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    Messages in Beneath Shadowed Skies...
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Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7270 Posts


Shambler's Rest

“Nyx Shyndyn!”

“WeerOHnathhh,” the Mith’ganni grinned wickedly, the inkeeper’s name hissing across his lips as narrowed, yellow eyes flashed from Flethon to the inn’s other guest and back again. I’ve seen your death a thousand times, breeder, he thought as his gaze picked slowly over the man, and I’ve only known you a handful of days. You’re like the rest of your ilk, though, aren’t you? Content to idle away your already too short lives, confined by your own fear and trapped by the misguided notion that hiding behind a tavern counter will protect you from the inevitable. Yes, I’ve seen it a thousand times. Squirreled away behind your doors and walls, your shutters pulled tight against the night, slowly wasting away and waiting for death to take it’s sweet time about claiming you… bit by bit, piece by piece… Sad.
“It’s… good ta see ya ‘gain,” Wironath lied as Nyx’s eyes slid back and meet his.

“Is it?” Nyx grinned in reply as he shrugged his pack from his shoulders. The breeder’s blood was singing in his veins, his heart pounding like a skin drum played too hard, and his eyes were like those of some prey-animal that knew it had nowhere else to run.

“The fact yer ‘ere probably means the road’s clear, ey,” the innkeeper continued, his eyes skittering between Nyx and Tempest as he wrung his hands together.

“Of Ortega, at any rate,” Nyx confirmed with a curt nod, still grinning as he plopped the pack containing the bandit’s head down on a nearby table.

“Well, Mau’s not ‘ere at the time,” Wironath sounded as if saying so might literally choke a squeal from his throat had he not swallowed it back so quickly, “Out huntin’ or somethin’. Said he’ll be back tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I got some rooms if ye need, but supper’s over.”

“Hunting,” Nyx smirked, almost laughing as the innkeeper turned his eyes and offered a hand in greeting to the Dur’amani, “If Mau truly knew anything of what it meant to hunt, he’d not have needed to solicit the likes of me.”

The Twilight Elf perched on the edge of the table, his eyes sliding once more towards the man to whom Wironath had been speaking when they entered, then, as if completely disinterested in the pleasantries being exchanged between the innkeep and Tempest, let his attentions dip to a beetle he had noticed crawling across the front of his coat. “Breeders always seem to believe that bringing down a deer or a wild boar makes them hunters,” his voice was little more than a whisper as he delicately plucked the bug from the embroidered symbol of Prien and, holding it between a slender forefinger and thumb, studied it for a long moment. “When they find themselves in the role of prey, though,” he grinned, suddenly crushing the beetle between his fingers and flicking the smashed carcass to the floor, “Hunting seems to become something not so sporting to them, doesn’t it?

Let’s hope that Mau returns early tomorrow,” Nyx sighed, his gaze returning to Wironath as he reached out a hand to pat the bulge made in his pack by the bandit’s head, “I’d not like Ortega’s stench to saturate the rest of my gear.

I hope these rooms that you speak of provide decent views of the sky, WeerOHnath, and that the wait for Mau is worth the delay,” he said, sliding off the edge of the table and slinging the pack over one shoulder, “Cousin Tempest and I had hoped to be on our way from this…hovel… before sunrise.”

((OOC: Nyx is slightly less than happy about having to wait for Mau’s return. He had hoped to collect his bounty and move on rather than wait for the client and have to “guard his trophy from opportunists” in the meantime. If Tempest isn’t opposed to whiling away a few hours, Nyx will begrudgingly accept a room and wait for Mau’s return. If, on the other hand, Tempest is in a hurry and really wants to get going, Nyx may try to negotiate a deal some how… leave Ortega’s head with Wironath, Wironath pays the 10 rommels owed and gets reimbursed by Mau on the morrow, for example. Backposts and conversations edited as necessary. ))



Posted on 2007-08-28 at 18:46:36.

Kaelyn
Dragon Fodder
Karma: 80/19
2264 Posts


Hmmm not long at all

The tension finally began to subside as Raen and Kalte both sheathed their weapons. Kalte was sure if it came down to it she could have taken her. Armor was weighty, and the woman moved with the rigidity of militia training. Kalte moved like water, like a panther stalking its pray. She would use the full force of the animal spirits to take on any challenge; including a broad in a tin can suit.

As Celene bid everyone rest and prepare for the journey’s beginning tomorrow, Kalte merely nodded her head in acceptance that though the party would obviously not begin as one tribe, perhaps there would be time for bonding later. It would be a long trip ahead, and Kalte had never been on a ship before, had never even seen the ocean. She left the room silently, heading for a room to bed down in. The morning would come quickly so it would be right to bed tonight.


Posted on 2007-08-30 at 20:34:16.

Vorrioch
Chaotic Hungry
Karma: 38/6
406 Posts


Into oblivion

"You have proven you meant no harm when you revealed your race to us, no need to provoke Arback any further."
“Provoke?” Vyarp snarled inquisitively, glancing upward into the face of as the yet unannounced city dweller who sought to check him, “I’ve done nothing to provoke.”

As Arback’s face turned a deep burgundy, however, feet twitching to reach the ground like a fish out of water as his struggles weakened for want of air the kobold permitted himself a slow grin beneath the coarse fabric of his hood. The knife’s blade, warm against his exposed skin, nestled unappeased in its hiding place- but perhaps it had been better to play the role of an injured victim. He could not vouch for the reaction of those gathered about him, temperate and hot-blooded creatures as they were, should blood have been spilled and would not sacrifice his place in the group to revenge a moment’s indignity.

With the indignant dwarf finally subdued, and a second notch in the band’s hierarchy neatly established, the others turned to words of- what? relief? embarrassment? in an attempt to break the tension which it seemed had gripped the room. Certainly there was no equivalent to the jeering cat-calls and mock howls of exhilaration which would have gripped any party of his own people in the aftermath of any like struggle.

On one point alone Vyarp certainly could agree, however: the need for rest. For those whose labours were regimented by the sun’s glaring eye a mere third part of a day remained until toil must resume and, strange as it might seem to be sleeping at a time when the forests would soon teem with freshly-stirring life, he could not trust to begin the impending venture under a mantle of frustrated sleep. The band already fragmenting as each went their separate way the kobold did likewise, curling on the planks just inside the door of his sleeping chamber to dream contently of rabbit and squirrel hunts now some seasons past.


Posted on 2007-09-05 at 14:10:40.

Tek
Jumpin' Jack Smash
Karma: 44/13
675 Posts


Jeepers Creepers

Mairon 5th, 389 P.D.
Normaund, Veythor.
The Shambler’s Rest Inn and Tavern.

At the sight of Nyx crushing and discarding the beetle carcass onto his floor, so brutish an action for something merely idling by, Wironath’s mouth dried out. He licked his lips nervously, and seemed almost to want to say something, though he held his tongue. The remark about Ortega’s stench miring his gear! Morbid curiosity almost prompted Wironath to inquire, but he wisely pent up his words, although he began to sweat nervously on his neck and balding head. Even when the Mith’ganni regarded Normaund as nothing more than a hovel, he dared not speak out against the elf who made him feel so unsettled.

“Rooms’re all empty tonight.” The barman finally collected himself. “Slow business since all them creepers started hangin’ out in the hills. Folks just don’t seem to travel as much anymore…”

Tempest couldn’t help but notice how uneasy his cousin made this poor fellow feel, even enough to take great care in pronouncing his words, discarding his small-town accent. Still, the elf had saved him from a mugging. He didn’t seem all that strange.

Wironath looked at the two, almost as if seeing how they could be related in regards to Nyx referring to him as kindred. Nyx saw hopelessness in the innkeeper’s eyes at the survey, and the human merely shrugged slightly. “Rooms are two si…coppers. Two coppers. For the night.”

From across the room, both elves noticed that the stranger sitting near the fire was constantly keeping eyes on them, though from beneath the veil of his cloak hood. His face was hidden, but the feeling of eyes on oneself was quite strong. The clothes were strange, deep green and brown, and seeming to be made for rugged use, but adorned with an unusual number of bands of black fabric along the forearms. He imagined that it must get pretty warm, with no room for the skin to breath beneath those wrappings, and with no room to hide things within the sleeves! He’d never seen that style of shirt before. But, his survey completed, Nyx simply ignored him once again. He wasn’t doing anything other than enjoying his drink and the warmth of the fire, so why bother?

The innkeeper shook his head, as though to clear it of something. “The secon’ an’ third rooms face the south. It’s the best I can do for yer skywatchin’. Less lights from the town. Anywho, shouldn’t be long. Mau usually swings by early mornin’.”

From the looks of things, Wironath had somewhat composed himself, and had taken back his bumpkin accent, in any case. It was fun while it lasted. It was likely Tempest’s passive nature that helped to steel his will, using him as a bravery brace upon which to prop his nerves. Perhaps, not seeing much connection between the two, decided that not all elves were bad, or had potential for such wicked deeds. It looked like they were in for the night.

(OOC: Congratulations! Nyx’s bullying dropped the price of the rooms by tenfold. Wironath seems uneager to make any deals regarding keeping the head and paying you out of own his cash, but if you really feel like it, you may still try to negotiate.)



Posted on 2007-09-06 at 16:50:48.

Tek
Jumpin' Jack Smash
Karma: 44/13
675 Posts


A Choice in Direction

Mairon 6th, 389 P.D.
Trade City Sankirst, Veythor.
The Blazing Heretic Inn and Tavern

The sun rose above the horizon slowly, casting its majestic golden rays across the land and reflecting beautifully from the Kremere Lake to which the Enermine was connected. A light mist covered the grasslands, though the sky showed itself clear and blue, promising a warm day after a slightly chilly morning. It would be an ideal day for travel.

With the rising of the sun, so accompanied the people of Sankirst, setting about to their daily business shortly after the bright chariot of Deilver, crested the horizon on its path through the sky. It wasn’t long before owners began to set up shop, and customers began to mill the cobbled streets, out in the markets to spend their earned wages this promising spring day.

The smell of fresh bread roused those who stayed the night in the inn, as did the sounds of hungry patrons bustling in the common room. Regardless of one’s ability to sleep in, the city noises soon awoke all members of the companionship. One by one, they assembled in the common room as directed by Basque the previous night. Whether from within or without the inn, it wasn’t long before the party was gathered amidst the busy inn foyer.

Basque was set to go with a loaded pack, a navy blue bandanna wrapped over his head, and a half-eaten plate of eggs and bread before him. Celene sat across from him, garbed in significantly less-revealing travelers clothing, though it seemed she lacked more than a small knapsack, likely containing her clothes and any small belongings. The two looked over upon entry of the others, and with a beaming smile, the lovely woman beckoned them over to their table, where it looked as though Basque had reserved some seats by strewing numerous articles of his gear across the benches. A map case, a waterbag, a bedroll, some cooking gear, and other small odds and ends. He rapidly cleared them away to make room.

“Good morn!” Celene greeted pleasantly, taking a drink of water from a wooden mug after the group had been seated. “Its good to see that everybody seems ready, except…” She looked thoughtful as she glanced from one to another in concession.

“Hm. I wonder where…” Basque was interrupted by a heavy shout from by the stairs, and the stout figure of Arback Starbreaker appeared through the crowd, stumping over to the table, wearing a heavy suit of silvery chain mail, an ornate battle helm crammed over his head, and his pack jangling with each heavy step.

“There he is.”

“Didn’t take care to set me a plate?!” He practically bellowed, dropping onto the bench and waving over a young serving girl, and ordering a plate of eggs, fried potatoes, ham slices, and a mug of dark ale. The dwarf seemed in a better mood today, at least. Perhaps the words of the others last night had sunk in while he tried to rest.

“All right.” Basque said briskly as Arback’s plate and mug were seated on the table, into which he immediately tore into. “There are two main routes we can take; the Western road, through Dari, and up through the Selethinian southlands. Or, we can take the Northern pass, going across the colder tundra near the Icereach, cut through Arthemia, and continue along the northern borders to get right to Caraboln. Myself, I’d prefer the northern route – “

“Agreed!” Arback snorted with a mouthful of ham. Celene laughed gently.

“Hm. As I was saying, I’d rather go north, but a vote is the fair way to do things. So? Who wants which road? West or North?”





Posted on 2007-09-10 at 04:16:19.

Vilyamar
Glorious Emperor
Karma: 28/16
428 Posts


Another Epic

Basque held Arback in a hold about the neck, the angry dwarf ignorant of the fact that his struggles put further restraint on the flow of blood through his thick neck. Raen stepped between the struggling pair on Arback’s target, pushing on the arms of the dwarf, just below the shoulders with enough force to prevent any further movement forward. His face had by now turned a dark reddish purple.

The reckless tossing of the dwarf’s body against the holds slowed and lessened in voracity and as silence reigned over the room for a few moments, Basque broke his hold on Arback, letting the dwarf fall forward. Raen caught the dwarf, stopping his falling charge before he took more than a few steps and then righted himself. Arback scowled and turned away as Basque commented, “ That could have been easier, I think.”

The last of the Starbreaker clan dropped himself heavily onto the chair while Basque readjusted his bandana and everyone else took up places near where they had originally sat. A small chuckle and come from Celene, the frivolously dressed dancer, and Raen scowled for that. This was not amusing.

“You can say that again,” she said, speaking in a light and airy tone. “We’re all adults here, right? I think…”

The woman looked at the kobold when she said this, unsure quite of what constituted the equivalent of a human adult among their kind.

“We should get some rest, and make our way out in the morning,” she suggested.

The young man named Basque nodded slightly in agreement with the statement, as it was true in the fullest.

“Right. Let’s put this aside, all right? Arlaun told us we’ve got a tough road to walk. Let’s do it together, not having to look over our shoulders,” said Basque before going over to his chair and picking up a brown rucksack with a bedroll lashed to its top. He slung his belongings over his shoulder after righting the chair it had been hanging from. The chair had been overturned during the struggle with Arback and Vyarp.

“Let’s meet back here at sun-up, all right? I’ll see you then.”

With that, Basque opened the door and walked out and down the hallway from whence they all had come. Arback jumped down off his seat and slammed the already-open door back on its hinges, letting it fly back and crash against the wall. As the door swung back, leaving a small dent in the walling, Arback’s footsteps echoed down the hall even as he descended the stairs.

A raucous cheer filtered around the doorway from the common room downstairs and Celene stood, smiling as if nothing but pleasantries had been exchanged. Raen wasn’t sure if she would, or could, come to like the woman, with her flippant attitude. “Going to have a glass of wine, then bed down. Blessed sleep, everybody.”

The absurdly large woman who had threatened Raen simply nodded and left quickly afterwards. There was little to say. Raen checked her dagger once more, glancing over at the kobold, Vyarp he had named himself. She would remember, though to use it was another thing entirely.

As the others, too, made their own way out, Raen silently shouldered the pack she had brought and placed the rogue strand of hair behind her ear with a gloved hand. It was dark already and the sun would rise sooner than she would wish. A few torches in closed lantern cages flickered in the hallway as she made her way down to the common room. Immediately she regretted leaving through the common place in the inn, and even though many folk were beyond comprehending their surroundings from inebriation, the young warrior thought she could feel eyes following her out the door.

Quick steps and dodging a now barely smiling waitress brought Raen to the tavern door. Her hand pulled on the handle and held the wooden barrier as she turned her head, taking one last look into the obliviously joyous faces of the drunkards, two of which were dancing upon a pair of tables, nude, or nearly there, and spilling ale all over while more patrons cheered them on.

A hop took Raen over a puddle of sick in the street just outside the door to the Blazing Heretic. Street lamps flickered every so often as she made her way down the street. Raen drew her hood quickly after exiting the inn. The night was not cold, but better for men of the night to see her greatsword and dagger rather than her long ponytail. It would not do to be assaulted and robbed this night, nor arrested for slaying a citizen, no matter how poor or decrepit they may be.

It was a short walk to the inn she had stayed at the previous night and with a little luck Raen made it there without being accosted as well as finding a room vacant. She dropped two Rommels into the hand of the innkeeper and took the single iron key that would unlock her room.

The room was simple and unadorned, except for a piece of glass on the wall and single window. Some sounds of the night and dark alleys drifted up and through the walls, but it was quieter than the woods. Raen placed her things in the footlocker and clicked the lock shut, including most of her clothing. The room wasn’t the most expensive on the lot, but the bedding was fresh at least.

She removed her armor and placed it in a neat pile near the bed. Any sneak-thieves would have to be well practiced to remove the weighty breastplate and the miscellaneous accessories that went with the set without making any noise. Raen smirked to herself, admiring the clever pile.

Ever since that little bastard, curse him, tried to steal my set on the road. Her memories recalled the night she’d woken up to find half her armor missing… and in a pile neatly under a neighbors tent. After that she’d engineered a stack of her gear so that it was pretty difficult to pull any pieces out without causing the whole thing to crash. Saved me from having to track down three more thieves after that, so I count it as worth the trouble every time.
Blowing out the lamp that sat on the lone bedside table, Raen slipped between the covers and the mattress, letting the night slip away into blessed sleep.

~~~~~~~~

Morning came bright and the young woman was up just before dawn, gathering her collection of gear and items quickly. The room provided a small basin of water and a pane of reflecting glass on the wall for the resident. Raen splashed some of the cold water onto her face, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. A light red glow had begun to cut through the predawn light as the sun started its journey across the sky for another day.

Her thoughts turned to the task and journey that lay ahead and also of the previous nights’ events.

A kobold! How could such a vile creature come to this expedition? Perhaps it was a mistake on the part of the Zantrical agents, thinking that it was a Halfling in its guise and stature. A short and scrawny Halfling, but it is plausible, she thought. The others obviously have no knowledge or dealings with such evil creatures, though if it proves somewhat trustworthy, the relation could prove useful in the future.
Raen audibly scoffed at the thought. A trustworthy kobold? That was like calling a rabid wolf tame.

She dressed quickly and returned the room key to the innkeeper downstairs. Politely declining the offer to stay for breakfast in the already bustling common room, Raen promptly dressed and left the tavern door, hanging on the threshold to stare back for a moment. It would be the last time she woke from a night alone in warm comfort and relative safety for some time.

The trek back to the Blazing Heretic wasn’t long in the new light of the dawn. People moved about the streets, beginning their daily chores and duties. Several shopkeepers could be seen cleaning and preparing to open the shops to sell their wares once again.

Raen followed a bearded fellow into the commons of the inn, taking only a quick glance to see where the rest of the party had seated themselves. It was fairly easy to find them.

“Didn’t care to set me a plate?” he very nearly roared over the din and clatter of patrons scoffing a meal of bread, cheese and ale mostly. Most of the others had already assembled and either ordered or sat with nothing in front of them. Raen quickly ordered a simple meal from a serving girl before joining the others.

“All right.” Basque said briskly as Arback’s plate and mug were seated on the table, into which he immediately tore into. “There are two main routes we can take; the Western road, through Dari, and up through the Selethinian southlands. Or, we can take the Northern pass, going across the colder tundra near the Icereach, cut through Arthemia, and continue along the northern borders to get right to Caraboln. Myself, I’d prefer the northern route – “

“Agreed!” came a quick response, which included small bits of ham, from Arback. The spray produced a quirked eyebrow from Raen and a giggle from Celene. Raen’s simple meal of bread, cheese and fresh milk arrived and she chomped on a fresh bread end.

A route to the West would be relatively easier on their feet, not to mention the possibility of latching behind a trade caravan for a small notion of security and possible wages. The route, while popular, tended to also attract bandits and known dangers well along the route. It would take longer, though, than the trek through the wilds immediately north.

I’m not sure I’d trade the possible security of a caravan for the adventure of this Northern route. Raen contemplated the thought as she swallowed a draught out of the stein of milk, placing the nearly empty container back on the counter with a clunk.

“Afore we begin our journey, I wish to apologize to you all for my hasty actions of late,” Raen said, albeit with a little hesitation. “My… experience with the kobold creatures has never been pleasant. I am called Raen Strider.”

“Does either of you boys know anything about this northern route?” inquired Raen. “The western road, while holding the dangers of banditry and being a little longer, at least it is known danger we pass.”


(Down 2 rommels for the room, since I'm assuming that it costs the same as in the PHB and a couple silver dimes for the simple meal. Raen doesn't care which route but would like to hear their pros for the northern route.)


Posted on 2007-09-14 at 19:33:19.

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7270 Posts


Rooms for the night

“Rooms are two si…coppers,” Wironath offered, drastically dropping the usual price for rooms, “Two coppers. For the night.”

Nyx nodded in satisfaction. The Mith’ganni was well aware of the discomfort his presence caused the simple, bumpkin innkeep and, as such, saw no reason not to use it to his advantage. Assassins were typically opportunists by nature, anyway, weren’t they? As his pale fingers dipped into a belt pouch and pinched out a Rommel, the rogue offered Tempest a sly smile before handing the coin over to Wironath; “You’ll not find better rooms for cheaper around these parts, cousin.”

Nyx’s yellow-eyed gaze slithered back to the innkeep as the man reached for the offered Rommel. “For the south-facing rooms and a decent bottle, then, WeerOhnath,” the Mith’ganni hissed before dropping the coin into the man’s palm, “none of that vinegar that you serve to the breeders who are too inebriated or incompetent to know the difference, yes? Be quick about it and you can keep two coppers for yourself.”

((assuming that a bottle of wine isn’t out of the question and Wironath slips off to fetch it and “make change”… edits if needed))

“The way that one acts,” Nyx chuckled dryly, turning his gaze back to Tempest after watching the innkeep skitter off, “you’d think he believed I was sent specifically for him each time I come to this place. A small part of me wonders if he’s got good reason to think so, of course, but,” he offered a disinterested shrug and pushed away from the table, “the bigger part, though, doesn’t really care. He’s entertaining, if nothing else, and he serves his purpose…”

Nyx had, again, found his attentions drawn to the strangely garbed man seated by the hearth. The fellow had obviously been scrutinizing both Nyx and Tempest since they had entered – it was difficult to tell for certain as the man’s features were obscured by the hood that was pulled over his head but Nyx could feel eyes on him and, while it wasn’t a threatening feeling, per se, it was a bit unsettling and bore further delving into. Or so the assassin told himself as he slid passed Tempest and approached the hearth. The truth of it was that the stranger’s attentions had very little to do with Nyx’s curiosity; rather, it was the cut and festooning of the man’s shirt. Crafted with durability in mind, obviously, and, judging from the colors dyed into the cloth, best suited for traveling the forests and woodlands that his new companion, Tempest, was likely accustomed to navigating. The black bands that closed the sleeves and kept them bound to the stranger’s forearms were the most curious aspect of the whole affair, though. Nowhere in any of his travels thus far had Nyx seen a shirt crafted and worn in such a fashion and the purpose behind the bands of black was definitely intriguing.

The Mith’ganni took care not to pass to close too the man – no sense in invading his space when there was no price or call from Prien for his life – but Nyx did not make any attempts to conceal his scrutiny of the stranger. In fact, his moonlight-hued eyes remained fixed on the man even as Nyx whispered to a stop in front of the hearth and crouched down, his body facing the low burning fire. He offered the fellow a short nod by way of greeting and, finally letting his gaze break from the odd shirt and deep shadows under the hood, drew the blade with which he had recently used to separate Longsaul’s head and body and stoked the fire to a bit more life. As the flames rose a bit and wisps of woodsmoke thickened and curled upwards into the chimney Nyx slowly and attentively passed his blade over the fire, both to scorch away any remaining traces of Ortega’s blood and tissue and to, once again, darken the blade in spots where the act of taking the bandit’s head had stripped away the bluing.

“You seem somehow out of place, here,” Nyx noted candidly, not bothering to return his gaze to the stranger as he flipped the kukri over the fire and tended to its other side, “Not awkwardly so, mind you, but certainly foreign.” He withdrew the blade from over the coals, inspected his work, and then rose to his feet as he returned the kukri to its sheath. He was facing the man again, an expression that one might have mistaken as puzzlement passing over his pale features; “Is Normaund your destination or just a stopping point, I wonder?”

((OOC: Sorry for the loooong delay… finally catching time to finish posts. Anyway, Nyx is more or less interested in little more than getting a “better look” at the guy with the interesting garb and perhaps get a better feel for the man, as well… If nothing more comes of the evening, Nyx will eventually go to a room, tend to his gear and ‘guard his prize’ while resting as best possible… skywatching, honing his blades, etc… backposts as necessary.))



Posted on 2007-09-20 at 23:38:59.

Vorrioch
Chaotic Hungry
Karma: 38/6
406 Posts


Over the hills and o'er the main...

Torn from an uneasy slumber as the prying fingers of dawn wormed their way between the bars of his room’s shutters Vyarp was shaken rapidly from the coiled posture of sleep. A sour, slightly salty stench of human perspiration clung tenaciously to the sheets which adorned the sleeping frame in the room’s centre, palpable to his sensitive nose even above that of the pig fat and potash with which the fabric was scoured clean between uses, and it was a scent which spoke of imminent danger to his sleep-addled mind, of the approach of implacable enemies of his folk to his sleeping place. Bolting upright, hands fumbling for the dirk scabbarded at his belt before his eyes were even open, the kobold woke with an angry hiss to find the room empty and quickly rediscover his situation in the early morning’s pale light.

Returning the blade to its holster with a muttered curse in his own language, Vyarp stirred to stand. Finding his water skin gathered with the rest of his gear where he had left it he poured a handful of the chilly water, rubbing it roughly over his face as he took control of his panic to prepare for a fresh day of city life. The acrid smoke from the fire pits where the people of this city insisted on scorching every meal already rose from the cooking chambers below and soon the streets would be alive with a babble of hurried voices: yes, it was time for him to be gone. Quickly and efficiently repacking a small backpack that had seen little enough use so far with his things for the journey ahead he was soon ready to depart. Donning the cloak that still lay sprawled across the floor last of all and pulling the cowls of its hood down across his face once more, Vyarp reached up to pull the door open, hefted the pack onto both shoulders and was soon on his way downstairs- leaving the door to slam unimpeded on its frame with a clamour that set him on edge once more.

***

Early as the hour seemed, when men should still be stirring from their beds and the forests alive with foraging deer as a good night’s hunting neared its end, Basque was already down and feasting on his first meal of the day. Acutely conscious of the inquisitive eyes of those already roused upon him, some still nursing the pain of a night’s hard drinking, others less befuddled and from their harsh stares presumably wont to question the Zantrical‘s choice, the short, hooded figure moved quickly to join the man where he sat, offering a brief greeting and taking his place atop one of the assembled benches.

Fortunately others of the group were quick to bestir themselves, and as, one by one, they took their places at the gathered seats, Vyarp allowed a note of self-assurance to penetrate the tension that had gripped him since the day’s beginning. No longer was he without tribe and, having shed his former associates with no more qualm than a snake discarding its coils of dead skin, he could take comfort in the protection of this heavily armed band until such time as their fellowship too came to an end. Suddenly in altogether better spirits the kobold found his appetite returning and, ordering a large chunk of salt pork from the somewhat bemused female who seemed to be distributing breakfast, quickly set about appeasing his growing pangs of hunger.

Clutching the meat in both hands as he tore chunks from it voraciously beneath the shelter of his hood, Vyarp counted the assembling group, noting with some satisfaction that Starbreaker was nowhere to be found. No, there was the dwarf’s sturdy frame now, shouldering a bustling pack and clad in a ring armour, morning’s harsh light reflected from its every ring. The kobold’s red eyes narrowed as he turned back to his meal, the mountain dweller already bleating for sustenance of its own, better perhaps to sleep lightly on the journey ahead, for he could not trust that the lure of the Zantrical’s gold would forestall any second attempt to avenge his slaughtered kin.

“There are two main routes we can take; the Western road, through Dari, and up through the Selethinian southlands. Or, we can take the Northern pass, going across the colder tundra near the Icereach, cut through Arthemia, and continue along the northern borders to get right to Caraboln. Myself, I’d prefer the northern route-”

“Hm. As I was saying, I’d rather go north, but a vote is the fair way to do things. So? Who wants which road? West or North?”

With the last of the band seated, conversation turned to the trail ahead and the painted scroll spread before them traced two routes beckoning toward their goal, one through the lowland grazing country where the city dwellers had their farms, a second leading up across the frozen wilds. For all the babble of “fairness” and “voting” this was a choice which clearly fell into the clawless hands of the band’s leader, and Vyarp waited with no small amusement for the moment when the towering, muscle-bound female would slam her axe down upon the table, barking her instruction and challenging any who dared to question her authority.

Still, it seemed that the moment when the outlander’s new found leadership would be put to the test was not yet upon them, and that there should be no danger in making his opinions known. The journey west would, it was true, lead through dangerous country, swarming with human life and wont to become threatening indeed should his identity become known. It would, however, also make for fine hunting indeed provided he could stay shrouded and hidden from sight under the burning glare of day, ripe with cooped chickens and easy meals to be torn from the fields and flocks under cover of night to amply supplement the trail breads and smoked meats for which he would need to make provision from his own coin purse. Tracing the northern trail as it made its way past the edge of human settlement, through the wooded hills and valleys which nestled beneath winter’s icy fingertips, the kobold’s sharp eyes fell upon one vast spire of rock, looming over the surrounding foothills which stemmed the great river’s sharp banks. The Twisted Horn! And if this paper map was to be trusted then it could lie hardly more than a day’s hard trek from their allotted trail.

“Afore we begin our journey, I wish to apologize to you all for my hasty actions of late,” the armoured female who had drawn a knife on him the night before, spoke. “My… experience with the kobold creatures has never been pleasant. I am called Raen Strider.”

“Does either of you boys know anything about this northern route?” she went on “The western road, while holding the dangers of banditry and being a little longer, at least it is known danger we pass.”

“I know it,” Vyarp chuckled, the sound a low rasp, “I was whelped here, in the warrens beneath the Twisted Horn.” One claw traced where those caverns should be, in the bowels of the mountain, “and I’ve hunted many times beyond the forest’s end. I can lead you this far, tell you where enemies dwell and how to best avoid them, to here- where the ice desert beckons and it will be a short trail indeed before you return to the lands of men.”

In truth it had been close to three seasons since he had been brought southward, bound and blinded by the sun’s bright rays, tribes would have gained and waned in strength and some may have been scattered beyond repair. Fresh predators too would have been whelped and grown to maturity, bears that had been little more than cubs when he left would have reached early adulthood and found hunting grounds of their own and their own cubs would warrant slaughter before they, too, became a threat. Still, these city dwellers would be fools indeed if they imagined that he had been estranged from his people a mere few days or less and who better to guide them through those dangerous wilds than one who had lived and hunted there sixteen winters and more.

OOC: In the absence of a map I’ve taken some liberties in describing the northern route. If it’s horribly inaccurate in any way then please just give me a shout.


Posted on 2007-09-21 at 13:43:27.
Edited on 2007-09-21 at 13:48:10 by Vorrioch

Tek
Jumpin' Jack Smash
Karma: 44/13
675 Posts


Moving Out...

Mairon 6th, 389 P.D.
Trade City Sankirst, Veythor.
The Blazing Heretic Inn and Tavern

Though Raen was less than enthusiastic about anything that Vyarp suggested – much less a trek through his homeland where there were bound to be throngs of his people, everybody else seemed convinced by the logic of having an experienced guide to take that route – if only for some portion of their journey. In the end, the totaled decision called for the Northern route.

“Its decided, then.” Basque said, finishing off his eggs and sitting back comfortably. “We’ll break for the north as soon as we’re set and ready to go. I myself don’t have any preparations to make before we depart, but if anybody else does, it’s the time to take care of them. Let’s meet at the northern gates in an hour.”

At that, the young man packed up his gear and dropped a few coins on the table, carrying his plate over to the bar before exiting the room. One by one, the group split out to tend to whatever needed doing before departure.

***

The northern gates were spread wide, admitting any who wished to enter or exit the grand city through the daylight hours. Though they were closed tight at nightfall, it wasn’t even noon yet, and every now and again a small pack of folks, a wanderer, or a small wagon would pass though.

Set and ready, the companionship made quite the sight, comprised of a number of humans, including the massive Kalte, a dwarf, and a kobold. But despite their ragtag-ish appearance, they noticed that there were a fair number who shot them looks of either respect or intimidation. Sometimes, it was hard to tell the difference. It was easier to just disregard them altogether.

The sun was rapidly ascending in the heavens, and its warming rays heated the land pleasantly. A few wispy clouds drifted slowly across the sky, every now and again casting a light shadow across the grassland. Ahead, the hard-packed road snaked off to the north, eventually entering the borders of the frigid Icereach, and carrying on to reach a few of the more isolated towns before ending disappearing into the drifts.

Every now and again, the keener eyes of those accustomed to the road would spot a small roaming herd of deer among the copses of trees, or a large raptor circling above high in the sky, looking for its next meal. The sounds of birds singing their daily hymns resonated across the land, almost an anthem to their trek. A better day could not be asked for to set forth for the unknown.

A few hours in, the group broke for a light lunch, the first of their adventure, before picking up and heading onwards again. A mere half-dozen miles had been covered, and the terrain was already beginning to shift slightly, becoming a bit more hilly, though there were still frequent flatland areas around them. Vyarp was well-aware of this shift, as were Basque and Arback, but Celene seemed almost agitated by them. Every now and again, she muttered something about ‘stinkers’ or ‘snitches’ beneath her breath, and constantly cast her gaze around, although her step still seemed graceful.

But the hills were not long to last, and by the time dusk began to settle in, the ground had leveled out, and once again resumed the flat, flowing fields that most were accustomed to. A small patch of trees sat near the roadside, an ideal spot to make camp, and after checking for wind direction, settled on the eastern edge of it. Arback set out for lumber, and returned shortly with an armload of deadfall, with which Raen quickly kindled a small fire. As the shadows set across the land, their little flickering beacon around which this group of strangers sat marked the passing of their first day on the road.

(OOC: Okay. I hope everybody is still here! During the hour of preparation, feel free to take care of any shopping. The only things unavailable at the moment are the previously disallowed items (Thunderstone, Tindertwig, etc.) and magic items (Due to being well beyond your price range!). Anything else, just make note of your spent funding as per usage in the PHB.

For on the road, feel free to make conversation among yourselves, though its not necessary. I finally got my internet fixed, so it looks like we just might be able to get back on the move here!

Sorry all.)



Posted on 2007-10-17 at 22:13:38.

Tek
Jumpin' Jack Smash
Karma: 44/13
675 Posts


Eyes of Fear...

Mairon 5th, 389 P.D.
Normaund, Veythor.
The Shambler’s Rest Inn and Tavern.

The cold request, no, demand, made by Nyx earned him a bit of a shudder from the innkeeper, but also landed him two keys and a bottle of wine vinted somewhere south of here in a place called Rauff. Unstopping it, the aromatics smelled nice, though a taste of it presented tannins somewhat strong, but not unpleasant. It would suffice, he decided, and took a seat near the hearth.

By the motion of the hood, though the shadows cloaked his face, the stranger returned Nyx’s greeting in kind, though said nothing, merely taking a slow pull from his stein and gazed into the flames. The assassin’s keen sight spotted a flash of colour from beneath the shrouding, the fire reflected in his eyes, but saw nothing more. Nothing worth noting, he decided, and treated his blade, sterilizing it in a way as he held it within the rippling flames.

“You seem somehow out of place, here. Not awkwardly so, mind you, but certainly foreign.” Nyx remarked casually, taking note of the twisting bands. They seemed used to keep the clothing in tight so as not to snag on things, but to still allow the comfort of looser garb. As his eyes traced the banding, he felt a slight ache well up in the back of his skull, and turned away to flip the blade over. Perhaps he needed sleep.

“I like to travel…” The stranger rasped from beneath his hood, unmoving.

Nyx waited for him to say more, but realized that it wasn’t coming, so he continued on himself. “Is Normaund your destination, or just a stopping point, I wonder?”

Silence held for another moment, then another, before the Mith’ganni wondered whether or not he was going to receive any sort of answer at all. To fill the space, he switched his blades, bluing the other carefully, when a slow reply came from the stranger.

“A layover… The wind guides me…” He took a careful drink of his ale, and looked up at Nyx, and for the first time, the Twilight elf felt something unusual well up beneath his skin. Unease? No…dread.

The man’s face was pale, he could see that, but it was decorated in a myriad of crimson lines, curving and arching symmetrically in ways that he could not decipher. However, they were accompanied by another most unusual feature, in the form of his eyes. Rather than any of the standard hues for mankind, they were a deep scarlet, and filled with pain. Suddenly, he understood why this man wore his hood up and shadowed his face; his eyes were terrifying, and the tattoos most unpleasant.

“Foreign I may be, but its clear that you are, as well… Mith’ganni… What place is there in this world that would welcome us, I wonder…?” He turned his gaze away, staring back into the fire, and a deep sense of gloom filled the common room. Even the air seemed colder as silence prevailed.



Posted on 2007-10-17 at 23:15:52.

Vilyamar
Glorious Emperor
Karma: 28/16
428 Posts


Post in the works.

Raen looked from one to the other, both Basque and Arback shrugged a little and caught a glance between the two of them. The man in the bandana scooped another helping of egg into his open mouth and chewed vigourously before swallowing. The armored woman ran a few fingers through her auburn hair as the rest looked on.

“I know it,” came the rasp of the kobold. Raen’s face soured a bit, but she bit her tongue from lashing out at the creature. She may have apologized for her reactions, but that did not mean that she had not meant them. “I was whelped here, in the warrens beneath the Twisted Horn.”

He reached out a single claw and traced a place on the map that was out on the table. The same one they had retrieved the night before after being briefed on the mission they had volunteered for.

“And I’ve hunted many times beyond the forest’s end. I can lead you this far, tell you where enemies dwell and how best to avoid them, to here,” tapping his foreclaw on the map twice. “Where the ice desert beckons, and it will be a short trail to return to the lands of men.”

’And just what aren’t you telling us?’ thought Raen sharply, her eyes narrowing as she stared at the kobold. She refused to even think of his name, Vyarp, as if doing so conceded some measure of her private struggle against him. She remained silent, however, offering Basque the chance to seize the decision before more questions could arise about the route.

“It’s decided, then!” said Basque, shoving a final spoonful of egg into his waiting mouth. He gulped that down and took a swig of his ale before continuing.

“We’ll break for the north as soon as we’re set and ready to go. I, myself, don’t have any preparations to make before we depart, but if anyone else does it’s the time to take care of them. Let’s meet at the northern gates in an hour.”

Raen pursed her lips in thought as some of the others gathered their things, sharing pleasantries before leaving the tavern or doing what they needed. Her thoughts roamed for a while as she finished her own meal. The bread was almost stale, but one gets what they pay for and this wasn’t the most expensive meal on the tavern’s menu by far.

Finally she had finished, all the others had already left. Raen set aside her plate that had held the food and left the payment for her meal with one of the passing serving-girls. All of the things that she had wanted to bring would be beyond her measly funds now, after a night spent in comfort and a good meal, the remaining Rommels would have to be saved. There was a single item worth purchasing though that Raen would surely do well with.

The streets of the city were just as busy as any other day, even though Raen felt something different about being outside. Perhaps it was simply nerves or anticipation, but the young woman could not shake the feeling that something was amiss. The Blazing Heretic had been on the water, not exactly in the northern end of the city and so what she wanted was not likely to come without a few trails to follow and Raen simply did not have that kind of time nor skill.

She stepped off of the cobble streets that lead to the northern gate and into a pub room. A slim brunette slipped beyond a pair of swinging doors that separated the commons area from the practical side of the business. Her arms were full with a tray carrying the remains of a few meals. A crust of bread fell to the floor unnoticed by her, but quickly snatched in a flash of fur and tail.

Raen scowled for a moment at the rodent’s appearance. There have to be a large amount of the creatures before they begin appearing so boldly at this time of day, even for such generous scraps. The place was not exactly a royal’s bedding, but it was still a place where travelers from the north would stop.

A scrawny man stood with his back to the small counter that had two large stools before it, obviously for the regulars. He polished a single mug with a damp rag that Raen could have guessed needed a wash from more than another emptied ale stein. But it wasn’t the cleanliness of his establishment that drew her there.

He turned his jaw to her and she could see the scruff about his chin matched the high cheekbones and deep-set eyes. He smiled at seeing another pretty woman in his bar, and Raen quirked a corner of her mouth acknowledging him, but quickly leaving her face blank again as she pulled out the stool with her booted toe, sitting down and leaning on her elbows.

“What can I do for ye, lass?” asked the tender, his voice a little nasally. The dark coarse hair that topped his head and lined his jaw in a spotty scruff added to the sense that he was as much of a rat as the creature that had snatched the crust from the floor. “A drink, perhaps? Most of the men who come through here wouldn’t say no to that at any time of day.”

“Nay. Your ale does not interest me. Your talk, however, might,” said Raen. She drew back her right hand, fingering a rommel in her cloak pocket, preparing to draw one or two out should it come to that. “I have to travel north, and being the first stop in the city on that route inwards, perhaps you know something of the… countryside…”

Sometime later…

Raen walked up to the Northern gates with a little spring in her step. This was exciting, leaving on what could be a grand adventure. She preferred thinking of the task that way rather than imagining a gruesome and lonesome death in some far off land.

Many of the others were already waiting at the gates and the armored woman joined them. She sat on her pack staring down the road to the north. Raen pondered the information that she had sought, speculating on what might be going on in the others’ minds.

It was not too long before she counted heads and came up one short. A moment later she realized that she had forgotten to count herself and chuckled softly as she stood and shouldered her backpack.

“Well, we might as well be off, right?” she asked generally. A few others nodded and shifted their own luggage about their backs.

The adventure had begun, albeit silently. Raen made little to no conversation during the initial miles that the group put behind them. A steady increase in the distance from the city lent to a change in the terrain that everyone seemed to notice. The fighter heard more than watched as Celene, the dancer, became agitated. It was a mental note Raen made about the woman that might be important later.

Midway through the afternoon, the others made motion to stop for a brief lunch. While Raen would rather have continued on with the hike, there was no harm in stopping and much more harm to be done fighting about such a trivial thing. After a quick bite, they were on the road again.

The party passed a few other groups, many in wagons laden with goods for market. Many pairs of eyes stared in their direction as the group walked onwards. Raen stared back more often than not, trying to piece together the emotions behind the stares. Sometimes she saw awe, sometimes she saw fear, but mostly it was too hard to distinguish the two. At very least there were no hateful eyes for her as the wagons and horsemen passed. She thought she saw a few directed at the others, however, and that could be understood.

Beyond the light lunch, the group didn’t stop for any lengthy period of time, continuing on until the air began to cool and the horizon glowed a soft orange hue. Beyond the roadside was a bluff, a stand of birch that would make an ideal place to camp. The idea was unanimous as the group spread through the bluff, eventually settling on the eastern side.

Soon, Raen had kindled a fire with the armfuls of wood dropped by Arback. The deadfall cracked and popped as the moisture left in the wood steamed out in a thin wisp of smoke. Raen turned away from the fire, looking out into the flat farmlands that permeated this area. She munched on a light dinner, a piece of drying bread and a few dried fruits.

We’ll likely figure out our logistics en route, thought the young woman. Food would become an issue beyond the flatlands and into the Icereach. It would still be days or possibly weeks before they reached that great expanse, however, so the thought was tucked away, making room for more pertinent issues.

“Basque, what shall our rotas be? We shall need a watch during the night, if not two,” Raen asked plainly to the young man. He was handsome in his own right, but Basque’s worth had yet to be proven. He seemed competent, yet Raen remained unsure. The first day was over, but it would be the first night that would be the true trial.

((okey done.))


Posted on 2007-10-25 at 12:57:22.
Edited on 2007-10-30 at 16:38:09 by Vilyamar

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7270 Posts


Creepy but fascinating....

“Foreign I may be, but it’s clear that you are, as well… Mith’ganni… What place is there in this world that would welcome us, I wonder…?”

“What place, indeed,” Nyx smirked wryly, trying to mask the unsettled feeling that laying meeting this man’s gaze sent through him. This one was much more than he had initially appeared to be and, had that unsettled feeling not been so… intriguing… the twilight elf might have found himself regretting ever having disturbed the traveler. Not now, though. Not after what this disconcerting breed… no, not a breeder… something else…had just said.

The bluing of his final blade complete, Nyx could no longer use the action as an excuse to avoid the strange man’s gaze (regardless of how much he might want to), thus, he returned the blade to it’s sheathe and, rubbing at the strange ache at the base of his skull, rose from his crouched position before the hearth and reached for the bottle of wine that Wironath had delivered moments ago. “Perhaps,” Nyx suggested as he finally poured a glass of the Rauffan wine, “the question isn’t so much what place would welcome us as it is do we truly care?” His yellow eyes ticked, then, towards Tempest and he offered his distant kin a sampling of the wine with a silent tip of the bottle before, almost hesitantly, letting his gaze return to the odd traveler.

((Feel free to join us in a drink and a chat if you’re still about, Tempest))

“This world,” Nyx nearly sneered after taking a sip from his glass and sinking into the chair opposite the tattooed stranger, “is nothing like it once was. Over run with supposedly intelligent creatures that breed like rabbits and rats and spread like a plague over what was once a beautiful and pristine place. Marring it with their so called advancements, stripping it bare to create more, only to discover that it rots away nearly as soon as their lives do.”

The Mith’ganni tossed back a more substantial swallow of the vintage, then, and found a malicious smile eager to stretch his lips. “Aye, I couldn’t give two damns where or if I’m welcomed anywhere, traveler,” he hissed, “My lot is not to be accepted… after all, do the sheep welcome the wolf into their fold? Does the wolf ask for or expect such a thing?... No, my lot is more akin to culling the herd, I think.”



Posted on 2007-10-25 at 17:05:11.

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


.

Herendiel walked out of the gate, ready for a long hike ahead of them. He had traveled the roads before, but usually not by foot. Most of the time he was in a caravan or single cart, going from town to town. He hoped the food that he had eaten that morning would not cramp up his stomach with the sudden change of sitting to walking.

He looked over his spell book and read, re read, and memorized spells for the day, just making sure he had everything right. The spells he picked would be tailored to what they would encounter, well atleast, thats what he plans. They are going up north, which he did want to see anyways, and thinks that some fire spells should work nice against any ice beasts or people who are accustomed to the cold.

They walked more and more, until it felt about six or seven miles, and took a break. The scenery had changed a lot, and now they rested. He sat, eating some rations he had kept, and still, read his book. He took out a piece of parchment and his ink and pen, and took notes on things he saw, and doodled pictures. He wrote down about the surrounding scenery, and how it has changed from the flats, to rolling hills, to some sparse trees in fields. He wrote this down, and scribbled down some birds, and animals, and flowers. Soon, he closed his book, and decided to walk around the small camp.

( Will memorize Spells Prepared:
0: Daze, Open/Close, Ray of Frost , Detect Magic, Flare

1: Mage Armour, Identify, Shocking Grasp, Burning Hands )


Posted on 2007-10-25 at 21:22:47.

Vorrioch
Chaotic Hungry
Karma: 38/6
406 Posts


Off we go then...

“Its decided, then.” Basque said, piling the last of the now congealing eggs into his mouth with a short digging tool. “We’ll break for the north as soon as we’re set and ready to go. I myself don’t have any preparations to make before we depart, but if anybody else does, it’s the time to take care of them. Let’s meet at the northern gates in an hour.”

It was settled then. Suspicious of the ease with which a decision had been reached Vyarp peered sceptically at those around him, his yellow eyes narrowing into tight slits as he sought to comprehend what had just transpired. The stage had been set, that much he had been certain, for the final stages in the band’s struggle for leadership; the choice of trail offering the best last pretext for each to stake their place in the group’s hierarchy before the expedition left the safety of their peoples’ stronghold and was exposed on the road ahead to whatever dangers the journey had to offer.

And yet, where he had expected shouts, taunts and the bare-knuckled challenges with which the folk of this city, their gods not having seen fit to bless them with full-fledged claws comparable to his own, settled their disagreements he had found only meek and ready acquiescence. Had it been the authority of the towering, muscle-bound female that each bowed to then he would merely have thought them spineless: weak and lacking confidence in their own abilities… though even then there ought to have been a ready jostling for position among her subordinates until he, or whichever of these uplanders proved themselves weakest, retreated to the bottom of the group. Worse, however, it was the bandanna-adorned Basque who had served as arbitrator and decision maker, and even the most cursory examination revealed the male to be decidedly lacking in the brawn he would to impose his authority over those who squatted, now at ease, on the rough-hewn wooded benches around him. Should the band’s leadership passed to him his rule would be a weak one, subject to challenge at every turn and provoking unrest when unity was needed most as those he sought to command refused to submit to one who could not prove himself their superior.

Could that thin strip of blue-dyed cloth wrapped tight around the youth’s head have meaning in this place, the kobold mused even as the group dispersed to go their separate way, each making payment for the sustenance they had consumed. A mark of status, perhaps, among the strange, and many-faced hierarchy that governed this city? It was too much to hope that the folk of this place took it as a badge of rank of some sort, commemoration of some fearsome deed imposed upon the bloodied and tattered bodies of his people’s foes and lending Basque some authority even beyond that which his fist and spear-arm could carve out for him, for the kobold’s keen eyes had perceived no sign of the fearful deference to be expected of those gathering under the command of a champion thus proven.

Even the prospect of such weak and uncertain leadership was, Vyarp was ready to concede, preferable by far to the other alternative which presented itself… that the band was to have no leader at all. Should the group prove unable to thus unify itself, under the command of one who had by some means demonstrated the right to count himself their superior, the plains folk would have traded the pain of a few cuts and bruises sustained in the brief struggle for dominance, only to leave themselves leaderless and confused when danger first struck. In the absence of one who had amply demonstrated the right to bark orders and direction, the fear of whom would keep his subordinates from bolting, would ensure that each dare not shirk in their duties, the group would be left confused and scattered when danger first struck and, for all their bright armour and fine gear, without cohesion the band would be imperilled indeed.

The pig-flesh left a sour taste in his gullet, and his throat was parched from the brine with which it had been saturated. As he reached for the water skin that hung heavily at his side, Vyarp jostled the knife sheathed next to it impatiently. The hour passed slowly, the blazing orb which hovered bright and heavy above him slowly climbing farther into the sky and the occasional passer-by chancing him an odd look- perhaps mistaking him for a halfling or gnome beneath the thick folds of his cowl- as he sat, sprawled in the shade of the inn’s dusty courtyard, waiting for the others of the group to return. Still somewhat on edge from that morning’s events the feeling struck him that it might not be wise to test his fortunes once again with a final visit to the market place… in any event he had already gathered the provisions he would require for the trail ahead.

***

The others returned, in ones and twos, and when the group were finally reassembled the decision was made to strike out for the north. Cutting a strange spectacle indeed as they passed through the crowded streets the group could hardly fail but to attract the attention of many among the bustling throng by the time they passed through the heavy, iron-studded gates which guarded Sankirst’s northern exit. Vyarp was not sorry to see the place go. The city had left its mark upon him more deeply than the fine cloth garments in which he was now clad, and the fine meat that swelled his belly, that much was certain. Three thin white scars, two from a razor’s edge, the last a fire poker, marred his bestial visage, the longest running from his jaw line to maybe a half-inch short of the kobold’s left eye. A swollen abscess where one of his rear-most fangs had been and a broken finger that had healed slightly bent stood in additional testament to the cruelties to which he had been subjected when he had first come to this place and, even now that his stay had come to an end this was not a record which he was minded to forget, nor one for which the golden disks for which those who dwelt in Sankirst would permit them a share in its marvels could fully compensate.

Now, for the first time in close to a year, the shadow of his captivity had finally been lifted as, by some strange expedient he found himself bound once more for the north and the freedom to make his own destiny passed once more into the his own long-taloned hands. Perhaps when the time came he would make a break for the sanctuary offered by his own kind, return to the Twisted Horn or whatever other tribe had come to dominate the northlands, for he had honed skills in avoidance those with whom he journeyed would surely be incapable of guarding him incessantly. Or perhaps, were the opportunity to escape him and the luxuries of city life prove too strong a temptation to overcome he would see this journey through to its completion and, should the Zantrical’s promises prove true return to not merely a fortune in gold but also a position of his own among their number. Then, when the time was right, he would repay in full the wrongs inflicted upon him when he was first abducted to that place, leaving the maimed and disfigured bodies of his victims to float to the surface in the scum of the docks. Still, with a trail to watch, and the foothills that heralded the path home already beckoning there was no time to be lost in such impotent daydreams and the kobold’s eyes turned once more to the long route ahead until the sun finally began to tire of its vigil and those accustomed to rest before the hours of dusk finally voiced their desire to make camp.

OOC: Not my best post, I know. Every time I’ve tried to put something together over the last week I’ve got writer’s block so in the end I decided to just write something up to move the game along.

Tek, would you mind giving me some sort of info with what Vyarp knows about the route ahead or should I just ad lib? Either way works but it might be handy if he could give the group a few pointers about what they might expect (or would have expected if they’d come this way about eight months ago).


Posted on 2007-11-16 at 23:30:43.

   
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