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Almerin
Typing Furiously
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Karma: 176/19
3011 Posts


The Spores of Itanlok - an Audalis Short Adventure

At the dawn of time,
the winds arrived,
and carried spores from Yonder.
Rock split and opened wide,
cradling the seeds divine.
Ideas and visions.
Intentions undetermined.
A mining nation’s wonder.

Hurond Trippledig, Captain of the Throne Guard, after drinking too much Blue Fungid Beer
A Khordaldrum wedding is unlike any sort of celebration anywhere else on the Antarian Continent. It is a feast of many days, with continuous drinking of the deep ales the subterranean race brews. It is a marathon of fun and games, of singing the tales of the families and chanting the prayers of good luck, after which, of course, more ale is needed to toast.
Ah, toasting. Every member of each family seems to have something to add to whatever has been said already. Advice passes. Well-wishes too. And in the quiet moment where everybody listens to the elders mumble their blessing, a unity is formed between strangers. After that, nothing is as it was. A family has expended, and a deal has been sealed. But never was business mixed so well with pleasure, as in the festivities of Khordaldrum matrimony.

Khordaldrum hardly ever marry out of love. Arrangements are made by families soon after a female Khord is born. The marriage of Kretarund Orehand and Befilda Shieldmaster was no exception. The Orehands and the Shieldmasters had planned this wedding since Befilda was a toddler. It was a great opportunity for both parties, since it would strengthen their positions as aspiring granite-distributors.
Kretarund and Befilda had met each other over the years, and had always known what was to happen. They rejoiced in it, for each appreciated the other very much. One could call it Love, but Khords are not quick to take that term in application.

The party was in full effect now. It was held at a special bar in the Warrens of Gunthras, where both families lived. The bar was a literal drinking hole at the base of the great Mushroom Forest, and founded by a Khordaldrum Druid who had died many ages ago. To enter ‘the Spores of Itanlok’, as the establishment was named, you had to descend into the earth, with a whirling staircase. It was like entering a rabbit’s nest, and the bar had every cosy aspect of such a place.
It was the second day into the wedding, and the official ceremony was already forgotten by most of the attendants. Kretarund and Befilda Orehand were sitting on a single big chair, taking in the festivities and whispering soft comments about the guests in each other’s ear over a mug of Dark Bellyfold.

“Look over there, me little pebble, it’s cousin Thondrek. I didn’t know ‘e was still alive? Last I heard ‘e got himself lost in the Chakran Mountains with a bunch o’ them Syls.”
“You must be joking. Thondrek the ‘adventurer’? Never would’ve thought. Weird one though. Thinks he’s too good to work in a mine?”
“Oh, and there’s Uncle Grabrocks. Did y’see the enormous diamond ‘e gave us?”
“Pfff, it’s probably a fake. I’ll ask one of my Burrowfolk nephews about it. He’s a Gemhound. He’ll sniff the falseness right out of it.”

Kretarund gave Uncle Grabrocks a nice wave with his tankard of ale. He then turned back to his beloved.
“Hey, look! It’s Grothtorg! And he brought his owl. Let’s keep an eye on him. I’m want to ask him how he got that braid.”
“Yes, rocky-Bottoms,” Befilda said with less enthusiasm than her husband, “sure that will make a fine tale… oh, ‘ey, it’s that strange fella. ‘e got a crush on me when us was little. What was his name again… oh, that’s right: Baldorf. Always sneaked up on me without a sound.”
“He probably thought you smelled nice. I never thought he was that strang…. Oh you have to be kidding me! Did you invite ‘Loco’ Fungihammer to the party?”
The groom had almost dropped his mug in astonishment. Befilda followed his gaze and groaned. “Tyrannis’ Tits, I didn’t think ‘e would actually show up. You know ‘e saved some of me brothers? I couldn’t NOT invite him. Cost me quite a bit to track him down too. Let’s just hope ‘e will stay away from the beer.”
Kretarund laughed heartily at his wife’s remark. “We’re Khords. Of course he won’t stay away from the beer!”

To prove his claim he brought the Dark Bellyfold to his lips and dried it to the last drop. He flung the wooden mug to the ground and echoed a deep, satisfied burp over the heads of the crowd. Cheers went up and more than one reply sounded back at the couple. The bride and groom grinned at each other while Kretarund wiped the foam from his hair. It was a useless effort; after a full day of feasting, both their beards were saturated with all sorts of liquids already. By the same time tomorrow, they would be wringed out and the mix of ales would be caught in a jar, shaken and given to the crowd. Whoever would dare to drink it was said to be the next to marry. Everybody knew that the only thing you would get from it was a certain gastric ulcer, but there were always guests bold or dumb enough to try.

The groom kissed his bride and went to the bar to order two new mugs of ale. As he walked through the crowd he was patted on the shoulder, jabbered at, and even hugged. The guests were truly letting go of their reserved social boundaries. High spirited and slightly drowsy from the amount of fermented liquor, Kretarund grabbed hold of a familiar face and steamed a breathy “Hey there, haven’t seen you in a long time, glad you could make it” into it. The face, however, belonged to Jamdock Burrowfolk, who did not return the tipsy welcome. The gemhound stared at the groom with one bright eye (the other one had been replaced with a green emerald years ago).
“Sorry nephew, no time to chat. I caught me a scent… a possible trace. Leave me alone, and I’ll give ye my best-wishes later.”
Jamdock shrugged loose from Kretarund’s hold and disappeared in the crowd. Gemhounds were subterranean hunters, looking for fake or illegally marketed gems, and apparently the groom’s nephew was on the brink of discovering something. After a moment of disillusion at the unhappy meeting, Kretarund started to snort with incoherent laughter and made his way to the bar.

While waiting on his Farmboy’s Death ale, he looked around at the guests that were around. He noted a familiar face and old friend of the family, only at that point he couldn’t remember which family it was: Crulgrin Shadebeard.
“Hey Crully, old boy. How’re things over at the refinery? You still work there, right?”
He would’ve loved to listen to whatever Crulgrin had to say, but he got suddenly pulled away from the bar by a young girl in her mid-hundred’s and flung into a wild dance of Catch the Badger. More Khords joined in and soon the band of war-drum percussionists caught onto it. With the rhythm taking control of the crowd, even the most traditionally sober Khord could not help but tap his feet at the festivity dance. Kretarund and Befilda Orehand found each other in the middle of the crowd, and swirled, tapped, hopped and ducked with a rocky stiffness that graced the dance and the race that developed it.

Suddenly a loud explosion erupted from somewhere close to the bar, which made the ground shake and brought sand and dust misting from the ceiling. Heads turned, silence fell and everyone’s attention was on a Khord with a blackened face, who was holding what was left of two wooden mugs.
“My apologies,” he shied, then started laughing. They all knew who he was: Magnumopus Warpstone, one of the Servants of Fire and Stone; followers of Kharox that experimented in chemistry and ‘new weaponry’. A dangerous lot to be around. Apparently, he had been mixing different kinds of ale that did not fit together well.
Magnumopus looked around at the astonished faces of the Khords around him. They were as black as he was and equally unharmed. Still, he started brushing off the first person that came to hand: a strong fellow named Kharov.
The silence slowly faded when chatter restarted and Kretarund returned to his bride.

“Bef,” he said, “this is the best wedding a Khord could wish for.”

(OOC: You've all been 'introduced', and ready to post. Have fun!)


Posted on 2008-10-11 at 11:30:22.
Edited on 2008-10-11 at 11:37:17 by Almerin

Hammer
Extreme Exclaimator!
Karma: 90/24
4114 Posts


Purple Haze

Wedding Party
Second Day
The Spores of Itanlok
Mushroom Forest
Warrens of Gunthras

'Loco' Fungihammer swayed his way between the revelers who were draining their tankards in celebration of the long awaited union of Kretarund and Befilda Orehand.

Almost absent mindedly fingering one of the braids of his silver beard that held the small sapphire that was given to him countless years earlier by the bride's family for rescuing their children; the Cleric stared almost trance-like at the merry makers who were enshrouded in a purple haze that filled the perceptions of his mushroom enhanced mind.

The Orehands and the Shieldmasters had planned this wedding since Befilda was a toddler. It was a great opportunity for both parties, since it would strengthen their positions as aspiring granite-distributors.
"Well ... it could have been a tiny chunk of granite I suppose ... a small reward for the dangers I had to overcome ... rescuing those boys from ..."
Kretarund and Befilda Orehand were sitting on a single big chair, taking in the festivities and whispering soft comments about the guests in each other’s ear over a mug of Dark Bellyfold.

"...Oh you have to be kidding me! Did you invite 'Loco' Fungihammer to the party?”

The groom had almost dropped his mug in astonishment. Befilda followed his gaze and groaned.

“Tyrannis’ Tits, I didn’t think ‘e would actually show up. You know ‘e saved some of me brothers? I couldn’t NOT invite him. Cost me quite a bit to track him down too. Let’s just hope ‘e will stay away from the beer.”

Kretarund laughed heartily at his wife’s remark. “We’re Khords. Of course he won’t stay away from the beer!”

The words seemed to ripple their way over the crowd with big white block letters, burning their way through the purple haze, seemingly fuzzy and faded as they reached out and touched the Cleric's enhanced senses.

"Such a lovely couple ... they deserve each other ... why I remember when ..."
To prove his claim he brought the Dark Bellyfold to his lips and dried it to the last drop.

He flung the wooden mug to the ground and echoed a deep, satisfied burp over the heads of the crowd.

Cheers went up and more than one reply sounded back at the couple.

The cacaphony of sounds assailing 'Loco' Fungihammer's mushroomed consciousness caused his brain to surf the soundwaves of a seemingly endless ocean of Erps and Burps that had spontaneously followed the dull thud of the wooden mug that the groom had flung to the ground.

Swept back into the cesspool of his clouded memories ... 'Loco' was helpless to withstand the flood of memories assailing his mind ... remembering the dark visions of a wedding ... the dangers that were to follow ... children needing a champion ... nay ... several champions ... to free them from their fears ...

He had heeded such visions thrice before ... as the sapphire, emerald and ruby stones in the three braids of his silver beard did attest ... but the last rescue had cost the adventurer dearly ...

His childhood friend ... one Stinkpod Stonecutter ... had given his life in the galiant effort to rescue the children ... for 'Loco' had been forced to choose ... the life of his friend ... or ... the life of the children ... and the results of his choice ... had driven the Cleric to a life of solitude the past 10 years in a secluded cavern ... in the Caves of Madness ...

From the depths of those Caves of Madness ... 'Loco' had found solace with his mushrooms ... only emerging a number of weeks ago on sheer impulse ... goaded by the dark visions ... seeking relief ... seeking a quest ... knowing the danger ... challenging the unknown ...

Days later the Cleric chanced upon a grim messenger ... bearing an invitation to the wedding of Befilda ... the invitation had been a mere courtesy ... that the Cleric fully understood ... but an invitation that bore witness ... none the less ... to setting the stage ... of the unfolding of coming events ... foreseen in the Caves of Madness ... things unspoken ... things feared ... things ...

Pulling him from his dark reverie were the war-drum percussionists ... as 'Loco' found himself contorting and gyrating in tune with the echoing ... and re-echoing ... of the drum beats ... resounding inside his mind ... multiplying ... then dividing ... increasing ... then decreasing ... as the crescendo of the Catch the Badger dance ... melted the Cleric's aloof introspection ...

'Loco' found himself loosing his pent up emotions ... riding the waves of the percussionists ... flowing with the celebration of the crowd ... descending a multitude of times more ... in the midst of his memories of descending into the earth upon the whirling staircase ... entering this rabbits nest ... with all the security of ...

Suddenly a loud explosion erupted from somewhere close to the bar, which made the ground shake and brought sand and dust misting from the ceiling.

Heads turned, silence fell and everyone’s attention was on a Khord with a blackened face, who was holding what was left of two wooden mugs.

“My apologies,” he shied, then started laughing.

They all knew who he was: Magnumopus Warpstone, one of the Servants of Fire and Stone; followers of Kharox that experimented in chemistry and ‘new weaponry’.

A dangerous lot to be around. Apparently, he had been mixing different kinds of ale that did not fit together well.

Magnumopus looked around at the astonished faces of the Khords around him. They were as black as he was and equally unharmed.

Still, he started brushing off the first person that came to hand: a strong fellow named Kharov.

The silence slowly faded when chatter restarted and Kretarund returned to his bride.

“Bef,” he said, “this is the best wedding a Khord could wish for.”

'Loco' Fungihammer surfed the soundwaves of his mind ... enjoying every mushroom enhanced moment ... the dark cobwebs blasted from his mind at long last ...

Lifting a tankard of fresh Bitter Root Beer ... the Cleric offered a toast to no one in particular ... least of all the bride and groom ...

"Make Room for the Mushrooms!"


Posted on 2008-10-11 at 18:00:35.
Edited on 2009-09-13 at 23:35:17 by Hammer

gboy
Wee Grugglet
Karma: 57/27
1669 Posts


What is one supposed to do at a wedding?

Baldorf sure didn't know. He had a bit of ale, but he didn't much fancy the stuff. He only had it when a group of Khords came up and was drunk enough to pick up the random Khord there and have a drink with him. And that seemed to happen rarely. Baldorf sighed, stroking his hand through his beard. It did not have a single braid in it. He looked around and saw so many braids on so many faces. Not one. Turning away, he decided that the noise was too much for him. He just needed to be alone.

On his way away from the festivities, he felt a twinge of guilt. Befilda had invited him to this event. She knew that he had had an attraction to her, ever since he was a kid. But only fools can live in those illusions forever. Still, he may have owed it to her to be there...

"Nah, she wouldn't notice the fact I'm gone..." Baldorf said to himself. His hair seemed to ruffle in agreement, as though as strong breeze was blowing through... it wasn't. Baldorf continued walking, stroking his blowing, braidless beard. He would return in due time. He just needed a bit of time to think.


Posted on 2008-10-11 at 19:31:36.

Wyrmsting
Fulla Wyrmstuff
Karma: 20/2
340 Posts


Oh, he's here, alright ...

Grothtorg was surprised to be invited to Kretarund Orehand's wedding. While he knew the new husband's family fairly well, and the new wife's family just barely, he knew neiher of the matrimonial couple personally -- at all. But Groth did not turn down an excuse to drink. No self-respecting Khord would. And taken for all, in all, the celebrations of the last two days had been pretty decent.

Grothtorg's family was a deeper-delving clan than most of the Khordaldrum they knew and, for that reason, were one of the richest of the clans in their area -- in a very large area, for that matter. While most of those in any Khordaldrum clan who had the wanderlust became warriors or defenders, some few had a different "slant" to their thinking and became clerics or "cavers" -- rangers with unique abilities attuned to life underground. Grothtorg was one of the latter. His choiceof profession and training was not looked upon with disdain, but rather with a shrug of the shoulders and mute acceptance.

And speaking of clerics, where in Kharoxes Beard had the matrimonial couple managed to find "Old Loco"? Grothtorg had long been under the impression that the cleric had died. It had never dawned on him that the old stoneface had just disappeared, for whatever reason or reasons. Looking at him now, though, Groth wondered if he was even aware of where he was or what was going on here. He had seen other clerics in the throes of communion or prayer that had a similar look, and some mages that were in intense concentration for the casting of a long and powerful spell that also looked such-wise. But 'Loco's' look was far beyond that. An almost-disassociation with reality , as if he was having some sort of vision and was focusing on that rather than the here-and-now. Had he decided to join the Khord lifestyle again, to associate and teach those who did not know? Grothtorg sincerely hoped so.

Seeing the new husband rough-wipe his beard after emptying his flagon, Grothtorg stroked his own single-braided beard, which was tied with a black strand of leather. He took inordinate pride in the premature graying of his once-black hair and beard. While it makes him look decades older than he is, it makes him as unique in looks as he is in profession. His hair, worn tied back in a simple tail with a leather strap, was a close match to the rough gray-white of his usually-worn Rhino Hide armor. His tanned skin and brown eyes also are nearly the same color. Taken in all, his entire appearance is just slightly out of the ordinary. His dark skin and eyes were in contrast to the cream-and-tan leathers he was currently wearing for these festivities.

As he passed through the crowd of people here, he caught snatches of comments here and there:
"... that's the one. A caver. A loner, him. Must not like people much ...",
"... Oh! Oh! I know him! Grothtorg Jaspersand. Saved a group of clan miners from a pack of howlers, they say ...",
"... did he have to bring the bird? Is he showing off, or what? ...",

The companionship of his owl, Tarrgot, was not so much a result of choice as a result of chance. Tarrgot was one of two young, fledgling chicks which Grothtorg rescued, to be raised and fed by him. One of the two died a short time after being rescued, but Tarrgot grew to be a healthy bird, and became Groth's new companion. Groth prizes Tarrgot for his ability to see, and maneuver, in the extremely low light of some caverns and tunnels, and seldom seen without the bird accompanying him.

Groth noticed the new groom attempt to converse with a Gemhound, getting a brief distracted reply, and being abandoned. Kretarund took it in stride and was soon accosted himself by a female, who dragged him out to the floor and began to Catch the Badger.

Groth watched for a while, smiling at the antics of the two. They were both doing a very credible interpretation of the dance. Then the drums "kicked in" and the floor began to get crowded. Groth began to look for a partner to join in, but by the time he began his search, all the available, unattached females were already dancing, and those that weren't had a male wearing a stern visage next to them, discouraging inviations ...



Posted on 2008-10-12 at 04:17:33.

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 449/28
7384 Posts


Makin' with the merry but tryin ta stay hid, too

“What’m I doin’ here,” Crulgrin muttered into the sleeve of his tunic and he wiped the foam of yet another tankardful of Granitegut Stout from his whiskers, “Come out o’ the Rvisthorn an’ put me arse on the line… an’ fer what… a weddin’?”

He watched, breath held, and face still buried in his sleeve as Jamdock Burrowfoot stomped past him again. Once the Gemhound had disappeared into the thick of the wedding crowd, Crulgrin let his breath go in a sigh of relief. “Aye,” he shook his shaggy, black head slowly and tossed back the tankard once more, draining what remained of the dark, bitter brew into both mouth and beard, “gotta be fargin’ off me boulder ta’ve even thinked this were a good ideer.”

Hoping that Jamdock would stay to himself and not so much as look his way, again, turned and waved for his tankard to be refilled. Crulgrin couldn’t have declined this invitation even if he had wanted to and he knew it. No self-respecting Khord would pass up the chance to attend a wedding and revel in the expansion of the clan… even if the exact nature of that familiar relationship was so convoluted that it scarcely related you to the bride or groom… Why, ye might as well shave of yer beard, move ‘bove ground, and pretend yer a Syl, then, mightn’t ye? It didn’t matter if his being here wasn’t the safest of things to do, either. He’d already shamed himself enough by having fallen in with the wrong sort and, as a result, throwing away a fine career as a caver and advanced scout for the King’s Tunnelers… it hadn’t been his fault entirely, of course, a false promise or two from some Sendrian tall-folk had devolved into a lie that had turned into a threat against Shadebeard’s family and, finally, lead him into his current life as little more than a thief and gem-smuggler… Kharox bless me so’s no one finds out… …who hid his deeds by pretending to be a simple laborer at the…

“Hey Crully, old boy! How’re things over at the refinery? You still work there, right?”

Crulgrin flinched when Kretarund grabbed hold of him and nearly spilled the entire contents of his freshly refilled brew on the both of them. Oh, by the Gods o’ Earth an’ Stone, I’m catched, he thought at first. Then his wide, blinking eyes registered that it was the groom who had apprehended him and not that Burrowfoot bloke, and his look of shock quickly transformed into a broad smile.

“Aye,” Crulgrin snorted, sucking the foam from the top of his brew, “aye, the refin’ry! Things’re good, Kreta-me-boy! Things’re good! Heh heh… Congratulations, boy-o!”

The gem-smuggler, although happy for the young Khord, was somehow relieved when the bridegroom was accosted by another party-guest and dragged away from what, likely, would’ve been a conversation strewn with half-truths and bald-faced lies to which he’d rather not subject family – no matter how distant – anyway. “Khamaruz’s frosty stones but I jest pessed meself,” he sighed trying to fade back into the shadows a bit as he nursed his mug… “What’m I doin’ here?”



Posted on 2008-10-13 at 15:24:51.

Jozan1
RDI Fixture +1
Karma: 65/14
1539 Posts


.

Kharov felt slightly uncomfortable in a crowd this large. He usually was alone or with Grumbles, or in a crowd numbering no more than 6 at the most. Public settings weren't really his thing, but no way was this shining example of a Khord going to go against his peoples beliefs. He showed respect to fellow khords whenever he could, albeit through personal actions and not verbal praise. If he tried to talk to someone most of the time only stutters and interrupts would come out. Most Khords would think this an insult, so he usually just kept quiet to himself whenever he could.

Kharov stared at the couple for minutes, almost envying their relationship. But Kharov quickly shakes this feeling out of his mind, and raises his glass to the two out of respect, giving a silent cheer to them.

I with the two of you the best for centuries to come...
As soon as this thought crossed his mind, he started to lower his glass but a large blast behind him knocked him forward, and in turn his mug onto the floor. Magnumopus started to brush him off, but he turned to him and spoke.

"Wha-wha-wha-whatch it!"

His deep voice sounds odd with this studder, but none the less his voice bellows. He turned around and sat back on his stool, and gestured for another mug of ale. He sat quietly drinking, thinking to himself about how some Khords should not mettle in what is not known, and listens to the music of " catch the badger"


Posted on 2008-10-16 at 02:11:13.

gboy
Wee Grugglet
Karma: 57/27
1669 Posts


I figure I should be in the wedding, in case some extraordinary event should happen that puts us on

Baldorf heaved a sigh, causing his unbraided beard to ruffle even more. His solitude out here was nice, but the music he could hear somehow cause him a twinge of guilt. Befilda... she had invited him here personally, to her special day, even after he had half scared the wits out of her every time he showed up. He felt morally obligated to at least attend the party...and try to enjoy it as much he could. "Figures I get tossed into a thing like this...I don't even know what to do. I don't like the ale, I'm not hungry, I can hardly dance... though I'm probably better than most down there." He noted with a grin.

Baldorf mused about what made him different. He didn't have any heroic deeds which would give him a braid, he didn't enjoy ale too much - he preferred wines- he didn't even carry the normal Khord accent because of his interest in foreign languages. He just lost it over time... he never really noticed it. "Well, might as well put some pointy ears on me, walk on stilts and call me Sylvari..." He chuckled to himself. Well, at least now he was in a good mood. He whistled softly as he began the walk back to the wedding.

...
...

Arriving at the wedding, Baldorf made his way to the bar. Might as well look like he was enjoying himself. He waved for a drink, figures it'll be ale, and he turned to look at Befilda. He still knew why he had been in love with her. "Ah well, she's taken and that's that." He muttered to himself. "No use crying over spilt wine." Turning back to the bar, Baldorf took his mug, and took one long swig.

Yuck He though to himself, how can they drink this stuff? And like it?


Posted on 2008-10-16 at 04:17:10.

Almerin
Typing Furiously
RDI Staff
Karma: 176/19
3011 Posts


and there we go

The party continued after the explosion. Why would it not. It was not the first time such a thing had happened at a wedding, and everybody knew that the festivities would not end for days. They hadn’t even sung the ballad of ‘Mine over Matter’ yet, which was a certain must. A bonding of man and woman was unofficially unofficial if that song had not been joined on at least one occasion during the weeks of celebration.

Most of the guests seemed to enjoy themselves. Every now and then people left to go do their shifts in the mines, but their place was always filled by a newcomer, or a returning partyguest. Others had the luxury of not having to go back to a job, having gotten the week off, or just choosing not to leave in knowledge of the work still being available on return.

The people that regarded Loco Fungihammer could not tell if he was having a good time, or if he was having a time at all. He seemed entertained, but his reactions weren’t always aimed at something that seemed to be going on at the wedding. Still, they dared not question him or laugh behind his back, out of respect for the braids in his beard. He had earned them, and for that they left him to himself.

Baldorf came back to the party shortly after he had left. He felt bad; for leaving, and for coming back. He was a Khord, but he sure as gold didn’t feel like one.
As he wanted to take a disgusted sip from his ale, a firm hand clapped his back. The drunken face of an old Khordaldrum miner curved its way around him and stopped one inch from his nose.
“Hey there… brrrrrrother. *hick*” The miners eyes twirled in their sockets as he tried to look to the side casually. “D’you want to try some of this ehm… *hick* chopped… dried.. seaweed? “
He held out a hand holding a crumbled bunch of dry tobacco-like twigs.
“Nah… d’you?”

Grothtorg in the meantime, had been tugged to the dance floor by a much younger lad, who was now nimbly hopping from one foot to the other, while paying more attention to the ranger’s owl than to the actual dance.
“What’s his name?” he asked while making a half twirl with outstretched arms. “And how did you get that braid?” He sank through his knees and jumped up like a spring. “And why aren't you wearing party clothes?”

Crulgrin was happily not the target of such interrogations. Clinging to the shadows, he tried to evade attention as much as possible. Suddenly, a very familiar face loomed up ahead. It was the gemhound, one eye searching, the other reflecting the glitter of lights around him, and he was coming straight for the bar. The gem smuggler had to think fast, or he would be caught.

Kharov sat sipping his freshly delivered ale. It was a still steaming mug of ‘Silver Dragon Smoke’, one of the most bitter beers available. A stool was pulled back next to him, and a heavily muscled Khord in leather armor hopped onto it.
“Hey, nice to meet you. Aren’t you a captain of the guard over at the Shard Tunnels?”(I’m assuming here, doesn’t have to be true) “My name’s Thunderbeard Brothstock, lieutenant at the Rivpax Shaft. I was thinking that you guys need all the good, able men you can get, right? I mean, it mustn’t be easy for you all down there, with all those gems disappearing lately. Can’t be good for business.”
He pointed over towards the dancefloor, where a battle-hardened Khord was dancing with a younger lad.
“See him? He’s one of those Cavers. Keeps to himself, but I’ve heard he’s one mean fight in ‘m. Why don’t you go over and ask him to join you? Just an advice that’s all.”

It was then that they all became aware of a silence that was spreading through the tavern. Khords were trying to glance over each other’s heads to get a glimpse of what was going on. Then the attention was caught by a very old Khordaldrum male, who was climbing a table with the help of his cane and four strong, sweating and fumbling cousins. When he finally found a stable spot he swung his cane overhead in a propelling motion. This raised cheers from everywhere across the room. Somebody yelled in a moment of silence: “Go Grandfather Mugtwister. You’ve still got it!” to which mostly everybody laughed.

Grandfather Mugtwister was one of the oldest Khords that still lived in the Orehand-clan, but known for his good temper and joy in life. He addressed the bride and groom:
“My dearest younglings; Kharox be blessed, how young you both are. When I was as young as you, I was twice your age!”
He coughed. “Well, Kret and Bef, I rejoice in the joining of the Orehand and the Shieldmaster clan, and believe that it could not have happened through a better couple. I’ve had no say in it, of course, an old pebble like me isn’t asked for an opinion anymore. But if I had been asked I would never have guessed the two of you fitted so well together. But at least now I can say that I knew Bef-Orehand… you get it? Haha. And Kret…”

His speech was rudely interrupted by the sound of heavy footfall on the stairway down into the Spores of Itanlok. All eyes went to the doorway, where a Khordaldrum male was standing, holding in his hands the limp form of a child. The face of the young one was bloody and bruised, and alongside its arms were acidic burn-marks. Something terrible had happened.

“Govarund!” yelled a female voice, and the child’s mother pushed herself through the crowd to grab her first born. With frightened eyes she beamed up at the newcomer. “What happened to him?”


Posted on 2008-10-16 at 13:12:38.
Edited on 2008-10-16 at 17:29:35 by Almerin

Utan the Orange
Resident
Karma: 23/18
458 Posts


an unexpected guest

Olegarn was excited. So much so that he could barely concentrate on the job at hand. When the ClanKeeper Librarian of the Grand Library contacted him to perform a task for them, Ole was ecstatic! Someone recognized his talent! But even that was not the best of it. the task was right "along his vein", so to speak. Locating and cataloging a new species of mushroom that had recently been found in several places throughout the Khordal Kingdom, not the least of which was the mushroom forest in the Warrens of Gunthras.

So he was here.

He entered the area of the forest near the known location of the spiral entry to the Spores of Itanlok, a tavern on the edge of the mushrooms forest. A handy place to start from. But drinks came later, to celebrate the goal of finding and the knowledge gained. Looking for one oddly-marked 'shroom in a forest of unique species. A challenge, it was, and that sort of challenge is what Ole lived for, what his searches and skills were for.

Standing at the edge of the forest, just in front of the Hole marking the tavern entrance (so he'd know where to return to), Ole twiddled the tuft of his brown beard below the tie that held it. At times like this, he wished for the ability to braid his voluminous beard, but he had not earned the right -- yet. Shaking his head to dislodge that reverie, Ole took the time to concentrate and clear his mind, to visualize the mushroom species as well as he could from the description given him. Then he pulled out a Y-shaped, forked twig approximately 13 inches long. As he pinched each of the upper ends of the "Y" with thumb and forefinger and pointed the single lower-end of it toward the forest, Ole began to intone the litany to locate a specific object. After five minutes of twisting back and forth, using the end of the divining-rod as a pointer to that which he sought, Ole still had no clue as to the whereabouts of the elusive species of 'shroom. He canceled his casting, but daunted he was not. Now came the fun part. The actual, physical search, with no foreknowledge.

Odd, when he arrived and began his casting, he had not noticed the voices of the children he now heard. He knew that the forest was a popular place for children to play Kobolds and Indigans, or Hide and be Sought. No problem, he would just begin his path to the left, and work his way around the voices as he meandered through the forest.
So he began his search.

Not half an hour into the quest for the new mushroom, he was interrupted by a shriek from nearby. The tone indicated fright or injury. Either was of serious concern when it came to children, so Ole turned to move in the direction of the screech. He had moved only two steps when he was surprised to see a severly-wounded male-child, a mere few decades in age, stumbling out of a copse in front of him, collapsing in his instictively-outstretched arms. Surprised, he looked down at the child, even as he picked him up and made for the tavern for help. The child managed to muttered a few words just before se passed out: "Ma! Da! Weddin' at mushroom bar ..." Short, faint, but clearly audible, for the mushroom forest now carried the silence of desertion, as it had ever since the cry of the wounded child. As Ole ran for the tavern, he looked at the blood and bruises on the child's face and the burn-injuries on his arms to see if he could determine what had made them. In a quick glance, he was not able to discern the nature of the facial injuries, but the marks on the child's arms indicated contact with an acid or caustic compound of some sort.

He reached the staircase to the tavern and started down, placing his left elbow on the rail of the spiral stairs and using it as a running-slide to steady his descent. At times he needed to lift his arm and push it against the wall to regain his balance, so rapid was his progress down the stair-well. Even before Ole reached the bottom, he could near the noise of celebration, drums of dance that ceased their rhytmic beat just before he entered the tavern proper, still cradling the unconscious child.

Kharox himself must have sent someone -- the mother? -- a flash of insight as he sent the rest of the crowd the need for a moment's silence. Olegarn had not made ten steps into the tavern before the din of conversation stopped and a female had pushed herself through the crowd and darted up to Ole, looking at the child's wounds in abject horror, grabing the youngling's arm as if to yank him from Ole's cradling arms. Noting the burns on those arms, she quickly let go, then looked up at Ole himself, eyes welling with fearful tears..

“Govarund! What happened to him?”
Softly, calmly, Ole spoke, trying to keep her attention on his face and away from the child. "I know not what has caused the child's wounds, but they are severe and must be tended to soonest! It was sheer chance that he and I crossed paths, but I can be almost certain that he might not have been able to get help on his own before losing his fight for life. But we can speak later on who's and what's."

He raises his voice, and his gaze, he addressed all present. "Is there a healer here? Or do I need to carry the child to one?"


Posted on 2008-10-16 at 18:21:43.

gboy
Wee Grugglet
Karma: 57/27
1669 Posts


Aw, I'm always stuck with the crazies...

Looking at the... seaweed... that the man was holding, Baldorf was rather skeptical. It was hard to tell if the man was lying about it being seaweed, or if he truly had no clue that it wasn't. Or perhaps it was, but it sure didn't look like it, and Baldorf was clean. Hadn't smoked in his life, and wasn't planning to just to make a drunk miner happy. "Sir, I feel compelled to decline your request. You seem to have found this seaweed yourself and... well..."

Baldorf was saved by the silence which fell over the large crowd, as he recognized it as a sign to be silent. However, he still didn't quite know why. Wait a minute, I think I see someone there... yes! Who is that? Oh right... Baldorf thought to himself. Well, at least he didn't have to deal with this drunkard any more. He snuck away, moving through the crowd as unobtrusively as possible, attempting to get closer to hear ol' Mugtwister's speech. Of course, it was congratulating the couple on their marriage... should have been his marriage... and there was even a funny, if rather cheap joke spoken.

However, this mirth was cut short by a sudden, heavy footfall. Oh great, another thing happening... this day just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it? he thought to himself. Now what's going on? Moving again, this time toward the sound, his beard still blowing, even though he was moving rather slowly, Baldorf approached as close as he could. Of course, all the other Khords were attempting to do the same, so it was making him a little uneasy, but it wasn't too bad. He could blend in with the crowd, so as not to be picked out. Suddenly, a woman called for a healer. Well, nobody in particular seemed to be listening, so Baldorf stepped up, and spoke to the masses, almost seeming like a commander of sorts... if it had not been for the fact that he was nothing like it, and a tone of unease could be slightly detected in his voice.

"Um... people? This woman seems to be requesting the aid of a healer of some sort... so could anyone who doesn't qualify for that kind of move out of the way? It may merely be my perception, but this child seems to be in some serious need of help, so it would be easier for help to come if there were an easier path for the healer's to come through, wouldn't it? You don't want such a joyful celebration to be plagued by such misery, do you?"

---------------------------------------------
I would like a diplomacy check rolled there, if applicable
---------------------------------------------

While speaking, Baldorf scanned the crowd for Befilda, but there were simply too many people to be able to pick her out. Still, it made it look like he was addressing everyone, not just looking for the one person. Hopefully he was doing the right thing, and making a good choice, not a fool of himself.


Posted on 2008-10-17 at 04:54:14.

Almerin
Typing Furiously
RDI Staff
Karma: 176/19
3011 Posts


what'd he say?

Baldorf's attempt to stop the guests from crowding around the mother and child were first answered with questioning stares. People mumbled: "Did you understand what he said?" and "what's he talking about." But slowly, the meaning and truth in his words seeped into their skulls and they realized he was right. As unsure as Baldorf was of himself, his pressence was quite commanding and his voice evenly persuasive.

Soon, the ring of curiosity was pushed back, and there was room for a healer to step forward. But so far, nobody had hinted at having some kind of knowledge of treating the wounded.

Olegarn had inspected the child's injuries, and found acidic burns, and long cuts, like those of a blade. But the cuts were torn as well, so if they were made by a blade, it was a wicked and jagged one.


Posted on 2008-10-17 at 09:27:54.

Hammer
Extreme Exclaimator!
Karma: 90/24
4114 Posts


Moss and Ale

Wedding Party
Second Day
The Spores of Itanlok
Mushroom Forest
Warrens of Gunthras

Loco FungiHammer was enjoying the wedding party mainly because the celebrants chose to give him plenty of space, allowing the Cleric to amuse himself by focusing upon the color trails emanating from those passing nearby or from waving his own hand in various patterns!

The people that regarded Loco Fungihammer could not tell if he was having a good time, or if he was having a time at all. He seemed entertained, but his reactions weren’t always aimed at something that seemed to be going on at the wedding. Still, they dared not question him or laugh behind his back, out of respect for the braids in his beard. He had earned them, and for that they left him to himself.
Something kept nagging at the back of Loco's mind, but the Cleric had eaten enough of his special mushrooms and was drinking just enough combinations of Dwarven Ales to relegate those thoughts deep within the shadows of his murkiest memories!

It was then that they all became aware of a silence that was spreading through the tavern. Khords were trying to glance over each other’s heads to get a glimpse of what was going on. Then the attention was caught by a very old Khordaldrum male, who was climbing a table with the help of his cane and four strong, sweating and fumbling cousins. When he finally found a stable spot he swung his cane overhead in a propelling motion. This raised cheers from everywhere across the room. Somebody yelled in a moment of silence: “Go Grandfather Mugtwister. You’ve still got it!” to which mostly everybody laughed.

His speech was rudely interrupted by the sound of heavy footfall on the stairway down into the Spores of Itanlok. All eyes went to the doorway, where a Khordaldrum male was standing, holding in his hands the limp form of a child. The face of the young one was bloody and bruised, and alongside its arms were acidic burn-marks. Something terrible had happened.

“Govarund!” yelled a female voice, and the child’s mother pushed herself through the crowd to grab her first born. With frightened eyes she beamed up at the newcomer. “What happened to him?”

Khords began pushing their way towards the stairway where the stranger was cradling the injured child while his mother broke out in frantic and seemingly incoherent wails for some sort of explanation or assistance!

Baldorf approached as close as he could. Of course, all the other Khords were attempting to do the same, so it was making him a little uneasy, but it wasn't too bad. He could blend in with the crowd, so as not to be picked out. Suddenly, a woman called for a healer. Well, nobody in particular seemed to be listening, so Baldorf stepped up, and spoke to the masses, almost seeming like a commander of sorts... if it had not been for the fact that he was nothing like it, and a tone of unease could be slightly detected in his voice.

"Um... people? This woman seems to be requesting the aid of a healer of some sort... so could anyone who doesn't qualify for that kind of move out of the way? It may merely be my perception, but this child seems to be in some serious need of help, so it would be easier for help to come if there were an easier path for the healer's to come through, wouldn't it? You don't want such a joyful celebration to be plagued by such misery, do you?"

Loco FungiHammer set his mug of ale aside and squinted curiously through the colored haze and kaleidoscope of variou-hued trails to determine if such a healer would indeed make his or her way through the crowd.

Surely there was someone in the crowd well able to tend to the child's wounds?

Someone who had the suitable bedside manner to also allay any fears that the mother would express for the full recovery of her child?

There must be someone? Anyone?

Baldorf's attempt to stop the guests from crowding around the mother and child were first answered with questioning stares. People mumbled: "Did you understand what he said?" and "what's he talking about." But slowly, the meaning and truth in his words seeped into their skulls and they realized he was right. As unsure as Baldorf was of himself, his pressence was quite commanding and his voice evenly persuasive.

Soon, the ring of curiosity was pushed back, and there was room for a healer to step forward. But so far, nobody had hinted at having some kind of knowledge of treating the wounded.

Loco began fumbling in his pouch for the last handful of some mysterious moss that he had found in his travels.

He was getting more uncomfortable by the minute as he soon realized that there seemed to be No Healer in the House!

The nagging visions began creeping into his awareness from their places of exile in the deep recesses of his mind until Loco FungiHammer dare be silent no longer!

"Barkeep! Send Someone to Me with a Mug of Your Best Batch of 'Blue Cheer'! I Will Tend to the Child If No One Else Will Do So!"
Olegarn had inspected the child's injuries, and found acidic burns, and long cuts, like those of a blade. But the cuts were torn as well, so if they were made by a blade, it was a wicked and jagged one.
Loco FungiHammer had eased his way along a pathway between the curious Khords and observed the situation, already drawing serious conclusions that he dare not mention, lest the celebration turn into a panic zone!

Although he had the knack for healing, Loco was almost totally bereft of that certain aura that drew the public in a favorable way, so he chose to allow the stranger who carried the child to gently cradle the little one, while Loco bowed to his mother as graciously as his lack of sociable abilities would allow!

A servant girl brought the mug of Blue Cheer to the Cleric and Loco began soaking his last handful of mysterious moss in the tranquil liquid as the Khord audience reacted among themselves in various ways!

"These are nasty wounds," whispered Loco to the mother as gently and reassuringly as he could muster in the swirling myriad of emotions that were amplified by the particular mushrooms he had been munching earlier in the day!

"This combination of Moss and Ale should reverse the effects of these nasty wounds in due time! Just see to it that your boy gets plenty of rest after I minister to his wounds!"
Loco refused to comment as to whether or not he knew the source of these particular wounds. He just methodically dabbed the burns and cuts with the compound of the Moss and Ale, soaking the Moss in the mug of Ale periodically until every last drop of the Ale was soaked into the Moss.

When he was finished, Loco spread the Moss into a makeshift compress on the child's forehead to draw any fever from his body.

Then he bowed to the stranger and stepped closer to the mother and bowed to her with every measure of respect that the Cleric could possibly muster under the circumstances as he uttered a vow for all Khords to hear:

"I Give You My Solemn Word as Loco FungiHammer!" exclaimed the Cleric as he stroked each of his braids, then held them in front of the mother's eyes for emphasis; first the Emerald braid, then the Sapphire braid and then the Ruby braid.

"Whoever ... or ... Whatever ... is Responsible for this Travesty ... Will Answer to Loco FungiHammer ... This I Swear to You!"
Then the Cleric kissed the palm of his right hand and planted it firmly upon the mother's forehead, before bowing once more and returning to the child.

He bowed to the stranger cradling the young boy and repeated this ritual, first kissing and placing the palm of his right hand upon the child's forehead, then removing it before the child could respond either positively or negatively!

Loco then wandered over to the nearest mug of freshly poured ale, took a big gulp, then lifted it high proclaiming:

"To the Groom ... and the ... Mushroom!"



Posted on 2008-10-18 at 08:50:51.
Edited on 2009-09-13 at 23:36:22 by Hammer

Utan the Orange
Resident
Karma: 23/18
458 Posts


Somethin' happenin' here. What it is ain't exactly clear ...

Ole was thankful for the nameless voice that brought sense enought to the crowd for them to clear a path to the needy child. But for a precious few moments, no one moved forward. Then ...

"Barkeep! Send someone to me with a mug of your best batch of 'Blue Cheer'! I will tend to the child if no one else will do so!"
    Ole's eyes darted tolook in the direction of the exclamation. By Kharox's Far-Seeing Eyes, it was Loco! Ole's first surprise was the identity of the exclaimant, the second was the call for an unpopular ale, one known to be slightly sweet and light, not for the usual Khord tastebuds. Some few drank it, he had heard, but no one Ole knew. As Loco weaved his way forward, Ole could see the conflict contorting the features of his face: the desire to be able to concentrate warring with the ability to do so.

    As the cleric moved forward, he fubled in a pouch for a few seconds and pulled out a blackish-green moss-like substance. When the ordered mug of Blue Cheer was delivered to Loco, by all that was holy, he did the unthinkable! He dunked the mossy stuff into the ale and began to apply daubs to the burns and cuts on the child. No Khord in a right-thinking frame of mind would so disgrace an ale in such a manner, even one as little-liked as Blue Cheer! But dunk he did, and apply he did, until all the ale was soaked up and applied to the child's wounds. As he did so, he intoned softly that the child was to get plenty of rest after the application of this application. Then the cleric spread the mossy stuff into a compress to lay on the forehead of the child.

    Watching all this in semi-amazement, Ole made a mental note to develop a relationship with the cleric. If what he had just done was a legitimate cure, Ole knew nauight about it, and desired muchly to know this cure and any other the cleric might know. If the cure was not a worthy one, and the child got worse or -- Kharox forbid! -- perished, well, Ole was unsure of what he had the power to do against the cleric. But, to his credit, Loco had come forward with aid, when no other would, or could. Now began the waiting.

    Then Ole was witness to yet another surprise. That one who had excluded himself from the Khord lifestyle to disappear for reasons of his own should show up here at a celebration was nearly miraculous. For him to declare a seemingly-focused oath to bring the cause of the child's injuries to justince, swearing on each of his three braids -- three! -- was such a lifestyle-shift for the holy one that Ole at first felt a bit of apprehension.

    Loco moved kiss the palm of his own hand, placing that hand on the forehead of the mother, offering some sort of benediction, then to the child the Ole still held. Applying that same palm to the forehead of the child, Loco seemed to wait for a reaction of some sort.

    When the cleric seemed satisfied, he broke contact with the child and moved to the bar, where he picked up a random mug from those which had just been filled for the party-goers, and lifted it high. The toast Loco then offered was the source of both consternation and confusion for Ole, who was in the process of handing the child to his mother.

"To the Groom ... and the ... Mushroom!"


Posted on 2008-10-19 at 11:41:34.

Almerin
Typing Furiously
RDI Staff
Karma: 176/19
3011 Posts


then it continues...

When Loco fist approached mother and child, he was regarded with an apprehensive stare. Grovarund’s mother shielded the child away from this well intended attention. But he bowed graciously before her, and as he did, the three braids in his beard became more apparent. This made her relax, or at least enough for him to attend to the child.

His methods raised some eyebrows amongst the spectators, but nobody could really argue the healthy benefits of ale, especially in their current mind-set of drowsy celebration. As the cleric treated the wounds one by one with the mystical moss and the Blue Cheer, the child’s cramped agony eased away. But while Grovarund became peaceful, the guests started to stir.

“Where’s Mugront? Mugront!” A woman yelled in sudden fright.
People started whispering. Whispers became a murmur and soon people were shouting.
“Avondel! Hukert! Riv! Where are the children?”
“Who has seen our youngest!”
“Khartok!”
“Wait, Glimmert said he was going to play outside with the others. They went into the mushroom forest. I have to go find him!”
A race began for the door. Khords pushed and shoved in panicked realization that they had not been watching their offspring. Tables were knocked aside, mugs of beer flew through the air. But this time there came no cheers and burps in answer. The room was a mass of shock, and seemed suddenly tight and too small to house so many people. The first parents reached the spiraling stairway, but were halted by a buff Khord in leather and chains, who carried a battle axe, which was no drawn.

“STOP!” he yelled over their heads and in their faces. “Stop this panic at once!”
“It’s not your son out there who is in danger!” Came an angry reply from within the masses.
“I know you want to save your children. But you are none of you equipped or sober enough to deal with whatever is endangering them. I will go and find your young ones. But I need a few brave souls to help me. If we all go, the chaos will work against us!”

“You’re full of crap, Thagovan! Let us by!” The mob was in no mood to listen
“But he is right! People! Listen to him!”
It was Jamdock Burrowfolk, the gemhound, who has spoken. Heads turned his way, but he did not flinch under the angry glances shot at him.
“You are all too drunk to deal with danger right now. We need order! I want all the parents who are missing a child to come to me. I will form groups to search the mushroom forest. Thagovan over there,” he indicated the buff warrior at the stairway, “will go ahead with a group of strong men. The rest of you, come to me, and we will sort things out as fast as possible.”

His voice had a calming effect on the crowd, and his words reduced their blind panic into a more sober eagerness to deal with things.

(OOC: Ok, guys. I hope you will all choose to go to Thagovan, so we can begin the bonding of the group. I don’t like dealing with people separating, to be honest. You can pick whatever reason to join him that suits your character best. )


Posted on 2008-10-19 at 12:06:22.

gboy
Wee Grugglet
Karma: 57/27
1669 Posts


Well, words have power after all...

Baldorf was glad that he was able to manipulate the crowd so as for the cleric... strange as he was... to move forward and tend to the child's wounds. But Baldorf was still standing in plain view of everyone. He wasn't too fond of the idea, so he promptly decided to sink back into the crowd, and try to get his way through.

But of course, the second he tried to go through the crowd, they noticed many more children missing, and began swarming toward the door. Baldorf let out a small yelp as he was manhandled in the direction of the door, unable to move through the mass of desperate people. He was going to be trampled if somebody didn't do something soon. This can't happen! I'm too young to die! I've lived an unfulfilled life!
As if right on cue, an bellow could be heard over the crowd. They finally stopped, giving Baldorf a chance to escape. He nimbly moved through the crowd, quickly at first, but then he began slowing down as he heard the Khord speak. He was right, everyone here was far too drunk to go down there. It would be a suicide mission. Who knew what danger lie within their? Who knew what glory lied there... maybe if he went, more people would accept him as a Khord. Maybe he would fit in, for once in his life! And who knew? Maybe he would even get to braid his beard! Oh, how he dreamed for that day...

Turning around, and heading back in the direction of Thagovard, Baldorf steps out of the crowd.

"I, uh... I will go with you... I guess, into the mushroom forest. Um, yes! Yes! I will go! Those children need help, so I'm going to go!"

Baldorf couldn't have been shakier if he tried. Nor could he believe what he just did. He had just pledged himself on a dangerous journey to save people he didn't know, to a complete stranger. Oh boy, he thought to himself. What did I just get myself into? Hopefully I did the right thing...


Posted on 2008-10-19 at 16:52:18.

   
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