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Thread: Eyes in the Dark

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    Eyes in the Dark

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    Dairen slinked through the halls of dwarves like a pariah. Few had any desire to be associated with a mule skinner. By and large most were outcasts and vagrants no other guild or clan would accept. He wore dirty leathers pieced from cuts and scraps that could not be sold or traded. His skin was darkened under the sun, only warriors had the same. He walked amongst his kin as if he were a ghost.

    He sought out a guildhall, solvers by trade though darker avenues also lined their pockets. They were respected in the stead and he owed one of their guildmasters heavily. When his sister had been widowed, her husband's clan had stolen her son, his nephew. It was this man whom found him and had taken him back. Afterwords, he had taken the blame and was cast out, but not before he had seen their clan disparaged and shamed. His sister had raised him perfectly and he still watched him from afar.

    He entered the guildhall and found an underling of the master he sought. A duergar with only one eye and a nasty scar running across his cheek. He had never known his name, but his presence told the gray one why he was here. He nodded to follow and soon they were descending deep into the guild house. He never felt at ease here, he had heard whispered talk of dark things from his fellow skinners and had no desire to test their truth. Few suspected the Fraternal order of anything that they did beyond their stated purpose.

    The gray one stopped and opened a door, nodding to enter. He slunk into the doorway like a rat, a dwarf sat in a chair a drink in his hands. "Dairen, almost thought you'd forgotten our deal..." intoned the dwarf in a rough and sinister manner. "Of course not Master Maim, I jis ain't been hearin nuthin o' note's all really. Least that is till this mornin," leaving his meaning vague.

    Maim's ears perked up, he knew things were afoot in the stead and he hated being blind. If he wee to take advantage he needed to know what was happening and how best to exploit it. "So what did you hear, it better not be prattle as I'm in no mood for dribble," as if to warn him. "No, No, its about the chanter's daughter. A group has left with a team of mules from the caverns unnoticed, well at least unnoticed by almost everyone that is," his toothy grin showing. "Heard a few o' them folk thats flockin 'round Balabault that theys lookin fer em. Figured you might be needin that er at least it'd work off sum o' me debt," hoping he was indeed interested.

    Maim sat thinking for a few minutes before he replied. "Get me a mule and supplies for a week. Have it ready by this evening and I'll need to have you guide it the way they went. It will be a lone rider and you'll forget it as soon as he leaves," stressing the point with a brush against his side. Many knew Maim supposedly had a blade of darkness, it could steal souls and worse if tales were true. Maim was an odd dwarf indeed, his brother Vulph was the commander Vulph and it was said they had adventured together for years before they stopped speaking. Whatever familial ties stopped at their clan though, many said that they did not speak and Maim had isolated himself even though he still bore his clan's name. None knew and none asked.

    "Your debt is paid Dairen and if anything else passes your way never forget your way to my door, I pay well," as he dismissed the filthy clan less dwarf. He had sent folk scouring the stead for her and to have some skinner deliver her location was pure luck. He knew the entire situation stunk of polotics, but the Thanes held the wealth and he needed to know what this was about and quickly if he was to profit. She would not tell him easily, especially with some group around her. The mules certainly piqued his interest though, they had to be travelling and if his guess were right he needed someone in that group badly.

    "Kurn," to the gray dwarf at the door. "Fetch me that young apprentice, I have need for his skills. We'll see just how good he is and how much he wants to advance in our little shadow guild," as he immediately started thinking about how to explain what he needed from this young dwarf...

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    I see Kurn walk into my quarters wanting me to come with him to meet with a high ranking druegar, I go with him. As we get closer, I ponder why a high ranking member of the guild would wan't to speak with me. As we reach him I bow to him and say, "Hail, my name is Durel. I here you need me for something?" I think to myslef, "I do hope nothing to dangerous."

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    Maim glances up at you, appearing to be deeply involved in some paperwork. Kurn stands behind you, his one good eye moving about the room. The room is little more then an office for Maim, but apparently he had been in it for quite some time given its many adornments. He was a well respected guild elder amongst the Fraternal order and few stood against his mandates or invitations.

    "Ah, Durel I do appreciate your timely appearance. I have something I would like you to do," as he sets aside his paperwork. "A small group of dwarves have left Uerythtar led by a noble. I am uncertain as to their intentions and purpose. I wish you to join with them and determine what they are doing, you shall be our eyes and ears. I have made all the arrangements for your supplies," as he watches you closely to judge your reaction.

    "Few know anything about this group and your success would cement my favor..." in response to his unasked question of payment. He knew you were given little choice, but Kurn was not exactly what many would call trusting and he knew it. He needed someone new and fresh for this to play out as he wished.

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    I look at the druegar surprised, and I say, "Me!, well... I am unexperienced to say the least, and Kurn is much more experienced than me, and many others of the guild."

    I think to myself, "I dare not deny his request, that could lead to bad things, and I don't want that." "You picked me though... and I am... grateful, I will not disapoint you. When do I leave." I say with a fake grin on my face.

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    "You leave at dawn, I have no desire to let the trail go cold and lose you to the peaks. I will warn you to be wary, the peaks are a challenge for any dwarf and hold many dangers. Seek out this group and join them as quickly as you can, say whatever you must," as he goes back to looking over his paperwork.

    Kurn grunts something under his breath and nods to follow him. You shut the door behind and Kurn whispers in a throaty voice that sounds like gravel, "Come here, I will take you to your mount and supplies. Bring yer gear..." as he takes up his previous position outside the doorway.

    With the late hour, your time is valuable and little remains should you also value sleep this eve.

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    I bow and leave the room politely. I start to think of how hard it will be to join this so called "group", maybe they will see through me and slaughter me on the spot, or maybe they will all be so stupid I can overcome them with my "undying need to adventure speech", ha... I doubt things will go my way, they never do. I'll just have to think of something. I go to fetch my things.

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    The gray dwarf stands at ease the next morning, slowly grinding away at what some might call a hand axe, but what he refers to as his 'cleavers'. There are a few dwarves moving about, most seem to be handling the day to day affairs that the guild is needed for in the stead. Ropes, hooks, and climbing gear is spread across the rooms in various states of readiness. It seems that chimneys and vents are in constant need of cleaning and this occupies many of the guild members. The other end of that is the various drains and those are much less pleasant, yet they busy many aspiring young guildsmen's time and apprenticeships.

    An old and scarred dwarf crosses the room intent upon his office when he notices Kurn sharpening his cleavers. He had honestly never liked the duergar and Kurn certainly did not help his appraisal. Had it not been for Maim's insistence to apprentice him, he would have sent him packing. He did know that he had never seen him here this early and it was certainly something he did not like. He overlooked the equipment that lay on a nearby table, inspecting some block and tack. Perhaps his reason would manifest soon enough....

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    I grab my gear and put on my padded armor and strap my short sword to my left side. As I head down to greet Kurn, I ponder at what I might see on my travels, what type of things I will face... all I know is that I hope I will stay safe.

    As I see kurn sharpening his handaxes, I say, "Hail Kurn, so when do I depart for my... assignment." I bow to him politely.

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    Kurn glares menacingly at your loud declaration. He dares not turn around, as he knows that Master Dordin is attempting to look busy. He had never liked that particular guild master and the feeling had always been mutual.

    "That nasty old shaft ain't goin nowhere," hoping to avert and suspicion about Durel's true purpose.

    Dordin continues to halfheartedly inspect some pinions and gears, while keeping close to overhear anything that might fall out about this young apprentice. He had never seen anyone so eager to clean out a shaft before, he could certainly guess Kurn was attempting to simply avert his attention. It only added to his curiosity though.

    "Gathered yer ting's, now why don't we get goin," as he sheaths his cleavers and attempts to guide the young dwarf away from their guildhouse.

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    I walk with Kurn and say to him, "So how will it be easiest to... intercept this, group of dwarves? I try to be not as loud as before, keeping my tone, lower than normal.

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    After you exit the guild house, Kurn shrugs with an uninterested shrug and grunt. "I ain't exactly da noble ya be takin me fer," with a toothy grin and laugh. "I'd wager a good bit ya'd be doin better ta be ignorin whatever advice I'd say," as he slipped into a dark and unused tunnel indicating the younger dwarf to follow.

    "Dere's a mule an some supplies up near da skinner's camp, should be a fella goes by Dairen. He's gonna be leadin ya trough. Do what he says and don't be tryin ta get nuttin on him, he done been takin care of," as he explains a somewhat elongated series of directions to reach the location.

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    I nod to Kurn, "Well I guess i'll be heading off now, thank you for the directions", he bows politely, and starts to follow the directions that Kurn gave him.

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    After some time of wandering through uninhabited cold and drafty tunnels you finally manage to spot what appears to be a mule and a dwarf holding its reins. He held himself warily, as if he did not wish to be here.

    As he spots your approach he whispers, "Quickly and you'll be wearin dis here leather," as he hands you a swath of dirty hide presumably to cover your eyes.

    At this distance and poor light you could easily smell the unwashed dwarf and his lack of beard bespoke some dark instance in his past. Few dwarves with status ever shaved their beard, it was a sign of a traitor or criminal. Mule skinners were well known for it though.

    "Load up and pipe down, I'll tells ya when we's clear..." as he took the reigns in his calloused hands.

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    I comply, with his request and put on the leather over my eyes, I don't say anything and do as i'm told. All the time, I think to myself, "I can't wait to get out of here."

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