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For five years, the faithful of Sandpoint have attended church in temporary structures erected after fire destroyed the previous temple, and while their new religious leader was helpful, kind, and wise, church wasn't the same. Now, the new cathedral is finally done. All that remains is for the Swallowtail Festival to renew the site's blessings from the gods and it will be as if the Sandpoint fire had never occurred.
The Swallowtail Festival begins promptly, as scheduled, on the Autumnal Equinox. The square before the church quickly becomes crowded as locals and travelers arrive, and several merchant tents featuring food, clothes, local crafts, and souvenirs are there to meet them.
The turnout for the opening speeches is quite respectable and everyone is excited to hear the four keynote speakers deliver their welcomes to the festival.
Mayor Deverin steps up to the platform to hearty applause and cheering with several whistles. He waves genially as he begins, "Hello Sandpoint! An exciting time for all, yes indeed!" The excitement the Mayor gives off seems contagious and there is another short round of applause. "Welcome, welcome all! To our lovely citizens, thank you for many years of support in making this new building-and this event-possible! It is sure to be grand. To our visitors: please enjoy yourselves and we hope that you enjoy Sandpoint! I think you'll find that every one of our friendly citizens is out to celebrate this glorious day. Why, we even managed to tear Larz Rovanky away from his tannery!" Everyone laughs and turns to a man leaning against a pole at the back of the crowd. He does not look nearly as amused as the rest of the crowd.
The Mayor finishes his speech and is cheered off the stage to be followed by Sheriff Belor Hemlock, a Shoanti man who inherited his post after the previous holder was murdered. The crowd's enthusiasm dies down somewhat as the Sheriff reminds everyone, "Now, I know we all want to have a good time and celebrate but I'm here to remind everyone to be safe around the evening's bonfire. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves I'd like to ask a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the fire that claimed our previous church." The crowd's melancholy and solemnity is palpable as everyone reminisces on the tragedy.
Sheriff Belor Hemlock finishes his speech saying, "Now, I was to be followed by our own local nobleman Lonjiku Kaijitsu, but I have been told that a sudden illness has prevented him from attending the ceremony this evening." There are some smirks among the locals and you overhear someone whisper, "Sure. Old Lonjiku just has a general dislike for anything frivolous or happy. He's probably brooding away in his mansion like usual."
As the Sheriff exits the stage, a colorful figure runs up to follow him to a rousing cheer from the crowd. The man seems to have had the effect of completing returning the enthusiasm and excitement lost during the Sheriff's speech. "Good day everyone, good day!" You hear several whispers, "Old Cyrdak Drokkus-quite the showman!" Cyrdak continues with quick recap of the long process the town went through to finance and construct the new cathedral. His anecdotes are far from dry, however, and it is clear that he has a pension for drama. "And, of course, I'd like to invite everyone everyone to stop by the Sandpoint Theater tomorrow evening to check out my new production of The Harpy's Curse. The lead role of Avisera the harpy queen will be played by none other than the famous Magnimarian diva Allishanda!"
As Cyrdak exits the stage, he is followed by an older priest whom everyone recognizes as Father Zantus, the local cleric of Desna. "Thank you all for coming once again. I won't attempt to outdo my predecessors on the stage and so I will keep this short: enjoy yourselves! I declare the Swallowtail Festival underway!"
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
"Perhaps a festival and relaxation are in order.", Miana thinks to herself, enjoying the energy and revelry the townsfolk bear.
Simple post to dot for now :)
Lord Kaijitsu will not be in attendance; a shame. My new designs for my alembic will have to wait.
Rissi looks about the Festival, curious as to what manner of vendors are present and what their unique wares or curios might be found at this festival.
Treading across the town square, Lucian breathes the fresh autumn air and considers the newly-built cathedral with a fond look. He must not have been very old when the former religious edifice was destroyed by fire, yet in his eyes the same devotion for this building as the other locals can be read.
So many years ago... but the burning left deep scars in all of us. Desna, be praised for this renewal, this sign of hope!
The Varisian visits some of his friends' stalls, nodding and smiling at them as he passes by. Many seem to recognize him for what he is - one of the town's representatives of a new generation. Patting Cyrdak in the back as the bard comes down the stage, he congratulates him on his speech."That was something, Cyrdak! I'll gladly attend the play tomorrow, but would you care to reveal a few spoilers? I hear this diva has a peerless voice, what do you think?"
After a short conversation, he moves forward into the crowd, eager to see if the visitors he met earlier at the local inn are there.
"Peerless! Yes, that is exactly the word I would use. But spoilers, bah! Lucian, you know I can't do that or no one would come! Did you see the look on Larz's face earlier? Ha! I imagine he'll be going back to the tannery for the day after that quip! Ah, but the man does fine work, a real perfectionist that one! He has provided us with some of the most stunning costumes and props. Well, Lucian, enjoy yourself at the festival; I must make my rounds." He waves to several others walking past as he joins them and starts up an animated conversation in which he looks as if he is miming a harpy.
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
Miana wanders through the crowds, taking caution to make sure not to bump into others with her bulky armor. Although she disliked its weight, moving encumbered as so is part of her current exercise regiment.
"Almost there...", she comments to herself, resisting the immediate urge to immediately step into the next step of her training.
After several minutes of browsing, she finally spots a familiar face.
"Greetings, Lucian!", Miana calls out, waving at the Varisian.
Rissi moves quietly, browsing from a distance so as not to catch the eyes of over-eager hawkers of wares. She watches families with their children pass by, a slight tinge of jealousy at their ability to walk so happy and carefree in the sun.
What would it have been like to have grown up in Tian-Xia, where I could have walked freely in the sun? Perhaps I can devise some glamour to hide us for the entire day. These robes are far too hot and heavy...
Lost in her thoughts, the robed woman runs right into the back of Miana.
"Oh... dear me; my deepest apologies... *chhh*..."
She bows deeply in apology, and then risks a sidelong glance from beneath her cowl.
"Ah, it is you, Mistress Miana. Please accept my apologies. I was *chh* lost in my thoughts."
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 8 - 5 ⇒ (2) + 8 - 5 = 5
Miana nearly stumbles over, the bump catching her off-guard more than she'd prefer.
With a confused look, she then lets out a sigh of relief upon Rissa's reintroduction.
"No worries miss Rissi; are you alright?", asks the lightly tanned woman, resetting her peacebonded weapons and shield strap.
"Of course, I was simply was lost in my thoughts. The contemplation of arcane matters *chhh* is very... distracting sometimes."
She subconsciously tries to hide from any onlookers in the crowd, stepping out of the main throng.
Clop, clop, clop
Well worn boots slap leather on wood as the noonday Autumn sun rises overhead.
Clop, clop, clop
A dwarf slowly makes his way across the suspension bridge. After a few uneasy steps, he decides to use his polearm as a balancing rod as he crosses the Turandarok River. Being slow is nothing new for Sealman. It is in his nature, much like all dwarves. There is never any need to rush. Take your time and do it right once, is what his father always said. But Seal was slow in other ways. He never was one to pick up the letters very well. And the numbers, well, just seem like more letters to good ol' Seal.
Clop, clop, clop
Slow and steady: a good mantra for anybody to live by. Of course, being slow has gotten Seal into a bit of trouble too. Most of the time, Seal did not even know it. There were plenty of jokes made about him. But Seal just laughed, even though he didn't know why. Then there was that time man gave him magic beans instead of coin for goat's milk along the roadside. Of course, there was the incident with the neighbor boy, Kaseroni. That ended most of Seal's troubles to those who heard of what happened to the boy.
Clop, clop, clop
The Mindspin Mountains are a long ways away now. Bygone are those times. Seal is now grown up, no longer the boy picked on and swindled. He is a hunter now. A tracker of monsters told in bard tales to scare children and cuddle couples closer together on a cold winter's night.
Clop, clop, squish.
Seal gives a small sigh of relief once his feet are on land again. He looks around at the view before him. Splayed out along the shoreline is Sandpoint, a town too peaceful and beautiful to earn the reputation as a hotbed of danger. Maybe Seal has fallen for another tall tale by the farm folk.
“Welcome to Sandpoint! Please stop to see yourself as we see you!”
Seal steps closer to the sign and spooks himself at the glance of his mirrored mug. Dashing away from the greeting sign, the dwarf finds himself at the edge of the Festival at the end of the series of speeches. Confused, Seal absentmindedly says aloud within earshot of any Suli man or woman, "Is Swallowtail good eating? I've never had any."
Lucian nods at Cyrdak. "I shall, friend! This is very promising, it will contribute to make this festival one to be remembered!"
Treading among the crowd, he catches glimpse of fair Miana and the cowled figure. He greets both with a merry smile, speaking up as the crowd's deafening din starts to grow. "Hello there, it's good to see you! Glad you made it for the opening ceremony. Did you have a chance to taste the mutton I advised you to?"
"I'm very enthusiastic about this upcoming performance at the Sandpoint Theater. Cyrdak has been known to direct the most daring plays, so this is a promising night. Will you do me the pleasure of attending? I would like nothing more." he asks both women, though it comes as a little obvious that he took a shine to the suli girl. Noticing that his offer may have come as a little awkward, he attempts to change the topic of the conversation.
"Anyway... I was thinking that we could all have a closer look at the Old Light later, if you'd wish. I'd be delighted to be your guide and provide information about our findings so far."
"I would *chh* be honored to hear the history *chh* from a local expert."
"'Harpy's Curse'; an interesting name. I had no plans to attend, as I was hoping to finish some reading. I have doubts about the play; the name makes it sound like one of these bloody Chelish affairs. Also, I am not thrilled at thought of navigating more crowds of *chhh* humans."
Father Zantus is making his rounds through the crowd and eventually makes his way over to your small assembly. "Ah, greetings again Lucian! Showing these folks the way around, I suppose? Excellent! And who do we have here? My name is Father Zantus, a humble servant of Desna."
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
Replying to Lucian, Miana shakes her head. "I have not yet, Lucian; my diet requires meat only for supper, to build up the muscles engaged in the day's activities. I do look forward to it this evening, though.
After hearing both of his offers, she pauses for several seconds to contemplate it, adding to the awkwardness. [b]"Perhaps, I have not attended such a performance before. And until I hear a response from the local captain of the guard, I have only my training to keep myself occupied."
Turning to little Hidetsugu, Miana smiles and extends the offer. "I imagine such a show would be more engaging with a larger entourage. Plus, your worldly knowledge would be a boon in discussion after the show."
Miana then quickly starts calculating balancing her schedule between more physical exercises, the festival, and now the show and Old Light tour upon the priest's arrival. After his introduction, Miana bows, one hand placed as a fist to her chest as she does so. "Greeting to you as well, Father. I am Miana, an initiate of Irori."
So many pink-skins; so dangerous. Perhaps, if I use Miana to shield me, though.
"Your esteem of my judgement of the arts is very kind, Mistress Miana. I know much of magic and history, but little of the theater; still, I think I would come with you to such a performance."
"Father Zanthus, how good to see you this blessed day! The priest's sudden arrival allows Lucian to breathe for a minute, relieved to see the topic of conversation changed for good. The slight blush coloring his cheeks soon disappears as the Varisian finds solace in the priest's presence.
"These are two visitors of note, Miana and..." Lucian stops, realizing he doesn't know much about the cowled figure, including his name. "... Both are scholars of sorts, they came to Sandpoint to enjoy the festival and use the opportunity to see the Old Light. We'll venture there tomorrow, if weather allows. They are actually interested in learning about it, can you fancy that?"
Hearing both positive responses for the theatrical performance, Lucian's face lightens, and a bright smile appears on his face. "I'm so glad! It's settled, then."
"By the way, I don't seem to recall your name Sir, which is odd since I have a knack for remembering everything I'm told." he finally dares ask Rissi.
"Madam or Mistress, if you *chh* please Master Lucian." Rissi responds in soft (if squeaky) voice. "I am honored to meet you, Father Zanthus; my name is Hidetsugu Rissi." She bows to both men.
"Please feel free to *chh* call me Rissi; Hidetsugu is my family name. In Tian-Xia, from where my family originally hails, it is often custom that family name come first *squeak* as a sign of respect. My family holds to this tradition."
"I apologize for *squeak* masking my appearance, Lucian, but I find that people are not often friendly to those my particular *chh*... Tien ethnicity. I admire that Mistress Miana does not share quite the same set of problems."
minor bluff?: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
"My apologies, Mistress Hidetsugu. You need not fear from the local townsfolk, as the Kaijitsu family - of Tian origin as well if I'm not mistaken - has been part of Sandpoint since the village was founded. Actually you should meet Ameiko Kaijitsu, the owner and innkeeper of "The Rusty Dragon", my favorite establishment in town. Her ale is excellent, as are Ameiko's mysterious and exotic songs."
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
"I'm used to the looks and the calls of being 'exotic'. Rarely did it turn to violence, but having to brush off the more... 'amorously aggresive' people can be taxing.", oblivious to the cause of Rissi's anxiety.
"Interesting...", ponders Lucian's words. "It would be pleasant to hopefully enjoy some local Tien cuisine again. Not that I would be shirking your offer of mutton, either, Lucian."
"It does remain a secret to this day, though many have tried to pry the monolith open one way or another. If you want my opinion, this riddle of sorts can only be solved with wits, not raw strength. As for what is inside, no one knows, though it is definitely of Thassilonian origin. Are you familiar with this ancient civilization?" It's as if Lucian was testing Rissi's knowledge on the matter, a playful smile on his lips.
"The second great *chh* human civilization of antiquity. Inheritors of the Azlanti, their power built upon mastery of the *squeak* schools of magic, excepting divination, enhanced by usage of runes and exploitation of seven metaphysical virtues." She lazily traces the rune for abjuration magic in the air with her gloved right digit.. "Yes, I have *chh* read the common histories, and a few more *chh* speculative works as well. It is a hobby of mine."
Lucian's eyes glitter in amazement as he gets carried away by the cowled figure's knowledgeable reply. "I am impressed, Mistress Rissi. You are also a true scholar of Thassilon, hence you should meet my mentor, Brodert Quink. Maybe you could even help us in our research? I'm sure your expertise would be invaluable."
"Perhaps; many things are *chhhh* possible in the world. We should talk of matters over tea, sometime."
Well, isn't this the most interesting thing I've had happen in awhile. I wonder if I brought Miana and Lucian home? What would Father and Mother think?
Rissi turns her cowled head to Miana. "Miana, you wish to join the Sandpoint city guard?" Her formality seems to have dropped a little, as she abandons a bit of her formality.
After the introductions Father Zanthus excuses himself but invites you to follow him to the square where the releasing ceremony will be held.
As the party chats Father Zanthus and his acolytes wheel a large covered wagon into the square. Father Zanthus recounts a short parable of how Desna first fell to earth and war nursed back to health by a blind child whom she transformed into an immortal butterfly as a reward for her aid. As Father Zanthus finishes the story the acolytes pull aside the wagon's cover, releasing the thousand children of Desna-a furious storm of swallowtail butterflies that swarm into the air in a spiraling riot of color to a great cheer from the crowd. Children begin to entertain themselves by futilely chasing butterflies, never quite quick enough to catch them.
The word among the locals is that lunch is to provided free, at the expense of Sandpoint's local taverns. Each is offering its best dishes-a marketing event to win new customers. Although lunch has only begun a few minutes ago, people are already raving about Ameiko Kaijitsu's curry-spiced salmon and early winterdrop mead over at the Rusty Dragon. The Hagfish is serving a delectable lobster chowder and the White Deer is serving their trademark peppercorn venison.
The consecration of the new cathedral will take place at sundown so several hours still await to enjoy the festival.
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
"Unfortunately, I am not too familiar with Thassilon or its history. Studying... is a weak point of mine.", answers the tanned woman. "One I hope to correct after I complete the next phase of my physical training."
Turning once again to Rissi, Miana shakes her head no. "I think it is a bit of my blood speaking, but I need something less mundane to challenge myself. However, I would like to investigate and banish any of the more monstrous threats to the area.". Her cheeks brighten with a red hue, which the paladin immediately notices. Clenching her fist and pressing it against the center of her armor, Miana closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, as if trying to calm herself down. "As much as I wish for peace amongst the intelligent and learned, the thrill of combat against evil forces does get my blood boiling more than it should."
Lucian calms hismelf as he hears out Miana and her revealing her aspirations. He seems sympathetic of the suli's cause. "I am not much of a warrior myself." admits the Varisian, showing his severely burnt hands. "I wish I was... but Desna bestowed other gifts onto me. In a way, we're quite complementary Miss Miana."
His kind words are interrupted by Father Zanthus's parable and swallowtail release. Wonder fills the young man's inexperienced eyes, and his gaze loses itself in the swarm of butterflies soaring to the skies. He closes his eyes for a brief moment.
Desna, I thank you for this day, for the people you put on my path. Give me strength to learn from them, for I tend to quickly forget that I have much to learn from others, as Brodert often tells me.
Recovering from his dreamy daze, Lucian points at the Rusty Dragon's stall. "We can't learn much on an empty stomach. Shall we indulge in a few treats from far Tian-Xia? Maybe it will remind you of home."
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
Miana simply stands in awe as the cloud of butterflies swirl into the sky.
"That was worth the stop."
The paladin smiles upon Lucian's newest offer. "Yes, let's indulge ourselves a bit. Rissa, let's see if lady Kaijitsu's food is as good as he says."
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
@Seal. I read everything but your last line until now... whoops.
Perception check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
There, I wasn't paying good attention at the time... yeah, that's the ticket!
"Swallowtail...eating?. Miana pauses at the strange thought and turns to see the dwarf. "Good sir... those are swallowtails!", pointing to the number of butterflies dancing through the air.
Kufieno made his way through the crowd, deftly avoiding touching passerby as he moved. Hood thrown over his head, he did his best to avoid attention. Even here, where he was known, his old habit of melting into the crowd stuck with him. Old habits were hard to break.
As he walked, he was keenly aware of the environment around him, the heat from the various grills as sellers hawked their foods, the gentle breeze as someone exhaled, the solid earth receiving his footfalls with an assuring solidness, and the coolness of a tankard of ale some man held. All the various sensations making themselves known to his mind.
Seeing a group he knew well, Kufieno paused at a stall, watching. It wasn't that he was unsociable, he just liked to watch people when they were unaware of his presence. Watching their expressions, inferring what they really were thinking against the message they tried to relay with their movements.
Getting the general idea of the conversation, plans for the day, Kufieno stepped back into the sun and made his over to the group. "Greetings all. Late as always...my apologies. What were you talking about?"
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
"Greetings to you, Kufieno.", Miana bowing to the fellow suli-jann. "We were just about to get some Tien cuisine from the Rusty Dragon; care to join?"
Ameiko Kaijitsu greets the assembled patrons as you enter the crowded bar. "Greetings folks, nice to see some of you again and nice to meet those of you here visiting our little town of Sandpoint. Sit right down and I'll get you some curry-spiced salmon as soon as possible. In the meantime, here's some early winterdrop mead to quench your thirsts. I hope it's all to everyone's taste and let me know if there's anything else I can get you."
Lucian nods politely at the stranger, even presenting him with a homely smile. "Well met... Kufieno, is that right? I'm honored to make your acquaintance, my name is Lucian Arvandru, native of Sandpoint and apprentice loremaster at the service of Brodert Quink. Would you care to join us? I would be delighted to share a story or two about our beautiful town."
Later at the Rusty Dragon, Lucian seems even more ecstatic than before. Ameiko's charismatic and exotic presence must surely have something to do with it. He addresses the Tien-Min woman a shy admirative look, accepting the mug of winterdrop without uttering a single word.
Kufieno smiles and nods. "Well met Lucian. I would be honored to join the table."
At the Dragon, Kufieno grins at the menu. "Sound wonderful, the coolness of the winterdrop set against the heat of the curry sounds delightful..a perfect mix."
Rissi breaks off a piece of bread and cheese and slides it into her right sleeve, where it disappears. The cowled head bobs up to Kufieno.
"Master Kufieno and Mistress Miana, you have *chhh* met before?" Rissi asks in a curious tone.
|Miana, Champion of Irori|
Roughly assuming so; his RP assumed we met before. I'd assume it was at the other inn during the RP part we were getting into. I'm playing it as such, although not near the discussion we had :)
While not exactly the Tien fare she was expecting, the use of curry spices remind her more of old meals back in Kelesh. "My compliments to the chef!", exclaims the paladin, trying to pace her appetite as not to eat herself into a lull.
Turning to Rissi's inquiry, the suli woman shakes her head. "Just once in the inn the night previously; another suli-jann in Varisia, let alone a smaller town such as Sandpoint is quite unusual isn't it!"
"Indeed. Coincidence beyond *chh* all expectation, I think."
She takes a sip from her tea. "Master Kufieno, you may call me Rissi; I am a minor *chh* student of the arcane. What brings you to this town?"
Seal is mesmerized by the priest's fable and the releasing of the swallowtail butterflies. The spectacle of the event catches the dwarf's attention as he stands outside to watch every. Single. Swallowtail. Leave.
It is minutes before Seal realizes he's alone. Like a lost puppy, he follows after the last person who gave him any attention, Miana. Seal hustles toward the Rusty Dragon and shamelessly heads toward the table where the party is currently sitting. Seal pulls up a table and continues a conversation that seems to be days old.
"So do the children chase down the swallowtails and eat them? Or do they gather them all up again and bake them into a pie?"
Rissi growls at Sealman in gravely voice.
"Then why name a festival after them? I have been to Alefest, Muttonfest, Baconfest. Even Eelfest by the river. But too slimy for me. That's why they call it a feast, cause you eat it! Right? My name is Sealman, not Earth Child. And I am looking for something to eat. All this talk of feasting is making me hungry. Are you going to finish that?"
Seal begins to reach over anybody to grasp at any food that somebody is not actively eating at that very moment.
As he reaches for her food Rissi slaps at his great hand with her small, gloved paw.
She chitters in a fast, high pitched Tien.
Calm, be calm Rissi. He is a simpleton. No, that isn't right... he is oblivious to metaphor.
"My apologies for striking your hand, Sealman. A... moment of *chhh* surprise. Hungry Dwarf, there is plenty here to *chhh* eat without taking from another.."
She squeaks. "One considers with trepidation *chhh* what you would do if you ever came to town during Taxfest. Tell me, do you hail from *chhh* Janderhoff, Sealman?
1d3 ⇒ 1
Seal doesn't appear to notice Rissi's paw as he reaches for Miana's food. After shoving a fist full into his mouth, he turns his attention back to Rissi.
"Wha? Uh? Janderhoof? Yah, I used to go to market there," Seal says between chews.
A pepper crack can be heard as one grids between the dwarf's teeth. Seal's eyes go wide as he sticks out his tongue to fan it with his hand.
Hot, hot, HOT!
Seal then turns to another table and grabs a stranger's mug of ale. Without any hesitation, he tosses his head back pours the ale down his throat. Half of it makes it into his mouth while the other half sloshes down the side of his face and chin only to be absorbed by his unkempt beard. Seal gives a sigh of relief and returns the mug to its previous owner, empty.
Rissi tries to answer.
"I used to *chhh* visit the Dwarven Mage..."
When Sealman tosses the ale back she stops mid-sentence. She immediate turns to Lucian and endeavors to change the subject.
"So Master Arvandru, you had a *chh* promise of a local tale for us foreigners?"
Kufieno sits quietly, relishing his food and glad he is not seated near the dwarf. "Where is everyone from and what brings you here? He says between bites. "I am called Kufieno by the way. It is a pleasure to share a table with all of you."
Ameiko comes by to check on everyone, resting her hand on Lucian's back. "Well, how is everything? You seem to be enjoying yourselves so it must not be that terrible, huh? Some more ale, Master Dwarf?"
"Now, you folks shouldn't spend too much longer eating; you'll miss the consecration. I hear it's only about an hour before Father Zanthus performs the rite at the central pavilion. Just enough time to finish your food and head over there, I think. I'm sure it will be packed with the whole town-and then some!" She laughs a bit as she walks to the next table to check up on them.
"Ah, what a shame. The tale will have to wait until tonight. Shall we finish and head there? I wouldn't miss it for the world. Putting all those sad events behind us for good..." The Varisian stares into emptiness for a second, his thoughts carried away by painful memories.
"... Shall we?" finished Lucian, his smile back on his lips.