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Before the Rise of Tiamat

Envisioner

Explorer
(Don't mind the "Wiki" tag, the forum seems to be having technical issues, and I'm not being given any other options.)

In a peaceful little southern town by the name of Greenest, populated mostly by humans with a significant minority of halflings, two dwarves both happened to check into the travelers' hostel within an hour of each other, and one was on his way out for an errand when the other walked in. (The players can figure out the details; one reasonable possibility would be that Grimnir showed up first, dropped off his laundry or whatever, and then headed out to visit a temple, which probably wouldn't specifically relate to his faith, but he could probably find an altar to some generic nature deity who is semi-secretly an ally of Umberlee.) Trading adventuring stories as adventurers generally do (even if this isn't quite a typical tavern, since the bar and the inn are in different buildings), the two dwarves struck up at least the beginnings of an acquaintance, while persons of greater or lesser height wandered by and occasionally goggled at them just a bit (they do at least try not to be rude).

The sun is an hour or two from going down....
 
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gargoyleking

Adventurer
Mornok was surprised as he was about to step into the door to the inn, another dwarf was just coming out, and this one seemed to have a strange briny scent to him. The shield dwarf took a few moments to let his eyes adjust to the darkness although he quickly noticed the fine dwarven armor the other wore, though it's design was a bit strange to his eyes.

"Ach, now that be a fine suit friend. Mornok Storm'ammer of Citadel Abdar, glad t' meet ye'!"
 
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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Grimnir nods politely at first, then a smile crosses his face.

"Many thanks, the armor was my father's who had it made in Mirabar when he was a lad! My name is Grimnir Hammerdeep of Luskan, well met," the more tanned dwarf replies in the common tongue, his speech mostly devoid of the usual dwarven accent.

"He was a sailor, like myself, and was originally from the Giant's Run Mountains in the south. Can I offer you a drink as I practise my Dwarvish?"

The gold dwarf fiddles with the simple metal disc with a symbol of two waves, that is connected to a simple chain around his neck. She can wait for her sacrifice a little longer, this far from her realm, Grimnir thinks to himself, and decides to postpone his visit to a shrine or temple for a bit.
 

Envisioner

Explorer
While the two dwarves get to know each other (OOC: I'm gonna let them have at least one more back-and-forth before I give them a plot hook), a different meeting is taking place just a few houses down the main thoroughfare of Greenest village. When Lyle was deciding to come back to his prior hometown and replant some of the roots he had pulled up a few years earlier, he made sure to move into an available dwelling which was close to the town's traveler's hostel, its freestanding pub, and other such amenities catering to the fairly frequent merchant traffic that comes through this thriving village. The more places there are for rich passers-by to deposit their spare coins, the better the locals live, and the better they live, the more opportunities they can create for wealth to be redistributed; it's a beautiful cycle. While currently disinclined toward active larceny (both out of legitimate fondness for the town he grew up in, and because a sensible person keeps their metaphorical larder and privy well-separated), Lyle certainly feels more comfortable knowing that he is close to the flow of trade, just in case he decides he absolutely needs to keep his skills in practice.

So, for the moment at least, he's not a thief (or a "borrower", as the Little People often euphemistically term this activity); he's just the resident of #3 Main Street East, a pleasant little bungalow only a couple doors away from the roundabout where wagons tend to pull up for the night, allowing their teamsters and passengers to seek out the bar, the several small restaurants, or even the well-disguised house of ill repute, among other less stereotypical destinations. And, in his capacity as resident, he's currently performing one of the unofficial duties of any good citizen who wishes to keep himself utterly above suspicion - paying a social call upon one of his neighbors, in order to exchange small gifts, trade favors, arrange opportunities for other acquaintances, and engage in general gossip and small talk. The neighbor he's currently calling upon is Ms. Galena Goodburroughs, a platonic friend from back in the day when you were both little "kithlings" of allied hobbit families. Though she's only sixty-five, and thus still in the prime of midlife, she's already settled comfortably into the lifestyle of a nonagenarian spinster, sharing her dwelling with a smallish cat and two even smaller dogs which she treats as if they were cats; she makes her living by selling odd little curios that she creates out of materials others dismiss as junk, such as lovingly polishing discarded metal sprockets and turning them into jewelry for faddish human noblewomen. (You've wondered once in a while whether her family might have a touch of gnomish blood, but then, none of them seem to share her predilections; maybe she was "touched by the faeries", euphemistically or otherwise, at a formative age...or perhaps she's just a bit of an odd duck, for no reason at all.) Right now, she's knitting a caftan for one of her second cousins' nephews' schoolmates over in Berdusk; it'll be a week before it leaves her hands for a caravan heading in that direction, and another month before it arrives in the cousin's hands to be distributed to the nephew so he can take it to school, but despite this, nothing will do but that she gets it finished tonight. So, while you listen to her gossip about recent comings and goings in the area, you're forced to endure the clacking of her silvered needles (one of which is a novelty painted in light metallic green), and she has failed to offer you any baked goods to snack on while you listen, as she typically otherwise would.
 

gnarlygninja

Explorer
There were times after his move to Baldur's Gate when Lyle missed Greenest badly to ruin his day. These spells came with little warning, brought up whenever he'd use a piece of slang no one around him recognized, or the kind of seeds an innkeeper used in seed cakes, sometimes just the general sounds and smells of the city would bring them on. In these moments he'd stop and remember his home fondly. In Greenest people would take the time to talk to you, and never rudely rushed out of a conversation. In Greenest no one ever skimped on the honey when they made a cake, and there was always enough butter for both sides of your bread. In Greenest no one ever decided you were paying back your loan too slowly and robbed you in broad daylight, leaving you with little more than the hair on your feet.

Since moving back, there had been a handful of moments where Greenest lived up to his romanticized memories. This, however, was not one of them.

The steady rhythm of Galena's knitting threatened to put Lyle to sleep, and her uncharacteristic lack of food didn't help. Lyle caught himself in the middle of a snore and attempted to turn it into a cough. He decided this was a good opportunity to steer the conversation in a more fruitful direction. "Sorry Gal, I've had this cough for a few days now. Could I trouble you for a spot of tea? Maybe a few honey cakes? I've got a lovely bit of roast chicken at home I could run back and share. Oh, and you haven't noticed anyone unusual recently have you, or anyone asking about me?"
 

Envisioner

Explorer
OOC: gotta think about how to respond to lyle, so just a quick weather report, which the characters may not even be aware of until they go outside.


A dark storm cloud appears on the horizon.
 

gargoyleking

Adventurer
"Aye, you know I been in th' market fer a good suit o' dwarven scale. I cannae stand th' penny pinchin' army o' th' citadel. I earned my armor th' standard way, but when my time were up they said they 'ad a new policy. ACH!!! spits But ye dunnae need to 'ear about that. Tell me, how's a dwarf end up floating around in' more'n a small pond?"

Mornok spoke as they walked to a nearby tavern and settled onto a barstool.

"Barkeep, somethin' dark an' dinnae skimp on th' head! A good ale need's a nice head on it."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Make it two each," Grimnir adds with a smile at the barkeep. "First one for quenching our thirst, second one just to enjoy."

The gold dwarf settles on his stool and, once the drinks arrive, raises one mug in toast before taking a big gulp.

"I was born on my Mum's ship, so it seemed only fitting to live there. The sea can be a generous mistress, but like a heavy storm after a sunny day her mood can turn sour abruptly," the sailor says in Dwarvish with just a hint of sadness and fear in his voice. "Right now I fear that she is angry at me for no reason I can fathom, and I find it best to stay out of her way for a while."

After a second gulp of ale, Grimnir takes his holy symbol and pours the rest of his first drink over the disc while muttering a small prayer. A small puddle of beer forms on the bar, and the dwarf uses his right hand to create a sort of river to the edge, where he holds up his empty waterskin to catch some of the liquid.

"Far out of her way," he adds softly, then looks up at Mornok.

"Have you checked the local smithy yet? Don't know if there are any dwarves working there, but it's worth taking a look. And I doubt they've got too many customers so with some haggling you might get a discount."

Looking the other dwarf up and down, Grimnir adds, "So what's a mage doing in Greenest?"
 

gargoyleking

Adventurer
Lookin' t' make a bit o' coin honestly, I been on th' road fer a time an' my reserves are low. B'sides, I do need t' find a good suit o' scale I dinnae understand how they manage up 'ere without some real protection."

Mornok smiles as the tankards are brought out and he happily downs the first in one go.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Aye, making some coin helps with purchasing quality stuff," Grimnir agrees as he starts on his second ale, his little sacrifice to Umberlee completed to his satisfaction.

"What are you thinking? Caravan guard? Adventuring? Diving for sunken merchant ships?" The latter suggestion is followed by a wink.
 

gargoyleking

Adventurer
"I'd take anything 'as doesn't 'arm me 'onor. Might even try my 'and at smithing if it comes doen to it. I've done a bit of mending 'ere an' there on th' road. Always someone with a fouled 'orseshoe or dented pot. But It's a waste o' me talents unless I'm makin' somethin' worthwhile.
 

Envisioner

Explorer
OOC: Seems like a single day can't pass without one of my watched threads failing to notify me....


Lyle
Galena hesitates a moment, but her urge to be a good hostess does finally win out over her fixation on completing the caftan, and she sets her knitting aside, promising to produce the requested tea and snack. When she returns with these, she sits back down and sips her own cup once before speaking again, holding the warm cup in her (probably slightly-numbed from the needlework) hands. "Hm; can't think of anyone having mentioned you specifically. We have had several traders in recent weeks, and I did notice a few slightly questionable characters; I'm never sure what to make of the kind of folk who have business in Berdusk or Beregost or Baldur's Gate (strange how they all begin with -/-, hrm?) Let's see, I've forgotten most of those I saw going in and out of the hostel, but I can recollect three names, and a couple other faces that I never got a name for.

"There was a tallfolk named Imsa who was green from head to foot, she was pretty hard to avoid noticing; seemed nice enough as long as nobody asked her what the Asmodeus happened to her. Mentioned she was en route to Waterdeep, and probably hasn't finished a trip of such length by now. There was also a rather sinister-looking fellow who called himself Preznak; I never saw him go anywhere but up to his room and back out to the wagon, like he didn't find anything about the town worth his attention; I only heard his name because Imsa mentioned it while talking about his refusal to socialize. Thirdly there was a monk from Candlekeep who introduced himself as Leonard Never-Sin; bit pretentious, that nickname, but then he was some combination of human and elf, so that's pretty far from unusual, and aside from being full of himself he seemed friendly enough. Not the 'punching mountains in half' kind of monk, as far as I could tell, just a religious pilgrim with an armful of scrolls in his backpack. I also saw one of them "dragon-born" from out of the southeast, who never introduced himself in my presence, but was asking a lot of questions around town - some kind of antiquarian perhaps. And there was the tallest of tallfolk that I've ever seen, and the darkest-skinned to boot; scuttlebutt around his particular caravan was that he's called 'the pole", and that he's from some place to the far south where they have centaurs that are half-panther instead of half-horse. I think that's everybody that stood out in any kind of obvious way."


OOC: : The letter B in Thoross, the typical human and halfling alphabet of the Forgotten Realms, is fortunately possible for me to approximate in Unicode as -/-, although the central line ought to be unbroken, and the diagonal is a pen-stroke which should be wider at the top than the bottom. This is probably the only time I will bother to distinguish between Common written in Thoross and English written in Roman, since I happen to have the Sword Coast book out from the library, but very little of it seemed useful to me and I don't plan to keep it long.
 

Envisioner

Explorer
Dwarves
While Grimnir and Mornok walk to the bar, the former at least notices the thick clouds starting to roll in from the west, born on a high wind far too violent to merit the typical term of "zephyr", the leading edge of which has already reached the town and is beginning to rattle the shutters, set the decorative elven chimes on several of the larger houses to jangling discordantly, and shake the trees hard enough to scatter early apples and acorns onto the ground a week sooner and a yard wider than they'd have ordinarily fallen. The cleric has strong reason to suspect his patroness might have sent this storm, though whether she had any reason for doing so is anyone's guess; in any event, his experience tells him that the brunt of the blow won't fall until close to midnight, even though the westerly gales have probably carried these clouds close to half of the distance from the sea already, crossing many a mile in perhaps as little as thirty minutes, before they started to pile up on the craggy peaks for which the Wood of Sharp Teeth is partially named. The terrain to the northwest and southwest of Greenest is probably already being soaked; how odd that Umberlee's servant seems to be in the one place least vulnerable to her wrath, assuming she is indeed wrathful this evening.

The seafaring dwarf was already planning his apotropaic ritual before he saw the evidence of his deity's presence; it seems even more prudent afterward. The inkeep glares a little at the sight of you pouring his ale onto his tables, but apparently decides to just dismiss this as typical dwarven weirdness and not comment upon it.
 

gnarlygninja

Explorer
OOC: I assume none of these names mean anything to Lyle?


Lyle wondered for a moment if Galena forgot he had lived in Baldur's Gate for years or if she was gently reprimanding him but decided to ignore it. Food tended to distract him from most concerns.
"Thank you dear, I've often said no one can bake like you Goodburroughs. Mmm, is this apple? Wonderful." Lyle paused to let one of the dogs lick crumbs from his hand. "Sounds like the past few weeks have been eventful. Sadly I'm still settling back in and don't have much gossip to share, although I have noticed that new barber keeps strange hours. I haven't quite figured out where he goes so late at night. Are any of these strange people still in town or have they all passed on?"
 


gargoyleking

Adventurer
Mornok looks up from his second tankard curiously. The wind was picking up outside and seemed rather frightful.

"Sounds like we got a howl comin'...
 

Envisioner

Explorer
Greenest is a town small enough not to really need a City Watch, but also a town connected enough to the constant flow of traffic that it becomes status-conscious, and influenced by the trends of larger metropoli - one of which is the belief that a City Watch is an inherently prestigious institution, which no right-thinking settlement would be without. Thusly, Greenest has a City Watch of precisely five people, not counting the castellan who runs the city's central keep, although he also acts as an administrator for the Watch force while he's busy doing all of the other "nothing" he usually has to do, in his capacity as the fallback plan in case anything ever goes catastrophically wrong, which so far it never has. One of the five Watch officers is walking by the window as Mornok and Grimnir continue their conversation. He's carrying a bullseye lantern, but it isn't lit yet, since the sun has yet to actually set (although the clouds in the west have largely obscured this fact, so the exterior is pretty dim-looking by non-Dwarf standards).
 

gnarlygninja

Explorer
Lyle finally noticed the wind picking up.
"Well Gal, it seems the weather is getting bad. I hate to eat and run but I'd rather head home before it gets worse. I hate walking in the rain." He surreptitiously stuffed a few sweets into his pocket as he pushed away from the table and gave the dog sitting at his feet a gentle pat. "I'll see you sometime later this tenday, I hope your cousin's schoolmate enjoys the caftan!"
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Indeed," Grimnir replies to Mornok as the two dwarves look outside the window at the gathering clouds and increasing winds.

"I fear that Umberlee has sent this storm, although why I do not know. It'll probably get worse gradually until midnight, so remember to sacrifice something important in water if her wrath threatens to overtake you."

The priest considers possibilities for why his goddess may have sent this gail now; after all, he has been away from shore for a while now. Did he forget a day of import, or miss a moment of prayer? He cannot fathom any particular reason, so the dwarf shrugs and gets back to his drink.

"It'll pass," he decides.
 

Envisioner

Explorer
An abrupt gust rattles the bar's windows ominously. The bartender, a portly human who briefly introduced himself as Roque, says "Let's make it last call, fellows. I'd normally stay open later, but I don't like the sound of that weather."

(Not ignoring Lyle, just need more time to think of what I want to do with him next.)
 

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