Sajeek sinks his face into his hands. Shaking his head he sighs. Looking back up Ksenya the vah shir shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders.
"As you wish old man," the va shirs says, giving in. They would just have to sneak off before the old one knew that they were leaving. The vah shir looks over at his friends.
"Alright, we are going to be heading to Kurnak. Since the elves are waging war to get the elven princes back, we could hire on as translators since four of us can understand the tongue of iskar." Sajeek muses outloud. "That's one of the easiest ways I can think for us to get there. Once we get to Kurnak, we'll have to make some time... for our own devices," Sajeek rubs the white furred clawprint wrapping around his right bicep as he talks about the homeland of the Iskar.
"I have been learning Elvish as well, though I still need lots of practice. Luckily, my wife is an expert," says Revery.
He is quiet for a bit, and then says what's on his mind. "I've completed the first attempt at Justis. If any would like to see it, it is in my chamber. I really shouldn't show you because I plan on doing another - I'm not entirely happy with the size of her head, or with her eyes. But I think your honest opinions will help me out immensely."
He brings any who are interested to his room, where he has set aside at least half of it as a place to sculpt, after it had started getting cold outside and his hands were feeling numb. Under a large piece of burlap he reveals a lifesized statue of the young elven girl, as he remembered her.
Trade Skill (Sculpting): 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 24
"I suppose I won't be able to start on another one until we get back here, whenever that is."
Ksenya engrosses himself in his meal, merely smiling a warm smile at anyone that questions his abilities, or what he brings to the table. You do not get the impression that he is purposely ignoring you, or trying to keep anything from you. He simply exudes a relaxation so pervasive that worries flow past him like water sliding around a river stone.
Perhaps it emanates from the ~2' long pipe he smokes with the halfling weed within.
The elderly wizard leans in and considers the statue for a long while before clapping Revery on the shoulder. "An excellent work young man."
Gramorn shakes his head at Ksenya and and fills his own pipe. Unlike the others, he has little concern about the old man's ability to take care of himself, but he does wonder what would lead a man of that age to venture into the unknown Kunark jungles. He sincerely likes Ksenya, but cann't even begin to figure him out.
"I'm not much of a linguist, I do well to get by in common and halfling. I am a warrior and, thanks to the priests here, a semi-competent healer. Neither of those things would be questioned in a party venturing into the wilds of Kunark."
Ksenya bids the others good night ands leaves them with the parting words, uttered through plumes of pipe smoke, "Let's hope you can keep up with me."
There is only kindness and soft humour behind the words, and the twinkle in his eye only speaks of mischief as he departs.
The old man wears the robes of a scholar, and no one has seen him do any magic, or anything to suggest he is a trained combatant.
Perhaps he's just nuts.
Back in the dining room, the vah shir glances at the remains of breakfast, Sajeek raises his eyebrows at being bid a good evening. Shrugging his shoulders, he looks over at Rev.
"I agree Rev, you did a great job on the likeness," Sajeek shudders slightly. "I'm eternally glad we didn't have to do what Swenj almost tricked us into doing."
The scent of the halfling smoke began to fill Sajeek's nostrils. Nostrils twitching, Sajeek watches Gramorn smoke for a few puffs. The vah shir's emerald eyes follow the smoke upwards. Blinking a few times, he shakes his head and grins.
"Okay, I'm going to go wander around for a while," Sajeek drains his glass and sets it back down. "Between the Halfling Smoke and the sunbeams peaking through the windows, I might take a nap if I don't start moving a bit." The vah shir says with a grin.
"So, when we are ready to leave, I believe the High elves have a city to the north. We should go there and passage to Kurnak should be relatively easy. And, we might even have a safeish port to operate from when we get there. 'Cause, if the elf's are still at war, then I would think they have some kind of port or stronghold to work out of."
" Sounds good to me, at least we have an idea of where we are going, now I'm going wonder as well, and see if we have any new guests arriving or at least have arrived in the last few days. I have a feeling I'm going to need to do a lot of talking before we leave." The rogue set's of four chair legs back on the floor, and grabs the last slice of bacon on his plate.
Revery had spent some time with Arwen in her favourite place - a spot in the garden that was sort of hidden, yet provided a good view of the manor. He had made that his gate site using Bind Affinity. "If in danger I ever get, and to absolutely leave I must, I will come here back... here," he told her in Elvish.
Being here had calmed Revery's mind, and he had stopped having his waking dreams. Perhaps it was the influence of Arwen. Perhaps Quellious. Or everything at once.
Now he is preparing to leave again, and she is concerned, not that she'll miss him, but that he'll be put into danger. After hearing the stories he had told her, she had experienced nightmares for a week. But big things were in the cards for his friends and him.
He thinks about Quellious, and the gods in general. If he is going to dedicate himself to his goddess, in a way he never has before, he should do it now, while at peace. Any similar dedication during a time of conflict would make it disingenuous. He wonders if the gods mind that. If he were a god, he surely would.
Revery kisses Arwen, telling her he'd be back before bedtime, and heads for the chapel.
Gramorn finishes setting the defensive plans for the city and appoints the dwarven captain to serve in his stead. As he finishes packing away the rest of his supplies, he realizes something he never would have believed upon first setting eyes on the manor. He is truly going to miss this place.
Refugees from previous adventures trickle in over the weeks that have passed. They are quickly absorbed into those the ranks of those that believe in what the group is setting up: a city for all to be accepted, no matter their previous deeds, or how they were born.
You see the first permanent building being erected in the lower area: a large smithy.
Dragged into helping Hexes work on the blacksmithy, not that it took any effort on the female vah shir's part, Sajeek looks around. It felt odd, but nice, being around another vah shir that didn't seem to be shunning him. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that she "died" more then 30 thirty years ago. Whatever his clan had done must have happened while Hexes was undead. Sajeek stops what he is doing, and shakes his head.
"There's a thought I never would have expected to think," he says to no one. The dusty black furred female looks at him and raises an eyebrow. He tries to explain what he found funny, ending up trailing off as Hexes looks at him and blinks, shaking her head. "I guess I should get back to work." He says, picking the timber up. Hexes snorts in amusement.
While Sajeek intends to be helpful, he tends to get distracted. Which causes a few dropped loads, and generally slows down construction. Rather then hit the Beastlord in the face with her new hammer, she mentions that more refugees had arrived. Given Hexes a lick on the nose, Sajeek almost bolts out of the building. Hexes chuckles, shaking her head. Feeling the eyes of the laborers helping her, she turns to them and barks, "I'm not paying you to stand around smirking at each other." This is met with general, good natured laughter. Everyone one was simply working together.
Sajeek scampers off towards new arrivals wagons. Following like an odd pair of shadows were Bast and the white dog Koashii. There seemed to game between the two animals as to who could demand more of the vah shir's attention. The certainly conspired to steal anything that Sajeek had plans on eating. He couldn't remember the last time he actually finished his own plate of food.
Likely the biggest surprise is when Jakab enters Justis with his brood in tow. Judging by their ragged appearance he has used everything he owned to get here, and meals were hard to come by long before that point.
His smile is warm as he embraces each member of the group and Nogglegrop as well.
"If you will have me..."
The second building will be a tavern.
Smile splitting his muzzle almost to the ears, Sajeek embraces Jakab and each of his three children in turn. Avvie, the farmers restored daughter gets tossed up into the air and then caught by the Beastlord. The twins of terror lock eyes on Bast and tackle the tiger. A look of long suffering comes to the tigers mis-matched eyes. Koashii's tongue hangs out to the side, the picture of canine laughter.
"We would be honored to have you," Sajeek's smile would have said that on it's own, but the words followed anyway. The vah shir looks over the other newcomers. He sees several travelers that had stayed after the curse had been lifted. They seemed to have taken the rebirth and the idea of Justis like a drowning man takes to a floating log. That made the vah shir feel good. He was happy that they were actually doing what they had talked about. Pravus Mortis would start an open city where all lived and worked together.
Glancing once more over they wagons as they get Jakab and his family situated and fed. The other arrivals were being helped already, leaving the group of friends to talk to old friends. Sajeek briefly wonders if Madam Ooma and the others in Freeport got their message. Sajeek figured it was the least that he could do for them. No matter what side won the civil war, he doubted very much that things went smoothly for Ooma and her employees that were as close as a large family. That, and he missed Fropze. He and the Iskar had become good friends and Sajeek felt that the iskar deserved better then to drink himself to death.
The little imps look torn as to which way to go first. Nodding to each other they split up with perfect precision so they can torture dog and tiger at the same time. Screeches of laughter pierce your ears, harkening you back to previous days.
Avvie stands apart from her siblings. She has the look of a self-conscious teenager about her, hiding behind her hair. A brilliant smile is shared with those that saved her.
Jakab remains protectively close to his eldest child. His arm holds her close, only leaving for an embrace. His shoulders relax, previously having occupied a position near his ears, as he hears the words he needed to hear for the dangerous months in travel.
He is a large, muscular man, and has been noticed by the women you rescued from the evil wizard. They sweep forth, like birds of prey, taking him by the hand and leading the family into the bosom of what you are creating. You doubt he will remain single long.
No word had come back from a few of those tortured by Swenj, and no one from Freeport had arrived.
Revery finds Jakab and his children and is overjoyed that they came, and that they arrived safely. He goes to give them all hugs, and introduces them to Arwen, Gramorn, and several others who happen to be around.
Revery has a look of peacefulness on his face, testament to his recent talk with the senior priest of Quellious, in which he had come to a new understanding about the Tranquil, the world, Revery's place within it, and his relationship to her. This peaceful countenance spreads beyond him, or so Arwen says, and Jakab seems to pick up on it, telling Revery that he looks better than ever.
"Welcome, my friend. You are most welcome here. This place is all about you and those like you. And your farming skills will surely be of use here. But do not worry about that now, lets get you fed and find a place for you all. You kids will be sad to hear Bast will be going on a trip soon. But there will be all kinds of other things to do here."
Kwen finds himself spending more time meeting new arrivals, talking with them answering questions to the best of his ability. Kwen finds himself worrying about Shard, but Kwen also keeps his focus on the fledgling city, assuring travelers that they are safe here, isn't too hard.
Upon hearing the Jakab and his children made it safely into the city, Kwen looks them up, glad that the farmer had arrived a broad grin on the half-elf's face. " Of course you are welcome here! After all you had given us a shelter, it is only fitting that you have a place here as well." Kwen says, turning around he ruffles the two younger kids hair.
Kwen also spends time helping build the tavern, having spent enough time in them, after all his years, the rogue still finds himself lacking in the ways of designing them though. Kwen throws a few ideas here and there and helps with the carrying of the wood and other supplies.
"Friends of yours?" Gramorn asks Sajeek and Revery, calling for another round of drinks. "Speaking of our trip, when do we leave?"
As the conversation continues around him, Gramorn regrets having to leave this place just as their labor is beginning to bear fruit. While he would love to be a part of the developing community here, he understands his destiny lies in Kunark.
Smiling at the children, most of whom are taller than he is, Gramorn quietly begins inserting himself into their games. He acts as referee and disciplinarian when needed, but mostly just has fun being around the children as he watches how quickly they adapt to their new home.
The change in the halfling is obvious. The anger that drove him is gone. He is quick to smile over a cup of ale or a game with the children. He has come to understand fighting is, at best, a means to an end, and should never be the goal itself.
"Yeah, Jakab and his family gave us shelter," the vah shir says. "They were among the first people we had encountered after our stay in the Plane of Fear." He pauses, catching the look in Gramorn's eye. "Long story, I'll tell you about it on the way. Anyway, to make a long story short, Gwen had a way to restore his daughter Avvie. She had been been horribly crippled from a disease from near infancy. And at that point in time, we really needed to do something good."
Sajeek holds up his left hand which had been touching the Greenmist dagger. The pads of his clawed hand were covered in shiny scar tissue caused by the unholy fire. "Let's just say, it hurt, alot." Sajeek grins. The halfling paladin gets the distinct impression that the Beastlord was leaving a few things out.
"As to when we leave? I was thinking in the next couple of day," Sajeek tugs at his left ear as he thinks. "I don't know what the seas are going to be like this close to winter." Sajeek takes a drink of his ale, staying out of the way of the busy laborers. He watches Jakab try to juggle his children and the sudden attentions of quite a few single mothers. Sajeek smirks.
"And we still have to march up to Felwithe to catch a boat. I imagine they are about the only ones sending anything to Kurnak," the Beastlord scratches under his chin. "I doubt they just gave up on Alric Farsight's niece, Fironia something or other. I got the impression she was someone important's daughter."
The Shenba'Dal visit, seemingly surprised that the dwarves and paladins throw the stone gates wide at their arrival. They do not stay long, but long enough to explore a bit, trade some, and drink a great amount.
Imagining the worst cacophony pales in comparison to the tumult wrought by Jakab's children in play with Nogglegrop's progeny. They are seemingly everywhere at once, and they never seem to sleep.
It had been lonely for Jakab after his wife had abandoned him for a man of means. He, heartsick and alone with a rambunctious brood, and the children had scratched out a living in the wilds. Here he had adult conversation, something he desperately craved, and the protection of walls. Jakab had distilled enough corn whiskey to be confident that he could grow into a decent tavern owner. Surprisingly, especially to Jakab, Rockbite throws in with him and the ill-named, though not as ill-named as the first suggestion by the troll to name it the "Shrill Harpy" after all of the women hovering around, Vicious Clam is born.
It is a strange pairing, but Jakab has an open mind and Rockbite is so gentle with the children that you would think that the were his own, but it stands for everything you wished to accomplish.
No talk of taxation had been thrown around, but at this point each person was building their own business with little help from the dwarves, beyond the expert advice and vetting to ensure that the building would survive the years and possibly being struck by siege weaponry, so it is best to keep that conversation quiet for now.
You understand that you are deeply indebted to the Kaladim dwarves, for their labour has been crucial in forming the bones of Justis. Perhaps that favour will be called in one day...
Avvie takes up with the footsome Arwen Mithranca and works in the gardens next to the elf of Revery's heart.
A surprise, bordering on complete shock, is launched at the group one evening after the table: Gwendalyn will be remaining behind. It is unknown for how long, for she appears torn.
Revery and Sajeek glance about, realizing that, with the departure of Nogglegrop and Gwendalyn, they are the only two that remain of those stranded on the island. It is a sobering thought, but not as sobering as the thought that they had lost both of their main healers.
In a time of shocks you get a massive one when Fropze appears at your gates, begging sanctuary. This is a test of your resolve, and the resolve of what you are looking to build here, for iksars are despised by every living thing on both Norrath and Luclin. Standing next to the iksar is a distantly familiar elven face, who stands with fists on hips, taking in the sights of the burgeoning city of Justis as one might look at a property that they are in the market to purchase. He moves with a slight limp.
"Fironia Vie. I believe she's the crown princess. Yes, we should be going soon. Fate awaits us."
Revery is at peace, but is concerned about healing and buffing that both Kwen and Noggy have been providing. He would be able to cover some of the buffs, but.... He thinks of the priests in the Quellious chapel. Perhaps one of those would consider joining them?
Sajeek was still mulling over Gwen's choice and the lack of both Noggy and Gwen on their adventures. It was noble they were staying back to help with the city, but the Shissar weren't waiting around. Eventually, word of the new arrivals made it to his ears. There also seemed to be a buzz of excitement with the word of the arrivals this time around. Freeing himself from his thoughts, the vah shir heads out to see whom has arrived.
Blinking in shock, the Beastlord looks between the elf and the iskar. A wide smile parts the vah shir's muzzle.
"Fropze! Syn!" Sajeek clasps the arm of iskar and elf in turn. Not to mention hugs and slaps on the back. "I'm glad that you came Fropze. I own you an apology for lying to you in Freeport." The vah shir grins. "I think we'll be able to make it up to you here." He laughes at the sight of Rockbite being attacked by Jakab's twins and Noggy's swarm.
"And as for you Syn," Sajeek looks over at the elf and grins. "Glad to see you managed to keep your leg from wandering off on it's own."
"Alright, after introductions, I think a trade of tales for ales from the two of you is in order," Sajeek grins. "Help to wash some of that trail dust out of your throats.
Kwen is shocked by Gwen's decision, in fact the person Kwen had expected would have been Revery, for his wives sake, Still Kwen had a feeling that Gwen would rejoin when she felt ready.
Kwen looks at Fropze, shaking his head slightly the rouge would ask the Iksar about what the goings on were. Kwen also takes note that the last contact with the guild was so long ago, Kwen wanted some information about Freeport.
Kwen nods at Syn, not quite sure who the elf was, still Kwen didn't mind, he was glad to have another person in the city
Gramorn shakes his head in disbelief upon hearing Gwen won't be coming with them. He is somewhat concerned about replacing the healing and protection she provides, but that can be replaced. Gwen has helped to keep the party together and focused during some very difficult times.
He mutters to Sajeek, "I guess it's on us to keep us alive now?" While he has some new healing abilities, Gramorn is not very confident about keeping the group alive in the thick of battle. "Perhaps we should attempt to recruit a priest."
"That's a frightening thought," Sajeek grins at Gramorn. "My people healing skills are a little rusty." The vah shir laughs. His grin fades as Sajeek thinks, mulling over Gwen's choice, the mentioned priest, and Rev reminding them that Fironia Vie was the crown princess. And then the enchanter dropped the heavy "Fate Awaits," as if Sajeek wanted another reminder. Part of him wanted to run screaming and go and hide. Not that it would help matters any.
"Well, I will be sorting through my spellbook. I'm guessing that Rev has already done the same," the Beastlord tugs on his left ear as he thinks. "It's gonna be tricky, and we'll have to be smarter about battles. Which I am all for avoiding, if possible." The vah shir makes a face. "Not that I think that we'll be that lucky." He adds with a chuckle.
Gathering up Syn and Fropze's bowls of stew, balanced in his left hand and forearm, he gets the two mugs of ale and goes back over to his friends.
"Okay, for those you don't already know, we found Syn and Khae on the island. The slave ship we had been imprisoned on was sunk by the dragon Faydedar. The prince had managed to keep Syn alive by himself for more then a week. That when his leg had been shattered." Sajeek smile at the elf.
"Fropze had a problem with some guards which we made go away. Noggy met him while they were both "guests" of the Militia. After some creative guard problem solving involving a large bribe," the vah shir grins at Gramorn, "Fropze agreed to teach us his language, and had a place we could use for shelter in the mean time. Plus, he kept us out of much trouble as any mortal could." Sajeek looks over at the iksar and grins.
Looking back to the halfling and Kwen, his grin fades. "Of course, we were working for two battling factions, so our reputation rather well used by this point. We might have sorta been responsible for the civil war that broke. Maybe not directly, but we certainly helped the blaze along." Looking back at the iskar, Sajeek nods. "Fropze is just one of the people our actions caused a great deal of grief for them. So, I owe him, just a bit."
"Oh, and Gramorn, I think we should try to find a priest willing to hire on or join. Finding one that suicidal, errrr, brave, might be the real challenge after all," Sajeek muses. "You and Rev seem to be in good graces here, although, I don't think taking any of the healers from here is a good idea. Perhaps the elven city. There they ones at war after all."
Feelers have been put out for another healer to join them. No bites have come of your efforts thus far, but perhaps one of the healers is just pondering your offer.
Speaking of healers, Nogglegrop could not look happier. He is seen here and there, a stream of children in his wake, or on his shoulders, tirelessly helping in all aspects of the construction. The gnome had been seeking a home for years, and now he had a chance to be crucial in the formation of one of his own. He would be equal to the task, for his children, and his children's children.
The guards had heard Syn's approach (selo's accelerando) long before any detail could be made of the strange duo that approached. If truth be told the bard had been at Ooma's Flesh Palace in Freeport when he had overheard the iksar speak of the group. This motley "Pravus Mortis" exploits had been much bandied about in the last two years, but they moved around too much to lock into a locale.
Those that had returned to their homes, to pick up the shattered pieces of what remained of their lives, had been true to their word and spoke of the generosity of the brave group, and of the city they wished to build. A place where all were welcome as long as they showed respect for the other residents, and the property itself.
You can imagine this will attract a fair amount of unwanted attention as well. Gwendalyn, Nogglegrop and the others will have their hands full defending the city's high walls.
Fropze is not drunk. That is the first thing you notice about him. It has not been long since his last drink, maybe only a month, but he is trying to stay sober. Iksars are hard to read, but he nods his head in greeting, and accepts hugs, then moves off to explore the city. The iksar is actually a fairly accomplished tailor, his skills lost into drink, and he will set up a shop in the next few months. Kwen gets a single word from the iksar as the creature passes him, a hissing, "horrible", drifts back as Fropze passes him.
Eyes follow Fropze's movements, as they do Rockbite, but no one says anything, or does anything to either of them. Soon enough they will simply be part of the backdrop, for all present know that they are welcome to leave if their intentions is to make it difficult for another citizen in Justis.
Syn also follows the departing iksar with his eyes. "That one said not 4 words in our entire travels. It appears that only liquor is able to draw forth words from his forked tongue." He absentmindedly rubs the greave of his affected leg, "I almost lost it, but it has agreed to remain as long as I fill it will sumptuous meals from all over the globe."
Introductions and tours are given. The wood elf's handshake is as strong as his eye contact as he meets Gramorn, Kwen and Ksenya.
At dinner, later that same day, the bard proves to be an attentive listener, asking questions, laughing and commiserating at all the right parts. His stories wrap around you and take you to distant lands in a second.
Perform: Oratory: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (19) + 19 = 38
While the bard's stories are amazingly delivered, their content is nothing compared to what Pravus Mortis has been through. There are times, especially when the group speaks of going to a different plane, when his mouth simply hangs agape.
Ksenya chuckles and raises his mead in a toast to no one in particular. "When next I see Cazic I will wrap him on his faceless face with my staff." The words come out as nigh gibberish, but they are said in a manner suggestive of intensive study of different dialects.
Revery enjoys the proceedings. He may as well, this joviality and sense of home will be missing for a while as the group travel abroad.
"Perhaps Khae, too, will come to visit sometime soon. I'm sure he's busy taking care of things at home, but even princes make diplomatic trips to visit their neighbours."
Later, to Sajeek, Revery speaks quietly. "We should re-study that Iksar map and text, to see if there's anything we've missed previously. Also, what are we going to tell that wizard, assuming he survives the trip? And Kwen? We've avoided it for so long. I suppose the truth; that is, that we are on a quest and we can't tell them what it is, but if they come along it'll be helpful, probably instrumental, for our success. And that our success will be necessary to fight the Shissar in the future."
Kwen enjoys Syn's tales, the elf had a flair with his stories that the rogue enjoyed, it was enjoyable to hear someone not having do similar things that set the rogue at ease.
Kwen shakes his head at Ksenya, his words brought a tense smile to the half-elf's face, for the man truly had no idea what had happened. Still he was drunk so there was nothing that Kwen would be able to say that would change Ksenya's words, so the rogue forced himself to relax.
Once again left shaking his head by Ksenya, Gramorn mingles with the group's old friends, finally putting faces to names he'd heard on their travels. He particularly enjoys the bard's tales, and like Syn is left speechless as the details of the groups previous adventures are revealed.
Sajeek nods. He had pretty much memorized the page from the tome.
"Well, the map part is rather vague. It's more or less a gut feeling and a few scattered images," Sajeek says quietly, speaking iskar. "As far as bringing others into the fold, that isn't really up to me. I'm sorta a vessel for things, otherwise, I would've have fully included the half-elf after we were brought back." Sajeek tugs on his right ear. "So, we tell them nothing for the time being. All they need to know is that we are looking for something, information or weapons to aid us against the shissar." He continues, frowning slightly in thought. "And then there is Gramorn. If he is to stay with us, he will need to learn iskar as well. After all, "Only the most trusted of slaves will be allowed with you," remember?" Sajeek quotes from the opening line of the page written in Iskar blood. "But I agree, we will need their aid or we will die, I'm pretty certain of that." The vah shir finishes in common.
Later at dinner, Sajeek sat, almost stunned after Syn had finished his stories. The vah shir grins, he had forgotten how skilled the elf was at telling a story. He practically made one feel like they were in the story, so talented was the bard.
"Yup, missed having you around to tell us stories," Sajeek smiles at Syn and laughs. "Took away alot of the stress of having to constantly run for ones life." The vah shir adds with a chuckle.
At Ksenya bold words, Sajeek twitches visibly, a bolt of fear running down his spine. The vah shir shudders, trying to banish the thought of what the Faceless would do to the old man for even daring to say such a thing. Sajeek glances down at Bast.
Leaning down a little, Sajeek scratches behind Bast's ears. The tiger had escaped mini horde of demons. Looking a little ragged, Bast's eyes were half-closed as he snoozed at Sajeek's feet.
Gramorn walks into the bar where Ksenya is sitting nude, rolls his eyes and grabs a drink. He's well past being surprised by anything the old man does, but does begin to think even if he is a competent spellcaster, his antics could place them in danger when it comes to surviving the wilds of Kunark. Already lacking a true healer, the last thing this group needs is a addle brained old man drawing attention to their presence.
Although he truly does like Ksenya, Gramorn finishes his drink with a sigh and heads off to consult with Sajeek, Kwen and Revery. "I know Ksenya intends to come with us to Kunark, but we don't know what he is, what his skills are or if he's even semi-sane. I don't even doubt his ability, but his behavior could prove very dangerous to all of us where we're heading. I honestly like him, but he won't even tell us his reasons for wanting to come along."
" I'm sure he smells the hint of some obscure lore, of perhaps the possiblity of more magic, I've meant a number of men and women like that before. Too much time spent with the books, alone, and in your head will change your viewpoint. That being said I think in our travels that he lays off the liquor, magic uses and potent spirits don't always mix. Of course some of what he is doing could be an act." Kwen says with a shrug " We can always ask him why he really wants to travel with us."
Revery will re-read the Iksar text tonight, and commit as much as possible of it to memory.
In the morning he goes over his supplies, checking everything. They would be leaving soon, and he wants to be ready.
When Gramorn voices his concerns about Ksenya, Revery shrugs and says, "He seems very confident. If he ignores our warnings, what can we do?"
A twinkle in his eye is all you get in answer to your questions or suggestions. Ksenya glides through his days laughing and smiling. Though he is nude as often as he is clothed he seems harmless enough.
The other residents of the burgeoning city of Justis absolutely love the strange old man, who always arrives in time for a meal, or a conversation, and never has anything bad to say about anything.
Of course their lives might depend on this man. The question was whether they would be better suited without him, and apparently with no one in his place willing to charge into the darkness at your side.
Either way he will bring smiles, and you have seen enough horrors to last a thousand lifetimes.
"Well, we are going to the elven city first," Sajeek says to the others. "I imagine we will find out quickly if he will be able to hold his own, or drag us down." The vah shir says. "If Ksenya ends up slowing us down, or endangering us with his antics, then we arrange to send him back here from the elf's city. I won't be responsible for his death," Sajeek says with a shake of his head.
The Beastlord looks off in the direction that the naked old man had wandered off.
"I mean I like Ksenya, I don't want to get him killed because he has some fool notion of adventure," The vah shir looks at the others. "Or an easier solution is to say we are leaving one day and leave before then."
" It's a possibility." Kwen says going over his supplies, wondering what would be coming at them while they were on the road. Kwen thinks he has everything that at the moment, he would start looking for supplies for new poison's when he got the chance. He knew that he would need more recipes instead of paying out more coin for already made poisons.
"I guess he's with us then." Gramorn shrugs and continues preparing for the long journey ahead of them. Truth be told he's more concerned about the lack of a healer than he is about Ksenya, but there seems to be no answer for that here. Perhaps in the elven city the can send a healer along with them.
Thrice you count the morn before it brings you to this overcast one. Fluffy snow has softly cascaded down in oversized flakes to the approximate depth of your ankle.
You stand equipped for battle, and ready for travel with all of your goodbyes behind you in the burgeoning city of Justis.
Ksenya is no where to be seen. The last you saw him he was passed out on the floor of the Taproom, having imbibed far too much.
(please describe your character ready for this journey)
Revery appears before all the others, and is, from outward appearances, much like he has looked for some time. He has his funny but somewhat interesting witch-hunter hat he has taken to calling "Brolly", not in an eccentric, crazy way but more as a shortening of words:
The Umbrella --> The Brella --> the Brolla --> the Brolly --> Brolly
Other than that, his clothes are the same he wore before, though mended and of course cleaned up: Rust robes with black trim and silver moons. Under the clothes is the fine silk armor Gwendalyn had made just for him. He considered getting a staff, but figured its sole purpose would be for leaning upon, and he refuses to feel that old, though some days he does. Tall, practical boots, and the same dusty pack Khae had donated them finish off the gear, aside from a few little-used javelins and a dagger used more for cutting plants or cleaning out his fingernails.
He chews on a pear as he waits for the others to assemble.
Up hours before the dawn had shed light upon the manor, the vah shir had lounged about in his room. After enhancing Bast with the aid of the spirits, Sajeek meditates to recover his magical energies. He ponders the coming journey, and more importantly their quest to gather up the weapons. He could feel his heart begin to race with excitement. Dressing, Sajeek gathers up his gear and pads outside. The vah shir wanders around the grounds for a couple of hours.
Seeing Rev head towards the gardens where they had agreed to leave, Sajeek eventually makes his way over. Entering the gardens, he nods to the enchanter and goes to lean up against the recovering Bloodtree.
Clad in his black and grey Dervish robes, the strips of linen had been cleaned and wrapped around his body. The strips around his right arm had come loose, and the white clawprint wrapping around his bicep was visible. The chainshirt he wore under the robes only seemed to occasionally cover up the stubborn mark. Curiously, the vah shir had forgone the head wrappings of his robe. Before he used it to help cover up the wet looking, blood red tiger strips the cut through his soft grey fur. It seemed Sajeek had excepted that markings tainted by the Faceless were not going to change back.
Instead of the wearing wrapping over his head in a turban, Sajeek had a ridiculously long, multi-hued scarf wrapped loosely around his neck. Black, orange, red, yellow, brown, green, blue, where just some of the colors that where in this yarn cobbled monstrosity. Even though it was looped around his neck several time, hanging near his belly, both of the ends still trailed in the snow. Which brought an eye to the curious green fur that seem to start mid shin.
At first glance, it looked like the wild vah shir was running around without boots, and that his fur had turn a dark greenish color. Looking closer, the vah shir is indeed wearing boots that look to have been shaped to his feet. The vah shir had been wearing the boots since a little after they had gotten here and the curse had been lifted.
Tugging a strap holding his Dusty pack to his back, Sajeek's hands where wrapped to the elbow with a pair of black gloves. His claws peeking out of small openings, the gloves looked to be made out of very supple appearing leather. Sajeek goes over the straps holding his other weapons in place. While he waiting, he tugs on his clawed handwraps over his new gloves. Looking down to his right, he looks at crescent bladed ulak. It was an odd weapon he had been given, and if he wasn't mistaken, their was shissar writing along it's blade. His other hip had the trusty Dragoon's Dirk. Other then the rather well used javelins on his back, Sajeek had forgone the spear and picked up greatclub. It was little more then a straight hunk of wood with several bands of iron around it. A loop of leather from the handle let Sajeek hang it over his shoulder.
Bast sat on his haunches, looking at the falling snow with his gold and green mismatched eyes. The big hunting cat's eyes occasionally flicker to the others when they move. His reddish-orange fur doing a fine job of collecting the fluffy flakes of snow. Every once and a while the cat would lick flakes of snow off of his moist nose. Other then that, Bast was near motionless.
While he was waiting, Sajeek thinks about the people that he was going to be leaving behind. Further more, the vah shir just realized that he really had a home to come back to. Something worth protecting. It was nice feeling, and something that he had never really experienced before. Sajeek was glad of all that they had managed to accomplish before the snow had begun to fall. Of course, they never would have gotten this far without the aid of the dwarves, and Sajeek was very aware of that.
"Let's be off," the vah shir says when other two had gathered.
Kwen lift's his dusty backpack the straps feeling comfortable, the weight in the bag can almost be ignored; as the rogue's hands reach into his belt pouch as if to reassure himself that the contents of the belt pouch are still secured.
Kwen's gloves were made from some very supple looking leather, a crossed band of iron seemed to give extra support to the rogue's fingers. It seemed that Kwen had finally given up on the fingerless gloves that he had been wearing the entire time you had met him, along with the chain shirt that he had been wearing for quite a long time. Kwen still had two kurki's strapped to his chest, for quick access for throwing them at his opponents. While they might do much damage, the rogue used them as a way to intimidate his foes. Both of the kurki's were slightly different then the norm, for both of them were serrated edged.
Kwen was also wearing a black long coat, with crimson undertones, reached the rogues calves, the long coat also had a hood sewn into it, allowing Kwen to keep the snow off from his head. The cold itself didn't seem to bother the rogue much, for the long coat seemed to have another layer attached to the inside of the lining.
Spherical objects could be seen from his belt, from what you have know, these are most likely grenades that the rogue had started to handle with a passion. Along with the well crafted short bow that could be seen hanging on the rogue's back.
With a shrug Kwen says " Well I guess it is just us four, it seems like a small number to travel at the moment."
As quickly as it was four, it becomes 5 (or 6 counting Bast). Your hopes of leaving the older man behind are soon dashed against the rocks of reality with the force of a meteor strike.
The hunched Ksenya puffs as he rushes to catch up, slipping as often not on his open-toed sandals as he slides to a halt next to you, apologizing through his thick beard for oversleeping and nearly missing you. Despite his tattered brown robes being all he has on his thin physique you see no obvious effect from the chill in the air.
Combing silver-white errant hair aside, like brushing the rays of a naughty moonbeam, his long and skillful fingers reveal brilliant bespeckled eyes hued a soul-piercing shade of grey, and showing twinkles of madness.
Ksenya tips his wide-brimmed round hat in greeting and busies himself lighting his long pipe. Sadly no one looks closely enough to realize that he lights it with a small flame that dances from his fingertip.
There is a moment as the group gets to ponder their stance on not accepting the elderly man based on him slowing them down. Nogglegrop's short legs has been significantly slowing them down, oft times to the entire party's detriment, since they met. Perhaps this man will slow you down, or even endanger you, but beyond taking harsh actions against him you are left relatively impotent. He simply is joining you, with or without you leave, though there is always that friendly smile on his face.
Ksenya busies himself expertly blowing smoke rings and leaning heavily on his staff and muttering to himself, "...hat's what I love about fire, how it would kill me as quick as anybody else. How it cannot know I'm its father. It's so beautiful and powerful and beyond feeling anything for anybo...", and then he is too far away to hear him over the winds that steal his soft words.
Sajeek mentally curses when Ksenya shows up, puffing as he catches up. 'Which he did faster then Noggy did, so relax,' the vah shir scolds himself mentally. Perhaps he was a former adventure out to recapture his lost glory. At least Sajeek hopes this is the case, rather then them having a senile librarian following them.
The young Beastlord wasn't about to beat up the old man and then tie him up and leave him in the city. He might think about doing it, but he wouldn't. At this point, all Sajeek could do was hope that the man wasn't going to get them killed.
Eager to be off, Sajeek sets a decent pace. Noggy would have had to run to keep up, since he wasn't coming, that was no longer an issue. The vah shir didn't think the others would have any problems. Even Ksenya.
Smooth is the blotchy-white trunk of the mighty bloodtree (Picture) that ascends nearly 200' above your heads. Its bark is rough, filled with pockmarks wrought by the ages, and it has no branches until the canopy at the very top where the trunk splits only once. So high is the tree that it's meagre canopy does little to provide shade from the sun, or shelter from the elements.
Anya has been busy and once again you can smell basil, thyme, mint and other useful plants, which keep to neat rows.
Devoid of weeds this place is a paradise from the senses.
Gramorn takes one last look at the burgeoning community and can't help a smile breaking out across his face. He is immensely proud to have been a part of carving out a new community to promote peace between the different races of Norrath, especially since it had been a tainted horror show of undead before their arrival. It is also the place where he finally learned the gods are concerned with more than petty politics amongst themselves and sought to be exemplars of their ideals to their followers. While he knows there is a long road to travel, he hopes to return soon. This has become home.
Once the city fell out of sight, Sajeek's full attention lay in his surroundings. The Loping Plains had little sympathy for the unwary. Those that didn't pay attention, tending to end up as someones lunch. And the vah shir wasn't about to let that happen. Given all that they had been through, being eaten by a wild animal would just be embarrassing. The spirits would mock him right out of the afterlife.
Wiggling the toes of dark green boots, Sajeek was happy to be traveling once more. He was equally glad to actually have a home to come back to. It still felt a little weird to Sajeek, after not really having a home for so many years. Feet carrying him forwards, Sajeek loops his scarf around his neck twice more so that the ends don't drag in the snow.
Sajeek briefly thinks about the bones of the master monk that they have to put to proper rest. He really hopes that means just finding the bones and then burying them. Doubting that will be the case, Sajeek hopes that the bones will at least be still and not out to tear his flesh off.
(Gramorn: please describe your character ready for this journey)
You had left behind Nogglegrop attempting to fish from 100' above the water, his feet dangling over the edge of the high cliff at the north end of the grounds. This was his place of solace, where he felt that he belonged: a home.
Moving along the eastern side of The Wayunder Lake affords the group an opportunity to stretch their legs, carve furrows in the fluffy snow, and enjoy the slight chill that marks the beginning of a season.
Creatures dart about preparing for the winter, but leave you alone. An opportunity to fell a large buck who wanders too close is given to Sajeek, and he fells the creature with a javelin throw that wounds it, leaving it to run until it bleeds out. The meat is tough, but filling.
With the lake on your left and the waning Steamfont Mountain range on your right you come to the ruins of what was reputed to be elven holdings on the north side of the lake during your second night on the road.
The shell of what you imagine was a decent-sized stone building remains, though it is mostly a crumbling edifice it still provides a bit of protection from the wind.
Two days hence you will enter the Lesser Faydark.
To this point Ksenya has been a non-factor. His legs are long enough for him to match the pace of all save the kejek tiger and he is surprisingly fit for an older man. He trips often, and carries little, but he is pulling his weight thus far.
(please include a watch order and marching order for when the group is forced into single file)