Ryan and Taylor: The Journey to Fear

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Ryan and Taylor: The Journey to Fear

Postby tooitalian » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:28 pm

"Are you certain this is the course you wish to take?" a low, dark voice rumbles in a darkly lit room.
"Yes, master." Replies a young, low, hushed voice. "I have witnessed the power of fear; the power to govern others, to inflict mortal wounds, to break a person. These are the powers that I desire. This is the path that I choose: The path of fear."
A tall, dark figure nods a hooded head slowly. "Once you start on this path, there is no going back. If you have any doubts, if you waver at all, you will die."
"I have no doubts. My heart is convicted. I will stay true to this course, my master." in the shadows the frame of a small boy falls to one knee, and lowers his head. "I hereby pledge myself to your teachings. Whatever your command, whatever you require of me, I will do, even though it may kill me."
A hand reaches out, and rests on the head of the young boy. "Rise, my acolyte." the boys rises from the darkness, standing up straight and tall with pride. "We shall begin your training immediately. Pack our things, we leave in the morning."

The following dawn was damp with an early morning rain. Dark grey clouds, hanging low and tall, were gradually breaking apart beckoning the promise of sunshine. The steady clip clop of a pack mule could be heard echoing down the cobble street that lead out of the city. Leading the mule was the young boy Taylor, who in turn was following his master, Ryan Steel.
"We are truly lucky to find employment on our journey. It will be more than a month before we reach our destination." Ryan says to his ward, without looking behind. He was fully armored with his great sword, inlaid with words written in Infernal "The Harbinger of Fear" hanging off his back. As they passed out of the city walls and approached a caravan from a small hill, Taylor looked out at the sight before them.
"I do not like the looks of these merchants, Master Ryan. They are ill equipped to fend off an attack." Taylor says steadily.
"That is why they were so eager to take us in. They are traveling all the way to Loudwater, full of goods but with very few men to defend themselves." Ryan commented. It soon became apparent that this caravan was not very well organized. The tents were still up, some wares strewn about and being counted, while others were building fires to prepare breakfast. "All of this should have been done hours ago." Ryan snorted in disgust as he gazed upon the calamity. "Taylor, wait here while I search for our employer. If this is to be the entire journey, I would much rather travel alone than with these buffoons."

Ryan walks over to a large, well decorated tent; soft deer hide with red and purple silk drapes that adorned the entrance. Without hesitation, Ryan marched into the tent. Inside many furs lined the floor. In one corner was a small round table, and the other half was blocked from view by a low hanging rope with many brightly colored curtains draped over. A regular feast of ham, sausage, eggs, bacon, potatoes, fruits, and bread was still sizzling on top of the table. A crew of three servants stood at attention. They all turned their heads as Ryan marched in. The eldest of the three stepped forward and said with disdain "How dare you simply barge into the tent of the great Master Popinstar. Announce your self stranger!"
Ryan sets his gaze straight into the eyes of the servant, who jolts back as if struck but does not look away. "You may tell your master, that Ryan Steel has come to inquire if he was misinformed as to the day of departure." he says in a dark voice that expressed at once his frustration and annoyance with the ever so slight tone of required respect.
"Oh! Master Steel! Is that you?" called out a voice that sounded rather out of breath and pained from behind the curtains. "I shall be out in a *huff* moment. Just making myself *huff* decent." at the sound of his master the elderly servant quickly darts back to the security of his companions and lowers his head, not so much as daring to look up. "Have a *huff* seat we shall dine together this fine *huff* morning."
"I have already eaten, Master Popinstar." Ryan says curtly. "I was told the caravan would be departing this morning, was I not?"
"Yes we are! We are! There is-" the curtains are drawn to the side by two young women, dressed in less than modest attire. Through the curtains comes a short, very large man with a huge, round red face with a large round nose. He was dressed in tall bright blue boots with black iron hooks, tight white leggings, a dark blue tunic with a black vest, inlaid with golden dragons, a bright blue cloak embroidered in gold and lined with the fur of snow fox. On top of his head was jet black hair of medium length covered by a tall floppy black hat with a short rim with blue, red, and purple feathers coming out of it's side. "-still plenty of morning left, is there not my dear fellow?"
"Not if you wish to reach the next trading post before sundown." Ryan says scowling as he watches the man amber to his table. One of the servants pulls out his chair, while the other two help ease him down. "At this rate, we will lose daylight before we are halfway there."
"Then we shall light our lanterns and continue marching!" Master Popinstar says very enthusiastically, waving around his fingers over his head as if to emphasize his speech. "I did not acquire fortune and fame by saying it couldn't be done! Ha ha ha! No! I did things that no man dreamt was possible! I have crossed rivers, climbed mountains, traversed jungles, traveled to places that EVERYONE said could not be reached! What is a mere road to a man such as myself? Eh!? Ha hahahaha!" the portly man could no longer wait and began to simply grab food from the various dishes and stuff it into his mouth. The two young maidens carefully dressed him with a very large napkin, and wiped the food off of his face the moment any happened to miss his wide mouth. He ate with a viracious speed and various animal noises that made Ryan feel slightly ill.
"Nevertheless, you have hired me to guard your caravan from here to Loudwater. If I am to perform my duties, then the march will need to wait for-"
"NONSENSE!" Ryan was abruptly cut off. A dark scowl pierced the face of Ryan, yet he did not speak. "We shall leave today, end of discussion!" Master Popinstar said while waving a ham leg at him, spraying the rug with an assortment of sauces and food. "If you are so concerned, than see to the rest of the caravan being ready."
Ryan takes four steps backwards and gives a slight bow. "I shall have the caravan ready within the hour." he says in a dark, respectful tone. With a twist of his cape, he leaves the tent. "No doubt," he thinks to himself, "I shall need to take drastic steps to ensure the safety of my hire. Worthless swine! Not that he could not use a little carving, I still have my reputation to consider." This, along with many other thoughts that would plague these pages if it were ever written, was riding through the mind of Ryan like a shark runs through a school of fish. His job would not be pleasant to behold, but it would be done efficiently, and ruthlessly.
Last edited by tooitalian on Mon May 12, 2014 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ryan and Taylor: The Journey to Fear

Postby tooitalian » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:21 pm

When a large man armored in full plate adorned with a terrifying demonic war mask starts dictating orders to a caravan of merchants, very little questions are asked. Within minutes, everyone was loading their wares and hooking up the horses. For the griffon riders above, it must have looked like disturbed nest of ants. As promised, within the hour the caravan was ready to move. Ryan, ridding on a horse provided by the Master Popinstar, primarily stayed next to his carriage. Despite his protests, the every enthusiastic Master Popinstar insisted on ridding in the very front, leading his caravan. His carriage was made of wood, darkly stained with a large purple tent on the top. The undercarriage was made with polished steel, with silver wheel caps molded into the face of roaring lions. On the inside were soft goose feather seats covered in velvet, with a small table that could be folded down. The carriage was pulled by six white horses, all with braided manes and bridles adorned with large black and yellow plumes. All of the wagons of the various merchants were similarly dressed in lavishness; brightly colored drapes and tops and giant signs describing their wares. It was truly a magnificent sight to behold.

"Well *huff* Master Ryan, we are finally *huff* on our way!" Shouted the flamboyant Master Popinstar from inside his carriage to his guard. "Why do *huff* you not-(OW! Hey now slower on *huff* those bumps you *huff* oaf!)-come and ride with *huff* me?"

"No." he responded.

"I see you take your job very *huff* seriously. I like that! A man, or woman *smile* should take their *huff* work seriously!"
Ryan turns his head to glance at the pompous man but says nothing. "I should inspect the rest of the train." he says gruffly.
"Come on Master Ryan." Says a sultry voice. The head of one of the two maidens rises from below the carriage window. "You sure you don't want to ride with us?" Another sultry voice calls out from the carriage and the head of the other maiden rises above behind the first.
"YES!" shouts Ryan as he quickly turns his horse around and canters off. A cord is pulled, and drapes fall into place to covers the windows of the carriage.

Thus the next few days progressed. On the fourth day, as they were breaking camp a small band of horsemen rode in, and inspected the many fine wares of the merchants. Dressed in black leather and armed, they made their way around the camp, seemingly very interested in what was being sold. Ryan instructed Taylor to watch them from a distance. The merchants were very eager to show off the quality of their wares: silks, spices, weapons, armor, jewels, fruits, and animals were all examined. Taylor walked by them from time to time to get bits of their conversations. After they had left, he reported to Ryan.
"They asked many questions about the wares, yet they seemed more interested as to our destination, how many men were traveling with us, and how many horses we had." Taylor said to Ryan as they rode along.
Ryan remained silent for a moment, his dark brow furrowed in concern. Then he responded, "Disaster is upon us, my young acolyte. Take heed and learn well what I am about to teach you." after that, he galloped off.

The night was eerily quiet. The caravan had pulled off the the road and made camp by the bank of the River Delamraia. The evening was late, the fires were out, and the group rested peacefully throughout the night. With the morning came a heavy fog from the river. Loud shouts of surprise woke the camp. "The horses! They are gone!" came the cries of alarm. With smooth methodical steps, Ryan marched to the coral. The merchants made room for the large man to pass as he walked through them, their cries slowly silencing as they became aware of his presence.
"Indeed, it appears as if they have been stolen during the night." The words of Ryan struck the group like a lightning bolt. Immediately many voices raised up questions. "Who stole our horses?!" "How could you let this happen?!" "How will we get to Loudwater now?!" "You will answer for this!!" all shouted at once, raising their fists at Ryan and glaring at him. A thin smile played at the lips of Ryan. "Silence!" he shouted repeatedly, raising both hands. It did not matter, the group was not listening. They soon started arguing amongst each other, accusing some of sabotage while others were bewailing the fact that they would never be able to sell their wares now. Very quickly it turned into shoving, and the shoving turned into blows. Ryan simply walked away from the turmoil, and entered the tent of Master Popinstar.
"What in nine hells is going on out there!" yelled Popinstar with a mouth full of food, visibly frightened. He was sitting in the very back of the tent on a very large wooden chair, with rich carvings and golden knobs on the arms and shoulders of the chair. His clothes were incomplete, his hair uncombed, and a large bowl of chicken wings was on his lap, from which he was rapidly stuffing his face.
"The horses have been stolen, and utter chaos has ensued." Ryan said calmly. "I warned you of the consequences of your reckless behavior. Now you see the fruits of your actions."
"My actions!" shouts Popinstar, waving a chicken wing at Ryan. "You have been galavanting like a tyrant, ordering everyone around and raising hell! I have received countless complaints from everyone of your bullish attitude! No doubt this is the act of someone who wishes to see you gone, tired of your constant harassments!"
Ryan stepped forward a few paces, raising his voice. "If that is what you think, then release me of my contract. If you are correct, the horses will be returned and you may continue on your way."
"Begone than!" Snapped a very red Popinstar. "You are a plague upon happiness! A parasite of darkness! You are no longer welcome in my camp!"
"As you wish." Ryan says darkly with a low sweeping bow, and calmly walks away from the fat one, now chocking on a bone while his servants scramble to assist him."

Ryan walked to where Taylor was standing, next to their mule, all packed and ready to go. "Are we leaving now, Master Ryan?" he asked him.
"No, not yet. Our time has not yet come. Tell me, what do you make of all this?" He asked as he turned around, reaching out his arms and pointing to the very chaotic mess that was the caravan. While the fighting had stopped, the shouting had not. Small groups had formed to decided what was to be done next, while others began packing their more valuable wares into baskets and bags to be carried.
"They are confused, bewildered, and fearful." says Taylor. "They are vulnerable."
"Precisely." Ryan replies with a smile. "Vulnerable for attack, but not just of the body, but also the heart. Hand me my helmet." he commanded, and after it was placed in his hands he started to don it. "If the bandits are smart, they shall soon atta-" he was cut off by a loud *THUNK* as a bolt hit his helmet just moments after it was over his head. "So, you wish to take me out first. You are wise to fear me...." Ryan slowly draws his blade and turns towards the direction the bolt was fired. "...but foolish enough to attack me!" another bolt is fired, which harmlessly bounces off of his chest plate despite the curses of his attacker. Other cries of horror and dismay are soon heard amidst the camp as other bolts have hit their mark, followed by shouts as men swarm from out of fog and start attacking everyone in sight. The attacker of Ryan grins at him, and bolts off towards his companions to join in the fray. "Taylor, it has begun. Let us pray...." they both raise their heads to the heavens, and start to chant.
Last edited by tooitalian on Mon May 12, 2014 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ryan and Taylor: The Journey to Fear

Postby tooitalian » Mon May 12, 2014 9:56 pm

Like a bull clad in battle armor, Ryan stormed into the battle. He took the first fool by surprise, and with a quick stroke he nearly cleaved the poor soul in two. The next one was ready for him, and after a few blows were exchanged Ryan managed to take him down as well. All too quickly though, he drew the attention of others. Soon he found himself facing off against three other opponents. Slowly the encircled him, jeering and mocking him. As strings drawn taught on a harp, Ryan waited patiently, scarcely moving from his spot, his sword swinging around in his hands slowly like a pendulum, until at last they all attacked at once. Avoiding all forms of defense, Ryan viciously gutted the opponent in from of him. Two blows to the back bounced harmless off, his magic glimmering around him as it warded off the attacks. With one down, Ryan quickly swung his blade around to strike another, only to be met with the clash of blade versus mace as it was blocked. Another round, and again he was struck, this time in the more vulnerable area of his legs, forcing him to drop to one knee. As his foe came in front with a powerful overhead swing, Ryan steadied himself and quickly stabbed the fool through the chest, rising to his feet as he did, staring at his victim through his helm. Letting the corpse fall to the ground, he turned around to face his last opponent.

With a voice rippling with hate, Ryan growls "I am going to do things you will not even believe possible, even while they are happening!" The man flinches, a fatal mistake. With an evil tongue he shouts a horrible message, and the man ceases movement as if frozen in place, a look of terror in his eyes. Quickly, Ryan slices his gut, and with armored hand reach in and removes his intestines, which he then proceeds to use to tie and strangle the poor wretch, shoving his innards down his own throat. As the spell breaks, the man stifles screams in agony and writhes on the ground, helplessly bleeding out while simultaneously being asphyxiated. Ryan stared down over his victim, casually leaning on his sword. He leans over close to his face, and whispers a very sincere, "Told you." before quietly walking away.

The fighting was almost over that this point. Seeing five of their numbers being slaughtered so quickly, and viciously, the bandits had lost heart, and fled. No shouts of joy were raised. Most of the men had been slain, their goods either destroyed or made off with during the retreat. With slow methodical movements, Ryan paced over to the tent of the great Lord Popinstar. The great merchant was cowering in a corner, dressed in naught but his under garments. With a snarl, Ryan marched over to the man and grasped him by the lot of his hair, his armed hand red and meaty with the insides of his last victim. He snarls at the man with words drenched in rage
"These deaths are on your hands! You shall pay for your transgressions!"
Squealing and whimpering like a little girl, he is drug over the mud, the dead corpses, and the wasted goods. Over it all, he was drug as he screamed and whimpered. Ryan paid no heed, his face was hidden behind a steel mask adorned with fear. He threw the master before him, and kicked him to the ground. "Please!" he shrieked, as he slowly rises to his knees. His body covered in the grime of battle, his face red and wet with tears. Snot was hanging from his nose and running down to his muddy beard. "They have stolen my goods!" he cried. "They have kidnapped my women!" he shrieked. "They have destroyed my kingdom!" he wailed. "They have taken....EVERYTHING!" he screamed, his big round eyes begging for mercy. Ryan looked down at the broken man, the handful of survivors gathering around. "Not everything." he stated matter-of-factly, and raised his sword over his head. "For your arrogance, your incompetence, and for your failure as a leader, you shall receive the ultimate punishment at the hands of a servant to the Dark Lord, the true master of the world." Swiftly the blade was swung, and the head of the dazed and dismayed Master Popinstar, the fearless explorer and entrepreneur, dropped to the ground, followed very quickly by his obese body. The few men left were speechless as they watched their employer beheaded. Ryan lifted the decapitated head from the ground, and raised it into the air for all to witness.

"Behold! The fate of fools." Ryan waved the head around slowly, the mouth agape and eyes still wide with fear. He moved closer to one of the men, trembling. Ryan spoke very slowly and deliberately "The Dark Lord does not suffer fools. Tell me, are you a fool?" The man whimpers, shaking in his boots, but manages to meekly shake his head. Slowly, Ryan moves to another. "And you? Would you also be considered, a fool?" again, a trembling shake of the head. Ryan turns slowly to the handful of men that remained. "Are any of you, to be considered, a fool?" he shouts loudly, waving the dripping head of the great Popinstar. Not a sound could be heard. Ryan tossed the head to the ground near the corpse, and rested a foot on his back. The air was quiet. Neither the sound of birds nor the chirping of insects could be heard. Ryan slowly removed his helm, and tucked it under his arm. He let his eyes gaze into the faces of each of the men. With a calm, stern voice he asked, "Do you fear me?" Meek noddings of the heads showed affirmation. "Good, you do well to fear me. But, there is one whom you should fear above all else. Our master, the Dark Lord, Bane." As the name is spoken, the men gasp and shout in fear. "SILENCE!" Ryan shouts over their rabble. "His wrath and hatred for useless fools is unlimited! Disobey him, and you will be a fool! Disavow him, and you will be a fool! Refuse to serve him, and you will be a fool!." Ryan steps down off his meat pedestal and walks over slowly to the group. He smiles coyly. "Be not afraid." he says slowly. "We have already determined that you are not fools, am I not right?" he reaches out and touches each man on the shoulder, reassuring them of their safety and nodding his head at them, talking slowly to them as he goes around one by one. "Serve him." he says as he walks around. "And you shall be saved." he moves to the next man. "Do great deeds in his name." he slowly walks over to the next. "And you shall be rewarded." he smiles and lays a hand on the face of the last man. "Rebuke him..." the face of Ryan suddenly darkens as he rasps a dark oath. The man suddenly falls back in agony as green energy flows amorphously from the grasp of Ryan onto his body, leaving a black stain of decay and rot, the negative energy slowly and painfully slaying the man. "...and your fate will be one hundred fold greater than anything you have witnessed today." Ryan marches to the center again and removes from a pouch around his waist, his unholy symbol of a three toed claw. "Now, kneel and repeat after me." he says while raising the symbol above his head. Without hesitation the men do as they are told, removing their head coverings and gazing up in fear and awe at the symbol of their new deity.

"Serve no one but Bane. Fear him always and make others fear him even more than you do. The Black Hand always strikes down those who stand against it in the end. Defy Bane and die - or in death find loyalty to him, for he shall compel it. Submit to the word of Bane as uttered by his ranking clergy, since true power can only be gained through service to him. Spread the dark fear of Bane. It is the doom of those who do not follow him to let power slip through their hands. Those who cross the Black Hand meet their dooms earlier and more harshly than those who worship other deities."

The rest of the journey was quiet. They gathered what they could carry and marched to the next trading post. From there, they purchased horses and rode to a remote castle in the middle of a wilderness. Ryan gazed at the walls with a face of morbid recognition. Three monks dressed in black and red robes were quietly waiting in front of the gate. "We have received news of your return, Brother Steel." Said the monk in the middle. "Come inside, you must be tired from your journey." Said the monk to the left. The one on the right remained stoically quiet until moments before they crossed into the courtyard. A steel clad hand is laid on the shoulder of Ryan. "Welcome home." a dark voice says quietly. "It is good to be home, Brother Talbert." Ryan replies, and the gates close behind them.

Ryan leaves behind him his young acolyte, Taylor, to learn and train with the monks. The new converts, though at first timid with fear had regained some of their composure. They were alive, that was good, and as long as they worshiped Bane they had nothing to fear. After resting for a week and personally seeing to Taylors training, Ryan made his return journey to the city of Waterdeep. "We will take care of the boy and his training. When he is ready, we will escort him back to you." Brother Talbert said to him before he left. "You are doing well, Brother Steel. The Dark Lord is pleased. Stay on this path, and you shall be rewarded."
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