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In Rise of Heroes 12 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
“Oh, Jurgen! Oh Jurgen, yes! Jurgen!” Priska thought she was very convincing. Certainly Jurgen was enjoying himself, and so he should. It was unlikely a bland man like Jurgen Wolter could talk his way into an ugly milkmaid, let alone a lady of her standing in an regular situation. However, as the siege wore on and the tediousness of it all had nearly driven Priska to who-knows-what, her standards had to be adjusted. He was a fine enough lover, and though his face was as dull as his personality, his body was firm and strong in all the right places. It was to be expected in a Greatsword and one of Lord Waldo’s bodyguards. Jurgen had other uses as well, she mused. Before this afternoon’s tryst, he’d brought her a small package of delicious dried apple strips. Lord Waldo didn’t like apple, he had said, but Priska Steiber was smarter than some simpering lordling. She’d hungrily eaten a few strips, then wrapped the rest up. A treasure like that could buy all sorts of favours, or at the least be enjoyed alone. She’d had to share some of her initial taste with Jurgen as a half-hearted form of foreplay.

She could feel in his hastening efforts from behind her that he would reach the top of his end soon, and so she reached down to make sure she did as well. Moments later, however, he faltered. She turned to look over her shoulder to see if he’d already climaxed when she heard the tolling of the chapel bell. Jurgen extricated himself quickly and awkwardly with a grunt and Priska gasped. “What…?”

“What are you doing?” she demanded, rolling to a sitting position on the straw filled bed.

“The bell is ringing,” replied the dull soldier stupidly as pulled his trousers on.

“What?” sputtered Priska. “So?”

“It’s an attack,” answered Jurgen, though his voice was muffled as he pulled his undertunic and smelly arming coat over his head.


He’d pulled his boots on and turned to look back at her with a blank expression on his face. The fool probably thought he looked romantic or dashing or something, but he just looked sweaty. He pulled open the door and left without saying anything, which was probably in his favour.

“Jurgen!” repeated Priska in equal parts surprise and afrontment. “But what about me?”

- - - - -

The Blackbird loosed a few more bolts at the Talabecmen, but the enemy were more wary after her first and kept out of range and behind cover. Brandt, along with most of the other men on the walls watched with interest, admiration and in the case of some, undisguised lust. Brandt was admiring how a cold breeze had lifted Miss Fostick’s dark hair when a distant booming caught his attention. By the time he realized the source of the urgent angry whistle that followed, it was too late to do anything about it. The crenellations on the other side of the gatehouse from Brandt exploded into shards of stone, several men being thrown to the ground below. The rest of them took cover, screaming curses or prayers or just screaming. Only a moment passed and the roof of the chapel exploded, scattering flaming timbers amongst the grounds inside the wall. Most guttered out in the cold and the mud.

There was a shocking moment of quiet, the only sound being the ragged breath of angry and frightened men and the groans of the wounded. Sergeant Hoeffler, a half dozen feet down from Brandt, was the first to move. He stood, looked up and down either end of the wall then stood up with a grunt between two still intact crenellations.

“You missed me, you cross-eyed cunts!” hollered the old soldier, punctuating his declaration with a gob of phlegm spat towards the enemy. The Hochland troops inside the wall stood up as one, cheering and jeering in equal measure. The Sergeant hopped back down and started shouting orders to his men, all about his business.

“Schmitt, Bachmann! You two are on lookout. They’ll be sending more at us with that artillery and I don’t want my head taken off by the next one, so you watch the crews and give us as much notice as you can. Handgunners! Spread out and keep your heads down until they’re in range, we’ll let you know when your guns can bark.”

There were a few more shots aimed at the top of the wall, but it seemed as though the first had been lucky for the gunners, as the next few either hit the wall or went high, impacting the hill that the small keep sat upon. The cannoneers readjusted their aim to the gate, smashing balls into the iron-sheathed oak and the rusty iron portcullis beyond. The mortar, however, was what gave the men worry as they hunkered down under the slow bombardment. Over the span of half an hour, it blasted apart two more buildings and set several others on fire. It seemed as though each shell landed closer to their position on the wall. This one to their left, this one to their right, but nearer every time.

Brandt stayed where he was and kept his head down. He couldn’t help but wonder what had saved most of them so far: The love of Sigmar, inexperienced gunners, or something as mundane as strong winds fouling the mortars trajectory. The other men had begun to mutter, however, that the Talabecmen were moving forward. Hoeffler ordered the Handgunners to stay where they were. The enemy were using the artillery as cover to bring forward improvised mantlets, and the six Handgunners couldn’t afford to waste a single bullet.
In Rise of Heroes 15 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
The smiths apprentice watched the priest scurry past his forge in silence. Roderick wasn’t very popular as far as holy men went. He wasn’t a fully ordained priest, as far as Brandt knew. That makes him what, a monk? A friar? wondered the apprentice. Far from the brimstone spitting war priests you heard about on the great battlefields, Roderick seemed mostly to continue as if the siege hadn’t happened at all, delivering services every Sonntag morning with Father Gerwig to those who would listen. Not being a particularly pious man himself, Brandt had yet to attend the chapel since the siege began.

An enthusiastic peel of brass pulled Brandt out of his melancholy and by the time the heavy church bell joined it, the apprentice was striding out of his forge in his kit. All scavenged from deceased defenders of the wall and skillfully adjust to fit his tall frame and muscled upper body, he wore the open faced bascinet and breastplate of a State Trooper with the addition of rough clamshell gauntlets and greaves he’d managed to hammer together using scraps of battered armour leftover from the last real bombardment a month ago. He had a beaten heater shield strapped to his arm, and a heavy warhammer whose head he’d remounted on a broken spear pole in his hand.

In his mind he cut quite the heroic figure, striding forward and armoured like some noble footknight to meet his foe. In reality, he wasn’t used to how he had to move in a cuirass and while he bore the weight easily on his strong shoulders, the armour and warhammer were heavy. Still, he was strong and thanks to his skilled hands the armour was free of dents and shone bright, the way it should.

Other men were emerging from the keep and coming down the hill, or from where they were resting inside away from the cold of the morning. They had a decent rush about them, though few really had the fear. The last two assaults on the walls had been halfhearted. They’d run up with a few ladders, the men on the walls had bashed a few heads, and the ladders were pulled down. There’d been few casualties on either side, and the attackers had called it a day. The frantic ringing of the lookout bell started to grate on Brandt however, and he hustled up the stairs to where the men were gathering near the gatehouse.

“Brandt Dittmar!” huffed a gruff voice as the smiths apprentice made it to the top of the forts outer wall. “If we had any fuel for your forge, I might send you back down to keep you alive to keep our swords straight. As it is, I think they might be making a real go of it this time.”

Brandt clapped shields in greeting with Sergeant Hoefler, who was the highest ranking member of the Lorch State Troops, which consisted of a depleted unit of spearmen that once numbered 50, a half dozen handgunners who’d been caught betting amongst each other with their precious supplies of powder and shot. They were joined by two Greatswords who acted as the personal guard of Lord Waldo Seidl, and the handful of farmers, tradesmen and unfortunate passersby who happened to be trapped in the town when the army of Gerwin Wendl marched on the town.

One of the Greatswords could be seen above the gatehouse, standing grimly with his flamberge resting at the ready on his shoulder. The other would surely be found with Lord Waldo, who didn’t participate in the fighting, which was for the best. The truth of the matter was that Waldo Seidl, a cousin of some sort to Count Seidl, was not quite a boy and not quite a man, having turned thirteen years of age on the second day of the siege. He and his entourage had been passing through Lorch when Wendl’s men had arrived just before daybreak and he’d become trapped with the rest of them. In theory, Lord Waldo was in command of the fort, and either of his Greatsword bodyguards would have outranked Sergeant Hoefler, but none of them seemed to have any interest in command. Thus the defense had fallen to the veteran Sergeant, whose chief mission had become keeping Lord Waldo out of Lord Gerwin’s hands for use as ransom.

“They don’t look any more organised than the last time, what makes you think they’re taking this one seriously?” asked Brandt as he shielded his eyes to look out on the town. Troops in the yellow and red of Talabecland had begun to muster out of bow and handgun range, and they bristled as one of Hoefler’s men raised the green and red banner of Hochland.

“There,” the sergeant pointed. “They’ve brought up their cannon, and there behind that garden wall? I saw them bring the mortar around behind it. Either they saved their powder for a final go, or they’ve scrounged some more. I doubt it’s for show, as I don’t think even that fop Gerwin would roll them out just for show.”

Brandt gave the troops across from them another look, and realized that they had a certain swagger about them that perhaps they’d been missing. They hustled to and fro, the orders from their sergeants and corporals were crisp and followed immediately. There wasn’t any sight of Lord Gerwin as yet, but that could mean anything. Brandt felt a lump of apprehension in his throat, and spun the warhammer once in his grip. He suddenly didn’t feel very heroic at all.
In Rise of Heroes 29 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
A cold forge was a depressing thing, thought Brandt. He’d only been the smiths apprentice for six months, and yet in that time he’d learned how the hot forge and steady clink-clang of the smiths hammer was like the beating heart of a town. Farmers came for new scythe blades and to straighten bent plows. Soldiers came to purchase new weapons or to have dents planished from breastplates. Tailors, butchers, and all skilled tradesmen, unskilled peasants, skilled knights and noble lords all might pass through the open arch of the smiths forge. They dropped off and picked up, commissioned and socialized with others doing the same.

Even when they relocated from the village to the small motte and bailey castle, the forge and anvil were a popular spot in the small courtyard behind the walls. That was early on, however. In the first weeks of the siege, a shell from a mortar caught his master, Gerald the Smith, in a blast of shrapnel. Since then Brandt’s paltry skills had been put to the test. Truth be told, he thought he’d done quite well considering the sudden end of his tutelage. The full mysteries of metallurgy hadn’t been part of Gerald’s rough and rambling curriculum and so Brandt wouldn’t be able to create much from rough stock iron, but he knew enough to fix and repair and replace with inferior components. Well enough to get by in the circumstances.

The siege had dragged on, however. Lorch Keep was well supplied, but weeks had turned to months. Now any wood was fuel for cooking, and the forge would no longer be fed. Brandt was resigned to pounding out dents in helms and breastplates and sharpening blades. As the attackers had settled in, however, there was less and less of that to do, and now Brandt had mostly taken to meandering strolls along the inner wall, and polishing tools in the smithy. As he cleaned a pair of tongs of ash and tarnish that seemed older then he was, Brandt couldn’t help but think that a cold forge was a sad sign of a town in decline. The thought was made all the more bitter, when he heard the familiar ringing of a hammer from the other side of the wall - from his own forge being used by their enemies.
In Rise of Heroes 29 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
Brandt Forstner
18-20, to guess.
Apprentice Blacksmith
This sounds amazing! It also seems to have a bit of longevity which is always nice. Are you still open to new participants? I'll have a read to get updated with current events and try to get a character together!
Hoekstra smiled broader, and their was a hungry glint in his eye at Valrel's explaination. Spark crystals were as good as stone, and in the small sizes required to put the fire into a rifle they were easy to transport and sell. He gave an understanding and acquiescent nod, hooking his thumbs on the wide black belt that kept his patterned navy overtunic in place. Having his suspicions proven true - that there were alterior motives involved in the transaction ahead - Hoekstra could proceed in a well informed way, maximizing his chance of success and gain.

"It is always my pleasure to serve the Dusthawks in capacity, Adnos," said Hoekstra in a honeyed tone. "I'll surely be able to facilitate the less bloody side of things." Valrel had nodded in return, then continued the discussion and the dwarf made his way out of the centre of the room. The discussion continued, until the gang leader layed out the details of the commodities exchange, peaking the fence's interest once more.

“The trade-off is set to occur in two days’ time, late in the evenin’ by Sidhole Cross. All you lot that’d think to lend your sword-arm or are bored enough to take apart a few Tarn-worth of spark rifles, feel free to stay late and I’ll assign you a role."

As the majority of the Dusthawks filed out in staggered singles and pairs, there was a few minutes of quiet socializing amongst the crew. Stone changed hands twice between Hoekstra and yellow coloured 'Hawks, once for services rendered and once for money owed. In time, it seemed as though all who were going to leave had left and Hoekstra approached Valrel and his beancounter, Lotkey.

"Quite a score you've found us, Valrel," began Hoekstra in a less formal way, making a point to pay the elf no mind. "Well done, that. I reckon you'll need two houses - one to disassemble the rifles and as a fallback, and another to lay in wait for those gutter rat Thorns. I reckon I've got a bead on a place near enough to Sidhole Cross that would suit with a few kind words. You have a location in mind as a sorting house, or shall I use my wiles to secure that as well? It should be easy enough sorting a meet with a Resistance contact soon enough after we get the goods to pass on the dead wood. That said, you have an idea on what to do with the crystals once you've got them?"
Hey team, I'm back from Spain but my phone ended up with a bit of water issues (classic!) so I'll be off discord until that's been fixed. Should get a post up tonight or tomorrow, hopefully!

Edit: As pointed out, I posted in the wrong tab! I should be able to get a post up today while I work. (I'm at an escape room and can split my attention a bit while I watch people flounder XD)

After a bit of small talk with a Dusthawk or two, Valrel finally started to say his piece. Hoekstra hung on every word, for it was in the details that he thrived; you never knew what you could learn by an inocusous phrase, or even the words that weren't said at all. The news of the Resistance wasn't news at all to the dwarven crook. Indeed, he'd done plenty of business with them and acted as a middle man for Valrel and the Dusthawks. Stone, weapons and even things as mundane as clean silk for bandages and lasting foodstuffs flowed into the Resistance safehouses, and there was good money and contacts to be made in facilitating such things. The gang had done well in these deals as well, gaining wealth, and the recruits and prestige their boss had mentioned. The admission that Valrel didn't know what to do with with such things smelled of weakness at first, but Hoekstra knew better. Adnos Valrel as a clever man, and chose his words carefully and had not gotten to where he was by showing cards he didn't want seen.

The true anouncement brough a smile to Hoekstra's scarred face. There had been a young Blood Thorn named Orten Hall, a foundling and aspiring tough lad who had a long way to go. He'd bragged too loudly about a big score he'd been allowed to help in - a trade deal with the Resistance. That conversation had been heard by the publican of the bar known as Thumb, who'd mentioned it to Hoekstra while he'd popped in to check on a last minute delivery of crockery to replace what had been broken during a brawl the night before. Hoekstra had made inquiries with the Stoneleg twins; dwarven members of the Resistance that had been introduced to their current mistresses by Caradoc at a mutual friends gathering. They'd confirmed the nature of the transaction: Spark Rifles to the Blood Talon gang. Hoekstra had immediately sold this information for a fat fee to Tamas the Snitch under the condition that Valrel of the Dusthawks was the first to learn of it, before Tamas invariably told everyone he knew for as much stone as he could gather. Shortly after, white chalk marks had begun to bear around the lower districts of Glimhallow.

The plan was what made Caradoc Hoekstra furrow his brow. It didn't seem like good business to get into a scrap with the Blood Thorns, steal their swag and then just give it up to the Resistance for no fee of any sort. Was it a power play to show Lex they were the true force in Lower Shenul? Was it part of a larger scheme that Valrel hadn't deigned to share with the majority of the gang? It was certainly possible.

The first to speak was one of the most stand-out members of the gathering. Arelia Bastian held a complicated place in the mind of Caradoc Hoekstra. He loathed her for her upbringing, envied her for her wealth and status and yearned to be in the Sky District, whereas she seemed to delight in slumming it. On top of that, he occasionally found himself competing indirectly with her endeavers as she worked the business side of gang affairs. Hoekstra listened as she and Valrel began on the start of a plan, that of getting a hold of the Spark Rifles themselves. Before adding his voice to their efforts, he had questions.

"This all seems well and good Valrel, and I'm certain Miss Bastian is up to the task," he began, the flattery grudgingly honest. "Surely the Blood Thorn's shouldn't have these rifles. It would shift the balance too far in their favour should they use them against us or any of the other gangs. Worse, those fools might have a go at the Juggernaughts, and as soon as Spark Rifles are brought to bear on them, then the Jugs will crack down on all of us!" Hoekstra looked about his rooms, making an inclusive gesture with his hands and illiciting a few nods of agreement.

"Acquiring such goods is obviously in our best interest," he continued in his characteristically businesslike manner. "Yet I wonder why you would turn around and simply give them back to Lex? Surely the Dusthawks could benefit from such an arsenal, or if you've no desire to have such volatile goods in your care, then at least we should sell them back to the Resistance! As a... tax, for trying to undercut the Dusthawks and push us out for the Blood Thorns of all people."

Hoekstra had moved forward through the assembled gang, and now stood before Valrel and those who'd been closest to him in the room, looking up at the man as dwarfs were forced to do, Caradoc put on a friendly enough smile on his scarred face. This wasn't the time to be undermining Valrel's authority and he'd kept his tone conversational, but nor was a stock of Spark Rifles something that should be idly given away.
Thanks! I was enjoying all the clever ways it announced my arrival, though this is probably better.
‘Minty’ Yames sat opposite Hoekstra with the look of someone trying very hard not to look nervous, but in so doing managed to look very nervous indeed. Despite his thin build, Minty stood full foot taller then the Dwarf yet he couldn’t help but be unsettled by the scar-faced racketeer. It was how he sat, with his right elbow resting on the back of the plain wooden chair and head turned in such a way that the milky white orb stared Minty down until the man could hear his blood bumping through his ears. Minty perked up when he heard a bubbling sound, looking to the small cooking hearth on the other side of the room.

“That’ll prol'ly do it, sir,” declared Minty with a nervous smile revealing his namesake. Minty’s teeth shone a pearlescent white with a hint of green, similar to a rich childs candy; a sure sign that he partook of Denner’s Resin, one of the many ways a person could ‘escape’ the toil of lower city life. It bleached a users teeth, but also worked it’s way into their brains slowly bleaching their memories as well.

“Let’s see it then,” stated Hoekstra, adding a bland gesture towards the hearth. Minty used a towel to pull a clay pot off its rack and brought it to the middle of the floor. He poured the contents through a wire strainer into another such receptacle, steam rising gently from the transfer. Leaving the pots on the dirt of the floor, Minty brought the strainer to the rough, waxy topped table in the centre of the small workshop they stood in. Inside were a collection of seamingly strange objects: a bronze ring, a small knife, several colours of stone coins, a bacelet of silver chain and most valuable of all, a tiny spark crystal.

"See?" declared Minty with enthusiasm. "Y'see Mr Hoekstra? Everything's in great shape, knife still sharp an' all. The wax melts at so low a temp'rature that even a spark crystal won't set off, but when it's hard it's so tough that even your proper Jugg captain-type wouldn't bother digging through to the bottom. Juggernaught's are lazy, y'know."

The man looked at Hoekstra with the hopeful eyes of a puppy as the dwarf ran the silver chain gently through his fingers. It had a slight dullness of wax instead of it's proper sheen, but was otherwise in fine shape. Reveling for a moment in how Minty's hopeful expression began to drain the longer he remained silent, Hoekstra eventually tossed the chain towards him. Minty grabbed it out of the air hungrily, relief showing on the set of his shoulders for a moment before stuffing the treasure quickly into his trouser pocket.

"Well done, Yames," congratulated Hoekstra illiciting a bright grin. "I'll admit I was skeptical at first, but it seems as though you're on to something. A man could move quite a few things this way... This is your sister's shop isn't it? Name of Gwin?"

"That's right, sir" nodded Minty. "Gwin's my half-sister. She's a Mul - er, a half-a-dwarf, sir. No offense meant. She makes candles for all over, mostly tallow down here, but she uses proper beeswax when she can. Wants to start making fancy candles with different colours and things for the nobs higher up."

Hoekstra took a moment to look at the candles on the workshop walls, and hanging from wicks along lines strung between the rafters. Most were simple, guttery things made from used and used again tallow fat, but he could see the workmanship used in others of the smooth wax variety that were cut and carved in flowery patterns. Some had stripes like an exotic cat and he suspected the use of ash or charcoal used as colour. It was impressive work for Lower Shenul, and he felt a moment of empathy for the woman who wanted to do better then this place. The dwarf placed the bronze ring on the table before Minty.

"Be sure Gwin get's this for her troubles as well, then," he said, knowing that Minty James would never pass something of value on to anyone other then his Denner source. Hoekstra had not intention of dealing with the man, and would come by the shop tomorrow to purchase a few fine beeswax candles for his office, and have a chat with Gwin in person. As a middle man himself, Hoekstra was quick to cut out anyone trying to fill the same roll, especially unreliable leeches like Minty. He stood from his chair, patting Minty on the shoulder by way of goodbye and left to his next appointment.

- - - - -

The white talon od the Dusthawks hadn't been seen in some time, and while curious, Hoekstra hadn't paid much mind to the chatter about town. It wasn't until he'd returned to his home and office for dinner that day that he'd seen the curved chalk mark on his own door. It was a curiousity; while Hoekstra often worked closely with the members of the gang, he wasn't himself a full member. Certainly not enough to wear the yellow colours of the group. Still, an invitation to the Nest was not something to be idly ignored and, forgoing his meal, the dwarf went swiftly to the meet.

He certainly wasn't the first to arrive, and the Nest had begun to look like more of a crowded rookery. Hoekstra saw a few unfamiliar faces but most he knew, returning a few nods as he entered. In a situation such as this, in which he found himself in a large group waiting for the leader to speak, it was often best to keep a low profile. Being the only dwarf, that was both easy and difficult at the same time. Naturally a suspicious person and now surrounded by a veritable gallery of rogues, the canny dealer chose not to partake of any offered drinks, instead waiting patiently and -strangely for him - quietly for Valrel to enlighten them on their purpose there.
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