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/qst/ - Quests

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"But, he's just a boy!" The man exclaimed. The outburst causing his oversized fitted tunic to sway, the sickly scent of wasting disease wafted through the hovel. He slumped back into his seat, greasy locks draped across a heavily furrowed brow. The man's wife diligently attending to him with cloth and water.

"As was I once, as were you, as was the graf himself." A gruff voice replies with no concern. The knight, Ser Wilhelm Ottinsburg was not a man to mince words. Cold grey eyes bore into the dull blue of the farmer, a face lined with years of service matching the defiant face of a dying man.

"And what do I care of how things were!" The farmer erupts into a coughing fit, his wife smoothly walking away to a pot boiling on a coal stove. The kitchens showing signs of good harvests. She returns to his side, a strong pungent aroma breaks the hard persona of the knight. His nose twitching in irritation. "I could give two shits of the past," the farmer starts, wiping his face. "What matters is the now! That boy will inherit this farm! As I did, and as my father did, and his before him! We are a proud people! We pay our taxes, when the graf raises them after the cycle do we complain? No! When the levies march and our livestock vanish do we petition? No! We do our duty and pay our due! No! No I say!" He shouts with a fury unbecoming of his appearance. The sickly man evaporating over the course of his rant, possessed of the strong vigour a man decades his junior.

"Now more than ever does the Empire call for it's people. Greenskinz war drums sound, bandits molest the heartlands, norscan scouts wash ashore-"

"It is not our concern! Grain, oats, apples, swine, and swine shit! That is our concern! Not blood and iron!"

"And when the countryside burns? When your grandchildren are sold into the slavery of criminals and heretics what then? What will be your concern?" Disdain creeping into the Knight's voice. The farmer losses what spark on life he managed to lit. His emancipated frame sagging into his chair.

"Hopefully, the grave." Cynicism to match it.

"Husband." The wife's quiet voice grabs his attention, the woman spared the ravages of what sickness befell her husband.

"He doesn't deserves this." The farmer's voice losing all hostility, the croak devoid of life.

"But he deserves much more than this. You know it, so do I?"

The door to the hovel opens wide. A young boy stands in the light of the morning sun. The knight once again takes stock of him; no mo more than 16 summers old, well built for his age, tall, sharp eyes. He's too old, but he'll do. The bruise on his arm was more than enough proof.

"You called him?" The farmer asks in despair and disbelief.

>"Why is he still here?" The boy asks in impertinence. His gaze locked square on the so called knight.

>"Y-yes?" He mumbles, eyes cast low.

>"I'm here." He says as a matter of a fact. Seemingly unconcerned by affairs.
>"I'm here." He says as a matter of a fact. Seemingly unconcerned by affairs.
So begin the adventures of Indifferent Man
>1 post in an hour
Truly /qst/ is the greatest of boards

Keep goin, OP
The knight secured the rations the peasant's wife donated to him. The dried meats and fresh fruit giving a healthy aroma. For him alone it was more than a weeks worth without rationing, it'd serve on the ride to Hochstein. His mount was a hardy breed, bred in the shadows of the Grey Mountains it possessed an endurance and temperance that served him greatly. Her gliding gait and eagerness to please a commodity without worth to a man such as him. Saddle and supplies secured he turned to the boy.

The boy was a spitting image of his mother. Golden brown locks cascaded around his shoulders, a twist of the head and a catch of the light giving it an almost fiery red hue. Well-defined muscles adorn his arms, his sleeveless linen shirt worn despite the slight chill in the cycle before spring. His skin none of the pale possessed by his father but healthy and sun touched.

So much potential. Iron must be forged in fire however.

"Frederick, We ride to to Hochstein. There is business we must attend to. You know the way?" The knight inquired not for a lack of knowledge but to ascertain the temperament of the boy. His nonchalance unnerving.

"East, five days on foot. Three on horseback." Frederick replied, his voice was as even as it was when he first spotted Wilhelm trespassing.

"You lead." The knight climbed into the saddle of his horse with a easy swing.

"Sir." Frederick followed suit, albeit with less practiced grace as the knight. The youngest drafthorse of the farmstead a poor comparison to the companion to a knight.

With a nick Gunther trundled ahead, of all the horses Gunther was as used to Frederick's weight as he was used to the carts and plows. He gazed at the fields of wheat, nearly ready to be harvested. Dieter and his three sons would be soon up and about, surveying for any signs of predators and vermin before they attended to their daily chores. He idly wondered what they'd do in his absecene should a wolf decide to inspect the farmstead again.
It's on the second night of the ride that the knight and the boy finally shared words. Frederick, tended to the fire while the knight continued his drills. A few hours after the sunset he'd call for a stop. The knight taking the lead for a few minutes before he decides an area safe for camp. Frederick watched the knight pray, silent words offered up to Sigmar as he clutches his blade before him. Then he'd rise, Frederick turned the skewer of apples over the fire more focused on the task at hand than the diligence to the martial skill.

"Boy." Eventually the exercises end and the Knight stood above Frederik, a thin patina of sweat glistening in the light of the glow of Mannslieb. "Rise." Without a word Frederick rose to address the knight, wiping his face to be more presentable. "Come."

It was always terse words and quick commands. Frederick followed the older man to his saddle. The knight retrieving two batons and shoving one into his hands.

"Again?" He asked with no expectation.

"Once upon a time swiftness was emphasized in Reiklander technique. Swiftness of arm," the knight circled him, tapping him on various places on his body and directing his stance. "-leg, and most importantly thought. Then, it was replaced by the emphasis on squad combat. Ten Reikers working as one exponentially increased their combat ability. This you will learn and much, much more. But, first you just learn to stay alive."

Much to Frederick's surprise the knight spun, his baton rises high prepared to deliver a punishing blow to his shoulder.

>Frederick tackled him, his time spent in the wrestling circuits dictating action before thought.

>Wielding his baton in two hands he met the Knights strike, intent on beating him in a contest of arms.

>Frederick, retreated the boy judging that the situation did not favor him, opting to gather his bearings and converse energy
>r e t r e a t !
>Frederick retreated, the boy judging that the situation did not favor him, opting to gather his bearings and converse energy
>Frederick, retreated
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>Frederick, retreated the boy judging that the situation did not favor him, opting to gather his bearings and converse energy

You're doing A-ok OP! The introduction was very nice. Good use of descriptive.

>Mfw Empire Knight quest
>Frederick, retreated the boy judging that the situation did not favor him, opting to gather his bearings and converse energy
Frederick nearly tripped over himself in haste. The heavy wooden baton mere inches from crashing into his shoulder. Frederick continued on the back foot, barely dodging and stepping out of the way of ome strike before another two throws him off balance.

The knight's apparant calm betrayed the ferocity showed in his actions. Frederick rolled away as the baton came crashing down, the soft ground kicked up from the impact in a storm of soil and insects. Frederick barely had time to think before the knight was stomping towards him again. He swiped out with his baton, driving the knight back for but a moment. Yet a moment gained is a life earned.

Sir Wilhelm was impressed. Again he bore witness to the raw instinct and athleticism of the farmhand. He continued to retreat from his unrelenting assault, attacking with his baton when he ran out of space to maneuver. To his credit the boy picked up on what he was doing. He avoided the forest at all cost and kept to the clearing of the campfire, no matter how he pushed him the boy would not let the Knight dictate the rules. He already lost the initiative and was willing himself to get it back.

But instinct can only carry you so far. The knight feigned a charge, drawing his baton low intent on thrusting it into his chest. The boy ducked and the knight scowled. For his efforts Frederick received a vicious uppercut. The knight's gnarled fist causing light to explode behind Frederick's eyes. He fell to ground with a sigh while the knight walked away.

"You'll be faster by tomorrow night." It wasn't a statement, the implied threat of his tone hung heavy in the air.

>"You cheated!" He screamed. He was going to stab at me, why didn't he?
>"Yes, Sir." Frederick agreed, not out of deference but in agreement. He would be faster.
>Frederick rose and followed after the Knight in silence
>Write In
>Frederick tries to learn more about the knight, his name, his thoughts on us, etc..

>"Yes, Sir." Frederick agreed, not out of deference but in agreement. He would be faster.

He's got brothers, no way in hell he'd be annoyed at a sneak attack.
"Yes, Sir." Frederik responded without agitation. He rose slowly, a dull pain in his mouth that added a slur to his words. He worked his jaw back and forth, a loud pop bringing a sharp pain. The pain would pass and ge would ignore it, he always did.

Cleaning himself of filth the boy followed the knight to the campsite. Repaying the moment in his head over and over again. No matter how he thought of it there was always a thrust, nothing he saw or remembered opposed this. A perfect feint.

The boy did not take kindly to his own failure.

He would be faster tomorrow.

The knight was sat beside the fire, his blade held at an angle while he worked at it. The steel glowed shone a pale red, Mannslieb and the fire working in tandem. Slight scripture ran along the edges of the blade before snaking towards the center, the two lines of script giving birth to the sight of a twin-tailed comet. A shadow obscured the face of the knight, his countenance only revealed through the sparks of his blade. His eyes shone with life, possessed of a light so far removed from what Frederick saw before he nearly mistook him for a different man.

He sat beside the fire as the knight sheathed his blade. An unremarkable scabbard adorned with a wide strip of paper halfway up the leather. The slight yellowish hue revealing as much age as wear and tear. Frederick dug through the heavy sack his mother gave to him with a hug. The honeyed baked jerkey tasted as he remembered, the spicy aftertaste lingering for a sweet moment. He offered the next to the Knight, mouth full of half eaten food.
Wilhelm took it without reluctance nor disrespect. A nod to the boy as tradition dictated.

"What are you a Knight of?" Frederick asked without pause, continuing to eat jerky.

"The Empire." He replied sardonically, making it a point to finish eating before speaking. "My father was a knight, and his before him, and as far as we can trace. The Ottinsburg are a bloodline of knights. It was my father who dubbed me, and although he owed allegiance to another order I chose a different life."

"Why are we going to Hochstein?"

"While surveying the land for expansion the Mayor's steward discovered a vein of iron. So they dug with fervour, not a day later did they discover the mine was connected to a greater cavern. We're to scout the tunnels and ensure they're safe." The knight stood, grabbing his blade he began towards his bed roll. "So sleep, we ride before dawn."

Sleep didn't come easy to Frederick. It wasn't his first time sleeping under the light of stars. Many nights he listened to the reassuring breeze send whispers through the leaves, the air felt cool to him on most occasions. The crickets and wildlife neither frightening or annoying him. For all intents and purposes it was just another night to trade a bundle of produce for a pouch of salt. Yet, failure pulled the corners of the boy's mouth back slightly.

>He rose to attend Gunther. The presence of animals always calming to him. And seemingly vice versa.
>He walked away from the camp, deeper into the forest where he stood with the baton. He would be faster.
>He forced himself into slumber. While rare for him to have trouble sleeping it was nothing to him to fall into easy rest.
>He walked away from the camp, deeper into the forest where he stood with the baton. He would be faster.
He. Would. Be. Faster.

> Train train train
>He walked away from the camp, deeper into the forest where he stood with the baton. He would be faster.
Frederick freed himself from his bed roll. As he moved through the campsite he took extra care to not disturb Sir Wilhelm, a glance revealing the even breaths of sleep. Frederick carefully picked a path deeper into the surrounding woods. The Imperial Province was home to many a forest range and groves of trees so thick and expansive that some maps merely estimate where they end. Mother's across the province scared and regaled children of the wonders and horrors that call the woods home; of beasts that held the form of man, of fey spirits and creatures, bandits and criminals, of greenskin bands migrating from their Grey Mountain hordes, and of the men and women who practiced witchcraft and darker yet magics.

Frederick stripped his shirt and allowed it to sway in the wind hung upon a desiccated branch, horror came easy to the small folk. The woods on the road to Hochstein was well patrolled by road wardens, a select few opting to scout the woods exclusively via decree of the Graf. Old habits died hard, the forests could be scoured for wood and burn to the roots and still people would tell tall tales.

Frederick knew better to think he was completely safe however. The boy swung his baton at a tree, the fire hardened wood impacting the tree with a loud crack. Several nocturnal birds took immediate flight as he continued to rain blows on the tree. He imagined the knight before him, while visibly touched by ages past the knight was physically imposing. Even in a simple tunic and leather pants he imparted a distinct aura of power and competency.

It was such a lasting impression that Frederick struggled to act, even against his shadow. He was too slow. How many times could he have killed him? One was more than enough. Two was embarrassing. Three was enough to make the normally serene boy scowl in frustration. The tree he used for practice was a ruin by the time most of his frustration was excised. The boy took a deep breath, trying to find his center and to think more rationally.

He was a Knight, of course he'd easily be able to kill a man. Of course he'd be able to slaughter Frederick. Getting frustrated did nothing.

Getting better was everything.
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The Knight watched in the distance, giving the boy his morning rites. As strange and foreign as they were he has seen worse. Men who rubbed ground wolfsbane into their boots, or who would throw a coin as far as they could. The superstitions of men were strange and as varied as the provinces themselves. All the boy did was stretch and take a deep breath before screaming as loud as he could. There were no words, just a random assortment of emotions let loose through a howl. For a moment the knight almost believed there would be an answer by some creature.

His arm ached fiercely. The bruise the boy gave to him when he spotted the knight on their land still present and a deep shade of purple. He had been lost in memory and allowed the farmhand to approach with his mallet. He did not blame him, he'd probably do the same to any armed man watching as wheat was harvested. Within another moment the boy was finished and rode back to join the knight.

"It has been said that I was born Melancholic." The boy answered as their steeds took to the road once more. "I did not cry once in my first year as a babe. The wise man said it would purge myself of the Trübsinn if I did so once a week."

The knight glanced at Frederick. "I'll allow it, for now."
To call Hochstein a 'town' was a statement generous by leagues. A rough count of twenty shacks leaned and decayed into one another, the wooden structure jutting at random angles and sometimes lacking them in the form of gaping holes covered by blankets. A network of roads spread in the four cardinal directions, forming several cleared but empty plots, few sporting the skeletal frames of buildings under construction. The so called temporary worker homes occupied the majority of used land in the southeast of Hochstein. The rest of the road networks containing the oldest and ironically, the most well maintained homes. To the west rose an entire camp village. The tents, shacks, and campfires giving a harsh fungal appearance to the town.

"Hochstein, Sir." Frederick announced, a train of grain merchants passing them by as they led their horses to the outskirts of the Camp Village. Hochenburg was home to dozens of families, most having been of rural traditions they took easy to the half sedentary lifestyle. Making up the vast majority of farmers and work hands the town desperately needed to expand and fulfill its quota. The camp constantly moved as the city expanded, most homes built were to provide the upper class of the town. The scribes, the merchants, tailors, and any who could turn raw material into profitable goods.

Hochenburg's lack of a stable was a thing of consternation, a simple wooden frame with a blanket covering next to a termite eaten fence. Gunther whined at the sight of it.

The Knight scowled as he surveyed the sight. His mind seemingly weighing whether he would ignore the mayor's decree that no horse should travel into the town for fear of damages to existing structures. Surely the Mayor's ire could not match that of an Imperial Knight?

In the end, he whistled for the stable hand.

"Aye, Sir! Right on it!" Ulig carried the blood of the north in him. From appearances one would guess he could hail from Talabachlan, but his mangy blonde hair and excited accent said otherwise. The stable hand stood up rigid before the Knight, making it a point to avoid his gaze directly. "Frederick?"
"Ulig." Frederick nodded to him. "How is your cousin?"

Ulig stared at Frederick in confusion. He could see Gunther was saddled for the long roads and he could not possibly miss the warhorse of the man besides him.

"Did I call you to gawk or work?" The knight scolded the boy and he stood up straight again. The knight dipped a hand into his coin purse and surveyed the so called stable. "How long has this fence been up?"

"About a fortnite, m'lord." Ulig responded with a slight fear in his voice.

"A single..." The knight shook his head before he flicked a shilling towards the boy. "Get a crew together and repair this fence. I'll have two crowns available should I return and the fence is to our standards."

Ulig's eyes bulged at the mention of crowns. A single gold piece was enough for any one man to buy his way out of Hochenburg and into Hochstein. Two would have set a family in warmer abodes. The stable hand eye's traveled between Frederick and the Knight with fervor and a thousand questions. He grabbed at the reins of the horses and led them inside the pasture. Quickly, removing their saddles and weights as he secured them. Dashing off into the campsite to get a few men to begin repairs.

"There's no reason for these people to live like this." The knight began as he strode towards the town proper. "Industry thrives while people suffer needlessly. One can only imagine what it is like in the rainy seasons, or at the height of winter."

He was right. As many people who came to the town every month there always seemed to be someone who needed burying. Plague, hunger, the elements. Living in Hochenburg was a step removed from living on the frontier near Marienburg. Relative safety and work had its cost it seems.

Hochstein was different from Frederick's last visit. Smelters belched thick collums of smoke into the air, fed by the massive pile of coal and fuel gathered in an empty lot. A pair of spear armed guardsmen ensuring the materials remained unmolested as workshop assistants collected and townsfolk added. An entire quarter of blacksmiths seemed to sprout where there was once a simple goat pen. The shops ringing with the sound of hammers while a low dirge was sung underneath. The bastardized work songs of the Dawi ensured the rhythm of the smiths.

The knight placed a handful of shillings in Frederick's hand.

"Secure our lodgings. I expect us to be here no longer than a week. I trust your judgment will be sound."

"Where am I to find you?" Frederick asked as the knight walked away.

"Seek out the Mayor's home. We shall sit counsel at high noon."

Frederick watched as the Knight melted in the crowd. His gait easy to pick out amongst the townspeople going about their morning chores. As time passed it became harder and harder to pick the knight out, curiosity kept Frederick watching. Wondering how the man vanished into the crowd so easily and quickly.

>(4/5) I went overboard. I'll try to stop doing that
>The Flight was a network of Pavilion's in the center of Hochenberg. Poor lodgings but the best food in town. The shillings you have more than enough to secure rooms and food. Your current wealth ensuring you'd eat like kings under the sky.

>Ol-Inn was a inn sponsored by the mayor himself. It was where the upperclassmen of the town enjoyed each other's company. The two of you could rest in the best comfort the town could provide for a week specifically. Although you would be hurting for alcoholic beverages.

>The Workshop was primarily frequented by craftsmen and labourers. Loud, rowdy, and uncouth. It was the average tavern and alehouse. Your coin could acquire rooms, food, and drink with a chance to leave you with a shilling.
>Ol-Inn was a inn sponsored by the mayor himself. It was where the upperclassmen of the town enjoyed each other's company. The two of you could rest in the best comfort the town could provide for a week specifically. Although you would be hurting for alcoholic beverages.
The guy will probably want an inn befitting a knight.
>Ol-Inn was a inn sponsored by the mayor himself. It was where the upperclassmen of the town enjoyed each other's company. The two of you could rest in the best comfort the town could provide for a week specifically. Although you would be hurting for alcoholic beverages.
>>Ol-Inn was a inn sponsored by the mayor himself. It was where the upperclassmen of the town enjoyed each other's company. The two of you could rest in the best comfort the town could provide for a week specifically. Although you would be hurting for alcoholic beverages.
Frederick opened the purse that his father handed to him. It was completely unremarkable, a bag made of strained and scuffed leather. Still, it felt heavier than he remembered. Whether it was due to the amount of coins it carried or for some other deeper reason Frederick had yet to understand. Nonetheless, he tucked away the Knight's funds just as well he did the unease he felt gathering in his stomach.

Padded dirt roads stretched in all directions, even with a lack of sign posts Hochstein was easy to navigate. There was a shockingly wide area of empty lots, the afforded visibility as well as the tireless corner criers made finding the Ol-Inn trivial.






Townsfolk, merchants, and the odd obvious traveler filled the streets while the guardsmen of Hochstein stood over them at random intervals. Armed with Iron spears and clad in their green and red gambeson the men appeared awfully bored, leaning on spears and walls while they idly chatted about gossip and other happening in the province.

There was a jarring change in scenery as Frederick passed into the heart of Hochstein. The padded roads

Ol-Inn was a two story building constructed of a marriage between stone and wood. Casement windows were spread evenly while latticed shutters breezed gently in the wind. A balcony extended over the entrance casting a shadow as well as protecting the entrance from the elements. Frederick grabbed the handle stepping into the inn, the engraved oaken door much lighter than it appeared.

In the early hours the tavern was sparsely populated. A handful of men crowding a table, pockets of others peppered about the room, while a single waitress scrubbed the floor. Frederick entered the tavern, removing what grime he could at the entrance. The tavern glowed brightly in the morning, the pale blue paint of coat on the inside accented well by the natural light.

"How may I help you?" A thick accent poured from the mouth of the barkeep. His bald head shone brightly as did his greased moustache.

I'm crushingly poor and work ungodly hours. Apologies.
"I need a room for two, a week." Frederick removed the Knight's shillings and placed them atop the bar. The barkeep's look of skepticism turned to scrutiny as he held the coin in the light. He glanced at Frederick once more before pocketing the coin and scooping the rest up.

"Up the stairs, second door on your right." The bartender reached below the bar and pulled up a ring of keys. "You get two meals, one to break your fast and supper. Anything else has to be paid for.Disturb any of our regulars and you and your friend are out of here." He hands you a heavy key. "I only see one of you, what's your business in town?" The bartender asks you, his eyes stead on you while he cleans a mug.


>"Just resting after a few days on the road." Gossip spreads fast in Hochstein. Most doesn't leave Hochenburg. Frederick saw no reason to stand out.

>"Business with the mayor." Quick, curt, and private.

>"I believe Sir Wilhelm would answer that better than I, sir." People don't like surprises. It makes no sense to cause a stir all at once. Frederick was barely privy to the Knight's name let alone his business.
I forgive you as long as we get to take the Trial of Unthgerd.
>"I believe Sir Wilhelm would answer that better than I, sir." People don't like surprises. It makes no sense to cause a stir all at once. Frederick was barely privy to the Knight's name let alone his business.
>"Sir Wilhelm have business with the mayor." Rumors will spread but just maybe he will drop prices or offer drinks on the house
Im just glad you're back with us QM.
>There was a jarring change in scenery as Frederick passed into the heart of Hochstein. The padded roads
Should be

There was a jarring change in scenery as Frederick passed into the heart of Hochstein. Everything bled into stone. The wide Avenue into the residence of the wealthy gave the look of a vase upended, its dirt spilling out. Home and shop keeps were a mixture of wood and stone, the amount of stone in a buildings construction spoke to the wealth of the occupant as well as the age of the structure. The oldest buildings contained the most wood, built before Ollin came to power and his vision began in earnest.*
"I believe Sir Wilhelm would answer that better than I, sir." Frederick respectfully offered in response as he gripped the key.

The innkeep's eyes lit with a strange fervour, his moustache spreading as a wide smile overtook him.

"Oh! I see, I see! Well, Ol-Inn would be glad to welcome Sir Wilhelm and his servants!" Frederick took no offense to being labelled as a servant. For all intents and purposes, he appeared as such. His sleeveless tunic was of average quality unadorned with any heraldry, he carried no weapons, and his hair had a natural tendency to be as messy as possible no matter the care he gave to it. Not to mention he was guilty of judging the knight's travel clothes and presence enough that he attacked the man. In the end, Frederick simply nodded and turned away.

It was then that he noticed the attention the group of men were giving him. One of the men whispered in another's ear before he left the inn. Frederick ignored their stares as he made way to his room. Second door on the right, he thought to himself as he counted the doors in the hall. The room was extravagant to Frederick. A multi-patterned rug welcomed him into the room, its garish colors captivating the boy so used to more subtle tones, a wide window peered out into the back alleys of Hochstein flanked by two beds, a sofa dominated the center of the room while a square table rested in one corner.

Frederick dropped his bags on one of the beds, reaching into his sackcloth he made sure he still had his bare essentials before tucking it underneath the bed. He pushed down on the mattress, shocked by its softness he fell into the bed. All at once the rigours of the past few days caught up to him. Frederick was used to pain, the calluses on his hand spoke of long days at hoe, shovel, and mallet. He wasn't worked hard by his parents but couldn't help himself from pushing himself, especially when his father became ill three years ago. More than once he had to be convinced to take a rest.

He slowly rose to his feet, careful to not let himself get too comfortable.

>Frederick would eat without the knight, he still had some time to spend before he'd have to meet with the Mayor

>Frederick shunned eating in exchange for some of his road rations. He'd rather take his meals with the knight.

>Frederick rested in the room, while adept at ignoring pain and fatigue everyone needed to rest in a while.

>Frederick left, intent on seeking out Gunther and catching up.

>Frederick rested in the room, while adept at ignoring pain and fatigue everyone needed to rest in a while.
Frederick weighed his options, try as he might he was unable to remove himself from the bed. Whether it was the bed itself or he was more tired than he at first realized. Perhaps it was both. Regardless of the reasons, the boy finally laid his head back. Falling into a calm nap.

As he left the inn the number of patrons increased drastically. This close to noon the bar was filled with those who had the freedom to leave their shops in the hands of others for a quick drink, the tables attended by a pair of barmaids working quickly to keep cups and plates full. Frederick did notice the lack of the men in green who watched him. Instead replaced this time by the majority of the inn. Their eyes and whispers ignored as he hurried to make it their appointment.

The Mayor's home was located at the very center of the town. Once upon a time there was never a mayor's office, the position previously held by a man of the land. He was less concerned with the development of the town and more worried about keeping a steady supply of timber, pelts, and produce to the taxmen of the Graf. Ollin's appointment not only overhauled the town's infrastructure but it's exports as well. Timber became valuable to fuel expansion, as did food. Most families made due with a small tax in coin and a portion of their goods. Now, the tax consisted of a majority of coin above a certain limit, the less fortunate had to find ways to supply the town. Most men becoming lumberjacks and hired hands to help with roads and construction.

Truly, Hochstein was on it's way to become a town proper in appearance and policy as well as Law.

Whether people liked it or not. The town jail in the shadow of the Mayor's home made sure to adress that.

"Boy!" The knight's distinctively gruff voice rang from behind you. You give him a slight bow, as your father taught you. "I trust you did your duty?" He stood beside you, eyeing the mayor's home with the scrutiny of a hunting bird.

"Were set for the week. Two meals, breakfast and dinner. It's at the Mayor's inn, the innkeep sends his regards and is eager to serve." Frederick replies quickly, standing up straight and at attention.

"You informed him of our work?" The knight asked, his eyes never leaving the building.

"Simply that I was in the employ of a Knight."
"Good, the Mayor doesn't know I'm coming. Word spreads quickly in towns like this and I want him nervous." Wilhelm answered with a edge to his tone as he approached the building.

The Knight banged on the door, a few passerbys watching in curiosity before continuing their way. The door quickly opened. Mayor Ollin was an ostentatious display of wealth. His clothes were well-tailored to his form with expensive cloth, wolves fur adorned his shoulders, his hair trimmed and oiled, the necklace of gemstones spoke the loudest however.

"Come in! Come in! I've been expecting you!" He stood away from the door,leading the two of you into a small office. Much to the boy's surprise it was a very spartan affair, and what was there was unremarkable. As he walked in he made note of the two armed guards by the entrance, their livery the shared by the men he saw watching him at the inn.

The knight walked in, a stride that emanated an aura of surety and power. Frederick followed behind him closely. The mayor led the two towards his desk, clearing it of parcement and vellum as he sat.

"I assume you enjoyed all the pleasure Hochstein had to offer?" The mayor's face was the definition of geniality.

"I've seen everything this town has to offer and then some." The knight was by contrast severe and quick. There was something about his words he couldn't put his finger on, however.

"Good, good! We work very hard to maintain the standards expected of the Empire. By Sigmar's will and grace!"

"In his name and deeds." The knight finished.

"Now, I just admit you've caught me off guard. Had I known a man of your caliber would be coming I-"

"Would ave actually offered information?" The knight snapped at the mayor.

"Well, I-"
"Had no intentions of seeking a resolution?"

"No, its that-"

"Cease." It was less of a command and more of a warning. Frederick noted the sound of metal jingling behind him as well as the panicked look the Mayor shot towards the entrance. The knight removed a letter from his belt and unfurled it. "To all abled bodied men, the mayor of Hochstein sends out a request for brave souls well adept at surveying tunnels and caverns. Ten shillings to be offered on acceptance. Another ten upon completion." Sir Wilhelm looked at the knight expectantly.

"A reasonable offer?" The mayor responded in confusion, his face achieving a slight glisten while the letter was read.

"Except for the simple fact you failed to mention the horrid smell reported frequently by the miners as well as the sounds of drums beating below."

"Why, those are just rumors. Concocted by drunks and layabouts so they don't have to work. We haven't even begun to ship out our first ironworks yet!" The Mayor explained.

"Do you know how many men patrol the religions surrounding Hochstein?"

"Of course I know. I send out the patrols myself."

"No, how many men has the Graf stationed in the region? Don't answer that because I know the count. Two hundred and a fifty troops from the Graf's own retinue are stationed in the wildlands between Hochstein and Tousser to the north. Fifteen watchtowers and one fortified estate. Even then that is not enough to maintain these lands safely."

"Hochstein is safe enough! What do we have to fear but plague and the economy?" The mayor bursts.

"You." The knight snarled in return. "These people should fear you. Men like you who's ambition blinds them to the forest even as they cut down the trees. Men like you who would go to great lengths to maintain appearances regardless of circumstances." The knight stands from his seat and leans across the table. "Tell your man to stand down before I gut him with his own blade."

>(3/4) I lied
Frederick head craned to see one of the guards hand gripped tightly on the hilt of his sword.

"Stand down!" The mayor rushed around the table. "Stand down damn you! Are you fools trying to get us all killed!? Out! Out I said!" The Mayor all but physically pushed them out the room, his face flushed in anger and embarrassment. His eyes wide in fear.

"I'll go into the tunnels. Give me five of your own men." The Knight rose and began to leave. "We'll be at your lovely inn." His sardonic tone did little to alleviate the worry of the Mayor. Frederick rose behind him. Making as much of a point to ignore the mayor that the Knight did.

Frederick led the knight towards the inn. The common silence between the two broken by the cries and barks of a growing town in the middle of the day.

"Men like him are what keeps the Empire moving." the knight began, cutting into previous minutes of silence. "Without him this town would still be a village and the Graf would be poorer in turn for it, dozens of families wouldn't have employment, more would be hungry, and overall we would be weaker." The Knight laughed cynically.

>"There's always someone better." The boy said with conviction. "Are we not better than those who would seek to ruin us? Same could be said for those who claim to help."

>"That's just the way of things." Frederick offered. For if anyone understood that it was a peasant.

>Frederick offered no word to the Knights commentary

>Frederick offered no word to the Knights commentary
>"There's always someone better." The boy said with conviction. "Are we not better than those who would seek to ruin us? Same could be said for those who claim to help."
Frederick briefly pondered the musing of the knight.

His father said it the best. How often did they simply watch as soldiers requisitioned their harvests? Poor or good? It seemed no matter the situation and often with little warning did someone come to collect dues. Even famine was not enough to earn a word from anyone, they simply waved and suffered what consequences came next.

The priests always taught that to endure was to exemplify Sigmar. To weather all for him and what he built. But never did they teach to be cruel or driven by vice.

The plate of fried meats, eggs, and loafs of flaky bread did little to distract him of his thoughts. The Inn dimmed in the afternoon, most returning to work while others loitered contentedly. His first meal of the day ruined by his overly critical nature. It wasn't the first, nor would it be the last.

The mine had no name, as the sun struggled under the weight of the sky seven men stood in front of one of the many hills in the surrounding area. Two lanterns with a rueful noise, their light dimmed to but an ember. The entrance to the mine was simple a yawning chasm of nothing.

The town guard seemed largely bothered. A single night in the inn revealed the hidden fears of Hochstein. Even before the miners hit the first vein they reported discordant drum noises. Headaches, waking dreams, and nausea plagued them. The mayor reasoning, through council with healers and wise men, determined it was simply a situation where the miners had yet to acclimate to the long crushing hours in the dark. Indeed the ailment did fade but the stench never did. Again reason prevailed and gave the solution that mines smell.

The look of minds left to wander too long occupied many of the faces surrounding you. Except the Mayor's "guard". A band of twenty paid to permanent residence and protection. Of course, they only directly took orders from the mayor. Which seemed to amount to drinking and strutting about. The look on the face of one of The Evergreens' spoke to how little they thought of the townsfolk superstition. It made Frederick wonder why he's even here.
Sir Wilhelm still chose to travel light. Frederick has yet to see the man fully armoured in his steel plate but still he manages to strike an imposing view; a breastplate adorned the light gamebeson he replaced his travel clothes with, his head protected by a heavy leather cap, his blade sheathed. He didn't get much time to get used to the gamebeson. It was a lot heavier than what he was used to, or even expected from cloth. The knight made sure that he wore it while sparring in the days before coming to the mine.

"You all know what we're here for." Sir Wilhelm started. "Survey the caverns, determine how far they go, and ensure they're safe. Each of you has your fears, but you also have each other. As long as you stick by one another we'll be fine. Use your spears effectively, cover the man beside you, and nothing will befoul us." He made sure to look each man in the eyes. The guardsmen pulling themselves together as they withstood the attention of the Knight, the mercenary simply nodded.

Frederick gripped his own polearm tighter.

The knight led the party into the mine, covered in shadow as a line of fire kissed the sky.

Archived the thread for if I ever get real time to dedicate to this. Once again sorry for the sporadic posts had plans to get into some form of actual bloodletting before the thread dropped off but well life
Thanks for running. This board definitely needs some warhammer fantasy love.
We have too few WHFB quests, only 40K ones.

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