(Casual D&D III) The Man in Black




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    (Casual D&D III) The Man in Black

    (Continued from The Fellowship of the White Dove.)

    Once all are assembled, the knight leads you downstairs, pushing through the tables of now-thinning games, looking over the heads of the now less than glamorous.

    "Right outside," he says, smiling.

    It's true, you realize slowly: There is someone just outside the doorway, clothed in darkness, almost indistinguishable from the blackened nighttime streets. But he is definitely there, pacing upon silent feet.

    As you come through the doorway, he turns...

 

  • #2

    Blast from the past, with a pipe.

    He waited outside, moving from one corner of the stairs to the other. His silent, gliding steps carrying him over the worn stones of the street, a thin blade tapping out a soft rhythm against his thigh. A golden coloured hawk watched him from the rail of the nearby stairwell.

    He was patient of course, as elves were wont to be- and indeed the pipe that touches his lips here and again gives him a chance to relax. He has been too relaxed these past four days, wanting only to ride out and meet the group half-way, but knowing that it'd be more difficult than doing simply that.

    Rather than letting his thoughts drift back in ages only found in his memory, he focused on the last several weeks. The 'quest', the fellowship, and his hand in it.

    The sounds of approach reach his pointed ears, but he hardly bothers reacting to it, continuing his circuit without sparing his rose glance towards the source. When they finally pause in front of him, he exhales fragrant smoke from between his lips and turns to the group and those it now consisted of.

    He bows gracefully, touching his half-gloved fingertips to his forehead in greeting. Dark coloured hair flirts with his deep, scarlet eyes; the stars and moon saturating his raiments in silver. "Welcome to Eivanrach," Aerda says with a grin. Astrule punctuates the greeting by flying to his shoulder and assessing the group with it's predator eyes.

    Aerda continues, "Sorry I could not make the journey o'er the Ashen mountains with you all- I had a journey of my own to make." He makes a step, trying to bring his small frame closer to the rest of you, "Perhaps, now that we are reunited, you can mend my ignorance?"

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    Nurthk looks at Aerda with a hint of suspicion. He had never trusted elves, half-elves he found tolerable, but elves he had faced on the battlefield before and he had no great love for them.

    He leans over to Fendric to ask quietly, "You know this guy?"

    [ooc: Welcome back, Wings. ]
    Last edited by Festy_Dog; Saturday, 4th September, 2004 at 06:53 PM.
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    (OOC: IIRC Aerda was actually the one who first met Nurthk, although it was brief and understandable that you may have forgotten/Nurthk may have not recognized him.)

    Hiritus takes a moment to read Fendric's reaction, then slowly begins to grin. The water-drinking knight, meanwhile, shuffles quietly back upstairs.

    Shavah breaks through the relative silence, addressing Aerda loudly over Nurthk's side-question:

    "You are a... cult'f Hexter. Ain't ya?"

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    "I do indeed, Pelor be Praised. Fellowship of the White Dove, meet Aerda Darlmeth Akylaine, who along with Niccolo and myself, is one of its original company."

    Fendric turns to face his long-lost trueblooded companion.

    "And that magnificent beast on his shoulder is Astrule, whom I believe those of his particular talent refer to as a familiar."

    "When last I saw you, good sir, you had disappeared with Exantrius' ring, which signs portent to be of no good purpose. It is good to see you again, and I take your good health to mean that you did indeed dispose of that evil artifact without further incident, for which I am thankful.

    As for us, I am happy to report that we are poised to deliver our third letter from Exantrius to its proper recipient in Eivanrach tomorrow. In the meantime, our Fellowship has grown in number to replace Victus, Merrim and the others. I'll leave them to introduce themselves, but you may remember Oliver here from the tavern in Hedrogura.

    After you left to dispose of the ring, Bethel erupted in mayhem, not the least of which found Father Premule kidnapped and taken from the city, and his guard ordered to stand down by none other than the Visach himself. The guard therefore left Bethel to search for him, and for a while, we joined them until they insisted we return to our quest. I know not how we made it as far as the mountain passes in such little time, but with Raven's help, we cleared them and are here in Eivanrach since the morning.

    We have been set upon by parties most hostile throughout, wherever we go. During the search for Premule, it was crazed beasts, who seemed to be set to attack Niccolo and myself directly. After that, it was a party of orcs over the mountain passes, but not before a shaman bid us not to proceed for Eivanrach the night before we left. I have been told that we are being watched even now.

    That is the short version. The rest can wait until the morning, for it is late, and we are tired. Come, you shall share a room with me tonight. In the morning, we approach the Jury of Sages.
    "

    Fendric, smiling, turns to go back into the inn, looking over his shoulder to make sure he's not alone.
    Recovering PBP Fiend

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    Hiritus seems quite visibly relieved at Fendric's suggestion of rest, doing his best to herd any stragglers up toward the rooms. Shavah is the worst of it; it seems that she's sobered up enough to enter that intentionally-comical stage of intoxication -- just drunk enough to want to keep up the same sort of behavior she's had all evening, though now it rings tin and phony.

    ...

    When morning comes, it comes inevitably late, though it seems early enough to those who made the most of the night before. Hiritus is clearly tired, and more awkward than usual... He remains quiet and avoids eye contact, particularly with Fendric, seeming focused on packing and repacking his things until perfection, even with no sure word that the Fellowship would leave this inn any time soon.

    Shavah, despite her excess, takes the morning on the opposite cheek: She seems refreshed and invigorated, with no trace of embarrassment or regret about the show from the night prior.

    (Plans for the morning? And make Spot checks, Fendric with a +4 bonus, I'd say.)

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    [ooc: Spot check: rolled 17 + 6 = 23]

    Nurthk wakes in the morning and goes to have breakfast, having had a notably non-violent night as he could remember most of it.

    "I should have drank more," he grumbles to himself, a little disgruntled.

    It's after a short while that he realises that at one point he did make Aerda's acquaintance, if only briefly. Brief enough to warrant forgetting while he was somewhat intoxicated no less. He eats quietly and waits for everyone to gather to discuss the next move.
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  • #8

    Hawk's eye.

    Aerda is up early, as all elves are rejuvinated by the dreaming trance they call Reverie, an ability gifted to them that allows them to replinish themselves in half the time as other races.

    With his gear on him, he leaves Fendric's room while the man still slept, and crept up onto the roof of the Inn. He spends several hours perched there, calmly contemplating and speaking with his familiar, as well as refreshing what spells he needed to refresh; which were nothing but cantrips, as nothing exciting had caused him to expend any others.

    When the others began waking up, he resecured his dark blue spellbook and moved over the lip of the roof again, climbing down onto a balcony and moving into Fendric's room. He was soft on his feet, very much so as he moved into the room.

    He still had something he needed to do before the group had no time, but he was afraid how they may react. Astrule's cry betrayed his presence and Aerda put on a smile.

    "Fendric," The elf says in his velvety, mysterious voice with it's heavy elven accent, "I had little chance to inquire more of the others. Who are these people that have joined the Fellowship of the White Dove? Why did the one suspect me to be of the Cult of Hextor?"

    Beyond these questions, Aerda follows Fendric out to meet with the others.

    (My spot was 13, Astrule, on the other hand.. 27, and we can communicate verbally, he has 8 intelligence. Sorry if my posting isnt too on topic- i feel like ive been thrust into this without any reassuring foreplay. Think I could get a run-down of the current party, it has been a while, and my memory is pretty sorry anyhow)

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    Nurthk and Astrule both notice (as will anyone else who beats DC 20, I should mention): As much as Hiritus is avoiding Fendric, he's also avoiding Shavah... She seems to be following along, as well, being quite directly friendly to everyone but him. (OOC: I'm quite curious to see what the hawk makes of this, if he cares, heh.)

    (Note to wings, as I'm not sure you've seen me use this trick before: Just cut and paste the above to somewhere the font won't copy, like notepad...)

    (i feel like ive been thrust into this without any reassuring foreplay)
    (Heh, sorry about that... Forgot just how much the party had changed. Here's a brief run-down, so you don't have to wait, although the rest can correct and elaborate when they get the chance.)

    Fendric is still Fendric, the young fawn-haired half-elf acolyte of Pelor. Although he's lost a bit of his youth, it seems.

    Niccolo is still Niccolo, the gnome violinist and storykeeper. He hasn't lost a bit of anything since you last saw him, it seems, which is appropriate for a man of histories.

    And Oliver is still Oliver -- the old lutist from Caval's Horde in Hedrogura, although when and how he arrived with the rest of this group is, well, his story to tell. He seems to have regained quite a bit of youth; perhaps he picked up some of Fendric's.

    Nurthk... You did meet Nurthk briefly, at a bar in Bethel, before disappearing to bury the ring. He's a half-orc of stern character and strong build, and it appears your initial assessment, that he may make a trustworthy and devoted companion, was fairly accurate. He's still here, after all.

    Raven is a new face, entirely. Tall, well built, and carrying a nice big greatsword. He'd remind you a little of Victus, if his mood wasn't all wrong: Too openly high-spirited.

    Hiritus you may have met extremely briefly before leaving... He's another follower of Pelor, plucked from the temple in Bethel at right around the time you parted ways with the rest of the Fellowship. He definitely still has his youth.

    Shavah, as is clear once she dons her standard-issues with morning, is a follower of Heironeous... You recognize the look of her various insignias as originating with the temple guard of Bethel.
    Last edited by Guilt Puppy; Sunday, 12th September, 2004 at 12:12 AM.

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    [Spot: 12 +5 +4 = 22]

    Quote Originally Posted by wings
    He still had something he needed to do before the group had no time, but he was afraid how they may react. Astrule's cry betrayed his presence and Aerda put on a smile.
    Fendric, who had reveried, arose a moment after Aerda left, washed, dressed and prayed while he was gone, now turned and smiled back at Aerda and Astrule as they 'greeted' him.

    "Fendric," The elf says in his velvety, mysterious voice with it's heavy elven accent, "I had little chance to inquire more of the others. Who are these people that have joined the Fellowship of the White Dove? Why did the one suspect me to be of the Cult of Hextor?"
    Fendric tells Aerda what he can of each of the new members:

    "Keep in mind, my trueblooded friend, that these our newest companions have been tested and found true, many times over. I do not wish my honest assessment of them, therefore, to cloud your acknowledgement of that simple fact. I would happily lay down my life for any of them, Pelor Willing.

    Shavah's had a rough time of it, may her God grant her Mercy from her thoughts. We have no news of Premule, and I believe she wished she could be with her guardmates, still trying to find him. She came with us from the halfling village out of a sense of curiosity, fondness and protection, before we had picked up even a clue of where the Father had been taken, and as the time grows longer, I suspect she believes her decision to be a mistake. So she had also been drinking quite a bit when she encountered you - I'm afraid she's not used to encountering friendly souls, much less friends. Think nothing of the challenge, I say.

    Hiritus I met in Bethel shortly before you, Merrim and Victus left. He is a Knight of Pelor, steadfast and loyal in combat, strong and passionate in our faith... and troubled. I can tell it. I intend to ask him, may Pelor Guide me to the Truth. I do not relish that confrontation, and I will seek to delay it, especially if it is of unimportant things. But at its base, I believe he has lost his trust in us, especially in me, and that must be resolved.

    Speaking of confrontation - that's also how Raven and I met, so to speak. We were at a waystation before the mountains, preparing to cross, when a shaman and his band of orcs appeared and attempted to prevent us from going over. I resisted the idea, and Raven took issue with my manner toward the shaman. We've managed to improve our relationship since then, but I still bristle around him, especially when he speaks.

    Oliver, it seems, I've known from a long time before. He managed to escape Hedrogura before it fell. Before his time playing in the bar where we all originally met, he was a gladiator at the Pits. I tended to him there shortly after I entered the Order... Oliver has his demons, but he'd stand to the last when it counted, which I admire of him. He is not, however, a pleasant man, and in fact, I fear him.

    As for Nurthk, he also joined the Fellowship in Bethel before we set out. His background is that of a bodyguard, or bouncer, I believe. It's not often you meet someone like him. By that I mean, I'd march confidently into the Nine Hells were he at my side. I feel a kinship, there, as if underneath his countenance, there lies my brother.

    Come, we have much to do.

    Oh, and Aerda? I thank the Radiant Light you are back.
    "
    Recovering PBP Fiend

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    Raven carefully opens one eye. Allright, that doesnt hurt too much, and the room isn't spţnning. That wine must have been better then I thought. Or I didn't drink that much. Huh, I wonder how Shavah feels. Wouldn't like to be in her shoes. Ge gets up, scratches himself a bit, gets washed and prepares to go downstairs. As the events of last night play hide and seek with his brain, he decides against casual clothing. Thank the gods I prepared my leathers before I started drinking.
    He carefully dresses up in his newly polished leather armor and boots, gives his two-hander a last lick of the sandstone and buckles on his shortsword and dagger.
    The longbow would be overdoing it I guess. Too crowded, might accidentally hit a bystander if things get rough.
    He then goes down to the tavern for a healthy, large breakfast and something hot to drink.
    Wasn't there another elf down here last night? With an eagle or something?
    *Doghead* "You're an idiot, Dr Z."

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    OOC : btw, GP, do you have an up-to-date XP-list somewhere?
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    (OOC Thread has updated XP -- Raven did not level, though Fendric, Niccolo, and Nurthk did... Oh, and WELCOME BACK! by the way.)

    Shavah follows Raven out, her mood remaining on the positive side. She sits next to the hunter, cheeks exceptionally expressive, asks for a double-order of whatever he's having -- with nothing short of a sinister grin.

    "So," she asks casually, while they awake their food. "Does the new fellow seem like a bad omen, or what?"
    Last edited by Guilt Puppy; Wednesday, 15th September, 2004 at 02:51 PM.

  • #14

    Bad Omen?

    Aeriador nods to Fendric, keeping a mental record of who is who. He follows the half-blood out of the room and down the stairs, gliding down them quietly, unlike the heavy tromping booted men tend to make. Astrule is perched silently on Aerda's shoulder, his piercing hunter's eyes picking the place apart with a few deft glances.

    The bird was intelligent, more so than many children, and under Aerda's guidance and constant mental connection he was only growing more so. the bird seemed to gain interest in a particular set of interactions, but Aerda paid it little heed.

    Splitting away from Fendric, he moves toward the already gathering group, his silent footfalls carrying him behind the two seated just as the woman voiced her opinion of him. He smiles slightly, "Bad Omen? How so?" he asks.

    Sliding into a seat apart from the others, leaving space between himself and the next person over on the table, he waves the waitress back over. "Water please- Silvered with raspberry," he purrs.

    "You would be Shavah, then. And Raven?"

    He was dressed in a practical and form fitting outfit(accented with impractical straps and buckles with antiqued brass metal pieces), draped over this is a long simple robe the colour of a blue midnight sky, open down the middle with a slit down the back. A rapier sits against one thigh, and tall, supple leather boots rise well past his knees. His backpack is sat next to the chair carefully.

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    "Bad omen?" Raven asks between two mouthfulls. "I dunno, Fendric seems to know him from before. He seems to trust him." He stops chewing for a moment. "Didn't he say something about destroying an evil ring? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exantrius chappie supposed to have been a palladin? Makes you wonder why he was carrying an 'evil artifact', as our pious friend here so aptly names it. Coupled with the fact that he was supposed to have been dead for quite a bit, and then so peacefully passes away and turns into a dove, just after he has given you lot some mysterious letters that have to be spread around the countryside, " sarcastic snort "makes me wonder if we aren't played for suckers here. This whole thing smells worse then Nurthk's armpit on a hot summer night. But maybe that's just me being a bit paranoid."
    "Say, if you're gonna eat all that you might as well come with me to that armorer today. Why? Well, because I'm gonna have to get these tears mended, and you're gonna need to have yours let out a bit." He says laughingly as he dodges her swing.
    "No, no, seriously, I'm gonna go get my armor repaired and I'll have to get some new arrows, care to join me? You, Nurthk? Or anyone else?"
    *Doghead* "You're an idiot, Dr Z."

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    Bugger, overlapping posting
    *Doghead* "You're an idiot, Dr Z."

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    "Raven of clan Cwdmyr, pleased to meet you", Raven says, as he extends his hand. "We were just talking about you and Fendric. Say, you were there as well when you met this supposed Exantrius. Didn't it strike you as odd that he was carrying this evil ring? And this whole letter delivering thinghy, and all that has happened?" He holds up his hands "I don't wanna offend you, Fendric, you're a good man through and through, and I know you wouldn't do anything to hurt anyone, but, well, I'm not as good a person as you are. I'm a mean suspicious basterd, and I'm wondering , again, if all is as it seems."
    *Doghead* "You're an idiot, Dr Z."

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    Nurthk takes a mental note of who has come downstairs thus far. He places a forkful of bacon in his mouth and waits for Hiritus to show up.

    Hmm, now that I think of it, I never did ask much about all of this did I? The elf knew the old man I think, I should keep an ear out for stuff of note... Heh, who am I kiddin', I woulda tagged along regardless of what they were doin'.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrZombie
    "No, no, seriously, I'm gonna go get my armor repaired and I'll have to get some new arrows, care to join me? You, Nurthk? Or anyone else?"
    "I need some things tended to, sure I'll come along," he replies, "And I use soap thank you, isn't my fault orcs naturaly sweat a lot."

    He takes a swig from the tankard next to his plate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZombie
    "Raven of clan Cwdmyr, pleased to meet you", Raven says, as he extends his hand. "We were just talking about you and Fendric. Say, you were there as well when you met this supposed Exantrius. Didn't it strike you as odd that he was carrying this evil ring? And this whole letter delivering thinghy, and all that has happened?" He holds up his hands "I don't wanna offend you, Fendric, you're a good man through and through, and I know you wouldn't do anything to hurt anyone, but, well, I'm not as good a person as you are. I'm a mean suspicious basterd, and I'm wondering, again, if all is as it seems."
    Fendric arrives downstairs just as Raven introduces himself to Aerda. Sitting across from Shavah, Fendric picks up the conversation from there:

    "Hmm? Oh, yes, the letters. And the ring. Pelor Preserve Us in the Light, but I have had the same doubts creeping to the forefront of my mind as you have, Raven. The very same, so I suppose it matters not where you believe yourself to stand between good and evil, to see things as they are.

    Anyway, I can tell all of you two things that I believe with certainty as regards the letters and the ring: while the ring -was- tainted, the letters certainly are not. I verified them, with the guidance of my god, and I have no doubt that even if they did elude that detection, that a letter, even if magicked, would be no match for the Jury of Sages.

    But many answers elude me still: Why, as you point out, did Exantrius wear that accursed ring? Was he who he says he was? What do these letters say? And why, oh why, does conflict and calamity follow us like a bad rash?
    "

    Fendric looks up to see a barmaid set a plate of rabbit, bread and a mug before him, with a trepidation worthy of one whose job it is to feed the balrog each morning. Mumbling a sheepish apology, he reaches for coin, producing 5 silver for her before he returns to his conversation.

    "So, yes, I was hoping to get at least one of those nagging questions answered today, May the Light Reveal It To Be So. Pelor may prefer to work mysteriously, but His Humble Servant likes his circumstances in the open, where he can see them."

    Fendric takes a bite of rabbit and begins work on his meal, occasionally stealing a glance at Hiritus and Shavah, and listening to find out if either one of them could hate him any more than they already must.

    [Sense Motive on H & S: 19 +4 = 23. They spent the night together, didn't they? Hiritus probably thinks he's fallen because of it.]

    [Yes, THAT's good, Fendric: referring to yourself as a separate person will most definitely prevent them from believing you to be a doddering half-wit who cannot form cohesive sentences. The acolytes dying in Hedrogura would be so proud...]

    Eyes downcast, Fendric continues his meal.
    Last edited by dpdx; Friday, 17th September, 2004 at 08:28 AM.
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    Oliver looks puzzled to see the elf and his bushy brows furrow. How in the...? He squints suspiciously and looks up for the man who'd guided them to this dark and inebriated encounter. He keeps a watchful eye on the proceedings, and makes a brief warding gesture when Shavah speaks of Hextor. He puts his hand on her arm. Something about Aerda's appearance makes the Oliver uneasy. Too much of coincidence weaving the lives of this fellowship together. Too much coincidence or too much meddling of gods and demons.

    "Don't think we were properly introduced at the 'Horde. Oliver." The old man nods a tight greeting to the mysterious elf, but still can't help but look admiringly at the regal bird.

    ***********

    Oliver wakes early but doesn't come down until most are half through their meals. His eyes are shadowed and his step unsteady. His eyes are shiny and bright and the pale skin around his eyes blotched and red.

    He sniffs loudly a runny nose, "Think I'm coming down with something. Again." He sits carefully, knees popping. His hands go through their swift and subtle check of blades and pouches and buttoned flies.

    He eats quickly, watching the verbal sparring at the table and the various moods as they fly and flicker about. Good, tension keeps us sharp. He looks at the elf, an appraising look in his eye. And mistrust sharper. He nods to Raven's questions, around a mouthful of crusty bread he manages, "Yeph, I haf som 'tuff 'at 'eeds," He pauses, swallowing properly and clears his throat. "...some stuff that needs seeing to. Come up and get me when you're ready to leave." He coughs and his eyes redden, tearing up. "Dammit. Just got over the last miserable..." He stands, creaking joints and all, and hustles upstairs to feed Winkle, muttering darkly to himself.

    He passes Fendric on his way up and the half-elf's keen ears think they may have discerned a greeting.

    OOC: Out of town until late Monday.
    Last edited by Sparky; Friday, 17th September, 2004 at 02:08 PM.

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