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The Claim!

Printed From: Illyriad
Category: Miscellaneous
Forum Name: Fiction
Forum Description: Epics, Sagas, Unlikely Tales of Daring and Rip-roaring stories
Printed Date: 24 Jul 2021 at 09:52
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.03 -

Topic: The Claim!
Posted By: GrolschMan
Subject: The Claim!
Date Posted: 14 Jul 2015 at 21:36

The High Council was only minutes into their meeting when the grand double doors creaked open.  A pale faced messenger shuffled through the doors and moved with incredible speed and silence across the great hall. He stopped a respectable distance and snapped to attention like a taut bow-string.
"My Lord." He interjected to interrupt the light murmuring across the table. "My Lord, th-the ones that made it back have returned empty handed again."
The mutterings fell silent and unturned heads stole glances of their stone-faced leader.  Lord Frye broke the silence by smashing his fist against the hard wood table.  Despite the solidity of the furniture, this heart-jolting thump still sent two goblets toppling from their upright position to perform a percussive duet on the floor that echoed throughout the room.
"AGAIN?!" He bellowed. Although quite free to move, everyone remained as frozen as the two elite guardsmen that flanked the double doors.  His rant was not finished:  "Again they return with nothing?!  Are they not fed by my food? Are they not sheltered by my walls? You will tell those cotters that if they return without the crystals then they will be without heads!" He paused to look at his clenched fist as the messenger was shuffling away with haste.  "Boy!" His word caught the messenger like a carp on a hook, "Tell Commander Cobb that his squad is to travel with these pant-wetting, superstitious lay-abouts and force them to DO.. THEIR.. JOB!" The messenger bowed to illustrate his understanding and scampered out the door.

Cobb was one of the finest siege commanders in the kingdom.  His best days were spent laying waste to castles and killing men by the dozens.  When he heard that he had been tasked with something as lowly as 'cotter protection detail' he wondered where he had faulted to be punished so harshly.  This was a job for seasoning the squires before they rode into battle for the first time.  He snatched the orders out of the messengers trebling hands and saw that his squad was moving into the Eastern realm along the mountain ridge.  The entire military might had been pushing West for so long that Cobb had never actually been East his whole life.  He'd heard the tall tales of scary magic from the East in the tavern over ales with his men but he wondered what had happened out there to warrant such an action from his Lord?  Was it a punishment or was there really something sinister brewing in the East? He leant inside the barracks and rapped his knuckles on the shield hanging on the wall inside to get everyone's attention.
"Squad One; you're with me on 'Cotter Patrol'.  Squad Two, Three and Four;  You're with Commander Harken in training."  The groans of protest and occasional 'what the...' were interrupted by another fierce rapping by Cobb on the shield.   "Shut it!  Any protests and you can take it up with Lord Frye." He held the orders up, scrunched in his fist, to a room of silence.
There was no mistaking it, the lands of the East were far less hospitable than the rolling plains of the West. Commander Cobb saw morale leaving the harvesters and his own squad the further they travelled.  The air seemed foul, the tree branches were sharp and barren and he even felt the cool of his steel armour more frequently against his skin.  He pulled up on his horse reins to come to a stop and gave the hand gestures for two of his riders to take the lead in his stead. Cobb climbed down from his horse and walked along side the cotters who were telling the old 'tall tales' from the tavern. He listened in to see if anything could shed light on this venture and why the cotters were filled with the fear of dying soldiers.
"I 'eard that it's the plague.' Started a younger cotter.  'Somefing rotten in the East that eats you up faster 'an a pie left in 'Pauper's Corner'." 

"No it's no' a plague that'll take you, nor is it beast or them Elvish folk." Corrected an elderly cotter.  "Mark my words. it's the land itself, I tells you!  If we go past 'Norries knoll' then the lands themselves will eat us whole." 

Cobb interjected at this point.  "Old man, how do you know this?"

The old man looked around and took his hat off for respect.  "Just saying what was said to me.  Ever since them markers went up, no one that went past them lived to tell about it."

"What markers are these?" Asked Cobb.

The old cotter pointed with a crooked finger towards a small hill straight ahead. "Well sire, it's those markers.  That's the knoll righ' there. You're passin' into 'Claimed Land' if you venture past those."

It was hard to see at first but there was a series of distinct red dots along the foreseeable horizon propped up on what looked to be erected planks of wood.  The squad and cotter party slowly moved up to the line and parked along side it.

Commander Cobb drew his sword in a triumphant gesture and pointed it to the lands past the markers.

"With me!" He shouted.  "Everyone walk that way or I'll cut you down where you stand." The soldiers were obedient and after a deep breath, the cotters followed suit.  Each step was steady and deliberate past this point. Cobb felt as if his path would be eased if he first cut the tension in front of him with his sword.

Something was amiss.  One by one the men stopped moving as if to listen to something that they couldn't quite hear.  Commander Cobb looked everywhere for danger but couldn't see anything, then he heard it too.  A faint hissing sound like rope being pulled against itself. Before anyone could say 'soiled britches' a thousand red bands shot out of the ground amongst and all around the men.  Cobb was not even half way through a sword-swing at this enigma when 20 of the bands lassoed themselves around his body.   The men were crying out in terror as they where immobilised by red tape!

'The Claim has got us!' cried the old cotter. Soldiers were plucked from their horses, cotters were bound to their wagons,  horses were suspended off the ground!  The red tape had completely halted the expedition. Wails of protest rattled through the trees but it was hopeless.  Strand upon strand controlled their every movement.  New strands leapt out from the ground and combed the men of their possessions.  The tape pulled coin purses out of belt clasps and valuables out of pockets.  It pulled sword and spear from hand and holster. It cracked the armour from the chests of the soldiers and ripped the pickaxes from the cotters.  The red tape took every possession and pulled their belongings into the earth while the expedition watched suspended like flies in a web.  The screams of protest turned to cowering whimpers as they hung around.  A short scream pierced the murmurs as the tape snapped a soldiers neck, then another. One by one the men were dispatched and pulled into the earth after their belongings. They had made a grave mistake that day by crossing into 'The Claim'.  Every one of them was robbed blind and buried alive by red tape.        

Posted By: abstractdream
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2015 at 01:20
Excellent vision of the true danger of land claims in Illyriad. BRAVO!

Bonfyr Verboo

Posted By: jcx
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2015 at 02:25
what happened to the anti-land claim group? do you have any news/stories about them?

Disclaimer: The above is jcx|orcboy's personal opinion and is not the opinion or policy of Harmless? [H?] or of the little green men that have been following him all day.

jcx in H? | orcboy in H?

Posted By: GrolschMan
Date Posted: 15 Jul 2015 at 06:09
Thanks abstractdream!
Interesting idea for a new story jcx.  I didn't want to make it pro/anti claims but rather a parody of the gargantuan debates generated by the event in general. The spookiest element to the Claims is the red tape. OooOOoOOooohh!  Lmao. 

Posted By: Ashleigh Jayne
Date Posted: 16 Jul 2015 at 15:14
A fun and creative way to open discussion about Illy land claims! Very witty Clap

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