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  #101  
Unread 27th of April, 2006, 02:21
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"He's a magician," Nicos explained as they quickly made their way to their room. "Lived about 15 years ago, specialised in exorcisms and removing curses. All evidence points to him being a charlatan more interested in money and fame then anything else, and he was slightly more tolerated then most real practisers of magic would have been. He had been doing this for several years when suddenly he disappeared. The official reports were that he had been lynched by those outraged by his blatant use of 'foul magics' but a rumour sprung up that he had departed to fight the demons in hell itself."

Looking around the rough - but mostly clean - room Nicos shrugged off his bag and collapsed onto the pallet that was to serve as his bed.

"The rumour caught the imagination of many, and he quickly became something of a folk hero. It's ironic that only after he was dead did he gain the type of fame that he had sought so much. Anyway, last time I was here I paid for my room by telling an extremely embellished tale about him."

Looking around the room again, Nicos took note of it. It was small, very small, and without much in the way of furniture or decoration. Besides two pallets was a small table upon which sat an unlit lamp. At the foot of each pallet was a tiny chest, and in a corner rested the chamber pot. It wasn't a lot, but the beds seemed to be bug free and the door locked from the inside, and that's all the man was asking at this point in time.

"It's seems like it's been years since I've been in anything with a passing resemblance to civilisation, I don't know about you but I need to stock up on supplies."
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  #102  
Unread 27th of April, 2006, 02:49
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"Yeah, that would probably be a good idea," Blarth replies slowly, "but I thought we were here to look for Shade? Shouldn't we start with that?"
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  #103  
Unread 27th of April, 2006, 18:10
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"We can do both," Nicos replied easily. "The market tends to be the unofficial heart of a city anyway, while shopping for supplies we can keep an eye out for her."

"Actually," The bard added suddenly sitting up right. "It might be a better idea if we split up. There are some specialty items I need to find, if you go to the main market while I look for them we can get it done much faster, as well as covering twice as much ground making it more likely one of us will run into her."
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  #104  
Unread 27th of April, 2006, 22:59
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"Okay," Blarth replies, now that he understands what Nicos wants to do. Happy to be of some use too, Blarth starts taking a mental inventory of what they need, "Rations for sure, can never have too many of those on the road. We could also use an axe or a hatchet, my foot's getting sore from stomping on branches all the time to break them. Some warmer blankets would be nice, as it has been getting colder, but those can wait a few more weeks if they're too expensive..."

His not so internal, internal monologue trailing of, Blarth turns to Nicos and asks, "Is there anything in particular that you can think of that I should get?"
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  #105  
Unread 27th of April, 2006, 23:36
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"Some thread and a sowing," Nicos said glancing down at his tunic. "Our clothes are starting to look in need of repair. The only other thing I can think of is fresh fruit."

"Do you need anything from a speciality store, and do you need any gold for the market?"
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  #106  
Unread 28th of April, 2006, 05:30
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Thinking about it, Blarth replies, "No, I have some gold already, and while I'm not sure what things are going to cost, I suppose I can trade away my brother's armor should I need some more. I'm getting kind of tired of carrying it anyway, and I'm my brother's only family so there is no one else to pass it too."

Despite his words, Blarth is clearly saddened by the idea of selling his brother's armor.
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  #107  
Unread 28th of April, 2006, 14:55
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Touched by the sadness his companion clearly felt for his recently departed brother, Nicos tried to think of a way to comfort him.

"You don't need to sell it, I mean I have more gold then I really know what to do with. What would your brother want you to do with the armour?"
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Unread 29th of April, 2006, 02:24
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"I don't know," Blarth replies, ashamed of the admission, "The armor should be passed on to another family member, but me and my brother were it. There are no other family members."

"I mean... I'm it for the moment. I suppose their might come a time when I'll have a family again, but do I have to carry the armor around until then?"

The last is said almost plainatively, as if Blarth was struggling to keep from whining like child.
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  #109  
Unread 29th of April, 2006, 02:45
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"So it's actually your armour now?" Nicos asked. "If you don't want to get rid of it and are finding it difficult to keep carrying so much excess armour, why not wear it yourself? If the tradition is to pass it onto family members, I'm sure your brother would want you to."
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  #110  
Unread 2nd of May, 2006, 15:36
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Cadrius had felt much the fool as Ben helped him pull the boat onto land and into the woods. It creaked with protest, unused to travel by air, but they found a suitably dense area of underbrush to hide it. Heaping branches over its hull hardly made for an inconspicuous mound, but it provided at least a modicum of cover. A wry smile touched his lips as they examined their work. He was trying to keep his stolen boat from being thieved.

He and Ben walked in silence back to the intersection of the river and its tributary. The water there was slower and darker than it had been even days earlier. The banks were a bowshot apart, having been fed by more than one vassal stream and river. He’d paused then and gave Ben a measured glance.

“It is for the best if you and I do not arrive together,” he said at last. He did not explain further, hating the cryptic statement but unwilling to delve into his reasons. “I will do my best to find the lot of you later. Perhaps you will find another barge like Nicos and Blarth.”

He’d left Ben there, standing on the soft riverbank, and began walking toward the city.
  #111  
Unread 11th of May, 2006, 02:47
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"Wear it?" Blarth replies, the idea clearly not having occured to him before. "I suppose I could do that..."

Mulling the idea over, Blarth begins to extract the armor from his bag and lay it out on the bed. Once that's done, he starts to try and put it on. It soon becomes clear, however, that he has absolutely no experience wearing armor and is having extrodinary difficulty with all the straps and buckles, especially since he doesn't realize that he really should have some help buckling them all up. After several minutes of frustrated effort, Blarth gives up in a huff and throws the breastplate back on the bed.

"It's no use," Blarth states, on the verge of tears, "I could never wear the armor like my brother did. I don't even know how to put it on!"
  #112  
Unread 11th of May, 2006, 03:47
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Ben sat on the edge of the river bank, ignoring the fact that his rump was getting rather damp from the soggy ground underneath him. He watched the river go by, always moving, never really stopping or even slowing down. So much like how his own life has been. Always one challange after another, none of which gave him time to do anything other than survive.

First as an urchin on the street, struggling to survive on other peoples trash. Ben hardly remembered that time of his life, only that he hated it so much he sometimes thought about just giving up to die.

Then being found by the Mercenaries. Though they were great and he didn't have to struggle for food anymore, he'd had even more work to do. Clean and polish armor, carry and maintain weapons, care for horses, cook, so many things that at the time didn't seem necessary to a hero. Now though he saw how necessary all of it was. Armor could rust unless cleaned, and weapons would shatter unless maintained. Horses could get sick or even die without proper care, and there wasn't always a good cook around when you needed it.

Then the mercenaries had all died, and so he'd been travelling from one town to the other, further and further north, for 8 years. Never stopping for a break, always seeking to inform the next family, the next friend, the next town, of their loss.

But now, over 20 years since his birth (he didn't know the exact date of his birth, so he could only guess at his approximate age) he at last didn't have anything tugging at him. Nothing that demanded his immediate attention. He could just sit here until the day he died and no one would lose anything.

Ben twirled a silver coin in his hand mindlessly, wondering what to do now. Cadrius had left, why he hadn't said and Ben didn't really think he needed to know. Blarth and Nicos had gone to find Shade in...damn, what was that place called? Trade--something. Something to do with trading.

Tradeholm. That was it. Not that it mattered. Shade had left of her own free will it seemed, and Nicos and Blarth were pretty much just butting into something they had no business butting into. The elf had just left, and that thief from the mountains had gone his own way...a week ago? Two weeks ago? Ben couldn't remember anymore. It didn't matter. He was on his own in any case, free to do whatever he wanted.

Which begged the question: What did he want?
  #113  
Unread 11th of May, 2006, 21:49
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"I'm sorry," Nicos said out of sympathy, trying to comfort his friend. "I wish I could help, but I don't really know anything about armour myself. Maybe after we find Shade we can get someone to teach you how to wear it? I'm sure once we hook up with Cadrius or Ben again, they'll be more then happy to give you a hand.

"But come on," the bard said standing suddenly. "Sitting around here isn't going to get us anything. The sooner we get supplies, the sooner we find Shade and the sooner we can start getting on with our lives."
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  #114  
Unread 11th of May, 2006, 23:46
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"Okay," Blarth says, his voice still glum. Carefully he puts the armor back into his backpack and gets out his coinpurse to buy supplies. Not really knowing how much is in it, Blarth spills it on the bed and counts it out. He also comes across the trinkets and jewlery that he'd taken from the room with the ruin stone in it. He'd quite forgotten about them, and spends a few minutes examining them. Blarth didn't really know much about gems and precious metals, and the exotic nature of the trinkets they'd found only meant that he was even more lost than usual in identifying them. Deciding not to risk them against any possible pickpockets, Blarth takes all but one and hides them under the mattress. There was bound to be a jewler in this town and he could help Blarth figure out what these trinkets were made of.

"So, we meet back here when we're done shopping?"
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  #115  
Unread 12th of May, 2006, 20:08
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Nicos surreptitiously attempts to guess at Blarth's wealth as it spills out on the bed. Convinced that the half-orc had enough to cover the likely expensive, he moved to head out into town.

"So, we meet back here when we're done shopping?"

"Works for me, if anything else comes up I'll leave a note for you."

The bard quickly made his way out through the common room, his mind already moving ahead to what he wanted and how to get it. Some of the items would take time to acquire, time he would rather spend on enjoying being back in civilisation.
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  #116  
Unread 13th of May, 2006, 05:08
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While Blarth doesn't really see what good a note would do, considering that he can't read, he's not about to argue with what Nicos apparently considers a perfectly reasonable idea.

His coin pouch safely tucked away in his belt, Blarth heads off toward the market, where he looks around for a merchant selling some fresh food. Nicos's comment about the fruit had made Blarth hungry and food always had a way of making him feel better.
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  #117  
Unread 16th of May, 2006, 22:01
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Nicos found himself rather cheerful as he wondered down a shop lined street of Tradeholm, after what seemed like months of wilderness travel and the incident with the wizards, he finally managed to refill his flask, pick up some clean clothes, and even spend some time in a public bath to scrub off the road dirt. There were still several important items he wanted to pick up, but for now he just enjoyed being out of the wildness and in civilisation.

Passing by a shop window's expensive clear glass, the bard stopped short as something within caught his eye. The bell on the door gave a silver chime as he entered and made his way over to the item on display.

"Greeting sir," a woman said as walked over towards Nicos with a frown that said she trying to decide if he was a customer or now. "Welcome to the Lost Treasure, can I help you?"

Looking back at her, the bard instinctively smiled as cheerfully as he could, feeling out of place in the obviously expensive store and wishing he had taken the time to remove his whiskers before leaving the Inn.

"I'm afraid not," Nicos said as he examined her. Several years older then him, blond-almost-white hair done up in what he assumed to be a local fashion, very pale skin and light blue eyes. If she smiled she'd be rather attractive. "I was just passing by when I noticed what I thought was an elf-horn and couldn't resist seeing if it really was."

"Ah," the unnamed woman said in a tone that conveyed volumes. "Yes this was the instrument carried by the elven hero Alluvinus. Do you uh, play it? I've never heard of a human able to master the instrument."

"I do actually," Nicos said as the smile dropped from his face and his voice turned totally serious. "It's true that human's normally can't master an instrument as complicated as this, but I've found that the trick is to - OH GODS! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY ARM?!"

As Nicos gave a comical performance of searching for the missing arm which clearly prevented him from playing the instrument, a flush of embarrassment crept over the woman's face.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to - that is to say I didn't - your arm."

"It's alright," the bard said grinning. "To be fair, it wasn't very gentlemanly of me to make fun of your like that and I apologise. My name is Nicos."

"Lolanthe," the woman said finally smiling back at the man, and it was with no small satisfaction that Nicos noted that she actually was fairly attractive with a little colour and a smile. "And I really didn't mean to -"

"It really is alright," Nicos reassured her again. "I knew an elf years ago who used a horn like this, that's what attracted my attention to it."

"Well please allow me to start again Nicos," the woman said having regained her composure. "Welcome to the Lost Treasure. Is there anything I can do to help you?"

"Perhaps you could assuage my curiosity?" the bard said with a frown as he glanced around at the seemingly unrelated items within the shop. "What sort of store is the Treasure? I'm forced to confess that a casual glance has left me rather confused."

"Yes I suppose it does seem rather random at first," Lolanthe said as she favoured Nicos with another smile. "We specialise in rarities, one of a kind novelties and items of historical note."

"In other words, things rich merchants and nobles can buy and then grab about owning to their neighbours?"

"Well I wouldn't put say it so blatantly, but that would be the honest heart of the matter, yes."

"I have to admit that you posses an admirable collection of items," Nicos said as he leaned down closer to read a placard resting before a delicate glass shoe. "Belim's false slipper?"

"Hmm? Oh that. The previous duke of Belim had a glass slipper crafted based on some legend about a knight named Gonoith and claimed it was genuine. He was discovered of course, but the mere fact of its duplicity makes the slipper valuable."

"'Some legend about a knight named Gonoith'?" Nicos asked the woman in mock shock. "Don't tell me you never heard the take of Gonoith and the Golden Slipper?"

"I'm afraid I haven’t," Lolanthe replied playing along with the bard's shock. "My knowledge of ancient legends are sadly lacking."

"Old it may be, but not quite ancient yet. Gonoith and the Golden Slipper is one of my favourites. You see Gonoith was a knight from ages past who sought the maiden Katherine's hand in marriage. Katherine was a handsome woman of renowned virtue with an influential father, and as such she had many suitors. In order to decide which she would consent to marry, she set each of her admirers seemingly impossible tasks in order to decide who was most worthy. To Gonoith she asked him to turn her glass slipper gold.

"Gonoith at once set out with gladness in his heart, for this surely would be his chance to prove the power of his love. He passed many trials and dangers in his quest, eventually coming to hear of a legendary river deep within a forbidden mountain range that had the power to turn anything it touched into solid gold. He followed this rumour through ambush by evil creatures and treacherous terrain alike, but through it all the power of his love and righteousness of his cause saw him through unscathed, and he eventually found the river.

"Gonoith travelled back with the intent to present the golden slipper to his beloved, but when he returned our mighty knight discovered that a scandal had erupted shortly after he had departed. It seemed that the fair maiden Katherine's virtue was not quite as true as everyone had been led to believe. Apparently she had been secretly having an affair with several of the servants and guards in her father's employ. As soon as news of the scandal reached his ears, her father had swiftly married her off to an old weather Count in a distant province."

"An interesting legend," Lolanthe said. "But I'm not fond of the tragedies and tales with sad endings."

"Sad ending?" Nicos replied. "Oh no, the story of Gonoith ends with everyone happy. Katherine's father managed to get rid of a troublesome daughter and received a large dowry all at once. Her new husband had a pretty young wife to dote upon in his twilight years. Katherine herself was in a position to pursue her ... interests with more candour now she was freed from her father and the never ending line of noble suitors. Even the old Count's servants and guards found the new situation to be a lot more fun and pleasant."

"And poor Gonoith?"

"Ah Gonoith, he had the happiest ending of all. After his quest the noble knight found himself quite wealthy, as he had a practically limitless supply of gold. Not only that, once the gossip spread of the lengths he went to in the name of romance and love, Gonoith found himself at the centre of many eligible young lady's attention."

"So it was a happy ending after all," Lolanthe said shaking her head at the bard's tale and unable to restrain a smile. "You have a strange, cynical sort of optimism in you Nicos. One thing I don't understand, if Gonoith succeeded in turning the slipper gold, then why did the duke of Belim make it of glass?"

"I'm not sure," the man said with a shrug. "Maybe it was supposed to be the slipper for the other foot?"

"Oh my, yes that does seem to be the logical answer," Lolanthe burst out with a peal of laughter at Nicos' deduction, quickly covering her mouth with her hand. "Nicos I have to thank you for telling me the legend, it's not one I'm liable to forget anytime soon."

"It was my pleasure Lolanthe, indeed it was a genuine pleasure to meet you," Nicos said with another broad smile. "I just arrived at Tradeholm and had not expected to find someone as pleasant as you. I'm likely to be performing a few tales or perhaps a song or two later today at an Inn called the Traveller’s Wineskin, do you know of it?"

"I do actually, it's in what could be considered a rough neighbourhood."

"Well I find the less privileged are those most in need of my unique brand of cynical optimism," Nicos replied. "And it's my understanding that area may be rough, but it's safe enough for those passing through it. Besides which there is supposed to be a talented performer staying there if you're interested ..."

"Modestly doesn't become you Nicos," Lolanthe said with another small smile. "I shall think about it."

"That's all a gentleman can ask. Unfortunately - as much as I have enjoyed talking to you - I have business about the city that I needs my attention. A good day to you Lolanthe."

"And to you Nicos."

As Nicos left the shop he found himself absently humming a merry tune. Yes it was good to be back in civilisation.
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  #118  
Unread 17th of May, 2006, 02:37
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Finding a food vendor had proven to be an easy task. Finding one that had been selling food that Blarth was in the mood for, however had proven to be much harder. The first one that he had found had been selling fried fish and potatoes. A dish that was apparently fairly popular in Tradeholm from the buisness the man had been doing, but the smell of hot grease had actually made Blarth crave red meat, not fish. Hunting about he'd finally found a vendor selling fried meat sticks. Buying a solid dozen (easily twice what the vendor was used to selling to one person, based on the look on his face), Blarth sat down at fountian in the center of the market to eat them, stick and all.

After finishing the last one, Blarth washes his hands off in the fountian and then cups them together to take a drink. The water tasted a bit off, but Blarth had drunk worse. Nearby a couple of men pointed at Blarth and snickered. "Just like a filthy orc to be drinking from the fountian. Can't be decent enough to buy an ale or something like the rest of us," one comments in an overly loud voice, obviously meant for Blarth to overhear. Blarth, however, is used to such comments, and ignores it, knowing that only trouble would come from responding.

The group of men, however, wouldn't leave it alone. They followed Blarth as he made his way through the stalls of the market, looking to make his purchases. Everything he did, it seemed, waranted some other comment from one of the men that was clearly designed to provoke Blarth. And while for most merchants the only thing that mattered was the color and weight of Blarth's money, more than a few purchases fell through when the merchant sudennly balked after one of the men made some comment that was overheard.

Growing increasingly frustrated, Blarth decides to head back to the inn with what he's got so far. He'd stay there for a bit to give the men time to go back to whatever they were doing before they started following him and then finish his shopping.
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  #119  
Unread 20th of May, 2006, 00:02
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Nicos entered badly lit, smoke filled bar and immediately spied the trio in a corner that he was seeking. A kind word, bit of advice and a free drink had convinced a struggling performer who dealt with stolen and smuggled items on the side to give Nicos the trio's location. If his source was correct, the three knew had a contact in the church of Pelor who would be able to get him what he needed cheaply.

"Greeting 'gents," he said smiling friendly as he approached the group. "I'm seeking a man named Nathen who works for the Pelor temple. I was told that you could arrange a meeting, for the right price."

The nearest of the trio smirked at Nicos as he spoke, heavily drunk if the litter of empty mugs on the table before them was any indication.

"Why, ya lookin' to gro' ya arm back? I bet nah wimim wool touch a cripple like ya, dats why."

"I understand that life can be exceptionally hard for someone as monstrously ugly as you." It was only with a supreme act of will that Nicos kept his voice even as he replied. "So I'll let that go out of pity."

"Ugly?" the drunk man said as he lurched to his feet. "Wat you say?"

"A little slow as well I see. I'd offer to write it down for you but no doubt you're too stupid to read."

"Ya take that back!" the man yelled angry at Nicos, moving in close to the smaller man.

"Dear gods," the bard said wrinkling his nose. "Your breath smells like a dog. Tell me, was that what your mother had to lay with in order to conceive you?"

The blow caught Nicos heavily on his jaw, snapping his head back painfully and bringing tears to his eyes. Without waiting for a second the land the bard quickly stepped forward and smashed his skull against the man's face, turning his nose into a bloody pulp. As the man tottered from the headbutt, Nicos slammed his knee deep into the drunkard's belly doubling him over giving the bard an opportunity to crash an empty mug he seized from the table on the back of his opponents head, sending him to the floor in a stunned stupor.

Pausing to spit on the fallen drunk, Nicos noticed the remaining two men rising to their feet as the other occupants of the bar moved to a safe distance.

"I'm seeking a man named Nathen who works for the Pelor temple," he said in a low angry voice as the pair advanced upon him. "I was told that you could arrange a meeting, for the right price."
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  #120  
Unread 21st of May, 2006, 07:51
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"The Traveller's Wineskin... Hey kid," a rough looking man says, grabbing a passing by youngster as he barrels by. "Go to the House of Justice and tell Joachim that his teachings are wanted at the The Traveller's Wineskin." "There's a silver in it for you," he adds, holding up a silver coin, before quickly making it disappear when the boy reaches for it, "if you get back hear with Joachim quickly." Eager to earn the promised silver, the boy reverses the course he had been charging earlier and runs off down the street.

"Come on," the rough man says to his two companions, "Our quarry has had a chance by now to find his room and probably thinks he's rid himself of us. Let's make sure he doesn't have the chance to leave before Joachim gets here and have an ale on the Invincible's coffers."

Laughing as if they had just heard a good joke, the three men make their way inside the inn where Blarth had taken refuge just few minutes ago.
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  #121  
Unread 22nd of May, 2006, 13:12
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Black Plauge
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"Men of Tradeholm, the Invincible is calling us to attention. The forces of chaos are gathering like a storm over the horizon. You can feel it, you can smell it in the air but the exact day of its coming is uncertian. We must prepare. We must ready ourselves and look for the signs."

Glancing up from their drinks, the few people gathered in the common room of The Traveller's Wineskin at this time of day take in the sight of a less than resplendant man with the familiar hand grasping a lighting bolt emblazoned on his chest. A couple raise their eyebrows, others shrug, but all pay barely a mind and turn back to their drinks and own conversations.

"Do not look back to your drinks! Do not bury your heads in the sand like the birds of Otresh! The know not the calamity to come, nor do they understand the signs of the present. They know not that which shall befall us, nor do they save themselves from the calamity to come."

Begrudging the near on direct address, one or two of the men in the room look up at the speaker, unable to shake years of habitual obedience to the Priests of Heironious.

"Do not all the peoples loathe iniquity? And yet it spreads among us. Does not the fame of truth issue from the mouth of all the nations? Yet is there a lip or tongue which holds to it? Which nation likes to be oppressed by another stronger than itself, or likes its wealth to be wickedly siezed? Yet it shall come to pass unless we are ready."

"The breed of iniquity waits on our borders. The await their chance to sieze what is ours and sell it down to the very dust. They shall overwhelm us and destroy us."

"And yet, this all does not have to come to pass. When the breed of iniquity is shut up, wickedness shall then be banished by righteousness as darkness is banished by the light. As smoke clears and is no more, so shall wickedness perish for ever and righteousness be revealed like a sun governing the world. All who cleave to the mysteries of sin shall be no more; knowledge shall fill the world and folly shall exist no longer."

***

Coming out of his room, Blarth is unaware of the storm that is being brewed in the common room.

That should be long enough. Those men should be gone by now and I can go back to shopping in peace.

"Behold! The race of iniquity is among us. It walks in our very midst!"

Entering the common room, Blarth is startled to see all the eyes in the room turning to him as a man on what seves as a stage points to him, a fire in his eyes.

"We must clense ourselves! Banish the race of iniquity and and crush it before it curshes us!"

Scared by the harshness of the man's words, Blarth freezes like a deer caught in the light of a bull's eye lantern.

"Yat's shnough," the portly woman behind the bar drawls loudly. "'Achimn, Yah not ganna ve shtirrin' uhp any chrouble her."

Immediately all eyes in the room find their drinks and attempts are made to resume converstations that had been left hanging. The matron of the inn was clearly not someone that anyone wanted to trifle with.

Anyone, that is, except Joachim.

"With all due respect, Mistress Mollar, I cannot be silent while that," he says, pointing again at Blarth, "is allowed to wander our streets and poision our blood."

"Yahl haf ta dat ehlswar."

Eyes locked, a battle of wills ensues between the preacher and the matron. After a few moments, the precher relents, and scurries out the door, his tail between his legs.

"Yah ta," Mistress Mollar says, turning on the three men seated in one corner. The same three men that had harassed Blarth earlier. They too get up and slink out the door.

Once they're gone, the matron turns on Blarth, a decidedly different expression on her face.

"Yah wate, 'far gann' ot. De'll stak 'round fah bit, bat whant stay lang."

Nodding blankly, Blarth turns around and heads back into his room.

***

About a half-an-hour later, Blarth is tepidly lead out of his room by Mistress Mollar and goes on his way, constantly looking over his shoulder as he goes back to shopping.
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  #122  
Unread 22nd of May, 2006, 15:54
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itches
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It wasn't until later in the day that Nicos finally found what he was looking for. It hadn't been easy - his body felt like one giant bruise, his lip was split in a couple of places, his left eye was darkening noticeable and he walked with a noticable limp - but he finally managed to get an answer from the bar trio and soon was on his way, which lead him here, just outside a small chapel dedicated to Pelor.

Once inside the bard quickly found himself sitting before a minor 'cleric' of the church. Nicos sat in his chair and eyed the man sitting opposite him, slightly unkempt and slightly more unclean; nothing about the man spoke like those who had been blessed with a god's power. That told the bard everything he needed to know on how to approach the situation.

"A good day to you," the cleric began. "What can the church of Pelor do for you today?"

"I came seeking Pelor's blessing," Nicos began. "I was told the easiest way to find it was to ask you."

"It's true that I deal with those not normally considered of Pelor's flock, but our god welcomes all with pure heart into his-"

The man was cut off by Nicos dropping a sizable bag onto the desk between them, a bag that gave a metallic clink as it landed and set a greedy cast to the man's eyes.

"You'll have to forgive if I cut through the normal playing around, I had to deal with some unpleasant people to get your name and it has put me in a less then grand mood. Light 'blessings', 4."

"Ah of course," the man of Pelor said reaching out for the bag. "I'll just-"

"Not quite," Nicos interjected again, pulling the gold filled bag back towards him. "Potions first, then you get the count it."

The man gave a shrug then departed the room, quickly returning with 4 vials marked with blue wax. The pair exchanged items and the bard waited while the cleric assured himself that the asking price was in the bag.

"Excellent," he said once he had finished. "It was a pleasure doing business with you Mr...?"

Nicos ignored him as he made his way out.
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  #123  
Unread 25th of May, 2006, 02:50
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itches
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Nicos returned to the Inn just as the afternoon/evening crowd was starting to build up, his battered state drew several looks but no one commented until he drew near the bar.

"Wut happened to ya?" The woman behind the bar asked.

"I don't want to talk about it," Nicos sourly muttered back as he limped by.

"I wus gonna ask if ya were gonna work tha room tonigh' but if ya-"

"No no no," the bard quickly interjected. "I'll perform later, just give me some time compose myself."

"Up to ya," the woman said with a shrug as Nicos moved off to his room.

Once inside the bard quickly stripped off his tunic and gave his body a thorough once-over, taking note of his collection of injuries as he went. Over all it wasn't too bad, plenty of bruises that time would take care of and his knee which was already starting to swell and hurt.

During his travels Nicos had sought to learn a wide variety of skills, one he had an opportunity to learn was something most people called Magic. The bard didn't think of it in that sense, he wasn't able to perform any great feats of will, just a couple of small tricks that made life easier and helped him get by. They weren't things that came naturally or easily either, the larger the trick the more his body and mind tried to reject the energy it channelled.

The worst thing he usually attempted was forcing someone's body to heal with a speed that could be best described as unnatural - in was in the hopes of avoiding it in the future that he purchased the potions. Fortunately, over the years he had discovered that if he took the time, healing his own hurts was quite the opposite of others. Instead of it being painful and nauseating, the bard would find himself invigorated by the experience and full of energy by the end. If he took the time that is.

With that in mind Nicos carefully stretched his bruised body on his pallet, shut his eyes and began to sing an old song. It was one of the meditating chants he learnt while being raised in the monastery, the monks would sing it until they reached a serene sense of inner peace he had always eluded him.

Nicos quietly chanted the simple intonation as his body relaxed and muscles unclenched from the pain and stress of life. When his mind felt sufficiently clear the bard modified the chant, adding a new energy and life to the solemn song. The energy filled his mind and ran through his body in a terrific current, setting every nerve alight with sensation and filling his mind with a vivid array of colour and light until he lost all sense of time.

Eventually the song ended and Nicos opened his eyes to a world that somehow seemed brighter and more colourful then before. A quick examination revealed most of his hurts were gone, the black eye and split lip had faded away to nothing. The swelling in his knee was now just a dull throb that a few nights sleep would rid him of and the bruises adorning his torso were aged things.

Throwing his tunic back on the bard couldn't help but grin at the prospect of the performance he would soon give. All things considered, life was a sweet thing.
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Last edited by itches; 25th of May, 2006 at 04:56.
  #124  
Unread 14th of June, 2006, 05:20
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"Should we wait for the half-orc to come out again, Joachim?"

"The seed has been planted and watered now. Too much water and it will drown."

"Huh?"

*Sigh* "Leave the half-orc alone. If you go after him too much you'll end up turning the populace against us, not him. For now we need to let people think over what I said in there and to allow them to take it home to their family and friends. Besides, if you wait out here Mistress Mollar will call the guard on you."

"Ye'sir."

****

Despite his timidity, Blarth's shopping trip for the rest of the afternoon happens without incident. It would seem that Mistress Mollar had frightened off the men who had been harrassing Blarth for good.

As the his day begins to wind down, Blarth, his confidence and manner restored by the incident free afternoon, decides that he might be able to find some one in this town who might help him learn how to use his brother's armor. After a few inquiries with some local smiths, Blarth finds himself at the door of what the last smith he'd talked to had called an "academy." Supposedly they taught people how to fight here for money. Blarth didn't quite see what would be so profitable about teaching people how to do something that their fathers would teach them, but he supposed that human fathers might not be so devoted to their children as orc fathers.

Letting himself inside, Blarth makes his inquiries and emerges after several minutes. He'd have to come back tomorrow and bring the armor with him (along with the necessary fee) but they'd show him how to put it on and wear it properly.

Satisfied, Blarth heads back to The Traveller's Wineskin.

***

Slipping out a side door of the academy, a small figure pokes his head out of the alley and follows the motions of the half-orc as he heads away. Darting from hiding place to hiding place, the little figure stays just close enough to his target to keep track of him, but not so close as to alert the orc to his presense. Heirloom armor, even if it was made by orcs, was bound to be worth a great deal. Maybe this was the tip he needed to get back into the graces of Bajinok. Surely a forgiener with expensive armor would make up for setting the scroll case afire. It had, after all, been an accident.
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  #125  
Unread 20th of June, 2006, 03:24
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It was late when they entered the inn, but in this part of the city late night arrivals and departures did not attract much notice. It was dark in the entrance hall, with only a few low burning oil lamps to see by. So much the better, to hid the stains of their ordeal. Shade keeps them out of the common room, instead garnering the information they needed from one of the servants near the door. Nicos had a way of drawing attention to his one-armed self.

The ascend to the second floor and move down to the end of the hall. Unceremoniously, Shade bangs on the door. Before anyone answers, she turns to Arjuna with a slight grimace.

"These are good people but they might not be happy to see me. Let me do the talking."
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