LOM FB/BGS Crossover: Fairytale Rescue . Saving fair ladies from towers and arranged marriages... again I twist it a little. Go join the LOM and, when you're done that, the Band of the Grey Shield, too! . A brief explanation:
Last time, Steven the Bull Knight sailed away on a quest led by another guy he met in a tavern, this time taking a shipload of stir-crazy Rainosians to Mythron. After dropping some people off at Falmore, their ship continued up the river to a small, fortified town near the actual city of Falmor.
-Sir Steven the Bull Knight, captain of the Krak and general war cynic
-Sir Jim the Dragon, leader of the mission
-A nameless scout
-An unnamed Dragon of the red variety
-An unnamed Dracu Boar Knight
-Green Dragons and Bull Knights with little to say in this MOC
-Ella Jacksdaughter, the "damsel in distress"
-Henry d'Colore, the would-be groom
-General Ducan d'Colore, the general antagonist
-Unnamed and expendable soldiers, some of the First Attack Regiment
-Gawain, the experienced swordsman of White Hawk
"This quest is my responsibility to complete safely, and I will not have reckless slaughter! The idea is to save the fair maiden, not burn her town and everyone in it!"
"When we left Iremore, I understood that we would make Mythron pay for their injustice. Now I have a band of hired adventurers on my hands who will gladly slit our throats if we don't deliver Mythronians to fight!"
"I am ashamed to think that my brothers from the north are so quick to seek death..."
"You southern green-shirts might be of our clan, but your timidity..."
A tall entity stepped forward from the shadows and both Dragons dropped their shouting match.
"Scout report," spoke the nameless wanderer, the lowest ranges of his voice clattering like gravel tumbling down a rocky slope.
"Where can we find our lady?" Sir Jim asked, shifting his focus from his clan-mate.
"The wedding's been relocated to the part of town with the thickest walls, and the place is crawling with blue-coats. I don't know how, but they figured out that we were coming."
That was all it took to start a heated argument between the edgy Rainosians.
Steven quickly made a bid for control, climbing atop the captain's - his - desk.
"If they want a fight, give it to them - that's why you contracted those adventurers, right? Whoever wants a head-to-head fight can lead a feint attack at the front gate, stalling as long as possible before joining battle. Some of us will go up and over the walls near the wedding grounds and attempt to find Jacksdaughter before they sound the alarm, and the rest of us will be waiting to give backup. Simple and effective."
Of course, the heroes had to argue for another hour before deciding to adopt the plan.
Elsewhere, another dispute was brewing, as a young, slender figure looked out the window of a tower, sighing with melancholy.
Another person in blue, this one solidly-built and warlike, entered quietly.
"Do you need anything before the ceremony? Ask and I'll try to find it for you."
The young man by the window turned to his father with a facetious smile.
"I'd like a fast horse and a recommendation to give to the recruiting officers of Nerougue, please. Can I have those?"
General d'Colore took it well.
"I know it's a hard time to get though, son, but someday you will look back on this day as one of the greatest turning points in your life. After all, my marriage to your mother was imposed on us as part of a business arrangement, but we spent many happy years together."
"Yes, but at least you had some things in common. Not only do I not love Ella, she's ten years younger than me and from a completely different background - she's an innkeeper's daughter, for the king's sake! I know she feels the same way."
Ducan d'Colore smiled in the manner of someone who knows that someone else is wrong and pities the other person's ignorant pain.
"See? You're already reading each others' emotions - you'll be a perfect couple. I also think I found a surprisingly good match, given the circumstances - her family owed us a debt of honor, she will rise to the nobility and it's a miracle that any woman at all will wed you now that the secret's out about your... incident... with that man in the Falmor Guard."
Faced with such practical logic, Henry d'Colore could only smile, nod and head for the stairs.
"Sure, dad. If you want me, I'll be doing up my hair."
At last Sir Jim's party was ready to seek Ella Jacksdaughter, led by the taciturn wanderer and his climbing equipment.
It was a clever approach, but not a perfect one.
"Hey, Billy, didja hear somethin'?"
"Garsh, I dunno. Kinder like metal on rock, it were."
Then again, it wasn't hard for an experienced survivor to get the drop on a pair of provincial guards.
Below, Steven, Jim and a few others splashed through a drainage ditch to reach the fortifications.
"There's the rope - quick, get up before anyone sees us!"
The first words past the Dragons lips were, "How are the guards?"
"Unconscious, as ordered. I'll move them into the tower when your lock-pick friend gets up here."
"Thank you. Steven, you and I will check the tower - we don't know who or what is up there."
Dame Lenore opened the door in seconds, and the other two knights quickly climbed to the top floor. There she was, face still freckled but body covered in an exquisite outfit - the object of the rescue mission. At the sight of Sir Jim, she smiled despite herself... for the split second it took for the crossbow bolt to find his leg.
A fully-armed Carthalian knight dropped from the rafters, discarding his crossbow and readying his blade as he landed with a cry of "Have at thee, knaves!"
Steven drew his weapons without hesitation, but a pang of unfamiliar fear swam through his veins. He recognized the Mythronian before him - Ducan "Mad Dog" d'Colore, the general who would have destroyed the Ibers of Falmore and Steven with them if not for an erroneous summons that had called him away at the last minute and who had slain Steven's first commander in single combat. He was a gentlemen but a merciless soldier and a far finer swordsman than Steven knew himself to be.
Their blades met, the general nearly swatting the captain's aside with his pommel. The Bull Knight called for his allies below, but he was spared another attack by a true act of heroism.
Sir Jim sat up forcefully, thrusting his unarmored arm between the swordsmen. In his hand, a beautiful stone caught the afternoon light.
"Stop this!" he shouted, and, puzzled, the fighters obeyed.
"I came to make amends and stop an injustice, not destroy your town, General d'Colore," the dragon began. Everyone in the room stared.
"This started months ago, when my troop was in Falmor hunting Outlaws during the truce. Our battle spread into the house of Jack the Innkeeper, and, in payment for the damages, my commander gave Jack what he believed to be a priceless blue diamond of Guaire. That was also the day I met Ella and suggested that we write one another.
"Unfortunately, Ella informs me that her father then sold the gem to the house of d'Colore for a substantial sum of money. By the time the Guaire gems were revealed as enchantments, the fortune had been spent and the heads of both families agreed that it was best if they settled the matter in the traditional Mythronian manner - by the marriage of their children.
"Also unfortunately, I have been informed that this arrangement was not satisfactory to the bargaining chips in question, and so I have come to settle the matter by other means - by repaying with a true diamond of Rainos the debt between my clan and that of Jack, and Jack's blood and that of d'Colore."
It was a long and somewhat confusing speech, exactly what someone might expect of a mix between a man and an elf, but it seemed to meet its purpose. General d'Colore took the stone and inspected it.
"This is a beautiful stone," he said, "and I salute the integrity that it would take to cross the channel and miles of hostile country to deliver a payment which I imagine must have put some strain on your finances. Nonetheless and whether or not you intended to deliver this diamond if presented the opportunity to take my son's fiancÚ and flee, your allies have already spilt the blood of Mythron at the front gate, and I must insist that you stand down to face justice."
The general's sword rose and the stone fell. Steven reflexively readied his shield, and Sir Jim sat still as his plan fell to pieces.
To be brief, the situation was little better atop the wall.
Back in the room, there was a ring of brass on steel, and the Carthalian fell forward on his face.
"Sorry, pops," said Ella to the fallen man, then beamed at the knights. "I can't believe that worked."
Outside, the back-up squad vaulted over the wall.
"Push them back! Clear a lane!" ordered a sergeant.
Steven, Ella and finally Sir Jim ran out of the tower as their forces clashed with provincial spearmen.
"Jump for it! Everyone off!" Steven roared in air, and hit the water running - once he had some cover he would try and use his crossbow, but there was nothing he could do until then. The runaway bride hit after him.
The withdrawal was difficult, but slowly the rear guard diminished as its members made for the woods. As a massive Dracu fought on with a sword through his gut and an arrow in his neck, Sir Jim backed toward the parapet.
Only when he was the last Rainosian alive on the wall did the dragon turn and leap, archers stepping to the wall behind him. With only one casualty on their side (and at least five on the other), all agreed later that the raid from the rear had been a spectacular escape.
(And White Hawk's character in yellow!)
Bonus: An Epilogue
Late that night, warmed by the torches of his cabin's desk and comforted by the distance his sailors were putting between him and the d'Colores, Steven sat in his cabin with his warm bed waiting at his back. Before he could enter it, though, he had some papers to read... a collection of poems he had found in with a stack of maps and charts. At first he had seen his ability to read as a strange power to be used for important matters, but now he could sense a power in the written word that went beyond mere note-taking on paper...
As Steven finished a reflection on the life of an insect on a wall (which, strangely, seemed to be speaking about more than what was spelled in the lines), an icy sensation ran its hands over his back and the firelight flickered. Someone had opened a door or hatch to the outside... and the crew always knocked first.
Someone who was definitely not a crew member slipped through the door, took a few steps into the now-empty room and stopped. Despite the burning lights and the parchment piled here and there on the desk, the cabin revealed no inhabitant.
The captain unfolded smoothly from beneath his desk once he had the location of the intruder and fingered the trigger of his crossbow.
"You," he said.
The long-haired lady said nothing, and instead moved in an arc around the front of the desk with a swish of silk.
"Do you know me, Captain Georgeson?"
"Last time I saw you, you were being thrown in a cell in Falmore. Shortly before that, you nearly took my head off with a crossbow. A few hours before that, you invited me to tea and drugged me. I do not want you on my ship, but now that you are here you might as well tell me what your mistress, the queen of Falmor, wants... or are you now a messenger of the d'Colores as well, Liza of Falmor?"
Liza's eyes did not flash - no light was generated by their glare - but they did briefly widen as some deep-running grudge was stirred by the comment.
"That woman is not my lady, nor is she queen of Falmor now that Marshall is in power. But... surely you are not the same as the boy who..."
"It's amazing how many Mythronians I've spoken to recently who nearly killed me at that battle and promptly forgot my face. Please, go on," remarked Steven facetiously.
"It's also amazing how some Mythronians can be served faithfully by someone for nine years and brush them off without so much as a coin to live on when they gain access to better circumstances. I may not have remembered your face, Sir Steven Georgeson, but I have heard your story. You spent twenty years of your life on a goat farm on a rainy coast, longing to leave. Then, when you finally escaped the prison, you found out that the outside world isn't much better - it has more space and more flavors, but that comes with cruelty and terrors that you could never have imagined. Now, imagine what it's like spending the best days of your youth doing the work of an entire household for a witless noblewoman awaiting ransom in a tower guarded by your natural enemies. Then, when you finally do what you can to find liberty, the people you wanted dearly to escape to drive you out of the town, saying that you 'had acted dangerously and beyond your station'. We are not that different, Sir Georgeson."
Steven didn't move the crossbow, but he was rattled.
"Then what is it you want of me?" he asked.
"You are to sail and march under the banner of the Black Lotus with this ship and your crew, make use of new equipment and recruits provided by my organization, remain in Falmor and take as much as you can from these Mythronians. The world isn't perfect, Steven, but the power to improve it is in our hands."
Liza held out a letter.
"Wait a sec," Steven said. "I've heard of this cult and its 'requests'. An Outlaw I know who rules a village on the coast of Rainos had a visit from one of your agents, and he said you threatened his life when he didn't comply."
The lady smiled.
"I believe that was the strategy we employed when recruiting Outlaws and cheap tricksters with Outlaws and cheap tricksters. This is the real game now, Sir Georgeson, and we prefer to contract honorable Rainosian captains by appealing to their sense of honor and first winning over their leaders. You will find, captain, that these orders are not written by my hand - they were personally written by Cedric the Bull. Good night, captain, and I look forward to our forces working together in the future."
She turned to leave, but Steven shifted his crossbow.
"Not so fast. These orders may be from Lord Cedric, but until I can confirm them I want you where I can see you. My marines will find you a comfortable berth on the ship. Guards!"
Liza looked at him in mild annoyance and moved her arm suspiciously. Steven tried to tighten his finger on the trigger, but he felt... so... sleepy...
When the marines burst into the room seconds later, they found their captain passed out on the floor by his desk, his crossbow on safety near his outstretched hand and a red letter on the black tabletop.
Fourth Wall - Talk to me in the comments