Please keep all dialogue and description seperate from ooc. I would prefer all ooc comments or dice rolls to be hidden by a spoiler, so that the story reads uninterrupted, if possible. Also, if any viewers feel the need to comment, please I welcome that...but keep it in the discussion thread, so as not to interrupt the story. Thank you!
Cyre is dead. The war has ended...at least for a time. While hostilities have stopped, at least on the surface, covert operations, intruige and mistrust run high. Tension and pressure abound in all the nations of Khorvaire, both new and old.
Sandpoint - located on the east side of Manta Bay in Breland, directly to the west of Skyraker Forest on the coast. Even here, where the war never tore at the dirt of the people, the sting was still felt. The 'illusion' of peace feals like a too-thinly spread coat of paint. But all is not dispare and false smiles.
It is mid-autumn; the air is cooling, especially here on the coast; the leaves are starting to loose their green; the smell of wood smoke seems to cling to the night a little more.
The small town prepares for the Swallowtail Festival, less than a fortnight away. But tonight they celebrate early. Streamers drape across the Market Square, light greens and blues, and deep purples. Lamps with matching paper shades dot the square, placed in a half-hazard artistic way that obviously benefitted from a woman's hand. Beautiful flowers, sky blue, are bound in rings and boquets, and their petals are scattered throughout the crowd of people gathered solemly.
Sherriff Casp Avertin and Mayor Fenchus Deverin's younger sister, Kendra, are celebrating their union in marriage tonight. The whole town seems to have come out, as hundreds of people are pressed around the periphery, seated in the seats of honor in the center, or hanging out second and third-story windows of Turnadarok Academy up the hill from the square. The Meat Market, Valdemar Fish Market, Mercantile League and grocer's hall have all been cleared of their normal stalls and tables, making way for the throng's now pressed in them.
Father Ezakien Tobyn stands at the front on a small wooden stage, resplendant in simple yet beautiful robes of deep blue. It is evening, and the sun is setting on the
...Thunder Sea. Grey clouds gather moodily out over the waves as the sun dips it's leading edge into the dark sea.
The seated guests include many of the prominent citizens of Sandpoint - the larger-than-life Cyrdak Drokkus, seated next to Sir Jasper Korvaski who runs the mercantile league, and his sister Hayliss, owner of the Sandpoint Boutique. Gaven and Wade, both cousins of the Mayor, and proprietor's of the Two Knight Brewery. Ameiko Kaijitsu, an exotic looking Tian and owner of the Rusty Dragon, sits alone, the three seats next to her vacant. Turch Sterglus and four of his five sons are here. Titus Scarnetti sits alone across the isle from the Valdemar's on the front row; Ethram and his his wife, and Belven, looking dashing and available. Ven Vender, his bald head seeming too small withought his hat, his neatly groomed beard covering his neck. Garridan, the quiet Shoanti owner of the White Deer is seated next to his brother, Lieutenant Belor Viskalai.
You are seated near the back, thankful to have something to lean against, even if the cushion is too thin, and the chair has a large purple bow tied around it's back, accented with a lovely blue.
The ceremony is about to get under way, and the audience attempt's to stifle it's quiet, excited whispers. Out on the bay, a bolt of lightning can be seen silently cutting across the half-set sun, connecting the sea with the darkening clouds above, and the stars that are beginning to wink into existance overhead, the Ring of Siberys already coloring the deep blue ceiling with flecks of gold. Half a dozen moons are already visible, from orange Olarune with it's fringe, the anvil just visible when the clouds don't obscure the face of Eyre, to the small Vult peaking brightly over the Cathedral of the Soveriegn Host on the hilltop, grey and stark. Orange-red Aryth waxing, the slitted eye of Lharvion almost directly overhead.
Marrada fidgeted in her seat, the "party dress" she was wearing as an favour to her friend Ameiko was entirely not what she was used to wearing ( she was able to find places for a couple of daggers, so she didn't feel completely out of sorts ).
Gazing around at all the festive decorations and the throngs of people. Leaning over to her friend sitting beside her "I still haven't become used to the extravagance of these people's celebrations. My people view such ceremonies more as a practical arrangement than an excuse for such excess."
She bit back her unspoken question about his own marriage, not wishing to bring up painful memories.
Smiling as Uncle and Ameiko banter over the relative merits of various brews that are produced in the region, herself rarely indulges as she doesn't like the way alcohol affects her connection with her spirit.
Gazing around at all the familiar faces, she marvels at how the town has become a home to her and to some extent, Uncle.
Out of habit, here eyes scan the crowd, seeking the odd and out of place, finding a home hasn't dulled her finely tuned survival instincts
Smiling back at her friend, Marrada gives her a rueful shrug then interjects herself into the conversation, sparing a glance at Shivi, her familiar, sitting on a roof top above her head. " All this talk of beer and ale, you two forget the fine craftsmanship that goes into old man Sillems' cider and mead."
Marrada, you are suddenly hugged from behind. "Look at the back of the Academy." Says Shayliss Vender, squeezing you adoringly and pointing up to the backside of Turandarok academy. "There are dozens of Old Man Stoot's bird carvings."
Ameiko gushes. "I know!" she whipser-yells back to you all. "That's craftmanship!"
"It's like he carves them from love and heartache."Shayliss sighs, her temple touching yours as she continues to hug you from behind.
"I'd sleep with him to get one carved on the Rusty Dragon."Ameiko deadpans, looking up at the Academy and all of the peoiple hanging from it's windows, the colorful streamers blowing in the evening wind.
"Ameiko!" Shayliss hisses in mock outrage, her eyes glinting with delight. "You're horrible!"
Shayliss slaps Wanderer on the arm playfully, grinning mischeviously. Her father calls for her from farther forward, and she kisses Marrada on the cheek quickly, and prances off, laughing. "Coming, father!"
Ameiko smirks at Shayliss's bouncing skirts and other...accessories as she skips away, then catches Wanderer's eyes as they come back from the same view. She chuckles. "He's always been sporadic." she says, nodding pointedly to Wanderer's flask and raising her eyebrows. "Never know when he'll get a bur in his trousers and start to carve things up with that knife of his."
Far off in the bay, another bolt of lightning touches down with serine silence. A few seconds later, a dull thunder rolls across the town, lasting for a full six seconds. The wind gusts as if responding. The sunset is astounding, gold and azure, stretching across the horizon, banked by deep blue-black sea and dark black-blue clouds. Half of the stars and moons that were appearing as the sky was darkening just minutes before, were now hidden behind the ever growing cloud bank out over Manta Bay.
You see Mayor Deverin climb the stage and embrace Father Tobyn. They speak quietly for a moment, and then laugh and embrace again. The Mayor joins his cousins and mother - resplendant in a giant feathered hat that likely killed a flock of large and very colerful birds - in the front row.
Father Tobyn stands again, moving to the side of the stage to stoop and speak to a young woman who appraoches wearing a loose-fitting plain brown woolen robe, her hood drawn up, white hair peaking out from under it. They exchange words, and he directs her away with his hand on her elbow, before returning to the stage, a large smile on his face.
A young man slips into the seat next to the Wanderer. He is 14 years old, with slightly pointed ears, his light brown hair pulled back in a tail. He smacks Wanderer on the arm. "Don't tell my sister I'm here,"Tsuto Kaijitsu whispers, gesturing at Ameiko. "She'll tell me I'm not dressed appropriately, and make me sit by her." Leaning forward, he whispers to Marrada. "Did Kayla make you wear that dress, Marrada?" he says with a chuckle. "She tried making me wear a cravat. Nothing doing." He says, sitting back.
Violins and flutes suddenly spring to life, lifting their voices over the wind. The croud stands, shushing themselves, and peering over each others shoulders to get a glimpse of the bride and groom as they come slowly marching up the hill, through the center of the gathering.
The wind dies down, as if in reverence to the solemn event about to take place. The clouds seem to part, and a few of the moons poke their heads out again. The sun, over half way over the horizon out in the bay, casts a deep red glow off of everything.
Sherriff Avertin is dressed in a sharp Brelish military uniform. It is dated almost fifteen years, not the current class of uniform worn by the military today, but that of an active duty non-commissioned officer. He seems to have let the seams out a bit, to accommodate for fifteen years of growth.
Kendra Deverin is dressed in a light blue dress, with dagged sleeves that hang six inches past her wrist. Accented in light green, the sleeves are wrapped in a crisscross pattern with purple strips. She is beaming.
"My friends,"Father Tobyn booms, his bass voice carrying grandly across the square, "we are gathered here to celebrate a solemn union before the Sovereign Host." He gestures up to the Temple. "Casp...Kendra...I have been friends with both of you for years. I'm so proud to be here to witness this moment."
He dips his head, and a few words are spoken between the Priest, the Sherriff and his bride. They finish, beaming at each other. The wind picks up again, and lightning dances across the sky, hundreds of bolts lancing and arcing and dancing. They seem to be all one common bolt, with thousands of arms.
"If any person here wishes to Bless this union, or has reason to curse it, speak now."Father Tobyn calls to those present. Suddenly, the rolling thunder from the sea crashes over the land, booming and rolling across the sky. It seems never-ending.
As it starts to slow, a long, high wail can be heard, faintly at first, then growing in volume, coming from the other side of town, past the Temple. "NooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"
The croud stirs nervously, some standing. Mothers clutch their children. Suddenly, with a deafening BOOM a blast of thunder tears through the cove, and in the same instant, the sky goes white. Everyone ducks, and a few people scream.
One scream holds out above the others. High on the cliff overlooking the entrance to the inlet, where the nobles houses perch, a pitiful, blood-curdling scream rips through the air. Everyone looks to the cliff, where the distinct silhoutte of a body can be seen plummetting from the cliff top, head first, as the sky fades back from white to deep red.
Starting up from her seat as the wailing cry tore through the festive atmosphere, Marrada looks at Uncle then down at herself "I've a couple daggers and my hexes....should do, but this dress....I may have to cut it some to be able to move properly"
"Apologies to Mrs Deverin" Marrada says with a smile at Uncle as she rips the dress at mid thigh, revealing a brace of two daggers tied to her right thigh. She then tears off the flowing, fluttery sleeves and drop them on her chair.
Seeing Uncle is already to go , she follows him from the party.
The audience surges with panic. Children are crying, some people are moving, even running through the crowd. Most stand agape, stunned. Nervous babble already permeates, as all attention has left the celebration, and is now focused on the tragedy.
Rain suddenly plummets from the sky, a heavy sheet, as lighting dances off the coast, much closer than before, and thunder seems to constantly groan from the sky. Dark clouds roll in quickly, and night sets in, only a subtle hint of blood red cast on everything from the sunset.
"People, people, settle down!"Mayor Deverin yells, but his voice does not carry enough over the reverberation of the thunder, and the sudden deluge.
Casp shouts "Belor, get some men up the hill. Find out who that was!"
Gasping at the sudden downpour, Marrada looks down at herself in exasperation. The already sheer fabric of the dress now pressed against her like a second skin, leaving very little to the imagination. I'm beginning to really hate Mrs Deverin. she growls to Uncle as they run from the party towards the cliffs.
Confusion reigns as you move as quickly as you can through the crowd. People don't seem to know if they should wait for the end of the ceremony, run in panic from the lightning and strange screams, or take shelter from the aggressive weather.
Moving up the hill past Turandarok Academy and the theater on Festival street, climbing up High Street, and Tower street, past the Garrison and Town Hall, and out to Junker's edge, the streets become quieter and quieter, the townspeople all down in Market Square.
The beach lies over 100 ft. below you, obscured by the gray-red rain. The cliffs look wet and treacherous.
You feel the scream came from this general direction.
Wanderer ties his pack to the rope, lowering it down the cliffside. Tying it off to a tree, the two of you hold on to it as you begin the slippery treck down the cliff, cutting back and forth on the footpath that you swear was built for a halfling. The wind tempts you like a lover to jump, the brine in your eyes blinding you like love, the slippery mud causeing you to slide when you stop, and to slip when you walk, but never quite in the direction you intended.
You have decended 20 ft. when Wanderer spots movement below, near where his pack should have landed. "Hey!" he shouts above the whistling wind. "Marrada, there's someone down there!"
Startled, Marrada's foot slips. "Ahh!"Wanderer reaches out to grab her elbow reflexively, missing, and Marrada falls off the trail, snapping back to the cliff-face as she death grips the rope, and holds on.
Regaining her feet, she looks up into Wanderer's shocked face. "I am alright." she says, her heart pounding.
Nearer the base, the wind slams her against the cliff, and she looses her footing again, but this time Wanderer is quick, and presses a hand into her back, keeping her from falling. "We need to get off this cliff!" he yells into the wind.
Reaching the base of the cliff, the whine of the storm is joined by the crashing of waves. A huge section of cliff, more like a giant boulder, lies in front of you, a rickety wooden staircase climbing back and forth up it's face, mirroring the trail you've just decended.
Waves crash against the cliff to your left. To your right, a short beach covered with bits of detritus follows the cliff-face.
A small smile twitched Marrada's mouth at Uncle's colorful language. Brushing her hair from where it hung in damp strands over her face, she nodded at his suggestion and begins searching for the tracks of the bag snatcher. She also keeps an eye out for the body of the jumper.
Your boots sink an inch into the moist sand, which springs back as you lift your feet. The mist, rain and spray from the ocean create a gray haze, drawing the world in a bleak palate.
Marrada and Wanderer:
If there were tracks here, neither of you see any. The wind, rain and mist off the ocean make it so you can't see beyond 60 ft.
Just so we are clear, because my descriptions may not have described it properly - there were two screams. One from the north, where you are, followed by one from the south, across the inlet. We are currently by "Chopper's Isle", although it's not called that. The jumper was by number 50, and that is where the Sherriff went with his men. :)