The Nights were long and cold.
Antonio lost a day to revery was reunited with the other kindred to find new companions among them, Charles, Lydia and Soren. All were keen to discuss something the dreams of the night before, which Antonio did not share, or maybe does not remember. Soren loomed off and was left to his own devices until he felt social enough to rejoin the group.
It was a dream of fire, already he had to surpress a shiver at the simple thought of flame. His body abhorred fire with such vigor it was as if he had a second mind within him. They spoke of a fire, twisted and vindictive, living and hungry.
The bells tolled and it Antonio needed to observe his faith, chased by the inquisition they may be, god could not be denied. The others still lost in determination of discussing the dreams and of thinking of a convincing enough tale to fool the locals nearly bared him from attending to the services of the Lord. They wanted certainty that he would not expose them.
They seemed to forget the simple axiom, strangers are ignored and gossiped about, never spoken to directly. Well mostly this is true, unless a fight is required. He would be fine with a fight, but none would desecrate the house of the Lord with such low activity.
He left them to their scheming, he thrust himself into the cool night air and wandered to the church, worried his tardiness would mark him more then a foolish tale of whence he came. His luck led him to be timely. Near the door was the priest welcoming all to the service, with him at all times was his “Good Book”.
With a Strong and Firm handshake he welcomed Antonio, who with greetings exchanged he slipped himself amongst the crowd and sat for the service. The priest sat at the head of the congregation and once services started all were enthralled. He was suddenly larger then life. Angels roamed amongst all those gathered, singing praises and giving off their strong godly presence. The Room was filled with beatific ambiance. The priest spoke of things that must be denied, of the coming ends to the world.
Mostly he spoke of Sloth. How it rotted lives, how it twisted the righteous, the strong and the pious. How it was simple and insidious. How it came in the embodiment of the bridge watcher. How this man brought nothing to the community, did but the barest of efforts to upkeep the needed bridge and how he should not be tolerated.
His sermon peeked and pushed, all felt the urgings, all felt the pull, the blood boil within them, to go right this wrong to go out and cast away the devil, the evil embodiment of idleness.All they needed was a little push, a little urging, a simple nudge would have tipped this pious crowd into a frenzied mob.
The priest grabbed the bridle he had thrown around the crowd and brought them from the edge, was he playing with them or testing his controle of the crowd. It didn’t matter, he let the sermon come to it’s end and bid them all a good evening. Leaving Antonio more flushed then he had felt in the last hundred and fifty or so years. He was on his way back to the estate while the wind brought to his ears the simple sound of sheep, or a sheep, singular.
At the Estate things had still not gone very far, all discussed the dreams and the story by which they would keep themselves concealed from the local people. Gentleman Joffe Joffar Suggested they pass for travelling merchants who had attempted to live with savages in order to find somethign worth selling, and had left most of their entourage behind with the Cree. This was seen as favourable by all.
After the story accepted by consensus of silence they chose to explore the town. Which was awkward as Charles had an admirer. He may have been stealthy as the night breeze, agile as a mountain goat, and sleek as smooth silk. His companion was a sheep.
Wandering to town with Lydia and Charles, Joffe marked a few interesting and conspicuous buildings:
- The house of a hunter, who seemed to hear much hatred for wolves
- The local Alehouse, a welcome sight for all
- The local trading house, replete with mostly junk
- The local churches, showing the disunity of this town for having more then one
In the pub they found a Cree, a Cree whom the locals shunned and treated poorly. The keep still took his money but rejected his presence. Our intrepid band of sore thumbs chose this moment to approach him and make friends. The Bawdiness of the tavern having being toned down for the presence of an actual lady.
Through various strange twists and turns and a relocation, they found themselves promised 4 Great white bear furs, and a visit to the Cree tribe for the sale of a wife. Dear Lydia was now property of the town reject.
Charles still had his sheep. Joffe had furs and knowledge of 3 native tribes int he area. Lydia was no longer her own woman.
Returning to tell of the news the bells tolled once more declaring the later service of mass. The other Kindred thought it was this time to show themselves and join the congregation, and were exposed to the strength of the Preacher’s sermon. Truly what would be called a Firebrand preacher.
Meanwhile Antonio’s curiosity would bring him to what the priest referred to as the Embodiment of Sloth. And all he found was a snowed over rickety bridge. Not so easily dissuaded the man valiantly placed one foot, carefully, after the other listening to the wood creak. Such was his concentration, and the omnipresent darkness of night, that he failed to notice the new and looming large shadow.
His shock and surprise only pushed into check when he was asked for a toll, his belt buckle. (Which would be the cause of much Mirth later on) Which he gave over with such haste it was embarrassing. The Looming great hulk of a man inspected the shining buckle, giving Antonio time to inspect the figure. So tall, but very scruffy. His tattered and patchwork leather hides difficult to distinguish from his own long hair and beard. Sharp and pointed nails. Hair almost thick and pelt like over his hands.
His prize in hand the figured turned and started leaving. Antonio feeling like he had lost out though to try and ingratiate himself. “The villagers are planning to kick you out, they want to make you leave.”
The man’s response. A shrug, and a strange talk of a bridge burner. He spoke of the Firebrand preacher and had labeled the man a bridge burner eager to keep the community isolated. Then left.
Antonio, once again on his own, pants held in hand. Walked back home, and waited for his companions to return from the church service. He greeted them with a simple exclamation. “He was HUGE!” This amused them all very much, even with the sheep hopped with amusement. They would so easily joke about the strong bond that men could share. It was simple to them they had never enjoyed the deep company of another man. It made Antonio wonder if he should not chase after the tall dark mysterious man of the wood. It had been 100 or so years as far as he could remember.
They went their own ways for the rest of the evening to their own devices until their days rest.
The dreaded dream was once more shared.
A dockside, water lapping at the pontoons, a large long looming warship. They had all been here before, they all ran. Antonio was frozen with shock at such a vivid dream. Joffe grabbed and pulled him along, they had all known what will happen.
The Warship burst in flame, erupted would be more appropriate, it ripped apart at the ship sending shards, and splinters all across the wharf. Jerome dove for the water but hit a hard crust of Ice. Joffe Ran for the docks. Lydia and Charles Made for town.
The Fire… Went for Antonio and it burned him. It ripped and seared, Joffe had dropped him and run on. Antonio found his feet and chased on after him thinking the man knew where he was going. The Fired burned After charles next, seared him deeply and sent him from the Dream. Antonio tried to tip cannonballs into the ICe, broke the crust. Finding the release of Water, the deep cold would sooth and save him. No so. THe fire found him one more time and sent him from the dream as well.
Joffe found his way to his own ship and was also sent from the dream in a manner he did not share.
Lydia was consumed trying to stand up to the screaming golden fire… And from the way she acted upon waking has suffered for it.
Yet still the nights were long and cold