An answer for Deliverance?

An answer to Deliverance?

Postby Glenn » Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:03 am

One had to keep one's self busy. That was the lesson Glenn Burnie had been learning over the last few days. So long as he was busy, then he was most certainly himself. There was no clenching of hands or curt responses to those around him or vapid daydreaming that lead to walking headlong into trees. There was focus and wit and determination.

Thankfully, he had a great deal to keep his mind busy. There was training, both swordsplay with Ariane and strategy and tactics with Deost. There was the issue of the Myrkenwall, certainly. There were chores in Esraeux to keep his strength up and pay for room and board. And then... then, there was the Fiend.

The decision to go and review Esraeux' library had been a fortuitous one. There he had found pristine copies of books that Teron had mutilated. At first, he had only looked for the most specific things in those pages, references to the Ashfiend himself. Later on, however, after Foggy Bottom, Glenn looked into Myrkenlore itself. The town had been ravaged solely to allow Teron a chance to procure this weapon forged by ancients in the mine hidden behind the falls, this weapon that may have been created either for his use or to be used againt him, this sword, Deliverance.

There was a story related to this, but right up until he had met with the fool gypsy, and she had provided him with the ancient map found in the Foggy Bottom's hall of records, there had been little he could do to check into his suspicions. Even after that, the incident at the Baker farm, Cinnabar's rise, his own personal issues... there was so much going on. It was only this NEED to keep himself busy that had pushed the mapmaker to complete this work, to compare story and maps, both old and new.

It was with this determination, certainly bolstered from his interactions with Ariane and his need not to.. not to what? Not to worry her? Not to give her reason to be worried at least? Not to degrade into some sort of... no matter. It was determination and it brought him straight to the Constabulary, and past that to Cinnabar's door. It wasn't a far walk from his desk was it. There would be a knock. Maps were under one arm. A book was under another. The poor High Constable would likely assume that the business of the wall was on Glenn's mind. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
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Postby Cinnabar » Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:29 am

"Come in."

The High Constable's voice answers that knock quickly, perhaps having heard the footsteps approaching along the corridor. On entering, Glenn will perhaps note that Calomel is out of uniform today, though clad in a neat, sombre outfit of doublet and britches and linen shirt. Tidy, well-groomed, businesslike.

The young man brightens when he sees the identity of this latest visitor, and waves him to the seat across the desk from him; meanwhile papers are shuffled and hurriedly stacked and set aside to make room for those scrolls and maps and charts that that cartographer bears.

"Good to see you, sir. News on the wall plans already? Swift work indeed, most commendable. Tea?"
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Postby Glenn » Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:48 am

There had been a concentrated effort to stay sober as of late. No reason to trade one dependency for another, right? It meant trying to force himself to get some enjoyment out of tea, amongst other things. So there was a steady nod for Cinnabar as Glenn entered. As it was, his own clothes were starting to look a bit less worn and travelled and all and all, nicer. He was getting a bit more of a salary now, wasn't he? Oh and Calomel, thank you very much for not inquiring into things that only you knew about. It had been a hard enough morning when it came to that. "Tea? Yes, please. There is news, actually. I've finished updating the maps to my liking so that I have a few possible versions of the dimensions of a possible wall, including one which keeps the Dagger on the outside. That was the fun part. The hard work will start tomorrow."

A ghost of a smile came over Glenn's face. To steal Ariane's joke, keeping the Dagger outside the wall (which in some ways, it SHOULD be, geographically speaking), would cut down on the danger to Myrken considerably.

"That's not why I'm here, though. This is about Teron. Rhaena says he's still by the lake for what it's worth, and.. sad, which makes absolutely no sense, mind you, but that's not why I'm here either." He was in the midst of talking business and politics and lore and Fiends. His hand was steady for this. As he spoke, he was carefully unravelling a map. "Here, look at this." If there was not enough room to place down the rather large map of Myrken Wood and its outskirts, Glenn would make room. "It's old." And please do not ask where it was acquierd, thank you very much. "Very, very old. The oldest I've seen for the region."

"As you can see, there's some indication of the mine being there back behind the falls in Foggy Bottom, or at least SOMETHING being there, but only if you knew to look. I think I might have some idea where there's a similar mine, or well... a similar something! And I have reason to believe that Teron either can't find it or at least hasn't been there yet. And furthermore, Cinnabar. I think that there might be something THERE!" This was an excited Glenn Burnie, one who had stayed up quite late working on such a theory, who had found something to sink his teeth into, something far preferable to sitting and brooding dimly.
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Postby Cinnabar » Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:13 am

The High Constable makes ready with the tea things, retrieving a couple of earthenware mugs and applying to each varying proportions of milk, hot tea and sugar.

"Tomorrow? Excellent, that's quite-" A pause, as apparently this is not why Glenn is here.

"Ah, the Ashfiend. Yes, I received Miss Olwak's letter, and am consulting wi-" Apparently that's not why he's here either. There's a quirk of one brow, there, and the Constable-Governor shuts up until Glenn has finished speaking, watching as the map is unfurled in silence. Which may have been his intention. He moves a couple more papers aside, and sets a sugar bowl to pin down a curling corner of the ancient document. The mine with the blade, the blade that had seen Foggy Bottom sent mad and set ablaze. His lips tighten for a moment, and he sips at his drink in silence, contrast to the mapmaker's enthusiasm.

"I see. Is there any indication as to what the other cave might contain? And are there any settlements or towns nearby?" He peers at the old map, frowning. "We can investigate, if you have a good idea as to where it is. A detachment of men, armed appropriately. Or... hm." Not entirely convinced by that idea, by the thought of sending more men into potential conflict with the fiend.

There's some reflection of Glenn's enthusiasm in the gaze he turns upon the man, some flicker of excitement at the possibility of finally, at last, being a step ahead of the fiend rather than three steps behind.

"Or perhaps not. Mr Burnie, do you fancy a trip to the countryside?"
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Postby Glenn » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:16 am

"Actually," Glenn had a very good idea what the... well, it wasn't necessarily a cave. A burrow or a bunker or SOMETHING, perhaps. Regardless, he had a fairly good idea what would be down there. "No, wait. Look at this." Now a book, worn but in one piece, at least, was thrust down before Cinnabar. "This is associated with the story behind Deliverance. I would have brought it to you before, but there just wasn't much point, not until I got my hands on this map."

The cartographer was pointing to a passage now. Calomel, being slightly quicker than the average man would have at least a few seconds before Glenn pulled it back away. The book itself was on the lore of Myrken Wood. The passage was on the ancients and yes, related to Deliverance.

"You see, Cinnabar," Glenn was lecturing again, and yes, he was sounding excited about the whole affair. He very much had to be go, go, go right now or else he might become absolutely stopped. "it doesn't matter if it's Arak or Penroll who the ancients made Deliverance for." Glenn was of the belief it was Penroll. Khalika was under the belief it was Arak. Khalika was a moron and better not to mention her to Cinnabar, especially since she was the source of this map. "What matters is that it was not the only thing made for him. There was a schism. A group of them believed that the demon in question could be defeated through violence. The rest thought that it could not be defeated in such a way and the protection of the people was more important, most important, no matter the cost.

"This latter group lost the eventual argument and were sent away, from what I can gather, to the lower limits of the Silver Forest. It was their intent to..." Now he was shoving yet another book in Cinnabar's face, only to, yes, once again, pull it back far too quickly. "See here? It was their intent to create a shield, one that... and here it gets a bit murky. It seems that the bearer of the shield can take the brunt of the blows of all around him. I'm not sure if it's literal or figurative or what, but both books confirm it and both say that it comes at the cost of leaving the bearer utterly defenseless. This wouldn't have been much of a problem for either Arak or Penroll, given that the were both downright legendary in their ability to take damage.

"The second book also give a surprisingly accurate description of where the entrance to the chamber where it was made is buried." Somewhere in there Glenn paused, and rolled a map of Myrken Wood and part of New Dauntless, centered on Foggy Bottom on top of the first map. He was on a roll and didn't intend to give Cinnabar much of a chance to even catch his breath. Ariane should be absolutely thankful that he spared her this story during training. "The description makes no sense using the current map, here. This is why I'm fairly sure that Teron hasn't found it yet. Of course, since it's an item of potential power that's made to protect and not destroy, I'm not particularly sure he could even use it, but that's not the point. He ripped out the page in the Mudd's copy anyway." A pause as Glenn held up his hand, as if to stop the digression.

"Anyway!" Back to the point of it. "I was pretty much stumped," no pun intended, "until I looked at the old map. Hundreds of years ago the forest went down into Myrken, fairly far down, almost to Foggy Bottom. It's been cut back since then, gradually, over time. Unless he saw this map, and had the story on his mind, I don't think Teron would have any way of knowing this.

"But I can pinpoint it pretty accurately, I think. Look Cinnabar, worst case, we'll have something that was either made for the Fiend or made to stand against him or at least we can claim we have such a thing to set a trap. Best case... well, have you ever wanted a magic shield, ser?"
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Postby Cinnabar » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:33 am

Papers spread out on the table, books thrust in his face enough for a glimpse and then drawn away, and the mapmaker moving, gesticulating and talking. After the first couple of abortive attempts to interject with some question or comment the High Constable stops, and just listens and watches with an expression somewhere between intrigue and bemusement.

Finally, finally the mapmaker pauses, and Calomel seizes the opportunity firmly.

"I am certainly impressed by your research, Glenn, and by what you've found out." Praise enough from the man, and a grin to go with it. "Very good work. However, a couple of points of clarification: you say that the shield protects someone from blows all around, and yet leaves them defenceless; that sounds like a contradiction to me, so which is it?" A pause, a glance to the map again.

"If this is some sort of magic shield which will protect the bearer, then I certainly think it's in our interest to get hold of it before the ghoul; he's hard enough to hurt already, and I think we can certainly do without him rendering himself even more impervious to harm." It had been a tough fight at the farm, three of Myrken's more accomplished warriors - well, two and an apprentice who refused to burn - and little to show for it. "We'll make a bid for it. Tomorrow morning, early." He looks to the ancient map again, tilting his head.

"How far away is the place where you believe it to be hidden?"
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Postby Glenn » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:41 am

"Uh." Achem. Ha. Well, yes, that was the kicker. The shield isn't EXACTLY a shield that protected the bearer. "See, Mercy... that's what one of the books calls it, by the way. The other calls it Salvation. Anyway, Mercy protects everyone AROUND the bearer, but not the bearer himself. I think that it creates some sort of magical barrier emanating from the bearer, but not protecting him. Quite the opposite, really. Any blow taken to the barrier would be felt by the shieldbearer. Or it might be literal and any cut taken by someone under the shieldbearer's protection would be born by him instead. I'm not quite sure." Yes, well, fire can't hurt you, Calomel, right? That's something, no?

"And..." Glenn was just a bit less enthusiastic now. Having to actually explain the thing made it seem somehow less exciting. "It's not far from Foggy Bottom, a good ways before the border. I'll stop in right after my training with Ariane." No, he would not negotiate this point, not after how training went today.
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Postby Cinnabar » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:15 pm

"That sounds... hm." There's something of a frown at that description, uncertainty creasing his brow. "In all honesty, Glenn, that sounds like possibly the most undesirable shield one could hope to find. Why would anyone want to carry such a thing, knowing that it means he'd feel the hurt from every blow his fellows are saved?" Brows raise to the mapmaker in confusion, hoping for some more sensible explanation.

"Still, if you think that the Ashfiend might desire it, for whatever reason, then I can only propose that we do what we can to foil his plans. Though I still wish that we had a better idea of what the longer-term goal of those plans might be."
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Postby Glenn » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:24 pm

A last attempt at explanation. To be honest, Glenn had not thought it all the way through. A good man might lament dying for his comrades and they for him, but what of an undead soldier holding the shield? "The Wilted Rose would have been able to take a great deal of damage, Arak even more. Both would die for those that they loved, I imagine. And... there may be something to Teron not being able to be destroyed by violence. You know my thoughts, or at least my suspicions on that. It could be the same with other such demons. A sense of self-sacrifice might thwart it more surely than a thousand Deliverances. I don't know."

Calomel has been a friend as of late. He had a number of reasons to be loyal to the man and has confided in him a great deal. For that very reason, Glenn would be surprised if the High Constable did not expect or at least understand the look the mapmaker gave him. "You saw what happened to Alastir. I won't see Rhaena used in that way, no matter what we don't know."
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Postby Cinnabar » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:46 pm

A confusing matter, this, but if the mapmaker feels the shield to be important... pfah, if Calomel couldn't follow his advice, why does he persist in asking it?

"Very well. Whatever the case, we will remove it from his grasp." But then there's a quirk of brow for the man, a solemn look and at length a nod.

"Savoy was not used so much as misused - misled by the gypsy into risking himself. Had I my way, it would never have happened thus." He does not need to speak the words of an oath to make clear his intent; that resolve is clear enough in his tone, in his gaze.

"I will do all I can to keep her safe. I've seen what happens when people take a chance with half-formed theories, and I'll not see it repeated. Not while I have any say in the matter."
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Postby Glenn » Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:17 am

It had not been the morning Glenn had envisoned the night before. There was no training with Ariane. He reported to the Constabulary stables instead. There, they did not set right out. No, surprisngly enough, there was sparring with Cinnabar. It was rather one-sided, yet not unenjoyable in its own way. He managed well enough, relatively, but it was certainly a humbling bit of relativity.

Then, discussion during the ride. They, and the few Constables with them, were well prepared for escavation. It seemed that the High Constable was enjoying this chance to get out of the Governor's office for a time. Glenn was glad enough to talk of the Fiend and of Vraal, having spent so much of his recent life researching and working things out. Therefore, he recounted the entire tale, as best he knew it, from start to finish, accepting questions on potential options and on the remaining mysteries. Calmomel had to shout at him to bring him out of a daze once or twice, but, all in all, it had gone well. In truth, with Alastir not himself and Rhaena... very much off limits to him, Glenn was getting more and more comfortable with spending time with Cinnabar. The man had a sharp mind, good instincts, the sort of idealism that Glenn wished he, himself, could maintain and was certainly trustworthy. He was a fine man to call friend.

"I'm convinced he'll be interested in the shield, at the very least, Cinnabar. You have to remember that he attacked me for just researching things like this at the Mudd. Even going on this expedition will be enough to let it slip that we've found something." Maybe he was managing expectations a bit. If they found nothing at all then there would be a good amount of time wasted, even if it had been spent pleasantly enough.

"I know it SEEMS like a needle in a haystack considering how large the old map is, but apparently the entrance to the chamber is hidden beneath a strangely colored stone of some size, which was quite close to where the base of the forrest was. If the map is dated as correctly as I think it is, we should be very close soon." And then hopefully, they, their tools, and Cinnabar and his unique strength might be enough to open the way. What he was looking for now was this large stone, which, from the records he had read should be not far off the path itself. Its description matched up quite well with the stories, yet one would think it too far south without the knowlege of the Silver Forest's previous size.
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Postby Cinnabar » Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:34 am

"The ghoul's motives are... well, unpredictable. He attacked you for researching in the Library, yes, but then spared the barmaid from the Dagger when she could have been killed as easily as any of his other victims. Thankfully she wasn't." A shrug, and frown of discontent. "I'm almost coming to believe that asking why the Ashfiend does as he does is as pointless as asking why lightning strikes that tree rather than the other one." A nod, then, towards the blasted pine that stands in the open nearby, and another apparently similar untouched tree some way further along.

"Still, we must assume he has plans, or at least reasons for why he does what he does. Any chance to throw off those plans, sir, is something I'm happy to make an effort for." It's been a pleasant enough morning thus far, with an opportunity to stretch muscles and mind at the same time. The Thessilanean problem had been distracting, coming at such an inconvenient time as it has; that seems to have settled a little, or at least to have fallen into a game of uncertainly waiting to see what would happen next. Now, though, there's the chance to turn back to the issue of the Ashfiend, during the respite that Squire Patience has apparently bought them all. Not that Calomel is entirely convinced that this period of quiet from the Ashfiend will last, but still. We make the most of what we have.

"Of course, once we have it we need some way of keeping it. Otherwise we'll just be sparing the ghoul the effort of digging it up for himself."
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Postby Glenn » Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:51 am

"Honestly, Calomel. I think he's spared me twice, as well. Oh he attacked me, but I still live, and I'm not a bruiser like Seth or Ignas. If he wanted to kill me, I would be likely be an undead mapmaker right now." And Teron had sent him a warning about Vraal. It was a strange length for the Fiend to go, very strange, strange enough that he didn't choose to speak of it.

"As for keeping it?" As Glenn spoke, his gaze fell towards the distance, looking for their target. His time with the knights had made him a much better horseman than he had been since, perhaps, his earliest youth. It was such a long, time-consuming commute to make both ways, every day. "That depends. Are we setting a trap or holding it safe. If we're holding it safe then either Headquarters or Esraeux would be my choices. Otherwise, well, it depends on the trap." There was still no assurance that Teron would go for such a trap, was there? Though it could be presented in such a taunting way to inspire his hate and rage, if such a thing was necesary. His thoughts were drifting in this direction as the stone appeared by a curve in the distance. It was large, perhaps with a radius of eight feet, and of a color that made it seem more like brick than stone, even despite its smooth, slightly worn, texture. "I think we're there, Cinnabar."
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Postby Cinnabar » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:23 am

"The one thing I'm wary, of, Glenn, is provoking him into making another oblique attack - an assault against those not directly involved, but the ones held dear by them." The attack on Calomel's farm, for example. The Kaczmareks. Rhaena, in Glenn's case. "If we oppose the Ashfiend, those linked to us are placed at risk. And I'm not happy with that at all."

He blinks out of this somewhat sombre train of thought, however, as what is apparently The Rock hoves in sight. Glenn, Cinnabar and the Constables draw nearer, Calomel nodding to the uniformed officers who spread out to keep watch on the nearby area.

"Excellent. Now, what are we looking for?"
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Postby Glenn » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:33 am

Oh yes, past one encounter with Vraal, Glenn had been doing a very good job of keeping his association with the Olwak girl out of the Fiend's knowledge. THAT was the sort of thing that could be used against them both. She didn't seem to be doing a very good job understanding that, however.

"We're going to have to undermine the rock, Cinnabar. There should be a chute down under it." On one level, yes, Glenn was VERY practical. On another, however, he was a large proponent of knowledge for knowledge's sake. He was something of a scholar and endlessly curious and ... maybe that was being seen here and now. It seemed that he just wanted to find something, anything, some proof of the ancients and some connection to the story of Deliverance. Really, how could anything have survived for so long UNDER that stone. "I think if we use the tools, it shouldn't be TOO hard, right?"... right? Of course, then there were a few things that Glenn hadn't mentioned about the story, things he thought to be embellishments and fantasies, the usual things one found in such lore, how only one of a worthy heart could move the stone and all that rubbish. No reason to bog down Cinnabar with such bunk.
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