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Unread 30th of September, 2003, 03:18
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Chapter 1 - Kingscross

It begins. They do not know it yet, but it begins all the same. From different corners of the Aryth they have journeyed to this out of the way village known as Kingscross; a place whose remote location has granted it relative reprieve from the Shadow.

They all have their reasons for being here, but not all are aware of them; some chase, others flee, and a few simply wander. Yet they all arrive in the middle of the Arc of Zimra. Some have been in the area for a few days, cautiously watching the town, others have just met caught their first glimpse of the town as the afternoon sun shines down upon it.

The air has warmed from the morning chill and the faint odors of food can be detected, floating on the winds. Everything, from fresh bread, to meat, to pastries can be smelled, coming from the village. It's enough to make anyone's stomach rumble. As filling as a ration is, it doesn't substitute for a true meal.

Kingscross itself is set directly within the Westlands with Baden's Bluff and Erenhead approximately five hundred miles to the north and north-east respectively. Caderin, a larger village, is about two hundred miles to the south-west, while the Eren river flows about a hundred and fifty miles to the East.

The village bears the distinct feature of being far removed from any major trade route. Yet on the outskirts one can make out the old ruins of buildings having fallen into disrepair, and some of the edifices still standing are quite large for a village. Even the remains of a ruined keep can be seen in the distance. Whatever hard times had fallen on Kingscross happened long before the Last Battle. A small forest, known as Garamond's Woods, sits to the West while a pleasant stream runs to the east.

And so they find themselves gazing on this town, weighing the risk of entering versus their own needs.

Soradur

It's been a week since that Fell hit him and it's getting worse. Soradur hadn't seen them coming, the trio of red-eyed fiends, but he quickly tore into them, his axe cleaving left and right. Yet one of the wounded ones caught him off-guard, springing up from the ground and sinking its foul teeth into his side. Even then he could feel something terrible seep into his blood.

The gnomes that had smuggled him across the Eren had their healer take a look at the festering wound. He applied several poultices but to no avail, they only temporarily halted its progress. They said a lesser man would've been killed days before. Yet Soradur trudges on, having listened to their advice. A healer, one of incredible skill, was said to dwell in the village of Kingscross.

He's checked the injury every day and it gets worse; the skin seems to be eating itself and the wound reopens frequently. It has come to the point where even the tough dwarf, one who could place his hands in a campfire and not flinch, is beginning to feel the pain.

Finding himself on the outskirts he watches the town, but sees no sign of orc patrols, or worse, legates.

Feyd

Three villages and still no luck. Each of them met him with suspicion. More importantly, they frequently already had woodsmen and fishermen. He could've stayed but it would've been tough and the townsfolk likely wouldn't have made things any easier.

So he wandered, going from hamlet to thorp, but skirting the towns. The more people around, the easier it would be for them to discover the weapons that he bore. Were they simply arms, he might've gotten off with conscription into Izrador's human ranks, but they were elven-wrought, and for him it would mean instant execution.

At last he came to Kingscross, a pleasant village that looks to have seen better days. Yet as Feyd watched from the nearby woods, he saw that they were relatively free from the Shadow, with only the cursory orc patrol passing through now and then.

The village looks as if it could possibly use a woodsman of some sort. The game is reasonably good, but the area is a bit dangerous. While the Shadow might not stay in the town, the woods could be a different matter. He's found the tracks of Fell, as well as other humanoid creatures, although he hasn't caught sight of them yet.

Once more he looks upon the village from his spot in the woods and wonders if he will fit in here.

Heulwen

When Heulwen first escaped she had thought to turn around with her wild companion and strike the orcs each night while they slept, but they were too many and their guard was too vigilant. So she followed them for a time, watching them kill her fellow halflings because of her. It nearly broke her heart, but she restrained herself from returning to the others. They would not have wanted her to turn herself in, not after attaining freedom.

Having fled for a month, Heulwen has slowly come to a stop. She's badly in need of supplies. While she and the wogren, Cytaill, can feed themselves, her clothes and boots are beginning to wear thin. Plus she has a fair amount of trade goods that are taking up excess space. Arrows too, she could use a few more of them to fill up her quiver, although they wouldn't be easy to acquire.

Still, this village seems as good enough as any. Cytaill has disappeared again, likely hunting once more, although whether its wildlife or Fell that the wogren stalks, Heulwen isn't sure.

Dun

It has been a long journey. Dun has lost track how many days he's been on the road, searching for clues as to his father's disappearance. At first he had virtually nothing, only knowing that Dura had gone south for one of his "unexpected opportunities." It wasn't much, but at least he had a direction to follow.

So the young man from Baden's Bluff had set out, stopping in each town and village and discreetly inquiring about a merchant by the name of Dura Abben. In many places they knew of Dun's father, but had not seen him for quite some time. For a time, the Erenlander despaired of ever hearing from his father again. Yet just as he was about to give up, he came across a clue. While sharing an ale with a traveling merchant, Dun learned that his father had met with this man on his way South and had shared an ale with him. Dura hadn't said what he was after but he did mention the village of Kingscross. After that Dun traveled singlemindedly toward his goal.

At last he has come to it, Kingscross, and with any luck he'll find his father, or at least where he went from here.

Lyr

Six weeks on the road and Lyr still can't stop looking over his shoulder. He was lucky to escape the magical chaos, and even luckier to be shielded from the astirax, but he can't help but think that he's still be stalked by the minions of the Shadow. At night, when darkness is at its full, he knows he's being hunted. Yet each morning as the sun washes across the land and no sign of pursuit is present, he feels better.

It's especially true now, feeling that warmth and watching Kingscross from the far side of the stream. He'll need to be cautious, the books he carries spell certain doom should the wrong eyes fall upon them, but this village could be a good place to do some trading, as well as hear another human voice; a commodity that has been in short supply for Lyr.

Elennir

Where is he, Elennir wonders, watching the village from a low crouch. Sigurd had ceased communication with the elves almost three months ago. The last frantically written message they had recieved said that his position had been compromised and that he was fleeing to a remote village known as Kingscross.

Normally Aradil would have let the informant settle himself and establish dialogue again, but it has been too long and up until he fled the man had been and important hand on the pulse of the Westlands. Indeed, posing as a traveling merchant, he could frequently alert the elves to the movement of the orc armies as they waged their campaign.

Elennir and several other young scouts were sent out into the Westlands to look for Sigurd. Elennir had the honor and the risk of traveling to Kingscross itself.

Absent-mindedly she checks her disguise, hoping the townspeople won't be too suspicious.

Aleina

There's something about this place, Kingscross, that has drawn the striking young woman to it. She's learned to trust her instincts when it comes to things such as this, but watching the peaceful village as they go about their daily routine and feeling the warm afternoon sun on her face, she can only hope that she's wrong. Whenever she had a feeling like this, thigns usually ended up going bad.

She doesn't know that there are others nearby who have watched the town like she does now, but she finds the same result. The Shadow does not seem too interested in this place. Yet if the forces of Izrador do not care, why did she get that feeling?

Aleina eyes the village uncertainly, watching farmers tending their fields as their harvests begin. If this village still celebrated such a time, a feast of some sort would take place in the near future, perhaps there is something important there. Still, the very fact that there aren't orcs and legates crawling over this village makes her uneasy.

Last edited by Cadrius; 22nd of February, 2005 at 11:23.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 04:54
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Re: Chapter 1 - Kingscross

Soradur


Deep ebony eyes pierced the darkening gloom as Soradur Eftok gazed down across the vale. Throughout the day he had waited for blackness to begin creeping across the village below. Though he had seen no sign of the Shadows forces during his vigil, he would take no risk of being seen by one of the villagers.

The pain in his side had grown with every passing moment, and Soradur could barely think of anything else. Gritting his teeth, he carefully pulled his cloak tight around his body, his left hand gripping the festering wound. Taking the final measure of his approach, he cautiously began making his way down the path and into the village.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 05:14
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Lyr

Lyr sits, his hands cupping his chin and absently tugging on a earlobe.

Kingscross... he thinks to himself slowly Too far north for that name to really mean anything, I suppose... Still, when in doubt

Lyr opens his pack and pulls his prescious lorebook out of the sewn-in pocket. Pausing to adjust the latch and bend a kink out of the leather spine, he flips it open and starts paging through carefully, looking for any references to the village. (OOC : Lorebook bonus +4)

After reading what his book this, he wraps the book, loose parchments and ink tightly in his spare cloak and digs a shallow hole with his hands under a bush. Secreting the bundle there, he covers it back over with dirt, stands, and -carefully- memorises the location, taking note of landmarks and so forth, to ensure he can find it again.

Lyr slings his pack over his shoulder and makes his way into the village, pausing briefly to wash his hands in the stream. Certainly prosperous enough to eat well, despite it's isolation... he thinks to himself, nose turned towards the pleasent smells emanating from within.

Last edited by Dirigible; 2nd of October, 2003 at 06:37.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 05:29
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Dun

So this is Kingscross. It has been a long journey indeed, but is this the end? More importantly, will he find his father here? Dun eyed the village with great care as he had done so time and again in so many other small towns and villages he has journeyed through these many uncounted days.

He adjusts his travel cloak and makes his way into the village proper. There is a relaxed way about him. He matter of factly notes the comings and going of the villagers and folk who have business in 'town'. Noting the few places of business that exist within the village, at last he arrives at this day's final destination, what probably is the village's only tavern or inn.

Last edited by Berova; 2nd of October, 2003 at 05:39.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 05:41
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Heulwen

I certianly won't be needing these in town, Heulwen thinks to herself as she hides the riding equipment that had been captured with Cytaill. Especially with him out hunting on his own. Once more wishing she had gone with him on his hunt, Heulwen glances over at her pack, reminding herself of just why she needed to go into the town. The spices, which has seemed like such a good thing to take at the time, were proving to be more dead weight than anything else. There was easily enough there to last her a year, a year she probably did not have. Still, they would probably be good trade for the things she did need. Her quiver, while not empty, rattled when shaken it was so far from full, and her clothes, they were still the thread bare rags that the orcs had provided for all the slaves. With winter just around the corner, she would need something far sturdier if she expected to last until spring.

Taking a step back to examine her hiding place for what she must leave behind, Heulwen satifies herself that the gear is well hidden. Hoisting her backpack, she toys with the thought of hiding her stolen weapons as well before thrusting that idea aside. She had seen no sign of the Shadow here, but with only a month between her and her escape she wasn't willing to let go of them yet.

Taking one last sniff of the air before leaving the realative safety of her hiding place, Heulwen heads towards the town, seriously hoping that free halflings were still a common enough sight here that she wouldn't be marked as a runaway immediately.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 05:56
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Feyd

He continued to watch the town from the concealment of the woodlands. He thus far had not seen any woodsmen or trappers, but he knew they must be about, someplace. A town of that size could not exist without one, probably several.

Huh, he thought, I wonder why they are avoiding these woods? No sooner had he thought about it than he remembered the signs of the Fell that he had discovered. Oh, great.

Still, he didn't want to chance walking into town with his crafted longbow and arrows. While they were legal 'weapons' in this area, his were of decidedly elvish design. He could always say that he had killed an elf and taken the weapon as a prize, but that would disrespect the last 2-plus years that he had spent with Palethis, and that was out of the question. He may be a wanderer and vagabond, but he had his honor.

So, over the next 10 minutes, Feyd very carefully and quietly dug a small pit for his gear. Using the talents that he had gained over the past few years as a hunter and tracker, he covered his bow, arrows, and crafting tools in such a way as would defy all but the most minute inspection of the area.

Brushing off the leaves and debris from his outfit, Feyd stood. Another chance to find some place to settle ... another chance to get tossed out on my rear. A wry grin appeared on his features, and Feyd quietly muttered to himself, "will it ever be any different?" He quickly and adeptly memorized the location - the stand of trees, the types of undergrowth in the area - where his stash was located.

With that, he headed into the village, the smell of cooking filling his nostrils with long-lost memories of Tans. Maybe ... just maybe this time ...

Last edited by Swashbuckler; 2nd of October, 2003 at 06:28.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 06:01
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Elennir circles the village once again, looking for anything that might seem unusual.

And what, precisely is usual in a human dwelling place?

Yet the Caransil waits a moment still before trusting her disguise and entering the village, she centers herself, focusing on her mission and on her assumed persona: a displaced woman looking for a place to stay and any sort of menial job
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Last edited by Maeko; 2nd of October, 2003 at 06:05.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 06:33
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Lyr

(OOC : If, indeed, he can see the other three humans on the road, as Cadrius implied...)

Making his way across the steam into Kingscross, Lyr grins sheepishly at the tall, red-headed Erenlander whom had just emerged from the trees.

I hope he didn't see what I was burying he thinks fervently, not having the slightest inkling the other man was thinking nearly the same thing. Lyr quickens his pace, hoping to avoid any questions that might be forthcoming. He starts casting around for a bridge or ford across the little river.

Last edited by Dirigible; 2nd of October, 2003 at 08:30.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 11:50
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Aleina

She watches the farming village uncertainly for a time, trying to discern the source of the pull. It had been no more than an inkling five weeks past - South was all she had known. Daily, the feeling intensified and somewhere along the way she'd heard the name Kingscross. The name meant nothing to her, except that she knew with certainty it was a place, and that place was where she was headed next.

She watches with startling blue eyes, wondering if it is a stop on the way to somewhere else or a destination. She guesses the former, and that guess brings a distance to her terrible eyes. Each passing day scraped away a little more of the illusion - the fragile belief that things might one day return to how they once were.

Leading a grey-brown mule, she starts along the road to meet today's fate.

Last edited by Gralhruk; 7th of October, 2003 at 04:53.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 11:56
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Lyr

He flips through his lorebook, almost thinking he had come across the name before, but nothing interesting surfaces. The pages drop gently as he flicks through, scanning for the name. It looks like it's just another village in the Westlands.

Aleina, Lyr, Dun, Feyd, Heulwen

Each of them head into the town, some spy each other as they walk, nodding a greeting, others move in alone. The farms and meadows fade into rows of houses, some even with second stories, quite an unusual sight for such a rural locale.

A smithy can be seen, complete with anvil and forge. Inside a large, well-muscled man can be seen pounding some piece of red hot metal with a large hammer. Small sparks fly off with each blow.

The Weary Wanderer, the village's only inn, stands tall and still manages to look respectable, despite paint beginning to peel along its edges. The sign that bears its name also has a picture of a man walking down a road toward what looks to be the town of Kingscross, except larger. Perhaps the artist decided to make the quaint village seem more important than it is.

In the center of town lies a semi-open marketplace. Yet instead of merchants plying their wares, it appears to be more of an area for the townsfolk to come to barter for the goods they need but can't acquire in the few stores. Indeed, there are only two others seen on the way in; one carrying general goods and the other herbs of some sort.

It is here, at the center of town, that the newcomers find their attention drawn. A crowd is beginning to gather around something. Until now most of the villagers have seemed content to keep to their own business, with only a polite nod to the strangers, yet something has attracted their attention; it's a halfling.

She hadn't made it far before drawing stares and curious words. From a distance they might've mistaken her for a child, but anything more than a cursory glance dispels that idea. By the time Heulwen reached the center of town she's attracted quite a gathering. Each of them begin to comment or ask questions, some to the halfling, others to the villagers present.

"What's that? A goblin?"
"No, it's a halfling. Don't be daft."
"Why's it here?"
"What's it want?"
"How are ya, lass?"
"Looks like a goblin to me."
"What's your name?"
"Come to see the healer?"
"You thought that bear we saw last spring was an ogre."
"I hope she doesn't bring the Shadow with her."
"It could've been.'
"Better not. We don't need any more orcs comin' through here."

While initially cautious, they quickly give into their curiousity and begin to badger the halfling for information. Some seem genuinely interested, others suspicious.

Elennir

Taking a wide circle around the town, Elennir does not find too much out of the ordinary. She sees a few people walking into town, and watches the others move about their lives. Once she watches a man supported on either side by his comrades drawn toward a small house on the edge of town.

As the afternoon progresses she watches a crowd begin to gather around the center of town. Who or what they are interested in, however, remains a mystery.

Soradur

Judging that even the best disguise likely wouldn't fool even the most casual observer, Soradur waits until nightfall before coming out of hiding. He's watched the village all day and thinks he knows of one of two places that this healer is at. One is a house located on the outskirts; he saw a wounded man carried there, but then again it could've been his house. The other option is what looks to be an Herbalist, but it's closer to town. Whether or not the proprietor does business after dark is also unknown.

Moving as quietly as he can, the dwarf grits his teeth and hustles into the village.
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Unread 2nd of October, 2003, 15:51
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Lyr

I hope the townsfolk don't turn violent, Lyr thinks, watching them surround the halfling. If I have to flee, I might not have time to retrieve my book. The thought makes his belly go icy, just as the memory of the brutalities he saw the orcish guards administering to their halfling slaves at Baden's Bluff puts a sour taste in his mouth.

A rumbling stomach distracts him from his dark study. Following his nose, Lyr searches the marketplace for a baker, or whomever else might be selling the source of the pleasent smell of fresh pastries.

If he finds the baker, Lyr attempts to barter a small bagfull of them for a couple of cups of cinnamon - "Believe me, Master Baker, a pinch of this sprinkled over your cakes will better the flavour, and double your sales".

Last edited by Dirigible; 2nd of October, 2003 at 16:09.
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Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 00:22
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Soradur


The night air brushed against Soradurs face as he moved down into the village, his heavy cloak rustling slightly in the wind. No doubt most of the villagers were already returned to their own homes, but still Soradur took a cautious path around the main road leading into the village.

Scraping away a bit of the pus that had accumulated in the wound at his side, Soradur slowly stalked his way towards the house on the outskirts of the village. He would travel here first, for it was on the edge of town and easier to reach. "Best I be fast about this." Soradur thought to himself.

Attempting to look as casual as possible, Soradur strode past the side of the house, pausing for a brief moment at a nearby window, seemingly to check his pack. His dark eyes glanced about the interior of the house, taking in as much as possible. Pretending to secure his equipment, he then walked on, already planning his next move.

Last edited by PullOfTheSpirit; 3rd of October, 2003 at 00:24.
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Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 00:41
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Dun

The gathering of the crowd catches Dun's attention and distracts him enough from his intended path. He casually makes his way toward the crowd, eventually joining the edge. Trying to peer over the crowd to see what is happening, Dun asks a villager next to him, "What is it? What's all the commotion here?"

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Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 01:10
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Dun

Elbowing his way into the crowd, Dun turns to one of the villagers, a tall, thin man with dark hair and eyes.

"What is it? What's all the commotion here?"

The man turns his gaze upon the young Erenlander, and absent-mindedly wipes his hands across the his gray shirt. He gives Dun a hard, appraising look, not recognizing him as a townsman, but he shrugs after a moment and turns his head back toward the crowd.

"Looks to be a halfling," he says, his voice sounding reasonably cultured for a town so far removed in the Westlands, "either she's escaped from the orcs or is one of the nomads from the central plains. Either way, she must need something to risk coming to a human settlement."
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Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 01:23
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Heulwen

The attention she draws as she enters the town is off putting to Heulwen. You'd think these folk had never seen a halfling before, she thinks to herself.

Its not long however, before her sensative halfling ears bear out that conclusion. At least one fellow even thinks she might be a goblin! Disgusted with that thought, Heulwen curses herself for thinking she could just walk into a town and trade. She should have realized that the enslavement of her people by the Shadow had made halflings a rarity in human settlements devoid of its presence. The crowd she was attracting would certianly draw any Shadow presence nearby to her if she did not get away quickly. The press of people, however, made any thought of running or otherwise fleeing out of the question.

I still need my supplies too, Heulwen thinks to herself. Maybe if I allay their fears and start trading, those who are only curious will lose intrest and leave me be. Then, when I finish my trading, I can slip back out of the village and be off.

Looking around, and up, at the surrounding faces, Heulwen tries to pick out those that seem most likely willing, and able, to help her.

Addressing herself to them, Heulwen speaks in Erenlander, in a voice that starts timidly, but grows stronger with each word, "Please, I don't wish to cause any trouble. I'm not a goblin, or other shadow creature. I'm just a simple halfling. I was just passing by your town and needed some supplies. I have spices to trade for what I need. I'm not asking for handouts. I just want to make my trades and move on. If one of you could direct me to where I might find a maker of clothing?" she finishes, gesturing to the dilapidated state of her garb.

Last edited by Black Plauge; 3rd of October, 2003 at 04:20.
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Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 02:07
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Aleina

As Aleina makes her way into town, it becomes apparent that there is a commotion in progress. A crowd has formed, though it is impossible to see what lies at the center. She hears the words "goblin", "halfling", "ogre" and "orc" amidst the babble of voices and slows her pace, stopping well outside the circle. Of the four choices, three were bad. Still, an ogre would be visible and an orc would likely be making noise. That left a one in two chance, still worse odds than she liked.

Nearby, one man explains to another that it is indeed a halfling and she releases a breath that she was unconsciously holding. A strange event, to be sure, but certainly not the worst development. A small voice rises steadily in volume from the center of the human circle. The halfling, it seemed, merely wanted to trade. Like every other traveller. Not really, though, since any other traveller should have known the commotion the presence of a halfling would cause. Patting Bombur gently on the nose, she waits to catch a glimpse of the cause of all this activity.

Last edited by Gralhruk; 7th of January, 2004 at 01:46.
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Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 03:15
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Feyd

Feyd moved into the town, nodding curtly to a couple of passerbys. He could not help but notice that some of them were as foreign to this area as he was; regardless of the geographical proximity to his own (former) home.

Arriving near the town center, Feyd halted briefly and looked around. There was an inn, by the look of it, and a couple trading stands, but they and the areas around them seemed curiously empty. Then he noticed the large gathering aways over; it seemed there was some commotion. Ever-strong with a sense of curiousity, Feyd moved over in the direction of the crowd.

Winding and shifting his way forward, he could see that there was a small clearing in the center of the throng. He could not see who or what they were so curious and babbling about, but suddenly his questions were answered.

"Please, I don't wish to cause any trouble. I'm not a goblin, or other shadow creature. I'm just a simple halfling."

A halfling! What in the lands is a halfling doing here? Doesn't she know that the orcs will hunt her down??? She continued speaking about needing supplies, and not wanting trouble, and wanting to get on her way. Suddenly, Feyd felt an odd sense of companionship with this halfling - both of them were obviously out of their 'element' (though he had no idea what the halfling's element could possibly be), both in a strange town, both in need of supplies and direction.

A cold slap of reality hit him. So what? Do you actually think she's going to live that long? She's out in broad daylight, in a town that more than likely has Shadow spies. She's a dead woman ... she just doesn't know it yet. They were too close to Baden's Bluff, too close to other 'civilized' bastions of Shadow-dominion. All it would take would be one person to speak the words, "I saw a halfling in this town," and this little hamlet would be overrun by orcs.

Still, Feyd pondered, can't just leave her here to the "mercy" of this throng ... Feyd stood amongst the crowd, waiting to see their response to this wayward being, who seemed to have a doomed future.
  #18  
Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 03:52
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Aleina, Heulwen, Dun, Feyd

The halfling sounds like she's trying to speak, but the majority of the throng now seem content to speak among themselves. A few listen to her as she raises her voice, but the rest are caught up in their own conversations. Quite a few speak as if the halfling either isn't there or can't hear them. Enough people speak to deluge her ears in rapid, simultaneous exchanges.

"So she's not a goblin, eh?"
"Well, isn't she cute."
"I don't know, she should be reported."
"Wonder where she came from?"
"Say, did you bring in any eggs today?"
"What? The last thing we need is more orcs here."
"I tell you it was an ogre, ten feet tall it was and twice as fierce as any bear."
"If they find out a halfling was here and we didn't say anything, there'll be trouble."
"Did she say she had goods? Maybe she brought something from wherever she's from."
"I'm gonna report her."
"Yes. Did you get that fishing line?"
"They'll be here soon enough, we can tell them then."
"Yeah, they're coming to see him, anyway."
"Bad business that is."
"Eamon, if you bring even one extra orc here, I'll have your hide."

A few, however, do stop and try to speak with the halfling. Putting their hands on their knees they lean forward, attempting to put their heads at the same level.

"All right. That's enough," a voice booms over the din. The crowd parts slightly to reveal a slim man, who looks to be Sarcosan or at least had an ancestor who was, "you all have better things to be doing, I'm sure. I'll handle this."

There's some grumbling but the crowd begins to disperse and resume their previous activities, although most toss the halfling a glance now and then. A few nod to Heulwen and tell her that they'll be around if she's interested in trading later.

Clothed in simple trousers and a loose shirt, he approaches Heulwen and stops a few feet away from her. Leaning his quarterstaff against his shoulder, he watches the halfling. His eyes are dark and hard, enhanced by the ghostly patterns that look to have been painted or tatood across his face and arms. A few moments pass before he speaks.

"I'm Captain Stafford and I'm the law--" he sneers at the word "--around here. Or at least, I'm the law when the legates and orcs aren't around. What brings you to here? You risk quite a bit coming here, and for both our sakes, I hope it's important."

Lyr

Lyr wanders down the streets for a while, trying to follow his nose. Unfortunately, it seems that a good number of the houses, as well as the inn, are baking today. However after a time he does come across a bakery of sorts. Stepping inside a small shop he finds a plump woman arranging some food on top of trays. Indeed, it looks as if she has been working overtime. Pastries, breads, pies and all sorts of cooked goods are strewn about the room, some in jars, others on platters. It seems that she's preparing for something. To see so much food in these days is rare to say the least. The smell of sugar and fruit and bread make his stomach rumble.

Lyr tries his sales pitch, "Believe me, Master Baker, a pinch of this sprinkled over your cakes will better the flavour, and double your sales".

She looks up, listening to the man speak and nods. "Yes, I suppose some cinnamon would be nice, after making all this--" she sweeps her hand across the room "--I'm a little low. Some pastries you say? That's fine. I think I have enough here, don't you?"

The baker chuckles at her joke and Lyr is again struck by the enormity of food present. Clearly she could not have drawn only from her supplies. Accepting the spice she pulls several from a nearby platter and wraps them before handing the parsel over to Lyr.

"So, are you in town for the festival? Or have you come to see the Healer?"

Last edited by Cadrius; 3rd of October, 2003 at 11:24.
  #19  
Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 08:12
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Feyd

Feyd suddenly found that he was all but alone, standing there watching the reeve speaking with the halfling. There were a couple of others lingering about, but they were trying hard to appear disinterested.

Feyd, however, wasn't so canny. He was still standing in the exact spot he had been when the reeve had dispersed the crowd. His face was a mixure of its normal scowl, and a playful half-grin, as if he was fighting some internal battle on how he felt about the situation.

Standing, arms crossed, Feyd listened to the reeve ask the halfling why she'd come. Interesting, she covers herself in a shawl ... and her clothing is nearly in tatters. No doubt an escaped slave. If that were true, then perhaps she did have something in common with him - running from the Shadow, trying to stay alive.

Feyd made up his mind to see what this one was about, and to help her if possible. He knew it meant signing his own death warrant, but he'd been a hunted human for nearly 3 years now. The road he traveled was his own, and though he hated to admit it, lonely. His times spent with Palethis had eased the loss of his family and community - indeed, Palethis had shown him a whole new world. A much more dangerous world, to be certain. In the months since his flight, Feyd found out just how much he'd been used to having the elf around. That was the major reason that drove him to find a new place to settle, he rationed.

Very well, halfling. Let us see what you're about, hmm?

Last edited by Swashbuckler; 3rd of October, 2003 at 12:11.
  #20  
Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 09:31
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Heulwen

Something about the way the captian refers to the legates and orcs, puts Heulwen at ease. He seems to think there are none around, so maybe I still have time to get away before the Shadow notices me.

"I'm trully sorry, Captian Stafford," Heulwen replies, echoing the title he gave himself in a hollow voice. "I did not realize that my presence here would cause such a disturbance. I've never been to a human town before. I was only thinking of the supplies I need, and the fact that there were no orcs about so I might chance a trade. I do hope I have not caused you any problems."

Feeling the apprasing eyes of one man on her, Heulwen returns his stare, her grayish-brown eyes locking with his blue ones for a moment before returning to the captian.


[OOC: Only the word "captian" is said with a hollow voice. The rest is animated normally. Heulwen associates military ranks with her former captors, and doesn't wish to let the hate that would normally lace through her use of the word show through when addressing the Captian.]
  #21  
Unread 3rd of October, 2003, 22:47
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Lyr

Festival? Lyr wonders as he gathers up the pastries. Ahhh, it is the Arc of Zimra, and reaping time must be drawing close.

He addresses the baker in Erenlander, "The harvest festival? Is that why you have prepared so many sweetmeats? What sort of celebtrations do you hold here?".
  #22  
Unread 4th of October, 2003, 04:14
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Questions, questions that need answers.

Lyr

The baker looks a little confused by the question but she gives Lyr a sweet smile all the same and nods her head, saying "Well of course it's the harvest festival. What else would we be celebrating?"

A good question, really. What else could these people have cause to celebrate? While their town seems to be mercifully spared from the greater part of the Shadow's abuse, they certainly aren't living all that well. Indeed, they might only have this one out of tradition more than anything else. Certainly their winter stores will suffer from this feast, but perhaps it will help flagging spirits; warm food and spiced wine have a wonderful way of doing that, even in these dark times.

"So can I get you anything else, dear?" She asks, dusting off her flour-covered hands.

Heulwen, Feyd, Aleina, Dun

The man known as Captain Stafford looks at Heulwen for a moment, his dark eyes flicking over her as if he could read the truth simply by looking at her. He shakes his head once, perhaps disbelieving her story, but he still mutters incredulously, "She didn't know."

Stafford catches the halfling's eyes shift over to the woodsman and follows her gaze. He gives Feyd a hard look, much like he did with Heulwen before turning back to face her.

He straightens, keeping one hand firmly wrapped around his staff. He looks like he's standing at attention, granting his lithe form a look of discipline, or perhaps about to bark an order. Yet his voice remains soft, his words for Heulwen only. To the rest of the village it only looks as if the captain is giving the halfing a menacing glare. Yet the keen ears of Aleina and Feyd pick up some of the words that pass.

Feyd, Aleina

Even with sharp ears, neither one can make out all the words. Yet they get the impression the Captain is most definitely not threatening the halfling. The words, "orc," "outside," "tonight," and "festival" are the only ones that can be made out clearly.

Heulwen

She almost thinks Stafford is going to yell, or perhaps hit her with the thick, oaken stick, but instead he speaks quietly. His eyes shift across several villagers before returning to Heulwen. He listens to her response before whispering one more thing, raising his voice and lifting his staff up in the air.

"Begone, filth!"

Last edited by Cadrius; 6th of October, 2003 at 09:08.
  #23  
Unread 4th of October, 2003, 04:51
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Heulwen

Under the Captian's withering glare, Heulwen's frame seems to shrink into itself, taking on a subservient posture. His low words, while obviously non-threatening to those who can hear him, would seem to be a harsh reprimand to those who noticed them but couldn't hear them. After the captian finishes speaking, Heulwen replies in a similarly low voice, her visage one of fear and submission.

Begone, filth!
With the captian's final declaration aloud, Heulwen scampers away under the weight of her pack, heading back out of town the same way she came in, her small frame soon hidden by the surrounding ruins.
  #24  
Unread 4th of October, 2003, 05:45
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Aleina

Thear stony look the captain gives her and a nearby woodsman is incongruously hard against the soft words spoken to the disheveled halfing girl. From his gestures, it is clear he wants the townfolk to think he has little sympathy for his dimunitive guest.

He is not wholly gone over to the shadow.

Aleina's own presence suddenly seems a hindrance rather than any help, and she clucks softly to Bombur as she moves him along. She picks a spot where she has a fair vantage of the halfling before lifting one of the mule's feet and inspecting the hoof for stones. Her gaze falls on the woodsman once more as the captain dismisses his charge with a final, loud insult. The man was largish, with reddish blond hair and an uncertain expression on his face.

His interest in the situation could be as innocent as her own. Then again, perhaps not. The halfling moves off dejectedly and Aleina shifts to the next hoof in sequence, picking out each in turn, still keeping a cautious eye on the halfling.

Last edited by Gralhruk; 7th of January, 2004 at 01:48.
  #25  
Unread 4th of October, 2003, 06:28
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Lyr

Lyr considers clarifying himself to the baker, but to his eye she's clearly busy, and whatever these peple plan to do for the festival should become apparent soon enough.

Instead, he murmurs a quick "Thank you", gathers his pastries and makes his way outside. Seeing the crowd has dispersed, he makes his way warily back to the open-air marketplace.
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