Located just north of the Border Wood in Taldor is the just-barely-a-village Heldren. It isn't part of any major trade routes, and also sits near the border of Qadira. Qadira is a wealthy nation that occasionally wages war on Taldor. The reason that the people of Heldren eke out their living here is not readily apparent. Above the treeline of the Border Wood, far off to the West, one can see the top of the snow-capped Three Tine Mountain. It is currently the height of summer, yet there is an odd chill to the air.
In the village, there is only one tavern, The Golden Hammer, which is located in the town square, directly across from the town hall. The Golden Hammer is homey and clean, run by a friendly husband and wife couple, the dwarves Roknard and Bruna. The venison stew is hearty and well-spiced, and the delicious Three Tine Ale is brewed in-house. The tavern is well-populated throughout the night and most of the gossip centers on the chill weather and rumors of non-native creatures running through the nearby Border Wood.
Ulfrik: You have arrived this afternoon in the village of Heldren. Since you left home and headed south, there have been many inquiries as to your availability as a merchant guard. Your obvious Ulfen heritage has opened many doors in that regard and also allows you to charge a premiere rate. After only a little deliberation, you signed on with a minor merchant, Jack Goodman, a fat, jovial fellow who seems to live up to his name. Heldren is one of his stops. He indicated to you that you would have a couple of free days in town while he conducts his business before moving on.
You took him up on his recommendation to visit The Golden Hammer and find yourself ordering several helpings of the venison stew. The townsfolk are friendly and well-meaning, but are in obvious awe of your size and coloring. Several of the young men approach you to share a few words, but mostly seem to want to engage in arm wrestling contests. They take their losses in stride and are greatly amused by how easily you beat them, good-naturedly purchasing mugs of ale for you in order to fulfill their bets.
Just before sundown, a trio enters The Golden Hammer, two men and a woman. Both men seem protective of the woman, and she keeps her hood up, perhaps to ward off the chill. One of the men is tall and tanned with shoulder-length black hair and green eyes; the second is slightly shorter with ebony skin and a heavily scarred face. His eyes are a striking blue that contrast with his skin tone. They take a table in the one corner that provides some shadow.
Dekkembe, Kai, Pacianna: While you had some concerns that you would attract attention in such a small village, providence has seen to it that the townsfolk are absorbed by a much 'larger' distraction.
A few hours later, another trio enters the tavern. The three pretty young women that enter are laughing with each other and are clearly friends having a good time. The smallest one seems to be the leader of the group; a petite redhead with mismatched eyes and an abundance of personality. She is joined by two white-haired young women; one with mischievous eyes, and one that is slightly more reserved in her bearing.
Khaleesi, Sidhe, Sionna: You have arrived just before Roknard closes the kitchen, but in plenty of time to be served a few rounds of ale, should you wish to partake. There are still a few of the younger townsfolk lingering, and several of the young men give you respectful nods or inviting smiles.
Ulfrik, flush with gold and his recent wins at arm wrestling (and not a little from the ale, which he finds excellent), approaches the barkeep:(tosses 3 gold coins on the bar): Barkeep! Ale for your new guests!
He smiles genially at the three latest entrants, the three women, and says: For you, fair maidens. I, for one, can recommend the stew most heartily. And the ale... Ulfrik glances at the barkeep with an appreciative grin, It would be a true shame NOT to partake of a brew the gods themselves must have inspired!
Lurching away from the bar, Ulfrik settles himself on a bench - one large enough to accommodate him - and begins to polish off the last helpings of his stew. Not far from hand rests a large, cold iron greatsword. The tall Ulfen doesn't seem particularly worried that someone might try to steal it. It's close enough, and he's quick enough. Besides - everyone here is his friend, right?
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe responds to the charmingly soused Ulfen with a brilliant smile, and a blown kiss. She stakes out a cozy table not far from the big fellow's bench, and raises her cup to him when it arrives.
What do you think of that tall drink o' water? Sidhe giggles to her companions over their pints.
Feeling bold, Sidhe waves down a barmaid. Our fellow over there looks a little robust for a mere pint, she chuckles, so bring him one from each of us. If you've got a cup that'll hold three at once, that might save him some time. Tell him it's from all of us, for his pretty eyes.
She tosses a couple of coins on the tray to pay for the drinks and tip, and settles herself in a chair conspicuous from the big fellow's bench, where she takes out her cards and practices fancy fan shuffles.
Dekka (Pic) orders a bowl of venison stew and cup of strongly brewed tea. He eats slowly, enjoying every bite, seemingly in a good mood. His voice is deep and wonderful. He looks about occasionally, smiles in a friendly manner towards the giant Ulfrik and continues the story he is sharing with is friends. Those who listen in can hear bits of it:
Three hours from the forest’s edge is a tree of stupendous beauty - an Evergreen that stretches far into the sky and has a base the size of two large wagons! Roots, like a skirt, lay about it in a gorgeous pattern…only two seeds will ever fall... only two pieces of fruit a year... magical…
…BIGGEST orc you’ve ever seen… deafening SNAP! … emerged from the trunk and muttered an incantation... fell into the deepest of slumbers. She whispered in the orc's ear and caressed it's cheek. When it awoke, strangely he picked up his axe and began to patrol the perimeter of the great tree… a bent mind… some 7 YEARS later, that same orc still stands vigil over the wood! I say my friends, mighty and pure is the power of the forest loving Sylvan peoples!
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Are we sitting close enough to overhear Dekkembe's stories? Also, is there anyone here in the tavern engaged in any gambling games?
Surveying the room, Sidhe (Pic) smiles, pleased by the friendly vibe and cheerful atmosphere. Though the kitchen seems to be closing down, Sidhe waves down the barmaid to ask if there might be just a little bit of the fantastic smelling stew left over for late patrons. In the din of the barroom, she can't hear the barmaid's reply, but assumes that if there is some stew left it will find its way to her. Clearing some room on the well loved wooden table, Sidhe finally finds a nice shuffle spread she likes, and sets up a quick card game.
Anyone here up for a game o' Canary? Maybe some Hi-Lo? she asks, raising her voice to be heard by any patrons in her vicinity, but directing the question largely to the big Ulfen fellow on the bench.
Waiting for any replies, Sidhe begins cycling through the cards in the deck, allowing anyone who wanders by to observe the fairness of her shuffle. She keeps the corner of her eye trained on the big fellow with the big sword, trying to assess if he heard, or is interested in games of chance.
Ulfrik gets up, absently grabbing his greatsword.
He moves toward the table with the 3 women.
Do you mind? He sets his sword down next to him as he sits. The stool is a bit small for him, but he manages to maintain his balance.
He gives them all an affable smile.
I'd be willing to play. I'm not familiar with - Canary? He shrugs. But I'm always game for something new...
Giving Sidhe a broad smile. I'm Ulfrik, by the way. He reaches a big hand across to her.
The setting is quiet enough to hear his stories. It's up to you as to whether or not you pay attention. In regards to other players, feel empowered. As DM, I want you all to have cool scenes and play off one another. The only gambling that you've seen is the arm-wrestling.
A pretty middle-aged dwarven woman with her hair in two long braids identifies herself as Bruna, one of the owners. With a wink and a laugh, she previously delivered the drinks that you requested for the "tall drink o'water". Now, she acknowledges your request for stew and heads to the kitchen door, calling out, "Roknard, these pretty girls...," before her voice is muffled by the swinging door to the kitchen. A few minutes later, she brings three bowls of the stew. Seeing Ulfrik at the table, she asks incredulously, "Another helping for you, friend? Last chance..."
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Your hospitality is golden, Sidhe calls after Bruna by way of thanks, and backs up her comment by laying out a pair of silver coins, in addition to the usual fees, on Bruna's tray when she returns. She takes her stew bowl eagerly, raising the bowl to her nose for a long draught of heady, mouth-watering aroma. She lets the enticing bouquet of the stew whet her appetite whilst she turns her attention to the large fighter now seated at the table.
Sidhe smiles and takes Ulfrik's hand, shaking it firmly and marveling at how her tiny hand disappears into his massive palm.
Pleasure's all mine, Sweetie. Set you down a minute and I'll teach you up all I know about Canary that you can learn in a minute. I'm Sidhe, by the way, she drawls, letting her name slide slowly of her tongue as See-dah, and these two lovelies are my girls Sionna and Khaleesi. My but you're a well built sort.
Sidhe clears off space on the table, both for the refreshments and to spread out her cards for Canary. Looking over Ulfrik's sweet sheepish grin, Sidhe tucks away her fancy cards and pulls out a well-loved deck from her bag. These are my favorites. They're the best for learnin'. She lays out the cards in front of Ulfrik, and rattles off her game instructions in rapid fire like an auctioneer.
Now, the thing to keep in mind about Canary is that it's a lot like Hi-Lo, but instead of toppin' or bottomin' your kitty, you try to get your three cards to eighteen but not over. Now, it requires a tipplin' bit o' 'rithmetic, but just a trifle really, and I can keep the cradle if ya please. So tell me sing if ya want another for that round, and stay if ya don't, we pass bets on the cradles every time we lay cards, and we lay cards in rounds until we all got three. Should be simple enough, right Kitten? Let's do it.
Sensing perhaps a bit of apprehension on Ulfrik's part, she flashes him a sweet smile and says Don't worry on it, Love, I've got your cradle. We'll take it slow, it's plenty easier than it seems.
Sidhe takes up her stew and tastes it, then purrs with culinary contentment. There's nothin' in the world like a good meal and good company to keep it with. 'Specially good, well-armed company to keep everything sportsmanlike. Shiny bit of kit, that. she smiles, indicating Ulfrik's weapon, Makes a girl feel warm and safe knowin' she's in the company of such a well-heeled fellow. So, whereabouts do ya wanna start your bets?
As the server approaches the table, Khaleesi says, "No ale for me thanks. Although, I am a little hungry, the stew sounds good."
Looking back and forth between tiny Sidhe and the giant, Khaleesi responds to Sidhe's question, "Don't you think he's a little big for you?"
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe blushes bright crimson as she peers at Khaleesi. The card she was flipping into her cradle slides across the table, falling not into her own pile, but into Ulfrik's instead. She looks back and forth from Khaleesi to Ulfrik several times, before her ears nearly glow red and she manages to finds words.
Ain't nothin but a sweet friendly game of Canary. Why...what...you mean...you think...?
Sidhe looks at Ulfrik slightly dumbfounded.
Do you think I'm tryin' to rustle your trousers? she asks him with concern, I mean, did I make you think I was tryin' to ply you with ale until you became mountable? Because I never thought anything like that until just this very moment when she said it, and I mean...I'm not thinking of it now or anything, I swear, but I mean, the thought never HAD occurred to me, well, not much, not much more than any usual sort of way anyway. Umm, uh, no, that's not quite...
Sidhe looks back at Khaleesi plaintively.
What'd you have to go and say a thing like that for?
The good-natured Ulfen gives Sidhe a look that says he doesn't mind, and nudges her card from his pile to hers. He looks at Khaleesi and winks playfully, letting her know he's smarter than most people assume due to his size and background. Her friend might be quick, but she wasn't likely going to pull one over on him.
Sing, he says, and taps his pile once. He takes a long pull on his over-sized tankard, and wipes the foam from his beard.
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Oh...silly me...let me know how you feel about that, G, and I'll figure it out from there. Also, I have a deck of cards here...don't know if Paizo has a card shuffler function. If everyone's down, I can flip the cards from my deck here and report what everyone's dealt, or Sly can do it if he prefers with whatever card shuffler he has.
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe buries her little face in her ale mug to regain her composure, draining it to the dregs.
That being done, she sets the mug down and goes to speak, but instead is victimized by an excess of ale compressing very quickly into a small space. Whatever she planned to say comes out instead as an unusually loud belch for such a diminutive creature.
Surprised by her own burp, she gives a little jump and topples her stool, falling out of sight except for her hands, which remain in dealer's position.
...sing, you said? comes a tiny peep from under the table, as she flips a card into Ulfrik's pile without trying to sit up.
If any of you respond to the following, please do so in spoilers.
A smile rests comfortably upon the lightly armored human sitting at the table with Pacianna and Dekkembe. The man listens to Dekkembe's storytelling, offered complete with the proper gesticulations. Kai nods at certain points through the story, along with the occasional chuckle or dipping of his head to the auburn haired woman seated beside him, words quietly exchanged between the two.
As the activity in the inn began to pick up, namely between a certain largely set barbarian and three females of distinctively differing personalities, Kai's attention began to shift. His gaze flicks to the barbarian, seconds passing as he eyes Ulfrik from head to toe, as one would another just before the start of a duel, except there was none to be had. Dark green eyes then dart to Sidhe, observing her animated words and gestures before moving to Khaleesi and Sionna, the two more quiet of the group, or so appearances would dictate.
Upon watching a game of cards break out upon the table, his brow lofts with interest. He turns to offer a nod to Dekkembe along with an upheld hand signaling attention before turning to Pacianna, "Friends, I do believe I am going to make company with our fellow patrons, before the time of introductions grows stale."
With a wry smile he turns to Pacianna, calloused hand raising up towards her with an offered palm. "Card games often require bets, Paci." The palm floats towards her slowly, "Bets require coin." The palm further still, "Coin which you're holding."
Ulfrik chuckles at Sidhe, and grins at her in a way that says "I am laughing with you, not AT you." He glances at his cards, not sure whether he has a good hand developing or not but places a silver coin on the table anyway.
"Are you all from around here?" he asks, including Khaleesi and Sionna in his look. The strange, tiny female next to Sidhe has what looks like fox ears on her head. Strange!
Ulfrik notices movement amongst the strangers who had taken up places in the shadows. The tall human had finished studying him, which Ulfrik was used to - his build and heritage, not to mention his cold iron greatsword, often garnered such wary attention - and was leaning in toward the hooded female at their table. Ulfrik gives them little more attention and turns his focus to the card game at hand. While he doesn't mind losing - coin seemed to flow to him as readily as ale of late - he enjoys winning much more!
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe lays the cards on the table, and hoists herself back up into her seat, righting the stool beneath herself as she rises.
I'm from around everywhere, she smiles, pardon me for that. Compliments to the chef 'n' all.
Settling back in, she observes Ulfrik's pile.
Face cards are all worth ten, like normal. You're gonna have to play it careful from here, Love. Am I dealing anyone else in? she asks, directing the question to her friends but looking at the gentleman who came in with the hooded woman to assess if he plans to wander over.
Pacianna’s fingertips twist nervously in the fine wool of her simple gown, a wan smile on her lips as she listens Dekkembe’s animated story. Glancing skittishly around the noisy inn, she assesses the room and all its’ occupants, her gaze lingering on the women, before returning her attention to her meal, idly nibbling on the roast chicken before her.
Returning her attention to Dekkembe, she smiles lightly and nods, her patience waning as she nudges Kai gently in an effort to catch his attention. Before she has the opportunity to speak, he turns to her, requesting coin to waste. Inhaling sharply, her smile fades as she reaches beneath the folds of her cloak to rummage through their shared purse. Her hands brush across a small stone before pulling out a few small copper pieces. “It’s Paci-anna, Paci-anna- two syllables, not one. Pray don’t lose all our coin in this ridiculous game. Cheats abound everywhere.” Pressing the coins into his outstretched hand, her lips twitch into a hint of a genuine smile at Kai’s enthusiasm. Turning her attention once more to Dekkembe, she chuckles wryly. “I fear we’ll be paupers before long.”
Sidhe looks back at Khaleesi plaintively.What'd you have to go and say a thing like that for?
Puzzled at Sidhe's reaction, Khaleesi finally notices the large shadow over the table. Looking up, she sees Ulfrik standing next to the group. Blushing furiously, she stammers, "Oh, no, I just meant..." How do we get out of this one? Getting into trouble with Sidhe, how typical. The stew comes just in time, and Khaleesi lowers her head and pays attention only to it for a while, ignoring the card game
Roknard, the husband half of the tavern owners exits the kitchen, wiping his hands on his apron. He gives an affirmative nod to Bruna. She calls out, "Last call for alcohol! Soon no more beer, though you can stay here! We have no beds for you to lay your heads! But the floor is clean, polished to a sheen! The fire will keep you warm until the morn!" The invitation to stay the night is clear. After all, those who are here in the morning are practically guaranteed to order breakfast. The floor is indeed clean, and the fire will keep the chill away for those who decide to stay.
The remaining townsfolk disperse within a few minutes and Roknard and Bruna retire for the night shortly thereafter.
Feel free to finish any rp. Once everyone has checked in and indicated whether they are staying in the tavern, I will progress the story.
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe perks up her head...Last call for alcohol is a serious sort of announcement. She begs one more pint for the night, then looks over at her friends. Having been so late getting into town, the tavern's well-maintained floor seems as reasonable as anything.
Fear not, chums she says to the people gathering around the game, the bar may be closed but the fun's just begun. We can game on 'til we sleep where we sit. Last call for deal in.
Ulfrik thanks Roknard, and indicates that's he's had plenty. Yes, he's large - but his stomach isn't bottomless.
"I'm in," Ulfrik says and tosses another silver coin into the kitty.
Dekkembe leans close to Pacianna and says, Just don't give him anything shinier. Tell him if he wants gold, he'll have to earn it playing with coppers! He's a clever man - thinks strategically in the woods. I'm curious to see how he does in the forest of gambling?! and laughs good naturedly. Leaning in closer he whispers, If we three are to sleep here tonight, shall we take shifts? If so, would you like to go first or last? making sure she gets the fullest block of rest.
Pacianna withdraws slightly as Dekkembe leans in, maintaining what she feels a more appropriate distance. Brisling slightly at his comments regarding Kai, she retorts, "He's earned the right to my coin, and I'll not withhold it, even for foolishness. Smoothing her skirts, she fidgets with an object hidden deep in her purse, visibly withdrawing as Dekkembe moves closer again. "I believe I shall withdraw first, if that is acceptable. What sort of inn has no rooms for the night? Muttering protests of the indignity of these shared quarters, she turns to Kai.
Dekkembe looks surprised by Pacianna'a reaction. Both to his leaning closer to speak and to his playful comments regarding Kai. Maybe this is a cultural difference? I am not flirting or threatening. I am complimenting Kai's cleverness and playing off her joke... She is tense, I would be too. It's no fun feeling like a rabbit with a wolf lurking about. His face softens.
Dekkembe unfastens the rolled up blanket from his backpack and places it on the floor leaning against his chair, keeps to his side of the table and says to Paciana kindly, By all means, you two rest first and I will sit vigil. You or Kai may use this to soften the hard floors if you like. I just drank tea and will be alert for quite sometime. Looking towards Kai and the neighboring table having fun he says, By the looks of it, they will not be sleeping anytime soon. Perhaps I will join them and learn a new story.
Kai lofts a brow at the mention of no rooms being available. He takes a moment to glace at Pacianna, giving her a wink, the man knowing full well that his lady friend came from a more noble upbringing. Although with the number of years she had spent with the settlement, the woman could no doubt fit right in if she needed. Despite whatever discomfort she may be feeling. Hear that Paci? It'll be like camping. Except without the fresh breeze and ambient sound of forest. That wasn't to say of course that an opportunity to make the lady glower should not be taken.
As Pacianna pulls out a few copper pieces he nods in thanks before promptly swiping out his hand and snatching the purse, leaving her with what was to be a meager offering for any gambling table. My thanks, Paci. He starts towards the table and gives Dekkembe a wry smile and friendly wag of his finger at his old friend's verbal jabbing That's right Dekkembe, I'm entitled to this here coin. He chuckles and jerks his head towards the table, You wouldn't be able to sit alone for more than a minute anyway. Let's let Paci sleep and you join me at the table. He turns to Paci with a grin, Unless the lady would care to see grace us with her presence for a few rounds?.
Ulfrik ponders his cards, as well as the offer to stay the night and sleep on the tavern floor. It wouldn't be the first time... he muses. Plus I'd be among the first to get breakfast... He turns and glances at his pack and the warm wool blanket his mother had gifted him with before he departed. It brought a sense of comfort, and Ulfrik decides to stay.
Besides, he has coin on the table, and the gods have been showing him favor of late!
A deep mirthful laugh erupts from Dekkembe as Kai swipes the full purse. I've chosen lively company! This night will prove to be exciting and may just give me a new story to tell! Onward Kai! He stands and follows Kai towards Sidhe's table bringing a chair with him. He looks back at Pacianna sympathetically and says, I will do my best to see Kai returns the purse fuller than when it left. Meantime, treat yourself to some well deserved sleep and know we two will be watching over you.
Noticing the tall dark skinned man set out a bed roll she stands up and removes her head band, revealing that they are not in fact her actual ears but a costume prop of sorts. I think I want to hear a story.. she will say toward her companions.
She walks politely and quietly towards the group the dark skinned man is with as if not to be rude. Once near enough she speaks to him in a shy polite tone. Excuse me sir, I am quite fond of stories, I was hoping you might sit with us a while and regale us with one of them?.. she gestures toward the table with the card game.
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe peruses Ulfrik's cards with interest.
By a sotted dwarf's stringy nipple hair, he's pretty lucky. Two cards in and he's only got 11 in the cradle.
Sidhe smiles at Ulfrik, looking up into his crystal blue eyes. Suddenly remembering Khaleesi's earlier question, she blushes profusely.
You think this one is gonna fill in the kitty- Sidhe pauses, realizing in horror what she just said, No, I meant in the cradle, the kitty in the- I mean, the CARDS, the CARDS in the cradle, you've got a good lead on getting a good card. Do you think you're getting it now? I mean, the card. On this round, do you think you'll get the right card to fill in the kitty-your cradle, to fill in your cradle. My kitty don't have a thing to do with it.
Sidhe pauses, trying to figure out if she fixed what she was saying wrong or simply made it worse. Not knowing, she sighs and shrugs.
Well, I'm too close to goin' over the edge already, so if we're going in this round you'll have to make the move.
Thank goodness we got the conversation back to cards, at least, she muses, pretending to study a small scuff on the table. Out of the corner of her eye, she peeks at Sionna walking away. No trouble now. Not before we have a warm place to sleep tonight, my friend.
@ Sionna:Would be my pleasure! Seems we share a fondness for stories. I've spent years traveling and collecting all the good ones I can. Was just recounting some of my favorite tales of the Fey. How about I tell one and then you share a story with me? Dekkembe walks with Sionna back to her table and sets down the chair he was carrying. He points to a nearby empty chair as if beckoning it join them. He says to it, Come, give the lady a place to repose. The chair floats across the floor an inch off the ground next to Dekkembe's, rotates to the proper position and comes to rest. He smiles warmly at Sionna and says, Please sit and and let us share of great tales! My name is Dekkembe. It is a joy to meet you and your friends." (If Sionna sits, Dekkembe will also sit but waits politely for her to be seated first.)
Pacianna gasps, grip tightening just an instant too late on her pursestrings, as Kai unceremoniously removes the bag from her lap. Return my coin, immediately, I'll not have you gambling it away, or worse… spending it on… her voice drops to a whisper, loose women! Eyes narrowed, she glares angrily as they discuss the sleeping arrangements for the evening. Smoothing out the blanket Dekkembe offers, she nods her thanks, drawing her cloak tightly around her and using her pack as a makeshift pillow. Aye, I'll take the first shift, if one can sleep admist this rabble. Good night, sirs.
Ulfrik watches as the dark-skinned fellow near their table. He experiences a momentary, reflexive jolt when - at a gesture - the black man motions at a chair and it levitates itself and moves into position for the girl who was wearing the fox ears!
He glances at the cute Sidhe, hoping that she missed his moment of discomfort at the sight of magic, and forces a more cheerful grin than he's really feeling. "Sing," he says and taps his cards once. "It will be worth it to see you go over the edge."
He watches Sionna, to see if she will accept the witch-moved chair or not. The others don't appear to be troubled by it, and Ulfrik pushes his concern away.
They haven't seen the evils I've seen. Truth be told, MOST people I've encountered since leaving the Lands do not seem to view magic with the same dread as I. Either they know something I don't, or I know something THEY don't.
Khaleesi, paying close attention to her surroundings, cant help but notice that Sionna is more focused on the other table where another group is gathered: a hooded woman, dark black man with scars on his face, and a handsome gentleman with black hair and green eyes. Khaleesi is having trouble focusing on Sidhe's canary game. When Sionna gets up from her seat, Khaleesi and she exchange a look and nod to each other.
"I think I want to hear a story."
When Sionna walks towards the three strangers, Khaleesi pauses for a moment. Khaleesi looks over at Sidhe who is consumed with her card game, Ulfrik, her stumbling words, and filling up her kitty. Khaleesi decides to gets up from her seat and follow Sionna to the other table. Khaleesi directs her attention to the other two at the table. " Excuse me sir and madam, let me introduce myself. I am Khaleesi Winterfell. I am accompanied with Sionna, who is speaking with one of your companions and Sidhe who is running an exciting card game of canary. I woud like to invite you all to accompany us to our table to play or to chat, always interested in meeting new people."
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe looks at her two cards, already totaling to fifteen. With a shrug, she drops another coin on the table. The likelihood of drawing three or less is low, but Ulfrik's cheerful company seems to be worth losing a coin or two to get the game going.
She flips a card into Ulfrik's pile, then stares at the seven of coins in agog, filling him out to an even eighteen. With a sigh, she flips a card into her own cradle, and observes with chagrin the Queen of Swords.
Well, I'm definitely over the edge, Sweetie. You seem to be lucky at cards tonight as well. Another hand, or switch games? We can dice too, if ya prefer.
Sidhe pushes the contents of her kitty to Ulfrik, and gathers the cards to shuffle them for another hand.
Since you hit straight to eighteen on your first hand, house rules say I owe you a boon of some sort. There's no drinks to be bought right now, but if you'd like to save it for the morning then you can just remind me, and I'll get you a drink as soon as they're pouring again. Unless you might need help with something else, but usually people settle these sorts of things with drinks.
Looking up at Sionna's new friend, Sidhe smiles brightly.
Welcome, stranger. If you like, I know a card game called tree. Since you seem to be fond of trees, at least from what I heard of your stories earlier, she warmly informs the dark-skinned newcomer.
It is a pleasure to meet you Khaleesi, Sionna and Sidhe! Thank you for welcoming me to your table. I would enjoy watching Kai or this mighty warrior nodding towards Ulfrik play a game of tree Sidhe. As for me, I've promised Sionna a story. Dekkembe then looks to Khaleesi seeing if she will be listening to the story as well. For a quick moment he looks into her eyes. A brief expression of awe washes over his face but he quickly moves on. By the Gods there is something powerful about her! It's as if her very blood is filled with magic. Her eyes are fierce yet kind. I wonder what stories she has to tell? She is one I wish never to make angry. By the Heavens she has a destiny to fulfill. Dekkembe's demeanor is calm, open, warm and his eyes wise. He doesn't seem to notice the physical bodies of the people at the table, except Ulfrik, but connects to what he sees in their eyes. He looks to Sionna, smiles broadly and says How about the tale of the wizard Baelfrig and the Tree of Time? For those who listen to the short tale its basic moral is that magic is a tool, just like a sword, that can be used for good or ill.
Kai chuckles lightly at Pacianna's subtle jabs towards the gathering of people sharing the tavern's common room this evening. He simply offers her a smile in response, warmly set. He follows it with a wink before finishing with a touch of two fingers to his head and flicking outwards in casual salute. Her heart had always been in the right place, but wherever she came from, life must have been quite different for his childhood friend to have such an instinctively negative view of the common 'rabble'
He nods to Dekkembe as his friend makes mention of his name. A studious gaze flicks to Sionna and the Khaleesi for a passing moment before the ranger's attention turns to the table currently occupied by Sidhe and Ulfrik. The distance closes within a few strides, a curious glance shifting between the cards strewn about the table.
"Evening" The words are spoken with an accompanying nod of greeting to both muscled man and red-haired woman. Kai's hand reaches out and secures a grip upon the back of a nearby chair. A sudden jerk of his arm sends the furniture piece into a short spin before being stopped by the firm kick of a booted heel. He straddles the chair in reverse and drops a coin purse upon the table.
"Name's Kai" The man folds his arms atop the back of the chair and leans forward, settling in comfortably. "What's the game?"
Go ahead and finish any RP from the previous night before addressing the following post.
The night passes without incident. The smell of cooking wakes those of you who are still asleep when the sun rises. Shortly thereafter, the clock in the town hall's tower chimes, indicating that it is 6 a.m. After your morning rituals, Bruna invites you all to have breakfast. Roknard is busy in the kitchen, preparing for the day. As you eat, several of the townsfolk drift in, also seeking breakfast and company. It isn't long before a young man rushes in and begins whispering excitedly to Bruna.
"Roknard! Mayor Tymra! Come quick!," Bruna calls out. A portly woman excuses herself from a table of townsfolk and approaches the tavern owners. More excited whispers are exchanged along with significant glances at Ulfrik.
Not long after, an elderly woman with an aura of authority enters The Golden Hammer and looks around. She raises an eyebrow when seeing Ulfrik, but quickly makes her way to the whispering group. After listening to them for a few moments, she shakes her head and asks quite clearly, "Why don't we just ask him?" The rest of the group goes quiet and looks quite sheepish in response.
The elderly lady approaches the long table where Ulfrik sits, the other three trailing behind her deferentially. "I am Old Mother Theodora, the hedge witch for the town. There is some excitement because one of your countrymen has found his way here. He is badly injured and has been taken to my hut. He was ranting about winter in the forest, fey creatures, and a kidnapped noblewoman. Does this mean anything to you?"
Any of you may RP your way to the table and/or be sitting at the table with Ulfrik and engage in the conversation.
Ulfrik rises and bows his head deferentially, as his mother taught him, to show respect to the old mother. "I know nothing of a fellow countryman here, nor of any kidnapped noblewoman. But," Ulfrik leans down and gathers up his pack and greatsword, "if one of my countrymen is in need of aid, I will come."
Ulfrik looks to his new-found companions from the night before. "If any of you have skills as a healer, it would be most welcome."
To Sidhe, he gives a slight nod and apologetic smile: "I'll have to gather that favor some other time, it seems... Unless you care to accompany me? It's not a drink, I know, but your aid, or that of your companions, would serve in its place."
Giving Dekkembe a sidelong glance, Ulfrik tips his head to Pacianna, then to Kai, and slings his gear onto his back.
"Lead on, Old Mother," Ulfrik says.
Sorry, folks, but I wanted to move things on, and we could be another WEEK just saying "hello" and nodding at each other as we feel each other out. Feel free to backtrack and RP if you like. I simply wanted to capture this response to the inciting incident.
Dekkembe stands up, looks to Ulfrik and says, I have some knowledge of the Fey and some capacity at healing. I will gladly offer help to your countryman and the missing woman. He turns to Kai and Pacianna and says, Shall I meet you back here or will you be coming along my friends? He begins to pack up his belongings and tries to subtly cast "detect magic". Dekkembe then looks at Old Mother Theodora and around the room.
|Sidhe the Prowler|
Sidhe raises her head sleepily, but with interest.
I didn't think the town could hold two big fellows like you. And a favor's a favor. I don't know if I could be much help, but I'm an ace at fetching hot water and holding bandages.
Sidhe scoops up the rest of her breakfast to take along, then turns to Sionna and Khaleesi.
I do owe Ulfrik a boon, so I'm going. I shouldn't be long, or get far.
Sidhe makes her way to follow, then thinks better and turns back to the girls.
I SHOULDN'T be long or get far, she restates, but really, we know how that goes. Let's say if I take longer than...
Sidhe turns and assesses their new friends, trying to do some unknown calculation in her mind. Finally, she gives up and shrugs.
Maybe the two of you ought to just come along. Safer that way.
Confident with the new arrangement, Sidhe shoulders her bag and goes to follow Ulfrik, stopping for a moment to marvel at his height.
My word, Ulf. I've climbed shorter trees to get to the good fruit.
She pauses to contemplate her statement. He shouldn't think a thing of that. I mean, tall trees have better fruit because it's way up, and you have to climb them to get the fruit... Yeah, everybody knows that. It's fine.
Sidhe smiles at Ulfrik and stands at ready to go, munching thoughtfully on a piece of crisp smoked bacon.
Khaleesi is visibly pleased to hear that Sidhe is up for going and being of some help. Khaleesi is ready to move on before day break. Had it been that Sidhe or Sionna wanted to stay a little longer I would have come back for them. I am ready, let's make haste, this man is badly injured and needs immediate medical attention.
Sionna nods and stands gathering her things together. Sounds like an idea. I think I've had my fill of being in for the time being. The situations sounds curious..
She smiles at Dekkembe as he also gathers his things. Besides.. Our new friends are going, I'd hate to walk away knowing there are still so many untold stories.
She plops the fox ears back atop her head and prances over toward the door with a sense of excitement under foot.
For those who haven't had an opportunity to post, catch up when you can.
The older woman eyes Ulfrik, looking down and then back up, meeting his eyes. "You're a decisive one, aren't you? That suits this old woman just fine. Come along then." She exits the tavern without looking back, leaving it to all of you to follow. She crosses the town square in the middle of which stands a large statue of a woman. As she continues towards the southern part of Heldren, she says to no one in particular, "All the strange rumors, and now this! Trouble comes in threes, you better not be the third."
When you reach her home on the edge of town, you can see the Border Wood in the distance to the southwest. To the east are a line of hills. The most noticeable thing about Old Mother Theodora's place from the outside is that it is not a hut. It looks to be a very comfortable home, and when you step inside, your suspicions are confirmed. A large hearth sits in the middle of the room, with several blazing logs and a deep bed of hot coals within it. A metal smokestack diverts the smoke through the roof. It is almost uncomfortably warm in her "hut". Drying herbs hang from the rafters, but the hedge witch seems neat and organized otherwise.
"Come, come," she says briskly as if she has been waiting on you. She leads you behind a screen where a bed sits. You enter to the bed's left. In the bed lies a man with straw-colored hair sticking out where bandages do not cover his head. Not so large as Ulfrek, he is still nowhere near small or even average. He is covered by blankets, but his right hand is clutched to his chest. His left lies at his side. You all can see that his nose and fingertips are black. Those of you with experience in the northern lands recognize a serious case of frostbite. "He should live, but he has a long recovery ahead of him. He can speak, though," Theodora says sympathetically. The large man's head turns at the sound of her voice, his non-bandaged eye bleary.