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 The Heart of Harmony CoFC 
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Post The Heart of Harmony CoFC
~ OUTSIDE ~

The place had been there for a while. It seemed to survive everything; fires brushed it and moved on, hurricanes rearranged tiles, floods watered the evergreens and hollies while direct assaults only seemed to add character. It was a curious looking building, defying description. Was it two, three or four stories? How long was it? There were too many chimneys to count, but all seemed to have a curl of smoke escaping no matter what time of day. Was the tile roof a dusky red or was that a light gray?

In the rain it seemed hunch over and draw in, streams rushing down in hundreds of waterfalls completely ignoring the crazy array of green and blue gutters. When the sun shone again it seemed to stretch and preen and shake itself dry.

It was built from stone and imported wood from all around Tonan, with giant, rusty bolts pinning additions of oak to foundations of granite to editions wrought in brass, limestone and redwood. It was an assembly gathered over a very long time with styles of architecture that had long disappeared from memory. Maybe a few of the elders of the small armies of gargoyles might remember some of the builders, if you could get the surly beast to stop killing each other long enough to talk. They waged incessant war upon each other in the jagged peaks of tile, their stony battalions and granite cadres mustering nightly to claim dominion over some important part of roof. There were at least 3 factions of Gargoyle that Hank knew of, but there were parts of the roof he'd never explored - the risk of doing so hadn't seemed wise.

It was very old, and it was just a bar, and Hank ran the place. It was called the Heart of Harmony. It was the oldest building in the city of Harmony, and it looked out over the oldest Bazaar in all of Tonan. It had been a center for trade since before time,, and all the old trade highways led to the Bazaar, the great stone wheel in the center of the City. Hundreds pitched their wares there, hawking information, spicy meats, rare imported tangerines, pears and other fruits; ancient copies of treasure maps as well as the prosaic necessities of life. New caravans arrived daily from all points of the compass, dark and light strangers bringing fresh news, mystery and treasures daily.

Most if not all of the folks who visited the city stopped into the Heart to slake their thirst and rest their tired feet. One could find whatever kind of meal you wanted and every spirit known to man, goblin, elf and fey creature was served. The bartenders were completely unflappable and could mix whatever you had in mind. The cooks were eldritch in their ability to meet your requests, and nobody left the Heart saying they had stumped the staff (it was whispered that if those who did found themselves ground into the free sausage Hank handed out to the poor folks).

There are many doors and ways into the Heart of Harmony, but the one most people used was the big oval one facing the Bazaar. But if you weren't in Harmony, all you needed was an invitation and you could come and go, defying distance and space.

~ INSIDE ~

The vast mahogany bar stretched into the darkest recesses of the Heart. Firelight danced off mirrors behind the dizzying array of bottles looming over the bar. Fireplaces and stoves dotted the huge room, with booths and tables low and tall designed to accomodate every size of hungry person and drinking beast. There was a space for everyone.

Halls and stairs opened up at random throughout the Central Bar leading to other, cozier Bars and Dining Rooms, as well as the apartments of the more permanent guests and suites for overnight guests. Gnomes with long noses and beady eyes delivered tankards and trays through the smoke and noise of the crowd, while elvish maids wandered about refilling glasses and watching for disturbances.

At the bar, by the One-Eye's Well sat Hank. He had a flagon of the house Bock before him and a sheaf of thick, creamy white paper and envelopes. He was carefully penning invitations for all the Confederates. It was time for them to assemble, but in a less formal atmosphere. He hoped they would come, they deserved a respite.

Anyway, Hank frowned as he slowly worked through the pile of invitations. His hand hurt as he crafted the invitations, the quill shaking as he wrought the magic necessary. His hand seemed to bulge and writhe as he carefully drew the letters and imbued the sheets with power necessary to bring his guests. Once the Confederates read his Magick Invitation, they'd forever be able to travel to the Heart of Harmony no matter how wide the distance between them.

Of course it wasn't the spells that Hank struggled with. Grammar and word play bedeviled him the most, so he tended to keep thing simple. Still, he worried about sounding like an ass.

Dear Confederate,

In Harmony I run a place you can drink and eat and relax at. Its called the Heart. You are welcome to visit. Anytime you like.

Just come whenever you want, there is always a place for the Confederates. I mean come whenever you want. Just close your eyes and accept my invitation and you'll be here. And you can get back just the same way.

I hope you come soon,

Hank

PS stay away from the Ogres they are mean.


Hank finished the last one, and massaged his hand. He handed the stack to the one eyed troll mixing drinks. Get these delivered, please. And don't take forever like you did last time. He then took a deep drink of his beer and closed his eyes.

Yep Hank They'll get um fastest this time rumbled the troll, as he gathered up the invitations...

_________________
[center]As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.

Ex-Mayor of Harmony, one of the Free Cities[/center]


Last edited by Hank on Sat Dec 28, 2002 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Dec 20, 2002 5:36 am
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The sight of the ever changing building was a comfort to Ed as he walked up the path towards the bar. He often thought of spending most of his days here, amongst the gargoyles, Hank and his other creatures, but duty always drew him away from his own wishes. Today however, he had been able to convice the local lords that he could be spared from duty for a day or two. After all, Edward felt that he deserved a break. He had worked hard to eliminate bandits, SAO, as well as many other threats thrown at his people. All had been taken care of now. The worst had been the Inferno. SAO sorcerors had seemingly worked day and night to cause an intense fire in his lands. Thousands had died in the flames and whole townships burned to the ground. The whole land had seemingly been in flames. But in the dawn of the next day his people had begun to rebuild. Not as far out as they had before, but the will of the Tau was a hard one. A mere firestorm would not destroy them. Ed as usual had been proud of his people on that day.

Shaking his head he noticed he had reached the great doors which lead into the tavern. The destruction was behind him for now. At least he had gained a day or two to relax. He would have to try not to think of business.

As Ed looked around the bar he was shocked to find it nearly empty. Hank was leaning on the bar alone drinking some sort of nasty concoction which only a wizard would think of. He knew it was not to his pallete by the way it smoked. Purple mist was flowing over the sides of the mug and drifting down to the floor.
The usually busy Gnomes and Elves were moping floors or lounging on stools chatting. It seemed that no one had come to answer Hanks call except for him, and he was late! Strangely though, everyone was so bored that they had not seen him enter the building. He decided it was time for a little action.

" Hey! What's going on here, I thought you were supposed to the best serving staff in the land. And here I have stood for a full minute and am YET TO HAVE A DRINK! This is Harmony is it not? and I am very thirsty! Hank my friend, you best start making the Blue Mondays, and lots of them! Tonight I drink until I can no longer stand, and then more. You maids, I want some food, a little duck would be wonderful. AND BE QUICK ABOUT IT!"

Roaring with laughter as the surprised staff jumped and ran to comply with his demands, Ed made his way to the bar slowly and sat down with Hank.

" So my friend, hows business?"

Laughing again he eyed the bartender who had yet to finish his drink...

_________________
[center]"...thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot,
Of beechen green and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
[/center]


Fri Dec 27, 2002 10:36 pm
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" So my friend, hows business?"

Hank looked up at the sound of Ed's voice and squinted throught the purple haze of the People Eater he'd been sipping. His eyes crossed and uncrossed.

Damn. This thing is stronger'n I thought. It's vaporizing my brain. I could have sworn Edward Barnard and his Twin Brother were...

Hank shook his head, slapped his temples a few times and focused again.
Ed. Is that you? And when did you grow the second head?

Hank's eyes rolled back into his head and he fell off the stool. He lay on the floor, twitching gently.

_________________
[center]As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.

Ex-Mayor of Harmony, one of the Free Cities[/center]


Sat Dec 28, 2002 7:01 am
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He duzz 'at somtime. Don't worry 'boutit rumbled the troll tending the bar. The bartender frowned as he eyeballed Barnard and attempted to assemble a Blue Monday quickly. The sound of his oversize, yellow claws scraping on the glasses and bottles was awful. The tortured glass screeched in agony as Guttermouth twisted caps off the bottles and sloshed liquor back and forth. There was a crunch as he gave up trying to get a smaller cap off, and bashed the neck of the bottle on one of his horns. Glass tinkled as it tumbled down the side of his head, and he poured the wodka into the shaker. He mixed a few other ingredients in, then decanted it into the last surviving martini glass.

Almozt ready, he intoned. From underneath the bar he pulled out an enameled box. Carefully he pried open the lid, and daintly extracted a sad looking little fairy. It was a dissipated little thing, limp and pale. The only shine left on the fairy was it's brilliant blue eyes which were filled with an infinite sadness.

Help Me! it mouthed at Barnard before disappearing into the Troll's scaly mitt.

der best part the dreadful barkeep mumbled as he squeezed his paw over Barnard's glass. A thick, blue drop of crushed fairie oozed out from between Guttermouth's yellow talons and fell into the scratched up glass. It squirmed and swirled in the glass and then lay still.

der you go. Blue Monday. ony der best an' most depressed fairie's go in. Njoy! beamed Guttermouth, his smile frightening in it's toothsomeness.

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Sat Dec 28, 2002 7:35 am
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His mouth agape, Ed shed a lone tear for the fairy. The beautiful creature had been depressed. It needed loving, and comforting, not to be smashed into fairy pulp.

I should have known better than to ask for a drink from a Troll, thought Ed. These scaly beasts just don't understand the subtleties of drink. I mean a fairy, in a drink, REALLY. But, the Troll did make the drink for me, I should at least try it.

Ed reached to take the drink from the smilling Troll. It seemed to be smilling, hard to tell with all those teeth, he thought. The Blue Monday had taken on a rather strange appearance. From the side there appeared to be only a few ounces of liquid in the glass, but from the top the drink it looked to be bottomless. Also when he swished it around, blue fog appeared just above the liquid and he seemed to be hearing, " at least I wont be so alone anymore.. oh the misery".

Shaking his head, Ed thought that regardless of what it was he heard it was just the magical nature of the bar, and with a deep breath the picked up the glass and downed it.

His eyes crossed, rolled back in his head and down he went.

When he awoke he was in another room, or so he thought, but then Hank was also there just waking up. All lines of perspective had been squewed and he failed the four times he tried to stand up. The wall, or was it the celing?, changed colour constantly. Blues to gold, gold to black, black to pink and so on. His eyes barely worked, they were all squinty because of the bright lights that seemed to be comming from above.

" Hey Hank? Hank? are you there Hank? That drink is some weird stuff dude. Like this is some nasty trip I'm on here. Hank ? Are you alive man?"

_________________
[center]"...thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot,
Of beechen green and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
[/center]


Sun Dec 29, 2002 2:47 pm
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The hooves of Karhedron's command and escort clattered through the streets of Harmony. Ahead of them, the gentlefolk of the City parted, awed by the passing of the gold armoured, crimson robed horsemen.
Riding next to him, completely shrowded in his cloak of near-black crimson, Xearces lent over and spoke in the ancient tongue of SanGuin to his Lord.

"A strange people these folk of Harmony my Lord. They seem somewhat stunted in their height - their hair on head and face is so random and wild - their guts so full, and their cheeks are as red as the great Dragons themselves! Even the trolls have rosie cheeks! ...So innocent and full of cheer they appear! ...How can a populace of such people spawn an army??"

It was true, Karhedron mused. The people of harmony were a far throw from the tall gaunt, people of his province. Whereas as here in Harmony the populace was made up of a great variety - both in the variety of species, and the variety within the members of each species - all the people of the SanGuin State adhered certain characteristics. Tall and thin they were - very little variance of height was found between any man. Hair of darkest brown or black, pale near ivory skin, and dark, dark eyes. Certain rumours found in the most ancient texts of Hirudo's great library had hinted to the presence of Elven blood within Karhedron's people.

Nonetheless, as his retinue passed a small patrol of guards, Karhedron could see the bonuses of such unity.
the armed patrol was made up of a Troll, two elf, some men and afew dwarves - a ragtag group at first glance, but only a novice would fail realise the advantages of combining the great strengths of these races.

Truly the Sorcerer Hank was a great man to have united these people so. Karhedron knew the Magick-user little - despite his time spent and position within the Confederacy, he knew few of the other Confederate Lords very well.

"Indeed they are my friend. But they our among our greatest allies, so their decadence must count for something!"

The Retinue turned the final corner and turned into the bazaar - accidentally scattering a small group of monks and their audience as they preached the wrongness of indulging within the sins of gambling, drinking and war.
Before the mounted warriors stood the Heart of Harmony.

And now it was they who stood in awe.
Karhedron's eyebrow rose beneath his helm, and he could not find the words to express himself.

Behind him, his cousin Fellace's silver tongue gave the best account of what the retinue thought:


"Weird.... Very Weird."

A single beleagured stable boy stood forward as the 20-odd warriors dismounted, and handed him their reigns.

With a final look to the multiple rooves of the obscure building, Karhedron SanGuin and his retinue stepped through the Oval doors into the Heart.

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Mon Dec 30, 2002 12:09 pm
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Hank shakes his head and looks around. Edward was snoring (again). Guttermouth was eating some mice, his eyes gleaming in pleasure. From the front door came a ruckus.

Hank looked around the corner. Karhedron! And his gangly retinue. Finally. Some civilized company! He kicked his friend Edward in the butt. Affectionately of course.

Karhedron! Come on in! What can I get you and yours! It's on the house!

_________________
[center]As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.

Ex-Mayor of Harmony, one of the Free Cities[/center]


Wed Jan 08, 2003 7:18 pm
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As Karhedron saw what lay within, his left eyebrow rose in a look of severe bewilderment!

Before him was Nobleman (if such a title could be used for the drunkard that stumbled to his feet in front of him) Hank, and Edward Barnard sprawled upon the floor next to him.
The Prince simply stood still as his entourage filed in behind him - glancing around the interior of the Inn with various looks of confusion, disbelief and distaste. (The lands of the San'Guin are often plagued with roaming warbands of Trolls, thus the San'Guin people have a strong dislike for them...)

"I believe one of the aid caravans sent to you during one of the past Confederacy wars included a shipment of Drah'Coh'Blud - wine made from the Dark Blood-Grapes of my province. If you have any of it here, we will all have a glass of it. Otherwise, we will sample the house red. It has been a long ride and our thirst is great - so tell your serfs to hurry my dear Mayor."

One of the other San'Guin riders spoke up. From the sweetness of his voice Karhedron knew immediately his was his silver-tongued cousin, Fellace.

"Urrr, actually Kar... My liege, if you would permit is so, I would take quite a favouring to a sampling of the house ale...?"

The Prince sighed - as did many of the other riders. If Fellace was reknowned for one thing other than his skill at persuasion and propoganda - it was his ill-advised liking for drunkeness inducing beverages. Whereas for the most part the San'Guin were a very refined people, Fellace was far more energetic in the way he ran his life - most probably where his speeches gained such energy and strength capable of rousing such a calm and restrained people.
Furtherly depressing was the fact that Fellace's sweet speaking voice, did not extend to his singing, and Karhedron very much doubted it would take many 'samplings' of 'house ale' before the people of Harmony got to hear his silver tongue gone sour.

Back in Hirudo, Karhedron had heard that his people had made the joke that Karhedron had ordered the walls of the great Citadel of Cruentus thickened - not to enhance it's defences - but to simply try to place as much as possible between the Prince's high tower, and his cousin's drunken operas. They hadn't known of course how right they had been!


"Very well..."

Stepping forwards, he put his hands on Hanks shoulders as if to embrace him, and spoke close to the Sorcerous Mayors ear:

"You ensure that man stays sober, and I'll promise you more than wine and gold the next time your fair city calls for the San'Guin peoples aid. On the otherhand, if drunk he does become, i can assure you that the only aid your people will recieve IS HIM. Tho as i'm sure you'll learn, his singing could most likely break the siege of any attacking army!"

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Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:04 pm
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Grogily lifting his head off of the bar and opening his eyes led to a serious complication. Ed realized that he in fact wasn't dreaming at all, and that all the colours he could see were just the blur of the room spinning. A miriad of reds, blues and golds infiltrated across the bar stool he tried to focus on.

"Aw damn, it must have been that depressed fairy juice. I haven't been this wasted since I had that whole firkin of Dwarven Ale. Hank, I think thats you anyhow. Don't you remember that time we scored that dwarven home brew off that loser named Keats? That dwarf with a lemming in his beard? That was a good time.. ... I think so anyhow. Hey now that I think about..."

Stoping midsentence, Ed realized his ass hurt a fair bit. Maybe he was sitting on his sword. Nope that wasn't it. It was more of an ache. Like he had been kicked there recently..

" Hey! Who all kicked me? I'm an important man in the Confederacy and no one kicks a senator! 'Aint that right Hank?"

Scowling across the room Ed looked for the assailant pointlessly as he still felt like he was looking through a Kaleidescope. Hopelessly he searched back and forth until he met the from of Karhedron.

" Kar my man! How's it going? You still into that red wine? Damn thats dinner stuff, now that your at the bar you gots to at least go for the good stuff! Gutterface, or whatever the hell you name is, fetch my good man a something fruity, I dunno something made with pixie dust, If I know Kar he has a sweet tooth. And STEP ON IT! Hey Kar did I ever tell you that I love you man?!"

Staggering across the bar he moved into a position so that he could hug his good buddy Kar...

_________________
[center]"...thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot,
Of beechen green and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
[/center]


Mon Jan 20, 2003 12:29 am
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A man arrayed in a black robe enters the front door of the establishment. A darkness surrounds the feet of this individual, but you cannot tell whether the darkness really exists or not. The robe is fitted with a hood, which shields the majority of the person's face.

One of the elven maids approaches the man, and asks if she can help.

The man then proceeds to withdraw his hood, reveiling that he is a human, the individual know as Jilhad.

Jilhad begins to hang up his weapons and his black flowing robe on a nearby coatrack, reveiling his more comfortable light blue shirt and black trousers, as he speaks to the maid ...


I received one of these invites and thought I'd see what this was all about. Thus, here I am.

Jilhad looks over to where he was hanging his stuff, only to notice that its not a coatrack, but the troll.

Sorry 'bout that bud. Here's ahhhh 7 gold pieces for the inconvience.

Jilhad then speaks again to the maid ...

I was wondering if I could get a light drink. Say something that my human stomach won't be rotted through by.

The maid goes of giggling as Jilhad realizes he still hadn't removed the stuff from off the troll. Jilhad appologizes again, throws his gear in a pile on the floor by the door, and waits, one hand resting on the nearby wall for the maid's return.

_________________
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Wed Jan 22, 2003 4:06 am
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