Contract With a Shadow

Eddrick calls in a favor

A blistering desert that stretches for hundreds of miles around Nashaki, with very little relief from the baking heat.

Moderators: Pegasus, Maltruism

Post Reply
User avatar
Eddrick Brodon
Approved Character
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:05 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Deserter/Bandit
Renown: +218
Character Sheet
Character Wiki
Plot Notes
Personal Journal
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 5
Medal count: 6

Contribution

Milestones

Contract With a Shadow

Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:48 pm

Image
Contract With a Shadow
Cylus 12, arc 719

They were not as stupid as they first appeared. Their leader had the wit to keep their night fire confined within a thick-fabricked tent. The bit of lit smoke wafting up from the tip of the inverted cone was far less noticeable than an outright open campfire would have been in the vast, clear desert night. So they made their plans in a lit space while keeping their location as secret as possible.

But Eddrick Brodon, the chief of the newly Raskalarn-aligned Rhakrii Raiders, had learned of some Yaralon-based mercenary groups being hired out to Nashaki to aid in that city's war effort against the Eternal Empire. The Rhakriis were honor-bound to take steps to thwart these would-be allies. While the few that were inside the tent would be considerably night blinded by their very own campfire, the bulk of the troop outside, easily an hundred-strong, were not. And while the Rhakriis could match that number, they would be at the traditional attacker's disadvantage.

Of course, there were details that would balance that disadvantage, and Eddrick was looking through one of them right now. His Night Glow gem spyglass; a singular trinket made from a very rare and translucent blue stone that lit the view that one saw when gazing through it with what equaled bright sunlight. He had found it some time ago, during a horrendous ordeal with risen dead from the Bone Yard. Once he had realized how to taunt the cadaverous attackers to try reaching through his prison wagon bars, so he could hack their arms and accessories off, the loot began pouring into his reach. In one such bag, cut free of an ancient torso clinging to the bars, the stone and the design for the spyglass had been acquired.

He'd then had it fashioned by a gem cutter in Nashaki at considerable cost. The narrow escape from that enemy city, with the spyglass now boasting a ground Night Glow lens, had only added to its value, albeit "sentimental" value. So all these mercenaries' efforts to hide their doings were no more effective than they would have been in broad desert daylight.

The other, equally important, balancing factor involved in the impending confrontation had their leader standing beside Eddrick, nodding at the strategy he was employing against the camped enemy. They too, were completely free of any night-blindness as a result of any campfire. Their eyes were directed away from the tent, and focused more on the sentries, whose positions were given them courtesy of Arrow, Eddrick's trained hawk. Eddrick spotted out the sentries, whose overconfidence in the dark, made them easily located. These locations were then written down, strapped to the hawk's leg, and sent to various counter-sentry teams of his men.

As a result of a bizarre event while Eddrick had been in Yaralon, he'd gained what was called a Zero Contract with a group of all-naerikk mercenaries called The Shadow Bitches, and had decided to call it in against these invading mercs. With their numbers added to his own, he had more or less three times the number of the current target group, who called themselves "The Swords of Sandroli", no doubt after their leader, Calasto Sandroli. The fact that his allies were naerikk, in the pitch black of the desert night, only added to the advantage.
word count: 583
User avatar
Eddrick Brodon
Approved Character
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:05 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Deserter/Bandit
Renown: +218
Character Sheet
Character Wiki
Plot Notes
Personal Journal
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 5
Medal count: 6

Contribution

Milestones

Re: Contract With a Shadow

Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:46 am

Image
There was one catch in what would otherwise be a perfect set up for an ambush. The naer did not care to be committing an action on behalf of the Eternal Empire. Zanderia, the leader of the shadow troop was in dark spirits over being called out to fulfill a contract that set her against her usual leanings. Even though she appeared to approve of the manner in which Eddrick arrayed his troops, essentially leaving her women to be in the prime position to loot the victims, whether they be the slaughtered or the surrendered, it obviously grated on her sensibilities.

She clearly had some serious grudge against the Empire. Eddrick did not know if it was based on some animosity between their respective Immortal matrons, regular mortal politics, or some personal event from the dark woman's past, for which she blamed the empire or Raskalarn. But it was not going to stand in the way of this action. Eddrick could tell by the very fact that he did NOT get the sense of her becoming an unavoidable enemy, the way he had with his ex-lieutenant, Coren, after he'd been given Raskalarn's blessing.

He'd known immediately that his lieutenant was going to try to wrest control from him upon his return from joining the Empire in battle against a combined host of Naskaians and avriel in the east. The two armies were allies in this conflict. Eddrick had not been surprised; they had both betrayed him in the past. But if not for the mark of his Empress, he would not have known that Coren planned to betray him as well.

But that was behind him now, and he had not gotten any similar sense of impending unavoidable conflict with Zanderia, even as her voice intensified into a hiss of anger. "They are on more on my side than you are, chieftain! Why should I side with you in this? I am no minion of the Conqueror Whore!"

A series of hands slapped sheaths as most of the half-dozen allies present responded to the tension in Eddrick's sudden twitch. He turned slowly, calmly, as hands relaxed in spite of remaining scowls. "Very well, I will allow you that one insult, my most devoted daughter of that sweetest and most trustworthy of Immortal mothers, the wondrous queen of matronly love and care......umm.....Audrae." His face betrayed none of the sarcasm that soaked the words that slipped from his lips. The very sincerity with which he spoke the syrupy praise made it all the more insulting. But the fuming naer before him could not treat it as the insult she knew it to be. But the fact of his temporary pause, as if trying to remember the name had, nearly provoked the woman anew.

He closed the distance, unafraid, "Let's not test each other...Zanderia" he said, with his lips briefly shaped to form the sound of a word beginning with the letter "B", before opting to say her proper name. "You owe me a contract, and any time I was to call it in, you would be most likely benefitting the Empire, so man up and get it over with, yes?"

The air nearly sparked with tension as fury threatened to explode into violence. But all at once, Zanderia burst out laughing, "Well, you are certainly showing more discipline than you did back in Yaralon, Sand Flea! I like that; although you should never have joined that avriel's fight against the big snatcher beast. But contract or no, how do you know I have not made previous plans with Sandroli, to betray you instead? It's not like I have to worry about the animosity of your empress."

His smile matched hers for frigid honesty, "Did it occur to you that I might have wanted to discourage being hired? But to answer your question, given that you're not such a fool as to expose your own betrayal before the fact, and put me on my guard, I, likewise, am not such a fool as to have taken no precautions against just such a turn. You are a daughter of deception after all. As well, you are the face and honor of your company, and in addition to the orders you were aware of, I also instructed one group of my men to ride to Yaralon if I do not survive. You may be able to counter the accusations of breach of contract that he will raise, but can you be sure? Can you be sure that the honorable mercenary culture of Yaralon will not size you and your women up as a stain upon the city? Will anyone there ever truly trust you again? Will they even allow you to stay? Is it worth the risk, when you can simply follow up on the "first loot" proposal I have already signed?"

Even now, no growing sense of her becoming the "mortal foe" that his blessing would reveal ever took root in his mind. No, she would honor their contract, as he would, though he would not reveal how he knew. The agreement would stand. Horses or material, first choice was hers, not every merc for themself.
word count: 883
User avatar
Eddrick Brodon
Approved Character
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:05 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Deserter/Bandit
Renown: +218
Character Sheet
Character Wiki
Plot Notes
Personal Journal
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 5
Medal count: 6

Contribution

Milestones

Re: Contract With a Shadow

Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:32 am

Image
Starlight was a lesser replacement for moonlight, but after even the mere 12 trials of the Cylus dark, it seemed almost luminescent. This had nothing to do with Eddrick's Night Glow spyglass. It simply made some precautions necessary for opposing eyes more well-adjusted to the dark than they were during the other seasons of the arc.

Waiting for a change of the sentries was foremost in the preliminaries. Eddrick already had his counter-sentry teams in place. They waited for the switches to be made, and for the relieved men to join the others in camp. The new sentries were then taken out, quietly; the Rhakriis giving a signal that could only be seen by Eddrick and his spyglass.

Once this was done, two hundred-foot lengths of oil-soaked rope were laid stealthily upon the ground, each on opposite sides of the camp at a distance of fifty feet. On a last signal, the ropes were lit, and flared into life. The opposing mercenaries, unable to fully refrain from looking to see what was up, got long lines of flickering optical disruption imposed on their night vision. Immediately, trios of pokos skittered in, and turned on their sides to bring their near-impenetrable carapaces to bear against any archers in camp.

There were dozens of clinks and rattles as arrows bounced off the insects' backs before a shout came from the sudden flare of firelight limning a figure storming out of the tent to order his men to stop wasting arrows.

"Surrender your arms and armor, and the horses as well, Sandroli, and your group may return to Yaralon to confirm the tales of the others before you. Stay out of the Hotlands, or face destruction!" Eddrick called from behind his poko.

"Is that Eddrick the Sand Flea?" the big merc sneered. "Don't give me ultimatums, you coward! Come out and settle it one-on-one with me, winner take all. Or do you plan to live up to your mighty name."

He was greeted by Rhakrii laughter, deliberately given volume to demonstrate the advantageous positions his men had on the interlopers. Eddrick's voice rose over the laughter of his men. "Why should I give in to a strategy that you only suggest because you know I've got your tit in a wringer, Sandro? Your pride doesn't mean a circle of Yari shit to me. I've got my men's pockets to reward, and you're what's on the menu tonight. As you can see, I've got you surrounded."

Eddrick lowered his voice to a whisper, "That should decide his course of action. It's really his only option." It would not be immediately apparent to whom the Rhakrii chieftain spoke, but the words were prophetic.

"If that's the case, then YOU can't have more than a dozen or two with you. MEN! ATTACK!" The big man waved a sword-wielding arc over his head, the final hold pointed directly at where Eddrick stood, the fires forming dark leaping shadows from the positions of the pokos. The entirety of 'The Swords of Sandroli' mercenary squad erupted with wild yells of blood lust and surged forward in a mass.

The battle cries turned to cries of pain and panic as the shadows around Eddrick suddenly came alive with naerikk warriors, their eyes lit with sadistic anticipation. They had not faced the fires at all, staying fully within in the shadows of the giant insect mounts of the desert raiders. The charging enemy had the fires in their eyes the whole way. Eddrick himself had to take steps to ensure the berserk slashes of his "allies" did not open his veins as much as he did any sword of the enemy.

It was over with shocking swiftness. Those that surrendered receiving mixed results of mercy or mercy-killing. Those that ran from the shadows fell easy prey to Rhakrii arrows moving in from the perimeters. In the end, no more than fifteen of Sandroli's men survived to face the long trek on foot back to Yaralon. Eddrick allowed those few to keep their gear and waterskins, something that drew a snort of derision from Zanderia.

"That comes out of your half, Sand Flea!" she snorted, in an attempt to provoke further lootable combat. Eddrick simply nodded, not fool enough to take the bait. The fact was, the departing mercenaries were met by one of Eddrick's bands and offered a place in the Rhakrii ranks. Trained mercenaries were always in demand, and the shame that awaited them in Yaralon fell second place to the thought of the security of a Raskalarn-backed and equipped squad of Raiders with a cave-system stronghold.

Eddrick of course tested his mark on the loyalty of each man separately, and found none to present himself as a new "mortal foe". Even after dividing the loot with Zanderia and her mercenaries, the ranks of Rhakrii men, weapons, armor, horses and peripheral gear got a noteworthy boost. In truth, Eddrick felt more unsure of what might stem from the return of the naerikk mercs to Yaralon than any fallout from the new members.

It would quickly become known, by the cache of gear the women took back with them, that Sandroli's group had only been so easily defeated by the combined strength of the Rhakriis and the Shadow Bitches. Yaralon and Nashaki would both soon realize that this troop had now parted ways.
word count: 926
User avatar
Strange
General Staff
Posts: 652
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:43 pm
Race: Undead (Ghost)
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Templates
Point Bank Thread
Wealth Tier: Tier 1
Medal count: 1

Staff

Re: Contract With a Shadow

Sun May 05, 2019 4:42 pm


Image
Thread Review

Eddrick

Eddrick Brodon
Skill Points: +10 (cannot be used for magic)
Magic XP: None.

Renown: +10 (for being recognized by name and for when the news gets back to Yaralon)

Injuries/Overstepping: None.
Wealth Points: None.
Loot: None.

Skill Knowledges:
  • Animal Training: Falconry: Signals to Spot Sentries
  • Intelligence: Three-to-One Odds is Sufficient
  • Intimidation: "Breach of Contract" is a Serious Charge for Yaralon Mercs
  • Logistics: Let The Losers Join Your Ranks With Their Own Gear
  • Tactics: The Appearance of an Exploitable Error as Lure for a Trap
  • Tactics: Night Fires to Make Moving Shadows to Hide Naer Allies
Non-Skill Knowledges:
  • none requested.
Notes: n/a.

Wonderful descriptions of the different groups and context around them, such as the Naer group and the Swords of Sandroli. Eddrick has an amusing sense of humor, especially with his use of deadpan sarcasm. The interaction between mercenaries felt consistent and immersive, especially through the dialogue.

Great job and enjoy your rewards!

PM me if you have any questions, issues or concerns.

Total Word Count: 2392 words.
Review Request Link: viewtopic.php?p=117489#p117489
stampcodehere

word count: 208
Post Reply

Return to “The Hotlands”