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 Post subject: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:00 pm 
Ranger Lord
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This thread will capture the songs and stories that make up the cultural traditions of Gaul, as they are composed and told.

I will make the posts, and include one item per post--it will feature information like date first presented, content, and general reception of the tales and songs. Bards regularly travel with the merchant caravans to and from the south.

Songs can be composed and performed by PCs, or generated by commission. Regis the Gray is a lute-playing, gray-haired old minstrel who takes commissions and can be found in the tavern.

(Epic songs and tales can be a form of Tribute. When this is done it will be marked as such and it reaches back to the Southern Lands. These songs are allowed to be known to new PCs when they enter the game accordingly.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:18 pm 
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"The Saviors of Beer"

The tale is told, with raucous enjoyment, of the Saviors of Beer who went to the north. Great calamity struck, after a long, cold winter, when goblins raided and destroyed the entire first supply caravan to the Land of Gaul. None survived, save one man, Corbin the Lucky. Would such an injustice stand? No. Six brave men went forth to rescue what remained. No knights, these. These are solid men, men of the tavern, men who know toil, men who are salt to the earth, like we are. Not a silver tongue among them. They returned, walking twenty miles, to face the whole horde of goblins, laying dozens to waste! To fend off ogres! The horrors of giant, blood-sucking bats! Yes, this is the tale of those who risked everything to save what Gaul needed most - the glorious taste of Southland Stout beer. By the mighty swords of the Silent Warrior and the Markd One, men so fierce in their aspect they have no names. By the keen bows of Fingers McGraw and Baxtaw, by the magic of the elves Baxtaw and Carchannoi. And with his spear, Corbin killed the goblin's shaman and a giant ogre! The saviors of beer! *cheers go through the tavern* Let me tell you of the details...

Corbin the Lucky begins...
"So its a story you want, barkeep? As I told ya, I was with the caravan that was attacked, so I knew where to find it. Only the goblins had taken everything that was worth a damn. Markd discovered the beer in the stream, they were trying to hide it and keep it cold. After that the goboes wouldn't leave us alone, must be they don't get much good beer. We fought off two groups of them during the night, and both times they ran back with their tales between their legs." Corbin stops momentarily to wipe his mouth, and takes a drink from his ale. "Then we found one of their hidey holes, where we grabbed the rest of the loot. I'd say we killed off at least a dozen of them all told.". Corbin grins, happy with himself, before remembering the last encounter on the trip back. "Then there was the ogres. They wanted our beer too! We killed two of them, and their womenfolk surrendered, and so we sent them on their way back to wherever ogres come from."

The Baxtaw the Elf tells the tale...
Dram wrote:
Baxtaw- Patting Corbin on the shoulder.My friend here is being modest. Baxtaw with a big grin. Takes a good swallow from his mug. As my friend said he led the way to where they were ambushed by those stinking goblins. It was late in the evening on the first day so we set up camp. Early morning when we were suddenly attack by 2 giant bats. And they were some of the most viscous things I did ever see. They almost killed our friend Markd there. One had pinned down. Ready to ripped his throat out. Silent cut it to pieces like the master swordsman he is. Corbin here skewered the other with his spear. Baxtaw takes another drink from his mug. On the second day we set out. Travelling all day. We found the bashed and smashed carts. Markd there found the kegs hidden under a cart in the stream. Them goblins were keeping the ale cold for us. We first had defend the kegs from our friend Fingers there. Or he would had it all drunk by the morning. THere was goblins tracks everywhere we looked most of them heading to and from the southwest. We each had a drink with our rations then set in fer the night. Carchannoi suggests decided to ride southwest on his horse to scout. We decided to set up camp away from the hidden kegs. So that we could keep watch over them during the night. About an hour after dusk, the Fingers dog begins growling low in his throat, his hair raised on his back. We begin looking where sprinkles is looking seeing several small shapes trying to hide at the edge of the firelight.The others move behind the wagon for cover. I move off into the shadows using night eyes. There leader starts hollering some goblin gibberish. Them goblins aint as dumb as ya think they would be. They was trying to talk us up till there friends got there with them. Well! we wasn't lettin that happen I tell ya. There was seven of them we killed six one being their Shaman we believe. Fingers fires an arrow at the goblin hitting him right through the eye. The Shaman done skewered himself on Corbins spear. Silent our mighty warrior was charged by five of them. He took the head right off one of them. I myself shot in the neck with Master Longbow. Silent pulls his and kills another one hitting him in the neck. The last run off in the dark screaming for its leader. Sdubok was the name, I believe. Baxtaw takes a final swig from mug. Hyde can fill me up another mug this got a hole in the bottom of it. He smiles at Hyde.

Dram wrote:
Baxtaw continues on with his story. So we hear this gobbie screaming for his king or god as Fingers here was understand there language. We decided we best be moving before the one that got away brought back all his buddies. We found a secluded grove. Then we hear a bunch of them gobbies hollering and screaming. We decide to see what was going on as Carchannoi had not returned from his scouting mission. The others sneak up to a ridge. I sneak off in the dark using my night eyes. There was a dozen goblins climbing over the wagons. Them goblins were quite upset that we had found the Ale was open They found our tracks. Half have of them with torches and spears, the other half carry bows. They begin charging up the hill. Carchannoi is ahead them on his horse with a goblin on the back of saddle. There was a big boulder at the top of the ridge we pushed it over the ridge. killing one Silent cut the heads off 3 of them within seconds. Carchannoi and Mark killed another 3 of them. The 5 run off in the dark towards the Ale. They begin to push one of the kegs away. We charge down the hill. Fingers screaming at the top of his lungs "Hey! They're trying to steal our beer!" Get them bastards. We begin firing arrows at them. We killed 3 more. The last 2 were not strong enough to move the keg so they run off. Carchanno had charmed one them named Ghunk. Ghunk took us to their sleeping holes. We snuck in andkilled four more in there sleep. We found some more of the stolen goods. It was still 2 days travel to town. We set up camp. Silent, Carchannoi, and Fingers and Sprinkles take first watch. I woken up by Sprinkles barking thinking there were more goblins wanting to fight for the beer. My eyes adjusting, it wasn't goblins it was Ogres 4 of them. I sneak off in the darkness again using my training as a Elven Seeker. They begin throwing boulders into the camp. Carchannoi puts the big one to sleep Corbin burries his spear into the large one heart and finishes it. Another big one grabs a keg and starts to run off with when the big one fell. Must been it mate because it stopped dead in tracks and that's when hit it with my elven magic it fell over dead. Carchannoi charms the smaller 2 of the 4. The 2 young ogres were no threat to us. They were starving so we sent them off with a barrel of dried fish and told them to leave our lands. Then we arrived here in town the next day. He takes a drink from his mug. And he looks to his Comrades. Did I forget anything my friends?

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:04 am 
Ranger Lord
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Foxy, Flame of the North

Flame of the North: a rock ballad...

'Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where are the knightly Templars
to fight the rising odds?
Isn't that my heroine
upon a fiery steed?
With bow and blade she cuts them down
Making all my captors bleed

Saved by Foxy,
do do do , wa wa wa wa, Wow! Pow!
Flame of the North

I'm holding out for a hero
at the end of the night
Foxys' s gotta be strong
Foxys' gotta be fast
Foxy's bow shoots flame into flight.

I call on Foxy

I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
She's gotta be pure
She gets her revenge
And she's gotta be Flame of the North!
Flame of the North

Do do do, wa wa wa wa,
Wow! Pow! Flame of the North

She hails a trusty sidekick,
who makes the mountains reel
He calls forth earthen roots to grasp,
Laying hands on you to heal,
He hugs the trees, calls flocks to mass
He sorts through ladies clothes,
He fought beside this heroine,
when skeletons arose.

Clay and his fat ass.

Do do do, wa wa wa wa
Wow! Pow! Clay and his fat ass.

In your darkest midnight
Beyond your wildest fantasy
Shadow mages run to hide,
Using bones of necromancy,
Goblins priests and kings will quake
Their end is just a burning lake,
Because Foxy sets you free.

Racing on the thunder and rising like the dawn
She's gonna take a super shot
To knock them off their feet.

Foxy to the rescue.

Do do do, wa wa wa wa
Wow! Pow!

Flame of the North, do do do, wa wa wa wa ,
Wow! Pow! Flame of the North.'

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:09 am 
Ranger Lord
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The Children and the Goblin King

A week passes in the tavern, the bard and his lute making a stirring tale of The Children and the Goblin King. The tale is of Foxy, the Flame of the North, and Clay, the Child of the Forest, who set out to rescue the Farrow Farm children from the goblin's clutches when no one else would. They overcome a horde of goblins, defeat foul necromancers, and walk into the very bowels of the Goblin King's fetid halls to emerge with the two young girls. They gain the aid of the farmers along the way and Foxy's bravery inspires the faltering hearts of the boy Clay and the farming men each time they go to flee rather than continue on against their harrowing foes.

Foxy's tales to the Bard:
Stirling wrote:
Foxy O'Hare

Foxy leans laconically upon the bar at the Golden Tooth Tavern, swigging from a bottle of finest Southron red. She passes to My Hyde the proprietor a small bronzed scupltured statuette. It is of a grasping tree root curled around a bow and three arrows. Foxy O'Hare and Clay Weatherwax have their names engraved on it and it is stamped with the date that the rescued girls returned to the Farrow Farm. Mr Hyde gratefully receives it, polishing it will a glass towel and puts on display as a trophy.

Elsewhere in Gaul, performances are being held in market streets and at city gates as Idriss the circus performer recounts tales of bravado through mime, dance and song to the enthralled crowds of onlookers. He hands out gift arrows to wide-eyed children, each one carefully engraved with the signature,
Foxy: Flame of the North

Foxy leans in to Mr Hyde and other listeners at the bar as she begins to recount the tale of her heroism and The Rescue.

As you recall I visited the Infirmary to pay my respects and give my humble contrition. It was there I heard of goblin raiders who pillaged the farm, killing many and taking these young girls captive. I rent my heart to hear so but even more when I knew the duke and his men were to coward to go and these noble Templars of grace, saw such a task as not worthy of their merits, preferring to keep their virtue behind the safe walls of Gaul. this should not be, I was stirred with a compassion for these girls and one whose father lay mortally wounded.

I came to the tavern to map the farm and recruited an aide in the form of a young boy, Clay. So appropriately named for he worships the earth mother. Steel I would have preferred but those who call themselves by that name had wrung their hands and hearts. So we set off following the trail to farrows farm, avoiding a huge ant colony excavating a new burrow. We found the farm and found the farmers all low in spirit. Clay laid hands on Mr farrows leg to heal his wounds and I laid hands on his soul, stirring him to believe his daughter was not lost and hope was at hand.

So we set off in pursuit of the raiders who captured his daughter, following bent grass and twisted twig. It lead us to a small cave, barely a niche in the rocks out of which came a goblin horde. They had some menfolk prisoners in chains, and hauled them off into the night. I took the chance as they left to assault the cave hoping to find the girls still chained therein but alas no trace was found. The two with me wanted to rest or return, forlorn of hope but I roused them to follow and we tracked this horde to a plain above the hills. I sniped one goblin through the eye with my bow, killing him dead before he even hit the floor. This halted their move and as they turned Clay called forth vicious grasping roots to snare and entangle them. As Mr farrow and Clay moved among the roots to beat back the goblins and free the captives I exchanged fire with three archers. see look at this wound I took from a poisoned arrow to my shoulder. I slew two of them before the last fled naked and bleeding into the night fearing to confront my scimitar in melee. We freed the men and took the boss captor captive himself. I stripped him of his armour and swords and we chained him. He begged for mercy saying he would help us find the girls. I had to trust his word and so we followed his trail which lead to the palisade warded fortress of the goblin HQ. It was surrounded by goblin riders on huge ferocious wargs.

I left the men to recover their wits in the cave we found for they were exhausted and fearful. We encouraged their spirits with communion and interrogated the prisoner. This boy wanted to let him leaves after spilling his guts on the goblin plans, returning to him armour and sword. I would sooner have thrust the sword into him and made him spill his guts for sure. The goblin Balex, begged for mercy again so we left him tied in the cave.

He informed of of the Red Robed mages, an evil cult of necromancers who had plans to trade evil magic and relics for the bodies of these precious Gaul maidens. We could allow such to go unpunished and found the trail these mages used taking a place to ambush them as they traveled. Soon enough these mages came to celebrate in the goblins gloaming, riding warhorses and accompanied by fearsome hounds of hell who breathed bouts of lava and flame, snarling and rabid they were. We trapped them in one fell swoop, Clay causing the ground to tremble and snare these mages. In panic the horses reared and we rolled logs into the beasts to crush them and I fired volleys into the fray. One evil mage, Longshadow is name, escaped the entanglement crawling on his knees for safety before he intoned a divination causing sulphuric gas to arise from the bedrock. It poisoned the farmers with my but I withstood its' affect, continuing to slay beats after beast with my bow. Clay foolishly went to flail at this man but his lost his wits as the mage laid an evil touch upon him. Clay deemed the man his friend but i was strong in spirit. I stood from afar and carefully aimed like the huntress waiting for the slightest hesitation and movement. As Clay went to help his dog it gave me the gap to let fly an arrow. i wanted this mage alive so we could get him to sing. My bowstring sung first and my aim was true. Longshadow got hit in the leg incapacitating him and caused him to release Clay from his fell mind grip. He limped off into the night as he in desperation called on diabolical forces to raise the dead bodies of his comrades. Skeletal hounds and grim fleshless men assailed us.See the wound I took from one lich mage as he sought to strangle me. I took his head off and claimed his severed hand to lay upon the altar in the Infirmary as a token of our victory over these undead warlocks. I believe Bro Mylo has the relic in his office.

After this we pursued the last mage as he fled in fear to return to his gothic temple. Invisible he was but I saw through his illusion to corner him by a boulder where he acknowledged his betterment. He lay downs his arms and pleaded for mercy, giving up his evil spell tomes and telling us of the goblin trade plans. I let him go back to his ruin telling him I will come follow and kill all those who would delight in the slavery of young girls. He fears his seniors will take his skin to mould a book, I will take his skin and stretch it over a drum to beat a victory dance upon.

So we take their robes as a disguise and entered through the palisade beneath goblin spear men and archers. Only Clay and another faltered at the site of sacrificial bonfires and fled to the cave upon the words of a dire priest. The goblin we had captured must have escaped but I caused him to be burned as an offering to his god upon the very bonfires laid out for the Farrows' men. He screams echoed across the hillside and caused the goblins to fornicate and mate right beneath us. I ordered goblins to stable our horses and we were received into the banqueting halls of the goblin king. He was impressed by our triumph over these dread mages and called forth the girls we sought. they were starved and hooded, contained within crates of iron, chained and abused. We traded with the king and won his word that he would never raid the farms again but he sought to betray his word and slay us as we left. We fought in the corridors and caverns until I had to stop to hold the ground whilst Mr Farrow took chance to flee with the girls. With blade in hand I fought until my blood dry. I fell amongst scores of bodies only for Mr Farrow to carry my near lifeless form despite his wounds. They dressed my pierced lung, see here the wicked scar to my back from the thrust of a spear. I was sedated on my journey home, comforted by Eruannas' shining dove and the knowledge these girls had been rescued safely.

I think that is most of it, I will leave it to young Clay to embellish further if he wishes for vanity does not befit a lady as myself."

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:02 am 
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The Ballad of Alcide: River Ranger.

Alcide walks under a wandrin' star,
Alcide walks under a wandrin' star.
Trees are made for fellin'
Axes are made to whack. [chop, chop hand motions]
I've never seen a troll that didn't look better burning black.
Alcide hunts under a wandrin' star.
Orcs make you prisoner and the Morlocks can bake you fresh.
Wugs' can burn your eyes, but only Rivertrolls eat your flesh.
Al is made for huntin' them, his dreams all comin' true [chop, chop, hand motions]
The river ran with red blood when before it ran clear blue.
Acide traps under a wandrin' star,
Alcide traps under a wandrin' star.
Do I know where Cabbagehead is, Fattypants or Lumpyguts too, [head falling off motion]
Heaven is not their place forever, they are growing back for you.
Alcide ranges under a wandrin' star, the river ranger star.

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:05 pm 
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The Tale of the Count's Children

At the Greenleaf Festival on 01 June 2021, the young Clay Weatherwax offered the cautionary tale of the nobleman's sons who desecrated a site of Beith, displaying both greed and vanity. As a curse for their foul acts and natures, they were afflicted with lycanthropy, which eventually led to all of their deaths and the end of the Count's lineage.

Rusty Tincanne wrote:
Clay Weatherwax grew increasingly nervous as the day of the festival passed. He had envisioned sharing stories with friends at a campfire, not the entire town. But he decided to make the most of it, finally deciding to tell the story of the Count's Children.

With the sun low in the sky and most of the town well intoxicated, Clay sat on a stool on the stage. The young druid of Beith did not cut an impressive figure. Average height with a scrawny body, all covered by robes. His bull mastiff, Morr, sat at his feet, giving him some comfort. He cleared his throat and started his tale.

Long ago, there was a Count who lived on the edge of the Midnight Forest. He had six sons, and each was more vain and greedy than the next. Even their wet-nurses said so, but only in whispers when they were sure it was safe to do so.

As they grew, so did their greed and vanity, and on the youngest’s 14th birthday, they were sent on a hunt. They were after a pure-white fox – an albino – that had been caught by the Count’s kennelmaster. Anyhow, this fox was set loose on the morning of the 14th birthday, like I said, and the Count’s children set their dogs loose and followed on their horses. And it was important to them to not look like fools, but it was even more important to the fox that he escape to live another day. And with his life on the line, he ran through logs, streams, into skunk holes, climbed a couple trees... You name a trick and that fox did it. And them dogs, the count's son and his mates just couldn't gain ground on it.

And as I said, those children wanted to seem important, so they stayed out, chasing that fox for hours and hours, heading deeper and deeper into the Midnight Forest. And with the sun down and the full moon up, those kids finally caught up to that old fox. It was sitting in the middle of a circle of standing stones, in a toadstool patch. But the Count’s children were so loud that that fox saw them coming and of course it ran away as quick as it could, leaving those noble born children in the middle of a sacred spot of Beith.

But they were so mad by that time that they... well... they passed their water all over the toadstools and stones. And they started getting drunk and set to knocking over some of the ancient stones. And they passed out right in the stones and had terrible dreams.

They woke the next morning and found their horses were all dead, ripped to shreds by some foul beasts. At first they were scared a bit, but then they remembered who they were and got puffed up with pride, knowing no beast would dare try to hurt them, because they were so important. Still, it was a long walk home.

The months passed after that, and every full moon some horses, cows, sheep and whatnot were getting killed by something. So the Count had his guards set traps, but they got killed too. So he called in a wise, old woman of the town who identified the deaths having been caused by werewolves. And she told the Count and his advisers that the only way to kill a werewolf is with silver weapons, so the Count had all his silver smithed into arrows, axes, swords and the like. And he set up a trap. A fine trap.

And the next full moon, six werewolves descended on a herd of cows, all tethered in a field. The Count’s men lit fires to hem the lycanthropes in and attacked with their silvery weapons. And when they was done, the werewolves changed back to their human form, revealing the Count’s own six children. The same children that had upturned sacred stones a year before, incurring the wrath of the goddess, Beith. The Count and his wife were sick with grief. And within the month, each had taken their own life. All on account of their children having no respect and incurring the wrath of Beith.

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:09 pm 
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The Tale of Six and the Last

A heroic ballad repeated often in the tavern, tells of the six adventurers who crossed the east river on a mission for the Church of Baudh, faced spectres and horrors and ogres, and returned to tell the death of the clerical companion. Originally sung by Irving the Handsome.

The Tale of Six and the Last

The six set out on blusterous day,
Under grey and grim skies heavy with rain
To unearth what man had locked away
Long since and hidden neath mystery and shame.

Once-bright cities that shone with Baudh's light
Fallen on shadowy miserable days
Called out to Baudh's priests come over the mount
To restore the lost holy ways.

In ancient tower was hid an icon
of gold and gilt with Holiness round;
Six souls set forth under hooded skies
And here's what they found.

Under a hill in catacomb deep
Were legions of unholy dead that would creep
From their tombs to prey upon the life of the living
Or to listen to speeches some ghosts were giving;

The wretched refuse of the living were fought;
Vermin and oozes festering with rot,
Destroyed good and all in holy Baudh's name
For the faith, for which they all came.

Nothing to be found
In that hole in the ground
But mysteries wrapped with enigmas tight round
A fair fairy queen with no head crying luminous tears
As her suitors and enemies hold court through the years.

Upon a high hill stood a circle of stone;
A resting place for some ancient bones
And a circle of tombs guarded well by fell beasts
That descended and slew the impetuous priest
Who dared to defy their unholy might
And was sent 'fore his time past the reach of the night.

In the air, in the wind did the weeping and dirge
Rise like an ancient soul's vital urge
Against the fell darkness of that timeless land
Lead our heroes from woe by the hand.

And so they returned.
Along ways not yet trodden by men or by beasts,
Simply monsters begotten of darkness and blood.

And so it was,
As the perilous ogre swept forth from the dim
With a horde of cruel kobolds, their spears flashing grim
Laid about him with a tree drawn up by the root
In an orgy of blood laid them out at his foot.

Dwarf, stony-faced, loyal and true;
Captain, with voice of command he is due;
Monk, his hooded face shining with light
And the half-man, with blade burning bright.

All save the last. Irving, the shield
of the fallen, who would not yield.
With a clatter of sword upon shield he cried out
"You, ogre, turn your backside about!
Or prepare for a slaughter, yours and your mates!"
And the kobolds fled, left the ogre to its fate.
With a turn and a twist and a mighty blow
he turned tree-trunk aside and laid the beast low.

Once darkness lifted
Through grace Baudh had gifted,
Irving, the Last, drew the fallen about him
And waited, in the last light of day, as it dimmed.

Trolls on the River Gaul

A heroic balladof Earc Orctongue, Amistad, Alcide, and Achaedany slaying four river trolls in defense of the Frogmorton Ford community.

Trolls in the River Gaul
Coming back from 'venturing
Down the river Gaul
Blackjack, Earc, and Alcide
Ran into a wall

The wall was green and towering
With pointed teeth and claws
A troll had grabbed ahold their raft
To make them pay their tolls.

They fought it on the river bank
With sword and spear they toiled
And finally managed to bring it down
Using fire and a little oil

They told their tale later on
To the smallfolk at the Ford
But the halflings showed great concern
A'fearing there might be more

So the three great hunters headed out
To search for other trolls
Along with another pair of hands
Achaedany made four

They tracked the trolls to their lair
Set traps and lay in wait
In the dark of night two more came
Taking the human bait

'Jack's axe did its damage
Alcide's spear did more
Soon another two piles of ash
Meant they'd almost settled the score

One more troll remained
The largest and meanest of all
It took everything our heroes had
To finally make it fall

'Dany sliced it with her javelin
Earc blinded it with light
But once again 'twas oil that
Brought an end to the final fight

Now sailing up and down the Gaul
Much safer do you feel
But before you let your guard back down
Beware the screeching eel!!

And, just for fun, he also makes up a limerick...

A troll from the river of Gaul
Caught a raft up in its maw
But after a huge fight
And a bonfire of light
Felt it wasn't a good meal after all

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:25 pm 
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Sacking of the Kobold Tower

The tale, as told by Ablesforth the Cleric, of how two dwarves, two servants of Eruanna, and one sneaky lad ventured to the edge of the Dark Forest, fought their way through four dozen vicious kobolds to claim an ancient tower in the name of the ArchDuke of Gaul, and faced a variety of frightening magically-mutated animals from the forest's depths.

Able walks into the tavern purposefully - to share drinks with the men he has traveled with. 6 mugs of Finger's brown ale later finds Able standing atop a table. Lissen up, all. Sssshhhh! I sez lissen! The table groans under his massive frame, but he manages to avoid tipping the thing over.

I been out in the wilds with these 'ere fellers. Rhybek and Neegan - stout fighters, though being dwarfs, that should go without sayin'. Idriss, he's into his books now, but you should go find him. A heck of a guy. And Fingers. Wait. Where'd 'e go? Able cranes his neck searching for the cloaked padfoot, finally finding him where he had first looked. Harr! Good one, you sly devil! But not really a devil, or I'd need to cut 'im down. But not really cut 'im down, 'cause of my calling as a cleric. Able words lose their track as he explains clerics cannot use bladed weapons, which is why he uses a hammer to bludgeon creatures, ...but that doesn't really make no sense 'cause there was blood splattering all over the place with them dog-lizards... His eyes close a moment, but he remains upright, silent. When the room starts to grow louder, he snaps awake again, calling their attention back.

Like I sez, I was out there in the wilds to the west of here. The Wild West, if you'll pard'n the 'spression. Well, we was out there fer five days. But more'n that on account of us already having traveled eight days afore that. I think there's a song 'bout that trip already, right? Well. We was out there to go searching for a tower filled with dog-headed-lizard-mens. Idriss, Rhybek 'n Neegan sez them's kobolds. Tricky buggers.

Rhybek tried to approach a small group of 'em peacably, speakin' their own tongue. Hisses and yips, to an untrained ear like mine, but he was able to understand 'em. They looked to be farmers, mind you, growing 'taters and turnips, but that was just a first course. They said they wanted to eat us up! And then the fightin' done begun with hits being swapped and blood a'spatterin. Neegan was hurt bad, bleeding out on the ground, so I put a hex on a few to hold 'em still, then, as I said, I went to work with my maul, popping skulls, brains and gore spatterin' my boots. Nasty bizness, and I don't mind saying that I'd a rather been building a barn. But my friends-here was in danger, so we set to it. And Fingers... Where'd he go again!? Oh. There he is. Stay still, son. I'm gonna brag on you.

Fingers there, sent an arrow right through one of them, into another. Wicked, deadly aim, he's got. And while that was goin' on, Idriss make 'isself look like several of 'isself with magic, and Neegan manages to throw a kobold off him, protecting his mule, and Rhybek was a'cleaving another. The battle only took a few moments, in truth, but it was the end of any chance of peaceful dealings so we went to camp out and I was healing people with Eruanna's grace. Some moving confession, I promise you!

Well the next morning we found our only prisoner dead, but we don't know why. What? Yeah, we had a prisoner. I said that, didn't I? No? well we did. And he told us about the tower, 'n how it had four levels, with 10 or so on each level, with each level full of tougher kobolds than the last. But in the morning he was dead. And Fingers saw a red-spiny-squirrel-bird in the morning.

Hey. Maybe that's what done killed the kobold.

Anywhat, we headed into the compound with our knowings and found weirder and weirder critters in each outbuilding. Rat-lizards, moose-gooses, crazy spider-things, gorilla-faced-dog-hedgehogs-with-horns... Hard to believe my own words, but with Eruanna-as-my-witness, it's the truth! And that kobold said they come from the woods nearby...

And then we stormed the tower. We killed 'em all in the bottom with barely a scratch. Then I used my maul to knock out a few choice timbers to collapse part of the second floor, and while Fingers and the dwarfs were killing kobolds with their bows, I went up the ladder and almost got m'self killed when I smashed the ladder to the third level. But we managed to get them, and Idriss used the distraction to climb a wall and throw burning oil into a window on the third level, so when we got up there, they was mostly dead.

But the fourth level... Well the kobold chief said he'd surrender, but then dumped boiling oil onto me and I missed the rest, but when I come-to, these fellers had made short work of the chief and his body guards while protecting me. So we sepnt a day or two healing up and looking around a bit more, finding mostly trouble form them mutant-critters. So we come back here to Gaul. And we'll head back out to somewhere else, making this land safe for y'ins.

An' if anyone wants a tower and outbuildings with plenty of dangerous critters, we can tell you where to go lookin'.

Able takes a long draw from his tankard and jumps from the table with a loud thud.

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:39 pm 
Ranger Lord
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The Dark Forest and the Morlock Depths

Bards of the Southlands tells a stirring tale of the continuing adventures of Blackjack and his band, adventurers of the forest. He tells of Earc Orctongue of Toll's Tower and Olaf Olafsonson as well as the salty Achaedany and brazen Akkara. They speak of negotiating with ogres and orcs, of facing dryads, dragons, centaurs, walking trees, and gigantic cyclops. Of descending into the very bowels of the Morlock lair to seek the sources of their grumpbear and weaseljay abominations. The tale is well-received by the woodcutters as they drink their ale.

Alethan wrote:
Earc approaches the local bard, hands him a sack of coins and says, “Here’s the gist of it. You can make up the details,” and winks.

“Five of us left for the Morlock tunnels – ‘Blackjack’ Amistad, Olaf Olafsonson, Achaedany, Akkara, and me – Earc of Toll’s Tower. We left the Frogmorton’s in the early pre-dawn of 06 July. The plan was to follow the river up to where a morlock tunnel was found in some old ruins near the confluence of the two rivers that form the Gaul River.”

“By mid-afternoon of the first day, we’d left the relative safety of the areas patrolled by the ArchDuke’s men and it was shortly thereafter that we came upon a wooden palisade protecting a bunch of tents. It was inhabited by ogres who were not terribly happy to see us. But I spoke with their leader and we agreed they should head north and look for the orcs who were poaching on their land. So that’s what they did. We continued on our way.”

“The next day, we met a dryad and then WE were the ones who were persuaded to do something against our wills! Seems she’d lost an orb she needed back. Problem was there were two very young green dragons swimming about in the nearby pool and they were the ones who took it. Amistad and I retrieved the orb for the dryad and we continued on our way, leaving the green dragons alive, but worse for wear.”

“Before we left her, though, the dryad gave us information about the morlocks. They work on their experiments in the morning. They sleep in the afternoon. They hunt the upper world at night.”

“Little did we heed her warning, though. That night we had morlocks attack our camp, trying to capture us. We fended them off.”

“The next morning, we came across some orc scouts. Like the other orcs Blackjack and I had dealt with before, they were well equipped and properly trained. Not too much for us, though, and so the northern orcs have two less of their numbers to contend with. The third one agreed to speak with us and give us information in exchange for his life. It was from him that we learned they were of one of the three Flamerock tribes – the Flayed Hand Tribe, the Red Eye Tribe, and the Black Tongue Tribe, coming from the solitary mountain peak north of Gaul. He said there were many, many in each tribe. This concerns me almost as much as the morlocks having no masters… but I get ahead of myself!”

“The morlocks tried again the following night and again we were able to decisively fight them off, capturing one of them in the process. We tried to speak with it through Akkara, who has learned their language, but got minimal information for our trials. They’ve already proven to be dangerous prisoners, able to summon wild creatures with their humming, so we did not leave it alive. Before the last one died, we learned something frightening from it. There are no more Masters. We don’t yet know what it means, but… it seems like a frightening thing to hear.”

“Finally we arrived at the ruins and found the tunnel entrance. We climbed down, using the hand- and foot-holds made into the side of the tunnel for the morlocks to use. The tunnels were twisty and full of turns, making mapping difficult. But we took our time and were rewarded by not getting lost!”

“We discovered a cavern of bat-bird hybrids we smartly left alone, but weren’t so lucky with the cavern of bug-bears. After they were defeated, we removed another group of morlocks and were approached by a dragon-puppy hybrid that we could not tame. Wounded and low on supplies, we decided to leave for Gaul with the information we had. On the way out, we came across a bunch of feathered serpents feasting on a morlock. We left them alone.”

“On our return trip, we were harassed by cyclops, watching trees, and centaurs patrolling the woods. We were attacked by a grumpbear and, not wanting to give us even a night of uneventful rest, a hoard of rodents of unusual size ate most of our supplies the last night out.”

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:22 am 
Ranger Lord
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A tale which began circulating at the Frogmorton Home on 16 July 2021:

How a Hobbit got Two Heads
Alethan wrote:
Bandy Sandybanks

Bandy shrugs, sits down and begins a story for the halfling kids...

“Ages ago, when the Hinterlands were young and wild, adventurers used to go there to seek their fortunes. With swords at their hips and packs on their backs, they would hike and climb and crawl through the endless hills and swamps, plagued by mosquitoes and leeches as much as they were by goblins and orcs.”

“One of these groups of adventurers included a young hobbet, which is sort of a halfling of a different lineage, who went by the name Desmond. Like any youthful halfling,” Bandy casts a glance over at Fastred and Isengar, “Desmond was always quick to prove how brave he was.”

“He was first to lead the charge into a fight. He volunteered to scout ahead to see what was around the next corner. And his companions were happy to let him do so, as it meant less danger for them!”

“What some call ‘brave’, others may call ‘foolhardy’! And it eventually caught up with him. After several days into their dungeon delving, the party was tired and sore and sick of eating dried fish because they weren’t at all the wonderful dried fish like your mum makes for us! They were too salty and they smelled of rotten seaweed, but it was nourishment and you don’t throw food out for a little smell when you’ve been fighting goblins an orcs and bands of robbers.”

“And then it seemed that fate stepped in and solved all of their problems! They opened one particularly heavy, wooden door and it opened into a grand chamber, at least 60 feet in height! And hanging from the ceiling, clinging to dirt with root and limb, was a tree. It was growing upside down so the top of the tree was almost touching the floor of the room!”

“The group cautiously entered the room, ready for an ambush from the Black Fang Orcs that had been haunting their trail for two days. But nothing happened! In fact, they felt calm and at ease like they hadn’t felt in days. Then someone noticed the tree had fruit on it – lush, purple fruit – and that made everyone all the more hungry. Indeed, The Gustave’s stomach rumbled so loudly that even the deaf aged grey elf Highbough could hear it (though he thought it was the rumbling of another bugbear, he did!).”

“Desmond, being the foolhardy and brave soul that he was, decided he would try the fruit to make sure it was safe. But it was much too high for the diminutive halfling, so Pelenwin the Tall used his poleax to cut one free. Desmond caught it just before it hit the ground which, for some reason, everyone felt was a good thing.”

“The fruit was heavy, smooth, and cool in Desmond’s small hands and the scent of it was strong and sweet. Surely the thing must be filled with liquid honey to smell so good! The skin seemed modestly tough, however it was something like an orange peel and Desmond figured he could easily cut through it with his knife.”

“The halfling warrior pulled a gleaming knife from his belt and cuts into the dark thing efficiently. A black treacle oozed from the incision, dripping abundantly to the dirt floor. But Desmond hardly noticed, for the smell of the fruit was sweet and heady and soon all of the hungry adventurers were salivating!”

“Desmond took a first bite and discovered the fruit was every bit as sweet, juicy, and delicious as it smelled. Better, really, maybe by a hundred times! After he devoured the first slice, he didn’t want to stop! He attacked the entirety of the sweet fruit with a voracious gusto, oblivious to the hungry hands and eyes all around him. Desmond swooned flat on his back like a ragdoll. He had transcended all mortal concern and reached Taste Heaven!”

“Now, to you young halflings, it might seem like a wonderful end to a story! But, alas for poor Desmond, the story doesn’t end there. As the smell of the fruit circulated about the room, The Gustave, Pelenwin, Wibert, Koch, and Boris were all overcome by a desperate uncontrollable need to taste the fruit! Only Dieter, Ulric, and the aged elf Highbough were able to resist the magical charm.”

“Even though the competent halfling had put most of the fruit away in his stomach, the others quickly jumped on top of Desmond, feverishly scavenging the fruit scraps, devouring anything that was left and even licking the juices off Desmond’s inert hands and face!”

“Ugh…” Bandy shudders. “I hate telling that part of the story… ”

“Anyway, all those whose tongues had touched the juice of the glorious fruit swooned in divine pleasure at the impossibly delicious taste. Their eyes rolled up into their heads and, one by one, they collapsed onto the dirt floor, utterly comatose beneath the heavenly tree.”

“After a while, Desmond began to tremble in his slumber. Then from shivering to a kind of rough trembling. Then it progressed to a violent shaking! All the while, a crazy smile stretched gaunt across his face. A few small giggles even escaped his lips, as if it was all some pleasant joke.”

“Dieter suddenly exclaimed aloud and pointed at Desmond’s prostrate body. Something seemed amiss with his shoulder. It was swelling under the armour! Highbough and Dieter worked to loosen the buckles and straps of the protective garb to get a look at the injury… and were shocked to see an angry red swelling almost the size of a fist!”

“As Highbough tried to induce vomiting in the hopes of expelling whatever poison Desmond had swallowed, he saw the swelling grow before his very eyes, as if some fist-sized imp was trying to push its way out of Desmond’s skin!”

“Desmond screamed and roared, scratching and grasping while the hideous, melon-sized bulge had blown out almost to his ears and sprouted a coarse ruff of bristles. Everyone else looked on in utter horror as the poor halfling writhed helplessly screeching on the ground in unknown agony. All the while, the angry protrusion kept on growing and growing until it truly did rival Desmond’s head in size! The bristles had grown out into a thatch of curly black hair and a new set of facial features expanded across what was quite clearly a second head!”

“Then it all stopped – the growing, the shaking, the wailing – and a pin-drop silence held for the longest moment. Desmond sat up and both eyes… I mean all FOUR eyes flicked open. The new head shook itself a moment and then reached up with Desmond’s right arm to ruffle its hair a moment while it surveyed the room of faces gawking at it.”

’Whad’re you lot lookin’ at?’ it asked in a most surly tone. Desmond, on the other hand, a bit sore of neck and shoulders, stretched his neck to the left and then down towards the front. Then he paused as he noticed a tightness when he tried to turn to the right. He gasped in shock as he noted, both with sight and with touch as he raised his hands to both heads, that he’d grown a second head! He managed to squeak out, ‘… don’t eat the fruit!’ before fainting.”

“Which is to say, his left head fell back slackly, but his body remained upright, now operated by the second head, who the other adventurers would later find out was named Mondes.”

“And that, my young friends, is why you should never eat fruit from an upside down tree five stories down in a dungeon.” Bandy ends abruptly, quelling his desire to continue the tales of Desmond and Mondes...

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 Post subject: Re: The Songs of Gaul
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:04 pm 
Ranger Lord
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Foxy's Charge of the Dragon Scatha

Regis the Bard sings the tale of Foxy's battle with Scatha the Wyrm.

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the Knight Valiant

“Forward, the warhorse Galavan!
Charged for the Wrym”
Into the valley of Death
Rode the Knight Resplendent.

“Forward, the Maiden Tribute

Undaunted and unafraid
Hers not to make reply.
Hers not to reason why,
Hers but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the Knight Vengence

Claws to right of them,
Teeth to left of them,
Horns in front of them
Lightening raged and battle thundered;
Stormed at with talon and spell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the Knight Heroic

Flashed the knight, her lances steel
Flashed as they fought with sabre and shield,
Charging a dragon who exhaled fiery breath
Was our heroine crisped to death?

All of Gaul wondered while it
Plunged in the dark smoke sundered,
the Duke and Templars begged surrender,
until at last Gaul's hope dawned, behold.
Alive and unyielding
Rode the Knight Victorious

Scatha the Wrym.
Reeled from the scimitar stroke
Shattered and sundered through the lance's poke,
It flew back in wounded shame, as
Dwarves and men charged to the game
Roaring cheers, announcing Fame,
Rode the Flame of the North!

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