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Author Topic: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Four  (Read 5523 times)
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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« on: September 27, 2010, 03:21:04 PM »

The ragtag group of wet and bloody souls beat a hasty retreat from the pier.  Using as many back streets as they could find, they tried to avoid any unwanted attention.  Once at the inn, it was agreed that they would dry themselves off and change clothes before meeting again in the main room for a warm meal.  Altario had insisted on the changing of clothes.  His were befouled with the smell of wet orc, which in his opinion far surpassed in reek that of wet dog.

Changing his wet clothes for the only other garments he had, his military tunic that he had last worn the night he had proposed to Valannia.  He would have preferred to have bathed, but limited time made that impossible.  He would carry the smell of wet orc with him for awhile more yet.  At least the clothes did not stink.  Before putting on his shirt, he took a long probing look at his arm.  The slash was deep and was still bleeding; it would need to be mended.  Pulling out a small needle and thread from his pack, that he used to mend his clothing,

Altario sat on the end of his bed.  Carefully, he pushed the needle into his flesh and pulled it through to the other side of the wound.  Pulling the thread tight, the two edges of the wound were snugged up tight.  Surprisingly, there was not much pain to this little self surgery, as the entire area around the slash was now numb.  A total of eight stitches were needed to completely close the cut.  It wasn't pretty, and it would leave a scar, but the bleeding seemed to have stopped.

There was a knock on the door and Altario drew his blade.  "Come," he beckoned.

The door opened and Garret entered, followed closely by the large orc, Tharoc was his name, that knew Garret from some institution called the Compendium.  Garret had explained it somewhat, but Altario was still unsure what it was all about, and in truth, saw little value in it.  This orc was someone Garret seemed to have full trust in.  Not something Altario could ever imagine himself doing, and was surprised at Garret.  They had, after all, fought in the war together against rampaging hordes of these green skinned animals.

Something about Garret was off.  He was pale, and not just a sickly pale, but a pale that went down to the bone.  Although changed from his wet clothes, his hair was still wet, though sweat and not sea water appeared to be the reason.

“Garret?”

The typical dopey but friendly smile came over Garret’s face, making him look like the young man Altario knew all those years ago back in Remusiat.  “I’m afraid you are going to have to find Nayriss without me, Alt.”

“Why?  What’s going on?  I’m not going anywhere without you.”

Garret shook his head.  “No, you’re going to have to this time.”

“I- I don’t understand.”

With a bit of trepidation, Garret opened up his tunic and revealed his white shirt, which had a very large red wet spot on the left side.  “One of those pirates managed to get me, Alt.  I hoped it wasn’t too bad, but the bleeding don’t seem to want to stop, and I’m not feeling so particular well right now.”

The Remusian’s eyes widened with concern.  “Gods, Garret!  Why didn’t you say something?  I’d have sent for a healer.”  He stared at his friend.  “I’ll send for one right now.  We’ll hole up here until you are well enough to travel.”

Garret shook his head.  “No.  Alt, you finally got a real chance to get your daughter back.  You can’t wait for me to get better.  We both know that.  You go.  I’ll catch up when I’m able.  Tharoc here will stay with me.”

The giant orc nodded solemnly.

Altario bit his bottom lip.  Deep inside, he knew Garret was right, but he hated to admit it to himself.  The thought of traveling without Garret should not have been that hard, but yet it was.  For the first time in a long time, Altario realized just how alone he really was.  Garret had been a very welcomed sight when he strode into the Thirsty Herald that night.  Now he was losing him.

Garret began to lose his balance, and Altario reached out to steady him, but the ever attentive orc had already thrown a thick green arm around the man.  Altario could see the genuine concern in the orcs eyes.  It was startling to him to have to admit that the orc did care.

Garret grinned through the pain.  “It’s okay, Alt.  Go.  Find Nayriss.”

Garret and the big orc then turned and strode from the room, leaving Altario feeling somewhat lost and less whole than he had been a moment before.  If there was an emotion that loomed larger in his heart than all the others he was feeling at the moment, it was regret.  He wished he had embraced his friend.  He was going to miss Garret.  A lot.

Throwing on his dhura blue dyed military tunic, Altario headed downstairs.  He was the first to come down, so headed to the barman, Pagran.  “Water to the table in the corner.  Meal as well.”

The barman nodded then signalled to one of the barmaids, who scurried off.  “Very, well.  Anything else?”

“Yes.  That horse in the stable, Danilyn, I want to buy her.  You said you’d give me a price.”

Pagrean nodded.  “Aye, I did at that.  Been thinking it over.  She’s a fine specimen.  Not sure if I should let her go.  If’n I did, It would have to be a for a pretty-“

The sound of a clunk on the counter cut off Pagran’s speech, one that Altario guessed had been practiced numerous times in order to sound more pained at the thought of losing the horse.  Altario’s dagger lay on the counter.  

“There’s one last gem in the handle of that blade.  Take it.  That will pay for the horse, the rooms and the meals.  Should be enough to buy me some supplies for traveling as well.”

Pagran picked up the blade.  One lone gem, a red ruby, was left alongside numerous empty slots where previous gems were held.  It would more than pay for everything the man was demanding.  “You got yourself a deal.”  Without waiting for permission, the barman pulled out a knife and dug out the gem, placing the dagger back on the counter.  He held the gem up against the light of the chandelier.

Altario picked up the dagger.  “Just see to it that supplies are ready for the morning.”  

Taking a seat at the table in the corner, he awaited the others.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 02:12:28 AM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

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Damien Scar
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 10:45:38 AM »

The whole lot of them looked liked drenched rat brownies, bruised, battered, but not beaten; their was a glow about the eyes, even of the elfess, that told Damien that as he watched them trudge through the door; Damien last of all. He shook his head in agreement with Altario's request, though Alt's requests always seemed to sound like a command to Damien, for everyone to go to their rooms, dry off, change clothes and then meet back downstairs for a meal. Damien, climbing the stairs wondered if the elfess, and the orcess, even had a room to go to? Not that it mattered to him, well, at least not that much, for they did help rescue Lili, and what about the unusual desert woman, did she have a room? Perhaps Lili and Lyth will allow the other women to use their rooms for drying off: changing clothes would be another matter, Damien thought as he unlocked his room and stepped in.

The soft glow of the embers of the fireplace welcomed him as he closed the door behind him. He had wondered why there had been a fireplace in these rooms, especially this far south and so close to the sun, however he wondered no more as he knelt and stirred the embers, adding some tinder, to start a small, yet warm and very welcome fire. Damien stripped off his wet clothes, throwing another ripped and torn shirt in the corner and tossing his pants over the mantle so the fire could dry them out.

Damien, naked, warmed himself by the fire and checked his body out. The wound on his left side was patched well and he silently thanked the gods for sending a healer who knew what she was doing, though he did miss the old man who had taken care of him when he had first arrived in Strata, and who could forget the lovely women of...of...blast, he could not recall the name of the place! "Another sign that you're getting old," Damien muttered to himself. There were more signs as well; his stomach was not as flat and hard as it used to be, he felt aches and pains in muscles he did not even know he had, and the ale and wine had not helped his physical, nor mental condition as well. Damien thought he looked liked a bad slab of beef hanging on a hook in a butcher's shop with a " for sale" sign hung over it, as he sat down on his bed.

Damien wanted so much to just lay down and close his tired eyes but his mind was inquisitive and needed answers, besides Altario needed him. Well, at least Damien thought, hoped, he did; though the frosty welcome he had received from his old friend made Damien wonder. "You did not make things better, ol' boy, with those sharp barbs of wit you threw at him about his daughter," he mumbled to himself, standing ever so slowly rubbing his wet hair with a rough cloth until it was mostly dry.

Damien went to his chest, opened it, and took out his last pair of dark leather pants and his traditional black silk shirt; I am going to have to buy some clothes, he thought as he got dressed, walked gingerly out of his room, closing and locking it behind him and then went down the stairs to the main room. Pagran was at the bar barking orders to his staff, he acknowledged Damien with a quick nod of his head. Damien looked around the room, which was surprisingly quite empty, though in retrospect, considering the storm outside perhaps it was not as unusual as he thought.

He spied Altario by himself sitting at a far table. The big barrel chested man sat with his back to the wall facing the room. Damien sighed, and then walked to the table and sat down across from Altario. He tried to grin at the rough Remusian, "Well my old friend, you certainly had me fooled. When did you start hanging out with elves who knew magic? Not that I do not mind you see, from what I saw of her, she could be quite pretty, but I thought you were in love with another? Valannia, was that her name? Where is she? and who are the rest of these ladies who seem to have crawled out of the woodwork to be with you? And..."

Damien shut up as he saw the look in Altario's eyes.
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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.
grallen gast
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2010, 09:17:27 PM »

It was bloody awkward, is what it was. She felt like she’d topple over if she didn’t lean on something- blood loss, probably, we’ll be fine- but with hands so torn up, every time she touched the banister it hurt like hell. She settled for leaning an elbow against the wall, and edging down the stairs that way, eyes daring anyone nearby to find anything in the least remarkable. She could, she supposed, lean on Lili- but no. The human wasn’t in particularly good shape herself, and even if she had been...

Grallen ran through their recent conversation, if you could call it that, in her head. She’d been barely able to register someone hauling her  upright and making sure she kept her feet under her as the group trudged back to the inn. Finding herself in a warm, lit room, she’d begun to come round a little, enough to realise that this wasn’t her room, with the scratches on the wall (oh crap they’ll have noticed by now, I’ll have to pay for that...) and there was someone else there. Lili. She’d not been in much of a state to avoid tricky questions, or pay attention to why she was being asked them, but what had sunk through was that Lili didn’t trust her at all. Well, it figured. It was a sensible reaction and one that most people she’d met unhesitatingly chose. Stupid to think that just because you think you’re doing the right thing for once, she’ll see it that way too. The world doesn’t work like that.

So how does the world work? Knife you in the guts and run away?

I need a drink.

 
Grallen realised she’d gotten to the bar without really thinking about it. After the worst wounds had been patched up, and the blood wiped away, she looked a bit better than she felt, but having no change of clothes available, she still looked a state. The look Pagran gave her confirmed her suspicions, and when she mutely pointed to a bottle behind him, he needed no further instructions to pour a large measure. She scooped up the glass gingerly in bandaged hands, and held it to her jaw, to cool the dull ache the captain’s fist had left in her teeth. Another look silenced any request the innkeeper might have been about to make for payment. She was half surprised he didn’t make more fuss, but he seemed preoccupied with something that glittered expensively in his clenched hand, so she turned away, taking a sip of the drink, and wincing at the mixture of strong liquor and her own blood. Still, better than just the blood as it is.

Altario was sitting at a table in the corner, looked to have been just joined by that “Baron Scar” bloke. She looked for Lili, suddenly uncertain whether she should approach the humans.  They’d no reason to treat her as anything less than a troublemaker and a brute... but dammit, I’m knee deep in whatever the hell was going on, I’ve a right to at least know the score...

Putting a hand out to lean on the backs of chairs, and carefully not wincing when she did, she made her way over to the table, sank into a seat and just slightly pushed it away from the others. She didn’t say anything, just sipped her drink and tried not to look too much like somebody who bit out a man’s throat an hour or so ago.
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When you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.
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Toama SorInyt
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2010, 04:17:50 AM »

From the wet and rainy waterside, Toama had followed the group of people that had helped in her rescue (however unwittingly) through wet and rainy streets until they entered a warm and brightly lit room, one of the men holding open the door for everyone else, even though he looked as though he could collapse any second now. It wasn't until she was safely inside and wiping strands of long, wet hair out of her face that she realised that they had quite by chance led her to the exact same inn where she had her own room. She hadn't even been in a state to wonder where they were going, what with the rain pouring down and her being in an unfamiliar place - an oversight she should pay attention to. Getting soaked was no reason to lose sight of your surroundings.

Together with the others, she disappeared to her own room, where she had a pack full of dry clothes. They might not be the best suited for the current weather, but she needed to let her current wardrobe dry. Anyway, there was a fire burning downstairs, she'd make sure she could warm herself there. Quickly stripping off her garments, she dried herself off with a towel that someone had kindly left in her room, then she wrapped herself in the red-and-yellow dyed clothes that were typical for her tribe. Her hair she braided in one thick braid, which she then coiled on her head, pinning it down with little pins that disappeared in the thick mass. Then, thinking for a moment, she added her belt to the outfit and placed her scimitar in its scabbard. You never knew when you might need it. It was an incongruous sight, but after the last couple of hours, she hardly cared.

Feeling dry, if not quite warm or clean, she went out of her room and went down the stairs. There were already some of that strange group of people sitting - the man who had sent them all off the ship, the one who had opened the door, and... a green-skinned... oh, right, the orcess. The skin colour had not seemed so important out there. Here she was so obviously the odd one out that even Toama herself couldn't imagine being in her shoes.

She edged a little closer to the small group, but stayed on the side. She wasn't quite sure what to do, join them or just go to the fire and not have anything more to do with them. That last option, while possibly the smarter one, did not really sit well with her - for one, she was curious what had brought a group like that together, and for another she still wanted to thank someone, whoever, for rescuing her, even if that was just a side issue for them. But on the other hand she did not know how she would be welcomed.
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Lili the Elfcat
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 06:43:21 AM »

How could the orc still be moving? Lili had seen people with less severe wounds being left for dead by their best friends. But she had also seen what feats Grallen was capable off – helped by her quick green hands, her tenacious tusks, and her head, which was so barmy that other people found it impossible to work out what she’d do next. So when Lili helped Grallen along on the road from the harbour, and up into her room, she was as much concerned to make sure that the orc didn’t slip away as she was for her rescuer’s health. It wouldn't do to let Grallen go. Not yet, not by a long way yet.

Maybe it had been foolish of Lili to try and talk to Grallen up there in her room. Of course, Lili wanted to find out how she’d got onto the pirate ship, how Grallen ended up being her prison guard, and why the orc had changed her mind and defended Lili against the pirates. But it was dangerous territory, for in asking these questions, Lili might reveal more than she would learn herself. So Lili’s questions were tentative, guarded. And the orcess, true to character, had answered surlily, and given Lili dark and yellow looks.

They had stood together against the bounty hunters and the pirates, refusing to abandon each other; they had been certain to die, and yet with luck, a little help from strangers and friends, a cutlass and those tusks, had won their fight. But up here, in the still, absurdly clean room on the second floor of the inn, they stalked around each other like two wounded, hungry wolves from enemy packs.

So despite her worry that Grallen might scarper, Lili was relieved when the orcess opened the door and made her way downstairs. It was the sensible thing to do – while in an inn, get a gulp. Lili waited a few blinks, then scooped up Kassandra and followed the orc at a distance, and so they were eventually reunited with Altario, who had already chosen a table. Lili had wondered whether Altario had found his brother, but a grey and sullen face told her the answer before she had to ask.

The self-appointed baron, the old wreck, was also there. He was far too lively for someone who two pipesmokes ago didn’t have enough muscles left to swim a  strokes. Drunk again, probably. He’d soon collapse, Lili felt sure of that.

There were so many questions in the air that Lili felt a bit dizzy. Uncomfortably, Lili knew that many of these questions concerned herself. For one, people might ask how she got herself caught by pirates. Tired as she was, she felt sure she could have thought of a suitable story to explain it all, but the problem was Grallen, and what the orc knew, and what she might say. No good to make up a little convenient tale when a witness was there who might get it into her head to refute it all. Oh, it was just too much to think about for a single Kuglimz woman. And Kassandra was no help this time. The bird was all but asleep there on Lili’s shoulder. With her head burrowed into her back feathers, only an occasional sneeze betrayed that she found it difficult to fall asleep after the feather-raising, bone-chilling adventure she’d just survived.

Fortunately for Lili, a distraction from all these complications appeared in the shape of the dark-skinned woman, who had fought on their side on the pirate ship. Lili didn't hesitate to grab the opportunity to steer her thoughts away from herself.

”Hey, no reason to be shy,” Lili called to the stranger, who had kept a distance from the table.

”You’re heroine of the day! Coming from nowhere like the swarmghost of Nothesby and rescuing people from pirates, and all that! Here, have a swig!”

Lili offered the woman a tankard.

… and tell us what business you had getting caught on a slave ship , Lili added in thought.

But she was glad to see the woman. She had wondered whether the stranger would vanish as suddenly as she had appeared, taking all her secrets with her, leaving behind puzzlement and mystery. Generally, Lili preferred to know the people she owed her life. And a woman who, in mortal danger, had the soul to scream her gut-felt indignation at a pirate captain and his crew of thirty – well, one didn’t meet such a woman every week, did one?
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"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
Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai)
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Gray Elf, Kaýrrhem


« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2010, 04:39:43 PM »

Drustai sat on a stool at the bar counter quietly, as the others filtered about the room in their own manner. Her damp hair lay in tangled clumps on her head, and she couldn't help but shiver slightly at the cold of her clothes. This wasn't her inn, so she didn't have a spare set to change into, as Altario had suggested. The best she had been able to do was ask for a towel from the bartender, and to dry herself off as best as she could. Which wasn't much.

She held up a finger to wave the bartender, Pagran, over. As soon as she had his attention, she ordered a serving of Pango Cactus Soup, and a glass of R'unorian brandy. She was starving. Starving and exhausted. The day had been long and tiring, and her weary and wounded body ached. She casually rubbed at her neck where she had been garroted earlier, quickly pulling back as it started to sting again. She grabbed at her damp collar and pulled it up a bit, trying to hide the red line.

She watched as the bartender returned with the bowl and then place down a snifter glass. He then brought up a bottle and prepared to pour the brandy. Drustai looked up at him, and held up a hand. "Leave the bottle," she said. Pagran nodded, and then Drustai took out a few coins from her pocket and placed them on the counter. Pagran took them before walking off to serve someone else.

Once Pagran had walked off, Drustai picked up the bowl in one hand, and the glass and bottle in the other. She looked around the room for the table Altario had selected for the group, then walked over.

Of course, the orc was there. Drustai halted in her steps for a moment, and instinctively her lips pulled back into a sneer. So much for having a common enemy. The Remusian had apparently lied to her before about that. That she would have to sit at the same table as that piece of filth disgusted her.

She straightened herself up and then approached the table. She took a seat as far away from the orc as she could, and placed the bowl and glass down atop the table. She then popped off the cap of the bottle and began to pour the liquid into the glass, before setting the bottle to the side. She then picked up her spoon, and pulled up a chunk of meet from the soup, placing it in her mouth.

She looked around the table, a cold look in her eyes. So these were Altario's friends. The ones he had not wanted her to meet before. Though they proved they could fight, aboard the ship, and so weren't entirely useless, the fact that they had gotten themselves into that mess in the first place gave Drustai little doubt as to their intelligence. Or lack of.

She had nothing to say, and so remained silent. She continued to eat her soup, as she watched the party.

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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2010, 10:41:23 AM »

Altario took a long gulp of the water that was brought to the table.  It felt good on his throat.   Damien took a seat at the table and the Remusian greeted him with a nod.  Of course, the man from Voldar immediately launched into a monologue.  Strange, but Altario didn't remember Damien being this chatty in Voldar.  It seemed that drink loosened the tongue more permanently than one would imagine.

The references to Drustai were merely annoying, but at the mention of Valannia, a ark scowl crossed his face and a warning glance at Damien quieted the man.  Altario took another drink of water, thankful for the momentary quiet.

For a moment, it looked as though the quiet were about to be interrupted by the drowned rat looking orc, but no.  Grallen just took a seat at the table, though she pushed it back a bit from the rest of them.  Probably for the best.  She hadn't even bothered to change clothes, so more than likely still smelled like wet dog mixed with vile rat.  So much for the theory of civilized orcs.

Still, he had nodded to her even before he realized he had done it.  What was that all about?  He was getting soft.  Perhaps Damien was right.  On the other hand, what was that old saying if you save a person's life, you are now responsible for that life?  Good gods, he hoped that wasn't true.

On the periphery, dressed in a garish garment of red and yellow, was the strange woman who had somehow joined the group.  Who she was, or how she had managed to join Lili and the others on board the ship were a mystery to Altario.  She carried a scimitar on her belt, which didn't seem to readily go with her outfit, but it gave the Remusian the idea that she was proficient with it.  Another blade wielder might come in handy in this next adventure.

With that, Altario caught her eye and gestured for her to join them.  His beckoning gesture was all for naught, as Lili took the initiative and started up a conversation with the dark skinned woman.  Of course, with all things Lili, it was loud and garish.  But, it accomplished what Altario had wished; it invited her to join them.

Now, there was only one more person that he needed to- 

There she was, the dark elf, Drustai.  She was approaching the table, looking dishevelled, not having changed her clothes.  As bad as an orc, he mused.  She, of course, had that painted on look of disdain as she surveyed the group.  What she must think of him, hanging around with a drunkard, an orc, and a crazy woman.  Truth be told, his standards had fallen, and this only made him resent her superior attitude all the more.  He gave her a cold look as she sat at the table and quietly ate her soup that she brought with her.

He looked at each person in turn.  They weren't much of a party.  Would, or could, any of them trust the others to not slip a dagger in their back as opposed to trusting each other with their lives?

He cleared his throat. “Well, it appears as though we are once again all strangers to each other.  Lili, Damien,” he looked at the orc, but did not mention her name, “I can introduce you to Drustai.  Drustai is to lead me to the city of Thalambath, where I can get information on my brother and my daughter.  However, as with most things here in the south, this information will not come free.”

The time for swallowing his pride had come. “I know I have no right to ask, but I will do so anyway.  I need your help.  I'll let Drustai explain what is required of us, and you may then answer whether or not you wish to accompany me further.”

He then surrendered the floor to the elf.  Let her explain what was ahead.
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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.
Damien Scar
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2010, 03:05:38 AM »

. “Well, it appears as though we are once again all strangers to each other.  Lili, Damien,” Damien saw Altario look in the direction of the orc, but did not mention her name, “I can introduce you to Drustai.  Drustai is to lead me to the city of Thalambath, where I can get information on my brother and my daughter.  However, as with most things here in the south, this information will not come free.”

The time for swallowing his pride had come. “I know I have no right to ask, but I will do so anyway.  I need your help.  I'll let Drustai explain what is required of us, and you may then answer whether or not you wish to accompany me further.”

Damien looked around waiting for the obvious question, but it never came; he sighed, guess it is up to me then, "Um...excuse me just a moment Drustai before you speak. I have a question or two before we continue." Damien looked at Lili and her bird. "How did you get abducted by a couple of slave traders? You seem to be able to wield that cutlass pretty well. And," he turned to face the orc, I saw you talking to at least three of those slave traders, case in point though, I too played dice with them, until I beat them, then they left. However you have some explaining to do. Were you with these slave traders and then when things were going bad switched sides and fought against them?"

Damien glanced at Altario. "Do you not think those questions should be answered before Drustai lays out her plans. We may have a traitor in our midst. And not to belabor the point, but who is she?" Damien nodded toward the strange dark woman wearing some sort of robes, " and why should you want to include her in your search? And where is Lyth, our healer? I would recommend you taking healer along with us, and she seems to be a very good one."

Damien took a goblet and filled it with water from the pitcher and took a large swig of it. "And as far as your question is concerned Altario. I will help you, if you will have me, that is?"

Damien silently went to drinking his water, but his eyes darted back and forth between the orcess and Lili.
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.
Lili the Elfcat
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2010, 08:34:34 AM »

Kassandra had told Lili some things, at least, earlier, while they were in Lili’s room with Grallen. The bird had sat on Lili’s shoulder, chatting in multiple voices. Lori’s voice had been there, and Garret’s, and Altario’s, and the baron’s. As was her wont, Kassandra hadn’t given a straight answer to any of Lili’s questions, but Lili found out enough to conclude that the bird had fluttered her way to the tavern, met the party there, and somehow convinced them to look for Lili. How had she known where Lili was, even as Lili was under the spell of her demon? How had she known to tell the others? The story of her rescue, thought Lili, was further proof that birds were at least as clever as people. As far as Lili was concerned, Kassandra was the supreme heroine of the night.

Drustai’s voice, also, had appeared in Kassandra’s songs. This had been a rather uncomfortable experience for Lili. Never had she heard her friend speak in a more chilling voice. Every time Kassandra said “wait” or “human”, or something in her unintelligible elven tongue, Lili had jumped, and hadn’t been able to resist turning around and scanning her surroundings, to make sure that Drustai hadn’t entered the room, and wasn’t sneering at Lili behind her back, in that way that she had. There was so much disgust and disdain in that voice that Lili wondered how Drustai could bear being alive. Unfortunately, Kassandra did not share Lili’s feelings, and delighted in groaning Eesolith fava , or something of the sort, whenever Lili least suspected it.

Nonetheless, Lili was glad when Drustai appeared in the bar. In all the confusion at the harbour, and the exertion of walking back to the inn through the rain, supporting wounded people, and smelling one’s own blood in one’s clothes, Lili hadn’t even thought to say ‘thank you’ to her rescuers. Now, it seemed, they were all here. She had just signaled to Toama that she wanted to say something to everyone, when Altario began to address the group.

He hadn’t found his brother, then, or his daughter, and doing so had obviously turned out to be more complicated than he had thought. But just when it got really interesting, the so-called baron interrupted. As she listened, Lili felt anger rise in her. He asked all the right questions, of course – exactly the sort of questions Lili would have asked, if she had been in his position – but those were exactly the sort of questions Lili didn’t want to be asked right now, and certainly not in front of everyone. I better think of something quick,  Lili thought.

”Ho, ho, old man!” said Lili.

”Slow down. When you’re trying to be quick, things start to go wrong. Back there on the ship, you lost your footing, remember?”

Lili could still hear his voice, as clearly as if Kassandra had sung it: I came to rescue you.  He’d lain belly-down on the ship’s deck when he’d said that. And as Lili had missed much of Damien’s subsequent fighting, she assumed that he was rather incapable at anything but big words.

“And now,” she continued, ”it seems that you’ve lost your tongue, seeing how it runs half a stral ahead of your head. You should go to bed and sleep the booze out before you come and accuse Grallen of treachery. Maybe you distrust orcs on principle? That’s probably not a bad idea. But if you believe humans are any better, you can’t have been around much. Those slave traders didn’t look very orcish to me.”

She smiled at Damien, in a motherly sort of way, as if to say: well, you’ve been a foolish boy, but I forgive you; you still need to learn a lot. The smile was meant to be seen not just by Damien, of course.

Lili turned her gaze to Altario.

”For my part, I thank you all for getting me out of a big mess. And I mean everyone ."

Lili let her gaze wander around the table, and made a point of looking both Damien and Grallen in the eye.

"I don’t know many people who would have come at the call of a bird to save the life and honour of a woman whom they hardly know.”

Not that I didn’t do some of the saving myself, especially when it comes to my ‘honour’.  Lili's lungs still felt somewhat like a deflated pig's bladder, refusing to let go of the memory of Quar’s crunching embrace.

”As you could see, Kassandra, my cutlass and me were rather outnumbered by the slavers.” That should shut that bigmouth up, I hope. If he asks me one more time how I got captured, I’ll throttle him. Wouldn’t I like to know!

”So it was good to have some friends come along. And, my dear Baron, of those friends, Grallen here –” she pointed backwards at the orcess, thumb over shoulder, ”Grallen beat you all to it. She was the first to fight at my side.”

And so she had been, that Grallen girl. Why, we do not know. But we will find out. Oh yes, we will. Only the baron - the baron better keep his nose out of this particular matter.

”And now I’d quite like to hear what Drustai has to say. Thalambath is not the friendliest place for visitors, or so I’ve heard.”
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)
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Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai)
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2010, 12:34:54 PM »

Drustai sat back and watched as the conversation unfolded between Altario, the other man, and the woman with the Daggerbeak. Suffice it to say, she believed that Damien's questions were rather good ones. She did not appreciate being dragged into a rescue mission for some woman she did not know, nor the fact that the orc was a part of their party. When Lili spoke and blasted Damien's concerns aside, Drustai frowned. Ignorance is not bliss, she mused to herself.

She raised another spoonful of her soup to her mouth, then set the spoon down into the bowl, clasping her hands in front of her as she looked around the party. She took a breath, then let it out, slowly. Curse this situation. At least dealing with just Altario had been fine, but now his troop of strangers added even more complexity to things. Damien's musing that there was a traitor in their midst--namely the orc--resonated quite well with her. Lili's defense of the beast, not to mention the fact that she was the one who had allowed herself to get captured in the first place, left a sour impression of the woman in her mind.

She finally sat back, took a sip from her glass of brandy, and then addressed the group.

"Frankly," she began, "I for one do not appreciate giving out details while that thing is at my table." She motioned to the orc as she spoke, before giving Altario a pointed stare. She didn't trust any of these people with the exception of maybe Altario. What were their motivations? Their interests? Why were they here? How long had they known each other? These were questions she needed answered before she could be willing to place her trust in them.

She growled to herself. She was going to get herself hanged if she was too hasty. She let out a weary sigh, and then took another drink from her glass, before looking out to the group again. "Let me put this straight. I do not trust any of you, and if you are smart you do not trust me. That I am even thinking of letting any of you in on this is because you Altario has vouched for you."

She stopped to look at Altario briefly, then continued, with a much lower voice so that only those at the table could hear. "For reasons not of any of mine nor Altario's choosing, we need to... move something into Thalambath. I do not have the knowledge he seeks--or rather, that we both seek--so we are doing this unsavory dirty-work for another party."

"So," she said, "for those who have never been there, here is something you should know." She paused, taking another drink. "It has more guards than it has citizens. It is insular, arrogant, and brutal. They do not appreciate visitors or traders, especially non-humans, and have strict trading laws to keep outside imports from coming in.

"We are bringing in a small sample of a rather common commodity--wood. It is not that common down here, and their only forested area is still recovering from the Norong'Sorno's lava flows. Nearly all of what is left goes to the government, which uses it on official projects like naval expansion. To keep business internal, they heavily tax anything else coming in from the outside." She looked around at each individual--save the orc--to see how many would get the picture yet. "So, small amounts of it can be as valuable as jewelry, to a noble or wizard that might be interested in some exquisitely-carved wooden finery. We have been 'hired' to find a way to get the sample to a potential buyer. Past the authorities, and in a way that can potentially work for future shipments as well.

"It is not as easy as it might sound. Just looking where you're not supposed to will get you searched. Weapons and magic are not permitted in the city." She paused, then clarified, "And by not permitted, I mean taken from your person and locked up when you enter. And you'd likely lose more than a hand if you got caught."

She set her glass down, then folded her hands on the table as she looked around the group again. She figured she should wait for comments, before continuing further.

"Essentially," she began in closing, "we are being asked to smuggle goods into the most difficult city on Caelereth to smuggle into."

Logged
grallen gast
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2010, 12:24:54 AM »

Despite her aching muscles, Grallen found herself tensing as more people joined the table. The dark woman who’d been so inexplicably helpful wasn’t so bad, and Lili... was hard to be sure of, but not openly hostile. But the other three each added their unspoken disapproval of her existence, despite the surprise nod of recognition from Altario. She could smell it, almost. She avoided the elf woman’s gaze, staring into her glass, but her ears twitched, hearing the halt in footsteps, practically feeling the glare on her. Ignore it.

The smell of hot soup was harder to ignore. The more rational, calculating part of Grallen’s mind counted back through the days. Liquid breakfasts, dinners, nonexistent lunches. Closest you’ve been to a proper meal in days was the loaf of bread that almost got you lynched. Welcome to the bounteous south.

“Well, it appears as though we are once again all strangers to each other.  Lili, Damien, I can introduce you to Drustai...”

Grallen couldn’t help her lip curling, at that. I have a name. It may not speak of fancy famous families or bloody battles or ancient kingdoms, but I’ve had to fight to keep it before, and I will not have some arrogant pasty-skinned human tell me it means nothing. You will notice me, one way or the other.

The thoughts flashed through her head, quickened by alcohol, but she kept silent, forced herself to listen. Moments later she was glad she had.

“I need your help.”

Grallen blinked, not sure what to think, for a moment. It was a moment before she realised she was already thinking of helping. Why? She wasn’t sure, though a skulking voice somewhere at the base of her conscience pointed out how long it was since she’d kept any kind of company for longer than it takes to relieve them of their possessions. And of course, we did promise to make them remember our name...

She didn’t have much leisure for introspection, though, because Baron Scar spoke, and his accusations made her stomach clench painfully. She glared at him, was about to say something she’d probably regret, when Lili spoke up. Thankyous and reasonings, calm words that seemed alien and strange. Grallen glanced at her out of the corner of her eye, taken by surprise, and too tired to hide the expression of confusion and wonder that crossed her face.

”And now I’d quite like to hear what Drustai has to say. Thalambath is not the friendliest place for visitors, or so I’ve heard.”
The orcess nodded slowly, and again tried to wrestle her thoughts back to matters in hand. She still didn’t look at Drustai, though, wary that she needed to concentrate on facts, whoever was delivering them.

"Frankly, I for one do not appreciate giving out details while that thing is at my table."

Grallen closed her eyes, pressing her glass to her jaw again as clenched teeth made it ache. Just keep quiet and listen. You’re too tired, if you speak without thinking you Will make things worse. Prove you’re better than them. Keep quiet and listen.
It seemed Lili’s idea of Thalambath was overgenerous, to say the least. But we’ve gotten past guards before, right? More guards just tend to confuse each other, don’t they? If Drustai thinks she can slip past then I sure as hell can, right? I’m smaller than her, for a start. And I believe I’ve mastered tricks quite unknown to her. Like smiling.


"Essentially, we are being asked to smuggle goods into the most difficult city on Caelereth to smuggle into."

Grallen’s ears pricked, and she looked up, meeting the elf’s gaze for the first time. Her voice was hoarse and quiet, but a trace of a tired-out smile played at her lips as she murmured
“That sounds like a challenge.”
Logged

When you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.
Grallen's CD
Lili the Elfcat
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Human, Helvet'ine Kuglimz


« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2010, 02:56:11 AM »

Lili tore a small chip of wood from the table and used it to clean her teeth. It was good to have something to do, while she struggled to follow Drustai’s report. Lili didn’t know who or what the Norong’Sorno was; “naval expansion” made her think of the bellybuttons of old men that grow fatter and fatter; and when she heard that the Thalambathians thought a piece of wood as dear as a jewel, Lili stopped picking bits of food from her teeth, and instead began to chew on her woodchip. She’d grown up in a forest, surrounded by wood. On the other hand, she had killed for jewels, more than once.

Yet by the end of Drustai’s speech, much had fallen into place, and Lili could see the picture.

”Smuggling, eh?” Lili said.

”Isn’t that against the law?”

She didn’t grin, although not-grinning took some effort. The thought that Altario the Upright, used to entering cities on horseback, should have to hunch behind low walls and crawl through secret passages in order to smuggle a piece of wood into town - that thought made Lili want to guffaw out loud. And if that baron was really a baron, he should be turning blue with indignation now, shouldn’t he? He should start calling for the guards? Draw his battle axe? Protect law and order? But the baron did nothing of the sort. Fine bunch of aristocrats we've got here.

But suppress the grin Lili did, for she knew what was at stake. Altario was looking for his brother and his daughter, and the search wasn’t going well. Across the table, Lili saw the pain in his eyes. Altario was a man who knew that in his struggle to fulful a high dream, he was sinking low  That he even tolerated Grallen at the table was a sign of desperation. But even though he studiously avoided saying her name, Lili knew that he wouldn’t refuse the orc’s help. She remembered very well how Grallen had tricked everyone at Strata’s gate, how she had inexplicably disappeared – and then re-appeared in the tavern. When it came to smuggling, Grallen was more likely to succeed than anyone else at this table. Altario, Lili felt sure, would have figured this out, too.

At any rate, the venture sounded dangerous. There were many questions to be answered before one could even begin to make a plan. For one, Lili noticed that neither Altario nor Drustai had mentioned payment. For herself, she didn’t need money right now, and felt that she owed something to everyone else, seeing as without them she’d now be on the high sea and on the way to some Southern slave market. But what about the others? Why did Altario think they would come along? Still, this was maybe the least of his problems.

Lili took the toothpick out of her mouth and regarded it ponderously. It was chewed to uselessness. She threw it behind her, and was ready to speak in earnest.

”Who is this Mister Other Party that you mentioned there, Drustai?” she asked.

And with a glance at Altario she added:

”Have they got your brother?”

On Lili’s shoulder, Kassandra became aware that Lili was now more alert and agitated. The bird had turned her head backwards and hidden it among her wing feathers, in order to keep out the light and noise, for she was tired. Now she lifted her head ever so slightly, just enough for one eye to emerge. The eye opened, and gazed straight at Toama.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 06:11:06 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
Toama SorInyt
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Human, Sand Sisters


« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2010, 04:29:10 AM »

Toama sat in silence as words swirled around the table. Or well, not swirled so much as they were being thrust at each other like daggers. She only half understood what was going on, but it was as obvious as anything that there was not one person present who trusted any of the others. There were even some words thrown vaguely in her direction, though the person throwing them did not have the decency to ask her directly. She was too tired to feel she needed the decency to answer him personally if he could not even address her with 'you', referring rather to 'she' while she was sitting right there. She needed all the focus that remained after the ordeal to try and make sense of what was going on.

As far as she gathered, one of the men, the one who had sent them all scurrying down the ship's ropes, was looking for something - or someone. In order to get information, he needed to bring wood into some town that needed it but didn't have it. Being from the desert, she understood the scarcity of wood, though her own people made do with what they had, rather than pay exorbitant amounts of money for something that was not natural to their environment and might not survive the heat.

Of course, having fitured this much out, she was left with a number of unanswered questions - along with everyone else, it seemed. Such questions as - what was everyone else doing here? Why was the elfess doing the explaining, rather than the man himself? What was the orc's purpose in all this? What had brought this group together? And most of all - how had she ended up sitting with them all, contemplating how to help them break the law?

There  was no question about it that she would help them, of course. They had saved her life - or her liberty, which was the same thing for a nomad like her anyway. She could not imagine Foiros being disappointed with her for breaking the law, not if it was to repay a deed like that. She wasn't much of a sneak, never had been - straight to the point, that was her way of life. But if these people thought that she could help, then that was exactly what she would do.

She sat up a little straighter, and when an opening occurred in the conversation, she leaned forwared a little and said as much.
"I am not knowink what this all is meanink. Because for I was makink little attention, I was in hands of... of bad men. You all were helpink me go away, also if you are not knowink me. Now I have to you debt. I help." She nodded once and sat back. She had said what she needed to say. Anything else was for the others to discuss.

Logged

Damien Scar
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2010, 01:47:49 AM »

Damien sat back as if being slapped literally by Lili's reprimand. He bent his head down and stared into the pool of water in his goblet; watching ripples of water flow from the center of the goblet to the outside. He listened as Drustai spoke. His eyes flashed up briefly and stared at Altario when he heard Drustai explain that they had to smuggle a piece of wood into Thalambath. So, instead of good guys we now become common criminals, hey Altario? Damien thought as he looked at his friend. The Remusian sat there, no emotion on his face; hard stern eyes, a set jaw, solid, unmovable, like the permafrost of his lands; like a mountain of pure granite or Uyrant.

Damien then looked back down at his water. Who was he to question Altario and his motives? Damien had no family. He had no brother. No wife, no daughter. What would he do if he did? A brief flash of a woman flashed before Damien's face, a tear slowly trickled its way down his cheek and fell into his water. He would do anything! Just like Altario would do anything to find his brother and ultimately, hopefully his daughter.

Damien raised his head as he heard Lili speak once again and actually said out loud what everyone must have been thinking. Damien gave her a thoughtful look. She sure did speak her mind, and it seemed that she was not above doing things that were against the law either. Of course the more he studied her, the more he realized that she probably did most things against the law: she was a survivor, and most survivor's walked on the thin line of the law. Much like the orcess, Grallen, he supposed.

Drustai, was an enigma to him. Many questions ran through his head about her. How did she and Altario meet? Where were they when Lili got kidnapped and the rest of us turned out to help and then suddenly they both appeared. Damien was glad they did, for the rescue was about to become a blood bath, and Damien was not quite sure if the body and blood that the sailors would have thrown overboard after they were at sea would not be his. Still, Who did she take Altario to? And what kind of power or authority or perhaps she or even her and Altario were being extorted to do this job for whoever it was they had spoken to, who had information about Altario's brother who could lead them finally to his daughter.

Damien was about to speak when the desert woman spoke with her strange accent that Damien had to listen to very carefully to understand her speech. It was short and to the point. She would help because she had a debt to pay. Damien raised his head and stared into Altario's eyes. Damien had a debt to pay as well, not so much to Altario, but to himself. Of course, as he looked into Altario's eyes, Damien realized that Altario only saw a broken down drunk. Damien did not blame him, and that was one of the reasons Damien decided to go along with this scheme, though every bone in his body screamed against it, he had to prove to Altario that he was the man that Altario had met in Voldar so many years ago...and to prove it to himself.

"I...I will help you," Damien hesitated a little before going on, "if you want me, that is?"
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.
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2010, 12:23:50 PM »

As soon as Altario got his request verbalized, it was Damien who jumped in with some rather pointed questions.  The Remusian had expected it to be the elf who had qualms, but took Damien's apprehensions with only a stare.  He was tired, and though Damien did have valid points, Altario simply did not care.

He took a deep breath and was about to convey that sentiment to Damien but held off as Lili started to chastise the Baron.  She was not rude, but her words were firm.  She didn’t want too much light shone on the circumstances behind her kidnapping.

Interesting.  Altario made a note to talk to her later.  Something was amiss, and if it was going to affect the search for Nayriss, then he needed to know what it was.  Drustai then began to explain the mission ahead to the group.  Hearing the elf’s bleak assessment of the situation could not help but sink his optimism.  Hearing it spelled out so bluntly brought the enormity of it into focus.

Perhaps it was her dire tone that caused him to meet her pointed stare after her insult to Grallen with one just as icy.  He had no love for orcs, but magical elves had no business trying to take the high ground.  Given his druthers, both of them could kill one another for all he cared, but this wasn't his choice.  He needed help.  Both of their help.

Lili broke Altario from his war of glares with the elf and he turned to her.  "This other party has information I need, and won't give it up unless we do his bidding.  Yes, it will be against the law, but I have no doubt some of those here have never let that stop them before.  As for my brother, I'm still not sure where he is.  He might be working for this other party as well.  It's still a mystery."

The broken Tharian, heavy accented voice of the dark skinned stranger drew his attention.  In his debt?  A woman with honour then?  He nodded to her.  "I would be pleased to have you help us.  Thank you."
He then faced Damien.  The man looked old.  Could he be trusted?  Would he simply put all of them at increased risk?

"Damien.  What I want from you is something different.  I have no idea if what I'm being told from this other man is truthful or not.  I want you to stay behind and keep looking for Ryk.  If you find him, then the two of you can catch up to us.  If not, then you may discover my brother's whereabouts."  Not the whole truth, but as much of it as Damien needed to know.  This would serve both problems Altario faced.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 12:24:38 PM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

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