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  #26  
Unread 30th of October, 2002, 17:49
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The paladin notes the approaching minstrel, mainly because his aura appears different than the environment, allowing him to stand out against the background. A slight haze surrounds the bard, speaking of an ulterior motive that simply hasn't yet germinated into fully-realized intent.

He dare not leave the unusual priestess alone with this man, or with nearly anyone else in the bar for that matter; she was one of the few who didn't register in his Sight.

The constant barrage of information, still new to him and somewhat disorienting, was beginning to give him a headache. Squinting his eyes shut didn't help block out the Sight, but the removal of normal visual input did make it somewhat bearable.

Thus, unbeknownst to the minstrel or the monk, was the paladin not exactly in the most cordial mood for visitors.

His mood, if not his reasoning, becomes apparent as soon as the minstrel is within range of hearing. Eyes closed tight, and with his hands on his temples, he says -- rather brusquely -- just one word of address.

"What?!"
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Unread 31st of October, 2002, 02:30
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Making his way over to the last table in the room, Nicos idly flips a coin across his knuckles. As he reaches the table, the Paladins sharp question catches the normal flippant Bard off guard.

"I ... ahh..." Suddenly coming to a halt, Nicos drops the coin he was toying with. Leaning down to pick it up, he looks upon the table once again, this time with out the shock.

"I am assuming that you ask why I approached your table," Nicos replies with an arched eyebrow. Not waiting for a reply, he continues.

"I in-fact have 3 reasons or being here. First and simplest, I wish to discover if the food was to your satisfaction. Second, I was going to offer my talents for some entertainment, which I now doubt will be accepted. Third and finally, I was wondering if I could steal some of your companions time."

With this Nicos shifts his attention away from Paladin and to Maeko

"You have the look of someone who just came off the road, and no doubt you are tired, but the night is yet young."
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  #28  
Unread 31st of October, 2002, 03:04
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Somehow disturbed by Paladin's reaction, might he be unwell?, Maeko adresses her calm smile to the entertainer.

" Please, excuse my companion, we have long and weary road behind us.
I am in debt. Food was truly excellent.
Also, I promised to speak with you before retiring, I was waiting for you to finish performing...Your 'art' is very interesting".

How fitting...a former brother entertaining people with illusions: who knows if this could bring a glimpse of the thruth to the uninitiated?
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  #29  
Unread 31st of October, 2002, 09:52
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"My dear lady, there is nothing to excuse, nor is there any debt"
Bowing slightly to Paladin

" Sir if I have done anything to give you offence, I beg your pardon."

Rising from he bow, with what appears to be his ever-ready smile, Nicos flips the coin around in his hand, and with a flash, it disappears.

"These? No these are not the arts of a Bard. These are party tricks, simple and yet likely to entertain those who are less imaginative, or just too tired to care."

Holding his hand out so that it is clear it is empty, he then reaches forwards slowly so that it is clear he means no threat. Reaching his hand to just by her ear, he makes a motion with his hand, and draws it back holding the coin. With a sigh and his smile fading, Nicos shoves it into a pocket.

"The true arts of a bard are in the music. There have been great performances where they meld instrument, voice into a music it so smooth that it is like liquid silk."

Grinning again he holds out his arm.

" I however have been reduced to singing only"

Glancing over his shoulder at the small amount of people left, Nicos give a small sigh.

"I think a good way to end the evenings entertainment would be a tale. If you excuse me this will take me a few minutes to prepare for."

With a small nod of his head, Nicos moves back to the corner set aside for performing.
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  #30  
Unread 1st of November, 2002, 01:15
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Later, she sits at the table cleaner than she's been in months and at the same time more polluted. There is only a finger or two left in her bottle and she feels the warmth and tingle of drink in the skin of her face. Instead of her concealing cloak she wears only a simple linen shift, unbelted; the only clean piece of clothing she owns. Her grey eyes are softer than they've been as she stares into the mirror that sits across from at the table, leaning against the wall. The white scar beneath her eyes almost glows against her dusky skin in the light of a single candle.

She looks small and almost vulnerable, the lethal blades hanging from the back of her chair are a striking contrast to her demeanor. Her feet are tucked up against her, arms resting on her knees. The focus of her eyes shifts from the mirror to the small silver pendant dangling from her hands.

Who am I?

It was a simple question to which there was no simple answer. She had run from the life fate had doled out to her; she just wasn't cut out to be anybody's housewife, least of all some baker in her own small home village. She had run from that and, being the youngest in a large and less than prosperous family, she doubted anybody had really missed her though they probably missed the coin they would have gotten for her. Trouble. That's what she had always been; and lazy too, if her mother's word was to be given any weight, always looking for the easy way out.

Her gaze shifts again, and suddenly hard eyes stare back at her from the mirror. The life she had found was far harder than anything she had ever imagined. She'd never be mistaken for a wife or somebody's mother but she'd never be powerless either, or at another's mercy. She did what she wanted, with nobody to tell her otherwise. She had power; power over herself, the power of life and death over others. She could come and go without a trace, take what others protected, find what they tried to hide.

A shadow, but a shadow with teeth.

Light catches the silver of the pendant; the depiction of Hieronous is edged in flame and engraved with darkness. Half mesmerized as it slowly spins, she wonders why she kept it. She had no use for gods, or even for charms. She made her own luck, and her actions were in her name not anybody else's. True, it might fetch a coin or two if sold, but it wasn't for sale. It meant nothing to her and at the same time it meant more than the sack of coins lying next to her bed.

A dream, is all, the rememberance of a dream.
  #31  
Unread 1st of November, 2002, 07:08
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A red haze over everything.

The Sight tries to blot out everything else, trying its best to obscure his vision, revealing deceit, treachery, cruelty, and malice. The only reason anything else is visible is so that the Sight can put everything into context.

His headache is getting worse.

Thoroughly frustrated, disgusted at the things the Sight has revealed to him, and confused -- why, by all the gods that are good and righteous, won't this power lay quiet? -- the paladin drags himself away from the table. Very slowly, he weaves through the crowd, making his way to the stairs, and a place to sleep.

He has a key, but cannot make out the markings on it through the haze. Very slowly, and very carefully, he tries the key on each door that he comes to.

On his third attempt -- another failure -- the door flies open, revealing a heavy-set half-orc with one eye. He looks down on the intruder waiting for an excuse to pull the man's arm off and says, "What's this about?"

The paladin looks up and says, "I'm trying to find my room. Go back to your business." Something in the paladin's look convinces the half-orc to back down and close the door.

It takes the paladin several more attempts to find the correct door, near the end of the hall. The room is sparsely furnished -- little more than a bed -- but the details are lost in a red mist. Uncaring, the paladin slowly removes his armor, sets everything on the floor at the foot of the bed, and lies down, draping one arm over his eyes in an attempt to block out the incessant input.

It helps, somewhat. Nothing above him has any ill-intent, so he simply gets the overall malice of the site.

As he gradually manages to fall asleep, mostly from exhaustion, he fails to realize that his door is still wide open.
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  #32  
Unread 1st of November, 2002, 08:06
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"Who was at the door Trak?" Blarth asks as the door slams back on its frame.

"Some armor wearing freak who couldn't find his room. He looked drunker than hell and is probably going to have one hell of a headache in the morning."

"Brother, if he looks that bad surely some or your magics could help him."

"Not if I can help it. The powers of Gruumsh should be reserved for war, not to help a pitiful human who can't hold his liquor. Now, brother, you may play good samaritan if you want but I intend to go get drunker than that guy was, and you won't find me fumbling with my key."

With that Trak opened the door again and slammed it on his way out leaving Blarth alone in the room unsure of what to do next.

Some one really ought to go help that man. I don't know that anything I can do would help though. Getting up and going to the door Blarth continues to muse as he looks up and down the hall. Just because some one isn't like you doesn't mean you shouldn't help them. Trak may look like a full orc, but he isn't anymore than I am. His devotion to Gruumsh is admirable though. I wish I could find faith in something like that.

Hey... There's a door open down near the end of the hall. I wonder if that man who attempt to open our door forgot to close his. No one seems to be coming out of the room. Maybe I will just go close his door for him."


Still ruminating Blarth begins to head for the open door when Trak comes back up the stairs from the common room drink in hand.

"Hey, where are you going leaving our door open? You want people to steal all my stuff?"

"No, Trak," replies Blarth meekly, "I was just going to close the door down there for who ever left it open."

"By the eye of Gruumsh, you are a simple one aren't you? Did it even occur to you that the door might be open for a reason?"

"Not really. I just noticed that no one was going in or out of the room and thought I would close it as a favor to its occupants."

"You and your human sentiments. Its a good thing I forgot my coin purse. I swear if it wasn't for me you would have been a simple farmer. Now get back in this room and polish my armor."

Blarth winces at the mention of the word "farmer." That was certianly no profession for an orc. Then again neither was polishing armor but if thats what Trak wanted...

As he passed Trak, Blarth ducks out of habit to avoid the slap that Trak is sure to deliver. Sure enough it comes, and sure enough Blarth didn't duck low enough and ends up taking the smack on his crown.

Picking up his coin purse Trak stares at Blarth and says, "I am going out. The booze in this place is weaker than pigs' swill. You stay here until morning." With that Trak turns and leaves the room, again slamming the door on his way out.

Blarth sighs and begins to pick up the armor and a rag to begin polishing. Trak is always so bossy. Why can't he just leave me alone. He thinks he can order me around because he is bigger, smarter, and older than me. He knows damn well if it wasn't for me pulling that roof timber off him he would have died in that fire last year. He is lucky he only lost one eye. Sign of Gruumsh indeed.

As he sits there his grip on the greave he is pollishing tightens with each passing moment. Finally the greave can't take the pressure anymore and it bends. Oh, great now Trak is going to make me buy him a whole new set of armor. I better see about getting this fixed before he comes back.

Hey... That door is still open. I really ought to close it before someone gets any ideas.


Careful to look down the stairs for any sign of Trak first, Blarth heads for the open door at the end of the hallway and looks in. As he reaches inside to grab the door he sees the occupant sprawled on the bed with his arm drapped over his arm. Poor guy certianly looks like he's had a long night. Must be the same guy who tried our door earlier. Hey... This guy has the same kind of armor as Trak. Maybe.. If I just.. He wouldn't notice if..

As he steps towards the armor at the foot of the bed Blarth hesitates unsure of what to do. A moan from the figure on the bed makes up his mind for him and he quickly begins scanning the pile for the identical greave to the one he has in his hand. Spotting it under the breastplate, Blarth reaches for it and in his haste manages to disturb the enitre pile which falls apart with a noisy rattle. Blarth freezes and looks over at the bed.

Last edited by Black Plauge; 3rd of November, 2002 at 09:03.
  #33  
Unread 1st of November, 2002, 08:21
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Thanks to the incessant input of the Sight, the paladin was aware of the intruder. Nothing registered beyond the presence of the being, so the paladin knew that no harm was intended.

If my sleep is restless, at least it will be safe. No chance of someone sneaking up on me.

Without moving his arm away from his face, he simply says, "Take it. Just leave the part you're trading it for; I'll get it fixed." He doesn't bother explaining how he knew.
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Unread 1st of November, 2002, 10:06
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What is that? Is someone trying to get into the room?

Laronar can hear a fumbling at the door, only for a couple of seconds. Nonetheless Laronar investigates, seeing a very disoriented man clad in armour enter a room down the hall.

Wasn't that the man who was with the newcommers

Not lingering on the thought, Laronar's head once again begins to ache.

Better sits down for a bit, that wine isn't treating me well

Laronar makes his way back to the bed, a tad firmer then what he is used to but is satisfactory nonetheless. Sprawling out, making himself comfortable Laronar tries to sleep.
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Unread 1st of November, 2002, 10:58
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Shocked that the man on the bed knew what he was doing without moving, Blarth just stares for a moment.

How can he know what I was doing? I mean the noise made it obvious I was disturbing his armor, but how did he know I was going to exchange a damaged peice for a good one? Oh, well, at least he said it was alright.

Shrugging to himself Blarth picks up the undamaged greave and leaves the bent one in its place. As he leaves he hesitates at the door glancing back at the occupant. Shrugging again he closes the door and heads back to the room he and his brother occupy where he resumes polishing the armor. It is late when he finishes and Trak still hasn't returned. Blarth falls asleep waiting for his bother to come in.

Last edited by Black Plauge; 3rd of November, 2002 at 09:03.
  #36  
Unread 2nd of November, 2002, 14:31
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He closes his eyes, his cleansing complete, for now anyway. Cadrius tilts his head back and rests it against the edge of the bathtub. There is a faint odor associated with the water, the maids must have put some sort of bath salt into it. He lets the warmth of the water seep into his bones.

After an hour he pulls himself from his temporary solace and collapses on his bed and is fast asleep, the sins from the evening put on hold until the morning.
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Unread 2nd of November, 2002, 15:35
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As morning drifts in, the group awakens and slowly, one by one, eventually decend downstairs. (feel free to add anything before or after or change this all together.)

All except Cadogan, a quick investigation by those who are worried shows that his room is empty. And inquiries reveal that he was eating breakfast with a strange elven character who's description reminds Cadrius of the man who tried to join the table last night. Shortly after they had finished a shadowy figure approched spoke with the man and left with them.

<OOC: Cadogan and Laronar's tale continues in Subchapter 4a - Crypts and Orcs.>
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Last edited by Gralhruk; 19th of November, 2003 at 05:24.
  #38  
Unread 3rd of November, 2002, 09:35
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With dawn the sunrise streams in Blarth's window and wakes him early. Groggily he rouses himself and wonders why his brother didn't close the curtians when he came in. Normally, Trak is quite good about that. He must have been really drunk to leave the curtians open. I had better close them before the sunlight wakes him up too. He is always in a foul mood when woken early. ... There thats better. Now he won't be...

"By the eye of Gruumsh, Trak's not here!"

Panicy, Blarth quickly begins to check the room for Trak, looking under and in all the furniture. After a thurough search reveals that Trak is not in the room he rushes down the stairs in time to see a blind man and an elf leave with one of the merchants he had met yesterday in the market. Looking around he spots the innkeeper behind the bar cleaning the mugs from last night. Blarth hurries over and blurts out, "Excuse me sir, have you seen my brother since last night? He went out drinking and never came back. That isn't like him. No matter how drunk he is he always comes back so that he can sleep in a bed. He hates sleeping..."

"Hold on there now, not so fast. You say your brother didn't come back last night? Well I take no responsibility for my guests as long as they pay for the room I don't care if they actually use it or not. However, I do remember seeing him go out last night. He seemed intent on something. Haven't seen him since though."

Thanking the innkeeper, Blarth rushes outside to look for his brother. As he searches the streets for his brother, Blarth comes upon a large crowd gathered around the entrace to an alley. Approaching Blarth notices blood stains on the ground and hears the people murmuring among themselves.

"Three of our own boys..."

"... killed on their way home, they were..."

"... mother noticed them missing this morning..."

"... guards found the bodies around midnight they say..."

"... orcs..."

"... caught the one who did it though. Got him locked up at the garrison..."

One of the crowd notices Blarth and nudges her neighbor. A hush slowly decends on the crowd as each member is in turn made aware of Blarth's precense. Realizing that every one is staring at him Blarth suddenly becomes nervous and lowers his gaze. He turns to go when a rock flies at him and bounces off the air near his head.

"MURDERER!" one of the crowd shouts, "YOUR KIND ARE ALL ALIKE. KILLING FOR THE SAKE OF KILLING! GET OUT OF TOWN YOU SAVAGE!"

Soon everyone in the crowd has begun yelling at Blarth and he begins to move off faster. The crowd follows and soon more rocks are flying through the air at Blarth. Most seem to slow or bounce before actually reaching him but some to hit. Blarth begins to run, fearful of what might happen. When the crowd persues he panics and takes a full out sprint to the only place he can think of, the inn.

He easily outstrips the crowd and has lost them within seconds but he doesn't slow down until he reaches the inn where he slams the door behind him and leans back up against it. He stands there breathing heavily for a moment as all eyes in the common room focus on him.
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Unread 4th of November, 2002, 06:18
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It is shortly before dawn when Cadrius awakens, his eyes slowly opening and adjusting to the darkness of his room. A chill breeze slips through a nearby window and causes goosebumps to rise and dance across his skin. He exhales once, seeing his breath, and rises to the window closing it firmly with one hand.

He remains standing gazing out at the border town. He looks into the darkness and for a moment he knows what it is like to be dead: the coldness, the emptiness. He shudders, he figures he'll die soon enough, but for now he still draws breath.

There is a faint murmer of conversation as the door to the inn is opened and several figures emerge into the approaching dawn. The first glimmer of orange light can now be seen on the horizon and Cadrius makes out the form of Cadogan and the elf, Laronar, moving outside. He clenches the frame of the window as a shadowy figure approaches the pair, but it doesn't seem to carry any malice with it. Again the fallen paladin wishes he still had the Sight. He shakes his head and moves to his backpack. Let the blind man do as he would. Cadrius had already killed three men, he would not cause any more trouble. Not if he could help it anyway.

He casually tosses the packpack on his bed and stretches, attempting to loosen his muscles after his sleep. His eyes roam across his wounds, now on the mend he would be as good as new in a matter of days. Some scars would remain, but apart from that he would be more or less intact. Until the next encounter with a murderous beast anyway.

Equipment is tossed aside as he empties the backpack out on the unmade bed. His waterskin takes an odd bounce and lands on the floor. He leaves it. A small pile of coins spills out and he quickly sorts them into their corresponding piles before counting them. Some silver, some copper, over five score gold, and a couple of precious platinum. He glances over at the club in the corner, perhaps that could fetch him a good price too. Whoever made that had clearly done an exceptional job.

The coins are quickly gathered back up and placed again in the backpack. The hilt of the blade joins them with a slight clank and Cadrius slips downstairs, the club slung over one shoulder with the backpack over the other.

He slips back into his worn clothing looking very much the part of a weary commoner and slips down the stairs to breakfast.

* * * * *

There are more people moving about as he makes his way through town. He looks for the nearest blacksmith but it is sometime before he is able to find it. However as he wanders, his feet seem to have their own agenda for soon he is standing alongside a gathering crowd. Faint blood stains mark the ground where two men died.

He remains silent as he listens to the voices of the crowd, lamenting the loss of three of their own. There's talk of how hardworking they were, how good they had been, how their mothers missed them, and how their wives cried. A stone block of guilt firmly settles upon Cadrius' shoulders and they slump slightly.

"... caught the one who did it though. Got him locked up at the garrison..."

His eyes light up dangerously as he hears they had already caught the killer. Who is it? Who would be punished for his actions? Cadrius doesn't have the time to ask as the crowd suddenly turns against a young man. He's being ostracized by the crowd, why? There's something odd about him but Cadrius isn't able to put his finger on it until the man flees from a potential stoning. Orcish blood.

Had an orc been in town? A convenient enough subject, or had it merely been an unfortunate soul like the one currently fleeing. Someone who could not control what blood flowed through their veins and was punished for it. The weight on his shoulders grows heavier.

The crowd moves one way and he trudges another hoping that the youth gets away but unwilling to stand against the mob. He slumps into a smith's shop and approaches a large, bald man who seems happier by a forge than behind a counter.

"What can I do fer ya, lad?" He rumbles to Cadrius.

His eyes are still frought with guilt and pain but he manages to make his intentions clear: he's looking to see if the club is valuable as well as armor and potentially a custom job, forging a new blade for his sword.

The smith's brow furrows as he examines the club. He hefts it with both hands, testing its weight and swing before turning to the broken blade and hilt. He traces his finger of the symbol and Cadrius winces.

"I think I could do it fer ya," he says at last, scribbling down Cadrius' order in a language only the smith can comprehend.

"It won't be cheap," he ads, looking up from the dirty piece of parchment.

Cadrius nods wearily and asks, "And the club?"

The smith's brow furrows again as his hand strays to it.

"I like it, I'll tell ya that much," he says before turning his eyes back to the fallen paladin, "ye look like ye could use some protection lad. Tell ya what, I'll make ye an even trade, this club for some armor."

Cadrius shrugs and nods, thanking the man. He puts in his request and the man smith nods, "Good, good, the armor can be ready by tomorrow. I've got the pieces and yer 'bout the same size as meself so I ken fix it up. The blade'll take longer though. Couple o' days, but since yer payin' I might be able to do it a little faster."

Again Cadrius thanks the man and lays a handful of gold coins on the counter as a deposit.

Turning he makes his way back to the inn, the weight of his actions bearing down on him like cavalry on infantry.
  #40  
Unread 4th of November, 2002, 15:45
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Enter The Dragon .. uh i mean Dem't

The Sun Rises, and a portion of the day passes. Those ply an honest trade are long up and about. Those who are less honest, but still have the need to be awake also rise. Nicos is one of these.

Walking out from the room where he spent the night, he is followed by Sarah, one of the bar maids. As she sets out, to helping prepare the evenings meal, Nicos walks over and slumps in one of the seats in the corner.

Glancing around the common room, he notes that it s uncommonly busy (if you forgive the pun) for this time of day, which is to say, it was hardly busy at all.

With a creak that cuts through the small amount of noise in the room, ever pair of eyes glance over and deafening silence drops over the Inn. In the doorway stands a figure. The details are hard to make out at first with the glare from outside obscuring him (, for a him it obviously is), but one thing that everyone can see, it the armband marking him as a member of the town guard.

As a slightly nervous chatter returns to the room, and several patrons get up - trying to look casual as they make they way out the back entrance to the stables. The figure steps into the room, and Nicos recognising the partially bald man, as Sargent Ysie Dem't.

I wonder what brings him around here; he normal frequents the Dented Helm over in the merchant quater. And that armband means he is on business. Eh I’ll find out sooner or later, he is bound to speak to me eventually

With that, Nicos returns his attention to his milk, and idly sips it. As Sgt Dem't, enters the room, he glances around with eyes that have known the street for many years. Seeing the 3 who slip out the back, he notes their faces, but lets them go.

Well this is Cletus and his goons' normal watering hole Dem't's thoughts go. I need to find out what happened that night before they left.

Walking over to the closest bunch of people, he gives a slight nod of recognition in Nicos' direction, and then sets down to the business of questioning the small amount of people in the room.

Seeing the nod, Nicos mutters to himself, "I have to get out of this town. I’m too damn well known"

About 15minuted pass before Dem't arrives at Nicos' table, and he is little wiser.

"Morning Sargent", Nicos says with out looking up. "What brings you into this part of town"

Helping himself to a seat, the Guard returns the greeting then heads straight into the heart of the matter.

"Morning Nicos, you’re looking surprisingly Celibate this morning. A couple of the people here said that you were involved in incident with Cletus last night. Care to elaborate?"

Finally looking up at the older man, his curiosity aroused, Nicos avoids the question.

"You came all the way down here to investigate Cletus making an arse out of himself?"

Looking weary, the Sargent runs a hand over what is left of his hair.

"The Kid is dead Nicos. Him and his mates. They were found last night in an alley. We picked up an Orc that was near by, and he put up a good fight trying to stop us, buy we hauled him in. Still I honestly don’t think he did it, no real motive. The boys didn’t have much money on them, and what little they did was still on the boys. And even Cletus isn’t stupid to pic a fight with an orc. Now are you gona tell me what happened?"

Taken a-back, at the news Nicos, Speaks what his first thinks

"No wonder the air smelt so good this morning. The world is a better place with out that guy."

At the look Ysie Dem't shoots at him, Nicos gives in and tells the story of that night. Admittedly a very basic story, beginning when the group walked in the door, and ending when Cletus walked out. Seeing the intelligence glimmer in the guard’s eyes, the bard knows that every detail of his story is stored in that mind, and probably a few details he didn’t include, are worked out.

Standing with a groan, Dem't puts a hand to his back.

"I'm getting to old for this, the younger people are meant to be doing this work. Don’t suppose I could convince you to join the town guard?"

At the genuine mirth that the offer bring out, the man grins.

"I'll take that as a no. I'll be back later tonight, maybe tomorrow to try and question the others. If you see them, tell them not to leave town."

Leaving the still laughing bard behind, Sargent Ysie Dem't makes his way out the door, and back to the guardhouse to write up what he had learnt.

His mirth subsiding rapidly after the older man leaves; Nicos considers the night’s events in his mind. Waling off into his room, and returning with some parchment, and ink, the Bard sets down to his work for the morning, making a note to keep an eye out for any of the involved group, in order to bring them up to speed. However he is soon ingrossed in his writing, and oblivious to the outside world.

Last edited by itches; 9th of November, 2002 at 17:42.
  #41  
Unread 4th of November, 2002, 15:51
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The candle has burned down to a mere stub and the fire she neglected to kindle lays ready in the cold hearth. Her breath has begun to steam in that coldest of times just before the sun has risen. The face staring back from the mirror is slightly paler than it was earlier; the cold has drained the flush of the hot bath from her skin. Even the warmth of the alcohol is fading, the bottle now empty.

She can hear the sounds of people stirring, both without and within, and she pinches the candle out absently. By touch, she identifies the scabbard of her new blade. The blade itself was a marevelous piece of work, wrought of some dusky metal both light and strong. Earlier, she had examined it at length and could identify neither the craftsmanship nor the material it was made out of.

She silently unhooks it from the belt and carries it with her to the pallet, her movements just the slightest bit unsteady. The mattress barely protests as she lays herself out on it, carefully concealing her new sword as she does so. It was time for honest folk to get up and go about the business of earning their daily bread. Her eyes close at about the same time her hand closes on the hilt sequestered beneath her pillow.

It needs a name.

It is her last thought as sleep takes her.
  #42  
Unread 4th of November, 2002, 17:06
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Blood and fire fill his vision; the stench of death and rot, and the cacophany of battle, assault his senses. All is chaos, unrelenting, unforgiving, uncaring.

He sees his brother Pavel, held in place with dark, constricting bonds of magic, crying out in pain as a shadow-cloaked figure twists a spear into his abdomen. He is helpess to respond, because he knows that any attempt at heroics would only lead to the same fate.

Part of him knows that his concealment is simply being practical, allowing him to deal with this in his own terms. Another part screams in anguish, proclaiming him a coward and a weak-willed fool. It's all he can do to keep from crying out himself.

The shadowy figure puts a great deal of ceremony into collecting the spilled blood of the bound man, storing it in a brass bowl. As the bowl fills, it begins to glow with an unearthly aura of evil. The figure begins to chant above the bowl, calling on forces beyond the realms of the material world, urging the powers there to grant his will into reality.

As he watches, horrified, from his place of concealment, the collected blood rises from the bowl, dispersing into a cloud of red mist. The cloud hangs in the air menacingly; as the chanting reaches a crescendo, the cloud coalesces into a humanoid shape, taking definition and form. Finally, it forms the semblance of heavy armor plates, with elaborate protrusions and spikes; anything resembling a face is concealed by a great visor, on a bat-winged helm.

Though he's never seen the like, he finds its name coming to mind. A bloodwraith.

Moving slowly at first, but with increasing speed and agility, it takes several steps around the chapel, knocking over candelabras and fonts along the way. It finally makes its way back to the center, facing the bound and helpless man. Close to death, Pavel cannot raise his head to meet its gaze.

At a word from its summoner, the bloodwraith rushes forward, losing cohesion and turning back into a mobile mass of dark red fluid. It quickly surrounds Pavel, writhing and twisting to form itself back into the appearance of armor, and infusing itself into the body of the man in the process.

As it takes control of his body, Pavel screams his brother's name.

* * *

The paladin wakes with a start, not even aware of when he fell asleep. Shakily, he rises from his bed and splashes some cold water from the ewer nearby. Must have been a bad dream, he muses, Pity I can't recall it now.

As he dries his face off on his shirt, he realizes with a start that everything is visible again. Cautiously, he tries to invoke the Sight again.

Nothing.

NOW what? First four days plagued by constant Sight, now nothing?!

His thoughts are interrupted by an intense growling sound, seeming to come from all around the room. As it subsides, he realizes that the sound is emanating from his stomach, and that he hasn't eaten more than a few scraps since leaving the funeral pyre for the minstrel, Itches.

Hastily, he throws some clothing on and rushes downstairs, hoping that he didn't sleep too late to catch breakfast.
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  #43  
Unread 5th of November, 2002, 06:03
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As he stands leaning against the door catching his breath, Blarth realizes that all eyes in the common room are on him. At first is seemed only natural considering he had just come in a mighty big hurry, but these stares convey another emotion besides curiosity: hate.

As this dawns on Blarth he uncomfortable looks around the room searching for some means of support. Some one who didn't have the same experssion on their face. He finds only one in an out of the way coner of the room. A lone man eating a late breakfast.

My god, why do these people hate me? That man he looks familiar. Only yesterday all these folks were more than happy to do buissness with my brother and me. Now they seem to want to kill me. Isn't he that drunken man from last night? And Trak is missing. I do hope he is all right. Maybe that guy can help me. He was nice to me last night.

Making his way over Paladin's table, Blarth strains to make eye contact searching for some sign of recognition from the man.
  #44  
Unread 5th of November, 2002, 17:03
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Quickly tearing his way through a last-minute breakfast, it is a full minute before the paladin realizes that someone is standing there, looking at him expectantly. Half a sausage still sticking out of his mouth, he looks up from his meal.

Now I've seen everything, he thinks. Never thought I'd see such a look of fear on a half-orc.

Not bothering to remove the sausage from his mouth, he simply speaks around it. The sausage muffles his query; all that comes out is a questioning "Mmmf?"
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  #45  
Unread 6th of November, 2002, 02:12
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In response to the muffled question Blarth blurts out a string of dialouge so quick it is hard to make sense of, "Sir, I don't really know you, or you me, but you were nice to me last night and all so I thought you might be able to help me find my brother who didn't come home last night and might be in some kind of trouble, judging from the reaction of some of the villagers to me this morning when they started calling me ugly names and throwing rocks at me as I ran away until I got back here and now everyone except you is staring at me like I did something wrong when as far as I know I haven't broken any rules or insulted anyone."

Pausing to breath Blarth then simply asks, "Can you help me, please?"
  #46  
Unread 6th of November, 2002, 17:20
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Getting up from his half-finished meal, the paladin looks the half-orc over. Rather unimpressive, for a half-orc, he thinks to himself. He avoids voicing his opinion, knowing that it's probably a misconception.

"What do you think is going on? What have they accused you of?" He tries to sneak another sausage while asking this, but is forced to wait until after he's done to eat it.
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Unread 7th of November, 2002, 03:28
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It had been an interesting night for Maeko.

Nicos had been kept busy his songs and tricks were popular with the inn’s costumer, it seemed, and after a while he had signalled her their expected conversation had better be postponed.
After paying for the room and asking for a bath, the nun went upstairs.

Her quarters were clean and so big for one person, in her opinion, to be almost sybaritic. Arranging her few belongings on a shelf she looked around: a fire was burning happily and a bath-tub was already set in front of it.

She set her cerimonial incense on the small table and went to check the bed: the straw mattress was decadently thick, absolutely inappropriate.

A knock on the door and, at her answer, a boy, little more than a child, entered, opening the door with his shoulder, he was carring two buckets of steaming water which menaced to let their content out on the floor at any moment. She rushed to take them from the child.
“ Your bath-water, mistress...” the boy said, looking at her with a dull stare, as if talking to a bald, almond-eyed woman was an everyday occurrence to him.

“Thank you”. The boy knucled his back, he moved with the slow determination of bone-deep exaustion, compounded, judging from his gaunt look, by not having had enough to eat for a long time.
“ What is your name, child? Are you not young to be working like this?”

“ I am Elyas, the Master took me in when Mother died, two years ago...”

The water was cold when Elyas left, with a fuller belly thanks to Maeko’s remaining rations.The nun did not mind in the slightest.
The day after she would have to speak to Paladin about the boy.

After a bath and some meditation she rearranged the bed, removing the offending mattress and set down for the night.

She woke before dawn, as usual : after her everyday ritual of wushu and Sutras Maeko shaved her head anew, after caring for her equipment she went to look for her companions.

Paladin was having breakfast, or trying to, while a stranger was talking full force to him. Maeko stood, waiting for the two to notice her.
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Unread 7th of November, 2002, 03:38
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It is mid-morning when Cadrius finally makes his way back into the Inn. He inclines his head to Paladin as he walks by. There is but a brief hesitation in his stride as his eyes shift to the half-orc next to him before he greets Maeko and moves up the stairs.

He carries several parcels wrapped in brown paper and tied with strings. His trip through the town had turned out quite well. He is going to get new arms and armor and he was also able to replenish his rations as well as a few other minor essentials.

Is he related to the one who was caught? he thinks as he takes the stairs two at a time, Does it matter? Probably not. Still...

Troubled by these thoughts he closes himself back in his room and unwraps the packages.
  #49  
Unread 7th of November, 2002, 04:01
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Confused by the man's questions, Blarth hesitates before responding with a puzzled look, "Accused? I haven't been accused of anything. Its just that the villagers have been throwing rocks at me, calling me names, and staring at me."

"Anyway, thats not important," he continues, "My brother didn't come back to the inn last night, which is very unusual for him. I over heard some of the villagers talking and it sounds like they arrested some orc last night for a multiple murder. Now while me and my brother are only half-orcs, my brother could easily pass for a full orc, and I haven't seen anyone else like that in town."

"So, you know, I was thinking that it might be my brother they had locked up," Blarth says kind of sheepishly, clearly embarresed by what all this implies.

Noticing the sausage in Paladin's hand, Blarth hangs his head in shame and says, "I'm sorry, I interuppted your breakfast. I really shouldn't have done that."
  #50  
Unread 7th of November, 2002, 21:14
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Ignoring the piece of sausage in his hand, the paladin looks the half-orc over again. Some of the bruises he can see don't look recent, but it's hard to tell how old they are.

He opens his mouth to speak, when he notices a short, bald woman standing nearby, politely waiting. Not wanting to appear rude, he motions for her and the newcomer to sit. Resuming his seat, he gestures with the sausage as he speaks.

"I doubt the locals were throwing rocks at you for sport. Their display of contempt may be linked to the arrest you mentioned; I have a feeling your brother's failure to appear, and the arrest you mentioned, are linked. Whether or not he had anything to do with a murder is another matter -- his actions shouldn't reflect on you in that way."

He neglects to mention that his own brother had nearly dragged him into a similar situation, but with far worse consequences. The frightened half-breed had enough on his plate.

"Maeko, would you care to come with me while I look into this? I have something I want to tell everyone, but I don't know how long it will take me to find the others -- barring Cadrius, who looks like he's just run to his room to open a naming-day gift."
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