LOM UC: Trouble by the Inn . .
Filberth: Darden's loyal and friendly brother
Darden: Filberth's mysterious and missing brother
Inigo: Former outlaw, formerly aimed to kill Darden
Filberth ambled through the short grasses of the northern mountains, the cold wind biting his face, as he wondered about Darden.
His brother had left him for reasons unknown many months ago. For half a year, Filberth had been tracking Darden north. Now, Filberth neared outlaw towns located in the mountainous region. He had to be cautious, else the outlaws might ambush him.
As Filberth pored over the damp ground that lay in front of him, he noticed that the faint footprints he had been following had disappeared. Worrying that he had gone off course, he frantically backtracked and discovered what had caused him to lose them. The tracks turned sharply off to the right before getting confused in a mess of tracks.
A multitude of dark ravens flew, squawking harshly and forebodingly overhead, distracting Filberth's firm attention. The noise, combined with his confusion over the footprints, disturbed him. Beginning to panic in his fear and worry, Filberth spun around like a madman, noticing even more footsteps coming from other directions.
Darden was not alone. Filberth's brother had been found, and not by the right man.
* * *
Reghof had left Inigo several weeks ago. Inigo knew that Reghof was needed by the citizens of Meids, whom he was protecting, but all the same, Inigo needed a companion. All his life, he had traveled with someone else: formerly, members of the band of outlaws he belonged to; now, Reghof. Reghof was a friend to Inigo, and Inigo missed him.
The day before Reghof had left to sneak aboard a Rainosian ship, Inigo had forever changed his life. He chose to join Mythron.
After seeing the mass murders planned by his former friends, he had wanted to remove any possible connection to them. Part of that, he figured, was leaving the Outlaws.
Inigo had strong reason to believe that the man who killed his father was not really Darden. Darden was in danger, though. Clearly, someone - Inigo's father's true murderer - had wanted Darden dead, and since Inigo would no longer do the task, Darden - and Inigo - were in danger.
Filberth had no knowledge of Darden's danger. Inigo figured he'd have suspicions, but without knowing Inigo's story, he could not fully understand Darden's precarious situation. Inigo had to help Filberth find Darden before it was too late.
* * *
A small, dark cave was hidden in the shadow of the foreboding rock wall in front of Filberth. That was his best bet as to the location of his target - Darden couldn't be far away, and the cave seemed a reasonable hiding place, however ominous it may be.
As Filberth walked briskly over the rocky ground toward the cavern, he stepped in a small puddle. He looked down, thinking little of it and expecting it to be water or mud.
Lying in a patch of dirt on the harsh ground was the unmistakable dark red hue of fresh blood.
* * *
Inigo walked through the short grasses, paying close attention to his surroundings. It would require keen senses to find Darden and Filberth, especially if they didn't want to be found.
Fortunately, he had practice with tracking after having been an outlaw for so many years. As such, he noticed a faint din of scurrying footsteps in the distance. He stopped to listen more closely, expecting to hear Filberth or Darden.
As he listened, he found that he was half right: there were footsteps.
But they belonged to many people, not just one or two.
* * *
Filberth's pace quickened as he stepped into the cave, entering the stagnant realm of darkness. If Darden was alive, it was a loose tie to life. The pool of blood on the ground was large; nobody could lose that much blood and live without help.
The air was cold and stale with an almost unnatural silence, as if the cavern itself was holding its breath.
And then Filberth saw it. The frigid air at once seem to pierce his skin, permeating every inch of his body and closing in a fist around his heart as he looked upon the unmoving shape lying in the corner. It was the dead body of Darden.
* * *
Inigo cautiously climbed down the steep rock wall beside the waterfall. Beside the waterfall, he saw a cave. If nothing else, he figured, it would be a good place to hide and rest.
But he was not the first to have found the cave. As he stepped in, he was greeted by the suspicious gaze of a troubled-looking Mythronian.
Filberth stared. "Who are you?"
"My name is Inigo. I believe you are Filberth, if I recall Reghof's description of the man? You look exactly as I'd imagined."
"I've been searching for you and Darden on Reghof's behalf. Clearly I've found the former, but is Darden here?"
Filberth paused. Inigo, sensing the man's hesitance, immediately realized what had happened. Filberth finally formed the words to answer the question.
"Darden is here. But not in the way that you'd like. He's dead."
Inigo shuddered, his fears confirmed.
"He was murdered. Recently. By multiple people."
"Recently? How can you...?"
"The footprints are fresh. C'mon, we need to leave."
"Wait a minute. We need to talk, now."
"What is it?" Filberth cut in impatiently.
"This murder could have - should have - been prevented. Mythron should not be so alone when trying to stop its enemies. We need help."
Filberth cut in. "But -"
"Ever since I've joined Mythron I've noticed the problem with you people. You don't like to accept help! The fact is, you need it. People are being murdered because we're too stubborn to allow Nerogue to help us. This needs to end.
"Nerogue has done nothing but help us. Yet we've practically ignored them, treating them like annoyances at best. If we're to have success, we need allies. We need Nerogue.
"And guess what? If we'd let Nerogue help us, we wouldn't be in this mess. We could've gotten help on our search and caught up with Darden before it was too late. Instead, we waited through endless delays, wrong turns, and other preventable errors."
Filberth nodded reluctantly. "You're right. But we need to focus on the priority right now, and that's staying alive and getting out of this mess. C'mon, let's go before the murderers return."
"Let me stay here a minute. I'll see if I can get any clues as to where the killers went."
"I'll wait in that old inn nearby. Come meet me there when you're ready."
Filberth distractedly ducked out of the cave. In his preoccupied state, he paid little attention to what he was doing and barely noticed as he entered the dilapidated inn. Why was Darden killed? Who killed him? Who's next?"
He had been sitting inside for several minutes when all of the sudden, he heard running outside. There was a scream and a thud, and the footsteps left more slowly. The Mythronian frantically ran back to the cave, desperate to find Inigo.
But he was not there. Inigo - and Darden - had been taken away.
This was originally going to be a MBC, and I even had a good description of its spy-related purpose...but then after getting overwhelmingly positive feedback from the early WIP pictures, I realized it would be better off as a UC. Thus the Nerogue bit still seems a tad forced, but still, I hope you liked the story - I spent more time on it than usual, as is befitting of an episode where one person dies and another is kidnapped.
The inn was an incredibly tough build. Tons of angles, lots of hinged walls in all directions, and tons of color blending. The roof, however, was by far the hardest part. Making it was easy enough, but despite a support structure in the back, it took a long time to make it stay in place - almost a week. These attempts were punctuated with the inn falling apart - once, the entire right wall and much of the other parts fell apart.
During these periods of rebuilding, I messed up a fair bit and...I misaligned two halves of the house, causing a bit of stonework to stick out awkwardly and the roof to not stay on properly (as usual). I eventually managed to fix that...both of the times that it happened.
The rest of the landscaping is my attempt at spending more time on the layering than usual, and I like how it turned out, especially the colors. As to the rocks...well, they're maybe a bit steep (I originally called them a rocky slope in the story, but I had to change that to a rock wall) but the textures are pretty good. The rockwork has a lot of panels - I ran out of Bionicle joints (well, the ones that have the stud connection, anyway) so there's at least 10 panels here. The trees are some of my favorites I've done - the angles and colors really add to the dark atmosphere of the MOC.
The fence around the cow was a last-minute addition and I like how it looks. It's a modified version of the one in Luke Watkins's Medieval Village guide using Lego string to make it purist.
Huge thanks to Kai for everything - being a great friend, giving great advice on the story (and writing a couple paragraphs) and giving me plenty of quick last minute changes last night.
Anyway, enjoy the pictures. This is my favorite build to date, and I really hope you enjoy it.
I like to fit some sort of game into my MOCs, so...in what (compass) direction is Filberth walking (in the beginning), and how can you tell? Be sure to leave your answer in the comments, and thanks for viewing!