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ZONE - The Skaldsong Tavern ((Delving Too Deep - START))


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#1 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 04:42 PM

Although a rather small place, the Skaldsong Tavern is home to a wide variety of patrons tonight. Men from the world over, a few dwarves, and even the occasional elf. Nordlings of various clans and tribes roar with laughter and tell tall tales, and even a few Imperials sit here and there, some in various orders and some with no allegiance, while still others are traders - or even pirates. And, in one corner, sitting alone, iss a strikingly handsome hulk of a man - one-eyed, wearing the trappings of an Imperial Venator, watching everything around him with an eye like an eagle.

 

To one corner of the tavern, a small band of tattooed Nordlings plays lively tunes...

 

 

A few patrons are even dancing in a small dance floor to one side of the tavern. A wide variety are enjoying themselves there: drunk Nordlings putting on nonetheless impressive dancing displays, some Imperial men and women dancing together gracefully in pairs, a few scoundrels wandering the dance floor trying to find a woman, and even two Frost Dwarves off to one side of the floor kicking to the music in what are apparently their own traditional dances.

 

All are welcome in the Skaldsong Tavern, a meeting place of many peoples and cultures in Baldur's Fjord, a great and peaceful hub of trade. All in all, it is a very pleasant place, if a tad cramped. But you aren't here just for the pleasantness, as you make your way over to the table of Agni Bloodrune, the dwarf with the proposition... Perhaps, before you settle in for the night, you'll have time to engage in the tavern's atmosphere.

 

---

 

- Prologue -

Gates of the Fjord

 

Agni sat at his table, leaning back in his chair, feet propped up - and watched smugly as more people gathered around him. Grinning, he stood up in his seat and beckoned everyone over.

 

"Come, sit!" he said, opening his arms wide invitingly as everyone took a place around the dwarf's table. He reached into a bag hanging from the back of his chair and spread a large map over the table - a map of the few mapped regions of Northrim.

 

"So yer all interested, eh? Quite a crew! You'll have t' sign the contract, o'course, but we'll get to that after I tell ye more about where you'll be goin', in case ye change yer mind 'fore I'm done."

 

A waitress came by the table and left a tankard for everyone present. Agni dropped several gold coins onto the woman's platter and gave her a wink before she moved off again. The dwarf then cleared his throat and continued, laying a thick finger on the map as he pointed out locations.

 

"Alright, so there're a few ways to reach the door in the Jagged Edge, o'course. I'm gonna offer ye a few suggestions t' think about, but I'm not comin' with ye, so it's up to you lot what paths you take - just so long as you get there 'n' get the sword back. Get the job done, and I don't care if you carved through the bowels o' the Underworld itself to get Dáinsleif.

 

"Anyway, I thought o' three different paths that'd work, dependin' on yer preferences..."

 

(NORDLING PATH - long, relatively safe, many stops, less law and scrutiny)

He rested a finger on Baldur's Fjord, marked with the symbol of a boar over a sword. "We're here, obviously, in Baldur's Fjord. So, one path ye could take is to head north to Kvarsisal, then to Bjornburg, then Wulfsted, to Endibraut, and into the Jagged Edge, and you'd just have to go a bit south to the door, which is here," he put a finger almost due east of the Immortal Wood, a decent ways into the Jagged Edge, which was nothing but uncharted mountains on the map. "That'd be a long path, fer sure, but it'd be pretty safe, and it'd have lots o' stops fer resting, eating, and buying equipment, and ye'd have less regroupin' to do. Bear in mind, though, that the Nordlings don't have as many strict laws as the Imperials, and there aren't many people patrollin' the roads and paths you might take... so there'd be less scrutiny than headin' through Achaean territory, if any o' you are some kinda criminals and that's a concern. The cities you'd stop in would be safe, for sure, as long as you don't piss off any o' the tribes."

 

(WILDERNESS PATH - quick, extremely dangerous, no law, no help, very little if any rest, safety, or stores)

Agni scratched his beard and then continued, "There's another path that's bloody dangerous, but I'll tell ye, if yer interested..." he put his finger on Baldur's Fjord again and traced the path as he spoke. "You could cut directly across - go straight into Blekmyr Marsh, then into the Edge. You wouldn't have any places to restock equipment or safety t' rest in, but if ye really don't like any civilization or scrutiny from anybody and ye wanna get there as quickly as possible fer some reason, this'd be the way to go. May very well get some o' ye killed."

 

(RIVER/IMPERIAL PATH - relatively quick, extremely safe at first, many towns offering excellent equipment and safety in Imperial law, but great scrutiny)

After taking a short break to drink some ale, Agni continued, "There's a very safe and pretty quick path ye could take, if none o' you have problems with the Imperials. Take a longship down the Rime, all the way to Rimegard, and you're sure to not be bothered by much 'cept Achaeans. Then, from Rimegard, ye can head to Arrowfall and then toward the Edge. I'll say one thing fer Imperials: as far as humans go, they know how to make good armor 'n' weapons, and their cities are very safe and burstin' with all kinds o' laws. You'd be safe, but you'll also be surrounded by nosy Imperials, if that's a cause fer concern with anybody." He chuckled. "Not that it should be, considerin' how this bunch we got here has a few from three o' the biggest Imperial orders, fer some reason. But hey, none o' my business."

 

(CUSTOM PATH - choose your own way [note, obviously, all paths are customizable as you go])

Agni set his tankard aside. "But like I said, which way ye go is up to you. Hell, you can try takin' a longship all the way up to Blekmyr, if it suits yer fancy and you can find anyone willin' to do it. Switch things up however ye please... just get me Dáinsleif."

 

He rubbed his hands together eagerly. "Regardless o' what path ye take, yer gonna have to go through Blekmyr, or the Immortal Wood, or somethin', to get to the Edge. I wouldn't recommend tryin' the Immortal Wood, 'cause the elves won't let you through, and some green dragon'll eat ye if a worg doesn't get to ye first. 'Course, Blekmyr isn't safe, so..." he shrugged.

 

"The door is hidden in the mountains. I'll make it on the map here..." he pulled out a simple metal stylus and marked a X in black ink where he had indicated before, in the Jagged Edge...

 

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"Ye can keep this map, o'course," he said. "Whoever wants to keep up with it for the crew."

 

Agni reached into his bag again and drew out something else: a thick, rolled-up piece of parchment. He unfurled it, allowing it to bounce across the length of the table - it was quite a long sheet, and those who couldn't read felt a twinge of a headache just looking at it. The dwarf grinned and shrugged.

 

"Dwarves are very good lawieres!" Agni said with a laugh. "Ye don't need to read all this mess. It's mostly just weird legalities you'll never even be concerned with. All that matters is that it says you can take whatever you want from the Forbidden Halls of Clan Dimmlundar - except Dáinsleif. And that you have the full permission o' all the dwarf clans to do this, as was agreed upon by a great meeting set up by Clan Silvershield.

 

"If you have any questions, just ask me. But... you can't get written permission to go on this fine adventure until you sign the contract. Here's me pen," he set the metal pen down in a small bottle of ink he produced from his bag, "and you sign here," he scratched around with the giant parchment roll until he found the space for signatures, which was currently empty.

 

The tall and immensely muscular, one-eyed Venator discreetly moved away from the table - he hadn't been sitting, to begin with, so it was easy to slip away unnoticed, and he moved to stand a few feet away, still holding his tankard as he apparently lost himself in thought. Agni did not notice his departure, or at least he did not let it dampen his enthusiasm.

 

"So!" Agni said with a smile, sitting in his chair once again. "Any questions? Concerns? Once ye all sign, or not, I'm off ter bed, and you can all go about getting to the Forbidden Halls however ye please, but the journey's gonna take a while, so I'd recommend leavin' in the mornin'."

 

 

((Welcome to the campaign's prologue, which will give everyone a chance to interact with other players and with NPCs.

 

I'll be posting very frequently to update NPC reactions and other things, depending on what everyone does. For the sake of this prologue, please do not leave the tavern. There's nothing particularly important outside in Baldur's Fjord, all of you are staying in this inn for the night, and the campaign will open up to much larger and freer areas in the future. But, for now, stick to interacting with the environment you already have, and - more importantly - getting to know the various other characters.

 

By the way, don't be afraid at all to spam the topic with interactions! If someone isn't involved in a conversation, they shouldn't feel intimidated into the need to read it (especially since your character wouldn't know it, anyway). Only read posts relevant to you; if two other players are having a conversation in a different room, don't feel like you have to read everything they're saying, unless you want to. I don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed by posts, but no one should feel that they have to wait for other people to post when they aren't involved with what they're doing, if you catch my drift.

 

For anyone wanting to look up descriptions of the various characters, please see the character list in the OOC thread. And remember to keep OOC discussions, questions, etc., in that thread. Have fun!))


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#2 Burger Warrior

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:35 PM

Korvarl Silvershield listened quietly but intently from the edge of the crowd, far too awed with this prospect of regaining his honor to try measuring Agni’s words or character too carefully. It was surely a blessing from the gods themselves, landing this opportunity in his lap! A grin was beginning to part his somewhat dirty beard as he soaked in the knowledge this other dwarf was providing. Naturally, the main objective was to get where they were going in the first place, and that’d require someone as steadfast as Korvarl himself…

 

"Ye can keep this map, o'course," Agni mentioned. "Whoever wants to keep up with it for the crew."

 

Silvershield strode forward, brushing his way through the crowd of other fortune-seekers, and pointed toward the map. “Aye, I’ll take that when yer all done plottin’ and plannin’, thanks. Bein’ a Silvershield m’self, I think it’s only right, aye?” He announced. While his voice was worn and weary, it still held the echo of the old authority he once held before he’d been dishonorably discharged from family and guild alike.

 

“As fer which path t’take, I don’t see why we don’t jus’ head fer Rimegard and th’ Imperial border from there.” He added, tracing the route with his rather grubby finger. “We got Imperials with us, seems like, an’ none of ya look terribly ‘criminal’-y t’me, soooo…” Korvarl let his deep voice trail off, looking around to see if anyone was going to argue with him. He was the only dwarf around, and a Silvershield to boot: he felt he should have a pretty big say in what was going on.

 

((Voting for the RIVER/IMPERIAL PATH))


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#3 Ambad

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:07 PM

Dylan was just excited at the prospect of going on an adventure... and of course the untold wealth that awaited those brave enough to go. He wasn't sure if everyone around was actually going on this trip, or just drawn in by the dwarf's story, but he wasn't about the be the first to sign his name down. He knew better than to look quite that eager, even if he was practically chomping at the bit thinking about that treasure.

As one man stepped away, another dwarf stepped forwards and started proposing some alternate route going much further South than was necessary, which would end up taking them through Rognosst, no doubt... He was sure the idea would get shot down by someone else, and while he was the talkative sort, he didn't want to say anything lest he start conflict with the old dwarf. So instead, he turned his attentions to the mountain of a man who had turned away from the table and strode off to think alone.

Normally, Dylan might not have bothered the man, especially considering he was a monster hunting Venator, and they weren't known for being incredibly amiable or even stable, but something about this one seemed... inviting was definitely the wrong word. Intriguing? Perhaps. Making no attempt to be stealthy, Harnish stepped right over to the big guy, sidled around in front of him, and stuck out a friendly hand. "Dylan Harnish, stranger, nice to meet you!" Before the man could even respond, he leaned in conspiratorially and asked, "So what do you think of this whole dwarven treasure vault endeavor? I'm a little new to all this, but it sounds a little... too good to be true, you know?" 


*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#4 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:33 PM

Caiden was standing there in thought when, suddenly, Dylan appeared in front of him and stuck out a hand to shake. "Dylan Harnish, stranger, nice to meet you!"

 

The Venator's stony expression did not change, but before he could so much as respond, the man went on and even leaned in as if he was sharing some great secret. Caiden didn't appreciate it, but he made absolutely no outward sign of... well, anything.

 

"So what do you think of this whole dwarven treasure vault endeavor? I'm a little new to all this, but it sounds a little... too good to be true, you know?"

 

Voros swallowed before answering simply, "It isn't. It's a suicide mission."

 

Instead of elaborating on that at all, the massive Venator gave Dylan's hand a firm shake and introduced himself in the same manner as he always did, saying it in the way a soldier would state his name and rank: "Caiden Voros of Redfield, Venator."


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#5 Ambad

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:08 PM

"S-suicide mission?" Dylan replied, blanching slightly and blinking a few times, his hand limp when Caiden shook it. "Is that, uh, your expert opinion, Mister Voros?" He asked, scratching the back of his neck, "Or just a gut feeling?"


*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#6 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 07:02 AM

"S-suicide mission?" Dylan replied, blanching slightly and blinking a few times, his hand limp when Caiden shook it.

Caiden merely nodded, as if it was an undeniable fact.

"Is that, uh, your expert opinion, Mister Voros?" He asked, scratching the back of his neck, "Or just a gut feeling?"

"Both," Caiden replied. He shifted his weight between his feet slightly as he replied, apparently not at all disturbed by it, "If it wasn't, the dwarves would send their own people. Dwarves don't share treasure."

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#7 Sareth

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 10:48 AM

Allya could not tear her thoughts away from Agni's earlier words. The thought of all that knowledge, lost for so many years... it sent a chill of anticipation up her spine. And yet, she knew she needed to be cautious; she would have to get there, first. But there were, assembled, a decent number of what looked to be capable warriors. Surely enough to keep her safe on such a journey...

 

“As fer which path t’take, I don’t see why we don’t jus’ head fer Rimegard and th’ Imperial border from there. We got Imperials with us, seems like, an’ none of ya look terribly ‘criminal’-y t’me, soooo…”

 

She looked up as the other dwarf spoke. "That is fine by me" she said. Imperials weren't her favorite people—too many suspicions and superstitions for her taste—but she had traveled amongst them before without any real problems. And it was supposed to be a path both quick and safe, which made it a rather attractive proposition.

 

After a moment, she extended a slender, long-fingered hand across the table as she introduced herself to the dwarf: "Allya Noctis. And you are...?"

 

***

 

“As fer which path t’take, I don’t see why we don’t jus’ head fer Rimegard and th’ Imperial border from there. We got Imperials with us, seems like, an’ none of ya look terribly ‘criminal’-y t’me, soooo…” 

 

"If it is the quickest route, then I say we should take the wilderness path through the marsh" Valya said simply. But after a moment she shrugged. What path they took did not terribly matter to her, for all that some might cause her problems.

 

Imperials could be such a nosy lot—there was a modest chance of her nature being discovered if they went that way, and a fight would almost certainly ensue. Of course, she did not fear battle, or even death. But compared to the dreaded 'forces of darkness' that Agni had mentioned during his tale—which was what had garnered her interest in this quest to begin with; she cared not for the lost treasure—Imperials were an unappetizing foe; she had killed plenty of them in the past.

 

The northern path was, by comparison, better for her... except for the fact that it passed through Wulfsted. As much as she wished to see it again, she could never again set foot in that sacred place; she would almost certainly be recognized—it having only been several years since she was banished—and she doubted that even the sacred law against spilling northern blood in that place would prevent a fight if she so dared... and her own people were even less appetizing as foes than the Imperials.

 

The wilderness path was by far the most appealing: fast, and doubtless full of challenges against which to test her might. But, from the looks of those around her, she doubted many were brave enough to face it... which thought amused her, given that, if the tale was true, they would face no less danger once they had arrived at their destination.

 

Seeing that no one else was willing to take the plunge first—funny how these people, warriors even, could be so reluctant about marking a piece of paper—she stood and grasped the pen the dwarf had set out. Being unable to either read or write, her signature took the form of a small drawing: a circle, two more curved lines surrounding it, and a short vertical line in the center, came together to form a crude symbol that vaguely resembled a cat's eye—standing in for her name. Underlining the symbol for emphasis, she dropped the pen back in the inkwell and sat down again, a challenging expression on her features.

 

Although she would prefer to live long enough to face whatever beasts haunted the dwarven hall, it really didn't matter which way they went. Doubtless battle awaited them no matter which route they took; and a good battle was all she sought....


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#8 Ambad

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 12:31 PM

"Both," Caiden replied. He shifted his weight between his feet slightly as he replied, apparently not at all disturbed by it, "If it wasn't, the dwarves would send their own people. Dwarves don't share treasure." 

 

Dylan audibly gulped, though quickly tried to regain his composure. "Th-that's... a bit racist. I've known many dwarves, and just like us they can be generous or not-so-much." But he shrugged, and continued optimistically, "And who's to say they don't have more important things to do? Or that they can't spare the man-power to do it? I mean, if everyone who needed something done went and did it themselves, there'd be no place for people like us. Just as people need monster hunters, they can also need treasure hunters. Just because it may not be easy - and in fact may be very, very hard - don't make it a suicide mission, Mister Voros."


*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#9 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 12:52 PM

Dylan said a few things that Caiden heard, but didn't at all react to. He simply listened as the man seemed to go on and on...

 

"...I mean, if everyone who needed something done went and did it themselves, there'd be no place for people like us. Just as people need monster hunters, they can also need treasure hunters. Just because it may not be easy - and in fact may be very, very hard - don't make it a suicide mission, Mister Voros."

 

The Venator reflected absolutely no readable reaction. After a moment, all he said was simply, and in the same stony tone as before, "Maybe."

 

With that, he turned back to the table, setting down his empty tankard and picking up the pen, casually signing his name in a rough and unpracticed hand. Without a word to anyone, Caiden then moved off again, all the way back to his table in the corner where he had been, seemingly alone, before Agni showed up.

 

Agni, meanwhile, smiled as Valya put her mark on the contract - and as Caiden signed. He raised his tankard briefly in respect to each of them afterward as he awaited more signatures or marks.


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#10 Sephsekla

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 12:54 PM

Garandros ground his teeth, a characteristically sour look on his scarred face. There was no way this proposition could end in anything but disaster. A collection of drunks and headstrong adventurers against the dark and the unknown.

 

He scratched a scar,the itching of the ruined tissue subsiding for now. He knew regardless that he'd go anyway. Maybe the knowledge that could redeem him lay in these forgotten depths. And if not, this would be a good death.

 

Something jolted him out of his own thoughts, and it took a few seconds to work out what. Two men stood in conversation a distance from the table. The smaller man no doubt considered himself a debonair rogue, but it was his larger companion that had startled him.

 

Was that..? Surely not. Garandros swore quietly, watching as the man signed. No use trying to avoid contact. He pulled his cloak over the brooch he wore and walked over.

 

"A strange place to find a Venator." The statement was directed at Caiden, ignoring Dylan altogether. 

 

 


Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.
 
Except cancelling Firefly. Because that's just not cool.

#11 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 12:54 PM

Agethar wasn't exactly sure how he kept ending up being a part of such strange adventures as this. He wondered if it was the will of the gods for him to partake in such things, or if Loki just loved screwing him over.

 

The Venator was glad to see that Caiden was there, and made his way over to the fellow Venator after signing the contract and casting his vote, and overheard conversation a man who was currently talking to Caiden.

 

"Th-that's... a bit racist. I've known many dwarves, and just like us they can be generous or not-so-much. And who's to say they don't have more important things to do? Or that they can't spare the man-power to do it? I mean, if everyone who needed something done went and did it themselves, there'd be no place for people like us. Just as people need monster hunters, they can also need treasure hunters. Just because it may not be easy - and in fact may be very, very hard - don't make it a suicide mission, Mister Voros."

 

"I expect that ye 'aven't 'ad tae deal with dwarves much, laddie." Agethar said "If this Dimmlundar place is as rich in treasure as Agni says it be, then the dwarves would'ave retaken it long ago, instead of sending us tae do their dirty work, donna ye ken?"

 

The Venator then turned to Caiden and grinned "It's good tae see ye, Caid. If this is a suicide mission, then there's no other person i'd rather do it with!"

 

---

 

Malvolio glanced at the others and could barely keep himself from sneering. 

 

How could a group like this hope to get into a demon-infested city and make it out alive?

 

After signing the contract and casting his vote, the Templar turned to Agni and asked "Sir Dwarf, did any of the dwarves at Dimmlundar mention what kind of demons attack the place? Knowing what we're up against would benefit us rather than walking blindly to our deaths."

 

He glanced contemptuously at the group before continuing "Aside from myself, the Venators, and the Inquisitor, I'm not sure if we'd be able to pull off a simple retrieval mission instead of a bloodbath."

 

---

 

Huo Shiye sat quietly as the others were talking loudly.

 

The Blind Mage preferred to be alone, especially as he was a stranger in a strange land. He already had gotten multiple strange looks from people, and the sign that an Inquisitor was nearby spoke of the fact that at least some people had guessed why he had white hair at such a young age. 

 

Seeing that his sight was fading, Huo quietly muttered the spell to renew it under his sight before returning to the small meal he had purchased with the last of his money.



#12 Burger Warrior

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 03:55 PM

"If it is the quickest route, then I say we should take the wilderness path through the marsh" the towering nordling woman, Valya, said simply.

 

Korvarl rolled his eyes, crossing his stout arms. “Aye, sure. Then by the time we hit the real challenge we’ll be clean out o’ supplies and half of you yellow-bellied humans are gonna turn tail and run. Real smart idea.” He huffed, shaking his head.

 

The only elf present, though, looked up as he spoke. "That is fine by me" she said.

 

After a moment, she extended a slender, long-fingered hand across the table as she introduced herself to the dwarf: "Allya Noctis. And you are...?"

 

“Korvarl Silvershield, form’r Iron Gauntlet enforc’r.” The dwarf replied with less gruffness than his retort towards Valya. Alya’s hand was all but encased within his distinctly rougher, stubbier, but nonetheless thicker hand for a few moments as he face her a careful shake. Could never be too careful with elves and their frail, dainty little hands.

 

“...Never seen an elf quite like ye, if’n y’don’t mind me sayin’.” Korvarl added, perhaps a tad bluntly. He slowly made his way around to the contract Agni laid out, though rather than signing it outright he began to - quite surprisingly - read the damned thing. “But yer def’nitely not one of ‘em darker types, I can tell tha’ much. So tha's all right 'n well.” He went on, eyes glued to the paper as he deciphered the Dwarven script. It’d been a while since he’d read anything, true, but given how long he’d studied he’d be quite surprised if the verbage escaped him.

 

Then again, Dwarven lawyers.


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#13 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 05:15 PM

Caiden had returned to relative solitude when another stranger came over, this one far more grizzled than Dylan, to say the least, and also missing an eye.

 

"A strange place to find a Venator."

 

"It is," Caiden agreed... and that was all.

 

Agethar showed up next, ironically. "It's good tae see ye, Caid. If this is a suicide mission, then there's no other person i'd rather do it with!"

 

Voros gave a nod. "Good to see you again, Agethar."

 

He seemed about as talkative as usual.

 

---

 

After signing the contract and casting his vote, the Templar turned to Agni and asked "Sir Dwarf, did any of the dwarves at Dimmlundar mention what kind of demons attack the place? Knowing what we're up against would benefit us rather than walking blindly to our deaths."

 

Agni scratched his beard and replied with a frown, "Sorry, m'good knight, but there's not much record o' that. 'Sides, don't think we have quite all those classifications 'n' such as you Templars made up fer 'em. Nobody was tryin' to study if they were a particular kind when they were runnin' fer their lives, I 'spect. All we know is demons." He shrugged. "Wish I could tell ye more."

 

He glanced contemptuously at the group before continuing "Aside from myself, the Venators, and the Inquisitor, I'm not sure if we'd be able to pull off a simple retrieval mission instead of a bloodbath."

 

That prompted Agni to raise a bushy eyebrow. "Gettin' them rivalries in early, I see. Well, that's no concern o' mine, though I'd prefer if ye could all cooperate well enough to get the job done. An' it takes a bloodbath to do that... well, have a bloodbath. I ain't askin' fer anything perfect, just completed."


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#14 Sareth

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 05:35 PM

“Aye, sure. Then by the time we hit the real challenge we’ll be clean out o’ supplies and half of you yellow-bellied humans are gonna turn tail and run. Real smart idea.”

 

"If the perils of a mere mortal swamp would make them abandon this quest, then would they not flee at the first sight of whatever stalks the halls of Dimmlundar? Would you even want such a person at your side when facing the forces of darkness? Best to know the mettle of your comrades sooner than late, I say" Valya countered.

 

***

 

“Korvarl Silvershield, form’r Iron Gauntlet enforc’r.”

 

"Nice to meet you. I'm an apothecary by trade, researcher by passion" Allya replied.

 

“...Never seen an elf quite like ye, if’n y’don’t mind me sayin’.”

 

"I rarely mind the truth" she said. "And I'd be surprised if you had."

 

“But yer def’nitely not one of ‘em darker types, I can tell tha’ much. So tha's all right 'n well.”

 

"Oh? For all you know, I could be an albino svartalfar" she said lightly, a smirk pulling at the corner of her mouth for a moment.

 

Korvari surprised her slightly by starting to read the entire contract. She would have done so herself, except for the fact that it was written in a language she couldn't read; her mother's... erratic teaching had left her only able to read and write in the language of demons—which her mother had written all of her notes in, so that few other people would be able to read them.

 

"Let me know if there's anything interesting in there, would you?" she asked Korvari. 

 

***

 

"Aside from myself, the Venators, and the Inquisitor, I'm not sure if we'd be able to pull off a simple retrieval mission instead of a bloodbath."

 

"Gettin' them rivalries in early, I see. Well, that's no concern o' mine, though I'd prefer if ye could all cooperate well enough to get the job done. An' it takes a bloodbath to do that... well, have a bloodbath. I ain't askin' fer anything perfect, just completed."

 

"That's right, achæan" Valya interjected, giving Agni a nod of agreement. "Nothing wrong with a bloodbath—so long as it's your enemies' blood" she said, with a savage grin.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#15 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 10:16 AM

"Good to see you again, Agethar."

 

"It's good tae go intae battle with ye again," the Venator said.

 

Agethar then turned and saw the other person that Caiden was speaking with.

 

"Who are ye, exactly?" the Venator asked "Ye look like a Venator, but I havnae seen ye at castle Greywatch."

 

---

 

"Sorry, m'good knight, but there's not much record o' that. 'Sides, don't think we have quite all those classifications 'n' such as you Templars made up fer 'em. Nobody was tryin' to study if they were a particular kind when they were runnin' fer their lives, I 'spect. All we know is demons. Wish I could tell ye more."

 

Malvolio gritted his teeth. This was going to make the expedition even more difficult, and most likely cost even more lives.

 

"Gettin' them rivalries in early, I see. Well, that's no concern o' mine, though I'd prefer if ye could all cooperate well enough to get the job done. An' it takes a bloodbath to do that... well, have a bloodbath. I ain't askin' fer anything perfect, just completed."

 

The Templar looked at Agni and said "What I meant, was that we are pretty much sending a bunch of mercenaries to go and retrieve a sword from a Dwarven City potentially packed to the brim with demons: probably one of the most powerful and evil forces on earth. If we had more Templars or at least more people with experience fighting demons, we would stand a chance, but with the group we have now it's more likely for all of us to get slaughtered by a demonic horde than for us to retrieve it."

 

"That's right, achæan, nothing wrong with a bloodbath—so long as it's your enemies' blood."

 

Malvolio looked at the Northern Woman and said "I have no problems with a bloodbath. I'm not sure how many of the people here would be able to survive a bloodbath with demons. You might be able to, but can you honestly say that anyone else besides those with the right training could survive?"

 

---

 

Huo Shiye continued to quietly eat his meal, waiting for someone to talk with him.



#16 Ambad

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 12:02 PM

All this talk of demons and bloodbaths seemed to be giving Dylan pause, at least for a few moments. The young man listened and watched as the others conversed and signed the document and then went back to arguing more about demons and bloodshed, as well as what route to take...

"Hey now, how do we even know these demons are still there?" He asked the Templar and the Northwoman, "What would make them stick around after all the dwarves were gone? Surely they'd have gone and found something else to do by now, rather than just sit around in some Dwarven ruins, right? Would they even care about the treasure? What good is gold to a demon?"

He shrugged and shook his head, "I'm just saying, we won't know anything for sure until we get there. And if people wanna abandon ship then, well, at least they'll have made the trip to get there more interesting, right?" Dylan looked around the tavern at the plethora of adventurers, "Which also brings me to the subject of our route... Is there any great rush for us to get there? I'm not averse to tromping through the wilds to get there, but if time isn't the most pressing issue, wouldn't it be better to take a route that won't wear us down and drain all our supplies? I think the route to the North is the most ideal, since it'll allow us to travel in relative safety, stay in towns some of the nights, and resupply as often as we really need. Sure, it may be the longest in distance, but the easier traveling of roads, without all the work of hacking through brush and the like, might still make it reasonably quick."

"Not that I have any problem with the Imperial route, either." He was quick to clarify with a casual shrug, "It just doesn't give us quite as many opportunities to escape sleeping on the ground and restock on rations and whatnot."

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#17 Sephsekla

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 12:45 PM

"It is," Caiden agreed... and that was all.

 

Garandros snorted, amused despite himself. If the other man was happy to keep his distance that was fine with him. He spotted another Venator approaching and grimaced. A decade ago this would have been the kind of meeting that would lift his spirits. Now it filled him with unease.

 

"Who are ye, exactly? Ye look like a Venator, but I havnae seen ye at castle Greywatch."

 

Garandros stiffened slightly before relaxing, although his posture remained guarded.

 

"It's been a long time since I've returned. I've been.. busy." He looked the Venator up and down, his lone eye narrowed. "What brings you here, Agethar was it?" 

 


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#18 GhostlyCheese

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:04 PM

Belaya Orious was one of the last to write down their name on the contract. It was nothing to gawk at, her name scribbled in rough common. Afterwards, she sat down and ordered a drink.

 

"Not that I have any problem with the Imperial route, either." He was quick to clarify with a casual shrug, "It just doesn't give us quite as many opportunities to escape sleeping on the ground and restock on rations and whatnot."

 

Belaya took interest in the human's comment, and turned on her stool in his direction. "I have no issue with the ground, I actually prefer it over most beds..." She spoke, trailing her words towards the end. "But I could always bring in some fresh game if we run low on rations..." Belaya added, setting down her drink.

 

Behind her, she heard the utterance of words in a strange tongue. Her ears perked up, and she turned to see a strange man sitting away from the group. Beside him stood a long black staff, and the man wore long robes, of which order she was uncertain. Belaya watched the man silently for a moment, before she grabbed her bow and decided to approach the man.

 

"You are part of the party, but you sit alone. I can tell that you aren't from around here, your clothes give it away, old man." She said, placing a hand on her shoulder, to show her presence, then, she grabbed a chair and sat down beside him, as she got a better look at his face, she realized that he wasn't as old as she thought. "I haven't seen your kind around here before... or anywhere as a matter of fact." Belaya looked again at his clothes. "Where are ​you from?"


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#19 DragonJedi

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:35 PM

Elisario Khampale stood quietly around the loud dwarf’s table. Business, as he referred to his bounty hunting, had dried up recently in this region, and Elisario was starting to get antsy without his work. A thrilling treasure hunt, cliche as it sounded with tales and fables of his childhood, would be an interesting way to earn some extra gold.

 

Agni laid out several different routes that he recommended, but the route through Imperial territory seemed like the most appealing in terms of speed alongside unnecessary risk. Elisario took a moment pondering if that’s how he wanted to go before making his way through the group to the contract. Another dwarf and an elf were standing by the contract acquainting themselves with each other. 

 

"Elisario Khampale," he said, offering a nod to the dwarf and the elf. "Pleasure to meet the both of you."

***

Njarine Daley couldn't call the Skaldsong the worst tavern that she had been in, but it was loud for sure, and the dwarf, Agni Bloodrune, had offered an intriguing adventure to anyone willing to accept it. The possibility of any magical artifacts for the Inquisition's use was too good to pass up on. "I'd opt for the route through Rimegard. There shouldn't be any trouble there with this group's connections to the Empire."

 

Njarine signed the contract in her usual spidery script, and then went over to one who she thought might be somewhat kindred, a Knight Templar of the Empire. The scarred man was speaking heatedly with a Nordling woman.

 

"I have no problems with a bloodbath. I'm not sure how many of the people here would be able to survive a bloodbath with demons. You might be able to, but can you honestly say that anyone else besides those with the right training could survive?" the Templar said through gritted teeth.

 

"Ser Templar, even if this group doesn't have the extensive training of the Templars or Inquisition, we have several Venators. As for the rest of the group, they all appear to have some combat experience and we can supplement for what becomes hazardous to the group's wellbeing." She paused for a moment before introducing herself. "Njarine Daley, Channeler of the Inquisition."

 

 



#20 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:44 PM

"It's good tae go intae battle with ye again," the Venator said.

 

Caiden merely nodded. In the corner of his vision, he was paying more attention to the grizzled stranger. By the time Agethar and Garandros turned to each other instead, however, Voros seemed distracted - he shifted in his seat and had a slight shiver run up his spine at some unknown irritant.

 

But he focused again as Agethar seemed to imply the man looked like a Venator, for some reason, despite not apparently wearing a brooch. That seemed to irritate the stranger. It was brief and subtle, even if he still looked a bit defensive, but Caiden noticed. His one eye narrowed slightly.

 

As Garandros and Agethar continued speaking, Caiden silently picked up his tankard to take a drink.

 

---

 

Agni, meanwhile, was listening with some apparent interest to the various arguments and discussions being held by the assorted fortune hunters...

 

Though he did take a drink of his ale and say a bit drowsily. "I don't mean t' rush any o' ye, and I certainly don't want to annoy anyone, but I'd 'preciate it if everyone who's interested could go ahead 'n' sign. I'd sure love to get some shuteye, and I gotta keep the contract with me at all times."


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