Lords of Rock

Setting

A Rock Hard Land for Rock Hard Men.

The Rockaverse

The Land of Plenty

Minimap

The Rockaverse is a part of Lords of Rock.

7 Characters Here

Syra Onnet [48] A thrall who seeks more from life.
Captain Ash [12] A man gone wild, either by lust, by wars, or by the desert sun. Or maybe he's just clinically insane.
M'Kama [8] Life and death, two sides of the same coin. With that in mind, he crafts his own luck.
Mathis Gladys45 [0] New
londy [0]

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"My land, the Holy Land, that is to say," Arubak began. "It's the only paradise on this Rock. Made for those who'be made somethin' of themselves and would like to make a little more...as much as luck would permit 'em."

Arubak shifted in his seat slightly as the road before their carriage only grew more uneven and bumpy, continuing to speak, "Some call me a warlord, 'cause I like to go and raise a little hell to defend my people. But my Holy Land is the only place besides the Horenor where the people of the Rock can get a little civilization...REAL civilization."

"Do you envy the lives of the offworlders?" M'kama asked, drawing out a trip of cards and looking at them intently.

"I..." Arubak drawled, glancing over to Syra, pointing at the former thrall. "Was once like her. Found and...and collared like an animal by men and women of incomprehensible savagery. Ya can't tell me...none of ya can't, that if you had the opportunity to turn the tide and take charge for yerself...you wouldn't seize it faster'n a hurricane. "

The Yybian looked up from his cards for a brief moment, "I suppose I cannot," he shrugged admittedly. "But if your Paradise is so flawless, what draws you to the Witch of the Wastes?"

"..." Arubak sat in thought for a moment. "Suppose there ain't no harm in tellin' ya. She stole somethin' of mine. Somethin' precious'n one of a kind. I seek only to retrieve what's mine."

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Character Portrait: Syra Onnet

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Otis's head falling in her lap made Syra let out a small gasp. She quickly helped the young man upright and rested her hands in her lap as the others talked, each looking over a map of the Rock. She'd heard only stories of the Witch, but then again, who hadn't? It wasn't until the mayor pointed at her did she take an interest in the conversation again. "What did she steal that could have a man like you seeking her out and possibly risking the life you fought so hard to obtain?"

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"A silver ring. The most valuable thing I own. More precious than any priceless gem. Had it since before I could remember. Protected it with my life. And some...some charlatan thinks she can take it right from under my nose?" He frowned, his voice taking a sudden twinge of anger. "No...I will not stand for it. This is something, I must see to, personally."

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Ash listened as everyone spoke, a somewhat sly grin growing on his face in particular as Arubak spoke. "You'll have to forgive me for saying this, but you don't sound like a man who relies very much on luck. I would actually say you sound more interested in creating your own luck."

He gave a little smirk and a shrug of his shoulders. "Not that I think that's a bad thing. In fact, I rather respect a man who chooses to create his luck rather than rely on it." The Captain retrieved his pipe once more, but feeling it would be impolite to light the thing up, opted instead to simply chew lightly on the bit. It was a satisfactory distraction for the time being.

"I can also understand your sentiments towards your ring. I suspect we've all had a priceless artifact of our own lives at some point. With that said though Arubak, I hope you can understand the necessity of this question... What exactly do you intend to do with this Witch should we find her?" He left his tone neutral and inquisitive, trying not to elicit any more anger in their host.

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"Do whatever I need to do," Arubak chuckled. "To get what's mine back..." he trailed off, tipping his hat down. "Take a rest....we're almost there..."

In an hour's time, they had traveled past the mountains of the bright, wide canyon walls taking their place. Alongside the walls lay a small town, a wooden sign informing them that they indeed had arrived in Mariglen. A large creek ran through the town, a giant watermill spinning about, it's mechanisms to churn water within and without.

Wooden houses lined against canyon walls. People working, children playing. It seemed as simple a town as any. And certainly no place for a Witch of the Wastes.

"We're here..." Caenna informed the group of travelers. "Best get a move on, y'all..."

M'Kama yawned. "Already. I was hoping for a longer nap," the Yybian sighed, opening the door to the carriage.

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#, as written by Nulix
"Excuse me!" A man screamed at M'kama the minute he opened the door. On the dirt road beside the carriage was a short, bearded man in robes, his helmet upside down in his grubby hands so that valuables could be dropped in it. Right now the only donations he had was a rat-carcass and a chunk of dirt. "Spare some coins for the Most Horrible Father!?" The Dward cried.

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Character Portrait: M'Kama Character Portrait: Syra Onnet

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Syra listened as Arubak and Ash discussed the Witch of the Waste and his stolen ring. Outside the world changed, mountains gave way to a canyon and small dirt roads as they approached a town she'd never seen or heard of. She felt a small smile creep across her face as the realization of no longer being anywhere near The Remnants slowly set in. She stretched her arms and stifled a yawn, relaxing only slightly but for the first time in years. "This is what safe feels like?" she pondered as the carriage stopped.

They filed out into the streets of Mariglen, she hoped someone would know the way when a stranger approached M'kama asking for donations. She felt her cheeks flush a little, barely in town for a second and they were being pestered for money. Her gaze rested on the extravagant carriage and she rolled her eyes, of course, someone would ask them for money, Arubak wasn't exactly hiding his wealth.


"Spare some change for the Most Horrible Father!?" The man pleaded. She watched to see what the group would do next, as she was in no position to personally help the man, father or not.

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Ash heeded the man's words and closed his eyes for a while, though not with any amount of ease. Arubak was an ally, but that didn't make him a friend, and it certainly didn't make him someone to easily trust. After all, there are very few ways to get rich on The Rock, and most of them are bloody...

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It was black... A dark, starless night. But there was a glow. Orange. And the smell of smoke.

The sound of some distant, mumbled noise, a pitch that couldn't be made out. Not at first. The muffling began to fade, and as it did the sound became clear.

"Ash, get up! We're bloody pinned down!"

The Captain bolted up, looking around as Sorilian soldiers scrambled to fire back at some distant enemies. It was the first night of the invasion. Ash and these men had been expected to help 'establish a front'. The only thing being established was their deaths. Was hard to tell if this was an intentional plan of Agopian's or Zeemu's, just their incompetence, or someone else who just wanted Ash dead. But that didn't matter right now. Survive.

"Dervene, what's the situation?" Ash shouted to the boy who'd been waking him up.

"We're getting pinned down! Can't tell who it is, but they're Rockians. Percy says they're trying to flank us on both sides!"

"Well that's not going to happen. Percy!" Ash signaled his comrade. "You take some of the boys and go Left Flank! I'm taking Right!" Ash looked back at the young man with him. "Dervene, time to be a hero. You get the boys taking cover here, you're going to fire up their middle and make sure they stay put. Got it?"

The young man looked terrified, but nodded in agreement. "Yes, yes got it Captain!"

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A slight bump in the road quickly pulled Ash out of his rest. His heart raced, as his eyes darted around the carriage, his hand gripping tightly onto the seat. Everything was fine, nothing was wrong, all was as it should be. Once he was a little more reassured, his grip loosened. And just in time too. Caenna let them know they had arrived, and members of the group started filing out.

The Captain followed the rest out, where they were soon greeted by some odd beggar. Ash fished around in his pocket for a moment before producing a copper coin, something from one of The Rockian nations, possibly Sudean, something he'd gotten from trading at some point, somewhere on the planet. He tossed the coin into the beggar's helmet, creating a light metal *ting* as it hit.

"Sorry old chum, that's about all I have. Who is this 'Most Horrible Father' by the by?" Ash asked curiously.

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#, as written by Nulix
The dward's eyes crossing into the helmet. "R-real coin?" The dward stuttered, stepping back from the carriage as the others emerged out. "Well, uh, he's a uh, a living father to us all, sir! Viceroy Guntner! He's the father the Rock needs! A father to us all, if you're in need of parenting."

The dward paused, plunging his arm into his helmet and pocketing the coin. "Name's Gonadus, what brings you to Mariglen?" Gonadus said, eager to befriend the visitors. "I'm here to spread to good word of the most horrible father around the planet for all to hear! And accept his donations, of course."

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The worm slowly slithered out of the cart...

""Oh yeah! I've heard of you guys!" Horik exclaimed as she ran up to the strange little dward. "You guys ever, uh, ever thought of maybe taking name suggestions?"

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Otis woke up with a start and made his way hurriedly out of the carriage, rubbing his eyes. He must have been more tired than he thought. Seeing the dward, Otis sighed inwardly but said nothing. Dwards depressed him. They were like the fat kid on the block, always looking for friends, but instead getting picked on by everyone.

And in the Rock's case, "getting picked on" meant getting murdered or beat up or burned alive sometimes.

***

Tackel leaped forward, his thick arms enfolding around the figure in front of them, his hands locking in a vice around the figure's chest, pinning their arms to their body.

"I have you now!" Tackel cried triumphantly, quite confident in his ability to retain his grip no matter what the stranger did. "Who are you, what do you want?"

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"You ever hear of a Witch of the Wastes, dward Gonadus?" M'Kama asked the poverty stricken man. "We have need of her aid and sought to find her. We're on a mission of great importance."

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"This son'of'a'bitch tried to kill 'er!" White Hat exclaimed. The cloaked assassin struggled in Tackle's mighty arms, the bandana covering their face falling to reveal the pale skin of an Ulfirian woman. "That son'of'a'bitch is a dau'ter'of'a'priest!" White Hat yelled in shock and awe.

"Sneedus Brilo," Palavan breathed from her bed. "The remainder of Seed..."

***

The dward paused, glancing up at M'kama. "No sir, no sir I have not," The dward said. "But... well listen, this entire town has seen things... but uh, well..." Gonadus swallowed, licking his dry, crusted lips. "But uh... only one man has fought her... and lived. Uh, I... I think another... donation... might help jog me memory..."

A low rumble, a cough mixed with a hum mixed with a laugh: a low rumble, emitting from Gonadus' loins, as he began to edge his helmet toward them again... waiting for the gold...

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"I ain't much for givin' out handouts," Arubak drawled, stepping forward, tossing ten gold coins into the dward's helmet. "But you find me that Waste Witch and you'll see ten more in your future, y'hear?"

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#, as written by Nulix
Gonadus nearly fell from the weight of the gold in his helmet. He began to wheeze and sweat profusely, hugging the helmet tightly. "His name's Dante," The dward began as he counted the coins. "A regular cowboy. Story goes the witch killed his sister, maybe took his bride, not quite sure whats true and whats the stuff of legends."

Gonadus covered his helmet nervously as a caravan passed by theirs, a man whipping the reins of his ant to move it forward. "But whatever the case... he searched that desert for dozens days, freezing under the moon and sweatin' under the sun until... well, until he found her."

Gonadus blinked at Arubak. "Now I don't be knowing what happened out there, but when Dante returned... he wasn't the same man." Gonadus glanced over his shoulder. "Don't talk to no-one. Don't speak to no-one. Just tends to the ants, drinks at the saloon, and then, every fortnight, goes out into the desert."

Gonadus backed away. "Now I don't know where he goes or what he do, but everyone in this town is mighty afraid of the unnatural." Gonadus placed his helmet on his head, the coins falling over his face and into his outstretched pockets. "Everyone here's afraid, sir!" He called as he began to back into the foot-traffic on Meriglen's dusty streets. "Everyone here's afraid!"

The group was left as Gonadus disappeared into the crowd of slowly drifting ants and workers...

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"...Well, that was enlightening," M'Kama noted after a moment of silence to process everything the dward was saying. "Some of might have to keep a low profile. There are those of us that can't help but come off as a little eerie," he turned to Otis and slapped him upside the head. "Ain't that right, kid?"

"Well, we got several leads from the looks of it," Arubak added. "The stables, the saloon, and the desert. Only problem is we don't know when exactly his little fortnight ritual started..." he held a hand to his chin as he began ti pace. "Way, I sees it, we should probably split up and conduct our search. Then we meet back at the carriage by nightfall to discuss what we found. Sound good?"

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Ash couldn't really recall hearing of any 'Horrible Fathers' before. Perhaps they were some sort of misguided self-help group? He wasn't about to get that answer however, M'Kama and Arubak were already pressing on the issue of the Witch. What Ash wasn't expecting was such an easy response from the Dward. Someone in town who had personally gone after the Witch? Seemed too good to be true, or perhaps incredibly lucky. Would remain to be seen which it was.

And before anyone could ask another question, the Dward had left, disappearing into the crowds of the town. "What a peculiar gentleman. Though he didn't seem entirely 'horrible'." He said, slightly amused. The Captain turned to look at Arubak, giving a slight nod. "That seems to be the most appropriate way forward. Are there any particular preferences for anyone and where they begin their investigation?" Ash said to the group as a whole now.

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"Do I come off as eerie?" Otis asked, scratching his head. "I could maybe see it back in my immortality days, but now I think I'm pretty normal..." Not explaining this nod to previous plots Otis had been involved in, Otis turned to Ash.

"The dwards have a group, the Horrible Father Coalition," Otis explained. "No one really knows why they call themselves that, but they seem to be entirely convinced that being horrible fathers is the best way to survive life." Otis shrugged. "They've made it some sort of weird religion, you could say. Best we stay clear of any more dwards... People really hate them, and in some cases, seeing us being charitable towards them is like to have us be tried and hung for being 'dward-lovers.'"

Otis looked out at the desert, and shivered despite the heat. "Personally, I'd rather stay out of the town. Especially after night. I don't like the feeling the sands are giving me about this place."

***

"Seed? What's that?" Tackel asked, frowning. "Sneezus, is that your name? Why were you trying to kill this woman? Hurry, answer. We don't have much time before the naga shows up."

Tackel, of course, was referring to the shape-shifting snake-god of the town... though he believed little in gods and even less in snakes being them.

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Ash looked over at Otis as he spoke. Eerie? He had no bloody idea, as far as Ash was concerned, Otis was a kid that probably shouldn't be on a planet this awful. The Captain said nothing about the 'immortality' thing. He was honestly a bit worried the boy took a little too much damage to the skull, and honestly just didn't want to press the subject. Besides, perhaps the boy just drank something bad.

Ash had his brandy spiked one time, some strange Longbaoan concoction dripped in when he wasn't looking. Walked around for hours thinking he was invincible, but somehow was convinced it only worked if he wore no pants. It was incredibly awkward, though offset by the fact he did have undergarments. The Captain will, of course, never trust anyone ever again who even hints at visiting some 'Longbaoan merchant'.

"Well, luckily I have my own special brand of charity for bigots." Ash said with a smirk in response to Otis's comment on Dward persecution. "At any rate, if that's your sense of the situation, perhaps we should try to tie things up in town before dark. If anyone is worried about the townsfolk, I suppose I could always pay a visit to the tavern."

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"I mean the dark is when the *best* people come out to play," Horik commented with a hint of sarcasm. "Though I really do like the coolness of it. The stars, the moon, they make the night pretty much the best time in my opinion."

She looked from Otis to Ash with a small shrug. "You can head to the taverns, Ash, and I can take a bit of a look about to see what Otis is so worried about. Might end up being something of use."

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Syra was astonished at Arubak's generosity toward the dward. It was apparent he was wasting no time finding this witch and was willing to spend whatever it took to get back his ring. Syra couldn't help but wonder how much the ring was worth, and if at some point he would spend more than the value of the ring just to settle some score.


Otis and Ash discussed their plan to gather information, Horik has her own idea, and Syra felt a little left out. She hadn't done anything of importance and was simply whisked away and caught up in their adventure. She looked down at her clothing, little more than singed rags at this point. She felt her face flush as others in dire circumstances walked around them all, she wanted something to help her stand apart, to mark her newfound sense of freedom. Before saying anything to anyone she wandered off into the small town they'd found themselves in, determined to make her mark and prove her worth.

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"What, nobody's going to check the stables?" M'Kama questioned, scratching his forehead. "It is a dirty job, after all...but I suppose someone has to do it," he shrugged. "Might as well be me."

"I think I'll go along and head towards the saloon as well, if'n ya don't mind," Arubak chimed in, nodding towards Ash.

M'Kama glanced over towards Otis. "Since you don't feel so comfortable in town, I suppose you and Horik will venture out to the desert outskirts?" he inquired.

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"Sure, I'll go with the pirate lady," Otis smiled. "If she'll let me come along anyway, she seems quite capable on her own."

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Ash watched as Syra walked off without a word, a little concerned, but feeling at this point that she could probably handle herself. He gave a little wave to Horik and Otis as they started to make their way to the desert. "Sounds good, but do tread carefully out there. Don't want to have to deal with more worms." He smirked.

Arubak's suggestion surprised Ash slightly, but he felt comfortable enough to go along with the man. "Alright, well the saloon it is then." The Captain nodded back to Arubak as they headed towards the saloon.

After a short walk, the two men found the building, two stories tall, with the top level presumably being for bedrooms. There was a couple drunks stumbling around but they minded their business for the most part. Ash stepped into the saloon first, letting Arubak follow him in as they scoped the scene out. There was a couple of tables, mostly made up of barrels with scrap wood for the tops.

The two men made their way to the bar counter and took a seat. Ash knocked his hand against the wood counter gently to get the attention of the barkeep. "Pardon me sir, but could I bother you for a whiskey for myself and my friend here?"


The barkeep cocked an eyebrow, grumbling slightly as he went to get the drinks. "You don't sound like yer from round here. What brings you fellas here?"

"Just passing through. Heard an acquaintance of ours might be here as well, thought we'd ask around." Ash responded neutrally.

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As the group discussed, the worm noticed someone venture off. Syra was walking off and the worm, unable to make noise, silently followed. It slithered behind her at a distance, trying not to be too noticeable for a 20 feet worm that could easily demolish houses.

~*~

Horik raised an eyebrow but smiled broadly and held her hand out.

"I'll accept the company if you can read the atmosphere when we're out there. We're probably going to be in danger so little man!" Horik yelled the last part out as she turned to look at Otis. "I need ALL the information you can give me."

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