[Taocow PBEM] Chapter XII - Through The Looking Glass Once
mightymartianca at gmail.com
Thu Jun 14 22:51:41 BST 2007
>> "That town over there is Fort Peters." the boy said. "You're in the
>> Kingdom of Poughkeepsie. My pa says that it used to be part of a
>> country or state or somethin' called New York. It's so big it takes
>> a day to ride from here to Fort Wansom. I've never been there, but
>> my friend Garth says you can see the ruins of Old New York. I think
>> he's probably lying, 'cause I don't think he's been further than
>> Miller's Pond. Here comes Pa! I hope that lady friend of yours
>> doesn't start a fight."
> [Lady Frost]
> "Kingdom of....." At that, Frost can't help but break into hysterical
> laughter. In and among this, she manages to gasp "At least...
> it's...not Rochester..."
> Most of the rest of the coversation is spent trying to get her self
> under control.
> [/Lady Frost]
Bongo shakes his head. Even with his great historical knowledge, he
doesn't understand the nature of Frost's sudden mirth.
The boy is a lot less polite. "We've won THREE wars." he proclaims
loudly. "We even have an ambassador from Lazlo here!"
>> "Looks like you'll meet my pa first! He's the one in the armored
>> truck!" he says proudly. "You better call him Major Pournelle. He's
>> on 'official' business as he calls it."
> Talas puts Lady Frost down on her feet, "Lady Frost if this is a CS
> friendly town, you my wish to change forms." He harnesses his
> rail-gun. And then waits for the arrival of the vehicles.
>> He walks up to Alex, his hands at his sides. "I am Major René
>> Pournelle, head of the Poughkeepsie Watch." he says in a slight
>> Quebecois accent. "We saw you enter through... that entrance. Who
>> are you and what are you doing here, and how precisely did you get
>> here? I see you have injured, so I suggest we get over these
>> preliminaries quickly, so that we can get aid to them."
> "My name is Ted Smythe," the lizard man says next. He points to the
> wounded man over his shoulder. "This is Osiris the Cyber-knight. He
> is injured and requires immediate care beyond our abilities."
> [Lady Frost]
> Holding her stomach with one hand, she starts moving closer to the
> gathering crowd.
> "We're about 800 miles or so east of Chicago. A little south too. Oh,
> this is funny. I needed that. We should be just about next to the
> [/Lady Frost]
"The laughing lady is Lady Frost." Bongo says. "The others are Carlos
and Talas. I'm Bongo Jones."
> Alex goes ahead and takes off her helmet, cold air immediately
> blasting her wet red hair. While the armor maintains a constant
> temperature, the stress and adrenaline are different to deal with.
> She looks into the man's eyes for just a moment although not long
> enough to be a challenge. She is too tired to banter and decided to
> simply tell him the truth.
> The scout states, "My name is Alex Hawk, I am a wilderness scout. I
> will let my companions introduce themselves. We were being chased by
> Coalition Borgs. That 'portal' seemed to be only way out so we took
> it. Otherwise, we don't really know how we got here or even where
> here is."
Major Pournelle's suspicious gaze turns to sympathy. He looks upon
Phaeton sadly. "Your words seem true to me, and your casualties tell
their sad tale. I will be truthful with you, as I believe you have been
with me. We get many visitors here, and not all are good. It is only
by eternal vigilance that our little realm has stood against the threats
that come at us from the east, the west, and the South." He speaks the
last direction with a hint of fear and hatred.
With a snap of his finger, the other man in the armored vehicle hops out
with a battered med-kit and immediately begins looking Osiris over. "A
Cyberknight!" the man says, with some awe in his voice. After checking
him over, he pulls out a needle and gives him a quick jab. "The poor
old fellow doesn't seem to have too many bad injuries; a broken rib and
a lot of bruises. But there's something else there. He'll need to see
the Doc. Someone help me get him in the vehicle."
Major Pournelle nods, and then looks to Lady Frost. "Some of you
perhaps come from larger realms. You m'lady, in particular, scoff at
our kingdom, but though it be small, we have kept our independence. As
to Rochester, when I fled my old home far to north, I came through that
accursed city. The blood slavers that live there among the ruins would
soon wipe the laughter from your face, as they did my brother and
nephew. Still we must always make allowances for strangers. You seem a
strange enough woman, and perhaps I would be glad to be at your side
when a blood slaver came at me. May it be that we never have to, God
He then turns to the others. "Bongo, Ted, Talas and Carlos." he says
quietly. "An odd company you make. If it is the Coalition that you
flee, then I can well imagine you taking the first door you could find.
You must have committed some high crime for them to send Borgs after
you. I might not be some welcoming, but you guard a Cyberknight, and in
these lands, the Cyberknights are held in the highest regard. A friend
of one of them is a friend of ours. Besides," he says with a wink at
Lady Frost, "I would not miss a chance to dine with someone who has such
lighthearted feelings towards Rochester."
"Come!" he says. "The Mayor knows you are here now, and he would meet
people who appear out of nowhere on his doorstep. I imagine all of you
could use a good scrub and a good meal. I lived a long time on rations,
and what keeps a man (or woman) alive doesn't do much to keep him happy."
One of the men helps Ted lift Osiris into the vehicle. Osiris's eyes
flicker open for a second, but he is soon unconscious again. The Major
orders one of the men off his horse to drive the armored vehicle. The
Major leaps with great ease on to the horse, and the rest of the riders
surround the company. Despite his kind words, Major Pournelle clearly
does not trust the company yet.
He rides beside them, keeping the place slow, recognizing the company's
exhaustion and confusion. It takes several minutes to reach the gate,
and Major Pournelle occupies the time regaling them with a description
of the land. The Kingdom of Poughkeepsie stretches from Red Falls in
the north to Danbury Bay in the south, and from New Waterbury in the
east to the Mesak Junction (old Middletown) in the west. An area nearly
twice that size recognizes the King of Poughkeepsie as overlord, though
they remain largely independent. Fort Wansom is the actual southernmost
holding of the kingdom, and sits within site of the ruins of Old New
York, to guard against the infrequent invasions that come out of that
Fort Peters, the town they are approaching, is one of the larger in the
kingdom, with nearly nine hundred inhabitants, with that many in the
surrounding farms and pastures. The town was established about seventy
years ago near the ruins of Lagrangeville as an independent kingdom, but
kept its independence for little more than a decade. The old king was
spared death by the king of Poughkeepsie, and declared the Mayor. His
grandson, Ivar Peters, is the current mayor, and a close friend of Major
The people of the kingdom are largely made up of descendants of the
locals, plus families who can trace their origins back to refugees
fleeing New York during the Apocalypse. About a fifth of the population
is D-Bees, including a large number of Wolfen whose clan once lived
about two hundred miles to the north before being invited to relocate
here over a century ago. They're leader, a Wolfen chieftain named
Akirax, defeated the so-called Reaver, a demon of some power who nearly
destroyed the kingdom.
The history and geography lesson ends as they approach the gate. It is
a crudely but soundly constructed solid megadamage steel gate. It
appears to have survived a number of attacks, though a number of
patches, some bigger than a man, are visible. The gate swings open
loudly to reveal Fort Peters. It is a small town of a few hundred
houses, with muddy streets and small, two story houses. There are a
number of shops; a general store, a blacksmith, a mechanic's shop, a
weapon store, an armorer, a couple of fishmongers, several fruit and
vegetable stands and a baker. Towards the back is a rather disheveled
shop with a window covered in various runes and with a crescent
moon-shaped window in the door.
A few bystanders stop what they're doing to watch the company. The men
and women are dressed in bright colors. The company's escort leads them
past this towards the middle of the town, where are large three story
house, constructed out of thick logs and with crude carvings of people,
animals and fantastical creatures decorating its outside walls. An
enormous metal door, almost as large as the town's gate, is swung open
and a dozen men, all in full body armor and with Northern Gun and Triax
energy rifles in hand, stand at attention.
A short, plump man in his early to mid 40s and wearing the same sorts of
colorful clothes as the other residents of the town, stands at the
doorway. He looks over the company for a long moment before turning to
Major Pournelle. "Well, Major, these are the magicians your men spotted?"
The Major nods. "Yes Mayor. These people were fleeing Coalition Borgs
and apparently took the first exit they could find, which, oddly enough,
lead here. They have some injured, and one deceased. The injured one
is a Cyberknight." The Major then turns and introduces each of the
company. The Mayor seems particularly taken with Frost and Alex, bowing
several times to reveal a balding head that resembles that of a tonsured
"You seem armed well enough, but it's clear you've seen some action."
the Mayor says. "If you'll consent to leave your weapons with the
warden, I will provide you with rooms. Dinner is a couple of hours off,
but I've asked the cook to prepare some more places. In the meantime,
welcome to Fort Peters."
A tall, thick-limbed Wolfen walks out of the door with a number of other
men. They carry long baskets lined with hay. The Wolfen walks up to
the company. "I am the Warden. If you could surrender your weapons,
then you can enter the Mayor's House. As to your dead, do you wish for
us to make some preparations?"
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