Never Winter Nights

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Postby Lady_Ivy » Sat May 03, 2003 8:35 pm

Jaheira on the floor of the chamber the High Priestess had offered. She let the minutes go by as she turned over the conversation in her mind. There was no doubt in her mind that she would go, Briseis would have been quite joyful to hear she was to partake on this journey. Though Jaheira herself could never understand it, her late master had found such things exciting. The day was growing late and as the sun shone low on the curtains, she rose for her cross-legged position and remembered the horse, waiting for her no doubt. <BR><BR>Pressing her memory, she found the Inn where she had left the sad stallion. He had been brushed down well, so Jaheira threw the stable boy a coin and took the horse to the Never Winter stables. After quickly explaining she was an applicant, she grabbed her things and went to find a warm bath. The woman, Belle, had willingly filled her a tub, slightly grudgingly at Jaheira less than kind tone. The dirt of the road eventually was cleaned off her skin and as she scrubbed her pale hair, Jaheira tried to puzzle out what the small thing of great price could be. She sighed as she stepped into the cold air, knowing she would have to wait until the next day. Unfortunately she had never been one for great patience, a quality that always seemed to be expected of sorcerers. <BR><BR>In her room, Jaheira returned to her spot on the floor and opened her mind to beyond her chamber. She could feel in the chambers beyond her's, the people sleeping or preparing themselves to do so. With a small crease in her forward she recognised the presence of the rude man, Hamel, moving about the Hold, probably on some final tasks and Belle as well. Though she searched, she could not find the High Priestesses presence in the hold and it confused her so that she had unconsciously lead her mind back to her body. <BR><BR>She found herself, what seemed unnecessarily, concerned. Jaheira wasn't sure if she liked Aribeth, though she did feel a touch of respect, she also felt envy. As far as her memory went, Jaheira had never envied anyone in her life, she pitied or hated most and that was usually as far as her emotions would go. It was harsh reminder that she was just a flawed as the rest of them. Suddenly, Jaheira's sense tingled and she felt the High Priestess return, out of nowhere. And she was not alone. There were others with her, presences she did not recognise. <BR><BR>Her mind weary, Jaheira left wonder for later and went to her bed. As she lay underneath the covers, she waved her hand at the last candle, which remained lit. It flickered once but besides that was not affected and Jaheira flushed. True, matters of the mind came to her more easily than those of the more physical, but not to be able snuff out a simple candle was simply embarrassing. Though she tried again, the candle mocked her, staying lit until she finally got up and blew it out.
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Postby drieske » Mon May 05, 2003 2:45 pm

After the form of Aribeth had disappeared, the two women looked at each other in the silvery moonlight, eyes big in worried wonder. “Seems like Aribeth can use the portal both ways to reach us Fiona”, the druid whispered. She absently stroked Nargot’s muzzle, that pressed closely against her. Fiona still stared at the key in her hands, all kinds of thoughts flashing through her mind. <i>What would be the consequenses of this act? Would she have to split up with Robyn? What if Buddy didn’t make it?</i> Sighing she decided there would be time enough to ponder on these things later. <BR><BR>“Here dear one, let me put it around your neck, it will be the safest there.” The druid took a spare string of leather, that she used to tie her hair with, out of her backpack and slipped it through the handle of the key. “That will make a pretty necklace,” she chuckled, “now we are sisters of the keys... you want a piece of the map too perhaps?”. Her silly gestures as if to tear out the map through her ears finally had the desired effect, and slowly the baffled look on the Bard’s face changed to her usual merry and sightly ironic expression. “We should be able to open a lot of doors when the quest is nearing its end,” Fiona winked, and then more gravely voiced her worries for Buddy. “I’m sure the Highpriestess will do all she can to save her,” Robyn comforted, “look what wonder she worked with you after you fell down the lighthouse!” She hugged her friend briefly and then turned towards the fire, where some coals were still glowing red. <BR><BR>Humming sofly Robyn boiled some water and soon they were sipping hot tea, made out of herbs and some dried fruit. The druid liked to try out teamixtures, and during the years had found some favourite compositions. The one they were drinking at present had an arousing effect with a sweet aftertaste. Some breadslices with cheese completed the early breakfast. Soon they had packed up their things and in the newborn light of dawn they headed back to the road. Nargot scanned the area, roaming through the thicket, and occasionally the women could see the big wolf jump up startled, when a rabbit fled his vicinity. Whenever he had acted this silly, Nargot looked at his mistress, to see if she would be amused, and the big smile that was on both Fiona’s and Robyn’s face was proof of that. <BR><BR>Before long the road stretched out before them, and once more their feet were taking them closer towards Beldaran. Fiona was setting a measured pace, while the Druid matched her long strides. All these weeks together had brought them very close, depending more and more on each other. Often one word was enough to understand what the other meant, so their silence was never stressed. But apart from that, they liked to share their thoughts about the ways of mankind, their beloved land, nature and songs, and ofcourse had long conversations about the plague. Still the origin of this sickness was wrapped up in mystery. <BR><BR>The hours passed by, when all of a sudden Fionavar stopped dead in her tracks, the action echood by Robyn. Both felt a faint tickling in the back of their necks, and a few seconds later the presence of a divine Epilendium presented itself a few yards in front of the two surprised women. Nargot sensed the uniqueness of the situation, and lay down on his belly, his ears pointed straight forward towards the almost sacred being. Robyn’s tongue seemed to be stuck to her mouth, and one look at the Druid’s face made it clear to Fionavar that it was up to her to react to the silent presence... <BR>
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Postby Morphobia » Mon May 05, 2003 10:07 pm

She was blissfully unconscious as they tended to her wounds. Her soul was lost in her imagination and memory. Events long past zipped through her mind, then halted. She found herself staring at five familiar faces; four were very vivid, but the other was just a faded memoty. The four were her parents, and twin brothers Shakkaran and Miankallah, but she could not make out the fifth person. She reached out longingly, wanting to embrace her family, but an unseen force restrained her. The harder she tried to get to them, the furthur they seemed to be. Then a voice floated through her head; she recognised it as Sernn's.<BR>'Buddy, Buddy, why do you sleep?'<BR>'I don't know...' she replied, unsure. What was this?<BR>'Arthus requires your aid, girl.'<BR>'Arthus?'<BR>'Have you forgotten why you're here, Buddy?'<BR>'To avenge you... That's all I want.'<BR>The shadowy figure shook its head. 'No, girl, you were made for bigger things than just vengence. I have seen the future, Buddy, but it is not my place to inform you of it. It is beautiful, Buddy, death isn't that terrible...'<BR>'Sernn...'<BR>'Recover and awaken, young one. You have a greater calling... You can do it, Buddy Ranger.'<BR>She felt like crying. Sernn had never called her by her full 'name' before. 'Why, Sernn, why? Why did you leave me when I needed you most?' There was a flash, and they were in the training room, after she had slaughtered the black men. She could see herself, holding Sernn's dead body, crying.<BR>'God works mysteriously, Buddy. Ask no more, there are others who wish to speak to you.'<BR>'Sernn?' The image of a lost friend faded. 'Sernn!' Another voice chimed in, but this time it was one she did not know.<BR><BR>'Ayrinkah Fallow.' She turned, hearing her real name for the first time after so long. The background had changed, and she found herself atop a small hill.<BR>There were four childern, and she recognised a younger 'her' playing with her brothers. But she did not know the fourth; in fact, she was waving at her. 'Ayrinkah!' she called. Her voice was resonant, like Sernn's, but she did not recognise her.<BR>'Who are you?'<BR>'Ayrinkah, it's me, Jannallel.' She was shocked. Her parents had spoken of Jannallel before; the child had died of a fever before she herself was born.<BR>'Jannallel?' She repeated slowly, clearly confused. The girl nodded.<BR>'Yes, Ayrinkah. The one you tried to replace.' She was upset. The spirit's eyes glittered with sadness, and she smiled slowly.<BR>'I never replaced you, Jannallel. You were special to Mother in your own right.'<BR>'No! You tried to make mommy forget me!'<BR>'I can never do that. She still cries for you, Jannallel. I only wanted to make her happy. Anyway, I'm not with Mother any more.'<BR>'Yeah, the perfect little girl ran away.' Jannallel's voice was eerie, sacarstic.<BR>'No.....' She tried to back away, holding out her hands as if to protect hereself. 'My new friends know me as Buddy, and I don't want to be Ayrinkah anymore! Mother chased me away! She cared only for you, Miankallah and Shakkaran! I had to go... Jannallel...'<BR>'Ayrinkah... I've been watching you. You are who you are. Changing your name cannot change your past. You are, and will remain, Ayrinkah Fallow. Nothing can change that. Go home to Mother, please, tell her I'm at a place better than this. She misses you, Ayrinkah. I can feel her sorrow.'<BR>'No...' she moaned.<BR>'It's time you told your friends the truth about who you are... You can't hide it from them forever...'<BR><BR>She turned and ran. She could not face her past, yet here came all the images and memories, flooding her mind, overwhelming her. Her real eyes popped open with a start, and she gasped, giving Belle, who was leaning over her, a shock of her life.<BR>'Ahh!'<BR>'Miss Buddy!' Belle looked dazed. Ayrinkah shook her head, glancing around wildly as she sat up.<BR>'Where am I? Is this Never Winter Hold? Where is Aribeth?' Belle seemed to be struck dumb. She could only nodmutely, and pointed down the hall. Ayrinkah started to get up, but as soon as she took three steps Belle found her voice.<BR>'You're not going anywhere, miss. You have not recovered,' she insisted.<BR>'But I have to see Aribeth... I have to tell her...' Ayrinkah protested weakly. Belle was not one for arguing with.<BR>'I have my orders, miss. Rest assured that I will inform Miss Aribeth that you request to see her.' Ayrinkah allowed herself to be led to the bed. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she fell into a dreamless sleep.
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Postby Aglanor » Wed May 07, 2003 6:43 am

Davian glanced around the arena. It was nothing like the battle against the orcs, but it had still been a slaughter. He wiped the blood off his sword, with the cloak of one of the fallen. He had no idea if it had been an ally or enemy in this battle and frankly he didn’t really care. He wouldn’t allow himself to get close to anyone here, because one day he’d have to fight them. He hoped they wouldn’t pit him against Arladion. That would be the day he would attack the guards and leave this arena, be it dead or alive. He looked around. Guards had entered the arena, to get everyone inside. He stood up and walked to the gate again. Arladion walked on his other side. “We survived the first round. I wonder how many will follow?”<BR><BR>“We’ll survive them all. There’s no way I’m going to die at the hands of one of these guys.”<BR><BR>“Remember that most say that as well.” Davian looked around to see Bhaluum walking behind them. “I said the same when I entered, but the day I will have to fight either of you, will be the day one of us dies. And I’m not sure which one.”<BR><BR>Davian grunted. He looked at Arladion. “Where are your swords?”<BR><BR>Arladion nodded to the two broken swords in the arena. Some soldier broke them.”<BR><BR>“Then take another weapon. You need one. You’re bound to find a sword or two on one of the fallen.” <BR><BR>Arladion looked around and found a quarterstaff. “This will do fine, I think.” He waved it around. It felt smooth and balanced. He looked at Davian who watched him with horror on is face. “What?”<BR><BR>“You’re going to fight with a stick??? How hard did you get hit on the head? You’ve lost your precious little mind it seems.”<BR>Arladion swung the quarterstaff, and swept Davian’s legs away from underneath him. Davian fell to the ground surprised. Arladion only smiled as he helped Davian get up again. “Okay, so you can tackle me with it. If I did that, you’d have no legs. If you try to block my sword, you’ll have to small quarterstaves. Are you getting my point?”<BR><BR>“Davian, this thing is made of the strongest wood, and reinforced with steel on the inside. You can’t break this. A punch to the face with this can break a skull. If I don’t like it, or if it’s not effective enough, I’ll find some swords. Till then, I’ll use this.”<BR><BR>“Let him use the staff, barbarian. There are many warriors who prefer blunt weapons above swords. It has not proven to be weaker than a sword. And some enemies fall easier to the staff than to the sword.”<BR><BR>Davian grunted again. Despite having no wounds or scratches, this wasn’t turning out to be his day. The elf walked in front of him. He had noticed the magic he had wielded. He was not big on magic, though sometimes it was not peoples’ fault. He had heard of sorcerers and bards, who just gained the ability of spellcasting. He couldn’t imagine how, but it was not something you could do anything about. Wizards however chose to study the arcane art and Davian had difficulty in believing they had friendly or good reasons for it. How can anyone study that much if not for the power they gained? He caught up with the elf and walked next to him. “I noticed you are quite well in spellcasting.”<BR><BR>“You noticed correct.”<BR><BR>“So how did you gain the ability? By birth or by study?”<BR><BR>“I’m a sorcerer if that’s what you mean.”<BR><BR>“That’s what I meant.”<BR><BR>“Is it okay with you?”<BR><BR>“It’s better than wizards, that’s for sure.”<BR><BR>“I’m inclined to agree with you.”<BR><BR>“That’s good. I’m just glad you were on our side today.”<BR><BR>“Likewise, barbarian.”<BR><BR>Davian grinned and walked along to the halls. There he found a mattress and laid down. The fight had been exhausting. But he was glad to have nothing more than some cramping muscles. His shield arm felt like it was made up of bone fragments now. But it would feel better after some sleep. He was glad he wasn’t among the ones outside. Dying was bad enough, but he’d preferably do it in a large, honorable battle. A minute later he was vast asleep. <BR><BR>Davian woke up again. He had dreamt of Fionavar of all the possible dreams. He realized he felt more for her than he had at first thought. Her smile was fresh in his memory and he couldn’t wait for the day they’d see each other again. He should talk to her about his feelings. He looked up. Arladion stood there, practicing his moves with the quarterstaff. He’d seen people use it, but blunt weapons had never appealed to him as a sword did. He had heard of enemies which were immune to slashing weapons, but he hadn’t met those yet. And he’d find a solution for that anyway. His shield was blunt if that was all he had. But a quarterstaff? It was mostly used as walking staff and if necessary it would be used as a weapon. Wizards tended to have them. But a warrior like Arladion? Davian shook his head. <i>Ah well, either I’m wrong or he is. But after the next battle we’ll see how it’ll work out.</i><BR><BR>He stood up and flexed his muscles a little. His shield arm felt as good as new. He looked at the door as it opened and two guards entered. “Next battle will be held in an hour. Davian and Arladion again. Wilaym and Gyorn. You can get food if you want, or just get ready for battle. Don’t be late.”<BR><BR>The guards turned around and left. Davian decided to get a meal. A guy walked up to him. “So you’re getting a meal before the fight, huh? That’s good. Makes it easier for me and Wilaym to take you down.” The guy grinned. Davian looked at him, shook his head, chuckled and went to get lunch. <i>The guy has no idea of barbaric traditions. He should know food makes you stronger. Can’t see why they don’t see that in these parts. I should ask Arladion about that.</i> After lunch he still had 15 minutes. He sat down and rested for awhile. Their opponents were training hard, with sweat running down their face. <i>Idiots. They’ll be tired when they enter the arena. Ah well, their choice.</i>.<BR><BR>The bell rang. Davian stood up and walked to the arena. Arladion did the same. He had been calmly practiced the quarterstaff. Davian had to admit being impressed at it, but it was still a fact Arladion had been better with the two swords. “Are you ready, cousin?”<BR><BR>“I think so. There’s little more I can do.”<BR><BR>“It shouldn’t be too hard.”<BR><BR>They walked underneath the archway and saw a panther there. “Davian why is there a panther in the arena?”<BR><BR>“I think they want some extra challenge. Don’t worry, just stay away from it.”<BR><BR>Progimo stood on his balcony as always. Gentlemen. Aside from each other we have this beautiful panther to fight the four of you. So have fun!”<BR><BR>Davian went to stand ready away from the panther as did Arladion and the opponents. The bell rang again and hell burst loose. Davian yelled and stormed forward to meet Gyorn. The swords clashed and Davian pushed Gyorn backwards. He looked at Arladion who was whirling his staff against the mace of Wilaym. Gyorn cam forward again and raised his greatsword. However impressive the greatsword looked the way Gyorn wielded it was not as well as Bhaluum had. It was not clumsy, but the pace lacked severely. Davian dodged the blow and brought his sword in. Despite having speed at his side, all his blows got blocked. He had been wrong to think of these guys as amateurs. Gyorn for one was good, despite lacking speed. Davian noticed the greatsword coming again and blocked with his shield. He raised his sword and moved backwards, then threw his sword against the greatsword, bringing it to the ground. He jumped forward and brought his sword up again. Gyorn moved to the right and flung his sword up to block the second blow of Davian. Davian was about to hit again, when he heard a thud. He looked towards the other fight, and saw Arladion on the ground. Blood covered Arladions clothes. Time slowed down, as Arladions fall took over Davians mind. Conscience slipped away, and only one thought was in his mind. <i>Revenge.</i> <BR><BR>The lights went out, and the world turned black.
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Postby rwhen » Wed May 07, 2003 1:38 pm

The key around her neck felt heavy and the leather that Robyn used to keep it safe and secure scratched. <i>What an awkward thing and these ladies have been carrying them around for weeks now. I sure hope that Buddy recovers soon, </i> thought the Bard. Her hand slipped down to her tunic from her neck and she fingered the outline of the wolf pin she wanted to gift to the Druid. There had not been time for it up to this point but now was as good a time as any. Precisely at that moment, Nargot lay on his belly with ears straight forward in the center of the path. Both of the ladies stood stock still and in wide eyed amazement as one of the Epilendia appeared just to the side of the narrow roadway before them.<BR><BR>Within the mind of the Bard and the Druid, the being began to speak. <i> Please forgive my intrusion, you will not know me, but I was the one to plant the image of the map into your mind, Lady Robyn. You have done exceedingly well to follow the correct path.</i> Both women had mouths open and pale faces as the sole Epilendium continued. <i> Would it be easier for you to converse with me if I projected my voice in such a way that you could hear me with your ears? </i> The being illuminating a bright and silvery white aura appeared to settle very close to the sandy path, but not quite.<BR><BR>It was obvious that both Robyn and Fionavar could not find the words, so after a slight delay, the Bard stepped forward with a slight bow. “Your holiness..er, your Grace..um, your divineness, “ stammered Fionavar, “first, how shall I address you? Do you <i> people </i> have names?”<BR><BR>To their minds came the immediate reply. <i>Names are for individuals, the Epilendia are a consortium of creative energies. We combine our élan to keep the continuous flow of the source of power you refer to as life streaming on this planet. This is accomplished….</i><BR><BR>“Whoa, back up the cart,” Fionavar said with a hand held forward in protestation. “I don’t know about Robyn here, but you lost me at consortium. If we are going to speak together and I WOULD prefer to hear with my ears, would it be alright to refer to you as Lendie? That is a female name, but really I am unsure as to your gender and well we have to call you something. I mean we can’t just call you thing, or it and I like Lendie, do you like Lendie, Robyn…” Fionavar began to feel nervous again and she tended to ramble when uncertain circumstances confronted her. The Druid placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and smiled. When Fionavar dared to take her gaze off the Epilendium and meet those of Robyn, she could read the mirth mixed in with the wonder in her eyes.<BR><BR>“I understand, Fionavar. Or may I call you, Fiona?” The Bard nodded as the Epilendium continued to speak to them in a fashion they could understand with their ears, which was a blessing to both ladies. “It is usual for beings such as yourselves to be comfortable when speaking to each other, I have noticed ones sitting or reclining. Please do so now.” Though it was not an order, Fionavar and Robyn dropped straight away to cross legged positions right in front of the holy being. “Yes, call me Lendie for now, though when we meet again, you will be sorely pressed to single me out from any of my kind present at that time. The reason I am with you this day is not an easy one to express. First, I wish to give you a sharing of knowledge. Would it be helpful to you if you knew more of what Beldaran is and why you travel there?” Again, simple nods from the attentive pupils. “I pass on this knowledge for a reciprocation. From the moment I touched the mind of Robyn I have spent no small amount of time as you understand it, contemplating the races of beings in Highest Earth. I have many questions. It is proper that I share first, what you would like to know, I will freely answer.”<BR><BR>When Lendie ceased speaking, again the Bard and Druid exchanged glances. The shocking and unexpected arrival of this personage was still overwhelming to their systems. However, Lendie was patient and finally Robyn posed the questions. Speaking a bit shyly and for the first time to the ears of the Bard, with uncertainty, she began. “Why Beldaran? Why is it hidden? Is there something there that will help the plague?” Fionavar smiled to the Druid as if to say, exactly what I would have asked, and both sat back to hear the explanation.<BR><BR>“Beldaran is located at the center of this world. It is the site for the well source of life energy. It is the very place of creation for all of Highest Earth or how it came into being. It is easy, even for a less complex mind such as yours, to understand the necessity for evasion. It is not however disguised as you might think it. The power emanating from the well source directs a holistic shield barrier around the outer walls. The appearance or lack there of is what causes the city as it were to be hidden from mortal eyes.” Fionavar blinked her eyes in astonishment, absorbing the words and hoping she understood. Not wanting to interrupt, she nodded her head at what she thought the appropriate moment in an attempt to show comprehension on her part.<BR><BR>“Within the walls of the city runs the river of life. Without the pure source of this energy, there would be no mortals, you would simply cease to exist. The Epilendia keep the sustaining waters abundant and potent through the talisman of the well source.” <BR><BR>Robyn stopped Lendie at that point to ask another question, “Who are the Epilendia and where do you come from?”<BR><BR>“You are not sufficient to comprehend the Epilendia. We are, we have always been and we shall ever be. That is all you need to know.” Both ladies contoured their mouths into the shape of an “O” that followed with small frowns for the obvious lack of intelligence that was required to have full understanding. This did not deter Lendie, who continued in the smooth voice that was neither male or female, like the Epilendia, it simply, was.<BR><BR>“The condition that currently lays upon your lands can only be vanquished when our pure liquids of creation are allowed to flow into the base streams from the mountains surrounding Beldaran. These underground flows reach every viable water source for all of Highest Earth. Once infused, the condition will cease to be. The well source holds the precious liquid and is surrounded by an interior fence within the city. The four sides of the enclosure face the directions of the lay of the land, north, east, south and west. There are complex locking mechanisms located on each side that only the keys which are held by the map bearers will open.” Lendie was silent then. <BR><BR>“Well, that makes more sense, “ Fionavar offered, “I think.” The Bard scratched her head and looked to Robyn before continuing. “That is why we go to Beldaran and why you have the key. I wondered what all that directional nonsense was about back at Never Winter. Seems that the cure to the plague is right there, all we need do is follow that path in your head and we are home free.” Fionavar spoke with an air of confidence that she did not really feel, her mother use to call that ‘laughing without the shaking belly’.<BR><BR>“I hope it will be that easy, Fiona,” said Robyn with a worried look on her face. Fionavar wanted to say some soothing words to reassure her friend that they would do this together no matter what, but Lendie spoke first.<BR><BR>“Have I shared well with you? Do you desire to question me further?” <BR><BR>“I wouldn’t know what to ask, with my less complex mind,” the Bard said dryly. <BR><BR>“Your level of sarcasm is not lost even on one such as myself, however it boots nothing to garner the ill will of my race. Are you now prepared to submit yourselves to the task of responding to my desired questions?”<BR><BR>Fionavar was pleased that even the lofty Epilendia could be moved to some outward display of emotion if properly provoked. She did not wish to endanger this quest, but the easily delivered words, which appeared to show mortals in a dim light, did not sit well with the Bard. It was difficult to determine how much time had passed, but both the Bard and the Druid were more than willing to shed some illumination of their own on this powerful being.<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby rwhen » Wed May 07, 2003 1:44 pm

DDP.... <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0>
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Postby rwhen » Wed May 07, 2003 1:47 pm

DDP.... <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0>
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Postby rwhen » Wed May 07, 2003 3:08 pm

TRYING TO GET A POST TO SHOW ON FRONT PAGE>> GRRRR
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Postby Exar_Kun » Wed May 07, 2003 10:20 pm

Arladion didn’t like the way Davian spoke of the quarterstaff as a weapon, perhaps because Davian didn’t know that he had been very adept at it in his training days. If it wasn’t so that he wanted to be like his big cousin, he would’ve found the choice for his weapon gift quite a bit harder. But eventually Arladion did choose for the two swords, and enjoyed the training from his cousin. The ranger was glad that he still had it in his fingers, so he could show Davian how well he could handle the staff.<BR><BR>Upon entering the arena, he was greatly surprised by the presence of the dangerous black panther, which showed clear signs of underfeeding. For now the animal kept at a distance, waiting for his preys to weaken eachother before going in for the kill.<BR>Arladion charged the enemy who carried a mace, who turned out to be quite an opponent. Arladion was quicker than him, but he swung his mace well enough to make him have to dodge many, and the times he got hit were not of a small number. The half-elf tried to keep up the moving, and turning around his opponent, hitting him in the side and the neck, keeping an ever watchful eye on roaring black creature that was walking in circles around the arena, searching for his prey. <BR><BR>That was Arladion’s weak point, for when he had to divide his attention, he didn’t see the mace coming at his side, crashing into his arm. He could hear the bone in his upper arm splinter, and a terrible pain surged through his body. Willaym kept striking his weapon, and it was not long before Arladion fell on the sandy ground, his bloody and bruised body making the sands whirl up against Willaym’s pants as he prepared for the deathstrike. <BR><BR>He raised his mace to make his slash the last Arladion would ever feel, but he hesitated. The half-elf felt he had trouble killing, and realized that this could also be one of his first fight. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any way for Arladion to exploit this, for his body felt almost numb and even his quarterstaff was too heavy to lift, let alone strike with it. But Davian sure had noticed this, and while Willaym held up his mace, Davian’s shield crashed on his chin, launching him backwards to the ground. Davian had raged, and straight after he had planted his sword in the belly of his still amazed enemy, he had run to his cousin’s aid and stopped the final blow. To Davian’s surprise, Willaym was quickly to his feet again, and launched a furious attack. Davian was glad, to the extent he could in his raging stage, that he had pinned his previous opponents to the ground for now; he would be quite busy with this one as it was.<BR><BR>In the meanwhile, the panther had seen his prey. It had gone like he had hoped; one of the men barely keeping eachother alive, and he could go in for the kill when the time was right. That time was now, when Arladion fell to the ground, unable to defend himself against any attack. The panther laid on his belly, his body pressed to the ground and his muscles tightening. He glanced around the arena, seeing no one paying attention to him, and he lunged forward to his future meal.<BR>Arladion heard the soft running feet of the panther and he looked around to find it. It was still at forty feet distance when he caught the black storm spearing towards him. With his last efforts, Arladion raised his right arm, and opened his hand to the panther. He bit on his lower lip as he gathered the strength to keep his arm up, and send out thoughts of affection, love and peace towards the panther. It didn’t have effect immediately, but when he got within fifteen feet distance, the panther slowed down. It kept on walking towards Arladion until he could feel its breath against his stretched out hand. Then the black creature pressed his cold, wet nose against Arladion’s hand, and the ranger let his hand rest on its head. The panther laid down beside him, his head on his paws. Arladion felt his pulse slow down again, and his body filled with happiness. He could not feel the pain so clearly, and he didn’t care for the pain any more: he had found his animal companion.<BR><BR>Finally, Davian was on the winning hand, and after a couple of strong, well placed strikes, he ran his sword through Willaym. Willaym only had a few seconds to be startled, as Davian made a full turn and sliced through his neck. The crowd went wild, what a show! But the barbarian had eyes for other dangers; the panther had his head on his cousin’s chest! He ran towards the creature, his sword stretched out to the panther and ready to attack. But he was stopped by Arladion’s shaking hand. <BR>“Stop… don’t attack. His name is Orth.”<BR>“His… his name is Orth?” Davian was confused. The last time he had seen this animal, it was a fierce, bloodthirsty creature, wanting nothing but flesh. And now it laid peacefully next to his bloody cousin, not even licking one drip of the fresh blood.<BR>“Yes, but I will explain later,” Arladion said as he grasped for breath again, “are they… both dead?” <BR>Davian glanced at Gyorn, seeing he didn’t survive the sword through his belly. He kneeled down next to his wounded cousin and laid his hand on his shoulder. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”<BR><BR>“Aaaaaaaaaand the victors of this match are…,” the big man on the balcony seemed to scuffle open a piece of paper and looked up at the crowd again, “Davian and Arladion!”<BR>A huge cheer came from the crowd, and as one voice they called out their names. Davian was surprised again as he noticed the panther following them, and walking with them to the exit. The cousins could still hear their names echo through the arena as the big doors closed behind them.
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Postby rwhen » Mon May 12, 2003 7:18 am

Belle softly knocked on the door of the High Priestess and called, "she is at the Portal, My Lady and waiting." Aribeth responded with a "thank you" and Belle withdrew as quietly as she had come.<BR><BR>It had taken Aribeth most of the night in meditation and then a searching to decide on which group to place Jaheira with. In the end it wasn't that difficult, the obvious choice was usually the right one. Finishing her tea and making certain she had a ring for the Sorceress, she wearily made her way down the long staircase to greet Jaheira. She reflected on the report of Belle on the way through the great hall and the treatment of her by the Sorceress. Aribeth blew through her nose a long sigh and shook her head. Just ahead Jaheira was waiting and from her energy, the High Priestess could tell already there was a fire in the Sorceress.<BR><BR>"The hour is bright at our meeting," Aribeth began formally.<BR><BR>"It should be bright, I have been waiting most of this hour," replied Jaheira cooly, but with more sarcasm than anger in her voice.<BR><BR>Aribeth made the immediate decision to deal with the sarcasm of the Sorceress the way she dealt with anyone who had no time for respect when faced with the High Priestess of Never Winter hold, she ignored her. "I have decided that you will go to Arladion and Davian, two of our quest members who are currently separated from their original group. I am in hopes that you three will make swift your feet to Beldaran, already the day is approaching for the arrival of all of this quest. The Portal will set you just outside the city of Easting, from there you must determine the exact location of the cousins. You will meet with several other members of this company at that City, the Bard, the Druid and the Paladin."<BR><BR>As she spoke, she had been guiding Jaheira towards the Portal until together, they stood within a footstep of passing through. Aribeth watched the face of Jaheira for confirmation that she had understood all that was relayed to her, however she received nothing but a stoney stare back. Handing her the ring and taking the time to explain the properties and how it was used to travel through the Portal either to a certain place or back to Never Winter hold, the High Priestess paused and the Sorceress took that opportunity to make a statement of her own.<BR><BR>"Why would I need a ring? I am fully capable of traversing time and distance on my own. I have not studied all my years to use a <i>trinket </i> when my darkest need is upon me." Jaheira held her head high with a slight look of satisfaction in her eyes.<BR><BR>"And will you travel that distance by yourself for healing at this hall when you are unconscious or maimed? Jaheira, you will need to learn to rely on your travel companions, but more importantly, they will need to learn to rely on you. You are not going to meet a group of untutored children. Each of the people on this quest are as skilled within their arts are you are in yours, no one is greater than another. The sooner you learn that, the easier it will be for you to find your way on this journey. Life is marching by, Jaheira and I suggest you get on with it."<BR><BR>With that statement, Aribeth gave the slightest nudge which sent Jaheira into the Portal and on her way to Easting.
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Postby Darklon » Wed May 14, 2003 7:38 pm

‘He’s one of the men from a gang around here. Sernn, that’s my dead friend, and I, killed their leader, because he was bullying the townsfolk.’ Her thoughts returned to the memory. ‘Here, I’ll give you some details about where we’re supposed to be going, then you go ahead without me. I’ll catch you up as soon as I can.’ Arthus stared at her quizzically. She rattled some points to Arthus, her eyes darting from face to familiar face.<BR><BR>‘In fact, I shouldn’t be with you, or they might bring you trouble.’ Without waiting for a reply from Arthus, the young girl dropped out of sight, mingling with the crowd as if she were one of them.<BR><BR>Those were the last memories that Arthus have after Buddy left him in some really weird circumstances ...<BR><BR>“ Gang leaders, then sudden disappearance and now Aribeth intervention made exactly no sense for Arthus .... “<BR><BR>He tried to catch to the wounded Buddy and use his powers to bring her back to life but he was to late a magic portal made by Aribeth had swallowed Buddy into it ... that was the last time he saw Buddy ... For long time he wondered what all of this meant ... Different thoughts crossed his mind as the days had passed ... but one thought didn’t leave him alone ... “ Why did I leave her alone ... why did I let her die ... “... as the days passed Arthus spent them walking in the wilderness trying to find the places Buddy described to him before she left ... <BR><BR>He crossed two villages that Buddy mentioned before she left ... although travel was light part of him missed the happy face of buddy traveling by his side ... even though eh didn’t really knew the girl well somehow he grew a bond of friendship with her.<BR><BR>Upon 5th day of his travel he reached a small village some of the buildings were burned down and the villagers were a little bit afraid of him when they first saw him. <BR><BR>“ don’t worry good people I come here in peace ... I only seek something to eat and a roof over my head so I can get some rest , I have a long travel ahead of me and any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated “<BR><BR>The town folks started to talk among themselves, after a while one of them said “ Let it be, we will give you house for one night , you can stay at Old Philip house right by the river ... “<BR><BR>The house was made of wood with the solid rock base ... tall tress growing around it gave it nice cold shadow .. The old man walked Arthus into the house ... it was well furnished old house , Leathers of the animals were spread on the walls and on the floors to serve as a carpet ... last brick of wood was burning in the fire place keeping the house well lighted and warm ..<BR><BR>The old man turned toward Arthus “ please sit down and rest, I see you are tired ... “ the man went to the kitchen and come back with the dish full of food “ here eat that, that will give you strength. So what brings you here to this god forsaken land ... there is no good in here only goblins and bandits at every corner .... traveling alone is rather dangerous not to call it stupid ... “<BR><BR>Arthus looked up on the old man “ I have my sword and faith to protect me ...and till recently I was traveling in the company of the young soul ...but she had disappeared by the reasons not totally known to me ... I will rather not speak of that matter if you excuse me “<BR><BR>The old man just nodded and went to sit in his big wooden chair “ I think you might be interested in this news then .... couple of days ago there was a group of adventures passing through here .... we had a big problem with the goblins and they had offered their help .... I hope that helps you “<BR><BR>Arthus almost choked on his soup hearing this news “ What .. how did they look like “ thousands of questions were crossing his mind at this moment “ where did they go “ <BR><BR>The old man laughed and replied “ There was four of them ... three ladies and one guy ...they had cleansed this land from goblins and head out two different ways couple of days ago ... if you travel fast you might actually catch them ... but first rest for one day and regain your strength it will come in handy while you chase after them ... “<BR><BR>After he meal Arthus went to his room the bed was already made for him and it took him little time to fall asleep <BR><BR>Next day as soon as the first sun showed up on the sky Arthus was already up on his feet all packed up and ready for travel ... He thanked the town folks for the hospitality and went on he had a long way ahead of him if he ever wanted to catch up the group ... <BR><BR>He traveled Night and day, only stopped to eat and take a quick rest ....he walked like that for three days and at the fourth day by sunset he spotted a smoke far away in the distance ... it was obviously coming from the fire place ... “ So maybe I did caught to them ? “ he thought as he walked toward the fire place ...<BR><BR>As he approached he didn’t saw nobody near the fire place, which seemed a little bit weird to him but he didn’t pay much attention to it until the bush behind him moved two hunters walked out from the bush and they were as much surprised as Arthus ...<BR><BR>“ I’m sorry for intrusion ... I’m looking for my friends and thought that they had camped in here, obviously I was mistaken ... One more time my sincere apologies “ with the last words he bowed slightly toward the shocked man ... <BR><BR>The taller guy was still shocked but the older one found his tongue faster <BR>“ Well I guess it won’t be nice to send you out on the road seeing that you traveled a lot and that the road wasn’t one of the easy ones ... You look tired so why don’t you join us for the night it will be safer for all of us and you could rest “<BR><BR>“ Thank you kind sire ... To be honest I’m a little bit lost .. I never been in those part of the realm .. and without my friend I don’t know how did I managed to get so far already...”<BR><BR>The man looked at each other and then back at Arthus “ Well we will travel to the city of Easting there we will sell the animal skins for good coin “<BR><BR>“ easting you say “ Arthus paused for a second as to try to remember what cities and crucial points Buddy mentioned to him before she left ... “ well I guess it won’t hurt me to tag along and travel to that city with you , if you don’t mind of course “ both of the man agreed and soon they were all eating and chatting about local troubles before they fell asleep. <BR><BR>Next day morning they had departed toward Easting as one of the hunters said it will take around two days to get there if no troubles will meet them on the road ...
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Darklon
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Postby Hollebourne » Thu May 15, 2003 3:24 am

One would have thought it was an easy task to follow a river’s flow, if you could tell your left hand from your right. Nevertheless the catkin willow that Holle leant on was the very same one he had rested under an hour ago. It would have been nice to dismiss this as a trick of the monotonous landscape, but he recognised the bare patch he had stripped of bark absentmindedly, if he couldn’t tell the spot by the hoofprints. <BR>Careless to conceal any tracks, since he didn’t think he was being followed, the unfortunate traveller was still trying to get out of the wild. Wisps of chimney-smoke on the horizon he had greeted with a triumphant cry that startled the horse and sent it trotting in the opposite direction. A few minutes’ delay, only, but the first sighting of smoke had been that morning- it was, he guessed, two or three hours past noon now and no closer to the town. And the recurring willow-tree was no good sign.<BR>The horse had started nibbling as soon as they’d stopped. Holle tugged at the rein spitefully, pulling the reluctant animal behind him. He hadn’t eaten since the previous night and the sight of the horse’s meal did not improve his mood.<BR>“I know what you’re about to say, don’t you think I don’t. Well, save your hay and oat redolent breath, my friend.” he said irritably. The horse complied and followed, meek and silent.<BR>“That’s right. Because you should know” Holle carried on, gesticulating wildly with his free hand “ you should know that I intend to reach that town before nightfall. While you seem to find innumerable virtues in this rotten verdure that surrounds us, I have more elaborate needs. A bed. A meal."<BR>The horse snorted.<BR>“ Laugh all you like, but if you were anything close to a civilised being you would recognise the superiority of a good meat dinner over <i>grass</i>.” As if it the word had been a command, the gelding stopped dead and bent its neck over a green patch, and it took several tugs of the rein and one foul curse to get it moving again. <BR><BR>In this rustic manner they dawdled on, Holle’s frustration growing to match the horse’s indifference. And despite the former’s best wishes, or perhaps by fault of the latter’s obstinacy, it was well past nightfall when they finally reached the town, and the gates were closed, and spirits low.<BR>“Don’t ya be cursin’ the poor beast like that, or ye’re a fool that don’t deserve its company” said a voice, with more amusement than scorn in it. It belonged to a tan-faced and robust woman, who was displaying her broad bosom and toothy grin out of a canvased cart. “T’aint no one’s fault but yer own, me dear, none but yer own. Just as same as it’s none but me old no-good useless lazeabout ‘usband’s fault that we’re danglin’ ‘ere outsides of the walls, when we could be one step ahead and earnin’ a good penny insides.” She raised her voice at that, directing it towards the dark of the caravan behind her, wherefrom came a disdainful grunt.<BR>The woman cackled and nodded towards Holle. “What’s that at yer saddle then. Music-maker?” <BR>He nodded. “Well, lad, I reckon if ya strum a tune for the guards they’ll gladly let the ladder down for ya. Night watchin’s a sleepy job...haha, no?” she laughed at his doubtful expression, and he shrugged his shoulders, grimacing. “I don’t play” he confided, taking in some of the traveller woman’s good humour. You couldn’t ever properly trust tinkers, but if anything, they wouldn’t do business with the authorities. “As a matter of fact I’d be very happy to get rid of it before walking inside.” <BR>The woman’s eyes brightened, but she said “ That won’t be until morn, sweetie, might be we’ll think of something. ‘Ere,” she unexpectedly lifted herself right out of the cart and hopped to the ground, more lightly than could have been expected of a woman her size, multiple skirts dancing around her ankles. “ ‘Ere, oughtn’t you unsaddle that animal of yours...ah, ‘e’s a good horse. Better than ya take ‘im for.” She frowned and started unbuckling the saddle-straps. “Yes, ‘e’s a good horse, and I ought to know as much. What do you call ‘im?”<BR>Holle stammered and did some quick thinking. It was an unfortunate chance that he happened to look for inspiration in the tinker’s cart, where his glance fell upon, a pair of bloomers hung out to dry, a pail, a pierced pan, and a string of garlic.<BR>“Garlic.” he answered, very seriously. The woman guffawed, and invited him for dinner.<BR><BR>They built a fire and exchanged names. She was a traveller, born and bred, and had in her turn give birth to a whole camp of tinkers- she would not be called anything but Marmie Anna, she said with a hearty laugh. The caravan belonged to her and her husband, but there would be another one down the road soon, with her eldest boy Petrel and his wife, and their two sons. They were a performing family. Jugglers, tight-rope walkers, acrobats, and she herself was a fire-eater. She demonstrated by picking a burning ember out of the fire, bare-fingered, and laughed at Holle’s involuntary gasp. <BR><BR>The other caravan’s lights were flickering far down the road when Marmie Anna started asking about Holle’s own story- he told her little, though more than he wanted, and she said nothing, but only nodded. He never said much about Alayna or Aribeth’s quest, explaining his presence in the region as ‘an uncanny twist of fate’, but he had a feeling the tinker perceived more. Still, her kind always gave that impression, and somehow he felt Anna could be trusted.<BR>When her son’s caravan was close enough to call out to, she got up to wake her husband. A lean man, even skinnier next to his large wife, he waddled out into the road, hunched and groggy, paying no attention to Holle at all, and yelled greetings at his son. It was quite hard to believe the man earned his bread by doing somersaults- he did not look fit enough to bend for a lost coin. <BR><BR>They spent the best part of the night talking and laughing around the campfire- Marmie Anna’s loud voice always leading the conversation, though every now and then her husband would try to claim the position. But his speech was so slurred, it was quite unintelligible, and Holle was glad the man still ignored him, for if a question had been asked he wouldn’t have known what to make of it. The rest of her family were friendly, however, and offered good advice about the town, Easting. It was not a city of great reputation, dirty and full of hungry paupers, but it had one particularity- an arena. The travellers counted on feeding off the richer folk that the fights attracted, perhaps on an inn or two. They wouldn’t stay long, they said. Holle didn’t know yet. It could be an interesting thing to see, a slave fight. <BR><BR>Petrel’s wife was singing a last, gentle ballad when the skies began to get lighter. Cockerels were crowing in the waking town, and farmer carts began coming up the road.<BR>Holle yawned impolitely and kicked earth over the ashes of the fire. Anna’s husband was hitching up the horses, and she came over to watch the saddling of the newly named ‘Garlic’, offering it a treat of sugar. To Holle she gave a motherly smile, and pointed to the harp-case.<BR>“I reckon you’ve not changed yer mind to keep the thing, have ya.” She asked. He opened the case for her, and she nodded apprehensively. “Me youngest will like that. Skilled with music, ‘e is, and would play the likes if he ‘ad an instrument. Now I can’t give ya too much for it, but you’ve an air about ya that tells me, this lad’ll do grand even if ya send him down the road bare naked. Haha!” she roared at her own joke and placed a purse of fair size in Holle’s hand.<BR>“I won’t tell ya to take care, as I see ya know very well ‘ow to do that. But I will tell ya this: there’s things a man can do, there’s things a man oughtn’t touch, and then there’s things a man has to do whether they please ‘im or not. We’ve all made promises in our lives that we can’t remember, me dear, but a change is no good unless ya hold on to it. Let go of too many ropes and ye’ll be left empty-handed.”<BR>As if to add some comfort to that, she flashed a smile, and patted him on the back before walking away to her caravan, leaving him to ponder her cryptic tinker speech uneasily. A fortune-telling you didn’t pay for didn’t bode well, jumbled as it was.<BR>Marmie Anna gave Holle a last wave, and her canvas-pulled cart jolted forward.<BR>The gates to Easting were open.
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Sat May 17, 2003 6:23 am

The bumping and jerking of the carriage was doing little for Alayna's comfort. Reclining more comfortably on the plush interior of the carriage she was in, the assassin asked Kythara in an offhanded manner, as if she did not care in the least where they were headed.<BR>"Well, where exactly are we heading to? I do think that this route will never bring us to Beldorian, will it?"<BR>"We're not going to Beldorian just about yet anyway, seeing that the men want to stop by a town to lose whatever pitiful savings they have managed to save."<BR>"You don't like this place?"<BR>"Well, no. The sports here are truly barbaric. There are men fighting each other in an arena, until one party dies. Even the swordplay one sees there is not quite as fantastic as one might have expected. It is, to be frank, a bunch of men hacking away at each other with whatever pathetic weapons they have."<BR>Alayna kept quiet then, already sensing that once they were inside the gates of Easting, she would be far less guarded than she was now. But come to think of it, there was, after all, no particular necessity to escape at the moment.<BR><BR>Yet the lone horseman whom she saw riding along the same route as the mercenary's entourage changed her mind. The clothes might have been a little more rumpled, the man perhaps more than a little haggard, but there could be no mistaking his identity. The curtains of the carriage might have been nearly fully drawn shut, but she had managed to move the curtains a little further apart to catch a close glimpse of his face, which confirmed her guess that it was Holle. Somehow, a curious whim of fate had thrown their paths together again, and Alayna was glad for it. She had a rough idea of where Holle could be found in a city like Easting, and her escape should not take too long to plan. Already it had begun forming in her head, and the assassin was more than ready to put it into action. Shrugging as if it did not really matter, she turned her attention back to Kythara. The young woman was staring out of the window into the streets of Easting, and Alayna had no difficulty picturing the disdain in her gaze.<BR><BR>The carriage rattled through the streets, and to the assassin's surprise, they moved into the part of town Alayna knew was the territory of thieves, murderers, and cutthroats. Not much different from Calimport anyway, and it would be far easier to find Holle here rather than to wander around the whole of Easting and end up lost in goodness-knew-where. Not a nice prospect, and especially not in a strange city. The entourage pulled up outside one of the place's many taverns, a place with the paint peeling and the cracked signboard swaying drunkenly in the slight breeze that brought with it the smell of unwashed bodies and cheap alcohol. The name had been rather faded, but she could make out the words: The Fox's Lair. Looking at the grimy windows and the ancient wood that made up the inn, it was not too difficult to understand why Kythara hated the place. Even by just looking at it, Alayna had already begun to dread the night she might have to spend in it.<BR><BR>Kythara exited the carriage, and motioned for Alayna to follow her. The assassin complied, knowing through experience that the first thing her guard would do would be to take a nice long bath. The idea of warm water was very tempting to her, but she pushed it away. Since Holle was here, her first job would be to find him. Clearly the mercenary trusted her well, for Alayna was allowed to carry her swords by her sides, which would only help in making her getaway twice as fast. The innkeeper, a man with more than a few teeth rotting, and horrid breath, leered at Kythara. The mercenary's next move shocked even Alayna, for before the assassin could blink, a blade quivered by his throat. The venom in her voice was dripping with danger, and her tone was cold and condescending.<BR>"If you ever do that again to me, you will regret that I did not slit your throat here and now."<BR>"How about your sweet friend then?"<BR>Now it was Alayna's turn to confront him, and no words needed to be spoken by the assassin. She fixed her gaze upon him, warning him with those level eyes that if he even dared to lay a finger on her, he would end up dead, and likely die a torturing death. Unable to hold her gaze for long, he turned away, immediately all defensive.<BR>"I meant no offence anyway."<BR><BR>Kythara's room was next to Alayna's, and there was something that vaguely resembled a bath in the back. Clearly both the mercenary and the assassin agreed on something, that neither of them would even go near the beds, nor the bath. Kythara excused herself first, locking Alayna's door from the outside, allowing the assassin a chance to observe her surroundings. The windows were likely big enough for her to squeeze through, and she doubted that she would be seriously injured from a two-story drop. The door would be far easier, but somehow Alayna knew that there would be difficulty escaping by that route. Throwing all caution to the winds, the assassin muttered a prayer to some god she had never believed in, and slid out of the window, rapiers and all.<BR><BR>Once out in the open streets, she knew that her outfit would stand out well, and slipped the scarf from her head, tying it around her shoulders in a shawl, before swiftly disappearing into the heart of the criminal part of Easting.<BR>
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Postby Morphobia » Tue May 20, 2003 1:03 am

Ayrinkah blinked. Sunlight streamed through the plain glass window, warming her face. Her eyes felt puffy from sleep, and she slowly tried to sit up. Just as she took a staggering step towards the doorway, the all-too-familiar face of Belle popped around the corner, almost startling Ayrinkah.<BR><BR>‘Miss Buddy!’ she said, amazed that the girl had made it out of bed. Ayrinkah raised her eyebrows. The attendant didn’t make any effort to help her until she took another wobbly step forward. Then the attendant launched herself at Ayrinkah, latching herself to her arm, and supporting her as she took even another step.<BR><BR>‘You shouldn’t be out of bed, miss,’ came the attendant’s reprimanding voice, and Ayrinkah felt herself being pulled back towards the room. She shook her head stubbornly, and, with a gasp, wrenched herself from Belle’s grasp. Turning to face the startled attendant, she asked,<BR><BR>‘Where is Aribeth?’ Belle gave Ayrinkah one of her ‘I-don’t-believe-it’ looks, then started up again.<BR><BR>‘Lady Aribeth is attending to someone now. If you would go and rest, I’ll make sure she’ll see you later.’ Ayrinkah shook her head. She badly wanted to get back out, to head on to Easting, to see Arthus, and make sure he was still all right. Knowing him he would probably have companions by now. Ayrinkah fingered the Star, which jingled lightly at the nape of her neck as she continued on her pain-filled journey to the door. Her head hurt, her mind swimming, her vision blurred. But she knew she had to get out there sooner or later. She tried to find her axe in the plainly decorated room, but it did not appear to be there.<BR><BR>‘I’m leaving,’ Ayrinkah said crisply. Leaning against the wall for support, she left the room to begin her search for Aribeth, with Belle staring at her back helplessly. Finally she found the Priestess in her chambers.<BR><BR>‘Lady Aribeth,’ Ayrinkah called. The Priestess’s smiling face greeted the girl.<BR>‘Why, Buddy, nice to see you up and about.’ Ayrinkah shook her head.<BR><BR>‘Not Buddy. Ayrinkah. Aryinkah Fallow.’ Aribeth nodded, seeming to understand. ‘I need to leave as soon as possible. My horse is still here, I hope, and my axe?’ Aribeth nodded again, looking thoughtful.<BR>‘You really should be resting.’ Ayrinkah waved her hand, dismissing the Priestess’s suggestion.<BR>‘I’ve heard enough of that from Belle, thanks. I just want to know if my axe’s with you. Then I’ll saddle my horse and go to Easting.’<BR>‘Worried about Arthus?’<BR>‘That’s not even the half of it.’<BR>‘Your horse is certainly still here. A nice little creature, if I may say so myself. Your axe.’ Aribeth handed the double-headed weapon to the girl. She waved it about experimentally, feeling it join with her hand. Hand and weapon were one, working in perfect harmony. Ayrinkah nodded approvingly.<BR><BR>‘I hope you will not prevent me from leaving,’ she said. Aribeth watched Ayrinkah silently, then shook her head.<BR>‘No, I will not. Ride safely, Ayrinkah. The key is safe with Fiona… It will be returned to your care as soon as possible.’ The girl only nodded, then left.<BR><BR>That afternoon, with one final glance at Never Winter, Ayrinkah left the town, riding hard for Easting.<BR>
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Postby The,real,Maeglin » Wed May 21, 2003 2:09 pm

Maeglin felt a bit sad to be so soon departed of Robyn and Fionavar again, it seemed this quest was not intended to stay long in each other's company. He wondered if he and Tenar would stay long with each other, if it was up to him they would, but he didn't knew what was in her mind, Aribeths or what the future hold for them.<BR><BR>The villagers didn't like it either that two of their saviours departed so soon, but their happines soon filled the hearts of Tenar and Maeglin aswell, they feasted all day and the thief noticed it was good to be among friendly people, Tenar stayed with him the evening, talking with the villagers and accepting all kind of questions and compliments. It made him smile to see her get the attention, she surely wasn't used to be in the middle of the attention and also the Will o-wisp with his buzzing noise, funny faces got a lot of it. The villagers didn’t forget him but he prefered to be in the background, he this time managed to decline Tenar’s offer for a dance and smiled when she accepted a dance of one of the villagers. With the Will o-wips around her head, the glow of the fires in the middle of the town and her face red of the dancing made her really a sight. Time passed quickly though and too soon in his mind they had to find a place to sleep , <BR><BR>He walked over to Tenar and asked her if she had any idea, his answer came swift, she was already talking with Leyvan about it. The woman and her got along really well and had offered them a place to stay for the night. She again hinted to them sharing the same room, he was glad she hadn’t see him blush.The Naran accepted it with a big smile and followed Levyan to her house. They both got seperated rooms, small but decent, a very appealing bed was standing there and he couldnt wait to lie down there and give his exhausted body some rest. But first they made some arrangements, he wanted to depart early, and according to the map Tenar had in her head they should follow the nearby river to come to their place of destination. <BR><BR>The townsmen had agreed to help them, more than willing after todays events and had offered to give them a small canoe and enough food and water to last a few days. Gratefully they had accepted it and asked if it could all be ready before they left early in the morning. The townspeople agreed and would make sure everything would be prepared. Gratefully Tenar and him had thanked them and said goodnight to everyone. Maeglin’s head felt heavy and seeing Tenar leaning against the door of her bedroom told him enough. He gave her a small squeeze on her shoulder and wished her a goodnight. The bed was as good as it looked to him, and after he had undressed himself he was soon dreaming about a lot of things he didnt remember the next day. All he knew was that he was extremely thirsty and he blamed the Ale of the town for it. <BR><BR>Gladly he wasn’t a person who kept a sore head of such parties and after refreshing himself and eating some of the bread Levyan had placed before his room with some milk he felt ready to go. According too the empty plate at Tenar’s door she already had eaten and he took his gear and went downstairs to look for her. No one was there but he heard some noise at the outside. Stepping outside and looking around he noticed that the Naran already was placing their stuff in the boat but from what he could seee she looked troubled. Levyan put the last sack of water in the canoe and turned around, leaving a big sigh. “Well you sure took your sweet time young men, letting the ladies do the work huh? “A wink after her words told him the old woman was kidding with him, but he couldnt help to feel a little ashamed, he had slept wonderful! “Everything is ready for you two, it only seems to me that your friend isn’t so eager to go on the water, but i am sure she will have courage enough to go, you two seemed to already have gone through a lot.” <BR><BR>The woman walked over to Tenar and gave her a big hug and apperently whispered some words in her ear because she started to laugh. Than she came over to him and gave him the same friendly threatment, but with him she departed with some good meant words “You take good care of her you hear me, just like any of her kind she isnt used to water, living in the desert all her live”And the reason why she has too is important enough to make her do it but she will need you on your trip a lot, She is a brave woman but this water she can’t fight with her staff, only in her head , help her with that and you two will make it”. Maeglin embraced the woman and nodded. He was glad she told him, atleast that explained the Naran’s worried face and the willo wisp quiet behaviour. The creature sat still on her shoulder and looked as frigthened as her owner.<BR><BR>He slowly pushed the canoe into the water and gave Tenar a hand, it took her several moments to accept it and when she did she smiled appreciative, but he felt her hand shaken in his but she did make her step into thecanoe, and carefully another. It was good he thought, that the canoe was tied up savely and didnt shake that much, he had sailed many times with them and knew there advantages and disadvantages, and one of them was that if it shaked, it shaked bad. When she entered the canoe she quickly sat herself down, pressing tightly her quarterstaf against her, like keeping it for balance. He loosened the ropes attached to the canoe and threw them on the shore, with his staff he pushed himself of it and they went off, waving to Levyan and making her promise to thank the rest of the townsfolk. With a final wave they sailed off going on their way to the place Tenar had described in her head.<BR><BR>The sun started to set and it was already a good few hours in the midday when they had sailed till the Thief noticed that the stream became fiercer and that he wasn’t the only one who found that out. The Naran hadn’t said much during the sailing,and only had spoken a few soothing words agains her willo wisp, and a few replies to his questions. Many times she had thrown scared glances at the water and her hands were grasping the sides of the canoe more fierce. <BR>
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Postby Amarie » Fri May 23, 2003 6:42 pm

Tenar almost wished she hadn't told Maeglin that there was a small town along the river only a few leagues southeast of their destination. So, instead of taking the long route to that city, the last they would come across in their journey, they deemed it quicker, better and safer to take a canoe and sail down the river. She looked back towards the village as she finally settled into the small craft. The villagers seemed to have enjoyed the night, reveling in their victory over the goblins, forgetting for a moment that many of their people had suffered from the Plague. Tenar thought that was good, at least. Constant sorrows were difficult to bear.<BR><BR>The trip downriver was relatively calm at first. Still, Tenar was nervous, keeping her eye on the back of Maeglin's head in front of her. His presence and steadiness was comforting. Soon, however, the currents grew fiercer. The thief handed her a paddle to help him keep some stability and direction to their craft. He yelled out directions over the rushing water. The Naran muttered to herself softly, going through every possible swear word she knew in her tongue. She was terrified yet she kept paddling. Maeglin was intent on making it through the rapids and not running aground on some of the potruding rocks. The will o'wisp was shrieking, heightening her panic. <BR><BR>"We're almost out of it, Tenar." Maeglin smiled at her reassuringly. She forced a bleak smile in return. Her insides were turned inside out and her heart was pounding fast. <BR><BR><i>"Don't be foolish, Tenar! Come! The water's great! Those waves won't hurt you!" Danen had called out to her, waving his slender arms at her. He was a western Naran, born and raised along the seashore, thus he was used to the gentleness and ferocity of the sea. She wished she could say that she complied because she had mustered up enough courage to do so. In truth, she went only because she wanted to impress him.</i><BR><BR>"Disaster," she mumbled. A strong jolt sent her reeling, forcing her paddle to slip out of her grasp. Instinctively, she lunged for it but instead, reached out too far and lost her balance. The last thing she remembered doing was screaming Maeglin's name before she hit the water. <BR><BR>It wasn't cold. That, however, was not something she could dwell on. She fought to keep herself on the surface, thrashing her arms and legs around wildly. Swimming was not a skill most Narranin learned. For what need would they have of it in the desert? They treaded shallow water in the few springs and oases they had but to swim with the current was another thing. She could barely feel where her wisp was, but she knew it was nearby, petrified for her. She was tiring already when she saw Maeglin dive into the water. He reached her in a few strokes and placed his arm tight around her waist, pulling her to shore since the canoe had drifted downstream. <BR><BR>She was shaking when he finally let her sit on the riverbank. Maeglin kneeled in front of her with her wisp buzzing beside him, his eyes looking her over. "Are you hurt?" <BR><BR>Tenar shook her head. "The canoe?"<BR><BR>"Don't worry about it," smiled Maeglin. He pointed downstream. "See the bend? Currents ease up soon, and I'm certain the canoe will slowly drift to shore. But we must hurry or it might continue drifting along." He took her hand and pulled her to her feet. They followed the river, running as quickly as they could. True enough, the canoe was bobbing slowly against the sandy shore. They pulled it out of the water then checked their belongings to make sure everything was intact. <BR><BR>"Might be a good idea to camp here, don't you think?" He winked at her. She smiled slowly, still reeling from her river encounter. Maeglin sensed this, and reached out to touch her wet hair. "Not your best look yet, but it works." <BR><BR>Tenar chuckled softly, touching his head in return. "You look like a drowned rat."<BR><BR>"I beg your pardon." The thief feigned shock. "This drowned rat just saved your life."<BR><BR>"I know." The Naran smiled and brushed his lips softly with hers, leaning close to him. When she pulled away, his eyes were looking at her with honest surprise this time around. His face was a little flushed as he murmured, "Do all Narannin women show their appreciation this way?"<BR><BR>"Maybe." She replied. A small smile was still on her face, looking at her companion. He was still strange to her, but she enjoyed his company, and he always seemed to truly care for her. He didn't treat her as one would a temporary companion, neither was he only affording her the respect due a warrior but that of a woman as well. <BR><BR>He slowly turned towards the cluster of trees, his face still reddening. "We should get out of these wet clothes."<BR>
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Postby Darklon » Mon May 26, 2003 1:29 pm

Traveling in the company of the hunters was a new experience for Arthus they taught him some basics about herbs and tracking . The second day of travel they had noticed an unusual sight, on the side of the road they noticed a caravan some of the wagons were burned, some of them were turned upside down ... dry blood was visible on the ground but the weirdest part was that there was no bodies, no footprints around not even the signs of the fight or struggling were visible ... The hunters started to look around for any guides as to whom or what did this but found nothing ... Arthus was trying to find any clues using his magic senses but couldn’t detect any evil alignments near ...<BR>Without finding any clues as to whom or what did it they decided to move on and inform local guards about that once they reach easting as it was obviously something they should look into ... <BR><BR>By the next day night the lights of Easting were visible on the horizon .. the hunters decided to take a rest before they travel any further. They found a really nice spot by the river and decided to camp there .<BR><BR>“ So sire I was wondering what brings a Paladin of the White dragon to those sides of the realms .. “ the hunter paused for a second seeing that Arthus was observing him really closely now “ I saw couple of your order once when I was in Never Winter Hold ... and people talk about your order highly especially in those sides when your patron defeated the dragon as the tale goes “ <BR><BR>Arthus smiled at the man “ Indeed I’m a paladin of the Order of White Dragon, what brings me here is my to keep as it’s a secret I had sworn to lady Aribeth of which I shouldn’t speak “ <BR><BR>The two man looked at each other a little bit puzzled “you mean the lady of Never winter, people say she has the cure for the plague but don’t want to share it “<BR><BR>Arthus eyes become sharp as newly crafted sword “ that is not true if she would have the cure she would share it with people, obviously she don’t have one yet as we would know about it “<BR><BR>The man nodded seeing that Arthus will not tolerate them talking about the highest lady of Never Winter in such a manner <BR><BR>“ Ok then Sir Arthus you look tired why don’t you get some sleep while we take the guard”<BR><BR>“ let it be, just wake me up when my duty comes “ said that Arthus lay himself on the ground near campfire and stared at the stars and started to think about what happen to Buddy as he slowly fall asleep. <BR><BR>.... he was standing in the well lighted room it was some kind of an old church or so ... the altar was covered in blood ... it was dark very dark he could barely see the tip of his sword... all of the sudden a dark cloaked figure appeared in front of him ... <BR><BR>“ Come here Arthusssss Come and join my minions refuse and you shall die ... “ hundreds of laughs from all directions followed this sentence ... “ join us join us join us join us “ was the only thing he could hear in his mind ... all of the sudden the whole room become very bright as if somebody light hundreds of candles in it ... Buddy was standing in front of him in the white robe with gold emblems on it he couldn’t read the language that they were written as that was some really old dialect of elvish ... “ Arthus don’t fear me “ the cold ghostly voice said “ Don’t you recognize me it’s me Buddy your friend ... your companion ... come closer don’t be scared “ Arthus took couple of steps forward and extended his hand as to reach for something but the vision of Buddy disappeared there was nothing in front of him just darkness al over him surrounding him .... wrapping it’s dark claws all <BR>around him ...trying to swallow him into something ... something that he had felt before long long time ago .... he couldn’t remember what was that but he sensed it wasn’t good... he took out his sword “ and woke up with the gentle push on his shoulder <BR><BR>“ Sir Arthus it’s your time to stand the guard “ said one of the hunters and went to wash his face before sleep <BR><BR>Arthus sat by the fire place and started to think about the dream he had ... it was the weirdest dream he had so far and he thought what could be the meaning of it ... <BR><BR>Next day morning they all ate a nice breakfast and headed toward Easting it was still around day of traveling ahead of them .<BR><BR>The sun was up, the weather was nice , cold wind sweeping the land from time to time gave the nice feeling on their foreheads as they walked toward the city ... the road turned from grassy and muddy to more dusty and rocky as they approached the city. <BR><BR>They had reached easting by night and the city gates were already closed so they decided to camp in front of the city and wait till new day for the gates to open.
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Postby drieske » Fri May 30, 2003 2:23 pm

The epilendium seemed to have trouble forming its question, and that was so unlike the former impression it had given, that the two women looked at each other, Fiona raising her eyebrow just slightly. When the words did come out, it startled them though...<BR><BR>“The Epilendia are in touch with the world’s energy and nature, we exist within the world, and the world exists through us. We have to maintain a precious balance, and to be able to do that, we need to be in harmony with each other. Within the human race I can sense a turmoil of emotions, an unstable mixture, and sometimes even hostile feelings. These are very hard for us to understand... we are all here together on this earth, we exist as one, working together to achieve the same goal. Why can’t humans control these urges better?”<BR><BR>Robyn stared at the divine being and tried to assemble her thoughts. “Uhm”, she stammered, looking at the Bard for help, but Fiona was struggling with her words too. “Feelings just come into life Lendie, sometimes welcomed, at other times unwanted, and some can be suppressed, but when they are too strong, then only selfcontrol can keep them in check. And if a person can’t handle them, then excesses happen... like anger, and even hate, possibly resulting in murder, or on a larger scale in war. But on the other hand these emotions can be good too, like joy and love.” The druid’s voice trailed away as she realised she was trying to give words to things that had to be felt, in stead of talked about. <BR><BR>The Epilendium was silent for a moment and then asked “The concept of death, I can not understand the fear you have for passing away... we Epilendia are all part of an energy stream, no single individuals, we don’t cease to exist, we just return to the stream and get reborn. Why does death scare you that much? Don’t you want to become a part of the whole again?”. After thinking that over carefully Robyn said “Death is scary because at that point you have to leave everything behind that you have built up during your life. It just seems to disappear, family, friends, loved ones, we don’t want to part with them, and although we believe we return to our goddess, it’s very hard to keep that faith truly in our hearts.”<BR><BR>“I will ask one more question, and then let you continue on your path,” Lendie said. “What is the use of emotions? Wouldn’t it be better to just BE in stead of having to struggle all the time? Blocking the way your mind works, influencing your judgement?”. Fiona then smiled up at the shimmering form and said in a soft voice: “Life would seem empty without feelings, feeling joy, sharing, without love and friendship our lives just wouldn’t be the same Lendie, and I’d rather deal with anger and hate, than to miss friendship, loving and being loved... and one day, I hope you will truly understand in what way emotions can enrichen your life, being divine or not.” A wink accompanied her words, and both ladies grinned at each other. <BR><BR>Maybe it was a trick of the light, but the Epilendium actually seemed to smile at these last words, and after a moment bowed its head slightly as if to thank them. Sensing the encounter was about to end, Fiona scrambled to her feet and pulled Robyn up. “Remember what I told you about Beldaran, the well, and the grave importance of the keys, and keep safe,” they heard Lendie say in their heads, and then the divine being faded, leaving them with a loss for words. Nargot, that had been laying quietly, trotted over to the Bard and Druid, circled them once and then lead the way onwards, looking back at them as if to say “You two-footers coming or what?”.<BR>
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Postby The_Fool » Fri May 30, 2003 7:54 pm

The sky was leaking reluctantly into salmon and purple as the lone traveller wandered slowly down the road, leading a black gelding. Steam puffed soundlessly from them both; white as it dissipated into the dawn. Two ribbons of green and white hung limp in the still air, beads of dew collecting on their silken surface, and the guitar neck they were tied to. Façade raised his face to the sky, frowning slightly into the blue as another pearly cloud slipped from his lips. <BR>"Plauge of this blasted damp," he muttered, halting the gelding and turning to the saddlebags. He tugged his sleeve deftly over his hand, daubing the dew beads from the neck of the instrument. Snorting, the gelding sidestepped, following the slight pressure of the reigns though he knew full well he should stand still. "Oh Lymeric stand up!" Façade scolded, giving the leather reigns a sharp tug of reprimand. Lymeric reluctantly stood still, bending his neck to watch his master clear the rest of the instrument of moisture. Tightening the straps that held the guitar in place the Fool moved on, Lymeric plodding after him; rhythmically blowing his steamed breath against his master's travel-stained cloak. <BR>The sun climbed higher, watery and pale in a cloudless sky. It promised to be a warm day after the chill night. Façade dwadled along the path, humming softly to himself.<BR>"Hmmm hmmmm da deeee......." The Fool gave a little hop skip, smiling to himself, ".....dada daa dada deeeeeee." His topaz earings shivered, the gems sparking. "The rain it rains....and the road may wind." His voice was soft, hushed in the morning air, a small murmering of self to no one in particular. The dull thud of Lymeric's hoofs on the packed dirt left an uneven tempo to the tuneful lilt. <BR><BR>The sky had lightened completely as the Fool rounded the bend to come upon Easting's gates, tall and domineering against the blue of the sky. A slight wind had sprung up and Façade's green and white ribbons fluttered uncertainly in its teasing hands. At the sight of the Fool the stationed guard gave a small guffaw, spraying his breakfast of bread and cheese.<BR>"Hoi, Fool! Aren't you supposed to <i>ride</i> your horse?" He gave a toothy grin of rough amusement.<BR>Façade smiled placidly, halting beside him. "Sometimes, for fear of going astray; tis better to wait for sound footing; and trust to thine own two feet."<BR>The guard's face dropped and his brow wrinkled as he puzzled over the Fool's words. Unable to twist any meaning from them he scowled. "Why must you folk always talk in riddles!?!"<BR>Façade shrugged and pulled gently at Lymeric's reigns, urging the gelding forward once more.<BR>"Mayhap yer mother dropped you on yer head heh?" the guard cackled, turning back to his bread and cheese, triumphant in his own simple way. "Bloody clowns." <BR>"More like your mother dropped you on yours," Façade muttered darkly as he made his way into the city. Despite the early hour there were already enough people about to make Lymeric fidgity. Façade laboured on, trying to lead the horse forward whilst constantly endeavoring to stop him skipping sideways or pulling back. Hawkers' trade shouts were ringing, chiming out their breakfast specials to all who would listen. A girl carrying a chicken in a wire cage bustled past, the fowl squawking and beating its frail wings against the bars. Lymeric shied away, rolling his eyes at the bird as he tried to sit back on his haunches. Glossy fur shone over the horse's toned hindquaters and several people shirked away from the snorting animal, eyeing it wearily. <BR>"Oh fer Eru's sake Lymeric," Façade snapped, jerking the reigns so that the bit jangled unpleasantly in the horse's mouth. "Stand <i>up</i> and walk on!" Lymeric skipped to one side, tossing his head once more before prancing after the Fool, knees high. "And stop jig jogging you blasted gelding! Putting on such a despicable show. People will think you've never been in a city before." Lymeric ignored him. "Hoi!" Façade warned, stopping dead and turning on the horse. He flapped the reigns. "I'm warning you....."<BR>The black gelding admitted defeat, falling in behind his master with some reluctance. Façade shook his head in wonder, clicking his tongue. "You'd never even know you had a shoe loose idiot horse." He said the words with parental affection as he had long since learned the animal's tricks and they no longer irked him.<BR>A battered wooden sign above them creaked in a short gust, sending the green and white ribbons into a flapping frenzy as they took on the resemblance of two dragons fighting for survival. 'Fortune and Glory' were written in red and gold upon the wood, and the windows near the kitchen were fogged with condensation, hinting at the heat and energy within. Smiling Façade walked round the back, intent on nabbing a stableboy before heading to one of the tables to break his fast. Perhaps gain a room. Maybe even have a bath. The thought of warm water on his skin made the Fool grin like an idiot. He hadn't had a proper bath since he'd left his last employer's holdings. He began to whistle cheerfully, neglecting to scold Lymeric when he shied at the Inn's tabby cat. Life was getting better.
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Postby Hollebourne » Mon Jun 02, 2003 4:14 am

<BR>Easting was, even in the quiet morning mists, as wretched a town as the tinkers had described it. It was yet the outer ring of houses that Holle was walking through, and apparently the watch of the marshals was limited to the proximity of the street leading from the gate to the more properly said centre, where official buildings stood. Two, three alleys away from the main, and one met with evidence of the nature of Easting night life, most of that evidence lying sprawled across the cobblestones. Five alleys away from the main, there were no cobblestones, only gutter-stink mud- six alleys away was not a place Holle chose to visit.<BR>Anna had mentioned several crucial points, spread out more or less evenly around the town- inns, squares, halls and offices. The travellers had ridden to the far side of Easting, and it was a clear and normal thing that their way and Holle’s had no reasons to merge. But the Arena was not far from the gate they rode through. And Holle wanted to see the Arena.<BR><BR>He wanted to see bed and bath first, however, and remained in the outer circle, at the frontier between mud and cobble, where there would be a tavern to rest and consider all the options in.<BR>The chosen house was “Fortune and Glory”, a name with a lucky ring to it, despite the crude carving of the sign. It might have represented a knight, or a cockerel, possibly an ox and cart. <BR>A doubtful inkeeper greeted him inside.<BR>"All I can offer you is a double to be shared, if you’re not particular?”<BR>Holle was too tired to be particular, or even to give more than a sleepy smile to the girl that showed him upstairs. The room was less than the price promised (double for a double, despite the other boarder) and the bath not ready for an hour at least, as the unimpressed maid informed him. Faced with such eventuality, Holle decided there would be time for toiletries later, and that kicking off his boots sufficed as preparation for bed- on this blessed contraption he dropped, buried himself under the covers to shut out morning’s light and birdsong, and promptly fell asleep.
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Postby The_Fool » Mon Jun 02, 2003 4:18 am

Façade stretched out in the warm water, as blissful as a cat. After the damp and cold temperatures of the night before he was enjoying this more than he had thought he would. Steam rose in milky tendrils from the bath water, flattening his hair and beading on his forehead. As he often did when he was content the Fool broke quietly into song, his voice rising to a brilliant cresecendo as he plunged further into the impromptu ditty.<BR>"<i>The secret of contentment</i><BR><i>'Tis not a flowery bed;</i><BR><i>Nor is it clothes of finery</i><BR><i>Or gold and silver on the head.</i><BR><i>It's black-blue damsons, yellow plums</i><BR><i>Picked from a roadside tree.</i><BR><i>What makes them so much better is</i><BR><i>The fact that they were free!</i><BR><i>A straw stuffed bed, away from damp,</i><BR><i>Away from leaks and lice;</i><BR><i>No threadbare blankets on the sheets,</i><BR><i>All serve to make it nice!</i><BR><i>But the secret of contentment,</i><BR><i>As well these things all be;</i><BR><i>All come to naught if placed beside</i><BR><i>A great warm bath for me!</i>"<BR>He grinned joyfully, listening indifferently to the sounds of the nearby kitchen. The smell of baking bread reached his nose and the Fool dined deeply on the heavenly scent. Breakfast was definitely next. Unclipping his blonde hair from its clasp he shook it free; slipping into the warm water like a seal; complete submergence beneath the opaque steam and soap-clouded water.<BR><BR>Hair still damp, though stomach suitably full of the inn's porridge and bread, (how the serving maid had stared when he'd informed her he hardly ever ate meat, especially when breakfast was concerned), Façade made his way up the creaking stairs to his room. The innkeeper had informed him he would now have another boarder, and Façade found himself wondering whether or not he'd be the prying type. Upon reaching the door the Fool knocked once for courtesies sake. No shouted answer came back so Façade quietly opened the door. The room appeared empty, though the lump of bed clothes on the second bed could have been a person. It seemed unlikely however as not a single speck of human countenance could be viewed, so great was the stirred and rucked nature of the blankets. The Fool padded over to his guitar, lent gently against the wall and took it up, content to have its weight in his hands. Smoothing out the blankets of his own bed, which had been slept in by nothing bigger than the inn's striped cat; Façade eased himself onto the flat surface. He settled into a cross-legged position, balancing the instrument upon his legs. He gave an experimental scale, testing the voice and tune. The damp had left it a little sour, but it was something easily remedied. Façade's long fingers began to search the strings, perfecting each musical outcry. He played another scale, then plucked out the beginning chords to a well known song.<BR>"<i>There was an old man lived out in the wood</i><BR><i>His trade was a-cutting of Broom, green Broom;</i><BR><i>He had but one son without thrift, without good,</i><BR><i>Who lay on his bed till 'twas noon, bright noon.</i>"<BR>Façade stopped to correct a string's pitch when, to his shock, the mountain of blankets spoke.<BR>"Entertainment," came the muffled curse, "ceases to be entertainment when forced upon someone who would rather sleep. I would rather sleep. Shut yer trap."<BR>Façade raised an eyebrow at the heap. "Fewer and fewer people appreciate the simple pleasures these days. If the ignorance of the masses ever reaches the highborns, I'll be out of work."<BR>"Wouldn't that be a shame," spat the mound.<BR>The Fool smirked and chimed out boisterously, "<i>up in the morning's no good for me,</i><BR><i>Up in the morning early;</i><BR><i>Not till the sun is high in the sky,</i><BR><i>Or else I am rough, gruff and surly.</i>"<BR>An audible moan came from beneath the blankets and they shifted slowly; the ominous bulk of a crashing wave. "This is unbelievable!" came the cantankerous growl and the blankets rolled and bucked as Façade's roommate struggled to gain his freedom; the heated tirade continued from somewhere in their depths. "One man I knew - " he cursed loudly as the sheets caught about his head. "One man I knew only that was as irritating and inconsiderate a roommate as you sir, and, "he paused to unravel a stray pillow-case, "and if I may be so frank, the epithet of FOOL was never better attributed!"<BR>He emerged, ruffled with fists clenched; but the anger on his face immediately gave way to a mix of surprise and dismay to which Façade's countenance was a mirror. The Fool's hand froze in mid-air as he stared open-mouthed at the bear brought forth from hibernation.<BR>The man's face turned down into that well-remembered scowl as he observed the Fool. "Good morning Façade," he capitulated, grimacing dubiously.<BR>"Hollebourne," Façade replied, ice in his voice. "What an indelicate surprise."
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Postby rwhen » Mon Jun 02, 2003 7:37 am

While it was intriguing to have spoken with the Epilendium, Fionavar was glad that she and Robyn were back on the quest again. Her mind turned over the information that was given about the path they were on. The eventual final location of Beldarian and what the keys meant. The only question that was overlooked, from the mind of the Bard, was "why did woman have to carry the keys?". Fionavar was walking a bit behind Robyn and as she studied her back, the Bard grew in appreciation for her friend. The way in which she had handled the questions of Lendie was enlightening to herself as well. There was more to the Druid than most people saw and that thought pulled Fionavar up sharply.<BR><BR>"Robyn, lets stop for a break." The Druid glanced back to see that Fionavar had already halted and was digging in her carrisak for some foodstuffs. Smiling at a chance for the two friends to share some time in idle talk, Robyn sat down with Nargot resting right beside her. Fionavar took out some dried meat, a half loaf of crusty bread and a few pieces of slightly bruised fruit. Tearing a chunk from the loaf, she passed it to Robyn as she thought of the best way to speak to her friend.<BR><BR>"You know, Robyn, that was some piece of work the way you dealt with Lendie back there. I am really impressed with the care you took to explain the difficult concepts of emotion, to one that does not have emotion. It was like explaining the color blue to a person without sight. I found myself getting aggitated for you, but you handled it perfectly."<BR><BR>Robyn's face blushed slightly as she ducked her head at the compliments. "Fionavar, I know that you being a Bard would have been the better choice for the replying, but I am pleased that you did not think me the fool. Do you really think that Lendie wanted this information out of simple curiosity?"<BR><BR>"Who knows the mind of this sort of being? I sure don't. In all my years at the Harper Hall, nothing was ever written or sung to explain their place in Highest Earth. So, it is a complete mystery to me." Clearing her throat and repacking the supplies, Fionavar fumbled around in the pocket of her tunic and pulled out the wolf cloak clasp. "I was going to gift this to you after we left the goblin cave, Robyn, but wanted a chance to be alone for a bit, then we were at that town and now the meeting with Lendie. I found it in that cave and inquired if it belonged to anyone and was assured that it must have been plundered from afar." Holding out the pin to the Druid, Robyn's eyes got round and large at the beauty of the craftsmanship.<BR><BR>"Oh, Fiona, this is a rare gift indeed. I am grateful beyond words, you didn't have to do that," said Robyn with tears misting in her eyes.<BR><BR>"I know that I didn't have to, I wanted to. When I saw it there, it reminded me of you and the compulsion to pick it up was strong. Don't you think it looks like your green eyed friend there?" Fionavar was trying to ease the giving into a light hearted banter. "Don't worry, Robyn, next time we plunder a goblin cave, I shall expect a grand gift." She smiled broadly to show Robyn, who was shaking her head in serious agreement to that last statement, that she was jesting and expected nothing, but wanted to show friendship and appreciation in the giving of the gift.<BR><BR>Robyn noticed the humor in the eyes of her friend and leaned over to give her an embrace and then a pinch. "Help me place it at my neck area, I can't see." The pair stood up and Fionavar carefully attached the pin to Robyn's cloak, her tongue sticking out of her mouth while her intense attention was on the task at hand. <BR><BR>"There!", smiled Fionavar as she gave a final pat to the broach. "Let's get moving again and you can tell me where we are."<BR><BR>Robyn and the Bard tracked for almost two hours along the predestined path, until it was close to sundown. The Druid came to a halt when the road forked and closed her mind to external input. Her eyes took on the sheen of inward concentration for a brief moment, while Fionavar waited patiently, having been through this routine many times now with the map bearer. "There is a city to the left of us, if we follow that fork," she pointed to the left, "it is called Easting. Do we wish to go there?"<BR><BR>The Bard thought for a moment and made a decision she hoped was favorable to Robyn. "I think not, lets move on up the path some, away from this intersection and find a place to sleep for the night. We have been off of our quest for a while, we don't want to show up to Beldarian after the party has started."<BR><BR>"Party? Is that what you call this meeting in at the Hidden city? A party?" Both ladies began to laugh and headed further down the path to find a place for the night.<BR><BR>
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Postby rwhen » Mon Jun 02, 2003 7:53 am

Aribeth stood at the portal in the Never Winter hold and breathed a deep sigh. Stepping through, she stopped herself from falling foward by catching the shoulder of the Bard.<BR><BR>Robyn and Fionavar had just found a place for the night by a small creek, somewhere on the outskirts of a town called Easting and were totally taken aback by the appearance of the High Priestess.<BR><BR>"Forgive my intrusion once again, Fiona, but it appears our lady friend the Ranger has recovered and taken a path towards the city that lies close to you. I will need the key and I thank you for the safe keeping."<BR><BR>Fionavar, took the key from around her neck and at once felt lighter than she had since Robyn had placed it there. With a bow, the handed the key to Aribeth.<BR><BR>As usual, the High Priestess was not to stay long. She disappeared with these words in a rainbow mist, "Robyn, nice broach." Aribeth made a direct transition to the intersection a few leagues from where the Bard and the Druid were camping for the night with just a moment to spare as a horse carrying Ayrinkah skidded to a stop beside her.<BR><BR>"Aribeth," said the Ranger in a surprised voice. "I am not going back to Never Winter. I am fit for riding, so I am fit for the quest." The High Priestess raised her hand to stop the protestations of Ayrinkah.<BR><BR>"I thought you might want this," she held out the key to the Ranger with a smirk on her face, which was unusual for the High Priestess.<BR><BR>"Ah, the key, yes I will need that won't I," the Ranger finished with a slightly embarrassed smile. "Do you have any other news for me? Have you word from Arthus?"<BR><BR>"He is awaiting your arrival in the city of Easting." With a nod of her head and no thank you to the High Priestess, Ayrinkah spurred the steed in the right direction and soon was lost to sight down the path. <BR><BR>Aribeth was tired. Two translations through the Portal and she now must return. She considered the ring on her center finger and nothing but the birds and squirrels saw the multi-colored shimmering effect that trailed the departure of the High Priestess.<BR><BR>
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Postby Lady_Ivy » Wed Jun 04, 2003 8:59 pm

Jaheira had been taken off guard by the High Priestess' little nudge and had almost been lead to believe the woman was more than happy to be rid of her. She frowned to herself until she came to the startling realization that she had arrived safety just outside of Easting. She grasped her staff and headed toward the sounds of people and carts and onto the road with lead to the city. All around there were signs that she had not only landed herself in a bustling city but an enormous city. With a sigh, Jaheira accepted that her task of finding these people was now much more difficult than she had imaged. <BR><BR>As she stepped in with the crowd also making their way to Easting, Jaheira pulled the cowl of her wool cloak over her head and reflected on the words Aribeth had given her before aiding her through the portal. Still she would have as little attachment to these people as possible, she planned to settled back down in the Galadh Circle when she was through with this. Jaheira had taken especial notice of the Druid who had been mentioned. Aribeth had given her a small description of all of those in the group and she had been pleased to find it was not an elderly man, as druids usually came. In her experience those always tended to be more senile than wise. <BR><BR>As she entered Eastling, Jaheira almost wished she still had that old horse to help part the crowd a little. She bought an apple from one of the less crowded fruit stands and was breaking her fast since noon the day before when a hulking man grabbed her bag and tore off into the mob of people. She yelled at him but when no one took any notice, Jaheira had no choice but to go after him. He was tall, tall enough to stand out even among the swarm, and he slowed down, likely thinking a skinny woman like Jaheira would not have to gut to chase him.<BR><BR>The man turned down into the alley, carrying her bag that contained all her money and the little possessions she had brought with her. When she had silently caught up to him, Jaheira found herself embarrassing uncertain what to do. Tightening her handle on her staff, she pushed him in the small of his back with all the force she could muster. He fell and nimbly she leaped down to grabbed her bag when he seized her arm. Another man appeared from the shadows and wrapped his arm around her waist when she slipped from the first man's grasp.<BR><BR>As she concentrated on levitating the tall one as well on smashing her fist to the others face, Jaheira was in her distraction unaware of the third man who look in shock at his friend kicking his legs in the air. But just as she sensed the third's presence behind her was too late, for he had already raised and swung the wooden plank in his hand.<BR><BR>When Jaheira next opened her eyes, there was a blurry face looking down on her. With a stifled noise in her throat, she pushed the person aside and would have ran were it not for the throbbing hand rush, which forced her to stumble sideways against the nearest wall. To her surprise, she found she was no longer in the alley but in a ragged little room with a small tattered man. <BR><BR>"Where am I?" she demanded of him when the head rush had passed, "Why am I here?"<BR><BR>"No need to be taking such a tone with me lass," he said, scratching the grey stubble on his chin "I likely just save yer life but what can ya expect from women these days."<BR><BR><BR>Jaheira repeated the questions impatiently. The old man gave a half shrug "Fer one of them sorcerer folk, ya are mighty hasty. Ya, I know about you, I saw what ya did to the big brute back there. That'd be why I brought ya here. I'm Roth, this is me home and I'd like to ask ya a favor."<BR><BR>"I have no time for wishes of immortality, old man. I owe you nothing except maybe a lump on the head to match my own for bringing me here against my will."<BR><BR>"Hmmph" growled Roth "Don't speak too quick lass. I could have left ya in the alley, let some drunkard find ya and let the worse happen. Now I yer help, you being a witch-"<BR><BR>"Sorceress"<BR><BR>"Hmmph. Listen girl, my wife is ill, nobody can seem to do anything fer her. You'll take a look and see at Cally, she's sleeping in that room to the left. Don't argue with my girly! I saved yer life, ya owe me this much!."<BR><BR>"Fine." Jaheira sighed and went to look.<BR><BR>As Roth had said there was an old woman, hair white and falling out, Jaheira stood over her for a moment but even though the woman's eyes were wide open and staring, she seemed unable to register the sorceress' presence. Jaheira could almost see the cloud of death around the wrinkled body. Silently, Roth leaned on the doorway and watched with a frown creasing his brow. The woman moaned and shifted weakly. <BR><BR>"Your wife's condition is beyond me, I can lessen her pain but nothing else."<BR><BR>In the doorway the old man nodded and was grateful.<BR><BR>Minutes later, Jaheira sat on the dirty floor on of Roth's house, drinking tea and telling him of the people she was looking for. He had been curious to why a woman, even a sorceress, would be traveling by herself and hadn't been completely satisfied with her incomplete answer. She mentioned the cousins Davian and Arladion but didn't much further than their names when a thoughtful look passed Roth's face.<BR><BR>"Hmmph, I swear them do be familiar to me. What's their work?"<BR><BR>"Travelers like myself, I suppose."<BR><BR>"Not gladiators?"<BR><BR>"Gladiators! No, that would be... warriors perhaps..." Jaheira sneered at the very thought of Gladiators, a disgusting sport, if it could be called so. "One is a half elf, young but with white hair. The other is human, muscular I believe, black haired."<BR><BR>"Well Lass, you've just described two gladiator I was just watching. Indeed the silver headed one does stand out, I dinna think they could be any others. How many young males do ya see with white hair these days?" Roth laughed then quickly sobered "Yer boys are in trouble, I hope lass that you can get to em before they get killed."<BR><BR>"Take me to them."<BR><BR>"Now? What can you do lass? It'd likely take more than yer bit of witchcraft."<BR><BR>"The sooner we get there the better, I'll find a way. Don't worry, I... owe you enough already" Jaheira could not take the bitter tone from her voice "I won't ask for your help beyond showing where they fight."<BR><BR>After a little more encouragement and threatening, Roth grudgingly showed her the way and left her to her work with a word of caution. Jaheira had been exploring the numerous entrances when two soldiers came to block her way. She asked where the entrance lead to.<BR><BR>"If you're lost, I'd suggest you go find your husband to set you straight." One derided her with a laugh.<BR><BR>Trying to keep a unperturbed expression, Jaheira summoned her most commanding voice and announced herself and her occupation as a healer. The two guards exchanged a glance and motioned from her to follow. She was pleasantly surprised, Jaheira had expected there would be need for more persuasion. They took her down a long corridor and she grimaced at an odd smell in the air. Her leaders stopped sudden out side a room and she could hear a loud angry man yelling.<BR><BR>"How could you let this happen? How did you fools let me get hold of a knife?" Peeking around the guards shoulders Jaheira could see a well dressed man, richly decorated with jewels. He was looking at a wounded man on a stone slab, spitting on him as he confronted three other guards would gave muffled excuses. "Do you even realize what your careless behavior might cause?! What did you do with the gladiator?"<BR><BR>"Westley here stuck his sword through the filty pig after he jumped at him." said one of the black clad soldiers "He's still at the cells, Progimo."<BR><BR>The man, Progimo as Jaheira assumed, cursed under his breath then caught sight of her. He demanded to know why her had been allowed in and pushing aside the guards, Jaheira introduced herself as am experienced healer who was willing to help for a good price.<BR><BR>"We will talk of the price later" he said impatiently "Let's see what you can do."<BR><BR>Jaheira leaned over the wounded guard, Westley, and check his pulse the wound. It was deep but hadn't hit any organs. All the human anatomy Briseis had taught came back to her as she cleaned the wound, insisting there was less chance of mistake if you knew what you were healing. Healing the wound took little energy and done quickly and cleanly. She put the man to sleep and looked up at Progimo, whose anger had subsided somewhat.<BR><BR>He nodded and next they took her to the cells. She stiffened and didn't dare to let herself hope the cousins might be there, disappointement wasn't something she felt capable of dealing with. As it turned they had been to late, Jaheira kneeled over the body and shut the gladiators blank eyes. She glanced over at the gladiators in the cells and they stared straight back. Her heart leaped to her throat when she caught a glimpse of silver hair.<BR><BR>When Progimo handed her a few coins, Jaheira fenged disgust "Is this all? I should have stayed with Aribeth," she said loudly, hoping the men in the cells could hear her as Progimo put a hand on her shoulder a guilded her away, "I could have at least earned enough to break fast every one and then!"<BR><BR>"Perhaps I could offer you more if you would take a more permanent position here. I would feed and shelter a good healer such as yourself." Jaheira tried not to glance at Progimo's hand as he talked to her.<BR><BR>"With some coin on the side, this does not sound a bad arrangement"
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Postby Aglanor » Fri Jun 06, 2003 12:24 pm

Davian helped Arladion inside and helped him to lie down on his mattress. He sat down on his, and listened. The crowd was still going wild and calling their names. Davian grinned. Despite two dead bodies to his sword and a wounded cousin and friend, he could feel the thrill, the adrenaline pump through him. <i>I’m made for this stuff…</i> Bhaluum walked over to him, and sat down. “You have much strength in you, young warrior. You’re starting to enjoy the arena, are you not?”<BR><BR>“In a sense. It’s not that I like the slavery or the killing of humanoids. Don’t get me wrong, blood and death don’t turn me on. However, I was born in the cold wilderness. You fight or you die. Even my grandfather would take on two soldiers of these lands and kick them to the ground. He’s 78 years old. I was born with battle in my blood, and I’ve been trained to use a sword. For me it’s not a weapon or a way to scare people. It’s a way of life.”<BR><BR>Ah”, Bhaluums eyes illuminated, “<i>Bushido</i>, the ancient code of honor. I heard they still use the oath of bushido in the distant lands of Kara-Tur. I don’t know if it’s the same principles you vow to, but it’s the same nonetheless. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. You will keep your honor in battle, and protect your lord in live and death, correct?”<BR><BR>“Well, no lords where I come from. Not the ones you mean. We have clan leaders, but they are warriors themselves, who will throw themselves in battle every single chance they get. Hard to protect a man like that. But the rest is correct.” He looked at the door, which had opened again. A spokesman came through and announced the next match. “Davian against Grolian. One hour.” Davian scowled. “That’ll be my third battle in a row. Do they want me dead?”<BR><BR>“They didn’t tell you then. If you’re still healthy you fight again. Five times in a row is the maximum. But then again, no one has stayed uninjured for that long. I myself have done four battles in a row. At the fourth I got wounded, but still won. I couldn’t fight for a week though.” Davian scowled again. He looked around and found a dwarf looking at him, wary and sad. Davian nodded at him and put his fist to his chest, as a greet of honor. The dwarf returned the greeting and started praying. “Why couldn’t it be another jerk? I’d have less problems killing them.”<BR><BR>“Good luck, Davian.” Bhaluum stood up and walked to Arladion to help him a bit. Davian stood up, and started flexing his muscles. He was feeling sore, but he needed to stay fit. He didn’t want to get hurt, but on the other hand that would give him another battle. It was a lot as it is. An hour went by, and Davian walked to the gate with the dwarf. “I know you will beat me”, the dwarf said. “I’ve watched you, and you are better than I am. Know that I have forgiven you already. There’s nothing you can do.” Davian watched at the calmness of the dwarf and felt ashamed that his heart was pounding. Not of being nervous or scared, but anxious and thrilled. He couldn’t stop it. As he walked into the arena, into the light, the words entered his mind. <i>This is what I was born for…</i> The battle didn’t last very long. The dwarf was indeed not as good as Davian. A decent fighter, but nothing more. It took a quarter of an hour to defeat the dwarf. As he lay on the ground bleeding from his wounds, Davian stood over him, and looked at Progimo. He had no desire to kill the dwarf, but he already knew Progimo’s decision. A thumb went down. Davian looked at the dwarf. “I’m truly sorry.”<BR><BR>“I have already forgiven you.”<BR><BR>Davian ended it with a clean stab into the heart. He noticed he had lost the thrill of battle, even though the crowd was going wild. The calm, friendly attitude of the dwarf made it less easy for him, than an arrogant and annoying peasant. He walked out of the arena with just a scratch on his face. He knew he had another fight to go, so flexed his muscles quickly, and laid down on his mattress. He was quickly asleep, if it would only be for an hour. He woke up to find Bhaluum shaking him. “The announcer is coming.” And indeed, the gate opened to admit the man again. “Davian will fight again, and this time against Bhaluum. One hour!” Bhaluum looked at Davian, and Davian looked back. “This is it then.”<BR><BR>“For one of us, yes. I wish you good luck Davian.”<BR><BR>“Same to you, Bhaluum. Do not think I’ll try less hard.”<BR><BR>“I don’t want you to. If I’m going to die at your hands, I want to know you did your best and did not try to spare me. They want a fight, let’s give them one to remember.”<BR><BR>Davian looked at the big man go, and was filled with sadness. The thrill of battle would most probably come once he had entered the arena, but this battle would grieve him. He looked at Arladion, who was awake and looking at him with sad eyes. “So you have to kill him then?” <BR><BR>“Well, I have to try. Whether I succeed is yet the question. He’s a good warrior.”<BR><BR>“We have to get out before I have to fight you, Dav. I wouldn’t be able to fight you.”<BR><BR>“We’ll be gone by then. I can’t stand this for more than a few days, before I’ll break out, or die trying.” An hour went by in silence, and then the bell rang. Davian stood up. Hope to see you soon, cous.”<BR><BR>“You’ll be back, Dav. I know so.” Davian smiled and walked away. He walked to the gate, and entered it for the fourth time. He looked up at Progimo. The man was grinning. Davian grinned back, and pointed at him. He whispered to no one who could hear “You’re next”. Progimo didn’t stop grinning. Davian took his place and waited for Bhaluum, who entered with a great axe in his hands. Davian took his sword out. The bell rang again, and they speed forward. Sword clashed with axe. Axe clashed with shield. Davian spun to the right, and brought his sword to Bhaluums side. Bhaluum lowered his axe to catch the blade, and then moved it up, and swung his axe clockwise to meet Davian stomach. On and on they went, till suddenly the axe scraped along Davians cheek. Davian screamed in pain, and quickly jumped backward. Bhaluum did the same. Davian looked up at Bhaluum. Sadness stood in the mans eyes, as well as determination. Davian felt his mind slipping though. His rage was coming up again, like a beast in his subconscious, wild from the blood. He gave in to the rage, and roared. Bhaluum looked surprised and then did the same. Davian felt a twinge of surprise at the revelation, before his mind went blank. He ran to his opponent, tripling his speed, and Bhaluum did the same. Their weapons clanged against each other, sparks flying. The battle had just gotten hot. Davian felt the axe cutting his arms, legs and side, but he didn’t care. He sword had torn Bhaluums chain shirt, knees and face, but Bhaluum was holding up just fine. Then Davians sword slipped through Bhaluums belly, who screamed in pain. He fell backwards and dropped his great axe. Davian looked at him fall, and the beast returned. His sword trembled in his hands and he was exhausted. Bhaluum lay on the ground, moaning in pain. He had lost hold of his rage as well. Davian stood over him. “Finish it.” Davian looked up to Progimo who was still grinning. The thumb went down. Davian looked back at Bhaluum. “You have no idea how this makes me feel.” Bhaluum smiled, despite everything. “I might.” With a swift stroke at the throat, Davian finished it, and then collapsed himself. He was carried back inside by guards, who heard him mutter “Progimo, you’re next, swine. I’m going to skewer you and skin you alive.”<BR><BR>When he was laid down, he saw Arladion bow over him, and a woman kneeling next to him, touching him with glowing hands and a cold touch to them. It felt cold on his chest and left him out of breath for a few seconds. She softly tried to calm him, saying "It'll all be fine in a few minutes." For some reason she reminded him of Fionavar. He whispered the name and fell asleep.
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Postby Exar_Kun » Tue Jun 10, 2003 3:42 pm

<i>Aribeth! Now where did that come from? Who said that?</i> In all his pain Arladion rolled over, and caught a last glimpse of the cloaked woman. Perhaps she was a spy, and she could be responsible for their capture! He would try to find out when she would come back again. But for now, he concentrated on resting so he could heal. He did not intend to stay here long to wait for Davian to get killed sooner or later. And when the name crossed his mind, his thoughts went out to him, worrying on how he would manage against the great Bhaluum. <BR> <BR>The lock clicked, and the door opened with a shriek. In the opening stood a tall pale woman, covered in a woolen cloak, with no expression on her face. Her walking staff made an echoing tick on the stone floor as everyone in the room had fallen into silence. Sitting with his back against the wall, Arladion glanced up at the woman. There was a silence between them, and both didn’t know if to speak first. Then the woman, who was only slightly older than him, introduced herself to be a healer for Progimo, sent to get him up to his feet so he’d be able to fight again. He gave her the benefit of the doubt and nodded, but still not discarded his suspicions about her. The ranger stretched out on his bed and she kneeled next to him. Not knowing what to expect, he stared at the ceiling until he felt his aching bones get cold and the pain fading away. When he looked down, her hands were glowing, and he face showed the utmost concentration in what she was doing. <BR>The sorceress rolled up the sleeve of his right arm and looked closer, to heal it better he thought. However, when she was really close, her lips began to move and a faint whisper came out. <BR>“I was sent by Aribeth to get you and your cousin out of here, to continue on the quest. You are needed.” <BR>Arladion was filled with disbelief. So she was indeed with Aribeth, and as a spy to lure him into whatever trap Progimo had set again. He crawled away now that most of his body did not hurt anymore, and stood with his back against the cold wall (or was it his back that was cold?). “I don’t believe you, you’ve done enough of your spellcasting on me for now. Get out!” he cried, waving his hand at the door. <BR>“Come here,” she said, still with a whispering voice, but he did not comply. “Come here” she urged, and he somehow returned to her, unwillingly. Out of her pocket she took the ring and gave it to him. “Hold your own next to it, and see that they are identical. You <i>must</i> believe me, for we are to act as soon as possible.” To his surprise the rings were identical, and he nodded when returning it to her. <BR>“I will speak to you later of this,” she said noting the guards signaling her to return, “when your cousin is here too.” The healer rose up as an imposing figure, and strode out the barred door. Her staff echoed long in his mind. <BR> <BR>Resting with his fingers massaging his temples, Arladion heard the great doors slam open far away in the hall, and men talking loudly, the noise coming closer by. Twelve black guards approached from the arena hall, carrying two stretchers in their midst. The most forward one was covered with a blanket, and they carried him past them. He realized he had been holding his breath for a long while when he released it at the sight of Davian on the next blanket. He did not seem very lively though, but at least he was alive. <BR> <BR>The guards laid him on the mattress Arladion swiftly shoved under him. His eyes were still closed, but the ranger could hear him breathing. The gate opened and the healer came in again. Fixed on her patient, she walked past the half-elf without looking at him, and kneeled down beside Davian. While she searched for the wounds, Arladion pulled his eyelids up, shook his cousin’s head gently, and checked on the sorceress’ expression to see how bad the situation was. He could only detect her being concentrated, no worries (nor happiness) appeared to be on her face. He woke up, but they got nothing out of him. The worst wounds were healed, or at least in a state of accelerated regeneration. She left them when her task was done. <BR> <BR>The tall woman returned later that evening, telling the guards that she has to check up on the patient. Suddenly the barbarian moaned, and both looked at him. “I am Jaheira,” she said to him, keeping her voice down, “I have been ordered by the lady of Neverwinter to get you out of here.” Her eyes quickly skimmed the room to see if any of their inmates had heard the conversation. “Preferably today.” <BR>In disbelief Davian checked the half-elf’s eyes for confirmation of her story. When he found Arladion nodding firmly, he nodded to her and sat up straight. “So today, right?” the northerner grinned. <BR> <BR>Their plan was to make such a riot, which would allow them to escape in the confusion. Inconspicuously settling next to the individual inmates and informing them of the plan. Most of them saw the great chance of success the plan had, and shook their hands in agreement. The ones that didn’t see any good in it, followed the mass later as they didn’t want to stay behind. <BR>One of the watch guards ticked his sword against the iron bars of the door, signaling the need for the departure of Jaheira. She left for the door, not giving a signal or anything that could betray them to the cousins. When she was in between the two watch guards, she swiftly stretched out her arms, in one movement launching the two guards in opposite directions with an invisible force. She did not see that one of them jumped for a bell right after landing, and sounded the guard alarm. Everywhere through all the halls, other bells began to ring and the prisoners could hear doors opening and men coming to arms. They rushed out through the one man broad door with their own weapons and searched for the way to go. Arladion’s head flashed to the right. A dozen guards. He glanced to the left. Two full regiments blocking the way. To the right was the exit. The ranger raised his voice and cried “Men, we have to go to…” but he could not ascend the yells and roars of the roused prisoners. They stormed both ways, and the threesome followed the group that ran for the exit. After they had crashed through the first blockade, they faced another choice of direction. From both sides reinforcing guards came, so the group stood with their backs to each other. Davian roared a warcry, and stormed towards the black guards on his side. Arladion followed him without a doubt, and Jaheira levitated three men, to crash them into the walls with amazing speed. Arladion furiously swept his quarterstaff against the guards’ knees, neck and sides, making a way through to escape. <BR> <BR>While some others from their side stayed fighting the guards, the three quest takers ran on through the halls. As soon as Arladion heard a new regiment of guards approaching in the distance, he let Davian kick in a door and they hid there until the regiment had passed. And thus they went through the guards’ entrance in the back of the ‘arena’. The sentries never stood a chance against Jaheira’s levitations. One was pierced with an arrow while floating in the air, the other ran in total despair from the incoming Davian. And Davian almost got to him, until he felt tiredness kick in and he let him run. <BR> <BR>They looked around and saw the building they had escaped from: it was a normal warehouse, close to the harbor. <BR>“Good,” Jaheira sighed, “Let us get out of this city as soon as possible; we will rest outside in the woods somewhere and make our plan from there.” <BR>Both men exchanged frowns that she had taken up the lead. If she was sent by Aribeth as another quest taker, then she was in no position to command them – and being commanded and ordered around was one of their greatest dislikes. <BR>“Alright then, we will go with you outside the city,” Davian said, in a compromising tone, “<i>But</i> you will have to wait at the gate for us. There is still some unfinished business we will have to take care of…” <BR> <BR>With a faint thump an arrow pierced the wooden doorway when Progimo lay in his bed. In the dim light, the figure of a man appeared who seemed to be clasping his hands on the wall, “Intruders… sir” he whispered with his last strength. Upon these last words he collapsed on the floor, the feathers of an arrow reflecting the moonlight. Then two other shadows appeared through the doorway, and entered his room. There they stood, one with a bow in his hand, and a long quarterstaff pointing out above and under his back, the other, a broader one, with one sword pointing downwards in a wide angle as a natural extension of his arm and his round shield's ironwork outlined in the darkness. <BR>“You… you slaughtered all of my guards!” he cried out in disbelief, “Who are you?!” <BR>Both men grinned slightly, for they knew they had driven him in a corner, rendered him helpless, as he had once did to them. <BR>“You took us as innocent wanderers…” <BR>“And fooled our good will with treachery…” <BR>“You owned our bodies…” <BR>“And tried to break our free spirit…” <BR>“You did not give us anything in return for our sacrifices…” <BR>“And with that broke the laws of Men…” <BR>“Thus we come as Judges…” <BR>“And plead you <i>guilty</i>!” <BR> <BR>The last word was all that echoed through Progimo’s mind when his chest was stabbed by the long steel blade, and his throat pierced with an accurate arrow, causing his last breath to be a long and painful one. It was exactly what the intruders had wished for.
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Postby Hollebourne » Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:35 am

Holle laughed inwardly, remembering Façade's singular way in which he managed to sing even when he was speaking. The annoyance was slowly giving way to familiar contempt, and he applied his most patronising stare to he Fool. <BR>"Well, go on then, tell us what you're doing here." Holle sat back down on the bed, cross-legged and graceless. Façade's bland manners made him want to counteract with the most crude peasant behaviour he could muster. He let go of that careful, undefined accent, and let his speech slur and hint at some farmland origin. "Because I doubt your purpose here is spoiling my sleep, though you've full success breaching those walls." He clapped twice, mockingly. <BR> <BR> <BR>Façade kept the cold, calm stare, and it was a small victory to know the effort it cost him after the accusations he'd received at Holle's own hand. <BR>"As blatant a meddler as ever, Hollebourne," Façade replied, face urbane, "and as insipid a sharper as ever. Now do crawl back into your blankets and leave me in peace." The slender clown turned his attentions back to his instrument, shutting Holle out. <BR>Holle shook his head. No, too late Façade. This was too explicit a coincidence. The old challenge was reinstated. He observed - Façade tuned his guitar as calmly as if he were alone. There was something unbelievable about the man's stoical attitude, it was almost entertaining, an invitation to see how much it took to wake the storm. Humility was something Holle had never understood, and he thought the conformist Façade a source of great amusement. What, indeed, was the pleasure in mischief that passed unnoticed? <BR> <BR>"Come now, Fool, you don't propose to deprive me of such a fascinating account as your exit from the Rummilow household must have been? I'd lost hope of ever finding out what happened, since I had to depart before the denouement," he taunted vilely. Façade still seemed unmoved, but as Holle thought, the Fool would not resist repartee. <BR> <BR>"I'm sure the account would give you much pleasure "Master" Hollebourne," the Fool replied, his eyes sparking within the tranquil, civil mask. Holle could see the barely supressed annoyance and anger flickering behind those strange coloured eyes. Much to Holle's annoyance he received no answering bite to his bait as the finely balanced notes of a brisk dance were plucked and sent shivering into the room's enclosed space. Inwardly fuming at the lack of emotional response Holle prodded deeper. <BR> <BR>" One who has the gall to call himself an artist should know...a talent is best proven by recognition of a good job, be it the work of another. And I know you're an apt judge, and refuse only to spite me. Eh, Facade? You know the works. You know them as well as I do." <BR> <BR>Façade's eyes blazed, disconcerting orbs of amber betrayal, staring into Holle's own. His words brought a contemptuous smile to the emotionally veiled face. <BR>"Farewell to the Devil. I shall speak with him no more. His eyes do flicker with uncertainty; they say his days are almost gone." <BR> <BR>Holle leapt up and approached Facade, moving up aggressively close. The Fool froze up as Holle leant in to deliver a hoarse whisper, face to face. <BR> <BR>"The 'devil' understands your riddles quite well. Don't forget that." <BR> <BR>Even as he said it, he felt it was a bluff, and Facade had an advantage that couldn't be knocked. <BR>But there was no call to let the Fool know. <BR>Facade stared back, his unblinking eyes distressingly devoid of feeling. "Do me a favour, Hollebourne. Take a bath." <BR> <BR>Holle straightened up and fished with one hand for his discarded boots, still keeping his eyes on Facade, the Fool's own cat-like stare never leaving him. He finally grabbed hold and stormed out the room, feeling his face turn red. Furious at Façade for having forced him to loose his temper, Holle brought the door home with a thundering crash; enjoying the subtle shiver of backlash that flew up his arm. <BR> <BR>Outside, he leant against the wall and breathed out. He was angry at Facade for showing up out of nowhere, and angry at himself for losing balance. He refused the thought that it was a rebuke from his conscience (heavily burdened where the Fool was concerned), and decided Facade was, as always, a particularly annoying person. <BR> <BR>A melody sounded from behind the door, and Holle stomped off before the song would start. Happily enough he bumped into a maid, younger and prettier than the wench of that morning. <BR> <BR>" Would you be so kind and ready me a bath" he said, waving away her apologies. He wasn't about to go itching from road-dust just to grudge Facade. <BR>
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Postby The_Fool » Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:39 am

BLASTED ARSE OF A SERVER!!! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0>
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Postby The_Fool » Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:39 am

The thundering crash of Holle's exit made Façade grit his teeth, his jaw visibly tightening beneath his pale skin. The sour taste of the unexpected meeting still lingered in the Fool's mouth and he began a sweet and jovial ditty on the guitar; playing the notes loud enough for the descending Hollebourne to hear. He struck the last chord with an angry discharge, bringing a squawk of protest from the instrument's belly. Anger swelled within his own stomach; hot, flaming with indignation at the sharper's cavalier attitude. He stood abruptly, fists clenching, hard as stone, and stormed over to the inn's wall. Regarding the structure of wood stonily, amber eyes heated with rage; the Fool let out a deep snarl, kicking the wood violently with his booted foot. Giving another sharp bark of frustrated anger he spun on his toes, slamming his heel hard into the solid surface, quickly followed by the palms of his delicately structured hands. <BR>"Rogue, swindler, vagabond!" Façade yelled, each word punctuated by a sharp kick to the wall. "Defrauder!" He gave the wall one last punishing blow before striding purposefully from the room. <BR> <BR>Façade's mind ran unchecked as he strode briskly down the stairs, vaulting the last few steps easily; only to startle a serving maid carrying a bucket of steaming water. She mumbled apologies the Fool returned and the two parted from one another. Façade could feel the anger inside his stomach tightening, compressing; its own retaliation at being shoved downwards. Matias Hollebourne. The sight of the man had set Façade's old grievances burning with all the rage of a ten foot bomfire. Damn that swindler for leaving him hanging, when <i>he'd</i> been the dishonest one in the Rummilow household. He could have swung for that accusation. And to think the sharp practicing coward had taken flight like a fox that smells the hounds as soon as the Fool was under lock and key. Those ropes had weighed all the heavier on Façade's unsullied hands. <BR>"Hallo Fool, enjoy yer bath?" <BR>Façade blinked back into awareness, his eyes focusing on the source of the sound. The innkeeper gave a broad smile, his face shadowed with yesterday's beard. <BR>"Yes. Thank you," Façade answered, tugging his mask of polite courtesy into place with remarkable ease. Soft eyes, wide smile. <BR>"You plannin' on paying before tonight?" The question was asked casually enough but Façade knew the implications by heart. Prejudice often danced a merry jig before a Fool for hire. <BR>He opened his mouth to give a civil but suitably chill reply when he caught sight of the serving maid of before, carrying Holle's clothes to be washed. Behind his affable countanence Façade's inner smile gave a neat smirk. "Actually I happen to have met a friend," the Fool began, efficiently weaving his tale as he went along. He kept his face open; his eyes mild and companionable. "He happens to be the roommate you sent me." He flashed a disarming smile. "Can you believe it? Haven't seen him since he stayed with one of my older employers. Riorn family, have you heard of them?" <BR>The innkeeper nodded, glad to recognise the family; though in truth it had been the Rummilows who had really been involved. <BR>"Intriguing family," Façade continued. "Lady kept to herself mostly. Some said it was because of her son's untimely death but the dirtier gossip claimed it was because she found out about her husband's little mistress. Dreadful thing to say but then you never can tell the rumours from the truths down there. I suppose it comes from having only chores to keep you company through the day........" <BR>The Fool continued to natter on, drowning the innkeeper in trivial tales and spicy gossip until the man was left wondering which was the right way to swim to regain the surface. Façade waited for the signals he read so well. The man's brow creased that fraction more, his eyes gaining a little more confusion; perfecting the toxic mix of lies. Plunging in Façade finished the act. <BR>"Anyhow he owes me one from a stick and stone game debt. Blasted tight-fingered with his coin that one. Bite off his own leg before he'd admit he'd lost to his betters. But you know what they say: 'You can't fool a Fool!' and he's finally acknowledged defeat. Says he'll pay the bill as recompense for the hardships it cost me. Extremely congenial of him." <BR>"Why yes," the innkeeper's smile grew wide again, glad to have found some familiar ground amidst the Fool's ramblings. "Well if you've it all sorted out then I'll let you about your business Fool." <BR>Façade beamed. "Very kind of you Sir. Any queries check with my companion." A risky bluff, though it would have had more incentive to bite had it been handled by any other. The jester courted his audience well. <BR>"No no." He was waved away by a dirt-smeared paw; dishcloth in hand. "Perfectly understandable ain't it? Debts are common occurances around these parts. You might say debts keep me in business!" He roared with laughter at his own joke. <BR>"You're a trusting patron amongst drunkards," Façade replied, giving a mock bow to the innkeeper and exiting the inn; leaving the stout owner to wonder whether he'd just been insulted or complimented. <BR> <BR>Whistling to himself Façade rounded the corner of the 'Fortune and Glory,' sauntering into the muddy stable yard behind the building. A young lad chased a chicken with a stick, spraying muck and loose stones as he skidded after the flapping fowl. <BR>"Hoi!" Façade called, waving the lad down. <BR>He was regarded with cool disapproval, the boy inching over to him, hands behind his back. "What do you want?" Behind the lad the shaken chicken took refuge upon a stack of crates, nervously clucking. The lad's eyes were sullen within his freckled cheeks. <BR>"Some information," came Façade's jovial reply. He squatted down onto his haunches, bringing his face on a level with the boy. <BR>"'Bout?" <BR>"I need to find a blacksmith. Not expensive mind; but resonable. Do you think you can apply your local knowledge young master?" <BR>"Ain't gonna do nothing for a Fool. A'sides, man out the back told me not to trust you. Says you're dishonest." So saying he jerked his thumb in the direction of the outhouse where Façade had bathed only moments ago. Steam billowed in gusts from the crack in the door. <BR>"Did he now?" murmered Façade, his eyes following the thumb's direction. He turned his attention back to the boy. "Tell you what: you tell me where to find a blacksmith - like I asked for mind - and I'll give you this." He extended a long-fingered hand, palm up. <BR>"A whole copper?!" the lad asked, face lighting up with greed. "You ain't stolen it Fool?" Suspicion clouded the freckled face once more. <BR>"It's a copper lad. Why would I steal a copper?" <BR>"A'right," he nodded curtly, "ain't no use in stealing a copper. Go down the street a-ways till you get to the tailors. Turn on your first left. Go down till your next right. Turn there then take the second left and then the next left." He snatched up the copper coin from Façade's hand, slipping it into his dirt encrusted pocket. <BR>"Thank you young master," came the Fool's dry reply as he stood to wipe the muddy residue from his hand. "A pleasure doing business." <BR> <BR>Lymeric snorted a casual greeting to his master as the Fool entered the stall, lead rope in hand. <BR>"Good to see you've recieved a new set of manners," said Façade, tying the rope in place. "We're going shoe shopping."
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Postby Tobias_Red-tail » Tue Jun 17, 2003 7:47 am

Alayna threaded her way through the maze of streets that made up the darker part of Easting, her hair dripping water, the unfortunate result of having a basin of water tipped down on her head by someone who lived in one of the upper levels of some building that she passed a few minutes ago. Hence her current bedraggled and drenched state. Or maybe it wasn't too bad, when one thought about it. Now no one would expect this sopping wet girl to be the assassin that a particular band of mercenaries were searching for. All that remained was for her to lose the confident strides, and replace it with a nervous shuffle. Although that might be a little more difficult than she would expect, she mused, for it would be difficult for her to move continuously with that sort of steps for too long a time. The waves that would have once bounced around her shoulders were now plastered to her face in a fashion she would have never allowed, had it been a few weeks ago. But now she needed all the help concealing who she was, and this was pretty much of a blessing in disguise. Even though being cold and wet was not exactly her idea of a creative disguise.<BR><BR>Nibbling her lower lip, Alayna began to consider informing Jethros of her current plight. He might be able to help her, though she would have to figure a way of getting a message to him in the first place, to inform him of the fact that she was now wanted by a man named Athanasius, whom he was supposed to have double-crossed. Most importantly, she had to get the Shadow off her tail, and Jethros conveniently had the means to do just that. Seeing that he was, after all, a man with a considerable network of hired killers, informants, and all other sorts of men and women with less than desirable careers. Getting a message to him was far easier said than done though, for the assassin had not the slightest idea on whether Elaith had even any contacts in this darned city, but in her current situation, it was still worth a try. <BR><BR>Shrugging any doubts off, Alayna turned her steps towards a nearby tavern, an establishment that reminded her of the type Elaith would usually frequent without a second thought. Even though her instincts told her that Jethros rarely did business with those like himself, she went ahead with the idea, and stepped into the inn. A fragrant haze of pipe smoke filled the inn, and Alayna allowed herself to drink in the heavy scent of the smoke and expensive wine that flowed from decanters and exquisite bottles all over. Seating herself at the bar, she remarked to the innkeeper in an offhanded manner.<BR>"Any good wines exported to a particular Jethros in Calimport, or perhaps Waterdeep, by any chance?"<BR>Clearly she had struck gold, for the man's face filled with recognition of sorts.<BR>"If you want any of that kind of wine, you'll have to ask Uthregad. He's in that corner there, and he should know just about anything you could want to know about the current wines being exported to Jethros."<BR>She nodded her assent, and made her way towards the man who the innkeeper had pointed to.<BR><BR>Alayna reached him, and casually seated herself at his table. As she had expected, he began to bluster and shout for the innkeeper to 'take this street wench away'. The assassin raised an eyebrow, and casually revealed the hilts of her swords. Now he changed his approach, beginning to order the innkeeper to call the city guards. She wanted to slap his face and shout in his ear that all she wanted him to do was send a message to Jethros, but good sense won out, and Alayna spoke in the voice she would have used to calm a crazy animal.<BR>"Look now, I'm not intending to slice your head off your body, even though that thought is tempting, I'll admit. All I want you to do, is to send a message to a particular man whom I believe you happen to be exporting wine to, of late. A man named Jethros. I would like to inform him of a particularly nasty happening, and you happen to have the means to contact him far faster than I possibly could."<BR><BR>His companions had all slid their chairs further and further away from Alayna and him, and more than one left the tavern on the claim that he had something important to attend to. The innkeeper was already gone, likely to call the city guards, and Alayna would personally prefer to have this nasty business over and done with before the guards came to haul her off to the city jail on the charge of threatening an honest citizen. She spoke again, hissing.<BR>"Jethros will not be very happy, if he learns that you turned down a request from a particular Alayna, my good man."<BR>This time he swallowed hard, and then asked a barmaid for a sheet of parchment and ink. The assassin found it difficult to hide a smirk, for most businessmen would give in if they thought their coffers would be threatened. Or their life for that matter. <BR><BR>The barmaid soon returned, and Alayna wrote the note she had planned out earlier, adding just one little bit, which read: If it is not too much trouble, do send Carien with your return message. I miss having her on my shoulder, and she has other uses as well, such as hunting. I hardly think my rapiers are suitable for hunting rabbits, and she would do it much better.<BR><BR>The note was finished, and tucked into his coat pocket, after Alayna made him swear that the message would reach Jethros, and warned him that if he never got it, the merchant would find staying alive even a problem. In an instant, the city guards appeared, and the assassin had been led away by them. She never bothered to fight back though, knowing full well that she was more than capable to escape as soon as the situation allowed. Besides, knowing Holle's nature, she was by far more likely to find him in prison rather than anywhere else. Seeing that she was on her way there anyway, the assassin decided that she might as well go there first, and see if the city’s guards had already picked up a particular rogue.<BR><BR>Though of course, she had no idea of how accurate her guess was likely to be.<BR>
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