[Taocow PBEM] Chapter IX - The King Of The River

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Thu Oct 4 22:57:16 BST 2007

OOC: Alright, carrying on then...

> [GM]
> About ten minutes after leaving the town, there appears a small island
> in the middle of the river.  Atop it is a wide, low mound, and a black
> iron statue of a wolfen, much like the one they saw in the town.
> "There's the Tomb of Akirax." Major Pournelle says, joining the
> company.  "They say that a power still lays over it, and that no demon
> can bear to look upon it, or could ever land on it.  Indeed, it is the
> law of our land that no one, citizen or visitor, shall step foot on
> it."
> It is all Carlos can do to not shudder at the sight of that.  Alex, as
> well, realizes what it is she is staring at, and the final words of
> Phaeton.
>    "Alex...  Alex...  You must... must make for Rath Iren.
>    You must stop the demon.  All depends on this.  The
>    Reaver's... Sword... nearby... it can help."
> [/GM]

The island slips by and then out of view as the boat rounds a corner.
There are now a few villages, all walled, some with evidence of heavy
weapons, which belie the seeming peacefulness of the land.  Still, all
seems quiet; the odd farmer out tending his livestock, a few vehicles,
though most traffic seems to be ox and horse-drawn cart.  It is like
so many places in this post-Apocalyptic era, a strange mix of
technology very old and very new.

Slowly a vast wall comes into view.  It covers the river, standing at
least forty feet high, and is clearly made out of some very tough,
megadamage material.  Great silvery gates, shiny to reflect some of
the damage of lasers, stand open, big enough to admit a boat three or
four times the size of the boat the company is in.

Beyond is a large harbor, with dozens of large wharfs.  A large town,
at least four or five thousand people, straddles both sides of the
river.  On the right hand, or eastern side, is a town made up of many
old buildings, some either pre-Rifts in style or perhaps dating back
that far.  A large market square, at least three times the size of the
one in the town they just left, dominates this side of the river, and
is bustling with merchants even on a cold winter day.  Some ships
offload their goods while others load them on

The west side of the river is quite different, with many new
buildings.  The roads are wide and paved, the houses larger and more
extravagant, and in the midst is a large hill upon which a keep, a mix
of medieval and modern fortress, stands.  Several combat helicopters
are plainly visible, this is clearly a town trying to make a point of
its defenses.

One odd building dominates this side of the river.  It's a dome,
perhaps sixty or seventy feet from the ground to the top, and atop it
is the figure of a flying dragon, glittering gold.  It looks like
nothing else the company has seen in these parts, and looks to be
quite old.

"Welcome to Poughkeepsie." Major Pournelle says.  "That's the Palace
on that hill, and below it is the domed Temple of the House of Wyrm."

The boat slides into the dock, and the guards surround the company as
they disembark.  Below two hovercars, each with royal-looking emblems,
await.  The company is lead into them, and within moments of landing
are whisked towards the palace.

An impressive number of soldiers occupy the keep, all looking
well-armed and well-trained.  A few power armor; mainly Titan, though
one somewhat patched-up Glitter Boy can be seen, occupy the Keep.

The company are escorted out of the hovervehicles and into the keep,
which, despite its impressive outward appearance, looks quite
incomplete on the inside, with scaffolding everywhere, various
artisans and technicians working on everything from statuary to

Finally they arrive at wide steel doors, and there waiting for them is
a short bald man wearing a simple black robe.  The only adornment to
be seen on him is an iron ring on one of his fingers.  Both Ted and
Bongo note how it looks very similar to the one that Bruth had been
wearing the night before.

The man bows.  "I am Father Kurtis, the Lord Chamberlain.  His
Highness is expecting you.  Please keep your heads bowed and speak
only when spoken too.  His Highness is a tolerant man, but I'm afraid
your presence has greatly flustered him.  Major Pournelle will make
the introductions."

The doors swing open to reveal a surprisingly small chamber, adorned
in red carpets, with wood panelled walls.  There are numerous
paintings, some which Ted, Lady Frost and Bongo recognize as being
very old.  Books line the wall.  The King, as the company presumes the
grey-haired, fine-boned man sitting at the desk to be, is reading
through some documents.  He is dressed in military uniform, and looks
more like a Field Commander than royalty.

"Your Highness." Major Pournelle says, bowing.  He then proceeds to
name off the company, the king looking at each, not necessarily all
that friendly.

"So these are the outsiders." the King says.  "You are dismissed,
Major Pournelle.  Please see Colonel Hurtz, he has some orders for

After Major Pournelle leaves the king stands up and looks out a tall
window, on to the river below.  "My family has ruled this land for
nigh on three hundred years, in one form or another.  We weathered the
hells of the Apocalypse, the nightmares of tyrants demonic and mortal,
and somehow managed to build a little enclave of civilization in a
land of desparation and madness.  For many decades we have kept a
peace of sorts, through vigilance and alliances with neighboring

"Now the name K'murd-faka is heard again, a name that still makes
children cry and old women tell their tales.  My son has informed me
that you might be going into the dreaded Southlands.  Is this true,

Aaron Clausen   mightymartianca at gmail.com

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