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  #1  
Unread 13th of February, 2014, 02:54
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Post Chapter 1: A Reckoning of Souls

Toilday, 17 Arodus, 4708 AR - near Zellara's home at sunset

The clouds piled above the great sea, huge and ominous mountains of white and grey, limned in the fiery red-orange of sunset. Beautiful but menacing, they hemmed in the oppressive heat and bespoke of summer storms that yet refused to break upon ancient Korvosa. The vast misty mountains made it a sticky, wet heat - brooding, and without the gusting breezes or cooling rain typical of the season. While the Korvosans preferred the dry heat to the rain, either was preferable to the current restless waiting. The storms were bad for business, it was true, heavy winds and driving rain blowing, breaking and sogging wares and stalls.

Perhaps it was the prospect of bad business and sodden reapirs looming over them that made the people jumpy and foul of temper. Add to that the unrest of Old Korvosa with recent political developments, the King's failing health, and Queen Ileosa's assumption of rulership and it served to set things further on edge. Korvosans like things to be predictable, stable, and traditional. Currently the situation was far from that, albeit there hadn't been any major upheaval in the average, everyday life.

Though the midday heat had waned to something more bearable, the air was still far from cool. The cobblestones beneath the white-robed man's feet radiated the heat of the day as did the old stone walls of the buildings on Lancet Street. The man's gaze was fixed straight ahead, only his eyes darting left and right, as if searching for something. He finally approached a small wooden house, tucked unobtrusively between two larger houses and barely five large paces wide, with a shuttered window in the first story and a plain but strong-looking wooden door. The door itself didn't have any ornamentation but for a metal chain hung next to it beneath the door frame - most likely a bell of some sort. The thick wooden beam above the door was blacked with age and carved with a number of different forms: tower, moon and stars, leaf, bell, dove and finally some indistinct winged humanoid creature.

The man inhaled deeply, almost certain this was the house he sought, eyes still fixed ahead. It dawned on him that this moment was both an ending and a beginning, as other chapters in his life had done - childhood struggles, youth on the rough streets, along with his most recent era - and that with each new time he always hoped for something better. Hoped, perhaps, without really believing anything could ever change. With a strange gravity in his movements he reached out slowly and then drew the chain sharply but once. Inside, many different bells tinkled, chiming musically in the heavy air. He heard light steps approach softly, the latch scraped, the door cracked slightly before it opened wide. Beyond the threshold was a young woman, honey blond hair woven into a long braid, deep blue eyes regarding him openly.

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Unread 14th of February, 2014, 14:33
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Elanor opened the door to the sight of a young man dressed as a cleric of Sarenrae, and for a moment her breath caught in her throat.

Why did she still always think of Khavren when she saw those white robes?

She pushed thoughts of her brother away (it seemed to get a little bit easier - and Khavren's memory a little more distant - each time) and managed to offer the man a warm smile. He noticed a slight scent of herbs around her, earthy but pleasant.

"Greetings and welcome," she said, perhaps a little too formally. "You must be one of the people that Zellara told me to expect this evening." Elanor hesitated, feeling the awkwardness of the situation. She had no idea how well the man knew Zellara, if he knew her at all, or how much he knew about the trouble Zellara was in. She worried suddenly that she had assumed too easily that the man was a friend. But the white robes of Sarenrae reassured her.

"I am Zellara's friend, Elanor," she went on after a moment. "Please come inside."

She stepped back to give the young man room to enter, taking a last look out at the twilit, cloud-wracked sky before shutting the door.
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Unread 15th of February, 2014, 03:13
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Durla watched the sky with a mixture of apprehension and elation. He always felt more alive before a storm, but this time, after the long wait, he wanted the storm to just hit already and be done, for he had a feeling that it was going to be a strong one.

As the small group reached its destination, Durla halted briefly at the sight of the open door and the two figures within and without. "Think that's her?" he asked the halfling beside him, nodding at the female figure, but it was a rhetorical question that he did not expect a reply to.

He who seeks answers is well served uncovering them for himself, for rare is the answer that will just walk up and introduce itself to you.

Besides, it really was the white-dressed man that was giving Durla pause. "Looks like we weren't the only ones getting invitations," he added in Skint's direction as they approached Zellara's front door. "I wonder what a priest is doing here." He tried to shake off a feeling of apprehension and worry about Vi.

They were too far away to understand what was being said, but as the priest stepped inside and the door started to close again, Durla raised his voice. "Hello? Wait, please!"


Last edited by Chovihani; 17th of February, 2014 at 05:45. Reason: Included character description in the OOC
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Unread 15th of February, 2014, 07:22
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A small and very dirty walks alongside Durla. One hand reaches up to hold the collar of a big black dog, muscular but with patches of matted or missing fur that suggests a hard life. The dog's shoulder is very nearly level with the halfling's clean-all-things-considered face.

Skint's teeth are clenched, and he does not speak in response to Durla's reasonable questions. Any uses he could think of for a priest, in these circumstances, were avenues his mind was not yet ready to walk down.

As the door starts to close, Skint doesn't add to Durla's voice, but breaks into a run. The dog easily keeps pace beside the halfling. Her lolling tongue and happy manner suggest that she remains unaffected by either the literal or the metaphorical clouds overhead.
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Unread 16th of February, 2014, 02:14
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The sudden turn in weather was the furthest from Iago's mind as he waited those few brief seconds between pulling the door chain and hearing the door latch release from its housing. The appearance of the woman broke his thoughts a moment, her presentation in all of this was something entirely different than he'd expected. All that had led to this point had suggested something else, and his voice escaped him a moment while he recovered.

As the woman spoke, Iago allowed himself to relax a bit. His hand rose up to the edge of his hood and pulled it down around his shoulders to expose his face and head. His features were sharp and angular, with his skin pulling tight over cheek bones and the bridge of his nose. He's still fairly young, not more than two decade and a half, but his thin features suggest a harder life than some. The entirety of his face suggested him to have once been almost handsome -especially for a Korvosan human- but he'd lost it somewhere on the same journey that had left him thin. Iago smiles softly, subtly, as he listens to her words and all that she was revealing to him.

His vestments have all the hints of a Sarenrae temple worker. The white dye has dulled with age and use, and the freys are starting to wear, but the symbols of Everlight are still ever-present. Sewn in borders along the hood and arm give even more cause to assume who the priest worships. The temple of Sarenrae was known to hand down vestments from one to another, so it was hard telling how much of the outfit's damage had been done by its current owner.

She gave him a name. That was more than he'd had before and he was glad for it. He broke his silence to reply to her offer, "Thank you." his voice echoing the dip of his respectful head.

His first step took him onto the threshold, but no further. Shouting from behind him caused him to stop suddenly and turn. His hand grasping at the slit in his robes at something hidden on his belt. His eyes went wide as he turned his attention fully on whatever lie in ambush behind him. At the site of the dog and it's two pursuers, Iago clenched his jaw, bracing for impact. His hand still wrist deep in his robe.

Last edited by Basil Bottletop; 16th of February, 2014 at 02:20.
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Unread 17th of February, 2014, 05:21
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With the young woman and the priest pausing under the lintel, Skint also slows to a walk, and raises a hand to slow the dog's progress as well. The big mutt looks a bit disappointed for a moment, but also slows to a trot. The halfling runs a hand through a mop of not-recently cleaned hair, although whether in exasperation or a haphazard attempt at grooming is hard to tell.

The halfling calls out in a strange northern accent as he gets close to the door.

"Oi! Either a you this Zellara jibber-jabber?"
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Unread 18th of February, 2014, 02:34
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Eben hung back. His dark eyes narrowed and his already solemn face tightened. None of this situation had made any sense to him, but he would do what he could to help Jeel. Now apparently the mysterious and unsigned invitation he had received was not for him alone.

The presence of apparently at least a priest of Sarenrae eased his mind somewhat and he ineffectually smoothed his study worn Acadaeme robes and ran his long fingers through his short black hair.

Reservedly he approached the priest ready to present the unsigned invitation in his hand. The group before him called out and one of the men at the door reached inside his robe as if to draw a weapon.

Eben stopped in his tracks and waited not sure this was the best place for him despite his need to help Jeel.
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Unread 18th of February, 2014, 05:27
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Elanor's attention was almost fully focused on the large dog bounding toward her, so much so that she barely noticed the small fellow tagging along beside the animal until he called out. His manner of speaking was odd, but that wasn't so unusual in Korvosa, not really. Elanor sometimes had difficulty with accents but in this case she understood him well enough.

"No, Zellara is not at home right now," she said, glancing at the halfling for only a moment before the friendly mutt's exuberance drew her attention once again. She reached out without even thinking about it, inviting the large, wet nose to sniff at her hand. "Hi there, girl. Who's this with you, hmm?" she murmured encouragingly, as if maybe she expected the dog to make the formal introductions. "Did you bring some friends with you?"

She straightened then and looked back at the halfling and the other figure coming up behind him. "I'm not Zellara, but she asked me to wait here for some people that were coming to meet her. She didn't mention a dog!" she added with a soft chuckle, a private joke between her and her new four-footed friend.

"My name is Elanor, by the way. Please come inside."
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Unread 18th of February, 2014, 06:29
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By now, Durla had joined the small group, smiling widely at everyone (even at Skint, whom he obviously knew already). "Elanor", he repeated carefully, directing his smile at her. "You can call me Durla. Everyone does. So, you know Zellara? Do you know what this is about, why she has invited us?"

He nodded at the white-clad priest in respectful greeting, reaching down to open his belt pouch. "Have you all received this, or something like it?" He produced a card with drawings on one side and writing on the other and held it up briefly.

As he looked around at those assembled, he noticed another person standing off a bit along the path leading to the house. "Oh, it seems someone else is joining us," he added, nodding towards the lone figure.
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Unread 18th of February, 2014, 19:01
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The big dog lopes toward Elanor and sniffs at her - suspiciously at first, and then with obvious pleasure. It circles her twice and woofs as it darts into the house.

The halfling smells of fish and seawater. He reaches the doorway, peering up at the priest and this Elanor with what might be a permanent scowl. Aside from a leather strap at his belt, he seems to be unarmed. The dirty little man nods warily up at Elanor, and this priest who seemed ready to draw on them. His lips barely moved as he spoke.

"Skint. Thats Kolba."

With a brief glance back at the inkscratch standing watching them from the street, Skint strode past Elanor and into the house, his head craning to take in the corners of the room.
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Unread 18th of February, 2014, 22:26
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Am I making a mess of this? Elanor wondered as the guests trickled in. She looked at the thin cleric who had rung the bell - I can't remember... did he tell me his name? - and then at the elvish-looking boy (man?) holding one of Zellara's harrowing cards in his hand. "I think we should talk about that inside, um, Durla," she answered distractedly, glancing out the door at the robed man waiting in the street.

Then a sudden vision of Zellara's beautiful glass trinkets being dashed to smithereens by an enthusiastic sweep of Kolba's tail rose in her mind, and with a small cry of dismay she darted after the dog and the halfling, calling, "Excuse me please!" to those left behind.


Last edited by Kelemyn; 19th of February, 2014 at 23:18.
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Unread 19th of February, 2014, 13:32
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Although space was rather limited, Iago had found enough of it to pin himself against the wall and away from the approach of the dog and his master. It was easy enough for them to pass him through the doorway as well, as his step back had opened the passage completely.

Whatever concern that lie on his face remained, but his arms no longer twitched with their original anxiety. His hand drew out from his pocket and in it was a small medallion on the end of a silver chain. As he watched the blonde woman welcome the others, he silently slipped the medallion up over his head and let it dangle on his chest. The medallion was made of carved wood inside a hammered metallic binding, the insignia easily recognizable as Sarenrae's.

His eyes seemed to be counting the collected group over and over, each time looking for more shadowy figures to spring forth from the alleyways. When no more did, at least upon last cast, Iago silently stepped inside the building.

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Unread 19th of February, 2014, 15:32
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The tension eased, and Eben found he had held his breath. Likely they're here under similar circumstances though they all seemed more wary...more seasoned.

With a deep breath Eben steadied himself and chuckled quietly at his own trepidation. He had faced worse in the Hall of Summoning in his first week as a novitiate; yet, something had changed. No longer would the tests be part of a set curriculum.

Without further hesitation he stepped inside.
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Unread 20th of February, 2014, 05:03
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The situation seemed to be swirling out her control, and Elanor experienced a sinking sense of having let Zellara down.

But no, as she charged from the hallway entrance and through the door into the living area of Zellara's home, prepared to leap to the defense of her friend's well-ordered and carefully arranged knick-knacks, she found... nothing at all amiss.

The living room was warmly lit by four lamps in the four corners. Each lamp was unique and cast a golden light throughout the room, brightened in spots by numerous candles and glittering glass decorations on shelves and tables of various sizes and heights.

To the left was a small, blue, marble table - just one foot in height - with two sitting cushions placed on either side. In the corner was a pile of multicolored cushions, a perfect spot to recline and listen to stories. Here also were two small tables where Elanor had set out a plate of cookies and a tea service, emanating a rich and enticing aroma of exotic herbs and spices. The right side of the room was dominated by a long table of normal height with a bench placed against the wall and wooden stools - all of different styles - placed around it.

And everywhere - hanging on the walls and artistically draped on furniture - were colorfully embroidered cloths and tapestries in the Varisian style. The room seemed a bit crowded, but comfortable, and had an indescribable mystique about it, an air of mystery and intrigue.

Elanor found Kolba, the dog, sitting on her haunches in the center of the room, her nose sniffing pointedly in the direction of the plate of cookies. Skint stood beside her.

"Well," Elanor said, catching her breath. It was going to be all right after all, she was sure of it. If she could just get everyone in the same room at the same time, she could begin the meeting.


Last edited by Kelemyn; 20th of February, 2014 at 05:34.
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Unread 20th of February, 2014, 18:32
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Durla's eyes followed Elanor, bemusedly, as she dashed off with a cry of dismay. Shrugging to himself, he took a step inside and looked around.

The interior of the house was such that he stood for a moment, fascinated. He had never been inside a Varisian's home before, and the colorful furnishings, the scent of spices, the lack of clear lines caused by the many draperies, all served to renew the smile on his face.

Without thinking about it, he removed his sandals at the door and placed them out of the way, entering the home on his bare feet.

As he passed the one who had only recently entered, he smiled at him. "Hello. I'm Durla. Very nice to meet you." There was an air of caution about the stranger that Durla could empathize with, for who knew better than him about the inherent treachery of any supposedly firm ground?

Then he padded into the main living room and found Elanor standing there. "It's beautiful," he said, still smiling, indicating the interior of the room. "It invites meditation."
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Unread 21st of February, 2014, 02:39
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Skint was circling the main room, agitated, his fists balling and unballing as he looks around. He seems to be more interested in the space around objects - the shadowy corner, the space under the low table, the walls behind tapestries.

When he reaches the plate of cookies, he takes one with surprising delicacy. He brings it to his nose, inhaling for a moment, and then takes a delicate nibble.

"Hmf. Cardamom. Nice touch."

He tosses the cookie toward Kolba in the middle of the room. The big dog neatly tracks, intercepts and inhales the cookie in one smooth motion, before turning to stare at Elanor.

Completing his circuit of the room, Skint plunks down on the floor in the middle of the room, ruffling Kolba's fur absent-mindedly. He stares at the door through which they had come. It's clear that he's holding something in, but not for long.
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Unread 21st of February, 2014, 11:43
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The half-organized parade into the main room was unexpected, but Iago comforted in it nevertheless. The occasional glance over his shoulder at the two men behind him gave noticeable hints to his lack of trust, but the orderliness of the event -and the ending of people coming forth from the shadows- was quietly appreciated.

While his outfit was worn, it was still quite clean and crisp enough to give the illusion that Iago fit perfectly inside the stately manor. He'd been in one or two in his lifetime, and so the trinkets and baubles that showed the owner's wealth were far less interesting than the people meandering about within. Once inside the gathering room, Iago returned his attention from the wall hangings and furniture to the strange combination of invitees that awaited this Zellara.

"I'm Brother Iago, one of Sarenrae's Light-bearers." He offered with a quick nod of his head in the hostess's direction.

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Unread 22nd of February, 2014, 02:34
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Having followed the others into the home Eben still felt off-guard. Not sure exactly what he should have expected, the small home felt comfortable despite its air of intrigue and the mysterious circumstances - much more inviting than most in the Heights.

Preferring to stand he took a position just inside the room, interlaced his long fingers in front of him and nodded to the Korvosan woman who seemed to have assembled them.
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Unread 22nd of February, 2014, 12:31
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Brother Iago...

Elanor caught herself staring at him, searching her memories for a face that matched his, trying to imagine what he might have looked like a couple of years ago. Had it been two years already? She'd had many friends at the Temple. How was it that she had stopped going by to see them? Well, she had become occupied with other matters, hadn't she?

Now is not the time for this, she told herself, and looked quickly around the room to find that everyone had become quiet, waiting to find out why they had been invited here.

She reached into one of the pouches on her belt and drew forth a Harrowing card, holding it up for the others to see. She began to explain.

"My friend Zellara left this for me. It's a message to meet her here tonight. I don't know how much you know about Zellara... She's a fortune teller, and this is one of her Harrowing cards. I see that Durla has one too, perhaps each of you has one.

"Anyway, when I arrived here I found that Zellara was not at home, but there was another message for me. She left a note that said that she was in trouble, she and her son, and that she'd found some people that she thought could help her. She said she would be late, but asked me to be here in her place and make you all welcome.

"I will gladly answer any questions you have, but I am afraid that I don't know much. My hope is that Zellara will arrive soon because I am worried about her."
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Unread 25th of February, 2014, 01:33
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Shoulders slumped in disappointment Eben looked uncomfortably at the floor. Typical Korvosan ploy. Vague promise of help provided you assist first. He wondered for a brief moment if it might be gold they were after, but the assembled seemed likely to end up donating services. They had baited their hook right; even now the young mage thought there might be some way to find Jeel here. More likely though he would need to go through official channels.
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Unread 25th of February, 2014, 07:11
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At Elanor's explanation about Zellara's note, the already agitated Skint is up and on his feet again, pacing.

"Bucket a aidle! Does this Zellara jibber-jabber allus talk in sich ploggin circles? She knows where Vi is, but she aint said no more about it. She wants us here ta help wit ta kids rescue, but naw she wants yer help wit her own bab. Shite!"
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Unread 26th of February, 2014, 19:57
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Durla said nothing, content to watch events unfold, a slight smile of pure fascination lingering on his lips. He knew that some things cannot be hurried - the rising of the sun, the setting of the clay, the wanderings of the clouds - or prevented - the falling of the rain, the rusting of iron, the rotting of wood -, and so he had pushed his own worry about Vi to the back of his mind in order to focus on his new acquaintances. If Zellara was the one with the answers, he would wait until her arrival and not engage in fruitless speculation beforehand.

He found a pillow in the corner and folded his long limbs under him. Skint's antics again evoked a smile. Brother Iago was subjected to a long, scrutinizing stare that conveyed Dula's interest in meeting a worshipper of Sarenrae up close, and not just seeing them passing by on their way to and fro... wherever they went to and fro. Eben, too, received a curious stare, and much for the same reason. Then his eyes went back to Elanor, the one who knew Zellara, and who looked somewhat uncomfortable with the role she had to play, and he gave her an encouraging smile.

I know all about playing roles, he thought, remembering the situation at home. It is never fun.

Pushing those thoughts aside as well, he placed the harrowing card he had received on the floor in front of him, wondering why Zellara would use this to convey her message rather than a plain bit of paper.
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Unread 27th of February, 2014, 13:13
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Even though he'd not been completely ignored, the hard truth of his introduction being lost in the wave of characters in front of him was both comforting and frustrating. He'd come here with sound purpose -when such things were becoming rarer by the minute- and yet he couldn't help but feel like this was a travesty; a comedy of errors.

The rhyme and reason for such an ensemble alluded Iago, and the pacing halfling was making it hard to think deeper into it's true meaning; if there was any. Iago was quickly becoming convinced there was a deeper meaning, furthering his frustration. His brow wrinkled, adding years to his face in an instant.

The whole thing was a trap. And he'd been dumb enough to walk in with a smile and a nod.

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Unread 28th of February, 2014, 13:27
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Tea and cookies.

It's the first thing that came to Elanor's mind: I forgot to offer the tea and cookies!

The second thing was, of course, that snacks and hot beverages were not really the answer here. Skint was obviously agitated. His words may have been difficult to follow. (Aidle? Ploggin? Shite? Well ok, she knew what 'shite' meant.) But even though she was not completely sure of what he was trying to say, she got the gist of it. One thing in particular leapt out at her.

"Who is Vi?"

Her mind was already working. Skint was here because he thought - rightly or wrongly - that Zellara knew the whereabouts of someone he was looking for. Someone that he cared about? Had he lost someone dear to him? Elanor could certainly relate to that.

She felt her heart go out to the halfling. A little bit of tea couldn't hurt. She took up the teapot and an empty cup and began to pour.
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Unread 1st of March, 2014, 01:21
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Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 138 (0.09 per day)
Elanor's simple question, and perhaps more importantly the courtesy that accompanied it, caught Skint completely off guard. When you're braced to dodge a kick, you are ill placed to receive a handshake. He stops in his tracks and splutters, clearly taking a moment to revise his understanding of the situation, before responding. His voice is still as loud and harsh, but has less belligerence.

"Who's Vi? You mean you all ain't here ta help her?"

He pulls a crumpled harrowing card - complete with Zellara's handwriting on one side - out of an inside pocket of his jacket. He tosses it onto the table next to Elanor's, and leans closer to read the writing on her card.

"Vi's a kid what me an Pointy both know. Missin five days now. So yer here just ta help this Zellara? What about you two?"

He wheels to look at Eben and Iago.

"You got some kinda jibber jabber invite too?"
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