Jump to content

In the Beginning, there was Blood... [Gathering followers quest]

Recommended Posts

They had arrived at a bend in the road, which gave them a view of the major road below them. With this vantage point, Oscar and the other bandits were able to spot the incoming shipment of grain, which was being escorted by someone they were not expecting.

"Bloody hell, it's a knight." One of them exclaimed.

"Are you sure? Why would a knight be traveling with a shipment of rice?" 

"Look at the painting on that shield. Is that three arrows or three stalks of corn?" 

"That's three stalks of corn all right. Must be Sir Hornsfield, he's pledged directly to the Hildebrand family. What do we do?" 

"We go by the plan, same as always. Soon they will have to sleep, and when they do, we'll tie them up and take the shipment for ourselves." Oscar said, eyeing the armored man as he made his way on horseback. Brown of hair, with handsome features and strong body. Something in his gut told him he was going to be a problem, not just as an obstacle, but as someone who could disrupt his plans in the long run. 

"What if we kidnapped the knight, ransomed him back to the Hildebrands, we could make a fortune!" 

"Too risky, we stick with the plan." Oscar said, and so they continued to watch the wagon, waiting until they stopped to make camp.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It was some time later that they stopped, making camp at the side of the road. Five of them in all, hoping simply to do their jobs, and instead are being watched by a malevolent group not far from them. 

"We can't make a fire, or else they may spot us." The bandit leader put up a watch, allowing some of the others to rest while the men he selected kept an eye on the wagon full of rice. When the time was right, they would strike, and take the rice for themselves. It all seemed perfect, but there was something about it that made Oscar nervous.

"Why would a knight accompany a shipment of rice? A foot soldier or two, but a knight? It doesn't make sense." He continued muttering to himself as he thought. 

The leader looked amused by Oscar's perplexion. "Why does it matter why he's here? Without his armor and his shield, what is he really compared to us? They have no idea we're here. Once they're asleep they're done for."

"Yes but why is he here? Is he here as some sort of initiative to deter bandits or is he just trying to get somewhere, and if he's trying to get somewhere than why?" The questions raged through his mind like a storm, his natural paranoia bringing about a lot of different scenarios, each one more improbable than the last. 

"A lot of good questions." The leader agreed. "None of them however mean anything in the long run. Bottom line is when they fall asleep, when they fall asleep, we strike them, we tie them up, and then we take the rice. Everyone walks away healthy, we get paid, and people get fed. All in all, its a good deal. Some egos and bodies get bruised, but seriously, who are we hurting?" 

"Oi, their asleep. Let's go." One of the bandits said, and so it was time to get it underway. 

That's when everything went wrong.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

They crept their way to the camp as silently as they could. Several of the men positioned themselves above the others, daggers or bows drawn and pointed at their heads. At their signal, the men were awakened, and the conditions of their surrender.

"Bastards!" The knight protested, staying himself as the man's throat was mere inches away from a blade. 

"Hold on, good knight. You might end up with a shave a lot closer than you're used to." The leader said, taking some rope to tie up the others before turning back to the knight. "Put him back on his horse, ride him out to our next hide out, and we'll get the ransom letter ready." Being forced to his feet, the knight continued to curse, and Oscar started out on his own protests. 

"We never agrees on taking him. Didn't you want to keep a low profile?" This wasn't the plan, this wasn't how it was supposed to go. 

"High risk, high reward. One knight's ransom can get us a lot, and not just medicine either. We can get passage out of this place, out of this continent. Genesaris is looking nice to me, don't you think?" In the discussion, no one noticed that the knight was reaching for a dagger tucked into his breeches. With one move, the entire scene played out into chaos, and things went from bad to worse.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end of it, Sir Hornsfield was dead, two of the bandits were dead, Oscar was covered in blood, and the leader of the group lay on his stomach, the fourth dead man in this play of violence.

How did it all come to this?

Why did it have to be like this?

What now?

take command....do what you do best....

"What the hell happened?" They asked, and Oscar could understand the confusion. Everything happened so fast, there was no way for all of them to have caught everything before it had all been settled. Sir Hornsfield was a true warrior, able to fight quickly and decisively, but he wasn't prepared to fight someone like Oscar, someone who didn't flinch at a wound, even if it was having a sword thrust into one's chest. 

The look of shock was still on the dead knight's face, a face that said only one word. How? How indeed, the former patriarch said, needing to sit down as his chest ached terribly. 

"He had a dagger on him. You fools never saw it, never even bothered to try and find it. He stabbed both of them in the throats, took a sword, then cut down our fearless leader." The greedy idiot. "After that, he went after me, thrusting the blade into my chest, narrowly missing my heart and lungs. I grabbed the hilt, and with my own blade, I stabbed downwards, straight into his own heart. Now we're here, and have to figure out what to do next."

Without a leader, the others were likely to flee, but he couldn't allow that. He needed to take control of the situation, and figure out how to turn this into a win for him. All of a sudden he was in control, with a unit of soldiers who were on the brink of running yet again. 

If there was anything to describe a bandit, it was greedy.

"Kill the others, bury them, and we'll take the wagon and the knight's body. After we take the grain to the location, we'll send the letter to Lady Hildebrand, demanding she send someone to drop the money on their own, or else she won't get Sir Hornsfield." The pieces were clicking together, and the new plan was coming into shape. "Get a move on. I'm still sore, so I'll wait for you lot in the wagon." There was silence, and so he showed them the wound itself. "The man still walking after getting stabbed is giving you orders, now move it!"

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

So it was that they continued their trek, with less members than they started with, and leaving many dead bodies in their wake. The members of the delivery team were buried out in the woods, shallow graves that would hopefully keep the authorities from discovering them for some time. What mattered most was hiding the body of the gallant Sir Hornsfield, who was stuffed into a chest that held some books and belongings, dumped on the side of the road to make room for the corpse. 

There wasn't a single sound from the others as they made their way, not anything that Oscar could hear, anyway. His chest itches terribly, the wound had already begun to scab, and likely in a day or two, would be nothing more than a faint mark on his otherwise sun kissed skin. He had no doubt in his mind that he could still die, but he was beyond the common frailties of other mortals, and so would require just a little more effort to take out completely. Even with this newfound durability, the pain still plagued him dearly.

do not dismay....this is all part of your destiny....

Destiny, the most abominable witch that haunted him, in the waking world and in his dreams. Was it truly destiny that brought him into this place, or was it his own actions that had done this to him? He didn't know, he didn't want to know, all he wanted was to keep moving forward, and to do his best to stay alive through this tumultuous series of events. At the very least, he had his strength, his body, and his mind. That was all he needed, that and the very blood pumping through his veins. 

"Sir..." One of the bandits said, rousing him from his concentration. 

"What is it?" He asked gruffly.

"The others and I were wondering something, about how you lived..." 

"Sitting in the back of this wagon is not doing well for my chest. Speak your mind, or get out of my face." 

"We want what you got, sir. Whatever allows you to heal like that, we want it." 

"Do you understand what it will entail, to have the gift that I have?" A tree was going to grow right in the middle of that slaughter, blocking the road, and marking just where it all took place. Would that be what gives him away now? Was this to be his calling card? Out of death came life, but was this the kind of life he wanted to foster? Perhaps it was better this way, as the life he tried to rear the natural way only managed to launch him into this path of his. 

"Yeah, whatever it takes. We want it too." 

He sighed and said. "Get me a blade, and each one of you will be gifted with what I have to offer you."

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It took minutes to induct them, watching them as they felt no change at first, but he knew it all started with the dreams. The dreams where the creator resided, where one found themselves within the dust and the wind, an eternal struggle against the machinations of the world at large. Oscar wondered if they would see the girl in their dreams, how would they respond to her when they saw her healthy face? At least whatever they tried would be foiled by the storm, for only those of strong will like himself could weather the storm in the mind.

"How long until we can start healing ourselves like you?" They asked, and Oscar thought on it. 

"You must earn that gift, just as I did. Spill your blood upon the earth, plant the seeds for the future, and you will find your gift bolstered." Right now they would have a small healing factor, not as strong as Oscar's, but enough to where they can shed their life water freely without worry of losing their life. Visions of whole scores of the ugly things covering the countryside like a cancer. Something about that comforted Oscar, in a cynical way at least. If the world ended in desolation, then at least it would all be over.

"We'll be at the village in the morning, Sir, perhaps you should get some rest." 

His paranoia told him to stay awake, as the others were sure to betray him at the first sign of him being asleep. Injury and general fatigue however has left him tired though, so egregiously tired, he simply couldn't keep his eyes open for very long. Perhaps if they valued his leadership enough, they would not make an attempt on his life while he was vulnerable. 

Closing his eyes, Oscar drifted off to sleep, his subconscious returning to that desolate land, where struggle was the order of the day. He heard no voices this time, but could feel the presence of those with the blood inside of them. Now the number was small, but in time, they would measure in the thousands of thousands.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mareshire was a quaint place, one of the scarce few that survived the devastation of King Damien's reign. They did well in raising sheep and cattle, but were sorely lacking in regards to crop agriculture. As such they regularly traded wool and meat for what they required, like wheat and rice. It is because of this necessity that they now found themselves at the mercy of a group of bandits turned fanatics determined not only to make a profit, but to make converts as well.

As they arrived, the first people who came to meet them knew at once something was amiss. At once children were being herded into buildings while the men came to speak with the leader of the shipment of rice they so desperately needed.

"You aren't from House Hildebrand, are you?" Asked the eldest of them, who sported a cane and light blue cloth.

Oscar hopped down from the wagon, cleaning a dagger he had with a cloth before placing it back in its sheath. "You need not know what happened to them." He stated, swaggering over to the old man, causing him to step back as the blood still covered a majority of his face. "We've come to do their jobs, and we haven't come here for wool or cattle."

"How much do you demand?" The older one asked, defeated and not wishing to bring violence to the village.

"Double it's weight in gold."

"That's insane!" One called out.

"Then we burn the rice here and now." The villagers talked it over for a time, knowing they were stuck in a corner.

"Fine." The elder said. "May the gods have mercy on your souls." 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Their work was done, and it was time for them to move on to their next hideout. With the wagon still in their possession, the bandits were able to transport both their ill gotten gains as well as the carcass of the knight Hornsfield. Though the journey would be slow, they have much to slow down any potential pursuit, and soon, as time went on, a new place for them to call home. 

"So you tainted the rice with your blood?" Asked one of the bandits.

"Don't say tainted." Oscar said gruffly. "I blessed it, with the Gift of enlightenment." What they were doing was showing them a different perspective, one they could come to understand as the correct one. 

"Yeah, yeah, it's a gift. A strange one, I suppose." 

Oscar didn't like the undertones of doubt in the man's voice, but figured it would be fine to let it go for now. In time, they would be swayed. They would understand the importance of conforming, and how it would benefit everyone. If they continued to to reject the doctrine, however, then Oscar knew what had to be done. In this flock, dissent could not be tolerated. 

"How long until we reach the hideout?" Oscar asked of one of the bandits.

"Two days, I believe sir. We have to move fast to put distance behind us and them." He said, gesturing towards the village.

"Yes, for now." Oscar said, leaning back against the wagon, letting the sun beat down on his face.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

A hard days trek stretched into the night, giving Oscar much to think on. He had so many questions to ask of this strange presence that seemed to permeate his very being. Right now he was going blind, stumbling about, making plans and just trying to survive. There were commands, but they were few and vague. Is this what it meant to follow a god? Illyana would know more, but he doubted she would choose to actually speak to him about it.

In his dreams, he searched for others, the wind whipping around him while dust covered every inch of his vision. While his eyes were impaired, he trained his ears to detect the sound of another's voice. Eventually, he did find others, who were wandering, aimless and confused.


"Who's out there?"

"Edgar! Is that you?"

When Oscar opened his mouth, he found it reverberated with such strength, even the harsh winds of the desolate landscapes around him. 

Hear me! You are lost no longer! Follow my voice and you will find freedom!

There was a chatter among the others, it was hard to distinguish what they were saying exactly. From what he could tell, they weren't willing yet to follow him.

Come to me, my flock, and you will find your destiny!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

They were still traveling when Oscar awoke from his dreams, finding no success in trying to bring his flock together in the raging storm. While disappointing, he knew it such a thing required practice, and time was something that he had right now. Looking to the others, he asked about their progress while digging some dried beef from his pack. 

"We are making good progress, sir. Might just make it by nightfall." 

"Good." Oscar said. "Then we can focus on what we do from there. Have the men done their bleeding?"

"Not yet, the men are still feeling somewhat hesitant to get started." 

"Then we should do so now, so they can see that it is safe to do so." After having his breakfast, he took turns with the other bandits, bleeding with them and showing them the power of the gift. It was a productive use of their time, one that Oscar used to think about his next moves. There was a chance they would have to continue moving, as to do otherwise might mean capture and subsequent exectution. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...