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Fidjit last won the day on November 22 2016

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  1. S1 E7 12/1/2016 SERIES CANCELED Due to unforseen circumstances brought on by life beyond the WoW, the producers of, FOR KEESHAN, are sad to announce the cancellation of this program. We value your dedication to our Redridge Rednecks, as they discovered life and strength beyond the friendly, safe confines of their district. Please know, it is with heavy heart that we bring their tale to a close. However, a Company is more than two, and for this reason, among others, we have decided to pull the plug. Thank you for your patronage. Sincerely, The Cast and Crew of... FOR KEESHAN!
  2. Now that Thanksgiving has passed, and the stuffing has made its way through the system, our heroic rednecks from Redridge will eagerly resume their march on Orc Mountain this Thursday. Stay Tuned!
  3. To all of those living in the US, Happy Thanksgiving!!
  4. Opening Post has been updated for current pace, location and date. Also, we have 1-2 spots open for anyone wishing to join us! Episode 6 is a wrap, and while our heroes might be a bit bruised from attacking an Orc camp, they managed to slip away with their skins intact. PLEASE NOTE: Due to our heroes needing to rest, they will take Thanksgiving with the Elfs, sharing shine, shrooms and fungus with their longeared hosts. We'll return to our regularly scheduled program on December 1st, same redneck time, same redneck channel. Thanks for reading, and on Thursday, be sure and hoist a mug and gobble a turkey leg.... For Keeshan!
  5. S1 E6 – 11/18/2016 Kainin Takes a Leekie Our Redridge Rednecks awoke to the peaceful sounds of Horde-tossed firebombs exploding on the rooftop of the Astranaar Inn, and while the fires raged, they failed to cause any significant damage to the town. “They’s a downrat nuisance if ya ask me,” Jeb said from his perch overlooking the lake. Charlie sat down beside him, having awakened shortly after Brother Jeb. “Wonder why they ain’t usin those?” Charlie said, pointing at the unmanned glaive throwers lining the streets. “Them thangs’ll shoot em down.” The sounds of a panting mastiff turned their heads, and they greeted a bleary-eyed Kainin who sat atop a wooden bench. “Look what the dawg drug in,” Jeb said, standing to his feet. “Where you been hidin?” Charlie stood to pet Jess, Kainin’s dog, scratching the giant mastiff’s ears. The tavern shook as another firebomb rocked the building. “I weren’t hidin,” Kainin said, unconsciously ducking his head from the blast. “I been here the whole time.” “We didn’t see ya,” Charlie said, ruffling the dogs fur as dirt fell from the ceiling. “We just heard you was in a tree town.” “Yep,” Kainin said. “Reckon this looks the part.” After the remaining pleasantries were shared, as well as concerns of what happened to Ellie Mae, who hadn’t been seen since bedtime, they listened as Charlie read their orders. “Savin this town could take awhile,” Kainin said as the trio plus dog walked toward the front desk. “Fer us?” Charlie said. She shook her head. “Take us no time at’all.” “Uh huh,” Jeb said. “We’ll whip em good, then head off to them Stone-talin mountains.” Once they left the tavern, Charlie marched up to one of the vacant throwers. “I wonder who we ask to use one of these thangs?” She said, ducking as a firebomb exploded atop the roof, sending sparks flying. “It’s no wonder they’s bombin this place so easily, no one’s usin’ em!” “Ask one a them nice Kaldories,” Kainin said, pointing at one of the bouncing Sentinels. He grinned and licked his lips. “I’m keen to give one a go.” “They calt longears,” Jeb said. “That’s what Ellie says they is.” Charlie nodded. “But we should help em, anyways,” Charlie said. She questioned the Sentinel. “Who’s in charge here?” The sentinel pointed toward a building near the flight master. Its roof was also on fire. “That’un?” The Sentinel nodded. Charlie turned to her comrades. “The one with the bow,” she told them. “They’s all got bows,” Kainin pointed out. “Tallest one,” Charlie said, clarifying her statement as they marched toward the town’s commanding Sentinel. When they arrived, her eyes drifted toward a large, trunked animal and a female being with a tail. She was blue. The beast roared a trumpeting sound and Jeb jumped backwards. “Fel-amighty!” he exclaimed. “What in tarnation’s that thang?” He leaned close to Kainin. “And what the fel’s that critter next to the bellowin beast?” “That right there’s a Leekie, Jeb,” Kainin said, nodding with confidence. “Taint nuttin ta be scaret of. And that tailed... woman's called a Dranui.” He scrunched his eyes in thought. “A Drunny.” He nodded. “Yea, that’s it.” “Talks real funny-like,” Kainin said, drawing the attention of Charlie. “Looks like a pitcher I seen of a thang called a Mam-Moth,” Charlie said. She lifted her cookbook from her magic belt bag. Moistening her fingertip, she flipped through the pages. “I sent away fer some chunks way back when I was just learnin ta cook.” She sighed as the two men watched her turn the pages. “Betcha can’t cook this un, though. Prolly all grissle.” “Maybe they call it a mom-moth ta sound more edible,” Jeb said. Kainin snorted. “And you folks give me shit bout eatin spider legs,” he said with a chuckle. He pointed at the mam-moth. “They’s fer ridin,” he said. “Not fer eatin.” Charlie snapped her book closed, then stuffed it away. “That Sentinel said ifn we put out them fires,” she said. “We can use them throwers.” “Lets get to it, then,” Kainin said, grabbing a bucket. “Just like a Hallows End party,” Jeb said, grabbing his own bucket of water. And with that, Bravo Company saved Astranaar. At least for the time. A few hours later, the soot -stained rednecks stepped from their glaive throwers and gathered on the quiet, empty streets of the Longeared town of Astranaar. The fire were out, the bombers dead and gone, and they prepared to move out toward the Stonetalon Mountains. "We done did it boys,” Charlie said, glancing about the town with pride. “Its safe here, now, fer the Elfs!" "Yep!” Jeb said, taking a deep sigh. “We saved tha town. We'll save the next one, too" “That’s what we do,” Charlie said. “Help folks, like Keeshawn helped us.” Jeb nodded, as Kainin pointed toward one of the war machines. “Reckon they'll loan us a few a them glaive tossers?” Kainin said. “Shore be handy killin Orcs with.” I done asked,” Charlie said. She pointed at the commander. “She said 'no'.” Kainin nodded. “Probably need em,” Kainin said. “In case more of them fliggity, bat wingers come back.” Jeb glanced around the town, wondering where he’d left his horse. With a smile, he remembered and whistled, summoning the saddled Pinto from the Flight Master’s corral. “I wouldn’t mind meetin that lady fer tha King now,” Charlie said as Bean came trotting from the corral. “Iffn yer up fer that.” Charlie’s horse, a brown Palomino, followed behind. Kainin whistled, too, and what hoofed its way from the pen surprised everyone. Smaller than most mounts, its shaggy body had long, curving horns and baskets attached to its back. Jeb’s mouth fell open as Kainin grabbed the creatures reigns. “Where in fel-amighty damnation did you find a ridin’ goat?” Jeb exclaimed, earning a nod from Charlie. “Sure not from these here Longears. They don’t look the goat ridin sort.” “I won it,” Kainin said with a wide grin. He hopped atop the saddle and settled in. “Some big, fat bear lost it in a bet.” He patted the neck of the gruffy critter. “He’s a beaut, ain’t he?” “I reckon,” Charlie said, climbing into the saddle of her horse. She chuckled. “An if we gets hungry…” “Plus,” Kainin said, motioning toward the baskets and ignoring Charlie's comment. “I got all this great stuff along with him.” Jeb shook his head, noticing that two of the Sentinels were discussing the redneck riding a goat. Something was said along the lines of, ‘it makes sense,’ yet he wasn’t certain. “Them thangs are nasty, wicked critters,” Jeb said, easing Bean into the middle of the road. “Ya best be careful or it'll toss ya into a crick er sumpem.” “Naw,” Kainin said as he joined the others in a line. “It kicks, bites an rams thangs. Orcs’ll run fer their lives when they see him comin.” “I kinda like him,” Charlie said. She clicked her tongue and her mount trotted forward. The others joined, talking as they rode for the gates. She waved at the last Sentinel guarding the bridge. “So long,” she said, lifting her metal-gloved hand to the Sentinel. “Fairwell!” And And with a whinny from the horse, and a disgruntled bleat from the goat, the mighty Bravo Company rode off to conquer another part of the world, at least in the Stonetalon Mountains. The road was uneventful, outside of stopping to read a signpost talking about a place called Hellscream’s Watch. While Jeb thought they should go have a look-see, Kainin and Charlie shut him down with a harsh, “No!” They did come across a lake filled with bog monsters, walking plants as Charlie called them. Jeb regaled his comrades about an old story from his grand-pappy, one where bog monsters featured quite prominently. Finally, after learning that bog monsters once wandered Redridge, the trio took the last turn leading to their destination. “I wonder where that lady we’s huntin fer lives?” Jeb said as he chewed a piece of jerky. Kainin pointed toward a tower atop a hill in the distance. “There be a tower lookin thing up that hill,” Kainin said. “I bet that’s it.” “Looks ominous,” Jeb said. “Reckon it’s just more elfs,” Charlie said, leading them round a bend I the wooded road. “Look, the forest ends here.” Sure enough, the forest abruptly stopped and the road turned toward an wooden gate carved with Elven runes. While the gate was typical of what they’d seen in other parts of Elf land, the glowing-eyed carvings guarding the gate caught their attention. “Nice carvins,” Charlie said, stopping just long enough to inspect, before riding through the gate. “Elfs musta been bored.” “Spooky,” Kainin said, earning a nod from Jeb, who had ridden close to touch the ancient, wood totems. “You two comin?” Charlie said, turning in her saddle to face her comrades. “Or just stay there inspectin the Elf handywork?” The ride up the hill was quick, and soon, the trio of rednecks found themselves standing before the Kaldorie Huntmistress herself, the very lady they’d been sent to find. “Bravo’s here ta save yer hides,” Jeb said, earning a glare from Charlie. The Huntmistress merely turned her head toward the moonshiner. “The Horde has bored a giant pass into the mountains,” she said, eyeing each member of Bravo Company. “We have few enough sentinels to spare. We must find a way to stop them!” Kainin’s mouth fell open. “They bored a what?” “A pass,” the Huntmistress stated. “A road, if you will. It leads right into Ashenvale.” “Fel-amighty,” Jeb whispered, shaking his head. “As I was about to say,” the commander said. “If we could just stop the damned bombing from the goblins' creations, we'd be able to launch a counter-offensive to take back Silverwind Refuge!” The Bravo Company listened as she continued. “It's been my experience,” she said. “That goblins are either lazy and unproductive, or too productive and end up killing themselves with their own explosives. Unfortunately for us, they're being motivated by the brilliant Chief Bombgineer Sploder.” “Get up to the Skunkworks on the west side of the refuge and don't come back until you have the chief bombgineer's head!” Before being dismissed, they were handed three more sets of orders, each dealing with a threat located near the Bombgineer’s location. “Any a yall know what a skunkworks is?” Jeb said, as they rode toward the gate. Charlie shrugged while she consulted her map. “It’s where they raise skunks,” Kainin said. “Must be usin the scent for their bombs.” Charlie pointed her gloved finger toward the south. “It’s down yonder ways,” she said. “We should ride fast, hit hard then get outta there fore they knowed what smacked em.” “Sounds good to me,” Jeb said. “But watch out fer them skunks. Nce that smell gets on ya, it never goes away.” He chuckled. “It sure as fel clears out the nostrils, though.” “Damned straight,” Kainin said. “Follow me!” Charlie said, snapping the reigns and charging through the gate, with Jeb and Kainin hot on her hoofs. They raced through a wooden grove, past a mange-covered bear and right into the Horde encampment, where two large Orcs jumped Charlie as she inspected the horde flag. The fight was quick, the attack fierce and the two orcs fell before Kainin and Jeb could catch up to the galloping hero. “They jumped me,” Charlie said when questioned. “I was just inspectin the flags.” Dismounting, Bravo Company led their mounts into the Horde camp, where the orc-looking little Goblins proved to be of little consequence. However, they couldn’t be too careful – especially with the threat of skunks hidden somewhere within the compound. “Hey, Jeb,” Charlie said, pulling the moonshiner close. She pointed toward the top of a mechanized monstrosity. “Look at that big-un up thar. Reckon that’s ‘Sploder?” Jeb and Kainin nodded once they saw where she indicated. “He looks pissed,” Kainin said. “I can tell ya that much.” Well, it was indeed the Goblin Bombgineer Sploder, because when they reached the top of the machine, he lit the fuse of a bomb, then charged at them like a front line Orc of the horde. Back and forth across the narrow catwalk they fought, but Sploder never had a chance against the brave souls of Bravo Company. And, with a final swing of her mighty sword, Charlie lopped Sploder’s head from his bulbous body. “Looks like those baskets on yer goat’s gone come in handy,” Charlie said to Kainin. “Bout the right size for a goblin head.” “I wonder where they keep them skunks?” Jeb said, as Kainin bagged the trophy and slung it over his shoulder. Charlie shrugged, then led them to their final task – located at a small lake just behind the compound they just dispatched. But it wasn’t the Horde they were about to face. As Kainin slipped off to take of ‘bidness’, Charlie and Jeb quietly made their way to the lake’s edge. As they climbed atop a boulder to gain a better view of their goal, the main target came into view. “Black magic water monsters,” Charlie whispered, turning toward Jeb. “They want us to kill twelve of em.” Jeb scrunched his eyes and rubbed his chin. “Why twelve ya wonder?” Jeb said. “Cause when you add that un in the bubble,” Kainin said, climbing the rock to join them. “You get thirteen. That, there’s magic killin numbers.” He snapped his fingers. “They’ll all disappear lickity split. Problem solved.” Charlie nodded. “Well, then,” she said. “That makes sense.” “Where the fel you wander off to?” Jeb asked, watching as Kainin hitched up his metal-lined, leather pants. “Had ta take… well, a leekie!” Charlie grunted and rolled her eyes. “Can we just get to it?” she said after a deep sigh. “We’s gonna have to swim, and I don’t want to be drippin wet when the sun goes down.” And with that, Bravo Company went about the task of fighting the water monsters. ------------------ Three hours later, they arrived back at Stardust Spire, tired, wet and happy to be done with their tasks. Fighting was hard work, and the rednecks hoped to take a well-earned break – complete with a new batch of moonshine Jeb offered up to his companions. “Did you shut that disgusting, wart-ridden goblin up for good?” the Huntmistress asked as they rode forward. Kainin offered her the basket from his goat, bringing joy to her stern, purple face. “That's better,” she said. “Without him, their technicians are sure to fall back to their normal laziness, which should result in fewer bombs and more accidents.” But a rest was the last thing the Longears had on their minds. More orders poured forth, and before a solitary swig of shine could be swallowed, Bravo Company was riding through the Horde-carved cliff, and into the Stonetalon Mountains. Bleak, dusty and covered with burnt-out war machines, the seriousness of their position became immediately apparent. It was one thing to dispatch bubbling, black magic water monsters, or even lazy, dull-witted goblin technicians, but this was different. This was real war, and as they were soon to find out, the Horde meant business. But did that stop Bravo Company from charging forth? No sir-ee Bob! Like heroes from an epic novel, the trio rode through the burning war refuse and right up to the flagged gates of a Horde war camp. No guards held the gate like before. However, in the distance, they could make out several heavily armed Orcs standing around a campfire. They were eating and drinking, completely ignoring the danger lurking at their gates. “I think we went the wrong way,” Kainin said, hanging back behind Jeb and Charlie, who leaned over their saddles peering into the camp. “I think we can take em,” Jeb said, looking at Charlie. “You think?” Charlie said, biting her lower lip. “A course we can,” Jeb said. “That’s what Keeshan would do.” Charlie nodded, smiling and feeling more confident. “Alrighty then!” But Kainin wasn’t easily swayed. He pointed at a large, heavily armed Orc standing on the side of the hill bordering the camp. “He looks perty damned strong.” Jeb shook his head. “Naw, man,” he said. “They all look like that, rat? Strong on the outside, squishy soft on the inside. Ain’t been an Orc that could stop us yet!” “I ain’t sure on these uns,’ Kainin said, shaking his head. “They ain’t even guardin the gate, Jeb.” “Look,” Jeb said. “If we charge in a line, head rat for the leader, we can get em good. They’ll run off squeelin like little pigs from a wolf.” “That un?” Charlie said, pointing at a particularly large Orc and ignoring Kainin’s dire warning. Jeb nodded. “You sure we wanna do this?” Kainin said. “I mean, we could just find them longears first, then come back.” “Yup,” Jeb said. “You’ll see. Quick strike and they’ll run for their holes back in Orc Mountain.” “Easy as pie,” Charlie said, once Kainin joined the line. “BRAVO COMP’NYYYYYYY!” Jeb said, yanking the reigns so his horse would rear high. “CHARGE!” Into the jaws of death rode the trio from Bravo Company. Emboldened by their successes, confidence carried them onward. Sword, staff and spear held high, they galloped right toward the stunned Orcs, who merely watched as the three attacked their leader. Clangs of swords, thwacks of wood and the whistled of spear sang through the dusty Stonetalon mountains as they leapt from their saddles. Like heroes of legend, they practically shone beneath the warm, bright sun of Stonetalon. The leader’s guard fell first, grunting in surprised anger as Kainin’s spear thrust gutted him like a pig. In the distance, the other Orcs of the camp cheered the Humans onward, laughing at the death of the comrade and pointing as they drank. Drinks were hoisted, and not one bothered to join the defense. The leader himself laughed, easily parrying the attack of Bravo Company and holding his ground. So overcome with battle rage, and the thrill of the assault, they never saw the massive Orc whom Kainin pointed out, come sauntering down the hill and wade into the fray. One swing of the Orc’s mighty, hooked sword sent Kainin tumbling backwards – leaving his chain vest rent from strike. The leader of the orcs stepped backwards and watched, lifting his mug of drink and guzzling it while he laughed. Charlie and Jeb never noticed Kainin’s injury, nor watched him crawl away on his hands and knees toward the gate. He never made it, as the leader whom Bravo had attacked, smashed Kainin over the head with his pewter mug, dropping Kainin face down into unconsciousness. Jeb was next. The flat of a sword walloped him over his unprotected bald head, dropping him like a sack of potatoes at the Orc’s booted feet. A kick and a laugh sent Jeb rolling, leaving him unconscious at the cliff edge guarding the compound. Charlie lasted longer, yet not even the Light could keep her safe as the Orc champion looped his sword around her guard, then launched her sword through the air and over the cliff’s edge. A backhand across her face, then a pommel atop her head was all it took to end the fight. Out cold, Charlie lay sprawled in the dusty clay of the Orc war camp. Had they been awake to hear, as well as understood the guttural language of the Orc, they would have heard the Champion invite them back again, whenever they wanted, for another beat-down. “That was the most fun I’ve had in weeks,” they’d have heard him tell their leader; a giant Orc named Saurboz – the one they attacked. “I hope they try again soon.” “Toss em from the cliff,” Saurboz said, pointing at the wounded, beaten trio of the heroic and legendary Bravo Company. “Their heads ain’t worth the waste of a good pike.” The rest of the camp cheered as the unconscious bodies were rolled down the hill, tumbling to stop in a heap beside the stumps of war-torn trees. Shortly, they awoke – groaning from the pain of the fight. They heard the catcalls of the Orcs above, as rocks rained down atop their heads. Easily within bow-range, they realized they were being taunted and scurried away to safety, and to heal their wounds. “Don’t. Ever. Do. That. Again!” Kainin said, once they’d escaped the lewd jeers of the Orcs. “I tried tellin’ ya it was a bad idea, but did ya listen?” He shook his head. “Nope. Easy as pie, you said.” He snorted a laugh, then pointed toward the Orc camp. “Sure as fel was for them.” “Lets find the Longears and get outta here,” Charlie said. “I had enough of orcs fer one day.” Battered and bruised, the wounded trio of Bravo Company rounded up their mounts and scurried back to the Longear camp of Stardust Spire, hoping their next assignment included some payback against the Orc commanders that had laughed at their weakness. --------------------------------------- Will Bravo Company call it quits, knowing that bigger and stronger orcs lie in wait just over the hills? Will the next time mean their death, while their corpses feed the carrion birds soaring above Stonetalon? Or will they gut it up and return to the fight, knowing they are the last remaining members of Bravo Company and have a legacy to uphold. Stay Tuned! For these questions and more, MAY be answered on next week’s episode of… FOR KEESHAN! ((Shout out to Felonious's A Rogues Workbook for his brilliant use of photo imagery within a forum tale. I wasn't quite as prepared this post as should have been, but the next one will be better. Cheers))
  6. Thank you!!!! So thrilled to have won!!! I hope everyone enjoyed the story. I've always wondered what the NPC's do in their spare time, so it was fun exploring one of those themes in Redridge.
  7. S1 E5 – 11/10/2016 Long-Ears, Tentacles and The Walking Dead Dawn smiled on the lavender land called Ashenvale, awakening Jake from his nightmares; ones filled with burning bodies and screams for help. However, unlike the last ones, the dead bodies of Bravo Company arose from the ash and attacked him with soot-stained swords. As he made his way from the corner of the Elven building that he’d claimed as his bed, a purple-skinned, long-eared Sentinel greeted him with a folded note. “Your friend left you a message,” she said, her voice high and tinted with accent. “Kainin, I believe?” “Thank ya kindly,” he said, taking the letter. He opened it and frowned, not recognizing any of the strange symbols scribbled on the surface. Clearly Common, he still couldn’t make it out. Jeb offered it to the Sentinel. “My eyes ain’t what they used ta be,” he said. “Would you mind readin it to me?” She smiled, then nodded once – taking the note from Jeb. “Of course,” she said knowingly. “Kainin says he’s in a tree town, and his dog Jess is injured. A spider attack. He’ll wait for your arrival, as he’s cut off from returning due to Horde activity.” She handed the letter back to Jake. “That’s the best I can do. The writing is atrocious.” Better’n havin purple skin, he thought as he took the note. “Thank you,” he said. “Ya know what tree town he’s referring to?” She shook her head. “No,” she said. “However, I suggest stopping at Maestra’s Post on your way. They’re under Horde attack and may have more information.” She dipped her head in a bow. “May Elune Light your way.” Therefore, once Ellie-Mae and Charlie were dressed and ready, the trio went to work doing the tasks they’d been hired to perform. First, they were to attack the Horde forces lurking in the forest across the road. It was here that the rednecks discovered just how weird this new land was. A giant ghost tree blocked their path, waving its see-through branches at them before they could approach. Ellie and Jeb were horrified, and urged their hero Charlie to go talk to the thing – hoping to appease its madness. Not wanting to be labeled a coward, the paladin did so - holding her sword high in case the towering ghost tree chose to be angry. What she learned would freeze their blood solid: the walking dead-people in the glade below, were concocting a potion that would melt the long-eared Elves with a solitary drop! And they were using the husk and hair of the ghost-tree’s former self to accomplish the task. Angered beyond words, Charlie brandished her sword, and with a yell of, “For Bravo Company!” marched down the hill and came face to face with a scene straight from Hallows End: a living corpse. Ducking a thrown vial of green, smoking liquid, she swung her sword and hacked off an arm. The corpse clawed at her, raking her armor with claw-like, bone fingers until Jeb shattered its skull with a swing of his staff. “What is that thang?” he exclaimed, meeting Charlie’s wide-eyed stare. Ellie severed the other arm of the wiggling corpse, then shoved it away from them with her booted foot. “It’s dead, but its alive, too.” “We are the Forsaken,” a voice hissed from behind. The trio turned, and their mouths fell open as another corpse, this one dressed in a black robe, marched forward wielding a green vial of liquid. Raising it high overhead, the Forsaken flung the vile at the rednecks so quickly, they could barely move. “Die and join our ranks!” Instinct took over for Jeb, and he tucked and rolled toward the Forsaken Alchemist. Finishing in a fighting stance, his staff whistled through the air and connected with the alchemist’s head in a thudding, crack! It fell to the ground in a heap of bone, rotting flesh and robes. “It got me!” Charlie yelled. The vial had hit her square in the chest, coating her armor with the vile, green ichor. Holding her sword away from her body, she ran in circles, as if doing so would fling the liquid from her body. “Get it off, get it off!” Ellie lifted her staff, closed her eyes and mumbled words of power. Light flashed around Charlie, glittering and swirling in a cascade of color – erasing the deadly green liquid from her clothes. Jeb ran back, just as Charlie calmed down. “Did it get on you?” Ellie asked, flashing a glance toward the fallen alchemist. Jeb shook his head. “Don’t think so,” he said, inspecting his brown workman’s shirt. “I kilt it before it could toss another a them jars.” Charlie took a deep breath. “Don’t let that stuff get on ya,” she said. “It’ll turn ya inta one a them.” She pointed toward the wriggling corpse. “Called itself Forsaken.” “Whatever it says,” Ellie said. “They with the Horde.” She pointed toward distant figure riding a worg. “Orc’s are commandin em.” Charlie growled, tightened her belt an snorted. “Then lets kill em and be done with this mess,” she said. “Save that tree, too. He wanted us ta burn the trunk and gather its hair.” And with that, Bravo Company went to work. Hours later, the trio of comrades rode triumphantly into Orindil’s Retreat. But as they would soon discover, they were just getting started. “Take this to Maestra’s Post,” one the Long-ears said to Ellie. “They’ll know what to do next. It’s under attack by Horde forces, so take care. Elune guide your path.” The road to Maestra’s Post was pleasant ride, for the most part, not counting the attack by a giant, white wolf. An easy enough task for our heroes, when Jeb gutted the beast for the pelt, they discovered the beast had eaten at least two of their purple-skinned hosts. A pair of green boots, a blue cape and an armored belt were pulled from the guts, causing the three to celebrate their luck. But that luck was about to run out. Maestra’s Post was a war zone, as fireball-flinging catapults pounded the ranks of the Long-ears and ignited the surrounding buildings. The commanding Sentinel wasted no time in enlisting the aid of Bravo Company. Giving them a company of Sentinels, they were tasked with destroying the catapults, breaking the assault and killing the warlock commander. “I’ll take lead,” Ellie Mae said, easing her armored horse to the front of the line. “Line up beside me and we’ll charge the lines.” Her horse reared, whinnying in triumph and filling the others with hope. Charlie’s eyes went wide, as she looked between Ellie and the catapults on the distant hillside. “Charge em?” she said. “That’s the way Keeshan woulda done it,” Jeb said, positioning his staff beneath his arm like a lance. “I wish I had a helmet,” Charlie mumbled. She pointed her sword at the Horde lines, then glanced at Ellie. “But I’m ready.” “For Redridge!” Ellie exclaimed. She lowered her staff. “BRAVO COMPANY!” she yelled, standing in her warhorse’s stirrups. “CHARGGGGGGGGGGGE!” Hooves pounded, arrows flew and the combined might of Bravo Company, supported by the bow-wielding Long-ears, charged into the flaming mouth of the Horde lines. The battle was fierce, and many times the Company found themselves outnumbered. However, Ellie kept them protected in the Light’s warm embrace, and before long, they found themselves in command of the field. But the horror was just beginning for the redneck band from Redridge. While victory against the Horde had been hard fought, and well-earned, they were now asked to find a gemstone, a treasure taken from fallen Long-ears by slime-coated tentacles. That’s right, tentacles! <insert dramatic music here> Imagine their shock, when they came across things that belonged in the sea - bursting from the ground and tossing anything it could grab into the air. Dead deer, wolves, long-ears - all lay scattered across the spongey, forest floor. However, knowing the life of a little girl hung in the balance, they swallowed their fear and charged into the heart of darkness. But accomplish the task they did, and when Bravo Company returned to Maestra’s Post, they discovered that the Horde had reestablished their positions and were bombarding the Long-ears once more. “Did you see them bull-lookin critters we fought?” Jeb said as they gathered supplies for the next phase of their journey. “They was huge. I wonder what they was?” “Them orcs wearin cow heads fer helmets?” Charlie said, earning a nod from Ellie. “I saw em, too,” Ellie said. “Bet them helmets was fer scarin us.” “Sure scaret me,” Jeb said. “If I’d had a chance to thank about it.” However, time was short and in moments, the Long-ears were sending them toward Astranaar. But, because they’d been so helpful in holding back the Horde, they were invited to ride the black sabre cats the Sentinels always rode. “They will take you straight there,” a long-ear said. “Just hold on, and trust the sabre to get you there.” The large cats leapt forward, yet chose not to take the road. Instead, they raced right through the Horde lines. Arrows whistled by their ears, and fireballs exploded around, yet the cats never wavered. Soon, they were through the lines and crossing the wooden bridge into Astranaar. Finding the little girl unconscious in her bed, Bravo Company offered her father the remedy for her illness. She drank it, then awoke, asking for soup. Yet, she was still ill and the father made a request for additional substances. However, before they could decide, a courier arrived with an official letter from the King. He wanted Bravo Company moved to the front lines in the Stonetalon Mountains, where the Horde was planning to destroy all of Ashenvale with a Goblin-built secret weapon. And as the company found their beds on upstairs platform of the tavern, they fell asleep to the thoughts of continued war. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Will Bravo Company follow their new orders and leave the little girl behind? Can they finally find sleep, knowing the numbers they’d slain and the home they'd left behind? Or will Kainin turn up inside the belly of a giant spider, having tried to harvest its legs and failed. Stay Tuned! As these questions and more MAY be answered on next week’s episode of…. FOR KEESHAN!!
  8. Another episode in the books, and our 'Ridgers are basking in the firebombed town of Astranaar. After tearing through the Orc forces at Maestra's Post, they feel they are the greatest champions on the world and ready to take on an entire Horde town. This should be good. See y'all next week!
  9. Today was the day. Thirty-eight years of a happy, settled life in Redridge was ending for Brother Jeb, and the fact it was raining felt right. Harvest time was upon the district, punctuated by falling leaves, pumpkins on the vine and quacking flights of ducks settling upon Lake Everstill. The morning wind had a bite, a crisp chill that spoke of an approaching harsh winter; hopefully devoid of snow – a rarity for these parts. Not that any of it mattered to Jeb. He was leaving, off to fight Orcs as the last remaining members of Bravo Company, and the thought he might not return was disturbing him greatly. But first things first, he had to seal up his still, and leave the keys with Breanna. His first actions of the morning, outside of filling casks of shine for the cross-continent journey, as to visit the stables and insure his horse was ready for the trip. A stableboy named Glen met him at the fence, where the youth had been tossing hay into the stalls. “Bean’s a real nice’un,” Glenn said, stabbing a pile of hay with the pitchfork and tossing it over his shoulder into the nearest stall. Oversized denim overhauls draped over his scrawny frame, while a red-checkered rag hung from his back pocket. He chewed a piece of hay as he talked. “Where’d ya find him, mister Bradferd?” Jeb draped both arms over the top rail of the wooden fence and smiled. The sun was just peaking its golden face above the mountains, yet Glenn had been working since well before sunrise. Just as Jeb had done at his still. “Bought him in Eastvale,” Jeb said, as the boy tossed another round of hay. “Bout three weeks back. He’s a beaut, ain’t he?” “Uh, huh,” Glenn said, stabbing the hay once more and leaving the pitchfork behind, sticking handle-up in the haystack. “Shall I bring him round?” Jeb shook his head. “Nah,” Jeb said. He reached into his pocket and fished out a silver coin. “Get him saddled up, though. I’m headin out in a bit and wanna be ready ta ride.” Jeb tossed the coin and Glenn caught it in one hand, rolled it between his knuckles and pocketed it in a flash. “You got it, mister Bradferd,” Glenn said. “Ya need any feed fer the trip?” Jeb frowned and rubbed his black, splayed beard. He hadn’t thought about that. He flipped the boy another coin. “A bag uh apples, just in case.” “Right-o, mister Bradferd,” Glenn said. “He’ll be ready when you is.” Jeb nodded once, then turned toward the boardwalk. He had to deliver the keys to Breanna before his comrades arrived at the stables. The last thing he wanted, was for Charlie to feel like he was the cause for delay. Fel knew that woman liked to hurry! “Mornin, Brother Jeb,” Karen Taylor said, raising her hand in greeting. Jeb returned the greeting with a wave of his own. “What brings you round here so early?” “Mornin, Karen,” he said. “Me and the rest a Bravo Comp’nys headin out ta finish what we started.” The woman nodded at the seriousness of Jeb’s tone. “That sounds dangerous,” she said. “Where bouts?” Jeb shook his head, yet his eyes caught sight of a stranger walking toward City Hall. What stood out most, apart from him not being from Redridge, was the bald head and eye patch. Karen followed his eyes, and they both watched the mysterious man march up the steps, then disappear inside of the building. “Can’t say,” Jeb said slowly, then faced Karen. “Ain’t seen him round here before. You?” Karen nodded. “He’s helpin with that new Gnoll uprising,” Karen said. She smiled. “Supposedly with a wagon train of some sort.” She scratched her head. “I think they called themselves the Crate an Barrel Caravan.” She shrugged. “But I can’t remember.” Jeb nodded. “Them Gnolls n’er seem ta learn their lesson,” he said. He looked toward the door to city hall and frowned. “Not sure we need fern’ers rootin em out, though.” Karen cocked her head. “I didn’t see you steppin up ta stop em,” Karen said. She crossed her arms and scowled. “But I guess Bravo Comp’ny don’t do Gnolls, huh?” “Now, now,” Jeb said. “No need ta get all hateful.” Karen rolled her eyes. She did smile, however. “We’s Orc fighters, and unless you care ta have another IN-vasion of them Blackrock bastards, you best leave us to our work.” “You ain’t ever worked a day in yore life, Jebediah,” Karen said. “Cept brewin moonshine! What makes you thank you’re fit fer killin Orcs?” She chuckled. “Maybe chickens, or a hog. But sword-swangin, head-bashin’ Blackrocks?” She snorted. “That’ll be tha day.” Jeb swallowed his reply, though he burned to preach a tongue lashing. When he got going, not many could hold their own, lest of all a merchant like Karen Taylor. However, he could just make out Charlie entering the tavern up the boardwalk, which meant daylight was burning. They were leaving as a group, with uniforms and everything. If he was late…. There’d be fel ta pay, and he’d owe the tab. Maybe Kainin could get away with sleeping late, he wasn’t life-long friends with the Light-welding hero. She’d take it outta Jeb’s hide, and then some. “Maybe so,” Jeb said with a sigh. “But I owe a debt of duty, and I reckon it’s time ta settle up.” Surprisingly, Karen grasped the tall, lanky man in a hug – pulling him tight and whispering in his ear. “You come back safe an sound, Jebediah,” she said quietly. “There ain’t many like ya, and Redridge needs all its people home, ya hear?” Jeb nodded, feeling the emotions of the moment hammer his chest. His eyes welled up, and he blinked the tears back, sniffing once. “You betcha,” Jeb said, pulling away from the hug. “Sides, I ain’t no hero. That’s Charlie.” Karen poked Jeb’s chest with her finger. “Safe and sound,” she stated. With a nod, she turned back to her cart. “Now get outta here,” she said, sniffling unseen tears away. “You’re scaring away mah customers.” "You take care," Jeb said as he walked toward the tavern. With one last glance at City Hall, he wondered who that stranger was, and what he was up to. Karen was right. When it came to stepping up, Jeb had always gone backwards, allowing others to handle the tough tasks while he talked about what they should have done better; usually over drinks. Until Charlie was recruited by Colonel Troteman, that is. Then it became personal, and now it was part of his being. He could stop himself from going, as easy as he could stop brewing moonshine - and that was impossible. Thirty-eight years, he thought to himself, allowing the stranger to fade from memory. A long time to bystand. Too bad it can't be thirty-nine. "Charlie," he called out as he walked through the door. "I got Bean saddled an ready ta go." "Daylight's a burnin, and we got Orcs ta hunt!" --------------------------------------------------- ((Shoutout to Mavis, Felonius, and the Cup and Blade Caravan. Thought it would be fun to create a tiny, microscopic tie in with your story and ours. Not looking for anything more, just expanding the world a bit to include others. While I did not ask permission, and will delete said reference if wanted, it seemed to make sense that people in Redridge would at least 'see' others wandering around. Cheers!))
  10. S1 E4 – 10/27/2016 "This Sure Ain’t Redridge!" One week later, after our Redridge Heroes basked (or suffered) in the aftermath of the Battle of Stonewatch, they all met up inside Crystal Boughman’s restaurant, just up the hill from the Lakeshire tavern. It was decision day, and the path they chose might well change their lives forever; or end them – that was yet to be determined. “Why we meetin up here?” Charlie asked as she took her seat. “Musta cost a fortune rentin this place.” Jeb frowned and looked at the floor. “Bri tolt me I ain’t allowed in her tavern, less I’m cleanin tables.” Charlie patted Jeb on the back. “I heard about that,” she said, settling into her chair. Five were grouped around a bear-skin rug, while two chairs sat in front of a roaring, oaken log fire. “You really killed that punkin. Way I heard it, I coulda made a pie outta what was left.” Jeb chuckled, then sighed with relief as Kainin and Ellie entered the room. “Nice place,” Kainin said, whistling with awe. “Reckon bein Bravo Comp’ny has its perks.” “Killin Orc’s all I care about,” Ellie said. She turned toward Kainin. “That yer dawg waitin by the door?” “Yup,” he said. “Won her in a bet. She’s sump’em, ain’t she?” Ellie nodded and took her seat. “Tell em bout Tomeya, Jeb,” Charlie said, meeting Jeb’s eyes. “She scoutin a head fer us,” Jeb said. “Into a place called Ashen-vale.” For the next half hour, the Ridgers discussed their path, the next direction for the remaining members of Bravo Company and where they might find orcs. The King had sent two letters requesting their aid. One asked they kill wolves and wolfmen haunting Duskwood, a place of horrors for those living in Redridge. Which instantly led to request two, which wanted them in Ashenvale fighting against the Horde. That meant Orcs! “Where tha fel’s Ashen-vale,” Jeb said, taking the letter back from Charlie. Since he couldn’t read, he asked Charlie and Ellie to explain what was what. “Ain’t sure,” Charlie said. “Sounds far away from here, I can tell ya that!” “Theys got Orcs,” Ellie said. “And I sure as fel didn’t sign on ta kill wolves!” “How about headin north through Dwarf lands?” Kainin said, earning a snort of derision from Ellie. He lifted an eyebrow before continuing. “I hear tell they’s dragons flyin round with little orcs on their backs. Just north of the dwarf’s city.” “You ain’t serious, are ya?” Charlie said. “Sounds like you been hittin Jeb’s shine too hard. Or eatin spider legs again.” “I ain’t gone near any a them squat-sized, dirt diggers,” Ellie said, crossing her arms. “Theys nuttin but thieves an filth, the lot of em.” Jeb pointed a finger at Ellie. “Danged rat they is!” Ellie nodded in reply. “So that settles it,” Charlie said. “Ashenvale.” “Reckon we’ll be sailin on ships,” Kainin said, shrugging. “Cus I ain’t heard of that there Ashenvale in the Eastern Kingdoms.” Jeb slapped his thighs with both hands, then stood. “Daylight’s a burnin,” Jeb said, pushing his chair away. “If we’s sailin off to some for’n land, we’d best get a move-on.” “You reckon theys like us?’ Charlie said, standing along with the others. “In Ashenvale?” Kainin burst into laughter. “Ain’t none like Redridge,” he said. “We’s special.” “Damn straight,” Ellie said with an affirmative nod. So, as the noon-time settled high over Redridge, the Bravo Company gathered their gear, stabled their horses and caught a griffin to Stormwind. Here, they hired horses, bought some supplies and made their way to the docks. Impressed by the sights, sounds and smells, the Ridgers carefully rode down the stone stairs to the wooden piers of Stormwind. “Wonder which ship’ll take us to Ashenvale?” Charlie said, stopping to stare at a group of purple, long-eared people. Dressed in flowing garments, the odd race of people towered over the Human dockworkers working nearby. “You will need to sail to Darnassus,” a femiale stranger said, having ridden alongside the four as they stared at the strange sights. Dressed head to toe in red and black, she looked like a Priestess, except her face was hidden by a mask. “Darn-ass who?” Ellie said, twisting the reigns of her warhorse and facing the stranger. While Jeb, Kainin and Charlie hired basic horses, Ellie had rented an armored beast of exceptional quality. While generating comments, they all felt they should have hired a similar mount. The Priestess chuckled. “You do not….” She paused. “You’re from Redridge, are you not?” “Danged rat we are,” Jeb said. “What’s it to ya?” The Priestess lifted her gloved hand. “No offense” she said, though her voice seemed sarcastic. “DarnassUS. It’s the home of the Kal’dorei. Night Elves, some call them.” She turned in her saddle and pointed a finger at the beings Charlie had gawked. “There are some, there. On the pier of the ship you’ll need to take.” “Kald, Kawldories,” Kainin said, mouthing the words to try and say them right. “That ship over yonder?” The Priestess sighed and nodded. “Yes,” she said. “That very ship.” “How far is it, ya reckon,” Jeb said, “this Darn-assus place?” “Perhaps two weeks,” the Priestess said. “Depending upon the weather, of course.” She smiled. “It’s an easy trip.” She clicked her tongue, easing her warhorse along the dock. “Light be with you, travelors.” Jeb and Ellie’s eyes went wide. “Did she say two weeks?” Jeb asked. “Two weeks on THAT?” Ellie said at the same time, pointing toward the docked ship. “C’mon,” Charlie said. “How bad can it be?” Two weeks later, as the ship docked at the base of the Great Elven Tree-city, Jeb dashed from the ship. He ran toward the edge of the pier, holding his mouth with his hand as he did so. Collapsing to his knees, he spewed the contents of his stomach into the ocean water beneath the dock. Green faced, and sunken-eyed, he rolled onto his back and stared up into the distant branches of Teldrassil. “Fel-amighty,” he moaned. Suddenly, his cheeks puffed and rolled over to spew more chunks over the dockside. “No more gosh-danged ships.” Ellie-Mae was no better. She fell to her knees on the pier, gasping and trying her best to maintain her dignity. Meanwhile, Charlie and Kainin rode their horses off the ship as if it was the most fun they’d ever had. What impressed the Ridgers most was the giant tree, and how there was no top. That, and the purple Elves they called Kaldarnies. But they were just weird. “We gotta fly on that thang?” Charlie said, once they made their way to the flight master. “It’s got antlers?’ “Maybe they fer holdin on,” Kainin said, though his eyes were elsewhere – specifically on a Sentinal, and the way she liked to bounce when standing guard. The glare he received when his eyes dropped a bit low sent him scrambling for the flying creature. “Darkshore,” he said, mounting up and flying away in a burst of feathers – leaving his comrades staring in open-mouthed surprise. “Don’t that beat all,” Jeb said, shaking his head. “I’d thought Charlie’d been the one to fly off first.” She rolled her eyes. “Just get on the danged bird, Jeb,” Charlie said. “We gotta be in Ashenvale by nightfall.” All was going according to plan, as the quad of rednecks landed in Darkshore. Outside a pair of seasick Orc Hunters, the trip was uneventful. Yet that was soon to change. Momentarily distracted by a fishing wolfman, they soon found themselves on a road heading south. Charlie took lead, of course, riding heroically ahead of the group. That was when she suddenly disappeared, just as she crested a hill. “Where’d she go?” Kainin said, yanking his horse to a halt - hanging on for dear life as it reared its front legs in a hoof-waving whinny. The two others pulled up beside him, noting that the road ended at the edge of a jutting cliff. “She’s down yonder ways!” Ellie said, pointing to Charlie and her horse. “She done lept that fel-danged river!” It was true. The road fell away into a raging, rush of churning white-water, and Charlie’s horse had made the jump. What was truly amazing, was the fact they both lived. “Down here, y’all!” she called out, waving to get their attention. “I made it!” Jeb shook his head. “See?” he said. “I tolt ya she’s gonna get us all kilt.” “I see a way over here,” Kainin said. Having controlled his horse, he’d ridden off the road and found a place where people had crossed before. Ellie and Jeb joined him, easing their horses down the trail, to the point where it met the river. Water crashed by, splashing them with mist and spooking their mounts. If they’d tried to cross without horses, they’d be swept away in an instant. “I bet I can make it,” Kainin said. “I’ll take one end of a rope, and y’all hold onto tha other end.” “That away,” he continued. “Ifn I get warshed away, you can haul my ass back.” Ellie tie one end to her saddle horn as Kainin eased his horse into the river. In moments, he was swept away, yet the horse swam for it’s life. In moments, he was trotting out of the water on the opposite side of the river. “Take the rope, Jeb,” Kainin called back. “It ain’t that bad.” Soon, Jeb was across and only Ellie remained. “I hate water, y’all,” she said, shouting above the rush of the river. “This better be the last danged one of these.” It was the first of six crossings, each trickier than the other. When they crossed the last one, Jeb pointed out that the danged Elves had built bridges over trickling streams, yet let the road collapse into the rivers. “I bet it’s ta keep fer’ners out,” Ellie said. “Like a trap er sump’em. Almost got Charlie, ya know.” But before they four could hit the road, they heard a yell from Jeb. He’d wandered off to inspect some berries, and none had seen him leave. He burst from the undergrowth, hunkered low over the saddle, while behind, was a massive, antlered deer of some kind, charging after the moonshiner like he was it’s last meal. “Kill it!” he called out. “It’s a red-eyed run atcha!” Kainin whipped out a throwing axe, and with the flip of his wrist, the deer collapsed dead into a heap – the axe splitting the forehead open like a melon. “It’s a deer, Jeb,” he said, hopping down to remove the axe. He wiped it clean of blood, then yanked a razor-sharp skinning knife from his belt. “And maybe our next meal.” It took next to no time for the survivalist to clean the deer and remove its hide. What was left, only the crows would find edible. “Can we go now?” Charlie said, fidgeting in her saddle as if ants filled her iron pants. “Day light’s a burnin, ain’t that right, JEB?” “I was lookin fer berries,” Jeb said sheepishly. “I n’er even saw that critter till it charged me.” Ellie burst into laughter. “Glad them Orcs ain’t watchin,” she said. “They’d shore be a’feared of Bravo Comp’ny, alright.” Charlie pointed south down the road. Paved with flagstone, it was in much better condition now they were past the rivers. “Let’s move out,” she said. With a click of her tongue, and tap of her heels on the horse’s flank, she trotted forward down the road. “Like a gosh-darned hero,” Jeb muttered, following quickly behind. “You’d think she thought herself Keeshan himself.” “Yup,” Ellie said. “She’s gone get us all kilt. No doubt about it.” Two hours later, the road-weary rednecks arrived in Ashenvale, at the wayside tavern called Orendil’s Retreat. Seeking rest for the night, it was a name they’d soon learn meant nothing of the sort. They had reached the war zone, and even though the scenery was something out of a shine-induced dream, they would soon discover that this was very, very real. ------------------------------------------------------- Will our intoxicated heroes relish the coming battle, and become the warriors of Bravo Company lore? Will they ever get used to being in a foreign land, among foreign people who ain’t like them? Or will they retreat and return to the safe, protected home called Redridge, and just talk about what they done over drinks in the pub? Stay Tuned! For these questions and more MAY be answered on next week’s episode of… FOR KEESHAN!
  11. And another epic session is in the books, leaving our redridge rednecks relaxing in the lavender lands of Ashenvale - a place filled with purple folk, sportin pointy ears. One thing is clear: they ain't in Redridge, no more. IC stories and updates coming soon. See y'all next week!
  12. As a Ravenholdter, I echo this sentiment from Viirichi: The Sanctum, Ravenholdt's forum was once a fabulous RP tool. For those of us who couldn't RP in the game as often as most, it was a life saver. Since the merger of the two realms, TNG has taken the lead for forum participation and the Sanctum's gone quiet. What might be fun to see, would be more OPEN forum stories to bring people together in that sort of RP. I know the ECLIPSE was one of those, and look how many people it pulled into it's vortex? It took a ton of work, so one more forum-focused and less in-game based might be less effort and have a broader appeal at the moment, especially with Legion marching through the world. Just some thoughts from the cheap seats.
  13. I've said it before and I'll say it again: You are one talented artist, Tirien. I LOVE your work.
  14. And here is mine, right in the nick of time. Chicken Scratch
  15. Something wasn’t right about Alma Jainrose. Maybe it was the way she watched from the door of her house, carefully observing the goings on in Lakeshire, yet never joining in the town’s festivities. Maybe it was the mysterious experimentations with potions, or the fact her daughter never left the house. Or maybe, it was because of the chickens. Lamar Veisilli couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but ever since arriving in Redridge, he’d had his suspicions about the woman – especially since her garden was the only place Magistrate Solomon would allow him to sell his fruit. Something about not being from Redridge, the man said. It was Hallows End, and the weather in Redridge was satisfyingly sinister. Gray skies hung heavy over Lakeshire, casting a gloom that rivaled the spook-filled forests of Duskwood. Cool, crisp winds swept down from the mountain tops, rustling the red-orange leaves of the oak trees – clattering the rooftops with large, brown acorns. A misty fog hid the distant shore of Lake Everstill, providing haunting glimpses of the broken-topped turrets of Stonewatch Keep. “Good evening, Lamar,” Martie Jainrose said as she walked the garden tossing feed to the chickens. They ran alongside her, clucking and pecking at the ground wherever the seed hit the freshly turned soil. “Any takers for your fruit today?” “No-a,” he said, shaking his head. He lifted a brown-spotted apple from his cart. “There is not-a person who-a come a-rounda to see Veisilli.” She smiled, stopping her fanning of feed long enough to earn a look. “That’s so nice,” she said. The chickens looked at Veisilli and cluck-clucked. “Maybe tomorrow? It’s the Day of the Dead, after all.” “What does that-a have to do with-a Veisilli’s fruit-a?” he said, dropping the apple back into his cart with a thunk. His bananas were brown, his pumpkins were too small to be carved into jack-o-lanterns and the melons… No one ate melons; at least not in Redridge. “You know that-a no peoples buy anything from-a Veisilli since he come-a here.” She shrugged and went back to feeding the chickens. He smoothed back his hair against a rushing wind, one that tumbled brown, fluttering leaves across the near-dead garden. Harvest was long past, and the vegetables that the Martie grew had been picked weeks ago, leaving nothing now except the husks of crinkled, dried vines. It was true, though. The only people who passed by his stall were those hunting hogs for Martie, and they were well-provisioned. She knew this, yet always asked the same question: “any takers for your fruit?” Well, there were. The chickens liked the plantains. As he watched Martie feed the white, clucking yard birds, he recalled his first day in Redridge. Fresh from the farm, he’d taken to the road following his cousin Antonio Pirelli, the most famous traveling salesman in all the Eastern Kingdoms. Dressed like a gentleman, the man marched the roads like a champion. Heroes stopped to inquire into his latest gadget, soldiers asked for herbs and women swooned as he passed by. But Veisilli? He was ignored. It could have been the patched, cotton-stitched farmers’ clothes, or the rickety, broken-down wooden cart he pushed. But he remained undaunted. His pa-pa told him to learn from Antonio, to watch what he did and model his salesmanship. He said the people of Redridge were a welcoming, kind-hearted folk, and they would buy his fruit as if it were candy. So, when the magistrate refused to let him sell on the boardwalk, he demanded to be given a plot. He spoke of his high-quality fruits, how they were the best in the Kingdoms and Veisilli was a man to be trusted. Solomon told him his plot would be next to the Jainrose house, and he was to never enter Lakeshire without a legal writ of entry; obtained only from Solomon, of course. Rain, snow, sleet and sunshine, Veisilli stood his ground. Once a week he’d return to Elwynn to replenish his fruit, and there, his pa-pa would inspire him to continue. He’d say, “Veisilli, you’ll-a be the most-a famous salesman in all-a Reda-ridge. Justa mark my words-a.” Maybe with the chickens. They were his only companions. Day in and day out, they scratched, digging up grubs in the rich, loose soil of the garden. He’d wondered why the Jainrose family kept them, whether they were pets. Martie fed them twice a day, and they chased after her like she was their queen. But that was normal enough. It was Alma’s watching eye that gave him the creeps. Peeking through drawn curtains, she’d watch her sister feed the birds, yet never came out herself. When Veisilli tried to make friends, the door was slammed in his face with nary a word. He watched people come and go, arriving empty handed and leaving with a large, wriggling canvas bag. Sometimes they had bottles, but more often than not, it was a bag. What really caught his attention however, were the children. It started two weeks earlier, right when the decorations for Hallows End went up. Massive pumpkins from Elwynn Forest were carted into the town. Piled high in the back of mule-driven wagons, their arrival made Veisilli angry and he said as much to Martie. She only smiled, shrugged and said, “Maybe tomorrow.” As the town came alive beneath the flickering, yellow glow of the jack-o-lanterns’ grin, the first child arrived at Alma’s house. Veisilli had stepped away from his un-visited cart, and was watching a school of fish jump near the dock when he saw a peculiar scene. It was a woman, dressed in a simple, blue cotton dress and she held an eight-year-old girl by the hand. They arrived quietly, and without much ado - as if wanting to remain unseen. The girl waved at Veisilli, yet was yanked inside by the woman, whom had been greeted with pleasantries by Alma. An hour later, the woman left; alone, without the girl. “Maybe she’s-a staying the night-a,” he said to one of the chickens in the garden. It cocked its head and looked – giving him the one-eyed chicken glance. It clucked, flapped its wings, scratched and pecked the dirt. Veisilli tossed the bird a small, rotten plantain, which instantly attracted the three others. That night, as he slept beneath his fruit wagon like he always did, he dreamed he was a chicken. For seven days, the same thing occurred. A man or woman arrived with a child, then left an hour later without the child and Veisilli had dreams about chickens. The problem with the dreams, was the fact they became more real with every instance. Sounds, smells, tastes… all added to the intensity of the experience, leaving him tired and exhausted the next day. The scratching was the worst, and waking to the taste of garden dirt. The final six days leading to Hallows End were different. People no longer came with children. Instead, they left with wriggling, canvas bags, and that was what concerned him. Something was seriously wrong at Alma’s house, and on Hallow’s End, he decided he’d had enough. He had to know what had become of those wide-eyed, innocent children that gave him a smile and a wave. “Miss-a Martie,” he said, tossing a peeled, rotten plantain to a pair of chickens. The woman turned, meeting his question with her bright, cheerful disposition. “Where-a do the children a-go when they come to see miss-a Alma?” Martie’s smile never changed. “What children?” she said. “You know-a what I mean-a,” he said, crossing his arms. The four chickens stopped pecking the fallen feed, and each turned one eye toward Veisilli. “The children. They-a go inside, but they-a no return-a.” “Have you sold any fruit today?’ she said, cocking her head the other way. The same smile, the same tone, the same cheerful disposition. “Do not-a be a changing the subject-a,” he said, scowling. “Maybe I tell-a the guard-a Berton. Maybe he-a know what needs to be done-a.” Martie snapped her feedbag closed, then walked up to Veisilli’s cart. “I’ve never noticed how bright your apples are,” she said, peering at each piece of reddish-yellow fruit with a careful eye. “I know my sister Alma loves them dearly.” She lifted two of the Goldencrisp Apples from his cart. “Would you care to sell these to her?” she said with a heart-warming smile. “I’ll let you in to see.” If Veisilli had been successful selling his fruit, he might have said no and marched down to see the guard. He might have explained the odd behavior of the two women, and the disappearing children. But he had a legacy to uphold, a pa-pa to impress and a cousin to out perform. Therefore, when Martie offered the invitation, the shock and surprise of a potential sale stunned him. Alma’s friendship could open a path into Lakeshire, maybe even a writ from Solomon if she agreed. He would be the famous Veisilli! Greatest fruit salesman in all Azeroth. Therefore, all thoughts of children slipped from his mind and he eagerly said, “Yes!” Martie cocked her head and smiled brighter than ever, handing the apples to Veisilli. “Well, then,” she said. “We should go immediately. Sis will be making dinner soon, and will enjoy these ever so much with her meal.” She led Veisilli to the front of the cottage, then knocked on the door. Below in Lakeshire, yellow lights flickered in the windows, revealing the toothy grins of Hallows End Jack-o-lanterns smiling back at Veisilli. Children ran around the boardwalk, wearing costumes of all types, while their parents drank from barrels of spirits and ale. He longed to be with them, to be part of a community that seemed so tight knit. With this sale... The door swung open, and firelight spilled from within - hiding Alma Jainrose's face in shadow, while illuminating their own. “Sister,” Martie said. “Our friend Veisilli has a surprise for you. Might we come in?” “Of course,” Alma said, her voice more musical than could ever have imagined. “It’s so nice to have company on a night such as this.” She opened the door to its full width, just as a cold wind sent dead, brown leaves rustling through and scattering along the floor. Urgent sounds of chicken clucks came along with the wind, cackling atop its biting breath as if trying to capture Veisilli’s attention for more plantains. They did that, when hungry. He didn’t notice, and stepped into the cottage – offering the apples just as the door creaked shut. “Thank you, dear,” the four chickens gathering beneath the cottage window heard Alma say. They flapped their wings and furiously pecked at the shingled wall. “These will go so well with my Hallows End punch. Would you care for a drink? It’s the Magistrate’s favorite.” "I would-a love some punch-a," Veisilli said, not knowing they'd be the last words he'd ever speak. Later, he'd remember the punch tasting a bit like dirt, with a hint of rotting plantain. And apples. Honeycrunch, his finest. Below in the Lakeshire Tavern, the townsfolks drank their ale, held their costume contests and celebrated the holiday. But most important was the roast chicken meal they ate, humbly provided by the local alchemist named Alma Jainrose. A Hallows End tradition dating back before the great wars, it was believed to invigorate the Lakeshire adults with the gift of youth - readying them for the harsh, mountain winters of Redridge. And so it did. --------------------------------- The next morning, as the Day of the Dead descended upon Lakeshire, people gathered their loved ones, collected their gifts for the ancestors and made their way to the Everstill Cemetary across the lake. To get there, they chose to pass beside the Jainrose Cottage, to offer thanks her for her wonderful meal by leaving flowers on her doorstep. Some noticed the unattended fruit cart, yet none bothered to grab an apple, a banana nor a melon. The man was a foreigner, which meant his fruit must be tainted. It was a good thing he was gone, one man said. A chicken clucked in response. One child, a young girl of seven, pointed to the five chickens pecking away at a pile of rotting plantains. “Look ma,” she said, tugging on the hem of her mother’s apron. “Did ya know chickens liked bananas?” “Nope,” the heavy-set woman said in a gruff voice, walking onward and paying no heed to the yard birds. “They’s dumb birds.” The largest, a gray-white chicken much different from the others, stopped eating and met the eye of the little girl. She giggled, then waved. The chicken flapped its wings, blinked it's eye and cluck, clucked - returning to its meal of rotten plantain. But before it pecked the mush, it scratched the dirt - kicking the soil into the dying vines while bobbing it's head. Had anyone cared enough to notice, they might have picked out the name, Veisilli.