Adventures of Caelereth

Active Stories => Destiny => Topic started by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on October 10, 2009, 01:30:58 AM

Title: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on October 10, 2009, 01:30:58 AM
It had been a long night, followed by a long day.  Sleep had eluded Altario until far into the night.  He had tossed and turned in his bed, gotten up and paced, surely keeping Garret awake, then checked in on Damien who was fast asleep.  By the time he was finally relaxed enough to sleep, the morning light was seeping into his room.  His thoughts had been split between the excitement of the possibility of finding Denrykmar, and the hollow pain in his chest at Valannia’s disappearance.

Without eating breakfast, he had stolen out of the room, leaving Garret to rest and found his way to Thief’s Lane.  Countless inquiries led to countless futile searches, and worse, a few paid-for leads that led nowhere.  He was discouraged, hot, and angry at being swindled.

Coming back to the inn, he took solace by heading into the stables and grooming Horse.  The solitude of it was therapeutic for him, relaxing his mind.  A silent smile and wave of his hand was the only interaction between him and Maha’drim.  He did not want to distract the stable hand from his duties, and it appeared the man had other things to do besides talk to Altario.

There was a low grumbling sound, and Altario realized that it was his belly.  He hadn’t eaten all day, and now he was feeling it.  As he left the stables, he stopped in front of Danilyn’s stall.  He clicked his tongue and the young mare eyed him from the far side of the stall, but did not approach.  Altario locked eyes with her for a moment.  There was intelligence in her that the Remusian could recognize.  He would need to speak to Pagran again.

Altario entered the inn and headed for a table.   When he sat, he saw that Pagran was approaching.  The Remusian nodded to the innkeeper.  “I’ll take ale and a warm meal.”

Pagran nodded. “As you wish.  I came over to talk about the horse.”  He slipped a piece of paper over to the northerner.  “If the price is acceptable, sign it, or put your mark on it if you can’t write.”

When the innkeeper left, Altario unfolded the slip of paper.  Reading the poorly worded contract, and the price, the Remusian pursed his lips.  A bit on the high side for a young untrained horse.  He would need to talk further; haggle, as it were.  Tonight, he was too tired to think about it.

Right now, all he wanted to do was get some rest, eat and then head out once more.  Tonight, he was going to go back out to search for the “Beauty of the South”.   He was hoping the others would be here, and glanced about the inn.  He had hoped they had more luck in their search than he had.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on October 13, 2009, 05:46:46 AM
A large sail rustled in the wind, and soft waves patted the sides of a large ship. Lili opened her eyes. As almost always, she was wide awake immediately. In contrast to everyone else she knew, Lili rarely experienced the drowsy transition between sleep and wakefulness. When she had lain down on the bed last night, she had chattered to Kassandra for but a few blinks, before her eyes had fallen shut and she had started to snore like a fat blood-bear. Now that she had woken up, she was ready to survey the room. It was the chamber in the Seashoal’s Inn that Altario had shown her last night. It was quite a way from the harbour, and so there was no ship, and there were no waves. On one of the bedposts sat Kassandra, looking pleased with herself.

”That’s nice, Kassandra,” Lili said as she threw off her blanket.

”It reminds me of our boat journey from Varcopas to Strata. Why don’t you always wake me like that, rather than with your usual humbug!”

Lili’s feet groped for her boots, found them, and slid inside.

”So what was it we were supposed to do today?”

”Go and buy yourself something to eat, luv, you look starved – nah, no need t’thank me, I’ve bin there, I know what it’s like – please, don’t worry ‘bout it, mate.”

”I know that  voice. Have you been hanging out with orcs while I wasn’t looking?”

”… anyone with secrets …”

”What? Honestly, I can’t make sense of you this morning. But anyway I think you’re right - or Grallen is: we need some breakfast. No doubt we’ll meet Altario and Airyn there, and then we’ll go looking for that Denrykmar chap.”

But when Lili went down into the tavern, Altario was nowhere to be seen. Neither were Garret, Airyn, Grallen, or the blood-coughing chap from last night. And after she had eaten one plateful of some local fowl’s fried eggs, two of its legs, and six butterball delights (the highwaywoman, who remembered all too well the many days she'd spent in the forest without eating anything but dry roots and berries, did not know how to appreciate refined moderation), there was still no sign of anyone she knew.

So she went out into the city, where she had many adventures. A street urchin thanked her kindly for a bell fruit she gave him. But he hadn’t seen a Northerner recently, and much less one called Denrykmar. The fruit-seller (who never noticed the disappearance of her bell fruit) couldn’t help Lili either.

Of course, Stratanian days are far too hot to go looking for lost brothers. The others will have thought the same, and just staid in bed, Lili thought. She went to the harbour and found herself a shady spot, from where she could throw stones into the water and think about her journey north, while Kassandra sampled Stratanian sailor songs.

In the evening they returned to the Seashoal’s Inn. Altario was sitting at a table by himself. He’s wearing his usual grave face, thought Lili. Like a lonesome old Ash Wolf. She waved a greeting to him, and walked over to the bar, where she ordered four tankards of desert wine and a bowl of water. Balancing the vessels on her two hands (as well as Kassandra on her shoulder), she walked over to Altario’s table and sat down.

”There you are, old chap!” Lili put the drinking vessels down and brushed a few drops of sweat from her eyes with her sleeve.

 “Phew, what a scorcher, ey? If I ever hear anyone talk about the gentle embrace of the injera's warmth again, I'm gonna throttle him. Here, have a swig on me.”

Lili pushed one tankard over to Altario. While Kassandra hopped onto the table and began to sip her water from the bowl, Lili took the second tankard and emptied it in one long gulp. When she addressed Altario again, her fingers already started playing with the third tankard.

”Guess we better start looking for that brother of yours," she said.

"Kassandra and I will be up for anything as soon as the sun has stopped trying to roast us for dinner. Where are the others, by the way? I didn’t see anyone all day. I wonder whether Airyn managed to help that old pal of yours.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on October 16, 2009, 11:44:04 PM
The Injèrá rose and poured the golden light of morning over the city. Strata faced the east and so an early sun ray stole itself into the room where Lori slept and awoke her. She was wide awake in the same moment. She had a task!

Today I will find Altario‘s brother. And maybe his daughter he missed so is here as well with her uncle. That would be so cool, to have another girl to play with! But no, probably not, altario did not expect his daughter to be in Strata.

Full of energy she jumped out of the bed, threw her clothes over and hurried down for a breakfast. Ana‘Mirl was already in the kitchen brewing some morning tea, but otherwise the house was not yet awake. Ana‘Mirl looked tired and worried, but Lori did not take notice.

„Ana, I‘m going out, to look for my old friends. If anybody knows something, then they will. Should I take some sweets with me, which I could give to them as a.... a reunion present? Maybe some dochnuts or some of the cookies Liara does so well? Please!“

Ana‘Mirl smiled at her little brat and caressed her unkept hair.

"Of course, my dear. Take this box over there, that should suffice. But you know, I‘m worried. It would be better for you not to meet those... persons again. Not that I fear they might influence you in a bad way, but maybe they will not welcome you, you have to be very careful whom you seek out first. And I can‘t help you here. If it was not for Altario and his daughter, another girl in distress, then I would forbid you to see them. I want you to be back for lunch, then you can go again, but I want  you to see me every three hours. That has to be possible! If I should not be here, tell Liara, where to you are going. And comb your hair, it is not necessary to look like a gutter snipe from the beginning.“

Lori gulped down the last of her bred with some tea and sprang up. She hugged Ana‘Mirl tightly, kissed her on her cheek and whispered in her ear. „Ana, you know I love you, I‘m so glad I was abducted to the Herald and found you, or you found me. Live is better in the Herald, though I was not too unhappy here. I promise, I take care of myself!“

And out of the house she was.

Ana‘Mirl remained seated for a while, drank another cup of tea. Her heart was heavy. Hopefully it had been the right decision to allow Lori to endanger herself, and that was, what she did. She had left the thieves, though involuntarily, and nobody knew, how they would receive her. She herself would visit some friends, but mostly go to the market and listen to some gossip, maybe stir the talks in the right direction. But she did not expect to get to know anything useful. She put her cup away and prepared breakfast for her family. Liara was buy with her little daughter and enjoyed to stay in bed a little while longer when her mother was here.

Outside a merchant who sold water cried out, the day had started and Ana wished, it would be over already.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on October 17, 2009, 02:17:17 AM

Tyrr stayed awake most of the night going over each step of his plan, several drafts of parchment added to the small fire that kept the small drafty room that he and the two brothers shared. He rubbed tired eyes, slowly stood up, his back aching, his buttocks numb from sitting on a hard wooden chair. He walked over to the fire and threw in the last few pages of his plan now completely memorized and ready to be implemented whenever he received the word from his employer.

He walked over the only window in the place,opened it and looked out. The sun's red-orange color was just peeking over the southern horizon as Tyrr heard the shouts of sailors and their captains to get ready for another day's work at hoping to bring in a large fresh catch of fish and other aquatic things that could be sold and found on someone's plate for a meal.

Tyrr and the two brothers used to be like those poor slobs working your skin down to the bone as you hauled up on heavy coarse wet rope hoping you caught you something worth selling and even if you did you barely got enough wage for the day to eat, drink and perhaps purchase a wench for the night. Never would he do that again, he thought as he turned away from the window.

He lay down upon his bunk staring at the low beamed ceiling going over his plan once again in his head. The only snag he could see was the female orc, Grallen. She was a wild card and he had seen last night unpredictable. She showed the world what they wanted to see but underneath...there was something else, a seething anger. Of course if he were an orc and was treated like most orcs are he would probably have the same type of anger, but he did not think it was that. She seemed to fit in fairly well with the other races, even if she did try and disguise her own as best as she could. No, there was something else inside her. Well, it did not matter anyway for as soon as the job was finished he was gone and as far as the rest...well the crabs needed to eat too. A wicked smile crossed his face as he fell asleep.

Damien Scar

Damien woke to the sounds of vendors outside of his window yelling out their wares. He opened his eyes, one at a time, and saw shadows playing on the ceiling of his room. His room? He was not dead? Then he remembered the fair haired elven girl. She had been with Altario. He turned his head and saw Hyram snoozing comfortably on a cot near the fireplace. Damien was hoping to see the girl, Airyn, he recalled she said her name was, but she was not in the room. He swept off the sweat soaked sheet and noticed that he was naked except for a pair of white shorts covering his loins and a fresh wrapped bandage around his body covering his ribs and part of his chest.

He slowly rose and swung his legs over the bed. He saw his clothes neatly folded upon his chest. On the table next to his bed was a multi-colored bottle and a glass of water with a note that said,"pour into glass and drink it all, Hyram" Damien grinned as he pulled the cork stopper out of the bottle with his teeth, poured the substance into a tin cup, poured the water into the substance and after waiting a few blinks drank the water in one huge gulp.

"Ah, I see you are awake," Hyram said, rising also. "How are you feeling?"

Damien hesitantly took in a deep breath and was surprised he did not feel the usual sharp pain in his chest. He looked happily surprised. "Well, Hyram it seems that your concotion seems to be working. I do not feel hardly any pain at all." Damien answered.

"Well to be honest Damien it is not only my concotion as you call it but a little help from a very knowledgable elven girl healer. She gave you something to drink I had not thought of. Together both of the medicines we gave you must have helped."

"Yes, I recall. Her name was Airyn something or other. I will thank her when I see her again." Damien said.

"Yes and ask for her treatment as well. Taking them both may help you heal faster," Hyram said as he began to walk toward the door.

"What do I owe you Hyram?" Damien asked.

"Nothing, the silver bard you gave me last time was more than enough," Hyram said. "Good-bye Damien and I hope to not see you again. If you know what I mean?" Hyram said opening the door.

Damien grinned. He knew what Hyram meant. "Hopefully Hyram, hopefully," Damien replied as Hyram grunted, went out the door and closed it behind him.

Damien got dressed wearing everything except his gold trimmed cloak. He went downstairs expecting to see Altario or someone, but only a few regulars were eating breakfast. Pagran quickly greeted him and after Damien ordered a platter of eggs, beef, fruit and instead of ale, water. Pagran left him to his meal.

Damien ate slowly thinking over last night and remembered that Altario was still looking for his daughter. He asked Pagran if Altario had come down this morning, but Pagran did not know. Damien thanked him and then walked out into the early morning sun. He looked up and down the streets wondering where to start to looking for Altario's daughter.

It has to be the docks, he thought. Sailors and those who lived down there loved to talk and if there was anything that needed to be learned about the city and it's people and what was going on, it would be there.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on October 23, 2009, 05:49:49 AM
Damien Scar

The sun was hot and it was humid. There was little breeze from the ocean as Damien walked along the docks. The smell of rotting fish, stale ale, and the refuse of the city from the sewer that ran out and into the ocean hung heavy in the air. Damien, as best as he could tried to ignore it as he continued his search for Altario's daughter.

He talked to many a sailor and walked into many an inn that lined the streets across from the docks and where sailors from all over the world would go in search of ale and female companionship. He asked many an innkeeper for information, but most, if not all, just wanted him to buy a drink or leave: Damien chose to leave.

As the day wore on his thirst increased and the temptation of having just one ale was constantly on his mind. Finally he stopped in at an old run down inn. The inside was filled with sailors who were already drunk. When Damien walked to the bar to speak to the innkeeper, he was approached by a wisp of girl.

"You need company?" she asked suggestively.

She could have been pretty. As with most Stratanarians, she was not that tall, but she was buitl proportionately and had long dark hair that reached to the lower of her back. Her face was round, she had a small cute nose complimented by a mouth that had full lips and dark eyes that sparkled, however the hair was unwashed and tangled, she wore a bright red lipstick that looked garrish upon her lips, too much heavy rouge, and she covered her eyelids with a bluish color. The wisp of a dress she wore was probably made from some very good material and was pastel colored, but the wear and tear on it made the colors fade till they were more a blur of colors instead of seperate ones and it was now almost bare thin, but it covered her important parts so that she could go outside without getting arrested...barely.

"No," Damien said as he gently removed her arm from his. He got the innkeepers attention and asked if he knew anything about a girl who may be in the company of some strangers. He described her as best as his memory of what Altario had told him.

"No, 'ave not seen such a girl," the innkeeper replied, "Do you want a drink mister?"

Damien shook his head no though the temptation was strong. "A glass of water, perhaps," Damien finally said.

"Water? I d'nt sell water. If'n you want a drink ale is all I offer,"

Damien hesitated. One glass of ale would not hurt and my throat is awfully dry, he thought.

"Well, what's it going to be, mister?"

"Okay, just one glass," Damien said.

The innkeeper grunted, took a dirty glass, filled it with ale and plopped it down on the bar next to  Damien. Damien paid for it, and then took a drink. It tasted like someone had urinated in it. He spit it out on the floor. "This stuff is terrible," Damien complained.

"If'n you don' like it, then go someplace else." The innkeeper said.

Damien slammed his cup down, splashing the ale over some sailors and their girls. "'ey, matey ye goin' to pay for 'at. Look 'hat you done to me girl's dress.

Damien looked at the sailor's girls dress. The ale had barely put a couple of spots on it and as far as Damien could see they just blended in with the other spots she wore. "Sorry," Damien apologized as he walked toward the door.

Suddenly he felt a blow to his kidneys. He gasped, arched his back and turned around to confront his attacker. His right hand was over his right kidney and he did not expect the flurry of blows as he turned. His jaw was hit twice. He quickly recovered and hit the man back in his jaw sending the man flying backwards into a crowd of sailors who pushed the man back towards Damien.

The sailor was big bull of a man, not as tall as Damien but strong and fast with his fists. Both men took blow after blow and it was hard for Damien to keep blocking the sailor's blow to his injured ribs. The sailor noticed that Damien protected his right side and began attacking it furiously. Damien did his best to block the blows but some managed to slip through and each one made Damien gasp in pain. Finally the sailor got one good blow to Damien's ribs.

Damien's breath whooshed out of him as he groaned and fell to one knee. His ribs burned and his chest felt as if he had been stabbed. The sailor stepped in to finish Damien off with a blow to Damien's left side of his jaw. Damien saw the blow coming,
blocked it with his left hand and punched with his right hand into the man's stomache.

The man gasped as he bent over and stepped back away. Damien slowly stood up. His dark eyes glinted with hate. His arms tensed. He roared, which quieted the crowd who had before been yelling and rooting for whoever they wanted to win the fight, and then Damien rushed the man. The man landed a couple of blows before Damien grabbed his shirt with his left hand, his right hand went to the man's testicles, the man yelled in pain as Damien crunched them with his hand and then with inhuman effort Damien literally picked the big sailor up and threw the man several peds and over the bar crashing into heavy wooden barrels of ale that split wide open pouring their contents all over the floor.

The innkeeper yelled out in dismay as Damien turned, men and women, standing aside as he walked out of the inn's door clutching his right side.

Outside Damien gasped in pain. He leaned against the wall of the inn. His head began to spin and he fell. He closed his eyes to the glare of the sun as he gasped for air. Suddenly a shadow passed over his head. He opened his eyes and saw the girl who had tried to proposition him earlier. She knelt down and placed a wet rag on his forehead. "'ere, 'et me 'elp you up," she said.

With her help Damien finally stood, though he felt as if the sky was spinning. "Thank you," he said.

"Your welcome. I am Brianna," she said.

"Damien, Damien Scar," Damien gasped out.

"Where can I take you?" she asked.

"SeaShoals inn," Damien answered, still gasping for air.

" I 'ave never been farther than the docks. I can 'elp you to the end of Thieves lane," she said.

Damien nodded and they both slowly walked, the girl trying her best to hold Damien's weight, toward the end of the docks.

"The girl you were asking for? Is she yours?" Brianna asked.

"No," Damien said, breathing a bit better, but each step and breath brought pain. "She is a daughter of a friend of mine," Damien replied. "Why? Have you seen her?" he asked.

"No, not that I know of. But...but there are slavers here who work for those in Shan' thai," She whispered.

Damien had heard of slavers and of their shady buisness of kidnapping girls and then selling them in Shan'thai's markets. The only place where slavery was still allowed in Caelereth.

They came to the end of the docks and Brianna turned to leave. "Brianna, if I gave you enough money to leave this place, would you?" Damien asked.

She looked up into Damien's eyes, tears gently flowing down her cheeks. "Not enough money to save me," she sadly replied. She reached up, and gently kissed Damien. "Good-bye Damien. I hope you find your friends daughter."

She turned and walked away. Damien shook his head sadly as he watched and wondered why? Soon she walked into another inn and Damien slowly stumbled back to the Seashoals inn.


Tyrr woke up when he heard the commotion coming from downstairs. The twins were awake and gone. Tyrr went down the stairs and suddenly stopped in the middle of them. He rubbed his eyes. He could not believe what he was seeing. It was that big man that had been coughing up blood and was eventually carried away to his room from the Seashoals inn. He was fighting with a sailor, that Tyrr only knew as Riley from the ship he was going to use to go to Shan'thai.

Tyrr's eyes narrowed as he watched the fight. Riley was giving the big man a pounding, though the big man was quick and blocked most of Riley's blows. Tyrr was thinking furiously. Why was that man here? Did Grallen talk? Suddenly one of Riley's blows struck the big man in his right ribcage. The man fell to his knees, Riley went in for the killing blow, but the big man blocked Riley's blow, and hit Riley in the stomache, which made Riley step back.

Then Tyrr saw something he thought would be impossible. The big man stood up, rushed Riley and then picked him up and threw him across the inn's floor, over the bar and Riley ended up crashing into the heavy wooden ale barrels.

Tyrr rushed down the stairs and found the twins and after a quick discussion they followed the big man a whore who seemed to be helping him until they came to the end of the docks, then she left him. Tyrr sent Quar to question the girl and then Tyrr and Gres headed for the Seashoals inn...Tyrr wanted to speak with Grallen.

Tyrr and Gres entered the Seashoals just as the tower rang out fifteen bells. The inn was not as crowded, for it was not quite supper time, but he did notice the man called Altario eating along with one of the fair haired women that seemed to be traveling with him. Gres and him took a table at the far wall, ordered some ale and Tyrr waited for Grallen to show up.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on October 23, 2009, 09:28:51 PM
Grallen made her way downstairs, twitching her fingers experimentally. She’d woken up with them stuck to the sheets by her blood. She couldn’t remember going to sleep, but she guessed she’d had too much on her mind to pay attention to the state of her nails. After washing them clean and wrapping them in yet another stolen scarf, she’d felt the need to get out of the inn and take her mind off slavers and ethical dilemmas.

A visit to a back-alley shop that hadn’t been too hard to locate had magically transformed a handful of the less extravagant jewellery into enough coin for a bottle of pain relief and a new coat. It grated to have to pay for it, but she kept remembering what she might be about to do this afternoon, who she’d meet. She felt she should at least try to make up for that. Also, the stallholder had been a lot bigger than her, and coats are large and tricky to steal. It was a nice coat, though. Lots of pockets, one of which now housed Earnest. The sleeves were a good length too. Acquiring the second knife that now kept her sword company had been child’s play, with sleeves long, wide and soft enough that the knife had practically slid against her wrist of its own accord. Anyhow, she felt a little better now, even if her fingers itched, so long as she was careful not to think about what she was going to do.  

She’d left her shoes upstairs, because it was too hot for them here. The coat though, she kept. If she had to run, there was enough currency and jewellery in the pockets to tide her over for a good while. And, of course, she had Earnest nearby, and when you’re entirely lacking in conscience or sense of risk, a frog will have to do.

She slipped downstairs, scanning the bar for familiar faces. Somehow she felt she’d been expecting them before her eyes found them. She smiled, or at least, showed all her teeth, and made her way softly towards the pair. Gres and Tyrr. The clever one and the psychotic one. Oh joy.

“hello gennelmen. Did you have sweet dreams?”
I hope your nightmares crawled out through your ears and bled you dry while you gibbered and screamed like lost children.

Out of the corner of her eye she spotted mister Altario. She never would have thought she’d be pleased to see him. But it really did make her feel a little better. She smiled sweetly, blithely, carefree and innocent, at the two men she’d come to meet. Her fingers twitched.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on October 27, 2009, 05:37:57 AM
As he waited for someone to bring the meal and ale, Lili sat at the table with him, her bird with her.  Altario acknowledged her with a nod.  "Evenin'"  He welcomed the tankard of ale that she pushed toward him and took a sip to relieve the parchedness of his throat.  When she threatened to throttle the next person who spoke of the injera, Altario chuckled.  He liked this Lili, despite his fears that she was adle-minded.

When her conversation turned to Damien and Airyn, his face became grave once more.  "I hope so.  He was a good man...once.  I'm not sure who he is anymore."  He then took another drink.  "I've got a lead I wanna check out tonight.  I was hoping that someone might check out the harbour district, though.  Not that I think Ryk would go by ship anywhere.  He had a bad experience at sea back in the war.  But," he sighed, "it seems like we are at the end of the world here.  Nothing left but ocean, and the harbour seems huge, so it would be foolish to ignore it completely."  He couldn't help but smile, when he remembered Lili's story of the captain on her ship journey.  "And you seem to know a little about sea captains and their way."  He winked conspiratorially at her.

It was then that Altario noticed Damien walk into the inn.  Of course, he looked like he'd had another day of drinking.  Altario pursed his lips and shook his head.  If it came to it, there would be no place for Damien in this adventure.  There were just too many distractions with Damien that Altario did not need right now.  Pity.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on October 29, 2009, 01:58:09 AM

Tyrr saw her out of the corner of his eye as she sauntered down the stairs of the inn. There were some very noticable differences about her that made him suspicious, suspicious indeed. As she neared the table where he and Gres sat he noticed scarves covering her fingers and she was wearing for only Bavares only knew a coat! A coat in this heat! Is she deranged? Perhaps he should cut her loose now before she learned anymore? But before he did that he needed information and she was going to give it to him one way or the other.

She sat down at the table; cool as an ocean's breeze.  “hello gennelmen. Did you have sweet dreams?” she asked.

Tyrr swivled his head to make sure there were no ears close enough to hear them, nodded to Gres who got up and sat on the other side of Grallen so that she was between the two, then Tyrr turned his attention to Grallen. "No, but it seems you have acquired a few things," He drew out a rather large daggar and pretended to clean under his nails. "Don't do anything stupid Grallen. Gres has a daggar close to your side. I just want some information. You see just awhile ago a big dark haired man came to where we were hiding and had a fight with one of my...boss's compatriots. Now, the question that comes to mind is, "How did that man find us?"

He turned his head as the inn's door opened and in stumbled the man he was referring to. He looked hurt, real bad. It seemed that Riley did more damage than Tyrr had thought. But if he was that hurt and could pick Riley up and throw him that far and over the bar, then he could have been a dangerous foe. He turned back to Grallen.

"That man that stumbled into the inn. See him? He is the one that I am talking about. Now," Tyrr's voice took on a hard edge, "How did he find us? Did you talk? Is that why your fingers are covered with a scarf? Were you convinced by that man to say anything concerning me, my men and our buisness? Do not lie to me Grallen. A bar whore was seen helping that man down the docks I sent Quar to ask her some questions," he paused, an evil chuckle escaped his mouth, "The crabs need to eat too. So speak. Where have you been? That coat is ridiculous in this heat and it must cost a lot of money. Did you spend most of that silver bard I gave you? Why are your fingers covered in a scarf? They look like they have been torn down to the bone. What happened and why?"

Tyrr paused, still cleaning under his nails. "Of course all of this could just be a coincidence, but Grallen I do'nt believe in coindidences. I believe in information and facts, so start talking." Tyrr ordered.

Of course since Tyrr never had any dealings with an orc before he really did not know how much danger he was in, even if Gres had a daggar under the table near her right side. He might have changed his tone just a little if he knew....

Damien Scar

Damien was breathing hard when he reached the inn's door. The heat and uphill climb had taken its toll on his already battered and bruised body, especially his ribs. He rested his hand against the wall as a painful cough racked his body, he bent over in pain and hacked out a good amount of blood. Damien knew he needed to get more medicine into him and hopefully Pagran can find Hyram again.

He walked into the inn, thankful that the door was light and not heavy like it would have been in Voldar. The pain in his ribs kept him hunched over and he stumbled into the inn. He was going to head upstairs after talking with Pagran when he noticed Altario sitting at a table with that fair haired woman he had been dancing with the previous night. He wondered where the other one was, the elven girl, Airyn, the one who helped him and that Hyram had praised.

He tried to stand as upright as his ribs and pain would allow and walked to Altario's table and fell heavily into a chair next to him. Pagran came up, "Ale, m'lord?' he asked.

Damien shook his head no. "Just some cool water, Pagran," Damien answered.

"As you wish, m'lord," Pagran said turning.

"Wait," Damien wheezed, as he reached into his pocket and took out his room key. "I need my medicine. Some small multi-colored looking sand in bottles over the mantle. Bring me one bottle, please,"

"As you desire, m'lord," Pagran answered as he took the key and quickly left.

Damien nodded at the fair haired woman and then noticed the rather large bird drinking from a saucer near the womans side. Damien, curious, managed a weak smile. "Good afternoon, M'lady. I do not believe we had been properly introduced, even though you taught me a very strange dance last night. My name is Damien Scar, Baron Damien Scar, late of Voldar. If you will please excuse me while I talk to Altario."

Damien turned and looked into the disapproving eyes of his friend. Why is he looking at me like that? Oh, by Queprur's gown, he must think I am drunk. "Altario," Damien began, "I know what you are thinking and I am not drunk. I ran into some trouble at some dive down at the docks as I was asking about information concerning your daughter."

Pagran came to the table interrupting. "Here is your medicine, water and your room key, m'lord," he said as he placed the small bottle, the glass of water and key on the table. "Is there anything else?' he asked.

"Yes, see if you can find Hyram and ask him to come to my room," Damien answered.

"Ah, Hyram left the city early this morning, m'lord. I can try and get one of the temple girls?" Pagran asked eagerly.

Damien shook his head no. He would have to do this on his own or perhaps...that elven girl, Airyn. "No, Pagran that will not be necessary. I will be fine. You can go now."

Pagran left. "I am sorry for the interruption Altario but what I wanted to tell you was that I met a bar girl who told me that though she had not seen any girl of the description of your daughter, she did say that slavers worked here and that it may be that your daughter could have been taken to Shan'Thai."

Damien poured the medicine into the glass and stirred it around and then with a tip to the woman, "Down the hatch, matey," he said reverting to his days when he was on ship and drank the medicine in one gulp.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on October 29, 2009, 06:49:11 AM
Grallen kept a steady smile as the two men placed themselves at her sides. Mister Tyrr seemed a mite agitated, and showered her with thinly veiled threats, which quickly degenerated to not-veiled-at-all-threats. Ahh, this, she could understand. As he started to pick at his nails with a knife, her smile widened. He watched that lord, Baron, whatever his name was, enter the bar, and changed tack, to suggesting she’d been beaten up by some fool looking for information. Grallen said nothing, and her smile was now a definite grin. Tyrr was clearly in a mood for questions. He showered them down like blows, and Grallen was mildly surprised (and a little gratified, in a “well, this could be more of a challenge” kind of way) to find that mister Tyrr was actually a fairly observant gentleman, when he had need to be. She flicked her fingers idly, and leant back in her chair, her grin broadening.

“Do not lie to me Grallen.”

She raised her eyes from their idle inspection of her hands to meet Tyrr’s eyes, and she smiled and smiled at him, whilst he rambled on, something about feeding her to the crabs, and then some frankly rude stuff about her nice new coat, prying into her finances, even. Really, it was enough to make you despair in the common decency of humanity. And I, of course, don’t generally count as human, so I can say that with unbiased detachment, and can also then proceed to detach nice mister Tyrr’s head from his body, and that’s alright, me not being human. I get uncommon decency, which has different rules.

He seemed to be finally running out of questions: "Of course all of this could just be a coincidence, but Grallen I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in information and facts, so start talking."

Grallen smiled at the both of them, just for a change. Then she spoke, in a calm, friendly, clear voice that nonetheless had an edge to it, hidden under her usual husky tones, that said “I’m only the tiniest movement away from snarling, and if you make me snarl I’ll be doing it with my mouth full, because of your throat being in the way of my teeth.” It takes a good deal of practise to get an edge like that into your everyday speaking voice, but Grallen believed that if a trick’s worth learning, it’s worth learning well.

“Facts, is it? I dunno many of them, mate – not much by the way of classical educations where I’m from, see? But let’s see what I can do. I’m sorry to hear about your busy day, but I can’t help you there – I dunno that gennelman other than by sight... and by smell, come t’think of it. He smells like he’s been dead for a while but hasn’t noticed yet.”

She grinned guilelessly, noting as she did so that yes, she was right, Tyrr was a middle man for some “boss”, who presumably rated him highly enough to let him think he had some idea of plans, if he’d recruit an orc girl out of a bar without thinking.

“yep, so I’ve no idea how he found you... are you sure he didn’t follow you? It’s not impossible, you know, even if he does smell like a really badly run abbatoir. Now, what were your other questions? Hmm, the scarf.” She wiggled her fingers experimentally.
“Well, it’s nice of you gennelmen to show such concern for my wellbeing, but it’s really nothing special. I dropped a rock on ‘em by accident. Clumsy me. The coat, I’ll mark you, I actually think is quite good. There’s certainly no crime in a girl buying herself something nice, once in a while.”

She leaned towards Tyrr, her unharmed hand falling forward, to within a nailsbreadth of his knife. Her expression had changed completely, from outgoing charm to a seriousness that held cold fury just barely in abeyance. Her eyes were like terrible lamps.
“Now, pleasantries aside, I’d like to remind you that so far you’ve told me nothing I couldn’t have found out for myself, had I the inclination to go rooting around after your slimy little deeds. You really are scared, aren’t you? Good. You damn well should be. But flashing knives around certainly isn’t going to make you any safer, because this place isn’t such a dive that they won’t notice just exactly who it was attacked this poor defenceless girl. So now, if’n you’d please, kind gentlemen. Tell me what the hell you want or leave right now.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on October 30, 2009, 02:27:33 AM
It was one of those splendid mornings in Strata, when the Injèrá was not so hot yet to make life unbearable except in the deep shades of the street canyons. The sun had climbed a small part of her arch and was shining fully into Tristin‘s Pride, emptying a huge bucket of golden light on the row of Dari‘i trees in the middle of the road. The merchants started to open their doors to welcome early guests, the smells of roasted bred and fresh pressed juices mixed with  the scent of the flowering trees.

Lori was happy. True, there was a little girl to rescue and a task waiting to be done for her, but as the day had just started and her old thief-friends would not pursue their ‚clients‘ until later, when it was easier to snatch a purse from a ‚richie‘, how they called their victims. There were many more people on the streets later which made live easier.  Lori dared not to find out yet, if their old hide out was still used, for it might not be safe to intrude without knowing any of the passwords required.

So she strolled along the shady Thief‘s Lane in the direction of the Harbour Gate, whistling and occasionally hopping to the tune she had just in her head, for it was nearly chilly so early at the morning. She had always loved counting rhymes, for it was a well loved, easy game to play and often to decide, who of the children had to do the next go for a ‚richie‘.

Ana‘Mirl had told her a few from all over Santharia, and so Lori, as a nowadays well behaved girl, had started out with:

Under the ocean, green and deep
Lie the fishes fast asleep,
Under the arm and over the shoe,
Tap on the head, and out goes YOU!

But, truly, this one was a bit boring, and as she did anyway not know, where these Aurarori-Fields were, she soon switched to the next:

One for death and two for birth,
Three for wind and four for earth,
Five for fire, six for rain,
Seven's joy and eight is pain,
Nine to go, ten back again!

That was better! Death and birth were always interesting. But as she had been a little thief, she knew of course different ones, ones Ana‘Mirl didn‘t like so much, but maybe this Judy, who collected the other ones might have a different opinion? And so she soon was singing loudly her old ones:

One, two, three
The  little does a wee
Four, five, six
The fastest does the picks
Seven, eight, nine,
A richie is a swine
And ten is mine!

This one they had used to decide who got something which just one of them could have, when sharing was impossible. In a very good mood, she went on:

One, two, three , four, five,
Do you want to have a life,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then you need to rob some men.

One, two, three , four, five,
Do you want to stay alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then you need to have a den.

Meanwhile she had arrived at the Pride and there, that was obvious, her little songs were not cherished. So she fell silent and walked along all the booths, where the less precious wares were laid out,  to enjoy the colours, the glittering of the glass jewelry , the scent of the perfumes. She hadn‘t done so for a long while, for Ana‘Mirl had not allowed her to roam the city on her own. And what should her business have been in the Pride?

Shade crept into the Pride, when Lori thought she had seen a face she knew.


„Mido!“ Lori whispered to the boy she had recognized as one of her little band, while she, seemingly not interested, walked past him. The Pride was not the right place to talk to a thief, so Lori slipped in one of the narrow side lanes and found a place in a small corner, where she stopped and turned around, hoping that the boy had followed her.

Mido had, and a wide grin parted his face, white teeth shone through the dirt on his face. Lori immediately hugged him tight, for he had been one of her closets friends , two years back. He was younger and quite  small for his age, an advantage in his daily ‚tasks‘.

„Come, let us go to a place where we are undisturbed, I‘ll buy you a drink and I do have some homemade biscuits! Down to the  harbour on the rocks, there nobody will listen!“

And the two run down, sharing not only a drink and biscuits, but a friendship Lori had missed the last two years, though she never had realised it. Lori told Mido about her abduction, how she had come to live at the Thirsty Herald with Ana‘Mirl. Mido told her about the ups and downs of his live, about the change of leadership in the little band of thieves, and that last thing made Lori curse. She hadn‘t known, that she was still able to do so.

„Kaltoora is your leader now? Darn, she never liked me, always thought I would get much more of the share than she did, just because I was better in slipping through narrow openings than she with her fat belly. You know, I need your help. From all of you.“

Lori fell silent. When this girl who had been once a rival commanded the gang, there was only a slim chance, that they would help her, unless she could be bribed.. But with what? Altario had surely enough money, but Lori didn‘t want to go and ask for it, not yet, especially if she was not sure about the outcome.

Mido just waited for Lori to continue. He had early learned to be patient. Finally Lori explained herself.

„There is a man from the far, far North here in Strata, from Remmosia, who looks for his brother, well, actually he is searching for his little daughter, Nayriss. He thinks his brother has been in Strata, or still is, and he wants information, how to find him. Or where he has gone, if he is not here anymore. The name of the brother is Ryk and something else. Do you think the group can help me find this brother? Would the others do it? Will Kalto allow it?“

Mido rubbed his nose, then with a sigh he answered.

„Kalto will allow it, but you need to have something she wants, and that might not be just money. Well, just ask her. I dare not bring you to our current den, but we can meet you in the Eye at the dyers booth, the one with the bright colours, remember? Do you have something I could give her, to show, that it is true, what I say?“

Lori frowned , finally she held out the tin with the rest of the biscuits, the ones they had not eaten up.

„Just give her those, and tell her, that there are more for her, if she helps me. I remember, that she was always loved sweets and that she was always keen to have something which one cannot buy... „

„Ok, well then, Lori, let us meet again at that booth in the Eye, when the shade of Injèrá of Baveras‘ temple falls through to the Southern Gate, alright?“

Lori nodded. Within a few blinks Mido was gone and she stood up as well to return home to Ana‘Mirl to tell her that she was well - and to fetch new biscuits or any sort of sweets she could get somewhere.

Ana‘Mirl was very relieved to see Lori back before sunreign. The news, that Loris old foe was now leader of the group worried her though. But as Mido, she thought, that bringing with enough sweets, and especially the prospect of more after the gang‘s help was successful might do the trick.

So Lori went out again to meet Mido, Kaltoora and the rest. This time she had not alone the famous Liara biscuits with her, but a small assortment of sweets like kao-kao cookies, Lorivluvs and honeyed Meldars.

When Sunblaze reached its peak, Lori was near the dyer‘s booth. She knew, that it was better to hide behind another stall and wait for the arrival for the gang. She could not be sure, that Kaltoora had agreed to help her. Her sweets, apart from a few chosen, were hidden nearby. She did not run the risk of loosing her sweets to those thieves without getting something in return. These kids had been her friends, but if they still liked her was another thing. Maybe they were jealous, that she had escaped their fate. Maybe Kaltoora had orderer, that she was to avoid, or worse.

Kaltoora and her companions were late, but finally she, Mido and two others Lori did not know approached the stall of the dyer and Lori slipped from behind the next to meet them in the open, at an exposed place in full view of the booths around her. Just in case. Nor that she expected that any adult would come to help her, if Kaltoora ordered to beat her up.

„Hi Kaltoora, hi Mido, hi..“ Lori  raised her arm only slightly, indicating a wave of the hand only so slightly and looked at the two who she did not know. One was a boy of her age, but tall, the other an older girl, already well developed, much too grow up for the gang as Lori had know it.

Kaltoora was fat. At least fat for a thief. She definitely got enough to eat, enough sweets that was. But that did not mean, that she was not a good thief.

„Hello Lori.“ Kaltoora replied, but then paused, watching Lori and frowning. „I must say, you are brave to dare to meet us, even ask for a favour after you abandoned us two years ago. No... Don‘t tell me the lie of being kidnapped. You have always been a craven little coward, no wonder you tried to get away. Have your curls helped you to weep yourself in the heart of a mushy old woman?“

Lori Lo was about to explode and jump at Kaltoora to scratch the meanness out  of her face, when her gaze felt on Mido, whose lip formed a word. Nayriss. And Lori stopped in her track. Nayriss. Nayriss needed her.

„ A place where you would love to be, Kaltoora,“ she answered instead. „Where you could have such things like these“  - and here she handed the little box with extra sweets to the chubby girl.

„If you and the gang will help me, there will be more for you, and more for the others.“ Lori opened her bag and picked some of the other biscuits to give them to Mido and the boy and the girl, who took them, amusement in their eyes.  

„Oh well, that sounds good, but it will not be enough. But tell me first, what you want. Then I might consider to help you, or not.“ Kaltoora looked with cold, reevaluating eyes at her.

„I want the gang to help me to get information about the whereabout of a Northerner. He is tall..“ And Lori tried to describe Altario‘s younger self. „ His name is Ryk or Denrykmar, and  as he does look like a Northerner and not a man from Strata, he should have been noticed.“

„And why do you want to know this?“

„His brother is searching for him, and I know this brother and I help him.“

„So, and what is he giving you to do so?“

„Nothing, but I‘m sure  - if the information you can gather is good he will give you enough silver to buy this many sweets that you will puke for three days when you have eaten them all at once.“

Kaltoora‘s eye flared, but she only said:

„  And with what should we bribe those who have the information? Biscuits?“

Lori went cold. She had no money, not enough. She should have thought, that she would need at least some and have asked Altario for it. But now it was too late. If she had to go and fetch money, Kaltoora might change her mind.

„Biscuits have to do, or take from your own stock, there is no risk. You can always withhold the information until you got your charge. But, of course, the information has to be worth the money. I tell you what. You risk nothing, you just have to send out the kids to get some information, and they know how to talk to people to get to know what they want without spending a copper. If don‘t find out anything worth a silver or two, you have lost nothing. If my friend is satisfied, you‘ll be rich. So, are you going to help me, or should I go and look for Kirro.“

Kirro had been the leader of a rivaling gang two years ago and Lori had no idea, if he was still around, but obviously he was, for her threat had worked. Kaltoora‘s had become slightly pale around the chin.

„Ok, we‘ll do it. But give me the box with the other biscuits as well.“

„No, they are for the gang,“ Lori rejected her and saying that she gave the second box to the girl she did not know. It took it with a little smile. So, Kaltoora‘s reign was not so absolute as Lori had feared.

How long do you think it will take.. Lori was about to ask, but knew it better.

„I‘ll need the info till tonight, at sundrown. And I‘ll meet you near the Seashoal Inn, down at the Old fish harbour. And I will have some money, some, just enough to tell you, that I‘m not making anything up.“

„Right!“ was all, Kaltoora answered, but her look promised nothing good for Lori. She turned around with a gesture which should look majestic, but failed. Mido blinked to Lori behind her back, the two others even waved - and then they were gone.

Now the search was initiated, but somehow Lori felt uneasy. She had now a few hours for herself, but somehow this what would have been a wonderful prospect at another time, was only filling her with unrest. She could go back to Ana‘Mirl, but she could not imagine either, to sit there and doing nothing, or better - help with household chores.

Lori went to the Seashoal Inn, but Altario was not there. However, she needed some money from him, to be able to give some to Kaltoora to proof, that this was something serious. And she wanted to tell him, that there were children who looked out for Ryk.

So she made herself comfortable on the other side of the road, or the pier in this case, for the Seashoal Inn was near the waterfront, and watched the waves battering against the rocks and the tiny black crabs which lived in this very special place between land and sea. They were difficult to catch, but had been a steady source of income, when anything else had gone wrong. She had hated it, for they had sharp pincers and did bite easily, the rock was sharp you had to climb over to get them. Luckily that time was over.  

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Airyn on October 30, 2009, 08:00:27 PM
Airyn smiled, almost glowing with satisfaction. It surprised the elfess, how she suddenly found herself giddy with the excitement of being around someone with the same, if not extended knowledge of the field she so enjoyed. She was proud of herself for surrendering to another’s point of view, too. Letting another take the reins in this situation had been something she was not quite accustomed to, but his knowledge and kind voice allowed her to lie back for a moment and clearly evaluate Damien’s predicament.

Together, they had managed to form a potion of sorts. The elf suppressed a laugh, feeling almost as if she were a witch, cooing and nurturing her concoction until something remotely interesting happened, like a colourful cloud of smoke erupting from the depths of the bubbling liquid. A cackle however, she sadly thought, might overdo it.

She stole a glance at Damien, looking haggard and tired in his barely conscious state. He could fool himself with promises of being absolutely fine, that his trouble was some undercooked meat or some alcohol which failed to sit right in his stomach, but he would never fool anyone else. His pale face and the blood he spurted every now and again made that quite clear. With an almost sad smile, Airyn turned back to Damien’s healer and smoothed down the front of her dress. She made a soft sigh and knelt to the ground to pack away her things, but paused. The bottle of juk’lan tea remained beside the pack. Still cold. Still unopened. She took it and placed it beside the bed, just in case.

Bidding them a quiet goodnight, Airyn backed out of the room. It was nice, not to be around the noisy hubbub for once. Oddly, that thought reminded Airyn of the group that awaited her downstairs. She took a few small steps forward, but the moon’s silvery rays caught her attention. Looking through the window she could already see that it was quite close to midnight, of not already past. The elfess frowned. She had forgotten to hire a room for the evening.
Damien had been more important, though. And from the sounds of it, it appeared that most of the rooms were already being occupied. Grumbling slightly, Airyn found herself a shadowed corner and let herself slide against the wall until her body had lazily found the ground. It was not long before her bright eyes drooped, and sleep had finally found her.


Airyn woke to the sounds of a busy kitchen and grumpy, hung-over guests from the previous evening. Her body became tense. Upright and rigid. What time was it? Where was everyone? How had Damien fared during the night? And where in the bloody world was Sage! The fluffball still hadn’t appeared!

She scrambled to her feet, a mess of creased material and messy hair, and examined herself in the reflection of the window. Her eyes had dark rings underneath them and one of her cheeks were red where she had leaned against her arm. She looked dishevelled. Figuring that it was probably useless to do anything about it, Airyn picked up her pack and walked, no, nearly fell down the stairs.

When her feet hit the hard floor of the inn, Airyn’s heart was thumping in her chest and her head was spinning. She held herself up by gripping the quivering railing which lined the wall of the stairwell, one hand held to her chest. Why was it that she was the only one she knew who could nearly break their neck by walking down a few steps?

She stumbled forward and almost knocked a waitress off her feet, the drinks she was carrying falling to the ground with a loud crash. Airyn felt paralysed from head to toe, her body seemed to have gone into a state of shock. “I, I, I,” she stammered, but the waitress only shook her head angrily and picked up the shattered pieces of glass and muttered something about returning with a mop, and if Airyn wasn’t gone by the time she came back, she would be cleaning it.

As if that wasn’t enough, Airyn could feel every eye in the room on her. It was somewhat disconcerting to know that she was the source of the interruption of whatever those people had being doing. Their curious, frustrated and annoyed stares bore straight into her, and still she couldn’t move.

She let out a nervous little giggle and pretended to scratch the back of her neck. “Morning,” she laughed, cheeks blazing. This only seemed to gain her more perplexed stares, but the elf could not seem to figure out why.

The bar wasn’t a short distance away, and a drink of water sounded like a promising proposition. She took a seat and called for the bartender. His eyebrows were raised but, other than that, his face was a mask of total contentment. Did he have something to be satisfied about? She’d just broken his glasses and spilled ale on his floor, and he was smiling at her?

Airyn was given her drink, and he waited for the disgruntled elf to hand over the coin for her purchase. Airyn frowned, thinking that water was a silly thing to demand a bit of money for, but handed over the cool metal anyway. “Thanks,” she whispered, trying to hide her embarrassment with her wild hair. He smirked and patted her hand, “Darlin’, it be late aft’rnoon. An don’ you think I won’t forget ‘bout the glasses.”
With that, he left her to stare open-mouthed into mid air with her face a mask of bewilderment, embarrassment and shock that she had managed to sleep right through the whole morning.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on October 30, 2009, 10:01:52 PM
Lori had fallen asleep in the shade of a bigger rock and so she had not noticed, when Altario and  Lili or anyone else had come back from their visit of the town. But when the sun chased her shade away and touched her, she awoke. Being afraid that she could have missed somebody she rushed to the inn, with tousled hair and a red face, where the sun had caught her.

Normally she would have looked out for Altario, have seen him sitting there with Lili and Kassandra and hurried over to him, shouting her request to him on her way to the table. But her dealing with Kaltoora had made her cautious, had awakened old habits which she had needed to survive.

So, while standing on the doorsill, she noticed with one glance, who was there. She suppressed her first  impulse to just run over to Altario and talk to him. Instead she looked around. Grallen sat at a table with men Lori did not like when looking at them. (Such a pity, she would have loved to see Earnest again) Airyn, the blond elven lady was at the bar and Altario sat with Lili and Kassandra (!) at a table and had something to eat. There was another man with them Lori did not know, who did not look very appealing to her. Wornout and ill he seemed, and obviously he bothered Altario with something. Lori frowned. She needed Altario now very urgently in a very important matter, so it would be not naughty to disturb the talk of these two. It looked anyway, as if Altario was annoyed with this man.

Lori went straight up to Altario, waited a moment and whe she had his attention, she put her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear, so that only he could hear it.

"My old friends are now asking around, but I need some coins to get the result, they have a new leader who doesn't like me. I might need more, perhaps even a silver, later. " She hugged him a little longer than would have necessary, for it felt so good to hug him. Finally she let Altario go, looked at him expectantly till he gave her some coins.

Her gaze went again over that guy who bothered Altario, then to Lili and Kassandra.

With an earnest expression on her face, she said to the two:

"Lili, Kassandra, I would love to talk to you, but I do have important things to do. By!"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 01, 2009, 05:38:58 AM
Outside, the injera disappeared behind the horizon. The light in the Seashoal’s Inn got murkier. Altario asked Lili to search for his brother in the harbour area, and she had no objections.

”I take it you’re not the kind of man who needs someone to hold his hand. So I guess I can leave you to try your luck alone, while I check out the harbour. Sea captains have a way of being afraid of us, don’t they, Kassandra? But that may not be a bad thing.”

Kassandra, meanwhile, had finished her drink. Lili extended her left hand and, with two fingers, tickled the bird under its beak. Kassandra curred like a coa’coa bird. With her right hand, Lili grabbed the next tankard of desert wine and took a generous gulp. If she had work to do, at least she wanted to do it without a dry throat.

Altario’s old friend came to the table. He looked even worse than the night before. To Lili’s surprise, it was to her that he talked first.

"Good afternoon, M'lady. I do not believe we had been properly introduced, even though you taught me a very strange dance last night. My name is Damien Scar, Baron Damien Scar, late of Voldar. If you will please excuse me while I talk to Altario."

Lili laughed out loud; her body shook so that her notchy cutlass rattled at her side. Kassandra flapped her wings in agitation. ”Milady?” Lili said. ”And what is Kassandra, then? Her majesty, mayhap?

It was clear that someone had beaten all sense out of this self-appointed baron. Lili was sure she’d never danced with him. And if he’d travelled all the way from Voldar, he should be glad to have arrived at all, rather than worry about being late.

There was no end to the stream of visitors. Lili had just started her third tankard of desert wine, when Lori appeared and acted rather conspirational with Altario. If I was Altario, thought Lili, I would ask Lori for help in finding my brother, rather than some Kuglimz woman and her bird. This is the little scamp’s home town, after all. And as we have learned, she is not afraid of stealing once in a while, either. Oh, I must remember to tell her that she ought to be more careful about whom she’s letting know.

Yet before Lili could say anything, Lori had blurted out a hurried good-bye. Well, the desert wine was gone, and it was time to go for Lili also. What a shame that Airyn wasn’t showing up! Lili got up from her chair to set off on her own. Kassandra hopped from the table onto her shoulder.

”So long then, Altario. We’ll be back when I’ve found your brother, or else when Kassandra decides it’s time to sleep. Let’s meet back here in the morning, shall we?”

She turned to go, but a thought stopped her. With a wide swing of her strong arm, she slapped Damien on the back.

”So long to you too, latecomer from Voldar. You have a talent for getting yourself in trouble, it seems. Maybe you should choose your dancing partners more carefully?”

And with that, Lili left the inn, while Kassandra sat on her shoulder and looked back into the bar-room, towards the counter where Airyn and Pagran were having a conversation. ” I have only just arrived, actually,” the bird said in Airyn’s voice. But Lili didn’t listen. She hadn’t seen Airyn in the murky light.

Outside, the air had cooled down pleasantly. Lili whistled a tune as she made her way back to the harbour.

”So what do you think, Kassandra? Are we going to find this Denrykmar chap?”

”I do hope that you and, um, Kassandra will be blessed with a favourable destiny,” the bird replied.

”Don’t remind me! I had forgotten about that snooty buffoon in the Thirsty Herald. Come on, let’s see what we’ll find. Surely, if Altario’s brother is here, he will have got noticed. A Remusian in Strata must stand out like a daggerbeak in a flock of coa’coa birds!”

Lili walked through the alleys of the harbour district. The evening lanterns had been lit, and the town had come to life. Ultimately, Lili’s plan was to ask around for Denrykmar in shops and taverns. But she wanted to get a sense of the place first.

Almost all her life, Lili had spent in the Shaded Forest. It was only in her twenties that the former bandit had discovered what life in a human city was like. She had never really got used to it. Sneaking through a dark thicket, the howling of wolves behind you and will’o’wisps fluttering before your eyes, trying to tempt you into a swamp? That was an easy job for Lili. Yet all these people in a city made her wary. How they walked past one another without greeting, as if they hadn’t seen one another. How some stared at you and never said anything. How others mumbled to their mates behind your back. There was just so much you had to ignore if you didn’t want to start a quarrel with every single wretched fool!

”Let the moss bear huff and the blackhog puff, Kassandra – I think I’ll get away from people for a while. Who knows, maybe Denrykmar has been thinking the same, and that’s exactly how we’ll find him?”

”And I’ll eat a boardrak!” said Kassandra.

”Hush, old doubter. Come on, let’s try that alleyway there.”

In between Strata’s high buildings, it was now almost completely dark, except where yellow light shone out from windows, or where lanterns advertised some place of leisure or other. As Lili walked through the streets and alleys, shadows appeared in corners.
There, next to that window! Wasn’t that a dwarf with a grotesque hat on his head? But no – on closer inspection it turned out to be a tub of ale, on top of which someone had placed a jug wrapped in a towel.

Here, though: a gangly man stood in the open doorway of a barn! Yet the fellow turned out to be a broomstick that was leaning against the doorframe, and on which someone had hung his apron.

Unperturbed, Lili went on. She found these shadows rather entertaining. Kassandra, though, sitting on Lili’s shoulder, crept closer to Lili’s head and huddled against her neck and cheek. It was as if the bird wanted to hide under the wide brim of Lili’s pink hat.

”Secrets” Kassandra whispered, in Grallen’s grey voice.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on November 02, 2009, 04:25:37 AM
Lori slipped out of the tavern, hoping that she would not be too late this time. But when she looked around, she saw them coming, Kaltoora, Mido, and a few others Lori did not know. Was that purpose, that Kaltoora didn‘t bring members of the group Lori knew? Probably.

Lori looked at them with mixed feelings. She hoped for Altario, that Kaltoora‘s gang had found out where Ryk was, or had been, and feared for herself, what her task would be in that case. As they came nearer, it was clear, they had found a piece of information. Kaltoora had such a braggy expression on her face, that there was no doubt.

When they were here, Lori opened the conversation.

„So, what have you found out?“

Kaltoora smiled cruelly.

„We know the whereabout of somebody who was seen with your man not long ago. But,“ and here she paused, „ of course money first and, I want  you to do something for me , before I even think at telling you. So, what for money can you give me?“

Lori handed over to her the coins she had got from Altario. She didn‘t know, if they would suffice, she could just hope.

„So, what is it you want me to do?“

„I want to have from you five odds freshly collected black crabs. Not bought ones, freshly collected I said. Now, well, in two hours or so.  And, “ again Kaltoora paused, „ only when I have them, I will tell you about  that person. But you know, that you have to go alone to the place, where you can meet her. No foreigner. You can then, if she dares to let you live, make an arrangement for her and your boss. And now the crabs please!“ she closed with a foridite sweet voice.

Lori went pale, it was slowly getting dark, and collecting those crabs was not an easy task at daytime. Now the wind had freshened up and made the climbing over the rocky stones even more dangerous. But what could she do? She looked helplessly at Mido, but he only shrugged with his shoulders. Begging and trying to offer her money would be not of help, Kaltoora wanted revenge for times, when she thought Lori had outdone her. So Lori only straightened her shoulder.

„Very well, I‘ll get you the crabs! Meet me here again. But swear by Etherus, that you will give me a worthy information after you got them. “

„I will, but only then!“

Lori turned around and went down the pier to look for a piece of net which was not too rotten, so she could collect the crabs in. Her back was straight until she reached a point, where she could be sure, that Kaltoora could not see her. Only then she sank to the ground and wept. It was nearly impossible what that cruel girl had asked. But she needed to try it at least. Why, oh why could the life not be a bit simpler. Nayriss. Wiping her face, she stood up, looked at the darkening sky and made her way over to the rocky beach. And there somebody stood and waited for her, with a bag in his hands and a smile on his face.


„I can‘t allow that monster to get you down, can‘t I? And I have always been good in finding and catching those little critter. Come on!“

And so both crawled over the stones and it did not take two hours until they had more than five odds together. Mido left Lori so that Kaltoora did not get suspicious. When the two hours were over, Lori could give Kaltoora the crabs.

„So, now, here are the crabs, now the information.“

„Oh no, there is one thing which we have to clear up. You will meet her, but after your boss has met her, you have to pay US. One silver bard. And if you do not bring it to the booth of the dyer next evening, Mido, you sweet Mido will suffer.“

„You are....!“ Lori did not dare to say anything.

„You will give one silver to Mido tomorrow night at sunset at the booth of the dyer. Good, now. There is a woman, an elf, a very, very tall one, black hair, grey eyes, pale skin.  She was seen with a man called Ryk. You might find her at Boltrupp‘s entrance to the sewers, where she has been seen entering  half an hour ago. She uses that entrance quite often, so you might be lucky. I assume you still know, where this is.“

„Yes, I do.“

„Well, till tomorrow, Miss Lori Lo, have a nice evening!“ Kaltoora said snappishly.
Lori didn‘t move, until all were gone. What now? She had thought that they would tell her a place where  she could go to and find this person. Now she had to wait for her, and watch if she left the sewers or not. She had no chance to find her in the labyrinth down there. Maybe Altario was still here, she hadn‘t been in the inn till she had caught the crabs for Kaltoora. A quick visit in the tavern showed her, that Alt had left. Nobody was there she knew. Hunger stirred, when she smelled the food from the kitchen. But as she had no money, there was no way to buy some. She considered shortly, to run back to Ana‘Mirl, to tell her where she was and to get some food, but then, the tall woman might have left the sewers when she arrived, and she did not know, how to get hold of her otherwise. The only option she had, to watch there and to wait for her. She might come, she might not. It might take only a short time, or a whole night.

Lori sighed. With an empty stomach she went to  Boltrupp‘s entrance. It was named after the pirate, who was caught near it and killed right on the spot, when he did not give away how to enter. It was not far away from the place, where the southern wall and the sea met, shortly after the outer road along the southern wall ended.

The entrance itself was a small gap between two of many rocks, right under the base of the wall. There was no sand nor any dirt, just the hard rock which did not give away any footprints to honest men. Lori squeezed herself in between two other stones, where she had a full view of the entrance and the lights of the „Beauty“ which shimmered in the distance. Sheltered from the wind, she made herself comfortable, as far as this was possible with an empty stomach and hard rock in the back. Hopefully she would not miss anybody who passed, but it was already fairly dark and her task was not easy. And then the waiting began.

OOC: We have a map (;topic=6590.0;attach=1957;image)

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on November 02, 2009, 05:53:03 PM
Altario listened to Damien.   Yes, Damien would know that he was thinking Damien drunk.  He was glad that it was not true, though he still felt doubt.  He then listened to Damien's report.  Shan' Thai?  Slavers?  It was possible.  But... Something in it did not ring true.  Nayriss was taken from Remusia.  They had no trouble with slavers there.  Sure, some of the other Ice Tribes practiced a form of slavery, as well as some slaves in the Kordos gold mines, but they didn't kidnap young girls for this.  It didn't feel right in the context of Denrykmar's letter either.

As they ate, Altario was surprised by the pulling of his sleeve, as Lori took his attention.  "What are you doing here?"  He looked about, but there was no sign of Ana.  He listened to her story, and though she looked earnest, there was a flicker of doubt in his mind.  Was this a ploy to give her money?  No, she wouldn't do that.  He dug in his pockets and pulled forth enough coins to satisfy her and she ran off with barely a goodbye.

Lili, to her credit, seemed to warm to Altario's suggestion that she check the harbour area.  She finished her meal then left, leaving Altario with Damien.  There was small talk, but it felt a bit strained.  Altario simply had trouble trusting the man he once knew and had entrusted his life with.  It was a sad statement about how far the Remusian felt his friend had fallen.  Soon, though, Altario felt the urge to get back to his search.  He did not feel like taking the risk of taking the drunk, whether sober now or not, into yet another place of temptation.

Altario pushed back his chair and stood from the table. "Well, it was good talking to you tonight, Damien.  I have got places to go, so I beg your pardon, and I'll be off.  I promise we will talk more tomorrow."  He dropped enough coin on the table to pay for the meal, and then with a nod to Damien, left the Sea Shoals.

Outside, the breeze had picked up a bit, adding a nice change of pace to the unbearable heat of this afternoon.  He followed the roadways through the old harbour district, by-passing fishermen, sailors and evening travellers until in the distance ahead, he saw the sign outside a two story building; the Sea Shoals Inn.  He approached, not entirely sure what he was going to find.  The moment he stepped inside, however, he was immediately assailed by thick smoke; the smells of strong liquor and loud voices, and his mind went back to Remusiat and the Boar's Beard inn.  It was not a place he frequented, but he had been there a few times over the years.

He went to a corner table that had no one sitting at it, though there were empty tankards sitting abandoned on it.  A moment later, a pretty serving girl with a drooping left eyelid came over to the table.  "What would you like?"

"Ale, and an answer.  I'm looking for a woman."

The girl laughed flirtatiously.  "You came to the right place then."  She swept an arm across the room, inviting Altario to notice the many women who were milling about the crowd, drinking and smoking and laughing alongside the men.

Altario reached up and scratched at his right eyebrow.  "No, I'm looking for one in particular.  She may be important here, because I'm told she is known as the Beauty of the South, the same as the name of this inn."

A knowing look came across the girl and she nodded.  "She'heya.  That is who you look for."  She studied Altario a bit harder, trying to decide what next to say.  "Well, She'heya doesn't 'work' much anymore.  She has become a bit particular.  And those that she does entertain, she charges a premium price."   She winked.  "Have you lots of money?"

"Enough," Altario wasn't about to advertize wealth in a place like this.

"I'll go check if she is available," she winked.  "If not, for a few coins less, I wouldn't mind getting off my feet for a few moments."

As the woman walked away, swinging her hips suggestively, Altario chuckled and shook his head.  Ryk, I'm gonna slap you for this, he mused.  He sat quietly for awhile, studying the room.  No one here caught his interest.  It was not his type of place at all.  It made Pagran's place feel appealing, and made the Thirsty Herald feel like home.  He then spotted the waitress waving at him.  He got up and crossed the room to meet her, where she stood at the bottom of a staircase.  A large bald headed man stood beside her and stared hard at Altario, no sign of friendliness on his face or in his eyes.

"Show your money to L'hars here, and give him your weapons, then go upstairs.  This is She'heya's private staircase and only goes to her room."  The girl reached out and caressed Altario's chin.  "Pity, we could have had such fun."

Altario inclined his head toward her.  “I bet we could have.”  He watched her leave, then faced the large man, handing over his sword with a bit of reluctance.  He then held out a palm full of silver bards.  Satisfied, the man simply pointed up the stairs.

The northerner headed up the stairs, noticing how very different this staircase was to the rest of the inn that he’d seen.  The wood was polished, clean, and intricately carved with fine engravings of nature scenes.  The lady, whoever she was, had taste.  He reached the top of the stairs, and knocked gently on the wooden door before turning the polished silver knob and stepping in.

The atmosphere in this room was completely different from that of the establishment downstairs.  The first thing he noticed was the smell of incense burning, giving the room a pleasing perfumed aroma.  The second thing he noticed was woman across the room from him, lighting a lamp on a small table beneath a large window with drawn drapes.  She had her back toward him, and she wore a gown made of a material so sheer that he could see her silhouette perfectly through the material, and could tell she wore naught else.

“Make yourself comfortable.  There is some fine brandy on the dresser near the bed.  Pour us both a glass.”  Her voice was as smooth as silk, with a melodic quality to it.

Altario stepped toward the dresser and poured two crystal tumblers with a bit of brandy.  As he did, he looked to the largest piece of furniture in the room, and obviously the centerpiece; the bed.  It was a large bed, something that an entire family of Remusians could live in, with ornate looking posts at each corner.  Sheer material, similar to the gown the lady wore, hung down veiling the entire bed within.  On the bed, thick blankets that appeared to be filed with what he assumed was down, and large fluffy pillows were piled high in an exorbitant display of wealth.

Altario felt a gentle caress across the back of his shoulders and a breathy voice whispering in his ear from behind.  “It’s even more comfortable than it looks.”

Altario turned about, and found himself face to face with the woman, She’heya, with barely enough room between them for him to take a deep breath and not touch her with his expanding chest.  She was incredibly beautiful; long dark hair, deep brown eyes and a perfect smile.  Her skin was dark, though not as dark as Kanapan people, and he could see much of it beneath the gown, enough to know she wore nothing else.  As he breathed, her perfume entered his nostrils and made his head swim.

He held out a crystal tumbler.  “It looks.... comfortable.”

She laughed in a way that Altario was sure she had laughed for countless men before him, so perfect was it in making him feel as though she found him irresistibly charming.  She then reached out and took the tumbler from Altario, running her fingers over his weathered hand as she did so.  “Thank you,” she purred, bringing the liquor to her lips and sipping from it.  She then smiled; her full lips moist and inviting.  “Please, sit.”

Altario sat in a large comfortable chair across from another chair that she languished in, seemingly unaware, or at the very least, unabashed by how much of her body was visible beneath the sheer gown.  He sipped the brandy, which was very good.  “My name is Al-“.

“Please!  No names.  I have no need for names here.”  She smiled again at him.

The Remusian smiled back at her, while trying to keep his gaze at a respectful level.  It only seemed to make her more brazen.  “Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin.”

“Have we met before, Altario?”

He had watched her eyes when he spoke her name, and either she had not heard the name, or was very good at hiding her response.  He had no doubt that if she had heard the name that she was more than capable of keeping her surprise hidden.  She would be a master at disguising her emotions.  He shook his head.  “No, we have not met.  But I am looking for my brother who mentioned in a letter to me to look for the ‘Beauty of the South’.  Perhaps you know him?  Denrykmar?”

She studied Altario for a moment, her deep brown eyes boring into him before once again smiling.  “I will tell you that I normally refuse to talk about other clients of mine, but I will admit that I have never heard of your brother.”

Altario felt his heart drop.  He could tell that she was telling him the truth; or at least he believed she was.  Dejectedly, he brought the tumbler to his lips and swallowed the rest of the brandy in one gulp.  Where to go from here?  Was this entire trip a waste of time?  Dammit, Denrykmar, why did you have to be so cryptic?

He stood up.  “I thank you for the brandy, m’lady.”  He held out a few silver coins to her, which she took, then headed for the door.  Just before he reached it, as his hand took hold of the silver doorknob, he felt a soft touch on his shoulder.  He turned about to face her.

“I’m sorry I could not help, and I hope you find him.”  She pressed up against him, her eyes locking with his.  “Though you have paid for an hour.”  She lifted herself on her tip toes and brought her face in close to his, her mouth seeking his own.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 02, 2009, 06:43:11 PM
"I need to speak to him. Now."

Drustai clasped her arms over her chest and stared sharply at the two human males in front of her. At least, stared as well as she could in the dim lighting of the sewers. If the vast labyrinth beneath Strata could be called a 'sewer'--most of the tunnels were ancient, filled with dust and sand from centuries of disuse, and passages were regularly known to come crashing down as the stone from an age and culture long-forgotten gave way to time.

The two humans looked at each other, their features dancing in and out of darkness from the flickering of the torches on the wall, and Drustai's lip curled in response to even this slight delay of response. She hadn't been expected, but 'the boss' had apparently been making plans behind her back--plans that he was assuming she'd go along with.

She had only agreed to go along with his 'job' because of the human Denrykmar's disappearance. That human was the one she needed, but the fool had probably managed to get himself captured or killed by the enemies that were hunting him Now, she was forced into the service of these filthy ruffians of Strata's underworld. Distasteful as this was to her, it was the only way she could find out where she could track the Remusian to.

"Well," the shorter one looked at her, and rested his hands on the edge of his belt around his protruding waist. "The boss is busy right now, see. You can come herkpt at him when 'e's done."

Drustai took a step forward, a low growl rising from her throat as she reached forward and gripped the hem of the human's shirt, pushing him back slightly. The metal claws on her gauntlets dug into the material. Neither human seemed particularly phased by the aggressive posture, which annoyed her even further. She didn't have time for these pompions.

"If he wants someone for this plan of his, then he can get Jarmis."

"He doesn't want Jarmis. He wants you." The short pudgy man tilted his head, his jaw twisting to the side of his face as he clapped his lips together. The other half of the pair, a slender, gangly shaped man, just yawned.

"We had a deal."

"Listen, lady. The boss will give you your information, but if you want it, then you'll have to do what he says, yeah? It's a Zarathian deal."

Drustai scowled again. "Then you can tell 'the boss'," she all but spat the words, "that this is my last job. After this, he had better fulfill his side of the bargain."

Drustai released her grip from the human and took a step back. Without waiting for a response from him, Drustai spun on her kneels, her Xazure cloak flaring outwards for a moment. She balled her hands into fists and took several strides towards the exit of the makeshift room the three were in. She paused only to give another glare and departing snarl at the two humans as they snickered behind her back.

*    *    *

Drustai's movements through the catacombs were only visible by the torch she carried, and her shadow stretched long and far until it reached pitch black. Splashes echoed with each step Drustai made in the dank wet darkness. In parts of the sewers, the water came up nearly to her thighs--and that was still fairly low compared to the deep floods that frequently filled these ruins during the high tide. Even if not for the city's reputation for harbouring thieves and cutthroats, Drustai would have still refrained from wearing her more elaborate outfits because of having to venture constantly down these tunnels. Instead, she wore dark brown leather boots that came up to her knees, as well as black wool pants and a sleeveless black tunic over a toccon shirt of sou'cald. Even that she kept hidden beneath her Xazure cloak, which draped completely over her body.

She pulled her wide hood over her head as she continued on down the winding passageways, constantly keeping an eye on the shadows on the walls for any that clearly were not emanating from her. She was alone, of course. While she was not the only one to use these southern tunnels near the harbour, she was still one of the few. They were dangerous because of the chance of flooding, but she had little to fear from that, thanks to her magic.

She furrowed her brow as her thoughts wandered. She was still not sure why she was so interested in this human from Remusia. She had followed a group that had apparently been pursuing him here, and only found out that the two had a link when she had helped him fight them off. Other than that, she should have had no reason to bother herself with him. But the man had implored her to help him find his niece. He must have thought that I had more involvement than I actually did. But that wasn't true. She had only followed them because she had run afoul of them farther north and they had eluded her and came here--to chase this Denrykmar as she only recently discovered.

Drustai shook her head. She didn't care about this human barbarian and his lost girl. She had more important things to be worried about.

Within a few minutes of walking, she spied the dwindling sunlight coming from the opening to Boltrupp's Entrance, and immediately extinguished her torch. The less notice she drew while exiting this thieves' trail, the better.

She left a hand on her mace as she took a step outside, and her ears perked underneath her hood while she gazed over the rocks for shadows or movement. Though the tides covered the entrance during certain parts of the day and the slippery stone made sure there were no footprints, she didn't trust the rock facings, which were an ideal spot for an ambush.

There! A small soft spot among the rocks. She pulled her mace out from its clasp on her belt and held it up menacingly. Instead of meeting an impending attack though, her eyes softened for a brief moment. A child? She instantly turned her gaze to her sides and behind her, wondering at first if this young human female was bait meant to distract her.

Drustai turned her gaze back to the human girl, but did not lower her guard. Just because it was a child did not mean that she was not some thief or pawn for someone else. Such brats were common in this city, and she was not inclined to believe that this was just a simple curious child that so happened to waiting outside one of the city's underworld entrances.

"What are you doing here?", she demanded.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on November 03, 2009, 02:56:36 AM

It perturbed Tyrr to no end that Grallen, though and orc, was actually intelligent and beligerent as well. The beligerance he might have expected from what little he knew about orcs but the intelligence is what surprised and irritated him. He had hoped his veiled threats would give him information about how the big man, who was now talking to the other foreigner, had found them and their hideout. Well, it really was not a hideout, more like a place to stay until the job was done and he, Gres and Quar got paid. He wondered about Quar and thought perhaps he got more information from that street whore than Tyrr is going to get from Grallen before he cut her pieces and fed her to the crabs.

He chuckled as he thought of that and then Grallen's voice interrupted his thoughts as she demanded to know what they wanted or leave. Tyrr glared hard at Grallen's yellow eyes, whose were glaring right back at him. She had no fear. Shame...

"I don't care what you want, Grallen. I already told you more than I cared to. I had expected a person with your talents as a thief would be a good addition to our little enterprise as well as make yourself some good coin but I guess I figured wrong."

Tyrr put his daggar away as Gres moved reluctanctly away from Grallen. "Last chance Grallen. Either you are with us or not. If you are then meet us outside, if not, fine. But, if I discover you opened your mouth, there is not enough sand in the Rhaz-Dhaz to hide you from me."

He motioned to Gres and they both walked out, quickly turned the corner and watched as the big man made his way down theif's lane toward the harbour area. "We will wait here for no longer than a few blinks for Grallen. If she does not show up, we leave," Tyrr said with no room for objections.

Damien Scar

Damien was kind of stunned by the cool, non-commital talk he and Altario had as Altario finished his meal. Then Damien was hurt by Alt leaving and not asking for him to come along, though in his condition he doubted he would be of any good anyway, but the thought that one of his best friends would not even ask; hurt more than the cracked ribs and disease that had him breathing fire with each breath he took unless he took this medicine.

Damien sat back in his chair. He knew he should go upstairs to his room and rest, but what did it matter? No one trusted him anymore. His friends had all deserted him. The only ones he had were the ones he had were those who thought they could get coin. Perhaps Pagran could be a freind, but Damien had his doubts. I just may as well be happy. I was happy when I was drinking, was I not? The answer in his head was a resounding no. Drinking just made you forget...for awhile.

Alone and in despair Damien slowly rose up from the table holding his right side. His posture looked a bit askewed as he leaned more to his right as he began his walk toward his room. He then noticed the elven gilr, Airyn, sitting at the bar. Well she is healer and much better looking than Hyram for sure. He chuckled to himself.  He went to the bar and sat down gingerly next to her. "Hi Airyn," he said, " some trouble and I think my bandages need changing. Hyram is out of town and I was just wondering..if perhaps you would be willing to help me?" He removed his arm from his right side and uncovered the pool of blood that his shirt had been soaking up. "Of course your under no obligation or anything and I will pay for your services of course," Damien quickly added.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on November 03, 2009, 09:02:36 PM
"What are you doing here?"

Lori froze till the core of her heart and tried to shrink or melt with the rock in her back. Eyes wide open she looked at the figure standing before her, which seemed to reach into the sky. A faint last shimmer of the Injèrá‘s rays reflected by the Void lay on a fiercely and minaciously looking face, floating in its paleness under a dark hood.  Lori looked away, but the dark long boots which were so near were as menacing as the face. In addition  she was overhang with a swinging cloak which seemed to her the embodiment of darkness. She closed her eyes tight and curled up as tight as possible. Maybe that nightmare would go away, if she didn‘t look.

She had waited for ‚that person‘ to come, but though she had wished to get her job done soon, her hidden hope had been, that it would take long, till she had to face ‚her‘. In the beginning, she had listen to every little noise, had tried to make out footsteps, though it was not an easy task with the sea battering at the shore not far away. With time to think, she imagined ‚her‘ and got afraid the more her fantasy was allowed to think up menaces. It did not take long, till her thoughts drifted away, so that she was caught by surprise, when suddenly somebody stood before her. Somebody who was not far away in appearance than her nightmares.

And now she sat curled up right before that nightmare and imagined herself away.

Nayriss!  Suddenly it was as if she heard an echo from past times. Mido‘s voice whispered Nayriss!

And without thinking she looked up, still curled up though, with her arms around her knees:

„Nayriss“ she said and „Ryk“.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on November 03, 2009, 11:52:43 PM
Grallen sat speechless as the two men left, as abruptly as they’d arrived. She looked down at where Earnest was poking his face out of her pocket. “we’re well out of that, huh?”

The frog gulped at her, and seemed unusually disapproving in his golden-eyed stare. She frowned at him. They were scum – more so than me, I mean. I’ve nothing to gain from associating with them – they’ve made it perfectly clear that even if I help them with whatever scheme they’re working, the best I can hope for is to escape with my life... but they also promised coin... which I can get by my own means, no problem. Yeah, I should leave well alone.
And what will they do? They’ll carry on like normal, and some other sucker will provide what they think they need, and they’ll carry on acting like slimy vicious little limpets, making the world a little worse for everyone they come into contact with. I’m not like that, am I? I have style, at the very least? I don’t involve kids, do I? I don’t sink to slave running? I don’t – I’m not like that. Am I?   

The orc pushed herself up, the chair shooting backwards with a conspicuous clatter in the low-level noise of the inn.

“Damn damn damn damn damn. Damn.”

She muttered curses to herself, to the world, as she stormed out, past astonished guests. She passed by the blood-smelling man who Tyrr had been so cautious about. In the second it took to pass him in a whirl of coat and inky-black, tousled hair, she met his gaze with a fierce glare, part threat, part cry for help.

And then she was gone, running before she’d stepped out the door, a thief’s run, fast, ducking between people and avoiding hazards quicker than thought, and never, never for a second, looking back. You never know, maybe they took the other direction.  The desperate hope that she was running away, not to the two men, flared, bright and hard to ignore. But she had to try to follow, even though every step she took filled her with fear and anger, at the men, at the “baron” back at the inn, at herself, at the whole world. But here they were. She stopped running, and approached at an uncil-footed walk, forcing the anger back with a struggle. The harder she pushed, the bigger it seemed to grow - better than fear, at least. She strode up to the two men, but didn’t speak. She simply folded her arms and stood, her face challenging them to speak. Their last chance as much as mine.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 04, 2009, 04:19:54 AM
Do you remember Shania?

Well, that’s not a fair question, for even though you’ve met her before, you won’t know her name. Shania was the new girl in Lori’s band of urchins. Lori had given Shania a box of biscuits (, instead of handing it over to fat Kaltoora, the current leader of their gang of little thieves.

Shania had kept those biscuits safe from Kaltoora’s voracity. She was, in fact, older than Kaltoora, and could climb walls much better. Yet she was new to the gang, and not as brave as the others. Also, she couldn’t think as quick as Kaltoora could. Or maybe she was just not ruthless enough to be a leader.

She did hold on to the tin of biscuits, though, against Kaltoora’s wishes. Anyway, Kaltoora was occupied with finding a place to boil the crabs that Lori had caught. So Shania had set off with her biscuit tin on her own. She was walking the streets in the harbour district, sneaking from shadow to shadow more out of habit than out of a sense of danger. She had decided that she would save the biscuits for later, when she would be properly hungry and could really enjoy them.

Shania sat down on a tub next to the entrance to a cloth shop. There was a tall woman with an extravagant hat, who was gazing at the displays in the shop window. She didn’t look like a Stratanian. Probably she was a rich lady from the North, who was here to buy nice clothes for herself. The urchins had picked the pockets of quite a few such Northerners, recently.

Yet Shania was not thinking of thievery tonight. In the ray of orange light that came through the shop window, she looked at her biscuit tin – and found that she couldn’t resist any longer. She lifted the lid. “I’m not going to eat them,” she said to herself. “I just want a little look.” The biscuits were round and brown, and Shania could smell how sweet they would taste. She imagined how it would feel to let one roll on her tongue. Her fingers seemed to move of their own accord, and soon they had grabbed a biscuit. “Just one,” Shania thought. “Just one.”

Suddenly, she heard a child’s voice.

”Nice biscuits, they are!”

The voice had come from high above. Shania looked up. The child who had spoken had to be sitting on the roof of the shop! Yet Shania couldn’t see anybody.

The voice spoke again:

”Can I have one?”

Shania realized that it was the tall Northerner who had spoken. Why did she sound like a three-year old girl?

”If you give me a biscuit, I let you stroke my bird!”

The woman with the girl's voice pointed at something that was perched on her shoulder. It was a bird with an enormous beak shaped like a dagger. The animal stared at Shania from under the shadow of the woman’s hat.

”Um, no, it’s okay. You can have one, anyway. Here!” Shania said and stretched out her hand with the biscuit.

She wasn’t quite sure whether the woman was trying to be kind, or trying to threaten her.

Yet there was nothing menacing about the woman when she grabbed the offered sweet. Her fist closed around it, almost clumsily, as if to make sure she wouldn’t drop it. There was an odd contrast between the childishness of the gesture and the enormous hand into which the biscuit disappeared. Without hesitation, the woman stuffed the sweet into her mouth and chewed noisily.

”Thank you!” she said, with the same little-girl voice.

”That’s okay,” Shania replied and got up.

She was not sure what to make of this stranger and her sharp-beaked companion. It was better not to take a risk.

”I have to go now. Bye!” she said, and ran away.

”Bye!” Lili called after her.

A few crumbs fell out of her mouth, but she didn’t notice. For a moment, the was puzzled why the nice girl – whom she thought of as ‘big’, much older than herself – had run off so suddenly. But soon she turned back to the shop window, where there were so many bright colours to look at.

”Will mummy buy clothes for me when she comes back?" she asked her bird.

Kassandra nervously shifted her weight from one claw to the next. Despite her loquaciousness, Kassandra didn’t actually think in words. Yet if it were appropriate to translate a bird’s feelings into human language, we would have to say that her thoughts were something like: Not again!  She flattered her wings and hopped from Lili’s shoulder onto the top of her hat. From there, she would be able to fly up and away at a blink’s warning – in case her walking-tree-companion did anything stupid.

 “I'd rather kiss a stinking rabid blood bear on the snout than smell you from across the Liben River,"

she said in Lili’s voice, with some indignation.

Then she sat quietly, listening. Hadn't she just heard someone whisper? What was that shadow over there?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Garret Arroway on November 04, 2009, 05:31:36 AM
     Obviously Alt couldn’t sleep and therefore, Garret couldn’t sleep. Even before his Remusian friend has begun pacing, Garret had found it difficult to sleep. He’d tossed and he’d turned, mercilessly beating the lumpy pillow and growling in frustration until he lay on his back, starting up at the ceiling, attempting to ignore the stabbing pain in his back. Usually, after plenty of tossing and turning he could manage to settle himself enough that it would stop bothering him, but tonight the nagging pain would not leave.

     It didn’t matter too much though as shortly after settling on his back with one arm behind his head and the other across his stomach, Altario had started to pace. Garret just laid there silently, knowing if his friend wanted to talk, he would start the conversation, as he obviously knew that the Kyranian was lying there, wide awake. For a moment, he saw Shadowfoot glance up from the place he’d commandeered at the foot of the bed to watch the pacing northerner for a moment, but he soon lay back down to sleep. Growling once again in frustration, Garret moved his knee to nudge the dozing wolf, who in return for the interruption nipped at his human’s knee in response.

     After that, Garret just lay there silently. When Altario left the room in the early morning, he considered getting up and following his friend, but as he shifted slightly, the pain in his back receded to nothing more than a dull throbbing, and he closed his eyes, thankfully letting sleep take him.

     Exhaustion had taken over and Garret slept late into the afternoon, regaining the energy the pounding sun had sucked from his body the day before. Though, his sleep wasn’t entirely peaceful. As the sun was going down he awoke, soaked with a cold sweat, he sat straight up in his bed, gasping for breath. Before he could calm himself he felt the muscles in his back spasm and his panic worsened. The next thing he knew he’d tumbled from the bed, landing hard on the wooden floor, one hand gripping his shoulder while the other held on firmly to the opposite wrist. His mouth opened in a wordless cry of pain, he lay there for a few moments before the muscles spasmed again and released, leaving the large man laying on the floor gasping for breath.

     After about fifteen minutes he picked himself up off the ground, brushing off the cold, concerned nose of his constant companion of the last fifteen years. Once on his feet again he reached down and patted Shadowfoot on the head, managing a small smile. Straightening himself once again he turned towards the dresser, where bowl of water sat. He glared down at his reflection for a moment, his tanned face unusually pale. Ignoring the reflection he submerged his hands, cupping them and bringing up water to wash his face and the back of his neck. He ran his hands through his tousled hair and over his graying beard before getting dressed. Back throbbing he pulled a clean grey short-sleeved shirt over his head, wincing as a typical morning pain jabbed him right between the shoulders. After pulling on his pants, he sat heavily on the bed and pulled on socks and boots.

     Leaving his chainmail behind, he tossed on his leather vest, slipping the straps through the slits and tying them off so they don’t dangle while the vest remains open. Finishing off by buckling his swordbelt around his waist, Garret headed to the door, allowing Shadowfoot to slip through it before moving out into the hallway himself. He rolled his shoulders as he walked down the stairs, glancing for a familiar face in the busy common room. A majority of his company from yesterday couldn’t be found. He was about to go claim an empty table when he spotted the blonde haired elf, Airyn standing at the bar next to another man. With Shadowfoot at his side he walked up to the bar, standing on her free side.

     “Evenin’ Airyn,” Garret said, nodding and summoning up a smile that didn’t reach his eyes that were currently a stormy, dark grey from the nightmare that was part of his past and the brief moment of helplessness he’d just encountered.

     He quickly hailed the barkeep and ordered an ale, mainly to have something to wrap his shaking hands around. After years of dealing with these encounters with the past and his cursed back, he should be used to it, but they unnerved him each and every time as they had the first time, dragging back the scared 17 year old boy. Attempting to shake the thoughts clear of his head, he sat himself down on one of the bar stools, his hands wrapped around the mug, shaking slightly with the darkening burise on his right wrist showing.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 04, 2009, 04:53:13 PM
Even before the girl spoke, Drustai's aggressive posture lost tension. Though she took a look around her once again, she realized that this human girl was no threat to her. In truth, Drustai had been distracted, and jumpy. She pushed her lower jaw forwards for a moment as she eyed the cowering girl, then straightened back and returned her mace to its place at her belt. Her eyes remained focused on the human, though her ears remained searching for any foreign noises beyond the crashing of the waves against the rock facing.

"Nayriss." the girl said. "Ryk."

"What?" Drustai's eyes widened for a moment, before her brow furrowed and she focused all of her senses on the girl. This had to be a trick. Meant to lower her guard and lure her into a trap. She shifted her weight onto her right leg, as she eyed the human and considered her words.

For a moment, neither of them spoke, and the only sound came from the ocean waves and the distant shades of Strata's civilization at the edge of hearing. Drustai let out a breath, then folded her arms over her chest and tilted her head to the side.

"You know Denyrkmar?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on November 05, 2009, 04:41:08 AM

Tyrr was bit more than surprised when Grallen showed up. I guess greed runs in all of our veins, he thought. She just stood there staring at him, he stared back trying to make up his mind. She could not have told anyone, for they were all gone and out into the twilight for whatever reason they had to do so. "So you decided, good. Now follow me and stay close," Tyrr ordered and took off at a light trot.

He led them through the alleyways to avoid the throng of people that had come out into the night air to refresh from the oppresive heat of the day. The amount of people were a curse and a blessing depending upon on how you viewed your situation. They rounded a corner and Tyrr almost crashed into Quar who was standing there waiting for them. "Blasted Quar, you almost made me skin jump off me bones," Gres said.

Quar just chuckled and then saw Grallen and his eyes narrowed. "So the orc decided to come along. I told you Tyrr that I could do her job just as well as she could. Why brring her into this?" Quar asked.

"Quar, you are very good at disposing of evidence, but you are not a thief and we need a thief for this operation and that is why I asked Grallen to join us. That and in case we get caught we need a scapegoat, he thought but did not voice. "Speaking of what you are good at, what did you find out?" Tyrr asked.

"She know nothing about us, and neither does big man, he looking for a girl-"

"Ar'nt we all," Gres said as he swept his eyes over Grallen.

Tyrr wanted to vomit. "What girl?" He asked.

"Someone named Nayriss," Quar answered. "She no bother us no more, crabs eatin good tonight," Quar added with a wide grin on his face.

Tyrr's body relaxed some. He did not have to worry about the big man. It was actually just an coincedence that the big man had walked into the inn where he and the twins had been staying, huh, he thought.

"What about our quarry?" Gres asked. "if'n we do not hurry we may never-"

"No problem, seen her lookin at some shops when I come back from feeding crabs," Quar answered.

"Then lead on," Tyrr said.

Quar led them to the harbour district. It was very crowded with sailors, their women and other's including many shops that were still open. Quar pointed out their quarry. "There she be," he said.

Their quarry had her back turned to them. She was wearing that crazy pink hat and some sort of bird was sitting on top of that. She seemed to be acting strange as she looked at the brightly lit shop window. "Let's get closer," Tyrr said.

In the crowd they were not noticed as they made their way closer. Tyrr saw the cutlass hanging from a worn scabbord around her waist. He turned to Grallen. "See that cutlass she is wearing. I need you to steal it and I want you to have her chase you down that alley," Tyrr pointed to an alley that was several shops farther down the wharf and headed back up into the city, "where we will be waiting for you. Just watch us until we are in the alley and then make your move. We will be watching you all the time," Tyrr said, just to remind Grallen not to do something stupid.

Tyrr and the twins began to walk close to their quarry when Tyrr noticed a young girl running through the crowd and suddenly stop by their quarry and sit down. She seemed to be holding onto some sort of tin. Tyrr held up the twins and edged closer until he could hear the two speaking. He shook his head. Their quarry was talking more like a child than the street urchin who had sat down next to her. When the urchin offered a biscuit that had been in the tin their quarry took it and stuffed it into her mouth. It was weird. The urchin must have thought so too because she dashed away as if the authorities were after her. Then Tyrr recalled the first night he had seen her and how she had acted with Damien, the supposedly Baron, that was his name. Tyrr had forgotten until now. Funny how your mind works, he thought.

Perhaps there was an easier way to lure their quarry into the alley, he thought. Would this person chase after someone who stole their cutlass? Tyrr did not know, but if she was acting like a child, then she would probably scream for help instead of chasing down the thief and that Tyrr could not afford.

Tyrr quickly walked back to the twins and then back to Grallen who had been standing in the crowd. "Change of plans," Tyrr said when they all got back together. "Our quarry is acting like a kid. Like she did the first time we saw her and she danced that crazy dance with Damien, the supposedly baron-"

"Oh yeah, I 'member now. I t'ought I knew 'hat fella," Gres said, interrupting Tyrr which incurred a glare. "Um...sorry Tyrr," Gres mumbled.

Tyrr nodded and continued, "I think we could just lure our quarry into the alley. Grallen, you will take the lead as you are a woman and I think she would trust a woman a bit more than some strange men and it would look better to the crowd just in case someone is watching. I just thought of something," Tyrr said snapping his fingers, "I will be right back. Stay here.

Tyrr quickly left and returned almost as quick carrying a small bag with buns inside it. "She liked the buns an urchin girl gave her. Grallen offer her the buns and become friendly with her. We will be right behind you and with a bit of luck we can just herd her into the alley, knock her out, and be on our way with no one the wiser,"

Tyrr was grinning from ear to ear. This was planning to be more simple than he thought. He was counting the silver already when he saw Grallen's face. She looked...different, somehow, but in the dark he guessed everyone did. "Did you understand the plan, Grallen?" He asked.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on November 05, 2009, 05:43:42 AM
Grallen followed sullenly, forcing herself to smile through her rage whenever Tyrr or one of the twins looked directly at her. As soon as the three had met up, they began talking about her as if she wasn’t there. She glared. Gres gave her a sickly look, and she lifted her lip, half smile, half snarl, depending on your point of view. Every word they said made her surer she’d made the wrong choice. But she couldn’t run off now. The word “quarry” rang through her boiling mind like a bell, and she perked up a little, trying not to let this impossible anger keep her from paying attention. She would not be a pawn. She would show them just exactly what happens when you treat a real professional like the lowlife pondslime they were-

The quarry. In a big pink hat, with a green bird perched precariously on top. A sitting duck. Grallen’s stomach disappeared, to reappear a moment later, the wrong way up. Lili. Her mind worked frantically whilst the others bickered over their plans. Lili wasn’t some innocent kid – she’d cotton onto things quickly, hopefully – would she trust me? She’s little enough reason to... ok, so we’re working with someone probably smart, possibly experienced, given the talk her bird came out with, but by no means on our side. She pricked her ears as the men described her “childish” behaviour. She remembered something similar, but she was loathe to jump to the same conclusions. So maybe she’s not gonna be as quick on the uptake as we’d hoped. But there again, she could be more trusting... and the bird. Oh hells, what d’we do about the bird?  Tyrr had run off, and returned with buns. Grallen still had nothing.

“Grallen offer her the buns and become friendly with her.”

You wouldn’t know friendly if it dropped on you from a great height, mate.
She glanced back at Lili. Run, dammit, disappear, hop on a cart and ride away to the end of the word, you stupid human!

“We will be right behind you...”

I bet you will. She wanted to run, to draw sword and spit the lot of them, anything. But anger had made way for a fear only barely on this side of panic, and was backed up by a cold logic that said “this is how things will go: you will do what they say, because if you don’t they’ll stick you where you stand and nobody will care. You will walk over there, and talk to Lili, and you will hate yourself every second you do so, but you’ll do it, because you’re not a nice person, or a brave person, you’re damn sure not a selfless person. You’re really very little better than these people; you do what you have to in order to survive, and you do it well.” Damn and blast them all into the jaws of K’ahn’uck, and let him chew slowly, then spit out the pips into the sea.

She took the buns, and strolled across the street. It vaguely amazed her that she could be so calm... and then she pushed even that astonishment to the back of her mind, and sealed it off with a barrier marked “working: come back later”, and smiled at Lili and her bird. An open, honest smile, despite the teeth. The kind of smile you would gladly but a used warg from.

“Hiya. Hello bird. Look I’m sorry about... I’m sorry, for, y’know, everything. D’you want one of these? I’m stuffed.”

Surely from this distance, in this crowd, the men wouldn’t hear more than a few fragments of her words. Her yellow eyes flicked over Lili’s face. Strange, there really was something very different there – Grallen considered herself better than average at reading faces, but this one was a puzzle and a half. She found herself looking to the bird – Kassandra, wasn’t it? anyway, it seemed to have more of a handle on the situation than the person it was standing on. Had it really just looked at where the three men were hiding? She stopped herself from following its gaze, but kept half an eye on it. She may have spent most of yesterday hating its feathered hide, but this bird might just offer a way out.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on November 05, 2009, 05:23:12 PM
When the embodiment of what might be a demon did not send her straight to the netherworld, but even voiced such a  simple word as „What?“ Lori‘s tension dwindled slowly. So when that towering giant asked a question, she was able to utter more than two words.

"You know Denyrkmar?"

Still curled tightly together she looked up, and as there were no red glowing eyes, she timidly, but loudly enough to understand her, said:

„No, but I know his brother who is looking for him or a person who can tell him about his whereabout.“

And suddenly in an onset of bravery  she stood up, craned her head to look into that face for a bit longer (and recognised on a second level of her awareness, that it didn‘t look demon like, but indeed quite normal, compared to what Lori had imagined) and blurred out.

„I was told, that you have been seen with Denrykmar and that you use this entrance to the sewers. And I know that Altario would like to talk to you. And, and , that you know, I‘m right: I know the full name of Alt, it is Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin, and he is from far in the North, from Remmosia. And they have blue grass there and icicle monsters and...“

Lori got quiet again, somehow this was not the right person to be gabby with. Pressing her lips nervously together and shifting from one foot to the other, she waited for a response. And, again on her second level of awareness, she checked the surrounding for a possible way to escape. 

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 06, 2009, 04:15:39 AM
"No, but I know his brother who is looking for him or a person who can tell him about his whereabout."

His brother? Drustai remembered Denrykmar saying something about a brother, another human from Remusia. But she frowned to herself. Such information would not be that secret, and this girl could still be trying to lure her into a trap.

Before answering, she watched as the girl stood up, seeming to have gotten a small boost of confidence. Drustai looked down at her--their differences in height making that quite the distance.

The girl spoke again, "I was told, that you have been seen with Denrykmar and that you use this entrance to the sewers. And I know that Altario would like to talk to you. And, and , that you know, I‘m right: I know the full name of Alt, it is Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin, and he is from far in the North, from Remmosia. And they have blue grass there and icicle monsters and..."

Drustai placed her hands on her hips as she eyed the girl. Her behaviour was nervous, but Drustai could not be sure if that was fear of her or nervousness about telling a lie to lure her somewhere. That the girl knew of Drustai's use of these sewers told her that it was time she changed entrances, though if the girl was a pawn of those who wanted to ambush her, then they wouldn't be trying to lure her somewhere else.

Drustai furrowed her brow as she considered what the girl had said. Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin. Shialt-eck-Gorrin was Denrykmar's name, and she believed she had heard him mention his brother's name was Altario. And if Altario was here, perhaps he could shed some light on this matter--or, even help her deal with the criminal that was keeping information on Ryk from her.

She curled her lips into a smile, and then bent down slightly, resting her hands against her knees. She looked at the girl, and spoke quietly. "Maybe I know where Denrykmar is," she paused for a moment, "but I would like to meet this Altario first."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 06, 2009, 04:52:24 AM
”Why are you sorry?” Lili asked.

She had turned away from the shop window and was now facing the grown-up that had spoken to her. Or was it a grown-up? Lili looked the person up and down. She never noticed that she was two heads taller than the other. It was something else that made her wonder.

The person looked peculiar. Lili couldn’t tell whether this was a man or a woman. Also, it had very big teeth. That was a bit scary. But it had said hello to the bird, and that was nice. Anyway, Lili was a brave girl. She made a step forward.

Right now, the bun did not interest her. Far more fascinating was the weird person itself. It had a pretty coat on, with many many pockets: big pockets, small pockets, pockets with buttons, pockets without – one was more mysterious than the next. What might be inside those pockets?

Lili was still gazing at the coat when she repeated, rather mechanically than with real interest:

”Why are you sorry?”


Meanwhile, Kassandra had recognized the voice of her favourite duet partner. Shifting her feet on top of Lili’s hat, she had followed Lili’s turn, so that she could now look directly downwards onto the top of the walking-tree with the grey voice. Kassandra tilted her head to one side, which made her beak stick into the air at an oblique angle. She listened. A pleasurable sense of expectation rose in her little avian heart.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on November 06, 2009, 05:18:01 PM
Altario reached the bottom of the stairs at the Beauty of the South.  This brought him face to face with L'hars, who regarded the northerner with cold eyes.  Somehow, Altario doubted the man ever smiled.  Holding out his hands, he waited for L'hars to deliver unto him his sword back.

"Done so soon?  I expected more from you."

Altario turned to see the girl who had first served him.  Her hand came up toward his face, and he pulled back his head, but her fingers found his cheek and gently rubbed something off.

The girl laughed.  "Don't be so nervous.  Just wiping away the rouge from your face."  She winked at him.

Altario felt his face redden.  "No, you don't understand.  Nothing happened, we just talked."

"Uh huh."  She laughed again.  "Don't worry, we won't tell your wife.  But if you come back, perhaps we can talk next time."

Altario sighed and pushed past her and made his way to the door.  He had told the truth; he had made his getaway from She'heya without losing his honour and without insulting her.  It had not been easy, as she was extremely attractive and that first kiss she gave him had caught him unaware.  For a brief moment, he has almost given in the the passion that burned within, but Valannia's face flashed through his mind, followed by the image of Riztalyanna.  Between those two women, he had the strength to turn her down.

Once outside, Altario stood for a moment and stared up at the night sky.  He took a deep breath.  What gods were staring down at him?  Kor'och, like he had been raised to believe, but now rejected?  Foiros, who Valannia tried to teach him?  Now that she was gone, it felt as though the god had disappeared as well.  The traditional gods of his people?  Nechya?  He sniffed.  He didn't even have his amulet anymore.

What was he doing here?  Was this simply a fool's errand?  Was Nayriss even alive anymore?  He leaned backward against the building and his hands found the sides of his head.  He rubbed his temples and slid down to the ground.  The world suddenly felt so very big, and he so very small.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on November 07, 2009, 01:55:58 AM
”Why are you sorry?”

Grallen paused. Dammit, that’s not the right kind of question. To tell the truth she was barely ever sorry for anything she did, except for now. Now she had a myriad of things to be sorry for – her involvement in this sorry escapade, for a start. But apologies never mopped up the blood and ashes before.

”Why are you sorry?”

Grallen blinked. She hadn’t realised she’d lost concentration – that was bad. Things hadn’t been this bad since, well, since it rained ashes, and she was damned if she was going to go into that again. So, think – can they hear you above this crowd noise? Pointed ears twitched, just barely. No, masked fairly well. She grinned at the little- she’s taller than you, for k’ahn’uck’s sake, why does she seem so little?  Again, she found her gaze flicking to the bird. It was looking right at her. Well, we at least know that you’ll listen, huh?

“I’m sorry t’see you in such surroundin’s as these – a lady like yoursel’ should be wandering the pretty districts of Strata, not this glorified crab-market. What d’you say you come with me, I think I’m gettin’ the hang of this city, an’ I found some dead posh streets –we could escape this dump for a bit?”

The orc grinned, innocent, well meaning and just a little bit cheeky, but in a happy, blithe, inoffensive way. Inside she panicked. She sincerely doubted that Lili was anything like as posh as she’d just implied – there was more of the pirate about her than the princess. But if they could just get on the right side of a crowd – and if anyone can read crowds, it’s me – then I’ll drag her all the way across the town if I must, but we’ll be away. Just this one chance. And I could escape, alive.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on November 07, 2009, 06:18:43 AM
"Maybe I know where Denrykmar is," the elven woman said "but I would like to meet this Altario first."

Lori backed off, when the elven woman bend slightly down to her. She wasn‘t as horrible as Lori had thought at first, but you could never know. She had not survived on the street so long with being a trusting dork.

„I don‘t know, where Altario is right now, for he wanted to search for Ryk or somebody who knew something for himself. But he might come back to the inn where he stays and I know which one it is. Do you know the Seashaol‘s Inn? Right at the harbour lane? I‘ll show you, if you wish so? May I?“

Lori was still a little afraid of the woman, but on the other side, she had acted quite normal until now, in no way threatening, apart from her appearance. It would be great, if some of the gang were still hanging around and seeing her, Lori, in the company of that impressive woman.

„Maybe his friend Garret is there, I can show him to you too.“

   Hopefully Lori looks up. Occasionally a shimmer of the moon‘s light shoos over the woman‘s face. It is an unearthly situation, but suddenly Lori‘s stomach grumbles and the spell is broken.

„I‘m hungry, I need to go home.“

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 07, 2009, 09:14:31 AM
"I don't know, where Altario is right now," the girl said, "for he wanted to search for Ryk or somebody who knew something for himself. But he might come back to the inn where he stays and I know which one it is. Do you know the Seashaol's Inn? Right at the harbour lane? I'll show you, if you wish so? May I?"

The Seashaol's Inn? Drustai had passed by the inn some days before, but she didn't know exactly where it was. Still, she figured she could find it easily enough on her own, and she would rather not have this child with her, who might still lead her into a trap. An inn was a fairly safe place for a meeting, considering all of the other individuals there, but the path that the girl used would have made the difference.

Although if she didn't go with her, then she would not be able to identify this Altario when she got there.

"Maybe his friend Garret is there, I can show him to you too," the girl continued.

Drustai nodded, though that name did not mean anything to her. She was still considering the girl's suggestion when she mentioned that she was hungry and needed to go home.

Drustai pursed her lips, then nodded. "If you need to go home, then maybe you can tell me what this Altario looks like, and I can meet him myself." She would have preferred that to following the girl. "I can find the inn on my own, but I would not know Altario."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 07, 2009, 06:20:33 PM
The grown-up began to speak. While it explained why it was sorry, Lili watched in fascination how its big teeth bobbed up and down. What kind of person was this? Lili frowned as her three-year-old memory was fishing for an answer. From the shallow sea of her mind, stories floated up – stories her mother had told her, and stories she had overheard her uncle tell, who used to visit her parent's house and sit by the fireside. Stories of swamp wyrms who swallowed children in one gulp; of bears that could bite a man’s head off; of giant men who couldn’t talk, and who hunted the Kuglimz. Yet one word gleamed brightest among the wriggling mass of memories: “monster”. This grown-up, Lili concluded, must be a monster.

Yet this was a most talkative monster. So many words! Most of them were grown-up words, and Lili soaked them up eagerly. A few of them she even understood. “Pretty” was a nice one, and Lili smiled. The monster suggested going somewhere together, and spoke of hanging something, and of a "dead posh". Lili didn't know what a "posh" was. Was it good or bad that the posh was dead? An image lit up in Lili's mind: her father returning home from a hunt, with a dead nul'tum hanging over his shoulder on a string. This monster - did it want to go on a hunt?

Needless to say, Lili wouldn't want to miss out on that,  if she could help it. Her parents had never allowed her to join a hunt. She had to grow a little yet, they had insisted. Lili could almost hear her father’s voice, as she remembered what he used to say when he shouldered his bow and prepared to leave the house: “Wait ‘til you are a big girl”. Well, Lili felt like a big girl now. After all, she was talking to a monster all by herself, wasn’t she? And anyway, her parents were not here, and couldn’t forbid anything.

The monster's grin looked friendly, in a monsterly sort of way. Those were really creepy teeth! In such company, Lili thought she’d be as safe as a roast boar at a wedding feast. (This was an expression of her father’s, which never failed to make Lili laugh, although she always wondered how a roast boar would defend itself.) Lili smiled back. Maybe, if she went on a hunt with the monster, she would be allowed to have a look at whatever was in its pockets.

”Are we going to hunt poshes?” she asked.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on November 08, 2009, 04:13:15 AM

Tyrr stood several peds away and behind Grallen while Quar went on ahead to the alley to await their quarry. Gres was a few peds in front of Grallen to make sure she did not change her mind and try to run. Tyrr was very strict in detalis and Grallen was taking just a bit longer than he had planned for. Each blink could bring disaster down upon his plan. One of their quarry's friends could show up. A city guard could come by and wonder about Grallen and start making inquires. There was too much that could go wrong if you waited just blinks of time.

He edged closer until he was behind Grallen. He heard their quarry askl "Are we going to hunt posh's?" Hunt posh's? What in Bavara's name was she talking about and what did Grallen say that would cause that response? he thought. But he did notice that their quarry's voice had changed to that sounding like a little girl and so did her mannerisms. It did not matter they needed to move and move now.

"What is the problem? Time we do not have. Get the woman over to the alley now or I will do it myself," Tyrr whispered in Grallens left ear with a slight jab in her back with his daggar for emphasis. He was deadly serious and he needed to have Grallen know it as well.

With the way their quarry was acting Tyrr was sure he could lure her into Quar's waiting grasp. But he wanted to give Grallen a chance, but not much of one, blinks were ticking away.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on November 08, 2009, 04:42:14 AM
”Are we going to hunt poshes?”
Grallen blinked at Lili. What was she playing at?! Did she think it was funny to put on a childish voice and act so stupidly!?  She hadn’t struck the orc as the kind of woman who thought feeble jokes like that were funny, but her behaviour was inexplicable. Grallen had always relied on being able to read people, and Lili, the person she remembered thinking only yesterday was the most reliable person of the small number she’d met here, was leaving her floundering, desperate and on the edge of panic. And as always, the hard-earned survival instincts that kept Grallen alive were transforming fear and confusion into anger, by the white hot alchemy of desperation.

Earnest squirmed uncomfortably in her pocket – the biggest one, on the outside of the jacket, but even he could feel her trembling with the need to run. Her hand went to the pocket as he poked a green head out, and pushed him gently back in. We need to go. She reached out for Lili’s arm, ready to pull her along the ground if needs be-

A sharp, cold pressure in the small of her back. Grallen stiffened, but had already masked the shock when Tyrr’s whisper sounded in her ear:

“...Get the woman over to the alley now or I will do it myself."

She bit back the snarl that rose in her throat at the sound of his voice, the feel of his breath. They call us monsters. Forcing herself not to glare, not to change her carefully blank expression, she nodded, shrugged away from him as best he would let her. When she spoke to Lili her voice was strangely soft, almost plaintive.

“ye- yeah, we’re gonna go hunting, jus’ you and me... c’mon, we have t’be quick or they’ll all have gone home fer the night.”

She reached for the woman’s hand, looking at that strange, blithely unaware face. She hadn’t really registered it before, but Lili was scarred – a long, thick mark on the left cheek. Why had she not noticed before? She supposed, turning and leading the human away, into the alley Tyrr indicated, into what seemed like the darkest place on the disk, that she had seen so many scars before, so much bloodshed and violence, that she’d stopped noticing things like that.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 08, 2009, 06:48:49 PM
”I see  you!”

A man had sneaked up behind the monster. Lili thought he wanted to hide from her. She was only a little girl, but she was clever. Her mother had always said so, and her mother knew lots of things. Lili pointed at the man with her finger. (Her outstretched arm, long and muscular, touched Grallen’s coat.) That should teach him.

The monster did not seem to mind the man. It said:

“ye- yeah, we’re gonna go hunting, jus’ you and me... c’mon, we have t’be quick or they’ll all have gone home fer the night.”

Lili took the monster’s hand, and let it lead her along the street. She eagerly followed. In fact, once it was clear which direction the monster was taking, Lili tried to pull it along a little. This was her very first hunting trip! She didn’t want to arrive too late to catch the poshes. If mother could see how grown-up she was, walking with a monster all by herself, she’d be proud of her Lili.

By this time, Lili had forgotten about the sneaky man. She was busy looking for poshes. What may they look like? She spied left and she spied right, hoping to be the first to spot one.

When the monster and Lili had almost reached a little dark side-alley, a little animal scampered across the street and disappeared into a hole near the door of a house. Lili gave a little scream of excitement, and looked at her hunting companion. Had it seen the animal, too?

But what was that! The monster’s coat itself had moved. There was something in that big bulging pocket - the one that had fascinated Lili earlier. Suddenly, Lili stood stock-still. Her eyes focused on the place where she had seen the movement. The hunt had begun. The monster’s coat itself was the hunting ground, and the quarry was closer than Lili had thought.

Lili didn’t quite dare to reach into the monster’s pocket, though. That’s not what a good girl would do, to just grab things from a friendly monster’s clothing. A good girl would ask first. There remained the difficulty of how to properly address a monster. Lili made do with the first formulation that came into her little mind:

”What has it got in its pocket?”

She wouldn’t take one further step until she had found out.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on November 09, 2009, 03:12:42 AM
"If you need to go home, then maybe you can tell me what this Altario looks like, and I can meet him myself. I can find the inn on my own, but I would not know Altario."

„Oh no, I‘ll bring you to the Sea Shoal first, I promised Altario to help him. If you would follow me, it is not too far, just over there!“ and she pointed with her arm to the east.

Lori had nearly lost  the fear of the tall woman which had occupied her whole mind only a few minutes back. Actually, she would have preferred to be in company, for now it was quite dark and she had not been here for two years and didn‘t know, which new dangers might wait for her in the darkness. Could well be, that Kaltoora was around and had harm in mind. But her pride forbid her to say so. It would be safer, if they did not part, she thought - for the elven woman for she, Lori, knew the way and for Lori, for in the company of the elven woman Kaltoora would  not try to harm her!

„It is dark now and we should not part. It is safer to be together than to be alone. Don‘t you think so? The path is dangerous here, but I still know it well. We could go in the direction to the Beauty and then to the left, or along the wall to the southern Gate and then down to the sea. What would you prefer?“

And a little dirty hand searched for a big one, hesitantly, and eyes risking to trust looked up  to the tall elf.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 09, 2009, 06:26:50 AM
"Oh no, I‘ll bring you to the Sea Shoal first, I promised Altario to help him. If you would follow me, it is not too far, just over there!"

For a moment, Drustai frowned, but then she nodded at the child. "Alright," she said.

She turned her head to follow the girl's outstretched hand as it pointed towards the east, though she already knew the general location and area of where the inn was at. She still did not trust the girl, but her behaviour implied that she was telling the truth, and she would be more inclined to trust the outwards behaviour of a child than of an adult, who were more easily able to hide their emotions. But, of course, the girl did not want to travel alone, as it was dark.

"It is dark now and we should not part," the girl continued, "It is safer to be together than to be alone. Don't you think so?" No, Drustai did not think so. Being alone meant only having to watch out for one's self, and not having to worry about the well-being of another, who surely could not defend themselves. "The path is dangerous here, but I still know it well. We could go in the direction to the Beauty and then to the left, or along the wall to the southern Gate and then down to the sea. What would you prefer?"

She thought for a moment, about which was the safer, but quickly decided on the direction of the Beauty. She knew that way, and it lead into the city's boundaries quicker than the route along the wall. If she were alone, she would have preferred to path along the wall, but not with someone else in tow.

Drustai stood back up to her full height as she looked out towards the Beauty. When she looked back down, she noticed the girl had reached a hand up towards hers. She looked to the side for a moment, then lightly gripped the girl's hand, and turned it towards the direction of the Beauty, then slipped her fingers free and pulled them back. She folded her arms over her chest.

"We will go that way, and then east." she said. She began walking towards the Beauty, expecting the girl to quickly follow her.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on November 09, 2009, 07:45:13 AM
Lori stumbled after the woman. She was relieved and a bit disturbed at the same time. Relieved, that the elf had agreed to go with her and had her not left alone behind, though she would have found her way back home alone, if necessary. They went in the direction of the „Beauty“ and that was in order as well, though the chance, that Kaltoora would see her, was slimmer. Well, that lazy bun would sleep by now anyway, or sit in a safe place and have some cookies.

But there was something else, which busied Lori‘s young mind. It was the reaction of the woman, when she had reached out for her hand.  She had taken it for a blink, but only to pull Lori in the direction, she wanted to go. As if not words would have been enough. She could have rejected her hand, or just pretended, that she had not seen it. Lori wondered, if something was wrong with her hand, but she couldn‘t find anything by touching it alone, and it was too dark to see something. Strange. And after touching her so shortly the woman had crossed her arms over her chest as if she wanted to ... to keep something to herself. That gesture puzzled Lori so much, that she couldn‘t put her mind of it. It was, as if she had detected a vulnerability in that strong person, which she couldn‘t believe, nor explain.

It didn‘t take long and they were not far away from the „Beauty“ before the path would take them to the east. Suddenly Lori remembered, what she had overheard in the oasis on their way to Strata. Altario had told Garret, that he was looking for the „Beauty of the South“. Abruptly she stopped, and said to the elf who was still walking with a quick step before her.

„Wait, maybe we should have a look in the Beauty first. It could be, that Altario is there!“

Not waiting for a response, she started running towards the inn. The lights were bright and greeted her and she was heading towards the door, wondering, if they would allow a girl in. A sharp stop shortly before the door followed, for suddenly, when seeing the broad man who watched the door,  she thought it might be better to slip in through a less prominent opening. A right turn and running along the wall, she  tripped on something which was soft and hard at the same time and she fell lengthwise on the ground. A thief has learned not to listen to the pain which such a fall might have inflicted. And so Lori was quicker on her feet again, then it had taken to fall down, at least nearly. She dared to look, over what she had stumbled and to her amazement, relief and joy (in this order), she saw Altario sitting on the ground, clamping his leg. A broad grin from ear to ear made her face lighten up and, being so happy, that she had found him, she more fell over him, than hugged him, throwing her two arms around his neck. That he sat on the ground made it for her easier as well.

„Altario, Altario, imagine, I have found somebody who knows Ryk!“ she cried out. Only then she remembered her companion of the dark path and looked back, if the elf had followed her.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 09, 2009, 10:47:02 AM
Drustai made her way in the direction of the Beauty. She knew the way of course, for she had been staying there and most of her things were in one of the rooms. That this entrance to the underground passageways was so close was only a coincidental convenience. A convenience that she needed to change, now that her comings and goings had been observed. She didn't like it when others knew her secrets--it was dangerous.

She looked over her shoulder to make sure the human child was following her. Though the girl had a quick and active mouth, she seemed quiet now. Drustai turned back to look straight ahead. Her fingers curled up into an idle fist momentarily, and then relaxed. Perhaps this Altario would be the key to getting herself out of this mess. Though, she did not think it would be so easily. If Altario was looking for Denrykmar, then he was likely in no better position than she. But, it gave her muscle, especially if this Altario traveled with others.

Shortly, they arrived near the Beauty. Drustai considered stopping the girl for a moment and going in to change quickly, but suddenly the footsteps behind her stopped. Drustai was already about to stop and turn around when the child called out from behind her.

"Wait, maybe we should have a look in the Beauty first. It could be, that Altario is there!"

Drustai spun on her heels and looked after the girl as she began running towards the inn. Altario here? Why? Had he known that she was staying here? She should have assumed as much, if this girl was working for Altario then he must have also known. Drustai reasoned that she must probably change where she was staying now as well, if that were the case.

She began following the child, but only at a walk. She watched as the girl stopped short of the door, and then turned to run along the wall to the side-entrance. A man was sitting there, one of his legs outstretched, and Drustai had expected the girl to just hop over him. Instead, she saw the girl's feet slip out from under her and she toppled forward. Drustai growled to herself and sped up her pace slightly--though still not a run--as she watched the girl quickly pick herself back up and look at the man. Then, she dropped down and hugged him.

"Altario, Altario, imagine, I have found somebody who knows Ryk!" she cried out.

Drustai slowed her pace down once more as she walked up to the two, and looked down at them. Denrykmar's brother was not young, judging from the lines of gray at the rim of his long black hair. He was not an impressively muscular man, though the creases at the edge of his eyes betrayed his experience. Drustai's gray eyes locked on to his own, the same shade as hers, as the man looked up at her. She remained silent.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on November 11, 2009, 04:37:10 AM
Altario sat there a moment, his life suddenly looking like one giant failure, against the wall of the Beauty of the South.  Another dead end; another lead that went nowhere.  His thoughts, his heart, was back in Remusia for the first time in a long time.  For the first time since leaving his estate of Urimpaar, he regretted this lonely road he travelled.  He was lost; floundering in a world that he did not belong.

He tipped his head back, ignoring the small rap of his skull against the wall, to stare up at the night sky and the endless stars that blinked down at him.  Oh, Nechya, I have strayed so far.  Show me a sign; lead this lost soul back to your fold.

Before the goddess could answer, as if she planned to, Altario heard a scuffle, then someone kicked him in his bad knee.  He grimaced and cursed, as the oaf who stepped on him went sprawling onto the ground.  Altario reached out and grabbed at his leg, as pain coursed through it, turning his head to berate the fool laying on the ground near him.  But, his anger quickly dispersed as he recognized Lori, who immediately threw herself into his arms.  The pain abated as he held her, her body simply quaking with excitement.

"Altario, Altario, imagine, I have found somebody who knows Ryk!“

His heart jumped.  "Ryk?  You found Ryk?"  He could scarcely believe his ears.  This was an answer from Nechya.  A gift from the gods.  "Where?  Where is he?"

Lori looked back and a figure approached from the shadows; someone who was more like the shadows themselves.  "Ryk?"  A moment of doubt made Altario pull himself to his feet, pulling Lori close to him, as if to protect her.  This person was not Ryk.  In the shadows, he had to wonder if this entity belonged to the living.  Pallid skin, dark hair and grey eyes, he looked more like a living dead.

Altario paused.  No, she looked more like a living dead.  Whoever she was, Altario got a troubled feeling about her.  "Who are you?  What have you to do with my brother?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Airyn on November 11, 2009, 06:32:01 PM
Airyn jumped slightly when Damien approached the seat beside her. She hadn’t expected him to recognize her after the last night. It was a welcome surprise. “Hi Airyn, I some trouble and I think my bandages need changing. Hyram is out of town and I was just wondering..if perhaps you would be willing to help me?"

The elf stared slightly wide-eyed as he lifted his shirt to reveal a large stain of crimson on his shirt. She pushed the glass aside, nearly spilling it onto the bar, and jumped down from her stool. “Damien, of course. We should probably go back upstairs, I’m not sure that you would be comfortable in front of everyone here.” She fretfully pulled his sleeve aside gently, examining his shirt, worrying that something had gone wrong when she and Hyram had seen to him. “And there is no need for a charge,” she added hastily, “I would just be satisfied to see you better and then we will see what happens.” Airyn had no need for payment, but added that last remark in the hopes of making him smile.

Suddenly, Altario’s younger friend seated himself in the stool on the other side of her. His greeting made her swing around sharply, throwing herself a little off balance. Airyn struggled for a moment to remember his name but smiled gently anyway. “Evening,” Garret! “Evening Garret.”

She surveyed Garret for a second, taking in his appearance. He had tried to smile, but even the widest of grins could not hide the shadows of uncertainty in his eyes. The elfess was about to ask Garret if she could help him with anything, but he had begun to speak to Pagran and seemed a little too lost in his imagination. I can relate, she thought grimly. It seemed that everyone here had something to wonder about.
With all her daydreaming, Airyn had forgotten that Damien was standing behind her. Flipping her messy hair back behind her shoulders, she assumed her most professional face and tugged down the waist of her dress. Airyn bit her lip gently and gestured around the room. “Is there any specific place you would like to do this? I apologise, I don’t know this place. You might have to show me around.”

Glancing back at Garret, she lowered her eyebrows apologetically. “I’m sorry Garret, but I have to help Damien here with something. I will be back soon, though.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on November 12, 2009, 04:25:54 AM
“Damien, of course. We should probably go back upstairs, I’m not sure that you would be comfortable in front of everyone here.” She fretfully pulled his sleeve aside gently, examining his shirt, worrying that something had gone wrong when she and Hyram had seen to him. “And there is no need for a charge,” she added hastily, “I would just be satisfied to see you better and then we will see what happens.”

Damien gave her a wane smile as the loss of blood was taking its toll. "We shall barter, later..."

Damien was interrupted when another man sat down opposite of Airyn and spoke to her politely, even to the point of knowing her. Damien searched his mind and could not recall seeing the man with Altario or the two women either. He frowned as turned, faced the man and paused. Damien did not know if Airyn was in any danger, but he was taking no chances and was slowly pulling out his throwing knives when Airyn replied. "Evening Garret."

The man's name was Garret. He knew Airyn, which means that he must also know Altario and Lili, interesting. Damien put his knives away and was glad he did so for two things happened. One, Garret had a pet, an Ashmarian wolf to be exact! The wolf reminded Damien so much of home, that a tear ran down his cheek following his scar's trail. Two, Airyn turned back around quickly after greeting Garret.

“Is there any specific place you would like to do this? I apologise, I don’t know this place. You might have to show me around.”

Glancing back at Garret, she lowered her eyebrows apologetically. “I’m sorry Garret, but I have to help Damien here with something. I will be back soon, though.”

"I think your first suggestion would be best," Damien replied as he slowly rose. "That is a very handsome Ashmarian wolf you have there. I have not seen one since I left home. I am from Voldar. Perhaps after Airyn takes care of my wound, we could talk some. If you are still around. This should not take too long, I hope," Damien said looking at Airyn for confirmation.


Quar was waiting in the alley for what seemed liked moons but was really only about quarter of an hour. He had a heavy black cudgel in his left hand and kept on smacking it against his right until he noticed that the sound might attract attention and worse his his right hand was begininng to hurt. Tyrr had said that no harm come to their quarry and if you hit a person on the head hard enough with one of these things you could kill him or her as the case may be.

Quar chuckled as he thought of how the bar whore's head caved in when he hit her from behind after he got all of the information out of her that he wanted, and took advantage of her, even paid her afterwards, before killing her and then taking all of her money, wrapped her naked in the dirty rug that was in their hiding place and just carried her down, out of the backway of the inn, to a deserted place on the shore where he knew black crabs congregated. Why not, he had fed them before this way several times, but they had been men, this would be the first time he fed them a woman, he had thought and chuckled again.

Suddenly he heard voices coming his way. It was the orc and the woman, but the woman was talking like a child. Quar could see that Tyrr was close behind the orc and he saw his brother coming up fast. Quar stepped farther back into the shadows raising the cudgel over his head, the woman was taller than he was. Suddenly she screamed. A girlish type of scream, but a scream nonetheless and it made Quar almost jump out of his skin. Why did she scream? Had they been seen? Worse yet, did anyone hear? Of course someone had to have heard. Her scream echoed down the alley, but there was a lot of screaming and yelling out on the wharf area from vendors and such as well. Quar dared not take a peek. His hand quivered and sweat poured from it and his face as he waited...


Tyrr standing behind Grallen stood stock still when the woman pointed her finger at him and said, "I see you," af is she was playing a game with him. Then Grallen told the woman they were going hunting and the woman who actually seemed to be pulling Grallen along toward the alley and where Quar was waiting. Tyrr was thinking what "going hunting" meant when he heard the woman scream like a little girl. This was crazy. What made her scream. He closed in, when the woman stopped right before the alley's entrance, She looked at Grallen and asked "What it has in its pocket?" And it seemed she was not going to move unless she got an answer.

Tyrr was sweating now. His eyes darting everywhere to see if they could see any danger. It seemed liked the scream had gone unnoticed, except by him and he could guess by Quar. He hoped Quar did not do anything stupid. Grallen and the woman were just too much in the lighted wharf to something. So they would have to give Grallen and the woman some room until Grallen got the woman into the alley. Tyrr backed off just a ped or two to give Grallen some breathing room, but not enough for her to run, which Tyrr doubted she would, but just in case.

So now it was up to Grallen and she better hurry, he thought, blinks were ticking away.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on November 12, 2009, 05:18:49 AM
The men had nearly jumped out of their skins when Lili had squealed – they can’t have spent much time around kids if they’re worried by that childish sound. But then they’re probably keen not to be noticed. Grallen watched Lili carefully. Just when she was starting to believe this inexplicable regression was out of the human’s control, she did this – could it really be an elaborate ruse, to land these duscur in the trouble they desperately deserved?

Grallen tugged halfheartedly on Lili’s hand, but really she wanted to anchor her to the ground where she stood. Not another step. Tyrr had backed off – could she- no. Between him, and Quar, she was still trapped. More so than before, seeing as both were now out of arms reach, and she in their plain sight. She’d never wished that she knew “honourable warrior” type fighting, but right now she had to admit it’d be useful to be able to draw her sword and cut these men down like a disciplined warrior. Instead, she was trapped, with the only shadows yawning like the maw of a great creature, and Quar waiting inside.  Her yellow eyes flashed as she glanced into the darkness.

She realised Lili had asked her something. Pockets? Oh, Earnest. Well, he knows how to pick his damned moments, doesn’t he? She smiled, despite herself, a grim, hollow smile with as much terror and guilt in it as she felt. She swallowed it, staring at her feet, her hair masking her as she answered Lili with forced indifference;

“I’ll gie ye three guesses, or you c’n ask him yersel’ – he seems eager enough to see you.”

She pulled once more on her hand, but with even less spirit than before. Some things even Earnest couldn’t help her out of.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 13, 2009, 06:00:28 AM
”Fish!” Lili cried.

She had spotted the head of an animal sticking out of the monster's coat pocket. The animal was nice and slimy. And what could be nicer and slimier than fish? Lili clapped her hands in excitement, letting go of the monster’s hand in the process. Then she had a new idea.

”You guess where I run!” she squealed ...

... and off she was! With two big steps, Lili reached the dark alley. A quick look behind – the monster was still there. Lili giggled as she changed direction and thrust herself into the dark alley, pushing off with her left leg as strongly as she could. She would find a dark corner to hide herself, and the monster would think she had gone invisible. That would be fun!

Lili’s movements were clumsy and wasteful like a child’s, but her muscles were those of a grown-up, well-trained highwaywoman. And thus it came that there was an awful smashing noise when her body, at full speed, collided with that of Quar.

Ouch! Lili hadn’t expected this. Something had hit her just below her throat, and for a moment she couldn’t breathe. Through a thin film of tears, Lili looked at the shadowy figure that had stopped her run. She didn’t understand how the world could be so mean. Suddenly, everything was pain. There was no monster, no fish, no guesses, and no hide-and-seek. Even Lili was no more. Only pain. Lili opened her mouth, and with all the abandon of a three year-old child, yet all the vocal strength of a grown woman, she let out a howl of anguish that echoed from the high walls of Strata as if a whole pack of mithral wolves and their children had invaded the city to pay their respects to the moon.

For Kassandra, meanwhile, the sudden impact of Lili’s collision had been the last feather. She wouldn’t sit on this bobbing, fitful, capricious walking-tree of hers for one blink longer. Imitating Lili’s scream of excitement of a minute ago (when Lili had seen the rat scurrying across the street), she fluttered up from the pink hat. The evening was dark already, and Kassandra found it difficult to navigate. So she was lucky to find a piece of metal hanging in the air that reflected the shine of a lantern and was just visible above the shadows. It was a shop sign, advertising a butcher's at about three peds height. There Kassandra sat down, clasping her claws around a metal rod from which there dangled a picture of an unusually fat pig. Secure on her stable perch, she listened with equal measures of surprise and fascination as her walking-tree gave off a completely new song: a song of a kind which Kassandra had never heard from her.

”Krrroa’haxpattl,” she contributed.

Yet we suspect that her efforts were wasted, as far as their chances of reaching the general public were concerned - for they were all but drowned out by Lili’s unrestrained wail.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 14, 2009, 08:21:45 AM

Tyrr couldn’t believe it. He was just a ped behind that dirty greenskin, practically close enough to cut her ever-twitching ears off – and the brute let the quarry run! One jump, and he was at Grallen's side. With one hand, he grabbed her coat. The other held his knife, and he set it at Grallen's throat.

”What are you playing at?” he growled.

If Grallen gave a reply, Tyrr never heard it. For at that moment, there was a loud bang in the alley into which the quarry had run, and where Quar had been waiting for her. Quar, the chucklehead! He hadn’t let his cudgel down on her and dented her pretty head, had he? If she had a wound, that would take at least five silverbards off the price! And if she was badly hurt, they’d have to feed her and buy medicine and all that malarkey before they could sell her. That would ruin the whole beautiful plan!

Hot liquid anger rose into Tyrr's throat. His fingers clenched even harder around Grallen’s coat, and he hurled himself forward towards the little alley, dragging the orc with him, always holding the knife close to the place in her throat where the thickest veins are. Oh, how Tyrr wished to kill. Someone sure had to pay for this mess!

As Tyrr turned the corner and looked into the alley, a wave of ear-cracking, brain-blasting sound hit him in the face. Howling, wailing, clamouring! It rose up the shabby walls of the crooked houses. What was that about?

Tyrr’s eyes took a blink to get used to the darker light in the alley. At last he saw who was making the noise: it was the quarry, blurping like a child. And Quar? He was sitting on the floor, rubbing his temple! By the thirteen dancing demons! Did nobody here know how to do a clean job? Tyrr couldn’t restrain himself any longer.

”You dumb bonehead fish!” he shouted at his brother. ”I should have made crab food out of you long ago!”

After this outburst, Tyrr felt a little better. His anger sunk down, and his head went clear. Think, Tyrr!  he told himself. Think!

The situation was bad. That stupid wench didn’t stop bawling, and would surely attract attention soon: a nosy passer-by could ruin everything. And then there was the nuisance guard! What should Tyrr do?

Well, certainly Quar was no help: he was just starting to scramble back up onto his legs again. He looked rather dazed and confused. Maybe his head had hit something when he had fallen? But at least the quarry was still here. She hadn’t run away. In fact, she was just within reach.

The orc! The orc must do something. She got us into this mess!

Tyrr had maintained his grip on Grallen's coat. Now he brought his mouth close to her ear.

”Do something,” he hissed, and waved his knife through the air in front of her face.

”Make her go quiet! Or I’ll cut your hairy ears off!”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 14, 2009, 07:26:29 PM
Drustai watched the man stand up, pulling the child close to himself as if to protect her. He protect her? It was clear to Drustai that this Altario was the more risky one. Drustai's muscles tensed almost immediately at the human's discomforting behaviour. He had obviously not been listening to the child, for he believed that she was Ryk. Was he hard of hearing? Or playing at something? She quickly lost the little trust she had developed over the situation just a few moments ago. Beneath the drape of her cloak, her steel-clad fingers curled.

"Who are you?  What have you to do with my brother?" he said. Drustai watched as the human eyed her, his features betraying his thoughts. Drustai tilted her head upwards a bit, as she kept her eyes pointed downwards at the man and the girl.

"I am someone who knows where your brother is," Drustai replied, "if you had listened to the child." Of course, she didn't know exactly where Denrykmar was, but for the moment it was better to have this man think she did.

Drustai's eyes flashed down to the girl for a moment, and then back up at Altario. Her body remained tensed, and she waited for whatever reaction he would have to her.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on November 14, 2009, 07:43:45 PM
She ran! Grallen didn’t know whether she’d realised the danger or not, it didn’t matter if she could just-
No! No, not that way, you ridiculous fluffy-haired ape!  

Again, a rough hand caught her, a blade pushed at her, and she stopped herself quickly. She was in no position to give Lili a shove in the right direction. A snarl rose unrestrained in reply to Tyrr’s words. Her eyes latched into his and it was all she could do to keep herself from lunging for him, knife or none. Something – no, we know exactly what- clattered noisily behind her.

Grallen almost cried out in sympathy as she heard Lili collide with Quar – Tyrr was distracted enough that she could turn and look – in the half light she could just make out the shape of the two stumbling about.

She was almost pulled off her feet as Tyrr charged over, and she felt the blade nick her skin, though the pain was lost in the mess of anger, guilt and fear that filled her mind.

Lili let out a loud, lonely wail. Now they were in real danger of being discovered – and who in the world would believe that an orc was an innocent party in all this?  Grallen was half disgusted at herself for the thought, but it flashed across her mind like a bright fish, and there was a logic there that she couldn’t ignore. Plus, what would a nervous nutter like Tyrr do if Lili wouldn’t hush? There was always another knife, with men like this.

”Do something, make her go quiet! Or I’ll cut your hairy ears off!”

Grallen snarled openly at Tyrr, trying to shrug off his grip on her coat as she knelt down next to Lili. Yellow eyes watched her face, trying to forget the childhood cages and chains. Concentrate, dammit. There could- there might be a way out, if I can only keep looking.

“hey, hey hush – c’mon Lili, you, uh, you’ve scared the bird away-“ her voice dropped to a whisper and she leant close to the human, “look, I need you to be quiet right now or things will go very very runny very very quickly. I dunno what you’re playing at with this little kid play-acting, but I’d be extremely grateful if’n you’d cut it out now. Please?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on November 16, 2009, 01:27:57 AM
Being a butcher in Strata isn’t easy at the best of times. In the relentless heat, the meat goes off in no time, so you have to sell everything as quick as rats. If you don’t, before you know it, you’ll find that the maggots are crawling around in your beautiful pig’s leg, or in the exquisite goat liver you would have liked to eat yourself, if you hadn’t hoped to get a fine price for it. Every day, you have to throw away what you haven’t sold, but you carry on regardless, swinging your cleaver, hacking through muscles and bones, spraying fresh blood all over you and sweating like an Aj’nuvic in the midday sun. And every two blinks or so, you stop to wave your arm about and scare away the flies. Not that it helps one bit. The little beasts just buzz above your head, and then settle down again: on your arms, in your hair, on your eyelides, and even in your ears. And, of course, on the carcasses. Given the amounts of sweat and blood and meat these blasted bugs are feasting on in your butchery alone, you wonder why it is that flies haven’t yet taken over the whole blooming city of Strata, from the Desert Gate to Baveras’ Temple.

Thus were the thoughts of Brumia Blutwurst during the late hours of Daywane on the 7th day of the rising sun. At that moment, Brumia was lying in her bed in the upstairs room of her backalley butchery. She had decided to have a little rest, before she would have to get up again for the late delivery of goats she was expecting. Grothar had sent a cool breeze from the sea, and Brumia had been looking forward to dreaming about the large amounts of salted meat she would soon have in her larder. Yet Seyella, it seemed, was not inclined to offer an honest butcher even an hour’s respite. Instead of the birds’ evening songs and the jolly shouts of market traders, the Goddess of Destiny had sent an annoying brat, so that it may wail its lungs out just underneath Brumia’s window, making it impossible even to think of sleep, much less to let yourself fall into the comfort of pleasant dreams.

Brumia was not the kind of woman who passively endure their fate. She was going to tell that noisy little monster exactly what she thought of it. Her short legs pedalled as she wriggled her body to turn and slide out of bed. Once that was accomplished, Brumia got down on her knees, and motioned her arms to grope in the darkness underneath the bed. Soon she found what she had been looking for, and pulled it into the light of the candle that illuminated her bedroom. The object of her interest was a small vessel made of metal. It was her chamberpot. Brumia’s day had been busy, and she hadn’t found time to empty it.

By the time she had got up, made the two steps to her window, and opened the shutters, she had heard that the wailing child was not alone in the street below. She could hear a male voice, too, sounding furious. Why, yes – I’ll give you something to be furious about, old squaller,  Bromia thought. She looked down onto the little backalley, past her shop sign with the beautifully fat pig on it. Her eyes strained to see in the twilight, yet she thought that she saw four adults. Of the tallest, she only saw a very peculiar wide-rimmed hat. The other three, who were smaller, were moving very oddly. One was staggering about, as if he had trouble keeping his balance. The others seemed to be engaged in a clumsy dance, and in a whispering sort of conversation with the figure in the hat. They were obviously as smashed as meat flies, the lot of them. Where the wailing child was, Brumia couldn’t see. That these adults allowed their little one to make such a ruckus, however, enraged to butcher even more.

”Shut your brat up, you drunken filthy maggots,” Brumia shouted.

 “Some  people have better things to do than dancing in backalleys and teasing their nasty toddlers. Hey, how do you like this for a drink?”

And with this, she emptied her chamberpot, aiming right for the pink hat, hoping to give everyone a good dousing.

”Now get lost, before I get seriously angry. There’s plenty more where that came from!”

Suddenly, all was quiet. The wailing had stopped, and for a blink there was nothing else to be heard, either. Suddenly, Brumia heard a voice say:

”I'd rather kiss a stinking rabid blood bear on the snout than smell you from across the Liben River!”

What a cheek! Brumia picked up a bottle from a little table that stood next to the window. It had contained desert wine – albeit of a highly diluted, cheap variety – which Brumia needed every night to go to sleep. She quickly checked whether the bottle was empty. When she found that it was, she hurled it at the rapscallions in the street. As good as Brumia was at aiming exactly for the right place in a goat’s throat with her cleaver, however, as bad was she in hurling empty wine bottles at people. Instead of falling right on the pink hat, the bottle flew into the opposite wall, where it expired with an ugly clang, and broke into a hundred green pieces.

”Hrmpf!” Brumia grunted.

She withdrew her head, and closed the window shutters with a loud, defiant “smash”. Well, at least she had shut the brat up, and the drunks would hopefully soon find their way out of her ears’ reach. As she settled back into her bed, Brumia wondered for a blink how it could be that the cheeky voice, who had called her a blood-bearer or something, seemed to have come from very close to her head. It was almost as if the nice chubby pig on her shop sign had spoken to her -  that shop sign, which was right above her window. Ah, probably an illusion. In these back alleys, sound travelled in the funniest ways. Anyway, it was time to sleep. Brumia felt she had thoroughly deserved her rest now, and soon she was snoring again. Much later, when she awoke, she remembered the bizarre dreams she was having: of talking pigs that insulted her as she tried to slaughter them, and of fried birds that flew into her mouth.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on November 19, 2009, 09:11:28 AM
Whoever she was, Altario couldn't imagine Ryk being too close with her.  But then, it had been years since he and Ryk had actually talked face to face.  How much had Ryk changed in that time?  It was true that the brothers were not cut from the same piece of wison skin.  How much had he changed?

The woman, an elf if he could discern correctly in the poor light, was glancing to Lori.  Instinctively, Altario glanced toward her as well.  "Are you okay, Lori?  You're not hurt?"  The child did not appear to be the worse for wear, so he returned his attention to the stranger.

She was tense.  Why?  What was she planning?  Or was she scared of him?  If so, why?  What to do?  What to do?  He raised a hand and scratched at his chin.  She was the only person he had met on his trip that claimed to know Ryk, and that was important.  Like it or not, he was going to need to trust her.

Taking a deep breath, he outstretched his hand in the fashion of the southerners.  "Then my name is Altario.  Any information you could give me concerning my brother would be invaluable to me."  He studied her more closely this time.  Definitely she had elven blood flowing through her, though she resembled an elf like Valannia as he could be said to resemble the Shendar humans of the desert.  Valannia was Quaelhoirhim.  This person was not.  All the differences between humans and elves that Valannia seemed to make exotic and attractive, this woman made them seem foreign and disconcerting.

Desperation made strange bedfellows.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Capher on November 21, 2009, 12:27:56 AM
Quar was watching their quarry come closer and closer to the alleyway, almost pulling a reluctant Grallen with her, when suddenly she stopped and asked a question, "What's in its pocket?" Quar shook his head. What in Bavaras's name is going on? He could almost reach out and grab the woman but there was just a bit too much light and a city guard had walked past just blinks ago.

Then in a burst of movement the woman took off into his direction. Quar smiled cruelly as he raised his cudgel and then the woman stopped, turned and ran full speed into him. The woman's head his Quar square on the side of his jaw knocking him senseless and sending him to the alley floor.  He tried to stand up when the woman began yelling at the top of her lungs like a child hurt. Quar crawled back up to his feet, dizzyingly, his head still swimming from the unexpected blow. He had to shut that woman up and quick!

Quar took a step toward the woman but his legs were wobbly. He saw Tyrr with Grallen rush into the alley. It looked liked Tyrr had his daggar at Grallen's throat. He heard a snarl come from Grallen's throat and then Grallen began speaking to the woman.

Quar was beginning to get his legs under control and his head had stopped spinning so much, so he began to head toward Tyrr, Grallen and the woman, his cudgel in hand. From above them a window opened and Quar heard a woman's voice yell down, ”Shut your brat up, you drunken filthy maggots,” Brumia shouted.

“Some  people have better things to do than dancing in backalleys and teasing their nasty toddlers. Hey, how do you like this for a drink?”

Quar looked up and before he could do or say anything all three of them were drenched with the contents of...of a chamber pot! Ugh. Quar looked at Tyrr, Grallen and the woman and had to stop himself from laughing outloud. The woman's pink hat hung down over her face like a sop. Tyrr's hair was soaked and some solid remains hung from his clothes. His eyes were teared up from the liquid that had splashed into them as he had looked up at the wrong time. Grallen just stood there. The only thing good about the whole thing was that the woman had stopped screaming. Quar advanced upon the woman when he heard the woman above yell still.

”Now get lost, before I get seriously angry. There’s plenty more where that came from!”

Quar advanced upon the woman, his cudgel ready to knock her out and get out of there fast when he heard a voice from above again say,

”I'd rather kiss a stinking rabid blood bear on the snout than smell you from across the Liben River!”

Quar looked up once again but found no reason for the voice for the woman had shut her shutters. Then the shutters opened and a bottle was thrown at them, luckily the woman had a poorer aim this time and the bottle crashed and broke against the far wall.

Quar swung, hit the woman, knocked her out just as Gres rushed into the alley. He skidded to a stop.

"What happened?" He asked and then he sniffed. "Ye all smell like ye been in the sewers. Yuck!"

"Shut yer trap and help me wrap this woman in this rug," Quar whispered.

"Uh ah, I not going close to you," Gres said.

"You will do as you're told or I will cut your throat open and shove this stuff down it." Tyrr ordered, holding some of the solid remains in his fist and shoving it toward Gres, before throwing it away.

Gres swallowed hard, nodded and then quickly helped Quar roll up the woman in the rug. "Done," he said.

"I can see that," Tyrr said. "Now let's get to the ship. We can clean ourselves up there and then afterwards Quar take care of that woman. Make sure the crabs are fed well!"

"Uh, Tyrr. I not sure that is such a good idea..." Gres began to say before he saw Tyrr's eyes. Tyrr was angry, more than angry, he was beyond angry and Gres shut his mouth up. Perhaps after they were cleaned up he could try and convince Tyrr that killing that woman would be a bad idea, as a butcher's wife would surely be missed and the city guards would come looking.

Tyrr watched Quar swing the rug over his shoulder. Quar seemed better now. Tyrr would wait until they were aboard the ship before he began to demand some answers from him. Finally they were all ready to go. Gres went to the end of the alley way looked out, saw no one looking their way on the wharf and then motioned everyone to come. Tyrr began to walk, turned around when he noticed Grallen had not taken a step nor said a word since their unfortunate incident. "Are you coming?" He asked her. "We are leaving with or without you. It is your choice. We have what we came for, so if you want to get paid come with us or just stand there and we will gladly split your share, either way we are leaving now," he said as he turned and began walking toward the brothers who were eagerly awaiting them.


Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on November 23, 2009, 07:40:05 PM
"Then my name is Altario.  Any information you could give me concerning my brother would be invaluable to me." the man said, as he stretched his hand towards her. Drustai looked down at it for a moment, then held out her own, the steel-tipped fingers gleaming slightly from the firelight coming from the entrance to the inn. She grabbed his hand in hers and gave it a firm, but brief, handshake, as was customary human behaviour, then returned her hand to her side, under her cloak.

"I am Drustai, of the Kayrrhem," she replied. She didn't immediately follow up his request with an answer. She couldn't even if she wanted to. She needed to make sure he was on her side first, and that he could help her get out of working for Strata's pathetic thugs.

Altario seemed to be analyzing her. Drustai watched as his eyes focused on her, and she simply waited and stared cooly into his eyes as he finished his examination. He was at least smart enough not to trust her.

Drustai pressed her hands on her hips, and shifted her weight onto her left leg. "I'm afraid that I can't give all of my information for free," she paused, watching him carefully for any reaction. She knew he wouldn't like hearing that, his behaviour so far had been naive, and Drustai figured he had been not just hoping, but expecting for her to divulge everything he wanted for nothing.

"I met your brother a few weeks ago. Here, in Strata. He was being pursued, though he did not know why, and I saved his life. He has gone into hiding, and I can tell you where he is, but I will need you to help me first."

Her muscles remained coiled like a spring, just in case this barbarian from Remusia did not take well to the concept of trade.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on December 02, 2009, 12:58:59 AM
Aboard the Runner

Quar and Gres set the carpet upon the deck of the ship, unrolled it until their quarry showed herself. She was still unconcious. They dragged her and the carpet to the far wall where chains were deeply embedded in the sturdy walls of the ship, taking one hand each they cuffed her with metal cuffs to the chains and then let her be.

"Done," Quar said.

"Gres, you and Grallen watch the woman until Quar and I take a quick bath and relieve you," Tyrr ordered.

Gres nodded and looked over at Grallen, who, since the dousing of the chamber pot, had not said a word, but just followed them. Gres thought that perhaps Grallen was in some sort of shock. He smiled at her, but did not get too close to her, as she smelled-real bad. "As soon as Quar comes back then you can go take a bath, Grallen. Won't that be good?" he asked, trying to make light conversation.

Inside the room there was a table and few chairs, all bolted down to the deck. A crewman came in, placed some food on the table as well as a large tankard of ale along with some tin cups. He stayed far away from Grallen as well, though Gres was not certain if it was because of her smell or because she was an orc, or both.

"Food and drink!," Gres said as he sat down, "I am starved. Come on Grallen sit and eat and drink something. It may make you feel better until you can take your bath."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on December 02, 2009, 07:27:45 AM
Grallen sat on the ship in a daze. She watched blankly as Lili was manacled (though a part of her couldn’t help but notice the particular strength of the chains, the unlikeliness of breaking the lock). Her fingers ached. Gres was nearby; his words seemed to float right past her, meaning less than nothing. She just watched Lili, blankly, and behind her eyes the memories of four years slid past, and then turned back and repeated themselves, marching along waving her helplessness like a banner.

Gres seemed determined to talk to her; she’d ignored his first comment, had barely registered it at all. Now he spoke again, with a forced cheerfulness that set her teeth on edge:
"Food and drink! I am starved. Come on Grallen sit and eat and drink something. It may make you feel better until you can take your bath."

She didn’t bother to lift her gaze from Lili, but just curled her lip and snarled, long and quiet, like a warg making it clear that there will be no second warning to those stupid enough to keep poking it.
“Not hungry.”
She wasn’t. Or at least, not for anything on a plate.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on December 03, 2009, 06:42:57 PM
Lori‘s heart beat with excitement, that she had found somebody who knew something about Altario‘s brother. And that it was she, who had brought him, or her, to him. She smiled a happily smile, but not for long, for the tension between the two was seizable with your hands only. Altario had got up from the ground when the elfess had approached out of the dark, and then, as if he wanted to protect her, Lori, he drew her closer.

And Lori‘s world tumbled. She clung to his clothes, nearly breathlessly, and felt the sensation of a strong arm holding her, protecting her, in an uncertain situation. That was something so entirely new to her, that her emotions were in uproar, she did not know, if she should cry or laugh.

Of course she knew the strong arms of Ana‘Mirl, her comforting hugs, when she had hurt herself or woke up in the night from a nightmare. But that was something else. Altario smelled so different, strong, unfamiliar, but oh so good. His arm was like a barrier against the evil of the world. Was it how it felt, when one had a father, who took his child into his arms? Bliss flooded Lori for a moment, followed by desperation. Altario wasn‘t her father, he would soon be gone. She hugged him tight, but when he stepped forward to greet this elf, she had to release him.

And there she stood, with tears in her eyes, but fighting them back, for she was a strong girl who would not cry in such a situation. She pressed her lips together and swallowed the fluids which were running down in her throat. And she hoped with all her heart, that this elf would have the information Altario was looking for. For suddenly, she felt a love for him so deep and bottomless, like she had never experienced before in her life, not even for Ana‘Mirl. 

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on December 04, 2009, 02:46:02 AM
Aboard the Runner

Tyrr opened the door to the semi-dark room where Gres, Grallen and their prisoner were to let in Quar and several crewmen who were carrying a large wooden tub filled with water. They placed the tub in the middle of the room and then left. Tyrr put two bars of soap upon the table. "Grallen I want you to bathe her and yourself here, unless you want to stink like a sewer for the rest of the journey. We will give you privacy, however the woman stays chained. I have the key, besides the door will be locked behind us as we leave. Not that I do not trust you Grallen, just a precaution. Some of these sailors aboard have not been with a woman in quite awhile-if you get my meaning?"

Tyrr turned to Gres,"Leave it all. Grallen will probably be hungry and thirsty and if our prisoner awakes she may as well and Grallen can give her something to eat and drink."

"She said she was not hungry," Gres said.

"Perhaps she will change her mind. It could be the company she was keeping," Tyrr said.

Gres stood up opened mouthed, like a fish caught with a hook, and looked back and forth between Grallen and Tyrr. Then he silently closed his mouth and with a sullen look at Grallen he walked out. Tyrr looked around the room once, checked the woman's cuffs and chains and then walked out. The sound of a key turning in the door filled the room.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on December 04, 2009, 06:01:14 AM
Cold crisp snow crunched beneath the long strong legs of the wounded Tarandus Deer, as it slowly spun about in place, its head moving, following the shadow that slowly circled it.  The shadow was a Snow Wolf, alone, a rogue, that had tracked the deer.  How the deer got wounded to begin with was unclear, as the wound was older, dried blood crusted over a long gash in its flank.  As the wolf circled, it would make a feint in toward the deer, then spring backward as the deer charged with antlers that would inflict great damage if they connected.  If the wolf was near the rear, it would need to evade kicks from hooves that could easily crush its skull if it was careless.  But, this white wolf was not careless.  It was sly.  It knew how close it could get, and how to avoid the defences of the deer.  It was patient.  It could outwait the deer, for time was on its side.  The deer was tired, as froth dripped from its mouth and nostrils.  It was sore, from the wound in its flank, making its steps at times unsteady.  So, for now, there would be a truce, as each watched and waited, knowing that sometime soon, one of them would make a mistake.

It seemed this elf did not want to trust him any more than he wanted to trust her, as she seemed poised to react, should he make an attempt at her.  Or was she waiting for him to drop his guard.  He glanced down at Lori, and could see the tension in the girl as well.  Was it fright?  Because of the elf?  He reached back his open left hand to her, offering it to her to hold.

"Help you?  I don't know you, Drustai, of the Kayrrhem, and I'm not sure how I could help you."   It did not surprise Altario that this elf wanted something in return, all southerners were greedy in that respect.  What did surprise him, and made him a bit suspicious, was that it wasn't a simple request for gold.  Gold was the factor that drove everyone down here.

But, there was a chance to find Ryk, and that fact alone made Altario very vulnerable.  "However, since you seem to know where my brother is, speak your terms, and I will see what I can do."

Who here was the deer, and which of them was the wolf?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on December 05, 2009, 11:42:53 PM

At first, Lili couldn’t see. She had opened her eyes – that much she was sure of – but the world was black as a corbie. Had all the lights in Strata gone out at once? She’d been walking through a little alley, hadn’t she?

A dim light began to appear, quivering and insubstantial like the reflection of the moon in the gentle waves of a lake. Lili felt herself wake up. Her head was astonishingly heavy, as if someone was tugging on it, trying to pull it to her feet. The back of her neck was overstretched. It hurt, and Lili lifted her head. It was then that she started feeling the pain in her temple.

”Curses on those desert wine-doctorers, Kassandra. They’ve poisoned us.”

The light became a little brighter. Suddenly, Lili realized that she was sitting. With the fitful energy of those who desperately try to regain control over their body, she tried to get up. But although she managed to pull her feet towards her and stomp them on the ground, she couldn’t move her hands to place them next to her thighs and support her body. Her hands, she registered with a shock, were tied behind her back, and obviously attached to the wall against which she had been leaning. Then her eyes became clear, the light returned, and she saw that she was in a room. Three candles burned, and the air was filled by a luminous fog that rose out of a big tub. On a chair next to the tub sat Grallen.

Lili stared at the orc, while her mind frantically raced through the forest of her memory, trying to find the traces that would explain how she got here. It was not the first time in her life that she had to do this. Only last night, she had suddenly found herself sitting at a table in the Seashoal’s Inn with Airyn. And before, in her highwaywoman days, her hand would sometimes hold a bunch of flowers that she never remembered she had picked, or her cheeks would tingle with tears that she never remembered she had cried.

“Little Lili Demon” her fellow bandits had said, when they had tried to explain to her what she did in the times that left a hole in her memory. Well, this time the Little Lili Demon has got me deep into Boardrak dung, Lili thought. I just hope nothing bad happened to Kassandra. Aloud she said:

”Looks like I'd do better to save my curses for someone else, eh, Grallen?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on December 06, 2009, 03:19:11 AM
Grallen watched with stony silence as they dragged a bath into the room. She gave no sign that anything Tyrr said made any impression on her, and greeted Gres’s look of childish pique with a barbed glare. When they finally left, she directed her most furious glower at the door for a few seconds. What now? She glanced around the room – right, so, if we wanna get out, we use the door – pick the lock or break it? she gazed at it carefully, now, but really it wasn’t even worth getting up. It was too strong to even think of kicking in, and the hinges were half decent, not the kind you can take to bits with the edge of, say, this plate, and a good shove. But nope, that won’t work. And the lock’s out, ‘cos (thank you so much for your concern for my privacy Tyrr) it’s padlocked on the outside. Dammit dammit dammit dammit!


The young orc looked round, to meet Lili’s eye. She wasn’t putting on a stupid voice anymore, thank Kahn’uck. Must have realised she’s in enough trouble now as things stand. Where had that bird gotten to? Watching the crumpled, beat up figure shackled like, well, like a little orc Grallen remembered all too clearly, she suddenly felt a surge of a feeling she’d heard described, but never felt herself – not like this. I guess this is guilt. I can’t say I much enjoy it. She looked away, staring blankly at her feet.

”Looks like I'd do better to save my curses for someone else, eh, Grallen?”
She made herself look up again, and forced a grim smile.

“yeah, well, I, uh... don’ say that jus’ yet. If you want people to curse, though, I got a list.” She smiled vaguely. Suddenly she got up, shrugged out of her stinking coat and fished Earnest and his bag out of the pocket. Placing him gently on the chair, she sorted through the other pockets, sliding a couple of knives out of the sleeves and hiding them in her boot, under her belt. Once these were safe, she checked herself over. It looked like most of the mess had landed on the new coat – with it off, she smelt barely worse than usual. She sighed, and flung it into a corner. That done, she looked around aimlessly. Ye gods, she hated this! She slumped back into her chair, and looked sideways at Lili.

“If you wanna wash – you can- oh, cuffs, yeah...” she got up, and stepped up towards the human. “Lemme have a look at those...”

You never know, maybe the cuffs are the kind I can break. Grallen was no expert lock-pick, but she knew all about hitting things repeatedly until they fell to bits. Dammit, she would get the pair of them out of this if there was any way in the world to do it.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on December 06, 2009, 12:26:33 PM
The orc, it seemed, wasn’t much perturbed by Lili’s accusation. Oh yes, I remember. Even in the desert, when she was in a tight place, she never gave a straight answer. She reacts to people as if they were annoying interruptions to a story she's telling herself inside her head. A phrase the orc had used at their first meeting came back to Lili: “My head appears to have fallen out with itself.”

There was a fretfulness about Grallen as she undid her coat – not the coat that Lili had seen on her in the desert, though. This one had an enormous number of pockets, and the orc rummaged through them all to produce, first, her frog  (“Earnest”, Lili remembered; there had been a time when she had found that endearing) and, second, an impressive number of knives. As she watched Grallen find new hiding places for her knives, Lili thought two things almost at once: I bet not many people see one of these before they’ve felt their throats tickled with them, and: How young she is!

Grallen sat down again, like someone who had a hard days work behind her. “If you wanna wash – you can – oh, cuffs, yeah...” she said. A tusk glinted in the candle light. Grallen got up again, and came over to Lili.

Steady gaze, Lili. Don’t let your eyes widen. Showing fear opens the door for panic to come in and take over the house. Experience had taught Lili that, and she kept herself calm. She did not know what Grallen was intending to do. But she did know that the orc could do anything to her that she wanted. Lili shifted her body slightly – not out of nervousness, but in order to find out which of her possessions had been taken from her, and which ones were still there. There was something missing on her right side. Her cutlass and its sheath were gone. But she could still feel her knife in her left boot. Also, there was a metallic rattle behind her, and something cold and hard touched her finger. Lili knew then that her hands were bound by chains.

”Lemme have a look at those,” Grallen added.

If this was a joke, Lili sure didn’t laugh. If it wasn’t, Lili could only hope that Grallen’s competence matched the number of her knives. Meanwhile, it didn’t hurt to find out what one could.

”Where are we?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on December 07, 2009, 08:57:01 PM
Grallen crouched down and inspected the shackles holding Lili. She could almost feel the human’s discomfort. She doesn’t trust me. Good. She may not be entirely stupid after all. We can work with that. She picked up the chain, working out the length, the amount of movement that might allow – not much, it turns out. And this is half-decent steel. She turned her attention to the cuffs themselves, running a sharp nail experimentally into the cracks and joins – no luck. Gently, she moved them down Lili’s wrist – nope. If things get really desperate we could break her thumbs and that’d probably allow enough room... no. She’s had things hard enough as it is. Not yet, anyway.

”Where are we?”

Dropping Lili’s hand, she sat back a little, trying to shove the seething mixture of rage and hopelessness into the back of her mind. She stared at her own hands as she spoke, fidgeting with the cloth that still wrapped her fingers.
“On a boat. It’s not sailed yet, but it’s only a matter of time. An’ I hate to tell you blunt like this but issa slave runner. We’re in a bit of a bind.”

Silence fell for a long moment, while Grallen was apparently absorbed by retying the bandage on her hand, which had come loose. Then she spoke, very softly, and even she had no idea whether she was talking to herself or to Lili.
“I- we can get out of this. It will not happen – they will not – they cannot win. Not this time. Not again. I won’t let them.”[/i]

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on December 08, 2009, 05:23:42 AM
Grallen busied herself fiddling about with the hand cuffs. This gave Lili time to feel the full extent of her pain. The skin just upwards from her wrists burned – from the cuts made by the fetters, she guessed. Worse was the hammer that pounded her temple from the inside. Well, as long as you hurt, you’re still alive. Lili had never been able to afford squeamishness. But the pain, of course, wasn’t the real problem right now, as Grallen's reply drove home with the precision of a crossbow bolt.

“On a boat. It’s not sailed yet, but it’s only a matter of time. An’ I hate to tell you blunt like this but issa slave runner. We’re in a bit of a bind.”

I see only one person who’s bound, and her friend's not a frog,  Lili was about to shout, when she saw Grallen fumbling with a binding on her hand. Something in the young orc’s face, as she clumsily attempted to one-handedly retie the dangling bandage, made Lili think of a fox cub licking the snout of its mother, who lies dead with an arrow in her throat. Suddenly Lili knew that Grallen was an orphan. Maybe it’s best to hold on to that “we” for the time being,  Lili thought.

When Grallen spoke next, it was as if she had made the same decision, albeit for a different reason:

“I - we can get out of this. It will not happen – they will not – they cannot win. Not this time. Not again. I won’t let them.”

Everyone over the age of three wears a mask most of the time, even if they don’t know it. When the mask comes down, and you are there to see, it is as embarrassing as it is to look upon a naked God – and as dangerous: for just as little as the Gods tolerate being spied on by mortals, as little do mortals like witnesses when they reveal their true, their private face. That’s what Lili would have thought, if she had allowed herself to. But it was time to focus on practical matters. Lili moved her body forwards and yanked her hands away from the wall. Her wrists screamed, but Lili decided to be deaf. The cuffs seemed fixed to the wood pretty tightly - although in this position, of course, Lili had little leverage to add strength to her pull.

”Look, never mind about opening the cuffs. Can you get them off the wall, or just cut the wall off around it? If we can get away – I can swim like this.” 

And so she could. She imagined the boat lying in the harbour, and figured jumping off on the sea side and swimming someplace where they could get on land without being seen would offer a better chance of escape than trying to just walk onto the quay. But would they get as far as the deck of the ship?

”How many guards are there? Where  are they? Is that door locked?”

Why don’t I  know anything? It’s like a nightmare, where you find that you’re falling from the sky, waiting for your skull to crack when it hits the rocks, and you cannot even remember how long ago you lost your stupid footing, or where you were when you did. And there's no daggerbeak around to remind you, either! To the netherworld with that. Just away!

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on December 10, 2009, 12:12:14 AM
Grallen watched dully as Lili pulled at the chains. How can she be so different now that she’s trapped? When I needed her to be suspicious and untrusting, she followed like a lamb, she ran right into Quar’s arms! And now that she’s caught up in chains and about to be shipped away and sold like a sack of flour, now she decides she wants to escape? She made an effort to pull herself together, suddenly embarrassed by the realisation of how much she’d revealed to Lili. I don’t understand it, but I can’t exactly give up now. Show up by a human with a stupid hat? I think not.

”Look, never mind about opening the cuffs. Can you get them off the wall, or just cut the wall off around it? If we can get away – I can swim like this.”

She shook her head, thinking furiously. “they’re too tough – fastened with a ring that’s fast onto the floor – it won’t pull up, and they’re not long enough to get a decent lever into the links, if we had anything that’d work...”
It sounded so gloomy, said like that. And offering her idea about thumbs probably wouldn’t brighten Lili’s mood to much.
”How many guards are there? Where are they? Is that door locked?”

Grallen frowned. Good question. Ye gods, had she been that sullen? That stupidly, pointlessly hopeless? She remembered various sailors and the hefty muscle that tends to make it’s living on slave boats and carts, but she hadn’t counted, hadn’t noticed individual weapons, positions, conversations... she couldn’t even remember their faces! It was like she’d been asleep since the alley! She wanted to scream at herself, could as good as hear Lucien berating her;

“never ever ever, however bad things get, take your mind off your surroundings. Everything that happens around you is important, and the more desperate your situation the more vital that you pay attention. Now, describe to me the man across the street who bought a basket of eggs while I was talking.”

She still remembered perfectly the description she’d fabricated, and Lucien’s sly smile as he’d congratulated her on her excellent technique in fallacy, but gently reminded her that there wasn’t an egg stall on this street.

Well. There aren’t any egg-sellers here either, but she did remember the presence of guards, if not how many or where, or anything else useful.

“I dunno ezackly how many. Not masses – this isn’t a very big boat, I think. but sailors and bullwhips aren’t the biggest problem. If we can get out we can get past them, I think. The biggest problems are twofold – this room and your chains, I’ve looked at. Not easy to get out of, and I’ve not much experience with daring escapes from confinement. Pers’nally I hold the rule “don’t let the buggers catch you” works pretty well.”

She glanced meaningfully at Lili, remembering the fury she’d felt as the human had allowed herself to be led into trouble so placidly. She quickly masked the annoyance. Working. Come back later.

“The other problem is the three men I ‘spect you remember from earlier, though they neglected to introduce themselves like gennelmen p’raps should.” She smiled mirthlessly. “There’s jus’ the three of ‘em for now. Tyrr is a ferret – quick with a knife, quicker than’s good for him, maybe. I might manage him if I got first move. Quar – guy that hit you – is as brainless as he is big, as fond of hitting people as Tyrr is of poking them with sharp things. Shouldn’t be a problem, he’s pretty slow. Gres, Quar's brother, is a bit trickier – he’s cleverer than the others and not so quick to cry for blood, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a savage shirwhelp.” She paused, trying to think if she’d missed anything.

“I think that’s it, as far as things stand for now. Gres is most likely to have the keys to your chains on him. Getting them might be tricky.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on December 11, 2009, 01:36:49 AM

Aboard the Runner

The sound of a lock being turned was heard in the room and Tyrr's head poked in. He saw that both of the women were dressed but the room stank. He walked in with Gres and Quar trailing behind as well as a couple more sailors. Tyrr walked over to where their prisoner sat. She seemed to be different, it was the look in her eyes.

Tyrr sniffed and then whirrled around giving Grallen a glare. "I thought I asked you to bathe her. She smells, this whole room stinks! The Captain of this ship expects his ship to be clean and orderly! By Bavaeras, where is that smell coming from?"

Quar walked over to one of the corners of the room and looked down at the coat that the orc had been wearing. "I think it is this coat, Tyrr," he said, kicking at it.

Tyrr glanced his way. "Get rid of it, throw it overboard," Tyrr ordered.

Quar picked up the coat, holding it as far as possible from him and walked out of the room.

Tyrr turned his attention back to Grallen. "Listen Grallen and listen closely, we have certain clientile who prefer their women to smell like a desert flower, not something they would smell if they walked by a dung heap. I gave you privacy so that you could undress her, bathe her, and her clothes and the same goes for you. Now if you cannot do such a simple task or are unwilling, then I am sure Quar or even Gres would be willing to help. And if that does not do, then I guess I would have no choice but to ask these sailors to do it. Would you like me to ask them Grallen?"

The sailors stared at the prisoner and one rubbed his fork suggestively while the other two just licked their lips with wide open lust filled eyes.

Quar walked back into the room. "Done, Tyrr. What was it you wanted me to do?" He asked, grinning, as he stared at their prisoner.

Gres was staring at Grallen and the rest of the men wondered if he had been hit on the head when he was a baby.

Tyrr looked around and then back at Grallen. "I will give you one more chance to do what I asked of you and then it is out of your hands and into..."

Tyrr left the implication lie as he felt the water and it was a bit cool. "I need another tub of hot water, this water is cold. We do not want our flower to catch cold now, would we?"

Quar and the sailors grumbled, but lifted the tub and left.

Tyrr knelt down and stared at his prisoner. " So, what is your name? You seem different than when I first saw you dancing with that fake baron. He was a fake, wasn't he? Then you changed and then on the wharf you were back to what you were when I first saw you; acting like a child. At first I thought it was all an act, but when you ran right into the alley where Quar was waiting, I had changed my mind, but then you surprised me again by attacking Quar and almost knocking him out. I am not sure what is going on; either you are a very good actress or something is wrong in your head."

He sighed and then grinned maliciously. "It does not matter anyway. We have you and as soon as the Captain comes aboard I and my companions will get paid and we will leave you to your fate."

He rose as Quar and the sailors came back in with another tub of hot water. Tyrr waved the men out as he turned and walked out of the door, he began closing the door when his head popped back in. "I hope you will do as you are asked Grallen, this time. Your share of the money would be deducted if I come back in here and find her not washed, clean and smelling like a flower."

Tyrr left, closing the door and the grating of a lock could be heard until it clicked shut.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on December 15, 2009, 06:31:50 PM
Grallen’s ears pricked to the sound of a key in the lock, but suppressed the urge to get quickly to her feet. Hurried movement always looks more suspicious than just staying calmly still. She sat back from Lili a little, regarding the men with calmly malevolent eyes. Nonetheless, she couldn’t quite suppress curling her lip as her coat (new, expensive coat that actually paid for, dammit!) was rooted out and disposed of. Damn these slimy arrogant humans with their oversensitivity about hygiene.

She watched Tyrr’s lips as he ranted at her. The thought occurred that he may just have broken whatever tacit trust Lili could have built up between them. Oh. She carefully avoided Lili’s gaze, keeping blankly unfriendly. Gres was still gazing at her like a baby deer. She met his gaze with a yellow glare, meted now with slight puzzlement. She’d not met anything like this... or not from humans... oh yuk, does he...? ahh, gross. Maybe useful though...

She turned her attention back to Tyrr, now questioning Lili, though her gaze never lifted from Gres. Like to speak our minds, don’t we mister? So, you think Lili’s mad, hmm? Why thank you for letting us know, sir.

They were getting up to leave. Grallen kept her eyes away from Lili, not wanting to meet her gaze. She could imagine only too well the look of hurt and bewildered betrayal, which she’d been so hopeful of staving off, at least for now.

“Your share of the money would be deducted if I come back in here and find her not washed, clean and smelling like a flower."

She winced internally as the door shut and she heard the lock click. That will not help things. Well, looking on the bright side of things, at least I know what to say in situations like this.

“It’s not what you think.”

Still, she couldn’t meet Lili’s eye even as she said it.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on December 17, 2009, 05:52:18 PM
Drustai nodded her head slightly towards Altario. She let her muscles relax, and gave him a small affirmative smile. She had gone into this meeting far too tense than she should have, and it showed. Dealing with the others earlier had set her off, and the human girl's surprise of her at the catacomb entrance had kept her waiting for some kind of attack. She detested dealing with criminal scum--they couldn't be relied on, couldn't be trusted. Though she could certainly not be sure whether or not this Altario was a criminal himself, his demanour portrayed someone that was at least civil. And that, she vastly preferred.

And now came the terms. She wasn't sure how much she should tell him. She could either be forward with him, and tell him that she was working for someone who was going to tell her where Ryk was and that if Altario wanted to know, he would have to help her. Alternatively, she could continue her charade, and hope that the crime boss would not speak out of turn while Altario was near. The latter she couldn't rely on.

"I will be honest with you, Mr. Shialt-eck-Gorrin," she paused, and pressed her hand on her hip. She wasn't sure how to address this man by his last name--was there a shortened form? No matter. "I know someone that knows where your brother is, but he hasn't been forthcoming with his information freely."

She turned to the side, and paced slowly to the side in front of Altario. "I need your help to finish a last assignment. I do not trust the men I am working with, and would rather have someone foreign to accompany me. Someone I know that doesn't have allegiances and might betray me."

She stopped and turned to look straight at him again. "If you are the man you say you are, then I would hope that I would be able to trust in your loyalty. And I would hope that you can trust in me in the knowledge that the men I am working for are not ones you would want to place your faith in."

She lowered her chin slightly as she held a polite smile, and clasped her hands together over her belt. This was a better posture--more relaxed, business-like. She had put him off ease with her earlier behaviour. She didn't trust him, but it would be better for her that he trusted her.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on December 21, 2009, 08:13:41 AM
Grallen sounded as if she’d given up hope. Despair appeared to make the orc chatty – Lili didn’t think she’d ever heard her talk as much as this. She’d been a lot less forthcoming in the desert, that was for sure. Why exactly Grallen was despondent, Lili found difficult to guess: she  wasn’t in chains, after all. Anyways, she talks too much. She’s trying to convince us that escape is impossible. No need to let her know we don’t believe her.

Such was Lili’s resolve. She stopped pulling at her chains and try to listen intently to Grallen’s account of the situation. It might not be true, but sometimes a useful detail reveals itself even in a lie. Yet one remark sidetracked Lili:

“The other problem is the three men I ‘spect you remember from earlier”

Nope, we don’t remember anything, thank you very much. In vain, Lili searched her memory for faces that would answer to the three names that Grallen mentioned: Tyrr, Quar and Gres. If only Kassandra was here! She would know.

And then the door opened. Instead of three men, there were six of them, one uglier than the other. In fact, they looked very much like the sort of rapscallions among whom Lili had grown up. And they were no more sophisticated either – not in their talk, not in their threats, not in their desires.

Lili looked at the men, appearing to study them. You can take even that. You know you can, because you’ve taken it before. Whatever they do, they cannot touch you. Just live, Lili, live to escape, and find Kassandra.

Growing up where she did, the young Lili’s intitiation into the relations between men and women had been less than gentle. She had learned too much too early, although some of it had turned out to be useful later – such as the fact that men in amorous mood tended to underestimate how hard her fists could punch, and how good she was at hitting where it hurt most. She hadn’t learned the easy way, but in one respect she had been lucky. If I have to take it, I just hope there won’t be a child. No child should be born from violence. Desert flower, the rotter who’d been addressed as Tyrr had said. It’s the words who get raped first.

It was this same Tyrr who interrupted Lili’s thoughts. He stepped closer and knelt down to face her. How oddly inclined to talk everyone suddenly was. Throughout Tyrr’s monologue, Lili’s face remained impassive. Yet her heart was beating fast, and her mind racing.

Dances with a fake baron? Knocking out Quar? This etherus worm makes as much sense as Kassandra when she hasn’t had enough sleep.

Yet he says I acted like a child. Maybe I have. The Little Lili Demon. It really exists, then, and this time it’s got me into a big heap of boardrak dung. Why for the rabid bloodbear’s sake can’t I remember? Am I cursed?

“We have you and as soon as the Captain comes aboard I and my companions will get paid and we will leave you to your fate."

Ah, so these vilerats are just the bounty hunters. The slavers have not even introduced themselves yet.

Meanwhile, the other men had gone to bring a new tub of water, and had left again. Tyrr got up and made for the door also. To Grallen he said:

"I hope you will do as you are asked Grallen, this time. Your share of the money would be deducted if I come back in here and find her not washed, clean and smelling like a flower."

Tyrr shut the door behind him. For a few blinks, the room was quiet. Grallen seemed uneasy. Lili was not interested in making her comfortable.

“It’s not what you think,” Grallen eventually said.

Lili smiled, as kindly as she could.

”I see. So you’re not chambermaid to a bunch of slave traders, then.”

Grallen avoided her eyes. Lili thought quickly. She remembered Grallen’s soliloqui from earlier – "they cannot win, not this time, not again; I won’t let them". Maybe she hasn’t lied, after all – maybe she was genuinely looking for a way out.  It was obvious that Grallen was one of the bounty hunters, but it was equally clear that there was little love lost between Grallen and Tyrr.

Quarrels and betrayal among cutthroats – Lili knew rather a lot about those. A gang of bandits was like one of those mountains that could quietly stand around in the landscape for years, only to suddenly split from left to right and cast burning rocks into the air, lighting fires all around them and scorching their own sides. Maybe the eruption is just about to happen. Let’s poke our finger right into the embers. What have we got to lose?

”Who are you, Grallen?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on December 24, 2009, 09:12:21 PM
”I see. So you’re not chambermaid to a bunch of slave traders, then.”

Grallen kept her gaze down, but the heat rose in her eyes, and she curled her lip involuntarily. An image rose in her mind; the boat wreathed in flame and smoke, with Tyrr leaping screaming, burned to a charred wraith, into the glossy waters. It was a very entertaining image, and she was reluctant to discard it. But Lili’s next words blotted it out instantly.

”Who are you, Grallen?”

Why did she want to ask that? She looked up, slowly, aware every second of the fierce, near painful anger crowding her thoughts. She needed something to do to cover her confusion, so she got up and pulled the bath over to Lili. She was annoyed at how heavy it seemed – the sailors who’d hauled it in were as strong as they’d looked. She’d been silent too long, now. Lili deserved some kind of reply. But maybe not a straight answer, because how the hell was anyone s’posed to give a straight answer to a question like that?

“Ah. That’s tricky one. Depends who you ask, I guess.” She smiled. “There’s places where I’ve a fair reputation, posters with my name, and “dead or alive”, and everything… I’m good at… well; if I had pretty pale skin and little blunt teeth you might call me a scoundrel…”

Her inconsequential grin hardened, a little, and the fire rose in her eyes. “But I draw lines. I don’t involve kids. I don’t take things you shouldn’t ever have to give. Ever. I’m not perfect but there are some things I will not do. Will not stand for. Will not.” She blinked, pushed at the anger, ineffectually – it was like a mountain had sprung up in her head. With an effort, she smiled again, gestured at the tub of water.

“But that’s enough about me – people who know much more tend to get into trouble. Bath first, right? Deep philosophical crap later… now I think about it, you do smell a bit.”

She smiled, located a washcloth slung over the side of the tub, and pictured Tyrr’s weaselly smile melting off his face like hot fat.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on December 28, 2009, 06:07:42 AM
Grallen’s answers puzzled Lili. They were frank and inscrutable at the same time. They hopped around the point that interested Lili most like Mad Dancing Faeries around a confused victim. How had Grallen got involved with slave traders whom she obviously detested? And if she was working for Lili’s captors, why did she waste time talking to Lili as if she wished Lili was free?

There was one thing that Lili was grateful for: Grallen didn’t ask whether she wanted to be washed, but just did what was necessary without making her say anything. This allowed Lili to endure her helpless state with the dignity of silence. Lili didn’t care for cleanliness - at this moment even less than usual - but she did prefer Grallen’s hands on her skin to the hands of those wannabe rapists. She had no illusions about what she could expect in slavery – despite her scar, she attracted more male attention than she cared for. But for now, she wasn’t prepared to give up. She would do what she could to avoid the experiences the memories of which, she knew, would stay in her body for the rest of her life, disembowel her mind, and at their convenience whip her into submission and despair. She had a few memories of this kind. She had fought them with courage and hatred, and that had made her stronger. She would refuse to add to their cruel strength by admitting more of their number into her life.

Grallen touched Lili’s face with a wet washrag. Her right temple was sore, and she fliched as the cloth brushed over it. Yet it was comforting to feel water on her skin. Strange what it does to you, being helpless, she thought: An enemy can suddenly seem like your friend, just because of a little gesture that looks like kindness. Lili knew that, right now, comfort was a dangerous sensation. She told herself not to let down her guard. Maybe it was precisely Grallen’s job to make Lili go soft, to distract her from directing all her energies toward escape.

Lili thought all this, and yet as a drop of warm water ran down her cheek, round her chin and further down until it touched the top of her collarbone, she couldn’t help thinking about the friend whose touch always comforted her most. And here was someone who knew that friend, and who had, it seemed, witnessed what had happened to Lili during the time that had been wiped away from her memory, maybe as irrevocably as the sea wiped away pictures drawn in the sand on the beach. So it came that Lili gave in to weakness. She did, however, have strength enough to sound firm as she spoke:

”My head is somewhat the worse for wear, isn’t it. I expect it got bashed about a bit – and so has my memory, it seems.“

She had said it. She might as well go on and ask the question that tormented her more than anything else.

”You don’t know what happened to Kassandra, by any chance?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on January 04, 2010, 06:09:20 PM
The washrag seemed to move of its own accord. Grallen was almost grateful to sink into silence again, nursing her anger with a calm, almost blank face. She would need this clamouring rage later. For now though, at least it was quiet outside her head, if not inside. Lili seemed to be lost in her own thoughts for a while, until she broke the tentative quiet. Grallen listened, curious despite herself, pricking her ears. You really don’t remember, do you? But you were acting strangely before Quar- hmm. Well, it might explain some things…

”You don’t know what happened to Kassandra, by any chance?”

The bird?  Grallen started to shrug, but stopped herself. Listen to her, you idiot. There was an edge to Lili’s voice, or maybe in the way she said it, in body-language or expression- she’d read the tells for so long they all blurred into one complex meaning, weighting every word and movement. But the bird Kassandra was someone important. Maybe even like Earnest, but obviously less loyal – she never had to worry about her frog flying away at the first sign of trouble. Nonetheless, if Lili’s memory was as awkward as it seemed (c’mon, you’ve worked with lunatics before – remember Jack “Giggle” Pebbley?) then she deserved to hear whatever there was to tell about her funny green taenish. But what did happen to it?

“It, uh, she? She flew away when you crashed into Quar, in the alley…” Grallen regarded Lili carefully, “D’you really not remember all that?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on January 06, 2010, 02:19:39 AM
After Altario spoke, asking her for her terms, the Remusian noticed a marked easing in the elfess' posture.  He mirrored this, not wanting to push her into re-raising her defenses.  If she was going to make the effort, then he wasn't going to provoke her.  When she addressed him with his last name, he couldn't help but try to suppress a smile as she struggled with the unwieldiness of it.  "Altario will work fine," he interjected.

Altario's interest was piqued when the elf admitted that she knew someone who knew where Ryk was, but was frustrated that this third party was being secretive.  The elf, this Drustai, began to pace, and Altario could see the inner turmoil in her, though he couldn't be sure of the cause.  He listened intently as she spoke.  It surprised him that she softened somewhat; that she was pleading to his honour.  Whatever she needed, it was important to her and she was searching for someone to trust.  She made an attempt to hide it, but it was there.

Altario stood there after she was done, mulling in his mind his options, and he ran a hand through his thick mane of greying hair.  Options?  He had none.  He needed to find Ryk.  His brother was the key to finding Nayriss.

"Drustai, of the Kayrrhem, you leave me little choice.  I need to find my brother.  As for your concerns about my honour, I'm afraid that is all I have left in this world," he spoke this as visions of Riztalyanna, Nayriss, Denrykmar and even Valannia flashed through his mind.  He felt a tugging at his heart, but pushed it out of his mind.

"I agree to your terms," he paused for a moment, "with one small caveat.  I'm travelling with a small group.  One of them is my brother's best friend, and he will insist on joining us.  I can vouch for his integrity.  The rest...,"   he reflected upon Lili and Damien and Airyn, "the rest I'm sure will be quite willing to part company with me, so there shouldn't be any trouble there."

That settled, Altario turned around and bent low.  He then scooped Lori up into his arms and lifted her up.  "Now you,"   he stared at her, his eyes twinkling, "you need to get home to your mother.  If Ana knew you were out at this time of night down here, I'm sure we'd never hear the end of it.  I don't want to be on her bad side.  When I come to visit you at the Herald, I'm still going to want her to make me her delicious taenish loibl."  He pressed his lips against her cheek before lowering her back to the ground.  "Now, you go home, Lori.  And thank you."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on January 07, 2010, 07:13:38 AM
“It, uh, she? She flew away when you crashed into Quar, in the alley…”

Kassandra was safe! The vile rat that had been chewing on Lili’s intestines melted away like a piece of lard in the frying pan.

“D’you really not remember all that?”

The last thing I remember is getting lost in the rotten maze of this rotten city, while looking for rotten Altario’s rotten baby brother. But that’s none of your rotten business.

”I crashed into Quar? Is that the fat one who looks like an ...” …oops, careful, no need to insult present company!  “… an ogre? I hope he got a bloody nose. Leastwise he doesn’t have to worry about any brains that could be bashed out, that one.”

Lili paused and grinned. She had her sense of fun back, and allowed her eyes to sparkle for a blink before she returned to serious matters.

”Tyrr thinks he’s clever, doesn’t he? I bet the slavers pay him in gnacker shells, though – you know, pay him a pittance – while they get rich selling his ever-so-sweet-smelling desert flowers.”

Let’s see what else we can find out from you, little orc with the fair reputation.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on January 08, 2010, 06:46:47 AM
Lori watched the conversation of the two adults closely. They were not at ease with each other, but they tried hard to get together. Lori puzzled, what it might be, that the elfess pushed in that alliance. Was it something so important like Nayriss? They did not speak about it, just Ryk was mentioned.

Though Lori was very alert, in case something went wrong and Altario would need her help, she was very surprised, when he turned to her, lifted her up and took her in his arms.
And talked to her about Ana, that she would be angry with them, if she knew, that she was out so late. And that he didn‘t want to anger her to be able to return to the Herald - later.
Lori was torn between the blissful experience to be held high up in a father‘s arms, though it was not hers and the dreadful words Altario spoke. He sent her away, home, he talked of parting. Tears filled her eyes, tears she had held back with effort before.

And then he kissed her cheek. And put her down onto the ground.

"Now, you go home, Lori.  And thank you." he said.

Lori couldn‘t answer. She knew, she had done all she could, she had been successful and found somebody, who could help Altario. Now the two adults had to deal with each other and might have to do dangerous and difficult things where they would not need her. But somehow, her feet didn‘t want to move. She wanted to be near the person she loved, as she just had found out. But then, and with this thought she pressed her little fist to her heart, she might be hindering him, Altario might not be able to find Ryk, if she stayed. So, with a big sigh she whispered:

„See you in the inn then, tomorrow!“

And without looking back she ran until she reached the first houses. Now the tears welled out of her eyes, so that her sight was blurred. Slowly she went on, not really caring where she went.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on January 08, 2010, 08:06:07 AM

Brumia the butcher had long since found the peace she desired. Her enthusiastic snoring rattled the window shutters, and their cheerfully hopping rhythm could be heard outside in the dark and deserted alley. The walls of the houses still retained some of the day's warmth, but a chilly breeze now whistled past. The butchers shop sign (on which, if it had been daytime, you could have seen the image of an exceedingly fat pig) swayed lightly. On the pole that held the sign, Kassandra was perched. She sat perfectly still, but her head was not tucked under her wing feathers, as it usually would have been at this time of night, when she sat on a branch or bedpost somewhere near Lili's head – unless, of course, the two of them were out and about, drinking in taverns and sampling the songs of the walking trees. Tonight, however, Kassandra was alone. Her head was erect, her eyes glared into the darkness, where they were unable to see anything but drab shadows, and her daggerlike beak stuck out into the air, a complaint against the waywardness of fate.

The bird's little body was tense with the need for sleep after a long, hot day. But nobody sleeps well when they are afraid. Being a bird, Kassandra couldn’t quite explain her feelings to herself, but the absence of her customary perch, the lack of indication of where that perch might be, and the shortage of light that made a flying search all but impossible – these made Kassandra’s heart race, and her little mind teemed with frantic, disembodied dialogues from her past. She didn’t remember anything else – no images, no smells, no food. Only the words, fragments of the countless verbal sparring matches that she had held with Lili over the years; these ran around in her head like so many myrmex run along the endless passages within their burrows.

It was thus a welcome distraction for Kassandra when something happened. A walking tree trotted through the little alley. It was a small one, as far as walking trees went. And it was singing: it made a noise like its nose – these ugly, spongy, useless excuses for beaks that those walking trees had and inexplicably never appeared to be ashamed of  – was in dire need of being cleared.

Kassandra fluttered her wings. The walking tree was now almost directly under the shop sign where she was perched, three peds above the ground. The tree was still sniffling noisily. Kassandra decided to join the song.

"Ophoch, ophoch," she coughed, in the hoarse croak that Lili’s voice assumed on the rare occasions when she could get her hands on pipeweed.

”I could eat a whole family of ophochio wyrms (, I could. And a krrroa’haxpattl for pudding.”

For some reason that Kassandra couldn’t fathom, she suddenly realized that the long wait in the chilly night air had made her hungry.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on January 09, 2010, 03:03:44 AM
Airyn worked silently on Damien; cutting away his shirt, then the old bandage, cleaning the wound, putting some sort of pasty patch on the wound and then rebandaged it. Damien winced as she pulled hard on the wide strip of cloth she used as a wrap that went several times around his ribs.  Airyn stepped back and checked her work making Damien turn around like he used to do when his tailor would fit him for his clothes. "Looks good, Baron Scar. I advise you to take your medicine and stay out of fights!"

Damien grinned. "Yes m'lady. Taking the medicine should be easy, not fighting...well I promise not fight if the other guy does the same. How is that?"

Airyn frowned, shrugged her shoulders and muttered, "Men." She rose, took the od that Damien offered her for payment and packing her things she left.

Damien layed down upon the bed but could not sleep. He rose, went to his trunk and put on his last shirt. This one was just a plain black short sleeved shirt. His pants had some blood splatter on them, but they were small and after a short scrub with some water they were almost gone. Damien checked to make sure his knives were still in their sheaths on his belt, he had his money belt and then walked out of his room locking it behind him, sliding the key into his money belt.

Damien went downstairs expecting to see Airyn, but she was no where to be seen. Rhia's playing or voice was not heard either, but some other entertainer was singing instead. Damien frowned, shook his head and headed for the bar.

Sitting at the bar was the man who seemed to know Airyn. The man's pet wolf, with its tongue hanging out of its mouth sat near his side. Damien sat down next to the man. The barkeep came forward. "A cup of tea, some dark bread and a bowl of water for the wolf," Damien ordered.

The barkeep placed the cup with tea in it, "Take a moment for the water to heat up," he said as he placed a loaf of dark bread on the bar.

Damien looked at the man and held out his hand, "Damien Scar is my name. I hope you do not mind me getting some water for your wolf, but in this heat he should drink as much as he can. Just curious, but what is a wolf, meant for the colder climates doing here in the desert? Oh, by the way can I offer you a drink or something?" Damien asked.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on January 18, 2010, 10:52:20 PM
”I crashed into Quar? Is that the fat one who looks like an ... an ogre? I hope he got a bloody nose. Leastwise he doesn’t have to worry about any brains that could be bashed out, that one.”

Grallen raised an eyebrow, a slight smile brightening her eyes. Lili was grinning. Things were looking up, just maybe. Quar looks like a “significant pause” ogre, does he? S’funny, he reminded me of my uncle Miles. Similar sense of humour.

”Tyrr thinks he’s clever, doesn’t he? I bet the slavers pay him in gnacker shells, though – you know, pay him a pittance – while they get rich selling his ever-so-sweet-smelling desert flowers.”

Grallen’s smile broadened. Perceptive, isn’t she? You’d almost think she wasn’t entirely the innocent that Tyrr had her down for. For a moment, she considered giving the human one of her knives – it’d certainly make it easier if they could both cause trouble when required – but fighting when shackled is a knack, and liable to backfire spectacularly if undertaken by a novice – better to keep hold of both and make it our job to cause trouble. Actually, that’s an excellent idea. We’re good at causing trouble.

“I’d reached a similar conclusion myself. In my experience,” (and what experience is that, exactly, hmm?) “arrogant gobshites like him are tolerated ‘cos they’re too blinkered to realise they’re being ripped.”

She grinned, and leaned just slightly closer. “You thinking we should enlighten him as to how unjustly he’s being misled?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on January 19, 2010, 03:22:26 AM
aboard the Runner

Tyrr paced the upper deck while Quar sat on a barrel carving on a piece of wood. Gres was looking down the hold where their prisoner and Grallen were behind a locked door. Quar chuckled, "Don'cha worry brother your orc girlfriend," Quar spit on the deck, "she ain't go'n no where." except maybe to feed the crabs Quar thought with a grin as he recalled his latest victim he had fed to those little hungry creatures. They had a voracious appetite. "Tyrr where is the cap'n of this 'ere ship? I 'ave plans with some ladies, and not the green-skinned kind either!" Quar said, making another jab at Gres who just ignored him.

"I don't know Quar and that is the second time you asked me in less than an hour. Ask me one more time and..."

Quar stood up. "And what?" he snarled. The knife in his hand was waving slowly in front of him.

Tyrr quickly turned and two blades came flying out from both of his hands, a slight twang could be heard as both blades stuck almost right next to each other on the barrel Quar had just been sitting on. "I have two more blades, Quar. Want to sit down now?"

Quar looked down at the blades swallowing hard, realizing how close he had come to not having what the ladies wanted. He looked back up at Tyrr. "S'rry," he mumbled. "It's just the waiting," he whined.

Tyrr walked over to the barrel and pulled his knives out. "Yeah, I know Quar. I hate it too. I wonder where in Bavaera's name the Captain of this ship is. He is late." Tyrr said calmly, as if nothing had happened.

Tyrr walked back to the rail of the ship and looked out into the dark ocean a breeze brushed against his face. He looked up at the flag way on top of the mast of the ship and saw it fluttering. To his right way out on the tip he saw the light of the lighthouse put out its warning to ships that may be coming to port to watch out for the reefs.

The Captain of this boat was late and late was bad in his buisness. Late meant that it gave more time for someone to report a missing person to the authorities. Late meant that if the people she was with would begin to wonder where she is and start a search. Late meant that every second that passed was more dangerous to him! And he did not like late!

"Gres go and find out if Grallen is done bathing our prsoner," he paused a moment, "Quar go with him just to make sure nothing happens," Tyrr finished tossing the skeleton key to the lock.

"I could do it myself, Tyrr. I don't need Quar. I am not baby that needs a babysitter," Gres said.

"No, but you are attracted to Grallen and I do not entirely trust her. I believe she knows our prisoner, which reminds me, she never did tell me her name. Quar find out what her name is...ask, no marks on her, understood?" Tyrr asked, his eyebrow raised.

"Yeah, I understand. C'mon brother and let's go see yer girlfriend," Quar said spitting again.

Gres mumbled under his breath but followed Quar down the hold, two sailors also came down after him. Gres waited while Quar unlocked the heavy lock and then opened the door. "I 'ope yer ladies are decent. Grallen you had 'nough time wash our girl so we coming in, besides yer boyfriend needs to see ya," Quar laughed.

They all walked in....Gres was blushing with anger and excitement at seeing Grallen and Quar along with the two sailors were hoping that the human female was still naked.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on January 19, 2010, 07:36:49 AM
A strange sound penetrated  the misery Lori felt right now.

"Ophoch, ophoch,"

It made Lori stop, though she did not do that consciously, more out of exhaustion and because there was no sense anyway in going on.

”I could eat a whole family of ophochio wyrms, I could. And a krrroa’haxpattl for pudding.”

What was that? Suddenly Lori was alert. A voice out of nowhere? A somewhat familiar voice! Lori stopped crying, took her skirt and wiped her eyes and nose with it and then looked around. For a moment Lili came to her mind, but she was not around, so much Lori could see despite the darkness.  

„For pudding, for pudding, a haxl for pudding, a krrrroaxl maxl, right now, I said!“

She knew that voice, and it came from above!
There was a shop sign above her, which had an odd form. A moving form.

„Kassandra, you?"

"Where is Lili, Kassandra?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on January 21, 2010, 07:44:54 AM
   “Damn tha’ blasted Jack Jonez ter th’ bot’um o’ th’ sea!”  Eric thought as he stormed through the harbour.  Clenching his gnarled fists, and grinding his teeth, the pirate captain fumed inside as he thought about the day that he’d had.  Complication after complication; who’d be a pirate!  If it wasn’t some low-life sprat trying to muscle in on his operations, then it was some hired thugs drawing way too much attention to themselves.  And of course, Eric was in no doubt that his arch-enemy, Admiral Jones of the Black Marlin, was somehow behind it all.

   Suddenly, a sailor bumped into Eric, or, more accurately, Eric bumped into a sailor.  The lone mariner opened his mouth to say something, but the fiery look and mouthful of abuse that he got made his words get caught in his throat.

   “Stupi’ lubber!”  Eric thought to himself as he continued his journey, “Not got eyez in ‘iz ‘ead!  Foolz!  I’z a surrounded by foolz!  Still, at leas’ I’ll be free o’ this place soon enough!”

   The thought of being back onboard his ship, and sailing onto the freedom of the open sea, made Eric relax a little.  In fact, as he approached the Runner, a smile came to his face.

   “Those lubberz bes’ not give me no trouble,” he thought as he climbed aboard.

   It didn’t take him long to find Tyrr, but there was no sign of his cronies.

   “Tyrr, sorry I’z late, but there’z bin a few com’licationz, like.  Seemz there’z bin a body foun’; some woman wit’ crabz chewin’ on ‘er; ‘n the powerz tha’ be are lookin’ fer a fella tha’ waz sin down there; a fella tha’ lookz like one o’ yer men.  Now the ‘ole townz a talkin’ o’ it, and there’z word tha’ the same man waz sin wit’ ‘n orc ‘n a girl.”

   Eric paused briefly, letting the implications of what he’d just said sink in.

   “So ‘ee’l not be leavin’ this ‘ere boat ternight.  I’ll set yer down at the nex’ port o’ call, and ye’ll get yer coin there.”

   Without waiting for a reply, for in a captain’s mind, there can never be a reply other than, “Aye, aye, sir,” Eric turned to one of the crew who was walking past.

   “Are all th’ men back?” he asked, eager to know that they were so that the ship could sail.

   The sailor’s eyes flicked nervously to the side, avoiding Eric’s gaze.

   “Er, not yet, sir; there’s a group o’ ‘em that ain’t accounted for, yet.”

   Eric drew in a deep breath, his eyes widening with rage.  It was bad enough that he’d been held up; every blink that passed put the whole crew into more jeopardy.

   Then, with a terrible, anguished cry, he lashed out at the barrel that Quar had recently been sitting on.  His booted foot crashed into it, splintering the wood.  Bang!  Bang!  Bang!  Three times he smashed it, releasing a curse with every kick.  Then, still full of fury, he picked the battered barrel up, and threw it overboard.

   Feeling a little better, he turned back to the sailor.

   “Get ev’rythin’ ready ter sail, let the men know, so when them lazy lubberz get back, we can leave at once!”

   “Aye, aye, sir,” the sailor said, before hurrying away to pass the captain’s message on to the rest of the crew.

   “Now,” Eric said, turning to Tyrr, “Let’z see this girl o’ yourz; where iz she?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on January 22, 2010, 02:29:52 AM
Tyrr heard the heavy thumps of boots coming up the gangplank of the Runner, turned and saw the Captain of the ship. He seems to be angry about something, Tyrr thought. Then the Captain saw Tyrr and explained why he was late. A lump jumped into Tyrr's throat as he listened. Blast! He did not expect this. And Quar will probably burst. But it was his fault, well at least most of it, if he had just questioned the girl and not killed her.

How and who discovered the girl anyway? No one goes out in the shoals in that direction. It is far too dangerous for just a stroll. It would have to have been someone else who was hiding or trying to escape from the authorities. Blast, it could have been someone caught and they told of the girl to be let go. Who knows. The only thing Tyrr knew was that he, the twins and Grallen were going to spend more time together.

Grallen! How is going to explain her to the Captain? And how is she going to react at being told that she has to stay aboard the ship?

His thoughts were interrupted when the Captain began bashing the barrel that Quar had been sitting on. Something must have set off, Tyrr thought as he saw the Captain throw the battered and splintered barrel off of the side of the ship. He has a worse temper than Quar, Tyrr thought again.

The Captain then seemed to calm down and turned and asked him where the girl was?

Tyrr swallowed the lump and putting on a straight face pointed down into the hold. "We have her shackled down in the hold, Captain. Quar and Gres, two of your men, and another of my crew, just picked up recently are down there. They were checking to see if our girl was bathed and clean smelling. We...uh...well there was a complication right as we captured the girl."

Tyrr paused, thinking about how or even if he should tell the Captain what had happened. He decided to just show the girl to the Captain and if the Captain had any questions then he would answer them then.

He led the Captain down to the hold, "It is a long story and since we are going to be sailing together I can tell it to you over some good rum or ale," Tyrr said as he opened the door to let the Captain go before him. Tyrr prayed, and he usually never prayed unless it was under dire circumstances, that nothing was or had been going on and that the girl was washed and clean. As an afterthought, he also prayed that the Captain would not lose his temper when he saw Grallen for the first time.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on January 22, 2010, 07:36:52 AM

”Kassandra, you? Where is Lili, Kassandra?”

Kassandra knew the voice of that walking tree. It was the little one - the one was a bit shy with her sometimes, who retracted her branches when Kassandra’s beak came close. Yet, it was braver than most trees of its size. In any case, there were no others around to share a song with, so this one would have to do, Kassandra supposed. Also, it had been rather polite of the tree to sing “Kassandra” and “Lili”. These sounds made Kassandra’s breast feel a little warmer, they did.

Spreading her wings, Kassandra let herself glide off her perch and sail down towards Lori. Not sure where to settle, the bird fluttered three times around the girl, until Lori held out her arm, and let Kassandra land on it. For a moment, neither bird nor girl knew what to do next. With her free arm, Lori wiped the last tears from her face. Kassandra, meanwhile, turned her neck so that her beak could reach her back, and busied herself preening the feathers of her folded wings.

Where is Lili?” the girl repeated, eventually.

Kassandra looked up and, feeling a bit unstable on Lori’s thin arm, made a few sidesteps to reach the girl’s shoulder. Then she began to sing.

”If you give me a biscuit, I let you stroke my bird!” she began in Little-Lili’s voice.

Biscuits! Lori still had one in her pocket. She offered it to the bird, who snatched it up. With surprising dexterity, Kassandra bit little pieced off the biscuit without loosing the grip on the bigger piece. To swallow, she thrust her head back and let the crumbs fall into her maw.

”So what do you think, Kassandra? Are we going to find this Denrykmar chap?”

”Denrykmar? What do you know about Denrykmar?”

“ye- yeah, we’re gonna go hunting, jus’ you and me... c’mon, we have t’be quick or they’ll all have gone home fer the night.”

Wasn’t that Grallen’s voice? The person with the funny little frog?

”Hunting what?”

“I’ll gie ye three guesses, or you c’n ask him yersel’ – he seems eager enough to see you.”

”I don’t know what  to guess, Kassandra. And would you please not pinch my shoulder so with your claws?”

”What are you playing at?”

Now, that  was a scary voice. Angry and threatening and demanding an answer like only adults could. That was mean of Kassandra to say that!

”That is mean of you to say that. Your claws are quite sharp, you know!”

”Shut your brat up, you drunken filthy maggots!”

”What?” When she had recognized Kassandra, Lori had just about managed to stop crying. But now she was close to starting again.

”If you speak mean like that, I’m going to punch you off my shoulder. I will! I don’t care if you hack at me with your ugly beak!”

"Shut yer trap and help me wrap this woman in this rug."

”What are you on about, you stupid taenish? You can’t wrap anyone in a rug. You don’t even have hands!”

"You will do as you're told or I will cut your throat open and shove this stuff down it."

Now this was too much. No bird had the right to tell Lori-Lo what she should do. Not even Ana spoke to her like that! Lori made a fist with her left hand and thought. She had to get the first strike right, because if she didn’t, that beak would hack at her face. That would hurt very much, and she might even bleed. And then what should she tell Ana? That she got into a fight with the bird of one of her customers? But this Kassandra had turned out to be really nasty. Lori had tried to be nice, even though she was upset because Altario had sent her away, and all the bird had been was cruel.

”I warn you one last time,” Lori said, and she didn’t release her fist. Kassandra’s reply, however, surprised her.

“hey, hey hush – c’mon Lili, you, uh, you’ve scared the bird away … look, I need you to be quiet right now or things will go very very runny very very quickly. I dunno what you’re playing at with this little kid play-acting, but I’d be extremely grateful if’n you’d cut it out now. Please ?”

”Lili? I’m not Lili. And I’m not playacting. Are you being a bit loopy in the head, Kassandra?”

”You guess where I run!”

”You’re a bird! You’re supposed to fly, not run!”

”Do something! Make her go quiet! Or I’ll cut your hairy ears off!”

”My ears aren’t hairy. And anyway, what …”

… and with a flash, Lori remembered Grallen’s ears, sticking out from her unkempt greenish, blackish hair. Long were they, those ears; long and ever-twitching.

”You’re not talking to me, are you, Kassandra? Not really  to me.”

 "Now let's get to the ship. We can clean ourselves up there and then afterwards Quar take care of that woman. Make sure the crabs are fed well!"

”Ship? Woman? Feed the crabs?”

Lori had picked up some crabs earlier today, of course. She also knew of the rumours that evil people sometimes kill children and throw their bodies onto a certain part of the shore that was difficult to get to, so that the crabs would eat the corpses and the children’s parents would never, never find them again. Lori thought that she never wanted to eat any of those black crabs again. Kaltoora, however, could eat as many as she liked, for all Lori cared.

Yet what woman was Kassandra speaking of?

”What woman are you speaking of?”

”My friends call me Lili the Elfcat, if you must know!”

”Lili! Are you saying someone is going to feed Lili to the crabs?”

”I do hope that you and, um, Kassandra will be blessed with a favourable destiny.”

Destiny? By Baveras! Of course! Something must have happened to Lili! She would never have left Kassandra alone. That’s why the bird is talking so mean: she is upset.

Lili might be in danger. Lori knew that she had to do something. She also knew that she needed help. Her first thought was Ana – Ana always knew what to do. But then Lori thought of the voices she had heard from Kassandra’s beak: male voices, rough voices, voices of people who drank too much mil’no fire and got cross and horrid and brutal. If such people had taken Lili … wrapped her in a rug … carrying her to the crabs …

Lori shuddered. No, Ana wasn’t the right person. Lori needed the help of someone who had a sword and could speak to dangerous people. Someone who would not be afraid. Someone who could protect people. Someone like … Altario!

Before she had finished thinking all that, Lori’s legs had started to move as if of their own accord, and soon Lori was running at full speed through the dark alleys of Strata. Back to the inn! I hope Altario is still there! Back to the inn!  That was all she could think. She didn’t worry about Kassandra’s claws anymore, although they were still piercing the flesh in her shoulder through her shirt. And neither did she worry about Kassandra’s mean words anymore. She had understood now. Kassandra didn’t talk like normal people. She just repeated what other people said, and you had to guess what she meant.

While the child ran, Kassandra hung onto her perch and enjoyed the ride. She had had a long day, and didn’t feel like flying away. Now and then she tried to continue the duet with the walking tree, who was rather fast for someone without wings – but there was no reply to be got out of her. Lori, for her part, didn’t listen anymore. She only hoped she would not be too late to tell Altario about what she had found out.

When she reached the Beauty of the South, where she had left Altario less than an hour ago, Lori’s lungs hurt like they hadn’t done since that day when she had stolen an apple from the fruitstall on the market, and the seller had pursued her all the way to Thief’s Lane. She stopped, and calmed her breath. In the shadow by the wall, where she had stumbled over Altario, two figures could be seen. Were these Altario and the tall, creepy woman? Lori was too impatient to wait for confirmation of the senses, and it was her hope that made her resume her run in the direction of the two figures while she shouted:

”Altario, Altario! I think something has happened to Lili!”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on January 22, 2010, 07:59:44 PM
Two faces turned towards Lori - unfriendly ones. She stopped abruptly, so that Kassandra nearly lost her grip on her shoulder, flapped heavily with her wings to stabilise herself and blustered with a rough voice:

„Krooaax, whoa men, ho men, off to battle we go! Farewell the lass, goodbye the brats off to battle we go!“

Lori at the same time cried at the top of her voice also, for Kassandra‘s claws had dug deep in her shoulder.

The two people were stunned for a moment, but then one of them, the tall man with his shaved face and richly embroidered clothes started to shout at Lori in a way, which did not match his appearance.

„Go away, you little wretch, I‘ll beat you up and feed you to the sharks in the deep water if you do not vanish immediately, and your mangy cockerel also!“

„Psst, be quiet, dear, psst, let‘s go in again,“ the other person, who obviously was a woman, tried to calm down her partner.

Lori was ready to turn in an instant and to run back to the Sea Shoal‘s Inn, but Kassandra was exited, the shouting had driven away her exhaustion, she set off Lori‘s shoulder to hover over the pair, screeching:

"Sharpen your steel
and mount your horse
off to battle we go!"

"Kassandra, stop, Kassandra, come!"

"To kill an orc
maim a man
off to battle we go!

We fall and die.... „

Kassandra didn‘t hear Lori‘s shouts, but when the man tried to hit her, she rose in the air and turned back to Lori. As soon as she was within the reach of the girl, Lori grabbed her, pressed her to her chest and ran straight to the Shoal, though meanwhile she was out of air and could not run as fast as she wanted to.

Kassandra felt strange, uncomfortable, somehow lightheaded and tried to wriggle out of the grip of those little arms. But Lori held her tight, she not even realised the discomfort of the bird. So Kassandra, with not much air left, only uttered a little „Kroax“.

For Lori the path seemed endless. But finally she burst into the inn, looked around with a lunatic gaze, and saw the man with the wolf. Garret. She ran over to him, panting, and trying to tell him all in one word.

„Garret, something happened to Lili, I found Kassandra and she told me such strange things, we need to help her!“ Corporeal and emotional exhaustion nearly overpowered Lori, the tears were coming back, but she tried to stay steady and tell Garret what she knew.

„I found her in the butcher‘s street and she told me a lot, than I ran back to Altario to the Beauty, but he and the big elfess were gone, there were only two other people, and then I ran to the shoal, you need to look for her, please!"

Only now she realised, that Kassandra desperately tried to escape the confinement of her arms and so she released her, placed her on the counter at which Garret was sitting and tried to smoothen her rugged feathers. Kassandra had enough of these little hands for now though and stepped slightly away.

Kassandra was relieved. Not that she had feared those trees which grew so funny along the ground, had two trunks, no branches to sit on, but nice leaves to dig the claws in. Not that she had tried it yet.  But in Lori's arms with no freedom to move as she wanted, this had been nothing to her liking, especially when this funy tree was so close. Now, sitting safely on the counter, she fluffed her feathers up, then eyed the big tree to which the little tree was speaking. And her commentary was:

"Whoa men
ho men
off to battle we go!"

Credit: The song Kassandra knows was collected by Drogo.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on January 23, 2010, 03:50:09 AM
The man had not shook Damien's hand, which Damien took as the worst, the man was rude or at the best, the man was in deep thought or perhaps like he had been many many times, just not interested in socializing. So, Damien slowly put his hand down. The water was poured into his tea and he wrapped his large hands around the cup, savoring the warmth. Funny how cold it became even in the desert, well cool would be a better answer for this would be a summer heat wave up in Voldar.

Suddenly the door to the inn burst open. Damien turned his head around and was met with a sight of a little girl with a large green bird on her held next to her chest. She ran straight toward the man with the wolf and with an exhausted voice spoke.

„Garret, something happened to Lili, I found Kassandra and she told me such strange things, we need to help her!“

„I found her in the butcher‘s street and she told me a lot, than I ran back to Altario to the Beauty, but he and the big elfess were gone, there were only two other people, and then I ran to the shoal, you need to look for her, please!"

The sound of Altario's name being mentioned as well as the little girl releasing the bird who had taken two steps toward him and preened itself caught Damien's attention very quickly. He stared at the bird as he played back the girls words in his head. Suddenly he recognized the bird as the one that had been with the fair haired woman Altario was having dinner with this evening. The woman who had first danced with him and then seemed to want nothing to do with him. So, Lili was her name. And this bird's name is Kassandra?

As Damien played back the girls words once again in his mind he came to several conclusions; Lili was missing. Lili's bird, Kassandra told this little girl something important, which meant that the bird could talk!? And that the girl expected to find Altario at the Beauty of the South, which Damien figured was another inn, but when the girl did not find Altario there she came here and told the first person she recognized...Garret. Well at least Damien knew what the man's name was.

Then unexpectedly and it made Damien jump, the bird, Kassandra spoke, just like a man, a man's voice, or dialect to be exact that Damien knew very well. He even knew the song.

"Whoa men
ho men
off to battle we go!"

Damien itched to butt in but waited for Garret's reply to the girl before he would say something.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on January 23, 2010, 05:20:52 AM
Aha! Here was a topic to untie an orc girl’s tongue. Lili was pleased. She felt she had hit the right note. Referring to Tyrr, Grallen said:

“In my experience, arrogant gobshites like him are tolerated ‘cos they’re too blinkered to realise they’re being ripped. You thinking we should enlighten him as to how unjustly he’s being misled?”

You really hate him, don’t you? That’s good.

”Nah, why deprive the poor man of his illusions? He’s happier when he thinks he’s the king, and as long as those other two blackhogs follow him around, he’ll never …”

There was a noise, and the door opened. Talk of the blackhog, and it comes a-hopping. Here they were, Gres and Quar, along with two other men.

"I 'ope yer ladies are decent. Grallen you had 'nough time wash our girl so we coming in, besides yer boyfriend needs to see ya," Quar said.

In the mood for jests, are we? Or should … By the rabid bloodbear! That Gres chap is as red as a ripe vinterberry. I’ll be a mimsy if he isn’t in heat!

Quickly, Lili’s eyes moved and focused on Grallen to watch her reaction. It would be important to know how she and Gres stood. Maybe here was the answer to the question why the orc was involved in this sordid business at all?

The door moved again, Tyrr came in - and with him, a sailor with a beard so profuse that you could only just see how sunkissed his skin was. Now here we've got a man who deserves the title. Are we in the presence of the Great Slave Trader and Chief Vilerat himself?

Lili tried to keep a stern face, giving herself the appearance as if she found it hard not to cry. Inside, however, she was alert, ready to soak up any useful information that these fools would give away through their talk. She wasn’t ready to abandon hope of escape just yet.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Garret Arroway on January 23, 2010, 10:34:12 AM
Even before Airyn had departed, Garret had slipped back into his thoughts. Hand wrapped around the still full mug, he gazed down at the wood of the bar blankly. The memory of his time up north played through his mind. The good and the bad. The fact that he had found a home far from this southern roots brought a small, smile to his face while the memories of the war turned that to one of pain.

So caught up in the memories he hadn't heard Airyn's words or the words of the other man as they left. When the man had returned he still sat there, mud of ale still full. Shadowfoot stirred and looked up at the man from where he lay on the floor, wrapped around the legs of the stool his human sat on. He bared his teeth in a silent snarl and watched the other human, muscles tense. However, he settled down again quickly, watching the room once again.

The words the man spoke went unheard by Garret as his mind continued to swim in memories. The noise of the inn just barely made it though his thick skull at that moment, keeping him grounded, for now. It wasn't until a little voice called his name that the memories started to fade away from him. The whimpering of his wolf, who had got to his feet and nudged him, brought him back to himself with a start, causing his still full mug to fall over and send a wave of ale along the bar.

Beside him, the little girl from the the Herald, Lori stood, clasping a familiar winged creature in her arms as she tried to tell him something.

“Something happened to Lili, I found Kassandra and she told me such strange things, we need to help her!”

While he had full control again, Garret was still shaken and pale from the events of what had so far been a fairly short day for him. Before he could fully take it everything she'd said already, the little girl had started talking again.

“I found her in the butcher's street and she told me a lot, than I ran back to Altario at the Beauty, but he and the big elfess were gone, there were only two people there, and then I ran to the Shoal, you need to look for her, please.”

When she was done speaking Garret sat back, frowning in concentration as he tried to put everything together. At least he knew know where Altario had been, though the mention of a 'big elfess' confused him. Further more, they seemed to be taking it from a bird that the woman, Lili was currently missing.

He looked back at Lori who'd already put the bird on the counter. The little girl looked as if she had been crying already and was on the verge of doing so again. Instinctively, Garret knelt beside her, awkwardly cupping her little chin in one large hand.

“It'll be alright,” he said, trying to calm her down a bit and reassure her with a kind smile. “We'll figure this out.”

Not having very much experience with children, he stood, lightly patting her on the head as he would Shadowfoot before turning towards the bird on the counter. The old wolf nudged his human's hand, prompting Garret to ruffle the gray fur atop the creatures head and grin down to reassure his companion that he was alright.

Looking at the bird once more, Garret stopped for a moment, unsure what to do. Awkwardly he spoke to the bird, hoping to encourage it to give up some helpful information as he was sure he'd heard the creature talk before. Whether or not it would understand him and be helpful was yet to be seen.

“Alright, where's Lili?” he asked, clearly uncomfortable with the fact that he was talking to a bird even though he'd had one sided conversations with Shadowfoot for the last fifteen years.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on January 24, 2010, 12:51:09 AM
Grallen nodded at Lili’s words, her grin widening slightly. She wasn’t new to this kind of person either, was she? Better to bide our time, as she says, and trust-

Her gaze flicked to the door with the human’s, ears pricking at movements beyond their prison, and then at Quar’s voice. Ever so slightly, she shifted position, turning just slightly away from Lili, leaning more against the wall. She glanced to the human girl’s face, all trace of grin gone. She was surprised, almost (you really shouldn’t be, by now, should you?) at how quickly her anger at the men resurfaced. Perhaps it was because it was mixed with confusion – now she saw him again, it was clear that Gres was ... well... ah, for k’ahn’uck’s sake! I mean... yuk. Just yuk. She didn’t know how to react to that – it threw her, and that angered her. Still, she forced herself to stay calm, to glance over the men with cold disdain in her yellow eyes, before getting up – though she didn’t step towards them but stayed leaning on the wall, next to Lili. First rule of advance troublemaking: don’t go out to get trouble. Let it come to you. And then kick it in the gut and stamp on it till it stops wriggling.

Somebody else came in. Damn, it’s getting a bit crowded in here... on the other hand, doesn’t he just look like a boss-man, hmm? I wonder how many will come running if he yells?

She looked him up and down quickly, took in Tyrr’s new air of slightly flustered obsequiousness as he shuffled in behind, and flicked her gaze back to weird mister Gres. Hmm...

She flashed a smile at him, brief and brilliant and predatory, before looking back at this new captain, apparently as indifferent as if her were a sack of flour. It was a complete nutter, if I recall correctly, who once said “if you’ve no cards left to play, simply change the rules of the game, and say I win! In a loud, convincing voice, before taking the cash and running.” Yeah, that was Patchwork Andy said that, wasn’t it? Sucker. Was almost a pity to take all his money like that. Still, point stands.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on January 24, 2010, 01:17:34 AM

Kassandra always enjoyed standing on these convenient broad branches that the walking trees liked to use. Even though they were slippery sometimes, as you couldn’t wrap your claws around anything, their presence usually suggested that water was available. This time, however, no one thought to offer a drink to a thirsty bird. Instead, there was some frantic singing going on. A tall tree was the most eager; it sang right into Kassandra’s face:

“Alright, where's Lili?”

An agreeably sonorous voice! It made Kassandra remember a song she had heard during her recent travels, and she sang in a sweet female voice:

”In plashing pools of dappled rain
The frog lifts up his woeful strain,
Below the blooms of Alinfa.

Sing, frogling, sing your song of grief!
On withered stem and blighted leaf
The serpent’s shadow came and fell.

Soft river, bear my words away,
I would I could not hear, nor say
The Lily’s tale for elven ears."

Pleased with her performance, Kassandra turned her head towards her back and preened her feathers. They had been dreadfully ruffled by that careless little walking tree, who had ungently trapped her in its branches and carried her about just as if she were a fledgling unable to fly by herself.

OOC: Poem by Judith of Bardavos

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on January 24, 2010, 03:30:08 AM
   “Shackled,” that didn’t sound good.  Eric was already uncomfortable enough about this whole kidnap deal; it was far from his usual lines of business.  In fact, he’d brawled with more than his fair share of slavers in the past, and still had the scars to prove it.  It just didn’t sit right with him, especially when women or children were involved.  Still, in the world of crime, things often became complicated, and sometimes a man found himself doing things that he wasn’t happy doing.  In this particular case, Eric owed a big favour to a less than savoury character, who’d helped him out of trouble before.  Now the debt had to be repaid, and unfortunately, it was a woman that was wanted as settlement.

   So here were the other two lubbers, along with a couple of his own crew.  After checking that Tyrr had shut the door properly, Eric turned his attention to the other two bodies in the room.  One was obviously the unlucky girl, but the other didn’t fit into the picture at all.

   “Look at ye!” Eric snapped at the two sailors, “No bet’er than a couple o’ thugz!”  The sight of a young woman chained up on his own boat had riled him even more.  “Wat way iz this ter treat a lady?”

   The two sailors muttered apologies whilst Eric approached Lili and inspected her closer.

   “Nice choice, ladz; I perti’ulary like the scar!”

   It was a bad business; that was for sure.  Eric just wanted to set sail, get the girl delivered, and settle his debt as soon as possible.

   Looking into the girl’s face, Eric reflected that her future was grim.  Not as grim as his own had once been, perhaps, but grim nonetheless.  Still, as long as she was under his care, he wouldn’t make her life any worse than it had to be.

   “Unlock these shac’les, yer dogz; afore it’z ye that feelz their kiss!”

   Dutifully, one of the two pirates unlocked the cuffs, and stood back, allowing Lili her freedom.

   “Aye, thaz bet’er,” Eric said, a little relieved.  “Now, lass, don’ ‘ee try anythin’ stupid, like tryin ter escape, ‘cause it won’t work.  Ye’ll be treated well aboar’ this ship, az long as 'ee be’avez.  So don’ give us no trouble, ‘n ye’ll be fine.”

   Eric turned back to Tyrr, and nodded in the direction of Grallen.

   “Per’apz I’z missin’ somethin’?  I don’ remem’er an orc in yer crew; or iz this two fer the price o’ one?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on January 24, 2010, 06:06:04 AM
Drustai kept her polite smile as she nodded her head towards the human's response. Good. He was going to be cooperative afterall. With luck, he would be more useful to her than the criminals she had been working with, and less of a threat to her own well-being. Her eyes trailed down to the sword around his hip for a moment, then back up towards him. She hoped he knew how to use it. He did not seem as muscular as some of the human warriors she had seen before. But, though he was quite young by her standards--barely out of adolescence, even--his grey hair pointed out his elderly human age, and hopefully the experience that went with it.

"I agree to your terms, with one small caveat." Drustai's smile faded into something more neutral at this, and she tilted her head. Of course, the human would ask for something more. "I'm traveling with a small group," he said, "One of them is my brother's best friend, and he will insist on joining us.  I can vouch for his integrity.  The rest... the rest I'm sure will be quite willing to part company with me, so there shouldn't be any trouble there."

She raised an eyebrow at him. Her brow furrowed for a moment as Altario knelt down to speak with the little human girl, but Drustai paid them no mind. Her eyes turned to the side, but did not focus on anything outworldly. A group, he said? More companions than just the one the girl had mentioned? This could work to her advantage. Surely "the boss" would not let her go with just one man, and would send a detachment of sorts with her. But if she could round up an entire party to go with her, then perhaps she could do without any overwatching at all. A small smile came back to her face. And that was certainly to her benefit.

She rose her brow and looked up again, towards Altario and the human girl. She tilted her head to the other side and looked down at Lori, giving her a smile before the girl ran off, before turning back to look at Altario, raising an eyebrow at him.

"A group may not be in our disinterest, Altario. Can they fight? Are they loyal?" She let her smile fade again to something more neutral, and took a few steps closer to him. She folder her arms below her bust, and shifted her weight. "Anyone that you have working for you is one more that isn't working for, how shall I say... the enemy." She paused before continuing. "And if you can convince these others to follow you then we would stand a better chance, don't you think?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on January 25, 2010, 03:55:35 AM
It was not easy to read Grallen’s reaction to Gres. In the space of two blinks, a whole orc horde of emotions ran over her face. First, there was a vanguard of surprise – but was she surprised at Gres’s affection, or only about the fact that Quar knew about it? Then came a disordered gaggle of disgust, closely followed by a battalion of contempt – but were they directed against Gres and his loving, or against Quar and his blabbering out of secrets? The rearguard was made up of spruce little troupe of delight, protected by a squad of aggressive flirtiness.

This little orc girl either had a really knotty love affair going, or she was a talented manipulator of men.

Or both.

Lili couldn’t decide.

She didn’t have much time to think about it either, because a pleasant surprise was in store for her. The bearded chap, who was indeed the Chief Vilerat around here, went and ordered his henchmen to release her shackles. Which they did. Were these slave traders complete banegs? The Vilerat didn’t introduce himself, but he did deign to talk to his prisoner:

“Now, lass, don’ ‘ee try anythin’ stupid, like tryin ter escape, ‘cause it won’t work.  Ye’ll be treated well aboar’ this ship, az long as 'ee be’avez.  So don’ give us no trouble, ‘n ye’ll be fine.”

Lili was rubbing her wrists, which were sore from the hand cuffs and not a little bloodied from her attempts to free herself. She tried to look as submissive and harmless as possible, and put on her sweetest naïve-lady voice as she said:

”Oh, thank you so much, my captain. I’ll be at my best comportment for certain. And I shall recommend your services to all my acquaintances.”

She considered a curtsy, but decided against it. It would be impolite to stuff our opinions down his throat, after all.

In any case, the Vilerat had already turned to Tyrr, who looked distinctly more sheepish than before.

“Per’apz I’z missin’ somethin’?  I don’ remem’er an orc in yer crew; or iz this two fer the price o’ one?”

Aha! Now things are really getting interesting. For what we can’t remember ourselves, we must hear from other people. But remember this, Lili: if you get out of here and find Kassandra, you must do something about that Little Lili Demon of yours. Not that she knew what she could do. Well, we'll think of something. Shht! Listen now!

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on January 26, 2010, 04:12:34 PM
As Altario watched Lori run off toward home and Ana, he listened as the elfess questioned the members of his group; hinting that he should bring them along.  Could they fight?  Were they loyal?  He scoffed.  One was a drunk, one was not right in the head, and the last was too inexperienced to do any good.  And loyal?  He only met two of them, and Damien he couldn't vouch for any longer.

The Remusian turned back to face the elf after Lori disappeared into the darkness.  "I'd prefer it just be Garret and myself.  The rest of them aren't up to the tasks you seem to be hinting at."  In truth, he was appalled that he was even considering Drustai's offer.  But he had come too far, had spent too long in search of Nayriss and Denrykmar to be put off by going places that Denrykmar would feel more at ease going into.  If these were indeed the types of people his little brother associated with; then so be it.

The door to the inn flew open and two figures emerged.  One was the waitress from earlier, while the other was a rough looking man who had obviously had too much to drink.  The man, his one arm wrapped around her waist, pulled her into the shadows.  "Hold on, girl.  Gotta drain the sand viper, if'n ya know what I mean."  He then laughed as he faced the building.  Soon the sound of water could be heard splashing onto the ground, and he passed gas loudly and long.  All the time, the girl was giving Altario a longing look and winked at him.

Altario extended out his arm, inviting Dru to lead the way.  "Perhaps it might be best if we started on our way."   When she started walking, he followed.

"Just so you know, Drustai of the Kayrrhem, I am no assassin.  I will not kill for you or for your employer.  I've seen enough death in my time that killing for pay just seems to be a great waste."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on January 26, 2010, 11:27:20 PM
“Per’apz I’z missin’ somethin’?  I don’ remem’er an orc in yer crew; or iz this two fer the price o’ one?”

Grallen’s lip curled involuntarily. Bloody try it, you bastard. Just bloody try it and I’ll bit your nose off and spit it over the side of the boat, push you in after to fetch it back. She forced herself not to snarl a reply to that, knowing it wouldn’t help anyone to let her temper get the best of her... yet.

But ye gods it was hard! The worst thing... well, there were a great many worst things, to be fair, all jostling for attention. But what grated most was that the blackguard had the temerity to try to be nice to Lili. That was an insult, when Grallen remembered so clearly what she’d been treated like, knew all too well what Lili likely had in store, if they failed to escape.

Grallen watched this captain-of-slavers, her gaze sliding from his boots to his face, where her lightning-yellow eyes met the man’s pale blue gaze fiercely. She remembered the man who’d bought her, how he’d blue eyes... darker than these and duller. Remembered how they’d widened in sudden pain and shock, how he’d reared back and sworn and clutched at his face, how her knuckles had stung, the skin split by impact with his cheekbone. He’d sworn and dabbed at his eye, already swelling, as she was tied back and hooded again. And in the dark and the rank smell of the hood she’d heard his words in the strange language that the humans spoke: “I’ll take it.”

The memories, bright and painful, flashed past behind her lamp-like eyes, while she struggled to stay alert, to take note that Lili’s cuffs were removed. Grallen’s ears twitched. It would not happen again.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on January 27, 2010, 06:01:24 AM
Tyrr's face remained serene and calm, however his insides were bubbling teapot. Captain or no Captain, he had no right to have his prisoner unshackled! He had no right whatsoever over the woman until he got paid! When the Captain began to speak to her and tell her she was lady but do not try to escape and then he asked about Grallen.

Grallen had been awfully silent since they came in but her manner and eyes told Tyrr many things. She was angry and Tyrr supposed if he had been corralled into something like this he would probably be angry too...but there was something else. Something that Tyrr could not wrap his brain around. Something, like wanting to say a certain word, but could not find the right one and it irritates you. For you know what the word is, you just cannot say it. It was the same with Grallen. There was something about her, about this whole situation, it was there, he knew it was, he just could not name it.

On the other hand she could have just walked away if she did not want to get involved. But it was the promise of coin, Tyrr would have bet that made her stay, but now...watching her yellow eyes eye the Captain, Tyrr was not so sure, which is probably why he did not fully trust her.  But first things first.

The crewmen left the room and Tyrr slowly closed the door behind them and then turned around. The water in the teapot screamed out, yet Tyrr kept his voice and emotions under tight control as he looked into the Captain's blue eyes. Why do most seamen, especially Captain's seem to have blue eyes? Tyrr thought nonchanlantly.

"Captain, you and I are not friends. We are not acquaintences. We are partners and partners do not do things without discussing them first. You did not ask me if I wanted my prisoner released, nor even discussed it. You just ordered it to be done. How do you know that that is what I wanted? I know this is your ship, but she," Tyrr pointed a finger at the woman, "is my property, my prisoner, until I and my crew get paid. I would ask for her to be shackled until I and my crew get paid, but I do not wish for partners to...let's unreasonable with each other. Do you agree?"

Tyrr did not wait for an answer. He was trying very very hard to keep his voice calm and his emotions under control. The Captain had much more men than himself, but he had the Captain, still it would be a unnecessary risk.

"So, in that vein of cooperation I will agree for the woman to be free. As far as my crew is concerned; who I choose to be on it is my buisness. I chose Grallen here because she has some very nice talents that came in handy at the time and will do so in the future." Depending upon how long Quar allows her to live that is. This infatuation between Grallen and his brother was really irritating Quar. "I would advise you to have her thoroughly searched, unless Grallen," Tyrr looked at Grallen, "You checked her already for any weapons she may have been carrying besides that rusty old cutlass Quar wants to throw overboard. A small knife hidden somewhere? Perhaps under her belt, or under her clothes, or even in her boots. Did you check all of that when you washed that stink away from her?" Tyrr asked, completely ignoring the Captain now and putting himself back in charge of the situation, though tenuous that may be.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on January 29, 2010, 04:00:31 AM
SeaShoals Inn

Damien looked at the preening bird. "Uh, Garret. I tried to introduce myself to you earlier but you seemed preoccupied. I am Damien Scar and a friend of Altario's. well, I used to be. But no reason to tell him that. "If one of Altario's friends are in danger I would like to help. I think I know this Lili. She was sitting with Altario eating dinner earlier and then they both left to look for Altario's brother. The bird Kassandra mimicks things she hears. I think she told this little girl, Lori, what had happened to Lili but in snippets of conversations. Let me try, I am pretty good with the ladies." Whether my charm works on female birds is another question, but all I can do is try. Damien thought as he tried to think of a way to get Kassandra to talk to him.

A song, the one she was singing when she first came in here. Damien took a swallow of his tea and then sang:

"Sharpen your steel
and mount your horse
off to battle we go!"

"To kill an orc
maim a man
off to battle we go!

We fall and die.... „

Damien stopped singing. Hopefully, that will get Kassandra singing and perhaps she will add something else.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on January 30, 2010, 06:30:20 AM

Pagran the innkeeper stood behind the bar, with his back to the tavern room. He was looking at the beautiful label of a bottle of sligo that he had recently purchased.


The sound was dull and short, but it hit Pagran like a hammer.

”Swooshhhhh. Thuddud!”

Someone had fallen! The sound had come from behind him, from near the bar. More precisely, from the spot where that troublemaker was sitting, the rich Baron Scar. Oh no, not another fight!

Pagran quickly placed the bottle back on its shelf, swung his body around to see what had happened, and saw …

… nothing. There they were, calm as Baveras’ sisters: the baron, the tall stranger with that wild beast – and a little girl, whom Pagran hadn’t noticed before. On the counter there sat that green bird, which had been screaming pirate insults at him when he had showed its owner her room two nights ago. That owner, though, was nowhere to be seen!

Pagran couldn’t help himself. He would risk annoying his customers, and particularly that snooty baron – but he just had to have a look.  My ears don’t deceive me. I’ve run this inn for too long in order not to know what it sounds like when someone is knocked on the head with a club, and then falls to the ground with a bang. Staying behind the counter, he took three steps toward the group and peeked over the counter to see whether someone was lying on the floor in front of it. But there was nobody there.

Pagran stood rather close to his guests now. How embarrassing!

”Um, do our lordships wish another, um, beverage?” he said.

It was the bird that answered, with its beak close to his ear.

"Whoa men
ho men
off to battle we go!"

Pagran flinched, made a step backward, and knocked against a shelf on the back wall. The bottle of sligo began to wriggle and dance. With ever widening amplitudes, it swayed to and fro, until it eventually lost its balance and crashed to the floor.

Bang! Clink! Clatter!

”Oh, do excuse me, Baron Scare! The bird gave me a scar. Um, I mean, gave me a scare, Baron Scar! Excuse me!” said Pagran.

”Bang! Clink! Clatter!” sang Kassandra.

Pagran stared at the bird. He had a headache. Yet he was an innkeeper of some experience, and prided himself on his strong will. He regained his composure and managed a tense but politely apologetic smile in the baron’s direction.

"An unfortunate mishap. Do excuse me while I clean this up."

He reached under the counter, picked up a brush and stooped down to the floor. The sligo's sharp aroma rose into his nose. What a pitiful sight: his beautiful treasure reduced to shards of glass swimming in a puddle! Oh, my good sligo! Five sans a bottle, and that had been a bargain! What a shame!

Kassandra, meanwhile, turned her attention back to Damien. The tree on the other side of the flat branch had surprised her with his banging and clinking and clattering, but in general, she had come to prefer the voice of this new tree. What a resonant and profound yet mellow and nuanced timbre!

"Now let's get to the ship. We can clean ourselves up there and then afterwards Quar take care of that woman. Make sure the crabs are fed well!" she sang to him.

Then she resumed her preening.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on January 31, 2010, 10:32:01 PM
“...unless Grallen, you checked her already for any weapons she may have been carrying besides that rusty old cutlass Quar wants to throw overboard. A small knife hidden somewhere? Perhaps under her belt, or under her clothes, or even in her boots. Did you check all of that when you washed that stink away from her?"

Hah! I knew it, he’s a three blade man at the very least, and I’ll be damned (or more specifically, gutted) if he hasn’t told me a few of his very own favourite hiding places. Not that it makes much difference. Grallen didn’t let her expression change, didn’t even bother to lift her gaze from the captain, as she replied,
“I’m not entirely stupid, mister. She’s got nuffin’.” Can’t say the same for myself though. Maybe I should share.
She kept her yellow eyes fixed on the captain, now. There was no time for playing with the unnervingly odd Gres’s affections. But with any luck even a slaver could find mister Tyrr as irritating as she did. That would help. If there was disagreement about how to treat Lili, then there’d maybe be compromise, and compromises, as Grallen had learnt very quickly during her life among humans, tended to leave openings for those who know where to look.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lori Lo on February 02, 2010, 07:23:00 AM
"Now let's get to the ship. We can clean ourselves up there and then afterwards Quar take care of that woman. Make sure the crabs are fed well!" Kassandra sang to that man who said it was a friend of Altario also.

„Yes, yes!“ Lori shouted excitedly. „Listen to what she says! Lili is on a ship! I can remember another sentence Kassandra said in the streets:

Shut yer trap and help me wrap this woman in this rug.

We have to do something about it! Lili is in danger! Garret, you need to do something now!!!

Lori was desperate. These adults were talking and talking and introducing themselves to each other as if this would not be important right now! She took Garret‘s arm and jolted it as much as she was capable to, ignoring the wolf. Kassandra had said something important! Why couldn‘t they just go to the harbour and look?

Suddenly all was too much for the little girl. The day had been too long with too much happening. She turned round, sank to her feet, back to the bar and wept.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: AnaMirl Goodwill on February 02, 2010, 08:00:02 AM
Ana‘Mirl had worried about Lori the whole day. Had she not said, that the girl should report back every two hours? But of course that might not have been  possible, that she knew herself. So Ana‘Mirl had looked into the Shoal every now and then, had given the stableboy Kero some coins to get her, when Lori should be seen, but he had not shown up.

So she went another time to the inn, hoping to find her little orphan there whom she loved as if it would be her own child. It was already well past sunset, dark and maybe dangerous in the streets. Had Lori found Altario‘s brother, or any other information? Her chest was tight, when she opened the door to the main room of the tavern. With relief she saw, that Lori was here, but she was sitting on the floor, crying desperately. Ana‘Mirl hurried towards her, looking with a questioning gaze to the men around. Garret, was here, and Lili‘s bird perched on the bar. Strange.

Ana didn‘t question the men though, there was time later, but lifted Lori up and took her into her arms. Sitting on a bench, she comforted the little girl in her lap, trying to calm her down, so that she could talk again.

„Come on my dear, tell me what has happened. Is there anything wrong with Altario? Did something nasty happen to you?“

Lori sobbed a little more, but was able to say at least a few words.

„No, I found somebody for Altario, I think they are going now to Alt‘s brother, but something happened to Lili! Kassandra told me, that.. that.. somebody wrapped her in a rug and that they wanted to go to a ship and feed Lili to the crabs!“

Lori‘s buried her face into Ana‘s bosom and sobbed now even harder.

„Shh, shhh, don‘t worry, we will help Lili soon, but first we need to find out,where she could be or what happened to her. The harbour is big, Lori, but don‘t worry. We will do out best to find Lili.“

Now Ana‘Mirl looked questioning to Garret and Kassandra.

„Garret, any idea, what‘s the matter apart what Lori has said?“

„Ana, Ana, I know who might find Lili!“ Lori suddenly shouts. „ I don‘t like Kaltoora, but if the kids get some money, they can swarm over the harbour and will surely find her! You know, some are climbing up the anchor ropes, they are swift and...  Oh Ana! I need to find Mido!“

„Lori, I don‘t think you are able to go anywhere, but we will ask Kero, the boy who helps Pagran now and then. He is here, and I‘m sure he can find some of your old friends.“

Ana‘Mirl beckoned to Pagran and asked him to send for Kero. The boy was soon here and to the relief of Ana did not hesitate to do as he was asked. He did not show any doubt, that he knew, whom he was looking for.

„Garret, you need to lead the search for Lili now. It is your responsibility, I need to get Lori back to her bed. You know where I live, send me a note, if you need me, or come to my house. And keep me informed also, please!“

With Lori  her arms, who was nearly asleep, she nodded to the Garret, Pagran and the other man who looked concerned.

„See you tomorrow, and good luck!“

And then she was gone, and Lori with her.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on February 03, 2010, 04:08:34 AM
   Eric smiled at the complete ignorance of this ‘lubber; which sailor would ever dare directly question the captain of his ship?  Of course, Tyrr wasn’t a member of the Runner’s crew, which did grant him some leeway.  Still, there was something about his manner that Eric didn’t like.  And there was something about this Grallen that he didn’t feel comfortable about, either.  It was probably the way that she was eyeballing him, but it might have been something else.  Eric widened his smile, letting his golden teeth flash like a shark’s.

   “It don’ mat’er even if she ‘az got a knife; it’z not as though she’z goin’ anywhere; excep’ in ter th’ sea, maybee.

   “n’ az fer yer paymen’, I’z already a said when it’z due; unless o’ course ‘ee don’ trust me?  In which case, we could get it o’er with now?  Maybe ye’ll be so kind az ter join me in me cabin?

   “Miss…ah!...I’z a fergotten yer name!...let’z jus’ say, Miss Green, ‘ee can join us, too; I wouldn’ wan’ any confusion o’er the coin.”

   Eric gestured to the door, motioning for Tyrr and Grallen to leave before him.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on February 03, 2010, 04:40:32 AM
Damien was waiting for Kassandra to reply when suddenly he was interrupted by Pagran who wanted to know if Damien wanted a drink. Damien shook his head and then Kassandra answered Damien by singing, which set off a whole series of events;
Pagran became startled, crashed into his cabinet of liquors and ale, which knocked off only one bottle that crashed and broke on the wooden floor of the inn. Pagran, upset and a bit rattled, tried to apologize. ”Oh, do excuse me, Baron Scare! The bird gave me a scar. Um, I mean, gave me a scare, Baron Scar! Excuse me!”

Damien chuckled. Kassandra then spoke again mimicking the crashing of the bottles and cabinet. She then said something else that made Damien's blood run cold.

"Now let's get to the ship. We can clean ourselves up there and then afterwards Quar take care of that woman. Make sure the crabs are fed well"

The voice was that of a man. The voice sounded familiar. "Pagran, what was thay fellow's name that played dice with us this afternoon?" he demanded.

Pagran flustered, frowned and shrugged his shoulders. "I...I am sorry Baron Scar...I forget."

"Blast it all man, think! It is very important," Damien demanded louder.

The little girl Lori got all excited and spouted off, "Shut yer trap and help me wrap this woman in this rug.

We have to do something about it! Lili is in danger! Garret, you need to do something now!!!"

"I remember Baron Scar. His name is Tyrr," Pagran said triumphantly.

Tyrr, that was the man's name and he was with two twin brothers, and one's name was Quar and the other's name was Gres, Damien thought.

Lori was pulling on Garret's arm to encourage him to help her find Lili when a woman came into the inn and went to Lori. Damien did not know this woman, but by the way she talked to Lori, she must have been her mother.

„Come on my dear, tell me what has happened. Is there anything wrong with Altario? Did something nasty happen to you?“

Lori sobbed a little more, but was able to say at least a few words.

„No, I found somebody for Altario, I think they are going now to Alt‘s brother, but something happened to Lili! Kassandra told me, that.. that.. somebody wrapped her in a rug and that they wanted to go to a ship and feed Lili to the crabs!“

Lori‘s buried her face into the woman's bosom and sobbed now even harder.

„Shh, shhh, don‘t worry, we will help Lili soon, but first we need to find out,where she could be or what happened to her. The harbour is big, Lori, but don‘t worry. We will do out best to find Lili.“

Then the woman looked questioning to Garret and Kassandra.

„Garret, any idea, what‘s the matter apart what Lori has said?“

„Ana, Ana, I know who might find Lili!“ Lori suddenly shouts. „ I don‘t like Kaltoora, but if the kids get some money, they can swarm over the harbour and will surely find her! You know, some are climbing up the anchor ropes, they are swift and...  Oh Ana! I need to find Mido!“

„Lori, I don‘t think you are able to go anywhere, but we will ask Kero, the boy who helps Pagran now and then. He is here, and I‘m sure he can find some of your old friends.“

The woman beckoned to Pagran and asked him to send for Kero. The boy was soon here and to the relief of Ana did not hesitate to do as he was asked. He did not show any doubt, that he knew, whom he was looking for.

„Garret, you need to lead the search for Lili now. It is your responsibility, I need to get Lori back to her bed. You know where I live, send me a note, if you need me, or come to my house. And keep me informed also, please!“

With Lori  her arms, who was nearly asleep, she nodded to the Garret, Pagran and the other man who looked concerned.

„See you tomorrow, and good luck!“

The woman left taking the child with her. Damien looked at Garret. "The men we are looking for are Tyrr, and two twin brother's, Quar and Gres. Tyrr is a about the average height of a Stratanarian, clean shaven, slight build, but muscular. Quar is tall, not as tall as as you or I, but tall for a Stratanarian. He is very heavily muscled, but not to bright. Gres his brother, is not quite as tall and very slim. They all have dark brown hair," Damien said as he tried to think of something else.

Altario is off with another person looking for his brother. Too bad, I would think he would want to know that one of his travelling companions, especially a woman was in danger. Why would Tyrr kidnap this Lili and then feed her to the crabs? Was this Lili someone they knew? Did she see something that she was not supposed to? And why carry her to a ship, if they were going to feed her to the crabs? Could Tyrr have meant a different woman? And what about this idea of having street urchins searching for Lilii? Is that a good idea?

Damien thought about Voldar and how some street urchins helped him track down an evil leader who had taken over the underground and had killed some very good friends of his. Yes, if there were any that would know the streets and especially the harbour area of Strata, it would be them. That woman had an excellent idea, but they were going to need adult help.

"Garret, I do not know about you but I am going to start searching the harbour area for Lili. I owe it to Altario. It is the least I can do for a friend, but first I need my weapon," Damien quickly left and shortly returned carry a short handled axe looking weapon. "This is a Sengren, my people's weapon of choice. This one is special for its blades are made of Uryant. Are you ready?" Damien asked Garret.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on February 03, 2010, 05:52:04 AM
It had seemed like a good idea at the time, the bedraggled figure thought to himself as he slowly disembarked from the ship. Some time ago, his wanderings took him to Ciosa. He had only been there for only a few days when he heard someone calling for crew on a ship, "No experience necessary," was the cry, and so, as curious as ever, Orly signed on.

He was accepted and due to his size, and the fact that the previous ship's boy was now too tall for the job, Orly was set to climbing the rigging and other such things around the ship. Orly found that the sea voyage didn't really suit him. He especially disliked the lack of regular meals, although he had to admit he was somewhat fitter now. He did get over his seasickness on the first or second day of the journey, but it was something he wouldn't be quick to try again.

"But I don't want to be fit, I want to be fat, lazy and pampered," he moaned in a low voice. Orly hadn't even found out the destination of the ship before he signed on ... he now knew what it was ... the city of Strata, at the very southern tip of Santharia.

Orly didn't even have his walking stick. He discovered early on in the journey that he shouldn't use the ship's decking or masts for his whittling. Someone on board was more than a bit upset with him for that one. So, he had instead whittled away at his staff, making a variety of small objects out of it while he waited in the crow's nest on the ship. That was one of his jobs, to go up to the crow's nest to look for ships or land or anything else. He had been up there when the harbour of Strata had come into sight, and so he called out to the crew below, "Land Ahoy." A cheer went up from the crew at the call, and the ship made its way into the harbour at Strata. So he was here now without his walking stick out of the desire to keep his hands busy as he worked.

"Oi you, kid," Orly sighed and immediately came out of his thoughts. The hobbit looked up, to see a ... guard ... he assumed it was. It was a common mistake from the big folk, always assuming he was a kid. The fellow continued talking at the hobbit, "clear out, why donchya? Donchya have somewhere to go?"

"I ... I am new here," Orly said, "is there an inn or tavern near here? I need something to eat and drink." The hobbit's stomach groaned its agreement. If the guard thought it was strange that a kid wanted to go to an inn or a tavern, he certainly didn't show it.

"Well, there is the SeaShoals Inn," the guard said, "run by Pagran. That's probably the closest."

Orly nodded, "Sea School Inn, got it," he said.

"No, kid, SeaShoals," the guard repeated.

"Ah ... SeaShoals," Orly replied, "now I understand. Where is that inn located?"

Getting the directions, Orly headed off. Orly patted himself down, looking for his pipe, and then frowned. In consternation he remembered now, he put it down in the crow's nest and then forgot to pick it up again before leaving ... so now he was tired, hungry, fit, without his walking stick, called a kid and unable to calm himself down with a good smoke. Could this night possibly get any worse?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on February 03, 2010, 06:38:52 AM

So many trees! And so much singing! Kassandra lengthened her neck, stretching her head as high into the air as she could. She wanted to hear all the songs clearly and not miss a note! Only when the tall tree – the one with the resonant yet mellow voice – suddenly left, did things become quieter. Kassandra relaxed, and this gave her time to remember how thirsty she was. She looked down from her perch. And yes – there was the tell-tale soft reflection of light: it emanated from a little bowl, and it told her that water was available down there.

But the water was guarded. One of these wingless, four-legged creatures with sharp thorns in their beaks sat hunched over it. No one knew what these beasts were good for – clumsy they were, earth-bound, and commanded a rather one-dimensional repertoire of songs. But their bite, Kassandra knew, was rather too capable of spoiling a bird’s pleasure while having a sip! Giving a little chirp of disapproval, Kassandra turned her attention to things that the wolf couldn’t reach.

She trippled along the bar, slipping with every step. On the smooth surface, there was nowhere for her claws to grip, and the puddles of ale and desert wine didn’t make things easier. Shiny they were, these puddles, glittering gold and orange in the light of the torches on the wall behind the bar. They were too shallow to drink from. But the tankard over there, just another six or seven giddy steps ahead, was not!

Its owner, a tree with brownish leaves on its oval-shaped crown, was sitting right next to it – but was looking the other way. Now Kassandra had reached the tankard. Slurp! Slurp! Slurp! Three quick sips, and she was feeling much better. Slurp! A fourth one, and her stomach began to feel pleasantly warm. Slurp! And another, just because this water tickles the tongue so!

Not since she had been a fledgling on her very first flight had Kassandra felt so light. She flapped her wings, took to the air and … Oops! Something had touched her. Had she flown into that tree's crown there? Ah well, never mind! She was up in the air, that was what counted. Although … the room had changed! Everything seemed to be swaying slightly like reed in a breeze. The trees seemed blurry and murky, as if Kassandra wasn’t really seeing them, but only their reflections in a puddle. Befuddled and uneasy with the lack of gravity, Kassandra fluttered about wildly, drawing a wobbly path of criss-crossing lines. The wooden beams that were running along the ceiling posed a serious challenge, and she had to negotiate daring curves around them. This wasn't flying as Kassandra knew it!

It was Damien’s voice that rescued her.

”Are you ready?” she heard him sing.

Ah, here was a tree to perch on! Kassandra spread her wings wide out and sailed straight in the direction of Damien’s face. Swoooosh! She aimed a palmspan higher than she should have, but corrected at the last blink and, with a stumbling sort of flutter of her wings, grabbed Damien’s right shoulder. Phew! Finally, something solid between the claws. That was better!

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lyth Elstrum on February 03, 2010, 11:50:36 AM
Lyth sat down at the bar with thoughts of her travels. It had been a long journey to Strata, leaving her weary and in need of sleep. She knew she should rest, but the exited emotions of several people around her kept her on edge. It was all she could do not to get up and start dancing herself. Feeling the need to relax, she ordered a mug of beer. I can calm and soothe just about anyone, but I can't seem to force myself to calm down. How ironic, she thought to herself with a small smile.

Lyth looked up as the bar keeper approached her with a large tankard. She frowned slightly at the size of it. She knew she'd never be able to drink all of that, nor did she desire to. As her server set down the tankard, she pulled out a few coins from the mahogany leather satchel at her waist, and paid for her drink. She lightly lifted the tankard and peered down into the rich, golden liquid. Then, she took an experimental sip, her vibrant red lips gingerly brushing the beer. She jerked away from the container spilling some of its contents onto the counter she was leaning over. That was a very strong brew, she thought in distaste. Setting the tankard down, she realized the mess she had made. Making an impulsive attempt to wipe it away with her sleeve, she quickly realized that it was a pointless attempt. I'm sure the bar keep will attend to it. Maybe I could offer to do it myself when he comes by, she pondered absentmindedly.

Feeling a flare of anxious emotions nearby, Lyth swiveled to investigate. She saw a small group of people conversing in an area close to her own. She tuned in to listen to their urgent conversation, attempting to focus solely on their voices amongst the many in the crowded inn. After several moments of straining to hear, she believed she had at least a partial inkling of what they were discussing. From what she could garner, they were speaking about a friend whom they had to rescue. I wonder if I'd be any help to them. If they're going to save someone, maybe they'll need a healer. The person in need of rescuing may certainly be injured, and I don't suppose I'd be too much of a burden. I'd really like to help them, she thought to herself.

Lyth was shaken from her thoughts as she heard the unmistakable tick-tick of claws on the counter just behind her. She turned around to see a beautiful green bird perched mischievously adjacent to her drink, taking one sip after another out of it. Before the elfess had any opportunity to react, the bird scrambled into the air, landing in her chocolate tresses, and leaving it in thorough need of a brushing. Then, the bird was off, flying in wild, erratic patterns, making one's head spin if they followed it too closely. Finally, the chaotic little creature came to a rest on a man's shoulder, startling him profusely.

Lyth hurriedly got up and half ran to the victim of the drunken bird. She concentrated on putting a heavy atmosphere of peaceful emotions in their general vicinity. It took no more than five blinks to focus on such a broad area. "I'm so sorry," she said, flustered, "The bird had a few sips from my drink. It was very strong and must have caused the bird to behave such a way. I should have been paying more attention."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on February 03, 2010, 01:41:44 PM
Drustai let out a sigh under her breath as Altario denied the usefulness of his comrades. She crossed her arms over her chest, turning her head to look to the side a moment. She had expected as much. She would just have to do it alone then, along with this Remusian human. She could handle a couple of thugs, of course, of that there was no doubt. But she had less of a bargaining chip to use against them now. At least with an entire group, the numbers on her side would enforce her point of view without anything else needed.

She pulled her lips back slightly in a slight scowl, lowering her friendly facade from just moments prior. Teamwork was overrated anyway. She did not need these cowards, nor this human male, this Altario.

Drustai's thoughts were distracted when the door to the Beauty opened, and out walked a human couple, one a clearly intoxicated male and the other a whore, both acting completely uninhibited. Worthless wretches. She pulled her lips back in a scowl at the two miscreants, her eyes momentarily flashing a hint of pale blue before she pulled back and turned the other way as Altario spoke. She let a muffled growl escape from the back of her throat. This was no time to be showing her magic--especially around her new "ally." This secret was her weapon against any treachery he might be plotting against her, and she did not need to reveal it to him so soon.

Drustai immediately started walking away from the inn. She had wished to change, but there was no time for this now.

She stopped only a half a block away as Altario began speaking again, and held up a hand to silence him. Her brow furrowed, and she glared at him for a few moments before speaking, "Do not dare speak of me as if I am some hired assassin, human. If you were to kill anyone for me it would be none but the scum of this world that deserve no better." She paused and arched her head backwards slightly. "And my employer is one such scum."

She turned around. "No, where we will be going, the mission my employer needs, killing will be the last thing you will want to do. Because if you do, you will never see your brother or your daughter again."

She began walking again, pulling her cloak around her shoulders as she turned around. "Take me to where your friend is, if you still desire his company."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on February 04, 2010, 02:38:58 AM
Aboard the Runner

  “It don’ mat’er even if she ‘az got a knife; it’z not as though she’z goin’ anywhere; excep’ in ter th’ sea, maybee." The Captain said.

Except perhaps to slit someone's throat, or have you forgotten that, you stupid sailor? Tyrr thought shaking his head.

 “n’ az fer yer paymen’, I’z already a said when it’z due; unless o’ course ‘ee don’ trust me?  In which case, we could get it o’er with now?  Maybe ye’ll be so kind az ter join me in me cabin?

No I do not trust you, but I want what is due me so I will keep my mouth shut. Perhaps we get paid and take our chances in Strata. It would seem right now a better idea than to stay aboard this ship. Tyrr thought.

   “Miss…ah!...I’z a fergotten yer name!...let’z jus’ say, Miss Green, ‘ee can join us, too; I wouldn’ wan’ any confusion o’er the coin.”

Now why would he invite Grallen? Leaving Quar and Gres here? I suppose if this woman does have a knife she will only get one before the other gets her, and I will bet it will be Quar. Tyrr thought as he gave Quar a warning glance which Quar immediately answered with a slight nod of his head.

Gres started to object but quickly silenced himself when Tyrr glared at him. What was it with Gres and Grallen? She is orc for Foiro's sake! Another sliver of apprehension slipped into Tyrr's mind as well: Quar did not object. "Ladies first," he said to Grallen, with a slight bow and wave of his hand.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on February 04, 2010, 05:47:30 AM
“I’m not entirely stupid, mister. She’s got nuffin’,” Grallen said.

Lili glared at Grallen, furious at the indignity of having been searched from head to foot. That wasn’t what one did to a lady, Lili’s eyes said. Touching everything, feeling under clothes and into boots! Outrage! Impertinence! Insult!

Of course, Grallen didn’t know whether Lili was armed; she had never checked Lili’s left boot, where the knife was hidden. Nor had she checked the right, into which the sling fitted so nicely. Lili knew she hadn’t, and Grallen knew that Lili knew. And Lili knew that, too.

And there’s something else I know, Grallen. I know that I knew someone like you once. We picked him up in the woods. He said that he used to be a city guard in Vermouth, but that he had fallen from grace after he’d spent a night with his captain’s wife. How convenient to run into a band of highwaymen, he’d said. Just what he’d been hoping for after his flight into the Shaded Forest, he’d said. And whether we’d consider taking him on as an apprentice.

He didn’t last long. It was his chatter that gave him away. Talked of crimes all the time: smuggling, thieving from the guard’s treasury – he accused himself of so many misdeeds that he’d have needed three lifetimes to do them all. And also, he shoved it up everybody’s nose how much he hated the guards. So when, maybe a week after he’d arrived, he tried to sneak away in the night, within a blink there were no less than six of us on top of him. It wasn’t difficult to find the flintstone in his pocket. Nothing like a little fire in the night to give away the location of the bandits – that’s what Vermouth’s guards must have thought.

But they never saw no fire, no sir. Their spy wasn’t very brave in the face of death. Few people are, when it comes to it. No matter what the tales say.

Grallen’s like that chap. What we don’t know yet is whether she’s betraying us or the others. Or both.

Chief Vilerat invited Tyrr and Grallen into his cabin, and Tyrr said: “Ladies first!”

Go, Grallen, if you want. I can handle those blackhogs here, if they stay behind. But Lili was careful not to look at Grallen now, careful not to give away that she was hoping for the orc’s help. She focused on the captain instead, eyeing him with the same ironic subservience she had put on before. Inwardly, her mind was preparing itself for the tasks ahead. Yes, yes, Chief Vilerat, go on, let your coins jingle. Let Tyrr and Grallen drool over them. But never be too sure that you’ve paid the whole price yet, or got all you deserve.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on February 04, 2010, 11:49:07 AM
Not having the others who followed him from the Thirsty Herald join him and her on this mission really seemed to upset the elf. Back again was the veil of disdain and distrust. In fact, she nearly snarled at him when she warned him about killing. The two of them, this mission ahead of them, was not going to be easy. They were not going to become best friends, that much was clear.

She shrouded herself in her cloak once more as she started walking after her threats, demanding that Altario take her to Garret. He shook his head, keeping his voice even to not inflame her further, but steady and resolved so that she would not mistake the resolve.

"No. We will see this employer of yours first and afterward, if I think it is safe enough to bring my friend, I'll get him involved."  

He followed her, which was not easy as she seemed to stride effortlessly and his knee ached with the effort. It made him cranky, and her haughty attitude did not lessen the feeling.  "If we are stuck with each other, I think we need to agree on a few things. First; respect. You don't have to like me, and I don't need to like you, elf, but we need to respect each other.  I don't appreciate the tone you use with me.  I was a commander in my army, and no one talks to me that way.  I won't do it to you, and you don't do it to me." Might be easier said than done, with her attitude.

"Second, I don't know if you know what it's like to have friends, but you look out for them. Until I know that you are who you say you are, my friend stays out of it. If I think this mission might be too dangerous, I will not get anyone else involved. You elves may be near immortal, but us humans tend to revere life a little bit more than that.  I will not risk anyone's life but my own, if I can help it."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on February 04, 2010, 02:22:42 PM
Drustai had kept silent at Altario's remarks, her gaze hardening as she walked and her jaw clenching. She was already angry at his accusations of her before, and he just continued! But after he mentioned "not looking out for friends", of her irreverence for life, she turned around and threw her metal-clawed, gauntleted hand out, grasping the neck of his shirt and pushing him violently up against the wall of the nearest building. Her eyes glowed an intense white--she had not wanted to reveal her arcane arts so soon, but the more this human man spoke the more she could not keep herself calm. She pulled her lips back into an almost feral snarl.

"You do not know me, human," she spat the word, "so don't you dare speak of things of which you have no knowledge. Elves are not as immortal as you might think. We bleed and die, just as everything else in this world." She pulled her right lip back further in a sneer. "You call yourself a commander of an army. Human armies, of which do nothing but butcher others, in your destructive wars of conquest. It is no title worthy of respect."

"Now, human," she continued to use the word as if it were an insult, no longer having any amount of respect towards this Altario to use his real name, "if you want to find your brother, then you will do what I say. I have no love of your destructive kind." She shook her head, her eyes remaining locked on him as she did so. "Do not ask for my respect. I have none for you."

At that, she released him from her grasp, turning away and closing her eyes long enough for her to bring herself into control and hide the glow that had become second nature to her. She didn't speak for a few moments. She wanted to have this human's friend with her for the meeting. She needed that extra leverage.

Her jaw twisted to the side as she furrowed her brow, and looked down for a moment.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on February 04, 2010, 03:22:55 PM
Grimacing as he walked, Altario continued his diatribe against the elf, his rancor raised.  "Third...".  His voice trailed off and he paused.  Was there a third?  "Third-".

Altario was taken by surprise when the elf spun about and grabbed him by the front of his shirt and pushed him roughly up against a wall.  The speed of her attack completely caught him off guard and it amazed him.  It was nearly beyond what a human could do.  Were all elves like this?  Did Valannia have this strength and speed?  His hand went to the hilt of his sword, but he did not yet pull it.  Partly because he wasn't yet sure if she meant him harm; partly because the way she had him pressed against the wall, it would have been useless to pull forth a long weapon; and partly because he was too startled.  Startled because he was staring into eyes that no longer looked mortal.  They glowed a bright white, and he could not suppress a shudder.

What was she?  She was no ordinary elf!  Was this magic, or was she a demon?

Her lips curled back into a snarl as she spoke, letting him know in no uncertain terms how she felt, and how she felt was that he did not know her.  Perhaps not, but did he want to?  She continued that elves were not as immortal as he thought?  His first thought was good!, but then he wondered at what she was hiding from him.  There was a history in her that had wounded her and he had apparently pulled the scab off of it.

There was one truth in her attack that there was no way he could argue.  Humans were a destructive people.  He had travelled the length of this continent, from Remusiat on the Bay of Calinth and the Ice Sea to Strata, at the southern tip of land on the Burning Sea.  In all of his travels, he had seen for himself some of the worst mankind had to offer.  And this, without bringing up the Remusians and the centuries of war with the Tokarians, Rhom-oc and Antislar.  Perhaps if he could have lived centuries and seen so much blood shed on human swords for conquest, he might share her cynicism.

Drustai released him and turned from him.

Altario watched her, wondering what was going through her mind.  He then straightened his shirt, scowling at the torn fabric.  "Third, Drustai of the owe me a shirt."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on February 04, 2010, 03:52:14 PM
Drustai's lips pulled back into another sneer as the human responded with no rebuttal, no attack that she could have destroyed as soon as it left his lips. Only a joke. This human thought nothing more of what she had said than as a joke. Were her threats so wasted on his kind? Twice this day she had suffered such indignities from those who would sooner laugh her off than respond in kind, in a way that she could attack and destroy with all of her venom. She was not one to be humiliated like this!

She slowly turned around again, her eyes once again showing their glaring light. After a moment, she began walking slowly towards him, her hands in fists and her body aggressively tensed as if ready to pounce and attack.  "You are a wretched example of a worthless race, human." Her fists opened up, and her metal-clawed-fingers curled into a deadly talon. Her eyes stared deep into his, but the rest of her senses remained poised for any kind of defensive action this man might take, like the sword on his hip. Her eyes angled down a moment towards the blade, and suddenly a thick layer of ice began to form where the scabbard of the sword met the cross. She would not let him draw his weapon.

Her eyes angled back up, and her brow curled inward. A cold chill swept across the two of them, the alleyway beginning to grow colder despite the remaining desert heat as she began to raise the Water properties of Coldness and Motion in the air. Her lips pulled back, and her mouth opened, revealing her teeth as she let out a hissing growl. If this man would not take her seriously, then she would make him.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on February 04, 2010, 04:25:33 PM
Apparently this elf had no sense of humour.  In truth, it had been stupid to make light of the situation, but it was either that or give in to his own anger.  But, the moment the joke escaped his lips, the elf turned on him again, her eyes glowing once more.  She tensed, as though readying for an attack.

His hand returned to his sword.  This had gone on too long.  If she was spoiling for a fight, by the gods she was going to get one.  His search might just end right here, right now in the middle of an alley in some cursed city on the southern tip of nowhere.  Either that, or his best lead would end up dead.  Neither would do Nayriss any good.  Dammit!

He felt a cold draught, the air growing bitter, like he had not felt since that blizzard that ushered him into Voldar so long ago.  He tried to pull his sword free, but it held firm.  Looking down, he saw that a block of ice had formed on the scabbard and crosspiece of his sword.  What magic be this?

He stepped back, creating more distance between him and the elf.  "What are you elf?  Witch or demon?"

It appeared as though it did not matter, for whatever gods were watching him had deigned it fitting that the iceman die from a creature of the cold while in the middle of a desert city.  The gods were not only cruel, they were perverse.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on February 04, 2010, 04:47:52 PM
Drustai's lips began to curl from a sneer into a cruel smile. Now the fear was at last beginning to show itself in his eyes. Now he was taking her seriously. She pulled her arm back, then swung it out in front of her as if backhanding someone, despite being far away from the human. A thick gust of frigid air slammed into Altario's side, throwing him into the wall.

Drustai approached him, and set her foot down onto his chest, pinning him onto the ground as she leaned over him. The smile faded in place of a subtle scowl. "I could crush you right where you lie, human. Know that before you decide to test me again." She dug her heel down tighter on his chest, before letting up and standing.

She would not tell him which she was, a witch or a demon. If he thought she was a demon, then so be it. She had used her trump card now, and had frightened him. He was now a threat, and she would have to be extra careful around him. No longer would he be her controllable pawn, they were now enemies, just as the thugs were. And thus, he was no longer of any use to her.

She turned around to her side, and look down her shoulder at him. "Tell me why I still need you, human. You have chosen to be a threat, and that makes you no more valuable than any of the thugs who would gladly push a dagger into my back."

She turned fully and walked a few paces forwards, then spun around to face him again. "Why should I trust you anymore than I trust the rest of the filth that I needed your support against?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on February 04, 2010, 05:15:05 PM
Though there was a minimum of twenty peds between Altario and Drustai, she swung her arm as if trying to backhand him.  He twitched, eyes watching for the dagger or dart or some other small weapon that assassins preferred to use, not knowing which way to throw his body.  It turned out that wasn't anything he had control over, for it was not a weapon that she threw, but the air itself.  A blast of wind, a wall as solid as anything made of stone or wood or ice, hit him with such force that he was lifted off the ground.  Arms and legs flailing, he sailed through the alley, hitting a wall a full two peds off the ground.  He then crashed to the sandy floor, the breath knocked from his chest and bright spots floating before his eyes.

If there was any doubt before, there was none now.  She was the wolf, and he the deer.  And it always ended badly for the deer.

He tried to move, but could not, his body feeling broken, and only a groan escaped him.  Even if he were able to rise, he felt her booted foot press down on his chest.  Her declaration that she could crush him was not lost on him through the ringing in his ears.  Another groan as her heel dug down even further before she stepped away.

It seemed to take forever, but Altario was finally able to breathe, and he gasped inward his first breath.

Death scared Altario far less than the thought of losing his only chance at finding Denrykmar and thus, Nayriss. When he heard her threatening to leave him, he rolled himself over onto his side and forced himself to rise.  Why should she trust him?  "You can trust me because I need you.  I need you to find my brother and rescue my daughter!"  He stumbled and dropped to one knee, and he angrily wiped away a tear that fell from his eye as emotion took over, and Nayriss' smiling face filled his mind.  "Damn you elf!  You either take me with you or you kill me now!  I'm not giving up on my daughter.  When I find her, I swear to any god that will listen, that I'll come back and find you and we shall settle this then, but right now I need you!"  He struggled to his feet, and spit out a large glob of blood that filled his mouth from a split on his lip.

He lifted his eyes to stare at her.  "You take me with you!"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on February 04, 2010, 05:40:58 PM
Drustai looked down at the human for a few moments, her gaze remaining stern before slowly, barely, softening. She looked down, then to the side, before turning back to him. She realized that she really was his last chance. Here was a man who had been searching, possibly in vain, for a way to save his family. And she was about to throw everything away. She had no intent to kill him, but perhaps, this was just as bad.

She turned to the side, looking off distantly to the wall for a moment, as her arms folded over her chest. He was like her, except he still had the chance to save those he cared about. While she? She had lost everything. She had had her chance, and she had failed. And everything, everything that she was doing was in trying to make up for that failure. And that was exactly what she was about to help Altario accomplish--failing to save the ones he loved.

She looked down her shoulder at him. He no longer spoke, but his face pleaded up at her. A glisten in his eyes, the muscles in his face pulling down at the edges of his lips. She watched him as he managed to pull himself up from the ground, his body clearly broken by her assault, and she realized she had done wrong. Why in the nether was she even on this quest? Was it not Denrykmar, this man's very brother, who had implored her for the same thing? To help save an innocent life? That's why she needed to find him. And this human was no different.

Drustai sighed, and looked down a moment, before glancing up again into Altario's eyes, gray against gray. She pursed her lips for a moment, and then spoke.

"Very well. I will help you, Altario."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on February 07, 2010, 01:00:22 AM
“Miss…ah!...I’z a fergotten yer name!...let’z jus’ say, Miss Green, ‘ee can join us, too; I wouldn’ wan’ any confusion o’er the coin.”

What did you just call me?

She froze, for a second that seemed to stretch out and fill her whole future. The back of her throat felt hot and dry, and she was suddenly fiercely aware of her teeth resting against her lips, of the skin on the slaver captain’s neck. Something was growling, and it took her several seconds to realise it was her. She stopped, feeling dizzy, and blinked a couple of times. Each time her eyelids closed she saw the last guy who’d called her that. Blood mixed with paint, smelling acrid and metallic. She felt dizzy... he was so close... she could just reach out, and—

No. Lili can play the proud lady, indignant and “spirited” through all this. So I can smile- smile, Grallen. There. I can smile and follow the bastard, and keep smiling as he and Tyrr haggle over coin like bloody shopkeeps, and I will keep on smiling as I gut the pair of them, slowly. Or break their necks. Or just bite their throats out...

"Ladies first."

Grallen followed the captain, a soft smile belied by her eyes, which burned, glazed over as a thirst for hot, salt, rust flavoured liquid grew in her throat.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on February 07, 2010, 11:18:20 PM
Altario followed the elf in silence.  It wasn't that he was frightened of her, though if his pride would allow it, he might admit to some measure of trepidation, but rather because it would have taken too much strength to talk.  If he had thought it a bit difficult to follow Drustai's footsteps earlier, it was worse now.  The beating he had taken from her left him weakened.  Though time had eased the wracking pain he felt in his ribs with each breath, the pain in his knee had increased threefold.  His subtle limp had become a hobbled gait.  Each step had intense pain radiating from his knee down his shin and up to his hip.

They followed an old defensive wall until it stopped, overlooking the sea.  Below, the shoreline was a precarious jumble of jagged rocks.  If there was an entrance to a cave down there, he couldn't see it from where they stood.  Following her lead, he began to negotiate the rocks, making their way closer to where the waves were breaking against the stones.  It looked as though the tide was coming in.  Though she did not say so, or anything, it appeared as though she was hurrying.

It took not very long for him to understand why.  They suddenly found themselves before a small break in the rocks; an entrance to a small cave.  From any direction but right in front of hit, it was perfectly hidden from prying eyes by the structure of the stones.  It was a brilliant work of nature.  Adding to its secrecy was the tide, which had now filled half the opening, and would soon drown it completely.  This was why she hurried.

He dropped down into the surprisingly warm surf, which never failed to amaze him, for even in summer, a person could die within only a few minutes of being immersed in the Bay of Calinth.  He then made his way inside into the blackness of the cave, where the pounding surf took on an echo.  How far did this cave go?  Though he could not see anything, there was a feeling of openness in here.  After a few dozen peds, the path became more sandy than rocky and rose sharply so that they were no longer walking in seawater.  She came to a halt, and he followed suit.

He strained to see down here, but the inky blackness of the cave was unyielding.  There were no stars here to illuminate the darkness; no moon.  The sound of the sea echoed, and the air was salty and wet with each breath.

"If we are to go further, I'm going to need light.  Are there any torches down here?  Anything to burn?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Garret Arroway on February 08, 2010, 09:16:16 PM
”In plashing pools of dappled rain
The frog lifts up his woeful strain,
Below the blooms of Alinfa.

… “

The response from the bird, coming in the form of a song, was of no help at all to Garret. Of course it wasn’t enough that he was already talking to the silly creature, but that fact that the song wasn’t going to get them anywhere swiftly worked at depleting his short small supply of patience. He was about ready to snatch the creature off the counter when the man who had sat himself down beside Garret earlier started to speak.

Calming himself a bit, he nodded at the man’s introduction and words. He recalled how he had noticed the creature talking before, but the mixture of the desert heat and then being called away from the group at the gates had left him little time to understand anything about it. The last bit caught him off guard though and he felt the need to remind the man that it was a ‘damn bird’, but he held his tongue, only rolling his eyes as the man, Damien, started singing to the bird.

He turned his attention back to Lori to see how she was doing, but a ruckus from the bar turned his attention back in that direction. At Garret’s feet, Shadowfoot leapt up, jumping to put his forepaws on the bar for a moment, looking around for the source of the commotion, before his human eased him back on the floor when he stayed, ready to protect Garret if need be.

"Now let's get to the ship. We can clean ourselves up there and then afterwards Quar take care of that woman. Make sure the crabs are fed well!"

He eyed the bird curiously for a moment before his attention changed again, focusing now on Lori who was tugging on his arm. Shadowfoot watched the small human, but backed down as Garret knelt next to her again. Before he could do anything however, she crumbled to the floor, weeping. Unsure what to do, he lightly patted her on the shoulder, his expression clearly one of concern.

Shortly after, the woman from the Herald, Ana swept in and took Lori into her arms, saving Garret. He observed the exchange between the woman and the child, taking note of everything said and attempting to commit to memory the face of the boy that was summoned to aid in searching the harbor for Lili.

As Ana departed he turned back towards the bird and man, running a large hand over his face in frustration as his mind picked through the information, trying to pull everything together. As he turned, yet more information was thrust upon him by Damien. He described the men they should be looking for a left for a moment, returning with an axe that was oddly familiar to Garret.

"This is a Sengren, my people's weapon of choice. This one is special for its blades are made of Uryant,” Damien told him, but he hadn’t needed the explanation.

Instinctively he rubbed at the stag and gem tattoo on his back, just below his neck as he watched the man. It’d been years since he’d met another Kyranian. While he was still proud of his heritage, his true home was much further to the north and his true family in need of his help. For a moment he considered commenting on the axe, letting Damien know he knew what it was and obviously giving himself away, but he owed this man no explanations about his past. If he figured it out himself, fine, but he didn’t feel the need to share information about himself with this man just yet.

“Are you ready?” Damien asked.

As a response Garret nodded and turned toward the door, his hands resting on the hilt of his sword for a moment to reassure him that it was still there. A voice mentioning a bird stopped him before he could move though. Clearly impatient, he turned towards the voice. He watched with mild amusement as the bird swayed slightly on Damien’s shoulder. Only for a moment he glanced at the brown haired woman who had spoke about the bird getting into her drink, before he turned toward Damien.

“I’ll be outside,” Garret told him.

Turning, he strode from the inn, stepping out into the dark, the wind ruffling his hair. Dark grey eyes glanced about taking in everything going on around him. Movement flashed to his left, crossing in front of him. He recognized the boy from the inn with another one at his heels. Reaching out, Garret snatched the boy, Kero, by the back of his shirt, lifting him into the air. The child swung and kicked at him, causing the large wolf by Garret’s side to growl in warning.

“Calm down,” Garret said, lifting the boy further into the light. “I’m trying to help Lori.”

The boy looked at him suspiciously, but stopped flailing. The second boy, who had been warily watching the wolf looked up as well.

“Now, who are you?” Garret asked, addressing the second youth.

“A friend of Lori’s,” the boy replied.

Garret watched him closely for a moment, his mind trying to decide whether or not to trust the youths. With his free hand he dug into the coin pouch concealed within his shirt, pulling out two coins, one copper and one silver. He tossed the copperbard to the second boy as he set the first down, still holding the back of his shirt though.

“Gather others and search the harbor. We need to find a woman or one of three men,” Garret said, going on to quickly describe their appearances. Flashing the silver coin he replied, “You find them and tell me where they are and this will be yours as well, if not more.”

He let the first boy go, tucking the silver coin back into his coin pouch while he hoped that was enough to buy some information. Turning back towards the door he waited for Damien. The aging wolf stood at his feet, watching the retreating backs of the boys.



Clinging to the copperbard he’d gotten from the large man, Mido moved throughout the gangs hiding place, informing as many as he could that Lori needed help. He knew some would help just for the sake of helping their old friend, but others, like Kaltorra, would have to be bought with coin like the one he now held in his dirty fist. First however, he’d have to find Kaltorra.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on February 10, 2010, 01:11:55 AM
Aboard the Runner

Tyrr followed Grallen and the Captain then closed the door.

Quar saw Gres's eyes follow Grallen and he spit, "Go, Gres. Go to your orcish whore. Besides me and the lady here need to get acquainted and for that we need some privacy."

Gres looked at Quar and then glanced at the woman, he shook his head no. "No Quar. You heard what Tyrr said, 'not a mark on her,'"

"Who said anything about marks? I just want to get to know our lady here a bit better."

"What you want Quar is meant for the person who buys her and I do not think that person would be too happy to find out that she was...molested."

"Who would know? Besides, look at her. Are you going to tell me she is a virgin! No, I don't think so. She knows how to please a man and it's this man she is going to please tonight. If'n you want to watch be my guest, if not then leave, either way I am going to have a taste of the goods. Tyrr will be back soon with our payment and then we will be on our way and no one will be the wiser, unless you open your trap, and I swear if you do, it will be the last time."

Gres saw that nothing he could say was going to stop Quar. He had seen that lust-look in his eyes before, much like the way he looked when he was killing someone. Gres could not bear to watch and after giving the woman a sad look, shrug of his shoulders and shaking his head walked out of the door. Locking the door behind him he slowly walked up the stairs to the top deck and wandered over to the far rail and stared out into the sea trying to put out of his mind what he knew was going to happen down in the hold. He hated himself for not standing up to Quar, but brother or not, in the state Quar was in Quar would kill him.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on February 11, 2010, 06:34:45 AM
The noise of the key turning in the door was unmistakable. Gres had locked it. Lili was alone with Quar. His hands in his pockets, his legs in a wide, cocksure stance, his tongue licking his lower lip – here was a man who knew he would get what he wanted.

”Please, kind sir. Have mercy.”

Lili made a step backwards. A ped behind her, she knew, was the wall to which she had been chained until a few blinks ago. On the other side of the room, near the door, stood Quar, motionless for now. Lili could see a smile beginning to open on his face.

Between them, in the centre of the room, there still stood the big washtub. Lili could still see faint swathes of steam rising from it.

”Please, kind sir. If you want to take a bath, I could wash you.”

Quar laughed out loud, genuinely surprised. She’s really naïve, isn’t she. This will be fun!

”I know something better, girl. What’s your name, then?”

He made his first step forward.

”Lili. Please, sir, don’t hurt me.”

”No, of course not! Who would think of hurting such a pretty girl?”

His second step brought Quar level with the bathtub.

”I mean, you can’t have your way with me. I have a betrothed!”

”Oh really? Well, good for him. I really envy him, you know. But that’s no reason not to have some fun. He doesn’t need to know, does he?”

A third step, a fourth – Quar took his hands out of his pockets. He was now within arm’s reach of Lili. She was taller than him, but not by much.

Lili thought that she could smell the sweat on his temple. She retreated, eyes darting left and right for a way out, lips quivering, her hands raised as if to ward him off. Her back was now against the wall. She couldn’t go any further back.

”Come on,” Quar said. In a blink, he reckoned, the girl would try to escape sideways. Then he would grab her. He stepped close, his hands ready to pounce.

Then everything happened very quickly. There was a sudden movement, but not the kind he had expected. The girl’s knee shot forward and hit him between his legs. At the same time, her left hand grabbed his shirt. Quar was expecting a blow from her right hand, and raised his arms in defence. Instead, the girl’s forehead came down on his soft temple like a hammer. And before he could react, her left hand pushed into his shoulder and let go of his shirt. Instinctively, Quar moved his leg backwards to gain a stable footing. But something was in the way: the girl’s leg, placed there precisely for that purpose. Quar reeled and stumbled, and before he knew it, he was lying flat on his back.

”Sorry to be blunt, mate.” Lili said.

She hopped a few ped sidewards, along the wall, out of reach of Quar’s legs, in case he had a mind to kick.

”You’re not gonna get what you want tonight. Let’s call this one a draw, shall we?”

She never took her eyes off  Quar. She shook her arms, trying to loosen her muscles, which had gone stiff from being chained to the wall. She had fooled the randy dog, but she was under no illusion: he wouldn’t give up quite yet. The self-belief some of these men had! They could not contemplate that a woman might get the better of them. Lili would need to be prepared to show him. Trouble was: She had a lot to lose in this fight – but nothing to win. I hope he stays civil and doesn’t come with a knife or anything. The Chief Vilerat has only just given me my hands back. He probably wouldn’t appreciate if I use them to slice up his henchman like a roast blackhog.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on February 12, 2010, 04:48:50 AM
Quar layed on his back; disbelief shone in his eyes and rising anger rose from the pain between his legs up to his temple which throbbed and felt liked it had been hit by a cudgel. It had happened so fast. Quar swivled his head toward her watching her scuttle along the wall.

”Sorry to be blunt, mate.” Lili said.  

”You’re not gonna get what you want tonight. Let’s call this one a draw, shall we?”

Quar snarled as he slowly rose, keeping his eyes on Lili in case she tried to do something while he was down. "So yer not what ye act like lass. It no matter. I like a good fight."

Quar rose to his full height and realized that the girl was just a bit taller than him, but she was skinny. He clasped his hands together; cracking his knuckles. He grinned and rushed her. Lili kicked at him with her right leg, which is what Quar thought she would do, he stopped, grabbed the heel of her boot with his right hand and swung it up. Lili's head snapped backwards and hit the wall behind her as she felt herself lose her balance and slid down the wall.

Quar was on top of her fast, her legs spread, with his heavy body inbetween them. Lili grabbed his hair with one hand and scratched at his face with the other. Quar grabbed her wrists and squeezed until he heard bones start to crack. Lili gasped in pain. Quar laughed cruely, "Nice try missy. Now 'ow about a kiss?" Quar bent down to kiss Lili, who kept on turning her head one way or the other; Quar's breath stank and Lili was glad there was not much in her stomache or else she would have tossed it. perhaps it would have been better to have a full stomache, then I could toss it at this bugger

Quar put both of Lili's wrists in one hand, grasped Lili's moving head around the jaw with the other, his large hand squeezed her jaw until her head stopped moving. "Now 'bout that kiss," he said bending closer to Lili's mouth. Lili stopped moving her head opened her mouth as if to kiss Quar. Quar smiled, "Now, 'at's better lass. I promise you it 'ont hurt at all," he said as he bent closer, put his lips upon hers.

Suddenly Lili's mouth opened and her teeth grabbed Quar's lower lip and she bit hard! She bit so hard that she tore part of Quar's lip right off. She spit it back at him as he roared back in pain. "Na, didn't hurt me at all mate, 'ow about you?" Lili laughed.

Quar's hands went to his bleeding mouth. Lili clasped her hands together and punched Quar right below his sternum. He gasped as the breath rushed out of him and he rolled sideways. Lili kicked him off of her and ran for the door but Quar grabbed the heel of her boot and tripped her.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on February 12, 2010, 07:43:20 AM
   No, this Grallen character didn’t like Eric at all, that much was obvious.  She stared at him for a few blinks, growling like some kind of a wild animal, her sharp teeth biting her bottom lip.  “Betta keep an eye on ‘er,” Eric thought to himself as he left the stifling hold.  “Teeth like a shark!”

   Once on deck, Eric felt infinitely better.  The smell of the harbour and the promise of the open sea lifted his spirits.  Still, things were tense.  The rest of his crew hadn’t returned yet, and the constables were no doubt making progress with their enquiries.  It was just a matter of time before they traced things back to the Runner, and Eric hoped that his men would return before that happened.  “Could always leave without ‘em,” he thought to himself solemnly as he led the way to his cabin.  “They knowz the rulez.”  But in truth, he really didn’t want to leave them behind; finding skilled seamen was just another job to get in the way of making money.

   “Ahoy, there, Landy.”  Eric greeted a mountain of a man.  “I needz ‘ee ‘elp in me cabin.  We got some buisnez ter tek care of.”  Eric nodded to Tyrr and Grallen.

   “Aye, aye, cap’n,” Landy replied gruffly, before following the small group into the cabin.

   Once inside, Eric motioned for Tyrr and Grallen to have a seat at a small desk.  He sat opposite them, and Landy loomed menacingly just to the side.  The cabin itself was small, but very neat and tidy.

   “Now, az I explained afore,” Eric began, “It’d be folly fer ‘ee ter go back on land ‘ere, so I’ll set ye down at the next port o’ call.

   “Still, since I getz the feelin’ that ‘ee don’ trust me, I’ll settle the ‘ole fee now.”

   Eric unlocked one of the drawers on his side of the desk, and pulled out a fat purse.

   “O’ course, men ‘oo know me, knowz that I ne’er go back on me word.  But there can’t be no room fer doubt when it comez ter coin, so count it all, ‘ere and now.”

   Eric opened the purse, and pushed it into the centre of the table, its contents spilling out slightly.  Then he sat back, and watched his two business partners intensely.  He knew that the full amount was in the purse, but he wanted to make sure that Tyrr didn’t try any tricks as he counted it.  Of course, if things did turn ugly, then he knew that he’d be able to count on Landy to help put things right.  He was one of the best fighters on the ship, and that was saying something!  In fact, he’d got his nickname because he seemed to spend more time on land, fighting duels, than he did on the sea.  It was a rule onboard the Runner that any grievances between crew members were settled in this way; to prevent brawling on the ship itself.

   “Ah!  There ye are, Willie!”  Eric suddenly broke into a smile.  A small, well dressed Makaka ape had just come scampering over to him.  “Now, ‘ee jus’ be’ave ‘eesen; we’z doin’ businez ‘ere.”

   Willy effortlessly climbed onto the table, and sat down next to Eric.  His eyes flashed from the shiny coins to Tyrr, and then to Grallen.  When he saw the orc, his face took on a puzzled expression. Then he started to carefully approach her, his curiosity piqued.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on February 13, 2010, 02:29:26 AM
At the SeaShoals Inn

Damien was itching to get going and finally Garret and his wolf Shadowfoot were also when that crazy bird began slurping at a tankard of ale. Off it flew dizzily, dodging the heavy wooden beams that criss-crossed the ceiling. Damien asked Garret, "Ready to go?"

Garret nodded and then suddenly that crazy bird landed right on Damien's right shoulder, digging its claws in for a good hold. "Ouch, you mangy rat with wings. Watch were you're digging you claws into? Now go! Shoo!" Damien tried to push the bird off his shoulder but the harder he pushed the harder the bird clung and dug its claws into his shoulder. This is getting nowhere, Damien thought. He did not want to hurt the bird but it was damn near making his shoulder go numb from pain.

A lady spoke.

"I'm so sorry," she said, flustered, "The bird had a few sips from my drink. It was very strong and must have caused the bird to behave such a way. I should have been paying more attention."

Damien glanced down at her ready to take his pain and frustrations out on her when he suddenly felt very calm. The pain in his shoulder abated and even the bird's grip lessened. He felt warm and fuzzy like inside: as if he were wrapped in a blanket of peace. The feeling slowly went away but it gave Damien time to think. That was magic at work. I know the feeling of magic. Damien thought as he looked at the lady.

"Miss, did you just use somesort of magic upon me?" Damien asked softly.

In an abandoned fish hut

Kaltoora lay back on an old ragged and tattered couch that at some time or another would have been a very expensive piece of furniture that probably adorned the main living space of some wealthy merchant. Now the brilliant red cushions had faded over time and weather turning into a garish water stained pink.

It was Kaltoora's throne and the street kids she commanded were scattered throughout the hut, some laying on old insect infested mattresses, others just on the bare floor with nothing but some ragged blanket to cover themselves with when the sun went down and it became cold: Still others were coming and going each showing Kaltoora the money they had panhandled or goods they had stolen and giving a more than generous amount to her and she would let them keep the rest for themselves as she picked out one biscuit and popped it into her mouth from the box that Lori had given her for the information she had given the girl.

Suddenly there was a commotion of children rushing into the hut. Mido and Kero were leading them. They all began to talk at once so that Kaltoora had sit up to scream to be heard. "Shut yer traps! Mido, Kero, you both know better than to come into here talking without permission. Now what is all this about?" Kaltoora demanded.

The kids, even those who were not even part of Kaltoora's gang put their hands over their ears when Kaltoora screamed. It sounded like a loose rusty nail in some half-rotten wood rubbing against the metal of the wharf. They all shut their mouths except Mido. "Lori needs our help. A friend of hers has been kidnapped and being held on one of the ships in the harbour," he said excitedly.

Kaltoora laid back down propping herself up with some pillows. "It was probably that man we sent to that evil looking elf," she said looking into her box of biscuits deciding which one to eat next.

"No Kaltoora. It is a woman, her name is Lili," Mido answered.

"And how do you know so much, Mido?" Kaltoora asked.

"Kero told me," Mido answered.

Kaltoora looked at Kero. "It does not seem that Kero's mouth is hurt. Perhaps some magical spell fell on him so that he cannot speak for himself. Speak Kero."

She sounded like she was trying to get a dog do tricks and that made Mido angry for his friend.

Kero was frightened of Kaltoora and was glad that Mido had spoken up and almost jumped out of his skin when Kaltoora told him to speak. "Uh, yes...yes, 'hst Mido says is the truth," he stammered.

"And how do you know this?" Kaltoora asked, popping another biscuit into her mouth.

Mido heard some of the children's stomache's rumble and saw the hungry look on their dirty faces. He heard Kero speak. "Um, I was at the Seashoals, when Pagran fetched me there was Lori with that woman she stays with. I, um..listened to the woman and then went and found Mido. We, goin' to fetch others to 'elp when a big tall man with the largest furriest dog I 'ave ever seen, grabbed Mido and lifted 'im right of the ground 'e did. 'e showed us a silver penny and told us if'n we find out where this Lili woman is being kept we could 'ave it," he said exhaustedly.

Mido knew that was probably the most talking Kero had done in a month. "That's the truth Kaltoora. Now the way I see it we should..."

"Do nothing," Kaltoora interrupted.

"Do nothing! How can you say that? This is Lori we are helping, besides we were promised a piece of silver. That should be more than enough money to keep yer mouth stuffed with biscuits and yer fat arse on that couch until it collapses from all that weight!"

Silence fell over the whole room. No one spoke to Kaltoora like that, at least not to her face, and lived. Mido knew he had probably overstepped his bounds, but it was Lori he was fighting for.

Kaltoora, slowly, with some difficulty as the center cushion of the couch did not give much support, but sank as she rose from the couch. Her face a mask of fury as she stared at Mido who stared right back, not giving in a nailsbreadth. Kaltoora's mouth twitched and her lips pursed. Two of the larger children, her so called body guards, leaped to her side. Kaltoora brushed them aside as she descended the one stair that her couch sat upon.

She walked slowly to Mido, the children in her path parted on either side of her and quiet, fearful eyes fell upon her and Mido. Finally Kaltoora stood face to face with Mido. She was a bit taller than him, but he was wiry, strong and did not back down from the glaring gaze that Kaltoora was giving him.

In a way he knew it was going to come to this, he just did not figure it would be this soon. Kaltoora treated the kids in the gang as her personal slaves, taking most of what was brought in so she could buy her biscuits, sit on her throne and pretend she was the Queen of Thieves or something. That was not how it was supposed to be. The gang was supposed to help each other. Each one sharing what they had either panhandled or stolen with the others so that they could use it to feed and clothe themselves but as time went on and Lori left, Kaltoora gained more and more power over the gang and now this.

Kaltoora knew that all eyes were upon her. Her authority as well as her person had been challenged and berated. She knew that to keep that authority she would have to do something drastic, but in fact she was afraid of Mido. He had many of the gang on his side, even if they did not show it openly, she knew how they felt toward her and her ways. If only Lori had stayed away. It was her that gave Mido the strength to stand up against her. That little brat will pay as will this miscreant standing in front of her, but it had to be a reasonable response. She did not want Mido's friends backing him up and have a fight on her hands. She pursed her lips, her brows furrowed as she thought.

Suddenly she swung her right hand with all of her strength and weight behind it to slap Mido's face, but he leaned back and her hand swished empty air, her waist twisting to the left, she struggled to keep her balance and stand upright. She heard some covered laughter and her face turned red with embarrassment and anger. She pointed a shaky finger at Mido. "You are no longer a part of this gang. Anyone," she said looking around at the children's faces who were staring at her, "Anyone who helps him will be disbanded from the gang as well. I would have you beaten till you die Mido, but I will be magnamious and allow you to live, though how long you can survive without us only the gods know. Now go!" She said, turning her back upon Mido and walking as stately as she could went back and sat upon her couch.

"Fine Kaltoora. If that is the way you want it, fine with me. I was just trying to help Lori." Mido looked around at the faces in the room. "Most of you know Lori. She was a kind and dear friend and when she needs us the most our beloved leader says no. Even when we could get paid a piece of silver for doing so.

Kaltoora coughed, "As if we can trust adults. You say he would pay a silver if we helped him, but that is your word Mido."

"Kero heard him as well and he gave me a copperbard for good faith," Mido answered and opened his palm and showed the children. A gasp came from some of them.

"That's right Kaltoora. I was with Mido when the man told us," Kero spoke up.

"It does not matter. Lori left us two years ago...Two years, she did. She left us in a lurch and now when she suddenly comes back we all are supposed to jump through hoops to help her? I said no. And I told you Mido to leave. I will not tell you again."

Mido looked again at all of the faces in the room. His heart beating fast. "Lori left for a reason. A reason I do not know. But I do know that when she was here she would have gone to jail for anyone of us, or even die. That Lori is still the same now as she was then. Think back. Think of how many times Lori helped you out of a jam, or gave you her only biscuit. Can you just turn your backs on her now?"

"Mido, I told you leave. You have not so I will force you to," Kaltorra said as she motioned to her bodyguards who headed for Mido.

Suddenly a kid stood up blocking the two thugs. They pushed the boy out of the way. He stood back up and others began to join him, both boys and girls until there was a whole crowd of them blocking Kaltoora's thugs from getting to Mido.

"Anyone who helps Mido will also be kicked out. Do you really want to live on the streets? No protection. Thrown in jail if the authorities catch you. If not, then sit back down and let them do their job unless Mido leaves on his own," Kaltoora said.

"I am leaving Kaltoora," Mido said, "Anyone who helps me and Lori I promise to help them as well. I do not do this for payment, but the silver penny will help, I do this for Lori."

Mido turned and walked out of the fish huts door. He felt alone, but he knew he had done what was right. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder, he turned and it was Kero and behind him were others and still more came. Mido was never so happy and proud of his friends as they gathered around him he could hear Kaltoora's shriek.

He grinned as the others laughed. "Ok, we spread out throughout the harbour. Search the ships and see if you can get any information about a woman called Lili," Mido said.

"There be a lot of ships in the harbour and I feel the wind picking up, could be a storm coming our way. It will take all night to search every ship, and I dunna think the Captain's of those ships will take kindly to a bunch of kids on their ships," a stick thin boy with a thatch of dirty brown hair said.

The others murmurred in agreement.

"Well, then we better hurry before the storm hits. Besides we are theives are we not? If we cannot search some ships with fat lazy sleepy sailors aboard, then we should choose another profession," Mido said with a grin.

The others grinned and laughed. "What do we do when and if we find this Lili?" Kero asked.

"One of you come and find me, the others watch the ship and keep an eye on it and its crew. We go and find those men who are looking for her and lead them to the right ship. Then we watch, wait and see...if we can help them, we do. Ok?" Mido asked.

The gang all nodded in agreement and then silently like wraiths they dispersed.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on February 13, 2010, 04:57:38 AM
Grallen struggled to gain some detachment as they stepped out into the harbour-scented air. Memories of Lucien’s constant tirades against her quick temper forced her to calm down, try to concentrate on something else. Right. Look around you, Grallen. What do you see? She counted surprisingly few men – should have noticed that before! That’s important, dammit! Quick glances took in the general layout of the boat, how close it was to the jetty-or-whatever-it’s-called, or to other boats. The weather looks a bit-

“Ahoy, there, Landy.” 

 Hello, who’s this, then? Landy, is it? you certainly look like a walking continent. she looked him up and down without letting her expression change from the barely suppressed anger, which she could still feel burning just below the surface of her thoughts. but people expected orcs to look fierce. It was when they looked clever that they tended to get in trouble. Which was convenient, really, because she was still livid.

It would have to come out some time, she knew from experience. She felt she would burst, or suffocate, if she didn’t bloody hit Tyrr soon, at the very least. And soon. But not right now, not just yet. Wait a little longer. We’ll work something out.

She looked this Landy bloke over as they stepped into the little office, and brought out a purse. It seemed a stingy fee to set someone’s whole life at. But then we know, don’t we, that nothing like that ever gets a decent price. People bleed and cower their lives away not for a king’s ransom, not even for enough money to get really monumentally drunk. The wages of sin are not nearly so extravagant as the preachers would have us believe. Lucien’s words, with their strange, singsong elven cadence, rang clear as a bell in Grallen’s boiling mind. She found a fragile kind of support in them, enough to concentrate, to notice mister Landy’s breathing; quiet, easy, not the heavy nasal snuffling someone like Quar emitted. This man was a fighter, maybe? That bulk certainly wasn’t any fat. She glanced at his hands. Well, even if he’s not a fighter, he could probly still swat someone overboard with those things, and not notice. If we go up against him, we go from behind. Right.

She was dragged from this train of thought by a movement low down in the room. She snapped her gaze to it, looking for the source, though kept herself from so much as twitching her hands in the direction of any blades. That kind of nervous reaction is what any potential opponent looks for. She’d taken advantage of it too often to fall for it herself.

She was glad she hadn’t moved when she saw the intruder for what it was – a- an ape? She’d seen them perform on the streets, wearing clothes – like this one. She’d known a guy kept quite a few, did acrobatics with them for thrown change. Some kid had tried to run off with his takings one day and he’d sent his little hairy army to chase him down and take it back. The kid went home minus a lump of his cheek.

With this in mind, Grallen was less than enthusiastic to meet the little ape. She stared at it, her face carefully blank, as it approached. Still, animals were easier to deal with than people, by and large. She held a hand out towards it, hoping to keep it away  from the pocket containing Earnest, should it get too close. Her ears pricked at a slight noise somewhere outside. Maybe the wind was rising. Maybe.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on February 15, 2010, 05:10:09 AM
Orly patted himself down, looking for his pipe, and then frowned. In consternation he remembered now, he put it down in the crow's nest and then forgot to pick it up again before leaving ... so now he was tired, hungry, fit, without his walking stick, called a kid and unable to calm himself down with a good smoke. Could this night possibly get any worse?

The question was about to be answered for him, when suddenly out of the shadows ...

"Psst, you," Orly paused and looked.

His eyes scanning the area around him. There, in the shadows, a face suddenly appeared, "that was a bit of a show down between Mido and Kaltoora, wasn't it?"

It was a boy that was talking to him now. Orly sighed, "I am not a ..." he began, and then, "Showdown?" He was confused.

"Yeah, showdown. It took guts for Mido to stand up to Kaltoora and her fat ass in the way he did. But, as he said, we'll help Lori." Then a pause, and then the boy continued, a note of concern in his voice, "you are in this to help Lori and her friend Lili, aren't you? I just assumed that you were ... you were out here and I thought that ..." the boy stopped again, and then added, "you aren't one of her bloatedness' goons, are you?" The boy stepped away, and Orly shook his head. The boy seemed to be frightened of something, but this word of someone needing help ... and this boy ... Orly looked closely, the boy had ripped clothes and looked as though he hadn't eaten a good meal for a while ... and ... all this thinking of food made Orly hungry. Orly put his thoughts of food to one side with an effort, and considered. Meanwhile, Orly's hands itched to whittle the boy something.

"No, I am not one of the goons," Orly replied, and the boy seemed to relax somewhat, "but I don't know who Lori and Lili are."

"Lori used to be one of us. She left a while ago, but she told Mido a friend of hers was caught and was being held on a ship. Mido wants us to help find Lori's friend, Lili. We are getting paid for it," the boy replied, "will you help?"

Orly nodded, "I'll help," he said, "I came in on a ship earlier myself. I ... don't think that ship was holding anyone prisoner. What are we doing?"

"We need to look over the ships and see if we can find where Lori's friend is being held. A man promised a silver coin if we found Lori's friend for him," the boy replied.

"So, it is back to the docks," Orly said, a touch of resignation in his voice.

"Aye, back to the docks," the boy agreed, "come on kid, race you there." And with that, the boy took off.

'Race? RACE?' Orly hadn't raced anywhere for years, in any situation that didn't involve food, and he certainly didn't want to begin now!. Still if this Lili needed help, he would do what he could to help her.

Orly made his way as quickly as he could back to the docks, trying to keep the boy in his sights. Maybe he could start his search on that ship that brought him here ... at least that way he could reclaim his pipe and calm his nerves.

Orly made his way to the decks, where he was greeted once more by the same boy, a cheeky grin on his face, "you move slower than an old man, kid. Remember, information only, and we send it back to Mido so we can get our money."

Orly nodded, he understood.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on February 15, 2010, 05:54:03 AM
Lili tried to hurl herself out of Quar’s reach once again, but he managed to trap her foot in his paw. She stumbled, and flew headlong into the room. She was good at falling – she’d had plenty of experience jumping off trees – but this narrow room didn’t work to her advantage. As she tried to roll off, so as to get onto her legs again as quickly as possible, her back crashed heavily into a chair. She lost control over her movement, and took the chair with her as she slid along the floor and crashed into the wall.

Lili was used to having space to fight in. Space to run around, to change the distance between your opponents and yourself, to keep them guessing whether it’s the cutlass they have to watch out for, or a hail shower of stones from her sling. Yes, there might be trees in the way, or brambles. And you had to watch out for treeroots, slippery puddles, and swampy ground. But Lili had learned to put such things to her advantage: to force her opponents to negotiate the forest’s natural traps, while allowing herself the greatest freedom of movement. But here, in this cramped cave of a room, Lili couldn’t play to her strengths.

It took her half a blink to disentangle herself from the chair. By the time she had put one foot and a knee on the floor, Quar was upon her again. With the speed of intuition, Lili grabbed the chair and pointed its legs at Quar’s breast, just as he was throwing himself at her. He crashed down. His weight and the force of his fall brought Lili onto her back. Quar was on top of her once again – but this time, the chair was caught between them.

Wood splintered. A chair leg rolled along the floor. Lili twisted and wriggled, and managed to slide out from underneath the chair’s back. Quar’s hands reached for her. But he was impeded by the fact that the toppled chair wobbled underneath him. He managed to grab only a sleeve of her tunic.

Lili tore herself free and rolled herself along the floor like a log. One turn, two turns, three – then she swung her legs over her head to gather force, and hurled them forward to get to her feet in one smooth movement. With three leaps, she was on the other side of the room. Quar had just managed to stand up himself again. Lili placed herself so that the bathtub was between them.

Was Quar seriously hurt? His face looked awful, to be sure. A hotspring of blood bubbled out of his lower lip. Quar had tumbled about quite a bit since Lili had bitten him, and blood was smeared all over his chin, his cheeks, and his forehead. But his stance was steady, and his bones all seemed to be in good order.

He was stronger and more agile than Lili had thought at the beginning. Or maybe the problem was that she  was weaker ? She’d been knocked out cold earlier this evening, after all … what had Grallen said: “when you bumped into Quar”. Maybe he knows me better than I know him? To the netherworld with that Little Lili Demon!  It had certainly been a long time since someone had managed to hold both Lili’s fists in one hand. Must have been before I had my adult teeth. Now the question is: can I keep them all?

Indeed, something in her mouth didn’t feel quite right. The metallic taste of blood could come from Quar’s wound, of course. But that wasn’t all. If Lili had been able to look in the mirror, she would have seen that the yellow mountain range of her teeth now featured an unfamiliar gap. But there was no time to dwell on that, anyway. You’ve got to stop just defending yourself, Lili. This vubuaz is going to keep buzzing around your ears until you tear its sting out.  

Slowly, warily, Quar stepped closer. Was he rethinking his strategy, too? Let’s not give him the time to think.

”Why so red in the face, loverboy? Being bashful, are we? Aww, poor little limpet, can’t get the girls!”

Was that lust that dribbled from his mouth, mixing with the blood? Or was it rage, violence, thirst for vengeance? Maybe for Quar, there was no difference.

He made a step to the left, as if starting a run around the tub to get at Lili. She, however, jumped to her left, thereby keeping the obstacle between them. Quickly, Quar stepped to the right – but again, Lili mirrored his movement. In this way, they danced, describing a circle around the tub.

”I’ll tell you a secret: try perfume. No offence, but you stink like a blood bear’s been sick on you. The poor beast! Saw your face and couldn’t help itself.”

Suddenly, Quar’s arms shot out across the tub, reaching for Lili's arm. But she was alert: with a quick sideways movement, she evaded his hands.

”Now, now, no reason to be angry! It’s not your fault that you’re such an ugly brat. I bet when you were born, your mummy took one look at you, and then asked your daddy to throw you on the carroot patch for manure.”

Quar’s hands were smeared with blood, too. Dark purple they were, these hands, and it made them look even bigger than their anyway were. The adverseries resumed their dance around the tub. Left, right. Right, right … left, right, left … right, right. A ragged rhythm.

Lili now stood with her back towards the centre of the room. Behind her, there was the table. Its legs, that much she remembered, were bolted to the floor. With her back foot, she felt for the table leg. Round and sturdy it was. It would give her some support.

”How was life on the carroot patch, then? Learned your manners from the garden slugs, did you? I bet they …”

In mid-sentence, Lili jumped. Quar had moved to the left this time. But instead of mirroring him once again and continuing the dance, which she hoped he expected her to do, Lili threw herself straight at him. Pressing her foot against the table leg, she propelled her long, lithe body forward. She stretched from toe to fingertip, and flew over the bathtub like a bolt. Her hands went right for Quar’s throat. If he was strong enough, he would stand his ground and have her crash down into the tub. If he was quick enough, he would step aside and leave her to fly face down into the next chair. Lili hoped that she had managed to convince Surprise to fight on her side one last time.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lyth Elstrum on February 16, 2010, 03:30:29 AM
"Miss, did you just use some sort of magic upon me?" Damien asked softly.

Lyth felt panic begin to creep into the shell of her consciousness. She hadn't attempted to exert that much influence over him. Her concentration must have been influenced by her rush to get up and apologize, and by how flustered she was. Now, she paused for a long moment, indecision eating away at her. What if he attacks me if I reveal it was my doing? I suppose that if I want to help them and join their mission, I'll have to be honest with them. I so detest lying anyway.

The elfess hesitated once again for a moment before she spoke in a shy voice. "No sir, I would not call what I did magic of any sort. I am an Eyashene, or a Mindsmoother as is the common term. I was simply trying to help by soothing you and the bird. I hope you are not angered." She exhaled heavily after she was finished, trying to relax. However, she didn't dare admit that she had made a mistake in the amount of influence she had put over him.

Lyth also thought that it would be the best time to ask if she could be allowed to help them. Feeling more confident after speaking now, she spoke. "My name is Lyth, Lyth Elstrum. I am a trained healer, and I think I could be of some use to you. I couldn't help but hear that you have a friend in trouble. I could come along with you, and tend to any of your friends that become injured. That is, if you'll have me."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on February 17, 2010, 03:57:43 AM
SeaShoals Inn

Damien grinned at the elfess. "Great! I know what a mindsoother is and I appreciate the help, Lyth. We weil probably need a healer, at least I do," he said as he opened his shirt and showed her his wound. "Besides this wound I also have some sort of problems with my lungs caused by trying to be drowned in the ocean by some sailors who disliked my...well let's just say I did not smell to nice. So, if you are willing let's go." Damien walked toward the inns door, he turned, "Oh, forgive me. My name is Damien Scar former of Voldar," he said as he opened the door to let her out.


Captain's Cabin aboard the Runner

 “O’ course, men ‘oo know me, knowz that I ne’er go back on me word.  But there can’t be no room fer doubt when it comez ter coin, so count it all, ‘ere and now.”

Tyrr's eyes grew very round as he saw the bag of goldbards lying on the table. He glanced at the Captain, out of the corner of his eye he saw Grallen; she was just sitting there but her eyes were bright and he noticed the slight twitching of her mouth over her teeth. He turned and looked at the Captain's first mate, Landy. He was a big fellow. Probably give Quar a good wrestling match His gaze went back to the coins and as ordered began counting it silently.

In the hold aboard the Runner

Quar stood on the other side of the tub trying to figure out a way to get at this woman, but each time he would go one way she would dance the other and that did not do anything to ease his anger or pain. He tentavily reached up with his right hand and probed his lower lip. The left half of his lower lip hung down like limp piece of meat and it was missing a part. Pain coursed through his head he touched a sensitive area. He roared and pulled a daggar from his belt. "I go'n to kill ye,"

Suddenly the girl launched herself across the tub, her hands aiming at his throat. The move surprised him. he raised his blade to cut her, but as she crashed into him, her head slammed into his wounded mouth. He dropped his knife as numbing pain screamed throughout his head and body. Her weight pushed him backwards until he tripped over the other chair in the room. He fell backwards with the woman landing on top of him and using her fists was pounding on his face.

Fresh blood sprayed over him and her. The pain she inflicted was almost more than he could handle. He could feel himself grow numb and slip into darkness. With a shake of his head he roared back from that darkness, spitting blood at this vile woman who had dared to fight him. He grabbed her waist and threw her off of him. turning around on his knees his eyes flicked around the room searching for his dagger, but also kept on an eye on the woman, who had rolled and was even now getting to her feet.

Quar shakily stood up, resting his hands upon his knees, breathing heavily, trying his best to qualm the waves of pain that radiated from his jaw throughout his head and body. Quar kept an eye on the woman who was now standing up as well, breathing hard as she leaned against a wall. He glared at her. He had never thought a woman could fight like this; most of the women he had killed were easy prey, he would just take their heads and twist them until their necks broke. They would start to fight back, but by the time they did, it was too late. But this woman was different.

Quar suddenly rushed her, the woman dodged out of the way but not before his right hand grabbed her right arm, and pulled her to him. She kicked, he blocked it, she threw a punch, he blocked that, but it was enough for her to escape but not before her sleeve tore. She headed for the tub and Quar quickly headed her off; dancing around that tub was not something he wanted to do again.

She skidded to a halt, her hands up, her eyes bright and gleaming. Quar feinted to his right, she danced to her left, but Quar anticipated the move and bull rushed her and slameed her against the wall. His arms wrapped around her waist slowly squeezing her back. She kicked at his legs, beat upon him with her fists and elbows, but Quar was beyond the pain he felt...all he wanted to do was break this woman''s back or die doing so.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on February 21, 2010, 02:48:24 AM
It wasn’t a loving embrace.

The power of ten charging thunderfoots forced Lili against the wall. Her breath barely managed to wheeze in and out of her compressed lungs. She panicked and boxed and kicked, but Quar held firm. With the power of his ogrish arms he was trying to squash her, to squeeze all living juice out of her, to break her in half. He was  strong. But something didn’t fit. In the back of her mind, even while she was lashing out at him with all her limbs, Lili knew that Quar was making a terrible mistake. She just had to figure out what it was.

She stopped moving. For a moment, time seemed suspended. Lili almost smiled at the ridiculousness of the situation. He’s so close to what he wanted in the first place. And yet so far. That’s probably what’s making him blind.  Quar’s strained panting reached her as if from far away. I need to breathe soon , she thought.

Her vision was blurred. But her inner eye began to see clearly. Both of Quar’s arms were wrapped around her waist. And by pushing her against the wall, he had in effect shackled himself. Her own hands, though, were free.

Quar’s head was just beneath Lili’s. Two fingers of her left hand became hooks. She pushed them inside his nostrils and yanked his face up. Now she could see his eyes. They were widening. Lili thought that his mistake was probably dawning on him. She leaned back into the wall to keep his hands where she wanted them to be. At the same time, she pressed the two strongest fingers of her right hand together to make a dagger, and stabbed.

The next thing she knew, she was flying through the air. Quar had turned and thrown her half-way across the room. She was about to crash head first into the floor, but just managed to flatten her lower arms and beat them on the ground. She slid along on them as if on skids. More quickly than her battered bones agreed with, she jumped back up on her feet and swung herself around to face Quar.

He was running at her already. He was a roar, a wail, a scream. He was one big raging wound. The features of his face were torn, crushed, ripped open, extinguished. But his body seemed to have grown. His flailing arms seemed to reach from one end of the wall to the other. He was  the room, and the room was him. He was a terrible one-eyed giant whose world was about to end. Falling into the last, endless hole, he would grab what he could and drag it down with him.

Lili ducked and skidded, jumped over chairs and dived through the space under the table. Quar’s dagger was still lying near the bath tub where he had dropped it. Lili found no time to pick it up. Quar, for his part, seemed possessed by a rage so old that it came from a time before the first dagger had been forged. He never looked at it. His one remaining eye was fixed on Lili, and if he could have stabbed her with that, he doubtlessly would have done so.

She came to the chair the two of them had smashed earlier and snatched the leg that had broken off. When Quar came rushing at her once again, she swung it against his forehead. There seemed to be little effect. He just kept moving, and this time his hands closed around her throat. Instinctively, she hunched up her shoulders and pressed her chin down to her chest, in order to protect her larynx. Her flat hand shot up against his chin. As she expected, it disturbed him only little. She swung her arm further up, bent it, and hammered her elbow down into the crook of Quar’s arm. This forced Quar’s hand to loosen its grip, and his body to bend forward. She took hold of his head and turned it sideways and back, thereby forcing his body into an awkward twist.

Quar was now practically standing on one leg. Lili kicked into the hollow of his knee, and his heavy body toppled. He fell half sideways and half backwards. His arms flailed wildly through the air, desperate to find something to hold on to. But they found nothing. The elfcat had jumped out of reach. And for everything else, he had no eyes. So it came that he didn’t see the table behind him. Just as his fall had accelerated and he had resigned himself to hitting the ground, his neck thrashed against the corner of the table.

Lili now had the advantage. It was far too late to be squeamish, or to think about what the slavers would say to a corpse on their ship. With one smooth movement, she reached down and pulled her knife from her boot. She jumped forward and stood over Quar, knife raised, ready to strike at whatever part of his body he left exposed: throat or heart.

But Quar didn’t move. He was lying on his back, his arms limp by his side. An odd quiver travelled through his chest, and up into his face. But his eye, his one remaining eye, emitted no light. There was no need for the knife. Quar was dead.

Lili stared at him – partly to make sure that she wasn’t deluding herself, partly because she had little strength left for anything else. Eventually, when blood began to run out of the corner of Quar’s mouth, she took a step back. And another one. And another and another, until her back touched the wall. Her eyes kept watching the dead Quar, even as her knees buckled and her back slid down the wall until she sat on her hunches. Some gooey liquid stuck to the index and middle fingers of her right hand. A liquid that no person should ever touch. I guess if I was a witch, I could now make a third eye for myself, if I wanted to.

Lili had no religion, no belief about what happens when you die, nothing to hold on to when she saw a body deprived of whatever it was that made it alive. Death troubled her. Not the thought of her own death – she had looked that  in the eye many times. But her memories of killing.

Having grown up among a band of highwaymen and –women, Lili knew what killing was. Each and every dead body that she had been responsible for had left a lasting image in her mind. A pale face, a limb still twitching, the curious nakedness of an exposed neck when one of Lili’s cutthroat friends had torn the valuable necklace and amulett from its owner: such were the ghosts that haunted the backalleys of her dreams.

If you asked her, she would be able to tell you the story of each killing that she had been part of. What she wouldn’t tell you about is the emptiness in her stomach afterwards, or the distaste she felt, for the rest of the day, for the bawdy songs she usually enjoyed. She had never got used to these sensations, which remained with her from the moment she drew her cutlass out of her victim’s body, until the time when she could fall into sleep that allowed not a forgetting, but a fading, a dwindling of garishness.

These feelings had never stopped her from fighting, though. She had within her an instinct for survival that was ancient and powerful and beastial, and not at all the same as that which she had heard people with more fortunate destinies call their “lust for life”. It was only afterwards, when the cutlasses had done their screaming and the blood had dried, that Lili wished she could lead a different life.

She looked into Quar’s broken eye.

”Well, you started it, you stupid hog,” she said.

”Couldn’t let go, could you? Well, you know, I’m not a lucky lass, as far as men are concerned. Sometimes I think I’m like a fylja ( – when a man comes close, I turn into a vixen or a she-bear, and the only ones who don’t run away when they see my teeth are ogres like you.”

She fell silent, and lost herself in nameless thoughts. She didn’t know how much time had gone by when she realized that she had been singing. Unusually, her voice was soft, kind, soothing. The sort of voice a little child needs to hear when it has woken from a nightmare and is scared to go to sleep again, and scared to be awake.

”The world is different now though still the seasons run,
The world is different now, but bright still shines the sun.
And yet the world will never be the same:
For today, my love, into my heart you came.

The world is different now though boys grow into men,
The world is different now, yet we ride forth again.
And yet the world will never be the same:
For today, my love, into my heart you came.

The world is different now though girls to women turn,
The world is different now, yet lessons still we learn.
And yet the world will never be the same:
For today, my love, into my heart you came.”

This song was the only gift from her parents that Lili still possessed. It was older than they had been, and it had outlived them just as it would outlive Lili. The song was passed on from mouth to mouth, each singer carrying a debt to the countless singers before her, who had kept the song alive. Now, with the help of an orphan who had not seen her birthplace for over twenty years, it had travelled all the way South from the Kuglimz lands and arrived in Strata. Lili found it comforting to think that this song would remain the same wherever it was, and that it couldn't be raped or beaten up or murdered. And that it was still there, like a constant friend, and didn't judge you, even if you had just poked somebody's eye out and broken somebody's neck.

When Lili got to the last line of the song, she started again from the beginning. Over and over she sang the three verses. Underneath the tune, her thoughts kept on floating. Well, then. That suitor won’t stalk us no more. There remains only the small matter that we’re still locked into the hold of a slave ship. When the slavers come back, we’ll have some explaining to do, I suppose. That Ques looked like he already knew what his mate was up to. But we probably won't get away with playing the helpless lady anymore.

Anyway, we’ll think of something. We always do. Even though it’s more difficult without Kassandra. I hope she has found pleasanter company than I have.

OOC: Song by Alysse the Likely

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on February 21, 2010, 06:05:23 AM
From his vantage point in the shadow of a carved stone monument to those lost at sea, Tharoc looked out across the line of vessels moored along the dockside. They were of many different designs, some familiar, some less so, and others still that seemed to defy whatever natural laws kept the cursed things afloat. There was very little activity on board at this time, save for the occasional watchman patrolling the decks or drunken sailors wobbling their way up precarious gangplanks, cursing and singing the kind of songs he loved to learn himself.

Looking beyond the creaking, bobbing line, he saw the ocean. The cold, norsidian netherworld stretching on and on into nothingness, punctuated by a smear of rippling white where the water seemed to be sucking the very life from the Icy Eye of K’han’uck *.
He shivered involuntarily. “Bloody oshun,”  he swore to himself. “Bloody nasty, ‘orrible, wet, cowd, wobbly, sicky, up ‘n downy bloody…….bloody fing.” He punctuated his verbal assault on all things nautical by hawking and gobbing a steaming missile of phlegm contemptuously in the direction of the water. “An’ it bloody well stinks as well.”

With little else to hold his rapidly waning interest save the cooling sea breeze, he turned to make his way back to The Lusty Wench, the ramshackle tavern Garret had taken him to after springing him so neatly from the city’s gaol. Apparently, he had to go speak to a man about a hog, or some such, and would be back in a couple of days to collect him.
A sudden flurry of movement in the shadows on the dockside below caught his attention. Crouching (he was still wary of being an orc in this place, especially late at night), he watched as a swarm of silent figures emerged from a small shed and scattered stealthily along the sea front in both directions like a plague of sewer rats. Although none of them uttered a word, it was clear that they were working to a plan. His interest grew as he saw the figures slide over the side of the dock one by one only to reappear moments later shimmying up anchor ropes or climbing up steep hulls, using the barnacles as handholds.

A few moments later it was as if nothing had just happened. The dockside was once again devoid of any motion other than the sickening rise and fall of the black hulks moored there. He was just deciding whether to stay and see if anything else would happen when two more figures appeared. He couldn’t make it out properly in the darkness, despite his orcen night vision, but he guessed the taller of the two to be a human boy, maybe twelve to fifteen winters old and very skinny. The smaller, rounder one was different somehow. He just seemed older. Perhaps it was his mannerisms that gave this impression, but Tharoc had the distinct idea that this was a particularly small, hairy human male. Or a bald Dwarf. He was also very unfit, if his gasping and wheezing was anything to go by.
Whatever the truth, the taller figure had to keep stopping to wait for his accomplice as they ran (or in the case of the hairy one, waddled) through the shadows and towards the ships. They stopped briefly at one point and seemed to be in animated conversation about something, but they were too far away for him to make sense of the whisperings that the breeze brought his way.

Having spent the best part of two days locked in a small cage at the gaol, and then another day alone in his bare room at the tavern, he decided he was in no rush to be inside again just yet, thank you. Whatever was going on down here at the docks, it offered his mischievous brain the chance of a little exercise, and he wasn’t about to pass up that opportunity, now was he?
Besides, what possible harm could he get into?

He made his way quietly down to the cobbled dockside and silently followed the two figures as they made their way along the row of ships.

* OOC: Icy Eye of K’han’uck is the name the orcs give to the moon. The Injera is the Fiery Eye of K'han'uck. They believe that K'han'uck holds the world in a hand held up before his face where he can watch everything that goes on. During the day his right eye, the fiery one, brings light to help him see what heroic deeds his orcen children are doing. At night, he turns the world around and uses his left eye, the cold one, to send bad dreams to punish those who he deems to have been unworthy during the previous day.
I haven't added this myth to the orc overview on the Dev side yet.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on February 23, 2010, 01:24:45 AM
Drustai lead the duo in silence. Her brow furrowed tightly and her pace was swift in her heading back to the thug's lair beneath the city. The tide was coming in, and that meant that her entrance would soon be filled with water. They needed to get there swiftly if they were to be able to have an audience tonight.

Drustai frowned, and pulled her lip back slightly in a sneer. She had not wanted to return so soon, as she had already been told off not more than a few hours ago to wait until called for. When she found this Altario, she had figured she would be able to set up a meeting in the future, and even better, to have the support of his comrades. But his insisting on seeing for himself first, his impatience and arrogance, these things had forced her hand. And with only him, her bargaining stance would be considerably less than she had hoped for when he told her of his group.

She looked over her shoulder at the human as they came across the rock facing, then turned to look ahead. In truth, she was still angry at him. He had brought her guard down. It was she who had made the first attempt at respect, not him, and it had been he who had broken it. It had been he who had insulted her. He had none to blame for his misfortunes but himself, and now, she could no longer trust him.

Drustai stepped down into the surf, the water coming up to just under her waist. Perhaps it had been best that she had not changed afterall, for she would have surely had changed into something far more expensive than the tunic and trousers she now wore. She plowed forward, into the deep dark black of the tunnel. When Altario spoke about needing a light, she pulled out the torch that she had been using earlier, and slashed the flint against the stone wall next to the wrapped head of the stick.

Without another word, she continued.

That she felt kinship to Altario's quest made the entire thing all the more frustrating for Drustai. She had not yet decided why she chose to continue. It was not her quest. Yet she had agreed to help even before this man had come into the picture, instead making the promise to the other one, the brother. These humans from the north, what kinship did she have in they? They were no elves. They were humans. Humans like Moroes. Humans like Azthudan. Humans had betrayed her. Just like the wretched dark ones. They were no better.

She looked over her shoulder again, noticing that Altario had stopped, resting his weight against the stone wall of the tunnel. He had said something about resting, something about his leg. She had not been paying much attention to his words, had still been rushing even though they had long exited the most dangerous part of the stone caverns.

As she watched him tend to his leg, her brow furrowed slightly, and she turned around to face him, taking a step forwards.

"Are you alright?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on February 23, 2010, 06:40:32 AM
Altario was thankful for the light, even as he had to cover his eyes for a blink, until his eyes adjusted to the torchlight that was already beginning to fade, as the elf strode forward.  He struggled forward, his knee aching.  It seemed the extra weight of waterlogged trousers just added to the discomfort.  Finally, he had to admit that he needed to stop.  Pride be damned.  He leaned against the rock wall and bent over to gently massage the knee.

He was aware that the elf stopped and took a step back toward him.  Her voice echoed in the hollow chamber of the tunnel.  Her asking if he was alright sounded funny in his ears.  "I'll be fine.  Strange how getting thrown around like a poppet will slow a person up."  He felt a bit of anger rising in his voice and stopped himself from continuing.  It wouldn't do anyone, especially him, any good to start up the hostility once more.

He took a deep breath.  "This wasn't your doing.  I'm getting old and I've lived a hard life.  My knee just happens to be the first part of me to start fading."  It took a few moments of massaging before the throbbing began to subside.

He stood upright.  "I'll be fine.  Let's keep going."  He'd crawl if that was it took.

He noted, with interest, that the path they were on was heavy with footprints.  This place was used frequently.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on February 23, 2010, 07:41:10 AM
Drustai's lip curled back, almost to a snarl, as the man made light of her again. She turned her gaze to the side, away from the human and pursed her lips as she took a breath. In all truth, he was right. If he was now weakened, it was as a result of her doing.

"This wasn't your doing.  I'm getting old and I've lived a hard life.  My knee just happens to be the first part of me to start fading," Altario said.

Drustai turned her gaze back to him. It was her doing, whether he would admit it or not. His pride, it seemed, wouldn't let him do otherwise. At the rest of the statement though... Drustai's shoulders softened somewhat. This man was old and no older than what? 50?  60? He was young! Too young to be entering his final years.

Drustai's gray eyes flashed down a moment. She did pity these humans. Their lives were so short, shorter even if their despicable wars killed them even sooner. She herself had been more than twice this man's age when she had failed to protect her kin, some of them more than three or four times his age. And even they had been taken from from life too soon.

The world was indeed far too cruel.

Her thoughts were broken as the human stood up again. She looked over at him, then down towards his leg. His pride, again. They were already beyond needing to rush, they did not need to go on so soon. He should not continue on with a wound that she brought upon him. Or, at least, one that she had exaggerated further.

She looked to the side a moment. If this man's quest had not so mimicked what she had failed to do for her own life, then she would perhaps not have cared for his troubles. But instead, she reached into a pack on her belt, turned her eyes to him again, and said, "If your pride would be willing to accept it, I have an herb that can help to dull the pain."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on February 26, 2010, 11:41:58 PM
   Willie wrinkled his nose a little as he approached the strange-looking creature sat opposite Eric.  She smelt funny.  Still, she seemed more interesting than the man sitting next to her; he was boring.  His whole interest seemed to be moving shiny things around, much like Eric did when he was in here alone.  The shiny things fascinated all the men Willie had encountered.

   The ape felt a little disappointed, there didn’t seem to be much fun going on in here at all.  At first, he’d thought that the new people would want to play with him, but even the strange smelling one didn’t seem all that interesting, anymore.  She was sitting still, and her face was completely blank, like a piece of stone.

   Perhaps there was something going on outside?  There usually was.  Deciding that the deck would be a better place to be, Willie jumped off the table, and ran over to the door.  Somebody had left it slightly ajar, and so the little ape squeezed through the gap, and made his way outside.

   “See?”  Eric said after Tyrr had finished counting the coins.  “Az I sed, it’s all there.  Now, ‘ee can go back ter the ‘old ter check on yer friendz, if ‘ee likez.  Or ‘ee could join me on deck.  I’z a-gettin’ a lit’le restless, like.  Some o’ me men ain’t back from shore, yet, n’ I’d rather be out o’ this ‘arbour az soon az possible.  I’ll ‘av a look fer ‘em, but if they ain’t ‘ere soon, then we’ll set sail without ‘em.”

   Eric stood up, and gestured for the others to do likewise.

   “After ye,” he said, motioning for Tyrr and Grallen to leave his cabin first.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on February 27, 2010, 12:41:32 AM
Grallen watched the ape leave, thinking it seemed more sure of itself than most of the people she’d met in the past few days. Including herself. She was getting a headache from gritting her teeth and couldn’t trust herself to look too long at either Tyrr or the captain’s face. It seemed the former was taking an age at counting his damned coin, and she was almost glad to hear the slaver captain finally stand, and say “After ye.”

She got to her feet with the boneless grace that seemed to come more naturally when she was really angry, and strode out the door, not wanting to spend a blink longer in that cramped den with those two blackguards.

Nonetheless the back of her neck prickled, reminding her that she had her back to him, that she was not on solid ground, that this was hostile territory, unknown and overcomplicated. Put it like that... she eyed the few men she could see on the deck, her gaze mapping the boat and reminding her of all she’d noticed and all that may have changed. Put it like that and it almost sounds fun.

Something jarred. That figure there—her yellow eyes caught the shape of Gres, leaning over the rail, his back to her. But Quar was nowhere. Grallen tensed. Gres was weird and inexplicable and, well, yuk, but Quar she wouldn’t trust further than she could throw him. And he was a big lad. Why did you leave her, you idiot!? Leave those two on guard duty? Halfwit! Amateur!
She looked at Tyrr, motioning to Gres, alone and away from his post. Her gaze said more eloquently than she could trust herself to, “explain. Because if anything’s happened you will have me to answer to, and the captain can be angry at whatever’s left.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on February 27, 2010, 06:03:04 AM
Pride?  How much pride did she expect him to still have after that beating he had just took.  It wasn't pride, it was suspicion.  What kind of herbs?  If he had his saddle bag here, he would have the strip of cloth that he used to wrap his knee when it got bad, though rarely did it get this bad.  Without something to help, Altario wasn't sure how much further he would be able to struggle on.

"What kind of herbs?  I don't do magic, or potions, or any other abom-" he paused.  She did magic.  Best to keep those Ice Tribe prejudices to himself.  "I don't do magic," he repeated.  "but, if they are simply natural herbs, then I would welcome any help you might offer."

He stared at the elf.  He wasn't sure what to make of her.  Did that mask ever fade?  Did she ever open up?  But then, how many would have asked the same about him?

"Where are you from, elf?  I'm not familiar with the Kayrrhem.  How did you meet my brother?  Does he work for your employer as well?"

So many questions that he didn't have answers for.  He would need them if he was to follow her without hesitation.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on February 28, 2010, 11:15:16 AM
'Down to the harbour to find information on the girl.' Orly thought to himself as he did his best to follow the kid who had hired him. But where would he start looking? Then it struck him, a boat! They were on a harbour, and boats pulled up to a harbour and thus he needed to look on a boat ... or maybe even one of those big boats like the one who had brought him here. If he was lucky, he might even find his way onto HIS boat and then he'd be able to find his pipe.

'Down to the boat to find my pipe,' Orly thought to himself as he neared the water. He paused and thught on that. He was msising something in that. Orly didn't know what it was, but he knew he got something wrong in that. He was off to find someone, wasn't he? But his pipe was missing and he needed to find it. Who was the person he was wanting to help, anyway? Did he even know them? Something about a little girl, he thought. Maybe he was going to whittle something for her. Or he had to go to the boat to whittle his pipe. He had lost his pipe, after all.

'Down to the boat to whittle my pipe,' Orly thought to himself this time as the sail on a boat came starkly into view. He looked at the boat and smiled. It was the boat that brought him here. He looked up one of the masts on the boat and smiled. He remembered that one, that was the one where he saw land and called out to the crew. He could get his pipe up there.

'Up the mast to find my pipe and whittle something for the girl,' Orly thought to himself, then he paused, 'the girl'. Right ... he was here ... to find information about the girl ... and the girl was up there and she had his pipe! And he had to whittle her something to get his pipe back ... a fair exchange, he thought.

He boarded the boat, and was stopped almost straight away by a sailor.

"Oi you, whachya doin', kid?" the sailor drawled, then the sailor looked closer and grinned, "oh, its you, the ship's monkey."

Orly started to complain about the kid, but then nodded, "yeah, its me?" he agreed, "I need to go up there." He pointed to the main mast on the ship, "i need to go up the mast and get my pipe from the girl up there and whittle her something from wood."

"There's no girl up there, Ship Monkey," the sailor said, "wait for t'e Capt'n."

"Where's the Captain," Orly asked, 'the captain would be able to help him get the pipe back from the girl.'

"The Capt'n was d'tained an' 'terrogated by t'e landlubbers. 'Twas somethin' 'bout a dead woman found bein' eaten by crabs," the sailor drawled.

"That is decidedly ugly," Orly replied, "but I need my pipe. Can I go up there, get it, talk to the girl, whilttle her something and then come back here to talk to the Captain? I won't be long."

"Ye can, Ship's Monkey," the sailor decided, "jus' don'cha do nothin' bad up there, an' don'cha take wood from t'e mast for yah whittlin'."

'Up the mast to whittle the girl for the captain and to get information on my pipe,' Orly said to himself, then he paused, that sounded decidedly wrong, the young hobbit thought as he started on his progress up the mast.

'Up the top to find the girl and the captain and my pipe and to whittle crabs for them in exchange for information about the woman who was found dead by the landlubbers.' Orly shook his head, that wasn't it either. Orly sighed ... he'd never work out what he was meant to do up here.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lyth Elstrum on February 28, 2010, 11:24:17 AM
"Great! I know what a mindsoother is and I appreciate the help, Lyth. We will probably need a healer, at least I do," said the man.

Lyth felt waves of relief engulf her as the man displayed a positive reaction to her revelation. She had expected the worst, and didn't know if it would've transformed into a confrontational situation. At least he did not react negatively. I would not have known what to do had he become offended, she thought. I've got to be more careful and exercise more control over my healing gifts.

Her relief quickly turned sour turned upon witnessing what the man showed her next. Lyth grimaced at the wound that the weathered warrior displayed to her. She couldn't imagine how much pain he must have felt upon receiving it.  Then, when she learned of what had befallen him aboard the ship, she did not find it funny as most would. She only felt sympathy, and that ever-present urge to help. Poor man, It must have been awful. Then again, he is a warrior by the looks of him, or at least a retired one. He might be used to such difficulties. Still, I hope he will allow me to treat him before we go on his rescue mission.

The elfess smiled warmly at the man as he held the door open for her to step outside. "Oh, forgive me. My name is Damien Scar former of Voldar," the man said her as she walked out of the tavern. Once outside, Lyth closed her eyes and let the cool night breeze waft over her. The tinge of salt that it carried assaulted her nose, and she found herself reveling in the feeling it gave her. She felt at peace with herself once more, a feeling that had eluded her whilst in the inn.

Opening her eyes, the Eyashene noticed a man standing in front of the tavern, looking rather impatient to say the least. Her gaze then fell on the rather large wolf sitting at his feet. She felt a peculiar curiosity towards this man. It nagged at her and lapped at her insides. But first, she wanted to attend to the wounds of Damien.

Lyth offered him her hand. "Pleased to meet you Damien," she said, using his first name in her usual friendly manner "but before we go, would you like me to have a look at that wound, and check your lungs. It seems you might want to receive medical attention, considering there may be a conflict in the near future."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on February 28, 2010, 10:32:16 PM
   “Now w’at in the name o’ Grothar iz ‘e doin’ out ‘ere?”  Eric said when he saw Gres standing by the ship’s rail.  But in truth, it was a rhetorical question.  Anger started to boil up inside the captain again as he stormed towards the hold’s door.

   “If tha’ pervert az laid so much as an ‘and on tha’ girl…” Eric’s indignation rose through his body, and into his words, making him splutter slightly.  Then, leaving his threat to hang in the air, he unlocked the door, and threw it open.

   Inside, the first thing he saw was Lili, slumped against a wall, and singing softly to herself.  Not far away, splayed out on the floor, his neck at a very unnatural angle, lay Quar.

   “Wat ‘az ‘ee done, lass!” Eric cried as he examined the lifeless corpse.  “’e’s only got one eye!  Why, yer broke ‘iz neck!”

   Lili didn’t respond, she was still singing to herself.  Eric sighed; this was going to cause trouble.  No doubt, Quar had tried to force himself onto the girl, and she’d defended herself.  Just how she’d ended up better off was still a mystery, but her actions were understandable.  Unfortunately, Eric was sure that Tyrr and Gres wouldn’t see it that way, and would no doubt want to punish the prisoner.  Judging from the look he’d seen Grallen give Tyrr on the deck just moments before, he wasn’t sure how the orc would take it.

   “Now does ‘ee see!”  Eric cried, throwing his arms up into the air, and staring at the roof.  “This iz why I don’ ‘av women on me boat!  Nothin’ but trouble!  n’ look!”  Eric pointed to Quar’s body.  “Look at ‘im!  ‘iz eye ripped out n’ ‘iz neck all broke!  Cursed, we iz!”  Eric started to pace around the hold.

   “Why couldn’t yer jus’ tek the coin, like I sed?  But no!  Bring me a girl, yer said.  Bring me a girl, n’ we’ll be even!  But ‘ow iz this even?  Tell me that, yer filthy swine!  I told ‘ee I don’ tek slaves!”  Eric was working himself into a frenzy, bellowing at an unseen person, ranting into thin air.

   “I ain’t no scumbag slaver like ‘ee!”  Eric started to punctuate his words by pointing his finger with the end of every sentence.  “I’z a buiz’nes man!  A sailor!  A rogue, aye!  n’ a thief!  But I don’ tek slaves!  ‘n I don’ kill children!  A monster yer’d mek o’ me!  A monster!”

   Eric was breathing deeply now, his chest rising and falling like the swell of the sea.  His head was starting to ache, and the old scars on his back were beginning to sting.  All in all, he’d had enough of the whole situation, and could only think of one solution; the best solution for any problem.

   “We’ll set sail,” he announced, focussing his attention back on the real people in the room. “’n bury ‘im at sea.  The other ladz’ll ‘av ter be left be’ind.

   “Come on, let’z get back on deck.”

   Getting out of the claustrophobic harbour, and onto the open sea, would give Eric time to think clearly.  Being stuck so close to the land, with, as he imagined it, all of the city’s law men on their trail, was driving the captain out of his mind.  Yes, the sooner they were all at sea, the better.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on March 05, 2010, 05:01:43 AM
At the Seashoals

Damien stepped outside, closed the door behind him. "Pleased to meet you Damien," she said, "but before we go, would you like me to have a look at that wound, and check your lungs. It seems you might want to receive medical attention, considering there may be a conflict in the near future."

Damien looked down at his bandaged wound then let his shirt drop. "I thank you Lyth for offering, but Ayrin, another healer, had just bandaged me up and I have already taken the medicine for my lungs wihich is in my room, however if there is any fighting I will be more than happy to let you minister to me if I need it, but I think the one we are going to rescue may need your healing arts more than I"

Damien saw Garret with his wolf, both of them seemed anxious to get moving. Damien wanted to, but first a quick introduction. "Garret this is Lyth, Lyth this is Garret. Garret Lyth is a healer and we will probably need one when we find Lili. I asked her to come along," Damien said quickly.

Garret nodded at Lyth and then they all began to walk down the sandy street to the harbour area. Damien felt the sea breeze against his face reminding him of the many times he had felt a sea breeze as he had patrolled the walls of Voldar on the ocean side of the city.

Where Altario was Damien did not know, but he knew that Altario would never stop searching for his daughter. Damien recalled the first time he had met Altario.A bull of a man, not as tall as Damien, but bull chested, square jawed, steel grey eyes and mannerisms that told you he was of a superior stock. The character of the man seemed to ooze out of his very pores. Damien immediatly took a liking to him, though he did not know at first, whether Altario liked him.

The man was still searching for his daughter. A scrap of information led him to Voldar and even though there was urgency in his manner to find the person who had that information, he still had the character to help Damien find and help some street urchins that had fallen into bad hands. Then came the war and Altario stayed and fought valiantly side by side with Damien, Voltigar and for Voldar. After the war the man said his good-byes and with heartfelt emotions from both of them, they shook hands and he left; continuing his search.

The wind picked up and was blowing the flames of the iron encased torches that were sparsely spaced along the street the closer they came to the harbour. Far out to his left Damien saw the lighthouse and could hear the peal of a bell. Damien knew that peal. He had heard it many times. A storm was brewing out in the ocean and was heading this way. Well if Lili did fall into slavers hands at least they cannot sail away. No Captain of a ship would sail into a storm, at least not any that he knew of, and he had met quite a few in his lifetime.

Damien wondered if that boy had done what that little girl and her mother had asked him to do and if they would run into him and his friends as they reached the harbour area, he turned to look down the row of ships when he ran into a cloaked figure.

Damien quickly jumped back, his Sengren in his hands its sharp blades glinting in the waning moonlight.

Aboard the Runner

Tyrr held the bag of gold coins close to his chest as he followed the Captain out of his cabin and onto the top deck of the ship. He was exploding with excitement inside. He was rich! He had enough gold to last him a very very long time and afford him the luxeries he always desired and thought he deserved: even after giving the brothers and Grallen their shares, he would still have enough.

Tyrr followed the Captain as he walked down into the hold. The Captain unlocked the door, opened it and then Tyrr's world came crashing down. There was Quar lying on the floor, his neck at an odd angle, he only had one eye, and blood was spiling out of the wound. Tyrr heard the Captain yelling and cursing but it had no meaning for Tyrr, his eyes were on Quar and his brain was trying to wrap itself around the thought that Quar was dead.

Tyrr looked around the room and saw the broken chair, the blood smeared walls and floor and then he saw her She was sitting against a wall, her knees curled up besides her and she was softly singing a song. On two of her fingers on her right hand were the remains of Quar's right eye. Her left sleeve had been torn and she was splattered with blood, but she showed no physical signs, that Tyrr could see, of a fight that would do so much damage to Quar and hardly none to her. Tyrr could not understand. His brain would not comprehend that that woman had somehow bested Quar; not only bested, but killed him!

Where was Gres? Tyrr looked around and did not see Quar's brother anywhere. What did Gres do? Leave Quar and this woman alone!? Tyrr had no time to comtemplate because the Captain was shooing him out the door and saying something about setting sail.

Tyrr mechanically walked back up to the top deck. The wind had picked up considerably. It was probably that way even before he went down to the hold, but he had not noticed it. He saw Gres looking over the far rail out to the sea. He did not even know where Grallen was? Did she follow them down to the hold? Was she still there? Who cares? Tyrr needed to tell Gres that Quar was dead.

Tyrr stumbled, as the ship swayed and rose up and down as the waves rolled in from the ocean. Tyrr reached Gres. Gres turned around and saw the bag of gold in Tyrr's hands, but then he saw the look in Tyrr's eyes. Immediately his eyes flickered down toward the hold. Oh my gods, did Quar kill that woman? was his first thought. "What happened?" He asked.

"Quar...Gres, Quar..." Tyrr began but was interrupted.

"Did Quar kill that woman?" Gres asked worriedly.

Tyrr sadly shook his head no. "Gres, Quar is dead. I don't know how. But somehow the woman had killed him."

Quar dead? Gres's brain asked him. Impossible, came back the answer. Quar was as strong as a bull and he had never lost a fight, even against multiple opponets. Gres looked into Tyrr's eyes and slowly but surely the realization that Quar was really dead sank in. "I have to go see him," Gres said, as he headed for the hold.

Tyrr tried to stand in Gres's way, but Gres just pushed him out of the way and made his way to the hold.

Suddenly there came a shout from one of the crewmen, "Captain, we 'ave ghosts!"

Tyrr looked up and saw several small, wraith like shapes climbing up and over the ship. Some of the crew chased them, but they seemed liked smoke and would slip away, to show up on another place. Tyrr wondered what in the gods name this was?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on March 08, 2010, 08:29:58 PM
Everything suddenly became very complicated. As she rushed to follow the captain into the hold, stopped still in the doorway behind him and Tyrr, taking in the bloody scene, it all felt very far away. She didn’t move as Tyrr pushed past, didn’t even blink at the captain’s increasingly panicked words. She stood very still until he’d finished, and then, barely aware of her own movements, stepped further into the room, pacing with even, unhurried steps over to Quar’s lumpish body. She regarded it cooly, before looking back at Lili. Somewhere in the back of her head a thought occurred: that’s a good trick, that is. But that too, was such a long way away. What was right here, right now, was the fact that the whole world was turning red and bright and sharp-edged. Her hands twitched. She felt she was waiting for something...

Gres stormed in, pushing past Tyrr’s attempts to bar him from the room, with its splatter-marks on the worn deck. Grallen turned to meet his gaze and didn’t even have to think. She forgot the knives, forgot everyone else, forgot that Gres was taller and heavier set than her. She took two long strides forward and swung for as him as he came. Somewhere a long way away sailors were shouting, and the wind was getting up. But right now all she could see was the whites of his eyes, all she could smell his acrid breath.

Grallen smiled.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on March 09, 2010, 05:51:56 AM
Trying his best to both move within the flickering shadows whilst avoiding going too close to the edge of the dock and the turgid water below, Tharocs’ progress was haltingly slow. Stealthy, he would have said, and wraith-like.
He slipped quietly from side to side, avoiding the pools of yellow light cast by the flaming torches set high in the stone wall at the rear of the dock. Some of the ships alongside carried similar torches enclosed within crystal boxes high on their bows, and the circles of light from these caused him the most annoyance as they drifted back and forth across the dock as the ships rose and sank with the sea.

He stooped behind some barrels wrapped in rope netting, trying to gauge his passage between two particularly vexing patches of bouncing light. He had one hand on top of a barrel, and one foot in front of the other, his whole body swaying back and forth in time with the thin strip of blackness that appeared then disappeared between the bright circles. After a few moments of this swaying he felt that he had the measure of the lights, and tensed his body ready for their next pass. He stood upright, rocked back onto his heels……..

…..and crashed right into an unseen figure stood behind him. He span around, a half-formed apology on his lips. “Chuffin’ ‘eck. Ah’m sorry mate. Ah di’nt see y…..”
Expecting to see a figure sprawled on the cobbles, he was stunned to be confronted by a well-built human. Tharoc deduced, suprisingly quickly for him, from the man’s fighting stance and large, shiny axe that perhaps he wasn’t too pleased to be walked into. His right hand, which was extended downwards to where he thought he’d find the person he bumped into, raised slowly upwards until it was level with the man’s waist.
“Easy, mate,”  he said, in what he hoped was a calming tone. “Ah’ve nay quarrel wi’ thee. It were an accident, nuffin’ more. ‘ere, shake on it. Mi name’s Tharoc, son of Rochok of the clan Wargrider. An’ you is…….?”

On reflection, it was, perhaps, not the wisest of moves. The sight of a large, green hand pointing in his direction seemed to raise even more anger within the human. The sound of an obviously orcish name didn't seem to help either, despite the respect the Wargrider name carried within the orc tribes.
If there was any doubt as to the mans' intentions, it was removed by Tharoc's next action. He lifted his other hand slowly to his head and pushed the deep cowl of his wison-hide cloak backwards until it slid off the back of his head. With his extended right hand still being ignored, he attempted his best friendly smile as a last resort, although even his dim-witted brain was beginning to realise there was a chance this was not going to end well for one of them.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on March 09, 2010, 06:29:50 PM
Drustai responded firmly to his barely held insult. "I do magic, human. And yes, I might be able to aid you with such magic. But this," she pulled out pouch containing the dried leaves of a Nightshade bush, "is not magic. So you needn't worry." When Altario nodded, she approached him, and took a kneel down to examine his leg.

"Pull up your trouser legs," she stated bluntly. She turned to her pouch again, and took out a small mortar, which she used to crunch the leaves into a fine powder. She took out a vial and peered delicately into it as she poured an amount of the powder into the vial. Though Nightshade could be poisonous in large doses, Drustai had enough knowledge in its handling. She turned her eyes to look up at Altario a moment, as he spoke again.

"Where are you from, elf?  I'm not familiar with the Kayrrhem.  How did you meet my brother?  Does he work for your employer as well?"

Drustai turned her gaze down again, as she unclasped the flask of water from her belt, and poured in an equally precise measurement of it into the vial. Only after she returned the flask did she begin to answer.

"I come from the Nybelmarian lands to the far west, across the ocean your Santharians call the Aetryam Sea." She frowned, and turned her head to the side, then nodded in recognition as she looked up at him a moment. "One might say we are both foreigners here, human."

She placed the cap on the vial, and began to shake it violently. "I eventually came here." She shook her head, her brow furrowing, and looked up at him. "Many years. I've been north as well. Though farther west than your Remusian lands."

She took a breath and looked downwards a moment. "And you brother? We traveled together for a time. A caravan, towards Strata. I didn't actually know him for the journey," she paused, her eyes looking to the side a moment as she brought up the memories. She looked up at him. "He has enemies."

She looked towards the Altario's leg, then took out a cloth rag. Drustai took a hold of it, and then softly pulled it out, then dropped a small amount of the mixture onto his skin. Taking the rag, she began to spread it across his leg.

She continued, "I don't know who they were. But he was attacked when we were nearing Strata. Four, maybe five of them. Your brother was away from the caravan, I do not know why. The others were asleep." She paused and poured another drop along Altario's thigh, and began spreading anew. "I don't think they believed anyone else was awake. But I saw them, and I helped your brother against them."

Drustai replaced the rag in one of her satchels, then pulled out her flask of water and poured some more into the vial, replacing the cap and swishing the contents a moment, before dumping it out onto the stone floor. She placed both back in her belt, then stood, turning to look at Altario again.

"He was wounded." Drustai nodded at him. "Like you are now. And, like you, he asked me to help."

She turned to look away, and folded her arms across her chest. "And I agreed. Because he told me of your daughter, and of the danger she was in." She shook her head, and went silent, deciding not to explain to him why that made her make her choice. Like with Altario, she had initially considered leaving the man and the young human to their fate. But then, as now, she had decided, perhaps against her better judgment, to help. She had made her own mistakes in life, her own failures, and it was her duty to rectify them. One little human was in no way capable of making up for that. But there was something greater at work here. Whether it was her elven senses or the human intuition she had picked up in her travels, there was more at stake.

Or, perhaps, that was just what she wanted to believe.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on March 10, 2010, 01:47:28 AM
On the Wharf

To Damien's surprise the cloaked figure turned and began to speak. Chuffin’ ‘eck. Ah’m sorry mate. Ah di’nt see y…..”
There was an awkward pause as the cloaked figure rose his head and then stretched out a very large green maw of a hand. Both, seemed to be measuring the other.

“Easy, mate,” he said, in what he hoped was a calming tone. “Ah’ve nay quarrel wi’ thee. It were an accident, nuffin’ more. ‘ere, shake on it. Mi name’s Tharoc, son of Rochok of the clan Wargrider. An’ you is…….?”

Damien stood still as a rock, his axe slowly twirling around in his hands. An orc! Here in Strata! Sneaking around the docks! What is he really up to? A look out for the slavers? The green monstrosity was not the usual orc. He was much too large and tall, probably some half-breed, just the kind of animal slavers would use. Yet, why would he tell his name and act friendly like? That did not make sense.

"Death, unless you tell me where Lili is being kept," Damien answered, his voice cold as the steel he carried.

Aboard the Runner

Gres was staring at Quar, his mind not comprehending, not seeing nor hearing anything, not even noticing Grallen enter the hold until to his surprise she attacked him! Her clawed hand swiped at him and missed his face by a nailsbreadth. "Grallen, what...what are you doing?" he yelped as he saw her eyes turn a fiery yellow and her grin showed her teeth, and the smile was not one of friendship.

It suddenly all became clear. Grallen was not here for the money or him, but she was here for that woman! She must know her. She came along to protect her. She attacked him, because he was supposed to protect the woman from danger and by leaving the woman with Quar alone, he had disbanded his duty, in Grallen's eyes, therefore he must die!

Gres was not a fighter. He did what he was told, but he did not like it, especially if it meant killing someone; he left that to Quar. His expertise was his ability as a thief and a smooth talker: probably why he felt such an attraction to Grallen. She was a thief as well.

Gres then heard the crew shout something about ghosts. Yep, and I going to be one unless I get out of! Gres thought and made a rush for the stairs.

On the Runner while slipping from one crewman and another the boys and girls clambered over the netting, listening to anything that may give them information and then as quickly as they had appeared, they disappeared into the night, as if they were never there.

Sometime later they gathered together on the wharf. "I 'eard the Cap'n of 'hat ship yell som'tin' 'bout slavers," a girl said to the others. "What do we do now?" A boy asked. "We find that man at the Seashoals and tell em," another said. "But what 'bout the others?' Another asked. "We spread out and tell em to 'eet us 'ere and us two will go to the Seashoals."

They all agreed and as wraiths in the night silenty left.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels on March 10, 2010, 03:16:46 AM

Singing that old song was a relief to Lili. It helped her to get over the last half an hour - or was it less, that it had taken her to defeat and kill Quar? Maybe only five or ten minutes? It didn‘t matter, it had been a time short as a blink and long as eternity at the same time. That song brought distance, and a clearer head and though it seemed to Tyrr, that Lili had fallen back in that strange state she had been in, when they had caught her, it was not the case. For while Lili still softly sang when the Captain and Tyrr examined the dead Quar, her eyes were not otherworldly, but observed them, though the dense lashes hid it well.

Had the singing been a relief in the beginning, it was now tactic. Pretending to be a weak little woman who did not know, how to fight and who did kill that brute only by accident might work. She did not use her knives after all, but her fingers. There were now to many possible foes in here she would have to fight when she stood up. Tyrr, the captain - and grallen, though Lili was not sure about grallen.

Grallen, she had been shut into the hold as well, but she had not been bound. She had tried to help her, had she?, her shackles were past her abilities also, so she might have feigned her help only.

And then Tyrr left, shooed out by the captain and Lili stared at grallen, still singing, but at a very low voice, hoping to get a clue. But grallen did not react to her staring, just stood still for a moment, staring through Lili as if she looked into another world, or time.  But her hands twitched. As id she was waiting for something...

And then Gres stormed in and Grallen smiled.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on March 10, 2010, 06:16:12 AM
He found the pipe! He found the pipe! HE FOUND THE PIPE!

Orly was ecstactic about finding his pipe ... it meant he could calm down a bit and relax. Having found his pipe, he felt around for a bit of pipe weed, before long he had found it and then he had his pipe lit.

He was confused, there was no captain up there, and no girl up there, and when he reached out to cut some wood off the mast to whittle something, he got the darkest glare from a sailor and so he quickly moved his knife away from the mast. Still, he had a great vantage point from up here and he looked around.

There ... a few boats away, a number of the kids were going over the rigging and the ropes of a nearby vessel. It seemed mostly deserted, but there were some larger people there. Maybe that was where the girl was ... and the captain ... and the crabs ... what was it about the crabs? Were they found dead, killed by landlubbers? Orly couldn't remember.

He kept on looking around. He saw two figures bump into each other down there on the docks. Well ... crash into each other would be more likely. He couldn't really hear them all that well, from up here, but he could see them, and he didn't think things were going to go too well between them. He thought it would be easy to find them ... maybe they would want something whittled. So, now he just had to find them ... he got down the mast, hit the deck and then left the boat. He headed down into the dock area ... hoping he was headed towards the two figures that had encountered each other ...

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on March 11, 2010, 05:43:25 AM
Roll up your trouser legs?  Have you ever worn buckskin before? 

Without any sign of self consciousness, Altario loosened his belt and let his trousers drop.  Sporting cloth underwear, he could be thankful that he had accepted this southern tradition.  Remusian's had no such garment under their cloths.  He looked down and saw that both his knees were scraped, and the left one was bruised.  No wonder it hurt to walk.  She had done quite the number on him.

He watched Drustai prepare the salve, and his mind flashed back to Riztalyanna, and how she had been a healer, a Duotyer being trained at the White Citadel in Sudarok.  If he had been smart, he would have had Riz teach him some of the finer points.  But, he thought he had more time...

Listening to her, he realized that he had no idea of the lands she was talking about.  Nybelmarian lands?  It seemed strange now, but he remembered being younger and thinking that Remusia was the center of the world.  That nothing existed beyond the horizon.  How naive he was.  So much of him had changed in his travels.  Would he even fit in if he went back home to Remusia?  How could he talk to them anymore with everything he had seen or experienced?  It was true, he was a foreigner here, but he would be just as foreign back home now.

As she worked on his knee, he listened to the elf recount her tale of meeting and helping Denrykmar.  The tale bothered Altario, who could not help but wonder if the danger that Ryk encountered was because of the search for Nayriss or because his brother did not have as high of standard of honour.  Damn, Ryk.  Why must I even question such things?  There should be no doubt in my mind.

The elf finished and stood up.  Altario pulled up his pants and tightened his belt.  "How long until this works?  We should really keep moving."  He placed more weight on the knee, then lifted it up and bent it back and forth.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on March 11, 2010, 09:17:29 PM
Drustai shook her head. "It will take time. Ten minutes. Maybe longer." She folded her arms across her chest, and rested her weight on her left leg. "We could continue further if you'd like, or we can wait. It is up to you."

She eyed the human as he tested his leg. He had not replied to her answer to his question, and this bothered her some. She thought that if he had a query, he would have at least given her some form of acknowledgment of her answering it.

She sighed and shook her head, then turned to look away from him, peering down the corridor as she reached down to pick up her torch, which she had placed down against the stone while she was working on Altario's salve. They still had some distance to cover--about the same amount of time as it would take for the ointment to begin working, in fact. They could cover that distance now, potentially.

She turned her head to look over her shoulder at him, and pursed her lips a moment. She eyed him a moment, as her right hand brushed the top of her scrolltome at her hip. He had been very wary of her magic, both before and even now when she had offered to heal him. And she had detected some of the same ill-at-easeness in his brother. She pondered for a second, then turned her body a bit further so that she could look directly at him.

"Why does your kind abhor magic, Remusian?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on March 14, 2010, 05:54:41 AM
"Death, unless you tell me where Lili is being kept,"  

“Aye,”  thought Tharoc, “looks like vis could get messy.”  Then, to the human, “Oh well, can’t say ah dint try t’be nice,” and with that, he shrugged his massive shoulders causing his cloak to fall to the ground, simultaneously drawing a concealed throwing dagger from each wristband and crouching into his ‘ready to fight’ stance. At this distance the blades were all but useless as missiles, so he held one forehand, ready to stab, and the other backhand in case he got a chance to slash at the human. He constantly flicked them around between his fingers, swapping their directions in an effort to distract and disorientate his foe.

His yellow eyes narrowed as they stared directly into those of the human, watching for any sign of what he was planning. He quietly drew in a lungful of the sea air. Filtering out the stench of salt water and rotting fish, he caught a faint whiff of perspiration coming from the male. It was cold out here, so that must mean he’s nervous. That’s good. If he’s nervous, he might make a mistake.

The two muscular figures began to slowly circle, each seeking whatever advantage could be gained from the terrain. As they moved, the swinging lanterns on the ships above threw first shadow, then light across their faces, making it almost impossible to read each others’ expression.

“’oos vis Lili anyhow? Ah don’ know anyone wi’ vat name. Ah reckon th' mus' be plenty more 2 san 'ores round 'ere if'n vat's wot yer after. Wha's s' special wiv vis 'un?”  As he spoke, Tharoc edged himself into the angle between the dock wall and the stack of barrels beside him. Now his assailants axe would be almost useless, except for a vertical head strike. The orc knew exactly how to counter that move, though. He’d done it many times before.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on March 14, 2010, 06:57:45 AM
He dodged. Grallen had been half expecting that, realising even as she swung that the blow was unsubtle, too slow. She feinted to one side, but he didn’t strike back. He ran. The orc’s smile spread into a wide, animal grin, and she stepped towards the door, following him at a predator’s prowl. It never does to rush things. The anger was painful, dizzying – she wanted to scream – no, better, she wanted to hear them scream – all of them who’d done this to her. As she reached the door she threw a glance back at Lili, her yellow eyes blank with fury. The sight of her, curled up and still singing quietly, was like a small fragment of cold blue in all the hot fog of her mind. Her grin vanished, and she paused just slightly before leaving the room, her voice harsh with suppressed violence.

“Get out. First chance you see. I’ll try t' distract people.”

And then she stepped out into the smoke-and-salt smell of evening air, her eyes terrible lamps in the gloom. She didn’t much care about Gres any more. She’d seen Tyrr. And the captain, the “I’m not a slaver, but” man, with his too-blue eyes and his great big sailor-mates. A quick movement at her hip – a knife appeared in her hand, the blade blacked so as not to glint. She snarled, a noise to call the blood out of any creature’s heart, a noise as old and unanswerable as the coming dark. She snarled and stepped away from the door, out into the open. She didn’t need to say a word; her look, her stance, the way she flicked the knife between her fingers like a conjurers trick, all said “well, come on, if you’re coming” louder than words.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on March 14, 2010, 09:40:18 AM
   Things had definitely taken a turn for the worse, and Eric couldn’t quite place when it had happened.  His original plan of setting sail had been scuppered by the gods.  A terrible wind had landed, and Eric knew that it’d be dangerous to try and make it out of the harbour.  If only he’d set sail straight away, and not wasted time waiting for the rest of his crew to return.  The storm wouldn’t be a problem if they were out at sea.  In fact, nothing would be a problem if they were out at sea!  But here they were, still stuck in this miserable harbour, with a dead man on board!  And things seemed to be getting worse.  A bunch of scruffy kids had decided to jump all over his boat.

   “Damn tha’ blas’ed Jack Jonez!”  Eric cried in anguish, clenching his fists.  “Why’d ‘e send a plague o’ kidz on board me ship!  ‘e’z up ter no good, thatz fer certain!”

   But then, before Eric could get worked up any more, Gres came running over to him.

   “She’s a traitor!” he yelled, panic written all over his face.  “She ain’t ‘ere for the coin, she’s protecting the girl!”

   Tyrr seemed confused, and was just about to say something, when Grallen emerged from the hold.  She didn’t say anything, but the look on her face made her intentions very clear.

   “Aye,” Eric said as he watched her draw a knife, “I should’ve sin this one comin!  But I don’ re’kon she’z ‘ere fer th’ girl, mate; she’z jus’ a greedy bitch; sin them shiny coinz, ‘n figured she’d ‘av ‘em fer ‘erself.”

   He laughed as he watched Grallen make a cautious approach.  Did she really think that she could single-handedly take on Tyrr, Gres, himself, and Landy, all at the same time?

   “Mus’ be somethin’ in the air,” he thought to himself wryly.  “Sen’in’ us all mad!  Still, this ain’t no fight o’ mine.  Well, not yet, any’ow.  If Tyrr chose a bad par’ner, then it’z up ter ‘im ter sort it out.”

   Eric stepped aside, drawing both his cutlasses, just in case this was a trick, and nodded in the direction of the furious orc.

   “Seemz yer par’ner wantz ter ‘av a word wit’ yer, Tyrr.  ‘n I’d ‘ate ter get in yer way.”

   Landy followed Eric’s lead, and drew away slightly to the side.  He knew what the captain was thinking.  If this was a genuine dispute between Tyrr and the orc, then it was none of the Runner’s crew’s business.  But it might just be a ruse, and seeing that Eric had drawn his blades, Landy drew his own.  Then he whistled for a few of the other men to join him and the captain.  If this scheming threesome were up to something, then they’d have a hell of a fight on their hands!

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on March 16, 2010, 12:29:38 AM
 “Oh well, can’t say ah dint try t’be nice,” the orc said, shrugging off his cloak, showing massive muscles, and height. The orc was almost as tall as he. Damien saw him draw a blade, then two and held one in a stabbing position and the other was back-handed for slashing. The orc surprised Damien by that bit of knowledge of knife fighting.

They circled each other as the wind gathered in strength making the lamps sway, shadowing each others face one blink and then in the next one a blink of a cheek, glint of steel or the tense of muscle would show itself. It was the orc's large yellow eyes that Damien kept an eye on. He recalled his father and teacher telling him, it is the eyes you look at. They are the ones that will tell you when an opponent will strike. Your opponent will try and distract you with feints, and even perhaps fancy knife or sword tricks, but it will be the eyes that will tell you when they will strike! Watch the eyes.

So, Damien watched the orc's eyes. The orc spoke as he maneuvered himself between some barrels and the dock wall. good move, thinking that my axe no good any more. But he does not know a Sengren, Damien thought, a grim smile creased his face.

“’oos vis Lili anyhow? Ah don’ know anyone wi’ vat name. Ah reckon th' mus' be plenty more 2 san 'ores round 'ere if'n vat's wot yer after. Wha's s' special wiv vis 'un"

Damien recalled what Lili looked liked and calling her a 2 san whore made his blood boil.

"Do I and my companions look like we are looking for a whore? We are looking for a lady who was kidnapped and by the looks of you, you would be one slavers would use as a look out and a jailor. So, I will ask you one more time, Where is Lili?"

 However, could the orc be telling the truth? That he did not know Lili? If not, then why in Coor's name was he down here? Not only in the docks, but in Strata? Orcs, are northern creatures, they dislike hot weather, and Strata is the hottest place to be. So if he is telling the truth, then why is he here? He has to be lying. All orcs lie.

Damien twirled his Sengren, feinted as if he was going to chop down upon the orc's head, but at the last blink, he drew in his arms and thrust forward his Sengren, the razor sharp, hardened Uryant steel point heading for the orc's chest.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on March 16, 2010, 04:29:56 AM
So, I will ask you one more time, Where is Lili?"

No sooner had the words left his mouth than the human swung his axe as if to strike at the orc's head. Tharoc smiled inwardly and prepared to lunge beneath the descending blade, both daggers aimed at the heart of his assailant. "Tha's yer firs' mistake, 'uman," he thought, " an yer last."
Just as he tensed ready to dive forwards, the swinging light from the ship nearest to the sparring duo threw a momentary flash of yellow across the axeman. It only lasted a blink, but that was enough for Tharoc to see the sudden shift of the mans' feet and the briefest glint of steel speeding towards his chest.

He instictively twisted his huge bulk sideways, his back crashing against the rough stone wall behind him. The jolt took his breath for a moment, meaning that he was too late to grab the shaft of the axe as it passed by, mere nailsbreadths from his chest. He knew he'd been lucky, and he wasn't about to give the human another easy chance like that.
Before the man had time to launch another attack, Tharoc jammed his foot against the base of the wall and pushed himself forwards, hurtling headlong straight into the humans' torso. He wrapped both arms around him, pinning the mans' arms to his body, rendering his axe useless. With their bodies locked together, and their noses a hairsbreadth apart, Tharoc sneered at the man,  "An' ah said ah don' know no-one called Lily. Or are y'deaf, as well as stupid?" With that, he tilted his head backwards and immediately threw it forwards again, aiming the thickest part of his skull directly at the bridge of the humans' nose.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on March 17, 2010, 01:06:55 AM
Aboard the Runner

The ghosts were just a bunch of street urchins playing some game but the wind had picked up considerablly in the short period of time since Tyrr had come up from the hold. His first thought was, how in the gods name did that woman manage to kill Quar? Tyrr had seen Quar take on several men at once, even take a dagger to his ribs, and still manage to kill his opponent(s). He shook his head in disbelief once again as he secured the bag of gold coins about his waist with a piece of good strong rope wrapped several times around him and then hidden under his shirt.

Suddenly Gres came running up the stairs from the hold, rushed to the Captain and began screaming something about "She is a traitor,"

Tyrr turned and saw Grallen come up on top, her eyes were bright yellow and her smile was not one of friendship; her sharp teeth glinted under the ships lanterns. She drew a knife and snarled, looking at him.

 “Seemz yer par’ner wantz ter ‘av a word wit’ yer, Tyrr.  ‘n I’d ‘ate ter get in yer way.”The Captain said, standing away from Grallen and Tyrr, but pulled his own weapons, as did his first mate, and several other crewmen.

Gres was left alone too, but he seemed to be in a state of shock: he just stood there, wide eyed, staring at Grallen as if for the first time he had really seen her for what she was.

"Grallen, put the knife down. Look around you. You know you don't have a chance against so many of us," Tyrr said calmly, but his insides were roaring, as he realized that it really was only him against her. He never fought an orc, but she was small and he had throwing knives as well as his own fighting abilities.

"Let us talk, Grallen. We have more gold to split up between us. Quar should not have tried and done what he did, and he paid the price. That is buisness and he knew it. So does Gres. Don't you Gres?" Tyrr asked, hoping to shake Gres up.

"Uh...Yeah, I guess so," Gres said stumbling over his words.

Tyrr gave an inward sigh. Gres was aware and he knew Gres had a weapon. So that made it two against one if it came to a fight but Tyrr was still hoping that it would not come to that. He hoped that he could talk to Grallen; persuading her to go back to her baser instincts and think about the gold, after all she was a thief.

On the Wharf

Damien's smile of satisfaction was quickly wiped away when the orc dodged his thrust. He moves fast for an orc, Damien thought as he pulled on his axe, but before he could dislodge it from the dock wall, the orc jumped him, Damien was going to go with the flow, roll backwards and throw the orc off, but the orc had different plans as he wrapped his huge arms around Damien's: trapping them.

Damien was taller than the orc, but the orc was stronger and Damien could feel his arms, hands and back slowly being crushed. Besides all of that the orc's mouth was so close to Damien's that he could smell the orc's acrid breath.

"An' ah said ah don' know no-one called Lily. Or are y'deaf, as well as stupid!" The orc yelled in his face.

Damien struggled to get out of the orc's hold, but the orc held him fast. Then Damien saw the orc lift his head, Oh, by Katya's sword, he is going to head butt me. Damien thought, Only one thing to do,

As the orc's head came swiftly down aiming for Damien's nose, Damien quickly raised his head and then just as quickly sent it hurtling toward the orc's skull. this is going to hurt, Damien thought just as their heads met.


The sound of their heads crashing into one another sounded like a hammer on an anvil. Damien's head snapped backward, the orc let go, Damien stumbled backwards, bright lights flashing in his eyes and a roaring ring in his ears. He fell to his knees, gasping for breath. His wound had opened once again, but Damien did not feel it. Damien thanked the gods he was still alive. Damien looked at the orc, who seemed stunned as well.

They both just stared at one another.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on March 17, 2010, 03:04:58 AM

Tharoc, stunned by the audacity of the man, released his grip, sending the human crashing to his kness.

"Tha' shun't 'ave 'appened," he thought. Although the knock to his forehead hadn't hurt him, the shock of someone actually head butting him had stopped him in his tracks just as effectively as a hammer blow.
What was equally as puzzling to the orc was the fact that the figure knelt in front of him was still conscious. The Orcs' Kiss was his coup-de-grace move, and was usually enough to knock any foe into the middle of next week.

"K'han'uck's breeches! Vis 'un's tuffer'n 'ee looks," he said to himself. He wiped the back of a hand across his forehead and checked to see if he was bleeding. He didn't really expect to be, and he was right.

Jerking himself back into the here and now, he took a step away from the man, just to be on the safe side. Judging by his skill with that axe, he had military training, and probably plenty of it. Besides, despite the obvious flab over his torso, it was easy to see that he had once been almost as muscular as the orc. He was not someone to be taken lightly.

The figure was on one knee with his head bowed forwards. His left arm was across his body, wrapped around his ribs as if to protect them. His right hand he held up to his head.
Tharoc looked round for the axe that so nearly caught him out. It lay next to the wall a couple of peds away among the shards of stone and dust that had erupted when the vicious looking steel point had struck. He'd seen plenty of those axes before, back in his army days. It marked the man as a Remusian, or their allie. He kicked it behind the barrels nearby then turned back to the human. He hadn't moved. Sniffing the air, Tharoc could smell traces of strong drink on the man. Not today, though. Maybe last night? Or the night before? He could smell something else, too. Something very familiar. Blood. More specifically, human blood. Fresh, too.

He knew he hadn't caused any wounds to the man during their brief scuffle, he'd slid his daggers back into their wrist sheaths as he wrapped his arms around the mans' ribcage, and the absence of any blood on his own forehead told him that, somehow, the skin on the human's head was unbroken. Maybe he was already injured when he got here? Maybe a person worse for drink and carrying an injury shouldn't be taking on orcs for no reason.

The man was in obvious pain, and Tharoc's healer Mothers' face appeared unbidden in his mind. He squatted down in front of him at a safe distance. "'ere..... wot ever yer name alreet? Y'don' look too good. 'ere.....let mi 'elp yer up...." He stood in a crouch and made to put a huge hand under the arm of the injured man. He could hear laboured breathing as he drew closer.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on March 17, 2010, 06:51:21 AM
Altario nodded.  Not too very much further, then.  "I think I can continue.  I'll just be a little slower than you are."

A few steps confirmed it.  He noticed her watching him.  Always watching him.  What lay behind her grey eyes?  

As he was gently massaging his knee, her next question startled him.  Why did he abhor magic?  Why, it was obvious, wasn't it?  Magic was evil.  Magic went against nature.  Magic was an affront to the gods.  His mouth opened in answer, but the words did not come, and he slowly closed his mouth.

Why did he abhor magic?  Not why did Remusian's abhor magic, but why did he?  Of course, she meant his people, but something in her tone made it more personal.  Why did he abhor magic?  He had seen it used in defense of Remusiat years ago.  Foreign mages had helped when the Western Wall had fallen, helping the exhausted Remusian warriors fight back the Losh-oc horde.  His people owed mages a debt of gratitude, though most would rather die than admit to such a thing.

He was raised with the knowledge of what the mages had done to his people, all those centuries ago.  His father had nurtured the bias in Altario, telling him stories and legends of dark mages.  But, had he ever actually been harmed by a mage?  Well, that was up until he had met this mage.

"Long ago, the Dark Chosen Alteth used my people as slaves during the War of the Chosen.  When we were liberated, magic in our lands were outlawed.  Never again will the free people of Remusiat or the Frozen Wastes be subjugated.  It goes against the word of god.  Kor'och spoke that magic was inherently evil, no matter who used it, or for what end.  Power over nature belongs to the gods.  What man should have the ability to make ice when Pargis controls the Ice?  What man should control the animals that Zundefor has given us?  What manner of man animates the dead after Necteref has called them home?"

Altario calmed himself.  "I'm sorry.  This something that every Remusian is raised to believe.  It goes deep.  I do not mean to insult you.  I have met mages that did me no harm."

He suddenly felt very uncomfortable.  Without meeting her gaze, he walked past her further into the tunnel.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on March 17, 2010, 11:26:59 AM
Drustai's gaze hardened at Altario's answer. She let him continue, but she felt like she needed to interrupt him time and again for the words in his speech. The word of his 'god'. Was his kind so weak-willed that they denied the chance to strengthen themselves because of the word of his fake religion? Even if the existence of his gods were true, should they really so blindly follow their whims? Give themselves over to their clutches?

Drustai hadn't noticed it, but as Altario spoke, her own fingers tightened around the shaft of the torch she held. Her grey eyes watched him as he tried to break the conversation by proceeding. You do not fool me, human. I know you want to hide your bile.

She quickly followed Altario as he began walking deeper into the tunnel. Though he did not know the way, Drustai allowed him to lead for now. Her brow furrowed as she watched his steps, though, and she spoke despite his desire to flee the conversation.

"Your kind insults itself, Remusian," she began. "Your gods, if they exist, insult and weaken you by hoarding the unnatural to themselves."

Even if he tried to interrupt her here, she did not allow him. "The words of your gods are evil. Your gods, as any gods, are evil. For they take the lives of men and women for their own selfish needs, deny the right to change the world because they are afraid of what you can do with that power."

Drustai's lips pulled back into a sneer, and a low growl escaped her throat. She continued. "Your home is where you were born, the world in which you live. This Necteref," she spoke the name with venom, "is not calling your people "home". He, or she, is taking them away from you. Away from their lives." She paused, and glared at him, "And that is beyond evil. If magic can save them, if it is magic that can defeat the loss of your loved ones, then magic is not evil. It is an absolute good. It is life.

Power over nature belongs to those whom live amongst and with nature. We are not playthings to be used and discarded on a whim by your gods."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on March 18, 2010, 02:29:27 AM
The captain had drawn his men together, stepping back from the circle of tension that Grallen seemed to emanate. Her smile widened a little. Look, they’ve even helpfully drawn their weapons. Look, our captain’s a cutlass man, how wonderfully traditional. She took all this in somewhere underneath the roar of unabated anger, still keeping her gaze on Tyrr. He spoke, and her fingers twitched unconsciously, fighting the urge to cut his words off with a thrown blade. She almost screamed. He was trying to reason! He!

"Let us talk, Grallen. We have more gold to split up between us...”

She changed her stance, ever so slightly, straightening a little. No more relaxed, but less of a fighting stance – or at least that’s how it looked. But she needed to draw him into making the first move, and nothing is so threatening as passiveness, if done right. Or that’s what Lucius had said. Right now a large part of her was arguing convincingly that nothing is so threatening as cutting your opponent’s spleen out and showing it to them. Still, she forced herself to keep still, if not calm; her words came out hard-edged, growls that belied the cold fury behind her perpetual smile:

“It’s almost funny. All this time you bastards have been fawning and threatening, with bribery and pretty words and shiny blades, as if I was some kind of trained ape. You really think that, don’t you? You really think you can pull someone into this sordid world of yours and then forget about them. You poor stupid bastards. Did it not occur that I might not need your coin? That there are other reasons?! Don’t you dare presume to know the first thing about me!”

Her voice had risen to a hoarse shout, and she paused before speaking again, still keeping track of every movement of those around her. When she spoke again her voice was low, barely above a whisper, which would carry to Tyrr but little further.

“You’re all alone, now, Tyrr. Your slaver captain has more sense, and friend Gres has more doubts. ‘S just you and me. And maybe you’re thinking that’s not such bad odds, strapping bloke like you, got... lessee... maybe three knives? Lucky number, that. I guess we’ll see.”

She stayed very still, her smile spreading just a little, enough to show her teeth, which gleamed in the lamplight. The number of knives was an educated guess. But with any luck she’d get to see just exactly how many he had quite soon.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels on March 18, 2010, 02:38:58 AM

Kassandra was as happy as she could be, not counting, that her most beloved walking tree was not here and she was tired. But apart from that, life seemed great. She sat on a comfortable walking tree, who did not wince, when her talons pierced lightly in the bark of its branch. She felt a bit drowsy and exited at the same time and was about to leave the walking tree to look out for a safe place to hide and sleep, but then she felt a strange feeling in her head.  As with such a head it was hard for her to come to a decision in which direction she should take of, she just stayed. The walking tree went outside and met others and walked then through the cool air towards the water. That was good. Maybe her walking tree was there also.

She enjoyed the movement of the walk, a little up and down, but it was somehow different to sitting on the nest on her own walking tree , but a nice experience nevertheless - until, that stupid untrained tree walked in another tree and Kassandra was nearly thrown on the  hard ground if she would not have been such a cute bird. So her flight was not entirely under her control, but soon enough she sat on a pole nearby, watching what happened below her.

Kassandra cocked her head to better see, what those two trees had in mind. They sang to each other, and a word was very familiar to her - Lili - and so she listened closely. But then they embraced themselves and for a moment Kassandra thought about a male gossiper bird.. But no, that was more like those cases, when Lili tried to cut down another tree. That was very interesting, and Kassandra sat still to listen, if the two had an interesting song to sing.  That was a dance the two performed. Thunk! Kassandra nearly fell from her pole, so surprised was she by the loud noise. No, that was not a good song, too short, not melodious, though that new walking tree had a very interesting voice! The one song they did in the beginning had been better. She even remembered it somewhat.  If those two did not better, she would.

The logs down were a better place, so she flew down and perched on the barrels. Now was her time to sing! Especially what she had acquired recently, and so an orcs voice could be heard along the pier, countered by a more human sounding one:

"K'han'uck's breeches! Vis 'un's tuffer'n 'ee looks,"
"Tha's yer firs' mistake, 'uman, an yer last."

"To kill an orc, maim a man, off to battle we go!

"Tha' shun't 'ave 'appened,"

"Sharpen your steel and mount your horse, off to battle we go!"

"An' ah said ah don' know no-one called Lily. Or are y'deaf, as well as stupid?
Tha' shun't 'ave 'appened,
Aye,looks like vis could get messy. Oh well, can’t say ah dint try t’be nice,”

"Whoa men, ho men, off to battle we go!"

“Ah’ve nay quarrel wi’ thee. It were an accident, nuffin’ more. ‘ere, shake on it. Mi name’s Tharoc, son of Rochok of the clan Wargrider.
Tharoc, Tharoc, Tharoc, Sharpen your steel and mount your horse, off to battle we go”

Wargrider, evil spider, have some cider,

Chuffin’ ‘eck. Ah’m sorry mate. Ah di’nt see y….. We fall and die....

"To kill an orc
maim a man
off to battle we go!

We fall and die.... „

"Whoa men
ho men
off to battle we go!"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on March 19, 2010, 01:31:37 AM
Damien had completely forgotten about Lili's bird, Kassandra on his shoulder when he confronted the orc. She must have flown off and found a different perch

On one knee, one arm wrapped around his waist protecting his ribs Damien wheezed as he stared at the orc. Damien waited for the final attack. Why Garret did not help him ran through his mind as he waited for death to come. Damien was not afraid to die, but he had hoped to have more time to rectify some things in his life.

Well come on you green, yellow eyed, monstrosity! Get it over with. Kill me, so I can meet Queprur, Damien screamed in his thoughts. But the orc did not attack instead he said something that Damien could not believe.

"'ere..... wot ever yer name alreet? Y'don' look too good. 'ere.....let mi 'elp yer up...."

The orc stood at a crouch and was cautiously reaching toward him. Damien looked at the orc with suspicion. Did this orc really want to help him, or was this some sort of a trick, so that the orc could get close enough to kill him quickly? The orc seemed genuine enough and that confused Damien.

Suddenly from somewhere in the dark and above him Damien heard Kassandra speak. She sang the old Kuglimz song but added the orc's voice as well. In a way it was funny and Damien almost laughed, but it hurt to do so.

Somehow Kassandra's voice helped Damien. It helped him realize what he was truly trying to do: find Lily.

Finally Damien consented and allowed the orc to help him up to his feet. Damien's head throbbed like he had the worst hangover in his entire life. He shook his head to try and clear the cobwebs, but that caused more pain. He tried not to show any weakness to the orc, but the pain was so bad that he let out a groan.

The wharf and the sky whirrled round and round. Damien almost fell, but the big clawed hand of the orc caught and steadied him. Damien recalled the orc's name as he weaved unsteadily, but with the orcs help he stayed on his feet. Damien gave the orc a weak smile, "Tharoc," he croaked out, "I...I am not sure why you did not kill me, as I am definately the beaten one. I have fought orcs before, but I have never come across one, as strong or as noble. I would have killed you and thought I had done the world a great service, but as I look into your eyes and see the compassion in your face, I am grateful I did not."

A wave of pain racked through Damien's head and body. He groaned and bent down. The pain receeded and Damien forced himself to stand up. It was only his will and Tharoc's hand that kept Damien upon his feet. Damien once again looked at Tharoc and gave him a weak smile. "My name is Damien, Baron Damien Scar formerly of Voldar." Damien wheezed out.

Damien's knees buckled. "I think I need to sit down," he said. Tharoc gently helped him down setting his back against a rail. "I have some people who are helping me look for our friend's friend, Lili. One is a healer, her name is Lyth and the other's name is Garret. They should be coming soon. Lyth can help me with my injuries and perhaps help you, if you have any?" Damien said, his head slowly falling to his chest. "We need to find Lili before it is too late," he whispered as finally darkness and unconsiousness  enveloped him.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on March 19, 2010, 01:51:24 AM
Aboard the Runner

“It’s almost funny. All this time you bastards have been fawning and threatening, with bribery and pretty words and shiny blades, as if I was some kind of trained ape. You really think that, don’t you? You really think you can pull someone into this sordid world of yours and then forget about them. You poor stupid bastards. Did it not occur that I might not need your coin? That there are other reasons?! Don’t you dare presume to know the first thing about me!”

Tyrr listened as Grallen shouted. Her voice strong with hate.

“You’re all alone, now, Tyrr. Your slaver captain has more sense, and friend Gres has more doubts. ‘S just you and me. And maybe you’re thinking that’s not such bad odds, strapping bloke like you, got... lessee... maybe three knives? Lucky number, that. I guess we’ll see.”

Tyrr glanced at Gres as Grallen mentioned his name. Gres was shifting his gaze back and forth between Tyrr and Grallen. Tyrr could see that Grallen was right; Gres had doubts about fighting Grallen. Gres was always a coward. He had Quar, but now Quar was dead and Gres did not have his big brother to protect him.

Fine, then I guess it is up to me. How hard can it be to kill her? Two quick throws from my knives, one into her chest and the other her throat should take care of her, but good, thought Tyrr as his hands slowly grasped his throwing knives on each side of his belt. Tyrr's eyes never left Grallen. His total concentration was on his targets.

Suddenly his left hand whipped forward, the knife that was in it whistled toward Grallen's chest.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on March 19, 2010, 03:14:45 AM
Altario stopped in his tracks, his back stiffening.  She was beginning to get on his last nerve.  He turned slowly.  "If you would have said that a few years ago, I would have killed you for it."    His voice was low and steady.  It was truth that he spoke.  Years ago, he knew the truth, that Kor'och had defeated the old gods and took his righful place as the only god in the next realm.  But now...  Well, now, after his visions, after seeing Riztalyanna in the next world, he had doubts.  Doubts he hated to admit to himself, but ones that shook the very core of his being.

His eyes locked onto hers, even in the dim light of the flickering torch.  "And you elf?  What is your problem with me?  You claim you know my brother, but you spit like bile the words you speak to me.  What did my brother do to you?  What did I do to you?  Or do you just hate all humans that much?  Like you have let yourself get to us enough to judge.  Tell me how you can justify hating an entire race?"

It suddenly dawned on him how hollow that might sound if someone were to know him or know his people.  Remusians looked down on every other race, and even other humans who were not Remusian.  Though, that was different.  Human's were the chosen of Nechya and were the pure race.  The others were not evil, as such, just not the chosen race.  Except orcs.  They were the filth that was created through abomination.  Orcs were evil.  All of them.

"Why don't you save your hatred for orcs, and spare me the diatribe?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on March 19, 2010, 03:44:23 PM
"If you would have said that a few years ago, I would have killed you for it," Altario said. Drustai glared at him levelly as he turned and spoke to her. What she had spoken was the truth, and he knew it. It struck something in him, a flicker of doubt that he did not want to admit. That was the only reason he was so angry. You know it, human. Your gods, if they exist at all, don't care about you. They never have, she said in her mind, but not to him.

And her problem with him? She did not have any problem with him. She despised his gods, his culture, his kin's capacity for war and destruction and death. Did that automatically translate to a problem with him? Perhaps. But if she truly hated him, she would not be helping him, nor his brother.

"Why don't you save your hatred for orcs, and spare me the diatribe?"

Drustai's blood turned cold as Altario spoke. Her lips pulled back in a sneer, and she quickly turned aside, turning her ire away from him for a moment. Her left hand clenched into a fist as her right tightened around the shaft of the torch she held. She almost lashed out at him, but decided against it. He didn't know. He didn't know how she had suffered under their hands. The Coor-spawned Chyraskith.

After a moment, she turned and walked briskly past the human, further down the tunnel, saying nothing.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on March 19, 2010, 08:06:57 PM
She watched him, still standing still, though she couldn’t help quivering with rage. Her gaze flicked from his eyes to his hands, trying to read his tells. Soon.
Her mouth tasted metallic. There was always a part of her that desperately missed these moments.
Her ears pricked, catching every breath, the sailors let out. She couldn’t wait any longer, she had to-
Tyrr drew, and Grallen tensed, or at least tensed a little more – her tendons were already singing with the strain of just keeping still.
A flick of the hand. left. She dived without thinking as soon as she saw light on the blade. Something grazed her, tearing her shirt just under her ribs. She didn’t notice, but stretched out her arms as she crashed to the floor, reaching for Tyrr’s ankle, blade still in hand.
No more waiting.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on March 21, 2010, 04:25:38 PM
That struck home.  At the mention of orcs, the elf reacted.  He watched her in silence, wondering if she were going to lash out at him, or perhaps even attack him.  But, though her body betrayed her hostility, she said nothing.  A moment later she passed by without a word.  He watched her stride on, and hurried to keep up, limping as he went.  A few moments later, he could not hold inside the curiosity that burned within his chest.

"Tell me, Drustai of the Kaýrrhem , what atrocity did the orcs befall upon you?  Perhaps you and I are not so different after all?"

If he and her could not be friends, perhaps they could bond over a shared enemy.  Kor'och knew he hated them.  Every last green skinned demon.

But what had happened to her?  A war?  Family lost?  Or was it even more personal?  Gods knew how many inncent women gave birth to abominations of mixed blood.  It almost made him sick to his stomach to think of that type of violation of a human woman to an orc, or many orcs, as the case may be. 

He grimaced, as his knee continued to throb.  This would be the longest ten minutes of his life.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on March 22, 2010, 01:45:35 AM
As Tharoc crouched near the kneeling human, a strangely familiar voice behind him made him turn quickly, expecting some trickery from an unseen friend of the injured man.

"Tha' shun't 'ave 'appened,"

The voice seemed to be coming from the very air itself. Stranger still was the fact that it was an orcen voice, and unless he was mistaken it was an Ashz-oc dialect identical to his own. There was no obvious source that he could see or smell. His ears prickled as he strained to locate whoever had spoken.

"Come out where ah c'n see yer, stranger," he said. "Ah'm in nay mood fer games. Ah finks you an' me is kinsmen anyway, so thur's nay need fer vis."

Silence. Nothing moved, save for the breeze-ruffled feathers on the strange green bird perched atop the stack of nearby barrels. "S'funny," he thought, "ah, din't see vat afore. Ah wonder where vat come from?"

"Sharpen your steel and mount your horse, off to battle we go!"

A different voice sang out from the shadows. Not orcen this time, more human, but not one that Tharoc had heard before. He drew his Kle'vaar. "Awreet, ah've 'ad enuff o' vis. Show yersel', 'ooever yer are. If'n yer wants trubble, well fine. If no' , ven ah'd 'preciate some 'elp 'ere." He turned to look at the human who was. by now, reaching for Tharoc's arm. Keeping his Kle'vaar pointed towards the shadows, he edged slowly backwards until he was able to slide his free arm around the injured man and help him to his feet. The man moaned as he felt the powerful grip of the orc press into his ribs. Tharoc began to edge towards the rail that ran along the dockside, moving away from the wall, hoping to give himself some room should another fight begin.

"Or are y'deaf, as well as stupid?" It was the orc voice again. "So, thur's at least two of 'em," he thought. "But wha's an Ashz-oc doin' vis far sowf, an' why's 'ee frettnin' a feller tribesman? " It didn't occur to him that this other orc could be thinking exactly the same thing about him.

He looked back to his erstwhile foe as he felt his knees buckle. He gripped even tighter onto him and used his hip to help steady him. The man looked up at Tharoc and gave a weak smile. "Tharoc," he croaked out, "I...I am not sure why you did not kill me, as I am definately the beaten one. I have fought orcs before, but I have never come across one, as strong or as noble. I would have killed you and thought I had done the world a great service, but as I look into your eyes and see the compassion in your face, I am grateful I did not." He gave another groan and was bent almost double by the searing pain in his chest and ribs. Through sheer force of will, and with a little help from Tharoc, he managed to straighten himself. "Thas nay compassion, matey, it's bloody confusion, tha's wha' vat is!" he thought.
 "My name is Damien, Baron Damien Scar formerly of Voldar."   There was no hiding the wheezing in his voice. The names of Scar and Voldar meant nothing to Tharoc, but this man was obviously someone important. Or at least he thought himself so.

“Ah’ve nay quarrel wi’ thee. It were an accident, nuffin’ more. ‘ere, shake on it."
"Wargrider, evil spider, have some cider,"

Tharoc's head was filled now with the disembodied voices that surrounded him. He lowered the human to the ground and turned again to search for their source, standing over the sick man, ready to defend him.
"I have some people who are helping me look for our friend's friend, Lili. One is a healer, her name is Lyth and the other's name is Garret. They should be coming soon. Lyth can help me with my injuries and perhaps help you, if you have any?" His voice began to trail off, telling Tharoc that he was about to pass out. We need to find Lili before it is too late.
At the mention of Garret's name, Tharocs' unease lifted a little. If his old friend was around, he would make sense of all this witchery and explain it to him in nice, easy words.

"To kill an orc
maim a man
off to battle we go!"

"We fall and die.... „"

"Whoa men
ho men
off to battle we go!"

Tharoc drew in a silent breath, adjusted his grip on his Kle'vaar to double-handed, and prepared to face whatever witchery was taunting him from the shadows.
As suddenly as they had begun, the ghostly voices ceased and the dockside once again was silent. Tharoc didn't know which was worse. He cast sideways glances along the length of the dock, hoping to see Garret and this Lyth person. Nothing. No movement save that of the odd-looking bird across the way, who was busy preening its feathers.
He sniffed. was that a faint whiff of Ashz-oc flesh that he could smell? It wasn't close, though, so probably didn't belong to whoever was hiding nearby. Come to think of it, why couldn't he smell the orc he knew was hiding near those barrels?
In the newly returned silence, he could hear snatches of what sounded like fighting going on in the distance, carried to his sensitive ears on the sea breeze.
"Prob'ly some drunked-up sailors 'avin' a scrap o'er th' las' drop o' booze,"
he thought, eyes still scanning his surroundings.

Then, suddenly, another smell wafted across his nostrils. A smell he recognised instantly. His eyes widened and his heart lifted as there, on the ramp which led down to the dock, he saw the unmistakable silhouette of Shadowfoot, the Mithral wolf that was the constant companion of his old friend Garret. He tried to whistle to attract the attention of the animal, but thanks to his tusks all he could manage was a wheezy raspberry."Pthhhhwwwww! Oi, Shadders! Over 'ere! 's me, Tharoc. C'mon fella. Where's Garret? Go fin' Garret."  

He breathed a sigh of relief as he saw two more shadows appear at the top of the ramp. The smaller one he didn't recognise, but the other, taller figure bore the familiar shape of Garret.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on March 23, 2010, 12:12:31 AM
Aboard the Runner

By the gods she is quick, Tyrr thought as he saw her dive to the deck, seeing his knife sink into the wood of the Captain's cabin doorframe. Tyrr did not recognize the plan Grallen had when she dove; he thought she was just trying to dodge his blade, but she dove to the left and toward him, her arms outstretched and her hands still holding her knives.

She was awfully close to Tyrr's ankle and probably would have tried to cut his hamstring if it were not for a feral, high pitched scream and a hand pushing him out of the way sending his reeling into a barrel, causing the barrel and himself to crash to the deck of the ship.

"You green frog's offspring!" Tyrr heard Gres spit out. "I trusted you! I...I lo..liked you. I thought you were different. Quar tried to warn me, but I would not listen. No, she would not do that to me, I said to him. "Now you die!"

Gres jumped on top of Grallen, daggar in hiand.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels on March 23, 2010, 06:30:14 AM
Grallen fought Gres easily, who tried to escape to the deck. Grallen followed him, but before she left, she hissed to Lili.

“Get out. First chance you see. I’ll try t' distract people.”

Lili, not trusting grallen yet, followed her advice nevertheless, stopped singing and went after grallen, quickly, but cautiously. She did not know, how it looked outside, who might be there waiting.

“She’s a traitor!” she heard Gres scream.  “She ain’t ‘ere for the coin, she’s protecting the girl!”

Is it so? Why then had she been with me in the hold? Why was she with me at all? We have scarcely known each other, a day‘s ride is nothing which ties people together

Just before the opening to the deck she stopped, waiting, listening, only barely risking a view over the last step of the stairs.

"Grallen, put the knife down. Look around you......  Let us talk, Grallen. We have more gold to split up between us. Quar should not have tried and done what he did, and he paid the price.“

So Tyrr wants to persuade grallen not to fight and share money with her? So she has been in some deal with him? Why is she then fighting them now?

“It’s almost funny. All this time you bastards have been fawning and threatening, with bribery and pretty words and shiny blades, as if I was some kind of trained ape. You really think that, don’t you? You really think you can pull someone into this sordid world of yours and then forget about them. You poor stupid bastards. Did it not occur that I might not need your coin? That there are other reasons?! Don’t you dare presume to know the first thing about me!”

What does grallen say here? What she did had the purpose to what? Protect her? An orcen girl with no relation towards me? Does she have other reasons to act like this?

“Get out. First chance you see. I’ll try t' distract people.”

Why does she do that, distract people to help her to get free?

And then Tyrr went for grallen, Lili sensed it more, than she saw it, quickly moved a bit farther out of her hiding, only to see grallen dive for Tyrr - and Gres pushing Tyrr hard to the side, out of the way of the orcen girl.

"You green frog's offspring! „ he shouted, „I trusted you! I...I lo..liked you. I thought you were different. Quar tried to warn me, but I would not listen. No, she would not do that to me, I said to him. Now you die!"

Gres jumped on top of Grallen, dagger in hand, but he never reached his goal, for a hard boot caught him in his side while flying, catapulting him away from grallen towards the railing. Lili stood next to grallen, two of her knives drawn.

„What about escorting us to the wharf, dear captain? Then I might take the curse from your ship. See, two women were just too much, your luck has fled you and will only come back, if we are safe in the town. Then Seyella might smile apon you again. And keep that offal away from us„ She shortly glanced at Tyrr and Gress, who both seemed to have some broken ribs or more, the way they held their arms around their bodies. 

Suddenly a thunderfull voice came out of the nothing.

"By the nine-tailed cat of Minich!
A beautiful woman is a deadly weapon." 

Lili didn‘t look up, she knew the voice and did not want to give away its origin. She nearly laughed, as she watched the reactions of the captain and the rest of the men.

Kassandra perched on the top of a mast, wondering, if she should dive down to her walking tree, but as her nest was not on top anyway and it had such shiny things in her branches, she knew, she should better wait.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on March 30, 2010, 07:29:04 AM
"Psst kid," Orly heard from behind him as he left the ship which brought him here again, "did you find anything out about Lili?"

"Was she the one that sailors found with crabs?" Orly asked, and the boy looked at him strangely.

"I don't know what you are talking about, kid, you're weird," the boy replied.

"I was speaking to a sailor, and he told me something about some lady being found dead with crabs. The captain and the girl were meant to be up the top fo a mast, but they weren't. I did find my pipe though," Orly explained.

"I ... err ... remember, we were looking for information about Lili who was Lori's friend." the boy said, "you arre here to help, aren't you. I mean, you aren't one of Kaltori's goons, are you, kid?"

"No, I'm not one of her goons, but there is something you should know about me," Orly said, feeling angry again about being called kid.

"What's that?" the boy asked.

"I am not a kid, if I was a kid, I'd be much smaller than I am now," Orly said, "please stop calling me kid."

"You aren't a kid?" the boy said, "but you are no taller than me, and I'm a kid."

"No, I'm Orly, a hobbit. I came down here to see what was about on that boat. I've been called kid and I got called into helping you. And I've had to run to keep up to you and I haven't had anything to eat yet and I don't want to be fit. I want to be lazy and pampered and ..." Orly replied.

"Sorry, ki ... I mean Orly," the boy said, "are you really sure that you won't be growing any taller? You are really short, aren't you?"

"I'm very sure that I won't be growing any taller," Orly said with a grin, "now, we need to find this girl, Lili, is that her name? Where are we heading?"

"Further down to the docks," the boy said, "some of us are already down there. Say ... if you aren't a kid, why are you doing this for Lori?"

"Because I like to help people," Orly said, "I make things out of wood, toys and tools and stuff like that. I thought that I could help by making you and Lili and Lori stuff. If you need money you could sell it, or if you want toys or tools you could keep it."

"What will you want for it?" the boy asked.

"Just something to eat, not much, and some new pipeweed for my pipe is all," Orly said.

The boy laughed, and said, "we'll see if we can help you ... come on, Orly."

And the boy set off at a run again, further into the docks. Orly grumbled and followed, "but I don't want to be fit." going off his lips as he tried to follow the wiry boy. He wondered if they were going to see those two people who had crashed into each other and seemed to be about ready to fight.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on March 31, 2010, 03:18:20 AM
She felt her blade and nails catch in his trouser-leg, and tried to tighten her grip, ready to pull, bringing him crashing to the ground with any-
Her fingers closed on air as Tyrr was shoved out of the way. Gres had stepped forward, against her expectations, and now towered over her, yelling something that meant less than nothing to her howling mind.
Gres threw himself at her, and she bared her teeth, ready this time, for Gres’ face-

Her teeth clacked together as someone pulled her prey away- no!  It was Lili, she was vaguely aware, and Lili mustn’t be hurt. The human’s words swam before her, and as she fought to wrestle anger and hunger and fear and pain, a few words reached her, as if from a great distance.

“...dear captain? ...curse... women... just too much... that offal...”

Grallen wanted to argue, to tell the stupid girl to run for it, leave her to look after herself (hunger so sharp it’s painful: we’ve bitten our lip, but it doesn’t show because our mouth is caked in Gres’s blood. Taste it in our heart and singing nerves.) But words escaped her. She just stared at Lili, her yellow eyes longing and scared and animal, and back to the others, trembling with the effort of staying still.
"No more waiting!"

She snarled, incapable of any more words, and lunged forward, going for the throat. He dodged, and she felt her teeth sink into the flesh of his shoulder, the edge of one tusk lightly grating on bone. Blood filled her mouth and his scream of pain filled the whole world, she was dizzy with it – too overwhelmed to notice the way he slashed wildly with his knife. Maybe later she would be aware of the long cuts to her arm and belly, but for now the pain was only fuel for her anger.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on March 31, 2010, 11:22:41 PM
Drustai briskly walked down the corridors. She did not want to acknowledge the human behind her any longer. She was tired of his constant veiled attacks and insults. She had spared his life and agreed to help him, and yet still he pushed her.

"Tell me, Drustai of the Kaýrrhem , what atrocity did the orcs befall upon you?  Perhaps you and I are not so different after all?"

She growled and immediately stopped, spinning around in her tracks to look at him. She took a step closer and leaned her face in close, the light emanating from the torch in her hand flickering across their faces. She stared at him for a few moments as she tried to compose herself to speak.

In truth, she did not know what to say. Should she tell him the truth? Let it all come out for him to see and pull apart at his whim? Or to hold back, to keep him in the dark? In many ways she desired the latter, for he had done nothing but upset her so far and she owed him nothing. For all of their possibile similarites, he was still a human. She cared little more for his kind than she did for the orcs.

Drustai growled to herself. She looked to the side, took a firm breath, and then turned her gray eyes back to him.

"I and my family, my townsfolk, were slaves of Chyraskith orcs for many months, human," she stopped, growling more, taking a few steps closer to him, continuing on even if he started to back away. "Starved, beaten, raped, killed. Some were even eaten." Her eyes began to glow a bright white. She had personally experienced most of those herself, and witnessed them all first hand.

She looked down at Altario's sword, then back up at his eyes. "Not all towns have walls like your great Remusiat. Or an army of brigands and barbarians to war with. The orcs in my land roam in raiding parties at the dark of night, armed with sword and mail as strong as anything my kind can make, with dark arts as powerful as any elven or human sorcerer."

Drustai continued, pushing further. "You want to know if we are not so different? No," she shook her head,"We are not." Her gauntleted hand gripped tightly around the shaft of her torch, her features blazing under the dancing shadows of its light. "But be thankful some of your family still lives for you to save them, human. I no longer have that luxury."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on April 05, 2010, 08:04:40 PM
   Things were escalating onboard the Runner, and a fair few of her crew had wandered over to watch the fight unfold.  Eric stood his ground by the side, quite happy to let Tyrr, Gress and Grallen sort out their differences amongst themselves.

   Surely things couldn’t hold much longer.  Grallen’s voice was choked with suppressed anger, and Eric knew that something had to give soon.  It was the same with the weather.  The wind had steadily picked up, making the Runner come alive and sing with a plethora of voices.  To Eric, every sound was like an old friend giving him advice, but to a man not used to sea, the same voices would be strange and threatening.

   A rapid move from Tyrr shattered the tension, and with the speed of a scalded cat, Grallen leapt into action.  Then Gres crashed into the scene, pushing Grallen away from Tyrr.

   “Two on one!” a sailor shouted from the crowd of onlookers.

   “I lovez a threesome!” another one replied, causing a wave of rough laughter to roll around all but one of the men.  Eric wasn’t amused at all, because this wasn’t going to be as simple as he’d hoped.  In the excitement, he’d forgotten to make sure the door to the hold was locked, and now the girl he’d just paid for had emerged onto the deck.

   She quickly hurried over to stand by Grallen, and drew two knives.  Then she gave a speech, trying to persuade Eric to let her go free.

   “Now, lass,” Eric said in reply, with a smile on his face and a gentle voice, “The bes’ place fer ‘ee iz in yon’ room.  Go back ‘n I promise ‘ee won’ get ‘urt.  Thingz are gonna get ugly up ‘ere on deck.  Bes’ ‘ee goez back ‘n ‘az a sit down.”

   Then, before Eric could say anymore, a new, disembodied voice cried out.  A lot of the Runner’s men seemed shocked, and turned their eyes up to the rigging to see who had climbed up there in such treacherous weather.  Eric felt another uncomfortable chill run along his spine, but he didn’t take his eyes off the girl.  She was his prime concern now, and he’d keep hold of her, no matter what.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 07, 2010, 04:24:43 AM
Again, the words he spoke struck home.  Drustai spun about and leaned in close to him, her grey eyes flashing.  Altario waited for the inevitable barking from her, but she hesitated.  He could see that she was struggling with some inner turmoil.  He knew that feeling well.

She began speaking, recounting the tale of her family, coming even closer so that he was forced to step backward.  As she spoke of the atrocities done to her family, her eyes began to glow once more.  Oh oh, the magic was coming again.  The hairs on the back of his neck began to rise.

She then went on to compare her people to the Remusian's, and how the orcs of her homeland practiced strong magic.  He might have observed how this only proved to the evil of magic, but for once in his miserable life, wisdom won out over the need to be right, and he held his tongue.  She finished by hinting that she had no more family left, by saying that he was lucky to have Nayriss to save.  The logic in that statement brought a distaste to him that he kept from spilling forth.  How was having a young daughter kidnapped by who knew what, and her fate undecided, any better than what had happened to this elf's family?  He was sure if she had kidnapped family, she would not think it such a blessing.

"I think 'luxury' is not the word that describes it, elf."  Altario took a long breath, in order that he was sufficiently calm enough to continue.

"Still, I am sorry to hear of your loss.  I know the pain of seeing loved ones and friends killed before your eyes.  That is not something I would wish on anybody else."  He extended his hand.  "Can we extend a truce between us until this is over?  It will make things much easier."

There was a noise from just beyond the light of the torch.  "Eh!  Who goes there?  We gots ya in our sights!  Don't ya be movin'."  A strange voice broke the silence between human and elf.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on April 09, 2010, 01:31:45 AM
Aboard the Runner

Tyrr could not believe his eyes. How in the gods names did he miss? It had to have been the wind or perhaps the roll of the ship; either way Grallen dodged his knife and was lying at his feet, knife in her hand. Tyrr was just about to stomp on that outstretched hand when he was suddenly and roughly pushed aside. "What..."

Tyrr saw Gres, with daggar drawn, yell at Grallen and then jump on top of her, but again something happened that Tyrr just could not believe; a boot caught Gres's side and kicked him toward the railing. Tyrr saw the woman who was supposedly locked in the hold below deck. It seemed that the Captain must have left guard down and let the woman escape, now she was standing over Grallen with two knives drawn.

How in the gods names did she acquire those! He thought. Her words to the Captain went unheeded as Tyrr heard a growl and looking through the shadowed light saw Grallen attack Gres and to his horror saw Grallen bite Gres on the shoulder. Gres screamed in pain as he tried to throw Grallen off of him but her teeth were securely locked onto his shoulder and it seemed to Tyrr she was trying to bite Gres's arm completely off.

Tyrr took a quick glance at the woman, Lili, and decided she was the Captain's problem now. Tyrr had his money, he needed to get Grallen off of Gres, though Gres was slicing and stabbing at her, it did not seem to faze her. Tyrr kicked at her side to jar her loose, but all it did was make her angrier and bite down harder upon Gres's shoulder.

Tyrr took his knife, wrapped it around Grallen's neck and leaning in close snarled, "Let him go Grallen or this blade will cut your throat faster than you can blink,"
Aboard the Dock

The boy with Orly ran down the dock and was met by other of Lori's friends. "What did you find out?" the boy with Orly asked.

"We found Lori's friend Lili. She is being held aboard a ship at the far end of the dock on a ship called the Runner," one answered. He looked at Orly and asked the boy with him, "What's with him? I don't recall him being in our gang."

"His name is Orly, he is not a kid, a halfling I think," he answered breathlessly. "I mistook him for a kid and he just tagged along, besides he said he likes to help people and I thought why not, the more the merrier."

"I suppose so," the other said, "we just need to find that man that paid us to find Lori's friend and tell him what we found out. He looked back at Orly, "Hey, are you going to be able to keep up?" he asked.

In the meantime Damien woke up to a wet and sloppy lick upon his face and slight whine. He opened his eyes and gave a start as he stared into the eyes and the huge muzzle of Garret's wolf. "Nice wolf," Damien said, sitting himself up. He saw Tharoc
talking to Garret and Lyth was standing off to their side. It never occured to Damien why they were talking instead of fighting, he was more concerned about the wolf. Damien tried to get their attention. "Um...hey Garret, I really do like your wolf, however just not this close."

Suddenly in the darkness Damien heard and he was certain Tharoc, Garret and Lyth had heard as well, as they stopped talking and turned their heads toward the noise.

To Damien's surprise it was the bunch of street urchins that Lori's mother had sent out searching for Lili. They seemed excited as one recognized Garret and was going to rush up to him when they all stopped in their tracks when they saw Tharoc. They fell over themselves, like dominoes, all except this one heavy set kid who brought up the rear. That kid was huffing and puffing.

Damien could not help it and began laughing, laughing so hard it hurt and soon he was coughing up blood instead of laughing.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on April 09, 2010, 04:40:02 AM
Orly was badly out of breath ... well perhaps he was putting it on quite a bit ... but he had a point to make here, and that point was that he didn't run, and he didn't take too kindly to having to run. He watched the kids around him collapsing at the sight of the large orc, and he wondered why he wasn't showing fear at the sight of the large green orc in front of him. He hadn't eaten in ... well it seemed like days and days, even though he knew it had only been a few hours. And he saw no point in not making a point about that either.

"I am Orly and I am a halfling," Orly confirmed to the children, "he is an orc. I don't think he'll hurt you or me. I don't think he'd be in here if he is going to do anything."

He glared at the man who was laughing ... or at least had been laughing, now he was just bringing up blood.

"Hey," he said, pointing at the man, "anyone know any first aid?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on April 09, 2010, 05:31:35 PM
He struggles, and something burns a line down our forearm as we grab for his wriggling arms, but it doesn’t matter. We have him and we won’t let go, not ever.
Tear at him, hear him scream in our ear, he’s singing to us. Smile and feel it run down our throat and look at his eyes- he’s scared, we can taste it—

Something grabbed Grallen, curling strong arms round her neck from behind – a blade at her neck. We know that blade, it’s rested there before.  The memory brought with it more anger, but also reason, even if only a little. She released her hold on Gres, a hoarse snarl rising in her throat even as she did so.


There was noise everywhere, something happening far away off the boat, the captain trying to keep Lili from leaving—he mustn’t! Tyrr’s voice, sounding like a blade: "Let him go Grallen or this blade will cut your throat faster than you can blink." Or was that before? Yes, now we’ve already let him go, our mouth empty, jaws aching, and now we just hears Tyrr’s breath on our ear. Make it stop.

She threw her weight back, bringing her hand up as she did so, into the narrow gap between Tyrr’s blade and her own throat; a shield, however fragile. The hand was still wrapped in a clumsily knotted scarf, and Gres’s blood started to soak into it. She kicked out at Gres, putting all her weight into falling backwards, against Tyrr. Push him down where he belongs.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on April 14, 2010, 12:45:51 AM
Grallen released her teeth from Gres's shoulder, roared like a beast, blood dripping down her fangs. Gres tried to scramble away from the creature he thought he knew, Tyrr relaxed his blade and let it fall a little from Grallen's neck when she surprised him by putting her hand up between the space alloted and then using her feet and very strong leg muscles, for someone so short, she kicked at Gres's body for leverage, which sent Gres crashing into the rail and pushing back on Tyrr trying to drive him backwards: Tyrr saw all of this in a blink and had little time to react.

He felt himself fall, quickly shoved his right foot backwards to regain his balance. He snarled, "Oh, no you don't you motherfrog. You're not that strong." He picked up Grallen and stabbed toward her neck but only got her scarf wrapped hand. She roared again and kicked backwards, which unfortunately for Tyrr because he had picked her up, went right between his fork.

He gasped in pain, letting her go as he did so. His body bent over in pain and then he fell to the deck of the ship holding onto his injured parts. He saw through tear filmed eyes Grallen opening her mouth, her fangs still dripping with blood readying herself for an attack.

Tyrr could not feel his knife in his hand. Damn, it must be still in Grallen's hand, he thought. Must get up...force yourself to get up or your as dead as those women Quar had sent to the crabs. Move! Tyrr...Move!

Tyrr got to his knees, Grallen flew at him, then out of nowhere Gres threw his body into hers. They crashed to the deck, rolling around, Gres screaming in pain each time his ripped and torn shoulder hit the deck.

Tyrr tried to stand, but the pain in his fork forced him to back to his knees. He tried again forcing back the pain. He stepped toward Grallen and Gres to help him, but the ship was rolling pretty good now as the storm out at sea sent in larger and larger waves and the deck was slippery with blood, he lost his footing and fell just as he heard another animal like roar. Tyrr turned toward the roar and saw Grallen on top of Gres, her fangs dripping in blood, Gres's neck was torn apart and blood was spurting from his shredded throat.

Tyrr glared at the Captain, "Are you just going to stand there and let this monster kill us all! You must have at least forty men," most of whom had circled the fighters watching silently, "You could easily stop this now! What are you waiting for!"

Tyrr saw Grallen's bright yellow eyes turn on him. He reached down to his boot and drew another knife.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 16, 2010, 07:45:31 PM
Drustai had barely enough time to shake Altario's hand--in acknowledgment of his truce--before the sound of footsteps behind her caused her ears to stiffen. Narrowing her eyes, she spun around instantly, hand reaching towards the mace at her belt before the two approaching men spoke up. She sighed as the light from her torch lit their figures. Borre and Reugan. The very same two imbeciles she had spoken with earlier. Wonderful.

She moved her hand back from her mace, setting it on her hip as she straightened her back and stared down at the two. The torch crackled in the cold dark. Borre, the fat one who generally did all the talking, spoke up first.

"Eh, look who's back, ya? Didn't we tell you to get lost till the boss sends for you?" He paused and looked past her. "And who's your boyfriend? We thought the big scary she-elf left her toys at the Beauty, eh Reugy?"

Drustai scowled at the insinuation, and took a step closer to the human filth. "Don't test me Borre, I'm in no mood for your jibes."

"Sure honey, I'll just come by for a ride after you've cooled down, yeah?"

Drustai pulled her lips back, flashing her teeth and snarling. She swore to herself that she would kill the both of these wastes of life before she was done here. And their boss too. Jarmis was the only half worthwhile one of the entire operation. And only just. She curled her fingers tightly around the torch, the metal claws digging into the wood.

"I've employed him," she said frankly, "the boss wants to spring his little plan without telling me, fine. But I'll be calling the shots about how it gets done. Is he here?"

"Yeah, he's here. What d'ya want with him?"

"You know what I want."

"Well yeah but you ain't gettin' it. Boss doesn't do elves, right Reugy?"

"Uh, right Borre!" the other dullard said. His expression was mostly vacant, as usual.

Drustai scowled again. "Just let me speak to him," she replied. She was running out of patience. Her free hand tapped the side of her hip anxiously, before she dug her thumb into the side of her belt.

Borre shrugged. "Well why didn't you say that in the first place? He's been waiting for you all day! We told you to stay earlier, but you just wouldn't listen." He laughed, clearly pleased with his altering the past argument to fit his fancy, likely to show Altario the wrong story. Of course, in reality, they had told her to leave before, saying the boss was busy. For all she knew, that had been a lie.

She used every mut of her discipline to hold herself back from killing them right there.

"Just let us go. Now," she demanded. No more delays. If she had to force her way past them here then she would.

"Alright already, hold on to your skirt." He turned his pudgy head to look at Reugan, "Eh Reugy?"


"Take 'em to the boss, ya?"

Reugan nodded. "Sure Borre." The tall, gangly man looked at the two of them, then summoned them over with a wave of his hand. "Off we go then." With a turn of his clumsy legs, he started down deeper into the crypt-like corridors.

"Come on," Drustai commanded Altario. With him in tow, she began following Reugan down the tunnels, to where she would hopefully, finally, get her meeting.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on April 18, 2010, 05:54:47 AM
Chief Vilerat, the captain, wasn’t impressed by Lili’s bluff. Didn’t budge a nailsbreadth. Well, and why would he? He had a whole ship’s crew to prop him up. Although … Lili had always imagined that a ship of this size (now that she was on deck, she could see how big it was, how tall its mast) would have more sailors on it. Maybe some were below deck?

While Lili’s attention had been focused on her duel of words and glares with the Vilerat, Grallen had continued her own fight. And eat my bird and stab me vitals if she hadn’t gone as rabid as a wounded blood bear. Her teeth had dug right through that Gres chap’s throat! So that’s how orcs fight, is it? Hadyuk had been right, then: orcs do  eat people.

How interesting.

Grallen rose from Gres’ corpse. She was badly wounded herself: there was so much blood all over her that it was difficult to know whose it was, but Lili had seen Gres’ knife bite deep into Grallen’s belly. And there, through that tear in Grallen’s sleeve, Lili could see a cleft of red flesh. Yet despite all this, Grallen’s movements were as agile and her eyes as sharp as any that Lili had seen. Remarkable creature. And quite mad, of course. She had chosen the worst possible moment to fight, what with two dozen sailors standing around her, and a cutlass in the belt of every single one of them. Still, at least she was fighting on Lili’s side. Inexplicably. Incoherently. Madly.

A movement in the corner of her eye made Lili turn. Tyrr was there, and he had drawn another knife. But he never got to throw it. In less than a blink, Lili’s right arm shot up, her wrist twitched, and a silver dart of lightning flew through the air towards him. It was the dagger that Quar had dropped. Moons ago, or so it seemed to Lili. As her eyes followed her throw, she realized that Tyrr had shouted something just before she had seen him move. But if she had understood him, she couldn’t now remember what he’d said. For a blink, it struck her as poignant that Tyrr’s last words should be so easily forgotten, so easily ignored – that they should evaporate like raindrops in the summer sun.

The dagger buried itself into Tyrr’s shoulder. He gasped and dropped his knife. But this wound wouldn’t kill him, Lili knew – or not quickly, at any rate. Still,  she thought, it wasn’t a bad toss considering that we’ve just shattered our wrists  boxing an ogre, and that we’ve had no practice on a bloody bobbing ship.

She risked a glance away from the groaning Tyrr, looking at the Vilerat and his crew of sailors. Some were still looking up at the rigging, confused by Kassandra’s voice. But there was no gap in their ranks. Wherever Lili turned, the way to the railing, into the water and away to safety went past a considerable number of cutlasses. She’d won the battle with Quar, Gres was dead, and Tyrr all but finished. But for all her efforts, things looked as dire as ever.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on April 19, 2010, 06:00:44 PM
Orly watched as an elven woman went over to the side of the man whose nose was bleeding and saw to his needs. He then turned and looked at the children, looking to see what they wanted him to do. Although he didn't like being fit, he did like helping others, and this looked like a good opportunity to do just that.

Still, the kids seemed to be uncertain what to do next, and although Orly wasn't sure himself, he did have some suggestions for them.

"Yeah, I can keep up," he said to the kid who asked him that, "but I think we need to be careful here. Do we actually know where the person we are rescuing is being held? Can we draw some kind of rough map in the dirt here? That way we will know what we are doing rather than stumbling about blind. If you need someone to climb a mast, I can do that. I don't know how to fight, but I can climb masts."

"Oi you," Orly said to the big green half orc, "what's your name? what are you doing here?"

All the time, Orly was looking around, scanning for anything that would help them all in their current aim, which somehow involved a crab, a woman, a ship, and the captain of the ship he arrived on, but he wasn't sure how..

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on April 19, 2010, 11:45:10 PM
His grip loosened as she kicked out, and she felt herself jolted, as Tyr struggled to keep his balance. Gres had gone over, reeling backwards. Giving us space. Before she could try to use the space, though, Tyr’s hands were tight on her throat again, and something bit into her hand. A roar (was that me?) and she kicked sharply, felt her heel connect with something that turned off his stranglehold like a switch. She took a step forward, turning on her heel to face the prone human, snarling-gasping for breath with his knife held by the blade in her hand. She switched it around, ignoring the singing pain as she gripped the handle, blood slicking her fingers, her eyes on his.

Get up.

He was scrabbling, stumbling to his feet, and she felt like a cat toying with its prey, despite the aching in her belly, her arm, the fear that burned down every nerve, knotting itself with anger. He was barely on his feet when she leapt-
A heavy body crashed into her from the side, and the smell of blood was overpowering – she had time to register that it was Gres, before landing on the deck, instinctively struggling to roll out from under him. Reaching for his mangled shoulder, she elicited a satisfying scream, and used his pain to gain the upper hand. They were fighting like dogs, her own blade forgotten still in her hand, while he flailed desperately, ineffectually, with the weapon he had. She found his throat with her teeth, and tore.

The world turned red, he was twitching and flailing differently now, his screams guttering, dying with his breath, pouring away with his life’sblood. Grallen felt a soft sinking, as the ribcage she was kneeling on collapsed for the last time. You’re kneeling on a dead man.

Daddy would be proud.

Now it was her turn to get up, and as she got to her feet, despite the movements being quick and unfaltering as ever, pain was beginning to poke holes in anger. She caught sight of Lili, still surrounded, and for a moment she was more scared than angry. It hasn’t helped, I’m still here, nothing I’ve tried to do has helped. Only made things worse, and redder, and emptier.

A movement caught her eye and she turned, tensing to dodge Tyrr, who was drawing a blade from his boot—
only to see him go over as another hit him- Lili’s. He wasn’t dead yet, but he was an easy target. She stepped forward, hand screaming at her as she shifted her grip on the slippery knife.


Everything hurt, and they were surrounded.  Her mouth was caked in the salt roar of blood. It would be so easy to kill him, nobody would care...

Except that we’re trying to save Lili, trying to save our own skin... thoughts came disjointed, though the turmoil of blood and pain and hunger.

Leave him.

He’s not important.


Grallen straightened up, still holding the knife, and took a measured step towards Lili, though her gaze was fastened on the captain. She couldn’t find any clever words, it seemed there was no trick or subterfuge that’d see them clear of the boat. It had come back to this: yellow eyes watching blue, ears listening to a thousand sounds (and what are those sounds, off the boat?) and waiting for someone to move.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 21, 2010, 11:31:08 PM
During the whole conversation between Drustai and the two fools, Altario had to control his anger.  The amount of disrespect shown here was palpable.  It seemed the elf was barely able to control her temper as well.  But, that went without saying.  She was barely able to control her temper even when he was trying to be civil to her.  Why she hadn't long ago killed these two fools was beyond him.

When they were done their verbal sparring, they began to move again.  The one named Reugy led the way, and the elf followed.  Altario took a few steps when he felt a hand move toward his side.  He grabbed the hilt of his sword, where the man named Borre was fumbling.  

"Eh, the boss don't like strangers with sharp objects to be allowed close to 'im."

Grey Remusian eyes burned into the man.  "My father's sword is staying with me.  I'm with the elf, and if she stays armed, then so do I."   Altario pulled the blade about a fore out of the sheath.  "Now, remove your hand, or I'll remove it.  From the wrist."

Borre hesitated.  If it were simply a smart mouthed human, he might force the issue, but a glance in the elf's direction made him reconsider.  It was one thing to verbally bait that magic whore, but to start something physical... Besides, the boss seemed to accept the elf, temper and all, so having to explain why he and Reugy had to kill her might not go over too well.  He pulled his arm away.  "Very well, mate.  You can thank the elf yer still breathin'."

Altario continued on.  What sort of people were these?  What did that make the elf?

It didn't take too long before they entered a large chamber.  Sconces on the wall held enough torches that the room was fairly well lit.  Crates lined the wall, canvas sacks, barrels and other containers were placed haphazardly around the chamber.  This was apparently a place for holding goods, stolen no doubt, which would explain the effort needed to get it here.  The air was dank, hot and a bit stale with strong scents of sweat and urine.  It turned his stomach.

"Ah, Drustai.  My favourite elf.  You brought company I see.  Care to introduce us?"

Altario looked toward the voice.  A large man, and large in terms of weight not stature, sat in a large gilded chair, looking ridiculously like he was trying to emulate a king.  Perhaps down here he was.  But, a king of fools is still just a fool.  And a petty thief was still just scum, regardless of how well dressed he might be.  "I'm Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin."  Altario's voice boomed loud and proud.  He wasn't sure if he should have spoken, but he wasn't about to let these people think that he was anything less than who he was.  He was not Drustai's dog, to be kept silently on a leash.

The eyebrow of the heavyset man rose at the name.  "Oh?  How interesting."  He reverted his attention to the elf.  "Care to explain?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on April 22, 2010, 03:50:46 AM
Lyth ministered to Damien giving him some herbs to help with his headache, and then she put some herbs on his wound and rebound it. With her help he stood up, though a bit unsteady at first, then after finding his balance he stood up fine.

He looked at the street urchins who were staring at Tharoc. Only one seemed to know what an orc was and Damien heard him say his name was Orly and he was a Half-ling, not a kid, but he wanted to help.

Damien walked over to the kids. "What did you find out?" he asked the boy who seemed to be the leader.

The boy looked up at him. This man was not the one who had given him the money to find Lori's friend, that man was standing next to that big green creature and seemd to be talking to it, however he had seen this man next to the other and decided it was ok to tell him what they found out. "We found Lori's friend, she be held on a ship at the far end of the docks. Slinky is watching and waiting for us there." He told Damien.

"Slinky?" Damien asked.

"That's what we call him, because he is so wiry. Dunna know his real name," the boy answered.

Damien nodded. "What did Garret promise you for the information?"

"A silver penny," the boy answered.

Damien fished in his money belt and pulled out a silver penny. "Here, and thank you for your help."

Damien turned to go talk to Garret and Tharoc when he heard the boy say, "Mister, we promised Lori to help her friend and we do not go back on our promises,"

Damien turned back around to a chorus of voices agreeing with the boy. "My name is Damien and you did help. You found out where Lili is being held, now it is up to us grown ups to get her off that ship."

"We can help, Mister Damien. We know how to defend ourselves," he drew a daggar from his belt to prove it, "besides we promised."

Damien looked at the faces of the dirty ragtag group of boys and girls who looked at him with earnest and determination in them. He sighed and then an idea slowly crept into his aching head. "I think we can use you after all," he finally said.

A chorus of "Yeah's and let's go get em" reverberated in the darkness, but was quickly swept away by the wind which was increasinly growing in strength; a storm was brewing out in the ocean and one was about to start here on the docks of Strata.

After a quick talk with Garret and Thaorc explaining his plan, walking over to the wall of the dock he pulled his Sengren out of the wood and then all of them silently followed the lead boy down the dock. He stopped short of a gangplank that ran up to a ship that Damien saw only the a part of the name of: Runner.

Suddenly a voice spoke out of the shadows spooking Damien to jump back and draw his Sengren. "It's 'bout time," The voice said.

The leader of the group put a hand on Damien's arm. "Damien this is Slinky, Slinky this is Damien, Garret and Tharoc, an orc, who are here to help rescue Lori's friend, Lili."

Damien nodded at Slinky, as he listened to him talk. "We'll if'n it wern't for the crew of the ship, Lori's friend would not need rescuing, as another kin of yours I 'xpect, Mister Tharoc, is tearing those who nap'd apart. Last time I looked, that kin of yours was latched onto one of the mens shoulder and Lili was standing up the Cap'n and his crew with two knives in her hand, taliking pretty smart too."

Damien stood silent thinking. "How easy is it for you to board the ship unseen?" he asked.

"Easy as running away from the 'thorities," Slinky answered.

"What about them?' he asked, waving his hand over the group of children and Orly.

"Easy 'nough, except for the fat one there, I don't think he could make it up the ropes," Slinky answered.

Damien nodded and grinned as he waved the group closer to himself. "Okay this is what we are going to do,"

After he explained his plan the kids scattered, except Orly. "Orly, I want you to be with me, Garret and Tharoc when we attack up the gangplank. Is that ok with you?" Damien asked though he really did not want Orly along at first, but he thought perhaps the little man would confuse the crew, besides he wanted to help.

It was not long before the kids returned grinning and carrying all sorts of things in their pockets. They quickly began to climb up the ropes that held that ship to the dock. Damien watched them and the gangplank and waited for the prearranged signal for Tharoc, Garret, his wolf Shadowfoot, Orly and himself to begin their attack.

Aboard the Runner

Tyrr breathing heavily was readying his knife when out of the corner of his eye he saw Lili flick her wrist and a glint of steel, then he felt the sharp stabbing pain of a knife in his left shoulder. He yelped in pain as he glared at Grallen, pulling the knife out of his shoulder. He now had two knives to face that green offspring of a frog.

Suddenly instead of attacking him Grallen went and stood by Lili's side. Her mouth still dripping Gres's blood. Why did she not attack? Tyrr thought, confused.

Well if she was willing for him to catch his breath and strength it was fine by him. Tyrr leaned against the railing, exhausted and bleeding, but he was still alive.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on April 23, 2010, 03:05:49 AM
"Yes, it is ok with me," Orly replied, "just as long as there's a hot meal, cold drink and warm bed at the end of it. I've already missed my lunch, mid afternoon snack, afternoon tea, and pre-dinner nibbles and don't want to run the risk of missing out on dinner." He paused and then he said, "and i don't like this idea of being fit, either. If hobbits were meant to be fit, food would be made much less tasty!"

"But I do like to help people, and so yes, I will help you to find this Lori. Is she lady who had the crabs with the captain who was found dead out in the bay?" Orly asked, "or it went something like that, anyway. I forget exactly. Although he was wrong," Orly pointed to where Slinky had been standing, "I've been climbing up the riggings and masts of the ship that brought me here. Those ropes wouldn't have been a problem at all for me."

He trailed along behind the others as they waited for the signal to attack. He made sure he kept the larger men and that large dog, that almost dwarved Orly as well, between him and the boat. He took the opportunity, though, to pull out his newly retrieved pipe and begin smoking on it. As he did so, his fingers fell on that little donkey carved by that man in that shop in Carmalad. He smiled as his fingers caressed it ... at least back then, he was well fed, and, he wasn't expected to be fit. Oh happy days! As though the thought of food made his stomach remember it was getting empty, well, empty for a hobbit, it started growling ever so slightly at him ... Orly hoped that it wasn't going to be disruptive to the others as they went up and freed the crab named Lori from the captain's girl and ... he sighed, since when were crabs called Lori?

His thoughts a jumble, and his stomach interjecting the thoughts with its complaints, Orly's eyes tried to make out what was going on up on the ship ... but the fact that it was night and the fact that there was a light mist made it difficult for him to see, even with all the lights on deck of the ship. The kids had disappeared up the rigging, he wished he could have done that as well, but he wasn't able to, so instead ... he looked at Damien.

"Umm" he said to the man with the large axe. he tried to remember the man's name, ".... Slinky, isn't it? Yeah, Slinky ... I don't suppose you have a staff of wood about 'so' big I can hold on to, do you? I really don't have anything at the moment. And, I'd like to help if I can."

He held out his hands as far apart as possible ... and then he fell to studying his thumbs for some reason ...

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 23, 2010, 11:15:35 AM
"Eh, the boss don't like strangers with sharp objects to be allowed close to 'im."

Drustai stopped and turned as Borre started to accost Altario. For once, she agreed completely with the Remusian. She would vastly prefer him armed and capable than disarmed and a weak link. He was far more useful to her that way, and his sword would give her some additional leverage with the boss. Whether or not the sword was Altario's father's, however, meant little to her. A sword was a sword.

Drustai shot arrows out of her eyes towards Borre as she glared at him, waiting for him to realize the foolishness of his request. When the man turned to look at her, and said nothing, she saw that she had been successful, and gave him a wicked grin.

Borre pulled his hand away. "Very well, mate. You can thank the elf yer still breathin'."

Drustai looked at Altario, giving him something of a victorious, probably arrogant smile, then spun on her heels and continued onwards. At least something went her way tonight.

That smile quickly faded when they finally reached the boss' chamber. The familiar stench assaulted her senses and threatened to overwhelm her. These thieves were disgusting pigs. She again swore to herself that when she had gotten what she had wanted, she would take a fire to this den of treachery and filth.

"Ah, Drustai.  My favourite elf.  You brought company I see.  Care to introduce us?"

Drustai looked up. There he was, sitting on his 'throne'. The pompous scum. He was surrounded on either side by a few stacks crates, used as tables to prop up a variety of pieces of gold jewelry and wares, including what looked to be an exquisite candelabrum of Thalambathian make.

She pulled the right corner of her lips back into a clearly forced smile. Her grey eyes were narrowed and her head tilted to the side, showing quite obviously to the man that she feigning politeness for him and in no way respected him. She wanted to be clear to him that, no matter how much she was forced to bend to his will to get what she wanted, that he did not have her respect.

She opened her mouth to speak, but was suddenly interrupted by Altario.

"I'm Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin."  

Drustai's gaze immediately hardened and turned a swift glare at the man. What in the nethers was he doing? She had told him that she was trying to learn the location of his brother from this man, how did he think he was helping by introducing himself by the same surname!

"Be quiet!" she spat under her breath at him, but knew that it was already too late, the damage had been done.

She turned her gaze back to the boss, her thin demeanor of politeness gone, replaced now by a low growl. There went her plan. Now she no longer had an armed bodyguard but a concerned brother. Which now meant that she was the middleman, and no longer required. Which meant that she was now expendable.

That idiot barbarian!

The boss raised a curious eyebrow at her, and spoke. "Oh?  How interesting. Care to explain?"

"No, I do not."

She twisted her face into a sneer and twisted her jaw to the side a moment as she considered what to say now. She was at a clear disadvantage now and the boss knew it. Did that Remusian have no respect for subtlety!

Drustai turned to step in front of Altario, pushing the man out of her way if need be, in order to center the boss' gaze solely on her. She was still in charge here, she would take control of the situation that the human had ruined.

"My company is of no concern to you. I am demanding that you fulfill your end of the bargain now. This job you have for me, in Thalambath, is the last I will do for you. After that, you will release your information to me, and only me," she realized Altario would object to that, but at this point she did not care. She was in charge here, and only she would decide when and how to release that information to the Remusian.

"I am tired of your games. We are settling this now. We are putting a deadline on this now. I will not allow you to continue to press me into doing your despicable errands. Is that clear?"

She snarled at him. She was certainly not being very diplomatic, but Altario had destroyed her original plan. Now she had to improvise. She had tried to handle this properly, but her deal had been consistently dragged on and on. If threats were the only way to settle this, then that is what she would do. Her powers were more than a match for any of these lowlifes, and she would make them suffer for their crimes.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 24, 2010, 01:30:10 PM
Altario was a bit startled by the elf's reaction.  What had he done wrong now?  She stepped in front of him, so close that he was forced to step backwards.  He listened to her speech to the man in the gilded chair and he felt heat rising to his cheeks when she demanded the man release information to only her.  What was she playing at now?  This was not part of the deal.  He was about to interupt when the man in the chair began to laugh.

"Ah, Drustai, still as hot tempered as ever."  The man craned his neck to look at Altario.  "Master Gorrin, I was wondering if you would be so kind as to allow myself and Drustai to speak in private for just a few moments.  I promise that it will not take too long."  He glanced over to Reugy and snapped his fingers.  "Please, take our guest to another chamber and see to it he gets anything he might need."

Altario glanced at the elf, unsure what to do, but an almost imperceptible nod from Drustai told him it was okay.  "Very well."  Altario followed the man named Reugy from the large chamber into a new corridor.  They travelled for a few moments, past several rough hewn rooms with more cargo piled in them, and a few with straw pallets to serve as beds.  In each, the smell of urine and sweat.  How could these people live like this?  No better than animals.

Reugy came to a stop in front of a room that had an iron barred door.  He turned to the Remusian.  "Don' worry, mate.  Boss wants ta treat ye like a guest.  I won' be lockin' ye in."

Altario hesitated, then stepped forward.  There was a crunching beneath his boots and he looked down to see ceramic and glass shards strewn about the floor.  "Lots of accidents here?"

A chuckle escaped the thief.  "Naw.  Put that there jus'n case.  Most of our guests don' git ta keep wearin' their boots on.  If'n they try'n run, it makes trackin' 'em a lot easier."

An eyebrow rose.  Ingenious, in a twisted way.  Well, he hoped Drustai knew what she was doing.  The sooner they could get out of here, the better.

"So," Reugy winked at the northerner.  "The elf.  Ya git a piece'o that yet?  Bet she's a wild one, eh?  Prolly a biter, if'n I don' miss m'guess."

Altario sighed.  "Please, don't say anything that is going to get you killed."

Reugy began laugh heartily.

Once Altario was led from the room, Shyrec, the man on the gilded chair, refocused his attention on the elf.  Interesting dynamics between the two of them.  They might be working together, but there was no love between them.  If Shyrec had to guess, Drustai was holding information from the Remusian.  She obviously didn't want him hearing what was about to be said.  And that, thought Shyrec smugly, gave him a lot of power.

"Well, Drustai, I would never have expected a soft side to you.  Seems you've picked up another stray."  He snapped his fingers and a skinny pockmarked thief hurried to Shyrec and handed him a silver goblet.  Shyrec took a long sip, then closed his eyes for a moment as he savoured the taste.

He opened his eyes again.  "Brandy?  It's R'unorian.  Quite lovely.  Just came in today.  I really shouldn't be drinking it myself, but the profit it is going to bring me, I think I can afford a bottle or two."

"This stray of yours, his name is quite interesting, no?"  Time to plumb the depths of this power he now held.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on April 25, 2010, 07:29:16 AM
Tharoc had hoped that the arrival of his friend Garret would bring an end to the confusing muddle of disembodied voices, unexpected assailants and missing females. Unfortunately he was wrong.
No sooner had Garret arrived on the scene (with yet another stranger in tow) than he took the orc to one side and berated him in whispers and gesticulations for not staying in the Lusty Wench where he had left him, and for injuring the man who was now receiving some kind of treatment from the female elf who had arrived with Garret.

“Bu’ ‘ee star’ed it,”  complained Tharoc, “wot’s ‘ee hecspect, creepin’ up on folk in th’dead o’ night? ‘Specially when thur’s strange goin’s on goin’ on.”

“Be that as it may,”  hissed Garret, staring up directly into the big orc’s eyes, “but if you’d stayed in your room at the tavern none of this would have happened, would it? Why can’t you, just for once, follow a simple instruction? Eh?” Garret’s eyebrows raised inquisitively. Tharoc looked sheepishly back at his friend and shrugged. “You try sittin’ in a cell fer a couple o’ days, then see ‘ow keen you are t’be cooped up in a poky ‘ole like tha’ tavern. Ah’m nay much fer indoors, me. You knows tha’. Ah needs mi open space. Ah needs t’feel th’ wind in mi ‘air an’ th’ rain on mi skin…..”

A loud sigh from Garret stopped Tharoc in mid sentence. The Kyranian turned his head to watch Damien as Lyth tended to his injuries. He didn’t seem to be badly hurt. Either that or he had got so used to hiding his pains that it was near impossible to detect. He turned back to the orc. “Listen, Tharoc. I’m sorry for leaving you alone for so long. It couldn’t be helped. And I’m sorry for my ill temper and harsh words just now, but a friend of mine, an old friend, needs my help and……..Sorry, did you just say something about something strange going on?”

There was a lengthy pause while Garret waited for the orc to continue. He didn’t.


“Well wot?”

Garret sighed again. This was like pulling teeth. “What strange things?”

“Ohh, reet! Well, ah were jus’ sittin’ o’er yonder when ah see’s a load o’ kids scuttlin’ about all o’er th’ place, see?. They were everywhere; along th’ docks, up ropes, on th’ ships, up th’ riggin’. They were like a plague o’ rats, they were. So, ah comes o’er t’investigate, an’ next fing ah knows vis ‘ere feller is tryin’ t’take an axe t’mi vitals an’ witterin’ on abou’ some wench called Lili, or sumfin. Anyroad, we ‘ad a bit o’ what yer might call a clash o’ ‘eads and, well, ‘ee come off worst, so 'ee did. ‘ee give a good account o’ ‘imself, though.” He absentmindedly rubbed his forehead at the memory, before continuing. ”So, there ah were, jus’ tryin’ t’be ‘elpful an’ see as ‘ee were awreet afore ah wen’ back t’tha’ dingy ‘ole y’lef’ mi in when blow mi down if’n ah di’n’t start ‘earin’ voices comin’ from th’ shadders. Not jus’ any voices, mind. One o’ ‘em were an orc. Sounded a bit slow, if’n yer asks mi. T’other un’s ah’ve nay ‘eard afore. Ah’ve nay idea wha’ the’ were talkin’ about, it were all muddled up. One of ‘em would be singin’ abou’ killin’ men an’ maimin’ orcs, t’other were goin’ on abou’ drinkin’ cider an’ ridin’ spiders, or summat like tha’. Odd fing is, when ah comes t’look fer ‘oo were doin’ th’ talkin’, thur’s naybody ‘ere ‘cept tha’ silly lookin’ bird wi’ a big nose.” Tharoc pointed across to the barrels, “Oh….err…..s'gone. It were there a few blinks ago.”  He turned back to face Garret and saw that he had a slight smile on his face, a smile that said he knew something.

At the mention of the strange bird with a big nose, Garret realised just who the mysterious voices had belonged to. It was Kassandra, Lili’s gossiper bird. Surely that meant that Lili must be around here somewhere? “Did you see where the bird went, Tharoc? Think carefully, it’s important.”

Asking Tharoc to think was a risky business in itself, without adding the stipulation that he do it carefully. His brow furrowed and then knotted as he strained to remember the sequence of events since first hearing the dumb-sounding orc and his cronies. “Errrmmm……..ummm….ahhhhhh…..uurrrmm…..”

Thankfully, a new interruption saved him from any serious damage to his thinking muscles. There was the sudden sound of many feet running towards them from along the dock. Tharoc, Garret, Damien (who was by this time stood upright again. Well, mostly upright), Lyth and even Shadowfoot turned to see who was coming.
Out of the gloomy, dimly lit distance hurtled the swarm of urchins Tharoc had seen scattering about the area earlier. As they approached several of them began calling out to Garret, something about having found Lili. Within blinks the excited gang had reached the small group of adults and the first to arrive were just about to start gabbling their news to Garret when, as one, they spotted Tharoc. They stopped dead in their tracks, mouths agape. Unfortunately, the smaller children behind them hadn’t noticed that they had stopped running and careered into them like a herd of stampeding wison, knocking them and themselves into a tangled heap of arms and legs on the cobbles. Damien began to laugh.

Only one of the gang had escaped the melee, mainly because he was still waddling and huffing his way towards the group. “This un’s nay stranger t’ steak dinners,”  thought Tharoc as the portly youth puffed and wheezed the last few peds. He stood stooped over for a few moments, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. "I am Orly and I am a halfling," he gasped eventually, "and he is an orc,” he explained to the gawping children, pointing a little fat finger at Tharoc. “I don't think he'll hurt you or me. I don't think he'd be here if he was going to do anything."

He tried to take charge of the children by getting them to calm down and draw some kind of map in the dirt. “Do we actually know where the person we are rescuing is being held? Can we draw some kind of rough map in the dirt here? That way we will know what we are doing rather than stumbling about blind.”  His confidence building, he turned his attentions to the big orc. "Oi you, what's your name? What are you doing here?"  

Tharoc growled and was just about to show this little salad-dodger just what he was doing here when he felt Damien’s hand on his arm. Damien walked over to the kids. "What did you find out?"  he asked the boy who seemed to be the leader.
"We found Lori's friend, she be held on a ship at the far end of the docks. Slinky is watching and waiting for us there," he said.
"Slinky?"  Damien asked.

"That's what we call him, because he is so wiry. Dunna know his real name,"  the boy answered.

Damien nodded. "What did Garret promise you for the information?"

"A silver penny,"  the boy answered.

Damien fished in his money belt and pulled out a silver penny. "Here, and thank you for your help."

Damien turned to talk to Garret and Tharoc when the boy said, "Mister, we promised Lori to help her friend and we do not go back on our promises,"

Damien turned back around to a chorus of voices agreeing with the boy. "My name is Damien and you did help. You found out where Lili is being held, now it is up to us grown ups to get her off that ship."

"We can help, Mister Damien. We know how to defend ourselves," he drew a dagger from his belt to prove it, "besides we promised."  

A short while later, the newly strengthened rescue party was crouching in the shadows at the foot of the gangplank of a ship at the far end of the dock. Damien gathered the children around him and quietly explained his plan to them. Moments later, they were scurrying away in all directions, much as they had when Tharoc first saw them. “They seem t’know wot they’re abou’,”  thought the orc, “Ah wish someone’d tell me wot th’ chuffin’ ‘eck is goin’ on. Everyone seems t’ave a plan, ‘cept me.”

Damien turned to the rest of the group, "Orly, I want you to be with me, Garret and Tharoc when we attack up the gangplank. Is that ok with you?" Damien asked. Tharoc froze inside. He was all for having a plan, but why did it have to involve a gangplank? “Ah mean, ships is bad enuff,”  he thought, “bu’ leas’ways yer’ve go’ summat t’old on to when th’ uppin’ an’ downin’ starts. Gangplanks is jus’ narrer, rickety, rotten sticks o’ wood, hardly strong enuff t’old th’ weigh’ o’ th’ likes o’ me.”

It wasn’t long before the kids returned grinning and carrying all sorts of things in their pockets. They quickly began to climb up the ropes that held that ship to the dock. Damien watched them and the gangplank and waited for the prearranged signal.

Tharoc just stared silently at the ancient planks of wood that led up from the dock to the rail of the ship. He didn’t like this plan. He didn’t like this plan one little bit.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on April 25, 2010, 11:39:42 PM
   “Well, lass,” Eric said as he watched Grallen finish her frenzied attack, “Yer’v med a righ’ mess o’ me deck, n’ I thinkz it’z time yer left.”

   Grallen took a step towards Lili, as if to say that she wasn’t going to leave without her.

   “But yon lass stayz ‘ere.”

   Eric turned his attention to the girl in question, who had ignored his request to return to the hold.  She posed a problem for the captain, who wanted to make sure that she remained alive and unhurt.  His caroot had been declined, so maybe it was time for the stick?

   “Look, lass, I asked ‘ee ter get back inside.  Now, I’m askin’ ye agen; I won’ ask a third time.”

   Eric simply nodded his head to indicate the posse of men who had swarmed around, completely encircling them.  He hoped that Lili would realise the futility, and sheer stupidity, of trying to escape.  When times got tight, Eric had found that almost every person would secure their survival however they could.  He wanted to make it clear to Lili that there was only one way to secure hers.

   “I’ll look af’er , ‘ee, lass; I promise ‘ee that.  Now, be smart, 'n get back inside.”

   Tyrr was badly wounded, leaning against the rail and breathing heavily.  Eric turned to him, next.

   “I think it’z best ‘ee stayz onboard, too.  The watch’ll be all o’er ‘ee if yer goez ashore.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on April 26, 2010, 12:45:43 AM
The Vilerat was right. In a teeth-grinding sort of way, Lili admired him. He had been shrewd to let her and Grallen and the headhunters fight it out amongst themselves. And even now, with two corpses on his ship, as well as a half-dead thug and a rabid orc, and his formerly defenseless prisoner turned into a knife-throwing fighter, he kept a cool head and quietly pointed out that he had the means to get exactly what he wanted.

Lili felt like a rabbit who had outsmarted a bear, a fox and a wildcat, darting from side to side to escape all those claws and all those teeth, only to find herself surrounded by a pack of wolves with nowhere left to go.

Except there was another rabbit with her in the circle. Grallen had stepped close to her, instead of throwing herself onto Tyrr, as Lili had expected her to do. She glanced at the orc out of the corner of her eye, trying to guess what she would do next. The captain had offered her safe departure. But if there was any method in the orc’s madness, Lili thought, then she wouldn’t leave.

But that was no comfort. Even a desperate, futile attack wouldn’t create enough chaos for Lili to make her getaway. She should have left earlier, instead of coming here like a fool, trying to defend a mad orcess who had obviously played a part in getting her into this mess in the first place.

Lili looked at the captain. She couldn’t make out his eyes in the dark, but his voice had told her that he would honour his words and do nothing worse than lock her back into her prison. It would be a lot more difficult to get away a second time, now that everyone had seen her tricks. But it was the best chance. Lili was about to drop the one knife she had left, when a familiar voice made her hesitate. It came from above, from the rigging. 

”Kassandra, you? Where is Lili, Kassandra?” it said.

That was Lori’s voice! Had Kassandra found the girl? Lili hoped that Lori wasn’t anywhere near. She didn’t think it beyond the slavers to pick up a stray child from the harbour and sell her to lovers of … (what had Tyrr said?) … desert roses.

Well, at least when they lock me up, Kassandra will know to stay on the ship, and we’ll be together. But then, what will she eat? She’s no seagull, she can’t go fishing. No, that won’t work. She must leave, get away before the ship goes to sea, before she looses sight of the land. Better not to see Kassandra ever again than to hear her starved body drop on the deck one day. Those slavers would throw her overboard like a cracked spoon.

”Bugger off, old girl!” Lili shouted up at the rigging.

”No more sea journeys for you. I’ll come back, don’t you worry.”

Well, return was somewhat less than certain, of course. But how else to convince that bird to fly through the dark and back on land? And the wind was getting stronger, too. Being a forest bird by birth, Kassandra didn’t like to fly in the open during storms. Soon it would be too late for her to take off and save herself.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on April 26, 2010, 10:49:44 PM
When did it all go wrong? Would we be free if I’d kept my temper? Or was it further back than that? What if I’d cut down those three in the street, or tried to? Or just walked away?
What mistake is it that’s landed us here?  Grallen tried to bat the questions away, as the captain spoke. She was still angry, so angry it hurt, but it was getting hard to tell which pain was from anger and which was just normal, somebody-stabbed-you pain. Still, his words helped focus the remaining fury a little. I should go, should I? How reasonable of you.  She held her ground next to Lili, weighing the knife in her hand, which was beginning to feel annoyingly weak and shaky.

“But yon lass stayz ‘ere.”

Bugger that. Grallen’s ears twitched. It had gone quiet – hadn’t she heard things earlier? Voices, nearby? Well, now it was dead quiet, except for the wind, the water, and the harsh breathing of Tyrr. We’re all alone.
Or thereabouts. Kassandra piped up, from somewhere. Lili’s answer scared the young orc so much she almost showed it. No more sea journeys? She’s giving up?

An increasingly insistent voice, the part of Grallen that had been counting wounds, and noting the size and number of sailors surrounding them, was saying that all this could just go away, if she ran. Now. I’ve done all I can and it’s stupid to die because of stubbornness. Because of pride.  

But she remembered how they’d run, so long ago, back way up north on the other side of the mountains. How they’d run away when it had all gone wrong, and hid and lived on the edges of things because of one scared old fool’s mistake.

She shifted her footing slightly, and glanced around at the ranks of sailors, faces lit in ochres and yellows by torchlight. Clearly far too many. It’s certain death. She looked to Lili, catching her eye briefly, in the flickering light, and smiled, without mirth. Her voice was harsh, hoarse from barely concealed pain, but the fear she felt didn’t show through. We hope.

“...think I’ll stick right here, mister... ‘less you’d like t’reconsider your gen’rous offer.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on April 26, 2010, 11:24:02 PM
Orly watched it all from where he was nestled, safely behind the man with the big axe, the one he thought of as Slinky, then there was the other man, the one who seemed to somehow know the orc. That one scared him ... it was the man that scared him, not the orc. That man with the beard and the scars, not to mention the tattoo, that one scared and worried Orly. What was his name again? Garret? Tharoc? and that big dog of his ... that too was scary. Ever since that time when he was a young hobling and had tried to cut across that yard protected by those dogs, he didn't like dogs. But this one seemed different to a dog.

So that meant that this orc was called ... he tried to remember, and he decided the orc must have been called Tharoc.

He sidled up to Tharoc, looked over at the gangplank and said cheerily but softly, the need for silence seemed evident, even to him, "I hope that gangplank is sturdy enough to carry us, Tharoc. It looks like a long way down ... and I imagine that the water would be pretty cold down there at this time of night. You know, I don't know if I can swim or not ... back in the shire, I don't think I ever had the opportunity to find out ... but ..."

Orly looked at Tharoc when an idea struck him. He got up on his tippy toes and motioned for the orc to move his head down closer to the hobbit's head.

"I'll tell you what, I'll race you across the gangplank to the ship ... last one there's a smelly orc!" Orly whispered, seemingly forgetting that he was talking to an orc.

Then he laughed and he took off ... or he would have, if he hadn't somehow tripped himself over Tharoc's right foot, and down he went, it was a spectacular effort a ball of hobbit arms and legs rolling head over backside towards the gangplank and then over the side of the gangplank into the water below. There was a splash and then drifting up from the water "this is freezing."

Then, slowly, the bedraggled form of a very wet hobbit dragged himself out of the water to the amusement of the kids. The kids, however remembered their part in this operation and quickly returned to what they were meant to be doing. Orly was now feeling rather miserable, but quickly hid in the shadows, no need to make things any worse than he already did. He was rather big with shadows.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on April 27, 2010, 05:00:37 AM
Tharoc was hastily trying to work out a way to extricate himself from this stupid rescue attempt without admitting his fear of water to the small group. " Ah means t'say," he thought, "'ah'm nay supposed t'be 'fraid o' nowt. When thur's a big 'airy arsed troll t'be sorted ou', 'oo d'they call on t'do the sortin'? If'n thur's a rampagin' 'orde o' undead layin' siege t'some defenceless village, 'oo is it vat gets th'call? 'oo's gonna b'lieve vat a bit o' water's enuff t'turn mi into a tremblin wreck?

A droning noise in his ear shook him from his panicked musings. He swatted his hand around the side of his head thinking it to be some irritating night insect come to suck his blood. The noise continued. Looking around to see if he could spot the pesky varmint he saw that it wasn't an insect at all but the short, fat, wheezy kid who claimed not to be a kid at all. As Tharoc watched the halfling's mouth flapping, the droning noise slowly transformed into words.

"Blah, blah, blah-de-blah blah. Blah-de blah, blah-de blah.....back in the shire, I don't think I ever had the opportunity to find out ... but ..."
 The portly hobbit motioned for Tharoc to bend his ear closer, then stretched up to his fullest height (which wasn't very far at all) and whispered, "I'll tell you what, I'll race you across the gangplank to the ship ... last one there's a smelly orc!"

Tharoc turned to look at the hobbit with panic in his eyes. Surely he couldn't be serious, could he? "Does 'ee 'onestly fink ah'm in such an 'urry t'get on board vat chuffin' floatin' deathtrap? T'will be a cowd day in t'forges of K'han'uck afore y'sees I racin' t'get on one o' them fings, ah'll tell thee vat fer nowt!"

Unclenching his trembling, almost-white knuckles from around the hilt of his kle'vaar, Tharoc was just about to grab the irritating little shortleg by the scruff of his neck and tell him in no uncertain terms just what he thought of his idea, when the barrel-shaped buffoon set off running, tripped over the orc's boot and went arse over tit, straight into the stinking, murky, scum-crusted water below.

The ensuing laughter did little to settle Tharoc's rapidly shredding nerves.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 27, 2010, 06:48:08 PM
"Ah, Drustai, still as hot tempered as ever."  Shyrec said as he looked past Drustai to stare at Altario.  "Master Gorrin, I was wondering if you would be so kind as to allow myself and Drustai to speak in private for just a few moments.  I promise that it will not take too long."  He snapped his fingers at Reugan.  "Please, take our guest to another chamber and see to it he gets anything he might need."

Drustai let out a breath. Her plan was being ruined before her eyes. She did not want to speak with Shyrec privately, that's why she brought Altario. But at the same time, now that Altario had named himself a Shialt-eck-Gorrin, keeping him here would also make things more difficult. Damn that accursed fool barbarian. She growled to herself and then shook her head, before glancing in Altario's direction and giving him a slight nod. When he was gone from the room, she looked back at Shyrec.

The man was large for living in the underworld, a testament beyond just the wealth in his hall to prove that he was successful. A young human boy was over in the other corner, waiting for orders to do as the boss wished of him. Possibly a slave, Drustai had mused before. Being close to both Thalambath and the closest link to Aeruillin on Santharia, underground slave trading was stronger here than in most parts of the kingdom.

Shyrec smugged at her. "Well, Drustai, I would never have expected a soft side to you.  Seems you've picked up another stray." He called for the lad, and took a drink from the silver goblet the child brought to him. "Brandy?  It's R'unorian.  Quite lovely.  Just came in today.  I really shouldn't be drinking it myself, but the profit it is going to bring me, I think I can afford a bottle or two.

"No, I'd prefer not," Drustai replied. This was not the time to be drinking intoxicating substances. Of course, she knew Shyrec knew that too, and he would likely only be taking a few sips to present a connoisseuring image, rather than enough to get actually get drunk.

"This stray of yours, his name is quite interesting, no?"

Drustai pulled back her right lip in a slight snarl. She had told him she did not want to discuss the nature of her companion. But he was of course going to press. That's why he wanted her alone.

"It is," she remarked. She said nothing else beyond that affirmation for a few moments, trying to gather her thoughts about how to best get out of this situation. She maintained a level and professional gaze at Shyrec.

"I have been working with him for some time now," she lied. "He just arrived in Strata only recently. His brother is Denrykmar Shialt-eck-Gorrin, as I'm sure you already know. We have a working relationship, and when he'd heard that I was having little success in my barterings with you, he decided to get involved himself," she growled to herself. She disliked giving even that small token of evidence of failure. She had not had success because Shyrec had repeatedly extended the deal.

There was a smugness in Shyrec's posture that made her uneasy. She paused for a moment to consider his behavior. He knew something she didn't. Of course, this was obvious, both she and Altario were here for information that only he had. But there was something more. Something that he'd discovered here, now, between her and Altario...

Oh, you son of a whore. He was smug because she had lost her cool in front of them and yelled at Altario. Not only was she a middleman but now she was also only on a precarious balance with her 'working relationship' with Altario. Which meant that he would try and turn him against her. Considering Altario no longer needed her, and she had attacked him earlier, Shyrec would have a strong bargaining hand.

She didn't continue her explanation, and instead stated, "You will not be allowed to speak privately with Mr. Gorrin. As soon as our conversation is done here he will be returned to my side and all further interactions will be done with the both of us. You go through me, or the both of us. Not him alone."

Drustai could only hope that Reugan would be dumb enough to do exactly as Shyrec wished, instead of using the opportunity to get one of the other thieves with more intelligence to talk to Altario while he was alone.

Drustai sighed. She wished she had some form of leg to stand on with her demands. She could not threaten him because he was their only lead. She could not expose his organization for the same reason, and she doubted the corrupt guards would do anything about it. And cutting through his entire company of thieves would be a task even someone as powerful as her would find difficult.

"Now, you may speak your terms for the conclusion of our deal," she growled, not wanting to give him any leeway but knowing she had no other choice now, "I expect those terms to actually be adhered to this time." She was at a severely disadvantaged situation now, and would have been better off without Altario afterall.

Coor curse that barbarian for his idiocy.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on April 28, 2010, 02:39:19 AM
Damien was peering up the gangplank of the Runner trying to figure out how many men they would have to face? Where Lili might be? And how a ped tall orcess named Grallen fit in all of this?

He turned to speak to Tharoc and saw him bending down to hear what Orly was saying to him. Damien waited for their conversation to end and then before he could speak suddenly Orly ran up the gangplank, well at least he tried, with horror Damien saw him trip over one of Tharoc's big feet, roll over, legs and arms flailing about like a fat, stubby, spider that had been flipped upside down. Then Orly fell into the water!

Damien rushed down the gangplank ready to throw himself into the water as well to rescue the little fellow when he heard a voice come out of the water.

"this is freezing." And then Orly pulled himself out of the water.

Damien heard a few chuckles from the children and quickly looked upward toward the top of ship to see if any of the sailors from the ship had heard and was investigating. No face showed up.

Damien sighed, relieved that his plan of surprise was still intact, but concerned about Orly. If he can't even run up the gangplank without tripping, how is he in a fight? Damien turned back and saw Orly disappear into the shadows of some stacked crates full of fish.  Damien thought about going and speaking with Orly but there were more pressing matters. Perhaps when the fighting starts Orly will join in, or perhaps not, right now Damien knew he had to focus on rescuing Lili.

Tharoc was standing near the gangplank, but he did not seem too happy, Damien thought. Perhaps what had just happened with Orly had disturbed him like it had him.

"Tharoc, you ready?" Damien asked. "Get your self up here so that when the signal is given we all rush up the gangplank and attack!"

Tharoc glared at Damien and shook his head no.

"No? Why not?" Damien asked. However before he got an answer he heard a boys voice, that was changing into a man, so the voice sounded even eerier than expected coming from the dark.

"Ho, off to war we go"

There was a pause and then another, "Ho off to war we go"

Damien swore. The boy forgot the lyrics. Well what do you expect? You just told the kids the lyrics just a few blinks ago. Did you think they would memorize the whole thing? Damien thought.

Damien turned to Tharoc, "That is the signal, let's go."

Tharoc stood where he was.

Damien shook his axe at the orc. "I knew I should have not trusted an orc! Stay here then and make sure the only ones who come down the gangplank are Lili."

Damien looked toward the shadows where Orly had hidden. "Come on Orly, that is the signal," Damien whispered loudly.

Damien ran back up the gangplank to catch up with Garret and Shadowfoot. He heard other children in different locations throughout the ship giving the signal as well and even some ghostly hoots.

Damien grinned, that should give those sailors something to think about, he thought as he readied his axe and with a nod to Garret charged up the gangplank.
Aboard the Runner

Tyrr finally had caught his breath as he listened to the banter between the Captain and Lili and Grallen. The Captain was going to let Grallen go, but he was keeping Lili. That made sense to Tyrr, after all the Captain had paid an good amount of gold coins for her and he was not going to let her go, no matter what she said. Tyrr, at first, did not like the idea that the Captain was not going to let him off the ship either, however after looking at Grallen under one of the lamps of the ship through the haze of misty air and seeing Gres's blood still dripping off her teeth, he thought perhaps it would be safer to be aboard than on land where Grallen was sure to come after him.

Tyrr waited for Grallen to leave. She glared and snarled at the Captain and to Tyrr's surprise she paused and then answered the Captain,  “...think I’ll stick right here, mister... ‘less you’d like t’reconsider your gen’rous offer.”

She was going to help Lili fight all those men! She must know she had no chance. She and Lili may get some men, but there were too many and they were all hardened pirates with cutlasses and they knew how to use them. It was certain death.

Tyrr shook his head. If she wanted to die fighting for the sake of one woman, that was her choice, but as much as Tyrr wanted Grallen dead he admired her for her loyalty and courage. But loyalty and courage did not make you rich, he thought, as he absent-mindly caressed his money belt filled with gold. Tyrr waited on what the Captain and his crew were going to do when he got his second surprise of the night.

Suddenly out of dark a voice spoke with a strange melody, its voice deep and then shrieking high and then mellowing out. "Ho off to war we go," it said.

Tyrr's hairs on the back of his neck stood up as a cold shiver ran down his back.

There was a pause as Tyrr peered into the dark trying to see where the voice was coming from. Then it sang the verse again. The sailors were looking around as well when suddenly other voices, all different types of voices chimed in, some saying the same verse while others said something else, but it made Tyrr turn his head one way, then the other trying to see.

The sailors did the same.

Then Tyrr received his third surprise when something came flying out of the darkness and hit him squarely in the face! The rotten tomatoe exploded as it hit Tyrr, its juice stinging Tyrr's eyes. Tyrr tried to wipe of the skin, juice and seeds of the vegetable but it just smeared all over his face and the juice stung his eyes so much he could hardly see.

Soon other vegetables, small pebbles, iron spikes and all sorts of things began flying out of the darkness and hit the sailors.

A pebble beaned one of the sailors on top of forehead, hard enough to stun him and make him bleed. "Cap'n, what the bloody Coor's domain going on?"  He yelled again as other objects assailed him and the other sailors.

A tomato sailed out of the air and smashed into the Captains second mate's chest, however this particular tomato had small spikes running through it and one or more stabbed the mate. The were not long enough to cause any serious damage, but all it did was make the mate angry as he pulled the spike out of his chest. He roared, "Shew yourselves, ye bloody cowards!" He drew his cutlass.

The sailors ducked, grunted and one or two yelped in pain, when a particular piece of iron or stone hit a sensitive area, but these were hardened men and few things like that did not disrupt their sense of duty to their Captain; besides anyone that did run would probably find himself going over the gangplank once they got out to sea.

Tyrr, on the other hand no such obligation and crouched down as close as he could to a wooden crate. What in the gods name was going on? He thought as he looked at the chaos unfold.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on April 28, 2010, 04:08:58 AM
"I knew I should have not trusted an orc!

Damien's words stung Tharoc like a swarm of angry vubuaz. He'd put up with snide remarks, threats and unprovoked attacks ever since he left his home village to explore the outside lands. Everywhere he went he had met with arrogance and loathing, but had risen above it all in pursuit of a greater understanding between orcs and the other races.
One thing he could not take, however, was someone accusing him of being untrustworthy. Especially in a fight.

He watched his erstwhile companions making their way up the oh-so-rickety gangplank, launching a barrage of makeshift missiles as they went, and knew he should be there with them, at the front, right in the thick of the action, using his size and strength to carve an opening in the wall of sailors that seemed to encircle the whole upper deck of the ship.

But here he was, left behind on the dockside to guard a few planks of rotten timber, and all because he couldn't swim. The big orc cursed himself as weak. "Still," he muttered to himself, "if'n ah'm t'guard th' gangplank, ven guard it ah will!" He drew his battle-scarred kle'vaar from it's leather scabbard with his right hand, and drew a throwing dagger from behind his shoulder with his left. "Untrus'wurvy, eh? Ah'll show 'im 'oo's untrus'wurvy. Ah'll be th' best chuffin' gangplank guard 'ee's ever sin."
Fully armed, he planted himself solidly at the base of the gangplank, a look of defiance on his face.

He turned his head to look over his shoulder at the action unfolding above him. He was itching to join the fun, but his fear of the black, murky water and K'han'uck only knew what lived in it. overrode his eagerness. He sighed and turned away from the battle, trying to concentrate on his given task.

After a few blinks, his resolve weakened. He turned to face the ship, re-sheathed his kle'vaar and drew another of his throwing blades from behind his neck. He strained his eyes in the dark, trying to focus on a potential target. Even though he had particularly bad night vision for an orc, he could still hit a moving target at this distance. It just might not be the right target, is all.

He ducked and stretched, trying to make out a shape, any shape, that looked remotely sailor-like. It was no good, everyone on board the ship was running hither and thither, making it impossible to select any individual to unleash a blade at.
He was on his tiptoes now, edging sideways to try to find a better vantage point. All of a sudden, his leg bumped into a stack of crates on the dockside. He looked down instinctively, arms outstretched just in case he was falling into the sea. He wasn't.

Kicking the crates and swearing, he turned his attentions back to the melee on board. Then a thought began to form in his head, slowly at first, but gaining momentum with each passing blink. His eyes lit up like burning stones as a plan finally clicked into place. "HAH! Ah've go' it! Ah'll chuffin' well show 'im 'oo's untrus'wurvy. Let's see wha' 'ee 'as t'say 'bout vis!"

He ripped the top from the nearest crate and grabbed a huge. orcen handful of the partially rotted fish from inside. Taking a few strides backwards until he could see heads moving back and forth above the high rail of the upper deck, he held his arm out to the side, took a few practice swings and then hurled the stinking, slimy fish high and long. He watched as the clump broke up mid-flight and arced gracefully downwards until he heard it splatter on the deck. Chuckling to himself, he grabbed two more handfuls and took aim again. 

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 28, 2010, 05:05:10 AM
Shyrec listened to the elf.  She was predictable, so very predictable.  Nearly everyone was, in his estimation.  It is what made most people susceptible to exploitation.  You only needed to find that predictability and exploit it into a weakness.  Drustai's was anger.  She was always at the mercy of her emotions.  If one wanted to be truly strong, they couldn't allow themselves the luxury of being a slave to their emotions; whether that be sorrow, happiness, honour or, in Drustai's case, hatred.

"Our deal."  He seemed to be in deep thought and his eyes travelled to the ceiling of the cavern.  "Yes.  About that," he glanced over to another of his men and nodded.  "I've got one more task for you."

The man walked over to a large crate and opened it and pulled out an object and brought it over to Shyrec, who handed the goblet of brandy back to the boy thief and took the object from the man.  He held it and caressed it.  "You know what this is?  It is E'ur oak.  Quite common further north, but rare down here.  Almost unheard of, in fact.  It is both a beautiful grained wood, as you can see, but as far as woods go, quite hard and durable."  

Shyrec handed the piece of wood to the man, who brought it over to Drustai to examine.

"Pretty innocuous, no?"  He chuckled.  "Apparently the Thalambath leaders do not feel so.  They have placed bans of E'ur wood, wood in general, from being brought into the city.  Now, as you are aware, I make my living selling goods to people who are not allowed them.  It tends to make the basest of items worth oh so much more than they should be.  Trouble is, that poses certain problems that need to be overcome."

"Now, I have a buyer in Thalambath willing to pay huge sums for delivery of sizeable quantities of this wood.  Trouble is, Thalambath has better security than almost any city I've ever been to.  Bastards check everything and everyone coming and going.  This is where you come in.  I want you, and your stray, to get in a sample of E'ur oak into Thalambath and deliver it to my buyer.  Show him that it can be done.  Then get word back to me so I can start making regular deliveries."

He watched for her reaction.  He knew it would not be good, and the flash in her eyes confirmed it.  She wanted her part of the bargain.  Trouble is, once delivered, what did that leave him?  If there was still some run left in this horse, he was going to ride it.  "In return, I keep your secrets.  More so, I let you know the answers your stray seeks."

Time to press the issue.  Where did the elf stand?  "What say you?  This last errand for me?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 28, 2010, 06:29:36 AM
Drustai listened quietly as Shyrec began his diatribe. Her eyes remained narrowed at him and the individuals in front of her, watching the boy and the guard with the wood for any sign of them skulking off. She didn't want Shyrec to be sending someone off to talk to Altario while she was busy here, listening to him finally discuss the actual plans towards his Thalambath mission.

A simple supply and courier mission. In any other place it would have been. But she had spent a short time in Thalambath before, and she knew that such a thing was not simple at all. Even if you didn't have anything illegal, getting in and out of the city was more trouble than it was worth. It kept people out, which, considering Thalambath's reputation for isolationism, was probably intended.

Drustai eyed the wood as he continued to speak. It was amusing how something that had been so common where she once lived could be considered so valuable in a wasteland such as this. She waved it off after a moment of examining it, preferring not to have Shyrec's lacky standing by her.

She crossed her arms over her chest as she adjusted her weight onto her left leg. As much as she wanted to reject the mission outright and just be done with this, she knew she had no choice in the matter.

"In return, I keep your secrets," Shyrec added, "More so, I let you know the answers your stray seeks."

The answers I seek, she thought. She had more than just noble reasons for tracking Denrykmar, this much was true. If this was all for a family of brothers and one abducted girl, she wouldn't have gone to such trouble. But after the encounter outside of Strata where she saved Denrykmar, she had realized there was something far grander going on.

And she knew Shyrec wasn't letting on as much as he knew. Denrykmar would not have come here, would not have come to see Shyrec, if the man did not have some extra involvement in all this. That was something Drustai did not like.

"What say you?  This last errand for me?" Shyrec inquired.

Drustai took a firm breath, and then nodded. If this was the last he would have of her, so she could finally get on her way, then it would have to do. The sooner she was out of this hole, the better.

*  *  *  *  *

Meanwhile, a few simple footsteps heralded the arrival of a visitor to Altario's 'cell'. The man, not of the tallest stature, but decent enough he had always surmised to himself, clicked his teeth together as he entered the room. His raised eyebrows and narrowed lips sought out the occupants, as he gave a tilted nod of the head to Reugan, who was enjoying some conversation or another with the guest.

Jarmis, as the man's name was, strode in casually, bearing a wooden chair behind him, which he immediately sat down in front of Altario, chair-back towards the Remusian. Jarmis sat down in the chair, legs straddling the back of the chair, and folded his arms over the headrest as he tilted his head to examine the guest. After a moment of seemingly inane watching, he crooked his head to look at Reugan, and spoke in a low, rough, drawl.

"I would think you can take a breather, friend. I should be able to see to our guest now."

Jarmis looked back towards Altario, watching him with his casually uninterested raised brow. He pursed his lips, and tapped his lightly sunkissed fingers against his arm on the headrest. After another moment, he sat back, and tapped the dirty blond roof of his head to push a strand of hair down, then settled both calloused hands down onto the tip of the headrest.

"So. Master Altario Shialt-eck Gorrin I would have to presume. Unless I just sent the wrong man out," he looked over his shoulder, though the uninterested way in which he did so indicated he wasn't actually believing what he was saying.

He tapped both hands rhythmically on the back of the seat a moment before continuing. He leaned forwards again, resting his head on his arms as he folded them across the headrest. His two-day stubble scratched at the norsidian leather tunic he wore.

"Interesting woman you travel with, would you not say? Might you have been friends for very long?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on April 28, 2010, 11:42:51 AM
"Ho, off to war we go"

Orly heard from his hiding spot amongst the shadows.

"Ho, off to war we go"

Orly smelt the old rotting fish around him, as he shivered and dripped.

The call was taken up all over as the signal to attack was given. The kids seemed to forget the rest of it, but when the lyrics were joined with hoots from the youthful voices, even Orly was starting to feel scared.

"That is the signal, let's go." that was the voice of the man with the large axe, the one who Orly thought of as Slinky.

Then after a pause, the same man said, "I knew I should have not trusted an orc! Stay here then and make sure the only ones who come down the gangplank are Lili."

"Come on Orly, that is the signal," came the same voice.

If the man said that to Tharoc, an orc, what would he say to a halfling who had fallen into the water? He didn't want to find out and so Orly stayed right where he was.

He heard Tharoc muttering after that, and found it difficult to make out words. Then he heard Tharoc speaking clearer. and closer, and then the crates were being knocked this way and that, and it was all that Orly could do to stop himself from being hurt.

"HAH! Ah've go' it! Ah'll chuffin' well show 'im 'oo's untrus'wurvy. Let's see wha' 'ee 'as t'say 'bout vis!"

He saw a large meaty hand reach down and rip the top off one of the crates, before tossing it away and reaching back into it for some of the fish. Orly watched as Tharoc took a few strides backwards and then moved his hand back and forth a few times before throwing the stinking, slimy fish high and long. Orly watched in amazement as the fish flew through the air and hit the ship, breaking up on its flight.

Then he watched as Tharoc came back to the crate and reached down for more fish. That was a bit too close for Orly's liking, and he decided to step out of the shadows behind the crate at that point.

"Tharoc," he said to the orc, waving his arms at him.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 28, 2010, 12:46:33 PM
When Drustai nodded, Shyrec smiled.  Good.  Almost completed then.  There was only one more thing that needed clearing up.  She had challenged him in front of his men.  A leader who does not have the respect of his men was no leader at all.  And in this business, there were no quiet transfers of power.  New leaders were promoted by way of the knife, or poison, or whatever worked best.  If he was to keep that thought out of the heads of the fools who served him, he needed to keep his respect unimpeached.  Drustai had crossed a line.

Luckily, Shyrec always had a plan.  Today was no different.  Always did he have a contingency plan.  This one consisted of a signal, the drinking of brandy, that told a certain assassin that he was to act.  All the while he was listening to Drustai rant, a figure stole silently across the floor of the cavern, getting closer to the elf, hiding his light footfalls in the echoing noise of the conversation.  A slight movement of Shyrec's finger was the trigger, and a tightly wound cord slipped over Drustai's head.  A quick pull tightened the garrotte, cutting off her airflow, while an expertly placed kick to the back of her legs dropped her to her knees.

Shyrec rose from his chair and strolled over to Dru.  He looked down at her face which was turning blue.  "Do you know how I got my nickname?  They call me Black-jack.  Black-jack Shyrec."  He gave his right arm a twist, and a small leather wrapped piece of metal dropped into his palm, held by a cord tied somewhere higher up his arm.  "Because I carry this.  And I'm not afraid to use it when I need to."  He reached down and lifted her chin so that she was forced to look up at him.  "You disrespected me, Drustai.  Pray it does not happen again."

His face showed no emotion as he brought the heavy weight swinging hard down on the elf's head.

Altario waited in the cell, for in truth that is what it was.  The man called Reugy continued to prattle on, but Altario simply ignored him.  To do otherwise would have been dangerous to the man's health.  Instead, he wondered what it was that Drustai was discussing with the leader.  She was keeping things from him, and it bothered him.  Again, what had Ryk to do with her or with this group?  It was frustrating.

A noise captured his attention and another man arrived, carrying a chair with him.  At least they were showing some hospitality, Altario mused.  Instead, the man placed the chair down and sat backwards on it, resting his arms on the chair back and staring at him.  Altario stared back silently.  Who was this now?  It mattered little that he couldn't sit, he told himself.  The salve that Drustai had spread over his knee had indeed numbed the pain, so standing was no longer a bother.

The stranger then dismissed Reugy, which Altario saw as a positive.  At least now there would be silence.  Altario raised an eyebrow when the man addressed him, asking about the elf.  He felt a tightening in his gut, as well as the hairs on the back of his neck to suddenly rise.  

"Long enough."  Best not to disclose too much information yet.  Maybe Dru was right when she got upset at how he had so freely given his name.  Something was not right here.  How he wished he hadn't left her alone.  "Who are you?  What do you want to know about me or about my travelling companion?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 28, 2010, 02:41:55 PM
Drustai watched Shyrec coolly as she finished agreeing to his demands. There was something not right here, she mused. Her eyes flashed to the sides, then back to Shyrec, and caught sight of the sudden, but subtle, movement of his finger, and her ears perked at the sound of rustling cloth behind her. Just as she was about to turn around, sight of the leather cord danced down across her line of sight. She was only able to take one sudden breath before it tightened, and she could breath no more. She dropped to her knees with the kick to the back, and reached up to claw desperately at the noose.

Her expression tightened as she tried to pull away from the grasp, to slip out from under it, but her body was hoisted back tightly against the man behind her. Her mind swam. She tried to concentrate, but what spells she might have wanted to cast in this situation were too complicated for her to realize at this moment. All that she could think of was the inescapable grip. Her lungs burned.

"Do you know how I got my nickname?  They call me Black-jack.  Black-jack Shyrec," Shyrec said. He now stood over her. She hadn't seen him get up. "Because I carry this.  And I'm not afraid to use it when I need to." He raised her chin to look up at him. She pulled her lips back fiercely as she glared desperately at him, as her clawed hands continued to try and find something in the cord, something in the other man's grip, to be able to wrestle herself free with. She tried to send a backwards elbow into the assassin's gut, but at this point and angle her blows were too weak to be effective.

"You disrespected me, Drustai.  Pray it does not happen again."

She let out a sudden cry as the black-jack struck her, and a wave of pain rolled across her body even as she bent over towards the ground, falling to her hands as the assassin behind her expertly slipped the cord away when the blow connected. She gasped for air, coughing fiercely, her throat aching in pain. Her vision blurred as her body struggled to collect itself after the hit. After a brief waver of her arms, she lost her balance and collapsed to the floor.

After seemed like an eternity, she felt her body being hoisted back upwards, and suddenly the coil was wrapped around her throat again, though this time it was kept loose enough for her to breathe--with difficulty. Her vision swam as Shyrec stood blurry before her in what seemed like three or four separate shapes. Her eyes fluttered a moment as she tried to stay conscious. She tried to reach out with her will to manipulate the water ounia surrounding the man, but nothing happened. She pulled her lips back in a growl, but was met only by a brief tightening of the noose before it loosened again. She gagged at the back of her throat as she tried to suck in enough air to stay conscious, and felt a trickle of blood run down her the left side of her face.

In this situation, she was helpless.

*  *  *  *  *

"Me? Well, I would say I am just a concerned party," Jarmis replied in his low Glandorian voice. He tilted his head to the other side, watching Altario for a moment, before taking a breath and continuing. "My name would be Jarmis," he answered plainly. He had considered lying to the man about his identity, as Altario would have little basis to go on, but he figured the Remusian would tell the Kayrrhem eventually, so there was no point in being facetious. With a disinterested but quick smile, he held out his hand for the man to shake. Regardless of whether or not Altario took it, he continued.

"Your brother was a very interesting man. A good man. I happened to like him." He shrugged as he spoke, his words giving just enough information to tantalize Altario. He pursed his lips and tilted his head to the otherside, his brow still raised as his gaze look down to the floor a moment in feigned thought, before back up to meet Altario's grey eyes. He gave him another quick smile.

"I heard you have been looking for him." He looked around, almost appearing as if he was confused where he was, before glancing back to Altario and tilting his head again. "This seems like an odd place to find him."

He straightened his head he gazed deeply into his eyes, and pursed his lips slightly again for a moment before he stated, "You do know the "Beauty of the South" is a real woman, not a whorehouse, do you not?" Of course, the building was more of an inn than a whorehouse, but Jarmis wanted to specify that he had known exactly where the Remusian had gone.

He sat there quietly and waited for Altario's response. Any info he was going to get out of this one would need to be done underhandedly. The man was suspicious now, he was that smart at least. Still, when you wet the appetite of a starved pig, it would squeal. And from what they knew from Denrykmar, this one was a very starved pig.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 28, 2010, 03:36:02 PM
Shyrec stood over the elf, her eyes ablaze even as her head lolled about on her shoulders.  She was still conscious, which is what he needed.  Conscious, but compliant.  He had no allusions to the danger she posed.  Given a chance, she'd kill him in a heartbeat.  But, that was the secret of success in his line of work.  You don't give people that chance.

Shyrec squatted down before the elf.  Her head lolled forward again, so he reached out and grabbed a handful of the elf's hair and violently jerked her head back up.  "Don't be passing out on me just yet, Drustai.  I have something else I want to add to our deal; something quite important to me and your stray."  He casually wiped away a trickle of blood that was slowly running down the side of her head.  Had he not have been the one to inflict the wound, it might have even be considered tender.

"Drustai, pay very close attention to what I'm going to tell you.  This is very important.  I want you to keep your stray.  But, I have a slightly different plan for you...".

A concerned party?  Jarmis?  None of this made much sense to Altario as he listened to the man on the chair.  He ignored the outstretched hand.  Whatever this man had planned, friendship was not it.

At the mention of Denrykmar, Altario was fully attentive.  "Yes, I'm searching for him."  No harm in admitting that much.  The man, Jarmis, knew it anyway.  Then Jarmis mentioned the Beauty of the South.  It was a woman?  Which woman?  Not the one he'd met earlier and spent time with.  

It took a moment before Altario realized that whoever these people were, they knew where he'd been earlier tonight.  This was before Lori had brought Drustai to him.  Was everything a lie?  A cold shiver wracked him.  The words of Ryk's letter echoed in his ear.

Be careful, big brother. Evil exists. It watches us. And it will move against us.

It was if Altario could no longer get enough air and the walls began to close in around him.  He swallowed hard as he reached up and loosened the collar of his shirt.  "Where is my brother?  Does he live?  And who is this women?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 28, 2010, 09:50:42 PM
"I would say he still lives, but we have not seen him in awhile. As for where he is, well. The woman might know. She is someone he knows, and someone we know." Jarmis pointed to himself, then around the room, before giving Altario a brief smile. Of course, nothing he was telling the man should be anything Altario did not already suspect. Afterall, that was why he was here. The elf must have told him that much. Maybe not the specifics, but something. Otherwise, Mister Gorrin would most certainly not be here.

"Maybe we can expediate this rather unnecessary line of work, would you not say?" Jarmis tilted his raised brow. "I would hope you are a reasonable man, Mister Gorrin. Your brother certainly was, though he had a habit of falling in with the wrong crowds." Now to bring out the lies.

Jarmis sat back and tapped his hands on the back of the chair again. He took a deep breath, and then craned his neck, popping it, before looking back at him, disinterestedly. "Yes, he was here looking for clues on your daughter. You see, we tend to be rather good at getting information around here. It happens to run in the business." He smiled.

"We had heard your daughter was dead. Of course, when your brother happened to find this out, he decided to not believe it and left." Jarmis shrugged his shoulders. Oh, she was surely not dead. But he wanted to see Altario's reaction to that piece of news.

"I cannot say I would put any blame on him. Though I am afraid he seems to have stirred up quite a predicament of his own in his travels," he paused, and took a breath as he rolled his head to the side, eyes looking off for a moment, as if thinking. "I think it is a worry that he continues on. He left behind the only person here who had chosen to support him." Jarmis motioned casually over his shoulder to the hallway Altario had come from, where Drustai was still meeting with Shyrec.

Ultimately, there was not anything Jarmis was really expecting to learn from the man. Rather, he was more intending on prodding him. Seeing how he reacted to things, to see what clues his body language, or his audible language if he chose to tell the truth, might give him. He had already figured that poor Mister Altario was out of the loop here, with how he had reacted to Jarmis knowing about him having gone to the Beauty of the South inn.

"I think your brother desperately needs you, Mister Altario." Jarmis clasped his hands together, fingers twiddling. "I am rather certain he left the elf here to find you."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on April 29, 2010, 05:48:46 AM
Kassandra didn’t fly away. Leastwise Lili didn’t hear her. She stared up into the dark, trying to spot her bird – but try as she might, she couldn’t make her out. Broody boardrak, that stubborn fowl could be anywhere up there. Probably she was looking forward to another sea voyage, was flapping her wings at the prospect of scaring people with pirate songs. Well, if she didn’t fly off soon, she’d find out more about scary pirates than she ever wanted to know. Probably she’d end up in their frying pan. Why, oh why couldn’t she just once in her life listen and do as she was told?

Grallen’s voice shook Lili out of her despair.

“...think I’ll stick right here, mister... ‘less you’d like t’reconsider your gen’rous offer.”

Completely bonkers, that orc. Lili looked at her.

”Leave, you pumpkin!” she said.

From above, Kassandra answered:

”Ho, off to war we go!”

Where had she picked up that  voice? It was a child’s voice, again, but not Lori’s this time. And, actually, it didn’t come from the place where Kassandra had sung just a blink ago. What was this bird up to? Lili’s eyes began searching again, trying to spy Kassandra in the dark. She was confused and desperate. Was that really Kassandra before? Have I forgotten how to tell her voice?

Then something hit her in the face.

For a moment – and it was just a moment, although it seemed like a very long time to Lili – she was blind. There was cold and wet all over her eyes and nose. Is this how it feels when your nose is smashed in and your eyes poked out?  Quar’s face lit up in Lili’s mind, his features destroyed, his one remaining eye looking forlorn, absurd without its twin. That’s what I look like now!

She thought one of the pirates had ripped his cutlass across her eyes.

Someone shouted. But not at her. When Lili realized this, her panic went pop and she opened her eyes.

The first thing she saw was a pirate trying to cover his head. Next, something exploded right in front of her feet, making a soggy sort of sound. Then several pirates began to move, trying to escape things that were flying through the air. There were little explosions all around as the missiles hit wooden planks and pirate’s heads. It’s like all the birds have died at once and are falling from the sky.

Lili realized that she was unhurt. And for the moment, no one appeared to pay attention to her and Grallen. She had no idea what was going on. But she knew this was her chance.

”Let’s go,” she said to Grallen, slapping the orc on the back to encourage her to come along as she leaped forward.

Looking for and finding an opening in the chaos were one, and after three big jumps Lili was just a step or two away from the railing on the seaward side of the ship. Something hit her on the leg – hard, this time, not squishy –  but she took no notice. There were shadows in front of her, men. She would try to brush them aside. Just two more leaps, and she’d be in the water. She just hoped that Grallen could swim. Had the orc come with her?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 29, 2010, 11:30:48 PM
A wave of relief swept over Altario when Jarmis confirmed that Denrykmar was still alive.  That was one less worry.  But who was this woman?  Why would she know where Ryk was?  Altario's heart sank when it was beginning to look less and less as though Ryk were in Strata.  Altario was about to ask about the woman when he suddenly felt as though he were kicked in the nethers.

"We had heard your daughter was dead."

Altario staggered backward until his back was against the cold stone wall.  His stomach rolled and he felt as though he might be sick.  Nayriss dead?  Dear gods no!  Please, Necteref, please let it be that you have not come for her.  If she were dead, then all this had been for nothing.  The last years of his life, in vain.   If she were dead, then all that was left of Riztalyanna in this world was gone.  If she was dead, there was nothing left for him to live for.  

"No!"  The Remusian's balled up fist slammed into the unyielding wall.  Altario slowly sagged to the floor, his bloody fist covering his mouth.

He was aware of Jarmis continuing to speak, and it took a few minutes for it to cut its way through the fog of his grief.  Slowly the words filtered into his head.  Denrykmar still held hope she was alive?  He needed him?  Left the elf to find him?

A picture was beginning to form in Altario's head; a picture of his younger brother, the scout, the hunter, the sly one.  If you were searching for someone, and didn't want others to find her first, what was a good way to slow them down or completely throw them off the trail?  Convince everyone else she was dead.  Of course!  It had to be.  But if Jarmis was the one Ryk told that to, then Ryk didn't trust this nest of thieves.

But what about Dru?  Did Ryk truly trust her?  Was it him that sent the elf to find him?  Or was it Jarmis?  Where did the elf's loyalties lie?

Altario rose to his feet, strengthened by the new theories arising in his mind.  "I want to know where my brother went.  I want to know now."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 29, 2010, 11:55:53 PM
"I want to know where my brother went.  I want to know now."

Jarmis gave Altario a brief, quick, disinterested smile, as he usually did. The Remusian had acted like he had expected. That was not what he was really trying to find out, however. Although, the loss of control was amusing. This man acted before he thought. And that was good to know.

In any case, he had mainly wanted to affirm in the man's mind just how essential it was to get to his brother. They needed both together, not just the one blind one here who did not know the whole picture.

Jarmis gave him a slight frown, then let out a sigh as he let his shoulders sag. He tiled his head as he looked pitifully at the man. "Oh, I would tell you. But I do not know. The only one who knows, I would think, is the dear Beauty."

He leaned forwards in the chair again, still tapping the palms of his hands idly against the headrest. "And while I would like to tell you where she is, I am not allowed. See, I think Mr. Shyrec does need something from you first. The elf should be getting that information now. It is nothing of too much trouble, I think, just a simple courier assignment. I am sure a warrior like yourself would find the task simple."

At Altario's sour expression, Jarmis leaned back and genuinely shrugged. "We are a business, Mr. Altario. I believe you know how that is. But, you should be able to trust that we would honor the arrangement. You will be on your brother's trail again in under a few weeks, I would think."

The sound of scuffling behind him caused Jarmis to stop talking, and looked over his shoulder with a passive gaze. Ah, there was the fat man. Jarmis always liked listening to Borre, he had a tendency to find the best ways to make people mad. And when people were mad, one could easily get a sense of the things they place value in.

He raised an eyebrow. And who was that he was dragging? A prisoner? Jarmis tilted his head as he peered at the cloaked person. Ah, it was the elf. They were done already, it seemed.

Jarmis turned back towards Altario, giving him yet another one of his dispassionate smiles. He stood up his chair, and grabbed a hold of the headrest. "I guess my time is up, Mr. Altario. I would say I am glad we could have this talk." He offered the man a casual two-fingered salute. "Good luck with finding your brother. I am sure he is alright."

Jarmis turned from him, carrying his chair as Borre walked into the room. The fat man tossed the bedraggled Drustai rather unceremoniously into the room. Jarmis watched a moment as she stumbled forwards, then fell to her fours the ground. It looked like she was going to pass out. Or just woke up from being passed out. Oh well. He turned back around and followed Borre out of the room, leaving the two strays behind.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on April 30, 2010, 02:58:58 AM
Altario's eyes burned with anger.  This smug man was playing with him.  As he listened, he wiped the broken skin of his knuckles onto the hem of his coat. One day, you bugger of a man, it will be your blood on my hands.

"I don't give a wison's arse about your business-"

Altario was halted by the arrival of Borre, who half carried half dragged the elf with him.  Altario stepped forward as Borre sent Drustai crashing to the floor.  He wanted to lash out, make Jarmis or Borre or both pay for what they had done; not only to him, but now to Dru.  His hand was curled about the hilt of his Odomon Blade, but he did not draw it from its scabbard.  She needed him more than revenge at the moment.

Altario knelt next to her and gently helped her down from her position on all fours to a sitting position.  She looked in rough shape.  A trickle of blood was dried along the side of her head.  A quick examination revealed a large lump just within her hairline.  It had grown so large so fast that it had split the skin.  Altario grimaced in empathy as he gingerly touched the lump and pulled the edges of the broken skin together.  A blue mermex would come in handy right about now.  Or three.

Instead, Altario reached into her satchel.  He grabbed the flask of water as well as a cloth rag.  He spied the vial and the leaves she had used earlier.  For a moment he considered using them, but decided against it.  He didn't know how to heal.  Best he could do was clean the wound.  He poured a bit of water onto the rag and gently dabbed it onto the lump on her skull.

"I- I'm sorry, Drustai.  I should not have left you alone.  I've failed you."  

Something had happened to her, and he wasn't there to stop it.  Whether he could trust her or not, he didn't know, but that wasn't the point.  He had called a truce with her, and like it or not, he was stuck with her until Denrykmar was found.  That placed her in his care.  In that, he had failed to protect her.

There would be a reckoning here.  Not tonight, but by the gods of Remusia, there would be a reckoning.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on April 30, 2010, 07:04:00 AM
Drustai's mind churned as she was dragged, stumbling into the cell-room from the hallway. The last few minutes had been a blur, she had all-but passed out in Shyrec's 'throne room' while he had been telling her of his new plan. One which she had had little real choice but to agree with, and that would have made her sick to her stomach if she didn't already feel incredibly nauseous. Her center of balance was off, and the world around her spun around, seeming bigger than it really was.

She didn't know where she was for a moment as she was thrown to the floor, stumbling down to her fours, trying to stay aloft. Her vision was starting to unblur, but a massive headache was burning inside of her skull. The light around her suddenly darkened, and it took her a moment to realize that it was someone standing--no, kneeling, over her. She was seated now, but didn't know when that had happened.

She blinked her eyes a few times, and shook her head back to the side as she tried to clear her head. Shapes crossed over each other to coalesce into mostly singular objects, and she found herself staring up at Altario, who had just pulled something out of one of the packs on her belt. He reached forward with whatever he pulled out, and dabbed it along the left side of her head, causing her to be assailed by another wave of pain. Her face twisted in grimace, and she let out a groaning breath.

""I- I'm sorry, Drustai. I should not have left you alone. I've failed you."

Drustai's eyes fluttered open again as he spoke. She watched him for a few moments as she tried to gather her thoughts together. Her pride was demanding that she push him away, and she hated the thought of the Remusian seeing her like this. But try as she might, her own body disagreed, and she just rolled her head to the right side and closed her eyes, letting him clean the wound.

She took a deep breath to steady her consciousness before she said in a low voice, simply, "No, you didn't." After a moment, she also added, "Thank you," for him cleaning the wound.

She pressed a hand up to her throat, which felt like it was on fire. There was a line of tenderness across it, probably a developing bruise. If she were in a clearer state of mind, she would probably be furious, but right now she merely just acknowledged it.

She let her mind slow down for a few more moments before letting out another groan. She didn't want to leave herself in this position, in the middle of this den of thieves, for awhile longer. She lightly pushed Altario away, the tap more requesting him to step back rather than to actually physically push him, and then attempted to stand with a groan. She was only able to get up halfway before the blood rushed to her head and she felt queasy all over again, and dropped down to her knees.

"Damnit," she mumbled quietly, to herself more than Altario. She wanted to get out of this pit of filth.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Tharoc Wargrider on May 01, 2010, 05:21:45 AM
Grabbing two generous handfuls of stinking fish carcasses, Tharoc was just about to turn around and hurl the slimy mess up onto the chaotic deck of the Runner when a small figure leapt out from behind the crates, waving its arms and shouting.

"Tharoc!" yelled the portly figure.

"Ye Gods!" yelled Tharoc, scattering dead fish everywhere as his arms flew up in fright. "'oo th' ffffffflippin' 'eck?....." He managed to focus his night-blind eyes and recognised the insolent hobbit who had tripped over his foot a short while ago.
"Wha' d'yer fink yer at, jumpin' out an' scarin' folk like vat? Ah very near shi.." "Yes, Tharoc. Thank you, but I think I get the idea. Please accept my humblest apologies for frightening you so, but I was worried that you might pick me up and throw me with all that fish. Fish that could have made such wonderful meals if only we'd found them sooner." Orly gazed at the crates with a mixture of desire and sorrow on his face. As consolation, he picked up a small piece of splintered wood from the floor and slipped it into his pocket for whittling later.

Above them, the sounds of a running battle filled the air. They stood side by side on the dock, looking up at the rail of the upper deck, both wondering how things were going for their small rescue party and both wanting to play their part.

"So," said Orly, still gazing upwards,"who were you aiming at?"

"Erm.....ah'm nay sure, t'be hones'. Jus'.....someone."

"That's not a very good plan is it? What if you hit Damien? Or Lili? Or that big dog of Garret's?"

"Shadderfoot. 's'called Shadderfoot," replied the orc. His mind wandered momentarily as he pictured his reason for being this far south. If'n 'ee finks Shadders is a big dog, ah wonder wha' 'eed make o' Valkree.......if'n she were 'ere?

"Why don't you step back a little way so you can see over the rail? That way, you could pick a target and avoid any accidents."

"Eh? Wha'?" Tharoc shook himself from his sentimental meanderings. There was a job to be done and a battle to be won. "Well, trufe is, mi eyes ain't wha' they shud be. Ah knows us orcs is supposed t'see in th' dark better'n anyone, but ah'm half-bred y'see? Mi muvver is an elf an' fer some reason it's made mi blind as a morjual in th' dark."

"Ha!" laughed Orly. "Well why didn't you say so earlier, you big oaf? I have the eyes of.....of.....erm.....well, something with very good eyes." "A privy rat," interjected Tharoc. "Privy rats 'as good nite eyes." "Do they really?" said the hobbit, "How interesting. Remind me to make a note of that." he added, sarcastically. "Now, if you'll allow me to continue I'll tell you what we'll do. You grab the fish and I'll tell you where to throw it. How's that?" He beamed up at Tharoc and placed both hands on his hips in a very self-satisfied manner. "The sooner we get Lili off that ship, the sooner we can find somewhere to dine. I haven't eaten since I don't know when. I shall have to buy a belt for these trousers soon!"

Tharoc thought through what Orly had just suggested, mulling it over as he waited for his brain to work it out. The look of deep thought on his face changed slowly into one of recognition. "Good idea, squirt. Ah likes it. Reet then, 'ere we goes."
He thrust both hands deep into the open crate beside him and pulled out two massive fistfulls of the strangest looking fish either of them had ever seen. Tharoc had seen some ugly creatures in his time, but these things were ugly with a capital ug.
He held his hands out to the sides and began to swing them back and forth, building up momentum. "Reet then, shortarse. Which way?" Foul smelling ooze dripped from the squelching carcasses, leaving glistening trails on the cobbles.

Orly was behind him, as far back against the dock wall as he could get. He could see the tops of heads bobbing around above the deck rail, but couldn't make out just which one belonged to who. "Erm...." he saw one particular head, or rather a mop of white, tangled hair, that seemed to be on it's own, facing all the others. He had no idea who it was, but whoever it was wasn't moving and that made it fair game. "Left a, the other left.....that's right...stop!.....Right a bit........stop!...Right a bit more.....stop! Right, fire!"

"Wot? D'yer mean fire t'th' reet?"

"Nay...I mean no. I said right, fire!"

"Tha's wot ah said y'said."

"Look, when I say right, you go right, right? And when I say left, you go left, right? When I say stop, you stop and when I say fire, you fire. Right?

"Vis is 'arder van it looks, innit? Reet, so, ah've gone lef' an' ah've gone reet, reet? Ah've stopped where yer told mi t'stop, reet? Now ven, d'yer wants mi t'fire, or go reet again an' ven fire or stop 'ere an' fire reet?"

Orly sighed. "Look, just turn around and throw the fish, ok?"

The orc shrugged his huge shoulders and did as he was told. He swung his right arm as hard as he could and released the fishball into the night sky. Almost immediately, his left arm swung forwards and sent the second missile soaring towards it's unseen target. Orc and hobbit listened carefully.........for a few blinks there was only the noise of the fight until......."Yesss!" "Yesss!" A lengthy splattering noise similar to somone being sick on a stone floor told the pair that they had found their target. Well, a target, at least.
Tharoc and Orly made to slap their open palms together in celebration, but considering the size difference it was doomed to failure. They settled for a miming the action instead.

"I could really do with getting higher somehow before we try again. I can't see properly who's who up there."

Tharoc thought for a moment then clomped over to Orly, picked him up by his collar using one massive fist, and sat him across his shoulders. "There y'go, squirt. 'ow's vat? Can y'see now?"

Orly wrapped his arms and legs around Tharoc's head and neck, shocked at finding himself suddenly over two peds tall. This was not a natural viewpoint for a halfling.
Cautiously opening one eye, he realised that it wasn't actually as bad as he anticipated. He wasn't entirely sure he'd like to be this tall forever, but as a temporary arrangement it was quite fascinating. "Oooh! Everything looks different from up here."

"Well, can yer see or no'?"

Orly looked towards the Runner, "Aye...I mean, yes. I can see Damien...and Garret....Ooh! And there's Lili!......And there's a small, green person stood next to her. She doesn't look very pleasant at all. She's got a big knife in her hand...."

At the mention of a small, green person, Tharoc realised that this must be the orc he had smelled earlier. What was an orc doing onboard this ship? And what did they have to do with this Lili everyone kept going on about? Only one way t'fin' out, he thought.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on May 03, 2010, 06:21:31 AM
   As predicted, Lili seemed to have accepted her fate once Eric had made it clear to her.  At least things were beginning to come back under control.  Now, all that needed to happen was for Grallen to leave peacefully.  Eric turned his attention back to the orc, waiting for her inevitable acceptance of his offer.

   “Think I’ll stick right here, mister…’less you’d like t’reconsider your gen’rous offer.”

   At first, Eric let out a chuckle; surely this was a bad joke.  But she didn’t move, making it clear that she was deadly serious.  Eric breathed in deeply, and coolly watched the green skinned pest.

   “Let’z be very clear, lass,” he said, his voice devoid of any trace of warmth or humour.  “I promise ‘ee, if yer don’ get off me boat right now, I’ll av ‘ee bound, taken below deck, n’ then I’ll ‘av me way with yer.”  A few of the men sniggered, and one of those closest to Grallen made an obscene gesture with his fingers.  “Then ev’ry man onboard this ‘ere boat will ‘av yer, too; all seven’y odd o’ ‘em.”  A crude cheer went up around the circle of cut-throats, and one of the smelliest, ugliest ones, grabbed his crotch, a lewd leer on his disfigured face.  “’n yer’d best believe me, lass, they ain’t the mos’ gen’le o’ lovers.”  Eric pointed one of his cutlasses at Grallen, the other held back, covering his chest.  “Choice is yours, lass.  Bet’er get moving, double quick, ‘cause I won’ go back on me word.”

   Then, above the wailing wind and crashing surf, a voice called out from the darkness.

   “Ho, off to war we go!”

   Soon, it was being echoed around the ship, coming from all different quarters.  Eric didn’t like the sound of it at all.  Out of nowhere, a barrage of projectiles accosted his crew.  A handful of something unpleasant exploded onto the captain’s face, blinding him for a few blinks.  When he managed to clear his eyes, he saw a wave of confusion had washed over his crew.  And even worse, the girl had disappeared.  Then he spotted her, making a break for freedom.

   “Stop ‘er!” he yelled, pointing one of his cutlasses at Lili, and chasing after her.  “And get yerselves tergether, yer spineless sprats!  ‘tis only kids!  Sent by Jonesy ter torment us, no doubt!”

   A few of the men who had been stood by the railings heard Eric’s call, and barred Lili’s way, their cutlasses drawn.  The rest of the crew started to regain their composure as they realised that they weren’t being assaulted by anything worse than a gang of miscreant youths.

   Eric had reached Lili and Grallen; standing behind them; Landy by his side.

   “Nice try, lass, but it endz right ‘ere.”

   Eric’s eyes were filled with fire, and his body was burning with anger.  Things had gone too far, and with this commotion, it wouldn’t take long for the watch to turn up.  Faced with losing his livelihood, and probably his life, the gold he’d paid for Lili became insignificant.  If she didn’t return to the hold now, he’d cut her down and throw her overboard.  It wasn’t what he wanted, but enough was enough.

   If it weren’t for the storm, which was crashing around them, then he’d give the order to set sail.  The vicious wind had whipped the sea up, and the Runner was pitching and rolling violently.  It’d be madness to try and leave the harbour now.  Or would it?  If things got too bad, it’d probably become worth it, after all.  A death on the raging sea would be better than the hangman’s noose.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on May 03, 2010, 07:47:15 AM
”Leave, you pumpkin!”
 “Let’z be very clear, lass...”
The words swam, as she tried to keep a lid on fear and anger. No, you’re wrong, you’ve got it all wrong, you should’ve run...
“...I won’ go back on me word.”
Grallen shook her head, trying to think clearly, and spat blood (Gres’, and it tastes wrong, like metal) onto the deck. If people would stop telling me what to do-  Something cried out, rhythmic, confusing, and was answered from all around the boat. The orc registered confusion on Lili’s face, before it was obliterated- red - no!   She spun round, snarling, to see who’d lashed out at her, in time to see more missiles thud into the deck, into some of the sailors. Coming from off the boat?

Everything was noise and confusion and flying fruit – the smell of bad fish hit her, dizzyingly strong, and then it was followed by real fish, smacking her in the chest and sending a dizzying jot of pain from her gut as she started in shock.

Ignore it!

She looked to Lili, seeming to think the same thing, as the human said ”Let’s go,” just as she thought it. She nodded, following at a staggering run. Ignore it, for crying out loud! This is the chance!

She suddenly remembered Tyrr, and hesitated, looking back. There he was, cowering behind a crate – she could see some of his face in profile, the rest hidden in shadow. He looked terrified. A little like she felt. Lili was getting ahead, and if she paused here she’d be skewered in moments, however distracted these sailors might be. Still.

The anger, nearly swamped with pain and fear, flared up, just for a moment, and she remembered the dagger in her hand. She focused on the small section of his neck she could see, and threw, before turning back and running. There was no point looking to see if it hit, and less than no time. She didn’t care anymore, as the last of the rage that’d been fuelling her through all this died away. She ducked past someone with fish-offal running down their face, and ran after Lili – or what she thought was Lili... the light was all reds and oranges and the smell of smoke, fish, fruit, blood and the sea made her dizzy. All she could make out was a human female, nearing the railings of the boat.


Ahead there were men. Why did we just throw our knife away, idiot!?  She staggered slightly, gritted her teeth and forced herself to catch up, fumbling for the knife sheathed in her boot. The movement should have been easy, quick enough not to interfere with her steps, but she couldn’t do it without pausing, now. Bending felt like it would kill her, and as she straightened she realised she was gasping for breath. Ignore it. It can come back later. Busy now. Forcing her breathing back under control, she made the last steps to Lili’s side with at least the semblance of agility.

It’s all changed and I don’t know why but we’re so close – we will get out of this.
“Nice try, lass, but it endz right ‘ere.”
Grallen turned abruptly, switching her grip on the blade.
They can’t win this one.
The young orc bared her teeth and snarled.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on May 03, 2010, 04:16:47 PM
Orly looked down at the big green lummox who was holding him up at this most unnatural height for a halfling and wondered why he wasn't throwing more of that rotten seafood over at the sailors. He saw lots of sailors, most with weapons of various kinds ... cutlasses they were, according to the sailors on the ship that had brought him here, as well as some of the kids going up and down the rigging of the boat

"And I can see sailors over there as well, with cutlasses," Orly continued on to the orc, "so what are you waiting for? Get some more fish and throw it ... throw it RIGHT now!"

Feeling the orc move to the right and no longer facing the boat, he called out, "no no no! Don't move to the right! I asked you if you were right to throw! I should have LEFT you out of the planning for this. Stay where you are, just get some fish from the containers and throw it at the ship right now. There are some big sailors coming down towards Garret and his big dog. Come on Tharoc! Are you ready? Go on! Get some more fish and get ready to throw. Tell you what, I'll count to three. When I get to three, you reach down and get fish. Then I'll count to three again and you throw it RIGHT at that boat. Then I'll count to three again and you'll get some more fish. Then three again and you'll throw it RIGHT away again at that boat. I hope you understand my plan and that I haven't LEFT you behind."

Orly drew in a big breath and shouted out, "ONE, TWO, THREE!"

Orly then clsoed his eyes and hoped that it would work out properly for them.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on May 06, 2010, 02:31:19 AM
Altario watched as Drustai tried to regain her feat, but sank to her knees again.  She was going to need help, even if it were from a human.  She'd just have to swallow her damn pride for awhile.

Leaning down, Altario pulled one of her arms around his shoulder, while wrapping his arm around her waist and lifted her as gently as he could.  They stepped toward the cell door and Altario looked down the corridor.  There was no one around. 

It was a good thing she used that salve on his knee, or it might not have held out too long with both of their weight on it.  He wasn't sure how long it would last, but for now he'd be okay in helping her walk.  But, what direction?  He didn't want to have to come the way they came in, didn't want to have to pass Reugy or Shyrec or Jarmis again.  He didn't trust what they might have in mind.

He glanced to the elf.  "Is there another way out of here?  We need to get you to the surface."

He wasn't sure, but Drustai nodded her head.  Was it for him, or just her head rolling about on her shoulders?  Either way, he had to act.  Adjusting his grip on her so that she would not slip, he started down the unexplored tunnel, grabbing a torch from its iron sconce on the wall.  Holding it, holding her, and walking along the uneven tunnel floor was not going to be easy, but he had no choice.  Taking a deep breath, he pushed on.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on May 06, 2010, 05:29:00 AM
”It endz right here,” the Vilerat said.

Right again, he was. Three pirates were barring the way to the sea, and Vilerat himself and another man had run after Lili and were now stood right at her back. Where was Grallen?

Ah, here she was: next to Lili, growling like a dog. Even though she could hardly stand straight. No wonder, given how Gres’s knife had “had his way with her”, as the common parlance seemed to be in Strata. Quar the ogre had said it to Lili, and the Chief Vilerat had said it to Grallen. Had Lili felt respect for him for keeping a cool head just a blink ago? Well, he’d lost this admirer for good. Maybe his head could be provoked into getting even hotter – and stupider, too?

Lili turned so that her back was free, and she could see the pirates in her immediate vicinity – the three barring the railing were to her right, the Vilerat to her left. Then she shouted at the top of her voice:

”Ho there, Master Drafas! Here he is, the captain! Right at 'im, comrades!”

She didn’t allow herself to wink at Grallen. Too conspicuous – and anyway, what good would it do if Grallen understood? “Drafas” was just a name Lili had picked up during her stay in Strata. She thought it was a good name for a harbourmaster, or a captain of the guard. With some luck, the Vilerat would think the same. Hers and Grallen’s two knives were no good against five cutlasses. So the more confusion she could sow, the better.

Something was flying through the air and landed in front of her feet. Lili couldn’t see it clearly in the dark, and denied herself a second look, as she kept her eyes on her attackers. But from what she had  seen, that thing seemed to be a fish. This was peculiar rain indeed. What by the grubby groshmite was happening here?


Above, in the rigging, sat a frightened gossiper bird. The night was far too dark for Kassandra's taste, and her perch was beginning to sway in the wind, which seemed to get angrier with every beat of her heart. She was beginning to feel queasy. Her mind would have panicked long ago, if it hadn't been for the interesting songs being sung below. And when she heard Lili sing again, Kassandra joined in with a raucous, if faintly quivering, voice:

 “Fifteen robbers on the dead man’s chest!
Yohoo! And a bottle of scutch!
‘Twas drink and scurfy’s got the rest!
Yohooooo! And a bottle of scutch!”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on May 06, 2010, 06:27:06 AM
Drustai groaned slightly as Altario helped her to stand. Immediately the blood rushed to her head again, and her head rolled down to the side. She wanted to drop back down to the floor again, and the longer she stayed up the more like she felt she was going to pass out--or vomit. She tried to walk as he guided her out, but her feet only haphazardly pushed themselves in front of the other, doing little more other than to keep herself from being essentially dragged.

She heard Altario speak, then opened her eyes to look weakly over in his direction. She wasn't entirely sure as to everything he had said, and took a few moments to think it over in her head before she finally nodded. "Aih," she responded quietly in Styrásh.

She wasn't sure how long they had been walking, but there was only so long she could stay upright, and eventually she felt a sickness in her stomach and had to pull herself away from Altario's grasp. She stumbled a bit towards the wall, then dropped down to her knees, breathing deeply in and out from her mouth. Her shoulders and head sat slumped as she rested her hands on the ground, trying to keep herself steady as she held it in. She closed her eyes, continuing to take long, deep breaths.

After a moment, she shook her head and looked up at him, trying to see him clearly. "Kyreaiá," she said, "Sýs’hán chón iuá, feól iú."

After a moment of seeing his blank expression, she realized he wouldn't understand her. She shook her head again to try and clear her thoughts, and began again in Tharian. "I'm sorry. I need to rest. Just a few moments."

She turned around to sit back up against the wall, and rested her head back against it. She wasn't sure how far they had traveled, or the path they were on. She knew there was another exit near here, which lead up to the docks, but she couldn't be certain right now. They certainly could not get out the other exit, as it would be flooded at this time of night.

She rose a hand to her temple, rubbing it firmly. The confusion and queasiness was starting to subside, but her head still throbbed, and she felt nauseous. At least she could think clearly.

She looked up at him. "What happened?"

She still recalled some of what had occurred, but much of it was a haze, as if she had been watching it from far off and had only seen bits and pieces. Plus, there was that nagging suspicion that something had happened with Altario. She had seen someone leaving him when she was brought in, but she couldn't put together who it was.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on May 06, 2010, 06:55:50 AM
Damien rushed up the gangplank his Sengren ready to cut anyone down who tried to stop him. He reached the top of the plank and saw many men with cutlass drawn, some were batting away the rotten fruit and vegetables the kids were throwing, while others were occupied by trying to catch them.

He felt Garret by his side.

"Go get them Shadowfoot," he ordered.

The wolf snarled and attacked the first sailor he saw. Garret waded into a bunch of sailors and began fighting them.

Suddenly Damien caught a glimpse of Lili and Grallen. He saw that they were blocked from the rail by five if not more men. The way was clear and Damien ran forward yelling the Kyranian war cry however as he neared them the deck of the ship became very slippery, Damien tried to keep his balance when he was hit in the back of his head by a flying object. The object along with the rolling ship and slick deck made Damien fall and slide toward the girls. The fall made him grimmace in pain and the slide along the wooden deck did not help either.

He came to a stop, looking up at Lili's and Grallen's eyes, as well as a few startled sailors.

Damien smiled weakly at the girls, "I came to rescue you," he said, just as a large fish came sailing through the darkness and splattered on the deck next to Damien's head, showering him with its busted insides.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on May 06, 2010, 02:03:06 PM
Tharoc looked dumbfounded at the sight before him ... he had reached in for more fish, but on pulling out a kraken, he growled about it and called out to Orly, "watch eet squirt." Orly looked down and saw Tharoc struggling with an eight legged creature of some kind that had kind of attached itself to the orc. Tharoc was trying to deal with the creature, and that was making things uncomfortable for Orly, who was in danger of falling off the orc's shoulders.

Suddenly, Orly felt something long and slimy grab him around his stomach. He struggled to loosen the grip, to no avail. It was one of the tentacles and Orly could feel it squeezing on him. Orly continued to struggle with the tentacle, but it wasn't doing any good.

Tharoc battled away with the creature, when an idea came to him. If fish helped Garret an' Damien and Lili an' the rest, imagine what this thing would do for them! So, the orc gripped hold on one of the tentacles, got a good spin up and threw.

"Squirt, reet, Squirt, Yess!" Tharoc said. Then he was confused. The buzzing of the squirt wasn't coming back to him. He was confused, and then he heard a scream from the air.

"You big oaf!" shouted the frightened Orly down at the orc below him, "Hobbits aren't meant to fly!"

The kraken still had its tentacle wrapped firmly around the waist of the halfling as both flew through the air, the screaming of the hobbit the only sound either made. While the orc did not have the best of eyesight, his arm was strong and true, and hobbit and kraken flew safely over onto the ship's deck. The kraken hit first, and it involuntarily let go of the hobbit, who took the opportunity to escape from the tentacle. Orly looked around and spotted somewhere to hide ... The kraken on recovery saw people around it ... lots of people with sharp shiny things in their hands and it started scuttling along on its tentacles in an ungainly manner.

Orly found himself in shadows again, behind boxes ... and in front of a stairway below decks. 'I wonder what's down there,' he thought, then, 'no, must focus on freeing the girl with the crabs.' But, the curiosity got the best of him and down he went ... down the stairs, carefully. 'Maybe there'd be something down here that would help them,' his eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light below the decks ...

Back on the dock, Tharoc shrugged and scratched his head, "the squirt is over there now too. Nothin' to it but ..." He reached into another crate and threw more fish at the boat.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on May 07, 2010, 05:56:02 AM
Together they walked, Altario half carrying the elf.  He wasn't entirely how far they had travelled, but it seemed as though it were further than the tunnel they had come into the thieves den.  The dampness was still here, the smell of sea water, urine and worse.  He could well imagine that whenever the urge came over these people who lived, or at least worked, down here they simply stopped what they were doing and relieved themselves.  Little better than animals.  More than once he was forced to dry heave, though so far the contents of his stomach had managed to stay inside.

As if the elf were suffering from the same stomach problems, Drustai pulled herself from Altario's grasp and slumped down to her knees.  Her breathing warned Altario that she might vomit, so he averted his face so to give her some privacy.  That and, if he were to see her puke, he might just follow suite.

After a moment, it seemed clear that she had overcome her nausea and began to speak.  He looked at her, but couldn't understand what she was saying, as her words were in another language.  He assumed it was elfish, but it was not the same as that spoken by Valannia.  Drustai recognized that he couldn't follow her and switched back to Tharian.  That, at least, he could understand.

"Rest as long as you need.  I'll keep watch."

When she asked what happened, he could only shake his head.  "I don't know.  When I was by myself, they had a man called Jarmis or something talk to me.  He claims my brother still lives."  He knelt beside her.  "I'm not sure what happened to you.  They brought you to me looking like someone took a club to your head, then they all left.  I wasn't about to stay there and let them finish what they started."

A quick glance back down the corridor reassured him that he wasn't being followed.  They had a few minutes to let her rest.

"After what happened between us earlier, I'm surprised anyone was able to get close enough to you to hit you like that.  You don't remember anything?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on May 07, 2010, 11:45:30 AM
"I don't know.  When I was by myself, they had a man called Jarmis or something talk to me.  He claims my brother still lives," Altario said. Drustai rolled her head down and to the side, letting out a groan. If she were in a better condition she might have lost her temper, but right now she just let it sink. Her body and mind felt too weary to do anything more.

Of course Jarmis had gone to see him. She had hoped he wouldn't, but expected it. Gods damn them. She would have to ask Altario more about what he was asked later.

She felt Altario kneel beside her, and glanced over in his direction. "I'm not sure what happened to you.  They brought you to me looking like someone took a club to your head, then they all left.  I wasn't about to stay there and let them finish what they started." He paused to look back down the hallway a moment, then finished, "After what happened between us earlier, I'm surprised anyone was able to get close enough to you to hit you like that.  You don't remember anything?"

Drustai closed her eyes, pursing her lips a moment as she groaned again, propping herself up a little. She took a breath, then shook her head.

"I," she looked down a moment, "I remember some things." She took a deep breath, and pressed a hand to her throat, rubbing it. It still felt like it was on fire. "He must have signaled one of his thugs to come up behind me." She wasn't sure if Altario had noticed the bruise on her neck, so added, "With a garrote."

She coughed a bit. Talking so much would just make it worse, she knew. "After that I got knocked out. Shyrec said, well, he said some things. I only remember," she paused to clear her throat, "I only remember bits and pieces."

In truth, she knew a bit more than pieces, but she couldn't tell Altario the things Shyrec had said to her. As much as the Remusian had angered her before, she did not want to be Shyrec's pet any longer. And she wasn't even sure if his offer was genuine. She knew he knew more than he was letting on, but how much more, and how likely he would be willing to give it up, those things she didn't know.

She looked up, then around them. It was quiet, except for the sounds of things far away echoing mutely down the tunnels. She tried to get a bearing of where exactly they were, though it was hard when she had barely been able to stand without fainting let alone watch where they were going.

"I, uhm," she started, "I... think, that..." She trailed off again, trying to formulate a thought. She brushed some hair away from where it stuck to her face from her nauseous sweating. This whole incident had drained her, the last several hours, and her weakened body groaned for rest. She wasn't as strong as she used to be.

"There should be an, uhm, a staircase leading up to the next level. Somewhere, down this corridor." At least, she hoped there was. "I think," she added.

"If we follow that, we should be able to get to onto a path that will take us to the docks. That's the closest to where we are. The coast-side entrances are all flooded right now."

She took a breath, and then reached out and gripped the side of the wall next to her, hooking her fingers around an outcropping of stone, exposed due to the way the wall had been crumbling away after all these centuries. She tried to push herself off the floor, but just as her right arm had exerted a bit extra force on the stone handhold it broke off. She grit her teeth and threw the stone chunk to the side, then placed her right hand to the floor while her left reached out to grab Altario's arm. With his help, she pushed herself to a weak but steady standing position.

She pulled her lips back into her mouth a moment, then nodded at the Remusian, letting go. "I'm fine. Thank you." Her throat almost gave out on her, so she finished in a rough whisper, "I can walk".

She closed her eyes and rubbed her throat, then nodded once more. She wasn't going to just lie here in this festering pit. Her head still swam, and an intense headache consumed her, but she was going to keep going. She could rest later.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on May 10, 2010, 01:26:39 AM
”Ho there, Master Drafas! Here he is, the captain! Right at 'im, comrades!”

What? For a moment the orc was confused, she almost looked up to try and catch Lili’s eye, before the san dropped. Instead, she kept looking at the captain, and smiled, a smile which didn’t deny the pain and weariness and everything, but merely seemed to say “surely you’re not so thick as to think what you see is what you get? Why would I stick around if I didn’t have a way out of this for both of us?” of course, that prompted the question of why indeed she had done just that.  The smile faded, just slightly, but not for long. Someone was coming, and he smelt- well, he had smelt familiar, up until he fell over like that. Now he just smelt like everything else here – rotten.

"I came to rescue you."

Grallen looked away, back to the captain and Landy, as something splattered into his face. She didn’t need to look to see what. But she wanted to keep an eye on blue-eyes and his mobile island. A distraction was a distraction. Things were looking up.

“...took your time, mate” she murmured, looking at him from the corner of her eye and trying not to sway with the movement of the ship. What the hells just landed on deck? That was no barsa fish! It screamed! Too much to pay attention to... this human: it was the man from the inn; the one Tyrr had been looking for, wasn’t it? He’d smelt pretty beat up back then (how many thousands of years ago was that? Only a day? Surely not?). Hardly a Drafas in shining armour, but he’ll do, right?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on May 10, 2010, 01:27:34 AM
Altario listened to her and was heartened.  Not just because she thought they were on the path to getting out of this sewer, but because she showed signs of recovering, if only a little.  He'd known people, in the war, that had gotten head injuries, and they only got worse, then died.  Drustai did not appear to be heading in that direction.  The fact that she could walk on her own now was proof of that.  In time, she would recover fully, and with it, her memory of what Shyrec had done.

With her assurance that they were indeed heading in the proper direction, Altario took the lead, going slow enough that the elf could keep up without effort.  It was quite the contrast to how they had entered with him struggling to keep up with her long legged gait.  It was much easier on his knee this way.

After many long minutes of walking, traversing a maze of twists and turns, so many that Altario began to wonder if they were still in Strata, they came to a widening in the corridor.  Against the far wall, a wooden ladder led up to a black hole.

"So much for your staircase," Altario mused.  He looked at Drustai, who was pale but more aware of her surroundings than she had been.  "You up for this?"  Not that had a choice, really.

With her affirmation, Altario handed her the torch then approached the ladder and peered up into the black hole.  Though he could not see into it, he could hear the sounds of waves, wind and the occasional cry of a Sarvonian Gull.  That in itself was comforting.  With a deep breath, Altario grabbed the ladder and placed a booted foot onto the first rung.  He began climbing, coming to the top of the corridor and to where the ladder went from being in an open environment to being in a hole that was just large enough for a person to traverse.  This was definitely not an entrance they brought their stolen goods.  Probably an escape route for those below.

A few more rungs and Altario was aware that the air was changing.  It was a salty as before, but it was fresh.  The smell of sweat and urine was disappearing.  That meant he was close.  A little further and he found the last rung, but it was still dark.  He reached out and felt around.  His fingers felt wood, and his hand travelled over it until he found a small knob.  He turned and pushed, revealing an empty yard.  It was dark, the moon blocked by a cloudy sky.

After pausing to make sure there was no one around that would see him, Altario lifted himself out of the hole and through the wooden hatch.  When he was once again on solid ground, he turned about and grinned.  The hole from the underground labyrinth had come out inside a crate.  A simple shipping crate that was up againsat the side of a warehouse wall.  Anyone passing by would not even have given it a second look..  Ingenious.

Altario glanced about, but the area was deserted.  It was late, and it appeared a storm was almost on top of them, so not many people would be out.  He climbed down on his knees and poked his head back into the crate and over the hole in the bottom.  "Okay, it's all clear.  Come on up," he called out softly.

Soon this unpleasantness would be over.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on May 10, 2010, 02:14:48 AM
Drustai followed Altario in silence. Unless he spoke to her, she didn't know what to say to him. She was somewhat surprised he was being kind to her despite what she had done to him before. She had deserved him to simply leave her as soon as he found out that she was no longer needed. Especially with him having talked to Jarmis.

Of course, Shyrec wanted her to still be with him, for his own purposes. Drustai sighed.

As the tunnel went on, she began getting the distinct feeling that they were going the wrong way. Her mind was gradually starting to return to her and she realized that the path they were going was not right. Her long elven ears listened to the sounds of echoing of the water and muted happenings on the surface and it was not the same route she had used before. It was longer, and the stairs never appeared. She frowned.

She considered speaking up, to tell Altario they were going to wrong way, but she stopped herself. At this point, she had no idea where they were going, or where they had come from. Her jaw tightened beneath her narrowed lips. She did not like feeling so lost like this, to be so reliant on someone else.

"So much for your staircase," Altario said.

Drustai looked up, having not been paying attention to their surroundings while her mind was closed in on itself. With the aid of the flickering torch she spotted the ladder in the distance. She had not been to this exit before, and this certainly proved they had been doing the wrong way. And there was something else. Her ears perked as she heard some distant, sharp sound coming from the direction of the exit, though she couldn't make out whatever it was at this point.

"You up for this?" the Remusian said.

Drustai nodded to him. "Aih," she replied. She took the torch from him as he handed it to her, and watched him ascend the rungs. Though acrid and charred smell of the sewers and torch still filled her senses, she could smell the freshness of the air, emanating from the ladder's exit. Though this was not the right exit, she mused it still lead out to the waterfront. The sound of waves, and that sharp, almost clanging sound also drifted in through the hole. She walked up closer to watch Altario climb.

"Okay, it's all clear.  Come on up."

Drustai nodded, and then began to ascend, heft hand still holding the torch as her other deftly supported her ascent. She pulled herself out of the hole as she reached the top, and held the torch out as she looked around.

It was dark, the wind rustled through the corridors of the city. Though it was not raining, it smelled damp. But above all, she heard another ring of that other sound, which, while not constant, was present. Sharp, clanging, and... it sounded like metal against metal? There was also the sound of shouting--the high-pitched kind of children, as well as the deeper sound of men and the patting of... soft things against something. Regardless of anything Altario might have been saying to her, her elven ears remained sharp as she pinpointed the sound.

"Ánciaiá," she said. She held up a finger to silence or keep silent his voice, and her eyes peered through the darkness, squinting slightly. Whatever it was, it could not be seen from the corridor they were in. "There is some kind of conflict, near."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on May 11, 2010, 05:49:16 AM
Orly strained all his senses to become fully aware of what was going on about him.

His nose turned up at the horrid smell of bilge water that permeated through the ship down here, there was also the smell of death around this place ... as well as another smell ... one that played with his sense of smell. He couldn't quite place it ... except that it was exotic and out of place here.

He could taste the salty brime of the ocean throughout this place, and it reminded him somewhat of the salt from the All-Year Pie that he was used to from the shire.

He had his hands out touching, feeling, when suddenly he tripped over something and down he went with a crash. His hands and his arms hit something and then they became sticky ... he looked to see what they were touching and they were all red ... blood. He looked down to see what it was ... and he saw the dead body of a man lying there. He brought up what little food he had in his stomach and heard it hit the wood at his feet, and a small amount of it splattered his legs and shoes on the way down.

He could hear the sounds of the fight from above deck, songs being sung, the air laced with curses, scuttling feet and the sound of metal on metal. He listened again to the songs ... they all inter mingled, but most of them he could understand ... then he became aware of another song ... one he couldn't understand ... one that was soft, and if he judged things aright, it was slightly off key. He listened and focused on that song ... his eyes tried to follow where it came from ... there ... in the corner ... it was coming from there! He stumbled forward towards it ... was this the girl with the crabs ... but she was dead ... and where was the captain? 'Focus, Orly, focus,' he admonished himself silently. He came to the corner and said softly, "hello, is someone here?" For some reason he began shaking.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on May 11, 2010, 07:01:26 PM
Ok, so... How had she gotten here? She had travelled to Strata as part of a caravan, acting as a caravan guard until they reached the Rahaz-Dath desert. On seeing the desert, she had agreed with the merchant whom she had worked for that she would travel with them to Strata, though she was no longer needed as a guard. It had been enough like home to make her nostalgic, so she decided to enjoy being warm a while again, before travelling onwards. When they had arrived in the city, she had said goodbye to the merchant and rented a room at the Seashoal's inn, paying in advance with the money she had earned. She had left her things in her room and then gone for a walk along the dock. And that had been her mistake, apparently. During her walk she had seen some commotion up ahead, but before she could go and investigate, something hit her on the head. She did not know how she could have let anyone sneak up on her, except that she had been distracted by the shuffle she had gone to investigate.

When she woke up, she was here, shackled to the wall of a ship, with a man standing beside her. "So glad you could join us, dear. For a moment I was afraid that my associate had hit you too hard, but with you awake I trust he has done no lasting harm. I want you fit and healthy, if properly subdued, when I present you to my client." He was cold, was the first thing she noticed. She made no answer - as soon as she had woken up, she had judged her situation: alone and shackled, she was no match for him, not until she could somehow get loose. The space where she was held was rather small - some crates seemed to be blocking what little light there was down here, and they kept her from seeing anything else that might be going on.

He continued speaking. "And subdued you will be, when we're there, though I can see the fire burning in your eyes now. Subdued and compliant. But we have time yet. We have a long way to go before we get to my client. So for now I will leave you in the capable hands of my associate, as I have some other pressing matters to attend to. Bors, stay here and guard her. Don't leave for any reason, you hear?" A grunt was all that followed his order, but Toama was fairly sure that he would be obeyed to the letter. The cold man seemed as sure of this, because he turned around without waiting for more, and strode away.

This was her chance to check the mentioned associate. Bors was Big, Burly and, as she witnessed when he moved to stand guard, surprisingly quiet for his size. But there was something else... He was stupid, she was convinced. There was no glimmer of intelligence in his small black eyes, all his thinking was done with his muscles. She could imagine the kind of relationship those two had, the cold man and the stupid - the one doing the thinking to direct the actions of the other. Which meant that the cold one had had his eye on her before, and that creeped her out. She cursed herself for having left her weapons at the inn, as well as her horse. Unless she could find a way out of this mess, she would never see either again.

She had no idea how long she sat there, feeling the warmth drain away from her hands because of her bonds. She did not speak to her guard, and he did not speak to her. She did not even try out how solid the shackles were, despite the overwhelming urge to do so. As she sat there, she heard noises, but she could not turn them into a coherent idea of what was going on out there. She did not know about ships, for all that she knew all the bangs and clashes were part of the routine. All she could deduce was that something was happening down in the hold, but she did not yell out for help. She was in too far away a corner to see anything, or even hear clear words, and the crates kept her from seeing what was going on. Voices, yes, but even those were muffled because of the crates. So she could not know that whoever was there was not also a servant of the cold man.

As time passed, her guard ambled around a bit, obviously growing bored when nothing happened - at least nothing that affected him directly, and he seemed incurious about anything else. Then he sat down, and after a while lay down and closed his eyes. Well, so far for being a trustworthy servant when the boss was not around. But then who could blame him? The boss had told him to stay here, but his charge had nowhere to go. By the time all the stampeding above her head started going, he had sunk deeply into his sleep and did not wake up. She ached to be up there - there was something about the current noise that made her heart jump. But she could still not cry out - if she did, Bors would wake up, thus effectively cutting off any attempt at rescue. Instead, she started singing, softly enough not to wake up Bors, an old song she remembered from her youngest days. She was not a very good singer, but that did not matter. What mattered was that her singing somehow let her feel part of the uprising up on the deck, even if she did not know what that was all about. Somehow it sounded like bad news for the cold man.

And then there were actual words, softly spoken. "Hello, is someone here?" She cut off her song, abruptly, straining her eyes in the direction the voice had come from. It had sounded like a nice voice, if she was any judge of voices. "Shh, quiet." she whispered, suddenly deciding to trust the voice. "You are beink no one of them, yes? You help me out?" She raised her shackled hands to show whoever was there that she was, indeed, in some trouble.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on May 14, 2010, 01:45:51 PM
Altario waited for Drustai's head to come out through the hole inside the crate.  When it did, he reached out and helped her through, taking the proferred torch.  When she stood on her own, he nodded toward the crate.  "Quite the hiding-" he was broken off by her speaking in elvish and holding up a finger.

He watched her for a moment as she concentrated until finally she announced there was a conflict near.

He stood perfectly still, concentrating against the sounds of wind in the air.  Very faintly he could here the clang of metal on metal.  Was there a shout in it as well?  He couldn't tell and marvelled at the exceptional hearing that the elf possessed.  It seemed those pointy ears were not just for show.  On his own, he would never have heard it.

There was a barrel of rainwater at the corner of the warehouse, where it dripped down from the gutters above.  Taking the torch, he plunged it into the water, extinguishing it and putting them into darkness.  If there was trouble near, a torch would be akin to waving a big old flag.  Until they knew where, what and who it was about, they were best unnoticed.

Placing a hand on his father's Odomon blade, Altario closed the crate door, hiding the tunnel entrance, and began moving along the wall of the warehouse, stepping carefully.  The farther he travelled, the louder the commotion grew.  At the corner of the warehouse he stopped, poking his head around.  Ahead was the harbour.  Long wooden piers stretched out into the water, ships rising and falling in the swells of the water, canvas sails flapping in the wind.  He couldn't be sure which ship the noise was coming from.

He looked up and down the harbour front, but there was no movement.  It seemed that the people with common sense were inside this night.  Of course, that made it inevitable that he would be outside.  Drops of rain began to hit his face.

He turned to face the elf.  "What now?"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on May 16, 2010, 12:09:00 AM
The last thing Drustai wanted right now was a fight. So when Altario began to lead the way again, she prayed that he would have the smarts to avoid whatever the conflict was. It didn't deal with them, likely just some scuffle between brigands. Her ears could hear nothing but the rain and some children shouting now, so whatever swordplay had been occurring was already over or at a lull. The Remusian stopped when they reached the edge of the warehouse, and peered out over the harbor. Drustai followed his gaze. Her eyes drew towards an isolated ship in the harbor where it seemed the sound was originating from. Even her elven eyes couldn't see it that well from here, especially in the rain.

"What now?" Altario asked.

"We leave," Drustai answered plainly, in a still rough and quiet voice. She looked to her right and pointed out towards another break in-between some of the other warehouses, which looked like it headed deeper into the city. "We can probably get out that way."

She took a deep breath, and rubbed her sore throat again. A hunger was growing in her belly, and her entire body still felt nauseating. It felt like it was getting worse again. She pressed a hand to her temple as she rested up against the side of the warehouse a moment. A large part of her wanted to just drop to the ground right here, and her legs ached beneath her weight. This wasn't just from the attack earlier, she knew, but her own growing fatigue from her Mage Grabber disease. She had been out too long today--she hadn't intended on going back to Shyrec's lair until Altario all-but insisted.

Drustai closed her eyes and took another deep breath through slightly-parted lips. She took a step forward to balance herself, then spoke, softly, "If your inn is nearer, we should head there." She paused for a moment, not sure how much of her state she wanted to admit. After a moment, she finished, "I need to rest."

It was times like this where she wished she carried her staff more often. The walk would be draining, and she did not want to, nor would she, rely on Altario's support.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Orly on May 18, 2010, 08:17:07 PM
He heard a voice ... a female voice, accented,"Shh, quiet. You are beink no one of them, yes? You help me out?"

Orly saw her sitting, she was shackled. Was she the one with the crabs? He turned and looked at Bors ... was he the captain? In any case, he was still asleep, if sleeping somewhat fitfully.

He moved closer to her and whispered, "Yes, I'll help you out. Others are up there, helping. I came down here. I am Orly, a halfling."

Orly looked around the room, and whispered again to the woman, "where would I find the keys for those?"

He pointed to her shackles, even as he strained his eyes and his ears to see and hear anything that would put them in danger. He knew that if he stopped and thought about this too much he'd just freeze out of fear, and so stopping and thinking wasn't an option in this ... acting and doing was.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on May 20, 2010, 05:47:00 AM
   “Poor girl,” Eric thought to himself, “iz she really so naïve?  Doez she really think I’d fall fer tha’ one?”

   It was a desperate attempt to buy some time, and Eric almost felt sorry for Lili.  He was just about to make a comment about how her stubbornness was leading her towards an untimely death, when a new commotion caught his attention.

   “Well, blas’ me!” he exclaimed, when he saw what looked very much like a giant dog leap onto his ship, and start attacking his crew.

   For a moment, he was frozen to the spot, his face showing his shock.  How could it be?  This girl wasn’t trying it on, she really did have backup!  And to make it worse, an axe wielding newcomer was hurtling towards them.  He had the look of a lawman about him, and Eric’s worse fear that the watch had turned up seemed to be coming true.

   But then, as quickly as it had come, Eric’s fleeting feeling of dread died away, replaced by laughter.

   “Oh, aye, mas’er Drafas!” the amused pirate said between chuckles, ‘tiz a very nice rescue!  Ain’t it, mate!”

   “Aye, cap’n,” Landy said, breaking his silence, “A very nice rescue.”

   Anguished screams and curses somewhere in the distance reminded Eric that a crazed animal was still onboard.

   “A silver bard ter the man ‘oo killz tha’ filthy dog!” he bellowed, before addressing Damien again.

   “On yer feet, ‘lubber!  Letz mek this fair!”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on May 24, 2010, 01:52:22 AM
Altario waited for the elf to give her thoughts, and he gave a brief nod of his head.  She had replied exactly as he hoped she would.  For one, she wasn't up to any type of fighting yet.  She still weak and wobbly from the knock she took to the skull from Shyrec.  Could she even cast her magic, he wondered?  Then, just as quickly, he thought wryly that if she could not, it would make her more likeable to him, if she were not able to practice her abominations.

His second thought was that he did not care what battle was going on over on one of those ships.  The activities of these southerners mattered little to him now.  He had wasted far too much time with distractions since leaving Remusia.  Quests that were not his own, they had done nothing to advance his search for Nayriss. 

But he was closer, now.  He was close to finding Denrykmar, and finding Denrykmar was a big step in finding Nayriss.  Nothing was going to distract him now.  He was going to find her.

"My inn is not far from here.  My people are there."

His people?  Garret, truth be told.  The rest weren't his people.  And soon, he'd be bidding them farewell.  He had found the information he needed.  Now it was time to move on.

"Come, follow me, and we'll get you to where you can rest, and maybe some food and drink will help you recover."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on May 26, 2010, 04:42:29 AM
Chief Vilerat wasn’t fazed by Lili’s trick. In the dark, it seemed to her that he was about to laugh right in her face. She risked a look at Grallen. The orc still stood on her feet, and grinned pugnaciously. Still fruit and fish flew around on deck, and away from Lili’s sight, the pirates made agitated noises.

It was a sudden change on Grallen’s face that first alerted Lili that something else was about to happen. The grin vanished, the tusks retreated slightly, and something – a widening of the nostrils, perhaps – made Lili look at the orc’s nose.

The next thing Lili knew, a body slid and crashed at her feet. At the same moment, a missile exploded and gooey sparks spluttered over Lili’s boots and legs.

”I came to rescue you,” the prone body said. Where had Lili heard this voice before?

She didn’t allow herself to remember. A better chance of escape might never come. For just a blink, Chief Vilerat was distracted. He regained his composure too quickly for Lili to seize the moment, but his men had also been thrown off guard.

Trying to regain control of his ship, Chief Vilerat shouted a command over the deck. Something about a killing a dog. Quickly turning his attention back to the fool on the floor, he spoke to him almost calmly.

But Lili didn’t hear his words. Her attention was focused on his crew, on the three sailors who were barring her way. Two of them were eyeing Grallen and Lili closely, but one was just a bit too focused on his captain, and was actually chuckling at something his boss said. That was the sort of sign that Lili had been hoping for. This chap was too sure of himself, or maybe too sure of his friends.

Lili's knife shot up at the distracted pirate’s sword-hand, and hit him on the wrist. He turned around in a blink, but no sooner did he fully face Lili than her boot was in his stomach. With her free hand, Lili grabbed his cutlass near the hilt. And with him stumbling backwards, and his grip loosened by the pain in his wrist, she managed to wrest it from his hand.

She had it! Lili jumped a step back, out of reach of the other cutlasses. She’d hurt her own hand during her manouevre, when she’d gripped the blade and it had cut into her palm. But at least she had a proper fencing weapon now, as well as a knife to throw.

”All right, Grallen. We’re in business”, Lili said.

She couldn’t help noticing an unpleasant quality in her own voice; it was squeaky and heavy with breath, and it rattled like a piece of metal had got stuck in it. Her body was getting tired. This wasn’t her first fight of the night, after all.


Up in the rigging, Kassandra found that singing warmed her body, and the competition with the wind, which blew and whistled ever more noisily, inspired her to raise her voice to raucous heights when she sang:

”Sure as shipwreck, mate! We’ll haul him in and feed him hardtack biscuits until he’s as fat as a first-singer!"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on May 27, 2010, 12:03:13 AM
The person that came into the small room where she was held was, in her eyes, little more than a child, at least in height. But the voice that came out of him was that of a grown-up, which rather puzzled her for a moment. He introduced himself as Orly, a halfling. She had no idea what a halfling might be, except that apparently Orly was one, but she didn't ask more information. Now was hardly the time.

Orly looked around for a moment, and then asked her where the keys were. That was, of course, a very good question. One she did not know the answer to. She was pretty sure that the man who had gone away did not have the keys, but then she had not really paid attention to that at the time. So maybe her guard did?

"Maybe you can tryink guard belt?" she asked. It was her only hope really, because if they were not there, they would probably have to find the other person, Bors's boss. Just at that moment Bors rolled onto his back with a loud snore, which stopped Toama's hart. She bit her lip, staying absolutely still. But there was no break in the snores. Bors had not woken up.

"There!" In her excitement she almost shouted, only just in time did she lower it down to a whisper. "Dere are keys. He was lyink on first. You can take? But careful, no wakink up." She looked at the halfling with a hopeful face.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on May 27, 2010, 04:32:21 AM

”On yer feet, ‘lubber! Letz make this fair!” the captain said.

Damien knew that he should be dead. Only by the arrogance of that rogue was he still alive. He jumped to his feet as quick as his battered limbs could make it, and faced his enemies. There were five of them. Five against three. If the girls could fight, that was. Else it would be five against one.

”Don’t talk to me about fairness, you scoundrel,” Damien said. “I am a soldier, and these women are under my protection! If you love your life, let them go.”

Even while he spoke, Damien saw a quick movement to his right. Lili and one of the sailors were scuffling already. Soon the only talking would be done by the weapons. Damien’s hand tensed around the handle of his sengren axe, and his eyes moved from sailor to sailor, searching for the weakest point in his enemies' defence. His head and body ached – from his fall, from Tharoc’s headbutt, from his illness, from the knowledge that his side didn’t stand much of a chance. But he had fought many battles, and he knew how to gnash his teeth and use his pain to rouse his own furious strength.

With a quick movement, Damien raised his axe. Everything in his stance and face suggested that he was going to go for the head of the captain. Yet at the last moment he sidestepped and aimed his blow on the sailor who stood next to the captain, the one who had also spoken. The sengren’s blade wheezed as it cut through the night air.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on May 30, 2010, 09:31:21 PM

The winds of destiny often blow in subtle ways, and most of the time we do not notice how they change the courses of our lives. They sweep us along as effortlessly as a faint breeze blows the seeds off a dandelion clock and carries them we do not know where: to new life in fertile soil, or to death on barren rock.

On this occasion, however, the winds of destiny availed themselves of less delicate means, and chose to accomplish their work through a burly gust of wind that swept into Strata’s port from the sea. If the gust was strong on the level of the quay, and if it shook the ships and boats that were bobbing about in their moorings, this was nothing compared to the force it exerted on a lonesome bird that was sat high in the Rainbow Runner’s rigging.

”Worrisome wopses!” Kassandra exclaimed as the storm hit her with its full force and tore at her feathers like a violent beast. Her claws, already sore and tired from the exertions of the day, could not hold on to the beam on which she perched, and she was swept away into the dark nothingness of the night, where she could see nothing but the faintly gleaming white lines of the sails that were drawn up and tied against the masts and crossbeams.

Left and right and up and down and to and fro Kassandra was tossed. Her wings worked hard, trying to gain control over her flight, but whenever she thought she had found some balance, another gust hit her and distorted her wings into painful shapes. Very soon she didn’t know where the sky was and where the ground.

Yet despite the chaotic playfulness of the gusts, the general direction of the storm was clear: it came from the sea and blew into the harbour. And thus it was that Kassandra was swept towards the quay. In a rare moment of relative quiet, she recognized, by a lantern that flickered below, that safety was not far away. Reaching it, however, would be a perilous undertaking.

Kassandra folded her wings against her back, intending to simply let herself drop. The storm was so powerful that, for a moment, it carried the green ball of her body and hurled it even higher into the night, away from the quay’s lights. When she finally did fall, the suddenness and speed with which she rushed toward the ground punched the breath out of Kassandra’s chest. It was all she could do to force her wings to spread at the last moment, catching the air and preventing herself from crashing with full force onto the cobblestones.

Yet she still had little control over the direction of her flight, though, and was travelling at such a speed that she could hardly see where she was going. So instead of soaring parallel to the ground slightly above the height of the port buildings’ roofs, as she had expected to do, she got far closer to the ground than she realized. And before she had time to look, she found herself smashing into an obstacle.

It appeared to be a walking tree. And a tall one, too – taller even that Lili, her customary perch. For a blink, Kassandra struggled as one of her claws had got entangled in what appeared to be long cloak. Something red and shiny was attached to it, and caught Kassandra’s eye. What a beautiful fruit, she thought, just as she managed to free her leg.

”Pleased to meet you, your Ladyship,” Kassandra said in the voice of an Avennorian merchant, whom she had overheard some months ago.

Then she dropped gracelessly to the ground.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on June 01, 2010, 12:44:27 AM
"Come, follow me," Altario said as he took the lead again. "We'll get you to where you can rest, and maybe some food and drink will help you recover." He began to walk towards the alley that Drustai had pointed out before, and, after pushing herself back away from the wall, she began to follow him. There pace was still slow, Altario purposefully walking at a shorter gait to allow her to keep up.

It sickened her, in a way, to be treated with such deference. A part of her mind wanted to scream out to him, to say, "Just walk normally!" That way, she would be forced to pick herself up, to follow at like speed. But instead, he allowed her to walk slowly, and her body, glad for the relief, did not want to object. It was like when she had just woken up from sleep--the body, at such a state of relaxation, would resist all attempts to move it from its spot. But after getting up, after forcing the body to do that which it was supposed to do, the feelings would be forced back, in hiding unless one were to lie down, stretch out, and suddenly feel like they had had the entire disk on their shoulders. Her having been allowed to rest had made those feelings come out and take hold of her again, and now her body was refusing to let them go. Which made her feel, and even worse, look, weak and helpless. And that she simply could not allow.

With a grit of her teeth, Drustai pulled her upper body back and straightened her spine. Her body groaned at the behavior and her head swam, but she pushed those feelings aside. She quickened her pace and shortly began to overtake Altario. "You do not need to move slow for me, human," she chided. Though she still felt hungry and nauseous, and the pain in her skull was starting anew, she wouldn't let these things distract her.

It was at that moment, just as she had finished speaking to Altario, that something struck her. She lost her breath a moment and took an instinctive step back to hold her balance, as some large mass became tangled in her cloak. Her elven ears heard the distinctive scratch of something sharp dragging across woven strands of cloth, and she looked down to see what appeared to be some form of bird trying desperately to free its clawed foot from her cloak. She began patting down her cloak aggressively to try and tear it away from her. Just as it had come free, the bird spoke.

"Pleased to meet you, your Ladyship."

Drustai tilted her head a moment as it collapsed to the ground, writhing momentarily to right itself up. She had encountered talking birds before, some R'unorian avians that were sometimes used as pets on Nybelmar, or found there during their migrational period. But why would one be here, in the south of Santharia?

She eyed the bird's body, drawing her gaze to the beak. Sure enough, the long, curved daggerbeak that gave the bird its human name. Though it had a gold, rather than red, stripe. The bird looked up at her a moment with its small, black eyes, before it turned its long beak back to start preening and straightening its now-rather-ruffled feathers.

"Án soór'vévan?" she remarked to herself, as she herself began to straighten out her clothes. She paused a moment to examine her cloak. Sure enough, there was a tiny tear in it from where the bird's claw had pierced through. She shook her head a moment and blinked her eyes a few times, trying to clear away the haze from her headache, which had surged from the sudden activity, before she looked back down at the animal again.

"I haven't seen one of those in Santharia before."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on June 02, 2010, 09:44:32 PM
”All right, Grallen. We’re in business”
The orc didn’t bother to hide her surprise – that was quick! Why couldn’t you have taken care of yourself like that before all this?! She quickly shrugged it off, though, nodding mutely to Lili, tightening her grip on her dagger. The skin on the palm of her hand caught painfully on the hilt, and she grimaced slightly, yellow eyes flicking between enemies and allies. This axe-weilding, fish-splattered hero seemed to be a better distraction than she’d hoped. Or perhaps the Captain was just so angry he was apt to be goaded into a one-on-one fight. Like we were a few minutes ago? That wasn’t a few minutes ago, it feels like years, like time’s gone all funny... something is rotten...

She smiled grimly at the man’s words: “these women are under my protection!” don’t think I’ve ever been under anyone’s protection before. Ironic that the first time should be whilst facing near-certain death...

An axe whirred through the air, and she took guard automatically, realising as she did that the axe was aimed at Landy. She kept the defensive stance up anyway. Don’t have enough strength left for anything but a successful attack. Let Lili make first move, and back her up. Try not to do anything too stupid.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on June 04, 2010, 05:31:22 AM
They began to make the relatively short hike to the inn, Altario leading at first but soon, in typical Drustai fashion, overtaken then chided for his deference to her.  He gritted his teeth at first, then just grinned and shrugged it off.  She was hard, and there might never come a time that the two of them would be friendly.  That much was clear.  If he continued to bristle at each of her petty remarks, it was only going to drive him crazy.  He didn't need that extra stress.  

So, go on Drustai of the Kaýrrhem, make your snide little comments, for I'll not be baited to engage in your petty little insults.

Suddenly a kerfuffle broke out when something green and feathery hit Drustai and the two struggled to untangle themselves.  A voice called out a greeting, and Altario swivelled his head to find the source of the voice, but there was no one to be seen.  He returned his attention quickly back to Drustai and the attacking feathered fiend.  When it was done a green bird hit the ground before her, then struggled to right itself.

Altario pulled his booted foot back, preparing to punt the annoying avian out of their way, when he heard the elf exclaim that she hadn't seen this type of bird before in Santharia.  He stopped his kicking motion just in time.  "No?"  Then these weren't typical southern birds?

A wry smirk crossed his lips.  "I have.  One."  Lili.  She must be someplace close by.

He knelt down and eyeballed the bird a bit closer.  It looked a bit ruffled, but not injured, and none the less for its crash landing.  "Are you Lili's bird?"  A bit of colour came to his cheeks as he realized how ridiculous he must look having a conversation with a bird.  It was not, after all, a horse.  Even if it did have the ability to yap.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on June 05, 2010, 05:33:47 PM

Kassandra never felt at ease on the ground. It was her wont to perch above the heads of other creatures, keeping everyone and everything in her view. Now, as she struggled to right herself and came to stand at the roots of two tall walking trees, she felt helpless and squashable. If it hadn’t been for her fear of the storm, she would have flown off straight away, despite the darkness.

Two walking trees were standing above her. Their sight did nothing to make Kassandra more comfortable. The taller tree, the one with the red fruit, was darker than the night. When it sang, its voice seemed thin and grating, as if it hadn’t had enough to drink. The other tree, the shorter one, made a motion as if it was about to kick Kassandra into the sea. Fortunately, it changed its mind, and instead bent down towards her.

”Are you Lili’s bird?” it sang.

She knew that voice! This tree had been the Lili-tree’s companion this very day. It wasn’t the most mellifluous voice in the world, but it was clear and direct, and Kassandra respected that in a tree.

”Sharpen your steel and mount your horse, off to battle we go!” she answered politely.

Then she flapped her wings and took to the air, intending to seat herself on the short tree’s head. But the storm still whirled, both in the harbour and within Kassandra’s mind. Or maybe it was the shiny red fruit hanging from the otherwise shadowy and gloomy taller tree that confused her. In any case, instead of landing on the bent tree, she lurched and swerved in the air, and eventually settled on the right shoulder of the tall tree. She was afraid of it, and not just a bit. But after all, by association with the clear-voiced one, this tree was part of Lili’s forest, as it were. So maybe things would turn out all right.

”I cannot help but admire Your Ladyship’s exquisite finery today, if I may permit myself the audacity of remarking so,” Kassandra said.

She felt her tiredness now. She hoped these trees would be sensible and walk to a place where a bird could sleep.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on June 06, 2010, 07:18:15 AM
   The plot thickened.  Why would a soldier be looking after an orc and a young woman?  Were they important?  Perhaps somebody would pay a large sum of money to have them returned?  Eric’s heart picked up slightly at the prospect.

   Not far away, Lili had closed with one of his men, indicating that things were just about to get messy.  Only moments ago, it wouldn’t have mattered at all to Eric, but things had changed; who’d pay a ransom to retrieve two lifeless bodies?

   “Tek th’ girlz down, ladz, but keep ‘em alive!”

   Before Eric could elaborate on why he wanted them alive, the soldier made his first move.  Landy was surprised by the sudden change of direction, but his reactions were still sharp.  Without thinking, he stepped towards Damien, angling his body and punching his cutlass into the axe’s handle as he did so.  At the same time, his other hand shot out, checking Damien’s.  The move resulted in a brief stalemate; a momentary pause in the attack which the man-mountain should have taken full advantage of.  But Landy wasn’t a great fan of sword fights, much preferring empty handed combat.  Instead of trying to disarm Damien, or launch a counter blow, he used his strength to push the soldier away.  Damien staggered back a few steps, thrown by the unfamiliar motion of the ship as well as his opponent’s bulk.

   “Fight like a man!”  Landy yelled over the screaming wind.  “Put yer axe down, ‘n I’ll put me cutlass down; I’ll learn yer ‘bout ‘onour, soldier!”

   Meanwhile, one of the Runner’s crew was busy sneaking up behind Lili, his sword in one hand, and a wicked looking dagger in the other.  He’d watched her wrest a cutlass from one of his ship-mates, and had no intention of being on the wrong end of it.  With cat-like stealth, he crept up to his target, intending on driving his dagger into the back of her neck.  But then he heard Eric bark an order that the girls shouldn’t be killed, and he almost let out a curse.  Why did the captain have to complicate things?  He was so close, and yet so far.  A quick, violent stab would see the end of this troublesome wench. Still, orders were orders, and so he lowered his dagger, and raised his cutlass, before bringing the hilt of it down onto the back of Lili’s head.

   With the soldier and Lili otherwise occupied, Eric turned his attention to Grallen, and began to close the distance.  The other two men started to approach her from behind, effectively catching her in a pincer movement.  Eric moved slowly, his weapons still drawn.  Here was a live one, alright; he’d just seen her pretty much rip a man apart, and he knew that she wasn’t going to give up without a fight.  Scrutinising her every movement, he edged forwards.  Tension seemed to hang heavily in the air, like a sultry morning before a storm.  All it’d take would be a momentary lapse of concentration; a slight distraction; a sign of being off balance.  It’d come sooner or later, and then it’d be time to subdue this green-skinned menace!

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on June 06, 2010, 08:54:48 PM
She went down like butter in the sun. Her head hit the deck with a bounce that betrayed her loss of consciousness. After a twitch or two, she came to lie on her belly. The cutlass, having fallen out of her hand, was buried under her body. Her dagger, however, slid across the wooden boards in Bolav’s direction.

Bolav – that was the pirate who had given Lili the knock. He was pleased with himself: this had been easier than he had thought. Now, to bind that trollop and store her somewhere safe, thought he. But then his gaze was drawn towards the contest between the captain and the orcess.

The captain, it seemed, was trying to stare the green monster down, to subdue her with his eyes. That might not be enough, but if Bolav could trick the human wench by sneaking up behind, why not the orc chick, too? He threw a meaningful glance toward Captain Eric and stepped into the shadow behind Grallen’s back. Had she noticed him? His cutlass was ready. He’d get her with the hilt just like the other one.

Bolav raised his hand...

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on June 07, 2010, 12:19:13 AM
Grallen didn’t see Lili fall; there were men all around, the captain’s too-blue eyes catching hers and holding them captive. A swordfighter’s stare, looking for any kind of tell, lowering of her guard... anything...

She snarled, and snarled again, baring her teeth at the men around her, reminding them of what she’d already done tonight, what she’d do again to anyone who got too close. Except that she wouldn’t, she knew. Couldn’t. There was barely any anger, just fear and pain and unignorable tiredness.

But she had to keep going, or they’d die, they’d all die, and she still owed Lili, Kahn’uck knew how much, for what she’d done-

The orc’s nostrils flared, her yellow eyes narrowing just slightly, and her long ears twitching. There was someone behind... but she’d counted! There couldn’t be anyone there without going...

Without going through...

...through Lili.

The knife burned in her hand as her arm flew up blindly, to try and block the attack from behind. It was an automatic, reflexive movement, though, because she couldn’t quite seem to think anymore. It left her open, and there was little she could do about it. A word hissed between her bared teeth, as she raised her eyes back to meet those of the captain.


Half desperately, she brought to mind the captain’s words, only a moment ago, barely registered: “Tek th’ girlz down, ladz, but keep ‘em alive!”
She’s still alive. She’s fine. We’ll get out of this.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on June 07, 2010, 05:00:39 PM
Drustai raised an eyebrow as Altario mentioned he had seen a soór'vévan before. An eccentric company he traveled with, indeed. She watched as the Remusian knelt in front of the bird and asked it a question.

"Are you Lili's bird?"

Drustrai shifted her weight onto her right leg as she set her hand on her hip. She tilted her head to the side and she looked down at him. "It doesn't understand you." She was confirmed shortly after as the avian made some random comment about battle. Of course, if he did know a person with such a bird, then this one must surely be it, so it was unnecessary to ask the question anyway. She folded her arms and was about to speak once more, when her eyes caught the flutter of the bird's wings as it took to the air again.

She had figured the bird would just fly off. Instead, it soared over Altario and flew straight towards her again. Then, it proceeded to land on her shoulder.

In a decidedly un-elven reaction that had become ingrained in her over her centuries of self-sufficient life, Drustai's body suddenly tensed at this unexpected and undesired violation of her personal space. She immediately took a step back and shoved her shoulder to the side, and then slapped at where the contact had occurred, interrupting the bird mid-speech and forcing it to fly away from her. She grit her teeth and pulled her lips back, and then glared at the animal, her elven eyes now watching its every movement. Her muscles remained tense beneath her clothing.

After just a moment, she caught Altario's gaze briefly, and then forced her body to relax itself. She turned to the side, and folded her arms across her chest. "Caehanhé thróg," she cursed to herself.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on June 08, 2010, 06:12:17 AM

Hardly had Kassandra settled down, when the tree vigorously waved its branch and hit her straight on the beak. She hadn’t even had time finished her song (for the Avennorian merchant’s sycophancy had been met, by Her Ladyship , with the most sardonic response, which Kassandra had not failed to remember; but that is a different story and shall be told at a different time). Silenced by the shock of the punch, Kassandra fluttered upwards and took to the air once again.

Well, what’s a bird to do? When there’s two trees to perch on, but one of them proves to be a moody type, there’s nothing for it but to try the other.

Kassandra went straight for the small tree’s shoulder, although she dug her claws into the cloth a bit more gingerly than the last time, and maintained a wary alertness of spirit. What if this tree was temperamental, too? Storms did that to trees, after all.

Out of nervousness, and in the hope to calm the tree, Kassandra sang to it:

“What d’you say you come with me? I think I’m gettin’ the hang of this city, an’ I found some dead posh streets. We could escape this dump for a bit?”

Anyone who’d had dealings with a certain young orcess recently, and who was half a perceptive observer of voices, could have told that it was Grallen’s voice ( in which Kassandra spoke.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on June 09, 2010, 04:43:47 AM
When the bird answered with nothing but nonsense, Altario felt even more the fool for thinking he could converse with it.  Birdbrain.  He stood up as the bird flapped its wings and took off again.  He watched as it was blown by the winds which seemed, if anything, to be getting stronger.  It landed on the elf's shoulder again.

The Remusian could not help but crack a smile at the elf's cursing, or that is what he thought she must have done, Valannia had never sworn or taught him how to in the elvish tongue, before swatting at the bird again, chasing it off her shoulder.  The smiled disappeared quickly as the feathered nuisance landed on his shoulder.

He was about to follow Drustai's example and bat the thing off him, but he held his swing when the bird spoke again.  It was asking for them to follow it?  He knew Lili put store in what the bird said, though how she understood its ramblings were beyond him.  Yet, it seemed as though the basic premise of what it spoke often contained a kernel of truth.

He looked over to Drustai.  "Don't ask me why, but I think we should follow the bird.  I think Lili might be in trouble."  This made absolutely no sense to him, so how he expected the elf to understand, he had no idea.  In truth, why he cared also alluded him.  After all, Lili was definitely not right in the head, and someone ought to have sent her out on a boat with no oars long ago.  Still...

"Where's Lili?  Show me where Lili is."  Again, talking to a bird.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on June 09, 2010, 05:19:01 AM
Drustai turned to look back at Altario, her arms still folded across her chest. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. Having become jaded to such things centuries ago, where once might have been a more elven inclination to accept the possibility of such spiritual endeavors was instead replaced by hard, practical skepticism.

"It doesn't understand you and it certainly doesn't understand what it is saying. It is more likely that whatever it is saying is from 2 years ago," she said.

She reached up to brush a few strands of hair from her face, gritting slightly as they pulled slightly at her skin from where some blood from earlier had dried. She let out a breath and then rested back against the wall of the nearby building, feeling her body growing weary again. She tilted her head as Altario asked the bird to show them where this 'Lili' was.

"Likely at your inn, human, unless your companions had some reason to leave it..."

Her ears pricked a moment, and she twisted her jaw as the momentarily glanced off to the side. The bird certainly would not be out here if its master was still at the inn, especially in this storm. Her body froze for a moment, and then she turned to face the direction where she had been struck. And the bird came from this direction...

Her elven eyes peered through the storm. Though she could see nothing through the haze, her ears served her better. The sound of swordplay from before.

"Í só lýth fá Avá..." she groaned. She turned her head back to look at Altario. "Your bird flew at us from that battle."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on June 09, 2010, 09:53:13 AM
Altario listened to the derision in Drustai's voice and could only nod sheepishly.  Of course she was skeptical, as well she should be.  Still, something in his gut told him to listen to the bird.

"Well, if it leads us back to the inn, there's no harm in following."  He spoke low, and didn't believe the elf heard him, as her attention seemed to have been diverted.  Probably just as well.  Arguing with her was getting tiring.

He was about to start walking, unsure how or if the bird would stay on his shoulder, or even which direction to head off in.  If he started north, would the bird be smart enough to tell him if he was heading in the right direction?  He might be just as well off to spin his sword on the ground and when it stopped go in the direction it pointed.  He sighed.  This was just a dumb idea.  He'd start for the inn, and if the bird wanted him to go into a different direction, it would just have to speak up.

He heard the elf groan what he assumed was another expletive then announce that the bird had come to them from the battle.

Damnit.  He gritted his teeth.  Just perfect.  This is exactly what he did not want.  He should have guessed a crazy woman would find trouble.  She didn't entirely look trustworthy.  Still, he felt some sort of protectiveness for her.  She had agreed to help look for Denrykmar.  And on the trip from the Thirsty Herald she hadn't been too obnoxious.

"Well, Í só lýth fá Avá too."  He hoped it was a curse.  "I need to find her if she's in trouble.  She's part of my group I told you about.  Come or stay, it's your choice.  We can meet later to plan the trip to Thalambath."  

If Lili was in trouble, he didn't have time to debate with the elf, and the Remusian prepared to leave without her if need be.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on June 09, 2010, 10:54:55 AM
"Well, Í só lýth fá Avá too," Altario said. "I need to find her if she's in trouble.  She's part of my group I told you about.  Come or stay, it's your choice.  We can meet later to plan the trip to Thalambath."

Drustai grit her teeth. This wasn't important. He had already neglected his group when she actually needed them, and in Thalambath the more of an entourage that were following them the more suspicious they would look. His companions were unnecessary now, the only one she needed was him.

She growled to herself as she closed her eyes, then rubbed her forehead with two fingers. And a fight was certainly not something she wanted to, nor felt confident in, getting involved with right now.

"Wait," she said. She cursed to herself as the human already began moving off towards the ship she had motioned to earlier. Firmly pressing her lips together, she turned her head off to the side in frustration before she finally pushed herself up off the wall she had been resting against. Her hand reached down to wrap around handle of the mace on her belt as she took a few long strides to catch up to Altario. Oh how she wished she had her shortbow right now. She wasn't confident in her spellcasting abilities at this moment, nor did she want to use them with her illness. In truth, she was a bit worried about getting involved in such a scuffle.

"Wait," she said again, as she approached behind Altario. She reached a hand forwards and roughly grabbed at his shoulder to stop him, pulling back in an attempt to twist him around to face her. "We don't need them. Besides, I'm sure if your friends are in trouble then they can fend for themselves. It isn't your problem."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on June 09, 2010, 02:10:53 PM
The Remusian strode forward, bird ridiculously perched on his shoulder, heading toward the pier where the ships were moored, bobbing up and down in the waves.  He thought he heard the elf call out to him, but he had no time to listen to her.  His hand rested on the hilt of his Odomon blade, preparing to pull it free.  What would he find?  What was awaiting ahead? 

He felt a hand grab him on the shoulder, pulling him about so quickly that the bird had to balance itself by spreading its wings getting into Altario's face.  He angrily brushed at it and swore into the wind.  "What?" he demanded of the elf.

Listening to her, his lips went white with the pressure he was using in clenching his jaw.  When she was done, he could only stare at her.  "You don't understand humans, elf."  He almost spat the words.  "Maybe if you did, your people might not have been killed by your orcs.  We Remusians fight together.  We shed our blood for each other, we die for each other.  We become one." 

No, she would not understand.  She was only an elf; something less than human.  He had been a fool for thinking Valannia loved him.  He had given his heart to her, loved her, and she just disappeared when he needed her most.  What filled their hearts?  Anything?  Nothing a human would recognize.

"So, go back to the inn, I'll come there after I do what I must.  Then I'll help you do what you need to do in Thalambath, then you give me the information I need and we never have to look at each other again."  He stopped himself from going further, realizing that the hurt he felt because of Valannia was only fueling his anger towards this elf.  It might not have been fair, but it was how he felt at the moment.

Knowing that he was being unfair to Drustai only angered him further that he turned on his heel, once again startling the bird on his shoulder and getting a face full of feathers.  "Damnit!  Sit still or fly off you little green monster!"

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on June 09, 2010, 03:15:14 PM
Drustai stood still at the assault of words, deciding not to speak. She leveled an even gaze at the Remusian, and her arms hung loosely at her sides. Drops of rain ran down her face, and so her only movement was to raise her hand up and brush her bangs behind her ears so that they were not splattered across her face. After that, she lowered her hand again, and simply listened. She took a deep breath once the human finished, and then turned her head to look to the side.

She wanted to yell at him. To attack him, even, for his words. Her eyes slowly flashed side to side, and then down to the ground for a few moments. Her body didn't move. All she felt was the muscles in her back clawing down at her shoulders, trying to pull them into a slump, and the feeling as if sand was building in the lower corners of her eyes. She was simply too tired to fight back. She pushed her lower jaw forwards and shook her head minutely to herself, as she closed her eyes a moment and let out a soft breath through barely-parted lips.

"You don't understand humans, elf," the human had said. "Maybe if you did, your people might not have been killed by your orcs. We Remusians fight together. We shed our blood for each other, we die for each other. We become one."

Maybe he was right.

Drustai turned her gray eyes back up to look at Altario, him fighting briefly with the uncooperative bird on his shoulder before striding headstrong towards the ship. Without a care for whether or not she followed him. He wanted her to leave him, in fact. And why shouldn't he? She had assaulted him earlier, and yet when she herself had been attacked, he helped her. Only for her to spit in his face when he needed her. And for what? Because she was tired? Because she didn't want to use her magic because of her illness? Because she was, in fact, afraid? Was she so weak?

She folded her arms across her chest again, and looked away from him. After a moment, she took a deep breath, and looked back up at him. Then, she unclipped her Thalambathian Scroll Tome from her belt, and strode forwards. She only looked back down a moment to slip a finger into the chapter containing scrolls of what she believed the most useful spell for the situation.

When she did catch up to Altario, she remained silent, and simply followed behind him.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on June 09, 2010, 04:09:48 PM
Damned bird.  Damned elf.  Damned wind.  Damned rain.  And damned Lili.  That just about covered it.

Altario stormed heavily toward the pier until his footfalls started thumping on the wooden planks of the pier itself.  He stopped.  The pier ran out into the sea far enough that two boats on each side could be moored here.  In the dark, it was difficult to see where the battle was exactly, but he could now hear it for himself.  It was on one of the two furthest ships.

By now, he could also feel Drustai behind him.  Though his pride would not let him turn about and acknowledge her, he was glad she followed.  Maybe something in his words affected her.  Could he actually be wrong about her?

A strange wood on wood tapping could be heard; rhythmic and coming closer.  Tap, scrape.  Tap, scrape.  Altario stared hard into the dark and soon a figure came into view.  It was a man; a large man with a wooden peg leg, a full curly and unkempt beard, barrel chest and a hook where his left hand should have been.  As he passed, his deep blue eye, for he only had one while the other was covered by a black patch, stared straight into the grey eyes of the Remusian and for a moment they locked on to one another.  What caught Altario's attention most was the large blue and yellow parrot on the man's shoulder.

"Nice bird."  Altario wasn't even sure where that came from or why he spoke at all, but it seemed strangely appropriate.

"Aye.  And so b' yours.  If'n that b' your ship at the end, the Rainbow Runner, it b' 'avin' a mut'ny it would.  Arrr, ain't not worse than a filthy mut'neer."  With that, the man walked on, shaking his head.  "Yo ho ho and a bottle o' scutch..."

Altario reached up and scratched the back of his head.  Something very strange but eerily familiar had just occurred.  The sound of battle broke him from his thoughts, however, and this time he did look back to the elf.  When his eyes met hers, he simply gave her a quick nod.  There was nothing else to say.

He pulled out his father's Odomon blade and made his way forward.  Onward to the Rainbow Runner.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on June 09, 2010, 08:46:29 PM
Orly looked at Bors's belt, then stooped and gingerly lifted the keys from it. He worked carefully, trying his hardest not to wake the man up. Toama bit her lip, watching as Orly opened the belt, and holding the keys in one hand to keep them from clinking slid them towards himself. Finally they were free, and Bors was still snoring loudly, oblivious to the world. The halfling quickly came over to her and started inserting keys into the manacles holding her wrists, until one managed to turn. They repeated the same procedure with the bonds around her ankles, and as the last lock clicked open Toama jumped up, glad to be free once more. Unfortunately, the long time sitting had left her right foot asleep, so when the blood began to flow back it felt like a thousand needles were pricking into the sole. Toama bit down and resisted the urge to stamp her foot to make it go away more quickly. She did not want Bors to wake up when she was so close to escaping.

When she came out of the small room where she had been kept, she looked around, but she didn't really know where she was. All the action was taking place up on the deck, if she could believe Orly's words - and there wasn't really any sense in doubting the halfling. "Where is findink stair, Orly?" she whispered, looking back at her rescuer. Orly quickly went in front, as that was the easiest - and quietest - way of showing how to go up. He was still holding the keys in his hand, though they seemed forgotten. They passed a man lying dead, but as Orly didn't mention him, neither did Toama. After all, there was fighting going on upstairs. The body did make her realise that she was still unarmed. Both her bow and her scimitar were still lying in her room at the inn. She would need to find a weapon as soon as possible.

When they came to the top of the stairs, she squinted against the light outside. It was night, but right at the start of her field of vision there was a lamp shining bright, lighting the way to the stairs. She took a few steps forward to get past the lamp, and then she needed a moment to adjust. When she was able to see normally again, Orly had gone - possibly into hiding, though she had not seen him leave. She couldn't blame him - if she had been his size she would be hiding too. She looked around and picked up a stout piece of wood that seemed to have broken off somewhere. Not surprising, considering the turmoil that she was facing. Nobody seemed to have noticed her appearing on deck yet. She let her brown eyes wander around the ship, trying to determine where she and her piece of wood would be most welcome. The problem was, of course, that she didn't really know who belonged to Orly's group, and who was part of the ship's crew and therefore a bad guy. Nobody looked like a bad guy, that was the thing. It would be easier if you could determine who to attack simply based on how they looked, but these people really looked like honest, hard-working men. She did see one orc, but as far as Toama could determine, she was part of a minority - the rescue party perhaps? This was complicated...

It would help if she could find the man who had gloated over her - at least in his case she couldn't go wrong. He was really the only one she had a grudge against. And possibly against the captain of this ship, but she didn't know who that was either. If only Orly had stayed with her - he might have been able to tell her who she had to help.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on June 10, 2010, 11:33:56 PM
   As he continued to slowly approach Grallen, Eric saw Lili slump to the deck.  “One down,” he thought to himself.  “I’ll ‘av ter mek sure Bolav getz some ex’ra drink ternight.”

   The pirate in question had started to sneak up behind Grallen, obviously intending to deal her a similar blow.  Eric tried to keep the orcess’s attention focussed on himself, hoping that she wouldn’t notice the latest threat.

   Bolav raised his cutlass, the hilt aimed squarely at the back of Grallen’s head, but when he brought it down, his intended victim twisted around suddenly, slashing wildly with her knife.  By some working of fate, she managed to hit Bolav’s hand.  The pirate cursed in pain, and dropped back slightly.  Grallen span to face Eric; he was much closer now, having rapidly closed the distance during the momentary distraction.

   For a blink, their eyes locked, and a solitary word escaped Grallen’s lips.  Eric didn’t pay it any attention, though, as he launched his attack.  Aiming to remove the knife from the fight, Eric tried to catch Grallen’s weapon arm in a scissor-like movement with his twin cutlasses; simultaneously, the left blade swung for the outside of her forearm, and the right for the inside of her bicep.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on June 11, 2010, 05:41:16 PM
Grallen was finding she might have to reconsider her conviction that things would be alright. As the two blades whirled towards her exposed arm, she tried desperately to pull it down and out of their path, whilst bringing her other arm up to try and catch the captain’s wrist, dig her nails in. She dropped the knife – it would barely have been much use in any case, with her hand stiffening up and torn apart. Battered and bloody as it may have been, though, it was a hand she wanted to keep, if possible. It clattered onto the deck, to be kicked away by the surrounding sailors.

Lamplight flashed on the swords as she wriggled to try and escape them, throwing her weight onto her right foot and trying to lean down, use her shortness to her advantage. If she could get a hold on him, though, and get those damn swords out of his hands, then she’d have him. She could maybe escape. Maybe.

And leave Lili out cold on this cursed ship?
Grallen snarled, more at herself than the captain and all the other men around her. She felt trapped, and it made her angry that she’d somehow ended up putting her foot meekly in the snare even as it was shown to her by the trappers. She remembered hearing about animals biting their own feet off to escape such traps. It had seemed stupid, when you could bite off the trapper’s foot probably just as easily, keep your foot and give him an incentive not only to release you but not to try such a silly game again.

Well if we put it like that...
She tightened her grip on the captain’s hand, and tugged down as hard as she could, towards her snarling, bloodied mouth. Let’s see you hold those pretty blades without a thumb, sir.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on June 11, 2010, 09:37:36 PM
   Eric saw Grallen’s knife fall to the deck just before he felt her nails dig into his wrist.  The first part of his job had been accomplished, now it just remained to overwhelm her and get her tied up.  He had a feeling that she’d have another blade stashed somewhere, so the sooner he could get her hands wrapped up, the better.

   For now, though, there was a more pressing problem.  Eric stepped forwards to maintain his balance as Grallen dropped her weight onto her right leg.  Then, suddenly, he felt a strong tug on his hand; the orcess wanted to bite a chunk out of him!  Instead of resisting, Eric added his strength to the movement, hoping to punch a few of his opponent’s teeth out.  Whether it worked or not, he couldn’t tell, but one thing was for certain, those fangs were still in there!  A sharp pain shot along his arm as Grallen’s teeth slashed his hand.  Eric grimaced, but didn’t cry out.

   “Iz tha’ the best yer’v got!” he thought to himself, as he brought the hilt of his other cutlass down, aiming a vicious blow at Grallen’s jaw.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on June 12, 2010, 08:23:57 PM
Well, it was obvious that one group belonged with the orc, and the other group belonged to the person that was fighting the orc. Other than that, the scene on the deck was mostly chaos. As far as Toama could see she had two options - keep on standing here until either side discovered and started fighting her, or go out there and pick a side. Still, while she preferred the second option, that was more easily said than done - as much as she would normally have gone to help the human against the orc, here she thought that the human might be a sailor - as far as she could interpret these things, being from the desert herself - which meant that she was against him, because she'd just escaped from being captive on the boat that he belonged to. And besides that, there was the whole two-to-one thing that was going on with the orc.

One thing was clear to Toama; she was not going to just stand around and wait for things to come her way. Making her way over to the human and the orc, careful not to slip on... on... was that fish? By Foiros, these sailors needed to take better care of their boat. When she arrived, the orc was trying to bite a chunk out of the human's hand, while the human raised his other hand, cutlass at the ready, to bring down the hilt on his opponent. By some instinct, bred into her since she had started training with her scimitar, she reached out with her free hand, and before she had the time to think it through grabbed the human's hand, thereby stopping the blow before it had landed - and, more importantly, attracting attention.

" 'scuse me... Who is beink the rescue peoples that is escapink?" She looked expectantly from the human to the orc - mostly she was counting on the element of surprise to get her the right answer. Normally she would never interfere in a fight like this, but then normally she knew which side she was on.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on June 13, 2010, 02:25:22 AM
Suddenly, painfully, with considerably more force than she’d expected, Grallen once more found herself with a mouthful of human. She felt the shock of the captain’s weight jar her teeth, but bit down anyway – she could hardly have stopped herself. Blood slicked her mouth again, but it didn’t seem to ease her shuddering breath or the ache in her gut as it should have done. He doesn’t even cry out! We’re flagging, losing it, not long now...

She fought to keep a hold of him, keep as close as she could – his men couldn’t move in if she was this close. It felt like one of her teeth was loose, and his wriggling wasn’t helping- but we can’t let go—

She realised too late that she’d let him have his other arm too long, that he still had use of the other sword. Panicked yellow eyes caught the movement as the hilt slammed down towards her, and she cringed, instinctively letting go of the captain’s hand—

And then it stopped.

However noisy and confusing the ship might have been, however many panicked, half coherent thoughts flickered through her mind, tangling up in pain and fear and guilt and anger, however much Grallen’s attention may have been stretched parchment thin, frayed, torn and battered, for a moment things seemed suddenly very quiet.


A long brown arm had stopped the blow, catching hold of the captain’s sword-hand like a mother catches the hand of a naughty child. Grallen gaped. Had things finally gotten to her? Had she caught madness off of Lili, and was she imagining all this? Other folk do not stick up for orcs, they just don’t, do they?
Well, they haven’t yet.

It would be quite nice though, wouldn’t it?

All this flashed through her mind as she looked up, bloodied, barely standing, at the human who seemed to have appeared from nowhere. Her voice seemed utterly incomprehensible for a moment, not just from the thick accent, but because Grallen couldn’t quite convince herself this was happening. But she spoke, nonetheless, raising a hand from which the scraps of cloth that had once bound it hung like tattered ribbons:
“...i, uh, b’leive that’d be me an’ miss Lili – over there-“ she indicated the slumped figure, suppressing a pang of guilt. “...and we’d, of course, greatly appreciate any help you c’d offer...” all this came out in a hurried hiss, and the orc’s own ears flattened back against her skull at how near to pleading she sounded. But who are we kidding? We’re desperate.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on June 13, 2010, 05:05:17 AM
They were nearly to the ship now, Altario and Drustai.  The sounds of battle were clear now, but there were things that did not seem to fit.  The sounds of children yelling out and some crying could be heard.  As well, the smell of rotting fish blew in with the wind that whipped around them.  What exactly was going on aboard the Runner?

The gangplank was only a few peds from them now.  In the dim light of night, they could only see shadows highlighted by the soft yellow light of large lanterns built onto the ship.  Altario stopped, hesitating slightly.  He didn't like ships very much.  He hadn't liked the trip down from Remusiat to Voldar, and had vowed to Kor'och not to travel again by ship.  He knew he might not be able to live up to that vow, but then, Kor'och hadn't lived up to his end either.

Suddenly four shadows emerged at the rail of the ship and began a hasty decent down the gangplank.  The odd glint in the night air told Altario that they were armed.  Another shadow, this one from on the pier, hidden among crates and barrels, a large shadow appeared to poke its head up and look up toward the men coming down.

"Uh oh.  Chuffin' sakes!  Ah's gonna reegrit vis."  The shadow from the crates then rose and rushed up the gangplank with a deafening roar.  One large shadow then met four mansized shadows coming down.  The four shadows seemed to hesitate before launching themselves at the large shadow.  Suddenly, it was no longer five shadows on the gangplank but one large multi-limbed monster.

As the multi-limbed monster flailed about, the gangplank began to bounce crazily under the weight and strain.  There was a loud groan, then a creak, followed by a series of cracking sounds.  The gangplank then began to give way, breaking in the center.  As it and the multi-limbed monster fell into the sea, amidst the screams of four voices, Altario heard the undignified scream of the largest.  "Oy, no' ahgin.  Chuffin' arseho-"  It was cut off by a large splash.

Altario looked back at Drustai and shrugged.  That made getting onto the ship a bit more difficult.  A quick survey of the ship revealed a few large ropes holding the ship in place.  "Looks like we are going to have to climb."  Sliding his sword back into its matching scabbard, Altario placed his hands onto the rope, which was as thick as his forearm.  Reaching out over the water as far as he could, he kicked his feet up and wrapped his legs around the rope, so that he hung upside down beneath the rope.  Looking to the ship and judging the distance to be about six peds or so, he looked back to the elf.

"It ain't that far.  I think I can make it."  

With that, he began to shimmy up the rope.  The rope was wet, and twice he thought he might slip as his fingers found it hard to grip, but as he neared the ship, he was sure he would make it.  With that he looked back to see if Drustai had followed.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on June 14, 2010, 03:40:25 AM
The sailor Damien had almost hit, almost?, he thought, a voice shouted in his head from the past; "You call that a feint! I could see that coming a league! You feint like this," as an ax headed for his head, "and then you do this and that," as the  ax quickly changed direction heading for his left side,  Damien was going to parry, the ax suddenly twisted in mid-swing and the slender thin sharped blade of the Sengren was cutting across his right thigh, luckily for him he was wearing heavy leather training pants on or he would have had his upper thigh sliced down to the bone.

Damien whirled, as fast as his battered body would allow and faced the sailor again, slowly swinging his Sengren, looking for another opportunity to slice the man open.

Suddenly the sailor challenges him to drop his weapon and fight like a man, at least that is what Damien thought he said. Stupid sailors, do not know how to speak so you can understand them, Damien thought, but the sailor's stance and intentions talked loud enough, including his size, for Damien.

Damien slowly looked around at the the other sailors, cultass drawn. Yeah right, sure I am going to put my weapon and down. Does the man think I am stupid as he is? Damien thought.

"No, I do not think so mate, not with your companions armed."

Damien then heard a thump as something hit the deck...hard. He shifted his eyes quickly to his right and to his horror saw Lili lying down, not moving. His anger rose.

He faced the Captain of the ship, "You're a coward! You fight a woman but not a man. You let others, like your ape here shipmate, fight men..."

Damien's words were either ignored or whipped away by the wind of the storm. In the brief glance he noticed that green orcess who had been sitting with the men he had been playing dice with the day before. She was holding off the Captain and his crew with a knife, a snarl and teeth that seemed to be covered in blood and... flesh! No wonder the crew was a bit hesitant. I wonder who was the unfortunate sailor she sunk her teeth into? Damien thought to himself, keeping one eye on the big sailor and one on the orcess.

Suddenly Damien noticed a figure in the shadows behind the orcess. The shadow arose and in the glint of a cutlass showed in the faint light. Before Damien could shout a warning, the orcess spun around and cut the man's hand making him drop his blade, and then quickly spun back around to face the Captain who had quickly closed in with two cutlasses drawn.

Damien swore under his breath. He wanted to help the orcess, but the big sailor and his companions were not going to, so he watched helplessly as the captain slashed at her with two blades. Damien almost closed his eyes as he awaited the awful scream he was sure he was about to hear, instead the orcess dropped her knife, grabbed one hand and tore into it, like he would a piece of mutton. The captain, straightened up, but did not yell out, Damien gave him that. However the captain had another free hand with his other cutlass blade upward, coming to crash down upon the orcess head. Damien saw the orcess tense up for the blow when...

" 'scuse me... Who is beink the rescue peoples that is escapink?" a female voice said as she held onto the captain's arm, effectively blocking him from crashing the hilt of his cutlass on the orcess's head.

If the situation was not so dire, Damien would have laughed out loud; not only by the sudden appearance of this female, but by her voice and mostly by her naive question. Where did this jewel come from? Damien asked himself.

“...i, uh, b’leive that’d be me an’ miss Lili – over there-“ the orcess indicated the slumped figure of Lili, and Damien almost could hear the suppressing pang of guilt. “...and we’d, of course, greatly appreciate any help you c’d offer." She slowly, almost pleadingly, hissed out.

Damien's brow rose when he heard the orcess name Lili by name. Did Lili and this orcess know each other? If so, then Altario certainly has changed, and more than just his hair color.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on June 18, 2010, 03:29:06 PM
Drustai turned her nose up as the two of them approached closer to the ship. Wisps of something foul in the air assailed her nostrils and she was forced to part her mouth slightly so as to breathe through it, instead of her nose. Altario did not appear as bothered, at least not yet. Likely due to his dulled human senses, Drustai mused. She thought she was able to identify the stench as rotting fish, though the rain was making it smell even worse. She pulled her lips back, and then looked up to the top of the ship, squinting her eyes slightly as the light rain threatened to drop into her eyes. It wasn't a 'large' battle, from what she could hear. More taunts and yelling than the actual clang of swords. That was somewhat uplifting, at least, since it meant that it might be easier to end whatever this fighting was.

Drustai's gaze was broken when a scuffle started on the boarding ramp of the ship. Several men came down, and were soon pounced on by what looked to be a much larger one. She peered closer, trying to see in the darkness, but the shadows played deeply over them. Then the over-strained wooden board creaked, cracked, and crumbled downwards, taking its occupants with it, and leaving her and Altario trapped on the other side.

"Looks like we are going to have to climb," Altario said, as he motioned to the various ropes keeping the ship tethered to the dock. Drustai almost wanted to groan, but her pride kept it held in check. The walking and moving around was keeping the weariness at bay for now, so at least she wasn't verging on collapse now. That would have to do.

She watched as Altario went first, sheathing his sword and then throwing himself up and around the rope so that he dangled underneath, before beginning to pull himself up towards the boat. Drustai followed shortly after. She closed her Scroll Tome and placed it back on her belt, then walked up to a second rope and rolled herself under it, wrapping her legs around it. Almost immediately she was realized that she was in a spot more trouble than Altario, as the cloak around her shoulders was now pulling down towards the water. Though it wasn't yet drenched, the weight of it tugged down on her, and her neck burned as the material rubbed against the flesh where she had suffered the garrote. Next time she was crawling up a rope to a ship she would have to remember to tie the ends of her cloak around her waist, she mused.

"Caeháem Coórís," she muttered to herself as she began to shimmy up the rope, fighting against the weight of her equipment and clothing.

The distance was not long, and only a few moments later they had both reached the side of the ship. Altario rolled around and pulled himself onto the ship first, and Drustai then followed him, throwing an arm out to catch the side of the ship, then the other, and then spinning around quickly so as to be facing towards the hull rather than away. She then hoisted herself up, groaning with the effort, until both feet were planted on the deck.

She looked up to survey the scene. Though the sword-fighting had been less than she expected, she had hoped it would mean there were less enemies. She assuming the pirates were the enemies, for Altario did not seem the kind of man to associate with scum willingly. But who was on their side? There was another two men who seemed to fighting them, along with a dog, so she thought them to be friendlies.

But there was also an orc.

Drustai's lips pulled back and she growled to herself. The orc was most likely an enforce of the pirates. Altario would surely not travel with one. She would enjoy the pleasure of destroying the creature herself.

"Oy!" came a shout near them, as a few pirates turned from the nearest man and the dog to look at Altario and Drustai. Drustai's eyes turned to glare at the man as he pointed in their direction. "There be more, aye?," the pirate said, "By Baveras' luck. Get them landlubbers too!" The group of four pirates began to charge towards them.

Drustai snarled, grabbing at the mace on her belt with her right hand. She did not have time to start casting spells from the Scroll Tome now, so it would be up to her own abilities. So be it.

She opened her mouth and pulled her lips back, baring her teeth as she lowered her pose, spreading her legs, her left forward of her right, and arching her back. She held her arms out wide, and her left hand curled into a claw as her right tightened around the handle of her mace. She concentrated on raising the property of reflection in her eyes, causing them to glow their eerie white that so often brought fear to the weak minded. She snarled and growled at the men, a hissing breath escaping past her bared teeth, and, to finish off the display, to make her appear the demon that Altario had called her before, she began to concentrate on raising the intensity of the Water ounía in the air--already easily manipulated due to the wet and cold weather--focusing on the property of Change. Within blinks, the wind around her began to pick up, causing her hair to whip around her face as her cloak billowed out behind her, the cloth snapping at itself.

A simple and easy few spells, but flashy. It would be enough to scare these fools.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on June 21, 2010, 05:40:14 AM
Watching the elf, Altario couldn't help but feel a grudging admiration for the elf.  She was hurt, she had no allegiance to him and even less to Lili, yet here she was, risking her life to help.  He had to remind himself that it wasn't friendship; he doubted she knew what that word meant, but necessity that was driving her.  She needed him to help her.  It was enough to take the smile from him and replace it with his usual stoic look.

He leaned his head back and surveyed how best to transition from the rope to the rail.  Carefully, he freed one leg, then the other from the rope and found himself hanging by his hands over the choppy waves below.  Hand over hand he inched closer to the rail.  Muscles straining, rain and sea spray running down his face, he gingerly left his fingers uncurl around the rope and reached out to the rail.  He gasped as an errant movement of the ship pulled the rail just beyond his grasp and his hand swung helplessly in the empty air.

Panicked as he felt himself slipping from his one handed grip on a wet and slippery rope, he felt Drustai grab his wrist and guide his free hand back to the rope.  His thank you was simply a grateful look, as his chattering teeth and clenched jaw prevented him from speaking.  

Turning back to the ship, this time he timed the rolling of the ship with his desperate grab, and this time his hand gripped the wooden rail.  The other hand left the rope and with both hands on the rail, muscles screaming, Altario pulled himself over the rail and flopped onto the deck.  He lay there a moment, savouring the feel of something solid below him, resting his trembling arm muscles and catching his breath.  When he became aware of Drustai reaching the deck next to him, he forced himself to his feet and unsheathed his sword.

A look about the deck revealed chaos.  Children were running about completely wild, while Lili lay prone on the deck, the orc standing guard over her and Damien nearby.  Shadowfoot and Garret were battling a few sailors not very far off.  What was going on here?  Why had everyone come here?  It made no sense.

Watching Garret, he saw that four of the sailors near him had turned upon noticing his and the elf's presence on the ship.  One called out and they all began to advance.

"You gotta be kidding me,"  the Remusian mumbled, preparing his stance for battle.

The sailors paused and stared hard at Drustai, and doubt crossed their faces.  Altario turned to see what held their attention.  Even in the full force of the wind that assailed him, he could see a whirlwind of force around the elf.  Her eyes had turned white again.  It was coming, that intense anger that he had provoked before.  This time he wasn't the focus of it.

Altario turned to the sailors, a smug expression on his face.  "Put down your swords or the elf will destroy you and this damnedable ship with it."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on June 29, 2010, 06:12:13 AM
   Eric looked at the newcomer with bewilderment; where had this one come from?  She had a heavy accent, and even though he’d encountered people from all over, the pirate captain still struggled to place it.  In his shock, it took him a blink to realise that the piercing pain in his right hand had stopped; the orcess had released it.

   “Yer’ll need more ‘elp than she can giv’,” Eric said as he quickly pulled his right hand well out of the way of Grallen’s maw.  “’n I’d advise ‘ee not ter ‘elp this ‘ere thief!” he added, trying to turn Toama against the orcess.  “No good, green monsterz th’ lot o’ ‘em!”  If there was one thing that could be counted on, it was a fellow human’s mistrust of orcs.  Hopefully, it’d be enough to get this newcomer onto his side.


   Landy pointed a thick finger at Damien, his face twisted with anger.

   “Just ‘cuz yer’ve got no honour, don’ mean th’ rest o’ th’ world is like ye!” he yelled.  Then, to prove that he'd meant what he had said, he ordered the other men to back off, and find somebody else to fight.  Then, the massive man dropped his cutlass onto the deck, leaving himself unarmed.

   “Come on!  One-on-one!"  he yelled, beating his broad chest with his fists.  "Drop yer axe, yer coward; fight me like a man!”


   The sailors took a look at the eerie elf, then Altario, then each other, and laughed nervously.  Admittedly, they’d been fazed by Drustai’s unexpected display at first, but even though their captain was scared silly of anything remotely unnatural, these men were made of sterner stuff; it’d take more than a freakish woman to destroy a whole crew!  The bravest among them decided to dispell any doubt, and egg his mates on.

   “An elf, yer say?” he yelled, “Looks more like a frightened cat, to me!  Bit of a pussy!  Right lads?”

   The other men laughed again, this time more confidently, and started to add their own comments as they spread out to approach the two trouble makers.

   “Aye, mate; tek yer pussy ‘ome!”

   “Damnable?  I’ll giv’ yer damnable, yer swine”

   “I’ll mek  more than yer eyes shine, darlin’!”

   “Why yer wanna listen to ‘im, anyway, luv’?  Iz ‘e yer boss?”

   “Better get goin’ while yer still can!”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on June 29, 2010, 08:10:01 PM
She had trouble understanding both the participants - both the orc and the human had an accent as thick as hers, just in a different way. However, she did manage to understand that the orc was trying to get off the ship, and the human was trying to stop her. That put her in the camp of the orc, no matter what the human said.

"Yes, maybe is monster, but monster that did not tyink me in belly of boat. If she get off, I get off. So I help her. Is beink fairly clear, yes?" She hefted her makeshift club, which was held in her good right hand, measuring up her opponent as she did so. He was about the same height as herself, and probably stronger, though she herself was not the weakest of the human specimens. He also had a good weapon - once again she cursed herself for leaving her scimitar at the inn. But then, if she had not she would probably have lost it now. He seemed to have all advantages on his side, except one thing - he now had two people to fight, instead of one. The other sailors were fighting somewhere else, though she had no time to make note of where exactly.

She walked two steps to the side, away from the orcess - that way he would have more trouble keeping both of them in his view. In a further effort to distract him, she asked casually: "What did orc stealink? You say she thief... why?" She kept her eyes fixed on him, trying to discover the first sign that he was about to make a move. There was always something, if just a tiny flicker of the eyelids. The trick was just to see it, and then act the exact same moment. Unless of course you were the first to strike a blow, in which case the trick was not showing anything, which was even harder than seeing the signs. She did not look at what the orc was doing - if she looked that way, she left an opening for the human. She just hoped that the orc knew what she was doing.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on June 30, 2010, 10:04:50 PM
“No good, green monsterz th’ lot o’ ‘em!”

Grallen snarled, breath wheezing past blood-seamed teeth. Should have known that was too good to be true. Of course she won’t side with an orc, you’d have to be desperate-
"Yes, maybe is monster, but monster that did not tyink me in belly of boat. If she get off, I get off. So I help her. Is beink fairly clear, yes?"

Oh. Guess we’re all desperate, then. Her ears twitched, taking stock of the surrounding clamour. Landy and the valorous Damien were shouting at each other, and the rest of the sailors seemed occupied with- more people? One of them had a voice that made her ears twitch. Oh bloody marvellous, mister Altario has arrived. What are the chances he’ll believe I had nothing to do with this?

She focused back on the captain. He was outnumbered now, had to try and focus on the two of them at once. She smiled as the human lady stepped a little away, speaking to the captain. She knows what she’s doing. Tall, too, and armed, if I saw right... she’s got a much better chance to do some damage than me... so let’s give her the chance.

Grallen’s yellow eyes narrowed as the thought occurred, and without hesitating, she lunged. His free hand was pulled back out of the way, but she was going for the one still holding a sword. She was relying on the human to see her opportunity, because there was no way she had the strength to hold the captain off. She lunged, nails and teeth bared, and hoped to hell this mysterious ally was paying attention.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on July 01, 2010, 11:58:07 AM
"An elf, yer say? Looks more like a frightened cat, to me! Bit of a pussy! Right lads?"

Drustai watched the men carefully as they began to walk around her. She had initially planned on attacking immediately, but these men had not been as fear-driven as others she had met. They had encountered magic before, or were at least hardened enough to not let it phase them. That made her have to reconsider her tactics.

"Dru? Anytime now," she heard Altario say. She ignored him.

Her stance still hunched over, she curled her fingers in and out as she coolly watched the pirates around her, waiting for an opening. She didn't want to use much more of her magic--even this was more than she wanted--but they were outnumbered, and she didn't trust the combat abilities of her 'allies'.

With an almost feral grin, Drustai took a few steps to her left, away from the railing. Her eyes never left the pirate on the right-most side. Move to the railing. Block my escape route, she wanted to command him. She stepped back towards Altario, almost as if she were backing away from the pirates as they encircled the two of them. The wind still kicked up around her, and it began to ruffle and blow at the Remusian's clothing as she neared him.

"... anytime," Altario said again.

Drustai's grip tightened around the shaft of her mace as she waited for the men to walk around them. She knew Altario was probably fidgeting behind her, letting themselves be surrounded like this...

There! The right-most pirate, in his part in the encirclement, had crossed over so that his back was nearly facing the railing. Not as much as Drustai wanted, but enough. She threw her arms forward as her mind concentrated on directing the chaotic water ounía of the wind in the air into almost a whirlpool of energy towards the pirate. Within a blink, the wind suddenly kicked up, its state so manipulated by the water ounía within its Cár’áll, and flew in a single direction--right towards the pirate. Before he could react, his body was buffeted by the strong gust, sending him stumbling backwards and over the railing.

Taking advantage of the possible confusion that might now have been running through the minds of the other pirates, Drustai immediately turned around, with all of her elven speed, and speared towards the second nearest pirate. She raised her mace  and let out an animalistic howl, preparing to pummel the man into oblivion.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on July 02, 2010, 12:33:19 AM
 Landy pointed a thick finger at Damien, his face twisted with anger.

   “Just ‘cuz yer’ve got no honour, don’ mean th’ rest o’ th’ world is like ye!” he yelled.  Then, to prove that he'd meant what he had said, he ordered the other men to back off, and find somebody else to fight.  Then, the massive man dropped his cutlass onto the deck, leaving himself unarmed.

   “Come on!  One-on-one!"  he yelled, beating his broad chest with his fists.  "Drop yer axe, yer coward; fight me like a man!”

"I have no honor! I am not the one who kidnaps innocent women and girls and sells them to the slave market," Damien shouted back, "And I am no coward! I am the Captain of the Guards of Voldar; second only to the King and the royal family."

Damien turned and threw his ax at the doorway of some cabin. The ax split the wooden frame all the way down to the deck. He turned back facing his opponent. The man was big, barrel chested and strong. He probably used his muscle and fists to fight, however as Damien had found out a long time ago, brains always defeat muscle. The problem is figuring out what the man's weaknesses were and how to exploit them to his advantage!

One weakness was the man's ego, that was for sure, Damien thought as he lowered into a crouch, his hands spread just over his knees, his legs in line with his shoulders and standing slightly on the balls of his feet, feeling the rolling and reeling action of the ship, letting his body get used to the motion.

Then Damien, as best as he could in the darkness and through the rain, tried to survey the fighting arena. The deck was covered with fish guts as well as large chunks of fish, which would make the deck as slippery as an eel and since the big man was probably used to wet decks he had an advantage, slight as it may be, but it would be something Damien had to take account of. Then there were his shipmates. Though they had stepped away, it did not mean that once the fight started, and his back got close enough to one of them that they would not shove a daggar in his back.

Suddenly there was a commotion near the far rail, landward. It caught the attention of everyone, including the big man and Damien himself. Damien peered through the night and rain and with a bit of luck and light from a hanging lamp saw the stout figure of Altario. It was the person next to him that had caused the commotion though. It was an elf and one who knew magic, from what Damien could see. The wind from the storm was blowing hard, but it would not blow a woman's hair straight up in the air and have it curl, and spin around her like a nest of vipers.

Damien decided to try and use and old trick against his opponent who had not forgotten about him. Damien yelled into the wind. "It is about time you showed up my Remusian friend! Here we are doing all the hard work and you are running around with an elf? And one that knows magic as well! Is this little green orcess with you as well? You sure have changed my friend. I thought for sure you would never travel with one who uses magic and an orc! I thought you would split one in two with your father's sword than be around them! However, no matter what or who they are, I am very glad to see you. I hope you brought the watch with you. Now excuse me a moment while I teach this man some manners."

Damien hoped for several things; one, that the mention of magic would make the sailors, who most were superstitious, would hesitate some, wondering if Damien had been telling the truth. Two, that the sailors now knew they were dealing with seasoned warriors and not just some nobody's off the street and three that Altario had summoned the watch, but something in the back of his mind told him probably not, but that did not mean that the sailors would not believe it.

Damien had kept his eye on his opponent all the time and one eye on the action between the orcess, another girl, probably another one of these pirates prisoners who had somehow escaped and was now confronting a man who seemed to be the Captain of this vessel.

The woman, large board in her hand, kept moving farther from the orcess, but still within sight and reach of the Captain, which, when faced with two opponents could not afford to take his eyes off of either one of them. It was a good tactic and Damien smiled inwardly.

Damien was just about to put his full attention back to his opponent when he heard a feral scream come from the whereabouts where Altario and the elf had been, now shrouded in dark and rain, and out of the corner of his eye he saw the orcess launch herself at the Captain.

This should be interesting, Damien thought as a cruel smile crossed his lips as he neared closer to his opponent waiting for the man to make the first move.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on July 05, 2010, 02:02:39 AM
Altario kept flitting his eyes between the four men who were beginning to move in a circle around him and Drustai.  What was taking her so long?  Gods knew that she didn't hesitate with him when she was tossing him around.  Was that hit to the head more serious than he thought?  Could she fight, then?  Would she be effective with her mace, or was she just setting herself up to be killed?  And possibly him.  Damn mages.

As he waited for Drustai or the sailors to do something, he heard his name blown along the wind.  Damien was calling out, chiding him for keeping company with both mages and orcs.  Now he decides to call me on this?  Really?  And what about the watch?  Altario didn't even know Damien and the others were here.  What in Damien's pagan gods name was he talking about?  

Suddenly the standoff was disrupted when the elf thrust her arms forward and the sailor nearest the railing was hit with her spell and sent backward over the the side of the ship.  Drustai then turned and attacked the next sailor closest to her.  As she did, the elf let forth a scream that sent a shudder through Altario.  She sounded crazed.

This set off the other two sailors who went in defense of their friend, but Altario had the lesser distance to travel and put himself between those two sailors and Drustai who was busy with the last sailor.  They slowed for a moment, but only for a moment.  One took a swing at Altario, the Remusian's heirloom sword easily deflecting the sailor's cutlass.  This made Altario feel better about their chances.  The man was not a trained fighter, but rather a bully who employed brute strength in his attack.  If there were more of these types on this ship, the small band of compatriots stood a chance.

The two sailors took positions on either side of the Remusian.  The larger one, the one who had swung already stepped a bit closer, searching for an opening in Altario's defence.  The other was more careful.  More skilled or less brave than his friend, Altario wondered?  Well, if the man was looking for an opening, let's give him one.  Altario let the tip of his sword lower slowly to the deck of the ship.  He stared at neither man directly, but straight ahead, so that his peripheral vision could capture any movement by either man.  It did not take long.

The larger man took the bait right away.  Seeing the Remusian's sword lower gave him the opening he was looking for and he stepped forward and brought his cutlass down in a vicious arc.  Quickly, Altario raised his sword, and a loud clang rang forth as the two blades met.  The Remusian then used the sailor's strength against him, by deflecting the blow off to the side.  While the sailor struggled to slow his blow, his body was left open, and a side slash from the Odomon blade was indefensible.

Altario quickly twisted his body and continued his sideways slash so that it caught the blade of the second sailor who had seen his opening and tried to take advantage of the opportunity.  Deflecting this blow was not nearly as difficult as the first when it came to using his strength, and immediately Altario knew that this second swordsman had more skill.  This sailor did not try to stop his deflected blow, but instead continued in the direction and spun about in a complete circle, his blade coming back around faster and deadlier than before.  Altario barely had time to bring his sword up to again parry, but he was forced to step backwards a few steps, past the larger sailor who lay on the deck, a strange expression on his face while desperately trying to push back organs into his belly that had been spilled out from Altario's counterslash.

The man advanced slowly, the tip of his cutlass making slow circles in the air.  Altario stepped back again.

"Alt, I'm getting these kids off the ship!"  Garret's voice.

"We're gonna have to jump!  The gangplank is gone."  Altario then heard Garret swear.

"Oy, Garret, toss'em t'me."  Altario didn't recognize this voice, but it came not from the ship, but from further away, most likely on the pier.

A few feints from the sailor caused Altario to ignore anything further Garret said or was doing.  This man was going to take all his attention.

"You ain't goin' nowheres.  I plan on suckin' the juice outta yer eyeballs fer whatchya did t' Bordy," the sailor hissed.

Pleasant thought.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on July 05, 2010, 02:47:02 AM
Bolav licked his wound. The orcess with her knife had hit him right on the wrist, which was now wet and dark with his blood. For a few blinks, the pain had been so strong that he had been unable to focus on what was going on around him. When he regained his capacity to see and hear clearly, he realized three things: he had lost his cutlass, more attackers had come on deck, and the captain was trying to fend off two women, not one.

Things were getting worse, then. Maybe the captain had been wrong, after all, to show these trollops mercy. It was better to cut their throats, each and every one of them. Now that Eric had to fight two, Bolav thought, he’d surely agree.

In the dark and confusion, Bolav couldn’t see where his cutlass was. But he did still have a knife in his belt. His palm was slippery with the blood that had flowed from his wrist. He wiped it on his trouser leg before drawing the knife. As he did so, he crouched down. His shadow – flickering in the fickle light of the torches in the storm – became shorter.

One of Eric’s attackers, a tall human woman, circled around the captain. Eric was about to be attacked from two sides. But Bolav would help his captain out of his predicament. The human had his back to Bolav, and it seemed that she hadn’t noticed him. Two steps, taken with bent knees and hunched back, took him to within a ped of his victim, whose attention was focused on the captain.

At that moment, the orcess hurled herself at Eric. It seemed that she wanted to bite his sword-arm in half. What a monster! If Bolav didn’t come to the captain’s help now, it would be too late.

With a lightning-quick movement, he straightened his legs and propelled himself toward the tall human woman. He was like an arrow: his knife was the sharp tip, and it was aiming straight at the woman’s neck. She would be dead before she knew what had hit her.

Except it never happened. Bolav felt how something – something very strong – gripped his ankle, stopped him in his flight, and forced him to move his arms underneath his body, so as to catch his fall and protect his head. He had hardly hit the ground before a metal blade cut into his neck, and ended his life in the same instant. He didn’t even have time to realize what his mistake had been.

Bolav’s mistake, of course, had been to underestimate how quickly a Kuglimz cutthroat can recover from a blow to her head. Lili stood over his body, holding her cutlass tight, breathing heavily, trying to understand what was going on around her. Although her body was wide awake, and capable of the quick and often-practiced movements of scruffy fighting, her mind was hazy still. Hadn’t there been a splash, as if someone had fallen into the water? And hadn’t she heard that drunkard (who was trying to rescue her) make a long speech of some sort? In fact, hadn’t he mentioned Altario’s name?

There were strange noises on the ship. Some animal screemed. Several people shouted, and Lili realized that her head must have suffered serious damage, for she deluded herself that one of the voices was Altario’s. I’m still in faerie-land, Kassandra,  she thought. She had no idea where her bird was, but it was comforting to believe that Kassandra could hear her. Better to focus on what’s before us.

Lili’s sight was blocked by the back of a person with long hair and bare arms – a woman, apparently. She hadn’t noticed any females among the pirates before. Where had that one come from? Things had changed quite a bit while Lili had been lying on the planks. As a case in point: where was Grallen?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on July 14, 2010, 08:41:13 AM
   A lot of confusing things were happening onboard the Runner, things which were beyond the scope of Landy’s understanding, but they didn’t bother him in the slightest.  Right now, all that mattered was that his opponent had accepted his challenge, and pretty soon he’d be doing what he loved most; squeezing the life out of another man.  Actually, it wasn’t so much the killing that thrilled Landy, it was more the fighting which led up to it.  There was no fun to be had in easy victories, and this overblown watchman seemed to pose a worthy challenge.  Landy noticed his opponent’s stance, and rapid observations of the fighting arena; oh yes, this was going to be fun!

   Feeling the roll and pitch of the ship beneath him, Landy crouched forwards slightly, his fists held high.  The guard was trying to distract him with words, but it was all just hot air.  Landy didn’t reply.  Instead, he cautiously but confidently began to close the gap, occasionally lifting his front leg slightly, threatening to let loose with a powerful kick.

   But he had no real intention of entering a stand up battle; this fight was going to the deck; there was no doubt of that.  Sooner or later, one of the men would slip on something unpleasant, or stumble as the Runner rolled violently.  Yes, this was going to be a wrestling match, Landy thought to himself as he approached Damien; no use in putting off the inevitable.  With his hands still held high, he made a sudden lunge forwards.  Instead of launching a jab or cross, however, he dropped rapidly, trying to take Damien to the deck by pulling his legs from under him.


   Arnum was taken aback by the woman’s magic; it wasn’t everyday that he saw one of his ship mates get blown overboard by a conjured wind.  But he didn’t have time to think about it; the crazed elfess was storming towards him.  More out of instinct than anything, the shocked pirate leapt towards his attacker, angling to the right slightly as he did so, to avoid getting smashed by an overhead blow.  His cutlass flew up into a defensive guard.  Would the elfess continue swinging her mace on its current course, or was she fast enough to change its arc to match Arnum’s new position?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on July 15, 2010, 12:41:57 AM
   It took a moment for the woman’s words to register properly.  Her accent was heavy, and at first Eric thought he might have misheard her.

   “Tie ‘ee up, lass?” he asked, “Why, ‘tiz th’ firs’ time I’z a-laid eyez on yer!”

   He didn’t have any time to question her further, though, because she was edging away from Grallen, trying to catch Eric in a pincer movement.  The captain’s eyes darted from one to the other, keeping track of both their movements.

   “If ‘ee wantz ter get off me boat, why, I’z got no reason ter stop ye!  Go on, get off!  This isn’t yer fight!”

   Before the woman could respond, Eric saw a flash of green lunge towards him.  Grallen had decided to go on the attack again.  Eric quickly turned to face the oncoming ball of fury, and levelled his cutlass to point at her as he did so.  She’d have to be mad to continue her unarmed advance.

   It was about then that Eric heard something that sent a cold shiver along his spine.  Somebody had uttered the ‘m’ word.  Whilst fending off Grallen, he carefully manoeuvred himself into a position where he could better see what was occurring, and almost instantly wished that he hadn’t.

   Not far away, two new arrivals stood together.  The man was of no consequence, but the creature with him had no place onboard the Runner.  Her eyes glowed in the darkness with an unnatural light, and her hair whipped about her head, moved by something other than the wind.  This was almost too much for the already strained captain to bear.

   Still holding the orcess at bay with his blade, Eric found his attention drawn towards the monstrosity that had appeared on his ship.  Was she really using magic?  In answer to his unspoken question, the fiend unleashed a blast of something unholy, which sent one of the Runner’s crew flying overboard.

   “Damn!” Eric cursed, realising that he was beaten.  “I don’ know who yon lass iz,” he said, turning his full attention back to Grallen and Toama.  “But she’s got powerful friendz!  This endz ‘ere.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on July 17, 2010, 01:25:20 AM
“Tie ‘ee up, lass? Why, ‘tiz th’ firs’ time I’z a-laid eyez on yer!”

Toama raised an eyebrow, keeping her distance. This man was a poor liar – what captain knows so little about his own ship that a woman can be tied up in the hold without his knowledge? He may not have laid eyes on her, but she was certain he’d given the orders to those who had.

With this in mind, his imprecation of “Go on, get off! This isn’t yer fight!” wasn’t much easier to believe. Her dark eyes flicked to the orc just in time to see her dart forward. Before she could see the opening the distraction offered, though, she heard movement, horribly close behind her, and turned, on instinct, makeshift club half-raised-

A man was sprawled on the deck less than a pace behind her, blood pooling in the hollow between his chin and his chest, the blade he’d fallen on gleaming dully in the lamplight. All this she saw in a moment, before looking up from the corpse, to the figure standing over it. Another woman, holding a cutlass – was it the person the orc had pointed to? Either way, she seemed to have just saved her life. It was a relief, in a way, not to have to think too hard about whose side she was on.

A blade flashed, nailsbreadths from her face, and she stopped short, struggling to keep her balance as she dodged to one side- no good, the blade followed her movements like lisdra watching a cornered rat. But if she had the captain’s attention, that was the key-

What in hell was he looking at? He has no right to be distracted by whatever’s going on over there! Pay attention, you bastard!  Grallen followed his gaze, despite herself. It was the lady Altario had brought – an elf, she looked like, though barely recognisable as any relative of the calm, reserved individual that was Grallen’s experience of the race. This one does tricks. She snapped her gaze back to the captain, but he was still watching the elf, and it looked like they were making quite an impression. Something seemed to give in him as he turned back to face them, and a grim smile crept across Grallen’s face.

“I don’ know who yon lass iz, But she’s got powerful friendz!  This endz ‘ere.”

She straightened up, taking a step back so the sword wasn’t staring her in the face any more. The movement sent a rusty dagger of pain from her side, but she forced herself to keep smiling, to growl “Scared, are we? You’re repeating yourself, honey – “this endz here” – you said that before, didn’t you? Only it didn’t, huh? Funny how things turn out, innit?”

As she said this, she backed away, to where she thought Toama was. Her foot nudged something on the deck, but she couldn’t look down. They were far enough away, now, right? They could make it! She turned to Toama, and hissed in a much less confident voice “you’ll have to carry Lili, I can’t-“ she stopped, as what she saw got through to her pain-fogged mind. Lili was on her feet again, more or less.

Looking between the two other women, the captain, and the others all fighting amongst themselves, it still seemed entirely nonsensical. From what she could gather, the captain had seen something – possibly the sudden appearance of a man and a woman, the latter of whom seemed especially fierce – those were the “powerful friendz”? Whatever was happening, it looked like they were in a better position than a moment before. There were three of them together, out of arms’ reach of the captain, and, according to him, at least, they had “powerful friendz”.
“We can all be goink now, yes?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on July 17, 2010, 06:44:39 AM
The long-haired woman moved. For a moment she turned around and looked at Lili. In the flickering light of the remaining torches – those that hadn’t yet been extinguished by the rain – it seemed to Lili that the woman’s face was darker than anyone’s she had ever seen. And she was dirty, too. Or was that blood on her cheeks?

Lili cast the stranger a questioning look. Friend or foe? But dark-face had already made up her mind, it seemed, for she turned around again to face Chief Vilerat and … Grallen! There she was, that crazy orc!

”You’ll have to carry Lili,” Grallen said. She must have seen that Lili had been down, but hadn’t yet realized that she’d got on her legs again. A warm rush of something she couldn’t name filled Lili’s belly, like a hot drink someone serves you when you’ve just come home. For a year now, Kassandra had been Lili’s only companion. Despite all the vileness of the bandits she’d left behind, she had been lonely without them. Hearing that Grallen was looking out for her made Lili feel as if she was part of a gang of bandits once again. She winked at the orc, who was just at that moment realizing that nobody would need to carry Lili off the ship.

Then Lili looked about herself, still wary of an impending attack. Things had changed since Lili last had been conscious. For a start, there were more people here than before. There were still sounds of fighting on the deck – wasn’t that the drunkard there wrestling with one of the sailors? – but the rain and the wind had got stronger, too, and now seemed to outroar the sound of battle.

There was no immediate danger to Lili. The Vilerat was looking at Grallen and dark-face, but his stance suggested that he wasn’t up for fighting anymore. Had he given up?

The long-haired woman, for one, seemed to have decided that the fight was over.

”We can all be goink now, yes?” she said.

”Now that’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard today,” Lili said.

”I’ve worked hard enough to have earned my freedom, I say. Oy, Captain Piratebeard! Tell your boardrak to get off that old man. He’s drunk too much and needs to go to bed.”

Lili’s voice was as jocular as she could make it, but her eyes were fixed on the Vilerat. She would keep him in her sights until she would know she was safe. Safety, that meant jumping overboard and swimming to the shore. Away from this strange fight with its flying fish, with people coming from nowhere, and with companions you didn’t know you had. But she couldn’t leave that fool who called himself a lord in the hands of the pirates. Apparently he’d come to rescue her, after all. It was beyond Lili’s confused and exhausted mind to wonder how all this had come about. All she understood was that she needed to get away. And that, for the first time in what seemed like half a life, she wouldn’t go away alone.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on July 22, 2010, 02:46:20 AM
Landy threw the first punch, Damien was waiting for it, but the big man moved quickly and dove for Damien's legs. Landy landed on Damien crashing both of them to the slick, blood and fish guts, deck of the ship sending waves of racking pain throughout Damien's injured side. Damien wheezed and coughed up a copious amount of blood.

Though Damien was down, and his head and mind screamed at him, his body took over. Through years of fighting his muscles reacted without thought and they fought the big man, finally rolling him over. Damien slammed a fist into the man's stomach, the man grunted and then just threw Damien off of him like Damien was a sack of flour. Damien landed on his back with another wave of pain wracking through his side as he slid across the deck. His body still in control, quickly stood up just to be rushed at by the big man, this time, Damien let him come at him and just at the last moment, Damien front snapped a kick and caught the big man right below his sternum, stopping him solid and sending the man flying backwards.

Damien bent over in pain, coughing up more blood, but he kept his eyes on the big man, who had rolled on the deck, stood up, taking a small breather, before he was about to rush Damien again. Damien shook his head, trying to get the cobwebs out. The man was big, strong and fast for his size and he did not look like he was hurt much on the other hand he was injured, wheezing like a horse that had been pushed too far and ready to die. His fight with Tharoc had scrambled his brains so he could not think straight and he was coughing up more and more blood, making him weaker and weaker. This fight might be my last, Damien thought.

Then he heard the Captain say something like "This ends here."  The big man turned with a questioning look at his Captain, then shook his head, turned back to Damien and shouted at him. "Ye are a lucky dog, for if'n it wern't for the Cap'n stopping this, I would 'ave stomped ye 'ood"

Damien could not have agreed more, but did not say a word as he stood up to his full height, slowly and steadily made his way to Lili, another woman and Grallen. He arrived just in time to hear the other woman ask in broken Tharian,

"”We can all be goink now, yes?”

 ”Now that’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard today,” Lili said.

”I’ve worked hard enough to have earned my freedom, I say. Oy, Captain Piratebeard! Tell your boardrak to get off that old man. He’s drunk too much and needs to go to bed."

"Not drunk, perhaps a bit injured and brains scrambled after fighting a three plus ped orc before coming to rescue you, but thank you for the sentiment anyways," Damien said.

Damien looked at the orcess who seemed in as bad as a shape as he was in, but she too was still on her feet and probably like him, only by force of will, not because of body. "Ladies after you," Damien said.

The women began walking toward where the gangplank to get off the ship should have been, Lili at the rear, the orcess in the middle, and the other woman leading them. Damien then followed, telling the woman to head for the elf and the big barrel chested man standing next to him.

The Captain and his men parted as they walked, though Lili still kept her cutlass at the ready and Damien's eyes kept moving from man to man looking out for any type of danger. "Well Altario, it seems we can leave, " Damien said as he neared his friend and his friend's elven friend, as well as Garret and his wolf who had rejoined the party after the fighting had stopped.

Damien just awaited his friend's response.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on July 25, 2010, 04:14:42 PM
Drustai snarled as she lunged at the man. She noticed him step to the side, but the inertia of her attack prevented her from correcting, and before she could pull herself back for another strike, she felt a jab of pain as the man sent the pommel of his sword down on her back. She stumbled down to the ground, nearly dropping her mace. Ignoring the burning sensation in her back, she scrambled forwards on her fours, barely enough to avoid a downward thrust by the pirate.

She spun around on her back, and stared up at the man, gritting her teeth. He took a step towards her and lashed down, forcing her to roll to the side to avoid it. His next attack she managed to raise her mace up to block. She tilted the angle of her mace to force the momentum of the attack to the side, then sent a kick up into the man's gut, causing him to double over and stumble backwards. She took the opportunity to roll back onto her stomach, then pushed herself up and spun around to face him again. She gripped her mace with both hands, holding it up in front of her, as she watched the man's movements.

Drustai growled to herself. She hated being here, getting into a fight that she had no business in, working with a man who she was only on tenuous relations with. With her not being able to use her magic as much--or, at least, her intention to not use it--she felt excessively vulnerable. With being as outnumbered as they were here, she pondered reconsidering her stance. Just for this fight.

Her thoughts were interrupted as the man charged at her. She stumbled to the side, barely managing to bring up her mace to block, then took a step back and twisted it to the side, causing his inertia to send him rolling down towards the deck. She swung her mace up and over in preparation to strike fiercely across his back, but before she could complete the move the man rammed his head into her neck, forcing her backwards as she coughed. The man followed up immediately afterward with a step forwards and a back swing of his fist, striking her across the face. She stumbled to the side, her surroundings blurring for a moment as she tried to get her bearings, and she only barely managed to raise her mace to block the immediate follow-up to the man's attack. With her unstable footing and weak block, however, the pirate was able to push into her block, forcing her down and causing her to lose her balance, sending her to the deck again.

She was outmatched here. This was no two-bit criminal, the pirate was trained and experienced, far more capable in a fight than she was. In an effort to buy herself time, she kicked upwards at his groin, causing the man to stumble backwards and double over in agony. With a glare, she thrust her free left hand towards him and tightened her fingers into a fist, as her mind concentrated on raising the property of coldness within the man's blood, causing it to crystallize into ice. Almost instantly, the pirate dropped to the ground, his flesh suddenly pale, and he clawed at his skin as if it was on fire. His heart had stopped beating. Drustai snarled at him as she held her concentration, holding it long enough for his body to begin to atrophy and his movements slow, until he finally stopped moving.

Drustai let out a weary breath, then pushed herself to a stand. She looked around the ship to try and get an update on what was happening. To her surprise, it seemed like the fighting had stopped. Altario had finished off his opponent while she had been concentrating on hers, and approaching them now were three individuals--a man, two women, and ...

... and the orc.

Drustai's own blood went cold as she looked at the greenskin. She pulled her lips back in a sneer and she looked between Altario and the orc. Was this thing his companion? The companion of a man who had said that orcs were their 'mutual enemy'?

She wanted to lash out at the creature, but for the sake of the situation, she held herself back. She had lived in Ximax for years, where "civilized" orcs had been all but a plague on the sentient life of the city, but that still did not mean she appreciated or wanted to be near them. Her narrow eyes remained focused solely on the creature as it approached.

Altario was going to have some explaining to do.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on July 26, 2010, 07:50:30 PM
The tip of the cutlass circled, while Altario's Odomon blade stayed still.  His training had been to minimize all movement that wasn't necessary.  There are fancy swordsmen, and there are killers, boy.  When life and death are on the line, which do you want to be?  Altario could hear the words of his tutor, a man who had known Altario's father for longer than the young Remusian had been alive.  Altario had learned the lesson well.  He wasn't here to showoff his prowess.  This wasn't a show or some game.  One of them would be dead in a moment.

Altario lowered the tip of his sword.  Attack you bastard, he thought to himself.  Instead, the sailor waited, stepping slowly to the side, eyes watching; waiting.  He was not about to be drawn in so easily as his larger, less talented, friend had.  He would be patient, and wait for the right opening.  It did not take long.

Unused to being at sea, even if at sea only meant tied to the wharf, a sudden rolling of the ship caused the landlubber to lose his balance for only a blink, but it was what the sailor had been so patiently waiting for.  Quick as lightning, the man's sword tip moved forward, aimed for Altario's left breast.  The Remusian barely had time to lift his sword, hilt upward, to deflect the blow.  Dropping his left hand so only his right held the sword, the sword arced over and came down at the sailor, who easily parried the blow.

Altario regained his balance.  A wave had splashed up over the side of the ship, and had soaked his left arm.  Shaking off the water, he lifted his arm to grip with two hands the handle of his sword.  Only then did he see that it was not water that wet his arm, but blood.  Just below his left elbow was a tear in his sleeve, and a half palmspan long split in the skin.  Different layers of flesh could be seen as blood ran freely from it, the pink layer of skin, the yellowish layer of fat beneath and the darker red layer of muscle below.

The sailor smiled through yellowed teeth.  "Tha' be only th' first.  I iz gonna make ye bleed much more then tha'."

Altario was about to respond when a voice called out.  "This endz ‘ere."

The sailor stepped forward, but the call was made again, this time more forcefully.  "This endz!"  Cursing, the sailor stepped back, obviously not happy with the orders of his captain.  "Ye killed me friend, lubber.  Don' think I be fergettin' yer face.  This ain' be over.  I'll be seein' ye dead fer watchya did t' Bordy.  Don' much care how long it take."

Altario stepped toward the railing, near where Garret was throwing the last of the children off the ship.  His eyes never left the sailor.  The Remusian never replied, but he knew the look in the man's eyes.  This was not over.  Next time they met, one of them would die.  

Still, this battle was over.  They needed to get off this ship.  "Rally to me!  Everyone!  Rally to me."  

Damien was the first to approach.  Altario gave him a curt nod.  "The gang plank is gone.  Unless you know another way off this ship, we are going to have to jump."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on July 27, 2010, 05:52:43 AM

Yes, it was him. Lili recognized the lordliness with which he greeted the sick baron. Altario always acted like that – as if other people were an annoying necessity of life that one best wasted little time on. Probably that’s how he felt. About most people, anyway. He did care for his daughter. Maybe he loved her so much that he had no love left for anyone else.

"The gang plank is gone.  Unless you know another way off this ship, we are going to have to jump," Altario said.

”Holla, Altario”, Lili greeted him.

She didn’t fully look at his face, though – she was keeping one eye and a half on the pirates.

”Look who’s here. Um, not your brother, sorry.” She pointed at Grallen, and then at the long-haired woman.

”But there’s another lady also, who helped us fight the pirates, although I sure don’t know why.”

The pirates seemed to obey their captain and were either retreating or standing still, making no move toward the group of landlubbers. Still, it was best to lose no time. Lili took a peek over the ship’s railing. There was a little space between the ship’s hulk and the quay, but the waves were strong even here, and the ship bobbed and swayed about.

”I say we jump. But not here, not where the ship will squash us against the quay until we look like these fish.”
She pointed to the assorted remains of marine life that were scattered and smeared all over the deck.

”Let’s jump from the back of the ship instead, then get on land. Nothing to it. You two, can you swim?” she asked, addressing Grallen and the baron.

Both were badly wounded. The baron looked as if he could hardly stand. And as for Grallen: if she jumped into the sea, the impact would surely rip one or two of her limbs off.

”If not, I’ll hold you above water until someone can pull you out from above. Now, who else is coming?”

There were other people here - people whom Lili hadn’t noticed until now. One was Garret, Altario’s taciturn friend. His giant wolf was by his side. How had they all found one another? Lili half expected Lori and Anna to turn up on the quay, waving, asking whether anyone needed a place on their cart.

But Ana and Lori did not turn up. Instead, Lili noticed another person on board the ship. For a blink, she thought that it was Airyn. But one closer look was enough to find out that this wasn’t true. The person did have elven ears and elven eyes. But if she was any relation to Airyn, surely this was the fair elfess’ evil aunt. Lili hadn’t felt cold up to now, even though her clothes were soaked through to the skin. But this elf sent a shudder down her innards as if she had swallowed a fist-sized piece of ice.


Meanwhile Kassandra was sitting on the ship’s superstructure. She had flown off when the short tree had decided to cross the water by moving branch over branch (and crown under root) along a rope. She’d found a place to sit and watch from a safe distance as the trees fought with one another. It had been a terrible confusion, and Kassandra had been too tired and hungry to try and understand what was going on. But now things seemed to have calmed down. The trees’ voices had become less strained, and they moved their roots and branches more slowly – as was becoming their nature.

So Kassandra considered it safe to return to her customary perch. Rain drops bounced off her wings as she spread them. She took off and soared towards Lili.


Should she say something to the elf? Lili hesitated, and in that moment Kassandra landed on her head. The familiar sensation of strong claws digging into her scalp made Lili’s heart leap, driving all thought of coldness out of it. And for the first time in what seemed like half a life, Lili allowed herself to laugh.

”Now where have you been, old gadabout?” she said.

”Don’t ask me why, but I think we should follow the bird,” replied Kassandra.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on July 27, 2010, 11:48:25 PM
They were leaving, escaping, it was going to be alright, they were escaping, finally-“...after fighting a three plus ped orc before coming to rescue you, but thank you for the sentiment anyways."

Wait, what?  Grallen’s look of confusion couldn’t have had much time to register with the Baron, as she struggled to keep up with Lili and the others crossing the boat, now rocking queasily on the roughening seas. Everything seemed to be swimming round her in a mess of noise and light and choking smells, and the unending, clinging, cloying taste of blood. People were talking, talking about gangplanks and the sea, about getting away? Can we not just go? She tried to focus on the flickering teeth and eyes of people all talking and talking and-
Who’s that, and why is she snarling? The orc’s ears twitched, trying to focus. She’s an elf... like Lucien... so why..?
“I’m afraid elves, like other races, are likely to greet you with a measure of-“
“disdain? Disgust? A disconcerting disposition to dismembering, disembowelling, and generally distressing discombobulation?”
“pretty words. Who’d you steal them from?

Words from what felt like years ago drifted through her head. She glanced once more at the elf. Lucien, apparently, had known his race all too well.  She looked down, avoiding her gaze, as well as Altario’s, though her ears twitched, defensive. Not that she could do much if they did actually attack – every lurch of the ship threatened to unbalance her, and she could hear her own breath hissing between gritted teeth.
Someone was- Lili was talking to her, and she looked up slightly, gaze flicking between her and the Baron, who she also seemed to be addressing.
“You two, can you swim? If not, I’ll hold you above water until someone can pull you out from above. Now, who else is coming?”  

No. Can barely stand, certainly can’t-
“yeah, ‘m fine, ‘s not as bad as all that-“

Why did I say that?! She knew all too well why, though. It was because she was scared and hurt and really really not used to relying on anyone, but still! It was childish, and stupid, and you need to take it back, right now, or-
Something green flapped past, close by, and landed on Lili – the bird. That was a good thing, right?

”Don’t ask me why, but I think we should follow the bird,”

Altario’s words, weren’t they? Well, maybe that would make sense later, if she survived long enough to have the patience for piecing this whole sorry escapade together.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on July 28, 2010, 07:04:46 PM
Well, in any case now it was obvious whose side she had been fighting on - they all gathered together, while the other side withdrew and left them in peace, except for the dark looks that some of them were throwing in their direction. Well, looks didn't kill as far as she knew, so let them. The main thing was that they listened to their boss (apparently the man she'd been fighting called the shots around here), and that her own party could get off this damn boat. Which, of course, proved less easy than she had hoped. As far as she could make out, they were talking about jumping into the water.

That was a problem.

Being a desert woman she had never learned to swim. Little point, was there, when all around you was nothing but sand? And she was rather smart enough to realise that jumping into as wide a water as a sea would be completely different from stepping into a bath tub. If they really were going to jump, she would have to prepare herself for that, so that she would not panick once she was in there. Still, first she was going to wait a moment and see if there was no other way of getting away - preferably one that did not involve getting wet. However, they were going to have to decide quickly, before the captain changed his mind. The sooner she got off this ship, the better.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on July 29, 2010, 06:57:46 AM
   “This ends ‘ere!”  Eric bellowed across the ship.  It wasn’t the outcome that he’d wanted, but having a mage onboard was more than he could bear.  His men would obey his order; he was sure of that.

   “Aye, I’z afraid o’ tha’ which ‘az no righ’ful place in this world,” he said in reply to the orc’s snide comment.  “’n so should ye be.  Mark me wordz, lass, yon creature’ll bring ‘ee misfortune if ye workz with it.”

   The crew of the Runner had dropped back from the fight, now; some happily, but most reluctantly.  It was a hard thing for them to admit defeat at the hands of such a few, but they knew that Eric had his reasons for calling it off.  Those who had witnessed the horrific power of the elf knew full well that it was the right decision, and in the days to come, their fanciful stories about her would convince the others that their captain had acted sensibly.

   Soon, Lili, Grallen and Toama had joined the rescue party, and were busy trying to figure out the best way off the boat.  Eric watched them from a slight distance, unwilling to get too close to the mage.  As he listened to their exchanges, he realised that all was not lost.  Getting a little closer, he let out a loud, deep laugh.

   “Oh, aye!” he cried.  “I think I seez a flaw in yer plan!  Doez ‘ee mean ter tell me tha’ none o’ ye can swim?  ‘tiz a funny thing; ter get so close, n’ then ter be drowned ‘n bat’ered by the waves!  Why, I’z a-bin swimmin’ since I waz a lad, but even I wouldn’ wanna risk a dip in ter these wa’ers!”

   Almost on cue, a massive wave smashed against the Runner’s stern, sending a wall of water crashing onto the deck.

   “Whooo’eeeeee!!!”  Eric cheered, feeling better now that he saw a new bargaining chip.

   “Cer’ain death ter the man ‘oo jumps in there!  ‘n such a terrible way ter go; drownin’.  Can ye imagine it?  Being tossed abou’ with no control o’ yerself; carried away from yer friendz by ‘andz yer can’t see; then being sucked under in ter the deep!

   “‘oldin’ yer breath, but yer gotta breathe sooner or la’er!  Th’ pressure on yer chest!  Th’ burnin’ in yer breast!  Th’ sheer ‘orror as yer teks in yer firs’ lungful o’ sal’y wa’er!"

   Eric paused dramatically, and lifted a hand to his forehead, imitating the actors that he'd seen in cheap plays on land.

   ”Alas!  Alas!  A wa'ery grave fer me!"

   A murmur of agreement rippled around the Runner’s crew as they listened to their captain speak; all of them had a very healthy fear of drowning.

   “So ‘ow much is th’ price o’ freedom?” he asked.  “Or should I say, th’ price o safe passage off me boat?”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on July 29, 2010, 03:55:57 PM
Toama whipped around when she heard the captain speaking again. He did have a very valid point about the crashing waves, and she didn't particularly like the idea of jumping into all that fray. She did seem to be getting better at understanding his heavy accent, she noticed. But when he mentioned a price for getting off his ship, she narrowed her eyes and advanced a few steps in his direction, all her pent-up anger from the last hours (ever since she had woken up shackled) suddenly aimed at the gall of this captain.

"Price?" she hissed at him. "I am beink TAKEN in MIDDLE of night, bashink on head, and wakink up wit' shackles on hands and feets, on YOUR boat. I did not doink anythink to this deserve, only goink for walk. And YOU is askink for PRICE??? What are you goink to do when wantink to go on land your men? Not lettink go them fearink that we go also? Sailink away wit' us still beink here? ALL of us still beink here?"

She still had no idea why exactly the man had called off the fight, but she did have the idea that it had something to do with one of the people that belonged to the rescue party. If he was willing to call off a fight because of that person, he might also let them go because of him or her. Or he might repeat that he had not known about her - either way she was getting off this ship, and without paying for it. Anyway, she didn't have any money with her, that had all been left in her room at the inn. She fixed her angry look on the captain, waiting for his reply.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on July 29, 2010, 10:48:37 PM
Lili greeted Altario and in that greeting, he felt a bit of warmth.  Why, he wasn't sure.  Following the bird here, having a gut feeling that Lili was in trouble, and finding all of them here and in trouble, something had changed within him.

"Are you injured?"

Lili then pointed out the orc and Altario frowned.  Of course the orc was here.  No doubt this entire affair had something to do with the orc.  Probably on the ship trying to steal something and got caught, forcing the rest of these misguided fools to come help.  No time to deal with her now.

And who was this new woman?  She spoke with a distinctive accent that Altario had never heard in all his travel in Sarvonia.  Dark skinned.  Not as dark as Kanapan's, but much darker than those from anywhere else, even darker than Shendar.  And a facial tattoo, something that the Ice Tribe women practiced.  But she was no Ice Tribe woman.  She had fire within her.  She was not a woman used to being subjugated by men.

When Lili said they should jump from the rear of the ship, Altario blanched.  "I can't swim.  Where I come from, if you end up in the water, you're usually frozen to death before you can get very far."  He had hoped that if he jumped here from the side, he'd be close enough to the pier to get a hand on it.  He hadn't considered getting squashed by the ship.  Still, it was probably preferable to drowning.

As if hearing Altario's thoughts, the captain started talking, describing how awful drowning was, and his crew seemed to take a sadistic glee in agreeing with him.  There was one exception.  The man who had cut Altario glared at the Remusian, as if to suggest that drowning would not be the way Altario would be dying.  Altario met his glare full on until the captain's offer of paying for safe passage was made.

Altario was about to reply when the dark woman hissed her answer to the captain.  He could not help but smirk at her comeback.

"There you go, Captain.  There will be no price paid for our freedom, except that of the lives of your crew.  My people are leaving your ship.  All of us.  And if you don't want more bloodshed, you'll keep holding your men back."

Altario glanced at the elf.  "Ideas?  I could use one right about now."

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on July 30, 2010, 02:20:51 AM
Damien listened carefully to everything and though he did not know this long haired woman he had to give her credit for the fire inside of her. Her answer was just about what he would have said, with a few exceptions of course, since he had not been kidnapped. Damien recalled the Captain's words saying that he had no idea who she was and how she got on his ship. Damien thought this was probably true, that the Captain had another captive besides Lili in his hold and did not realize it. The human trafficers were very devious and it seemed that the Captain had been duped. That made Damien smile.

Damien heard Altario ask his new elven partner about ideas. Damien coughed to get his attention, however blood came spraying out and dribbled down his chin. He quickly wiped it away, hoping no one noticed. "I have an idea my friend. How about we ask Tharoc down there to just break off a couple of those long poles down there, lash them together with some rope, and then we would have some sort of gangplank to cross. It cannot be more than three or four peds across."

Damien coughed again, his side wracking in pain, his hand involuntarily going to it and pressing against it until the pain subsided. He hoped Lyth was around for he and some of the others will definitely need some healing after this is all over with and they are back on solid ground, nursing a good tankard of...water; at least for him.

"Just an idea, my friend, just an idea." Damien said.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on July 31, 2010, 08:44:13 AM
"Ideas?" Altario asked her, "I could use one right about now."

She turned her gray eyes to him. A part of her wanted to just let the Remusian rot for his alliance with an orc, but she knew that wasn't feasible right now. They'd deal with that creature later. Right now they just needed to get off the ship. She leaned up close to him, about to speak, though before she could answer one of the other men suggested an idea. She looked at the other man.

"And waste more time building your makeshift gangplank? Hrmph," she paused, looking back to Altario, "Just take them down the mooring ropes. If we can climb up them, then we can climb back down. I'll keep the pirates busy."

She then turned to look at the pirate leader, and stepped forwards, walking in front of Altario's group. She placed her mace back on the hoop on her belt, then rested her hands on her hip. She pulled her lips back into a sneer, and kept her eyes brightly lit with her magic.

"Your payment," she spat, "is the lives of the crew we haven't killed yet." She motioned around the deck, to the handful of dead men. "You think your men are skilled, human captain? All of our number stand while yours drench your deck with their bleeding carcasses, or rest bloating in the water."

She snarled at the back of her throat, then pulled her lips back into an evil and wicked grin. She was about to be using more magic, but at this point, she simply did not care. She wanted this accursed night to be over. Besides, this captain seemed to be quite susceptible to the paranoia of magic. So let's see just how deep his fear was.

"You call me a creature, who has no rightful place in this world," she angled her eyes at him. "Then let me bring about a host more of demons to plague your pitiful vessel."

She focused her concentration on the corpse of Bolav, lying amidst the pirate group. The body's muscles began to twitch as she willed the properties of change and motion into action, using Sphere I to increase them to the point that the body no longer wanted to remain at rest, despite having no spirit or power to drive itself. With an upward flick of the wrist, Drustai focused on getting the thing to pull itself up to a wobbly stand. It stared directly ahead of itself with cold, lifeless eyes. The pirates nearest to it instantly stepped away, though the body itself just stood there, empty.

Drustai grinned wickedly. "I do recall you humans are so hopefully terrified of the living dead."

She didn't look behind her, but she hoped Altario was doing what she told him rather than just standing there watching. The intent was just to buy time--the pirates still outnumbered them, risen corpses or no.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Eric Kattaisson on August 09, 2010, 07:18:31 AM
   So somebody had kidnapped this foreign woman; Eric made a mental note to find out who and why at a later date; bringing women onboard without permission was a serious transgression of the Runner’s articles.  Still, disciplinary action would have to wait; there were far more important issues to deal with.

   “Oh, aye,” Eric said after the man had finished speaking, “The lives o’ me crew; all sixty odd o’ ‘em!  ‘ee reckonz ye can tek us all on wi’out paying a price in yer own blood?”

   The sheer audacity of these people was beginning to rile Eric.  Were they really so stupid as to let their chance of safe passage off the boat slip by for the sake of a few coins?  The anger rising in the pirate almost made him forget about his number one problem, but there she was, forcing her way back into his attention.  Damn, how he hated this witch!  As she spoke, he watched her every movement; the uncertainty of not knowing what she was going to do next vexed him more than anything had that night.  He wanted to hit back with a retort, pointing out that several members of her party only just stood, and that if he had wished it, Lili and Grallen would already be dead; but the words wouldn’t come.  It was unusual for Eric to be speechless, but it was even more unusual for him to be so close to the kind of being that he hated and feared the most.

   With a flick of her wrist, this wicked creature made the lifeless body of Bolav rise to its feet.  Eric felt sick.  Even though there was no danger or threat from what she had done, it was an act of utter depravity.  Eric was certain that just by witnessing such an ungodly act he was in some way cursed.  In fact, the mere presence of this perverted monster on board his ship would surely be bringing him the worst kind of luck imaginable.  The whole night had been a disaster; his skin was creeping and his hands shaking; enough was enough.

   “Get off me ship, yer rotten bitch!”  Eric bawled at the elfess.  His outrage had overcome his fear, and he wanted nothing more than for this string of ill events to be over.  “Jump ter the sea ‘n drown, yer stinkin’ ratz!!!  Go on, ge’ off me ship, ‘n don’ ever come back!”

   The rest of Eric’s crew shouted in agreement, and moved towards the elfess en masse.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on August 09, 2010, 10:32:00 PM
Go down the morring ropes? Is she crazy? Damien thought and then looked over the side of the ship and saw heavy swells of ocean water pick up the ship like a child's toy in his tub slamming the ships side into the dock. Maybe she is right? Lili, the other woman, and certainly Altario and this elfess could make it, but with the pain he was feeling in his side he doubted that he could and by the looks of the orcess, he doubted she would fare any better than he. But what choice do we have?

"Well Altario, old friend, my wounds are bit severe, so if I should happen to fall and die, it was a good life, filled with many memories and friends, such as yourself."

Damien handed Altario his room key. "In my room is my trunk and if you can discover the secret hiding place, you will find enough coin and jewels to last you a long time on your journey to find your daughter. Also there is the deed to my castle and lands as well. I give them to you if I do not make it."

Damien looked down at the green orcess. "Altario, she is quite wounded as well and I doubt she would make it down the rope. However considering how small she is; she probably could hang onto your shoulders and you could get her down safely."

Damien took one more look over the side, grabbed the wet rope with his good hand and arm, "Take care my friend," Damien said as he went over the side.

The pain was excruciating. Waves upon waves washed through Damien's body. He tried to lift his legs up and over the rope but his abdominal muscles were just too weak. He hung there; like a sack of laundry and began sliding down the slick rope. Perhaps he would make it, he thought. Then a huge wave of water crashed into him and sent so much pain through his body he let go of the rope and fell into the water.

He tried to swim, but again his wounds hindered him as well as the stormy waves. He felt himself go under, he would fight to get his head above water, and barely have enough time to gasp some air before he went down again. With almost super human effort and will, after going down for the third or fourth time; he had lost count, it could have been more. He saw the dock and began swimming toward it.

Suddenly his head was hit hard; hard enough to knock him out and he slowly drifted under the water, his arms floating straight up.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on August 11, 2010, 03:38:51 AM
The captain was obviously not in agreement with her assessment. Her anger almost boiling over, she was about to make a retort when she felt a presence next to her, taking over the conversation. Instinctively she made way for a presence that she felt was stronger than her own. With a few steps back she was standing behind the elfess, and she noticed one of the men in her group herding everyone to the thick ropes that were anchoring the ship to the dock. That was a good idea. She might have thought of that - if she had known about the ropes. She determined to learn more about this whole ship deal - just in case she needed to leave one in a hurry again.

She did not really pay attention to what the elfess was doing in the meantime. She just dropped her makeshift club and grabbed a rope when one was free, and swung fearlessly (she was still too angry for fear) over the side. Of course, once she was hanging from her right hand - the left being pretty useless in this case - she did not really know how to go on. The waves were soaking her, and she knew that if she did not reach land soon, her right hand would also lose its strength and she would fall. She did not want to fall into that spray. That moment, for the first time in a long time, she really - REALLY - missed the desert. Not just because it was home, but most especially because there was no water there. Dangers aplenty, but a watery grave was not one of them. Not even if you tried.

Deciding that she would have to use her legs and not just her arms if she was going to make any progress, she hooked her left elbow over the rope, then swung her legs to hook her knees over as well. In this position, she somehow managed to make some headway against the waves and the wind. She never knew later on how she had done it, but suddenly she felt something hard, and hands - she could not see whose - pulled her further. After a moment to catch her breath, she stood up and quickly looked at the ropes to see if there was anyone she could help. Only to be met by a sight that stopped her heart. One of the men had lost his grip on the rope, and before she had time to react had falled into the wildly churning water. She rushed to the side to check if she could see him. So what if she did not know him? If she could help, she had to.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on August 12, 2010, 07:30:05 PM

The mooring ropes, was it? Well, a way out was a way out, but she couldn’t help feeling it was a little beyond some of the more worn-out of their group. Lili hesitated as the baron seemed to confirm this. These northmen were so flippant about death, it was almost ridiculous- surely he wasn’t really going to try to-

Kassandra squawked in surprise at the splash that interrupted Lili’s thoughts. For a moment she stared down into the heaving waters between the ship and the dockside, and then, barely thinking, she was reaching for a rope. She was no help to anyone this side of the breach, and help, it looked like, would be required sharpish. Her hand burned as she shifted her grip on the rope and swung her legs up, and she was forcibly reminded of every cut and blow she’d received in this long, long night. Kasssandra flapped away, but she wasn’t going far this time – Lili watched upside-down as the bird landed at the other end of the rope, watching her walking-tree anxiously.

“i’m coming, i’m coming...”
Just go quickly, Lili. Don’t give your body time to complain too much, just put hand over hand until- see. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

She dropped down onto the dock, staggering slightly, partly from dizziness as the blood rushed away from her head, partly in sheer relief at standing on solid ground again. But no time for that – she looked back to the boat, to see who else was left, and then down to the water. We’re not out of the woods yet.

Kassandra opened her beak wide, and repeated loud “splash” sound. The kind a man might make if he dropped into the drink from a mooring rope, almost.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lyth Elstrum on August 13, 2010, 01:07:33 PM
Lyth sat upon a small barrel filled to the brim with fish, fiddling with the hem of her robes. She was so apprehensive about this entire situation concerning the kidnapping, that she was only slightly bothered by the rotten stench. That kind fellow, Damien, and his companion with the wolf had gone aboard the ship to rescue a woman named Lili. Damien had told her to remain on the quay, so that she would not be injured. She now recalled their conversation:

~The Quay, Earlier That Night~

Damien had pulled her aside and spoken in an urgent, but gentle tone. "Lyth I would prefer if you were to remain here while we rescue Lili," he said.

Lyth of course, had protested, arguing that she could help just as helpful on board the ship as off. "I could lull the crew members. It would be slowly mind you, but there would be no need for any conflict," she said pleadingly.

Damien had then smiled and shook his head. He couldn't in good conscience allow a woman to endanger herself when he himself had the ability to stop her. "There are armed men on that ship. Should anything happen to you, we would be without a healer. You would do better to remain here," He said firmly.

With a defeated sigh Lyth had given in, finding a spot near the ship where she could wait for them. Then, Damien, Garret, and the wolf a jogged off into the night.

~The Quay, Present Time~

Lyth was jolted out of her thoughts by the sounds of shouting and the piercing clang of steel striking steel. She hurried over to the pier where the boat was docked, and attempted to make out what was happening, though it was rather dark. She could see a small group near the edge of the ship, currently surrounded by a smaller group. The elfess attempted to call out to them, but her voice was lost in the wind.

Suddenly, one of the figures grabbed onto a rope and attempted to slide down, but was knocked into the water by a dark wave. Lyth was unable to swim herself, but briefly considered jumping in herself if it meant there was some hope of saving the man. But one look at the churning waters, and she knew she would doom them both if she tried. She glanced around frantically for something to throw to him, but could find nothing. The healer felt helpless, and panicked, despite her usual calm demeanor. Her indecision was gnawing at her, like an overgrown parasite waiting for it's next dose of fear.

Just when she was beginning to abandon hope, she saw the man swim hard toward the edge of the pier with a burst of effort. He was almost there when he simply went limp and began to sink below the waves. Thinking quickly, Lyth rushed over to the edge of the pier and grabbed hold of his arm. Then, tugging as hard as she could, she pulled him onto the planks as far as his chest. It took a great effort, and many more tugs, but she eventually managed to pull him out of the water.

Checking to see if he was breathing, she barely noticed when a woman landed on the dock no more than two peds away from her. Once she was satisfied that he was indeed breathing, she pulled off his top clothing and found a bloody mess. Quickly rummaging through her satchel, she produced several herbs, and a pestle and mortar, and proceeded to mix the herbs together. Then, adding a bit of water, she created a salve which she applied to the man's wounds, and then wrapping them in a woven gauze. This man is lucky to be alive, she thought.

Turning, she saw the woman staring out at the boat. Noticing that she was also wounded, she asked, "May I see to your wounds?"
She didn't even consider that this woman most likely had no idea who she was.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on August 14, 2010, 12:35:07 AM
Altario listened to Damien's soliloquy, and nodded to the man.  It was a bit melodramatic, considering any of them would be lucky to live through this.  Still, he took the room key from the man from Voldar.  What would he do with a castle?  He had his own estate in Remusia if he were to ever settle down again.  Southerners just did not make sense.  On the other hand, if Damien died, he could give the castle to Ana, perhaps.  It might make a good place to go live out her final years in comfort.

Suddenly his blood went cold.  Altario couldn't believe his ears.  Did Damien just ask him to carry the orc down the rope?  By the gods if Damien didn't drown, Altario was tempted to strangle him.  Still, he looked at the orc and saw what a mess she was.  She wouldn't be able to make it on her own.  Damnit.

He faced the orc.  "Climb onto my back and hold on.  You try and eat me and I swear to my gods and your heathen ones that I'll drop us both in the water to drown.  You understand me, orc?  Not one bite."

One by one the others climbed down the rope, Damien falling and disappearing beneath the waves.  Well, Ana, you just inherited a castle.  Hope you and Lori enjoy it.  Still, they were not fast enough; not by half, and Altario was growing impatient.  How long would the sailors hold off?.  But once they had all gone down the rope, Altario turned his back to the orc and lowered himself somewhat, his knee protesting.  "Get on, and heed my words if you don't want to drown."

Standing, he glanced at the elf, and her look of disgust (did she have another?  maybe disdain?) told him her thoughts.  He felt himself growing a bit angry even before she spoke.  "No one gets left behind.  I told you that, so lose the attitude," he said, wagging his thick finger at her.   He then turned to climb on the rope, pausing at the last minute to look back to Drustai.  

"And don't you take your time following.  I don't want to have to come back for you.  No one gets left behind, even gods cursed elf magic users."

Damn uppity elf.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on August 14, 2010, 07:22:54 PM
"May I see to your wounds?"
Lili looked up abruptly, blinking in surprise as she realised just how long she’d been watching the ship –the baron was hauled out of the water and already trussed up in healerish-looking salves and things. She must be more knackered than she thought, if she could just stand here like a ninny for so long...  
She held out her cut hand to-

“Wait, who are you?” she glanced back down at the baron. “Some kind of healer..?”
Something snarled a little way behind her, and she turned slightly, waving the cut hand at the pair of wretches who’d just arrived back on dry land.

“If that’s the case, I think there’s more pressing calls to your attention, hmm?”

“...However considering how small she is; she probably could hang onto your shoulders and you could get her down safely."

What?  Grallen’s ears laid themselves flat against her skull as she regarded the stupid dead-smelling-human with his stupid ideas and- no! Just no! I’m fine i can make it on my own, i can-

She couldn’t seem to find anything more eloquent to say than a hiss, inaudible under the waves and wind, and the baron was gone in any case. She looked to Mister Altario. He didn’t seem much happier with the idea than she was. She tried to pay attention to what he was saying, and not sway too much.

"Climb onto my back and hold on.  You try and eat me and I swear to my gods and your heathen ones that I'll drop us both in the water to drown.  You understand me, orc?  Not one bite."

The young orc’s blood-seamed lips drew back involuntarily. You think I’d bite you? I’d probably catch stupid. She tried to take a step back but staggered, all but fell, and snarled in pain as she jarred her wounds.

"Get on, and heed my words if you don't want to drown."

She looked up at him, a blurry shape with its back to her. Fine. I give in. Cautiously, she stretched her arms up and climbed on, turning her face as much away from him as she could. She closed her eyes tight as he stood up, and tried to ignore the ache in her arms by noting that at least he’d smell of orc after this. Probably never get the blood off his tunic...

She gasped as she felt them upside down, shrank closer to him and then hated herself for it. She kept her eyes shut, and tried to force her breathing quieter, less panicked, until finally she felt things the right way up again, opened round yellow eyes that barely looked terrified at all, really.

This is the part where you melt away into the shadows, Grallen...

She let go of Mister Altario, and staggered as her feet met the ground stumbling back, away from the blurs that she presumed where people. She got nearly three steps away before gravity interrupted and her knees gave way. She swore, and it came out as a hoarse snarl.

This is the part where you escape and are never seen again, Grallen...

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Toama SorInyt on August 15, 2010, 03:23:49 AM
It seemed that she was not really needed for any help. Before she had spotted the man who had fallen into the water, some woman - where had she come from? - had dragged him out of the water. Then there was the woman who was part of the group, followed by the man who'd been herding them towards the ropes, with on his back the orcess who she had sided with in the fight. The only one she missed was the elfess, the one who had come up next to her, giving the desert woman time to escape. She hoped that she would make it off the ship as well.

She turned around to check what the others were doing, and from the corner of her eyes caught a movement. When she looked that way she saw the orcess stumbling. With two long strides she was at her side to take her elbow.
"You are beink alright? I am thinkink that maybe you needink healer person, yes? I needink tell you thank you. You were beink not comink for my rescue, but you did helpink me rescued. I can helpink you wit' somethink?"

While she talked, so looked intently at the orcess's face. Truth be told, she was curious. It was the first time she had seen an orc up close, and now that she had time she could not help but stare. Her own skin was dark, but the orcess seemed to have - as far as she could make out in the dark - a skin tone that was greener than anything she had ever seen. Then there were the fangs protruding from snarling lips. Also, her eyes were yellow, which was disconcerting to say the least. And they were glaring at her right now. Toama was starting to wonder if she had made a mistake in trying to help the orcess, but she could not have let her stumble on without at least saying thank you. Without the interference of the other people they might not have made it off the ship, but at least the two of them had been fighting on the same side, and as far as Toama was concerned that created a kind of bond, even if she did look quite a lot different than the woman was used to. She herself looked quite a lot different from these people of the green lands, so she knew the orc's side of the coin as well.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on August 18, 2010, 07:13:11 AM
Drustai took a step back as the pirates started approaching again. That was certainly not the reaction she had been hoping for--maybe she'd pushed the captain too far? Fear becomes strength if you push it it into the corner.

She pulled her lips back, sneering at them, and then hissed fiercely. Though her expression was threatening, however, she was taking steps back. She didn't have confidence in her ability to take on this many at once. She looked over her shoulder again, hoping that Altario had gotten the others off. She was met with him noting that he was going to carry the orc, and snarled at him. What the hell did he think he was doing? Leave that thing up here as sacrifice for the pirates!

Drustai turned to look back towards the more immediate problem. Almost instinctively, she repeated the same spell on the corpses nearest to her, bidding them to rise as well.That was four or five, against sixty odd pirates. Hardly in her favor, but if they could give them pause, that was all she needed. With a mental command from her, the husks began to lumber aggressively towards the pirates. Though this slowed some of them down, it didn't slow all... afterall, the captain was so fearful of sorcery, he probably realized that it was best to go after the source rather than the creations.

She leaped back up onto the ledge as a last resort, and from there her steps could go no further without causing her to tumble over into the sea. She hesitated a glance towards the ropes, hoping that everyone was far enough down them to be clear of the pirates. She nodded to herself when she noted they were. Her job here was done, then.

Now how do I get off?

She looked back towards the pirates, as her mind raced. She could try diving, but with the weight of her clothes and weapon, her own concussion, and now with the rabid waves, she wasn't confident at all about that. Not to mention, the water would destroy her Scroll Tome. At this point though, she wasn't sure she had a choice. Trying to get on the ropes at this point would get her pulled back on the ship, or get her hands chopped off before she could get far enough out of sword range.

She reached up towards her neck with elven speed and undid the clasp to her cloak, then threw it up and allowed the wind to carry it to wherever. If she was going to swim, that thing's weight would just get in the way. She then spun around deftly on the ledge and hurled herself as far away from the ship as possible, diving straight down into the water.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: grallen gast on August 24, 2010, 10:11:42 PM
Something grabbed at her elbow, and she pulled away, wheeling around defensively. The dark woman from before- she fought- she was helping, wasn’t she? I don’t know, I don’t know, I can’t think anymore and it hurts...
She was speaking, the words meant nothing, just harsh sounds, incomprehensible and it was just like before, back when there were no names...
She tried feebly to pull away again, and lost her balance entirely, toppling over to land in an awkward heap on the ground. She bared her teeth against the pain, as hands flung out to try and break her fall scraped on stone.
“...I can helpink you wit' somethink?"
They were just sounds, they didn’t mean anything, but she had to try to think...
Helping, she was saying about helping... well, that was just strange, who wants to help us? Must be someone else. Look, it’s stormy, it’s cold. Why is it cold, it was- it was hot before, wasn’t it? Stupid broken climate...
“...I bloody hate this town...”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Lili the Elfcat on August 27, 2010, 06:45:29 AM
This healer, if she was one, didn’t immediately answer Lili’s question. Well, Lili, you delude yourself that you can figure out what’s going on around you most of the time. So if you are confused, then there’s a good chance some other people are, too. That would explain this elfess’ odd behaviour, at any rate.  But then, who knew what got elfesses befuddled.

As for Lili’s own confusion: Where did all these women come from all of a sudden? First there had been the long-haired one with the dark skin. (There she stood, talking to Grallen.) Now this healer. And then there had been that other elfess, too – the one with the frosty aura. Where was she, anyway?

As Lili stood pondering, a dark creature with enormous wings came flying towards her from the sea. Immediately she turned and drew her cutlass, ready to strike. Kassandra! she thought. Where was the green rascal? Was she safe? Lili would not hesitate for a blink to jump over the water and back onto the ship, if that's what it would take to save Kassandra from this winged demon.

But the demon turned out to be a piece of fabric that twirled through the air. The frosty elfess! She had thrown her coat away. She was still on the ship! Except that the next moment, she wasn’t: a shadow fell over the railing and splashed into the water. She had jumped right between the ship and the pier!

Lili threw a glance at Altario: she’s one of us, isn’t she?  It took only two steps to get to the pier’s edge. Lili bent down and peeped into the darkness. Yes, there was the elfess, just coming back to the surface after her dive. Lili looked up at the ship. The hulk towered over her, a menacing shadow. Those pirates and slave-traders might not want to pass the chance to have a late revenge. But for the moment, no faces appeared at the railing.

”Here, quickly,” Lili hissed at the elfess, and held her out her hand.

With the other hand, and all the rest of her body, she steadied herself. Blindly searching with her feet, she found cracks in the slippery planks, and hooked her shoes in in as tight as she could.

”Come on, I’ll pull you up! Can’t be the warmest bath down there.”

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Capher on August 28, 2010, 01:21:10 AM
Damien opened his eyes and saw an incredible sight, it was a large castle-like structure made of...bones and guarding the entrance were two men dressed in the finest uniforms of Nyermersys holding pikes in front of them. Damien expected to be in water, but his feet were on solid ground and he was breathing air. He could see nothing else for it was too dark, darker than the blackest of nights; so dark even that Damien could not see his hand in front of his face. The only light came from the castle.

It must be Queprur's castle, Damien thought as he walked toward it. He wondered what kind of reception he would get from the Queen of Death. Would she honor him or scorn him? Did his exploits in the land of the living deserve him a heroes recption or a scoundrel's? Damien slowed his pace as he thought back upon his life. Did he have regrets? Yes. Did he make mistakes? Yes. Did he kill? Yes, but only those who deserved it but...did they deserve to die? Who made him the judge, jury and executioner?

Suddenly a blazing light bathed him breaking his thoughts. He looked up and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was lithe and wore a black tight fitting gown that showed every curve of her body. Her hair was as black as the air around him and softly framed her face and fell down past her waist. She wore a crown fashioned with bones. Damien had a slight thought; perhaps this is what the mythical Bone Queen really looked liked, but no, this was Queprur's domain, the bone queen could never compare to the Goddess of the Underworld.

She stared at him with dark glittering eyes as he walked up the bone stairs of the castle, glancing at the guards at the sides of the door. They were devoid of life and empty eyes stared straight ahead. He looked back at Queprur. She looked at him, frowned, turned her back and walked away. The guards suddenly came to life and crossed their pikes in front of the entrance, stopping Damien from entering. The castle and its radiant glow slowly dimmed and Damien felt cold as the light disappeared. He opened his mouth to say something in his defense...

Damien coughed up water as he felt himself being tugged upon. He felt hard and wet wood scrape against his face and then came the awful pain that wracked through his side. He coughed more water out of his lungs as he felt his shirt being ripped open. He opened his eyes to the sight of a woman next to his side, doing the best she could to use a bowl and a pestal, amidst the blowing wind and rain. Damien turned his head and saw the ship. He was alive! Back in the land of the living! Had he just been delerious, or did he really see the Goddess of Death? Was it real or just how he thought it would be?

He felt pain and then a cooling, soothing type of numbness on his side. He turned his head and saw the woman begin to put a gauze like patch upon his wound. He recalled her name...It was Lyth, or something like that. He opened his mouth to speak, but all he did was cough up more water. As quickly as she patched him up, another woman came into his vision: it was Lili!.

Well at least she is safe, he thought and then he remembered the others and looked back toward the ship just in time to see a swirling piece of cloth being tossed about by the wind and a dark shape diving into the water.  He tried to cry out, but only a hoarse croak came out of his mouth. He tried to rise, but found it extremely difficult to get to his knees much less his feet.If what he saw was real, it was much better than living like this,..if it was real? he thought. He was on all fours, when he noticed a dark shape rise slightly out of the water and Lili was yelling something at her, but the wind blew her words away. He forced himself to crawl off the pier; Lili will rescue whoever that was, he thought. Then he stopped and wondered if the rest of the rescue party had gotten off the ship?

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Ílarolén'yliás (Drustai) on September 11, 2010, 03:39:39 PM
Drustai's body went numb for a moment as she hit the cold water. For a moment, she lost her bearing, as the current started to pull her along, throwing her to the side. Was she still underwater? She began kicking her feet and pushed her arms out in front of her as she began to swim. Where was she swimming? She opened her eyes but all she could see around her at this point was darkness. Was she going down or up? For a moment, she began to panic, as the wall of water all around her felt like it was closing in, suffocating her. She couldn't breathe. She needed to get to the surface! But what way? She began swimming towards the lightest section of water, hoping it would bring her back up.

Her head soon broke the surface of the water, allowing her to take a gasping breath, but a current dragged her back down again before she could get her bearings. It felt like it was tugging at her heavy clothes, pulling her deep down to the bottom of the sea. She summoned up as much strength as she could manifest to overpower the current, kicking her way back to the surface again. Once her head was above water, she took another breath, and then looks around. Somehow the ship had gotten in front of her, with the pier behind.

"-ickly," came a shout from behind her. Drustai tried to look over her shoulder at the voice, but was temporarily dragged back under again as another wave rolled over her. She coughed and sputtered as soon as her head was above water again, and tried to listen to the voice.

"... pull you up! Can’t be the warmest bath down there." The woman, whoever she was, was offering a hand towards her. Drustai swum up to the hand as best as she could, then reached up and grabbed a hold of it. Another wave threatened to pull her back down, washing over her, but she held a firm grip, and gasped for air as soon as she managed to get her head above water again. She pulled on the hand, towards the pier, enough that she could reach her other hand to grip the edge of the wooden planks. With the woman's help, she pried herself out of the water, and fell down to her fours on the pier.

She looked up at the woman who had helped her as she coughed, and pulled some wet strands of hair behind her long ears. She didn't recognize the individual--but then, these were all of Altario's friends. She didn't know any of them.

"... thank you," she said, weakly, before coughing again. Her mouth tasted of seawater.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin on September 14, 2010, 03:27:33 AM
It was chaos, but with Lili dragging Drustai up from the depths, it looked as though they had all managed to get off the ship in relatively one piece.  But, how long would that last?  A quick glance up at the ships railing showed the upper torsos of many a sailor staring down angrily at them, most notably to Altario, the sailor who had cut him.  The man's eyes simply burned with hatred and vengeance.

His Odomon blade in hand, Altario stepped to the the first of the mooring ropes and cleaved though it.  He jogged to the stern rope and then severed it as well.  It had the desired effect, as sailors suddenly were forced to get control of their now unmoored vessel.

The Remusian looked to the people on the pier.  They looked so very battered and bruised, and in Drustai's case, half drowned.  But, this wasn't the best place to rest.  "Come!  Let's get off this dock and back to the inn.  We can lick our wounds there."

He turned to Garret.  "Get these kids out of here.  I expect you know who they are."

The tall man nodded weakly and gathered the children together, handing them something that Altario couldn't see.  But, within a few moments, the children were gone, scattered to the dark alleyways of the waterfront.

One less complication.  Things were looking better already.

Title: Re: Chapter One- "The Letter"- Part Three
Post by: Damien Scar on September 17, 2010, 02:17:01 AM
Damien heard Altario tell everyone in his usual commanding tone,"Come!  Let's get off this dock and back to the inn.  We can lick our wounds there." Damien looked around at the misfit group; an orcess, a half orc, a lady rogue with parrot included, another woman, dark skinned, probably from some desert tribe, where she came from Damien had no idea, but she helped rescue Lili, the lady rogue, so she was included and then there was this half drowned elfess who knew magic, then there was Lyth, the healer and then came a man called Garret who seemed to be a very close friend to the last person, Altario himself.

Damien did not argue with the big barrel chested man and slowly, painfully began walking in the direction of the Sea Shoal Inn, where he longed for a large tankard of ale and food! Suddenly he felt himself very very hungry. The wind of the storm buffeted him as he made his way down the dock, stumbling and cursing along the way. When he finally turned the corner and headed east, up the street to the Inn, he felt a bit better as the wind and rain was at his back and the wind actually made it a bit easier and faster to walk the final steps to the Inn's door.

Damien opened the door, looked behind him to allow any others of the party to enter in before he did, but he heard a bellow coming from inside to "Shut the door"

Holding the door open against the wind was taxing the very last bit of strength Damien had left. He hoped the others would quickly enter or else he will just go in and they will have to fend for themselves.