Friday, August 13, 2010

Voltaan Jones

It's been a while since I have posted any roleplay stories concerning my EQ2 toons. In fact, I think the last lot was way back on my old Revenants blog. So, without further a do, here's a nice little introduction to my Bruiser, Voltaan. It should give you a little look into the cantankerous old fools personality. I hope you enjoy.

Sun dappled the courtyard of the Inn as a light late summer breeze rustled the leaves above the patrons taking shade. The sound of children playing filled the courtyard, their laughing and screaming giving testament to the relaxed atmosphere outside Irontoes East in North Qeynos. A mixture of quiet conversation alongside raucous jubilation played a counter tune to the children playing as locals, workers and adventurers alike enjoyed the clement weather, a beverage and a fulfilling home cooked meal on their day of rest.

Two young boys indulged themselves in a mock battle whilst their parents, a fat jolly looking man and homely woman along with the boys younger sister, all relaxed at a nearby table. Waving wooden swords menacingly as they circled each other, their saucepan helmets and big round pot lid shields appeared comical to those looking on. The taller of the two boys attacked, his voice cracking as he released a battlecry and leapt at his brother who barely managed to bring his wooden sword to play in time to stop his sibling smashing it on to his saucepan helm. The rapid movement caused the pan to tilt, covering the boys left eye and as his brother drew back for another swing he did not see this time the play weapon moving in towards his temple, his view blocked by the comically tilted pan. A loud ‘Clang!’ rang out as the sword connected and the well orchestrated battle scene quickly turned into two boys wrestling as they each tried to disarm the other. Eventually, with both boys breathing heavily they collapsed in a heap on the grass laughing uncontrollably.

The old man sat quietly watching the scene and smiled, remembering the exuberance of youth. Placing his flagon down on the table in front of him, he leant back and stretched his huge but ancient frame, his back cracking as he worked out the cramp from sitting too long in the same position. Leaning again on the table he once more nursed the flagon of warm ale in front of him and swapped his gaze to the rest of the patrons, enjoying their frivolity and warmth, feeling a part of their lives for a brief moment even though he sat alone. Sighing he placed the large tankard down and smoothed out his well trimmed silver beard, wiping the froth from his top lip as the joyous noises of the afternoon were broken by the sound of thundering hooves approaching the Inn.

Voltaan watched with interest as four Qeynos Guardsmen dismounted and led their mounts to the tether post. Noting their uniforms and studying the Lieutenant who led the group as they tied their mounts securely, Voltaan surmised he was a man of uncivil character, the harsh looking black trident goatee mirroring his stern cold grey eyes. He noticed also how the Lieutenant scanned the crowd, it was obvious he was looking for someone. Voltaan kept watching, aware that as a Freeportian he was unwelcome here in Qeynos by the Guards and wondered if they were looking for him, and indeed if so, he wondered who would report the quiet old man for having a drink and a steak and ale pie in the shade?

But the Lieutenant looked directly at him and without pausing, continued to scan the crowded courtyard. They were not after him and Voltaan sighed in relief. Not because he had any fear of the Guards here, but because he rarely got to enjoy quiet moments of relaxation and to ruin that would have been a shame. Continuing to watch the scene with interest Voltaan saw the Lieutenant had found his quarry as he moved with purpose, his hand resting on his sword hilt, towards the family that he had seen earlier, the two playing boys now watching with interest also as the Lieutenant stopped to stand in front of their Pa at the table.

“Corsten Riley of Starcrest. You are hereby under arrest for misdemeanour, theft from her Ladyship Antonia Bayles court” the pompous Officer loudly stated as he reached for the fat mans shoulder. The man looked up bemused and managed a stuttered “Wh..wha..?” before the Lieutenants gauntlet crashed across his cheekbone with a vicious slap. Voltaan felt his anger rise as he saw the now not so jolly fat man look up again, this time with fear etched in to his features, his top lip bloody from the strike. The young daughter of the man began to cry and moved to her father’s side muttering through her sobs “Pa, Pa!” as she clutched at him.

The Lieutenant pulled the man to his feet from the table, the mans wife quiet and white as a sheet with her hand to her mouth as is stopping herself from speaking. She knew the cruelness of some of the Officers of the Watch around here and to speak could make her husband’s situation worse. The young girl, who must only be around four years old, thought Voltaan, did not know the correct etiquette when dealing with guardsmen and clung to her father’s arm trying to pull him back from being taken. The Lieutenant pulled the large man with some force and as the girl started to fall away, her grip no match for the grown guard, the Lieutenant back handed the young girl with force that sent her sprawling across the grass at his feet.

The older of the two boys started forward, collecting his wooden sword from the ground with the intent on helping his father and sister, but before he could reach the Officer he felt a strong but gentle hand on his shoulder. Turning and looking over his shoulder, he saw Voltaan, huge bare scarred shoulders sticking out from the deeply polished leather breastplate, the symbol of a raised fist in black at its centre. Looking in to Voltaan eyes, the boy shivered and realised that the huge old man was not looking at him but had his eyes firmly upon the Lieutenant who was by now stepping over the fallen girl and puling his struggling father to the tethered mounts.

The boy watched as the old man let go of his shoulder and moved past him towards the Officer, the easy grace with which he moved contradicting the image of his lined and weather haggard features.

“Sir” the boy heard Voltaan say, his voice deep and rich as he addressed the Lieutenant. “What is this man’s crime?”. The Officer stopped and handing the arm of Corsten Riley to one of his men he slowly turned and faced the aged warrior. Smiling on seeing an old has been in front of him, the Lieutenant replied with a hint of disdain in his tone, “That is none of your concern old timer. Be about your business. I’m sure your ale is of more interest to you than a poor mans crime.”

Voltaan smiled back, nodding his head ever so slightly, as if in agreement. The Guards watched him as he slowly looked over his shoulder at the young girl who was now in her Mother’s arms crying inconsolably. He looked back towards the Officer.

“And the girl Sir. What was her crime? Protecting her Father?” Voltaan offered as the Officer had begun to turn his back on him.

Returning to face Voltaan, this time his hand upon his sword hilt, the Lieutenant reiterated his point “I have told you old man. Stay out of this. Nothing here is of concern to you..unless you wish to join our friend here in enjoying the cuisine at the Jaol.” He laughed at his own joke and several of the guards smiled.

Taking a deep but purposeful breath Voltaan took a deliberate step towards the Officer, who on seeing this slowly began to draw his sword.

“If that sword leaves its scabbard you dung beetle, you are sure to reassess your decision. Now run along like a good little puppy and leave these good folks be laddy. Perhaps you can swing by the nursery on your way back to the guard house, knock a few kids around. Make you feel more important, you pumped up peacock!” Voltaan spat, his anger growing.

The Officer quite obviously enraged by the biting comments now nodded to his men, who all but one who was still holding their prisoner, fanned out to surround the old man.

“Look old timer, we have no wish to hurt an old man. You look like a veteran,” he said, his tone turning conciliatory. “You know this business I’m sure. They break the law and we...”

“..beat up children.” Voltaan finished for him, his tone flat. The patrons of the Inn had now gone deathly quiet, watching the spectacle unfold as the old man faced down the young lithe Officer.

“I’ve had just about enough of this. It is your choice. You brought this on yourself”, the Lieutenant said with a note of finality in his voice. “Take the old timer in also”, he said to the guard nearest to him and began to turn away from the crowd back towards his mount.

Just as the guard was moving towards Voltaan with a billy club raised in his hands Voltaan moved forward with astonishing speed to meet his advance, stepping inside his reach and squared away a savage head butt, splitting the guards lip and smashing his nose flat on his face. Without a sound the guard slumped to the floor, unconscious. Witnessing the sudden violence from the old man, the Officer fully drew his sword and moved in to take Voltaan with a skilled lunge. Side stepping the attack to his right Voltaan grabbed the Lieutenants collar with a huge fist, and bent slightly, his other hand gathering up the Officers crotch. Turning and standing to his full height at the same time, Voltaan lifted the fully armoured pompous Lieutenant clear above his head and in one swift move cannoned him directly in to the path of the other guards now moving towards him, knocking them all to the ground.

The silence was deafening as the guards gathered themselves up, one helping up their friend with the smashed nose, another helping up the Lieutenant. Each turned their gaze to Voltaan, and one by one they all drew their swords.

“Aww, come on now me lads. Four armed men against one ‘old man’. How can that be fair?” Voltaan asked his lopsided grin and wild look in his eyes confusing them. “I mean fair is fair eh? You boys want to go back to the armoury, grab some long pikes or something? Maybe give you a chance?” Voltaan carried on grinning and now rhythmically pounded his right fist in to left palm.

“Who are you?” the officer asked, confused at why an old man would come to the rescue of scum.

“I’m Voltaan. And this..” Voltaan glanced at his right fist, displaying it in front of the Officers eyes. “This my friend, is The Freeport Hammer, and you owe the girl an apology”. Looking the Lieutenant directly in the eyes, his cold icy gaze portraying only awaiting pain and death, Voltaan waited.

The Officer, obviously understanding the way things were turning, addressed his men but kept his eyes on the old man, “Mount up men, let’s go deal with this thieving scum”. Looking at Voltaan, he snarled “We’ll be back old man, then I'll make my.... apology” and slowly turning away, The Lieutenant climbed in to his saddle, pausing only to grab the prisoner by his now fitted manacles. Taking one last look at Voltaan, he and his guards rode off.

Voltaan quietly moved back to his table and after righting the chair that had been knocked over in the scuffle he sat quietly, with all eyes still watching him. Voltaan looked at the receding backs of the Officer and his men, and stretching his shoulders, he muttered, “Aye laddy”. Clenching his right fist tightly, running his other hand across the heavily scarred knuckles, he finished, “We’ll be waiting”.

[Adurj is a silly old fool himself. He forgot to say that he reserves all rights as author in connection with the above post - Ed]

The reference to a fist being named as 'A Hammer', first came to my attention whilst reading a David Gemmell book concerning a young warrior, Bane and his mentor, a gladiator by the name of Rage. Go buy his books have a read of you haven't ever previously. They are amazing. The 'Hammer' reference came from a book in the 'Rigante' series of novels.
Be well.

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