Adventures of Caelereth

Archives => Thalambath's Heart => Topic started by: Talas Anthavin on May 15, 2007, 10:18:52 AM

Title: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on May 15, 2007, 10:18:52 AM
When the door to the hut closes, there is just enough noise to rouse Ta'las from his sleep.  The Shendar shakes his head and looks around the hut.  Though it is dark, there is just enough moonlight shining through the poorly shuttered window for him to notice that everyone but Talia and Terra are present.  He sighs, wishing he had had a chance to speak with Lady Terra before the healing could begin, but the two of them need to focus on themselves.

The Shendar lays back down and puts his hands behind his head.  He grins as the quiet murmuring of the others in their sleep is occasionally interrupted by someone's snoring.  As the time creeps by, the night sky grows lighter, and air starts to fill with the chirping of birds, but Ta'las is no longer awake to enjoy the first rays of the morning.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on May 16, 2007, 01:39:15 AM
Capher felt Talia and Terra leave. He opened one eye and watched as they were led out by the brownies.  He stirred and looked around the hut at the remaining companions; they were all asleep. He noticed that Morcaanan had either conciously or unconciously lay down with his back toward Teri, who had curled up into a ball with her back toward him; not touching, but touching just the same.  Capher wondered what was between the two and if it would ultimately make one or the other leave, or if they stayed together, would they be able to work side by side without distraction?

All of the companions needed to have clear heads and that meant himself as well and though he did not want to admit it, that meant he had to be healed as well and so instead of going to the prominent mountains, they had to go to Ximax first. Capher clenched his fist in anger and frustration; it was just more time lost and more time for Eckra shade to gain more power and control over the lands and his master.

He forced his eyes to close, but he did not sleep, instead his mind whirrled like a dust storm throwing questions, ideas, plans, and a myriad of other problems that needed to be sorted, catagorized and taken care of.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on May 16, 2007, 11:27:36 PM
Something kept on nagging at Capher as he tried to sleep, but he could not, so he finally woke. It was still dark out, but it was not night, Capher was sure of that. He crept outside, went a far distance from the camp and relieved himself.  His mind kept on working on a problem he did not even know, it was just at the tip of his thought but it kept on nagging him.  Finished, he made his way back to the camp, the cool air of the early morning was refreshing as he passed the camp and made his way to the river.

He stood upon the banks and watched the water trip and trickle over rocks and saw fish in their eddies, some fairly good sized ones, coming to the surface to suck off a bug unfortunate enough to land on the water.  He took a deep breath and welcomed the fresh air into his lungs.  He turned around and looked upriver and then downriver and then as if he were hit in the face the thought that had nagged him most of the night and even now, finally became clear; how to retrieve their animals?

He quickly rushed back to the Council Tree and the hut and went in. His companions were still sleeping. "Awake, Tal'as, Morcaanan, Ken, awake. I need to speak with you.  He noticed Tulpje had slept above Tal'as's head. She must like him, he thought as he waited for his companions to awake.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on May 17, 2007, 01:53:53 AM
The "Awake" was barely out into the air when the rasp of hard steel joined it and a Korweynite blade was leveled in Capher's direction.

"What's the meaning of this, Old Wolf?" snarled the man in a growl that was wolf-like itself when he realized that Capher wasn't a foe. "Hasn't anyone ever told you about how to wake sleeping people?" He was still grumpy from the events of yesterday - that, and a night of little sleep didn't help his mood at the sudden rousing.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on May 17, 2007, 08:01:33 AM
Capher's voice and the rasp of steel rouses Ta'las, who leaps to his feet.  The Shendar looks around the hut and sees Morcaanan's weapon is levelled at Capher.  Ta'las is at least five paces from the two of them and doubts he will be able to stop Morcaanan from attacking Capher, if that is the Korweynite's intention.  However, judging by the tone of Morcaanan's voice, the man seems perturbed, rather than hostile.

Ta'las narrows his eyes as he looks at the pair of men.  "What is happening here?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on May 18, 2007, 01:09:58 AM
"...would be a good place to rest... from waking up."

Ken isn't sure what he'd been talking about; he rarely cares. He has heard his name called, and sits up a little to see who has done the calling. Of course, it must be Capher, who is currently inspecting Morcaanan's blade, which Ken notes aloud seems rather odd. Reluctantly, Ken stands, climbing up the wall with his hands and remarking on what time it must be; even before sunrise. What use has he of getting up in the dead of night? Then again, if Capher wants them awake, they'll be awake. Vaguely, he thinks of the animals, and the fellow they left to guard them - a fellow he can't well remember - but the thought passes without words, Ken narrating instead the time of day, and from thence onward.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on May 18, 2007, 02:00:41 AM
Capher stood stock still when he heard the sound of steel being drawn and executed in his direction. Morcaanan's blade was mere nailsbreath's from Capher's torso. Capher had been so excited about finally figuring out what had been nagging him most of the night and into the early hours of the morning that he did not think that rushing into the hut and yelling would produce unwanted action, instead of wanted ones.

"Morcaanan, I apologize for waking you up so abruptly, I apologize to you all, but I could explain myself better if you would sheath your blade; somehow steel makes me forget what I was about to say," Capher said with a small smile.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on May 18, 2007, 11:01:14 AM
"For my part, there is no need to apologize, Capher.  However, it is wise advice never to wake a warrior with a raised voice, unless you mean it as a call to arms.  A weapon may be more than a fore away from a warrior's hands, but it is always less than a thought from an enemy's belly."

Ta'las looks to Morcaanan and nods.  "I think that we should listen to Capher - I expect he has good reason for waking us as he's done."

"Don't you Capher?"  The Shendar steps near Capher and grins at his friend, as he claps him on the shoulder.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on May 19, 2007, 03:31:11 AM
"Wise words of advise my friend," Capher acknowledges Tal'as, "I will remember them well."

He took a deep breath, "Yes I do have a good reason. There had been something nagging at me all night and just now, when I was down by the river, I remembered what it was. How are we to get our animals here?  I wanted to talk to Morcaanan here, to ask him how he got to the caves and beyond us as there was only one way into the vale, or so we thought.  There must be another way, a pass perhaps through the mountains that we can use to bring our animals here.  Terri's brother, Garrek and his allies disappeared into the forest and since we did not see them come before us, yet they were waiting for us, inside the caves, their must be a way without using the caves to reach the vale from where we left our animals."

He took another breath, "Did I just repeat myself?" He asked, uncertainly.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on May 20, 2007, 01:28:34 AM

"Capher, have you considered that some people might could climb over these mountains? Also, it's possible that the caves we went through have more than one path through them. As for Garrek... I wouldn't be surprised if he simply hid in the trees until we were a good distance from the opening and slipped back through, which would explain why we haven't heard of him here."

'Teri hadn't meant to interrupt, but she has been listening in, unable to sleep ever since Capher began stirring. Now, she adds her opinion, and is silent, still laying on the cot, though she has turned to face them.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on May 20, 2007, 03:05:57 AM
Tulpje, who had been sleeping close to Ta'las, woke up when people started talking. She sat up and silently listened to the discussion. She wasn't entirely sure, but she thought they were talking about ways out of the Vale. Here was something she could help them with. A good thing she had stayed here, even though nobody had formally invited her. When 'Teri stopped speaking, there was a small break in which started talking, knowing that if she started when someone else was speaking, they wouldn't hear her.

"Pass is place... cross mountains, yes? Is not here. Mountains much high, much danger. You fall, you dead. No horsebeasts there, they also fall. Only way in Vale be em... Gorge. Also only out, unless fly, but you not fly. Horsebeasts better out, much big for Vale. You back to gorge for out Vale, back to horsebeasts. You no needing in Vale."

If the big people really needed the horses, Tulpje could ask the other brownies if they knew a way for them to come here, but for herself she was quite certain that the mountains at least wouldn't let them through. If they would, many more big people would have found the vale by now, and the vale brownies would probably have scattered as a result. The Council tree would probably have ended in some person's fireplace, or perhaps as a closet. It was much better the way it was, but it meant that the valley hadn't seen any horses yet.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on May 22, 2007, 12:15:15 PM
Ta'las furrows his brow when Capher mentions bringing the animals into the Vale.  "I'm sorry my friend, but I do not understand the need to bring our mounts here.  We left them outside the gorge expecting to return that way, and though I would prefer to have Desert Rose with me, I don't see why we need them here."

"To me the greater problem, if there is not an alternate route through the gorge, is how to get across the chasm where we fought Garrek, now that the bridge is out."

He looks around at the others.  "What am I missing?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on May 22, 2007, 11:09:26 PM
Morcaanan sheathed his weapon and sat back on his sleeping place. "I don't know how Garrek came to be here" he said, "but I merely beat you here to the Vale. I followed some tracks that led away from what was clearly a short battle you had and encountered some mercenaries. Rather than picking up your trail again and follow you there I made straight for the Gorge, following the elves directions. I expected to arrive after you." He shrugged. "I pushed my horse pretty hard - then turned him loose before entering the caves." His eyes narrowed at that thought. "Which means we are an animal short, if I stay with you after leaving here."

He looked up at Capher. "And speaking of which, where are we going after leaving here? I remember the elves mentioning the Magic City while we were there, and they told me to expect you to go there after we finished here. Just what are our plans once the healing is over?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on May 24, 2007, 01:16:16 AM
'Teri listens intently to Tulpje speaking, a smile working across her face. It is fun to listen to this little one talk; genuinely amusing to try to understand what she is saying, her simple structure and minute vocabulary. Eventually, she slowly sits up and leans down toward the little one, keeping a good distance away yet. "Tulpje," 'Teri addressed her, a little abruptly to make sure she got the brownie's attention, "would you come outside with me? We can talk about... the Vale. About... all kinds of things."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on May 24, 2007, 01:33:35 AM
Tulpje looks around a little surprised as 'Teri addresses her. A smile lights up her face as soon as she has worked out what she has been offered exactly. She liked 'Teri. She was, after all, the first of the Big People she'd met, even before Ta'las (who, as it happened, she also liked very much). She hadn't forgotten the fall yesterday, and that she hadn't been able to help, even though she seemed better now, thanks to the life magic of Tulpje's race.

She nods in answer to 'Teri's offer. "You carry?" she asks, but she doesn't really wait for an answer. She gets up, limps over to where the woman's arm is resting not too far from where she'd been sitting, and climbs up easily using the sleeve. She's had quite some practice climbing up people's sleeves in the past year. A shoulder was by far the best place to sit if she wanted to talk to someone, so long as she didn't have to hide from other people, which she had also had to do on a number of occasions, mostly because many people didn't know anything about Brownies.

She doesn't stop to think if maybe 'Teri doesn't want her so near. But after all, she had proposed walking out together, and there was no way that Tulpje could keep up with the strides of the big people, however slowly they tried to walk.

She pushes some hair out of the way and makes herself comfortable on 'Teri's shoulder. "Ok," she says, "we walk. You all right now? Not hurting now?" she asks, only a little concerned. The life magic of the Brownie healers is usually enough to let anyone feel better, especially if the wounds were not too deep to begin with. But still, life magic did not always work, as her own leg was daily proof. It had been broken a long time ago, and none of the healers had been able to mend it completely back then, even though many had tried. It had left them baffled, and it had also left Tulpje with a limp.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on May 24, 2007, 09:45:16 AM

There is a short pause as Capher considers his answer.  Every delay gives Eckra more time to gather his forces, but if they wish to succeed in finding the Sword of Fury, he must be at his strongest.  He looks down and sighs.  "Yes, I believe we may have to travel to Ximax to find someone who can help me before we go any further, though my heart tells me to push forward."

He looks to the others in the cabin for reassurance that this is the right decision – Morcaanan, 'Teri, Kenrill and Ta'las.  Capher wishes he could speak to Talon to seek his counsel, yet these people were looking for him to lead the way.  He remembers his failure to control his power – first, on board the ship, and then later, in the gorge.  The old wolf begins to tremble and wonder if he will ever be in control of himself again, but then he recalls the image of his master calling to him, “Capher, I need you.  We have a job to do.”

He straightens, breathes deeply and looks inward, allowing himself a glimpse of the strength that courses through him.  When his eyes open, he looks more at peace with himself.  "Once we are finished here, we travel to Ximax,” he replies.

"For now though, I wish to speak with the leader of the brownies.  It has been many years since I've visited the Vale, and I have much to catch up on."  He smiles at the others and nods to them.  "My friends, I will return later today."  Then Capher picks up his pack, which he shrugs over his shoulder, and exits the hut.


The Shendar watches his friend leave the hut and raises his eyebrows.  “That answers that question, though we still have much ahead of us.  First being, what is the best way to get to Ximax?  If I recall my geography, it may be quicker to travel overland rather than by ship, as it is an inland city that is protected on the north, west and south by the Zirkumire and Magic Sickle mountains, which I do not think we will be able to climb.  The land route will take us north through the Anrios Gap and near the Shivering Woods, which are best to avoid.”

He looks up at Morcaanan and Kenrill.  “What do each of you think?”

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on May 28, 2007, 03:08:03 AM
Morcaanan scratched the hair on his chin and shrugged. "Seems to me the decision has been made. I don't know that there is much more to discuss." He picked up his sword and stood. He was dressed in his breeches and undershirt, but made no move to put the rest of his clothing on.
"I am going to go practice, if any of you care to join me."
Without waiting for a reply he strode from the hut and went around it, following the vague track that he and Ta'las had taken to the quiet glen the day before - it struck him as a good spot to be; he noticed a Brownie astride an owl float past him as he walked.
When he reached the glen he slipped the belt of his sword and scabbard over a shoulder and reached for the sky in an intense stretch. Then he began to jog around the glen.
It was a short jog - just enough to make him perspire a little and make his heart beat quickly. Then he stopped, reached for the sky again, bent down and touched his toes for several long moments.
This ritual performed, he drew his sword and held it above his head, beginning a series of practice strikes from above and stepping slowly forward until he was halfway across the glen, then turned around and came back, repeating the actions in a slow, precise exercise.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on May 28, 2007, 04:33:35 PM
'Teri fully expected Tulpje to climb her hand up to her shoulder - that was the reason. Now, with the brownie, she steps out the hut, noticing Morcaanan leave behind her. A brief sigh escapes her as he passes, heading around the house, and she takes her path in another direction. Not far off, she finally sits again, leaning against a tree.

"Yes, I'm fine now. No more hurting. It wasn't a bad hurt anyway, but I am thankful... I think."

If she didn't feel attracted to Morcaanan, something in her heart asks, how could she be grateful for anything? He had given her life, twice now. No, she was grateful to him, but something was wrong, something was strangling the desire to be with him.

"Iuá cár'reóll móh," 'Teri whispers, and then turns her head a little toward Tulpje. "I am lost... in here," touching her chest. "Do you know about that?"[/font]

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on May 29, 2007, 01:57:38 AM
Tulpje looked earnestly to the side, where 'Teri's head was quite close. She had a suspicion that the woman's words had to do with the man who had left behind them, Tulpje didn't remember his name. She'd heard - and felt - the sigh that had escaped 'Teri's lips.

"Do know." she nodded. "Is like... heart? wanting fly, but staying by earth. Like you here, but other you else place. I feeling too, long time. Not now." She didn't know why she did it, but she leaned over and placed a very light kiss on 'Teri's cheeck. "Be right. Only needing time." There was probably a better way of saying what she wanted to say, but she didn't know Tharian well enough to say it in any other way.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on May 29, 2007, 10:46:33 AM
Ta'las looks at Kenrill.  "We are left alone, Kenrill, but I think it might be good to visit with Morcaanan today.  We can get you some practice with your sword," he says, glossing over the obvious fact that he thinks Morcaanan could use some company. 

Then he winks at the halfling and smiles.  "Especially if you intend to take on Garrek and his minions on your own again."  He pats the halfling on the shoulder.  "What do you say?  Shall we go outside and enjoy the fine weather?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on June 02, 2007, 11:25:17 AM
Uncertain whether Kenrill intends to follow him outside, Ta'las nods to the halfling and then exits the small hut.  Not knowing which way Morcaanan has gone, the Shendar decides to first follow the path up to the river.  The river gently laps against the river's edge, and aside from a few brownies hovering above him well out of hands' reach, the area is unoccupied.  Ta'las returns back to the hut and then turns down the second path he and Morcaanan had followed the day before.  He finds Morcaanan in the quiet glen, already well into his exercise routine. 

The Shendar then begins his own exercises - he takes several deep breaths and bends forward, to either side, and backward.  After a few minutes of stretches to loosen his arms, legs and back, he draws his dou'kili blades and focusses on a spot at chest height about one ped in front of himself, and at least ten peds away from Morcaanan.  Ta'las aims a series of attacks at that spot.  His strikes at first are slow and fluid, and he moves forward, then backward, and from side-to-side. 

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on June 03, 2007, 01:05:45 AM
'Teri smiles when Tulpje kisses her lightly on the cheek, and she wants to give the little brownie a hug, but that is hardly possible. She contents herself by resting a hand up next to Tulpje, and thinking. "How does time make it right? Often it is said, time heals all, but is it really all? And really always? I wonder. I think we have to reb- m-make us, ourselves, right, but can only do it over time."

She tries to vaguely echo the brownie's ability with the Tharian vocabulary, only adding what she feels is necessary to get her point across.

"Tulpje, the man is good. He has done much for me. I am.. told him, not talk anymore, I did not always feel right. But... maybe... it is me that is wrong. Maybe I should just... thank him more. Be more happy for him, even if I do not see things to be happy about. Tulpje, would you like to see him? Talk to him?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on June 03, 2007, 05:05:02 AM
Ken watches everyone file out, and follows Ta'las, although he is a little behind. Soon, however, before he reaches the clearing, the halfling is lost in his own thoughts and commentary, wandering from the path and into the trees. He attempts several times to communicate with them, but the brownies treat him with caution - almost with fear. Ken begins to wonder why, if it could be something he's done, or just because he's a big person - yet if they are truly afraid of him, why is it that one or two, sometimes three, can always be seen following him around, either on foot or astride an owl? Ken's ponders this question extensively.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on June 03, 2007, 11:19:54 PM
Tulpje considered 'Teri's words. She wasn't entirely sure what she was talking about. Saying something about 'the man' implied that it had to do with the one they'd passed, as she'd guessed, but she didn't know anything about their previous history, so she couldn't say where the problem lay. Perhaps she should ask, but first she answered to the first questions.

"Time not heal. You healing self. You say, 'this my way', and then you having peace. But always you needing time before say. All needing time. That reason why say 'Time heal wounds'. Before, I not good... did bad. I go away, go to lands of Big People, learn language, a little. But I not whole; I wound, inside. Loving Vale still, yes. So I come back. I ask sorry bad thing. That my say. Now I better, almost. I not knowing what your say. Maybe is thank you. Maybe is sorry, I not know. You know. You only one who knowing." She is silent for a while, then suddenly smiles an impish smile. She's not made to be serious for a long time. "I meet man, yesh. What name? I forget."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on June 10, 2007, 12:23:45 PM
As he stretches, Ta'las runs through the various fighting stances he has learned over the years, and in even less time than before the group had entered the gorge, he finds his focus again.  The Shendar's movements are fluid, as he thrusts and cuts with his swords - his body is constantly in motion.  He sheaths his weapons and launches himself into the air, aiming a circle kick at a point at shoulder height in front of himself.  When he lands, he reverses direction and flips backward, somersaulting in the air.  Ta'las lands again, but this time remains still.  He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, clearing his mind of his thoughts.  As he travels deeper inside his conscience, memories from his childhood once again assail him, but this time he controls their flow and focusses on the most recent events since beginning the quest.

He first recalls finding Capher and the others outside the Quallian, then Talia's healing and the meeting with the Elven Circle, their time in the gorge and finally the Vale of the Brownies.  Once again, the Shendar feels pressure at the edges of his mind, but he keeps it in check until he has searched through the flood of memories up to today.  When he opens his eyes, he feels rejuvenated.  Ta'las continues with his routine, mindful of what is happening around him in minute detail - he moves with ease and finds he is able to practice a little longer without tiring.  When he is finished, Ta'las resheaths his weapons and without a thought wonders how the others are doing.  In particular, he wishes he knew how Lady Terra's healing is going.

Once again he recalls his mother sister's words.  "Stop listening to your mind's words, young one, and open your mind to what's inside your heart."  This time, however, their meaning is clear to him.  Ta'las sets his jaw and heads off in the direction of the Council Tree.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on June 13, 2007, 02:03:59 PM
"The man's name is Jeharaid Morcaanan," 'Teri replies, her own expression lightly echoing the feeling she hears in the brownie's voice, and stands. "Yes, let me show you to him.

She stands, and making sure Tulpje is still firmly seated, begins a brisk walk toward where Morcaanan has gone. From her throat and lips breathes out an eery, yet happy tune, although it fades away when she enters the clearing, smiling softly. She lifts Tulpje from her shoulder and sets her somewhere high and safe, yet relatively close. "Wait here," she whispers to the brownie, then confronts Morcaanan, drawing her blade. "Care for some company?", she asks, smiling.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on June 14, 2007, 12:32:24 AM
When Morcaanan completed his high-guard exercises, he began a series of fluid cat-walks, spinning the sword to each side of his body with one hand while taking measured steps forward - more intimidation than a battle technique, better suited for a staff or club. But it forced concentration: misstepping or cutting the blade too close to his body and he would slice an arm or his face.

He continued his walk, the blade spinning faster and faster until it was an indistinct shining shield of singing steel on three sides of his body. The blade produced a slight whistle as it sliced the air.
The feat required concentration, but as his arm fell into the practice his mind began to wander a little. Back to the same questions as before: just why was he here? Should he go on with the others? Had the elf been right when he left the Quallian? She might be immortal, but it didn't mean she was perfect. Did 'Teri really care about him, or was he just some hero out of a story that she needed to latch onto?

He became so engrossed in the exercise and his own thoughts that he didn't notice Ta'las leave. The whistle turned into an audible "whiz" as his arm tired a little.


The blade spun out of his hand and embedded itself in the soft earth of the glade. He took in a sharp breath - he had grown careless. He examined the the cut in his undershirt; no blood or flesh, just cloth. He sighed in relief and went to retrieve his blade, growling at his foolishness.
There was the slightest whisper and ringing sound as he pulled his blade from the earth. He whirled and his sword rang across another pointing at him.

"Care for some company?" asked 'Teri, smiling. It seemed a very impish smile.

Seeing her so unexpectedly caught him completely off guard. By Loreán, she was beautiful! He felt his heart catch and took in a deep breath. "I am not sure I have the time to train you." 'Teri had never struck him as being very comfortable with a weapon in hand, so he wondered if she even knew how to wield the sword she had in hand - but he put his foot back and took a more suitable battle-pose, in case she decided to try and make him eat his words.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on June 14, 2007, 02:49:08 PM
"Yes, I carry a show-blade, don't I? It's because it's all I could get..."

She takes as few steps toward him as she can, to put herself just outside of his striking range, and launches herself into the air, landing on her feet behind him with a single twist - timed for the end of her jump, and extending into her attack. She aims the flat of her blade toward his ankle, going down into a complete crouch, and, when the attack is carried through regardless of success, she somersaults away into a handspring, and back on her feet, finishing, "Off my father's carcass, where Garrek's assassins left him to rot."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on June 15, 2007, 12:05:54 PM
In the distance, the large Cinnabark Pine towers above the trees surrounding it – trees that have seen three times as many winters as the young Shendar.  Ta’las follows the forest path, aware that he is now being watched by several Brownies as he approaches their city.  What he can’t see, is that a large clearing nearly one hundred peds in diameter surrounds the Council Tree, because of the denseness of the forest understory.  Until he reaches its edge, where he pushes aside the branch of a small sapling and stops.  His mouth is agape as he looks upon the hub of the Brownies’ realm.

At the fork of the River of the Reeds and the Snake River stands the Cinnabark Pine that was magically encouraged to a height greater than a hundred peds.  Its blue-green needles stand out in stark contrast to the emerald green of the rest of the trees around it.  Adding even more to the ethereal nature of what Ta’las is seeing, is the great number of brownies flitting amongst the branches of the tree.  Blessed Seyella, there must be thousands – maybe tens of thousands!   

Undaunted, the Shendar steps into the clearing.  His smile widens as he nears the Council Tree, for he can now see the many doors and even small structures that have been built on the branches and even in the trunk.  He is now less than fifteen peds from the Council Tree, and finally several brownies on owls, eight with brown skin, and one who is green stop him.  Some carry blowpipes while others have bows – there is no maliciousness in their eyes, but they do look wary.

“Is the one called Capher here?”

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on June 15, 2007, 01:31:04 PM
He stepped forward under her leap and whirled so as not to leave his back to her. He saw her descending into a crouch and jumped back, her blade swishing under his feet as she struck for his ankles.
Her nimbleness took him by surprise; but a person as light and lithe as she couldn't have much in the way of stamina - or so he guessed. He brought his sword back to a low guard and cautiously advanced.

"A show blade? It fits you." A touch of bitterness crept into his voice as he spoke and continued his advance. "You seem to be capable of quite a lot of show, come to think of it."

He stepped forward and in the same motion, cut his weapon up her left side and down again to her right, intending to crown her with the down-stroke if she side-stepped to avoid the up-cut. Using the momentum of the attack, he stepped forward again and spun, the blade coming up and around to aim for the side of her skull and bringing him back to face her in his starting battle pose.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on June 16, 2007, 12:33:27 PM

The way the brownies look from one to another, it is obvious none of them speak Tharian.  “Capher – the old one with the silver hair and bald spot on his head?”  Ta’las makes a circular motion with his finger on the crown of his head to indicate where he is bald, and one of the brownies begins speaking to the others.  There is some tittering laughter, and then the brownies turn back to him.

The greenbark brownie points a finger at Ta’las and then at the ground, and then sends one of the other brownbarks back to the tree and then into the woods.  The Shendar waits patiently until the brownbark returns with Capher, who has an amused expression on his face.


“What can I do for you Ta’las?”

The Shendar hesitates a moment.  “I wish to see Lady Terra.”  Then, obviously realising he has admitted much, quickly adds, “and Talia too.  They left before we could speak.  To wish – I mean to give them – uhh, I don’t know what I mean.”

Capher smiles patiently and places a hand on Ta’las’ shoulder.  “You know you cannot interrupt their healing – even I dare not interfere with the brownies’ Life Magic.  But I will ask Primrose to give them your message.”

Ta’las almost squirms under Capher’s penetrating gaze.  “You know what is in my heart, don’t you?”

The Old Wolf chuckles a little.  “I think we all do – you wear your emotions quite openly, my friend.  I think it helps to explain why you are so poor at games of chance.”

The Shendar sighs and blushes a little.  “I cannot ask you to relay that, but I would ask that Primrose tell her – I mean them – that they are in our thoughts.  That we are with them in spirit, and to be strong.”

Capher nods.  “It will be done.  Now go back to the others – there is nothing more you can do here.”  With that, he claps Ta’las on the back and returns to the brownies.  Later that evening, he does tell Primrose everything the Shendar has asked of him.


Ta’las, meanwhile, returns to the small cabin, and then goes to find the others.  His first destination is the small clearing where he’d left Morcaanan earlier that day. 

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on June 19, 2007, 01:06:45 PM
'Teri evades by hopping backwards once, twice for the vertical slashes, then ducked for the horizontal cleave. She fights against a sad frown that pulls at her face, and stands directly in front of him as her eyes moisten. She doesn't try to return his attack, simply stands there, her blade hanging limply in her hand. With her throat tightening, she managed only a weak, "Morcaanan?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on June 19, 2007, 03:12:07 PM
The crowd around Ken is getting noticeably unfriendly. At first, a word here and there, and then finally, a sharpened stick is thrown at him, landing into the ground very near him.

Ken begins to ask what's wrong, but the answer comes very plainly with a shouted, "Don't speak to us, demon!"

Then, the cries of demon begin. "Begone, demon!", they shout, and, "Leave our valley!"

An owl flutters out of a tree and claws at Ken's face, and he tries to flee, but is attacked again. This time, the offending owl doesn't have time to calculate for Ken's quickly drawn shortsword, and it falls to the ground, flapping about and screaming in pain while its master dismounts, trying to assist his fallen ally, all the while joining in the cry, and the tension increases fourfold.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on June 21, 2007, 12:50:56 AM
The look on her face, and the tears in her eyes made Jeharaid hesitate - it occurred to him that this could have cost him his life.


He lowered his blade and stared at her. What did she want? What did he want?
He tossed the sword to the ground and crossed his arms. "I'm listening, if you need to say something."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on June 23, 2007, 12:39:46 PM
"I do. I need to say I'm sorry. Morcaanan, I'm sorry. I need to thank you for everything you've done for me."

She lets her blade fall to the ground, and reaches out to him, her hand open almost completely, the palm facing up. "I was so... so stupid; so foolish. I'm sorry," she begs, looking imploringly to him.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on June 24, 2007, 11:02:11 PM
He looked at her hand and then back at her face, weighing her apology.

"You may be sorry" he said slowly, "but do you really care? Being grateful is one thing - but that's not why I came back, and you know it." He spread his hands. "Is that all? You are sorry and you are grateful? Is that all?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on June 28, 2007, 09:13:08 AM
Up ahead of him, Ta'las hears movement from the clearing, and breaks into a light jog.  He is about to call out to his fellow warrior, but before he reaches the clearing, he catches the last few words spoken by Morcaanan. 

"Is that all?"  The serious tone of Morcaanan's voice causes him to rethink his intentions, and rather than interrupting the conversation, he stops beyond the edge of the clearing where Tulpje is waiting.

He looks up at the little brownie and smiles.  "Hello, Tulpje.  How are you doing today?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on June 28, 2007, 01:54:25 PM
"What m-"

'Teri bites her lip, forcing herself to not respond through sheer emotion. She closes her eyes tightly, and tries to form an answer. Slowly, gradually, she comes out with, "There is more, Morcaanan. I've hurt you, and it hurts me, too, to think that you're in pain. Morcaanan, I was wrong, very wrong. I... can I make it right? Will you forgive me? It isn't just... apologizing..." Then, her voice dropping to a whisper, she finishes, "I want you back."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on July 02, 2007, 01:35:55 PM
Morcaanan had rarely - if ever - felt so torn in his life.

He slowly reached down and picked up his sword, purposefully keeping his eyes averted from 'Teri.

Forget your troubled past
and brave the future‘s tasks...

With slow, deliberate movements, he sheathed the weapon and began to turn away. sorrow deep and vast
will cease and bliss will last.

The thought made him pause in mid-stride: was this what it meant? New sorrow...will cease? Had it been meant for this moment?
He looked skyward and shut his eyes in a silent prayer.
If he walked away now, it would never be the same, and he knew he couldn't live with that.

The sword dropped to the ground with a muffled thud, and he turned back to 'Teri. He reached for her hands. "If you want me back, you may have me." He smiled slightly. "Though I warn you, I am not easily gotten rid of."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on July 02, 2007, 05:49:40 PM
Tulpje was riveted by the scene she was watching. It seemed to her that 'Teri had found her way of solving her hurt. Tulpje was proud of her, even though she'd only known her for less than a day. She began to feel just a tad bit uncomfortable watching a scene so private - even though her natural curiosity still held the upper hand - when Ta'las interrupted her thoughts. She looked up at him and smiled. "I good. Talking with 'Teri. Not now more, her talking with Morc... Morc... Morcanan? Hurt inside 'Teri now beginning less, but now I not talking anyone of big people, and not see brownies here. I going with you, please?"

After that she took a deep breath. She wasn't sure if she'd said too much, but she figured that the other big people would see that something had changed. They ought to, at least. And it probably wouldn't take them long to see what exactly, certainly not this grey-eyed warrior who seemed to see more than he let be known.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on July 03, 2007, 11:25:04 AM
There is a brief moment of silence after Ta'las takes in what Tulpje has said - both with her words and her body language.  "Yes," he finally responds slowly.  "Morcaanan.  And of course, we will travel together," he adds with a nod, and gently offers his hand to help her onto his shoulder.

"We should leave these two to themselves for now, Tulpje.  It is thoughtful of you to keep 'Teri company," he adds with a smile.  "I am glad they have begun to work through their feelings.  I think Morcaanan was also feeling some hurt," he says quietly as he turns away from Morcaanan and 'Teri and heads back along the path to the small hut. 

The fact that the brownies were no longer in sight had not registered as unusual to him, but that is only because Ta'las does not know the brownies well.  However, the fact that Tulpje had felt it necessary to bring it to his attention raises his curiosity.  Perhaps it is just her manner of speech,   Ta'las thinks.  Still, he asks, "is there anywhere you would like to be right now?" 

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on July 04, 2007, 01:36:54 PM
'Teri takes his hands, draws herself to him and wraps her arms tightly around his neck. For a few moments, she lets herself sob quietly there, but it passes quickly, and she draws slightly away, smiling, giving the softest sniffle before offering, "Care to continue? If you don't, that's alright... I'm not sure I want to spar, myself. Jeharaid, thank you. I don't want to be rid of you anymore."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on July 07, 2007, 12:28:57 PM
He embraced her tightly, if briefly. He laughed a little at her offer to spar.

"No thank you. I think it might not be wise." He glanced ruefully at the nick in his shirt as he said this.

"Jeharaid, thank you. I don't want to be rid of you anymore."

"Nor I you." He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly. "Whatever happens, I will be there. I promise."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on July 09, 2007, 11:50:14 AM
With a shrug, Ta'las reads Tulpje's silence as uncertainty - perhaps he has spoken too quickly, or perhaps the little brownie has something else on her mind.  The Shendar continues back along the path, his long strides carrying him back toward the small hut where they are staying.  He stops suddenly, however, as he spies a pair of booted footprints - too small to be human but too large to be brownie - leading into the forest.  He bends low to investigate them.  "These look like Kenrill's prints," he murmurs to himself, but loud enough that Tulpje can hear.

"I wonder where our halfling friend has gone?"  He looks sidelong at Tulpje and raises his eyebrows.  "Let us see," he says with a smile.  Then he strides into the forest - carefully following the halfling's prints - but always listening for sound up ahead of him.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on July 13, 2007, 12:28:22 AM
Capher sat quite comfortably on the EurOak log. His green and blue eyes twinkled with mischief as a broad smile crossed his face. Thousands of brownies surrounding him in the tree limbs above him and the roots and grass before him sat motionless as the listened to him tell them of their tales. He spoke quite conversationally in the Brownin tongue; as if he were native born.

The youngsters would ooh and ahh as he told of the exploits of Koldar the Knight of the Moonlight. They looked over their shoulders up at the mountain where Lady Talia and Terra had gone when they heard of how they battled the demon lord and how Morcaanan saved them in the caves and gave respect to Ta'las when they heard of how he had travelled from the land of Injera to help his Shendar sister and also to Terri for her fight against her brother Garrek. Grudingly they also gave respect to Kenrill for his selfless act in the caves as well. They made faces and shouted war cries as they pointed their little spears in the sky when he told them of the Rat brownies of Strata. They laughed when they heard the story of Bium. They giggled when he told them of the feelings of love some had for one another. The older ones just smiled and nodded once in a while, they had heard Capher's stories many times before and thought of them just as stories; make believe, after all was he not the Storyteller? They had no idea that he was telling them the truth.

Capher sighed as he gazed at them all; they had no idea how their world would change if he and his companions did not finish their task at hand. Each time they came close another distraction would be sent their way; he did not know if they were sent by Eckra or if it was just pure chance. Capher did not believe in chance, he believed that everything and everyone had a destiny. So was destiny, or more to the point, Seyella the Goddess of Destiny throwing these distractions their way and if so why? Capher could not believe Seyella was doing this. It just had to be destiny and though the Goddess knew the destiny of all things, she could not change it.

Suddenly there were many flutters of wings and several owls and even robins dropped out of the sky. Their riders talking excitedly and pointing farther into the forest. Capher listened and frowned. He tried to speak but the whole crowd was up in arms; shouting war cries. "Wait! Listen! Kenrill would not do those things!" Capher said in Brownin holding up his arms, but it was for naught for they were not listening and had left the area.

Capher sat there for a moment; thinking of what or why Ken would have done the things the Brownies were accusing him of and then standing up rushed to find out, being careful not to step on any of the Brownies heading that way as well.

He quickly outdistanced the ones on foot and found Ta'las heading in the same direction. "Ta'las, you heard?" Capher asked him as he came by the side of his friend.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on July 14, 2007, 10:21:16 AM
Off to one side there is some rustling of leaves as someone - or something - pushes through the undergrowth.  Ta'las stops and puts his hand on the pommel of his sword, but quickly draws his hand away from his weapon when Capher appears.  He does not have a chance to speak before his friend asks if he "has heard".

Ta'las cocks his head to one side.  "I - uh - no.  Heard of what?"  He looks quizzically at Capher.  "I've heard of nothing, but I have been looking for Kenrill.  Has something happened?" he asks, now worried.  The Shendar looks ahead through the understory, and listens.

His eyes widen as he thinks he hears something screaming in the distance.  "What is happening?" he demands.  His hand now rests firmly on the pommel of his sword.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on July 15, 2007, 05:46:56 AM
Capher took a deep breath and let it out slowly before answering Tal'as's question. "I was talking with the Brownies when some others flew in and said that Ken had maimed some of their kind and was fighting with them. I did not hear a reason why. I then rushed toward where they said Ken and the brownies were fighting. I saw you and thought you had heard as well and were heading in same direction. If you had not heard anything, why were you heading that way? You can tell me as we continue on for I fear that if we cannot somehow figure out a way to stop this we may not be welcomed anymore and it may interfere with Lady Talia and Terra's healing process."

Capher began running again, knowing that his young friend would soon out-distance him, but Ken's postition was not that far now. "Oh, keep your sword sheathed, no matter what happens," Capher shouted.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on July 15, 2007, 10:26:06 AM
Sheepishly, he takes his hand off the pommel of his weapon.  This is not the place for violence, he realises.  He catches up to Capher and keeps pace as they jog toward the clearing.  "I am not sure why I thought to look for Kenrill," he replies and looks sidelong at Tulpje.  "Though it started to feel strange that there were suddenly no brownies about, other than Tulpje, and it had been some time since I had seen Kenrill."

"I am surprised that they would choose to fight with Kenrill, though.  Of all of us, he seems the least likely to cause harm to the brownies."  He glances ahead through the trees and sees the small clearing where several brownies have surrounded the halfling.  "He is there!" he exclaims, pointing through the trees, and then rushes forward.

"Kenrill!  We are coming, friend!"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on July 16, 2007, 10:57:46 PM
When Tal'as and Capher approach the small clearing Capher stops suddenly and looks around. Ken, with sword drawn was fighting off hundreds of enraged brownies; some attacking his body, his legs mostly and others using owls and other birds were dive bombing him and going for his eyes. If it were not serious it would have looked comical for to Capher it looked liked a bear had disturbed a bees nest and the bees were attacking the offender, but this was not comical, it had become deadly serious. All around the ground lay dozens of brownies hurt or even killed. Capher did not know what or why this happened, he just knew that it had to be! "Tal'as see if you can get Ken to sheathe his sword while I try and stop the brownies"

Capher started shouting in Brownin. Some of the Brownies turned and looked his way, they shouted back at him, their voices sounding high pitched, just like a swarm of enraged bees would sound. Capher tried to speak, to reason with the Brownies, but they were in a frenzy and all they wanted was Ken dead or gone.

Capher saw and heard Ta'las try to tell Ken to sheathe his sword but the little fellow was too scared and ignored Ta'las's request. Tal'as tried to protect Ken but it was difficult getting to him without stepping on Brownies and some were even begining to attack Ta'las.

Capher tried shouting again in Brownin to cease the hostilities; some, the ones not close to Ken actually did, but then Capher saw something that made his blood his run cold. On a small knoll hundreds of archer Brownies had finally made their way to the scene and were setting up to shoot their tiny arrows. Normally, these arrows would be just a nuisance, but Capher knew that Brownies tipped their arrow heads with a drug, a narcotic, that they used to slow down, paraliize their prey. If it only took one or two of those arrows to paralize a robin, how much so would all these arrows paralize Ken and possibly hit Ta'las! Capher had to do something quick!

Capher began summoning his magical energies, but then stopped as he realized that he had no idea if he could control it. He had to think of another way, but what?  He did what he knew he could do safely, for all concerned; he strode over to the knoll where the archers were and turning his back to them blocking their arrows paths and hoping that they would not shoot at him. Then, he began to blow at the birds and owl riders; his breath becoming stronger and stronger until it was at a storm's strength; blowing the owls and birds off course and even some of the riders off their mounts. Brownies tried clinging to Ken, but were blown away, others also began to be blown away; it looked liked a dust storm as the brown colored Brownies were blown about in the wind. He slowed his breath so that most of the Brownies floated back to ground unharmed and then he stopped and again began shouting to cease all hostilities in Brownin. Hoping that they would listen, and that Ta'las could convince Ken to sheathe his sword.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on July 17, 2007, 10:34:13 AM
Judging by the number of times he felt a brownie weapon glance off his armour, Ta'las is thankful for the rahaz-estar suit that protects his arms and legs.  The Shendar hears Capher shouting and suddenly a strong wind picks up, raising dust and tossing the little brownies around the clearing, and temporarily halting their attack. 

"Kenrill!" he shouts, holding one hand over his face, and the other reaching for the halfling, even as he tries to shield his little friend.  "Please stay your weapon arm!"   Soon the wind dies down, and many of the brownies that had been closing in on Kenrill drop back, but it is obvious that their hosts are less than bemused with the halfling's presence.  Looking around at the brownies, he is uncertain whether they will resume attacking the halfling.

"My friend, what is happening?" he asks.  "Why have the brownies attacked?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on July 19, 2007, 12:18:48 PM
"Funny way to say it," Ken says bitterly, lowering his blade and looking up at Ta'las, now that the wind has died down. "Do you want me to put it away, or just hold it still? Because I think I nearly took out an owl's wing holding it still. They attacked me. Ask them why."

He turns slowly and begins to walk toward Capher, a bit reluctantly. "I guess this is it; it's been fun. I don't know why they came at me... guess they're not used to hearing someone talk. Not that... I really care much whether they like to hear me talk. Someone had to have told them something bad or something. Don't know who or why... then again, I don't know a lot of things. I haven't seen someone over-react like that since my brothers and cousins got involved in one of my grandfathers' disputes. They knocked and whallopped a bunch, but not quite like this. These... were in earnest. I feel sorry for them, really. Like the one who... I cut his fingers off... that's got to hurt. It must be terrible missing fingers. I mean, I lost the one, but that's just the one. He's got like three on one hand... I pity him. Still... I... wish I knew why. I guess I need to be lost somewhere else now..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on July 24, 2007, 11:44:07 AM
Ta'las pauses a moment to consider Kenrill's reply, his eyes following the halfling as he walks toward Capher.  He understands his friend's bitterness, but is disheartened.  The Shendar looks toward the brownies, some of whom have come to the aid of the fallen brownie and begun to help with his wound.  Many have retreated, but he notices there is a group of them that remain and still appear unsettled.

"Tulpje, I do not speak your language.  Can you help me learn what has happened?"

The little brownie, who had held on to Ta'las during Capher's wind spell, takes a moment to digest Ta'las' request.  "You ask why my kin attack friend halfling?"

The Shendar nods.  "Yes, this does not seem like something brownies would normally do, but I also know that Kenrill would not attack brownies."

Tulpje purses her lips as she once again must think a moment about what Ta'las is saying.  "Think you halfling is good of heart, yes?"  She waits for the Shendar to nod his confirmation, and then proceeds to speak to the brownies in her own language.  There is a brief back-and-forth conversation between Tulpje and one of the other brownies, a large brownbark who still seems agitated, and finally Tulpje turns back to Ta'las. 

"My kin, Fleetfoot, say halfling is demon.  He want not demon in our vale."

Ta'las scratches his chin and looks over at Kenrill a moment.  Then back to Tulpje.  "Kenrill is not a demon - why would Fleetfoot say such a thing?"

When Tulpje relays this to Fleetfoot, the brownie sticks out his chest and waves his weapon in the air as he shouts a reply.  The brownies behind him start nodding and move a little closer.  Tulpje clutches Ta'las' shoulder and shrinks down a little, uncertain about her position her among her brethren, and whether it is such a good thing that she is seen as 'representing' the visitors' side of this argument.

Ta'las however, is unfazed.  "It is all right, Tulpje.  What is his answer?"

"He say that man-elf tell that demon is among your group.  That halfing is evil.  Cannot trust."

The Shendar steps toward the brownbark, his eyes intense.  "Which man-elf?  What does he look like?"  This causes the brownies to hesitate, and he notices a few of the archers draw arrows.  "Tulpje, please ask him."

Tulpje swallows, and looks from Ta’las to Fleetfoot.  She asks him to describe the man-elf who told them of Kenrill.  Fleetfoot pauses and shrugs, and offers only a terse response.  Tulpje turns to Ta’las and says, “Fleetfoot say he just elf.  Like –”  Then she is interrupted as Fleetfoot adds something else.  She furrows her brow.  “I no understand.  Fleetfoot say elf clothes shiny.  Shiny and many colors.”

"Thank you Tulpje."  Ta'las walks over to Capher and Kenrill.  "My friends, I think Garrek is behind this."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on August 21, 2007, 08:48:25 AM

Ta'las looks around the clearing, and sees that the brownies are still upset, though they no longer look as though they will attack.  "I think it best if we return to the cabin, my friends."  He looks sadly at Kenrill and adds, "I am sorry for what has happened here.  I should not have questioned your actions." 

Then he looks sideways at Tulpje.  "Thank you, Tulpje."  With that, he turns toward the woods where he entered the clearing and makes his way to the small hut the group is occupying.  His mind seems troubled, as he frowns all the way back.


"Come little one," Capher says quietly.  "For safety's sake, we should rejoin the others.  Morcaanan and 'Teri will need to know what has happened here before we decide whether we can remain in the Vale.  However," he says as he looks around the clearing at the brownies who still remain, "I fear we may not be able to convince the brownies that their actions were misguided."

He speaks a few words in brownin to those remaining, telling them that the group will return to their lodging and that they will cause no further trouble.  Capher waits for a response, and finally the lead brownie crosses his arms and nods, and then motions for the others to follow him in a different direction.

"Shall we go now, Kenrill?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on August 22, 2007, 09:37:23 PM
After translating for Talas, Tulpje was silent. The elf that they talked about had been here before she'd returned - obviously, or she would have known about him, maybe even believed him. Somehow she doubted that last thought, though. She'd have had no reason to trust him, and why would you believe someone you didn't trust? Maybe it was her years outside that made her so distrustful. Still, all her friends and kin would be quicker to trust a halfling than an elf, usually. He must have been very persuasive, maybe even talked in Browniin - unlikely, she thought, there were not many people who knew about Brownies, as she'd had cause to notice before, so why (and how) learn a language of an unknown race?

On the other hand, maybe he had not talked to such a large group as had now attacked the halfling. Perhaps he'd just whispered in the ear of a select few, which would have been enough to let rumours fly - faster and harder than any speech in Tharian to mostly incomprehensive ears could have done. And though only a few Brownies spoke Tharian fluently, and only a few understood it, it was enough. Once the rumour took hold, it was repeated and blown up. It was the only thing she could think of to account for such a ferocious attack from her otherwise peaceful brethren. With it, though, they must have repeated who started the rumour, which was not normal. Or maybe he had not been very discreet in his whispers, so everyone knew where it came from. A sneaky man, but maybe not always very subtle.

She thought it strange that she should not have heard anything about it when she got back, but maybe it wasn't so surprising. She'd spent half the time back looking at the big people, more interested in observing them than in what others whispered behind their hands. Maybe she should have listened more carefully, maybe she could have warned him. Or maybe she would have believed what everyone seemed to believe, just because everyone seemed to believe it. Would she have answered 'Teri, up there on the roof of the hut, warned her about the danger for her companion? Would she have been up there, or would she have waited with the others, seated on Nash, attacking as soon as the 'demon' was found alone?

She didn't know, she wished she could answer that last question with 'no', but she honestly couldn't tell what she would have done. But now, she did know that if Talas believed him good, and no demon, than he was not a demon. She was sure that 'Teri would not think the halfling a demon either. And these two she trusted, despite her short acquiantance with them. There was something about the way they'd started talking to her, like she was equal to them and not some living, breathing doll, that made her trust them.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on August 23, 2007, 01:31:04 PM
Once back at the little hut, Ta'las finds a place outside beneath the shade of a large oak tree to stretch out, since none of the others are here yet.  The Shendar leans back against the tree, careful not to crush Tulpje, who is still on his shoulder. 

"Tulpje, I apologise for what has happened here today.  The Vale is such a beautiful place," he says as scans the area around the hut, "and you have taken us in without question.  I fear the mischief this elf named Garrek has done cannot be undone."  He glances at Tulpje, and smiles wistfully.  "Kenrill did not deserve what happened to him, but I know too that your kin are good of heart."

He opens his mouth to continue, but decides against it.  Tension is building in his temples, and he really doesn't want to discuss it right now.  Instead, he says, "Tulpje, you seem different than the others.  You speak Tharian for one, but you also have a different way about you.  Have you spent time outside the Vale?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on August 23, 2007, 02:06:24 PM
There is a certain respect in Kenriil for the old Shapeshifter - one that causes his incessant babbling to come to an immediate halt whenever the dragon opens his mouth, whether to talk, yawn, or, perhaps, even to belch, Ken becomes still, silent, and filled with awe. Now, as Capher offers to return with him, Ken responds with a light smile and, "I'm grateful that you would think this way of me, but let us be a little more realistic, my friend. I have stumbled upon you without any true purpose, have inflicted my presence on you without recompense or explanation, and even, I might be so bold as to say, have thought that I might see this journey through. You believe in Seyella, and fate; so mayhap it was Seyella that sent me here to you. And, mayhap what Seyella had in mind has been accomplished; I cannot say. It is possible, as well, that I have put myself in a position that what Seyella had in mind for me can no longer be accomplished by me, but I am sure that you will get along well enough in your travels; that your task will end well, for it always does. Sir: I am going to leave this lovely Vale of life now, and I bid you farewell. Give the same to all our friends. Tell the little ones that I sorrow greatly for the wrong I've done them; but I know that I must leave, and I cannot return. You should all stay and wait for your friends to heal, and move on as one, for together, you are stronger than the sum of each of your strengths. Myself? I will be lost again, and wander aimlessly until I find some other adventure. Maybe I shall wander again to Milkengrad, and revisit the princess of the stars, or perhaps I shall wander for my first adventure south, to the Shendar and Bardavos. I have heard of a lot of amazing places I would like to see, and maybe I will and maybe I won't. It doesn't really matter, to be honest, as long as I can wander and be lost, then I can be happy, strange as it sounds. Nothing pleases me so much as a night on the trail and a cool breeze in the morning, and I think for a time I shall live that life alone. When I die, I will tell everyone around me the names of all of you, that I can remember, and I don't often forget, and see if some of you cannot be summoned to my grave to bid me onward. I wonder what it will be like afterward, what amazing things I will see and learn and know after the grave; what wonders await the senses, what adventure awaits the heart. It would be nice to see, wouldn't it? But so long and so good; may your meals ever be pleasant and your spine ever straight, and may the metal clips on your buckles not pinch and press bruises into your skin."

Ken's blessings marked a new era of silence for him, as he slowly turned his back to Capher, waving with his arm outstretched as he began to walk away, toward the gorge that led into the Vale, or, for him, out of the Vale.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on August 23, 2007, 07:50:34 PM
Tulpje grinned a moment at his description of her. 'Tharian not goodly speaking, not so like scribblers, but yes, I out Vale long time. Or not long time, but seeming me long. I part of clan, ehm... Skydiver clan, first learning clan ways long time, then I accepting from clan. I young, ar...arrogant? Thinking no hurt for me, ever. I drinked, was happy for accepting so drinked bubbler things. Many drink. Officer say me stop, too much. I angry, so hit him. He un...uncon... he not awake, I thinking dead, so taked stuff and go, with Nash. Outside since, I missing Vale much. Meet... Met much people, Big People, some nice, some not. But missing Vale too many, so coming back. Officer not dead. Only five days here, then you come. Clan say, help you, is pun...puni... What is word? for doing wrong thing. After, again maybe accepting to clan, but liking out too.'

It was one of the longest speeches she'd made in Tharian in some time. She still had to think deeply to find the right words and order, more or less, but at least Ta'las seemed to be understanding her. She turns towards his face from her place on his shoulder and puts a small grey hand on his cheek. 'And you? Different too. You brown, not pink. You brownbark brownie." She giggled with a broad mischievous grin on her little grey face.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on August 24, 2007, 01:55:40 PM
"Me a Brownbark brownie!" Ta'las exclaims with a snort of laughter.  He returns the brownie's grin.  "I see you enjoy humour, little Tulpje, as do I.  Yes, my skin is darker than the others.  Well, except perhaps for Talia, who is also a Shendar.  We are from deep in the south of Santharia - in the desert called the Rahaz-Dath, where Injera's rays shine relentlessly on everything, including people.  It is a beautiful place, and I miss it too, just as you missed the Vale during your sojourn."  He looks away, as he recalls the day his mother-sister bid him to go north to find his Shendar-sister, Talia.

There is a brief lull in the conversation, before Ta'las adds, "The word you were trying to speak is punishment.  And I hope for your sake that you are able to regain your place in your clan.  I know that being away from home is difficult, but in my case I was not forced to leave home, as much as encouraged to leave to help Talia."

"It is interesting though, what happens on journeys such as this.  I had not expected to meet such friends as I have, and for that, I think it is I who has benefitted." He stops a moment to consider each of his travelling companions, and his relation to each.  Capher, a trusted friend and mentor.  Talia, his Shendar-sister, and a voice of reason.  Morcaanan, a formidable and stalwart warrior.  'Teri, calm and compassionate .  Kenriil, a neverending burst of energy and humour.  And Terra, strong, determined and beautiful.  The wistful expression returns again as he dwells on Lady Terra, and wonders how she is.  He shakes himself from his reverie, when he realises he is thinking about her in her white dress again.

He looks back at Tulpje.  "So when you say your punishment is to help us, do you think you are meant to keep us company here in the Vale, or to come with us when Talia and Lady Terra are finished healing?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on August 29, 2007, 01:59:11 AM
Morcaanan and 'Teri had not heard much of the conflict in the Vale - for the moment, the world did not contain other people.

Both were quiet, sitting on the edge of the glade. 'Teri was curled up against Morcaanan, head on his chest with one of his arms draped around her shoulders, her eyes closed in an apparent doze.
Morcaanan was obviously awake, the thumb of one hand polishing the pommel of his sword, his other hand lightly tangled in 'Teri's hair.

The Korweynite felt strangely exhausted after his confrontation with her, as if he had fought some hard battle. Maybe it was a battle, after a fashion - he had rarely brought himself to forgive someone before.
He realized that he was now bound to this quest, along with all the others in the group. He could not conceive 'Teri abandoning it, not with her own kin so deeply involved.

He had resigned himself to the idea that perhaps he had no real purpose to be here, in so far as this quest was concerned: he was here for himself, and that was enough.

With this thought he glanced at 'Teri, who opened her eyes and smiled back at him. She wordlessly reached an arm around his neck and pulled his head down for a kiss, then once more closed her eyes and leaned against him.

Yes, this would be enough for him.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on August 30, 2007, 01:46:35 PM
'Teri is happy, content to sit beside Morcaanan and hold him, and for a moment at least, there are no problems. There is no hunting, haunting Garrek, no terrible demon chasing them, no... imminent death through some curious psychological malady for anyone; only her, Morcaanan, and forever. Aueniteri is happy most of all knowing that not only now, but when all those evils return, Morcaanan will still be there, and the thought is easy to convince herself of. Someone she will always be able to reach to for support, whether for love or war.

So full is her heart with the moment, that tears begin to fill in her eyes, and she looks away at first, trying to hide them and the momentary shame they bring. She should not be crying, she tells herself - and yet, maybe it is not wrong. With a light smile, she looks up to him, thumbs a cheek as a lone tear escapes down it, and draws herself close to him again. "I am happy," she reassures him.

The reprieve, however, is broken by a stunningly singular event. Brownies. Many of them wounded, and few of them caring to hide themselves. Torrents of the little people, apparently of the younger, more careless caste, pour from the foothills in the direction of the gorge, the entrance to the Vale.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on August 30, 2007, 09:07:27 PM
Tulpje raised her hands helplessly. 'Not knowing. Company now, but thinking they telling I after heal. I hopes... hope then a...accom... goes with you. I back now, but miss out. Not more guilty, and out is... big, is much big. I wanting more see, not staying in Vale until old and grey. Uhm, until old. Am grey al... already." She said with a grin. "As well, I liking you, and liking 'Teri. Maybe others, but they no talk yet at I. You and 'Teri does talk, so I wanting going with you and see outside. Then you helping protect me, because I much small out. And I help you."

This statement was delivered with an easy confidence that belied her stature. Tulpje caught the look Ta'las shot at her, and imagined it being filled with disbelief. Not that she blamed him, if she were as big as he, she probably wouldn't believe it either. But he didn't have to believe, he could see.

"You not think is true. I show, yes?" Without waiting for a reply, she pursed her lips a little and let out a sharp whistle, which was the signal for Nash, who was never far away, to come to her. The man and the brownie waited a little, and soon enough the brown owl swooped over the nearby hut and landed on a low branch very close to the sitting Ta'las's shoulder. Tulpje climbed from the shoulder to the branch and then up to her owl. Her limp was not very obvious like this, but it could still be seen that she was more careful with her right leg than with her left. With a few low, almost inaudible orders, she let Nash take off, fly around the clearing a few times, and then land again on the same branch. She climbed the same route down again and was sitting on Ta'las' shoulder in a few moments. She could have said the rest from the back of her owl, but then she'd have to yell for him to hear her properly, and she didn't want to tire her voice.

"See? I flying before, see what there, come telling you. No sur... surprise. Or I fight. I having poison for weapon. Is blowpipe, with... with... What this?" she asks, as she opens a pouch at her belt and pulls out a dart. To Ta'las, it must seem tiny, but the form of it was clear enough. "I poison, prey then sleeping or dead, de..depen... because of different poisons. So see, how help I, yes?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on August 31, 2007, 12:20:06 PM
Ta'las raises his eyebrows at Tulpje and nods.  "Yes, Tulpje.  I do believe you will be able to help.  You and the owl will make a perfect scouting team - no one my size will notice, and that dart of yours," he says motioning to the weapon in her hands, "could be effective with the right poison.  And though I cannot speak for the others, I would be happy to have you along with us."  His face turns serious.  "I must tell you, though, where we plan to go will be dangerous.  There are evil people out there who wish to stop us - you've already seen some of what one of those people has done."

"Unfortunately, I think it best if I not tell you anything of what we are doing.  At least not until we can speak with Capher and the others."  He furrows his eyebrows as he pauses to consider what to say next.  "You see, I am not the leader of our group, and my purpose here is only to help my friends."  He sighs a little when he thinks about his friends, and wishes Terra, in particular, was back with them.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on September 04, 2007, 05:31:02 AM
Tulpje shrugged her shoulders at Ta'las warning. "Out Vale every place danger for Brownie. I safer with you than only... than alone. But I small. Maybe bad person not seeing me..." Noticing Ta'las' sad sigh, she wants to give him a hug and tell him everything will be fine. Being too small, however, she settles for patting his cheek again with her small grey hand. "You sad?" she asks gently, wishing she could help him.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on September 05, 2007, 11:27:39 AM
"Not sad, so much as wishing someone could be here with us," he replies.  "Though I think it is best this way - at least for the moment."  The reason behind his evasiveness makes Ta'las blush a little when he considers it for a moment.  He gently pats Tulpje's little hand in return.  "You are considerate, Tulpje."

"However," he says as he slowly comes to his feet, "since there is nothing I can or should do about it, I won't let it interrupt our day.  We should find the others."  Ta'las starts off in the direction he last saw 'Teri and Morcaanan.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on September 05, 2007, 10:02:48 PM
It's difficult to not stare at the hordes of Brownies as they wander past, but grabs the Korweynite's attention are the blood and wounds on the little folk - it seemed very clear that there had been some sort of fight.

His hand curled around the hilt of his sword and he rose slowly to his feet. "I think we ought to find the Wolf and Ta'las, and see what's going on." He helped 'Teri to her feet and turned towards the cabin, one hand on his sword and the other grasping hers, and he watched the Brownies warily as they walked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 10, 2007, 12:44:26 AM
Capher kept watch on Ken until he entered the cave entrance. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He liked the little fella and was a bit saddened that he had decided to go on his own. There was a bit of envy as well, for Capher could not remember when he had never been in the service of his Master Talon or of his goddess, Seyella.  Capher wanted so much to be able to speak with his master, but each time he tried, something stopped him. Capher was concerned about using his magic to try and break through the barrier as he did not know what the consequences would be until he get his magic under control; turning into a demon or some other kind of beast would not be good manners, besides he did not know if he could change back if he did change.  The best course of action is to wait. Wait for Talia and Terra's healing to be over with and then onto Ximax.

Capher really had no love for Ximax. It was a place where the magic of the world was manipulated to men's needs; not only human but all races it seems were welcomed to learn. Capher believed that the magic of the world should be used by those who were born with it or entrusted with it such as the Elves, Brownies and of course, dragons.

Of those three only two races were prolific. His kind were very very rare. In fact as far as he knew he was the only shape-shifting dragon alive.

Capher stretched, raising his head. The sky was clear and bright azure blue. It was warm in the Vale, but he knew that fall was already coming and soon the weather would turn cold. The travel would be slower as they climbed the mountains. If he could have trusted himself, he would turn into himself and then carry everyone, including the animals over the mountains; it would only take a couple of trips, but since he could not and he did not know how well his travelling companions would take to seeing the real him, he knew that they had a long treacherous journey ahead of them.

He turned and headed back to the cabin. His mind whirrling; Where is the Heart. Should they go after the Anvil before going to Ximax, or after? His assumptions about Talia's sword as being the Sword of Fury was wrong and so now what to do? They needed the Sword of Fury. The Anvil would just be a waste of time without the Heart and the Sword to meld the two together. Would another of the other two fabled Swords do? Then the question remains, where are they?  He dearly wished he could communicate with Talon. He was lost; like a fish out of water...

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on September 11, 2007, 09:27:38 AM
The Shendar takes the little forest path toward the glade where he had last seen Morcaanan and 'Teri.  Ta'las feels uneasy in the Vale now, as he notices a few brownies up ahead of him through the trees.  Their normally cheerful mood is somber, and to make matters worse, Kenrill could be gone by now.  "I hope we have not brought too much discontent to your home," he says - a weak apology at best, it sounds to Ta'las when he hears himself speak it.

Then, up ahead he spots a couple of human-sized figures walking in their direction.  It is difficult to make them out through the foliage and dappled shadows, but Ta'las guesses that it is Morcaanan and 'Teri ahead of them.  "I think we have found Morcaanan and 'Teri, little one."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on September 11, 2007, 05:14:30 PM
When Tulpje hears Ta'las's apology, she shakes her head. Then she realises that he can't see that when he is looking ahead, so she says: "Not you. Bad person bringing discon... discontent? Make Brownies act dif... strange. This not normal from us. We peace... we peaceful. Calm. Not this..."

She knows that she sounds sad, but she can't help it. The display of her people, attacking one person with so many - a hobbit, moreover, who they are always taught are easier to trust than bigger races - has shocked her. How could they have done it? But she means what she said to the Shendar. It wasn't the group's fault, and she didn't hold a grudge against them. But then, it was her fellow brownies who would need to be convinced of this. And they could be stubborn, she knew, when once they had an idea in their heads. She didn't know how this business could end happily. But it had to, somehow.

She looks up when Ta'las draws her attention to the humans up ahead. As the both of them come closer, Tulpje waves at 'Teri enthusiastically, her sadness dispelled for the moment by the sight of her friend. The wave also includes Morcaanan, though to a lesser degree, for the simple reason that she hasn't yet been able to decide whether or not she likes him: they haven't talked yet.

She suddenly realises that 'Teri and Morc probably didn't hear about what had happened yet. At any rate, she hadn't seen them when it had been happening. However, she decides to let Ta'las do the telling, as his Tharian is much better than hers.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on September 11, 2007, 09:52:27 PM
Morcaanan approached Ta'las and raised his sword in greeting, his other hand still firmly clasping 'Teri's. He began to fire off questions without preamble.

"Shendar, what has happened? There are wounded Brownies moving to the entrance of the Vale." He pointed back in the direction they had just come with his sword. "Has there been a battle? Are we safe here? And where are the Wolf and the others?"
As he spoke, his arm instinctively curled around 'Teri and drew her close, protectively. He had missed the Brownie sitting up on Ta'las' shoulder, his eyes traveling over the branches of the trees and and smaller shadows as if looking for potential attackers.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 12, 2007, 12:58:31 AM
As Capher cleared the rise he noticed Tal'as, Teri and Morcaanan in the distance. He picked up his pace to reach them. He was behind Morcaanan and Teri and just barely caught the end of Morcaanan's speaking.  He noticed that Ta'las saw him coming and gave a small wave at him as he approached.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on September 12, 2007, 12:12:39 PM
"Your last question is easiest to answer," he starts and waves at Capher who is behind Morcaanan and 'Teri.  "Capher is just there, behind you.  Unfortunately, I cannot speak for Kenrill, but I believe he may be gone.  I think Capher can answer that better than I."

"Kenrill was involved in an altercation with a number of brownies.  Those ones you saw coming from the gorge attacked our friend, thinking that he was a demon of some sort."  Ta'las grimaces as he recalls his conversation with the brownie who had been at the forefront of the attack, and the brownies' reason for thinking what they did.  "They were told by an elf who matched Garrek's description, that the halfling was evil and not to be untrusted, and when they caught him alone, they attacked all at once."

He looks to Capher and nods.  "Capher and I were able to prevent the fight from going too far, but as you've seen there has been some bloodshed.  For now, the brownies seem content that Kenrill is gone from the Vale."  He looks at Tulpje who is seated on his shoulder.  "I do not think the brownies present a danger to us, however, Garrek is still a threat."

"Capher, my friend, is there anything I've missed?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 13, 2007, 01:24:07 AM
"No my friend," he answered Ta'las. " Except that Ken has definately left the Vale. I bid him good-bye and watched him as he entered the cave. I tried to persuade him to stay, but to no avail. I am saddened that he chose to leave. Pardon me for saying this Lady Teri, but your brother has a lot to answer for, besides stealing the Heart, which he has no idea what he has, he has caused strife among our allies and friends."

Capher's voice was soft and neutral, but there was no doubt about the veiled threat and promise that was behind it.

Capher noticed Tulpje on Ta'las's shoulder. "Ta'las, whom may I ask rides upon your shoulder?" He asked a bit amused at seeing the little brownie sitting quite comfortably upon Ta'las's shoulder.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on September 14, 2007, 10:55:22 AM
Ta'las winks at Tulpje and then back at Capher.  "This is Tulpje - she has been with us only a short time, but she was of great help earlier when the brownies were mislead about Kenrill.  She was with us in the clearing, but I think that with all that you had to do to keep Kenrill from harm, it was difficult to notice her."

The Shendar looks at 'Teri.  "Tulpje and 'Teri have already met, when 'Teri had her fall yesterday, and Tulpje helped her then."

"It has been most fortunate we have met, my friend," he says to Tulpje.  Then he looks back to Capher and asks, "what would you counsel we do about Kenrill, my friend?"  His face clouds over with regret for the circumstances over which the halfling left the Vale.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 15, 2007, 12:21:52 AM
Capher smiled at Tulpje. Ta'las seemed to have gained a friend. He spoke to her in brownin..."Welcome Tulpje. Thank you for willing to help us big folk."  He spoke in Tharian to his friends who were looking at him curiously. "I just welcomed her in her own tongue. As far as Ken is concerned I was thinking about going after him and asking him one more time to stay with us. I think that if perhaps Teri and Morcaanan come along we three just might convince him.  I would ask you to come along Ta'las, but I think you will be needed somehow for Terra's healing process to continue, besides you have Tulpje to keep you company. What do you say Teri and Morcaanan?" Capher asked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on September 16, 2007, 11:29:55 PM
Jeharaid scratched his beard absently. "I don't see that it makes any difference if I come with you" he admitted. "I don't know the halfling well enough to have much of an influence."
He glanced at 'Teri. "But I'll come along, in case something comes up."

With that thought, he looked to Ta'las. "You say Garrek could be responsible for the fight between the halfling and the Brownies. Is there any chance he is still nearby?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 17, 2007, 10:00:54 PM
Capher closed his eyes a blink and then answered Morcaana's question. "No, he is not around, at least not close enough to cause us harm. I would know if he was. He carried the Heart and it and I have a special relationship. It knows when I am close and I know when it is close."

He smiled at him and Teri. "I am sure that when Seyella puts him in our hands, you will have your revenge. In the meantime we should prepare for the journey. Ken has been on his way and in the caverns you can get lost, though I doubt that Ken would. He would just call it an adventure and not even know he was lost." Capher chuckled, thinking about the little fellow and his last words to him.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on September 17, 2007, 10:50:07 PM
From her place on Ta'las's shoulder, Tulpje smiles brightly at Capher. "Thank you, friend of the brownies." She answers him, also in the brownie tongue. Of course she knows who he is, or at least who he is to the brownies. She had never thought she'd come face to face with this legend, but now that she did, she didn't really feal afraid of him. He seemed a nice man.  When he continues to speak to his friends, she understands that the halfling has gone to the caves, and that three of the group will follow him and persuade him to return.

She waves to Capher to draw his attention. In her broken Tharian, so that the others can follow, she says: "I thinking going with you. Knowing underground places, yes? I... help, lead way. If ok from Ta'las, he not mind alone?" she asks, turning to her new-found friend. She doesn't really want to leave him, but she knows how easily one gets lost there, and how long they could walk there without ever finding the exit.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on September 18, 2007, 09:21:44 AM
Ta'las smiles at Tulpje and nods, though a little reluctantly.  "I will miss you, Tulpje, but it will not be too long, I think.  You must take care of yourself.  Besides, there is someone here I would like to speak with." 

"I think it would be helpful to have Tulpje along as a guide," he says to the others.  "It is difficult to know which way to take when underground, unless you are used to such travel."

"Here little Tulpje," he says and holds out a hand to gently lift her off his shoulder.  He smiles at her.  "Now, do you promise to take good care of Capher, and not play too many tricks?"  He sets Tulpje down on Capher's shoulder and winks.  "He is a good friend of mine, and though he looks old, he is stronger than he appears."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 18, 2007, 08:31:41 PM
 "I think that is a good idea and thank you Tulpje for offering," Capher said to Tulpje.

Then Ta'las spoke and placed Tulpje on his shoulder. Capher laughed. "No, not too many Ta'las. I promise," Capher answered as he eyed her from his side. He turned to Morcaanan and Teri.

"Well, should we gather our supplies and go find Ken before he gets too far away from us?" Capher asked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on September 18, 2007, 10:38:32 PM
Morcaanan nodded. "Aye, that would be best." He was still not fully dressed from his morning's practice. "Let's meet at the cabin when we're ready."

With those words he turned and made his way to the little dwelling; once inside, he put on his eben and leather guards, eschewing his metal armour - it would be heavy, and he doubted they would do any fighting, for the halfling could only be a short time away. He then slipped on his boots, buckled his on sword and stepped outside to wait for the others.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 20, 2007, 12:28:15 AM
Capher nodded at Morcaanan's suggestion and went and gathered some food and filled waterskns for them all and was ready when Morcaanan stepped out of the hut. His armour was gone, and he was dressed more like a ranger. Capher approved, "Now all we have to do is wait for Teri and we can be off. I gathered food and water for us all," he said to Morcaanan cordially.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on September 20, 2007, 07:22:08 AM
Ta'las follows the others back to the hut and waits quietly outside.  He feels torn - he will miss them all, though he knows he must stay for Terra and Talia's sake.  At least, that is what the Shendar has convinced himself of.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on September 20, 2007, 08:06:13 AM
Taking one of the water skins from Capher, he slung it over his shoulder and arched his back, producing a satisfying pop. Then he relieved Capher of one of the parcels of food and nodded. "Looks as if we're ready."

(OOC: Should we puppet 'Teri?)

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 24, 2007, 12:50:10 AM
Capher nodded, "All except Teri," he said.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on September 25, 2007, 09:35:56 PM
Tulpje settled herself on the dragon's shoulder. Well, this was an honour that none of her friends had had! She couldn't help feeling less and less that this whole helping the big folk issue was an actual punishment. They were all very nice to her. She noticed that her high seat felt a little different from when she was sitting on Ta'las's shoulder. But then, she guessed it was normal for different shoulders to feel different sitting on.

As Capher and Morcaanan made ready, she considered which way the hobbit was most likely to have gone. She found herself at a blank. She would be more use leading them out than leading them in. She knew too many tunnels which he could have taken. They might even have to split up, even though she'd think that a last resort. Getting seperated was not a good idea in the caves. She hoped that one of the others had a better idea. Maybe she should signal Nash to go with them, so that in need she could always serve as messenger between the three humans.

She looked around. "Going we now?" she asked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 25, 2007, 11:13:50 PM
Capher barely heard Tulpje's voice, but answered her softly. "Yes Tulpje, we are leaving now." He nodded at Morcaanan, "Follow me," he said, "And Ta'las, take care of the women, hopefully we will be back before they are done with their healing process."

Capher took the lead and soon they were in front of the entrance to the caves. He took a torch, lit it and then walked in.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on September 26, 2007, 10:53:01 AM
Ta'las waves to Tulpje and Capher as they enter the cave.  "Remember Tulpje, not too many tricks on Capher.  He is far too trusting," he adds with a smile.  Then he nods to Morcaanan and 'Teri.  "May Seyella bless your path, my friends.  I hope you find Kenrill soon."  He waits for the pair to make their way into the caves, and once they are out of sight, returns back to the cabin.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on September 28, 2007, 08:02:27 PM
Capher's first thoughts upon entering the gorge entrance was again how wet and slippery the uneven stone floor was. In the distance he could hear the thundering of the water fall. He swept around some of the low hanging staglimites and walked farther into the cave.  The roar of the waterfall became louder and louder the farther they went in and then suddenly Capher stopped up short; he could go no farther.

He rubbed his hand over his balding head, feeling the wetness left there by the dewy cave. The bridge was gone, it was destroyed. Capher looked over his shoulder at Morcaanan. "The bridge has been destroyed. How, I am not sure. Probably Garrek, but how he did it is beyond me. (Capher had no idea it was him, for he had no recollection of what had transpired after he had turned into a demon)

Capher turned and looked at the destroyed bridge. It did not make sense. If they could not cross, then where was Ken? He would have had to turn back and they would have seen him. "Morcaanan," Capher said, "We are either going to have to turn back or find another way across the gorge. What I cannot figure out, is where is Ken? If he did not come this way, then is there another way to cross?"  He asked, looking around.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on September 30, 2007, 12:05:38 AM
"It would make this excursion rather pointless then" muttered the Korweynite when the Wolf mentioned "turning back". He did not enjoy how small this was becoming any more than the others did.

"Is there no other way? At this rate even the halfling would have trouble getting on - which means if he turned back we should have already met up with him."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 02, 2007, 03:08:03 AM
Morcaanan, muttered Capher's thoughts and questions almost at the same time he did.  Capher spied a small ledge that led to the other side. The ledge was quite narrow and in some places it was perhaps only a foot wide, but it was a way around and for Ken, would be the perfect way to go.

"Morcaanan, see that ledge," Capher asked pointing to his left, "I believe that is the way Ken went. Do you think we can traverse it?" He asked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on October 07, 2007, 03:59:08 AM
"I...I suppose" Morcaanan replied, licking his lips a little nervously. He tried not to think of how far the drop might be.

"Let's get on with it then" he said resolutely, and followed Capher out onto the ledge, keeping his eyes up.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 08, 2007, 09:43:47 PM
Capher slowly put one foot in front of the other as he negotiated his way on the narrow ledge that went around the sides of the gorge. The resounding boom of water as it fell from the height of the waterfall into the river below rang in his ears.  He gingerly stepped on a piece of rock and quickly pulled his foot away as the rock crumbled, gave way, and fell, crashing into the river below. Capher pointed to the place so that Morcaanan would not step anywhere near there and stepped wider to a different place in the ledge hoping that it hold his weight.

That part of the ledge seemed solid enough; and he put his full weight upon it and continued on.  The ledge became narrower and Capher had to hug the wall and just the balls of his feet slowly scraped across the ledge. There must have been another way. Ken would not have taken such a dangerous route. I hope I have not put myself and my friends in danger? Capher thought as he inched along the ledge.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on October 09, 2007, 08:36:24 AM
The thinness of the ledge began to unnerve the Korweynite more and more. A piece went tumbling away under Capher's foot, and Morcaanan halted, shrinking back from the idea of testing the ledge any further.

But the Old Wolf continued doggedly on, seeking out the strong points in the narrow path and pointing them out for the reference of those following him. His courage made Morcaanan feel ashamed as he gingerly inched and hopped from foot to foot behind Capher's progress.

He forced himself to keep his eyes on Capher's feet and the ledge and to keep moving - if he stopped he knew he would freeze and not go further.

Keep moving, step, inch, slide foot, step, stretch over that gap, now follow with the other foot, slide a few paces...don't forget to breathe, step step step, slide another pace...

The sweat stood out on his forehead in thick droplets, and he unwittingly dug his teeth into his lower lip until rivulets of blood began to flow through his beard and drip, drip off his chin onto the stone ledge. He'd all but forgotten why they were out on the ledge in the first place. He just continued on, praying for a thick piece of ground where more than the balls of his feet could be safely planted.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 10, 2007, 12:04:15 AM
As they rounded the corner, the ledge became wider and more stable. Capher let out a silent sigh of relief as he saw the end near and the other side of the bridge was a mere few steps away. He quickly walked toward it and then he was on the other side. He turned, watched and waited for Morcaanan to follow. "That was a bit more than I expected. Are you alright, Tulpje?" He asked as he gave the little brownie a side long glance. She seemed a bit grayer, than her normal color.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on October 13, 2007, 02:20:13 AM
Tulpje had grabbed hold of Capher's hair as he struggled over the obstacles, trying to keep her balance. When he reached flatter ground, she gladly released the silver locks and settled herself again. She nodded as answer to his question, then realised he could not see her face, so she answered out loud. "I is good. Me not tired, yes?" she said with a grin. That was one of the privileges of being small - either she got carried by her owl, or by big people. Either way, she rarely had to make herself tired climbing over and under stuff. She looked around curiously to see where they were now, but she couldn't actually see much more than the ledge they were standing on. Hopefully the hobbit had indeed come this way...

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 15, 2007, 08:06:24 PM
Capher laughed, "You not tired, Capher is tired. Feels like he ran a marathon. I hope Morcaanan makes it past that last part and gets here soon."

Capher looks, hoping to see Morcaanan round the corner soon. He had not heard a yell, so he assumed that Morcaanan was still with them and had not fallen into the river below.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on October 16, 2007, 07:02:50 AM
His courage nearly snapped when Capher disappeared around the corner of the ledge. He was alone, high up, barely clinging to a rock face - and he froze.

His mind swore, thrashed, and rebelled against this sudden halt, but the poor man could not make himself take another step.

Stop it, coward! Keep going! You're going to fall if you stay here!

His gut, however, disagreed - it was under the impression that if he remained quite still he would be all right. Everything would be fine, so long as he didn't move...

You can't stay here forever! Move, move!

No, he'd be fine. His nails scraped at the pores in the stone as his mind and instincts fought one another for the mastery of his body, and his cheek pressed hard against the cliff side as his will seeped away. He could feel his sweat pooling near his eye socket, then trickling down the front of his face like a tear; for a brief moment it occurred to him that some of the sweat might actually be tears.

You're going to die - if you don't do something, you'll die.

His terror rose. There were better, much more preferable ways to perish. With these thoughts, his mind won the battle, and he took another, hesitant step.

He all but crawled his way around the corner, and, oh joy! more of his feet were planted on solid surface. Another few halting steps, and he was on something that felt like a reasonable path once more, though he didn't open his eyes or turn to look, but rather slumped against the rock to his knees, quivering with the exertion of his ordeal.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 16, 2007, 09:47:10 PM
Capher watched closely as Morcaanan came into view. He was relieved to see him and saw that Morcaanan was relieved to be safe as much as he was when found safety. "I do not know about your Morcaanan but I do not think I am going through that again. There must be another way to the Vale and I for one plan on finding it; right after we find Ken. I suppose you would like to stop and have a drink of water and perhaps some jerky as we plan on where we go from here?" Capher asked, pulling out his drinking gourd, taking a long drink and passing it on to Morcaanan as he reached into his pack and pulled out a strip of jerky and slowly chewed on it; offering a piece to Morcaanan.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on October 18, 2007, 11:25:12 PM
Morcaanan slumped back against the stone face and took the proffered drink, nodding all the while to Capher's suggestion of not returning that way. If the old Wolf hadn't said it, Morcaanan would have flatly refused - he'd find another way back to the Vale.

He spat blood several times before he could actually try swallowing any water - he felt a spongy little piece of something go with the blood, probably a tiny chunk of his lip.

After chewing on the jerky, and a few more deep breaths, he felt able to stand. He was ashamed of his reaction, and hoped no one took too great a notice of it.

"Did the halfling have anything packed? If he had supplies, how far could he have gone?" It was almost a random question, designed to distract from the ordeal he had just been through.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 22, 2007, 11:34:34 PM
"He had a small pack, but you know how resourceful he is, once he runs out of what he packed, he will easily find other food and water," Capher answered.

He took another drink of water, taking another piece of jerky put everything away, hitched up the pack on his shoulders, glanced at Tulpje, "Well let's get going," he said to Morcaanan.

Morcaanan just nodded, "Lead on old wolf, just as long as it is no longer on ledges," he said with a slight shiver.

Capher looked back and chuckled. "I will try my friend, but I make no promises. However I think I can guarantee no more ledges until we reach the other end and find our animals."

Capher turned back and began walking, whistling an old Elven tune he had heard a long time ago. His thoughts were upon how were they going to return to the Vale and with their animals? They certainly cannot return this way. He pondered the question as he steadily made his way through the cave.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 25, 2007, 01:09:28 AM
Capher could see light at the end of the tunnel and hastened his pace. He neared the entrance and could hear the nickering of horses. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, melting out of the rock itself, Terri appeared.

Capher was so startled he jumped back, knocking into Morcaanan who had been close behind.

"Hey! Where did you two go? Didn't you hear me yell to come this way?" Teri asked.

Capher glanced back at Morcaanan questioningly. Morcaanan shrugged his shoulders, but his eyes told the story that he was glad, more than glad to see her.

"What way?" Capher asked, after he slowed down his racing heart.

"The way Ken took. He left little crumbs of bread as he walked and ate. Did you not see them?" She asked.

Capher looked chagrined and Morcaanan looked even worse; he was supposed to be a tracker.

Teri's face suddenly went ashen. "Don't tell me you walked around that ledge? Morcaanan?" She asked with concern filling her voice.

"I thought that was the only way to go," Capher replied.

Morcaanan nodded, "I followed Capher. I will never do that again, unless I absolutely have to," Morcaanan said mirroring the fear he had felt.

Teri almost laughed but her concern for Morcaanan overrode it. "Well, it seems you made it, though how I have no idea. That ledge was falling apart and it looked too small to even stand on in some places. Morcaanan I am so glad to see you," she added.

Morcaanan went to her and hugged her...tightly. Teri's face was facing Capher and he could see tears in her eyes and then she buried her face into Morcaanan's shoulder. "I don't know what I would have done if something had happened to you," she mumbled.

Morcaanan stroked her hair. "The same goes for me. But I am alright and so are you," He said gently.

"I hate to break up such a wonderful reunion, but I see daylight and I do not know about you two, but I want to see the sun. I don't want to to go into another cave for a long time," Capher said, as he began walking toward the light.

Morcaanan and Teri, arms twined around each other's waist followed. 

Capher reached the entrance and walked outside and basked in the sunlight. "See Tulpje, we made it."

Morcaanan and Teri soon followed and they two lifted their faces to the sun.

The sound of neighing horses and the braying of Talia and Ta'las's Aj's turned Capher around. The animals were tied to a piece of rope strung between two trees.  He smiled and walked toward them. The horses eagerly awaited them, the Aj's seemed to be looking at the entrance waiting for their owners to appear.  Capher felt sorry for them.

Suddenly a voice called out. "Ho, I was wondering when you were coming back,"

Capher turned and saw Z'doth coming up from the river carrying water skins over his shoulders.

"Ho, Z'doth. We are all not here, just Morcaanan, Teri and I and a little brownie named Tulpje." Capher said, happy to see Z'doth. "I see the animals are just fine." Capher continued.

"Yeah, now they are. When you guys first left though they were not so happy, especially the AJ's, they were a bit hard to control. They wanted to follow you guys into the cavern. I had a tough time for a bit, but then they settled down and all was well. Talia, Tal'as and Terra are ok, I hope?" He asked concerned.

"Yes, they are still in the Vale," Capher answered relieving Z'doth's worries.

Z'doth let out a sigh of relief. "That is good news. When you just told me that it was just you three I kind of just thought something had happened to the other three. Anyway I just went down to the river to catch something to eat and gather water for me and the animals. I caught more fish than I could ever eat. Are you hungry?" Z'doth asked.

He walked a few more steps toward them then Z'doth stopped and stared at Capher. "Did you say a brownie?" He asked in amazement.

Capher's stomache growled his answer, as did Morcaanan's and Teri's. Capher thought he heard a small sound in his ear and eyed Tulpje. "Tulpje is hungry too, I think," Capher said with a chuckle.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on October 26, 2007, 04:31:01 AM
Tulpje held her stomach when it started growling, then giggled as she heard Capher's comment. "Yes, yes, I hungry. Eat lots, yes." She looked at Z'doth curiously, and suddenly felt a little shy. He seemed strange - even stranger than normal Big People. The scar on his face made him look fierce. She inched a little closer to Capher's ear, to be sure that she was safe.

Suddenly the strangeness of her position hit her. How had she ended up here? Some time ago, she'd never have trusted Big People enough to sit on their shoulder. When had this changed? She'd only just met these people, and already she was looking at them for safety. That was not normal, was it? At least not for her.

When her stomach growled again, she shook off her thoughts and won it from her initial shyness, asking Z'doth: "Eat soon?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 26, 2007, 11:53:20 PM
Z'doth looked curiously at the little creature upon Capher's shoulder. It looked liked a piece of bark but it moved and even Tharian!! Though it was a bit broken up. He looked at the brownie and then at Capher in amazement. "I always thought brownies were just a myth, and now here I am looking at one and it speaks our language. How is that possible? Don't they have their own language and how did this one learn ours?" He asked.

Capher chuckled at Z'doth's amazement and question. "No, Brownies are not a myth, in fact we left several thousand of them behind in the Vale. Tulpje here somehow learned Tharian. I do not know how, but she did and now she is like an interpreter between her race and others. Besides, there are other Brownies, especially the leaders who know Tharian and I suspect probably other languages as well. They are a very old race."

"Well I will be horse whipped. I never knew," replied Z'doth as he stared at Tulpje, finally he put out his right index finger toward Tulpje. "Hi Tulpje, my name is Z'doth. What do you want to eat? I have some fish and berries besides some oats that is for the Aj's and horses."

He gave Capher a quizzical look. "What do Brownies eat, anyway?"

Capher chuckled again. "Let her tell you. Me I want the fish."

Capher looked at Morcaanan and Teri. They both nodded and said, "Fish will be fine, and some berries for me," Teri added.

Z'doth grinned, "Fish it is. I will start frying them right now and for you little lady, the berries are wrapped in that cloth over by that rock," Z'doth said pointing.

Teri and Morcaanan went over to the cloth, opened it, sat down next to each other and ate some of the berries, talking softly amongst themselves.

"Can I help you with anything?" Capher asked Z'doth.

"Well I guess I could use some more dry wood for the fire. It is kind of scarce around here." Z'doth answered stirring the fire and laying out the fish, taking out his knife, readying them to be scaled.

"Ok, I will go look for more," Capher said and then suddenly stopped. "Z'doth, you did not happen to see Ken come this way did you?"

"The little hobbit? Yeah he came through here babbling about something. I tried to talk to him but could not make any sense out of what he was saying; something about dwarves, adventure and an anvil, but then he spoke about so many other things I just gave up and he went on his way."

"Which way?" Capher asked.

"Oh, he went that way," Z'doth answered pointing toward the east and to the towering Rimmering Mountains.

"Thanks," Capher said. "I will go look for more firewood now."

Z'doth nodded and began scaling the fish.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 30, 2007, 11:32:38 PM
The repast was good and with a full stomache he lay back upon the soft grass staring up at the sunny sky. A few small clouds lazily floated across the bright blue sky and a warm breeze wafted through the small cove where he, Morcaanan, Teri and Z'doth were. He almost forgot Tulpje, but after she ate, she fell asleep on his shoulder. He gently picked her up and put her in his pocket so that she would not accidently fall off his shoulder.

He knew they should gather some supplies and go after Ken but now that he knew what direction Ken headed he thought that they could easily catch up to the hobbit. After all his legs were much shorter than theirs and he was thinking about taking the horses anyway. So there was no need to rush. He closed his eyes and was soon fast asleep.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on October 31, 2007, 09:38:48 PM
The cawing of a big black bird and the flight of many birds off their tree perches woke Capher up. The sun was past its zenith. He has slept too long. He looked over at Morcaanan and Teri and they were huddled together, but Morcaanan's eyes opened at the sound just as Capher's had been. Z'doth was still fast asleep.

Capher rose as Morcaanan woke Teri up and then they all three gathered by the horses. "I will leave a note telling Z'doth that we took the horses so that he will not worry when he awakes. We slept longer than I had wanted to. Ken could be far ahead of us now."

"Where are we heading, old wolf?" Morcaanan asked as he began to saddle his horse and Teri did the same to hers.

"The Rimmering Mountains, actually the Eastern peaks. I am thinkng if we take the horses we may catch him before he reaches them, if not, it may be more difficult to find his trail. So we must be on our way."

"What about supplies and water?" Teri asked.

Capher checked his water skin, it was more than half full, and he had his jerky; that would suffice him, he thought until we found Ken. " I have more than enough water and jerky. I figure we should find Ken before dusk, our food and water should hold out until then; as far as the horses are concerned, there is plenty of grass for them to eat and we can share our water."

He finished saddling his horse, quickly scribbled a note for Z'doth and then swung into his saddle. Morcaanan and Teri were saddled and awaiting him. As soon as Capher was saddled the took off at a high gallop toward the Eastern Peaks of the Rimmering Mountains.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on November 03, 2007, 01:41:57 AM
Capher followed by the others rode fast and hard but they did not meet up with Ken as soon as Capher thought they would. He slowed his horse down and the others followed until they were at a walk. Morcaan's horse came up to his left side, Terri's on his right.

"Well, old wolf, where is he?"

Capher shrugged his shoulders. "I really do not know. I was sure we would catch up to him by now," Capher answered a bit puzzled as he looked around and then straight ahead of him.

"Did we lose his trail?" Mocaanan asked, looking around himself. "Perhaps he did not come this way after all," he said.

Capher's brow wrinkled as he thought and looked around once more and then he spied it; more bread crumbs heading toward the mountains. "Look!" He shouted, pointing at the bread crumbs. "I knew I was right, he is heading for the mountains."

"But we are on horses. How is he moving so fast?" Morcaanan asked.

Capher shrugged his shoulders once again. "Perhaps he never stopped to rest, while we were sleeping. I am not sure. But I do know he is heading this way."

"Well then let's go get him, before it becomes dark and we have to camp and then we will never find him," Morcaanan said as he kicked his horse in its flanks and took off at a gallop. Teri gave Capher a quick look and then kicked her horse and went after Morcaanan; Capher then did the same.

Ahead of them the mountain's loomed large and cast a shadow upon them though the sun was slowly setting behind them. Capher tried to recall some of what he knew of these mountains and remembered that the dwarven Tenthrum clan lived somewhere deep in these mountains and that the entrance to their caves were somewhere close to where they were heading. Could Ken be going to them? Perhaps to ask them for help in finding out where Kurik's Anvil might be? Why that trickster! He said he was leaving our group and would find another adventure and all along he knew exactly what he was going to do, if that is what has happened? Capher thought as they continued their way.

The sun was low and Capher had realized that they had been going upward for last hour. The air was becoming much cooler and the vegetation more sparse as they rode higher up into the mountains. Finally Capher called for a halt. "We need to stop and make camp. If we go any farther, we will have a hard time finding enough wood to make a decent fire and to find and hunt down some food."

Morcaanan and Teri halted their horses. "Old wolf, there is no way that Ken could have outdistanced us. I believe we have lost him. I think tomorrow we should head back to the others."

Capher shook his head no. "Morcaanan I can understand your frustration and confusion. I share it with you. But we are close to the entrance of the caves of the dwarven Tenthrum clan. If I am correct. I think Ken went to go ask them for their help in finding Kurik's Anvil."

"And if you are not?" Morcaanan asked, a bit weary at this seemingly wild goose chase.

"Then we will ask them ourselves. Then if we do not find Ken at least this jaunt was not for nothing," Capher answered.

Morcaanan sat back in his saddle as he thought over what Capher said. He did not like it, but it did make sense. "Ok, old wolf. We go on."

They made camp quickly. Morcaanan and Teri both brought back a rabbit and soon Capher had them skinned and spitted over the fire.  The tethered horses munched on their oat bags while their owners set up their blankets to sleep in as they waited for the rabbit's to cook.

They ate as the stars came out on a clear night.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 03, 2007, 08:48:06 AM
From the shadows of an entrance, cleverly concealed by two columns of rock, the Dwarf watches the small group set up camp no more than thirty peds from her.  She looks back into cave and nods to her companion, an elderly dwarf of fairly tall stature, whose brown hair belies his age.  "Two humans, an elf and a brownie," she whispers quietly.

"You must send word to the Gornegron," she says as she looks back at her companion.  "I will see what they want."

The other dwarf, whose movements are slow and deliberate, puts a hand on her shoulder.  "Brennon, child.  You cannot do this alone.  You must let me -"

"No Torm.  I do not think they mean any danger.  Besides, there are two others.  Have them wait here at the entrance for me."  She waits for Torm to acquiesce, which he does reluctantly, but finally returns to his station where he will send word to the Dwarven clan of the group's arrival.  Brennon waits until the two others arrive - soldiers, battle-tested with years of experience dealing with orcs and other denizens of the mountains.  "Wait here and watch," she orders, and the pair quietly nod their agreement.  Their loaded crossbows speak of their readiness.

Brennon looks over the group again.  The tall one looks dangerous - his movements fluid - and he is well-armed.  The elf, though she is slight, also carries a weapon and moves with the lithe grace of her kind.  The old man and the brownie cause Brennon to wonder - she is accustomed to trade meetings with the brownies, but never in the presence of humans.  And the old man - he just seems out-of-place.  She shakes her head: there is nothing to be learned by standing here.

The dwarf leaves her weapons sheathed and approaches the camp, though she stands about ten paces from the nearest of them - the younger human.  "Greetings travellers, and welcome to the homeland of the Tenthrum," she starts.  There is wariness in her eyes, though she is genuinely interested in this unusual mix of people.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on November 05, 2007, 09:52:47 AM
After a little food, 'Teri sits happily beside Morcaanan, content to remain there as long as stars will shine, or Injera send them fleeing before his flaming face ignites the sky and leaves it with a clean, deep blue. Slowly, however, something stirs her, and she slowly stands, gesturing her intent to return to Morcaanan discreetly, and walks a little distance down the hills, just out of sight of the fire. For a moment, she breathes deeply, puts a hand on a limb and is about to raise herself into a tree when something else catches her eye. Like all of Ken's other "tracks", insignificant, yet so meaningful. At the base of a tree, shoots sprang up wildly, smaller variations of the tree made from roots driving upward from the ground. There before her, a patch of them has been torn out, and stripped of their leaves. If Ken knew nothing else, it was what he could and could not eat. These leaves, then, had been eaten. There was evidence of a fire where the shoots had gone missing, and as she looked closer, little gatherings of ants where a drop or two of sugar had been left. Quickly, she stands erect, spins about and walks quickly back toward their camp.

As luck would have it, a dwarf - 'Teri can't define the gender at this distance - has confronted the camp. Hurrying, she walks closer, near Morcaanan, and turns to the dwarf.

"Excuse me; I- er, we're... has a hobbit passed by here, sometime today? You would recognize him by his talking, if nothing else. He's never quiet."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on November 06, 2007, 08:11:33 AM
Morcaanan watched 'Teri go, eyes tracing her movements until the shadows swallowed her up. It felt good not to be so lonely anymore; the world seemed a better place, now that she was here.

Someone approached the camp - they did not make a great effort at concealment, though by the same token, they didn't brazenly intrude on the camp, but stood a few paces off. Morcaanan stood and turned to face the newcomer, noting that he was keeping his weapons sheathed: as such, the Korweynite did not draw his own.

"Greetings travelers, and welcome to the homeland of the Tenthrum" he says. A dwarf, though Morcaanan did not know if it was male or female.

"Hail" said Morcaanan. "We-"

He was suddenly cut off as 'Teri, who was almost running, came up next to him and blurted out, "Excuse me; I- er, we're... has a hobbit passed by here, sometime today? You would recognize him by his talking, if nothing else. He's never quiet."

He laid a hand on her arm to quiet her. "As my..." He suddenly stumbled on what to call 'Teri: friend? Companion? Partner? He shook it off. "As my friends says, we are looking for another whom we know. We mean no harm here." He glanced at Capher, to see what the Old Wolf would add to the conversation.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 06, 2007, 12:54:31 PM
Brenna looks between the elf and the human, and though they seem honest, she can tell they are not disclosing everything.  She sighs audibly when the elf mentions the hobbit.  "Yes, we have met your hobbit friend.  And you are correct, he will not keep quiet, and he is too curious for his own safety."  She grimaces a little and moves closer to the group so they can see her features by the light of the campfire.  "I must warn you, he has been under watch since he snuck his way into our Head Priest's chambers - he seems harmless, but our Gornegron was a little put out."

"But it is best not to stand outside here and speak too much longer.  Orcs live in these hills, and they usually hunt at night.  We should enter the caves where it will be safer."  Brenna then nods to the entire group.  "I am Brenna Stonetracer - I will guide you back to our caves if you are willing."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on November 07, 2007, 12:21:02 AM
Capher was sitting near the fire, munching on the last of the rabbit when he noticed Teri get up and walk away a distance from the camp. Capher assumed she needed some privacy after eating. The urge was building in him as well and he was glancing around to see if he could find a suitable place to go when he saw Morcaanan stand and stare off into the dark. Capher turned and saw a stout figure near the campsite, closer to Morcaanan and Teri than to himself.  The figure spoke and Capher knew immediately it was a dwarf and a female one at that.

Most people cannot tell the difference when they hear a dwarf or even see one for the first time. But Capher had been around dwarves and his kind and their kind were kindred spirits in a way, as they both lived deep inside the mountains.  When Dwarves first broke into Draconian lairs eons ago, there were many a battle and both sides lost many as the dragons protected their treasure and the dwarves tried to steal it; eventually both sides came to an agreement, the dragons would move farther north, leave half their treasure and the dwarves promised not to make any advances into the Northern mountain ranges.

Then came the Dragonstorm and then after that devestation Capher could not help but admire the human courage and was amazed when even one of them finally went after and killed his great-grandfather, Ole Dem' brey; he decided to change into the human form to try and understand them. Then came the Year of Darkness almost all of Capher's kind died, including his own family. He survived because he had changed into a human and found shelter among them.

Capher heard Morcaanan speak and then was interrupted by Teri who asked the dwarf about Ken. Capher was about to speak when the dwarf moved closer to the fire so that she was seen clearly and then spoke.

"Yes, we have met your hobbit friend.  And you are correct, he will not keep quiet, and he is too curious for his own safety."  She grimaces a little and moves closer to the group so they can see her features by the light of the campfire.  "I must warn you, he has been under watch since he snuck his way into our Head Priest's chambers - he seems harmless, but our Gornegron was a little put out."

"But it is best not to stand outside here and speak too much longer.  Orcs live in these hills, and they usually hunt at night.  We should enter the caves where it will be safer."  Brenna then nods to the entire group.  "I am Brenna Stonetracer - I will guide you back to our caves if you are willing."

To the humans Capher was known as himself, to the Elves he was known as the White Wolf, to the Dwarves he was known as the Storyteler and there might be some older dwarves who may even know his true identity, but he did not know if any of them lived anymore.

He stood up and looked at Brenna. He spoke in her language, "Greetings, to you who watch over Urtengor's domain. May his hammer always be in your hand. I am known as the Storyteller; to my friends I am known as Capher. We appreciate your kindness and safety to our little group. Brenna Stonetracer. Lead on and we will follow. I did not know that your hated enemy, had moved again so close to your home."

Capher turned to his friends who stared at him uncomprehending, except Tulpje, who knew the Dwarven language, but was surprised that Capher did. "I greeted her and then told her to lead us to the caves and safety. I had no idea Orc's were this close," he said to his friends for explantation.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 07, 2007, 11:30:47 AM
Brenna blinks when Capher introduces himself - something about his manner of speech is...different, and his grasp of the dwarven language is extremely proficient for a human.  "You honour us, Capher- you speak our language well.  Please, we should go now.  It will take a few hours to reach the caves of the Tenthrum, for the way is not straight, and many of the passages are but roughly hewn rock."

She puts her fingers to her mouth and whistles to the heavily-armed dwarves waiting at the entrance, who appear in a few short moments, and asks them to break down the camp.  "My companions will put out the fire and erase any traces of your passage."

As she walks back to the cave entrance with the small group in tow, she nods to the others and then looks at Tulpje.  Having had dealings with Brownies for much of her life, Brenna switches to their language.  "Greetings Brownin - though we often receive your kin, I have never in my time met a brownie travelling with humans and elves.  Are things well in the Vale?" she asks, genuinely concerned.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 07, 2007, 02:11:45 PM
Somewhere inside, Ken sits idly, talking, not minding the shackle on his wrist that binds him to a wall. After all, he reasons aloud, it is better that they should shackle him here than that he should inadvertantly ruin something.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 07, 2007, 02:29:32 PM
"... They came like you've never seen them swarm. More than I could count. All so mad about something or another..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on November 08, 2007, 02:19:48 AM
(OOC: Pssst! Sim, you posted in the wrong thread!)

Though he had been at the front of the group when the dwarf approached, Morcaanan now hung back as they walked to the caves - the conversation, now being carried on in the throaty language of the dwarves, was over his head.

He eyed the dwarven soldiers as they began breaking down the camp, noting their efficiency; it added a grain of truth to their claim of orc trouble.

As they walked to the cave, he took 'Teri's arm and spoke quietly into her ear. "Do you really think this is wise? They haven't proven to us that Ken is really alive, or that they are friendly towards outsiders - I thought dwarves were more reclusive."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on November 08, 2007, 03:46:26 AM
'Teri looks at him as they walk, silent for a moment as she orders her own thoughts. "It should be alright. If Ken is with them..." spontaneously, she smiles, ducking her head slightly. "Then again, I could see him walking free from a den of orcs, for the sheer comedy of it all."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on November 08, 2007, 06:02:04 AM
"I'm not worried for Ken," she concludes thoughtfully, and proceeds, "As for the dwarves being reclusive, that's as much their location as their nature. They're as likely to hail you in a market as anyone, and louder than some. I'm not afraid for this reason, mostly: they're industrious. Anything they need, they'll make themselves, and have twice the pride in it any one stealing, plundering, or even buying could have."  For a time she is silent, thinking, before summarizing, "We've only to dear them he we mean to disturb them, and I doubt any of us have that in mind."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 08, 2007, 12:00:17 PM
"... as if it made all the difference in the world. My grandfather, mother's side used to talk about dwarves. Won't repeat all of it, though, he wasn't a really friendly or polite fellow. Really, neither of my grandfathers were. He never say the likes of what happened to those orcs, though, or I'll bet he'd have had more respect. It was all so fast..." The dwarves kept watch over the captive halfling not because they wanted to, for any of them had any number of better things to do. No, they did it because they were told, because duty commanded it, and just a little because they had no way of knowing what would happen he they didn't. When asked if he'd seen locks like the one which now held him, he'd promptly answered yes. When asked if he could pick them, the discomfortimg reply was that he'd never tried, and with only that for assurance, it was thought best that at least one armed dwarf keep the tortuous watch for two hour shifts. Finished, the eight watches had gladly left him, for their own sakes, but small gestures of pity were given those taking the new shift. Now, with these latest of the two parties the dwarves had been given strange reason to expect, Ken is becoming more tolerable, the thought that soon, if only not soon enough, Ken will be silent. Whether dead or simply gone, not one me those who have spent their two hours with him really cares, hoping only to be rid me the incessant noise.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on November 09, 2007, 03:13:38 AM
Capher glanced over his shoulder as he heard the dwarven soldiers break down their camp. Morcaanan and Teri were talking amongst themselves quietly as they followed.

He turned back and followed Brenna into the cave entrance. He wondered why Ken would try and steal something. He did not seem to the kind to steal. More than likely there was probably some sort of communication error.

"Brenna, What will happen to our horses? and if I may ask, where is Ken now? And what did he try and steal? Though I have not known Ken long, he did not seem to be the sort of character who was a thief. Could there perhaps be another explanation?" Capher asked.

Capher hoped their was or else if their little group identified themselves with Ken, they may not get the answer they were seeking, nor the cooperation.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on November 09, 2007, 06:10:04 AM
Tulpje smiled a big, genuine smile at the dwarf. She wouldn't have to stumble and search for her words now. It was a relief. She did like these humans, but nothing beats talking in ones native tongue. "Not to worry, Brenna, all is well. I was given the task to help these Big Folk any way I can, as... atonement for past deeds. However, the reason we are looking for the friend of these people, the hobbit, is that there was created a rumour against him. That's why he left the vale. But I think it is best to let Capher tell this story, as I have only joined them yesterday." Ah, the joys of being able to speak in coherent sentences, if only for a short while!

As the group entered the cave, she made herself comfortable on Capher's shoulder again. This was quite easy, really. When she was on Nash, though she had more freedom to go where she wanted, she still needed to give him commands. Now she could just sit back and she would get wherever they needed to be. She idly listened to Capher's questions, looking at Brenna to know what her answer would be.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 09, 2007, 09:57:40 AM
"We will bring your horses just inside the holding cavern down that way," Brenna answers as she points down a short but wide side passage.  "They can remain there a short time, and we can bring them outside during the day."

"Your hobbit friend - Ken, did you say?  Ken is not being held for stealing.  Somehow, he managed to get past us and right into our caverns.  He was wandering around the Denirim's chambers, looking through his things.  Trum-Baroll, the hobbit gave us a scare."   She scratches her beard.  "I think the Gornegron will be glad of your arrival, for we have not really been certain what to do with the hobbit.  It did not seem right just to leave him outside, as it is dangerous at night.  He is being held, but only because he was so close to our ritual chambers."

She nods to a dwarf up ahead who stands next to a sending drum - one of the large drums the dwarves use to relay messages throughout their caverns.  "We must stop here.  Torm is our Sender - he must send news ahead of our arrival."

Brenna stops in front of the elderly dwarf, whose slow movement and film-covered eyes tell of his impending passing.  She swallows hard and a brief wave of sorrow passes through her, as she realises how close his time has come.  "Torm, these people are looking for the hobbit.  This human," she says, motioning to Capher, "calls himself Capher the Storyteller."

Then, Brenna faces the group, speaking in Tharian.  "Please, you must understand that though we are more 'open-minded' than most other Dwarven tribes, we must take our security seriously.  Could you please at least give us each of your names?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on November 11, 2007, 01:56:07 AM
We will bring your horses just inside the holding cavern down that way," Brenna answers as she points down a short but wide side passage.  "They can remain there a short time, and we can bring them outside during the day," Brenna answered Capher.  She continued on.

"Your hobbit friend - Ken, did you say?  Ken is not being held for stealing.  Somehow, he managed to get past us and right into our caverns.  He was wandering around the Denirim's chambers, looking through his things.  Trum-Baroll, the hobbit gave us a scare."   She scratches her beard.  "I think the Gornegron will be glad of your arrival, for we have not really been certain what to do with the hobbit.  It did not seem right just to leave him outside, as it is dangerous at night.  He is being held, but only because he was so close to our ritual chambers."

Capher shook his head. He had misunderstood Brenna about Ken. Ken had not stolen anything, he just somehow slipped past their security and ended near their ritual chambers. Capher knew that the dwarves prided themselves on the security of their caverns, almost as much as did the humans when it came to protecting their cities. He wondered what happened to the guards who had let Ken slip past them but did not ask.  He just followed Brenna silently.

She nods to a dwarf up ahead who stands next to a sending drum - one of the large drums the dwarves use to relay messages throughout their caverns.  "We must stop here.  Torm is our Sender - he must send news ahead of our arrival."

Brenna stops in front of the elderly dwarf, whose slow movement and film-covered eyes tell of his impending passing.  She swallows hard and a brief wave of sorrow passes through her, as she realises how close his time has come.  "Torm, these people are looking for the hobbit.  This human," she says, motioning to Capher, "calls himself Capher the Storyteller."

Capher looked at Torm and could see the signs that soon Torm would be ending his journey and facing Urtengor at his judgement seat. When Brenna introduced him, he thought he saw a start, a straightning of Torm's back, an acknowledgement; but the elder dwarf was very disciplined and stood his ground, not looking at him.

Then, Brenna faces the group, speaking in Tharian.  "Please, you must understand that though we are more 'open-minded' than most other Dwarven tribes, we must take our security seriously.  Could you please at least give us each of your names?"

"You have already intrduced me," Capher said. "I will let my friends introduce themselves and then we must find Ken and then I would like to speak to the Gornegron, if possible," Capher stated.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on November 11, 2007, 08:23:35 AM
The dwarves look to 'Teri and Morcanaan, and 'Teri finds herself looking to him. There is a patient resolve in his eyes, and she looks back to face the dwarves, hesitating, hesitating, and then begins with, "I'm...", just as Morcanaan begins to speak, and she falls silent, as he, too, ceases to speak, each waiting for the other. Again she begins, "My name is Aueniteri, of the Quaelhoirhim." She had heard Morcanaan draw breath again to speak, but had gone ahead, knowing that otherwise, the silence could have held forever.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on November 11, 2007, 08:29:27 AM
She feels a little warmth fill her cheeks, and drops her eyes for an instant, then looking apologetically to Morcanaan, searching his manners for some kind of response, either reprimand or approval.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on November 11, 2007, 12:17:25 PM
When they had finally gotten 'Teri introduced, he shrugged slightly at her for the misunderstanding and introduced himself.

"Morcaanan." It was flat and final, though not intentionally rude.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 11, 2007, 01:28:44 PM
Brenna nods to each of them.  "Thank you Capher, Auniteri," she says, struggling with the elf's name, "and Morcaanan."  She turns to Tulpje and speaks briefly in Browniin.  "You're kind are well known to us and have been to our home many times, though I know the Gornegron would like to speak with you as well."

Then she looks back at Torm.  "Send the message old friend.  We will be there in shortly."  She claps him on the shoulder and then starts down the hallway, but then turns back when she notices he does not begin to drum right away.  "Torm?" she asks, but he does not acknowledge her.

Torm looks into Capher's eyes and realisation begins to set in.  "Storyteller," he whispers to Capher in ThergerimTaal, his voice filled with awe.  "It has been more than two hundred years - I was just a boy when I last saw you.  You do not look any different."  That is all.  He turns back to his work and begins drumming his message.

"Come, guests," Brenna bids the group.  "The Gornegron and your friend await."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 12, 2007, 12:47:18 PM
Gradually, through his chatter, Ken hears the booming of the big drum, and for just an instant, is silent, trying to assess what exactly it is he has heard. In surprise, the two dwarves with him immediately turn to look, and Ken starts up in that exact instant, "That's that big drum near the entrance, isn't it? Why do you use that drum? I guess it has a purpose; everything seems to have a purpose around here. Not a lot of decoration; not that there's anything wrong with that. I like decorations, of course, but I think in the end, everything should have a purpose. Even a change of color. See the ground, up there, is a lighter color. Down there, it gets darker. It makes an interesting effect, but I'll just bet that means more than just fancy colors. More... something in this darker rock, I would guess. It would mean a lot after some years being in it; like someone who could tell plants apart, not because they knew that exact plants, but because they knew enough about different kinds of plants. You could know where gold or iron or something lay, from the color of the stone, I would think. That would take a lot of work, a lot of experience..."

The dwarves have learned not to listen. As Ken rambles, they train their ears to the throbbing sound echoing down hallways, and one smiles to the other, before turning to Ken, and in halting Tharian, announces, "Someone's here. You're going soon."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 13, 2007, 11:47:46 AM
Harrek Ironarm, the current Gornegron of the Tenthrum clan, strides into the council chamber and nods to the dwarf standing before him.  Though he is well past one hundred and fifty years of age, his brown hair has not yet begun to turn gray, and he still moves with the easy fluidity of a young warrior.  Though of average size and build for a dwarf, he is well-muscled, and he radiates an aura of authority and wisdom.

The other dwarf in the chamber is stocky but obviously a female by her slimmer frame.  Silvery gray hair frames her face, wrinkles crease her forehead and the skin around her eyes and mouth, but she is still hale and stands straight.  Her long grey robe is adorned with trim embroidered with dwarven script that denotes her status as the head priestess of her clan - the Denirim.

He looks around at the circular chamber, and stands near the inner of two rows of stone benches carved out of the floor and polished to a glossy sheen.  Engravings have been chiselled into the benches indicating where the various leaders of each house sits during council sessions. 

"Greetings Denirim," he says with a bow and adds a ritual greeting of respect to her.  He smiles.  "I hope you are well."

The Denirim nods and returns his smile.  "Thank you Gornegron.  I am, but this news cannot wait.  It concerns the group who is coming for the hobbit."

Harrek shrugs.  "We are prepared - the guard awaits on alert and the hobbit is still under watch.  The Sender mentioned only that a small group - though oddly assorted - comes to reclaim their friend - Kenrill I believe the message said.  Our guards will be relieved - the hobbit does speak a lot."

The Denirim does not smile this time.  Tension is evident in her eyes.  "Yes, but it is not the hobbit that concerns me.  Rather one of those who comes to claim him."

The Gornegron frowns.  "What do you mean?  We still have time to close the inner passages if -"

"No, Gornegron.  That not what I meant."  The Denirim sighs and sits down on one of the chairs in the circular chamber.  "We are not in any danger from this individual, though his coming is a portent of dark things to come, I fear."

"Come, sit down," she beckons to Harrek, who sits down next to her.  "It has been centuries since he has visited us, if he is whom he claims to be.  I was not even born when the Storyteller last came to the Halls of the Tenthrum."

"I don't understand.  The Sender's message said the elf was a female."

The Denirim chuckles a little.  "And I expect that his message is true.  The Storyteller walks in the guise of an elderly human."

"The older human?  But that would make him more than two hundred years old!  That is not-"

"Possible."  The Denirim pats Harrek's shoulder.  "No, nephew.  He is not a human, if the stories my grandsire told me were true.  I do not know his true race, but the Storyteller is written of in our ancestors' records."

"I am surprised you are so calm," Harrek says.  "You say his coming brings evil.  Tell me why I should not issue a call to arms."  His brown eyes gleam fiercely.

"He does not bring evil with him."  The Denirim sighs and looks away for a moment.  She has only written clues about the Storyteller - brief details of previous visits to the Tenthrum clan.  "He is a powerful agent for good, so I fear that some equally powerful evil has arisen - or is rising - that he is compelled to face.  It likely only relates to us indirectly, yet I feel that we will have some small part in his journey."

Harrek sits back and tension leaves his face.  So this Storyteller - Capher, the Sender's message called him - has need of the Tenthrum dwarves.  "We will meet with this Capher when he arrives, and we will deliver his hobbit friend to him.  And," he adds slowly, "I expect you will try to help him as much as you can, if what you say about him is true."

The Denirim simply nods.

"Very well," Harrek says and stands.  "I do not have much time to prepare myself for this meeting.  We will meet here upon their arrival."  With that, Harrek walks brusquely out of the council chamber and through the massive hall to the holding cell where Kenrill is under watch.  When he arrives, the guards' eyes open wide.

"I will need the key to his bindings," Harrek says and holds out his hand into which the guard places a large iron key.  "Please bring water and food - I will speak with the hobbit."

Harrek approaches Kenrill and nods.  "Greetings, Master Kenrill.  I am Harrek Ironarm, Gornegron of the Tenthrum," he says in Tharian, his baritone voice resounding in the room.  He unlocks the bindings and steps back from Kenrill.  "Your friends, Capher and his companions, will be here soon, and you will be on your way."

"I am curious - who is Capher?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 18, 2007, 08:47:30 AM
"... all the gold you keep there. Capher's an interesting fellow, isn't he? Just by looking at him, I'd say he's about fifty, probably a little more; getting quite a ways along in years. He's a really nice gent, although I don't know everything about him, I only met him about a week ago, maybe a few days more. In that time, I've seen him as an ogre, a bird, and a man... I think it was a bird. The ogre bit was kindof neat; he was distracting another when it attacked Talia, and she was riding her aj around shirtless." The hobbit's face flushes slightly as he remembers, but without pause, he carries on. ""He's really smart, wise I guess is the better word. He would really like to be a normal person, 'cause whatever he is that I suspect isn't really an old man doesn't know passion like us folks do; that almost makes him sound like an immortal. I never thought of him that way, I always supposed he understood death pretty well, most older people do. I like to think of death, sometimes. Dying shouldn't be much different than falling asleep, except that you might wake up... different. I don't know what kind of form you'd have, but I can hardly imagine looking much different. It would be good if I got my finger back, but dead people can't do much with the physical world - oh, I've heard of ghosts and those things, but seriously, that's too outrageous. I've never seen it - but then, I guess it's not the only thing I've never seen. I've never seen the Rahaz'Dath, for example. I hear it's dry there..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 19, 2007, 08:59:26 AM
Harrek winces as Kenrill leaps into his tirade of a response, and initially the Gornegron regrets coming to ask the hobbit for information.  However, Harrek does glean a few important bits of information from Kenrill, and so holds his tongue until the hobbit finishes talking about Capher.

A shapeshifter...unable to feel emotion like humans...immortal - he would not have believed it possible had he not already spoken with the Denirim.  And one of them rides an Aj, he muses.  The Gornegron knew enough of Southern Sarvonia to have heard of the Shendar and the tall beasts they rode.  It surprises him that one of their kind would travel so far north.

"Wait.  Wait!"  Harrek holds up his hands to stop Kenrill.  "Thank you.  That's enough of Capher.  Please, can you tell me of your group's purpose?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 19, 2007, 09:21:15 AM
Brenna leads the group through a labyrinth of twisting caverns, whose sole purpose is to confuse and slow and would-be invaders of the Tenthrum.  What is surprising, is that she moves confidently, unerringly through winding passages cut into the rock of the mountain.  The walls and floors of the passages are uneven and roughly cut - again done purposely to slow the movement of those unused to travelling them.  The Dwarf, however, has no trouble navigating or finding her footing on the uneven floors.  As the group travels, their way is lit by dimly glowing lamps filled with green phosphorescent moss.  They cross paths with the occasional sentry-pair, with whom Brenna gives only a brief nod and a short word of greeting.  None of the sentries seem surprised to see the group.

A couple of hours later, the passage opens into a wide chamber whose floor is even.  At the far end stands a massive pair of metal doors flanked by two pairs of heavily armoured guards.  Several fluted, circular columns engraved with carvings soar upward from the floor.  The ceiling of the room is too high to be seen even by the light of the torches held by wrought-iron sconces bolted to the walls of the chamber.

Brenna stops just before the guards and speaks in ThergerimTaal.  "Good evening, brothers - I bring the visitors Capher, 'Teri, and Morcaanan.  With them also travels the brownie, Tulpje.  These guests are in my charge - may be enter?" she asks.  Anyone familiar with the Tenthrum would know this exchange is merely ceremonial.

"Welcome to the home of the Tenthrum," one of the dwarves says, also in Thergerim'Taal, and then turns and knocks his hammer against the metal doors.  A low rumbling issues from within the floor as the doors begin to open inward.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on November 20, 2007, 03:48:48 AM
Capher followed Brenna watching where she placed her feet as she walked over the uneven and rough floor of the cave so that he placed his feet on the same places so that he could keep up with her but also not to trip or fall upon a piece of jutted rock that were everywhere on the floor.

Capher could not recall this passageway and wondered why, as he was sure it was the only one, at least from the outside.  He had wanted to speak to Trom, but he had not been given the time, besides the elder dwarf said his peace, and then did his duty as a honorable dwarf would do.

The light in the tunnels was barely enough to see and when they passed sentries, Capher would have sworn were not there a blink ago, Brenna would just nod and continue on.  She was relentless as she walked through the maze of rock hewn corridors and passageways. Capher glanced back at Teri and Morcaanan. He could barely see their faces but heard their breathing as they pushed on deeper and farther into the mountain.

Then the narrow passagway gave way to a large lit cavern. Capher glanced up and could not see the top of it. He looked ahead and saw the two large metal doors and he heard the ceremonial greetings pass between the heavily armed guards and Brenna.  Flashes of memories of these doors being fashioned and built into the mountain flickered through Capher's mind.

He blinked and stared at the door, the columns and their ornamentations. He had been here! When the doors were first placed at the entrance of the Tenthrum Clan's home. He had placed his mark on that column to the left of the door. The mark of his kind...the mark of the dragon!

His mind swirled with those thoughts and as quickly as they came, they left; leaving him with a void that he could not fill.

He heard the heavy booming sound of the hammer upon the door and watched in fascination as they slowly opened up.  The void that had been there flling up with new memories as the old ones faded away, like flowers who had too much sun and not enough rain.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 21, 2007, 01:52:55 PM
"... pretty big snakes. No, can't say for sure. I mean, I guess everybody has their own reason. I've heard talk about demons and gems; we were attacked by an elf... or two, and a mullog, and some other things. Oh, and an ogre, and some bandits. I would think Capher and Talia know the most about that, maybe Terra, but she's seemed... a little different lately. Not herself. Might have been the demon. I wasn't there when they met the demon - I'm guessing it was them, by the way the Brownies were treating Talia and Terra, who I guess were there. There's a lot of things I don't know about them, but they're all good people. I especially like Talia, and Capher, although I'm not exactly sure why. I was just tagging along, mostly; nothing better to do. You could say I do a lot of things like that, just because there's nothing better to do. That was why I ended up on the open seas once; I had been helping a merchant, because I had nothing better to do, and it was night, and when we were attacked, and outnumbered and everyone else was dead, I hid in a bag of loose wool - had to displace most of it, put it out of the bag, but they didn't suspect it. Loaded it into the cart and hauled off with it, sailed it south to sell. We finally made landfall north of the Rahaz - before the mountain pass. Interesting people. I met a man there who tamed sea animals for a living. He would spend all day out in the water with them, and after a while they'd get used to him, and then he could get them to do things for him. If you get something to be your friend like that, I think that's the next logical thing is to get it to do something constructive. Look at the Shendar, for example, bonding with the aj'nuvic. If it just followed them around, and they fed it, why it'd be pretty useless, almost like carrying a mouse in your pocket, but they ride it, and that makes a whole lot of sense. If I had an animal that were just bigger than me, and lots tougher, and maybe not so smart as me, and was good for packing, I'm sure I'd lift myself up onto it and find a way to tell it where I wanted it to go from there, it's just the normal thing to do. Not sure if it makes you more lazy or smart, though. Seems lazy, but if you think about it..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 22, 2007, 12:11:05 PM
Harrek's eyes widen and then finally glaze over as Kenrill launches into his second tirade.  For a moment, the Gornegron is reminded of a gnome he once met, who could speak nearly as much as this hobbit.  At least the gnome didn't jump from one unrelated topic to another, he thought wearily.

Still, there was some information he could take from Kenrill's diatribe.  The group was looking for a gem - or perhaps carried one.  And the group was obviously facing some powerful enemies if a demon were truly involved.  Perhaps there is some truth to what the Denirim had told him earlier, but the Gornegron would reserve judgement until he had a chance to speak with this Capher.

"Gornegron," a dwarf returns to the cell, with a plate filled with food - dwarven fare - heavy bread, cheese with a strong aroma and salted meat - and a clay mug of water.

Harrek waves the dwarf in, who carries in the plate of food and sets it down on a small stone table.  The dwarf nods to the Gornegron and then leaves.

"Please eat, Master Kenrill.  You've had a long day, and I -"

Just then a second dwarf arrives and interrupts their conversation.  The dwarf is flushed and out of breath.  "Gornegron!  The visitors have arrived."

Harrek nods and looks back at Kenrill.  "Please come with me."  It comes across more an order than a request.  Then the Gornegron turns to the guards.  "Lorach, Tolbrom.  You will attend us."  The two dwarves, both heavily armed and stone-faced, enter the cell and look expectantly, perhaps even a little impatiently, at Kenrill, even as Harrek starts out the door.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 22, 2007, 01:04:23 PM
Brenna, who has been joined by four other dwarves, all of whom are heavily armed and wearing scale armour, leads the group into the massive cavern.  The open cavern, has been painstakingly carved into the rock over a millenia, and even now the dwarves continue to work at expanding the cavern.  The dome-shaped cavern is supported at its apex by a huge carved shaft of stone that splits into graceful buttressed arches near the floor, and from its hollow centre a beam of light falls onto a large circular piece of rock engraved with dwarven runes.  Any who can read the Dwarven Timeclock will know that Sundrown has just passed.

A slim waterfall runs down one face of the dome, guided by a series of carefully carved ledges to run horizontally for several dwarf-spans and then to leap down into a step-edged pool.  Several long torches are thrust into sockets in the cavern floor around the pool; torchlight flickers off the surface of the dark water.

Tunnels and shafts run off in every direction around the edges of the cavern, and rail-less staircases spiral up along the walls of the cavern to the point where the dome begins to arch inward.  These staircases end at massive landings that lead off into other torchlit shafts.  As the group passes by one of those tunnels, they can make out the muted voices of dwarves of different ages - these tunnels lead to the living quarters of the Thergerim.  Normally this central cavern would be a hub of activity, however given the late hour, most of the dwarves are preparing for the night.

Light and shadows flicker throughout the cave, light thrown by luminous fungi hung around tunnel entrances, tall torches in cast-iron wall sconces bolted to the outer cavern wall as well as columns of rock the reach up to the ceiling above.  Some of the entrances are even lit by scented candles.

Brenna points to a five ped tall stone arch behind a bonfire blazing in the giant Main Hearth near the timeclock.  The Main Hearth is vented by a series of chimneys that lead out of each homecave for light and heat, and is guarded by another group of four dwarven warriors.  Next to the Main Hearth sits a massive forge.  The arch has been engraved with several dwarven runes much like those in the columns outside the main entrance, however they glitter with silver inlay. 

Another group of no less than twelve dwarves stands outside the archway.  Though sturdy-looking, as is typical of their race, these dwarves are only lightly armoured or wear no armour at all.  Some of the dwarves' beards are the colour of snow, while others appear no older than Brenna. 

"The council chamber and the Gornegron wait within that arch."  She looks at Capher and the others with interest.  "It seems you have attracted the full attention of the council."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on November 26, 2007, 01:40:57 AM
Harrek arrives at the council chamber with Kenrill and his 'guards' in tow via a smaller passageway than the one Brenna has led the group through.  He can see the council members standing outside, as well as the two humans, the elf, a brownie and Brenna.

He sits in a large chair that has been carved out of the rock at the center of a slightly raised dias, and looks at his guards.  "Please escort Master Kenrill's companions into the chamber.  They are led by the older human named Capher.  Have the council take their seats."

Without question, the two warriors walk out the archway.

The Gornegron then looks at Kenrill, and motions to the front row of a series of semicircular stone benches that face the dias on which he know sits.  "Please take a seat here - your friends will join you shortly."


When the two warriors walk through the archway, one of them directs the council into the chamber, while the second stands before Capher.  He nods briefly, and in surprisingly good Tharian says in a deep, gravelly voice, "greetings, visitors of the Tenthrum.  The Gornegron asks that you join him in counsel.  He is curious of your purpose - beyond retrieving the hobbit," he adds, having been the one guard who spent the most time with Kenrill.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on November 27, 2007, 05:23:49 AM
Capher waited expectantly to be led into the council chambers.  He saw other dwarf's, not guards, but differently dressed of various sizes and sex enter the council chamber and enter in. Then a guard came and invited him and his companions inside.

"greetings, visitors of the Tenthrum.  The Gornegron asks that you join him in counsel.  He is curious of your purpose - beyond retrieving the hobbit."

Capher eyed the guard suspiciously. What did he mean? Beyond retrieving the hobbit? That is our only purpose. Capher thought as he followed the guard into the council chamber.

He did not know what Morcaanan or Teri had been thinking when they went through those massive doors, past the time clock and now into the council chambers, but he was thinking of how inventive the dwarves had become since he had last saw them. It seemed to Capher that they went from plain pick axes and hard labor to using their minds to bend, shape, mold and use what their father and god, Utrengor, had given them to better themselves and their clans.  He wondered if all the clans had been passed these technological advances?

The council chamber was a large domed granite rock chamber with benches of stone set in a semi-circular pattern centered around a large granite seat built into the mountain itself upon which sat a massive looking dwarf who watched the group silently under his thick bushy brows as they filed in.

Capher saw Ken and then he and the rest were escorted to where Ken sat and were asked to seat themselves. Ken, as usual, saw them and right in the middle of one rant he started another; this one concerning Capher, Teri, and Morcaanan.  He seemed to be saying he was glad to see them, but there were other bits and pieces of information all twisted inside.  Capher had come to realize that Ken digested a lot of information, however it came out in bits and pieces and unless you listened carefully you may miss a key bit of information or clue that could ultimately either save your life or in the very least tell you where he was, what he saw and where you might want to go.

The rest of the council filed in and Capher listening with one ear to Ken scanned the council for the Denirim of the Clan. The Gornegron was the clan leader but the Denirim was their spiritual one, their wise one and suddenly it hit Capher. The Denirim either knew or had guessed what their journey was all about. It would be from her or him that information concerning Kurik's Anvil could possibly be gleaned.  Why did it take him so long to figure it out? 

That troubled Capher as he watied to be spoken to.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on November 28, 2007, 02:29:38 AM
Tulpje watched the proceedings with interest, from her vantage point of Capher's shoulder. She'd talked with dwarves before, but brownies were not generally invited so deep into the cave, and certainly not with so much members of the council there. She didn't have the courage to speak, though, so she said nothing to Capher. In any case, he was the only one she could have said something to, 'Teri and Morc being too far away to let her voice be heard by them. Sometimes she wished she could be their height, just for the advantages they seemed to have. But then, being small had its good sides too, so she probably shouldn't be too eager to trade places. Not that there was much chance of that happening...

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 28, 2007, 02:11:23 PM
Kenriil sees Capher coming in, and his chatter slows, stops for a moment as Capher sits beside him, then continues as he counts those with him. Then, a little more slowly, he counts them again. The third time, his words are distinct, precise, and spoken with a little more volume than normal. "Capher, Morcaanan, Aueniteri."

Kenriil is silent, his chatter stopped entirely as he stands, looks about for a moment, as if he has missed something, which he knows is not likely, and then stands before Capher, his face twisting slightly in anger, his fists clenched tightly at his sides.

"Capher! You did exactly what I told you to not do! You left Talia and Terra! They should be here! It isn't right to seperate, not right now! You have no idea what that... that elf-guy is planning! He nearly killed 'Teri, are you trying to give him Talia and Terra as well?! Do you have any idea what this guy could do? If you were ambushed by a band of orcs, you'd be hopeless! They'd kill you all, even before the Tenthrum could get there! And even if the dwarves were there, you know what they'd do?! They'd wait for you to be dead, then kill off the rest of the orcs. The orcs are brave, sincere and strong, but they're stupid!"

Ken bites his lip for a while as his body starts to tremble. He's losing his focus, he realizes, and waits for that thought to pass, then the next, waiting for a thought dealing with the situation to return. After a bit more pause, he continues.

"And what about Talia, and Terra?! They're weak now! If he caught them in the Vale - if he was still there... you have no idea what you've gotten into! Why did you even come out here?! You'd better have a reason, and it better be good, because if the only reason you came is to get me, I swear I will bruise you good!"

Ken is silent, shaking slightly in rage. He waits, studying Capher's face, listening for an answer from Capher, who, for the most part, Ken has held the deepest of respect - the deepest respect he is capable of, anyway.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on November 29, 2007, 01:08:33 AM
Capher was shocked when Ken actually spoke in coherent sentences and the accusing tone in his voice. Capher was about to speak when Ken accused him again. Finally he stopped talking and just glared at Capher.

"Ken, do you really think I would leave Talia and Terra if I did not think they were in good hands and if I had a good reason to leave them? I know that we have not had much time together so sometimes my ways and methods may seem a bit strange to you, but I promise you that Talia and Terra are perfectly fine and are going through thier healing process; besides Ta'las is there to watch over them as well as the brownies. Garek, and his friends will not bother them, if anything, they would come after Teri and as you can see Teri is safe.

Capher paused to let that information sink into Ken's brain before he continued.

"Orc's only come out at night and we had hoped to find you before nightfall and return back to the Vale's entrance but you surprised me my friend, you travel much faster than I had figured," He finished.

Capher was readying himself for another barrage from Ken because Ken was right, they had only come to search for him but when Capher realized where Ken was heading his plans had changed, but he did not know if he should tell Ken; after all Ken had unofficially left the group and perhaps he should not be privy to Capher's plans? On the other hand it seemed to Capher that Seyella wanted Ken to be in thier group and to be part of the journey; so he answered Ken before Ken, who was glaring at him and ready to 'bruise him good", could begin.

"Yes, at first Ken that was my intention. However, now that we are here I will tell you that I plan on asking the Gornegron and the Denirim about the whereabouts of Kurik;s Anvil. I am hoping that they know something about that artifact. So, please do not be angry, sit down and lets hear what the Gornegron and Denirm have to say," Capher said, giving Ken a warm smile and patting the seat next to him.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on November 29, 2007, 01:43:42 PM
Ken thinks for a moment, as slowly his hands and face relax. Silently, he thinks about the exchange between himself and Capher, and a light smile briefly crosses his face, but he says nothing, and for the first time in the eight hours since Ken has arrived, the dwarves who had been granted the chance to speak with him stare in awe as he sits perfectly silent, composed, and possibly slightly amused, waiting.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on December 01, 2007, 01:28:39 PM
Harrek Ironarm nods to the council as they take their seats on the stone benches behind the visitors.  "Thank you all for attending us at this late hour," he says in Tharian, his deep voice rumbling in the council chamber.  "This meeting, though seemingly unplanned, is of great consequence, and much shall be learned from our short time with our guests."

The Gornegron then looks at each of member of the group in turn, his deep brown eyes piercing and unnerving.  "Some of you have travelled far toward your destination, and yet you still have far to go."  Seeing the uncertainty in their eyes, he adds with a nod in Kenrill's direction, "we have actually learned little of what you are doing from your companion.  The details of your journey will not leave the confines of this room, unless it is your doing.  And most of those details do not involve the Tenthrum." 

Harrek scans the group once more and then continues, looking at Capher this time.  "You are known to us as the Storyteller - you have been to these caverns before.  So it is recorded in our writings.  However, you are not as you once were."  He then looks to the elderly female dwarf, dressed in the robes of a dwarven cleric. 

The Denirim stands and begins to approach Capher, but stops when the Gornegron holds up a hand.

"Not yet," he orders the cleric, who begins to look uneasy.  Harrek looks back at Capher and leans forward, his powerful frame radiating an aura of strength.  His tone is not accusatory, but it is commanding.  "Our Denirim has told me much of you're previous visit - if that is indeed who you are.  Please stand, and address the council.  Who are you, and what is it that brings you here besides your companion?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on December 04, 2007, 01:09:29 AM
What happened from the time they entered the tunnels passes mostly over the Korweynite's head: the significance that Capher plays in the legends and stories of other races has never fully come home to Morcaanan, not even amongst the elves. Perhaps because he is a foreigner; perhaps because he has been too wrapped up in himself and his own concerns to give it much thought.

But to see the obvious deference and awe (albeit questioning awe) the dwarves show Capher, it finally begins to sink in. This the third time a race of the world has stepped forward to show hospitality and respect to the old Wolf - and though he has not met dwarves often, Morcaanan knows that dwarves do not hand out such respect lightly.

After being seated in the council chamber, and with many of the pleasantries aside, his curiosity - and caution - is aroused. "Careful, Old Wolf" he mutters quietly to Capher, as soft as possible. "The less people who know what we need to do, the better." He resumed his seat, eying Ken with a slight bit of disdain for the ordeal they had been put through to find him.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on December 06, 2007, 12:07:51 AM
Tulpje almost panicked when she realised that Capher was going to have to talk to a very large group of dwarves. Suddenly Capher's shoulder did not seem such a good place to be, even though moments before it had been a vantage point. Alright, so she didn't have to say anything - luckily, but still! However, Capher seemed to anticipate on this. He carefully took her in his hand and handed her over to Kenriil, who was closest by. With a quick look up to see if the hobbit didn't mind, the brownie settled on his knee to see what else would happen, happy that she would not be part of the center of attention.


Capher, after handing the small woman to his hobbit friend, straightened up. He flashed a smile at Morcaanan, trying to reassure him. He bowed once to the Gornegron to show his respect, then to the Denirim as well. Then he turned to the council. "I am indeed the one that your people know as the Storyteller. It has been a long time since last I was here. I need not tell you how time will change people, be they my race or yours. Your Sender, Torm, recognised me. 

There is an evil abroad. The less that is said about this evil, the better, but in order to stop it we will need Kurik's Anvil. Please, if you know where it is, help us. The evil must be stopped." He stopped speaking, wondering if maybe he had said too much. Would they know where the Anvil was? Would they help? He could only hope, for his master's sake more than for his own.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on December 07, 2007, 12:35:35 PM
Harrek watches the exchange between Capher and Kenrill and his respect for the Storyteller's patience increases.  The Storyteller's request for information on the Anvil of Kurik, however, surprises him in its bluntness.  His eyebrows knit together and the Gornegron scratches his beard as he thinks back on what he knows about the ancient artefact. 

Harrek’s thoughts are interrupted as one of the council members – a young dwarf stands and glowers at Capher.  “You are brought before this council in good faith, Storyteller, and all we ask you for is a glimpse of your intentions.  Instead you make demands – ”

“Enough, Jhorin!”  The Gornegron’s voice booms in the vaulted council chamber, as he glares at the council member until he sits back down again.   Then to Capher, “my apologies, Capher the Storyteller, for it is ever in our nature to be protective of our lore.  And, I must admit I am surprised by the shortness of your request – there are good reasons knowledge of such things is guarded and protected, as you must know and also respect.”  He gives Capher a long, knowing look.

“Fortunately, my Denirim has spoken highly of you and your past.  Our lore tells of your previous comings to the Halls of the Tenthrum, and you are held in high regard.  For that reason, in part, I will entrust this knowledge to you.  However, you speak of evil that must be stopped – and for that I am inclined to help you in your quest.”

The Gornegron then scans the group, speaking to them as a whole.  “What I require, is that each of you pledge to keep this knowledge to yourselves, and the others of your company.  Kenrill spoke of the two who seek healing from the brownies, Talia and Terra.”  He waits for the group to nod their assent, and then nods to his Denirim, who for some reason appears nervous and excited – an unusual combination for this normally stolid dwarf.

The Denirim stands and bows to Capher.  “Capher, Storyteller – as our Gornegron has said, we have writings of your previous visits to our home.  However, what he does not know, is that those writings contain a passage that speak of a future visit.”  She lets that stand a minute, and quickly gains the full attention of the council and the Gornegron, who leans forward, his eyes gleaming.  From within the folds of her clerical robes, she reveals a worn tome, its cover made of drell leather, the pages of which are sewn with natural fibers.  She opens to a page somewhere in the middle of the book, its leather cover makes a slight creak.  Her hands shake as she searches for the passage of interest. 

“Here it is,” she says and licks her lips.  “Before the Darkness breaks, the Storyteller will return to our hallowed halls to seek the aid of the Tenthrum.  He will seek only one thing, but in truth must learn of a second, as he will have forgotten much of his past.  The first, the Storyteller will have need of Kurik’s fabled Anvil – hidden away in the north.  The Tenthrum have no knowledge of the anvil, but do know of who keeps its secret.”

She looks up at Capher, almost despairing.  “I am sorry Capher, but you must travel to the Zirghurim Clan of dwarves.  The Zirkumire Mountains are far to the north on the peninsula of Cha'dómm in Xaramon.  The Denirim of the Zirghurim, Kolbron, has knowledge of the Anvil, but you must get there quickly.  Kolbron is older than I, and I fear ‘Pragorsthomm’, the Stone-Turning may nearly upon him.”  Then she looks back down at the book and furrows her eyebrows.  “I do not understand the second thing this book speaks of.  It says that you must first reclaim yourself in the ‘spring of Ximax’.”

“Do you know what this means?” she asks Capher.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on December 07, 2007, 03:31:35 PM
Aueniteri listens distantly to Ken, the dwarves - or maybe just one - and Capher's brief exchange. She notices Ken's silence, but not to the extent of the others. She sees Morcaanan's brief warning to Capher, Capher's vague acknowledgment, and hears, without really hearing, the exchange between Capher and the dwarves. Aueniteri's mind is transfixed on something not of this time, nor, exactly, of this reality.

Beside her sits Jeharaid Morcaanan, a rugged warrior the better part of a ped taller than her. A foreigner with a distant, troubling past - so different, yet in its own way, similar to her own. Though her eyes only steal sidelong glances, yet she is aware of nothing else, and proportion is distorted by something inside of her. Morcaanan is not the troubled, sleepless man lying with a fever in bed, muttering incomprehensible sentences, nor the wounded warrior limping through the Quallian - Morcaanan is huge. 'Teri is certain that if she leaned back, looking up as far as her eyes will possibly allow, she could not see his temples. Were she to reach for him, she feels certain by the time she touched him, her hand would be a tiny speck lost among the folds on his arm. His face is set, focused, and though she but glimpses it, her mind is occupied endlessly with the study of it, the impossible magnitude and exaggeration cast onto him by her imagination, and more.

Something is wrong; something in the air, but not... really in the air. She felt it in her mind. A feeling bends itself around her mind, and just a little, her body, telling her that somewhere, something is out of place. With study, the feeling first arrived the moment they neared the caverns of the Tenthrum, before Aueniteri even knew dwarves inhabited this area. For a moment, she applies to this the seeming coldness Morcaanan has exhibited since their initial entry, but logic negates that option, the most likely answer being that this is the Morcaanan known to everyone; the one who existed before they met, and the one who will exist ever afterward. The tension around her is pressed to the side as she looks again, briefly, at Morcaanan, and something explodes - in a slow, burning, ever-expanding blossom - inside her chest. Instinctively, she responds with a loose fist just below her throat, as if holding her heart gently.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Warrior Kaelan on December 09, 2007, 09:07:47 AM
"You are crazy," Kaelan grunted, as the little elf-man crouched down near the hole they'd been led to.

"I know; I'm called a madman regularly. But bear with me; this will work."

"And if it doesn't?", the warrior demanded roughly.

"Then we will make it work."

This Garrek is a new Garrek. The old Garrek was gone after this man awoke in Kaelan's camp, two days after his own campfire had exploded - for no apparent reason. It had made the warrior a little leery, but justified helping him. After all, whoever wanted to kill this kind of a fool with magic would have to be a power worth confronting. Fighting magic has long been a favorite fantasy of Kaelan's.

Garrek is short; Only a few nailsbreadths over one full ped. Thin - a malnourished thin, his body seeming to waste quickly in the two days since Kaelan found him. His nose seems a little more hooked, his eyes burning with an unholy fire, and his mind seething with the strangest emotions. His once brightly colorful clothes are scarred by the explosion, but he doesn't seem to care anymore.

Kaelan is the precise opposite of the elf-man. At only half a handspan below two peds, a thick barrel, stocky limbs and broad shoulders, the warrior is as fit as ever for battle with any of his sixteen weapons. His deep blue eyes are calm, regarding everything somewhat distantly, and when they entered the Tenthrum cavern through an escape route, somewhat warily.

The old dragon considers long and hard before answering. "Seyella understands our histories from last to first, and places in us the will to stand where she would have us. That I must heal at Ximax, I am aware; and will proceed to do so as soon as opportunity presents before... our enemy is confronted. Of course, the Anvil is of greatest importance..."

It begins with only her hand at her temple, but soon, Aueniteri's peaceful thoughts of Morcaanan are flooded out of her mind by a throbbing, dizzying headache. Her breath shortens, then constricts, and she even chokes briefly before leaning against Morcaanan and whispering the excuse, "I need to step outside."

Without further explanation she stands, and moves slowly toward the council chamber door. Something happens around her, some kind of conflict among her friends and the dwarves, and she supposes it has to do with her sudden choice to leave, but she cannot focus on it. Soon, she is being escorted out, clinging tightly to the thick, rough hand of an unknown dwarf.

Finally inside, Garrek motions gleefully to a dark room - an armory - and informs Kaelan, "There you are. The assassin has been lured here. Make them pay dearly."

With a shrug, the warrior draws his bastard sword and steps inside. Wary of the mage that tried to kill Garrek, he steps quickly out of the light in the passageway and makes directly toward the other end of the room. His first awareness of anyone else's presence is a sharp gasp, and light panting.

'Teri has been led somewhere, but she cannot tell where. It is dark, yet spots of light dance wildly before her vision as her breath closes off completely, her tongue drying and swelling to add to the discomfort. She fights to force her mind to focus, to remember what might have gone wrong - what could have poisoned her, when suddenly her vision becomes unrealistically clear. She looks up to see a huge man standing in a doorway, a large sword held menacingly in his right hand - and just as suddenly, the feeling strangling her lifts, and she inhales deeply. Again, a throbbing headache, and again, bright spots of light, but they are brief now, and she works her way to her feet, releasing the catch on her own weapon and slowly, soundlessly drawing it out.

The battle is short, but furious. Aueniteri began exhausted, Kaelan well, but not nearly so agile as she. She sidestepped and dodged, and once made a good cut on his arm, before he caught her by the shirt at the stomach, and slammed her against the wall, holding his left arm across her chest while his right fumbled with a striker, and soon, he had a tiny fire burning in a tinderbox, which he brought to her face. For a moment, they stared in each other's eyes, Aueniteri defiant, Kaelan confused, until the big man growled in surprise, "A girl?!", and dropped her, turned his back and strode for the hallway.

Again, Aueniteri waits for her breath to return before standing and following the warrior. "Are you finished? Who sent you?"

Kaelan isn't listening to her. He grabs Garrek by the burned coat, and lifts him angrily. "You sent me to kill a girl?!"

"My sister, to be exact," Garrek replies coolly, and Kaelan drops him.

"You want her dead? Do it your own damn self. I'm not getting my hands into this."

"But she has a weapon; I do not."

"Simple enough," Kaelan said, and drew his own longsword. "Use this. But you owe me extra if this pulls through."

"And if it doesn't?"

"The dwarves will kill us all anyway. It won't matter."
-   -   -   -   -   -   -

"When I have secured our use of the Anvil, whether in person or through proxy, then can the matter of the healing be attended to; or, as Seyella permits, before then."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on December 11, 2007, 01:24:48 PM
Capher looks anxiously toward the others, particularly Morcaanan, after 'Teri has left the council chamber with a strange looking dwarf he has not seen before, and then back at the Gornegron.  "Gornegron, I hope I have revealed enough of our intentions to stand in your trust."

Harrek Ironarm scratches his beard thoughtfully.  "You have not told us of what you mean to do with the Anvil of Kurik.  I can vaguely guess what it will be used for, if you are able to find it."  He looks back at the priestess.  "Do you have anything further you wish to tell our guests?"

The Denirim shakes her head.  Though there is much she would like to ask Capher, she has little understanding of their quest, and doubts she could be of any further use to the group.

The old dragon looks back at the exit through which 'Teri has left, and then back at the Gornegron.  "Gornegron, would you mind if one of us checked upon our companion.  I fear she may have trouble breathing underground," he lies.  "Morcaanan could be of some comfort to our friend."  Capher looks plaintively back at Morcaanan, concern clearly registering in his eyes.

"He may, though he may not travel our halls alone," the Gornegron replies.  For the first time, Harrek addresses Brenna, who has sat quietly by the group.  "Brenna, take one of the guards and accompany Morcaanan."

Then the Gornegron looks to Morcaanan.  "You may see to your friend if you wish."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on December 14, 2007, 12:30:32 AM
Morcaanan had up to this point been listening with half an ear, cataloging Capher and the dwarves were saying without giving it his full attention. Details may have slipped by unnoticed, but he caught the gist of their exchange.

At first he had merely been studying each of the individuals in the room, doing what a warrior so often does in a strange environment: assessing how he could kill each one of these strangers.
It was not because he was violent by nature, but to survive, one must always be prepared to fight, and when necessary, kill. So his mind was already moving through the processes of battle, even as he sat in a place that was supposedly peaceful and friendly.

But what now drew the larger part of his attention was 'Teri's strange behaviour: she looked vaguely like an older person with a weak heart. Something troubled her - he was not sure what it was. Continuing to feign complete and total interest in the discussion between the Wolf and the dwarves, he scanned the room, looking for whatever it was that seemed to have put 'Teri out of sorts: were they in danger? Did she know one of these dwarves?
But nothing seemed wrong: except for the occasional stray and often curious glance, the group was focused as one upon "the Storyteller". Even Ken was to an unusual degree silent (though that did not rule out that he was not talking to himself).

"I need to step outside" she whispered. Her standing drew several looks, but a dwarf took her by the hand and led her out, and the room settled once more to listen to Capher.

Morcaanan fidgeted, now wholly distracted. Anything else the Old Wolf and the council might have said went completely unregistered, for he was simply trying to process too much information about too many topics at the same time - especially when one in particular was so near his heart, and she seemed to be in pain.

Capher noticed his discomfort, even as he spoke to the dwarven council.
"Morcaanan could be of some comfort to our friend."

The mercenary's head came round, eyes which a moment before had been resting on the exit now focused on the Wolf.

"He may, though he may not travel our halls alone; Brenna, take one of the guards and accompany Morcaanan." The head of the dwarves addressed him directly. "You may see to your friend if you wish."

Morcaanan rose, hand falling to rest naturally on the hilt of his weapon as he exited the council room. Silence was at his back - and for the moment, silence was ahead.

As he walked on, he cast his glance from side to side, wondering which way 'Teri had gone. A few moments of walking - and seeing no sign of her - caused him to pause.

"What is wrong?" asked Brenna. Morcaanan started, having forgotten she spoke Tharian.

"She said she had to step outside" he murmured, more to himself than to Brennan. He mused. "She would not have gone outside these holes?"

Brennan did not reveal any sign behind her beard of being miffed at the dwarven fastnesses being called "holes", which was just as well. "No, she could not get outside the caves."

Morcaanan missed the pointed correction, so focused had he become on 'Teri's disappearance. "Something is wrong..." he muttered.

A slight ring - like a small, steel bell - came from a corridor they had already passed. All three turned to look.

"Sword." The mercenary doubled back, the dwarves now ahead of him, and they all three rolled down the halls in the direction of the armory.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on December 14, 2007, 02:34:43 AM
Kaelan sees the group coming, and gives a sidelong glance to the dwarf that brought the elf girl here in the first place, that let them in - and watches curiously as his shoulders slump in surrender, and his face drops. The dwarf looks so thoroughly beaten. The warrior shakes his head, shrugs off the feeling given him by the look on the dwarf's face, and turns to meet the oncoming trio. Two dwarves, and a man. An odd-looking man; Kaelan can't pin his tribe anywhere that he is familiar with. With meaning, Kaelan clasps the pommel of his bastard sword with his right hand, firmly, and stares them down.

"You come for the elf? Just wait. Let them have it out."
-   -   -   -   -   -

When Garrek was first sent into the room, with a torch to provide a little light, he began to try and talk to 'Teri, his old habit. It wasn't long, however, before his taunts became too pointed, too aggressive, and silently he blamed the demon who had promised him power. 'Teri stopped listening, and began the most curious dance he had ever seen. She steps up toward him, until he begins to move, then quickly dashes off to his left, backs off a step, and waits for him to turn and face her before doing it again.

Over and over it happens. Garrek, confused, struggles with frustration at her almost teasing gesture, not fully understanding what her motions are implying. Once, he slashes at her, but she easily parries it away, and dances past again. Then, just as the warrior guarding the door is heard and 'Teri's head turns slightly to look, Garrek takes full advantage of the moment, throwing caution to the wind.

With a full two steps forward, he drives the blade home to 'Teri's heart, resulting in a resounding clang and a pained whimper as the warrior's longsword is thwarted by 'Teri's breastplate, tearing her blouse open wide and revealing the armor. Garrek stares, anger rising in him more than ever before as he tries to regain his hold on the blade, but it is too late.

After stepping back, and taking a moment to regain her balance and air, Aueniteri again makes a quick hop to Garrek's left and toward him, circling him - only this time, her blade is involved. A flash of steel and a thin red line were all that marked his passing. Garrek struggled with the warmth, then the numbness that began to conquer his left side, and was considering saying something, but never did. When he fell, Aueniteri gently wrapped the singed cloak that hung over his shoulder around his neck to soak up most of the blood, took off her now useless blouse, and stepped out to see who had come, having been certain she'd heard the warrior who blocked the door arguing with a voice that sounded distinctly like Morcaanan's, and she hoped it was.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on December 15, 2007, 12:17:57 AM
Morcaanan could see the fight beyond the stranger - the stranger who was  armed appropriately, his stance and attitude familiar; he sees the mercenary for what he is, though they have never met before.

His own sword was already out as they rounded the corner, and he pushed past the two dwarves. "Please move aside." It was not a request.

Kaelan raises his weapon, looking slightly bemused. Behind him, the elf was hurling threats and taunts at 'Teri, who was moving in and out at him, weapon in hand.
"This is something where blood must settle with blood. Getting in the way and stopping it would merely put it off until another day."

With a step forward the Korweynite repeats his order, more quietly and yet, more aggressively. "Move."


Morcaanan whips his sword above his head, as if he means to split Kaelan from head to navel, but it is a feint: he steps rapidly forward with the motion, putting him too far inside his enemy's cutting arc for his enemy to strike back, but since both are wielding bastard swords the effect is the same for him as well.

Instead of actually trying to slash at the mercenary, the Korweynite makes it a contest of speed and strength, ramming his body into Kaelan's shoulder and arm, which was raised for a horizontal slash across Morcaanan's exposed torso. Bringing the pommel of his sword down on his enemy's opposite shoulder and thrusting his hand into Kaelan's torso, he seems for a moment to have the advantage.

But Kaelan had been prepared and braced for an attack, his stance balanced and firm: for a moment it is a contest of wills and power, for Morcaanan had, by bringing his weapon over his head and charging sacrificed good footing and relied on his momentum - once lost the fight would be in Kaelan's favor unless he could bring the man to the ground.

Kaelan realized too late that that was not Morcaanan's intent at all: he was suddenly and simultaneously struck in both knees and landed with the other mercenary atop of him, both of their swords clattering to earth. A dwarf, perched oddly on his knee grappled for his free arm (the other was nicely pinned beneath Morcaanan) and Brennan was suddenly up and moving rapidly at the other dwarf, weapon at the ready. She roared something in Thergerim at him.

And then there was clang followed by a cry that made Morcaanan's heart skip.

A look up revealed the elf with the point of his sword sliding off of 'Teri's body as she stumbled back from a blow that could only have been fatal.

But 'Teri regained herself even as the other elf fumbled with his blade, eyes wide with disbelief in frustration. She moved in to seize the advantage.

Morcaanan ground the other warrior into the stone in his haste to rise, stumbling over his discarded weapon to hurry to 'Teri's side, who now knelt next to the fallen elf. She removed her torn blouse, exposing the means of her salvation to the wondering man behind her.

With a cry of relief he starts forward and throws his arms around her, clutching her tightly to him, forgetting she might have broken ribs, plate armour or no.

His body which had up until this moment been under his control began to shake with either relief or the aftermath of fear. Or both. He does not care: she is in his arms, and for the moment, she is safe again.

And then suddenly he is jabbering, looking her in the face and berating her. "You, you...idiot! Fighting someone like that, no one to back you up? What came over you? Even if you'd killed him without us here that other man might have just killed you and left! You should done something! Yell for help, come back...something!" His mind is not quite clear enough to fully grasp the nonsense that is spilling from his lips, but neither does he care. Hugging her tightly to himself again, he tries to control the shaking that has for the moment dominated him, oblivious to what the dwarves are thinking or saying.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on December 16, 2007, 01:55:22 AM
In a blur, Morcaanan is there beside her, throwing his arms around her and holding her tightly even before she has time to react. Eventually, she manages to return the embrace, her arms falling limply about him as he draws begin and begins to rantingly censure her for... she's not even sure what. A dull, throbbing pain starts in the back of her head as she tries to make sense of it all, and Morcaanan is drawing her close to him again. Initially, she doesn't resist, but the pressure on her chest and near her shoulders sharply reminds her of the damage she recently endured, and in somewhat of a daze, she pushes him away. In apology, she reaches up to give him a brief peck on the lips, and turns toward dead Garrek.

"I need to get him out, bury him," she whispers softly.

Meanwhile, the big warrior releases his weapon, leaving it on the ground as he slowly stands so the dwarves will know he doesn't intend to continue the fight. What he came for is finished.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on December 23, 2007, 03:07:32 AM
Brenna picks up Kaelan's weapon and hands it to the guard.  "At least you've the sense not to try anything here," she says to Kaelan.  "You've got some answering to do for your intrusion into our Halls, and I expect our visitors," she adds, nodding to 'Teri and Morcaanan, "will wish to ask you some questions of their own."

She looks back at the guard and in Thergerim'Taal orders, "take him to the council chamber in a moment.  Watch him closely for now."  Brenna then approaches 'Teri and Morcaanan.

"My lady, I apologise for what has happened here in our Hall, but I cannot help but think you know him, and that this was something that was set in motion long before your arrival here.  The human," she adds, jutting a thumb back at Kaelen, "said something about 'blood settling with blood'."

She shrugs, glances at the body on the floor, and then looks back at 'Teri.  There is compassion in the dwarf's eyes.  "We can help you deal with the uhh.. burial, but I must report these events to the Gornegron.  We will take the prisoner, and give you moment to recover."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on December 23, 2007, 03:53:36 AM
For support, 'Teri slips an arm around Morcaanan's waist, and rests her throbbing head against him. "Thank you, I... I wanted to bury him in the forest. I would like to have him brought to the Zeiphyr for..."

Her brows knit, and she frowns. Garrek has just finished trying to kill her, hiring an assassin against whom she would have been helpless down here and yet she wants to honor him. Why? Wasn't it his own fault, dying in a cave? Briefly, she looks down to Garrek's face. Something has changed. The muscles in his neck have bulged, and the skin has turned a sickly purplish black. His lips have dried unrealistically fast, and they, too, have taken a charred look, as though something has drawn the water out of his corpse. Yet still, her brother is there, looking blankly at the ceiling through one half-closed eye. And as much pain as she has seen, Garrek was her brother.

The memories of the horror he brought come in several quick bursts of vision, and the hand around Morcaanan clenches, trying to grab hold of something secure. She has stayed calm this long, during his death and brief aftermath, but the flood of memories, pain and emotions wear down the wall with visible rapidity, and she at first buries her face in Morcaanan's shoulder, then begins to whimper, then to cry, until finally her knees will no longer hold her weight as she breaks down into uncontrolled sobs.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on December 24, 2007, 10:41:58 AM
Brenna nods, though her mind races.  The Zeiphyrian Forests are some distance to the south of Rimmerin's Ring.   "As you wish.  We will speak more of this with the Gornegron later."  With that, she returns to the dwarven guard who is keeping a vigilant eye on Kaelan.

She looks up at the warrior and motions toward the corridor that leads to one of the holding cells, similar to where Kenrill had been kept earlier.  "You must stand before the Gornegron when you are summoned.  For now, however, you will have some time to think about your decision to aid the one called Garrek."  The pair of dwarves march Kaelan to a small holding cell - his weapons are removed from his person and his wrists and ankles are shackled.  A pair of armed guards remain outside the entrance.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on December 26, 2007, 05:44:18 AM
Being long cut off from attachment to others had not prepared Morcaanan for 'Teri's sudden breakdown. Her sobbing made his heart ache, and yet set him off balance, for he suddenly had no idea what to do except hold her more tightly.

When her outburst grew in intensity, he finally caught up her lithe form in his arms and carried her from the chamber, whispering comforting though perhaps useless words to her. He let the dwarves deal with the securing the mercenary and their errant dwarf.

As he walked with 'Teri in his arms, a growing realization dawned on him: he did not know how to handle his own emotions with other people, particularly those close to him because it had been some time since he had felt 'close' to anyone. There were enemies, allies and friends. Enemies came with being a sword for hire; allies also came with that, it was in the job description, and those who you work for and do a good job for remember you, even tell others about you.. Friends were not common, but could definitely be found amongst his allies.

But...'Teri? His very heart and soul were in her hands, had she known it. Such...vulnerability was almost forgotten. Even frightening.
What would he have done had she been hurt? Would have forgiven himself, losing a love a second time?

'A second time.' The thought gave him pause: was 'Teri his second chance? To do things right, like he should have done before?

He was not sure.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on January 09, 2008, 01:27:22 AM
Through the talk, the boredom, the commotion, Kenriil remains silent. The council with the dwarves drags on endlessly, after everything seems to be settled, and even though Tulpje is sitting on his knee and he could easily lean forward and say something to her, Ken is silent. Then, Aueniteri and Morcaanan are leaving for some reason, and still, Ken remains silent. Eventually, they are rising to go, and Ken is still silent. As they traverse the hallways of the underground empire on their way out, a deep throbbing pulses through the caverns - the drums again, like the ones at the entrance, and still Ken is silent as the Gornegron turns to Capher once the drum has died down. "Those are your people. This way; we must meet them. Something is wrong."

They walk in silence, even Ken still holding his tongue as they move as quickly as the stumbling hobbit can, Tulpje clinging tightly to his hair. Then, they see Morcaanan, carrying something - no, someone - no, Aueniteri in his arms. And finally, Ken's words rush out in a conglomerated heap, like someone gasping for breath after being suffocated for an eternity.

"You guys are alright! Is she hurt? What's wrong with 'Teri? Did you get hurt? Was there a fight? Who was it? Why did you and 'Teri leave? We talked about the anvil, and the dwarves a lot. We're going to meet some more dwarves, right Capher? I think we need to get topside. Maybe 'Teri needs to get some air. We should go find Talia and Terra and Ta'las now. I hope they're okay. If we got attacked, though, then it's likely they didn't. We did get attacked, didn't we? Oh, what's that? A body? Who is- is that the elf-guy that attacked us in the Gorge? Is he dead? Did you kill him? Where are they taking him? Are they going to bury him? How did he die? How did he get in here? He won't be a problem anymore, will he? Does that mean things will get easier now? Does that mean we're getting closer? I sure hope it does. I guess it doesn't have to. A lot of things like that can be misleading. The trail out of the Gorge was misleading - I don't even know how I got out. I never saw Z'doth. I thought for sure he was at the top, but I didn't even see the animals. Did you guys bring the animals? It would be really hard to get around in good time without them. I don't like to ride much, though; but I have before. Mostly we use carts and the like. It's pretty convenient, because there's always room for other, more important stuff. I think we have the most important cargo right here... that's us, I mean. I.... did I just say something that doesn't make sense? I need a rest, I think. Should we camp outside? I wanna see stars. I like the stars, they give you a sense of direction. It's interesting thinking of those little points of light that must be so close, yet they're above everything. I wonder how..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on January 10, 2008, 11:41:51 AM
Capher feels a sickening wrench in his belly when he first sees Morcaanan carrying 'Teri.  He gently shushes Kenrill and rushes ahead, but when he reaches them, he sees that she is well.  "Thank you Morcaanan.  What has happened?  And --"   He suddenly senses the presence of the Heart - a pulsing throb that courses through him.  It is so close, that it nearly overwhelms him, having been so far from his grasp since entering the Vale of the Brownies. 

"You have it," he says quietly to 'Teri.  Then, he sees the sorrow in her eyes, and the tension around Morcaanan's.  "Your brother has left this world."  He gently takes her hand in one of his, and pushes back a lock of her hair from her cheek with the other.  "I am sorry, my child.  I am so sorry this had to be you."  Capher had known 'Teri's destiny would be to face and slay her brother - or be slain - and though he might have tried to intervene and alter the outcome of their confrontation, he would have failed.  And so, he had to leave 'Teri to her fate.

And here she was.  Worn, tired, and filled with a great sadness that might never leave her gentle heart.  Yet, she has great strength in her.  And we will still have need of that strength if we are to succeed, Capher thinks and smiles again at 'Teri.  He kisses her cheek and whispers to her, "you've brought us closer to ending this great evil, Aueniteri," using her full name to emphasize the importance of her task.

"Watch over her, Morcaanan.  She will need your strength and love in times to come."

He turns to the Harrek.  "Gornegron, please, will you take my companions somewhere they can rest for the night?  We will take our leave of you in the morning, if that is is there a safe place where my companions can rest."

The Dwarven clan leader nods and starts away down another passage.

As  they walk, Capher looks down at Kenrill.  "My friend, will you walk with me?  I am happy to see you again.  Tomorrow we will return to the Vale - it is too dangerous to leave the Dwarven Hall at night.  And yes, we will find the others.  Talia and Terra are nearly finished their healing, and Ta'las will want to see that you are well.  So," he says with a smile, "what did you see during your stay with the dwarves?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on January 11, 2008, 04:24:00 AM
From the moment Tulpje was placed on Kenriil's knee, she was as silent as the hobbit. Not that she was usually quite as talkative as him, far from it. She didn't feel comfortable enough with Tharian to speak much of it. Still, that was not the reason she didn't say a word. If she was perfectly honest with herself, she'd have to say that the reason was mostly... that she didn't understand. Any of it.

Ok, so they'd come to these dwarves to catch up with Ken. She got that part; and she'd gone with them to act as a go-between between the group and the dwarves. Only, this was the part where her mind was getting confused. She hadn't actually done anything to contribute to the mission, except be a burden to one or the other of the party, albeit a small burden. It seemed to her that Capher knew much more of dwarves than she did. And what were they having a meeting about, just now? It wasn't about the hobbit anymore, because she was sitting on his knee. If she got it right, it was about... an anvil? She wasn't entirely sure what an anvil was, so that probably contributed to her confusion.

Suddenly the meeting was over, in a flash, or so it seemed to Tulpje. There was just some more talking, to which she'd kind of stopped paying attention, and then suddenly she found herself standing on Ken's shoulder and gripping his hair. They found Morc and 'Teri soon. The small grey brownie was concerned for the woman. She could see the sadness in her eyes, but she didn't know how to comfort her. Before she could think of a way to come closer, a voice erupted beside her like a volcano, a stream of words tumbling out of the hobbit's mouth like a river. She looked to the side, but from her position on his shoulder, she could only see part of his face. Despite not understand most of what he said - because he was saying it so quickly - Tulpje thought he was funny. She let go of his hair, as she'd found her balance on his shoulder, and with a small grey hand patted his brown curls, a vain attempt to calm him down. Then she giggled, realising just how futile her attempt was. Stopping the action, she looked up at Capher, heard his question, and prepared for another river to flow over her.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on January 16, 2008, 01:03:55 AM
Morcaanan, lost in his own thoughts, misses the the first stream of babble from Ken's mouth, and trying to pick up the hobbit's thread of thought is like trying to catch a galloping horse with a head start, so nearly everything that the little man said went over Morcaanan's head, figuratively speaking at least.

He listens with only half an ear to Capher, and when a dwarf motions to him to follow, he obeys, still carrying 'Teri.
The room they are shown to is small, with a couple of simple bunks and what appear to be thin straw mattresses - he wondered if dwarves slept this way; he doubted it, though the bunks were just a little bit too short.

The others did not arrive with them; either they were sleeping somewhere else or were busy talking. Wordlessly he set 'Teri on the edge of one and began to unbuckle her armour, examining the mark on the breastplate with a critical eye "Does it hurt to breathe?" he asks, wondering if she had a broken rib.

He set the armour aside and began to peel aaway her clothing to examine the bruise. In the aftermath of the battle and his emotional outburst his mind has fallen into a sort of analytical state: 'Teri is just for the moment a wounded comrade in need of healing.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on January 17, 2008, 12:46:04 AM
With her pack left in the council hall, it had been easy for 'Teri to remove her shirt after the fight. Her midsection was exposed then, but she hadn't thought much of it; she was sore, and shocked. Mostly shocked. Now, Jeharaid fumbles with the straps of her breastplate, pulls it off and lays it aside, and relief mingled with new pain share a moment, and she winces and whimpers softly in response.

"Does it hurt to breathe?"

She gives a light shake of the head, and Morcaanan moves on, almost absent-mindedly drawing off the only thing that remains on her upper half. If wearing only the breastplate had been revealing before, she is not prepared for this moment. After the most brief of pauses, she finds herself emitting a shocked squeak, and her hands flying up to cover her breasts, her cheeks flushing brilliant red. Her lips part in an attempt to speak, but nothing is forthcoming, and she simply stares into his eyes in surprise.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on January 17, 2008, 01:53:55 AM
In truth, Morcaanan had expected more padding below the armour, but was disappointed and mildly critical; she obviously needed more training.

About to chide her for her poor use of her breastplate and comment that it was a wonder she did not have any broken ribs, her squeak and flurry of hands snaps him back to a more full awareness of the situation - she was staring into his eyes with obvious shock. He blinks at her, confusion crossing his features, trying to understand what is wrong.

Then with a wince of embarrassment he remembers he is trying to field-dress a woman. He turns his head slightly, a faint trace of red staining his own cheek.

His heart has begun to race. He chides himself silently; this was not the time or place. His own pack had never left his shoulder, even during the fighting, and he hastily begins to extract his travel cloak from it while forcing himself to keep his eyes averted.

Steady...she's hurt. You should have thought through what you were doing.
He frees the cloak and unrolls it, snapping it open and throwing it around her shoulders, eyes on her face as he does so. At least he tries to keep them there. Maybe it's the rush of the battle, or the fact that he thought for a brief moment that he had lost her, but she is suddenly more beautiful than he had ever thought possible, and he feels strangely out of control of his own impulses, if only for a brief blink.

Quickly he closes the cloak around her, restoring at least a semblance of her modesty.
"It's a wonder you did not break a rib" he said. His voice is husky and strangely thick, and he coughs to clear his throat. "You'll be sore for a few days more, I expect. Riding might be painful." He feels like he is rambling but he hurries on anyway. "You need to rest, and we'll need to go over your sword and armour for any damage. I will go collect your pack and see to Garrek's body while you rest." He rises and turns to leave, feeling a sudden need to be gone from a situation that has become acutely uncomfortable.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on January 18, 2008, 01:32:28 AM
There is no open sky, no live greenery, no gentle, playful breeze, and now as Morcaanan blushes and looks away, drapes a cloak over her exposed chest and informs her that he is going to be walking away, Aueniteri feels suddenly alone, entrapped. Walls of stone surround her, and a ceiling of natural earth lies only a little over a ped away. Still, she says nothing as she watches him leave the room, and when he is gone, looks back to the ceiling before closing her eyes. With a little effort, she manages to focus her thoughts into options, and decides she should try to sleep; after several minutes, she is instead seized by a terrible unrest, and glances back toward the door. Still, he has not returned.

Aueniteri tries gently to rub her shoulders, but is rewarded with a stinging pain that knocks the air from her again, almost as if the blow were struck anew, and spots of light dance before her eyes. When her breathing returns to normal it is shallow, labored, and she is exhausted. Slowly, she closes her eyes and tries to sleep, but again, nothing happens.

Fighting the sleeplessness, she allows her mind to wander, staring at the ceiling, or with her eyes closed. Eventually, she is able to release the strong focus the pain in her shoulders and the right side of her chest. Her sword, her armor, her pack... bury Garrek. Was he really dead? She remembers the hammering blow, the numbness, but then... there was light glinting from a sword - it must have been her father's, there is no other answer.  Then there was Morcaanan, and everything else was a blur. She remembers Morcaanan; remembers how he was hurt by wolves, and she was too timid to help him onto her horse. She remembers the time they shared while he was delirious, and remembers just vaguely wishing she were with Talia and the others. But it was no chore caring for the man, listening to his mindless rambles; there was something that thrilled her about the voice, every time it came strong, asking for this, asking this question or that. Generally, the questions were completely out of context, having little to do with wolves, nothing to do with his location or the recent past, and she didn't understand them; only told him that all would be well. It had not been a relief to leave his side, but then again, she was anxious to reach Talia and Terra, and the heart of the Quallian.

Then, there had been another brief issue in the Quallian - and Morcaanan had disappeared. 'Teri wasn't sure whether she felt empty or relieved - or both. It was Garrek again that brought them back together, which she found curiously coincidental. She remembers the freezing, the Mullog - why did it always have to be in pain and discomfort? What possessed Garrek to always want to hurt her, while being reluctant to actually kill her? That time he'd seemed determined to do so, however, except for the faithfulness of her friends, and the divine intervention of Jeharaid Morcaanan.

It had been a full repayment, in her mind, of everything she'd done for him; and she had effectively thrown it in his face. 'Teri finds her eyes welling with tears as she remembers the pained dismissal, the brief sending-off kisses, and the sudden emptiness inside. Nothing occupied her mind more than seeing him moping about, and she actually begins reaching out for the memory as a tear begins to find its way down her cheek, before she is suddenly reminded of where she is: an unknown distance underground, in dwarven caverns, with nothing covering her chest but Morcaanan's cloak, which, on moving her arms as much as she found herself doing, is no longer sufficient.

Quickly drawing the cloak back over her, she thinks back to those days after, the dangerous climb out of the Vale, the two-day ride, traveling from before sunrise 'til after sunset to find the missing halfling, and eventually, the fight with Garrek. Now, it all starts to make sense, and she lets her imagination peruse the memories aimlessly. The best way to sleep, after all, is to think of nothing.

Her mind wanders, and she is not aware of when she starts thinking strange things of Morcaanan. Strange, intimate, and possibly more than slightly embarrassing things. When Morcaanan returns, he finds he sleeping lightly and fitfully, her eyes nearly blinking open at intervals. At the first prominent sound, she starts, her head turns quickly to look, and seeing him, her face blushes deeply.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on January 18, 2008, 10:58:10 AM
Capher says good night to the others, and then settles down onto the bed in his room, a great fatigue suddenly settling over him.  He rests his head in his hands and sighs - it has taken much of his strength to get this far.  And there is still so much more to do.  He lays himself down on the bed, which is nearly too small for him, but he is too weary to notice.  He falls into a fitful sleep, and begins to dream.

None of his dreams fit together into a coherent series of events; rather they are fragmented images.  Some are from his youth – flashes of himself in dragon form, the Wizard in the White Tower, another of Saban, and even Eckra in all his hellish glory.  Other images are more recent – Terra and Talia seated beside one another at a campfire just north of the Quallian, Kenrill and himself enjoying a moment together talking about a sword called ‘Jraekinannrily’, lovers’ glances shared between ‘Teri and Morcaanan, and little Tulpje seated on Ta’las’ shoulder in the Vale.

Though he is asleep, and all the images he sees of his current companions are not unsettling, Capher knows there is something wrong in his dreams.  The Old Wolf tries to wake himself from his dreams, and he murmurs in his sleep through the night until he finally does rise the next morning.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on January 18, 2008, 11:21:47 AM
As Morcaanan exits his room, he is approached by one of the dwarves from the council chamber.  The female dwarf dressed in clerical robes - the Tenthrum's Denirim.  She looks up at Morcaanan, and then presses something cold and hard into his hand.  "You must keep this safe, Jeharaid Morcaanan," she bids him.  "My kin were about to move the body, but I have told them to leave this to you, and only help if you ask it of them.  Two dwarven guards await you in the armoury."  With that, the Denirim nods, and offers him a blessing in Thergerim'Taal.  She turns down the passageway and out of sight.

When Morcaanan looks into the palm of his hand, he sees lamplight glinting off the surface of Thalambath's Heart.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on January 20, 2008, 12:29:37 AM
A guard eventually becomes his shadow; when it happens he is not quite sure, but it is clear the dwarves are not going to allow him to wander everywhere on his own.

In the armoury, Garrek lies wrapped in thick cloak with everything covered but his feet, sticking out in an almost absurd fashion. 'Teri's pack and bloody sword remain next to it. There was no need to search Garrek - the dwarves already had, as the weight of the Heart in his pack reminds him.

Taking 'Teri's pack and her sword, he speaks to the dwarves for a moment. "I doubt he will be taken to Zeiphyr - time is too pressing for us. But at first light in the morning I would like to take him to woods - any woods - and have him buried there. His sister would want that least."

"You will have to be escorted out, and it may not be safe with orcs" one points out, the only capable of speaking Tharian.

"Still, I want every effort to be made; this feud may have ended in blood, but it cannot end without proper closure. Such things leave...holes." He looks pained as he says this, then glances back at the body. "Is there a room he can be put in? At least for the night, rather than here?"

With the dwarves help, Garrek is moved to a room very like the guest rooms of the visitors, and only a short walk away from them as well. Satisfied he has done what he can, he slips back to 'Teri.

She is asleep, or at least dozing, her eyes fluttering occasionally in her weariness. He sets the pack aside, mindful of the Heart within. Shedding his eben to avoid dirtying it, he proceeds to procure his cleaning equipment and tend 'Teri's sword, wiping away the drying blood and oiling the steel down.
As he works his mind wanders, back over the few days he has already been with the others once more. He felt at first something of a straggler - now he has the Heart in his possession, the stone they have been pursuing from the start, more or less.

He briefly wonders how much the Heart might be worth to some people...people had died for it already, Garrek included it would seem. And what about his mercenaries? He had had more than one at the entrance to the Vale...where were they? Garrek knew how to spend money, that was certain.

How much was that stone worth? It had involved every race to some degree: man, elf, dwarf, halfling and Brownie. Not to mention Dragon, if the stories about Capher were all true.

Opening his pack, he gingerly removes the Heart and stares at it, running his fingers over the surface in a curious inquiry, as if the stone would speak to him somehow. Being a foreigner, his Santharian history was not very strong, and what he knew about it had only been gathered in the councils he had been fortunate enough to be present at.
The green stone glittered and remained silent, as if defying his internal questions. Frustrated, he resolves to speak to Capher and get the full story at the soonest possible moment.

He had rested the sword against 'Teri's bunk - as he replaces the stone in his pack his elbow bumps it, and it clatters to the stone floor, startling him and waking 'Teri. She stares at him, blushing as if guilty of something.

Feeling clumsy, he picks the sword up and sets it aside. "I've done what I can..." He trails off. The colour is high in her cheeks, and in her hasty movement the cloak is only just enough to cover her. Kneeling next to her bunk, he instinctively reaches out a hand, tracing the lines of her cheek with a finger.

"Aueniteri" he whispers. For a brief moment his restraint falls away, and he cups her face with both hands and kisses her.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on January 20, 2008, 02:04:01 AM
Without hesitation, she returns in kind, taking hold of his arms gently with her hands. When the kisses end, she smiles at him, softly at first, then slightly pained. The fantasies of her dreams have washed away with the reality of his presence, and as well, the shock that kept her from understanding the true extent of her pain has gone with it. Her breathing is brief and shallow, not only to keep pace with her hammering heart, but in order to avoid inducing any motion of the chest and sides, as much as possible. Large bruises on her right side rim where the breastplate had set; everything across the upper half of her chest is sore, and breathing, though possible, is uncomfortable - due to the bruises on the surface, she hopes.

A yawn tries to fight its way through the shallow inhalation, but is stopped short long before it reaches its zenith by a strangled cry from Aueniteri's throat, and her breathing is forced back to shallow breaths, only now a little more fast-paced. When Morcaanan begins to react, she cannot help but smile, and holds onto his arm, changing the subject quickly - what troubles him for what is on her mind.

"Morcaanan, I dreamed about you, and everything... just, everything we've done, everything you've done for me. Thank you. Some day we'll get over all this, and then maybe we can- ... maybe, I can, put... away my sword, forever. I would like that. Don't you think so? Only..."

She does her best to gently draw him toward her, and kisses him again. There are no more words left in her; those she had were dismembered and dreamy at best, nonsensical at worst. However, there is a message she is trying to convey, and ultimately, this seems the best way.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on January 20, 2008, 03:42:10 AM
They kiss, again, then again and again. The cloak has fallen away, and in order to be near her better he instinctively climbs into the berth with her, his hand drops down, grazing her chest and the bruises there.

The resulting flinch reminds him of her injuries, and when she tries to yawn it is replaced by a cry, bringing him back to the reality of the circumstances that put them here in the first place. His hand starts away.

She grabs his arm and begins to talk, and he listens - hopeful and relieved.

"...put...away my sword forever..."

Would he like that? It's the first time he has seriously considered it in years. Until 'Teri he had had no rhyme or reason for laying his sword down. But now...yes, he would like that. When this was over.

When she kisses him again he draws close, though gently. He rests his head next to her, eye to eye and whispers to her.
"When this is over...I want you to come with me." He presses a finger to her lips, giving her no chance to answer. "That's just what I want. You don't have to answer. But for the first time, I have something to look forward to." He stifles his own yawn, then swings off the bunk to head for his own; he does not want to take advantage of her, after the downswing of killing Garrek, and her injuries are obviously paining her.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on January 29, 2008, 02:53:41 AM
As Capher waited for Ken to speak he noticed Tulpje on his shoulder. "Excuse me Ken, but before you begin to speak can I take Tulpje and put her on my shoulder. I wish to speak to her, but not until I have heard from your my friend," Capher said smiling at Ken as he gently lifted Tulpje off of his shoulder and onto his. "Now where were we? I rememeber I asked you what you had seen while you were with our friends the dwarves."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on February 06, 2008, 03:37:34 AM
"...that it would make much sense. Ho, yes; about the dwarves. Oh, what did I see, what did I see. A lot of things, I guess. These people really like metals and rocks; especially shiny pretty metals and rocks. I got into a place where there were some really fancy things and a lot of papers and tablets with a lot of drawings; I can remember some of them, but I'm not sure what they mean. Just like a lot of lines and shapes and stuff; a couple of maps. There was lots of gold, here and there, in this and that. If you took all the gold in their statues and stuff, you could probably... make... great food... with aj'nuvic... from Bardavos... all to... princess..."

As Ken lies on his bed, looking at the ceiling, his eyes slowly close as he talks, and his sentences become disjointed nonsense; soon, he is as asleep as he could ever be, muttering about this and that, but nothing that would make sense to anyone who spoke any comprehensible language.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on February 11, 2008, 03:00:20 AM
Everyone had settled down for the night, even Ken, who was still mumbling in his sleep. Capher wondered what would Ken do if he could not speak? Go crazy or invent some other type of language; probably with his fingers as they seemed to twitch almost as fast he talked when he was speaking, Capher had observed.

He could even hear the the almost negligable breathing of Tulpje who was curled up in one of the folds of his tunic on his shoulder, near his ear.  Capher looked around the stone cavern where his companion's were sleeping. He turned his head and gave an envious smile at Morcanaan and Teri as they cuddled together; some for warmth, but mostly Capher thought, for love: an emotion he never quite understood though he has been around human and lived as a human for almost a milennia now.

Capher knew that soon his time to sleep was drawing near and soon he will lie next to his kind, never realizing his true dream, but on the other hand if he had, he would have died a very very long time ago and would have never seen the wondrous work of these, Ava's last children, yet the most prolific, inventive, loving and believing race that he had ever had the fortunate opportunity to ever meet, talk, interact and watch. 

They were in a way just like baby birds or even dragons squabbling, pushing and shoving each other out of the way just to get the juciest piece of worm or meat, in the case of dragons.  The human's piece of meat was land. Somehow as ridiculous as it seemed to Capher, the more land one human or another owned gave him claim to own the people on that land as well. What Capher had puzzled over for as long as he could remember was why?

Everyone knew that no one really owned the land. The land, owned itself, or if you want, the true owner would be Ava. The races were given permission by her to use the land as they saw fit: The Elves thought of themselves as the protector of the land, which was part of her dream and therefore they protected her dream as well; but the Elven kind were few, though they lived longer, they just did not produce as many children. Humans it seemed were quite prolific in that area.

Capher had to smile at that thought.

Wars were in actuallity the battle over something that could never be attained, unless you counted your victories by how many people of all of the races as your own property to do as you wish. Then, that is where the true trouble lies with the human race. Capher could never understand how come some humans had to have complete control over others? Does not each human have the right to live as they please?

He remembered asking that question to Talon when he and him used to talk about human behavior. Talon would smile and answered his question with a question which used to irriate Capher to no end but it also made him think. Capher he would say, "In theory every human, for that fact every race, should be able to live as they please. But think about this; take for instance the Losh-Oc. Their way of life would be to eat humans as they think of them as delicacies as do the trolls for that matter. Should they be allowed to live as they please?

Capher thought for a moment and then shook his head no. "No, I suppose not. But if the humans would not encroach upon the Losh-Oc or Troll's territory then they would be left alone."

Talon chuckled, "Would they? Do you really believe that?" He asked.

Capher thought of the Losh-Oc's bloodthirsty nature. It was in their makeup to hate other races, they even hated their own! How would such a race behave themselves to stay in their own territory, especially if they spied their favorite meal just across the fence, sort of. "I suppose not. I had not really thought of it as you put it Talon. But humans are different, are they not?

Talon shook his head sadly. "Unfortunately Capher, the answer is yes and no. Remember humankind are like the water, they flow and ebb just like the seas. There are some who naturally obey the rules that they know are written upon them from their first day of inception from Ava herself, then their are others who do not know the difference and allow their circumstances to dictate how they will live, those are the most complicated and then their are those who decide to ingnore the rules and head toward Coor's path. They have their own sets of rules as well, just the opposite of those who follow the rules of Ava, they choose the rules of Coor. Just as Ava and Coor are opposite, so are these.

"The ones who naturally obey Ava's rules and the ones who decide to choose Coor's path or rules if you like. I prefer path than rules. Those two groups of humans and to some extent the other races, are rare, the ones who's path's are dictated by their circumstances are the greater in number and they are the ones that the other two paths fight over. Whoever persuades the most to follow their path...wins."

Capher thought much on that and after several years of living among the humans came back to Talon and asked, "Win what?"

Talon shrugged his shoulders and gave Capher a rueful smile, "That my friend is a question that will be pondered by all until the time Ava wakes up, however before you ask what I know you to be thinking. Ava's path is the correct path, I know that from my heart and I have seen it applied correctly by all the races and have seen the results, as so have you: Peace, joy, understanding, prosperity, love, and many other good things come out of it. Coor's path and those who follow it bring; death, misery, pain, suffering, bondage and many other things which are not good for the land or the races. So, Capher it is for those who are undecided that we fight for, even if they should happen to choose Coor's path in their future, we still must fight for them while they are undecided or else there will be nothing but Chaos and that is when Coor wins and the Dream of Ava looses."

Talon's eyes widenend in surprise. "I think I just answered the question," he said as he began mumbling to himself the same discussion. Capher knew that when he started doing those things Talon was lost to all until he came out of his thoughts, sometimes for...decades!

Capher flew away, became a human agent for the forces of Ava and thought of the discussion himself, when he had time.  Now, here he was fighting again against one who definately had chosen Coor's path and those he has corrupted or has chosen to go along with him for their own means and understanding. Capher could see in his companion's the ones whose path's were written on their hearts by Ava, and those who were the undecided and in this group the undecided were still deciding.

Finally, Capher had to get up and talk to the Gornegron. He rose, being careful not to wake Tulpje unless she wanted to be awake and talk, which would not be that bad, he thought.

He went to the entrance of their caveran and was immediately met by two burly dwarvern guards. He asked if and when the Gornegron wakes that to tell him that Capher would like to speak to him.

The guards nodded yes and one went off in search to tell another, return to his post, while the other relayed Capher's message to the Gornegron.

Capher paced the floor some and then lied back down, interlacing his fingers behind his head for a pillow and stared at the ceiling.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on February 12, 2008, 11:20:00 AM
Harrek Ironarm still sat in the council chamber, pondering the events of the evening and their possible meaning for the Tenthrum.  It is obvious that events beyond even his reckoning were set into motion - he was neither a sage nor a prophet - but his Denirim's response to their visitors told him enough.  For some months now, the Orcs had become much more of a problem.  Though the Orcs were active only at night, they had attacked a few of the Dwarven sentry points to the north.  Darkness had crept back into the world.  He shakes his head - there is no use in such thoughts - they did nothing but sap one's will and courage.

He looks up sharply when he hears the scrape of footsteps on stone as someone approaches the council chamber.  One of his warriors enters and bows when he sees his Gornegron.  "Milord, I apologise for the lateness of my call, but one of our guests wishes to speak with you when you wake.  Shall I tell him you will visit him in the morning?"

Harrek shakes his head.  "There is no need - I will not rest tonight."  He rises from his stone chair and follows the guard to Capher's room.  When he arrives, he knocks quietly on the door and enters.

"You are up late, Storyteller," he says, in his quiet, resonant Dwarven accent.  He notices the hobbit and the Brownie are asleep.  "Let us speak elsewhere, so your companions can sleep."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on February 13, 2008, 06:22:38 AM
Capher did not expect Harrek Ironarm, the Gornegron, so soon and to have him come to him.

"You are up late, Storyteller," Harrek tells him in his deep voice.

"It is hard to sleep when your mind does not allow it. I see that you too are awake as well," Capher said.

Harrek looks at Capher's sleeping companions and then speaks softly. "Let us speak elsewhere, so your companions can sleep."

Capher nods his head, stands up and then he gently takes Tulpje off of his shoulder and places her on Ken's shoulder before he follows Harrek out of their sleeping chamber. "Where would you like to speak, Harrek Ironarm?" Capher asked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on February 13, 2008, 10:34:19 AM
Harrek glances at Capher and wonders what knowledge and wisdom he possesses.  The Storyteller seems to be just an old man - Harrek does not feel intimidated by nor fearful of him - and yet his Denirim swears that this human has power beyond their reckoning.  Perhaps it is as his father used to say: "those who wield true power rarely feel the need to display it, but prefer to walk humbly and only in exceptional circumstances will they resort to its use."

"We should speak in the council chamber.  It is guarded by powerful magic that protects against scrying."

Without another word, he leads Capher to the council chamber, his footfalls surprisingly light on the cavern floor.  When they arrive, there is a tray with a pitcher of water and a couple of mugs.  The Goregron pours a mug for each of them, hands one to Capher and takes a drink.

"Please sit if you wish," he says, motioning to one of the benches, and then takes his seat.  "What is it that keeps you awake at this hour?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on February 14, 2008, 01:43:14 AM
Capher follows Harrek silently to the coucil chambers where he notices a pitcher of water and two mugs on a stone table near where Harrek's chair was.  Harrek sat, poured himself and Capher a mug of water and gave one mug to Capher. He tells Capher that he may sit if he wishes. Capher takes the cup and at first begins to pace the floor then he sits, he takes a sip of the water and was surprisingly pleased at its fresh taste. He was going to ask, but he knew that Harrek was waiting on him.  Capher stared into the water and could see infinitism in it as he gathered his thoughts. Finally he raised his head and looked into Harrek's eyes who was studying him.

Capher absentmindedly twirled the mug in his hands as he spoke. "In our first meeting you asked me what this evil I spoke of was and why I needed Kurik's Anvil? I was hesitant to answer completely, as this evil has many ears. Before your ire rises Harrek hear me out," Capher said quickly.

Harrek nodded for Capher to continue, though his eyes still flared a bit.

"I do not know how much you know of your lore, but I am going to assume you know more than most, except perhaps your Denrim. What I am about to tell you, you may or may not believe however for Sarvonia's sake, yea, Caelereth's sake I ask you to think before you speak after I have told you what I am about to say."

Capher emptied his mug in one long draught and then repoured himself another before continuing. His thoughts were a jumble and that was something that concerned him, for usually his thoughts and mind were as a steel trap, focused and ready to be used at his command. However, ever since Eckra had somehow entered his mind he had lost much of what he had commanded before. He knew from the Elven poem and now the Denirim's tome about the "Spring of Ximax" that he needed to find and face the Stone of Magic that lies deep within the center of Ximax itself. Capher had not wanted to go there before he went in search of the Anvil, but now it seemed it was destined to be.

Capher once again raised his head and stared into Harrek's eyes. As he spoke Capher weaved, as much as he dared, a spell that would allow Harrek's mind and eyes to see beyond the years, back into the past, farther back than many ancestors of his, back to the time of legend, back to the time of the War of the Chosen.

"The evil I speak of is Eckra the Cruel. He and his army of orcs had enslaved your ancestors here in the Rimmering's Ring, along with Ma'ashaarom the Red," Capher's spell showed Harrek the enslavement, the cruelty that the orcs under the command of Eckra and Ma'asharom had done to his ancestors, "This evil has arisen again. How? I do not know. I just know it has and it has begun to do what it was stopped before by all those who opposed them, including your ancestors."

"This evil was brought to my attention by the one who finally destroyed the last of the Black Mages, at least his power, and that was the Wizard of the White Tower," Capher's spell showed the magical battle between Ma'asharom and Ethan Hawke. The powers that were unleashed was incomprehensible to one who had never seen such magic that Capher's spell allowed Harrek to see, "Ma'asharom was so berifit of his magic that when your ancestors and those he had enslaved back in the Rimmering's Ring began to rise up against him he could not fight back and eventually he was killed. Ethan was taken by me to another place. His son Talon now is the Wizard of the White Tower and it was he who told me about Eckra rising again,"

Capher let the spell slowly dissapate so as not to upset Harrek's mind too much and too fast.

"Talon asked me to seek out those who could help me find three talismans that were needed to defeat Eckra and his armies; Thalambath's Heart, Kurik's Anvil, and the Sword of Fury. The companions I found have helped me find and recover one of them, Thalambath's Heart, but not without cost, as we lost several dear friends in the process, and those who are left and those who have joined, have been attacked, on the outside and inside, including myself. Now we are in search of Kurik's Anvil. Your Denirim has told us where we must go in search of finding it, but before we can go my companions here and I have to rejoin our companions in the Vale of the Brownies. However the only way to the Vale has been destroyed. The stone bridge has been broken, shattered and now there is no way to the Vale until the bridge can be repaired, if it can ever be. So, I was wondering if the Tenthrum has another way to the Vale and if you would not mind showing it to us? If not, then we will have to find another way into the Vale."

Capher finally stopped speaking, drinking absentmindedly from his mug, searching Harrek's eyes, hoping that what he told and showed him had not completely frightened the Dwarven leader.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on February 14, 2008, 10:49:44 AM
The Gornegron's eyes widen as Capher's spell takes effect, and he sees and even hears the past of his ancestors.  Harrek has heard of this through tales told by the elders, and even read some it - all dwarves know something of their ancient history, which they guard and keep dear.  However, to have those stories come to life before him shocks Harrek, and thought he is not held by any spell, the images grip his heart so he is unable to temporarily move.  The dark days of Eckra and Ma'asharom, his ancestor's enslavement, and finally their release hold Harrek in thrall.  He holds back tears as he witnesses the terrors and cruelties inflicted upon his race by the orcs.

Once the images fade, Harrek, who has been leaning forward, gripping the armrests of his stone chair, sits back and wipes sweat away from his brow.  "This should not be," he says hoarsely.  This room is protected by rune magic - our most powerful magic."  He looks up at Capher with awe, and though he stands before an old man, he sees more clearly the power the Storyteller wields.  "It must be as the Denirim has said."

Harrek licks his lips.  "This must not be allowed to happen.  Do you understand?  You must succeed."

The Gornegron rises and stands before Capher.  "Until a moment ago, I was still uncertain about your intent and purpose.  But I see that you are indeed the Storyteller.  Tomorrow, your group must leave as soon as you wake.  You may take the rarely travelled northwest passage, which will take you underground to the northern edge of the Vale.  Few, even of my kind or the Brownies know of this way."

He pauses a moment to consider how the group will find their way though.  The passage is tortuous and exits in many directions - there are few among the Dwarves who would even be able to make their way, let alone a group with no experience at travelling underground.  "You will need a guide, Storyteller, otherwise I fear you would lose your way.  I will send Brenna Stonetracer, the young Dwarf who brought you here, to guide you."

Then, he dares to rest his hand on Capher's forearm.  All signs of fear and reticence are now replaced with a grim conviction.  "The orcs have only just begun to plague us - they are nothing more than a nuisance right now.  But if you feel this evil is rising, the Tenthrum not fail to defend themselves."  This time, our hammers and shields will be ready, he thinks.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on February 15, 2008, 01:40:29 AM
"This must not be allowed to happen.  Do you understand?  You must succeed."

The conviction behind Harrek's voice was thunderous and Capher understood. He allowed Harrek to continue to speak even as the images that had been placed before him slowly faded, but Capher did not think would ever fade to the point where the Gornegron would ever let his guard down again; for his peoples and races sake.

 "Until a moment ago, I was still uncertain about your intent and purpose.  But I see that you are indeed the Storyteller.  Tomorrow, your group must leave as soon as you wake.  You may take the rarely travelled northwest passage, which will take you underground to the northern edge of the Vale.  Few, even of my kind or the Brownies know of this way."

Capher almost yellped for joy. There was another way to the Vale! And tomorrow they will be with their friends once again. He wondered how Talia and Terra had done with their healing? How Ta'las was doing, and how he and Lady Terra will continue once she is healed. Perhaps their relationship will strengthen, be more mature, or it may fade to the wayside as Terra once again becomes one of the fiercest warriors that Santharia had ever known...The Sophronian female warriors were without equal, at least in Capher's eyes, and he supposed some would disagree with him.

Harrek is thinking as well then he speaks. "You will need a guide, Storyteller, otherwise I fear you would lose your way.  I will send Brenna Stonetracer, the young Dwarf who brought you here, to guide you."

Capher nods his approval. He liked and admired the young Dwarven woman. And then Harrek did something that Capher thought he rarely did to strangers he touched Caphers arm and with much conviction in his voice spoke. The orcs have only just begun to plague us - they are nothing more than a nuisance right now.  But if you feel this evil is rising, the Tenthrum not fail to defend themselves."

Capher rested his hand upon Harrek's and gave him a genuine warm smile. "In times past the Tenthrum were not ready, were surprised and if they had not been I have no doubt that Ma'asherom would have had a harder time enslaving you even with the help of the Losh-Oc. I also have no doubt that the Tenthrum have chosen a wise and powerful leader who will not allow such a thing to take place again without a fight! But, beware, Eckra has powers that have not been seen since the War of the Chosen and though I do not know how, he seems to have even grown more powerful. To reach inside one's mind and control them is not even a power I possess, yet he has done so ever since he has discovered my Master's plans to thwart him. However do not concern yourself about this, Talon has him preoccupied for the moment and I give you my solemn promise that I will find these talisman's and defeat Eckra once and for all or die trying! I assume you will do the same."

Capher turned to leave, then turned back. "Just a thought, but it might be a good idea to use your message service, your bats, and tell the other tribes to begin to prepare and to tell the tribe that hold the key to Kurik's anvil that we will be on our way, after a short side trip which must be taken, to ask them for the whereabouts of the Anvil. I would appreciate it," Capher asked, as he gave a slight bow to Harrek, "Until the morrow then. I believe I can get a couple of hours of rest now before we leave. I thank you for your kindness you have shown to me and my companions," Capher added.


Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on February 15, 2008, 12:14:37 PM
"Thank you, Storyteller.  I will warn our brothers and sisters, and the Gornegron of the Zuirkmire will be told of your coming.  However, I will tell him to speak of it to no one.  The fewer who know of your quest, the less likely it is that information can be used against you."

He returns Capher's bow.  "Good night, Storyteller."  He then rises and follows Capher to the guest room.  Once Capher is inside, Harrek makes his way to his own bedchamber, his mind full of what must be done in the coming weeks.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on February 16, 2008, 01:16:42 AM
Slowly, 'Teri's eyes open, and she looks listlessly and confusedly at the room around her before the memories start to trickle in. She tries to sit, and sharp pain over her entire chest brings back further memories. Sitting upright, the cover drops from her upper body - and as she frantically draws it back, she remembers nearly everything. Carefully, she retrieves her piece of underwear that last night Morcaanan had absent-mindedly set aside, and begins to wrap it around herself again, stifling a cry of pain at the first attempt. Eventually, she manages to make herself at least somewhat decent with it, leaving it more loose than she is used to.

Still sitting on her bed, she sorts through the clothing in her pack, biting her lip against the pain of leaning over. Finally, she draws out a full-length green dress, and sighs. It won't be the best thing for most of what she expects to have to do in the near future, but it will be much easier on her upper body than a normal blouse if she keeps it loosely fastened - that, and she doesn't have a normal blouse anymore. For a long time, she simply sits there, looking at the dress before attempting to put it on. When she finally succeeds, she is exhausted, but victorious, and finishes by tightening the lacing across the piece's chest, but only just enough to hold it in place.

Finally, her sword, and she is ready to go. She can already hear others just outside of her view, and recognizes the voices, she being the last one to arise. After long, serious thought, she simply slides the blade into the sheathe, and attaches the sheathe to her pack. It is nearly impossible to use it effectively in a dress anyway, if one was really intent on staying alive.

Then, slowly, painfully, she stands, and lifts her pack, suddenly realizing how futile it would be to try and wear it on her back. Her battered body would never take the weight now, and she simply carries it in her hands as she steps out to find where everyone has gathered.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Morcaanan on February 29, 2008, 10:58:40 PM
Jeharaid assumed he was up first. He had curled up on a seemingly random bunk and nodded off once he was satisfied that 'Teri was actually resting; he had not even bothered to remove his sword belt, and now the hilt of his weapon was digging painfully into his side.

Something else was digging into his other ribs - his pack, and more specifically the Heart. He had slept on it to make sure it did not acquire limbs and run away. He had a somewhat sneaking suspicion that something would happen to it if he did not maintain constantly in contact with it. To reassure himself he opened the satchel and eyed the green stone.

"You're quite a lot of trouble, my little friend" he muttered at it, closing the pack and slinging it onto his shoulder. He noticed now that he had picked the same room as the Halfling. Not wanting to arouse the endless stream of babble at this time in the morning - if indeed it was early morning as it felt - he tiptoed out into the passage and cast around for the nearest dwarf.

"Is the Wo-...Is the Storyteller awake?" he asked, rubbing his bloodshot eyes and trying to lay down a rough set of plans in his mind for the day, with the hope that Capher could offer some insight.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on March 04, 2008, 10:11:17 AM
There is a dwarf standing in the hallway, guarding the passage that leads to the series of doors in which the group is resting.  A two-handed warhammer rests over his left shoulder, and he wears a hauberk of heavy chain mail.  "I have not seen the Storyteller yet this morning," he replies as he shakes his head.  "He asked to see the Gornegron after everyone turned in, and did not return until late."

"He hasn't left his room since returning though," he adds, pointing to the portal across the hallway from the room Morcaanan and 'Teri occupy.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on March 06, 2008, 04:07:08 AM
Capher heard voices outside of the chamber. He looked at Ken, who was slowly awakening. Capher reached down and picked up Tulpje who was still a bit drowsy and placed her on his shoulder. He checked his pack, picked it up slung it over his other shoulder and walked out of the chamber.

His gray hair was mussed and he needed a shave. His robe, though, for some reason seemed to look like it was brand new and the designs on it almost seemed to glow.  "Did I hear someone mention my name?" He asked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on March 06, 2008, 04:19:48 AM
Tulpje had slept wonderfully. She couldn't remember her dream, but then she rarely could. She liked to think that it was about her new companions, who - she realised - she hadn't even known for a whole day yet. No matter, they had taken a place in her heart already. She woke up when a large hand took her up, and was just awake enough to cling to the shoulder that she was set on. Good thing she hadn't had any stuff here that could be left behind, she didn't have to worry about that.

When she'd shaken the last sleep out of her eyes - and out of her brain - she realised that it was Capher's shoulder that she was sitting on. She settled herself and then asked, knowing that he would hear her small voice (she was, after all, sitting quite close to his ear) "Morning! We going where?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on March 07, 2008, 01:42:08 AM
Capher saw Morcaanan standing next to a dwarven guard and assumed it was he who had asked the question and was awaiting his reply to his own question, when he heard a small voice in his ear.

 "Morning! We going where?"

It startled him, but for only a moment as he recognized her small melodic voice and realized it was Tulpje; the small, yet very adventerous Brownie, who had come along to help them. Capher's brow furrowed as he tried to think of how she could help them and then suddenly it came to him, she was to hlep them with the dwarves...he thought, but how? His memory coming and going like this bothered him and he was impatient to get going.

"Morning to you too, Tulpje," he spoke softly. "We go eat, then home," he answered.

Teri came out of the chamber a bit shy and not dressed as usual, but a bit more casual. Capher assumed, as he looked her over, that it was to help with the wound she suffered and that the usual tight clothes she usually wore would hinder the healing and probably hurt more. So they were all there except Ken, who he knew should be walking out soon, for he had seen the little fellow begin to wake and Capher kept his ears open to hear Ken's talking once he was fully awake.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on March 08, 2008, 02:31:31 AM
" a broken twig."

Ken has no idea what the relevance of a broken twig is to anything, but it doesn't matter; whatever he was mumbling about in his sleep quickly fades as he begins another day of talking, standing and stretching his arms and legs before checking his equipment - which has remained on him all the while he was sleeping.

"Sword, hat, clothes, bags, this bag, this bag, this bag; one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four, five fingers; hair, yup, alright. This-a arch, this-a- oh, good morning, Morcaanan. It is morning, right? You and 'Teri stay up last night? It's been so busy since I caught up with you guys! At least we get our sleep, right? Funny thinking this thingy-what's-it probably doesn't sleep at all; has somebody going day and night. I don't mind, though; we'll figure it out, right? Hey, where's- oh, hi Capher! Didn't see you. Guess I'm still waking up. Hey, Tulpje; you seem a little confused; come to talk with the dwarves? That's alright, though. Not much for a good conversation, them. I know, I tried. They just did a lot of staring; then again, I'm getting used to it. I don't think I'm used to them getting mad, though. Oh, hey, there's 'Teri. In a dress. That's weird. Aren't we riding today? So, what's for breakfast? I mean, we are going to eat before we head out, right? I just thought it would be the good idea. I don't mean to sound sluggish, I'm just hungry. I get that way sometimes; not a lot, though, because there's usually plants around to eat. Edible plants are easy to find, once you get to know them; but I guess it's easy to tame animals, as well, if you could just get to know them. Getting to know what you're doing, I guess, is probably the most important part of actually doing something. You can do something by accident, maybe even more than once, but eventually you have to start figuring out how it works, or you'll never get anything done. It's a pretty sad state, not getting anything done; like how the sewer monster in Milkengrad moved the..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on March 08, 2008, 01:04:52 PM
As the group congregates, they are joined by Brenna.  "Good morning travellers."  And then, with a short bow, she turns to Capher.  "Greetings again, Storyteller.  The Gornegron has prepared a quick meal and some provisions for your journey.  When you are ready, I will take you to the main hall, and from there we will travel to the Vale."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on March 09, 2008, 08:26:58 AM
As everyone gathered outside the bedchamber Capher was assured that Ken was awake as he began talking right away, at least some of it made sense to Capher until he started talking about a monster in Milkengrad's sewers.  Capher supposed that to a halfling a Ratbrownie could be considered a monster as they were vicious creatures but he never knew of them actually swimming in the sewer; of course he could be wrong.

Suddenly another dwarf joins them. It was Brenna. The warrior dwarfess whom Harrek had told him last night would come and lead them to the Vale. She greeted all cordially, but made a special greeting to Capher, giving him a slight bow. Capher could feel the others eyes on him and he felt that feeling of blood rushing to his face. He bowed back to her and said in her own language, "Good morning to you as well Brenna Stronetracer of the Stonetracer family whose great-great grandfather Kobol Stonetracer would be proud of."

His eyes twinkled with a bit of mischief in them as he wanted to watch the expression on her face.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on March 10, 2008, 10:49:21 AM
Brenna does her best not look shocked, but dwarf's eyes give away her surprise that Capher knows of her grandfather, and she even blushes a little.  At once, she understands the deference her companion gave to the man, as well all the others around her.  "Th- thankyou, Storyteller," is all she manages to say.

Then to everyone.  "Please, follow me."  With one last look at Capher, Brenna turns and leads them to the main hall.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on March 12, 2008, 11:39:10 PM
Capher closely followed Brenna. "Your welcome Brenna, and I meant every word." He said casually walking beside her.

He glanced back just once to see if the others were following. Suddenly he felt eating and then he wished to be on their way.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on March 13, 2008, 12:26:17 AM
She vaguely hears Ken muttering as she steps into the room; at first, all she sees is Jeharaid Morcaanan, and without hesitation or even a second thought, she steps quickly up to him, takes his hands, mostly to avoid an embrace, and gives him a quick peck on the lips, then leaning her head on his chest.

They stand this way for a short time, until slowly she realizes that something is going on; a dwarf has come, and they need to be moving. Gingerly, she leans down to pick up her pack, and still holding Jeharaid's right hand in her left, turns to follow Capher and the dwarf out into the hallway, content to be standing beside Jeharaid.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on March 16, 2008, 01:54:37 PM
Once the group reaches the main hall, the group is met once again by only the Gornegron and the Denirim.  A meal has been prepared, and there is even a provisioned pack - one for each member of the group, except Tulpje - containing trail rations, water, a blanket, torches and flint.  Brenna quietly mentions to Capher that he will find additional supplies in his pack for Tulpje, but apologises that the dwarves do not have a pack small enough for her.

The room is warm and more well-lit than yesterday, and filled with the activity of dwarves going about their various tasks.  The Gornegron welcomes the group with a nod.  "You must finish quickly, for your journey northward will take many days.  I apologise for rushing you, but we felt it best that you not delay given the importance of your task."

"Once you are finished here, we will first travel by different passages than the ones that brought you here.  Your mounts have been brought to a different holding area, which Brenna will lead you to before you travel to the Vale."  Harrek looks at each member in turn, silently hoping they will succeed in their quest.  Then, he motions to one of the tables where a number of seats are open.  "Please guests, sit and eat."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on March 17, 2008, 08:38:17 AM
Capher nods his approval at the packs of provisions provided by the dwarves for them all; even the mention by Brenna that there were extra provisions in his pack for Tulpje, brought a smile to his face.

The table and food prepared for them was sumptous and Capher took Harrek's advice and ate quickly; though not so fast as to get a stomache ache. He wanted to get moving and get back to the rest of the group and evaluate Lady Talia and Lady Terra and see how their healing went; as well as how Ta'las was doing and how he would handle a more grown up Lady Terra.  The thought of her twin blades called the "Chastities" strapped to her inner thighs almost made him laugh out loud as he thought of how quickly Ta'las would learn she was not the "love stricken" teenager anymore, but a Sophronian Warrioress.

When Haarek mentioned their mounts Capher slapped his forehead; Lady Talia's and Ta'las's mounts were still in the small vale by the entrance to the cave of the Brownies. How were they going to get those two rather large desert animals over the mountain and into the Vale. He could not imagine Lady Talia nor Ta'las wanting to leave without their bondmates.

As he was thinking of this problem he noticed a weary dwarf enter, speak to Harrek, who nodded and then came to his table.

He sat down. "Storyteller, I am afraid I have some bad news," Harrek whispered.

Capher slowly put his goblet of water down fearing the worse. "What is it, Harrek?"

Harrek talked to one of the scouts who quickly spoke back. Harrek turned to Capher frowning, "My scouts found several horses and two strange animals they had never seen before wandering around and they also saw a trail of blood leading to the river. My men assumed the animals belonged to your group and brought them here, however they are much too large to enter the caverns and we have them secured in a pen just outside.

Capher thought of the man who had been willing to watch their mounts and feared for him. "You say they saw a trail of blood? Did they find a body?" Capher asked.

Harrek spoke to the scout who talked back quickly. Harrek turned back to Capher, "No, they did not find a body. I could have my scouts look for one. Was this person a friend of yours?" Harrek asked.

Capher thought about it and then shook his head no. "No Harrek, not at this time. Your scouts have already ventured farther than they would normally do. I fear we may have put your clan in more danger than I wanted."

"From what you told me last night Storyteller it is time my scouts and my people begin to prepare. Danger is not something I wish upon my people, but neither do we fear it. I will wait until Brenna has you deep in the mountains heading for the Vale before I send my scouts to find out what happened to your friend. I will send word to you one way or another," Harrek said.

"We have a problem though the bridge to the Vale is partly destroyed. You can take us through the mountain to the Vale, but our mounts have to stay here, and though we could come back through the mountain to here to gather our mounts, the Brownies will be left without a bridge to the outside world," Capher said, rubbing his hand through the thin thatch of grey balding hair upon his head.

Harrek thought a moment and then a smile split his face. "It may not be as lost as you think, Storyteller. I have heard of a clan of Brownies who work with stone, perhaps your little friend who has been sitting on your shoulder and listening could persuade this clan to fix the bridge.  The journey through the mountain to the Vale and back again should take two days at the very least."

Capher put his hand close to Tulpje so that she could climb upon it. "Tulpje, when we get to the Vale could you ask this clan to fix the bridge?" He asked her in her own tongue.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on March 22, 2008, 03:45:56 AM
Tulpje frowned a little bit as she tried to follow what was being said. Their bridge... broken? That was not good at all... Many of the brownies stayed inside the vale, but they relied on trade with the humans, and for that they needed the bridge. And one of the clans that worked with stone? Surely he must have heard that wrong. However, when Capher asked her, after she'd climbed onto his hand, if the clan could 'fix' it, she knew which clan he was talking about, and her face cleared up.

"Is Hamm'rer clan, yes? They wood work, no stone. They many, and vale many wood has... Uhm... many tree? I them ask, yes. They quickly work, when have to." She nodded. Yes, the clan would take care of it. They depended on the trade as much as the others, and it was often their work that was traded to the humans, who paid much for the fine work that the brownies could give. And perhaps some of the Skydiver clan could help, by overseeing the construction from their mount. And the Maj, the redbark brownies endowed with a natural affinity for Lifemagic, could help by making the wood grow into eachother, so that the bridge would be as solid as a stone one. Yes, this was a work for more than one clan. She smiled at Capher. "I take care it, but then we back to vale soon, yes? I need talk clan leaders."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on April 01, 2008, 01:30:48 AM
Capher listened to Tulpje as she answered his question in Tharian. He had to listen carefully as her Tharian was not that good. When she finished speaking Capher smiled at her.

"Tulpje, I understand and speak Brown'in you did not have to struggle so hard to answer my question, unless you were trying to let the other's know and hear you, but the only one who could hear you would be Harrek here, but I thank you just the same. Perhaps you were speaking Tharian just for the exercise? Anyway to answer your question, yes, we will be in the Vale very soon. A day at the most and then we will be there."

Capher turned to his friends. "I hope you are finished eating, for it is time to go. Our friends are waiting in the Vale and our enemies certanily are not waiting around for us."

Capher picked up his pack, slung it over on the opposite shoulder where Tulpje sat and looked at Brenna. "Lead on," he said.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on April 01, 2008, 09:16:59 AM
Brenna nods and looks to the Gornegron.  "I will return the group safely to the Vale, milord," she says in Thergerim'taal.  Harrek nods and pats her on the shoulder.  "Go with Trum-Baroll's blessings."

Then to Capher.  "Good luck to you.  To all of you," he adds looking at each member of the group in turn.

Then, Brenna leads the group away into one of the many smaller tunnels; this one alone is the only direct entrance to the Vale, and it is neither well-known, nor well-travelled.  Torches set in iron sconces are the only means of light once they leave the main dwarven hall.  Here, the air is humid, droplets of water fall from the ceiling forming small pools in depressions in the floor.  Very quickly, the group can see they are in passages that have been naturally formed, rather than hewn by the careful hands of the dwarves.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Tulpje Sweetshade on April 03, 2008, 05:32:18 AM
Tulpje pulled a funny face when Capher started talking to her in Browniin. Good question, why *was* she talking in Tharian? She just hadn't realised that he knew her own language. And besides, she would have to stay used to using Tharian if she was going with this group. She shrugged her small shoulders and grinned, answering in a current of browniin words:

"Sorry. I've been outside the Vale for a long time, a few years, and I didn't talk any browniin during that time. I got used to struggling by in Tharian, hoping people would understand me. So now I automatically assume any Big Person doesn't know Browniin, and I lapse into Tharian. It's kinda strange to be talking in my own language to one of you, though it doesn't feel really bad. I could have guessed that a famous visitor like the Storyteller would have learned it, but I didn't really stop to think about it." She realised she was babbling, but then that was pretty natural for her. The only reason she didn't babble around Big People was that her Tharian wasn't good enough. She hoped Capher would stop her if she bothered him though, she didn't want to get on his nerves.

After breakfast, when she was firmly seated on his shoulder and they were walking through tunnels back towards the Vale, she picked up where she'd left off earlier, by asking Capher a question that she'd been wondering about.  "How did you learn Browniin?" Knowing the tendency of her people to write everything down, this was probably recorded somewhere in the Council Tree, but she was no scholar. She didn't have the inclination to go look it up or read about it. But hearing it first-hand? From the great Storyteller himself? Well, that was  a different story.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Aueniteri on April 11, 2008, 12:33:25 AM
'Teri leans her head against Morcaanan's shoulder as they walk, one hand holding his, the other carrying her pack. When it gets uncomfortable to that hand and she starts to shift it, he tenderly takes it away and attaches it to his own pack, and she looks at him with just a little pain and a lot of sympathy and gratitude. Gently, he eases an arm around her shoulders, and she around his waist, and in perfect silence, they follow Capher and Brenna down the tunnels.

" if they'd pull it clear out of the ground, just one mighty heave. Never seen anything like it, at least not with something so big. Mother and the aunts used to do it with some of their vegetables, I guess, but those were pretty small compared. And it was completely filled with stuff! Shiny bits and dull colors, you could just tell by looking at it they were going to make a lot of wonderful things out of it. They like doing that, making things; it's part of their nature. Hard to tell, watching some of them, but give them something to work with and a few hours, and he'll have a tool worth bragging about. I like making food better; you do it once, you're done with it once, and so it's always different every time. I had a sister who could do meals the same every time, right down to the pieces of bread. It was strange, and now that I look back, I think it was just a little too predictable. You have to have predictability, right? But then there's also staying dynamic, leaving the choices open; you can't say something's bad just because you've never seen it before. Or tasted it, I guess. The Losh-Oc, okay, that's bad, but what about the Ximaxian orc? There's nothing wrong with him at all; friendly as anyone else, I'd suppose. More friendly than my uncle Spoche, that's for sure. I doubt those orcs would go about waving blades at people just because they were upset about the beer. He was always upset about the beer; I don't know why, but I can't blame him. I never much liked it myself. It was always too stiff, too stale; always nasty stuff. I guess they could drink it because then it made them act stupid, and hardly themselves. I wonder when they were more stupid: Before they started drinking it, and made the decision, or after, when they were in such a stupor all they could do is stare blankly at anything and anyone that passed by. It looks really weird..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on April 11, 2008, 10:47:56 PM
Capher sighed as he heard Ken babble and saw Morcaanan and Teri together, tenderly holding onto one another as they navigated the tunnel: everything was like it should be, for now.

As he followed Brenna, taking note of the depressions on the rocky floor; some filled with pools of water that dripped incessentantly down from the roof of the tunnel, so that he would not step in them and get his feet wet. He wondered how come such a tunnel would be in the mountain without the dwarves cutting one out? Was there at sometime in the past a river that ran through the mountain? It was something to occupy his mind as they trudged through the near dark tunnel, with only small flickers of light coming from torches set in sconces, every few peds or so.

Brenna was quiet throughout the trip and Capher wondered what she was thinking? 

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on April 12, 2008, 09:50:07 AM
The Earth-Guide appears quiet; mostly she is taking note of subtle changes in elevation or the parent material forming the cave, which tell her where they are in relation to their final destination.  However, she has caught Capher's furtive glances, and smiles a little, realising she has been something of an enigma to the group.

"There are few in my clan who have been accorded an honour, such as it is to lead your group to the Vale," she says quietly.  "I must admit, it is a little exciting for me to be sharing in your adventure, though it is only to lead you to the Vale.  It's just that I have never been asked to lead a group such as yours.  And for the Gornegron to allow you to use this tunnel shows that this is of gravest importance."

Realising that she might cause the Storyteller to wonder what she knows, she tries to reassure him.  "I have only heard what I've been privy to at the meeting, and I will say nothing of this to anyone.  And those who do know of this, have taken an oath to keep our silence."  This last sentence she says with a solemn look at Capher.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on April 19, 2008, 02:24:59 AM
Capher gave Brenna a warm smile. "I appreciate all that you have done Brenna," he paused a moment, lifting his head for a blink, "Your ancestors are proud of you at this moment. They expect great things from you as you grow, and it is my pleasure to meet one of your family again. You have not dissapointed me. Your Gornegron is a wise leader, learn all that you can from him."

Capher paused once again as he traversed the depressions and pools of water on the rocky floor. He noticed that they had been going down farther into the mountain, but as they continued he noticed the slight change that told him they were now climbing up the trail.

"It will be a bitter-sweet good-bye when we reach the Vale, Brenna Stonetracer. Perhaps we will meet again sometime," Capher said.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on April 19, 2008, 11:05:56 AM
Brenna raises her eyebrows.  "Perhaps we will see one another again, Storyteller."  The dwarf falls silent for the next few hours, only speaking to answer any questions the group might have.  The journey is tedious, and at some points the passage narrows uncomfortably.  At other points, the group encounters small "room-like" areas that branch off in several directions.  However, Brenna continues to lead the group forward without hesitation.

Finally at one point, Brenna looks around scanning the rock wall and takes a deep breath in through her nose.  "We will soon be in the Vale, my friends," she says quietly.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on April 22, 2008, 12:44:29 AM
The darkness of the cave would have actually been a welcome place to Capher, if it were not for the wet and dripping roof.  Dragons, prefer warmth and therefore the ones that were still alive slept deep inside of huge mountains, near the center of it where usually it was much warmer and much drier of course.

Capher kept an eye on his companions and could see that the darkness and the travel had taken their toll on them, even Ken, though he kept his babbling up, was not quite as animated as he was when they first started out on this journey through the mountain.

When Brenna finally announced that soon they would be in the Vale, Capher gave a sigh of relief. He did not know if it was night or day, but he longed for fresh air. He knew that dwarves were at home in the mountains and rarely ventured far from the inside and only recently had they been going outside of their home, except for the rare ones who had a wandering lust and in the past would be shunned by those of their tribe if they chose to leave and venture into the world of man, as they put it.

"Brenna I know that your kind love the mountains, but sometimes I have a hard time wondering why? Being cooped inside a dark, wet mountain is not something I would like to do, but of course I am not a dwarf. I cannot wait until I see the sky once again."

He paused.

"Perhaps I am just a bit claustrophobic," he added with a grin.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on April 24, 2008, 10:09:40 AM
Brenna smiles at Capher and nods.  "Yes, there are few races who enjoy the mountain's embrace as much as dwarves.  It is a testament to our love for Trum-Baroll who created the earth and all things in it."  She looks out at the entrance as they near it.  "And just as you feel uncomfortable under the earth, I must admit I prefer it to the wide openness of the sky."

She pauses a moment to consider something and adds softly, "I would still like to see more of Santharia beyond the Halls of the Tenthrum."  Brenna snaps back to attention.  "But we are preparing, and my Gornegron has need of all in our clan." 

As they near the entrance, the sun's light becomes intense and the dwarf shields her eyes.  She directs her attention to the entire group.  "It will take you a few hours for your eyes to adjust to the light.  When you arrive in the Vale, you will still have an hour of travel before you reach the brownies' home.  We are inside Life Mountain, and once outside, you will find a path that will take you down the slope to the northern branch of the river that runs through the valley.  If you follow the south bank of the tributary, you will find them."

"I am not sure I understood everything my Gornegron told me regarding your horses and the other strange animals.  Will you be returning by this passage to claim them?"

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on April 25, 2008, 12:18:14 AM
Capher could slowly feel warm air as they travelled closer and closer to the entrance of the Vale. When daylight shone through he wanted to just leap into the sunshine like a child and embarace its warmth and light.

"Perhaps Brenna, your wish will come true and someday you will be able to see more of the outside world, but as you have said, your tribe, your Gornegron, and most importantly "good" needs you back where you belong to fight the "evil" that is already spreading. I am sure your Gornegron will explain all when the time comes."

Capher shook his head no to her last question. "No we will not be using this way again. This is where we part."

Capher wanted to hug her to thank her, but thought that would embarrass the dwarfess warrior, so he did what he thought best; he pounded his chest with his right arm across his heart. "May Trum-Baroll bless you, Brenna Stonetracer and all of your clan,"

He then stepped out into the sunshine and waited for his companions to do the same.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Kenriil on April 26, 2008, 11:49:42 PM
His footfalls end just shy of the shaft of light, and Ken stares out into the sunlight, his babble stopping briefly, before he resumes, "Is this back in the Vale? I can't go back in the Vale, they hate me there. I killed four, maybe five of them, I can't remember. Two or three more couldn't have survived, so I probably killed eight, and that's not counting their familiars and mounts! Capher, this is why I went away, I can't go back there! Even if it's not a problem there, it isn't right for me. I'd rather just not, I don't like to start fights. I never started a fight with my brothers, even though they beat me up a lot; funny I learned the sword and they didn't, but I think it was just patience that taught me the sword. I can't say I'm really patient, but maybe I should go be patient somewhere else. The Vale of Brownies really isn't the place for me right now, you should know that by how they were acting after the fight. They won't likely forgive me completely; many are going to be upset because of their dead relatives, and friends will be upset because friends are upset, and it could be one horrid mess. I don't like horrid messes, in spite of what my father said. He was drunk when he said it, anyway. He said lots of things like that when he was drunk, so we didn't normally listen, but I heard. It kindof hurt, but I let it go, I think. I wouldn't hold it against him anyway, but I tried to do better. I think if I can..."

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Capher on May 07, 2008, 01:04:05 AM
Capher listened to the Ken's frantic voice and realized that it would be cruel to him to force him to go into the Vale where in most probability the Brownies would shun him and that would make Ken more miserable; even if it was a misunderstanding on both parties.

"Ken, Ken it is ok. I forgot. Calm down. Let me think," Capher said gently.

Capher looked at Brenna. "Brenna would you be willing to take ken back with you and then he will go on his way on the other side of the mountain? He will probably just make his way home," Capher asked.

Brenna looked at Ken with a doubtful look upon her face.

Suddenly Morcaanan spoke up. "I will be going back with Ken as well. Someone needs to watch over our mounts. We cannot ask the dwarves to do it as they have already done more than enough for us, I believe."

Teri looked at Morcaanan with a silent plea in her eyes.

"Do not worry Teri I will be fine and the Brownies can heal your wound and before you know it we will be all back together again."

Teri just nodded and left Morcaanan's arm, pulling her cloak closer to her, as if the cloak were Morcaanan's arms. She steadied herself and walked ahead of Capher a few peds and looked at the trees and the Vale. She had a sense of loss, of helplessness: questioning why she was still with the group? They had the Heart back. Garrek, her brother was dead, by her own hand. He may have been cruel, and he would have killed her, but...he was still her brother and the incident in the cave was still very fresh in her memory.

Capher could feel the sorrow and doubt in Teri and felt the resolution and realized the judgement of Morcaanan to go back and see to their mounts. Capher had no doubt that Morcaanan could take care of himself until they were all back together again. In a way he hoped that Ken would stay with Morcaanan, but Ken was his own man and he would go his own way.

"Well Brenna, it seems that there will be two going back with you, if you allow that is?" Capher asked.

Title: Re: Respite in the Vale
Post by: Talas Anthavin on May 08, 2008, 11:21:42 AM
Brenna looks critically at Ken and Morcaanan, and then back at Capher.  "My Gornegron has asked that I take you to the Vale, which I have done.  Beyond this point, if Ken and Morcaanan wish to return to the Halls of the Tenthrum, they may do so, but the Dwarven Council will need to discuss their arrangements."

Then she grabs Capher's arm and speaks to him in hushed tones in Thergerim'Taal.  "These are Dark Times, Storyteller, and much is happening that I do not understand.  I am not even sure the Denirim knows everything.  But how could you know that she told me, before I left to lead you here, that I would not be returning alone?"  She looks into Capher's eyes, wondering whether he has spoken with the Denirim about this, but he too seems taken aback by this information.

The Dwarf steps back and nods to Ken and Morcaanan, speaking once again in the common language so everyone can understand.  "Very well, you will return with me.  We must meet with the council again."  Then with a short bow to the group, she wishes them well.  "Let's not tarry, she says sharply.  "There is much ground to cover."

Lastly, before she turns into the passage, she says to Capher in Thergerim'Taal.  "We may see one another again, Storyteller."  Then, Brenna turns away and begins the long trek back to the Tenthrum's stronghold.