Part One: The Brinewall Legacy
The 1st of Desnus, 4711 AR
Today is the celebration of the Swallowtail Festival in Sandpoint, but the traditional joy and festivities that day normally brings have been shrouded in sorrow and loss. Where a burst of swallowtail butterflies would normally have been released to mark the occasion in a swirl of color and movement, dark clouds and a relentless, unwavering rain have instead painted the world in shades of grey and muddy brown. You stand among the crowd near the Sandpoint Cathedral, but you are not here to listen to speeches from local notables or partake in free food from the town’s many taverns; rather, you are here to remember and mourn the loss of one of Sandpoint’s most well-known and respected members: Niska Mvashti. Madame Mvashti’s death wasn’t unexpected, but she was a fixture in the town, and the large Varisian minority in Sandpoint considered her their spokesperson, if not necessarily their leader. Her funeral is large and well-attended, with most of the town’s most important people in attendance.
"Death is a transformation," says young Father Zantus, the Cathedral’s priest. He wears a broad-brimmed hat to keep the rain off of his face, but streams of water still course down his cheeks. "On this of all days we can remember that. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly and embarks on a wondrous new journey, a new spirit of beauty far beyond anything it might have once imagined. Likewise, we can say with confidence that Niska Mvashti has also begun her last and greatest journey, walking alongside Desna herself amidst the stars."
Among those who make up the crowd around you, you can pick out several familiar faces: Kendra Deverin, still Sandpoint’s mayor after running unopposed in the last election; Sheriff Belor Hemlock, with his new wife Kaye (the owner of the town’s only brothel); Titus Scarnetti, owner of the town’s largest lumber mill, who looks like he would rather be dancing with the Sandpoint Devil than be here; and more. A few in particular, though, stand out. Near the speaking platform, Ameiko Kaijitsu hovers protectively over Sandru Vhiski and Madame Mvashti’s daughter, Koya. Sandru was practically raised by Koya Mvashti, and the death of the matriarch has unsurprisingly hit them both quite hard. On Ameiko’s other side, looking saddened but oddly serene, is Shalelu Andosana, who has not been back to Sandpoint since shortly after the raid on Thistletop 4 years ago.
As the service ends, Ameiko leaves the others behind for a moment and moves through the crowd, speaking quietly for a few minutes with the mourners in her path before moving on, until she finds each of you. "It’s good to see you again, my friend," she says solemnly, wiping the rain out of her eyes. "If you have time, there’s a wake planned shortly at the Rusty Dragon. I’d love you to come."
Tybus had hung back during the ceremony, dour face full of memory. The one time his face brightened was when he saw Shalelu, who had evidently finished her "elf business" in the months it took for him to travel south from Riddleport to Magnimar, get his horse Tomodachi from the stables, and ride northeast to Sandpoint.
When Ameiko reaches him, Tybus smiles and nods. He hadn't seen much of her since that first night of his return to Sandpoint. The news of Madame Mvashti's death almost coincided with his return, coloring the reunions with a touch of sadness, and forcing old pangs of loss back to the surface.
Tybus thus found himself avoiding the Sandpoint locals, spending his time riding around the hinterlands or studying his spellbook in his room at the Dragon. He hadn't even had a chance to catch up with Tristan and Gan, when word reached him that they'd arrived back in town from their own journeys.
Journeys, Tybus thinks, recalling Zantus's words moments ago, letting them sink in. Despite the rain, his melancholy mood, and the somber ceremony, he felt something stirring. A change in the air, perhaps.
Aye, Ameiko, he says. See you there.
Lamsfel, having wandered so much in the years before the raid, has enjoyed the opportunity to spend the last four years among friends so close as to be family. As Koya took opportunities to travel with Sandru's caravan, the elf would make a point of visiting her mother Niska more often. Both of them knew that she only continued her time on Golarion at Desna's whim and wondered what task remained for her. As her vitality waned, they spoke of old times, of what has changed, and of what has remained the same all these years.
Thinking that he was at peace with the fact that she would be passing, it has taken him by surprise - again - that it hurts so much. The loss of an old friend always causes this ache in his chest, but it is so much more intense, almost overwhelming, this time. He barely hears anything that is spoken.
He dares not say anything for fear his voice will betray him, so he stands, stoic as he can possibly manage. At Ameiko's invitation, he simply nods. He still can't speak.
As people file away from the ceremony, he remains standing there, not aware of the rain or that he will shortly be alone. He is in another time, in this place, long before the beautiful cathedral before him was built. So many things have changed. So many things stay the same. With Niska's passing, changes were foretold and started in motion.
His easy smile finally returns and he closes his eyes. Desna, thank you for sharing Niska with us all these years. May she continue to serve you in the afterlife. May I understand my role in serving you in this life.
Blessed is the long road, the destination, the homeward path, and all who make the journey. Let each dream be a bright star in the night sky of your mind, and let it light your path in the day. Do not be troubled if your dream falters, for there are countless stars in the sky and countless dreams to experience—pick a new one and change your course.
Gan watched the proceedings, not with sadness but with admiration.
She has touched so many lives in her time here. A life to be proud of. May she be remembered fondly for the love she has brought to so many people.
When Ameiko came to invite him to the wake, Gan saw the initial look of shock on her face at how much he had aged in the four years since Thistletop, though Ameiko had the grace not to mention it.
It is good to see you, Miss Kaijitsu. Of course I will be there, to honor Madame Mvashti's memory. It has...been too long, and I would very much like to see you and the others.
He bows, taking his leave of her for now.
Water dripping off his broad-brimmed hat, Tristan watched the proceeding thoughtfully. So we all must pass, he thought, unsure if he was more saddened or jealous of Niska who was about to embark on the greatest journey of all.
As Ameiko approached him, he managed a wan smile and greeted her with a stiff bow. "It warms my heart to see you, my friend, even in times like these. Of course I will join you." And Sandru as the thought swept through his mind before he had the time to stop it.
After all, he thought as he made his way to the Rusty Dragon, it's in times like this that we need our friends the most.
From beneath his hood, Callomeleth stands near Sandru through the ceremony. He has an unreadable expression on his face, somewhere between sadness and unease. Once, perhaps twice, Callomeleth places a comforting hand upon Sandru's shoulders, and whispers something to his friend and employer. "Rain at a funeral is a blessing, Sandru," he says softly. "It can hide the tears of grief."
And then, the angel sent to him by the Goddess Herself approached him. Even in the unrelenting rain, her dark hair plastered to her tanned skin, her eyes puffy from grief, there was an inner beauty that refused to be constrained by such petty circumstances as life and death. When she invites him to the Rusty Dragon, he can only nod in agreement at first, eventually finding some words.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world, Ameiko."
Once you all reach the Rusty Dragon, you find the tavern filling quickly with people, mostly the town's Varisian residents, determined to send Madame Mvashti off to Desna with the most celebration possible. As is traditional at a Desnan wake, most people are telling stories about the journeys Madame Mvashti took during her many years, some of which sound far too improbable to be true (she can't have truly been to Kyonin, or Tian Xia, could she?). Drinks are being served by a hurrying, but still sorrowing, Bethana, who is taking full advantage of her halfling's height to dodge among the crowd with full drink trays somehow staying upright despite it all. And off to one side, Ameiko, Sandru, Shalelu and Koya are sitting at the largest table, drinking and talking with each other; despite the presence of several empty seats at the table with them, the mourners all seem willing to leave them to their more provate grief, stopping to talk and offer Koya their sympathies, but moving on again rather than joining them.
When you arrive, however, Ameiko looks across the room and meets your eyes, gesturing for you to come sit with the rest of the group. "The Heroes of Sandpoint," she says, indicating everyone except Callomeleth. "We were just talking about you." You notice that she is wearing a white armband, something you have not seen since the days after the death of her father and brother four years ago.
Gan takes his place at the table. His robes fit more loosely on him now, like when a child wears his father's clothes. As he climbs up on the chair his robes shift, revealing his near-emaciated body underneath. He motions to Bethana for a drink and raises it to his lips in a trembling, bony hand. In their time apart, it seems that Gan has aged far more than four years, like the life has been drained out of him.
Despite his physical condition, the old man smiles genuinely at his friends. He speaks quietly, but steadily: Ah, yes, the Heroes of Sandpoint. It is...good to be back, though I wish the circumstances were better. Madame Koya, I have no words to express my feelings, but what words would suffice to describe such a woman?
He bows solemnly.
Yer too kind, saving us seats, he says as he settles in and orders a drink.
An easy smile graces Tybus's face as he looks around at those assembled around the table.
'Lu, good to see ye. Hope Crying Leaf was worth missing an exciting time in Riddleport. A falling star struck off the coast just after ye left, kicking up a wave that smashed everything in the harbor. Lost me ship, but gave me quite the tale to tell. Can anybody top that?
Callomeleth's eyebrows raise in surprise as Ameiko mentions the other people he's sharing a table with. "You four are the Heroes of Sandpoint? Were I wearing one, my hat would be off to you, then, Heroes. I've heard the stories of the deeds you have done to aid this town and its people - I only wish our first meeting could have been under happier circumstances." He raises a flagon of warm spiced mead, and clears his throat. "To Madame Mvashti. May her song join with that of the spheres in perfect harmony!" He takes a quaff of the warming liquid, letting the drink warm him from the inside out while the nearby hearth works in reverse.
Hopefully, third time's the charm for this post.
Lamsfel enters the Dragon and stops, taking in the many people that have come to pay their respects. He politely demurs Bethana's request for his order, then circulates among the many that have become friends since the "Hero" business took place.
When he finally comes around to the side of the room where Ameiko is holding court, he gratefully accepts the chair and a small glass of wine for a toast, but he shakes his head about the hero moniker. "Dear friend, you know as well as I that we were merely in the right place at the right time and Desna saw to it that we were successful. Lucky? Yes. Heroes? I am not so sure."
From her reaction, this is often a topic of friendly debate for the two. Lamsfel has changed little over the intervening years. If anything, he might move with more grace, navigating the crowd as if they were not even there, but the twin swords and easy smile remain as always.
"How is it that you have lived so long without actually learning what the term 'hero' means, anyway?" Ameiko asks dryly. "You are what you are, Lamsfel. Don't try to wiggle out from under it."
Koya smiles her appreciation at Callomeleth's and Gan's benedictions, raising her own glass - just a splash of whiskey - and sipping it in acknowledgment. "You honor my mother," she says, touching each of their hands briefly, "when you knew her so little. I can't tell you how much that means to me. I am sure she appreciates it as well, wherever she might be listening from." The priestess' eyes are bright, but she smiles despite the occasional trembling tear that slips free. "Thank you both from coming today."
Shalelu frowns sympathetically at Tybus, "I'm sorry about the Lina, Tybus. She was a good ship. But a tale to top that? Well... I did kill a dragon. Helped kill, anyway. Does that count?" She winks broadly, then sobers slightly and adds, "It was the spawn of the beast that killed my mother a few decades back. My... stepfather... and I took it on." The word "stepfather" seems to fit a little awkwardly in her mouth, but she wears a strangely satisfied smile as she says it. "Putting that monster down... felt good." Sandru, for his part, makes a visible effort to shake off his melacholic grief and spins a short tale in his booming baritone of battling a pair of ogres in the Mushfens: "By the time it was down to me and the last one, I was pretty much reduced to using rocks, vines and my bare hands. (I still don't know whatever happened to that scimitar. Man, I loved that sword.) But when the moron charged me, I jumped off a branch, managed to catch its neck in a vine lasso, and basically momentum did the rest."
Ameiko, catching this last bit, turns and snorts. "What?" Sandru asks with feigned innocence.
"I was there too, remember?" Ameiko points out with an amused twist of her lips. "Or had you forgotten which of us the ogre was actually charging at when you jumped down from that tree?"
"Children, children," says Koya, chuckling. "There was glory to go around for all, I'm sure."
Ameiko grins. "Oh, sure there was," she answers, "but notice how he doesn't mention which of us had to clean up after we finally got out of the swamp? The swamp he lead us into in the first place?"
"No, wait a second," Sandru answers quickly. "I didn't lead us into that foul pit, it was Alder..." He breaks off quickly, and he and Ameiko both suddenly look away. An awkward silence falls for a moment, while Shalelu looks confused and Koya saddened.
In an effort to fill the breach, Shalelu speaks up. "So when did you take up goblin-hunting, Ameiko?" Ameiko looks up, clearly not following, and Shalelu motions toward the sword hanging on the wall. Song of Sparrows still rests there, the weekly focus of the "Story of the Sword" competition. Ameiko still looks confused, and Shalelu goes on, "Well, you got that thing from the Licktoads somehow. Did you not do it? Was it Daviren Hosk, maybe?"
Lamsfel nods his acknowledgment at Ameiko's standard rejoinder. Their little ritual complete, he lets the matter drop.
Enjoying the banter, he's surprised to hear that the two kids had apparently done some adventuring together. Wonder why she hasn't mined those years for material for her tales.
At Shelalu's attempt at redirection, he shakes his head. "The Licktoads did not have that blade, remember? We took it off the Thistletop chieftain's body. Ameiko wasn't with us that day. Right, Tybus?"
Callomeleth hid his confusion by taking another quaff of mead from his flagon. He'd seen Sandru grow quiet about his decision to give up adventuring and become a simple caravan master, and he'd heard that he and Ameiko had fought together, but even this small tidbit was more information than he'd heard in years. Even Koya seemed to know the story - what happened to Alder-whoever-he-is that has caused so much grief?
His eyes do brighten at the mention of Thistletop. "I've heard snippets of this story on occasion, but never from those that went into that island fortress. So, how did the Heroes of Sandpoint slay the Chief of Thistletop, and bring back the Song of Sparrows?"
Aye, Lam. Shalelu, dragon-killing must not be good for the memory. Remember, Ripnugget nearly done me in with that blade. Then I used it after that; it put some odd thoughts in me head, too. Sammy-rai, and whatnot.
Turning to Callometh, the playful smile he used to tease Shalelu drying up. I didn't see the death blow of the goblin chief. He cut me down, after I tried to magic him. Thanks to Halgor for patching me up, or I'd still be lyin' in there.
The smile returns, though, as another memory returns. That fight was nothing compared to the mean, ol' nasty hobgoblin. Did the glory of yer victory over the dragon outshine that little scrap, 'Lu?
Tristan slides down at the table and nods a gruff salute to his old friends. He winces as the conversation turns to days he'd rather forget about.
"It's a beautiful blade, though", he bursts out. "I am glad you are doing so well, Ameiko, and it is a happy blade that sits idle." Feeling that he has said too much, he blushes and tries to bury his face in his tankard.
Shalelu brightens as she remembers. "Oh yes," she says. "I guess I wasn't really paying attention at the time." (It's true - she wasn't.) Chuckling at Tybus' reference to the "battle" against Bruthazmus, the elf goes on, "I don't imagine anything would ever compare to that battle, my friend. I actually paid a bard in Crying Leaf to compose an epic about it." She winks broadly, giving her statement the lie.
Ameiko smiles at Tristan as he joins the group, nodding at his words. "It's true," she agree. "Beauty and killing don't go together very well. And it is to the sword's credit that it is a thing of beauty as well as a tool for battle."
She begins to sing softly, her voice tinged with sorrow and perhaps something else.
For long years I wandered weary,
faced foes beyond all I could name
I stood 'gainst the darkness alone
I drew blood and salt tears aplenty,
cut lives and kindled the flame
But now I shall turn my face homeward,
my steps from the field have now passed
In a shelter of wood, grass and stone
I will struggle not one more step onward,
My long rest I will take now at last.
Gan stares off into the distance at Ameiko's words, as if entranced. After a long moment has passed, he says softly:
Home...I would love to see home again. For many years I assumed I did not have time enough and strength left to make the journey. My memories had faded into half-remembered sights and sounds. Something is different now, though--I see my people's lands vividly in my mind and I know I will return some day. The winds have changed. You feel it too Ameiko, don't you?
He raises his head with some effort, cloudy eyes looking searchingly into Ameiko's.
Tybus raises his glass as well. Hear hear!
Tybus studies his cup after the toast. After a moment, he turns to Sandru. Ye know, having lost me ship and all, I think I might make a journey somewhere on land. If ye have a spot for one more on yer next trip, me and Tomodachi'd like to come along.
Sandru smiles as he lifts his own glass as well. "We can always use another hand, and one as skilled as yours would be welcome indeed," the caravan master replies warmly. Koya smiles as well, and she reaches out a hand to touch Tybus' fingers. "You've a traveler's soul, young man, and Desna's gaze has wandered over you. We'd be honored if you shared our road awhile."
Ameiko turns to study Gan for a moment, seemingly caught by the intensity of his question. "I... can't say that I do," she says slowly, "but I have to admit, I've felt... restless, recently. Sandpoint hasn't felt the same to me since... well, for quite awhile now." She looks down at the table. "I've been thinking about whether this is all there is to be for me - a tavernkeeper in a town in the middle of nowhere. It's not that I don't appreciate what I have, but every week, I listen to people tell me stories about how I came by that sword, and I think, 'Actually, I just sat here while someone else brought it to me.' Is that really right? Is that how it should be?"
As Ameiko sings, Callomeleth places his flagon on the table to concentrate on Ameiko's performance. A sad smile forms on his face as he listens to her song - his trained ear detecting a slight trembling in a few of the places. This song of hers was personal, intimate.
"I think," Callomeleth said in response to her question, "that when you feel a longing for something more in your life, you should do something about it. An archer misses every shot he does not take, after all. From what you say, it sounds like this is something that hasn't just started bothering you."
Ameiko shakes her head, agreeing wistfully, "No, it's really not. But that's only a part of the problem. Wanting 'more' is all well and good, but until I know what 'more' actually means..."[/b
Shalelu gets up and walks around the table, leaning over to give her friend a hug from behind. [b]"You'll figure that part out too, I'm sure." Her gaze wanders over to the sword again, and with Ameiko's absent permission, lifts it from the hooks and turns it over in her hands. "Yuxarıda tanrı, this is beautiful! I don't think I've ever seen a blade like it... How in the world did the Licktoads come by it? And how did it get to Thistletop?"
Ameiko looks at her glass. "We never found out for certain of course, but we assumed Tsuto gave it to them," she replies, chewing slightly on her lip.
Shalelu blinks in surprise, her brow furrowing as she asks, "Tsuto? Why would you think that?"
Gesturing for the elf to come back over, Ameiko points out the symbols around the hilt (the tsuba, she calls it) that spell out her name. "It must have been my grandfather's, and Tsuto stole it - I'd guess from my father, though I obviously can't ask him to find out. And then he turned it over to the Licktoads at Thistletop," she explains.
She stares so long, in fact, that Ameiko raises a hand uncertainly to her hair, "Is there something...?"
"What? No," the ranger replies quickly. "It's just.. ah, it's just that the Licktoads live in Brinestump Marsh. Completely different from the Thistletop tribe. Two totally different... Sorry. Just... confused me for a second."
Abruptly, Shalelu looks over at Koya. In a voice that seems oddly strained, she asks, "Mother? Would you honor me with a reading of your cards? I have questions I would like to ask... them." Koya looks confused, and a little wary, but nods her assent, and the two move to another table across the room, where the noise of the memorial crowd covers their words.
Oh, just short!
Lamsfel looks quizzically at his old friend, but doesn't comment. Instead, he offers, "The whole story of the sword is certainly a mystery - you didn't seem to recognize it when we brought it to you, Ameiko, and we didn't actually see Tsuto with the weapon. We just assumed because he was dealing with the goblins that he would have been the one to offer it to them, perhaps as a peace offering for that woman's schemes." The elf shrugs and watches the two women move away to do their reading 'privately'.
Sense Motive 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Arrgh! Cursed dice roller! Now all that's left is rampant speculation!
Leaning in to chat with Lamsfel, Gan, Callometh, Ameiko, and Sandru, Tybus gets an odd look of concern. Now that be strange. Why is 'Lu confused about the goblin tribes? Four years may be a while, but it's nothing for an elf like her. Probably feels like last week, right, Lam?
Tybus takes a long look at the Harrow reading across the tavern. Then he turns back to the table. If the Licktoads aren't part of Thistletop, then why even bring them up? It seems obvious that Tsuto would have given Ripnugget the sword, except he never mentioned that in his journal. I read that thing several times. Right, Shisumo?
Let's say, for a moment, that Ripnugget didn't get it from Tsuto. How else could he have come to it?
He slowly reaches out and places his hand on the sword, touching it lightly.
Tsuto's journal did not, in fact, mention anything about the sword.
[spoiler=Tybus]You feel the same strange sense of something... lurking? waiting?... in the sword, something that looks at the world through eyes that see "honor" and "dishonor" more than "good" or "evil," but beyond that, there are no answers there.[/b]
Ameiko doesn't seem to have bought Shalelu's explanation in the slightest, as she stares after the elf with a confused and slightly suspicious expression. Sandru, too, seems to think there is more to what just happened than the obvious, but he averts his eyes from the Harrowing as Koya begins to lay out the cards (those of you who have lived around Varisians for awhile - everyone but Gan, really - know that they have a cultural taboo against watching a Harrowing not directed at them) and instead turns to listen to Tristan's reply to Gan.
Tristan is taken aback as he finds all eyes on him. "Oh, this and that" he blurts out at a failed attempt of flippancy."I've travelled around Varisia, helped my brothers with the harvests, lived off the land and spent many nights under the open sky." A tinge of bitterness enters his voice. "You can never really go home again, can you? You know, after the things we saw in the glassworks. My brothers think I'm a bit touched in the head, and maybe they are right. We haven't got much to say to each other these days. So I've taken to spending more time with animals than people. At least when they tear each other apart they have a good reason for it. Usually." He takes a deep swig and falls silent.
Gan smiles, somewhat sadly, at Tristan's tale.
Give it time, Tristan. I long felt the same way but, recently, I've come to see that hope always remains, even in the darkest of times.
The withered old man straightens up and gestures to the friends seated around the table.
And these are hardly the darkest times, with all of us here again, despite the reason for our gathering.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Callomeleth arches an eyebrow as Shalelu gives her explanation for her curiosity - something seemed amiss to him about that. He'd have to ask her about that later.
For now, though, he turned his gaze away from the Harrow reading, settling his gaze upon the sword. He notes Tybus idly touching the sword, and his curiosity gets the better of him. "Were you able to find out what magics were tied to the blade? Perhaps that might give a clue to its origins."
For a moment, it appears that Tybus may have not heard Callomeleth's question. He appears deep in thought.
Hmm? Oh, well, aye. He slowly withdraws his hand, and faces the elf, thinking about the words to use.
Perhaps we could find out where it came from, but not right away. It's... hard to explain. I'd need to wake it up, sort of. And even then, it was likely too asleep to have been payin' much attention to it's surroundings. And likely if I take the time to wake it up, I'd be bonded with it. I'm not sure that Ameiko would be too comfortable with me linked with one o' her family heirlooms. He leans over and gives her a playful nudge and a wink.
Ameiko smiles. "More likely the other way 'round, Tybus. You'd be stuck here, and..." She cuts herself off. "No, enough of that. I'm done. Clearly, I need more ale - and so do all of you. Bethana!" she calls, then rises to seek out the drinks herself when it becomes clear the halfling server is in over her head (pun totally intended).
While she is gone, Shalelu and Koya return, and Koya seems almost as nonplussed as Shalelu did earlier. Sandru looks up, asking, "All right, ladies, I know a conspiracy when I see one. What is all this about?"
Shalelu takes her seat again, as does Koya, but neither answers for a brief moment. After they exchange a look, though, Shalelu finally replies, "That sword... I don't honestly know if Tsuto somehow got his hands on it before it went to Thistletop, but I doubt it. Even if he did, though, that's basically beside the point, because there's a lot more to the story than you, and more importantly Ameiko, realizes. That sword, the sword with Ameiko's family name on the hilt? That sword has been the most important treasure, and really the only claim to fame, of the Licktoad goblin tribe of Brinestump Marsh for several decades now. I'd bet the Thistletop tribe actually managed to claim it as tribute from the Licktoads around the same time Nualia showed up and they started rallying the other tribes behind them; whether that's true or not, though, the bit that matters is this: the Licktoads had something of Ameiko's family for more than thirty years, going back to before she was even born. And that makes me wonder where the hell it came from, and what else they might know about the Kaijitsus."
Callomeleth graciously accepted another flagon from Bethana and listened intently to Shalelu's words, hearing the experience of a seasoned hunter behind them. "I guess that makes sense, gwethil. You know far more about the loathsome creatures than I do. It is a curious question how these little terrors came by the sword, and I look forward to hearing its answer once the Heroes of Sandpoint return."
"Nonsense, Callomeleth, join us! It's just a nice walk in the ... well, in the swamp, but we'll just be there as a distraction while Shalelu does the real work. They'll be watching our blades and never know where the arrows are coming from!" The elf winks at the lady ranger.
"And you, Gan, do not have a choice in the matter. We need all the Heroes we can get, right?"
It's hard to tell if Lamsfel is seriously unconcerned about the potential danger or just having fun with the idea. Maybe because he doesn't know himself.
The elf's eyebrows raise in surprise at Lamsfel's suggestion. "Truly, Lamsfel? I have been in a few conflicts, but nothing so glorious as your deeds. I would go, if the rest of your group does not mind - and my employer agrees, of course." He inclines his head towards Sandru, throwing the question to him.
A chance for a real adventure! Please, Lady, let Sandru allow this - there are many rewards that are sure to come from this excursion.
"Actually..." Shalelu says, a bit awkwardly, "I won't be going. I can tell you what I can about the Licktoads, but... well, here's the thing. Ameiko doesn't know about any of this, obviously, and I don't want her to get her hopes up until we know if there's anything to all this. Unless you learn something, it's just more of the past to dredge up, and..."
Koya grunts. "Girl, I'm too old for you to be wasting time like this," she says sharply to Shalelu, though the grin she wears takes the sting from the words. "The point is, we - that is, Shalelu, Sandru and I - are going to take Ameiko on a short camping trip, as long as you're willing, Sandru. While we're gone, you will go to the marsh and learn what there is to be learned."
"Of course I'm in," Sandru agrees without hesitation. "And yes, you're welcome to go, Callomeleth. The caravan will stay here for the trip - we weren't planning to move out for a few days anyway. Even the Heroes of Sandpoint could use a hand, especially a skilled one like yours. In fact, I insist."
Untroubled in the least that his whole premise for the adventure has been discarded, Lamsfel nods sagely, "There you go. You are coming." Looking at the other three, he asks, "When are you going on your trip, so we can plan ours?"
Why does this thread not seem to recognize that I'm using the Lamsfel profile? I have to go down through the list to find him each time, but I don't have to do that for any other threads. Any ideas?
Tybus glances back at the katana sitting on the table. We sure we don't want to have Ameiko with us? Ye say ye don't want her hopes up, but she be rather upset that she was sitting here while we went and got the sword for her. Not that anyone can blame her, what she went through.
He looks somewhat pointedly at Shalelu. What if we find answers? She'll have missed that, too. And besides, wouldn't she want to use her family's sword against the ones that had dishonored its use for years?
Shalelu purses her lips. "Here's the thing, though," she replies. "If you find anything, no matter what you find, I can't see any way that the Licktoads are the end of it. However they got the sword, there will be a story there as well. But when that happens, you'll have the story, and something to give Ameiko to go on. Frankly, that's what I'm hoping for. Because you're right, she is upset. I'm hoping that you find something that will give her... I dunno. Something to do. A purpose, I guess."
Koya touches Tybus' hand again, as lightly as she did before. "The cards tell me... this is not the end of the journey, but the beginning. You won't take that chance from her - you will be giving it to her."
Sandru looks more inclined to agree with Tybus, but he does tilt his head thoughtfully at the sword. "Five or ten years ago," he says slowly, "I'd've said using her family sword against the goblins wouldn't have meant much to her. I know how she fights, and it's too heavy for her - she prefers speed over power, like Lamsfel does - and she was always the pragmatic sort. Nowadays..." he shakes his head. After considering Koya's expression, though, Sandru goes on, "If you do go without her, you should take the sword, I think. It might help you find whatever it is you're looking for, and I do think she'd appreciate it being used against the goblins, whether she was carrying it or not."
Tybus nods at Sandru, his words confirming something he'd sensed as well; that Ameiko was not going to be the one to take up the sword. Well, I'm not going to use it without her leave. I'm not sure how we'll get around telling her that without letting on where we're going.