View Full Version : Here ther be Dragons

Rodgin Kemph
09-05-2013, 11:42 PM
Izakar started awake, wrestled from another nights sleep by the memories of that day. The screams and smell of burning flesh were still on the edge of his senses; the heavy thump of the wings on the air still echoed in his ears. His hands shook and his heart raced, both threatening to take away his will to live. His will for revenge. It was all he had now, but even it was nearly lost to his fear.

It had been nine cycles of the moon, but his memory claimed it was only yesterday that his entire village had been torn to shreds by a dragon. Even the four months he spent in a church “aid camp” had not changed what he saw every night in his dreams. He finally gave them the right answers though, so they let him go free. It was the English, according to the church, that had razed his village. Their red banners burning the image of a red dragon into his ruined psyche. But he knew better. It was a dragon, and he would search for it, hunt it, kill it, if it was the last thing he did.

He now found himself traveling along the coast. He had made it through France, across the Flemish countryside, and finally into Germany. Rumor had it that the dragons hid in the frozen north, in heavily guarded lairs. He was determined to find them, and had walked for several weeks to reach where he was now.

Where he was now was in a forest, started awake from a late afternoon nap. He lived his live exhausted, unable to sleep for long with his haunting memories. So he set out onto the road again. His dark hair was covered in grime from the road, as was his face. His clothes and boots had flecks of mud still clinging to them, looking three shades lighter from the road dust. He hadn’t bathed since he left the Church’s camp, and that was nearly a cycle earlier. He hadn’t had time to stop. But he was running low on food, money, and direction. Perhaps the next village would have a way for him to find all three. His tailoring tools still were in his sack, offering a reprieve and a chance to live as he once did.

09-06-2013, 01:09 AM
(NOTE: Freiburg wasn't found until 1120 somewhere, but I can't find a village close enough to the border of France that existed prior to that.)
The village was small village known as Freiburg in Germany. The town was small and meant as a safe spot for traders and travelers, as it connected to most of the routes to the other cities and villages nearby. On the main road was a tavern of tan brigs with windows across the front and a large wooden door to welcome travelers. A sign hung saying simply "Tavern" if the smell of ale was not enough to trigger that knowledge. Once inside there were sturdy built tables spewed around the area, as well as a bar that kept Zella safe from most of the customers that got a little to drunk for anyone's comfort. Though her brother assisted with that as a helper in the bar, and made sure to keep anyone from touching his little sister if she called him to assist.

Zella cleaned a few mugs as she waited for another customer to open the door. The tavern was slow this afternoon, most of the drunkards have already had their fill before being removed by the guards, and a few down on their luck sipped on beer until it was warm and flat. Her brother, Sven, sat by the door, his muscular build resting against the wall with his arms crossed. He was falling asleep, but even his presence made people behave. There were two men chatting in the corner, local farmers wanting a bit and a cool ale to lower their temperatures, another man sat on the corner as a young girl, with no real interest, flirting with him in attempts to make a living of her own. Zella had a tally on how many ales it took him to cave; it was on his third so far, still saying that it would be wrong.

She brushed her blonde hair off her shoulder, exposing her shoulders and upper chest that was pushed up uncomfortable in the damn corset her mother gave her awhile back. The pain was worth the money though, as she felt she was no better than the hooker flirting with drunk men, as she poured their poison using her own assets to get more of their hard earned money, "I have to make a living some how." she assured herself.

09-09-2013, 12:36 AM
Waking up with a splitting headache is always tough, but when you do it on the floor of a friefechter guild, its also humiliating. Leif had just finished a duel to first blood with the master, or rather just finished having his ass handed to him.

"Ye gods man, i concede! Stop pummeling me already!" he said with a grimace as he took the master's Hand and rose. "A deal is a deal, first drinks are on me. Make haste, there's ale to be drank!"

After stripping and letting the small (and icy cold) stream running through the complex take away the pain and sweat, Leif took in the greatness of the school once again. There were 4 halls for swordplay, divided by rank or weapon or however was needed for the day, a courtyard, and a large boarding house for the students. Sitting on the wall and vesting himself again with his favorite green tunic trimmed in black and dark brown pants, he looked at the men on the far wall and found they looked only as large as his thumb. He could probably hit them with Far Thrower, but it would be a tough shot.

After fastening MapleThorn to his belt and meeting with his compatriots, Leif was on his way to the tavern.

09-10-2013, 03:16 AM
Shia trudged through the snow, which was starting to melt and form sludge. She was busy setting up her traps so she could replenish her stock of meats. She also needed some pelts to start trading for more supplies. Ample supplies were essential for survival when living alone up in the mountains of Scotland. Shia had been on her own for almost 10 years now. Her father died when she was very young, so her mother was the one who showed Shia how to survive in the wilds of the Highlands. She also inherited the gift of being able to speak to animals. Sometimes this gift made it hard to hunt and trap them, but a girl had to do what she must to survive. Her mother often spoke of the village in which she grew up, Freiburg. Her mother use to tell her that they had planned on visiting one day, but then her father passed away. Her mother, more than ever, wanted to return to her old village and find if any family was still there. Then her mother fell ill and passed away. Shia remembered her mother telling her “It’s a lonely life Shia, being a woman up here in these mountains. You need to get out in the world and start meeting people, make friends with humans instead of animals”. Shia knew people from the lower villages, and would trade and often exchange pleasantries. There was no one she was really close to however; all she had was her wolf, Cavall. Shia had been saving what coin she made from selling her animal pelts in the hopes of traveling to her mother’s village. She hoped to find family and mostly she wanted to honor her mother’s final wish. She had already made plans for the following week to make the trek to the lower village and hoped to meet up with the sea merchant she would trade with from time to time. Her plan was to offer her coin and gain a spot on his ship and finally see the village her mother so fondly remembered, Freidburg.

09-10-2013, 02:11 PM
Eoghan walked up on the branches of an enormous tree. "Fourth day of the... seventh month... eighth year" he said to himself. He always tried to keep track of time since he started traveling. "And I am... in Germany, yes, Germany, I arrived here one month and three weeks ago" he continued. He also tried to keep track of the places he visited. He checked his stuff: His bow, his two knives, his half full quiver, his rope, the few coins in his pouch and three dead rabbits. It was quite a problem to sleep with those without some animal trying to snatch them. He stretched, as sleeping with bracers, belt and boots was still not comfortable, though he was much more used to it now than when he started traveling. He had eaten last night, and he put the fire out before going to sleep, so everything was ready. He threw the rabbits over his shoulder and left the forest. Some hours later, he was at a village. After listening some nearby people talking, he knew it was Freiburg. "Well, the tavern seems the best place to go now" he though when he saw the "Tavern" sign over the large wooden door, right after smelling ale.

Rodgin Kemph
09-11-2013, 12:31 AM
Izakar strode into town with bags under his eyes, a months worth of beard, and heavily repaired clothes. He looked like he had come from the forest, and many of the townsfolk shied away from him as he plodded along. He didn't know much German, and had to rely on pictures to guide him. The tavern was obvious enough though, and he shouldered his way in only an hour before sunset. It was early spring here, and the sun still set well before most people were ready to sleep.

"I need a room, a drink, and a bath," he muttered to the bartender, shrugging his pack off onto the floor with an unceremonious "thunk". He hoped the bartender understood his heavily accented English, for it was all the better he could do. Or, with some luck, someone could translate for him.

09-11-2013, 03:43 AM
Shia had been on the ship for nearly three weeks now. Cavall was growing restless, and at times had to protect Shia from unwelcome advances from the men on board. The captain however was a man of honor and for the most part came to her aide if needed. Shia helped whenever she could aboard the ship. She thought living in the highlands was hard; life at sea was much harder. There were storms to battle, navigating when there was no sun or stars, the constant rocking of the ship and no land in sight. Shia missed her mountains and wondered if she made the right decision. In the back of her mind however, she could hear her mother, “Shia, get out and see the world”.
The captain said in another week they would be reaching the English Channel. Once they got to port Shia still had to travel the almost 400 miles to reach the small town of Freiburg. Shia was already weary from being on the ship and was not looking forward to the long trek to her mother’s home town. She truly hopes she finds a place to belong, because she does not want to make the long journey back home. She keeps hearing stories of creatures and monsters that had been driven out by the church. Her mother use to tell her tales of monsters and of the fae. She had never seen any of these creatures and wondered if they actually existed. She would sometimes hear the animals run in fear of something unknown and she would take the cue and hide herself. She really hoped the journey to Freidburg would be uneventful.

09-11-2013, 04:33 AM
Leif and his company started into town, boisterous and excited for an afternoon of drunkenness and, more than likely, fighting. The guild master disapproved of the latter and constantly reminded his students that they trained in the sword to defend the townsfolk, not harass them. Luckily for Leif he wasn't a student.

They entered the second city wall that held the residential and market areas and turned their attention to the main road. All kinds of shops and stalls and grocers were in sight. Furs, cloth, and leather goods were always predominant in these places, but Leif generally headed to the arms and armour area.

There's a common misconception in folk who aren't battle-wise that one man will make a weapon from beginning to end, and in some rare cases a single shop can provide every part. But most men by weapons in parts. A blade from this shop, guard or pommel from that, most men can carve their own handles but a good scabbard is very difficult to do and must be commissioned, and each part of these is done by a different craftsman. That in itself makes even a basic weapon expensive, but to get something made just the way you want it costs more and more per part. Young men who were done with chores or their jobs would always be loitering outside the best shop in any town, and Leif made it a point to look at their wares to pick up what he could and take notes or draw sketches of an unusual part.

There was a clamoring from inside the shop and the boys outside were cheering as a young man, no more than 15 came dashing out with the shop master on his heels. Plowing directly into Hans, the smallest of the troupe, the boy yelped like a kicked dog.

" Thief! I swear ill have you hanged!" Yelled the owner as he picked up the young man by his hair.

"Oath breaker! I met your price twice now and each time you raise it! This is mine by right and you know it!" He had bowl-cut brown hair and a frame that promises growth to come.

The shopkeep, an aging man of nearly 50 with a bony frame and the smallest fringe of hair, had yet to let go and was staring with contempt at the boy. The other young ones were taunting him and calling him an oathbreaker, something no man should stand for, yet Leif noticed he made no effort to deny the claim.

Seizing the man's hand, Hans forced him to release his grip and demanded to know if the boy's claim was true.

"the price of steel is going up! Its not my fault the bought doesn't understand how this business works!" the shrewd-looking man stammered. There was a short discussion of prices and which part cost what and why, and the company concluded that the young man did indeed owe 5 silver's worth more. Leif agreed to pay the cost if the boy could best him or any of his group with the sword.

"Y... You can't be serious! I've never trained with it! I have no chance of killing a man!" he contested, wide eyed and obviously terrified.

"Not to worry! A duel like this is only to first blood,nobody wants to see you die today." Leif said with a smile. It looked more like a wolf bearing his teeth. After a discussion with his friends, Collin chose Hans as his opponent. he had to win. There was no other way.

Square and determined, he charged Hans as soon as the signal was given, swinging the light and powerful blade like it was meant to be done, tip first and edge barely turned so as to protect it if the edge was blocked. Very well done, the company agreed, the boy had done his homework at the very least, but a senior fighter like his opponent easily intercepted and initiated the bind. It was the basics of all swordsmanship, keep your blade bound against your opponent's and wind against hIm. They went through a series of attack, counter, wind, push,attack again. Hans wazzup toying with the boy and it was obvious.

Hard swing from above. Block, wind into a strike for the head on the boy. Blocked, skillfully but just barely. TCollins was losing ground and fast. Letting out a shout, he kicked at Hans' chest and connected. HHans lost his air in a sputtering cough, and nearly took off the boy's hand in reflex. The blade was turned just barely enough to cut the boy but not sever bone. Collins had lost.

There was a cheer and a howl from Leifand his friends as they raised the bleeding young man and congratulated him on doing so well.

"Boy, if this hadn't been to first blood, you would have been the victor. He would have your hand, but you would take his head! I will pay your debt and 4 more to you for your performance!"Said Leif and he did. Hans took the young man to the infermary and was heard offering the boy an apprenticeship at the guild, while the rest of the men wandered into the tavern.

"Ale, wench! Lots of it!"

09-12-2013, 07:03 PM
The door opened and Zella glanced over her shoulder to see who was coming in. While she had never seen them before she knew that they must be travelers. The slow day was nice for a little bit but hopefully these gentleman would bring in some atmosphere into the dead place temporarily at least. The money didn't hurt either.

She smiled polity as she poured a few drinks and placed them on the table in front of them and told them the price as she waited, "Vat brinken you to Freiburg, business or pleasure?" she asked curiously.

Her brother had woken up to the yelling man, his eyes glazed slightly in annoyance but he settled down once he realized that no one was in trouble. This caused a snicker from the men in the corner who looked up from what they were doing, but quickly went back to their own business.

The man in the corner was officially lost to the new crowd and realized he should probably go once the light hit him from the door opening. He apologetically apologized to the whore who pouted as her prey left her alone at the bar. She went to go bother then men in the corner who already had a few drinks in them, even though they were both married men and wouldn't be here much longer.

09-13-2013, 01:27 AM
Eoghan entered the tavern without making any noise. Seeing there was some activity inside, he decided to go to the first empty table he saw. Once seated, he started counting his money. "Not much" he thought, "hopefully it will be enough for two or three drinks... it has been almost four months since I had my last ale". He put the coins back in his pouch, removed the hood from his head and waited. The atmosphere of the tavern was quite a change from his time in the woods.

09-13-2013, 03:38 AM
Land at last!! Shia never thought she would miss dirt and mud as much as she did. She reached the port dock close to two weeks ago. The local merchants showed her the best route to get to Freidburg and luckily there was a merchant and his family heading there in their wagon to drop off some supplies and to barter. Shia offered him a bit of her small coin and some of her fur pelts she had hoped to sell for more coin. The merchant gladly accepted as trade to give her ride to Freidburg. Shia felt extremely lucky and started to feel a sense of fulfillment that she was finally honoring her mother’s last wish.
Along the way the merchant talked of strange creatures he would see from time to time. For the most part they avoided humans. He also mentioned that he came across a few men who he thought had possessed magic. The way he spoke of magic gave Shia the impression he feared it. Shia did not mention that she could speak to animals. He also mentioned a tavern and the woman who ran it named Zella. He said if anyone would know if she had any family still there it would be Zella. Shia truly hoped to finally find some family and to start making a place for herself. Within the next day or two, she would be in her mother's home town.

09-13-2013, 07:41 AM
After serving the drinks to the more rowdy crowd she glanced up to see another customer in the corner. Even before his hood was off she knew he wasn't a regular, she yelled over at the man, "Gut day! Kan I get you an ale sir?" her accent coming out thick.

She had been told in the past that her accent was too strong but she didn't care, they were in Germany in her bar, so the customers would have to accept her self taught English skills. She had also been told it wasn't lady like to yell. Her mother always said, "Ladies are prime and always proper. We must not raise our voices even if its to get the attention of others. The only acceptable time is during an emergency.", of course that was in German. Zella stopped worry about being prime and proper, especially around the perverted drunkards that came into her tavern each day. Some of the men hit on her, even though they knew her when she was a little girl.

The though reminded her that this wasn't actually her tavern, but it might of well have been. The owner was never around. She sometimes day dreamed about what it would be like to move away and own her own tavern somewhere.

Rodgin Kemph
09-15-2013, 02:01 AM
Izakar had a bath, cold and fast, and had taken scissors to his beard, trimming the mangled mass into something that looked presentable. He was still in patched clothing, but there was nothing to be done for that. He made his way to the common room smelling clean enough and looking presentable enough.

"I'll take my meal now," Izakar said to the serving woman, eyeing the loud lot of men that had come in. They looked like fighters, maybe hero's but he would have to wait. He had learned from the last few months in the Churches care that he was better off to not mention dragons and their ilk openly. Too many superstitious people who would report to the Church in a heart beat.

09-15-2013, 03:40 AM
Leif parted from his friends after the second round and sat near a freshly clean young man (though clearly a few years older than himself) and settled in.

"a meal sounds good. What is it tonight?" and to the stranger "i hope you don't mind company."

09-15-2013, 04:32 AM
Eoghan startled a little when he realized the wench was talking to him.

"Oh, eh, yes, please, an ale would be great... thanks" he replied. After that he started looking around, not minding anything in particular and almost forgetting about everything around him.

09-15-2013, 03:58 PM
Zella acknowledge the men asking for a meal, and brought the drink over to the man in the corner. After a few moments everyone had a plate full of sausage, potatoes and eggs, a hearty meal that kept most men sober enough to keep drinking. She smiled as she stopped back at the bar, once all the men were fed, and asked, "Vat brinks you all to Freidburg?"

09-15-2013, 04:47 PM
"beer," Leif replied. "and strong fighters. Im a journeyman and Im always looking for a strong enemy." tearing into the meal with a veracity, he added "keep the ale coming."

09-15-2013, 06:19 PM
Shia finally reached Freiburg. She was overcome by how far she has come from the only land she has ever known. Cavall sat on his haunches next to her before she set down the main road that led to the main part of town. She told Cavall to wait in the forest since most people were frightened by wolves. Cavall whined a little. He did not like leaving her on her own in a strange place.

“I’ll be all right, if I need you, I will call for you” Shia said looking down at her only friend. It was true, he could be miles away and if she called he could feel her pull. He wouldn’t be far if she did need him this time.

Shia stepped onto the road with trepidation. She laughed at herself because what could a road do to her? She traveled up a ways and found the tavern, just as the merchant and his family described. She opened the door; again with her trepidation. “Be brave, Shia”, she said to herself. There were some rowdy men in the corner and two other men who seemed a bit at odds with each other. The tavern keeper, whom Shia assumed was the Zella that the merchant had described, was taking their orders. Her accent was strong. Shia’s mother had the same accent; however it was not as strong by the time she passed. Shia quietly slid in the tavern and meekly sat at a table in a corner away from the men. Her heart was pounding as she begins to wonder if this was a mistake. There was no going back now, though. She had come too far and to go back now would dishonor her mother’s wish.

09-15-2013, 06:54 PM
After finishing his ale, Eoghan heard the question, and after some moments he realized he should answer.

"Nothing in particular... I was traveling the woods and it was nearby" he said.

After some moments a scent cought his interest. "I know that smell" he though, "it is that of a forest dweller", and one he knew, even though he did not like them. He then saw a girl that probably had just entered. The scent was with her, but was not her own. He tilted his head a little, still staring at the girl.

Rodgin Kemph
09-15-2013, 07:40 PM
"Travel for business," Izakar got out around a mouthful of food. "I'm a tailor. You don't happen to know anyone who could use my work, do you?"

He scanned the room, feeling extremely foreign. There were many foreigners, but none that were like him. The only one who looked as forlorn was the girl who just walked in. He could only hope that the men of the fighter's guild didn't see her as a good time waiting to happen.

09-15-2013, 07:54 PM
Leif eyed the young woman just entering and remembered just how long it had been.. "oi! Lass, first round's on me." pulling out a chair next to himself "you look hungry too. Can i buy you a meal?"

09-16-2013, 12:44 AM
Shia, noticed that the men seemed to be eyeing her. They started looking at her the way some of the sea men did when she was on the ship. Only here she did not have the sea captain or Cavall to protect her. “What am I doing here? Maybe this was a mistake” she thought to herself. She started to get up to leave then one of them asked her if he could buy her meal. She was hungry, and did not have much coin left to pay for a full meal yet she was not sure if this man wanted more than just a meal. She was an innocent but her mother warned her of the ways and hungers of men.

“Um, I guess so” she shyly stammered. She took the chair he offered her and but didn’t say a word. She knew her face showed her fear and hesitation. She could feel the pull of Cavall for he could sense her fear. She sent him an intuitive message that she was fine so far and to still wait for her outside in the forest.

09-16-2013, 01:17 AM
"don't worry girl I've no plans for you. Its just been a while sense I've had decent female company." hooking a thumb at his other companion, "and apparently he's not much ofa talker." he downed his ale and called for some whisky.

"so what brings you here?"

09-16-2013, 02:04 AM
The strange man stated he meant no harm and wanted to know what she was doing here. He was young and had huge wrists and extremely wide shoulders. His size was intimidating to Shia. Even though he said he meant her no harm, she was still leery. Then again, her experience with socializing was minimal and she did not know if this was just how things always were. She decided to be honest and tell him why she was here. Maybe he would know something about the people here.

“I’ve been traveling for the past month or so. I came from the Scottish mountains of Cairn Gorn. I’ve been on my own for mostly nine years now. My mother was originally from this town. She passed some time ago and her wish was for me to get out and see the world and to find if she still had any family here. I’ve only got into town just this morning. I was told a Zella may know if I still had any family in these parts”. She eyed him curiously and found herself wanting to know where this mountain of a man came from and who his quiet friend was.

“What are you doing here and why does your friend not speak?”

09-16-2013, 02:23 AM
"Drinking. Fighting. Learning my trade a bit. I've been a journeyman for quite a few years now and its served me well. If you want to see the world, you can travel with me for as long as you're not a burden. As for him, I've known him for as long as ive known you."

Leaning a bit closer "and i would avoid that trick you did too. Not sure what it was but we... Lets say 'practitioners' can feel a spell being worked. Others around here" he swept his eyes towards the crowd "don't appreciate the craft as i might."

09-16-2013, 02:32 AM
After a while, the curiosity for that smell was enough. Eoghan calmly stood, making less than no noise, and walked to the girl of the wolfscent.

"I am sorry, miss, but, have you been in the company of wolves?" he asked her when he was two feet from her, just close enough for her to hear him without having to raise his voice more than it was necessary, as he always tried to stay silent.

09-16-2013, 03:42 AM
“I can definitely earn my way. I’m a good hunter and trapper and that is mainly how I’ve made most of my coin and what trick are you referring to?” Shia knew that some people did not take too nicely to magic. Although she never thought of her gift of speaking to animals as magic, she knew some might fear it.

Just then a man walked up to them and asked her if she had been in the company of wolves. Her heart started beating a little too quickly and she was sure they could all hear it. “Why do you ask?”

09-16-2013, 04:11 AM
"Oh, sorry, I just could not help noticing the wolfscent that you carry" he replied.

He gave a quick glance to the other persons in the table, and then looked for the wench, wanting another ale. "I did not remember how good that thing is" he though.

09-16-2013, 04:48 AM
Zella gave everyone their food and drinks and hung out while she cleaned the dishes and the bar while waiting for someone to need something. While they spoke she listened, learning more about people as they ate and drank. After a few minutes she heard her name and she perked up and glanced over at the girl who mentioned it. Her mother was from here?

Zella walked over to the girl, "Sorry to interrupts, but you saiden your moser was from here? If I don't knowen her, my moser may. Vat is your moser's name?"

(I hope that's no too hard to read. I'm trying to do it in a German accent, lol.)

09-16-2013, 05:17 AM
Shia looked at the lady and knew this must be Zella.

“My mother’s name was Leah Meier. Her mother and father, my grandparents, were Frank and Lena. I’m here to see if I still have any family left in these parts.”

09-16-2013, 06:44 PM
Eoghan though of asking for another ale, but the conversation of the two ladies seemed important, and his curiosity towards it was enough that he forgot whatever he might have been thinking... except for the wolfscent. Wolfscent is not easy to forget, but it sure could wait.

Rodgin Kemph
09-19-2013, 05:20 PM
The talk of finding lost family made Izakar choke on his food for a minute as his throat tightened. Visions of his lost wife and daughter flashing across his line of sight. He snapped back to reality in time to keep from coughing out the contents of his mouth. He stayed quiet, listening to the conversation, hoping it turned out well for the girl. There was too little happiness in this world for him to interrupt the potential for some to find its way out.

The meal was filling, though not amazing. Izakar got a pint of ale to wash it down and relaxed, trying to just enjoy being around people again. It was not easy, as he had the constant feeling something terrible was going to happen anywhere he was.

09-19-2013, 05:35 PM
With a parting "shout if you need me" to the young woman, leif returned to his compatriots, currently in the middle of a knife game.

09-19-2013, 07:28 PM
Zella looked at the woman, trying not to show the surprise on her face, "Meier iz my moser's maiden name."

She pushed her braid behind her shoulder and thought for a moment as she glanced up at her brother in the corner, "Sven, kan you please get moser?"

Sven looked uneasy but after receiving a glare from his sister he nodded and left the tavern quickly, not to take any longer than necessary. As Zella waited she let her hair out of it's braid and cleaned herself up a little, before attending to the people in the tavern again.

It was not long before her mother and Sven walked back through the door. Her mother was older, but held herself as a proper woman should, not how Zella carried herself. Her hair still had streaks of blonde, though gray was taking over, and was neatly pinned up as if she was heading to a fancy ball. The dress she wore, though handmade, was clean despite her cleaning the house and working on a dusty farm, she spoke German as she approached, "Sven said you needed me. What is wrong?

In German back Zella responded, "This girl speaks of her mother. Leah Meier. Do you know of her?"

Her mother's eyes looked pained as she looked away for a moment to regain her composure then back at the girl before speaking in broken English, "Your moser is Leah Meier?" She sighed but did not wait for a response, "Leah is my sister. I have not heard from her in many years. I did not know che had a child. Please...tell me vat has happened?"

09-20-2013, 02:28 AM
Shia was utterly flabbergasted!! She never expected the first person she would meet would be her mother’s own sister! She explained to the women how her mother passed close to nine years ago from an illness. She told them how her mother always wanted to come back to see her sister and her parents but being so far and with money being tight it was just never possible. She explained she had a happy and fulfilling life and her father hated that they had to live so far, but being a soldier made him travel far and wide and they finally settled in the mountains of Scotland. Once he left the army they relished their solitary lives in the mountains and made do with what they could.

“I simply can’t believe I made it here and found you all,” Shia had tears in her eyes. “My mother thought of you all so fondly and I came here to honor her last wish to finally meet the family she left behind”. Shia noticed the woman speaking the very broken English resembled her mother and even Shia’s own hair color matched the blonde streaks of the woman’s hair.

Shia also could not help to notice how the man who mentioned the wolfscent kept eyeing her curiously

09-20-2013, 04:09 AM
Eoghan was surprised at the girl's story. He got so distracted he didn't note he was staring, so he quickle looked some other way. He could find out about that smell later, it was not very important, but he was very curious about it.

"Would it be rude to ask for another ale now?" Eoghan asked, to nobody in particular, maybe too low for anybody to even hear him.

09-20-2013, 05:54 AM
Zella listened to the girl's story as she and her mother spoke and she filled ales around the house. She had no idea she had a cousin, let alone she would find her way here. It was strange, but her mother seemed pleased and welcomed her into open arms, "Vat now?" she asked to no one in particular.

09-26-2013, 01:13 AM
As this woman welcomed Shia into open arms, Shia realized how much she has missed having family around. As Shia returned the embrace and embraced her newly found relatives she felt extremely happy. She sat back down to finish the meal the strange man was kind enough to purchase for her. Although Shia was happy to have finally accomplished her mother's final wish, she could not shake the feeling of foreboding. Somewhere, in a very far off distance of the forest, she could hear the rumbling of something huge.

09-26-2013, 06:05 AM
Leif was drunk. Too drunk to remember which side of maplethorn he had rubbed down already, so he decided to do both. Again.

He often got this way after a night of drinking, and it did his sword great good; he had already oiled and polished both sides 4 times. He was about halfway through the Neibelungenleid, at his favorite parts he would stand on his chair and recite the poem loudly, often drifting between English, danish, and German. the story told of a great sword, given to a man by odin himself, that brought great power and great misfortune to the family. the hero Sigfried was the heir to this sword, re-forging the shards to make a sword named gram. with this mighty sword he would go on to slay a dragon, old and poisonous. at the mention of Fafnir the dragon, his chest went tight and his legs threatened to buckle.

Suddenly overcome with an urge, he returned to his room to make sure his runes were undisturbed. they had not been touched, and he took his hand into the bag to draw a casting.


"ye gods..." he muttered to himself, hoping he was wrong Leif drew again.


destruction death and anger would reign this night. the folk must be warned.

Rodgin Kemph
09-26-2013, 05:03 PM
Izakar had watched the reunion silently, as he did much of the room. There was plenty of other noise to compensate for his silence, and while he wouldn't say that he had enjoyed to chaos, it did him good to be around simple humanity again. The fighter's guild was as loud as he had expected, but they seemed a well mannered bunch. Taking an ale himself, he retired for the night, hoping the comfort of a bed would aid him in his sleep. He pleasently dozed off, warm and clean for the first time in months.

He was thrown out of his bed by the sound of a reptilian roar and a solid impact against the building. He knew immediately what was happening as the flickering light of a fire cast shadows across his room. Izakar scrambled for his armor, praying his time for revenge had finally arrived.

09-26-2013, 10:42 PM
Eoghan didn't even move while the people at the tavern started leaving. His thoughs stayed around the wolfscent, but drifted to all sort of unimportant and unrelated things. He would have stayed like that, but a sudden roar accompanied by a shudder of the building woke him from his thoughts.

"What was that?" he said to himself, quickly standing from his chair, crouching, grabbing his bow and placing an arrow on the string. He might not be the best of archers, but whatever it is that roared and shook the building, he will be prepared.

09-27-2013, 02:15 AM
In spite of the feeling of foreboding, Shia was exhausted. Her new found aunt allowed her to stay in a spare room and she fell to the bed and quickly fell asleep.

“SHIA!” It was Cavall calling to her mind, with fear laced in his thoughts

“Cavall!!” she cried as she awoke immediately sensing the danger. She could feel and hear the animals of the forest trembling and all with only one thought; “RUN!”

09-27-2013, 02:48 AM
there was a near-deafening roar and the building shook with impact. Leif had just finished putting on his armour, the brigandine he had acquired a few years before, and strapping his sallet on when he darted out of the room. Sword behind him and shoulder first, he warned everyone to action that he could. his company long since gone, he worried that he may not have much help.

as he got to the main hall, he saw the young man with bow drawn and motioned for him to follow. there were a few people heading down the hallway from other rooms and Leif threw open the door from the tavern with a shout, readying what rune magic he could to prepare for what would come.


09-28-2013, 03:15 AM
The rest of the night seemed quiet as her mother offered the room, without Zella's permission, on the house. Zella shook her head, though she was excited to meet her cousin, that her mother wasn't respecting her boundaries of her job. Sighing she let work take over her mind as she half listened to the rest of the conversations going on.

It wasn't long until her thoughts were disturbed by the sound of something loud outside, like a roar or growl. It caused the walls to shake, and some bottles and glasses fell to the floor shattering. Her mother ran outside first, probably to go check on her children, and Sven quickly followed her to help protect her. Zella instructed everyone in the bar to calm down, as she pulled out an axe from underneath the bar, one that she kept on hand in case Sven was away and the customers got a little too rowdy for comfort and quickly followed the others towards the door.

As the door was swung open by Leif, Zella was astounded at how bright it was despite it being late in the night. Then she realized the light was being caused by flames.

Rodgin Kemph
09-28-2013, 01:46 PM
Izakar blew out of the door, using his shield to block the impact of the door and likely breaking it off of the simple hinges that held it in place. There were plenty of people in shock, standing or milling about in front of the tavern, seeing the ultimate destruction that a dragon could lay down. Izakar knew the feeling, but he had seen it before and now knew what must be done.

Racing towards the edge of town, he tried to form a plan of battle. An attempt to pull the dragon away from town and fight elsewhere was a fools errand. As was fighting in a places the buildings could be dropped on him. Izakar could not find a way to make things turn out good here and found himself standing amongst the crowd, watching the gouts of fire wash over different buildings as the screams of the wounded and terrified rang out over the town.

He finally willed himself forward. Fools errand or not, he could not do nothing and watch this town end in rubble and ash as his had. Resettling his helmet, tightening his shield, Izakar drew his blade and ran towards where the dragon had landed, hoping he could hold his footing in the rubble.

09-28-2013, 04:57 PM
Leif finally saw it, the terrible creature was standing before him in a display of careless power like he had never seen. immediately he told himself there was nothing a man could do against this force of nature; it was not like any beast he had ever hunted. then he saw what the great monstrosity was doing.

eating. eating children. to this thing, they looked like a favorite snack. and leif realised that not only was this thing powerful, it was intelligent. it knew what it was doing. it was deliberately causing pain and suffering. it went after children to see the pain on the face of mothers. it spit out half-eaten corpses like unsavory gristle and took another.

this thing didn't eat people. it ate pain. and sorrow. and misery. leif could feel it getting stronger, and as he looked into the beast's eyes, it was laughing.

"I AM LEIF, SON OF OLAF SHIELDBREAKER! I CHALLENGE YOU, BEAST! COME,MEET YOUR DEATH!" he charged, gathering power and fury, and hit the creature with every ounce of strength he could muster. the gleaming edge of his sword hit scaly flesh and turned. what should have been enough to take the limb off entirely simply didn't. it was like trying to cut stone, even at the leg's weakest part below the knee his blow did nothing.

he expected a retaliation, and jumped back to prepare, but none was given. leif was being ignored. he was like a bee harrying a bear, completely unimportant.

trying again, he dashed as fast as he could for the beast's dark heart. calling the rune thurias, directed fury, he struck the beast. if a slash did nothing, he would take advantage of a thrust to get between the scales. the dragon let out a pained roar when the blow landed, and the blade sunk to the hilt.

"take that, niddingsvarkar! i will be your--" and leif was inside a building. unconscious. he learned later that the beast took notice of the last blow not because maplethorn had pierced flesh but because it had broken. the magic is what had hurt the creature, and for that pain, it had put leif through a wall.

09-28-2013, 09:45 PM
Shia stood in awe of this huge creature that she had only heard of in stories. This creature destroyed everything in its path as if were death itself. Shia saw the two men from the tavern run fearlessly to try and battle this dragon. The men looked so small in comparison to the dragon, which shocked her because she thought men were huge. The size of the monster sent shivers of fear. She was also picking up the fear of the animals that were also running; horses, sheep, pigs and cows. Cavall was by her side and Shia took comfort in that. Witnessing the two men fight bravely empowered Shia and she set her mind to action.

Then she heard "I AM LEIF, SON OF OLAF SHIELDBREAKER! I CHALLENGE YOU, BEAST! COME,MEET YOUR DEATH!" This was the huge man who bought her meal. She was in awe of his prowess and bravery. The other man seemed as if he were trying to lead the dragon away. Shia had a plan; if she could call the animals of the forest and have them become a decoy maybe this could help the men get the dragon away from the village. She had to try!

09-28-2013, 10:06 PM
Eoghan stepped outside the tavern, but stayed close to it. "The building must be strong" he thought, as it had shook but not fallen to whatever it was that bashed it. And that whatever was pretty close.

Scaled, dark, winged, angry, and above all, big. He had only listened to stories of these beasts, but never he thought he'd see one. Much less he thought they would be this gargantuan.

He didn't even think when he fired the first arrow. It just flew there and was lost in the dark being, and it didn't even notice. After realizing what he was doing, Eoghan placed a second arrow on the string. This time he aimed very carefully, thinking of hitting the neck of the beast... it was moving, so the arrow hit one of it's horns and broke, leaving nothing but splinters. Again, it didn't notice. Thinking more, he remembered that many, if not all of the beast with tough hides, had one weak, though very small and hard to hit, spot, and it was the eye. This beast had bigger eyes than any of the ones Eoghan had encountered before, so maybe that shot wouldn't be impossible. He got ready to run after releasing the arrow, aimed more carefully than he had done in his whole life, and released the arrow.

All he knew was that he had hitted the head of the beast. A hunter knows the skull is the hardest bone of all, so the dragon probably didn't even notice... but it noticed the archer. Eoghan ran as fast as he could to try and hide, but the beast sure had a better view in the dark than he did. He jumped over a low wall and started moving behind it, trying to think of a better place to shoot... after that he heard a tremendous roar and bright lights were raging over the wall.

Eoghan tried to see what was burning, but all he could se was blaze. "It must have fired at me" he thought, "thank the gods for this wall".

09-29-2013, 05:26 PM
Zella had never been in a fight with anything other than a wild animal, her brothers, or a drunk. The site of the dragon made her stop in her steps and just stare. It took her a moment to realize that standing in the middle of the street while an angry dragon ran around eating people was a bad idea, and she shook her head quickly to gather her focus. Her eyes shifted to eye level and she searched for her mom and Sven. She didn't see them.

Zella caught glimpse at the other attackers doing minimal damage and just irritating the dragon, and she thought. Quickly she ran back inside and rummaged through the storage room until she came back with a rope. She tied the end of the rope onto a grappling hook and made her way back outside. The highest point in the city would provide the most advantage to capturing the dragon, so she turned on her heel and ran through the back village streets. She jumped over obstacles, twisted around running citizens, and kept her eyes away from any dead, burning bodies nearby, though the smell was horrendous. Eventually she made it to a set of stairs and she flung up them two steps at a time.

At the top of the building she was in a clock tower, she tied one end of the rope to the biggest gear on the clock then went through a door that lead to further up. Taking the door she was at the top, and could see the dragon only a few yards away. Thankfully it was looking away from her, though its flicking tail did not leave much room for comfort. Standing on top of the open roof Zella began to swing the grappling hook, praying in her mind that this would work like she had hoped it would. Tossing the rope it fell and hit the side of the tower instead. Growling she pulled the rope back up before swinging to aim again. The second toss wrapped around the dragons jaws and before it could pull away she pulled the rope shut as tight as she could.

It noticed her now. It's growl was angry as it turned to attack her with it's tail. Zella ducked inside and it the lever which made the clock wind quickly. The gears, and the rope, started wrapping further around, dragging the dragon closer to the clock tower. Zella realized she hadn't thought this through, the clock tower was going to be destroyed, "Scheiße."

Zella ran.

09-29-2013, 06:23 PM
Leif woke up dazed. he was in his shop and the smell of heated steel and charred wood reminded him there was work to be done. he gathered himself to his feet and reached for his favorite hammer. it had been so long ago that he had used it that he missed on the first reach. and the second. where was that blasted... where was the wall!? YE GODS IS THAT A FUCKING DRAGON!? that's right, we're in battle!

Leif rushed to the apprentice station and took hold of the best, longest-handled sledge they had and left the same way he came in.

"Blades may not cut your flesh, but my hammer will crush your bones!" he challenged, and as the dragon reared back against the tower, leif hit its claw with all his force. uruz means strength in all its forms. uruz and hagal together make unstoppable destruction, and that was all that was on leif's mind. this thing must be destroyed.

when the hammer struck it was as if Thor himself had swung it, the claw shattered and blood rushed out. Leif cherished the tormented scream of that beast as if it were his child's first word. he thirst for more.

09-29-2013, 10:21 PM
Shia’s attempt at calling the animals was a failure. The dragon swatted at them as if they were flies. Shia felt a stab of guilt at the sacrifice the animals made to help their cause. Then she saw the dragon swat at Lief and he flew into a building taking the wall with him. Fear stabbed her heart, she prayed he was Ok. Shia attempted to try and form a link with the dragon and communicate with it like she does with animals. It seemed as if a barrier was in place; she could get no thoughts, only fleeting images and death and destruction. This was no natural creature; this was a creature of magic.

Shia then saw Zella run up a tower to attempt to rope the dragon’s jaws shut. Shia thought that plan was very resourceful so she looked around to see what she could do to help but first she wanted to check on Leif. Then Leif came running out of the building wielding a large hammer. The hammer actually hurt the dragon, where blades had failed! Shia also saw the building Zella went into was about to come down. Shia ran to building, nearly missing the giant tail as it swished up and down. The dragon let out an ear piercing roar; this dragon was in pain and wanted vengeance. It was also angry at its jaws being roped shut and she could see this dragon was ready for the vengeance it craved.

Luckily this dragon had not noticed Shia yet, and she was behind him trying to gain access to the building. All Shia had for weapons were her daggers; her bow and arrows were back in the room. Shia thought if she could scale the dragon and reach his head maybe she could take out his eye.

“Do or Die” Shia said to herself as she dodged the tail and tried to gauge its next landing so she could launch herself and get on its back.

Rodgin Kemph
09-30-2013, 11:22 PM
Racing towards the mangle of scales, chewed flesh, and combat, Izakar had just enough time to see one of the large men from the Fighter's Guild get tossed through a wall. The dragon was not to be disturbed, but Izakar still had his vengeance to gain. Stepping over a body, he ran forward, his blade drawn and looking for some soft spot that could be damaged.

The dragon careened hard over Izakar's head, the rope and clock tower doing their work. The dragon stumbled hard into the tower, stones and dust falling from the damaged structure. Regaining its footing, the dragon reared back, shredding the rope and freeing itself from the well played move. Then, its toe was smashed by the man who had climbed out of the wall. Izakar realized he had been watching, likely having missed several opportunities.

The dragon roared and moved to attack the man who had wounded him. A wing dipped low and Izakar made his move. His blade cut deep into leathery, bat like wing, drawing another shriek from the beast.

"Remember me," Izakar bellowed. "I will hunt you till one of us is dead, I swear by every god I can swear by, it will happen."

09-30-2013, 11:53 PM
Eoghan climbed the wall just to see a rope around the dragon's mouth, a hammer strike, a tower almost falling, a cut on a wing and the dragon free from the rope again... and... "what in the..." he said when he noticed a girl dodging the beast's tail, like if she was trying to get over it... an armored man was in front of the beast, and the one that had attacked with the hammer was not far... "how can I..." he thought, and an idea came to mind.

"HEY!!" he shouted at the dragon as he jumped from the wall over ash and embers. "HEY, YOU, CONDEMNED BEAST". It had been years since he had shouted, he didn't even remembered his voice as more than a whisper. "HEY" he continued, drawing an arrow from his quiver and placing it on the string. "HEY" he said, standing still, 15 feet from the beast. "HEY, LOOK AT ME" he said when he fired the first arrow. He didn't even know where it had hit the beast, nor if it had noticed, but it didn't matter. "HEEEY" he said after releasing the second arrow. The monster was so large that it was almost impossible to miss, and Eoghan didn't care for wounding it, he just wanted it's attention. "Maybe this way the others can make more damage" he thought when he released the third arrow, hitting the dragon in the head. This time it noticed.

"YES, YOU!!" he kept shouting "HERE I AM!! LOOK, HERE, YOU UGLY BEAST!!". It's eyes were full of rage. They reminded Eoghan of those of an enraged bear or a wildboar. "This is not different, this is not different" he kept thinking "this is the same, I must distract it so the others have a greater chance, it is not different" and so the beast finally fired. "This is it!!" he said, as only a whisper, as he jumped out of reach. He had done it many a time, when faced to a bear, a boar or a wolf. "This is just another beast... just another" he kept thinking. "YOU MISSED, YOU BIG UGLY FREAK!!" he said, firing another arrow. The dragon's breath was hard to dodge, and the heat that sorrounded it just made it worst. Eoghan felt like he was in the fires of Hell, but he kept shouting and firing at the beast so it would focus on him. "If it attacks, I dodge, simple, it is simple, just like I would with a bear" he kept reminding himself, as to not become prey to terror. "I just hope the others are able to hurt this thing before my agility fails" he said, firing one more arrow.

10-04-2013, 07:27 AM
Zella weaved through falling stone as the tower began to collapse. She managed to make her way to the bottom step, and pushed through the destroyed now splintered wooden door that remained. Outside she heard screaming and saw many people attacking the beast as one man attempted to distract it. Being so close Zella finally realized how large the monster was, and how much damage it was doing to her home.

Grumbling she grabbed her ax and ran towards the closest part of the beast to her, it's front leg. She swung with all her might at the thinnest part of it's leg in attempts to make some kind of damage but the first swing missed. Balancing herself, she tried again, this time her ax hit with a thud, but it felt awkward and no where near as sturdy as a tree bark when she hit one. As she pulled the ax away she frowned, she had expected more blood. Zella wondered if this wasn't going to do any damage what could she do to help. The rope seemed to be holding steady, but it wouldn't for long. Glancing over at a local building she realized they were by the black smith. Dodging between the dragons legs she ran inside the condemned looking building and grabbed some metal chain link that hung on the wall. They were usually used to hold the blacksmiths weapons, but now the weapons were cast aside, and no one was around to tell her otherwise.

Running back outside she stared at the beast, and thought to herself, "How the hell am I supposed to get this around those giant wings?!"

10-08-2013, 10:03 PM
leif saw the dragon reacting to the archer's shots and dashed to assist.

"ho! friend, let me charm your arrows!" he shouted and began scribeing a semi-circle around them in the ashes.


when the rune charm was written, a wall of ice formed in an incomplete dome around them, and leif held out his hand for the arrows.

10-13-2013, 10:27 PM
Just as Shia was about to jump on the dragons back side to attempt to put out an eye, she saw Zella with chains and then she saw Leif charming arrows. Then Shia had an idea, if she could get Leif to charm the chains as well, then she and Zella could try and get those chains around the dragon. She was not sure what the magic was going to do to the arrows but she was sure the charmed chains could hold the dragon.

She motioned to Zella to get to Leif right as the tail nearly threw her aside. The dragons roar was so loud it was almost impossible to hear. Then Shia called to Cavall to have him nudge Zella and the chains closer to where Leif was busy charming the arrows. She just hoped they would both know what she wanted them to do before it was too late. She was still near the tail end of the dragon and the noise was simply too loud for them to hear her shouts.

Rodgin Kemph
10-14-2013, 01:54 AM
Izakar ducked a spurt of blood and some scythe like claws. The dragon was wounded, and reeling somewhat from being attacked and hurt at all. He was bellowing with rage, thrashing about trying to end the souls that were daring to stand in his way. The ice dome held fast under an angry blow, but with his attention there, he felt a sharp pain in his foot. Izakar had run his sword up inside the shattered nail, finding something soft inside.

Another bellow and a thrash, and the dragon leapt to the sky. The wash off his wings raised dirt and debris all over. Izakar used his shield to simply act as a barrier from the high speed dirt. They had fended the dragon off, but he was far from dead. And dragon's had long memories.

10-14-2013, 04:05 AM
Eoghan noticed the man of the hammer near him saying something about charming his arrows... and suddenly an ice wall rose from nowhere.

"What in hell?!" he shouted, suddenly lost, not understanding anything about all this. "First the smell of wolves, then a dragon, and now this weird ice, I should have never come here..." he said to himself. Then he noticed the man of the hammer with his hand extended. "Eh, do not worry about me, just keep hitting that be-" he couldn't finish his sentence as suddenly the monster was flying over them and moving away, causing dirt to fly too. Eoghan barely got to cover his face with his cloak, and the wind nearly threw him off balance.

"Well... that is one less problem" he said, again only as a whisper.

10-14-2013, 10:03 AM
leif rose as he saw the dragon flee, rage boiling in his heart

"Come back you coward! This game is not finished!" throwing a rock in the beast's wake "I will make you feel fear and pain before you die! there is nowhere that will hide you from me!"

10-16-2013, 01:06 AM
Zella stumbled backwards with the wind of the wings force as she grumbled. She couldn't say she was completely disappointed in it leaving. As she stood up she glanced around and saw wounded around and her eyes opened wide, "Mutter!"

She took off running towards her home in search of her mother, praying everything was alright. The sight of blood and wreckage blurred around her as she ran and jumped over bodies until she made it to her home, and swung open the door. On the bed lay her mother, her youngest brother had a wash cloth over her head as Sven wrapped bandage over her chest. Sven was bleeding as well, though he seemed to ignore them as he helped his mother.

"Nein..." she ran towards her mother side and took over, "Mutter, please..."

A weak smile greeted her, as her mother spoke in German, "You're okay, I'm so glad. Three of my children made it at least."

Three? Eyes darted around as she didn't see her other brother, "...Adler..."

Sven pushed up and hid the pained expression as he walked over to his own bed. He refused to show his mother that he was bleeding so badly. It wasn't long after that their mother passed away, and all three sobbed as Zella refused to leave her side. Sven, not wanting to disturb the moment, lay on his bed. Staying strong, he hid the fact that he was injured. He mentioned he was going to lay down on deaf ears, and fell asleep not sure if he'd wake up again.

10-17-2013, 03:01 AM
The dragon, to Shia’s relief, flew away for reasons not quite yet clear. She imagined it had something to do with the damage the magic had caused. Shia saw the two men together and was curious as to how the one called Leif conjured the strange ice using his magic. She had never seen anything like that before. She wondered if he would talk about his magic. She knew from personal experience that other’s thought her a little weird because she could speak to animals. In spite of her curiosity, she knew there were many who were injured and could use some help. Putting her curiosity aside, she went to see if there was anything she could do. Shia could not help but to feel an overwhelming sorrow. She had just come into this town and had hoped to begin a new life here. Now there was nothing but death and destruction. She could not shake the feeling that there was more to come and this was not the last of it.

10-18-2013, 03:48 PM
Leif, along with many others, spent the night searching for survivors. there weren't many. rage boiled higher with every body they burned. the despair he felt for others was deeper than anything he had felt since he was a child. but that would only feed the terrible beast, and he could not allow that to happen.

he remembered the fechtschule crest, the great silver shield he was so enamoured with the first time he saw it would still be there he knew. he also knew all his brothers that had been there were in valhalla.

Leif trudged up the ash covered road to retrieve that shield that was so vital to his plan and saw something he could scarcely believe...

thieves. they were taking weapons, gold, armour, anything of value. even worse they were from the school, cowards that had ran away when the terror had struck.

Leif said nothing when they greeted him, he let his knife speak for him. the traitors were all dead in minutes, he had hanged the last of them alive with their own cloaks as an offering to odin. he used the dirt cared blood to make a runes of power on the great shield, the silver emblem was nearly 3 feet tall and 2.5 across, a heater style that knights carry on horseback. it had been emblazoned with the schools crest, and it nearly brought the huge man to tears. hefting it on his back, Leif trudged back.