The din of prison construction to the south was easily drowned-out by the clangor of bells, and teams of stevedores and inspectors jockeying over opportunities. Within New Viamaré's Port Authority, a loud voice and strong frame were one's greatest assets. Little surprise then that it fell to Darvesch to shoulder his way thru the crowd of shippers to the offices beyond the clerks' counters.
After a number of shouted directions and pointed fingers, dwarf, Dafari, and cat found themselves at a battered door with a pane of cracked, smokey glass bearing the words 'Jaro Corvinus, Harbormaster' in bold, black relief. A knock that caused the door to rattle in its frame provoked a crash and a litany of curses from the other side. A few moments later, the door was yanked open and Amelia was greated with a loud "WHOA!" as she found a handsome yet scruffy-looking man with a deep chest staring at her, brow furrowed as he tried to puzzle out why she looked familiar.
"Wu-uh-uh," he shuddered, "now just to be clear, I may have been drunk last night, but I damn sure didn't get with any skinny bi–"
The sound of Darvesch clearing his throat brought the Harbormaster's gaze down and he breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh damn! Thought for a second there I was gonna have to give up... well nevermind that. If you're looking for Hlokenar, I walked his drunk ass back home before daybreak."
A sigh echoed through Amhranai's thoughts. Of course he would have no idea, he's probably barely past his first 100 years. Too young to even begin regarding continued existence with anything approaching malaise. And I doubt that if I hadn't led the life I did that I would feel that malaise either. Still, even ignoring that, there are few that understand, regardless of age. They never will and for that they should consider themselves lucky. Her face softened into a tired smile as she looked up at the taller elf.
"You see the markings on my face. I'm sure you know what they mean amongst most elves-I am anathema to them and largely shunned. But I wear them proudly as they were given to me in honor for what I did. Tell me, what is so noble about being shunned for helping our wilder cousins and receiving a mark of honor? It seems rather ridiculous to me." Amhranai paused, drawing a deep breath and exhaling slowly. "From that example, I'm sure you can derive my feelings about our people assuming the mantle of royalty over the other races. Also ridiculous. We all have the same fears, hates, loves and joys. We all die in the end. Why not make our shared existence less needlessly contentious?" Amhranai sighed again, this time audibly. "I am not 'mired' here due to any captivity. No, I choose to be here, thanks to hard lessons that have repeatedly told me this: elves are no more or less barbaric than those we would call 'lesser'. We just hide it better." The tired smile became crooked, mischievous.
"And I will gladly accept your assistance, but please do not allow all your perceptions of me to be mitigated by my past life. Too often I find that people will venerate a member of the military, former or otherwise, when, in reality, we are just trying to survive just like everyone else. I'll leave you with two contradictory statements that sum up my feelings about military service. First, a poem:
'And now the page before us blurs.
An age is done. The book must close.
We are abandoned to history.
Raise high one more time the tattered standard
Of the Fallen. See through the drifting smoke
To the dark stains upon the fabric.
This is the blood of our lives, this is the
Payment of our deeds, all soon to be
We were never what people could be.
We were only what we were.
And the other is this: 'The unnamed soldier is a gift. The named soldier-dead, melted wax-demands a response among the living...a response no-one can make. Names are no comfort, they're a call to answer the unanswerable. Why did she die, not him? Why do the survivors remain anonymous-as if cursed-while the dead are revered? Why do we cling to what we lose while we ignore what we still hold? Name none of the fallen, for they stood in our place, and stand there still in each moment of our lives. Let my death hold no glory, and let me die forgotten and unknown. Let it not be said that I was one among the dead to accuse the living.
The priestess' voice quavered throughout, eyes watering and then brimming over. When she was done, the elf took a few moments to compose herself, smiling once more. "Quite contradictory, no? But enough of that mess. Let's see what awaits us at the citadel."
I'm compelled to credit the two quotes above to their author, Steven Erikson. While the words are not mine, I strongly identify with them and base much of Amhranai's character around these ideas.
Amelia couldn't help but wonder, by the look on this man's face, if he had done more than meet her sister. Her dark eyebrow raised high as he about called her the B word, she could help but chuckle at him. "If Ah be lookin' familia to ya boy, is because mi sista is da heavier set twin." she explained and took a step closer to him, giving him a very stern look.
"Ya should neva be callin' lati's 'skinny bi-' even if ya didn't finish dat sentance. But dun worry, we ain't be lookin' for da good Marshall... we be lookin... fer joo..." She said giving him a toothy grin.
"The heavier set twin?" Jaro's eyes suddenly went wide as he finally realized who he was talking to. Looking like he just realized he'd gotten himself in hot water, he tried to recover as best he could. "Oh! You and that guard girl are sisters? Well damn. Please be so kind as to excuse my uncouth language. Normally the only time women come knocking here is if– well, let's just say proper ladies tend not to."
Waving an arm for the two to enter, he said, "Well come in and tell me what's going on. If it's not about ol' blondie then I'm a mite bit curious to know."
The flight over the tropical harbour to the island was solace for the elven wizard. His hair and cloak freely flowing, remembering the cliffs of Mennen Fedleth, in the years before his exile.
So near to the clouds, the celestial expanse, no wonder that I so eagerly grasped my chance, years afterwards, mastering that new spell; I shall always remember the joy of learning the magic of flight. I look forward to the day I learn to become a great Eagle. Yes, my first year of flying; those days of escaping to the rooftops over the slums and grey streets of the foreign lands. I do believe my aerial furloughs saved my sanity.
Mind calmer, senses refreshed, Arion heard the poetry of the Cleric and visions were woven from her words.
She sheds tears for those departed that she had known, or for those parts of herself left behind? The reminder of those gallant soldiers who without hesitation insisted we continue as they guarded behind us. It almost moves tears into my eyes also.
He listened as they travelled.
Over the winds and the sounds of the Bay, he called out to Amhranai, "Yet, I do wish to remember their names. I tried also to remember Your poetry, with Your melodious voice forming notes to aid memory in the form of a song. Or if You would honour those of the future by passing on experiences from the past, so that they might learn from them, I shall hear it again and record it.
I am happy that You chose to be here...with that collection of keys. It's reassuring that You seem to already be familiar with the people and places."
It didn't take long for the two to reach the sturdy stone piers of Arrowhead island. Although they might have rightly expected to find the solders confronting them with spear and bow for their unorthodox manner of arrival, instead the Commodore himself greeted them with a bemused look on his face. "A little bird warned me that I would be receiving unexpected visitors."
From the pocket of his great coat, the white-haired elf produced a small slip of paper bearing the Princess' seal and signature. "It is well to meet you again, Arion."
Looking to the shorter woman with the facial tattoos, he added, "And I can only presume that you must be Amhranai. Dame Amhranai if I have the right of it. Forgive me for not greeting you during our first meeting, I was... indisposed. Now then, how can the Royal Navy serve her Highness?"
Arion handed the sealed Governing Directive to the Commodore with a salute.
"I believe the Commodore will find the Directive in order. This operation promises to yield significant intelligence, reachback and tactical assets. Happy to be working with Your forces Commodore. Alacrity of course is needed. If You please, Sir, whatever assistance I can lend to ready The Avenger, I am prepared to offer."
"Ah, a chase," Gaeros chuckled as he read. That was until he made it further into the letter and saw the reason. "Sweet Súmalya's... Wingilmë is dead?"
Jaw clenched, he crushed the order within his fist and growled, "You will have your ships, Sir, and we will have our vengeance. As for help, if you know how to sail, see the pilot of The Avenger, otherwise you join me in remembering the Hetaera over a glass of port."
With that, the Commodore wheeled about on his heel calling out orders as he went.
Where earlier Tol Lonnduil had been abuzz with excitement at a visit from royalty, it was now decidedly more somber. Although there were still songs being sung, these were of remembrance rather than excitement. Yet if any saw their new ruler as the cause of the calamity, none voiced it, instead those the royal entourage passed bowed in respect. Indeed over the following days many bards would raise their voices in praise of heroism and providence, the themes of Alis' eulogy to Wingilmë living on in the retelling.
"You realize it, I'm certain," Sindariel said, as the carriage glided into the heart of Port Eldarion's mage's district, "that not all of Dafar's problems can be resolved thru strength of arms."
The Princess was quiet for a few moments, nodding in recognition of those citizens who recognized her in passing.
"To be honest, Sindariel," she replied, looking to meet the spymaster's gaze, violet eyes heavy with the concern her faint smile sought to hide, "I pray that most of them can be resolved without it."
As the carriage drew to a standstill, the faces of many elves garbed in arcane regalia could be seen outside, awaiting royal visitation. At the forefront, were the now familiar faces of Lady Elendreth, Lord Poe, and the catgirl Shea.
When Alis, Lureene, Sindariel, and Tiniel had stepped down into the grassy lane, Poe's nasal voice was the first to be heard, "Your Highness, Ladies Lammontari, Ourson... it is our sole delight on this dark and tragic day to receive you."
Lureene responded quietly to Alis, "I know we all want a peaceful resolution to Dafar's troubles...BUT considering who is behind the unrest, I fear we may need a firmer response..."
As the royal party is greeted by the elvish mages, Lureene swallowed her distaste on seeing the young Lord, instead extending her hand in reply. "Thank you for receiving us on such short notice, Lady Elendreth, Lord Poe. I wish the circumstances were less dire, yet duty calls us on a task of utmost importance. Any aid you can lend to us would be sorely appreciated."
Impressive. This commander receives complete obedience and respect from every officer, sailor, guard, even the civilian logistics. Do they believe he has eyes in the back of his head? More than that. They seem to truly revere this man. It is as if HE were the Governor of Dafar.
Arion had been striding behind Commodore Gaeros, observing, not wishing to interrupt the business at hand. The Commodore seemed to be fueled by wrath at the news of outrages from earlier in the day. Combined with the extreme professionalism with which he and his base innately executed their duties, the motivation due to his mood sped every action; altogether they were a powerfully effective machine.
The Master Spy studied the scene unfolding around them as the seasoned Commodore led the way. Arion approved, All the better. This suits our sense of urgency.
Then Arion raised his voice over the busy reverberations, "I say, Commodore. It is certain that every sailor here would launch to war behind Your banner. They utterly reverence You. I have rarely seen such devotion and professionalism."
Amelia just kept her eyes on him, giving him that eerie grin as the man obviously tried to get himself out of hot water, though for the most part, he wasn't in it, she just liked him to think he was. "Tank ya mi boy... Dough, if ya be wantin' a proper lati, youz best be lookin' in places where proper lati's are." she told him and walked inside of his office when he let the two of them in, her shorter companion again letting her go first.
Amelia looked around the harbormasters office, still curious as ever as she made her way to his desk and ran her fingers over the wood material that it was made out of. A soft sigh left her, as if she was in a different world, not completely listening to Jaro, but she had heard everything he said. "We be lookin' fer a ship... an' youz bein' da harbormaster... have ya heard o' a ship, the Red Gar? or maybe, sometheeng close ta dat?"[b] She asked, turning hazel cat like eyes up at him, [b]"Cuz, boy, ya might be harborin' a dangerous man... and we's be needin' ta find 'em."
Jaro regarded Amelia's advice quite solemnly, nodding thoughtfully. "Ah, I see. Well it's not that I don't know where to find proper ladies, the improper ones are more fun is all. Haha!"
With a deep laugh, the Harbormaster fell back into his chair and kicked his feet up onto his desk, reaching for a humidor on a small table beside him, he popped the top open as Amelia ran her fingers across his desk. "Either of you smoke, I do enjoy a cigar from time to time, so be my guest."
When instead it became clear that they were here on business, his expression became more stern, and he set the cigar box back down, reaching instead for a copper funnel that protruded from the wall. "YO, Hurriah! Bring me the manifests for today's arrivals and departures. Lemme see who we got at dock too. Thank you now."
Turning his attention back to his visitors, he asked, "Now then, mind telling me a bit more about this dangerous man we're looking for?"
"I say, Commodore. It is certain that every sailor here would launch to war behind Your banner. They utterly reverence You. I have rarely seen such devotion and professionalism."
The commodore neither smiled nor frowned at Arion's assessment. Instead he simply stated, "At sea we call them flags."
Not waiting to see who followed, the Commodore began the long walk down the stone quay leading back towards the citadel. "It's not reverence but duty that bends them to the task. I'm lucky to have any sailors or marines at all after Alsday's massacre."
As he approached the steps leading up to its great, iron doors, Arion began to realize that what he had thought a tower from afar was far more vast, as if he were again a child coming only to his father's waist. Everything about Arrowhead Citadel was built on a cyclopean scale. Only the Commodore's continued words kept him mindful enough to watch his step, "Whether or not they feel the same about me is their own business."
As they passed thru doors sized for giants, and beneath a portcullis strong enough to thwart an elephant, the sky elf could see that the walls inside bore deep gouges and the floor beneath the murderholes far above was cracked and splinted as if smote by a titan. Beyond the portcullis, the hallway narrowed before opening onto a diamond-shaped vestibule at the heart of the fortress. Although the walls were covered in great murals, illuminated by magical torches, it was the great stone golem held erect by scaffolding that held his attention — one of its legs, now laying against the wall, appeared to have been shorn off in by a singular blow!
"In here," Thrandel said, pushing open a set of double-doors centered on the north-east wall. Within, they found themselves in a modest library with several chair. Judging by their insignia, a number of high-ranking officers, captains no doubt, turned to regard those who had just entered, saluting their commander in turn.
Saluting in return, the dour-faced Commodore pointed to an armoire and snapped his fingers at a middle-aged man, half-elven, with a long face and short, sandy hair, "Tuomas, port and glasses for my guests... for us all."
Unmoved by the captain's wit, Thrandel took the glasses and poured a few fingers of the tawny wine into enough glasses for all those present before setting the depleted bottle on the table against which he leaned. Mulling things over for a moment, he looked up and said, "No, there will be no inspections today, only reflections. This Daegon-spawned travesty of a week has claimed another soul — Wingilmë's soul."
A dreadful silence fell over the officer's lounge, and all those present held their hats to their chest, heads bowed in respect. After a few moments, the Commodore raised his glass and toasted, "To the fair lady of the sea foam. May her grottoes never run dry."
"I wish the circumstances were less dire, yet duty calls us on a task of utmost importance. Any aid you can lend to us would be sorely appreciated."
Lady Elendreth curtailed Poe's response by stepping forward and gesturing to those behind her with the staff she carried. "A sentiment we all share, I assure you. Please, inform us what more common items we might each retrieve that would aid your worthy efforts: potions, scrolls, wands... In the meanwhile, perhaps an expedient tour of our more notable collections might reveal more unique wares that might avail you."
Alis nodded in agreement, handing Sasha a sealed piece of parchment to hand to the the dark-haired wizardess, her tone formal. "We are appreciative of The Enclave's assistance. The agents of your royal steward shall not rest until this villain is apprehended."
Extending a hand, she said, "We entreat you to lead on."
While other mages hurried to their libraries and laboratories to fetch reagents and relics for the Princess' retainers, Elendreth, Poe, and Shea guided their regal visitors thru a number of shops wherein rings, circlets, staves and even more esoteric wares were displayed. Yet it was a the gasps of wonder and awe from Sasha and Shea that drew your attention to one item in particular — a flawless circle of gleaming silver that sparkled above the head of a marble bust.
Staring intently, the redhead passed her hands above, below, and all around it before shaking her head. "I don't think there's any threads. It looks like it just stays float on its own."
"Its is very shininess," Shea said, as if agreeing, "but not a trinket of elfs."
Nodding sagely, she added, "Yes, the gods of Shea say so too Sashey. Very shiny, but not of elfs — definitely more shinier."
When Lureene's eyes fell upon it, however, she knew exactly what it was. For she had once seen a man, a glorious man with wings of pristine white brought before Avoreen in burning chains. Yet for all her wiles, the Queen of Lies had proven unable to seduce that man with her promises. And when at last in frustration, she cut off his head, the circle's melodious chime as it struck the floor and vanished had been like a bell awakening Lureene as if for the first time.
This was the halo of an angel!
"An ANGEL's HALO!"
Lureene gasped softly as she was overwhelmed with the memory of the last time she had seen THIS priceless relic. An image flooded her memory, one which remained stuck in her mind all of these years since she had 'escaped' from her Mother:
His smile at her as the blade descended towards his neck...it had been a smile of triumph...and of LOVE! She had never felt such love from another being before...a least not until now...
She reluctantly returned to the present and reached a hand to touch the gleaming silver band. "Elendreth, how did you acquire this?"
Arion hesitated with glass in hand.
Indulging, again, twice in one week? If it is to honour Wingilmë and to avoid offending anyone amid this toast...
"Na ómaryo airetári-lírinen, namárië," he agreed, reverently and drained his glass in unison with the officers.
Elvish: "To the resonance of her royal-holy voice, farewell."
He turned to the Commodore and said, "You couldn't have honoured her with finer port, Sir. With the mobilization under Your command, we have Royal compatriots joining us here very soon. Where would You prefer we await their arrival? They are appointed by Her Royal Highness as assets in this operation and shall be utilising The Avenger."
Ignoring the compliment, the Commodore set his glass aside and replied, "You can await their arrival here. In the meantime, shed some light on what the devil's going on, what we know, and what her Highness intends we do about it. Are we giving chase to a military vessel, looking for a stow-away?"
"The Avenger hmm?" Turning his attention elsewhere, he called out, "Këowyn, The Harrier remains unfit for service, correct?"
An elven woman with light brown hair and green eyes rose to her feet when addressed. She was not unattractive, though she did bear a faint, old scar along her right cheek, though it didn't seem to impede her facial expressions any. "Unfit for anything more rigorous than target practice anyway. I believe you were speaking with a certain penny-pincher about our need for a shipyard..."
The Commodore, gave a snort before something occurred to him. "Arion, I understand our new ruler hails from Silverwake. I would imagine such a woman might find it interesting to know that the only shipyard in the city has been been put in foreclosure by our good friend from last night. Might make for good conversation in-between social engagements."
Uncontent with standing still, the tall figure paced over to an arrow slit and gazed out at the ships, one hand resting on the cool stone wall. "Captain Fingel, you will take command of The Avenger. I believe you have a new pilot and an idle crew. You will be joined by a contingent from Princess Kirmoon, serving as their expeditionary support, but vessel operations will remain under your command."
"Captains Radanath and Illeon, you will sweep westward to intercept any vessels departing along the northern coast. Now then, Arion," he said, "kindly delve into further detail."
Perceiving that the imperious elven commander was searching for information pertinent to the upcoming mission, Arion gave a quick report balanced between what details would assist command decisions and yet avoiding topics which might reveal sensitive material, such as connections between Lureene and Avoreen. Arion was also cautious to exclude facts which might compromise the security of the Princess. The intelligence officer was not fully certain that those nearby were cleared for such open conversation. If the Commodore required any further information he would surely ask. Better to err on the side of caution among so many new faces.
Arion ended his report by adding,"Her Royal Highness dispatched us to Your base primarily in order for You to initiate a blockade of the River's mouth. A search for a vessel related to the words 'Red Gar' is being conducted as we speak. Reliable sources place a high priority target upon such vessel. The Princess wishes by all means to prevent the target from escaping from our waters. The Avenger was re-commissioned in order to avoid alerting any to the presence of official military forces."
As he watched the Commodore pacing and contemplating, Arion confided, "As for the shipyards, only this morning I stood by Princess Kirmoon's side as the proceedings involved the state of the shipyards. Although this was not a decree issued by the acting Vicereine, she did remark, 'If we have a shipyard that's sitting idle we definitely have need of one now.'"
"Red Gar doesn't ring any bells for me," the Commodore said, adding, "but then Jaro is the one who stays abreast of civilian port rotations, not I."
Looking around the room, he could see that the 'Red Gar' held no particular recognition in the eyes of his officers either. "Have pigeons dispatched to Corvinus' office. The Port Authority is to hold all departures until further notice."
To Arion, he said, "If the murderer has already slipped away, it's only been two hours, they'll not have gotten far. If not, then we may be lucky enough to close the net on them within our own harbor. We shall see."
"An ANGEL'S HALO! ... Elendreth, how did you acquire this?"
Standing there, in the museum-like chamber that served as the local mages' consignment shop, the abjurer approached, expression circumspect as she thought back. The wall niche housing the bust around which the other women had clustered was one of several, yet there could be no mistaking what Lureene meant by a halo.
"Many of our contributions have been selected from private collections of great prestige. That particular piece from my dear Glorohir's actually. It has been several years, but the halo fell to earth during a meteor shower as I recall. Although the locale wherein we found it had been blasted by the impact, the device itself was as unblemished and gleaming then as it is now."
Lureene stared at the glowing silver halo for a moment, contemplating the origins of the relic. She turned to face Lady Elendreth and replied softly , "I would LOVE to have a talk with Glorohir..." she paused for a few seconds as the statement could be construed as improper.
I don't need her even MORE upset at me than she is ALREADY!
"Forgive me there Elendreth. My attention wandered there for a second. What I meant to say is I wished to talk with Glorohir and yourself concerning the circumstances of this halo's arrival on Elsemar...BUT that can wait for another day." Her hand almost involuntarily reached for the Halo as a pleading look appeared in her eyes. "May I?"
Arion shook off the distractions which had obscured his clearer thinking, quickly interjecting, "Your pardon, Sir. You have it correctly, that a major objective is to defeat any escape attempts to the West. I do not mean to contradict Your own directives. However Princess Kirmoon suggested that Captains Fingel and Maldrake lead those forces on the intercept course, as her familiarity with them would assist her methods of remotely observing their progress."
Arion nodded in a succinct show of respect and stepped back a pace, in the militant stance at attention required during his training.
"And here I was starting to think you a mute," Thrandel remarked at Amhranai's urging.
Reaching into his coat pocket he smoothed out the crumpled letter Alis had signed-off on, giving it the once-over. "Heard the Princess could sing, didn't know she could scry as well. In any event, her Highness' recommendations are duly noted. My orders stand."
Looking the two new-comers in the eye, he said, "As her Highness confided, we are wanting for proper repair facilities and Captain Fingel's ship remains unfit for duty. If the Princess wants The Avenger in pursuit within the hour, and interceptors to sweep ahead, then shuffling captains and crews between unfamiliar vessels is the surest way to see that not happen on her timetable. Being the Princess of Silverwake, I have little doubt she will understand once she is informed The Harrier is not seaworthy."
"At any rate, we have other means for monitoring the Gulf Fleet that I shall have to apprise her of. Now then, if you will excuse me, I have a navy to conduct."
Lureene nodded in thanks as she reverently reached to grasp the silvery halo. She caresses the shiny surface with her fingers, marvelling at the feel of the sleek metal.
I wonder if I can actually wear it...
She at first moved to place the halo above her head as a true angel would wear one, yet a sense of caution prevailed. She chanted a cantrip and continued to caress the halo whilst attempting to discover what magical properties it held.
The weightless metal of the halo was smooth and pleasantly cool, its touch filling the young woman with a sense of peace and serenity.
"Puts it on, Shea wantest to see if it sticks!"
Halo of Inner Calm
Aura: Strong Abjuration, CL 15
- +4 resistance bonus on saving throws against all spells with the emotion descriptor
- SR 13 or SR +2 against spells with the evil descriptor (good-aligned outsiders only)
- +2 sacred bonus on saving throws (good-aligned outsiders only)
- house rule
I like the cut of his jib, Arion thought and saluted the irrefragable, weathered elf.
Watching the resolute Commodore march off, Arion mused quietly, as if not expecting a reply, "Well, myself having been rather land-bound for many years until this past month, I suppose someone who has served in naval forces could 'show me the ropes,' in the fleeting remainder of this hour before we launch."
He then wondered whether fatigue was worsening Amhranai's mood, yet could not be certain about it. Still, the pause in the momentum left Arion feeling he should recover whatever energy of his own he could, and he said, "Or, if You would rather: Our kind's endowment — of enduring great periods without our dreaming trances or physical sleep — considered, would it be better for us to take this interval to rest our emotions and bodies before the mission?"
Showing that he was not above acting upon his own advice, Arion reclined into one of the more comfortable and larger chairs.
Amhranai nodded after the Commodore but stopped just short of saluting him. Makes sense to not re-assign men in such a manner.
"I know enough about sailing to not be completely lost, but much of my time was spent on land. Like you, I haven't been on a boat for years. I have a feeling, however, that most of my knowledge would return if we were underway." Seating herself across from the pale-haired elf, Amhranai settled herself on the edge of the chair. "Might as well take this time to prepare for whatever comes next. Hurry up and wait as usual-I'm sure you're familiar with the concept." The priestess smiled at Arion while swiftly producing oil and a whetstone, with which she slowly sharpened the blackened dagger used earlier.
Alis could pick a slight sigh, almost as of disappointment from Lady Elendreth, but she saw no point in calling attention to it. Sindariel however had quite the gleam in her eyes as she regarded the black-haired wizardess.
"My my, no explosions, not even a hint of tarnish?" With a melodramatic sigh, she commented, "No doubt my reputation shall suffer before the scandal that I shared tea with an angel rather than a succubus this day."
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 25 + 4 + 4 = 36 alertness, Tear
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 + 2 = 9 alertness
S 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Sin 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (19) + 25 = 44
Tin 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (15) + 18 = 33
Suddenly wracked by a fit of coughing, Alis leaned on Sasha's shoulder, flashing Lureene a mischievous wink. When at last she had recovered, the Princess pointed to her throat, brow furrowed, and said, "Bit of cat hair. No, I'm fine, really. It looks good, El."
A 1d20 + 25 + 4 - 5 ⇒ (9) + 25 + 4 - 5 = 33 Tear, hard to believe
Sense Motive Checks:
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 2 + 2 + 5 = 20 familiarity
S 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 + 2 = 5 human
Sin 1d20 + 25 ⇒ (7) + 25 = 32
Tin 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (15) + 18 = 33
Lureene blushed slightly on the compliment and returned the wink from the Princess. It was good to see Alis' spirits were still high despite all that has happened earlier in the day.
She smiled mischievously at the young Lord. "Of course, Lord Poe. Did you harbor any doubt?"
As the group turned to leave the chamber, she approached Elendreth. "I must ask of you Elendreth what is the valuation of this Halo? I simply MUST have it!" As she turned back to face Alis she could not help but wonder what sort of wealth became from being a retainer to a Princess.
Does this mean I am rich now? What a novel concept!
Elendreth hesitated for a moment as if perhaps she thought it some joke at her expense. However, when there was no laughter forthcoming from the Princess or her companions, she lifted her chin and said, "Although I would be loathe to part with such a memorable piece, it is valued at sixteen thousand."