SB's Quest for Adventure

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Postby Ilyda » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:36 am

She saw the tower of Amon Sûl just before sundown. The hill itself had always been visible through the tree line for a league or more, and the tower only increased that distance. She pulled Zora to a halt and reached toward the sky. Her back made a loud noise before she nudged the horse on again.

She had intended to pass by Amon Sûl sometime mid-afternoon, spending another night in the wild. But the rain that filled the day had slowed Zora’s progress, and she had known around midday that she would be lucky to reach Amon Sûl by evening. She could see the stars coming out now, but she still felt soaked, and her short hair clung limply to her head.

It was dark long before she reached Amon Sûl. As she dismounted and led the roan toward the hillside, she realized she had no idea what she would find inside the town. She had not been in the area for years, since well before Strider took the throne. The sight of the tower was unfamiliar, as the last time she had passed to close to Amon Sûl, it did not exist.

The gate into the town was rather impressive, only reaching waist height. A guard with a rough-hewn face stood nearby. She noted absently that he was shorter than she was. She stepped on a twig.

“Aye. Who’s there?” The voice was gruff and wary.

“A traveler.”

“What’s your purpose?”

“A place to stay the night.”

He gave her a hard look. “You’re one a’ them dark-types, ain’t you? A Ranger or summat. Why you comin’ round here?”

“I confess. It is my intention to steal the money of these good people, find my friends in the wilderness, raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer my weasely black guts out.” The man’s eyes went wide. She frowned. “Come on, man. Open the gate.”

The guard did not move for a moment. All of a sudden, he brought the gate open. It was not wide, just enough to fit through. She passed through and nodded at the man.

“Sir!” he called. She turned back. “I need your name.”

She paused for a moment. “Salil Azrubêl.”

Not hearing a response, the self-named Salil led her horse away into the new town of Weathertop.
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Postby Monoceros » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:01 pm

As the haze in his head reluctantly faded away, he could perceive things clearly and notice a few objects that were scattered around the room – small washbasin, chairs, screen… He felt extremely bad, something was turning over and over in his stomach, twisting him from the inside. This was the most terrible side of drinking too much. This had been his regular habit for almost three weeks now, since he found proof of her death…

Slowly Kegan put his feet on the floor. The room immediately trembled, and everything danced in a sickening waltz. With great tense he suppressed nausea, but the struggle demanded the remains of his power. He had to put his head on his hands to remain conscious. He sat for several minutes until he felt he could finally stand up. He grabbed a bedpost and pulled himself to his feet. On unsteady legs he came up to washbasin and splashed his face with cold water. It didn’t help, he still felt his face swollen and crumpled. Taking a deep breath he dipped his head entirely and took it out only a second later.

The cold bathing brought him a little back to normal, though his head ached badly and nausea remained. He looked in the mirror and at first he didn’t recognized himself – disheveled hair and shaggy beard and moustaches, with water dripping from the locks, once of color of ripe wheat, but now half grey and darkened with water; pale sick face with unhealthy pink spots on cheeks; his eyes of grayish green looked strangely bright, though, they were red after last night’s drinking. His eyes stopped at a nasty scar going along his left cheek. His skin slightly tanned, despite his looks his skin wouldn’t yield to tan easily. He looked like a mere brigand, nothing reminded of Captain of City Guard in retirement…

That was what he used to be only two years ago. He was son of a well-to-do Gondorian military officer, had rather easy life, everything was quite ordinary, except one aspect of his entire life – his beloved one was a well known thief and burglar, high price was promised for her head… And they had been secretly engaged and intended to marry and move out from Gondor. Three years ago in pursuit of great treasure she set out to the lands of Rohan promising him to return very soon and to agree to become his wife and abandon her illegal occupation. That was in his previous life, before he retired, even though he was only twenty four then…

Her smiling face stood in front of his eyes… He shook his head, splashing water like a big dog, and with a bitter smile thought that she wouldn’t be pleased to see him in such a state. “Miriam, I swear, I’ll revenge…” he whispered angrily into the empty room and clenched his teeth.

Trying to put himself in order he wiped his face with a surprisingly fresh towel, combed and braided his long hair and smoothed his short beard. Then he put on fresh clothes – a cotton light brown shirt, brown leather breeches and soft boots. After he had put on his suede waistcoat and buckled the belt he came up to the window and removed the shutters – it was darkening outside. He must have been sleeping the whole day. He frowned, time was lost again, with drinking like that he could easily give up the search, as the traces cooled down with every day.

Kegan hang his long sword on his back and fastened the belt. Though his senses were deranged after whole night drinking and whole day lying dead, he felt himself a lot safer with his weapons close to him. He hid several daggers around his body and took his sack with intention to leave immediately, but something stopped him. Thrusting his hand inside he groped an object and took it out. It was a small silver dagger with a handle in a form of rushing unicorn decorated with ornaments and black onyx eyes, it was no longer than four inches. Her last gift to him, “Every time you see it, you’ll remember me,” she said with a childish smile…The memories tore his soul, feeding his rage and desire to revenge…

He put the dagger back into his sack and locked it in the bed chest. In a day or two he must leave Amon Sûl, time was too precious now. He threw on short woolen cloak on his shoulders, took money purse and went out.

It was a typical town inn with a tavern on the first floor where folks could have a rest and chat with friends after long and hard day. The tavern was filling with people slowly. Kegan came down to the tavern and smelling all those tasty meal odors coming from the kitchen he realized how hungry he was. He at down at one of the empty tables near the entrance door and called a barmaid. She came up to him several moment later, young girl of about 15, fresh and chubby. She looked at his face and nodded without even waiting for his request, as she perfectly knew what one who had a hangover needed.
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Fri May 19, 2006 10:55 am

The woman stretched out a hand, covered with calluses that had resulted from a life of work, attempting to show Sibeal some handicraft or another. It was increasingly exasperating to the young woman, for just because she wore expensive silks, and had arrived in a carriage, it seemed to have made her a beacon for the mess of merchants she was now trapped in. She had been already offered nearly everything, from jewelry to food, and there seemed no way to escape the ever increasing numbers of them, nor the strong smell of unwashed bodies and other less than savory scents. If they were hoping that who they perceived to be a rich young lady would buy their wares, they were sadly mistaken, for there was no way she would consider spending anything here. The food, she suspected, was not prepared under proper conditions, and no wares they could offer could contend with those of Arnor.

After enduring a few more minutes of that crowd of people around her, with one hand firmly on the pouch by her side to prevent a thief from making off with it, she reached her limit. It took all the willpower she possessed to stop herself from grabbing whatever was offered her and hurling it on the ground just to vent her frustration, yet instead, she forced a smile on her face, and pushed through the crowds, making quickly for the alleyways of the makeshift towns, hoping they would not decide to pursue her.

She gradually lost them, once they realized that their prospective customer had no intention of buying their wares, and she leaned against the stone wall of one of the buildings to catch her breath. Looking at the alleyway she was now in, with flickering shadows cast onto the walls of other buildings from varying sources of light, it hardly looked like the place a respectable young lady should frequent. Yet between the alley and the merchants outside, Sibeal decided she’d much rather explore the alley ahead, or at least just walk along it until she reached the end. Besides, logically, what was the worst thing that could happen to her in a small hamlet?

That was something she was about to discover, for soon she heard the loud thumps of boots on stone heading her way. Sibeal could tell the person approaching her was trying his hardest to be stealthy in order to avoid startling his prey, but to her ears, he might as well have been announcing his arrival with a gong. Her left hand immediately went to the pouch by her side, while her right drew out a small blade star. While behind her, she heard the sound of another equally inexperienced stalker attempting to creep up on her. Silently, she made a note NOT to dress in the manner she did this time on her next assignment.

Drawing open her pouch, Sibeal gave a soft sigh. She had honestly not intended to use any of its contents until her actual assignment itself, but such a scenario gave her no choice. The flickering lights were enough for her to tell the colors apart, and her fingers deftly selected a small vial filled with a green liquid. Cautiously, she dripped some on the blade star, and waited for them to come close enough within her range.

The men that charged out at her from the shadows were the stereotypical cutthroats, men driven by some unfortunate circumstance to crime. Yet their size assured her that they were good at their job, for they were both well built, and also wearing proper clothes.

“It’s a good evening for a stroll, isn’t it, miss?” One of the men said, as he waved a dagger in his hand. “Come with us, and we promise we won’t hurt you.”

Like I would believe you, Sibeal thought, as she tried to school her features into some semblance of fear. If they suspected that she was more than just a scared noble’s child, their guard might go up, and it would take more trouble on her part.

As he approached her from the front, her muscles tensed, and once he was within her range, with a practiced flick of her fingers, the blade star flew straight into his upper arm.

Well… Her aiming was a little off, but it would not matter now. She had already produced another blade star from the folds of her gown, for use on his friend.

He glared at her, and hissed. “You little minx! Just wait until I get my hands on you… You’ll regret what you just did.”

Yet before she could drip the poison on the other blade star, she felt a far stronger hand grab hers by the wrist. A sudden jolt of pain shot through her, and instinctively, she cried out. The grip tightened, in his attempt to force her to release her weapon, and another wave of agony ran through her.

Yet once she thought the pain would be unbearable, almost on cue, the man she had injured fell to the ground, clawing at air. His friend immediately loosened his grip from the shock, and she slipped free. Without wasting a second, she dripped the poison on the blade star and threw it at him, hoping that at least it would hit him, and scrambled away as quickly as possible.

Before long, he too was in the final throes of death, gasping out useless threats at her as she watched at a distance. Once they stopped struggling and lay still, Sibeal still leaned against the wall and stared, her eyes wide. She had never killed before, until this day. The man she was sent to dispose of for her mistress was meant to be her first kill, a test of whether or not she was suitable to become an extension of her mistress’s will, and naturally, more subtle poisons were intended for him, so that his demise would not be particularly shocking to anyone. The two who had died at her hands had suffered a considerably more violent and painful death than the one her future victim would.

Despite knowing all these, she could only stare at those two bodies. Less than an hour ago, they were alive and breathing, and now they were turning cold from death. Shaking herself somewhat out of her stupor, and berating herself for shrieking, for now someone would come soon, Sibeal began the task of erasing all traces of her presence at the scene. A shiver ran down her spine as she bent down to pluck the blade stars free of their bodies, her fingers trembling a little.

Somewhere in the shadows, Sibeal had the feeling the eyes were watching her. Gathering up whatever courage she could, she called out.

“Is there anyone here?”
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Postby Tempest » Fri May 19, 2006 11:49 am

Gathering up whatever courage she could, Sibeal called out.

“Is there anyone here?”

At first there was only silence, but then her quick ear picked up a rustling sound. It took a moment for her to place the sound. Someone was clapping.

Zan emerged slowly from the shadows, a slight smile spreading across his face. "Impressive. It would seem they underestimated you."

Her eyes narrowed. "Who are you? What do you want?"

"No worries, love, I'll not make the same mistake they did," he said, spreading out his hands toward the still bodies. "Though, if I were you, I wouldn't hang around. I don't get the feeling that the locals look favorably on murder."

In the full moonlight she finally got a clear look at him. Obviously foreign, his features were darker, and his dark eyes watched her closely. Though, she noted, they held no malice toward her. He was handsome and had a carelessness about him that betrayed a cavalier attitude towards life, though she suspected that he was dangerous too. Not someone to turn one's back on.

"Not murder. You saw them attack me."

"Right. You made an easy target. Then again, you are obviously not as unskilled as you appeared."

"No."

"Still, this is your first kill. I see it on your face. Don't worry, it becomes easier with time." He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the nearby wall, sizing her up with a certain amount of admiration that made her feel both disarmed and on guard.

"I am Zan," he said suddenly. "And I would like very much to know your name, and why it is you are here."
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Postby Tempest » Fri May 19, 2006 11:49 am

Double posts. Sorry!!! :x
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Mon May 22, 2006 4:58 am

"I am Zan," he said suddenly. "And I would like very much to know your name, and why it is you are here."

Sibeal tried to make backing her way to a wall for some form of added support for her slightly trembling form look as natural as possible, despite the fact that her heart was thumping. First the kills, and now this man appearing out of nowhere to applaud her for what she personally felt to be messy and very incriminating, in the event she was found at the crime scene. The feel of the cold stone against her back served to calm her down, for her breathing became more regular, and she regained enough composure to dust whatever dirt she had collected from the fight off her dress as her brain worked to phrase an answer.

There was no point lying to this man, she felt. First there was the dangerous aura she felt around him, and also, since she suspected he too was someone of a shady profession, it was a clear sign of trust for him to tell her his name. Although she knew that aliases were common, there was something about him that told her that he could be trusted with at least the rough details of her mission.

Taking a deep breath to continue attempting to calm her thudding heart, she began, silently praying her voice wouldn’t shake.

“My name is Sibeal, and I was just passing through this small hamlet en route to Rohan. Between a night spent on the road, and a small town, it is hardly surprising that I should choose this. I am going to Rohan…” she paused to take a breath, “to pursue someone who has riled my lady in Fornost, and then to conveniently dispose of him before he causes any more trouble to her than he already has. And I trust you won‘t be spreading any word of my activities here tonight… Zan. And if I may be so bold as to ask… What is your business in this town? You don‘t seem to resemble the average lowly rascals that form the underworld of Weathertop.”

For by all appearances, this Zan was definitely unlike those clumsy cutthroats she had fought and killed, for while she had heard them coming from far away, she had only realized he was there when the fight was over and all was silent.

And, no matter what he might say, his appearance here this night was definitely no accident… For only those with some form of shadowy business would be caught prowling the maze of alleyways that she now stood in.
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Postby Tempest » Mon May 22, 2006 2:40 pm

"Sibeal, huh." Zan paused, taking in her story and summing up the truth in it. "Your 'lady' must be important indeed to warrant such an assassination. Still, strange that she would send someone so...inexperienced. Perhaps she does not expect you to return."

Sibeal felt the color rising in her face. "How dare you imply..." but he cut her off with a wave of his hand.

"I was just saying; no need to take offense. Besides, your business is your own. But, my advice to you: when push comes to shove, watch your own back rather than this 'lady.' I would hate to see one so beautiful succumb to someone else's revenge. I say, let the lady do her own dirty work."

"You didn't answer my question. What is your business in this town tonight?" she shot back.

"My business? Well, I was all set about robbing you, but seeing as I changed my mind, I suppose I'll return to where I came from. I'm just here picking up some items from the blacksmith. Nice fellow, let me add. As for my profession," he leaned forward with a charming smile, "I was a pirate, until I was forced inland for a time. Until I can return, I'm just up to no good."

"An honest criminal?"

"Only to you. If you ever decide to leave this 'lady,' let me know. You can find me with the Scarlet Serpents. We're always looking for talent."

"And I would ask for Zan the Pirate?"

"Zan is fine." He turned to leave, fading into the shadows, but she heard him whisper, "Oh, and I would leave now. The watch is coming. Wouldn't want you to get caught, love."
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Wed May 24, 2006 5:36 am

Sibeal heard some footsteps echoing in the background, which had to be the watch that Zan had warned her about. Following his lead, she stepped into the shadows around her, and began navigating the maze to try to find the exit that would lead her back into the town center. Even if she was picked up by the watch, as long as she was some distance from the bodies, there was no way they would suspect her of anything to do with the murder. Yet despite this reassurance of her immunity to any trouble from the watch, she decided it was safer to place as much distance between her and her victims as possible. It might be a little troublesome to explain what a proper young lady was doing wandering around random alleyways in a town she had never even been to, especially with two dead men in the same alleyways, and apparently not murdered in the clumsy manner expected.

Tuning her ears to the sound of voices, Sibeal followed the general direction, ignoring the footsteps and focusing only on the voices. She was supposed to meet her driver at the inn to settle her lodging and dinner, and she decided that at the moment, that was the safest place to be, until she decided what she was going to do about her invitation to join the Scarlet Serpents. Everything happened for a reason, she believed, and so she was almost completely assured that her chance encounter tonight was no accident.

Once she was back on the main streets, Sibeal heaved a sigh of relief. Glancing at her gown, she dusted off whatever traces of dust and dirt remained on it, and ran a hand through her hair to comb out any tangles. Once she felt she looked somewhat more presentable, she made her way to the inn. It was arguably one of the easiest structures to find in the town, from the light and noise emitting from it. From the little she could hear of the rabble of voices within, apparently the deaths of the two men had spread like wildfire. To her relief, her appearance only drew attention, for there was no suspicion in any of the glances that surveyed her, only surprise. The place was filled with men and women of all kinds, from weary travelers to locals, and it took her close to a minute to pick out her driver from the crowd though, for the place was packed, and his dressing was rather nondescript. Once she had found him, and made her way over, she asked.

“Have you sent my bags to my room already? The dress I’m wearing now is dirty… I fear our traveling will be delayed until I can get it cleaned. And help me arrange a bath in my room… The traveling has worn me out.”

Without waiting for him to reply, she raised a hand and signaled to the waitress.

“Could you get me some white wine, chilled if possible? And also some bread and butter.”

As she sat alone at the table, her companion busy arranging her requests, she pondered over the invitation offered her by Zan. If she accepted it, her mistress would probably be out for her blood… But Zan had a point. Why should she kill people for her mistress and gain next to nothing from it? And, from what she had seen of him, the Scarlet Serpents were far more powerful than her mistress in the underworld. Also, even if her mistress decided to chase her down for deserting, Sibeal guessed that if she was talented enough to be spotted by one of them, she should be capable enough to take on whatever was thrown her way.

But on the other hand... She did not know enough about this band to join them. For all she knew, she might be merely made use of, then discarded like rubbish, the precise scenario Zan envisioned for her should she stay on with her mistress. Yet her mistress had given her a roof over her head, put food in her stomach, and educated her in the arts she was now being sought for. It would not only seem disrespectful, but rather silly in the sense she would be risking everything she already had for something that might, or might not, work in her favor.

Leaning back in her seat, and wrapping her fingers around the stem of the wine glass, Sibeal closed her eyes and continued musing on the matter.
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