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5E Heroes of Hydellor

KahlessNestor

Explorer
OOC Thread

Rogues Gallery and Setting Information

Mindra the Nightflower

Essess/Essess City/The Argent Rose
A few months ago/Evening

Comfortably ensconced in the west side of the North Bank district of the capital, The Argent Rose was known as the place to be if you wanted information or a job. Located near the North Market far enough away from the Essess River to be respectable, but not too far from the docks to be too respectable, it was a varied mix of clientele wanting to eat, drink, and fornicate with relative discretion. It was a clean, semi-respectable establishment catering to merchants from out of the city and from all over Essess and the former empire. Certainly there were nicer, more respectable taverns, and there were definitely much less reputable ones for cheap near the docks and the stockyards. The food at The Rose was decent, and moderately priced. The ale wasn’t watered down, and often a more refined dwarven brew or a case of fine elven wine served in the better establishments would fall off a wagon and end up at The Rose. But one didn’t come to The Argent Rose for the food, or the ale, or even the young men and women working upstairs. No, one came for the two beauties at the bar.

The elf leaned against the wall at the end of the bar near the door leading to the kitchens and the rear exit to the alley. One might be surprised at Tiral. She wasn’t what one would think of when one envisioned a wood elf. Her dark copper hair was tied back in a long braid down her back, sweeping her firm posterior. She wore tight black leather breeches that hung low, emphasizing her shapely feminine hips and thighs. A low-cut midriff top revealed plenty of cleavage and an impressive set of abs. Green eyes flashed from a face that had the severe beauty elves were often known for. Her hand rested lightly, ready, on a club hanging at her hip.

There was definitely a lot more skin showing than one might typically have seen from an elf, and one could be forgiven for being distracted for a moment as one’s eyes ran over Tiral a moment longer than it took to assess her as a threat. And then one would realize that was exactly the point. With typical high elven logic, Tiral wielded her feminine wiles as an asset. One would realize she’d just had a second or two extra time should violence have erupted, seconds that could have been fatal for the gawker.

Then one’s attention might be drawn to the human woman chatting at the bar. Ketacyn was a striking contrast to the high elf. Where Tiral was a mix of hard muscle and soft curves, Ketacyn was supremely feminine. Long, golden hair cascaded down delicate shoulders, framing beautiful blue eyes that were sapphire pools set in her alabaster face. She was definitely Arideen, with enough celestial blood in her to be apparent. Full, pouty lips were painted a luscious, kissable red. She was voluptuous, with full breasts and hips and a youthful appearance, a sort of baby doll beauty in her short white dress. One might recognize in the way she leaned on the bar, wiping down glasses, that pillow talk likely formed as much of her intelligence gathering as bar talk.

For information is what was the real currency at The Argent Rose. From noble scandals to mercantile machinations, criminal doings to political shenanigans, one could likely find out about it at The Rose...for a price. And if one needed a job done, legal or otherwise, Ketacyn and Tiral were more than happy to make introductions

And that is why Tanlin Springmantle found himself dodging the Bigs as he ducked between the legs of a tall human into the common room of the inn. His blue eyes blinked in the bright light from the fireplace and the everburning lamps in the sconces on the wall. It was a typical evening in The Rose, apparently, with a general low-level din occasionally punctuated by raucous laughter. Angry shouts came from somewhere, but they immediately quieted when Tiral shot them a hard look and straightened ever so slightly. A group of drunken dockworkers wisely filed out the door to take their dispute outside.

The little gnome straightened his fine Tabaxi silk tunic and ran his hand through his wild white hair. He caught Ketacyn’s eye at the bar and the woman nodded toward a table in the back. Tanlin sighed as he looked at the obstacle course of Bigs he would have to maneuver to get there.

“One of these days I’ll start up my own pub. No Bigs allowed! Or maybe he’d finally get around to that stilts idea he’d had several years ago!

Securing his satchel, the gnome ducked his big head and charged into the fray. He dodges spilled ale, stepped on toes, and evaded grasping, retaliatory hands as he wove his way through the chaos that was The Rose on an evening. Finally, panting a bit, he reached his destination.

Tanlin grunted as she shoved back a too-big chair and clambered up on it. His chin barely cleared the table as he stared across it at the attractive, midnight-haired wood elf, her green eyes buried in her mug of ale. She was short for an elf, which only made her more attractive to the older gnome.

“You are bloody hard to find, you know that, elf?” Tanlin said with affectionate grumpiness. “Heard that ponce Del finally dumped you.” Tanlin dug around in his satchel and pulled out a small bag. He untied it and spread the cloth out on the table. It was an assortment of odds and ends, small gears, tiny gems, delicate tools. Tanlin always did love to tinker. He put on a set of spectacles that made his eyes pop out huge as he stared at the tiny pieces. “You ready to get back to work after your little ‘back to nature’ holiday? I got jobs lined up, and you and Lea still owe me for the last one you botched.”

Tanlin cut off sharply and looked chagrined. “Sorry, luv,” he apologized. “Never did learn tact.” His magnified eyes blinked at her through the lenses. “Oh, some old crone dropped this off at the shop for you.”

Tanlin dug around in his satchel and pulled out a white envelope, sliding it across the table to Mindra. Inside was a small card. It said simply:

SAWTOOTH INN
BREDON, BREDONSHIRE
29 MOTHER

At the bottom, like a signature, was a sort of glyph, like a shepherd's crook with a stylized eye.

“The crone left this, too.” Tanlin put down a small bag of coin and tried to peer over at the card to read it, but he was too short. “Is it a job?

@Lord Twig

[sblock=OOC]29 Mother is a date. Mid/late summer, roughly around the end of August.[/sblock]

 
Last edited:

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Garrett
Freeport/The Bloody Dolphin
A few months ago.../Evening

The Swampshore District of Freeport was about as low and dingy as it came. Separated from the rest of the city by a broad expanse of mudflats and salt marshes crossable only at high tide or by the causeway. Much of the district was built on stilts and pylons out onto the flats or into the Ingha Swamp, rows of typically wooden structures subject to rot and mosquitos.

At the head of the causeway, controlling access into and out of the city by the swamp road, was The Bloody Dolphin, the inn and headquarters of Captain Urnst Blackcloak. With the district straddling land access to the city and the mouths of the Ingha River and many small coves to the north and south, Blackcloak controlled land-based trade, especially the export of the rare and expensive woods and spices from the swamps, as well as much of the herbal intoxicants that grew in the swamp.

The Bloody Dolphin was its typical raucous environment. The furniture was cobbled together after numerous episodes of destruction over someone’s head. Cheap whores could be found on the second floor of the inn, and if one was looking for a fight, one could try their luck in the basement fight pit. On Ravenday the fights were even to the death, with a correspondingly larger pot. Most of the patrons of The Bloody Dolphin were the...less than civilized humanoids of the swamps, half-orcs mostly, but there were plenty of goblins and hobgoblins, lizardfolk, and on occasion one could even see a rare and reclusive yuan-ti.

So the halfling making his way through the crowd clad only in a loincloth and sporting blue warpaint stood out a bit. He followed an orc lieutenant up the stairs to a private balcony overlooking the common room where Blackcloak conducted business. The large half-orc was just settling down at the table for a meal when Garrett scrambled up onto the chair opposite him.

“Garrett,” the big High Captain grinned, flashing his tusks. “There’s me best enforcer!” He gestured to an attendant, who poured two mugs of ale and set them down before the half-orc and halfling. “Sea elf?” Blackcloak offered, gesturing to the strips of meat on his plate. They had been seared lightly, leaving them mostly raw and bloody. “No? You’re missin’ out. Developed a taste for it when I got marooned out in the Mists.” He cut a large bite off and popped it in his mouth. “Tastes like tuna,” he said around the mouthful.

Blackcloak washed the meat down with ale and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “Gorzo says yeh been pinin’ away like a lovesick Academy brat wi’out yer girlfriend Cale Morin around,” the half-orc said with a chuckle. “Luckily I might have somethin’ for yeh.”

Blackcloak snapped his fingers. A naked female orc stepped up and handed Blackcloak a dingy white envelope. The half-orc paused a moment and studied Garrett. “Seems t’ me I don’t even know if yeh can read, barbarian,” he said. “Cade usually does all the brainwork for yeh.” He handed over the envelope.

Inside was a white card that read:

SAWTOOTH INN
BREDON, BREDONSHIRE, ESSESS
29 MOTHER

At the bottom, like a signature, was a sort of glyph, like a shepherd's crook with a stylized eye.

Blackcloak shoved another mouthful of sea elf into his maw and chewed noisily. “Some old crone waltzed right in ‘ere, pretty as can be. Near gutted ‘er meself, she spooked me! Said that was fer you, no one else on the crew. Also left this.” He put a small bag of coins in front of the halfling.

@NeoNinevite

[sblock=OOC]29 Mother is a date. Mid/late summer, roughly around the end of August.[/sblock]
 

Lord Twig

Explorer
Mindra's eyes flare at the mention of Lea, but she lets it pass. Tanlin's social graces leave much to be desired, but he could be counted on to keep his end of a bargain. "I'm still keeping a low profile. I don't think Borgun is hunting for me, but he wouldn't pass up an opportunity to remove a loose end. Especially one that would happily stick a dagger in his back if given the chance.

"And Del didn't dump me! I left him after he decided to start taking advice from his bald-pate friar to go chasing after a woodland trollop!" Mindra takes a deep breath to calm herself. "Anyway, he can do whatever he wants. I don't care," she says, although she doesn't sound very convincing.

Mindra looks at the bag of coins and idly plays with her teardrop earring, then looks at the card again. "Thanks for the offer of work, but I'm going to pass. I don't know if this is a job or not, but it is an excuse to get out of here."


OOC
Does Mindra know anything about the Sawtooth Inn? Also, I didn't see Bredon or Bredonshire on the map, how long would it take Mindra to get there?

Mindra will take the bag of coins (How much is in it?) and prepare for her journey. She would like to pick up a bedroll and a healer's kit before leaving. Otherwise she will just lay low and plans to be at the Sawtooth Inn by 29 Mother to see what this is all about.
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Tanlin Springmantle
Essess/Essess City/The Argent Rose
A few months ago/Evening

Tanlin gave Mindra a sympathetic look when she got defensive about Del. He actually reached out and gave her hand a pat.

When she considered the card, the gnome nodded. “Might be a good idea,” he agreed. “Borgun might not be huntin’ you, but he’s been expanding. He runs into you, might be he decides it’s serendipity, opportunity dropping in his lap. He’s still got that scar you gave him,” he pointed out.

[sblock=OOC]Inside the bag is money for traveling expenses and an incentive to take the job. Roll 1d100 for how much gold you have left of it when you get to Bredon and add it to your starting total.

The map I’ve given you so far is a zoomed out map, so it’s not going to have a place as small as Bredon on it. Just the major cities. Not sure how far Mindra has ranged. Bredon is south of the capital at the edge of the Cold Woods, basically one of the frontiers of Essess. It is about three days’ travel at a normal pace. She has plenty of time, given that the date on the card is a few months away.[/sblock]
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Theremin of Keltarin
Tasalda/The Wizard’s Wand
A few months ago/Evening

Lights. Alcohol. Music. Girls. More alcohol. Gold and silver pieces plinking across the wooden walkways. Females of all races wearing nothing but magical lights and illusions strutted and danced on the various stages around The Wizard’s Wand. A particularly lovely redheaded half-elf gyrated in front of Theremin, causing his classmates to hoot their encouragement at him, flinging gold pieces at the woman.

“Next round is yours!” one of Theremin’s classmates said, pounding his back. He staggered to his feet and stumbled to the bar.

He didn’t remember much after that.

Bright light. PAIN! Who was breaking rocks in his skull!

“Morning, sleepyhead,” a female voice said.

He managed to get his eyes open against the searing light of the late morning sun shining through the curtains.

Curtains?

The flat was small, one room. He was lying in a bed. It wasn’t as soft and nice as his bed at the Academy. Functional. The flat was a bit shabby, but some effort had been made to beautify it, make it homey. The curtains, for one. The other half of the room held a table and some chairs and a small stove and washbucket.

“You’re probably wondering where you are,” the voice said again, a bit amused. Turning his head toward the voice was agony, but once his vision cleared he saw her. Her head was tilted at an angle as she put a couple earrings in her delicately pointed ears, the cascade of red hair falling to her shoulders. He wracked his brain, trying to remember…

The half-elf dancer from The Wizard’s Wand. Last night, end of term debauchery. Entirely too many shots of Helveki absinthe. And what was that herb he had smoked?

Even without the dancing lights and illusions, Theremin noted the half-elven woman was still quite attractive. Her hair glittered red-gold in the sun as it moved when she tilted her head to do the other ear. She was dressed in nothing more than a chemise and short bloomers. They were thin and mended more than once, but the stitching was fine, delicate, and expert. Her green eyes danced with amusement at Theremin’s condition, and her nose was spotted with freckles. Red hair, freckles, all a bit indicative of Old One blood on her human side, likely.

“Some friends you have,” the woman said as she came to sit on the bed. She picked up a pair of stockings that lay at his feet and started to roll one up her long leg. “I found you passed out face down in the alley out back. You’re lucky you threw all your gold at me last night or you might have been rolled by some opportunistic halfling.”

She lifted her other leg to pull on the other stocking. “There’s water on the side table.” She indicated the table beside him with a tall glass of water. “Bread and cheese on the table, coffee on the stove. Your clothes were a mess, so I washed them. They’re hanging to dry.” He noted his clothes hanging on a line across the small flat. “Some old crone dropped by while you were out. Don’t know how she knew to find you here.” She shrugged her delicate shoulders and got up to go to a small wardrobe. She pulled out a couple dresses, holding them up to herself and looking at her reflection in a cracked mirror. “She left you an envelope and a bag of gold. They’re on the table with breakfast.”

The young half-elf turned back to Theramin on the bed and held up the dresses. “Which one do you think?” she asked.

When Theramin finally got around to opening the envelope, he found it contained only a white card with a note written in a spidery scrawl:

SAWTOOTH INN
BREDON, BREDONSHIRE, ESSESS
29 MOTHER

At the bottom, like a signature, was a sort of glyph, like a shepherd's crook with a stylized eye.

@Steve Gorak

[sblock=OOC]29 Mother is a date. Mid/late summer, roughly around the end of August.[/sblock]
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Liam
Somewhere in Essess
A few months ago/Afternoon

The roads were lonely on the flat plains of Essess. Liam could walk hours without hearing a single soul. It left plenty of time to be plagued by his thoughts and memories.

He remembered Kael’s sneer as the firelight danced in his brother’s eyes as they watched their home burn, unable -- unwilling, on Kael’s part -- to save their parents.

He remembered Faria’s laugh, how she teased him about being afraid when she urged him to sneak out of the monastery with her. He vividly remembered the feel of her soft hands tugging on his, the scent of her soap.

The remembered the blinding pain as his eyes were ripped out by the beast that attacked the monastery, the months after lost in a haze of dreamlily.

He remembered begging for answers, and then the strong arms of Zebuel holding him, comforting him, even as he begged for the power to find answers. Zebuel was reluctant, of course. There were rules about such things.

He remembered the strange visitor, remembered Zebuel’s reaction when she entered his recovery room at the monastery. He’d felt the power flaring out from the deva, washing over him in waves, felt the brush of the deva’s feathered wings across his face. Oh, how he wished he could have seen Zebuel in all his celestial glory! Surely it would have been a sight! Once such beings had been more common in Arideen. Not many, but far from rare. There was a reason the core of the Empire had a high population of aasimar such as himself. But since the Betrayal many had left. The few that remained did so mostly out of loyalty to their bloodlines, and rarely did they invoke their divine true nature.

“Calm yourself, Zeb.” The voice was cracked with age, but still strong. And she spoke with such familiarity with one of the Exalted! And she did not use his full name! While far from haughty, Zebuel did have some pride and would never have allowed Liam to address him as such. And Liam was probably the closest person to the deva.

“Why are you here, False One?” Zebuel demanded angrily. He seemed to regret it almost immediately. Liam felt him step back, bumping into the bed, and for some reason he almost...sensed the image of an old crone settling her baleful gaze on the deva.

“You wish to speak of falsities, make an appointment with your High Bishop,” the old woman snapped. “You know the truth. I am here for more important reasons. The Renewal has begun, and it is time. The Mists recede, the power flows once more, and the Betrayer gathers strength and allies. He has not our weakness, and so the Champion must be found once more, as it was at the Dawn. I will forgive your skepticism. You are young, Zeb. I understand the reasons you and yours kept silent about the truth. I hold no bitterness, unlike many of the others. But our rivalries must be overcome if the Betrayer is to be defeated.”

Liam felt Zebuel shift uneasily. The usually confident celestial asked nervously, “What do you need me to do?”

“You must teach him.”

Zebuel gasped. “But the rules--”

“Were laid down by Paladine. And when Paladine returns, you may make your appeal. For now, you obey me.”

Zebuel hesitated, resistant.

“Or join your fallen brethren with the Betrayer and I will find someone else to mentor the boy. Perhaps my granddaughter…”

Zebuel stiffened, and Liam could almost hear him scowl. “She is a loose cannon and one most opposed to our aims. Only The Sea and the Storm are more against his return.”

“The Maiden young and will come around, as will Sea and Storm. They just need time and incentive, and to realize the nature of the threat we face.”

Zebuel made a noncommittal sound.

“Bring me water.”

LIam felt the bed settle as someone sat beside him. He heard Zebuel move and the pouring of water into a bowl.

“Are you ready, my son?” Her voice was kinder now, grandmotherly. Her hands were soft, but leathery as they cupped his face for a moment before she took the bowl of water from Zebuel.

Liam heard her saying prayers. His skin tingled as the room seemed to fill with power. He felt water on his forehead as she drew a symbol with the holy water. It felt like...an eye?

Suddenly his vision flared with light. He saw the room around him, bathed with an ethereal luminescence. He could see! Then it was all obscured as he looked at Zebuel and the old woman. Zebuel’s form was blinding, but paled compared to the visitor. He screamed in agony as his vision was overloaded.

“Shhhh...young one…” the old woman said calmly. She touched his forehead again and suddenly everything was dark once more.

Liam sobbed.

“Hush.” Her lips were dry as she kissed his forehead. “That is just a taste of the power you will receive. Zebuel will teach you. But all magic like this comes at a cost,” she warned him. “We all must sacrifice for the good in the trouble that will come. Rest now.”

The old woman tucked him in, getting up from the bed. She leaned over and kissed his cheek, whispering, “Seek this Sign and you will find what you seek.”

His vision lit again, softer this time. The light coalesced into a silver equilateral triangle.

***

Liam blinked. He was riding in the back of a wagon. Someone had picked him up? He didn’t remember that. He felt hay prickling his back. Had he fallen asleep? He felt something warm and soft pressed against his side. It smelled flowery and sweet. A voice spoke from beside him.

“I still don’t like this, Mum,” she said. It had the tone of youth. “We don’t need him! We didn’t need him at the Dawn and we don’t need him now!”

“You know very well that was not the case,” a stern, matronly voice spoke from somewhere above him, likely on the wagon bench.

Liam almost felt the pouting of the young woman beside him.

“I still think Sea and Storm are right! This is just you trying to distract me from events in Essess!”

“Enough!” the matronly woman snapped. “I have seen what your plans have done!”

The young woman seemed a bit cowed. “Things...got out of hand…”

“Yes, and I had to step in and fix things.”

“Stifle things, you mean!” the young voice pouted.

Liam stirred, nature suddenly calling. He felt the soft press of a breast against his arm as the young woman shifted. He imagined her leaning over him, staring down at him.

“Grandmother, he’s awake.”

The wagon slowed and pulled to a stop. “Ah, very good,” a familiar voice cracked with age said.

The visitor!

Too stunned to protest, he stumbled out of the wagon as the young woman helped him down. He heard the creak of the springs as the other two women dismounted.

“Hello again, Liam,” the old woman said. “Do you remember what I told you last time we met? Very good. Now listen carefully. You are in Essess. You need to go to the town of Bredon in Bredonshire. Be at the Sawtooth Inn on the twenty-ninth of The Mother,” she told him. “Do you understand?”

In his surprise, Liam could only nod. He felt a gust of wind blow against him and reached out to the wagon to steady himself.

It was gone! He was alone.

Not quite alone. As he stumbled, he caught the scent of sweet flowers and fell into something soft and yielding. There was a surprising strength in the young woman’s arms as she set him upright.

“Do you even know where you’re going?” she asked, her voice dripping with youthful condescension. “Well, I suppose I could use the company and someone to talk to. You do talk, don’t you, Liam?”

Her soft hand took his and led him down the road.

@tglassy
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Coriana the Forsaken
Essess/Port Ingha/The Sea Cow
A few months ago/Evening

It hadn’t been Coriana’s fault that her mission had gone bad. While mithril was light, raw mithril ore was still considerably heavy! But she’d listened to that rotten dwarf and threatened the halfling elevator operators at the Tasalda Falls with her sword. They weren’t going to swindle her by making her take several trips, wasting valuable time and gold when the dwarf said the elevator was perfectly capable of handling the load. Of course, it had been Coriana’s decision to take the “shortcut” down the Ingha River rather than trek overland through Essess to Port Ingha.

Well, the elevator hadn’t been rated to carry that much cargo. The ropes strained and snapped and mithril ore, dwarf, and halfling operators went plummeting three thousand feet into Lake Ingha below. It was only by divine luck that Coriana hadn’t joined them. She hung by that frayed rope for three hours before the halflings above could mount a rescue.

The halflings were obviously none too happy. Trade through Lake Tasalda to Freeport would now be severely delayed as they would have to take months to construct another elevator. Perhaps it was a bit of retaliation when the little thieves dumped her on the shore of Essess and waved goodbye from their keelboats.

Left with little but the clothes on her back, Coriana was adrift in an unknown element: land. She drifted from job to job, trying to scratch up enough gold to get back to the sea. And that is how she found herself where she was now.

Coriana groaned and arched her back, pressing a hand to the ache. She shifted in her saddle, her thighs sore and raw after days of riding. How did landlubbers manage these horrible beasts? She’d found work with a cattle outfit. If she helped out for a few months on the ranch, they could use her sword on the drive down to Port Ingha.

Coriana sat atop her horse on a slight rise, watching the smell mass of cattle slowly amble its way across the plains of Essess. The land sloped down here, toward the Ingha Swamp, and that was usually from where any danger would come. These frontier lands were wilder these days, and she’d encountered a few raids by orcs and goblins. Worse were the tense standoffs with the tribes of centaurs and Old Ones that still roamed these western wilds of Essess. Usually they were able to keep things peacable.

Looking to the southwest, Coriana could now just make out the dark smudge on the horizon that was Port Ingha. She saw a glint of silver and her heart skipped a beat. The sea!

That night, Coriana luxuriated in a bath in The Sea Cow Inn, washing the stench of cattle off her, treating her saddle burns and enjoyed a good meal and ale. In the morning she would see if she could negotiate work or passage back to Freeport.

Someone flopped into the seat across from her and Coriana looked up in surprise. “Chekanza!” she exclaimed in shock.

“You, my dear girl, are hard to find, even when I know where to find you!” the dark-skinned young merchant said. He pushed back his hood, revealing the shocks of blue in his otherwise dark hair. His blue eyes, the color of the calm sea, stared at her. “You certainly have looked better. Cattle don’t agree with you?” He gave her a teasing smile and lounged back. His shirt was opened provocatively to reveal his dark, muscled chest and he wore plenty of expensive jewelry. Chekanza was a handsome man, and exotic in a way that western women found attractive. Certainly his pants were tight enough to leave little to the imagination!

“You’re probably wondering how I found you. Well, that is interesting.” He waved over a waitress, flashed her a charming smile, ordered something expensive, and gave her a pat on the bum to send her off. “A little old crone told me,” he said. “Don’t ask me how she knew. Maybe she’s a diviner. Maybe she knows, like you, that this is your favorite tavern in Port Ingha. In any case, this is the only place you could come if you didn’t come down the river.”

Fresh drinks came and Chekanza sipped his wine. “Surprisingly good,” he admitted. “Anyway, I came to warn you. Steer clear of Freeport for the time being,” he said. “The Dark Lady is right royal pissed you dumped her load of mithril over the falls.”

Chekanza held up a hand to forestall her protestations. “Purpose or accident, it doesn’t matter. Fact is Captain Arquiss lost a fortune, and she blames you. She’ll take it out of your hide if she needs to. She’s got agents watching the docks for you. Best you head back inland and lie low for a while.”

The water genasi pulled his bag into his lap and dug out an envelope and leather pouch of coins. “The old crone said to give you that,” he told Coriana.

Inside the envelope was a simple white note in a spidery scrawl:

SAWTOOTH INN
BREDON, BREDONSHIRE, ESSESS
29 MOTHER

At the bottom, like a signature, was a sort of glyph, like a shepherd's crook with a stylized eye.

@Charwoman Gene

[sblock=OOC]29 Mother is a date. Mid/late summer, roughly around the end of August.[/sblock]
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Essess/Bredonshire/Bredon/The Sawtooth Inn
29 Mother/8 PM (after sunset)
Weather: 80 F/27 C; No wind; Light rain

The light rain was doing little to cool away the heat and humidity of the late summer day that enveloped the small village of Bredon. Windows were opened to help move the air, but no wind stirred.

Bredon wasn’t large, by any means, but it was the largest village in Bredonshire, and thus the shire governmental seat. Home to a little over five hundred souls, the village was nestled in a bend of the Cold River, just a few hours from the eaves of the Cold Woods, Essess’ southern border. The town was dominated by a large water wheel attached to the lumber and grain mill. The village green was anchored by the more important buildings in town besides the mill: The Sawtooth Inn and an old stone Paladine church that looked like it had seen better days and could use some repair. Stump’s General Goods and other shops bordered one of the sides, and the other side was dominated by what looked to be a relatively new, large wooden building, the Church of the Dawn. On a hill overlooking the town was a large manor house. If one looked along the road west out of town, one could see the crumbling remnants of an old tower standing sentinel near the bridge.

With the wet and hot weather, few residents were out of doors. A light shone in the general store and the churches, but the other shops were closed. Only the Sawtooth Inn showed any signs of life, and subdued life at that, with the occasional patron coming and going.

The common room in the in was lit by a hand-made wooden chandelier over the center. Along the walls a few lamps glowed on their shelves, and a smattering of locals sat about, eating or nursing drinks. The noise level was subdued, but not oppressive, just a typical sleepy night in a sleepy rural town.

A scrawny Essian human male in his fifties with greying red hair and blue eyes and a prominent scar along his cheek leaned behind the bar. His hands toyed with a wooden puzzle box while he hummed softly to himself. His eyes kept darting up from his puzzle, though, to a man seated near the low fire.

The man sat in a rather more comfortable chair than one would normally find in a tavern common room. He was an Essian man in his sixties with dark hair and eyes, a white streak running through his otherwise lustrous black hair. He had a stack of scrolls on a small table next to him that he shuffled through and read, occasionally marking one with a charcoal pencil. He sipped at a glass of brandy, and as soon as it was empty, the man behind the bar hurried over to refill.

In the back of the room, in a darker corner, sat a young human man and woman of around twenty. He was blonde and blue-eyed, his pale skin showing his Arideen heritage. A tattoo of a sword with a lightning bolt cross guard decorated one of his large biceps. His companion was also of Arideen stock, though her hair was black. Her blue eyes gazed into the young man’s and he smiled shyly. Occasionally she touched his arm and musical laughter would quietly spill into the room.

This often caused the man by the fire to frown.

{Enter our heroes}

[sblock=OOC]This is the opening to the main adventure. Feel free to respond to the intro posts as well, if you like. Just mark them as {FLASHBACK}. I hope you all have fun![/sblock]
[MENTION=5044]Charwoman Gene[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION] [MENTION=15132]Steve Gorak[/MENTION] [MENTION=6857126]NeoNinevite[/MENTION] [MENTION=31754]Lord Twig[/MENTION]
 

tglassy

Explorer
[sblock=Flashback]
Liam looked around, confused. Well, he tried to look around. Not having eyes anymore made that difficult, but he still kept blinking, as if he could blink away the darkness.

He didn't like feeling helpless. He hadn't even gotten used to being blind. He didn't even have a staff or walking stick!

But something stuck out in his mind. The visitor had ordered Zebuel to teach him. That the visitor could order Zebuel to do anything was shocking enough, but the Deva, in the end, had not disputed the order. If that were the case, Liam would gladly do what the visitor had asked.

He turned to the young woman. At least, he thought he did.

"So what do I call you?"

[/sblock]
 

Steve Gorak

Explorer
[sblock={FLASHBACK}]
The young half-elf turned back to Theramin on the bed and held up the dresses. “Which one do you think?” she asked.
Theremin stood up, and went behind the comely half-elven woman, kissing her on the neck. Although his head was aching, he was keen on using a homemade remedy he particularely enjoyed. "None of them, for the moment", he said, as he guided the woman back to bed.

He spent some time chatting with her afterwards, his bedside manners being impeccable. This was a lovely commoner, and besides, it would be nice to have another option for a warm bed if he ever had to come back to town.

After inspecting the letter, he reflected to himself Going back to Keltarin will likely imply a dagger in my back sooner or later, so it appears I'm going to Essess!

With that, he traveled the roads, enjoying his treck, and his new found abilities after studying so many years at The Academy. He was keen on learning as many rumors about the nobles in Bredon, before his arrival on the 29 Mother. [/sblock]
 

Lord Twig

Explorer
Mindra sweated in her leather armor as she approached the Sawtooth Inn. Looking everywhere, she slowed before entering. Seeing no one about outside she stepped in and without pause moved to a table close by the door. Choosing a chair with its back to the wall, she put down her pack and started to casually shake herself dry as her eyes surreptitiously scanned the room and her ears strained for any sound of trouble.

No sign of a crone, she thought to herself as she sized up all the current occupants of the inn.

Finally she pulled off her travel-worn cloak, revealing her face, and took a seat. She made no move to call for the innkeep, but just waited for someone to come to her.
 

Charwoman Gene

Adventurer
This town seems awfully sleepy, Cori thought as she entered the village. I still can't believe I'm avoiding the ocean...
That must be the inn over there, seems the only sign of life.
Undaunted by the rain, she strode confidently towards the inn. Entering she walks to the bar, drops her gear, runs her fingers through her hair, and turns to the barkeep. "Barkeep!", she cried, "Give me the best ale you have." She drops the pouch she got from the crone on the bar and awaits her ale.
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Liam
Somewhere in Essess
A few months ago/Afternoon
{Flashback}

The young woman slipped her arm into Liam’s. “You can call me Alemei,” she told him. “You’ll keep me safe as we travel?” she teased. “Or should I worry about your intentions toward a lone woman wandering the roads of Essess?”
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
Liam
Somewhere in Essess
A few months ago/Afternoon
{Flashback}

The young woman slipped her arm into Liam’s. “You can call me Alemei,” she told him. “You’ll keep me safe as we travel?” she teased. “Or should I worry about your intentions toward a lone woman wandering the roads of Essess?”


Bartender, older man, young man, and young woman
Essess/Bredonshire/Bredon/The Sawtooth Inn
29 Mother/8:01PM (after sunset)
Weather: 80 F/27 C; No wind; Light rain

The innkeeper looked up from his puzzle box when a stranger walked into the Sawtooth Inn. It was an elf, wood elf, by the looks of her. Likely up from the Cold Woods, he guessed. He slipped the puzzle into his pocket and walked on over as the elf took a table by the door.

“What can I get yeh, elf?” the man asked, wiping down the table with his cloth.

Once he’d taken her order, he headed back to the bar, only to have another stranger walk in. He noted her olive complexion and dark hair as she strode up to the bar and dropped her gear. Helveki. Well, she looked like a traveler, and there were plenty of Helveki refugees in Essess, he reckoned.

Or maybe a spy? That might be interesting!

"Barkeep!" she cried. "Give me the best ale you have." She dropped a pouch on the bar.

Well, the accent was definitely a giveaway. But the bartender was more interested in the heavy sound of gold in that pouch. He smiled ingratiatingly as he hurried over. “Of course, citizen,” he said. He moved over to a line of kegs on the back shelf and filled a glass from the spigot. The ale had a nice head.

“There yeh go, citizen,” he said. “Dwarven ale straight from the Forbidden City itself, it is,” he told her. “That’ll be eleven copper.”

[sblock=OOC]Coriana can tell that’s a pretty steep price for a mug of ale, though it is dwarven and from pretty far away, and she did ask for the best. I rolled for you and you got Insight 22.[/sblock]

The older gentleman by the fire looked up a bit at the bartender but then went back to his papers, picking up a small book and writing something.

The two young people in the back paid the strangers little attention.
 

NeoNinevite

Villager
[sblock=Flashback]
Garrett wandered into the Bloody Dolphin, reveling in the looks he received from those around him. The patrons who knew him well either respected or feared him as one of Blackcloak's best enforcers, and those who didn't know him were in for a surprise the next time a brawl broke out.
The Captain had called for him, and when the Captain calls for something, you give it to him quick and hope he's in a good mood. Garrett was glad to see when he entered that the Captain was enjoying his favourite meal, and seemed in a good mood.

When Garrett was offered a piece of the Captain's dinner, he was honoured, but shook his head. “Thanks, Boss, but I only eat the ones I kill myself. Looks good though.”

When he received the envelope, he opened it quickly, and stared at the letter inside. It took him a minute or two to decipher the meaning of the words, and he spent much of that time taking drinks of ale, but as he drained the last drop he spoke up. “I think I get it. I need to be in some inn in Essess on 29 Mother. I'll find a bloke to read me the rest and make my way there. Thanks for the job, Boss.”

Garrett picked up the money bag and letter and departed and went down to the bar, he got the bartender to give him some help with directions, and made his way to Bredon over the course of the next few months.
[/sblock]
 

tglassy

Explorer
[sblock=Flashback]

Liam merely grinned in the girl's general direction, letting her take his arm. He couldn't see her, obviously, but she sounded cute, and judging from the way she held his arm up against her, she was fairy light, and definitely a young woman. He resigned himself to let her be his eyes, for the time being. It's not like he had many options.

He tipped his wide brimmed stetson hat to her. "Darlin, if we run into trouble, it'll regret the day it ran into me." [/sblock]


Tap...tap...tap...tap...

Liam's new rod tapped the ground rhythmically as he walked, swaying the rod left and right in front of him so it would alert him of any obstacles in his way. He was getting the hang of this.

His escort had him torn to the right, and his cane hit wood. A step. He deftly lifted it to guage the height of the step, and made his way up the few stairs that led to the door.

When it opened, a bombardment of new sensory input wafted over him. The smell of alcohol and sweat, mostly human, though there was at east one wood elf, there. It's amazing how you can learn to tell the difference with your nose when your eyes stop working.

He stood in the doorway for a moment, as if surveying the room. He stretched out with his...new senses. One person, walking back and forth. The bartender. Two standing near him, but not within a few feet. Another two, facing each other on the other side of the room. And one, at the other end, by himself. He gripped his rod, and held out a hand for Alemei. She took it and led him to one of the tables.

He turned and seemed to look straight at the bartender, tipping his hat. "Whiskey, please."
 

Lord Twig

Explorer
Mindra takes note of all the new arrivals at the inn as they enter. None of them fit the description of "an old crone", but as more, and stranger, individuals arrive she starts to suspect that they are all somehow related to the note she received. It is still too soon to come to any conclusion, however.

Slowly picking at her food, Mindra waits and watches...
 

NeoNinevite

Villager
Garret walked slowly towards the Sawtooth Inn, he thought he'd found it three days ago, but one of the many people he asked for help from had given him dodgy directions, and probably stolen half his money. Either that or he bought a lot more ale than he remembered. He wore a cloak to conceal his identity from many a fearful villager, his past experience with wandering through villages had shown him that barbarians were not often accepted.

He entered the inn and headed straight for the bar. Clambering up to be at eye level with the bartender, he took out his money pouch and placed it in front of him. "I'll have an ale."

As the bartender turned to get him a drink, Garret pulled the letter out of his bag, and waved it at the bartender. "This is the Sawtooth Inn, right? Have you seen an old crone near here?"

Upon confirmation that he is indeed in the right place, Garret will take his drink and sit in the corner, taking off his cloak and revealing his stout halfling warpaint for all to see. He waits for some sign of the old crone, or anyone else who might be involved in the job.
 

Charwoman Gene

Adventurer
Looking over the latest arrival, Coriana wonders how many others here have been sent with similar letters. She also wonders if trying to get a rise out of a likely vicious and well armed halfling is a good way to introduce herself. It'd be an interesting fight, at worst.

"Old Crone, little man? Have you lost your grandmother?", Coriana turns toward the halfling and says with a laugh.
 

tglassy

Explorer
Liam's ears perked up when the smelly, young voice said "old crone". He rubbed his fingers along his obsidian rod, feeling the silver etchings in it. At least, it was supposed to be silver. He had no way of confirming that fact.

"Do you think he's looking for...her?" Liam asked Alemei softly. "Are we meeting people here?"
 

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