Meera's ears twitch at first, alerting Shianna to a change in the environment. After a moment, she hears it too. Singing, but it is off-key, and a bizarre form. Oh dear... I'd better diagnose... singing sickness?
Cautiously, Shianna stands up and walks toward Isaac, "Umm, are you okay? You haven't eaten anything have you? Like a berry? A red berry from a bush with 5-pointed leaves? What about purple polka-dotted red mushrooms? Have you had any of those? Umm... what about a rash? Have you gotten one from somewhere? Oh wait... don't tell me you've been drinking in some tavern have you?"
While Shianna talks through her diagnosis, she walks around and examines Isaac. Specifically, she looks at his posture; if he had eaten anything bad, it'd probably make his body shut down slightly. However, at the last question, she stops, her head tilted and her arms crossed, boring the question into him.
At the first off key note Syana had leapt to her feet and started to pull out her sword. On the second note she paused and listened again as Isaac’s strange song moved through the mist back toward them. Shoving the sword back into its sheath she couldn’t help but let a little smile play with the corner of her lips. It actually stayed on her face while she watched Shianna circle around Isaac with her concerns about his ‘signing sickness.’ Syana on the other hand was rather certain that it was not an illness but a disorder and that there likely was not a cure.
Once Shianna and Isaac were done discussing his ‘sickness’ she listened as Isaac told them of what he had found in the village. Nodding to herself she adjusted the bags hanging off her shoulders and prepared to head to village when the rest of the group left.
She had to admit to herself that she was very pleased that the village did not appear to be over run with carrion. The thought of fresh water and shelter had certainly piqued her interest and if they had decided to stay out for the night she would have been disgruntled. Not that anyone would have known it, just as none would know just how pleased she was at this turn of events. There had only been one who had ever fully understood how she was feeling, only the one, and those days were long gone. Taking a look around her surroundings, peering into the mist, glancing at the lights ahead and finally searching the sky for any stars that might be seen between the clouds she knew that those days were long over.
((Note: She will follow the group to the town, and obviously will let the others approach any villagers and speak to them about making arrangements for the night.))
Isaac sees the serious look on Shianna's face and smiles, immediately adopting a boneless, wobbling stance and snorting.
"Why yes, fry mend! I most certainmently dood! Evvybuddy down derr was mos' friendly, but mayhap I had a drew finks moo tenny ..." He pauses with a look of intense concentration screwing up the features of his face. "Ummmm, a few ... drinks ... too many."
He immediately straightens up and gets serious himself. "Ha! As if I would do such a thing while you all were out here in the wet? Come, now! I did as was bidden -- or bad -- or baded -- I did what I set out to do. And if my singing sounds like a sickness, then I shall not do so again." His teeth-flaashing smile of mirth is enough to take any possible sting out of the words spoken, wven if the tremolo of barely contained laughter behind them could be missed.
We can be in the town of Filwood shortly, and in the inn that is there, and out of this forsaken dampness at least for the night, but only if we hurry. I don't want the best rooms to be taken by what Volkmar affectionately calls shamblers.
“Time to say goodbye. Paesi che non ho mai
veduto e vissuto con te,
adesso sì li vivrò.
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
The words of the Drannese song drifted effortlessly through the thick, oppressive night. It was not quite the time, perhaps, to sing a song of love and loss, but the words and the melody were a comfort to Neri. Each smooth syllable and soaring note soothed any anxieties she had over the fate of Isaac, and were a break from the glum silence that had befallen her companions.
Or at least it was until some monstrous cacophony intervened….
“Umm, are you okay…?” Shianna asked as Isaac burst into view and drowned out her song. Neri failed to stifle a laugh. She was not sure if the singing was more comical or the belief that it was caused by some illness.
“I think the cause was being dropped one too many times on the head when he was a baby,” Neri murmured as she sheathed her sword and moved to greet the Serafino and its rider. “But it’s good to see you safe. And yes we should hurry before you regale us with another song.”
To accentuate her point, Serafino promptly bit Isaac. It seemed the horse was something of a musical critic.
Posted on 2008-12-13 at 15:07:05.
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 346/54 6090 Posts
a roof over your heads
18th Olemra (Thirkday), 452 E.R. - dusk
Village of Filwood, Ertain
The party makes their way down the hillside without incident, and soon enough, into the village itself. A beeline is made for the Fin and Feather - the only place, according to Isaac's knowledge, that one could possibly find a meal and a bed.
The place is reasonably full, mostly of folk in simple garb. Locals, by the look of it. The mood is noticeably subdued, however - most of the conversation is quiet, and much of it stops when you enter the building. You are able to find an open table, and without much delay, a young, red-haired woman bounces her way to your table, seemingly oblivious to the mood inthe rest of the tavern. "Welcome ta Filwood, travelers. What can I get ya?"
She does an almost comical double take at Isaac before speaking again. "Yer Isaac of Millbrook, are ye not?"
DM's note: assuming that he does not deny the charge...
She breaks into a grin. "Martin had said ye'd come, but we'd begin to think he was mistaken. The mayor'll be havin' a meetin' later tonight - you should certainly come to it." She shakes her head, sending red curls dancing. "What can I get for you folks? Special tonight is rabbit stew and potatoes, but if ya prefer bread and cheese, I can fetch it, as well. I believe we still have some salt pork in the cellar - I'll have to check. Mort just tapped a new barrel of Gregor's brown ale - the best ya'll find this side of the Moss river. Half price for the lot of ya."
Posted on 2008-12-17 at 19:30:09.
Edited on 2008-12-17 at 19:31:27 by t_catt11
The feeling of earth beneath Shianna's feet gives way to the cobblestone roads of the town. It isn't a good feeling to her. True, it is still stone, and stone is of the ground, but it doesn't feel... right. Shianna's breathing quickens just slightly. Too close. The buildings feel as though they are leaning in toward her. Some might say that in the forest, the trees can be so close together that it feels they're surrounding oneself, closing in, but for Shianna, it is the opposite. The trees still hold spaces between them, and are majestic plants, bearers of life. Buildings are far wider than most trees, and are made of death. Dead wood is used to make them. Death is part of nature, but this isn't natural at all. The life of the wood isn't being returned to the ground. It just stays, stagnant, encompassing.
Beside her, Meera leans against her leg, comfortingly. Shianna gently runs her hand over Meera's fur. It is comforting, but a bit of panic still can be seen at the edges of Shianna's eyes.
After what seems like an hour, although it couldn't have been that long, the party reaches the tavern. Looking inside, Shianna almost dares to hope that it is deserted, but that is not the case.
"That means you'll have to stay out here." Shianna says gently to Meera, who nods in response.
They enter, except Meera. If Shianna were to be honest with herself, she probably would've wanted to stay outside too. Inside, the enclosure is even more defined than simply in the town, with the ceiling just a few feet away, and the walls surrounding on all four sides. Unconsciously, Shianna inches closer to Neri, her hands shaking just slightly. Shianna knows she doesn't even look like she belongs there. A feeling that is confirmed, right after they had taken seats at the vacant table, when the waitress came over. Shianna can tell, by the slightly shocked and perhaps slightly disapproving glance she receives from her, she did not really look presentable by people's standards. Her rough appearance, with her long, dark brown hair tangled into a mane about her head, probably still with a couple of leaves within it, and splotches of dirt upon her face and clothing.
"Just water please." Shianna says, her voice a little bit faint, "Umm, and can I have two bowls of stew?" she asks, thinking to Meera outside.
It was quiet. The streets of Filwood were so devoid of life, that Neri wondered for a moment whether the lights they had seen glimmering in the distance were not some elaborate illusion. It was only as they entered the dark, ramshackle inn, that she saw any proof that there was life in the village still.
It seemed as if the whole of the small town were gathered in its confines, huddled over bowls of hot broth or pitchers of warm, syrupy bear. Their eyes were cast downwards, almost as if they were kneeling before an altar in prayer. A few did raise their eyes as Neri and her companions entered, but those that did turned subtlely in their seats, making it clear that the outsiders were not welcome.
‘Not the warmest of receptions…’ Neri thought to herself, noticing that Shianna seemed to have the same thought. The woman inched towards the paladin of Oriana, her eyes wide in, what looked like, fear.
“It’s alright,” Neri whispered to her as she gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.
They took a seat at the table, and the waitress that approached seemed as bubbly and vivacious as the people themselves were devoid of it.
“She’ll have the ale,” Neri corrected after Shianna ordered some water. “It’s safer to drink than water,” she added quietly by way of explanation, before turning to the waitress. “I’ll have some stew and ale too.”
As the woman took the orders of her companions, the paladin gave Isaac a rub on the knee. “So,” she murmured quietly to him, her lips dangerously close to his ear, “is this town always this exciting?”
Posted on 2008-12-19 at 14:42:47.
Edited on 2008-12-19 at 14:43:05 by Ginafae
After not finding the town of Eilwood when they were supposed to, then having to scout the town as if it were known to be hostile. Isaac was a bit apprehensive. But the trip from the forest to the valley floor into Filwood was uneventful, and Isaac relaxed a little when they finally reached the town and found the Fin and Feather.
The subdued tones of conversation -- for the few who were speaking at all -- died briefly as the group entered the place. Not at all like the outwardly friendly town that he knew "of old". Only after the party had settled down at a table did conversations pick up again. And what conversations did start were even more quiet, almost secretive. While Isaac saw a few that seemed familiar, he could not honestly say he knew anyone present. As he mused, the serving-wench arrived. Her own attitude was at the completely opposite end of the spectrum from that of the clientele present. Smiling, bubbling, a ready smile, and a greeting more "in keeping" with that of the Filwood residents with which he was familiar.
Twice, thrice, did the wench look at Isaac before she had looked at all of the group, individually, acknowledging each with a nod, and without losing the smile. Turning to him one last time she asked, "Yer Isaac of Millbrook, are ye not?"
Isaac was "caught aback". Even he didn't realize they would be passing through Filwood until they were on the road to the place. He had thought about regaling the others with stories of the hospitality of the place, but instead waited for them to experience it for themselves. A good thing he didn't "play up" the town. They probably would have thought him either a liar or just wildly mistaken in his knowledge of the place.
"Umm... I ... umm ... Yes, I'm Isaac of Millbrook. For the life of me, I can't figure out how cousin Martin knew we'd come here when we didn't even know until just recently. Mort still running this place? It looks as if his touch is still here." Then recognition dawned on his face as he put on his "crooked-yet-endearing" smile and contiued, "Wait. You look like -- resemble -- are similar to -- someone who I once knew as a "gangling tomboy". Tessa? All grown up, eh? And still the friendly one, welcoming us like the entire town would have not long ago. A meeting with the Mayor himself? This is something not to be missed. Not by me, anyway. Not if it's as serious as the mood here indicates"
The serving-girl briefly went through what was available as fare for the evening meal, and took the orders as given, no questions, no additions. Shianna, typically for her, seemed not to like food prepared in a kitchen, but did think of her animal before herself as far as needed nutrition and warmth.
Neri ordered the stew, also adding ale for her and for Shianna. They both were in for a rare treat, if the quality, as he remembered it, was unchanged.
"For me, the stew and a good flagon of Gregor's Brown. And bread. Don't wanna waste any of your good stew, not even a drop."
As the server took orders placed by the rest of the group, Isaac feels a pressure on his knee. Before he can turn his head to look at Neri, who had seated herself to that side of him, he was surprised to hear her voice, soft and quiet, so close as to be almost inside his ear. There seemed to be a hint of humor to it, "“So, is this town always this exciting?”
Without turning his head, yet speaking so quietly his voice would not "stand out" in the low-toned conversations around them, Isaac intoned, "Oh, no! Filwood is not known for excitement. It's known for it's welcoming friendliness. But if I had to you all about that before now, this lot," He nods at the room in general, "this lot would havemade a liar of my boast."
Then, as the girl moves away to fill the orders, his gaze moves about the room, from table to table. He is not concerned so much with who is present but with the overall "look and feel" of those present, the general mood ...
Posted on 2008-12-20 at 02:26:22.
Edited on 2008-12-20 at 02:31:16 by Kilmorrigan
Aryan walked with the group, her eyes fixed on Isaac. She didn't want to draw attention to herself since having a fit back on the road. The memory drew a blsuh to her cheeks. How could she act like such a child?
Kiar was nestled in the small travelling pouch at her waist. With slices for air, it still gave the faimiliar room to stretch. Aryan had decided to hide her cat, unsure of whether she may run off in the town. She didn't want to take the chance of her cat getting lost in unfamiliar surroundings.
The inn's mood seemed tense to her and Aryan drew closer to the group upon entering. The waitress stood out in the crowd of people, happy and bubbly.
"I'll have some ale." Aryan said, forcing a smile. Kiar stretched and Aryan remembered she may need some food. "Can I have just a tiny bit of stew with that?" Aryan added, not wanting to let Kiar out of her site even for hunting.
Volkmar Vanara ordered a bowl of the rabbit stew and potatoes with a side helping of the bread and cheese to dip in the stew.
He included a tankard of Gregor's brown ale to wash it down and the taste was so much to his liking that he ordered two more refills during the course of the meal.
As politely as he could muster, Volkmar excused himself from the table and pulled up a stool close to the fire to get the dampness out of his bones while he ate and drank with a measure of peace.
... This is better than fighting shamblers in the dark and damp of a rainy night ... A full belly and warm bones will make the rigors of a meeting more comfortable ...
Posted on 2008-12-24 at 06:48:23.
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 346/54 6090 Posts
DM's note: sorry for being such a flake!
18th Olemra (Thirkday), 452 E.R. - evening
Fin and Feather tavern, Filwood, Ertain
Tessa grins, perhaps even blushes a little at being remembered by the local hero. "Aye, I've grown a bit. As have you!" she adds with a wink.
"As for Martin..." her voice trails off. "He's an odd fellow these days, he is. Spends a fair part of his time alone, muttering to the wind. If you give 'im half a chance, he'll bend your ear for ages with tales of dreams and signs." She glances around the room and lowers her voice just a bit. "Some folks say he's slowly going mad, but I think that's just mean. Martin would never hurt a soul... he's just a bit of a mooncalf, you see?"
She straightens and shakes her head, sending flame-colored curls bouncing. "Enough 'o that. It's good to see you, Isaac, truly it is. You and all your friends, of course." She glances askance at Neri, but says nothing directly. Upon recieving Shianna's request for a second bowl of stew, she laughs heartily. "Such an appetite! Of course I'll fetch you two bowls, lass!"
The next hour or so passes with good, simple food accompanied by Gregor's brown ale. Not too bitter, but dark, with a full flavor, the cold beverage goes perfectly with the stew. While Tessa is cheery enough, her expression slips a time or two, allowing the cracks in her facade to show. The rest of the taven's occupants don't even bother to try - they are clearly worried, sullen, withdrawn.
Even so, it is glorious to be inside, out of the sticky, damnable mist. You fill your bellies with food and drink, while Aryan overindulges just a bit - two quick tankards of Gregor's later (coupled with too little food), the small mage finds herself more than a little tipsy.
Even so, Aryan is the first to hear the bumping, though truth be told, she originally attributes it to another of the interesting (some good, some bad) sensations brought on by the drink. Quickly, though, the bumping sound turns to pounding upon the door of the tavern, and it becomes clear that the sound does not, in fact, originate within the ale-haze surrounding Aryan's mind.
Moments later, the banging sound spreads to the shuttered windows of the building. From the sound of it, something is attempting to break its way inside the tavern!
Syana had listened to the stream of words coming from the bubbly red headed waitress with wide eyes. People that talked so much always amazed her. She lost track of what food the place had to offer and when the waitress’s eyes fell upon her for her order she simply nodded her head, hoping that the girl would bring her something edible. The girl seemed to take that nod as another order for ale, stew and some bread. As she went to go get the orders Syana slipped quietly from the table.
The blood was still on her hands, under her fingernails, on her dress. She would swear it smelled funny, and it make her feel tainted. Wandering from the table she went around the inn, looking for a water closet where she could wash her hands and dress.
Just as quietly as she slipped away she slipped back to the table after a short while. Her hands scrubbed clean and her bodice and skirt dark with wetness in spots, though darker shades in the middle of these spots attested to her inability to get the stains out completely.
Once back at the table she heartily ate the stew the waitress had brought. The stew was very good, but part of Syana wondered if the stew was actually good or if she was just so shaken and hungry that a pile of dirt would have tasted good at that moment. Either way it did not matter the food was gone in a matter of minutes.
The mood was somber in the place, which was not helping to alleviate her own feelings of discontent.
So she pulled the beautiful mandolin out of its bag and placed it across her lap. The instrument was finely worked. Made out of a red wood that had been polished to a high shine. A robin of lighter colored wood was inlaid in the body, the same bird that was embroidered on the bag it was carried in. Lidana used to make their music selections and now that she was gone Syana simply let her fingers fall upon the strings of the instrument and waited to see what happened.
Tonight she prayed that Lidana would choose something up beat for her to play, something that would lift the spirits of those around her, and perhaps more importantly lift her own. Closing her eyes she let her fingers move across the strings, but the song that came from them was not upbeat. Instead it was slow and mournful.
The Ballad of Vytte, the beautiful maiden who was betrothed to a handsome young soldier. The night before her wedding the men are called to war, and the following morning she hears that they have been slaughtered on the battlefield. Dressed in her wedding gown she goes to the battle field and wanders the blood soaked field. She finds him among the dead, but finds him to look so peaceful in his death that she cannot believe he is dead. She drags his body to the woods and invokes the Gods for help, but at first none answer the way she wants. He is dead and to undo that would be an abomination. Finally an evil spirit finds her and offers help, in return for both of their souls. The agreement is made and her love is brought back from the dead. They marry, but he is changed and she finds it difficult to live under the scrutiny of her neighbors. She shuts her and her bridegroom up in the house and no one hears from them for months. When the neighbors finally checked on them they find them both dead, he bludgeoned in his sleep, and her wrists slit.
While those unfamiliar with the story would not know the details the emotions of the ballad would be unmistakable. After the last sonorous note had finished hanging in the air she lifted her fingers from the mandolin and looked around at those around her.
With a slight blush she set her fingers upon the strings to start another song when she heard the banging on the shutters. Her fingers let one stray note into the air as she turned her head up to the windows, her eyes growing wide.
Not again… oh Lidana, please not again… she prayed in her head.
In an instant the mandolin was back in its bag and slug protectively over her shoulder. She stood up and looked at the others as she drew her sword from its sheath.
She could not get comfortable. No matter which way she looked, the dead walls stared back at her, uncaring. Were they getting closer? The shadows seemed to flicker at the edges of her vision, but would steady themselves when she looked at them. She could almost hear the wood creaking, unsteady, wanting to collapse. She could even feel the unnaturally smooth wood through her clothing, almost like the inside of some monster's mouth, threatening to devour her.
Despite the arrival of her meal, Shianna hardly touched it. She knew she should be hungry, but inside she felt so knotted up that she could not eat more than a few spoonfuls of stew. She could taste every ingredient within it. Some are familiar, even reassuring, while others are strange, and unknown. The liquid in the cup, ale as it was called, held a peculiar taste, not one that Shianna knew. This too, she simply set aside, almost untouched.
She was thinking about taking her bowl outside, when the pounding began. Had she been a more vocal person, she might have screamed. She just wanted to leave. Right then and there. She and Meera would-
Shianna's heart nearly stopped, skipping a beat, or perhaps two.
There was no thought in her action. Shianna just moved instinctively, running toward the tavern door, getting it open as fast as she can...