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Henri Le Chevalier

Knight by name, Knight by nature

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a character in “The Gala-Dor Expedition”, as played by SirLancelot

Description

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Name
Henri Le Chevalier

Archetype
Human Ex-Paladin

Age
Thirty

Bbcode
Orangered

Theme
Crusader Kings 2 : Holy Fury - OST - The Fifth Crusade


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Appearance
Short fiery red hair atop a chiseled jawed face, always caked in armour and wielding a large two-handed sword. The man has clearly seen battle and the wrinkles between his brow imply that he has much on his mind, the creases at his cheeks showing that despite whatever haunts him; he tries his best to forget it. It's possible to imagine the man could have been set atop a horse in some far off war once upon a time but the ale stains on his tabard show that if he was, it was long ago. A symbol of the Sacred Flame hanging from his neck, showing he is either a very pious or God-fearing man. He looks at you with kindness and pity all at once.

Personality
“By Saga’s sword that’s a lot of gold!”

A surprisingly cheerful man despite his grim occupation and the little he’ll tell you about his past, Henri is a clearly pious man who is often seen praying into his ale or wine at the local tavern. He is not without his jokes but stories are few and far between, if prodded he often says that his stories are none too funny. Stalwart and zealous in battle, he commands the fury of a wildfire with a flick of his wrist and is willing to get burned to use it.

He has a distaste for criminals and heretics as well as dark mages of all stripes and will make it plain that these will not receive kindness or charity from him but those he respects will find themselves with a stalwart companion, happy to throw himself in front of enemy weapons for them.

Skills
Greatsword Training: Trained from very young to be a Paladin of the Sacred Flame; Henri has learned to fight with a variety of weapons however his favorite is the greatsword. He is very proficient in its use and takes care of his most prized possession; often seen cleaning it as he prays.
Heavy armour: Wearing heavy armour is standard for a Paladin and in service to the Sacred Flame, Henri learned to become almost more comfortable in plate armour than without.
Pyromancy: Gifted with magical ability and trained in the school of Pyromancy has given Henri great control over the cleansing flame. It manifests in a variety of ways, most used to empower himself and his allies; wreathing his armour and blade in searing heat or lighting the way for the party.
Medicine: Along with his non-magical companions; Henri has been trained in battlefield medicine and is able to stitch wounds or bandage cuts when needed, including upon himself. An odd cauterization can help the matter too.


History
Born to two unknown peasants, Henri doesn’t recall when his magical ability was discovered but whenever it was, he was taken to a monastery, there he was given a new name to separate him from his past. It was there he learned the ways of the Paladins and Clerics of the Sacred Flame. Henri performed admirably in his duties until a tragic incident caused him to abandon his cause but not his faith.

Now he’s a mercenary and wandering knight, using his training for coin and as much good as he can do.

So begins...

Henri Le Chevalier's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

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A glint of sunset peered from between the sky and the river. Warm, orange light bathed Arc en Lume’s skyline, reflected over the canals which linked the city’s many districts. A gondola moved through the water, the weary faces of merchants settled in its seats. The boat passed under a bridge, where two lovers embraced and confessed their feelings. At the city center loomed the red and gold spires of the Sacred Flame’s grand cathedral. Before it, clergymen scooped the ash from a golden chalice, twice the size of the men attending to it.

On the eastern edge of the city, upon the outskirts which overlooked the primeval oaken forests, where old bricks had stood strong and steadfast for innumerable years, where crimson banners and flowering vines hung over sidewalks of tiled stone. The Commons. Home to labourers, louts, and adventurers desiring transient and affordable refuge. A dwarf lumbered across the pavement, a lithe, cloaked shadow trailing behind him. His broad, gloved hand waved off the scurrying forms of street urchins, then checked his pockets.

“These humans need to keep a better eye on their children, I tell ya,” the dwarf muttered to his companion. His voice hoarse and deep, with an accent too rough and uncouth for Beaucourt. He nodded to himself, satisfied with the amount of coin in his purse, then turned his attention to a nearby notice board. There was more paper than wood, with advertisements, missives, and public service announcements, all stacked upon each other without regard for organisation. The dwarf glanced left and right, to make sure that nobody important was watching, tore several sheets from the board, and crumpled them up to put inside his pockets. He looked to the board, and saw his own notice - loud, clear, and no longer buried under such frivolous requests.



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The dwarf huffed, pleased with himself, then turned and walked away. His concealed companion remained a moment before the missive board. A dark, slender hand reached out from the cloak and tugged the advertisement down. As they followed after the dwarf, the worn piece of parchment blew down the street behind them into obscurity.




Night fell, and the last trace of sunlight faded into the dark. But within the Jovial Jackalope tavern, the fires of the hearth burnt bright, casting light and warmth through brick walls and wooden ceilings. Bards strummed their lutes, patrons downed their drinks, and wenches weaved to avoid wandering hands. The dwarf sat in the corner alongside his hooded companion, his arms clasped over the table, his pauldrons reflecting the light of the candles and the fireplace. His eyes wandered from the door, to his half-empty mug, and back again. This is the day, he thought to himself. I can feel it in my jellies.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

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“Sacred Flame hear my words. May you bring us the light and purge the darkness from our souls; with this prayer, I ask you to guide my path, show me my next step. Yours is the brightness, the guiding light, and the gift.”

The sun was high in the sky as a man dressed in simple garb knelt in the streets of Arc En Lume, the sundial in front of him casting no shadow. A simple symbol hung from his neck and he prayed. The streets of Arc En Lume are beautiful and dangerous all at once, like any great city however Henri felt safe making his prayer. One hand on his holy symbol, the other rested on a large blade wrapped in cloth.

It was on this day hours later, the day of his prayer that the cloth wrapped around the greatsword slipped in public. The light from a steadily setting sun bounced from the perfectly shined blade and at just the right angle, it illuminated the paper on the notice board. “Adventurers Wanted”. The sign. The way forward. Riches and secrets.

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The evening approached and the pale moonlight shone brightly on the sign reading “The Jovial Jackalope”. Within were many patrons, however, a gathering had begun surrounding a Dwarf and a hooded figure. A human woman, covered in powders and with an accent that betrayed her heritage. Another with a bird and a beautiful voice and an elf, very clean and well put together. He made note of the number of women but no obvious thoughts came to mind.

Henri shouldered his bag and held onto his wrapped blade tightly. He elected not to sit as the table was becoming very crowded rather quickly. A mug of ale in hand that he’d made sure to acquire moments before noticing the group. He nodded to the dwarf as he stood behind the ladies, he indicted to his blade resting on his shoulder careful not to interrupt the conversation but to display his interest.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

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Hilgur looked up, propping his chin atop his clasped hands. Red hair, strong build, and that accent - a human from Stormhold, and an alchemist, to boot. Good, he thought to himself. We needed a healer. The dwarf puffed out his chest with a huff, "I'm a scion of the Black-Manes, lass, a house most noble and ancient!... Grandeur is in my blood."

Esther's question drew the dwarf's black gaze. He took a moment to consider his answer. A moment which another took to join his table. Another human, barely taller than Hilgur himself, with an unkempt head of hair and an owl on her person. Everything about her screamed 'Port Jellico Rascal' - particularly the brand on her shoulder. Was it involuntary, or self-inflicted? Hilgur pondered as he stared. Either answer would have quite the story to tell. "Aye, girl, I'm a dwarf," Hilgur responded, then tapped a fist against his breastplate. "But I'm also a warrior, and I like making sure ya longlegs know that."

Hilgur reached for his mug, held it high, and poured the contents into his wide open mouth. Gold-red mead spilled from his lips and down his coarse, dark beard. He slammed his drink back on the table, what was left of the mead sloshing within the mug.

One more joined their table, slim and pretty, with the refined dialect of an elf. Hilgur raised one brow as he scrutinised her. His father didn't trust the elves, but none of them ever did Hilgur himself any wrong. "You presume right!" he bellowed, the pride obvious in his tone. "And great question, elf," He pointed to her with a nod, then beckoned the others closer.

The dwarf lowered his voice. His eyes squinted with a smile. "I found this map. Dark, worn, an' one of a kind." Hilgur held a massive hand up. "Can't tell you where I did. Trade secret," he flatly noted, before continuing, "Paid a good bit for it, too. But not as much as I should!"

The dwarf's shoulders shook up and down as he restrained his cackles into a chuckle. "Poor sod wasn't much for history. He didn't know what it was worth." The figure beside him bristled. He caught the silhouette of a man approaching from his peripherals, and cleared his throat.

Hilgur nodded back to the man. Despite his unassuming clothes, he walked with purpose. Precision. Rhythm. The way trained men do. The dwarf couldn't make out any heraldry, however.

He looked to the adventurers gathered before him, his fingers sinking into his beard as he stroked it. An alchemist, a scoundrel, an archer, and a man-at-arms. A healthy mix of might and utility.

The dwarf placed his hands on the table. "So! I assume you're all here for the job. The Gala-Dor expedition," the dwarf turned to Esther. "You wanted to know how serious I am?"

Hilgur bowed his head and drew his arms into a fold. "Gala-Dor was the ancestral home of my people. My clan, the Black-Manes, trace their ancestry to its glory days. My father used to tell me stories about the place. Stories that his father, and his father’s father, told him. Tales of brave heroes and clever craftsmen, and the wonders they brought to our shining city.”

The dwarf looked up, gazing into the distance. "We lost so much when the Blackblight War happened. So much culture, so much knowledge!" Hilgur held up a fist. "Why should it stay lost? Why should it stay hidden? That was a question I’ve pondered since before I grew my first chin-hairs."

Hilgur unclenched his fist, and looked to his palm. "A question… which fueled a dream." The dwarf nodded. "Now, I may live longer than you humans, but I ain’t getting any younger." His black eyes glinted with passion. "I’ve spent decades building up my skills, connections, and fortune, and I’m almost ready."

The dwarf leaned closer and lowered his voice. "Now, I don’t want mere hirelings. I want business partners." He raised one brow. "An’ that’s where you come in. This expedition ain’t gonna be cheap. We need food, supplies, equipment, money. We need..." Hilgur narrowed his eyes. "...A sponsor."

Hilgur leaned back. ”And I got two possible candidates.” The dwarf held a finger up. “The first, is the Order of the Sacred Flame. Now, I ain’t much for the faith.” the dwarf chuckled. “Obviously… but they have money, they have power, and they’re always lookin’ for a sword or two to help keep the peace.” He narrowed his eyes. ”Thing is, in my experience… they get a bit nosy with their investment. We find something in Gala-Dor, and they don’t like it?” Hilgur shook his head. “Good luck profiting from it.”

The dwarf held up another finger. ”Next, we have the Bilge Rats. They’re a group based off Port Jellico. Lockbreakers, cutpurses, smugglers, thugs - they do a little bit of every shady thing in the Empire short of assassinations.” The dwarf tossed a knowing - or accusatory - glance towards Serena. “They aren’t as big as the Order, they don’t have as many resources, and some squeamish types may find their methods disagreeable.” Hilgur looked to the rest of the crew. ”But, if we earn their trust, and give them their cut, they’ll finance our expedition, no questions asked.”

Hilgur exhaled. He reached for his drink, and downed the rest of its contents in three short gulps, before slamming the mug on the table. “Well! I’ll give you all the night to think. Get to know each other.” The chair creaked under him as he stood and walked away. The dwarf stopped, turned, and pointed at the crew. ”Oh, and I want you all to do this together. You’re going to work as a team, so you got to decide as a team.”. Hilgur turned away. ”If you’re still interested in making history, be here in the morning.”

As Hilgur departed, his companion remained in place. Golden earrings dangled alongside a dark, pointed chin and black and silver slips of hair protruding from their hood. They lifted their head, revealing feminine features, and regarded each member at the table with a striking blue glare. A thin silver chain raised higher with each step Hilgur took, tightening. Attached at her neck. It tugged at her. The drow raised from her seat with the dignity of someone who was not on a leash, flicked them all one last annoyed look, and began to trail after the dwarf.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

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#, as written by StarGW
Thoughout Hilgur's exposition, Esther remained calm and curious, keeping one leg over the other while leaning forward. She was a bit disappointed that she couldn't actually see the map; words only go so far to convince someone of another's cause. But what she heard: the motives, the journey, the adventure, the discovery of culture and history, THAT was sound as good as the taste of fine Stormhold wine; in fact, she almost wanted to lick her lips at the delight of this expedition... Provided this wasn't a dwarf's extremely elaborate idea of a con.

But there's... something about Hilgur, as difficult to read as his silent drow partner, that Esther could believe.

The alchemist stayed silent for a moment, letting the dwarf and drow take their leave of the tavern. Afterward, she looks up to the other three and chuckled. "Ah, dwarves. Can never get a good read on them." Her lighthearted banner to the three was combined with her wide smile to what are a group of strangers and an owl. "So maybe I can get to know you all better!" She stood up from her wooden seat and offered a handshake to each member. "Shall we do introductions here? Or should we move to someplace less... busy?"

She looked to her left, checking the bar's wooden table, crowded with patrons who drunk themselves silly in joy. The Jackalope's active scene almost added a fiery sensation to the building's warm lighting; everyone here was just impressively energetic. The heavy tap and rattling of boots and shoes on the wooden floor would've been overwhelming to Esther had this been her first visit to a Beaucourt tavern. "There's quite a lovely night sky out by the small port."

She didn't mind the Jackalope, per-se, but her job as an alchemist has taught her that things are better when they are nice and quiet. Besides, she couldn't be the only one who thought the drinks here looked positively dreadful. Gods, did she even want to imagine the sour bitterness she'd taste from it?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

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#, as written by Byte
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“This longlegs knows.”

Serena gave a nonchalant shrug. Didn’t think much of the comment, a bit dry in places but she figured the shinkicker wasn’t keen to play games. Seemed too rigid and serious for that sort of business so instead of prodding the beehive further and risk getting stung, Serena opted to claim one of the chairs; slinging it around, arms folded to rest on the back as she plopped onto the seat with a less than comfortable ‘thud’.

The owl shook for a moment but remained largely still, shifting slightly to balance itself. Presumably the bird was accustomed to its companion's sudden movements.

The young woman's eyes glazed over the people that had gathered around the table. Thoughts swaying between curiosity and slight discomfort. A dwarf, an elf, a drow and several humans… If she didn’t know any better this might have made the perfect set up for a joke. It was just missing a punchline.

Speeches on the other hand? Eh, she could do without one of those. It was pretty, Serena supposed but her thoughts couldn’t help but stray until the juicy details were spilled and Hilgur mentioned they’d need the help of a sponsor.

‘Talk ‘bout spoiled fer choice.’ She playfully weighed the options in her head with a tingle in her eyes. The order of the Sacred Flame? Morally sound and had the upside of getting faith behind your back, helped the overall profile of the job anyway. Serena didn’t fancy playing with literal fire, however, nevermind the bureaucracy that’s typically involved with organized religion.

The other group was far less likely to care about who or what they sponsored, and Serena pretended not to notice the stern glare that Hilgur flashed her way; challenging the look with a toothy grin. They both knew what was up. The Bilge Rats were an unsavoury sort, your average criminal collective that had dealings in almost every corner of the world… She didn’t even presume to have a good shot at convincing the rest to shack up with these lot. That was a hard sell by any stretch.

The point was, though, it’d be up to them to decide. Unanimously.

Serena’s gaze trailed after the silent partner that Hilgur had brought along, giving her an apologetic smile as the duo left the rest to their own devices. “Poor thing. Chains don't suit people.” She had never seen many drows, but this one she felt particularly sorry for. “Could see if cap’n shortstacks has got the key. Pinch it from him an’ all.” The young woman flashed the group a smirk, noting their reaction before turning to face the redhead. She ignored the offer to shake hands and jumped on the opportunity to get some fresh air.

“Don’t have to tell me twice. Wilthro is getting agitated.” Serena shook her head at the owl perched on her shoulder. The bird gave a soft ‘Hoot’ as if in greeting. “And the drinks are terrible.” She added with a jovial tone.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

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Ashera listened carefully to Hilgur’s tale, intrigued by the story behind the map. Or what little he told them of it, anyway. Still, if it really did show the way to Gala-Dor, there was no telling what treasures were entombed within. Long-forgotten libraries of magical and engineering knowledge, or perhaps even artifacts of great and terrible power…

But of course, this expedition would be nothing more than a dream-struck dwarf and a collection of curious onlookers without money. The thing that makes the world go round, in the words of the gold-loving groundfolk. To be adequately financed, they needed a sponsor, and both choices were not without their caveats. To Ashera’s surprise, Hilgur left that decision entirely up to them. Their future employer took his leave to let them discuss the matter, the drow being gently pulled along on a chain as he went.

Ashera took a good look at the motley bunch who had signed up alongside her. They might only be humans, but there was time a-plenty to prove their worth. She accepted Esther’s offered handshake in good faith. However, the elf gave a distasteful look to the piratical-looking human who contemplated freeing the drow.

“If a drow is in chains, it is not without reason,” she warned the human. “Setting her loose could be the last mistake you would ever make.” Eager to move on as the others were, the elf turned to address Esther. “As for our sponsor, perhaps discussing this elsewhere would be a wise idea indeed. Far less prying ears…”

Thankfully the would-be trailblazers did not have to walk far to reach the port. They found a spot some distance away from a local mariners’ pub, far enough to plan in peace but not so far that they would be lurking in the back alleys of the city. And if any brigands were to think of jumping them… well, safety in numbers was a good enough deterrent no matter the occasion.

Ashera had been giving the matter some thought along the way, weighing up their options. To choose between the Sacred Flame, or the Bilge Rats? By the time the group had called the meeting to order, as it were, the elf was among the first to speak.

“I can understand misgivings towards the Order, but despite that, can we not trust them to remain true to their word?” she asked the others. “Their inquisitive nature does pose its own problems, but these so-called Bilge Rats… were we to enlist their aid, how can we be certain of their loyalty?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

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#, as written by StarGW
Having followed the others, Esther took in the air of Arc en Lume's port. Alongside the familiar night sounds of soft waves hitting the wooden supports, distant ringing bells and a gentle quietness, was not the familiar sea salty air but instead a bizarre sweet feel that hung to her tongue like a snail. The Stormhold woman took no heed of the oddity, minus her smiling mouth briefly irked into a gulp on occasion. Besides Beaucourt's usual taste of the air, the port was a welcome change from the tavern.

Esther sat on the edge of the port's wooden edge with her cloak wrapped tightly around her. "You mean to base our decision on morals?" She asked with a light chuckle at Ashera's framing of this small dilemma. "Nothing wrong with doubting a few rats; they nibble quite painfully when you're not looking. But I prefer a slightly more pragmatic outlook. All the lockbreaking and smuggling? Quite fine with that." She looked down, under her cloak, at the pouches and vials across her bandoleer. She was, of course, a medical expert. And yet a member of the Winged Ones always knew a few tricks of the saboteur.

"But resources? The supplies and documents we may need for the long trek to and back? I'd gladly take the best we can afford. And if Hilgur is true..." She formed a small circle with her hand by tapping the ends of her right thumb and forefinger together, "he'll have all the gold we need to get the best from them. For the supplies we can get from the Order, I'll gladly risk them getting bossy in our expedition."

She turned her head over to look at Serena. "And how about yourself?" A brief pause. "Oh, my apologies, you and Wilthro." She gave a small smile to the owl. "Does the owl get his own vote too?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Henri Le Chevalier

0.00 INK

#, as written by Byte
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The piratical-looking human shot an equally disapproving look back towards the elf. “Maybe.” She retorted, giving a shrug. Pushing the subject further was a moot point, however, and Serena didn’t fancy gathering a collection of death stares in case any of them ended up working together.

Serena walked behind the other would-be adventurers, dancing along the streets and docks with the grace and finesse of a cat. Footsteps meticulous and measured. Thankfully their short stroll through the streets of Arc en Lume at night was uneventful. The young pirate managed to crawl onto a convenient stack of crates and sat cross-legged with a good view of the port; Wilthro taking the opportunity to flutter from his companion’s shoulder and perching beside her on the crate instead.

‘Wasn’t expecting that.’ The lone elf was the first to break the silence, spilling her preference without so much as a stammer. Well, maybe not as obvious, but her doubts were clearly aimed at the less savoury of the two potential sponsors and Serena was nothing if not happy to take stock of that little read.

Next was the beak-faced alchemist, eager to show her comfort amongst strangers with a lighthearted approach to the matter at hand. This one had smiles to spare, it seemed. The pirate nodded briefly at the other woman’s outlook. Practicality was good, however…

“Wilthro shouldn’t vote. We’d be appeasing the Great Wise Owl for money, then.” Serena remarked to the alchemist with a grin. The owl gave a quizzical ‘Coo’.

“I agree with Blondie.” Serena began, a shimmer of glee reflecting on her face; voice echoing with enthusiasm. “Shouldn't tumble with rats on a whim, good way to catch diseases an' all.”

She threw the elf a subtle wink. “And they stink, too.”

Thoughts danced around, ideas were toyed with and Serena allowed herself a moment of peace to gather and assess the options a second time. “You want my honest thoughts, though? Better a rat you know, than a snake who hides behind smiles and good manners.” Not that she had any solid evidence that the Sacred Flame was anywhere near as creepy and unnerving as she thought they were. They just have one of those faces, y'know.

“I don’t know the Order, I do know the Rats. They’re a proper business. Unsavoury, yes, but they wouldn’t do a one-eighty on the off-chance.” She paused, letting out a laugh. “Okay, maybe some of them would.”

If it were her sole vote, she'd contact her old pals in the criminal underworld in a heartbeat. However, they would have to agree on their decision as a group. Serena eyed the elf expectantly. “Two against one, y’know?”, and with a toothy grin she added; “I’ll Roshambo you for it.”