Brodon's Babblings

always on the move

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Eddrick Brodon
Approved Character
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:05 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Deserter/Bandit
Renown: +133
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Brodon's Babblings

Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:09 am

Eddrick hated spiders. Cats, not so much. As the shadow kitty suddenly clawed its way up to his shoulder, he winced and adjusted his lean to accommodate its ascent. This was not out of kindness, it was more to get the damned thing up where he could grab it and pull it off. He was not of a mind to be cruel or sadistic; he was not out to hurt the thing. But neither did he enjoy having it rip its way up his cloak, pulling it to where its weight was causing the collar to choke him.

"Rutting Imp shat cat!" he sneered, reaching across himself with his left hand to grab the thing as he stood, for better movement. Cats were, after all, known to achieve remarkable feats of contortion to avoid an unwanted touch. Even now, it seemed as if the thing was draped entirely across the back of his neck and shoulders, yet also crawling on his arm. The sudden realization of too many legs to be accounted for with a single cat brought the hairs on Eddrick's arms straight up.

Immediately relegating the cat to secondary status, he slammed his left fist onto his upper right arm, fully expecting to feel the crunching of a sizeable spider beneath it. But he hit only his own arm. Normally, his attitude about spiders could be defined as nothing more than revulsion. Where admittedly, there would be that first instinctive impulse to put space between himself and the little monster. But then reason would prevail and he'd go back and kill it. This time, however, genuine supernatural alarms went off as he stared at his hand, tightly gripping his arm, yet still feeling the pitter patter of not-so-tiny feet crawling along, and some sort of mandible trying to bite him.

Now the hair on his head joined the status of that upon his arm as he cried out with a decidedly educated "SHAKKY SHIT BUCKETS!" The "Shakky", of course, referred to anything related to the hostile city of Nashaki, that locale most firmly set atop his list of places he'd liked to see reduced to smoldering wreckage. The rest was pretty much self-explanatory.

It could not fairly be said that he was "paralyzed with fear", so much as undecided on what course to take, and deciding that until he knew better, any move MIGHT make things worse. But movement caught his eye; the movement of a bulge on his arm, and the pumping of small legs, neither of which were visible to a direct look. His eyes flashed back and forth between shadow and arm as the situation finally settled into his brain.

Eddrick had not been involved in any of the shadow attacks from earlier arcs. The invasions that had beset most of the rest of Idalos had strangely given the Hotlands a miss. Thus, he was truly shaken by the freakishness of shadows being able to affect the three-dimensional world, yet still being only flat shadows. Eddrick had faced down a Sand Lion, and fought in brutal desert ambushes and sieges. This was not a matter of cowardice, but it WAS a matter of facing something unnatural for the first time. And if had been anything other than spiders....

But all at once, the nature of it being shadows seemed to greatly lessen the normal revulsion he felt towards spiders, and he decided that the strange physics going on may work in reciprocal fashion. He turned to bring the shadow of his hand to a point where it could possibly grab the thing from his arm. Whether or not this worked, the alarmed yowl of the cat coincided with his own, as a dozen or more of the little freaks began to pour out of the shadow.

It was to his credit that he managed to stifle his cries before he found his way into the street, but he was still attempting off-balance swipes with his hand's shadow at any spot on his body that felt as if some unexplained weight had taken a step. For the most part, any such feeling was no more than a wrinkle in his clothes; and of course, the constant turning of his body as he compensated for balance kept the angle of what formed the shadows changing. To anyone unaware of what was happening, he would have probably looked like a drunk, dancing in the streets.

Eddrick whirled, the ball reaching the end of its chain in time to slam into a stack of shields against a wall of the chamber with an echoing crash. "ENOUGH! IS THIS WHO WE'VE BECOME?" He slammed the handle of his weapon onto the hard-packed dirt floor, his face shading red with anger. "There will be no BATTLE over who gets to leave..." he stopped his pacing to face Coren, "...or who we drive off! But first, answer me! Was your CAMP attacked, or was it a running fight?"

Silence was once again retained, but tension still dominated the gathering. Coren looked around, "his" part of the crowd a little less cohesive. It was easy to tell by those who showed interest in his answer and those who did not. The number of those who now bore curiosity in their expressions had increased slightly. "We took the wagon from the caravan. It was packed with what we took." Coren replied hesitantly, "So our horses were not burdened when the attack came. We were able to ride away."

"WE"? ...were able to? Yet only you actually escaped? And none of your crew's horses ran along with you, after their riders were shot from the saddle? Just you and just your horse? And your wounds. Those are not arrow wounds. Tell me, Coren, did these men throw knives at you while riding. That would indeed be something to see!" The only knives flying were those darting between the eyes of the two men.

Coren snarled through gritted teeth, "A second enemy squad cut off our escape. We were forced to ground. That is what I mean. It was a planned ambush. Timed to occur when you were gone off, making your fool's alliance with them! They knew you would not believe me."

Coren's voice grew in sneering confidence now, having found a new angle to exploit. "They wish to weaken us by creating this distrust in our ranks. YOU, Eddrick, are the tool that will serve them in this. I challenge your rule!"

There was somewhat of a collective gasp, but it quickly fell silent beneath Eddrick's laughter. "Make up your mind, Coren. A moment ago, you wanted to take your group and leave. Now, you want to stay and take over command of us all. You accuse these alleged Imperial ambushers of creating distrust. No, Coren it is you doing that. I'll admit, you've fallen back on a better story this time, but it makes no sense. When I got the mark from her majesty, I knew there would be those that would refuse. And I had a strong sense you would be chief among them."

His arms spread wide to encompass the entire gathering as he paced, his voice addressing them all. "Why should they do this? Let me guess what you doubters will say. 'They took advantage of our prowess to win them this one single fight, meaning then to crush us afterwards.' If so, why not just wipe out myself and my team while we were there, after the fight, where they had us outnumbered a hundred to one?"

He allowed a moment of murmuring before facing Coren's slowly decreasing contingent and continuing, "You ask me to believe they honored and enjoined us, promised us forgiveness and amnesty for our past aggressions against them, offered to pay us as free mercenaries, allies with autonomy, a logical asset in an area they have not yet come anywhere near, counting on us to continue attacking Nashaki holdings, something which benefits us both; and yet, at the same time, pulled this betrayal, knowing it will divide our ranks, to make us a less effective ally in the future? It is absurd!"

Turning back to the full gathering, Eddrick embarked on a new focus, "So you fear betrayal. I understand that. Better in fact, than many of you. I have not only the betrayal by Nashaki, as do most of the rest of you. I was betrayed by my own home of Athart as well. It is why I became a bandit. Isn't that the case for most of you? Did you actually CHOOSE to become one? Was it your life's dream to have the threat of the noose, or beheading, hanging over your head for the rest of your trials? Or was it the only choice left to you after having your home stolen by politicians, land owners or merchants, the result of some contract you never even signed! Wouldn't you prefer a true HOME?"

Coren stepped in, "We HAVE a home! Right here where we sit. All around us is our home! We don't need them to be free! Eddrick would have us give that up. Become slaves to a conqueror!"

"Free mercenaries are not slaves!" Eddrick countered, "All my queen is asking is that we do not attack Imperial trains or outposts. And how often was that the case anyway? You all know it has chiefly been Nashaki holdings we have raided. That will not change. The only encounters with Imperials have been random skirmishes, never intentionally initiated, for there was no great promise of loot."

"My queen understands this. She holds no grudge, nor does she ask tribute from us. Our situation will not change, except that once her empire takes over the Hotlands, we will no longer be criminals. Do you honestly object to that? And once her rule is established, if you want to go back to farming or smithing, or whatever you did before joining us, you will be free to do so! There will be no military obligation." His voice held all the honesty of conviction.

Coren's held only contempt. "We already have no military conviction. Your words are empty, Chieftain. Why risk the unproven promises of a potential enemy, when are fine as we are right here and now?"

Eddrick turned slowly to face Coren, his expression making it clear that this was to be the last time he would answer with words alone. "I have indulged your negativity and lies long enough, Coren. For all your different ways of saying it, you have expressed only a single argument, thinking it outweighs the many different benefits I have proposed. My very presence here proves much of what I have said."

He stepped right up to Coren's face now, an inch or so higher than his own, "Let us now prove that there is any truth in what you have said. I say you did not fight anyone. I say you were not ambushed. I say you were NOT such a fool as to be herded into such a trap. I say your men were not killed, but wait to meet up with you later, and you are only here trying to recruit others with your lies. Lead us to where this alleged ambush took place, and then perhaps this debate will continue."

"I issued my challenge!" Coren snarled, his hand hovering over the hilt of his sword.

"And you shall HAVE it! Right after we prove to the rest of the company that your word is good. What is the hurry, Coren? Even following ME, the Rhakriis will not be collaborating with any Imperials for seasons yet. Maybe not even then. There is plenty of time to prove me wrong." Eddrick stepped past him, toward his ball and chain, still resting on the floor, as he listened for the sound of steel sliding against leather.
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