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Wardove's Rumble in the Jungle

Game Master Laithoron

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Even as Sasha's logic threatened to confound those around her, Gelik shook his head and bowed to the ladies Eluchíl and Sempronius Eldarion. "Please be so kind as to excuse us. I was just about to assist the ladies in selecting appropriate attire for our midday festivities."

Doing his best not to blanch, he quickly took Lureene and Sasha by the hand and high-tailed it for their boudoir. I've a mind to put her over my knee, but it took an hour to pleat this tunic properly. Maybe later...


Male Sky Elf Game Master lv 20

About half a mile to the west...
The heat, the sound of stone being worked, and men toiling under heavy burdens... if Darvesch closed his eyes, the glow from the tall windows, and the smell of soot and sweat in the heavy air almost put him in mind of his homeland's foundries. Almost.

Unlike there, however, servants routinely fussed over whether he needed anything as if he might rust-over if left unattended. The thought had occurred to him that perhaps he was simply a safer object of concern than the palace's new mistress. Although she might have been able to put on a bright, cheery face for the others, the fact that Tyralor not only had no recollection of her but intended to set sail for Wildethar by week's end struck her a blow as painful as O'beilumanji's sword thrust.

'Was it just the Coil's magic attracting him to me?' she had asked, tears streaming down her cheeks, 'Were all his eloquent words hollow? All his overtures implanted?'

While the inquisitor had been unable to detect any lingering evil magic upon the Prince, given the depth of the cabal's meddling in royal affairs, such machinations were not outside the realm of possibilities. Either way, perhaps it was for the best. Assuming the Zephrys even made it to Wildethar, Alexis at least would not be so easily swayed by such overtures. She also wouldn't have to worry about such matters distracting her from how to manage a nation in the throes of unrest.


"Sir Hellhammer?" The soft tone of a woman's voice roused the dwarf from his reverie. Standing a few feet away, garbed in the unassuming attire of one of the palace maids, was an elven woman with pale, nearly white-blonde hair and blue eyes sharp as a hawk, her gaze constantly yet subtly assaying the room for threats.

It only took a split second for Darvesch to recognize the woman for who and what she was: Tiniel, the 'special agent' who had served as his Frænka's body double on the long voyage from Malatesta. He noted as the woman exchanged a slight nod with her male counterpart, Arion, now in the guise of Alis' personal scribe.

"We have received word that her Highness' guests have begun to arrive at Councilor Eluchíl's manor. You should expect that we will depart shortly. However," she turned her head slightly, motioning with her eyes, "you have a lady caller..."

Darvesch's eyes followed Tiniel's, quickly spotting the silhouette of a familiar figure standing in a towering archway — Greasha.

Rolls:
Perception Checks
D 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (6) + 15 = 21

Sense Motive Checks:
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (10) + 20 = 30


The loud crash against the door to her house from above caused Amhranai to jump, spilling the contents of the pestle in her right hand and sending the mortar in her left hand flying across the small room to smack against an earthen wall. "Betrayer's ashes!" Stumbling to the ladder set against another wall, the elf silently crept to a window and peered out through the wolf skin pane to see an officious-looking human, clenched fist still raised. Courier of some sort, probably something to do with the investiture. I already know about it, so don't waste your time.

Amhranai eased back from the window before standing. At least it's not another call for healing-three straight days is more than enough. Not to mention the burials, still-free inmates and spooked citizens. I'll be happy when this is all over. As she set her foot on the top rung of the ladder, a hissing noise reached her tapered ears. With a strangled curse, Amhranai dove towards the middle of her house, pestle moving in the opposite direction, as glass shattered and an explosion shook the ground from below.

Shouts rang hazily through the dazed elf's head, followed by more pounding on the door. A second voice joined the first. The pounding was replaced by a measured knock, four, one, three. This caught Amhranai's attention and, with a groan, she rolled to her feet and swung the door open. A tall, dark-skinned man stood on the doorstep, brown eyes wide. There was no sign of the courier, a sealed envelope the only evidence of his existence. "Karaka..."

Voice low, tone admonishing, he spoke. "I understand your upset over the loss of our friends. I had hoped working yourself to exhaustion would have helped, but apparently you'd prefer blowing yourself up! What are you up to, woman?!" Amhranai hung her head, black hair sweeping forward to cover a face smeared with dirt. She felt her face grow hot and tasted blood on her lip as she opened her mouth to speak. Must've bit it when I jumped...

"Despite appearances to the contrary, I am not trying to kill myself. I was just...distracted. It looks like I've been invited to the investiture," she said, picking up the envelope. "Not exactly the best time to be doing that."

"Then perhaps you should speak to your new friend." Karaka pushed past the slight elf, eyes taking in the meagerly furnished house. Alighting on the discarded pestle, now broken, Karaka picked up the item and shook it in the direction of Amhranai. "I'm going to take all this stuff away from you before you start losing body parts."

Green eyes rolled in their sockets as the elf tucked her hair behind her ears. "Fine, I'll stop. Do you mind watching the house? I think I will go have a talk with Alis..."

Before he could reply, Amhranai was gone, envelope in hand. Muttering under his breath, Karaka dropped the pestle on a table before leaving the house, closing the door behind him.


Male Sky Elf Game Master lv 20

It was a good hour on foot from the far end of The Flats, to Monument Green. To say that most would have thought Amhranai mad for wearing a black cloak and armor in the jungle's heat and humidity was an understatement. Yet whether for her tattoos, actions, or manner of dress people would judge her regardless. At least in this way she was better prepared for the unexpected. The fact that it was that very black cloak which magically girded her against discomfort was a further benefit.

The walk to Mondracus Lane, the thoroughfare that demarcated Pinnacle Beach from The Flats was sobering. Following O'beilumanji's death, fighting had broken out between the Zucks: Obanohi versus Dafari. With the bulk of the city guard preoccupied trying to rein in escaped convicts, the unrest had gone unchecked for several hours. While rain had since washed the blood away, blackened timbers and broken walls were all that remained of the Hope-Light Mission and several nearby tenements. Thankfully none of the instructors or students had been present, but the custodian and two men whose children had attended the school died attempting to bring the blaze under control.

As the priestess passed Carlina Mondracus' estate, the eyes of every last guard upon her, Amhranai couldn't help but wonder if the destruction of the school she had funded would be the last straw for the charitable baroness. Yet before Amhranai had even passed the expansive estate, the sound of a horse-drawn carriage drawing nigh roused the her from thought.


Baroness: Livestock

As Amhranai stepped onto the grass to allow the approaching carriage to pass, the pace of the horses slowed and it drew to a stop beside her. They conveyance was pale blue in color with silver-trim around the doors and windows, and large wheels with white spokes that were seemingly woven into the rims of the wheels so as to cushion the ride beyond what was afforded by the leaf-springs below it.

As the pair of proud, grey stallions stood waiting for their driver's command, Amhranai could make out the coat of arms on their harness and the door of the carriage. It was a sapphire-colored dragon encircling a silver mountain on a pale green field. To either side, it was supported by rearing horses, and in crest was the profile of an ancient, conical helm with the same dragon coiling about it. In scrollwork below the device was the Malatestan motto read, "In providence, strength."

Even as Amhranai recognized the coat of arms as that of the Mondracus family, the door was opened from within by its lone occupant. An attractive human woman, perhaps in her 30s, with light olive skin and lustrous black hair coiffed into a tidy bun hopped out before her valet could even extend the steps. The woman was garbed a cool, lightweight gown of sheer blue-grey silk that showed off her slender yet toned arms and shoulders. A belt of woven silver gathered the dress about her waist, its length dangling by her left hip, her movements causing it to sparkle in the sun like the matching jewelry she wore.

In a gentle yet confidant tone, she stated, "You are Amhranai, the woman who saved so many lives after the attack on The Academy. You even risked your own safety to confront the ones responsible. If would would ride with me, I would like to hear what drives you."

While the woman never actual came out and asked a question, it wasn't hard for the priestess to tell that the Baroness was in earnest search for answers to a difficult question she faced.

Rolls:
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18

Sense Motive Checks:
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20


Amhranai sighed inwardly at being accosted, only somewhat alleviated by the personage that now stood before her. Annoyance gave way to embarrassment as she realized her face was still quite dirty; nevertheless, she replied, "I could ask the same of you-there's not many of your status that would fund a school open to Eldarion's...less fortunate denizens." The elf swallowed a lump in her throat, trying to dispel the dryness there. "I take it you're headed to the Sempronius Estate? This discussion might be carried on better in your more private carriage if so."


Baroness: Livestock

"The Sempronius Estate?" The woman gave a slight smile and gestured towards her carriage. "Yes, I suspect we share a common destination. Please, be my guest."

Once the two women were comfortably seated on the supple grey leather within, the carriage resumed it course toward the city. As they rode, the Baroness filled two glasses with water from a matching crystal decanter and offered one to the priestess.

"You know, Amhranai, my family was not always well to do. In fact, if not for luck and a bit of kindness towards a stranger I might very well be a poor farmer's wife working a rough, highland farm back in Malatesta."

As she spoke, she removed a soft white handkerchief from her girdle, moistened it from the decanter and hand it to Amhranai to refresh herself.

"I would rather not bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, my grandfather went to great lengths to impress upon his son that it is not money that makes one wealthy, but how much they can enrich the lives of others. Call it sentimentality... or maybe just wishful-thinking, but I'd like to make my grandfather proud and enable other poor children to better their lot and the lots of those around them."

Carlina had a faraway gaze in her eyes, a tinge of melancholy straining her reassuring smile. It wasn't hard to see that recent events troubled the woman, as if she herself were finding it difficult to see a path to her goal. With a shrug of her slender shoulders, the noblewoman had a sip of water and nodded to the elf across from her. "And what of you?"

Rolls:
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14

Sense Motive Checks:
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26


Amhranai settled herself on the leather seat, determined to remain vigilant despite the sense of security the carriage afforded. Perhaps I should not have revealed my destination so readily. Most speak well of the Mondracus faimly, but I've never looked into them too much. Humans can be so...flighty. Too many other needs had occupied the elf, even though she had lived in Port Eldarion, off and on, for quite some time now. As she accepted first the glass and then the handkerchief, an eyebrow crept upward as she expressed her thanks. Perhaps I should have made the time.

Listening carefully to the baroness, Amhranai wiped away the dirt from her face in between stealing glances outside the window. When the human had finished, the elf returned a warm smile, well understanding the hopelessness and despondency in the woman's eyes and face. Had the same not afflicted herself the past three days? Not to mention their frequent residence in the last hundred or so years of her life. Running over the same old ground...

The elven woman took down some water to clear her throat before replying. Speak carefully here."I've been in Port Eldarion for quite some time and Dafar for even longer. That there is an imbalance here was readily apparent to me from the beginning; however, imbalance exists the world over. As I got to know and fight alongside the Dafari, the depths of what was happening to them became more than I could ignore. What began as an offer of healing services grew into...something more. Some thing yet to be accomplished, but hopefully sooner rather than later."


Dwarf Lightbringer

Thank you for getting me, he tells Tiniel, please give me a few moments alone with my guest. Turning to Greasha, Please, come in! Darvesch finds that he cannot hide his joy, his grin giving him away.


"Good to see you again, Darvesch," Greasha smiled at Darvesch's enthusiasm, giving his pauldrons a solid thump as she hugged the armor-clad warrior.

"The Lieutenant has been letting the crew take their shore leave in shifts. This is the first break Mother and I have had from getting the larders restocked."

Motioning to workers bustling about on scaffolds, and the small mob of ministers buzzing about the Princess, she commented, "Looks like you and yours have their hands full too. You know, that must have been some kiss your Frænka gave the Prince. The Master didn't even know what month it was or what sea we'd just sailed."

Although Darvesch could tell that Greasha was doing her best to keep a straight face, he couldn't help but notice her smirk as she asked, "So does being Frændi to a Princess let you do the same thing too?"

There was little doubt in the inquisitor's mind that Ms. Torwold was of a mind to have her curiosity satisfied.

Rolls:
Bluff 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13

Sense Motive Checks:
D 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (8) + 20 = 28


Baroness: Livestock

As the two women conversed, the carriage rolled along, a few mounted guards accompanying it as a safeguard. Along the west side of the lane, a tall, thick hedge formed the boundary of the Baroness' estate and the yard in which her stable's famous horses ran. Yet across from it, on the east, were numerous tenements, huts, and hovels wherein lived those Zucks who had abandoned the jungle.

"There is an imbalance, I agree. Lumber, furs, gems, agriculture... this is not a poor land. Yet the only skilled laborers in Dafar are the descendants of those who immigrated here. There are precious few Zucks with any valuable trade skills, and even fewer have returned to their people with them."

Carlina shook her head and sighed. "I truly thought education would be the key, but Zantano*, Bälezu keep him, said that many of the natives resented the mission... that they saw it as an effort to civilize them and make them abandon their roots."

Looking to the right, she gestured towards the slums. "Yet this can't be what they want to hold on to! These horrid living conditions? This city is not that old. How did they live before Mancor Eldarion landed that they would choose to settle outside the city walls rather than live as their ancestors must have? Is it no longer viable for them to do so?"

* (Amhranai):
You recognize the name as being Dafari in origin and you're sure you heard Karaka mention the man before. Then it hits you, Zantano was the custodian who cared for the Hope-Light Mission — one of the men killed in the fire."

Rolls:
K: Local 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14


In the guest wing of Lady Naiobe's childhood home, tensions were running high...

"How come Ellie gets to wear a dress and I have to wear armor?"


"You aren't attending this soiree as Lureene's playmate," Gelik's voice strained as he fought with a leather strap, "but as her bodyguard that's why!"


Sasha choked as the metal gorget dug into her throat. As Gelik hastily loosened it a bit, she whined, "OK, so why don't I just wear my own stuff then?"


"Well beside the issue that the mail is rent, and the leathers reek of sweat and gore?" He turned her around and rapped his knuckles on the hard, contoured metal of her breastplate. "My dear, while I might not mind the sight of your cups running over, this is polite company we are entertaining. Alis would be mortified to find you looking like a doxy showing off her wares."


Sasha frowned a bit as the gnome draped a red cloak about her shoulders and affixed it to rings on the gilt-edged pauldrons. "Well this isn't real roomy either, and there's no way I'll be able to fight in it–"


"Shhh..." Gelik shushed her whining by kissing his finger and placing it upon her lips. "There won't be any fighting, our friend Isaac has the security well in hand. There's a reason this is called ceremonial armor, you know." Quickly climbing down from his stool, he took the ranger by the hand and led her over to a full-length mirror.

"There, now you look like something out of a legend, gleaming like some fiery-maned angel!"


"Well, I suppose it does look fancy, but I'm getting out of this as soon as we're done!"


"Perfectly understandable, and I shall be the first to offer his assistance when the time comes."

"Now then," he raise his voice a bit, "how are we coming along Lady Ourson? My deft fingers are at your service if need be."


Outside the dressing room where Sasha and Gelik were discussing the benefits of wearing ceremonial armor versus utilitarian armor, Lureene tries not to smile, with only partial success.

I understand where Sash is coming from, but I don't think 'Lis would approve. I just hope that armor is as protective as her well worn armor...no telling when a member of the Coil will show up...Gel is right though, it did have a noticable smell...I know, after we are finished here, we can go shopping! I think Sash would like that!

Exiting her own dressing chamber after she has finished lacing up her dress, she steps out in front of her bodyguard and Scribe, her dress consisting of a pink muesli fabric with gold embroidered threaded flowers which drapes her body in the latest style of the Malatestan noble class, responding softly "Thank you Master Gelik, I am finished dressing. ....Uhhh, how does this look on me, be honest please?"


Artwork: Lureene's Dress

Gelik stroked his goatee and nodded his approval. "Why you look the part of a senator's wife. Perfectly appropriate for the occasion. I must say, your wardrobe has benefited considerably at our dear Princess' expense. Wouldn't you agree, Sash?"


Sasha took as deep a breath as she could crammed into the armor she was wearing and sighed. "Yeah, it looks expensive alright, reminds me of back home..."

Shaking her head and giving a silly laugh she added, "Oh Ellie... of course it looks good! You look as good in anything as you do in nothing. What about me, though? I can't move right in all of this, and what am I supposed to do if I get an itch?!"

Suddenly a horrified look marred the ranger's attractive features, "Guys! You're not going to make me wear this every time Lissi has a party are you?!"


"What you and many people, myself included, fail to understand is that it is not enough to just show people how life is in our respective countries. Over a period of time, hundreds of years even, if such fundamental change is to be made to a culture, you have to incorporate your way of living with their way of living until the two become indistinguishable. I understand patience like that is hard to come by, even for elves on occasion, but a change of that magnitude does not happen over night." Amhranai paused to drink down more water, swirling it in her mouth before swallowing.

"Before any of that, however, who says we have the right to impose our way of life on other people? On one hand, you could argue that spreading knowledge far and wide is something we should all strive to do, but that doesn't make it right. How do you think Malatestans would respond to Silvaureans moving into their country, monopolizing its resources and imposing their way of life on everyone? Not lightly, I would think. But the Silvaureans argument would be 'We do these things to show you a better way of life, so that you might be more than you once were.' Sounds awfully arrogant, doesn't it? It's akin to me telling you 'Never mind those things you feel are important, I'll tell you what's really important.'

"You are right in thinking education is important, but you cannot exclude the elders. And education is only one part of the process. You must treat them with respect, don't belittle their beliefs or living conditions. Instead, suggest, and only suggest, small improvements."

Amhranai glanced out the window of the carriage before continuing once again. "Finally, why would they choose to move out of the city? Look at their living conditions here in Eldarion: squalid huts, homes held together with rusted nails and rotting wood. Treated as second-class citizens and that's only if anyone bothers to think of them in the first place. Would you want to stay here given those conditions?"


Sasha Nevah wrote:

Shaking her head and giving a silly laugh she added, "Oh Ellie... of course it looks good! You look as good in anything as you do in nothing. What about me, though? I can't move right in all of this, and what am I supposed to do if I get an itch?!"

Suddenly a horrified look marred the ranger's attractive features, "Guys! You're not going to make me wear this every time Lissi has a party are you?!"

Lureene smiles, her face aglow with the compliment. "Thank you Sash, I do appreciate the compliment! This kind of style is quite fitting for me, especially with my wings. As for you, Sash...I think you also look quite ravishing in that armor." An impsih grin appears on her face, "Just let me know if you need to be scratched! Maybe we can go shopping later, and get your armor fitted so it won't pinch you in all the wrong places!"

I should tell her about the time I actually wore Chivane's armor for a brief time, he he.


Baroness: Livestock

Even though her hands did not stray from her lap, she bunched the fabric of her dress even as her lower lip trembled before Amhranai's unaccommodating criticism.

"What you describe is precisely the sort of imperialism that our current government was supposedly established to resist! You speak of change over hundreds of years but what of the majority of the inhabitants of Dafar who might be thought lucky to have sixty or seventy years? For us, our hopes lie with each successive generation to build upon the foundations laid by those before them!"

"It may seem like a short time to you, but my family has called this city home for more than a few generations now. For me this has always been a land of elves, Patricians, and Zucks. Even my late Father was born long after Mancor entreated the elvish king to aid Dafar. You say that you have been here for many years, but this is my home Amhranai — the only home I have ever known."

"I have no doubt that you are sincere in aiding the ancestral people of this land, so please do not belittle my efforts to do the same. These people did not move out of the city because they found it unaccommodating, they moved here from the savanna and jungle to escape wars with other tribes or because the true imperialists, those driven out a century ago, disrupted the balance of their homelands."

Carlina took a deep breath and looked down, shaking her head in frustration. "I cannot change the past, Amhranai, but I will not be laden with guilt for injustices committed by neither my forefathers nor myself. You are correct that I have no right to help those who do not want it, but then that has never been how I conduct myself."

She gave a sardonic laugh and looked up at the elf, eyes damp from the emotions she was straining to control. "I am a glorified employer and landlord. It would be rather poor business sense to invest in those who have no interest in enriching themselves. It is compassion and hope that motivates me, not pity. I learned long ago that those who expect only pity can never be sated while those who are willing to work for what they desire abhor pity. That is why I choose to use my means to offer a place for education rather than merely passing out alms indiscriminately."

As the carriage turned to pass within the city gates, the noise from the wheels became more pronounced, as the dirt road gave way to the paving stones of the Colissineum.

"Perhaps there is more that I could do," she held a hand to her chest and managed an ironic smile, "but I am only human."


Resisting the urge to heave a sigh, Amhranai settled on drinking some more water instead. "As you say, 'supposedly resist' has fallen victim to expediency and profit. I take it you haven't heard about the slavery put into place to support this country's growing trade opportunities. Even though O'beilumanji was wrong about many things, he was not lying when he spoke of the slavery in Freehold.

"I do not necessarily disagree with your idea of generations laying a foundation for the future; that's why I said change may take hundreds of years. That admission doesn't mean all efforts in the here and now are for naught, but recognition of the fact that you can't expect change, especially such fundamental change, to just happen. It will take some time. Hopefully not more than has already passed, but one never knows.

"I was not trying to belittle your efforts either, and if I gave that impression, I'm sorry. But, as I said, more than education is needed-as much as you or I might wish it were the case, there is no single thing that will bring about the sought-for changes." Amhranai glanced out the window once more and noted the change in architecture on display. "It would seem that we'll be reaching our destination soon. I would happily continue speaking with you, but I believe something is coming to pass that might shed more light on what I have already told you, and probably much better than I could state it." I hope. "One last thing, before we part: whatever you hear from the slackwits on the streets about my involvement with freeing the Citadel, please disregard. I helped the new Governor-nothing more, nothing less. Along with what we've already spoken about, I can tell you that story at a later time if you so wish."


Baroness: Livestock

The Baroness raised an eyebrow at Amhranai's assessment of the situation in Freehold. "Those are strong words. While I do not doubt that these rumors are rooted in the truth, I would be very surprised indeed to learn that it is something so simple as a government-sanctioned enterprise. Gwiniel Taurion, gods have mercy, may have been weak, incompetent, and out-of-touch, but she never struck me as willfully malicious or even particularly greedy. 'Never mistake ignorance for malice,' my father used to say."

Amhranai wrote:
"I do not necessarily disagree with your idea of generations laying a foundation for the future ... I was not trying to belittle your efforts either, and if I gave that impression, I'm sorry."

A smile of relief touched the noblewoman's face. "No apology is necessary, but thank you. To be quite frank, recent events have caused me to question whether or not I... we have been doing more harm than good. And yes, I know that no one person can effect change on such a scale by themselves, it is a societal issue to be certain."

"Still," she glanced out the window at the towering walls of the Coliseum and the vendors clustered about in the plaza surrounding it, "the perspective of someone who might live long enough to see such efforts bear out is encouraging."

"As for gossip-mongers," she winked at the elf, "well perhaps we can each return the favor to the other where those magpies are concerned. So yes, I would very much like to hear your tale at some point, and please, Amhranai, call me Carlina."


Even as Lureene, Sasha, and Gelik made their way back to the central courtyard to find Naiobe tempting a tiny fox with pieces of fruit, the city's Marshal was involved with more pressing concerns.

Security.

After what had happened at the Coliseum over a month ago, he had made a point to impress upon Arion and Tiniel, the Princess' secret guards, that a private meeting with a discrete list of invitees was more prudent than a more public forum. It was not an easy matter to convince Alis to delay her own investment ceremony, but the promise that more preparation time would result in greater attendance and a more memorable and opulent affair finally convinced her. He'd have to thank Gelik for pointing that out.

As he paced the tree-lined carriage roundabout, his amulet keeping him comfortable even in full dress armor beneath the mid-day sun, one of the gate guards contacted him via a series of message spell. "Major, Lady Mondracus' carriage has arrived. The Baroness is joined by a tattooed elf, calling herself Amhranai. The elf's invitation appears to be authentic, and matches the guest list, but... Sir, the elf is not suitably attired, and I am detecting magical armaments on her person. The Baroness does not appear to be in danger and she does not seem alarmed, but I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of any enchantments upon her. Shall I detain them for your inspection, Sir?"


Isaac was standing at his post outside of the manor that Alis was holding her lunch in at. Part of him wanted to be inside with his newly found friends, but out here, he could relax more and not have to try too hard to impress everyone. He just judged who came in and checked papers, and he was to handle things if stuff went down.

Though when one of his men who was checking security came up to ask him about a certain elf who was calling herself Amhranai. He quirked an eyebrow at him. "She didn't bother to dress up? Shame on her. I'll come down and see, but I'm pretty sure she was one of my teammates when we took down the big O, I'll know if I see her." He told the guard, and nodded to the guy who was standing on the other side of the door with him, he had been chatting with him, making sure he was still doing his job, they couldn't afford to have anything awful like last month happen again. Isaac put a hand up to his neck when he brought up Obi. It was still wrapped up and sometimes it still hurt.


As Isaac walked, magical messages relayed from other points across the estate whispered in his ear.

"Lord Bonati's carriage has just entered the quarter."
"Palace signals they are nearly ready to depart."
"Sharpshooter atop the Greenview and the Vault remain vigilant."
"Nothing to report at 8th and 3rd*.
"

He had just arrived at the heavily armed front gate to see the very same elven woman who had healed his injuries just a few days prior when another report gave him pause. "Major, Lady Hlokenar has just left your estate without a guard, and is headed towards 7th and 5th*. She appears to be carrying a package of some sort."

* When residents of the city specify an intersection, it is customary to list the East-West street first and the North-South avenue second. (See Port Eldarion: Thoroughfare Conventions)


It was good to hear everything was staying in order and relatively calm for the most part as the headed down to check out the elven woman in question.

"Gee Amhranai, think you could have dressed up a bit more?" He asked her teasing slightly, glad to see it was the woman who had basically saved his life.

Though he put a hand up to his ear when he heard that his sister had left without a body guard and frowned, "Someone needs to keep an eye on her, make sure she doesn't get hurt, please and thank you." He informed his guard, after the events from a couple days ago, he didn't want anyone going after his sister again.

"Come on in Ladies." he said giving them a small bow.


Amhranai waved a dismissive hand at the Major's question, a slight smile on her face. "No time to dress up. I'm sure we can both attest to how busy we've been the past few days. But, since you asked, I'll be sure to put on something nice next time." She turned towards the Baroness. "I'm sure you two know of each other, but I don't know if you've ever met. Carlina, this is Major Isaac Hlokenar; Isaac, this is Baroness Carlina Mondracus."

As her eyes went from human to half elf, Amhranai's attention turned to Isaac's still-wrapped neck. "Speaking of being busy, how is your neck? More importantly, how are you sleeping? No strange dreams I hope. I've been meaning to come by and check it over again, but I haven't had the time. You'll have to let me look at it later."


Dwarf Lightbringer

He grins, attempts to think of something witty to say, decides he's wasting presious time, and kisses Greasha with all his passion. Holding her in his arms, "How was that?" He smilles.


Isaac smiled more when she said she'd try to keep in mind to dress up next time and nodded his head "Fair enough." He then turned to look at the baroness and gave her another bow, "Pleasure to meet you my lady Carlina." he said, charming as ever.

Glancing at Amhranai, than to the baroness, he quirked an eyebrow at the question and cleared his throat. "I've been fine, thank you for your concern though. Maybe you can come check up on me when there isn't a party going on."

Sense motive DC 26:
Isaac's smile fades for a moment when Amhranai brings up strange dreams, as if no one has ever asked him if he had been sleeping well before. He seems to shift for a moment, almost as if he doesn't really want to talk about it and is trying to not trouble anyone with anything that might be wrong. Maybe in a more private setting he'd be more honest with his answer.

rolls:
Bluff 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26


Baroness: Livestock

At the handsome Major's greeting, a slight blush painted the attractive Baroness' cheeks, "My how forward you are, Marshal!"

"Fear not, Major," she said as she brushed a lock of hair from her face with her left hand, "I would never deign to judge* a hero as valorous as yourself."

* Style of Address: Normally one refers to or addresses Baron [X] as Lord [X] and his wife as Lady [X]. In the case of women who hold baronies in their own right, they can be referred to as Baroness [X] as well as Lady [X]. In direct address, they can also be referred to as My Lord, Your Lordship, or Your Ladyship, but never as My Lady (except in the case of a female judge).

Rolls:
Bluff 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22

Sense Motive Checks:
M 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20
I 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24

K: Nobility DC 15
I 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18

Sense Motive DC 22 (Isaac):
Although the Baroness' tongue-in-cheek humor is lost upon her black-haired companion, Isaac realizes that Lady Mondracus is playfully teasing him for being overly familiar in his address. It was also no accident that she made a point to illustrate the lack of a wedding ring on her left hand.


Lureene walks in between Sasha and Gelik, allowing the tall ranger time to make sure the way ahead was secure before proceeding into the courtyard proper. Squinting her eyes from the bright afternoon sunlight, she glances around her and sees Lady Naiobe already waiting for them. Smiling happily at seeing their friendly hostess again, she waves to attract her attention.

Is she playing with a fox? Awww, how cute...Wait, have I seen that fox before?


Countess

Lady Sempronius Eldarion smiled and nodded in acknowledgement, but she was clearly preoccupied with the skittish golden fox. When the tiny creature would work up the courage, it would dart forth to snatch up a piece of fruit affording the noblewoman a brief moment to fun her fingers thru its soft fur.

In a soft voice so as not to frighten it, she called out, "Lady Ourson, what is this creature? It is too precious!"

Even as a faint mewling sound could be heard, the little fox, whose ears seemed nearly as large as its body, grabbed another strawberry before dashing off into some bushes.


"Oh that?" Sasha replied, "She's one of Lissi's–"

The sound of Gelik clearing his throat interrupted Sasha but she simply continued without pause.

"–pets, it's a fennec I think, they live mostly in the desert. Anyway, Lissi's pet–"

Once again, Gelik cleared his throat, this time more insistently. The tall ranger gave him an odd look, but rambled on.

"uh... monkey found her in a cage up in that big tower. Poor little thing was birthing a litter of kits while all the craziness was going on. Anyway King Tut, that's Lissi's monkey–"


With a sigh of exasperation, Gelik rapped on Sasha's gauntlet with the bowl of his pipe to get her attention. "Sasha Nevah, it's her Highness!"


"Huh? Oh is Lissi here?" Sasha looked up towards the doors. "Where is she Gel, I don't see her."


Even as Naiobe held her palms up and looked to Lureene, Gelik apologized. "Please do not mistake our familiarity with the Princess for contempt. Her Highness' retinue was traveling incognito when Sasha and I befriended them. Coupled with the circumstances of our shipwreck and the degree to which we relied upon one another after our shipwreck... well, we've all grown rather close you might say. I assure you we mean no disrespect. Isn't that right, Sasha dear?"


Countess

Even as Sasha stood biting her lip and scratching the back of her head, Naiobe laughed lightly. "Ah, so it was the Princess you have been referring to! My how interesting that her Highness keeps such exotic pets. Fear not, Master Gelik, your secret is safe with me. He is correct however, young lady, some of the other nobles might mistake your endearing nicknames for contempt."


Lureene holds up a hand to forestall a reply from her bosum buddy/bodyguard and responds to the Lady. "It is as Master Gelik has stated. None of us mean any disrespect to Her Highness." She adds with a laugh, "I must admit Lady Naiobe, I find myself guilty of many such faux-pas on occasion, but it is due to the fact I consider Her Highness more like a sister to me than just my boss." She chuckles softly to herself, remembering all the kind acts Alis has done for her. "I hope you can forgive the breach of protocol here, I promise we will all work to be more diligent in avoiding causing any embarrassment for Princess Alis."


"Oh..." Sasha said quietly, shifting uneasily from one foot to the other as she sought Lureene's gaze. "Yeah, what they said. Uh... ma'am"

Laughing uneasily at the uncomfortable silence, Sasha said, "Sooo yeeeaaah, when we got done with O'beemogee and that devil woman, we came back downstairs and found little King Tut helping the mommy fox have her babies. I think he's sort of like their step-dad."

Noting the odd looks she was getting, the ranger looked to Lureene and whispered, "I'll just stop talking now..."


Lureene hears the uncertainty in Sasha's voice and decides to clarify things further. Walking next to the lanky ranger she leans forward to whisper back, "It's OK Sash. I don't expect you to be a diplomat, that's MY job. You just need to keep an eye on my back so it doesn't sprout any blades." She then gives the redheaded woman a small kiss on her cheek. "Now in private, we can be as informal as we like, OK?"


Sasha cocked her head to one side, and a shock of red hair fell across her shoulder. "So that it doesn't..."

As understanding dawned on her face, she winked at her friend and nodded emphatically. "You've got it, my Lady!"


A sigh of contentment escaped Greasha as she lost herself in Darvesch's strong embrace. When he asked, 'How was that?' she looked up at him and smiled. "I'm no expert, but I'd like to practice that more when you have the time."

The blushing dwarf girl gave a light tug on his beard to pull him close enough for another kiss, and Darvesch realized he was starting to feel quite warm indeed in spite of the endure elements spell upon him. When the sound of Tiniel clearing her throat reached the two, Greasha laid a hand on his breastplate and said with a playful gleam in her eyes, "I'd better let you get along, Darvesch. For such long-lived folks, elves can be funny about their punctuality, can't they?"

As she turned to go, Greasha caught sight of the dwarven hero's Frænka approaching, and she gave a polite bow of respect. "Your Highness..."

With that, she gave Darvesch a wave and began to leave the way she had come in with the guard who had escorted her.


Although his honor-cousin had been terribly discouraged following the realization that Prince Tyralor could not recall her, official duties had largely kept Alis preoccupied. While the dwarf might have rightly feared such a display of affection would upset Alis, instead this was the first time he had seen the fire of excitement in her blue-violet eyes since they had drawn within sight of the city.

As the group began to make their way down to the carriage house, the Princess glanced at her Frændi and asked in Dwarven, "Well?"

She was clearly either unable or unwilling to conceal her smile. "Who is she?"


Sense Motive for Isaac:
1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16

Focused on the wound, the interplay between Isaac and the Baroness was lost on Amhranai. Was that hesitation on his face? Perhaps I've waited too long...either way, this meeting or whatever it is Alis has in mind cannot be over soon enough. I hope Karaka didn't touch anything downstairs.

The elf's eyes moved reluctantly from the Major to the Baroness, to whom she flashed a smile. "Shall we head in then?"

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