The big man wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. "You could say that I'm serving a penance," he says as he places his ale back on the table. "But I prefer to see it as an opportunity - away from the stifling strictures of those paralysed with imaginary fears."
"As I said before, interesting place this Hommlet. How long have you been in these parts?" he asks without meeting the eyes of any of the group.
"Too long," says Marco, a short, scrawny studious looking man. The plate of food sitting before him is mostly untouched, as is his mug of ale. "Hmm...actually, I've only been in these parts a few weeks. Captured by bandits, I was, at least, 'til these good folk rescued me."
Coraine leans back in his chair, and takes a pull of his ale.
"We've been here for a week or so - although Marco's right, it does seem longer. We heard that there was some trouble with bandits around here, and have been striving to make it safer for travellers. There are other problems, it seems, as well - so we may be here for some time longer."
He eyes the newcomer keenly. "Why Hommlet for your penance?"
'It matches so far,' Kurt thinks to himself. Conscious that he was biting the inside of his cheek in deep thought, Kurt opens his jaw slightly to free the flesh. Eyeing Coraine once again and particularly his holy symbol of Heironeous, Kurt decides that it is time to take a chance. "I've been sent to help you," he says softly and takes another drink.
“And... HE sent you?” Dara says, her eyes wandering towards the holy symbol before she looks straight into the stranger's face and smiles. “If you are here to help, and surely we can need some help here, you are most welcome... Kurt. I'm called Dara.”
Marco knocks his hand against the table several times and then shakes his finger at Kurt. "Your timing may be excellent indeed, Disciple of the Invincible. I've been serving this group as a healer, while I learned what I may of injury and death. I'm afraid I've not like what I have seen."
Turning to regard the rest of the group with his smoke colored eyes, the healer continues. "No offense to any of you, but the last week has taught me many things, and foremost among them is that I belong in a library or temple, and not on the battlefield. I've wanted to part ways and return home for several days now, but I didn't want to leave you without someone to tend to your hurts."
Marco smiles and turns his head back to stare at Kurt. "From my intense studies of religion, I believe I am correct in saying that the clerics of Heironeous have the ability to heal wounds and mend bones. Is this not so, Kurt?"
“There is, indeed, a lot to prepare for...” Dara begins, then lowers her voice some, so that other patrons should not overhear what she tells now.
“There is this temple a day or so from here. It's called the Temple of Elemental Evil, and it accomodates a quite large cult dedicated to the worship of some nasty elemental powers born of evil and chaos. There must be hundreds of them, organized in factions according to the four elements and somewhat controlled by their leaders who inhabit a place called the Greater Temple in the depths below the temple's dungeons, and which is dedicated to the combination of the four elements. We have, so far, only scratched the surface of this place of evil.”
Kurt forgets about his drink as Dara explains. After a bit of mulling over of the detail, he suddenly remembers the ale and takes another drink. "That'd be the source of the trouble hereabouts, then?" he offers. He then smiles. "I was told a little about what to expect," he admits. "But not much."
"Elementals you say?" and he sighs. "I'm really more accustomed to dealing with the undead. But I'm sure that Patriarch Thanden knew what he was doing when he sent me."
Marco grimaces. "Funny thing, that." he says, taking a sip from his own mug. "We've actually ran into some ghouls and ghasts, and I've not seen an actual elemental yet." He looks around at everyone and frowns. "Yet."