Monday, March 31, 2014

The Yellow Clay Interum

About three years has passed  more or less uneventfully since the AAA Group's Great Adventure. With the 5th Animal dead, and presumably gone straight to hell along with the villainous members of his gang, and the Brigands disbanded while their leader Black Patch sits it out in a lonely prison cell somewhere beneath Hobbington, things have quieted down, and trade between Yellow Clay and the other villages has resumed. Things are going well in the village overall, and no one has starved for the past two years. That's good for Yellow Clay. There are monthly celebrations on the festival days, and almost everyone can bring some small gift for the Elkron. People are mostly hard working and content with life these days. The winters have not been too harsh, and the summers not too hot, or dry. The crops are harvested in due season and the livestock fare well.

Hermel has become, begrudgingly, a bit of a local celebrity of sorts, though he spends most of his time, as much as possible, on his farm tending his modest herd of goats, and tilling the earth for meager profit. His pretty wife is well known around the town as a bit of a social butterfly and has brought to the village a grace and charm which it hitherto had lacked.  Everyone is enamored by her gentle laughter and enchanting smile.  There are a few rumors floating around that she only shows herself at the evening galas and no one really has seen her during the daytime, but most decent folk pay no mind to that kind of talk. If they really thought about it they would also realize that even then, she's only seen when the moon is out, but no one seems to have gone so far as to notice this, and so it has remained unremarked upon. This is, of course, because in the daytime she ensconces herself in her bird cage and sings canary songs to the clouds. At any rate, Hermel is reasonably content with his lot, eking out a meager living on his farm, which is all he expected or really wanted to do. His lovely wife has born him a beautiful daughter on whom he dotes to excess, just as he dotes on his darling wife. Their daughter is charming, beautiful and growing up fast. In fact, about twice as fast as other children. After three years she is more like a six year old girl. His wife, whenever Hermel ventures to mentions this, just smiles and asserts that he shouldn't mind too much that his daughter will grow up to be an exceptional person. "It's her destiny," she says quietly.

Once a year the eight members of the Town Council try to cajole Hermel into taking a seat among them as a Councilor, as he was recommended for the position by Constable Barnstormer of Hobbington after the conclusion of matters at HarrowsGate Village.  The councilmen perceive him to be a reliable, stalwart and decisive warrior who could lend a hand with the defense of the village, and provide sound advice in times of need.  The pay is not great, the honor is mediocre, there's a good deal of fuss, bother, and social wrangling that comes with the job, and it is rare that people express much gratitude for the effort. On the other hand, the town has its problems with which Hermel might lend a hand, especially lately as there are what you might call growing pains due to the increasing prosperity of Yellow Clay Village. This is principally due to the activities of a certain Hobbit of Hobbington. At any rate, the council did heed his one recommendation which was to rebuild and strengthen the town wall, and this was done with all due dispatch in accordance with a tome on Wall Building for Military Defense of Villages, written by a mysterious traveler named Iblis some years prior.

Ischandar Rokkerfellah visits the town frequently, and engages in the Social events that have begun to blossom there, under the joyful encouragement of Hermel's lovely wife and equally lovely sister, Alize. It turns out that Mr. Rokkafellah, Sr. has invested in a fairly profitable mining operation, as Ischandar discovered that the yellow in Yellow Clay is in fact the fiery element Sulfer.  And so a mine was delved into the base of a hill not far off from the village.  Arik, naturally, offered his help in that, as he is well disposed for that kind of work.  As the mine employes many laborers, most of the people in town have improved their lot in life, despite the rough work and dangers inherent in the mining operation.  Lido spends a good deal of time in Ishcandar's company, trying to keep him out of trouble, and enjoying the good life.  And so Ishcandar, Lido and Arik spend their time going to and fro between Hobbington and Yellow Clay, often stopping off for drinks and make greetings to their friends in Lilac Village.   It is notable that the road to Yellow Clay is largely cleared of dangers these past few years, except for wolves, which are ever a threat.   No sign of devils, or three toed monsters have been seen, and this is something of a relief to the villages beneath Hobbington.

Star of Justice has ventured on to Star Cliff to complete his Quest. He insisted on going alone as the Quest was given to him alone, and the location of Star Temple is a secret which Star felt should be kept intact until such a time as his master should advise him otherwise. And so he set off with the Golden Swallow for the old temple and neither of them have been heard of since then.  It has been almost three years since he waved goodbye with a forlorn and somewhat troubled look in his eyes.

Praymar decided to head home to Grizzley Falls where he reunited with his step-parents and took up his old residence in the back of the barn, hoping to run into that tricky little friend of his Maya. As they have the same oddly dark sense of humor, he was hoping to strike up a something of a friendship with her. Perhaps they could share a mug of warm gut-blood, he supposed. Sadly, she was nowhere to be found, and the town was something of a ramshackle mess when he arrived. From what he could find out, it seems that the bears round about that area had gone a bit crazy, and had been harassing the local villagers, even to the point of breaking into the town itself and crashing their way into houses and killing folks. While it never quite ended, and the bears are still a menace, things quieted down after a year or so, and since then life has been fairly uneventful for him, except for the occasional dream wherein he finds himself searching for his father, whom he feels certain is not even remotely human for some reason. The dreams all end with him almost discovering him, but then waking up just before he does.  How annoying he finds it, only he can say.

Meanwhile, Bantum went back to Lilac Village and has been living there with his dear wife, Sally-Jane, making babies and selling umbrellas to anyone who will buy them. He's a big man. Most people buy one from him. Even if they don't exactly need one. Fortunately for the town, they're inexpensive, and they are after all, quite well crafted by Sally-Jane, and come in pretty colors.  Bantum spends his time playing with his children, though some people have noticed that they are growing up very slowly, and after three years, seem as though they are still only just over a year old.   But quite large.   Quite large indeed.  Neither Sally-Jane, nor Bantum have noticed this at all.  Any rate, there's been no bad news out of Lilac Village for some time, and the town is prospering with the revived trade between the villages.  For some reason, as yet unknown, no one eats chicken in Lilac Village any more.  It seems everyone developed a preference for goat. 

It wasn't long before Hermel's father-in-law, Joseph, had taken up residence on a hill outside of town.  He spends his time trading for peculiar bits of odds and ends with strangers from round abouts, building incomprehensible contraptions that make very unusual noises and sometimes expode in showers of sparks. Fortunately, he also built himself what he calls "The Stone Room".  It's underground, and quite invincible. The only person he lets in down there is Hermel.  "Well, if I'm going to die in a reverse polarity vortex explosion, Hermel," he'd say, "I guess I don't mind if we go to meet the Elkron together.  And that's cause I like ya, son." Hermel would usually respond with a shrug and say, "Just be careful."  And so there's a marvel of odd equipment in there, and Joe's devices can do an assortment of fancy tricks, including allowing him to speak through a little brass mesh to someone all the way in Hobbington. He also can use a crystal to illuminate the Stone Room with a soft green light that prevents anyone from the outside bothering him, no matter how hard they may try.   Creating these, among other oddities of this sort, are his passion.  And so he spends his time tinkering away on his projects, and has come to enjoy a solitary yet productive life.  Occasionally Hermel would drag him up stairs for a bit of fresh air.   He'll sit on the stoop smoking his pipe chatting amiably about vacuum tubes, particle physics, inter-dimensional thought lasers, and the like.  Sometimes he'll start fiddling with the odd arrays of metal wires rigged up on his roof like a spider web of copper and silver.   Apricot, his daughter, will often bring him home-cooked meals and the cheersome company of his granddaughter, whom he dotes on quite a bit as much as Hermel does.

The old Sifu has returned from Bear Claw Village with a small following of Kung Fu students from that distant town.  Moose has been promoted to Monk and lives on the far south end of Yellow Clay in a hut he built himself.   The Sifu  resolved to never leave Yellow Clay in the lurch again, and has devoted himself completely to the betterment of his home village. He's taken a seat on the Council and is the principal member of that august body.  He goes on frequent midnight patrols with his best students in order to keep an eye on things round about.

Rumor has it that Garrison has made a life for himself in Hobbington, serving the interests of Senior Borge, who picked him up as a "good and cunning" servitor.   Garrison gets sent frequently on special missions, and acts generally as a liaison between The Court and the Mayor's Office. As it happens, Mayor Mutmaw and Senior Borge have had a rather severe falling out, and the township's political leaders have been set a at each others throats since then.  Fortunately, this has given a reprieve to the townsfolk who have not been quite so oppressed by the burden of undue and heavy taxation as they were previously.  In any case, Garrison has accrued a certain amount of political influence, and he's been spending his time collecting and saving up favors from various high officials in the town.

It is rumored that Doctor Lobe relinquished his title on Dunn's Bridge and has removed himself to some other deeper chambers down in the tunnels beneath Hobbington Township. The Bridge was thoroughly investigated, and absolutely nothing of interest was found there once the Doctor had vacated the premises.  He has not been seen since.

Constable Barnstormer was promoted to Chief Constable by the Mayor. Five Crows Tavern still remains closed and shuttered. Rat-Sticks are still a popular snack in that part of town.  

The Adventure's Guild continues exploration and reporting on the area, and has received a small number of exceptional students in recent years, chief among them being the Hagglesmiths.  Guild Master Rothmon has made a series of well received reports to the Glendale Chapter Hall.   The Abbot in the Monastery quietly bides his time, and keeps a careful watch on everything from the 7th story of the 12 Harmonies Pagoda.   A prayerful chant is always heard from therein.   The children of Saint Elaine's orphanage are faring reasonably well, lately, and everyone has a shirt and pants and shoes, and no one starved to death in the last eight months.   So that is well.

None have seen nor heard of Korfu since his unexpected disappearance during the Battle with the Time Beast.  Iblis also vanished completely and has not been seen since.   Neither has anyone has seen the Yellow Robed Wutong at all.   However, some say that they can here his odd chattering laughter in the wind during stormy nights, though most folks agree that's just a silly rumor and the old monkey-man has left the region for parts unknown and long since. 

Please note, if you feel your Characters would have done something different, or would prefer them to, please leave your Character's choices in the comments below.  Or if I have left anyone of interest out, or you are are curious about something I didn't mention, please let me know and I will happily amend this post. Thanks.

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