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  #101  
Unread 19th of September, 2003, 06:54
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"Do you know these woods?"

The gnome holds his hand up, palm outward. "Like be back o' my hand, I do!" He glances up at his hand, realizes he's got it facing the wrong way, and hastily puts it away.

He takes a few steps closer to Cadrius, holding his hand out. "I'm Tiltowait. Trust me, that's the short version. And back there--" he jerks his thumb at the bear, who is surreptitiously advancing on the beehive-laden tree-- "is Talon. I'll shake hands with you; I wouldn't recommend letting him do it, though he'll wrestle you for a tidbit of food."

"Tryin' to avoid orcs, eh? Should be easy enough with my help; been doin' that for years. Want a hand?"
  #102  
Unread 20th of September, 2003, 05:57
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He gives Tiltowait another appraising look before sheathing the bastard sword and taking the gnome's hand in his own mailed one.

"A pleasure. I am Cadrius." He seems visibly relaxed after the introductions. "As to the orcs, we do not wish to fight them, but we believe they have taken some prisoners. I would like to assess if they still live, if not we leave, but if they do then it might change plans--" he looks at the rest of the group "--some plans anyway."

Looking back at the bear Cadrius smiles, asking, "He is your friend? Your pet? Your companion?" Indeed, the bear seems vastly less intimidating after being fed by the gnome.
  #103  
Unread 20th of September, 2003, 07:42
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Originally posted by Cadrius
Looking back at the bear Cadrius smiles, asking, "He is your friend? Your pet? Your companion?" Indeed, the bear seems vastly less intimidating after being fed by the gnome.
Tiltowait shrugs. "That's a tough one to answer. He follows me around and generally does what I tell him. I don't own him though; if he ever decided to leave -- say, to chase after some she-bear -- I couldn't stop him. He'll probably want to go and hibernate once winter hits, but I don't know.

"Let me see if anyone around here's heard about orcs coming through. I can probably convince some of the birds to go take a look. Less risk for all involved, eh?"
  #104  
Unread 20th of September, 2003, 07:43
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As the tension mounts in the clearing, Blarth looks fruitively around, trying to determine the source of the danger the others so obviously see. The bear and the gnome however seem to be the only things unusual in the clearing, so Blarth goes back to staring in curiosity at the odd couple.

The bear seemed ordinary enough, other than the fact the it ate from the hand of the gnome. Most bears that Blarth had seen in his lifetime would rather eat the gnome than be fed by him.

The gnome on the other hand was a sight to see. His hair was nearly as bright as the noonday sun; same color too. His clothing was well strapped on, but still managed to hang so loosely Blarth wondered the gnome didn't get caught up in it. His eyes danced as if laughing at some perpetual joke, and his nose was easily as long as the bear's snout. Well, okay, so maybe that was an exageration, but it seemed like an accurate enough description to Blarth.

At the mention of the orcs, Blarth attempts to focus on the conversation at hand, but the gnomes comment about the bear wrestleing for a bit of food keeps coming to his mind and he looks back at the bear time and again, sizing it up.
  #105  
Unread 24th of September, 2003, 00:24
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Birds?

Trusting the scouting mission to birds seemed a bad idea in general. Coming from someone they just met and didn't know if they could trust, it seemed even more suspect. Yet, she really didn't care if there were orcs or not and the less they had to get involved the better. Instead of the stinging sarcasm that such a suggestion would normally bring, her voice is upbeat and approving.

"Yes, less risk is certainly better. Would you - could you - do this?"
  #106  
Unread 24th of September, 2003, 07:26
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"Yes, less risk is certainly better. Would you - could you - do this?"

"Sure thing." Tiltowait suddenly lets out this warbling whistle that couldn't possibly come out of a humanoid mouth. In response, several birds fly near him and sit attentively while he chips at them. As one, they fly off in different directions.

Smiling -- as always -- he says, "I just asked them to go look around, see if they spot anyone else that looks a lot like that guy over there." He points at the half-orc nearby.

"Might take a few minutes, and no promises. But it's a lot harder for them grunts to notice birds than sneaking people, eh?"
  #107  
Unread 24th of September, 2003, 12:14
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"Might take a few minutes, and no promises. But it's a lot harder for them grunts to notice birds than sneaking people, eh?"

"Indeed," Cadrius says, uncertain how to take the gnome's ability to communicate with birds. Of course he'd heard stories of such things, but to meet one, and a gnome at that, who could do so is odd to say the least.

Watching the birds flutter off, each heading in a different direction, a stray thought enters his head. Why do they do it? Does Tiltowait provide them with some sort of service, some protection? Or could it be that he's a part of nature, and they recognize one of their own.

Cadrius glances back at his companions, trying to gauge their reactions to the newcomer. Shade apepars encouraging, a trait he isn't sure he's ever seen. The others range across the spectrum, from interested to apathetic.

Turning back to the gnome he asks, "How long have you lived here, Tiltowait?"
  #108  
Unread 25th of September, 2003, 00:15
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Shade is surprised at the incredibly accurate birdsong the gnome sings, and shocked at the prompt response of the birds. It easily dispelled her doubts about the gnome's sanity. First the bear, now this - he seemed genuinely in tune with nature. She had heard stories of such people but had never really believed them.

"Might take a few minutes, and no promises. But it's a lot harder for them grunts to notice birds than sneaking people, eh?"

Cadrius utters a short response at almost the same time Shade speaks.

"Depends on who's doing the sneaking."

The former paladin gives her an appraising look, to which she merely raises her eyebrows, her wry smile hidden from view yet readily apparent nonetheless. She could tell he wasn't buying her easy acceptance. Inwardly, she hopes he doesn't bother sorting it out and instead just chalks it up to fickle women.
  #109  
Unread 25th of September, 2003, 03:14
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"How long have you lived here, Tiltowait?"

The gnome shrugs. "Only a few years. Had to move a while back. It's a long story, even for me, and I doubt any of you would appreciate the finer points."

He glances back, just in time to see the bear give the poor tree a hearty shove. "Talon, no!" Too late, the tree gives a violent jerk, and a beehive falls from its branches, breaking apart on the ground with a wet splat. Almost immediately, a swarm of angry bees is buzzing over the ruin, as if daring anyone to come close.

Naturally, the bear ignores the threat.

Tiltowait shoos everyone away from the area, ducking his head. "Stupid bear!"
  #110  
Unread 26th of September, 2003, 03:25
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Cadrius shakes his head at Shade's behavior. Whatever her reasons, she remains just as enigmatic as the day he met her. A shadow flits behind his eyes. It conjures up a memory of a dwarf, slumping over, his throat slit and a veiled woman fleeing a tavern. He had judged her an assassin then, and treated her as such for a good deal of their journey. She's shared some of her tale with him since then and he's learned that the dwarf's death was a personal vendetta, and not a paid contract. Given his own past he has no right to judge anyone who has killed after being dishonored.

As quickly as the black mood comes it goes, being forced into the recesses of his mind. It's a topic he will deal with another time. Right now they have other matters to worry about.

"So you have always lived in the wilderness then?" He asks, suspecting the answer but unwilling to make any assumptions.

Just then the bear, Talon by name, knocks over the tree it had been manhandling earlier. Bees swarm out, protecting their hive. Reflexively he raises his shield, as if it would ward off a swarm of bees as well as a rain of arrows. He shakes his head ruefully and moves off to the other side of the small clearing.

"Stupid bear!"

Cadrius wonders why he doesn't speak to Talon in its own language. He certainly could with the birds, why not with a bear?

"How long should your...friends take?"
  #111  
Unread 26th of September, 2003, 13:44
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Tiltowait snatches a bee out of the air. Holding it by its wings, he says, "Shoo!" and flings it away.

Looking back to the warrior, he says, "Sorry. I'd give 'em about an hour. And your other question -- yeah, I've always been out in the middle of nowhere. I had spent my time in a rather large forest south of here, until a certain mage tried to burn it down."
  #112  
Unread 30th of September, 2003, 10:32
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Protected as he is by the invisible armor around him, Blarth barely notices the bees except for the buzzing. Indeed, finding the whole scene quite funny, especially the gnome actually telling one of the bees to "Shoo!" Blarth can't keep himself from laughing, and is soon chukling away, the current crisis with the orcs forgotten for the moment.
  #113  
Unread 30th of September, 2003, 23:26
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Shade watches as the bear actually pushes the tree over, sending a swarm of bees around the clearing. She doesn't move, being far enough away to miss the worst of the swarm, and shifts her gaze to the gnome. The bear certainly made enough noise, and she doesn't relish the idea of travelling with this sort of confusion all the time.

"So, I guess we wait for your spies to return. I hope we are not delaying you from some other task . . . ?"
  #114  
Unread 1st of October, 2003, 12:03
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"Was just making dinner, actually. You guys hungry?"
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  #115  
Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 06:54
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"Making dinner?" Blarth replies incredulously between laughs, "But its already getting dark!"

Last edited by Black Plauge; 8th of October, 2003 at 00:50.
  #116  
Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 08:22
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"I can see someone's never made a proper stew. You guys in a hurry or something?"
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  #117  
Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 08:27
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"It takes that long to make?" Blarth asks, still unbeleiving that one would start making dinner so early in the day.
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  #118  
Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 12:17
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The next hour passes quietly for the most part, only interrupted by Blarth's chuckling and Tilowait's eccentric speaking. Cadrius contents himself to keep a vigil over the small clearing. They might be armed but there's no sense in letting whatever dangers catch them off-guard.

He finds himself absent-mindedly adjusting and readjusting his armor, making certain it fits properly. He still hasn't grown accustomed to it yet and doesn't want to find out the hard way if a plate or some chain aren't covering the right spot. The sword as well he checks over, making certain the balance is right and the blade straight. Satisfied that the blacksmith had done a good job, he takes a few practice swings to get a good feel for it. With all the events of the past couple days he hasn't had a real chance to test out his arms and armor.

Thinking of the night before his eyes stray over to Shade, still veiled, and still mysterious. He sighs, wondering what goes on in her head and why the slightest things can set her off into a mood black enough to frighten a well-seasoned warrior.

True to the gnome's word, one of the birds reappears, twittering. Cadrius can't tell if it's excited, nervous, or simply nonchalant.

"What does it have to say?"
  #119  
Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 12:55
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Tiltowait lets the bird perch on his hand, listening intently. Once it's had its say, the bird flies off again. The gnome addresses the warrior:

"A bunch of 'lumpy-big-things' -- that would be orcs. And two 'not-lumpy-things' -- I'd guess they have prisoners, or people controlling them. I wouldn't put it past Dothavaar to go this far north, recruiting as always."
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  #120  
Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 22:12
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Her mood darkens considerably as they wait. Blarth might be content to discuss the finer points of camp cooking with the newcomer, but she certainly wasn't. Cadrius begins methodically adjusting his armor and testing his sword.

Expecting trouble?

He takes a few practice swings and then catches her eye with a wry look on his face. She returns the gaze expressionlessly, wondering if it's an invitation to spar with him. Truthfully, some exercise might take her mind off the wait, but in her present state of mind, she doesn't feel right drawing a blade on him. He shrugs and goes about his practice; she's left watching an opportunity depart for better pastures. They hadn't had any chance to talk or even share each other's company since last night.

As impressed as Shade is when the bird returns and reports to Tiltowait, the triumph is somewhat shattered by the lack of information. Avian spies, apparently, didn't know much about spying.

"Well, that tells us nothing we didn't already know."

In point of fact, it actually did. It told them the prisoners were likely still alive. She knows the outcome is inevitable, and so instead of waiting she meets it head on.

"We've wasted enough time; I'll check it out myself. I've never heard of this Dothavaar."
  #121  
Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 04:11
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"Dothavaar was just some little hedge-wizard in the town I used to live near, up until the place got attacked by orcs. Some adventurers went through the place, hunting greenies, and one of them lobbed a fireball that caught said wizard's home. He died in the blast, but was brought back by the same people who did him in.

"Something... snapped in him, after that. He went into hiding, in the forest. When I found him out, he tried to burn the place down to get away. Decided that was as good a reason as any to move."

As Shade makes her way out of the clearing, the gnome asks Cadrius, "Did I interrupt something important?"

Last edited by LonePaladin; 3rd of October, 2003 at 04:43.
  #122  
Unread 6th of October, 2003, 23:49
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Cadrius' mouth tightens as the gnome reveals the story of Dothavaar. Tampering with the dead is never a good idea, and this sounds as if it's no exception. Did they ask his spirit first? Or did they simply drag it back, feeling bad for their carelessness, their recklessness. Cadrius suddenly has the urge to spit. Killing without regard to innocents is unacceptable, regardless of how well-intentioned they might have been. Even restoring Dothavaar did not go as they had planned.

A hedge wizard is bad enough, an insane one can only bode more trouble.

So it is not surprising that he finds himself agreeing with Shade's sentiment, they had wasted too much time here.

"I agree, let us see what we can and then on."

Last edited by Cadrius; 6th of October, 2003 at 23:58.
  #123  
Unread 7th of October, 2003, 03:39
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Shade notes the look of distaste on Cadrius' face at the mention of a crazed wizard. She wants to move on as well, just get this over with as quickly as possible - without getting involved, if possible.

If that's what you want, then just go. Don't ask questions you don't want the answers to.

Wise advice, because somehow she knows she isn't going to like the answers. Cadrius starts walking, but she stays still, crossing her arms and staring at the gnome. She didn't always listen to her head.

"Recruiting for what?"
  #124  
Unread 7th of October, 2003, 06:04
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Used to having his question ignored, Blarth goes back to watching the bear as it makes short work of the honey contained within the bee hive. After that it ambles over to a large tree and begins rubbing itself against it, scratching the new stings it had just received in the pursuit of its breakfast.
  #125  
Unread 7th of October, 2003, 07:29
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"Recruiting for what?"

"I don't know," Tiltowait replies. "It just seemed to me that he was trying to get a bunch of low-lifes together. Whatever it was, it wasn't good. Anyway, doesn't matter now. There's orcs out there, and I've never met an orc that wasn't doing something bad."

Knowing the reponse this statement will elicit, he addresses Blarth. "Now, don't take that to include you; you're only HALF orc. Way I see it, you get the best of both worlds -- big and strong and tough, but also smart and patient. S'long as you don't go sour, you could do a lot better than either pure-blood."
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