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 The Trails of Karthidge (Open) 
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2002 5:00 pm
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Location: Langford Village Bedfordshire England
Post The Trails of Karthidge (Open)
He threw back his head and laughed, no one could have expected it at this point in the meeting and even fewer could have predicted it.
“You mean that there is only one that works ... hahahaha”.
The field marshal looked across the table to his opposite number Admiral Karthidge and frowned, the kings lieutenant Tabal Caine looked to his right and to the chief of the palace guard, all showing puzzlement and a slight childish grin.
“Hahahaha ... now that’s a good one Karthidge .... hahahaha”.
“Sire?”.
“What is the similarity between the seed of life and this damn influx of human refugees? .... thousands of them flood across the boarder but only one ever works .... hahahaha ... that is a good one if I may say so Karthidge”.
Karthidge felt a slight rush of blood to his normally gaunt face.
“Erm I didn’t quite mean it like that my lord I .... “.
“Never mind Karthidge it was funny anyway”.
The Kings lieutenant dropped his head in an attempt to conceal the smile that had now grown into a full grin, tears began to well in his eye’s, his lord truly had lost his marbles, Karthidge had agreed with the council that the Droben council need more workers to spread the ever increasing tax burden, then Darius had fell about laughing, and had now rose from his seat and wandered off over to the chambers window.
“Look out there gentlemen, what do you see?”.
The council looked at each other for a moment, then Karthidge spoke.
“We see what we have always seen sire”.
Darius laughed again, the council puzzled over his laughter again. “Now come Karthidge, how on earth can you see anything from were your sitting at the table? You must be forty feet from this window, if not more!”.
Darius turned and smiled.
“This is what I am trying to say gentlemen, how can we truly see our people from were we normally sit, I am speaking metaphorically, in this ivory tower of ours, we benefit from all the advantages of power, yet the people we are supposed to care for are hidden from view!”.
“I have an idea so of you aren’t going to like this, but progress isn’t alway easy”. An even bigger grin now began to grace his royal lips.

“You have got to be kidding me sire !!!”.
“I jest you not Karthidge, it’s the only way that our out of touch council will ever be able to shelve it’s out dated attitudes, and basically ... you’re the man for the job”.
Karthidge slumped into the leather seat shaking his head. “But sire I will last no more than a night amongst those animals out there!”.
“May be not! if you tell them who you really are, or you go dressed like the noble man that you truly are, but we have thought of that very thing, we have thought of everything”.
“We?”. Karthidge looked up. “We, who is we sire”. Karthidge looked straight at Field Marshal Bo Dah, his scowl reminiscent of that of a six year old being caught with their fingers in the cooky jar.
“Why me and Jochim!”. Darius clapped his hands twice, the large oak doors at the far end of the chamber swung open, a small entourage entered and made their way to the large oval table, which had seen the earlier meeting take place.
“Jochim ... Jochim ... who the hell is Jochim”. Karthidge could see now that this was no joke.
Okay we don’t have long, it will soon be sunset, and most people out there know each other and strangers aren’t ever let into the walls of our city after dark.
So unless you want to be arrested on your first night in the streets then we must make haste, this is Ryzael, he will be your contact at the tavern if anything goes wrong ...”.
“Goes wrong ... wrong ... what do you mean wrong?”.
“Don’t panic Karthidge, you’ll be quite safe! And this is Hellannah, she works on the market she has good local knowledge and will be there to help you by the day”.
The rosy cheeks that had reared themselves earlier in the afternoons proceedings now had long vacated Karthidge’s plump cheeks, a grey almost sickly white sheen had now replaced it.
“Come now hurry man, get change into these merchants garb that Hellannah has kindly supplied for you, they will aid you blending in”.
No matter how he tried his over fed waistline hung over the trousers, obviously built for a far light frame, maybe a boy even, He was not impressed. “This stuff stinks”.
“Nonsense it’s all been washed earlier this morning by the palace laundry”.
“Oh! It has?”. Satire was never one of Karthidge‘s better points.

“Good we’re all ready”. Darius stood back, a smug smile saying, yes this is going to work, crossed his lips, now Karthidge saw the smile saying something more like, damn that man must be an idiot.
We’ve booked a room for you for two days and two night at The Lost Inn, to the far east end of the town, when you get there ask for Ralph, he won’t be there but he will have booked a room for you.... okay”. Karthidge nodded.
“Then when it is morning you can go about you business and find out what this council is missing, and weather we can do any more for our people than we do do”.
Darius placed his arm around his scruffy little mates shoulders. “Karthidge you know I would only entrust this to someone who has been a friend of the family for generations, someone like you”.
Karthidge just looked at Darius, shook his head and said. “I now there is probably a very good reason why I, myself must do this, but why the east end and why now this very moment?”.
“Nope ... no reason just thought it would be as better time to start as any”.
Two guards arrived at the chambers door waiting to be hailed to enter, off with you now, oh! And your name is now Felix Hof, and good luck my friend, I’m eager to find out you discoveries.
With that the guards entered the chamber and escorted Felix down the hall to the door at it’s far end and an adventure awaiting him beyond it.


Fri Jul 18, 2003 9:45 am
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Stablehand
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Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2003 7:17 am
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Post 
The meagre clothing that covered my shoulders offered little if any protection from the sharp wind that always whistled around the feet of ramparts, I seemed to remember it from my childhood, it hadn’t eased in the passing of the years.
Looking back at the towers for one last time, their granite walls looming into the swirling darkness of the nights sky, a solitary light could be seen burning high in their chiselled structure as it could every night,
Some say that Darius obsessed by the loss of his beloved to the blade of a heathen sword, now plots for their downfall by day and by night, others say that he leaves it burning as a beacon for her soul, so it will one day return to him.
In truth even those nearest his side do not know, Darius the real king, is a quite man who keeps most of his thoughts to himself, this I think, is were most of the speculation about the man comes from, those who do not know create, most of them are as far from the true Darius, as I am from the plush splendour I was a part of no more than a few hours ago.

I would have to make haste a slight fog had started to descend upon the cobbled streets, with the fog came the normal vagabonds and urchins, beggars and thieves.
The Inn was right over on the East side deep in ... ‘The Pit‘ as the local merchants called it, full of brothels, hovels and dens of immoral thoughts, not the place you would find any decent law abiding person, I picked up my little nap sack, threw it over my shoulder and started down the narrow cobbled street.
As the mist began to thicken around me the occasional street lantern cast a halo of light on to the street, small refuges in the sea of the darkness of the night, shadowy figure moved in the side allies as I passed them, grumbling voices echoed out of the mist and the odd scream carried across the slate roof tops.
This was not a place for the weak hearted, I pulled a small scroll from my back pack, this was the badly drawn map that had be constructed, and that is a polite way of putting it.
Within the granite walls of the main keep there have been many sages gifted in the arts of map making, each with their own individual style and signatures, some are known as masters, some as particular almost to a perfection and then there is ‘Danse’.
What can I say, well art was never one of his strongest points nor did he ever seem to know where he was going or where he had just been, his ability to find his way around his own families grounds were only seconded by paying visitors who had lost their guide.
Yes this artisan was quite useless at the art of map drawing, many of his previous scholars were renowned for various things, he would be remembered as the master who had drawn half of my map upside down and got me lost.

The street began to narrow until I found myself at the top of a set of well worn stone steps, they were one of many that led down into market area, a wide stone carpeted courtyard some one hundred feet square, well lite by countless lanterns equally spaced at it’s perimeter.
To the far Eastern side a large set of oak gate hung on huge iron hinges, a smaller gate inset within the right hand giant, beside it a small lodge house, a glint of a lantern flickered through it’s small window and illuminated the swirling mist that now had started to partially obscure things from sight.
Within was the gate keeper, these gates were always kept locked at night for we were still within the inner cities walls, all out side this gate were considered not the type that could be trusted and that is were I was about to go, the East gate would take me into The Pit, the East End of the outer city.
Two muffled voice met me across the square as I neared the gate keepers lodge, what they were talking about was not quite audible but it seemed friendly enough banter, the occasional laugh broke the deep drone of their voices.
I stepped up to the old gnarled door, and rapped it twice, there was suddenly silence, then a booming voice that I did understand came from beyond it.

“What! ... Who the hell is this at this time of night?”.
“Ah! ... Erm ... It is Kar .... Erm I mean Felix Hof, from the castle I wish to pass into the Eastern city.”.
Again there was silence, two voices started to mumble again, this time it was obvious that one was that of a woman, then there came another, one that sounded a lot younger than the first but still a man.
“The gate does not open until the morning”.
“Tell him to go away”. Said the female voice.
“Yeah, get rid of him”. Agreed the younger voice.
Karthidge started to get annoyed. “Lord Darius has sent me into the City Tonight gate keeper!”.
Again there was a hushed silence.
“Don’t open the door”. Said the female voice.
“Yeah! Leave him out there”. Agreed the younger voice.
The door swung open, the light from the room flooded out on to the pavement lighting the street behind me, before me stood a small man lithe in frame and even thinner in the hair, but what he missed on his scalp he made up for on his body, a large amount of hair spouted out over the collar of his tunic and covered his fore arms, now crossed in front of him.
“So Darius has sent you eh!”.
“Yes King Darius sent me this night in to the outer city on an important quest, so open you gate ...”.
“Darius! And which Realm would he be king of then young master?”. interrupted the gate keeper.
Karthidge looked puzzled, a thrown crossed his brow and the gate keeper could see he was getting slightly annoyed, he stepped back off of his step and in to his room no more than half a step, but enough to open the room up to view.
It was a small room, brightly lite with exposed Tudor beams, furnished in wood, plain but practical, the smell of food flood the air bellows of steam could bee seen rising from a large cooking pot placed upon a burning fire, but apart from that the room was empty.
Karthidge stared, looked at the keeper and started to say “Were are the ...”.
The keeper looked round into his room, then back at the unwanted visitor and slammed the door.
“The little gate isn’t locked from this side, but you will need a key to reenter, now leave us be”.

I stepped back from the door step more than slightly confused, I composed myself I could now here the voices again but now they sounded no more than a mumble of tones not even the odd word could I glean from their soup of chat.
I shook my head turned and made my way to the gate that had been open all that time.


Last edited by Karthidge on Sun Jul 20, 2003 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Jul 20, 2003 6:16 am
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Stablehand
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Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2003 7:17 am
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There where no finely cobbled streets here, start out as you mean to carry on my father used to say and that is how I found my first taste of the East side of the old outer city, these roads were no more than muddy pathways winding too and fro between ramshackled building that had lost the last signs of any care generations ago.
The sewers were open to the air, air so rancid and pungent that it turned my stomach and nearly made me reach all this mixed with the smell of damp wood and rotting flesh made for a very unpleasant experience.
I turned with a start.
The oak door slammed firmly closed behind me, so this was it the start of my journey into the seedier side of our Realm, although I had envisaged a rotting hive of despair I was not quite ready for this, and this was my first step.
I pulled the small scroll from my pocket and tried to pick my route to the Inn on the far side, the lighting in this part of town was virtually nonexistent and with the descending fog as a companion, the map was almost impossible to read.
The streets were empty, weather this was the norm for the east side or a foreboding sign that I knew nothing of, it did seem quite disconcerting to me, I stood still for a few moment trying too get my bearings but to no avail.

A small light flared to my right and light a cigarette, drew a few breaths on it and shook the match then tossed it aside, the glowing embers the only visible sign that there was indeed any one there at all.
“You look lost my friend?”.
To be honest I should have been a little more hesitant that I was, but in my defence I was still green behind my ears when it came to these streets. “Yes I am, you wouldn’t be able to tell me the way to The Lost Inn would you friend?”.
“The Lost Inn ... never heard of it, you sure it’s on the West side!”.
A sudden horror gripped me.”yes It’s ..... The what?”.
The stranger moved out of the shadowy archway that had concealed him, he was tall, slender and had a dark green cape about his shoulder, it’s hood drawn over his head.
“The West side! Your lost aren’t you?”.
This was not a very good start, I looked down at my map once more shook my head and threw it to the ground. “I’m going to bloody kill that useless .... bah .... this is just bloody typical”.
The stranger began to approach me, don’t worry friend there are plenty of Inns in this part of town, agreed some not so good but nothing is ever as clean as it is in the inner city walls”.
“There is one problem there my friend!”.
“You haven’t got any money”. The stranger shook his head. “What sort of idiot would travel into the outer city with empty pockets”.
“This idiot, well I was sent to be honest”.
“Then those who sent you are idiots”.

My name is Eldrin, I am Elvan, from the Southern sea board, with this he pulled the hood from his head revealing the tell tale ears and obvious good looks of an Elvan forester.
“I have some money to spare you, these streets are never too friendly at night, not quite as bad as the dark streets of the Eastern city but nether the less they hold many dangers, a stranger on these streets would most probably not last the night”.
Seeing an Elvan standing before me put me at rest a little, they were mostly righteous people and never a evil vein in the hearts, I was however a little puzzled at what a forest was doing within the wall of our city, even though it was the outer vestiges of it.
“Why thank you my friend, that is kind of you”. I answered.
“Look the fog is falling fast we must make haste, the Inn were I stay and partake in many fine beers is not too far from here, I will have the land lord put you up for the night”.
He turned beaconing me to follow. “It’s called The Elm Tree. They do good food too”.
With this we both ambled our way through the ankle deep mud and slurry, disappearing into the ever thickening mist.


Sun Jul 20, 2003 9:16 am
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2002 5:00 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Langford Village Bedfordshire England
Post 
Swirls of mist danced against the thin glass of the chambers window, Darius sat lounging back in his leather bound chair, head against the tall back support gazing at it’s twisting dance.
He sat there for some moments, the dim light from the chamber highlighting the now thick fog that had dropped suddenly, his thoughts were not with the affairs of his realm but with Karthidge.
He wondered weather he had made it to the Inn before the fog set, it resembled a thick soupe broth, Darius rose and walked across the chamber to the window, nothing could be seen but the opalescent glaze.
The normal sprinkling of street lights some ninety feet below were absent this night shrouded but a cloak of mist and darkness, Darius drew the heavy cloth curtains, turned back in to the room and sounded his chambers bell.
Quickly there was a knock on the door, two gentle taps. “Enter”.
“You called sire?”.
“Ah! Draymen do they bring word from the streets?”.

Draymen had served within the house of Darius for two generation, his hunched frame seemed an almost integral part of these royal hall ways and had for some time, his shuffling gate could be heard as he crossed the cobbles of the courtyard, his rasping cough woke me as a child in the early winters morning and his smile face still greeted me after all these years.
“Sire, news?”.
“Yes, is there any news from The city?”.
Draymen seemed puzzled, Darius saw this and smiled. “Do not worry can you send Lancet to see me my old friend”.
Draymen nodded turned and left the room closing the door behind him, I didn’t expect anything to happen fast, Drayman even when he could never did hurry.
As the night went on and the candles began to ware low there came another knock at my chambers door, this time it seemed more firm, this was the rasping knock of Lancet.

“I was begging to think that you would never come Lancet”.
Lancet was a tall thin man with a thin face which was decorated with a huge set of ears, his hair had now begun to show signs of grey, two children and a wife with a lot to say had seen to that.
He always kept himself shaven and well groomed, his cloths hung well on his lithe frame, neat and polished brasses buckles, a leather belt that crossed from his left shoulder and two upon his shoes shone with luster.
“Sire your humour does not become you, that old fart has just told me you ask to see me earlier this afternoon”.
Darius laughed. “Old fart! This is true, To be honest I am surprised he even remembered me asking”.
Lancet smiled. “What exactly does he do here?”.
“Not a lot! ... Have you heard from the inn keeper in the East side yet?”.
Lancet seemed to ponder Darius’s words for a moment. “No ... No I haven’t?”. he pondered some more. “I did expect to hear from him before eight”.
Darius walked over to his chair and seated himself upon it’s comfortable seat.
“Eight? ... it’s closer to twelve now isn’t it?”.
Darius lent over and pulled a scroll from his draw unrolling it upon his desk, he looked closely scrutinised it. “He didn’t even have that far to got, across the main market, to the East gate, into the outer city, right on to the fountain left and follow the high road into the small courtyard in the eastern quarter, and he was there?”.
Darius traced the route with his finger, shaking his head as he did so. “Twenty minutes max and he had a map!”.


Lancet chuckled. “You gave him a map Darius?”
“Yes I know, but this is Karthidge, he may well be a general in our staff but a soldier he is not”.
Lancet began to smile, Darius could see a cheekier side to his assistant begin to raise it’s head, Lancet began to shake his head. “Where did the map come from Darius”. The smile quickly changed to a grin, he placed his hand across his mouth.
“Oh no!”. Darius cradled his head in his hands. “You not going to tell me ... “.
“It’s possible”. Lancet had to turn his head to avoid Darius seeing him grinning.
“Lancet can you call Draymen ... on second thoughts, will you call the staff for a meeting”.
“What now?”.
Darius himself began to smile.”Yes now lancet, god knows were he is then, he could be anywhere in the bloody city, check the jails, hospitals”. Darius shook his head. “Only Karthidge, that man is surely ill fated “.

_________________
Come the night
Come The Dark


Tue Jul 22, 2003 4:38 pm
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