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Thread: [AU] Butterfly Cage
Sunday, 31st August, 2003, 05:42 AM #1
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
[AU] Butterfly Cage
Arcana Unearthed - Butterfly Cage
Our Cast of Characters
Dalamar - Galen Dumaine (male human runethane 1/wind witch 1)
Keia - Connor Cloudwatcher (male loresong faen magister 2)
Erekose13 - Scinathar (male mojh racial 1/winter witch 1)
WizWrm - Sanje (male verrik champion of death 2)
Jaik - Mochor (male litorian oathsworn 2)
Rybaer - Grathis the Twice-Bitten (male sibeccai racial 2)
ES2/Earthshadow - formerly Scinathar
A new morning dawns in the town of Hardak, the sun throwing the shadows off the Bitter Peaks. Even at this early hour people are stirring, mostly miners going to their various claims, hoping this day to strike gold. Two teams have already gotten lucky, and others wish desperately to add to this number.
It is early summer, the second week of Rin-Taras (Seventhmonth), and the weather is still only pleasantly warm, rather that hot. Today is Waterday (Waday in common speech, the second day of the week).
Sanje, you awaken in the Raven's Beak, an inn serving mostly mercenaries and adventurers. Your arrival two weeks ago caused a small stir, as your costume was somewhat intimidating. But in a town flooding with new arrivals, not all of them cordial or savory, your quiet way of living has drawn little additional attention. Indeed, the innkeeper, a whipcord-thin, gray-haired man called Chartan, is grateful for your presence in the evening when you take dinner. Few, even in an inn that caters to adventurers, wish to start a fight with a person dedicated to death in the room.
You're well aware of the gold rush, and also aware of the rumors of some site of magic that may or may not be uncovered by the mining. However, site or no site, what’s really drawing the resident loresong faen (and other magic-seekers from afar) is the ruins on the upper peaks of the mining sites. The ruins have been there for years, and apparently yield the occasional item of magic. However, they've been found in much bigger numbers than normal, which is drawing a lot of people. Some of the people in the Raven's Beak are employed in either doing the searching or (more often) guarding the searchers from other, greedier, less scrupulous searchers.
More typically, most of the people staying in the Raven's Beak are employed in guarding teams of miners from thieves and saboteurs. From speaking with some and overhearing from others, you've learned that there have been an unusually high number of incidents of sabotage and minor cave-ins. A couple mercenaries say the team they're guarding abandoned their tunnel because they thought it was haunted.
You've also learned that there's a small cloister of verrik near this town. The cloister is only known as Zahyob, and it's a few miles south of town, deep within the forests at the base of the peaks. Though they keep mostly to themselves, occasionally a verrik will show up when one of the townsfolk is in trouble, render help, and then leave without saying a word. Also, those brave enough to venture to the cloister to solicit aid have been successful, though they've had to pay a hefty price. In your inquiries for your tome of spirits, it seems that perhaps the people of Zahyob may know some information. However, it may take more money that what you currently have to get them to part with what they know.
A few days ago a group of three other adventuring types came to the Raven's Beak, a loresong faen, a sibeccai, and a human traveling together. It was only because it was such an unusual trio that they caught your eye. Also, you've seen at least one other verrik around town, a tall man with ponderous bulk that walks slowly, leaning on a cane. So far you've only seen him in the market a time or two.
Three days ago, Galen's latest caravan arrived at Hardak. To his great annoyance, only one caravan was going south, and they wanted an exorbitant price of three hundred Queens (gold pieces). The others are headed north or east, loaded with gold, heavily guarded, with little room for extraneous passengers.
Grathis was acting as a guard on Galen's caravan, and also traveling in that caravan was Connor, sent by his instructor Veilain Chilltongue. One evening the caravan was attacked by bandits, and Grathis was somewhat impressed by the ability of the faen and the scholarly human to hold on their own in the fight with their magic. Connor caused one to drop his weapons, blinded and hurt another with a well-aimed mudball, and was able to heal some of Grathis' wounds after the fight. Galen was able to protect himself with invisible armor, caused one bandit to drop to the ground, and knocked the miscreant out with a well-placed hit from his staff. He used other magical runes to speed the healing of another wounded guard as well. Grathis accounted well for himself, but was pleased to note the prowess of the others.
Connor's cursory look at the town determined the Raven's Beak to be the best place to start hunting for further information about the magical rumors. He mentioned this to Galen during their travels, as the human was one of the few in the caravan that could appreciate Connor's fascination with magic. The two had several agreeable and interesting conversations. Grathis could easily see the possibilities of finding guard work in Hardak, due both to the gold rush and the magic-seekers.
By coincidence more than anything, the three ended up arriving and taking rooms at the Raven's Beak at the same time. All three are aware of the gold rush, the possibility of finding magic in the ruins on the peaks, as well as the much more vague rumors of magic below the earth. They're also aware of the trouble the miners have been having with sabotage, cave-ins, and hauntings.
Connor has been fluttering from inn to inn, trying to find more substantial information on the magical mysteries. One, called the Spryte's Wing, caters exclusively to faen. Unfortunately they're full for the foreseeable future, or you could have stayed there. However, they are quite happy to speak with you. A quickling faen called Saechi Silverkiss is a guard for a team of mixed faen, all local, that have had some luck scouring the peaks for items of magic. She won't reveal exactly where, but she says the items are mostly either related to protection or nature, rather than being meant as weapons. Most don't know this, but that's the majority of what's been found.
The Eloquent Minotaur inn yielded the largest number of non-faen magic-seekers. Most are human, but there's also a litorian that always goes armed with a wicked-looking short sword, and one solemn giant woman that wears long robes. The other unusual one is a tall, rather heavy-set verrik man, with short-cropped white hair. He moves slowly and ponderously, always with a cane. You spoke to him once, on the first day; he said his name was Javdak, and he was a scholar and professor of the magical arts at an academy of some sort in Lisharan, a small city farther north. He said he was interested in organizing a team to go search for some of the magic in the peaks, as well as uncovering some of the other magical rumors as well. He would prefer to not send individuals, as there's been some fighting in the peaks between miners (irate the magic teams are getting in the way of the mines) and other magic seekers (trying to stake their claims to various parts of the peaks). He wants to send both people who know what to look for, as well as those who know how to handle themselves. Yesterday you saw him briefly, and he was looking rather harried, apparently he hasn't found his team yet.
Despite the fact that Connor's only been there three days, he's been a very busy bee, and could probably find half the inns in Hardak without too much trouble. (That and the fact that they're mostly in one area helps.)
Galen has been searching for another way to go south, but with no success at all. You're stuck here for the time being. Connor has mentioned in passing that he's actively looking for the source of the rumors and mysteries of magic, and indeed, if you go out during the day, you'll probably pass him four times as he bounces from one place to another. Your sense of magic (Sensitive feat) has been practically been working overtime when you walk in the market or in another public place. People coming down from the peaks carry mysterious bundles that set your skin prickling even more than usual. There's definitely a large amount of magic being moved about in Hardak.
Grathis, all the rumors of magic are all well and good, but what's relevant to you is that most of the miners and magic-seekers are in need of strong guards, mostly to guard against each other, but also against the beasts that are part of life in a town such as this, butted up against the wilderness. You've been carefully evaluating your choices of employment, not wanting to make a bad decision. Some of the miners and magic-seekers seem a bit on the crazy side (from lust for gold and power, or from frustration of not being able to find it, you're not sure), and you wouldn't care to guard someone that wouldn't be able to take rudimentary care of themselves in a fight. Others seem a bit shady, as if they might cheat you out of pay, or worse. But there is one team of miners working the northwest slope that seem stable and trustworthy enough, as well as two teams of magic-seekers that might not be too bad to work with. However, you've take a meal or two with Conner and Galen, and Conner's mentioned that he's seeking magic as well, and you know he's dependable. It remains to be seen if he even wants a guard though, or if he can offer any compensation if he does.
It is in the morning of Waterday that Mochor and Scinathar enter the town of Hardak. At the gates, the guards examine your weapons (or lack of them as the case may be), and ask Scinathar to put down his hood so they can get a good look at him. One makes a small twitch with his mouth, but quickly controls his expression. Mochor quickly senses that the man isn't particularly fond of mojh. Hardly startling, but it's enough to set the litorian slightly on edge. Scinathar's fairly used to that kind of reaction at this point. The guard asks your names, and writes them down, as he has to everyone else in the line before you.
"Laws here are fairly simple. Thievery, fighting, and that lot are dealt with fairly harshly. This is no rough town where you can get away with any of that brutishness. Full laws are posted at the Watch's station at the north wall. Don't give any harm to anyone and you should be fine," he says, then gives Scinathar another quick glance. "If you're looking for magic or whatever it is they're looking for on the peaks, then I'd stay at the Raven's Beak. That one probably has rooms left, and plenty of adventuring-types stay there."
Another guard speaks up before you can leave. "Our speaker in these parts is Lord Thegan Teed. Remember his name if you need audience or come before court. He's human, but tough as a giant when it comes to laws." He waves you through, impatient to start processing the next group.
Just beyond the gates seems to be a small market, with streets leading off straight ahead and to both sides. The space is tiled with cobblestones, and the streets with larger slabs of local rock. The main market is probably in the center of town, they usually are, but some enterprising merchants have set up here to get people as they get in the gates. There are some selling fresh fruit and vegetables, one selling healing herbs, one selling small tools such as shovels, small hammers, and pitons, and another selling leather goods such as backpacks and belt pouches. One sells secondhand clothes, and other hawks freshly caught game birds. One old woman circulates in the crowd with a tray of freshly baked buns, and a young girl is selling freshly cut yellow roses. At the far left side is a tall pole decorated with long colorful streamers that flutter in the wind. Below is a group of three simply dressed sibeccai with similarly colored ribbons tied to their elbows and knees. These are guides and messengers for hire, known for their steel-trap memories of the towns they work in and their fleetness of foot.
Last edited by Isida Kep'Tukari; Wednesday, 30th June, 2004 at 08:28 PM.
Sunday, 31st August, 2003, 06:22 AM #2
Novice (Lvl 1)
Glances around at all the peoples moving about, walking a few steps behind his oathbound friend as they head further into the town. He shrugs off the stares from the two guards they just passed, definately used to the curious and wild stares the nonmohj constantly give him.
Speaking quietly to Mochor, "Let's find the inn that man-guard mentioned. A bed, food, and a drink are in order."
Sunday, 31st August, 2003, 07:22 AM #3
Sanje sits at the bar, slowly eating the simple breakfast he'd ordered previously.
He finishes in short order, and then looks up at the barkeep, regarding him with an almost military posture. Sanje says, in a deep, resonant voice, "I see we have spoken little during my time here, Sirran. I am Sanje, and I welcome the opportunity to meet you. It has become my need, like others in this city, to seek gold and magic. My money-pouch is running out and it would not do to be unable to pay my room's rent. You must hear many things - do you know of any possible employers who could use my particular talents?"
Last edited by WizWrm; Sunday, 31st August, 2003 at 07:59 PM.
Sunday, 31st August, 2003, 07:40 AM #4
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by WizWrm
"I'm Chartan Kiffallow, Sirran. Hmmm, you say you're looking for work?" Chartan considers, and thoughtfully tugs on his beard. "I'll tell you then, Sirran Sanje, I'm a bit surprised you haven't been snapped up as a guard by now. Then again, you haven't exactly been marketing yourself much. I will tell you, I do appreciate having you around though. I usually have to replace a bench or table leg every third day due to fights, but I've had narry a one since you've come and that's the truth!
Tell you true, there's a couple groups of folks that handle most of the guard-work around here. They hear all the requests and let you know when work comes up, for a few coins, ye ken? The Arms is the biggest hall, you might have luck there. Or Prel's Shield is the other, they're smaller, mostly work with more unusual requests, guards in disguise or so I've heard and bits like that."
Last edited by Ray Silver; Sunday, 31st August, 2003 at 06:44 PM.
Sunday, 31st August, 2003, 07:54 AM #5
"Ah, excellent," says Sanje. "I'll head down to the Arms, then. Though it's possible any who are newly-arrived in town may come here first and ask the same questions I have, while I'm out for the day - if I suit their needs, could I ask you to point them in my direction? That might be easier and faster for us both, should there be a waiting list or a poor selection today at the hall. Thank you for your assistance."
After getting directions from Chartan, Sanje straps on his shield and sword-belt before leaving the inn to walk down to the Arms.
Last edited by WizWrm; Sunday, 31st August, 2003 at 07:39 PM.
Monday, 1st September, 2003, 06:48 PM #6
Grathis awakens and heads down to the Raven's Beak's common room to find breakfast. He nods curtly at Chartan as he settles in at the bar. "Sausage and bread," he requests. He notes the presence of the slightly intimidating verrik, but does not intrude on their conversation.
While munching on food, Grathis decides that his patience is wearing thin. He hopes that his acquaintances, Connor and Galen, will appear soon. He intends to ask them if they might be interested in taking him on as a guard. They seemed keen on exploring the area, yet they probably aren't powerful enough to fend entirely for themselves in the wilderness.
Tuesday, 2nd September, 2003, 02:33 PM #7
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Somewhat early int he morning, Connor comes striding back into the Raven's Beak common room from outside. He had had difficulty sleeping the night before and decided to head out into the night, watch the sunrise and contemplate the way of things. That's his story and he's sticking to it . . .
He was somewhat surprised to see Grathis already in the common room. He had assumed the sibeccai would have found work already and been long gone. Instead he was here, and that boded well for Connor's plans.
"Morning, Grathis," Connor said by way of greeting. "Any luck on the work front? If not, I think I may have just the thing. I think I found a sponsor to a group to head up to the Peak and explore . . . Maybe if you're available you can come with and see what we find? I was thinking of inviting Galen and maybe a couple of others. The sponsor seemed to be infatuated with having several people to work as a team. So . . . what say you?"
Tuesday, 2nd September, 2003, 05:26 PM #8
Mochor scans the area, looks over his shoulder to double-check his charge's position, then strides to the guides and messengers. "Your pardon, Sirran, my companion and our are looking for a guide to the Raven's Beak and were hoping that you could be of some aid to us."
Tuesday, 2nd September, 2003, 07:38 PM #9
Originally Posted by Keia
Quickly swallowing a mouthful of bread, "Oh, good morning Conner. No, not much luck with finding work. There are plenty of people looking for guards and such, but none that I've found to my liking. They either don't pay well enough, seem of dubious character, or are the sort too likely to find the wrong kind of trouble...if you know what I mean.
"You and Galen seem like decent enough folk, though. Yeah, sure, I'd be interested in working with ya. Who's this sponsor and what kind of things are you exploring for? Seems like it's either gold or magic in these parts."
Tuesday, 2nd September, 2003, 08:29 PM #10
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by Grathis
Connor was definitely excited about the prospects of going on an adventure to uncover magic. He tended to ramble and story-tell a bit too much, though he was working on cutting himself off when he realized he'd gotten off track.
After ordering a large breakfast, Connor asked, "So, what's next?"
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