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Plink's Progress.

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    Posted: 15 Oct 2014 at 11:20

In Lord Granlik's Withdrawing Room.

Lord Granlik; Well, I don't know....

Plink: But you keep saying I should do something useful Uncle!

Granlik: Getting drowned or stuck like a pig by savages is not in the least useful, either to you or to me, my boy.

Plink: But Whitebeard the pirate will land me at a proper port and I won't be alone over there and I bet when you were younger you would have jumped at a chance to travel and explore new lands! And also I was a top reporter for the Illyriad Free Times, the Editor told you so!

Granlik: Yes I know he did and I wish he was still with us but I am still a bit doubtful about you wandering around foreign lands even though you have spent the last year in the Army Intelligence corps. What do you think Advisor Purpunk-Nosh?

Purpunk-Nosh: Well my Lord. I have seen your nephew Plink grow into an engaging young man who feels at home in all levels of society. He is well-known throughout your domain and there cannot be anyone who feels that he is not destined for great things in the fullness of time.

Granlik: Hummm... What do you think General Gasper?.

Gasper: I think he is ready Sire. With his recent promotion he now has a Command of his own and the ability to take decisions, plus a young man's drive to succeed. Also I understand he has selected a number of experts in various fields to accompany him. I also think that in agreeing to allow a close relative of yours to go forth on such a mission will enhance the reputation of yourself sire, in the eyes of the King and your equals throughout the land.

Granlik: Ohh, err, you do do you? Well. If I was younger... Ok young Plink you can go but I warn you, keep out of trouble, look where you are going and don't annoy anybody important. You have my Blessings.

Plink: Oh thank you uncle! I promise I shall send home reports of my journeys in the Broken Lands and not get into any troubles and look after all the people who are going with me. I'm so excited and can't wait to tell everyone. Gosh! Super! Oh, I'm so excited... oh, I've already said that haven't I? Thanks again Uncle Granlik!

Granlik: Right then, all agreed. You may all leave now as I have an early start tomorrow as a small herd of elephants has been sighted east of Nyflink and I haven't bagged one for several months. Tell the door guards on your way out that I am not to be disturbed until my bath is run in the morning.

The three visitors bow and make their way out. Once in the corridor Plink rushes off to tell his girlfriend Gladriall the good news while the Advisor and Army General stroll towards the hospitality chamber and a welcome drink.

Advisor Purpunk-Nosh: I must say that went well.

General Gasper: Yes, Lord Granlik bought it completely. Thank the Gods that that idiot Plink will be gone soon. He has been a walking disaster for the Corps! We lost a whole company marching off a cliff because he assumed they would stop when ordered to turn left instead of right.

Advisor Purpunk-Nosh: I shall sleep well tonight. I remember the Editor of the Times telling me he always made certain that Plink was sent to a remote location, with the minimum information about a story, and that he always hoped Plink would get lost as he has no sense of direction.

General Gasper: So he's off to Broken Lands! They don't know what's going to hit them! Ahh, here we are. Scotch?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Granlik Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2014 at 15:30

A Slight Misunderstanding.

Lord Granlik strides to the window again. The noise from the Nefflink courtyard below is deafening and it has been going since daybreak and it is now late afternoon. He looks down on a group of wagons surrounded by pheasants who are loading some of them with supplies while others are being unloaded at the same time. One wagon is being loaded on one side and unloaded on the other while a fight has broken out between some of the waggoner's and merchants near the horse lines upsetting the creatures and causing the guards difficulty in separating the contestants. Granlik frowns and then turns as the door to his viewing room suddenly opens and a number of people come in.

Granlik: What in the King's name is going on down there? Is anyone in charge? Master Woolgar, please explain why that caravan is still here when it should have gone three hours ago?

Yard Master Woolgar: I must apologise my Lord but there seems to have been a slight misunderstanding.

Granlik: Misunderstanding? It's a caravan going to the port of Hanlif for my nephews expedition to the Broken Lands. Caravans leave here every week on the dot with no misunderstandings. Why is this particular one different?

The three newcomers look at each other uncomfortably and shuffle around. Granlik looks at them all and waits for an answer. They still look at each other and avoid his gaze. Granlik points at his Minister of Supply, Figgy.

Granlik: Speak!

Figgy: Err, Sire, err, it appears your nephew Plink has caused some confusion with the supplies he requires for the expedition. I had been contacted by the Merchants Guild of space required for a caravan leaving today for the south and so freed the yard. A messenger arrived yesterday from Hanlif sent by your nephew Plink to his girlfriend Gladriall who lives in Nufflink. Luckily she told Councillor Hashnesses daughter of some of its contents this morning and she, the daughter, told Councillor Hashness over lunch which caused him ride quickly to see me in Nafflink as soon as possible and then we both rode swiftly over here to Nefflink to see the Yard Master.

Granlik: I might have known.... Plink!

Figgy remains silent but knows that Granlik will want to know what Plink has done.

Granlik: And?

Councillor Hashness: Well my Lord it seems that before he left last week for Hanlif he arranged for supplies to follow later and contacted various merchants and suppliers and wagon masters to undertake this. But his letter to Gladriall says that General Gasper, who you sent with him and give advice during his journeys has already arranged all the provisions for the voyage and everything is at the port already and they expect to sail in a few days.

Woolgar: So when the Minister and Councillor arrived here two hours ago I ordered the caravan to be disbanded but unfortunately I did not dare to give the specific reason for my order and there is now a bit of a problem as a number of suppliers are demanding payment and others have questioned my authority and claim your nephew ordered their involvement with your authority my Lord. There are other independent merchants who have paid to join the caravan and now want compensation for loss of trade and also a number of travellers who were going to follow it as far as south Arran now want to sue somebody.

Granlik: Gods! I told him that Gasper would arrange everything apart from him picking the few personal advisers that he wanted to accompany him to the new world. All he did was to look at the list of people he had picked to go with him and worry that they could change their minds and what clothes he should take along. He thought of nothing else. In the end I said he was responsible for his own arrangements and told him to get on with it. He must have forgotten what I said about Gasper!

Figgy: There is another problem Sire. One of King Siguard's survey teams that are collecting information throughout the land on Good Governance within a Feudal System and the Implementation of Civic Order have been seen passing N8fflink on the way here and are expected within a few hours.

The noise from the courtyard below suddenly increases in intensity and everyone rushes to the window. Below a column of Spear men has just formed up by the inner gate and the court guards are trying to grab merchants, suppliers and anyone who seems to be protesting while the peasants had by now all retreated behind the wagons of which a number had been turned over. They, and a number of merchants who had evaded the guards begin to throw potatoes at the troops. The officer in charge of the spear men is looking up at the window.

Yard Master Woolgar: I ordered for yard support just before we came up here Sire.

Granlik: Good man Woolgar... Stop it first and sort it later...

Granlik leans out of the window and the noise subsides and some 500 pairs of eyes look up at him.



He turns to the three men who stand perfectly still and look at him with expressionless faces.

Granlik: Woolgar, you will explain to the queue that a terrible mistake was made by a minor official who has since been transferred to the wolf pits.

Figgy, you will see the Court Treasurer and insure that all demands from the Yard Masters office are met promptly. You will then meet King Siguards team and insure they are given all hospitality.

Hashness, you will make certain not a word of this gets out under threat of death as I don't want this on the front page of the Herald and be made a laughing stock due to my nephews forgetfulness. Right, get on with it please!

The trio file out shutting the door quietly. Granlik sits down in a chair and gazes at a picture on the wall showing him in pursuit of a herd of elephants. He sighs and takes a long gulp from the flask of mulled wine on the side table and then gets up and leans out of the window again. The only people in the courtyard are guards and an orderly queue of people by the Yard Masters office, a large number of whom are looking nervously up at him. He sighs again and returns to his chair and mulled wine.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Granlik Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2014 at 14:26

Final Thoughts.

The chat gradually died and they sat in silence around the table in the shanty house. He was late again but that was normal. They all waited and while they did so they all thought about the journey ahead and what they would find. Each had a different reason why they were there and each had a different internal voice whispering thoughts to them.

General Gasper of the Intelligence Corps still had a vague hope that something would happen to halt the expedition. Ordered by Lord Granlik to watch over his favourite nephew he would do his duty, but always hoped. On the way to the port of Hanlif he had prayed that another vast continental war had broken out and that they would be recalled back to Nefflick but peace still reigned everywhere in the land. He had kept a keen watch on the sea weather reports but no incoming ships had had any problems crossing the Bitter Sea, in fact the consensus was that it had never been so calm. Gasper was despondent.

Next to him Sargent Griffin just looked straight ahead. Griffin was a professional solder and had served his time in the town militia, infantry, cavalry, siege division, palace guard and now was in charge of the six scouts assigned to the expedition. He was a hard man and everybody knew it.

Kroc Bosha was a chef. He had been the food correspondent for the Illyriad Free Times and since its unfortunate demise had struggled to find a job in Tor Carrock. But luckily for him he had sometimes cooked breakfast in the Times office and young Plink quite liked his egg and crushed meat bits so he had asked him to join the expedition as cook. Kroc had said yes straight away. He was also an Orc so took up two places on the bench. He was wondering if there were eggs in the Broken Lands.

Whitebeard the Pirate was worried. The last time he had had any dealings with people from Granlik's towns his ship had been lost along with all the passengers and crew apart from his cabin boy Moggly, who was now somewhere in the Broken Lands. The passengers had been something to do with a popular paper but he hadn't really got to know them as he had been struck down with a bout of crotchy mites just before sailing so his second-in-command, Dreadlocks Joe had been in charge of his pirate ship and had sunk it. Whitebeard had just managed to to buy another ship named Shrimp (second-hand) but needed some ready cash to pay his new crew and so had reluctantly accepted this contract. Once he gets them to RoyalPort he will hoist the Jolly Roger and be off pirating again.

Ardvic Grunderfutt was another of the Times correspondents and had ran the arts and poetry section. He should have gone with the Editor on the ill fated voyage but thinking he had enough time to board he had drawn a superb sketch of a ship leaving harbour only to find out that he had in fact sketched the Floating Keg as it left for the Broken Lands. Ardvic, being a sensitive Glade elf suffered a terrible mental breakdown and has lost his sensitive touch since then and dreams of finding his soul again in the unknown lands.

Mage Banpop until recently was working in the Mage Tower in Nifflink. He is a dwarf of Clan Bealagh of Tor Carrock. Banpop is an avid proponent of Interactive Magic and thus is extremely excited in studying different forms of magic in the new land. He is hoping to visit as many Hubs as possible. He has volunteered for the trip and can't wait to sail.

Kalnut Tonk is a man with a mission. He thinks of himself as a revolutionary or a visionary and then occasionally as an idiot. He was a childhood friend of Plink and had asked him if he could come along. Plink had said “Super!” and that was that. Kalnut had lead a normal life until he read edition 7 of the Illyriad Free Times and promptly joined the Society of Scientific Investigators. He is now a committed“Sosie” dedicated to destroying the Magical beliefs that rules the world and hopes to help create a new civilisation where “Science” brings advancement, peace and love to everyone.

And so they sit in silence. The orc and dwarf begin to drift into a deep sleep. Kroc begins to lean forward onto the table and a snuddering snore is heard. Sargent Griffin looks at General Gasper who gives a slight nod.

Griffins arm shoots out and he pinches Krocs nose hard and withdraws it in a flash. Kroc wakes with a yelp and jumps up, banging the table. This causes everyone to stand up. At the same time the door swings open and Plink enters the room with a broad smile on his face.

Plink: Hallo everyone, sorry I'm late and you shouldn't all have been standing around waiting for me, you could have all sat down. Super! Well we can go now as the boat that was blocking our one has moved so they just have to find Captain Whitebread and we're off!

Whitebeard: Arr me beauty, It's Whitebeard, not Whitebread and I be here as you told me to be.

Plink: Oh, I thought I told you to go to the boat and I would join the others after you were told we can go once the other boat moves.

Whitebeard: Oh no me beauty! No! You said to join the others.... Arr, and they don't be called boats I keep telling you laddy, they be ships. Arr, let me out of here...

Whitebeard rushes out of the room.

Plink: Ok, Great, Right, Whitebread has now gone to the ship so we can follow him and go now so everyone follow me, Great!

General Gasper: Captain Plink! We have been waiting here for over two hours and now you just stroll in and tell us that we can go now. Where have you been?

Plink: I've been writing a letter to Gladriall my girlfriend saying that we are going now and then went to find a messenger at the messenger office to take it but they were all out on missions so I didn't know what to do but then I found one of our scouts just about to board the ship with his horse and so I sent him.

Sargent Griffin: Sir! You have sent one of my six scouts back to Nefflink Sir?

Plink: Yes, I promised her I would send a letter just before we go. Isn't it exciting!

Griffin: SIR! Do you realis...

Gasper: That will be all Sargent...

Griffin: Sir!

Banpop: Oh, I'm far too excited. I must do a quick spell of self depression. (he waves his arms around. Ardvic gets a splitting headache)

Kroc: Does anyone want something to eat before we go?

Plink: Super! That's a great idea Krocy. Have you got any eggs to do a quick fry?

Gasper: I think we should go NOW. Captain Whitebeard does NOT wait around for anybody!

So they all rush out of the shanty house and see the Shrimp with all sails set beginning to draw away from the jetty. Whitebeard can be see shouting orders and waving his arms about. The remaining five scouts can also be seen looking anxiously for the rest of their party.

Lead by Gasper they all manage to board the ship apart from Ardvic who goes back to the shanty for his sketchbook which he had left on the table. General Gasper and Sargent Griffin manage to persuade captain Whitebeard to send the jolly boat back to pick him up. Plink shouts “ Super!” as the little elf is pulled on board and the Shrimp turns southwards and to distant Puchuallpa.

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Sea Legs.

Captain Whitebeard scanned the southern horizon searching for a break in the dark banks of clouds. There were none. The swell was rising and the driving rain that always fell along the jump line was only a few miles away. The Shrimp was approaching the Maelstroms, the band of violent circular winds that divided the bitter sea into its north and south sections. Whitebeard was an old hand at “jumping the line” the crucial dropping and raising of the sails while swinging the rapidly moving ship 180 degrees round to face the opposite direction, He glanced back at the line of passengers leaning over the side emptying their empty stomachs again. It was odd he thought how young Plink, Kroc the orc and Sargent Griffin were unaffected by the sea and all the others were spending the whole voyage being sick.

It was time to start giving orders to prepare the ship, his new crew and the passengers for the ordeal ahead.

Whitebeard: Arr me beauties, drop the jib an raise the tops, Arr! Rope the horses tight an secure the deck lines.

Plink: I say, this is Super! I do like sailing!

Whitebeard: Arr! Grab hold them cables you slimy dogs... I said secure those lines now!

Plink: It seems to be getting windier, Great! Are you enjoying this Krocy?

Kroc: I'm getting a bit peckish. I may go and make a sandwich.

Whitebeard: Arr! All passengers below! All hands stand to ready! Stand firm me beauties, Arr!

Plink: Wow! We are going fast now! And why is the ship being blown that way?

Whitebeard: It be the winds along the line me young sir. The sea currents go opposite ways on the line. You best get below now. Arr! Here comes the rain! READY TO DROP SAILS ME BEAUTIES!!!!

Crew: ARR CAP'N!

Whitebeard: DROP!!


Plink: Oh my!.


Crew: ARR!!

Kroc: I've done some cheese and pickle.

Whitebeard: UP SAILS!!


Plink: Great! Cheese and pickle. Oh, were going in the other directions now. How odd.

Whitebeard: Arr, that be a goodly jump me lads.. STEER ON THE SOUTHERN LINE, WHEEL! Arr!. Open a keg of grog an all hands grab his cup.

And so the “jump” is done and the Shrimp sets south again towards the Broken Lands. On checking the ship over Whitebeard finds that he has lost three crew and the jolly boat. Sargent Griffin who had in fact carried the line of sick passengers down from the side rail to the cabins starting with General Gasper, had been furious when on going back for his fifth remaining scout had found that he had been blown overboard and so he swore long and loud, causing some nearby crew to blush. Later, down in the cabin they talked about the experience.

Ardvic: I don't remember anything and I still feel sick.

Banpop: I need the bucket again.

Plink: It was great and the wind was super. Sailing is fab and fun and its a pity that -

Tonk: Oh please shut up Plinky, I don;t feel well and give me that bucket....

General Gasper: Sargent Griffin! You should have brought scout Hassish down before the others. You knew he was the best one we had and could speak some of those BL native tongues.

Griffin: Sir! They were all in a row and leaning over the side and I couldn't tell one from the other and the rain was coming down like kippers and I had to work fast, Sir!

Gasper: We haven't even got there yet and we've lost two scouts already....

Plink: I could do a bit of scouting General. I was a top reporter once and had to find my way around lots of places.

Kroc: Anyone want some cold jelly fish soup with runny fried eggs?

Many Voices: Yeegh.................

Plink: Oh goody, I'll have a bowl thank you.

Whitebeard: (poking his head down the hatch) Arr me beauties, another strong blow be on the way so I'll send another bucket down.

And so the Shrimp continues on its way to the Puchuallpa coast and RoyalPort, one of the largest entry points into the eastern parts of the Brocken Lands. What adventures await the companions? Will Plink find excitement in the new land and Ardvic his soul again? Will Banpop discover new forms of magic from the strange Hubs that lie within their path? And will Sargent Griffin manage to keep his remaining four scouts? What of Lord Granliks secret orders to General Gasper? And will Kroc find a sufficent supply of eggs to keep the party happy? All these questions will be answered (or in some cases may remain a mystery) as the months unfold.

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Plink 5.  Decisions.

RoyalPort was one of the major ports for the majority of Elgea settlers heading for the eastern side of the new continent and as such and it took some time to find an inn prepared to take in all the party but eventually one was found alongside one of the large open sewers that served the seeder side of town. Captain Whitebeard had wished the party farewell they disembarked from the Shrimp.

Whitebeard: Arr me beauties tis time for parting an the sea calls me back like a large lady in a tiny tub for a rub! May the Gods be with ye as you stumble in the jungle!

Plink: Oh its so exciting now were here. Three cheers for captain Whitebread and his crew!

Whitebeard: Arr, it be Whitebeard ye young scamper an I keeps telling ye.

General Gasper: Right, we best be off to find lodgings and we bid you well captain in your chosen profession. Stay clear of navy ships and violent storms.

Whitebeard: Arr General, I'll do that and if ye ever get home my compliments to Lord Granlik.

General Gasper spent the first few days getting supplies while Sargent Griffin, the scouts, Kroc, Tonk and Ardvic spent the same time getting drunk. Banpop shot of to visit a number of local Mage Towers. and the area Hub while Plink on the other hand wandered around the town drinking in the sights. He also began to take notes as he felt that he was still a reporter although his old paper was long dead.

He was fascinated by the ramshackle buildings of various styles and also the many differing races all mixed together trying to make a decent living. A substantial proportion made an indecent living as well but more of that later. Also he toured the extraordinary variety of shops that had sprung up to cater for the constant flow of immigrants passing through the ever growing city.

Every week large caravans were assembled and headed north into the interior, some of these were purely made up of new settlers from the major Elgea alliances like Asier, Invitus and Infamy and these were protected by their alliance troops. Others were a jumble of settlers from a mixture of smaller alliances with just minimal protection against the many native tribes whose area they would pass through.

After a week Gasper decided that it was time to gather the party together and inform them of their next step. He was the de facto Leader of the party and in fact had an agreed set of orders given to him by Lord Granlik back in Nefflink. He had to meet some people at different locations and also find out what some other specific alliances were up to. He also had to gather information about the political complexities that existed between the east and west and north and south nations that lived in Broken Lands and at the same time investigate the comparative strengths of the internal factions.

As an afterthought Granlik had mentioned that the distribution of elephants (if any) was of interest to him and could the General keep an eye out for them? Gasper sometimes wished he had never joined the army.

Gasper: Attention! Right, It's time to start out on our explorations. As you know settlers from our lands back home have established many new towns so I think it best that we do not stray to far away from such locations. I have obtained a number of local maps which will allow us to update such information that our Diplomatic Service back home has provided us with. Furthermore I can inf.....

Plink: I think it would be great if we could go to the Pirate Isles. Its a pity that captain Whitebread isn't with us any more, he would be a great help there.

Gasper: Yes captain Plink, Your uncle has plans for... I mean Lord Granlik knows of your wish to go there so we will do so after we visit a number of other places first. Furthermore I can...

Banpop: What do you mean by plans? I thought Mr Plink was in charge and that we go where he wants to go. I thought you and the soldiers were just to protect him. I think we should concentrate on the Hubs to increase our knowledge of how magic is used over here. I think...

Gasper: I'm in charge of this party so as to make certain that nothing happens to captain Plink who is quite happy that I plan ahead and also Lord Granlik wishes that captain Plink should be able broaden his experiences with no problems of command and to be able to do as he wishes.

Tonk: I joined to help Plinky cos I thought he was in charge and we could discover new things here and I want to collect any strange stuff that I find and I'm going to. I'm not in anybody's army!

Gasper: I'm afraid you are all under my command and if I order you to do anything you will do it. Is that understood?

Sargent Griffin and the four remaining scouts: SIR! YES SIR!

Kroc: I've got some flatfish on the fire if anybody wants some.

Plink: Oh Super! I am a bit peckish and I'm quite happy the General is in charge, Great!

Gasper: Right then, as I was saying we will leave tomorrow morning and move south-east into mainly unsettled Puchuallpa territory until we reach this point (taps map on the table very quickly so that no one sees where he has tapped) and then turn north towards Pawanalla and the area dominated by the Asier. After that we will head for the High Hills region and...

Ardvic: High Hills. Such a romantic name... It gives me shivers to say it, what mystery await us there...

Kroc: The sauce is crushed pig eyeballs and pulped crow livers.

As Krocs cooking was better then the Inns fare they all tuck in. Where he obtained it from was a mystery but no one ever asked him. After the meal Gasper says that they had all better get a good nights rest as he wants to start loading the pack horses and wagons at dawn. Everyone agrees and they all rise from the table to go to their straw bunks when the door opens and a familiar voice breaks the silence.

Captain Whitebeard: Arr me goodly mates tis me yer old friendly sea dog! I'll be asking a favour of ye all, me beauties.

Plink: Oh, its captain Whitebread! Super!

Gasper: And to what do we owe the pleasure of this unexpected appearance?

Whitbeard: Arr, Well me hearties I have had me ship impounded by some dastardly official who maintains I owe monies to various ports all over the place an me scummy crew has gone over the side seeing the marines come aboard an also cos I was a bit short on the coins to give them. Arr, tis a poor old sea dog that has nowhere to go in a foreign land an knows no body but his trusted companions of a recent voyage. Arr!

Gasper: So?

Whitebeard: An I be thinking you could use an experienced man of the world on yer travels as you will needing to bargain an to know how to fight an to tied proper knots an to sail on water sometimes an to stow stuff properly an if you run out of food how to pick a crew member to...

Gasper: That's enough captain as we are leaving first thing in the morning.

Griffin: We do have two spare horses Sir as we are down two scouts already.

Kroc: And we could run out of food...

Plink: I think its super captain Whitebread can join us. I'm sure my uncle Granlik would say yes if he was here.

Ardvic: The more the merrier I say!

Gasper: Gods help me... Very well, you are accepted into the party, captain. Welcome aboard...

And so in the morning the Plink Expedition departs into The Broken Lands. Later that day a file of marines call at the Inn looking for Whitebeard. Even later the recent crew of his impounded ship make polite enquiries as to where the captain may have gone?

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The party travelled eastwards and soon the clamour of RoyalPort was far behind them and the Puchuallpa jungle swallowed them up. The General was somewhat surprised by the amount of baggage that accompanied them. He had made certain that they had sufficient supplies for several weeks as he was uncertain of what lay ahead before they reached the buildings that Lord Granlik had marked on the rough map that he had given him. How Granlik had obtained such knowledge he had no idea but during his years of service all sorts of odd people had been recruited as Special Advisers by the Lord so he had stopped bothering about Granliks motives. Gasper just followed orders.

It seemed everyone was collecting stuff and they had only just started. Plink agreed with anyone who wanted their own transport and Whitebeard had somehow managed to obtain two large wagons both of which were covered and no one was allowed to see what was in them. Plink had got a local cart for any souvenirs he might collect along the way and both the Mage and Tonk had already collected stuff stored in some large boxes and sacks and Plink had insisted that they get a cart to carry them. Kroc, as cook, had found a old Tuck Wagon which got the full support of Sargent Griffin and his scouts. It was very large and bulky and resembled a mobile fort with a team of four oxen pulling it. In the end a further wagon was needed to carry fodder for all the horses and pack animals.

They journeyed through monsoon jungle and wet jungle and dense jungle all filled with animal noise and hungry insects but no people or towns The scouts scouted as best they could but after two of them got lost and took five days to find the party again Gasper forbid anyone wandering off. Gasper had the only compass and refused to give it to anyone in case they disappeared. Kroc wanted fresh supplies but had to use what they had brought with them all the time and they began to run down. Then, after three weeks they hit a partly formed road and followed it only to discover an abandoned town of the ABSA alliance. It was called Moustaki and here they were found by a patrol from Sundre, owned by Gregorokin, head of the alliance. In Sundre they were welcomed, fed and

informed that plaque had broken out in the port Landingstown and given advice about avoiding the warlike tribes further to the east near the hub Yuraquncha. Gasper checked his map and found the hidden temple he was heading for was only 13 squares from it. Was this unlucky he thought?

They eventually arrived during a deluge to find a company of Orcs waiting for them. Gasper ordered that they pitch camp and while the tents and wagons were made fast he, Griffin and Plink approached the orcs waving a Nefflink flag. A large orc stepped forward waving a stick with what looked like a shrunken head fixed to the top.

General Gasper: Granlik!

Large Orc: GRRNISS!

Plink: What did he say?

Gasper: Please be quite while I talk to him...


Gasper: Granlik! Granlik!

Plink: Ohh, he's saying uncle's name. This is so exciting...


The orc company take a step forward and start to sway side to side,

Gasper: Sargent Griffin, please escort Captain Plink back to the camp, now!

Sargent Griffin: SIR!

Plink is dragged back to the camp by Griffin watched by everyone except General Griffin who keeps a firm eye to eye contact with the large orc,

Gasper: Granlik! Granlik! Grraanlik!


Gasper: Thank Gods! Passing, (he produces a bottle from his bag and gives it to the large orc)

Large Orc: PARSHGINN. (he produces a small bag from behind his back and gives it to Gasper)

The orcs disappear into the jungle and Gasper returns to the camp. No one says anything about the meeting. Gasper had already explained that there were going to be unexpected meetings with funny people at various times during the expedition and no one is to question what is going on. Plink recovers his normal cheerfulness during dinner (boiled coral snake with fried tarantulas) Kroc has by now established a working relationship with the scouts who bring back anything they can kill.

The next day Gasper announces that they will now head towards the Pirate Isles passing through Pawanappla and the area controlled by the Aesir alliance and then into High Hills. Banpop who had quickly visited the nearby Zaqcha hub did not welcome the news of passing through Aesir territory.  During his apprenticeship he had inadvertently caused all the saddle grips of a column of horse to dissolve by scratching his nose while watching a parade in front of one of the top brass, Delicious Josh.

And so the Plink experdition again set off into the pouring rain. Three days later a bunch of ragged, dirty, foulsmelling but determined seadogs found the campsite and a large orc asleep in a nearby hidden temple.

to be continued....

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Moving South.

They spent weeks hacking a path through the damp, sticky, insect ridden jungles and forests of Puchuallpa. Towns were few and far between and the local villages were sometimes hostile and many detours had to be made. It was difficult catching anything and many a time Kroc the cook had to rely on leaf mash and insect stew to fill stomachs.

Attempts by BanPop the Mage to either capture or produce something edible were banned as the results of him casting a spell caused headaches, back pains and loss of balance to some of his companions. Banpop blamed the influence of the regional Hubs nullifying his Elgea based magic.

They were relieved when a range of mountains came into view. However the scouts who had gone ahead returned with troubling news.

Scout One: Err, there's a problem Sir. We can't find a path through and they all seem to be volcanic and there's a funny smell everywhere and it gets in your throat.

General Gasper: What? Volcanic? Can't find a path? Rubbish.

Scout Two: He's right Sir, We fer fer followed three valleys but they ended in cur cur cliffs and there wer wer wer was smoke and rocks falling dur down on us so so we cur cur came back.

Gasper: What? Nonsense. Sargent Griffin, take another patrol and go and find a path for us.

Griffin: SIR!

Plink: No, their right. All the mountains are volcanoes and it's very dangerous and there are earthquakes and poisonous gasses and burning rocks and rivers of fire all over the place.

Ardvik: Yes, we were told about it.

Gasper: WHAT? Told about it? When were you told about it, who told you?

Plink: Ohh, it was at that last village we stayed at. We were talking to the priest and he said they never went near the mountains and you needed a guide if you wanted to go through them.

Ardvik: Yes, that's what he said.

Gasper: Elf's Ears! Why didn't you say something?

Kroc: I was told there were rock lizards in the mountains and they make a very good stew

Captain Whitebeard: Arr! I could do with a good stew now matey!

Banpop: The smell is sulphur and comes from hot rocks which we use in the Mage towers.

Plink: Ohh, I thought you knew about the mountains from your map General,

Gasper: Stop! Stop! Stop talking! Gods.... We must get a guide somehow. Sargent Griffin! Go back to the village and get a local guide that knows a path through the volcanoes. Blast, Granlik never mentioned volcanoes and this map dousn't show them.

Scout Two: The sargents ger ger gone Sir to fer fer find a per path, as you said.

Gasper: NOOOOO! This is not happening.... I must think,,, Ok, (pointing to scout one) you get after the Sargent now and bring him back. You! (pointing to scout two) go back to the village and get a guide. (he then remembers this scouts stammer) NO! You stay here! , err...

Whitebeard: Arr! Tis a job for an old sea dog I be thinking, ye be leaving it to me captain, Arr!

Gasper: The rank is General, Captain but thank you. Please be quick.

Plink: Isn't this exciting, we're going to see volcanoes. Great! Super!

There was a weeks delay but Plink saw his volcanoes and Ardvik filled several pages of his sketchbook as a local guide led them through the range into Pawanappla. They now could move quickly over the desert plains and made good time as they moved southwards. At night they tended to camp near a mausoleum, monastery, pyramid or on occasions a sphinx of which the region seemed to have an excessive number. Unlike the jungle here they were also able to see a wide variety of animals many of which were new to the party. Rinosurus, pumas, fire salamanders, giant snakes, lions and to Plinks delight herds of elephants.

Plink had often gone hunting elephants with his uncle, Lord Granlik back in Tot Carrot and kept asking if he could catch one but Gasper forbid any such attempt. Gasper did however include the presence of elephants in his journal as Granlik had asked him to do so.

Later the expedition entereda more populated part of the region which had bbeen colonisedf the senior and warlike alliances from elgea, the Aesir. They were soon spotted and a column of Calvary intercepted them. Gasper was surprised to find out that they had been expected. It soon became evident that there was not much that went on in the northern part of Broken Lands that the Aesir did not know about.

They were well treated and stayed in a number of towns and accepted as a bunch of weirdos lead by an idiot (Plink) and financed by a well known unaffiliated Lord, Lord Granlik of Tor Carrock. In contrast General Griffin being a respected professional soldier was viewed with sympathy.

They journeyed onwards with new horses, better wagons, supplies and maps. Whitebeard and Kroc however refused to change their unusual wagons. There was a gradual change in the terrain as they passed into the High Hills region where the Crows Nest alliance was establishing a strong presence. They continued without mishap further into High Hills until they approached another colonisation area. This time it was that of the Invictus alliance and here Lord Granlik had arranged another meet for the General to obtain something.

To be continued....

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A Slight Delay.

It was late April and Plink and Ardvik returned to the camp site after another visit to the nearby town of Newkirk, where they had once more sampled the delights of wine, women and song. In fact they had made quite a reputation of their new found ability to harmonize together and were always welcome in the many drinking houses there and later in many a damsels room. Plink always returned miserable and feeling guilty, thinking of his distant girlfriend back home in Nefflink while Ardvik was always still full of beans and ready for anything. As they arrived Banpop the Mage was waiting to give them some good news.

Banpop: The General says we should start packing and get on our way now as Kroc and the fat scout can move around ok now.

Plink: How about Sargent Griffin?

Banpop: He's been ok for a couple of days now. Last time he fell over was Sunday afternoon.

Ardvik: Ok, I'll get my stuff together. It will be nice to get going again, we've been stuck here for over a month or more. Are the healers sure no one will get it again?

Banpop: They have said you either get it or not and once you've had it you don't get it again.

Plink: Funny how me and Ardvic were the only one's not to get it.

Banpop: Yup, I still don't see how I got it and it was not very nice having it.

Plink: Funny how long it lasted. Funny how the General got it first

Ardvic: I remember us all laughing at him the first time. in fact I still think it was funny.

Plink: And then they all got it apart from you and me Ardvic!

Ardvic: Yes! Funny!

Plink: Great! Super!

General Gasper: (coming out of his tent) There you both are! Everyone is no fit enough for us to continue. Why are you both laughing? The situation is not funny! We are weeks behind schedule and I think we must move slowly for several days in case someone gets dizzy again and falls of his horse. The healers have given us some pills to help final recovery and have to be taken with meals.

Kroc: (coming from behind the Generals tent) Before or after? This could upset my meal preparation and timing.

Banpop: What are you going to cook tonight then?

Kroc: Soup.

Plink: Great!

Sargent Griffin approached them walking slowly. Shortly after they had left the Overland Traders Hub of the Brothers Haven where Gasper had met one of Lord Granliks contacts in the broken lands most of the party had been affected by one of the rarest afflictions known to the peoples of Illyriad, the strange and deadly giddywobbleitus. Those affected lost their sense of balance and sometimes also developed rapid blinking which did not help focusing on anything. The first to be struck was General Gasper who suddenly fell off his horse, got up and then walked into the horse. He then fell down, got up again and then sat down on a fire ants nest. He was put into a wagon but within five minutes fell out of it. Within a few hours three scouts and Kalnut were hit. The whole party except Plink and Ardvic and one of the scouts were struck and the expedition hadto halt near the Invicus town of NewKirk for almost two months while those affected slowly regained their control over movement.

Griffin: SIR! All supplies loaded and wagons in line. Two scouts sent forward towards the Newlands boarder.

Gasper: Right gentlemen, we will proceed onward. Newlands awaits us and beyond that the Pirate Isles. We have spent to much time here.

Plink: Ohh, the Pirate Isles, Great! Super!

Captain Whitebeard: (who had crept up without anyone seeing him): Arrr me beauties, tis a fair land I hear an full of likely lads with many a jolly yarn to tell, Arrr.

To be continued.....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Granlik Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2015 at 15:56

In Lord Granlik's Withdrawing room.

Lord Granlik threw the letter back on his table and leaned back in the chair, He looked at the three men standing before him and scowled. He was not in the best mood and they knew it. The latest dispatch from the Broken Lands had revealed the expedition was way behind schedule and also that the network contact on the Pirate Isles was no longer there. Also he had just returned from King Sigurds palace where the latest situation in the Broken Lands had been discussed in length and decisions taken. Granlik scowled again and waved his hand at his top advisers.

Granlik: “You best sit down gentlemen, the King is no longer worried about the Southern Threat, it will never happen now. The network is redundant and all key Lords are being advised that information collecting is no longer required.”

The three advisors sit down. Slacky takes the armchair and Purpunk-Nosh and Alvin squash down into the sofa.

Granlik: “Well? Someone say something...”

Count Slacky (Head of Security and Records): “It's what we all expected Sire, the new Times has only brought things forward. My people have already recorded an increase in outward movement. The instant information from the south is available to every citizen. It's unstoppable.”

Granlik: I know, Sigurd is getting reports from every region and pleas from various alliances to do something but in reality nothing can be done. Thousands are unofficially moving South, draining cities and towns of workers and the official[ exodus of communities continues to rise every month. There are no pirates left on the south coast, they are now all ferrymen making a fortune every week!”

Slacky: “And to think only a few years ago we were all worried that the Rulers of the Southern Lands would invade Elgea once the crossing was opened to general use!”

Advisor Purpunk-Nosh (Diplomatic Corps): I remember you calling us together to tell us the King had asked you and some other Lords to send agents into the new lands to gather information”

Granlik: “Yes, Sigurd chose six of us from around the land, none of us were to join an alliance and also keep a low profile at court. We all got secret funding from the royal Treasury to train spies and bribe pirates to transport agents to the Broken Lands.”

Baron Alban (Treasury): I wasn't with you then Sire, didn't you have a problem with an editor of a local paper who nearly spilled the beans on everything?”

Granlik: “Aggh, that bloody editor and his Free Times! Yes, somehow he found out and convinced one of my bribed pirates to take a reporter over there and then was going to publish the whole thing in his paper! Sigurd had a fit! I had to throw him in jail for months but there was petitions, marches and general uproar as he had previously announced the Free Times was going to disclose something about the new lands. So I let him out with a promise not to mention the possible invasion as it would have caused panic everywhere, don't forget the land was still recovering from the Coalition war. But then he decided to sail south before publishing to see things for himself and got drowned for his troubles so I closed the paper down.”

Advisor Purpunk-Nosh: “Then the first settlers began to go south and found out that the warlike locals weren't as warlike as we had thought they were.”

Alban: “ Ahh, I was an major alliance settlement co-ordinator then at Sigurds court so know about how the southerners welcomed our goods and traders and ignored their weak rulers.”

Granlik: “Which brings us to why I've called you here. Sigurd is now worried about a new problem. Land Claims! The extraordinary population growth on the southern continent has lead to many new young Lords going there and the growth of new militant alliances who now are claiming vast areas for themselves. Many see themselves as independent from Elgea and our traditional freedom of movement here. In fact, as you all know, the result of the Coalition war caused the contraction of alliances here. As an example H? was once everywhere, WoT is now west based and EE now exists mainly in the north. Skeleton Boar has withdrawn into a tight cluster, The younger generation are growing up to see many alliances no longer spanning the whole land. A single Land Claim here will cause chaos and must be prevented. And to cap it all the new Times, with it's new magic technology is publishingly daily and is instantly available to every citizen. The King is alarmed, as is others.”

Slacky: “ I agree my Lord but what can we do? Progress is progress as night follows day.”

Granlik: “Hah! Tell that to Sigurd! He has sent a private letter to all Lords throughout Elega asking them to oppose any attempt to form a Land Claim and to make certain all schools teach the principals of freedom of movement as a priority. He has also stopped all funding to us key Lords for the southern spy network. I am disbanding my section as of this minute and you Slacky will inform our agents that they are fired immediately.”

Slacky: “ Sire.”

Advisor Purpunk-Nosh: “ What about your nephew Plink's expedition Sire? General Gasper I understand is collecting information as it proceeds and it is deep into the Broken Lands and the upkeep will now fall on the Treasury”

Alban: “ Elfs Ears, Yes it will!”

Granlik: “ Ahh, Plink, my favourite nephew! What to do? In fact that is the main reason I called you all here. I need advice. If I leave him there to continue he could cause an intercontinental war but if I recall him back here he will eventually destroy everything I have built here in Elgea, So gentlemen, think carefully on this subject and don't make a mistake! What shall I do?”

A deep, long silence falls in the room and they all stare into space.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Granlik Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2015 at 11:30

A Change of Direction.

General Gasper stood up and looked round the drinking table at his travelling companions who were all watching him and clutching their beer tankards. He remembered the first time he had addressed them almost a year ago back in Elgea just before they had boarded the ship at the start of the expedition to the southern continent. He remembered the excitement and enthusiasm of journeying to a new land that was apparent then and wondered how they were going to react to what he was about to tell them. Lord Granliks recent message from Tor Carrock had been a bombshell and he took a sip of ale before he spoke.

The companions all were aware that something important was going to be revealed and each in his own way prepared himself for the news, good or bad.

Kroc Bosha, the orc cook stirred the pot of fish stew he had prepared for dinner, he was pleased with the fresh slime snakes he had bought at the market and how he had minced them up to add to his normal mush of dried jellyfish and fish bones with some hot weed seasoning. He was worried if his ration cash allowance was going to be cut again.

Mage Banpop the magician was hoping that they were finally going to move on. They had been here in this place for weeks now and he had not managed to learn any new spells or incantations from the nearby local temples or Mage towers. In fact the local priests and magicians were all avoiding him as he had been trained to always wave his arms when performing spells whereas the local custom was to freeze movement, shut the eyes and concentrate the mind.

Sargent Griffin just wanted to refile his tankard as did his four scouts standing behind him. They were professional soldiers as as such did not worry about good or bad. They just did as the General ordered and then waited for the next one.

Kalnut Tonk whose mission in life was to discover new knowledge and powers that would make Banpop and all magic redundant had drunk to much as usual and so was feeling sleepy and wanted to go to bed and lie down. He was annoyed about being called to a meeting in the middle of the day. The smell of fish stew was not helping either.

Whitebeard the pirate had heard rumours as all good pirates should and so had a good idea of what was coming. He winked at the General and muttered under his breath “Arr me lads, hold onto the rigging there be a storm coming”

Ardvic Grunderfutt who was sitting between Whitebeard and Plink took note of this and thought there had been further complaints about his singing and bawdy behaviour a few nights previous in a local tavern when he had joined the scouts in a birthday celebration.

Plink tried to sit still and waited for the General to start. He already knew what was coming as his uncle Granlik has sent him a letter as well. It was very frustrating just sitting there and he also needed a pee as he was on his third tankard.

General Gasper: “Ok, please pay attention. I have received a message from Lord Granlik about our expedition to gather information and knowledge about these southern lands. As you know when we began exploration knowledge of the Broken Lands was sparse, and with each mile we obtained vital information for which he is eternally grateful. He is especially pleased with our help to his nephew Captain Plink who has lead us thus far and has gained leadership and command experience that will ensure a great future for him when he returns to Tor Carrock.

There was a general murmurs of agreement from the companions.

Plink: “ Great! Super! I've really learnt a lot and I also got a letter from uncle and he says we are...”

Gasper: “Thank you Captain Plink but if I could continue? Yes? Thank you. However things have moved on apace since our departure and unfortunately there has been an economic downturn in Elgea and the land is now in the gripes of a deep recession. Thus there must be drastic cuts in expenditure in all departments. Also an unforeseen aspect of the rapid colonisation of the Broken Lands has been an immense increase in information flowing back home which in effect has now made our wanderings here somewhat superfluous. “

He paused for breath, took a swig of his ale while everyone waited for him to continue. Some looked at each other while some took swigs themselves and the remainder wished they had some ale left

Gasper: “ As a result I must inform you that with immediate effect this expedition is no longer considered to be official and thus will no longer be supported or financed by Lord Granlik. You are all free of any obligation to Lord Granlik and he thanks you for your service to him and his nephew, Captain Plink. Any questions?”

There was a stunned silence. Those who had some ale left finished it

Kroc: “ The stew is ready now but I'll have to dish it up in the tankards cos I couldn't find any bowls anywhere. I think one of the local beggerboys has had them away”

Plink: “Super! That's ok and we won't need any spoons either”

Kroc: “ The spoons have all gone as well, I think its that ginger kid who is always hanging around”

Banpop: “SOD THE STEW! Dragons breath what does this mean? Are we all stranded here in the middle of nowhere? What are we expected to do? How can Granlik do this?”

Whitebeard “Arr me beauties, tis a bad wind a'blowing an the mainsails gone overboard”

Banpop: “ Is that all he told you General? Ta very much and mind how you go? What about you? What about Plink? What about us?”

Tonk:(suddenly very sober) “What? What did he say? What is going on? What have I done? What? What are we going to do? What?”

Plink: “Oh, the General and troops stay with me and I can carry on if I wish but if we do we will have to do some jobs to pay our way. This stew is really good Kroc and I'll have some more”

Gasper: “Lord Granlik does have some suggestions for you all to consider and which I am going to tell you if you will allow me”

Plink:”Yes, he thinks it would be a good idea if....”

Gasper: “CAPTAIN PLINK! Please! If I could continue? Thank you. Lord Granlik is deeply concerned about the unfortunate position we have been left in. However he feels this could be an opportunity for us all as we are are in a very favourable position within the Broken Lands. We are here in the Pirate Isles which allows speedy movement by water to most of the continent and the local Pirate Kings who control these isles allow free movement and and also free trade and enterprise. Thus he has seen an opportunity that will benefit both himself and, taking into account your individual expertise and unique experiences obtained during our journey thus far, to operate a successful commercial and trading enterprise from here should we so wish”

Banpop: “What are you talking about? Trading? Here? Individual expertise? How?”

Grunderfutt: “I'll have you know I've sold a fair number of sketches while we've been here and Plink and I get coins thrown at us when we sing in the Pigs Head”

Gasper: ” Lord Granlik has sent me enough money to buy this very large and spacious building, which although somewhat dilapidated can be a base for us to remain here and start a collective enterprise which will also act as an unofficial Trade Centre for goods sent direct from Tor Carrock to increase the home export trade. Captain Whitebeard would head up that part of the business. Kroc has mentioned he would love to run a successful restaurant and some of the local smaller Lords just starting up and indeed some of the larger new alliances would welcome experienced solders to give military training to their men, ehh Sargent Griffin?”


Plink: “Great! Uncle said he though we were the best expedition that had ever gone expediting and he also said that General Gasper could be a kind of Ambassador here and hire people and get lots of information that could help....”

Gasper:”Captain Plink!”

Plink:”Ohh sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I think its a super idea of us all staying here as a base but I could still go and do a bit of exploring sometimes and some of you can come with me, it would be great!. Uncle will still send me some money but he can't carry on with paying for us all going along together”

Tonk: “Can I have a room where I could do some experiments and build things?”

Gasper: “build things?”

Tonk: “Yes, make interesting things for people to come and see them and pay to see them. I might sell some of the things as well to bring in some more cash”

Gasper: “ What sort of...”

Banpop: “I could start a course for trainee magicians, I don't think much of the profession round here and the way they do things is just wrong”

Tonk:”I don't want you coming in my room”

Banpop: “Why should I want to go in your room?”

Tonk:” And your room will have to be some way away from my room”

Plink: “ I'd like to come in both your rooms and help you do things”

Gasper: “GENTLEMEN!!!”

Whitebreard: ”Arr, seems a fair scheme to me me hearties an there be a number of old shipmates willing to be jumping aboard, Arr!”

Kroc: “there's still some stew left if anyone wants it”

Gasper: “May the Gods help me, can we have some order and concentrate on the suggestion from Lord Granlik?”

And so Lord Granliks proposition was eventually agreed and the Tor Carrock Trading Centre Company (TCTCC) was established to operate from the old warehouse and jetty. (General Gasper had in fact already purchased it some days before)

This was the easy part but then the arguments began as to who did what and where in the building were people to go and which bit was finished first and why some companions did the thinking and others did the work and when were the supplies coming from Granlik and how to run the place once it was finished.

Plink was very excited, His expedition had now developed in a way that he had not dreamed of when he had first thought it up while soaking in the bath back home in his uncles castle. He had been watching his rubber duck bob aimlessly round the groups of bubbles when it has come to him.

There were going to be good times ahead.....

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