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Author Topic: Murder in Bardavos  (Read 4752 times)
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Irid alMenie
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« on: 09 March 2007, 05:34:47 »

Wooptidoo!!! The prologue and first chapter of my masterwork are here! If you didn't figure it out by the title, it's going to be a detective story taking place in Caelereth. I would like to give many many thanks to Artimidor, for giving me enough ideas to make the first chapter longer than the original 'little-less-than-a-page'; and a very special thank you to Bard Judith for letting me use her character. Big hug for both of you!!!

Prologue.

The man entered the room with a smile on his face. Standing still next to the door, he surveyed the scene before him. Well, not much of a scene perhaps, as he was quite alone. The room was rather simple, really. A bed was standing at the far end, blankets lying neatly over it. As usual, it was immaculately clean in here, just as he requested every time. Next to the bed was a washing stand with a mirror, a water can upon it should he wish to freshen up. Then, on his left, a fire was burning happily. The chambermaid had made sure it would be warm enough here. Nice girl, he thought. A little young for his taste, perhaps, but a very nice girl nonetheless.

He advanced a little into the room, took a log from next to the fire and put it on top to stir it up a little. Squatting down with the poker in his hand, he arranged the new log so that it firmly balanced on top. Already little flames were licking away at the sides, and he knew that very soon the log would turn black.

He stood up again and walked over to the washing stand. After pouring some water on his hands, he wetted his face, and then rubbed the water away. Looking up, he regarded his own face in the mirror. Although in his forties already, he was still quite handsome. Well, maybe the last couple of years had seen a kind of increase in his girth, but that was only to be expected. If only his cook wasn’t so good… The hair crowning his head was still black, although at the side some grey began to appear. He thought it rather added to his looks.

Suddenly he noticed a movement in the mirror. The door seemed to be closing of its own accord. Quickly he turned around. So he was not, after all, alone in this room. But why the hiding? When the door was completely closed, the person turned to him. On seeing the face, the man’s cheeks were invaded by a pallor.

“Y… you!” he stuttered. “What are you doing here?” There was no answer, only the movement of a hand. With a shock of horror the man realised that he was looking at a dagger. Before he could react, his assailant moved in his direction and, with a dull thud, the dagger was planted into his heart. He was dead before he could cry for help, even before he had fully realised what had happened. With the look of horror still in his eyes, he slowly fell backwards.

 
Chapter one: A Merchant from Voldar

The tavern of the Singing Bard was a nice place to be, generally. This night was no exception, decided Calmin. The performance on the small podium by the wall was of outstanding quality, and it was making true the tavern’s name. The bard that was singing at this moment was, so he was told, one of the most famous bards in Bardavos, and quite possibly even in Sarvonia. She was called Judith, and now that he heard her sing he could see why she was so famous. Not only that, but he found her rather pretty as well. He could see that some men would find her face more arresting than they liked a woman to appear, maybe not sweet enough despite her generous smile. But he was not one of them. And everyone would have to agree that she was an interesting woman. You could see that she had character. And a temper, probably. He had not seen this for himself, as this was the first time he actually saw her, but someone had told him once.

As the night wore on, the songs became bawdier, and Judith invited all the guests to sing or clap along. The whole room showed laughing faces, turned towards the masterbard; some people even tried a little dance to her tunes. Not that it went much further than trying – most of them were too drunk to even stand upright. Half the dancers fell over against the other half, all of them shaking with laughter. Calmin thought there must be a few amongst them who would be seeing pink dragons before they went to bed, or maybe little green men telling them what to do.

Calmin knew some of the songs, but he only clapped along. He was a little too advanced in age to actually sing, and he was not drunk enough to stop caring who heard him. Besides, he knew that his was hardly a singing voice – more like a croaking voice. Still, he was enjoying himself rather well.
After a particularly descriptive song about a wife cheating on her husband, the bard was quiet for just a while. All faces turned expectantly towards the stage, where they saw one of the most striking features of the woman sitting there: a pair of emeraud eyes. Slowly, the hubbub in the room died down, everyone expecting her to start singing again, or else to speak. She did the latter.

“As the evening – or night, whichever you prefer to call it – is drawing to a close, I would like to sober up again. I wish to tell you a story of our fair city, from the time when it was still called Thaehavos, when an elven army marched against its walls…” If her audience had expected her to go on in the same fashion as just before, they were disappointed. But there was not a soul who complained as she plucked the first notes from her lute. Even talking was subdued to a minimum.

“There was a battle
In the south,
And northern elves were ready,
To come down from
The forests wild
And blood their swords at Strata…”

So sounded the first stanza of her song. Even the last of the talk now died down, as everyone listened to the steady plucking on the lute, which sounded almost like horses, galloping on and on towards the city walls. As the clear voice told of the siege, the Thaehavin’s despair, and the bravery of the seven minstrels, many were moved almost to the point of tears, as the mothers were called to mourn their sons – although they’d never have admitted to feeling a lump in their throats at that part. As the three last sons returned victorious with the armies, all were grinning widely, although all remained quiet until the last notes of the last stanza had died down, which had once more raised the hair on their arms.

It was now clear that Judith would be taking a break. Gradually, the volume of the noise increased again, many men talking about that war that had taken place two thousand years ago. They refused to admit just how much the song had moved them, except in terms of war and glory.
Calmin heard them talk, and gave an unnoticed nod, storing the impression of this song, and of the evening, in his mind. He knew enough about men now, after all his years of experience, to know that these people had felt it in their hearts, not only the glory, but also the sadness. Perhaps the ability to wake that in a man was what made the masterbard so great.

Close to him were sitting a few men who had quite obviously had an ale too many – or a few ales, for that matter. Calmin started listening in on their conversation, which had taken a rather philosophical turn, when one of them turned to him and included him in it:

“Sjee, sjee, fing isj, we’s not really real, sjee. Ham tellin’ ya, we doesn’t ek… es… exist. Sjee, deres deesj people in disj oder world, ‘n they’s…” at this his voice dropped down to a whisper: “they’s invent usss!” The ominous effect of his last words was lost in the general clamour for a next song, and because he’d fallen asleep suddenly, unfortunately on Calmin’s shoulder. He couldn’t easily dislodge the man, so he waved over the barman to help him. Glandys came over and quickly found two strong guys to pick up the drunkard, each on one end, and throw him out of the tavern. Glandys then turned to the others. “The rest of you have had quite enough by now. I ask you to leave my tavern. Get your mate and take him elsewhere.”

There was a general muttering in the group, but luckily none of them made any trouble. At least one or two had some sense left in them, apparently. They stood up and staggered in the general direction of the door. Calmin guessed it was close to the time that all locals would be chased off home, to be dealt with by their wives, anyway. He walked after the men and stepped outside for a minute, breathing in the nightly air. The men were picking up their still sleeping mate, as much as possible, and took off.

From his left, a voice suddenly said ‘Identify yourself!’ Calmin turned around, and saw a night guard standing next to him. He answered politely: “My name is Calmin, sir, I am a merchant by trade. I’m staying in this tavern here while visiting your fair city.” The guard looked at him by the light of his lamp. He saw an elderly man, with a weathered face surrounded by white hair and a short beard. His blue eyes had a merry twinkle in them, although the guard could only barely discern this with the little light that he had.

 “Calmin, eh?” he muttered. “I’ve heard that name before… Oh yes, you were that friend of the captain’s, weren’t you.” The merchant nodded his head. “Yes, that was me. I was just taking a step away from the noise inside, until the bard, Judith’s her name, starts to sing again.” The guard nodded. “She’s something, isn’t she. Got a voice like a Blue Glitra, she has. Best singing you’ll hear in a while, I’ll warrant.” Calmin definitely agreed with him. “Well, I’m off to get a last ale, and hear the bard sing a few last song; and then it’s bed-time for me, I guess.” The man wished him a good night, and went on his way, soon overtaking the drunkards trying to wake their friend. He told them to go home.

When Calmin came back inside, he ordered another Apple ale – only the third this evening, he was not a very great drinker, although he did like a drop of Scumble every now and then. Never too much, though; he still wanted to live… With the ale in his hand, he regarded the crowd around him. People from many different classes had found their way to the Singing Bard, to hear the singing bard. Anyone with some sans to spare, so that they could pay their drink, had gathered this evening. It would have surprised nobody at all if there were some kind of fight later on, but for now everything seemed to be in order.

Neither Calmin, nor any other customer of the bar that night could have known how soon this seeming calm would be disturbed.
« Last Edit: 17 March 2007, 03:12:06 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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Irid al'Menie
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« Reply #1 on: 09 March 2007, 07:08:25 »

I've already read it of course as I'm a nice mentor and helped Irid along the way a bit, so I'm happy that Prologue & Chapter I are now ready for being read officially on the Forum :) - I think it's a very nice beginning, including the Bard Judith performance of course as well, I'm definitely looking forward to Chapter II and a thorough and suspenseful investigation! :D  thumbup
« Last Edit: 09 March 2007, 07:10:52 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged



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Takór Salenár
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« Reply #2 on: 10 March 2007, 04:25:01 »

That is really good to read, irid - I didn't stop! I hope you won't make us wait to long for the next chapter!

Two things I want to address here:

Maybe mention, that it is winter and even near the desert the nights can be cold, though not so much in a city. Otherwise your fire won't work - there is surely non in a room in summer, just the ones for cooking.

I have some questions to your "Judy" part and especially to the poem. I don't know of any time that elves actually reached Strata and shed blood there. It is a bit off if you write about Bardavos. It is not possible for any greater number of foes, especially elves used to forests to go through the Rahaz Dath. I couldn't find an old siege of Bardavos or thaehavos before Santhros either. The entry let's assume something different - no conquering. Bardavos was destroyed much later. 1445a.S.. Maybe you write a poem around this event?

http://www.santharia.com/dev/index.php?topic=10783.0

Edit: I'm not sure, when the title "Thane" was invented for Santharia, probably not before Santhros.

« Last Edit: 10 March 2007, 04:47:17 by Takór Salenár » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: 10 March 2007, 18:46:26 »

The poem is mine; the performance Irid described actually 'happened' in the RPG Forum, at the tavern in Bardavos.   I regret as I'm not yet in possession of my home files I can't check my research, but I assure you, I based the composition on an 'actual' historical event referred to in the Compendium!  I'm not good at history and would never dare make something  up on my own...

If you'll check, you'll find that Gean even did the work to set it to music based on the folk song/ballad I used, and the download is available in the Compendium, so the poem itself has been approved for a long time.  My apologies if it's incorrect, but I'll have to do the backcheck later.

GTG,
Judith
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Takór Salenár
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« Reply #4 on: 10 March 2007, 20:13:25 »

I found your poem, Judy, it is here:


http://www.santharia.com/library_old/poems/ballads_of_sorren.htm

When reading the whole poem it becomes clear, that the elves intended to go to Strata, but were held up by Thaehavos. This single stanza is a bit misleading. So no elves at Strata, with that I was right. There is nothing mentioned in the history of Strata either (though this one needs some adjustments as well). I looked for that event in the history of Bardavos, but couldn‘t find it in the history tables, though I thought as well, that there had been en event - the history of bardavos itself tells otherwise, which is not really existent on the site by now, ( only in my notebook)


What about the title Thane?

Being approved doesn‘t mean necessarily, that an older entry is correct - especially when history is not yet written or in the process of being rewritten. A melody added doesn‘t help here much to make it historical correct.
« Last Edit: 10 March 2007, 21:05:05 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: 10 March 2007, 21:12:39 »

"Thane" definitely should be changed. Maybe we could invent a unique title for the Bardavos "boss"?

The Siege of Bardavos is BTW mentioned in the Strata History table:

759 b.S. Siege of Bardavos (during SW I)
...by a small contingent of elves coming from the forests located in the north. Messengers coming from Bardavos reach Strata begging for aid in their situation. Strata recognizes the threat of the elven forces and sends out an army in the direction of Bardavos. The town is saved and the elves are forced to retreat to the Sharadon Forests by the combined armies of Bardavos and Strata.
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Takór Salenár
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« Reply #6 on: 10 March 2007, 22:22:15 »

Yes, right - I Iooked very selectively - for elves in Strata and at the Bardavos entry for the siege.

Maybe we could invent a title like "Tristin" after a famous artist or somebody who did something very important for Bardavos. Or after the old name Thaehavos - havos like haven, harbour.

Maybe the leader could be called warden  or sentinel (if that is posible for a person )the man/woman who watches over the freedom of the inhabitants?

In this above mentioned part of Strata's istory Bardavos is still Thaehavos.

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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #7 on: 10 March 2007, 23:08:47 »

"Harbourmaster" maybe?  grin *runs away as fast as he can* But yup, I agree - something along that line would be cool.

Anyway, this is another typical example why the conversion of the history tables needs to progress: Because information that is on the site cannot be found easily, at least not on places where one is supposes to find it - following the new concept we will have this event in several places: Bardavos, Strata, Southern Sarvonia etc. by adding it in once. I guess the Strata history table is another candidate I should convert this weekend therefore.

Also: When exactly was the renaming of the town - is that already somehow mentioned in your notes, Takór? It looks as if this isn't mentioned yet on the site. But if we have the date and reason, up it will go into the history tables!
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« Reply #8 on: 11 March 2007, 05:14:01 »

I thought we said it was Santhros who renamed the town.

The Strata history entry needs some minor fitting (apart from a major rewrite as soon as the whole history in this region is done) so I don't know, if it is a good idea to convert it rigth now.
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« Reply #9 on: 11 March 2007, 16:34:58 »

It's not that the information isn't on the site, you know. Even if it is slightly inaccurate, the conversion at least takes care that the events appear at all the entries and history tables where you are actually supposed to find them. This is what the conversion does: Put things in the larger context by making the checking of the dates easier, and thus adjust them. History tables get a much clearer development character - you can spot things better and you can correct things easier by adjusting descriptions or reshuffling dates. Right now at the old history tables bits and pieces of information is strewn all over the Forum, and nobody collated this properly.
« Last Edit: 12 March 2007, 02:55:29 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged



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« Reply #10 on: 12 March 2007, 04:58:25 »

I should like to point out - not that I particularly care to defend my poem any further - that a piece of poetry written many years after a historical event would almost undoubtedly have its errors or inconsistencies.  Thus the quite deliberate and anachronistic choice of 'Thane' for the leader's title - the contemporary poet would think nothing of using it in his setting. 

However, as I said, I'm no historian.  Feel free to rip the poem up however you want if you think it's important to have such things 'consistent' with the approved historic tables. 
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« Reply #11 on: 14 March 2007, 05:05:04 »

Well, we're talking too much of the this and that, but not that much about the story, which is a shame, as I like this first chapter as I've also seen that Irid put quite some work into it :) - Hope Judy is fine with the integration of her poem's performance - we thought it would fit right in here and set some atmopshere, and I guess it succeeded pretty well!

Anyway to conclude the discussion on the Thane thing, I'd say let's make it simple. For the "harbourmaster" title of Bardavos I would propose the title "Thaehavin". That is derived from the name "Thaehavos" and thus still points to the town's true meaning (harbour) and former name, and makes the old name not so easy to forget, eh? :)

Personally upon rereading Judy's poem I guess the term "Thane" can remain as "artistsic licence" there. As she writes: The "contemporary poet would think nothing of using it in his setting". I think so as well, it doesn't do much harm.

I would also vote to keep that siege, but explain the event in detail at a later that - an important person could have fled here (or was supposed to have fled here) and lots of stories could surround this siege of this free town. A great setting in my point of view - it has the drama in it, we have lyrics and musical piece for it, now integrated nicely in this story, let's keep it, but explain it later - it's cool stuff in my point of view! :D
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« Reply #12 on: 14 March 2007, 18:48:46 »

I don't have to add anything to a well written chapter, about what do you want to talk, Art?

Thaehavin is a nice title , let's use it.

Nobody is ripping your poem apart, Judy, don't exaggerate. From a highly educated Bard as you are, I would assume though, that you know, that there were no thanes back then. But you didn't claim that youself have written the poem, you just performed it, so i agree with the "artistic licence" of a possible not so educated poet. But it would be no problem either, to replace "good Thane" with "Thaehav'n".


However, Irid could  use the correct title in her text - now that we have one.
 

To the history: I will surely have no problems to invent something cool which fits to this part when I piece all my fragments about Bardavos together. There is only one problem. When we talked about the city last time, Art, you said you wanted an open city (in terms of the way it is build) in contrary to my plans to let it look a bit like Shibam
 so that I thought it would be quite a new look , built like this after th last destruction 200 or so years ago.. ???
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« Reply #13 on: 14 March 2007, 22:12:12 »

Ok, I'll change the title. When I get back from the hairdresser's though ;)

Thanks for the comments, all three of you :-)
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« Reply #14 on: 15 March 2007, 04:40:31 »

@Takór: Actually I don't remember that I personally had any clear preferences on how Bardavos should look like. Maybe that was Judy as she also at some point was interested in Bardavos?

All I know in this respect is that Lucirina once drew a map for the RPG Board. So ideally this could serve as a base, but that's just a suggestion as well - RPG developed stuff doesn't necessarily have to be of relevance for the Dev Board.

@Irid: Ok, I'll mark the chapter then for integration :)
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