The Dark Ages - Southern Seas - Act 6 - Skalfier - Fall 6, 56AD
The evening finds you looking down a large hillside in the land towards the sea. That hillside is covered by the city of Skalfier. In the dusk light, it seems to shimmer with the ocean, giving you a mirage of what the city must have looked like in the hey-day of Ramathia, before the doom.
"Come. Very least, we can get ye a bed at the Merchants Guild for the night, and then ye can come w'me tomorrow as I let my employers know what I've found." Marceau says.
ATACIUS: "Very generous offer, Marceau. We'll gladly be there tomorrow." says the little long as he takes note of where the Merchants Guild is.
"Now if you excuse me, I'd like to get acquainted with the town..."
GRAIAN: "Don't get into any trouble Atacius, I would like a good nights sleep!. Thank you Marceau."
TAKASHI: "Thank you for the offer of lodging, Marceau. No doubt they will be better than our accomodationsa the keep!"
Marceau takes you through the North Gate, through the Northill neighborhood and on to the older Walled City, passing through a second set of gates. In short order, and with a nod and a show of his papers to the guards outside the Guild Hall, Marceau takes you into a sumptuous hall and entry, warm candles and rich colors on the walls and carpets. He summons a servant and you are each taken to smaller travelers' rooms where a comfortable bed, washing bowl and other toiletries are laid out. Before leaving you all, Marceau says he will be waiting for you all in the eating room at "forenoon watch, two bells."
TAKSHI: "We'll be there, Marceau. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am looking forward to sleeping in a comfortable bed this night. I think I'll clean the dust from myself and then check in early, seeing as I've got nothing else better to do than to catch up on some sleep."
GRAIAN: "Good night all, I am certainly going to take advantage of these comfortable and safe surroundings."
The four of you (including Oliphas and Callin) find your rest undisturbed. Atacius has gone off to explore Skalfier a little bit.
GRAIAN: Waking up feeling refreshed Graian decides to go for a walk around Skalfier before meeting Marceau, he is still hoping to meet other Elves, maybe some settled here.
ATACIUS: "Monring, my elven friend! I have some news that may be of your interest." the littleling cheerfully greets Graian. "I understand you're looking for the Conclave of Elves right? Well, they happen to be gathered here in Skalfier and I know where." he says with an expression like he made a huge discovery.
"I'd gladly walk you to where they are, if you like. Shall we go? I also want to ask you something, but I'll tell you on our way."
"Excellent!" the littleling jump to his feet and guide the elf to the Golden Coach. "You see, we started on the wrong foot, I never intended to make fun of the Conclave, you know? So I made some inquiries and found their whereabouts." he says on their way. "The thing is the Elves have the place locked up for themselves, and I need to meet someone there but without a room or a written permit I can't get in. So I thought maybe you could help me here, see? I´d really, really appreaciate it." :)
GRAIAN: "Good morning Atacius, you do look pleased with yourself! I would very much like to go, we should not miss Marceau though, I think there is much to be learnt there too."
GRAIAN: Scowling "So, you are using me, I knew this was too good to be true, I offer my friendship and you take advantage, be gone!"
No,no,no,wait! Using? No,no, you're getting it wrong!" He goes after the elf. "Wait I'm trying to get things right. I'm just asking for a little help here. Don't need to get so sensitive!" He throws his hands to the air. "Please. Don't make me beg. There's no begging between friends right?"
TAKASHI wakes up from a sound night's rest and, after readying himself for the day with a quick prayer to his ancestors for guidance and good fortune, makes his way downstairs to take on the new day.
He spots ATACIUS and GRAIAN talking animatedly outside the front door, noting the tense body language of each. He approaches the pair during an opportune pause in the conversation, with ATACIUS looking pleadingly into GRAIAN's eyes.
TAKASHI: "Good morning, my friends. I hope that you both enjoyed a peaceful night. It's been too long since I've had four walls around me and a safe place to sleep. Since I have no money and we have some time to kill before our meeting, does anyone have any suggestions on what to do or see around here?"
GRAIAN: Looks up at Takashi "There is a reason we Elves keep to ourselves, we know and trust each other, no need to pretend" he says gruffly, turning back to Attacius "Who is the person you need to see, an Elf?".
ATACIUS: "It's a human, and he's kind of elvenphobic, yes I don't like him either, but he won't come out with all the elves in the inn, and I can't get in so I'm kind of stuck, see? That's why I need your help here. No pretending. Who would I ask if not a friend?"
GRAIAN: "Very well Atacius" he sighs "Take me there and I will see if I can help."
ATACIUS: "Yay! Thanks Graian!" he hugs the elf and quickly let go, straightening his wrinkled robes. "Sorry about that, let's go!" regaining his cheerfulness.
Morning, Fall 7, Skalfier - Heading to the Inn
The three of you make your way southwards down Merchant street, turning east onto Main and find yourselves soon at the corner of Main and Golden, where the Golden Coach lies. It's a beautiful wood and brick inn, done in typical Empire architecture, but lovingly kept in good repair. Banners and standards festoon the windows of the inn, which GRAIAN recognizes as ships' standards and clan/crew banners for various Elven ships and crews (think families and clans). Two human guards, dressed in yellow/green livery, stand out front. Traffic is light around the Inn, just a few folks walking about, and a couple of carts with smaller pack horses pulling them.
Please leave actions as replies here... :)
GRAIAN: "Well Atacius, I don't recognize any of the standards, this maybe be a little harder than you thought. We could just try the old fashioned idea of asking, I suppose." Walking up to the guards, "Good morning gentlemen, glad to see we are being safely looked after, we have business inside the Inn."
TAKASHI: (to ATACIUS, softly) "Well, this ought to be interesting..."
ATACIUS: "Oh yes, nothing's easy around here..." he whispers back.
(The dice do not like you. 1d12 Reaction Roll = 3...)
One of the guards squints suspiciously at GRAIAN. "Yer new and don't lookit like de odder elves. Lessee yer key fob! And who be dis 'we' bizniz?"
GRAIAN: "We are planning a get together for a number of our families, noithing as large or grand as the Conclave, but clearly this is the place to stay, well kept, reasonable prices and obviously secure. WE wish to dicuss this with the keeper, confirm dates and terms. I sent notice that we would be arriving today, I am surprised you have not been told."
"Noboddy said nuffin and all peoples who come have room keys. The Inn is sold out till who knows when ye kind'll be done, but when ye're done, then the Inn is open. Room key, letter or get outta my face!" the guard growls.
GRAIN: Turning to Atacius he says in a clear voice so the guards can hear "I should have sent you in ahead to let them know, I knew relying on Grenweave was a mistake."
The guards do not show any reaction, aside from the one growling at you "Move along, elf."
ATACIUS: (whispers to TAKASHI) "Told him, no key no papers no entry..."
TAKASHI: (back to ATACIUS) "No social graces, no charm, the list goes on my friend..."
ATACIUS: "I'm sorry my LORD..." the littleling answers loud enough for the guards to hear. He bows to Graian and walks by to talk to the guards.
"Gentlemen, good morning (nods at each of them, hands on his back), I'm Master Lightfoot, trusted advisor of my Lord here (he motions to Graian). Let me explain his situation. He was attacked on his way to the Conclave, saving his life miraculously, and missed its arrival to Skalfier with his kin. Luckily he was aided at Skalfier Keep, whose Captain, may the Light bless him, sent word of his arrival with a caravan. Sadly that caravan was attacked on its way here, we learned that when on our way here found what was left of it, ghastly view indeed, so it's understandable you good sirs never got notice of his arrival. If you collaborate, which I believe it is the wisest choice (puts a palm on his chest), I assure you my Lord will put a good word with your Commander here AND Captain Marks at the Keep."
The guard's mouth gapes open after Atacius's speech. "Well.. uhh... wait here!" he snaps and he turns around. "Gotta ask what ta do..." He enters the Inn, leaving the other guard looking a little non-plussed.
ATACIUS turns back to his friends, big smile across his face, winks at Graian. "My Lord" he says bowing and stands next to Takashi, his face solem again.
GRAIAN: A look of disbelief on his face and clearly not sure what to say or do, finally he recovers enough to utter "Well done" quietly as he turns back to Takashi and Atacius
A few minutes pass..
.. then a few more ..
.. the second guard returns to a bored looking attitude and leans back against the door frame. Of course, that is right when the door yanks open, startliing him back into upright position. The first guard comes out and stiffly motions you all in.
As you enter the Inn, you see a large entry way, very nicely maintained with bright candles and light streaming around the banners hanging in the windows. Two sitting rooms on either side of the entryway, an Innkeeper's desk, a grand staircase behind his desk that leads up to the second floor and two doorways in the opposite wall to you, the left is shut and the right seems to lead to a bar or eating area.
You hear loud, raised voices speaking Elven in what seems to be angry tones.
And there is an elf standing by the desk, with an impatient look on his face. He is dressed very well, with robes and a small ornamental stick or wand in his hand.
He walks up to GRAIAN and begins to speak in Elven. (Because GRAIAN is the only one who speaks Elven, I'll put the words in a private wave.)
As he speaks, he nods to ATACIUS and TAKASHI. He finishes and looks expectantly at GRAIAN.
TAKASHI nods solemnly to the Elf in return, and looks to GRAIAN to speak for the party. Clearly, had the elf wanted in our input, he would have spoken to us in the common tongue.
After the elf speaks, GRAIAN answers. The elf nods, speaks briefly, then re-enters the meeting room where the loud voices are coming from, shutting the door behind him.
ATACIUS: "Are we in my Lord?" he whispers.
ATACIUS will probe the closed door to the left. 0:)
The one that the loud voices are coming through? That's the same one that the elf walked through.
Oh no, the other left then. I go and look what's beyond.
There are two doors... one to the left of the stairs (it is shut, it is the one where the voices are coming from and the elf went into) and one to the right, which is open and seems to lead to a bar or eating area.
There are two sitting rooms - one to the left, one to the right. They are open areas.
And the stairs behind the innkeeper, leading up. I should draw a quick sketch.
I go and see if there's anyone in the bar/eating area.
There are less than a dozen people in the room, mainly eating the morning meal and conversing in low tones. Two waiters in stiff starched shirts move among the tables. There is a bartender or waiter behind the bar. There are no other exits, although there are windows in the wall opposite and to the right of the entryway.
I'll go and speak to the bartender.
She looks at you carefully, waits for you to make an order, while she's doing things behind the bar (cleaning, straightening, etc)
GRAIAN and TAKASHI - you see ATACIUS walk into the eating area and strike up a conversation with the woman behind the bar. After a very brief exchange and watching ATACIUS dig out something in his pocket, you hear her bray a cackling laugh and see her go back to cleaning the bar. ATACIUS pockets whatever he dug out and walks back out of the eating area.
TAKASHI: "You know you are flat broke when the bar wench laughs you out of the taproom, ATACIUS. I hope Marceau has some kind of reward or job lined up for us!"
ATACIUS: "Ha! You speak wisely friend."
The elf comes back and speaks again to GRAIAN. He says something, then points at ATACIUS and TAKASHI and then hands something to GRAIAN. He turns and re-enters the meeting room, shutting the door behind him.
The Innkeeper, who has been politely waiting at the desk, coughs gently.
"Sarh, wi' ye be wantin' a room?" he asks GRAIAN.
Morning, Fall 7, Skalfier - Heading to the Temple
The Temple is surprisingly well maintained and very beautiful -- almost unheard of in this day and age. Outside, the white stone and marble is kept clean and the stained wood trim and roof shingles gleam in the morning light. Inside, you see that the main chamber is simply a marble floor for the circular prayer area, with a pool of water in the middle. A large crystal set in the roof of the church sends a beam of light into the pool. The worshippers create circular rows around the pool. This morning, the prayers are lightly attended, and only a couple of deacons are attending service. One of them at the entrance to the chamber greets you to prayers and invites you to join them worshippers.
CALLIN: "Greatings Deacon. I am Callin. Thank you for your warm welcome." And with that Callin will join the circle of Worshipers and begin his prayers. He will focus his prayers to the Light to guide him on his path with his meeting with the Merchants guild, as well as to provide clarity in his understanding of the Lightbringers and while bringing the light to the darkness is good, employing dark acts to the ignorant is not the way of good men, or the Light. (Proceeding with this train of thought, Callin will request healing and blessings and a positive outlook. Requesting cure light wounds and bless as his spells)
The deacons attend to other worshippers and administer small spells to them - cure light wounds and bless being the main two. Worshippers donate coins into the well, where the gold and silver coins gleam in the light reflected from the crystal into the clear water. You can feel the holiness of the water.
And then... a shadow, or is it a shadow?, seems to appear as a priest emerges from one of the side doors and walks to the center. You blink, as it was almost as if you felt a shadow versus actually seeing it, as the man is clothed in bright white and gold rainment. He chants a hymn in a sonorous voice and then begins to speak the words of the day.
"The Light teaches us that our faithlessness, our disbelief causes us to be subjected to sickness and other calamities for our sins. When the Light shines and delivers us from Darkness, but then we reject the Light and return to our sinful ways, we are sealing our own fate and the fate of our brothers and sisters.
Sin is the cause of all man’s sorrows, both in time and in eternity. Sorrows are the natural consequence, the natural property of sin, just as sufferings, produced by physical illnesses, are the unavoidable property of these illnesses, and their characteristic effect. Sin in the broad sense of the word could also be called the fall of Men, or its eternal death, and encompasses all people without exception. Some sins are the sad inheritance of our faithless society, worshipping the False Gods. Sin, in all various forms, serves as the beginning of all sorrows and catastrophes to which we all are now subjected, as the Doom has fallen upon us.
The state of fallenness, the state of eternal death, by which all mankind is infected and stricken, is the source of all other human sins, both societal and personal. Our widespread sin-poisoned nature has acquired the ability to sin and an inclination toward sin, it has subjected itself to sin, and can neither remove sin from itself, nor do without it in any of its activities. A person who has not been enlightend cannot help but sin, although he may not want to sin.
There are three punishments determined by the righteous judgment of Man for the sins it has committed. Two of them have already happened, and one is yet to happen. The first punishment was the Doom, as our sinful natures in worship of the False Gods led us to eschew the nature of Man, the ability of Man and the essense of Man, to bring the Light to the world, rather we placed our faith in the False Gods as if they would deliver us from ourselves. The second punishment is the suffering we feel now, the press of the bandit, the oppression of the Bestial and the return to a baser nature that we see, as many struggle to and fro, wishing they could find the answer, even though the Light shines before them!. The final punishment will be the destruction and end of this visible world for apostasy from the Light, for people’s ultimate deviation into baselessness and unfaithfulness.
The true servants of the Light accept with submissiveness to the teachings of the Light, with thankfulness, and glorifying the Light, all the sorrows that the Light will shine away, but accepting that they were allowed to befall them. They accept it willingly and are well-disposed towards their sorrows. They find them profitable, needful, necessary for themselves; they consider them to be correctly allowed, and beneficial. They unite the yearning of their own will to the manifestation of the Light; in the exact sense, they are well-disposed toward punishments and correction sent to them.
He who endures well all the temptations allowed by his inner Light comes closer to the Light, acquires boldness, becomes familiar to the true nature of the Light. If you endure chastening, the Light will deal with you as a father with sons. The Light fills with spiritual blessings the one who endures sorrows with humbleness of spirit, delivers his heartfelt prayers, and will find that the Light will turn back the whip and rod of chastisement if it is no longer needed for greater spiritual progress.
The priest sternly nods to all and strides back out.
You find that despite the mental shadow, your faith is strong and you have the spells you sought.
A deacon close to you has noticed that you were holding a holy symbol of the Light and praying for spells. He comes over and introduces himself as Brianinov. "Forgive me, you did not let us know you were of the Light. Be welcome, brother. If you like, you may follow me to visitors' quarters and refresh yourself."
CALLIN finishes his prayers and contemplates the shaddow he saw. While the Sermon hit some of the correct points of the Light, it seemed a bit cruel and veiled in something.......dark. Perhaps that was the shaddow Callin was seeing..." Callin's thoughts snap to the present however when Brianinov speaks. "ahh, No apology is necessary, I am new to this temple, so I wished to see it as a Common Parishioner first." Callin smiles. "I am Callin, well met Brianinov. Visitors' quarters would be most welcome!" And with that Callin will follow Brianinov
Brianinov smiles and ushers CALLIN through a side on the opposite side of the temple. You find yourself in a curved hallway with small doors along the outside wall, away from the temple. A few doors passed, and Brianinov ushers you into a small room with a comfortable bed, some fruits and sweetmeats on a plate, a washing basin with towel and scrubbing sponges and a prayer mat.
"One of the priests will no doubt want to see you, Brother Callin. Traveling brothers and sisters are not unheard of in Skalfier, but rare enough. Do you have news from the Inner Kingdom? Is it true that the King has declared that all must fend for themselves this year?"
CALLIN nods slowly. "Yes it is indeed true. The King declared that none of his armies will travel toward us this year. That leaves it to the Light to guide and protect us. It means we must be diligent and stive to show all in our cities and villages that the Light still burns bright and that we must strive to follow it. More now that ever. As for meeting the priests I would be humbled to meet them. Perhaps I could freshen up a bit? I do have an appointment with my friends later this afternoon, but otherwise I am free"
Brianinov's eyes go wide and he grasps at his wooden sunburst holy symbol as if it were an anchor.
"By the Light, may it save us all, that is terrible! What will we do against DelMonte and the strange creatures coming from the sea?! If we are without the King's Legions, I can't see how we can hope to survive long."
He closes his eyes and you can see his lips forming a quick prayer. He finishes and then looks at you.
"What time is your appointment, I can see to it that you are awakened or notified prior. And I can see if Priest Rand is available. If not he, I don't know who would be available, High Priest Otollum is in fast and prayer and Emissary Deneb will no doubt be busy, as usual. I was surprised to see him at morning prayers, delivering the Light to the faithful."
"I'm not entirely sure....I was told Fornoon watch 2 bells. But I'm not at all certain what time that is, or what time it is now, other than morning. As for how we can hope to survive....That is simple Brianinov...that is what we do, that is why we belive in the Light. It is our strength in ourselves, our bond with each other, to do what is right, and push through all the odds. DelMonte will come to terms with the Light one way or the other, as will the monsters coming from the sea. You simply must put your faith in the Light." Callin puts a reassuring hand on Brianinov's shoulder. "Faith my friend! Faith"
"Thank you brother." Brianinov replies. "When you've lived in Skalfier and seen the decline, it is difficult, especially when you hope that we'll come together, rather than fight separately."
He chuckles at your questions about the bells. "You learn to listen for the bells ringing. There are "eight bells" that ring in a watch, roughly every 30 minutes or so. The day is divided into watches. Services start at Morning Watch, 8 bells, so you have roughly an hour or so till 2 bells. If you hear a ringing of a bell soon, I would head over to your appointment, if I were you."
"Thank you brother!" Callin smailes Feeling a bit more confident knowing what time it actually is, or at least an approximation of it. "And remember even if we a spread across the battlefield, if we are all fighting for the Light, we are no longer fighting separately, but as one. Let that fuel you Brianinov! That is the spark of hope, of Faith!" Callin pauses to let it sink in a bit then continues...."Speaking of the light, what do you know of the Lightbringers? I have heard tails of them on my travels, but I was curious about them."
Brianinov's eyes light up and he starts to smile...
... but then the light dies and his smile turns into a hard line as you say the word "Lightbringer." He holds up a warning hand.
"Shh, brother." he whispers. "You don't want to say that name too loud in these walls. That way is sure to bring a visit from a Lightbringer... or even Deneb. It's not a good idea to talk of them here. Perhaps we can talk more later... elsewhere. Meet me this evening at Sundown at the gardens in the northeast corner of Dawnsedge. It may look like a seedy place, but the people don't give us priests much trouble. We can talk there."
In a louder voice. "If that is all, brother, you may refresh here and return as needed. May the Light shine your path, brother."
With that, he scurries out.
CALLIN will not to Brianinov with undersanding, and in a whispered tone "Yes I will meet you then." Then in a louder voice...."Yes thank you Brianinov! My the Light shine your path as well.!"
At that point CALLIN will clean up and refresh himself, waiting for the first bell. Once he hears it, he will head over to meet Marceau, and his friends.
GRAIAN: Turning to Takashi and Atacius he explains that while he can stay and observe the Conclave, they cannot. Replying to the Innkeeper "Yes I will take room, I would also like to have a letter so that my friends can get in through the door withouth any further trouble."
GRAIAN: "Gentelmen, time to head to our meeting."
Of course, s'ahr, all wi' be as ye ask. The rate f'rooms is reduced, 'course, but tenday's advance required. One gold crown a day for room 'n meal provided, 'course. Be ye wantin' two tendays are 18 gold crowns 'stead o'twenty."
He slides the register in front of you, waits for you to sign it. While you do that, he busies himself with getting the key and writing two notes, stamping them with a wax seal.
"What be 'n names for the passages, s'ahr? And be ye sure to not lose ye key, ten gold crowns to replace."
GRAIAN: At the mention of the price and the payment in advance required he stops registerign and looks at the Innkeeper, "Ah, during our recent troubles we were robbed, unfortunately I have but a few silver pieces on me, I was not expecting such a large advance payment. I have alternative lodging arrangements, obviously not as good or convenient as your fine establishment, perhaps you could give me a paper for now, until I can obtain suitable funds."
The Innkeeper nods unhappily and prepares three passes for you all.
It is right after this that you hear a single clear bell being rung and the barkeep in the eating area can be heard saying "First bell!"
TAKASHI's eyebrows leap upwards when the room pricing is stated. He looks warily to GRAIAN, wondering what in the heck will happen next. He is wondering if, perhaps, he has a pot o' gold stashed somewhere on his person as he has heard tales of certain Fae folk in the past.
TAKASHI: "Indeed. It will be most interesting to see what Marceau has lined up for us this morning."
ATACIUS: "Thank you very much." he says to Graian as he pockets his pass. "I hope you found what you came for among your kind."
Fall 7, Forewatch after First Bell - Skalfier - Merchant's Guild
After arriving back at the Merchant's Guild and waiting for a bit, you see MARCEAU come out of a door and nod to you all.
"Good to see you, boyos. Hope ye've had a nice run 'o Skalfier. She's a lovely city, even with the Doom. Opportunity still here for those with the drive to find it."
"In a few minutes, we will be meetin' with several of the Guild members. They've been already told of ye, but they be wantin' me to tell them of the caravan attacks. Once that's done, they may ask ye some questions and such. If ye all are still interested, I will tell them that ye are right and proper for becomin' ... troubleshooters. That ye are lookin' for opportunity and jobs. If that be the case, then they will decide and let ye know. I 'spect that they'll take my advice and agree to it."
"Do ye have any questions before we go?"
GRAIAN: "Yes, while staying here is a wonderful option, I think being at the Inn with the others of my kind will yield some useful information, unfortunately I do need to obtain substantial funds for that."
ATACIUS: "No questions here boss"
TAKASHI: "That would be most helpful, Marceau. With the guards at the keep cleaning out our purses, none of us have any coin to survive in the city. So, it is either find some way to earn coin here, or venture out into the wilderness and see what we can turn up there."
CALLIN: "I would gladly lend a hand to those who wish to shine light into the darkness. Making a little coin in the process never hurts either!"
MARCEAU nods and motions you follow him. He takes you up the stairs to the second floor and down a hallway. The floors are sumptuously carpeted and the area is very well lit with what appears to be magically shining candles - their glow doesn't seem natural, but it is bright.
MARCEAU pauses before a mahogany door and knocks three times. "Enter." a voice commands from within and MARCEAU opens the door and steps through, motioning you inside.
The room is small, but luxurious, with comfortable leather chairs, a large table, what appear to be several maps on the wall and book cases filled with large ledgers and papers. The room is arranged so that three men are behind the table on one end and six chairs on the other. MARCEAU takes the middle chair and motions you all to fill in the others. One chair (most likely for OLIPHAS) remains empty.
The man seated to the left writes on a pile of paper in front of him, looks at the empty chair and frowns. "We thought there were five companions of yours. Will this one (he points with the quill) be joining us?"
"No, sir." MARCEAU answers. "He seems to have vanished once we came into town. He seemed of the nature sort, I think the city frightened him off. He was always a quiet one, and I believe he's returned to the hills."
The man nods wordlessly and writes quickly. He then looks at you all.
"I am Wesley. This is Guild Member Leland and Guild Member Urich. You are..." he writes down the names as you give them. Wesley then turns his attention back to MARCEAU.
For awhile, MARCEAU is briefed on his mission and results. The answers he gives to the men match the story he told you at the Keep - that he investigated the missing and robbed caravans starting at the Keep, established that there were men loyal to Delmonte in the militia and Keep's officers, but he was discovered and jailed.
"And there I sat, rotting away, waiting for someone to find a way of killing me, and then these lot showed up. They were set up to be patsies for a caravan robbery - Gillian's caravan and he is dead, unfortunately, the Light bless his soul - and yet they made it away, came back to the Keep where they were quietly locked up. That's when they connected the final dot for me - the Marshall's second - a Captain Marks - is in league with Delmonte. He's using a crew, apparently sergeanted by a Grenweeve, and they rotate in and out of the Keep back to Delmonte to be the insiders to rob the caravans."
MARCEAU finishes his narrative. Wesley then looks at you all.
"And tell me of how you came to be part of a caravan that was robbed. Please give me all the details, including what happened to Master Gillian." he inquires.
TAKASHI: "It seems that all of us had recently arrived at the Keep from different parts of the land. I, from the East, and I will let the others tell you what they will of themselves to respect their privacy and authority.
All of us were seeking work, and found ourselves offered positions as guards for a caravan heading out to Skalfier the following day. We were warned of bandits in the area, and told the caravan leader, Gillian, that we would all do our best to prevent disaster.
During our trip, we were each approached by what later turned out to be the leader of the "inside" men in the caravan - Grenweeve, and told about an unfortunate incident that would occur during the night. He told us to do nothing, and we would in turn be left unharmed.
We all took our watch during the night, but we were placed together in the same once, so as to prevent us from interfering I assume. The watch passed with no issues, and it was our turn to try and get some sleep. Some of us managed to stay awake, and then all hell broke loose in the camp.
Some devil used his gifts to put all of us in to a deep sleep, including those who had remained awake. We awoke later on, bound, and able to hear the moans of the wounded and dieing all around us."
TAKASHI looks to someone else to finish the tale, as his throat has become dry from this extended period (for him) of speaking.
ATACIUS: "We were able to get free of our bindings and blindfolds, only to find the wreck the attackers did. Among the murdered and badly wounded guards and coachmen, we found Gillian, his life hanging by a thread. Callin or Graian catched his last words I believe. We also found in our belongings letters signed "D" that implicated us as perpetrators of the robbery. When we were trying to decide what to do, a lone rider in the Keep livery arrived. Most surprised he was to see us roaming free and tried to escape, but we didn't allowed that to happen..."
GRAIAN: "Yes they had a Magic user with them, who used a sleep spell on us just prior to the havoc they wrecked on the caravan. I was not effected but they overpowered me and then knocked me out, but I did see them putting the letters into a couple of the backpacks."
CALLIN: "It was TAKASHI who managed to hear Gillian's last words, as I was a step too late. I was tending to GRAIAN as Gillian passed to the Light." Callin hangs his head a bit in shame. "I should have moved faster" he mutters under his breath.
Wesley notes down all that you are saying.
"I see... and what were Master Gillian's last words? Did you recover anything from him? What else did you notice of the attack? Was it just guards of the caravan or were there other bandits who participated? How did you come to survive the attack?"
TAKASHI: "I found Gillian, and it was me that he spoke his last words to. He said, 'Del..te.. in league. Keep... you... framed... someone rides ... hurry... or ... lives... forfeit. So... sorry.... love Eslema...'.
As for why we were left alive, I can only assume that we were to be used as a convenient target to pin the blame upon. When the lone bandit appeared later that morning, he was surprised that all of us were alive, so perhaps that was not their original plan. I struck the bandit down before he could return with the news of our survival to the other bandits, but that did little good when we marched back to Skalfier Keep and unintentionally anounced the same fact ourselves to the snakes in their midst."
MARCEAU produces Gillian's journal and wordlessly hands it to Wesley, who takes it, nods, and continues writing.
Wesley repeats his questions: "What else did you notice of the attack? Was it just guards of the caravan or were there other bandits who participated?"
CALLIN: The mage and the bandits that were with him, were not part of the guards who traveled with us. They however entered the camp without incident.
"So you recovered from being put to sleep by a spell, you killed a bandit who came back to the caravan, and then... ?"
ATACIUS: "Then we went back to the Keep to report the incident to the Militia. We met Captain Marks in a tavern and told him what happened. He was with two guys and sent one back as soon as we told him and showed him the papers we found in our packs. I followed that guy to the barracks but he sent the other after me. I tried to warn my friend but they, the to guys and many more, chased me back to the tavern. We were outnumbered and had to surrender. They threw us in the dungeons where we met Marceau."
"I see." Wesley says. "And this jailing didn't happen for other reasons? What ties Captain Marks to the robberies?"
ATACIUS: "Right, it was because he didn't want witness. Well like he said: "Ye understand, this puts me in a bad spot, boyos. Bad spot indeed. Word gets out, it can be very bad indeed."" he says mimicking Cap. Marks voice.
"Interesting." Wesley says. "Was there anything else... more substantial, than his comments to you? Accusing the second to the Marshall is a tricky thing."
ATACIUS: "Well, the thing is we don't, and giving the issue some thought, maybe this guy Greenweeve is taking advantage from the Captain being prone to drinking to carry his activities. Maybe is him and not the Captain that's behind the attacks. Against Greenweeve we have what he said to all of us about "standing down" when the attack came. We don't want to make the injustice of accusing someone without proof."
MARCEAU coughs gently. "There is the matter of the good Captain's office... "
TAKASHI: "True. After freeing ourselves and MARCEAU from the donjon's cells, we wore some pilfered guard's clothing and made our way through the barracks and into the Captain's office, where MARCEAU told us we would find our confiscated equipment. The office held much more than that, however - spoils from raided merchant caravans, and the like.
To create a diversion and extract a small measure of justice, we set the Captain's office aflame and then left as quickly as was possible."
ATACIUS: "Oh you're right! But then again still got nothing 'cause we burned it all..."
GRAIN: "But the confusion caused by the fire did aid our escape."
Wesley pauses his writing for a moment to look at each of you and then at MARCEAU who grins and nods.
"As a tactic in aiding escape, it was well done." he says. "It also probably has caused some discomfort for the good Captain. He apparently received a cut of the goods from the bandits, and now that's been denied to him. These four showed great initiative and thought in getting out."
Wesley nods. "Is there anything else to add to the information on the caravans?"
MARCEAU nods "Yes, I think that we should send a team to retrieve the bodies or at least give them a proper end. To lay out at the mercy of animals and sky is not a decent end. And, there may be something we missed. We were fleeing the Keep and didn't want to spend much time there."
Wesley agrees. "I had already planned on it." He turns and hands Gillian's journal and his notes to man in the middle, Guild Member Leland.
"Marceau, as usual, you've done the Guild a good service and we will pay the usual fee. I know this was a particularly harsh assignment and you've suffered greatly. Triple the fee is what we offer as recompense. Take a fortnight to yourself, then return."
He then turns to look at you four. "On behalf of the Guild, we are grateful for the assistance you've given one of our members. Master Gillian's loss is regrettable and I am deeply pained by his murder at the hands of thieves and bandits."
"Marceau has sent word that you four are an interesting team and that we should consider hiring you on as ... troubleshooters. Given Marceau's reputation as one of our best, his recommendation has our interest. If you are interested, we pay by the job, based on the job. It's not the most pleasant of work at times, you do ... take care of things that most others would not wish, or if we want a certain amount of ... "
"Distance." Urich adds. "If we need someone to get into things that may leave dirty hands. As you can see, there's no shortage of troubles that might have an impact on our business. You four would help us in those situations. The pay is good, much better than just being an ordinary sell sword or craftsman or laborer, but it is dangerous. But profit often requires risk."
"As a token of our appreciation, we are awarding you the equivalent of a year's wages for an ordinary craftsman, one hundred and seventy five gold crowns each." Leland continues. "Should you accept our offer, not all jobs will pay the same, but this was an unusual case and we are grateful for what you have found." He pats the journal and notes.
"So..." Wesley finishes. "What do you say?"
ATACIUS: "By the hairy feet of old Acilius Lightfoot!" he exclaims jumping from his seat. He approaches the table and, standing on his tiptoes, reaches out to vigorously shake the hand of each man. "You've got a deal bosses!"
GRAIAN: The offer surprised even him, he was not expecting a trifling reward, but this was indeed generous, he could not help grinning, not too sure whether it was in repsonse to the offer oh seeing Atacius' excitement. "Thank you Gentlemen, that is indeed a generous offer, one I am happy to accept. We are a new group, but do seem to work well together and despite our different personalities," he pauses mometarily and looks pointedly at Atacius, "I think we will serve you well." He gets up and goes around the table to shake their hands.
TAKASHI's look of shock at the offer is obvious to all, and he must slowly close his now-wide open mouth.
TAKASHI: "I would be pleased to work with these three again, for and with the guild. It seems we will get a new start here in SKalfier, and I look forward to making the most of it. Thank you very much.
Do you have an assignment in mind for us already? We have not suffered long at the hands of corrupt guards like MARCEAU has. With today to provision ourselves and re-equip, and then a good night's rest, I shall be ready for what comes next."
CALLIN fails did to hide his boyish grin that comes across his face. "See friends. As I said, trust in the Light and smite the darkness, and your life will be rewarded!" Callin then realizes he didn't actually respond to the question...Composes himself a bit and answers. "Thank you, I would be happy to assist any group that seeks to find and destory the darkness. I understand that not all of the assignments are pleasant, however removing something that is filled with Rot never is. I will be happy to help shed the Light on such matters. Especially with my find group of companions"
All of the Guild men instinctively cover their pouches as they shake ATACIUS's hand. After the acceptance handshakes have occurred, and you all sit back down, Ulrich speaks.
"Indeed, we do have an assignment, TAKASHI. As MARCEAU pointed out, the dead and remains of the caravan need to be dealt with. Burn the bodies. Gillian's remains should be burned separately and his ashes brought to his widow, Eslema. Take note of any clues or things that might have been missed that give us more information. As well, see if you can follow the trail of the bandits to determine where they might have gone. Don't raid their stronghold, if you find it, but let us know where it might be located. Return with the information and Gillian's remains."
"You may equip at the craftsmen and merchants around town." Wesley continues. "For now, you are simply newly arrived adventurers to Skalfier. Don't discuss what has occurred to anyone outside of this room. It is imperative that we keep commerce and calm both in Skalfier. You are not working for the Guild and you are responsible for your own actions. If you have other questions, talk to MARCEAU. When you return, let them know below to ask for me when you return."
Wesley finishes and all of the men behind the table stand. "Good luck and welcome to the Guild." Leland says. He and Ulrich leave and MARCEAU stands.
(if you have any questions of Wesley, now is the time to ask, otherwise he'll leave.)
ATACIUS: "Couldn't we just burn Gillian's body and bury the other corpses? I mean, setting up those fires in the open might atract unwanted attention."
"How many men do you think there are? How fast can you four dig holes to bury them in?" Wesley asks.
TAKASHI: "There were many dead, and it would take us quite a long while to properly bury each. It must be by fire to keep this as quiet as possible. Perhaps we can cremate Gillian first, and then gather his ashes. Then, we can build a pyre for those remaining, light it, and be on our way."
"Indeed, and exactly why we want them burned. As well, it sends a message, that we will take care of our own." Wesley responds.
"Any other questions? If not, welcome to the Guild."
CALLIN: "Yes we must give them a proper passing. I will ensure that it happens. I gave them as best I could with the time permitted after the ambush, however the Light demands more. I will also ensure that Eslema recieves the ashes of Gillian." CALLIN pauses and looks to his friends. "Shall we leave first thing in the morning?"
"Just to be clear" Wesley adds. "Bring the ashes to us. We will deliver them to Eslema, but she will know you were instrumental in returning them."
GRAIAN: "We will return with Gillian's ashes." turning to his companions "We should prepare for the journey, tomorrow morning will give us time, I would like to see what is available in town."
Wesley nods and leaves the room.
MARCEAU beams at you all. "Well done, boyos. Keep this up and ye will be buying a seat in the Guild soon enough!"
He sobers up a bit. "I know the clean-up job is a tough one, but when ye're at the bottom rung, ye get those kinds of jobs. But not to worry, each little bit and each job successful brings you more profitable work, more important work. And ye can see if I'm out and about if ye have questions."
He looks out the window, where you can see the sun has moved past the midday point. "Well, that took awhile. Since ye are off to top up, I'll take my leave, but stay in touch and who knows, maybe we'll be working again some day."
Just then, there is a polite knock at the door. MARCEAU opens the door and a man is standing outside.
"Begging pardon, s'ahr, but a deacon from the Temple is here, looking for one named CALLIN. I was told he was here."
CALLIN will step forward. "I am Callin. who wishes to see me?" CALLIN quickly thinks to himself...what time is it? Did I miss my appointment with Brianinov...No the sun is still up....This will be interesting....
The functionary nods to CALLIN and steps aside, and Brianinov steps into the room.
"I'm so sorry to interrupt, CALLIN, but... well... ummm.... Emissarry Deneb would like to see you. Err... now. He sent me to find out." Brianinov looks decidedly guilty as he stammers out his message.
"I ... well... may have told some of the other deacons how strong in the Light you were, because you spoke so well and so faithfully and it was so refreshing and encouraging and we were talking and the Emissarry happened to hear and then, well, he asked about you and where you came from and what you were doing in Skalfier and why you hadn't come to talk to the priests yet and I said you had a meeting and were wondering about bells and then ... well... he wants to see you." Brianinov finishes with a gasp for air.
"I'm really sorry! I didn't mean to say all that, but you are so strong in your faith!" he starts to apologize profusely.
CALLIN puts a reassuring hand on Brianinov's shoulder. "WOrry not friend. There is no need to hide your faith in the Light, nor should you be ashamed to speak of any who display it's strength. I will talk with Emissary Deneb. Have faith in the Light Brianinov. It always shatters the Darkness!" CALLIN smiles at the man and turns to his friends. "It seems I have another appointment to attend to my friends. I will catch up with you at the Inn in an hour or so?" CALLIN makes a direct nod toward TAKASHI as he says this then turns and joins Brianinov to head back to the Temple.
TAKASHI: "Good luck, CALLIN. We shall see you in a short while, then. Let's plan on meeting around supper time at the same inn that we stayed at last night."
TAKASHI (to ATACIUS and GRAIAN): "Will you go back to the expensive inn to seek counsel with your kind, GRAIAN? What about you, ATACIUS? We now have coin in our purses - what to do with it?"
ATACIUS (to TAKASHI and GRAIAN): "While CALLIN goes to see the Stormbringer guy I'd like to try to find Notebana. He lives in the Dawnsedge neighborhood, which can get rough sometimes, so if you like to come...."
GRAIAN: "Who is this Notebana and can he aid us? I would like to go to Golden Inn for a while and find out more of the discusisons there and also see what supplies are available. However, I would not like to see you come to harm so early in our adventures."
ATACIUS: "He's one of my kind and he's aquainted with the old lady we found on our way here. I'd like to tell him she said hi and see what he's into. He was related to some adventurers recently. The went to explore some kind of tomb nearby!" he tells his friends. "We can drop by the Golden Inn and while Takashi and I have a drink there (we have coin to spend!), you can find out more about what's going on there. Then we can all go and see ths Notebana."
"Oh, and thanks for your concern friend." :D
GRAIAN: "Ah yes I remember, did not recognize the name, let us go and find him, I can return to the Inn later, perhaps after they finished for the day and I can talk to some of them."
ATACIUS: "All right then, let's go."
TAKASHI will follow ATACIUS and GRAIAN out the door, on their way to find Notebana.
TAKASHI: "I'm not sure I'll spend my coin in that swanky establishment, ATACIUS. However, I will be happy to accompany you to visit this Notebana character. It is wise to develop as many contacts here as possible, as we are newly arrived and know so little about this area."
MARCEAU takes his leave with a wave and you all are alone. The time is past midday, Afternoon watch, 3 bells.
Fall 7, Afternoon Watch after Third Bell - Skalfier
CALLIN walks out with the nervous deacon, Brianinov. They exit the Merchants Guild and head northeast to the Temple.
"I am so glad you are not upset!" Brianinov exclaims as you walk towards the Temple. "I had no idea how you might react, and what with the feeling in the Temple these days..." and then he stops and looks around quickly, as if suspicious that he might be followed.
"Please be careful." he whispers as you turn the corner from Merchant onto Trumpet Streets. "The Emissarry is an intense individual and he is strong willed in his view of the Light. He also has the ear of the Holy Light himself and is very powerful in the Church. Priest Otollum even has submitted to the wishes of the Emissarry. And it is said that some of the deacons and priests listen and report to Deneb. And his Lightbringers...." Brianinov shudders.
CALLIN smiles at the man. "I will be careful Brianinov. I have faith in the true Light, that it will guide me, and aid me when I need it. That will always be enough. Besides I actually want to meet with the Emissarry. I'd like to understand him a bit more."
"You are brave, but please don't mix brave with overconfident bravado." Brianinov warns. You reach the steps leading into the Temple. "Light guide you, brother." he says and takes you into the Temple and through the door that Deneb had taken earlier. This is a more sumptuous part of the Temple, the carpets that are on the floor and the beautiful tapestries that line the walls speak of the care that is taken in this area. The priests here are quiet but move with purpose, however, none meet each others' eyes. Brianinov takes you to a finely carved door and knocks carefully. There are two men, not in priests robes, but rather in carefully covered chainmail armor to make it less noticeable.
"Yes?" a voice within responds and Brianinov gulps and opens the door. "I've brought Brother Callin as you requested, your Grace."
"Good. Bring him in and leave us." the voice commands. Brianinov nods quickly and steps aside, allowing you entrance.
The room you are in is as richly appointed as the hallway, with crystal designs on the windows to reflect and refract the sunlight coming within. For a moment, as you enter, it looks almost as if the figure at the desk is surrounded by light, but his figure is dark within the light. The illusion passes as you move beyond the door and Deneb remains seated. He extends a hand, palm down, knuckles up, waiting for the greeting that a lower priest would normally give a higher one, as well as waiting for you to introduce yourself.
CALLIN will move forward and deliver the expected greeting ( I'm assuming that is kissing the hand while kneeling?). Then introduce himself. "Your Grace, I am Deacon Callin. I am honored to meet you. How may I assist you?"
Deneb nods approvingly and intones a formal greeting
"May the Light shine upon you, o good man of the Light, may it shine in your heart, in your actions and in your love for that which we do to shine the Light in all of Life."
He draws back his hand.
"I am Emissarry Deneb, also knows as High Priest Deneb. I serve the Light and it's Light among Men, that of the Holy Light Priest."
He then sits back and motions you to sit in the single chair on the opposite side of him. It's a hard, wood chair with no comforts and is not easy to sit in.
He steeples his hands and takes his measure of you, then speaks.
"Well, Deacon, you have made quite a stir among the other deacons of the Temple. They speak highly of you as an example of hope and shining light. I was surprised to see that you were not in the Temple to introduce yourself to the leadership and let us know of your purpose here, so I sent Brother Brianinov to seek you out. So, Brother Callin, what brings you to Skalfier and its Temple?"
CALLIN smiles a bit when there is mention of him making a stir. "Of course High Priest Deneb. My goal here and anywhere is to help spread the Light and shatter the darkness that grows in this land. I come to Skalfier with a group of travelers I have met in my Journeys. Good men all, and I hope to enlighten them on the ways of the Light. I come to the Temple for many reasons; Respect to the Temple, Respect to the Light, Grounding of my Faith, and Balance of my Soul. I offer a formal apoligy to you and the rest of the leadership on not identifying myself. I attended worship this morning, but had an appointment with my companions to attend to. I had plans to return to the temple after my appointment, and make proper introductions, and pay the appropriate respects." Callin then bows deeply emphasising the humble apology.
"I see." Deneb replies. "And no apology is necessary, good Brother, you had no orders otherwise, and your consideration is commendeble. Your purpose in ensuring the good words and deliverance of Men from the scourge that faces us is welcome. Always know that your High Priests are always available to ensure that you have direction and purpose, should it be needed."
"So, Brother Callin... are you affiliated with a Temple or are you a wandering cleric? Are you intending on affiliating yourself in Skalfier, to become one of our shepherds for our flock?"
CALLIN: "I am at present a wandering cleric. I find that in my youth it is best to be free to see where the Light takes me. I am not sure how long I will be in Skalfier, or when I shall return. But I do have plans to stay in the area, explore, spread the Light, and do what I can to fight the Darkness. However should I end up staying, I would be interested in helping to shepherd the flock"
"Of course, we respect that you might be called by the Light, as long as you serve the Light and the needs of your fellow Men. We can always use another shepherd, especially one who is so eager and fervent in his belief. Would that all men followed your example, we would see this scourge of Darkness turned back!"
He stands and faces the window.
"These are difficult times, Brother Callin. Service to the Light is not always easy, but in the end, we will have victory. It is the surety of our faith that makes it so. Should you decide to make your association with this temple official, Priest Otollum will be happy to give you an assignment. Should you be interested in some direction with your wanderings, you could be of great service to me."
CALLIN: "Thank you High Priest Deneb. I feel that I currently have purpose with my traveling companions, but should that purpose feel complete or lost, I will most certainly come to you for direction." CALLIN pauses for a moment then continues. "Is there other things you would like to speak of? I currently have to meet with my companions and discuss our next proceedings. I find that dinner is the perfect time to educate people in the way of the Light. It is a calming and enlightening time, where friends seem more open, then when traveling the open road."
Deneb looks at you for a moment.
"No, Adept Callin, I have nothing more to add, save that you have been an inspiring visit, I can see why the Temple is abuzz about you. You are a simple Deacon no more, having brought such a positive burst into this Temple and in your travels. I trust you will be of great hope and continued inspiration here in Skalfier."
CALLIN takes in that last note of Adept for a moment. Then bows deeply. "Thank you High Priest Deneb. I will strive to live up to the Title of Adept by spreading the Light, and shattering Darkness in all that I do. I will do all that I can to provide inspiration and faith in Skalfier as well as all places I travel. May the Light bless you each and every day High Priest Deneb, may it guide you, protect you, and challenge you. May your faith in the Light be Strong, and shine through like a Beacon of Hope for all who look upon you." CALLIN will then request his leave and head back to meet up with his companions.
"Yes, but one more thing... as your travels may take you out and about the places around Skalfier, do take note of those unbelievers who scorn the Light and seek to distract and mislead our lost flock to the falsehoods that brought the scourge upon us. There is nothing deadlier than the darkness within, and darkness within our defenses against the Doom will result in loss and defeat and we. cannot. AFFORD THAT!" he ends with an almost shout.
"The bandits seek to kill us at all turns, it is only a matter of time before the Bestials rise again, and the Light only knows what lies on that accursed island. We must stand strong and ensure that our flock is united with us in purpose and belief. You will be performing a great task, Adept, and following the will of the Light."
With that, he stands and holds out his hand again for you, in an obvious sign of dismissal.
CALLIN: steps forward bows and kisses his hand. "May the Light Guide us all. Thank you for your time High Priest Deneb" and then and then Callin will take his leave to meet up with his companions.
TAKASHI, ATACIUS and GRAIAN are directed to go down Main Street east, through the Eastgate, and then on through the Dawnsedge neighborhood. As you head through the gate, the houses start out in good shape, looking like sturdy, but simple family dwellings, but soon descending into more ramshackle homes with only a couple of well maintained homes here and there. Right on the edge of the area, where the houses end and hills and grasses begin, you come to an extremely well tended home. It is a two story home, with many windows, brightly colored. A single man, old but refined, is working on a small garden outside. He straightens up as you approach and addresses you in a very cultured voice.
"Yes, may I be of service to you this day, gentlemen?"
TAKASHI: "Well met on this auspicious day! If it is true that one can judge a man by how he tends his home, then you must be an exceptional individual. Introductions are in order, I believe! I am TAKASHI, and this is ATACIUS and GRAIAN."
The man looks at each of you in a way that you could think he's disapproving of your dress, your words, your very existence, or that he's memorizing each of your faces or that he's displeased at being interrupted, or that he's figuring out what you really want or all of the above.
But what he does do is nod and answer.
"The Master is occupied, but I will see if he will entertain visitors. May I inquire to the purpose of your call?"
ATACIUS: "Please tell him we bring news of Mama Dee."
The man's left eyebrow raises a bit but he nods. "I will let him know. Come with me." He opens the door and waits for you to enter. There is obviously a sitting room to the left and the man's posture leaves no doubt that is where he wants you to go. Once inside, he closes the door. "A moment while I inform the Master. Please help yourself to water." he nods to the decanter and small, fine, drinking bowls surrounding it on a tray in the corner of the room. There are five chairs.
To another littleling's eyes, Notebana has wealth, and great manners. Everything is laid out formally, and there are some small pieces that have his clan's banner painted on.
TAKASHI will take a seat, as instructed, hoping to fit comfortably into the chairs.
It is very comfortable, and human sized. It's obvious that two chairs are littleling sized, though.
GRAIAN: Takes some water and sits in another of the chairs, looking around the room taking note of the some of the more interesting items he can see.
ATACIUS will have some water while walking around the room.
Notebana has apparently done very well for himself, judging by the tasteful nic-nacs and small objects displayed. He is not as deeply connected with the forests and outdoors as many/most littlelings are, judging by the items, but he does have some love for wooden/found objects.
A small littleling, very well dressed, comes bounding into the room.
"Hello!" he exclaims and then turns to ATACIUS and speaks in littleling.
(Greetings to you, may the forest guide you and be kind to you, may the path be true and straight, may you always find your way home to clan and kin.)
He bows low. "I am Notebana, at your service. Jeseves said that you had news of Mama Dee? What a fascinating human ... errrr... female. Holding fast to the insane notion of gods and religions, but she does seem to have a very strange way of knowing things and aging well, for a human. So... what news do you bring?"
He sits down in one of the littleling sized chairs and listens raptly to you.
GRAIAN: Bows his head in greeting as Notebana sits down, waiting for Atacius to take the lead
(Greetings to you too. May the breeze always carry memories from the ever green hills and meadows. May the Sun and the Moon always guide you on the ever going Road.) ATACIUS answers in Littleling, bows and takes a seat.
"Thank you for your hospitality. I am Atacius and these are Graian and Takashi." he motions to his friends. "We recently arrived to Skalfier from the Keep, and on our way met Mama Dee and her followers. She was kind enough to share food and drink, and her wisdom with us. She also mentioned you and fondly remembered you as someone who, and here I quote her, 'likes to collect ideas and facts like someone collecting butterflies'." ATACIUS recalls. "I thought it would be the right thing to do, pay my respects and send you her regards." he adds.
"Ah, Mama Dee is such an INTERESTING character, so old for a human and those eyes. Did you know they still worship at a temple that is still standing? And that it's rumored to have tunnels and chambers and who knows what underneath it? How I'd love to go exploring it. I just finished this past summer with exploring an actual ancient mage's tomb north of here. FASCINATING place, full of mystery and strange enchantments. My companions were spectacular in how they delved into it, although they were a bit cautious and gun-shy."
"So... why did you go to visit Mama Dee? What brings you to Skalfier?"
TAKASHI will look to ATACIUS to continue the discussion, and be ready to add anything should the need arise.
GRAIAN: Tempted to ask more about the tower and enchantments he waits for Atacius to reply, deciding this is a topic that is more than a casual question or two.
ATACIUS: "Well, we didn't went to visit her. We crossed her path, or her ours, on our way here and she told us she foresaw that encounter. Interesting isn't it? As for what bring us to Skalfier, well, the Keep wasn't a friendly place, so to speak and so far Skalfier has." he answers with a smile. "My friends and I have an adventurous spirit." he adds after sipping some water.
"Oh what a fortuitous meeting and yes, she has some ability that I simply cannot fathom." Notebana responds. "She seems to have that knack for knowing things."
"Ah, and things have been VERY interesting of late, even exciting!" Notebana exclaims. "What with pirates, bandits, earthquakes and tornados, mages' tombs, men of crabs, monsters... I may even had interested a sage to come visit, what with the opportunities."
"Speaking of which..." Notebana muses "... is there anything I can do for you gentlemen?"
"You speak of many strange things sir!" says ATACIUS shuffling in his seat. "Now that you mention it, we're about to leave for the countryside to take care some business, so maybe WE can be of any help to you? If we come across anything interesting or fascinating we'll certainly seek your advice upon our return!"
"Oh wonderful!" Notebana exclaims. "You know, I had the most wonderful adventure when I came with the guys last Summer, wonderful fun. If you ever have a place in your group, going to some place interesting, I would love to come with! And, of course, my services are available as well, although we would have to talk about the price..."
"Of course, it'll be great to have your company, right?" he look at his companions. "We'll let you know when we're back in town. In the meantime, if you happen to have notice of a place you'd like to find or explore, we can all go together and split the findings in equal shares among us. I bet that will compensate everyone's services." ATACIUS replies.
"If my friends here don't have any more questions, we'll leave you be sir, you must be busy. It's been a great pleasure making your acquaintance and talking to you."
TAKASHI: "Thank you very much for your time and kind treatment of us strangers, Notebana. Perhaps, after our business in the countryside is attended to, we could all go and visit the temple you mentioned? There is safety in numbers during these dangerous times, as we have found out."
NOTEBANA nods excitedly. "Oh, yes, that would be fascinating! I haven't wanted to intrude on Mama's worship there, but I have so many questions to answer."
GRAIAN: "Thank you for your hospitality. Before we leave I would be interested in knowing more about what you discovered in the Mages tomb. If you know of any place I could purchase scrolls for a reasonable price that would also be of interest."
GRAIAN: "Shame about the objects being gone, maybe sometime we can discuss more aboout the adventure. As for the scrolls, protection from evil, web and even fireball are always useful things to have." he says with a wry smile
Notebana blinks. "Well, now, I haven't seen someone be so bold about mage's skills and magic scrolls in a long time. Perhaps it's because you are elven?"
"Most folks will give the evil eye or run off to the Temple to accuse someone of witchcraft and evildoing, when hearing about those kinds of things. It's been a long time since someone came asking about such things, I'll have to do some digging. There will, of course, be a finding fee for such things, along with the cost of the scroll. Come see me in a couple of fortnights and we'll see what we can see. These won't be cheap, though, my friend."
GRAIAN nods, "Given your adventures and clear dealings with others of a different nature I assumed you would not be one of those running off to the temple screaming witchcraft. Thank you for looking, I will come and see you in the agreed time."
NOTEBANA chuckles and speaks in Elven: "Well, no, I'm not like the humans in that regards. With their funny gods and funny religion. We're a more sensible folk."
He then speaks in the Human tongue (aka Common) "Please do return gentlemen... if you need the rare found, the secrets uncovered, the strange deciphered... I'm your littleling!"
He stands, bows. "Jeseves!" he calls and the older man appears into the door, either he had already been there or he was able to move very quickly. "Please see these fine gentlemen out."
"Of course, sir." Jeseves says in a tone that could be either disapproving, bored or simply not interested in you four. He politely shows you all out of the house, closing the door a bit firmly behind you.
TAKASHI bows to Notebana before turning and following Jeeves out the door.
TAKASHI: "So, where to next? The marketplace?"
ATACIUS: "Yes! We need to get ready for tomorrow."
GRAIAN: "Yes some supplies would be useful, let's head to the market'
Fall 7, Just after dusk - Skalfier
The sun's reflection is dimming across the ocean as CALLIN (and anyone else with him) makes his way through the Dawnsedge neighborhood. As you enter the neighborhood, the houses start out in good shape, looking like sturdy, but simple family dwellings, but soon descending into more ramshackle homes with only a couple of well maintained homes here and there. Just as Brianinov described, in the northeast corner of Dawnsedge is what looks like it was once a walled garden, but has not been kept up in awhile. Brush and vines string through the trees. There are dim torches and lanterns as a few groups or couples engage in private business or obvious copulating. A couple of toughs look you over, but upon seeing the holy symbol around your neck, they leave you alone. At first, Brianinov is not visible, but as you wind your way along the overgrown path that is still marked by mossy sculptures, a figure steps out from the dark brush.
"I'm glad you're here!" Brianinov exclaims nervously. "I didn't know if you'd come after your meeting with Deneb."
"Greetings Brother" Callin says to Brianinov and extends his hand in greeting. "Knowledge is the best Weapon I've found to combat the Darkness. Learning as much as I can is the best way I can sharpen my blade" Callin says smiling. "Shall we talk about these Lightbringers?" Callin says in a low whisper
Brianinov speaks very fast, without hardly breathing, as he spills what seems to be a great deal on his mind.
"The Lightbringers... yes, they are Deneb's men. Rumor had come prior to his visit that Deneb was a harsh man, one who was strict in the ways of the Light and brooked no compromise or tolerance of any of the old gods." Brianinov explained in a breathless voice. "When he arrived, he had been rescued from the clutches of Delmonte's men by a group of adventurers. He had harsh words for all of us, and even for Priest Otollum. Then one day, these men march into the Temple and he pronounces them the Lightbringers. They are tasked with ensuring 'the safety of our flock and the vigilant expulsion of the Darkness of the Doom.'"
Brianinov imitates Deneb's voice a bit with his quote.
"But several of the Deacons have... well... they had bruises and wounds as if they'd been beaten, and they wouldn't say why, except that they became very fervent in their faith. And we've heard whispers that the Lightbringers go around the countryside, finding followers of the old gods and doing things, terrible things to them. We don't know for sure. But then, everyone knows that Deneb keeps close ears to all the clerics of the Temple, and we don't know who is talking to whom, or who his spies might be. Otollum seems to have allowed Deneb to become the High Priest of the temple and has given up his authority."
Brianinov's tone has become bitter.
"This is not the Temple I grew up to want to be a part of. Not like this. But I don't know what to do. But... you should watch out. I don't know if Deneb will want someone to seem to be more faithful than he is... and you're the first bright ray of light that this Temple has seen in a long time."
CALLIN: "Well that explains a greeat deal then. Fear is a great motivator. You are right, this is not the Temple the people want or need. But it is not something that will change overnight. It is easy to overthrow a Tyrant, but not his power, his legacy......This is something that must be done slowly. And hopefully we can show him the true Light, and it will all be a moot point. I wonder if he is blinded by the bitterness of being captured, and the fear of it happening to others. Keep Faith in the Light Brother. Even in the greatest Darkness, the Light can shine through. You simply must keep that fire burning in your heart." Callin lets his statement sink in for a moment then asks. "Do the Lightbringers reside in the Temple? And do they every hang out in town?"
Brianinov shakes his head. "I don't know why, but stories say that he had similar Lightbringers in the Kingdom while he was with the Holy Light. I tell you, it's to the point where we are afraid to talk to each other, for being seen as failing our duties. The visits happen after that."
He thinks for a moment, looks around and leans in. "Yes." he whispers. "Some stay at the temple, and they are with Deneb when he leaves the Temple. Some seem to come and go. There are maybe twenty five or more of them, I'm not sure."
He jumps at a snap of twig in the overgrown garden and looks even more nervous, if that's possible.
"Troubling indeed. Thank you for talking with me Brother. Know that your words do not fall upon deaf ears. The Light will overtake the darkness. It will take time, perseverance, and faith. But I see that the Light is strong within you Brother. When you feel like you have nothing, turn inward, focus on the Light that shines there. Let it grow, let it warm you, let it guide you." CALLIN puts a reassuring hand on Brianinov's shoulder. "Faith Brother"
Brianinov nods, but his face looks unconvinced. "I will try, brother." he whispers. "Just be careful yourself. Don't trust anyone... well... I hope you will trust me." He nervously smiles, pats your arm, looks around and rushes away.
CALLIN giaves Brianinov a strong steady gaze. Trying to leave him with the confidence of the Light as he leaves. Then Callin will head back to rejoin his friends again.