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

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 22:02:39 BST 2007

OOC: Apologies to everyone.  I have been slow for the last couple of weeks.

> [Alex]
> Wearily, the scout responds, "I have never been one for
> the party life myself. These past few days have been the
> most difficult in my life and I am exhausted."
> [/Alex]


> [Talas]
> "Ah my dear sweet lady. Lead the way."
> [/Talas]

Needless to say, Talas has an enjoyable, and heavily censored,
evening.  The lady gives him the boot about 5am, fearing "My daddy
might pop in at any minute, and I'm not sure he wants a Demon Queller
for a son-in-law."

Talas creeps back, with the bleary-eyed and somewhat annoyed guard in
tow, to find the rest of his companions asleep.  Morning comes with
the sound of many roosters crowing.  The old woman that had attended
them the day before enters each room with a tray with fresh bread,
honey, cheese and piping hot cups of coffee.

"Time to awake, guests!" she announces.  "It seems the Prince has got
word from his father, and that your presence is required in
Poughkeepsie by early noon.  Up and at 'em!"

Despite the abrupt wake up, everyone, save Talas, feels quite rested.
For a brief night the adventures, cares and sorrows of the last few
days, or in the Cyberknight's case, decades, melted away, and there's
a bounce in the step that hasn't been there for some time.

Osiris chews happily on the bread and honey.  "A meal fit for a king,
I think!" he says.

"You said it." Bongo replies.  "Just having a proper bed to sleep in
is a luctury a Dog Boy doesn't often get."  He then looks over at
Talas.  "So how was your night?  Or do we want to know?"

Within ten minutes, guards appear.  "We are to escort you to
Poughkeepsie.  We leave within a half an hour.  Gather your things
together and meet us outside on the front steps."

Within ten minutes, the entire company is standing outside, the sun
small and bright, but giving little heat.  There is a chill in the air
that seems deeper than winter.  Out of the south, over the mountains,
black clouds seem to be gathering in a fierce storm.

Major Pournelle comes up, in full combat garb.  "I've been assigned
your official bodyguard." he explains.  He gives Alex and Lady Frost a
somewhat shy smile.  "I'm not so sure that any of you actually need
it, though."  He nods to the guards and then says, "Follow me."

The company walks around the side of the Mayor's house and down a wide
alley that lines the back of the shops you saw the day before.  Ahead
lies the river, and the large dock with many boats.  At the end of one
of the wharfs is a large speed boat, heavily armed with rail guns and
mounted energy rifles.  The Prince is waiting there, along with the
Mayor, who looks very hung over and very angry.

"You!" he shouts, pointing at Talas.  "Defiler of my daughter!  Who
will marry her now, now that she's been sullied by a... a... common
drunken rascal.  If you ever come back to my town, I'll cut you up and
use as bait."

The Prince tries to hide a smile, and in a passingly good serious tone
interjects.  "Now now, Mr. Mayor, I'm sure their evening was as
between lady and gentleman.  We must not delay.  My father is anxious
to meet these people, so you'll have to wait some time to cut any of
them up."

The Mayor shakes his head, but when he sees Alex and Lady Frost, he
suddenly becomes demure and charming.  "Ah, m'ladies.  Such beauty
comes here so infrequently.  I expect you back here for a dinner
before you leave the kingdom.  Not one of those dull, tired social
affairs with wizards and advisors and..." he adds with a hateful look
at Talas... "rogues."

The party board the ship with Major Pournelle, and he shows them where
to stow any of their belongings.  A whistle blows and within a minute
the boat starts moving from the dock.  Soon enough the boat is heading
up the river, the snow-covered countryside whipping by.

For the most part the guards and Major Pournelle keep to themselves.
One of the guards, with full combat helmet on, keeps looking over at
the company, but quickly turns away when anyone returns his glance.
The others seem much more relaxed.

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 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

    "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."

Aaron Clausen   mightymartianca at gmail.com

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