9th World -- Archibald Cook (2 posts)

thread created on 8/13/13 at 23:30

Archibald Cook - Driftwood dream

9thdm, 8/13/13 23:30
Archibald Cook

Your party makes camp another night with Shem, affording the Gravediggers with magical healing and another night of rest to get their wounded back on their feet. That night, you dream...

You are at the current induction ceremony for the Kristof Academy, and Benjamin Kristof himself is giving a speech to the new class of students. However, quite unlike his appearance at your own induction ceremony, Kristof has three heads, all of them talking at once. One speaks of the importance of discipline and mental acuity, another about the importance of physical training and acumen, and the third of the importance of spiritual fortitude and willpower. It's all very confusing, much like the higher level classes and martial training you attended and failed to complete.

Slowly throughout his (their?) speech, the words of the three heads blend together into a single, unified message, explaining how mind, body and spirit need to be in balance and act as one to achieve one's true potential and protect oneself from the ravages of the powers of the Eight. Once explained, it is so simple that you don't know how you didn't understand it before.

The speech complete, you go forward to greet the new students, shaking hands and trading words amid the general din, until the sound of someone in distress reaches your ears from outside the campus...

...and you awaken to screams.

9thdm, 2/7/14 17:26
Driftwood dream

The final night in Driftwood-on-the-Sea, Archibald Cook retires to his Inn room after a day spent perusing the markets. Drifting off to sleep, he dreams...

...of his final martial examination at the Academy. Already having distinguished himself amongst his peers within the 'Class of the Meritorious', he was given the opportunity to compete against members of the Class of the Elite - those few who were capable enough to pursue the most advanced classes of mental and martial training.

Staged in the main courtyard, most of the graduating classmen gathered to watch, as well as many of the underclassmen. Cook, fully equipped with his favored arms and armor, faces off against his opponent, who wears nothing save his school uniform. Benjamin Kristof is personally judging the match, though Cook could have sworn that the Headmaster was going to be absent to attend an audience with the king. Kristof gives the signal and the combat begins.

After a few brief, inquisitive exchanges of blows and counterblows the fighting begins in earnest. Remembering his training, Cook executes various routines he has mastered to engage an unarmed, an unarmored, and finally a superior opponent. Despite his best attempts, he can land no more than a glancing blow on his opponent, whose unrestricted speed, movement, and flexibility allow him a seemingly preternatural ability to evade, deflect, and outmaneuver incoming blows while landing many of his own. Growing more and more frustrated, Cook finally abandons his known methods, adjusting his footing and stance to mimic that of his opponent.

To his surprise, Cook is able to compensate for his armor, shifting and rebalancing to achieve a greater range and ease of movement. His maneuverability advantage taken away, the elite classman suddenly finds himself pressed upon, and the match eventually ends in a draw to the applause of the gathered students and teachers. Kristof himself comes to congratulate Cook, smiling out of the most charming and attractive of his three (?) heads.

"Impressive, Archibald! Most impressive!" The Headmaster puts his arm around Cook's shoulders and begins leading him out of the courtyard amid the praise of the meritorious classman's fellows. Lowering his heads, Kristof adopts a quieter, more private tone.

"You're using one of my own secret methods, Archibald - never accept the role others would force upon you, but rather create yourself into something new. This makes you more useful and attractive to those who would seek to be your patron, yet the inability to easily classify you will help ensure you do not merely become another pawn in whatever game they're playing at."

The Headmaster continues to speak what seem to be pieces of sage and secret wisdom, but his words become muffled and indistinct as they walk their way into the training halls. So, too, does the light seem to dim , until Cook can barely see...

The light of the morning sun then fills Cook's eyes, and he sits up with a mighty yawn. Rising to stretch and prepare for the day, he muses over his dream with a smile, recalling the actual events of that day; Kristof's blessed absence at the solid beating he suffered from the elite classman, and the disappointed faces of his peers. The experience was so embarassing and humbling that it would seem even in dreams he can only manage a draw. Still, the dream remained clear as any memory in his mind, and the methods he used in it seemed sound - perhaps he might try them for real...

Edited by: 9thdm on 2/7/14

Archibald Cook - Driftwood dream