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Author Topic: Chapter 2B: Of Mountain Women and Dwarven Ale  (Read 14820 times)
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Bahran the big
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« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2005, 11:44:22 AM »

"Sighlon, eh?" the big man asked, not really caring. "Where'd you come from?"

Not waiting for the man's answer, Bahran took a few steps forward towards a piece of paper a few peds from the flask-stealer's foot.

"Wha's that?" the mammoth asked, taking a few steps over and picking up the piece of paper not wholly unlike the one that was pinned to his chest lo those five minutes ago.

"Hmm," he said as he looked at the note in it's signature red waxy scrawl quizzically, ignoring whatever was happening around him.
“It says somethin bout sans… that’s bout all I can tell.”

_____________

Indifference will be the downfall of mankind, but who cares?

"It’s better to die whimpering like a little girl than trying to be a hero."
-Anonymous

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"Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; The best of life is but intoxication."
- Lord Byron
Tzilon Ikara
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« Reply #46 on: June 07, 2005, 05:25:22 AM »

The big man pretty much ignored Tzilon, which he really didn't mind.  People were ignoring him all the time; it made his job that much easier.  And the feeling was mutual. Tzilon didn't care much about a piece of paper the man found.  Nor did he care about the fact that the large fellow couldn't read.  Plenty of folks couldn't read, even if they made up the language themselves.  And judging by the man's size, he got by just fine without any academic fripperies.  Just then, however, (and he'd regret it later), something caught Tzilon's attention, something the big man said.

Sans.

It was the universal catchprase, the goal all men reached for.  (That is, any respectable man who didn't want to be laughed out of town and have rotten fruit thrown at him.  That's what usually happened to high-falutin' travelers who waltz into town spouting nonsense about how all the world's problems could be solved if we just got rid of money.)  It was a part of everyday life; from the funding of buildings in Nyermersys to bar songs in The Thirsty Herald ("Oh, I'd cross desert sands/ to get more sans!")  It was worse when you were a bandit.  If Tzilon had a relatively normal hunger for money, he would probably be OK with having a... more legal occupation.  But as it was, he had a little bit more than his fair share of
sans-thirst, and his legs moved him, of their own accord, over to where the big man stood with the scrap of paper in his hand.

Peering over the elephantine arm, Tzilon studied the paper with interest.  "Hmmm... looks like a ransom note of some kind... I've forged a few in my day.   It says, 'If you ever want to see your smelly, ugly friend again, bring 20,000 sans to this address."

The outlaw let out a low whistle.  "Wow... that's... a good deal of sans.  Looks like there's an address at the bottom too."

I grafted my soul

To the promises of fallen angels

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Khiera Meneris
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« Reply #47 on: June 08, 2005, 05:05:22 AM »

Khiera was surprised that she could have overlooked a slip of light-coloured parchment that would have surely stood out in the immediate landscape painted with a coating of grey sootiness just like a a ripe pink pomegrante floating in the middle of a bowl of sickly grey gruel.

Of course Khiera was interested in the contents of the parchment. She had a sickly feeling in her gut that what was written on the parchment would explain, at least partially, what had happened to Kiushapo and Kishara. But she was not quite ready to attempt prying the wee slip of parchment from fingers the size of large iron sausages. Oh she could wait her turn. Besides, she had not quite made up her mind about this new-comer (whose name somehow projected a brief flash of an image of neatly trimmed grassy turf in her mind for that short split second upon introduction). It was wise to be wary.  

Bahran was his usual informative self. The new-comer Tzilon filled in with the details.

Khiera's eyes widened appreciatively at the monstrous amount read out. Her lips quivered slightly as the words spouted out of her mouth softly and hesitantly, almost as if she was talking to herself, "They ... they have been ... kidnapped? But ... but why?"

Her head spun slightly. Giddily. Suddenly she was caught in a situation that she did not know how to resolve.

Well, at least she had two ... men at ... the scene. They seemed ... helpful. And perhaps both had seen something or another as well.

Khiera's worried gaze travelled from Bahran to Tzilon continously as she began the attempt to try to make sense of what happened. "Bahran, what happened to you? You ... you vanished as well but now you are here again. Tzi..Tzilon, were you here at the time of the explosion? Did you see anything at all that could explain ... explain ..." Khiera wasn't sure what had happened. " ... explain all this?"



Edited by: Khiera at: 6/7/05 21:23
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Bahran the big
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« Reply #48 on: June 10, 2005, 01:39:22 AM »

The big man nodded thoughtfully as Signlon read the portions of the note that he couldn't. Hmm... if they kidnapped everybody but the flask-stealing lady then that must mean that she has a lot of money... she must run a flask stealing operation; depriving men everywhere of their most vital equipment: their flasks.

"Well, me... I was... well... I guess they took me too, but then let me go," Bahran mumbled in response to the flask-stealer, "they had me in a bag or somethin... then I woke up in a field... with a note on my chest," Bah paused, making a dramatic face. "I think the same people wrote it," he added thoughtfully, "apparently I be a bit too much man for them to carry."

"And how do we know this Sighlow person here ain't one o' them?" The big man looked disdainfully over the figure of the newcomer.

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"Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; The best of life is but intoxication."
- Lord Byron
Tzilon Ikara
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« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2005, 01:36:22 PM »

Although Tzilon did not make it a habit of correcting people that could sneeze and knock him over, he could help himself no longer.

"Excuse me sir, but a silo is something you store grain, and foodstuffs, and bodies you don't want to turn up anytime soon.  My name is Tzilon.  And in response to your accusatory statements, I don't know what in the world you're talking about."

The words Tzilon said next would come back to haunt him for the next few weeks; however, they would eventually be his salvation.  He said it for the same reason he did most things: to get more money.  (This always worked out strangely, since after every scheme, he seemed to have less sans than he started with.)

"Now, I'm in-between occupations myself, so I'm looking out for someone to, uh... help out, as it were.  I wouldn't mind lending my services to sir and madam, in order to rescue your friends.  And don't worry, I'm not going to insult your intelligence by pretending to be a completely noble soul.  I'm pretty sure there's something at the end of the rainbow for the ones who make it there, if you get my meaning."

Poor, silly Tzilon.

I grafted my soul

To the promises of fallen angels

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Khiera Meneris
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« Reply #50 on: June 14, 2005, 04:56:22 AM »

Khiera watched silently as Bahran and Tzilon got better acquainted with each other, the concern for her missing companions bubbling like an overcooked stew concoction in a crockpot that was falling apart from holes and cracks. She didn't like the thought that there was a chance she might soon have to take sides, should Bahran and Tzilon end up deciding that they were both destined not to get along.

It was a particular series of words strung together by Tzilon that finally tipped the pot. " ... I wouldn't mind lending my services to sir and madam, in order to rescue your friends. ..."

For Khiera, finding out what really happened and rescuing Kiushapo and Kishara seemed like the most pressing concern right now. She hadn't ruled out the niggling pinch of suspicion that had been sprinkled into the pot when Tzilon had just ... conveniently appeared after the explosion and disappearances, but perhaps Nakashi was guiding them through her omniprescient grace, and had wedged Tzilon into the situation for a purpose.

Hoping that the divine memo from Nakashi to Bahran about Tzilon's potential assistance had just been slightly delayed and was already on its way to resolving Bahran's disdainful demeanour, Khiera stepped up towards Tzilon, nothing but sincerity and hopefulness gleaming in her eyes as her silken voice rang out softly but firmly, even though it was coated with concern, "My good sir, your assistance would be invaluable in helping us find and rescue our friends! I fear for their safety. Their lives are of the ultimate importance right now, and i'm sure that something can be worked out in terms of ... in terms of ... compensation for your efforts." Khiera paused briefly, speculating about Tzilon's faith and beliefs, "In any event, i am confident that the sincere gratitude from us and our companions will cause the Gods to smile favourly upon you, good sir."

Khiera reached out a lithe gloved hand, "Please be at ease to dispense with formalities, my name is Khiera."

From the corner of her eye, Khiera eyed a disapproving Bahran purposefully, hoping that he will step forth too and offer his hand and acceptance, if not friendship.  



Edited by: Khiera at: 6/13/05 20:56
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Tzilon Ikara
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« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2005, 09:15:22 AM »

"...and I'm sure that something can be worked out in terms of ... in terms of ... compensation for your efforts."

Tzilon smiled softly at the woman's words.  She, at least, understood the hidden meaning in his speech.  Nothing was free in this world (especially in Marduran, as he most recently found out).  Then she paused, as if wondering what to say next, and continued.

"In any event, I am confident that the sincere gratitude from us and our companions will cause the Gods to smile favourly upon you, good sir."

Tzilon groaned inwardly.  Religious fanatics had their uses, he supposed, but they seemed to think that the graditude of the deities was tradable currency.  This one seemed different to him, but she couldn't be to much different.  They were all the same.  Even his grandfather had his moments of spiritual stubborness.  Well, if she could so easily place her faith in something she couldn't see, then there'd be no problem getting her to believe in him.

But Tzilon's thought's were cut short by a hand that was placed before him: a delicate, gloved hand, asking for his friendship.  "Khiera," she called herself.  A short name, but beautiful, nonetheless.  He reached for her hand, and his world turned upside down.

After growing up in a coven of Dalorins, Tzilon was very well-attuned to the presence of magicks.  He had no arcane abilities, to be sure, but he knew it when he saw it.  Felt it, in this situation.  When he touched Khiera's hand, he felt an extreme warmth, the feel of pure fire, as if she could literally shoot holy fire from her fingertips.  His first instinct was to snatch his hand away and run for the nearest town, but he couldn't.  For once in his life, something made him stay.  Tzilon looked up from his hand to his her eyes, and beheld the look he saw everytime he looked at his relfection.  It was the look of someone who was searching, someone who was traveling the world to find something to make them whole, and it was the look of someone who had no home.  He wouldn't have been suprised is she had been forgotten by her parents, as he had.  And all that from one simple handshake...

Tzilon let out a deep breath, and he drew his hand slowly away.

"It is... a pleasure to meet you."

I grafted my soul

To the promises of fallen angels

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Bahran the big
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« Reply #52 on: June 18, 2005, 01:21:22 AM »

Bahran looked at the two of his new companions having somewhat of a heartfelt gaze. He was starting to feel uncomfortable standing there all by himself with nobody to shake hands with. When the large grain storage compartment finished shaking hands with the tricky flask thief, Bah gave the man a hearty slap on the back.

"I guess I can trus' you," the big man muttered. It wasn't easy for him to accept someone, but if he ever wanted his flask back he would have to befriend the flask-stealer, and that would be a lot easier if he was in with all her friends.

"Er, so... what we doin' 'bout tha missin' people? I know I don' have that many sans," Bahran said, nodding his head thoughtfully. "Weren't we goin' to some Insane Lady Valley? Ya know, before I fell in that hole." He continued nodding, still attempting to look deep and thoughtful.

_____________

Indifference will be the downfall of mankind, but who cares?

"It’s better to die whimpering like a little girl than trying to be a hero."
-Anonymous

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"Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; The best of life is but intoxication."
- Lord Byron
Tzilon Ikara
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« Reply #53 on: June 18, 2005, 02:10:22 PM »

"Weren't we goin' to some Insane Lady Valley?"

Tzilon was drawing a complete blank.  Any outlaw with a mentionable reputation knew that you had to know the surrounding area.  Tzilon made sure that, wherever he went, he always knew his exits.  How have I never heard of this valley? he thought, his mind racing.  I thought I knew this side of Mantharia relatively well, especially the mountain passes, but this is a completely new one.  Maybe it's a local name, or possibly...

Then it clicked.  Crazy Woman Pass.  The memory of the maps came to him then, every point of interest clicking into place.  Tzilon may have been sub-average when it came to many academic subjects, but he knew Geography.  And Tzilon saw his chance to be invaluable: he knew the way, and they did not.  "Crazy Woman Pass, my large friend."  He pointed to his right.  "See those ruins over there?  Well, right past them, you can just make out Chalborn Peak.  Down past the peak, there's the pass through the mountains.  It's probably the safest mountain pass in this entire region, for there's tales of a real-life madwoman who guards the area."  Tzilon emitted a short, friendly laugh, and continued.  "It's probably just a load of Sephet-spit, but it keeps fear in the bandits."  Tzilon laughed again, returning Bahran's slap on the back and smiling broadly.  "Not to worry, eh?  No bandits here, to be sure!"

He turned to the strangely captivating woman.  "Now, once we're out of the mountains, good lady Khiera, we can take the Mad-Path into Aesthran, which would be the nearest town.  If anyone came through here, chances are they'd have seen 'em."  Tzilon glanced up into the sky.  "And I'd suggest we start soon, if we plan on taking advantage of this light."

I grafted my soul

To the promises of fallen angels

Edited by: Tzilon Ikara at: 6/18/05 6:18
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Khiera Meneris
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« Reply #54 on: June 22, 2005, 11:16:22 AM »

The moment that Tzilon's hand made contact with her gloved fingers, Khiera felt herself blink. But it was a blink that seemed to reside not in the split second, but in the eternity of a lifetime. Khiera's grey eyes held transfixed within Tzilon's piercing greens. A wave of tenderness enveloped within pain rushed through her being, along with an intense cognizance of something very, very close to the very core of her soul, yet imponderably far and distant.

Blink.

Tzilon's hand was no longer in hers.

Khiera watched the subsequent interaction between Bahran and Tzilon, but did not see. She heard the ensuing verbal exchange between them, but did not listen. Words were swimming around her, and the words "Crazy Woman Pass" especially clung on to her recovering consciousness like a desperate castaway clutching on to a lifeboat. Khiera reeled the castaway in.

Blink. Blink.

"Now, once we're out of the mountains, good lady Khiera, we can take the Mad-Path into Aesthran, which would be the nearest town. If anyone came through here, chances are they'd have seen 'em ... And I'd suggest we start soon, if we plan on taking advantage of this light."

That was right. They were heading towards Crazy Woman Pass. Until they were blown off their path. With a bang. Tzilon was right. The Pass was the only entry and exit point from here to there, and whoever made off with their other companions would not be able to do so without going through the pass. Perhaps they may stumble upon clues, or even passerbys who may have seen or heard something.

Khiera gave Bahran and Tzilon a quick glance. They seemed to be getting along well enough. Khiera distinctly remembered an inebriated merchant pointing out to her in a very sagely manner that slaps on the back exchanged between men old enough to exchange slaps involving pointy apparatuses upfront could essentially be considered a ritual of "male bonding". That was right before said merchant passed out in a ditch after having regurgitated his liquor for the evening.

Well, the two men seemed to be getting along well, if not in the throes of manly affinitive actions yet. And they had better make their way soon. Dusk hovered on the horizon.

"Yes, we should head to Crazy Woman's Pass. I think it would be wise to traverse the Pass before nightfall. We should make haste." Gloomy looking clouds had started to crowd the horizon.



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