Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Downfall, Part 4

Please keep in mind that the stories I post here are considered "rough drafts"  and will be different from the "finised product" but I like to post them here to share what I am working on and to show how I "interpet the AD&D 1E/OSRIC gamme world.

New Edinburgh

Abbe Micheal waited in a small room just a few meters away from the Special Forces Hall where Abbe Warren, the Abbot in charge of bringing in, training and hand selecting non-clergy adventurers for missions with Abbots headed out on missions from the Order of Hosts.  He didn't have to wait long as the team members began to arrive one by one.

Micheal looked up as the first one came in and help a scroll out to him.  Micheal accepted the scroll and invited the slender but tall man to sit across from him.  The man's name was Heinrich.  He was identified in the scroll as a being a talented soldier.  Heinrich had served in a foreign army for fifteen years before being recruited by the Order.  He had distinguished himself and earned commendations in the army for having been notable in the defeat of a Lich and a werewolf.  Not only had he kept his head together in the face of supernatural Evil, he had fought against that Evil successfully and with zeal.

He had achieved the first certification of "Veteran" then "Warrior" status while in the army and had since achieved the next level up,  "Swordman" status, since joining the Order.   It looked as though he may reach "Hero" status in relatively short time if his career continued at the pace it was going.

Michael handed the scroll back to the soldier and welcomed him to the team.  After a few more minutes, the next recruit entered and crossed to the table.  The very small man presented his scroll to Abbe Micheal and without invitation, sat down.  Rather, he hopped up onto the bench to be seated.    Micheal opened the scroll to learn about his newest team member.

Georg was "officially" noted to be a "Procurist" by the Order.  The reality was, he had been a thief when he had turned himself in to the Church the year before as a way of doing penance for a brief but active life of crime.  He hadn't wanted to become a criminal but had fallen in with the wrong crowd who had pressured him to use his natural talents for the wrong purposes.  Georg was a Halfling.  Halfings were naturally inclined in many the the skills that humans had to spend years working at to be considered good thiefs.  Originally from the Greenfeet clan, Georg realized he was in too deep with the Thieves Guild and needed help to get himself out of the pot of hot water he had found himself in.

In exchange for helping him get on a righteous path, he had pledged his services by the way of using his talents to recover stolen property and help locate and procure enchanted items and arcane objects.  He had since then also taken up the pursuit of becoming a Druid though he would likely never get far in advancement, it was something he felt called to do.

Abbe Micheal looked over the diminutive person with sandy, coarse hair on his head, his fingers as well as his feet.  He wasn't sure how this one fit into the team mission but he was confident that Abbe Warren knew what he was doing.

It was a little bit of a wait until the next person came in to the room.  When they did, he couldn't help but notice that it was another diminutive person albeit much stockier and somewhat taller than the Halfling.  The Dwarf came in carrying a burden of packs and weaponry that might have buried an average person with a buried smile on his heavily bearded face.  The battle-axe strapped to his back was nearly as big as he was.

The dwarf gave Micheal a wink as he tossed his scroll onto the table in front of him and moved around to the other side of the table but simply stood there rather that taking a seat.  He was watching Micheal with a bemused look but hadn't said a word.  As a matter of fact, none of them had so much as uttered a single syllable since presenting themselves.  He began to wonder if the Hall members had taken oaths of silence.

Erik Greystone was a notable warrior in his clan.  Not only was he distinguished as a fighter, he was a top rank blacksmith as well who made his own armor and weapons.  Being of the mountain Dwarves also gave him an aura of mystery as the mountain clans were observed to be usually quite reserved and not likely to wander into inhabited areas.    He was of a mature age, estimated at about one hundred and ten.  In terms of qualification and experience, he was noted to be a "three stone" warrior and had established quite a reputation in proficiency with axes of all types and the battle-axe in particular.

Erik had been recruited after making contact with one of the Churche's mountain top monasteries.  He had vowed to exact vengeance for the wholesale slaughter of nearly his entire clan by vampires.  The vampires had done it while he had been off hunting for a week.  The handful of survivors or others returning from being away had begged him to take on the quest while they began the task of rebuilding the clan and their inner mountain cavern home.  Erik had come to the conclusion that the best way to track down and wreak his vengeance on the evil creatures was to join with the people who actively hunted them down.  So by agreeing to abide by the rules of the Order for a period of fifty years, they agreed to help him accomplish his objective during his time with them.  Micheal nodded approvingly at Erik after putting the scroll down.  He could personally identify with wanting to see Evil hunted down after having his family attacked by it in all it's horrid-ness.

He looked up to the doorway at the sound of new footsteps.  Abbe Warren was coming in.  He stopped at the table next to Micheal and quietly began to speak.  "Abbe, the fourth member that has been selected for your team will meet you at the stables.  You will count yourself blessed with the addition of this member to the team for this project but I will leave introductions to them.  Please gather your packs and other belongings and take your team to the stables.  They will have a wagon and a team of fresh horses ready for you within the hour.  Yahweh provide you strength and wisdom in his service."  Abbe Micheal replied, "Thank you Abbe, Your swift assistance in this is greatly appreciated and we will be at the stables on time."  Abbe Warren nodded and smiled tightly then turned and made his way out of the room as directly and expediently as he had come in.

Micheal addressed his assembled team for the first time.  "I thank you all for accepting this mission and helping to rid the town of Aldisburgh of the Evil that has taken root.  Does anyone have any question as to the mission or did Abbe Warren explain it thoroughly to you?"  Erik spoke up in a deep and rumbling voice that sounded like boulders being ground together.  He had the deep brogue of the Highlands in his speech.  "The Abbe mentioned that were are to be facing zombies that were unlike the zombies that most of us might have experience with lad."  His face became curious, "What kind of zombies could be so dangerous as to worry the Hall Abbe so?"  'A fair question', Micheal thought before replying.  "The zombies indicated are described as being autonomous and predatory towards living people." Their faces reflected the surprise at hearing of predatory zombies.  "They are also described as being slow and shambling to move but have a concentrated focus when they spot prey  and they also seem to work together, attacking in larger and larger numbers as they become attracted to the growing group movement."

Erik grunted and Georg gave a low whistle.  Heinrich raised his hand, seemingly in half salute, half schoolboy manner.  "Sir, permission to speak Sir."  Micheal raised his eyebrows.  this fellow was a standards follower to the letter.  "Permission granted." He replied as he nodded in Heinrich's direction.  "Sir, Is there currently a direct plan of attack and are we going in with a plan of extraction or is it a 'Do or Die' mission Sir"  Micheal thought the best response was th emost direct.  "Heinrich, I'm not certain exactly how long you have been with the Order or how many missions you have been on but for the most part, our missions are usually carried out with the intent that we are to fight and succeed or in the effort to achieve success until our last breath."  Heinrich nodded as if in full agreement.  "Sir, yes sir.  I have been on missions which were scouting and rescue in nature for the Order Sir."  I just wanted to make sure I was properly prepared sir."  Micheal understood better now what Heinrich was looking for.  "Our mission is to investigate and collect as much information as we can, documenting nature of these unique zombies and sending the information back to the Order.  As we do that, our next priority is to rid the town of the zombies and protect the townspeople until the situation is clear or until reinforcements arrive should they be deemed necessary."  Heinrich nodded sharply.  "Sir, Thank you Sir."

Micheal looked them over and started walking toward the door, beckoning the group to follow him.  "Follow me please to the stables and we shall begin our mission without further delay."  They started grabbing their packs and gear and lining up behind him as he led the way.

Abbe Micheal and his troops sat on a bench outside the rear of the stables.  He preferred to stay in the relative quiet and out of view of the public so that he could concentrate on the task at hand while they waited for the wagon and horses to be ready.  The StableMaster, a giant of a man, being well over seven feet tall and at least three hundreds pounds if not more, had ensured the young Abbot that his wagon would indeed be ready within the hour.  They were waiting for the rest of the gear from the armory to be loaded before they hitched the horses.

They had been sitting on the bench for nearly half an hour, each tending to various minor tasks and minor preparations when an older man dressed in Order issued "Day Uniform" approached him quietly.  "Abbe Micheal, I presume?" the man stated more than asked as he made the sign of the circle with both hands cupped and facing each other, slightly overlapping, then extended his hand out in peaceful gesture to Abbe Micheal.  Micheal stood up and shook the man's proffered hand and gave a subtle deferential bow to the senior Cleric that stood before him.  The older Cleric let go his hand and continued, " My name is Abbe Merrin Lankester and I have asked to assist you on this mission to Aldisburgh."

"I am so very glad the Monsignor asked you to join us Abbe."  Micheal said, relieved to have someone who must be extremely qualified to take over as the mission lead.  "The Monsignor did not ask me nor did he order me to join you Micheal."  Abbe Lankester continued.  "I volunteered my service when I was told about the location and nature of your mission.  I believe there is something there that falls within my specialty.  However, I am not taking the mission over.  This is still your mission Abbe."  The older man smiled, almost sadly but with a bit of a twinkle in his eye.

"I am honored by and welcome your presence regardless Abbe." Micheal replied.  He was slightly awed that the Cleric in front of him was not only present but had volunteered to go along.  At the same time, given Abbe Lankester's history and reputation within the order, the situation had noticeably increased in it's danger.

Abbe Merrin Lankester had been with the Order for quite a long time.  He was most notably one of the foremost experts in demonology and exorcism.  Abbe Lankester was officially a "Curate" but was nearly a "Prefect" within the order.  He was considerably gifted and no one was regarded as being more faithful or devout.  Consequently, his strength in Clerical spellcasting was even more powerful than many Clerics who surpassed him in status.

We will have time to talk more as we are on our way to Aldisurgh." Abbe Lankester stated, setting down his black satchel and stooping to sit down on the bench next to Micheal.  "For now, I'll leave you to your planning for entering the town and locating your inside man."  They sat in silence for another twenty minutes until the StableMaster came out to inform them that they were ready to go.

All in all, it had only been eight hours since he received the message from Jolly in Aldisburgh.  It would still be at least three hours before they arrived to help.  At this rate, Abbe Micheal prayed that they would arrive in time to save Aldisburgh.  Otherwise the mission would change to avenge Aldisburgh instead.

As the team finally were in place and the soldier Heinrich had offerred to drive the wagon they were headed on the road toward Aldisburgh.  The group was qient.  Abbe Lankester seemed introspective or in meditation.  Abbe Micheal found his thoughts wandering to the Clerical Ritual of the Host that he had undergone just a few, short months ago when he had become Drei, his third such ritual as a member of the Order of Hosts in the Church of Yahweh.

Clerics within the Order of Hosts of the Church of Yahweh practice a different kind of "magic" than the magic used by Magic Users and Illusionists.  Theirs was more similar to Druidic magic in that they were able to use the gifts of their god Yahweh and those of their patron saints trough prayer and meditation.  Unlike Druids who went through a secretive procedure only known as the Druidic Ritual of Ascension to know their capabilities and directives.

For Clerics and Druids alike, they had enough capacity within them to perform "magic" (though Clerics preferred to refer to it as performing "miracles" of either Minor or Major types.)  In general, a human Cleric had the spiritual capacity to perform a given number of Miracles each day and even those were affected directly in their strength and capability  to the degree of Faith, devoutness and piety of the Cleric in question.  Essentially, the Cleric was merely the vessel or conduit through which Yahweh worked miracles in the world.Many of the Minor miracles were of low enough demand of the Clerics resources that they could perform them mostly through meditation in their own right.  The more Major the Miracle, the more it required prayer and divine bestowal.  Those Miracles that tended to range between "upper Minor" and lower Major", were often come through prayer to one's patron Saint.  Anything greater than those required prayer to Yahweh directly and there was a saying among the Order that with Yahweh's Miracles "You don't always get what you want, but you always get what you need."

There was a ritual for Clerics upon rising to higher status to gain knowledge of the types of Miracles they would be able to affect or attempt to affect at that new status.  They would still be limited by their personal strengths, skills and talents within that status as well as their faith, devoutness and piety.  The "Ritual of the Host" gave him greater insight into his role within the Order and the Church.  It also strengthened the bond between himelf, Yahweh and his patron Saint, the Arch-Angel Micheal.   The more times he underwent the ritual, the greater the bond and the greater his resolve to be faithful, devout and pious.

Between himself and Abbe Lankester, he hoped they would be enough to concquer the Evil in Aldisburgh.


Jolly was in his room at the boarding house when the pigeon arriving bearing the message that his friend Abbe Micheal in New Edinburgh was coming as quickly as possible to help him in dealing with the zombie attack.  Ever since he had sent the message to Abbe Micheal he had been combing through all of his spellbooks and scrolls and eveery book he could find related or having to do, however remotely, with zombies.

In the meantime, the attack continued unabated.  As more people were attacked, the zombie population increased.  At this rate, it would only be a matter of a few days before the entire town was dead but wandering.  When that happened, where would they go?  Would they head East toward New Edinburgh or would they head in any other direction toward living prey?  Jolly was afraid that they would't be restricted to the roads but make better time by cutting through fields and woods stright at other populated areas.  The destruction would be catastrophic.  The loss of life unfathomable.

Mr. - had gone out briefly when Jolly had returned from gathering supplies at the marketplace but had seen all he had needed to see to convince him to lock himself in his own rooms and refused to open the door to anyone.  Jolly had tried to get him to come out and talk to him so that he could find out more about the boarding house and what other access points it had.  He didn't want to be surprised by a horde of ravenous undead in the hallways of the old building.  Mr. - was having none of it though.  He tossed a keyring out through a small aperature in the door and yelled through the door that Jolly was welcome to look around for himself.  Jolly had turned back to his room, shaking his head but stooped to pick up the keyring as he left.

The front doors to the house were stout and blocked with a thick cross-beam from the inside that looked as though it would stop an elephant.  The back door was not quite as stout but was smaller and had an equally thick cross beam to block it.  All of the windows to the building were able to be shuttered and were high enough as to prevent the shambling monstrosities from just falling through them.  They might walk well enough but none had shown any ability to climb or use any other kind of stealth.

The lower level of the boarding house was one great open chamber spotted throughout by support beams holding up the upper stories of the building.  There was a double wide doorway that looked like barn doors in the back of the building.  It looked as though the building might hive been a storehouse at some point in it's history.  The double doors were also very thick and heavy.  They closed against a bisected door frame with a removable center beam that was as big as a tree.

The building could be used to shelter people from the zombies well enough.  Opening and closing the heavy doors would be the biggest problem if things were too close for comfort.  He could hear more and more people running through town screaming coming from the West end from the direction of Dem Tode Nahe.

In the hours since, he had been studying his books and scrolls and making plans to help people escape.  He had moved the supplies from the market to the lower level and painted a sing that read, "Sanctuary - In Back" on the front of the building.  In between studying he had been letting in a steady trickle of survivors and escapees that had showed up, banging and shouting at the massive back doors.  The refugees, as he thought of them, were huddled together at tables that he had moved around from a storage room he had found them in.  He currently sat at one by himself with all of his reading materials spread out so that he could cross-refernece information and keep information at hand.

Only a half hour before he went to his room to get the message pigeon, he had looked out and could now see an errant zombie shambling and stumbling between buildings only a quarter mile away.  Things were rapidly getting out of hand.  It would still be a few hours until Abbe Micheal and the rest of his team arrived.  Jolly hoped that there would still be an Aldisburgh to save by the time they arrived.

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