PHILOSOPHER PO QUAY, EVERMOORE
SUMMARY: Po sends a group of angry Shorians home and reaches out to the guildsmen of Evermoore to patrol the roads around the Ring Fort to try and deter the Stick-Killer from striking again.
DRAMATIZATION: The mob of angry Shorians surged forward. Their leader was a big man, dressed in a fur-rimmed conical hat, a fur vest, and deer hide breeches held up by a belt of flat metal disks. He was from the steppes of Shoria and carried a large heavy curved sword with jingling rings set into the back edge. The others in the mob were Shorians from the northern coast wearing cloth jackets held closed with little knotted ties and Shorians from the southern coast wearing their jackets held closed by sashes around the waist. All were armed with make-shift weapons, mostly farming implements.
Po Quay stood in their path and raised both hands. For a long moment he thought the mob of angry Shorians would try and push past him, perhaps even trample him in their frustration, but at the last moment they yielded, stopping an arms distance from him.
“We are hunting the Stick-Killer!” shouted the man in front. “The murderers of our people must be found!” Other voices cried out in support.
‘What good will your anger do?” Po raised his hands to try and quiet them. “You are a mob who will do violence to anyone you find in these woods.”
“We must do something,” shouted a woman from back.
“Your anger is righteous,” Po told them, “but it is not productive.” The murders had started a month ago, Shorians and Asgarns killed on the road, by a maniac who left sticks at the scene of the crime. The bodies were beaten to death and horribly mutilated. Investigations revealed little. The killer or killers had wiped away any forensic evidence of their identity with swishing branches. The only clues were the sticks and the violence of the scene. “You will not find anything wandering these woods as you are.”
“The land around the ring fort belongs to the Northern Confederation,” the big man looked down at Po. “We are going to question travelers.”
“You do not need clubs, pitch forks, and axe handles to speak.” Po met their eyes, one by one.
“We do if we meet the Stick-Killer,” boasted the big man.
“You’ll never meet the Stick-Killer,” countered Po.
“We have a right to patrol.”
A small man stepped to the front of the group and addressed the big man. “Peng, Philosopher Po is right. We are doing no good out here, blundering down these trails. The killers will see or hear us coming and move into the shadows.”
“Shut your coward mouth, Xing,” Peng raised a meaty fist.
Xing was not intimidated. “Your anger is more than justified. Peng, your brother was among the slain. We all feel his loss, but truly, the only people we will find out here will be innocent travelers. We will accost innocent people to no purpose. While we are out here, our families are in danger.”
“Xing has the right of it. Go home to your families,” said Po. “The guildsmen of Evermoore will be patrolling your roads. While you are out here uselessly wandering, your families are undefended. Protect them and leave the hunting of the Stick-Killers to the guildsmen of Evermoore.”
“Let us all go home,” Xing implored them. “We can protect those who we love and let the guildsmen handle the roads.”
Peng looked around him. Already his support was fading away. “Philosopher.” He spoke the word like a curse. “You talk overly much. Those of us who want action have sent for the Oathbound. There have not been Oathbound in Evermoore in many years so others think us easy prey. That will change when the Oathbound arrive.”
Peng and the others left. Xing remained behind to confide in Po. “Peng is a sore man, but he speaks the truth. The Oathbound will not allow our people to be killed without an answer. They will demand blood for blood. Whoever did this will pay dearly when the Oathbound arrive with their retinues of honor and glory.”
Po knew Xing spoke the truth. Though the Oathbound were honorable men and women, they took honor very serious. Their whole lives revolved around their oaths of service to a person or sometimes a cause. There were not as many Oathbound in Shoria today as their once were, but there are enough to make them a force in their society. Those who remained carried on a heritage established in the Age of Life. Their lore is steeped in mysticism and the people of Shoria idolize them. They wear colorful armor of cloth, cord, and laminate and carry two special swords pushed through a belt tied at their waist.
The Oathbound would be hard to handle, but they could be managed so long as their honor was not offended. The real problem would be the Oathbroken. These are men and women with broken oaths coming for a chance to atone for their dishonor. They will come to Evermoore as well, following on the heels of the Oathbound, seeking to end their disgrace by doing some act of glory. Many Oathbroken are drunkards and criminals who have fallen far from the honor they once held. They are an uncontrolled, desperate element of Shorian society.
“Perhaps we will be able to have the situation in hand by the time they arrive,” Po said.
“That would be best.” Xing agreed.
“You had best go home.” Po bowed to Xing who returned honor and withdrew, rushing home to his family.
Po pulled his mana mirror from the pocket of his pants and began typing out a message, “Guildsmen of Evermoore. I spoke with many of you last market day and you promised to help patrol around the ring fort to protect the Shorian and Asgarn who live in the area. I would like to coordinate our efforts. If you will be spending the time between this market patrolling, please send me a message on this thread.”
“I know many of you are already busy. Groups are researching the sticks to try and find out as much as possible about the Stick-Killer from academic sources. Others are dealing with the Karthydian problem, examining the maps discovered during the Sunday morning raid into the Tar Field in order to determine the locations of the nodes the Karthdyians will be trying to convert to Chaos. These task are very important and will likely require your full effort, but there were over 100 guildsmen at the last market and at least a dozen of you promised to help me.”
“Guildmasters not researching the sticks or examining the map, gather your guilds and bring them to patrol. Those of you who have military orders, please assemble them. We may not stop every attack, but we can try. Guildsmen assemble!”
[Out-of-Play Note: If you want your character to participate in the guarding of the roads around the Ring Fort send Philosopher Po a real-time, in-play message on this thread and your character can then roleplay at the event that you spent the intervening time protecting Shorians and Asgarns.
The number of Guildsmen "patrolling" will affect the number of attacks that occur between the events so your between event activity will have a direct relation to your world.]