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Dragon's Egg - Act IV

Discussion in 'Dragon's Egg RPG' started by Steerpike, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Badger's Place

    Rik shakes Cali's hand, saying "It's good to meet you, Miss Norling. I apologize again for my suspicious nature. Can't be too careful these days. I'll fetch my parchment and quill - no charge fer that. It's the least I can do. I'll see yer message delivered."

    He frowns and clasps his hands together, leaning in closer to where Cali sits. "That man I asked about...well, the reason I asked is he was also askin' after strangers. Same group your asking about, or else I'm a dwarf. Only he didn't quite have your pleasant way, if you understand what I mean." He looks around the common room, then turns back to Cali. "I reckon he's up in his room now, but have a care if you talk to him. I didn't get a good feelin' from him."
     
  2. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    I tell Brok, "The drow oppose Aslaug. One evil force against another. I won't be surprised if they're after the same thing.

    "An odd note to sleep on, but since we're talking about watches, wake me for second watch, and pair me with an elf. I can't deny elves have better eyes."


    Nissa

    "I hate to say it Baldy, but my eyes are better than yours. I've looked through them."

    I tell Tumi, "Not to rub it in, but there really is a difference between her eyes and mine. I used to think everyone sees the same until my soul was in Baldy's body. So I guess my eyes are part of my halfling half?

    "Speaking of eyes, you'll need to see for yourself whether Dalla is pretty. I can't promise a spark between you two, but I promise she'll like you more than she likes Baldhart."
     
  3. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    I feel my face crack into a warm smile. I feel awkward around people sometimes, but it feels good to have earned Rik's trust. Keeping my voice lowered to match Rik's, I say, "I completely understand, Rik, and I respect that you want to do right by your patrons. And thank you for the warning about the scarred man. I will be on my guard if I should encounter him."
     
  4. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Aliron:

    Aliron looks at Branwen after her outburst, eyeing the coin flipper suspiciously, then looks back to the dwarves.
    "I have found, if you put enough fruit into a basket, there will always be some bad fruit in there. No offense to dwarves, but there is bad in every race, damn few good people. Even fewer you can depend on. I am undecided on some in this group. But I have sworn to defend the group as long as they are loyal to the group. So I accept you for true, until you prove other wise.
    Aliron sighs, "I have been awake and alert to long, I need to rest. Wake me for the final watch. Just know that I sleep lightly, so call to me, do not touch me, sometimes I do not wake friendly. Even more when I am very tired."
    Aliron looks back at Branwen,
    "We are teaching the child to be a good person, let us not put distrust in her head or corrupt her anymore then her heritage has."He smiles at Branwen and continues "Branwen, the words were good, but the expression seems hateful. Know the older group will protect you always, you are safe." He winks and lays back, checking his bow for ease of quick access.

    Bressel:
    "I am good. I will take first watch. If anyone is afraid to wake Aliron, just wake me. I know how to wake him without risk of life or limb. "Branwen spoke well, but should be 'Branwen eats'." He takes a bite of food to show her. "Bressel eats."
    Bressel places a few more limbs on the fire. He looked from Branwen to Marius."Maybe we could get Branwen to sing a lullaby to put everyone to sleep? ah, maybe not." He chuckles, he places his crossbow nearby and positions his great sword.
    "Anyone standing watch with me?"
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Badger's Place

    Rik nods to Cali. He moves away from the table, back behind his bar and sets about refilling drinks for patrons in the inn. Then he disappears through a door behind the bar, emerging moments later with Cali's food and drink, which he sets on the table in front of her. He pulls a small piece of parchment from under his arms and sets that in front of Cali as well.

    "I'll fetch me quill and ink," he says, leaving Cali to eat a moment as he heads into the back room again. Before long, Cali has a quill and small, stoppered jar of black ink. "I use it to keep me books," Rik says. "You write yer message. I'll take it up."

    The Woods

    Brok says to Baldhart "I want to get me kinsfolk to lay down and get some rest. It's a long road to the Delve, and they look like they could use the sleep. We don't set watches and get everyone situation, they'll be up all night. You and me can talk about these drow. I'd be happy to hear what any of you has to say about 'em, and I don't need much sleep."

    With talk of watches being set, the two dwarves rescued from the orcs begins to make places for themselves some distance from the fire, but close enough to receive some of its warmth, clearing space on the hard ground. They don't seem to mind the prospect of sleeping on cold earth.

    Branwen drops her fierce expression at the words from Aliron and Bressel, though she casts the occasional sidewise glance at the dwarves as they prepare to bed down for the night. Her lips twist in an effort to form words as she repeats to herself "Bwessel...eat!" She laughs, having somehow amused herself greatly, then turns back to watching Marius. Branwen points at the coin Marius is holding, then extends her hand palm up, looking into Marius' eyes questioningly.

    When things start to settle down, Brok asks the members of the group who remain near him, "You reckon Aslaug and the drow are after this dragon? How do they know about it? Ain't know one seen it except us dwarves, and we ain't exactly publicized the fact it's there."

    Tumi begins preparations for bed as well. "Halfling eyes or not," he says to Nissa, "they're right nice if you don't mind me saying. And I'm happy to meet this Dalla of yours, though it sounds like her tastes might not run in my direction." He chuckles. "Like me better than Baldhart, will she? Baldhart who killed her love. Faint praise, Miss Nissa!" He grins at Nissa, then looks around at others bedding down. "Now where can a man take a...er...I mean relieve himself around here without gettin' stabbed by orcs or eaten by wolves?"
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    "I don't know where they get their information, but we knew a magic user who found a way to speak to one of Aslaug's agents. She got information out of her, and what you told me confirms the information true. We lost touch with the magic user, but she told me that Aslaug is aware of a source of power in the Delve. I believe she intends to use this wyrm. For what, I don't know. Aslaug believes the drow intend to resurrect Aeron.

    "I think the drow are more powerful in their minds than reality. We caught them in the act of sacrificing children, claiming their sacrificial blade could take the souls of its victims. We were too late to rescue one little girl, as I told you earlier. If not for the kobolds, maybe the other children would have perished. Nissa was able to confirm that the girl's soul had passed on normally.

    "So my take on the drow--whether they can get Aeron to rise again or not makes no difference to me. Thinking they can makes them dangerous, so they must die."

    Burnbright's secret needs to be revealed, but carefully. I won't reveal this just yet, but I do have a question that is somewhat related.

    "Brok, I know next to nothing of magic. There is some magic in me, and the only time I felt this power drain from me were the times Nissa formed a body. Of course Brynhild allowed this, but I have often asked, 'why us?' There are several explanations I've come up with, but only one I'll ask you about.

    "If I didn't already mention this, Nissa and I are cousins. Thirty generations apart, related by her grandfather. Anyone who carries the Eisenberg name knows who he is. Long story. What I'm asking you is this: does being a relative enhance magic in some way? Maybe thirty generations apart, it isn't that. But what about two people that are one generation apart? A parent and child, for example? Can the blood of one's own kin be used as a catalyst?"

    I make it a point to add, "I have no intention to use such magic. I'm asking if it's possible to better understand the enemy.

    "That may seem odd, but on my mountain, it's how we train. Know how the other thinks; wield that knowledge as a weapon. It's how I was able to talk to the orcs. My want for peace is sincere, I didn't lie. I chose my words carefully, such as complimenting the strength of their ale without commenting on my opinion of its taste and odor. As soon as I saw your companions, rescuing them was my priority, but I couldn't let on that I cared about their fate. I made saving them the orcs' concern, proof the orcs desire peace.

    "I don't know if I want to talk to an enemy who intends to use blood magic, but is their such a thing? Can the blood of kin be used for magic?"
     
  7. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    I pick up the quill and begin to write.


    To the tall muscular woman who serves Brynhild:

    You don't know me, but my name is Cali Norling, and I am currently staying here at the Badger's Place. I met a Knight named Matthew down in Srilkind apparently not long after you and your party left. Sir Matthew seemed rather upset and he and I began talking. He told me that your party is on a quest and that central to your mission is the need to protect a young girl. He didn't tell me much more than that, only that at one point your party faced a number of lizard creatures and their Queen. I believe that I may be able to be of some assistance in protecting the girl. I would like to meet with you whenever you have a few moments and talk further about what I can do to see if I might possibly be a good fit for your party. Send a message to me back through Rik and I will meet you at your convenience.

    Rik warns me that there is a white-haired man with a scar who staying here who he believes has been asking about your party and who he got a bad vibe from. He advised me to beware of him, and although I have not met the fellow, I share Rik's warning with you as a means of demonstrating that I mean your party no harm. Feel free to verify this with Rik.

    i look forward to hearing back from you,

    Cali Norling

    When I finish, I fold the parchment and hand it back to Rik. Then I ask, "Is there by chance a seamstress in town? I need to see about having a sash made."
     
  8. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Marius

    Grinning down at the young harpy, Marius pats her on the head and says, "Don't worry, you are protected."

    He glances down at his copper and Branwen's waiting hand. "You can have it, but with it comes great responsibility. See, with this coin you can know the truth of anything, and sometimes people aren't meant to know the truth. Sometimes the lie is what keeps people safe and happy. Are you sure I can trust you with such a burden?"
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Badger's Place

    Rik takes the folded parchment from Cali, saying "You'll want to see Ingeborg in the morning. Her place is just down the road from here. She's not the only seamstress, but she's the one I'd use, and she won't cheat you."

    With that, Rik leaves Cali to enoy her meal, disappearing upstairs with the parchment in hand. This is to the dismay of some of the other patrons, who are trying to get Rik's attention. The innkeeper mutters something about needing help around this place as he heads up the stairs.

    Cali's food is prepared well, and the wine is passable - probably better than what would be expected in an out-of-the-way northern town. The easy trade with Alfoss may have something to do with that. Cali only gets a few minutes into her meal when Rik returns, looking worried. He hurries over to Cali's table.

    "I delivered your letter, Miss, just like you asked. Only...well the woman I delivered it to wouldn't open the door no more than a pinch, just so I could barely see one eye through the cracked door. Not a sound from within the room. It looked to me like she'd been crying, if I can say so based on just one eye. And when I slipped the paper through she snapped the door shut right in my face. Now I make it a point to stay out of people's business, but I don't like this. Not one bit."

    Men at one of the tables near the fire call for Rik to refill their drinks. He looks anxious to get back to work, but waves them off for a moment, looking at Cali worriedly.

    In The Woods

    Brok considers Baldhart's words about the drow gravely. "We ain't had much run in with the drow, and what he had was a long, long time ago. Evil as they can be, that's what the stories say. And possessed of powerful magical abilities - leastways they were back before the Great War. What's become of 'em since, I can't say. But I agree that it can't be good, them looking for something in the Delve. And Aslaug looking too. What else could it be, except this sleeping dragon we found? It's true, we dwarves have other powers within our halls, but I don't like the timing of this one bit. Dain's gotta be warned."

    "As fer your blood magic...well, I don't reckon I'd call it a catalyst. Then again, we dwarves don't work with that kind of magic. We work with the magic of creation - air, water, fire, and earth. That's the gift the gods bestowed on us. Blood work is a lesser magic. Less honorable, at least. From what I hear of it, it's not so much that the blood has special powers itself, but that magic can be used on it in a way that touches those bound through it. I've heard of a village hedgewitch usin' a drop of mother's blood to search out a bairn lost in the woods, or using a drop of blood from man and child to determine whether he's the father. How well it works, I can't say. Nor what else ye can do with it. But I deem there is something to the tales."

    Branwen cocks her head at Marius, as though trying to make sense of his words. Whatever her conclusion, she ends up nodding vigorously and keeping her hand out for the coin, eyes big with anticipation.
     
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    I listen to Brok, and thank him for telling what he knows. "The bond of blood is powerful. I suppose that's why your people have sons answer for fathers. I will ask that you make an exception for those I call Sister. You've already told me if Darin had no grudge against Branwen, that would do. She's not the only innocent with a horrible mother.

    "It's not you I'm worried about, Brok. You've seen that we were willing to risk it all to get the dwarves out. The most difficult part of it was when they kept Burnbright as a hostage. I had to accept this without flinching, without openly opposing Korgak, without looking weak. If anything happened to her, that would be on me. Her life means more to me than my own, and should I die… I've set things up with my family, but I don't think I even told her yet. I will in a moment.

    "For now, Brok, please tell me you can grant us safe passage in the Delve—under the condition that we are true to our word about coming as protectors, of course.

    "I'm not attacking your people's ways. I just tire of having to walk on eggshells in human towns. We have to hide Branwen as if we're ashamed of her, hide Nissa's wings and the miraculousness of her existence, hide Liadan's magic when the only spells I've ever seen her cast heal wounds and save lives.

    "We will be much more effective at the Delve if we can safely hide nothing. Let's do second watch together and continue this conversation then. For now, know this: I would never ask a human this. I am human myself, and too many humans say one thing and do another. From what I heard, and from my experience with Bren and Darin, the word of a dwarf is always matched by his action."

    Unless Brok insists on answering me now, I politely excuse myself so I can get Burnbright to sleep.



    I invite Burnbright to come close to me. "You can sit on my lap, if it won't embarrass you," I tell her. I add, "It won't embarrass me, but then I was standing in my underwear for an hour—or maybe it just seemed that long.

    "Anyway, I want to tell you about where I'm from—the Iron Mountain. It's in the south, and Bressel is from there, and there may be more people from my mountain in Srilkind aiding Grim in the rebuilding. I have no way of confirming this, but I made arrangements with the Eisenberg clan."

    Did I tell her about my family? Well, if she has questions, I'll answer. For now I go on,

    "I made arrangements concerning you as well, Burnbright. My parents are to treat you like a daughter if you show up to the Iron Mountain. The Peak—that would be the top. I intend to bring you there when my business in the North is at an end, if you want to come I mean.

    "I intend to survive my battle here too, Burnbright, but I believe my enemies would have survived if things had gone as they intended. I'm not trying to scare you, but you do need a means to live your life even if I can't live mine. That's why I wrote to my parents and uncle about you, and while I do care about Srilkind being rebuilt, you're the reason I want people loyal to my family in Srilkind. They can take you if I cannot.

    "If you show up to the Iron Mountain, anywhere at the base—north side, south side, doesn't matter—you introduce yourself as my Sister. Burnbright is the only name I gave in the letter, so that's the name you go by. Everyone will know you're not related to me by blood, so when you say Sister, it will be understood that you are like a sister to me. Use my name, ask to be taken to the Peak. My parents are Reinhard Eisenberg and Milesandre. Wolfgang Eisenberg is my uncle, the chief.

    "If you want to be a strong shield maiden, I was a year older than you when I started training seriously. By the time you're eighteen or nineteen, you'll know why I walked into the Crow feeling confident that I could best the toughest guy there at arm-wrestling. If you live on my family's land, you'll train hard if that's what you want. In less than a decade, you could be the strongest woman on the Iron Mountain."

    I give Burnbright a hug and add, "Second-strongest. I'm not easy to kill."
     
  11. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Marius

    Marius ruffles Branwen's hair playfully and hands her the copper. "Don't lose it now," he warns, "It has two whole weeks of experience at answering questions. You wouldn't want to lose that kind of experience. Let me show you how to use it then..."

    As children are notoriously clumsy, Marius spends some time showing Branwen how to flip a coin. He remembers how difficult it was for him to learn how to do it as a child, so he is quite patient. He is willing to tutor her in the valuable life skill as long as needed, or until she becomes too tired or frustrated to continue for the night.
     
  12. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    I look at Rik and ask, “Is the woman you delivered my message to by chance the young-looking woman with the two kids who didn’t look too thrilled about being hustled upstairs earlier right after I first asked about your strangers?”

    If Rik says yes, I continue, “You take care of your patrons because they looking like they need your attention and I will take my meal up and check on her. I might be able to keep the kids amused with some dress up, and she might also be open to talking to another woman, particularly if I can engage the kids in something else. I'll tell her you were concerned about her. How would that be?”
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    In the Woods

    Brok leans heavily on his staff as Baldhart speaks, nodding at points and clearly giving careful consideration to her words. "I can promise safe passage into the Delve, and an audience before King Dain. I cannot say what he'll think of yer group, of whether he'll allow you to remain safely in the Delve, though I thnk he will. He'll want to know about Darin's death, as I've said, and I expect he'll have questions on that score. He'll want to examine Darin's amulet himself," Brok gestures toward Cadell. "Dain knows a bit o' the rune magic himself, and he'll want to know that amulet was freely given. You won't have to hide yer magic, or yer winged friends. We dwarves have longer memories than humans, and we remember the days before magic went bad. Dain won't like ye casting spells in the Delve if you don't know what yer about and might do harm, but he ain't superstitious about magic neither.

    "I can't say as what he'll do about yer harpy girl. She's o' the 'rutch,' the unclean races. Most of me kin'll be none too happy about her bein' in the Delve. But I can promise you this much - you and all of her group enter the Delve on invitation from me, and Dain'll not violate our customs of hospitality by doin' harm to any of ye. If he don't want you in the Delve, you'll be escorted out and free to go on yer way. If I had to guess, I'd say he'll keep you around, even with yer harpy child. It seems yer pretty well mixed up in all the doings here in the north, and he won't cast ye aside. The rest of me kin will follow his lead, whether they like it or not. You won't come to no harm in the Delve - not unless you threaten its king or his kin.

    "Now go on and talk to that lass," he indicates Burnbright. "We can continue this on watch."

    Burnbright, for her part, is surprised to be invited over by Baldhart, to sit on her lap. After a moment's hesitation, and a slight reddening of her cheeks, she sits on Baldhart's lap, giggling as she does so. For a moment, she's just a twelve-year old girl again, particularly nestled in Baldhart's large frame. Burnbright smiles when Baldhart mentions the Iron Mountain, and says "I really would like to go there some day." But when talk turns to Baldhart's possible death, Burnbright grows quiet. She listens to what Baldhart says, turning her head to the side to surreptitiously swipe at a budding tear without anyone noticing. "I'll do what you say Baldhart. I'll go to the Iron Mountain if anything happens to you. I don't care if I have to swim across the sea and then crawl all the way to your mountain, I'll do it and I'll tell everyone what you did up here." Then she turns fierce eyes on Baldhart. "But you better be around to go with me, you hear me Baldhart? I don't have anyone left anymore. No one in Srilkind, not my Uncle, not my...well, there's just no one except all of you here." She motions around the camp taking in the entire group. "I'm tired of losing people."

    She straightens a bit, continuing: "I will go to the mountain with you and train some day. I'll be a shield-maiden like they had in the old days, and I'll visit you when you're old and tell you all about the battles I fought in. You'll be the strongest old woman on the mountain, and we'll still spar and talk like we do now." She gives Baldhart a faint grin. "It's that or go with Masama to become a monk of Asra. Did you know he invited me? I guess there are temples that take just girls and teach them all about Asra and the final days when she won't have to cross the darkness anymore." Burnbright's voice drops to a whisper. "I love Masama, so this isn't an insult to him or Asra, but I don't think I'm cut out to live in a temple and worship goddesses.

    "Tell me more about the Iron Mountain. Is everyone big? Do you have bears there? What about lions? I'd like to see a lion one day. My uncle had a drawing of one in one of his books, and it was beautiful. Maybe you can take me to see a lion, Baldhart. But to do that you have to live." She gives a hopeful smile and lapses into silence.

    Branwen remains crouched by Marius. She takes the coin from him, holding it almost reverently and rubbing her fingers along it as she's seen him do. She mimics Marius' flipping behavior, and though she fumbles the coin a few times she follows Marius' instructions and is soon able to flip it competently. She seems more coordinated than one would expect of a child her age. Whenever she makes a successful flip, she grins a pointy-toothed grin at Marius. Soon, she lapses into a faint humming melody as she plays with the coin. Brok breaks off what he is doing to glance in her direction with a frown. The melody tugs faintly at Marius, but only in some indefinable way, like the faint echo of a spell that has long since lost its power.

    Brok's companions are already asleep by the fire and not disturbed by the harpy.
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Badger's Place

    Rik hesitates at Cali's question, but only a moment. He seems anxious about the situation, as well as the growing calls for him to come help other customers. "Aye, that was her, Miss. No offense, but I told her to get when you asked about her group, no knowing what you was about and her having the younguns and all. She's in room four, just up the stairs and the second door on the right. I got all me rooms numbered, you know." He looks around the inn at the other patrons. "OK, I'll get to 'em. You go on up. Tell her I was worried, and that I said it was OK to talk to you. I told her about the other man already, so she knows to be careful."
     
  15. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Cadell

    While Brok speaks, I take off my gauntlet and massage the stump of my wrist with my right hand. "Thank you for your confidence in us. I hope your kin will recognize that Branwen is too young to do serious harm to your kin, even if we weren't doing our best to teach her otherwise."

    Liadan

    I incline my head when Brok mentions his king's thoughts on magic. "Speaking for myself, my magic comes from my god, and the spells I know are all inclined toward healing and purification."
     
  16. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    "We have mountain lions, but they're not as big as the ones you're thinking of. Maybe Masama would know where to find them. The bears are big, and I suppose yes, so are my people. Big is a relative term, but you saw how big orcs are. Some of us are orc-sized. There are a few seven-footers. Three men I know of, my father being one of them. Women over six feet are common, though not the majority.

    "The druids tend to be about the size of the people here in the north, though after 800 years of sharing the mountain, I think everyone's got some druid blood in them. Eisenberg blood's been mixed since Eisenbergs were born on the mountain. Wulfgar Eisenberg settled there, married a local, and they had a boy and a girl. The girl grew up a dainty little woman and married a halfling. That's Nissa's mother. I am descended from her uncle.

    "Someone had the sense to write our clan history down, so if you want to know how my mountain was settled, you can read about Wulfgar's honorable treachery. Nissa's mother is in the documents, mentioned to the extent that it's known she existed, but mostly it's Wulfgar and every first-born son since. My father will be one of those who merely existed, and I'll be like Nissa—not mentioned at all.

    "And I'm fine with that. I don't need my life read about; I just need to live it. I'll do my best to make sure that I get to take you to the mountain myself, Sister."
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
  17. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    I say to Rik with a smile, "No offense taken - you were erring on the side of caution, and now knowing about that stranger, I think what you did was a prudent move - better safe than sorry."

    Then I tell him, "I'm going to leave my meal and wine here just long enough to run my packs upstairs to my room, then I will be back down for my meal and go back up to talk to this young woman."

    And I proceed to drag my packs and backpack,which is still on my back, up to my room. On the way up, I think, If I encounter the stranger Rik mentioned, I think Ghost Sounds or Influence would probably be the most useful of my spells - or Color Spray if he's overtly threatening - but I really hate to cast any magic in a public inn, with the way people fear magic so much. I'll have to hope I can use non-magical means to avoid him if I do encounter him.

    I use my key to open my door and quickly slide my packs inside. I long to put my backpack down, but figure I might need something inside for the kids, if I am to amuse them. Then I return downstairs to grab my food. At least I'm getting some exercise today, I think wryly.

    Nodding at Rik, I return upstairs and knock on the door to room four. "Miss," I call softly, hoping that the woman inside will be able to tell by my voice that I am a woman and feel safe enough to listen to what I'm saying. "Miss, could you please open the door? Rik sent me up to check on you."
     
  18. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Marius
    Marius listens to Branwen's song and suddenly gets a little voice in his head screaming, "It's witchcraft! Don't listen!" He shakes his head dismissively. Can't be listening to voices in your head after all. People might start to think you are crazy. He cheers Branwen on whenever she manages to successfully flip the coin and gives her helpful pointers and encouragement when she fails. Overall, he is somewhat surprised at her dexterity. He would have thought that the claws would have made things more difficult. Once she has managed to get fairly competent at it, Marius says, "You've got it! Good job! Now don't lose it. I am trusting you, okay? It is getting late though. Time for little coin flippers to be getting to bed. Good night!"

    Marius then helps get Branwen settled to sleep in whatever way the group seems to have been putting her to bed, be it tent, bedroll, or bare ground.
     
  19. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    I offer to help Marius put Branwen to bed. "She was having fun with Two Week Copper, so I didn't want to intervene. I usually show her how to work her wings, but I think you've entertained her enough." Unless Branwen wants me to show her how to fly, I help tuck her in and say a prayer to Brynhild while holding her hands.

    If any goddess will accept a girl who's only part human, it's the one I serve.
     
  20. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,260
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    The Woods

    Brok glances at Branwen, who is still flipping the copper coin and listening to Marius' instructions when she screws up. "Our rules of hospitality apply to yer harpy too, rutch though she may be. Me kin won't like havin' her in the Delve, but won't none o' them lift a hand against her. If she's not to be accepted, ye'll be given a chance to take her out."

    Bran shakes his head. "But I don't expect that'll happen. Dain's a wise King, and there's bigger things going on in the North than that harpy child, and yer all involved in it. Dain won't put that aside just to get yer harpy out o' his kingdom, whether the rest of 'em want her around or not."

    When Liadan speaks of her magic, Brok says "Aye. I know little of Elf magic, but I've heard that not all of it went bad after the Great War. Maybe not most of it. Yer like dwarves in that way, I suppose. We have our own magic too, spoken in the ancient tongue and passed down to us by the gods at creation. Whatever happened after the Great War didn't affect our rune magic. Looks like it's mainly humans makin' a mess of things, eh?" He grimaces. "Well, what else is new?"

    Burnbright listens to Baldhart's stories about the Iron Mountains eagerly, as she always does when Baldhart tells her tales. At the end, when Baldhart speaks about her clan history, Burnbright says: "But you might get written about, Baldhart. All of us might. If we stop the Taint here in the north and save my mother, we'll be heroes like from the old stories, won't we? I bet bards'll sing about us in taverns, and a long time after we're all dead some little girl will read a picture book and ask her Ma 'Who's that?' and her Ma will say 'That's Baldhart Eisenberg, and that next to her is Nissa, the littlest Valkyrie ever but still one of the bravest, and that's Verborg one of the first heroes of the Shieldmaidens of old, and that's Bur...Catli and her mother Aslaug, who Baldhart and her friends..." her eyes glisten as tears come to them "...saved back when the north was covered by the Taint." Burnbright takes a breath, steadying herself, then continues, the sadness that threatened her vanishing as suddenly as it came. "And there'll be the big black man from the south, and the elf who befriended dwarves and wears a false hand and his beautiful companion, and a harpy girl, and Bressel and Aliron," her voice drops to a whisper, "and maybe even that guy who flips his coin all the time. Can you imagine what kind of story that'd be Baldhart? I bet that'd top anything in your clan history. It might even be better than Veborg's story, and we'll be in it! You wait and see, Baldhart. We'll be in stories. Just you wait."

    Burnbright lapses into silence, staring into the fire, eyes bright with visions of the tales of glory and wonder from days gone by. Despite all that has happened, she seems to have retained the child-like capacity to be pulled into those old tales.

    Branwen's eyelids are drooping by the time she finishes playing with Marius, and rather than practice her wings she allows Marius and Nissa to get her off to bed. She curls into her blanket with her fist clutching the copper coin tightly.

    Rik's Place

    When Cali knocks on the door, there is no response for a good, long while. Everything is silent from within the room. Finally the door opens a crack and Cali sees a partial face staring back at her from within the room. It is the woman she saw with the kids, below. Her hair is swept back from her face, and her eyes are puffy. She looks to have been crying. With the door opened only a few inches, Cali cannot see much of anything else within the room.

    The woman says "We're fine. Tell Rik thank you for checking in." As she speaks, the woman flicks her eyes to the left, in the direction of the two, twice in rapid succession. Then she says "Good night."
     
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