As Talas stood quietly having said his piece the ranger Char did ask what each of them, clearly meaning the 3 newcomers, had to offer. Talas at first had planned to remain silent, let his skill in battle speak for him, he in no way needed to boast on himself yet something made him step forward, perhaps the look the Knight had given him on what Talas had thought was a complement as to his being the leader.
"I bring to this mission very little other them myself and my sword “Serenity“, she who unlike many others has never failed me. Once I was a Champion of the Empire’s pits and the skills I learned and horned there kept me alive, I tell you all now that no matter my personal feelings, I will fight and die beside you and never betray your trust if you give it."
Stepping back he said no more and did with a smile take the money offered as a retainer by Granitecrusher.
With money now once again in his pocket a good meal was first on his agenda so as the others took their leave he returned to his Inn’s common room and a meal he did order. Having very little gear except his sword and all the rest in the back pack on his back he had no need to ready anything and could for once relax and enjoy a meal. After wards he would retire to his room and sleep, setting the locks and the bells on the window and doors to warn him of any intruders as normal, Talas had learned long ago to never take his safety for granted and he would not start now.....
Posted on 2006-10-17 at 12:23:03.
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 69/3 1004 Posts
Beer ye say? Yaharrr!!
During the rest of the meeting, only one of those present did not speak a single word. Through it all, Kilgim Blackaxe remained quiet and observed the others and their behavior. Though in a good mood, it was not the dwarf's way to take part in such conversations unless he had something really important to share. And right now, he did not.
The fact that Dwan had summoned Gwanele to give a magical briefing, did not surprise Kilgim at all. He was quite accustomed to seeing the mage's art in action. Being able to summon magical powers of other kind - or, more accurately put, those of Clangeddin - the bald dwarf was still very much intrigued by the way sorcerers controlled their mighty magics. Therefore he watched Gwanele perform her illusions very carefully.
But what did take him by surprise was the gladiator's question... Who leads us? Do we need one? Kilgim shrugged and listened on. Perhaps the warrior was used being under someone's command and didn't know or like to act without someone telling him what to do. Nah. We need no leader. We need the 'elp an'skills o' us all t' live through this. Some time ago, before their first mission together, Arien's words would also have taken Kilgim off-guard. The man was a soldier of noble blood - he was born to lead. But yet Arien suggested they should work together as a team. Ach! Me misses yer sister, lad., the orange-bearded dwarf thought and nodded his agreement to Arien.
As the talks carried on, Kilgim saw that he was not the only one troubled by the fact that Reds were involved and had entered the lands of the Iron League. The Empire was slowly falling apart and for sure there were some deserters in its ranks, but Dwan could not overlook the possibility that the imperials Gwanele had shown them were acting under some sinister plan deviced by the masterminds of the Empire. Takin' down Reds. Aye, might prove t' be 'ard. But first we'll need t' get past the Greens 'n hell that we know fer sure ain't easy.
Soon enough it was over and everyone started leave except for Dapple, who somehow had managed to disappear without anybody noticing. Damn that lad's slippery. Gladly 'e's on our side. Kilgim was about to head to his quarters, when Char caught up with him and Arien with an excellent suggestion: ”ey lads,” the ranger said while scratching his scruffy beard. “Wha’ say ya t’ a beer an’ somet’ng t’ fill da belly?”
The question brought the grin back on Kilgim's face, but Arien beat the dwarf to it. "Indeed, friend Char, I would be happy to join you," the knight stated in reply. "Aye, Char ol' lad. Easy t' agree with Arien 'ere. I'd be glad t' join ye two fer a pint or three."
Posted on 2006-10-18 at 00:49:14.
Edited on 2006-10-21 at 09:55:36 by Vanadia
Jal lingered outside the door of the tower, leaning on his staff for a moment before pulling his tattered, patchwork cloak tighter about him as his gaze scoured the street in both directions. The roguish Dapple Moon was nowhere to be seen, of course, and without the use of an incantation (or asking assistance from Wynter) the Spellbinder knew that he would likely not be able to discern where the boy had gotten to. “No matter,” he sighed softly, “He didn’t seem the most trusting sort, anyway, and likely wouldn’t care to be followed through these nighted streets.”
You wonder after the little dragon, my love? Wynter’s ethereal hand reached up and pushed a tangled shock of hair from his eyes.
He nodded absently, undoing her attempt at straightening his wild locks, and offered the girl a faint smile. “I suppose, Wynter,” he muttered, “The creature sees more than the rest, I think, and I find myself curious as to exactly what that might be.”
All in time, my spellbinder, the girl cooed softly, The others, too, might see what the dragon sees if given the chance.
Jal fixed Wynter with a curious look as he, at last, decided on a direction and strolled languidly toward the mouth of an alleyway a few dozen yards down the street; “You know what the dragon sees?”
The girl’s laughter splashed about him like the water that once tumbled from the wheel of her father’s mill; You don’t? Wynter’s form dissipated as she skipped into the alley and through a tumble-down heap of refuse.
Jal paused in the alley’s mouth, contemplating her question for a moment and casting a somewhat perplexed glance at the ghostly girl as she evaporated from sight. His eyes widened a bit as the realization struck him and, as his feet moved again to take him deeper into the alley; “It saw you?”
After a fashion, my love, Wynter’s voice replied, her whispers a susurration from every darkened part of the alleyway. What I was, perhaps… beads, shorn and scattered from a thread of the past…more of you than of me, my sweet spellbinder…
“The past,” Jal grimaced as he plucked the remnants of a spider’s web from beneath the sill of a shuttered window and gingerly placed the silken fibers into a pouch that hung from his belt. “Could it not find anything more pleasant to gaze upon? I would leave the past where it belongs, Wynter,” he sighed, choking back the vile memories of his years in the Master’s tower and the even more bitter recollections of the events that caused Wynter to be with him as she was now rather than as he had once hoped she would be, “That past is… is…”
…is what has made you what you are, Jal, Wynter’s voice was fading again. As it has made me what I am and has kept me with you these long years. To deny your past is to deny me, my love, and…
“Never,” he cried, “Never would I deny you, Wynter!” A chill gripped his spine just then and, drawing in a sharp breath of suddenly frigid air, Jal crouched down in the alley, huddling himself against the cold and the memory of time when he had, in fact, denied her.
“What have you told her, you filthy gutter rat,” the Master demanded again shoving the dirty, wild-haired youth roughly down the road ahead of him.
“Nothing, Master,” Jal replied through clenched teeth, wincing as the wizard’s staff cracked across his back. The blow had opened the still healing runes that the Master had carved there the night before and, even through the spark of arcane power that rippled through him when those runes were disturbed, he felt searing pain and each rivulet of blood as it trickled down his back. And worse, he felt his heart crumple when he uttered his next lie; “I told her nothing… She is nothing, Master…She means nothing… What can I tell to nothing? Please...”
“Shut up,” the Master snarled, clubbing him across the shoulders again. When Jal stumbled over a cluster of rocks jutting out of the dirt and toppled to the ground, the Master added a kick to the boy’s ribs for good measure. “If you told her nothing,” the wizard sneered, “then, pray tell, why would she be speaking to you at all? Look at you! You’re disgusting; a foul, malodorous little urchin with no redeeming qualities aside from the price that you’re obviously willing to pay for your lessons. You are of no value or concern to anyone but me!”
Jal cowered, tensing for the next blow and also hiding his tears. “Yes, Master,” he replied over trembling lips, “Please...” He was sure that it would have been then that the Master’s staff would come whistling down on his head but instead, the old wizard simply snorted, spit on him, and proceeded down the road.
“Besides,” the Master hissed as the third of his footsteps reached Jal’s ears, “if this miller’s daughter is nothing and means nothing, then why do you continue to beg? Get up, you rotten splat of rat snot! I’ve got to go and undo what it is you have done and, as your lesson for today…Well… Take notes.”
A wave of nausea crashed over Jal when the field came into sight and, just beyond it, the waterwheel of the mill…
No, Jal, Wynter’s voice whispered… very close now… he could almost feel her lips brushing across his ear, you would never deny me. I know.
The spellbinder gasped as the chill faded and nodded weakly in response as he fought against spewing up the goblet-full of wine he had sipped away in Granitecrusher’s hall. After a moment, he drew himself up again and glanced almost apologetically in Wynter’s direction… he couldn’t see her just then and, after that memory, he was certain he didn’t want to…
Now, come, my love, she whispered as Jal felt her move deeper into the alley, You have much to do before dawn…
Posted on 2006-10-18 at 06:07:49.
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 145/11 3886 Posts
Char the Storyteller... Keep up if you can.
The three exited Dwan’s with new purses of hard coin in hand and though Char made the effort to act jovial and excited about their turn of luck, he was having a hard time shaking the imagery Sunset had so thoughtfully shared--’Ave t’ give da li’l drago’ a bi’ o’ spiced sausage fer dat. The tavern to which he led his friends was a few blocks away, down a winding road and across a small, stone bridge with a green-gray iron plaque that the ranger had never bothered to read. In truth, he’d rarely come this way in the past since he had no reason to visit Dwan’s except by invitation, and that certainly wasn’t something that happened on a regular basis. Despite this, Char never took a wrong turn, never had to pause to consider his direction; the ranger led them straight and true through the front door.
“Char!” A thin, whip of a barmaid smiled broadly showing a huge array of teeth below her delicate, pert little nose as she caught sight of him from where she stood by the counter.
“’Ey, Telva-lass,” the ranger responded with a dip of his head and his quirky half-smile. In the time they’d been in the city he’d made few friends, preferring to remain aloof and undisturbed, but Telva hadn’t been easy to dissuade. Char pointed at the table in the back corner near the earthen wall and cast in relative shadow, receiving an eager nod from the little woman by way of response.
“Da lass’ll bring da draugh’,” he said as he led the way to the table, ignoring the rather direct and somewhat hostile looks passed his way by a number of the burly patrons sitting well into the light of the overhead lamps. Taking the chair with his back to the wall, the ranger pushed one of the adjacent seats out to the side of the table and propped his dusty boots up on the seat providing the other two with their choice of any three other chairs.
Sure enough, just as they were all finalizing their seating arrangement, Telva hustled up and set mugs of frothing beer in front of each of them. She still wore that grin that made her mouth look too large for her face. She was a cute little thing overall, with bouncing, curly blonde hair and an almost childlike innocence about her despite the low neckline of the blouse and the very womanly features of her body, but Char seemed not to notice these things.
“Ya go’ som’uh dat dark stew Khyma’ makes, lass?” he said while looking her in the eye and leaning back in his chair in a very relaxed fashion, but just so that the hilts of his Kukri stood out above the table.
“Yes!” Telva’s smile broadened (if that were possible) and she practically bounced on the balls of her feet as she leaned forward, offering Arien a rather generous view of her cleavage as she whispered, “But I’ll get you some of the fresh batch, not the stuff that’s been on the fire for the past three days. For all three of you?”
OOC: Order what you will, it’s on Char.
When Telva had moved away to take care of the orders Char hefted his beer and buried his face in the head for a moment. When he pulled away his mustaches and beard were covered in the bubbling liquid, but the ranger held no qualms about wiping the white cloud away on his sleeve.
OOC: Char will give the others time to relax a bit, enjoy their beer, and possible engage in small talk… I’ll back post if necessary.
After they’d enjoyed their meals, the scruffy ranger leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner. He clasped his hands before him—those hands that always seemed to have dirt beneath the nails and between the patterns of his skin—and lowered his voice so that just those at the table could hear him.
“So, ‘fore Da’ Moon an’ Sunse’ took dare leave uh us, da drago’ did share somet’in’ wit’ me.” His icy blue eyes darted between dwarf and knight as he spoke, making sure they were both paying attention. “Ya’ll saw dat she done flew up t’ dat Jal Valen’in’, no? Well,” he shifted and licked his lips. “I tink she done looked t’ ‘is min’. I tink she done seen ider ‘is pas’ er ‘is future, ‘cause she done come back t’ me an’ shows me dis image…” Char continues to relate what it was he was shown and then he drops back in his chair and eyeballs the two waiting for their reply.
Posted on 2006-10-18 at 19:58:58.
Vanadia Den Mother RDI Staff Karma: 111/12 1188 Posts
Dapple chats with the real boss of Freegate
(A post written by both the DM and I)
It was a nameless bar at the end of a winding alley. If you didn’t know it was there you’d never find it, and if you passed it by chance, then you were hopelessly lost. The dark dingy windows and creaking roof, looking like it would collapse any second, would have scared you off anyway.
The one called Dapple slipped out of the darkness for a moment and entered the building. If you wanted to see Fast Toes, this was the place. She was ushered through the usual precautions by a balding ugly man with half his right hand missing. “Fingers” was Fast Toes' second, and he knew Dapple by sight. It wasn’t long before she was in the back office, waiting for her guildmaster’s attention. Fast Toes entered the room grandly. The hafling swept aside the blue velvet cape he was wearing to reveal a silk shirt of vibrant green, and pantaloons that might have been spun from finely drawn gold. His shoes were brown, and red, and pink, with small wing emblems of white on either side. He looked over and looked at Dapple. ‘Well? What do you think?”
“I think that somewhere, a rainbow has exploded,” she replied drily, wincing at spectacle before her.
“You have no taste. I will have you know this is the latest fashion in Keoland. Well the shirt is. The cape is the style in the Imperial court, mostly by the ladies but why should they have all the fun?”
“You do realize that the Empire is rotting. Borrowing their fashion sense may not be a good idea,” Dapple countered, though her pale face held the ghost of amusement. In the guildmaster’s presence, she went uncloaked and bare faced. Fast Toes liked to see who he was dealing with, a matter of trust among the untrustworthy.
“Well the shoes are all me, but I do love them. Anyway, what brings you to my lair? I thought you’d be off gallivanting with that knight of yours. Errant? Elvis? Saving the world one damsel at a time and what not?”
“It’s Arien, and it was only one damsel. Hardly habit-forming, no worries,” the “lad” responded in an offhand matter. “Listen, Fast Toes, I’m looking to cross some Reds, and need to know what I’m up against…how to bring ‘em down. What do you know of it?”
“Well, that is easy. Avoid them. Really boy, I don’t know what your fascination with hero work is, but it will be your death. Reds are wizards, with poor fashion sense. You deal with them like any others. Pump enough arrows into them and they can’t cast spells. Distraction is the key. Greens? Well Dapple my boy, I think you already know enough about them.” Fast Toes said slyly looking at Dapple’s boots. “You didn’t get those on sale, did you?”
Dapple looked down at her boots, the soft boots of Imperial make, crafted solely for the use of Greens. She had indeed gotten them from a retired soldier, one who’d also trained her in their fighting style, but she had a reputation to keep. She leaned back in her chair, knees wide and relaxed like a man, and let a touch of swagger flavour her voice. “Of course I did, Fast Toes, dead men never haggle well. They were a right bargain!”
“Fine! Keep your secrets. So you are investigating the keep?”
“Now, when did I mention that? Or Greens for that matter? You looking into my business, boss? Should I be worried? ” Dapple raised an eyebrow and kept her casual pose, but her eyes were hard.
“Don’t be, I try to keep my fingers and ears in everyone’s pie. Something is up there. They wouldn’t be focusing so much energy on boarding up windows unless there was a reason.”
Dapple agreed, and turned the conversation around to her new travel companions of the morrow. Fast Toes sprawled into his overstuffed armchair and lit a pipe before answering, enjoying Dapple’s impatience.
"The big one I have heard of. He is “Diablo” of the arenas. A prize gladiator of the empire until he killed his masters and fled. There is a sizable bounty on his head. Not that I would suggest killing a teammate, but if he were to meet unfortunate ends, you’d make a tidy profit in keeping his head and bringing it back.
"The Valentine Mage I know very little of. He supplied a lot of good information to Dwan when he came over to our side. I know your instinct is for distrust boy, but that one has his reasons to hate the empire. He will hold true – that is from my guts and my guts are rarely wrong. He is another one with a good bounty on his head. You could be in good after this caper, boy.
"The other mage….Well, him I know. Came into Freegate a while ago, must be over a year. Has a tendency to wander the streets at night. Not the good streets either, but the ones that a wise person knows not to travel. Walks around in a daze sometimes, talking to himself or to the walls, or to nothing at all. Anyway, my boys figure him an easy mark, but no one can get his goods. He always knows when someone is about, reaching for his purse. Now he is gentlemanly like about it, always polite and all that – never gets angry about it. Even Dodger couldn’t nick him, and Dodger is a prince among pickpockets. Anyway, the boys leave him alone now, call him “spooky”.
One evening, not that long ago, Evangeline, you know her? Anyway she comes in all freaked out with this Spooky in tow. She tells me she was hidden away in her hideyhole, and this mage comes up and approaches her, asking to see me. She’s upset cause the hideyhole is a good location, near unspottable and this guy pops in like it was the Iron League’s tower. So he tells me about this man who is dead in an alley – a robbery. He wants to know who did it. You know me, I don’t shiv to anyone killing the marks – it’s …”
“Bad for business. Yes, you have said that many times.”
“Right. So I go with him and look at the guy. Well the cutthroat wasn’t very bright and I was able to figure out the who’s and why’s easily enough. So once I tell him, Spooky suddenly is all happy – as if that was all he needed to know. I offer to cut him in on the dealing with the trespasser, but he isn’t interested. He becomes really distracted, like he is talking to someone else, who ain’t there. Then he politely thanks me and said, “He is free now, there is no need.” Fast Toes shrugged, “Spooky ain’t the half of it. Anyway. I hear he knows his way around a firefight and has power. He’s one of Gwanele’s pets so you better keep him intact. She can be worse than spooky if pissed.”
Dapple mulled over the conversation as she made her way to her own “hideyhole”: a ramshackle room on the third floor of a crumbling building. The whole thing looked ready to fall down, and in fact, all the stairs had rotted away, leaving no easy means to reach the one solid floor in the place. Dapple took her time to get there, doubling back along her trail several times until she was confident that she hadn’t been followed. She climbed up the wall to the window of her “mansion”, then wrapped herself and Sunset up in her cloak for what she hoped would be a few hours of sleep before morning.
Posted on 2006-10-18 at 21:26:22.
Edited on 2006-10-19 at 15:21:34 by Vanadia
Alacrity The Tired RDI Staff Karma: 291/33 6273 Posts
Sun comes up, It's Tuesday Morning
OOC: I will be away this weekend helping a friend move, so I figure I will post now. Of course anyone wanting to back post can – I figure you’d prefer to get the show on the road.
The West Gate - Daybreak
Morning comes as it usually does to Freegate, the sun peaking from behind the tall mountains like a mother sneaking a look at her baby sleeping. The sun’s rays were warming to the party who were at the west gate and preparing to head out on their journey.
Dwan was there, but not Gwanele. Terrin, his perpetual shadow was on hand to hand out the potions to all and the special potion promised given to Arien, so he could choose who needed it most. Not a person for speeches, Dwan gripped each of you by the arm and wished you luck and fortune on the journey.
Arien was particularly dazzling in his full plate lit up by the bright sun. In fact, you were pretty sure that Keoland, on the other side of the world could see Arien coming. How much work goes into polishing armour that much – is the question bantered around.
Sunset flies off from Dapple’s shoulder to land on Arien’s helm. The small dragon’s skin changes colour, slowly at first then rapidly to take on the polished silver of the helm. The Knight looks at you all and smiles, a fierce image to be sure of a warrior in a dragon helm – if the dragon wasn’t sticking its tongue out and crossing its eyes.
Char was anxious to get out and ahead of the party to scout out ahead. The prospect of being away from the city cheered the ranger more than the prospect of adventure.
Kilgim looks dreadfully uncomfortable on his stead, which he named Grumpy. Most Dwarves disliked horses and there seemed to be no exception for the Cleric and his pony.
Talas’ horse was one of the biggest many you have seen in a long time, suitable for the huge warrior. In the light of day, it is not hard to imagine Talas as a gladiator, for he is a tall man with a muscular build and a huge barrel chest.
Looking more like a warrior than a mage, Adrian Valentine adjusts the strap on his bastard sword and awaits departure, as if born to face dangers in the morning.
Jal muttered to himself about winter, despite it being a lovely spring day.
Dapple remained cloaked against the light, quietly checking her daggers for the umpteenth time. Here we go again. Wonder how many of us will come back this time.
Later in the day, in town.
“He left town.”
“He got up and left, and why I don’t know but he left with the same group as last night at the tower.”
“But he… I expect him to buy supplies. Shop for stuff! No one just leaves…Why did you let him go?”
“What was I going to do? I don’t go after men with huge swords and the skills to make me a eunuch. You can’t pay me enough.”
“Fine, Fine, Fine. Damn it! Okay…let me think. Where did they leave from?”
“West Gate, at day break.”
“Okay. Okay. Fine. Okay. Good. We still have a chance. This is what we are going to do.”
OOC: Might want to establish a marching order. I know Char will want to scout ahead and Arien will want to take point, beyond that I need positions.
Posted on 2006-10-19 at 21:35:56.
Edited on 2006-10-19 at 21:38:16 by Alacrity
As it came everyday finally it was morning and along with the other 6 party members he gathered at the West gate. With the Ranger Char out in front and next in line Arien, Talas decided to place himself at the rear of the column to mayhap stay out of anyone’s bow sights due to his large size.
His backpack and what little gear he had strapped to the horse and with Serenity across his back and his shield within easy reach, the ex-Gladiator was ready to begin the day’s journey.
“This is what I disliked the most about the last time, Wynter,” Jal muttered as he squinted against the rising sun and gathered the reins of the dappled, mist-grey mare he had been provided, “watching the sun come up… the way it flickers like an infero across the horizon…” The sunrise always reminded him of the way the flames had spread out from the center of the mill and rose with horrifying slowness to the peak of the roof.
You should have gotten more sleep, my love, she answered, dispelling his morbid recollection, given your mind more time to prepare for this.
“I’m sufficiently prepared, dear girl,” he said as he thrust his staff through the slings on his horse’s saddle, “I have readied my spells, gathered my supplies…”
Spent yet another night wandering the streets, Wynter added. I think Lady Gwanele had been expecting you earlier.
“Not wandering,” Jal scowled, swinging himself up into the saddle before tugging the cowl of his patchwork cloak over his head to shade his eyes, “and I don’t think that Gwanele was terribly upset… do you?”
Look at the dragon, Wynter giggled.
Jal’s eyes skimmed over the party, then, seeking out the little creature. He smiled when he saw it perched on the knight’s helm – its skin no longer grey but a gleaming silver that matched Arien’s brilliant armor – and snickered a bit when he noticed that the pseudodragon’s tongue was poking out of its mouth and its eyes were crossed. For his part, the knight was grinning too, as if Sunset’s pretending to be a part of his helm were something he had grown accustomed to and, perhaps, enjoyed to some degree.
“Funny,” Jal chuffed. When he noticed that Wynter had wandered off, likely fascinated by Sunset’s antics and trying to get closer to the little creature, the vagabond mage took a moment to study the rest of the party. The ranger, Char, seemed anxious to get out beyond the city walls, of course, and his mount seemed to empathize as it pranced anxiously before the gates. Dwan’s cousin, on the other hand, looked less than happy to be astride the back of his pony and, Jal imagined, was probably as anxious about being off the beast as the ranger was about setting off into the wild…
Dwarves dislike for their feet to be far from the earth, Jal, Wynter’s voice wafted through his mind from some distance away, it makes them uncomfortable.
“And what about this one, then,” Jal queried as his ice-hued eyes slid over to Dapple Moon. The boy was as sullen and withdrawn as he had been last night and, like Jal, seemed to hide from the sun in the depths of his hood but, despite outward appearances, the spellbinder sensed… what?... trepidation… resignation… something.
Remember the Halfling, Fast Toes? One of his, I think…
Jal smirked; “So I am 'Spooky' to him, as well, I suppose.”
Perhaps, he caught a brief glimpse of Wynter’s eyes when she answered - she thought the nickname given to him by Freegate's thieves guild was somehow cute. While Jal wasn't bothered by the monker, though, he didn't find it 'cute' in any way. Perhaps not. Remember what I told you last night, my spellbinder…
“Trust,” Jal nodded as his gaze tracked away from the roguish lad and sought out the other, newer members of the group, “Yes, Wynter, I remember.”
Yes, trust, the girl cooed, A bond of true-felt trust is a bond of love, my sweet spellbinder; this is how great friendships are made.
“So you have said before, Wynter,” the mage whispered as his eyes settled on Valentine. The former Imperial Red was tugging at the straps that kept that huge blade snugged to his back and looking as eager for action as the others. Jal had encountered Reds before – quite a few, in fact, as he traveled from the ruins of the Master’s tower far to the north and before he found his way to Freegate – none of them had been friendly but all seemed to be rather well off in their positions even though some bristled at following the commands of their superiors. He wondered what had transpired with this one that had brought him to this side of the Iron League’s borders…
Perhaps you should ask…
Finally, there was the burly pit-cat, Talas. “Perhaps I shall,” Jal whispered as the former gladiator coaxed his massive steed to the rear of the still loosely formed column, “but I get the feeling that I’ll be in closer speaking proximity to this one for at least the first part of this trip. We seem to favor similar spots in the marching order.”
I will leave you to it, then, Wynter smiled before her voice went silent and she disappeared.
Jal tugged on his own horse’s reins as Talas clopped by and shadowed the huge fighter to the trailing portion of the column. “Good morning, Talas Mohar’Jerale,” the mage said softly, turning his pale eyes on the warrior as he drew along side him… he wasn’t sure what words should follow that, though, so he simply nodded – a gesture that was likely partially lost in the depths of his cowl – to punctuate the greeting.
(OOC: All righty, then, looks like Jal will be bringing up the rear with the big guy for the time being… )
Posted on 2006-10-20 at 11:09:26.
Edited on 2006-10-23 at 07:17:13 by Eol Fefalas
Vanadia Den Mother RDI Staff Karma: 111/12 1188 Posts
The last of the night’s coolness caressed Dapple’s cheek as she hurried through the streets towards the West Gate. While in her favourite back alleys, Dapple moved with a swift directness that few ever witnessed, but as she neared the wide, open streets of the better part of town, she slowed, drawing her hood up against the new day. She slipped from one fading shadow to another, until she was able to mingle amongst the horses and handlers awaiting the party.
She gripped Dwan’s arm as briefly as possible, letting go and pulling her arm back as if stung. Another cold, tight-lipped smile for Terrin, and she swung into the saddle of the horse loaned to her. A creature of rooftops and blind alleys, Dapple didn’t make a habit of riding horses, and had no need to own one, but liked walking long distances less than she did horses. If anyone noted that she sat well in the saddle for a city bred commoner, she would just stare at them blankly. That life is behind us now
She watched the others as they took their places, and noted who was comfortable on horseback, and who rode like a sack of potatoes. She nodded in an almost friendly manner to Kilgim, wincing at the way he sat with his weight against the back edge of the saddle. “You’ll be sore tonight, good dwarf,“ she thought to herself, but spared the cleric her thoughts. Instead, she checked the small pack hanging at the small of her back, and the daggers sheathed on arms and legs, making sure none had shifted to hamper her movements.
Sunset’s antics stole a snicker from Dapple, which she swallowed unsuccessfully as she shook her head at Arien’s mock heroic pose. “Don’t the two of you make a sight,” she drawled in her low voice, making Arien grin all the wider.
As the group headed out, some took up positions as if agreed upon in advance, while others, Dapple included, remained loosely grouped in the middle. Char would range ahead, that only made sense, and Dapple noted with distant approval that the two big fighters placed themselves at the head and rear of the group. The spooky mad one also dropped back to ride near Talas, and Dapple didn’t know whether to be relieved that he wasn’t near her, or concerned that he was behind her. She nudged her horse forward a bit, then off to the side, so she could easy look to party members both ahead and behind.
As Talas took his place at the columns rear he was more then a little surprised to find himself addressed by the weird little mage Jal.
"Good morning, Talas Mohar’Jerale"
The mage had said softly, as he had turned his pale eyes onto Talas as the big warrior came up along side him.
"And good morning to you Jal, it is Jal right? Jal Spellbender, if I remember correctly. What can I do for you this morning?"
For the small mage to have talked to him was one thing but clearly it seemed he planned to ride next to Talas for a time if not the first days ride. Though Talas was one of few words it could not hurt the big warrior to try and hold a conversation for once without trying to kill the person he was talking to as had happened so many times in the games.
Talas had heard someplace in his youth that trying new things was a good thing at times and here was such a chance. So awaiting the small Mages next words he kept he larger horse in pace with Jal’s smaller.
Posted on 2006-10-20 at 23:10:20.
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 69/3 1004 Posts
[Last night at the tavern]
Kilgim licked the last drop of the delicious stew and took a sip of his ale. His eyes were locked into Char's and he was concentrating on every word the man said- not because the woodsman's dialect was hard to understand (Kilgim's more than used to it), but because of what Char was saying. From the day they saved the poor creature, the dwarf's been most intrigued by Sunset. Unfortunately it has chosen the ranger and the kid as its friends, not him. But still the mental communication it apparently uses as well as the sudden graving for spicy sausages, make the tiny dragon very interesting indeed.
As Char finished relating the vision he saw, the red-bearded cleric did the same with his ale. Setting the tankard on the table with surprising precision and care, he lifts his green eyes back to Char's. "Lad, me ain't any sage on such matters. But what ye'r sayin' sounds like the mage's gone through some nasty stuff, if'n that's 'is past Sunset was showin' ye. Me thinks Dwan would never pick anyone with evil purposes to serve 'im... an' the same goes fer Gwanele. Let's keep an eye on the lad, but not judge 'im just yet."
Turning his eyes to Arien, Kilgim smiled sadly. "If only yer dear sister was with us, lad. She'd know better what t' make o' this all."
[Morning at the West Gate]
He felt good as he stood at the West Gate. He'd slept his usual 6 and some hours and slept them well. Though somewhat anxious to leave the walls of his home behind, Kilgim was still a dwarf and dwarves usually didn't get exited over such matters easily. After the fine meal and a few pints at the tavern, the cleric had made his back to his quarters with determination, but without haste. He was not one to hurry unless someone's life was in danger.
Kilgim had felt somewhat guilty for leaving his dear friends so early in the evening. But there was no other way to do it, not when one was leaving for an undetermined period of time. There were preparations to be done. Oh yes, he'd smiled at the thought as he greeted the guards at the castle's gate. Humans were so strange sometimes. The way they rushed into everything without planning and preparing well ahead. It was good that he wasn't like that... Very good indeed.
So now as they said their goodbyes to Dwan and Terrin (or in fact Kilgim and Dapple were the only ones remembering Dwan's little helper) with a smile and a few kind words, the cleric greeted the new day with rested eyes and peaceful mind. He'd gone through his gear not once, not twice, but full three times to make sure he had everything packed and ready. Like Arien (or so Kilgim believed), he'd spent an hour to wipe the rings on his mithril chain clean along with the steel breastplate and helmet. He'd carefully packed his climbing gear as well as his mess kit into his very worn backpack. There were naturally other needed equipment in the old pack too, such as three white chalk sticks, a brush and some empty sacks. One never knew...
Having said his goodbyes, Kilgim swallowed hard as he heard a familiar snort behind him. Cold sweat began to form on his back as he turned around. What he felt could not be called fear. There were not that many things the servant of Clangeddin was truly afraid of. It was uneasiness or even uncertainty. The bald priest did not hate the mule any more than he was afraid of it, but he was most certain that the dislike of each other was the only thing the dwarf and the animal had in common. He could almost hear the mule's thoughts as it eyed him. No doubt old Crumpy wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea of having 154 pounds of dwarf plus the heavy armor on its back for days and days with only a short rests in between.
Like everyone else, Kilgim found himself making evaluations of those joining him on the mission, especially the newcomer sorcerers. He had absolutely no idea of the powers the two mages controlled, but he'd been awed by the magics of Alloryn on their previous trip. And now there were two. Both were no doubt as powerful as Arien's sister had been or even more. One, the strange one, was a pupil of Gwanele's. That alone spoke much of him. And the other - a former Red of the Imperial army. He could prove to be an invaluable asset when Kilgim and his friends were up against one or more of Valentine's former compatriots. Dwan's chosen well. An' as much as me'd prefer t' 'ave Alloryn coverin' our backs, these two will now 'ave t' do.
"Aye", he spoke to himself quietly, "This is a fine lot o' people indeed. Our skills cover everythin' from ranged combat t' melee an' between. We'll do just fine." With a huff and a puff, Kilgim climbed on Crumpy's back and immediately felt as displeased as looked. Saddles simply weren't made to accommodate dwarves. He took his place beside Dapple and fingered the handle of Blackaxe uneasily.
Posted on 2006-10-21 at 03:27:13.
Edited on 2006-10-21 at 03:50:45 by Raven
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 145/11 3886 Posts
On the Road Again...
His pulse throbbed in time to the easy canter Northwind took as they left the stable and made their way down the dirt road. The sun had not yet risen over the needle-like peaks that surrounded Freegate, and a slight, cool breeze brought the shiver of life to his back, but the ranger was smiling with contentment as he held the reigns easily in his gloved right hand. The streets were practically empty at this time, though many a window was lit by oil lamps and candles so that the tenets of such homes could prepare for their days. Char could hear the occasional cough through closed shutters as he and Northwind clomped by, the soft muttering of voices as two people conversed quietly within—noises that would soon be lost to the bustle of the day. This time of day could almost fool a person into thinking the city was a quaint local, similar to a grove just waking up to a dew-filled morning after a peaceful slumber, but Char was no fool and he’d seen too many of these mornings dashed against the rocks of civilization of late to want to wait around for another.
He’d barely been able to sleep the night before out of pure excitement to feel the soft earth of a meadow beneath his feet once again, to have at his side, his only companion for the moment, his loyal steed. He could already feel the sun on his shoulders, the mountain air tickling his lungs, and the soft sounds of insects humming that weren’t associated with offal and refuse. His gear had been packed in his backpack and belt pouch with the usual care making it easy for him to remember where each item was. The whole of the interior of each pack was lined with wax paper to help keep the water out and he had tied these to the Northwind’s saddle between the bags that draped over his haunches. He’d donned his gray-green studded leather (unlike Arien’s and Kilgim’s, Char’s was worn with dirt in the crevasses, dried mud smeared about it and the occasional bit of grass attached) with care, settling the armor in place over the padding so that it wouldn’t interfere with his movement and allow for the most comfortable situation possible. Then, with his quiver over his shoulder, his swords, daggers and knives strapped about his body, and his bow in hand, Char had mounted Northwind and made his way out of the ragtag warren that passed for a stable in Freegate.
Their dinner conversation had done little to put the ranger’s mind at ease concerning Jal. Kilgim was given to recognize Dwan’s talents for picking people who suited the purpose of the mission. He, of course, trusted in his cousin’s judgement and Char couldn’t fault him for that, but Kilgim hadn’t seen the vision Sunset had delivered—a vision that still set the gruff ranger’s skin crawling and his stomach in a knot. It wasn’t so easy for Char to dismiss Jal Spellbinder as harmless, and the man’s incessant chatter with the unseen didn’t help his case any. Then there was Valentine, the ex-red… going to face greens and reds with an ex-red in tow… that thought was about as appealing to Char as having to get dressed up in a doublet and hose. Of all their new companions Talas seemed to be the only straightforward, what you see is what you get, addition. The big gladiator wasn’t as refined as Shona had been, but he seemed to be of the same mold and that was something Char could get behind. So it was that Char arrived at the west gate with some trepidation, some excitement, and no small amount of caution.
When Dwan had made his rounds, giving everyone their farewell in turn, Char gave his companions a once over to make sure they were all ready, then with a nod to Arien, he Turned Northwind out the gate and led the party onto the mountain path. Char wasn’t the type to wonder after their future. He’d plan for events, but he wouldn’t dwell on “what if’s”, so his focus was primarily on what lay in their immediate path. As the pathfinder his responsibility was to make sure the party wasn’t ambushed, didn’t come upon anything that might deter them from their path, and find them shelter when it came time to camp. So, when they first left Freegate, he remained at the front of the companionship, but not yet removed. It wasn’t until they were no longer in the protective region close enough to the city that most dangers were alleviated that the ranger urged Northwind on ahead of the rest of the party. The distance he put between them was adequate enough so that he could determine the best route, mark it with stones or sticks in a particular style Arien, Dapple, or Kilgim would recognize should it take them from the road, or investigate a potential danger and return to the party before they stumbled on it. He moved carefully, often dismounting to allow his well-trained horse the opportunity to walk calmly along the road while he ran up the side of the mountain to get a better view, or having Northwind wait for him at the base of an outcropping while he scaled it and surveyed what lay ahead. Sometimes he walked in front of Northwind while the loyal animal paced him. In these times Char had his bow in hand and studied the ground, the lower branches of trees and bushes, the way that the rocks lay and the dirt had settled to determine whether anything or anyone had passed ahead of them recently, crossed their path, or otherwise disturbed the ground in passing. While Char was not one to dwell on “what if’s” he was a careful man, especially when the lives of people he’d come to trust were at stake.
"And good morning to you Jal, it is Jal right? Jal Spellbender, if I remember correctly…”
The fact that the big gladiator seemed so ready to talk to him took Jal somewhat by surprise – it wasn’t often that someone spoke to him for the sake of nothing more than conversation. Behind the veil of his hair and within the depths of his tattered cowl, the strange mage smiled and nodded in response to the large man’s recollection of his name.
“Yes,” Jal nodded, “Jal Spellbinder, it is.”
“…What can I do for you this morning?"
The urchin-mage was perplexed by this next bit and had to ponder the question at some length before he could answer. After a moment of trying to determine if there was, in fact, anything that the man could “do for him” at the moment – blot out the painful memories stirred in him by the rising of the sun, perhaps?..
“Just a bit of conversation to pass the time, I suppose,” the mage answered at last, “If we are to travel together it would be wise to know more about one another before those things that we can actually do for one another become necessary, yes?”
“These others,” the spellbinder gestured to the loose column of adventurers ahead of them, “seem already to know one another and Valentine, our once Red friend, there, seems to have an already sour opinion of me. As you and I are the apparent outsiders, as it were...”
Jal shrugged then, realizing, perhaps, that he was starting to ramble. His pale eyes drifted from the trail to the large man riding beside him; “Tell me of yourself, Talas,” he continued softly, “What has brought you to Freegate… to this?”
Posted on 2006-10-22 at 10:24:17.
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 349/54 6201 Posts
[the night before, in the tavern]
Arien had been more than pleased to make the barmaid's acquaintance; no portion of his personal code denied him the pleasure of enjoying a good view, or of an evening with gentle company (a fact that had always irritated Ally). However, he had duties to his friends, so he simply settled for a smile and a wink.
Char's tale was disturbing, to be sure, but Arien was not concerned overmuch. Kilgim had his own theory as to what the vision could have meant, but the knight gave it even less thought. "Friend Char," he explained, "what with Alloryen as company, I have grown up with magic, as it were. Some of it, I understand - there is little to argue about the purpose of bolts of lightning, globes of exploding fire, or incantatons than make a man invisible. As for the rest of it... pah." He grinned. "Scryings and divinations often turn out to be more trouble then they are worth, and raise more quastions than they answer. Dwan trusts this man, and that is good enough for me until he proves himself untrue."
With that, the knight turned the conversation to food, drink, and companionship.
[the next morning]
As he spurred Winston to the front of the line, Arien basked in the early morning sun. It was a fine day for a new quest, and with companions such as these, how could they fail in their task?
Final words were exchanged with Dwan and his assistants, though little remained to be said. Arien grinned at the pseudodragon's antics, marveling as he did how she managed to copy in moments the sheen on his armor that had taken him well nigh an hour and a half of hard polishing to produce. Of course, he would polish it each and every night to ensure that the enchantments on the plate and shield both were kept fully maintained.
Without needing to be told, Char assumed his position as party scout. Talas, who had thus far begun to assume a label of disagreeableness, fell back to a rear guard position - exactly where Arien would have wanted him to ride. Perhaps this will go better than I had hoped, he mused.
"Friends," the knight spoke, "unless there are objections, I think it best to proceed much as we are currently aligned, at least when we must trvel single file - Char should scout ahead, obviously. I will take point, with Kilgim next. Adrian should take the next slot, followed by Dapple, Jal, and finally, Talas as rearguard. Any objections?" He doubted that there would be, unless someone's pride was somehow afflicted; it was a sound order, keeping the physically weaker members well protected at both ends, while still taking as much advantage as possible of everyone's strengths.
OOC: if not...
Arien grinned. "Very well, then! Let us ride!"
Posted on 2006-10-23 at 15:36:09.
Edited on 2006-10-23 at 15:36:51 by t_catt11
Talas could not help but feel that somehow he must have gotten off on the wrong foot with the others as he was riding next to Jal and wondered why he somehow sensed that the Knight in particular seemed to dislike him. It was true he had very little skill in social settings and was at times truthfully blunt to the point of irratation, yet was it so bad to always be honest, the big man did not think so. In the end it did not really matter the the other party members would come to respect Talas or they would not, so be it.
Turning to the small Mage Talas did once again turn his attention to him as Jal answered the question posed.
"Just a bit of conversation to pass the time, I suppose," the mage answered at last, "If we are to travel together it would be wise to know more about one another before those things that we can actually do for one another become necessary, yes?. These others," the spellbinder gestured to the loose column of adventurers ahead of them, "seem already to know one another and Valentine, our once Red friend, there, seems to have an already sour opinion of me. As you and I are the apparent outsiders, as it were..."
"Very true Jal so I formally greet you I am Talas Mohr’Jeral ex-Gladiator and now mercenary. As you say it would appear I too am already disliked by one of our party as you say the 2 of us being outsiders to the others, all but the Red corpie and he and I will not be friends anytime soon."
Jal shrugged then, his pale eyes drifted from the trail to the large man riding beside him; "Tell me of yourself, Talas," he continued softly, "What has brought you to Freegate… to this?"
With a small laugh The big man did reply
"You ask what has brought me here that is very simple, Freedom, The freedom from my cage, the freedom from the Empire, the freedom from the Pits. The freedom of the chance to live for me and not for the entertainment of others. From the age of 15 till just 5 years ago I was a slave but now I am a free man once again. So here I have in my travels come to seek that which all man seek eventually a peaceful life. And you good Jal why are you here in this city?"
As he awaited the mages reply Talas watched his surroundings as not to be caught unawares. For even while yet in the shadow of Freegate, danger did surely lurk everywhere.....
Al I edited the first part of my post and wanted to let you know as such. I do not think it will effect your post in any way
Posted on 2006-10-23 at 17:36:29.
Edited on 2006-10-23 at 22:53:23 by TannTalas