• Mature • [Memory] A Song of Sober Men

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Rakvald
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[Memory] A Song of Sober Men

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2nd of Saun 612



"Wars teach people to obey the sword, not the truth." The impassioned opening to what promised to be a rousing speech was spoken by the man on a soapbox. His name was Marius, or so Rakvald seemed to remember. Rakvald's grandfather had been in the crowd that day, he remembered it through his ancestral memories, gifted back to him from Vri as consolation, when he'd more or less cheated him of his reborn soul.

"And who decides the truth? Is it the contradictory dictates of a self-deceiving cult running the Theocratum? Bleeding our sons and daughters for the sake of an avatar of an invisible god? One that has been long promised, but presented as nothing but a corpse on a set of strings?" Marius lifted his hands up in false bemusement. Chants of no, and 'fuck that' rose from the crowd, various slurs and effigies against the powerful hurled at Marius, as if he for that moment embodied all that they hated. Although they knew well how his speech would end.

It was always more or less the same idea. Those above, bad, those below good. Rakvald had to wonder why they couldn't just vote with their feet for once. But he supposed it was either some misbegotten pride in where they were from or else malice toward the very earth that their rebellious feet tread. Rakvald didn't care, either way, he just wanted some booze, and knew it was the Theocratum's fault he had none. "Or perhaps it is the Dukes and their Dragoons who wield their might against their own people? Because they think might is right."

A loud raucous sound of disagreement rose from the crowd assembled outside the gates of the Fortress, just beyond the intersection of Arkenstone's Thoroughfare. Marius was far from the only speaker, and not even the greatest among them. It seemed at times that all the man knew how to do was complain to Rakvald. Unfortunately, perhaps, for Rakvald's grandfather, he hit the right notes of a lack of stress relief. A crackdown on vices and sin stirred the populace to rise up and show their strength for once.

And Rakvald, lost in their midst, could sense their strength just by dint of being among them. Great waves of people gathered along the perimeter of the gates of the Fortress, all along the curtain walls, not far from the Church of the Wounded God itself.

Nervous soldiers could be spotted overhead. Rakvald's grandfather could barely make them out through the morning fog. Their great purifiers stood inactive on the parapets, tilted skyward so that they didn't misfire by accident.

Rakvald could practically smell the rebellion on the air. It smelled of a mix of sweat, smoke, shit, and blood pumping through their veins, yet to be spilled. He could only imagine what was going on in the heads of those dragoons stationed above the walls. Their will was chained to the dictates of their commanders, who in turn were controlled by their Duchal loyalties.

For Rakvald's grandfather's part, he only knew one thing. He was far too sober for this, something had better happen, and soon. He was angry, and far too deprived of all the comforts of sin. Passion stirred in his heart as he listened more to the tone of Marius' voice now than any of his words. Rakvald's grandfather had little appetite for words now, having listened to the speeches for days on end. He wanted action now. All it would take is a little spark, a stone thrown through enough windows, one soldier too-many savaged by the crowds' angry riot.

Rakvald gripped the stone in his hand and threw it straight for the Dragoon stationed behind the parapet. It hit the wall, but the ringing of rock against the wall echoed with a thunderous reprise. Perhaps louder than the impact should've seemed. Then, almost as if by magic, more people began throwing things. Rotten produce, empty bottles, rocks from the ground, and even a few wooden articles.

There was panic behind the parapets, and angry commands issuing from them. And then, the piercing flash of fire, as the Purifiers were activated from the walls of the Fortress.

The Heap's Rebellion was only starting.
Last edited by Rakvald on Sat Oct 23, 2021 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 726

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Rakvald
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Re: [Memory] Anger and Sobriety

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The first few blasts of the Purifiers were only warning shots, though Rakvald's grandfather could've sworn his eyes stung from the mere activation of those contraptions. The elder Lotharro shielded his eyes against the blast of the engines into the skies, letting out plumes of heated air and smoke that could be felt even among the crowd.

A shouted command issued from behind the Fortress gates, "RAISE THE GATES!" Then the portcullis began lifting, turned on a wheel from chains as ranks of armed dragoons gathered there, sallying out in no great rush, but mounted upon great war steeds. They bore weapons that were beyond anything wielded by the Heaps. Great spiked maces of blackened steel. Flails with multiple heads, and swords that looked near sharp enough to sever limbs at the lightest touch. Rakvald did feel fear then, and he began backpedaling even as his eyes scanned the ground for anything he could throw. Yet the crowd was squished backward, complicating that attempt at perceiving anything he could use.

The dragoons and their ranks were the models of discipline and obedience, directed and controlled as if they were of a single mind. Indeed, Rakvald could tell there were probably undead bolstering their ranks, employed by court wizards of one Duke or another.

Rakvald stared out across the throngs of the Heaps gathered outside the Fortress. People began raising torches, and others held their farming implements stolen from the farms they worked in the Plenty. Before his grandfather knew it, in his hand was pressed a large wood-ax, unwieldy with unreasonable heft for the purposes of battle. Rakvald had little interest in this brand of unfolding chaos, and still wanted to be away, but the ebb and flow of humanity pressing this way and that made his efforts to retreat difficult.

Shouted commands in Vahanic rang out from behind the wall of troops gathered outside the Gates, and then the Portcullis began to fall, having issued the forces that the Dukes were willing to commit. Rakvald held his free arm in front of his face, shielding himself from the onslaught he knew would arrive soon to reward the gathering of mostly peaceful protestors, rock, and bottle-throwers notwithstanding.

There was a terrible whine, and then a hum. Finally, the very air was siphoned from the space around the crowd, and the Purifiers blasted them with plumes of blinding flame. The stench of cooking and burned flesh assaulted his grandfather's nose at the assault from the parapets. The purifiers scorched them with all of the heat of a furnace on full blast. Enough heat to melt the flesh from bones, and turn the bronze farming implements as soft as butter, as they all, the front ranks of the peaceful Heaps, were burned to ashes.

Rakvald could only elbow and push his way past all the throngs of people, some of them rushing foolhardily toward the Dragoons. Others seeking safety. Rakvald, for his part, looked for safety, trying to push his way far from the fortress, from the range of the Purifiers.
word count: 514

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Re: [Memory] A Song of Sober Men

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The Purifiers continued their barrage, interrupted only for the Dragoon forces who were allowed to sweep through the fleeing masses of Heaps. Rakvald couldn't feel any space between himself and the next man, but still used his strength and vigor to push his way past this person or that, pushing them over, only to have them trampled beneath the feet of the riotous masses. Absently he still clutched to his wood ax, as he pushed beyond the tighter throngs of people, and into a mass of swarming Heaps who were fleeing the carnage and conflagration.

Rakvald didn't know how the Dragoons were faring, or those who had stood up to them. But he knew he didn't want to die here, not when the violence was still ongoing. He edged his way toward the side of the street, toward a large Inn, built from black stone, hoping that it would protect him from the flames of those terrible weapons.

As he sneaked along the wall of the building, he was pushed bodily in through the open door, which gave way with the slightest pressure. There, he watched as a few men barred the way behind him, and there was darkness in the room he'd fallen into.

The men, once they'd secured the entrance, turned to him. He recognized several of their faces. They were among the Heaps and rabble-rousers who trolled the Shanty for support from the masses of people. What were they doing in this posh neighborhood?... Unless.

Rakvald's whitened eyebrows lowered as he glowered at them, "This is your doing, as certain as you are standing there, those people burned you because you filled them with rebellious thoughts!"

One of the men shook his head and knelt beside Rakvald, who'd fallen on the floor. "No, the people are angry because their needs aren't met. They were already a volatile medium, ready for igniting. I'm not the only one who can spark such a passion."

Rakvald tried to grab him by the collar but was restrained by the men to either side. And Rakvald was too tired to fight. Then the man took out a card from his breast pocket and tucked it into Rakvald's hat-band. "Rakvald, we know of you. And we saw what you did out there. Can you honestly say you don't understand how a spark may light a volatile substance, ready to burn?"

Rakvald settled down after that and was released with some force by the men who'd held him. The lotharro got to his feet then. He looked down on the rabble-rouser, and muttered, "Was just a rock I threw."

The rabble-rouser got to his own feet then, yet Rakvald still towered over him. He looked up at the large man, and smirked, "Flint and steel are enough for a spark."

The Purifiers still could be heard, draining the very air from the space around them as their jets of flame shot into the crowd outside. But then, something else came to his attention then. He could almost hear, chanting for the downfall of the Dukes. Had the crowd prevailed, and the Dragoons drove back? He crept up to a window and looked outside to see the rabble standing upon the ashes of their fellows, and the Dragoons shuffling back through the gates which dropped behind them.

The rabble-rouser came up beside Rakvald, and said, "For the first time in a long time, they cannot deny that we the people are stronger than the elite sitting at the top. And we have the right of it. Our glorious past will soon be restored, and the Corpse King will be torn down from his throne, bones and all."

For a moment, as Rakvald saw the poorly armed masses rallying and driving the soldiers back through their fortress gates, he almost believed him.
word count: 653

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Re: [Memory] A Song of Sober Men

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Rakvald:

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Comments: „Genetic Memory“ is a very useful ability, and I really enjoyed the memory that you had Rakvald relive here. The opening sentence (“Wars teach people to obey the sword, not the truth.”) was quite effective in my opinion and made me curious about the rest of the thread.

Rakvald’s thoughts about Marius’ speech were entertaining to read. He was wondering why people couldn’t just vote with their feet for once, and ultimately, he just wanted some booze. They contrasted with the reaction of the people around him and the Dragoons.

You did a great job at describing the frustration of the people and the panic of the people behind the parapets – and how they attacked and swept through the fleeing masses of the Heaps. The ending of the thread was unexpected. Did the rabble-rousers really live in that posh neighborhood? I thought that they were poor people themselves!

That being said, I love that you took an actual event described in the Wiki and wrote a thread about it. I read the Wiki page in question, and I think you did a great job at turning this into an exciting solo!

There is one thing I’m curious about now though: Were all of Rakvald’s ancestors named Rakvald?

With that being said, enjoy your rewards!

P.S.: In the Bellinos writeup, it says the following about the ability “Genetic Memory”: “Entering into a meditative trance […]”. From what I could see, Rakvald did not enter a trance/meditate. That’s something that is easy to overlook, but keep it in mind when it comes to future threads.
word count: 293

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