Thursday, May 5, 2011

Veltier's Gamble the Story

Veltier's Gamble
An Introduction to Home an all new role playing experience.
by
Matthew Jones

His birth was like that of most children. His mother in excruciating pain, the father pacing nervously, and the midwife speaking words of encouragement and instruction. Like many children he came out head first. He cried and opened his eyes to a knew world. Unlike most children however he had no facial features. His nose was nothing more than slits and his skin was nearly translucent. The midwife shrieked and fell back. His father looked in horror. His child was a Trickster.
Tricksters are very rare and some are even killed at birth by some families. The hardship brought on by a Trickster is immense. So, the father did what any good father would. He clubbed the midwife over the head and bundled the child up. Getting his wife up as best he could he carried the two away. They made for the Fain Forest. He didn't look back. His sword was at his side and an ax on his back. His wife wept and the baby shrieked. Life was not going to be easy for the young couple, but the safety of his family was at hand. The man had to do what was best for his newborn child.
After about a day of travel he looked at his child who had now grown hair and a complexion that matched it's mother. A fully formed nose and blue eyes with flecks of gold. He was a beauty.

Veltier grew quickly as is natural with his kind. They have the power to adjust their mass nearly at will after all. His features changed often and he seemed to perfectly emulate the best features of both his mother and father. He knew nothing about the outside world, but he always felt a draw to something more than the woods. His curiosity grew daily. And he crept further away from his home in the most secluded part of Fain Forest.

A twenty year old man walked out of the Fain Forest. He had features both feminine and masculine in nearly perfect ratios. Golden blond hair that fell around his shoulders. His skin without blemish. So, when Joelin saw him she was enthralled. His clothes were made from the skins of animals and he carried a walking stick and walked confidently up to her.
“Greetings I am Veltier. Beautiful maiden might I inquire as to what your name might be?”

From his parapets King Handen saw the man walk out of the king's land, Fain Forest. The man strode directly toward Joelin his betrothed. Immediately Handen called for the guards to arrest the man.

Joelin watched in horror as the man was taken down forcefully. She hid her eyes as she heard what had to be a rib cracking under the weight of the guards knee. They had him shackled and disarmed in mere seconds. He an expression of confused horror.
“What have I dohh...” a club stopped his words.

Veltier awoke in the darkness of a dungeon. His wrists and ankles were torn by the shackles. Looking around the cell he saw putrid straw and a small bit of bread that was already being ingested by various insects. The reality of his situation didn't make sense until his fathers words came back to him.
“My son, you are special. As you know you can do things with your body that your mother and I cannot. Your kind are known as Tricksters. Evil, powerful men will stop at nothing to use you for their own ends.”
He had been captured. He was going to be enslaved and used as a tool by evil men. Looking at his shackles he began to will his wrists smaller and was able to slide them out of the shackles which fell to the cell's floor. Next he did the same with his ankles. He was soon free of his bindings but not his prison.

The King didn't know what Veltier was, but he understood the man was quite handsome and would make a good servant in his court. Thusly he planned on keeping the boy alive if he would swear fealty. Upon reaching the cell he looked in the window shocked to find the shackles laying empty on the damp floor.
“Open the damn door you fools the boy has escaped!”
Shocked and more than a little bit scared the guards jumped into action. They had spears ready and the door was quickly flung open. When they entered the room they found it completely empty. Looking in every corner and every pile of hay they could not find a trace of him.

Luckily for Veltier the guards helmets made looking up to the ceiling difficult. Also luckily enough for him the king was fuming and shouting curses sending them away to raise a full alert. Once the guards ran out of the room Veltier was alone with the king who looked around suspiciously. He looked up just in time to see Veltier dropping down on him, but not fast enough to stop him.

After the king didn't show up for awhile the guards came down to find a sight that shocked and confused them greatly. On the floor apparently unconscious were two exact likenesses of the king. Both were completely naked and breathing shallowly. Fearing what might happen if they allowed the king to awake on a dungeon floor they carried both bodies to the king's chamber and shackled both to the bed. The doctor examined them both and could not find any flaws in what must be a Trickster's disguise. The kings were screaming that the other was a Trickster. It raised such a ruckus that Joelin ventured to the king's bedchamber to see what all the morning's chaos had been about. She saw two King Handen's bound in shackles to the bed. She however soon saw through Veltier's disguise. And was about to tell everyone who the true king was, when the memory of her last beating came to mind.
“Oh Queen Joelin, surely you can recognize your true husband. Please study these men thoroughly and tell us who is in fact our king.” said the doctor who was still trying in vain to physically differentiate the two.
“Well.. this may take some time. Also I will need complete seclusion so that I can focus.”

King Handen watched in shock as his queen barred the door behind the men. And he began to curse more vehemently when she started to gag him. But he could do nothing to stop her. Once he was gagged she looked at Veltier with questioning eyes.
“You could not have disguised yourself as someone less important? You might have escaped that way.”
“My love. I am wholly and completely your husband.” Veltier said in a perfect impression of the king.
“My husband would never speak so politely to me. Especially behind closed doors. What I have to ask of you is, are you truly how you seem?”
“I know not what you mean?” Veltier asked in his own voice.
“Are you a gentleman? Will you be kind to your people?” as the queen asked this question the king finally understood what was happening and began to fight at his shackles. Blood began to drip more quickly. The queen then slapped him, “Stop that you'll bleed yourself dry. You stupid ox.”

Looking into Joelin's kind eyes Veltier know she was not tricking him. “My lady, if this lands people were under my domain. I would rule justly and would rule only with you by my side.”
The answer seemed to please her. And she took the gag from the king's mouth who started shouting for guards. She walked to the door and removed the bar. As the guards poured in unsure as to whose commands they should follow.
“Guards that man is not my husband. Put him in the deepest dungeon. Keep him well fed and do not listen to any of his lies. If ever we need a double for our king it would be nice to have one handy.” the queen said in a commanding voice, that even the confused guards could not deny.
The guards followed Joelin's finger to king Handen and bound him tightly taking him to the dungeon. The entire way he swore and cursed demanding to be released. Slightly and slowly the queen removed Veltier's bindings. And kissed him.

Veltier turned out to be a just king. He even managed to find his parents a home in his court. Although none, but his parents and the queen know the truth other than himself. King Handen rotted in the dungeon till they day he died, some twenty years later. The guards removed him. They knew full well by this point that Handen had been replaced, but Veltier was such a good king they had no problem throwing Handen into a shallow grave with none of the honor due him as a king. In fact when Veltier revealed his true identity to all his people they simply raised a cheer to their true king Veltier. He lived a long life and even created a card game that told the story of his fight to the top.
Joelin died a few years back and was given the most grand funeral the seven kingdoms had ever seen. Many where shocked seeing the king looking as young as ever as he placed his quite old wife into the ground. Even his children were beginning to show signs of age far beyond his own. Shortly after the funeral his eldest son was appointed king and Veltier disappeared.

A few years later a traveling magician and gambling professional began a game called Veltier's Gamble. His game caught on like wildfire and become the most played game in the seven kingdoms. Many believed that the magician was Veltier, but none could confirm it. He was here and there and gone before any could get a grasp of his identity. In fact he was found dead according to all accounts. The man had drank himself to death in a brothel. None believed after that, that the man could have been Veltier.

But the truth is I don't know for sure. The chance that Veltier could be out there could be anyone is an exciting thing no doubt. Perhaps he is your neighbor. Maybe even your best friend. I think evidence of him still living is obvious in the fact that Trickster trade has been down in recent years. Slavers are showing up dead and their cargo has been released and even hidden. We can only hope that he will one day return and bring peace back to his people. His family has long been dead and his card game is all but forgotten except by travelers and ruffians.

May luck find you and a story fill your soul with hope. Words are but the continuation of life and I am but a surgeon of a different sort. I sow the seeds of hope will I sow the wounds of the soul. Tell my story to all you meet and one day perhaps he may hear our pleas and become the good king again.

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