Bog's World

Altogether elsewhere

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Arriving in Immoren - Torendra

Torendra found herself alone. She peered into the darkness around the corner of the buildings and noted the position of the stars above the rooftops. They were not ones she recognised. Still a little disorientated from the teleport spiral, she sat down where she was. She waits for it to pass, waits for the others to show up. An hour passes. Nothing happens and nobody comes and so she moves off, pausing to note the changes in position of the stars in relation to the chimneys when she was stood on the same spot. So, she knew which way the sky revolved, even if she didn’t yet know morning from evening.

Torendra heard them long before she saw them. Two bearded men in identical long thick reddish grey coats were abusing an elderly couple as they struggled along the road under a tirade of abuse and occasional fist or kick. The coarse manner of the bullies would have angered her at the best of times. Victimising old people was just not on. She stepped out and began walking purposefully towards them. They noticed her. The bullies stood, mouths agape in astonishment as the scantily armoured siren strode towards them, her pace quickening as she neared them.

As soon as it was over, people emerged from the buildings around (their houses? probably). Four persons emerged and began talking to her all at once. Eventually one of them tried Cygnarian and she could understand what was going on. These people, out of all of those who were now peering from a safe distance, were Llealese patriots. Their main aim for the present appeared to be to chastise her (verbally) for killing their Khadorian oppressors as they feared reprisals.

Torendra dissuaded them from continuing to harangue her by whipping the point of her sword up to the throat of one of them, Hurvon Bethardo. (which is odd, as usually her sword would not allow her to threaten men, preferring to slay them regardless). They all agree to go somewhere a little less open to continue their discussions. Certainly everyone else was fully clothed. It was that kind of place again. And curiously, she could now feel all the men’s eyes upon her.

The Llealese patriots disposed of the bodies. And as the patriots predicted, the Khadorians raid Kervinya, the small town, in force the next day and to save the non-combatant population, the freedom fighters elect to fight a running battle off into the woods. In view of the cold, Torendra puts aside her Chooser’s armour, content for the first time to remove it for longer than it takes to wash. Now more suitably attired, the journey across Wessinan farms and scattered woodlands takes place mostly at night – they are being hunted by the Winter Guard.

It begins. Torendra sees a warjack for the first time, a huge metal man with an oversized sword and eerie expressionless face. Towering above the red-grey clad Khadorian soldiers it was awesome even before it began destroying buildings and trees with single swipes of it’s huge weapon. She also encountered firearms for the first time, The Khadorians would advance a little way and then one or two of them would shoulder their blunderbusses and fire. After that they would stop and reload safe in the proximity of the warjack whilst the others continued to advance. The freedom fighters fled the town, chased across fields and through streams, they make for the woods where they hope to evade their pursuers. Torendra eventually takes a ‘pissed oil’ from wounded Leallese and shoots a Khadorian at extreme range. She is impressed that the freedom fighters took the hard (and for two of them, fatal) decision to save the townsfolk by showing themselves to the occupying army and then trying to escape them.

By the time they reach their destination, over a week later, there are only Hurvon and Torendra left. He is plainly astonished at her tales of adventure and comes to care deeply for her. Hurvon takes good care of Torendra, doing his utmost to provide warmth, food and shelter through the cold and cloudy Lleal winter. Torendra finds that without the Chooser’s armour on, she is no longer ambivalent to the charms of any man. Hurvon[1] pays a lot of attention to her. She takes him as a lover.

Until that point, Torendra felt that she’d always managed to get by on her own. Since her only child had been sold by its father, she’d never brought herself to care that much about anything. But being without Hurvon was awful, she just found herself thinking about him all the time until they were back together. She loved being alone with him. The thought of being without him chilled her to the bone.

Eventually they make it to safe house in Elsinberg[2] . Torendra would have been happy to spend their time in some cosy love nest. But the occupation was going hard on the Llealese and Hurvon was passionate about the need to throw off the yoke of the Khadorian oppressor.

Torendra is introduced to Keri[3] , who grins widely at Hurvon’s description of her costume. He makes it his first task to find more clothes for her. Over next few months she is coached by Keri in shooting and retains the foot long Khadorian military issue pistol she gained in her flight from the first village. Quickly she finds she is becoming an expert. Keri spends more time teaching her how to maintain the weapon and source ammunition. Keri’s paramour, Yvonna Ganelyn becomes more and more jealous that her lover is spending more and more of his waking hours with Torendra. Things come to a head when Hurvon is captured and executed by the Khadorians. Torendra is crying in Keri’s arms when Yvonna finds them.

Despite disapproval from the other Llealese, Yvonna challenges Torendra to a duel. Unsure of the exact etiquette, Torendra knows a challenge when she gets one. Yvonna thinks she is being clever in choosing swords, given Torendra’s reputation as an improving pistoleer. Torendra doesn’t kill her, although the duel is billed as one ‘to the death’. The wounded Yvonna leaves Elsinberg, leaving Torendra with the spoils, namely Keri.

Their relationship gains passion in the face of danger, occasionally leaving them breathless for too many reasons as the Khadorian army tries to hunt them down. Time and again, they are nearly discovered by their hunters as they made love in dangerous places. So many times their missions are jeopardised by their satiating their carnal urges as the jackbooted oppressors march past within arms reach. Despite many close brushes with death or worse (capture), they always made it away, usually laughing.

But everywhere there are the scars left by the cruel Khadorian oppressors. She may be Eduim rather than Ryn, from Alcant rather than Lleal, but the sheer scale of the indignities and injustices heaped upon them by the invaders struck her to her very core. The resistance was something she believed in, a cause that perhaps she even felt strong enough to die for.

A kingdom with little natural resources, magical or technical skill, Llael manages to eke out an existence by exploiting its proximity to the Black River trade route, serving as an intermediary between Rhul and Cygnar. The realm has but one true blessing – ample deposits of coal, without which its economy would be truly crippled. The largest coal town in the realm is Leryn, scarcely a league from where the Black River crosses over into Rhul. Due to the importance of trade with the dwarves, Cygnar has officially allied with Llael and prevented this small kingdom from being gobbled up in border wars with Khador. Until now.

Despite being overshadowed by its neighbours, Llael is a proud kingdom with a rich history, including its crucial role in the rebellion against the Orgoth. Wizards and alchemists of Llael worked together with those of Cygnar to invent the first firearms and blasting powder. Pistols and rifles remain very popular in Llael today, many of which are treasured heirlooms passed from father to son and lovingly maintained. Duelling with pistols is a popular means to resolve disputes in Llael, and rumoured to be a leading cause of death among the nobles. That is, until Queen Ayn’s army arrived.

Months time pass. There are raids to gain powder and ammunition. Slowly the Llealese underground becomes both more structured and focussed, linking it’s missions of acquisition to its aspirations for sabotage. Posing a Khadorian officer and his Llalese doxy, they trick their way into the capital itself, Merywyn. They had done their reconnaissance, made their arrangements with the other cells of the movement and timed their preparations, honing their procedures until it would all run like clockwork. Together Keri and Torendra had slipped through the defences, broken into the grand magazine and checked that the things they wanted were there before tracelessly leaving again before the main raid the next night.

Prior to raid the normally careful Keri uncharacteristically wanders off without explanation. Surely he’s not after another bit of skirt? After a few sundry unexplained murders in the city, it was crawling with Khadorian ‘Winter Guard’. Somehow convinced that he’s finally cheating on her, she stalks him, planning on shooting one or both of them.

She follows Keri, remaining undetected, through any number of cheap dives, bordellos (full of over amorous Khadorians who she has to fight off) and eventually to a semi-derelict building close to the military district. Torendra stalked the shadowy figures ahead of her. Annoyingly, she thought she recognised the girl. Could it be Yvonna? Regardless of Keri’s normal coyness when he meets an old flame, it was obvious that these two weren’t just good friends. She’d been forced to wait on staircases in heaving gin palaces whilst they indulged in foreplay in doorways. Torendra had been led a merry dance, almost as if they were mocking her. Now she could actually see them both. Keri was unmistakable, as were the moves he was making on the slut.

Now far away from the crowded nightlife, further down towards the docks, she follows them. They walk past yet another darkened doorway. As Torendra watches, a dark figure steps noiseless out behind them and impales Keri on his sword. Effortlessly holding Keri’s body aloft, the backstabber and the slut exchange a few words. Torendra whips out her pistol and shoots him in the back, blowing a three inch hole clean through the man’s chest. He turns and glances in her direction before fleeing into the shadows, Keri’s lifeless body sliding off the sword to land in the gutter with a sickening dull thump. Torendra also glimpses the face of the black clad whore. It was Forgileill. The elven seductresses’ face showed no recognition, just a visceral snarl and then she was simply gone into the night.

For the badly shaken Torendra the rest of that night was a blurred nightmare as one thing after another came unravelled. After Forgileill and the bullet proof murderer disappeared, she tried to continue with the resistance mission. There were lots of bodies. On the banks of the Black River, Torendra encountered another female elf in black, who she shot with Keri’s matched magelock duelling pistols. She went down and as she did so fell into the river. In the grand magazine the powder and cortexes which the resistance needed were largely already stolen. The rest of the city was in a state of pre-storm quiet, at daybreak someone would find the trail of garrotted and disembowelled Khadorians and patriots. She fled the city.

Torendra knew full well who had taken the haul from the magazine and where they had gone, down the Black River towards Corvis. Dazed and confused, she set of in pursuit.

[1] Huvon is a serious man. He is loyal and practical in his day to day life as a partisan. However his patriotism, whilst so deeply felt that it can be touching to witness, is perhaps tinted a deep shade of Amythist Rose. He is also hopelessly romantic and constantly makes flamboyant gestures for her benefit, as well as taking better care of her than anyone else ever had.
[2] Elsinberg “the City of Memory” is the provincial capital of Wessina, rightfully the home of Archduke Wyle Cherydwyn, now occupied by the Khadorians under Kommander Negomir Tarovic whom the oppressed Llealese are forced to acknowledge as “the Posadnik of Elsinberg”.
[3] Keri is the type of man who professes that he’s ‘only in it for the money’ but always comes through for his compatriots. He’ll flirt outrageously with any woman but always leaves with the girl he arrived with. Funny and ruggedly handsome, he’s also the sort of trustworthy rouge that other men also tend to respect and even like. He’s foul mouthed, headstrong and opinionated. He’s also bright, skilled and perhaps most importantly, lucky.

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