Part 2

Turn 1 - Popping in Limestar:

Fionn remembered popping. The sudden rush of coming into being, the air rushing away as if surprised by his sudden presence. Language filled his head and he quickly became aware of many things. He was in the capital city of his side, Limestar. It was also emphatically his side. That seemed strange, he had just popped but the side was his. As he started to try and make sense of his arms and legs movement in the room around him brought his attention outward. Standing at attention were several units, two full stacks of eight. Stabbers and archers, most level 3 or 4.

 

“SALUTE!!” the shout was presumably an order as all the stabbers immediately clapped their spears against their own shields and planted the haft into the ground as the archers fired arrows into the air. It was a relatively meagre display he thought as the arrows sailed through the air. Limestar itself was a level 3 city and the side owned two more cities; “Waterfort” and “Grosslair” both level 1. The units here were probably all they could actually spare for the ceremony. Glancing around it took him a while to actually notice a the warlady standing in front of him. She was wearing extensive camouflage that blended almost perfectly with the throne room, which was more like a forest than a room.

 

The throne beckoned to Fionn though. It was carved into the trunk of a tree and wide enough to fit three people. The seat and back were a plain yellow, the armrests clearly made of thick knotted branches, a few branches were still growing leaves, the throne was very much alive. He stepped forward, ready to take the throne for himself, to become a Rí (king).

 

The warlady, regent he suddenly realised, watched him intently as he approached. Sadhbh was her name as far as he could see. She had three specials; archery, stealth and scout. Which explained why he hadn't noticed her for so long. She looked powerful, even without seeing her stats, lean and muscled. Her signamancy was clear this was a killer, swift and deadly. As Fionn approached her muscles tensed, he didn't know why, but he was wary.

 

“So what happened to my father?” His voice was rough, like stones rolling on sandpaper, and he was surprised at how deep it was. It seemed fitting, a rough Rí for a rough side. “He was croaked five turns ago while you popped Rí Óg (young king), part of truce negotiations” Sadhbh responded. Her voice was much lighter than his, like a leaf floating gently to the forest floor so as not to make a sound. Fionn reached out for the throne and a slight twitch from Sadhbh made him think better of it. He wasn't Rí yet. “Bring me to the briefing room then, I need to know everything, oh the name is Fionn by the way. Fionn The Cool.”

 

***

 

It wasn't as bad as he expected. Still it could have been better. His father had died to his own stupidity. Some grudge match with the Rí of Mead, Con, had ended in a peace treaty, but his father being croaked was one of the conditions. Limestar had lost six cities to Mead before the fighting stopped. Mead was north of them and, for now at least, contained. But that didn't rule out Cronnaught to the west. They were circling like wild coos (hound - Cú is the Irish, pronounced coo, like a bird). Waterfort could probably hold them a while, and was where most of his forces were stationed. However if Cronnaught really wanted to take it all they had to do was push. Something was holding them back. North-West was neutral territory, almost. The bogs were inhospitable hexes, home only to the Fae and the Boggers, a group of barbarians that worked together against intruders to “their land”, how they survived in there no one knew.

 

“Waterfort is the critical point, we lose that and I may as well disband everyone and burn Limestar to the ground.” Fionn surmised as Sadhbh finished her explanation.

“Then I suggest we leave for it now. You are the best commander we have and I won't stay here and twiddle my thumbs waiting for the inevitable” he rose as he spoke.

"I'll make the necessary preparations Rí Óg” said Sadhbh.

 

She still hadn't passed rulership over to him, which as far as he understood was unusual. But he supposed the situation they were in was dire. She probably wanted to be sure he was competent before giving over the reins. Well as long as it didn’t take her too long. He was already developing plans for how to get out of this mess. But he’d need a better Chief WarRí Óg then “Diarmuid”. He was only level 3 and while he had apparently shown a lot of promise the leadership bonus was not enough. Though if the fighting started soon that may well change very quickly.

 

“We should make it in three turns move”

“Four turns, Rí Óg” Sadhbh interrupted.

“I'm sorry, but my mathamancy can't be that bad. You have ten move and I have eight it’s only twenty move away”

“Rí Óg if we are going we aren't to go alone, the risk is too great and we can't waste time popping another heir, we can't leave anything to chance. So we are brining a stack of pikers…”

“They have seven move, the mathamancy still...”

“And the Chief Signamancer, Rí Óg” Sadhbh cut him off again. “She only has six move but I believe she’ll be instrumental in the coming battle. You should also meet her, considering you are a caster”.

“I can meet her while we move, I don’t want to waste any more time than I need to. The turn will end before we do anything we need if we talk much longer.” Fionn started to leave the briefing room adding the weight of an order behind his final statement. Sadhbh followed him shortly, though he wasn't sure it was because of his order.

 

***

 

Meeting the Chief Signamancer turned out to stressful. It was impossible to get a word in edgeways with her. From the moment their eyes met she didn't stop talking, even as they travelled to Waterfort along the rough forest path. First it was pointing out that his eyes were the same deep blue of her own. Then it was that she had to read his future, she knew a little predictamancy from her father apparently. Then it was about how strong he looked, how weird the white hair made him, newly popped it was certainly strange to see. “A sign perhaps” was her favourite phrase. Her hair was quite light and seemed similar to his in that respect, though hers was blonde, not white. She wore an outfit was the same colouration as Sadhbh’s but was definitely not camouflage. Muirne (not that she ever told Fionn her name) seemed to prefer to look presentable over being ready for a battle. As she talked it gave Fionn the excuse he needed to write.

 

He had given Sadhbh orders for unit production, only units that could make it to Waterfort the turn after them were to be produced in Limestar and they were to be given marching orders immediately. She agreed. It wouldn't be a lot but a few extra stacks could turn the tide. Grosslair would produce sea units to come around the coast and hopefully arrive on time, weather permitting. Sadhbh questioned that one actually. Fionn smiled and asked to be humoured.

 

“What are you writing anyway?” Sadhbh asked just before turns end.

“If I'm right, I'm writing our way out of this predicament” Fionn replied with a smirk.

“You smile like your father did, it's nice to see” Muirne interjected.

“Thanks” Fionn replied flatly. Then leaned over the parchment in front of him and exhaled one last word onto the paper. Writing a spell was like nothing ever experienced, granted he had yet to cast a spell, so that may be similar. He imagined it'd be more… explosive.

 

Creating a scroll however was like removing the bottom of a cup and watching everything quickly and almost noiselessly spill out. As the trigger word was whispered on the scroll he had to hold every part of the spell in his mind and will the juice into the parchment. Spending more juice to produce the spell and push it towards into a new container. If Fionn were to continue the cup metaphor, it was like using the liquid to create a funnel to move… it wasn’t a great metaphor.

 

Sadhbh watched the process, seemingly fascinated by the whole affair. Muirne actually stopped talking for once. The escort or archers and pikers shuffled nervously. “I can’t use my juice to do useful things right now, like spawn units. But if I’m right this battle will need me to do more than possible in one turn, hence the scroll” Fionn explained. “With a bit of luck and some clever manoeuvring I think we can turn our current predicament into a big win.”

 

The turn ended as Fionn finished talking. Everyone felt an emptiness as the night swiftly came, the temperature and their moved dropped at the same time. With the coldness in the air everyone began to shiver, everyone except Fionn. He just stared at the scroll in front of him. Sadhbh started to setup camp and Muirne could be heard mumbling “Must be a sign”

---------------

((I hope you made it this far and enjoyed the first of what I hope to be several posts. I'm a huge fan of the Erfworld setting and story and I really wanted to add a bit of an Irish twist to it, I hope I can do it justice.))

Comments

    • despree

      Promising start!  Thanks for adding your creativity to Erfworld :) 

      • Salvage

        Excellent intro. Looking forward to more. I am curious to see what sort of caster the Fionn is. Well done.

        • Snababo

          Thanks very much for the positive feedback. I can't say how happy I am it was enjoyed by someone other than myself :-D.

           

          • criticalhit

            Hey, what a great start. Please write more. This first chapter was intriguing and attention-grabbing. I like how you've set up several mysteries (what kind of caster is Fionn? why is the warlady leery of him? how exactly did his dad croak? why hasn't the side to the west already attacked fiercely?), and I enjoy your characters already.