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The Nature of Scars

Radess

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a part of The Nature of Scars, by Marionette.

A self-eminent farming kingdom which joined with Leda to overcome hard times.

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Radess, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Setting

Located in the heart of Dorae's most fertile, temperate land, Radess is the largest producer of wheat, oats, and other grains. Theirs is a proud culture which emphasizes the importance of the military, but the commoners are in a state of discontent due to high taxes and the nobles' disregard. Their union with Leda to the south -- prompted by a famine which weakened both countries and sealed by the marriage of Radess's king with Leda's queen -- has only made matters worse.
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Radess

A self-eminent farming kingdom which joined with Leda to overcome hard times.

Minimap

Radess is a part of Dorae.

4 Characters Here

Pluna Alto [5] This tall, steadfast woman moves like a cat and smiles like one, too.
Soren Radesi [4] The headstrong young prince of Leda-Radess, determined to stop the corruption at all costs.
Gatswin Buck [3] The shield set before Soren's sword.
Dariusz Tenenbaum [2] A serious young craftsmage with a background in horology and the magic of order. How much of these lie in his future is a question.

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Setting

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Character Portrait: Pluna Alto
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Pluna approached the vendor’s cart. Drips of oil hissed beneath a fresh round of kebabs, but something else drew the young woman near. She bent close and allowed the embers to paint her face with a red-orange glow – and with heat. Blessed heat.

“Can’t eat them with your eyes.” A broad, wrinkled dwarf sat on a tall stool behind the counter. His frazzled beard was nearly as red as his coals. When Pluna’s gaze flicked up to him, he answered with a grunt and a grin. He turned the kebabs, and a new chorus of sizzles rang out.

“Ah, yes,” she said, producing a few silver coins from beneath her cloak and dropping them into the vendor’s greasy palm. Blessedly, thought Pluna as he leaned over the grill to seize a kebab, that beard was kept nice and short.

Kebab in one hand, silver in the other, the vendor leaned back and observed both items. “Zel money,” he said. He turned the coins in the light before tossing them into a pouch belted over his belly. “Good money.” He handed her the kebab and added, “Good food. Careful, now, it’s hot-hot-hot.”

Pluna nodded and seized the stick. She stepped to the side but did not stray far from the cart. As she waved the kebab gently in the air, she eyed the vendor. “As you can tell from my coins, I’m a stranger here.”

He nodded. “That and your clothes.”

“Oh, yes. Those.” She smoothed the thin fabric of shirt – long-sleeved, at the very least – and fought the urge to shiver. Autumn had no right to be this chill, further north or no. “Perhaps you could point me to a tailor. First, though, what I mean to say is… anything interesting afoot, do you think?” She rubbed her shoulder.

“Aha.” The vendor’s stomach quivered with laughter. “So you were at the Ram’s Head first, I wager. I’m sure they told you it wasn’t free either.”

With a nod, Pluna waved a few more coins. She leaned close to the cart once more. At the influx of warmth, she took a deep breath. “I really want to know about this princess of yours.”

“And I’ll take that back if you’re not going to eat it.”

Jumping a bit, Pluna sunk her teeth into the roasted meat. “Mm. So, the –”

“Yes, I know, the princess. What’s to tell? Fairest beauty in all the land, hair like…” He slapped his knee. “Don’t make that face. You didn’t waste your silver. Thing is, there’s not much more to say. I’m sure you’ve heard, or you wouldn’t ask. I don't have inside sources on this one. Now, far as I know, it’s true, or they wouldn’t much care if we shouted it, other than we were shouting.” He jutted an elbow toward an armored guard rounding the corner of the street. “Whatever they want to say, she hasn’t shown her face while.”

Pluna leaned on her walking stick as she listened. “So it’s not a sure thing… but there’s reason to believe.” Between sentences, she nibbled at chunks of lamb. “Poor thing.”

The vendor only shrugged. Spotting some passersby, he cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hot kebabs! Sweet meat and finest potatoes! Trust me, I grew ‘em myself!”

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#, as written by Eteles
"Really?"

The voice came from a soft-spoken young man not far from the stall, his small frame burdened with a large leather pack slung over his shoulder. As he stepped closer, it rattled slightly, chiming. In the bustle of the marketplace, he had nearly been invisible a moment ago. "You grew them yourself, I mean? Have your crops had any problems with the corruption?"

His eyes flashed momentarily to the tall, black haired woman who stood by the stall, gaze falling to her teeth, watching the way she bit into her meal. For a moment, he seemed to freeze, and then suddenly he jumped back into motion, slinging his pack off of his shoulder and setting it on the ground. "Oh - and, ah, I will buy one of those, too, please," he said, voice wavering with a hint of nervousness. His eyes flashed up to the woman again and he nodded at her briefly before looking back down at his pack, clearly feeling some indecisiveness as to whether it was good protocol to greet her or whether she would prefer to be left in peace.

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Character Portrait: Pluna Alto
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Pluna perked as something jangled nearby. From the corner of her eye, she noted the approaching man. His gaze rested on her just long enough that she could tell he was looking, but before long, he scrambled to order a kebab. Something in his manner reminded her of a rabbit. She turned toward him, head tilted. Quickly, she glanced away and dabbed at her lips with the corner of her sleeve. “Not in your way, am I?” She flashed Dariusz a smile.

The vendor raised his brows. "The corruption? Not myself. Not yet. You ask me, they should be a lot more concerned about that. It ain’t at that point, but if we get another famine.." He grunted and looked toward the sky. Once more, his broad shoulders rose and fell. "Well, who knows what's on the horizon?" He snatched another kebab from the heat and reached forward with his free hand. “That’ll be two silvers.”

“Your crops too?” asked Pluna. “We don’t farm as much as you do in Zelys, but there have been a few... incidents.” A shudder ran through her. To excuse it, she pulled her cloak more closely around herself. "Oh yes, that's right. Mind pointing me to a tailor, either of you? And I suppose if there's somewhere I can find weapons..." She ran her hand over her gnarled walking stick. Dependable? Yes. Threatening? Not exactly.

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#, as written by viper45
Thomas tried to adjust the large pack, but after several days it seemed that he was sore everywhere. It had been almost a fortnight since he'd left Tellos on the pilgrammege that every monk was required to complete. So far, Radess was the largest city that he'd seen, seeming to stretch on forever.

His paws were calloused, his robes itched, and he was getting hungry again. It seemed that he was coming up on a market, so there was a good chance of getting some food. As a monk, Thomas didn't carry any money with him, instead relying on the kindness of strangers for food and shelter. Most people were nice enough to give him a meal when they saw the robes, and Thomas always did some chore in repayment.

Thomas entered the square and caught a whiff of some thing delicious. Some kind of meat, roasting over a fire just over ...... there! A vendor was selling kebabs to a tall woman and a dwarf. At least, he looked like a dwarf of some kind, although he didn't hold himself like one. Oh well, it didn't matter what he was.

Thomas made his way over, hoping the vendor would spare a kebab for a hungry monk.

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#, as written by Eteles
Blushing deeply, Dariusz swallowed, then shook his head. "Ah, no, madame. Not at all," he assured her, fishing through his pouch with tight shoulders. His shoulders relaxed as he found the two silvers and handed them over, and he took the stick of the kebab gingerly between two fingers. "Zelys, too," he sighed, shaking his head. His eyes roved up and down the length of the kebab critically as he spun it between his fingers, and his frown deepened. "It is too wide to be a simple blight. Too pervasive." In a sudden tick, his teeth darted forward and snipped off a small portion of meat. He chewed thoroughly, lips tight enough to seem almost angry.

Shaking his head, he shot Pluna's clothes a look, then swallowed. "I am sorry. I don't," he said. "I can make weapons, but I do not have the material right now. I am sure we can find both somewhere in this district, but I do not know where." Sticking the kebab between his teeth, he slung off his pack and shrugged his thick fur cloak off of his, barely glancing at her before thrusting at her. "You should wear this until we can find one, lest you catch a cold," he said without any particular warmth. "Do me the favor. It is too warm for a Tellosian to be wearing this here," he muttered, eyes scanning the crowd.

Seeing the monk approach, Dariusz's head jerked up, eyes alighting with recognition as he saw the make of his robe. "There!" he said, gesturing triumphantly towards the felid. "That is how a Tellosian should dress. It is an honor to be in the company of a man of the cloth," he said, bowing his head respectfully towards the monk. "Please, allow me to buy a brave pilgrim something to eat." Without so much as waiting for a response, his hand was in his pouch again, searching.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Soren Radesi
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Prince Soren Radesi looked out on the gilded halls of the palace, feeling like nothing more than a rat in a cage. Ever since his sister had...You know, the atmosphere amongst Radess' royalty had tightened from the usual severe to downright oppressive. Soren felt like he couldn't breathe all shut up in the palace like he was, not to mention the fact that he was sitting there useless while the corruption spread through his family and country.

With a frustrated sigh, he arose from his chair, pacing around the room. His father was supposed to let him go out today, though had still disallowed him outside the confines of Radess. Little did the old fool know that Soren had entirely different plans, and that as soon as he was out of the castle he'd be making his way straight for the wildlands, and there wasn't a soul in the world who could stop him!

...Provided, of course, he ever got let out at all. The waiting was driving him mad, as well as causing him to wear new holes in the carpet beneath his restless feet. Not that he didn't have backup plans in the event he failed to get his father's blessing; he'd managed to smuggle quite a bit of rope from the stables and had more than enough experience climbing homemade escape ladders. It was all he could do not to start shimmying down the thing that very second, but he knew if he left under the guise of a legitimate outing, it would be much longer before anyone started to suspect and send the guards after him.

And so he waited.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Pluna Alto
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Pluna caught the cloak and lifted it into the air, blinking at the Tellosian all the while. She studied the heavy fur as if it were a foreign tome. In Zelys, one rarely saw that much fur outside a live animal.

"Well, I..." She toed the ground. Nevertheless, she pulled the garment around her shoulders. Her body melted against the interior of the cloak. "If you insist. Thank you for your kindness.” She tugged it upward to cover her lips. At this point, she resembled a dozing bat.

The vendor raised his brows but shrugged off whatever comment brewed behind them. “Those brick buildings straight ahead – you’ll find the shops you’re seeking there.”

A second stranger approached, and Pluna’s eyes darted between the chatting pair. A man of the cloth? She bowed her head, glancing up as he addressed her. Shaking her head, she freed her face from the cloak's confines. "Share a room?" Pluna bit her tongue. Once more, she bowed her head. “Forgive me, sir, but as a lone traveler… still, I can certainly spare some coins for you.” Beneath her cloak, one hand rested upon her satchel already. Without exposing the bag, her long, nimble fingers closed around a handful of gleaming silver pieces. She presented them before Thomas. “Will this be enough? And you shouldn’t worry about repaying me.”

She stepped over a broken cobblestone, staring toward the ruddy red shops. Though she’d moved no more than a few inches, her voice grew distant. “After all, I won’t be in this city for long.”




The clockwork clack of boots on marble signaled the king’s approach. Lines marked his sun-kissed face; hints of gray streaked his raven hair. However, his slender frame remained taut and conditioned. He possessed a severe brow, and his posture would have pleased a military commander (had any ranked above himself). It might have even pleased the dance instructor the queen thrust upon him last week if he could have kept it through a waltz. The thought of that ordeal earned a mutter.

He stopped before the prince’s door. Sighing, he rapped thrice. “Soren? Do hurry. My schedule is not forgiving today.”

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Character Portrait: Soren Radesi
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Soren jumped at the knock, the light of excitement filling his eyes. Finally, just a few more unbearable moments pandering to his father and he would be free! He scrambled off the bed, showing up at the door with slightly rumpled clothes because of it. He gave his head a shake, figuring that would do for making himself presentable, as he grumbled under his breath. "Your schedule? I'm the one gettin' out of this dump..."

"I'm here!" He shouted as he shoved the door open, slightly out of breath by virtue of nothing more than his own excitement. "We ready to go?" He grinned, expecting to be let loose that very second.

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The king’s icy eyes swept over Soren. "You're going out like that?" He reached beneath his spectacles and rubbed at the bags beneath his eyes. “I suppose no matter how you go they’ll grind it to dust in the rumor mill anyway . And we not going anywhere, but I’m sure you realized that.”

The king glanced around the hall. “Your guard should arrive any moment. He’d better hurry as well.” He dangled a golden watch by its chain, eyes glued to the tick of the second hand. “Time is wasting. In the meantime...” His hand rested on his hip. "Recall the ground rules?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Dariusz Tenenbaum Character Portrait: Gatswin Buck
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#, as written by Eteles
Dariusz nearly choked on his kabob as the monk suggested that he share a room with the lady, eyes bulging as he hacked, grasping at his throat. After a few moments, however, he seemed to regain control of himself, clearing his throat and shaking his head. "Yes," he coughed at last, seeing the situation had resolved itself. "Thank you. Let's go," he suggested as he walked alongside her stiffly, mortified at himself and in general.

_____________________________________________________

Before Soren had a chance to answer, a loud clanging made its way down the hall as a man in plate armor approached. Stopping three feet from the King, Gatswin saluted stiffly, then bowed his head respectfully. "M'lord," he said. "Reportin' as ordered, Sir."

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Character Portrait: Soren Radesi
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"Like what?" Soren shrugged at his father's dismissal, wondering what could possibly be wrong with the outfit he'd chosen for the day. In his eyes, the numerous brocade suits which lined his wardrobe were no different from any of the others, all simply falling into the category of 'stupid and overly-fancy.' (Many a time, his governesses had been ordered to choose his clothing for him during important meetings and events.)

"Yeah yeah yeah, I know the stupid- ...Wait, Guard?" Poor, foolish Soren. And he'd thought sneaking out without any of the palace residents knowing was as easy as asking for a day out on the town. The next second, said guard appeared, a great bulwark of a man in thick plate armor. Soren stared at the huge man, taking on a rather displeased expression. "Awwww c'mon..." he muttered to himself, mind already trying to calculate the best way of ditching the sour-faced guard.

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Character Portrait: Gatswin Buck
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#, as written by Eteles
Gatswin couldn't hold back the frown that squeezed at his face as he set eyes upon the gilded boy, lines growing on his face. "An honor t' meetcha, M'lord," he said with a tight jaw, fists flexing. Hard to believe this undisciplined scamp was the son of the King.

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The king clicked his toe against the floor. "Soren. You're the prince of two cities. Do you ever really think? We have to be careful, especially now." He swallowed hard. With one last scan, he stuffed his watch into his pocket. "Right! My appointments. Buck knows what to do even if you've forgotten."

He nodded at Gatswin. "Don't let him give you a hard time. I expect a report when you return." In a storm of clicks and clacks, the king departed.

OOC: ((Sadly, I don't think there's any way to delete posts. Don't worry about it, though. It happens. :,D Also, I'm going to wait on posting with Pluna just yet so that Viper has a chance to respond.))

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Character Portrait: Soren Radesi
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"I think!" Soren crossed his arms in front of his chest, indignant despite his statement's complete dearth of truth in anyone's eyes but his own. He followed this with a sigh signature to every rebellious youth thwarted by a parent. He turned to the guard at last. "Hi there, uhh, Buck was your name, right?" Soren knew the sort of men his father usually hired, stony and grim-faced, but he thought getting on the guard's good side was at least worth a try. Who knew, maybe a kind word (and a slightly greased pocket) might be enough to let off the hook!

At last his father departed, and he breathed a sigh of relief, posture immediately slouching into something more comfortable. Looking over at Buck, he shot the man a nervous grin. "So, you, uhh, leave the castle often?"

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Character Portrait: Pluna Alto
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The plague. The curse. The corruption. Whatever the word, the point was clear -- people were talking. The young woman swallowed. Best to reserve comment.

"Ah, of course I forgive you," said Pluna. She bit her lip and returned the bow. "I don't mean to accuse you of anything. It's just..." She scraped the sole of her shoe over the road's surface. Despite the sturdy, down to earth architecture of the marketplace, cracks laced many a cobblestone and exterior. "I was raised to be cautious. That's all." When she looked up again, the monk was retreating. "Sir! You don't have to," she called, "if you don't want to. That is, I suppose we're tackling the market together. " She nodded toward Dariusz. "A third pair of eyes couldn't hurt, could it? We are all strangers here."

With that, she started for the shops, ponytail swinging behind her. Shouts of peddlers and food mongers pierced the air all around, but Pluna concentrated on the bright windows of more permanent establishments. One displayed a pair of autumn ensembles. "There! Just what I needed." Sighing, she shrugged off Dariusz's cloak. Goosebumps covered her neck.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Dariusz Tenenbaum Character Portrait: Gatswin Buck
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#, as written by Eteles
Dariusz nodded back at her. "We might be able to find information together, as well," he added. "We all want to know about the corruption. We can take the time to speak to one another about what we've learned," he called out to the monk, hoping he would come back.

Dariusz took his cloak back from her with a nod, eyeing what she was looking at. "You dress very well for someone who travels so far," he remarked, looking up from the boots he was inspecting.

_______________________________________________________________________

Gatswin's nose wrinkled a millimeter as the prince addressed him, not entirely pleased to be addressed as if he had only now entered the room. "It's been my luck I 'aven't 'ad to lately," he remarked, studying the Prince up and down. "But if you're goin' out, I'll follow. That's why I'm here," he sighed, putting his hands on his hips as he moved aside, leaving the door free for Soren to walk through.

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Character Portrait: Pluna Alto
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"I can't afford much here. Unless you mean…" Pluna tugged the hem of her shirt and sighed. "I thought I should look my best among strangers." Even inside the shop, she wrapped her arms around her shoulders. "One of my hastier decisions,” she added. She’d made a lot of those lately. A faint blush crept across her cheeks.

Pluna lifted the sleeve of a woolen cloak and fingered its lining. “Yes. That will do.” She glanced at the heavyset dogwoman leaning over the shop counter. “Is this for sale?”

The seamstress’s silken ears perked. “Of course.” She took Pluna’s money and swept the cloak off the display. Her curling tail swished back and forth. “Do you need a fitting, miss? Should I lengthen the hem?”

“No thank you.” Pluna accepted the garment. She slipped it on without removing her other one. The drab green clashed with the sleek azure beneath it. It didn’t matter how stupid she looked, Pluna reasoned, so long as she stayed warm. That was the lesson for the day.

She smiled at Dariusz and leaned against the wall. “Better. Much better. I believe I’m done. I’ll just wait here.” Pluna’s view of the shop began to blur. Her chin touched her chest. For a moment, she stood there, the picture of a dozing horse. Shaking herself awake again, she cursed under her breath.