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  #1  
Unread 3rd of March, 2009, 11:13
David
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Chapter 1 - The Meeting

You find yourselves in the small town of Verlain located three days walk outside the walls from Bolan.
The town has a population of about a hundred farmers and herders. There is one inn, and one general store in town for the few travelers that come through this way. The small three room inn is on the west side of town. The general store is next door and carries a variety of goods from the larger cities.
While spending time in the common area of the inn you have heard a few rumors of odd goings on in the area.
First: Two days farther south east there is an ancient tower said to be haunted by the ghosts of the last defenders.
Second: Old man Nelson's been having some trouble at his farm, he says somethings prowling around at night and eating his livestock.
Third: A days walk south lies the Bentok place. They have a large shared farm that they work with the help of a M'Bali family. Some of the kids have been saying that when plowing a new area they found something mighty strange in the ground.
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Unread 3rd of March, 2009, 16:40
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Sophia:
I find myself in this small town, and I do what comes naturally. First, I seek mutually beneficial employment at the inn for the night -- it's not often a performer of my caliber visits a small place like this.

As the night goes on, I perform an improvised dance routine that makes use of my castanets as I sing to any villagers and visitors who happen to be passing through. I do my best to keep the wine flowing and the innkeeper happy.

I take small breaks between acts to get a drink and work up the room -- I attempt to find out who's who; who's a regular; who's just passing through and why; and does anyone have more details on the various rumors floating about? From the sound of it, this could be a most fortunate night.

Skill rolls:
Sex Appeal: 11 , Singing: 11 , Dancing: 16 , Musical Instrument(Castanets): 8 , Carousing: 10
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Unread 3rd of March, 2009, 19:36
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After all these years away at school Arkas isn't sure what to expect when he finally gets home. It is with some relief then that he finds himself stopping at a small town a few days travel away from the city. He isnt quite sure where to go until he notices a number of people headed for a large central building with a sign on it and decides to follow them in.

The young man stops in the doorway, staring in around the rooms at the strange scene before him. There are so many people he has never met before. There are even some women! One in particular catches his attention, though it is no surprise considering that that is exactly what she is attempting to do. A woman of truly surpassing beauty sways hypnotically near the center of the room, and he stands transfixed, until someone bumps him from behind. Slowly he makes his way near her, still staring quite tactlessly.
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Unread 4th of March, 2009, 14:38
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Leander is seated at one of the few tables in the inn with a mostly empty plate and a full tankard on it's surface before him. Taking a long pull from it he sighs contentedly, eyeing the performing woman with a bit more discretion than new arrival but no less appreciation. This man is in armor, chain to be precise, though his coif is unfastened and hanging around his shoulders at current. A shield is strapped to his back, along with a variety of weaponry.

At his feet is a large mastiff hound, currently enjoying having its ears scratched and nibbling on the bits the man tosses down from his plate. This is no casual beast. Large and well conditioned, bearing a spiked fighting collar and leather harness, it is obviously a fighting companion to the fighting man. Leander tosses a few coins over to the performer, his smile indicating his approval. "I'm telling you Castium, ghosts or no ghosts I'm for heading to that tower." he says, not soft enough to prevent being overheard. "There could be anything left in there to rot, and if not... well. That will be that, and no ghost stories will have frightened us off." Castium, a guardsman in more modest leather attire, appears a great deal less than convinced. As a matter of fact he states he is quite afraid of ghosts, has no wish to meet one or join them any time soon, and is not going. No offense to the young lord intended.
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Unread 4th of March, 2009, 16:20
David
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As you enjoy the comforts of the small but cozy inn a tall man dressed in dark cloth and leathers glides into the room his cape swirling in the wash of his passage. He flows across the room straight to the counter where he come to a stop. With a flourish of his left arm he bows while collecting his cape out of the air with his right. As he bows he turns so as to present the bow to most of the room. When he rises, his cape has settled and hangs at his back, fluttering slightly in the nearly non-existent draft. He then clears his throat a says in a deep, rich, voice, “I am N'Dali and I am here seeking the brave few who are staying here.” You can now see that he has the ebony skin and broad features of the M'Bali people. However his piercing gray eyes suggest a more exotic heritage.
He looks around the room, his gaze settling briefly upon Leander, Arkas, and with a slight narrowing of the eyes followed by a slight smile and twinkle in his eyes Sophia. He spends several seconds studying two of the three other patrons in the common room. As he does so he continues, “Well, those with an interest in fame and fortune may join me for a meal, a drink, and a story.”
He pulls several bronze coins from a pouch on his belt and drops them on the counter and calls over his shoulder, “Mead, bread, cheese, and whatever meat you have cooking. Enough for seven.” then he proceeds to walk over to the less occupied of the two tables in the room, whips off his cape, folds it, and sets it on the bench as a cushion before sitting down with Leander and Castium. Moments later the Innkeepers gawky son brings out a tall ceramic pitcher of mead and several large mugs. As he places them on the table he says, “The food will be ready soon.”
N'Dali pours a half mug, and knocks it back, draining it in one long swallow. Then once he pours himself a full mug he gestures to the mugs and pitcher and says, “Please, help yourselves.”
“You there boy”, looking at Arkas, “Come, sit, eat and drink with me. You look to be a brave lad. Perhaps a Soldier? A Mercenary? Don't tell me you are a knight? Now sit and talk, eat, and drink, we shall get to know one another, perhaps become friends. Who knows, maybe you are on of those I seek here this evening.”
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Unread 4th of March, 2009, 16:30
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Leander's green eyes meet N'Dali's for a long moment as he draws a breath, a moment of decision. Then he smiles, shrugging his shoulders and scruffing the neck of his dog with rough affection. "There is never fortune nor fame enough it seems. I don't know what errand you are about, yet your manner is friendly enough. Welcome. I am Leander, House of Janzen, of Halisfield." he says, then pausing to refill his own mug and take a draw. "And if there is a likely prospect in your scheme, I'm as likely to be for it then."
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Unread 4th of March, 2009, 16:52
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Sophia:
I perk up at the mention of fame and fortune, and once my current song is finished I saunter over to where N'Dali is seated, a bit of a wobble in my step since I overestimated my limit and imbibed a bit too much alcohol too fast(not for the first time, and probably not for the last). I greet N'Dali, and give a nod to Leander before sitting down.

"You've piqued my interest. I can sit and talk for a bit, but I should probably keep doing something in the meantime. It would be bad form to renege on my deal with the innkeeper. So you say fame and fortune is involved? Do tell."

I put away my castanets and take out my hisi, beginning to play it softly as I wait on others to join us and the conversation to begin.

Skill rolls:
Musical Instrument(Hisi): 11
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Unread 4th of March, 2009, 19:25
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Arkas' eyes travel with the lady as she moves surprisingly clumsily to speak with the man who spoke to him strangely. He is a strange man, but it seemed others were not too worried about that, so he supposed it was safe to speak with him.

"Greetings sir. I am Arkas, son of the late Lord Godart Alemein, brother of Lord Paras Alemein. Until recently I was a student. Now I am not certain. I thank you for your hospitality, but I feel compelled to ask: Who is it that you seek that I might be?"
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Unread 5th of March, 2009, 10:38
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Leander snorts, but in a good natured way, towards Arkas and shakes his head. He stands, offering his hand to the other man. "Have a seat, and join us. Well met, House of Alemein." he says, taking his own seat again and pulling his helmet, a finely worked bronze affair with the rank markings of a Knight and Shunan ( squad leader ) of the Danleb military, off of the table and into his lap to clear space for the new arrivals. His expression is warm and friendly with some amusement therein. "What a fine company we might make then. Tell me, if you don't mind the asking in which case I freely withdraw the question, what have you been studying?"

While he waits for one or the other conversation to continue he slides a few more small coins over towards Sophia as she plays her instrument before relaxing by leaning on his elbow and into his mug for another draught. "I have always favored that instrument. Not that I play. Yet my father keeps a trio of concubines who play quite well as well, and I used to listen to them practice as a boy."
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Unread 5th of March, 2009, 10:59
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"Me sir?" Arkas asks, taking hold of the hand in a vice like grip and shaking it firmly. "I did study many things. Most commonly the arts of combat." Arkas continues to hold on to the other man's hand, waiting for him introduce himself.
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Unread 5th of March, 2009, 11:06
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OOC: He did earlier, but perhaps you are right that it should be done again as he greets the new arrival.

"Leander, House of Janzen, of Halisfield." he says, smiling from ear to ear for a moment. "Well met indeed. I should be able to find ample use for a man of such talents if you were interested in seeking profit by your skills. We, those of us destined not to inherit, should seek our fortunes together neh?"
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Unread 5th of March, 2009, 11:25
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"I, well... hadn't thought of that." Arkas replies awkwardly, letting go of his hand and taking the offered seat. "I suppose..." His eyes wander to lovely and somewhat tipsy woman nearby.
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Unread 5th of March, 2009, 11:57
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Sophia:
"I go wherever the winds of fortune take me. Which, admittedly, hasn't been very far at this point in my life. I can at least listen to this man's proposal" she says, gesturing in N'Dali's direction quickly, not missing a single note on her hisi.
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Unread 5th of March, 2009, 18:05
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With that the innkeepers son reappears with a heavily laden tray of bread, cheeses, and roast goat. He places it at the end of the table. Taking up a loaf in one hand and his rather large knife in the other he quickly and deftly begins to fashion the bread into trenchers which he fills with slices of the roast goat and cheese. As he finishes each he passes them out to those gathered at the table. While simple fare, the food smells well seasoned and ably cooked.
Once he sees that every one at the table has been served he collects the nearly empty pitcher and retreats to the kitchens. He quickly returns, placing the freshly refilled vessel of mead in the center of the table. With that accomplished he retreats back whence he came.


N'Dali raises his mug in salute as he says, “Ah, a likely lot you all are indeed! I think we shall all profit from this evenings chance meeting. Now, allow me to tell you a story. Oh, yes..” Looking down at the trencher as if he had forgotten the food entirely, “Please, eat, and drink while I talk.”
“There was a young man who was born in a small village far from here. I know this because it was far from anywhere and everywhere. This village was a peaceful place, with plenty to eat and plenty of work to do. It was not a bad life, or it would not have been had this particular young man not dreamed of more, far more. Luckily for the young man a traveler came to visit. Unfortunately the traveler was far less worthy of trust than the young man believed. Alas, it would be a long time before he would discover this.”
Pausing briefly to take a swig from his mug, “Now, this traveler had many great and wonderful stories to tell. He told of seeing cliffs so high they disappeared into the clouds, forests so large you could walk for a week and not see the far side, Rivers so deep an elephant would disappear completely as it crossed. These stories filled the young mans head until he could think of nothing else. His work suffered, he lost his appetite. Eventually the Traveler announced that it was time for him to resume his travels. The young man decided he would go with him. His time here in the village was at an end. He gathered his few possessions, and some food, and waited. When the traveler set out the young man followed him at a distance. Close enough that he could follow, but far enough that he could not be told to leave or go back where he came. As the days passed he came closer, thinking that the Traveler could not send him away now that they had come so far. Indeed, the Traveler did not say anything. For weeks they continued, never seeing another living person. Eventually the Young man approached the traveler and asked where they were going. The traveler still said nothing. Each day as they made camp the young man would ask the traveler where they were going, and each day the traveler continued to keep his silence. In time they reached a tall pile of stones. The traveler made camp, and then proceeded to chant in some strange tongue. He continued this for three days and three nights. On the third night, just as the young man was drifting off to sleep, the traveler disappeared. At first the young man thought it was a dream. But he quickly came to see that was not so. The campfire he tended was going out, and it had been well stocked moments ago when the young man had laid down for the night. Something was wrong. He jumped to his feet. He looked around himself, but there was nothing. He listened carefully, but there was no sound. He circled the stones, but there was nothing new. Eventually he returned to his furs ad fell asleep. When he awoke little had changed. The fire was out, but the Traveler was still missing. In time, when the traveler had not returned the young man left. He traveled for several days when he found a small town. To the Young man there was nothing small about the town. In time he learned the language of these people. He learned that there were other towns, some of them much larger. Once he had fully explored the town he left. He traveled to see these other town, and see them he did. He saw many things, Walls that stretched far beyond sight. Great cities, small villages, mighty forests. And strange people.”
At this point N'Dali takes up his trencher and says, “I shall continue after I have finished this. Why don't one of you tell us a tale?” And with that he begins to eat with a slow, measured pace, clearly enjoying every bite.
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Unread 5th of March, 2009, 20:31
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Arkas finds his attention split between trying to pay attention to this strange and seemingly meaningless story, and staring at the beautiful musician across the table from him. The story doesn't seem to make much sense from what he could make of it. Just some fellow getting lost. He wasn't sure what the point of it was. It didn't seem to have an ending either... The tale now apaprently finished, Arkas waits to see if the man really have some purpose for telling it. He partakes in the food as he watches and listens to the woman.
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Unread 6th of March, 2009, 06:09
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Leander mulls over his mug for a few moments before beginning to speak. When he does his voice is soft, reflective. "When I was a boy the old serf men, the ones too old to work but still kept on by my father, used to tell stories about a serpent they had seen when they were small. A beast much like a cobra they said, but much larger. Twenty feet at least, and a spitting cobra at that. No one had ever seen one so large. The old men said it was mean, and cunning, but it left them alone. Because it left them alone the old men said their fathers let it be, because they were afraid to hunt it. One young hunter who tried was blinded by the venom the beast spit in his eyes. After that they started to call it 'Old Hunter that Slithers'. And so things went on, until one year in my grandfather's time there began a drought. A drought that lasted many moons, and consumed a whole harvest. All of the game left to find water. The only ones that stayed were the people. The people and 'Old Hunter'. But when everything else left, the old men said, he started to hunt the people. The children, and the women when they were alone. By then, they said, he was larger than before even. Thirty or fourty feet at least. A vicious thing. Several hunters died in the group that went to find and kill it, to put at stop to it's killings. The people on my fathers estates were saddened, and there was much wailing over the dead. But the old men said, most of all, their fathers were upset with themselves. That they had ignored 'Old Hunter' for so long, and let him grow so large and dangerous." When he finishes he shrugs his shoulders, smiling again. "But then, old men tell all kinds of tales to children."
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Unread 8th of March, 2009, 11:19
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Once the meal is completed N'Dali clears his throat and says, “Now then, to the reason I wished your attention. There lies, three days journey east of here the home of a friend of mine. This friend has seen some trouble of late and I wish to aid him. I would do this alone, but I fear that I may not be up to the task. Therefore, I seek the aid of a few brave souls. In return I can guarantee you a fine reward befitting the nature of the endeavor. Now, before you ask, I must say that I do not know the details of the problem. Those of you who wish to join me on the morrow are welcome.”
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Unread 8th of March, 2009, 17:52
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Sophia:
"By what means did this friend contact you about his troubles?"
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Unread 8th of March, 2009, 23:42
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N'Dali smiles as he says, “A little bird told me.”
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Unread 9th of March, 2009, 02:42
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Leander scruffs his dog for a moment, looking askance at N'Dali as his does. "Who is your friend? And I would have some faith of your ability to pay before we continue. Otherwise I am quite ready to accept." Though he had already eaten the large man has dug into the new food provided by N'Dali with gusto. He is renewing his eating now that he is finished with his own story. It is around bites, with an empty mouth and proper table etiquette, that he speaks. "And the more you can tell us about this friend, and his residence, the better we can prepare now."
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Unread 9th of March, 2009, 10:37
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Arkas cocks his head at the man. "You have a talking bird?"
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Unread 9th of March, 2009, 12:12
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To Leander N'Dali says clapping his hands together as he says, “Ah, a practical man! Wonderful!”
He reaches into a pouch on his belt and brings fourth a handful of bronze Rising Suns, “Never fear, if it is coin you desire I have plenty!” He drops about two dozen bronze coins on the table.
“My friend is a wise old hermit, and he has no name. He once told me that a name serves only to separate one from the whole.”
To Arkas with a small chuckle, “No my friend, I do not own such a bird.”

Last edited by David; 12th of March, 2009 at 12:19.
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  #23  
Unread 9th of March, 2009, 12:24
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Arkas mulls this over for a moment, and decides against pursuing the topic further at this time since N'Dali seems to have moved on. Perhaps he'd meet the bird later if it belonged to the friend... His gaze shifts predictably back to the beautiful woman whose name he still didn't know.
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Unread 9th of March, 2009, 14:00
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Leander nods decisively once the coin hits the table. One hand swipes over his share of it to rest before him on the table, then begins stacking it casually, like man well accustomed to the gambling tables of the wealthy. "Very good then. You may consider me hired my good man. I can wait until your business is done with the others, then I would like to discuss your friend and his problem in more detail." With that Leander leans back in his seat and goes back to eating.
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Unread 12th of March, 2009, 09:23
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Sophia:
I eye the coins as they fall. "So, your wise friend -- whom I assume is perfectly literate if he's so wise -- sends a distress call, but fails to mention any of the details of his predicament? I like to think I'm up for almost anything that promises fame and fortune, but you're really trying too hard to appear mysterious." With that said, I attempt to discern his motives through his tone of voice and body language.

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Body Language: 13
Detect Lies: 8
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