Beginnings of a Town [Svariella's Stone]

The cities and villages of Melrath are as varied and diverse as they come. The capital of Raelia is the the jewel of this western kingdom, playing host to a merchants, artisans, Aesir priests, as well as a cut throat political landscape dominated by the nobles of Raelia. To the south in the depths of the Myrkvior Forest lies Melrath's second largest, and oldest city, Fensalir. Here people have learned to live alongside spirits and the natural world by maintaining their loyalty to traditions laid down the first Melrathi. To the east lies the small fishing village of Noatun, and to the western mountains rests the Mer city of Verimeer, the brewing town of Alivilda and the alpine village Vormund.
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Brent Forrester
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Beginnings of a Town [Svariella's Stone]

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Beginnings of a Town

6 Cylus, 720


It was dark when Brent caught sight of the first distant houses of the new settlement. But then, it had been dark for the last 5-trial, now that the moons dominated the sky and blotted out the sun. The cartographer was bundled in several layers of fur plus a cloak on top as he walked alongside his horse. Tony was harnessed up to the business wagon and was laden with additional blankets for warmth. Behind them were two distinct lines in the snow from the big wooden wheels. The wagon only carried a light load of mostly salted meats, dried breads and cheese. He also brought along some extra furs in case the inhabitants of the new settlement were in need. As the wind blew a light dusting of snow across the white landscape, Brent adjusted the woolen scarf around his neck.

“Nearly there ol’ boy.” Brent murmured as he patted the horse’s rump and carried on towards the growing village.

As they reached the outskirts of the village, Brent noticed that many of the buildings were simple one-storey houses, mostly made of wood but sometimes a bit of stone. Nearly all the rooftops were covered with snow and there was almost a temporary nature to most of the buildings. There was the odd one that looked more sturdy and permanent. All in all, Brent was fascinated by the beginnings of this village as he guided his horse and wagon between the buildings.

It didn’t take long to cross the small settlement and at the far side was an open area that prominently displayed the multi-coloured stone it was named after. The Svariella Stone. For several minutes Brent stepped around the stone curiously. It was enormous and situated fairly close to the lake, of which the great spirit called its own. The colours on the stone seemed to fuse and blend together like a melted down mosaic.

“Hello, are you new to the Svariella Settlement?”

The sudden voice made Brent turn sharply, but standing before him was simply a bundled up woman of a short stature.

“I… heard much about it and wanted to see the place for myself.” Brent explained.

“Oh… so you’re not planning to stay?” She was a brunette with long tasselled hair and there were hints of brightly coloured clothes under her outer gear. “We’re always looking for new dreamers, weavers, carpenters and those who love the great lady of the lake. But if you’re just visiting and need a place to stay…”

“I was planning just to stay in the wagon. There’s room enough, and I wouldn’t want to…”

“Don’t be silly. Of course you can stay at my place. And your horse too. It’s small, but we have a communal stables that everyone uses.”

Brent was a little overwhelmed by the sheer generosity of the woman and the community as a whole, but eventually agreed to the accommodations. He managed to get the woman to accept some of the furs he had brought in exchange for the hospitality and hoped that at least he could offer food when it came to mealtime. The people he met seemed simple but well prepared for the cold season of Cylus. When he had arrived, it had seemed almost deserted, but that was because everyone was inside by the warmth of their fires.

He soon learned that the woman was named Adelaide and she had a family with three youngsters living at the small house. There was just enough space to squeeze Brent in, but the family didn’t seem to mind and were actually quite curious to hear tales from beyond the little village.

When Brent mentioned that he was a cartographer and traveled around Melrath, the children were first ecstatic and then wanted him to prove it. Although he feigned it as a chore, Brent was secretly delighted by the youngsters’ interest and he produced the various Melrath maps from his bag.

“But where is Svar Town?” Asked the youngest child, unable yet to pronounce the Spirit Svariella’s full name.

“The Svariella Stone is right… here!” Brent replied and pointed to a place on the regional Melrath map. “In fact, I’ll jot it down right now.” With some precision, he added a little dot and a label indicating the location of the new settlement.

“You know what, I think I’ll do up a small map of just the Svariella Settlement. And since you’ve been so hospitable, I’ll make you a copy as a token of my appreciation.”

There were some excited shouts from the kids and even the two young parents smiled at the idea.


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Template Credit: Navyri
word count: 796
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Brent Forrester
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Re: Beginnings of a Town [Svariella's Stone]

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Once Brent was outside again, he only carried with him the bare essentials for making his sketch of Svartown. As appropriate, he decided to start his map with the Svariella Stone itself, and expand outwards from there. The lake was windswept and icy along its edges. Brent used his regional map to estimate the coastline based on what he could see. Every now and then, he grew frustrated by the constraints of drawing with a mitten on his hand, so he’d slip his hand out, do a quick sketch and cover it once more. It was certainly one of the drawbacks of charting during the frigid season of Cylus, but he suspected he would have much more to do come Ashan.

From the rainbow coloured stone, there were two main ‘roads’. At this point they were merely gaps between the lines of dwellings but he wondered whether many arcs from now, they would be bustling main streets with stalls and hawkers. With such a small community, Brent decided to actually draw in some of the buildings, especially the ones that looked like they would last for more than an arc. Most were houses of varying sizes, but he also marked down the small stables, a general shop, a place of weaving and furs, and a place of worship right next to the Stone.

Despite the snow and ice, what Brent found most remarkable were all the bright bits of colour decorating the settlement either on the outsides of the buildings or in the windows. Even the few people who were out tending fires or going from house to house seemed to have colourful accessories like dyed feathers or coloured bracelets.

As Brent did one last round of the settlement, making a rather distinct limp through the snow especially where it was deep, it seemed like there was an eerie shadow following him. Every so often, he would turn to look behind him but there was no one there. Just as the cartographer was getting close to Adelaide’s home, a tall and well-built man approached him rather suddenly.

“Are you Brent Forrester?” He asked in a dark and accusing tone. “What are you doing here at the Svariella Stone?”

The cartographer was surprised at the hostility, especially as it compared to the other villagers, but tried to keep his answer calm and even.

“Yes, Brent is my name. I came to see the stone and the settlement after hearing the rumors of its existence. And to be quite frank, I’m rather glad I did since I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people here. I’m even bringing back a sketch in case others in Melrath are interested in this place.”

“So you’re the Brent Forrester who mapped out Fensalir? Mapped it out and then turned it over to the Ragnari??”

Brent’s eyes widened at the accusation. “I did the map, but…”

The Svariella man snatched the piece of paper Brent was holding with the sketch on it. “And now you’re doing it again? This is our community. Our sanctuary from the Ragnari. A safe haven for the stormtouched. Whereas you, you would invite the Ragnari in so that they could purge and ‘cleanse’ us from Melrath.”

“Wait! That was not what I was doing. I didn’t want that to happen at all.” Brent said raising his hands in surrender and trying to get the man to understand. “I had no idea what they wanted the maps for. I thought it was something military, like the defence of the city.”

“And yet it was said that your name was on each map they used to root out the stormtouched…” The man growled in response.

“It wasn’t like that. It was a contract. They didn’t tell me the specifics, just what they wanted to be included in the map. I need to eat, you need to eat. We both work for coin to bring food to the table. If I had known they were going to use it to track down honest Melrathi, I… I would have done something different. Found a new client. Given them false information if they pressed me. Something!”

Brent was visibly shaking in anger. This was the first time Brent had heard of the Ragnari using his maps like this, but he had certainly heard of the ramifications in Fensalir. And if anything had been forgotten, this entire settlement could attest to the horrendous actions of the Ragnari.

“Listen, this was just a sketch,” Brent reiterated. “If you want to tear it up to keep your people safe, then fine. But it’s not going to the Ragnari. Not now, not ever. If anything, it’ll go to people who are interested in coming here and worshipping Svariella and joining this community.”

“But if someone then sells it to the Ragnari?”

“I can’t stop them. No one can. Unless you rip it up now.”

There was a long pause from the Svariella man, and then he handed the map back. “Just remember, we don’t trust the Ragnari, and neither should you. And if I ever seen another ‘Brent Forrester’ map in the hands of a Ragnari… well I’ll be coming for you.”

A shiver ran down Brent’s spine. He nodded as he accepted the map back. “I understand. May the lady of the lake heal and protect you.”

--

Brent was a little shaken from the experience. His confidence in the Ragnari was starting to waver, yet he knew that they had a difficult path to tread to keep the nation safe. Nevertheless, he was glad to have been able to keep the sketch and once he was back at Adelaide’s house, he went about making it into a full fledged map with colour and intricate symbols. He gave a half-hearted smile to the children when he finished the copy for them. For all he knew, it was this very copy that might find its way into the hands of the Ragnari. It was a troubling thought but just as the weaponsmith could not predict the life journey of a sword, he had no way of restricting the information of his maps once he gave out the first copy. All he could do was hope that the information was shared for more positive means than negative ones.


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Doran
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Re: Beginnings of a Town [Svariella's Stone]

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Brent:

Knowledge:
Negotiation x 2
Cartography x 4

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 10, for mapping the setttlement and for the Impact of Brent's previous maps.
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: This was a very enjoyable thread. The description of Brent’s arrival in the new village was well-written and quite atmospheric. In fact, I could almost see things in front of my inner eye. The NPC you used, Adelaide, was interesting, and the dialogue felt quite natural. The second part of the thread surprised me. I wonder if the people of Svariella will eventually come for Brent. We’ll see, won’t we?

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 113

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