Keep on keepin' on

Words in a line. All fanfic goes here, Erfworld or otherwise.

Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:41 pm

Note from author: I intend this to be a series of stories within the same setting, open to the public.
If you're interested in contribution, please send a PM first, so that I can check to make sure nothing destroys my plot , but after about the first week to two weeks, when I'll be posting the set up and intro, the story will develop as I go along.
Any plot ideas, and other suggestion you may have, but would like to avoid actually writing, feel free to suggest and I'll see if I can incorporate your ideas.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:14 pm

The cave is dimly lit by a glow from the stones sitting about. The entire affair seems to be a large library filled with texts innumerable, with the back wall dominated by a pedestal - guarded by a pair of twisted creatures that may have once been soft rock golems - upon which stands a small volume. Written on the wall behind it, in glowing letters, is this message: DO NOT REMOVE THE BOOK. Fascinated, you approach and begin to read.

With the help of a foolamancer we were able to construct a text without a set volume. It will expand inside as more space is needed. The old man 'understands,' as he put it, that sides will disappear, but words are forever. So in our final battle we begin recording, I approach him, say "ephedra" and he begins his long narrative with so much clarity I could hardly keep up with him without the help of my thinkamancy. It began:

First thing I remember after turning barbarian was fear, for courage in the unforeseen was not one of my strengths. The natural allies, who composed the majority of my escort, broke stack and left leaving me with only two soft rock golems. Looking for a safe spot, I used information remembered from talks with our lookamancer to head for a small three hex clearing out in the hills. I'm not quite sure as to how soft rock golems managed to live off of scavenged rations but we made the long journey.

I arrive there to find one hex to contain a river; another had a bunch of bushes and low trees, though still not enough to qualify as a forest, though that cannot be said of the third hex. Here I settled down to figure out what to do next.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:56 am

The old man pauses to take a breath and reassemble his thoughts, the few others in the room with us relax noticeably. I have a feeling we'll be here until the end of the turn, as we've little better to do. The old man resumes talking,

I quickly tired of foraging for my upkeep, more than three fourths of my turn was spent and I had little time to train myself to master class before I completely forgot the written instructions I was given in the Magic Kingdom. How I longed to be in the Magic Kingdom, where every dawn was warm and safe.

I spent much of my time wondering how I could remedy this ration situation when we stumbled across a cwow on the ground; we had little use for these miserable weak fliers before, but I had noticed -over the course of the last few turns- that these cwows finished foraging very quickly so I decided to try and capture one. The Titans were smiling upon me that day, as I went unnoticed for the longest time, and managed to catch the little bugger. Even with only half a turn left the cwow managed to pay its upkeep and shave a short time off of my foraging time.
I decided to try and capture as many cwows as possible.

He finishes with these words, "Go get some rest, dawn is not long coming and we will need you tomorrow." We disperse to our chambers to be best prepared for the battle we know is coming.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:36 am

You turn what looks to be the last page and a new one forms on the back page, the writing envelops the page quicker than you can read it. The speed of the writing hurts your eyes and you have to step back to make the pain go away. The writing has finished forming by the time you return. Again the page begins with the scrawled text, only to continue on to the more elegant monologue.

We've survived another turn in this miserable war, though we've lost one of the outlying cities. The old man gathered us for the work only after our turn had ended, but that turn was long enough.

The only thing I feared more than being out in the wild was entrusting my life into the hands of a side that wasn't my own, so I decided to find myself a barbarian warlord and start a new side from which I could leave.

As I finished deciding upon my future a single wolf wandered into our hex, The two golems, the five cwows I'd captured by then, and I set upon him and tamed him without too much trouble. I'll admit I had considered capturing wolves before; I remembered advice from and old hobgobwin who'd told me that a wolf who had looked you in the eyes when you bit him on the snout would always be yours. Wolves did however travel in packs and the small stack like mine could not hope to rival those stacks, so we rarely engaged.

The old man takes a long breath, and the release sounds a little like a sigh.

In the next twenty turns or so I'd changed three of my cwows into orlies to speed up the capture of more cwows. The upkeep was higher, but the chance of catching more cwows was well worth it. On the new level 1 wolf I began to hunt deew and other barbarian creatures that were not worth keeping.

I slowly became used to life in the wild and became a little more daring; I raided the next pack of wolves that wandered into my territory. I lost a cwow to one of the more nimble wolves, but we pulled out of the fight with a new wolf to add to our stack, this time a level 2 that looks like he's seen a bit of Erf. My stack withdrew from the area and holed up in a cave to await the healing of next turn. I looked my bruised little regiment and it came to:
2 soft rock golems, levels 2 and 3
2 wolves, level 2
3 orlies, two level 1 and one a level 2
6 cwows, level 1
1 Changemancer, me, master-class
Last edited by Zombie on Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:01 am

The old man pauses in his dictation to receive a message brought to him by a cwow. He mutters, "All the more reason to hurry," as if he isn't even noticing me. Then his eyes refocus and he begins his monologue again.

My commander status gave me little insight into the chances of barbarian units popping. I put this into practice to see how much longer past the fifty turn anniversary of my going barbarian. Unfortunately the the odds didn't look good. There was a better chance of a megalogwiff popping in the hills than of a warlord popping anywhere in my vicinity.

I was unlikely to get my warlord any time soon. This meant I have to create a warlord of my own, I hadn't been master class for too long and I wasn't too sure I could pull it off, but there were really no other good options that didn't involve entrusting my life to someone.

So many things needed, so much to do...
I had to begin thinking like a ruler, but without the luxury of being able to pop supplies. I needed to make or find everything.
What do I need first? More cwows. How can I get more cwows? Nets would help, but I need a unit with fabrication for that.
The chances of a twoll popping are only a little less miserable than a warlord ...
How lovely I need to make a unit with fabrication now.

I almost have to make a side for myself before I can get one to leave from...
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:19 am

The old man pauses to grab a drink from the flask sitting next to him. I don't even know why he even bothers any more, his body has to be at least half doll. He begins talking again, his voice gaining a whistling quality as the air comes out through the strings that hold his jaw in place.

I had just ended turn after spending the rest of my juice to complete the gloves I was using to give one of the golems fabrication when a large ball of greying fur came crashing into our hex. In the split second between entrance and combat I caught a glimpse of the units stats, not enough for any numbers besides that it was level 4, but the name did make an impression on me. I finally understood why the popping chances of beaws were so much closer to warlords than wolves.

I have to admit I was a little surprised not to have lost either of the golems in that fight, I had lost most everything else. Still the beaw had been tamed and it may well have been worth it, it had displayed more cunning than I had seen in most animals. This was going to be my next warlord if I couldn't find a human unit.

I gave the weaker -level 3- golem the gloves so that he could start making nets to ease cwow catching. The rest of us had to go out and forage because the number of cwows was down to two. The beaw, being shallow river capable went fishing, while the others went foraging.

We made do that turn, though it was a bit close. The titans smiled upon us; the beaw found some mussels and one had a pearl in it.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:50 am

The old man begins to skip dozens of turns at once to achieve the peace of mind of a stopping point. Events that only half a dozen turns ago would have been important no longer even receive mention.

Squiwels, berries, and certain harder to find roots and nuts were what had kept my little regiment afloat. The growing number of cwows could hardly be supported on the three hexes I had come to see as my own, now was the time to create my warlord.

I had chosen to cast upon the pearl. Having an item to guide the transformation made the work easier, it also gave me a spot to concentrate the juice of four turns to accumulate the power necessary for this kind of transformation.

The cloudy pink orb became a clear white and the pink focused into a bright red dot at the centre of one side. I placed this object upon the forehead of my beaw and cast. The transformation was not magnificent; the pearl became a third eye, but little else happened.

Almost immediately my only living non-cwow let out a roar so loud the Titans must have heard it. The beaw launched upon me and growled at me. "If I hadn't been given the knowledge of duty you'd be dead now."
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:47 pm

Today the old man is out preparing the capital for the battle we all know is coming. His limited shockmancy skills are being used to set up mostly minor traps all over the garrison. Today, instead, Matilda is speaking.

As I was changing to a warlord I became aware of not only the changes brought about to myself, but also to what might be considered my side.
I was quickly changing; I was once a level 4 beaw, now I became a level 1 warlord. My stats remained the same, but my upkeep doubled. Some form of natural warlord mathamancy told me that the cwows on my side would not be enough to pay for the golems', Ed's, and my own upkeep. I would have to go forage this turn, though not for all of it.

Ed told me he had been afraid of the wild, that he was looking for a city from which to go to the Magic Kingdom.

About three or four dozen turns later we had gone into the mines looking for gems to tide us by once we began searching for a city. About halfway through a fairly unproductive digging session, Ed confessed he didn't really think that the Magic Kingdom probably wasn't for him any more.

After that Ed insisted that he become a warlord too, I tried to convince him otherwise, but he could not be convinced to stray from that path.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:46 am

The old man has again replaced the general for this session. As soon as he arrived I had to relay this thinkagram: "Mr. Jacobi, we are willing to leave your city be if you surrender your 3 casters." I was quickly asked whether I would like to avoid the upcoming battle. Both myself and Ida refused, the old man couldn't go for technical reasons. We sent off the reply and prepared for the final battle.

I'm not really sure why I did it any more, I think it had something to do with a sense of fairness. Perhaps I meant the gesture to be one of repentance for what I did to beaw we now know as Matilda.

There were few things I now understood about the transformation and the item used for it by this point. I suspected the object I used upon myself would serve as another body part, as Matilda's new pearl eye gives her extra vision in the darkness and tunnel capabilities. My true weakness is my fearful heart; with it in place I can hardly think straight in a battle and my troops do not benefit from any leadership I can provide. For the purpose of creating a new heart I had picked out a black stone within the tunnels to serve as my new heart.

As I put it in I knew I would feel pain. The roar and subsequent anger of Matilda made that very clear to me. Still, I put it in.
The pain was there certainly, but no more so than when I was beaten within a few hit points of croaking. For a while nothing happened and I found myself surprised at the intensity of Matilda's reaction.
Then it hit me. The realizations of a warlord's ability became fully clear and with that knowledge came a different outlook on the past. This new viewpoint made all my previous effort seem near futile.
I finally understood the roar; it was not a roar of anger, but rather of frustration.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:07 am

You turn another page in what seems to be an infinite series. The little two which sits at the very top of the page -noticed only subconsciously until now- changes to become a three. To verify your suspicions you turn back a page. The page that you are now looking at is identical to the one you tried to go back from. A little experimentation proves that the same is true for the forward direction. It seems the thinkamancy of the item holds it at the spot where you finished.

A look that may be best described as nostalgic appears in the old man's eyes. I do not know whether he misses the times before his transformation or those immediately after. The only other time I've heard this story -overheard from part of a conversation the General had with him turns ago- he hinted at both one and the other. The lighthearted tone of last sentence changes so that the old man’s speech closer resembles the more serious, colder tone we are used to.

I had become restless after turns of not being able to test the new abilities. I knew that we needed a place more stable, where I didn’t have to rely on the possible popping of provisions. A report of our scouting cwows carried news of a pack of wolves just within reach.

The cwows we pulled in from the surrounding hexes kept down the column move, this meant that our last move would be spent moving into the hex and could not withdraw. We moved into the hex quickly, catching the wolves off guard and even managing to capture one.

As I entered the hex, my heart started racing as usual, but the new stone heart took over and slowed to just about its normal speed. This gave me more time to think things through in the battle. The warlord part of my brain told me that some sharper weapon than simply my gauntleted fists; the changemancer quickly replied with the option of changing the gauntlets into claws. Before the warlord could throw speculation into that chain of thought the juice was spent and the claws formed.

We won fairly handily now that I knew what I was doing and we had an extra wolf on our side, we won handily. A few cwows were lost and most units emerged with a few hit points to spare. I leveled; the sensation of more juice was still there, though much fainter than when I was a caster.
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Re: Keep on keepin' on

Postby Zombie » Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:55 pm

The old man is out eliminating enemy scouts, saying he needs to stay in practice and be ready for the coming battle. To be able to continue the story I was left to record the stories of Ida, skipping what gathering of forces there was. The search for a new capital was also overlooked.

Ours was a side of little significance beyond its neighbours. The three sides known within our isolated area were constantly at war, never capable of conquering the others without an ally, yet never trusting the ally to not stab them in the back. So the three kings squabbled among each other.
I was stationed at the old capital, a safe site sitting against a mountain range that was all but abandoned about 300 turns ago for a freshly conquered capital site on the front-lines. All the other casters left, but I stood to gain from staying, as the nearby cotton plantations cheapened the price of most dollamancer creations.

A stack burst from one of the hexes between us and the mountains, crashing into the plains bearing the banners of Umnia - the side we were currently allied against. There was one warlord in the stack I recognized from previous briefings, the rest looked like mostly wild units. The large stack burst into our city, ready to take it handily. The warlord I recognized - the one in the red shirt - was always at the forefront, charging and trying to take out our regent. What I now know to be Edgar's seemed to be holding back, allowing the Umnians to do most of their fighting.

With the other half of the stack holding out on us, we managed to take out the redshirt and most of the Umnians. As the battle was almost lost, I saw the mercenaries roll in and go for capture. They got me, as well as the last surviving warlord - Brown, then a level 2.

I saw my life - as well as regional stability - change in an instant from the tower. The barbarian group broke stack and croaked the entirety of the Umnian forces and began a new side in the city; already they were acting as if they'd been here a very long time...
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