Town of Morad, Kingdom of Ertain
The Half-Blind Warrior was a small Tavern/Inn that had been started by a retired fighter who had lost one eye in fighting for the Kingdom of Ertain. He retired and opened up this Inn which was one of the most prosperous establishments in the small town of Moran in the northern portion of Ertain.
It wasn’t much of a place, a tavern with a large common area for drinking and meager foodstuffs and only 4 guests rooms on the upper floor. Mostly fighters from the Northern Ertain regiments, farmers and other common folks spend hours here each day in the evenings drinking away their sorrows; which despite their varied careers, all seemed to have the same woes to drown.
Tonight was no different than any other night, the air was cool this time of year, and a small fire burned in the common room hearth. About 20 people crammed the room leaving little space for more except maybe at the bar. The usual assortment of warriors in Ertain livery, farmers from the fields, merchants from the now closed shops all crowded in the small tavern to talk, drink and forgot the labors of the day.
It was a cool night; Fall was beginning and one could tell it in the air. The leaves were starting to turn, temperatures were gradually going down each day; before one knew it winter would be upon them. But for now, the people were enjoying the cooler weather after a hotter than usual summer.
Suddenly the serene peaceful drinking environment was disturbed by the door being blown open forcefully by a strong cold wind; many of the patrons shuttered and glanced towards the door but the wind which entered stirred up dust off the floor and many averted their eyes from the stinking particles. When the dust cleared a figure stood in the doorway, this ‘person’ was covered head to toe in black robes, a deep cowl covered the face leaving it shrouded in darkness. The figure stood for a moment returning the stares of the patrons, who felt uncomfortable gazing upon the dark form and went back to their drinking and conversation.
The barkeep/owner, hobbled out from behind the counter and approached what appeared to be a traveler; perhaps a chance to rent one of his rooms for a night or two. He stepped before the figure and turned his one good eye upon the visitor; he felt a chill run up his spine, something wasn’t right here. This small figure, which appeared average height for a human didn’t appear large and displayed no weaponry yet it makes his skin crawl though he would not admit it.
“Welcome Traveler,” he managed to get out as he recovered his voice, “do you require a room?”
The hood tilted upwards slightly, as the barkeep was taller than the figure by a slight amount; though the barkeep could make out no features inside the cowl he thought he saw a couple of points of glowing light, a purplish haze to them before they seemed to blink out for a moment and then return.
“Food and wine first,” a female voice said from within the hood, “then we will see what else I might need here.” The voice was soft, almost hypnotic, and the barkeep found himself feeling as if he were falling into the darkness of the hood. It was as if the purple glow was pulling him into the pool of inky blackness. He nodded and then gestured towards the bar as there were no empty tables available.
“Have a seat and I will bring the best we have right away,” he said and returned to behind the counter.
But the figure did not approach the bar; instead it turned looking about the room at the tables and then stopped gazing towards one near the back of the room. Slowly it began to move towards the table, gliding more than walking as it’s lower legs were completely covered by the long robe.
As it approached the table the four men there paused to look up at the strange figure; they looked questioningly at it and then one of them spoke up.
“What ya want?” he said rather roughly. The four men were wearing the livery of the Soldiers of Ertain’s Northern Regiments; men hardened by the constant battles with Drannon and Sendria.
The cowl turned to gaze at all four men at the table and then back to the one who had spoken.
“I require this table,” the soft female voice said in a commanding tone, leaving no doubt she was telling them to leave.
The four men laughed loudly as if they had just heard the funniest thing ever; such a small unarmed figure addressing four armed men in such a manner.
“Get lost before we hurt ya” Another of the men spoke up.
The cowl turned in his direction and a hand, slim and pale, almost white, came out of the sleeve and made a gesture towards the speaker.
“That is no way to speak to a lady,” she said, her tone never changing.
The four men laughed again, they all had missed the subtle gesture by the figure. They laughed hard, so hard that the last one that spoke began to cough, his cough increased in intensity till he was choking. The other men stopped and looked at the man.
“Hey Rolf,” one said half jokingly, “it isn’t that funny. You… ah… alright?” His tone changed to worry as his companion continued to choke. The man rose to his feet, worry in his eyes, eyes which looked directly at the shrouded figure before them. His eyes grew wide as his choking became desperate; his gaze unable to stray from the couple of glowing purple spots within the dark pool of the hood.
His companions rose as if trying to help him but they only managed to catch him as he gasped one last time before falling towards the floor. They held him up calling his name for several moments and then one mentions a cleric and they dragged their buddy out of the tavern. The one man who had spoken first turned to look back at the slim dark figure as it sat down at the table they had just vacated. As he left, he wondered if it had done anything to his friend; he vowed to find out and deal with it later if necessary.
The dark figure looked around where everyone in the Tavern seemed to be staring; they all seemed to be wondering the same thing as the soldier who had just left. Without another word they went back to their drinking but their conversations were more subdued and muted.
The barkeep came over and removed the tankards left behind and set a glass of red wine before the figure; a pale hand reached up and slipped the hood back revealing what lay within. The face of a young slim woman appeared, pale almost snow white skin surrounded by raven black hair hung in ringlets.
The hand then reached out and lifted the glass of wine, studied it for a moment and then took a tentative sip; the barkeep paused before leaving and looked at her, his expression half anticipation, half fear. She smiled and looked at the man with coal dark eyes and nodded her approval; the barkeep smiled and nodded then turned and went back to the bar.
While she waited for whatever food this place might provide, she turned her attention to the room. Her gaze swept slowly over all those here, studying them. Each person, in turn, turned to look at the woman as if they knew she was looking at them. It was as if icy cold fingers ran up their spines just as her gaze wandered by them.
The woman only chuckled at their reaction and sipped her wine as she waited for food.
(OOC: Ok there is the start of it. Anyone who wishes to join come on in, however see Q&A thread for details before posting. Thank you!)
Every week, mostly on Thursdays, Jorak found himself in the Half-Blind Warrior. There had been a time when he would’ve laughed at a name like that. Denying one’s shortcomings had been a habit for so long in his life that he ridiculed anybody who would embrace personal errors. Also, he had caused many warriors to become half-blind, half-dead, or even just ‘half’, throughout his life.
But all that was in the past.
Some would call it midlife crisis; trading in your complete life for something you never had. In Jorak’s case though, it would be more like an end-life crisis.
He was old. In fact, he was in that state of age where a person starts to shrink. Even worse: that state had long gone, for Jorak was small compared to any man. Up to the point where he would be confused with being a tallish hobbit or gnome.
In any case, he no longer laughed at Inns’ names like the Half-Blind Warrior. The thought didn’t even cross his mind. He saw the establishment just like any other human being would; as a place to get warm and share a few laughs with the good folk of Morad.
He was in the middle of a discussion with Jonathan Meagerbeard, the local blacksmith, on what metal to use for an arm brace they were designing for one of the orphans. The child had lost an arm during an unfortunate run-in with a horse on Main Street. Jorak had been at the scene, and the sight had been of such impact that he contacted Jonathan that very day.
“How come you know so much about metal, old man?” Jonathan asked.
Jorak peered intently at the smith from under his wrinkled eyebrows. There was a twinkle in his eyes that betrayed that beneath his bald head there was a sharp mind. He smiled, showing his gums, toothless, and pointed a crooked finger at the young man.
“Why, I ufed to be a bit of an engineer myfelf, Johnny boy. I remember, back in the day, there were no hammerf like you fiffief ufe nowadayf. We molded the iron with our bare handf.”
They both laughed heartily, but the sound was cut short when the door opened and an obscured person entered the inn. Darkness seemed to ooze from the woman, for it was clearly a woman, Jorak thought, judging by her figure. An aura colder than the winds outside swept from her frame and engulfed everybody in the common room.
The old man watched, his eyes squinting to better see her movements, as she went over to a table and chased away the men occupying it. Then she sat there, basking in the terror she had instilled in the hearts of the gathered folk.
He got up from his seat, grabbed his beer and started to walk over to her. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned.
It was Jonathan. The smith looked pale, and shook his head slightly in warning.
Jorak ignored him. With an open look he pushed his way through the crowd until he reached her table. He sat down on one of the vacant seats and put his beer in front of him. Peering just over the top of his mug he looked at the woman with an amused glint in his eyes.
“Alright, young laff. You’ve proven to everybody here that you’re not to be meffed with. They’ll leave you alone now, fo tone it down a bit. Thefe good folkf have come here to forget their forrowf. Why don’t you try to do the fame? The wine if good, and fo if the food. Even if you don’t need food, don’t spoil the evening for the reft of uf.”
Coal dark eyes turned to regard the man as he sat down at the table and began to speak, a slim manicured eyebrow raised and as he continued to speak the corner of her mouth raised in the approximation of a smile.
The old man had guts for sure, and she sensed something hidden within his old frame; some hidden power maybe. She resisted her first urge to just kill the old decrepit thing, instead she would see what mettle he had within him.
“You show great bravery old man,” she said as she leaned forward grinning at him with teeth as white as snow gleaming out behind lips painted a blood red so deep they seemed almost black, “especially for one so close to embracing the raptures of the Great One.”
“Is your bravery for real or does it only come from a bottle?” she asked looking at the drink in his hand.
The cold around this table intensified, the air grew so cold that her breath was visible when she spoke the last. The cold didn’t seem to bother her; her eyes gleamed with interest as she waited to see what diversion this old man might have to offer. If he was only wasting her time, she would see to it he joined the Great one sooner than expected.
Jorak smacked his lips and chewed his gums a bit. The loss of teeth still hadn’t settled with him completely, and sometimes his jaw trembled involuntarily because of it. Not now though. Now he just felt a bit annoyed. He had asked nicely, hadn’t he? And instead of being a good girl and reduce the display of power, she had opened up the bucket of ice even more.
It wasn’t all bad though, he thought, looking at his beer. It had been lukewarm all evening, but now…
“Thankf.” He said cheerfully, and took another swig. “Though you have ruined your wine there. Red if allwayf better at room temperature.”
He put down the mug again, and leaned back in his chair while staring at her.
“Well, the beer fertainly helped, and Tyrannif if already fqueeving me to her bosom. But otherwife I think I wouldn’t have been afraid of you either. I’m ufed to the cold, having worked with dead bodief for fo long. I waf an undertaker, way back in the day. I remember there were no wooden boardf yet to make coffin, fo we ufed paper mafche inftead.”
He put his elbows on the table and his sweet, old-man smile disappeared. Though he didn’t open his mouth, she could hear his voice inside her head, articulating with precision.
“Anyway, time to cut the crap. Be a good lass, and leave these people to their drinks. Please. See? I asked nicely.”
Posted on 2012-08-08 at 13:59:17.
Edited on 2012-08-08 at 14:00:19 by Almerin
One slim eyebrow rose at his mental communication; something she hadn’t expected from this one. He seemed just a harmless old man but her senses and intuition told her otherwise. Some power was hidden behind this facade he presented to the world; it … intrigued her.
“Please? You surprise me old man,” she spoke normally, not willing to show if she herself could project her thoughts, “yet you are more than you seem”
She contemplated for a couple seconds, could this one be of use to her, if so maybe she shouldn’t kill him, just yet. She locked eyes with him defiantly for a moment and then slowly inclined her head and the cold chill receded and the shadows around her seemed to withdraw as well.
Soon warmth began to move into this area of the room from the fireplace and you could almost feel the tension in the room ease as people relaxed a little and soon went back to talking and drinking as if nothing had happened.
“You speak of Tyrannis,” she said softly so that only they two could hear, “when I spoke of Great One I did not mean ‘her’. I meant the one that all people must answer to in the end, one to which even Tyrannis herself must abide, the Great D’hurgen, Master of Death.”
She sat back and took a sip of her wine; she didn’t seem to mind the chill. She was, without notice, gently probing the life aura of this old man, he contained power which he hid away. Why? It intrigued her to find out; perhaps this one might be able to help her in her endeavor. His mention of Tyrannis, consort of D’Hurgen, leads some hope that this man might be willing to assist her. She hated to ask for assistance but what she had in mind was not something she could accomplish on her own. But, could she trust him, could she trust anyone. Of course not, but maybe they could come to terms, for awhile.
“So, tell me ‘old’ man,” she said with considerable emphasis on the word ‘old’, “what is a worshiper of Tyrannis doing here among these ‘sheep’? Is this all some ploy of yours? A trap or plan perhaps? Surely it is not for the … companionship.” She chuckled at the last, making it sound as if it was inconceivable of having a meaningful conversation with simple common rabble.
A halfling walked into the Half-blind warrior in a black cloak and a hood over his head. Over hearing the conversation between the woman and the old man. "So glad you kept your sense of humour in your old age Jorak, because of of your...joke I lost my finest clothes and was left with a cloak, good thing you didn't take my money." Thorn fingered the hilt of Light Bane, his dagger of wounding. "Having a nice conversation with the beauty, ya like her don't ya, so cute.He moved ove to the front and said "Barrel of mead and a large slab of bear if you will barkeep." Getting the food he first drinking off the mead as the rest in the tavern looked at him and then he ate the bear meat and checked th barrel, a single drop, finishing it he thanked the keep and paid and sat back down.
Posted on 2012-08-08 at 23:50:47.
Edited on 2012-08-09 at 01:17:39 by Takley
Noone really noticed the frail, almost pale figure that entered the inn. Not that anyone would have reason to notice one such as him. "So soon they forget" he thought to himself. "Then again I am not quite the ravishing young lad I was when I left those many years ago." He begged coins from several tables and in every case he was told exactly what he could do to himself. Soon even the barkeep gave him a look that said that perhaps he should move on. Algrek made his way slowly to the bar leaning heavily on his staff. For all teh world he looked another begger. The only thing perhaps notable was the small black weasel that on occasion stuck its nose out of a pocket on the man's robe.
'They do not know you enough to fear you' was the thought the weasel sent to his master. Algrek laughed to himself, "why should they? This is a hangout for those who judge power by the build of a man's muscles." Algrek made his way to the bar and asked the keeper for a mug of the cheapest ale he had. 'Let me see your coin first' the keeper said in a tone that implied he was not into charity cases. "I am sure I have it here somewhere" Algrek replied and made a show of scraping together the 2 copper cost. A mug of ale was produced and Algrek looked around the inn. Then he noticed a female figure who looked out of place. Moving to her table he gestured to an empty chair, "May I sit?"
As the woman waited for a reply from the old man, a halfling entered the inn and seeming to know the old man addressed him as he made his way to the bar. She raised an eyebrow wondering what connection there was between these two unlikely companions.
Right behind the Halfling walked in another figure which piqued her interest more; her dark eyes followed the figure when he walked over to the bar and ordered a drink. He turned and looked at her and then walked over to her table and asked to join her.
She glanced at the old man already sitting at her table, “Apparently I seem as if I need someone to talk to here.” She said with a chuckle and then turned back to the newcomer.
She extended her senses and could detect something there in this one; he, like the old man, was hiding something.
“Sit down if you must.” She finally replied to him; wondering why he would just walk in and offer to sit at a stranger’s table, especially one that looks so out of place in this establishment.
Jorak needed little more convincing. This woman was quite full of herself.
He sighed softly to himself, for he recognized the feeling. How easy it had been to elevate himself above others, not just in his own mind, but in theirs as well. He was better, smarter, stronger than any of them, which is why he prospered. As he had lifted himself beyond the capabilities of normal human beings, the less he felt inclined to what he had considered to be lowering himself to their level.
The woman named them sheep, but at his peak, uttering such a metaphor would have been a generous thing. ‘Mites’ came closer to how Jorak had seen the people around him. He had achieved things that others could not even conceive. His mind had wrapped around issues so large that for normal folk they simply didn’t exist. And with each rising power he had distanced himself from other people. He had been infinitely better.
And infinitely more lonely.
He was shaken from his train of thought by Thorn the halfling, who said something about a joke that Jorak didn’t understand. He had seen Thorn moving around in Morad a few times, even spoke to the roguish fellow a few times, but he could not remember anything about clothes. Was this his memory acting up again?
“Hello Thorn.” He nodded his head at the Halfling. “I’m forry. I think you’re confufing me with fomeone elfe.”
He looked at the woman and shrugged his shoulders. A very boney and genuine gesture.
“You know, I hope one day you’ll come to fee that all thif if not fo bad.”
It was then that a stranger approached their table and asked the woman if he was allowed to join her.
“Well,” he said while giving her a sweet smile, “I fee you have company. I won’t bother you anymore. Gotta take care of fome orphan kid.”
He took a step closer to her and patted her shoulder twice, nodding sagely. “Good day, laff.”
He knew he was overdoing things a bit, but that was exactly the point.
[OOC Note: I use italicized words to indicate my character’s internal thoughts which other’s can’t hear unless they can read thoughts.
The door to the Half-Blind Warrior opened once more and, while Kit entered with less bravado and gusto than some of the previous clientele, it was still hard for many of the patrons not to stop their conversations one more time and stare at the red-haired beauty. To all who met her gaze, Kit rewarded them with a soft, half smile with only a hint of seduction.
Oh, gods! she complained to herself. Of course it would have to be the most backwater tavern in the most backwater town... The soft smile and warm face remained in place the whole while as Kit casually read the room, taking mental notes of faces and furniture. As she made her way to the bar, she caught sight of the back table and the woman who seemed slightly out of place compared to the others present. Still, she kept her gaze casually, not lingering long on the anomaly.
Taking off her hat and placing it on the bar, Kit slightly adjusted the scimitar at her side before taking a seat on one of the vacant stools. She waited for the tavern keeper... and any lads who fancied themselves a romantic tonight.
The woman raised an eyebrow as the Old man took his leave of her; she had kind of hoped he would continue talking to her, but he seemed to not have what she was looking for here. She sensed great power in him once, but whatever had happened to him he wasn’t that person anymore and therefore he didn’t seem of use to her afterall.
When he touched her on the shoulder, which was icy cold beneath his hand, he couldn’t help but notice her stiffen and she scowled at him; probably at the presumption of daring to touch her. She only nodded to him, apparently done with him now she turned to look upon the new arrival at her table.
As she turned she saw the door open and someone else came in, apparently this place was a hot-bed of activity. The figure that entered appeared to be almost trying to not be noticed, yet her appearance actually caused people to stare. The woman was outlandishly dressed and this caused the dark woman to chuckle as she meet the woman’s eyes for a moment.
“This place is more interesting than I would have suspected,” she said softly, so softly that the only one who might have overheard was the person sitting at her table.
"I am afraid I must sit" Algrek replied and took a seat at the table. After a moment to make sure his staff was in easy reach he settled into the chair as best he could. "Darn aches and pains seem to get worse everyday." He studied the women cross from him and wondered what brought another very out of place soul here tonight. "Not from these parts I see." He laughed and it turned into a couch. "I suppose it is rather apparent that I am not as well" Algrek smiled, "Well that is not quite true, I was from here when I was a lad but that seems like liftimes ago. Not a single one of them recognise me though I grew up with a good number of them. Seems my path has changed me more than I ever imagined." Algrek picked up his mug of ale and frowned, "It is criminal what they pass off for ale here these days." As he drank a small head popped into view just above the table top. "Now, now d'weezle, not romping on the table for you." He scrathced the weasel behind the ears a bit and then it disappeared backinto the pocket of his cloak.
"I've not tried the ale yet, though the mead, the mead is good, very good in fact. As for your friends, I have no knowledge of, if my estimate is correct, the ones to gather at the table are going to do something interesting. Hmmmm...I'm thirsty, another tankard of mead if you will barkeep, ant some?" Thorn cleared some space off the table as the tankard would be quite big. "I'm Thorn , whats your name?"
He realized he was talking to himself as if he was having a conversation with himself...though it sounded like he would have said it years ago when he had friends to travel with and they were meeting a new one...
That was a good idea though, "Barkeep, more mead please, just a glass though." He smiled and got the coin ready for when it came.
Posted on 2012-08-11 at 16:45:24.
Edited on 2012-08-13 at 04:12:35 by Takley
The pale woman had noticed Kit, of this the blade-dancer was sure... even from across the room, Kit could feel a slight chill as their eyes met briefly. Death... the word whispered unbidden in her mind.
“What’ll it be, ma’am?”
The barkeep’s question caused her to shift her focus back to the task at hand. Having noted the pale woman’s drink, Kit requested the same. “A glass of your red wine, good sir,” she said, her playful charm lighting up her face.
As the barkeep fetched her order, Kit returned to watching the room. A table nearby had a dice game of Bluff! going: five men – shopkeepers and soldiers by the looks of them – huddled over overturned mugs, peering at the dice hidden under their own while guessing at what the others had hidden. When her drink arrived, Kit sauntered over to the table. “Looks like fun, fellas. Mind if a girl joins in?” she asked coyly.
“Nah, lass,” chirped in one man - a seasoned soldier with the sword at his side and the scars on his face to prove it. He looked around the table for an objection. “I think we’d welcome company, eh, boys? Though, we’re shy a chair.”
Another one stood up, “Bah, you can have mine.”
“Aw, come on, Trent,” said the first man. “Where you goin’?”
“Home, Jonah,” came Trent’s reply. “The wife will be none t’ pleased if I come home with any less. And...” Looking towards the back table, he said in a hushed voice, “I don’t like the look of the strangers tonight.” Turning to Kit apologetically, “Save for you, ma’am.”
Kit returned the man’s nod and allowed him to collect his things, before taking his seat. “I hope you all don’t mind,” Kit said with a note of remorse. “I wasn’t looking to chase anyone away.”
“Nah!” replied Jonah as he watched Trent exit. “Trent’s just a twitchy sort.” Looking straight into Kit’s eyes, he said slyly, “I like the looks of you better anyway.”
Kit gave him the desired blush.
“Now,” Jonah continued, shifting his focus back into the game. “I trust you know how t’ play?” Kit nodded. “Well, then, you’ve got Kearn and Jerome there on your left, and me and Benny on your right. And you would be...?”
The dark woman chuckled slightly at the man, “I wouldn’t worry about these people not recognizing you, they are so wrapped up in their pathetic little lives that they don’t see what is important.”
She look at the man closely as if studying him, which she was but with senses and magic beyond normal sight.
“You appear ill,” she finally said, “yet I sense a strength in you. You are not yet ready to pass over to the wonders of D’hurgen.”
She glanced down at where the small weasel appeared then back up at the man with a raised eyebrow.
“Why do you have such a creature?” she asked, “is it some sort of ‘familiar’?”
She didn’t see how but maybe the creature was a summoned one which had greater powers than normal, or perhaps a spirit or demon in animal form. Not likely she thought, but perhaps it was hidden from her.
As she waited for a reply her eyes gazed back at the room, she saw the small one that had entered sitting at the bar apparently talking to himself. Strange she thought. Her vision scanned over him and probed his aura, perhaps this one might have talents she could use.
Her gaze drifted to movement across the room where the dolled up woman that entered appeared to be joining a game of chance in the far corner. She briefly wondered why? But seeing the attention she got from the men, the dark one thought perhaps she was looking for companionship beyond the gambling type. She could understand; she too sought out such ‘entertainment’ when the mood struck her, but right now she had a quest and no time for distractions.
She turned her attention back to the man at her table; she felt something here despite his frail looking appearance which might just be a façade to throw off the unwary.