• Solo • Quartering Party

This thread will detail Oram's first walkthrough of the soon-to-be Ranger HQ in Egilrun. It will also narrate his discovery of the books that Cassion sent him in response to his prayer.

The shallow bay Egilrun is situated upon is used, these trials, for crafts and crafting. From boatmakers to weaponsmiths, glassblowers to metalworkers, the sound of hammers and saws can be heard almost every break of the trial, with crews working in shifts to produce the beautiful craftsmanship which they might, one trial, become famous for.

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Oram Mednix
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Quartering Party

8 Ashan 721

”Aren’t you cold?” the eidisi asked.

Oram sighed and shot a weary look at the small, black, red-eyed form at Mule’s knees before answering: ”No, I’m fine.”

Junior Ranger Refed Lavehc peered at the man mounted next to him, but could only see his hazy outline in the chilly fog. After a trill, he gestured with his torch towards the vague black outline of buildings nearby. ”We should go in, check it out, start a fire.”

”If there’s any wood,” Oram countered. The idea elicited a groan from the other three mounted silhouettes nearby.

”I’m sure there’s a hopper next to a working fireplace somewhere on the compound,” declared the eidisi, as unaccountably cheerful as ever.

Oram did not share that certainty, and he doubted the other rangers in their quartering party did, either, but they followed Refed’s suggestion, anyway. Peering down at the access path leading up to the complex, they slowly rode until they came to a small building that backed onto a wall that stood about eight feet high. As they approached, they saw that there was a hitching post up front. Refed began to dismount first, then stopped and looked apologetically at Oram, waiting for him to dismount. Afterward Refed and then the other three rangers -one a Junior Ranger like Refed, the other two recruits- followed suit, as well.

After hitching their mounts, Oram went with Refed up to the front door of the small building. ”Some sort of guard shack?” Oram asked.

Refed peered at the door. ”More than a shack, I’d say,” he responded thoughtfully. ”A guard house, maybe, or a toll house? The diagram the agent gave me shows the buildings, but doesn’t say what they were for.” He switched his torch to his left hand and began fiddling with something with his right. Oram heard a metal jingling. Keys. Refed tried a couple before he found one that removed the padlock on the door. He held it out to one of the rangers in the back: ”Log this. We can reuse these.”

The door opened with a loud groan to admit wan light into a room containing arcs’ worth of dust and little else. As they walked in, some of the floor boards creaked almost as ominously as the door. Oram- and Refed-shaped shadows slid across bare walls as the recruits followed them in with their own light sources. Disturbed dust filled the air. Somebody coughed. ”What a dump” someone muttered. Oram had seen worse. He had slept in worse many times, in fact. He’d be surprised if the recruit complaining hadn’t, as well. Some people just complained on principle.

There was, as Oram had suspected, no firewood anywhere in or around the building, although the fireplace and chimney did seem to be intact. Ignoring the disappointed groans, Refed gestured everybody to gather around close to one wall, against which he flattened a large piece of paper on which was sketched a diagram showing a group of buildings surrounded by a wall. The eidisi ran his finger over the ink-drawn outlines while the others all leaned in as close as their dared. Their bodies and torches provided a good amount of warmth in the confined space.

”We are here right now. There look to be nine or ten buildings inside the wall” the eidisi muttered. ”None of them very big. Close-spaced. Many of them adjoin.”

”What *was* this place?” demanded the other Junior Ranger, a big grizzle-bearded man whose name Oram had already forgotten.

”It was a compound owned by one of the Pirate Lords,” answered Refed. ”Men and cargo alike would be brought here off the Pirate’s ships when they arrived. Straight up from the bay, using that road.” The Junior Ranger pointed to a line that entered the compound from the side opposite where they were now. The road led through a dotted oval area just outside the wall. There were no other features represented there.

Oram scowled at the sketch for a moment, then broke his silence. ”So this place was abandoned when the Pirate Lords left? Three, four arcs ago?”

”Seven arcs, actually.” corrected Refed. ”The place had a big fire in 714. The Pirate Lord who owned it was only able to repair part of it and was never able to restore it to use before the Fog came. Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do.”

The eidisi’s words were unwelcome, but also unsurprising. None of them had expected to find an intact building they could simply walk into and bunk down in. But that did not make the prospect any more cheerful. Except to Refed, apparently.

Oram turned to look over their unsmiling faces. ”How about we grab a snack and some water out of our saddlebags and have a snack before we continue?” he suggested. The faces did not smile, but the grunts in response to his suggestion held just a hint of enthusiasm.
Last edited by Oram Mednix on Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 845
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Oram Mednix
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Re: Quartering Party

Let's go and look at the guest bedroom. It's got flock wallpaper.

Most of the complex was surrounded by a stone wall, about ten feet high. It was essentially a high garden wall, designed more to keep out casual trespassers than determined infiltration, let alone mount any sort of defense against assault. It needed repairs in places, and the gates had been removed. One gateway faced the road leading to town, the other admitted a path, now little more than a faded twist of old wheel ruts, that came up from the harbor. Squat buildings huddled together inside the wall, some intact, others with some minor wall damage and broken shutters or doors, others still -about half of them- still heavily damaged from the fire Refed had mentioned. These would not be usable in their current state.

The eidisi and the other rangers began their examination of each of these buildings. Oram, curious about what lay beyond the seaward exit, told them to carry on and excused himself to look. The compound sat atop a rise offering a commanding view of the bay; the traveler could see why a Pirate Lord might want to set up here. There had once been a watch tower in one corner of the compound, the eidisi had explained earlier, to further command that view. But the prominence of the site also exposed it to the effects of storms and winds, and one trial the tower had toppled, falling onto neighboring buildings and damaging them. Then the watch-fires that had been lit in the tower had caught and spread destruction from building to building. And the remnants of that destruction were what Oram’s quartering party needed to start repairing, so that the Rangers could occupy the place.

About thirty paces out from the rear gateway, along the faded cart-trail to the harbor, stood a separate building that looked similar to the counting house in the front. This one was a bit smaller, and the fact that it stood well outside the wall made Oram wonder if it had been part of the complex, but as he approached it, he noticed that its door was also secured with a padlock.

Oram went back to find the rest of the party picking their way through one of the more intact buildings, measuring the size of the rooms and noting which fixtures it held and which it lacked. As soon as Refed saw him, the eidisi began to cheerfully update Oram on all the tedious things the party would need to do to make this a suitable dormitory for at least fifteen Rangers, and the materials, items and manpower they would need to do it.

Oram listened with as much patience and attention as he could manage. As the nominal leader of this party, he would actually be expected to know and understand these things, even if Refed would do most of the actual planning work. When Refed got to what seemed a natural pause, Oram asked about the back building. ”It stands well outside the wall,” he pointed out, ”but it’s got a padlock on it just like some of the other buildings here. Is it part of the same complex.”

The eidisi thought for a moment, then pulled out the map once more. He nodded and pointed to the plat boundaries. ”It’s on the grounds, even though the building isn’t drawn here. It looks like there was a stockade around an area in the back. Sounds like this building was inside that. A receiving area, maybe, for shipments coming up from the harbor?”

That made sense to Oram. ”So it conveys, then? It’s part of our new home? Does that mean you have a key to the lock?”

The eidisi fished out two rings, each with about six keys on them. ”I expect so, Oram, but I couldn’t tell you which key is which. Here, you try this one. “ He handed Oram one of the rings. ”Bring it back after you’ve tried ‘em all, and let me know if you need the other ring.”

Fortunately, the key Oram needed was on that ring, the third one he tried. The door creaked as loudly as it opened as the first building’s had, and the smells mold and dust filled Orams nose as he peered in. The sun was just then starting to burn through the early-morning fog, allowing some light to seep in through the doorway around Oram’s silhouette, and through various cracks in the window shutters. Oram had noticed damage to the roof tiles, but the structure and ceiling still seemed mostly intact. One spot of water-ruined floor-boards suggested a leak overhead, but it seemed to be small, and the only one.

The room was deeper than it was wide, the back wall in in shadows Oram could not yet see well. What furniture it had had been removed. There was a window in each wall, and on his left was a brick fireplace. There were charred chimney bricks in the hearth, matching the damage to the chimney Oram had noticed outside outside, and traces of snow. No flue or chimney-hood, then. That would have to be fixed.

Picking his way carefully across the floorboards, which thankfully seemed otherwise intact than that one leak spot, the hunter stalked his way to the back of the room, where he found another door with, curiously, another lock. It was a built-in lock, though, and it wasn’t locked now. Opening the door, Oram found that there adjoined a small backroom, filled with now-empty bookshelves. On one wall hung a faded map on which the outline of Egilrun bay and the surrounding coast were just visible. Some sort of record-keeping annex, the traveler guessed. The walls, doors, windows were all intact, although the room lacked a fireplace. Faint squeaking and scurrying sounds, along with the telltale dropping trails along the walls, told of rats. Oram knew, perhaps better than anyone on the island, how to deal with such problems.
word count: 1020
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Oram Mednix
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Re: Quartering Party

[Si-tation needed]

Locking the door to the backroom behind him, Oram went outside to find the fog starting to lift and the trial brightening. At the foot of the long, sloping rise atop which the compound stood stretched the harbor, the outline of which Oram could now make out through the thinning mist. Hearing a clatter, he noticed that a horse-drawn cart was lumbering up the path from the harbor towards where he stood. The cartman was quite large; Oram half-suspected he could have pulled the wagon himself.

The cart rolled up to where the traveler was, and the driver leaped down and greeted him with a loud, powerful voice. ”Good Trial! I have a delivery for Oram Mednix to this very building. Do you know where I can find him?”

Oram scarcely had a chance to say that he was Oram Mednix before the man lifted a huge crate out of the wagon that looked like it should have taken two normal men to carry and strode past the amazed traveler into the building he had just left. The crate was marked “Si’s Book Delivery Service”. The enormous wagoner plopped the crate down just next to the door to the back room with a deafening crash that made the hunter fear he would break the crate, its contents, and/or the floor. Somehow, none of those things happened. Then, with just as little explanation as he had given when he arrived, the giant man walked out of the building, leaped back onto his wagon, and began to drive the cart away. ”Good luck on your sojourns, Oram Mednix!” the wagoner boomed out, as he rode off. His instructions from the shipper had specified that he say that, for some reason. He hadn’t even asked Oram to sign for anything.

The crate itself was fastened shut with a simple contrivance involving an open ring run through a hasp latch connecting crate and lid. Working the ring loose, Oram flipped the latch up and then the lid, to reveal a stack of books and maps within, somewhat jumbled from their recent landing. He extracted one of the books and read: "Si the Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear, volume 2” on the cover.

”Mr. Mednix? What have you found?” came a voice from behind him. The traveler turned around to see Refed framed in the door.

Oram held up the book. ”I just got a delivery,” he said. The eidisi looked baffled.

”A delivery? Just now? How is that even possible? We just got here, and *you* just got *here*!” Refed made a gesture to show he meant this particular building.

Oram could only shrug. He didn’t feel like explaining the whole Cassion angle just then. ”He came up from the port. Probably had it in storage at a dock warehouse. Saw me first, by luck.” It wasn’t the most convincing explanation, and Refed didn’t bother to act like he bought it.

”But who knew we would be here today?” the eidisi persisted.

”Elliott”, Oram pointed out.

That seemed to mollify the ranger, who at any rate had come to talk to him about something else: ”We’re about ready to start work, and we should be ready to at least house the quartering party itself here before nightfall. I’m about to send someone back to the camp to get the remaining two rangers…”

”I’ll go get them myself,” offered Oram, as he replaced the book and shut the lid to the crate. ”You guys know more about this quartering work than I do. If anything I’m the weak link here. So it makes sense for me to go get the other guys, while you get on with your business.”

The eidisi thought about that a moment, then nodded approvingly. ”A lot of the senior rangers would have sent off one of the recruits even so. I appreciate that.”

Oram set the fastening ring from the crate atop the lid and started to walk towards Refed, who made way as the hunter exited the building. Oram pointed back. ”I’ll be setting up myself in here,” he announced, hoping that would be alright. With anywhere from thirty to fifty rangers set to stay here, claiming a building for himself, even a small outbuilding, might be a big ask.

Refed shrugged. ”Fine by me, boss,” he said. ”But you might have to arm wrestle one of the senior rangers later on.”

Oram shut the door behind him and went to get his mule. ”I’ll worry about that when the time comes. Those books are mine, though, regardless.”

He unhitched and mounted Mule. He looked down at Refed. ”You’re in charge until I get back,” he announced. It felt somewhat superfluous a thing to say, since the eidisi was already pretty much the man with the plan here, yet there were formalities to be observed, apparently. ”No special instructions, apart from leaving my stuff alone. Carry on with what you’re doing, and I’ll see you when I get back.”

He walked down to the road, then turned west to ride to the camp where the remainder of the quartering party awaited word that the site was at least ready enough for them to break camp. He broke into a brisk trot once he was on the road, so as to make good time without tiring mule out too much.
word count: 911
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Doran
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Re: Quartering Party

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Oram:

Knowledge:
[Deception] A plausible lie is sometimes more believable than the actual truth.
[Etiquette] The leader mounts last, dismounts first.
[Leadership] Leave somebody else in charge with instructions if you plan to be absent for awhile.
[Leadership] Be sensitive to your subordinates’ needs.
[Leadership] Sometimes it actually is more appropriate to do things yourself.
[Mount: Equine] Riding at a trot.


Loot: -
Lost: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 5, for leading a quartering party.
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: Well, the soon-to-be Ranger HQ in Egilrun is certainly in bad shape. You described that very well in my opinion. I especially liked the mention of Oram- and Refed-shaped shadows. That was great.

And I agree with one of the rangers. It does indeed sound like a dump!

I have to admit, you definitely piqued my curiosity when you had Refed explain that it was a compound owned by one of the Pirate Lords. It must have quite an interesting history in that case!

I appreciate all the detail in this thread (and the well-written dialogue!). You even mentioned why a Pirate Lord might want to set up there. I had no problem envisioning what this place looks like because of it!

The delivery for Oram came as a bit of a surprise. Oram’s claim was probably more believable than the truth, but I like that you had Refed doubt what he said regardless (Novice Deception!). I hope that means that there’ll be a thread where Oram takes a look at his new books!

That being said, I wish you good luck with fixing that place!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 277

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