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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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    In the Woods

    "There's no such thing as a dishonorable act in battle," Callan says. "It's about staying alive. You strike your opponent where you can, when you can. If he has a vulnerability, you use it." She frowns slightly. "I'm sorry it didn't save you, little one. Though at the same time, glad you are here. I've never viewed valkyries as the sensitive type - at least not in the stories. Until I met you, I wasn't even sure they existed. What are the other valyrie like? And tell me this - in the north we have stories of Veborg, the most famous shieldmaiden of the old days. Legends say that when she died a valkyrie was seen descending from the heavens to take her up. Is she...well, have you ever met her? Did she become a valkyrie? Or is that just a legend?"

    When Nissa mentions fear of the unknown, Callan shrugs. "That's probably it. Even with you here, proof of something after this life, I don't know what will happen to me after I die. More than death, I guess I've always been afraid of how I'll die. Have you ever heard the wounded and dying on the battlefield after a fight?" She shudders. "I don't want that to be me, suffering like that. Or surviving but incapacitated. I'd rather die cleanly and go one to whatever there is for me after this life.

    Rik's Place

    The man who ran upstairs with the axe is busy tying up the white-haired intruder, his axe leaning against the bed. The intruder is still unconscious. The young girl is half awake and leaning against Dalla, her bonds cut and the gag taken from her mouth. The young boy is still unconscious, but also unbound and ungagged. The girl is crying and Dalla is soothing her.

    Dalla opens her mouth to speak when Cali whispers to her, but apparently has enough presence of mind to keep from spilling Cali's secret with the axe man in the room. Instead of speaking loudly, she whispers back, her voice something of a hiss. "They're OK this time. That's dangerous and unpredictable what you did. The stories I've heard..." She makes an effort to get herself under control, clenching and unclenching her fists. She kisses the young girl atop the head, then says. "I'm sorry - I was frightened. When I saw that strange light, and then saw the children fall..." She looks around. "I can't stay in here. We need to find another room."

    By this time, Rik is in the doorway, along with some other curious onlookers stretching their necks to see what is going on. The axe man stands, the intruder bound at his feet. "Where's the blasted guard?" he growls.
     
  2. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    "For the wounded… those last moments are rough. Veborg endured a lot of pain. I wasn't there, but my understanding is that the Valkyries didn't want to leave her suffering more than she had. I don't know Veborg personally, and the south was my watch. But I can tell you she earned her wings and her reputation.

    "Burnbright talks about her a lot. I wish I knew her better and could tell her story. As for personality, I think if the Valkyries needed someone in charge of public relations, I'd get the job. Most are tough, like Veborg—true warriors who romanticize going down in a blaze of glory.

    "Back in the days when the gods intervened—and I mean really intervened, not just sending a short valkyrie who can talk better than she fights—anyway, there were many Valkyries who charged into battle suicidally, taking down as many foes as they could. They'd laugh about the way their intestines sprung out of their bodies. If that happens to me, I won't laugh. But maybe after the fifth death or so, you stop fearing the pain. It's not unknown anymore at that point."
     
  3. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    I say to Dalla, "I agree that changing rooms is a great idea. If you'd like, I'd be happy to stay with you until your party returns. What just happened would be enough to upset anyone. My current room is a bit small for all of us, but if you'd like the company, I can talk to Rik about options for us to stay together that involve a room change for you. If nothing else, I'd like to at least apologize to the children for having to knock them out like I did."
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    ((We'll move ahead a bit in the watch))

    Callan takes in Nissa's words, considering them for a long moment. "You give me comfort, Nissa. Knowing the stories is one thing, but having proof of the afterlife right in front of you is something else entirely. I don't know what awaits me after death - I doubt I'm one to become a valkyrie. But I hope to earn my place among my ancestors. I've lost comrades in battles over the years. Maybe we'll meet again one day, with all of the evils of the world behind us."

    The first watch passes uneventfully. Callan makes herself a place to sleep once her conversation with Nissa is done. The change in watch goes smoothly, with people being wakened to take their turn while those who finish the first watch warm themselves by the fire before bed. Masama makes a spot not far from Burnbright and Callan and lays down to sleep.

    Brok remains awake through the first watch, and apparently intends to remain awake for the second. He is away from the fire, where its light doesn't harm his vision of the dark woods around the party. He uses a lightly oiled cloth to clean his staff, tracing the numerous dwarven runes with care. When Baldhart rises for her watch, Brok gives her a nod, indicating he's ready to talk if she's willing.
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Rik's Place


    Dalla seems hesitant, at first, about sharing a room with a stranger, even one who has just saved her life. Both children are awake and subdued, and she spends her time comforting them. After easing their concerns for a bit, she returns to Cali. "Aye, let's share a room. The others should be back in the morning."

    Rik is apologetic over the attack, repeatedly making the point that such things do not happen in his inn. He sends the stable boy downstairs to watch the bar while he readies a larger room for Cali, Dalla, and the children. He refuses to take payment for the upgrade, saying "It's on the house, misses. On account of what happened here tonight. You rest easy. Won't no one disturb you again."

    Indeed, two guardsmen arrive while Rik is making preparations, and they haul the now-conscious, but still tied attacker off to be jailed until morning, when it will be decided what should be done with him. The common room remains a buzz of activity for some time, with the attack being the subject of conversation at every table.

    The large man with the axe who rushed upstairs walks over to Cali and Dalla. "Name's Ranolf. Sorry if I scared ye runnin' up like that. With orcs and bandits around, we're all a bit on edge, if ye know what I mean. I heerd somethin' about an intruder and just grabbed me axe and ran."

    He pauses a moment, frowning and looking back toward the room where Dalla and the children were attacked. "Me and a few o' the lads can sleep down in the common room tonight if you like. I don't know what caused a man to attack a woman and two children, and he don't seem to have no one with him, but if it makes you feel better having more people in the inn, we'll stay. Not many folk come through Ballara these days, and this inn gets downright quiety after closing. Uh, that's if Rik don't mind."

    Rik, who has opened a door at the end of the hall to a larger room, looks back and nods. "That's fine by me, Ranolf. Pick a couple of yer stout boys from the mill and I'll see you got a place downstairs. You'll get yer breakfast on me as thanks."

    Rik and Ranolf both look to Dalla and Cali questioningly.
     
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    I tell Brok, "I don't mean to question your ways. I mean about sons answering for fathers. My people don't believe in prisons, so... let's just say we don't have career criminals on my mountain. We don't make a big show of executions either. The man hunt begins and how it ends depends on how serious the crime, how fast the criminal, who gets to him first. It's part of why we're called barbarians. Those with me saw how unforgiving my people can be when we encountered child-killers and one had the audacity to surrender to me.

    "So I mean no disrespect to your ways. But I cannot set foot in the Delve if you can't give us safe passage. I appreciate you saying you will, knowing Branwen is a harpy. She never killed, but she did feast on people killed by her mother. We're showing her a better way, and it's working, she's still the daughter of an innocent half elf, and as long as we reach the part of her that's a person, she won't grow up to be a temptress and murderer. I know you'll give us this chance to raise her right because I trust the word of a dwarf more than that of a human.

    "Humans manipulate, lie, conveniently change their minds. I am human, Brok. I am not above tricking an enemy. But since becoming a nun, I decided even enemies get the truth from me. When we defeated the drow, we wanted information. I told them how I would kill them. One I dropped on his head from a fifteen foot high balcony. I told him he would die whether he talked or not, and talking would merely extend his life by minutes or seconds. He didn't tell us anything, but there is power in being truthful with enemies.

    "The orcs are not friends, but I was truthful to them. They let us walk away with your friends, and I think we will not have trouble from them tonight. They know I will return if the people of Ballara consider my words."

    Getting to the point...

    "Darin was a friend, and we hoped to return to the Delve with him. He never told us how important Dain is. He was too humble, to his credit. He knew of our desire to raise Branwen, and he supported this. But there is another whose mother is much more dangerous than a harpy. A harpy is hungry, a dangerous animal.

    "Aslaug is not like a harpy. She plots, plans, terrorizes and kills. She is a mass murderer. And everything she does is about her. She would even use her own daughter for her purposes.

    "That's why we agreed to protect Burnbright. Her mother is hunting her down. She is good, innocent, and when I call her Sister, I don't just mean Sister in Faith. I've already written home, so my parents can adopt her, even give her my land if I die here. I won't pretend I never entertained the though of fleeing with Burnbright. Her mother would have a hard time conquering my mountain. My clan held it for 800 years, and even then it was not taken by force.

    "But I follow Brynhild as does my Sister. We cannot excuse ourselves from this battle. So we risk everything for the chance that the North can be saved; we come to the Delve. That is, if we're still invited."
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  7. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    I say to Dalla, "Why don't you take a bed and let the kids take the other, and I'll sleep on the floor? If for some reason we have a repeat of what happened, it will make it easier for me to defend us, because any intruder should be focused on who's in the beds and not who's on the floor." I know it's probably a lot for Dalla to embrace staying with a new person, and I want her feeling as comfortable as possible.

    To Ranolf, I hold out my hand to shake his. "I'm Cali, Ranolf. I did worry just a teeny bit at first that maybe you were working with that guy when you were so quick to run up there, but when I peeked into the room and saw you had him under control, I was never so relieved in my life. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but using physical strength to subdue someone like that guy just isn't one of them. I'm quite grateful for your assistance." And I give him my best smile.

    I then assure Rik, "I don't hold you to blame for the wrong motives and actions of others. All any of us can do is act on the knowledge we have, and you have acquitted yourself admirably in my books." And I place my hand on his arm in reassurance, giving him my eyes and a warm smile, so he can see that I mean what I say.

    I then say to Rik and Ranolf, "I can't speak for Dalla here, but at least from my perspective, I would welcome a few big strong men staying here overnight, given than physical strength isn't an ability I have. It might be wise if we worked out some kind of signal, though, both for us to signal down to you that there's a problem and to send someone up, and for you to signal up to us that something has happened downstairs and for us to stay put. From my side, I could make the sound of a cat meowing and be heard up to 150 ft away if you think that's a reasonable indoor signal. Then I could raise the volume to indicate the urgency of the request. Or if you need something a little more unusual to make sure you hear it, I could do maybe...an owl hooting instead?" And I look at them both to see which signal they think would be best.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The Woods

    Brok tugs at his beard as Baldhart speaks of Branwen, carefully considering her words. "You don't need to fear any harm comin' the lass in the Delve. Ye've seen to the release of me kin from the hands o' the orcs, and yer coming to the Delve as my own guests. No dwarf'll violate the hospitality of our hall by seeing you come to harm. None would dishonor their king or kin that way." Brok takes a breath and taps his staff against a rock. "I can't promise you Dain'll welcome you. That's fer him to say, and none else. But he's a fair king. Darin was like him in a lot o' ways. Dain will hear ye out. Your honesty will serve you well. He'll respect it. It'll be up to him whether to put yer harpy's name in the Book - there's no one else with that right. But even if he decides to do it, no harm'll come to any of ye on this visit. The harpy, and any who would stay with her, will be escorted to the edge of our lands."

    He shrugs. "Yer safe passage is guaranteed, at least fer this trip. Ye have the word of a dwarf of the Delve, and ye travel with one made Dwarf-friend by Darin himself. Either of those alone would guarantee yer safety. Beyond this visit, only Dain can say. It's his right not just as king, but as father."

    When Baldhart reveals that Burnbright is Aslaug's child, Brok falls silent for a long while, looking out in the darkness outside the camp. Finally, he says: "This is important news. I appreciate yer tellin' me. We've had experience with humans, and the lies they tell. It would've been easy fer you to hide this. And safer too, no doubt."

    He glances to where Burnbright is sleeping and scratches at his beard. "Aslaug's daughter, eh? You bring a difficult choice to the Delve. We've no love fer the witch and her Taint, and we cut the necks of her orcs wherever we find 'em. We seen what she's done to the Verstenn Hold, ancestral halls of our cousins, and no dwarf'll ever forget that. But she's had no cause to turn her full attention on the Delve. We're outta the way enough that it's not worth her while, long as we don't cause her too much trouble. This could change that. Tell me, Baldhart, does Aslaug know where yer headed, or have ye disappeared from her sight like a mouse in a field?"
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Rik's Place

    Dalla agrees that Ranolf and a couple of his lads staying in the inn's common room is a good idea, and the big axeman nods and says "Don't you worry. There's any trouble, we'll be here." When it comes to some kind of a signal, both Rik and Ranolf seem momentarily dumbstruck. "Er..." says Ranolf. "I reckon an owl would be just fine miss. You can really make a noise like one? Beggin' yer pardon but I can I hear it. Just so as I can recognize it if the need arises." He winks at Rik, who is still fussing over the security of the inn and doesn't notice.

    Once things with Ranolf and Rik get settled, Ranolf heads off to find his men. Rik leaves the room to take care of locking up the inn, but he drops by half a dozen time to make sure everyone is OK.

    Dalla nods to Cali and directs the children to the bed farthest from the door. "This is Gunnar and Abbi," she says, indicating the boy and then the girl. The kids look to Cali and nod hesitantly. Both children look tired, and not just from lack of sleep. They look like they've been through a lot. Though the beds are divided up so that there is one for Dalla and one for the children, it quickly becomes clear that the kids have no intention of sleeping in a separate bed. As Dalla prepares her bed, the kids scramble over to her and ask if they can sleep there too. Abbi makes big eyes at Dalla, and the woman smirks and says "I know what you're up too, missy." But she cracks a smile and says "Fine, climb in. You better not kick me in your sleep."

    The kids get into Dalla's bed and huddle up together. There's not a lot of room, but the three of them can make it work. Dalla says to Cali "Looks like we have a free bed if you want it." She checks the door and the window before getting into bed herself.
     
  10. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    At Ranolf's request, I obligingly raise my hands to my mouth and call hoo hoo-o HOO-OO in imitation of a great horned owl the way my grandfa taught me. I know better than to advertise my abilities with magic, but I wonder if I can really do ghost sounds of myself imitating an owl. As long as it's a great horned owl, hopefully I'll be okay.

    When Dalla offers me the free bed, I feel torn. I've been pushing hard and sleeping on the hard ground for the last several nights. I've looked forward to this bed for at least the last few nights. I paid for a bed. But I don't want to sleep too deeply in the event there's trouble. And I still think I stand a better chance of responding to trouble if I sleep on the floor. I finally settle on the compromise of taking the pillow from the bed and laying out my bedroll on the floor.

    I tell Dalla, "I do thank you for the offer, but I want to be able to wake quickly if there's trouble. I think the chances of that are better if I'm on the floor."

    I tell Abbi and Gunnar, "It's nice to officially be introduced to the two of you. I'm Cali. I'm sorry about knocking the two of you out earlier, but if I was going to get you both and Dalla away from that man, it was the only way I could do it. I hope you won't hold it against me. I was hoping I might be able to use my skill with costumes to let the two of you dress up and play, but I think we'll have to save that for a different night. We've had more than enough excitement for one evening, I think."

    As I'm starting to nod off to sleep, it occurs to me that I didn't get to finish my dinner.
     
  11. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    "I once considered lies to be a useful tactic, though only against those who you intend to kill. Since I became a nun, my thoughts changed. I am truthful to enemies, and even to those who aren't enemies but I can't entirely trust, such as the orcs. They only know Burnbright is my sister. Though not she's not my blood relative, this is the truth. She's a Sister in faith, and I have made arrangements with my parents and my uncle, the chief, which I'm sure will be honored.

    "But with friends, and with those I wish to consider as trusted allies, honesty isn't enough. There has to be candor—no secrets. I'm sick of Nissa hiding her wings, or not hiding them since she obviously doesn't want to hide who she is. I'm sick of making Branwen sleep outside like I'm ashamed of her, when in fact caring for her after killing her mother myself is one of the few things I am proud of. Surely you must've felt it—I mean, you must've been forced to kill and then, after the fact, wished you found another way. Maybe Darin would've lived if we tried another way. Maybe more in Srilkind would've been saved."

    And why did they die? Because she was there…

    "I have two ways I can go right now. I can flee with Burnbright to my mountain, and maybe Aslaug will follow, and we'll have high ground and my uncle's men. Or maybe Aslaug will still go to the Delve even if her daughter's not there, and in that case, you won't question that her being there isn't really about her daughter.

    "Aslaug wants the dragon's egg. I only heard the information second hand, and it wasn't specifically an egg that was mentioned. I only heard Aslaug is targeting something that you have—she says the dwarves don't understand its power. And from what you've told me, you seem to be an expert on many things magical and things underground… except this dormant wyrm. It's the one thing you, Dain, and I assume the wisest rune masters in the Delve find perplexing. Correct me if I'm wrong—I'm just putting this all together…

    "But we're headed to the Delve in the hopes we'll arrive ahead of Aslaug. And Verstenn Hold is not far. Maybe chasing us has divided her armies, and that's the only reason there's a chance we can arrive first."

    Or she's still building her army, or maybe a ritual to turn herself into some kind of creature, like the way Celexa was a snake woman. Too many possibilities to bother voicing my best guess…

    "Brok, I wish I could tell you that Aslaug can't find us. We found an amulet that allowed her to speak to Burnbright, and we got rid of it, but she has other magical means of contacting her daughter. I suppose this means she can find her, too.

    "I also wish I could assure you that the Delve is safe if we simply avoid it, and that Aslaug's army will be too busy chasing us. But surely you must think that a fool's hope—at least now that you know of Aslaug's interest in the Delve. At best, a small force would follow us, and she'd likely give up once we get to sea… unless her army includes those fish demons. That wouldn't surprise me, really.

    "But I don't want to flee. Brynhild didn't send a valkyrie to watch me run away with a little girl. I'm not saying that having Nissa makes important—I'm not. I'm just another soldier in the fight. Nothing more. I just want to be in that fight. If Aslaug's army takes the Delve, I fail Brynhild, I fail the north, I even fail my mountain so Burnbright won't really be safe there. Aslaug's army is coming to the Delve whether her daughter is there or not.

    "I just want to know if I'm still invited to come and defend the Delve, and protect Burnbright at the same time. Burnbright Eisenberg."
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Rik's Place

    Ranolf listens to Cali's owl noise and nods thoughtfully, lips pressed tight. "That ought to do, Miss. I don't know what signal we can use from below. I could make a duck call..." He pulls out a stubby piece of carved wood that looks something like a severely truncated musical instrument. Ranolf puts it to his mouth and emits a somewhat duck-like noise through it. "We use 'em when we hunt. It's loud enough, I expect. Seems to me if anyone comes fer ya, it'll be clear enough I'm sending a signal, but it will give you enough time to get yer head together."

    Once Ranolf is satisfied the signals have been worked out, he leaves.

    Dalla doesn't remark on Cali's decision to sleep on the floor. She gets ready for bed and climbs in with the children. All three of them seem suddenly exhausted. When Cali mentions playing dress up, Abbi raises her head from the pillow.

    "Maybe Burnbright will play too," she says.

    "She's too old for dress up," Gunnar replies.

    Abbi is silent a moment. Then: "I bet she'd play if there was a shieldmaiden outfit."

    To which Gunnar responds, "She's already a shieldmaiden, dummy."

    Dalla hushes both children and tells them to go to sleep, at which point the room goes silent.

    The night passes uneventfully, and when morning dawns the room is chilly and the kids are huddled close to Dalla, blankets piled over them. It's cold enough to raise bumps on the flesh when not under the covers, but the warm smell of breakfast is rising from somewhere down below.

    ((Feel free to RP more in the night before, or go straight to morning)).
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    "Yer honesty is a credit to you, and to yer companions no doubt," Brok tells Baldhart. "It's not a common thing among humans, least not as I hear it told. I'd say you might have a bit o' dwarf in yer lineage..." he cracks a smile and surveys Baldhart, from her feet to the top of her head, which towers above the dwarf, "...but I doubt it.

    "We've all wished things could be done different, after the fact. But it's not for us ta turn back time. We accept the consequences of decisions, good or ill. We live with 'em. That can be hard fer a dwarf. We're a hot-tempered folk, as a rule, and it takes discipline to learn to channel that temper to where it's most needed. We can't be rid of it, but we can make it useful.

    "You don't understand the way o' dwarves, Baldhart, but our traditions help us discipline ourselves and channel our passions. Think of our Book of Grudges, that ye've been talking about. Imagine yer a hot-tempered young dwarf, full of spit, full of fight. And now imagine yer living with hundreds of other just like that. Passions rise, rash words are spoken. Sometimes rash deeds follow. But imagine if what you done not only affected you, but yer entire family, because you done something to land yourself in the Book. Any children ye might one day have'll pay for it, and their children, and so on until the Grudge is satisfied. Ye might think twice before you act, knowing you can bring that kind o' dishonor among yer people.

    "Long ago, wasn't but dwarves that could get in the Book. We applied our standards only to ourselves. The elves were the first outsiders to make it in the Book, and since that time we've decided to hold friend and foe alike to the same standards we set for ourselves."

    Brok falls silent, considering Baldhart's words about Aslaug and Burnbright. "Come to the Delve," he says, eventually. "You'll have safe passage in and out, and I think Dain'll not turn ye out. He needs to learn what you know, and it might be his counsel will help you in return. Aslaug is gonna do what she's gonna do. She'll find us or she won't. But we can only stay holed up in our mountain fer so long, beating back the advance of orcs if they get too near. Sooner or later we'll have to get properly involved. If Aslaug wins, it'll be our doom as much as any here in the North.

    "I agree - makes no sense to flee. If Aslaug ain't stopped now, she'll just get stronger. If she wins the North, it'll make her all the more powerful, and ye'll never be able to rest easy with yer sister, Burnbright. Ye'll always be looking over yer shoulder to see if her mother's coming. I don't know that ye'll be any safer in the south once Aslaug has control over the North. I don't know about these fish demons o' yours, but it seems to me Aslaug's arm will reach long indeed if she wins over the Northlands."

    Brok nods. "Come to the Delve. Ye can do that and protect yer sister. Ye've been given my word of hospitality, and no one, not even the King himself, can set that aside once given."

    As the night continues on and watches change, it becomes clear that Brok has no intention of sleeping. He remains always at his spot just near the edge of darkness, contemplating the black woods beyond the firelight. There is no trouble during the night - not from orcs or others. A light snow begins to fall midway through morning, and the group wakes to a bleak sun straining to push its light through a low cloud cover, and temperatures low enough to make a deep breath painful.



    ((If there is more anyone wants to say during the night, either at Rik's or in the Woods, feel free to continue to RP that portion of the evening. I'm pushing the action along to the next morning)).
     
  14. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    When Brok says I may have dwarf blood, I reply, "When we met Bren and Darin, it was my first encounter with dwarves. If things work out, I hope you'll come to the Iron Mountain. Even if I'm dead but Burnbright lives, come anyway. You'll find my people aren't much different."

    Once he makes it clear I don't have to fear for Burnbright's safety, I tell him, "I could just hug you right now!" I don't though. Hugging someone without permission seems rude, and not that I've said it, it would be awkward to ask permission. Oh, why does hugging have to be hard? "I mean it. I hate keeping secrets, even when it's safe. I just hate sneaking around. I want to be proud of those I'm close to and not have to worry about who has wings and who has an evil mother. And sad to say, I do trust dwarves more than I trust humans. Things might get ugly in the Delve—I mean when they come, whatever force it is. We may not even be enough to make a difference. But I'll sleep well knowing what I'm risking my life for, and not having to worry about Branwen and Burnbright will allow me to focus on the fight that matters most."

    I bid Brok goodnight, and sleep close to my sisters and cousin.
     
  15. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    The smell of breakfast tickles my nose, and after not getting to finish my dinner the night before, I'm famished. Rising, I quickly roll up my bedroll and put in in my backpack, and put the pillow back on the bed. I'm shivering a bit, but I quietly open the door, and then head down to breakfast. Afterwards, I plan to have that bath I paid for.

    I gaze around the main room of the inn, looking for either Rik so I can place my breakfast order, or Ranolf for any update on the events of the previous night or the man who tied up Dalla and the children.
     
  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    ((It's morning time!))

    The Woods

    By the time everyone is up the light snow has dwindled to nothing, though the sun offers little warmth through the cold mist that blankets the mountain. Brok is tending the needs of his kin, both of whom look better than they did last night but who are still not fully recovered from their ordeal. Brok makes sure they eat, examines wounds, and so on, and the two dwarves huddle together away from the fire, speaking quietly to one another.

    Masama, on the other hand, is close to the fire, warming himself and casting a baleful eye at the party's surroundings. "Asra bestows her gift of heat more plentifully in my homeland," he tells Burnbright. "Being a child of the north, you have never seen anything like it. One day, you must journey there. It is always warm. Children play in our great river year around."

    Burnbright nods, rubbing her arms and shivering near the fire, and seeming to think Masama's idea isn't half bad.

    Branwen is hungry, of course.

    The night has passed with no trouble from the orcs - indeed with no sign of them at all.

    When Brok finishes tending his kin, he says "Breakfast, and then we're off, aye?"

    Rik's Place

    Cali makes it up before Dalla and the kids, and the latter are still snug in their bed when Cali leaves the room and heads downstairs. Rik and the boy who helps him are both up, and Rik greets Cali with a "Good morning, Miss! I hope you slept well, once that other business was done with."

    Ranolf is at one of the large tables in the room, already tucking into breakfast with a couple of stout young fellows. Sitting next to him is a stocky, angular woman with blonde hair swept back under an ivory knotted headscarf. When Cali comes down stairs the woman arches an eyebrow and turns it on Ranolf.

    "So this is the business ye had ta take of, is it, Ranolff Sturluson? I might have known..."

    Ranolf concentrates intently on shoveling in his breakfast and remains silent.
     
  17. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Cadell

    My stump aches in the cold when I wake the next morning, and I massage it intermittently with my right hand as I find breakfast for myself, Liadan and Branwen. I invite the harpy to sit in my lap, and offer her scraps of dried meat.

    Liadan kisses my cheek in greeting, and I turn and kiss her back. We huddle together as we eat, speaking little.

    As Brok asks Baldhart when we plan to leave, I look over at them, and my thoughts wander back to Ballara. Llucheden is still waiting for me in the stables with the rest of my gear. What am I going to do with her when we reach the Delve? Or earlier, if she can't handle the mountain passes? She was always good at finding her way home, but that was in Aelwyd Eirian. I am as lost out here as she is; I don't dare let her go alone. And if she finds her way back to Ballara, but I don't return... what then?
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Baldhart

    "I still need to tell Korgak whether Ballara agrees to keep things peaceful. If the orcs and humans can fish from the same river without fear of theft or harm, that'll do. They don't need to be friends, just stop the raids. Of course, Ballara will still secure its borders and they're not planning to attack the orcs as far as I know. I don't think the peace talks weaken Ballara in any way, since they've no reason to let their guard down.

    "I don't intend to delay our trip too long, and just Liadan and I can speak to the orcs. Nissa can guide us to you from above, so regrouping won't be difficult. In fact, you can probably start walking when we go to meet the orcs."

    I turn to Cadell, "That is, if you don't mind us riding Llucheden until we catch up with the group. Or maybe you need to leave Llucheden by the river and wait there, then give Liadan a ride. I'm not as fast as a horse, but I'm fast, and wouldn't mind a good run now that I'm not lugging swords and armor around."
     
  19. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Cadell

    I tilt my head thoughtfully as Baldhart addresses me. "That might depend on how Llucheden reacts to the river at first. If she won't swim, and she can't use the rope as we do, she'll have to wait on the bank."
     
  20. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Cali

    I smile at Rik. "I did indeed, Rik. Though I didn't get to finish my dinner last night before I had to deal with that assailant and I'm absolutely famished this morning. I could do with a hearty breakfast."

    I walk up to Ranolf and smile at both him and the woman with him. I don't want Ranolf in trouble because of me, so I calmly say to the woman, "Excuse me, but assuming you're Ranolf's missus, please, ma'am, Ranolf was a regular hero yesterday. His quick action helped me save a young woman and two small children from an assailant with unknown intentions. And his willingness to stick around the inn last night made it possible for all of us to get a good night's sleep. Please, ma'am. He deserves your respect for what he did - he was only doing what a good man would do. If you care to wait a little longer, I'm sure the woman and children will be down in a bit. They were still sleeping when I left to come down here." And I bob a curtsy to the woman to indicate I am done speaking to her.

    I ask Ranolf, "Have you by chance heard anything more about the man who tied up Dalla and the two kids?"
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
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