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The orc gains a manor

 
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Jake
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Joined: 11 Feb 2004
Posts: 1977
Sword for Hire, Brewmaster
Location: Red Orc Brewery, a dueling venue, or the taverns of Badside
130,746 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: The orc gains a manor Reply with quote

(()) Author's note: These events take place shortly after Jake won the baron from Joku Shoyia.

The orc eyed the manor with a skeptical eye. No battlements. No fortifications. Not even a reinforced door. How was a baron supposed to sleep soundly in such an unsecured residence? An "English manor" someone had called it. The English must not have had any enemies.

So much open space. Five acres of it. The grounds in front of the manor were grassy and hilly, and totally free from barricades, moats, spike filled pits, or any other form of defensive measure. The grounds behind the manor were heavily wooded, which would conceal the movements of anyone sneaking up on the house. The half-orc had even heard there was a pond back there someplace, that might even have fish in it.

Humans continued to baffle Jake.

The brewery, by contrast, was (well...had been) a model of security. A steel reinforced structure of brick, mortar, and stone. On the outside, she may have appeared to be a simple warehouse (if you discounted the cottage and gardens that had been built on top for PJ), but inside, where it counted, strong walls, narrow, well-positioned windows, thick doors, and caches of weapons in case of need. A handful of warriors could have held the brewery against a small army.

Not so this manor. Jake sighed. PJ would protest "It's not a prison, Jake! It's a baronial manor!" This was a reminder of why the half-orc had been so content with the rank of Warlord. Barons, per the evidence witnessed, were not allowed to properly protect themselves. This was not a problem for warlords. No one questioned a warlord who holed up in a barricaded warehouse.

Still, PJ insisted the orc look at this as an opportunity. "Think of it as a chance to host parties where we can promote Badsider!"

Upon entering the manor itself, the half-orc looked around the great entryway. Crates and leftover building materials lay scattered about from the modernization efforts that the elf, Joku, had started on the manor. A thin layer of sawdust coated the hard wood floor and exposed surfaces.

Ambling over to an improvised table made from a large section of plywood laid out over a pair of sawhorses, Jake found plans for remodeling. Blueprints and drawings. Lists of materials. Some with notes scrawled on them from the architect, and some from the construction foreman. All abandoned when the elf had lost his hold on the barony to Jake.

The orc sifted through the paperwork, he did not see anything that suggested Joku had planned to reinforce the structure. So, that would be his first endeavor.

A tour of the manor took the better part of the evening. So many rooms. So many windows. The place was..."light and airy" as PJ referred to it.

Among the many rooms, the half-orc found a billiards room, with round balls set on a green felt table. Pool cues were arrayed on the walls of varying weights. A dart board (with pathetically light darts) was inset on one wall. Numerous holes around the board attested that at least one former tenant was not particularly skilled. Various trophies and stuffed animals adorned the room. Jake was not sure what the point of wasting perfectly good animal hide was, but he knew many cultures collected prizes. At least it was better than the trophies that trolls collected.

The manor hosted two spacious kitchens, with a well-stocked pantry between them. From the kitchens one could follow a flight of steps down into a large storage chamber where the cool earth maintained the temperature for a wine cellar. It would probably serve for kegs of ale as well. Upstairs again, off of the main kitchen was a formal dining room, with a long table capable of seating twenty guests with ease. The fine crystal and brightly polished silver suggested a room that was well kept, but rarely used.

Still on the main floor, a large sitting room with a walk-in fireplace and several comfortable chairs occupied a space at the back of the manor. The room overlooked a large garden via tall french doors and windows that made up most of the wall. Jake suspected former barons had spent many hours in this room, looking out over the gardens, socializing with guests, or just quietly musing next to a roaring fire.

A library, with walls two stories in height, took up a central space, lined with books and tomes. How could anyone read this much? A sampling of the books revealed few pictures and many, many finely scrawled words. It would take a lifetime to read it all. More comfortable chairs and couches of various textures and shapes were scattered through the room, along with lamps, lights, and candles to suit whatever reading preferences one might have. The half-orc questioned how much time he would spend here.

Some rooms the orc could not identify, but many were clearly bedrooms. More than enough to give the orc a different room for any night of the week, with spares leftover.

"I should set aside some of these bedrooms," mused the orc. One for Taneth, for her...sleepovers. One for Jaycy. Jake grinned to himself, thinking he might help her select some outfits to keep there. There was a suite at one end of the manor, with two bedrooms off of a small sitting room, where he planned to let PJ stay.

As the half-orc ambled about the second and third floors, inspecting the bedrooms and noting which might suitable for which guest, his eye caught on an empty birdcage. An elaborate thing, with delicate wire-work and multiple roosts. It reminded Jake that he had not picked out a room for Trinala. "Hell...what kind of room would a pixie want?" He eyed the birdcage, but had a feeling he should not suggest that for her.

The attic was mostly unfinished, but was well populated by trunks, various furnishings, and assorted novelties that had evidently been collected and left behind by former occupants. Towards the front of the manor, the attic hosted a circular window that Jake remembered seeing mentioned in a news item from years past. A window a certain former baron had used for target practice on passers-by.

The orc finished the evening's tour on the roof, where a small observation deck had been constructed. This, at least, might prove useful. There was a good view in most directions. If he posted a guard here, at least some measure of security might be accomplished. PJ would protest that too, he was sure. The orc glanced upward. She would insist the night sky was much too beautiful to be infringed upon by guards. He had to admit that the night sky was quite remarkable. Away from the more heavily trafficked and more densely occupied Dragon's Gate district, there was little light pollution, or errant sounds, to distract one from staring into the sky and observing the stars.

Jake squinted. He had been told the stars formed shapes. The Bear. The Warrior. The Sword. But the half-orc never saw them. They were just stars. Jaycy had clouted him on the head for saying that, so he kept that mostly to himself nowadays.

----------------------

Far more strange than the rest of the manor (including the garden where former baron Deathlord had kept ice sculptures reputedly made from city guards) was a staircase that led off the main hall. Jake was certain he had travelled it several times, but having done so a fourth or fifth time, he found himself in a new chamber. This one had a cold feel to it. It was not something specific. The walls seemed normal enough. Mortared brick and stone. Likewise the floor. But, there were stains on the floor which the orc recognized as dried blood. The air smelled different. His senses were brought to full alert here. There was a wrongness to the chamber.

Familiar with the taint of dark magics from his homelands, the orc suspected this room had been used for darker purpose than storage.

Upon discovering the room, the orc had retraced his steps several times. The staircase itself seemed the key. The unaware and innocent would never chance upon this room. The half-orc suspicioned that only those whose lives had encountered darkness and true evil in one form or another could will themselves to this chamber. Jake found that even he could only find the room when his thoughts turned toward more violent deeds or memories.

There was a moment of relief at this discovery. It meant that one like Taneth would never chance across this chamber. And that was good. Innocence was a shield.

On the other hand...it would make a perfect room for Tara to guest in. There was little innocence about her. A thought which made the orc smile for a bit.
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