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  #126  
Unread 13th of December, 2002, 01:39
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She eyes the one armed man carefully with narrowed eyes before she relaxes a little. The events of the morning have left her on edge but his answers have a ring of truth to them that takes away some of her anger. In the back of her mind, she had half believed he might have something to do with Maeko's disappearace but she had forgotten the obvious: Maeko could take care of herself. She exhales heavily and some of the tension leaves her body before she smiles wryly at him.

"I might have suspected you of doing her some harm if I didn't know how well she fights. Yes, I suppose we are a strange enough group that we might attract a certain amount of interest."

Interest she would rather avoid. It seemed she might be able to do just that - their unusual group seemed to be splitting up now that they had found civilization. She frowns slightly.

"To answer your question, I haven't seen her since last night. I am not in the habit of rising so early as she, but perhaps we might look for her together. I assume you know this place well enough to help me purchase some supplies."

She studiously avoids any mention of Cadrius and the investigation that is drawing closer to him. She'd offered her help and he had been stubborn about it. For the moment she didn't want to think about what he might do.
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Unread 13th of December, 2002, 03:39
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Examining the young woman who stands before him. On first appearance she seems a pretty enough girl, and you didn't have to look far into her eyes to see how intriguing she is. But there was also a dangerous quality to her that made him weary. She reminded the bard of nothing so much as a fine quality dagger. Elegant, beautiful, yet treat her the wrong was, and she will make you bled.

Then as she grins, the dangerous quality seemed to fade into the background, and Nicos found himself grinning back.

Ahh watch out Nicos, never forget just how dangerous she is , a dry rational voice spoke in his mind.

Dangerous yes, but danger just adds spice to life , Nicos replied.

That me be correct, but consider this. You can't have any fun if your dead

Snapping out of his internal conversation as he realises she is speaking to him, Nicos quickly laughs.

"No, I doubt I would be able to do much harm to anyone these days," Nicos says gesturing at where is left arm should have been as the lie passes his lips. Ever since I lost it, I haven’t been the same in a fight."

Pursing his lips as Shade makes her suggestion that they look together, the bard nods.

"Aye looking together should be good, and chances are I know of where to get your supplies. Or knows someone who knows. Firstly I don’t believe we have been introduced," Nicos says holding out his hand.

"Nicos and you are?"
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  #128  
Unread 13th of December, 2002, 05:47
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The frown returns as introductions become the order of the day. She hesitates only a moment, still unwilling to share her real name and not quite sure why. Maybe she felt strange sharing this detail with someone she didn't know when the people she had travelled and fought beside still didn't know it.

"Yes, I believe you said that last night. Around here people just call me Shade and I guess we shouldn't go confusing them with something different."

She took a moment more to appraise him and decided that even without an arm the man was far from harmless. Still, she could use someone to show her around and he seemed amiable enough.

"So you're a bard. Let's see if we can keep the singing to a minimum for now. My head still hurts from last night."
  #129  
Unread 13th of December, 2002, 06:14
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Noting how the shadows seem to lay about her, even out in the relative open like this, Nicos smiles more.

"Shade huh? It suits."

Turning and gesturing to the wide markets around them Nicos arches an eyebrow.

"So Shade, what supply’s did you need? And I’ll promise to keep the songs down, if you tell me how you managed to sneak up on me like that. I swear no one should have been able to do that"
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  #130  
Unread 13th of December, 2002, 06:45
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"It's easy: people don't absorb every detail of what's around them - they can't process all they see and hear. You only see and hear what stands out from the background; I just make sure I don't stand out and people do the rest all on their own."

Looking him over she got the impression that he knew the streets well enough to know the kind of people she needed to meet - honest and otherwise - for the things she wanted to do. He didn't seem likely to quibble over things that were less than law-abiding, either, and that was good. She wanted to be done quickly and finding those things out herself would take time.

"As for supplies, I can use some healing elixir if there is any to be had in this town. Plus some alchemical goods, antitoxins, and more mundane stuff like rations and clothing. I've got a fine set of lockpicks that I'd like to sell, also. Maybe you know a buyer or two."
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Unread 13th of December, 2002, 07:27
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"I would hardly call this even," the bloodwraith claims as he steps forward swinging his sword again. However, his words prove false as his sword cuts into the ground at Blarth's side, no where near to damaging the half-orc. Grinning in a wolfish manner, Blarth lunges forward at the shaken bloodwraith and snaps, taking a bite of his shoulder. The wound however, doesn't bleed like normal. Instead more of those blood shards appear to emerge from the wound and begin to circle the wraith.

Last edited by Black Plauge; 13th of December, 2002 at 07:43.
  #132  
Unread 13th of December, 2002, 10:19
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Ilastros, fully prepared to fight, channeled a bit of his power into his sword. The sword began to glow a little bit, but that was not what got his attention. For a brief moment, Ilyasi had vanished and the acolyte was herself again. The Ilyasi was back, as she was before she vanished.

What is going on? This can't be happening.

"I have no beef with you, mage, other than the fact that I have a use for that mortal. I am willing to make a deal with you. I will trade my assistant, the one who decided to cast a spell on you, for the one you have. And then, once he has served my purpose and helped me kill one who has stolen from me, I will deliver him to you myself and allow you to keep my assistant to do with as you wish," Ilastros said.

"What are you doing, master? How can you make such an evil deal?!?" Ilyasi asked, terror in her voice.

"Shut up, girl. I told you magic was useless against him and you chose to use it anyway," Ilastros said, anger in his voice.

"I had to try, master!" Ilyasi squealed.

"Anyway, I'm sure a powerful mage like yourself can wait a little while. It shall not take me long to find that person, as all of my information says that this mortal knows where he is. I hope you forgive the sword attack: I knew it was useless, but I also needed to get your attention. If such a deal is amicable to you, as you gain two servants for the price of letting one be borrowed, plus I will owe you a favor, then we can make the exchange now and, after I get my revenge, we can both go back to what we were doing and be on our ways," Ilastros said.
  #133  
Unread 13th of December, 2002, 13:18
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"Food is no problem, any number of the venders about us sell compact and preserved food. For Elixors and whatnot, you will need Dingub, a Gnome who has a stand on the other side of the market. You can get most anything there from healing potions to poisons to some items of small magical ability. Its a strictly no questions asked business, you don’t ask where he got it from and he doesn't ask what your going to do with it."

"Clothing is all together simpler. There are only two real choices, Glenis Greenhill's second-hand stall, Most of the clothes there are from adventurers who didn't make it and are cheaper, and Gilpost Hephin's stall. She makes the clothes herself, they are good quality, but slightly more expensive then the norm."

"The lock picks you could probably sell to Fini's 'junk' store, and you could most likely find anything else you want there. Unless that is those lock picks are of especially good quality, in which case we could find someone with a more direct use for them."

Once again motioning at the markets around him, Nicos asks. "Which one first?"
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  #134  
Unread 13th of December, 2002, 14:33
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For just a moment, the robed figure seems to be inclined to argue the point. Finally, he says, "Agreed. In the end, I will still have him. Make sure he is still in reasonable condition when you're done, or you will replace him."

With a gesture, the field surrounding the paladin vanishes. The paladin collapses to the ground, unmoving. The robed figure tosses a medallion onto the paladin's back.

"When you're done with him, just break this. I will come for him then."

He then points at the bloodwraith -- who is currently being gnawed on by a feral-looking half-orc -- and speaks a word of power. A purple glow surrounds the mage and his pet warrior, and both begin to fade into nothingness.
  #135  
Unread 14th of December, 2002, 03:59
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Seeing his opponent begin to fade, Blarth makes one last lunge at him only to pass through the faded figure and fall, thrown off-balance by the lack of resistance. Standing up he turns to face the temple and notices that Sir Paladin is several feet closer to the shrine than when he had gone down. However, there do not appear to be any further threats and the guardsmen are begining to reappear with swords drawn.

Moving towards the prone form of Sir Paladin, Blarth is intercepted by a couple of guards who block the way with their swords.

"You'll not be harming that one now, you monster," one of them says in a menacing tone of voice.

Blarth hesitates, his concern for Sir Paladin fighting with his desire to avoid conflict with the guards.
  #136  
Unread 14th of December, 2002, 09:27
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Ilastros walked over to the human and picked up the medallion. The guards wanted to move to stop him, but the glare Ilyasi gave them stopped them where they were. The magi missiles had vanished when Ilyasi did, apparently nothing more than a part of the same power that made her, although no one noticed it.

Ilastros looked up and saw some guards threatening the orc. He almost decided to let them have their fun, but instead decided to help him. After all, the orc was the key to killing Trak.

"Leave him alone. If it wasn't for him, I would never have been able to save this person here," Ilastros said.

"You call what you did saving him?" one of the guards asked.

"He's still here, isn't he? He could be off elsewhere by now," Ilastros said.

"What about that deal you made?" the guards asked.

"That is between me, the mage, and the one I was trading for. It does not concern you and I would advise you to stay out of it. Otherwise, my assistant will show you her real power," Ilastros said.

The guards backed off from him, even more afraid now. Ilastros looked and Ilyasi and saw that she had taken on draconic characteristics. That was what probably was scaring the guards most.

"Also, leave the orc alone. He is a trusted friend of the human's and is someone I will deal with if he intends harm," Ilastros said.

Don't tell me I will have to fight my way out of this.

"Don't bother. A simple spell from me and they will be long forgotten," Ilyasi's voice said in the back of Ilastros's head.

Whenever you say to not worry is when I begin to get worried.
  #137  
Unread 18th of December, 2002, 09:36
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The guards advanced menacingly. Ilastros stood in a defensive position with his sword, hoping to manage to get out of this one alive.

Ilyasi called up a giant red dragon, probably mature or older. The guards, seemingly fearful of the creature stepped back. Then one guard stepped forward and swiped at it with his sword, causing the illusion to disappear.

The guards chose to charge at that point. Ilyasi found herself busy with most of them, while Ilastros seemed to only have one. Two of the guards blocked off the orc and the final one grabbed the human to take him elsewhere.

In the direction of Ilyasi the sounds of whistling as blades cleaved solid air, coupled with the occasional clang or groan, were the sounds of battle. With Ilastros and the guard the sounds were mostly clangs as the two exchanged blows for a few seconds. The guard with the human was standing still, waiting on his comrades before doing anything.

Ilastros swung his sword hard, only to be surprised. He totally missed his foe and the sword, under too much momentum to be held onto, flew across the field and struck the horse between the eyes, knocking the beast out cold. The guard he was fighting suddenly seemed a little unsure of himself about whether or not to fight an unarmed man.

Ilyasi solved the problem by tossing a sword to Ilastros, which she had gotten from one of her guards. Ilastros, noting the strange feel of the sword, swung with all of his might again. This time, the sword flew across the battlefield and imbedded itself in the forehead of the guard beside the human, killing him instantly. Ilastros's foe chose to drop his sword at this point.

Ilyasi tossed Ilastros a third sword, gotten much like the one before. Ilastros dodged a punch and swung with all of his might again. This time the sword flew across the battlefield and imbedded itself in a tree.

"This is going to hurt, isn't it?" Ilastros asked.

"Yep," the guard said.

Then the guard punched him, knocking Ilastros out in one hit. Ilyasi said "shit" before vanishing. The acolyte found herself back in control again, just in time to be beheaded by the guard in front of her.

"We had better take them in for questioning. Also, find out where that one magic user went. We need to capture her before she can cause any problems," the guard that knocked out Ilastros said.
  #138  
Unread 20th of December, 2002, 02:45
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"The picks I have are not for a novice so I think they'd fetch a better price from a more experienced buyer. We can do that later, though. Let's see to the more mundane first."

Shade accompanies Nicos to all manner of shops, spending some of her newly acquired wealth for two sets of well made clothing along with an excellent set of cold weather gear. After taking a few measurements the woman Gilpost promises to have it all ready on the morrow; several extra coins having shortened the duration from her original estimate of a week. She also purchases a good many items suitable for travel - foodstuffs, bandages, oil, flint, sunrods, and other small but useful things.

The gnome is altogether helpful, if overly secretive, when she bids for several potions of a healing nature. After a brief bit of haggling and a few timely words from Nicos the little man parts with his goods for a reasonable amount.

Things have taken a goodly amount of time and the afternoon is waning with still no sight of Maeko. Even Shade is beginning to wonder if the young monk has found some trouble though she says nothing to her talkative companion. For some reason she already links Maeko and Nicos together. She found herself liking the man in spite of the similarities between himself and Itches.

Thinking of her companions unwillingly brings Cadrius to mind. He was still with Paladin when she had stormed out of the bar and she wonders what he is doing and if she is at all among his thoughts. She shouldn't have left but at the same time she didn't want to think of what he might be up to; he had hinted he may turn himself in and that pained her. A curious look from Nicos brings her back to the present.

"You have been most helpful. There is only the matter of a buyer for these - ", she indicates the lockpicks, " - and then my business here is finished. You are welcome to half of whatever price they fetch, much more than the usual finder's fee I know, but you deserve something for wasting a whole day on me."
  #139  
Unread 20th of December, 2002, 10:07
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Blarth is dismayed as the conflict between the stranger and the guards degenerates into violence. As the fight progresses though the guards become increasingly distracted by its progress and Blarth is able to work his way over to Sir Paladin's body on the ground. Upon examining Sir Paladin, Blarth realizes that he is still alive but unconcious. Seeing the medalion on Sir Paladin's belt he turns to look at the symbol above the shrine's door.

This must be the local shrine to Sir Paladin's god. He should be taken inside, maybe someone in there can help him.

Lifting Sir Paladin's body effortlessly off the ground Blarth slings it over his shoulder and procedes to carry him towards the door. A timid private, that until this point had been hiding behind a water barrel to the side of the building notices Blarth action and approches with sword drawn.

"What are you doing? Don't you realize that the temple isn't necessarily safe? Your actions seem to indicate that you care for this one's well being but you are bringing this one into the very place that appeared to be the target of the man you faught."

Turning to the guard Blarth can see the honesty in his face and turns to move away from the shrine saying as he does so, "Sir Paladin here is a member of the order whose shrine this is. You can see the medalion on his belt. He is in need of help. Watch over him and I will check the building." Laying the body down gently by the barrel the young guard had been using for cover, Blarth turns back to the shrine and makes his way through the door as Ilastros is knocked out.

As he enters the shrine he finds the bodies of several alcolytes and squires scattered around the entryway. Most have a longsword nearby indicating that they died fighting. As he makes his way through the anteroom Blarth finds a total of 10 bodies, 8 adults and two children. Inside the main worship chamber there are more bodies, few of these however have weapons at hand. They appear to have been caught off guard, unable to defend themselves as the creature of death moved through their midst.

Finding no one alive here either, Blarth moves towards the living chambers. The dormatories remind Blarth of the barracks at the other end of the town. These rooms, unlike the other two, are deserted. However, there are sounds coming from the back room of the living quaters. Making his way cautiously back there Blarth finds two alcolytes and a priest, all armed with longswords, standing in front of a chained prisoner...

"Trak!" Blarth calls on seeing his brother in chains.

"Stay back monster, we will not allow you to take our charge," the priest calls to Blarth, bradishing his sword menacingly.

"Yes," says a voice from behind, "You shall not interfere with the process of justice here." Blarth turns to find a string of guardsmen behind him, standing with pikes at the ready. Helpless to act Blarth stands dejected as more guardsman file into the room. "I was just trying to make sure everyone was all right. Sir Paladin needs help and that guardsman said that the building wasn't safe. I came in to check it out and find the only people alive guarding my brother. What is going on here?"

"This currsed orc stands accused of a triple murder. He will stand trial for that crime and be punished accordingly," the priest declares haughtily, "As for this, 'Sir Paladin', what says we would help an aquatiance of yours no matter what name you would call him?"

"But he has a medallion with the symbol of your order on his belt," Blarth almost whines.

"Guardsman, what guardsman?" the lead guard asks, "That brave man's body was last seen in your posession as you headed into the temple. What have you done with him?"
  #140  
Unread 20th of December, 2002, 12:46
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Ilastros woke up instantly. He had been lying on the ground where he had been dropped. The guards were gone, leaving behind nothing. As Ilastros stood up he realized he had been stripped of armor and was wearing a set of travelor's clothes. Ilyasi was nowhere to be seen.

"'Bout time you woke up. I've been waiting on you," a female voice said.

Ilastros looked at the source and saw that it was the female elf from the bar. She was only two inches above five feet with wheat-colored hair and eyes like an ocean. He had the feeling that they changed as her mood did, although they showed no sign of it.

"How long have I been out?" Ilastros said.

"Four hours. When that army left, they left behind the man by the temple. I checked on him when I arrived and he was alright. However, the army sacked the temple. I don't even know if anyone survived," she said.

"Damn. Have you seen an orc around here? He may have been carrying the paladin," Ilastros said.

"He went into the temple four hours ago. I haven't seen him since. To be perfectly honest, I've been here dealing with you and not much concerned about what is going on around me," she said.

"Great. So, if we are traveling together, what shall I call you?" Ilastros asked.

"Shiva. How about you?" she asked.

"Call me Yendi," Ilastros said.
  #141  
Unread 20th of December, 2002, 13:04
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Grinning at Shade, Nicos speaks with a put of voice of the upper classes.

"My dear lady, your generosity is as abundant as your beauty," dropping the voice, "and as bad as my jokes. Besides I did a little of my own shopping today, "The bard continues." And you are good company."

Considering the matter for a moment, Nicos half speaks to himself, and half to shade.

"I know of a small group of people who ... as we shall say, earn their bread through an unusual means. Groups such as this are fairly rare in this city, as the guards, clamp down on them very easily. Still they have survived this long, so they are good enough to not be too good, if you understand."

As Nicos says this he starts leading his shorter companion back through the markets, once again resuming his habit of telling the odd bad joke, and stories that are so ridiculous that you just have to laugh. This continues unabated, until they are almost on the other side of the Markets, and a bellow of a voice Yells out.

"NICOS!!!"

Turning the two see a giant of a man. 6'6, with a bushy red beard, almost a match for the colour his face had turned as he stalks his way over to where they are.

"This should be fun," Nicos mumbles to his companion.

Pointing at Nicos he speaks again, this time at a moderately lower volume.

"Aright you scum sucking orc. I heard what you did to my wife!"

Putting on a look of shock and false innocence, Nicos speak in one of his most annoying voices.

"What I did to her? My good man, what about what she did to me? I should of sought damages! She ruined a perfectly good tunic when she ripped it off me, and then the teeth marks!! . Well no real reason to go there"

His face turning even redder, the man charges at Nicos with a roar, reaching out to grab at the bard's head. Laughing mockingly, the bard easily ducks it, taking a step to the side, with a grim look on his face.


((OOC: who cares about inititive. Shade goes next, followed by Nicos))
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  #142  
Unread 21st of December, 2002, 06:37
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Her hand is beneath her cloak and on the hilt of her sword before the echoes of the man's first bellow die out. She pivots easily out of the way, still not drawing her blade, as the man approaches. Her lips press into a thin line as he rails at Nicos for indiscretions with his wife.

Why am I not surprised?

The bard easily dodges the man's clumsy lunge but the red haired giant recovers quickly. Suddenly worried about the one armed man's chances she takes a long stride opposite Nicos, drawing her sword as she goes. It flickers in the fading light as she turns it, the flat striking the man across the base of the skull with a resounding crack. He drops like a stone, dust pluming as he hits the ground. She raises an eyebrow at Nicos as the blade disappears beneath her cloak.

"Friend of yours? Let's get going, and quickly."
  #143  
Unread 21st of December, 2002, 10:18
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Looking down at where the large man had fallen, a flash of rage crawls across his face. Kicking out savagely, Nicos spits out at the man.

"Just because I only have one arm, doesn't mean I am any less of a man."

Turning and striding off, it is a long minute before Nicos says anything. When he does, his voice is rueful.

"I really should have got some money. That was a really nice tunic."

With a wink a Shade, Nicos Gins.

"Strange that we havn't seen any guards about. They usualy zero in on a fight like a bea to as flower."

Stoping abuptly, he motions with his head at a beggar sitting on the corner up ahead.

"We need to talk to him if you want to sell your lock-pick set."
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Last edited by itches; 21st of December, 2002 at 10:39.
  #144  
Unread 1st of January, 2003, 06:31
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Her brows knit at the bard's display of anger. Apparently his wound ran deeper than he preferred to let on. It crosses her mind that his interest in the other man's wife might have more to do with satisfying his ego than anything else.

"Let us be thankful we remain unnoticed."

She follows him to the beggar and they deal in hushed tones, finally settling on a price of 140 gold for the set. It wasn't a bad price though she might have held out for more if she'd been in more of a mind to bargain. The beggar deftly produced the coins from beneath his cloak, the sizable hump of his hunchback slightly diminished when he had finished. She empties about half of the gold into her purse and presses the rest of the pouch in Nicos' remaining hand.

"Buy yourself a new cloak. It seems I'm out of things to do, and we still have no sign of our friend. Mayhap she has gone back to the inn; I must go there in any case to collect the rest of my belongings. Care to come along?"
  #145  
Unread 2nd of January, 2003, 13:38
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He's back, and this time it's personal...

Cadrius turns his head to the side and avoids the spray of water as Paladin forcibly removes it from his hand. Time seems to slow down and he sees it travel toward the wall before it shatters, sending bits of ceramic everywhere. The water cascades to the floor in both streams and drops. Just as the first makes contact with the well-worn floor time resumes its normal progress and he turns his head back to meet Paladin's fiery gaze.

His eyes...what could cause this?

He shakes his head slowly, remaining silent as scarlet-eyed paladin makes his way out of the tavern, followed shortly by the half-orc. There is something in the back of his mind, an elusive thought that refuses to be held down for examination. Had he heard of this before? He wasn't sure, but it did seem vaguely familiar.

He slowly comes to his feet for his mind is still attempting to decipher the puzzle at hand. He raises the mug of ale in his left hand and takes a long pull from it. Perhaps Paladin is some sort of mad prohpet, who sees the future and might manipulate the outcome with that knowledge. Yet this does not seem to ring true as he had not displayed such information in the past. It had not been Paladin but Shade who had rescued Cadrius and the blind wizard from the caves.

The thought brings a slight smile to his face and he wonders where the enigmatic assassin is. Finishing the rest of his ale in one gulp he places the mug down on the counter and leaves the barmaid another gold piece for her troubles.

One hand absent-mindedly checks that his dagger is still sheathed at his belt. He should see her before he goes to the church, before he went to "do something stupid." The thought brings a second smile to the fallen paladin's face, but there is little joy there. Sadness pools in his light eyes as he steps outside and into the night.
  #146  
Unread 6th of January, 2003, 17:23
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Desperately Blarth tries to explain, "There was this guardsman hiding behind a waterbarrel that said the temple wasn't safe yet and that I shouldn't bring Sir Paladin's body in here until it was checked out because it was from inside that the strange people appeared from whom we faught."

Confused as he was by the content of Blarth's plea the lead guard hears a ring of truth in the half-orc's voice and turns to the priest who nods in confirmation.

"Although I little understand what exactly is going on here I know you speak the truth," he then turns to the other guards and says, "Spread out and begin searching around the temple for the rest of the guards, and take a head count; living, dead, and wounded, I want to know who took that man's body and where it is. If you find it bring it here. Now go!"

With that the guards rush out of the room leaving Blarth the alcolytes and the lead guard alone with Trak.

"But what about my brother?" Blarth whines.

"He has been accused of murder and must stand trial. The zone of truth which is imbued in this temple allows us to tell only that he beleives he did not commit murder. However, his drunken state on the night of his arrest could mean that he did so and does not remember it."

"THAT'S NOT TRUE," Trak yells from his cell. "I have never had a drunken blackout in all my life."

"Unfortunately the zone of truth only allows us to know that you beleive that to be true," the lead guard replies. We have no other way of verifying that statement." Turning back to Blarth the guard continues. "Your brother's trial is on the marrow, if you wish to be present come to the townhall at noon." With that the guard spins on his heel and leaves the temple to take care of the search for Paladin's body and the missing guardsman.

After the guard has left the priest motions one of the alcolytes back to his post guarding the prisoner and indicates to the other that he should go begin cleaning the sanctuary. He then escorts Blarth to one of the other living quarters and says, "You claimed that the man who is missing was a member of our order. Pray tell, do you happen to know his name?"

"I know him as Sir Paladin, but the old man controling the creature I fought called him Calabron Laspeera. I know not whether that is his true name."

"Calabron Laspeera?!? If it is him we must find him quickly. He may be our only hope of discovering what happened at Altura, where he and the two whom you faught today came from."

The priest then rushes from the temple leaving a very bewildered Blarth standing there unsure of what to do.

Last edited by Black Plauge; 6th of January, 2003 at 17:28.
  #147  
Unread 8th of January, 2003, 02:27
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Hefting the bag of gold, Nicos smiles at Shade.

”Your generosity leaves me deep in your debt, this is easily a weeks earnings for me. Yes shall we return, tell me, do you have any immediate plans for the future?”
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  #148  
Unread 9th of January, 2003, 08:45
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She slows her pace as they walk, his question drifting through her mind. What, exactly, were her plans?

"I need to get out of that inn. I don't suppose you know anywhere else I might stay. It doesn't need to be nice - just . . . unobtrusive."

She catches his inquiring look and shakes her head.

"No, no. it's nothing like that. I'm not in any trouble or anything. I just don't like the environment. After that, I'm not really sure but I don't think I'll be here for very long."

No reason to stay but nowhere to go either.
  #149  
Unread 10th of January, 2003, 10:54
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After several moments of indecision Blarth follows the priest out of the temple to aid in the search for Sir Paladin. He starts by heading over to the water barrel where he left Sir Paladin's body with the guardsman. The ground however is so muddled that it would take an expert tracker to make sense of the markings and Blarth doesn't even qualify as a novice.

As he stands and looks about a shiny object catches Blarth's eye. Stooping to pick it up he discovers it to be Sir Paladin's medallion. As he picks it up he notices the priest engaged in discussion with the lead guard at the door of the temple and heads over to them.

"I found this! Its Sir Paladin's medalion! It must have dropped from his belt when I put him down."

The priest only glances at the medalion before taking it from Blarth and conceling it in the folds of his robe. "The less you handle that the better. Perhaps I can use it to obtain a fix on Calabron's position." With that the priest turns and heads back into the temple. The head guard then turns to Blarth and says, "You have been a great help, but my men can handle things from here. In the meantime you should make yourself scarce as your appearence will frighten the populace."

Realizing he still looked somewhat wolfish, Blarth bowed his head and headed back to the inn to wait for the effects of the power to wear off.


Meanwhile back in the temple...

The now head priest Kulper makes his way over to the back corner of the sanctuary. After a quick glance to make sure no one is watching he presses one of the many lightening bolts which decorate the walls, revealing a hidden staircase. Entering quickly he closes the door behind him, leaving no trace of its existance from the outside.

Kulper procedes down the hidden stairs to unnaturally lighted room where he finds an elderly man shrugging himself out of a guard uniform obvioulsy designed for one much younger than himself.

"How is Laspeera?" the priest asks.

"Still unconcious, and unlikely to know the trouble it cost me to aquire him. My spells do not have the panache they once did, it is fortunate that the simpleton orc was the one to grab his body."

"All is well then. We will keep him here until we find a way to deal with this matter. This room is free from scrying eyes and will be safe. Cartin, I will call if I have need of your aid again."

"That is all fine and good, but remember you owe me now," the wizard declares as he disappears with a pop, leaving the priest to reply to empty air, "This small favor doesn't even begin to balance your debt."

Seeing his friend gone, the priest shakes his head bemused, this conversation has obviously taken place before.

"Well, Calabron Laspeera, you and your brother have managed to create quite a stir around here. Hopefully we can rectify it before too much damage is done.

<OOC: Calabron's tale continues in Subchapter 5a - The Bloodwraith.>

Last edited by Gralhruk; 19th of November, 2003 at 06:25.
  #150  
Unread 10th of January, 2003, 15:08
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The night air is cold upon his face and the stars glimmer and dance overhead. He walks. Yet he does not move quickly for he is in no hurry to turn himself in. The bemused expression upon his face is gone, it fled only to be replaced by guilt, anger, and frustration. He goes as if he were any other man going for an evening stroll. However within him a war rages and the stakes are very high indeed.

Shades whisper to him, cooing softly, telling him to ignore his conscience, to ignore the wrongs he has done. They try and coax him into agreeing, and there is no small part of him that wants to. Yet amidst the darkness there is a small point of light, the last vestiges of his conscience, of his soul. It rails against the evil around it fighting against the shadow. It is losing. It has been losing for a long time.

As a paladin Cadrius never needed to worry about knowing what was right and what was wrong. Heironeous was there to tell him, to guide him, and to keep him on the path of righteousness. After being cast down his conscience was forced to work again, but it has been too long and it cannot find a firm foothold.

It seems so easy to give in, and perhaps he would if not for the persistant tug from his conscience. It pesters him and manages to hold the shadows at bay, but every struggle becomes more despate, and every battle is closer than the last.

Yet hope remains, but from the most unusual source. Shade. Unlike those that whisper to him this one, this woman, helps keep him balanced. It is a precarious position, but she keeps him from falling into darkness. Yet she is not the pinnacle of goodness, far from it. She seems more inclined to serve her own ends before helping someone she does not know or care for. Even her name, Shade, suggests that she would be a poor influence upon him and yet she is not. She bears both the light and the dark.

Buildings pass as he moves down the street and he shoves his hands in his pockets to avoid the cold. The nights are very cold and very long now and tonight it is the longest of the year. It is the solstice.

Come, a shade beckons, those men deserved it. You tried to reason with them, but they attacked you. Even then you didn't try to kill them like any other would have. You only killed them when they tried to kill you.

A small, but deep voice replies inside of his head, What of the third? He has killed many but none like that. That one no longer wanted any quarrel.

None? the shade taunts, Are you certain?

There is a long silence, the only noise made are the steady footfalls as Cadrius strides ever-closer to the temple.

That...that was a different circumstance. He will bear the scars of it for the rest of his life, the small voice answers at last.

You suffer too much, the shade returns its attention to Cadrius' being, you could end all of it right now. Just give in.

Yes, give in, another shade joins, followed by a second, and then a third before a chorus of shades all whispering, beckoning, pleading, and wheedling in their attempts to bring Cadrius over.

His conscience tries to tell him something, but it is drowned out by the cacaphony of darkness.

GIVE IN! GIVE IN!. It has become a chant now.

Cadrius clutches his head and stumbles down a nearby alley. The voices continuing their seductive chant. He staggers against the wall of a building, one arm keeping him upright while the other remains clenching the side of his face.

He draws in one shuddering breath and releases it in an piercing scream.

"ENOUGH!"

The shades are taken aback and fall silent. Again there is no sound but this time Cadrius's ragged breath is all that can be heard.

He rests for a while, his eyes half-closed from fatigue before speaking. His voice is soft but it needs no volume for it to carry to its audience.

"I will do this. I have already decided to. Leave me be."

He pushes against the building and comes to his feet. He still leans against the structure for support but it is not long before he takes one step, and then another. The battle has been decided and his conscience remains alive, for now.

He walks for a time and thinks of nothing. His mind is blissful in the silence, content to bask in it while his conscience rests and attempts to recover some of its strength. It is hopeful that Cadrius is turning against the darkness, but it knows this is but a tempoarary reprieve.

The temple suddenly looms in his vision and he stops for a moment, looking at it but not recognizing it for what it is. How long had it been since he had seen one of these? Two years? Three? And how long had it been since he had set foot in one? He wasn't sure, but it was long enough for his tastes.

He brushes dirt off of his pantlegs before straightening his shoulders and back. If he was to turn himself in, he would at least be presentable.

His fist freezes as he goes to knock upon the heavy wooden door. This is his last chance. He could escape, flee to another town or wherever he might choose. No one would ever know, no one but him and Shade. The shades within him are hopeful and begin to stir again.

Cadrius looks up to the stars, looking for answers, silently pleading for a response. The stars wink but remain silent.

There is a heavy thud as his fist pounds three times against the door. Moment pass before it is opened by an acolyte, Cadrius recognizes him by the simple white robe.

"Fetch your Highpriest," Cadrius says grimly, "I am here to turn myself in."

The acolyte looks at him wide-eyed in shock for a moment before hastening away to the depths of the temple. Cadrius remains on the threshold a moment longer before taking a deep breath and stepping inside.

The door swings shut with a muffled thud.
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