After Pao 'unburdened' himself, he sat back, thinking "Thweid! Like they need to know your innermost conflicts! What is wrong with you?"
But it was done. So he brightened and asked for more of the sea-cat, while still railing at himself for a few additional minutes. Young Ocyari asked Dorothy about her travels, and the older orphan 'sister' seemed happy to oblige her curiosity. Pao only half-listened until he heard the reference about a librarian being shot, as witnessed by Dorothy. Then he riveted his attention on the rest of her brief story, noting the loss of her horse just outside the city on her return. Then she met with her employer, whom she met three days ago. Two scroll cases. It said something of Dorothy's integrity that she remained unaware of the contents of the scrollcses. And it seemed odd to Pao that the information of death and attacks associated with the contents of the two tubes didn't seem to faze Dorothy's employer.
After Dorothy finished, he said to her, "Dorothy, it seems odd to me, you being attacked while returning to Drefast with the items you spoke of. And also that death and near-death associated with the information you carried seemed not to bother your employer. Elsbeth, was it?"
To the others, while glancing at each of them, he also spoke, "I may be taking too much for granted here, but to me this smacks of coincidence. Dorothy's recent experience and our own quest may not be related, but would it hurt to speak to this Elsbeth and find out whether or not they are related? It is a direction in which to move and we don't seem to have any other options at the moment."
Posted on 2008-08-02 at 01:39:30.
Edited on 2008-08-02 at 01:40:17 by Utan the Orange
"YES IT WOULD HURT!" Percifeer looked over at the man as her fist struck the wooden table. She had been distracted by thoughts of Pio, but words like that dragged her right out of it.
"Do you not see our brethren dying at our feet? Do you not understand that each day we waste on failed leads brings Ormander closer to the hangman's noose? How DARE you step up to us and suggest a continued delay of our search! I have done everything in my power to expedite the process and get things done and have been thwarted at every turn by our fallen brother. I will NOT have you walk in here and continue to slow us down. We have a number of leads still. Do not make the mistake of assuming you are the only one here capable of thought."
Percifeer was livid. With that, she got up from the table and refilled her honey-water. Then she stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air and see if any of the party had spilled out into the streets.
At Percy's outburst, Ocyari quickly held her hands to her ears. She was trying to train her ears to be sensitive to sound and, unfortunately for now, she was at the point where she was beginning to succeed. Percifeer's exclamation rang in her little ears, and quickly threatens to give Ocyari a headache.
"Ow..." Ocyari murmurs, rubbing her ears, "Maybe I should just stick to eavesdropping..."
Ocyari rubs her ears as Percifeer exits the tavern to cool off, a slight grimace on Ocyari's face as she winces.
Haste without waste isn't possible in the plight.
Ocyari frowns; where did that thought come from? Oh well, there were other things to wonder... like if there were going to be cookies served, or when she'd try to steal one, or...
"I guess this means I get to stay up past my bedtime?" Ocyari asks hopefully.
Percifeer's outburst, brief as it was, caught Pao completely by surprise, and all he could do -- to his credit -- was keep silent and watch her rant, wide-eyed and blank-faced.
But the accusations she spewed so readily reminded him vividly of episodes at the orphanage, when the same kind of poison was thrown at him, often accompanied by physical punishment for his supposed transgreessions. All done behind closed doors, of course, or somewhere out of sight and hearing of Ormander or any staff on duty.
Once she was gone, he paused for a few seconds to let the others look after her, then said, quietly, "Here it is. Me to you. I am here to help, not to demand. You all have more knowledge Than I of what you have done and what you have yet to do. I do not yet have that knowledge. I will accept, and act on, suggestions, but I will not accept treatment like you have just witnessed -- from her or any of you. I don't deserve it any more than Pio does."
"Do I not see our brethren dying? No, I did not. And I hope not to, for I have skills to prevent or delay death, to an extent. I saw nothing and knew nothing of Ormander's plight or your efforts until I was told by the very group at this table."
"How dare I suggest a continued delay? I don't remember suggesting any such thing. I put forth -- as a question, not a demand -- a possible course of action. Nothing more. And my observations and associations are my own, and I will speak them. I force no one to agree with me."
"Yon Percifeer seems certain that Pio was the cause of some of her grief, delaying and 'thwarting her at every turn' I think she said. And she would not have me pick up where Pio left off and delay you further? Does she speak for the rest of you?
"And I am not supposed to make the mistake of assuming I alone can think? I learned long ago to assume nothing except that death is inevitable. I'll say no more on that one."
"I presume nothing except to ask the rest of you this: Am I needed here and now? Am I wanted -- here and now? If no to either one, I am the wrong person in the wrong place. I could be elsewhere, but I chose to come here. My reasons are my own, but the overlying reason is that I am here for the same benefit all the rest of you desire. If any of you doubt that, you doubt me. I do not suffer any doubts concrning the rest of you. If she is feeling grief for Pio. I can understand explosions like that. But if she claims grief while at the same time blaming him for her woes, she does him a disservice."
He took a deep breath, "Percifeer and I will have words again about this very thing, I will make certain of it. She needs to hear me, but I won't chase after her to tell her now. I will tell her when she calms, if she does. If does not ... we'll see ..."
He finally closes his mouth into a grim, thin line, and sits back scowling. When he crosses his arm to indicate a wait for response, the only evidence of his own subdued anger is his shaking hands.
Ocyari yawns and leans back in her seat, her hands held behind her head as she relaxes.
"If you ask me," Ocyari says, "Both you and she are taking each other far too seriously. In some ways, you're acting as though you're my age, arguing about who's cookie it is or trying to convince the other which cookie is better. And then, while you're both distracted, someone can come and steal the cookies, you see?"
"No one knows which cookie is better. They were just made, and while you can guess which is better by what was put in them, you won't know until you tasted both."
Ocyari giggles, "Me, if I have to pick, I'll just pick the cookie that's closer to me."
Pao glared at Ocyari. "Usually I find the wisdom that issues from the mouths and minds of children enlightnenig, for it is usually straight-forward and uncluttered by experience."
"Not this time, young one. You know no more about my motives than Percifeer does and have even less right to speak of them Particularly not in judgement. You have the same right to speak your thoughts as aonyone else, but you also have the same responsibility to be able to handle the consequences of those words."
He stands slowly. " I will go to find an inn to sleep and rest. I will leave word at the orphanage as to where I can be found, if you desire my help or company or counsel. Good night to you all."
As Paomallen made his way to the exit, Miran stood up suddenly from his seat between Dorothy and Ocyari. The young girl on his left could see that he clutched a bit of wool in his left hand. He drew up the magical energy from the depths of his mind and unleashed the spell. By the door a person materialized with greenish-blue eyes and a black braided ponytail, bearing uncanny resemblance to Miran. It is obvious to the half-sylvan priest that this doppleganger is an illusion, but deception is not the purpose of this apparition. It indicates for Paomallen to halt with a consilatory, yet stern face.
"Please, Pao, we don't mean to chase you away. Percy has been, well, explosive all day," Miran says from his position at the table. The illusion then moves out of the Freeman's Way, finding the woman in question. Peering through the windows of the establishment, Miran directs his copy to the extent of its range to beckon to Percifeer pleadingly to return.
(Hoping that the egressing individuals choose to return.)
"I hardly know where to begin speaking, but since I've started, I might as well say my part. On one part, Percifeer is correct in her assertion that every moment we spend at the wrong lead is another moment lost to save Ormander, which is the ultimate goal here, for each our own reasons. On the other hand, though, Pao is right to point out that we haven't any other options at the moment. Logically speaking, it would be best to busy ourselves at every possible lead rather than wait for the answer, which I'm sure no one wants to do.
"I don't like to leave Ormander's safety to fate anymore than anyone else here at the table, but I don't see what we can do yet. All I really know, is that through our combined efforts we will need to cover a lot of ground tomorrow. I would suggest that we each take a task, but today's events seem to indicate to me that we should keep together at all costs.
"That is all I have to say, now I ask that everyone else tell me what they think we should do tomorrow."
With that, Miran sat back down in his chair, replacing the bit of sheep's wool that he forgot he had been holding. As the others (hopefully) began to plan the morrow, Miran took a long drink from his own glass of honey-water.
(EDIT: After all that I completely forgot to specify. The spell I cast was Silent Image)
Posted on 2008-08-05 at 04:59:29.
Edited on 2008-08-05 at 05:03:42 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Pao had been looking around him at the revelers as he made his way toward the door. As his eyes returned to the front, and the door, Miran was suddenly there. He indicated for Pao to stop, silently. Then Miran's voice was heard, "Please, Pao, we don't mean to chase you away ..."
But Miran's voice was behind him! Yet Miran was standing in front of him ...
Pao turned and saw Miran standing at the table, a look of concentration on his face, but still speaking. As the Miran-image moved out of Pao's way to clear the path to the door, Pao himself turned around and dropped his head, chin to chest, and shook it slowly. When he raised it again, he was smiling broadly, caught by his own words. He had been contacted before he had even left the establishment. He made his way back to the table slowly, smiling all the way, and seated himself again.
What humor he saw in the incident was unclear to most, but in his voice it was plainly evident, "You didn't chase me away, my friend. And I suppose I could have waited a little longer for a reply from any of the rest of you. I was hoping for a response from at least one of you, to verify whether or not Percifeer spoke for you all. I may not be as quick to act on my emotions as Percifeer, but I sometimes do let them get the best of me. I try not to let that happen, though."
"Your words indicate that you, at least, feel I should be here. Or that is how I understand them. Percifeer, who brutally twisted the meaning and intent of my earlier words to you all, doesn't seem to like me much. How much of that is her true feelings, and how much is grief, or frustration, or whatever, I know not. I imagine I'll find out."
[Whether or not Percifeer returns]
Still in his current, light-hearted tone, "As far as my opinion is concerned, I have already spoken of my preference and my reasons for it. I stand by it. But I am not fool enough to demand you all abide by it. I intend to comply with any majority decision regardless of my own feelings."
He looks about for a serving-wench to order a drink.
Posted on 2008-08-05 at 06:04:31.
Edited on 2008-08-05 at 06:11:17 by Utan the Orange
Beinsel sat and ate the fishy cat flesh, and pondered his own decision. They did not have enough information, and needed to find out more. Also one thing they lacked was time. He looked up from his food.
" I say we head out to our next destination, the heart of darkness. Why dont you come with us Dorothy? We could talk more and walk, while also finding our next set of clues. We cannot waste any time. We can sleep whenever we get the chance but I really have a feeling we need to step it up. "
North West Dock
Drefast~Positive Tide is normal
~Negative Tide is rising
And thus it was decided that they would exchange one tavern for another. A little later they walked out of the Freemenís Way, leaving Dorothy behind, who had decided not to come with them, but instead remained behind should any of the customers think of anything more that could aid the orphanage.
It was already getting dark outside. The clouds overhead had rims of golden yellow and red as the last rays of the sun disappeared. The shadows that people and buildings cast over each other were long now. The streets were bare now, with only a small amount of passers-by, and the fall of their boots filled the void of murmur and the unflow of bodies close together. Darker grew the sky, and a heaviness filled their hearts. Was it that they had spent the day looking for clues only to come up with a few meager ones? Was it the fact that this inn they were about to visit cast a shadow over their emotions?
The Heart of Darkness. The name alone could make a man shudder. It was not a pleasant place to spend an evening, that was for sure. And after the warm welcome they had received in the Freemenís Way, there was little doubt that the contrast between the two establishments would be enormous.
They followed the First Thunder River Bridge and stayed close to the harbour. The further they went southward, the fewer people they met. Then they entered a part of Drefast, renowned for its dark alleys and sinister crime rate.
It took a while before they found the right streets and turns to take, and on multiple occasions noted dark forms shying away in the darkness. The group of orphans was armed, and yesÖ dangerous, and therefore unlikely to be the target of thugs and other criminals waiting for a purse to snatch. Then, finally, they found the tavern they were looking for.
The Heart of Darkness was situated in a tight alley, where high houses stood packed wall to wall. A single lantern betrayed its otherwise inconspicuous location. The only entrance was a big door, worn and fortified with iron. It was closed, and a small group of people stood outside, waiting or talking. They didnít form a line, but kept close to the door. When the group approached, they did not seem to notice them, or pay them any attention if they did.
If the door is tried, it appears to be locked, but a big man will open it up, filling the doorway. He will inquire what it is that you want.
As the party makes their way to the Heart of Darkness, with the ever increasingly formidable atmosphere, Ocyari begins to glance back and forth at a faster and faster speed, her eyes looking to pierce the shadows and the darkness. It isn't out of fear, for Ocyari seems to actually be excited. She never really got to stay up this late, and she never got to wander the city before, so this was a truly new experience for her.
"Not that pretty here is it?" Ocyari murmurs to herself.
The shadows flicker with the flickering lantern light, and Ocyari watches them, slightly mesmerized by the sight. Then an idea strikes her, and she holds out her hand, beginning to make shadow puppets. She giggles at her efforts, producing a bunny among a number of other things.
Pao was following the rest of them. He had decided that until he and the rest of the group became "re-aquainted", he would not rock the boat any further by suggesting much of anything for a while. They had leads he wasn't aware of when he made his own suggestion, and it appeared that he had "stepped on someone's toes". Better at this point to play it safe and stay relatively quiet than alienate another in the group.
As they walked the streets, his darkvision served to show him what happened in the shadows that some humans wouldn't have seen. The "Heart of Darkness" was a forboding enough name, but when Pao noted the area of the city in which it was located, the name was suddenly apropos
Approaching the dim circle of light in front of the "Heart", he rested his hand near the bail-ring holding his mace by hooking his thumb into his belt, to be ready to snatch the weapon out out at a moments notice.
Finally the group turned down the right alley to make it toward the Heart of Darkness. Miran paused for a second, the idea of gaining admission to such a place did not please him as he came within sight of it. It was certainly even less inviting now at the front door than when they heard the name spoken half way across Drefast.
"Hush now, Ocyari. Stick close to us," he whispered back to the girl as she made one last puppet.
Before the iron bound door even Miran did not miss the benefit of moving through these streets fully armed. He hoped that inside the steel might continue to be a deterrence for troublemakers. He extended his arm and grasped the handle, attempting nonchalance. When the handle did not turn he did a double take, and found himself soon eye-level with the door block's chest.
"What do you want?" the man positively growls at the party.
"We wish to obtain access to this establishment, fine sir," Miran manages to say as he discovers the head of the creature a bit above where he would expect.
Percifeer was caught off guard, standing outside, still talking to Miran's doppelganger (having not realized he hadn't replied, she figured he was being a good listener) when the group came out, bound for the Heart of Darkness.
She looked around briefly, then sighed, following. She had a whole plan devised for the trip to HoD, but all of it would have to be changed given that they decided to go at night. It was a suicide mission. That's all there was to it.
Percifeer did have a familiar. She had taken a liking to a small owl during her time working under several wizards in town. She liked to let her owl be free to do his thing during the day. It usually found a nice branch to sleep on outside of town. But at night, she would generally (though not last night) call it to her to return the favor. She let out a high pitched whistle as they started walking. It was largely a formality because of her bond with the animal, but she didn't want to call attention to herself as a wizard. The owl landed on her arm, and she pulled out a bit of food for it while they walked.
While the owl ate, she concentrated for a moment and said "Let's hope for safe travels." (Mage Armor on me)
She then turned to the others and said "Does anyone else need protection?"
After casting on those who needed it, she went back to focusing on her owl. His task would be to fly above, watching from the rooftops. The abilities they had in working together would pay off if things turned ugly. Misty, as she had named the owl, could fly right up to her enemies unwatched and deliver her attack spells. Plus, her vision at night was exceptional, making her a valuable asset.
Arriving to the bar, Miran got the first word in. "We wish to obtain access to this establishment, fine sir,"
Percifeer giggled and looked up at the man, her charisma saying more than words could. "Could ya let us in? I'd like a drink." She fluttered her eyelashes at him. It's not to say she looked drunk, but her eyes had been wet since Pio's untimely trip away. It gave them a slightly glassy appearance that any bouncer would know right away means trouble in the eyes of a tough guy, and joy when it's in the eyes of a beautiful woman.