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Ragashingo's page

Organized Play Member. 286 posts (1,249 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character. 10 aliases.


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Spell attack seems low at +2? The key stat for a Sorcerer is Charisma, you list a 16(+3) for your Charisma and Spell Attack is equal to Key Stat + Proficiency, and your proficiency should equal 2[Trained] + 1[Level]. All together, I think you should have a Spell Attack of +3[Cha] + 2[Trained] + 1[Level] = +6. Likewise, the Spell DC would be 10+ Key + Proficiency, or 10+ 3[Cha] + 2[Trained] + 1[Level] = 16.

I don't see your Dragon Claws bloodline spell listed anywhere. You get that at 1st level.

Quote:

Dragon Claws:

Cast [one-action] verbal
Duration 1 minute
Vicious claws grow from your fingers. They are finesse unarmed attacks that deal 1d4 slashing damage and 1d6 extra damage of a type determined by the dragon in your bloodline (see the table in dragon breath). Your scales from blood magic glow with faint energy, giving you resistance 5 to the same damage type.
Heightened (5th) The extra damage increases to 2d6, and the resistance increases to 10.
Heightened (9th) The extra damage increases to 3d6, and the resistance increases to 15.

That seems pretty cool! :)

P.S. I'm the one who forgot to add their level to all their proficiency bonuses, so please double check everything here!


Yay! A beginning! Quick question while I’m pondering my introduction: What season are we in and how’s the weather this fine day? A celebration during a snowy winter day will be quite different than one in the middle of scorching summer heat, after all.

Got a busy Monday, so look for my first official post early this evening, most likely.


Yep. Still here. :)


I could, but that hard to remove persistent damage combined with a small but noticeable chance for the enemy to be unable to attack anything each round is too fun. That plus the higher fly speed got me to choose the bird. It also felt easier to keep a bird nearby than a bigger creature.

(Traditionally, Sparks had a snake curled around her bow over top the highly detailed painting of itself she made of it... or she would have. She never reached a high enough level in her unfortunately short lived 1e game. I didn’t like the snake as much in 2e. No poison, mostly.)


Threatened always referred to the squares directly around a creature. Basically, if you were adjacent to an enemy then you and it were threatening each other. It played into attacks of opportunity in that doing anything other than a 5-foot step would see you get attacked. Creatures with Reach threatened a one step larger area.

In 2e, most characters can’t perform attacks of opportunity by default, but I believe the definition of threaten is mostly unchanged. That said, imagine a bird surrounded by eight wolves and uses its Support action and then had the Ranger toss in something like a flask of Alchemist fire that splashed on all eight wolves. Would I really get to apply eight instances of persistent damage in a single turn?

My own interpretation is that the bird should need to use one of its actions to support the Ranger for each instance of damage. That would mean a young bird could apply two instances of the effect if the Ranger managed to hit two different creatures next to the bird. And, later, if/when the bird gains a 3rd action, the Ranger could conceivably find a way to apply the damage effects to a maximum of three targets in very rare situations.


Ok, so here's a Rules Question I've been pondering regarding the animal companion Support Benefit for a Bird. On page 215 in the rulebook, we have:

Quote:
Your animal companion supports you. You gain the benefits listed in the companion type’s Support Benefit entry. If the animal uses the Support action, the only other actions it can use on this turn are basic move actions to get into position to take advantage of the Support benefits; if it has already used any other action this turn, it can’t Support you.

And then under the Bird's Support Benefit we have:

Quote:
The bird pecks at your foes’ eyes when you create an opening. Until the start of your next turn, your Strikes that damage a creature that your bird threatens also deal 1d4 persistent bleed damage, and the target is dazzled until it removes the bleed damage. If your bird is nimble or savage, the persistent bleed damage increases to 2d4.

What happens if I position my bird adjacent to two creatures, like so, and manage to hit each with an arrow? (That would be Action 1: Command Bird to Support, Action: Arrow at Wolf1, Action 3: Arrow at Wolf2)

Do I get the persistent damage and effect on just one of the creatures or on both of them?


Oh. I think I calculated proficiency wrong across the board. I did untrained = +0, trained = +2, etc when it should be trained = +2 +1[level] at 1st level. I was looking at ACs and armor and leveling up after Aspero’s comments and read that things like AC increase by one each level... which was news to me... so I’ve got a bunch of numbers to increase. Yay me.

On armor, specifically, I thought it was a bit odd that you can only reach something like an 18 or 19 armor class even with the heaviest armors, but that slowly advancing proficiency bonus make it make more sense.

New rules. New mistakes. New opportunities to learn.


Well... to pass the time, how about some chat? I'm all for role-play, but it sounds like that comes later, so how about this:

One of the big reasons I wanted to get into a 2e game so quickly was to explore all the rule changes. I've set up and run a few mock combat scenarios with my Ranger and built a champion because I love that sort of heavy defense/support gameplay, but I don't really have the time to explore all the nuances of the other classes. Since we have a nice diverse group here, I think it might be fun to talk some about how we see our classes working mechanically in 2nd edition.

For the Ranger, I saw a few different paths weaving their way through the Class Feats: A build that would always have the perfect arrow for the job, a build that could grant a surprising amount of tactical support to one or more allies, a build that could slice and dice and slice and dice some more with two weapons, a build that makes heavy use of snares to turn the battlefield into a minefield, and the build I'm going to pursue that makes heavy use of an animal companion.

I'd love to explain my best case scenario combat strategy and ask a couple of rules questions, but first I'd like to hear from the rest of you. How do you see your character playing and taking advantage of the new 2e rule set? Do you have any questions about your character or the rules relating to them? Have you found any neat loopholes or annoying roadblocks in the new rule set?

I'll ask my questions and talk more about my Ranger in a bit, but I'd really love to hear from everyone else too, if only so I don't accidentally take and hold the floor too long!


In some cases, I think multiclassing could be really cool. Take the tentative path I’ve mapped out for my Ranger:

1. Animal Companion
2. Hunter’s Aim
4. Favored Enemy (animal? Beast?)
6. Mature Animal Companion
8. Blind Fight
10. Incredible Animal Companion
12. Distracting Shot
14. Targeting Shot
16. Greater Distracting Shot
18. Impossible Volley
20. Ultimate Skirmisher

Now... swap in the minimum three Champion Feats:

1. Animal Companion
2. Champion’s Dedication
4. Ranged Reprisal
6. Champion’s Reaction (Paladin)
8. Mature Animal Companion
10. Incredible Animal Companion
12. Distracting Shot
14. Targeting Shot
16. Greater Distracting Shot
18. Impossible Volley
20. Ultimate Skirmisher

By 6th level, possibly with some jury rigging and retraining along the way, I’d have a Ranger that, each turn, also takes a shot at an enemy who attacks a nearby ally while providing that ally 8 damage resistance to the first attack made against it.


I’m interested to see how a melee Sorcerer plays. :)


Player Name: Ragashingo
Character Name: Sparks Clearpath PFS (It wouldn’t let me create a character of the same name or delete the old character so I compromised. Let me know if this is not ok.)
PFS#: 2373828-2004
Level: 1
Faction: Radiant Oath


Ok, here's one of the places I get to admit my lack of knowledge: The Pathfinder Society. I take it that PFS is a way to keep official track of characters as they have adventures and level up and possibly even die, but the mechanics of registering a character and the meanings of choosing a faction are something I just haven't gotten into yet.

Specifically:

1. Gaining a PSF number was easy, as was registering a 2nd edition character. But what about these factions? How much do they matter? Should I just pick one based on which symbol I like the best? Are there deeper story or gameplay or social reason to pick one over the other? I'd like to do this right, so some guidance here would be welcome.

2. Is there anything else I should know about the PFS? Anything I should read up on in general or for this game in particular?

Thanks!


Yeah, my friend who plays a 6th level 1st edition Druid was pleasantly surprised by the cantrips and spells a 1st level 2nd edition Druid has access to. If that power bump holds true to the other spell casters it’ll help a lot with magic classes feeling underpowered at low levels.


Oh cool. Officially confirming my interest!


caps wrote:

Hi Ragashingo. There is an Age of Ashes recruitment happening for 2e right now.

Have you considered Pathfinder Society? It would be a great fit for this particular character and there are frequently games recruiting at the Cottonseed Lodge.

I’ve signed up for two of the three recruiting Age of Ashes games. Didn’t make the first one, waiting on the second one. Trying to look into more options since there’s so much interest and so few slots.

I don’t know a lot about Pathfinder Society. Where can I find more info about what it is / what it takes to join, etc?


About Me:

I'm an experienced Pathfinder player who has mainly played a few longer running play by post games (as well as a couple that died way too early!) and have played a variety off offline campaigns in GURPS, Pathfinder, and D&D 5e.

I'm a big fan of storytelling and character development, and I enjoy creating moments that allow other players and their characters a chance to interact in unique ways. Sometimes, a character's strengths are interesting, but often times I enjoy building characters with flaws or weaknesses, physical and emotional, that allow characters to share stories, bond, or on occasion annoy each other. But even those annoyances are usually aimed at further trust between characters, as I enjoy working together far more than characters who are at each other's throats.

I'm pretty highly knowledgable about the base Pathfinder 1e rules, but never got much into the more advanced classes. It's been mostly core rules for me, though I did enjoy a fairly unique Summoner I build a while back where her Eidolon was, in fact, her dead brother summoned from beyond the grave.

I far prefer parties looking who accomplish good, defeat evil, bring help to those in need over the more "murder hobo" type bands.

About My Character:
I'm looking to play Sparks Clearpath, a 1st edition character I've rebuild for 2nd edition. Sparks is an Elven Ranger who lived somewhere between 100 and 200 years. She grew up along with her mother, father, and younger sister in a forest somewhere far enough from her current adventure that it is not well known. Her best friends were a group of cheerful, energetic Gnomes with whom she shared many mild adventures as a child and young adult.

Tragedy struck Sparks' family around the time she came of age. The event, which she rarely speaks of, has seen her go out into the wider world looking for funds or favors enough to heal her family and right some wrong that she seems to have burdened herself with.

In practice, Sparks was created as my 2nd Pathfinder character after playing a generally smart, cooperative Paladin. While my Paladin is locked into his code, and is generally rigid and limited in what he can do or say, Sparks was designed to be a character that can slip easily into most any campaign and who has a wider range of emotional and moral highs and lows to work with. She's meant to be helpful, honest, a bit naive, and just generally all around fun to play while still maintaining the Neutral Good character types that I most enjoy.

Spark's sort of base backstory is as follows:

Backstory:
Sparks Clearpath first appeared in the town of Sharlstown over twenty years ago at the beginning of the spring thaw. She came looking to trade the furs and crops on her small horse drawn cart for farming tools and other manufactured goods that neither she nor her mother nor father could easily make for themselves. People were wary of her at first for being a stranger, for her unusual dark eyes, with their bright flakes of orange and red, and for the ornately decorated longbow she wore across her back, but they soon found they had little to worry about. Patient and quiet to a fault, though certainly good natured, the white haired elven maiden would only stay in town long enough to trade for the items she wanted before heading back into the nearby forest.

Though her activities brought relatively little to the town’s economy (the total size of her trades were never very large, she only ever bartered never wanting to deal in hard currencies, and she never so much as rented a room for the nights she was in town preferring to sleep in her cart and eat her own food instead) little by little Sparks built up a good reputation through her honesty and her generous dealings. For a time it was thought that Sparks was distinctly timeless. Those who were mere children when she first appeared grew up, got married, inherited their family’s businesses, and had children of their own all while she barely seemed to age. For most, dealing with Sparks Clearpath was like dealing with a lifelong friend. It came as quite a shock, then, when she disappeared!

Sparks always arrived with the coming of each new season. She always had and she always would, or so it was thought… until it did not happen. Her usual vendors began to look for her as a stormy winter transitioned to a lovely new spring but she never appeared. Spring passed to summer and then to fall and back to winter all without her presence. Slowly, it became apparent that she was not coming. A year passed and then another and another as rumors of her disappearance began to circulate. Some said she had been killed by animals in the forest. Others told how they were sure she had married, or gone to fight a war, or been arrested and executed. Some even claimed she was a spirit that had fulfilled it task and gone on its way. But everyone knew, deep down, that those rumors were just that, and that she had vanished for some real reason. And that she was missed.

Some three years later, Sparks reappeared. She walked into town with no horse, no cart, and only a handful of furs to trade. No longer looking to barter and leave, she began to seek out jobs and, in an unexpected change, would only accept hard currency and room and board in exchange for her work. Though still quiet and reserved, living among the town folks has seen her lower her guard, if only somewhat. She seems more opinionated now than she ever was before even if some subjects, such as why it took her so long to return, are clearly off limits.

Over the last few weeks the people of Sharlstown have discovered what they long suspected about Sparks Clearpath: That she is a hard worker, a skilled hunter, and a kind if occasionally naive soul who has some talent for trade. Most would say they are blessed to have her in their town but privately there is a new wariness surrounding her. Why did she vanish? Why did she returned? And what is causing her to spend nearly every waking hour working herself ragged in exchange for the money she would hardly have touched just three years before?

I would intend to keep this part of her past mostly in tact for any play by post game I get involved with, but it is also easy to tweak it as necessary. Mostly, I include it here to get an example of Sparks' general demeanor and her core motivations for being an adventurer far from home. I would expect that this part of her past is a good 20 years gone by the time she starts on even a 1st level campaign, even if her motivations remain.

You can check out her character sheet right here. She is pretty much a 1st level Pathfinder 2nd Edition ranger with a bird as an animal companion and a healer's kit to let her use the Combat Medicine feat at 1st level. She is built in full accordance with the core rules and everything from skill distribution to money spent is on the up and up.

What I Am Looking For:

I'm mostly just looking for any 2nd Edition game to engage with the new rule set. My ideal game with be starting Sparks up an adventure path where I can have fun and grow complex character along with other players. I love character interaction and playing off other players.

There seems to be a lot of people vying for 2nd edition games right now, so I thought I'd throw my name out and in any place I can find. I can generally post more than daily, including most weekends, and hope to find a game soon! Thanks for reading! :)


Best of luck everyone!


Awesome! Thanks for pointing those games out. I applied to a couple of them as they seemed almost exactly what I was looking for. :)


Hello! I, too, am excited about Pathfinder 2e and posted a "please recruit me" topic over here. I'd be wanting to play as an Elven Ranger I fell in love with back when I got to play her in a 1e campaign that unfortunately sputtered out pretty quickly. Like some of the others who have already posted, I really enjoy the storytelling / roleplaying that play by post brings to the game, and would love a group who both want to learn the new 2e system and who also want to have great character interactions and roleplaying moments were appropriate.

I've only played in about three Pathfinder play by post games so far, but started almost five years ago now and am very familiar with the core 1e rules. With 2e having just come out, it seemed like a great time to see if I could jump back in and learn and help others learn this new edition. All the campaigns I've been a part of have gameplay and discussion threads here, so just check my profile and characters if you'd like to see a sample of my gameplay or role-play style.

As for my character:

Sparks Clearpath
NG female elf Ranger
Ancestry: Elf (Woodland elf)
Background: Field Medic
Class: Ranger (leaning into the flurry and bow feats to create a character that can pump out the shots when needed and take careful aim when necessary)

I had a lot of fun writing stories and background for this character in the past, but have her set up so that she has been adventuring for long enough that her background mostly happened a few decades so she is easy to slip into any adventure. Here's her original character description and background, most of which would still hold true for this adventure:

Character Description:
Though she has the look of a human girl in her late teens or early twenties, Sparks Clearpath's pointed ears, long white hair, and unusual dark eyes, with their bright flakes of orange and red, easily mark her as an elven maiden. As such, she is both slightly taller and slightly thinner than a human of equal apparent age, though a closer look would reveal that she is not unaccustomed to lengthy foot travel nor hard work. Humans almost naturally tend to see her as beautiful or elegant; her own kind, however, would not think her much more than average by their standards.

Sparks' longbow is so often with her that it too is almost a part of her appearance. Its hard, angular shape, save for the rounded wrapped grip near its center, strikes a unique silhouette whether it is across her back or in her hand. Accentuating the bow's unique design is a detailed painting of a long green and brown viper, coiling up the weapon's length.

Background:
Sparks Clearpath first appeared in the town of Sharlstown over twenty years ago at the beginning of the spring thaw. She came looking to trade the furs and crops on her small horse drawn cart for farming tools and other manufactured goods that neither she nor her mother nor father could easily make for themselves. People were wary of her at first for being a stranger, for her unusual dark eyes, with their bright flakes of orange and red, and for the ornately decorated longbow she wore across her back, but they soon found they had little to worry about. Patient and quiet to a fault, though certainly good natured, the white haired elven maiden would only stay in town long enough to trade for the items she wanted before heading back into the nearby forest.

Though her activities brought relatively little to the town’s economy (the total size of her trades were never very large, she only ever bartered never wanting to deal in hard currencies, and she never so much as rented a room for the nights she was in town preferring to sleep in her cart and eat her own food instead) little by little Sparks built up a good reputation through her honesty and her generous dealings. For a time it was thought that Sparks was distinctly timeless. Those who were mere children when she first appeared grew up, got married, inherited their family’s businesses, and had children of their own all while she barely seemed to age. For most, dealing with Sparks Clearpath was like dealing with a lifelong friend. It came as quite a shock, then, when she disappeared!

Sparks always arrived with the coming of each new season. She always had and she always would, or so it was thought… until it did not happen. Her usual vendors began to look for her as a stormy winter transitioned to a lovely new spring but she never appeared. Spring passed to summer and then to fall and back to winter all without her presence. Slowly, it became apparent that she was not coming. A year passed and then another and another as rumors of her disappearance began to circulate. Some said she had been killed by animals in the forest. Others told how they were sure she had married, or gone to fight a war, or been arrested and executed. Some even claimed she was a spirit that had fulfilled it task and gone on its way. But everyone knew, deep down, that those rumors were just that, and that she had vanished for some real reason. And that she was missed.

Some three years later, Sparks reappeared. She walked into town with no horse, no cart, and only a handful of furs to trade. No longer looking to barter and leave, she began to seek out jobs and, in an unexpected change, would only accept hard currency and room and board in exchange for her work. Though still quiet and reserved, living among the town folks has seen her lower her guard, if only somewhat. She seems more opinionated now than she ever was before even if some subjects, such as why it took her so long to return, are clearly off limits.

Over the last few weeks the people of Sharlstown have discovered what they long suspected about Sparks Clearpath: That she is a hard worker, a skilled hunter, and a kind if occasionally naive soul who has some talent for trade. Most would say they are blessed to have her in their town but privately there is a new wariness surrounding her. Why did she vanish? Why did she returned? And what is causing her to spend nearly every waking hour working herself ragged in exchange for the money she would hardly have touched just three years before?

For more on Sparks, I tossed six of the background stories I did for her over at my website here. Having a GM that will encourage storytelling and enforce good grammar seems like a big plus to me!


This looks pretty interesting to me. I made a pretty detailed post over here looking for a new play by post game to join. I think it includes most everything you asked for from class choice to several writing samples, but let me briefly reiterate for the sake of having everything easily accessible:

1. Pick A Class. I'd like to go with a Elven Ranger with the Woodland Elf Heritage and Field Medic background.

2. Why does your character want to be an adventurer?


My character, Sparks Clearpath, was nearly killed when her family's home burned to the ground several decades ago. She emerged from the fire traumatized but without a scratch thanks to the intervention of her mother, who was a powerful cleric. Her mother had the power to save her daughter, but not herself and was very badly injured. Sparks set out into the world seeking the means to heal her mother.

3. Share a brief writing example.

As per my other thread, I'm something of a writer and a storyteller, so I have six short stories describing points in my character's background, all of which would be set a few decades in the past so as not to interfere with the current adventure. And again, for the sake of having something more easily accessible, here is her original character backstory (that can certainly be tweaked if need be):

Quote:

Sparks Clearpath first appeared in the town of Sharlstown over twenty years ago at the beginning of the spring thaw. She came looking to trade the furs and crops on her small horse drawn cart for farming tools and other manufactured goods that neither she nor her mother nor father could easily make for themselves. People were wary of her at first for being a stranger, for her unusual dark eyes, with their bright flakes of orange and red, and for the ornately decorated longbow she wore across her back, but they soon found they had little to worry about. Patient and quiet to a fault, though certainly good natured, the white haired elven maiden would only stay in town long enough to trade for the items she wanted before heading back into the nearby forest.

Though her activities brought relatively little to the town’s economy (the total size of her trades were never very large, she only ever bartered never wanting to deal in hard currencies, and she never so much as rented a room for the nights she was in town preferring to sleep in her cart and eat her own food instead) little by little Sparks built up a good reputation through her honesty and her generous dealings. For a time it was thought that Sparks was distinctly timeless. Those who were mere children when she first appeared grew up, got married, inherited their family’s businesses, and had children of their own all while she barely seemed to age. For most, dealing with Sparks Clearpath was like dealing with a lifelong friend. It came as quite a shock, then, when she disappeared!

Sparks always arrived with the coming of each new season. She always had and she always would, or so it was thought… until it did not happen. Her usual vendors began to look for her as a stormy winter transitioned to a lovely new spring but she never appeared. Spring passed to summer and then to fall and back to winter all without her presence. Slowly, it became apparent that she was not coming. A year passed and then another and another as rumors of her disappearance began to circulate. Some said she had been killed by animals in the forest. Others told how they were sure she had married, or gone to fight a war, or been arrested and executed. Some even claimed she was a spirit that had fulfilled it task and gone on its way. But everyone knew, deep down, that those rumors were just that, and that she had vanished for some real reason. And that she was missed.

Some three years later, Sparks reappeared. She walked into town with no horse, no cart, and only a handful of furs to trade. No longer looking to barter and leave, she began to seek out jobs and, in an unexpected change, would only accept hard currency and room and board in exchange for her work. Though still quiet and reserved, living among the town folks has seen her lower her guard, if only somewhat. She seems more opinionated now than she ever was before even if some subjects, such as why it took her so long to return, are clearly off limits.

Over the last few weeks the people of Sharlstown have discovered what they long suspected about Sparks Clearpath: That she is a hard worker, a skilled hunter, and a kind if occasionally naive soul who has some talent for trade. Most would say they are blessed to have her in their town but privately there is a new wariness surrounding her. Why did she vanish? Why did she returned? And what is causing her to spend nearly every waking hour working herself ragged in exchange for the money she would hardly have touched just three years before?

4. What will your character contribute to the party in and out of battle?

In combat, I wanted to try and go down the ranged Flurry and multi-shot perks as a Ranger. Sparks would provide long range fire with multiple, accurate bow shots and the occasional even more impressive well aimed shot. I also want to build up her medical skills over time. While not a divine healer, she would still be someone who would help treat wounds and sicknesses.

Out of combat, Sparks would have crafted most of her own gear so I would try to also pick up some crafting skills to help the party out. She is also earnest, helpful, and willing to do what it takes to protect people in need, though her sheltered life and lingering phobia of fire would make her somewhat ineffective at things like diplomacy, deception, and more involved social activities.


With the coming of Pathfinder 2e, I'm in the market for a new game. I'd love to join a new Play By Post game with some like-minded players and explore this new 2nd edition system's ins and outs.

A little about me and what I'm after:

I love the mechanics of Pathfinder and enjoy working with others to solve challenge. I take a lot of pride in learning the systems and being an active, supportive player. I'm free to post regularly if not daily and am eager to dig into 2nd edition. I've put together a 1st level 2e Ranger, thought I'd kinda like to start off a little higher level if everyone agrees.

I also love the roleplaying and storytelling aspects that are somewhat unique to Play By Post games. I'm something of a storyteller and appreciate crafting stories and characters and moments along with other players. To that end, I'd love to play a 2e version my existing 1e character Sparks Clearpath.

Quote:


Though she has the look of a human girl in her late teens or early twenties, one hundred year old Sparks Clearpath's pointed ears, long white hair, and unusual dark eyes, with their bright flakes of orange and red, easily mark her as an elven maiden. As such, she is both slightly taller and slightly thinner than a human of equal apparent age, though a closer look would reveal that she is not unaccustomed to lengthy foot travel nor hard work. Humans almost naturally tend to see her as beautiful or elegant; her own kind, however, would not think her much more than average by their standards.

Sparks' longbow is so often with her that it too is almost a part of her appearance. Its hard, angular shape, save for the rounded wrapped grip near its center, strikes a unique silhouette whether it is across her back or in her hand. Accentuating the bow's unique design is a detailed painting of a long green and brown viper, coiling up the weapon's length.

Sparks is practical, resourceful, and has a big heart. At the same time, she is also a bit sheltered, having mostly lived disconnected in a forest with just her immediate family, has a phobia of fire she is still trying to overcome thanks to a tragedy she and her family suffered several years ago, and while she is helpful, she is also on a mission to earn enough coin or favor to finally repay the great debt she owe her injured mother who very gave up her own life in order to save Sparks' during said fire-related tragedy.

For more on Sparks, feel free to check out the short lived PBP game I got to play with her here and my series of short story pieces with her at my website.

I realize it's a bit early yet to be looking for Pathfinder 2e play by post games, but I thought it might be good to throw my name out there early as more people being to explore setting up new 2e games. So, if you're a GM or a player group looking for a helpful, active, storyteller of a player, please keep my name in mind.

(And, if by chance I've posted this in the wrong place or if there's a better way for me to go looking for the kind of group I'm after, please let me know that too!)


Good Horse: 5d8 + 3 ⇒ (1, 8, 7, 8, 4) + 3 = 31


1d10 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8


Level Up:

Knowledge (Arcana) +4 (+1[Skill Point] +3[Cleric Class Skill])
Knowledge (Planes) +4 (+1[Skill Point] +3[Cleric Class Skill])
Feat: Extra Lay on Hands (Two extra uses of Lay on Hands / day)
Smite Evil +1 / day
Lay on Hands heals 2d6
Channel Energy (Paladin) heals 2d6
+1 Level 1 (Paladin) spell slot


1d10 ⇒ 2

Do we get anything special this level? Like a feats or ability score point?


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Loved the summary of the real time session. Was pretty shocked when Henry killed archer lady! How did that play out in person? Also, I'm a bit concerned about some of these other Dawnflower knights going around and being suspicious... I'll try to do something about that just as soon as we're not killed by this dark, otherworldly rogue and wizard...


Tonight Beorn (pronounced Bee + ornament - ament) and myself (pronounced Ra + ga + shingle - le + go) into a fiercely heated short debate on the correct pronunciation of "Thaleniel."

Beorn claimed it is pronounced something like: "Thaleniel"
I threw my hands in the air and claimed I'm terrible at pronouncing unfamiliar words.

Which of us is correct?


I wouldn't bother trying to train the horses. What you good folks need are some magical Owlbear cubs! ;)


I'd like to hear what the rest of you think of all this.


I would love to keep playing this game as well, but there is no game right now!

- The last time our GM posted was over a month ago.
- Before that we had a gap of something like 80 days!

And that is with no explanation and no contact from Chewie! I'm through asking for a bumb. It makes me feel bad asking for a bump. I feel like I'm whining or causing trouble. I feel like maybe I'm dumping on someone who has actual real life problems. I absolutely hate doing that! I hate the possibility that I might be doing that.

But I'm also not fine with the atrocious pace we're playing at. I feel ignored. I feel everyone else is being ignored. I feel like I was invited to play but now, for some reason, none of us are worth paying attention to. And again, I hate bringing up these issues!

I'm very willing to roll back Sparks' death and play with all of you, but we have to actually play! So, here's my suggestions:

1. We take the GMing of the game out of Chewie's hands. At least partially. He's given us a great story and great characters but has proven over these last years that he either won't or can't be an effective / present GM. I'm all for him to be the basis of the story and plot and even the encounters if he's up to it, but we need someone who will actually run the game.

2. We make and agree to some actual posting rules. They can be very lenient. One post a week? One post every two weeks? I'd be fine with either. But we cannot and should not go months between posts.

3. We all agree that our characters can be run by whoever is the GM during combat to avoid delays. Say, after a week goes by.

I want to play this game too, so let's find a way to actually play it.

Thoughts?


Some parting thoughts:

1. With the often months long delays with little to no explanations or communication as to why they were occurring, I felt very undervalued and ignored. And yeah, even somewhat insulted.
2. I had already gone one step short of quitting by posting Sparks' entire backstory in story form somewhere above. I just didn't go all the way and actually withdraw like I said I would because I loved my character and my interactions with every else so so much.
3. I want to thank all of you for helping tell this story with me. For interacting with my character and allowing me to interact with yours. You are all such talented writers and I enjoyed playing this game with you very very much.
4. I am going to be very sad for a very long time because of this. To remove myself from being able to interact with all of you? I think its probably a mistake and probably something I'll deeply regret.
5. I'm sorry. :(


Ah. I totally didn't read the duration of of Flaming Sphere. Definitely superior to Scorching Ray.


Quote:
but Flaming Sphere sounds like it would terrify Sparks

Eh, why does it sound like that would rate as a plus? :p

Also, I figured you'd go for Scorching Ray?


Is it within the rule to allow Themp to ride on Nme'an's back?


Anyone care to place bets on how long y'all can remain near Thaleniel before it is overrun or nearly overrun by orcs? :p

P.S. Please don't lose Thaleniel like you did Port Elam... I fear that the mission scripting will break if the city is destroyed and our quest giver is somehow killed...

If you beat the local / nobility check in Gameplay:
P.P.S Dawnflower knights are awesome.


502. The Thaleniel Guards (Part 1?)

The sharp sounds of clashing metal ring out beneath one of the many tall, oil burning street lamps that intermittently light Thaleniel’s dark, southern warehouse district. Bathed in orange-tinted light, two figures, clearly engaged in combat, move and circle each other. They trade slashes, thrusts, blocks, and parries as their swords meet again and again. Eventually, one of the combatants gains an upper hand and drives the other back with a powerful stab.

’The night shift will be easy coin’ they said…” seventeen year old Bidella Rimony mutters as she reels from the attack she barely managed to turn aside. The young, strongly-built human woman is dressed in the lightweight rudimentary armor and headgear common to the capital city’s many guards, but given the state of combat, whatever she is guarding does not look like it will remain safe much longer. She gives a glance back to the stable she was assigned to watch, and even though her sword arm aches and she can’t quite catch her breath, she straightens her stance and readies her blade against her attacker once more.

”You are winded and soon be bested. Fighting on sees you injury-ed. What you do?” the half elf advancing calmly toward her asks.

”I would yell for help again,” Bidella answers. She cups her hands to her mouth and quietly makes a show of shouting to the left and right for help. ”…and then I would…” she pretends to hesitate as she checks her footing, …attack, she very nearly yells for real as she springs forward towards her attacker.

The girl clearly has some skill with a blade as she feints and dodges past the answering swing that comes towards her. She has just enough time to catch the surprise on her attacker’s face before she begins a well executed heavy slash aimed at his left shoulder. A slash that is easily rebuffed by the light leather shield strapped to his left arm…

The half elf briefly looks down upon Bidella with disapproval, then takes a strong step forward and swipes his sword an inch from her face causing her to flinch sharply away. With her sword arm woefully out of position and her momentum already carrying her backward, it is an easy maneuver for her opponent to step up and shove her roughly to the ground. Bidella grunts in pain as her thin armor does little to soften her impact. Her sword clatters to the stone paved street beside her, but all she is aware of is the point of her opponent’s sword as it comes to a stop directly in front of her left eye.

”Wrong answer,” her attacker tells her. ”If you are outnumbered or outfought, you must run. Horses or jewelry or what you guard can all be gotten again. You cannot.” The blade near her face remains for another moment, emphasizing its holder’s point, before it is withdrawn, sheathed, and replaced by a helping hand.

”By the gods, Nme’an, do you have to be so rough?” Bidella asks as she takes his offered hand and pulls herself to her feet.

"I only am so so as to make clear your mistakes," the half elf, half again her age, responds firmly.

"It is hard to practice against you when I am so... wary... that you will punish my slightest mistake," the guard-in-training complains.

”We learn best by mistake, then avoiding it in the next time,” Nme'an replies.

”There is never any winning with you is there?” Bidella half laughs, half grumbles. In the two weeks since she’d joined the city guard, her assigned mentor had not once backed down from an instance where he thought he was correct. It certainly did not help that, so far, he almost always had been. ”Ok…” she sighs, ”What did I do wrong, then?”

”Aside from failing to retreat?” Nme’an first asks, so as to not let her forget his point. But, as quick as he is to chastise or roughly punish, he is just as quick to teach. ”You made a clever move but followed it by attacking my strongest side. You may very well done serious harm and won the fight if I had not held a shield. But I did. A battle is a string of moves from you pit to moves from the one you fight. Winning one round only to leave yourself two moves behind is no win at all.”

The teenage girl does her best to consider her teacher’s words as she picks up her weapon and begins acting out the final moves of their mock engagement in slow motion. She shakes her head as she stops her swing in the same position as when it made contact with her instructor’s shield, then starts the routine a second time. Though her face is crestfallen at first, it lights up slightly as she acts out her surprise attack once more.

”You thought my move was ‘clever’?” she asks. A number of distant bells begin ringing out the new hour before her mentor can reply, but the small half smile that appears on his face tells her all she needs to know.

Soon, the bells complete their four rings, indicating the top of the fourth hour past midnight, and leave the moonlit city in silence once more. ”What do we do now?" Nme'an asks once their echoes fade.

The first time he had asked the question, on her first night of training some two weeks prior, she'd had no immediate answer and had been sent home for the night with a warning to know her duties. It was one mistake, at least, that she had learned from.

"We go on our rounds," Bidella answers confidently, earning herself a small nod from her trainer.

The two checked their equipment then proceeded down the partially lit street keeping close watch for any signs of trouble.


Yeah, Mot should get it. It would lower Nme'an's AC... and do something else negative that I forget now... Maybe just it wouldn't look as cool as full plate armor with mysterious otherworldly etchings... Anyway, have at it. :)


Random programming note: I could not remember the name I gave to Sparks' childhood gnome friends. I'd written it down somewhere but could never find it. Well.... I found it. She said it to Umros when we first got near the caves. So, the Dodohyd'iaerons in the story above are actually the Dymestl-aerons. And Ddaear is one of the five friends Sparks was referencing back in the main story...


Henry, make a death saving throw...


Here's a revised timeline for Nme'an to account for various bits of info learned since the beginning of the game. A few notes:

- Since it does not make sense for Nme'an and his family to be from Brakton (since it is a human town) I'd like them to be from a smaller but important Elven settlement somewhere near Deeproot. Perhaps near the area where the Thass River flows into Thass lake? Nme'an's mother eventually marries a son from a leading family of Deeproot so it would be good that they are at least in the same general area.
- I aged up Nme'an mother and brothers to better fit with my ideas surround elf aging I'm using with Sparks.
- Nme’an motivation for leaving Brakton has been changed from avoiding elven persecution to searching for the source of Good that helped him defend his home. Any reference to persecution should be shifted to the Elves of the town he and his family left before moving to Brakton.

241 - Aranna Aldael is born. An unruly adventurer and explorer as a child and "teen" she eventually submits to her father's wishes that she fulfill her role as a local leader.
324 - Aranna eventually marries Syndus of Deeproot and travels the lands as an Elven diplomat representing the interests of her and her husband’s towns.
360 - Heav'an Aldael born to Aranna and Syndus.
402 - Heli'an Aldael born to Aranna and Syndus.
471 - Syndus becomes ill and dies leaving Aranna secluded in depression for four years.
475 - Nme’an is born to Aranna Aldael. As a Half Elf child resulting from an indiscretion during an official diplomatic visit to Thaleniel, both he and his family suffer social and political scorn. Arianna is relieved of any remaining diplomatic duties.
491 - Aranna Aldael and her three sons (Heav’an, Helli’an, and Nme’an) leave their elven community and settle in the somewhat distant Brakton after Nme’an’s grandfather (his mother’s father) denies him admittance to an important Elven festival dues to his mixed race.
496 - Gobblins attack Brakton. Helli’an is killed. Nme’an is hailed a hero for his help in the defense. Though his mother is once again grieving, Nme’an feels a calling to defend others and soon departs Brakton in search of the as yet unknown source of the call. For the next four years Nme’an travels from town to city helping where he can before moving on.
500 - Nme’an settles in Thaleniel and joins the city’s guard force.
502 - Nme’an is recognized by Sir Montague Belarand after (some guard related event) and is invited to join the Knights of the Dawnflower, which he accepts.
503 - Nme’an briefly meets Commander Morgan of Brenan’s Crossing during on of the commander’s visits to Thaleniel.
504 - Nme’an, midway into his training, defeats a more experienced Squire in a mock battle held for Sir Lawdrake.
504 - Nme’an completes a horseback combat test on foot.
504 - Still a Squire, Nme’an and Sir Montague Belarand surround a group of bandits but honorably offer them a chance to surrender or defend themselves before routing them.
505 - Nme’an receives his promotion from Squire to Knight Apprentice from Prince Titus. (He is, in fact, wearing clothes…)
508 (Current Day) - Nme’an and three chosen companions receive a mission to find Prince Titus and retrieve a magic book thought to have a spell capable of healing Vyren’s long sickened king.


*Dies without making a fortitude save.*


Do it.


Ha. Can't believe I did that. I'd just finished your story too! Well, my Tam is probably really Tamantha or something... and is a girl... so they probably aren't that hard to tell apart. :)


A little something I stayed up way too late working on:

20 | 15, 56
“Welcome to Cunningham Glass Blowers. I am Travis Cunningham. Is there anything with which I could help you with?”
“Mkali Moto Kipande Njia’yawzai… is my name. But you may call me Sparks Clearpath,”

19 | 16, 57
“Welcome to Cunningham… oh, it’s you!”
“Hello, Travis. Is your father around? We broke a pane and I need to talk to him about replacing it.”

18 | 17, 58
“Miss Clearpath! Over here! It’s nice to see you once again!”
“And you, Travis! I will make sure to stop on by your shop later to greet you and your father properly!”

17 | 59, 18
“Good morning, Travis. It is a pleasure to meet you once again. And you have continued to grow! It seems you are taller every season and every year!”
“And each year you remain the same. Still… beautiful.”

16 | 60, 41
“Travis? … Travis? Mr. Cunningham? Are one of you here somewhere?”
“Travis! We have customers! Damn that boy… I’m sorry, Miss Clearpath, my son seems to have forgotten his duties in favor of chasing after that Melinda…”

15 | 61, 20
“Greetings once again, Travis. Or should I say Mr. Cunningham now. You look so much like a young version of your father now.”
“No, I couldn’t have you call me that, Miss Clearpath. It would be like we did not know each other.”
“Well, seeing that we do, I would think you should know me as ‘Sparks’ by now.
“Indeed. It is nice to see you again, Sparks.”

14 | 21, 62
“Back again so soon, Sparks?”
“Yes, a boar damaged… oh my! What happened to your eye?!”
“This? A man was cat calling to Melinda and would not stop.
“Oh? Oh! I should hope he looks even worse?”
“No… not really. But Melinda kissed it afterward and it doesn’t really even hurt anymore!”

13 | 63, 44
“Good afternoon, Mr. Cunningham. Is Travis off today?”
“Ha. You could say that, Miss Clearpath. My son and his wife have gone to Dutos and will not be back for a week.”
“Wife? Melinda?! That is terrific news! You will have to relay my regards to him and her when they return!”

12 | 20, 64, 1
“Good morning, welcome to Cunningham Glass Blowers. Is there anything at all I can assist you with?”
“Good morning. Are you by chance Melinda?
“I am, and you must be the Miss Clearpath Travis has spoken so highly of.
“Sparks, if you please. And who might this be?”
“This is Tamantha. We call her Tam. Can you wave hi Tam?”
“Gaaaa!”

11 | 2, 65, 24
“Welcm to glass blows!”
“Oh, good afternoon, Tam. My, look how big you have gotten.
“Hasn’t she? It is nice to see you again, Sparks.”
“And you, Travis. I can hardly believe it, how big your daughter has grown!”
“Neither can I. And we have another coming!”

10 | 3, 25, 66
“Daddy! Daddy!”
“Oh… hello Sparks…”
“Travis? What has happened? What is wrong?”
“Melinda… and the baby… neither of them made it…”
“Oh… Ohhhh Travis, I am so sorry… I hardly know what to say.”

9 | 4, 67
“Spaaarrrrkks!”
“Why hello, Tam! Where is your father?
“He… he’s helping grandpa with the glass. (I can’t go back there by the fire…)
“You can if you are with me. Here, take my hand.”

8 | 68
Thank you for stopping by Cunningham Glass Blowers. I regret to inform you that due to my father’s illness our shop is currently closed. We hope to reopen soon but do not yet have a date in mind. — Travis Cunningham

7 | 6, 69, 28
“Good morning! Welcome to Cunninghams Glass Blowers. I am Tam Cunningham. Is there anything with which I could help you?”
“Hello, Tam. You know, your father used to say the exact same thing when I first met him!”
“She does it better than I ever did. She puts all of her effort into it. It is good to see you, Sparks.”
“I’m sure you did just as well when you were a child, Travis.”
“No, I really didn’t. I was far too interested in playing outdoors while Tam, here, is very much the young shop owner.”

6 | 7, 70, 29
“Hello Sparks… Grandpa is… gone now, but... We are still open!”
“I’m very sorry to hear that, Tam. Are you all right?”
“Yes. I get sad sometimes though.”
“Sparks? Sparks, it is so good to see you…”
“And you, Travis. Tam told me about your father. Is there anything I can do?”
“We are ok, just a little sad. If you have time later, would you visit him with me?”
“Of course, Travis. Of course I will.”

5 | 71, 8, 30
“Hello, Tam! Hello, Travis!”
“Sparks!”
“It’s good to see you again. You missed a season.”
“I know. We were all so busy and I could not get free. I am still busy, but I could not come and not say hello.”

4 | 72, 31, 9
“Hello, Travis. How have you been?”
“Quite well. And yourself?”
“Well, as well.”
“Do you have it?”
“I do. I think she will enjoy it.”
“Oh, it’s beautiful. And I love the painting you did! Tam! Tam, come here! Sparks is here and she made something just for you!”

3 | 32
It has been almost a year now since I have seen my good friend, the Elf Sparks Clearpath. Twice or three times she has been delayed or skipped a season entirely, but never has she not come for an entire year. I worry about her now as does Tam on occasion.

2 | 33
Checking back to the year before, as I do, I am again saddened to note I still have not seen Sparks. In many ways, her continued absence is more troubling than Melinda’s or my fathers. Friends, family, and acquaintances come and go, live and die. But Sparks, more than any Elf I have known, seemed timeless. Perhaps because I so seldom saw her and yet she always remained so unchanged. Now, I have not seen her for two years and my heart aches almost the same way when I think of others I have lost.

1 | 34
Somehow conversation turned to Sparks Clearpath today. One of the men from the 458 claimed to have seen her recently. Another claimed to have news that she had been arrested, tried, and hung for murder or theft in Dutos. I told the second one off quite angrily, Sparks would never do such a thing, and the first soon backed away from his story. It has been three years since I last saw my Elven friend. Even Tam rarely mentions her now.

0 | 13, 76, 35
“Hello, welcome to… Sparks? Sparks!!!
“Hello… Tam…”
“Father! Father! It’s Sparks! Father! Sparks is here!”
“Sparks?! … Sparks, it’s so good to see you again. You look… Sparks? What happened to you? Where have you been and what has happened to you?”
“Travis. I… I need your help.”


Fun stories! I'm going to have to figure out the end to The Failed Scheme because I have something really neat that can come after it...


The Fateful Storm Commentary / Notes about Sparks:

Spoiler:
About The Fateful Storm:

- This was a story I began working on back during the game stoppage back in May. I did more work on it in July and August as evidenced by my discussion posts were I had figured out the names of Sparks’ sister and mother and father. I had a full working copy long before my October 11th discussion post but there were a few areas such as the opening description that weren’t flowing right until just the other day. Not that I was banging my head against the wall for months of a time or anything. It was more like I went back and tweaked things from time to time when there wasn’t anything else to do.

- Though the game stoppage prompted the creation of the story, my lack of an exact understand of Sparks’ backstory was what motivated me to write it. Before then I knew Sparks had come to Sharlstown to earn enough money to heal her mother and that a house fire was the ultimate cause of everything but the story went through a few variations before it settled to what it is now. In one, Inapita Sasa died in the fire. In another, it was Sparks who went back in and rescued her mother. In that variant she would have had scars from the fire that could be used in Gameplay during some dramatic moment or another. Sparks would note her past injuries to prove she was tough, or that she had in fact dealt with tragedy in her life, or show that her fears weren’t unfounded.

- The rainstorm helps get the story started but it also served as a more secret purpose in providing an alternate method for the fire to start in the form of a lightning strike. What really started the fire? Sparks’ badly built fire or the storm? Only Sparks’ mother knows and her injuries left her unable to speak and unable to move enough to write. This would be a long term plot point with the big reveal only coming when Sparks reunited with her mother healing spell in hand.

- Although it wasn’t originally intended, I thought it was a lot of fun that Sparks’ first visit to Sharlstown was to have the windows made for her family’s house. It’s those windows that she would have traveled home with at the end of The Failed Scheme that rattle in the thunder in the beginning of The Fateful Storm. Little things like that make me smile.

- Even though the story is fiction and not gameplay, it mostly stays within the Pathfinder rule set. I wasn’t rolling dice to determine the outcome of the plot or anything, but I made sure I knew what spells Sparks’ mother used. Sparks was protected from the flames by a high level Resist Energy spell and was fully healed with Regenerate, for instance. It was a good thing her mother beat her concentration rolls. :P

- Sparks seasonal visits to Sharlstown stop for three years after the fire. In that time it is just her and her father caring for her mother and sister. Her mother would go on to lose limbs to her injuries and would need significant constant attention for several months until she gradually stabilized into poor but livable condition. Inapita Sasa came out a lot better off, but over the next few days it would become apparent she’d suffered some sever respiratory injuries which along with her various burns greatly reduced her ability to use magic. Strenuous activities like hunting or traveling soon became impossible for her. It’s only once her family is completely safe that Sparks starts thinking about finding a way to make good on her promise to fix everything.

About Sparks:
- She was born as a character when I accidentally capitalized “sparks” in one of our Hangout chats. There was a lot of appeal in a character who was animated, excitable, and who could jump between a range of moods very quickly. Especially when Nme’an was largely locked into his all work no play mode.

- As The Fiddleplayer’s Son took shape Chewie and I had a couple of back and forth message about the world and how my new character could be in it. These helped shape Sparks and moved her a good deal away from her original innocent persona to someone who had suffered a tragedy in her past that she thought was her responsibility to fix.

- Still, I wanted Sparks’ elven nature to shine through in that she is still quite fluid in terms of her moods. Even in her first post she goes from being excited at the possibility of a good job board offer, to depressed and ready to slink back to her hard life, to accepting an unspoken challenge just because it was issued and ends up racing through the streets. And her moods continue to swing throughout the story. One minute she’ll be angry and the next she’ll be insightful or will be cracking a joke. She is not unable to control her emotions exactly. It’s more that her natural state is to latch on to each new emotion as it comes. But she can be serious or calm or whatever when it is necessary.

- One of the funnest things I did with Sparks was make a list of reactions that would be triggered by different gameplay elements. We’ve seen a couple of them, like her fear of fire or her reaction to being healed by Umros. The latter of which was interesting as it was far more a reaction to the tragedy in her past than to Umors. With her mother badly injured and her sister not in terribly good shape following the fire, Sparks had not felt the familiar energies of healing magic in a long time. To be healed by a total stranger after so long caused a surge of emotion before she was able to grab hold of herself.

The other two main reactions I had planned involved combat. The first was to be Sparks’ adverse reaction to being injured. Nme’an just took whatever came and would often risk his life in battle while largely ignoring anything that happened to him until after the battle ended. Sparks would not have done that! Instead, she would have clutched a wound and fallen to the ground if it was bad enough. I’d would have even had her give up turns or be out of battle completely if it was clear the rest of the party could have handled her absence. She would get significantly better about this in future battle after the others (hopefully!) counciled her and the importance of dealing with the pain and continuing to fight even when injured.

The second planned reaction was to have Sparks be very reluctant to use her bow on any humanoid targets. She is a skilled hunter of animals, not people. Again, if it wouldn’t obviously endanger the party, I would have had her stay out of a battle fighting against her conflicted feelings instead of against the enemy. There would have been all sorts of opportunities to snap her out of it though. If someone attacked her directly or if another member of the party was to be injured would certainly push her strongly to engaging. This also would have been a growth opportunity as she was to learn to fire into melee, likely as part of being forced to kill her first thinking person.

- There’s so much to explore in the contrasts of the way Sparks would see the world vs those with a shorter lifespan and how they must see her. Do humans see her as timeless since she will still be fairly young when their children grow old and die? Do they see her as foolish or inexperienced or unwilling to improve herself since she is nearing 80 years of age but has not done or seen or felt nearly as much as they did in their first 20 years? I had really hoped to get to poke into those kinds of subjects at some point.

…Oh well. :(


The Fateful Storm:

Spoiler:
Mkali Moto Kipande Njia’yawazi awoke to the unsettling feeling of her entire home shaking around her. Still suspended somewhere between her dreams and full wakefulness, the young elven woman opened her eyes in alarm at... at what?! The only sources of sound or movement were the roaring flames and the dancing back and forth shadows that they cast from the fireplace before her. “Maybe it had been nothing?’ she thought. But then the loud rumbling returned and the glass windows in the foyer to her right began rattling in their frames! Mkali Moto Kipande attempted to sit up from against the foot of her family’s living room sofa only to find she could hardly move. She was pinned, not by fear or injury, but by her younger sister who had snuggled halfway on top of her in order to share the soft, warm blanket she’d wrapped herself in earlier that evening. The rumbling around the two of them intensified further until it felt as if the house might shake itself apart as Mkali Moto Kipande gripped the edge of the blanket tightly with one hand and braced for something bad to happen… only for the rumbling to quickly echo off into the distance leaving a still silence in its wake.

‘It was only thunder,’ Mkali Moto Kipande realized, laughing gently at herself, only to then flinch an instant later as a distant bolt of lightening appeared far past the kitchen windows to her left. The bright, enigmatic display of power forked down from the dark night sky to the forest treetops below and lit the rooms around Mkali Moto Kipande in a harsh blue glow as the bolt lingered, strobing in place for a moment, before it winked out just as quickly as it had appeared. A new wave of thunder rolled in just in time for the next flash of lighting to streak into existence. Over the next few minutes the distant flashes moved ever closer and the waves of thunder came ever sooner. Before long, the lightening and thunder was joined by a steady heavy rain that swept in as a single impressive wave. The storm which had been lingering out past the overcast horizon for the past couple of days was finally rolling in, but aside from her brief, post slumber startle, Mkali Moto Kipande wasn’t worried. She’d been through this kind of thing many times before. Warm and content in front of the nearby fire, with her sister sleeping sweetly against her side, Mkali Moto Kipande leaned back against the sofa and watched in ceaseless wonder. Soon, the sky remained lit more often than it was allowed to grow dark, and loud, sharp, immediate cracks of thunder took the place of the comparatively gentle rumbles she’d felt earlier. The heavy rain hammered the roof and pelted the windows while gusts of wind whistled through the forest outside and buffeted the walls of sturdy home Mkali Moto Kipande had watched her parents build two decades before, back when she herself had been well and truly young.

“Wha..?” Mkali Moto Kipande’s sister asked drowsily a few minutes later as a particularly loud crash of thunder shook the house and finally woke her from her post supper slumber. She raised her head from the comfortable spot it had found resting on her older sister’s stomach only to quickly bury it again as a nearby bolt of lightening flashed before her wide, frightened eyes.

“It’s all right, Inapita Sasa. It’s just the storm we knew was coming,” Mkali Moto Kipande answered as she stroked her fingers soothingly though her sister’s shorter walnut colored hair. “Sshhhh, it’s ok,” Mkali Moto Kipande repeated as more thunder had her sister grabbing hold of her waist and whimpering quietly into her shirt. Inapita Sasa was some twenty-six years of age now and had already started her long journey chasing her older sister towards adulthood. She too had certainly been through similarly powerful storms before, but at times like this Mkali Moto Kipande could not blame her for reacting like the child she still by and large resembled.

The storm raged around the Njia’yawazi sisters for well over an hour before the heavy rain and strong gusting winds began to die down. Mkali Moto Kipande moved to get into a more comfortable position, but there still wasn’t much she could do with her sister draped over her. They’d been in the same spot since they had concluded their celebratory family dinner some three or four hours before and her lack of movement had begun to take its toll on Mkali Moto Kipande’s neck, legs and back. Inapita Sasa had even fallen asleep once more despite the waining storm. She looked so peaceful that Mkali Moto Kipande delayed waking her for a time but eventually she simply had to move.

“Sit up, Sasa. You’re hurting me,” Mkali Moto Kipande whispered to her sister as she gently rocked her awake. Her sister groaned and almost went to asleep again, but reluctantly rolled fully onto the floor… after playful shifting more of her weight onto her older sister first, of course. Apparently unsatisfied with her new position, Inapita Sasa sat up so her back rested against the sofa, just as her older sister’s did. A few moments later she leaned over so that her soft cheek and heavy head found their way to her big sister’s warm shoulder. This new position would not remain comfortable for long, either, Mkali Moto Kipande knew, but she could not help but smile at the tenderness of the moment.

‘…me and my sister, quiet and warm and cozy in front of the fire…’

“The storm is ending, it is time for bed you two,” Mkali Moto Kipande heard her mother’s soft voice say from somewhere off to her left a short time later. She looked around, but did not spot anyone until she noticed her mother’s beautiful long white hair move past the dining room window.

‘How long had she been watching us and the storm? All along?’ Mkali Moto Kipande wondered with a small smile.

“Time for bed,” her mother said again as she gently separated her younger daughter from her older one’s side. Thankful for the help, Mkali Moto Kipande extracted herself from the tangled blanket and stretched long and tall before moving over to the fireplace’s hearth. The fire was still roaring with life even though she had built it four or maybe five hours ago. In truth, she’d probably built it too big in response to a long, hard day’s work helping her father out in the cold, but it felt great in contrast to the chilly air that had greeted her as soon as she’d pulled free of her blanket. Mkali Moto Kipande held her hand and arm out near the fire for a long moment, basking in its heat, before drawing back as the heat began to sting her finger tips. She drew her hand away then moved back to the edge of the hearth where the temperature was a bit more reasonable.

“I want to sleep down here tonight,” Inapita Sasa complained over by the sofa as her mother worked ineffectively to get her to stand. Mkali Moto Kipande could not help but laugh.

“There might be more storms to come, Sasa,” Mkali Moto Kipande chimed in, but her sister held tight to the covers that were now wrapped around her body and refused to move.

“All right,” their mother said, relenting. “But I do not want you too close to that fire,” she said to her younger daughter while giving her older one a decidedly incredulous look.

“…I’ll clean it up first thing in the morning,” Mkali Moto Kipande confirmed, before quickly looking away from her mother’s disapproving gaze. She rose and pulled the heavy, cast iron screen in front of the fireplace then tried to angle past her mother but was unable to resist being pulled into a loving hug.

“You did good today. I know you would have rather been off hunting or exploring these last weeks, but your father was very grateful for your help,” her mother whispered lovingly into her ear. Mkali Moto Kipande returned her mother’s embrace then pulled away and continued on to the straight staircase built into living room’s back wall. She quietly scaled the twelve steps that led to the short hallway that, along with her room on one side and her sister’s on the other, made up the entirety of their house’s second floor. A long rumble of rolling thunder to the southwest drew her tired eyes to her small window once she’d climbed the stairs and entered her room. The streaks of lightening that flashed far in the distance seemed to confirm her prediction of the approach of a second wave of storms, but by now Mkali Moto Kipande’s fatigue of a hard day’s… month’s… work had caught back up with her and she was too tired to give the idea much care. She climbed into her cool, welcoming bed and within minutes found her dreams once more.

***

Mkali Moto Kipande drifted back awake some minutes or hours later to a strange, pungent smell. At first, she thought maybe an animal had died somewhere nearby. A bird that had found its way inside, maybe? But there was something more to it, something… sweeter… that nagged at her in the darkness of her room. Wood? Was somebody cooking downstairs? In the middle of the night? The odor itself was odd enough, but even stranger were the solitary little specks of hot, irritating dust that kept finding their way into her mouth and nose with every few breaths she took. She tried to ignore it all, at first, but soon found that she could not. Every time she would near sleep she would be jolted back to wakefulness! Fed up, Mkali Moto Kipande sat upright in her bed, thoroughly perplexed by the strangely warm air she tasted around her. It was still dark outside, and still raining, but the lightening and thunder had passed on by… Or so she thought until a muffled crash shook her room!

“That was not thunder!” she told herself, now fully awake.

Whatever it had been had sounded more like a tall tree crashing to the ground. Or maybe it had felt like one hitting the house? Still more curious than worried, Mkali Moto Kipande slipped out of her bed oddly thankful she had not taken the time to change out of her sturdy work clothes. She took a few moments to properly lace her ragged shoes the opened the door to her bedroom and… nearly choked on the hot, foul air that rushed in past her. Her eyes went wide as the smell that had been so hard to place hit her full force. The air was hot and thick and smelt of wood and ash and smoke and… FIRE?!

‘The house is on fire!’ Mkali Moto Kipande realized as she slipped into a panic.

For a brief moment, all she could do was recall the tragic scene of the burnt out home she had seen years before, during one of her family’s trading trips to the nearby city of Dutos. The townspeople had told of how the bucket brigade had formed in time to prevent the fire from spreading. Of how they might have very well saved that section of the city. But how the family trapped inside, a husband and wife and their children, had, tragically, not survived. The thought that her family might soon suffer the same fate pulled Mkali Moto Kipande back to the present and pushed her out into the hallway that separated her room from her sister’s.

“Wake up Sasa!” Mkali Moto Kipande called out as she reached for her sister’s door. Not waiting for a response, she began to turn the handle. That it was hot to the touch did not register in her mind until well after she had begun to push the door inwards, but by then it was too late. A swell of smoke and fire swirled then surged out into the hallway with enough force to slam the door shut even as it knocked Mkali Moto Kipande backward into her own door frame. It was all she could do to remain standing after the harsh, unexpected impact. Mkali Moto Kipande could hardly see, her eyes were watering so badly, but the realization that her sister was trapped with those flames pushed her forward once more. She sank low and braced herself this time before attempting to push the door open. Fire and smoke again briefly rushed out into the hallway, but Mkali Moto Kipande pushed through it only to have her heart broken when she opened her eyes.

“Inapita Sasa!” Mkali Moto Kipande half screamed, half sobbed, not willing to believe the scene in front of her. Before her, her sister’s room was fully ablaze and had been for multiple minutes. The wood paneled walls were all but consumed, her sister’s oak desk and dresser had both already collapsed and been torn apart by the flames, and there was smoke pouring up through a large hole to the left of her sister’s burning bed. Mkali Moto Kipande wanted to believe she was trapped in a nightmare, but, rationally, she knew that she was not. But… there was no body! Mkali Moto Kipande checked a second time. Her sister’s room was all but destroyed, but her sister was not in it…

‘She had wanted to sleep downstairs!’ Mkali Moto Kipande remembered. ‘Please have let her slept downstairs…’ she pleaded before pulling back out of the doomed room. She turned to the nearby stairway but could not seem to take the necessary steps forward. She had been so worried about her sister she had somehow missed the column of smoke and glowing embers that rolled up the slanted ceiling above the stairwell. The thick black clouds billowed up towards her before spilling out onto the wider hallway ceiling overhead. Mkali Moto Kipande clenched her fist and summoned her courage the forced herself to move to the top of the stairs only to cover her mouth at the sight she saw.

What had been her way down to a new, promising day each morning and her way up to the comfort of a good night’s rest each evening now looked more like a passage descending down into hell itself! Many of the stairs had been been blackened by soot or ash while a dozen small streams of smoke were pouring out from cracks up and down the supporting wall to her left. Worse, the floor below that should have been too dark to easily make out was disturbingly visible, lit orange-red by the constantly shifting light of unseen fires. Mkali Moto Kipande hesitated. The staircase was her only way to safety, she knew that, but already she could feel the heat carried upward by the smoke. How much worse would it be down at ground level among the flames themselves? Another loud crash shook the floor beneath her feet and the entire house seemed to try to lurch out from under her. The thought that the house might come down around her spurred Mkali Moto Kipande back into action.

“All I have to do is make it outside. I’ll be fine no matter what happens as long as I make it outside…” she told herself before she took one last clear breath and started her descent. She moved quickly, surefooted even amongst the heat and smoke, but Mkali Moto Kipande knew she was in trouble from her very first step. What had always been a solid, sturdy staircase creaked and shifted as soon as she put her weight onto it. The wall to her left groaned under the added stress and the smoke that had been streaming from multiple points was quickly joined by small licks of fire as what unburned material remained within the damage wall caught fire. Mkali Moto Kipande grabbed hold of the railing to her right, sure the stair beneath her feet was about to break way, but instead the entire staircase broke free of the gutted wall with a long sickening crack and smashed apart on the hard floor below. Mkali Moto Kipande hit the ground hard then screamed in silent agony as a large section of the staircase crushed her right ankle. She could actually hear the meaty snap as her bones broke!

For the first few moments Mkali Moto Kipande was unable to think, she was in so much pain. But the pain in her leg quickly gave way to the stinging heat she felt on her face, arms and legs. Forcing her eyes open, all she could see were the flames that surrounded her with only glimpses of the fireplace where she’d built her large fire visible between them. Horrifyingly, the thick metal screen, with its curving, flowery patterns, was not where she had placed it. Instead, it had fallen… no… it had been pushed outwards and off the brick hearth. And there on the scorched floor, past the screen, was what could only have been the charred ash of spent firewood.

‘Am I responsible for this? Did I destroy my home and kill my family?!’ Mkali Moto Kipande asked herself as the heat from the nearby fires began to scald her face. She coughed and choked on the fumes and screamed at the pain and pulled her legs up to her chest as instinct forced her to curl into a ball in one last, ineffective attempt to protect herself from the burning heat surrounding her.

‘It hurts! It hurts it hurt it hurts it hurts!’ Mkali Moto Kipande cried out in her own mind until the pain became so overwhelming that even her thoughts were pushed aside. Her only instinctual hope now was that the pain would come to an end… and then it did… though not in the way she expected.

The intense heat that had been smothering her lungs and eating at her skin and bones vanished in an instant. A moment later, a familiar surge of energy passed through her body and the pain from both her grievous burns and smashed leg was simply gone! Somewhere, deep within her overwhelmed mind, a memory surfaced of how it had felt to jump into a cool lake on a hot summer day. For a time, Mkali Moto Kipande relived that jump from the tall grassy hill down to the swimming hole below. She squinted into the blinding sun, and felt the hot grass crunch beneath her bare feet as she ran. Her mind latched on to the warm whistling air that blew her long white hair back away from her face as she jumped and fell towards the water below. She clung to the memory of the sudden forceful upward jolt of the water as it broke her fall and enveloped her within its shockingly cool, movement restricting weight. Mkali Moto Kipande hung there for a long moment within the cool waters of her memories then went to open her eyes expecting the see the muted browns and greens typical of the murky lake, only to find herself back in the hell that was the burnt remnants of her house with… with her mother’s burned and bloody face unmoving inches above her own!

Initially, Mkali Moto Kipande tried to recoil away, but there was no where to go. Pinned on her back, she could see rain clouds through the debris above her mother and herself, but it was far too heavy for her to budge by herself. She tried anyway, of course. She brazenly pressed her hands to still smoldering sections of wall and pushed with all her might but felt no give. But she also felt no heat and no pain. How could that be? Lightheaded and confused, Mkali Moto Kipande did the only remaining thing she could. She embraced her mother and began to cry. It was only then that she felt the shallow movement of her mother’s chest. Her mother was still breathing!? She was alive!? Mkali Moto Kipande’ joy was short lived, however, as she again began to cough on the fumes still rising up around her. Soon, she found it difficult to keep her eyes open. It felt as if the world were spinning around her even though she couldn’t move. She fought it for a long minute but soon her world again faded dim and narrow until everything went to black.

***

There were strange moments and sensations before Mkali Moto Kipande woke again. Half remembered dreams of bleary vision and muffled sound. Of being pulled from her hell. Of looking back at what little remained of her home as she was carried away. Of her father and sister hovering worriedly over her. Of having cool water flowing over her parched lips and down her aching throat. None of it seemed real. And all of it did…

***

The first thing Mkali Moto Kipande felt when she finally awoke was radiating heat. The first thing she smelt was smoke. The first thing she heard were soft snaps and pops. The first thing she tasted was burnt wood. The first thing she saw was FIRE. Without even thinking, Mkali Moto Kipande flinched away from the flames leaving behind the old, patchwork blanket she’d been covered in. She could hear someone calling her name behind her but it didn’t matter. She had to get away from the fire! Wet, rain soaked ground squished beneath her feet as she tripped and stumbled her way blindly forward only to fall to her hands and knees as she came to the edge of what had been her family’s home. All that was left was ash and glowing embers and a single tall pane of glass that somehow did not shatter as the house had come down.

A smaller hand gripped hers then her sister swung around to stand between her and the devastation. Inapita Sasa was dressed in one of their father’s old set of work clothes, like she herself was, Mkali Moto Kipande realized. Her sister was hurt and limping, Mkali Moto Kipande saw. Even in the early morning light she could tell her sister’s face and arms were red with blisters and burns, but she was alive! They both were alive! Together, they embraced each other, both trying and failing to hold back their combined tears of joy and sorrow.

“Are you all right?” Mkali Moto Kipande asked after a minute.

Her sister stepped back and took a deep breath before answering. “I used all my power on mother…” she managed to say before her lower lip began to quiver and her brave facade fell away. Mkali Moto Kipande pulled her sister into and equally tight, but oddly different, hug. Before, they had been equals who had survived a tragedy. Now, she was the older sister again, and it was her job to stay strong and fearless.

“It’s not your fault. You did everything you could,” Mkali Moto Kipande said, even though she had not been there to see it.

“I’ll try more when I can tomorrow. I… I just don’t know if I can do any else.”

“But you saved her?” Mkali Moto Kipande asked. She felt her sister nod into her shoulder. “Then you did enough.”

“Inapita Sasa? Mkali Moto Kipande?” their father called to them from somewhere behind. Mkali Moto Kipande rose to her feet and turned to see her father emerging from the small animal pin and storage shelter she had helped him build over the last month. It was the accomplishment they had been celebrating at dinner the night before. And though it was a fraction of the size their home had been… it was their home now, wasn’t it? She and her sister trudged up the gentle slope to the shelter where their father embraced each of them in turn.

“I thought I’d lost you, my daughter!” he said to his older daughter as he gripped her tightly.

“I thought you had too, sir,” Mkali Moto Kipande replied. “Where is mother?” she asked after pulling back.

“Around the corner,” her father answered, indicating the only truly enclosed room in the small barn. “She is very badly hurt and cannot yet speak, but she will know you are there. Just let her know you are all right then let her rest, ok?”

Mkali Moto Kipande nodded, her throat suddenly going dry. Trembling, she left her father and stepped through the doorway. There, under a sheet, on top of an old dirty mattress, lay her mother, her crippled form easily the most shocking aftermath of the fire.

Just hours before, U'tulivu Nyeupe-nywele Malaika Njia’yawazi had been elegant and beautiful. What Mkali Moto Kipande had hoped to be in another fifty or one hundred years. She had been thoughtful and knowledgeable. Qualities Moto Kipande knew she herself was still working on. And she had been spiritual and magical. Two things Mkali Moto Kipande had long struggled to mimic with hardly any success. But now, her mother might not be any of those things ever again, Mkali Moto Kipande realized. The woman lying before her was burned and broken. Her face and skin were disfigured from the heat of the fire. Much of her long, glowingly white hair had been burned away and what few patches and strands remained only served to deepen the impact of her injuries. Even the way she lay at an odd uncomfortable angle, mostly hidden beneath the sheet, spoke to how severely she had been affected by the fire and the collapse of the house around her.

Mkali Moto Kipande stood frozen for a long while with a heartbroken expression on her face. She was too shocked to really cry but somehow could not turn away. Finally, when she could bear the sight of her injured mother no longer, she made to leave, but just then her mother turned her head and spotted her. Though obviously in a great deal of pain, her mother pushed the sheet partly aside and shakily raised one badly blistered hand up towards her daughter. Gasping in sorrow, Mkali Moto Kipande stepped forward and knelt down so as to allow her mother’s rough hand to stroke her flawless skin and hair and face…

It wasn’t fair! It wasn’t even close to fair what had happened! Mkali Moto Kipande wanted so badly to reach out and return her mother’s love, but at the same time she was far too afraid that her simple touch would cause her mother more pain. Instead, she sat down nearby, and rocked herself as she cried tears of guilt that seemed to burn her face nearly as badly as the fires had. That her mother was crying alongside her made it all the more worse. Slowly though, Mkali Moto Kipande’s sorrow turned to anger and determination.

“I owe you everything, mother. I… I caused this, so I promise you, I will find a way to fix this.”

***

After three long, hard years of helping to support her family, of helping them to rebuild and survive, Mkali Moto Kipande walked through the familiar gates of Sharlstown with a plan. Though it might take two decades, she would restore life and vitality to her hobbled sister and to their mother who had nearly sacrificed everything to save them both.
Things didn’t exactly go as she had planned…


The Failed Scheme, Part Two:

Walking slowly, horse and wagon following behind her, Mkali Moto Kipande took in all that she could. Sharlstown both was and was not what she had been expecting. In broad strokes, it felt a good deal like Dutos. The main street she was on was about the same width, the buildings to her left and right shared a similar human-built style and were about the same height. Most everything had the same variations on the color brown with few accents, same as Dutos. And yet, for a town so similar at first glance it felt almost completely different. There were people about, going about their morning business, but fewer of them and they moved with just slightly less urgency. The sounds around Mkali Moto Kipande were familiar, too. People talking. Doors opening and closing. Wood being chopped and metal being hammered. But… it was all a little quieter and a little… not more distant in actuality… but that’s what it felt like. It felt as if she were in some out of the way corner of Dutos and the sounds of the city were straining to reach her. That relative lack of noise made her own horse and wagon and even footsteps seem just a little louder in her mind.

Still, it had been the promise of the smaller town that had drawn her tens of miles from home. And, it wasn’t as if Sharlstown was a disappointment. Already it had its own charm. The main road was only packed dirt instead of the stone tile work three of Dutos’ main streets shared. And the way the people around her stopped to look as she passed by was new and intriguing. One youthful young woman playing vigorously at her fiddle stopped momentarily to wave, a gesture which Mkali Moto Kipande returned in kind. Another hurried couple took a short moment to cock their head her way before hurrying into a nearby shop. ‘Yes, Sharlstown would be an interesting place to return to,’ Mkali Moto Kipande thought, ‘that is, if she could afford the entry fees…’

Soon, Mkali Moto Kipande came across a small tavern with a somewhat newer appearance that the buildings surrounding it. Above its door was a sign that read “The Hole” the name of the landmark the entry guards had instructed her to look for. She continued on past one street then guided N’guvu onto the narrower path to her left. With the way the buildings blocked the still rising sun the small side street felt a good deal like one of Dutos’ alleyways, Mkali Moto Kipande mused. Not a minute later she came across a good sized shop with large, clean windows and an elaborate sign made of blown glass fitted with, and intriguingly illuminated by, a collection of small orange glowing lanterns.

“Cunningham,” Mkali Moto Kipande said, reading the glowing glass letters aloud. This had to be the place! She continued a short way past the shop’s entryway to a hitching post. With N’guvu secured, she retrieved a second bow from the back of her wagon, then took in and released a breath to calm her nerves before she pushed her way through the heavy wooden door.

Inside, the front half of the shop was clearly set up as something of a showcase of goods. Glassware cups and bowls of various sizes and colors gleamed and sparkled, reflecting the glow of hanging lamps above while a row of sample window designs to the left and a wide variety of lanterns and lamps and plates to the right each pulled at Mkali Moto Kipande’s attention. Samples of all kinds stretched back along the straight walls where they ended halfway into the shop. It was there that the display section stopped and the work area started, complete with benches and tools and two large, roaring fireplaces who’s heat Mkali Moto Kipande could feel even in the entryway. There in the back a large man worked a billows as his gloved hands handled a long pole with a molten glass shape fitted to the end. Mkali Moto Kipande was about to call out to him when a sudden clatter of shaking glass drew her attention back close.

“Are you… are you here to rob us?” asked a young boy no more than perhaps fifteen years of age. He had obviously gently bumped into one of the shelves displaying a row of plates when he’d seen her and now stared with his mouth agasp. Mkali Moto Kipande quickly recognized his question for what it was, realizing that she must look quite the sight in her toughened leather outfit with a hunting knife and quiver of arrows at her sides and two bows, one across her back and a second held (non-threateningly) in her hand.

“Travis!” the man working the fires and glass called loudly in a gruff voice from the back.

“Sorry…” the boy apologized sheepishly. “Welcome to Cunningham Glass Blowers. I am Travis Cunningham. Is there anything with which I could help you with?” he asked, his routine sounding only slightly over rehearsed.

“You can,” Mkali Moto Kipande said reassuringly. “I have come looking to have cut window panes custom ordered.”

“Can… May I?” Travis asked, ignoring her reply. He was looking intently now to the longbow Mkali Moto Kipande held in her left hand.

She smiled and held it out for him. The boy grabbed it immediately on end, but then, to his credit, flipped it around so that it faced the correct direction and pulled back on the string as if he had a notched arrow. His form and technique, while not flawless, clearly spoke to his having loosed many a bow before.

“Who made this for you? It must have cost you… a lot more than I make…” he said appreciatively.

“The cost was only my time and a bit of hard work. I made it myself,” Mkali Moto Kipande replied before turning at the approach of heavy footsteps. Now it was her turn to stare as the man who had been at the back of the shop towered above even her. She was considered tall among most humans, but was a head shorter than the man who now stood before her.

“My son is right. The bow is very good quality,” the man said after taking it from the boy. It looked more like a short bow than the longbow it was when held in his hands. “I’m guessing you want to trade it for something?”

“Um…” Mkali Moto Kipande said as her mind failed to find the words she had intended to say.

“She is looking to have window glass custom made,” Travis ended up replying for her.

“Ah! What sort of windows, Miss…?”

“Mkali Moto Kipande Njia’yawzai… is my name. But you may call me Sparks Clearpath,” Mkali Moto Kipande replied, finding her voice once more. “My family and I are constructing a new home of my father’s design and the front foyer calls for two sets of double windows with panes three feet two inches by seven feet five inches.”

“All for this bow?” the man asked jokingly.

“No,” Sparks said, letting through a friendly laugh of her own. “I brought nineteen more as well as an equal number of well made quivers and a few arrows for each. I also have a variety of fine furs and pelts."

“I don’t need all that,” the man replied flatly, his smile gone.

“No… but… but others will. I do not anticipate having any problem paying for my order,” Makli Moto Kipande said, trying to reassure the man.

For a moment no one spoke. Mkali Moto Kipande felt as if she were holding her breath even if it were not strictly true. Finally, after a short eternity, the man cracked a smile and said, “The name is Trevor. Trevor Cunningham. Bring in two more of your best bows as downpayment and we can talk the exactlys of these windows of yours.”

Eagle eyed readers may spot a pair of guest appearances in this part. One is pretty obvious, the other less so. :)


Just having a bit of fun writing. This idea popped up yesterday so I banged out Part One while waiting for the time change. :)

The Failed Scheme, Part One:

The constant, repeating sounds of her horse’s slow trot and her wagon’s four rotating wheels fell silent as Mkali Moto Kipande Njia’yawazi came to a sudden stop. A smile formed on her lips and she breathed a small, satisfied sigh of relief as she stood and gazed into the distance. Far ahead, only just peaking around the curve of the soft green ridge the elven maiden had been following all morning, was the first signs of a tall wood-planked wall. The wall, no more than two miles distant, belonged to her destination, the city of Sharlstown, a place she had never been. Though she’d had complete confidence she would find the city early on the third day of her journey, she had exactly followed her parents directions as well as the map she’d bought in the city Dutos after all, Mkali Moto Kipande could not help feel that small wave of relief in seeing for herself that the city actually was where it should have been.

“N’guvu!” Mkali Moto Kipande exclaimed with a laugh as her horse pushed its muzzle past her long straight white hair to playfully lick at her ear. “Ok, ok, we’ll keep going,” she said in mock surrender as she lovingly rubbed its head in reply.

The sounds of travel picked up again, just a little bit faster now, as Mkali Moto Kipande started on her final push. More of the wall quickly showed itself as she emerged from between the two hills that had flanked her since the evening a day ago. Soon, the city’s gate and the still considerable stretch of road that led to it became visible. There were other walkers and riders on the road, a couple of wagons too, most heading towards the city gate like she was. It was an odd feeling, having to balance her excitement of soon arriving some place new with her patience of still being a good three quarters of an hour away, but somehow Mkali Moto Kipande managed.

That three quarters hours passed quickly and Mkali Moto Kipande now found it was uncertainty that weighted opposite her excitement as she neared the gate. The two guardsmen who’d first looked no bigger than nearby bees now loomed on either side of the entry way. They studied her with unconcerned expressions as she approached. When she got close one of them moved from his spot and walked out to meet her.

“Stop there, please,” she said to her in a friendly kind of tone when she was within an arrow’s shot of the wall. Mkali Moto Kipande complied and stood, holding her breath, as the guard walked up to greet her. “Welcome to Sharlstown. May I have your name and your intensions, Miss?” he asked her.

“My name is Sparks Clearpath and I have come to trade,” Mkali Moto Kipande Njia’yawzai answered confidently.

“Where did you journey from, Miss Clearpath?" the guard asked as he walked past her to inspect her wagon.

“From my home in the woods near Dutos.”

“That’s quite the bow you have. And you’ve brought more, I see?” the guard asked as he stepped on onto the side of Mkali Moto Kipande’s wagon to inspect its content.

“Yes sir, I am hoping to trade them or sell them and the furs there for glass panes and door hinges, mostly,” Mkali Moto Kipande answered. Though a little nervous, she’d been through similar inspections with her parents and by herself several times before when entering Dutos. So far, things were proceeding normally, to her relief. ‘It is funny how different it feels, being so much farther from home!’

“And Dutos could not provide you with such?” the guard asked.

‘A fair question,’ Mkali Moto Kipande thought calmly before answering. “I’m certain it could, but I had long heard of Sharlstown but never seen it. This seemed as good a chance as any,” she explained.

“Really?” The guard asked after he’d finished his brief inspection. Mkali Moto Kipande stood just a bit straighter at his question. His voice… it didn’t sound suspicious exactly, but there was an extra note of interest that had not been present in his other questions. “And you would be what, fifty five or so?”

“Fifty six, sir.” Mkali Moto Kipande answered, impressed he had guess her age so closely. Judged by appearances alone most would wager she were nearing twenty years of age, and would guess in the thirties if they thought they knew something about elves. But this guard, apparently he did know a good bit about her people and how slowly they aged.

“All right, Miss. Clearpath, everything checks out. You are aware there is a entry tax of three silver?”

“Three? I was told it was one…” Mkali Moto Kipande said, trying to keep complaint and surprise from her voice. She felt for her coin purse and frowned, knowing she had only brought seven old silver coins along with a handful of copper ones. Her family was almost entirely self sufficient and most times had little use for human currency. Even her parents had needed to scrounge around to locate the few higher value coins she had brought with her.

“It was one and probably will be again soon,” the other guard chimed in as he came froward from his posting near the wall. He’d apparently been close enough to hear her question. Or maybe he’d just recognized her expression? “But the city raises it temporarily when money gets tight,” the guard said sympathetically.

“You picked an unfortunate week to come visit, I’m sorry to say,” the first guard added.

Mkali Moto Kipande sighed as she pulled out the required three coins. “I usually have better luck,” she told the two guards as she forced a smile.

“I’m sure you do,” the first guard replied kindly as he accepted the fee. “Is there anything we can help you with? Direction and the like?”

“There is,” Mkali Moto Kipande replied. “I was told to seek out Cunningham Glass Blowers about the glass panes I am looking for. That he and his sons are the best in town and that his son Travis likes to hunt.”

“That he does!” The second guard said with a hearty laugh. “Drive his father crazy with it, his hunting, too, that lad!”

“I’m sure he’d love to see one of those bows of your though if they are half as good as the look,” the first guard said. “You’ll want to head straight in then turn left on the second street after ‘The Hole’ tavern. Head down a ways and you can’t miss Cunningham’s on your right.”

“Thank you! That’s a big help!” Mkali Moto Kipande said happily.

“You have a good day, Miss Clearpath,” the first guard told her as he and his partner moved out of the road and returned to their posts.

“And you,” Mkali Moto Kipande replied before she pulled at N’guvu’s reins and passed through the open doorway into the new and unfamiliar city.


I'm around. Been whispering "bump" over and over but nothin's been happening. :p

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