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Author Topic: Chapter One - "The Letter" - Part Two  (Read 35304 times)
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Damien Scar
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2009, 01:22:09 AM »

Damien woke to the sound of pan pipes drifting and swirling like chimney smoke throughout his room, even the boistrous noise of peddlers on the street below could not take away from the swaying, melodic music.

Damien had not heard the pan pipes since he left Voldar so long ago. They had been played by a bard whose hair was a lustrous brown with gold flecks in it when the sunlight hit it just right. She had doe-eyed large dark brown eyes with lashes he swore were longer and thicker than most women her age. Her name was Rachelle Merewen but Damien just called her Rach.

It was her face though that made most men turn away, for on her left side a scar, made by a knife ran from the tip of the bottom of ear, traced along the top of her jaw line and then cut across her cheek to end at the corner of her mouth; but he did not care. He found within her a beauty that surpassed most of the women he had met and bedded at one time or another in his life. A beauty that flowed to love, a love that he had never knew even existed. A love that he only saw in other's eyes: Voltigars and Irises, Norman's and Claudirea's...a love he did not want to remember!

He opened his eyes looking up at a low-dirty white ceiling criss-crossed with pale, salt eaten wooden beams. He twisted his head and instead of seeing Y'riss, as he thought he would, he saw an old fat man making tea.

"Where is Y'riss," Damien asked as he threw off his sheets and tried to sit up. Pain shot around his ribs and he noticed that they were wrapped tight with several bandages.

The fat man turned, smiled at Damien, a not so unpleasant smile, thought Damien, though the man's teeth were as yellow as the sun on a cloud less mid-day. "Good morning, or should I say afternoon. How do you feel?"

Damien gently touched the bandages around his ribs and lower half of his chest. Sharp jolts of pain arced through his body but it was not pain he could not handle. "I have felt worse," Damien replied. "Where is Y'riss?" He asked again.

"Y'riss and the other Baveras's aids are gone. They went to pray at the temple and then I expect they will be sent to others who need their ministrations unless they come across something that they cannot take care of themselves and then they call in a real healer, such as myself. I am called Hyram, though I have been called other names which I perfer not to mention, especially when I am trying to set a broken bone or such."

Y'riss gone, as well as the other girls. Too bad he was beginning to feel like he and Y'riss would have made nice...forget it, he told himself. In your condition you would have just disappointed her and yourself and your self-esteem is as low as it can get. Then he heard the pan pipes once again. "Songbird of the Sea," he whispered.

"What, what did you say?" Hyram asked, pulling a chair and sitting next to him with two cups of tea in his hands, handing one cup to Damien.

"Huh? Oh nothing." Damien replied taking the cup and gently shaking his head. "I just seem to be hearing pan pipe music. Do you hear it too?" Damien asked.

"Oh yes, beautiful melody. A very pretty young girl are playing them."

Damien looked quizzically at Hyram.

"I had to go downstairs into the kitchen to get some ingredients and of course some tea and I saw and heard her playing as I went down and came back up. Now I want you to drink your tea all gone. There are some special ingredients in it that will help the healing process of all of the bruises you received. You must have been in some fight."

Hyram chuckled, "I wonder how the other guy looked?"

Damien sipped the tea and was surprised that it tasted somewhat like the water that Y'riss had given him. "More like men, with clubs and cudgels and when I get dressed I plan on..."

"No, not yet my friend," Hyram interrupted. "Your ribs could not handle another blow. As it was when I saw you coughing up blood last night I thought one or more had punctured something inside and that you were on your deathbed"

Damien whispered again, "Songbird of the Sea."

This time Hyram heard him. "You don't believe in that old sailor's myth do you?" He asked. "Y'riss told me you were a Baron or something like that and you wear a signet ring."

Damien looked down at the ring with his own designed crest upon it. He slowly rubbed his thumb over it and felt the embossed dragon with two crossed swords over it. The crest's meaning was two fold; to remind him of Voldar's revered past and his own part in it.

Voltigar's father had given him the barony, lands and castle as a reward for helping him restore the throne. After Voltigar's father was assassinated along with the rest of his family, Damien, along with others, helped hide Voltigar until it was time to take back the throne. Voltigar now sat on the throne of Voldar now.

The girls! He did not pay them for their services. "Hyram, I need to find Y'riss and the other two girls. I did not pay them for their services," Damien said, rising out of bed quickly. Pain doubled him over, but he fought it.

"My lord!" Hyram exclaimed, "Please sit back down before you destroy all of my work. Do not concern yourself about the aids. I paid them."

Damien gingerly sat down. "You paid them. Then how much do I owe you and I hope you paid them well."

Hyram coughed, took a sip of his own tea. He looked a bit embarrassed. "My lord I pray you forgive me but I discovered your money belt and I took some money from it and paid the girls."

Damien glared at Hyram. "Where is it now? And how much did you give them and yourself?"

Hyram got up from his chair in a huff, retrieved the belt and almost threw it at Damien. "My lord I am a healer, not a thief! I paid the girls what I thought was a reasonable amount along with a slight tip...forty sans apiece. That is more than a month's wages. I have not taken anything for myself. There is medicine in small bottles I put on the shelf over there," Hyram pointed toward the shelf hanging over the fireplace, "You have a condition in your lungs which I do not know if can be cured, but this medicine taken along with some tea should help you breathe better. one bottle per day,preferably in the morning. Now, if you do not mind I would like my wage and then I will be on my way."

Damien's eyes softened. He did not mean to imply that Hyram was a thief and hurt the man's feelings. Somehow he always seemed to hurt the ones who helped him the most...like Rach. He shook the thought away. He reached into his money belt. "How much do I owe you for your services and the medicine? He asked.

Hyram thought a little and then replied, "My services five sans and the medicine ten."

"Ten sans for the medicine?"

"Yes my lord. The medicine's ingredients are not that difficult to find, it is the correct proportions that make it difficult, besides one ingredient which is a bit difficult to find here in the south, but in the north much easier to find," Hyram answered.

Damien reached into his belt and pulled out a silverbard and threw it at Hyram, who almost dropped it. "My lord that is way too much!"

"Call the rest a payment for your character. I am sorry if I implied you were a thief Hyram."

Hyram bowed slightly. "And I should not have expected anything less, my lord. You do not know me and if the situations would have been reversed I would have thought the same. Thank you my lord. I shall leave you now but I do have some other instructions."

"What?"

"No fighting, at least until your ribs heal. The medicine I gave you should last you one month, then you are going to have to find a healer to make you more. In one of the jars is a parchment with the formula and list of ingredients," Hyram absent-mindedly tapped the silver bard with a finger, "oh yes, umm, no romantic interludes, if you know what I mean? At least for awhile." Hyram finished.

Damien grinned. "No fighting and no romantic interludes. How about drinking?"

"Well I suppose that would not hurt, but in excess. I first recommend you eat something. Though your body is in good shape, better than most men I have seen your age, you are becoming thin. So eat hearty and get better my lord. And again, thank you."

"Your welcome Hyram," Damien said rising, holding out his right hand. Hyram shook it and then left.

Damien sat back down and slowly drank the tea. His mind a myriad of thoughts until he heard the sound of pan pipes. He decided to finally go see his songbird of the sea.

He looked into a looking glass and saw his beard and hair were tangled, filled with food particles and other things. He looked around and saw a tub of water. He thought of taking a bath but did not want to get his bandages wet, so he washed all that he could, including his hair and beard with soap, dried himself off and then got dressed.

He wore a light clothed black shirt with pearl buttons. His clothing was becoming scarce and he was forced to wear most of his royal clothing. His usual black leather pants with the money belt and wide leather belt with an ornate silver betl buckle, it's  pearl handled twin blades sheathed on either side.

He left his room, locking it behind him and went down the stairs. The music from the pan pipes drawing him like a bee to a flower. He went to the bar and sat down.

Pagran immediately noticed him. How could you not, he stood at least a head and shoulders over most men. He rushed over. "What can I get for you m'lord?' He asked anxiously.

Damien glanced at the man and recognized him from last night. "I will deal with you later. I remember last night. However right now I want three eggs, meat, dark bread, honey, butter, and wine. The good stuff, not the cheap stuff, understiood?" Damien asked.

"Yes, m'lord. Your order will be ready soon," Pagran said cringing. He poured the wine and placed it in front of Damien.

"Oh, and stop the m'lord buisness...I am Damien, pure and simple, got it?"

"Yes m...Damien," Pagran answered.

"Good. Now tell me who is the girl playing the pan pipes?"

"Her name is Rhia Damien. I hired her yesterday."

"Thank you, now if you please..."

"Please? Oh your order. Yes I will get to it right away," Pagran said scurrying away.

Damien turned in his seat, wine in his hand and he stared at the girl...Rhia he thought, my songbird of the sea.
Logged

I have travelled far and wide.
And Foiro's must have been my guide.
For I have discovered these things to be true;
A man must have two, mayhap three things in life to be truly happy.
A good weapon at his side.
A virtuous wife, if he can find her.
A quver full of children.
Sadly, I only have one;
A good weapon at my side.
AnaMirl Goodwill
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2009, 02:11:33 AM »

Ana‘Mirl gave last advices to the servants who had to run the Herald in her absence and then went outside. The stableboy had already harnessed her little mare before her cart and Lori was sitting on the bench of the cart radiating excitement like a bright light in the night. The lady with the pink hat and green bird was already waiting (what had been her name again - oh yes, Lili Lori had said), though Ana missed the bird at first until she saw that the hat was sitting quite high on Lili‘s head and had  gained some green legs. The small elven lady with her lapdog was here as well, as Altario‘s friend with the wolf. And Altario, sitting on his noble, big horse. He looked noble as his horse, elegant and goodlooking as always, but unreachable. But behind his arrogant expression distress loomed, frustration, and disappointment, lonesomeness. No friendly word would reach him now, so Ana‘Mirl just greeted the group, vaulted herself on the bench of the cart and invited the elfess and her little dog to sit next to her on the bench. She pondered, if she should ask for the dog to travel on the back in the cart, but then it might not want be used to sit in the hot sun for such a long time.

Not yet seated comfortably, Altario gave his command:

"If everyone is ready, lets get going."

And the group set out towards the South to cross the desert.

They had rested only once, after three hours of travelling, when Lightthrive‘s heat started to get uncomfortable, to water the horses and have some refreshments themselves. But they did not allow for a long rest, for the way to Strata was still long. The time stretched long as always, but the little elf had introduced herself as Airyn shortly after they had begun their day's journey and the talk with her had been pleasant enough. Even Lori listened, though she looked now and then to Lili and Fiddlestick, hoping she would get an invitation for a ride.

 When Sunreign approached, Altario stopped again proposing a short break only though:

"We'll rest for a quick moment.  But don't get too comfortable."

Ana‘Mirl furrowed her brows again. Lord Altario, used to have the command in his far away home country, had taken the lead of  his fellow travellers without questioning his right to do so, but as the others seemed to have no problem with it, Ana‘Mirl only smiled to herself. It was her who knew the way, but she had pointed out to Altario now and then which way to take, and so he rode at the top of their little caravan, probably not as fast as he would have liked to, but her old mare pulling the cart allowed only a moderate speed. And that was good this way, for a slow, but steady speed was what required to cross longer distances in the hot weather.

Ana‘Mirl brought her mare to a halt. Lori, who was meanwhile sulking at her back on an additional bench extra added for the comfort of a young girl, looked up with a questioning expression on her face. Why did they stop here? Could she now finally ride with Fiddlesticks? Ana‘Mirl had forbidden her to ask for it and Lili had not yet invited it to join her. No, it was just Altario who gave water to is horse, maybe it was unused to the heat and did not manage to get from one resting point to the next? Of course, he did not know, that there was a nice spot a bit farther on, his question showed this only too clearly:

"Ana, how much longer?  Are we half way there?"

Ana‘Mirl had waited patiently, sitting on her bench that their trip would to be continued.

Yes, we have more than half of the distance covered, but we will need more time. It makes no sense to ride during the hottest part of the day, it would finish our animals before we have reached Strata. Let us continue another half an hour, then we will reach the coast and there will be a small well with three trees giving shade. There we should rest for an hour at least. After that the path leads away from the coast more inland and then it will be really hot. It is enough if we reach Strata before the gates close at Lastflame or shortly before.

Behind her back she heard a sudden groan and when turning around she saw Lili pulling at the canvas of the cart. What for? There was nothing under it, the goods were bought in Strata, the Herald had nothing to trade.
Lori looked alerted in the cart as well. Adventure emerging already on the way to Strata?
 








 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 12:47:44 AM by AnaMirl Goodwill » Logged

grallen gast
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2009, 02:21:50 AM »

Someone was moving very close to the cart. Grallen cursed to herself for not noticing sooner, and tried to keep still and quiet. Suddenly there was a sharp rustle of canvas and the cover was pulled away, slipping in heavy folds over the side of the cart and leaving the still groggy orc completely exposed. Grallen snarled at the person, reflexively snatching hold of the canvas and pulling hard, using all she could grab hold of to cover herself up.

The reaction was childish and pointless, she knew, but she couldn’t see any way she’d be welcome on a trip like this, and hated the feeling of exposure caused by the loss of her meagre shelter. With eyes filled with a corrosive mixture of fear, anger and hangover, she glared at the woman who’d pulled at the canvas. Curling her dark lips back in a half-snarl, she silently dared the human to so much as utter a word.

But now what? Where could she go from here? As she crouched, curled against the bed of the cart like a cornered shir, a small thrill of excitement ran down her spine. Part of her hated the lust for danger, but part knew damn well that it was built a reckless daring which had gotten her out of the stickiest situations where all experience and skill had failed. Pointed ears trembled, listening to see if anyone else had noticed. Two sets of breathing directly behind her suggested probably yes.

Well that’s just fantastic.
Logged

When you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.
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Lori Lo
Little Brat
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2009, 04:14:22 AM »

Lori had waited half a day to be invited to ride with Lili on Fiddlesticks, but Lili didn‘t invite her and Ana‘Mirl had forbidden her to ask. She should not always bother the guests of the Herald. As if she ever had bothered any of the guests. Were they not all delighted to meet her? So she had spend the first part of her journey sitting next to Ana‘Mirl on the front bench, the one the driver of the cart always sat. But when there was coming no invitation to leave her place, she moved to her ‚bed‘, an additional bench, just behind the back one, which even had a low rail, so she would not fall out while she slept. Normally it was nice there. A former stablehand  by had added a sun protection to the cart, which provided shade for the driver and his back stage guest. But today she would have preferred the heat under the Injera, for that riding would be much more fun. As the hours ran away and she still had no invitation got, her mood dropped and finally she dozed away. Not even the little dog of the elfess, Airyn was her name, wanted to come to her.

But then, a stop, a funny noise coming from the cart, Lili riding near and pulling at the canvas of the cart. And ....  the frog lady appears!
Seeing the orc, rising  from her pallet and jumping in the back of the cart to the woman was one.

You have come with us, that‘s so great! Lori exclaims. Why have you hidden under the canvas, it would have so cool to be talking to you! And is Earnest with you? Is he hungry? Can I feed him again? Does he need some water?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 12:50:19 AM by Lori Lo » Logged

Lili the Elfcat
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2009, 05:55:36 AM »

The canvas slid back, following Lili’s pulling hand, and revealed a dirty, ragged thing that gnarled maliciously as it took hold of the fabric itself and yanked it back with a sudden movement of considerable strength. After her initial success at removing the cover from the stowaway, Lili was surprised by the sudden resistance, as she found herself pulled the other way with a jerk. She let go of the canvas and managed to stay on Fiddlesticks, but someone else was not able to remain so comfortably perched.

“Seventeen gluttonous boardraks!”

With a raucous curse, the pink hat took off from Lili’s head and fluttered through the air in swirling, bewildered movements, up and down and left and right and fore and back, until it bumped into Fiddlesticks’ head. Green wings thrashed about wildly underneath, and a feather was hurled into the air, until finally Kassandra managed to free herself from her unwieldy parasol, rising up into the air and letting the hat drop to the ground next to the horse’s front hoofs. Kassandra flew a small circle above Lili, before she decided to descend and settle down on the cart next to Lori-Lo. There she sat, glaring at 'walking-tree-companion' with righteous indignation.

The retired bandit, however, had no eyes for her winged friend. With tense concentration, she watched the snarling stowaway, whose green face glistened in the sun, ears pointing sharply upwards, drawn-back lips revealing two rows of sharp teeth, and fangs. While Kassandra still fluttered about, Lili realized two things: This was the sozzled owner of the little green toad from last night; and she was not a human.

***

The small band of robbers stood at the western shore of the Liben River, on top a hill, and gazed over the waters to the east-side, at the formidable trek of warriors that seemed to be on patrol there. The bandits had been trying to hide behind a group of trees, but an arrow from one of the warriors, shot in warning rather than attack, had let them know that they had been seen. Lili had still been a girl, then, with hardly any breasts yet, and she had held onto the leg of Hadjuk, the self-appointed Bandit Lord – leader of their ramshackle gang of poorly fed outlaws. She had watched in fascination as the proud, green-skinned soldiers with their broad swords and their long fur coats moved along the river, seemingly not afraid of anything. One of them had been very small and slight, and Lili thought that it must be a child – though whether girl or boy she could not discern at the distance.

Hadjuk had said: “These are Ashz-Oc. You wanna watch those stinking long-ears. They can talk, but they’re monsters; they’ll bite your head off before you can say ‘roasted taenish’. They’ve got no pride, they’ll stab you in the back, and they let your carcass lie in the open field. If they don’t decide to eat it, that is.”

Lili had thought for a while, and had replied: “A bit like us, really. Except for the eating part.”

'Lord' Hadjuk had not talked to her for three days afterwards.


***

So this was how an Ashz-Oc looked from up close. And this Ashz-Oc was decidedly unhappy about being exposed to the sun. It was a potentially dangerous situation, and Lili knew it. The cornered stowaway could jump any moment. As Lori-Lo’s innocent speech revealed, she wasn’t in on the people-smuggling. But what about the others? Lili risked a glance around at the four other travellers: Ana’Mirl, the elfess, Altario, and his tall companion. Would they turn against Lili for exposing their secret cartload? Or would some of them be as surprised as Lili at the presence of the orc? As yet, Lili couldn’t tell. It would be best to pour some water on this fire, before it got out of control. Without taking her eyes off the orc, Lili reached for the flask in her saddle bag, opened it with a flick of her thumb, and took a short but deliberate swig. Then she closed the flask and tossed it over to the greenskin. Not directly at her face, of course, but so that she would have the choice whether she wanted to catch it or not.

”Never make any decision with a dry throat, my mother used to say,” Lili smiled wryly. ”This is just water, and warm water at that, but I recommend it. ‘Earnest’ may appreciate some, too.”

Lili didn’t let her concentration falter as she waited for the reactions of everyone in the group. Fortunately for her, she had them all in her view, as Altario and his companion were on the other side of the cart from her, and everyone else was seated on it. Lili hoped that the orc would appreciate that, in the desert, water was a precious gift. In fact, giving away one of the two flasks she’d had was a perilous gamble: if Lili had to turn and flee from a band of people-smugglers disgruntled at her bold discovery, she might miss the water later.

Anyway, no time to pick up my hat now. I just hope Lori won’t need to witness anything ugly.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 07:53:59 PM by Lili the Elfcat » Logged

"It's not good that I'm bad, but I'm proud that I'm worse than I seem."   ~ Lili the Elfcat ~
Foul-mouthed Familiar: Kassandra the Charlatan Daggerbeak (Gossiper)
Mysterious Memory: Kuglimz Love Song
Airyn
The Worrywort
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Elf, Kay'rrhem


« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2009, 07:56:53 PM »

Only the growing heat of the desert had kept the tired elfess awake. Frustration and worry had long since passed, with warmth and curiosity taking their place. She rested herself against the back of the cart, holding onto the side with an unrelenting grasp at first, though the elfess managed to relax when she found that the only thing that would cause her pain was the itching cut on her hand.

Silence had cast a sense of fortitude through the air, clearly visible yet seemingly untouchable. Every member of the group seemed to have set their eyes on the horizon, following the innkeeper’s path. They all appeared to be thinking of one thing, Strata. Though each member’s reasoning for their interest was different, they were linked with a sense of need and determination. Airyn knew that this trip, and hopefully those to come, would bring these people together. The corners of her mouth twitched, trying to form a smile as she remembered her own friends; thoughts shifting to wonder of their whereabouts and what they were doing with their lives away from Ximax.

There had been some conversation later in the morning, with somber tones followed by frowns of concentration piercing the long, stern silence. The elfess exchanged words with both Ana and Lori, briefly conversing about the faraway place which they were headed and a little about the tavern in which the elfess had rested for the night. Little Lori was a talkative one, though her concentration shifted with every new and exciting thing. However she seemed a little disappointed when Sage had ignored her attentions. Even Airyn could not make sense of his distance towards the girl, as he was always in search of someone to show his pleading eyes to. It could possibly have been the heat or the occasional bumping of the cart. Either way, his profound detachment puzzled his bemused mistress.

After some time, the sun was high in the sky and the heat intense. For a short moment, Airyn contemplated the idea of using a little magic to cool herself, and perhaps that impish little Lori. She warred with herself, one side begging in desperation and the other standing firm and heavily reluctant. The battle suddenly came to a halt when Lori and the woman with the pink hat discovered a stowaway underneath the cart. She looked familiar, and Airyn found herself staring, puzzling over the stranger’s appearance for more than was quite necessary. It took her another few moments, though she finally recognized the newcomer as the traveler that had sat near her during the previous evening.

Hey eyes widened in alarm at the stowaway's grumbling of being exposed from her hiding place. Airyn had never been so close to someone like her before that day, and did not know a great deal about their behaviour. Her nerves were somewhat calmed when the woman with the pink hat offered the newcomer a drink from her flask.

Satisfied with that result, the elfess shifted herself into a sitting position and surveyed each member of the group, wondering again who would object to her use of magic in the current situation, and who would appreciate it. Finally, she pushed aside her resisting thoughts and straightened her back. Closing her eyes, the elfess touched one hand to her forehead and the other to the back of her neck. A vision of water, darkening rain clouds and cold winds crossed the back of her lids. After a short time, her hands had begun to steadily drop in temperature, and each second they grew colder, a cool wave of relaxation and appreciation washing over her clammy skin.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 10:31:24 PM by Airyn » Logged

grallen gast
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2009, 02:08:38 AM »

Grallen struggled to keep herself calm as the child’s twittering voice burst from far too nearby. Her yellow eyes flicked to the little girl, and she forced herself to stop snarling, and winced instead as a loud, grating cry came from the direction of her persecutor. The noise felt like a saw blade on her fragile nerves, and made her fingers twitch. Ignoring the child for the second, she returned her gaze, none the softer despite the absence of snarl, to the woman on horseback.

She could feel her temper fraying fibre by fibre, but pushed it to the back of her mind to give herself room to think. What are the options? One: run for it – this is a desert, and we don’t know the way to anywhere. These people presumably do, or they wouldn’t be out there. Therefore if anyone wants to find me all they have to do is ask, and I still wouldn’t know where I was. Also no food. Also is hot and dry and hung-over. Also no water-

Her train of thought was interrupted by the woman on horseback. ”Never make any decision with a dry throat, my mother used to say. This is just water, and warm water at that, but I recommend it. ‘Earnest’ may appreciate some, too.”

Ok, so got water. Let’s put option one to the side for now. Grallen caught the bottle without moving her gaze, the movement automatic and unthinking. As the human’s words filtered through, she looked at it again. She felt she’d missed something, that there was some massive clue to understanding the world which no-one had bothered to point out. There again, you’ve just woken up, this is normal. Warily, she drunk, and felt better.

Option two: have a big fight and see if that helps. Taking a waxed cloth bag from her pocket, she proceeded to deliberately pour water into the thick padded cloth, realising as she did so that Earnest wasn’t in it.  Part of her brain had a lot of time for option two. It voiced itself loudly, but Grallen was reluctant to listen, for once. She couldn’t see how that would help. She’d be no nearer to freedom, and she might end up dead. Looking around, she saw his tiny golden eyes peering from an exposed corner of the cart bed. Option three. Her actions removed and thoughtful, she gathered him up and deposited him in the cool-smelling bag, before returning it to her pocket. Option three… do things their way. See what they want, hear what they think, and then think again. She put the flask, lid fastened tightly, on the cart a little away from her. She didn’t feel like moving any closer to anyone right now. Option three. I hate option three. Why is it always option three?

Grallen looked at Lori, her face carefully blank. She looked at the others around and on the cart: the woman with the noisy bird, a couple of the northern sounding men from last night, Lori and a woman who’d seemed to run things at the inn, and a lady Grallen had barely registered, but guessed she might have seen last night. She made her decisions. Allowing a faintly abashed smile to cross her features, relaxing her fiercely defensive posture into something more disarming, less animal, she pulled Earnest’s bag from her pocket and weighed it thoughtfully in one hand.

“I think there’s been some kind of misunderstanding. Could anyone tell me where this is?”

Her own reasonable tone grated on her nerves. She hated being reasonable. People who ”were sure if we just talked things out we could come to a sensible solution” generally didn’t get the chance to do much talking, in Grallen’s experience, or else did lots of talking whilst everyone else did what they said to avoid being jabbed with pointy sticks.
Logged

When you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.
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AnaMirl Goodwill
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Human, Stratania


« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2009, 06:08:23 AM »

Her back ached from sitting on the fairly hard bench of the cart. She should not forget to bring a cushion with her next time. Though this part of her body was surely far from being skinny, there seemed always a bone somewhere which penetrated her well bolstered posterior. So Ana‘Mirl was not very quick in turning around, when some commotion started in her back on the cart. Only when she heard Lori gladly welcoming somebody who should definitely not be there, she got up and turned towards the load floor of the card.

And there he or maybe she sat, on her cart, grinning embarrassed, with those black felty hair and yellow eyes, the orc who she had seen yesterday in the tavern at the bar. Who she had seen drinking mug after mug. No wonder, she looked a bit disorientated. She stared at the 'creature' there, saying nothing for the moment and just watching Lili tossing water to her. But when the orc woman started to speak

“I think there’s been some kind of misunderstanding. Could anyone tell me where this is?”

she emptied her whole bag of anger over her, for she hated to be delayed, she hated to have to deal with that problem now in the greatest heat of the day.

"Misunderstanding?" Ana‘Mirl asked with a surprised sounding voice, and an angry one on top  "That might well be, that you misunderstood the loading area of my cart for your doss. Or did you just want a cheap way of getting back to Strata? Well, the way you look, I think not. To your question, we are on the way to Strata, half way, and there is a little place with some shade just a few strals in the direction of Strata. And I want to discuss this matter with you there, not here in the heat. So stay on the cart for this short distance. And Lori, back with you were to you belong! I don‘t want to stay longer ....  in the heat if there is a shady place not far from here. So let‘s go."


With these determined words she turned around again and sat down,  slightly blushing, because  she had repeated herself in a silly way, just because she didn't want to tell Lori not to sit next to that person.

She looked at Altario, if he was ok with her decision, but then was angry about herself. Who is that Lord Altario, that I have to look up to him for a decision? It is me who leads these few people to Strata, not him!

Remained the problem in her back.
Ana‘Mirl didn't know, what she should think of the orc woman. Was it dangerous not to keep an eye on her? What should she do with her? Did she want a cheap ride to Strata, or was she accidental there? Lili comes to her mind.

"Miss Lili, would you please keep an eye on our guest? I‘m no fan of having a knife in my back. Or a frog. "

And then she clicks to her mare, lets up the reigns and heads for the well.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 06:14:19 AM by AnaMirl Goodwill » Logged

Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2009, 01:00:59 PM »

Altario listened to Ana's words and nodded thoughtfully.  She was right in her assessment of the situation.  They did need a small place to rest, and that watering hole sounded perfect.  As much as he wanted to get to Strata, he was not going to get there any quicker if he killed Horse in the process.  The Kor'och fey Mologh was a cold weather horse, its coat too thick in this unbearable heat.  More, Horse was an older animal and was not up to the rigors of desert travel.  Something they both shared in common.  He did a quick ckeck of the animal's legs and hoofs to make sure that his mount would not be coming up lame.

"Ok, we will rest there."  He moved to the side of the mount, about to climb up on Horse's back once more, when a commotion in the back of the cart Ana drove caught his, and everyone else's, attention.  He stepped away from the animal to get a better look, and saw the pink hatted woman pulling back a large canvas, exposing... an orc!  His hand went to the pommel of his sword.  What was an orc doing in the back of the cart?  He was with mixed emotion as Lori was obviously delighted at the stranger, who he vaguely recognized as that dirty traveller from the night before.  How distracted by Ryk's letter was he when he could not notice an orc in a crowded tavern?  That oversight on his part only added to his already foul mood.

"What's going on?  Who in Weabor's breath are you?"  He stepped forward and and grabbed the leads to the horse pullling the cart, as Ana, obviously rattled and perterbed, was about to start off.  "Hold on, Ana."  His voice was softer as it was directed toward her. 

His eyes burned hotly at the uninvited guest.  "Speak orc!  Or you'll find yourself walking back."  His hand pulled his sword a palmspan out of the scabbard in which it rested.  "Or worse."
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Favorite Cartoon Quotes
"It was a dark and stormy night."  - Snoopy
"Ack!" - Bill the Cat
"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski." - President Bill Clinton

My Character can be viewed @Angelina Jolie's house.  But knock first, in case I'm in my underwear.
AnaMirl Goodwill
Sleeping Innkeeper
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Human, Stratania


« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2009, 06:55:19 PM »

Altario! Sheath your sword!

Ana‘Mirl‘s voice was clear and sharp.
After a moment of strained silence, she continued with a less unfriendly tone in her voice, but tried to convince Altario over to her way of looking at the situation, hoping, that he would understand what he had to tell him.

Altario, this orc in the back of my cart is my guest today, as she was yesterday. You are not in the north, where orcs are threatening your lives, but here in the far south, where we scarcely know, how they look, nor do we have any bad experience with them, less than with other folks. And may I remind you, my friend, that you are not the leader of our group, that you have not the right to speak like this to anybody you just not happen to know. I will now continue driving to the well and the shade - where you can ask some polite questions. I‘m interested in the answer as well. It is in your best interest as well to seek some shade.

Let‘s go on.


And Ana‘Mirl started her next attempt to get into some promising shade.

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Damien Scar
Commander of the Gates
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« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2009, 01:34:49 AM »

Damien's glass never got empty; Pagran made sure of that. Damien just sat there gazing at Rhia. Her long dark brown lustrous hair hung down over her shoulders and parts of it shone as the light from the windows shined through caressing her hair in those certain places.

Damien could imagine running his fingers through that hair, but there was something in her grey eyes as she would look at him, stare at him for just a bit, and then as if she was scared, or embarrassed, she would quickly look away, that made him think there was more to him wanting her physically, but he wanted, needed her...in a way he could not think of a word for. It was unerving, yet intoxicating as well, like a very good vintage wine.

Damien got off the seat of the bar and faltered as his blood rushed with the alcohol to his head. He stood there wavering until he caught his balance and then he slowly staggered forward until he stood in back of a table right up front, so he could see Rhia more closely.

Patrons were at that table. Pagaran quickly went to the table and asked them to move to a different table. At first the patrons, two men and their wives, were not going to until they looked behind them and saw Damien standing behind them.

Quickly they moved.

Damien sat down and Pagran put a huge flask on the table. Damien took a drink gazing at Rhia's grey eyes and threw a silverbard on the floor next to where other patrons had thrown some sans. "Please, songbird. Sing us a song."
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I have travelled far and wide.
And Foiro's must have been my guide.
For I have discovered these things to be true;
A man must have two, mayhap three things in life to be truly happy.
A good weapon at his side.
A virtuous wife, if he can find her.
A quver full of children.
Sadly, I only have one;
A good weapon at my side.
Lili the Elfcat
Endearing Cutthroat
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Human, Helvet'ine Kuglimz


« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2009, 10:14:32 AM »

It was with a mixture of curiosity and relief that Lili watched the conversation unfold, as the other travellers reacted to the orc’s presence. There were a number of interesting things to note:

The orc proved to be a good catcher of water bottles, even though she looked like she had barely woken up, hadn’t had more than a few blinks to adjust her eyes to the bright sunlight, and had been smashed like a pumpkin last night.

Do orcs not have hangovers, then? Lucky buggers! In any case, it’ll be good to keep in mind that our fellow-traveller is a nifty customer.

Also: no need to flee from people-smugglers just yet, as there were none around! It was clear that the orc and everyone else were surprised at each other’s presence. Handsome Altario, however, had caught distinctly too much of the desert sun, and hot-headedly risked rekindling the fire, which Lili felt she had just extinguished with the toss of her bottle. Ana’Mirl, on the other hand, provided a voice of reason, albeit a bossy one.

With those conclusions drawn, Lili jumped off Fiddlesticks, picked up her hat, and dusted it off while making her reply:

”I agree with Ana’Mirl. It’s not fair that our new companion here gets all the shade. As she insists on keeping that canvas for herself, let’s head for the trees. I’m not much of a governess, Ana – but I’ve got a feeling your guest won’t be complaining that she doesn’t get enough attention!”

As she said her last sentence, Lili tried to wink at Altario, Ana and the orc at the same time. Then she swung herself back up into her saddle, and turned to Lori-Lo. She had guessed that Ana was concerned for the child’s safety.

”Anyway, Lori, you’re the only one who knows everyone here, it seems! Hey, maybe little green Earnest there needs shade more than anyone else, so what would you say if you leave him in his hiding place for now and jump onto Fiddlesticks instead? If we ask nicely, I think she may agree to carry us both to the watering hole.”

And with that, Lili directed her horse closer to the cart once again, and offered Lori her arm, intending, if the girl agreed, to pull her up to sit in front. She did so with a friendly smile. Despite the continued attack of the midday desert heat, Lili was beginning to feel her old self again. There was conversation, at last, and excitement, and a motley crew of travellers who didn't get on very well, but, on reflection, found that they shared some common interests - such as the interest of staying alive, for example. It was just like in the old bandit days!
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 05:25:23 AM by Lili the Elfcat » Logged

"It's not good that I'm bad, but I'm proud that I'm worse than I seem."   ~ Lili the Elfcat ~
Foul-mouthed Familiar: Kassandra the Charlatan Daggerbeak (Gossiper)
Mysterious Memory: Kuglimz Love Song
Lori Lo
Little Brat
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Human, Stratania


« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2009, 05:11:22 AM »

Lori Lo didn't need to think long. When Ana'Mirl was in such a mood, it was better not to get under her eyes. So she quickly took Lili's arm to sit in front of her on Fiddlestick. Only a broad smile greeted Lili, Lori preferred to be very silent to not draw any attention towards her. Affectionately she caressed Fiddlesticks neck though.
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Rhia
Songbird of the Sea
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Human, Blaar'kr


« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2009, 11:59:32 AM »

Rhia’s senses prickled; someone seemed to be staring at her. Still drawing hollow notes from her panpipes, she cast her eyes over the slim crowd eating breakfast at the inn’s tables, waiting for a gaze to meet hers. Suddenly she found herself drawn into the dark, rich eyes of the baron, Damien, being engulfed by a sea of brown-black that tugged at her in a peculiar way. Without her meaning to, the song drifting out of her panpipes accelerated and became pulsing, a wheeling melody with a driving beat, yet diving and soaring and fluttering giddily in the midst of the heavy pulses. Unexpectedly, she hit an accidental wrong note. Wincing at the disharmony, she was abruptly wrenched out of her spell in the deep, dark orbs, and her song resumed the normal melody and pace.

The man kept gazing at her. Rhia felt lightheaded. Why- was he staring at her so much? His dark, enigmatic eyes never faltered from her face. Her own grey-eyed gaze was not near so steadfast; it flickered nervously from place to place, like a hovering, darting dragonfly, unwilling, for some reason, to rest on his visage. The next time her eyes flitted back to him, he was standing unsteadily, wobbling slightly from a thorough nursing of his ale-filled tankard. The girl, still piping her pipes, watched apprehensively as he moved up  in a  swaying, bobbing dance closer to her little dais in the corner, his eyes on her the whole time. He halted behind the table nearest her. To her utmost surprise, Pagran deigned to evict the table's occupants for the inebriated baron. Baron Damien stumbled into the seat and lobbed a coin onto the dais. He took a long draught from his tankard and raised his gaze to her again, his eyes digging, probing into her. "Please, songbird." Rhia's breath broke off abruptly; the reedy, hollow tones emanating from the panpipe halted as if they were tangible objects severed from the pipes by a knife. She had not been expecting him to speak. "Sing us a song."

The man's voice was rich, low, but not quite gravelly, and it dug at her too, especially the word 'songbird,' which he seemed to utter tenderly, prayerfully. The  sailor's tale of the supposed Songbird of the Sea came rushing back into Rhia's mind like a waterfall, crashing into and submerging everything that lay in its way. The memory of just the other night, looking at him laying weakly on the ground as he murmured hoarsely, "Songbird of the Sea."

Rhia, quite simply, gawped at him, thinking hazily, in the back of her mind, that she must look like a dim-witted fool. Sing them a song? She had just been playing her panpipes, didn't that count as a song?... But perhaps he meant actually singing. OH, RIGHT! It was all she could do from smacking herself in the forehead for her stupidity, and then smacking herself twice as she recalled that she had left her lute in her room. She didn't quite think that Pagran - the crotchety old coot - would forgive her if she left the dais, let alone the room during her shift, which was over at midday and began again at about sunreign. Well, perhaps she would sing a capella on this one. Anxious, she unconsciously smoothed her hair; that morning she had plaited it into one tail, and then twisted it into a bun at the nape of her neck. At last she dropped her hand to her side, having decided on a song. Straightening her shoulders, Rhia lifted her head erectly and coaxed her voice into song, unaccompanied by music. It was not her favorite song, being one that she had composed a long time ago, and thus being much worse in quality than her more recent ones -not to mention ones written by other, more talented troubadours-  and it sounded better when complemented by her lute, but she doubted that the baron, inebriated as he was, would care about the class of her song.

"A blade of grass is more than just
A needle on the ground
A single leaf high on a branch
Is diff’rent than first found.

The blades of grass together all
Create a meadow green
The verdant tresses of a tree
Are leaves once closer seen.

A satin ribbon, bright and smooth
May steal a lass’s heart
But she won’t look into the cloth
And find the stitch’s art.

You’d see the aiding beam of light
That streams from lighthouse tall
Yet not as well seen is the man
Who guides its rise and fall.

The world’s a picture, oft observed
And viewed as one vast sight
But did we ever think to look
For small things not as bright?"


She glanced longingly out the windows of the inn's common room as she ended the annoying little song with a flourish. I never knew just how much pain / Was caused by hours before sunreign...
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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2009, 12:01:45 PM »

While grey eyes burned with intensity at the orc stowaway, the hostile retort directed at the Remusian came from a direction he hadn't expected it, as Ana quickly came to the defence of the creature in the back of the cart.  With unblinking eyes, he stared at the innkeeper as she continued to tear a strip off him with a sharp tongue.  To be quite honest, he never thought the usually jovial woman had it in her.

When she was finished, there was a snap of the reins, and Altario hopped back as the horse and cart jolted forward, leaving him dumbfounded and unable to do anything but stare hotly at the feral yellow eyes of the orc.  He could imagine the mirth the creature must be feeling, and that only added to his anger.  Swearing, he kicked at the sandy soil, sending a small cloud of dust into the air.

He stomped angrily back to Horse, who aware of Altario's anger, was a bit skittish and trotted just out of reach.  "Dammit!"  Altario placed his hands on his hips and took a few deep breaths to calm himself.  "What is it with these southerners, Garret?" he spoke aloud, not paying attention to whether or not Garret was listening to him.  "Everywhere I go down here, there are orcs.  And they live with humans just like it was a natural thing.  It's just not right, Garret.  Not right at all.  What would we have done if everyone in Remusiat was an orc lover?  We'd all be dead, that's for damn sure.  Gods know that both you and Ryk nearly were." He shook his head.  "I just don't understand it."

He forced himself to stay calm enough to approach the wary horse and grab the reins that hung loosely from the animals head.  He patted the horse's neck, calming the animal.  Doing so, he calmed himself to realize that no matter his own personal discrimination's towards orcs, it wasn't the stowaway that had him so upset.  No, that honour belonged to an uderza eyed elf.

He vaulted up into the saddle, and watched the cart, as Lori deftly made a leap from the cart onto the horse with the pink hat woman.  Digging his heels into the animal's flanks, he began to follow, though pride and anger kept him back of the cart by several peds.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 05:43:10 AM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

Favorite Cartoon Quotes
"It was a dark and stormy night."  - Snoopy
"Ack!" - Bill the Cat
"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski." - President Bill Clinton

My Character can be viewed @Angelina Jolie's house.  But knock first, in case I'm in my underwear.
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