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Unread 6th of January, 2016, 17:13
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Chapter 1: ...And she Wove a Tapestry...

18th of Ascending Water, RY 768
The Falucan River, Varangia -- Afternoon

The Falucan river is the 2nd widest river in the Varang City-States, and the one closest to its border with the Harhorhead nation, making it one of the busiest thoroughfares in the entirety of Varangia with boats, rafts, and barges constantly crossing and docking and sailing its breadth. However the Varang are very particular about who foreigners interact with, so they maintain the bridge which the Great Coastal Road uses to cross the river. Built at some point in the First Age, the Falucan Bridge (as it is called) has proven quite robust, its pillars withstanding both time, impact from the occasional careless captain, and the seasonal flooding that takes place during the rain season.

Which is usually during the season of Water. Which is now.

A torrential downpour has risen the river nearly halfway up the pillars supporting the bridge; the raindrops heavy, numerous, and unrelenting in their seeming intent to flood the world. Thankfully the bridge is large enough that the Varangians built a caravansary for travelers to use while on the bridge. A small Guild caravan has decided to stop there for the day, but even a small guild caravan encompasses a dozen draft animals and nearly fifty guards and merchants. Most of them seemed to be enjoying the fact that they are inside instead of being soaked as you both walk in, water dripping from your clothes.
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Unread 6th of January, 2016, 20:04
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Ehar smiles to himself at the sight of the Guild caravan. Time to make some friends.

Ehar pulls back the hood of his cloak and hands Wayfaring Rambler's Friend to Tia, then walks up to the largest gathering of Guild members and works himself in among them alongside their fire, trading friendly greetings and broad smiles with all those present. Gradually, he introduces himself and Tia to everyone who cares to listen, telling them their tragic tale. How he Raheed, and his niece Toshaa came to be stuck in Varang ("A nation that is less than kind to strangers, as you well know") after their small caravan was attacked by bandits on its way to the coast. How they became separated from the group and ran from the scene, and never found the bandits nor the caravan again and have been wandering for months now. How just having a fire and warm food again, maybe even a job if work is available, would mean a great deal to Toshaa- and to him, just until the next town.


Last edited by Daedalus; 6th of January, 2016 at 20:48.
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Unread 6th of January, 2016, 21:54
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Taking Wayfaring Rambler's friend, Tia trails behind Ehar, the tapping of her walking stick just a few seconds ahead of her own footsteps. She's played this game before, over the few months she's known Ehar. The first time ended disastrously; this time, she resolves to simply keep her mouth shut.

Around her she hears the talk of the caravaners, the thumps as they check their inventory and eat their meals. There's no rain here and she can feel the heat from various fires, knowing Ehar, he's probably heading for the largest one. Finally they stop, and she lets Ehar work his magic.

As her friend spins his tale she nods in agreement. So, I'm Toshaa this time. Okay, I can handle that. When Ehar's tale reaches it's high point, Tia does her best to look meek, confused and more than a little grateful for the hospitality. At least I don't have to pretend to be grateful, she thinks as she huddles close to warmth of the fire.
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Unread 2nd of March, 2016, 07:07
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The Guild members stink with the smell of sweat and draft animals. It's the first thing anyone notices on any caravaneer really, the product of long hours of walking tacked on to the close proximity to their animals. Most people unfamiliar with this fact are invariably caught off guard, and Guild members especially are always on the lookout for those caught off their guard.

Which is why as Ehar--now in the guise of Raheed--sat down and began to speak and eat and drink with them they accepted him without question. No reaction to the smell implies familiarity, and familiarity will always make new friends. Especially when combined with a believable story, corraborating evidence in the form of a blind "niece", and a copious supply of Essence.

The Guild Guard (as these men jokingly refer to themselves as) are the predominate group around you. They are lead by Vibol, an average looking Southerner who could be lost in a crowd if the Guard had not identified him as their commander.

"Probably Harborheadites," the man says in reference to what little information Raheed could offer on his attackers. He speaks in a voice that barely rises above the noise in the tavern. "They keep skirmishing with the Varangians, and they don't see a reason not to raid caravans when they're over the border." His tone is professional, thought hints of warmth break through it now and again to signify a certain camaraderie.

"As for jobs, well I gotta admit we're kinda full up. Varang isn't really too dangerous--'cept near the borders and we made it through there without a hitch--and the Caravan Master probably isn't looking to hire either. Profits and all that." He almost spits out the word "profits" and he goes to take another draught from his mug. But suddenly a gleam appears in his eye and he puts the mug back down. One can almost hear a conspiratorial tone in his voice all of the sudden as his voice drops to just a bit below the ruckus around you.

"Y'know, maybe I do got something. Not with the Caravan, but...well. It isn't something too hard, course you hear that all the time from everyone offering a job. I will say it might involve a bit of a fight, but if things go even half right you just gotta look threatening and you get paid, no skull bashing needed."
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Unread 2nd of March, 2016, 19:27
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Raheed matches Vibol's tone and leans in a little closer to the man. "I don't mind a little violence, Vibol, but I wouldn't dream of putting my niece into undue danger." He takes a swig of his drink and considers for a moment, then continues, "Still, you definitely have my attention, and both Toshaa and myself have learned to defend ourselves on this road, so we are certainly suitable candidates. Perhaps a few more details are in order before I can commit us to this job?"

Ehar smiles and leans back, genuinely enjoying the banter. It's the first time in a long while that Ehar has really had the chance to chat up a stranger before everything erupts into confusion and violence, and he fully plans to enjoy this moment while he can.

Last edited by Daedalus; 4th of March, 2016 at 16:46.
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Unread 4th of March, 2016, 12:12
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"Ah, see, now there's the hitch," Vibol said as he looked down into his mug. "I'm not the one with the job, I just know a few details. Bodyguard duty for a meetings of some sort. Pay is good, real good." He glances to his sides to ensure that no one is listening, then leans forward to whisper to Raheed. It barely crosses the foot or so between them over the sounds in the tavern.

"Two dinars. Can't say anymore, but if you're interested be here in the tavern at dawn and speak to me. I'll point you to the one that can."

He leans back with a smirk on his face, then fishes into his pocket and pulls out a slip of paper. "Here. This is for a room here for the night, just show it to the keeper behind the counter and they'll give you a key. Figure you and yer niece might want a room after all you've been through."
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Unread 9th of March, 2016, 03:30
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Two dinars. Ehar thinks back to just a couple years ago, when he was helping a cousin with an audit of the Ragara fortune. Two dinars was nothing to me then. Now it's the difference between buying food and stealing it. He snaps out of his reverie and slides his easy smile back on, hoping his reminiscing had gone unnoticed, then Raheed takes the slip of paper from Vibol's hand.

"Thanks Vibol. It's good to know that even in a land such as this, there are still people who are friends to strangers. I'll see you tomorrow morning."

Raheed finishes his drink and excuses himself and his niece from the company, then rises and heads to the keeper with voucher in hand. "Come Toshaa, our new friends have lent us a bed for the night. Let's go get some sleep."
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Unread 10th of March, 2016, 19:01
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Tia listens to the conversation with a kind of bored comprehension. Ehar liked to play these things out, make people feel at ease, but Tia already knew his decision: he'd take the job, they needed the money too badly to do otherwise. Good thing too, for all her improved combat abilities she had no talent for either stealing or hunting.

Lost in thought she almost misses her "uncle" calling her by her new name. After a moment she realizes her mistake and stands, bowing slightly in the direction of the stranger's voice. "Thank you. We're most grateful for your hospitality" With that she holds out her walking stick for Ehar to lead her.

When she can no longer hear the sounds of strangers she moves in close to her companion and whispers in his ear, "You realize if this job ends in violence we're not going to get paid."
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Unread 11th of March, 2016, 17:01
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Ehar nods, a gesture he immediately remembers is meaningless to his compatriot. "I have thought of that, and I think I have a decent plan for if- no, when- that happens."

Ehar looks around, double checking to make sure no one is within earshot, then leans in and whispers, "I think this group will buy it. I think we played the meek and grateful vagabonds well enough this time. If we get into a fight, we play gods. All-in, no holding back. We declare that we're, I don't know, Ita, Eternal Traveler and Gaalt, Justice Unburdened by Sight. Or something, we'll figure it out. These mortals have earned our Favor with their hospitality. Stories spread of gods defending the land, maybe we get some followers, we get tribute, tribute buys food and supplies, and pretty soon we've carved out our own little nation down here. If it goes right." Ehar's face sours and he sighs.

"Which it won't. Still, we can try. What do you say?"

Last edited by Daedalus; 11th of March, 2016 at 17:04.
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Unread 12th of March, 2016, 22:25
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Tia scratches her head as she thinks about Ehar's question. Why would we try a plan you think is gonna fail? No, nevermind, don't answer that question." She sighs as Ehar continues to lead her toward their room.

"Let's try it. The worst that happens is we're back to running again." She can hear the noises of other people again, the sounds of chattering and thumps of people's feet fill her ears. They must be at the tavern. "I trust you'll keep me safe 'uncle', at least for a little while longer."
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Unread 15th of May, 2016, 07:53
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19th of Ascending Water, RY 768
The Falucan River, Varangia -- Morning

Morning's light was diffuse and dim as the rain of the previous day continued its downpour. As the two of you descend back into the tavern Vibol is preparing his subordinates for the day's coming travels. Shouting obscenities he began overturning chairs and throwing those who had drunk too much the previous evening out of their chairs. When others began laughing at their compatriots he swung around on them, "Time is money you sand-drowned layabouts," he shouted at them, authority ringing in his voice. "Sooner we get moving, sooner we start getting paid! So MOVE!!"

Spotting Raheed, Vibol smirked and looked pointedly at a large cloaked figure who sat with their back to the stairs. Sipping from what appeared to be a bowl of soup, dark skin could be seen on the stranger's hand as it reached out periodically. Kicking one last unconscious figure from a chair, Vibol moved to meet the pair as they reached the bottom of the stairs.

"See, I thought your story last night sounded familiar," he stated, his voice losing its contempt but still easily heard throughout the room. He led Raheed (and Toshaa by extension) towards the figure and kept talking. "Luckily I recalled a similar story from a few days ago and was able to get ahold of its teller before we left." Stopping at the table just behind the figure, who had placed the bowl down and was just beginning to turn around, Vibol continued. "Now you probably don't need any introduction but this is Tama and these--" "Raheed! Toshaa!"

The voiced boomed even louder than Vibol's as the figure leapt up out his chair and strode towards Raheed with his arms outstretched. The man was quite large, perhaps a few inches above Ehar even, and his large muscled arms spoke of either an intense training regime or a life of hard labor. A neatly trimmed beard around his mouth accentuated the enormous grin on his face. His eyes beamed with familiarity and relief, and he wrapped his arms around Raheed, lifting him up a few inches before setting him back on the ground. To Toshaa he reached down and gently touched her shoulder with his hand.

"Truly the Gods have favored me today! I dared not even hope the two of you had escaped after the attack!"

Last edited by red_dr4g0n94; 15th of May, 2016 at 09:58.
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Unread 15th of May, 2016, 18:31
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Ehar manages to maintain his composure and smile widely, forcing his rising panic to subside. I am a Scion of House Ragara. I am a stone that cannot be shaken by the tumult of the world. he thinks to himself, and he feels his inner reserves of magic flow through him, calming his nerves and suffusing his words. Now what are we facing? A friend? An enemy? A test? Or perhaps we are all fools being played by the gods, and this man truly lost a Toshaa and a Raheed. Ehar swiftly plays the man's words over again in his head, listening for tone and hidden meanings, reaching his conclusion about this stranger's intentions before his hand reached Tia's shoulder.

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Unread 16th of May, 2016, 15:44
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"T-Tama! By all the Gods, we are truly blessed to see one another again!" Ehar embraces the stranger, then pulls away. "I have so many questions! How you survived, what of the others! How is it that you have come to travel alone?" Ehar gives a knowing nod to Vibol before addressing him, "Vibol, ten thousand praises be upon you for this! Were it not for your kindness..." Ehar trails off as though lost in thought, then continues, "...but I must beg your pardon, we have much to discuss and you have much to do to ready your troops."

"Tama, shall we take this conversation elsewhere? We have a great deal of catching up to do, and I fear remaining here would impede these men as they prepare to continue their journey." Ehar cocks his head towards the room he and Tia had just arrived from, a quizzical look on his face and wariness in his eyes.
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Unread 18th of May, 2016, 12:29
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A frown of annoyance slips onto Tia's face before she recomposes herself. Trying to play the roll of all the aliases Ehar created for her is annoying enough, but now they're being played for fools. Whoever this stranger is, he probably means them ill. They should cut their losses and leave, but Ehar stands fast and Tia stays with him.

When the stranger's (Tama?) hand hits her shoulder it takes all of Tia's willpower not to recoil. Already Ehar is spinning more lies and asking questions. Well, best play along. She lays her own hand on top of Tama's and turns toward his voice, "Tama! I thought I'd never hear your voice again. It was so chaotic when the attack happened I feared the worst. I have so many questions. Uncle is right, we should get some privacy; it's been so long I'm sure we all have our tales to tell. Tia bats her eyes in something she's pretty sure is demure.
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Unread 5th of June, 2016, 05:20
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As both Exalts in disguise express their joy (one more convincingly than the other) at his unexpected appearance, Tama laughs. It is a deep rumble that rolls over all like a rock slide, but with warmth instead of crushing death. "Oh my friends, it is good to hear your voices again, though I do wish next time you would use them one at a time!" Vibol chuckles at that, then breaks away from the three of you to deal with his soldiers.

Tama's face turns a bit more somber at Vibol's exit and his voice lowers to a mere growl. "You both have questions as do I. While I would normally agree to a more private area for discussions I fear I am here on borrowed time and must be moving soon." He gestures towards your meager possessions and then the doorway. "Forgive me for being presumptuous, but if you both are prepared to leave anyhow why not accompany me while we exchange stories. I know the rain makes for poor conversation but when we reach my destination I am certain they would be willing to hire you on as they have me."
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Unread 6th of June, 2016, 16:54
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Questions indeed. "Very well, Tama. Please, lead the way. We will be right behind you." Ehar instinctively nods to Tia, though the gesture is completely lost on her. Doing his best to keep the growing annoyance at this whole charade concealed, he forces a smile and says, "Come, Toshaa, it is time for us all to move on."
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