Friday, May 19, 2017

Making Contact

Doc stopped in front of the shop, stepping up onto the wooden walkway and off of the dry and dusty dirt street.  The large, colorfully painted sign that hung over the doorway solemnly informed those who could read that this was the notable Antiquarium, "the" source for all things historical and curious.

As he opened the door, the bell tinkled spiritedly to announce his presence to the shopkeeper who was undoubtedly puttering about somewhere among the vast and many cases and cabinets in which new items were always being added but seldom seemed to leave.

Doc looked toward the front counter and observed a young man standing up to look at him, he walked to the counter.  "How may I help you today Sir", the young man said very loudly.  Doc chuckled inwardly at this.  He knew the volume was meant to let the actual shopkeep know a customer had arrived.

A rustling sound could be heard immediately at that and somewhere from the left side of the counter, amid a number of boxes a deep voice could be heard loudly profaning any number of things sacred and common as a stack of heavy looking books fell off of a shelf suddenly into an open crate.   The voice seemed to come out of the crate.

A large hairy head erupted from beneath the pile of books in the crate still muttering imprecations having to do with the young man at the counter's parentage.  The dwarf was still sputtering when his eyes at last fell upon Doc standing at the counter.

Having a reddish gold lion's mane complimented by an extremely long and braided beard of the same color, the stocky dwarf hauled himself out of the crate and began stomping toward Doc as he tried very hard not to laugh.

With a sidelong glance at the youth, the dwarf stood in front of the grey-brown curly, short haired Doc.  Who even at his humanly average height and build seemed to tower over the dwarf.  "Welcome good sirrah, and what manner of knowledge would he be seekin today from the oldest inhabitant and business in all of New Edinburgh?"

He wasn't lying either.  At two hundred and sixty years old, no one had been in town longer than Magnus the Elder.  Truth be told, supposedly his family had been part of New Edinburgh since before the turning time.  If that were true though, and there were many skeptics, that would mean there was human in the bloodline of Magnus though he would never admit to it.

Doc himself only occasionally was able to come visit his old friend on rare occasions due his job requiring that he travel so extensively.  It was always a rare pleasure to stand in this place which exuded a sense of being out of place and time.  A very peaceful place which Magnus worked very hard to maintain.

"I come seeking the wisdom of our forefathers." Doc began the coded message.  "Such wisdom lies within your own constitution and determination to seek the truth", Magnus continued.  The contact established, Doc began the next part of the interaction.  "If only I could speak with those forefathers once again and have their counsel, what great things I might achieve."

Magnus nodded knowingly at Doc, then finished with, "The words they leave us with in books can be much the same as talking with them in person if one is patient."  At that, Magnus slightly nodded in the direction of the young man.

'So the youth is not an Initiate', Doc realized. He understood he would have to wait a moment until Magnus could send the young man away before he could send the message to the guild President.  Magnus could be heard giving the young man instructions to go out of the shop for awhile to perform a particular task that suddenly needed to be done immediately.

Magnus then pretended to busy himself looking for a book while the assistant hurriedly prepared to leave.  After a few moments, the lad was out the door like a whirlwind.  "At the rate thet boyo moves, we'll have plenty a time to handle her business."  Doc smiled and stepped forward to grasp his diminutive friend's hand in a firm shake.

The two walked to the rear of the shop, weaving through various bookshelves until they came to a stop in front of an ornate cabinet filled with a number of small sculptures.  Reaching seemingly to caress a small statue of a dog, the dwarf triggered the mechanism and the large cabinet swung inward to the wall revealing a hallway that led to a room at the end of it.

Stopping to admire a painting halfway down, Doc waited, distracting himself as Magnus stopped just before the doorway to the room .  Standing so that he blocked the view of anyone behind him, Magnus fiddled with something for a moment, then grunted to indicate that it was safe to enter the room.  Such precautions must be taken in every Society safe house.

At an enormous mahogany desk that occupied the entirety of the center of the room, the top was clear of anything.  The polish and shine of the glassy top was indicative of the great care and pride the middle aged dwarf took in his care of the timeless and priceless historical items in his care.

Once again distracting himself by looking at some brick-a-brac, Doc deliberately was not watching as the dwarf approached a spot in the room behind Doc's back and diligently worked some mechanism.  In just a few, short moments, Doc heard the sound of a book behind laid on the desktop and turned around.

As Magnus seated himself at the desk, he looked up at Doc and asked him for a password that Doc gave to him.  The dwarf wrote the password at the top of the page in the open journal and slowly, the letters disappeared from the page.

After a couple of minutes, new words began to form on the page.  He was now in contact with command.  Hopefully the person he needed to come to this riverside town would be available and the guild command would approve the assignment.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The beginning of a new adventure

In Nomerca, a vast land taking up most of a continent, a river valley stretches North to South nearly dividing the continent in half.  The river itself, now known only as the "Mimo" River, is the main draw for villages, towns and cities seeking to harness it's fast current for everything from energy to food and water resources.

The Mimo has dozens of tributaries and offshoots as well as receives input from other rivers stretching across the great plainslands which stretch for thousands of kilometers in all directions.

To the West lay mountains and deserts.

To the East lay gigantic lakes and a rich basin which is itself bordered by mountains and coastal plains.

To the South are swamps, marshes, all surrounded by hot and arid lands good only for grazing animals and ranching.

To the North is a vast tundra rich in arboreal forests and further bounded by vast, winter-locked open spaces.

In one large town directly alongside the Mimo River, New Edinburgh, something strange is going on.

 People are changing.  Literally.

In a community made up of just about every main race from human to orcs to elves, dwarves and gnomes, people have been changing into goblins seemingly overnight.  Once changed, the goblins scamper off to someplace north of town.

Reports of goblin raids on villages and travelers along the Mimo River have been increasing.  More interesting are how every report indicates a great deal of organization and even subjugation among the goblins, known for their genetic programming for chaos.

"Doc" is suspicious and curious.  Not only are people essentially being kidnapped and changed into something else against their will and unsuspecting, once changed, they are essentially enslaved and being programmed to blind servitude.  He thinks something should be done to investigate this more in-depth and stopped if possible.

Who could take up such a challenge though?  It is certainly a job for more than just one person.  All of his efforts to bring it to the Town Council and the Sheriff but they seem uninterested, disinclined to believe it or in complete denial of the situation.  The Sheriff actually threatened to lock up the next person who dared to mention it.

Why are people changing?  Where are they going to after being changed?  Is someone behind the changes and the raids?  Why is the Sheriff so disgruntled and the council members so apathetic?
So many questions, so few answers, so little time.  At the rate things are going, nearly half the people in New Edinburgh will have been changed before another month goes by.

"Doc" has an idea of who might be able to get assistance from.  He heads to the bookstore to confer with his friend the local sage.

die Bürgerwehr, a secret society

This is a secret society of people concerned for freedom and liberty of all sentient beings. They work together to right wrongs by other groups and individuals who would infringe on another's natural rights. They trace their beginnings to the time of the "turn" before the change of everything on this world. It is said that the most valuable possession of the society is an original copy of the founding documents of a place from before the "turn" called the U.S.A. a place, according to those documents where all people were respected as individuals with a sovereignty of their own, each and every one.
die Bürgerwehr is always looking for new agents and members of the society. One does not petition to join. If the Society wants you, they will invite you to become an agent, a contractor so to speak. If they feel an individual is worthy, they will extend an invitation to join and become a member of the Society with all of it's benefits and responsibilities. One can choose to not join if invited. Free and voluntary association is highly regarded among the Society.
die Bürgerwehr is represented by someone in the position of "General Contractor".  It is this General's duty to represent the Society in all negotiations and conduct the business of the Society with the approval of the "Congress"  which consists of all Society members that have achieved a certain status level relative to their trade or class.

Most people don't even know the Society actually exists.  Of those who have heard of it, most consider it a myth.