Dice-ember day 16

Welcome to Dice-ember day 16! Only 15 more days to go which means that things are heating up for dice-ember here at Brazen Wolfe Tabletop and I hope to reveal something epic at the end of it all.

Now this time of year is generally the time of giving, but what if I told you it was also the time of taking and expecting to give nothing in return. Let’s unpack that with tonight’s writeup!


Bowerbird

15BoBi

She stared hungrily at the plates of food piled high with roast meats, beads, cheeses, vegetables and fruits. As each portion of food was carefully cut and divided to those at the table the aromas of all the different foods mixed together into a swirling, intoxicating mix of euphoria that made her lightheaded and start to drool.

As the first of the food was cut into she could almost taste it, the sweet white meat was rich in flavour and dripping fats and a rich brown gravy. The potatoes are crispy and golden and the pumpkin was soft, creamy and slightly blackened in the outside which she knew only would increase the Natural sweetness. Well, she thought she knew.

As the feast was devoured the little halfling girl stood against the wall and waited to be called to clear the plates, hoping that there would be food left on the plates for her to taste some of the heavenly meal.

“well that was delicious Erin, simply wonderful” the lord of the house practically belched out after wiping the plate clean with a finger and slurping it down.

“Indeed Ruther, although I do believe I hate to much!” Erin cackled placing her knife and fork down on the table next yo the almost licked clean plate. “What about you Cartherius? Are you full my dear, you’ve hardly touched your plate”

Their son, Cartherius, shifted his gravy sodden food around the plate, a few bites in and having watched his parent’s gusto for consumption was enough to turn most people off their meal. “I.. I’m not hungry tonight. I had enough with the feast we had at lunch time” he replied carefully as he put his silver knife and fork down next to his plate.

His father, Lord Ruther, squinted his eyes, and looked narrowly at his son. “Very well. Maid, come clean this up and give the scraps to the hogs. I need them fattened up for the next feast where we will host Lord Austin and his family.” Ruther commanded, clapping his hands for full effect.

The quaint halfling girl scampered towards the table, a little cart for storing the plates and cutlery and a small bucket to scrape the scraps into, of which there wasn’t many. As she moved between place to place at the table the moved deftly and quietly as becoming to her race. When she retrieved Cartherius’s plate and scraps he smiled at her “Thank you Dee” he spoke to to her, softly with a warm smile. This caused his mother to cackle and his father to bellow forth with laughter.

“My boy, you do not need to thank the maid. It’s her duty to clean up for us. It’s just her lot in life. Your mother and I worked hard to get all of this, we could not just simply live off your grandfathers inheritance, no we had to do more..” he began. Cartherius tuned out as he watched the halfling girl, pretty despite her unkept appearance and position as house made, deftly and quickly clear the table and make off out of the room.

Dee scurried through the halls and down the stairs, careful not to tip and break a plate, cup or saucer as that would come out of her pay, and placed the crockery and cutlery in a basin ready to be filled with warm water from the hearth so that the grease would come off more easily. After pouring the water she ran off with the small bucket of scraps to the pigs where she would sit with the gentle giants that she had befriended.

As she fed the scraps to the pigs she would take choice bits of meat, or food that wasn’t evidently chewed on and would quickly wolf them down as to not be seen. She sighed with resignation to her fate as she cleaned off one greasy finger.

“I guess this is what Lord Ruther said. Just my lot in life. Though how I want more. I don’t want to wash plates and serve food for ever. I never want to have to sort through scraps so I can enjoy a feast.” Dee quickly spoke to the pigs, giving them a scratch behind their great big floppy ears. After a while she returned back inside to finish cleaning the dishes.

Some time passed and the seasons changed. The young halfling had grown into a young woman and had taken up the mantle of head maid who would look after the household, not just a scullery maid. During this time the relationship between Father, Mother and Son had deteriorated and her and Cartherius had grown to be close, almost friends.

“I can’t wait to get out of here. I am sick of fathers business and tired of mothers scheming. She wants me to marry Lord Austin’s daughter, Mary.” Cartherius spoke in hushed voices feeding the chickens casually with the maid.

“Well how I’ve seen it you’ve got two plans. One, marry Mary and make your father and mother proud and their business an wealth will flourish and so will yours. I mean that doesn’t sound bad. Mary is plain, but she isn’t half as daft as she looks yeah?” Dee said casually as she reached in and retrieve two eggs.

“Eurgh, hard pass. She’s as mean as father and schemes worse than mother. If I marry her my life will be over and I won’t ever be able to leave this city with all its shitty manors, it’s pompous oaths and those who look down upon all that aren’t who they invite over to dinner.” This, coupled with the look on his face that looked like he just ate a lemon whole, caused her to laugh. “What’s the other option?” Cartherius asked grinning.

“Well option two is much better. You become the maid and I will marry Mary.” she said, tapping her nose and giving her friend a wink. “That way I become filthy rich and your parents will throw you out for sinking so low as to become someone’s house maid.” Dee said, nodding as sagely as she could muster hiding her humour.

Cartherius laughed, hard, to the point he fell through the roof of the coop he was sitting on and the sound of smashing eggs and a very angry chicken could be heard. Her laugher joined his as she helped him out of the splintered wood and scattered straw. “Hey, you hate them just as much as I. Remember how they made sport out of killing those pigs you were so fond of? What barbarians.” Cartherius muttered as he dusted himself off.

She did remember and had not forgiven. She held no small amount of contempt for that family. “well then there is only option one then. Shall I prepare your suit now milord?” she teased as they walked back towards the house. Cartherius was quite in deep thought.

“There may be a third option. I will have to think on it though” he mentioned before entering the house first to go get changed as she head down to her room. She had dishes to wash.

During the following week the mood shifted in the house, Catherius was more courteous and polite to his parents who seemed to be overly receptive to his change of heart and attitude. It wasn’t until later that week that she found out that he had agreed to marry Mary.

Dee was confused but happy for her friend, she only wanted what was best for him and she was sure that what ever his plan was would end well for him. Not that he would ever admit it but he was more savvy and more cunning than both his parents combined. Late one night she woke to find Cartherius in her chamber.

“Shh Dee” he said squatting just inside the doorway rummaging through a sack.

“What are you doing?” Dee asked stretching and getting out of bed, her head level with his only for the time being whilst he knelt on the floor.

“Option three, well four but that’s not important.” he grinned as he reached into the sack again, the sound of metal clinking coming from within.

“What are you planning… The noises from that sack don’t sound like the makings of a smart plan.” Dee asked with morbid curiosity. Cartherius reached out grabbing her hands softly.

“I found out their plans, this last week I was plying them with information. They plan to overthrow the other merchant families, completely shut out their suppliers and run them out, dry. I also found out something Dee.. They have forced a deal to be brokered with the city, maids and house staff will become property of the estate all they need is the vote from the Austin’s and with my marriage with their family they brokered that arrangement. I’m so sorry Dee, when I found that out I couldn’t go ahead with the marriage, even if it was the plan to bankrupt both families and leave them in in the streets! ha!” he excitedly said as he grabbed a large pouch and held it to Dee. “They wont like what I have done, and they will blame you, well definitely me, but they wont be kind to you. This will give you a new life, a life you deserve.”

“This is too soon. What do you expect…” Dee was cut off by shouting, angry shouting.

Cartherius grimaced and closed the sack tight. “Quick. Out the back through the chicken pens.” he spoke in a hushed whisper before turning around “get some clothes on and grab what you can. I will meet you by the chickens.

“C. What. Don’t know.” Dee said.

“Trust me.” he said before running up the stairs.

In a matter of moments Dee had shoved everything she had cared about into a knapsack and was rushing up the stairs and out the back door, Cartherius just in front of him as they darted from barn or coop to the next. As they made it to the back of the fence where it opened up to the alleyway behind the manor they pushed the board carefully to the side and slipped through. They could hear the call for the city watch resonating through the buildings now.

“Cartherius, what do we do, where do we go.” She asked.

“Don’t fret Discordia, Dee. I haven’t led you terribly astray before have I?” He teased grinning as she put her hands on her hips and gave him the ‘you’re kidding me’ look. He grinned and slipped a ring of his finger before giving it to her. “For safe keeping, in case we get separated you can find me with that” he said. The heavy chunky bronze ring bore many cats eye motifs carved, or moulded, into the surface. Tucking it into a vest pocket of her tunic they stood and walked towards the entrance to the alley.

“I have some friends out by the market. We can stay there for a while.” He said as they started to walk casually down the ally. As he walked he pulled two cloaks from his sack, one moss green and small enough for a child, or halfling, the other was a faun brown and gilded on the edges. As he draped the cloak over Discordia’s shoulders and pulled his own cloak around his shoulders they strode down the road like nothing was the matter.

“Carth..” she began.

“That name must die in that alley Dee. A new life a new name. After this I can’t go back.” he turned his head towards her, his eyes cold and serious like steel glinting in a dark room.

“Well what do I call you then?” She said in a huff.

“Carter.” he said. “Call me Carter”


Well that’s all we have for today, a pair of friends, for now, starting a new life. As you may have guessed by the end, or guessed from the start of it (you clever detectives you) Carter came from a well off family who had some pretty terrible plans for the city which they lived in.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more Dice-ember content! Only a few more days to go so watch this space as we wrap up, pun intended, the season of giving here at Brazen Wolfe Tabletop. And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage!
The Brazen Wolfe

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