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Unread 17th of February, 2004, 04:52
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Chapter 2: The Feast of Karthes

The rain fell on the three companions.

For almost two weeks now, Korbi Hilldigger - The Collector of Lore, Yavan a'Nyere - The Up and Coming Performer, and Rinadjmere Semarkhet - The Talented Acrobat, have been travelling to the estates of one Baron Sanguis. It was just over two weeks ago when a message found it's way to the companions, inviting them to perform exclusively during the Feast of Karthes, in the distant province of Tolatakiva.

The message did not say when the feast was, only for them to leave as soon as was possible, and leave they did, travelling through the mountains that separated Tolatakiva from the rest of the world. At the beginning of the second week, when they were high in the mountains, it had begun to rain. It was still raining now, almost a week later as they arrived at a small village - barely more then a hamlet - nestled in a small valley. The unnamed village was completely without defences, a testimony as much to the fact that this region hadn't seen war in generations, as it was to the rundown state of the place.

Arriving outside what could only be what passed for an inn, the bards stop and see to it that their mule (affectionately named The Mule), Merigidian and Yaven’s steed are stabled in what passed for a stable in this inn. According to the directions given with the invitation, backed by a little research of their own, the Baron's estates are merely 4 hours further along the small road they had been travelling. However, the sun was about to set behind the cloud cover, it was still raining, and it was cold, so the decision to stay here for the night had been made. Better to arrive tomorrow, fresh, then to arrive tonight, tired and wet.

Making their way to the sturdy looking wooden door that leads into the building, the bards are each lost in their own wet inner world. Korbi in particular contemplates the upcoming Feast of Karthes, and the host, Baron Sanguis. About the feast itself, the Gnome's quite extensive resources had been able to turn up little. The feast was one celebrated every 100 or so years, and only by those in this small isolated region. Or rather, the nobles of this region. It was an established fact that only the ruling class acknowledged it, but the reason for this was unknown to the knowledgeable bard. The current Baron’s ancestor Karthes had established it over a millennia ago. At first those of the in power had used the event as one of great revelry, and open bloodshed at the expense of the peasants (,a probably reason why they don't recognise the feast). The initial bloodshed did not continue, and over the years the festival became a lot less notable. What very little speculation existed over the matter, was of the opinion that the feast had evolved into a small, quiet celebration, in which the ruling class congratulated itself on it's superiores over the rest of the population.

The rest of the companions in turn, rested their thoughts on Baron Sanguis himself. Descendent from a long line of men who had ruled Tolatakiva for beyond memory, the Baron is the fifth in a direct and unbroken line to wear the moniker of Sanguis. Sanguis the first was a mighty warrior, who travelled the lands a great extent, doing much good in the process. Those who followed however, did not posses the same wanderlust and were a reclusive lot. That was the one true distinguishing fact about the Baron and the region in general. It was Reclusive. It has little dealings with the outside world, and the outside world had little dealings with it. All concerned seemed happy with this arrangement, and thus it stayed.

Whilst thinking these thoughts, the bards pounded on the door to the inn, until a previously hidden peephole slid open.

"Who is it?" a shrill voice called out from behind the door. As if not expecting those outside to be able to answer for themselves the voice continued. "Strangers, no rift raft either by the looks of their clothes. Customers would be my guess. Well don't just stand out there in the cold and the wet, come in come in."

With that, the peephole slid shut, and the door creaked open to reveal the somewhat cramped inside. The walls of the building, were made out of mud and straw, while the roof was made out of thatch, and straw littered the ground, on which two tables fitting four sat. Not very elegant, but the room was dry, warm, and beat another four hours on the road hands down.

Entering the establishment, the bards see that the place is empty except for the owner of the shrill voice, a thin man, almost to the point of being gaunt, balding and wearing a filthy apron.
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Unread 18th of February, 2004, 03:47
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As long as we're out of the rain, Yavan tells himself, trying to relax amidst the rather poor inn. It is warm and it is dry, and that's something. Still, it isn't easy and Yavan has to keep himself from making any wry comments regarding the luxury, or lackthereof, present in the establishment.

He's grown too used to the finer inns, playing there in the evenings. Yavan's made a bit of a name for himself and the constant performance has done his skill and stage presence well. He's more certain of himself when he takes the stage and he's found his audiences to be more receptive. It isn't the Ineffable Chord, hell, it isn't even performing for the Duke, but he's on his way up and that's all that matters.

The Duke, thoughts of that performance still haunt him. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't make up for the other members of his band. Some had done their part, others had not. The fact that the evil, little wench went on to slit Beronas' throat and then flee does little to calm Yavan's thoughts. Beronas and the elf had never been close friends, but he didn't want the man to be slain, not like that.

And what of Biate? he wonders, remembering his status as chosen of a people being hunted to extinction. Their god, for whatever reason, had selected the four of them. He wonders how omnitient gods really are. Could Biate have known that Ilia would go mad? That Beronas would die uselessly? And that Yavan would end up alone and lost as to what he's to do? Likely this is some sort of sick, divine joke with Yavan as the punchline.

Sanguis. The name itself has bothered him since he heard it, and yet what choice does he have? He can't grow unless he goes to new places and learns new pieces. He isn't sure how useful either of his newfound companions will be either. Neither were musicians, exactly. The gnome could tell a good story and does well for when Yavan's voice is tired. The woman could tumble and had a fair voice, not quite at Yavan's level, but she compliments him on some of the pieces he performs. It isn't his old group, but then again, Yavan doesn't want to go through that again.

"Sanguis," he says while his companions seat themselves, "Sanguis. Sanguine. Either the good baron is a man dominated by his humor and passion. . .or it's by blood."
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Unread 18th of February, 2004, 04:27
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The rain had become a constant, annoying nemesis over the past week. Used to living in less than opulent conditions, at first Rina had simply done her best to cheerfully ignore their watery guest. That worked for a day or so. A week later and their guest had far overstayed his welcome. Everything she owned was wet and mud spattered. If they had to travel another day in this soggy mess she was going to scream. Her hair, normally loose and held back with merely a strip of leather, is pulled back in a ponytail to keep the wet strands from hanging in her face. She shakes the water from her cloak irritably as the innkeep takes a moment to size them up before letting them in.

Doesn't he see we are soaked through the skin?

They enter and she gratefully sheds her sodden cloak and hustles over to the fire. Rina ignores the slightly petulant look on Yavan's face as he surveys the surroundings, a small smile starting on her lips, as she lets the heat soak into her. He was used to better, but there were some things he'd better get used to. Oh, he was good enough to play in any one of a dozen courts. But if that's what he wanted, why hadn't he settled down in one? Because he wasn't content to sit around composing music for snobbish money counters. He wanted more than that, but he didn't seem to know quite what, and he spent his time searching for it.

For Rina, life was a little simpler. A wandering foot and a love of life in the moment; that was her. She'd been immediately attracted to the handsome elf but his playing was incredible and it only took a short time for her attraction to turn into admiration for his skill. He had a gift, and she was honored to join him on stage.

Her almond eyes fall on Korbi, his smallish figure still managing to cut a graceful profile despite the days in the rain. He played a passable flute, but he didn't have near the same talent that Yavan did. Then again, it wasn't the gnome's true passion. Knowledge and stories (big and small) fueled the fires of his heart.

The two men move to sit at one of the rough tables and she moves to join them with a slight twinge of regret as she leaves the dancing flames behind.

"Sanguis. Sanguine. Either the good baron is a man dominated by his humor and passion. . .or it's by blood."

She turns a graceful pirouette and laughs - a lilting, musical sound - before sitting down. She undoes the narrow band holding back her hair and runs her fingers though the auburn waves. Her musical voice contains a hint of an unusual accent.

"You can be so dramatic. If his blood is red he is driven by passion, yes?"
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Unread 19th of February, 2004, 01:48
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Despite being chilled to the bone, Korbi is glad to be out of the city. He'd all but had enough of the house's attitudes, and the feeling was becoming more and more mutual. Now, on the road, he is free to gather lore in the ways he knew best. From the people.

After all, it was through the people that he had found out that the elf had been selected for the Feast of Karthes, even before he himself knew. He knew where he would run into them, which ways they would head, and roughly how long it was take to get there. What he didn't know was that the rains would follow along as an ominous, silent traveller.

Tying his pony, Merigidian, under the awning, under the awning, he shook his blond hair free of the wet, the shock of red glistening from the moisture, and walked in along with the pair of taller bards. He still didn't know quite what to make of them, really.

Yavan's skills, while impressive, seemed to hold with them a sadness, even in the merriest of jigs. They spoke tales of true love, ever eternal, yet just out of the grasp of those who beheld it, of noble knights riding valiantly to their demise against the terrors of the night, and of damsels married to evil men in the hopes their lands would be spared his tyranny.

The woman was even more perplexing. She followed, yet led her own life beyond it, embodying the two opposites of what he had hoped would be a greater whole.

Yet, they were companions none the less, and he was glad to be travelling with them. "Adventure brings forth the story, and there is a story behind every adventure," his great uncle would always say, before spinning off on yet another glorious tale of his days as a youth when he himself adventured, delving into dungeons and battling ogres.

It was a life that Korbi had hoped to follow, but the confines of the house of Lore he had studied at had all but smothered that drive, the dream becoming muted and lifeless. Now, however, he had the chance to repaint his destiny, and oh, what bright colors he would use.

He places the sword in its sheath on the table in front of him, and looks at his companions. "From everything I have heard of the man, he keeps mostly to himself in his estate. I can't imagine he'd be passionate much about anything - from my experience, those who continue to coop themselves up in their libraries or their laboratories tend to become as musty as the books they pore over."
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Unread 19th of February, 2004, 06:41
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"You can be so dramatic. If his blood is red he is driven by passion, yes?"

Yavan rolls his eyes. Passion, humans were always talking about, or displaying, passion. Yet his understanding and her definition are likely very different. To her passion embodies the human spirit; a bright, but short burst of flame, an all-consuming emotion that threatens to sweep away one's soul. To Yavan, passion is the long, slow burning of fire in a hearth. It warms all the same but compared to the torch it can last almost forever. Barring a swift demise at the hands of the Baron, the elf will still be pursuing music, still be honing his craft a century from now; Rina will not. Privately Yavan thinks that it is this passion that causes humans to lead such short lives. Both Rina and Yavan are driven by passion, the only difference is that it will eventually take the human's life in trade for its heat. The elf won't feel the torch, but his skin will never be scalded.

This thought of mortality is nothing new. Death is but one spectre that haunts Yavan, and one he'd rather not think about on this afternoon. He looks over at the fireplace and smiles faintly. The hearth will serve just fine.

"Yes, perhaps he is a man of passion to have this celebration, but I would be interested to learn how his ancestors acquired that name," he drapes his cloak over a stool near the fire, "it is most unusual. Even moreso that a scholar would want this."

He looks to the bald man, his mind trying to remind him of something. There's something about him that Yavan doesn't like.

What's the saying? Never trust a thin innkeeper?

"Greetings, good man," he says, "we are most definitely customers. My name is Yavan a'Nyere, a humble musician, and these are my companions. They are entertainers as well. I'm not certain how many patrons you expect tonight, but we could provide a performance in exchange for a room and a meal. If not, well, I think you'll find our coin as solid as any other's."
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Unread 19th of February, 2004, 07:07
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"Yes, perhaps he is a man of passion to have this celebration, but I would be interested to learn how his ancestors acquired that name - it is most unusual. Even moreso that a scholar would want this."

"Fret not, for every heart is full to bursting with passions but most fear to swim in it's deep waters, preferring to wade on the shoreline. One is never too old to learn how to swim."

She smiles at Korbi's comment, for he spent a good amount of his time with his nose in a book. Wasn't the gnome proof enough that scholar's had as much passion as the rest?

"But if it is knowledge you seek, Korbi may well have heard something of this family, is that not true?"
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Unread 19th of February, 2004, 07:35
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Standing aside until addressed the man gives Yaven a slight bow.

"Minstrels eh? I had guessed as much from your instruments. Alas however, this is a poor inn, and I expected no guests tonight - even your arrival was a surprise to me. My humble establishment serves mostly as a drinking hole for those around, and customers after dark are rare."

Drawing himself up a bit, and attempting to look dignified in his soiled clothing - an attempt which fails - the man adds on.

"However if food is indeed what you desire, I shall have a side of venison roasting within minutes, and there is bread to go along with it. As to rooms however, I fear I have none. Those few travellers who chose to stay the night are forced to sleep in the common room. It is however very warm and comfortable at night,” he hastened to add.
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Unread 19th of February, 2004, 08:15
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"No patrons, you say?" Yavan raises an eyebrow, keeping his voice level and crushing the sarcastic quip that tries to escape, "Then you shall have to be the audience for tonight. My companions might be feeling a little under the weather, but given a hot meal and a change of clothes and I'd be happy to play a song or two. If you have any help, or a wife, they're more than welcome to attend."

He shouldn't be playing, shouldn't be working his voice on a night where he doesn't need to, but it's hard to resist the opportunity to play, even if it's only for one person. It's part of the reason why he hasn't settled down in a city, earning money by the fistful. It isn't really the audience that matters, although the praise and adoration certainly don't hurt, it's the opportunity to share the music that's interwoven with his soul. He looks at it like a disease, although a very beneficial one; music is contagious, and if you play the right tune, nobody can resist it. It usually starts in the feet, although occasionally one can see it begin with the head. Uncontrollable tapping or nodding along with the beat is a sure sign of infection. The later stages find one's body almost entirely uncontrollable, flailing about, sometimes with a partner. Yet even after this passes, the disease proves itself to be terminal. Once you hear that song, once you experience it; it never leaves you.

"Fret not, for every heart is full to bursting with passions but most fear to swim in it's deep waters, preferring to wade on the shoreline. One is never too old to learn how to swim."

Yavan sighs, shaking his head. He expected such a response from her and knows it's directed at him. The elf wonders how much pain would be caused by being burned by passion and then having to live on for several hundred more years. At least when it comes to such things humans have the advantage. It's easy to give and take freely when your life is measured in decades, when you don't need to deal with the consequences.

"The shore is far safer, and you needn't worry about drowning or what lurks in the deep," he says, looking down at his very wet clothes, "All this talk of water reminds me that I have a dry change of clothes, or at least one that's less wet."

Moving to the fire, the elf places his back on the floor and pulls another set of clothing out. He's right, it is less wet. He peels off his drenched clothes and puts on the new set, unconcerned with the proximity of his companions. When you've lived for over a century, you become comfortable with your body and learn that modesty is highly overrated. Feeling a fair bit improved, Yavan takes his seat again with his companions and awaits the meal.

"Perhaps the innkeep will know more of this Baron." He's in good humor, despite the nagging suspicion that nothing is as it seems.

It rarely is.

Letting the gentle warmth of the fire seep into his bones, Yavan awaits dinner.
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Unread 19th of February, 2004, 08:58
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"The shore is far safer, and you needn't worry about drowning or what lurks in the deep,"

Rina just smiles at his back, shaking her head slightly, and watches his lithe figure as he disrobes and then dresses. The fire behind him plays a brilliant song of light and shadow across his lean physique.

Yavan, Yavan, Yavan. Still afraid of your own feelings.

Yes, the depths of pain and sorrow and loss were deep. Without risking those depths you could never truly climb the heights of joy, or pleasure, or excitement. And those peaks and valleys were important to map if you were an artist, absorbed with depicting the landscape for others to see. She looks away before he turns back to them, winking at the look Korbi shoots her.

"Perhaps the innkeep will know more of this Baron."

"In a place this small, all should know more about him than we do."
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Unread 19th of February, 2004, 09:24
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"I must beg your leave," The bartender says when the performance is mentioned. "Once I have seen to your needs I must need retire myself. I have an early rise tomorrow, and am an old man who needs his rest."

With that the man leaves the bards along for a few minutes before returning wearing a new apron which isn't clean, yet is closer to that state, then it is to it's predecessor’s, a loaf of bread - not fresh, nor made of finely ground wheat, but still not quite stale, and still very eatable, and the afore mentioned side of venison.

Setting the bread down on a table, the man deftly sets up a metal spit over the heath, which was obviously designed for the very said purpose. Placing the venison on the spit, the room quickly fills with the smell of cooking meat, which does a great deal to add to the seeming comfort of the place. Once the meat was set up, the balding man turned to the Bards.

"Is there anything else I may do to ensure your comfort? A drink perhaps? I have 2 types of ale available. The normal one I distribute, or the more exclusive one I keep for guests of more refined taste- it does however cost more. I would have to charge you 5copper piece a mug."
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Unread 20th of February, 2004, 01:38
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Korbi looks up at the innkeep, smiling lightly. "A mog of your finest ale, my good sir."

Still in his damp clothes, but not quite so cold, he follows the conversation silently, the discourse flowing so freely and beautifully between the two musicians that he was afraid to throw his stone in and break the serenity with ripples.

"Perhaps the innkeep will know more of this Baron."

"In a place this small, all should know more about him than we do."


He grins, inwardly accepting the challenge brought forth from the woman with the auburn hair.

"Well, from what I've heard of him, the Baron is a reclusive fellow, staying within his mansion all the time, as I said earlier. He usually acts through his agent, one 'Janus Brodier'. I'll keep my ears open and memry wracked to figure out who he is, though one would assume we would meet him sson enough."

He stretches and looks at the pair once more, chewing contentedly on a slice of venison. Between mouthfuls, he continues his tale.

"As for the name, if I remember correctly, the original Sanguis was a rather famed hero. I remember my great-uncle Torivilian telling me that it was he who quashed the goblin raid in the city of Pratuul in the Crunith Valley, and battled with the Great Black Drake of the Imp's Teeth mountains.

"I assume that his ancestors began to take his name as a mark of respect to this once great hero, and it became tradition from then on."

He takes out his tobacco pipe from one of the belt pouches, as well as some of the cut smoking tobacco, praying a silent thanks to the gods for keeping at least this pouch dry. He puts some of the dried brown plant root into the silvered bulb at the end of the pipe, and looks to his companions, as well as to the inkeeper if he still remains.

"You don't mind if I smoke at all in here, do you?"
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Unread 20th of February, 2004, 03:55
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Yavan frowns but gives the innkeeper a curt nod. The man has his own business to attend to and the elf will not deny him that, but it seems strange to refuse a performance, especially such a select one. The elf almost takes personal offense to the refusal. A man, a commoner at that, declining to take an hour to listen to what is likely the best musician to come to his abode in a decade. It's almost unbelievable. Yet it happens all the same and Yavan shrugs. It's his loss.

"I would have some of that ale," he says. At five coppers a mug, it can't be that fine, but it will beat whatever grog is served as the house brew.

The meal itself is better than he expected, and while the bread isn't quite good, it isn't entirely bad either. It's good and it will keep him going, sometimes that's all you need. Although remembering some of the fine stews, roasted chickens, and fruits he's had at various other inns doesn't help reinforce that thought.

"I assume that his ancestors began to take his name as a mark of respect to this once great hero, and it became tradition from then on."

"So the man has a hero in his line, very good, but we aren't meeting with the original Sanguis."

He enjoys the little history bit and wonders if there might be a song or story further exploring this man's heroics. Yet it doesn't answer his questions, not at all. A father can sire a villain just as easily as he can another hero. It seems that the former happens more than it should.

The man returns with their drinks and Yavan asks, "One more question, good man, before you retire. What do you know of the Baron? We were. . .invited to this feast that he's holding."

Finishing his meal and taking a pull from the ale, Yavan produces his lute from its case. He's paid well to make certain his instruments aren't damaged in weather like this. Making certain his fingers are clean, Yavan warms his fingers up, plucking scales and pieces of songs while his fingers work their way into the melodies.
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Unread 20th of February, 2004, 05:33
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As she expects, Korbi does indeed have some information on the count locked away beneath his blond-red hair. He is, as usual, more than happy to share it. Her teeth flash at the triumphant look on his face as he relates his tale. It had become a little game between them - her offhandedly asking obscure, mostly rhetorical, questions and he attempting to answer them nevertheless. She lost more than she won but it was fun and, as it happens, educational.

"I would have some of that ale,"

"And me, as well."

She didn't have much money, but then again, she never seemed to have much money. Saving for a rainy day was all well and good, but if you spent it now you ran less risk of being robbed.

"So the man has a hero in his line, very good, but we aren't meeting with the original Sanguis."

She gives Yavan a slightly petulant look before shrugging to Korbi. The elf just couldn't resist lowering the joviality, could he? They eat in almost near silence - from this group, a testament to either good food or extreme hunger. Given the nature of their dinner, one would probably choose the latter. When they have finished, Yavan begins warming up. He rarely let an opportunity to practice pass him by. Rina sits back and leans her head against the wall, regarding the room through lowered lashes. To hear him play was a treat no matter how many times she heard it.
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Unread 20th of February, 2004, 08:30
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Returning back into the room bearing 3 mugs and a pitcher of ale, the man sets them down and begins pouring as he answers Korbi's question.

"No, I don't mind. More then one of my regular's partake of the habit, so I have become used to the smell."

"One more question, good man, before you retire. What do you know of the Baron? We were ...invited to this feast that he's holding."

With a sudden jerk at the question the man drops the pitcher he was holding, breaking it and spilling ale on the straw covered floor. A look of fear crosses the man's eyes as he bends over to pick up the broken crockery.

"I don't know nothing about the Baron. Now I must to bed."

With that, before anyone can stop him, the man almost runs from the room.
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Unread 21st of February, 2004, 06:53
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Rina's eyes follow the innkeep as he scurries out the room, swiveling her head to follow his progress. In the silence that follows his abrupt departure she sighs, drawing the attention of her companions. Resting her chin in one hand she gives a wry smile.

"If this man is to be believed then it seems I was wrong - we do know more than the locals."

Despite her casual air, the innkeep's reaction disturbs her. Of course, it would likely disturb anyone but Yavan was doomsaying the baron before this ever came up. Rina doesn't want to add any more wood to that fire.

"Of course, I am seldom wrong."
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Unread 21st of February, 2004, 07:26
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"Of course, I am seldom wrong."

"I can't think of a time when you have been," he says, sarcasm worn to mask his concern.

The glimmer of satisfaction, of knowing that he's right about this Baron, is crushed beneat the iron-shod boot of reality. If the innkeeper, regardless of how trustworthy he might be, is afraid and claims to know nothing of his ruler, then things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better. And yet, what proof does he have? By all intents this Baron Sanguis should be regarded as a decent man. As far as Yavan knows, Sanguis rules over a peaceful region. He hasn't heard of any atrocities. In fact, he hasn't heard anything about this corner of the world. He's grateful for Korbi's presence and knowledge, helping to protect Yavan from his ignorance.

And yet, the innkeep's sudden flight concerns him. Moreover the insistance on everything being locked and bolted at night causes the elf to wonder what goes on in these parts at night. Yet through all of this his fingers pick and strum, producing faint, slow melodies. He frowns though, and bites his lip.

"It would seem this Baron might be different from his heroic ancestor. We would do well to be on our guard from here on. An exclusive performance could draw some money, but it isn't worth. . ." He trails off, letting his companions fill it in for themselves.
  #17  
Unread 23rd of February, 2004, 23:56
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Korbi nods, his copper-blonde hair gleaming in the dying light of the hearth. "I'll do what I can to glean information from someone about our good friend in the time we have before your performance - let us hope it will be enough."

He looks unhappily at the puddle of ale on the floor, having hoped to have a taste of it before sleeping. He shrugs and heads to his rucksack, taking his flute out of its case and practicing it, allowing a soothing melody float through the small establishment, hoping to soothe its occupants.
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  #18  
Unread 25th of February, 2004, 03:49
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Yavan trails off ominously and Rina smiles, but within she is feeling the first fingers of unease creep up her spine. She nods to Korbi when he speaks, her smile a touch warmer. If anyone could learn something about the elusive Baron it was the gnome. Speech disappears like the last glimmer of sunlight on the western horizon, yet silence does not reign. Instead, the little common room is strewn with the scattered sound of half-formed music as the two musicians practice their art.

Predictably, it doesn't take long before the two are playing off each other. Yavan follows Korbi's lead, emulating the smooth notes of the flute, before launching into a melody of his own. As the song begins to form, Rina finds herself thinking about the past. The song takes hold of her and she rises and sings along with them, her voice sultry and sweet and full of longing.

Silken sails painted sandy red
Silver rivers on the moon
White mist on reedy mornings
The blazing sun at high noon

Graceful exploitations
Old beshadowed roots
Dark hair and chains of gold
The scent in the middle
Of a hand
That could hold a butterfly
And yet crush her bones to blue

They roam like
The light of the Nomad
Until the world drifts distant
Like the sands of the Aranha
’Til nothing’s left but their pain
And the thought that
They are the desert
Who nearly never need the rain
  #19  
Unread 5th of March, 2004, 04:29
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Despite the innkeeper’s abrupt departure, the night passes peacefully and all three of the bards sleep well. Upon awaking the trio find that during the night the rain had broken, yet the clouds still hang low, making it seem like it will start to rain again any moment.

There is also no sign of the Innkeeper. Considering the fact that he almost fled from their presence the night before, and the fact that they already settled accounts with him made it seem unlikely that he would show up before they left.

None the less, just as the companions are about the leave the innkeeper emerges and cautiously approaches the companions, bearing an object wrapped in an old cloth. Thrusting it into the hands of the closest bard, the old man only mutters, "Take it," before hurrying back inside.
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  #20  
Unread 10th of March, 2004, 02:59
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Yavan eyes the object placed into his hands, trying to feel its shape through the cloth wrapping. Fingers trace the edges of it, feeling for a shape or any markings without actually opening it. He doesn't trust what this man might want to give them, particularly after such poor service the night before. The feeling of unease and foreboding at meeting Sanguis intensifies. Yavan longs for the days when he didn't receive mysterious objects from bizarre strangers.

Biate, Biate, Biate. At the very least his followers were easier to understand. I'd battle that shadow demon again before I would stay in this Baron's castle.

His companions look on, seeming more eager to have the object revealed than Yavan. They are both more impulsive than the reserved elf is, and with good reason. Rina burns with the passion of humanity, and Korbi is driven by a hunger for knowledge. If this is something other than a loaf of bread, they will likely be interested. Relucantly his nimble fingers unwrap the object.
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Unread 10th of March, 2004, 03:36
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Feeling the object through the cloth, Yaven can tell that the object is round, small enough to fit into the palm of his hand, and defiantly metal from the weight. Unwrapping it carefully, the object turns out to be a metal medallion. With a leather thong showing that it is designed to wear around your neck, the face of the medallion shows a worn picture of twin suns, and a cresent moon positioned between them.

The object is obviously a holy symbol, but to a god that Yaven has never encountered in his long years of life and travel.
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  #22  
Unread 10th of March, 2004, 03:40
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Korbi, already on his pony, looks downward upon the small symbol in the elf's hands. He reaches out to it to take it from Yavan's hopefully willing hands to examine it closer, racking his mind for any information on the holy symbol or it's patron deity.
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Unread 10th of March, 2004, 04:22
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Gloom, gloom, gloom.

Rina eyes the leaden clouds overhead unhappily. She thinks wistfully back to her days with the Red Sails, surrounded by sun and sand nearly continously; rain clouds were almost unheard of. When the innkeep emerges a smile starts on her face as she wonders what odd bit of business was on his mind. The smile fades to grey, matching the overcast sky above as he thrusts a package to Yavan and scurries off.

Things were getting more odd by the moment. She catches the dull gleam of metal as the elf unwraps the neckalce and -true to form- Korbi is quick to try and identify it. Her eyes travel to the worn structure of the inn, momentarily more curious about why the man might give something to them than what it actually was.

A delayed gift for their impromptu performance? Unlikely, considering the fact that nobody had even bothered to show up to it. Yavan's reservations about their host suddenly seemed more sinister, given the reaction of the innkeep last night and his newfound generosity. Rina looks once more at the gnome.

"Strange. What can you tell us, Master Korbi?"
  #24  
Unread 10th of March, 2004, 04:58
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Korbi doesn't need to ask before Yavan thrusts the medallion into his small, slightly gnarled hands. The elf knew how the gnome must be chomping at the bit to get ahold of such an unusual item. Yavan hasn't even come to grips with being a chosen of Biate. He barely even understands what that deity is, let alone another representing twin suns and a lonely moon. He passes it off as the symbol for a local god or perhaps spirit. Yet the symbol glints slightly, taunting him with its secrets. He tells himself that it's better that the gnome holds it and thrusts the thoughts of higher beings out of his mind.

"Yes, I think one mysterious benefactor is enough for us, we don't need two."

The irony if his statement strikes him. How could he know that he wasn't receiving aid from another spiritual patron? He had always assumed that Beronas had done or said something to Ilia before she snapped. Now he begins to wonder if it might not have been some divine intervention that had spared his throat. Or that it wasn't happenstance that had given him these two companions, so very different from him, and had set him down this path toward a very disconcerting celebration. The ground feels as if it were dissolved from beneath him and his frown deepens.

Worried about who and what the players are in this game, Yavan waits for Korbi's response.
  #25  
Unread 11th of March, 2004, 03:55
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Korbi looks at the small medallion, running his book-worn fingers over the ridges and dips in the image on it. His gnomish face scrunches slightly in pensive thought, running through his mind the information he has picked up from the years in the halls of lore he had grown up in.

"I remember very little about this piece, though I know it was a religion centered around the worship of something called the double suns, or some such. I don't remember reading about the name of the deity worshipped in this religion, but it was located in this area, that much I'm certain of. It's a very, VERY old one though - I hadn't thought there were even those still around who venerated it."

He closes his hand over the amulet, looking at the two taller bards with a look of seriousness in his eyes that neither of the other two are accustomed to seeing on the gnome. "The deity is supposed to protect innocents, or protect something at the very least. That's about all I can remember, I'm afraid."

He looks up at the road towards the Baron's Keep, the first look of doubt flickering across his face as to whether they should really be doing this.

"Toren, dralesabt op saccure."
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