The ramshackle town of Falcon’s Hollow rests
perilously close to the infamous Darkmoon
Vale. The jagged shadow of nearby mountains
casts a shroud of gloom on the desperate souls
who call this place home. Many are drawn here
to make their fortune cutting a swath of darkwood
lumber through the lush forests of the
vale. Others journey to these remote fringes to
start over, piecing together their shattered lives
on the edge of an untouched wilderness far
from the things of man. Persecuted zealots and
outcasts flock to Falcon’s Hollow. Here, these
fanatics practice their strange and often deviant
rites unfettered by the mores of civilization.
Still others are lured to Falcon’s Hollow by the
promise of great adventure. Peril and splendor
await within the accursed halls of dwarven
kings of old, whose glorious civilization long
ago shattered and crumbled to dust.
Little did the people of Falcon's Hollow know that a problem would a rise and require heroes.
Would they be Triumphant Heroes or Defeated and Dead?
And this is their story.
|Noya Aurora Evangeline Bridget|
In the shadows of the Goose and Gander, the cowl of her cloak pulled low, Vaashti looked across the tavern and tried to blend in. Of course, though her horns and wings were covered by the thin cloth, her tail kept peeking out from beneath the folds. In frustration, she gave up hiding and thrust her cowl back. Grabbing a mug of water with her tail, she broke off another piece of bread and scowled at it.
She put out her lower lip and puffed a strand of curly black hair away from her eyes. Her light purple-brown skin blended with the shadows better than the cloak, but the bloody rose on her upper arm stood out starkly.
Vaashti watched the woman cleaning the tables for a while, considering her carefully. Finally, she spoke.
"It's worse when they barf on you, trust me. Cleaning it off of the tables is nothing. What I don't understand is why men seem to have this inborn capacity for making women's lives miserable."
|Noya Aurora Evangeline Bridget|
"I think that is too broad a brush for painting,
as some are reasonable or even good while others are the worst kind of trash.
I take it your not from around here."
You see what appears to be an Ulfen Woman of about 6 foot 3.
She has inherited comely features and has a muscular yet buxom and curvy build with pale skin,
But her face is beautiful with blue eyes and long Platinum Blonde Hair in a braid that starts at the base of the skull and ends near her waist.
She is wearing a red mid Calf length skirt, a white short sleeved shirt and a green bodice that assists with her figure.
Taking shelter from the deluge of rain, Vero walks into the Goose and Gander, with a few of the inhabitants turning their heads to face the intruder. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was drenched in rain, and not caring about the puddle of rain left at the foot of the door after his glamorous entrance, the soaked rogue trudged through the numerous bystanders and took a seat at the bar.
"Not from around here. Now there's a polite way of putting it. No, indeed I am not. Just passing through, I think. And as for men...well, you are probably right. I just have met way to many of the latter and not enough of the former. And you? You been here long?"
Vaashti shakes out her shoulder-length curls and brushes her horns clear. She hadn't been run out of the place yet, so that was something. She hated trying to hide who she was. It never worked, but it was always her first recourse. The entrance of the newcomer caught her attention, and she watched him suspiciously until he took a spot at the bar.
A short male, you'd think him human if not for the unnatural blueish skin, sits at a table chatting to a tall and muscalar woman. He glances at the newcomer and at the same time too tries to listen to the other conversation.
"Look Maqli, it's simple. People get into trouble and instead of dealing with it, they flee. That's what they do yet I say they shouldn't. Now don't start that spoiled brat speech again!"
With a slight frown Nummil the Sylph takes a few looks at the others in the Goose and Gander.
"What an interesting bunch of customers you have miss...?" he says the Ulfan woman. Before he gets an answer Nummil starts to cast the easiest spell he knows. I can't help everybody cleaning their house but I can't leave that poor soul clean that all by herself"
Cast Prestidigitation to help clean the vomit
|Noya Aurora Evangeline Bridget|
Lost in the cacophony and chaos around him, Vero continued to wait at the bar. For what reason? Why isn't the rogue adventuring into the depths of the wilderness? Why hasn't the wanderer snatched the possessions from the residents that are obviously speaking ill of him?
Simple, he was waiting for someone. Someone who could fill his bag of gold and give him the information which Vero hungered for.
|Noya Aurora Evangeline Bridget|
Nummil notices that Maqli has been staring at the other customers for a while and is ignoring his presence. Careful not to damage his shoe, Nummil softy kicks Maqli.
"Are you still here miss Maqli? Or would you rather sit with one of the other customers? You know what? How about they come and join us for a drink? What brings you all to this place?"
Realising that the wait might be long, but not wanting to lose his concentration by ordering copious amounts of alcohol, Vero spoke up:
"A coffee... please"
Vero hoped the quest for the coffee would take his mind off of the waiting - the rogue was itching for some action.
The vagabond reaches for his pouch, takes 1 copper coin and places it on the bar.
Sorry for taking so long to post!
Maqli was scanning the crowd, personally giving herself the pretense that she was picking out potential threats--as if those existed in a place like this. No, Maqli was really just thinking. Rainy days had always gotten her down, and with a downpour like this going on, it was no surprise that she was a little quiet and almost moody.
She turns to the sylph sitting with her. "Of course I'm here, young master," she says, and flashes a small grin his way. "Just checking for danger. You know, doing my job? I'm sure you've heard of jobs." The woman sticks her tongue out at the sylph, then picks up the mug in front of her and takes a small sip.
"I'm not sure that's a good ide--" Maqli begins, but she bites off her words as anyone walks over.
The woman is tall and muscular, with a figure not entirely feminine, though she is obviously a woman. Her bronze skin and burnished auburn hair mark her as having some desert heritage, but she wears the sort of clothing one might expect from an adventurer or warrior. Her hair is held back by a bandana, and another kerchief is tied around her throat. Her clothing is simple and unadorned, but looks functional. A gleaming black axe that looks like it was carved of glass or stone hangs at her hip.
"Job? What do you mean I've heard of jobs?" Nummil takes the bait Maqli set out for him like a hot-headed fool.
"What am I doing here? Research is work too you know!"
Nummil realizes Maqli's been teasing him again so he grumbles a bit before focussing on his drink and the other customers again.
Vaashti smirked at the banter between the mage and the fighter. The woman looked like she could take care of herself in a fight, and the mage...well it was difficult to tell, really. At least he looked more like a good-natured bumbler than some of the haughty, arrogant pricks she had come across before.
Angry at the stranger for standing him up, peeved by being drenched in rain on the way to this uninteresting pub in an uninteresting town and annoyed at the lack of coffee, Vero let his rage fill to the point that... he sighed and looked around the pub. Perhaps the informant got here before him and was just waiting in the shadows.
The pubs surroundings were pretty much standard, including the kind of low-lifes that inhabit such a dank setting. However, noticed the unusual guests in the corner of the bar, particularly the tall and rather well built woman talking to a much smaller person in a cloak. A bodyguard perhaps? Perhaps things were finally about to get interesting...
Maqli snorts at Nummil's grumbling. "Relax, young master," the woman says, sipping her drink once again. "I don't much care what you call it, as long as it doesn't get you killed on my watch."
Then she notices the hooded, dripping man watching her. "Nummil," she hisses, drawing the sylph's attention. She subtly (she hopes--though not much Maqli does is too subtle) jerks her head at Vero without looking at him. "You know that guy?"
"What needs doing?"
You notice that once you get close to the table that the air is moving, almost as if you were outside. You see small trails of dust and sand circling on the floor around the table.
"Well you really should tell us your name and what brings you here. We will do the same of course. I'm Nummil Blueskin, and currently I'm on an important research trip."
"Vero. Vero Inious. I'm..."
"I'm just a wayward traveler; a man with a single mission and nothing else to live for - only survive."
The nomad got up from his chair and leaned against the bar.
"But enough about me. You mentioned 'an important research trip'? It just so happens that I'm an expert on these kind of missions and it just so happens that I'd be willing to help."
The rogue gave Nummil a look of intrigue.
"That is, if you can make it worth my while," Vero added.
Vaashti stood and sidled closer to the bar to better hear what the man and tall woman had to say. Passing Noya, she said quietly, "I take it none of them are the regulars?"
|Noya Aurora Evangeline Bridget|
"Ah yes I'm sure I can mister Veronus. You see, I was reading through Grannemitt Looderpuffer's Journal on the State of Mid-Ullnian Weaponry, Chapter 58: On Axes and Handles to be precise, when I started to wonder how it came to be that the materials mentioned actually exist. Mithril, Cold Iron, Darkwood, etcetera etcetera. Good question eh? Then I just couldn't stop thinking about the plethora of possibilities on the origins of these materials. Some are easy, others not so. Did you know for instance that Cold Iron was already used many many centuries ago by the tribesmen of the Iola-Ioma tribe, infamous for their worship of Mextarlon, a long gone god of Stonemasons and Fidelity as you probably know? So anyway, where was I again?"
Nummil is distracted by the women who appear to be speaking whilst trying not to be heard. This triggers Nummil's curious nature. He leans over a bit trying to overhear what they're saying while trying to look as if paying attention to Maqli and the stranger at the bar right next to them.
"...Anyway," Maqli picks up, "It's apparently of the utmost importance, so here we are." The tall and muscular woman smirks at the small man, then turns back to Vero. "Essentially, the young master here wants to investigate the darkwood that grows around here. You know a thing or two about that, or the area? Can't pay much, but then again, all you said was 'worth your while.' "
Maqli also catches the women's conversation in the edge of her vision, but gives no indication of perception as Nummil does.
As Nummil droned on, Vero looked around the bar and noticed the Sylph's insuppressible rambling was causing people to take notice. The hooded figure didn't like being the center attention - that's when things tend to go awry. Vero looked back to the accomplice as he finished his oral essay.
"So anyway, where was I again?"
"Sounded to me like you were about to cut to why I should be interested" Vero retorted, rather harshly.
"I'm a man of action Miss...uh...Blueskin; if this information is being protected by a massive brute, I'll retrieve it; if these secrets are being watched over in a high security hideout, I'll steal them and if they are on the highest mountain, I'll catch them before they fall. All I ask is that I am rewarded accordingly."
Vero stopped leaning against the bar and walked a few steps.
"And the name's Veh-row Eye-knee-us," the rogue added.
(Okay whoops, I can fix this)
Vero walked back towards the happy couple, glad that money was in question again.
"Sure I'll help, but only because I like you both" Vero said, with a hint of sarcasm.
"As I have already said, I have many abilities. Unfortunately, knowledge of the local area isn't one of them. Unless you want to do an entire comb-over, I suggest we seek someone who knows something about this territory."
a barmaid approaches the table with Nummil, Maqli and Vero.
"You see what look like a Human(Ulfen) woman of about 6 foot 0. She has a muscular yet buxom and curvy human build with comely features and pale skin. Her face looks attractive for a human. She has Golden eyes and braided Copper Red Hair that ends at her mid back."
she enters from the kitchen
"Looks like it could get busy today, even with the rain."
"You see what look like a Human(Ulfen) woman of about 6 foot 0. She has a muscular yet buxom and curvy human build with comely features and pale skin. Her face looks attractive for a human. She has Golden eyes and loose Copper Red Hair that ends at her mid back."
"Very well, Mr. Inious," Maqli says, and puts out a hand. "I'll turn to you first if we need anyone of your skill."
If you take the hand, you notice that Maqli's skin is abnormally warm, almost uncomfortably hot.
Curious, Vaashti approached the blue mage and his apparent bodyguard. "What is it about the darkwood in this area that you find so interesting? Is it harder, denser, worth more than that in other areas?" At this point Vaashti is simply curious. Something about the man and his tall woman friend intrigue her. But, the cowled man still bothered her. Something about his mannerisms and appearance put her on edge. Maybe it was because he reminded her of Qullion Barger...
As much as Vero would hate to admit it, the amount of people around him was making him a little claustrophobic. The Tiefling was giving him a weird look, the tall woman was trying to shake his hand and worst of all, the waitress just asked what he'd like to eat.
Ignoring the other two, the rogue turned his attention towards the ifrit. He considered whether taking this job would be worth it, sure the travelers would pay him but could he better use his time? Not to mention the rogue still had to find his long lost 'friend'.
"...Deal" Vero replied.
Reluctantly agreeing to shake the woman's hand, the hot sensation caused Vero to zone out for a few moments and remember his past life; the same heat he had felt before and the flame that couldn't escape his mind. The vagabond snapped back into reality and retracted his hand.
"I uh...didn't catch your name." Vero said weakly, his head still trying to catch up with the current time.
"Maqli," the woman says. She looks impassively at Vero as he blanks, giving nothing away. Strange man, she thinks.
Then Maqli turns to the tiefling who's just sauntered over to the table. "Honestly? Not sure. What is it, young master?" she asks, looking at Nummil. "Is there anything in particular that brought us here?"
"Oh, and for food..." Maqli pauses, then decides, "I'll take the potatoes and beef, as hot as you can get them."
Maqli glances at her drink, seems to weigh her options for a moment, and then downs it, throwing her head and the liquid back. She puts the cup back on the table for a moment, swallowing, then holds it out to the barmaid. "A little more of your strongest," the woman says.
"Well it's actually quite simple, we came here because I wanted to see with my own eyes where the darkwood grows. One never knows which insights can be gained by a bit of fieldwork. This of course is inspired by the world-renowned Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of Zargamon which had all their work based on actual findings in the field instead of simple theoretical induction. That's how master Giggnar Bellybor found out that a Stegocentipedes victims not only died by their stings but also from their poisened bites after two of his travelling companions died. Isn't that fascinating? "
Noticing that most around him don't share his enthousiasm Nummil's shoulders drop a bit. Then his belly reminds him that food would be a good thing right now.
"I'll have a soup please!"
"Yes, I think I will try the soup, as well." Turning back to the mage, she said "So, you traveled...some distance just to see some trees growing? Interesting, indeed. And you've dragged this strapping specimen of femininity with you the whole way? She looked at Maqli and continued "My condolences. The Jack's on me."
"Me dragging? I don't think so. She insisted on coming along. As if I need babysitting, quite insulting but it seems everyone else agreed so I'll just take the opportunity to study her.."
Nummil stops for a moment before continuing
"to study her skills in case she needs to use them. Which of course is highly unlikely as we're going to study trees, not demons."
His white robe starts to expand a bit like a pig's stomach being inflated. Nummil pushes against his robe and you feel air escaping from his sleeves.
"But yes, we're here to study the trees but JUST the trees. Also the soil, the weather, the entire flora and fauna because often you'll find that the origin of specific natural, or even magical, characteristics can be found in presence of natural, or again even magical, competition."