[IaWA - IG] The Inn by the Side of the Road

edited October 2007 in In-Game
scene 1
Sigismund, Andreas, Ilsa

The inn has no name, hidden from the world in the depths of the Schwarzwald on a back road folded in between a pair of low mountains. It is small - little more than a farmhouse - but there are never so many patrons that this becomes a problem.

The forest is dense in the valley, mostly fir trees and tall, black pines. Less hardy trees are scattered throughout, these having shed their leaves long ago, in advance of the now-deepening cold, standing dark and skeletal against the pale winter sky.

The headwaters of the Little Enz lay in this region, and - in happier times - men would come logging here, sending the wood downstream to Vaihingen and the Neckar. There was money here, once, and an inn such as this would have more business than it would know what to do with. But then there came war, somewhere far away, and the men went off to fight and die, and now there is nothing here ... just a house, and a few woodsmen.

There is a lantern by the door, glowing golden in the twilight, and a few cows wander out of the forest, lowing softly, their bells sounding deep, muffled notes as they loiter around the barn waiting to be put away for the night. A child - a dark-haired girl of no more than eight or nine years - comes out to do just that. When done, she goes to the stables to feed (and generally coddle) the guest's horse. It is a handsome beast, speaking of its owner's wealth, and she has seldom seen its like.

It is also the first to be housed here in quite some time. The horseman, one Andreas Richter, is within the house, sitting warmly at a table by the fire, being given every attention by the lady of the house. Her attentiveness likely arises from that very infrequency of guests ... but perhaps not. There is no sign of a man about the place, and Andreas does appear quite well-off.

The lady, for herself, is a lovely woman - dark of hair and eye, with a skin just dusky enough to suggest Hebrew or Romany blood somewhere in her recent heritage. She is young, but certainly not so much that she should be unmarried. Coupled with the handful of children working around the inn, it's easy to guess that her husband is away in the war ... either fighting, or already dead.

Her name, Andreas has found, is Ilsa.

The only other person in the common room, a grizzled woodsman (a trapper, from his clothes, and a bear of a man), keeps giving Andreas dark looks from his corner by the kitchen. Given the way he chats with the innkeeper as she comes in and out of the kitchen, he must be a local. And, considering the aforementioned dark looks (particularly given when the lady is at Andreas' table), he might be something of an admirer of the hostess.

Andreas overhears his name: Bergen.

The patrons end their meals as night settles more thickly over the forest. The trapper lingers for a while, but Ilsa eventually shoos him out the door to his home and daughter, then disappears into the kitchen to clean up and prepare a few things to cook overnight, by the fire.

Andreas, in the common room, is just beginning to contemplate going up to his bed when a cool draft seems to sweep the room, the fire losing its heat. And, with that, he and Ilsa are not alone in the house.

Comments

  • edited October 2007
    The ghost of Sigismund enters this wretched place, the snare which entrapped him and doomed him, worthy of no name but to him the Inn of Lies and Dooms. Lies of welcome from that accursed inn keeper who pretends to provide substitute for hearth and home and the doom of come hither looks from the trapper's daughter who aids her in her murders.

    Thoughts:

    What is this, a traveler. One well dressed, of class if not kin to Sigismund. Another lone guest in the snare. Does he not know of his danger? The dark fate that awaits him? He is like Sigismund. Oh, only if Sigismund had seen this Ilsa for the monster she is, the murderess, and struck her down as justice demands. This one, this one, he must know, he must save himself, he must know his danger, know her evil and know what he must do. We are alike, so alike, but you need not share my fate. You can avenge it!

    Action:

    With all his will Sigismund begins to speak in the whispers that the ear hears not, but the mind and heart hear in their own way, the language of the dead, he speaks his words of warning and his words seeking to compel the necessary acts of self defense. So intense his will that in a burnished plate on wall, or bit of mirror one might actually catch glimbse of the tall and thick-set young nobleman with dark brown sideburns and beard, feathered cap and cape, a sword still as his belt, and the dark red stain in his side where his life flowed out of him.
  • The well-dressed stranger sips the last of the sweet liquor as the draft enters the room. His thoughts are pulled from the tales of the old Grunwald estate - replaying tales heard from the road that the old abandoned mansion was haunted by spirits, witches and devils. The stranger is not all that he seems, and the cold touch of the dead is not unfamiliar to him. So thin is the veil about the conjurer that the words of the lost spirit seep easily into his mind.

    The weary stranger's lips curl up into a smile for the first time since he set forth on his journey. It is the not reaction of one who fears the unnatural, but one who has found confirmation of a a hoped-for truth. [i]'The shades of the dead walk here.'[/i] thinks the stranger.
  • edited October 2007
    Sigismund whispers these words of influence in the language of the dead, inducing this traveler to act as his proxy, "She will kill you, she is a liar. She can well live here alone for she is more evil than any who would prey upon her. A gypsy knife in your liver twisted up into your vitals, can't you feel it, that is what she has for you. She is a monster and you must defend yourself. Beware, take care, take action - end her menace and do justice, save yourself."

    Challenging, “Andreas realizes the threat this gypsy inn-keeper poses to him. He will be alert to any sign she means him harm [and will see such signs whether they are really there or not] and is so convinced of the justness and necessity of it that he will lure her away from the inn and try to strangle her to death, denouncing her as a murderess as he does so.”

    Sigismund’s Endeavour is Grace (Influencing Others) bending Andreas to his will through these whispers.

    Dice:
    #DiceRoller(1d10)
    #DiceRoller(1d4)

    (Total sides to dice rolled 14, for purpose of owe list calculation)
  • edited October 2007
    ... he will lure her away from the inn and try to strangle her to death, denouncing her as a murderess as he does so.
    Andreas does not know the dead to be the most rational of folk, and the evidence of his eyes speaks more clearly than any ghost-whisper. His hostess is a hard-working woman, kind in word, fond of her children ... and, though he has heard tales from these woods, they aren't hardly so dark a place that her presence here is suspect. With the wars, there have been many women left alone in places such as this.
  • Influencing Others:

    #DiceRoller(1d10)
    #DiceRoller(1d6)
  • Posted By: ValvorikHe will be alert to any sign she means him harm [and will see such signs whether they are really there or not] and is so convinced of the justness and necessity of it that he will lure her away from the inn and try to strangle her to death, denouncing her as a murderess as he does so.”
    Andreas hears the whispers of the ghost, and so close is he to the spirit realm that that they are seemingly muffled words to him, audible to his waking mind. Many times before has he dealt with the spirits, and before have they tried to sway his mind. The words, though he hears them, take no hold on his mind, nor is he convinced of the inn-keeper's evils. Beneath them, he hears more than Sigismund intended, for his studies have taught him to hear the secret words of the dead. And so he learns Sigismund's Name. And so armed with the Name later Andreas can, with the tool of blood, summon the spirit to him.
  • Rolling Arts - Binding Spirits and Ghosts (1d12,1d8)

    #DiceRoller(1d12)
    #DiceRoller(1d8)
  • As Answerer, Grace - Influencing Others (d10, d6), picking up and rerolling:

    #DiceRoller( 1d10 )
    #DiceRoller( 1d6 )
  • edited October 2007
    Andreas' arts so best Sigismund's whispers that his Grace would suffer being exhausted and indeed Andreas could, with the tool of blood, summon Sigismund to him.

    Yet summoning is not binding nor controlling, and it is written in the texts read by those who favour the dark arts, "Never summon up that which you cannot command", so would not Andreas prefer that though Sigismund suffers no loss of Grace, Andreas perceives not only Sigismund's name but also his form, catching glimpse of him in the burnished plate on wall, and his hungers, and thus could with the right, "innocent" life's blood of a human (for if not life's blood is it not too cheap and nothing but a human graced by soul can be 'innocent', and thus would this not be the blood required to bind any human ghost) bind Sigismund ~ thus having bound a spirit not weakened and a greater tool for Andreas to wield? A spirit that so bound is helpless to do aught unless it agrees to do Andreas' bidding (whereupon it might contest the binding if so disposed)?

    OR

    By his victory and perception through it, Andreas can perceive Sigismund's rage against the innkeeper and another woman whose name and face he cannot quite make out (that being against her interest and she not a contender in this conflict) but who Sigismund is even more murderously disposed against, and thus sees an avenue by which if he offered to aid Sigismund against these, this too might Sigismund acceed to (again without loss of Grace), and should either of these be innocent Andreas might well profit further by their blood. In this case, Andreas has perceived and learned this about Sigismund: the means to have him as ally on certain grounds so long as the deaths of these two be pursued, and summon him when these are the goal, Sigismund would come willingly when called ~ Andreas does not have any "leg up" in summoning, binding etc., rather he has "an ally" (not a friend by any stretch).
  • What if, pursuing the later option, for the former is much to Andreas' detriment, not only can Andreas call Sigismund by name without the aid of blood if it so matches the spirit's desires, but if he has the right blood he can summon, but not bind, Sigismund without conflict. In addition, the visions gleaned from Sigismund also include a vision of where Sigismund's mortal corpse lies, unburied - a vision suitable enough for Andreas to be about to locate the wasted bones of the body.
  • edited October 2007
    And so indeed it is that,
    Posted By: Garvey.... not only can Andreas call Sigismund by name without the aid of blood if it so matches the spirit's desires, but if he has the right blood he can summon, but not bind, Sigismund without conflict. In addition, the visions gleaned from Sigismund also include a vision of where Sigismund's mortal corpse lies, unburied - a vision suitable enough for Andreas to be about to locate the wasted bones of the body.
    Those desires being harm and suffering to the innkeeper and an unidentified woman.

    So...

    Sigismund's ghostly mind is a shattered maze of fragments and suffering a momentary lapse from what cause he does not suspect, he sees again the traveller and does not recall quite what just happened. He knows this one is in danger as was he but not immediately and able to fend for self for now, but Sigismund will answer his call when it is in matters of the innkeeper and Wanda.

    He is cold, so cold and the ruins where lie his bones call him back for he can never long be apart from them. He melts away from the inn which again resumes its more cosy ambience.
  • Sensing the departure of the spirit, Andreas rises from his seat. He mouths the spirit's name, but gives no voice to his speech. And a smile grows upon his features. He would, by chance of his birth, not be a handsome man, nor one of repulsive features. But his inherited wealth and high class have provided him with the means to keep the world from eating at his skin and his little beauty. He has a fresh face, as of some many years younger, spoiled on riches of excess. His dark eyes show a deeper weariness born of nights of pain and study. A hooked nose looks unique on him, where on another it might be unsettling. His clothes are plain by his standards, but extravagant by the measure of those who struggle to survive day to day. He is clearly mark him as a man of riches. But he is, at the end of his journey, dirty and tired, his thick and curly black hair, given a new color by the dirt of the road.

    As he turns to leaves the room, his eyes fall upon the kitchen door, where a new suspicion grows, born of the pain and images ripped from the spirit's mind. And so, as he retires for the night, his door is barricaded, less silent feet undo him in his sleep.
  • scene 2
    Andreas, Ilsa

    As Andreas rises from his seat, a young boy emerges from the kitchen to take away Andreas' glass, and he is followed in short order by his mother, drying her hands on her apron. She examines her guest with a critical (though kind) eye, then suggests:

    "Perhaps we could draw a bath for you, sir, before I bank the fire for the night? I'm sure you'd sleep better with the dust of the road off of you."

    True enough, and Andreas finds her offer irresistible, given the trudgery of the day. And he surely has nothing to worry about, here, so long as he is awake and alert. No matter what concerns the ghost's visit placed in his head, Ilsa is clearly a delicate woman, unlikely to be much of a direct threat.
  • The spirits of the dead are full of trickery, and though Andreas is sure that what the spirit felt was honest - such rage and anger might be clouded by the sorrow of death and hatred of the living.

    Andreas smiles slightly at the inn-keeper. "Yes, thank you good woman. A bath would be ideal. I'd hate to sleep while such filth clung to me."

    And so, when the bath is prepared and ready, Andreas slips into it, letting the wearies of his journey wash away with the dirt. Still, a part of him remains aware and alert, less the spirit of the dead's fears be warranted and not the product of envy.
  • It takes some time for the bath to be drawn, Ilsa and her son pulling water from the immense kettle over the fire and ferrying it to the tub, and Ilsa pauses to divert a touch of the hot water into a mug of pleasant-smelling tea, asserting that it will help him sleep. Whether that be true or not, it is quite soothing (and, happily, not poisoned).

    By this point, from various glimpses, Andreas believes that Ilsa has three children ... her boy, who has been busily assisting his mother all evening, the dark-haired little equestrienne who took his horse on his arrival, and a smaller girl of a handful of years, light-toned and only seen in glimpses.

    While the second half of the water is heating, Andreas' hostess lingers nearby, pressing him with mannerly questions regarding his preferences, and the length of his stay. She returns to drawing water before long ... some minutes later, as Andreas happens to glance over his shoulder at the kitchen door, he catches her hesitating there, looking back at him with a startlingly frank expression of interest.

    Seeing him look her way, she smiles and tells him the water is ready, guiding him to a screened-off room attached to the kitchen. Now, soaking in hot water and herbal soap, he mentally connects the dots. Never the slow sort, he easily twigs to the fact that Ilsa's intentions regarding him, whatever the specifics might be, certainly do not touch on doing him harm.

    With that, his concerns vanish - though he might wonder at the ghost's relationship with his hostess, he no longer believes himself in any danger (barring, possibly, the relevance of certain proverbs regarding women scorned).
  • And so Andreas, though he feels no attraction to Ilsa beyond his usual physical desires, leads her on through the night - hints and subtle clues that he may feel the same as her. And so she is convinced, her murderous intentions gone with the hopes of seducing the wealthy stranger, and finding greater wealth through his estate. And though nothing but meaningful looks are exchanged that night, in the following day, Ilsa begins to trust this new stranger, believing he will do her harm.

    And so it is that when that Andreas asks the inn-keeper to walk with him the following day into the woods, ostensibly to show him the area, but with a desire for a romantic interlude, away from her children and work, that she cannot help but see. While Ilsa brings with her the treasures of her kitchen, Andreas brings as his contribution, a bottle of exotic wine, the likes of which Ilsa has never seen. Distracted as she is by the thoughts of wealth from a new marriage, and taste of the exotic spirits, she does not detect the bitter hint of drugs that Andreas has slipped into her drink. Drugs which soon draw her into a deep sleep.
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