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The Winds of Ysgard - Part One

Discussion in 'Winds of Ysgard' started by Nimue, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard looked up from his meal and decided he might as well speak his piece.

    "I've met people like those brigands before -- people who kidnap and kill and enslave without pity, all to build themselves up by hurting others. Those I knew never repented of their deeds, and I think they deserve to die. But I think too that sometimes people can change for the better. If that change is sincere, then they deserve a second chance."

    He met the brigand's eyes. "I don't know what gods you worship, but ask yourself how they'd feel about what you've done. Do you feel justified in harming the innocent for your own gain?"
     
  2. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania seemed somewhat satisfied by the bandit's responses to her questioning. Though the bandit (and some of the others around the fire) may have thought her questions somewhat mad and possibly repetitive, she had no problem with that. It was intentional. Ask a series of related questions and someone has time to settle on a story and work out the details. When the questions are all over the place, one has less of a chance to consider their answers and, since lying takes more brainpower than the truth, they tend to be a bit more honest in their answers. It was a technique she had honed on her journeys when she often had to decide who she could and couldn't trust over the course of a short conversation. She was somewhat startled by Bendalitz's sudden question, but before she could manage an answer, Addison had arrived and started talking to Chrisania and the bandit.

    "If you do not mind, I can look into mind's eye and show what it sees to magistrates," Chrisania replied, "Is not perfect, but picture is better zan words alone, yes?"
     
  3. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison asked Chrissy, "Can ye get the image in the magistrate's eye as I give the descriptions? I mean, without him knowin' it's magic--just him hearin' me words and havin' a face in his mind, and it just so happens he knows the face exactly."

    When Rik spoke, Addison made no attempt to conceal her satisfaction.

    "Why not come to the magistrate with us, Rik? Ye kept me from gettin' overwhelmed back there, and ye know a couple faces better than I do.

    "I don't care if they dance on a rope or rot in a cell, but even suspectin' a trap I ran to Serka. If I did nothin', it meant an innocent dies on account o' me hesitation." She turned to Bendalitz. "Ye didn't have a bag o'er ye head. There're some by this fire that know captivity all too well, but did nothin' to deserve it." She looked at Loke and Rik. "They're stronger than meself.

    "Jumpin' a wyvern and stabbin' him to death while he flew with me on his back--it's how I earned his skins." The Huntress slapped her wyvernhide skirt. "It was a fool thing to do, but I chose it knowin' I was dead if I did, dead if I didn't. Put a bag and a rope on me, I ain't got a choice. I know me limits and what'd break me." She turned to the bagman. "I spared ye because the battle was won. Deservin' or not don't figure into it. Now ye been promised a request for mercy, and I mean to tell the magistrate that meself no matter it's supported by a queen's left hand or a king's right testicle. It ain't because I agree with sparin' ye. I gave ye me word. What ye did to me makes me a lot o' things, but a liar ain't one of 'em."
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  4. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    "I can, but maybe magistrate not so happy to have me in his mind, yes? What I see in your mind, I will be showing image anyone zere can be seeing. Like little puppet show where stage is your mind. Only problem is zat you have to keep sinking of what you are wanting to be showing. If you do not, well, maybe you show somesing you don't mean to be showing. I once do for man to show he was not cheat on his wife. Zen he start sinking about me, and wife was not so happy. But I don't know why she attacked me... Zey were HIS dirty soughts! I never was touching him!" Waving her hand dismissively she continued, "Point is, sink of attack and only zat, yes?"
     
  5. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison was intrigued. "I think we should try out the spell here first." She was doing a lousy job concealing her enthusiasm, so she stopped trying to. "When can we?" Through an ear-to-ear grin, she added, "Now?"
     
  6. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    With a slow but hearty laugh, Chrisania said, "If you wish, yes we can, sestra. But not for very long, I am afraid. Today has been quite taxing and I need rest some time or my spells may fail me. Come, have a seat, relax and open your mind to me. We shall see what is in zat mind of yours, yes?"

    With a welcoming gesture, Chrisania awaited Addison's approach, holding her hands out to touch her when she got near. Strictly speaking, contact wasn't exactly necessary, but it made the process far less taxing. It also usually helped to relax the recipient of the spell so that she would not need to waste unnecessary energy attempting to break down defenses. Despite these measures, Chrisania knew she would only be able to project an image for a minute or two before the fatigue of the day's travels and tribulations would overwhelm her ability to stay awake and it was just plain embarrassing to fall asleep mid spell. She secretly vowed to avoid that.
     
  7. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    "I won't agree with using mind-magic on a man that has no knowledge of it." Farrun said bluntly, stepping back into the firelight. "That's a Yvalhyn trick, and there's many who remember it." He remembered it well.

    There was a small silence, broken by a different voice.

    "You lot want honesty, don't you?" the brigand said, in a croak, and spat a fish bone onto the ground. "Well, no amount of honesty will make me an honest man now. But I'll give it anyways.

    "Me father lived free on the edge of the elves' land, stealin' from 'em, dodgin' 'em. When me ma took up with another fellow, I ran away t' join him. Wasn't a constant life, but it were better'n drudgery. Ever since then I've been on the crooked way. Never worked in a field or a barn. Didn't fight in the war, didn't have the guts for it. Just stole from the elves in that time, never the army, if it matters.

    "I never liked hurtin' folks for the sake of hurt, but I always thought it had to be done. Held me knife to many throats. Only kilt a man once, though, another thief what came after me with an ax for somethin' I had. But I stood by an' watched two killin's happened. And other things what an honest man wouldn't stand by.

    "I did think of quittin', many times. But then a good job would come 'round, and it were so easy and the livin' so good that I said I'd be cheatin' myself to do anythin' else.

    "Don't matter too much what I thought," he said dully, at last. "But I'm ready for that magistrate, an' it don't matter much what you say to 'im. If I kin ask you anything I just ask you leave me be 'til then."

    Farrun closed his hand on a bright mark of truth-telling, and said nothing. His mind was unchanged, though he had suspected worse of the man.
     
  8. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Loke chuckled. "All this talk of mercy and magic, one could almost forget we are at war. You talk of what this man deserves, of what potential change lies in his heart. I think some of you forget our purpose. This man, he is our enemy both for what he has done but also for what he has witnessed. He's seen our faces, which of us hold magic, some manner of its employment. He has our names. This fool may be of little threat on his own but his knowledge would be, to our foes, a tremendous boon. Neither his words, nor our own, can change this fact."

    "We are at war." He stepped behind Broum, still smiling as he patted the brigand on the head. "Against an enemy that will stop at nothing to destroy us and that by its very nature knows nothing of restraint. We serve a cause. One that cannot be allowed to fail as the consequences will be dire. By all means, choose mercy. That is your choice as he was your enemy. Just remember that his future gambles with more than just our own."

    Loke stepped away from the bandit, taking a fish from the fire. It was a bit burned, perhaps, but looked tasty enough and he was used to far poorer meals.
     
  9. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison had nothing to add to the conversation. Not words, but… without another thought, she gladly took Chrissy’s hands.

    In no time, all could see through the Huntress’ eyes as she ran downhill, full sprint. At the time she ran, there were cries for help. These could not be heard now. The displayed memory was visual, but silent. Also at the time Addison made this mad dash, she was imagining many possibilities of what awaited, but at the moment she managed to keep her thoughts focused only on the memory of what actually did happen. Anyone watching Addison’s memory could catch a glimpse of her readied arrow as she descended the hill.

    Soon, Serka was in view with men around her. A trap. Addison didn’t hesitate to release her arrow, but her view shook as she fired. Darkness fell over her view.

    A full view of black was nothingness in this illusion spell. But in an instant, the stars and campfire were buried in rapid flashes–not of what happened, but what Addison feared was inevitable at the time she was struggling to pull off the bag–

    Before distorted images of Serka and her men could converge on Addison, her thoughts were elsewhere. Centered in her view was a she-wolf. She and the Huntress locked eyes. An alpha male was mounting the she-wolf. A trembling arrow rose into view and was released as hastily. The alpha’s jaw snapped open as the shaft buried itself in his leg. The she-wolf watched impassively as Addison rushed the wounded male. A youthful hand produced a carving knife, which repeatedly reared out of view and back into the downed wolf's silvery fur. Blood splashed onto Addison’s skirt as she repeatedly stabbed the alpha.

    Her view sharply turned to a large, red-bearded man, clad in a kilt–green, blue, plaid–same colors as Addison wore in this memory. The man was shouting, his ice blue eyes bewildered, concerned, moist with tears. He had an arrow ready. Even those who wouldn’t fancy themselves as lip-readers could guess one of the man’s words: MOVE. The she-wolf stood in front of Addison and faced her father. Addison threw her arms around the animal. Her view trembled and blurred. Her words could not be heard in this silent visual, but whatever she said persuaded her father to slowly lower his weapon.

    Blinding white obscured both the remembered world and the real.

    Lightning shattered the white. Addison’s axe was now in front of her, rushing Serka’s guard. The man Addison shot was at Serka’s feet, struggling to pull an arrow from his shoulder. Four others cut off the Huntress’ charge. Surrounded–

    The vision faded before the killing began.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  10. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Farrun turned his head at Loke's chuckle, and by the time the other man had finished his face was grimly set, half in shadow. "The Valemorn border is at war," he said, quietly. "The countryside where we stand is at peace. This man is a criminal of the town roads, not the battlefield. He is not our enemy, you know who they are." He took a step forward, staring at Loke even as magic sparked between the two women at the campfire. "No matter what you think of it, there is a government in this kingdom. There are judges and elders and jailers, not just soldiers and their swords."

    He fell silent for a moment, distracted by the floating images Chrisania had lit in the darkness. He wouldn't have asked to see those memories, the panic clear in them. Addison's thoughts fragmented; he looked away. "We have made mistakes," Farrun said, finally. "Time and again we've let names and titles slip. But we can't execute a man for those lapses. Should we have killed those men in the inn at Bernholt, because they brawled with us, and found out who we are? Should we have silenced anyone in Ilstenford who drank with us?

    "We should talk further about keeping better secrecy." He thought of the stranger that the bandit had described, but did not want to speak of their quest and the dangers to it now, with the brigand's ear so close. "But there will be no killing." The rumble of his voice fell into silence, as the illusion faded into the blue darkness of the woods.
     
  11. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison heard "no killing." She wanted to say something, but she just had to breathe a while. She breathed heavily. Fear and panic brought those thoughts on, but seeing them so vividly--the Huntress wasn't afraid or panicking now. She was thrilled!

    She looked into Chrissy's tired eyes. "Don't doze off on me, Chrissy. Did ye see me dad? I was sixteen that day, and a she-wolf gave me her thoughts. I didn't know all this time. This cloak o' mine--aw skip it. Ye seen me thoughts so I ain't got nothin' to tell." Addison was talking loud and fast, even for a Caernishwoman. The tired illusionist might need a calmer, quieter sestra. "I like this spell. Again. Another day, I mean. But ye can... I mean... I would like to, again."
     
  12. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Rikhard hadn't bothered to watch Addy's memory -- he had enough of his own to deal with. He'd eaten his fish quickly and spat the bones into the fire, and now lay on his back looking up at the stars. He just hoped the night would be over soon so they could deal with things all the more quickly, no matter how they turned out.
     
  13. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Farrun's words had struck her during the spell. He clearly had a respect for order and honor. Though she had done many a thing that might be of questionable legality in her past, she respected the man for standing true to his values. It was not an easy path, nor an example that she believed she could follow. It wasn't that she didn't try to do good for others nor that she didn't have her own sense of honor, it was just that she preferred to be flexible as the situation warranted.

    The illusion faded as the last of Chrisania's reserves fell. She forced herself to remain politely conscious, but was clearly tired, her eyelids feeling as though they were made of lead. She gave a smile to Addison and said, "Of course sestra. When I am more rested I can do much better. However, I should sleep for ze night." Chrisania neglected to mention that she knew of a potion that would allow one to relive memories of their choice. She had known many who would become addicted to their memories of better days gone by and, in extreme cases, some have been known to waste away to nothing, losing all desire to forge new memories. For good reason, the potion was outlawed in many places and, judging by her eagerness, Addison seemed a poor candidate for said potion. Still, it was good for making a little extra gold when she needed it. There was always a rich fool or two who would pay top coin for such a potion.

    She got up and gave a good-natured pat on Farrun's shoulder as she said, "You are good man." It was a simple compliment, but a sincere one. Surprisingly so, even to herself. But her fatigue was quickly getting the best of her so she found a good patch of grassy ground and lay her head to rest for the night.
     
  14. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison followed Chrissy and when she slumped in the grass, Addison said, "I like sleepin' under stars much as the next, but me tent's got plenty o' room." She took out her shocker and added, "Plus, no worries of intruders. There's a way not to set it off, but… just wake me if ye need to get up."

    Addison offered her arm, but Chrissy would need to choose to get up. Addison couldn't carry her, nor would she if she could.
     
  15. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    Chrisania nodded politely and took the offered arm. "Sank you, is very kind of you, sestra." Eyeing the shocker she gave a cheeky smirk and said, "That is ONE way to keep someone from leaving in morning." She then headed toward the tent with Addison, happy to have some sort of roof over her head for the evening.
     
  16. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Addison did what she could to ensure sure Chrissy was comfortable. "Boots can go in the corner, and if ye lack a change o' clothes, ye can borrow me sleepin' furs. Brown ones're clean, washed yesterday."

    She went outside to give Chrissy privacy, to bid the men goodnight and let them know her shocker was set (as usual), and most importantly, to arm the trap. Addison held the shocker in one palm and cupped it with her other hand. She let the energy flow as she did in Farrun's lessons. Some blue sparks popped in the air. Control. Not all at once. Addison now understood the magic was less taxing when released in small doses. Less energy was wasted, and her hair didn't smell like a burnt dog.

    The shocker didn't have enough in it to hold a Wyvern, but it would drop a man for a few seconds. Some men. Loke could probably walk it off.
     
  17. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    Farrun turned as Chrisania patted his shoulder, his brow still furrowed. An unexpected sentiment. But no consolation: it was so damn easy to make the wrong decision, trying to be a good man. Something he'd been confronted with more than once. He frowned into the darkness for a while longer, then moved abruptly towards the captive bandit.

    "You'd like to be left alone, and we would like to speak without you," he said, bluntly. "I can cast a spell over you that will let you sleep deeply until dawn. Will you accept it?"

    In the bandit's eyes, Farrun saw the calculation of how likely they were to kill him in his sleep. And he saw him accept it. Slowly the man nodded, then shifted. "All night, y'say? Be pleasanter for everybody if I piss now an' not in me sleep."

    By the time Farrun had taken the brigand into the woods and back, and settled a well-measured sleeping spell over him, the bandit was not the only one curled up and snoring. Rikhard, Einan, Troia, and the magic-drained Chrisania had all turned in to their bedrolls. He didn't like the thought that the criminal might have a better night's rest than some of the younger folk, and he hoped that no nightmares would come to them.

    Addison was frying up her shocker. Farrun pulled magic into his hands too, and drew the pale line of a ward around the sleeping bandit, just in case he could somehow throw off the spell, like if he was secretly half-dwarf and half-sorcerer.

    He didn't need to make fun of himself too thoroughly, for Thoros's amused rumble in the back of his mind did it for him. The dragon was circling in on their camp, having run out his search in the darkness. No one was stirring within three hundred yards of their firelight. His approach was one reason why Farrun had wanted to keep the bandit under; if the man came away believing that the "wyvern" was solely a figment of his lightning- and magic-addled mind, that would be best for all of them.

    The branches around them soughed and bent as Thoros gathered his wings to land, and then by the path settled a huge and heavy shadow, lit with the glitter of his bronze scales from stray flickers of firelight. You will be safe tonight, Thoros promised, with a gleam of teeth in the shadows.

    Farrun agreed, but still began to set a greater ward circle around the campfire. Thoros snorted, and shuffled. I am sorry I could not find anything, he said, and there was a depth of regret there that touched on the burning coals of anger, deep in his belly.

    It is not your fault, Farrun told him, with strength behind the words, and sighed. Nor is it mine for not following them soon enough. For letting them go out and hunt. But if we can't protect them against a handful of brigands…

    They will learn to protect themselves, Thoros rumbled. They did protect themselves.

    Yet it seemed too narrow a chance. Farrun rubbed his forehead and concentrated on his ward-magic again. He was distracted, after a moment, by a whiff of curiosity from Thoros. He raised his head to see, incongruously, the dragon snaking his neck around to poke his head in the back of the canvas-covered waggon. Farrun frowned--Thoros usually left their gear alone, knowing full-well from his adolescent days how easy it was for him to crush a bag or rip canvas with a single clumsy movement. What was he doing now?

    I found your fieldmouse, Thoros said, laughing in his throat. It smells dusty, unwashed, and a little dwarvish.

    "What?" Farrun said aloud, and strode for the waggon, one hand hovering near his hunting knife.
     
  18. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Elannor took a seat and inhaled the fresh spring air. She was wearing a skirt made of multi-colored scarves in hues of pale green, yellow, pink, orange, and red, and she wore a flowing silk blouse of bright red. It was the most beautiful outfit she had ever owned. As she surveyed the area, she saw that other Halflings were seated around her and all were dressed in clothing as beautiful as her own, though most wore more subdued colors than she did. An aisle ran between the two halves of the audience seating and lead to an open area in front. Off to her far right, a black-clad Halfling male played a soft romantic melody on a harp. She was in an outdoor clearing ringed by several large oak trees, and banners in pastel hues of orange and yellow and been somehow strung between the trees.

    Centered several paces in front of where the aisle opened up, a trellised archway stood, over which white honeysuckle, yellow jonquils, and orange trumpet vines had been carefully woven. In the open area in front of her seating section, two Halfling males wearing black trousers and pale grey linen tunics stood next to a Halfling cleric wearing pale robes that identified his office and who was framed by the arch. The Halfling closest to the cleric was also wearing a silver edged black cloak and someone had pinned a red rose to it. This Halfling kept his gaze fixed beyond the seats where the audience sat, as though waiting for something.

    A sudden wind gusted in the trees, and the banners began flapping wildly, three of them coming loose from one of the trees and waving like flags. The noise was strangely loud. Oddly enough, though, only a mild breeze blew through the seating area. Elannor stared uneasily at the skies and noted that several other guests were doing the same.

    A Halfling woman a few years younger than herself wearing a gown of scarlet came out carrying a bouquet of the same flowers that were on the arch. She smiled, striding slowly yet purposefully up the aisle and took a spot standing opposite the second male and just right of the arch.

    Elannor grinned broadly. She’d been to weddings before, of course, but never to one where all of the participants were Halfings. She couldn’t wait to see the bride.

    As the sound of something stirring emanated from the direction the scarlet-clad female had come from, she became aware of a peculiar odor. It was a metallic musky scent with a faint spicy overtone, and something about it made her think of a predatory beast. She couldn’t identify the smell, though.

    What an odd scent for the bride’s entrance at a wedding. You’d think they’d want something more…feminine, or at least springy.

    As the audience stood and turned to face the rear, Elannor joined them, rising to her tiptoes. She could see a grey-haired elder and the side of a white gown, but she still couldn’t see the bride. She figured she probably wouldn’t be able to get a clear view until the bride joined her groom.

    She heard the intake of several breaths as the elder Halfling led his daughter up the aisle, and as the two reached the end of the aisle, a woman broke out in sobs.

    As the bride reached her groom and her father placed her hand in the groom’s, Elannor gazed eagerly toward her. From where she was seated, she was going to be able to see the bride’s reactions quite well.

    The scarlet-clad female began pulling the bride’s veil back, arranging it and making it lay cleanly behind her. For just a moment, the bride removed her gaze from the groom’s and locked eyes on Elannor.

    Slitted golden eyes set in a wedge-shaped head with an elongated snout looked back at her. The scales seemed to be of a soft cocoa brown, though there was the suggestion of a lighter hue under the chin. The dragon pulled its lips back in an impudent grin, its razor-sharp teeth glistening in the soft daylight.

    Blinking in confusion, Elannor took in the responses of those around her. Most people were smiling, though a few women looked misty-eyed. Rubbing her eyes for good measure, she looked back up toward the arch. It was still a dragon-headed bride.

    “Dragon! The bride’s a dragon!” she yelled, gesticulating wildly and moving toward the outside edge of her seating area. “Everyone run for your lives!”

    Shocked, startled faces turned to center on her, but she ignored them. Angry mutterings and whispers of “lunatic” and “she’s crazy” came to her as she started moving toward the nearest trees in the clearing, but she ignored those, too. She had never seen a dragon before, but she wasn’t about to wait around to find out if this one was friendly.

    Sneaking a peak back up toward the arch, she saw that the dragon-bride was facing her and that it had inhaled. A jet of bright flame shot toward her, and she threw herself forward in a somersault, hoping to at least keep some forward momentum going.

    Gerta help me - I’m not going to be able to get away in time!

    Suddenly she stirred, relaxing as awareness flooded into her. What a strange dream. I wonder what Gudnor would say about a dragon-headed Halfling bride if he were alive.

    A part of her wanted to roll back over and continue sleeping, even at the risk of another weird dream, but the pressure on her bladder told her she’d better answer nature’s call. Quickly, she stretched her legs.

    Well, it’s time to face whoever this camp belongs to. Here’s to hoping they’re friendly.

    Climbing out from her bedroll, she groggily reached for the dagger under her pillow. And opened her eyes wide as her instincts signaled the presence of something behind her.

    Wait a minute. Why do I still smell that strange scent from my dream?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  19. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    There was a scuffle of movement in the darkness under the waggon-hood. A brilliant flame snapped to life above Farrun's left hand, as his right hand closed around the hilt of his knife. "Who's in there!" he said sharply.

    Who, it seemed, was a small, tow-headed figure kneeling in a curl of blankets, a dagger-blade winking in one hand. A child...? No, Thoros had smelled dwarf, but this must be a dwarf woman, or a halfling. The dragon had pulled his head back a little to let Farrun stand square with the waggon, but one great green eye still stared into the back, reflecting the spellfire in his hand like a liquid orb.
     
  20. tbgg

    tbgg Sage

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    Elannor turned around slowly, keeping her dagger at the ready, but she knew she was at a disadvantage. The light from the man’s light blinded her, since her eyes had adjusted to the dark, though she thought she saw light reflecting off of a large shape behind the man. Better to act as unthreatening as possible until she figured out what kind of people she was dealing with.

    “Muh name’s Elannor,” she said in a calm voice, squinting into the light, “and if you don’t mind, I really do badly need to pee.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
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