Dusk, Somewhere on Jenoa
He paused for a moment to consider the rune he’d just etched on the scroll. He’d been writing for hours, in fact the candle he’d been using for light was little more than a glob of wax with a flickering flame struggling to remain lit on what little remained of the wick, but it didn’t bother him. He took comfort in writing, especially by hand. Some of his colleagues derided him as old fashioned, but the feel of the quill in his wrinkled hand gave him comfort that what he was doing was concrete. The mages of Magnagoth could keep their arcane scripts and conjured messages, his ink would stand the test of time.
The voice intruded on his reverie, and the old man looked up from his writing. A figure was silhouetted there in his doorway; the torches burning in the hallway outside his study leaving the visitor’s face a shadow. Kaene squinted behind his tiny spectacles, his hand unconsciously running through his long white beard as he tried to identify his quest.
”Geoffrey? Is that you boy?”, he asked.
The figure stepped into the dim candlelight, his illuminated features revealing the face of Kaene’s young apprentice.
”Is this where you’ve been all day?”, the man asked incredulously.
A boy in the wizened eyes of the wizard Kaene, Geoffrey was actually in his late twenties, the prime of his human life span. His short blond hair and electric blue eyes reminded Kaene of a youth he scarcely remembered, his own magically extended centuries of life leading many to question whether he was truly human. ”So much more to learn…”, the wizard thought to himself wistfully.
”Aye my boy,”, Kaene set the quill down and removed his spectacles, his eyes adjusting to the sudden onset of light streaming in through the open door. ”…I suppose I’ve been a bit caught up in my work. How goes the day?” ”How went the day is more like it.”, Geoffrey said with a grin that betrayed more of his youthful mirth. ”It’s sundown now; the miners have retired to the longhouse. A few of us wondered if perhaps you’d nodded off.” ”Ah is it now?”, the old man looked about his study, somewhere he had a gnome invention that tracked the passage of the sun, though he couldn’t locate it in his brief scan. He’d have to seek that out when he found the time, it was one of his favourites. It always reminded him that for all the magic of his home in Caledon, sometimes a mundane animatronic box could hold just as much power. This was another lesson he’d have to impress on his young apprentice, given time, of course. He found he never had enough time.
”Some real progress was made today.”
Geoffrey had shuffled a handful of maps off a nearby chest and pulled it adjacent to Kaene’s desk, using it as a makeshift seat. Normally Kaene would have derided him for disregarding the importance of those maps, but the news of progress turned the old man’s mind in another direction as Geoffrey continued.
”They found some more pottery a shard, the hilt of a blade the foreman thinks may be Dwarven, and that’s not even the best part.” His apprentice’s face was split ear to ear now by a toothy grin. Kaene had grown accustomed to his behaviour, though it didn’t leave him finding it any less impish. His apprentice simply knew something he didn’t yet, and was relishing the moment before revealing it to him.
”Well boy? On with it. What’s the best part?” Kaene sighed, he would indulge his apprentice, for the sake of the revelation.
”Well we’re not sure yet, but it looks…it looks like we’ve found stairs.” Geoffrey could hardly contain his excitement, and Kaene despite himself, felt it too.
”Stairs…” Kaene’s mind was racing, ”…are the accessible? Where do they lead!?” ”Sealed by a cave in, probably sometime in the first age, but it’s unmistakable, carved steps, right into the stone. The foreman says they’ll begin excavating the rubble in the morning, though it looks like a long job. Do you think this is it? Have we found it?”
Kaene stopped for a moment, his thoughts going a mile of minute. Have we found it? He allowed himself a moment of optimism. He tried so many times before and failed, but this time his calculations felt so right. Maybe this was it? Letting his mirth shine through, he flashed a rare smile at his apprentice.
”I believe so Geoffrey my boy, I believe so.”
If it was possible for Geoffrey’s smile to widen any further it did so, and the young man jumped up with an exuberant “whoop”. Kaene admired the youth’s spirit, part of the reason he’d brought him along in the first place. That drive would serve him well if he could keep his head on straight.
”I can’t wait to tell the College! They’ll feel like such fools for doubting you now, eh Kaene? We’ll have our names on texts for ages!” Geoffrey could hardly contain himself. ”And my parents! Can you imagine what they’ll think?! I’ll have to send a message first thing in the morning!”
A wry smile cracking Kaene’s lined face; he waited for his apprentice to settle before he continued.
”Let’s not get to hasty Geoffrey, I’ve been wrong before after all. Perhaps we wait until we’re clearer before he rush off to glory, hmm?”
The words quieted the young man, though a grin was still plastered on his face.
”You are right, as ever, my friend.” Geoffrey seemed to suddenly feel the weight of the hour. ”Perhaps we could all use a good night’s sleep right now, lest your old bones give out before you’re ready, eh?”
Giving his teacher a playful shot to the arm, the young man was up and out of the room before Kaene even had a chance to wish him a good rest. ”So much left to learn…” the old man muttered to himself, dipping his quill in the ink before turning back to his scroll.
”Now where was I…”
A little after Midnight, Somewhere on Jenoa *CRACK*
The noise woke Kaene from his slumber. His candle had extinguished itself, its flame starved for fuel as the wick burnt out. Some of the hot wax had crusted onto the wizard’s beard, and he absently flicked at the glob. It seems he should have heeded his apprentice’s advice; the old man had fallen asleep at his work yet again.
His senses returned to him, and he suddenly remembered the reason for his waking. That had without doubt been the door of his cabin, opened with enough force to splinter it. There had to be someone in here with him.
”Geoffrey?” Kaene fumbled about his desk in the dark, searching for his spectacles but not wanting to conjure light and reveal his position. His intruder could be anyone.
His efforts were for naught however. No sooner did he find his spectacles did he look up to see a figure, only just visible in the darkness of his doorway. The figure’s arm gestured and the room was immediately illuminated by an arcane globe of light, suspended just below the ceiling. Kaene hadn’t had time for magic lately, his mind cluttered by research, and only a few spells floated to the forefront of his mind, though he doubted any of them would be much use to him in this instance. As his eyes adjusted to the bright glare of the orb, his eyes focussed on the intruder.
His mind raced, and out of the corner of his eye he spied his gnomish timepiece. ”Ah, there it is.” , his mind thought absently. The figure in the doorway hadn’t moved, secure in apparent awareness of Kaene’s defenseless state, and the old wizard made his way over to the clock. He picked the small silver device up in his hands, flipping it over and around.
”A marvel of gnomish invention, all animatronic, no magic.” Kaene spoke plainly, his thoughts almost betraying a disregard for his precarious situation. ”Much like that…I scarcely needed divination to know the day you would come for me would soon be arriving.”
The figure remained still, unmoving, eyes locked on the old wizard.
”Well then…” Kaene’s voice had just a touch of regret to it, ”…I guess you’re expecting me to give a last attempt to protect myself.” He turned the clock over again in his hands. ”I guess I’m not going to give you that satisfaction. If you’re going to go through with this, you’re going to have to accept that you’re killing an enfeebled old man.”
Kaene gazed down at the clock again, his own lined face reflected in its shining silver countenance. He looked back up at his presumed attacker.
”Well? Now you’re just wasting both of our time.”
The blast that followed woke every miner sleeping in the longhouse that night.
Posted on 2014-04-13 at 19:28:38.
Edited on 2015-10-26 at 22:01:18 by Grugg
A far cry from the bustling streets and shop lined roads typical of a Cordovan city, Schell has always been a town foreign to success. Originally a labourer camp built for the indentured servants of wealthy Cordovan merchants, the move to autonomous township did little to change Schell’s fortunes. Taxes and tithes gouged what little income its citizens generated, and the regiments sent from the capital to protect its borders held little desire for protect the town’s interests. The townsfolk would refer to their home in unkind terms, hopeless and ignored chief among them, and as Schell’s fortunes soured, so too did the attitudes of its citizens. It is not ironic then, that what would eventually be one of the few bright spots in the town’s history was a series of lies brought on by rampant destruction by a malevolent force.
The giant Feephyfophum, far from his home at the base of the Gray Mountains to the north, had come to the Schell countryside, hungry and restless. The gurgles in his massive stomach attracted him to the farms that surrounded the town, one of the few sources of income the people of Schell relied on, and his unrestrained wrath was terrible. Farm after farm was destroyed, their livestock devoured, their farmhouses shattered, those workers unlucky enough to be caught slain or worse. The capital as per usual paid no mind to the plight of its least profitable township, focussing on its ongoing expansion and domination of Jenoa at the expense of the lives of Schell’s citizens, and soon a breaking point was reached.
A militia was formed, makeshift weapons were gathered and Schell’s citizens boldly sought out the rampaging giant, rationalising that it would be better to die defending their home then sitting idly by its destruction. Their vengeance was cut short however, as they arrived at the giant’s encampment to find the great creature already defeated, lying face down on the earth, surrounded by four strangers unknown to the townsfolk.
Hailed as heroes and defenders of good honest folk, the group that became known as Fortune’s Favoured were a cause for celebration in Schell. Optimism and a sense of community the town had never known were flourishing. Men who’d wasted their days on drink found their nerve and enlisted in the town guard, children went about pretending to be their favourite hero and the Beard Dragon, the local tavern and truthfully the only financially successful business Schell had ever known, donated its guest quarters to the group, hoping to gain a bit of fame itself for being the home of the local heroes.
Things in Schell were looking up, for everyone except the Fortune’s Favoured.
Dawn, the front stoop of the Bearded Dragon, Schell
Malachi awoke with a start, his head pounding. Groggily opening his eyes, he decided better of it and shut them again as the harsh light of day overwhelmed his senses. He turned, reaching for his blanket to return to sleep but was dismayed to find his grasp found only a handful of grass. His shock suddenly turned to understanding as he realised where he had made his bed for the night. Rising to his feet, he surveyed his surroundings. It was, as he expected, the ditch outside the Bearded Dragon.
Memories came flooding back as his haze lifted; Argos the Innkeeper had offered them a job. Something about killing the rats in his cellar, with the promise of a golden reward. A golden reward that in fact had turned out to be as much of Argos’s homebrewed ale as they could stomach. Not exactly what most would consider a proper reward (or what most considered golden, the ale’s colouring resembled more of a shade of stagnant piss) but one the Fortune’s Favoured had indulged in none the less.
Arfar’s beard! That must have been some strong stuff. He found himself thinking. His thoughts turned to his companions, perhaps they’d made it back to the room. He wondered if he’d find himself the butt of any jokes about this event.
His question was answered by a loud *thud* as an armoured form unceremoniously tumbled from its resting place on a tree branch hanging at the tavern’s far corner. Relos, the half-elven paladin of Gian raised himself up from the underbrush and met Malachi’s eye, where they seems to share an unspoken understanding of just what the pounding war drums in their heads felt like. They were joined by the sounds of confusion coming from the awning overhanging the tavern door, and they raised their eyes to find the chosen trickster of Discq, Tristan, clearly unaccustomed to the strength of Argo’s brew and a loss to explain his choice of precarious resting place.
The tavern door squeaked its way open as the group’s arcane seductress Sehanine joined the newly awakened outside. Where she spent the night in the tavern was a mystery, but from the disheveled look of her hair she hadn’t located much in the way of a pillow. The unwelcome bleating of some a goat located the final member of their band, the Halfling Calopee, who inexplicably found herself sleeping in a goat pen across the muddy street from the tavern, encircled by inquisitive goats. Composing themselves as best they could, the next sound the group heard was a deep bellowing laughter as the enormous form of Argos struggled to fit out through the doorway of his tavern.
”Bwhaha, still here, eh?” the large hairy man bellowed, ”Wondered how far you’d make it in that condition.”
The group stared blankly at their host. Almost on cue, a goat nudged Calopee’s leg, bleating loudly and breaking the silence.
”Can’t have our heroes hungry in the street now can we?” Argos’s enormous face shifted into a large toothy grin. ”Why don’t you come inside for some breakfast, unless you’d rather play with the goats.”
Argos turned and vanished through the tavern door, and the Fortune’s Favoured, lacking anything in the way of better options and slightly disoriented from the bright sunlight, followed his lead.
The Bearded Dragon, Schell
It was often said the Bearded Dragon was the crown jewel of Schell, and given the town’s history of poor luck it’s quite unsurprising that most of the townsfolk’s gold goes to a place that serves a drink which helps you forget your misfortunes. Its star only shone all the brighter since the emergence of the Fortune’s Favoured, with Argos being savvy enough donate his upstairs room to the group as a base of operations the tavern is always full of locals hoping to catch a glimpse of the “giant slayers”. That morning however, was a rare exception to the rule, as the inn was empty save Argos and the five.
A simple enough building for a simple town, the Bearded Dragon (named for an adventurer who had frequented the town a few years past) was nonetheless cozy, sporting three long tables with benches along the wall adjacent to the bar counter, where Argos was often posted making small talk with his clientele. Mounted on a plaque above the barrels of homebrewed ale behind the bar were a pair of gauntlets, a memento Argos picked up in his brief time as an adventurer, or so he claimed. A small door on the wall across from the tables led to a staircase to the sparse second floor, where both Argos’s private quarters and Fortune’s Favoured “headquarters” (little more than five poorly constructed beds behind a door that never quite shut right) were located on either side of a short hallway. A simple business indeed, though when the winds turned chill and Argos saw fit to ignite the fire pit in the centre of the tavern, it was hard to find a comfier place to rest in all of Schell.
A comfy place to rest served the group just fine as Argos brought over plates of bread and eggs, the night before was still doing a number on their throbbing heads, and little conversation broke out over breakfast. As their meal neared completion, Argos strode over, collecting plates and wiping down the table surface. Stacking the dishware on the bar, the large man peered back over his shoulder at the group still sitting quietly at the table.
”So are you getting going then? You told Isiah you’d be there by sunrise.”
The looks of confusion across the faces of the Fortune’s Favoured led to one of Argos’s trademark toothy grins.
”Thought as much, didn’t know what you were doing making those promises with the amount you’d had to drink by that point.”, he gave a hearty laugh, ”Still though, might be something worth checking out. As I recall he was promising you, now what was it, half the value of his summer crop for your help?”
The talk of reward made the ears of the few of the group’s members perk up.
”His farm’s not far west of here if I remember correctly,”, Argos made his way behind the and began filling himself a tankard of his homebrewed ale, ”not even that far of a walk, could probably still arrive timely if you left now.”
He took a large gulp of ale and gave a small laugh. ”Unless you’d rather sit around here and have another round?”
(OOC: LEEEEEEEEEEEET'S GET IT GOING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!)
Posted on 2014-04-13 at 22:39:43.
Edited on 2015-10-26 at 22:02:02 by Grugg
Mal sat up from his resting place, sword in hand. No, that wasn't right. No sword here. He had been dreaming of his fight with Pheefyphofum, living it as though it were real. He stood valiantly beside his allies, in full Argent Blade regalia, as they repeatedly assaulted the giant with their full might. Tristan fought bravely with his rapier, slinging spells in the name of Discq. "Although," Mal thought, "He didn't fight as well as I did. Not even in my dreams." Tiny Calopee flung rocks at the giant from her hiding place, her skiprocks eventually bringing down the great terror. The smallest toppled the largest. At least, that was the lie. The knight who actually did the deed was never found, and Fortune's Favored was born.
He lay back down. "The Argent Blade and Associates was more like it," he thought. Not one of them had the foresight to create a secret identity. How was he supposed to stay clear of the law now?
Try as he might, his valiant effort to continue sleep was useless. Sunlight stabbed at his exposed eyes like a thief in a barfight. Everything hurt. Especially his neck. And back. Shoulders: check. Stomach: violent. He lifted himself up and shook off the dirt and dew that was beginning to form mud on his shirt and trousers. Malachi smelled bacon, noting the smell just before he heard old Argos roaring at them good-heartedly.
"Bwhaha, still here, eh? Wondered how far you’d make it in that condition." Argos paused for dramatic effect while Mal rubbed sleep out of his eyes and dirt into them. The hairy barkeep grinned through snaggled teeth. His voice hurt Mal's head. "Can’t have our heroes hungry in the street now can we? Why don’t you come inside for some breakfast, unless you’d rather play with the goats."
Mal would rather eat the goats than play with them, but since the pig was already coming, he winced and hobbled his way into The Bearded Dragon. This place wasn't much, but neither was the rest of this town. He has seen glorious cities, vast and ancient, rising over the hills in distant lands. Then again, he had seen shanty towns on Arrowhead Island inhabited by pirates and thieves that had to be rebuilt after every minor storm. Schell was somewhere in the middle, but it reminded him of his time on that forsaken isle in a tangible way. Arrowhead was beyond saving. Perhaps Schell was not.
The grease in the breakfast worked a wonder on Mal's stomach, but did nothing for his headache. He found himself wishing there was bacon. Hadn't he smelled it coming just a moment ago? Disappointing. Thoughts couldn't seem to find a strong foothold between throbs. He'd heard willow bark was a good solution for a headache, but he knew for a fact beer would take it away. He downed his first pint as he finished the last of the eggs, the taste of yolk mixing with the beer in a horrible wary.
Argos was cleaning up breakfast when he decided to remind them of the previous night. The fat man was wearing one of those once-white aprons that only butchers and barkeeps know where to purchase. "So are you getting going then?" he asked the group in general. "You told Isiah you’d be there by sunrise."
Mal had no f***ing clue what he was talking about.
The barkeep was nonplussed. "Thought as much, didn’t know what you were doing making those promises with the amount you’d had to drink by that point. Still though, might be something worth checking out. As I recall he was promising you, now what was it, half the value of his summer crop for your help?"
Argos walked behind the bar to begin filling an ale "His farm’s not far west of here if I remember correctly, not even that far of a walk, could probably still arrive timely if you left now. Unless you’d rather sit around here and have another round?"
The headache was diminishing but not yet gone. A little more of the stuff Argos passed off as beer would do well for that, probably loosen his joints up as well.
"I'll take another pint, Argie." Argos winced at the nickname, but Mal didn't care. He was doing the guy a favor by staying here. Good for business, obviously. "One for the road. Unless these bunglers want to hang about. In which case I'll have one for right here."
The man made to get up, thinking about his rapier and the costume in a trunk by his bed. He stopped himself for a moment.
"Oh, and Argie? I've forgotten, well, basically every detail of what that old farmer wanted. You got any idea?"
Posted on 2014-04-13 at 23:35:25.
Edited on 2018-03-09 at 10:02:00 by Eol Fefalas
Calopee had gotten used to waking up in some shady locales, however, none quite as sloppy as the mess she had found herself in on this morn. She would usually refer to the dawn of a new day as a 'good morn', but arising from a pit of mud, chilled bones crackling and stiff, and soaked to the quick, her positive disposition had taken a beating. Her sanguine eyes shot open upon hearing the throaty call of a goat coming from behind her, and the realization that she was surrounded by the dirty mongrels was enough to spring her to her feet, even if her head made her instantly regret it. It appeared to have found itself a heartbeat, and every beat made her eyes quake. Absent-mindedly at best, she paid heed to the fact that many of her fellows were in similarly awkward situations... Argos laughing at their troubles merely joined in the tempo of the omnipresent beating in her skull, and when the bleating Billy behind her then began to rub up against her, she turned to confront her assailant. Face to face, the goat was an almost intimidating presence; Those horns could do some damage to this wee little woman. More to the point though, there was something mischievous lurking behind those strangely sentient eyes. Or, was it lust? A startling realization breached her inebriate mind, one that had her fleeing into the corner stall to toss out whatever she'd eaten the night before into the slop trough. Did her mouth taste like goat? WHY DID HER MOUTH TASTE LIKE GOAT!?
After escaping the pen, and stumbling across the muddy road to the inn, she waved the others inward and onward. Making her way around the backside of the inn, she stripped down to her knickers and took her muddy clothes over to the hand pump to shower them free of the grime she'd made her bed in. Then, even though she'd been cold to begin with, she put herself under the pump and shed the dirt from her face and mane. The perks of being small, she remarked in silence, regarding this pump as the perfect height for a cold shower after a night of blunders. For good measure, she gulped down a few pints of water, and gargled heavily. Digging through her pack, she pulled out a spare set of clothes, and bundled up her formerly muddied attire after wringing them thoroughly, and headed into the Bearded Dragon.
Her first stop was the flat of the hearth, where she laid out her clothes and cloak to dry. She turned to the appraising eyes of Relos, almost as if he were concerned for her. "I don't want to talk about it..." Those were the only words she spoke.
She grabbed some breakfast, and placed herself under a table near to the crew, listening to the silence between the groaning. After wolfing down some eggs, she ruffled about in her bag of stones, and pulled out a sanding cloth from her pack, and went to work on yet another precious stone. She was sure the others would eventually get around to heading out west, and, whatever the job, they were in need of it. They couldn't rest on their laurels forever. Argos was a business man, not a saint.
Posted on 2014-04-14 at 02:30:19.
Edited on 2014-04-14 at 02:50:55 by Philosopher
This was not the first time Tristan's head had exploded. It didn't happen so often as to turn him into a bad sideshow, but it had happened enough times to develop the List. He went over it in what was left of his mind.
Satisfied with both his inventory and priorities, he decided to open up the eyes which had just reformed.
Though he knew it to be a uselss gesture, he could not stop his hand from flying to his head as the light slipped through his now squinting eyes and began stamping on his brand-new pain-centers. Shaking his head slowly, he took stock once more. List complete. Sore back, arm asleep and.... dangling? Yes, upon closer inspection, his left arm and leg were hanging several feet off the ground, with the rest of him (thankfully still attached) slightly higher up and resting on.... something.
The awning. How in Discq's name.... Managing a small smile at the absurdity of it, he began the laborious task of easing himself down. Began, but did not finish, as his only-just-rebuilt brain hadn't quite figured out motor controls, and so he found himself tumbling off and down the six or so feet to the ground. Lying there, sprawled on his back in the morning light, Tristan couldn't help but laugh softly. He was a great fan of trickery, and he had tricked himself good, it seemed, intentionally or otherwise.
Standing slowly as he pulled himself together, he looked around to find the others doing the same. The other human and the half-elf seemed to be having a hangover bonding moment; many lasting friendships had started thus. The halfling seemed to be staggering out of the goat pen, of all places. He would have to try and get that story at some point....
And out the door came the she-elf herself. Tristan couldn't help but smirk at her bedraggled appearance, though he suspected she'd had no more part of a bed last night than he had. Sehanine, my dear, you'll not hear the end of this for awhile. Unconciously checking his bracers oncemore at the sight of her, he entered the Inn after the entirely too smug keeper, having started and stopped listening at the offer of food.
With a nod of thanks, he began wolfing down the breakfast sat in front of him. It wasn't city-fare, nor did it have that down-home feel you got at a lot of farmer's houses. Wasn't terrible though. He listened with half an ear as Argos mentioned their drunken promises to a local farmer. Probably nothing better than killing cellar rats had been, but it wasn't like he had anything else to do. Besides, it wouldn't do for the Hero's of Schell to seem ungrateful for the hospitality.
The thought brought another smirk to the trickster's lips. This was the best con he'd ever run, bar none. He planned to enjoy it while it lasted. Straightening his hat, and tipping it towards a smiling innkeeper, he walked out the door. He'd work out the kinks and wait for the others outside. And he'd have to compose a few remarks on Sehanine's chosen hairstyle......
Posted on 2014-04-14 at 03:41:57.
Edited on 2014-04-14 at 03:45:24 by Chessicfayth
"Ok Relos, today's lesson will be on the virtue I call 'Moderation.' I'll start with a story about a day when I was right around your age..."
Master Caiste's stories always seemed to start the same exact way, and what Relos would give to hear him tell one of these tales just one more time. This fleeting dream was bittersweet for he loved to reminisce about his late
master, but dredging up the past was guaranteed to remind him how much he really did miss the old man. Ever since his passing Relos had set out to take up the mantle and travel Cordova if not the world spreading the love, knowledge,
and good just as his master had did.
Two weeks had passed since the mourning period ended and already he had done many good deeds such as blessing crops, blessing land, blessing live stock, and even once scared away a pair of thugs who were accosting some traveling farmers. It seemed the farther south west he traveled from the keep in the foothills of the Gray Mountains the poorer and more desperate people got for things like a good crop, healthy stock, and a quiet life.
When people found out he was a champion for Gian they always asked him for blessings or new words of faith to gain the favor of the goddess of nature. These were the bulk of his requests since he left and honestly it wasn't exactly what he thought he would be doing but of course he didn't mind, and making these downtrodden folk happy was good enough for him.
One night while staying at a roadside inn, he had overheard a rumor that was spreading like wild fire. 'A band of heroes slaying a giant,' 'A group of heroes fighting off a giant while the forest burned around them,' or 'A group of heroes each slaying a giant on their own, while intimidating a group of goblins into a bucket brigade to fight the raging inferno around them.' As Relos heard each story he chuckled to himself, noticing a nice layer of embellishment being slapped on the tale after every round of drinks. No matter how crazy the stories were they had to stem from somewhere, so politely asking the drunken farmers around him he had found out one fact held true in all of them. Schell was where the deed had been done, and that was where he'd be going next.
Fortunately the walk to Schell wasn't long and it only took him a few solid days from the inn to get there. The city itself looked less than glorious, but if it was one thing his master had taught him, it was to never take something at face value. With an open mind he strode through the city and quickly found out how much he enjoyed the company of these folks. After some pleasant conversation he was able to discern the where abouts of this group, which he learned was now called 'Fortune's Favored.'
He stood outside the Bearded Dragon, looking up at all it's glory. The tavern was packed which he expected,
he was told that it's the most popular place in town. He approached and entered the smoke filled main hall where
he was suddenly hit with a wave of sounds and smells, all of them familiar and in a way pleasing for some reason
that Relos just couldn't think of. He drew some attention as he walked in, his shining and well kept weapons and armor coupled with a disheveled look of patch-work stubble and messy hair seeming like something just slightly out of place in it all. He made his way to the front where he met Argos, who promptly gestured to the group of four who was surrounded by people asking them questions and listening to stories. Finally, he was going to meet these people who seemed to know how to get the kind of work he was wanting. Soon he'd be able to help those who were really in need and save lives, becoming a beacon of hope and happiness just like Caiste. Surely, these people were cut of the
same cloth such as he.
Patiently he waited in the back while the crowds slowly died down, and it was then when they were alone that he made his move. Politely Relos approached them; a Halfling, an Elf, and two Humans all sitting before him. One of them he figured was surely inebriated, but that didn't stop anything.
"Hello everyone, I've heard of your exploits and would like to ask you something. First off, my name is Relos Onsamryn and I'm enamored by your deeds, they're the things that I my self want to end up doing and the sole reason as to why I'm here. I know all of you are surely good long time companions but I ask of you, would you have me by your side in your ventures? I'm fully capable of handling anything thrown at me, and I bring some blessings of Gian with me also. If you have noticed, I wear the symbol of Gian, and that is because I'm a champion of the earth goddess herself. Through me I bring blessings and good deeds to the world, and in dire times I can heal the most severe of wounds. I shall do anything that you ask of me to prove my worth, but to be apart of 'Fortune's Favored', the group that slew the giant of Schell, well that would be I feel a great place for me to really shine."
A little long winded, but Relos had a lot to say. He honestly hoped that his tangent wouldn't work against him, but after a few minutes of discussion from the group, they came to a consensus. Help them with a favor that Argos had tasked them with, and then they'll decide. A beaming Relos happily accepted.
An hour later, Relos found himself in the basement of Argos's tavern dispatching some rats that looked as if they could take on Krusk himself. It didn't take much effort from the five of them and quickly the deed was done, with Relos helping anyone who was bitten by the foul creatures and healing any damage taken from them. They were rewarded with a limitless amount of questionable ale straight from the taps of the Bearded Dragon itself. Relos's solidification into the 'Fortune's Favored' was done, and he couldn't of been happier. It was in that moment of revelry that the 'Virtue of Moderation' quietly slipped his mind, and is why Relos was in the predicament he found himself in now.
"Ok Relos, today's lesson will be on the virtue I call 'Moderation.' I'll start with a story about a day when I was right around your age..."
The thought reiterated itself through his head once again, and the dream of Master Caiste slipped away as his eyes fluttered open. Patchy sun rays beamed onto his face through the thick leaves, a breeze swaying him back and forth slowly as if being cradled by Gian herself. The split second comfort he felt was almost worth it as he looked side to side, realizing he was in a tree a solid ten feet off the ground. His body was sore and his head was achy, his armor for some reason still donned. He tried to sit up but his side tingled, half his body had fallen asleep from dozing off in his armor and promptly he fell sideways out of the tree. Luckily a few low hanging branches and the underbrush had cushioned his fall making any damage he would of sustained non existent. He looked over and spotted his new companion Malachi looking him in the eye, seemingly suffering some sort of similar fate. Rubbing his head he smiled and looked over as Calopee crawled out of a goat pen and gave him one look and a quip to go with it. One by one the group gathered outside the inn, all sharing some sort of odd sleeping hi-jinks similar to his.
"Not the greatest first impression I'd like to give, but at least we're all in the same boat here."
Relos quickly thought to himself as he followed the group up inside, the prospect of a hearty breakfast at the forefront of his mind. Argos was a good man at heart and quickly reminded them of a promise they had made while quite drunk the night prior. Nodding to the groups words Relos gave his plate as Argos cleaned up, quickly finishing off his tall glass of water hoping it would subdue the final feelings of his now dwindling head ache. He leaned over to Argos as he was about to bring the dishes back and asked for another glass of water, and then leaned back in to listen to the groups discussion. He had no need to chime in just yet, he wanted to hear what Argos had to say about this Isiah and his farm first.
After Argos divulged any information that he had on Isiah's farm, Relos stood and stepped away from the table.
"I'm going to clean up first and make sure all my limbs are awake for this walk. I'll be outside for now ringing out my clothes."
If no one approaches Relos or speaks to him, he makes his way down stairs and outside, removes his armor and begins to clean himself and his clothes with the same pump that Calopee had previously used.
Posted on 2014-04-14 at 06:08:05.
Edited on 2014-04-14 at 14:34:49 by Jozan1
Sehanine found herself with her cheek pressed against some hard and sticky surface. Its uneven ridges had found a way of embedding themselves along the entire length of her body. Something smelled strongly of unwashed dwarves and she ached. Oh, did she ache. Her body hurt in places she didn't know she had. Slowly she opened her eyes and then shut them immediately. The world spun and spun as if it were some sort of viscous maelstrom. Up was down, and down was up, everything was wrong. What fell magic was making the room spin? And where was that infernal dwarf stench coming from?
Taking a deep breath, the silver haired elf steeled herself to face the spinning world and the inevitable ordeal of separating her body from the blessed surface on which she now lay. With her eyes open and her body moving, Sehanine discovered the source of the dwarf stench; her hair. Apparently the top of the bar had been singing a siren song just to her last night. She had spent the night laying on its wooden surface, just under a now empty dripping keg. Dignified.
Details of the night began to work their way back into her mind. She recalled throwing back pint after pint of the thin ale, confident in her elvish constitution. Elves couldn't get drunk, or have hangovers, and they certainly didn't sleep. It seemed she had discovered the limits of elvish tolerance to them all last night. She would have to remember to write it into the histories... Catching a glimpse of her reflection in a polished plate brought another discovery to add to the list. She now knew how much ale it took to transform a fey elf into the wretched, nightmare hag of inebriation.
Faint rays of sunlight seeped through the cracks in the door and Sehanine found herself craving a respite from tavern's stale air. Stumbling across the room, she gracefully fell against the door to push it open. Sprawled across the ditch outside of the Bearded Dragon, the rest of Fortune's Favored had fared the night no better and were each coming back to life. When her eyes fell on the triumphant smirk painted across Tristan's face, she immediately regretted her decision to step out into the sun. Her eyes narrowed when they fell on the bracers he wore and his smiled deepened.
A hysterical, roar of laughter broke the morning silence before any biting comments could be made. Their host, Argos, had discovered them and now stood cackling in the doorway. His promise of food brought the bedraggled group stumbling back into the tavern and they ravenously descended on the piles of bread and eggs with savage abandon. As they ate, talk of promises to help the some local farmer were raised. Whichever one of them had made it a promise to meet at dawn was going to pay, dearly. Mention of helping the distressed country bumpkin had Relos jumping to his feet to rush out the door and clean himself at pump as if in some penitent ritual. Over-eager and full of earnest good intention though he might be, the human-blooded boy had the right idea. They couldn't meet anyone looking as they did now. Appearances had to be maintained.
Snapping her fingers, Sehanine called forth a little fey magic and sent it to work. In a matter of moments the cantrip washed the ale soaked wench away, returning the enchantress to her usual grace. Out of the corner of her eye she caught Tristan's smirk, and she turned to face him wearing a cruel smile of her own. As he placed a fork full of eggs in his mouth, she struck with the speed of a viper, infusing those eggs (and all the food piled on his plate) with the clean flavor of 1000 lemons. In response to his glorious puckered squinting, she blew him a kiss. Breaking her gaze with the human trickster, Sehanine sent the cantrip to cleaning and grooming the rest of the group. It was simple magic, but quite effective. Around the table now sat a troop of resplendent heroes ready to take on the world, not the haggard drunks who had been there not a moment before.
With breakfast and grooming done, Sehanine stood to glide across the room and join the others in the morning sun.
((OOC: Casts Prestidigitation: Cleans and grooms entire party (assuming they are okay with that) and flavors Tristan's eggs with the essence of a few lovely lemons))
An Hour Past Dawn, The Bearded Dragon, Schell
Breakfast had gone a long way towards curing the ills a night of “rewards” had brought upon the Fortune’s Favoured, though Tristan had been given a decent reason for being distrustful of eggs in the near future courtesy of the capricious Sehanine, and though memories of the night before remained hazy, Argos has kindly filled them in on just what sort of mess their drunken mouths had gotten them into. Though the prospect of a trek to a farm at the crack of dawn with the way the group’s heads felt seemed daunting, they did have at the very least a reputation to uphold. Resting on their laurels wouldn’t sustain them forever, and the promise of half a summer’s harvest in reward for work appeared fair enough, though to a man they couldn’t remain what task they’d agreed to perform.
The group set about preparing, Sehanine’s cantrip flitting about the room tidying messy hair and scrubbing scuffs off of armour. It tracked Relos down outside, where he decided to take a quick shower under a water pump scarcely tall enough for a Halfling, and probably left him feeling quite foolish as the bit of arcane magic left him cleaner than the muddy pond water the pump provided ever possibly could. Through the quiet hubbub of preparation strode Malachi, heading over to the bar to take advantage of Argos’s half-sarcastic offer of another round.
Mug of potent piss-water in his hand, Mal made to head upstairs before turning back to Argos. ”Oh, and Argie? I've forgotten, well, basically every detail of what that old farmer wanted. You got any idea?”
If the rotund barkeep had any objection to the clearly ridiculous nickname it only displayed on his face an instant before being replaced swiftly with one of his trademark toothy grins.
”Don’t rightly know, Mally,” the emphasis on this new nickname was obvious, ”,to tell the truth I was half in the bag myself.”
An Hour After Dawn, Schell
Back outside, the group was once more assaulted by the harsh light of day. Their resolve steeled by a hearty breakfast in their stomachs and their headaches abated by an hour of wakefulness, they began the short walk to where Argos had described Isiah’s farm as being. As they left, Calopee spared a cautious glance towards the neighbouring goat pen, where much to her dismay multiple goats had lined up along the fence, solemnly watching her pass. She resolved not to think on the matter as they turned onto another muddy trail and began their commute to a dawn appointment they were already late for.
Since the incident at what was now referred to as Giant’s End, changes had started in the once silently hopeless town, changes that were readily apparent even over the length of the groups short jaunt to Isiah’s farm. Moods seemed elevated, and the citizens who just a month ago seemed unmotivated now moved with just that much more pep. Whether they’d intended it to or not, it seemed the mere presence of Fortune’s Favoured had impacted Schell for the better.
It took them less than thirty minutes to reach Isiah’s farm, hardly difficult to locate given the dearth of homesteads as they moved further from the town centre. Like many of Schell’s farms, Isiah’s land lay outside what little protection the town provided, requiring more open space for the crops, which Sehanine easily identified primarily as wheat. They made their way west along the sloppy mud path through the fields, arriving at the small stone hut that served as Isiah’s farmhouse. To the right of the hut stood a small shed, which from the looks of the plough lying idly nearby seemed to serve as housing for Isiah’s farming equipment. Beyond the hut’s thatched roof to the west lay a soft decline down to the shore of the Cordovan Basin about three miles away and further on beyond that the distant sands of the Corsian Desert were just visible on the horizon.
Almost as if on cue, the hut’s wooden door swung open, and a fit but middle aged man dressed in simple clothes appeared in the opening. He seemed familiar to the group, in a “drunkenly discussed various topics at length while extremely inebriated” sort of way, and his welcoming smile and expectant gaze served to confirm their suspicions that this was indeed Isiah, the man they’d promised to assist the night before.
”Almost gave up waitin’ there.” the man’s kind voice was a nonetheless full of excitement, ”Well come in, I’ll be expectin’ the kids will want to meet you before we get down to business, then.”
As quickly as he’d appeared in the doorway, Isiah disappeared back into his home, leaving the group a little at a loss in front of the hut. Their pause was interrupted by the bleat of a seemingly ubiquitous goat, and a cursory glance revealed a solitary goat tethered to a post not far from the hut. As it turned its unblinking gaze toward Calopee, the group decided perhaps following Isiah into his hut was the best course of action, and made their way through the doorway into the farmer’s home.
Mid-Morning, Isiah’s Hut, Schell
Isiah’s home was small, but cozy. The main room was almost entirely dominated by a dining table, and a fireplace roared in its space on the wall on the left as the group entered. A half open door provided a glimpse of a bedroom across from the entry, and at the sound of the front door slamming shut a pair of young boys burst free from it, eager to meet their local idols. After a minute of fawning and incessant questions that didn’t quite make sense or seem to have any sort of punctuation, Isiah shuffled the boys outside to do their chores before sitting at his table and gesturing for the group to do the same.
”I can’t rightly tell you how please I am you’re helping us,” Isiah began, his gratitude plain in his voice ”,with the way life’s been here and the boys and all, I just can’t afford to lose the farm.”
He looked up at the group, their expressions a mix of blank puzzlement.
”Figured you’d have trouble rememberin’, state you were in last night.” the man’s tanned skin showed its age as his wrinkles became more prominent, ”I’ve been having trouble with som’ folk from the sands.”
Isiah’s explanation continued, and piece by piece his request from the night before was recalled by the group. A week past, Isiah had been met in his field by a horseman wearing clothes that marked him as an outsider to Schell. His terms had been clear, Isiah was to vacate his farm by the end of the week or he and his boys would be forcibly evicted. The horseman’s tone had left no uncertainty as to his meaning, and though Isiah hadn’t been confronted directly in the days since, he thought he’d spotted the rider a few times as he worked his field.
His requests to the town guards had yielded no results, their lack of manpower and poor equipment limiting them to within the town itself, and Isiah’s time had all but run out. He’d lost sleep, worried for the sake of his family, and he was sure he’d heard the stomp of horses outside his home in the nights that had passed. His plea the night before had been of desperation, his deadline for escape was fast approaching; he reckoned he had until shortly after nightfall before the rider’s time limit expired.
”I’m not a man of means, but I’m due a payment on the first half of my crops shortly.” Isiah concluded, ”I fear for my land and the lives of my boys, if you can help me, I’ll give you every coin I make from the sale, it’s all I can offer.”
Isiah rose, and for the first time the group could see a very real fear in the man’s eyes.
”I haf’ta attend my stock, please make yourselves at home while you consider my offer.” Giving the group a nod, Isiah stepped outside into the fresh air, leaving Fortune’s Favoured alone around his dining table, a decision before them.
Posted on 2014-04-15 at 04:06:38.
Edited on 2015-10-26 at 22:03:34 by Grugg
Relos stood outside splashing the cool water on his face, helping to rid the last of the morning hang over from his head. His armor and kit lay by his side and just as he was about to begin cleaning himself up Sehanine approached, using a cantrip to help clean him up in half the time.
He smiled and gave a slight bow towards her. “Thank you for that, I guess that is much easier than trying to use this tiny pump. Would you mind helping me with my armor? I could do this by myself but it’s a huge hassle and we’d be able to head out quicker.” He moved towards his chest plate and started to slip it over his head and buckle the sides together, saving the more tedious things for last in case Sehanine does come to help.
Soon enough they were on the road, the warm morning sun that seemed to assail them earlier now making him feel refreshed and full of energy. The walk through the town to Isiah’s farm would only take thirty minutes or so but that was enough time to spot the difference in demeanor. Last time he had come through Schell there was a cloud of depression that hung over everything, a faint hint of hopelessness lingering in the air. But now things have changed, ever since the events at giant’s end people are hopeful and even some times cheery. Whoever they pass by seems to walk with a head held higher as if they now had some dignity given to them just by being from Schell.
“If all this change and happiness came from just one good deed then I definitely joined the right group. Hopefully this Isiah fellow isn’t in too much trouble but whatever’s got him tied up we should be able to handle.”
Making some small conversation on the way made short work of the trip. They arrived at the wheat farm where over a muddy path sat a stone hut that housed Isiah and his kids.
“Almost gave up waitin’ there. Well come in, I’ll be expectin’ the kids will want to meet you before we get down to business, then.”
Relos followed close behind Isiah as he entered and leaned his halberd up against the wall. Inside was a small yet cozy home that felt more alive with the excited ravings of small children. He smiled down at the kids and tried to answer what he could but as soon as he got one word out a slew of new questions were already asked. He gave up as Isiah shooed his kids outside for their daily chores.
“I can’t rightly tell you how please I am you’re helping us, with the way life’s been here and the boys and all, I just can’t afford to lose the farm. Figured you’d have trouble rememberin’, state you were in last night. I’ve been having trouble with some folk from the sands. I’m not a man of means, but I’m due a payment on the first half of my crops shortly, I fear for my land and the lives of my boys, if you can help me, I’ll give you every coin I make from the sale, it’s all I can offer. I haf’ta attend my stock, please make yourselves at home while you consider my offer.”
For Relos, the choice was obvious. They needed to help the man and save his farm. No one should deal with the fear of losing their livelihood and if these desert bandits want to make an existence out of fear mongering, then they’ll have to answer.
Once Isiah was outside, Relos looked around to the rest of the group. “Well, to me it’s plain as day. People who want to live their lives feeding off of the fear of others need to answer for making others so miserable. On the subject of payment, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I took any money from him and his family. I have enough gold for myself to live comfortably, so my share will go back to Isiah. By all means if any of you want to keep your share please do so, it will be rightfully earned by possibly risking your life. Hopefully it won’t need to come down to violence but something tells me that these people won’t be so easily swayed.”
Relos sat at the sable with a pondering look on his face, his hands clasped. He thought about the possible fight that will be happening tonight and what could be done to minimalize on any damage here and to them.
Posted on 2014-04-15 at 15:53:59.
Edited on 2018-03-09 at 10:08:27 by Eol Fefalas
With two drinks and a decent breakfast in his belly, Malachi felt pretty good. With the road to glory under his feet, he felt even better. He spoke absently to his companions as they walked, as much to pass the time as anything else. Calopee kept up amazingly well for her size; Mal caught himself smirking at her little legs moving, scarcely more than a blur. Before long, the farm was in sight.
The night before, Mal had been wearing his common clothes, and he was now certain he needed to dream up an excuse to be seen with the FF as himself. In this particular case he could probably pass himself off as a drinking buddy, but it was a subject that would bear lengthy discussion in the future. Perhaps once they left town he could convince them all to purchase disguises. For the moment, though, he was The Argent Blade, mask on and rapier at his side. As such had to pass himself off as never having met this man. Due to his previous state of inebriation, it proved easier than expected.
Two young boys exploded from a back room almost as soon as the four "heroes" had entered. They were quite definitely excited to see the Fortune's Favored. Mal felt, not for the first time this week, like a royal that had deigned to visit the low country. The boys asked all sorts of questions, rapid-fire. "How'd'ya kill the giant? D'ja get skeert of im? What'd it sound like when 'e hit the groun?" Mal laughed and dodged as many of the questions as possible, but didn't forget to give himself a little name-drop. "You can tell your friends you met Fortune's Favored today, and The Argent Blade was your favorite." He audbily whispered this last part and grinned at the others.
The kids left, and Isiah began his explanation. "I can’t rightly tell you how please I am you’re helping us. With the way life’s been here and the boys and all, I just can’t afford to lose the farm." For the second time today, Mal hadn't the foggiest. He kept his expression still, though it felt like Isiah took a long look at him before continuing.
"Figured you’d have trouble rememberin’, state you were in last night. I’ve been having trouble with som’ folk from the sands..."
Malachi, The Argent Blade, hero of Schell listened intently as Isiah described his state of affairs. Finished, the man stood up and left them all sitting at his breakfast table to discuss the matter. Mal, of course, was in no position to decline. Nor would he have done so. He was no stranger to poverty and the abuses those in power often inflicted on those without means. He knew before the Isiah was done talking that he would face down this problem, alone if necessary. Fortunately, this wouldn't be the case. It was Relos the Paladin who spoke first.
"Well, to me it’s plain as day. People who want to live their lives feeding off of the fear of others need to answer for making others so miserable. On the subject of payment, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I took any money from him and his family. I have enough gold for myself to live comfortably, so my share will go back to Isiah. By all means if any of you want to keep your share please do so, it will be rightfully earned by possibly risking your life. Hopefully it won’t need to come down to violence but something tells me that these people won’t be so easily swayed.
To Malachi, this newcomer seemed anxious to make his way into the group. No interest in gold? That seemed odd, but as long as Mal got his share, what difference did it make? It was the swashbuckler's turn to speak.
"I agree with the paladin. We're heroes, dammit. It's time we ante up and start doing some hero work. I'm perfectly happy riding that dead knight's coattails for a little while, but that reputation can only last so long before we're expected to start doing some real good. Now I'm not from here but I can see improvements in this village already - they need someone to look up to. Relos, you're probably right on the subject of violence. It's something I'm used to. We can stand together if need be, but I'm a bit flat at the moment. You'll not think worse of me for accepting payment, I hope." Mal looked on Relos's face and knew he had scored a point with the half-elf. Taking a bit of a lead, the man spoke on. "Now, as I said I don't know much about this area. Anyone who has an idea what might be up, think on it and let us know. I'm going to go out and Gather Information from the locals, see if anyone knows who these mysterious folks are. We've got 'til nightfall to get our plans together. It makes sense to find out what we're up against."
He paused for a moment, remembering that the Favoured did not recognize him as any sort of leader. "That is, if it please the rest of you."
Posted on 2014-04-16 at 00:41:02.
Edited on 2018-03-09 at 10:10:28 by Eol Fefalas
Inside the Bearded Dragon Sitting quietly, shimmying away at a masterpiece in the making, Calopee was able to remain lost in her thoughts, for a time. Unfortunately, her thoughts were a fractured compilation of last night’s unhinged moments. There was drinking; even a frolic! At least, she thought she remembered frolicking. However, intertwined within these warm memories was a cold feedback of bleating goats, and their devil eyes staring at her. She was resolved to never step foot in another goat pen for as long as she may live. Filthy creatures… Her thoughts were interrupted by the humdrum of magic flittering about her, as it rummaged around her short cut hair, digging for rogue clumps of dirt, and brushing it into a fashion like it was an invisible comb.
She put away her unfinished skiprock, and replaced her precious sanding cloth within her specialized polishing kit. The others were beginning to stir, heading out to join Relos on the road, to be sure. Scooting out from under the human sized table, she rescued her cloak from the hearthstone, electing to leave her clothes to dry upon the slab. Before leaving she asked Argos to look after them for her. “Don’t worry lass,” he chuckled in reply, “Nobody’s out to nick your clothes. We don’t serve children in this here fine establishment!”
After thanking him coolly, she heads out into the day, and joins the rest of her band. As they disembark, a chill runs down her spine, and the hair on her neck stands up. Her eyes are drawn to the goat pen, try as she may to disregard the place. There they were, her bunkmates from the night past, all in a row, staring gravely at her passing. She turned away, readjusting her focus to the sides of the path. Perhaps she would find another gem in the rough on her journey. She did so love the feel of a new rock in her hands.
Isaiah’s Farm By the end of the walk, Calopee had found that her cloak was not nearly so damp as before, thanks to the gentle kiss of the morning sun. Her optimistic outlook was slowly returning, as the rumbling in her stomach, and the ache in her head did subside. Along the side of the road she dallied behind her compatriots, running her hand through stalks of wheat as she passed them by. Picking a single strand for herself she began to chew on the shaft of it, like she’d seen a young farmboy do once. She remembered how foolish he looked as he spoke, and the stick of wheat bobbed up and down. She giggled quietly as she caught up, proud of her current imitation. She noticed Mal's eyes upon her, though she couldn't identify the reason behind his mirthful expression.
Walking up to the farm they'd been directed to, Calopee began to notice a strange amount of horse traffic on the trail. Now, it wouldn't be all that strange for a farm to have a horse, or even two... but this was Schell, a town mired in poverty. The best of these farms could sparsely afford the equipment they needed to keep their homestead afloat. Reaching the humble stone hut only helped to confirm her suspicions. The farmer popped out of the house when they arrived, and asked them in to meet his kids before talking shop. Calopee was still interested in finding where that trail of hooves led, but her investigations were cut short by the bleating of yet another goat. Her mind immediately shut out any interest, in anything else. She zeroed in on the goat, who'd been strapped to a pole, as she was beginning to believe should be the case for all goats, of all kinds. Their eyes met, he stared, as she glared. If it was a contest, she'd lost, looking away, and shuffling herself behind the paladin for protection.
Inside the Hut After listening to the man named Isaiah, and his unfortunate congress with a desert horseman, she was suddenly reminded of the hoofprints she'd seen on the way up to the farm. It certainly added credibility to his story. As long as his source of monetary recompense was just as credible, Calopee saw no reason they couldn't dispatch a few bandit horsemen, especially with the element of surprise on their side.
Relos didn't seem to share her passion for a reward, but it was good to know that he was on her side in any case. A paladin could be quite useful to her as time went by. "Mm... glad to hear that you're not violent for the sake of zeal, Relos. I don't think we should be too hasty about all this." The little halfling remarked. "A band of thugs may not be interested in a war against a party of Giant slaying heroes!"Calopee was impressed with herself, lying so well as to not even flush.
Then... For reasons beyond the young Calopee's comprehension, Malachi spewed, "I agree with the paladin. We're heroes, dammit. It's time we ante up and start doing some hero work. I'm perfectly happy riding that dead knight's coattails for a little while, but that reputation can only last so long before we're expected to start doing some real good. Now I'm not from here but I can see improvements in this village already - they need someone to look up to. Relos, you're probably right on the subject of violence. It's something I'm used to. We can stand together if need be, but I'm a bit flat at the moment. You'll not think worse of me for accepting payment, I hope."
Had Malachi lost his marbles? Why would he blurt out the groups entire founding premise, just vomit their dirty little secrets out onto the floor, for the whole ruddy world to see. Calm, Cally, she thought, keep it cool. There's an easy way out of this, always is. Relos probably has no idea what he even meant. Her eyes shifted from the flat out glare of disbelief directed towards Mal, and over to the sitting Paladin, watching him in a ponderous pose as he sat at the table, hands cupped. What was he divining?
She went for it, with everything to lose; it was showtime. The smallest chuckle passed her lips, and she allowed it to ripple into a full blown festival of laughter. Even a few tears managed to worm their way out from under her eyes. After wiping dry her cheeks, and whooping to a stop, she looked up at her 'comrade' Malachi and said, "Silly Mal. Just because you decided to use the name of a dead knight to spread your fame, doesn't mean we all had to stoop to that low. I'm perfectly fine EARNING my pledge as a hero."
After one last apprising look towards the loathsome betrayer of lies, she turned towards the door, and with her usual ode to nonchalance proclaimed, "If we are to use this place as a site for... "negotiations", it's probably best that I scope out the field and find any defensive points of value, and map out where we might be most vulnerable. Especially if this horseman brings along a few mounted friends... We shall want options." Maybe she could work out a few rope lines to trip their foes, or get the more robust of them to empty a pit or two down their path of excursion.
Posted on 2014-04-16 at 04:43:47.
Edited on 2018-03-09 at 10:24:40 by Eol Fefalas
Calopee went for it, with everything to lose; it was showtime. The smallest chuckle passed her lips, and she allowed it to ripple into a full blown festival of laughter. Even a few tears managed to worm their way out from under her eyes. After wiping dry her cheeks, and whooping to a stop, she looked up at her 'comrade' Malachi and said, "Silly Mal. Just because you decided to use the name of a dead knight to spread your fame, doesn't mean we all had to stoop to that low. I'm perfectly fine EARNING my pledge as a hero."
Mal's eyes went wide. Calopee's words flashed against his diamond mind, and he drew his wit like a rapier, mixing fact with fiction to create a more perfect lie. "Earning your pledge? I earned mine on Arrowhead Island, when I took on the name of the Argent Blade. It's a title, you know. It was given to me. That knight was the only father I knew!" "That isn't earning a thing. Just because Daddy dearest thought you needed a little help getting ahead in life doesn't make you anything special!" The halfling practially spat at him. Mal could feel anger, real anger, radiating from her in waves.
Mal stood up quickly, nearly knocking over his chair. He drew his actual rapier now, though he didn't point it at her. He was prepared for a riposte, and he felt his intellect glint on the weapon. "Oh I earned it alright. With the point of this blade! Do you know what my final trial was?" He laid his sword on the table. His mind reeled as he paused, using the moment to finish the balestra.
"Do you have any idea what it took?" His voice was lower now, barely above a whisper. He put both hands on the table and leaned in to match his gaze with Calopee's. "The moniker only passes when a student defeats the master in lethal combat. Why do you think I never call him by name? 'That dead knight?' I had to learn to hate him, just to live with myself."
Calopee parried his words with ease. She leaned inward and drew herself up to her full height, her eyes barely on a level with Malachi's. Her lip curled as she spoke. "Well... I never knew. If I'd known you'd earned your name by killing an old man, I'd have given you way more respect!"
The words hurt, even though he knew they were both lying. He knew the farce had done as much good as it could, gone as far to covering up his mistake as they could make it. He threw his hand to the hilt of his weapon, still upon the table. "Be silent and stand with us tonight, or speak again and taste my blade."
His words constituted a concession. Calopee seemed to sense this and made her final riposte. "You toss around all the threats you want big man! I'll be here tonight. You just watch out for falling stones!"
She stormed off toward the door to begin her scouting. Just before leaving, she stopped and turned toward the table. Her eyes met Mal's one final time with a glare and all the cold hatred she could muster. After another tense moment, she huffed and spoke to the group. "If we are to use this place as a site for... 'negotiations', it's probably best that I scope out the field and find any defensive points of value, and map out where we might be most vulnerable. Especially if this horseman brings along a few mounted friends... We shall want options."
Then Calopee walked out without another word or glance backward. After a moment of silence, Mal looked away from the spot she had been standing. He looked at his companions. He looked at Relos. He looked ashamed.
"I guess you all had to find that out eventually. It's the truth. I killed my mentor. In his dying breath, he bestowed on me the title which I now bear. It is... a burden." He sighed deeply. "Look, I've got work to do too. I'm going into town. Anybody need anything?"
When he reached the door Calopee was still in sight, though a reasonable distance away. The muddy farm road led back to Schell, and it seemed they were both headed that direction. Mal followed her for some time while closing the distance between them, before deciding they were out of earshot. He whistled like a hawk, a signal. She turned, now close enough that he could see her face. She wore a smirk. Puckish one.
Mal put his hand on his forehead palm first and pantomimed wiping the sweat off. His hand came away wet. He sighed again, not a message to the rogue but for his own sake. After this gesture of good faith, Calopee continued into the fields to find her strategic avenues and pitfalls. Mal walked slowly on the road to Schell, contemplating this new twist. She would make a fine sparring partner.
[[OOC: This post brought to you from the demented minds of Schnozzle and Philosopher, a joint effort.]]
Posted on 2014-04-19 at 00:32:34.
Edited on 2014-04-19 at 03:51:43 by Schnozzle
It was while stretching out front of the Bearded Dragon, scraping his tongue against his teeth repeatedly to try and lose the unwanted citrus-y tang that now clung to it, that Tristan decided he needed to put more effort into learning spells to help with pranks like this. He was left with no immediate response. He shrugged it off as he straightened out. Point to the she-elf, but he'd take the next round.
He was caught off guard by the arcane clean-up, and tipped his hat at Sehanine when she came out of the building. No reason to be rude after all. Smiling, he followed the group towards the farm, content to walk at the back and watch everyone. He was still trying to get a real feel for the others, something he felt would be important if the group was going to stay together as long as he wanted it to.
Tristan furroughed his brow some as he took note of the horse tracks about the farm. He was no expert, but it seemed like a lot of traffic for place like this....
His thoughts on the matter were soon pushed aside at the revelation of the groups next mighty challenge: Isiah's two sons. He had nothing against children to be sure: some of the best tricks in all the world came from the mind of a child; by the same token though, they also had an uncanny knack for seeing through horsedung, and finding just the right question that would make the whole thing fall apart. He smiled anyway and chatted with them awhiel. Good couple of boys, he supposed.
Afterward, he listened intently as Isiah described the man (on horseback!) who'd threatened him. Desert people was vague, and rang no bells with him, but if they were recognizable on sight, perhaps somebody around here would know something of use.....
He leaned back, hands behind his head looking thoughtful as the rest of the group started to weigh in. The paladin wants to jump in feet first. Surprise, surprise. Not that Tristan was opposed to taking the job, quite the contrary. It was the stereotypical response that him a bit on edge. I'm all for gambling, but one should make sure whenever possible the game's not rigged.... Calopee seemed much more level headed about the whole thing.
He fought a grin as Argy chimed in. Second verse, same as the first. Different reasoning, he was sure, but the end result was the same. He and Relos would either end up best friends, or killing each other. Should be entertaining either way. He pulled his hat down over his face to hide his amusement.
It turned out to be a good thing he did, because at that moment the fool blurted out their biggest secret. Tristan was confident in his poker face, but he wasn't sure he'd have been able to keep the shock off of his face.
He had just finished composing a reply to start repairing the damage with he heard Calopee chime in again. Bless that halfling! He pulled his hat back up as she turned it around on him smooth as the stones she carried. Tristan admired that kind of skill at lying, especially in a tight spot.
Mal took exception to the turnabout, though whether it was because of the implied insult or the realization of his slip, Tristan didn't know. Tristan looked on, amazed, as he started a monologue. Is this guy for real?
The Masked Moron's reply seemed to have touched on one of the halfling's nerve, who spat words back with more venom than she ever had in the short time Tristan had known her. Daddy issues? He mentally shrugged. None of my business, but make a note not to push the same button.
Malachai began spewing again, but this time something made Tristan sit up and take notice.
He killed his teacher? Who was also his father? Tristan didn't know if he believed it, but it would be awhile longer before he put any trust in Mal, he was certain of that.
As the little confrontation wound down, Tristan (inbetween rolling his eyes at the melodrama) considered what had been said. Cover up, sure. But there was a small amount of truth to every lie; the trick was in finding it. The verbal 'combatants' might have revealed more than they thought.
Looking around, and finally catching a pause in the conversation, he put forth his copper bit. "Mostly I agree. Hopefully, the force of our reputation will sort this out. But people who are willing to go so far to force Isiah out may require a rather...... harder talking to than usual. I believe we should gather what knowledge and resources we can, and meet back here an hour or two before nightfall to share what we've learned."
He turned and looked expectantly at Sehanine. If he'd missed something obvious, she'd point it out. It was a useful thing, even if it occasionally ended in his bruised ego.
Posted on 2014-04-19 at 05:21:14.
Edited on 2014-04-19 at 05:24:47 by Chessicfayth
With a nod final nod to the innkeeper, Sehanine stepped out into the sunlit day and was rewarded by ever more puckering on Tristan's goateed face. It seemed he wasn't fond of the essence of lemon. She would have to find another flavor for him. A mercurial light danced in her eyes at the thought, and it took all her willpower to resist filling the human's mouth with a new culinary delight. They traveled together now, perhaps she would have to make it a daily tradition. There were just so many options...
Sehanine smiled to herself as the rag tag group of false heroes traipsed through the muddy trails on the way to Isiah's farm. Serendipity had found them before the fallen Feephyfophum just as the makeshift militia arrived at the giant's encampment. They had taken up the mantle of heroes, and already the rouse had proved to be a fantastic game. The townsfolk nearly worshipped them and, surely seeing the potential for profit, the shrewd Argos had offered them lodging. All they had to do was play hero, and the ale and adoration would flow. It was perfect.
Yet, this game of hero would require some real heroics if it were to remain believable. In her mind it was that very fact which found them stomping along this country path at sunrise. The enchantress mused to herself, wondering if this game of hero would in the end transform the lot of them into true heros. There was poetry there, and the thought of it called peals of laughter from her throat.
It wasn't a long walk, and they soon found themselves sitting in Isiah's humble cottage with bouncing adolescent boys barraging them with questions. Much like any storm, the boys were out of the room just as quickly as they had entered, leaving Isiah alone to tell his tale. Leaning forward to rest her chin in her hands, Sehanine listened to the man recount his encounter with the foreign rider. It was a common enough tale of the strong preying on the weak, such sadly was the nature of men.
As Isiah related his tale, a questions began to gnaw away at her mind. Why? At first glance, there was nothing here of note. It was just one farm and a humble cottage. She doubted the "desert riders" sought to make their fortune tilling a wheat farm. Something more was at work, and Sehanine wanted to know just what it was. For that alone, she would help Isiah.
Once the farmer finished his tale, he excused himself to start the days work, leaving them alone in his hut. Unsurprisingly, it was the paladin that stood first ready to champion the cause of the downtrodden bumpkin at the first sound of a sob. That one was drowning himself in honor and Sehanine began to wonder just how far he would go in the name of it. Discovering those limits would come in time...
The rest of them began to chime in, each voicing their own agreements to help, perhaps with a bit less enthusiasm than Relos. It was then that Malachi let pure idiocy spill from his lips. He started out with the same zeal as the paladin and then, without batting an eye, went on to reveal their secret. Had the fool man's heroic delusions completely addled his wits?
Words spun through her mind as she sought some means of repairing the damage done by the masked twit. Before she could speak, Calopee came to the rescue, spinning lies with adept proficiency and adding in a biting insult to boot. Once again, it was the halfling that saved the day, and Sehanine found a measure of respect growing for the small woman.
Malachi, it seemed, did not take kindly to her words and erupted with steel and bravado, which the halfling matched with venom of her own. Sitting back, the elf watched the scene unfold with a mixture of caution and delight. The faery reveled in discord, its adversity revealed so much of a persons insides. She suspected much of the verbal sparring was a cover up, but there was real venom flying through the room. Calopee and Malachi had unwittingly revealed a bit of themselves this morning, and she doubted she was the only one among them to take notice.
As the tempers began to quiet and cool, a pause came into the conversation, at which point Tristan piped in, ""Mostly I agree. Hopefully, the force of our reputation will sort this out. But people who are willing to go so far to force Isiah out may require a rather...... harder talking to than usual. I believe we should gather what knowledge and resources we can, and meet back here an hour or two before nightfall to share what we've learned."
He punctuated his agreement with a nod in her direction, which Sehanine returned in equal measure. "You have my agreement as well. If we are to be ready for tonight then we have much to learn. As each of us go about the day, I suggest we keep one question in mind. Why have these riders from the sands targeted this simple farm? What is the endgame?"
As the others moved towards the door, Sehanine stood, "Until before nightfall..."
Sparing a final glance to Tristan, the enchantress glided over to the doorway, hoping the man would follow her. There were questions that needed answers, starting with Isiah himself. Together, she and the trickster would be able to more easily pry free the secrets from his lips.
Mid-Morning, Isiah’s Hut, Schell
The wooden door of Isiah’s Hut closed with a thud, and for a moment a thoughtful silence hung over Fortune’s Favoured. The farmer’s request seemed simple enough, an honest pay for honest work, and no doubt the duty for local “heroes” seeking to continue their upswing into a fortune and fame. The paladin Relos, late to the group but first to lend his thoughts on the matter, got the discussion started.
“Well, to me it’s plain as day. People who want to live their lives feeding off of the fear of others need to answer for making others so miserable. On the subject of payment, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I took any money from him and his family. I have enough gold for myself to live comfortably, so my share will go back to Isiah. By all means if any of you want to keep your share please do so, it will be rightfully earned by possibly risking your life. Hopefully it won’t need to come down to violence but something tells me that these people won’t be so easily swayed.”
Relos’s selflessness with regard to payment was unique, if not unexpected. Though he’d been with the group only a short time, his stance of moral behaviour and championing of noble causes was evident, and there was no one around the table surprised to hear the paladin’s desire to assist Isiah.
Following the knight’s lead, Malachi followed up with his own thoughts.
"I agree with the paladin. We're heroes, dammit. It's time we ante up and start doing some hero work. I'm perfectly happy riding that dead knight's coattails for a little while, but that reputation can only last so long before we're expected to start doing some real good. Now I'm not from here but I can see improvements in this village already - they need someone to look up to. Relos, you're probably right on the subject of violence. It's something I'm used to. We can stand together if need be, but I'm a bit flat at the moment. You'll not think worse of me for accepting payment, I hope."
Unaware of his own possible lack of tact in mentioning the less than honest nature of their group’s formation, Mal rose as if prepared to leave in search of more information. His knowing gaze over at Relos to seek some sort of affirmation reminded him perhaps a second too late of why they avoided mentioning one particular squashed knight. At least, it was a moment too late to avoid Calopee, quick to cover up issues with a lie, from jumping in to save face in front of the paladin.
The halfling’s sudden laugh brought the attention of the group to her. "Silly Mal. Just because you decided to use the name of a dead knight to spread your fame, doesn't mean we all had to stoop to that low. I'm perfectly fine EARNING my pledge as a hero."
For what he initially lacked in subtlety, Mal was quick to improvise in return to the loquacious Calopee, and the two of them railed off a quick series of lies to divert Relos’s attention away from Mal’s earlier slip. In truth, the “argument” quickly turned into so much confusion to the paladin that any concerns he had had quickly turned into more bewilderment. Calopee, satisfied with the obfuscation she’d laid, turned back to the group with a huff.
”"If we are to use this place as a site for... 'negotiations', it's probably best that I scope out the field and find any defensive points of value, and map out where we might be most vulnerable. Especially if this horseman brings along a few mounted friends... We shall want options."
Tristan and Sehanine were quick to agree, each voicing concern for learning more about the situation they were about to find themselves in. A rendezvous time was decided on, and the group dispersed to fulfill whatever duties they’d taken on to themselves. Only Relos remained in the hut, possibly to refocus his mind, possibly to avoid spending time with the group that had so expertly put on a quick production for his unknowing benefit. As the last of the group stepped out, the half-elf pulled a small book from his belongings, laying it out on the table before him to study over while preparing himself for the day ahead.
Mid-Morning, Isiah’s Fields, Schell
Calopee head stepped out of the hut first, and to her relief she noticed the goat that had been left to graze nearby had wandered off into the fields. Somehow she felt the goat’s eyes on her, though she couldn’t determine if it was truly happening or just the side effect of spending a drunken night amongst the goat’s kin. Mal stepped out shortly after her, and the pair of them shared a sigh of relief as their eyes met. Calopee watched Mal head slowly up the road toward Schell, while she busied herself around Isiah’s field. If they were going to make the best of this task, perhaps using the time allotted to them would be of some benefit.
Isiah’s farm seemed ill-suited for providing benefits however, and Calopee’s surveying of the ground provided little in the way of helpful pitfalls or otherwise decent trap preparation. The wheat fields were towards the town, giving no cover facing the direction Isiah had mentioned the marauders approaching from. The gradual slope west from the farmhouse was sparsely occupied by a handful of trees, though none were close enough to one another to properly rig any sort of snare. The plains beyond were just as bare, leaving little in the way of obstacles for approaching horsemen. It seemed if Fortune’s Favored were to protect this farmhouse, they’d have to be doing it themselves.
Mid-Morning, Near the Bearded Dragon, Schell
Malachi strode steadily on into Schell, his mind racing to figure out more behind Isiah’s plight. He’d never been the most personable fellow, in fact the majority of people would probably consider him an asshole, but at the very least the citizens of Schell knew him more for his deeds than his remarks, for the time being at least. His reputation didn’t seem to be helping him in either direction however, as he seemed initially unable to find much in the way of help.
Several of the townsfolk it seemed had heard of Isiah’s problems, though few knew much more than Mal did already. The hours passed and Malachi was beginning to resolve himself to walking back to the farmhouse curiosity unanswered when he spied an older man sitting alone on a bench outside his ramshackle home, waving him over. Though initially just seeking to spend a minute with a hero of Fortune’s Favoured, the man seemed up for conversation, and the subject of Isiah’s harassers raised the man’s brow in a way that Malachi knew he’d perhaps found someone useful.
Having listened to what the man had to say, Malachi took note of the time. Nightfall was approaching, and he’d best make his way back to the group.
Mid-Morning, Throughout Schell
To say that Tristan and Sehanine had a history would be putting it mildly. Their shared past led to their simultaneous appearance at the events of Giant’s End, which would them even closer together within the Fortune’s Favoured. They did have a fair bit of experience with one another however, and they looked to put it to use as they stalked off together to find out what they’d got themselves up against.
Their first target was Isiah; the farmer had given them little in the way of detail on his harassers, which had left the moonlit elf less than satisfied. They found him in his field, checking his crops as his boys ran about, presumably doing their chores.
”It does truly gladden me to have your help.” The farmer had spotted them approaching, and greeted them with a friendly smile. ”You’re doing good by me, by this town. The people can see it.”
The pair bantered briefly with their host, seeking to find out more about his situation. The farmer was plain with them, he’d told all he knew in the hut that morning. His farm being chosen had seemed just as random and unlikely as the next, and he was grateful someone had answered his pleas. Tristan was there to remind Sehanine they had much to accomplish before nightfall, and the pair left the farmer to his work, heading further into Schell.
Schell seemed a hotbed of rumours for the pair, though sorting through them for those relevant seemed difficult. As with Malachi, the pair found many of Schell’s townsfolk had heard tell of Isiah’s issue, though not many knew how he could have found himself in such trouble. Their search for information caught the ear of a local labourer passing with a cart of lumber, and he was quick to spare a moment to assist the “Heroes of Schell” with what he knew.
As the sun began to set, Tristan and Sehanine made their way back to the hut, making good time and meeting Malachi as they arrived.
An hour before nightfall, Isiah’s Hut, Schell
Isiah’s hut was swimming with delicious scents, and as the group reconvened Isiah was ladling portions of fire warmed stew into rough wooden bowls for those assembled. Along with a plate of bread, he laid out a humble but filling spread on the table, and with quick assurances to Calopee that the stew contained no goat, the party sat to eat and discuss.
Isiah’s question started the meal out with the weight the circumstances deserved.
”What haf’ you decided, then?” He looked over at the boys, who had all but fallen asleep laying before the fire. ”And what can we do to help?”
(OOC: Stuff in the Q&A and individual PMs to follow)
Posted on 2014-04-23 at 02:51:08.
Edited on 2015-10-26 at 22:04:29 by Grugg