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In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

This is where all of the medieval Gawain role-plays are archived.
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Re: In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

Post by Rainwhisker » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:16 pm

Feres just kept his distance, watching furs scramble about from afar while things got ready. He thought of his place in all of this and let his footpaws take him all over. It didn't take too long before he found a room where the medics and healers all gathered, darting left right and center counting supplies and practicing spells. He contemplated going in and offering his services as he took another walk around, but his attention drew back to Tel and Naia, whom were being followed by three loud rats. Perhaps it was his feline instincts, but they got on his nerves faster than anticipated. He decided to follow them.

---
If there was one good thing at being an explorer as experienced as Galvan was, it would be the ability to speak over a multitude of languages. From the Orangutan's question and gesture, the cat proceeded to reply in turn. It wasn't perfect but he had done it once before; a notion that reminded him of his age.

He explained why he was here - the threat of a rampaging evil duke who carried the soul of a legendary figure, so it was imperative that he had access to the whole library.

"Er - Caraennyn," Galvan took some time to ask his escort, "I'm a bit out of the loop in Gawain events at the moment, but...any particular reason the university and its surroundings are like a war camp at the moment?" it did surprise him at first, and his curiosity of the situation was blocked entirely by his sense of urgency, but as he pieced what he was doing together with what the local area was like, some things didn't fit unless they were that convenient.
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Re: In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

Post by Rackenhammer » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:39 am

The trembling in his apprentice's voice spoke as her words to Telemain. He could hardly blame her for being wracked with fear; it was a place he knew all too well. It had to have taken a lot of courage for Naia to trust herself to his judgment when there were those who sought her very soul in their midst. The fact that she relied on him, though, was quite frightening to him.
Swallowing his fear, he pulled her in close, whispering back. "Alright, then, but only those I know well. I can trust the University, to an extent, but these rats-"

It was at this point that they all began to howl and run from the room, pursued by Antinom, Nessus, and the Archencellor's laughter. Tel, not having paid attention enough to have caught the context, just stared at the doorway through which they had fled. "Ja... What do you say we check up on Logan?"

~***~

Aldous Dench was grimacing at the taste of his own medicine. The academic jargon combined with the condescending tone was a souring thing for Dench to stomach; but it was only fair considering how much of that bile he'd forced on others. Not that that thought ever occurred to him. He'd been instructed to behave himself with receptiveness to the exposition of the Dysuhlian rats upon their technology. It was, after all, a rather delicate issue; Aggar and Aelius practically called it treason.

Nevertheless, as Nessus put the golem through it's courses, --*It shouldn't sound like that, surely? Have the students been messing with it?*-- the weasel noted their statements. For all their talk of his "inferior mind," they were quite comfortable in throwing words of many syllables around like pinggen balls. In fact, the conversation resembled that game in so far as the thread of it was batted between the two rats.

It wasn't too hard to follow, though. What was difficult for the weasel was stifling his laughter. This ward design wouldn't have been acceptable from one of his students; it was essentially a brute-force blocker that backfired once it's maximum threshold was exceeded. No rotation deflection, no angular force multipliers, no shock absorption of any kind, if what the rat said about the weaknesses was true.
About the only thing it had going for it was the sheer power behind it, and the high threshold of force it would take to cause the backfire. Even then...
"The Archancellor's bow could do it. We could probably enhance longbows to fire with that kind of force; though I think the ferx was right in recommending siege weaponry. The more massive the projectile, the less velocity will be required to pass the force threshold, though I would prefer ballistas to catapults, as the smaller the surface area of the projectile, the less defensive force the golem's ward will be able to bring to bear."

And now came the bucket brigade, as Dench had mentally christened Priscus and Vetus. With their colored dyes they marked out the golem in all the colors of the rainbow. Apparently, one of the students had been tagging along, since a Kangaroo rat in the school robes piped up with her suggestion of Runic traps.
After gazing at the runic sheet for a moment, Dench folded and pocketed it. "That's an interesting suggestion." He said in that always-irritating intonation of his. "It will require more experimentation to confirm it's usability, but I don't see any protection from energy draining on the wards themselves, so it might work, might. You'd have to destabilize them first, though, but there's a couple of techniques that I know that'd do it." Not able to deny its essential intelligence, he fully intended to take as much credit for this idea as possible.

~

Caraennyn was impressed by Galvan's ability to communicate with the Librarian. The cat wasn't the type of student that was in the Library much, thus he didn't have the practice necessary to be fluent in Orangutanese, or whatever you'd call it.
His eyebrows did rise up a bit at Galvan's explanation. "Oh? Is that what you're here for? I thought it was over this Dysuhlian business. That's why we're all a little on edge here; some big necromancer's come back from the dead after a 1,000 years, wants to take over the world, or something. Seems to have a lot of golems on his side, so we had to fetch a bunch of his fellowcountryfurs from a magic-induced coma to stop him. Apparently he's going after us sooner or later."

Caraennyn wasn't exactly the best at explanations, and he knew it. Biting his lip, he stared at the floor for a minute while saying, "Don't really know a lot about it, just a student here, see."

~

Tel was carefully ignoring the trio of rats he'd acquired as a posse. He'd been leading them on a roundabout tour of the grounds, hoping to lose them, but they clung on like barnacles, not seeming to get the hint. He'd refrained from visiting Logan until something could be done about them; from what he'd been able to pick up, visiting the wolf with Dysuhlian rats in tow would not be a good idea.

However, as his apprentice grew more an more apprehensive of their followers, it became clear that something would have to be done about them. Their banter would have been amusing, but Tel was only half listening as he looked for someone suitable to off-load these rodents onto.

A yelp off to his left at the edge of the quad caught his attention. He could see a lemur in the student's uniform rubbing his backside with one paw, the other holding a small rock. "Aye carambas!. Now what on Feila did you do that for?!" He yelled across the lawn.

Tel didn't know his name, but he'd have to do. He called the lemur over, gesturing at the trio behind him. "Would you be so kind to direct these gentlefurs to the HEM building? They seem to have gotten lost. I'm off to the infirmary to visit a friend."

"Certainly!" Matteo threw a mock salute to Tel's retreating back as he entered the building. The lemur could see Feres over the rats' shoulders, and gave him a friendly wave before turning his attention upon his 'guests.' He smiled widely at them, in a way that would have been unsettling to any that didn't know him, and outright terrifying to any who did.
"Right this way sirs, just follow me!" And with a jaunty step, he set off.

~***~

Meanwhile, in the town...

Kosigan and Naismith, the Deans two TA's, had lent their efforts to aid Zodt in mustering the townsfolk for defense. The University representatives tended to carry more weight among the native Gawainians than the words of strangers, though they were careful to emphasize the fact that both factions would be working together. The last thing Zodt needed was to be choked by suspicious townsfolk.

There would be little the University could do to assist Antinom and his chosen group in rallying the other Dysuhlian factions; the institution carried little credit among them.


Outside the town, the earth mages were growing restless under the very pointless harangue of Vis. Seriously, did this guy really think they were all idiots?
Two students in the group, not having got the memo about "polite silence" shared a look before opening a shallow hole underneath the rat's feet. It was only about waist deep, and quickly collapsed around him, burying him halfway in the dirt.
Despite the gravity of the situation, then, the mages went to work on the trenches with laughter on their lips.
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Re: In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

Post by Sade » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:04 pm

Veneficus, Vermiculos, and Mus recoiled as one from the lemur's smile, yet they felt oddly compelled to follow him off towards a building with great metallic spheres on its roof.

"The hybrid is escaping!"

"The degenerate ferret is escaping too!"

"What point is there to reaching the high energy magic building without the very subjects of our experiments!"

As they entered the building, their tune quickly changed. They ran about, pointing and prodding and digging and scittering and dropping things.

"Incredible!" Mus exclaimed, "I've never seen instrumentation like this!"

"Look at the energy dispersal pathways! Ingenious!"

"The academy couldn't touch this place!"

The three of them stopped to consider what they were saying, looking at each other.

"The choice of colors, they make me sick."

"What a filthy building! Perfect for these filthy University beasts."

"What is technique and intricacy without societal refinement and philosophy? This place, that is what! Disgusting."

They fell silent again, standing idle, rocking back and forth, looking about with distaste. They eyed each other. All at once they entreated Matteo to follow them in three different directions.

"You must show me how this works!" Mus declared excitedly.

"What are these for?" Veneficus ran off.

"Fascinating!" Vermiculos' muffled voice exclaimed from… either within the wall or inside one of the larger testing apparatus, it was hard to tell precisely.

***

Aggar, Aelius, and Vetus grimaced to varying degrees at the mention of the archancellor's bow. They remembered the way clearly; hearing news of defeats at the hands of animals universally decried as sub-feilan abominations still stung. Dumb animals were not supposed to be capable of facing disciplined troops. As for Priscus, his flat affectation revealed nothing of what he felt, but not in the same sense as Antinom's. The statesmen clearly did feel, whereas Priscus seemed more akin to a statue or golem than a warm-blooded fur.

"Well," Aggar huffed, "then perhaps somebody should go fetch the 'archancellor' and his bow so that we might test your assertion, little warden."

When nobody moved to actually do so, Nessus sighed and hurried off to find the wolftaur. The three rats capable of expressing emotion were obviously displeased by this. Nessus was merely a soldier, but he was a rat of pure blood. Lesser animals were meant for menial tasks, not the rats of Dysuhl.

The Kangaroo rat interrupted their contemptuous thoughts, and smiles devoid of spite broke out amongst them. They were obviously pleased to see this rodent in their midst; there were curt nods or slight bows and other pleasantries offered. Jyya's youthfulness and her status as a student preempted their usual hierarchal posturing and dominance games, at least toward her.

"Ahhhh, now the extraordinary advancement of modern magic makes sense," Aggar mused. "You have had rodents helping you." Then, to Jyya, "I hold your choice of institutions against you, young ratess- you should be studying among your own kind- yet even so, I must acknowledge and congratulate you on this truly innovative idea!"

"Of course," Aelius stepped in, "she has no interest in praise from such a pathetic, feeble-minded mage like yourself, Aggar. You might as well save your breath!" With that the two of them recommenced shouting at each other.

Priscus watched…intently?…as Dench pocketed the paper, "if these markings will function on the curved surface of a stone, one would assume they will also function projectiles. We could easily imbue hundreds or thousands of ballista projectiles and crossbow bolts. One wonders whether these would prove more effective at delivering energy through the wards then projectiles imbued or enchanted in a conventional manner."

"Control your excitement, Priscus," Vetus warned dryly, "I have seen mages attempt to syphon energy from our machines before. The flow has always proven fatal to lesser and greater lifeforms alike."

Agger, finished verbally thrashing Aelius, was drawn back into the discussion, "the issue is one of control. Uncontrolled flow of power into a thrown object with tend to vaporize the object."

"Then loading the projectiles ahead of time would be necessary," Priscus intoned. "This would be draining on the mages we will also require for more active roles in battle."

The four of them looked at one another few a few moments before Aelius voiced what they all were thinking, "the hybrid could provide all the power we need."

Only Priscus' totally unfeeling mind was able to carry these thoughts to their logical conclusion. His rock-hard, practically mechanical stare drilled into the looming University buildings before swiveling to Jyya, "if these same magical markings were applied directly to the hybrid, could she be rigged to explode on command?"

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Re: In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

Post by Rackenhammer » Mon May 07, 2012 7:21 pm

Matteo had to suppress an urge to skip as he led the three vociferous rats to the HEM; as it was, he affected a light step on the balls of his feet, practically bounding in excitement. This was going to be fun.

He found their initial reactions... promising. The excitement of discovery combined with the urge to denigrate produced results that nearly drove the witnessing University furs to peals of laughter. They kept a straight face for now, not wanting to ruin the joke. They also kept a whether eye on their instruments, not wanting these newcomer to upset their delicate experiments.

I am very sorry to state that Matteo did not much care for the integrity of the experiments. He clapped twice to get the attention of the group, beaming from ear to ear. "One at a time, gentlefurs, one at a time. Ooh, we'll start with that one!" Matteo rubbed his paws together excitedly as he indicated the machine Vermiculos was wandering into. This was the handiwork of Adrian, a rather lanky otter with an untidy mop of hair that kept falling into his eyes.
The device was hydrological in nature, maintaining a symphonic resonance with the local waterways, and through them the sea and all the waters of the world. It would allow the user to trace the magical flows that ran with the water, as opposed to the ones which came through the air, and collected in this duchy, building up a field of used energy. In theory, understanding the aqueous flows would allow for this field to eventually drain into the sea, which would be better able to re-circulate it.

Unfortunately, theory had not yet translated smoothly into practice. Adrian had been hashing the idea out since Nessus first arrived at the University. He'd since managed to halt the random manifestations of giant squids in the building corridors. Now the sudden squids were of a much more manageable size, and only manifested near the machine, and even then, only when someone had actually wandered inside the machine, past the smudged sign saying Do Not Enter in a student's penmanship.
Matteo could hardly wait...

~

Aldous Dench was not a fur who took well to being snubbed, for all than he delivered snubs like the ill-mannered well-bred. To be ignored, for a student, and for the student to praised at his expense! No, it would not do.
"That is hardly called for," The weasel moved in on Jyya with a snakelike swoop, casually pulling her to the side as he addressed the rats. "One does not use resources like that on the untried ideas of a student, honestly! In any case, you'd have to ask Telemain. She's his apprentice, after all."
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Re: In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

Post by Rainwhisker » Fri May 11, 2012 4:02 am

"Dysuhlian..." Galvan shook his head. "No. That's not why I'm here at all, but..." the concern in his features grew, exponentially. "Stars, any longer and I'll be losing fur over this." he frowned. "And word of all this hasn't reached other shores? ...granted I haven't been part of politics in quite some time, but. This is alarming...I will look into it further once my business here is done," He turns to nod at the orangutan, walking into the archives with his permission.

--
"Telemain," Feres asked, following closely from behind. "I don't have much experience with the whole 'war' thing that's happening here. In fact, unless this university teaches its students war...I don't think any of us are prepared for...an army. Do you think we have a chance? Would the Gawain armies aid us?"
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Re: In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

Post by Sade » Wed May 16, 2012 8:33 am

Aelius sneered, "oh yes, the ferret. Somehow I doubt he will be willing to… do what it takes." He thought back to the meeting with the other University furs- to the burn mark beneath the ferret's hand. He was an observant rat, Aelius. They all were. They just so happened to feign disinterest in everything their politics and social stature informs them they should have no interest in, like the lives and love interests of lesser beings. "'Apprentice' I doubt is the right word to describe their… professional relationship. He has made a mistake."

"I agree with the assessment of my esteemed colleague," Aggar abruptly declared, stunning the rats into silence with this apparent compliment. "One should never grow too close to a research subject, particularly when one must eventually kill it. This is why I keep Aelius at a comfortable distance. That and because of his foul odor."

"You degenerate LITTLE-" and the two of them recommenced their screaming and harassment.

At length Nessus returned with the archancellor's bow. He also brought the archancellor, who happened to be connected to the bow at the time and seemed willing or even inclined to help conduct the short experiment.

The first shot was unsuccessful and quickly taught them a lesson about just how these tests should be performed: the bolt had insufficient velocity to pierce the golem's ward, which meant it was thrown back from the barrier with equal force. The projectile's tumbling and resultant random trajectory on the return flight was the only thing to thank for the lack of injuries.

The next test was done with greater caution, and the crossbow was drawn back a greater-than-usual distance before firing. The bolt lashed out of the weapon, crossed to the golem, and to the apparent surprise of the rats- who all actually jumped- pierced the barrier with a sharp "snap." The barrier became briefly visible as a golden sphere as it shimmered and crackled in protest. What none of them expected was that the crossbow bolt continued to ricochet around between the hard wardstone, which sapped it of energy allowing it to fall, and the inner surface of the ward, which propelled it back inwards. When it finally fell to the tiny patch of ground directly around the golem's feet it hadn't inflicted any noticeable damage. It wasn't fired at any particularly vulnerable spot, and by happenstance it hadn't ricocheted to any weak points either.

By this point, the rigors of the day and night were weighing heavy on Nessus. The night had grown so old that the sky at the horizon was beginning to brighten with the light of the approaching day. "It might be best," Nessus spoke up for the first time in what felt like hours of near-silent preparations, "if as many people sleep during the day as possible. Golems can see fine at night and never tire. Whenever Vedicus finally comes, you can bet it will be at night or late in the evening."

****

One could easily hear Vermiculos poking and prodding at things inside the strange device, fascinated as he and his companions were with all of these… well, all of these whatever-they-were. However, soon there came a new sound, a wet sound, and then a rat crying out, followed by a long string of words shouted in Dysuhlian which the increasingly sophisticated translation spells strewn about the campus seemed curiously unable to translate properly.

The swearing brought Mus and Veneficus running, not in order to render any aid so much as not to miss what sounded like an interesting show. But it never occurred to them that they should wait outside the device. It's were not particularly transparent and they wanted to see! So they also ran inside… and then they ran back out. Thunder reverberated and the floor lurched, a lance of arcane energy pierced the side of the machine as an inadvertent consequence of piercing Vermiculos' assailant, and the rat was presently carried out by a vast burst of sticky black ink.

"Brilliant!" Mus shouted, half-dragging the squid carcass from the hydrological device.

Veneficus poked around the now-inactive machine behind them.

Vermiculous spoke more untranslatable obscenities and then, "brilliant!? This is an outrage!"

"YOU are an outrage! This device is clearly an anti-siege warfare tool." Mus held out one of the tentacles, "an enemy can't starve you into capitulation if you have a never-ending supply of food!"

Veneficus' only contribution to the discussion was to slip unceremoniously off his feet and face-plant in the black sludge.

****

Working out in the town, Zodt quickly found herself displaced by University and local officials whom the townsfolk trusted far more than she. The jird focused on organizing the freed-slave refugees, but this took a trifle of time. There just weren't all that many refugees to deal with, and a goodly number of them were Dysuhlian rats with whom she had little sway anymore and virtually no bond of trust at all.

So, when they had finished what they could do in the immediate vicinity of the town, she organized her band into a number of patrols and lookouts. Each consisted of a good half a dozen heads, well equipped, given horse mounts leant graciously by some of the local businessfurs, and provided with a special item a little harder to come by: a tube about as long as a person and as thick as one's wrist, stuffed with arcane and mundane materials in such a way that it would send streamers of brilliant colors high into the sky. She'd also requested some of the scrying tablets she'd seen in the University, but they'd yet to arrive, so she sent her people out ahead to take station in the forests around the town. The last fur of each group would take the scrying tablets out to them.

These University furs were smart, and they believed Vedicus' teleportation magic would not breach the tumultous magical fields of Wexlar. As Zodt stood atop a section of completed wall and gazed out at the specks of her comrades vanishing in the distant tree line, she could only hope they were right. Advance warning might make all the difference in the world. Literally.

****

Not everyone was taking his suggestion to sleep. Nessus couldn't really blame them. As he lay in his bed counting the roof beams over and over again, he remembered just how hard it could be to convince one's self to sleep when one's body had decided that it was daytime and time to be awake.

Someone soon knocked on his door. A head poked in the room, "professor, your feral rat skeletons have gotten out of their pen again!"

Nessus pressed his palms into his eyes and massaged his forehead, "we don't have time for this kind of thing. Just… just come back in the morning."

"It is morning."

"Well then, it sounds like you've just volunteered to take care of the problem! Or did I hear you wrong?"

"Err, no. Sorry, professor. Sleep well, professor."

"Call me Nessus, dammit!" he shouted at the closed door and buried his face in a pillow.

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Re: In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

Post by Rackenhammer » Thu May 31, 2012 12:46 pm

(Gonna wrap up the interactions and preparations as best I can. Tel's interaction with Logan will happen off-screen, as it were.)

Caraennyn waved goodbye to Galvan. He smiled, weakly; his heart was not in it. The cat was far from the University's brightest student, and he knew it. But with all these troubles piling on, he knew that what was to come would be horrible. Besides the expedition to the Ark, he'd not been in the battles firsthand, and wasn't at all certain how he'd do when one came here.

~

Telemain continued to guide his apprentice through the hallways, looking for the right door. Naia was remaining silent for now; the ferx wasn't sure whether than was through nervousness, awe, or fear. He had been about to ask, when Feres walked up. Tel had no resentment; the silence had hung heavy like a suffocating pillow.
"We're not so ill-prepared as you may think. This is not the first time the University has marched into battle; the last ducal succession here was... bloody, to say the least. Most of the faculty have war experience, and most of our disciplines can be adapted for combat. As for whether we have a chance..." He mused, sighing as he recalled all the battles that he himself had to fight over the past year or so. "I would say we do; our foe is not invincible. But, I will say that he has never mustered forces on this scale before. We could request armies, but mere muscles will not be of significant assistance. We have sent out scouts to recruit forces more powerful, but..." He frowned. "Well, they haven't arrived yet."

The ferx had found the right door now, and entered. He had a long talk to have with an old friend...

~

The Archancellor had heard the little scrum being held among the rats. He still wore his amused expression, like one watching the play-fights of children, but he watched without detachment. Maybe one day he might come to like them, but by thunder they weren't hastening the day.

Still, the wolftaur was always up for a chance to use his custom crossbow. Misfires aside, there was potential there. "Perhaps," Ridcully rumbled, "I might give those homing enchantments a try. Nothing too complicated, of course, but every shot's got to count."

Dench nodded at the suggestion of nocturnal rythyms, but he could never leave any good idea untouched. "Of course, one should keep shifts. It'd be just like the vermin to catch us napping in the daylight." Arrogance aside, the weasel had a point; any unpreparedness could be exploited, logical or not.

~

Matteo could no longer help it; the lemur had collapsed against the wall in paroxysms of laughter, shared by all observers. "You-" he gasped his words between guffaws, "You- are- brilliant! Oh," He took several deep breaths, "Better than any circus; leastaways, any that come around here. Well, it's certainly been fun showing you around..."
He straightened up, still smiling, but no longer playful. "However, unless you need anything for the war prep here, you'd best get to work on that. I've a few things to do on that line myself."

~

Most of the scrying tablets had been sent further afield, to the various hedge-wizards of the mountains. If the golems came through the passes, they'd know first, and be able to send word. Currently, the crafters we working on more, though they were prioritized for the more skilled magicians, who 'patrolled' in the area between the refugee's range and the mountains.
Still, Zodt's group would eventually get them, though how soon remained to be seen. The University was fairly confident that Wexlar's own field would make teleportation too unwieldy, but no chances could be taken, not with so much at stake.

You could never be complete in preparing for a war, of course. Leaving aside the question of unknown things one cannot in any case anticipate, there is always something that could be improved before the start of the battle. Sure, most of the harvests were gathered in; the perimeters were as secure as shovels, mills, and wards could make them; and all the various schools of the university were re-inventing their techniques for combat.

*Still...* the Dean mused as she looked over the morning. She had decided to stay on the day shift, though the Archancellor was by now snoring soundly. It had been long since most here had seen war, ten years at the least. Save for a few that had been sent afield, none had more recent experience, and only she, Nessus, and Tel's party had actually faced off against any of the golems. *That's not counting the refugees.* She reminded herself, though at best they were a mixed bag, untried.
The badger looked over the town, and already Academia looked as if it were prepared for a siege. *We must make our stand here; Vedicus has brought the fight to us. Well, I am ready.* She gripped her staff, looking out over the eastern horizon, towards the mountains. *As ready as I'll ever be...*
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