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View Full Version : Armorial of Ashbarex: Chapter the First: First Impressions



nijineko
08-19-2008, 08:56 PM
Consciousness returns slowly. First, touch. There is something cold touching your right arm. After a few moments, your realize it is also wet. Then smell. Wet. Wet steel and the earthy punk of growing things. There is a breeze blowing intermittently. Sometimes cool, sometimes warm. This puzzles you.

Hearing.... Insects. Frogs. Wind. And something else. A faint clinking sound. As if some metal struck rock or stone. Vision. Your eyes open, but then close against the whirling. There was what appeared to be a couple of trees dancing and twisting against the sky. Then the pain hits. You are sore... everywhere. You feel as though you were struck by a planet. Thinking of your recent journey, perhaps you were.

Opening your eyes this time is more productive. The trees stop dancing, and the clouds are merely passing by at a much more normal speed. You realize that you can't move much, and this brings you to test your limbs. Your right arm splashes around a bit. Finally, it dawns on you that you are wedged into the rocky incline of a stream bank.



You are completely alone.

Dax Thura
08-20-2008, 05:53 PM
"If it hurts it must still be attached"

I'll slowly rise from prone. I'll survey my surroundings while continuing to test my appendages for range of mobility; stretching my arms and legs, flexing my fingers and toes, and spreading my wings. Once I've determined that all is well with me or at least figured out how bad it is, I'll do an inventory of my things. Then I'll give my full attention to my surroundings and that noise.

Obviously, I'm seeing spots and my ears are ringing

spot check
listen check

nijineko
08-20-2008, 06:26 PM
Some inelegant clawing at the rocks finally produces enough leverage to pry yourself from the stoney embrace. A few cramps and sharp stabbing pains, but you've suffered worse. Nothing that some stretching and improved posture and circulation won't cure. The bruises are tender, lots of bruises, but those will surely fade with time or proper treatment.

Everything you had on you appears to have survived your translocation. Your attention turns to your surroundings. You appear to be in a cleft in between two hills. A small stream trickles its merry way down. Sunlight appears strongly from over the ridge of the cleft. The sharp metallic smell does not abate. It also does not appear to be coming from the stream.

Another puff of warm air reaches you. The warm air smells strongly of metal. A shiver races down your back and out your wings. One of the trees... isn't a tree.

"Not the most survival-oriented indiviual i've ever had the displeasure of running into, I must say," a deep voice booms, a harp string tuned to the low rumble of thunder.

Dax Thura
08-20-2008, 09:05 PM
With the best smirk I can conjure, I'll say" That's because I am a city boy by nature. All this wilderness is for druids. But we have not been properly introduced. I am Ashbarex. To whom do I have the pleasure of addressing? And if I have accidentally injured you or your property, I apologize and assure you that it was only due to a very unexpected and disorienting journey that I did so. The same journey that landed me unconscious and wedged between the rocks where you found me."


diplomacy

nijineko
08-20-2008, 09:51 PM
The "tree" is silouetted against the sunlight streaming over the ridge. It uproots, revealing that what appeared to be a tree was in fact the head and shoulders of a rather large creature. Its edges scintilate with fractured light. A graceful leap sails it over to hill to your right, the one without a tree. It twists in midair, landing facing you with a metallic crash. No longer in shadow, it proves to be a rather large dragon.

A curiously feline body with a sinuous neck topped by an oddly human-like face, one made so partly because of the shock of long narrow scales forming a 'beard' about the muzzle, 'sideburns' along the jaw, and 'hair' behind the wide ears. These scales seem to be what caused the dragon to superfically resemble a tree when it held still. The scales are the color of burnished steel, and many come to a knife-edge along the spine and shoulders. The eyes are the piercing gleam of light upon a keen edge.

The wind of the dragons passing washes over you, bringing with it more strongly than ever the sharp oder of wet steel. The dragon rather pointedly adjusts stance, bringing to light a distinct dent in the chest plates, surrounded by a scorch mark. The dragon seems about to speak, and then the nostrils twitch. A long indrawn breath, and the dragon appraises you intently.

"Well. I am willing to accept your apology for the injury and indignity done me. Never let it be said that I was not generous. But you have also lost me my lunch. I shall require a repayment, of my choosing, at some future date. And now I must hurry if I am to find something else, so I will take my leave."

The dragon prepares to lift into the sky, and pauses looking down at you. "You are not unduly injured, yourself?"

Dax Thura
08-22-2008, 12:05 AM
Switching to draconic and a more... formal attitude.

No ,Great One. I wasn't. Of course your generosity is humbly accepted and deeply appreciated; again, I apologize for the indignity.

More eagerly

If you would have me, I would assist you in recapturing your lunch as a way to show my sincerity. Or perhaps, after you've dined, we could spend some time together. You see, I am a scion of the blood, though I was orphaned very young, and I am searching for my place in the world. Any knowledge or information you could give would be appreciated. By the way, Great One, where in the world am I and for that matter, which world is this?


Knowledge-arcana check for info on Steel(Fang?) dragons.


Please ignore the second set of knowledge rolls.

knowledge arcana
another knowledge arcana (just in case)
followed by a diplomacy (begging) roll
and a gather info check

nijineko
08-22-2008, 05:51 PM
The dragon nods at your first sentance and tenses to leap... but checks abruptly at your continuation. After a few thoughtful moments, the dragon settles back down, and observes you intently and silently, apparently thinking.

Dax Thura
08-23-2008, 12:09 AM
I'll "settle" as well, mimicking him (?) as best as I can, while waiting. Hopefully, he doesn't take offense. Occasionally, I'll flex my wings and clawed hands. I'll let my markings show in the hope that my appearance will help convince him to help me more.

Did my rolls give me any info?

nijineko
08-23-2008, 12:58 AM
{yes, sorry... following a dragon's chains of thoughts is a bit of a task, i'd neglected to mention the results: From what you can tell, this would be a Steel dragon. Common name of Greyhawk dragon, as they do not seem to appear in any of the planes, and are not commonly found outside of the regions south of the Nyr Dyv. (or, not that anyone knows, that is.) Somewhat rare, and difficult to find, even for dragons. Stories about them are few, but what do exists seem to emphasize a dislike for bullying or unjust behavior, and a warped sense of humor.

the results of your other checks will be forthcoming.}

nijineko
08-24-2008, 08:54 PM
At long last, the dragon speaks, "I think you should tell me the tale, in your own words of just what happened to you. I can delay lunch for a bit, especially if there is a story to be told." There seems to be a faint, perhaps even eager, emphasis on the word 'story'.

The dragon settles back down, crosses the forearms, and regards you more intently than ever.

Dax Thura
08-27-2008, 11:08 AM
Well, I'm not much of a storyteller. But, I was going about my day. A day not unlike any other. Then, there's this odd music before some magical effect sucked me in. As I was in the effect, I saw an string of people that stretched on without end. I heard a voice saying that I was one of some unknown number who had the ability to save them. The people stretched to infinity, that is. Then I awoke in the state that you found me.

nijineko
08-27-2008, 11:44 AM
The dragon thinks for a while. "Do you remember anything else of what happened in-between you being identified and awaking here? I assure you, your entrance was rather spectacular, on the local scale."

Dax Thura
08-27-2008, 03:03 PM
I remember that the voice that spoke to me was female. I remember the sensation of falling up then falling down. It felt like I... travelled a great distance or perhaps moved between planes. The faces of the people were stretched out and they appeared in pain. There was a lake, some islands, and a castle or a city. That's all.
What do you mean by spectacular by the 'local scale'.


I figure that it all happened so fast that I can't remember everything clearly, especially so soon after the event.

nijineko
08-30-2008, 09:58 PM
The dragon stares off into space, absently making chewing motions with it's jaws. Abruptly the dragon *harumphs*. "Oh, yes indeed. It was quite the spectacular sight. Normally, nothing could distract my attention from delicious food, especially not such a buck as that. Very tasty looking indeed. No, only the most extraordinary, unusual and rare of events could have accomplished that."

The dragon favors you with a piercing stare. "But even one such as I finds that being knocked on one's hindquarters by someone appearing out of nowhere in an explosion of light, quite beautiful a bow of light it was at that, to be at the very least, sufficient an event as to pose a minor distraction." The dragons voice goes very dry and droll recounting this.

Dax Thura
09-02-2008, 12:40 PM
Again I apologize for the loss of your meal and, well, for bumping into you so, but I am happy to hear that my entrance was substantial enough to catch your attention Great One. Perhaps with your vast wisdom and great wealth of knowledge, you and could advise me on my next course of action. Someone went through much trouble to get me here and I am curious as to whom and specifics as to what I am expected to do.

nijineko
09-05-2008, 06:35 PM
The dragon thinks some more. Then the corners of the dragon's mouth seem to curve up a bit. "I have a proposition. It occurs to me that you might be uniquely suited to assist me in a little side project that I have been dabbling in. Your debt to me provides an ideal opportunity to test to see wether this is in fact so... or no, as the case may be." The dragon sits up cat-style, even to curling the tail around the foreclaws. The dragon raised one arm and points mostly eastward. "A number of leagues over, there is the fortified range of the Horntusks, a family of shepards, who feed and water their flocks in these parts hereabout."

The dragon's tongue flashes in and out of the dragon's mouth. "Being a civilized being, of course, it would not do to hunt among them, as temptingly delicious as that prospect may be. Nor is it my mind to reveal my presence, even indirectly, to them lest they react out of fear. Using only the native resources you can call your own, bargin me a goodly meal from them, without ever revealing for whom it is you bargin. Revealing me in any way will be accounted as failure. The degree of your success will be determined by how many you successfully bargain for. More is generally better, but mind the quality."

The dragon pauses, thinking for a bit. "Do this, and not only shall your debt be utterly absolved, but I shall be most favorably inclined towards having you assist me with the minor matter I mentioned afore. Do you acceed?"

Dax Thura
09-06-2008, 01:17 AM
Wishing I'd put more points into diplomacy at this point.

I’ll take a moment to compose myself and clear my throat before answering, “Even if I had a real choice in the matter, I'd do it anyway. A few questions though, Great One. You said fortified range. For some inexplicable reason that makes it sound as if these Horntusks are not a very” I pause for dramatic effect “welcoming family. If that is so, then my appearance may cause them some concern.” At this point my smirk returns and while using prestidigitation to groom myself, I say, “I mean it would be a sad father indeed who would not want to protect his daughters from a man as well dressed and witty as myself.”
“And speaking of how I look,” adjusting into a more regal pose and gesturing to showcase myself, “would not my appearance, which so very vehemently marks me as having such an imperious lineage, indirectly reveal your presence? At the very least it would hint that someone else is in the area.”
Then I’ll go back to a more eager look, “That brings me then to wondering how many sheep does it take for it to be a ‘goodly meal’?”

Just in case
diplomacy
gather info

nijineko
09-06-2008, 04:33 PM
The grin is unmistakable now. "Sheep... Sheep? No little one, there are no sheep." He shifts back to the sitting position. You get an odd impression of an old professor about to give a lecture. "A few years ago, two families were in great dispute over the lands in which they pastured their respective flocks. Although they have forgotten the root origin of the dispute, it was actually over a most unusual circumstance. Unbeknownst to either family, a mother of one herd with her babies got lost. They wandered into the territory of a mother of the other herd, and ran from the confrontation. The first mother fell and died. Then a most unusual thing happened."

The dragon pauses to stretch out long, and then assumes a meatloaf position. "The mother of the second herd adopted the children of the first herd as her own, and raised them, defending them against all dangers. Each family thinking that the other had stolen the missing mothers, began to feud. For years they fueded. During this time the missing mother raised each set of babies. When they came of age, the mother allowed them to mate, and then drove away the others. In this fashion the mixed herd grew and increased and continued through the years. The children, and their children became somewhat feral, not being around either of the families."

The dragon sighs. "Eventually this mixed herd was discovered by both families, namely because the herd defended itself against the first family that found it, who then accused the other family of some magical influence or some such. After some heated discussion, mediated by a wandering sage, they actually went to observe the herd, and discovered that no one could approach them safely. After consulting with the sage, it was decided that this was a sign from the Gods, and they joined forces to re-tame this mixed herd, introducing all the young from both herds into the mixed one. They also began intermarrying until today there is only one mixed family, one mixed name, and one mixed herd."

The dragon pauses and returns it's regard to you. "You do carry yourself well, and seem to have confidence. Your wit will hopefully serve you well in your dealings with the Horntusks. Fear not, your appearance will not reveal me, only what you may say may do that."

The dragon rises and shakes off the clinging dirt and flips the wings a couple of times. "As for the fortifications, do not worry overly much, they are not to keep you out... they are to keep the herds from getting visitors.... such as you."

As the dragon turns away and starts to move off, he tosses over his shoulder, "I offer you two pieces of advice! When you find the river, cross it. And, if you value your freedom, under no circumstances, share a meal with any of the Horntusks."

He leaps into the air, his powerful wings coming down in the all-important first downthrust, catapulting him into the air. In an astonishingly few moments, the dragon is but a large speck in the sky.

Dax Thura
09-07-2008, 02:12 PM
I’ll watch him fly away then turn and begin mumbling to myself as I walk,” No sheep? He said shepherds. Shepherds herd sheep. That’s why they are called shepherds. Goat-herders herd goats, cow herders herd cows, and sheep herders, shepherds, herd sheep. No sheep. If not sheep, then what are they herding? Horses maybe?”
“Whatever it is they’re herding, it was able to fend off the Horntusks when it went feral. And that sounds like the name of a tough group of people. I wonder what kind of people? Horntusk doesn’t sound very human or dwarf or elf. More orc or hobgoblin really.”
“Of course, they did put together a fortified range for these animals. I suppose it was just his choice of words. I mean isn’t a fence a type of fortification? It’s not like it’s walled with ballista implacements and murder holes, is it? “

nijineko
09-12-2008, 05:22 PM
You begin walking, and as you crest the first hill you immediately experience something odd. A warmth unfolds in your chest and a portion of it flows down your arm, involuntarily causing your arm to rise and point. The motion brings you around slighlty, as the direction being pointed to is not the direction the dragon indicated for you to head. After a moment, your arm drops back to your side, tingling slightly, and you get the sense that you will be able to find this direction again at need.

Your walk continues, becoming a series of climbing and descending of hills, each different in some way. There are occasional groupings of trees, various scurryings through the tall grasses, and many, many insects. Some of which start buzzing irritatingly around your ears and nose. There is the sound of an animal in the distance, some kind of squealing trumpet of a sound, followed by a booming blat, but you are not able to see what it was. After some more walking you spot a line of darker green in the near distance, with the gleaming flash of water betraying a winding river from between the clumps of green.

Dax Thura
09-13-2008, 12:16 AM
You begin walking, and as you crest the first hill you immediately experience something odd. A warmth unfolds in your chest and a portion of it flows down your arm, involuntarily causing your arm to rise and point. The motion brings you around slighlty, as the direction being pointed to is not the direction the dragon indicated for you to head. After a moment, your arm drops back to your side, tingling slightly, and you get the sense that you will be able to find this direction again at need.

Ok. That was weird. I wonder what other magical compulsions I've been infected with. It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to. And when did I start talking to myself?! <Exasperated sigh>



Your walk continues, becoming a series of climbing and descending of hills, each different in some way. There are occasional groupings of trees, various scurryings through the tall grasses, and many, many insects. Some of which start buzzing irritatingly around your ears and nose. There is the sound of an animal in the distance, some kind of squealing trumpet of a sound, followed by a booming blat, but you are not able to see what it was. After some more walking you spot a line of darker green in the near distance, with the gleaming flash of water betraying a winding river from between the clumps of green.

Being mindful not to talk out loud, but only to think, "What kind of creature makes that noise? I just know that I am so going to regret ever waking up today."

nijineko
09-14-2008, 05:00 PM
You set out for the river, climbing up and down the last few hills and vales. There seems to be some sort of game trail or path here, making the travel a bit easier. However, it turns slightly and ascends some steeper areas to the right. The rough terrain would probably be more difficult than the path, despite it following the heights.

At the top of a particularly high point, you see that the land flattens somewhat off to the left, becoming more rolling and less broken up. And you also catch a glimpse of something that looks unnatural, a winding line of rock, cutting across the land perpindicular to the river, and on the same side of the river as yourself. The hills tend to block view of it. Looking around, you notice behind you a fallen slab of rock that makes almost a perfectly level area. On one side of the slab there appears to be some scratches in the rock.

Dax Thura
09-16-2008, 01:53 AM
I'll take a closer look at the rock.
search
That's a terrible roll.

nijineko
09-20-2008, 08:43 PM
You stare at the scratches for a while. It comes to you that they sorta look like characters, but if they are supposed to be writing, then it is rough enough that you are having trouble distinguishing which characters they are supposed to be. Some more staring at various angles and you are pretty certain that the middle character is the one for love, which would make the ones above and below likely to be names, initials, or nicknames... but you can't make them out for certain.

Dax Thura
09-21-2008, 06:05 AM
I'll shrug and continue on.

nijineko
09-26-2008, 02:54 PM
After some more time scrambling down the hilly inclines you finally are within sound of the river. The game path you have been following curves to follow the riverbank for a short distance before plunging out of sight down the embankment. You head that singular sound a few more times, but each time were unable to spot what made it. There are numerous trees lining the banks of the river, and quite a lot of plant growth taking advantage of the easy access to water. The river is not visible, but you can hear it clearly.

Dax Thura
09-29-2008, 07:52 AM
I'll continue on.

nijineko
10-09-2008, 10:01 PM
You follow the path until you reach the river. It chatters merrily over and around some rocks forming a swath of shallow rapids. there is much growth of plants, broken only by the game path, which leads down to the bank. There is a corresponding break on the other bank. Insects drone heavily and small fish occasionally leap for low flying bait.

Dax Thura
10-09-2008, 10:18 PM
I'll look to see if there's a bridge so that I may cross. If no bridge is immediatly visible and the river isn't too swift, I'll try to cross here. Otherwise I'll follow the river for a while looking for a bridge.

nijineko
10-21-2008, 07:52 PM
Looking around, you do not see a bridge visible in either direction. The water does not seem too swift and there are enough rocks that you think you could make it across. the river while noisy, does not seem all that deep here. It is maybe 30 or 40 feet across, but there is a wide swatch of shallow rapids and many rocks offering stepping surfaces. While you are examining the possible path across, some fish leap out of the water, swimming upstream through the rapids.

Dax Thura
10-21-2008, 10:51 PM
Ok, I'll give a shot at crossing.

nijineko
10-22-2008, 01:22 AM
{please make two balance checks and a reflex check. =D }

Dax Thura
10-22-2008, 01:48 AM
Two Dex checks and a Reflex save coming up

balance 1
balance 2
reflex

nijineko
10-22-2008, 02:51 AM
Picking your way carefully among the tumbled and occasionally unsteady rocks you are always able to find another rock to step to. Only twice do you have to leap to the next rock. An unexpected stinging slap nearly tumbles you into the water, but you nimbly shuffle over a few rocks, and manage to be missed by the rest of the fish following the first that nearly leaped into you. Steadying yourself, you pause to gather your balance, and carefully set out again. Only to stretch your length in the water as the stone you picked proves to have been precariously balanced on another rock under the water. Fortunately, the water is shallow enough to scramble back onto a narrow rocky stretch without more than a few scrapes. You make it to the other side and gratefully clamber up the far bank without further incident. The breeze is foiled in its attempt to chill you by the warm sun.

The game path continues on at an angle into the trees and brush thickly clustered about the river.

Dax Thura
10-24-2008, 02:27 AM
I'll wrap my wings and cloak around me a little tighter to help keep warm and continue on.

nijineko
12-17-2008, 02:34 PM
The trail meanders towards and away from the river, much as the river wanders back and forth. The land seems to be flattening out, with only the occasional hill. The river swings widely, and finally comes to a series of large wide, loops of still water, the last of which contains a large hill of stone. With a start, you realize that it is not a hill... but a house. A large, very large stone house, carved from the hill itself.

You follow the path through some copses of trees, and approach the river again. The stone house-hill looms before you. The animal path turns sharply and plunges back into the overgrowth. There are rows of shadowed nooks, too regular to be anything but windows. Before you the river is wide and still, there is nowhere to cross. Over where the river curves back around the hill, you can see some sort of structure jutting out, partially obscured by the shoulder of the hill itself, and what might be the beginnings of a path proper, or even a road.

Dax Thura
12-19-2008, 01:22 AM
What time of day is it?
-If it's still early afternoon, I'll try to find a good place to observe for a while. See what I can find out before meeting the Horntusks.
-Otherwise, I'll go towards the 'house'. Trying to get to the road before I get to the house.

In either case, I'll cast mage armor now.

Dax Thura
12-27-2008, 04:09 AM
OH yeah, I'll also look for any fields where something might be grazing. I'm still curious as to what these Horntusks herd.

nijineko
01-07-2009, 04:45 PM
Gazing across the river, you realize that the far bank is higher than the near bank, something that was disguised by both distance and the house-hill. The brush and grasses on the bank somewhat disguise the low rolling hills in the distance beyond... at least until one of them moves. What it is exactly is indistinct, blurred by the intervening plants and the mid-afternoon haze. Faintly you hear the same sound as before, booming. The thought crosses your mind that some elevation would give you a clear view, but would also give anyone looking out of the house-hill windows a clear view of you as well. You set the thought aside momentarily.

There is a small copse of trees providing some shade midway between where the animal trail turns away, and the structure beyond the hill's shoulder. It looks to have a fine view of both the structure and the path or road beyond it. That structure looks to be your best bet for when you want to approach, as the river lies between you and the house-hill.

Dax Thura
01-08-2009, 12:02 AM
Ok, I'll go to the structure.

Hells! I might as well get this over with.

nijineko
01-09-2009, 05:21 PM
{how do you approach? using cover of the grasses, bushes and copses of trees? or along the bank? or something else?}

Dax Thura
01-10-2009, 03:09 AM
I'll be out in the open as possible and when/if I see someone, I'll call out to them in greeting.

Hail Horntusks!

nijineko
01-27-2009, 02:04 AM
You begin making your way along the animal path towards the structure, keeping an eye out towards your surroundings. The warmth of the sun mingles sleepily with the droning of insects and the murmur of the river.

{please make a spot check}

Dax Thura
02-14-2009, 05:27 AM
Spot check

nijineko
02-15-2009, 03:27 AM
As you work your way forward, the structure ahead comes more into view. Passing the last copse of shady trees, and some bushes, it finally is clear. A natural outcropping of rock has been turned into a barbican of sorts, complete with crenels and merlons, and what appear to be arrow loops. A short distance away from you through the grasses, a path exits the gate and turns to follow the river away from you. The gate in question is open, allowing free travel. No one is currently visible.

Dax Thura
02-24-2009, 09:57 PM
I'll head into the the gate. Hopefully, I'll see someone soon.

nijineko
03-02-2009, 07:31 PM
You move out of the underbrush and onto the road. To the right, you can see the road follow the curve and flow of the river till it turns out of your sight. The archway is an imposing edifice. The natural rock arch has been cut in such a way that it appears to have been built of large blocks of stone.

The 'keystone' has what appears to be an unfamiliar heraldic crest, a circle in the center bearing a symbol inside of it, backed by a boar's head facing left and a bull's head facing right, which is surrounded by an odd six-pointed shape with graceful curves joining point to point. At the base of each leg of the arch sits a statue, to the left a bull, and to the right a boar. They are facing each other.

The arch itself is quite deep, beyond which you can see that there actually is a gate, currently open such that the doors are flush embedded into the walls on either side. As you step forward, there is a sudden deep tolling sound. As the echos die, you hear some metal-against-stone sounds, and then a voice booms out, "Who goes there?"

Dax Thura
03-03-2009, 09:14 AM
I'll answer, I am Ashbarex. I would speak with the master of this land to bargain for some of your herd.

nijineko
03-11-2009, 01:27 AM
There is a brief pause, and the voice asks, somewhat incredulously, "Where is your train of handlers? Your caravan? Wh..." the voice breaks off suddenly. You hear the sound of feet slapping stone, and leaning to one side slightly, you see someone rushing from the hill beyond towards you. What you can see looks lanky and hairy and young. They veer off to one side and out of sight behind one side of the open gate, and you hear the sound of steps being climbed in a rush. Stone from the sound of it.

Faintly a murmur of hurried speaking comes to you, along with some expletive-like sounds. The acoustics of this place are incredible. Finally there is the clatter of many feet coming down the steps. The lanky runner returns running the way they came, while a small group of large individuals come into view. They are all in full armor, which must be uncomfortable on such a warm afternoon.

Five of the individuals come out the gate, nodding to you as they pass. They are all taller than you, and fairly burly. They bear the same symbol on the chest of their armor as appears in the top of the archway. Their helms are large and imposing, fanciful and varied mixtures of both bull and boar. They confer momentarily and split up, two heading down the road along the river, two heading down the road going directly away from the gate, with the remaining one heading up-river through the grasses and brush, the way you came.

Two still stand by the gate, one helmed, the other un-helmed. That one waves to you, gesturing you over towards them.

Dax Thura
03-12-2009, 01:03 PM
I'll take a moment to straighten out my clothes and gather myself, trying to appear confident, before walking over to the one who gestured for me. I'll stop at just inside his sword reach and wait for him to make the next move. All the while, I am trying to figure out what manner of creature they are.

nijineko
03-20-2009, 01:30 AM
The pair loom large as you approach. They are easily well over 6' tall. The still-helmed one is taller than his companion, by nearly half a head you estimate from the shoulders, despite the helm. The un-helmed one seems human enough. He has a squarish face, with light colored whiskers covering most of his jaw and cheeks. His hair, both facial and on top is so light as to appear much less than it actually is. Notably, he has a snaggletooth smile, one lower tooth poking out so far as to appear almost a miniature tusk, giving his face a permanent cheerful leer.

They are wearing some sort of reinforced chain mail, with thin plates attached at key points. The tabard covers a lot though. The one wearing the helm has his helm shaped into a minotaur-like visage, but with a boar-like nose and tusks. They study you closely as you approach. A moment of mutual inspection after you stop and the un-helmed one speaks.

"Well come and well met to Horntusk Height. Forgive my doubting you... most merchants who come to buy have near a drove of themselves when they come! Seek you entry, and which hospitalities will you be accepting of home, hearth, table, and bed?"

Dax Thura
03-24-2009, 06:16 PM
Recalling the Dragon's warning of not eating anything Ashbarex responds. Actually, I am anxious to return to my patron and won't be able to remain any longer than necessary to complete our transaction. However, if we can come to an accord, perhaps I'll be able to partake of your hospitality on my future visits.

Trying to be charming while refusing their hospitality.
Bluff
Diplomacy

nijineko
04-16-2009, 11:33 PM
The un-helmed one arcs a shaggy eyebrow and just kinda looks at you like you missed something. He glances up back at the other, who sighs a hollow echoing sigh. The helmed one speaks, "Pardon me good merchant, I need to speak a few private words to my friend here. Will you permit us the discourtesy of causing you to wait just a few short moments?" His voice echoes from his helm.

Dax Thura
05-14-2009, 02:32 AM
Waiting for them.

nijineko
06-01-2009, 01:41 AM
[[[ah, this next post will take a bit more time than i currently have. never fear, i'll get back to you as soon as i can!]]]

nijineko
06-09-2009, 12:42 PM
[[[thank you for your patience.]]]

The helmed one turns away slightly and throws a meaty arm around his companion's shoulder to bring him along with. They begin whispering to each other... oddly the "whispers" are loud enough to carry clearly to you.

*You seem to be putting him on the spot a bit.*
*I'm just asking him what is required by the post.*
*True, but it's obvious that whomever his patron is, that patron either doesn't know the local customs, or didn't see fit to inform our friend here.*
*Well, it's not like I can offer him insult by assuming he doesn't know, and be thought to be talking down to him, when by all indications, his station is sufficient that he might take offense.*
*Or, he might be from far away.*
*That's pretty far away if he's never heard of the four hospitalities!*
*Still, it might be so.*
*Now that you mention it, there is that one place that only uses three, what where they called...*
*The Followers of the Four Prophets, I think. And those Inner Light people have five or six.*
*Oh, right. So... do we just let him guess?*
*Well, most merchants just accept hearth and table, none of them have accepted home or bed since....*
*That might be....*
*Not with one so ignorant...*
*So, what do we do?*
*Well, he might have remembered about the four hospitalities now that he's had some time to think while we've been having our little discussion. Speaking of, we are keeping him waiting. Let's ask him where he is from, that should be safe enough.*
*Right.*

The pair turn back towards you, and the unhelmed one addresses you again.

"Please, good sir, may I inquire as to where you are from?"

Dax Thura
06-10-2009, 11:38 PM
OOC:I've been trying to remember where it is I am from.

I doubt you would have heard of the place. I am from the Crimson Gyre region of Argonesson.

nijineko
06-13-2009, 11:51 AM
The two exchange a completely blank glance. "You are correct, good merchant. We have never heard of that place. You must be from far away indeed. Welcome. I hope your journey here was safe."

Dax Thura
06-17-2009, 05:01 AM
Well is there an issue or am I to be led to the master of this land? Ashbarex considers for a moment then says, And now that you bring my journey to mind, some food does sound good. If the offer still stands, I'll accept the hospitality of table.

nijineko
06-17-2009, 01:09 PM
"Of course, good merchant, we will gladly provide the hospitality of the table." The unhelmed one hesitates, glances at his companion, then around quickly and leans closer. Speaking in a quick undertone, he says, "The hospitality of the hearth is for those who have some kind of business to transact with a House." He turns his head away slightly and coughs loudly. "Your pardon, a tickle in the throat. Is the hearth hospitality all at this time, good merchant?"

The helmed one pokes the unhelmed one in the back, reprovingly.

Dax Thura
06-17-2009, 02:06 PM
Yes, I'm positive that the table and hearth will be fine. Please lead on. Ashbarex says without missing a beat, though he can't help but to grin. I shall mention to your master about your skill at performing your duty today. The two of you are fine guards.

nijineko
06-26-2009, 03:53 AM
The helmed one pokes his companion in the back again, "Best that I take him back, lest you chance meet with someone and natter on, taking forever to get back." The unhelmed one grins and elbows him back with no sign of rancor, "Just because my company is desired by many..." The helmed one snorts, then reaches up and does something with his helm. It... folds unexpectedly, retracting away from his neck and ears. He then lifts it off, and flicks his ears in relief. Apparently, the helm is a fair representation of his face, complete with short horns, the nose, and tusks.

You try not to stare overtly. The unhelmed one snaps his fingers with a metallic clang, "My helm, be right back!" The other rolls his eyes and as his friend races back loudly up the stairs mutters something about his friend forgetting his head if it wasn't attached, and runs his gauntleted fingers through his mane. The first returns, not out of breath, you notice, carrying his helm. You see that blind metal of his helm also is a fair representation of his face, leading you to recall the others who left the gate earlier.

"Good merchant, if you will be so good as to follow me?" The guard turns towards the gate.

Dax Thura
06-27-2009, 08:24 AM
I'll follow.

nijineko
07-01-2009, 01:36 AM
You follow the unhelmed one, trying to puzzle out the matter of race and kind. You are momentarily distracted from your musings as you pass under the gate. An impressive edifice, and very thick, it appears to have been either constructed of massive blocks, or the blocks were carved from the living rock as pure decoration. It is shady and momentarily cool under the long expanse of the gate, despite the bright light. On the other side you see the rail-less staircase to one side, climbing up to a dark opening in the rock.

Inside the gate you find a small courtyard, though starting across the bridge and looking back, you realize that it is actually a sort of large balcony for the gatehouse. There seems to be some sort of crevice between the gatehouse and the rest of the place. You are unable to see how deep it goes. You can feel the tugging hands of a strong wind. It makes your wings itch with sensation.

The bridge is not that long, and soon you are in a courtyard proper. The sides of the hill soar above you forming a deep column. Windows and walkways adorn the surfaces above you. The courtyard is a sort of half circle, with a number of buildings built into the circular portion on either side of you. Before you a rises a blank wall with another impressive gate carved into it. The great doors are closed, and a shallow alcove is in the side of the lintel containing a gong and a padded mallet.

Your guard leads you up to the door and stops in front of it. Reaching out, he snags the mallet and strokes the gong in a circular fashion producing a soft shivering sound. After a few moments, one of the large stone doors swings open surprisingly silently. The guard next to you braces at attention.

You blink at least once, suppressing a startled reflex. Your initial impression of a monstrosity changes to that of a very old, severely injured, hunched over minotaur. You can't help but wonder how he survived such injuries, obviously so far from healing magic, that they healed into place. A half-cloak covers the arm on the right, the side which his twisted and hunched back forces him to cant. The other arm still bulges with hard slabs of muscle and a very large hilt protrudes above his head. He wears customized leather armor, but his head, neck, and exposed arm are laced with scars. One of his horns is more than half missing.

He limps out and looks first at the guard, and then at you. Something twitches his face when he looks at you, but you cannot interpret his expression. He limps forward somewhat haltingly, one of his legs must be maimed, and comes to a stop in front of you. He angles his head so that he can look up into your eyes and regards you with an unwavering glare. His breathing is slow, but heavy, and he is close enough for you to feel it.

His mouth works a few times, perhaps choosing what to say. Finally he speaks, a deep, horse, and gravelly voice, "It is a strange day when brought before me as a guest, is one of the lineage of whom I was oppressed. Not one alone doth thou stand, for upon thee the scent of another is clear...." After a brief pause, he continues. "Hear me. No servant will I employ here, for I am Master of this house, and mine own Door I keep, that none may enter, nor exit, save by my leave. Why should I grant thee entry, spawn of dragon-kind?"

Dax Thura
07-08-2009, 01:19 PM
I come to barter for some of your herd. And to find out for what purpose the tides of magic have brought me here.
Hoping to pique his curiosity.

nijineko
07-27-2009, 11:36 PM
He looks at you for a while, weighing what you have said. Finally, he steps back, and rubs his chin habitually. "That has the sound of a story. If it is a good story and has a good teller of tales, we may speak of that other matter. Be... welcome to my hall and hearth..." He pauses, glancing at the guard, who nods a micrometrical amount. "You may enter. Please walk with me." Though polite, his words still have the ring of unconscious command. He turns and limps away slowly.

Dax Thura
08-25-2009, 12:57 AM
Ashbarex allows the silence to sit for a moment before speaking.

Unfortunately, it's not much of a tale and I am not much of a tale teller. That day started like any other, I had some errands to run a couple of acquaintances to visit. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, just after midday, without warning, I was caught up by an Effect. I was... pulled to this land. I don't know if it was the work of some god or if I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyway, shortly thereafter, I spoke briefly to a learned master. I asked for his patronage while I am here as well as his expertise to aid me in returning home. Before he would do either, he tasked me with bringing him some of your flock. I'm not absolutly sure why though. Perhaps your flock... what do you herd by the way?
Ashbarex pauses to wait for the answer. No matter what the response, he shrugs and continues on. (I don't recall finding out what it was they herded. I saw my chance and took it)

Perhaps they will be used in an experiment of some kind or maybe he is planning a party and needs a goodly meal for his guests. I don't know. In any case, that is my tale. I do hope you are not too disappointed in it or my telling of it.

nijineko
08-27-2009, 12:32 AM
You followed your host down some echoing main halls which jaunted at an angle every so often, preventing line of sight down the hall. You couldn't help but notice that there were tall narrow windows letting into the hall, a feature more normally associated with outer walls. As you passed into the main hall, you noted how thick and heavy the great doors were. The heights of the hall are lost in shadow, but part way down there are many shafts of light piercing the gloom and lightening the floor surprisingly well. Heavy tapestries start above a walled walk high above the floor, and then cascade down the walls stopping a good distance above the floor.

There is a great table upon a dais, but your host leads you to one of the lower tables, and sets himself down heavily at one backwards, with his back resting on the table ledge, gesturing for you to sit. He listens attentively, and waves for you to continue when you ask about the herds murmuring, "We'll get to that."

After you have finished, he looks you in the eye for a long moment, then hmmmms, and turns his head to look off into the middle distance, contemplating. During the silence, you notice that the hall has a number of people passing through it, though none approach the two of you. The hall is apparently a handy short cut to many parts, as you see many types of people pass. Your appearance garners a few double takes, and hesitation in stride, but in each case they move on. Watching the people pass, you realize that many bear marks of minotaur heritage, or are in fact full blooded. The rest seem to run towards a stocky build with blond or reddish hair, though you see not a few that are surely a mix of the two lineage.

Finally, your host draws your attention back to him by speaking. "Not a tale to be sung by the fireside, not told like that... but it was truthfully spoken, and straight to the matter at hand. And truth told bears more weight in this house than any epic, no matter how prettily told. I am a warrior, and prefer my truths to be blunt and openly laid out, though I enjoy a good round-de-lay as well as any."

He heaves himself to his feet with a practiced shove on the table. "You asked what we herd, I think I shall show you. Educational for you, and more time to think for me. Please come with me."

He leads you down another main-sized hall, again with the odd angled jaunts. This hall has many cross halls, and many more people passing back and forth. All make respectful room for your host and yourself. Your excellent hearing catches many whispered comments about you, ranging from curiosity, to interest, to surprised unfriendliness. Apparently, the host is not the only one who dislikes your 'kind'.

You enter an area that smells potently, a cross between a barn and a garbage pit. Large stacks of baled hay and barrels of something seriously ripe are stacked everywhere. Your host ignores the stairs immediately at hand on the left, and instead plunges into the dim room. You come to a clever arrangement of ropes and pulleys attached to a large platform with attached railing. The host begins heaving on a certain thick rope and the entire platform raises into the air jerkily.

After only a short time, you have reached the top of a shaft rising out of the dimness of the room below into the blinding sunshine above. You are on a wall, the wall you saw on the other side of the river. The shaft is built into the wall, which itself is wide enough to race horses on top of. Walking with your host to the far side, you lean upon a sun-warmed waist high abutment, and gaze out over a broad, hilly, and wooded valley. The wind welcomes you back and plays with your wings.

Glancing along the wall you see that there are several more arrangements of pulleys and ropes. At one such place, some of the large barrels and bales are being emptied or pitched over the wall through a convenient notch in the abutment. Loud sounds, the same sounds you heard in the distance sound from just around the hills, much, much louder than before. Entire trees shake and you can faintly feel pounding vibrations even through all the thick stone you are standing upon.

Erupting from the woods and vales come... creatures. Giant creatures. Massively giant horned, tusked, hairy, spotted somethings which eagerly descend upon the food cascading down the wall into large low troughs. As they slow down to eat, you finally see that they are a mix of bull and boar, only enormous in size. Some hearken more towards boar, others towards bull, but they all are enormous, with broad hairy shoulders and necks and irregular patterns and spots of bovine colors on their sides and backs. Most have at least either tusks or horns, but quite a few have both.

Your host booms to be heard over the unearthly racket, "Impressive, yes? We never found out how they came to have mixed blood, but it was the start of a new way of life for us all." At this juncture, a guard, not one you have seen before, comes up and salutes across his chest, waiting to speak. Your host waves you to the wall to watch the herds, and walks a distance away from the noise.

Dax Thura
09-07-2009, 09:19 AM
Impressive, most impressive indeed. The term shepherds does not do them justice at all. Now what do I have to barter with for such creatures? Especially something that's worth more than one or at least the pick of the herd?

nijineko
09-17-2009, 04:01 PM
Your host speaks with the guard, you notice some sharp gestures... you cannot hear anything over the racket, but he seems a bit agitated. When he returns to you, however, he is as composed as ever. That guard, on the other claw, certainly left in a hurry.

Dax Thura
09-18-2009, 07:53 AM
Ashbarex looks him over his host briefly as he returns. "It has occured to me that we were not properly introduced. I don't know your name. I presume it to be Master Horntusk or is there another name or title that I should use?" After he has responded, Ashbarex turns back to the herd, "I admit to being absolutly amazed at your herd. Tell me, does their temperment run more towards their bovine or porcine side?"

nijineko
09-18-2009, 04:47 PM
You hear a soft snort of breath, followed by a brief, very basso chuckle. "Just Horntusk is fine. No need to 'Master' at me. It's strange enough times as it is." He thinks for a bit, lagging in response to you. "It varies by individual. Most of them respond well to the blood of the House, and equally poorly to those not of that blood. However there are a few rare exceptions on both sides. Generally speaking, your best bet is to assume a temperament mixed in-between an angry bull and a threatened boar. They tend to charge and gore first, then sniff after... especially the males."

He pauses, starts to say something, stops, and then speaks, "I have thought about that other matter. At first, I was going to refuse. But I am not old enough that I don't see a change in the sky. Had you come even a season or two earlier I might have refused anyway. I shall set you a task. Accomplish this task, and what you ask for from my herd shall be yours. It will not be easy, especially as the guards have already started searching.

"My daughter has been upset as of late, and has taken to fits of temper. This time she managed to get out of the House uncaught. If you can find her and bring her back here, your task will be accomplished." He turns and looks at the herd a bit and then turns back to you and looks you in the eye. "If you find her, please keep her unharmed and bring her back safe. I may be a crusty old rock, but I still love my child." He offers you his hand.

Dax Thura
09-18-2009, 10:50 PM
Ashbarex smiles, "It seems that the magic has brought me to a land where I must become a man of action so that I may go home to a life of leisure. I will do as you say and, while I am not a father myself, I believe that I understand your worry and love for your child, sir. You said your people are already out looking. I presume they have already ruled out locations where she has been found in the past. Perhaps it would be wise to look at those locations again." There is a slight pause. "Also, it has just occurred to me - and I hope you won't take offense to what I am about to say - but it has occurred to me that there comes a time when young women begin to seek out romantic relationships with young men. Usually, they do so before a father is prepared for it to happen and often with a fellow that the father does not approve of. Is that a possibility in this case?"

nijineko
10-06-2009, 11:17 PM
Your host looks at you for a few moments. Then he gestures for you to follow him back into the house. After a short time, he speaks again. "You're insight is uncanny, and your words wise. I will have the guards re-check the areas they have already checked. As to your other thought... it is somewhat as you have perceived.

"She was indeed taken with a particular man. However, that one was not so taken with her, see. And though a minstrel with sharp wits and eloquent words, he could find no way to gently dissuade her affections. He had been taken on as a tutor for some of the younglings including her, and as a merrymaker for the evenings. He had seemed to favor her, but perhaps that was simply due to her station. When talk of marriage appeared, he fled his post, and left this house. "

He heaved a sigh. "She was devastated. She has behaved erratically ever since." By this time you have returned to the great hall. The place seems emptier, especially as you passed far fewer people on the way in, than you did on the way out.

Dax Thura
10-15-2009, 11:45 PM
"Well, I have to wonder where did this minstrel made off to. It would seem that she might try to follow him. I realize that you have searched and searched, but perhaps a fresh pair of eyes will come in handy with this situation. Perhaps you could begin by telling me more of the peoples of the region. He might have made contact with others to try to obtain employment once he left here."

nijineko
10-27-2009, 03:36 PM
"The minstrel fled some months ago, nearly half a year now. He seems to have disappeared entirely. I had thought that either through his music, or for his great love of the foodstuffs produced from our herds, he could be tracked... but there has been no sign of him through either method." He lets himself down heavily at one of the common tables.

"My daughter was found missing this morning, but it was not until late morning that it appeared that she wasn't in the house. You arrived about the time the guards were leaving to search around the house. Had the Tower guards seen that you were a foe, or had had some contact with my daughter, you might have been taken prisoner, instead of guested. None of the traveling animals, nor any other member of the household or staff were missing, so she is on foot. Some food was missing from the kitchens, as was some of her practice clothing, so it seems that she might be trying her fortune, or as you say, seeking this minstrel.... Though heaven help him if she were to find him now."

"We are doing what can be done concerning the minstrel. After all, many merchants rely upon our herds, so we have many contacts. More to the present, I would ask you to begin searching as soon as possible. If it seems that she has managed to find a way about other than foot, we can cover the possibilities of the surrounding regions then." He raises his good arm and makes a slight waving gesture. Before he is done, a tall person appears at his elbow, so swiftly and silently that it is almost as if he materialized. He is dressed in fine clothing and bows slightly to your host.

"Abershaunt, please see to any minor needs this one has. I have decided to engage him to aid the search for my daughter." Thus named, the man looks you over. Though his face does not so much as twitch, you get the distinct impression of a raised eyebrow.

Dax Thura
10-27-2009, 08:07 PM
Ashbarex gives a respectful bow.
"Well met Abershaunt, I am Ashbarex. My needs are few. I could use a map of the area and it might prove beneficial to me to have the locations marked where the young lady.." Ashbarex turns to Horntusk, "You never gave me her name, Mast.... Horntusk." Then back to Abershaunt, "If the locations where (she) has previously been found could be marked please. While I wait for that and figure out where I will go next, perhaps I could have a small meal. It has been an eventful day for me and I am famished. If possible, I would like to be off within an hour."

nijineko
11-21-2009, 03:18 AM
Abershaunt says in a surprisingly deep voice, "Please follow me, good sir." He leads you towards an archway to one side, and through it, down a wide hall, into a kitchen area. There is a small table off to one side where he seats you, and then speaks with some of the staff who has food before you in very short order.

A small plate is presented, which seems too small to really satisfy you, though at second glance is piled high. Two cups, one large and chilled, the other small and steaming are also set before you. The larger proves to be a wine cut with fruit juice, much better than the water usually used. The smaller proves to have an unexpected kick, some sort of mulled wine, thick with spices and a strong lingering heat.

This is swiftly followed by a large amount of easily packaged foods. Some may call them rations, but you have seldom seen finer, these would rival the offerings of some of the inns you have eaten at. The extra consists of an assortment of dried fruits, smoked meats, and breads, some with filling, all fresh.

The extra foods rapidly disappear into a sling-like rucksack, which is left at your elbow along with two full skins, one larger and one quite small. Almost before you manage to finish the plate, Abershaunt is back, with a rolled up parchment.

{{{i actually have a map, but need some more time to get it cut to size and otherwise ready. =D i'll pause here, feel free to post or to wait for the map, as you prefer. }}}

Dax Thura
12-07-2009, 03:30 AM
I will look over the map, asking questions to insure that I understand what each symbol stands for. I'll look where Horntuskette (you never gave the daughter's name) has been previously found. If there's a concentration of places where she's been found, I will let them look there. I will also keep away from other settlements as he said they already looked there. If there's an area that is otherwise empty, I'll begin my search there.

Here's a roll just in case.
Int Roll
Gather Information
--- Merged from Double Post ---
Here's a roll just in case.
Int Roll
Gather Information

nijineko
05-18-2011, 07:08 PM
The map in question is fairly local, being mostly concerned with the lands enclosed for the herds, however, it also notes some of the surrounding area, and around the margins are concise notations of major routes with distances, directions, and landmarks given to succeeding locations of note, and a few minor routes as well.

In previous excursions, she has never made it past the nearest minor towns, apparently being well-recognized by all who are local to the region. She has never assayed the major routes, presumably because they are well traveled and there are many contacts along them. There are a small number of local haunts which are frequented by local children, most of which seem to be along the stream you followed for a time. She has been occasionally found at one of them. Her attempts at departing seem to fall into one of two categories: rebellious avoidance, accounting for almost all of the short duration and near-by areas, these have been deemed as temper more than anything; and seriously running away, of which there have been three attempts, accounting for all the minor routes marked on the map. It is uncertain at this early juncture, which category this latest disappearance falls into, though it seems obvious that Horntusk is either playing it safe, or has reason(s) unshared to think it the latter. Apparently the earlier comment about "uncaught" refers more to leaving enough clues to give herself away as having left, rather than actually departing the house proper.

You conclude that the places she has not tried, or been found trying, are the major routes, where you are assured word has been sent, the north and west, where there are no routes going-but is roughly where you came from, and the penned lands, where a number of people with "affinity" work with the herds. The possibility of a hidden accomplish also occurs to you.

Her name is Cilwyrr.

Dax Thura
06-20-2011, 11:51 AM
Do you still have a map for me to look at?

"Who helps her leave, Abershaunt? Someone has to notice when she's making preparations to run away. Who would that most likely be?"

nijineko
06-20-2011, 10:59 PM
Abershaunt is silent, quirks an eyebrow, then speaks,"There is no proof that she has aid. It has been suspected, and investigated multiple times, particularly when she was younger, but none have ever been found.... You are an insightful individual, sir. If you wish, I can make quiet inquiries while you are out searching."

Dax Thura
06-21-2011, 07:28 AM
"Actually, sir, a quick word with that person or those persons would vastly simplify my impending search. You must have some idea as to who it is."

nijineko
06-21-2011, 11:08 PM
Abershaunt is silent, his level and unwavering gaze quite capable of unsettling even innocent individuals. Finally, he reaches into a some hidden pocket, and produces a small item wrapped in some exceedingly fine cloth. The cloth is skillfully stripped away from what is revealed to be a fine golden bell and tucked into a breast pocket in a smooth practiced gesture. The tucked cloth even looks neatly folded. You briefly wonder how he managed the trick as he taps a brief pattern on the bell with a finely manicured nail. The bell is soft, but unbelievably sweet and pure of sound. Resting a finger tip against the rim, he silences it, then taps a few more patterns on it, silencing the bell between each. At last the cloth is whisked from his pocket and neatly tucked around the bell, muffling it completely even as it is being slipped back into the recess from which it was drawn. He shifts position to a stance with an attitude of expectant waiting.

Dax Thura
06-22-2011, 07:08 AM
Ashbarex tries not to show his interest in the item Abershaunt used. He tries to exude an aura of quiet confidence as he waits.

nijineko
08-01-2011, 12:06 AM
There is a short time waiting, while various people pass through the hall, some stopping to eat, some continuing on business. The wide variety of people and the various mix of features are interesting. Some show more prominently their heritage from Horntusk, others show more of a different heritage, most show what you are coming to recognize as a mix of the two. Eventually, you notice one that has the attitude of searching. They spot the two of you and head over. As they traverse the expansive hall you spot two more who likewise approach.

Finally there are three diverse individuals standing before you. The first is an elderly lady who seems to your discerning eye to be pure human. She is dressed in a rather severe and conservative fashion and stands at precise attention. The second is a young girl who seems to show more of that other heritage you have been spotting. She is thicker, in a muscular fashion which makes her somewhat stout looking, despite her height. She has hair so thick it almost forms sideburns. She is dressed in a rather pretty dress which is a slightly odd contrast to her physique. The third is a tall, thin, spare middle aged man who has thickly corded, wiry forearms. Even without the worn scabbard and elegant sword handle visible, not to mention the light leather armor, you would have pegged him as an arms instructor. His hairy eyebrows give his eyes a hooded appearance, but he does not seem to miss anything going on around him.

Abershaunt speaks, "These are the three who not only have frequent close interaction with Mistress Cilwyrr, they were the last ones to have direct interaction with her before her disappearance. Madam Engeleisia," the elderly woman, "Mistress Quendreda," the young woman, "and Master-at-Arms Brictled. Madam Engeleisia has charge of all the young women in the household, being an instructor in various arts, etiquette, and knowledge. Mistress Quendreda is a friend and peer to Mistress Cilwyrr. Master-at-Arms Brictled teaches weapon arts and survival skills to all the household."

Turning to the three he introduces you briefly as one requested by The Horntusk to seek for Mistress Cilwyrr. He requests that they answer a few brief questions put to them by you, and explains that you will speak with each of them here in the hall, at a table at a slight remove, while he waits. You note that it is just far enough to grant some privacy, if voices are kept low.


{{{BTW, feel free to make a spellcraft check to identify the magical effect of that bell, if you like.}}}

Dax Thura
09-01-2011, 03:10 PM
Spellcraft
Diplomacy
Sense Motive

"Hello. I assume that each of you know why you are seated with me right now. I also assume that each of you cares deeply for Mistress Cilwyrr. Before I ask you anything, I want to let you know a small bit about me." Ashbarex looks each of them in the eye trying to convey sincerity and humility while reading if one of them is hiding anything. "My name is Ashbarex. I am proud to have the blood of dragons flow through my veins and show so prominently in my outward appearance. Where I am from, I am known as a fairly potent arcanist with a specialty in fire magic and draconic knowledge. Among the Draconis I barely matter except as an envoy or messenger." He says with a self deprecating smile. "I started my day far from here, I don't know if this is the same world or even the same plane for that matter. My knowledge and ability isn't enough to allow me to return home. Though I have been able to discover one way. That is what brings me - and you - here today."
"In all honesty, my motivation here is selfish. I want to get home. To do that I need to help Mistress Cilwyrr." He says to Madam Engleisia before turning his gaze to Master Bricktled. "That means seeing to her safety well being." Then finishing with Quendreda. "That also means helping her, actually helping her with any problems she has. To do that, to help her, I need to know what you know. What can you tell me of where she is, where she's going, and what she's trying to do?"

nijineko
09-25-2011, 05:03 PM
The bell seems to have an effect similar to a sending or one of the various short-message type magics. It seems to be more complex than the usual item created from those effects. Judging from your general magical experience and recent observations, you postulate that it can distinguish between multiple individuals and communicate a summons of some sort based on the pattern of taps.

In response to your general introduction, Madam Engleisia seems mildly disapproving, Master Bricktled seems stoic, and Quendreda avoids your gaze, looking instead at about your knees. Then you have a chance to speak with each of the three individually.

From Madam Engleisia you learn that Mistress Cilwyrr is bright and observant, with a strong mischievous streak which led her to occasionally abandon lessons that did not hold her interest in favor of frivolity. She only began taking an interest in the more womanly arts and lessons relating to such after 'that bard' captured her attention, as he had so many of the womenfolk of the household. She was quite heartbroken at his sudden departure, especially since there had been some consideration of marriage upon her part. You gather that Madam Engleisia disapproved of the bard, rather strongly, though you are not able to pick out why exactly. The day of her departure, she had pled unwell, and left her lessons quite early. She had been permitted to leave as she had not seemed herself the few days prior.

From Master Bricktled you learn that Mistress Cilwyrr excelled at the lessons and training required of all the household. In fact, she had been given periodic special lessons, due to her proficiency with certain weapons. She had also inherited the keenness of smell common to her lineage, making her quite skilled at the outdoor training as well. She was always attentive focused during his lessons. The day of her disappearance he had met Mistress Cilwyrr unexpectedly during the late part of the morning coming from the kitchens. She had indicated that she was not feeling well, and had left her lessons to go rest in her room. When he inquired as to why she was coming from the kitchens instead, she had said that she was hungry, and planned to eat in order to help her rest. At the time he had not thought much of it, but had sent her on her way. Thinking back on later, he realized that she had been carrying a wrapped packet or bundle of some kind.

From Mistress Quendreda you are able to draw out that she had visited Mistress Cilwyrr during the mid-day meal. She had been sleeping, which was a surprise, but awoke almost as soon as she had entered the room. After talking about the lessons for a short time Cilwyrr had given her a necklace of hers which she had always wanted to have, and pled fatigue.

Dax Thura
09-27-2011, 08:04 AM
"Madame, I can tell that you are a lady of honor. You speak of Mistress Cilwyrr with such pride. You even like her youthful mischievous streak. I understand that you've told me what you know. So I feel rather embarrassed to have to ask you again, if there's anything you can tell me to help me locate her?"

---------- Post added at 08:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:28 AM ----------

"You said that Mistress Cilwyrr inherited her family's keen scent. This is the first I've heard of it. Is she good enough to allow her to track this bard fellow? I realize that the answer is probably yes, but has anyone tried to track her by scent already. Also, with which weapons is she most proficient? That may prove a useful clue in locating her."

---------- Post added at 09:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:37 AM ----------

Ashbarex believes that Quendreda knows more than she's said, but needs to have it brought out of her. He sits there for a count of a hundred before sighing deeply. He then counts 50 more before speaking. He gets her talking about the mundane. He steers the conversation to any adventures she's had. Finally, he gets around to asking about the bard. He spends a good deal of time with her, trying to put her at ease and gain her trust. He hopes she will reveal something, even something she doesn't realize is important.

nijineko
01-08-2012, 08:12 PM
Madam Engleisia thinks for a time, and then informs you that her charge is well trained in etiquette, various age appropriate womanly arts, as well as in the politics, economies, trade routes, and major figures of all the nearby countries, towns, and merchants. She is highly intelligent and quite capable of using her wits and knowledge to not only evade the household patrols, but to maneuver among any of the local polities. She could be anywhere.

At this, Master Bricktled adds that she is very familiar with the immediate local regions, having spent many the hour in various activities (weapons*, survival, tracking, and crafting) in said nearby areas. Furthermore, she would be canny enough to known how to mask her scent, being particularly gifted in that area herself.

After a thoughtful pause, Madam Engleisia adds that the only impediment would be her... distinctive appearance. (She apparently takes a bit strongly after the Master.)

[[[the weapons referred to are all in the simple weapons category...]]]

Quendreda retains most of her wariness, but she is not experienced enough to bluff you. Filtering through the chatter, you glean that the bard left not quite a year ago, Mistress Cilwyrr was not romantically interested in the bard at first-something else about him had caught her curiosity-though it was not long before she too liked him, and she had talked about leaving to find the bard up until suddenly a month or so ago when she stopped bringing it up. She also began throwing herself into her lessons about that time, hardly leaving any time for the things they used to do together. The last few days she had complained of an upset stomach, and had seemed oddly unfocused and vague.

nijineko
04-17-2013, 05:01 PM
An unexpected interruption arrives in the form of the keep archivist looking for a book which the young mistress had borrowed which young Quendreda recalls as being in Mistress Cilwyrr's chambers the last she saw them. The muttered complaint of the archivist regarding the frequent borrowing and failing to return said volume catches at your ears.

Dax Thura
08-03-2013, 02:17 PM
Ashbarex was beginning to truly wonder if he would be able to find this girl. His investigations had not turned up any truly useful information. He was ready to leave the house and begin scouring the area, region really, then overheard the archivist's muttered complaint and his heart lept. "Pardon me, good sir, I don't mean to be rude or intrusive, but did I hear you correctly? The Mistress Cilwyrr had a favored tome? Please allow me to join you in the search for it. It is my hope that that book will provide important clues as to her current location and plans."

nijineko
08-14-2013, 02:53 PM
The group accompanies you to the entry to Cilwyrr's chambers, but only the womenfolk are permitted to enter. After a few moments standing in the hall with the archivist and the Armsmaster Bricktled, during which you discover the old archivist's name is Talakmin, and you gather that books and records are quite the passion for him; the pair emerges with a book, which Madam Engleisia hands over to you, somewhat distressing the archivist who wrings his hands in eagerness to repossess it.

The bookmarked section, well worn, has a foldout map, which the archivist leaps forward to assist in 'proper handling' thereof. It reveals itself to be a map of the surrounding areas, with the major and minor trade routes marked out with notations for changes over time. There are two major routes to the east and the south, with a minor route to the north which seems much less travelled. The book seems to be a trading history of the Horntusk clan. You notice that the book has several more embedded maps, though none seem as perused as this one.

Correlating the descriptions of her previous attempts at escape you realize that she attempted to travel near the trade routes at least once each. It seems the only direction she hasn't tried is towards the west, which despite having some towns marked, have no trade routes whatsoever.

Dax Thura
08-15-2013, 08:35 AM
"It seems that I now have a direction." Ashbarex looks to Talakmin. "When I find the young Lady Cilwyrr, it will be because of your dedication." Ashbarex makes a few notes on his map (not this one, but the one he got earlier) before leaving out and going West, after the adventurous young woman.

nijineko
08-15-2013, 09:29 AM
{{{ i stated the opposite direction by accident, so i edited both of our posts with the correct direction. }}}