Never Winter Nights

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Postby Aglanor » Fri Jan 23, 2004 9:17 am

Weary, Davian swung his sword through yet another Orc, which was replaced by one of his friends almost immediately. It was enough to get Davian agitated. It just didn't seem to make a difference. He looked over his shoulder and saw that most of his companions had disappeared. He could only hope they were back at the Neverwinter Hold. But he didn't get time to think. Swords were moving like blurs, axes falling down to the ground constantly and arrows came from nowhere. His shield was slowly getting reduced to splinters hanging from the gilded metal. His sword had been bronze, before the battle had started. Now it was shining a blood-red color from tip to hilt. Davians hair was sticky to his brow, and his muscles ached. But the thought of dying did wonders to a man. And despite all that, despite the fear, despite the despair, there was the thrill; The feeling of being 'home'. He was born for this. With a burst of laughter he continued his rampage. He still felt the odd magic of Fiona going strong through him, his hands still moving swift, his sword as a devastating tornado, his feet constantly moving to yet another position. They could not tear him down, cause he just wouldn't let them. He fought Orcs before and knew their battle tactics. Or the lack thereof. They had no tactics, except each Orc for himself. And Uthgardt barbarians had been metaphorically fighting fire with fire with success. Davian was going to uphold that success. He'd let these Orcs know the fear of facing the hordes of Uthgardt. He managed a look behind him and saw Holle disappear with a dead or unconscious Alayna. He was there as last, a rear-guard to the saviors of Neverwinter. He knew he'd have to find a way out, but it was going to be hard. He couldn't get his hands near his ring, so had to hope Aribeth would get a portal open. He just hoped she would be able to. Another Orc fell dead, decapitated before his feet, and another jumped through the fray, sticking a spear in Davians leg. Pain shot through his body, and he halted for a moment. Through the pain, fear and agitation one emotion was clear like the sun breaking through black clouds: Anger. Anger causing ripples in his thoughts, trying to break free from the prison Davian had made for the emotion. But this time Davian didn't shun the emotion. Instead, he opened the cage and welcomed it. Time altered to ominous slow-motion. Davian felt his blood boiling, sending adrenaline through his muscles. Red dots appeared before his eyes, his muscles straining in his body and his conscious become a point of utter silence. <BR><BR><i>Rage...</i><BR><BR>With a mind-blowing scream, Davian roared and swung his sword. He'd been fast due to Fiona's magic, and he'd been fast with every rage. The combination was frightening. The magic seemed to increase the speed, the strength and the toughness gained by his rage. An Orc tried to move away from his sword, but was dead a fraction of a second later, open from shoulder to shoulder. Davian was already going through the left flank, while the right flank moved in for the kill. Davian turned around, and brought death. He felt in his element. He was a God. Orcs started moving back to keep a space between them and the barbarian, but it was too crowded, and Davian felt like he had all the time in the world. Orcs moved in defensive position, but didn't stand a chance against him. As a harbinger of death, his sword went from one Orc to another, slaying each and all in a matter of seconds. Ogres who dared to get too close, were brought down. It turned from a battle into a slaughter, with Davian in the middle. The torch in the darkest room, taking the darkness down as it spread the light. He'd been afraid to die a few minutes back, but no longer. He felt out of Death's range. He had become invulnerable. He would slay them all.<BR><BR>But then he was brought back to earth. A sword opened his back, scraping over his spine. His rage left, being replaced by fatigue and pain. The God became a man once more. Orcs' eyes filled up with bloodlust. Davian's grin turned to a desperate smile. He knew death would take him soon, if he weren't fast. First victim was the guy who had taken his rage away. He turned and stood face to face with the captain of this army.<BR><BR>"Make room! The barbarian's mine!"<BR><BR>Davian heard the Orcish words, a dirty sound, filled with hatred and disgust. Davian watched the ranks make room, like a small round arena. The onlookers grinned. There was death in their expressions. Davian was about to bring them death. He turned to the captain, who had already raised his sword, and banged it against his shield. Davian focused and lifted his sword. The captain roared, and started the run. Davian followed his example, and they met in the middle, swords clashing, Davian swung his sword left and at the Orcs head, but got parried away. The Orcs sword moved from defense to offense, making Davian keep his guard up. After four parries, Davian saw an opening and moved in for the kill, but the Orc spun away and Davian had to dodge for the sword aimed for his stomach. He felt the magic wearing off though, and knew he had to be fast. He brought his sword in again, and managed to take a chip off the Orcs shoulder. The orc blazed in anger and threw a rash move. Davian had been hoping for that, and saw his chance. With three moves he was within the Orcs danger zone and ready to plant a killing blow. <BR><BR>Instinct more than anything else made him throw his sword right, just barely in time to tick the arrow out of harm's way. The Orc bellowed a command, and the archer who was responsible was killed without remorse. "I said the barbarian's mine!! All of you keep out of it!" He looked at the barbarian, fury in his eyes. Davian was relieved to see that the captain didn't go into a rage. He wouldn't be able to handle that. Against his will, he smiled. True, he wasn't in the most reassuring position, but despite all he was alive and at large. He had very few wounds, and none of them major. His body count had been huge and the day was still not over. The captain seemed to notice the smile. "Yes. Smile, Uthgardt. You'll die with that smile on your face."<BR><BR>"I might. But it's not today that it will happen."<BR><BR>"We'll see about that."<BR><BR>And the fight started again. Davian had found new hope and was going fast, but the Orc had found anger to fuel his fires. He was more than able to keep up with Davian. So much that they were reaching an impasse. Sword banged against shield, shield blocked sword and swords clashed, sparks flying. It went on for minutes, every attack defeated by the defense, like waves crashing against the cliffs. Davian backed away, out of the Captain's range for a breather. He was getting weary again, and didn’t see much of a solution. <i>Aribeth, I could really use that portal anytime soon...</i> He looked at the Orc, and knew that there was just one more option. And that was sacrificing himself and just hope it wouldn't be fatal. He threw his shield over his shoulder tying it to his cloak, and grabbed his other sword. He was going on an all-out offensive action here. He roared and charged the captain, who stuck his sword out in front of him. Davian didn't parry it away, but threw himself on the sword, his inner body exploding on the impact. He felt blood set loose all over, but had to finish this. He saw a flash behind them, reflecting in the eyes of the captain and instinctively knew a portal had been opened. He saw surprise in the Orcs eyes for his sacrificial move. Then Davian brought his swords together. Like scissors, they came together, with the head of the Orcish captain in their way. Like a twig, the head went off with a snap. He heard the Orcs roar, and saw weapons being raised, ready for vengeance. He pulled the sword out of his stomach and made for the portal. He crashed through, vision blurring. He fell right into someones arms. His vision was fading, but it revealed a beautiful woman holding him. "An angel..."<BR><BR>With that, Davian passed out.
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Postby Rooty » Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:07 am

The ride to Never Winter Hold is straightforward and, for Thanasimos, relatively uneventful. He did not stop until sometime after sunset. A small brook provided fresh water for his horse and, after feeding his black stallion, Thanasimos pitched a small one-man shelter that would service him well enough for the night.<BR><BR>It was his habit, whether travelling or at home, to exercise both morning and evening. Removing all but his tunic, Thanasimos began his exercises barefoot on the soft grass. His wife had always enjoyed watching him and, on more than one occaision, joined him in his routine. Despite being a woman, not to mention a priestess (whose lives often made them less than athletic), she was fit and strong for her small size. Forcing any remaining thought of her from his mind, he focused his strength and will into absolute concentration.<BR><BR>After an hour had passed, he finished his workout. Then he sat down to a simple meal of bread, salted meat and raw vegetables; the brook provided his drink. Cleaning up after himself, he sat on the grass cross-legged, facing no particular direction and began his meditation. Thoughts of his wife, the manner of her death, the present journey to the Hold, the care his horse still required and a multitude of other useless things began to flood his mind. Refusing to succumb to such weakness, all useless thoughts were banished immediately, and he concentrated on obtaining perfect calm and peace of mind. A well-disciplined mind is a warrior's greatest asset in battle. Many had died for lack of it. Thanasimos had spent a great portion of his life, even as a child, in pursuit of the most rigourous levels of mental discipline.<BR><BR>Even meditation, however, cannot be indulged in. After one hour had passed, he uncrossed his legs, checked his horse to ensure its comfort, entered his shelter and slept.<BR><BR>Thanasimos awoke the next morning shortly before dawn. Meditating for exactly one hour as he had the night before, he then ate a meagre breakfast, exercised, dressed, packed his camp, fed and watered his horse, mounted and departed leaving no trace of his presence.<BR><BR>He rode all day without stopping. That evening he arrived at the Hold. Bringing his horse to the casual walk demanded by propriety, he approached one of the guards, but did not dismount.<BR>"I am here to see the Priestess," He informed the guard. His voice was hard, clipped and brooked no opposition.<BR>"Very well," the guard answered. "And who shall I say is calling?"<BR>"You may tell her tha I am General Thanasimos Lycurgus. I am here to assist her in the matter of the plague. She will be glad of my arrival."<BR>The guard thought this more than a little presumptuous, but said nothing. Disappearing into the Hold, he left his companion guard alone with the General.<BR><BR>Thanasimos walked his horse back a few steps. Dismounting, he fed and watered it, and without looking at the guard who was in many respects his inferior, stood with his hands clasped behind his back and feet firmly planted at shoulder's width apart. In his black cape, he looked every inch the powerful warrior he was.<BR><BR>He would simply wait until summoned.
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Postby Fionavar » Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:51 am

As Fionavar lead the Kylar to the infirmary, the room was abuzz with activity. Arthus and Buddy were still present and two new occupants filled the room. Hollebourne and Alayna now occupied spaces and were being looked after by the healers. Tenar went to Maeglin, who appeared to be lightly sleeping and sat by his side. Scanning the healer hall further, she saw Arladion was still sleeping, but the leg seemed well bandaged and she could sense that he would be up in no time. The stranger was in more critical condition. Healers still hovered around him and the Bard had no idea how long he would be with Never Winter or if he would stay once he was recovered.<BR><BR>Her mind then turned to clothing for her friend. A nice shirt, soft vest, over tunic, leggings and cloak would do. All in earthy tones of muted browns, beiges and green. Clucking her tongue with the choices in her mind, she headed off for the stores of Never Winter hold. As she came into the large anti chamber that held the reflection pool and the High Priestess, the rainbow shimmer was already evident. <BR><BR>"Get over here, Fiona. It is Davian that comes through and he is terribly wounded. He stayed too long at the last, the Fool. I need my attention here, you call the healers and be sure he gets to the infirmary safely." Aribeth, never took her eyes from the Portal, but Fionavar reacted to her words immediately and without question. A moment later a large mass of body came tumbling through the Portal. It was Davian alright, blood welling from his back and flowing freely from his stomach.<BR><BR>Fionavar managed to get to the spot where his ravaged body had stopped and by some strange twist of fate and their bodies, he was in her arms. His eyes opened and she could see the dull life force in him, but it was dimming quickly. A smile touched his face as she wiped the blood away from his cheeks, then he lapsed into unconsciousness.<BR><BR>"Someone, help me." Fionavar cried, projecting her voice down the hallway to the healers. The limping form of Arladion appeared first, concern showing clearly on his face for his friend. A healer was right on his heals. Together they lifted Davian from her embrace and between them, began the return trip to the healer hall. <BR><BR>As she started after them, the healer spoke, "You go and get new clothing, yours is a mess. We will take care of your friend. You may check in on him later." The trio started off again. <BR><BR>"Arladion, you see that he is well cared for, or I will....I will, I don't know what I will do, but your leg won't be the only thing hurting when I am done." The half-elf turned and gave a wink to the Bard, knowing that her words came out of grief instead of meaning an actual threat. When Fionavar turned again, the High Priestess was looking at her.<BR><BR>"Thank you, Fiona. Do not have any worry for Davian, he will be hale and whole in next to no time. You however need to change your clothes. Get to the stores and I shall speak with you tomorrow." Then in a surprise movement, Aribeth bent and gave the Bard a squeeze. The drama of bringing back all the people who had suffered so in the service of Never Winter was at an end for now, the High Priestess could rest.<BR><BR>Fionavar knew that Davian was in good hands, but she would indeed return later that evening just to see for herself. The stores of Never Winter always smelled so good, but she had no time for picking and choosing. She ended up getting two of each manner of clothing she had thought of before and headed down to the bathing pool. Robyn was sitting next to Nargot and the final strains of a song she was singing came to the Bards ears.<BR><BR>"That was just lovely, Robyn. I had thought to put the plague in song somehow and you have saved me the trouble, not that I could have matched your talent anyway. You will teach it to me?"<BR><BR>"Maybe after you get cleaned up, what happened? Did Tenar bleed on you or something? Your clothing is a ruddy mess."<BR><BR>"No, Davian bled on me, he just came through and is the last of our group. At least all are here now and given time will heal. Though Davian is wounded badly, Aribeth assures me he will be healthy in short order." Fionavar gave a wan smile to Robyn as she slipped off her clothing and dove into the deep end of the bathing pool. While she sand soaped her body clean once more, Robyn examined the clothing choices. Laying them out side by side, she scratched her head at the duplicity.<BR><BR>Fionavar came up from the pool toweling herself off and stood by the Druid. "Hope you don't mind that we look like twins, at least our garments will look that way." The Bard winked at her friend and then poked her in the ribs.<BR><BR>"Sure thing, Fiona. Just make sure that the men can tell us apart, eh?" Smiling broadly, the two dressed quickly and headed back up the stairs with Nargot happily trotting behind them.
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Postby Exar_Kun » Sat Jan 24, 2004 10:20 am

Dion sat up straight in his bed. He didn’t know what had woken him up, but it had certainly done a quick job at it. Slowly it came to him… through his nose. An intoxicating smell, very strong, and it was coming from the paladin lying only a short three feet from him. <i><u>Timbleweed</u>, a very strong medicinal herb. Caution: has a very strong odor. Once applied, clear away from area, for smell will not leave any fabric for several days,</i> he could remember it, just like it had said in <i>Faerun’s Guide to Rare Herbs</i>. Apparently the paladin had gotten an ample dosage of it on him. He took a look at his own clothes and cursed the fact that he hadn’t packed more clothes. Considering the circumstances under which he had left for Neverwinter, it wasn’t an option any way, yet it didn’t help him with his shortage of clothes in the present. How long had he been sleeping? He yawned. <i>Obviously not long enough</i>.<BR>He took a look at his leg, pressed carefully on the red spot in the bandage, and concluded it was almost healed already. A feeling of safeness warmed him, and he lay back on his back again. He wondered where they had Davian. <i>DAVIAN?!</i> Did he see him leave? No, but then again, he was the first to even get yanked out of that place. <BR><BR>The hasty, and very ill-considered jump from his bed proved a painful experience. For a moment, it felt as if the arrow was still there, biting the inside of his leg. Orth, who had been faithfully by his side the whole time, jumped up against his chest, forcing him back on the bed. A deep sigh underlined the ranger’s frustration. He was, however, not willing to give up on his cousin so easily. He hadn’t proven that useful in the last battle either. <BR>This time, he first carefully put his pants on which were laid out beside his bed, and then used the bed itself for support. Black spots covered his eyesight for no more than a few moments, and not long after the dizziness disappeared too.<BR><BR>The clanging of weapons on the hard floor echoed through the halls, and Arladion immediately identified it as Davian’s swords. There was no room for any more thoughts, as a cry for help required his immediate attention. Adding up that it was on the one hand the cousin whom he had so grown attached to, and on the other hand Fionavar, who he was always glad to be around, he did his utmost best to move his limping leg most efficiently, and make it there before any of the healers could, who would certainly deem him unfit to help.<BR><BR>He got there indeed before the healers could send him back, yet he welcomed the help of the other healer, who gave him a strong ‘you should know better than this’ look. Despite Davian being one bear of a guy, they managed pretty well to get him to a clean bed. As if summoned before Davian even arrived, more healers entered the infirmary with supplies. They surrounded the bed in a closed, high white wall. Arladion, not being a very tall man, jumped as high as he could, yet he could not see what was happening. He sighed in desperation, and resigned to the fact that the healers finally got him out of the way. <BR><BR>The ranger retreated to a more quiet corner of the infirmary, where one of the few plants in the room enjoyed the bright sunlight. Kneeling down on both knees, he folded his hands on his lap, and bowed his head to the element of nature.<BR>“Dear Forest Queen, it has been long since I called for your aid<BR>And I have always done my best to serve you well<BR>Be it so that my cousin was fatally hurt by the blade<BR>Defending your treasure with his life before it fell<BR>His swift healing is my only request<BR>I ask you to honor this, for I cannot rest.”<BR><BR>A pair of hands glided down his cheeks. They were soft and warm. They were Robyn’s. His eyes were still closed, yet he knew Fionavar was with her. He quickly concluded his prayer in a mischievous tone, <BR>“And please keep me safe from the Bard’s wrath…”<BR><BR>A third hand touched his face, yet this one grabbed his ear and pulled it hard. “Aaah, silly human!” the ranger cried as he stood up and turned out to them, “Not the ears, they’re very sensitive!”<BR>“Well so am I, <i>silly half-elf</i>, Fionavar cleverly bounced back at him, with a grin painted on her face. All Dion could do was stick out his tongue to her, while Robyn caressed his ears. It was immediately punished by a pinch from his loved one, “No sticking out tongues to my best friend, even if it’s you!”<BR>He poked her back in her side with his finger, and locked her arms to her body with his own, “Well it’s all <i>your</i> fault you know, you should’ve taught her all these things about us!” <BR>Robyn struggled back, but it was no use. It did, however, attract enough attention from a pair of healers, who, to their own saying, gently pushed them out of the infirmary. All <u>five</u> of them.<BR>Arladion looked at Fionavar, and immediately sensed the danger, “Splendid, now I’m in for it. I dearly hope Mielikki heard me...”
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Postby Amarie » Sun Jan 25, 2004 1:20 pm

Her body was grateful to the kindness of Fionavar. A small smile appeared on her face as she thought of the heartwarming exchange between the bard and the druid, Robyn. She wished she could have known them better. This quest, as it was, had formed a bond among these remarkable people yet it had also created a barrier in that it had required a separation of tasks and company. Ultimately, however, the friendship and the love forged out of such a fiery and difficult time would stand to be stronger and sturdier than any other. <BR><BR>Her footsteps barely made a sound as she and Fionavar treaded the stairway and the hall towards where Maeglin lay. She did not have to search the healing hall for Maeglin. As her eyes fell upon him, she slowly murmured her thanks to the bard before leaving her. The rest of the hall, meanwhile, was filled with other members of the quest. It seemed that the thief was one of the several fortunate ones who managed to barely escape from the battle, though not unscathed. A few people’s conditions seemed to be more dire than the others, but Tenar could feel the hope in the room. There was promise here. Then again, Tenar felt Aribeth seemed to give such a hope to everyone she met and even to those she hadn’t. <BR><BR>As she settled into a seat right beside Maeglin’s bed, her hand smoothed out the creases of his covers. She watched her fingers glide over the soft fabric, hesitant. Finally, she looked up at him. His blue and green eyes were not visible, as his lashes curled upon his closed lids. “What do you think?” The Naran spoke to her will o’wisp. “Should we tell him a story? Should it be of us?” The creature buzzed in agreement then rested on the back of Tenar’s hand, which in turn was placed upon Maeglin’s. She knew her wisp was drained from the previous <i>hiten</i> immersion and that it would only be a small matter of time before her lifelong friend and companion settled into its ebony-flamed slumber. <BR><BR>“I was so nervous during my… hmm.. I am not certain how to say it in your tongue. I should say that I was so nervous during my Becoming.” Tenar frowned. “That does not sound right, but it is as close as I can get. It is when children cease to become children. They become… warriors, craftsmen, traders, priests, leaders, healers and especially mates. It is when they assume responsibilities and obligations to their tribes. There is a ceremony involved, and we are expected to know this song by heart. It is the history of our people and our home, from our creation to the death of the greatest Kyar’an warrior.” <BR><BR>Tenar glanced at the minimal flickering of her wisp’s flames. Many outsiders had wondered in amazement at how such a creature of fire could not scorch her skin when it came in contact with her. “We were, first and foremost, born of the fires of the goddess. Then, the twilight became our domain,” she thought to herself. <BR><BR>“But I was telling you of the Becoming.” She continued. “That song is agony. Beautiful but its length was terribly, terribly agonizing to a child. It is required that we chant it during the ceremony. Once every few years or so, a child manages to disrupt an otherwise flawlessly-executed tradition. Such was to be my fate. I was so frightened about forgetting a word or missing a line that as soon I opened my mouth to join the others in the chanting, I fainted dead away. I woke up a few hours later with part of my hair burned because I had fallen too close to the one of the fire pillars. That was not half as bad as my punishment however.” Bemused, the maiden smirked. “I think, sometimes, I can still smell burnt hair. It’s not very pleasant.” <BR><BR>Tenar was silent for a moment. “I wish you would wake up. There is more outside of my home that I have yet to see. I cannot imagine seeing it without…” She felt her wisp stir, comforting her tenderly before falling back to sleep. “There is this plant which grows sporadically and erratically all over the desert. It is difficult to find in the daytime, but it is easily noticeable under the light of the moon. When a man has picked who he wishes his mate to be, he has to search for this plant, pluck it and take it to her. This is how it is done. This plant is to be boiled and made into a broth which the couple then shares on the night of their wedding.” <BR><BR>The wisp crooned softly, awakened and aware of her thoughts. Tenar smiled, albeit sadly. “The Kyar’an are forbidden to marry or entertain love. We are forbidden such customs, for we are the shield and staff of our people.” Pausing, she hesitated. “I do not know why I am telling you all this… Can you imagine what would happen if I brought you home? An outsider with light eyes and light skin… Especially with me being a Kyar.”<BR><BR>“Would you consider it? Not marriage, of course... But just... something." Tenar knew she was rambling.
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Postby The,real,Maeglin » Tue Jan 27, 2004 6:28 am

<BR>Weakly trying to open his eyes Maeglin tried to focus on his surrounding between his eyelashes, even in the state he was, healed but still very weak and feeling as being run over by a bull his old habits didn't leave him, carefulness for all. He couldn't remember if Tenar's heroic act had saved them from the orcs and if maybe they were now imprisoned. He heard a soothing soft voice, and after a while of listening and hearing some words, he was sure i was Tenar's, atleast she was still alive! <BR>" Would you consider it " ? The soft voice continued. “Something “? <BR><BR>Then he catched her last words about she wanting to go on more adventuring with him and that she would miss him,the words started to make more sense now,and it gave him a warm feeling .She cared for him. Opening his eyes more he noticed by his surroundings this wasnt an orcish prison but Aribeth infirmary, what would mean they made it!!<BR><BR>" Dont worry my dear, you haven't seen the last of me yet, I will soon get us in trouble again" He replied with a grin, opening his eyes totally . Suddenly overwhelmed with joy and hope, he moved up his upper body by leaning on his arms,. He saw Tenar sitting to the left of him, startled and rushing up with shocked eyes. Is that a small blush that i see he wondered? He couldn't be sure of it as her tanned skin made it hard to see, but her eyes stood not only bewildered for him being awake...<BR><BR>A sudden flash behind his eyes that seems to crack his skull in two made him fall back into his pillow with a loud grunt of pain. Tenar jumped up quickly with a worried look and took gently his head in her hands. “Are you ok Maeglin? Speak to me!!” A nurse who was tending other wounded came on the cry of pain and Tenar’s worried words which were spoken aloud. He vaguely noticed her lifting his eyelids and checking his pulse. “He is ok, just a lack of strength and food, combined with him taking some hits learned him not to take any sudden moves “ The nurse said with a laugh. “ But if i look to it, he will be in good hands with you, I will leave it to you, he will make it all right, he wasn’t hurt on any vital places, only if it was much later even our healing would have left a scar on his shoulder” . Maeglin heard the nurse going away from his bed and he slowly opened his eyes to look at Tenar.<BR><BR>“How long have I been unconscious? He asked. “About a Day and a half i would say, it is “You have been here all night Tenar!!?” The Kayar coughed nervously “Ehm, no …. I just dropped by every now and than, seems I was lucky to be here at the time you woke up”. Somehow she didn’t manage to convince him and a small smile came on his face. “Would you mind spending some more time with me and accompany me to the dining halls? I am starving “. The fighter grinned and gave him a soft squeeze in his arm. “Typical man, food and fighting that is what you think about “. <BR><BR>He pretended if the squeeze had hurt him. “Well if you continue on this rate you will be taking care of me again, have mercy on a weak person” And not true that we think about only that”. Not true at all he said to himself, looking at Tenar and how daring she looked, her hair moving slightly before her face….not true at all He thought. “And seeing how you handle yourself in battle, and during a meal I think that where you come from it might be the man thinking that of you!! “ Tenar laughed out loud and in a happy mood they made their way to the dining room. As it was still too early to have the room filled with people wanting to get some food, they found easily a place to sit and the cook, having heard of the company of heroes who had aided Neverwinter was more than willing to serve them some. <BR><BR>They sat down next to each other, having stopped their jokes and teasing for a while and simply enjoyed their food, till suddenly a voice woke the Thief up out of his marvelling how good the food tasted and how warm the wine made him feel. (Tenar had not been eager to let him drink alcohol, but eventually had given in on his pleas).<BR>“Either my eyes are fooling me or this really is Maeglin who instead of being hanged by our mistress is enjoying her food and drinking her wine!” A few of the other commoners raised their heads to look up to see what was happening, but as the rest of the conversation was done with less voice raising they lost quickly their interest and continued their meals or talks. <BR><BR>Maeglin had looked up in surprise, noticing a few seconds later that his mouth had been hanging open, closing it quickly. Tenar looked in confusion from him to the person who had disturbed their meal. The man in front of them seemed to be in his mid thirties, his hair short and wearing a bandana. He was about as tall as Maeglin and was about the same in building. “Well my friend, this is no one else than Aerin Gend, spymaster, thief, pirate and assassin and above all that an old friend of me” <BR>“That is right indeed, and since our ways went separate after our last “unfortunate” adventure I am more than surprised to see you here, in the company of a woman, a cute one if I might add, in the halls of Neverwinter. “<BR><BR> Before Aerin Gend sat himself down on the opposite site of them, he made a small courtesy for Tenar . “Pleased to meet you milady, I hope the words my old friend here used to describe me doesn’t make you to uncomfortable in my presence.” “Not at all, I am Tenar of the Kyar”.She replied “And I have been in stranger company before to offset me so easily “. Aerin laughed softly, obviously appreciating her witty comment, and continued their conversation with an even broader smile. <BR><BR>“I think the surprise is mutual isn’t it , both us outlaws , hunted by the law meeting each other in the dining room of the woman who uphold the law the most “. My excuse is simple” he continued, I decided to do something more worthwhile with my life and aid Neverwinter in her times of greatest peril, but I doubt that for you the decision must have been that…..simple “. <BR><BR>Maeglin took a while before replying, taking a small sip of his wine before answering. “After our last adventure with the pirates of the sword coast, I found myself getting back to my old profession to stay alive. Stealing from rich people and making a living by hunting wild. “ The thief paused for a moment, taking another long sip, feeling so much memories washing over him by seeing a childhood friend back, someone who understood best of all the reason why he had taken the ways of the thief and pirate and bounty hunter. Someone who he thought was dead, and was now sitting on the opposite side of him, but not opposite in goals. “ I heard the call of Neverwinter for aid, and my reasoning was simple, someone who requires aid is willing to give something, and Neverwinter Hold has a lot to give…”. But it seems my reason became more personal and my goals differently “<BR><BR>It was not long before Tenar took part of the conversation and helped him by explaining their past adventures to Aerin, sometimes laughing by the ways how the two old friends described their adventures and compared them with old ones they had shared together.Many times she and Maeglin exchanged a smile, both pleasantly suprised to get to know each other better in a different way. <BR><BR>They didn’t notice the room getting packed and after a while emptying again. There was so much to tell, and it felt good to enjoy the finer things in life for a while.. <BR><BR>
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Postby rwhen » Tue Jan 27, 2004 12:20 pm

The past few days had been difficult on the High Priestess, so when Hamel quietly knocked on her door she had to groan at what new crisis might have arisen. The hour was not that late but Aribeth was already dressed in simple but elegant attire for the evening. When she greeted the Captain, his face was pinched in anger. "A hopeful has approached the hold requesting....no, demanding to see you in hopes of joining the quest, Lady Aribeth. He is General Thanasimos Lycurgus." The sarcastic method in which he delivered his message and name of the newcomer told Aribeth all she needed to understand about the latest applicant to Never Winter Hold. Thanking Hamel and assuring him that she would take care of this herself, the High Priestess donned her warmest wrap and set out to the student barrack area.<BR><BR>When she opened the door, the well built man that confronted her brooked no time for small talk or the need for wasted energy on formal greetings. Smiling and nodding her head, she began.<BR><BR>"Welcome to Never Winter, General Thanasimos Lycurgus. I am Aribeth, High Priestess of the Hold. Hamel tells me you wish to offer your services to the efforts of others battling the plague in all of Highest Earth. While your arms are needed, I am sure you will know by now that the plague has been cured." Her words were kindly offered and she extended her hand with a flick of her head to indicate that the General should approach into the room.<BR><BR>"Please follow me and I will explain what has come before you." The High Priestess began to walk beyond the barracks and through the training halls. As they walked, she gave a brief description of the current people who were on the quest and how they had all most recently completed the latest mission. Down flights of steps and around several corners, they ended at the Chapel doors.<BR><BR>Thanasimos was attentive and seemed to be focused on the matter at hand, nodding at certain points to assure Aribeth of his understanding. The information imparted came swift. Aribeth could tell the General had much experience with giving and receiving information. Though he asked only a few questions, his demeanor was one of a person who did not need to ask, nor one who would answer easily to another.<BR><BR>As the High Priestess stopped speaking, she looked at the impressive weaponry carried by the General. "Good, it appears you are well prepared to face the Weapons Master tomorrow. I suggest you get your horse settled in the west end stables and then yourself fed and rested. Should you desire, I offer the stores and armories to you, for anything you might lack."<BR><BR>"I lack nothing," returned the gritty voice of Thanasimos. "Tell the Weapons Master I shall be awaiting HIM, at first light."<BR><BR>Aribeth steeled her face into a polished but firm position. "Good sir, while you are under this roof, I only ask that you heed our rules and try to treat each other with the respect that is due each person on this quest. I am neither your servant nor message bearer, however, this is my offer to you. I bid you stay the night in the Hold. I will be certain you are provided with a room close to my quarters should you need to bespeak me. Eat a hearty meal and in the morning, present yourself to the Weapons Master for testing and should he find you worthy, you may decide that your path and mine run parallel. If this is the case, before departing Never Winter for the next phase of this quest, I will present you with a small thing of great price. I would suggest that you spend your time wisely, get to know the people you will be living and may be dying with."<BR><BR>Before the General could form a reply, Aribeth signaled to a waiting aide who approached swiftly to her side. "General Thanasimos, this is my personal assistant, Jeevers, he will be certain you have anything you wish to eat and then will show you to your room and baths. I will see you on the morrow." The High Priestess did not wait for questions or comments, but slightly tilted her head in the direction of the General and made her exit up the North stairway from the Chapel and to the common rooms.
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Postby drieske » Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:11 pm

“Do I taste something like fear in your voice Dion dear?” Robyn casually said when they left the infirmary. She then winked at the Bard, mischief in her eyes. Fiona immediately understood the hint and moved a little closer to the slightly uncomfortable Ranger. “Mielikki is female, right ‘Dion’?”, Fionavar echood in a sweet tone, “then I wouldn’t count on her help in this... by the way, how’s your ear?” She made a move as if to examine it closer, but Arladion jumped out of the way, and in his haste forgot his injured leg. He cried out softly and lost his footing for an instance, correcting himself immediately, but that small gesture made the women feel a bit guilty. Robyn hastened to the half-elf’s side to slide her arm through his, and gave him an encouraging smile.<BR><BR>“Where are we going?”, she asked after they had walked indiscriminate through the hallways. “I have absolutely no idea,” Dion said and turned to the Bard. “Could we get out of here for some time Fionavar? I need some fresh air, it’s too crowded in here!”, he observed, as yet another party of servants hurried along with clean linen, while another group of warriors clanged towards the training area. Suddenly Fiona chuckled and said “Follow me, I know the perfect place to go to. But please keep Orth and Nargot under control, they might get a bit carried away.” With these words the Bard took the lead, and after some minutes opened a door, only to head straight into a closet. After some muffled curses she tossed the rags back where they belonged and strode on. Robyn laughed out loud, but after one look of the Bard thought better of it. In stead she put on a serious expression, nodded, and then secretly squeezed Arladion’s arm. <i>Where the heck is Fionavar taking us?</i><BR><BR>Suddenly daylight bathed them in its golden sheen, and the trio blinked their eyes, used to the dull gloom that was ever present in the corridors of the keep. “Yes, this is the right door, all these bends are confusing me,” the Bard smiled. The courtyard opened up for them, and the panther and wolf jumped out eagerly, causing a small commotion amongst the non-suspecting ground-keepers of the Hold. “Nargot, heel,” Robyn said, while Arladion gave the same order to Orth. Both animals complied, tails twitching with suppressed energy. They would rather go bouncing and playing now they smelled the clean air, no threats present. The Bard stretched and then walked towards a low building, “Coming?”, she asked, “I need both of you to comfort a friend.” and then grinned.<BR><BR>Curious the half-elves followed her, and found themselves inside the stables, which were in a kind of uproar. Wild-eyed grooms were scuttling out of their way. “What the he..,” Dion asked, but Fiona gestured them to get closer. The more they neared the end of the stables, the louder the banging became. Soon the origin of all the commotion could be seen. “Guys, meet one of our warriors on four legs. I don’t know its name, but he came through the portal and I have no idea whom it belongs to. But it seems to be in distress, perhaps you being a Ranger Dion, and you as Druid, could make him more comfortable?”. The plea was evident in her eyes. The horse reminded her of her own Eldarian. One look at Fiona, and Robyn’s heart melted. “We will do what we can my dearest friend,” she comforted, and then took another step closer to the horse. Immediately she was greeted by a staccato of kicks. The rolling eyes of the steed were a clear sign of the amount of stress the poor animal was in, and blood streamed down its legs where the repeated kicking had done damage.. The fight against the orcs had taken its toll on the valiant horse, but the trip through the portal and the separation of its master had been a little too much. <BR><BR>Immediately Arladion stepped forward, murmuring soothing words and then cast his spell to hold the panicking animal. Concentrating he focussed his will and gestured to Robyn to enter the stable. “Hello there big guy,” she said and made sure to keep in close contact with the horse, showing where she was at all times. “Fiona, I need hot water, clean cloths and some ointments, could you get those for me please?”. A nasty gash had oozed into a festering wound, and needed Robyn’s attention right away! The Bard soon returned with the requested objects, and handed them to Robyn. Dion was perspiring by the time Robyn was done caring for the gelding, and after a nod let go off the spell. “What’s your name my friend?” the Druid said softly, caressing the brown coat and delicately releasing her charmspell. “Where’s your master, is he still in the infirmary perhaps? Don’t worry, he will be here soon then, so be at ease now sweetie, and drink some water.” Under the soothing tone of her voice finally the horse calmed down, snorting and trustingly pushing his head against her. “There you go, it’s not that bad here after all, right?” With a smile she gave a final pet at the horse’s proud neck, and then closed the stabledoor. “He will be okay,” she told her friends, and then hugged them both hard, finding joy in their presence.
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Postby Fionavar » Fri Jan 30, 2004 11:13 am

By the time the trio left the stables, the grooms were closing all stalls and forking the last of the hay out of the center walkway into the corners for the night. Stars began to twinkle in the cloudless sky and the aroma of night blooming jasmine filled the air. It was easy for the friends to forget that just a short time ago they were fighting for their very lives and the safety of all of Highest Earth. The walk back to the main hold was not far and Fionavar once again took the lead, ushering them through the same side door from which they had so recently exited. Within a few twists and turns, they were all a bit befuddled as to their exact location.<BR><BR>"I think it is this way," Fionavar said as she pointed out a long hallway that slanted downward. "I will try not to lead us into any more linen closets!" She threw a mock grimace at Robyn who was trying to hide a smile behind her hand, while Arladion just laughed openly and loud. "Now THAT, is uncalled for. Maybe you two think you can do better?" The Bard bowed low and swept out her hand to indicate that one of the two should take the lead. <BR><BR>"I accept the challenge," Robyn almost cantered into the lead position and took them down the hallway with the Half-Elf bringing up the rear. At the end of the long and narrow passageway was a circular set of steps leading downward. Robyn glanced back and tried to put a confidence that she didn't really feel into her face and took them down. The smell became damp, not unpleasant, but the air was thicker. The lighting, which had been a subdued and pale sheen, now gave way to golden globes spaced further and further apart, making the stairway difficult to see. When level ground was under foot once more, the small group found themselves staring at the opening to a large unbarred vault. <BR><BR>"Where in the seven hells have you brought us, Robyn?" teased Arladion. "I thought your Druid sense would fair better than Fiona's." The Bard had moved forward to investigate and realized that they had found the wine cellar for Never Winter hold. Ornate wood latticework filled several large rooms. All manner of shapes and sizes of bottles were neatly stacked into their individual diamond shaped homes. <BR><BR>"And improve on my efforts, she has. Well done, friend Robyn." This reply caught the attention of Robyn and Arladion who moved up, one on each side of the Bard. "What do you say we pilfer a bit of this wine and take it to Davian for a bit of a party?" A look of pure mischievousness was on her face and she wrung her hands in anticipation of a caper in the making. The two friends agreed readily, up for any sort of fun that could be had before they would once again be on the road in the service of the High Priestess. Arladion moved to the farthest room and to the last shelf of wine bottles. <BR><BR>"Hey, come here. I think I found us treasure." The Half-Elf exclaimed a bit loudly, earning shushes from the two ladies. The three looked at the dust covered bottles, gold labels and corks of fine workmanship. Each selected one they thought would be suitable and tucked them neatly inside tunics. "You don't think these are special wines reserved for royalty or anything, do you?" queried Arladion.<BR><BR>"I think that stealing is stealing, Dion. The trick is not to get caught in the act." Robyn had lowered her voice to a conspirator level and motioned for Fionavar and Arladion to follow her out and back up the staircase. After what seemed an eternity, they finally came upon something familiar, the Stores for Never Winter hold. A man that was unfamiliar to the small party was leaving the area and did not notice them in the shadows. Standing more erect and confident, the trio moved out and made their way to the infirmary, one level up. It was nighttime now, the dimmed lights of the healing hall revealed sleeping bodies. The healers appeared to be taking this opportunity for rest themselves and were not present. Fionavar, last to arrive bumped into Arladion who bumped into Robyn and pushed her further into the room than she had wanted.<BR><BR>Robyn glared hard back at the Bard, who then pointed with an innocent expression to Arladion and shrugged her shoulders. "Keep off my heels," she hissed to the Half-Elf, "you will have us all caught before we can even enjoy this wine."<BR><BR>"What? Me? I didn't do anything." Arladion frowned at Fionavar, who just smiled and said "Got ya," and then stuck out her tongue towards the two who were now gaping at her. At that moment, a voice called softly to them from across the room. <BR><BR>"What are you doing here?" It was Davian who had obviously not been sleeping. He managed to form a half sitting position by moving up to his elbows. Fionavar, Robyn and Arladion tiptoed to his cot, managing not to bring any further attention to themselves.<BR><BR>"Cous, it is great to see you awake," whispered Arladion. "We thought you could use some refreshment." The three produced the bottles out from under tunics and showed large toothy grins at their cleverness while Davian inspected the purloined bottles closer. He pointed to the one that Robyn was holding, "that looks like a good year. Where did you find these?" <BR><BR>"Best not to ask questions that you don't want to know the answers to, my friend," Fionavar had moved to the bedside and was kneeling next to Davian. Her eyes shone in joy to see him with a healthy color in his cheeks and a sparkle in his eye. "I am glad you are better, you had me worried coming through like that." Her hand moved to his and she put a slight amount of pressure to indicate her happiness that was mirrored by the smile on her face. The compassion was not lost on Davian, he tried to move his arm towards her, but instead fell back on the bed at the pain the movement had caused. Fionavar firmly pushed him all the way into the pillow and scolded him quietly. "I will have no more of that, you let us do the effort for you. Dion? Where is the wine?"<BR><BR>"Well it isn't as if the bottle will open itself, Fiona." Arladion was struggling with his belt knife to loosen the cork. Finally it popped out and to the floor with no sound. Robyn held out wooden mugs that she had found and the filling commenced. Before long the foursome were into their cups, two bottles emptied. Laughing softly and relating some of this last part of their quest, the time passed quickly. When a lull came in the conversation, Fionavar began to hum a song, feeling the warmth of the wine loose her inhibitions and fear of being caught. Soon all four were humming the well-known ditty louder and louder.<BR><BR>The lights came to life. The High Priestess Aribeth was standing in the opening to the infirmary with a stern expression on her face. Arladion tried to push the empty bottles under the bed and Davian immediately feigned sleep. Fionavar just stood still, wide-eyed and staring at Aribeth. Robyn had the last half consumed bottle in one hand and was gesturing with the other, a look of <i>now, how did that get here </i> raised her eyebrows. The High Priestess was not thwarted.<BR><BR>"There is never a dull moment with you three around. But I must admit, Robyn, I had not thought to find you in this sort of compromising situation. Fionavar, yes. Arladion, yes. Davian and do not think for one moment that I do not know you are wide-awake, sir," Aribeth said directly to Davian who sheepishly opened his eyes. Aribeth turned again to Robyn. "Those three, but you?" She waited for an explanation.<BR><BR>"Well I, erm...I just, we just. Well see, first...." Robyn stammered to say something in their defense.<BR><BR>"Just as I thought. Well, no harm was done, other than to disturb the sleep of a few patients and interfere with the healing of this one." She pointed to the Barbarian. "I will forget this happened if you quietly leave and find your rooms, the dinner hour has long passed." As the threesome started away and looked towards Davian with resigned farewell in their glances, an empty wine bottle rolled from under the bed and right to the feet of Aribeth. She stooped gracefully down and retrieved the offensive bottle then a look of shock and confusion came across her face.<BR><BR>"Where did you get this?" Before any reply could be formed, she examined the other two bottles. "This is from my rare and private collection. One of these bottles was over one hundred years old." She simply stared with an open mouth at the three of them.<BR><BR>"No wonder it was so tasty," Fionavar offered with a half drunken grin."<BR><BR>"I am not amused, Lady Fionavar. Off with you three and straight to your rooms. I think a night of reflection on what you have done would do you well. I cannot make you repay for the wine you have stolen, these bottles were priceless. But, I want you to understand how disappointed I am in the three of you." She pointed to the exit and watched as the three left, shoulders drooping and heads bowed low.<BR><BR>"I always hated it when my mother didn't punish me, but instead was disappointed," said Arladion. The other two shook their heads in agreement. They were silent as they tread the long stairway to the bedroom corridor. Stopping in the middle of the hallway, the trio looked at each other and burst out laughing. <BR><BR>"It was worth it," Fionavar said, "but I think next time, we should be more careful about WHICH wine we steal, eh?"<BR><BR>"Next time?" guffawed Robyn. "You are incorrigible, Fiona." They bid each other good night and turned in. The fine vintage wine caused the Bard to fall into a fast sleep. When she awoke the next morning, her eyes were filled with a sandy grit and her mouth was the consistency of sandpaper. The slight pounding in her head wasn't too serious, but the thought that came to her was, food. The trio had not eaten a supper the night before and her empty belly now called out for sustenance. She washed lightly and dressed, then went to the common rooms for some needed breakfast. The place was mostly empty, which indicated that either she was very early or very late. She had little time to ponder which.<BR>
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Postby Rooty » Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:11 pm

Jeevers showed Thanasimos to the west stables. Leaving his animal in the capable hands of the groom, passing a group of three noisy individuals, he then followed Jeevers to the room where he would spend the night.<BR><BR>The room was simple, spartan, and well-suited to the general's tastes. A large window was on one side of the room, and a small bed stood in the corner. Next to the bed stood a small dresser with a fat candle perched on top. A few cushions, suitable for meditation, sat before the window, and the floor was covered with a simple, brown woven rug.<BR><BR>He put his belongings in the room, and then Thanasimos allowed himself to be led to the commons room. There, Jeevers left the general to his own devices. After eating a small meal alone, Thanasimos returned to his room to reflect on his current situation. There was much to think about.<BR><BR>Clearly, the High Priestess was a woman of great authority. Her position was much greater than he had anticipated. He had heard much of her strength of character and beauty, but he was not prepared for the reality of a woman who thought nothing at all of interrupting him. In his own city, such a thing would never happen. No woman, no matter her rank, would ever interrupt a man, much less give him orders. It simply wasn't done; it would be unseemly. Nevertheless, there it was. What's more, she certainly viewed herself as his commander. Thanasimos now found himself in a position well outside any of his previous experiences. As a man, he simply could not submit hiself to the will of a woman. As a soldier, he could not refuse any order given by a commanding officer, which she was.<BR><BR>There was only one option remaining to him: to view her as an equal. He would interact with her as he would a fellow soldier. This compromise seemed ludicrous. She was a priestess, and could in no way empathize with the postion or experiences of a warrior. To view her as a fellow soldier was hardly an adequate solution, but it was the only way he resolve the situation in his own mind.<BR><BR>What of her request to visit the Weapons Master? His people were well-known as the greatest warriors in the land. Training was not required, but an opportunity to exercise his skills was always welcome. On the other hand, it must be made absolutely clear that he would not accept any armour or weaponry provided. He carried with him the sword of his ancestors; it went with him into every battle. His armour was also a gift from his family, and he would not be parted from it. Most dear to him, though, was his shield. Raised from a young age to believe that his shield was there to protect his brother, it was a mark of great dishonour to drop it in battle or have it replaced. The only exception was if it needed repair, which his did not.<BR><BR>On the morrow he would skip his appointment with the Weapons Master. Instead, he would visit the High Priestess again. He could train later; right now, there were other things to discuss. <BR><BR>With this settled in his mind, he began his nightly regimine of exercise, meditation and then sleep. He awoke before dawn the next morning, meditated, exercised and then ate. Then he made his way to the hall where he had first met the High Priestess. As he had expected, she was not there. It was not that early, but he was certain she had many duties to attend to. He asked a nearby guard to inform her that he wished to speak with her again. He would simply wait in the hall until summoned.<BR><BR>Moments later, Aribeth entered the hall. She raised an eyebrow in Thanasimos' direction. Thanasimos nodded his head curtly.<BR>"I wish a moment of your time." <BR>"Indeed?" Aribeth looked at him. Seeing the guard return to the hall, she assumed he had gone off to find her. The guard bowed, seeing there was no need of him any more, and returned to his post. "What do you require?" She asked the general. "Did I not order you to see the Weapons Master?"<BR>"Indeed you did," the general acknowledged, "and it is of your orders I wish to speak."<BR>"General.." Aribeth began, but stopped when Thanasimos raised a hand and interrupted her.<BR>"Allow me to finish, if you will." A single look from the High Priestess informed him that this was not the best approach, but as he had no other, he continued. "You must excuse my forthrightness. I am not at all accustomed to..." he tried to find the correct words, "a woman of your calibre. The women of my city do not hold authority in any manner at all. As a general rule, women are not capable, and our laws take into account this fact. I see, however, that you are something of an exception to this rule and this puts me in an unusual position. I cannot accept the authority of a woman, but I cannot refuse the order of a commanding officer. Both would impune my honour."<BR><BR>Not knowing what else to say, Thanasimos stoped and waited for a response. Perhaps this had been imprudent of him; it was unlike him to be unsure.
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Postby The_Fool » Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:51 pm

Façade woke slowly from sleep, his eyelids flickering, shivering his lashes against his skin before the deigned to open. His sight was misted, gritty, from a sleep that had lasted too long. There was a bitter flavour in his mouth, not unlike the aftertaste given by Knight’s Shield, a powerful herb often used as a pain suppressant and narcotic. Rising slowly up onto his elbows within the bed he quickly became aware of the reason for the taste of the herb on his lips. The pain in his right shoulder was sharp in its strength and clarity, causing the Fool to hiss a quick inward breath. Steadying himself with his left arm he shifted all his weight to the left; using both hip and arm to drag himself upright. The bitter tang in his mouth was increasing as he gained a stronger hold on the waking world and Façade could do little but think on ways to drown it. <BR>Turning his head to the right the Fool inspected the clean white bandage wrapped about his shoulder; white cloth which covered most of his collar bone and half of his upper arm. A bloom of darkened blood had unfurled upon the cloth; a dull mockery of his attempts at warfare. Kicking his blankets off Façade swung his long legs over the bed’s edge, careful to favour his sprained and injured arm. The healing chambers he was in were quiet, and the strength of the sunlight that shone through the open windows told the Fool it was early morning. From the occupied beds he could see, each member slept soundly. Rising Façade noted with distate that he still wore the pants from the battle, torn and bloody as they were; though a clean shirt lay draped carelessly over the back of a chair nearby. Whether it was for him or not Façade took it up, easing it on with some difficutly over his weakened shoulder and arm. He buttoned it deftly with one hand. His boots were nowhere to be seen and so he padded from the room barefoot in search of a bath and elderberry tea, infused with lashings of honey if possible, to drown the repungant tang of the Knight’s Shield from his tongue.<BR><BR>The Keep he wandered through was quiet, immense in its stone corridors, and it’s grand sense of pride, which seeped into the dawn air from the very walls. It was a strange place for the Fool to find himself in, for he had no idea of where he was, even less as to how he had come to be there. Moving downwards at each staircase he came to, the Fool made a logical path for the kitchens, knowing full well that they lay at the bottom of any keep or castle; his footsteps falling softly on the cool floor. Taking a winding servants’ staircase downwards Façade found himself in an enormous hall, his feet no longer on stone but straw, strewn carefully about the room’s vast lengths. To the far side of the room a blonde haired woman sat, in silent contemplation, her head in her hands, her back to the Fool. Even at this distance Façade’s hunger caught at the scent of her breakfast of hot porridge and tea. Not wishing to startle her Façade cleared his throat, the sound echoing harshly in the empty hall. She started a little and turned sharply, looking for the source of the sound. At the sight of him her eyes flared with recognition, an emotion which unsettled the Fool, as he had never laid eyes on her before. Wary, he regarded her, one hand still lain palm down upon the stone wall of the staircase. <BR>“You’re awake,” she said simply, smiling hesitantly when she saw the guarded look he gave her. <BR>“I’ve been wondering when you would. The healers managed to get an immense amount of Knight’s Shield into you, I’m surprised you’re up this early - ” She broke off to look him over. “You’re wearing Dion’s shirt.” <BR>“I’m sorry,” it was the only answer Façade could think of to give her. <BR>“No matter,” she replied. She gestured for him to come forward by patting the bench she sat on and smiling. <BR>Slowly Façade moved across the hall to seat himself beside her. He felt tired, stretched somehow. The strange Keep, and this woman, who seemed to know him, by face if not by name, had left him in a state of unpleasant confusion. The sharp smell of the tea in its pot was torment, bringing the remnants of the bitter Knight’s Shield to his lips once more. He felt disjointed, half asleep still; after effects of the drug. His shoulder was starting to throb, a hot drum beat of pain. Façade passed a hand over his eyes, trying to concentrate on pushing the pain away. <BR>“Are you all right?” came the woman’s voice. It was softly concerned, and he felt her hesitant presence near his shoulder. <BR>“May I have some tea?” the Fool asked weakly, his eyes on the grained table top in front of him. <BR>“Certainly.” Her voice had a hint of confusion in it at his request, one she tried to hide. Façade caught it anyway. He didn’t look up until she pushed a glazed cup in front of him, the scented steam floating upwards into his downcast face. Picking it up the Fool took a long, satisfied draught. With a grateful sigh he turned to the blonde woman, giving her a small smile. Craddling the cup between his long fingers, he concentrated on the warmth of the tea seeping into his skin. <BR>“Thank you,” he said finally. <BR>“You’re welcome.” Her smile was warmer, more genuine than his own. She extended a hand. <BR>“Fionavar. Never Winter Bard.” <BR>“A Bard,” the Fool said wryly, his voice falling flat. Bards had little patience for Fools in his experience. He paused and almost as an after thought added, “sister to the song makers, let no sword be drawn against her.” <BR>Her surprise at his words unfurled on her face; her hazel eyes widening. “You know the formal greeting!” In her excitment she made to fold her hands in her lap, then, after a moment’s pause, set them on the table top, where she began to toy instantly with the spoon of her porridge bowl. <BR>Amused, the Fool hid his smile behind the lip of his tea cup. <BR>“Façade,” the Fool returned her introduction after a moment’s quiet, aware that the throb of his shoulder was slowly ebbing away as he began to become accustomed to its presence. “My name’s Façade.” With a wry and slightly cynical smile he added, “brother to the jest makers, let no faith in him be cast.” <BR>Fionavar frowned, confusion masking her face. Façade left her to stew it over, sipping his tea absent-mindedly as he gazed, without really seeing, at the opposite wall if the hall. <BR>She spoke after some time; cautiously. “You are a....a jester then?” <BR>“Yes Sister Songmaker,” Façade nodded, careful to keep mockery from his tone for he had yet to discover her disapproval. “A jester. A clown. An idiot. A merry-andrew, should it strike you. Also known as a Fool for Hire or a Harlequin.” He set his empty cup to the table top, running the tips of his fingers around its smooth rim. He had played his hand, it was the Bard’s choice whether or not to accept it. He found a chip in the cup’s rim and worried it with his forefinger, fixing his amber brown eyes on Fiona in a feline stare.<BR>The Bard’s eyes flicked between his flittering fingers and his balanced gaze, and to Façade’s surprise, she gave a delighted laugh, her eyes sparking. “A Fool? Façade the Fool?” her grin got broader. “I’ve never met a Fool. I admit, most Bards would count that a blessing, but there’s something about you ‘Harlequins’ that fascinates me. However, I never thought your kind were warriors.” <BR>“A drowning man will clutch at a straw Sister Songmaker,” the Fool replied, his eyes dancing with supressed delight at the Bard’s words, though he remained composed; his fingers still carressing the glazed cup. “The position between wind and water is not one I normally occupy to such extremities.” He gave her a rueful smile, rubbing his sprained wrist absently with his left hand. <BR>Fionavar’s voice was hushed, concerned. “Are you in a lot of pain?” <BR>The Fool gave a wry snort, his gaze turned inwards as he gingerly tested the arrow wound in his shoulder. “And thus the knight found his helm a jester’s hat, and all his good deeds to be follies; and his pride turned to pain. Don’t worry about me Bard Fionavar, should I pass beyound my boundries, it seems this keep has an ample supply of Knight’s Shield.” <BR>Fiona’s laugh was high and merry. “You’re worse than I thought you’d be Harlequin.” She beamed; well humoured. <BR>“One does one’s best M’Lady,” Façade grinned. <BR>“Unfortunatly, your best never was that impressive,” Hollebourne’s smug overtone floated into the room, chilling Façade’s good humour. <BR>“How benevolent of you Hollebourne, to remind us that the fox may grow grey but never good.” The Fool’s icy words were heavy and tense, though his face had become as smooth as glass. <BR>Matias rolled his eyes and shoved himself roughly between the Fool and Fiona, jolting Façade’s wounded arm. “What is that delightful phrase Fiona?” He fixed his brown eyes on Façade. “Ah, I remember: ‘there’s a pen for the wise but alas! no pound for the foolish.’ ” <BR>“Hark. Hear the true jester stake his claim,” the Fool muttered. Laying hesitant fingertips on his shoulder he closed his eyes briefly, concentrating on building a wall against the renewed pain in his arm. <BR>“Did I jest? Terribly sorry, my aim was to offend,” with a smirk Matias turned his back on Façade. Extending a hand to Fiona he gave a suave smile. “I apologise for his behaviour, he’s always been the pigeon who thought he was a peacock.” <BR>“On the contrary,” Fiona replied, taking up the pot of tea and reaching across to take the Fool’s cup. “He has been no pigeon posing as peacock, rather a wonderfully humble and fine feathered bird.” She poured the umber tea carefully, steam curling lazily in the morning air. Placing the tea pot back on the table she slid the cup back across to the Fool. <BR>Façade watched as she turned to await Matias’ answer, her eyebrows raised in expectation; her face a blend of curiousity, veiled disfavour and polite courtesy. He found her defense of him gracious; something he would never have expected from Bard to Fool and with his delicate hands he enfolded his recently returned tea cup, content to remain silent.
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Postby TheDean » Mon Feb 02, 2004 6:18 am

A cold wind blew from the east, as Makar made his way into the great city. He noticed that the great gate was guarded by a platoon of men and half-elves and he curled his lip in contempt, "half-casts", he though to himself. <BR><BR>"So, this is the famous city of Neverwinter...how far the mighty have fallen" Makar uttered to the wind. 'Not so...the city will rise again'. Makar shook his head, "stop interfering...I do not care for your opinions". He stoped, and breathed in deeply. Drat, he thought, it's never been the same since...hmm. He shook himself again and continued walking.<BR><BR>In retrospect, that night had changed him. Who would have though that Makar was nearing his fifty-third summer - he looked, and felt like a man in his prime. He had become more dexterious and hardy (poison no longer affected him) but at times, he felt that something deeper had happened to him. He smiled grimly and stretched his fingers and lifted his hand to the broach that held his cloak. He sensed the power that was emulating from it. The spirit of the halfling matriarch was indeed strong. Makar smiled once more. 'Do not be so arrogant...it is inhumane for you to keep the spirit imprisoned...let it go to its rest'. "NO!" shouted Makar, "it serves me and I shall decide when to free her. Spare me your pathetic platitudes and morals". He shook in anger and he hastened his steps.<BR><BR>Soon, he realised that he was standing in front of the grand castle and he observed the towers and turrets. Perhaps they would be some need for adventurers...he needed to leave. City life always confused him, and he had not been sleeping well for months, not since the misty figure had appeared in his dream. He breathed deeply and continued to stare at the foreboding gate.
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Postby rwhen » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:30 am

Standing such in front of so formidable a personage had never phased a woman like the High Priestess, however this was a time of urgency, her leadership could not be questioned. She could not help but sympathize with the honesty with which this General was conveying his case, but certain orderliness and regime had to be followed. Taking her steely eyes from his, she spoke clearly, but without offense in her tone, a trick that was hard to manage for the Lady Aribeth.<BR><BR>"General Thanasimos, I can appreciate your positioning. Let me explain a moment my thoughts on how you shall digest my wishes, as well as the reasoning that WILL take you to the Weapons Master." The General began to speak by taking a breath, the High Priestess was faster and raised an open hand, palm forward in front of him. "This will not take long and my time is short. I was appointed to this position during our time of trial, I did not ask for it, however I would not concede it to another. The people I command, as you so stated, serve Never Winter at THEIR behest, not mine. If they choose to go as I shall direct them, that is their choice and my gratitude so follows." She stopped for a moment as if considering or collecting her thoughts, then a wry smile touched her face. "Not all in Never Winter at this time are warriors, though you will find many here, all however are becoming friends to me. The suffering we have shared and witnessed have formed bonds that are more cunning than to be strange." A light flickered in her eyes, behind her smile. "Thanasimos," the lack of title did not go unnoticed by the General, "Thanasimos it would honour us, me if you would deign to stay and assist in our cause, nay, the cause of all of Faerun. It would personally please me should you turn out to be a respected if reluctant friend someday. I would bargain a pact with you, that you do the few things I will require of you before leaving this hold and we shall work towards developing the later."<BR><BR>She stood silent while the General began a reply. "I will have to ponder this bargain you speak of, again to bargain with a woman is a risky undertaking and something that is just not done in the city I hail from. I will do this one thing for you, Lady Aribeth. While I abide at this hold, I will respect your wishes as given from an equal. You should find that most satisfactory." He made an effort to put on a pleasing face in an uncomfortable situation.<BR><BR>"Good, we understand each other then. You may start by seeing the Weapons Master, who has been awaiting you nigh on an hour. You must understand, this is not for training General Thanasimos, it is to prove what weapons with which you excel. In this manner may we gauge how you will best serve our cause. I cannot in good conscience allow you to not complete this task. All those who you will come to know on this quest have also done this thing and as you are aware, continuity is most important when leading. You may not favour one, yet pass over another. This is my reply and now I must leave. YOU should find that most satisfactory." Again, the secretive smile that played about lips of the High Priestess was lost on the General. <BR><BR>Aribeth did not take more than five steps when Hamel came in a rush to her side. "My Lady, we have a comer to our doors. I do not know his name, but I do think he bids entrance to Never Winter. Do you wish to see him?”<BR><BR>Shaking her head and thinking, <i>People stealing from me, disturbing the peace of the infirmary, people not wanting to follow direct orders and now people who don't even identify themselves to the Captain of the Guard. How much more shall I have to endure?</i> "I shall greet the new comer, thank you Hamel." With swift steps she made her way to the front of the hold. Morning had just come, yet there was much to do for the preparation of the Grand Ball and planning the next leg for the participants in aiding Never Winter. A <BR>tall and thin man with white hair leaned against the outer keep wall. His black and red colours were billowing in the breeze. The High Priestess approached cautiously even though four guards were at her beck and call, should trouble arise.<BR><BR>"My name is Aribeth, High Priestess of Never Winter hold. How may I be of service to you Goodman?" The voice was neutral, the question expected.<BR><BR>The face that looked up to her revealed an angry scar over one eye that wrinkled when he attempted a smile which resembled more of a grimace. "Good morn, Lady. I have heard of the trials which have befallen Faerun and have come to offer my weapon. Makar is the name." The strange man then turned and seemed to whisper something to no one present, then again faced the High Priestess with an expectant expression. "Well, would you be needing my services?"<BR><BR>"Of course, all are welcome to petition to Never Winter. I should like to know more of you, Makar, but do not have the time for that leisure at this moment. Hamel will show you to the barracks where you shall await further instruction. Be welcome, welcome and true." The High Priestess nodded her head and turned in a swirl of blue robes. As she passed Hamel, she said for his ears only, "Watch this one carefully. I want to know any unusual behavior," then she disappeared back into the hold.<BR>
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Postby TheDean » Fri Feb 06, 2004 11:07 am

Makar smiled to himself as he followed the man to the barracks, carefully noting the positions of the guards. He sensed the magical wards that were maintained around the Keep and began probing with his mind around them. <i>Strong...but not durable. Yes...I wonder why they have not noticed that weakness? Never mind...tis not my business</i>. Makar soon realised that they had stopped and the man who led him spoke:<BR><BR>"Sir, here are the barracks. There should be some water to wash your hands and face as well as some mead to quench your thirst, should you desire. You should rest and then proceed to the Weapons Master who will...hmmm...test your mettle, so to speak" The man smiled, bowled and opened the door.<BR><BR>As soon as Makar walked in, the door closed and he found himself alone in a warm, albeit spartan room. He didn't trust that man for a minute and was sure that the elf wench had undoubtedly set him to spy on him. Well, if it is a show they want, then a show they shall get. 'Be careful Makar...you need to prove yourself. Concentrate of your clerical abilities but do not reveal the power of the flails'<BR><BR>Makar grunted and walked over to the table. He plunged his hands into the cold water, and raised them to his face. <i>Ah...the cold...so fresh...so delightful</i> He quickly washed his face and neck, dried them with the towel next to the basin and hurried to the table. He poured some mead and drank it. "Uhh...dwarven mead. How common. Tsch...damn it; I could do with some Lantan ale tonight". He finished his drink and sat down on a chair. <BR><BR>This weapon master he was supposed to meet. Undoubtedly he would have to fight him and prove his mettle. Makar stared into the fire, deep in though. His mind wandered and he remembered....<BR><BR><i>"Makar!"</i> shouted the ArchPrelate, <i>Concentrate lad. Concentrate. Your test is coming soon. You cannot enter the priesthood unless you prove worthy to the solar. Ilmater demands determination of will and unless you curb your enthusiam, I foresee ill things for you"</i><BR><BR>Malar smiled grimly. Ilmater...that fool offered him nothing. A weak and mewling godling. The ArchPrelate had no idea of what had awaited him when he took his test. He shivered. No matter, it was time to face this weapon master. He rose and walked towards the door. Opening it quickly, he spoke to the soldier in front, "Where is the weapons master child?"<BR><BR>"Through the dark red doors across the courtyard sir" answered the warrior coldly, bristling at being called a child.<BR><BR>Makar nodded and walked towards the door. He stopped, smiled and entered. It was gloomy and dark with only torches illuminting the room. He sensed that something was amiss and quickly started chanting, creating an energy shield. Just as he had finished the spell, a figure appeared out of the shadows and attacked him. The sword of the stranger was racing towards Makar's neck who quickly raised his flail and blocked the move. With sudden speed, the stranger parried the move and Makar was forced to retreat a little. As the warrior raced towards him, Makar started casting a spell; suddenly just as if it looked like the sword was about to claim a victim, a white mist flew from Makar's. <b>Spider's Web....such a delightful spell</b> The impact of the spell caught the interloper who was engulfed in arachnid web. As he struggled, Makar attacked. He swung his flail and hit the warrior's chest. <BR><BR>"Ahh..." screamed the warrior. As Makar moved for a second attack, he began casting a spell of Harm. As the weapons master - or so Makar supposed - watched in horror, his adversary's hand began to glow a dark red. Makar smiled grimly and touched the warrior, rejoicing in the pain he was causing. <BR><BR>'Enough Makar...leave the warrior be. You do not want to fall victim to a murder charge'.<BR>"No" Makar uttered quietly and moved to raise his flail.<BR>'NO! Let this end! Varna'ur xadmer!'<BR><BR>Makar glared in anger as he fell to the floor, breathing deeply. He raised his head and saw the web spell had worn off though the weapons master still reeled in pain. Makar rose and walked to the warrior, kneeling down, "Quiet. Let me heal" He raised his and started chanting in prayer. "Vita moree carrieas". Soon the man began to breath more slowly and the pain etched on his face lessened. <BR><BR>Makar rose and gave his hand. The weapons master looked at him and then took it. The man rose and said, "You fight well...for a cleric. But it's not your natural state. Keep to casting and leave the fighting to those trained for it". Makar glared but brought himself under control. "Go through the blue door. It will take you to Aribeth" said the weapons master and turned and started to walk away. <BR><BR>Makar narrowed his eyes and uttered a cantrip. <i>Let's see how the weapon master can leave with an magical itch...</i>He smiled and walked towards the door, boldly opening it. He walked through and found himself in a plush, well dressed room. It was empty so he walked towards a cushioned chair and sat down. Waiting.<BR><BR><BR><b>Edited: Spelling and such things and grammar too. I hope...</b>
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Postby Rooty » Fri Feb 06, 2004 1:09 pm

Thanasimos left the hall and returned to his room to collect this armour and weaponry. If they had to be inspected, so be it. At worst, he might be expected to reinforce his shield and sharpen his sword.<BR>Entering his room, he picked up his pack, slung his shield over his back, and then returned down the hall the way he'd come. Given his conversation with the High Priestess, he did not expect the encounter with the Weapon's Master to be overly eventful. She was an interesting woman, this Priestess. It would seem that his decision to confront her had been the right one.<BR><BR><BR>The training hall was relatively empty. An average-looking man in a robe was leaving, via the entrance at the other end. He appeard to be a mage or cleric of some sort. The large man beside that same entrance was clearly the Weapon's Master. His powerful frame and demeanour gave it away at once. He scatched the back of his neck and approached Thanasimos. The general curtly nodded his head, a greeting which befitted one who was, at the very least, his equal in battle.<BR>"My assistant will examine the contents of your pack." A short man clad in leather pants and a tunic appeared and relieved Thanasimos of his bag. "Give me your sword and shield," the Weapon's Master ordered. The general relinquished his most treasured belongings for a thorough inspection. The Master unsheathed the sword, tested it balance and swung it about, feeling its strength. He re-sheathed it and returned it to its owner. He then looked at the shield, examining ever line and curve. It too was returned. The Weapon's Master scratched his arm. "Beautiful," he said.<BR>Thanasimos nodded. "Indeed." Raising an eyebrow, he asked, "An itch?"<BR>"I'm sure it will pass," The Weapon's Master said. "It seems to be a leftover from my last trainee."<BR>Thanasimos' face grew hard. "Indeed." He breathed deeply.<BR>Now it was the Weapon's Master's turn to raise an eyebrow. Clearly this general did not approve. Changing the subject, he began "Tell me, General, your people often receive their swords as a result of great victories, do they not?"<BR>"They do." The general answered.<BR>"And the shields mark the begining of manhood, is this not so?"<BR>"It is."<BR>"Follow me." The Master instructed. He led Thanasimos to a chamber. Weapons of every kind lined the room. In the center of the room stood a table. On the table lay a staff. The staff was unembellished, perhaps made of oak, and was approximately six feet in length, but certainly no more. The Weapon's Master took his stand next to the table.<BR>"Your sword and shield are cursed," he announced, after a moment of silence.<BR>The surprise on Thanasimos face could not have been more apparent. "I beg your pardon?!"<BR>"Trade them with me for this staff." The Master offered.<BR>"Indeed I will not." The sting in the general's voice was unmistable. He had been grievously insulted.<BR>The Weapon's Master continued. "This staff is blessed, and will provide its bearer with great strength."<BR>"You expect me to dishonour myself AND my family by abandoning the gifts of my forefathers in order to acquire an unnatural strength, provided only by magic?"<BR>The Weapon's Master picked up the staff. "Take it, Thanasimos. What you have is dangerous to you. This will serve you well."<BR>"A staff like that, no matter how great, when accepted in dishonour, would not be fit to beat a dog with!! I will not accept it. Pursue this no further." The General's voice was loud and clipped, but brooked no opposition. He would not be moved.<BR>The Weapon's Master placed the staff on the table. "Very well." He said. After a moment's pause, he continued. "Your weapons are..."<BR>"Consecrated by our priests on the morning we receive them." Thanasimos interupted. He looked at the Weapon's Master carefully, but could not detect any emotion on his face. The tension was palpable.<BR>"Is such single-mindedness common among your people?" The Master asked.<BR>"Double-mindedness is not a virtue." Thanasimos said emphatically. The Weapon's Master barely smiled in response. He extended his hand. "Then let us be friends." Thanasimos considered the proffered hand carefully, but then decided to accept. "Let me offer you this cloak," the Master said, "as token, and as my apology." Thanasimos accepted it.<BR>"I thank you." He said, and put the cloak over his arm.<BR>The Weapon's Master led the general back to the hall. The assistant stood there, with the pack at hand. Everything was, of course, in order.<BR>Thanasimos reached into his bag and pulled out a small pouch of powder. "For your itch," he said as he handed the bag to the Weapon's Master. The Weapon's Master smiled, and accepted it. Clicking his heels together, the general nodded and left the hall.<BR><BR>The Weapon's Master watched him go.<BR>"That was interesting." His assistant commented.<BR>The Master did not respind. This general was truly a complex man. Without question, he heart was corrupted and evil. He could not carry such a sword or shield otherwise. All he had said was quite true: they were dangerous to him. The staff was indeed blessed. Yet how oculd he fault such unwavering devotion to family and the ideal honour? The powder offered for his itch suggested a certain degree of care for one's fellows. It was as though he was truly deceived. Many who were evil were there as a result of a conscious decision. They knew and did not care. This man was different. It was as though he had arrived at that place of darkness by accident, no doubt by the virtue, or lack of virtue, of the choices he had made throughout his life. He had no idea where he was.<BR><BR>Thanasimos dropped his pack on the floor in his room and carefully placed his sword and shield on his bed. He considered them for a moment. Was the Weapon's Master right? Were they indeed cursed? It had never ocured to him that their might be a problem with his most valuable possession. In a flash, he realized that he had received no training from the Weapon's Master.<BR>Perhaps that was it.<BR>Perhaps that had been some sort of a test. It was a poorly thought out one, if that were the case. <BR>No, his belongings were just fine. There was no need to be alarmed.<BR><BR>Forcing any remaining thoughts from his mind, Thanasimos left his room. It was nearly mid-day, and time to eat.
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Postby Morphobia » Sat Feb 07, 2004 5:47 am

As Arthus moved away, Buddy began to study the walls of the temple more carefully. From afar it looked like the wall was crumbling, but upon closer inspection, showed that there were intricate carvings of dragons in the ‘holes’ in the walls. It seemed that the whole temple was dedicated to the great fire-breathing lizards. Even the lamps were in the shape of dragons’ heads. Young men dressed in long white robes lingered around a long altar, on which was the sculpture of a dragon, head rearing up in an unseen triumph, an awe-inspiring sight carved out of white marble. Inset rubies glittered where the dragon’s eyes would have been. Buddy’s gaze traveled along the full length of the sculpture’s outstretched wings, majestic and grand, the tail curling up lazily behind it. The sculptor had paid amazing attention to every detail. She felt like going closer, as if the statue was drawing her to it by some mysterious force. And although she tried, she could not seem to tear her gaze from the dragon.<BR><BR>“Are you ready to go, Buddy?” Arthus placed a hand on her shoulder, startling her out of her trance. She glanced up at him, a little uncertain, then nodded slowly. Arthus smiled, and as he led the way out, Buddy cast her gaze on the marble dragon again, following somewhat reluctantly, although she had no idea why she felt so unwilling to leave. Maybe it was because she had never seen such a marvelous work of art.<BR>Outside, Buddy cast Arthus a questioning look, jerking a thumb at the temple behind them. Arthus raised his eyebrows at her. “That? That was the Temple of the White Dragon.” <i>Fits, </i> she thought, remembering the marble dragon. “I thought you might have wanted to see it,” he explained, somewhat thoughtfully. “It’s a beautiful place, no doubt, but not many are allowed to enter. Pity. I needed to visit my master anyway.” At the mention of the older man who had called Arthus aside earlier, a frown flittered across his face. Buddy did not inquire further, but followed Arthus into the hold, albeit distractedly.<BR><BR>“There you are!” Jazper caught Buddy by the arm as she stepped into the main hall. Buddy groaned inwardly. Where was the cavalry when she needed it? She shot Arthus a pleading look. Jazper followed her gaze, and seemed to notice the paladin for the first time. “And you, sir. Both of you really should be in bed. Leading the lady out like that.” Jazper scowled disapprovingly, gripping Arthus firmly by the shoulder, an amused look on the paladin’s face. “Come along now, let me check those wounds.” He steered them in the direction of the infirmary, muttering under his breath. “Leaving the infirmary, leaving the hold. People these days!” Arthus chuckled softly.<BR><BR>~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~<BR><BR>When Jazper was done with her, the bandages had been removed and a thin layer of poultice applied on the scars that remained. She swiped at the stuff on her jaw absently, waiting for Arthus to emerge from Jazper’s wrath. Her bottom jaw was a little swollen, and she spoke with a slight lisp, but at least she could talk. The skin was bruised and sore.<BR>Arthus came out of the infirmary, shutting the door behind him. The look on his face was that of surprise and amusement. “That man is like a mother hen fussing over his chicks,” he commented with a small chuckle. “The amount of time he spent badgering me about bringing you out… doesn’t he ever get tired of nagging?”<BR>“Apparently not,” Buddy replied, her voice a little cracked and hoarse. “At least he takes his job seriously. Or perhaps it is one of his pastimes, and he enjoys it?” she joked, and they shared a short laugh.<BR>“Well, he did a good job of fixing your jaw, didn’t he?” Arthus asked approvingly, lifting her chin to inspect the bruised skin. “You should have taken more care on the battlefield,” he chided. Buddy blushed, smiled and looked away.<BR>“You, on the other hand, my dear paladin, should have stayed where I told you to,” she retorted, a sparkle in her eyes.<BR>“Well, I’m fine now, but you’re still limping a bit.”<BR>“You sound like Jazper,” Buddy remarked, giggling. Arthus gave her a look of mock horror, then gripped her arm determinedly, the way Jazper had earlier.<BR>“The very idea. Well, I should oblige. You come along with me, lady,” he said, imitating the unfortunate healer. “Shouldn’t be walking, remember? It’s off to bed with you.” Buddy laughed, although she protested a bit when Arthus headed her in the direction of the dormitories.<BR>“Stop it, haha, you sound just like him, maybe you should take his job, hehe!”<BR>Jazper stuck his head out of the infirmary and watched the two friends leave. “Well, I’ll be,” he said, shaking his head, shutting the door and returning to his duties.<BR>
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Postby rwhen » Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:30 am

<i>Early in the morning a finely dressed messenger encounters the High Priestess Aribeth, who questions him on the delivery of the invitations to the Ball...</i><BR><BR>"Yes, Lady Aribeth, all have been given invitations to the Ball which is tomorrow evening in the Grand Ballroom. I found each person as you asked me to and just where you said they would be. Maeglin and Tenar; Fionavar, Hollebourne and Facade; Alayna; Buddy and Arthus; Arladion and Robyn; Davian; Thanasimos and Makar. As well, all of the hold and many of the city dwellers will be in attendance, it should be a happy night for all."<BR><BR><i>The High Priestess smiled in her pleasure at a job well done and continued on her way to give rings to the newest participants to the quest of Never Winter Nights.</i>
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Postby Fionavar » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:00 am

“He has been no pigeon posing as peacock, rather a wonderfully humble and fine feathered bird.” She poured the umber tea carefully, steam curling lazily in the morning air. Placing the teapot carefully on the table she slid the cup back across to the Fool. <BR><BR>Façade watched as she turned to await Matias’ answer, her eyebrows raised in expectation; her face a blend of curiosity, veiled disfavor and polite courtesy. Before he could suitably retort, the threesome were interrupted by a tall man who bore down on them with purposeful intent riding high on his face. Pointing at Hollebourne, he motioned the universal crooking of the forefinger, which meant, “come with me”, in all languages in Faerun.<BR><BR>“You, good sir, have an appointment with me, the Weapons Master. It appears this phase of your coming to Never Winter was never completed and I always complete my tasks. Right now, that is you.” Again the finger pointed unerringly to Matias, whose gaping mouth and wide-eyed appearance proved he was not prepared for this new development. Fionavar took this opportunity to gracefully make her exit.<BR><BR>“Good gentlemen,” she began with a twinkle in her eye, “I shall spend this time proving myself in an alternative fashion. My voice has gone long since unused. Should any be seeking me, they shall find me in the music room.” Bowing her head and placing an encouraging hand briefly on Façade’s shoulder, she left the two men with the Weapons Master and headed through the draped halls of Never Winter. <BR><BR>On a small rise and through a screen of pastels off the garden path on the side of the Hold, there stood a circular room. Leaded windows offered views in three directions of Never Winter. As the Bard entered the room, she immediately felt more at home than she had since leaving the Harper Hall. Musical instruments of all varieties were lined pristinely on wide shelves. Her fingers itched to touch them all, but she was drawn to the bazooki, which had been placed on a grandly carved instrument stand in one corner. Pulling up a chair and opening the last window along the row of the longest wall, she sat and reverently raised the beautiful workmanship into a proper and loving embrace. The first chord she played filled her senses and took her to another place, a place of thought and memory. A ballad was formed around her expert plucking of the strings and her furry voice accompanied the music. <BR><BR>Radiance seemed to fill the room with soft lighting and, curious, Fionavar looked out the window. She observed three of the four small brooks that fed Never Winter hold. Tinkling waters made a spray of rainbows as they cascaded into the distance. Tufts of dandelion wisps danced around the droplets giving off a music of their own and unique to nature. Entranced, Fionavar broke off the ballad and began the haunting love duet from Baleef’s exotic opera, <i>Voyagers,</i> which seemed particularly appropriate to this setting.<BR><BR>When a tenor voice joined her on cue, she faltered a moment but then continued. She did not turn to look, instead she decided to remain ignorant and fully enjoy the mysterious accompaniment. <i>Voyagers</i> had been her last opera as a student in the Harper Hall, so she knew it well enough to divert some of her attention from the words. What a fine, rich, well-produced voice he had. He might need a bit more support for the G’s and A’s in the last three measures, in fact, she would be amazed if he could hit the high C along with her, but he had a firm sense of the dynamic requirements and sang with great sensitivity. As the tenor took up the melody, she gathered herself for the taxing finale, delighted to find her singing voice still flexible enough for the dynamics AND the high C. The tenor, with no loss of vibrance, opted for the A, but it was a grand ringing A and she mentally applauded his judgment.<BR><BR>She sustained her note secretly wishing him to drop, but as it happened, they broke off at the same instant, as if they had had innumerable rehearsals such inspired singing required. Spinning around, she was surprised to see Façade standing no more than a few feet behind her. Shaking her head in disbelief, she smiled warmly at the Fool for hire.<BR><BR>“Thank you.” Was all the breathless Bard could offer as she left the room flushed and confused.<BR><BR>Façade picked up the bazooki in his good hand and felt the rich wood, still warmed by her touch. A mischievous smile spread across his face which did not show the inner workings of his subtle mind, but time will reveal all.<BR>
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Postby Rooty » Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:14 pm

After he'd eaten, Thanasimos returned to his room. Lying on the dresser was a small scroll. He unrolled it to discover that it was an invitation to a formal gathering. More specifically, it was an invitation to a ball. <BR><BR>Thanasimos furrowed his brow. The celebrations and festivals of his people typically involved feasts or games, and they were always dedicated to the gods. Dancing was an activity solely for the priests, children or the occaisional drunkard. Nevertheless, he could not in good conscience refuse. He would simply attend, but not dance. In any case, this occaision would provide the perfect opportunity for him to meet the other individuals who were in the service of the High Priestess.<BR><BR>Thanasimos poked his head out the door, searching for a guard from whom he could ask directions. Spying one to his left, he approached. "Tell me, where might I find..."<BR>As if on cue, Jeevers appeard behind him.<BR>"Sir," the Priestess' assistant began.<BR>"Excellent!" Thanasios exclaimed. "Tell me, where does one bathe?"<BR>"Down the corridor, first door on your left," was the response.<BR>"Thank you."<BR><BR>After he'd bathed, Thansimos spent an hour in quiet meditation. It always helped him to focus before any event that might be deemed important. He then considered what he would wear for the evening.<BR><BR>As the feasts of his people were always religious in nature, it was the custom to wear only minimal clothing. White linen was absolutely required. Various wreaths may also be worn, depending on the ceremony. However, appearing at a ball for purely secular reasons clad only in a loincloth and flowers would hardly be appropriate. The clothes he'd worn while travelling, though functional, were hardly appropriate for a formal occaision. He therefore chose the only other items in his bag: a black velvet tunic and dyed black deerskin pants. Donning his boots, he picked up his invitaiton and made his way to the ballroom.
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Postby Darklon » Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:16 pm

Arthus went to his chamber sat down on his bed and started to think about the meeting with his master ... The words of the old man still fresh in his mind " Be loyal to your faith and it shall guide you ... "<BR><BR>Millions of thoughts crossed Arthus mind " What troubles was the old man speaking of ... " but then one more thought crosssed his mind " Will Buddy be affected as well ? " <BR><BR>Lost in his thoughts Arthus jumped off his bed when a servan of lady Aribeth entered his room carrying a red envelope ...<BR><BR>" Sir Arthus ? " asked the young lad and bowed <BR><BR>" Indeed I am, How might I be of an assistance ? " <BR><BR>" I come on behalf of lady Aribeth to grant you with an invitation for upcoming ball " The man handed Arthus an envelope bowed once again and walked down the hall to deliver the rest of invitations .<BR><BR>" A ball you say, Well then I shall find a lady to acompany me to the ball I guess " Arthus thought and smiled while heading toward Buddy chamber ... Obviously the girl had the same idea because as Arthus was about to knock on the door the door opened suddenly and Buddy was now standing in front of Arthus with the red envelope in her hand ...<BR><BR>Arthus straightened up , looked up at Buddy and a moment of silence followed for some time before both of them spoke at the same time interrupting eachother <BR><BR>" I wanted ... " said Buddy when she was interrupted by Arthus <BR><BR>" I would be honored ... " <BR><BR>Both of them looked at eachother and smiled Buddy then winked at Arthus and give him pat on the shoulder <BR><BR>" Always a Gentelman " she said and smiled <BR><BR>Arthus just bluched not knowing what to say . In his life he didn't have a lot of women friends and for sure he never felt the same way toward any other women he met then what he now felt toward Buddy and although the feeling was new to him he liked it ...<BR><BR>" I'll see you there then " Said Buddy and departed to her chambers <BR><BR>Walking back to his chamber Arthus thougt to surprise the girl and buy her a very nice ballroom dress as he didn't remmember Buddy having one ...<BR><BR>Walking between merchant tents and looking for the dress Arthus was shocked by the amount of goods that were sold at the market as usually when he visited the market it was for " necessary " items only not for fun ... As he went deeper and deeper into the market the smell of of many exotic spices fileld the air , shouts of merchants from many different nations joined with yells of beggars and local militia gave this place a special touch ...<BR><BR>After a while Arthus spotted a merchant tent with the flag of calimport on it and a sign syaing " Come and visit Bobo's shop we have the finest clothing in whole realms " <BR><BR>As Arthus approached the tent a little man jumped in front of him <BR><BR>" Bobo is the name and clothing is the trade " said the man and smiled broadly gesturing toward his shop ...<BR><BR>" Hello good man ... I'm looking for a ballroom dress can you provide me with one ? a silk one if you have that ... "<BR><BR>The man smild and went into the tent and in couple of minutes walked out carrying three different silk dresses ...<BR><BR>" There you are good sire " said the man and presented the dresses <BR><BR>After a while Arthus decided to pick the light blue dress as it was about the size of the Buddy ... the other two were a little bit to small ...<BR><BR>" That will be 500 gold coins ... a fine dress from calimport you shouldn't regret it ... " siad the man and smiled again ...<BR><BR>Arthus took out the money and handed it to the man after what he headed toward the Hold to surprise Buddy with the gift ...<BR><BR>
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Postby TheDean » Fri Feb 13, 2004 3:10 am

Following his meeting with the weapons master, Makar had decided to retire for the night. As he made his way to the barracks, he was accosted by a dark-robed figure who stopped in his way. Makar narrowed his eyes, straightened up and imperiously demanded, "who, pray tell are you, and why are you standing in my way?"<BR><BR>The dark figure raised its head, and spoke in a cold voice, "Remember Makar...the Lady of Poison always knows. She sees all and she punishes failure. Heed my words."<BR><BR>Makar's eyes widened and as he tried to reply, the figure spun away and quickly walked off into the distance. The Lady of Poison? Monitoring him? A thrill of pleasure ran through him...<BR><BR>'Pride? You are actually happy that that harpy is watching you? You must have hit your head harder than I expected. She means you ill...she cares not. All she craves is power and you are but a tool.'<BR><BR>"Shut up...shut up...no...she means me well. She - SHE - came to be when I was dying. Where were you? Where were you?" He raised his arms and repeated the question. <BR><BR>No answer came. <BR><BR>Makar started to walk again, fuming at the injustice of life. Before he had realised, he found himself in the empty barracks. He hurried to the table and poured some mead but had to steady his hand. Just as he was about to drink it, he noticed a letter addressed to him. He picked up and opened it, and found that it was an invitation to a ball that was being held tomorrow. A ball? How quaint. Formal dress too. Well that would prove to be a distraction and the heavens knew he needed one. He finished pouring his drink then walked to the bed and collapsed, falling into a deep slumber.<BR><BR>----<BR><BR>"Sir? Sir? Can you please wake up?<BR><BR>Makar stirred and opened his eyes. He saw the face of Aribeth's servant starring at him, imploring him to get up.<BR><BR>"Sir...you have overslept. It is past mid day and you <i>need<i> to get ready for the ball. Please. I have brought some warm food and the bath is being prepared." <BR><BR>Makar unwillingly rose from his bed and thanked the servant for waking him. As he shambled towards the bath, he smelled the the bacon that had been brought for his food. Sizzling, covered with butter with a garnish of mushrooms, roast tomatoes and some country bread. Delicious. He exhaled quickly and started to disrobe before remembering that he was not alone. He turned around and coughed. <BR><BR>"What?" inquired the servant. Makar raised his eyebrow in surprise. "Oh...you want to be alone. I see.. apologies sir, I shall leave now". He bowled and turned to leave the room. When Makar was satisfied that he was alone, he unrobed and entered the hot tub. After what seemed an age, Makar rose and dried himself off before sauntering off to the chest containing his clothes. He opened it and wondered what to wear. Obviously he wanted to make an impression on the guests and particularly the other warriors who were assembling. He pursed his lips and smiled. Yes...that would be ideal. Slowly he bagan to dress. Soon, he stood before the mirror and nodded his head in appreciation. Makar stood dressed in robes of darkest blue. He wore a dark blue skull-cap on his head and black gloves. On his chest was an embroidered symbol of a pair of white human hands bound at the wrists with a blood-red cord. Impressive. He lifted his hand and felt the medallion underneath the clothing. He took it out and examined it. A golden medallion containing a single emerald gem with a gold amber rock embedded within. Hr turned it over and looked at the symbol carved at the back: three golden amber teardrops on a purple equilateral triangle with point upwards. He touched it and shuddered. Was he doing the right thing? He felt so alone. He stood in the middle of a raging battle. He felt pulled to one side at one moment then urged to the other. He sighned and his the medallion once more. He straighten up, noddeed and walked out of the barracks, with the invitation in his hand. Let us see what this ball brings...<BR><BR>
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Postby rwhen » Fri Feb 13, 2004 10:01 am

<i>Belle had no trouble locating the two newcomers to Never Winter hold, but she had much to do before getting herself ready for the Ball and this was just a nuisance. One of the men, she thought his name was Makar, eyed her suspiciously, while the other, a gentleman named Thanasimos, appeared aloof and dismissing in his demeanor. It mattered not to the closest of assistants to the High Priestess, she was to do a job and do it well she would. The sitting chamber to the personal office of the Lady Aribeth was a comfortable room. Floor to ceiling draperies, deeply padded armchairs and gilded side tables were spaced evenly about. Belle gestured with a hand to the men that they should take any open seating. </i><BR><BR>"The Lady Aribeth shall be with you shortly. Please make yourself comfortable, there is wine on the side cart if that be your pleasure." Belle nodded and quickly left the chamber, closing the door behind her.<BR><BR>Makar chose a chair closest to the exit and sat in a covert position, one which hid most of his body, while Thanasimos made the decision to stand erect closest to the inner entrance to the private office. The General's eyes were piercing and a study of a lack of emotion. Makar's were veiled and darting, the contrast in the two men were startling as Aribeth noted when she entered the room. <BR><BR>Almost running into the large General, she stepped back and rerouted to an ornate desk however, instead of taking a seat, she pulled two smallish metal boxes out from a drawer and held one in each hand.<BR><BR>"I observe that you both are ready for the ball tonight. The hour is yet early for that festive occasion, so I have decided this is the right time to present you with these." She unfolded a purple cloth and laid two rings upon it. Holding one up she explained, "Each of these rings have been empowered with a teleportation aspect. Wearing the ring in time of need will immediately bring you to this temple for one of two reasons. If your life is forfeit, the Pool of Reflection will infuse your spirit back to wakefulness at which time you can be sent back to the original place of use, should you choose. It would be prudent to guard your bodies well as even the Pool can not regenerate your severed head. Ward well the ring as it will also bring you to this temple once any or all of you have completed a quest.<BR><BR>One last warning I shall give you, each of you has a different number of times you may regenerate in the Pool of Reflection. It is not the same for any one individual, and there is no possible way to ascertain what that number is. Once the requisite number of times has been reached, you will gain a true and complete body death"<BR><BR>Thanasimos held the ring in front of him with a complacent look as if to querry how a ring could be a useful weapon, but with a shrug he pocketed it and nodded his head to the High Priestess. Makar took the ring almost greedily, fingering it with curiosity seeping out from those heavy lids. Only when he saw that he was the attention of the other two present did he straighten up and cache the ring in his robe.<BR><BR>"Please enjoy all that Never Winter has to offer you this evening, gentlemen. You shall soon be departing on the next quest and may not soon again have time for leisure." Aribeth excused herself as the two men left the room without a word to each other.<BR><BR>The High Priestess had little time to wonder about the vast differences between Thanasimos and Makar when the Stores keeper, Solivander, caught her on the central staircase.<BR><BR>"My Lady, am I to just turn over my stores to all who are in need? I am amply supplied, but such finery comes at a high price tag, I am sure you are aware." The greedy little man's eyes were almost bulging from his face with concern.<BR><BR>"Soli, do not worry for the costs. Please outfit any and all in whatever fancies catch their eye. It is important for all to enjoy themselves and looking perfect is always key to making that happen. You shall be VERY well compensated for your goods and your time. I want these people to feel like Kings and Queens and I will spare no expense to make it so. Do I make myself clear? However, I think some serious groveling will be involved."<BR><BR>"I do understand, Lady and might I say, you are looking ravishing this afternoon?"<BR><BR>"Not ME, Soli, THEM!!" She left the man standing on the steps nodding and dreaming of counting his gold.<BR>
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:37 am

Alayna awoke to the morning sun shining through her closed eyelids, and as she struggled to sit up, a hand immediately pushed her back into the mound of cushions she laid in. From her position on her back, the young assassin spared the overzealous healer more than a passing glare. The woman, however, seemed to take no notice, bustling around the room, and soon returned with a cup of water, and a piece of parchment. She helped Alayna into a sitting position, a move that irritated the young woman more than she would admit. The assassin hated this feeling of helplessness, of being forced to depend on someone else for every single thing. She eyed the healer over the rim of the cup that was pressed against her lips, and in a fit of pique, brought her arm up to knock the cup out of the woman’s hands, and in the same motion, grabbing the piece of parchment she held, her eyes skimming over the elegant script that flowed down the page. She gave a resigned sigh, and carelessly tossed the parchment onto the floor of the room she was in, gaining her another angry glare from the healer, which she replied to with a winsome smile that brimmed with sweetness.<BR><BR>A short while later, her old tutor entered the room, a mildly amused look on his face as he drew up a seat next to her bed, and waved the healer out of the way.<BR><BR>“Is it true what’s being said around the hall? That you got killed, and then resurrected?”<BR><BR>“Perhaps.”<BR><BR>“Perhaps? That isn’t an answer, you know? Either you got killed, or you didn’t. You can’t be in between.”<BR><BR>“Believe what you want. But I shan’t deny anything that’s said about me.”<BR><BR>“And there’s a ball around the corner, my dear girl, in case you’ve forgotten. I’ve got some of the nice ladies around the Hold to get you properly decked up.”<BR><BR>“I refuse. I’ll wear what I want, not what a bunch of people put on me. I’m not some child’s doll, you know.”<BR><BR>“Well, you can’t attend in what you consider your normal dress. It definitely does not match up to the acknowledged standards of modesty, nor would it show your status.”<BR><BR>“And what concern is that of mine?”<BR><BR>“Stop being so stubborn! My job happens to be your nursemaid for as long as you stay here, so you had better get used to listening to me.”<BR><BR>“And who gave you that honor?”<BR><BR>“The same man who gave you your skill.”<BR><BR>Alayna kept silent then, and gave a noncommittal mutter.<BR><BR>“I’ll take that as a yes then. I’ll come by in a few hours. I know that you are nearly fully recovered, so please do not take the trouble of acting the part of an infirm.”<BR><BR>Once he left, the assassin hurled a cushion from her bed at the retreating figure, and swung herself out of bed, only to find herself stumbling over her own feet. The woman reappeared then, and Alayna found a slight blush rising in her cheeks, but she suppressed it, turning around instead, despite the feeling that her legs were jelly beneath her, ready to collapse.<BR><BR>“Girl, you are not fit to be moving around, and definitely not after having died, and then resurrected, and the amount of cuts and bruises you received has healed somewhat, but not fully.”<BR><BR>“I have a name, healer.”<BR><BR>The healer left in a huff, and she continued her walk around the small room, trying to regain the same graceful balance she had walked with before, as well as trying to get her jelly-like legs to solidify under her.<BR><BR>True to his word, he appeared soon after, with some of the Hold’s numerous ladies in hand. She was then dragged into the stores, and her escorts brushed away all offers of help, and with the exception of her teacher who had disappeared some time ago, before promptly beginning to hold all kinds of silks and lace to her, as if trying to see which color matched her best. The assassin simply rolled her eyes once more, letting the ladies of the Hold bicker over what color and design suited her best, and keeping silent all the while. After an eternity of having being wrapped with silks of all colors, her escorts decided on a rather nice shade of pink the color of a fading rose. Alayna nodded, showing them her approval of the hue. Now they went into the whole talk on how the dress should be designed, and to her horror, the final decision involved a rather full skirt held up by layers of net. The man in charge was ordered to alter the chosen gown and deliver it to her room by the late afternoon, and then they would settle the problem of her hairstyle and accessories. The dressing problem solved, they brought her back to her room, armed with countless combs and other hair ornaments, before beginning to tug her brown waves into some strange style. The assassin gave her second resigned sigh of the day, and left them to their work.
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Postby Morphobia » Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:06 am

Buddy threw open the closet in her room. Her eyes scanned the contents, before shutting the doors with a loud bang. Nothing in there would be worth wearing to a ball. All she had were breeches, pants, and tunics, nothing ladylike at all. If only I had thought of a dress, she lamented to herself, flopping down onto the soft bed provided for her. She had absolutely nothing to wear for the important evening. Her hand brushed against the velvety red paper that was the envelope containing the invitation, rolling onto her stomach and withdrawing the pale green paper within. Her eyes scanned the flowing handwriting, sighing in despair. The ball would be held that very evening. She had to find something by then… She pulled distractedly at her necklace, frowning slightly, the invitation falling from her hand and floating to rest on the carpeted ground. Maybe she should just get one from the stores, she thought, but it would cost a pretty penny.<BR><BR>There was a soft knock on the door, and Buddy ran a hand through her hair absently. “Come right in,” she called, and there was a click and squeak as the door opened and shut again. “What is it..? Oh. Arthus.” She sat up hurriedly when she realized that her friend had entered the room. “I wasn’t expecting you.”<BR>“I’m sure you weren’t,” Arthus said, holding out a package. “I got something for you. It’s not too much, but I hope you’ll like it anyway.” Buddy raised her eyebrows skeptically, before accepting the package. The brown string fell away in her hands, and the paper drifted to the ground to rest beside the invitation, Arthus sat on the bed next to the girl as her eyes widened in wonder.<BR><BR>“Arthus,” she breathed, not daring to believe her eyes. A dress of pale blue greeted her, made of silk of the finest quality. “You shouldn’t have… I’m sure this cost a lot,” she said quickly, “and I’ll have to find a way to repay you one day.”<BR>“Oh, no need,” Arthus laughed. “I just wanted my date to look outstanding.” Buddy blushed, as she lifted the dress to her body, examining it in the full-length mirror. Her reflection was no what she anticipated; it was the picture of a princess, not the rough, coarse girl Buddy had grown to know as herself. “Mm,” Arthus said, standing behind her, “the blue compliments your eyes perfectly.” Face flushed, Buddy did not know how to express her gratitude to the paladin. “I was… Kind of hoping you’d wear that to the ball.”<BR>“Yes, I will, you can be sure of that,” Buddy muttered to herself, and Arthus smiled.<BR>“I will see you in a few hours or so, then?” Arthus excused himself from the room, leaving Buddy smiling foolishly at herself in the mirror.<BR><BR>The wanderer set the dress down carefully onto her bed, before heading out for a bath. It was surprisingly quiet in the baths, and Buddy let herself soak in the warm waters. She dozed off a few times, a few minutes at a time. There was a fragrance in the air, one she recognized as lavender, soothing and comforting. After a long while, Buddy removed herself from the baths, towelling herself roughly before she donned her tunic and breeches again. Back in her room, the girl hesitantly pulled on the dress, as if afraid to tear or rend the delicate material. Silk and lace hovered around her body, seemingly made of mere mists and shadows. She decided she liked the gown, the pulled a brush through her wild raven hair. Clips and slides glittered from the dresser top, and she picked a small pin in the shape of a butterfly. Sliding it into her hair, she analyzed her attempt at styling in the mirror.<BR><BR>Perfect. Her reflection smiled back at her, and Buddy was certain that all that remained was waiting for the ball itself.
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Postby Hollebourne » Sun Feb 15, 2004 7:08 am

A snarl in direction of the Fool was about all Holle could manage. There are folk who are born with an undisputably commanding tone to their voice, and they will take the most self-confident of people by surprise, and have them trot along behind meekly like scolded children.<BR>However, the most self-confident of people will not endure such treatment for longer than it takes them to evaluate the pros and cons of the situation. No calculation was needed to reveal nothing good to look forward to in a training session meant to determine Matias' skills with a weapon. He would have laughed, but sneaking away from the task demanded stealth. And even so, not all that much stealth. The man who had so unpleasantly interrupted the conversation obviously trusted his commanding tone enough not to care to look back and check if Holle was indeed following.<BR><BR>A corridor, and a catlike dash for the next corner.<BR>A pause to catch breath.<BR><BR>What a deserted place, the Hold.<BR>He'd noticed that the first time he arrived to play hide and seek with Alayna- the whole Hold was like Aribeth herself, tense and wary, dignified and ever conscious of the troubles outside.<BR>Holle gave a mental whistle and applauded the grandeur. Then he set to thinking what his best bet on a next move would be.<BR>Trying to seek out Alayna would be polite, but pointless and inconvenient.<BR>Trying to seek out Fionavar...was a tempting option. He recalled the bard's outline.Words like 'stunning' and 'remarkable' came to mind. 'Suckle', too.<BR>Yes, the bard was a woman your tongue wanted to describe perfectly.<BR><BR>He licked his lips and strutted down the corridor, trailing a finger along the wall. This was another long row of what seemed like bedchambers. He tried a doorknob or two. The air had a stale taste to it, and hinted of talcum.<BR>A servants' staircase exit led him down two levels, where at least the air was moving properly, humid and buzzing with voices. Matias snatched a flaky pastry from a tray, a prize for discovering the Hold's kitchens. He gobbed it with the expert speed of a pantry raider and moved along, keeping to the wall to avoid collision with the servants who all seemed to be rushing about on life or death matter errands. Which was just as well to keep them from noticing him.<BR>He took the time to try the doorknobs more carefully down here, and when he walked out into the courtyard it was with a tasty selection in his pockets, and a smooth taffee melting in his mouth. <BR>Food always helped with decisions. And however much Fiona's shapes lingered on the mind, Matias walked out into the street with the intention to put as much distance between himself and the Hold as possible. Because Matias wasn't a demanding man where danger was concerned. He absolutely didn't need the noble danger of death in battle, he would be quite content with the simpler, vulgar dangers of jailing and flogging that made up his everyday life. <BR>Adventuring was a fine thing, if you sat comfortably and listened to a bard sing about it.<BR>....making Fiona sing would have been an adventure to undertake.<BR>He sneered at himself and this strange little obsession,and resolved to find, without delay, a suitably voluptuous distraction.<BR><BR>The city was welcoming him back like a prodigal child, beckoning to come and be even more prodigal. Beckoning very literally, from the street corners.
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Postby The_Fool » Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:16 pm

The Bard’s flustered manner was not missed by Façade, who could not help but smile softly at her uncertainty. Moving his fingers tenderly over the instrument in front of him he was reminded quite suddenly of his own most treasured possession; his guitar. Panic hit him forcefully, compressed tight in his stomach, and struggled icily in a way that made him want to retch. He hadn’t the slightest idea where it was, in fact, the last he had seen of it, it had been bound to his saddle as he rode through a battlefield on Lymeric. The panic gave a nauseating dip inside him at the thought of his horse and guitar lost in that place of the dead and damned; and Façade slumped to the floor to set his hands over his grief-stricken face. In his sorrow he cursed himself in hushed tones that broke under the weight of his woe. <BR>Lady Fate had punished him harshly for this idiotic venture. <BR>“You perfect half-wit,” he whispered dully into the warmth of the music room. “Dancing to your own backwards irrationality whilst you talked out of your hat. You deserve this.....But oh.....Oh my poor Lymeric!” He gave a stifled half-lilt of despair and pulled his knees up to set his brow upon them. He sat there for some time, painfully rehearsing with grief; till the sun sank to lay its mellowed fingers on the crown of his lowered head. Miserable, he rose to his feet, to trace his steps back to the infirmary. <BR>Upon reaching the entrance to the healing chambers however, Façade was halted by a dark-haired woman. She regarded his weary face with such obvious sympathy that the Fool cast his gaze to one side, unwilling to meet her eyes. Seeing this she shifted her gaze to the right, and spoke cautiously. <BR>“I have been instructed to show you to your new rooms, Lord.” <BR>“Lord?” Façade laughed bitterly. “I am afraid my father was never that generous.” He caught himself then, ashamed at the venom in his voice. With a heavy sigh he smoothed out the creases in his tone and continued on a more compliant note. “Show me to them then. I did not mean to snap. It is merely the resulting mood when you realise that all you have will end up as smoke.” <BR>She nodded, confused, but to the Fool’s relief, said nothing more to him as she led him to his new chambers. She stepped aside as she opened the door, gesturing for him to enter, and Façade did so with a tired tread. <BR>As he raised his eyes to take in his new surroundings he caught sight of his cherished guitar, placed lovingly on the covers of his bed. The late afternoon light, which had reached that hovering point between post-noon and twilight cast slick rivlets of honey highlights on the polished wood. With an exclamation of pure delighted relief Façade sprung forward to clasp the guitar in both hands, ignoring the protest of his wounded wrist. A jubilant laugh bubbled from his lips, escaping in glorious solace as the Fool clutched the beloved instrument to him. <BR>Belle smiled, her happiness at the Fool’s transformation lighting her face. He turned to beam effortlessly at her, all previous grief banished from his countenance as he loosed his hold on the guitar to stride towards her. <BR>“My horse,” the words came out eagerly, tumbling over one another in their rush to be heard. “My Lymeric. The black gelding. Is he here? Is he well? Oh tell me it’s true and I shall be yours forever my Lady of Luck! My Herald of Good Fortune! May the Gods forever smile on your raven-haired head if it is only true!” <BR>Belle laughed then, joyfully; one hand lain on the door as she witnessed the blond Fool’s undisguised pleasure. “Your gelding is well Sir - ” <BR>“Oh do not call me Sir, Lady Luck!” Façade interrupted her. “It is far too formal to be passed from your deity lips to your humble servant’s ears. You must call me,” here he paused, and fell into silent contemplation, his brow slightly furrowed. When he began again he spoke with the utmost seriousness. “You must call me Finian, though you are to tell no one else that it is my true name.” <BR>“You are so wonderfully peculiar,” Belle giggled. “Why ever not?” <BR>“Because if you do the magic is broken! We will be no longer what we are now, but a mere shadow of the glorious workings of fate that bought us together, my wonderful Herald. It shall be our secret, to cherish, so that we may remember this point in time forever.” <BR>“Well, then you are to stop calling me Herald. Or Lady Luck,” answered Belle as she smiled back at Façade. “You are to call me Belle; though you may tell anyone you like that it is <i>my</i> name.” <BR>“Belle,” Façade sung out the name, beaming as he stood before Aribeth’s serving woman. “The perfect name for fortune personified! Belle, meaning Beautiful.”<BR>Before his unchecked praise Belle coloured slightly, the pink in her cheeks causing her to duck her head until they had gone. “And what am I to call you, Finian, in the presence of others?” She raised an eyebrow, acting at scepticism, but smiling all the while.<BR>“Façade,” the Fool replied. He gave a graceful bow, the guitar still held in his left hand. <BR>“Very well Finian,’ she said, setting a hand to the door handle, “I am honoured to do as you ask. Alas, I must now bid you farewell, I have other duties to attend to and have all ready tarried long. <BR>Perhaps I shall see you at the Ball on the morrow?” <BR>Façade frowned, confused. “Ball? I was not aware there was one, and most certainly unaware that I was invited.” <BR>“There is a letter addressing the point by your bed,” Belle replied, pointing to the envelope from the doorway. “Lady Aribeth wishes all who attended the battle at the citadel to come as guests.” <BR>“Ah.” Façade replied. After some small time he gave a wry smile, “I have nothing to wear to a Ball, Belle. I am merely a Fool for Hire. Clothes as are necessary for a Ball, are not required in my profession.” <BR>Belle nodded, understanding. “Never Winter Hold has many fine garments you may borrow free of charge. You can find them on the second floor, behind the brass bound door at the end of the westerly hall. Isaac will assist you should you require it. Perchance you wish to bathe, the steam rooms are on the ground floor, near the kitchen.” She curtsied, and turned to go, but hesitated and turned before she closed the door. “The stables are across the main courtyard,” she said, and shut the door. <BR> <BR>Façade slept late the next morning, waking to find he had slumbered fully clothed a top the blankets of his bed; his guitar still clasped reverently in his left hand, his head comfortably held upon a gathering of white-clothed pillows. Rising carefully, not wishing to test his sleep-stiffened right arm, he lay the guitar where his head had rested and, taking up a clean shirt, jerkin and pants from his saddle bags, he cradled them stiffly in the crook of his right arm. For now the stiffness in his shoulder and wrist was serving to numb the unavoidable pain, but as he woke further, it would return. Taking up his pair of newly cleaned boots, no doubt the work of this Lady Aribeth’s servants, the Fool left the chambers to make his way to the steam rooms. <BR>Late morning light slanted gloriously through the Keep’s windows and Façade, despite the growing bite of pain in his shoulder, felt wonderfully amiable. He bathed luxuriously in a deep tub, shaking out his blond hair from its clasp and immersing himself completely in the hot water. <BR>It was as he was emerging from the steam rooms, clad in clean clothes, and slicking his wet hair back into a sleek ponytail, that he happened once more upon Belle. She smiled as she came towards him, waving twice. <BR>“Belle,” Façade said, grinning as he finished pulling his hair back and tied it in place, “my Lady Luck. How do you fare?” <BR>“Very well thank you Master Fool,” Belle replied, stopping in front of him and smoothing out her skirts a little self-consciously. “Lady Aribeth wishes to speak with you. I have been sent to collect you.” She paused and looked Façade up and down before glancing over her shoulder to see if anyone was in hearing distance. “You look better today Finian. Untroubled sleep has done you a world of good.” <BR>“Dear Belle, I believe it has done me a <i>heaven</i> of good,” the Fool replied. He ran his fingertips over his gold earings, collecting the remnants of water from his bath from them and flicking the droplets to the pale earth. <BR>“How you can turn a phrase,” Belle murmered, brushing a strand of her dark hair from her face as a slight breeze pulled it loose from her plait. <BR>“Words are my love,” the Fool replied simply. <BR>“I thought music was.” Belle said, grinning mischeviously at him. <BR>“Music is my romance,” Façade quipped, his amber brown eyes portraying his pleasure at the banter this talk was allowing him. “I am constantly having to woo it to keep it satisfied.” <BR>“In that case I should think it very enviable.” Belle turned from Façade and began to walk back the way she had come. “This way Finian, my Lady dislikes to be kept waiting.”
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Postby Exar_Kun » Thu Feb 26, 2004 5:09 pm

Dion lay twisting and turning in his bed. He was hoping the sweet wine would help him along in finally getting some sleep done, but it was something about the narrow halls and cold stone walls that seemed to choke him. Sobering up, he walked the round stairs down to the main floor, hoping to find a way out. The stairs were not co-operating. They were swinging left and right, and the walls were bending with them. This was not right. He just managed to keep himself from tumbling over by grabbing the walls, which proved to be easy since they were so narrow already. Moonlight lighted the wall a few stairs down. He carefully made his way there and smelled the fresh air through the window. “Dion,” he said to himself, “you’re still drunk, you scamp.” With this realization he safely arrived in the halls, which proved to be cold to his bare feet. Another reason for the half-elf to dislike stone.<BR><BR>He challenged his memory for the location of the gardens. It worked. Apparently his memory had been wiser than him, and had stayed off the wine. If he could pat his shoulder, he would have, but he was afraid he’d fall over and forget which way the gardens were. He didn’t feel he should challenge his memory twice, since there was no way of knowing if he just got lucky, and if his memory had been partying with the rest of his body as it should have done, according to previous encounters with alcohol.<BR><BR>With his recent victory over the memory-eating effects of alcohol, he reached the door to the gardens. He tried the door. Locked. The horror. He tried it again. Still locked. Heavy sigh. He strolled back in the direction of the stairs. Or, at least, he hoped it was the direction of the stairs. It didn’t seem familiar at all, actually. He was supposed to be a Ranger, for crying out loud. Tracking was his best skill, according to the general description of Rangers. But no, he had to get lost in a castle. Just another perfect example of what a failure he was, he thought. The only option left was to go back to the door to the gardens, and just try to sleep there. He accepted that option and went back to the door. The door was still the same, no signs of change. It remained there, perfectly still, and it almost felt like he was mocking him. Arladion could do nothing but stare back at the door. <em>Staring at the door isn’t going to open it</em>, he thought to himself. “Well no, but what else <em>can</em> I do?” He stared at the door again. Then he took a few steps towards the door, changed his expressionless face to an angry one and kicked the door. The lock clicked. The angry look had vanished and was replaced with an utterly surprised one, enhanced by his drunkenness. <BR><BR>The door opened by itself. A guard appeared, “Yes, what is it? Oh, it’s you! What are you doing up at this hour?”<BR>“Me?” Dion replied, “Well, I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I might find some rest in the gardens. What are YOU doing up?”<BR>“I am guarding the gardens. It is what I do for a living: making sure no one enters the Hold at this late hour.”<BR>“Like who?”<BR>“Well, assassins, thieves, mystical creatures that want one of the many artifacts that are in the Hold.”<BR>”Wow, ever encountered any of them?”<BR>”No… so far it’s only been drunkards and kids.”<BR>“Good, good. Wouldn’t want you to get fatally wounded, now would we?” Arladion laughed. He was still drunk, or else he would’ve placed such a remark much more carefully, if at all. <BR>“Yes… yes,” the guard sighed, “I guess you’re right. Ah well, I guess I should let you in the gardens now then, eh?” A smart move of the guard. Can’t blame him.<BR><BR>The gardens were big. Lord Alagondar had obviously paid a lot of gold for a good architect. Perhaps even multiple, since these gardens were <em>huge</em>. Large trees stood tall in the sky, and their image was enlarged by the moonlight they barely let through. But the sky was clear, many stars lit it with grace and beauty. Dion peacefully settled against a big, sturdy oak. He inhaled the fresh air deeply, and felt his head clearing up, and sleep slowly sipping in. He yawned, and let the sleep push his eyelids down. <BR><BR>Orth woke him up with a wet nose. It was still too early for a sun to rise, but the day was about to break. Arladion was pleased to see his companion in front of him. The panther looked troubled though. He detected unrest in his eyes, and felt familiar to the feeling he had last night. The surroundings did not make him feel at home, but even the gardens couldn’t satisfy this one. The ranger patted the cat on head, and kneeled before him. “Look, this is hard for me, but I believe it is best for both of us. I feel bad to see you like this, you know. That’s why I have decided to let you go. I know you’ll manage, I have faith in you. And I also know that won’t leave me. I know you’ll be there for me when I most need you, just like I will there for you when you need me.” There was a mixture of happiness and sadness, but above all appreciation to be detected in the black beast’s eyes. He turned around and lunged towards the wall in big jumps. Then he set his razor sharp nails in the nearest tree, climbed up and jumped on top of the wall. He looked back once, and then vanished. Arladion felt Orth’s happiness, and was assured he had done the right thing. Then he made his way up to the bedroom corridor. <BR><BR>On the stairs he caught sight of the break of day. He was determined to see it in its full glory, and went past the bedroom corridor to a higher level, to one of the corridors that connected the towers on the sides of the castle. This one had huge windows for Arladion to enjoy. <BR>The corridor was already filled with orange light when he arrived. The sun brought him warmth, comfort, and a feeling of safety. A new day had just been born, and everything seemed to be good. Life was good, the world had been healed, and he was ready to go home. Then he overlooked the city. Every district was licking its wounds. In the Docks district, fires of corpse piles were being put out, and wood was being brought in for repairs. Also, carts were filled with water, and then tied to donkey’s who were sent off to the Peninsula district. Both districts were busy in a great co-operation to get the repairs done as soon as possible, and were therefore aided with the most city guards. The two other districts hadn’t changed though. The Blacklake district was still as neat as it was, the gates locked tight. Word of the cure hadn’t gotten through yet, apparently. And the Beggar’s Nest was a whole other story. Fires raged there, the city guard was doing its very best to fight the angry mobs. On wooden crates, doomsayers yelled destruction and the end of humanity, fueling the hopeless and the dumb. <BR>But the half-elf knew it would be alright. <BR><BR>Upon entering his room, he found an invitation to the ball, to be held the next evening right here in the Hold. <em>What to wear, what to wear?</em> Those herbs from the infirmary messed up most of his clothing… Oh! There was that tunic he still had with him. Yet he didn’t dare look at it. Even thinking about it made sad memories of his murdered friends surface. He straightened up, and tried to clear his mind, then asked one of the people with a Neverwinter crest on their clothing where he could find a store for clothing. He had met Gronh the half-orc once, but he was fairly sure the man couldn’t help him with this. <BR><BR>Dion had filled his pockets with every spare cent he could find, only to find that every piece of clothing in Solivander’s store was for free for him. He could practically open his own clothing store if he wanted. He picked out a fine green sleeveless tunic, with a darker green pants under it, and a white shirt under it. To take advantage of the current situation, he threw in a nice pair of gloves too. And Solivander was all too happy to send him away with as much merchandise as possible. <BR><BR>It was now the evening just before the ball. He was all outfitted and was really looking forward to it. This day he had gone horse riding with Robyn, since it had proved to be such a fine day again, and they both felt the need to get out of the city. It was great: he felt as if his life was now finally coming to rest again. He was ready to process all that had happened in the past few months, all in peace a quiet, with the people he loved. And now the ball was about to start, as a perfect ending to a perfect day. And so he made his way from his room to the appointed place of festivity.<BR><BR>As he walked down the same stairs again, he wanted to go back just one more time to the high corridor with the great view. The sky was orange again, the sun was about to set. He looked down and saw a mass of people streaming into the castle. They were the nobles from the Blacklake district. The invitations had probably wakened them up, and they had opened the gates to the rest of the city again. Oh how full they were of themselves. They had locked themselves in with most of the food of the city, and all the possible medicine that they could find. They offered no help to anyone, just sat there, protecting their riches. Not even the city guards were let in. And now they had come out of hiding, proud of themselves how they had managed to survive. For even though the plague was wiped out, it had left a tremendous number of deaths. But not with the nobles. Oh no, they had been <em>smart</em>. Arladion despised them for it. And now he had to be in the same room with them for the entire evening. Ah well, it was not like you could actually have a perfect day.
Last edited by Exar_Kun on Mon Jun 21, 2004 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TheDean » Fri Feb 27, 2004 3:32 am

Makar stood in the majestic courtyard of the Keep's garden and took a deep breath. He uttered a quick prayer, straightened his cloak and smiled. This ball should prove to be illuminating... He started walking towards the iron-bound doorway and gave his invitation to the waiting guard. The elf (!) gave a nod and opened the door and Makar passed through, with an arrogant and contemptuous gaze upon the unfortunate guard. He sniffed and put a hankerchief under his nose, "the smell from the city, you see...I have a delicate nose". The elf straightened, with a hard look, and took up his place. Makar smiled and passed. <BR><BR>He found himself in a long-corridor, whose sides were draped with expensive pickle jars tapestries depicting frolicking nymphs and over-muscled centaurs. His lips curled."How common", he uttered under his breath and continied on his stately walk on the red Kar-atun carpet. Presently, he came before two noble guards dressed in formal dress, who bowed and opened the grand door to the ball. The ball was going into swing...Makar entered.<BR><BR>He stood tall and straightback, determined to present himself as a cleric of power and authority and not to become an intoxicated fool. He noted a bearded, overweight old man dancing fast and furiously with a comely maid, with a glass of wine in one arm. Nearby stood - Makar guessed - the man's prudish wife who narrowed her eyes and snarled. Oh...the return home would be interesting! To the left, some foolish young nobles were dancing, doffing their caps and leering at the maids with disapproving dates glaring in anger. Maker raised an eyebrow and smiled at a pouting auburn haired beauty who blushed and toom a sip of her drink. <BR><BR>Yes, this should prove to be an interesting evening. A servant passed by, caring a tray of wine goblets and Makar plucked one and took a deep drink. He looked around and noticed a quite corner with a table and a seat and as he walked towards him, he was accosted by the auburn haired beauty. <BR><BR>"Good evening sir. My name is Katerina of the Long Marches", smiled the maiden.<BR>"Well, a good evening to you as well m'dear. It is unfortunate your date is not behaving better in the company of such a flower as yourself. I am called Makar and am..usually, priest to...Ilmater. Tonight, however, I am reveller" answered Makar and smiled once more.<BR>"Mmm...I was wondering if you would like to dance, m'lord. I am accounted a good dancer" said Katerina, glancing at her drunked date and pouting her lips once more.<BR><BR>Makar smiled as he realised the maiden wanted to make her date jealous. Pity...twould be nice to partake of Katerina's favour but he was not looking to become involved in anything, currently.<BR><BR>"Of course...lead on my dear lady. Lead on" and Makar offered his hand to Katerina who boldly took in and - quite fast - dragged Makar to the dance floor, pulled herself close to him and started to dance energetically. Makar looked across the room and saw Katerina's date open his eyes in amazement and he noted that the boy looked angry. Perfect. Smiling with delight, he took Katerian's hand and kissed it: "My dear...let is dance this night away".
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Postby Aglanor » Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:53 pm

“Five baked eggs, a plate filled with crispy bacon, smoked salmon, a roasted chicken, a bowl of mushrooms, a collection of herbs, cheese, thick slices of lamb, some mustard and vinegar, a bunch of tomatoes, onions, about ten slices of bread, a can of fresh orange juice, herbal tea and a bowl of soup. That should do it.” The waiter was able to keep his posture, but his eyes were filled with desperation. Davian almost felt sorry for the guy, but he hadn’t had a decent meal since the last time he was in the Hold, and he felt terribly weak from all the days living on foraged fruits and a few roasted rabbits. The wounds he had, didn’t make it any better. He needed to regain his strength again and food was an effective and delicious way to do so. He had been lying in the sickbed for a few days now, and knew that tomorrow evening a ball would be held. He needed to prepare fast for that. He didn’t have appropriate clothing and couldn’t dance. Two things he had to remedy. After half an hour waiting, a group of servants came with big platters, full with the ordered meal. Davian smiled and dug in. He hadn’t enjoyed food this much, since after his first war. <BR><BR>Two hours, a lot of empty plates and a hot bath later, Davian was back in his room, looking through his inventory. He had a lot of leather pants, which were great for traveling, but were a bit too rough for a ball. Then there were a few cotton pants. Better, but still not good enough. Also his shirts lacked a certain style. So he went through the halls of the Hold, in search of the clothing shop. He quickly found it and entered the room. It was filled with all sorts of clothes, and Davian was awed by the collection. A friendly elf came towards him, and asked whether he needed something. “Yes, there’s a ball taking place tomorrow evening, and my clothes are not appropriate for such an occasion.”<BR><BR>“Well, that’s what this shop is for. Let me help you in your search.” The elf then showed him around, and advised him on color, material and size that would suit his size and stature. In the end he had a new outfit and well suited for a ball. A pair of black leather, elegant boots, grey woolen pants, with black twig-and-leaves motive from knees to bottom, a slender leather-braided belt, with a snakehead as buckle, a black cotton shirt and a dark-grey jack with silver, Celtic motives decorating the sleeves and a cloak made from the hide of a black panther to finish it. It was simple, but suited the Northern barbarian perfectly. He added his leather-braided headband and teeth necklace to the suit, and awed at his reflection. He changed back into his casual clothing to keep the suit unspoiled. He went back to his room, and folded the suit carefully and put it on his bed. <em>Now to search for an instructor to teach me dancing.</em> After asking directions he came across a small room, where a few people dancing. An old gnome was instructing them with a raised and annoyed voice. After a few minutes he noticed Davian. “Yes, may I help you?”<BR><BR>“I need some dancing lessons for the ball tomorrow evening.”<BR><BR>“Aren’t you a bit late? I can’t teach you everything in two days. You should’ve come earlier.”<BR><BR>“I’m sure, but I was kind of preoccupied. Fighting evil and such.”<BR><BR>The gnome grunted. “Portiaaaah!! Get over here. A human girl that had been in an other room appeared. “Yes, Yarn?”<BR><BR>“This man needs dancing lessons. Teach him in two days a few of the basic dances. Get to it.”<BR><BR>The girl looked at me and motioned Davian to follow her to the smaller room. It was beautifully decorated in shades of white and blue. “Okay, two days isn’t much, but I think I’ll be able to teach you enough to make for a good impression. I’m going to teach you a few basic, easy steps first.” And Davian quickly found that ‘easy’ was a <em>very</em> relative term. Where the girl moved fast, elegantly and natural, Davian felt like a scarecrow. And a slug scarecrow at that. They practiced till the late evening, and as Davian went back to his room, he felt his muscles aching. His body was used to the movements made in battle, but dancing was a complete different way of movement. His muscles were not used to it, and definitely not after lying in bed for days, suffering from heavy wounds and exhaustion. He fell on to his bed and within minutes was dreaming pleasant dreams. He got woken by a servant in the late morning. He had been ordered to clean his room. Davian nodded, then dressed and made his way to the kitchen. He say the waiter was near crying, when he saw Davian enter the hall. But Davian was not as hungry this time, so the waiter could order the food without being afraid of the cellars running empty. After a good meal and another good, hot bath Davian again made his way to the dancing hall, where Portia would be waiting for him. She welcomed him heartily and they proceeded to do a lot of dancing that afternoon. Tired, they decided to get some dinner together. Davian had not seen Arladion or Fionavar around the last few days and the few adventurers he did see around he didn’t have much to say to except a quick greeting. It is strange how you can fight alongside someone in battle, yet remain strangers from each other. During dinner he found that Portia came from the North as well, though not from the barbarian tribes. “So which of the Ten Towns do you come from?”<BR><BR>“I was born in Caer-Dineval. After working at my fathers tavern for years, I decided I wanted more and went with the earliest trading caravan to Bryn Shander and from there to Neverwinter. I worked at The Moonstone Mask at first, until I was offered a job as dancing instructor in the Hold. I happily accepted, even though I would work under Yarn. Not the most friendly staff-member, but a great dancer and taught me a lot of new dances. Even though I was a good dancer from early age. So where do you come from?”<BR><BR>“I am a member of the Gray Wolf tribe. We live under Raven Rock, which is just west of Caer-Dineval, at the roots of Kelvin’s Cairn. But I traveled to Easthaven, and joined a caravan there. A few days traveling brought me to Neverwinter. From there on, there has been a lot of traveling, fighting and escaping.”<BR><BR>“And now dancing as well.” She smiled at him. Davian smiled back, but reserved. Though she was a very nice girl, his heart was already given away. After dinner they went back to dancing, and practiced for another hour. Then she stopped. “Well, that’s all I can learn you. The rest will take hours you don’t have, In two hours the ball will start and I’m certain you’d like to take a bath and change your clothing, without hurry.”<BR><BR>“Correct. I want to thank you for the lessons. You’ve been a great teacher, and I may decide to take some more lessons later on. For now, this will have to do.” He smiled, and started running towards his room. The dancing techniques kept being repeated in his mind. He couldn’t wait to see Fiona’s face when he showed her he could dance. Surely no-one would expect a barbarian to be a dancing king? He grinned and started running even harder.
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Postby The,real,Maeglin » Sat Mar 06, 2004 2:53 pm

The talks had cheered him up a lot and he also tried his best to keep Tenar entertained, and seeing her smiles and occasional laughs gave him the feeling he did well enough in that. Even the will o wisp had stopped his fiercly burning and floating around, and kept sitting on Tenar’s shoulder like listening. It gave the warrior a glow in her eyes that somehow seemed to draw his eyes to hers, but when caught he flushed and turned his vision to Aerin again<BR><BR>But even at all good things came an end, and when everybody had left, it was time for them to go, during their talks he had heard rumors about a ball amongst the people who passed by, and he had to admit he was curious about it. Though, he was reluctant to leave Aerin Gend, it had been so long since he last saw him, and as it sounded he was a busy man in the service of Aribeth. He had no clue when he would see him again. <BR><BR>They just shared another story about their times as pirates and how they almost got caught, being so young and unexperienced…and above all drunk but then Aerin looked out of one of the windows in the dining hall, suddenly ending the conversation. “ My friend it had been great to see you again, and this is the first day in long I feel more hope and less sad, I thank you for that. And you brave Tenar, thanks for your wonderful company, but I have to take my leave now, lady Aribeth will be waiting for me. “ <BR><BR>Maeglin nodded and Aerin offered to walk with them to their rooms, as his was not to far from theirs.<BR><BR>“ Well I think it is time for us to go aswell, who knows maybe we find an invitation to the ball everyone is talking about aswell “ Tenar said with a smile. He noticed that the talk, even though it had been mainly him and Aerin had done her well too, she seemed to smile a lot and the will o wisp radiated being content somehow. So he agreed and together they walked to their rooms, continuing the stories a little. But he hoped that soon the time would come again he would learn more about Tenar and her past. He never was much of a talker and he felt that today in combination with the alcohol he had started to consume , ofcourse just for the sake of wetting his throat, he had done too much of it. <BR><BR>They were near his room when he saw suddenly someone comming out of it, apperently in a rush, when the boy saw them he halted and a big smile came on the young face. “Greetings madam , sir. I left you two an envelope with an invitation for the ball, so dont think please I was sneaking around in your rooms” . The boy hurried off before they even got a chance to reply. Maeglin looked at Tenar,want to see her reaction. Somehow the upcomming ball didnt excite her much and she looked troubled by the thought of it. <BR><BR>He didn’t wanted to press the matter just yet, but he was actually looking forward to the ball, the talk with his old friend, the good care of Tenar, the drinks and his mood all made him feel like it would be the right thing to do, and one thing he knew for sure, the Kyar would go with him. They had a reason to celebrate darn it, after all they been through. They seperated each to their room and just like the boy had told him there was an invitation on his bed for the ball. <BR>He smiled, knowing that it would be a hard mission to convince Tenar to go with him, but after he refreshed himself he went to her room with a big grin. <BR><BR>After she had let him in he saw at her face even more unwillingnes to go, so he asked her:” What is the matter Tenar?” You seem very hesitant to go, it looks like a tougher mission for you than fighting an army of orcs again. The Kyar didnt even smile, apperently lost in thoughts, and looking to her face, normally so serene but now covered with concerned wrinkles he knew that what she was thinking offwas far from good. <BR>After looking to her for a long time, staring with a questioning look finally the big words came out of it . “ I can’t dance, well… not dances known here atleast and I dont want to make a fool of myself you know”. The thief laughed loudly, taking her by the hand and letting her turn a silly pirouettte, as unwilling as she was she couldnt suppress a laugh. <BR><BR>“ You see you can? And I bet you will learn it quick, the other ladies of our company will make you aquinted with it in no time, and in my youth I wasn’t that bad of a dancer either” he added with a wink. “ So let’s head to Solivander and see what we can get ourselves to wear, because I got no bigger garderobe then what I am wearing now. Still not totally convinced but atleast smiling again Tenar followed him to Solivander.<BR><BR><BR>
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The,real,Maeglin
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