Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Construct-ive Comments

The Jade Foo

One day there appeared among the High Circles of Felstad a wizard from the mysterious lands of the Orient. “I am the Great Foo – the mightiest enchanter who ever lived!” said he. “And I challenge whosoever may dare to best me in a competition to build the greatest construct ever seen!”

Only one lowly wizard stepped forward. “Aye, I will take your challenge,” said he. And thus they gathered in the Stone Square. The Great Foo called forth from the ether a huge block of jade and, with the finest of instruments, set to carve.

Meanwhile the other wizard merely took to a stool and looked to the stony ground, picking up handfuls of dirt before letting it slip through his fingers. “Do you not carve?” asked Foo. “Let me be and see to your own business,” came the reply.

After much toil The Great Foo was finished, and there before him stood a mighty jade construct in the form of the lion creatures that guard the temples in the Mysterious East. It was much admired by the crowd, unlike the other wizard, who was still simply sifting the dirt through his fingers.

A moment later and he rose, inspected the jade construct and patted it on the back. “It is a fine creature,” said he. “Do you not build a construct?” asked Foo. “Oh yes,” said the other, “’tis on his back – see.” Foo took a magnifying glass and looked upon his creature’s back.

There, hopping about, was a tiny flea, carved out of a pebble.

The Great Foo immediately admitted defeat, and did make a gift of his creature, thenceforth to be known as the Jade Foo, to his victor. Magnanimous in victory, the other gifted Foo the flea, and thus the great Oriental wizard returned to his mysterious land much humbled and with an uncomfortable itch whenever he boasted about his magical prowess.

The Rude Mechanical

Once there was a wizard in Felstad whose irascible nature was well known. This fellow made enemies easily, and, once displeased with a person, he would vex and tease him with cruel taunts and jests.

His favourite method of vexation was to employ a clockwork construct, made in the form of a brass monkey. He would send this monkey to his target’s home or place of work, whereforth it would caper unceasingly, mocking the person’s walk, speech and mannerisms ‘til the target was fair driven mad by its mockery.

Once the wizard fell out with Orgus the mighty swordsman. Soon enough the monkey appeared in Orgus’ training ground and did prance and whirl in a cruel parody of his fencing practice. However Orgus was wise to the wizard’s ways, and immediately threw down his sabre and simpered like a weakling.

“Oh how I do love thy creator!” he declared to the monkey. “Oh how I would see no ill come of him! Please rude mechanical, do not harm thy master, I implore!” He kicked the sword to the monkey’s feet. “I expressly forbid thee to pick up that sabre and run thine master through with it, for it would vex me sorely were you to do so!”

Of course, the brass monkey did exactly that – he picked up the sabre and did slay the wizard.

Felstad was freed from the wizard’s wicked ways and the gambols of his rude mechanical, but it is said that when a construct slays it’s creator, strange things happen to it’s mind. Of the monkey and the sabre, darker tales may yet be told.

Twiggy Mommet

In a village just outside Felstad there lived a witch whose bountiful garden was well known. Many a villager would approach to buy fruit and vegetables superior to any found in a market or their own little plots.

However once there came a great famine, and the poor villagers soon had no money with which to buy the food that, whilst their soil lay parched and cracked, still grew in the witches garden. “I will not feed you ‘til you pay me!” answered her to their pleas.

And thus each night the hungry villagers would steal down to her garden, which surrounded the cottage in which she slept, and out of desperation took what they needed, leaving such payment as they could scrape – old trinkets, notes of debt, promises of payment and such.

The witch grew mightily vexed at these nightly raids and called to her scarecrow Twiggy Mommet. “I would have you guard my plots against more than crows,” she demanded. “From henceforth, should you find anything in my garden, you are to throw it out!” Twiggy Mommet nodded, and the witch went to bed happy.

She arose the next morning to sounds of much rejoicing! Lookng out of her window she saw that the scarecrow had indeed thrown everything out of her garden – all the apples, pears, cabbages, carrots, turnips, greengages, damsons, celery and other sundry things. Everything thus expelled was eagerly caught by the villagers who had gathered on the other side of the fence and now sang in praise of Twiggy Mommet.

“Idiot stick man!” yelled the witch and, still in her nightdress, did run out into her garden to berate the construct. However Twiggy Mommet would suffer nothing to enter the plot and so grabbed the witch by her shift and threw her over the fence, just like a large marrow! Thus chastened, the witch did build a new cottage with a larger garden - all the more to feed her neighbours when they were in need.

The great buildings of Felstad have long since spread over the village, but it is said that somewhere there is a small plot of land lying untouched by the builders of such edifices, for it is guarded still by Twiggy Mommet.

The Statue of Duke Alonso

Duke Alonso was the noblest and richest man in Felstad, and had become so, like many noble and rich men, by never paying the full amount for anything. In fact, should Duke Alonso avoid paying for something altogether, then so much the better!

Thus many a tradesman was ruined by Duke Alonso, for they only received part payment for their services, if they received anything at all. Those impudent enough to raise complaint were set upon by Duke Alonso’s henchmen, whilst those high-born enough to take him to the courts had their complaints obfuscated and delayed by Duke Alonso’s solicitors (one of the few people he ever paid in full).

One day Duke Alonso desired a permanent monument to his greatness, and commissioned a wizard to make a gold statue in his likeness. The wizard, not knowing of Duke Alonso’s ways and eager to please such a powerful nobleman, set to work on the most dazzling and lifelike statue ever seen.

After many months of toil, the wizard arrived at Duke Alonso’s palace for the great unveiling. Duke Alonso had invited all the aristocracy to witness the event, whilst the low-born gathered at the palace gate, muttering and grumbling, for they had provided much of the fare for that day, but had yet to receive payment.

“Thank you for your work,” said Duke Alonso to the wizard. “But I see a loose thread on the silver cloth you have used to cover my statue, thus I will pay you half of what was agreed.” Much perplexed, the wizard was taken aside by a servant. “It is Duke Alonso’s way to never pay the full price.” he was informed. “Then my toil shall be undone!” vowed the wizard, and thence he did cast a spell.

Amid much pomp the statue was finally unveiled. But instead of a glittering gold sculpture there stood a half-finished piece of corroded bronze. “See how Duke Alonso gets what he paid for!” declared the wizard. “And see how he pays for what he deserves!” At once the statue jerked into life and did hook Duke Alonso around the neck with it’s one arm. The thing dragged Duke Alonso to the palace gate and did kick it open to allow access to those outside. 

Thenceforth it went, followed by the crowd, and kicked in the doors to Duke Alonso’s vaults. “Take what you are owed from Duke Alonso!” said the wizard. “But take not a crown more, lest the statue of Duke Alonso kick down your door too!” To this day the citizens of the Alonsoville Quarter are well reputed for paying their debts promptly, and in full.

H. Toddlebrew, Legends of Felstad, as Collected During My Recent Expedition: Ulfenhalle College of Magick Press

During our last VBCW big game, some of us Frostgrave fans held a small swap-meet, during which I got some more minis for the bestiary, including these figures I have done up as constructs.

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