the letter we received.” Almost to her frustration. “If there is nothing more to report, I believe Charon and I would like to begin our investigation.” She would not have been so bold to suggest beginning unless she had an idea of where to start. Otherwise, Charon’s idea of picking up the gossip at the tavern would have been appealing. Of course, if he still insisted on that when they exited the church, she'd adhere to his suggestion.

As it was, she had a lead already.
‘That blacksmith….’ She might have told the Father and the Deacon, if they weren’t so bloody timid. Afraid. She wasn't sure which was more accurate.

Runic Blade

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2014, 11:30:56 pm »
Bart rode along in the basket for the first leg of the journey to town, but he began to feel guilty about causing Cammy additional work by forcing her to carry his weight in additional to that of the apples.  He hopped out of the swinging basket and walked beside Cammy.  They passed some of the fields of the villagers, where he could clearly see the desolation caused by the curse.

“Perhaps you are right – I should lose some weight,” he told her.  “I need to stretch my legs a bit anyway.”

Without waiting for Cammy to reply, Bart scampered off into the brush.  He knew of a few shortcuts to town that a cat could take, but a human couldn't.  Forest animals like raccoon and rabbits had their own trails, which Bart could follow just as well as any other animal.

Overhead, he noticed a black bird flying in the opposite direction, away from the village.  Perhaps the bird was Rook, carrying a message to Nico's father.  Whatever the case, the bird didn't stop to squawk at him, so Bart continued onward.

Running as fast as his legs could take him, Bart entered the village with the intent of getting a good place to sit and survey the situation.  If there was a danger ahead for Cammy, he wanted to be prepared.

There were a few empty wine barrels stacked in front of the tavern, placed on their ends vertically.  Bart hopped onto the barrels and sat on the topmost one.  He curled his tail around his legs.  From here he could watch the villagers go about their business.  He could also see the blacksmith's shop.  If Nico needed help, Bart would know it.  At the moment though, things seemed peaceful.  The sound of the blacksmith's hammer rang steadily through the village streets.  The noise hurt Bart's sensitive hearing.  He turned his ears back a bit to soften the sound.

Silentslash

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Re: Beneath the Blackthorn
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2014, 06:25:04 pm »
After the two blacksmiths finished crafting several armor items and weapons, Nico made sure to stock everything appropriately in the back of the shop and to hang up the newest items crafted. Monroe was counting the money for the day and handed Nico a bag full of silver, bronze and a few gold coins.

"Closing up early but a good day's work lad, I threw in a little extra for all the additional time you've been staying, Nico." Monroe laughed heartily, smacking Nico in the back hard, the old blacksmith's rough hand meeting a wall of muscle. "Look at that, I told you smithing with me would make you built like a man!"

"With all the ale you drink, I might get a stomach like you as well old man." Nico smiled and laughed.
"Speaking of ale, let's go to the tavern Nico. First round's on me!"
"Ha, and what about the other rounds?"
"You got paid today, didn't you?"

The two blacksmiths finished closing up and Nico went home to bathe himself first. He chose a light-brown leather jerkin, brown trousers and black shoes. He tied his long black hair into a ponytail and stepped out of his house.

Outside of the tavern he saw Bart comfortably laying on barrels and he smiled, petting the black cat on his head.
"Hello Bart, Cammy must be in town already. I'll be inside."

When he entered, Monroe was already two glasses in and waved Nico over. The tavern was dimly lit and there were plenty of separate tables but Monroe was at the bar counter. He took a seat at a stool next to him and two tankards filled to the brim with foamy ale were put in front of them.

"Cheers, lad." Nico nodded and they touched tankards and took a gulp of ale simultaneously. Nico wiped the foam off his lips with the back of his hand.