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    Chapter 2: The Outsiders
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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    Sævil smiles softly at the Old Man, "Maybe the grandmother's tales of warm forest hiding somewhere in there is true. Whatever chance we have, I have faith the Mayor wouldn't send us out if she didn't truly believe something good would come of it.

    "She'd have us stay," he stops his packing, "She'd have us readying an evacuation. Seek contacts to smuggle to safety those of us who aren't wanted elsewhere. The city will be weaker without us if the worst comes.

    "So what advice do you have for me?"
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:35 am    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    Njord saw the tears welling in the little girl's eyes. How awful it would be to disappoint her! Looking around at all the gnomes, and nodding to each one in turn he said:

    "Is good meeting you, Hoddy, and Goodwin, and Marta, and Matildya. I...we...my comrades and my self are most thankful for gifts. They will help great much." Njord had made a motion toward the slumbering Kahss upon mentioning his comrades.

    Goodwin covered his mouth to stifle a chuckle. The eldest of the girls glared at him disapprovingly, silencing him immediately. She stepped a little bit in front of him and performed a deft curtsy. "Then we have done our part to help," she nodded with a little smile.

    Then, focusing on Matildya, he offered, "We are to try very best to deal with cold. But is not only my few fellows, but also many others. Good Mayor Highmountain said that many strong people from Corus will fight against winter. I think we have big chance to bring the warm back, and hopefully, your mice, your Bjorn and Frieda, will no more be sick."

    He felt the lie above his heart. Every time he spoke words that seemed false he felt at least a tickle in the space between his heart and throat. This was no different, and it was only the word "big" that turned his statement into a blatant falsehood. But this tugging at his high-heart was mixed with true sadness for little Matildya. He quickly took a deep breath and managed a broad smile, both to encourage the girl and to fight back the possible tears he now felt. Then, mirroring Marta, Njord reached down and placed a gentle, reassuring hand on Matildya's other shoulder.

    Njord had to kneel in order to reach her tiny, thin-boned arm. The little gnome girl -- now level with him -- gazed into his stare, searching, wandering in their blue color. In hers, the northman saw reflected the kind of naive innocence only found in the eyes of a child.

    All at once, she sprang at him, throwing her little arms around his neck and crushing herself to his body. Her embrace was warm and soft. Her breathing reminded him of that of a small bird. "I love you, Master Njord," she whispered into his ear.

    Behind her, the other children watched the spectacle. Hoddy offered a small smile. Goodwin rolled his eyes, eliciting a sharp smack on the back of his head from his sister.

    Matildya hugged him for a long time. Maybe longer than he expected. When she finally allowed her arms to slip from him, she turned around with purpose. The small gnome girl had a little haversack upon her back and she placed it down on the stone floor of the headquarters. Njord watched her open it up, digging for something within.

    "I know you might be scared while you're so far away from home, Master Njord," she said. "But you need to be brave. When I'm scared at night, I have somebody to keep me company."

    She turned back around and produced a small toy. In her hands, she held what looked like a stuffed animal. Well-worn from the loving play of a little girl, he saw that it was a stuffed owlbear. It's eyes were stones of striking blue color. The down of its fur was carefully crafted by an expert hand. It was unmistakably the work of the Dark One.

    "This is Olivia Owlbear," she introduced the toy. "She's soft and nice and she'll keep you warm when you sleep if you hold her really close. And she's an owlbear," Matildya said, nodded with serious earnest -- as if it was the most obvious and important thing in the world. "She's brave and strong and fierce, like you. She'll help scare the monsters away from you, when you're not looking."

    She held the stuffed animal up for him. It looked as if perhaps a bit of the feathers within it might be ready to loose a sewn seam. "Olivia loves Corus, too," she said. "Please take her with you, Master Njord."

    "She can help fight for our home, too."
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:20 am    Post subject: Ohrin: A Notion of Propriety Reply with quote

    Ohrin was still quite stunned by Zoltan's response and departure and only half-heard Verenna. Snapping out of it, Ohrin looked at her and said, "Well, that was odd. I suspect he either wants to accompany Retlishin or wishes he had been given the assignment I received. After all, he is the more powerful mage."

    Verenna made a little face. "Zoltan feels betrayed by the Master," she replied. "Of us all, he knows him best. Ever has he been his first apprentice; he has been his trusted companion and confidante. I do not know why it is, but he has bidden Zoltan to remain here, to protect the folk of Corus while he is away and while you go forward on your given task. I fear that his very blood boils with wrath. He feels it should have been him, entrusted with such an important labor."

    Ohrin then looked down at the list and recalled the rest of Verenna's words. "Regarding a map, I'm just hoping to learn more about the settlements between ourselves and our destination; to help us pick our route there. As for the list of names, your help would be most appreciated!"

    "Ah!" she nodded. "Forgive me. That, I can provide. I would imagine you have much to discuss with Master Retlishin -- and perhaps Zoltan, as well. Whilst you set affairs aright, I will procure you that which can be provided."

    She looked at the parchment anew. From her pocket, she unfolded a small pair of spectacles, thin twisted metal of fine gauge that wrapped about thin lenses. Verenna had truly catastrophic eyesight, he had long known. It may well have been why her name appeared not on his list, he realized. "As to your list," she mused, "I recognize many of the names upon it. It is likely that, given that we often travel in similar company, you know much of the same things that I do. Yet I will try and offer you insight perhaps unknown to you."

    "I might have known Lady Osson would volunteer her sword for such a labor," she said. "She is one of Corus' Defenders, brave and true. Know ye of the legend of Osson's Ride? It that it is said that the Armiger is no less than that one's own flesh and blood. I know not the truth of it, mind -- but her courage skill at arms makes it a plausible claim, indeed."

    "Ah," she smiled broadly. "The Viscountess has also put forth her name. That one is...well, I have heard things of her. It is said that Idriel von Fluss-Amberhill was once gnomish royalty in the northern reaches of Perrenland. When she was young, I have heard tale told that she fought against no less than the forces of the Old One during the Wars. She is somewhat aged, now...but if the tales are true, perhaps some life yet lives in her blade, hm? I know that she is somewhat of a recluse, ensconced in some deep sorrow, but when I have treated with her, she has always been quite lovely."

    Ohrin watched her eyes slit as they passed the name of Mirka Daňo. No small venom lingered in her gaze at the sight of it, but she gave it no voice. "I cannot speak so well of Narend Martracin," she continued. "Whispers hold that he accepted contracts for the murder of men in the City of Greyhawk," she told him. "I would not be surprised if he was here in Corus to avoid the fate of a blade between his shoulders. He seems shifty and dishonest. And he constantly wears that damnable hood of his! He makes me shiver to think of," she made a face.

    "I see that the ebon-feathered one has likewise volunteered," she said. "Do not be so swift to judge her by appearance. She is strange is manner and look, of course, but I know for a fact that she has often risked much to warn the Little One of ominous boats off our northern coasts. Too, Crow Jane was the first to have seen the metal birds that flew above the island before the snows obscured them. Likewise, she was the first to realize that they were likely spies in the employ of the Egg of Coot. Those in power within Corus trust and respect her -- even in spite of her ill reputation."

    She looked up from the parchment at Ohrin. "These things, I think, may not be known to all," she said. "Perhaps they will help you decide who is fit to accompany you on your great quest."

    Ohrin then gathered up some small items of his that belonged to him to take back to the headquarters.

    "I'm going to go seek out Master Retlishin to see if he has any advice to offer. I'll be back in a bit."

    She nodded. "Very well," she said. "I will consider your list further. If I think of anything else you might find of interest, I will be certain to let you know."

    Ohrin then turned to go; while opening the door, he turned back with a wry smile on his face and added, "Oh, and tell that guardsman to lock it down. Loose lips sink ships!" With a chuckle, he departed the laboratory to seek out Master Retlishin.

    Before he could quite leave, Ohrin saw a look cross Verenna's face. It was clear there was something she wanted to say, yet held her peace.

    Whatever it was troubled her greatly.
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:41 am    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    Sævil smiles softly at the Old Man, "Maybe the grandmother's tales of warm forest hiding somewhere in there is true. Whatever chance we have, I have faith the Mayor wouldn't send us out if she didn't truly believe something good would come of it.

    "She'd have us stay," he stops his packing, "She'd have us readying an evacuation. Seek contacts to smuggle to safety those of us who aren't wanted elsewhere. The city will be weaker without us if the worst comes."

    "So what advice do you have for me?"

    He looked at Sævil carefully.

    "My first bit of advice is that you should be careful to whom you so freely give your trust," he said. "I have known the Little One for a long time, boy. Longer than anyone here, I should say. And you're right when you say that she wouldn't send you out if she didn't think something good would come out of it."

    He turned his head, spat again. Sævil could smell that horrid root even from where he stood at his bed. "You should ask yourself what she truly expects that outcome to be, though," he added. "Aye, she would cut the arm from her own body to save this city, 'tis true. But perhaps there is much more to this than it might seem, on its surface. I would advise you first to be wary, boy. Keep your trust for those who earn it with deeds, not words."

    He leaned back in his chair. "I am old and I am tired, boy," he said. "I have seen many things not easily believed by ones so young as you. Perhaps I give her too little credit. Perhaps she hides nothing. But I have seen with these old eyes many things that she did, when Master Ro yet drew breath. Terrible things. Things left those those with darkness for souls. To be off your guard about her is to be off your guard about a slithering serpent, boy. And I know you are not fool enough not to know how such things end."

    "You are...important to me," he nodded. It sounded as if he had to force his lips with great effort to form them into a shape that would utter the word. "But I will not sail forth with you. The Little One has asked me to ferry her group to the shores of Blackmoor. Perhaps it is best this way. That way, I can watch her closely. But you? You, I will not be able to watch over."

    He smiled, what teeth remained in his mouth, covered in inky darkness.

    It said a great deal without saying a word.
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:55 am    Post subject: C2: The Outsiders / Headquarters / Njord / Olivia Owlbear Reply with quote

    Quote:
    She held the stuffed animal up for him. It looked as if perhaps a bit of the feathers within it might be ready to loose a sewn seam. "Olivia loves Corus, too," she said. "Please take her with you, Master Njord."

    "She can help fight for our home, too."


    "I...uh. I...." Njord was surprised by Matildya's gesture. At first he wasn't sure if taking a child's toy, even at her behest, was proper. But then he realized how brave the girl was being with such an offering, and it was apparent in her vehement gaze. This was her direct contribution to the fight against the foul winter.

    He reached out his hand and, as gently as he had gripped Matildya's shoulder, he took hold of the creature-doll and examined her with pride. Then he returned his eyes to the gifting girl. "I accept Olivia Owlbear, her feroce company, for journey!" Njord enthused (in his usual slightly tattered Common speech). He smiled again at the gnome-girl, and this time there was no effort to do so; his smile was genuine, and well-deserved by the bold little girl. "And i thank deeply you for gift. In way, you will be with us on journey. My self and companions will think of you when Olivia raises claws to fight enemies!"

    Still smiling, Njord cradle-hugged Olivia beneath his chest to show Matildya, as well as the other Ruddyfoot children, how much he cared for his new friend. Maybe even the unconscious Kahss could sense his appreciation.
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:39 pm    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    He reached out his hand and, as gently as he had gripped Matildya's shoulder, he took hold of the creature-doll and examined her with pride. Then he returned his eyes to the gifting girl. "I accept Olivia Owlbear, her feroce company, for journey!" Njord enthused (in his usual slightly tattered Common speech). He smiled again at the gnome-girl, and this time there was no effort to do so; his smile was genuine, and well-deserved by the bold little girl. "And i thank deeply you for gift. In way, you will be with us on journey. My self and companions will think of you when Olivia raises claws to fight enemies!"

    Matildya seemed absolutely delighted by Njord's response. A brilliant smile lit up her face and her constellations of freckles almost seemed to twinkle. The gnome girl got up on her tippy-toes and craned her neck so she could give the stuffed doll a gentle kiss on her beak. Then, she shyly walked back to her brothers and sisters. She seemed too bashful to even respond to what he'd said, but the furious blush that had risen to her cheeks spoke loudly for her. Njord recognized it in himself, really. He often was wont to do the same when he was overcome with emotions.

    Still smiling, Njord cradle-hugged Olivia beneath his chest to show Matildya, as well as the other Ruddyfoot children, how much he cared for his new friend. Maybe even the unconscious Kahss could sense his appreciation.

    Hoddy had a big grin on his face. Marta gave her sister a great hug. A little tear rolled down her cherubic cheeks. Njord was hardly the only one touched by the gesture. "We should go now," the eldest of the gnome-children said. "We were told not to make ourselves a nuisance and I fear we have already asked too much of it. Come," he bade his brother and sisters to follow him for the headquarters door. "Let us return home now."

    The group of tiny demi-humans made their way from the headquarters. Njord heard Marta whisper to her sister that was an incredibly brave thing you did, small one. I am proud of you. For her part, Matildya barely listened. She watched Njord and Olivia the entire way out, offering him one small wave of her hand -- a simple opening and closing of her fingers, the way young children often performed the gesture.

    It was the last he saw of her before they were gone. A wave and a smile.

    The empty room seemed filled now with the sounds of Kahss snoring. The warmth of the little stuffed doll still under his arm.

    The time to leave for the Captain's office was drawing nearer.
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    As Matildya and the other Ruddyfoot children departed, Njord thanked them all for the gifts they had brought, naming each gnome in turn. But he kept most eye-contact with Matildya, waving with one hand, cuddling Olivia close with the other, letting the gnome-girl know that her cherished friend would be kept safe and well. His waving had also come to mimic Matildya's -- the finger-waving of children. As Njord said a final, "Fare well, good Ruddyfoots," they were gone. The door, now closed, again hid the ominous, darkening day beyond.

    Njord looked at the little Owlbear and gave another smile. He'd do his best to take care of this little Olivia. And, indeed, this creature would remind him of dear, apple-faced Matildya. Before he might include either in thoughts more grim, he seated Olivia proudly at the head of his bed, snuggly against his pillow. For now, she would be a vigilant sentry, staring tirelessly at the door.

    Njord then busied himself gathering all the provisions brought by the gnomes at the end of the table nearest the sleeping area. Trying to be somewhat quiet, so as not to rouse Kahss (had he a late night?), he unpacked the gifts. He arranged them into temporary piles: sleeping-gear in one, cookware in another, food and drink in yet another, and so on. At that point, he noticed he was hungry. He looked for some jerkey or blubber or some other quick snack. He then checked for water, realizing his thirst was even more urgent than his hunger.

    After satisfying those needs [* if possible *], he went to his bed-station and began arranging his things, placing some under the cot, and others into the chest. While at this task, he would often catch a glimpse of Olivia. He wondered if he had time to sew some of Olivia's wounds. As he pondered this, he also hoped that his comrades would return soon. He'd like to begin speaking of the candidates. With that, he decided to peruse the list again, leaving Olivia's surgery for a later time.

    As he seated himself at the table, he realized he wanted to do just about anything other than pay a visit to the captain.


    Last edited by Syzygyst on Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:49 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    Sævil shivers and frowns at the Old Man's warnings.

    "Are you aware of the list of volunteers we've been provided with? I haven't seen it yet."
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:48 am    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    Njord then busied himself gathering all the provisions brought by the gnomes at the end of the table nearest the sleeping area. Trying to be somewhat quiet, so as not to rouse Kahss (had he a late night?), he unpacked the gifts. He arranged them into temporary piles: sleeping-gear in one, cookware in another, food and drink in yet another, and so on. At that point, he noticed he was hungry. He looked for some jerkey or blubber or some other quick snack. He then checked for water, realizing his thirst was even more urgent than his hunger.

    Njord's labors only served to stoke the flames of hunger in his belly. So when he completed the task of sorting the goods brought by the gnome-children, he took to the foods with great vigor.

    The first thing he found was a woven cloth basket filled with all sorts of breads and cheeses. Though only tepid, they were fresh, and he tore into one of the rolls atop the pile eagerly. To his delight, they were clearly from Flowerfield's oven, and the cinnamon-spiced bread, rolled into a broad spiral virtually melted in his mouth. So delicious! In a lined box, he was able to find long strips of salted pork that set off the rolls perfectly.

    A short distance from where he'd placed the foods, the wooden casks of drink rest. He filled an empty tankard with the drink that Sævil had enjoyed before. It was thick and heavy, black as the night itself in color. Yet he found it to be quite excellent in taste, the liquor setting a low, but pleasant, flame to his throat and belly. It tasted something like the expensive drink that the men of his tribe occasionally raided from merchants to the south. In his homeland, it was prized stuff, so expensive as to elude his lips. But this particular liquor was far better than even that drink. He wondered from whence it might have come. It suddenly made sense to him why Sævil had lingered almost trancelike as he'd sampled its flavor.

    After satisfying those needs, he went to his bed-station and began arranging his things, placing some under the cot, and others into the chest. While at this task, he would often catch a glimpse of Olivia. He wondered if he had time to sew some of Olivia's wounds. As he pondered this, he also hoped that his comrades would return soon. He'd like to begin speaking of the candidates. With that, he decided to peruse the list again, leaving Olivia's surgery for a later time.

    As he seated himself at the table, he realized he wanted to do just about anything that was not going to visit the captain.

    Imaginary sands bled down to settle in the bottom of the hourglass, still.

    Outside, the sun was just beginning to set.
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:12 am    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    Sævil shivers and frowns at the Old Man's warnings.

    He shrugs. "What were you expecting, boy?" he said. "The Little One is something of a legend amongst thieves. She's The One Never Caught. I reckon if you go to almost any pub, port, or guild on Oerth, you're liable to hear a tale or two about her. Most've them are just that -- tales, spun by so many drunken fools -- but just as many're true. She's famous because she's not famous. Nobody knows her name, because she's never made a mistake, never failed. Every young cutpurse or mugger dreams of being her when they're old and grey."

    "But you don't get to be what she is without doing a few awful things, boy," he added, he snickered. "You gotta break eggs to make an omelet, savvy? A person like that...they're capable of anything. So you always have to think like they do -- three steps ahead. That's what I want you to do. It's the only way to make sure you don't end up with a dagger in your ribs, when the day's done."

    "Are you aware of the list of volunteers we've been provided with? I haven't seen it yet."

    "Hah!" he laughed. "Not all of us are as smart as you, boy. All I ever knew was how to read a map. I was never much for all your books and parchments."

    He spat again. At the rate he was going, Sævil would be glad to get out of the room and back to the headquarters. His quest for a new home might have become ever more important. "But yours was hardly the only name I put forward to the Little One," he added. "And I can guess at a few others that might've been fools enough to volunteer on their own. So if you have questions, you should ask them now, boy."

    "Soon enough, it'll only be time for answers."
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:29 pm    Post subject: C2: The Outsiders / Headquarters / Njord / The Sun Sets Reply with quote

    Quote:
    As he seated himself at the table, he realized he wanted to do just about anything that was not going to visit the captain.

    Imaginary sands bled down to settle in the bottom of the hourglass, still.

    Outside, the sun was just beginning to set.


    Njord examined the list for about 10 minutes. He pondered each name, and noted those individuals he knew about or had worked with. He also tried to commit as much of the list to memory as possible, as he might have questions for the captain.

    He grew anxious, and moved over to his bed-station. After examining his weapons, he realized his shortsword could use a little sharpening. Back at the table with a whetstone, he drew the piece across the length of the blade, keeping rhythm with the steady snores from Kahss. Occasionally, he again looked at the nearby list, now formulating definite questions for the captain.

    Meanwhile, Olivia continued her vigil.
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    PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:22 am    Post subject: Ohrin: Vermillion Reply with quote

    Within the belly of the Master’s towers, all was ensconced in crimson.

    It was an affectation that Ohrin had long become used to, the wizard Retlishin’s odd predilection towards red hues. Although no one could claim to know the truth behind it, Verenna had once confided in him her belief: Within his innermost sanctum, there hung a painted oil portrait of a ravishing titan-haired beauty – beneath her visage, the words Wherever I May Find Her. She was certain that he was haunted by the memories of a long-lost lover…and deigned wherever he might look, he would continue to see her.

    Leading away from the laboratory were a labyrinth of slender, stone passageways. A long, unbroken carpet of vermillion traced its length. At ten feet distances, rather than torches lighting the way in rocky sconces, glass spheres hung weightlessly, inches above the protrusions. In each one, the illuminatory gland of a fire beetle was sealed, suspended in a preservative liquid. Their radiance cast a red pall along the whole of the hallways. Their subtlest movements cast strange shadows that danced and played in dark conspiracies along the stone walls. It gave the whole of the mazework structure an uneasy and eerie countenance. To walk along it was to be filled with a strange sense of shifting scarlet; to be immersed in the macabre dread of blood.

    Nevertheless, Ohrin strode it boldly. He reminded himself that he had nothing to fear from the Master. And so, he walked about the complex intersections of hallways, treading their steep staircases and passing through their heavy iron doors in relative confidence. In all, the whole of his journey took him perhaps a half-hour.

    At its conclusion, at the absolute apex of a winding spiral staircase made of some unidentifiable ruby metal, twisted as a half-melted candlestick: The Master’s door.

    He reached up and made ready to use its knock – a stone sculpture in the shape of a leering gargoyle, a metal and stone loop beneath it – but from somewhere past it, his voice interrupted him before his hand was halfway through the gesture. “Enter freely,” he said, as was always his wont, “and unafraid.” He was clearly all-too-well aware of the effect of his demense’s appearance upon visitors.

    Ohrin pushed open the door. Behind it, a wide open space.

    It was not like anything he had ever seen in his lifetime. It was not as it had been at any time he had visited the room before.

    The entirety of the room was filled with darkness. Utterly black, utterly bleak, it seemed to drain away heat and life into the unending void that composed the Master’s chambers. It was terrifying in its infinite and majestically horrific manner; to gaze into its depths for too long sent spider legs a’climbing up the ladderwork of Ohrin’s spine. Floating amidst the tenebrous abyss, he saw gentle tufts of crimson floating by, as if clouds set adrift on an ebon sky. The clouds seemed angry with furious flame-hued lightning that rippled through their substance. It was this that offered illumination within the strange place, though inconsistent and darksome, it was. Floating motionless in the effigy of a room’s perimeter, he saw bookcases aplenty, odd desks and tables with various apparati and objects set upon them that he could not place or recognize. Stretching out from the door’s threshold, there lay hundreds of wafer-thin flats of ruby. These provided the firmament for the furnishings; these served as a walkway by which to navigate the room. They rose and fell like stairs, extended out like paths, in a vaguely organic fashion, as something alive might, not inanimate. He wondered what might happen to one so unfortunate to stumble and fall from the path into the heart of darkness.

    All the while, he found himself surrounded in complete and total silence. Such was the crushing weight of that nothingness that he instantly became aware of his heart, his breathing. Yet, he was not alone. Some distance ahead, down and then up a length of bloody staircases, he saw a great desk. Because of the angle at which he stood, he saw nothing of what might lay atop its surface.

    Behind it sat the figure of the Master.

    As he ever did, he wore his robes – a majestic crimson affair with twisting and lilting patterns upon it in lighter and deeper shades of the same hue – over his thin and humble mannish frame. Strangely enough, he looked no older than Zoltan or Verenna. He was young by the standards of humans, certainly too young to be a mage of any real accomplishment. His long brown hair – the color of chestnut – hung in many braided pleats, cast long over his shoulders and down his back. He greeted Ohrin with a welcoming, if weary, smile. He slipped thin spectacles down the length of his nose, as he was wont to when he was regarding something of interest.

    “Welcome, my student,” he said with a subtle nod. “Come. Questions. I’m certain you have them.”

    A step deeper into the room. The sound of his tread tried to echo forth, but died strangled, devoured by the darkness about them. But the new angle revealed the shape of a rectangle, set behind the Master, hanging over him as if keeping vigilance upon his person. It was a painting of a woman, her hair all wild vermillion curls and twists. Her skin was alabaster; she had the countenance of a rose in bloom, to behold. Ohrin found her beautiful in her eternal repose in oil.

    Beneath her image: Wherever I May Find Her.
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    PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:26 am    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    Njord examined the list for about 10 minutes. He pondered each name, and noted those individuals he knew about or had worked with. He also tried to commit as much of the list to memory as possible, as he might have questions for the captain.

    He grew anxious, and moved over to his bed-station. After examining his weapons, he realized his shortsword could use a little sharpening. Back at the table with a whetstone, he drew the piece across the length of the blade, keeping rhythm with the steady snores from Kahss. Occasionally, he again looked at the nearby list, now formulating definite questions for the captain.

    Meanwhile, Olivia continued her vigil.

    Before long, Njord noticed that shadows within the room began to draw long and encroach in thin fingers across the flat of his bed and the tables, across the floors and chairs, and finally over Olivia Owlbear. Outside, he realized that the day had slowly drained from the skies above Corus. All that remained was the wind and the snows, the darkness of dusk.

    At last, the time had come. Kahss, three paces distant, oblivious to it all.

    Captain Fireheart awaited.
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    PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:51 am    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    "Fair, Old Man," Sævil sits across from him and leans forward, "Milleen's offered to train me a wolf, and I'm like to take her up on it. But I can't help thinking we should convince her to come. We'll need dogs and sleds, and I doubt most of my comrades have experience with them. I do, but know little of the animals. Do you think she's safe to bring, if I can convince her?"

    "Who else did you put forward? And what are your guesses as to volunteers?"
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    PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:35 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    "Fair, Old Man," Sævil sits across from him and leans forward, "Milleen's offered to train me a wolf, and I'm like to take her up on it. But I can't help thinking we should convince her to come. We'll need dogs and sleds, and I doubt most of my comrades have experience with them. I do, but know little of the animals. Do you think she's safe to bring, if I can convince her?"

    “The scaly one?” the Old Man asked with a bemused snicker. “I would trust her farther than most of those you’ve already assembled. I remember the day she arrived upon Corus very well, boy. I brought her here aboard the Wayfarer, myself. Have ye ever heard me tell tale of Standis Ritkarssen, before? Likely not: He was here and then gone long before you came to us. A good lad, strong and smart – something like you, actually, boy. But no matter, no matter.”

    “Standis was a Pathfinder,” he explained to him. “One of those that the Little One has tasked with going forth out into the world, bringing back goods and supplies, the men and women that might be our neighbors, to our isle. A few years ago, he returned with a man named Ilkka Suhonen. He was a very accomplished fighting man of the Fruztii, but something of an oddity amongst them, too. He had the kind of…how would you call it?” he asked, taking the time to spit upon the floor again as he searched for the words, “appetites that those effete nobles have in places like Greyhawk and Rel Mord. It’s why he ended up in Corus, truly. The folk of those lands wonder about a man who prefers silks to furs and the gentle sounds of the lute to the ugly music of sword and axe. He was an outcast, even if he was skilled in the ways of war.”

    The Old Man smiled his black, gap-toothed grin to remember him. “Sometime, along his travels,” he said, “he told me the tale of a day in which he had come across a small tribe of the little scaly folk. Pitiful and hungry, they were terrified of him; he could’ve wiped them all out and hardly break into a sweat. Ilkka was not of a cruel face: He knew that and would have mercy upon their lot, leaving them in peace. But before he left, one of the young females of the tribe begged him to take her with him. She knew her lot amongst the scaly folk well – she would be resigned to a life as a lesser, a tool to make babies for the chief alone – and she was curious about the world outside the caves in which she’d grown. She saw Ilkka, strong and powerful, smart and skilled…and she wanted more. She wanted to be something like him. He was able to see this in her for himself and deigned agree to her request. He made her his butler and manservant, teaching her the ways of the civilized world he’d learned in his travels away from his homeland. He loved the wolves of his homeland dearly, so she turned herself to the task of rearing them for Ilkka. This young female kobold was Milleen – and she learned well.”

    “Milleen’s a smart one,” the Old Man said. “She’s clever and cunning like the rest of the scaly folk – but far, far more than that, too. She’s well-educated, thoughtful. A man of refinement like Ilkka could not abide a traveling partner who was anything otherwise, y’see. By the time I ferried them to Corus, she served something like a herald for him, announcing him, handling all his personal affairs. It was difficult to talk to the man without talking to Milleen, first. But such was her manner that, once you got used to her face, it was a pleasant enough experience.”

    He watched Sævil work at his bed, gathering the last of his personal effects, while he finished his tale. “I don’t know how long ago it was before you came,” he said, “but Ilkka was one of the first ones to grow ill, when the weather turned. He coughed and sputtered until he spat blood. ‘Tis a pity that it took the blade of Incabulos’ poisoned sword to fell a man of war such as he, but so it was. Since then, she’s kept at raising her wolves, but hasn’t much traffick with the rest of us. I don’t think she knows what to do, now that her master’s died. If she’s volunteered, maybe she’s finally figured that much out.”

    The Old Man nodded. “Aye,” he said. “If she’s willing to train you a wolf – you’d be a fool not to accept. And if she’s willing to come along with you, and you deny her – you’re double the fool. I remember that she’s got no kind of sea legs at all,” he chuckled, “She whimpered in the hold of the Wayfarer for half the journey home, sick as you can be. But once you walk upon ice and snow, that much won’t concern you, eh?”

    "Who else did you put forward? And what are your guesses as to volunteers?"

    “Well,” he considered the question. “I would think at least Persides would ask to come along. I’d stay clear of that one, though. Bad luck, I think. Mannenheim, too. He’s a Perrender, as well, so you two might be fast friends, eh? I would guess maybe Lukasz Ravel, too. He’d be a good one to take. Tough, honest…doesn’t ask too many questions.”

    “Myself, I put the dancer’s name to the Little One,” he nodded, leaning back in his chair, as if to judge his reaction. “And the treasure hunter, too. I like that one, boy. She’s even more clever than Milleen, boy. She’s sly, sharp. Never misses a thing. I’d have courted a woman like that, in my day. I always aimed to bed me a Halfling, if just to see how I’d have to bend myself to make it done!” he confessed, punctuating the notion with a short cackling. “T’Shanna and Swiftstoat’re their names. If they’re on your list, you should look hard at each one, I think.”

    He paused, considering it further. “I think that should do it, eh, boy?” he said, before adding off-handedly: “Oh, and I also hand-picked the captain that’ll be taking you rowdy lot to the Bleak Shores.”

    His old, dark eyes twinkled with mirth.

    “But I think I’ll be keeping that one a secret, for now.”
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    PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Quote:
    Before long, Njord noticed that shadows within the room began to draw long and encroach in thin fingers across the flat of his bed and the tables, across the floors and chairs, and finally over Olivia Owlbear. Outside, he realized that the day had slowly drained from the skies above Corus. All that remained was the wind and the snows, the darkness of dusk.

    At last, the time had come. Kahss, three paces distant, oblivious to it all.

    Captain Fireheart awaited.


    Njord had wished to wait an hour or so after dark had set in. His anxiousness, however, disallowed this. About a quarter-hour after the sun had truly set, he was at the door, opening it. The blast of cold from the outside felt good, washing a vitality over and through him to help him face the captain. He acknowledged the guards, and told them he was headed to the captain's and should be back in a while.

    He trudged through the snow and wind toward the captain's quarters. With each step he felt stronger, probably realizing that it was one step closer to finishing this business with Fireheart. When he finally reached her domain he stood straight, took in a deep breath, and knocked on the outer doors, using the large, frigid, iron ring. It sounded like a bell, dull and muted as though it were caked in layers of frost, ice, and scorn.
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    PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:59 pm    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    Njord had wished to wait an hour or so after dark had set in. His anxiousness, however, disallowed this. About a quarter-hour after the sun had truly set, he was at the door, opening it. The blast of cold from the outside felt good, washing a vitality over and through him to help him face the captain. He acknowledged the guards, and told them he was headed to the captain's and should be back in a while.

    Both men replied with a nod. Yrnigaard added his voice to the gesture: “'Ware and were, friend” he grinned, his beard turned a sheet of ice beneath his chin. Njord recognized it as a greeting and farewell exchanged by the folk of his homeland, though he could not confess to understanding its meaning. The way that he offered it seemed pleasant enough, though.

    He trudged through the snow and wind toward the captain's quarters. With each step he felt stronger, probably realizing that it was one step closer to finishing this business with Fireheart. When he finally reached her domain he stood straight, took in a deep breath, and knocked on the outer doors, using the large, frigid, iron ring. It sounded like a bell, dull and muted as though it were caked in layers of frost, ice, and scorn.

    Even through a gloved hand, the frigid metal of the door's heavy ring was enough to send a chill down his spine. Though, were he being completely honest with himself, perhaps he might admit that the sensation truly had little to do with the clime.

    Through the thick substance of the rime-covered door, her voice issued forth. “Come,” Captain Fireheart called. Her voice, as ever, was terse and direct. Somehow, it seemed capable of cutting the wind and wood asunder, reaching his ears with unmuted clarity. As if directed by her voice, rather than the dictates of his own desires, Njord felt his hand fall to the portal's latch and squeeze its catch. He pushed the door open gently, no sort of noise in the least accompanying its swing. Perhaps, knowing what was to come, it had fled the air like a frightened mouse.

    The office of the Captain of Corus' Town Guards was not an unknown place to Njord. Indeed, he had been there on several occasions before. The place was perhaps a quarter of the size of his fellowship's new-minted headquarters. Unlike that wide, largely empty agora, the office was a series of suites connected by many heavy doors that might be bolted and locked tight with swiftness. The first room was little more than a foyer, branching off towards the other, purpose-designed chambers. The deeper one penetrated into the office, the more important the location was. At its very heart was the Captain's room, perched directly atop the small series of brigs that passed for Corus' only jail. When he had been there before, each occasion had been official in nature. He had been sworn into the Town Guard's service in the entry foyer, before a small crowd of smiling townsfolk. He had received his uniform slightly deeper within, some of his equipment, deeper still. When he had investigated the Martracin Affair, the official registration of his written testimony had required him to visit a room just outside the Captain's. He had never gone deeper within the structure than that.

    He wasn't precisely sure why it was that he had expected her to wait for him in her room, but he had. Instead, she met him no more than five steps inside the door, in the main foyer. The room was appointed with a small desk and chair at its rear; it was sparse and undecorated but for a rare bloom in the form of the Captain, herself. The truth was: But for the telltale cant of her almond-shaped eyes and pointed ears, it might have been easy to misplace her fey heritage. Her skin was much darker than most elves he'd met, like smooth and unbroken plains of shadowy bronze. Her wore her hair in a midnight blue band, restraining its short sides, and allowing its length to spill out at the top in gentle waves and curls. It was so utterly black that it seemed to drink in the light of the room in which they stood. The brown hue of her eyes was so deep that they, too, almost seemed to be as onyx. Still, for all that, the Captain's mien betrayed her origins. She was two full heads shorter than Njord and for all the power hidden in her frame, she remained ever-lithe and graceful. Petite in that way, she moved completely noiselessly, with the preternatural elegance of something feline: A great cat; a huntress.

    She did not wear her armor, Njord saw. She did not have her everpresent spear or buckler. As the light from the candle set upon the table behind her flickered and sent shadows playing throughout the room, perhaps that stunned him most of all. No, Captain Fireheart had chosen not the garb of war for their meeting. Instead, she wore high, though soft, riding boots and leather breeches above that the color of chestnut. They clung to the supple curves of her hips maddeningly, a sight that caught the northman's very breath in his throat. Above that, she wore a blue linen shirt, fine and smooth in appearance. It matched her headband flawlessly. Njord was aware of the sound of his heartbeat in his ears, like thunder. Something within the bottom of his stomach was unfettered and sent floating weightlessly away from him. He nearly trembled. She was incredible to behold; a lilting bit of poetry, given life and soul. She was easily the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life before.

    Captain Fireheart's eyes pinned him to the door behind him as if she were mounting a butterfly for a frame. Ever incisive, ever penetrating, they seemed to stare directly into the heart of who he was. To her gaze, nothing was hidden. All secrets were known. Yet when she finally spoke, in her ever clear, pointed way, it was with a question. “We have things to speak about, you said,” she nodded subtly. “'Twas not the time, nor the place, you said. But now...here you are, Tholjorsonn. Later...in my office. Alone.”

    She stopped the air in the room dead in its place with her utterance.

    “What would you say to me now, Wintercrown?”
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    PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Ohrin: Vermillion Reply with quote

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    “Welcome, my student,” he said with a subtle nod. “Come. Questions. I’m certain you have them.”


    "Hello, Master Retlishin," Ohrin said while giving an appropriately deferential bow to his current arcane mentor before warily entering the room and moving to approach the desk. He did not bother to hide his surprise and curiosity at the state of Retlishin's space.

    Once Ohrin had arrived a comfortable distance from the desk, he once again bowed and then said, "Master Retlishin. Thank you for seeing me. As I am sure you are aware, the events of today have proven to be very...interesting, for me. I appreciate the confidence that is being shown in me and will do everything in my powers, arcane, divine, and martial, to see that we succeed. Towards that end, I have several questions for you, if you don't mind.

    "Can you, or any books in your library, tell me about the Land of Black Ice that may help with our mission? I fear that by my very nature, I have become the strategic thinker of our group; so, I want to make sure I am informed before leading anyone astray."

    "Do you have any maps of the region which I might borrow, or hastily copy?"

    "What didn't the Little One tell us?"

    "Can I please ask for what you know about the individuals on this list? I don't even know all of their races, let alone their capabilities and temperaments. Your input will help me to finalize my thoughts on who should accompany my team." Ohrin produces another copy of the list (because he would have been smart enough to make two copies even if I forgot to mention it).
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    PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 5:49 pm    Post subject: Ohrin: A Matter of Propriety Reply with quote

    "Hello, Master Retlishin," Ohrin said while giving an appropriately deferential bow to his current arcane mentor before warily entering the room and moving to approach the desk. He did not bother to hide his surprise and curiosity at the state of Retlishin's space.

    Once Ohrin had arrived a comfortable distance from the desk, he once again bowed and then said, "Master Retlishin. Thank you for seeing me. As I am sure you are aware, the events of today have proven to be very...interesting, for me. I appreciate the confidence that is being shown in me and will do everything in my powers, arcane, divine, and martial, to see that we succeed. Towards that end, I have several questions for you, if you don't mind.

    Retlishin offered a wan smile. It was ever his way. Ohrin had long ago noticed that it was a colossal endeavor to persuade the Master to anything resembling powerful emotion. Mirth or anger, passion or warfare, seemed to have long since fled the cloisters of his soul. Perhaps they had run away with the flame-haired beauty in the portrait behind him. Wherever I May Find Her. Indeed, he seemed to perpetually vacillate between states of serene ennui and disaffected boredom, alternatively. “Please,” he bade him with a subtle nod, indicating that deference was hardly required. “You are prepared to make of yourself a hero of my adopted home. I can at least offer you the courtesy of some dignity.”

    Another subtle nod. Ohrin had navigated the ruby flats, weightlessly hanging above the dark infinity of the bleak abyss below them both, and stood perhaps ten feet from the Master's desk. From his new position, the tops of writing implements and opened books upon its wooden expanse revealed themselves. He noticed that Retlishin had had a quill in his hand – the brilliant plume of a peacock's tail, become a brush for his work – when he'd entered. He replaced it in an inkpot that looked as if it were filled with liquid silver. “I would expect nothing less,” he replied. “And I mind not making time for you in the least. Indeed, I expected you, after a fashion – in the forms of the flesh, and of inquiry.”

    The lazy smile returned to his lips. “You assert your intellect already,” he replied. “This is a good thing. You honor me by proving my choice in you a wise one. Surely, your fellows will come to prize your presence greatly in very short order.”

    "Can you, or any books in your library, tell me about the Land of Black Ice that may help with our mission? I fear that by my very nature, I have become the strategic thinker of our group; so, I want to make sure I am informed before leading anyone astray."

    Ohrin watched the Master fold one of his hands over the other. With a crisp snapping noise, he heard him break his own long, aristocratic fingers into a configuration that a man's digits were never intended to form. A rivulet of blood wept from three of his knuckles. The effort – something long practiced, long-ago mastered – left him as impassive as ever. He watched him turn his ruined hand over, idly gesturing with the other. The slightest crimson glow surrounded each in a soporific haze; in an instant, it seemed to catch three tomes in his bookshelves likewise alight. Scattered all over the room, they gained lives of their own and began to float towards Ohrin's position. “Little is known of the Land of Black Ice,” he told him, the labor of levitating the books seeming so insignificant to him that it was as rudimentary as breathing. His effort belied the power that Ohrin was well aware required to bring such an alteration into being, however. Truly, he was in the presence of a magi of great accomplishment. “But this has far less to do with its remote location than it does the very physical properties of the land itself. Indeed, that which has stained the rime into shadow vexes the Invisible Art. It makes it unstable and difficult to predict. Attempts to divine its expanse by way of scrying or projection are rebuffed – often with quite catastrophic results.”

    The books stacked themselves neatly at Ohrin's feet, shuffling gently as the fell into position. “Those three tomes represent the whole of what is known regarding the region,” he continued. “In each one, there is but a passage or two describing expeditions there prior to your own. In total, they amount to perhaps fifteen pages of knowledge. You will, by necessity, be treading a path into mystery.”

    Retlishin took his glasses from his face, folding them neatly before placing them on the desk before himself. Somehow, when he hadn't been looking, Ohrin noticed that his fingers had returned to their proper, natural positions. Only the trails of blood remained as a legacy to the power he'd brought to bear. “However, I can offer you one bit of information that you may find of critical import, during the course of your journey,” he said. “That which has stained the glacial ice that perpetually coats the land is known to me. To the contrary of the assumptions of most sages, it is not some powerful artifact or invocation that has steeped it in darkness.” Ohrin watched him reach forth, producing a small glass vial from the place next to his spectacles. It was filled with utter shadow; rime and frost coated its outside completely. “In some manner unknown to me, the pollen from some sort of mysterious form of flora has spread itself – through some manner that I do not yet understand – across nearly the entirety of the region. It permeates the ice, lending it its tenebrous quality. Of course, as I said, its properties are highly resistant to arcane force, so it is difficult to learn much about it by way of spellcasting. Likewise, even divine magics quail in the presence of the black pollen. I suspect that natural magics, such as those plied by members of the Old Faith, might be the key in learning the riddle's secret – but without a potent druid in our midst, proving this definitively has been quite impossible.”

    “I know not the dangers involved in making prolonged contact with the pollen,” he admitted. “I know not ways in which it might be turned to your advantage. All I can say for certain is that the flora is responsible for the region's dire appellation. More than that, I cannot confirm nor deny with any kind of certainty. I fear that I can be much less than helpful in this regard. You now know the sum and total of my knowledge of the Land of Black Ice.”

    "Do you have any maps of the region which I might borrow, or hastily copy?"

    The question brought another smile. “Verenna will give you that which you need,” he replied. How he knew that she was looking for the maps, Ohrin didn't know and didn't ask about. He knew well that little transpired within the confines of the tower of which Retlishin was unaware. “Once she's expended her eldritch might blindly warding off the mice she disturbed in the process with a fusillade of magic missiles, of course. You may keep them for your use until your inevitable return to Corus.”

    "What didn't the Little One tell us?"

    A mirthless chuckle escaped the magi's lips. “I was hardly there when she spake, Ohrin,” he replied with a slight shrug. “Although, I presume that she did not mention to you that she does not expect our fellowship to return from our assault upon the Egg of Coot -- if for no other reason than to maintain your morale. Her gambit is a simple one: We will occupy that foul personage with a vulgar and direct engagement. She expects that this will force the Egg to relent his attention, for the nonce, on Corus, giving it some sort of succor from the ravages of the elements evidently at his complete command. Further, she expects that this will buy your fellowship the time necessary to complete that which is truly the important part of her plan,” he nodded, “which is to find an acceptable place to which the good folk of our home might be permanently relocated. The more vulgar the assault, the better to her mind. This will allow you to slip away unnoticed and to work with a free hand, ostensibly without interference from the Egg's forces.”

    His head took a thoughtful cant. “I have known the Little One for almost the entirety of a life,” he said. “For a practitioner of her profession, she has always impressed me with her cleverness. She is canny and wise. As a tactician, her skill would bring great shame a good many of the Knight-Protectors of my homeland, prior to their fall. But above all these things, of this I can assure you with certainty: She is a good woman. She would make of herself a sacrifice, so that Corus might live on.”

    “Of course,” he added, “she is much too humble to say so much. And it aids us all for her to keep the truth of her plan hidden. So rest assured, Ohrin – that which she speaks not of is nothing to fear.”

    Ohrin produces another copy of the list. "Can I please ask for what you know about the individuals on this list? I don't even know all of their races, let alone their capabilities and temperaments. Your input will help me to finalize my thoughts on who should accompany my team."

    The Master nodded. “Of course,” he replied. He didn't seem to be interested in accepting the copied parchment that bore the names of the volunteers. It was ever the mien of a true magi to know such things, well before they were presented to them. “Perhaps you have questions of particular individuals?”

    “Or do you simply want my conjecture upon who might make for the best companions?”
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    PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:46 am    Post subject: Re: Ohrin: A Matter of Propriety Reply with quote

    Master Retlishin wrote:
    ...“I know not the dangers involved in making prolonged contact with the pollen,” he admitted. “I know not ways in which it might be turned to your advantage. All I can say for certain is that the flora is responsible for the region's dire appellation. More than that, I cannot confirm nor deny with any kind of certainty. I fear that I can be much less than helpful in this regard. You now know the sum and total of my knowledge of the Land of Black Ice.”


    "Thank you for sharing these books with me. I shall scour them as quickly as I can and return them to you before my team departs. Do you have any maps of the region which I might borrow, or hastily copy?"

    Master Retlishin wrote:
    The question brought another smile. “Verenna will give you that which you need,” he replied. How he knew that she was looking for the maps, Ohrin didn't know and didn't ask about. He knew well that little transpired within the confines of the tower of which Retlishin was unaware. “Once she's expended her eldritch might blindly warding off the mice she disturbed in the process with a fusillade of magic missiles, of course. You may keep them for your use until your inevitable return to Corus.”


    "Thank you, I am sure they will prove most helpful. For my next question: What didn't the Little One tell us?"

    Master Retlishin wrote:
    ...“Of course,” he added, “she is much too humble to say so much. And it aids us all for her to keep the truth of her plan hidden. So rest assured, Ohrin – that which she speaks not of is nothing to fear.”


    Ohrin nodded to show that he understood the import of what had just been shared with him.

    Ohrin produces another copy of the list. "Can I please ask for what you know about the individuals on this list? I don't even know all of their races, let alone their capabilities and temperaments. Your input will help me to finalize my thoughts on who should accompany my team."

    Master Retlishin wrote:
    The Master nodded. “Of course,” he replied. He didn't seem to be interested in accepting the copied parchment that bore the names of the volunteers. It was ever the mien of a true magi to know such things, well before they were presented to them. “Perhaps you have questions of particular individuals?”

    “Or do you simply want my conjecture upon who might make for the best companions?”


    Ohrin replied, "I was hoping for an abbreviated synopsis of everyone you are familiar with on the list. Race, gender, adventuring capabilities, demeanor, etcetera. While I am familiar with some of them, and my comrades must be familiar with a few more, I was hoping to compile a comprehensive list so that I could perform a complete risk/reward analysis on the lot and make sure our party had a wide range of skills with a narrow range of temperaments. I'm finding that hard to do when I do not even know their races and capabilities. Thus, anything you could share about any of them would be most helpful. To save time, I'll eliminate the ones I believe I have a good grasp of. The remaining list members I know very little or nothing about are:

      Asranith Lasiniir
      Sir Montgomery "Monty" Persides
      Soren Stormcloud
      Yrist Vrabeen (friend of Jonas Cerny)
      The Stonemilker brothers (I realize they are dwarves, and their occupations, but know nothing of their worth in a fight)
      Idriel von Fluss-Amberhill (I realize she is a gnome)
      Khandrag
      Ruslan Heatherplans
      Frantisek Mannenheim
      Monek Friedrich
      Sammi Vasternaan
      Karstren Esil
      Lars Loga
      Milleen (trained wolves? Is she a druid?)
      Altansarnai
      Hjailmar Frjalsmaur (friends with Slava)
      Ballatia Wishilde
      Lucion Inmarial (some sort of druid/wizard?)
      The Dark One
      Merri Flowerfield (known halfling and chef, adventuring skills unknown)
      Narend Martracin (possible assassin, but what race?)
      Lukasg Ravel
      Faeranna Nightsky (known elf, possible magic user?)
      Marcus Restantin"


    Ohrin prepared to take note of Retlishin's comments.
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    PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 6:43 pm    Post subject: Ohrin: A Matter of Propriety Reply with quote

    Ohrin replied, "I was hoping for an abbreviated synopsis of everyone you are familiar with on the list. Race, gender, adventuring capabilities, demeanor, etcetera. While I am familiar with some of them, and my comrades must be familiar with a few more, I was hoping to compile a comprehensive list so that I could perform a complete risk/reward analysis on the lot and make sure our party had a wide range of skills with a narrow range of temperaments.

    The Master considered it for a moment. “Sensible,” he at last proclaimed with a nod.

    I'm finding that hard to do when I do not even know their races and capabilities. Thus, anything you could share about any of them would be most helpful. To save time, I'll eliminate the ones I believe I have a good grasp of. The remaining list members I know very little or nothing about are:

    Asranith Lasiniir
    Sir Montgomery "Monty" Persides
    Soren Stormcloud
    Yrist Vrabeen (friend of Jonas Cerny)
    The Stonemilker brothers (I realize they are dwarves, and their occupations, but know nothing of their worth in a fight)
    Idriel von Fluss-Amberhill (I realize she is a gnome)
    Khandrag
    Ruslan Heatherplans
    Frantisek Mannenheim
    Monek Friedrich
    Sammi Vasternaan
    Karstren Esil
    Lars Loga
    Milleen (trained wolves? Is she a druid?)
    Altansarnai
    Hjailmar Frjalsmaur (friends with Slava)
    Ballatia Wishilde
    Lucion Inmarial (some sort of druid/wizard?)
    The Dark One
    Merri Flowerfield (known halfling and chef, adventuring skills unknown)
    Narend Martracin (possible assassin, but what race?)
    Lukasg Ravel
    Faeranna Nightsky (known elf, possible magic user?)
    Marcus Restantin"

    Ohrin prepared to take note of Retlishin's comments.

    Retlishin listened to him list the names carven upon his list in sepia stroke, one by one. To Ohrin's mild surprise, he began to respond with little more than a moment's repose. He remembered each one as he spoke, not missing a single one. The keenness of the Master's intellect, when revealed in such a way, was startling. “Lasiniir,” he nodded. “The elven knight that rides upon a spectral steed. A thrice-haunted personage, but a deadly archer. Persides: One of the Archpaladin's holy warriors, just and true. Stormcloud: A priest of the Winged Mother, I've heard he claims that her direct intervention once spared his life, when he was once an adventurer. Of the devout upon your list, the last of these is Vrabeen: Perhaps the kindest Pholtan cleric you will ever have occasion to meet – though I'm certain he retains the martial skills so common to their ordained faithful.”

    “The Stonemilker brothers,” he continued on, “were once mercenaries, all. I do not believe them to be overly skilled, individually, but I have heard tale that the skills at arms are impressive, in concert. For a nearly pure-blooded orc, Khândraz is genial and well-reasoned. I am sure the ferocity that boils within his veins is undimmed, however, given the opportunity for violence. Contrast that to the halfling, Mr. Heatherplains, who for some reason unfathomable to me, perpetuates the silly ruse of earning the limp he plays at during the Wars. Mr. Mannenheim is well-known to me,” he said, pausing in mid-breath to offer his ever-lazy smile. “His father was once in the employ of Sorillion Ro as a member of his House Guard. He set off on his own when he was of age to join a Perrenese mercenary company and has only returned lately. He is a great enthusiast of the pole arm as a weapon and demonstrates respectable skill with its length. As for Friedrich: I am mildly surprised that he volunteered at all. While I certainly applaud his courage, he is a simple root farmer – not a warrior. Perhaps he does what he believes he must to protect his family. Vasternaan is more like Mannenheim: The son of a Bandit Prince's lieutenant that once traveled with Master Ro. He is undoubtedly small, but tough and able. You may find yourself interested in Mr. Esil, though not as a combatant: I am told he was once the quartermaster of an accomplished mercenary company – an experience he has parlayed into his career as the proprietor of Corus' general goods store. Lars Loga is likewise entrenched into our community, as a Town Guardsman, in good standing. Of those given to blade and shield that you listed, the kobold Milleen is indeed the oddest. Regrettably, her affinity for canids is quite a natural gift, not the blessing of magic. You could certainly do far worse than to take her along, however...along with perhaps the only one she truly calls a friend in Corus, Altansarnai. Indeed, the latter is of the Tiger Nomad folk and has much experience traversing the sort of terrain you will find upon your arrival at the Bleak Shores. Both, of course, are far more canny than the dull-witted Mr. Frjálsmaður – though there is always a great need in any expedition like the one on which you'll be embarking for those blessed with prodigious strength. He certainly possesses that in great abundance.”

    He paused for a moment. “You mentioned Ballatia Wishilde,” he seemed mildly interested. “There is something very odd about that one. Only little more than a girl, I know that she studied dance under the tutelage of Ms. T'shanna until very recently. Then, the girl simply disappeared. There was quite a commotion about it, just before you arrived here. First, it was thought that she had run away from home. Then, foul play was suspected. It was Crow Jane that eventually found her, in a hastily-cobbled sanctuary along the eastern shores of our isle. She returned her to the settlement, but since that incident, I'm told he has been elusive and retreating. It is surprising that she would volunteer. I was not aware that she was possessed of any real martial skill.”

    “Young Master Inmarial,” he continued, after another pause. “Of elvish heritage, like yourself. He might have studied under me; I offered him a place at the tower, once. He demurred, however. His interests in magic lie in their intersection with the natural world. In that, you may find him of great use to you.”

    Another pause. “As for the Dark One,” he offered, “that is another interesting one, to be certain. In your quest for knowledge in the corridors of my library, have you ever come upon a reference to a creature known as a Dark Creeper? Indeed, it is to this race that the Dark One belongs. Of course, little is known of these mysterious and enigmatic creatures...but you may find it extremely useful to bring that one along with you, despite its strange manner and appearance, nevertheless. It is possessed of many abilities that are not shared by the more populous races of the Flanaess – and one never knows when such qualities might serve your expedition well.”

    “With respect to the halfling, Flowerfield,” he went on, his musing on the matter apparently past him, “I can say nothing of his martial skill. What I do know is that he once tread a very dark path in his life. Some great event that I am not privy to, however, changed his mien completely. By contrast, I know much of the elf, Martracin – and you understand the whole of it properly. He was once a paid cutthroat, evidently of no small skill. He is perhaps the mirror opposite of Mr. Ravel, who acted as a hunter of men for the authorities of the City of Greyhawk.”

    “As for the last pair,” he informed Ohrin, “Ms. Nightky and Mr. Restantin are both warriors, aye. But like yourself, each also pursues a secondary acumen. The former is an aspirant of the Invisible Art, while the second is a priest, faithful to the elvish god Erevan Ilsere. I believe that one needs little introduction to one such as you,” he feted him with his gentle smile again.

    “And there you have it,” Master Retlishin said. “All secrets are known.”

    He gave his head a slight tilt. “Have you any more questions, then?”
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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 8:47 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    "Hold now, you're naming names I've never heard - or if I have, I remember them not!" Sævil stops in front of a chest and pulls from it a large quantity of cleaned and bleached seal gut, "Mannenheim? Persides?

    "I know Swiftstoat well enough and while I've no wish to bed her, she seems a good companion, but who under the grey sky is Tee Shanna?"
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:28 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    "Hold now, you're naming names I've never heard - or if I have, I remember them not!" Sævil stops in front of a chest and pulls from it a large quantity of cleaned and bleached seal gut, "Mannenheim? Persides?

    The Old Man shrugged. “If they've volunteered, methinks you'll know of it soon enough,” he reasoned. “You needn't know 'em to know of 'em, anyway, savvy? Just remember the names and what I said. That should be enough.”

    "I know Swiftstoat well enough and while I've no wish to bed her, she seems a good companion."

    He flashed him that ebon grin again. “Heh,” he replied with a hoarse chuckle. “Maybe you should, eh? I've heard things about the tiny vixens, y'know. Lots of things,” he wagged his bushy brows suggestively.

    "But who under the grey sky is Tee Shanna?"

    “You know her,” he replied flatly. “Just not by name. The westerner. The holy woman. The dancer,” he smiled, the word rolling off of his tongue like the rarest form of magic: A childlike sense of wild wonder. And the way he said it, Sævil realized that it was true. He did know her. He had seen her on several occasions, really, though their paths had never intersected to the point where it had been necessary for them to exchange greetings and names. She often danced in the very midst of the Promenade, directly in front of the Icepick. She was a striking figure in her thin robes, regardless of the weather: She had long, luxurious night-black hair and skin the color of molten bronze. She was lovely, indeed, but always somehow seemed to rise above emotion. Ever was she tranquil, at ease with the world about her. She never seemed to say anything. Sometimes she had a student with her, a willowy and awkward wisp of a girl. Almost always, she was accompanied by a half-dozen children, contorting themselves in a row next to her, whirling wildly, in some vain attempt to impress or gain her notice. They would always fall, but the westerner was kindly of mien. She would help them up and brush off their scrapes, sure to gently adjust their balance or posture just so as their regained their feet again. Rarely did they fall once again.

    Sævil considered her, silent for a moment.

    The Old Man knew of what he spoke.
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:39 pm    Post subject: C2: The Outsiders / Fireheart's / Njord Reply with quote

    Quote:
    She stopped the air in the room dead in its place with her utterance.

    “What would you say to me now, Wintercrown?”


    Njord stood silently for a moment, trying to breathe his heart into a calmer state. He was pressing his booted feet into the floor, hoping to ground himself, hoping to regain the solidity in his center. He recalled his time in the hut of a woman he did not want. She had made him want her. Was Fireheart doing the same?

    As placidly as he could he stated, "There may be many things we have to speak. First we shall speak of names -- my name and other names. What is Wintercrown? You call me this because my hair is like the snow? I have not been named this before. Why you do this?"
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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 10:24 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Old Man and the Sea Reply with quote

    "...Yes I know of her after all, interesting..." Sævil falls into silence.

    After several moments of staring into space, he turns back to the Old Man, "Is there anything else you wish to say to me, I should return to our headquarters now."
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