Oathday, 15th of Desnus, 4712
The sun rises on the small town of Sandpoint, the cool morning quickly warming as the townsfolk begin another day at work.
I like to have players do a 'day in the life of' before we get onto the adventure. Basically, we do a quick or not-so-quick rundown of their day before they head off to the Rusty Dragon at the end of the day, for one reason or another
Balthazar gets up with the first rays of the sun as dawn slowly pours into the inn’s room through the cracks in the wooden window. He gets up promptly and opens the window with a smile, and looks around the room enjoying this foreign surroundings. He walks around barefoot and stops in the middle of the alcove, stretches his muscles and then sits with eyes closed, legs crossed and arms extended towards the knees, cleansing his mind from past worries and preparing it for the day to come. When Balthazar finally leaves the room for breakfast, he feels completely renovated, despite the long journey of the past week. Sandpoint stands within but a day of travel, and his new life shall soon begin.
He is the first guest to come down, and is greeted congenially by the old woman who runs the modest roadhouse. She serves him a simple but large breakfast, which Balthazar devours with great appetite and curiosity, savoring flavors so different from the ones he’d grown used to in the monastery. He pays for his stay and thanks the chubby woman, and then heads to the stables where Errol spent the night. After packing his few belongings into the donkey’s saddles, Balthazar takes the road once more riding the back of his steadfast mount.
The day is long, but Balthazar takes in the views with such bliss that he barely notices time slipping away with each trot of the animal under him. It is nearly sunset when he spots Sandpoint in the horizon, and the moon is already out by the time Balthazar and Errol at last cross the city gates. He looks to the sky and wonders whether it is already too late in the night to look for Koya, and decides it is better to first eat and find some lodgings and then go see her in the next morning, fully rested and at peace once more. He cordially interpellates a passerby, a young limping man, and asks for directions.
“Good night, brother! Where may I find a hearty meal and maybe a room for the night?”
The limping man stares with curiosity at Balthazar and his peculiar garment, and politely recommends a nearby tavern. “Well, mister, I’m not sure about the room, but you can have a nice plate of food at the Rusty Dragon, right down that road.”
The monk thanks him and heads towards the tavern. After tying Errol to a post outside the entrance, he puts his belongings in a sack and throws it over his shoulder as he goes in through the door. The sight of the lively tavern at first surprises Balthazar, and his immediate response is to disapprove of those drunks and loudmouths. In an instant, however, his stern gaze changes to a relaxed expression, and Balthazar laughs an exuberant laugh, relishing the ambient.
“Why, this is... phenomenal!”
That made my night. I take it Kravo is not a morning person.
As the sun broke the horizon, Wanwa'lasse got up and washed her face. The cool water helped get rid of the sleep in her eyes. She moved about the comfortable room getting ready. She shudders a little as she catches a glimpse of the scars running down her arms, front, and back in the mirror.
She finishes buckling her belt and rushes down the stairs to help Ameiko with breakfast. Although, from the smell of things, she would probably be there more to keep the owner of the Rusty Dragon company than anything else.
The midday sun was high in the sky, Sienna was lying down in the grass near the outskirts of Sandport seemingly wanting to gain a bit of shut eye. Just before she dozed off Jubaryl her eldest brother walked up to where she was resting. He looked rather impatient and was holding a small satchel in his hand, Jubaryl just chucked it onto her chest. "You know the drill, you should've been ready half an hour ago" Jubrayl stated condescendingly.
"Yes yes, it'll be done before the expected time anyway, why do you always fret so much?" Sienna said reluctantly sitting up.
"You seem to be far too confident in your abilities sometimes." Jubrayl replied with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
"Maybe if you'd give me harder jobs I wouldn't be?" Sienna laughs and walks off with the satchel. She walks further away from Sandpoint into the small wilderness surrounding the town. Sienna knew every rock and stone, every tree and root, she walked noiselessly and precisely through the area. Knowing her target would be near. A young man awaited in a clearing, looking around nervously for someone. As his eyes darted from side to side the ground around him filled with mist. He grew ever confused at his situation. Shortly afterwards there was a thud and he fell to the ground, as he opened his eyes he found in his hands a small satchel and the mist had cleared. Sienna was nearby, all she did was smile at the simple completion of her task. She stretched her arms into the air, listened for the sweet cracks of adjustments from her muscles and thought.
Well that's that I suppose, what to do now? Jubrayl didn't have anything else prepared for today.... ah I know, early day at the Rusty Dragon I think! I wonder if that cold hearted Ameiko can spare me a mug or two of cider today.
Sienna takes a stroll back towards the town, happily contemplating the little mugs of drink she will be having. She walks past the gates and keeps her head pointed at the floor most of the way, occasionally nodding her head to people who wave at her when she spots them out the corner of her eyes. Sienna sees her brother Sandru near the tavern en route, she gives him a bit of wave but as soon as his head was turned her eyes fixate on the back of his head glowering.
Sienna then reaches the door of the Ruby Dragon. She stops at the threshold and sighs. Think happy thoughts, a drink or two and being left alone should brighten your day, yes it will. Sienna opens the door and walks into the tavern, sitting down at the counter and asking politely but bluntly for a cider. When it arrives she ponders about the world far outside Sandpoint before taking a small sip, the soothing kick of the weak beverage puts her mind at ease. Ah that's more like it.
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Hijiro woke late in the morning in his small rented room in mid-town Sandpoint. He spent a few moments grooming, licking down his fur where it was mussed from sleep, then gave it up as a lost cause and changed to his human form before donning his clothing and weapons. mmm… hungry. What’ve I got? He rummaged in his small pack and found a crust of bread and some old cheese. Not much, but enough for breakfast.
With a quick check to make sure everything was in order, he slipped outside, squinting in the bright mid-morning sunlight. With a ready and quick smile he greeted the crowd of children that gathered around him as he walked through town. He pulled a flower from one girl’s ears and handed it to her, then made a coin appear and disappear faster than they could follow with their eyes, then tossed it and a few others into the crowd. Then he slipped away from the children and headed to the market with his few remaining coins. He needed work and soon, as his coins were diminishing rapidly. Rooms and food weren’t free in Sandpoint.
Maybe Master Recardi has some work for me today. He hoped the town’s locksmith would be able to hire him as he did from time to time.
In the marketplace, he paid a few coins for a fresh apple, then headed off to the locksmith’s shop. Master Recardi greeted him heartily and gave him a box of rusty locks that needed cleaning. Work meant food and Hijiro was happy to oblige the aging craftsman, though the work was menial and beneath his skills. It might be menial work but it was slow and time consuming, and by the time he was finished, it was late afternoon. Hijiro flashed the old man a big smile as he received his pay. ”See you again soon,” he called as he exited the shop, expecting he might return on the morrow for more work.
Time for the Rusty Dragon and … Ameiko! he thought, his heart skipping a beat as he thought of the lovely Tien woman who owned the tavern. Ah, Ameiko, why don’t you love me back? You barely ever notice me. Of course she doesn't love you, idiot, she doesn't really know you at all. He sighed and headed to the tavern with hope in his heart. Perhaps tonight will be the night.
Hijiro slipped inside the Dragon, walked up to the bar and ordered a glass of whiskey. He took his drink to a nearby table and nursed his drink while he watched the other patrons come and go. He pulled out a copper piece and rolled it over the backs of his fingers continuously, a nervous habit, as he observed quietly.
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Early in the morning at the break of day he used to sleep into the afternoon. - N.Young
It's afternoon and Sandpoint is bustling away. Life has even crept into the quiet courtyard behind Cracktooth's Tavern. A ramshackle storage shed is nestled cosily there in a corner not far from the Drunken Wall.
The peace is suddenly interrupted by a cacaphonous clanking and banging, followed by a loud bump and a foul cussword in Orcish. (which would be inappropriate to translate here).
A small rickety door opens, and a huge, bad-ass, half-orc squeezes out into the unflattering sunshine. He's wearing leather breeches and a loose shirt. He's covered in sawdust. Obviously he had a rough night. Dried blood cakes his garments and his tattooed face is swollen a bit. Squinting red-eyed and stumbling across across the weedy cobbles he makes it to a water trough in the centre of the yard. He looks at his reflection and grimly carries on with his morning bath.
Kravo Blaschkh - for it can be no other - takes off his shirt and washes, humming a rousing tune with deep rumble as he goes about it. His huge arms and barrel chest are tattooed with divine symbols. Anyone versed in religious iconography would recognise the symbols of the Lord in Iron in the illustrations. A crude amulet hanging on his massive chest also depicts a the Sword in the Rock.
Once he is clean and ready he returns to the shed briefly to fetch his haversack, a brimmed hat and a mighty sheathed falchion, whch he slings over his shoulder. He strolls into the village. He tips his hat occasionally to acquaintances along the way, many of whom sport similar stains, bruises and welts. He purchases some ale, meat and bread and heads to the beach to breath the cool air and have a picnic.
His destination tonight will be the Rusty Dragon. Somehow he will have to explain himself to the innkeeper Ameiko - she probably heard about last night already.
Balthazar's a good few hours ahead of everyone or did he show up the night before? I'm going to guess its the former and get everyone up to speed, unless you'd like to change that, Balthazar. I'm starting with Wanwa'lasse
Ameiko finshes wiping off a wooden counter and turns to face Wanwa'lasse as she enters the kitchen. The smell of the inn's special for the morning, a sort of casserole made with eggs, bacon, shredded potato and a touch of maple sugar. wafting through the air. Ameiko wipes an errant strand of white hair from her face and greeting the half-elf, clearly glad to have some help this morning. The two hastily clean up the kitchen, finishing with some time to sit down and take a break afterwards.
"Shalelu went out earlier this morning. I thought she would have taken you with her,"she says with a small frown.
Balthazar wakes up very early in comfortable lodgings recommended by the kind owner of the Rusty Dragon, whom he has had the pleasure of meeting the night before. A lovely young girl, she was. After his morning meditation, he leaves for a stroll to get to know the city, and when people start filling the streets he decides to stop by the Rusty Dragon for breakfast before going out to find Koya. Ameiko seemed to know a lot of people, maybe she can tell me where Koya lives. As he enters the tavern, the smell of eggs and bacon whet his appetite.
A young halfling girl shows Balthazar a table and quickly scurries off to fetch him breakfast, asking over her shoulder what he'd like to drink. As she does this, a lovely Tien woman steps out of the kitchen. She wears a simple silk tunic and soft looking black leather breeches and has white hair framing her face, the rest of it is black as night. She nods in greeting to Balthazar before making her way over,"Welcome to the Rusty Dragon, sir. What brings you out our way?"
"I wanted to, but... I just couldn't. I kept thinking about the last time and how I broke down after the fight. I was fine, or I thought I was, and then..."
Wanwa'lasse's voice trails off as she looks down at her hands folded on the table.
"Maybe next time."
Wanwa'lasse finishes looking over her gear. The bow was still good and her sword was still sharp. She didn't know why she kept her stuff ready to go, but she knew that it'd bug her to no end if she didn't.
She hurries down stairs, just in time to catch Ameiko heading for the market. The young half-elf decides to tag along and spends a good portion of the rest of the morning helping her friend get fish, spices, and other foods for tonight's meal.
She seems almost normal. She chats with the vendors and merchants as she walks by. She enjoys talking to Ameiko, but any time her sleeves ride up, showing just the beginnings of the dozens of scars covering her body, she quickly pulls it down and looks about nervously as to see if anyone noticed.
Balthazar sits and asks for some milk to drink.
He recognizes Ameiko from his previous visit the night before, though she doesn't seem to remember him. Well, she was just giving directions, after all, and the place was crowded.
"Good morning! I'll have some of that sweet-smelling breakfast of yours" he says bluntly, though he thinks he is being friendly. "Miss... Ameiko? We spoke briefly last night and I was under the impression you are quite familiar with the people of Sandpoint... if I may ask, I'm looking for one Koya Mvashti."
Ameiko nods and goes to grab him a plate of food, returning in a few short minutes,"Oh yes, forgive me. Balthazar, wasn't it? I know Koya Mvashti. Are you a friend of hers?"
A young girl catches a glimpse of her scars and stares for a moment before turning away once she noticed the half-elven woman's gaze. As Wanwa'lasse passes through the crowds she continuously hears the same words coming up again and again, in frightened whispers and loud oaths. Goblins. The goblins had found something, the goblins had gotten bold, people are being attacked, three people badly injured by goblins and it was getting worse and even more still. The people are frightened and angry.
The warm sun beats down on Kravo, warming his skin and causing his head to throb when he happens to catch an accidental glance at it. Kravo can hear a commotion from behind him as Sheriff Belor Hemlock bursts out of the Garrison, with six of his guardsmen on his heels and mounts up, riding in the direction of Lost Coast Road.
Alone on the beach Kravo, works on the opening stanzas of his new Varisian project...
Interrupted he catches sight of the guards heading off. Something is up in Sandpoint! Could it be? Finally. Some unpleasantness! Kravo rushes out to see where they are going....to the Loast Coast Road. What on earth can be going on there? The sun is going down. Time for a drink and food. Rusty Dragon. Maybe some news will distract her from the mess he was involved in last night at Cracktooth's. He needs a gig somewhere. He's been shunned everywhere else.
Kravo strides heavily up the bluff and back to town. He ignores - as usual - the disapproving stares of the Sandpointers.
If he spots someone he knows he will politely ask if they know what Hemlock and his boys are up to. Gather info/Diplomacy 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Great, someone saw them.
As the pair makes their way though the market place, Wanwa'lasse becomes more and more agitated. She's not snippy, or anything like that, just jumpy.
"I really hope this blows over soon."
After they finish shopping and head back to the Rusty Dragon, Wanwa'lasse fixes the two of them a light lunch. Dinner was always delicious, no sense in spoiling her appetite beforehand.
She spent most of the afternoon helping Ameiko get ready for the night. Tapping fresh kegs, prepping the food, and wiping down the tables.
"Indeed, you can say I'm friends with Koya, and have been for most of my life now. Though we haven't seen each other in many years, we've managed to keep in touch." He lets out a short, nervous laugh. "Yet, I don't seem to have her directions, my letters got to her handed by the monks to the temple of Desna, and vice-versa. I'd very much like to see her again." With these words, Balthazar blushes slightly. He then spins the milk mug before him and gazes distantly. "I hear she wants to make a long journey? I wish to join her..."
Ameiko's mouth quirks into a charmed half-smile,"I'll tell you how to find her, then. Ameiko gives detailed directions to Koya's house and wishes him luck before he heads out the door.Balthazar makes his way to an old manor, on the outskirts of town.The symbol of Desna is carved into the door and it appears as if someone is home.
A carpenter known to Kravo leans closer to Kravo and speaks quietly, "More goblin trouble, I think."
Meanwhile, back at the tavern,
The tavern is becoming more and more lively as people get off of work and come to the Rusty Dragon to slake their thirst, whet their appetite and tell tales. Ameiko has made her famous salmon curry and plates full of the delicious food and mugs of cold ale are passed around. The undercuurent of fear and uncertainty hasn't lifted, but the patrons seem dead-set on forgetting their troubles and enjoying the first of the warm summer nights.
Sienna sees Sandru enter the tavern out of the corner of her eye as he slides up to the bar next to her, ordering a brandy. He pauses for a moment before saying anything,"I heard you had a busy day today," he says tersely.
Ameiko walks by his table, a small smile on her lips and says, in Minkaian, How are you, Hijiro? Staying out of trouble?
Shalelu finds Wanwa'lasse in the tavern in no time, her almost preternatural grace on display as she effortlessly navigates the crowded room. She sits next to the half-elven woman, "Those goblins must be stopped," she says in a soft tone that is almost a growl. "Did you hear of them, yet?"
"The rumors? Yes, I heard several. And I agree with you, but who's going to be able to stop them? There haven't been many adventurous folk around here since the... well you know."
Wanwa'lasse shudders at the memories from a few years ago when the goblin raided Sandpoint during the Swallowtail Festival. That had been one of the few times she had actually cried since coming to Sandpoint.
"But I have to admit, I'm curious to know what they found that made they start raiding again. I thought that they were pretty much beaten for a time."
Balthazar walks through the garden and up to the door, and knocks calling for Koya at the same time.
"Koya? It is Balthazar Andor of the Sacred Mountain! Anyone home?"
When and old woman opens the door, Balthazar smiles widely, and his eyes water.
Hijiro's heart flutters and skips a beat as Ameiko greets him and he stands and bows, then nods to her emphatically. He replies in Minkaian as well, "I'm well, and how are you tonight, beautiful Ameiko?" He longs to call her Ameiko-chan but doesn't dare do so... Maybe someday, she will let me be so familiar.
Once she has passed by his table, he collects a plate of salmon curry and a mug of cool ale, but he lingers over the food, eating sparely. The food is good, great even, but his mind and heart are elsewhere. He listens to the conversations around him, even contributes to a few. But this is a time to hear about the goings on in town, so he is mostly silent as he follows the ebb and flow of conversation.
I ... what does he want now? I thought this would be simple sit down and drink but.. no, never is that simple.
She sighs, shoots her brother a glance then takes a quick sip of the drink she's holding. "No, not really all that busy. I just spent my afternoon walking outside. That's all." She replies with her voice grating.
Kravo stands before the doors of the Rusty Dragon Inn. He straightens his collar, and dusts the sand off of his hat. He tries to tuck his shirt in, but his gut is too big - and it comes loose as soon as he stops fussing with it.
Not ready to go in yet - Kravo sees the fiery glow of the lowering sun on the the roof of the Cathedral. He thinks of the music they were singing there last week....very beautiful....
He stands humming on the stoop - lost in a world of romance and adventure until the long shadows cover the street. With a sigh he straightens up, sucks in his gut and marches in...
Shalelu scowls,"Apparently, they have found fireworks. Perhaps they are even making them. They don't cause much harm, themselves, but startle horses badly and allow them a very good advantage. As much damage is done my the terrified animals than the filthy creatures, themselves. You're right about the lack of adventurers and the people here are very hesitant to deal with the goblins, since what happened. The Sheriff just went off to check something out, perhaps another raided caravan. This can't go on much longer," Shalelu looks Wanwa'lasse in the eyes, "Can you try again, Wanwa'lasse? The people here need the goblins dead or driven off."
The elderly woman, wrapped in brightly coloured skirts and a white blouse, pauses, taking a moment to take in the visitor standing on her door step, "Balthazar?" she says as smile lights her face,"It is you. I wasn't expecting- Come in! It's so good to see you after so long. What brings you here?" She brings him into a large home, almost cluttered with exotic curiousities from across the world, mystical diagrams and a large table with stars, the phases of the moon and strange animals carved and painted onto its surface. Koya sits down at the table, inviting him to do the same.
Hijiro hears much about the Licktoad goblins menacing the town as they become emboldened by their success. A few people seem worried about a few of the locals that have chosen to live in the swamp, a halfling named Walthus who breeds snakes and a woman known to be a spellcaster of some sort named Megus. There's other rumours, about what the Sczarni are supposedly up to lately and about Koya's upcoming journey, but the nervousness felt by the townsfolk is the most present emotion in the tavern this evening.
Sandru frowns,[b]"Perhaps I'm misinformed then. I heard that you were busy doing more dirty work for Jubrayl. There are other things to do around here, yanno. He'll get you in over your head, before you know it and then what'll you do? Why not try something else? Or stop before he puts you in a situation you'll regret. He doesn't care about people, Sienna, just himself,"he says, trying to rein in his worry and doubt, but can't.
The sounds and smells of the busy tavern rush to greet Kravo. There are already a good number of patrons and familiar faces here. The people here to drink, tell yarns, gossip and gamble the night away seem less boisterous, less friendly and much more wary. The beautiful owner of the tavern places tall mugs of ale on a table and glances over Kravo's way. She frowns and shakes her head, moving her way over to him after serving her waiting patrons. "You had another fight last night, hmm, Kravo?" she says with a sigh of frustration.
The burly half-orc doffs his hat sheepishly.
Just..just a little dust up..er..look..Gorvi started it ok?...and you know where I come from this is how the audience shows their appreciation -but I'm expanding my repertoire!...hey I just saw Hemlock and his boys riding out the Lost Roa - hmmmm - salmon curry?
Balthazar looks around the house, impressed with the rich symbolism. He sits facing Koya, and watches her melancholically. Time has imprinted its foosteps on both of us. Still… Koya. Balthazar looks truly moved. He remains very conscious of his hands and body and avoids any kind of physical contact.
“I’ve left the monastery”, he says, and fearing to be misintepreted, immediately expands on the news, “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still belong to the order, but I’ve finally decided to journey outside the walls. There’s little left for me inside there... I haven’t really accomplished much." He pauses and looks down, and then turns his attention back to Koya. “I’m sorry for your loss. I know how it is to lose a mother… in your last letter, you said that now that she’s gone you wished to go out and see the world, maybe take on a long caravan. Any success convincing your son?” He smiles sympathetically.
Okay.. what's with him white knighting all of a sudden?
She sighs. Reluctantly she answers, "I don't do much for him. Nothing that should get me into that much trouble anyway. He doesn't make me kill anyone for him for example so I should be fine. I can take care of myself. If you want me to change 'vocations' as it were..." She flips round on her chair to face him. "Are you actually offering anything 'safer'? I mean Jubaryl jobs are easy enough, and I've never had a problem with them, so I see no reason to stop. I mean adventuring was dangerous wasn't it? Never stopped you, did it now?"
"I promise to keep the peace tonight, Ameiko. Right now I just need some food and some news. I want to know what's going on with the goblins. "
Nodding his thanks, the hulking half-orc lumbers over to Hijiro's table...he takes an available seat and immediately strikes up a conversation.
These Sandpointers can't seem to accept me any which way. They don't like it when I sing their folk ballads. I get it. I understand the prejudice. Its like milk and vinegar. When I sing it it has to be devoid of any personal touches or embellishment. But I sing it perfectly well. It's just a sacrilege for me to even utter it. So I end up giving them what they want - the same old shanties and stuff...Riddleport vulgarity..but that always leads to drinking and then they demand what they really came for. "Okrag the Hewer" - you know? and then they tear the place down. I can't win. What, you're barely eating. Do you have a problem with the salmon?
Elven: "I can try, but... After what happened the last time, I feel ashamed of myself. I know I am capable, it's just- just fear. I feel afraid every time goblins are mentioned. I keep going back to when I was little and..."
Wanwa'lasse looks up to her mentor and tears threaten to come spilling down.
"I know I can do it, but why am I so afraid?"
I'm assuming Kravo and Hijiro know each other since both are residents of Sandpoint and regulars at the Rusty Dragon
"Hullo, Kravo. No, the salmon is great... Just not very hungry I guess. You should sing what you like, you know. When you like what you sing, it shows. Have you heard about the goblins? I've been hearing that something is up with them again." Hijiro sighs and plays with his food a little bit. "Here, take mine, I can't finish it." He pushes the plate toward Kravo slightly, giving the half-orc the opportunity to take it or refuse it as he chooses.
Koya's deep brown eyes gleam,"That boy can't resist the idea of travelling the world for much longer, I don't think. We both hear the road's call and Varisia isn't the whole world. I keeep telling him that if I'm still able to ride on his caravan, at all times of the year, that I can do this. Make this journey. I miss Mother and wish that she could come with me, when I go. But," she trails off for a second before waving her hand, dismissing her sadness,"What made you want to leave the monastery, exactly? What do you hope to accomplish? More importantly, are you hungry? Perhaps a meal at the Rusty Dragon? The Kaijitsu girl's made her famous salmon curry and I never can resist it."
Sandru opens his mouth and closes it,"It's not the same! The road can be dangerous, there are risks involved. But it's a better life! Cleaner work. The open road and wide country around you and the journey itself fulfill you in a way that nothing else can! Jubrayl's work doesn't have that sort of-of, umm, purity or accomplishment. You have a hard time sleeping instead of going to bed and waking up glad to be where you are. Koya keeps talking about her journey... and it's not right to deny her that. Especially since she's on the road with me all the time. I can't leave you to the life Jubrayl'd try to make you live."
Elven:"What happened to you when you were younger will haunt you for a long time," Shelelu says evenly,"Perhaps forever. You cannot forget what happened. But neither can you forgive it and allow it to happen to others. You can help these people and maybe, at the same time, you might feel the fear's grip lessen." She places her hand on Wanwa'lasse's arm, squeezing it gently.
What in the world is he...?
Sienna puts the drink down in confusion and makes eye contact "Wait.. her journey? What are you talking about? ... and what to you mean deny her that?"
He couldn't be insinuating that I ... could he...? Please say he is. For once I hope he is.
Elven: "I don't think anyone could forgive anybody that did what they did to be to them."
There's still a cloud of depression and anxiety around her, but the threat of tears has passed.
"Perhaps it is time they feared me."
Wanwa'lasse takes a sip of ale. Perhaps past time.
Oh so you like the salmon do you? Well that's good to hear...Ameiko's Inn has a reputation for the finest fish on the Varisian Coast. And if you had besmirched the chef's cooking...well...I would of had to kill ye.
The half-orc's coutenance changes to a most menacing glower aimed directly and unwaveringly right at the kitsune!
Hijiro bursts into laughter at the menacing look, completely unintimidated by the glower. "Ah, that's one chef I'd never impugn. She's as talented as she is beautiful. Not to mention, I have no intention of getting killed tonight." He gives Kravo a broad wink.
Kravo breaks into a mischievous grin and then guffaws heartily - slapping the table at Kitsune's graceful retort.
"HELLO. IF YOU PLEASE. MAKE IT TWO LARGE ONES. THANKS." His request to the server, though polite enough - trumpets through the room so loudly, that it makes everyone's drinks jiggle. Well. Thanks. I don't mind if I do....
He eats up the proferred curry with relish.
I dig what you're saying about singing whatever I want. But a bard needs an audience. I get tired of singing ballads to the gulls that nobody wants to hear. And to be frank with you, I love the "Okrag". It's a classic. But the way I sing it is a shame - not to mention the crappy translation. If you heard the way it's supposed to be sung your blood would boil. Literally. I mean your blood would actually boil! The greatest Savage Skalds weave their arcane magic into such songs causing blood to boil...but not orc blood though...oh no! it brings us to a frenzy like you wouldn't believe! What a feeling! It's some awesome s+@@ I tell you!
THUD. 2 enormous, frothing, 3-pint jugs of strong ale thunk down onto the groaning table. One for Kravo. One for Hijiro.
No. I can't keep blaspheming the traditions like that. The Skald's deeds are his songs and his songs are his deeds. I have to walk the walk. Its time I did something...something I can really sing about.
Hijiro grins as the drinks are brought to the table. Just because he has no appetite for food, doesn't mean he has no thirst for a good strong drink. "What sort of something did you have in mind? There's plenty of adventure around Sandpoint... goblin hunting, or how about the Chopper or the Devil? He lowers his voice a little as he mentions the last two of these threats. You'd surely make a name for yourself with such an adventure to sing about. Write your own songs, I say.
"We? You mean me? Go fighting goblins? Um... gee... Uh..." He bite his lip, then smiles a little. "Maybe with a few more to back us up? Yeah, I heard you mention that... wonder what's up with the sheriff going there. So much talk of goblins lately. Who knows, maybe they'll grow bold enough to bring the fight to us." Hijiro takes a deep draught from his mug and sighs. Me? Fighting goblins? Hmmm... interesting idea. I bet those little stinkers have lots of sparklies hidden away. I could go for that, for sure.
I'll bet goblins have treasure!
"I want you to come with us, when we go. We'll be going soon and those damned goblins need to be cleared off the road first. I have to finish up a few preparations here, but I'm thinking of asking Ameiko to come, if she wants. Maybe even Shalelu. I think Ameiko's ready for adventure again and there's no ranger I'd rather have watching our backs than Shalelu. But, as I said, those goblins need to be driven back. Think you could handle it?" Sandru says, a small grin on his face and no trace of the familiar condescending tone.
Shalelu smiles proudly,"I think it is. I will be here for you afterwards and in the forest, on my own hunt, while you show the goblins what it is to fear. Take others with you, if you can. I want to see what you can do."
....REALLY?! She starts bounding off the wall in her own head.
She seems rather taken aback first, caught off guard by the question. She fights back a large grin appearing on her face, she regains her compusure and replies in her usual stern demeanour. "Right, Okay, if I do this, I'll do it under one condition." She grabs Sandru's collar and brings him closer. Then continues a bit louder as if she requires witnesses to what she is going to ask. "Don't up and leave me behind out of the blue again, got it?!" She stares intently into his eyes, with a mixture of anger, sadness and acceptance.
Balthazar ponders for a while. “What made me leave the monastery? Well... I’m thankful for what the monks did for me and my brothers, raising us. I cherish the lessons learned there, and I take them all to heart. I’ve known wisdom in that place. Yet... it is not my place. Not physically.”
His thoughts wander. “You see, my brothers are already teaching, as you know – they’re great monks, actually. So much better than I am. And I think I know why... they were so young when the monks took us in. That life is the only one they've ever known, and that has helped them embrace it completely. But me... do you know what is my fondest memory? Coming to Sandpoint with my parents. I was still a very young boy, but I remember it well. They were so happy. I seek that same happiness, and this longing has been holding me back. I know I can achieve greatness, but I need to roam free from the walls of the monastery. See things. Live. That’s why I left. I think that my path to enlightenment is not atop the mountain, but on the road.” Balthazar notices the irony of what he's just said, considering the theme of his monastic order, and tries to rationalize. “The core of a mountain might be made of solid rock, but the mountainside is riddled with rolling stones that are as much a part of the mountain as the core itself.”
Then, looking her deep in the eyes, he makes a final statement, remaining true to his vows. “Of course it has a lot do with you. Not only has your last letter inspired made and made me realize all this, but it led me to understand that I want to walk this road by your side, if it is at all possible. We’ve known each other for so long, and I'm glad we've kept in touch over the years. But this might be my last chance to see you and spend some time with you, if you allow me.”
He doesn’t even give time for Koya to reply to his last confession, and tries to clear the air hoping he hasn’t made her uncomfortable. “Well, but enough of drama! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ameiko and the Rusty Dragon, and having lunch there sounds lovely.”
Sandru is taken aback by his sister's tone for a moment before nodding,"'Kay, I won't. You do the job right and I'll wait until we're all ready to go and we'll go. Off to see the world." Sandru savours the last phrase, anticipation and longing in each word.
Koya's gaze softens,"I-I would be glad to have you by my side, Balthazar. I have few friends left alive, who knew me when I was young and none quite as constant, loyal and dear to me for some time. I'm glad that you're trying to find your happiness... and that it perhaps lies on the road, with me next to you. It will be an adventure to remember, Balthazar. As you said, though. Let's make our way to the Rusty Dragon."
We're all there!
Sheriff Belor Hemlock bursts into the tavern with a few of his men in tow. Blood and mud stain his uniform and a dark expression on his face, he clears his throat before speaking in a booming voice,[b]"There's been more trouble on the road. Two people sleep with their gods tonight, three more are injured and one of them is but a child of thirteen. The old goblin bounty is to be restored. That's ten gold per fresh green ear and three hundred to the one who can bring me the Licktoad tribe chief's head. Most of you are simple people who grew up around here, not adventurers. Adventurers avoid Sandpoint since the Late Unpleasantness or are more interested in the ruins of Xin Shalast than helping a small town like us, but there have got to be some brave souls amongst us. Will someone volunteer for this job?"[b]
Sienna looks into Sandru's eyes for a couple seconds more then let's go of him, happy with his answer. She quickly turns away from him making sure her hair gets in the way so he can't see her face and the massive smile on it. She mutters quietly 'Thank you' in Sylvan, unsure if her brother understood it but she is too embarrassed to say it in common. Shortly afterwards the Sheriff bursts in through the door and shouts.
Sienna puts one hand on her hip and takes in the scene as it transpires. She leans over to her brother and says. "Well, looks like I ain't the only one who is going to be clearing the goblins. Did you want them dead or just gone? Sounds like we can get some help with either objective, though I don't mind which way round we do it. Wait .. did he say wounded?!"
Sienna's protective instinct kicks in and she runs up to the to the Sheriff. "Sheriff sir, are those wounded alright? How bout the child? I can offer some aid to them if needed." She hastily asks the currently angered man.
By Desna please let that child be alright.
When the sheriff bursts in and makes his announcement, Hijiro perks up a little, listens, then turns to Kravo. "Well, there you go Kravo, a chance for adventure and to write your own songs! I'll bet with a few others to help us, we could collect some goblin bounties for sure, not to mention collecting some goblin treasure, too."
He notices some others in the room taking note of the sheriff's announcement as well, and nods toward Sienna as he continues to talk to Kravo softly. "She seems more interested in healing the wounded, but would you mind such a one along? I know I wouldn't. Goblins are tricksy beasts and they DO fight back."
"What we really could use is a front-liner, someone who doesn't mind standing toe-to-toe with the goblins and take them on 2 or 3 at a time.. someone who can deal out a lot of damage. I don't know about you, but while I can fight, I'm better at being sneaky, if you know what I mean."
Did the sheriff really say 10gp per goblin ear (which means 20 gp per goblin!) or did he mean 10gp per right (or left) ear?
Balthazar chats relaxadly with Koya and is chewing a mouthful of salmon curry when sheriff Hemlock announces the attack. He raises his eyebrows and looks awestruck. He eyes Koya and says "That's awful!" Standing up slowly, he speaks mainly to himself "It's a little bit more excitement a little bit earlier than I expected, but..."
Speaking loud so Hemlock can hear him over the rustling in the tavern, Balthazar proclaims "Sheriff, I wish to help drive away these goblins raiders."
That's 20 gp per head
"The wounded are being tended to by Abstalar, but we could use Mrs. Mvashti's help, too. Can you help us, Koya?" Koya responds with a quick nod and hurries off to Sandpoint Cathedral. The Sheriff resumes speaking," They're in good hands, Miss Vhiski. The child had the good sense to run and got a few nicks from those knives the goblins use. He'll have the time he needs to recover. It's my fault for not dealing with this sooner." Belor Hemlock turns to Balthazar,"Thank you, sir, we'd appreciate the help. But you're going to need help if you want to take them on. They've got numbers on their side and the Brinestump marsh is a nasty, wet tangle that can be difficult at best and life-threatening at times to navigate. All sorts of strange beasties make their home there, too."
Hijiro looks over at Kravo and grins. "You up for this? I mean I like it here in town, but goblins have treasure, and I'm sure up for collecting some bounty on the little green things." Without waiting for an actual response from Kravo, Hijiro stands up, albeit more slowly than Balthazar did. "I'd go as well, Sheriff. Goblins are known for setting traps. I'm good with traps."
Sheriff Hemlock nods, but with some apprehension,"They do. The fireworks have been involved in most of their strategies. They don't hurt much to be hit with, but can blind you and panic animals. So, we have you," he points to Balthazar,"Master Hijiro, here, possibly Master Blaschkh. That's a good start. Anyone else?"