A Tale From Traz

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A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:39 am

Phineas moved through the thick underbrush of the empty hex, trying to reach the next one. "Heh. Empty. Yeah right," Phineas said to himself. The jungle had so much vegetation that you almost had to be standing in the next hex before you could see it.

He had been walking all turn and had yet to see any feral units. And to make matters worse, he only had one move left so the chances of him finding anything were pretty slim. So it would probably be another boring day in a more or less boring kingdom.

His island side was far from unknown outside of his kingdom, but they were so far away from any other sides that it made them an impractical target of conquest. Every once in a while another side would send troops and conquer one of their coastal cities, but they would always be repelled quickly and they would be at peace again for many turns to come. And King Alec of Traz wouldn't let people off the island either. At least not him and the other casters. They were apparently too valuable to risk. And that fact sometimes made their peaceful island seem more like a prison than a paradise.

Phineas found that thought to be almost as amusing as the empty hex one. Simply because what he was doing now was probably just as dangerous as heading to the mainland aboard one of their ships. He was supposed to be looking for feral units to tame, although he wasn't having much success the last few turns. It was one of the duties he was given as a Carnymancer. And it is why he was in the middle of the wilderness with nothing but a few turduckens as company.

"Hmm. Which way to go?" He had reached the junction where three hexes met, but wasn't sure which way to turn. One was another plain jungle hex, but the other bordered a river. "I know. You guys scout ahead. That's why you're with me anyway, right?" The waist-high birds just stared at him blankly, awaiting actual orders. "Stupid fowl," he muttered.

"You, go that way. And you, go that way," he directed two of the turduckens. "Come back if you don't get into any engagements." They broke stack and did his bidding. He figured they would be back within a couple minutes without a scratch, so he was surprised when he saw one of them didn't. "Interesting. I guess we head toward the river then." He pulled out his whip and stepped across the hex boundary.

Almost instantly he could sense that he was in an engagement, but he couldn't see where his opponent was. Phineas ordered the turduckens to stand still and he walked cautiously ahead through the underbrush in the direction he had seen their missing unit going in. It wasn't long before he found a few loose feathers still lingering on the riverbank. Out of the corner of his eye, Phineas saw a ripple of movement just under the water. "So there you are," he said just above a whisper.

He readied his whip just as the enormous reptile lunged at him. Almost without thinking, Phinias jumped into the air and acrobatically maneuvered and landed belly down on the croc's head. "Be still beast!" he yelled as he tightened his whip around its mouth. The croc thrashed its head back and forth, but Phineas's grip was firm.

"Ind-" His spell was interrupted as the croc went into a death roll. He heard his ribs cracking as he took some damage from being crushed underneath the weight of the beast. As it continued to roll, Phineus let go and quickly got to his feet.

"Inductus!" he shouted with a pained whimper and a hasty crack of his whip. As the glowing tip touched the croc's scaly skin, the creature's stats came into view and he knew he was no longer in an engagement. Phineas collapsed into a sitting position atop a mossy rock. "You're quite the fighter. I bet the king will be glad to hear you are on our side now."

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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:22 am

"I guess we had better settle in guys. It looks like we are going to be staying here for the night." Phineas reluctantly got up and started looking for firewood. However, he quickly gave up. Everything he could find in the hex was too moist. Not to mention his broken ribs made every breath painful. "What I wouldn't give for a bit of Healomancy. But I would settle for a change of clothes and a soft bed."

He glanced over at the croc again, wondering if it would be soft to lay against. Then he noticed that it still had a decent amount of move left. The wheels in Phineas's head started turning as he did a few mental calculations. If he was remembering the layout of the island correctly, his plan would just barely work.

"Turduckens, head back to the capital. Stay together. Croc, you're with me." Phineas walked over and mounted himself atop the gigantic reptile. "We're following the river downstream, to the ocean." The croc obeyed his will and went where Phineas wanted it to. As long as his side didn't end turn early, which they rarely did, then he should just be able to reach the city of Adziogol.

As soon as he exited the mouth of the river, the top of the city's tower was in view. But the trip was still not over. There were still six or seven hexes of ocean to cross. Still, the sight of an actual building to sleep in made the pain from his injuries and his uncomfortably wet clothes bearable.

Just as Phineas and his mount passed into the city limits, the turn ended. He shuddered to think about what his night would have been like had he been just a little slower. Spending all night atop an ornery croc in a saltwater hex did not sound appealing. Especially with a city in sight.

But now that he was there, he could afford the time to look at the city more carefully and take it all in. He hadn't been here in a while. The city of Adziogol was a simple level one on a three-hex island just off the shore from the main island. There wasn't much to it, even as far as level ones were concerned. The entire city consisted of a garrison tower. No dungeon and not enough space for a decent courtyard. And last Phineas knew, its only inhabitants were rock lobsters, a couple scarecrows, and its regent warlord, Vladimir. The city was rarely ever used for popping infantry.

As Phineas reached the top of the rickety, waterlogged, wooden steps that led up from the water's edge, he was greeted by Vladimir. The man's grey hair and wrinkled face were a pleasant sight to see after having spent so many turns away from anyone he could have a conversation with. "How goes it?" Phineas asked. "Still people in our battlespace, I see." There had been for the last few turns, but it happened every now and then. Usually it was just a side scouting or passing by.

"Indeed. I saw you coming from up in the tower and notified the king so that he could make sure you arrived before ending turn. He wants to speak with you in the near future."

"Ah, well thank you for that. I did not want to spend another turn out in the wilderness. Some company will certainly be good for a change."

"Aye, that it will."

Phineas began the long trek up the tower staircase, accompanied by Vladimir. The veteran warlord certainly did seem to enjoy having company for a change. The two of them talked the entire way up the steps despite the pain it caused Phineas due to his injuries. However, the subject of conversation never went to what King Alec wanted to talk to Phineas about. Vladmir said he didn't want to mess up on the details and Phineas didn't press him.

Finally at the top, Phineas decided a change of clothes was a good idea since the ones he was wearing were wet, dirty, and made for travel. Besides, he had at least one spare set of clothing in each of their side's cities, so he might as well use them. It was one of the perks of having a Dollamancer on your side. Pretty soon he was waring a plain-colored t-shirt, a simple vest with 'Phineas' embroidered on the left flap in small letters, and black slacks. All delightfully dry. Not the most impressive outfit to wear when you were about to have an audience with your king, but it would do.

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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:04 am

"It's still in here, right?" Phineas asked Vladimir. They were stopped outside a door to a small room near the top of the tower.

"Aye. It hasn't moved since the last time you visited. Would you like some privacy?"

Phineas considered it briefly, then decided against it. "No, that's alright. I don't think I've done anything that the king will reprimand me for, and he will tell you to leave himself if there is some sort of secret. But I can't imagine what he could tell me that he couldn't tell you as well." Vladimir seemed happy to hear that. Probably mostly because it meant that he didn't have to go be alone again so soon.

Phineas walked into the room and sat down at the desk. Vladimir stood behind him and looked over the caster's shoulder. Next, Phineas picked up the item that was laying atop the desk and said, "Mirror, mirror, in my hand. Show me the king who rules this land." The surface of the mirror shimmered and a figure came into focus.

"Hello. You have reached the palace of Traz. How may I- Oh, it's you. I suppose you want to talk to Alec, huh?"

"Nice to see you too, Grimhilde," Phineas replied sarcastically to the raven-haired woman who was in charge of the mirror room at the palace. Each of Traz's five cities had one of these lookamancy items. It was their main form of communication. "And yes. I would like to speak with King Alec, if you wouldn't mind. Or rather, I hear he would like to speak with me."

Grimhilde grumbled and headed off to fetch the king, probably in the throne room. A few minutes later and a man with a royal-looking pinstripe suit came into view. "Hey, Phineas, heard you tamed a croc! Congrats."

"Thank you, your majesty." Phineas tried to play it cool, but inside he was swelling with pride. "But there was something you wanted to speak to me about?"

"Ah yes. I take it you've noticed our turn order has changed a couple turns ago." Phineas nodded in response to the rhetorical question. "Great. Turns out our scouts spotted a small fleet of ships headed toward our eastern shore. They'll probably reach Port Manteau this turn."

"Okaaay." Phineas conceded that this news was interesting, but he still wasn't sure how it related to him.

"We moved most of the units there out of the city this turn. The most powerful and hardest to replace. Would have moved more, but I don't want our visitors to get overly suspicious and stay away. With any luck, they will raze the city and rebuild. We'll be ready to take it back when they do."

"I see." The king's line of thinking may have seemed unconventional, but it was an old trick their side used to get new unit types. It was the reason their side's three coastal cities produced different units than their two landlocked ones. Unfortunately they had no idea what the new unit types would be, if the enemies even razed the city at all. "Your majesty, I feel I should remind you that I am in Adziogol, so..."

"Oh, right. Don't worry, I didn't forget. When we retake the city next turn or the turn following, I've ordered the warlords in charge of the siege to try and capture their most powerful warlord. You know, since we don't see much action around here our warlords level painfully slow. Don't want to let this opportunity slip through our fingers if we can help it." Phineas heard Vladimir wince behind him. The man was only a level four despite having been around longer than their current king.

"Anyway," Alec continued, "Since you showed up at one of the cities just in time, I want you to be the one to turn whoever we capture!"

Phineas almost choked on his own spit. "Wait, what? You want me to turn someone? You do know there is a huge difference between taming and turning, right? It's a completely different discipline of magic. A completely different class!"

"Settle down there, Carnymancer. I know that." The king shot him a look as if Phineas had accused him of being stupid. "That's why I have Seymour waiting with the siege group as we speak. He has a Turnamancy scroll with him, not to mention the city's mirror. I was going to have him cast the spell if you didn't show, but you have, so you can."

"But I-" Phineas still felt that the king wasn't fully grasping what he was trying to say, but arguing wouldn't get him anywhere. Besides, Phineas knew he still had a better chance of pulling off the spell than Seymour did. Phineas wasn't sure Seymour had the stomach for it, much less the skill. "Alright then. I assume you have a way to get me to Port Manteau then? Because the croc won't make it. Not fast enough, anyway."

King Alec's mood seemed to improve noticeably when he saw Phineas wasn't going to challenge him any more on the casting issue. "Yeah, I was checking our troop charts after Vladimir said you were on your way. You need to take that croc, or a rock lobster if you prefer, and head due east for ten hexes. There you will hop aboard a nearby ship that will take you up the coast. We will send a mothra to rendezvous with you there and you will meet up with Seymour somewhere in or near Port Manteau, depending on if we have recaptured it by that point, but you should be able to tell long before you reach it."

"Wow. That is quite the travel plan you concocted there. Impressive." The king seemed happy about the complement. However, Phineas was slightly less so. Tomorrow sounded like a long day that would all lead up to him doing something he didn't want to do.

"Well, I guess that's it, Phineas. Call if you need anything. Gotta go." The king's image disappeared from the mirror and Phineas set the magic item back down atop the desk.

Phineas sat and let the conversation sink in for a few minutes before finally standing up. "Can't win 'em all, I guess."

Vladimir shrugged, but nodded in agreement.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:43 am

The next morning Phineas woke up early and got ready for the day ahead. He had been having trouble sleeping anyway because of his ribs, so he figured he might as well do something useful. He was still wearing the same short sleeved t-shirt and vest from the day before, but now also had a sort of belly pouch that would hold a few extra rations for him to snack on during his trip.

Then the sun finished rising and their turn started. *pop* His daily rations appeared, his wounds were healed, and Phineas headed toward the edge of the city where Vladimir had the croc ready for travel. "Thanks," Phineas said as he mounted the beast, sipping on a straw that stuck out of the coconut in his left hand. "Don't let this place fall apart while I'm gone." He gave Vladimir a wink, then urged his mount into the water.

Phineas disliked traveling across water on swimming mounts solely because he didn't like having wet clothes. Flying mounts weren't nearly as bad. Ships were his main preference for water travel. So he was glad to get the worst part over with first.

It didn't take long for the ship to arrive at the rendezvous point, thankfully, although Phineas was a bit disappointed that it was only a longship and not a galleon. They didn't have as much extra space. However, they made good time traveling up the coast and soon he was flying toward the city atop a mothra that had been waiting for him.

When he got close enough to the city, he noticed that the banners did not match their own and it seemed a battle was still taking place. And a lone unit stood on the beach outside the city walls. It was Seymour.

The other caster was too busy examining a clump of grass to notice Phineas coming in for a landing, so he swooped down silently and the mothra's wings raised a huge cloud of loose sand as it slowed it's decent.

"Whoah!" Seymour exclaimed, standing up quickly and turning around. Then he relaxed when he saw who it was. "That wasn't nice. I almost croaked out of fright." Phineas just laughed and dismounted. Seymour laughed too after he straightened out his glasses.

"You better send that into the city," Seymour said, pointing to the big bug Phineas road in on. "Seems they could still use some help in there."

"Yeah, I guess." Phineas made a motion with his hand and the mothra flew up and over the city walls in order to join the fray. "So I hear you have a scroll for me." There was no excitement in the Carnymancer's voice.

"Yeah," he replied a bit sheepishly. "Sorry you got the duty instead of me. I was going to do it..." Something in his voice told Phineas that Seymour was more relieved than disappointed. The Florist pulled a scroll from his pocket and handed it over to Phineas.

Just as the scroll touched his hand, the banners on the outer wall changed to the familiar crest of Traz. A bar with a small orb suspended above it, usually overlaying a brick-shaped backing. "I guess that's our cue." Seymour swallowed hard, then the two of them headed for the city's land entrance.

The two of them weren't in the city for more than a minute before a knight with a missing ear and black eye approached them. She stood at attention, then spoke. "It is my duty to inform Phineas the Carnymancer that we have succeeded in capturing one of the opposing side's warlords, and that he has been brought to the dungeon. Proceed when you are ready."

"Thanks," he responded flatly. "You can go now." The knight turned on her heel and marched off to perform some other unknown duty. "Say, Seymour, they didn't happen to raze the city then rebuild it exactly the same, did they? Because this city certainly looks the same as I remember it."

"No, it's the same. Unfortunately. And now if you'll please excuse me, I get to report our 'success' to our king." He pulled an item that looked kind of like a small container made of two scallop shells, flipped it open, and stared into the tiny mirror inside. Port Manteau's mirror certainly was more compact than the one at Adziogol.

"Hopefully the next time I see you, this," Phineas held up the scroll, "nightmare will be just a bad dream." Then he turned and headed toward the city's dungeon.

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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:54 pm

Phineas walked down the dank corridor of the garrison with a ball of light in one hand. Sure, there were torches along the wall, but it was still really gloomy in the dungeon regardless. A little extra light never hurt anyone.

As he rounded the bend of the curved hallway, he came upon a door guarded by a single doll with half its face missing. It wore a loose gown that gave it a feminine appearance. And if the clothing hadn't been thoroughly roughed up in the recent battle, it would have been completely out of place. In Phineas's opinion, their Dollamancer wasn't very good at considering such things. But then again she was anything but a master class caster.

He was about to order the caster-made unit to step aside when the door to the dungeon opened. Phineas's mind immediately jumped to the thought of escape, but it wasn't their prisoner. It was one of their own warlords, but not one that Phineas knew personally. She had braided pigtails, a hairy upper lip, and a wide stance. She also had a hammer slung across her back, a horned helmet under one arm, and something he didn't recognize in her free hand.

"The prisoner is in there, right?" Phineas asked.

"Yeah," She replied. "Fastened him in extra tight." There was satisfaction in her voice and Phineas could tell she was pleased with her success.

She looked like she was about to walk away, but then turned back and held up the mystery item in her hands. "Hey, caster, you know about magic and junk right? They dropped this item when we smashed their forces. Got any idea what it is?"

Phineas just raised his eyebrow then examined the magic item. It was a pair of shoes that looked like blue frog feet. "I'm not sure. It's nothing I'm familiar with. But if this turning thing works, I'll as our new warlord. In the meantime, I would suggest not trying them on."

The warlord gave him a questioning look but didn't say anything, then turned and walked away. "Good luck!" he heard her yell after she was already out of sight.

"Thanks," Phineas mumbled quietly. Then he pushed open the door and stepped into the dungeon.

Besides a single candle, Phineas's ball of light was the only light source. It cast an eerie green glow over the entire room. He set his scroll down on the big wooden table the candle was resting on.

"You finally made it," a gruff, raspy voice said. Phineas jumped. For some reason he didn't expect the prisoner to be conscious.

But he was. The captured warlord was tied to something that looked like a metal door frame in the middle of the room. About ten ropes bound each of his arms and each of his legs to the corners of the frame. That lady warlord was right, he was in there extra tight and definitely wasn't escaping any time soon.

The man himself wore black pants, but was otherwise unclothed. He had long white hair, a long white goatee, and a long white mustache. And when the prisoner inhaled, a third source of light in the room became visible. A cigarette was hanging from the corner of his mouth.

"Well? You going to work your craft on me or not? A Turnamancer like yourself should have no problem with the likes of me. We'll be walking out of here holding hands in about five minutes, right?" Phineas did not appreciate the way this warlord was mocking him. "Oh, but wait. You aren't a Turnamancer, are you? No, no, no! Why would you have a scroll if you were? You're out of your element today, aren't you?"

"Wow. How observant," Phineas said through gritted teeth.

The warlord scoffed and snorted smoke out of his nose. "If your side had been half as observant, neither of us would be in this stink hole of a dungeon in the first place."

"Yeah, right. Because it's our fault that you attacked our city and were dumb enough to get yourself captured."

"You worthless spell stick! We didn't attack!"

"How do you expect me to believe-"

"Would you shut your ration waster and just listen?" Phineas wasn't intimidated, but he was curious as to what the man's explanation was, so he remained silent. "Yes, we sailed into your battlespace. Yes, we sailed into your city. No, we did not attack. We entered your city with the intent to parley, NOT with the intent to capture your city. However, some moron decided to leave the city without any commanders and we were attacked on sight. We had no choice but to defend ourselves as all of your troops threw themselves at our forces. You see. When none of your forces were left in the city, we captured your city by default."

Phineas leaned on his fists over the tabletop. He examined the wood grain as he contemplated what the warlord said. Truthfully, Phineas didn't know enough about war to know how much of the man's story he should trust. It sounded plausible anyway. Except... "Okay, so you captured our city. So why didn't you just talk to our warlords when they came to retake the city next turn?"

The warlord's raspy laughs were far from the reaction Phineas expected. "Because your warlords are tactless piles of pig crap, that's why. We tried to parley, but they came in, full force, swords swinging and cannons shooting. I'm surprised your king hasn't found a way to croak his own side yet if this is the way he runs things."

"If you are so much better than us, then why don't you make this easy on the both of us and turn right now? Then you can show us how it's done." Phineas still hadn't forgotten the real reason he was down here. "After all, you- Wait. How do you know we have a king?" It wasn't really beyond reason that he could have heard from someone during or after the capturing or recapturing of the city that Traz had a king and not a queen, but Phineas's gut was warning him that something wasn't right.

"Oh ho ho! So not everyone here is a springless catapult. Did they capture you too? Surely a side such as this couldn't have poped anything more intelligent than a flea. They should-"

*CRACK* The warlord's cigarette was flying across the room before Phineas even realized he had pulled out his own whip. "Do NOT insult my side as you do, or the next strike will take out your eye. I am proud to call Traz my side of origin and, if given the choice, would have no other. Now," Phineas set one hand on the Turnamancy scroll. "What do you say we get this procedure under way?"

The warlord looked like he was at a loss for words, which actually surprised and pleased Phineas. "That's what I thought." The caster blew out a short burst of air, and the candle's flame croaked.

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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:45 pm

It took nearly the rest of the turn, but Phineas finally got the warlord to turn. He was theirs now, a level 5. And a noble too. He called himself Duke Chu Fuman, but Phineas didn't really care. He just wanted to get out of that dungeon. Sure, he had managed to find the proper motivation to turn this guy, but that didn't make it a pleasant experience. He would much rather just stick to taming wild beasts.

So as he stepped out into the sunlight outside of the garrison's courtyard entry, he made an effort to put it out of his mind.

"Everything go alright?"

Phineas jumped in surprise. He turned to see Seymour down in the dirt next to the doorway, planting some sort of vegetation. "You were waiting there to get back at me, weren't you?"

"No," Seymour replied with a smirk, "but it certainly is satisfying. So, did everything go alright?" The Florist stood up and brushed the dust off his knees.

"Yeah, as good as I could have hoped for, I suppose. The duke is still down there getting his equipment back on though."

"A duke, eh?" Seymour didn't comment further and Phineas was hoping to change the subject.

After a short moment of awkward silence, Phineas finally asked, "So what are you up to? I don't suppose you were just making the city look pretty?"

"No, actually. Something a bit more important than that. After I reported our victory to the king, he instructed me to help replenish the city's forces. So I thought I would plant some guards for the garrison."

Phineas raised an eyebrow and looked at the tiny flytrap rooted at either side of the garrison entrance. "Those are supposed to be guards?"

"Oh please." Seymour motioned for Phineas to step back, then loosened up his arms. He extended his arms and held up his thumbs, squinting each of his eyes in turn as he lined up his thumbs with each plant, then commanded, "Phlebotany!" A green beam shot out of each thumb at a ninety degree angle toward each plant. They then began to swell in size and alter in shape until they were each three times Phineas's height.

"Impressive," was all Phineas could think of to say. However, Seymour seemed thoroughly pleased by the small compliment.

"Hmm. I think I'll name them Audrey."

"Audrey?" Phineas forgot that Seymour liked to name his creations. He had yet to grasp why though. What's more, Phineas didn't think that the name Audrey really fit for the plant creatures, but then again, he wasn't the Florist. "Seymour. If you are going to go through the trouble of naming the units you create, you might as well give them different names."

"But I like that name." Seymour put his hand to his chin and thought for a few seconds then said, "Fine. That one is Audrey One and this one is Audrey Two. Problem solved."

Phineas was about to protest, but just then four warlords approached including the prince of Traz and Duke Chu.

"Hippiemancer, do you still have the Lookamancy mirror?" the prince asked demandingly. "We need to contact the king. Now. Our new warlord has brought us some... interesting, information."

Seymour looked embarrassed as he fished the magic item out of his pocket.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:11 am

"I'm glad you told me this right away," Phineas heard King Alec say through the mirror. "You should have had me wait until after telling me this to end turn, not before, but not much we can do about that now. No, perhaps it is best that I have a chance to sleep on this anyway. Regardless, first thing tomorrow I want to assemble a war council to discuss this. Chip, I want you, the new warlord, the casters, and any other warlords that can reach to be here at the capital as soon as possible tomorrow. I'll have Grimhilde contact the other cities. Oh, and Chip? You're the chief warlord now."

Phineas heard the sound of the mirror closing and for a moment nobody moved from their spot. Phineas tried to see the prince's face through the small crowd, but he wasn't facing the right direction. Finally Chip let out a sigh then gave out orders. "Duke Fuman, I assume you know a thing or two about ships, go oversee the harbor. Duchess Nukem? Take care of the ground troops. And make sure our outer wall is properly manned. Wally, you make sure the mothras are ready tomorrow morning." The three warlords rushed off to do as they were ordered with only a scoff from their new warlord as a reply.

That left just Phineas, Seymour, and Prince Chip. "Uh... I think I'll go return the mirror to its rightful room..." said Seymour. He cautiously grabbed the mirror from the prince's open palm then headed into the tower. Chip stared at his open palm, still unmoving. Phineas was at a loss for words. He could only imagine what was going through the guy's head right now.

Finally Phineas broke the silence. "Congratulations on your promotion Pri-" Chip clenched his palm into a fist.

"Do not congratulate me, caster," the prince said quietly yet sternly. "I do not want the title under circumstances such as these. Imagine what my aunt is going through, suddenly finding that her title has been stripped away. Unable to ask why."

"And us unable to tell her."

"Yes." The prince shook his head clear then stood up straight, his despair apparently replaced with determination. "Maybe I spoke too soon, Stagemancer. We could go tell her..."

Phineas's jaw dropped. "You aren't serious, are you?" Chip's only response was a smile. "But she is across the sea! It might take over 50 turns just to reach land."

"Yeah, probably. It was just a thought."

Phineas sighed a breath of relief. He didn't want their chief warlord rushing into danger during his first turn in command. But at the very least he would have had to wait until after the war council anyway. King Alec would talk some sense into his son. "If that is all, Your Highness, may I be excused?" He got a hand wave in response and Phineas didn't waste any time in leaving. The Carnymancer didn't know what he was going to do, but he didn't want to stay there. The Prince made him a bit uneasy.

But the new bonus he received from being in the same hex as the chief warlord was nice, albeit a small bonus. After all, even after the battle to retake this city, Chip was only level two.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:15 am

The next morning Phineas woke up early to prepare for the day ahead. He changed into an outfit that wouldn't flap around in the wind as he flew to the capital. The Carnymancer now wore a low-cut sleeveless shirt, shorts that reached the middle of his thighs, and boots that reached the middle of his calves. All were fairly skin-tight.

By the time he made it to the courtyard where the mothras were waiting, almost everyone else was there. There were eight mothras and six people. However, by the time their turn started everyone was mounted up and ready to go. They didn't waste a single moment taking off and heading toward the capital. After all, they were ordered to get there as soon as possible. They even had to eat as they traveled, or else let their stomachs protest until they arrived at their destination.

It was mid-turn when Traz's impressive brick walls came into view. Each row of brick was a different color than the ones below it, causing the light to reflect off of them with magnificent brilliance. The city's beauty was only put off by it's atmosphere once you were inside. It made you feel like you wanted to get out. The bars on the windows (for defensive purposes) probably didn't help.

Their stack landed atop the center tower of the castle one by one, dismounted, and allowed their mothras to go eat their cloth scraps. Then the eight of them made their way down to the throne room where they were to meet the king. When they arrived they found King Alec conversing with a few warlords in his court. Hopefully more would be arriving shortly, but who knew?

"This isn't it, is it?" Prince Chip asked as if he had read Phineas's mind.

"No, no," the king responded. "We are still expecting a warlord from Port Erhouse and another three from Wysiwyg. And maybe Lord Byron if he is close enough. I have sent out lovebirds to search for him and deliver his orders. Oh, and Polly, I suppose. She is still out in her workshop. Would you go fetch her, Phineas?"

"Of course, your majesty." Phineas turned and headed toward the stairwell. It only took a few minutes to walk to ground level, another few minutes to cross the courtyard, and a few more minutes to reach Polly's workshop. Polly, the Dollamancer.

Phineas knocked once, then opened the door without waiting for a reply. The room he stepped into was a rather gloomy looking two story building. There were no inner walls and no second floor. Just a couple of support beams and rafters. The only light came from windows near the roof.

The building was quite spacious, but unfortunately it was filled with all sorts of odds and ends. There was barely enough room to walk. On the table were half-finished wooden dolls, along the wall nearest Phineas there were clumps of straw that resembled scarecrows, and propped up in the corner was what appeared to be a nearly completed cloth golem. Polly was odd like that. For some reason she hand constructed most of the units she made. Very odd.

"You in here Polly? You are wanted in the castle."

"Just a second," he heard a timid voice respond from somewhere in the room. "I just need to attach one more button." A couple seconds later and a petite woman popped up from behind a bed sheet that was draped over a chair. She wore a folded bandana to hold back her hair and a pocket-filled apron. Not to mention a short sleeved t-shirt and pants underneath. "Ah, Phineas. Long time, no see."

"Yeah. Lets go," he responded impatiently. He didn't want to keep the king waiting.

Polly blushed, and set down her tools, but still didn't seem to be moving too quickly. But Polly never seemed to move at the same pace as everyone else. Oh sure, she was very good at following orders and doing what she was asked, but she never seemed to do it in quite the way one would expect.

When they were finally out of her workshop and headed toward the castle, Phineas couldn't think of anything to say to the shy Dollamancer. Finally he settled on, "So, have you been getting much sleep lately?"

"Enough, I suppose," was all she said. But the fresh redness of her cheeks told Phineas that it was only a half-truth. Polly was somewhat of an insomniac and spent most of her nights working on projects in her shop, magic free. Phineas didn't know how she could do it, but he didn't press the topic any further. Instead he opted to continue walking in silence.

When the two of them reached the entrance to the throne room, a guard informed them that the group had moved to the war room and the two casters were to report there immediately. After walking down a few hallways, they entered quietly into the room. Inside was a small crowd of warlords, and even the hermit Chief, the leader of their natural allies. Nobody but the king seemed to notice they had arrived, and the only acknowledgment he really gave was that he called the meeting to order.

Phineas and Polly went and stood next to Seymour as all of the warlords took a seat around the war room table. There were small snack platters situated on it, but nobody seemed to be very hungry at the moment. They were all preoccupied by what the king had called them here for. Phineas could only recall the King forming a war council once before, and that was when an overwhelming fleet threatened to invade and absorb their kingdom.

"Listen up everyone," King Alec instructed. "I assume you have all been briefed about the situation. At least to some degree. My son, Chip, has been promoted to chief warlord due to information brought to our attention by our newest warlord, Duke Chu Fuman." At that point the king gestured toward Chu, who in turn bowed slightly out of respect, but still had a slight snarl on his face. For some reason Phineas was really irked by this, but he tried not to let it show.

The king continued. "Your former chief warlord, my sister, Princess Eliza, has met some unfortunate circumstances. She has not croaked or been turned," there were several audible sighs of relief, "but according to Chu, she is in no condition to make decisions that affect our entire side. Chu, why don't you tell them what you told me yesterday?"

"My pleasure," the warlord said with borderline sarcasm, then stood up and cleared his throat. "As I'm sure you all know, your Princess has been across the sea for many turns now. She has fought for and against many sides with the army she traveled from your kingdom with. One of those sides she has allied with and aided was the side I was a part of until last turn. Panchovilla." Chu glared at Phineas, then continued.

"My former ruler, Queen Chevron, apparently became quite fond of your- Our princess. So much so that she sent my fleet to deliver you this message when she found out that Princess Eliza was allied with a horrendous ruler that used to give our side a lot of trouble. I never learned who, but apparently he has a history of putting enemy warlords under loyalty spells. And since she was your chief warlord, she was able to ally your entire side with this guy."

"But how do we know she is under a loyalty spell just because she allied with him?" a warlord Phineas didn't recognize asked.

"I was getting to that," Chu replied harshly. "When one of Queen Chevron's columns reached that side's cities and found Traz units defending it, they knew something was wrong. One of my former fellow warlords, who apparently knew her well, went to parley but didn't make it back. This convinced Queen Chevron that Princess Eliza had indeed been subjected to a loyalty spell. And as I already stated, she sent my fleet to... inform you." Phineas could tell that the Duke was still upset about having been attacked on arrival.

"So there you have it," King Alec announced. "This is the reason I have assembled this council. Obviously I could not allow my sister to continue to be in charge of our military matters when she might be in such a condition. And likewise I do not want to personally end our alliance with this side she has allied us with due to the fact that we have no way of knowing how many would be enemy troops would be in the same hex as her at that time. So you can see my predicament. The best options I could come up with include allowing this atrocity to continue indefinitely, ending alliance anyway and hoping for the best, or, titans forbid, disbandment." All of the warlords seemed to be shifting uneasily in their chairs. Phineas even caught himself flinching at the thought.

But then another voice spoke up. It was Chip. He raised one hand in the air, "Perhaps I could make a suggestion..."
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:21 am

Much to Phineas's dismay, many of the king's warlords actually seemed to like Chip's plan to go directly to Princess Eliza on the mainland. The king less so, but even he didn't outright say so. Although Phineas had a feeling the warlords were just anxious to see a bit of action for once and have a chance to travel away from their island kingdom. The Carnymancer just stood next to the other casters and crossed his arms, listening to the warlords ramble on about who should go and which units to bring along.

Phineas noticed that King Alec was also mostly just listening, letting his men converse amongst themselves. Phineas could tell that he was trying to find holes in their plans. To find reasons to keep them behind. Either that, or he was trying to find an excuse to go along with. But Phineas doubted that, since that was how their former king croaked, so many turns ago. Phineas was only level one back then.

It was probably more than half an hour before King Alec finally raised a palm to silence everyone and spoke up. But when he did, all eyes were on him intently. They knew he had made a decision.

"My men. Commanders of my armies. I understand your desire to go to war. To sail across the sea and do what you were popped to do. I was a warlord once, same as you. However, understand that I am a warlord no longer. I am your king. And as your king, it is my duty to make sure that our side does not become a danger to itself. That we consider our options carefully and make the correct decision. So I ask you, is it the correct decision to go into the lands of an allied enemy, to break the evil bonds their ruler has over my sister and bring her back?"

There was a long silence. The warlords looked from one to another, all apparently at a loss for words. Finally Chip, their new chief warlord spoke up. "We must, Father. If not for the kingdom, then for Aunt Eliza. She does not deserve the fate that has befallen her. Trapped in the prison of her own mind. Serving a ruler unknowingly against her will. Appalling."

"I see," the king responded. With what Phineas could have sworn was a bit of regret in his voice, the king continued. "Well then, if we are going to do this, we will have to do it right. We will need to go in with enough forces to take a city." Some of the warlords gave questioning looks. "Even though we are allied with this scum bag's side, we have to assume that as soon as we try to retrieve the princess and the units under her command, our alliance may be compromised. But first we will need to find out where exactly she is. Which is why, as much as I hate to do it, we will need to hire a Thinkamancer from the Magic Kingdom next turn."

"Ah, I see," said Chip. "Then we can ask Princess El-"

"No," King Alec interrupted. "She can not know we are coming. Who knows what that loyalty spell will make her do if she finds out. No, we will be contacting Chu's former queen. According to his information, she knows which city Eliza is in and will probably be more than happy to help." Out of the corner of his eye, Phineas saw that Duke Chu didn't seem too happy about that fact, but remained silent.

"Furthermore, I am not going to keep a Thinkamancer under employment for the duration of this campaign. It's going to cost enough shmuckers as it is. But we will need a way to keep in contact. This is the biggest complication I have thought of. One I have not yet thought of a solution for."

"Couldn't we just bring one of the mirrors?" Prince Chip asked.

King Alec rubbed his temples. "No, Chip. I need those here to keep in contact with our cities. And we haven't had a Lookamancer to make new ones for a long time now. They are irreplaceable."

"Um, Your Majesty?" It took Phineas a few moments to realize that it was Seymour standing next to him who was talking.

King Alec turned halfway around so he could see the hippiemancer. "Yes Seymour? You have something to add?"

"Well, uh, it's just that I might be able to set up a temporary form of communication. You know. So you can still share information with one of our other cities instantaneously. Well, almost instantaneously."

"Go on," the king said patiently.

"I could set up a Grapevine that will allow you to communicate verbally with someone at the other end through a series of relay points."

"Relay points?"

"Yes," Seymour continued. "The maximum length I can make a single Grapevine is limited by how much move I have. My base move. Which means I could have a Grapevine system set up and connected to one of our other cities in about five or six turns. You would just have to have someone stationed at each of the relay points to transmit the messages."

"Hm." The king was busy thinking it through. "Only verbal messages though?" Seymour nodded and the king continued to think it over. Finally, after several minutes, the king finally said, "I guess it can't be helped. It appears we have five days to get ready." The warlords collectively let out a sigh of relief. It seemed they would get their war after all.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:53 am

The kingdom of Traz didn't waste any time preparing. The warlords were using the mirror room to contact the other cities and have them send word out to any field units that could reach Port Mandeau in the next five turns to start heading there immediately. It would be their rally point since it was their only city on the east side of their island kingdom. The direction the gathered units would be headed in.

But Phineas, being a caster, was involved very little in the details. Sure, he had his opinion on things, but he didn't offer them most of the time. It wasn't really his place to help make decisions about wars.

Today, the turn after the war council had met, it was his duty to go to the Magic Kingdom to hire a Thinkamancer. He and Polly were waiting in the portal room for more specific instructions to arrive from the king. It wasn't long before one of King Alec's personal knights hand delivered a note from the king. One to Phineas and one to Polly.

Phineas's note read:
King Alec of Traz wrote:To Phineas the Carnymancer,

I hereby give you permission to take some shmuckers with you to the magic kingdom in order to hire a Thinkamancer. Preferably, hire a cheap one. As long as they can contact Queen Chevron of Ponchovilla for us, they should be good enough. And I'll be the first to admit that I do not know all the details a caster in the Magic Kingdom uses to decide on how much to charge, but I assume it will cost us more if we bring them here to Traz. For that reason, I included a list of questions on the back of this note that I want you to ask Queen Chevron when you contact her via thinkagram from within the Magic Kingdom. This way we can save a few shmuckers and I can stay focused on other matters at the same time. A win win situation. Anyway, let me know what she says after you get back. Good luck.

Phineas crumpled the paper in his fist after he finished the last sentence. His king's lack of magical understanding was taking its toll on Phineas for the second time in only three turns. But at least today wouldn't be nearly as unpleasant as the last time.

Phineas looked over at Polly. She was staring at her own note with a pale face with a look of shock plastered on it. "What does your note say?" Phineas asked flatly.

Polly looked up from the parchment slowly before replying. "It says that I'm supposed to buy some scrolls that might come in handy during the trip..."

It took Phineas a moment to comprehend why that seemed so horrible to Polly. But when he did comprehend, it made perfect sense. It was because Polly had no idea what sorts of spells might come in handy and the note was so vague. Polly was not the type of person who liked to have major decisions left on her shoulders. Especially when she had no basis for knowing what the right decision was. Not to mention that the fact she was getting scrolls for the journey meant at least one of Traz's casters would be going along too. Although Polly was probably the least likely candidate.

"Well. Just go with your gut instinct and I'm sure you'll end up with some good spells in the end." Phineas hoped that helped to comfort her, but even he didn't believe his own words. "Shall we go?" Polly didn't reply, but she moved with him toward the shimmering blue portal and they stepped through.

After his eyes adjusted to the bright sunlight of Portal Park, Phineas headed toward the area where the Eyemancers usually congregated. He hadn't gone more than ten steps before he realized he was being followed. "Polly, you can't tag along with me. You have your orders and I have mine."

"But..."

"I know yours are extremely vague, but complete them as best you can. I gotta go." He took a step away and noticed Polly's eyes immediately becoming watery, but no tears fell. He continued on his way, leaving the Dollamancer standing there, staring at his back as it got further and further away. She would manage. She would have to.

When Phineas finally reached a group of eyemancers who were chatting amongst themselves, he didn't waste time searching for a bargain. He went straight to making an offer. "Who want's to make a quick 1,000 shmuckers? I need a thinkagram. No travel necessary. Step right up." Of the nine casters within earshot, all looked up with interest, then five stopped paying attention when they heard him say thinkagram. Obviously they were not Thinkamancers. But he still had the attention of four of them.

"A thinkagram, eh?" a black-haired lady asked. "I'll do it for 2,000."

"No can do," Phineas responded, even though he could. "My king wants to be... cost-effective, today. Any other takers?"

The group of Thinkamancers looked amongst themselves until finally the guy with brown hair wearing a brown suit spoke up. "I'll do it. Just don't get used to the price or you may end up with no business here before too long."

Phineas nodded and the two of them walked over to a slightly more secluded location.

"Now, who would you like to contact?" the Thinkamancer asked.

"Queen Chevron of Ponchovilla."

"One moment." He put a hand to Phineas's forehead and another to his own.

After a couple seconds a blue image of someone who was unmistakably a queen appeared. "Who is this? And why have you contacted me?" the queen asked with a bit of harshness in her voice.

"Queen Chevron. I am a caster from the royal side of Traz. I believe you know our princess, Eliza."

When he mentioned the princess's name, Chevron facial features immediately shifted into a smile, and then a frown. "So I take it the message I sent was received after all. I assumed as much when I found out that we captured one of your cities, however briefly. I'm not sure how that happened, but I apologize for any... mistakes, my warlords may have made in their judgments."

Phineas decided not to comment on Duke Chu or what had happened at Port Manteau that day. "Yes, we received your message and quickly gave the role of chief warlord to someone else, for obvious reasons. I have been assigned by my ruler, King Alec of Traz, to try and contact you and get a few questions answered." Phineas pulled the note from his pocket that had the questions written on it.

"Of course. I'm sure you have plenty."

Phineas proceeded to ask the queen about where Princess Eliza was last seen, who the ruler was who had Eliza under their spell, any battlespaces they may need to travel through and which routs to take, and any suggestions the queen might have for configuring Traz's army. Queen Chevron was extremely helpful and even agreed to help them if it was necessary once they crossed the sea.

All in all, Phineas was pleased with the information he managed to gather and would later report to King Alec.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:04 am

The next couple days went by quickly. Many of the kings commanders, and even King Alec himself, were in Port Manteau during the day of departure. Phineas had been waiting impatiently to find out which caster would be going with on the journey, but as of yet there had been no word.

"Where is Seymour?" King Alec asked. "Just this morning I heard through the Grapevine that he should reach the city by mid-turn. But he has yet to show." Phineas and Polly, along with a few knights, were standing with the King on a balcony overlooking the city from the garrison. People had been rushing in and out and sending messages via lovebird ever since they had arrived earlier that day. It seemed everyone wanted advice from the king before the fleet left, but Phineas just wanted to know if he would be going with or not. Presumably that was why they were waiting for Seymour. So the king could make his announcement to all the casters at once.

Just then a lovebird landed on the balcony railing and announced, "Squawk, the caster has arrived, squawk." Then it flew away, probably back to whoever gave it its one line of dialogue to deliver. The weak flying units were useful for delivering short and simple orders or messages, but they had serious limitations.

It wasn't long before Seymour came walking into the room. He looked a bit bedraggled, but that was to be expected of someone who had just come out of the jungle. "The Grapevine is completed, Your Majesty. You should now be able to contact this city from the capital whenever you wish. And vice versa, of course."

"Thanks Seymour. Good work." The king didn't even look back as he gave Seymour his compliment. He was too busy studying the assembly of Traz forces down in the harbor. He stood silently leaning on the balcony railing for a long while before speaking again. Everyone in the room could tell he was thinking carefully and remained silent, but Phineas doubted that anyone in the room knew what he was thinking about.

Finally, Alec spoke. "Casters. Look out at our troops. Tell me what all the troops that we are sending have in common."

Phineas was caught off guard and by the looks of it Seymour and Polly were too. But they all obeyed his order and tried to figure out the answer to his riddle. After an awkward amount of time trying to figure out what kind of answer the king was looking for, Seymour finally spoke up. "They can all move across ocean hexes?"

"That's it!" their king said, slapping Seymour on the back in congratulations. "They are all water capable or fliers. Now tell me this. What is the major disadvantage the column we are sending out?"

Phineas wasn't sure. It seemed they would be able to handle any thing they could possibly meet. Then it dawned on him. If they couldn't meet it, they couldn't handle it. "A lot of the column can't enter non-water hexes. Or have large move penalties in non-water hexes."

"Exactly. And it just so happens that the city Princess Eliza was last seen in is inaccessible by water." Phineas could see what King Alec was saying, but was still trying to figure out why he was telling the three of them. It seemed like something he would need to tell his warlords.

The king continued. "Even if we mount up as many infantry as we can and send all fliers we can spare, when we reach land across the sea, our forces that can move across the land will leave our column much weaker than the one that leaves this harbor today. Sure, it will still be a formidable force, but probably not strong enough to take a city if need be. And I have a feeling that we may actually have to do just that. So, do you see why I am sending all three of you on this mission led by my son?"

Phineas's jaw dropped just like it had when Prince Chip had first mentioned this plan to him six days ago. King Alec was sending all three of his casters on such a dangerous mission so far away from their island kingdom!? He didn't know what to say. How were you supposed to react to something so... so... controversial?

"I think I might know why," Polly replied timidly. Phineas had almost forgotten King Alec had asked a question. "Do you want us to build up our forces as we go?"

A wide grin spread across the king's face. "You got it!" He clasped a hand on the petite woman's shoulder and shook it approvingly. The Dollamancer just blushed.

"But..." Phineas started to object.

"I know what you're thinking, Carnymancer, but believe me when I say I have put a lot of thought into this. It may take a while for us to repop a lot of the units we are sending away from the cities, but it should be manageable. We hardly ever see any non-allied units anyway. And don't worry about going into battle. The way it sounded from your description of Queen Chevron, she would be more than happy to house the three of you while Chip goes and retrieves his aunt. So you see, while you may be away from the kingdom for a while, you won't be in any major danger." King Alec clasped his hands together and exhaled deeply. It was as if he thought his explanation was more than satisfactory.

Phineas, however, still had his doubts about the wisdom of the king's plan. But it wasn't his place to question matters of war.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:21 am

Half an hour later Phineas still hadn't gotten used to the thought that he would actually be leaving his kingdom's battlespace. That was one thing Phineas hadn't done since he was popped. And one of his greatest desires. However, now that it was actually happening, he didn't know what to make of it. Especially since he wasn't sure if it was a good decision on his king's part.

So instead of dwelling on his mixed feelings, Phineas was familiarizing himself with the units he would be traveling with. That way if he had to break away from the main column to go tame some feral units, he would know his options of units that could accompany him.

As he walked along one of the city's piers, the one thing he could not miss noticing were the galleons. They had three of them. Two were docked and the third was out in the harbor. Phineas had already been informed that he and the other casters would be sharing quarters on Prince Chip's ship. Phineas wasn't exactly thrilled that he had to share his space, but he couldn't really complain either. Polly, Seymour, and himself would end up having more space than most on the ships. And he was just glad that he wouldn't have to spend a night riding a mothra or one of their water mounts.

As that thought crossed his mind, Phineas looked up to see at least twenty of the large-winged insects flying overhead. They completely dwarfed the flocks of lovebirds flying amongst them.

Then he noticed a familiar face riding a croc in the water, leading a large group of infantry that were riding rock lobsters. Phineas waved to Vladimir, but the old warlord was too busy to take notice. Apparently a group of tidal boar cavalry was trying to cut in front of them.

It seemed there was hardly an open inch of water in the harbor. Everywhere that there wasn't galleon, longboat, tidal boar, or rock lobster, there was a sea monkey, lopgap, or a unit that Phineas had at one point tamed. And their natural allies, the hermits, hadn't even entered the water yet! At least it wouldn't be nearly as crowded once the got out of the city. Their column would be able to spread out over multiple hexes.

Somewhere in the near distance Phineas heard a trumpet signal that they would be setting out to sea in a short amount of time. The Carnymancer turned back down the pier toward the prince's ship. He didn't want to be late for departure.

Along the way he saw Duke Chu standing on the edge of the pier, looking out over the water. Phineas wouldn't have thought anything of it except for the fact that the warlord was wearing the magic item the caster had been asked about back before Chu was on their side. He had completely forgotten about the blue frog feet shoes until right that moment. "What are those used for?" Phineas couldn't help but to stop and ask.

The duke looked up at Phineas's face as if he wasn't sure the question had been asked to him. "What, these flippers? I thought you were supposed to be one of the brighter bolts in this side's thundercloud. They let a unit wearing them become water capable. You know, cross water hexes and the like..."

Phineas didn't like the duke's patronizing, so he left it at that. Besides, there was a ship that needed to be boarded.

He reached the gangplank just in time to have to wait for a long line of infantrymen carrying miscellaneous junk. At least he thought it was miscellaneous junk. But then he realized it was half-finished dolls and scarecrows, along with other Dollamancy tools and equipment. And his observation was confirmed when at the end of the line of troops he saw Polly and Seymour carrying their own loads of materials.

"You really think we have room for all that stuff?" Phineas asked Polly. As expected, she blushed.

"Oh come now Phineas," Seymour said in her defense. "If you were a Dollamancer, you would probably bring twice as many... items. After you, Lady Estherpoquette." Polly walked up the gangplank, followed by Seymour, then Phineas.

"Is that everyone?" Phineas looked around to see who had shouted the question. His eyes eventually fell upon Prince Chip who was looking directly at Phineas. The Carnymancer looked behind himself and saw that the pier was pretty much emptied of people.

"I think so!" he yelled back. Phineas then started to make his way toward the prince as the prince made a motion to a group of units that Phineas could not see clearly. Or at least he couldn't see them clearly until the four units took to the air and flew over to pull up the gangplank. Phineas felt a sudden wave of disheartenment when he saw them. "We're bringing the imps?" Phineas asked Chip when he finally got through the crowd.

"Unfortunately, yes. And the daredevil. Father insisted. Although I'll never guess why. He finds them just as annoying as I do. Maybe even more so. You know as well as I that he hasn't even popped any during his entire reign."

It was true. King Alec hadn't popped any imps or daredevils since taking the throne. The three imps and one daredevil (which was a knight-class imp) they had were popped under the order of Prince Chip's grandfather. And they were with him at his final battle. Phineas suspected that that was one of the main reason King Alec disliked them, although their personalities were pretty big factors as well. But nonetheless, you couldn't deny their usefulness.

"I think that's it then," Prince Chip said aloud. "Send out the sea monkeys to scout ahead, then pull up anchor and lets set sail. Aunt Eliza, Traz is coming to set you free!" A wave of cheers rung up from all of the units gathered in the harbor. And then they were on their way.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:15 am

Phineas cracked one eye open and saw Captain Overt staring him in the face. "Would you like something, Captain?" he asked as he closed his eye again. Phineas didn't like having his naps interrupted, despite the fact that he hadn't actually been asleep.

"Yes Sir," Overt responded. "Prince Chip sent me down to inform you that the sea monkeys have spotted some potential units for you to tame."

"I see. Do you know what type?"

"I... No, but I think they are some type of water unit."

Phineas opened both eyes this time and sat up lazily in his hammock. "Well, hopefully they can move on land. Otherwise I'm not sure we could use them. Tell the prince I'll be right up." The captain went to deliver the message as Phineas began putting on his boots.

After getting his laces tied, Phineas poked the back of the guy laying in the hammock above him. "Hey Seymour. You want to go for a short trip? Get off this ship for a while?"

There was no response at first, but eventually the Florist responded with an, "I suppose," then climbed down from his own hammock and started to get ready as well.

"How about you, Polly? Want to get some fresh air?"

Polly looked up briefly from her work bench on the other side of the small, low-ceilinged room. "No thanks. I think I've just made a minor breakthrough with my latest scarecrow design. I've figured out a new way to stitch the sleeve to the rest of the shirt that might make it slightly more resistant to tearing. But I'll have to test it out a few times first..."

Phineas wasn't even going to try and comprehend why she would care about how easily a sleeve ripped since it would just repair itself at the start of their turn anyway. Instead he left Polly to her work. She had been at her bench for most of the past eight days and Phineas had given up on trying too hard to get her to do something else. Like get some sleep for once.

Before long Phineas and Seymour were emerging into the bright sunlight of the ship's top deck. But the sunlight soon faded as they stepped into the main cabin where Prince Chip had stationed himself. The prince looked up from the nautical maps and charts that he had spread out on a table as the two casters entered the room. "So I heard you found some feral units out there?"

Chip seemed a bit put off by the sudden question without even a hello beforehand, but he didn't comment on it. "Yes, Carnymancer, we did." He wiggled his finger in a 'come closer' gesture. "Look at this map. We are here, and the sea monkeys scouted out a small pack of sea dogs over here. Go make them ours. That is, if you can handle it."

Phineas raised an eyebrow. "Of course I can handle it. We'll be back before you know it."

"We?"

"I was going to go with," Seymour responded. "Well, if you say it's okay, I guess."

Prince Chip looked at them as if he were about to deny permission, but eventually said, "Yeah, okay. Just make sure neither of you croak out there. I don't want to have to report back to father that I lost a couple casters to a few sea dogs." The prince tapped the case of the compact magic mirror that was resting on the table right next to him. "When you are finished, rendezvous with us again here." He pointed to another hex on the map.

"Alright, will do. And don't worry, we'll be fine," Phineas assured him before heading back out into the sunlight again, Seymour in tow.

"So what were you thinking of taking?" Seymour asked. He was referring to what type of mounts they should commandeer.

"Lets go take a look at our options." The two casters made their way to the bow of the ship and looked out over the water. Phineas already knew he wasn't going to ride on one of the mothras flying above them since it would be a bit tricky flying close to the water's surface. He would have preferred to ride a tidal boar, but none of the saltwater swine were in their hex at the moment. All they had that were mountable water units were lopgaps and rock lobsters. "Lets take a couple lopgaps. They have more move."

"Yeah, but they're slimier..."

Phineas rolled his eyes. "You won't even notice once you're in the water. Lets go."

The two of them climbed down a rope ladder that they slung over the side of the ship and called over a couple of men who were riding the lopgaps. After a bit of tricky mounting, dismounting, and ladder climbing, the two casters managed to switch spots with the men.

"You ready?" Phineas asked Seymour, who looked a bit uneasy atop his slimy slug.

"I guess so. Although I think I'm already starting to regret coming along with you."

"Meh. You'll get over it." Phineas grabbed the lopgap's feelers and urged it forward.

They made good time as they crossed several empty hexes of open ocean. The journey was relatively short, but rather boring. What was worse, it was difficult to carry on a good conversation as they bobbed up and down between the waves. But before too long they could see the sea-faring canines on the other side of a hex border. Four of them stood above the waves almost as if it were solid ground.

"This ought to be interesting." Phineas commented.

"Are you going to have enough juice for four of them?"

"More than enough. Lets just hope these lopgaps can keep them from croaking us before I tame them. I know they are better against flying units than other water units, but they can handle four sea dogs, right?"

Seymour shot Phineas a worried look and suddenly Phineas wished he had brought some more help. He took a deep breath, readied his whip, then plunged across the hex boundary.

Immediately all the sea dogs turned their heads toward the mounted casters and the engagement began.

"Pavlov!" Phineas shouted as the first of the dogs reached him. With one crack of his whip, the sea dog was tamed. Now it was three on three, but they were still far from out of danger.

Phineas's lopgap reared up and spit a stream of gooey ooze at an attacking sea dog. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the two remaining sea dogs harassing Seymour. One had clamped onto the Florist's arm and was pulling him to the side, the other had already torn a gash in the side of Seymour's mount.

"Pavlov! Pavlov!" Seymour was no longer being harassed, but the damage was already done. But Phineas couldn't worry about that right now. There was still one more wild sea dog in the hex. The Carnymancer turned back toward the ooze-covered sea dog just in time to see the first dog he had tamed clamping down on its neck, croaking it.

"For the love of the Titans..." Phineas muttered. That shouldn't have happened. He should have been paying more attention and prevented the other sea dog from attacking it. But it happened. And now they were one sea dog short, and Seymour and his mount were injured. This did not go as smoothly as Phineas had hoped.

"You going to be alright?" he asked Seymour as he pulled his mount up next to the other caster.

"I'll manage." It was obvious that Seymour was trying hard not to let the pain show through in his voice. "Too bad about that one though." He pointed toward the croaked sea dog that was now slowly sinking below the ocean's surface. They sat in silence as they watched it drift down into a forest of green foliage below.

After a few minutes had passed since the body disappeared from view, Phineas finally spoke up. "I suppose we should head to the rendezvous point now. Prince Chip will probably get cranky if we're late..."

The two turned to leave when suddenly Seymour stopped. "Wait a minute."

"What?" Phineas asked, thoroughly confused.

Seymour sat quietly for a moment and Phineas could tell he was thinking. Finally he spoke up again. "That is kelp down there, right?" Phineas shrugged. All seaweed was just seaweed to him. "Yeah, it's kelp."

"Okay? What about it?"

A thin smile crossed the Florist's face. "Watch this." Seymour raised up his thumbs the same way Phineas had seen him do it when creating the guard plants back in Port Manteau. He leaned forward and plunged them into the water on either side of the lopgap he was riding. There was pain on his face due to moving his hurt arm, but Seymour managed to hold steady. Phineas heard Seymour say, "Nuggle," just before green beams shot from his thumbs toward the seaweed below. Or kelp, as Phineas now knew it was called.

The foliage twisted and turned below the surface, weaving itself together in order to shape itself into a more solid form. After a short while the writhing masses of plant matter stopped and solidified into a definite equine shape, although it still looked like a mass of kelp as well. The two newly created units moved their hoofed legs and propelled themselves to the surface.

"I didn't know you could make those," Phineas said, impressed. "What do you call them?"

"I don't know. I'll have to think up some names for them." Seymour put his hand to his chin and started thinking before he realized what Phineas was actually asking. "Oh, you mean what type of units are they? They're called kelpies. And you've never seen me make them before because I haven't made any before. We don't have enough kelp in Traz. At least not that I've seen."

"Hmm," was all Phineas could think of to give as a response. He watched as Seymour changed mounts and climbed onto the back of one of the kelpies.

"Think the prince will approve?" Seymour asked sincerely?

"Most definitely." The two casters, two kelpies, two lopgaps, and three sea dogs all headed back to meet up with their chief warlord and show him the newest additions to the column.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:10 am

Chip did approve. In fact, after Phineas and Seymour returned, Seymour was escorted to Chip's cabin where they delivered the news to King Alec via the mirror. As a reward, the Florist now got to travel to any hexes that the scouts found kelp in so that he could create more of his kelpies.

Phineas didn't envy him. Especially since most of the trips ended up being false alarms. Apparently sea monkeys had a hard time distinguishing kelp from any other green plant material floating out at sea.

Despite the setbacks, twenty turns later they had nearly two full stacks of kelpies amongst their ranks. Phineas was almost jealous of Seymour's newfound importance. Almost.

But the Carnymancer had enough sense to know that his skills would be of more use later on when they reached land again, just like Polly's. The two of them had hung out in their quarters all turn that day. Phineas waiting for potential orders to go tame some units (which never came) and Polly working on her personal projects yet again.

Just before sunset Phineas managed to finally convince the Dollamancer to take a break from her work and go outside for some fresh air.

"But it's so crowded up there," Polly complained. "It makes my head get all muddled up when there is too much going on at once."

"It isn't that bad," Phineas responded. "How about this. If your head starts to get... muddled, then try to focus on just one thing at a time. Besides, it's almost the end of the turn order so everything is stating to wind down anyway. And you have to admit the view is worth it."

"Yeah..." The red and orange horizon seemed to stretch forever with its beautiful glow. The two of them started heading toward the back of the ship to get a better observation point, but Polly stopped suddenly and stared straight forward. Phineas followed her gaze and saw that she had noticed Seymour standing against the railing, but wasn't sure why it had caused her to pause. "Think we should interrupt him?" Polly asked.

The Stagemancer's nose wrinkled in confusion. Interrupt him? Phineas glanced over to where Seymour was standing again. All he seemed to be doing was munching on some of his rations from a box and occasionally tossing some of his food to a stack of Kelpies below. The only thing out of the ordinary that Phineas could see was the bandana on the Hippiemancer's head. He wasn't sure if it made Seymour look more like a pirate or like he just got done pulling weeds from a garden.

But then Phineas got a feeling he was starting to catch on to the source of Polly's sudden nervousness. "If you aren't sure, then lets ask if it's okay to join him." Phineas let out a quick whistle and called down a lovebird that was roosting atop one of the sails. It promptly swooped down and landed on his finger. "Go ask Seymour if it is alright if Polly joins him to watch the sunset." The colorful little bird flew off to fulfill it's order.

"Me!?" Polly exclaimed when she caught on to the wording of Phineas's message. But it was too late. Seymour had already received the message and waved her over. Then he handed one of his snacks to the bird and sent it back with another message.

"Polly want a cracker?" the lovebird asked. Polly took it and, after a bit of nudging from Phineas, headed over to stand by Seymour. Phineas had never seen Polly's face so red.

And Phineas's grin had never been so wide.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:10 am

The ship bobbed and lurched beneath Phineas's feet. It had been like that for over a turn now and all the undulating was getting rather annoying. But the storming hexes they were sailing through were unavoidable.

But apparently Prince Chip wasn't satisfied with just getting out of the stormy waters as quickly as possible. No, when the sea monkeys scouted out a hex with a feral kwaken in it, he sailed eight hexes out of the way to go confront it.

Phineas would not be taming this one. Not only would it be much too risky for Phineas to approach, but it would be useless to them once the column reached dry land.

Instead they were going after it solely for the experience. Prince Chip was still only a level two, so any battles would help. And with an entire army to back him up, it should be a piece of cake to croak a single kwaken.

Still, Phineas was nervous about the whole ordeal.

Right now Phineas was standing on the main deck with a familiar group of warlords and casters. So far the plan was for Prince Chip to lead a stack of Mothra cavalry, lovebirds, and imps/daredevil from the air (supposedly the safest direction of attack). Duchess Nukem would command a longboat and try to flank the kwaken. Duke Chu, wearing his flippers, would lead a stack of hermits and other miscellaneous water-capable units and attack from below (supposedly the most dangerous direction of attack). And Wally would temporarily take command of the galleon.

As for the casters, they were ordered to stay below decks for the duration of the battle. Polly was also supposed to mend the hull if necessary. Phineas and Seymour had no special orders.

So as the warlords left to go get ready to cross the hex border, the casters headed down toward their quarters. Except Phineas turned a different direction when he reached to bottom of the stairs.

"Where are you going?" Seymour asked in confusion.

"You think I want to miss out on them fighting a kwaken? I'm going to watch from over by the cannons. It's still technically below decks."

Seymour raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything. He and Polly disappeared around a corner. Phineas shrugged, then continued on his way.

When Phineas reached the long room on the side of the ship where the cannons were, it was full of commotion and anticipation. The men shot strange looks at Phineas when they noticed him, but didn't say anything. He out-ranked them. He could be there if he wanted to be.

The Carnymancer looked out through one of the windows and saw that they were just about to cross the hex. This was going to be interesting.

At first Phineas couldn't see anything exciting. The ship was angle the wrong way. But as they brought the broad side of the ship about so that they could fire the cannons, he could see a spectacular battle underway.

The kwaken was the single largest unit Phineas had ever laid his eyes on. It was nearly as big as the ship he was standing on. And there were so many tentacles... It could probably perform over a dozen attacks in a single action! Even as he watched, one of the great tentacles slammed down onto Chu's group, taking out four hermits at once. Then Duke Chu raised his weapon into the air and all the units under his command simultaneously dove below the roiling surface of the sea.

On the far side Phineas could see Duchess Nukem's longboat nearing the great beast. Many of her men were throwing harpoons. The others were busy rowing. Phineas admitted that he was afraid for the lives of the men in the longboat. One well placed hit and they would all be thrown into the sea.

BOOM!

Phineas's observations were interrupted by a volley of cannonballs that were ejected from their ship. Many missed, but many more found their mark. As the smoke cleared and men rushed to reload the cannons, Phineas looked up into the sky to see how his prince was doing.

He expected Chip to be doing well since the kwaken couldn't fly. But unfortunately they had forgotten to take into account the fact that their mothras had been flying for days on end with no sleep. They were getting picked out of the air like falling silk handkerchiefs. Many of them failing to recover and falling into the water where they would croak.

BOOM!

At first Phineas thought they had fired more cannon balls, but when he saw that the men in front of him were still struggling to load theirs, he realized that they had been struck by the kwaken.

Such power.

Then Phineas saw something that made his heart almost stop. One of the kwaken's tentacles rose up into the air and struck Prince Chip's mothra. The mount recovered, but their chief warlord wasn't on top of it when it did. He was falling into the waves below.

"Nooooo!" Phineas screamed. "Chip can't swim without flippers!" If someone didn't do something quick, their prince would croak!

The Carneymancer looked around hurriedly to try and think of a way he could help. He spotted a coil of rope sitting on a barrel nearby. He grabbed it. Then her ran to the nearest cannon that still hadn't been reloaded. "Tie this to something. Tight," he commanded one of the men, handing them one end of the rope. "And you, aim this cannon at the prince."

"The prince?" the infantryman asked in disbelief.

"Yes, the prince! Now!" Phineas busied himself by climbing into the barrel of the cannon. With the other end of the rope in hand, Phineas yelled, "Fire!"

He had never been shot out of a cannon before, but the feeling was exhilarating. The wind rushed past his face faster than he ever would have imagined possible. Under less dire circumstances, Phineas may have actually found the experience to be fun.

Kerploosh. Phineas shot into the dark water and kept going for quite a distance. He looked around under the surface, but couldn't see anything. Then a bolt of lightning lit up the sky and the water was momentarily illuminated. There he was! The chief warlord was struggling, and failing, to paddle his body to the surface. Phineas made his way toward Chip. The way was rough since Phineas wasn't any more water-capable than the prince. But the caster had the advantage of not wearing heavy armor.

Just when it seemed Prince Chip was about to give up, Phineas thrust the rope into his hands and grabbed on tight himself. He spoke the words of a spell that sounded like bubbles under the water, but it worked. The rope began to levitate and pulled them up out of the water. When it reached the surface it continued to rise until the two of them were a good distance above the water. The rope was now perfectly perpendicular to the water, tied to something on the galleon at the other end. If either of them let go, they would be right back in the same predicament that they were in a moment before.

"Come on," Phineas said between breaths as he stood up on the rope. Chip was still hanging over the levitating rope at his armpits. He realized the prince wouldn't be able to make it back the same way Phineas could. And they didn't have enough time for the prince to make his way back to the ship slowly. After all, the kwaken was still trashing its tentacles all over the place. They, or the rope, could be struck at any moment.

"Help," Chip gasped.

Phineas inhaled deeply, then heaved the prince up higher. When it became obvious that Chip wasn't going to be able to stand steadily on the rope, Phineas said, "Get on my back." Prince Chip didn't question him. He slung his arms over the Carnymancer's shoulders and Phineas hoisted up the princes legs with his hands.

And then Phineas ran. He ran toward the galleon as fast as he could. the levitating rope was still pulled tight, but any number of things could go wrong at any moment. The kwaken narrowly missed hitting the rope as it quashed a larger target. Cannonballs from the ship whizzed past their faces. Lovebirds zoomed by as they looped around to go peck at the kwaken some more.

"Almost there." Phineas glanced back just in time to see a massive tentacle strike the other end of the rope. A steep shockwave traveled down the length of the rope towards the caster and the warlord. Not good. Just as they reached the window in front of the cannon Phineas had been fired from, the wave reached them and they were flung forward. Both crashed into the wall.

The back wall. They had made it into the ship.

Even before they managed to stand up, they were surrounded by a group of cannon operators offering assistance. "Get off of me," the prince said. "Back to your stations. We need to take the kwaken down. We need to-" Chip stopped speaking suddenly.

"What is it?" Phineas asked.

The prince looked over at him and smiled. "I just leveled." Phineas let out a sigh of relief and looked out the window. Sure enough, the great beast was sinking below the waves. The hex was theirs.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:09 am

"Is there anything else you would like to report?" King Alec's voice asked through the magic mirror. Prince Chip had just informed the king about the battle with the kwaken that had happened the day before. Chip and all the major participating commanders from the battle were present. Which unexpectedly included Phineas.

"No father. I think that is all for now," Chip responded. "We should be able to reach the mainland in a few more turns. Do you have any new news from home?"

"Nah, nothing too major. Scouts have spotted another small fleet headed toward Port Manteau again. Even smaller than last time. We plan on using our usual tactics..." The king's voice trailed off before he spoke up again. "You know, Chip, I've been thinking. I want you to make Phineas one of your tactical advisors. That tr-"

"What!?"
"What!?"

King Alec held up his hand to silence Phineas and Chip after their identical reactions to his words. Then he continued with what he was trying to say. "That trick he pulled during your last battle proves that he can provide a... unique, view of your battle scenarios. I want you to ask for his assistance when planning any large battles. That is an order."

Prince Chip looked over at Phineas with an expression of extreme confusion and a hint of anger. Phineas returned an expression of extreme confusion and disbelief. Many of the other warlords had similar looks on their faces. He was a caster. Casters don't help plan battles. He had half a mind to think that their king had lost it.

"Is that all then?" Chip finally asked bitterly, defeated. King Alec nodded and Prince Chip closed the mirror. He squinted as he pinched the bridge of his nose and waved everyone out of his cabin. It seemed the prince wanted some time alone to wrap his head around things. Phineas couldn't blame him.

Phineas exited with the rest of them and stepped out into the sunshine. They had finally gotten out of the storming hexes. He made his way over to the railing on the side of the ship to breathe in the cool ocean air as he let the ramifications of his new position sink in.

"So now you're one of the big shots, eh?"

Phineas turned around but couldn't figure out who was talking to him. "Who said that?" he finally asked."

He almost jumped out of his skin when a voice behind him, on the other side of the railing, said, "Me."

Phineas whirled around to find the daredevil hovering in front of him over the water. His imp lackeys hovering silently behind him with smug looks on their faces. The Carnymancer let out a sigh, then stood up straight again. "How could you possibly know that already? You weren't in the meeting. You weren't even allowed in the meeting."

"True," the daredevil replied as he needlessly straightened out the lapels of his dark red suit. "And I wasn't in the meeting. I was outside of it. There are no rules against that, are there?"

"Technically? No." That was one of the reasons Phineas disliked the daredevils. They would find ways around orders. And the imps would follow along too.

The daredevil smiled and examined the fingernails on his fist. Without looking up he said, "Well portholes work both ways and are surprisingly bad at blocking out sound. But your meeting was boring anyway, so don't get too riled up about all of your 'secrets' getting out."

Phineas scoffed then started walking along the edge of the ship. The daredevil trailed along with his imps in tow. "I heard about what you did yesterday," he continued, running his fingers through his slick black hair as he talked. "Pretty nifty, doncha think? The Prince pretty much owes you his life now."

Phineas scoffed again. As if a prince could ever owe a caster anything. Phineas was duty-bound to do what he did to save the prince. Nothing more, nothing less. He turned and headed away from the side of the ship so that he could go back to his quarters, but the daredevil swooped in and cut him off. "What do you want?" Phineas asked, now thoroughly annoyed.

The daredevil shrugged and said, "To talk, I guess. You seem more interesting than most of the other deadbeats around here. And unlike most of the other warlords, you haven't ordered us not to talk to you yet."

Phineas was slightly flattered for some reason, but he wasn't sure if the daredevil actually meant what he said, or if he was just playing games. Phineas decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. "Well if I'm going to talk to you I guess I might as well know your names.

A sly grin crossed the daredevil's face that made Phineas already regret his decision. "You can call me Bub. Bub Beelze. And these guys behind me, in order, are Biddy D, Bobby D, and Bo." Each of the imps waved in turn.

"They don't say much, do they?"

Bub glanced back at them. "Those guys? They're what you might call, 'shy talkers.'" All three imps giggled, making Phineas believe that Bub wasn't exactly telling him the truth. But Phineas didn't press the matter. He had no reason to.

"So what do you guys do, exactly?" Phineas asked.

"Us? Pretty much nothing. We are never sent out with any stacks, we don't really have any daily tasks around here on the ship, and we keep getting passed up and down the column because the warlords in the other hexes get fed up with us. I think the toughest order we have been given since leaving Traz was to pull up the gangplank before we left the harbor."

"Hmm. That's too bad." Phineas actually kind of meant it. They didn't even get to help fight the kwaken the day before. Even lovebirds got to do that! And those four would have been much more useful than a flock of lovebirds. Between the four of them they had limited capabilities using Shockmancy, Weirdomancy, Luckamancy, and Hat Magic. The Daredevil even had leadership.

"I think I may have to have one of my first goals as Prince Chip's new tactical adviser be to inform him that you four are under utilized. How does that sound?" Phineas asked.

The sly smile from before returned to Bub's face. "Perfect," the dardevil replied. Then he flew upwards and disappeared between the masts, followed by three giggling imps. Phineas felt like he had been had.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:25 am

"Should we drop anchor, Captain?" one of the deck hands asked.

"Aye. We won't reach this turn," Captain Overt responded.

The conversation was happening right next to where Phineas was standing on the main deck of their ship, but he wasn't paying them any attention. There was land ahead. Land! Not two hexes away. So close, yet so far since they were out of move.

Captain Overt spoke again. "Should we prepare to end turn, Prince Chip?"

"Might as well. Tomorrow will be a big day so everyone-"

"Wait. Don't end turn yet," Phineas interrupted.

Prince Chip shot Phineas an angry look and crossed his arms in front of him. "I sure hope you have a good reason for your rude interruption, Carnymancer. What else is there that we can do this turn? The column is out of move." The prince seemed to be even less fond of Phineas after he had been made into an advisor.

"Ah, yes, that is true," Phineas conceded. "The column is out of move. But not all of the units within the column are."

"I know that. But if we send units ahead that can reach, it will weaken the rest of the column. Best to keep everyone together and maximize our strength. Wouldn't you agree, caster?"

This time Phineas crossed his own arms. "Yes prince, that is true. But do you remember what happened the last time you used sleep-deprived mothras? Don't you think it would be wise to send the ones ahead that didn't get croaked by the kwaken and let them get some shuteye? That way tomorrow, when the rest of the column reaches land, they will be at their full capabilities. If we send just the mothras forward, the column won't be greatly weakened and there is little chance that a serious threat to a hex full of mothras will stumble upon us next turn."

Phineas stared at the prince unblinkingly with a stern expression on his face. Prince Chip responded with narrow eyes that shot daggers. Finally, after what seemed like hours but was probably only seconds, Chip responded. "I see your point." The words escaped from reluctant lips.

"Sh-shall I send out the order?" Captain Overt asked.

"Obviously, Captain," the prince responded. "Send lovebirds along the column informing the local commanders to send their mothras here. And then we will send them ahead to spend a night on the beach with Phineas."

"Hmm?" Phineas asked, confused.

"What? You didn't think I would want unlead mothras out there, did you? Have fun digging the sand out of your shorts all night." And with that, Prince Chip walked away whistling.

While the mothras were being rounded up for the trip, it was all Phineas could do to keep the smile off his face. He didn't care that he would have to spend a night in the wilderness if it meant he could be back on land. He spent nights in the wilderness all the time back on their island kingdom. Phineas couldn't wait to have an entire beach to himself with nothing but the silent mothras and gentle waves to keep him company.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:45 am

The next day when his rations popped, Phineas enjoyed a nice meal of baked clams on the beach as Traz's ships closed the distance to his location. Nobody had attacked his hex after their turn had ended, and nobody attacked his hex before their turn had started. The Prince's worrying had been completely unnecessary. Although admittedly nobody in their column could have known that until after the fact.

Now their army was busy transforming their stacks from water-based formations into land-based formations. It was a bit of a disheartening process. When they left Traz, every mountable unit had a rider, and every ship was at full capacity. But now there was room to spare. Largely due to the battle with the kwaken, and partially because Seymour had created more mounts as they traveled, so there were now more places to put passengers.

Still, They would need to leave the ships and many of the water mounts behind. Their column was much stronger in the water than it would be on land.

"How was your night away from the comforts of your cabin?" Prince Chip asked, interrupting Phineas's thoughts. He asked this as he walked down his ship's gangplank and entered the beach hex.

"It was as horrible as I imagined," Phineas responded. It was true. He didn't think it would be very horrible, and it wasn't. The prince just smiled as if he had won an argument.

More men started making their way off the ship, many of them carrying things, and more men were arriving on mounts. Prince held out some ink and parchment for Phineas to grab and said, "We need an update of all the units that will be in our new column, and which units will be heading back to Traz. You are in charge of it. Get to work." Then the prince went to go perform some duties elsewhere, leaving Phineas to absorb his new orders. He came to the sudden conclusion that he liked the prince better before he saved the man's life.

Phineas commandeered one of the well rested mothras and rode it up into the air so that he would have a nice view of their hex and the hexes nearby. All of their ships and lopgaps would be heading back to Traz since they couldn't move onto dry land. The rock lobsters would be returning as well since their move penalties out of water were horrendous. Phineas put all of these units on the "Return" category of the list and then began counting up the units for the "Rescue Party" category.

They still had 16 mothras left and 32 lovebirds. Along with their three imps and one daredevil, they had 52 fliers. Their natural allies, the hermits, were 36 in number. They still had 18 sea monkeys as well. Like the three sea dogs, the monkeys had noticeable penalties while on land, but unlike the dogs they could scout.

For ground mounts, the Traz army had 12 tidal boars, one croc, and 23 kelpies. And 443 knights and infantry topped off the rest of their non-commander troops.

Phineas double checked to make sure all of the warlords were present. Their chief warlord, Prince Chip, was talking with Vladimir and Duchess Nukem, so he wrote those three names down. It didn't take long to spot Duke Fuman standing on his own, observing the crowd. Wally was the hard one to find. He blended in well with the crowd despite his red and white-striped helmet. Warlords Arbuckle, McFeely, Winfrey, and Blankenship were busy ordering stack formations and generally organizing the troops.

Phineas added to the list one Carnymancer, one Dollamancer, and one Florist, then headed down to turn in the list. He counted everything up along the way and they had exactly 600 units in their column. But considering the units that they had, it wouldn't be enough to take a high-level and well defended city. They had no real siege.

Which reminded him...

Phineas pulled up and veered off course. He headed over to were Polly was laying out a bunch of her supplies, as well as some of the masts from their ship. "You going to use them now?" Phineas asked as he landed and climbed off of his winged beast.

"I think so," she responded. "It makes sense, doesn't it? It will mean fewer supplies to carry and our forces will be stronger. Is there a down side?"

Phineas just shrugged. He couldn't think of any.

Polly pulled three scrolls from the pockets in her work apron and set them in the sand as she completed a few last minute adjustments to her supplies.

The scrolls were Dollamancy scrolls for making battle bears that she purchased in the magic kingdom. When Phineas first found out that Polly bought Dollamancy scrolls from Stromboli and Ken, even though she herself was a Dollamancer, he was furious. It seemed like a titanic waste of shmuckers.

That was until Seymour later reminded him that Polly was not a very good Dollamancer. If she made the battle bears herself, they would likely be sub-par. And as it stood, the battle bears would be their main siege, so they would need good ones.

So Phineas was slightly less upset about Polly buying the three Dollamancy scrolls, but he was still somewhat ticked off about her buying a Findamancy scroll from Lady Sandiego and a Moneymancy scroll from Gil Nuyen. She hadn't even bothered to get something all around useful like a Healomancy spell, or Shockmancy. But it wasn't like he wasn't partially to blame. He could have helped her pick scrolls out while they were in the Magic Kingdom, but instead he left her to her own devices.

Phineas let out a sigh as pushed the memories to the back of his mind once again. What is done is done and there was no sense dwelling on things he couldn't change. He plopped himself down in the sand and watched as Polly started the spells.

The threads and cloth and stuffing she had laid out all wreathed and melded together in an undulating mass of materials until they gradually gained an expected shape. Soon a battle bear was standing in front of Phineas, casting a large shadow over the Carnymancer. "Nice," he commented, and Polly blushed. The bear was mostly dull yellow, but had a red torso and shoulders.

She repeated the process two more times. The second bear was tan with red shoulders and a red waist. The third one was brown with green legs, a green torso, and green bands that went over the shoulders. They were all well made.

But Polly wasn't done yet. She then turned toward a row of her pre-made scarecrows and pulled her large metal wand with a hole in one end out of yet another pocket. She pointed it at the row of scarecrows and said, "Bolger." Magic erupted from her wand and three of the scarecrows stood up.

"Only three?" Phineas asked.

Polly blushed yet again. "I figured I should save some of my juice for later. In case of emergencies."

Phineas shrugged and wrote the newest additions down on his list. They now had 606 units in their column. Hopefully they would have many more by the time the reached Princess Eliza.
Last edited by cloudbreaker on Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:08 am

"Easy does it," Phineas said as he patted the bristly and salty hide of the tidal boar he was riding. He didn't much enjoy riding them in the water, but on land he marginally enjoyed moving around atop the powerful beasts. It beat walking at least. Especially through their current hex which was full of prickly ash and burning nettles. Even so, the cape he was wearing kept snagging on branches whenever he got too close.

Above him buzzed a pair of boo-bees that he had tamed earlier that turn. One of them was missing two legs, the other had a bent stinger. There were six more somewhere close by but Phineas didn't know where. They were either obscured by the prickly ash or somewhere among the other members of Phineas's traveling squad.

The squad had been assigned to him by Prince Chip, much to Phineas's dismay. Apparently it was too dangerous for a caster to walk alone in pre-scouted hexes if they were in an unallied battlespace. That was Chip's reasoning anyway, but Phineas suspected he was getting some sort of odd satisfaction from causing little annoyances to the Carnymancer.

So now Phineas traveled in the company of five knights mounted on boarback, four lovebirds (give or take a few depending on messages sent or received), and whichever units he managed to tame. Which, as of now, consisted of nothing but some frightening boo-bees.

But they were on their way to a hex that would hopefully add a couple more members to their ranks. There were some ruins nearby, and it is a well known fact that ruins sometimes pop random units. And when they do, those units are often heavies. Hopefully they would luck out and find... anything, there.

"Just a little further, men. Then we'll be able to take a break from traveling. Even if we don't find anything, I think that will be a good place for us to wait until we end turn." His words seemed to bring a few sighs of relief among his companions. And it was no wonder. They had been traveling in the hot sun all day with hardly a break.

As they navigated around a thicket of particularly dense thorn bushes, the ruins came into view and they crossed into the hex.

Nothing attacked them immediately and Phineas was a bit disappointed, but it still didn't mean the hex was unoccupied. He took a moment to examine his surroundings before delving deeper into potential enemy territory.

The ruins themselves were not very much to look at. Just a bunch of partially constructed walls atop a large, round, overgrown platform of stone. There were a few stone pillars supporting crossbeams of the same material, but they seemed to serve no purpose. If there was something here, it would be within the roofless walls.

"Everyone, spread out. Search the area. If you get into an engagement, try not to croak the attacker and call me over. Unless it is something I can't tame. Then croak it." The men and critters alike fanned out and covered the area.

Soon phineas and his boar were out of everyone's line of site. A sudden feeling of seclusion washed over him. Something could pop out from behind a wall at any moment and nobody would even know until it was too late. He tightened his grip on the whip he hadn't even realized he had drawn. How come he never felt so nervous when he was alone in the wilderness?

"It's the walls," he muttered to himself. "There aren't any walls in the wilderness of Traz. That's why these-"

"Commander!?"

Phineas started. The voice didn't sound threatened, but he hurried briskly toward it just the same. "What is it?" he called back. He maneuvered his boar around the end of a crumbling wall and the concerned knight came into view. She was dismounted and standing next to a spot where the floor had caved in. No, not a cave-in. It was a staircase. Ah, it seems there is more to these ruins than meets the eye. I would bet my bum that if there are any wild units in this hex, they are down there."

Phineas called everyone to the room with the staircase, then put his hand on his chin and thought for a moment. He soon came to a conclusion. "Everyone, dismount if you haven't already. We're going in." And by '"we" he meant himself and the knights. The other units would have to stay above ground.

He could tell that at least a couple of the knights were nervous, but none of them said anything. They knew Phineas was in charge, and what he said, they did. Even so, he couldn't blame them. Like Phineas, this was there first time exploring ruins and they didn't know what to expect.

"Lets go." Phineas walked determinedly down the set of stairs, his cape billowing as he walked and his five bodyguards close behind. No sooner had he pulled an ancient looking torch from its wall placement than a sudden familiar sensation hit him. "Barrel's bottom. Our turn ended." He was hoping to be out of this underground zone by then, but now they were stuck. He glanced back up the stairway and, judging by the color of the sky, surmised that it was currently another side's turn.

"D-do you want me to light your torch?" one of the knights asked a bit nervously.

"Nah, I got it," he replied, distracted. With hardly a thought, Phineas belched out a puff of flame and ignited the object. The Carnymancer pushed past the mildly surprised men and said, "Might as well do what we came here to do."

And they did. Their small group wandered the halls of the ruins for several hours, scouring every hall and room they came across. There were many more passages than Phineas expected and many more levels as well. Phineas estimated that they had only searched about half of the rooms when their first torches needed to be replaced. And for the second half he suggested they should split up to cover more ground. The chances they would find any feral units was looking rather slim anyway.

Phineas spent another twenty minutes alone, burning his way through halls full of cobwebs, before he finally found something of interest. Across a room with a crumbling ceiling there were two empty suits of tarnished armor standing at attention. This was nothing new. Many of the other rooms and halls had similar suits. But what was interesting about these was that one of the suits of armor was propping up a sword that was obviously out of place.

He walked across the room slowly and pried the sword from the armored suit's gauntlet. It had a single edged blade that was yellow-orange in color and a fiery red handle. It was fabricated with enough skill to make even a master-class Dollamancer jealous.

Phineas admired the sword for a long while and wondered what it was for. He could tell it had magical properties, but had no clue what they were. It was no arkentool, but it was most definitely an artifact.

"Aaaaaaaahhh!"

The sound of a scream snapped Phineas out of his stupor of admiration. He momentarily wondered what he should do with his new treasure before putting the tip of the sword to his lips and sliding it down his throat. It left a tingling feeling as it went. Then Phineas took off down the hall in the direction of the scream, whip in hand.

It took two long minutes for Phineas to follow the sounds of echoing screams and clanging weapons. What he saw when he arrived would haunt his dreams that night.

Three of his knights were there, battling against a single sourmander. The sourmander had an eye gashed open and several wounds on its flanks, but it was still clearly holding its own. One of the knights was already croaked underneath the big lizard's feet, and another was incapacitated in the corner, down to its last hits and suffering from severe acid wounds. The third was facing it head on with a club in hand, but he was outmatched. Phineas's knights were all low level.

"Retreat! Defend yourself!" Phineas commanded. He must have caught the sourmander's attention because it turned on him almost immediately. Phineas just narrowed his eyes at the beast and challenged it's bravery as he slowly unfastened his cape. They stood like that for a moment, at a standstill, neither one attacking.

But an attack was inevitable. After all, the sourmander was unlead. And when it's scaly hide lunged toward Phineas, he was ready. He held his cape to one side as he himself stepped to the other. The sourmander charge strait at the cape and grabbed hold of it with its gaping mouth. As it continued past him, Phineas gave his whip a good crack and invoked "Capehart!"

The sourmander came to a gradual halt then slowly turned around. "Give me back my cape." The sourmander did as it was told.

Phineas, the sourmander, and the three functional knights remained with their incapacitated brethren until the turn ended. They then left him and the other croaked knight down in the dark ruins, never to see the light of day again.

When they reached the stairway that exited to the surface, they could see the stars in the night sky. All turns were done for the day. They set up a crude camp on the steps, but mostly they just relived in their minds what had happened down in the sourmander's den. Today had not been a happy day.
Bored? Read The Adventured of Melissa Ray. An Erfworld fanfic. comment here

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Re: A Tale From Traz

Postby cloudbreaker » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:43 am

"Mr. L., you're looking swell."

"So make me a bouquet, Mr. Bouté," Phineas replied to Seymour as he neared him in the shrub-filled hex. Seymour smiled at the snappy reply, but Phineas kept a stern face. He still wasn't in the mood after the previous turn's excitement.

"Where is everyone?" Phineas asked as he slid off of the sourmander he was riding. "I thought this was the rendezvous point." The only other units in the hex besides Phineas's escorts were Seymour and his escorts.

"Oh they went on ahead. Duke Chu and Wally returned to the column early this turn with news from Ponchovilla's capital. Apparently Chu's former Queen is going to send a contingency group to one of their nearby cities called Stashburns. Prince Chip is anxious to get there so they left me to direct you toward their location when you arrived. That, and so that I could finish my work here."

"Your work?" Phineas asked, raising an eyebrow.

Seymour shot him a look of disapproval. "Don't tell me you didn't notice them."

"Notice wh- Oh." Standing right behind Seymour in plain sight were two tall shrubs, leaves shaking in the gentle wind. Except they weren't exactly shrubs. Not anymore at least. For one, they had stats. Secondly, now that he looked closer he could see that they had distinct animal shapes. "Those are some nice looking topiaries, Seymour. I'm sure the extra siege will come in handy. Even if it is only light siege."

The Florist seemed content to receive the compliment and didn't comment any further on Phineas's lack of observation skills. "I just have one more left to make and then we can go."

Phineas didn't really feel like waiting, but had nothing better to do so he wandered aimlessly around the hex for a few minutes as Seymour carefully pruned out the shape of a soon-to-be topiary. It wasn't until he felt a small itch in his throat that Phineas remembered what was lodged there.

"Hey Seymour, you don't happen to have the magic mirror with you, do you?"

"No. Last I knew Chip had it," he replied without so much as a glance up from the shrubs. "Why?"

"Eh, I wanted to talk to King Alec about something. I'm going to borrow a spare kelpie from you, okay?" Phineas was purposefully being vague. He didn't feel like answering a bunch of questions he didn't know the answers to before he got the chance to talk with the king about his find. He would tell Seymour about the sword at camp later that evening.

"I'm not sure that is wise, but who am I to object? Just don't blame me when the prince yells at you for messing up my stacks."

"Yeah, yeah." Phineas was already switching spots with one of the knights in Seymour's personal escort. He would have taken the sourmander or a tidal boar, but a kelpie would be faster within individual hexes. And he didn't want to play catch-up with the rest of the column for the rest of the turn if he didn't have to. After getting coordinates from the knight, Phineas urged his kelpy kelpie through the hex boundary.
Last edited by cloudbreaker on Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bored? Read The Adventured of Melissa Ray. An Erfworld fanfic. comment here

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