The thin man steps from cover into the light. He snaps an arrow. The sound brings Sunny out of her enthrallment, and Varian from his semi-lucid state.
The thin man points to his closed mouth, and shakes his head... then motions for you to follow. His pet also shows itself - scrambling out of a reedy patch at the edge of a wide muddy pool to follow. It appears to be a skunk the size of a young bear.
He leads you along a path of ground more firm than the weed-covered squishy marshes around you.
You reach a high clearing after a few minutes. In the center is a pole driven into the ground topped with several unlit torches. Several skeleton's worth of bone lies in piles around - smashed to bits.
At the edge of the clearing, a man who appears human - writes feverishly on his lap... sitting propped against a tree. He stands with a start upon seeing you. The stack of parchments and the book serving as his hard writing surface both fall to the dirt. "No no no nono... " He drops down gathering his scattered papers.
The thin man looks to you, nods, then gestures toward the man.
"Well that is a relief... " He continues to gather the papers, and brushes the dirt from them.
"I expect the day will come when I hear.. my name is Philip and I am here to hurt you... not today though you say."
The thin man shakes head, and squats to feed his giant skunk from his satchel.
The man lets out an exasperated sigh, but seems satisfied enough with work recompiled. He looks you over - awarding you his full attention.
"My name is Lendaro... chaplain of the Black Arrow... if any still live. This is... well we call him Ben. He can't speak... or write... seems to understand us though. Just don't ever ask him anything complicated or his answer..." (he makes finger quotes) "will leave you standing dazed and drooling on yourself."
Ben's head bobs in a silent chuckle.
"The lowland towers have been taken by forces with command over the dead. I had hoped to travel to Fort Birch for assistance, but Ben will not go."
After you tell Lendaro that Fort Birch has fallen...
He lowers his head. "Well... I suppose nothing here changes your intentions then. Don't worry about us... we are an uncommonly durable pair."
"I would suggest you throw away the advice to enter through the scrapyard... if Schulfjarn is in turmoil, cross the river... go to West Schulfjarn. Not the slums."
"Feel free to stay here for the night if you wish... We have plenty of food. Ben will light a torch at sunset, and fight those that come. I have scribed more than enough scrolls to consecrate the earth around us... withers these "bone-seeds" to nothing, but Ben enjoys displacing his anger upon them."
Ben nods and punches his own palm.
"Thank you for your advice... Ben, if it comes to it, I'd be honored to fight at your side." That said, and with a nod to Sunny, Varian spreads his bedroll and prepares for the night ahead.
Varian looks from his bedroll to the trees with a little frown. "In the trees? I'm not much of a climber." He bundles up his bedroll, attaches it to his pack and sighs. Then he ties a rope to his backpack, then with some difficulty, climbs a sturdy looking tree with a large crook in it that looks like it might be comfortable to bed down in. Once he gets there, he pulls his pack up into the tree with him.
"I hope this is high enough up." He looks down and tries to not show his discomfort with the height. He curls up in the crook of the tree. "I feel like a fool, up here. Just praying I don't fall out of bed during the night," he says, with a bit of a laugh.
Sunny climbs Varain's tree and helps him get settled in.
Take 10 climbing gives a 17.
Take 10 acrobatics gives a 17.
Profession Sailor taking 10 gives a 15.
So... that should all be more than enough to be givin' Varian' a comfy place ta' bunk down in. (^_^)
Before scampering through the branches and making herself all comfy for the night. (^_^)
Sunny laughs and waves from her tree,
"T'is nuffin' to it, rilly." She continues to get herself comfortable. "But then, I bin noticin' all'a differences a'tween kin, like m'slef, an' peopls. Back home learnin' ta' climb tha' trees is somat every one learns ta' do. Like swimmin'. Ye ken?" She asks.
"In my family, such pursuits were deemed unnecessary and frowned upon. Everything was about money and profits. Yours sounds like it must have been a blessed childhood filled with fun and adventure like climbing and swimming."
Sunny tilts her head, looking puzzled slightly as she thinks about Varian's words.
"Well... see, that's where I dun't know. T'is why I come ta' look at tha' world, ye ken? Ta' see how t'is other folks live." Then she blinks,
"Rilly? Ye weren't never off, playin' with ye friends an' such?" She sighs, "T'is so much different ta' learn a'tween tha' peoples an'a kin."
"Not really much. Oh I played... with my brothers and sisters... in the warehouses, and counting rooms... on the grounds of the compound. I was never free to do what -I- wanted to do until i was a teen, and could get away from our nannies and guards for short periods. It was a very sheltered life. I suppose it had its benefits, but I hated it. My folks never did see the good in my activities until I endeavored to enter the priesthood of Abadar. But I wasn't destined to be a priest, it wasn't in my nature. It wasn't long before I took to the road as just an intinerant follower."
He sighs.. shrugs... looks to Sunny with a smile.
"Tell me, what was it like to grow up among your folk? How did you come to be a traveler... and come into the skills you have?"
Sunny smiles, taking out some of the tools in her kit and absently working away at some of the wood she's taken from the tree around herself.
"Ah...well.... M'kin, they's all livin' on'a islands waaay, way off ta' tha', um, South, south west. Out where tha' little specks of land trail away in't tha' greater ocean. My home? From th'a tallest trees on'a tallest peak? Ye can see, way off ta' tha' North, tha' great storm whut never ends. Though, truth be told, t'is more just like some rilly distant thing. More visible at night with tha' faint flicker of tha' lightnin'." She pauses, thinking,
"I s'pose we's tha' closet of tha' kin livin' near tha' peoples. We sure get they's boats washed in't cove every now an' then from when a storm season happens. That's where tha' great storm, it...um..spits out little-r storms. Though they can be right nasty things, even so. Some lastin' fer days at a time." She smiles,
"It were tha' stories I bin heard from such people's whut made me wan'a see tha' world. So... m'slef an' some friends? We fixed a net ta' tha' bottom of one'a them ships while they was fixin' 'em selfs back up after bein' blowe'd in't home." Sunny grins at her and her friends ingenuity.
"Then? We just stayed with tha' ship as it sailed about. Eventually, I left 'em when I come across a river whut took me fancy an' moved up that. Slippin' in't towns here an' there along tha' way." Sunny giggles,
"Seems folks? They can't see no difference a'tween m'self an' tha' kin whut come from far a ways to tha' East. Off in some great forest some wheres. Kionin t'is it's nam in'a speakin' of tha' kin. Folks see me an' be thinkin' I be more a kin t'a them kin, than bein' kin ta'..." Sunny's voice trails off as she realizes her words aren't working. She frowns.
"Any-who. M'kin is much like every one else. We mingle. We get, y'know, friendly. Little one's be raised. We live in huts whut are made from tha' trees an' plants native ta' tha islands. We trade with tha' people's of tha' sea an'a peoples whut come washed ashore fer things like shiny an' such. Y'know? Metal bits an' pieces? She shakes her head again.
"T'is one of tha' things whut picked me interest. Ta' see where all'a metals come from." Sunny smiles, "T"is all'a ways interestin' ta' see tha' importance people put on tha' different things. Back home? Them little white bits of shell fish? We just find 'em an' put 'em aside. Ye can't eat 'em. Can't use 'em fer nothin', but other folks? They be offerin' us all sorts a things fer 'em? Strange, in-it? Somat we just find, other folks be wantin'... seemin' 'cause they can't be findin' 'em..." She shrugs.
"Funny old world, in-it?" She pauses, seeing if her ramblings are helping shed light on Varian's question. Meanwhile another little wooden dagger is finished and slipped back into the belts and such wrapped about the svelte Elf's frame.
Varian lofts a brow in some degree of surprise. "So you are a different sort of elf than Corum? I wasn't aware there WERE different kinds... Fascinating! I've heard of this storm you speak of. The Eye of Aben-something or other. It affects trade, so it was marked on the maps I studied as a child. Abendego! That was it." He seems pleased with himself that he recalls the name, then remembers what they were speaking of.
"Funny you speak of metals... I love metal myself. When I used to sneak away from my elders, I would go visit the local weaponsmith and learn about metals and weapons and the forge. I loved it. But you are speaking more of metals and their use as coins. It is what my family business was all about after all... money or what you call shineys. Making money, accounting for money, accumulating money... the all-important gold piece. It has it's place in the world, no doubt."
He glances over at Sunny and smiles, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "Your bits of shell that you trade for other things are much like the money of the inner sea. They can't be eaten, or used for anything else, but they are valued and people covet them for sure."
"It is, as you say, a funny old world. The little wooden daggers are cute... what are they good for?" he asks, noting her completed woodworking project.
"..... The little wooden daggers are cute... what are they good for?" he asks, noting her completed woodworking project.
In simple reply Sunny throws one of the blades at Varain,
Att Roll:1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Of course, Sunny is NOT aiming to HIT Varain. Just leaving one sticking int eh tree near where he can see/pick it up.
"Stabbin' things, mostly. But ye can throw 'em an' they stick in things." Is her matter of fact/simple answer, even as she sets about simply fashioning another one...or two....
"As fer different from Corum? Well... iz at like sayin' ye self an' some one from...oh, say that place where they has all'a sand? Quad-somat? Or Cat-pesh? Is they rilly, rilly different peoples from ye self?" She asks in reply in regards to herself and Corum and Varaian's question.
Here's hopin' every one still be about an' havn' fun! (^_^)
Varian collects the wooden dagger from the tree near him and examines it, turning it over and over in his hands. "Nice workmanship... I don't know a lot about wood, so I'm surprised to find it is hard and strong enough to pierce things. I guess if you are open to it, you can learn something new every day, eh?"
He gently tosses the dagger back to Sunny, with the intent of having it catch in the tree near her.
toss dagger back toward Sunny's tree: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
"Qadiri and Katapesh... those places are far to the south of where I was born and raised, and the folk there are mostly human too, but they are very different from Varisian folk. I met some desert people when a trade delegation arrived in Magnimar. I found them to be very different from us in their manners and speech. Still, we are all human I suppose. I guess elves are much like humans then in that respect - you can come from wildly different places and still, you are both elves."
Ben sits with his eyes closed against a tree while the others set up their bunks for the night. You catch him smile a couple times - apparently enjoying the chatter in his half-sleep.
Lendaro spends some time with Corum - after Lendaro learns he knows most about what has transpired.
Ben wakes at sunset, and gives Lendaro a hand getting into his hammock tent.
Ben lights a torch from the campfire - which he then extinguishes, then lights the torches at the center of the clearing. He squats on the edge of the clearing ... watching the ground. The giant skunk - still sleepy, curls up at his side.
Lendaro speaks softly to you from a nearby branch. "It is possible that no more will come from this site... we may have cleared it so to speak. Nevertheless, Ben will watch."