t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 365/54 6858 Posts
didn't mean to brood
For a full day now, Arien has been uncharacteristically quiet. It is as if over the course of one night, the grand avdenture has evaporated for him.
In truth, the dream from the night before is troubling him greatly. He has missed Alloryn greatly, almost the same way that a man misses a severed limb. Outwardly, Arien is dashing, bold, carefree - the knight in shining armor is his identity. But the loss of Ally has removed his confidante, the person he tells his worries and fears to.
And now, this drem has him much more worried. Not one prone to dreams (at least, none that he can usually remember for long), and certainly not one prone to nightmares, Arien cannot shake the idea that this dream has real significance - that Alloryn is truly in trouble.
But what can he do?
The night falls in all of its rainy glory, and as fortune would have it, the waymeet is not fit for habitation. The cave idea is brought up, but the revelation of the sleeping bear within pretty much defets that idea. Arien has no desire to try to remove an angry bear from its lair, and understands full well that Char would have an unbreakable moral compunction to avoid an encounter that would surely end badly for the creature (to say nothing of the needless personal risk the group would assume in such an encounter).
Makeshift tents it is, then, the knight decides to himself. Before anyone can act on it, though, a small discussion within the group hs lurched dangerously close to a fight.
It is plain that, for whtever reason, neither Char nor Dapple trust Jal whatsoever. Arien has a difficult time wrpping his mind around this distrust - while he himself may not be overfond of the gladiator's personality, for instance, he would trust the man with his life. Would trust any of them; after all, had Dwan not handpicked this group? Wasn't that enough for them?
Char seemed particularly concerned with Jal's mention of someone dead, but Arien was largely indifferent - spirits, enchantments, illusions... weren't they all one and the same? What difference did it make with what sort of magic the man used to know things?
The stange mage appered to break into an argument with some unseen person while trying to explain himself (as if he needed to do so), while the unrelenting rain continued to soak them all. Finally, something cracked within the knight.
Uncharacteristically, cheerful Arien spoke sharply to his companions. "Enough of this nonsense!" he snapped. "The man uses magic to see things, he has already said so! Why do you question him so? Do you mean to learn his secrets, to use them for yourselves? Then by Heironius', beard, what difference does it make? Even dogs have sense enough to get out of the rain, but here we stand like fools and bicker!
Let us do as Char says, go to the waymeet, and make what shelter we can. If you must persue this matter, at least wait until we are a bit dryer!"
Without looking to see if anyone folllows, the knight heads for the waymeet.
Posted on 2007-01-11 at 18:23:36.
Edited on 2007-01-11 at 18:28:13 by t_catt11
Some character development? Nah, just more faking it
The waymeet would be dismal. Char would not be happy with him, given his inability to help the horses. But there was little else he could do.
"Ok, it will not be comfortable, but it will be dry. I can summon a small sphere of protection, fifteen feet in diameter. It shoud be enough to house all of us. We will have to settle for more mundane means of protection for the mounts. I can conjure some supplies to assist in building, although the majority of gear will have to be provided in material."
The other mage surely has some strange ways of getting his information. Once they are on their way, he pulls alongside the Spellbinder, speaking in a tone not hushed or emphasized.
"Why is it your magic is flawed, diviner? When I decide to summon aid, or enhance my abilities, my magic never witholds from me." He glares for a minute, content with his public question, then lowers his voice to a hush.
"You may have them fooled with your voices, Spellbinder, but any airborne familiar could have spotted the cave, missed the bear, and quickly told you. A priest of power equivilent to me can speak with the dead rather easily, and only a small dip into arcane magic would be required to summon your winged companion. Despite your sufficient use of color spray earlier, Spellbinder, I am so far unimpressed."
Once they reach the waymeet, Adrian will find a suitable clearing (or the closest thing to) and begin his ritual. He measures out a good fifteen feet diameter circle, and places a small bead on the ground roughly in the middle.
"When I am finished, I will not be able to leave the area. You all may freely pass. You will not be able to see in, however it is transparent from the inside out. Let me know what you intend to do with your horses."
Adrian then walks over to his horse, lays a hand on him, and begins chanting a very familiar ritual before returning to the bead and sitting down to meditate. (Armor on the horse please, then a Leomund's Tiny Hut )
Posted on 2007-01-12 at 18:02:56.
Alacrity The Tired RDI Staff Karma: 291/33 6340 Posts
On the road again
The rain stops sometime over the course of the evening while it is still dark. You mange to set up tents and use the magical shelter in make yourselves somewhat comfortable for the night, at least so you can get some sleep in shifts. (You can back post anything you wish on the evening, but I want to get moving forward)
Arien’s dreams are less vivid this night and he manages to slumber without awaking. All he can remember is something about taking off a uniform and buckles that won’t unsnap.
Morning comes and you are met with the sun again, installing a certain amount of cheer in all of you. Another day of this, even to hearty adventurers, would have been more than most could bear.
It does not take long before you can go no further with the horses, no more than a hour of travel until the cliffs become scalable by hand, but not by hoofs. Char is able to find a cave without Bears, or any other residents, where you can hide the horses, and set out enough food for them for a few days.
The sun becomes quite warm as you make your way through the mountains. Char scouts far ahead to find the easiest trails or paths, but some routes are more rugged than others. Arien and Talas are forced to remove their armour in order to safely attain their destination.
It is mid-afternoon when you reach an outcropping of rocks on top of cliffs edge. There, in the gorge below is the Keep on the Borderlands. It is almost exactly as the illusion of Archmage Gwanele had shown it. You are still a fair distance way from the building, at least 100 feet straight down and another 400 away. The walls are old and crumbling, and the windows of the tower at the top are completely boarded up tight. The vegetation of the valley has growth up and over the walls in places, and the forest creeps close to the Keep itself. You can see no foot patrols in view but you are still far enough away to be unsure.
This is the perfect place to set up your camp, as it gives you a view of your quarry but hides you from any who might look this way. You have a few hours of daylight left before night comes – enough time to do some scouting and recon on the place before coming up with a plan for attack.
Posted on 2007-01-14 at 19:59:29.
Vanadia Den Mother RDI Staff Karma: 111/12 1188 Posts
Not leaving the issue alone
Dapple had watched and listened with a growing sense of disbelief and dismay as Jal appeared to argue with both the little rogue and some unseen entity. She would have replied with an angry retort when two simultaneous acts caused her words to hold fast. First, Jal wheeled away as if he could not discuss the matter further and Arien lashed out with uncharacteristic churlishness. Dapple’s teeth clicked together over an unspoken retort as she considered the situation.
The knight is angry because you spoke up in his place while he daydreamt. He trusts blindly and expects you to walk quietly into the slaughter… hissed the dark voice within. Dapple gathered herself within her cloak, ready to lash out at the least threat, when Jal’s words penetrated the haze of “kill or be killed” that instinct had lowered over her reason.
“…Thrown stones at me… spit on me… hid their children at the sight of me… called me..” Jal muttered. “…wanton.” whispered Dapple in a voice gone dry,” …bastard child of the town’s wanton…” Dapple frowned, furious at what Jal’s words implied. She’d hated what Tonno and his bullies had done to Sapphirine: had Dapple, in her fear and ignorance, become guilty of the same thing? Had she, in hating bullies, become one herself? Nonsense, he is clearly mad, determined to lead you all to a brutal death. You did right to call out his madness!
Dapple was not so sure, and she waved away Arien’s words with an angry gesture, but said no more to anyone. As Adrian explained what he could do for the group’s comfort, she nodded curtly, not trusting her voice, but did what she could to build a shelter for the horses and equipment. Settled within Adrian’s shelter, arms clasped around bent knees to use as little space as possible, she fixed her cold gaze on the so called “spooky” mage. He’d offered an explanation, and despite Arien’s disapproval, she wanted one.
Posted on 2007-01-15 at 07:23:14.
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 74/3 1103 Posts
So close, yet so far away
Kilgim had been quiet since they left the safety of the Waymeet behind. His mind was still occupied by the battle of the day before. Too many strange things were happening simultaneously to his liking. The intrusion of the Imperials was one thing, whether they were running away from their old home or on some mission (Kilgim was fairly certain it was the latter). It was very, very rare, but not totally unheard of. Greens and Reds had crossed the border and been dealt with before.
Finding the gigantic worms under the command of the monstrous but intelligent locusts so far north from where they usually roamed, did not feel like a coincidence to him. A far more logical explanation (the dwarf preferred odds over guessing) was that the Imps had something to do with the sudden appearance of the huge insects. But how, and was there even more things happening they were happily (or not) unaware yet?
As usual Char was riding ahead to scout the area. They would be reaching the next Waymeet soon and Kilgim would have peace and quiet of his guard duty to ponder over the strange events. Though he liked the company, some more than others, the stout cleric enjoyed the silence of the night too.
But tonight would be different from the previous one it seemed. The news Char brought back about the Waymeet were not good, but still very important. Kilgim would report the fate of the place to Dwan as soon as they got back home. But right now, they'd have to find some other shelter for the night. Kilgim was certain Char would find a suitable spot soon enough. The ranger had never let them down and would not start now.
But to Kilgim's surprise and to the others as well, it was not the woodsman who offered information about a place to spend the night at. Jal, Gwanele's former pupil, seemed to have better knowledge of their surroundings than anyone else. A cave ye say lad? Me thought ye were a lad o' the streets, not the wild... Not one to speak up his mind quickly, Kilgim's thoughts remained just that, his thoughts. Dapple beat him to it.
"How the hell do you know that, Spellbinder,” she asked coldly,” when Char does not? You don’t strike me as someone who left the city to stroll the countryside.”
Kilgim could only chuckle quietly as he watched Jal's reactions with interest. Not exactly the words me would've used. But ye probably said it better than me could've, laddie. But it was the answer that surprised the orange-haired warrior-priest even more. “Wynter…Wynter told me,” The mage said softly from somewhat to the right of Talas “She… she tells me things… show me things…”
Wynter? Who in Clangeddin's name is Wynter? Char cut his question short as he got back. Apparently the cave would've been perfect if not for the bear that was using it as its home. Though he had hunted bears before, Kilgim didn't fancy chasing one out of its cave. And he knew Char wouldn't ever consider it. The ranger respected all animals, as the rest of them should too. Still the cave would've offered them a nice shelter to wait for morning in - easy to defend and comfortable enough.
Through the next few minutes, the dwarf remained impassive and silent. His eyes shot from Jal to Dapple to Char taking the whole scene in. Apparently the one called Wynter was a dead spirit - a benevolent one it seemed. The idea of the dead speaking with the living was not completely new to the priest. He heard and read of such things during his training at the temple, but never witnessed it before. A powerful ally, this Wynter may prove t'be... If Jal hasn't lost 'is mind completely.
Arien too had observed the short conversation silently, but now he'd obviously had enough. Showing wisdom beyond his usual - swing first, think later - behavior, Kilgim nodded at the knight's wise decision. "Aye, Arien's right. Let's see what we can do 'bout the Waymeet an' worry 'bout dead people later"
The night passed without incidents as Adrian cast a spell to summon a shielding globe of pure magical energy, which kept the lot of them dry and comfortable. To his own surprise, Kilgim Blackaxe found himself thinking about his childhood and the tuition he'd received from this teachers at the temple. As a priest of a War God, he was probably more used to handling the issue of dead and their spirits than most people, and did not find the idea of Wynter hovering about at all disturbing.
Again, after a quick breakfast, they left camp at early light and moved out in silence. The mood of everyone seemed to be somewhat sour after the incident last night, but it was quickly put behind as everyone concentrated on the journey ahead. Finally at mid-afternoon they reached their target. The crumbled keep came into view quite suddenly as Kilgim and his companions reached the edge of the cliff's top. It was only about a 130 yards away, but luckily the edge hid them from the view so that anyone watching their way from below would have a very hard time spotting them.
Posted on 2007-01-15 at 08:43:20.
Edited on 2007-01-15 at 08:44:37 by Raven
A LITTLE BACKPOST
As the words between Jal and Dapple just seemed to continue to escalate the growing feeling of mistrust between the group and the small mage, Talas had finally had enough.
“Enough!! This is not doing any of us any good to stand here and bicker as if children. No matter Jal’s faults or state of mind as to this dead friend, he has so far proven able in this quest. If he could not be trusted to do his part would not Granitecrusher have chosen another?? We must work as a team and trust that each of will be there for the others for if not we are doomed to fail. Let us instead of arguing seek such shelter as we may find.”
Having said more words then normal the Ex-Gladiator hoped his words would at least for the moment stop the hostility among the party. For he had decided in that small span of minutes that if this party could not work together he would turn back to Freegate and report as such to Granitecrusher. Then thanks to the Mage Adrian a hut was formed and shelter was had for the night, and the bickering for the momnet was over. Positioning himself as close to the small mage as Jal would allow he drifted off to sleep.
With a quick breakfast had they left camp at early light and moved out in silence. Talas knew that the mood of everyone seemed to be held in check below once again bringing up this Wynter but by midday no one as yet had brought it to the fore once again. Finally in the afternoon they reached their target. The old worn out keep coming into view over the top of a small cliff, but luckily the edge hid all of them from the view so that anyone watching their way from below would have a very hard time spotting them.
Now Talas thought to himself the real part of this mission would begin, he only hoped that the trust each of them must have in the others would be there....
Posted on 2007-01-17 at 23:48:24.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 462/28 8482 Posts
Backposting -- Char and Adrian...
Surprisingly enough, it had been the ranger that approached him first. He hadn’t expected any of them to get within an arm’s reach of him after what had just transpired between them. Even more surprising was Char’s tone; instead of the venomous and threatening words Jal had expected, the woodsman seemed to be forcing himself towards civility.
"Th' cave'll no' do," the man said, actually reigning his horse in alongside of the urchin-mage close enough that his low voice could be heard.
“I know,” Jal mutterd in reply, “ and I am sorry. Had she told me of the bear, I’d not have suggested it.”
"Da waymeet be rubble an' I no' 'ave any luck findin' somet'in' proper." With a sigh, Char glanced back at where Valentine endured the weather. "So, if'n one er two o' you spellslingers'd kindly make somethin' dry an' warm where's we can' take 'r res'... I won' be objectin'."
“Would that I could, ranger,” Jal confessed, smiling weakly and almost hanging his head in embarrassment, “but, if there is such a spell scribed upon me, I don’t yet know which it might be or how to make it work...”
That’s not your fault, my love, Wynter offered reassuringly.
Jal’s ice-colored eyes shifted from the ranger and regarded the girl hovering on the opposite side of his horse and, at the sight of her, his smile warmed a bit. His gaze swung back to the ranger; “…I will, however, do what I can in helping to build a shelter.”
"… it will not be comfortable, but it will be dry,” Valentine’s voice sounded from behind them, “I can summon a small sphere of protection, fifteen feet in diameter…”
Of course you can, the Spellbinder sighed inwardly, trying not to let the battle-mage’s thinly veiled arrogance get under his skin, you’ve had proper training, haven’t you?
Jal knew that Adrian’s spell would likely be better received than the haphazard, shanty-style lean-tos that he had learned to make over the years of sleeping in alleyways and such. To that end, Jal offered the ranger a tight smile and a faint nod. “A shelter for the horses, then,” he muttered as the party formed up behind Arien’s already reatreating warhorse, “if not for the rest of you.”
It wasn’t much longer after that, once Char had galloped ahead to the front of the party and Jal had thought himself to be thankfully forgotten for the time-being, when Adrian decided to pull up alongside him.
"Why is it your magic is flawed, diviner,” the former Red asked in a voice loud enough to be heard by the rest, “When I decide to summon aid, or enhance my abilities, my magic never witholds from me."
Flawed!? Jal stiffened and his teeth clenched as he felt Valentine’s glare burning into him and, at the same time, several of the brands and tattoos on his slender frame prickled in anticipation. Of those, the one that worried Jal at the moment was the last spell that the Master had ever carved into his flesh – the one that, Jal was sure, had been used to kill Wynter. For one brief moment the urchin-mage almost allowed himself to fall into the spell’s calling… wished that he could decipher the formulae through the feel of it alone and then reach out, place his hand on the ex-Red’s sleeve, and watch the flames…
JAL!!! Don’t so much as think it! Wynter’s voice was terrified and, after her warning, Jal sensed that she had fled from the darkness of his thoughts…
"You may have them fooled with your voices, Spellbinder,” Valentine continued, now in a hushed tone meant only for his ears, “but any airborne familiar could have spotted the cave, missed the bear, and quickly told you. A priest of power equivilent to me can speak with the dead rather easily, and only a small dip into arcane magic would be required to summon your winged companion. Despite your sufficient use of color spray earlier, Spellbinder, I am so far unimpressed."
“Wynter is not a familiar, Red” Jal snarled through clenched teeth, “and I am trying to fool no one!!!” He returned Adrian’s glare, finding it difficult to mask the anger that he suddenly felt and doing his best to ignore the all too familiar tingling in his finger tips. “Furthermore, had I been told that part of this mission was to impress you, warmage, I certainly would not have petitioned Granitecrusher to be part of it!
You say that my magic is flawed and yet you seem to require your magic to speak with the dead. The dead follow me and speak to me unbidden, Imperial! There is no arcane manipulation necessary for me to see the spirits that saturate this world, nor talk to or summon them! Could it be, then, that your magic is just as flawed as mine? Maybe moreso, yes?
I imagine it is easy for you to be so condescending when your instruction in the arts came under the structured regimens of the Empire, though, isn’t it?” Jal’s voice rose with his anger. “Unlike you, I didn’t have the benefit of a teacher and was forced to learn the craft on my own by reading moldy tomes in the reeking hole where my Master kept me for the better part of my life, and by deciphering the spells that he carved into my flesh! Do not speak to me of flawed magic! Do not ever again speak to me of the dead as you just have! And, should you ever,” he jabbed a finger in Adrian’s direction, “EVER attempt to summon or otherwise use your skills on Wynter, Valentine, I swear to you that you will discover exactly how flawed my magic is!”
Shaking with anger and the fear of what he might do in its clutches, Jal put his heels to the mare’s ribs and galloped away from the former Red before he could say anymore and sought out the comfortably familiar spot alongside Talas. He imagined that Adrian would view this as hiding behind the big gladiator but Jal found that he really no longer cared overmuch about what Valentine might think.
((More coming soon... this is turning out to be quite the lengthy catch up session ))
Posted on 2007-01-18 at 16:09:12.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 462/28 8482 Posts
Backpost II... Nighttime at the Waymeet...
As he had promised, Jal did what he was able to in helping to shelter the horses and equipment once the party reached the ruined Waymeet and, after that was done, begrudgingly sought shelter inside the magical sphere that Valentine had conjured. Given recent confrontations with some and despite more understanding interjections by others, the urchin-mage had almost resigned himself to weather the evening with the horses rather than impose himself on the rest of the party… It had become obvious that he made many of them nervous at the least... He had decided, though, that to do so would be to invite even more distrust and possibly further sunder the already damaged unity of the group as a whole. Thus, Jal sought out a spot within the sphere of protection that was as far removed from the rest as could be found and remained quietly withdrawn while he pondered on how he would best be able to tell the others what it was they wanted to hear.
After a while, and after a few unsuccessful attempts at coaxing Wynter back to apologize for earlier letting his thoughts get the better of him, Jal sighed softly and finally lifted his gaze to meet Dapple’s. The rogue had been staring coldly at him since they had settled in under the sphere; it was obvious that the lad was still awaiting his explanation… His eyes panned slowly from face to face and, as Talas hunkered down near him, finally came back to Dapple.
“My name is not Jal Spellbinder,” he began uncerimoniously, wrapping his cloak about him as if the threadbare patches of the thing would keep him safe from his memories, “at least, it is not the name I was given by my parents… if I even have any… if they even cared to give me one…”
((For the sake of brevity and getting my in game posting caught up with “current events” I’ve posted Jal’s “bio” in the Q&A thread… the urchin mage will relate most of the info contained therein to the party at this point, in his own words, of course… … warning, Jal’s liable to get pretty darn emotional when it gets to the part about Wynter’s death… ))
“…and so, now you have all the answers that I can give, Dapple Moon, about how I know what I know,” Jal finished a bit later. Sometime toward the last portion of his tale, the Spellbinder’s voice had cracked more than once and he had retreated behind the tangled veil of his unkempt hair to hide the tears that had welled in his eyes, “unless, of course, there are naught but more questions you may have. Ask them if you will, dear boy, and I’ll… I’ll do what I can to answer…”
He swallowed hard, then, closing the shirt he had opened during the telling of his tale to show them his scars, brands, and tattoos before wrapping his discarded cloak around his shoulders again. “If you are satisfied, though, and your questions about me and my flawed magic are answered,” he rasped, “I shall bid you all good night. I find myself… tired… by all of this.”
With that, Jal let his forehead fall to his knees after hugging them closer to his chest, and tried to find the path to sleep. As Talas shifted his great bulk into a position sufficiently comfortable for sleep, the urchin-mage risked a glance at the big man who, in the short two days they had been out from Freegate, had become more of a friend to him than any living person since Wynter. “Thank you, my friend,” he whispered, “for not caring about my madness…”
((Aaaaand there’s the last of the backpost – unless of course anything more arises from it … Next post, catching up with where we be now…))
Posted on 2007-01-18 at 17:59:13.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 462/28 8482 Posts
A new day... all caught up... :)
Jal awoke much sooner than he would have liked. His dreams hadn’t been torturous but neither had they been pleasant – they rarely were on those occasions when he let himself recall as much of his past as he had last night – and, in truth, the odd little mage was somewhat afraid of what the others might think of him now that they, too, had had a few quiet hours to fully absorb his revelations. Thus, when he awoke, Jal offered very little by way of good mornings or any other sort of conversation. While the others ate their breakfasts and tended to their individual morning rituals the spellbinder wandered away from the group (but not out of their sight) and paced a short circuit around the tumbledown waymeet speaking softly to the air. Most of what he said was scarcely loud enough for the others to hear but it was obvious, at times, that he was pensively calling for Wynter.
“I’ve upset her,” Jal mumbled, rejoining the rest of the party when he noticed that breakfast was done and camp was to be struck, “she won’t answer… she’ll come back…”
The mage fell into the routine of breaking camp and loading gear and made no further mention of it afterwards (not even as much as a hushed muttering into the air). Even as they traveled on toward their destination, Jal did very little speaking to the living or the dead and, in fact, seemed content for the most part to go without his cowl raised and enjoy the warmth of the sunlight. On occasion, though, his head did swivel about expectantly and search for any sign of his ghostly companion. She has been upset with you before and left you alone; she’ll be back, he told himself more than once. He wanted to believe it and, yes, Wynter had left him on occasion when Jal had ‘scared her’ and she had always returned before too long. Over the years, he had learned not to worry when she left and to apologize to the girl the instant she returned… but that was before he had seen those dark hands reaching for her… Stop it. She’s fine. She’ll come back.
Everyone, it seemed to him when he finally took time to notice, seemed to be a bit more cheerful for the sunlight and the warmth of the day. Even Dapple seemed a little less… severe… in this light. Strangely enough, by the time Char had found the cave in which they would hide their mounts, the difference in today’s weather as compared to the dismal conditions of the day before had lightened his own spirits enough that he almost made a joke about bears. He thought better of it, though, and allowed nothing past his lips but a faint smirk at his own unspoken attempt at humor. The morning had started out well, after all, with scarcely a suspicious glance cast in his direction. Why risk spoiling it?
The ascent was a bit more taxing on his strength than that of the other party members, of course, but Jal still managed it fairly well without calling on magic (this close to their objective, he thought it wise to conserve mana for when it might truly be needed) or too much assistance from the rest. He was glad, however, when the climbing came to an end and they found themselves on the outcropping overlooking the keep. Like the others, Jal took his turn at peering down upon the keep that was nestled in the gorge below and, as he had expected, it looked exactly as Gwanele’s illusion had indicated. After a cursory glance at the landscape below, the urchin-mage stepped back from the edge and found a spot to sit and rest his legs.
A faint smile crossed his lips, though the way his hair had tumbled over his features, most might have missed it. His magic may have been useless when it had come to sheltering this group the previous night and his overheard conversations with spirits may have been the cause of some misgivings amongst them but now that they were close… now they would be able to see that he was not as much a burden or a threat as some would like to believe… they would see that his magic was not flawed… Yes, I have spells that will be of great use here, don’t I, Wynter, he grinned.
He received no reply from the girl, of course, as she had yet to return from where ever it was she had run off to. Jal was still more than a bit worried about her but, at the same time, fairly excited about being so close to the keep. In an attempt to distract himself from his concern for Wynter and to help him focus on the tasks soon to be at hand, he unslung his pack and plopped it down between his feet before opening it and rummaging through its contents, making sure that all of his spell components were at hand and in order. It was then that he came across the odd compass that he had taken from the thri-kreen mage, again. After divining its use that first night, Jal had checked the thing at various times as they had traveled and noticed that his had always seemed to point vaguely in the direction that their path was taking them. Now, just to satisfy his own curiosity, the vagabond sorcerer checked the thing again and, not surprisingly, found that the needle was pointing unerringly at the Keep as if the building was magnetic north.
I thought as much, he nodded, getting to his feet and holding the compass out before him. “Look,” he said to the rest, holding the compass so that they could see its face, “the bug-mage’s amulet points at Lord Dwan’s target, as well… whatever magic lies inside must truly be powerful…”
((OOC: Good stopping point, I suppose… when it comes time to recon the place, Jal will offer to go along… he’s got plenty of “flawed magic” that should come in handy for sneaking about, deceiving, and surveilling… ))
Posted on 2007-01-19 at 15:35:41.
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 155/11 4194 Posts
A bedtime story and then down to business.
Char hadn't expected to receive much for his efforts as an ambassador. He hadn't even truly known what to expect as he'd reigned in next to Spellbinder, but when the man had admitted a deficiency in being able to assist magically with a shelter, for some reason the ranger was surprised to receive an offer for physical aid right on the heels of Valentine's boast to the opposite. Char really had nothing more to say at that point so he nodded once, still peering ahead, and clicked his tongue to make Northwind gallop forward to where the knight rode.
Arien's outburst had been something Char had never seen before and it had jarred the ranger a bit; at least enough that he'd listened to Kilgim's words with an open ear like the buck to the wind. It had made him feel guilty at first, then angry at the prospect that his caution was being judged. That too had passed like a heavy thunderstorm leaving a little residual dampness of the spirit. As he rode up next to the smoldering knight. Char really had nothing to say to him and had no desire to spark the man's anger again so he rode in companionable silence for a short distance to show that he was still on board, then he clicked again in a different pattern and Northwind sprang forward once more.
Char's attention was focused on the terrain now, leading them back to the shattered remains of the waymeet. Dismounting near the wall, Char immediately set about securing the parameter before returning to begin work on the shelter. Everything was wet, drenched, and harder to work, but the shelter began to grow despite Nature's efforts. Char knew that Valentine would be there shortly to make good on his promise of working the magical shelter; this one was for the horses.
The rest of the party arrived and went on about the business of finishing up the camp. Char let Arien and Kilgim know he was going to go hunting and then he was off, vanishing into the downpour.
The evening's entertainment was apparently to be provided by Spellbinder. Char sat on the outskirts of the magical globe, still not certain he trusted it, but doing his best to make peace with these two who were inevitably linked with the company he'd grown fond of. The ranger eyed everyone in turn as the tale commenced, wondering after their thoughts on the subject. It was a fantastic tale and after Jal displayed his scars, Char was sure there could be no other version of it, but when it was all said and done he found that despite the honesty, he had nothing to say. Even the next morning left Char at a loss for words and he spent the breaking of camp in silence before moving ahead of the party once more to scout the land.
It was kismet that led him to the cave where they could shelter the horses when they'd proceeded to the point where they'd have to climb. Char enjoyed climbing. It put his strength to the test without forcing him to take life. He put his whole being into the effort, smiling at each new successful purchase, relishing the moment when they all achieved the top.
When the sun was high Char found himself inching to the edge of a rocky outcropping on his belly, his bow in hand, an arrow at ready. Years of experience and a mentor who had been long on patience and filled with wisdom had taught the ranger that if you stood upon a rim the whole of the world could see you just as you could see them. The advantage of higher ground came only if you stayed low to the ground like a morning mist. And so it was that Char caught site of the keep, his belly to the ground, his icy blue gaze taking in every detail.
He spent a little time on that ledge before moving back at a crawl, then standing and running low towards where the rest of the party was still just achieving the cliff.
"Da keep be der, sures 'nuff," he said, crouching on his haunches while he peered at their designated leader. "It be boarded up, same as da magic sight did show back at Freegate, bu' I'll nee' be gettin' closer t' da grounds 'fore I be able t' tell ya wha' lies widdin'"
The ranger glanced about at the people he'd thrown in with before settling on Dapple. "Da Moon an' me'll be back 'fore nigh' fall." He assumed Dapple would want in on this recon and was more than happy for the help, but had to struggle to keep his chin in check when Jal offered to assist as well.
"Wha'?" Char's left eyebrow climbed and his bearded, scruffy, dirt-streaked face took on the expression of doubt.
“Look,” Jal said to the rest, holding the compass so that they could see its face, “the bug-mage’s amulet points at Lord Dwan’s target, as well… whatever magic lies inside must truly be powerful…”
"All da more reason t' let dose o' us who can sneak 'ave a quiet li'l look abou', no?" Char still wasn't sure what to make of the one who spoke with the dead, self-mutilated himself, and occasionally seemed to be on the verge of becoming unhinged. A few days of travel and one battle were usually enough for the ranger to determine the worth of an individual, but with this man there was a lot more he'd need to discover before he'd make that decision. "'Less ya can conjure up wha' we saw back a' Freegate, only so's we can see da whites o' them Imperials' eyes should dey be der, I donna know dat I'm too keen on 'avin' t' try an' keep 'idden wit' a cityboy in tow... no 'ffence, bu' da only reason I feel Da Moon can go be because Da Moon done it 'fore, see?" Char motioned between himself and Dapple with a gloved hand covered in dirt. "We been in practice."
Posted on 2007-01-20 at 20:28:38.
Vanadia Den Mother RDI Staff Karma: 111/12 1188 Posts
Long winded post, it is!
I should never have lost my temper, Dapple thought to herself with chagrin, once you let one emotion get you, the rest find purchase as well. It had been a cold wet ride back to the Waymeet, and the work to build a shelter for the horses could only do so much to warm muscles when the skin was wet. She prickled under Arien’s disapproval, and bristled at the gladiator’s outburst (wanting to stick out her tongue and cross her eyes at being called a child), but mostly, she felt shame. Us monsters should stick together…
He’s human enough whispered the dead voice within, Just mad as a hatter. You’re the only monster here. Stop sniveling and toughen yourself to the world, or it will crush you. If you feel nothing, there is no pain, no anger…feel nothing, be nothing, want nothing…
Still, the odd little mage felt enough of Dapple’s gaze to explain himself, and as much as Dapple watched impassively, she shuddered inwardly at his story. Dapple might have lost everything, but she’d had it once, but this one? He’d been cursed from the beginning. When he finished, Dapple didn’t say anything, but her cheeks were pink, all the more vivid for her pallor. She knew magic was creepy, but ghosts? Especially someone you knew? She didn’t know what to think of it, but she didn’t want to be responsible for taunting the mage further.
Aren’t you a soft little thing…shall we gather everyone around for a warm hug? Sing songs by the fire? We could all reveal our secrets! The gladiator would be glad to have a trollop in his bed, go ahead…
Dapple swallowed the bitter taste in her mouth and addressed Jal. “Does she, uh, Wynter, does she come to you freely? You don’t compel her? (Assuming Jal’s affirmative response) I suppose I can live with a ghost, we have enough of our own.” She paused for a moment to look at her feet before seeking Jal’s eyes again. “Just don’t be chatting when we need quiet, and don’t be offended when I choose to not take her, uh, your advice. It doesn’t always appear to be complete.”
Embarrassed by so much chatter from herself, Dapple lapsed into quiet, and did her best to get a little rest. Too much emotion had raised itself from the ashes, however, and Dapple’s dreams were tormented. Sapphirine ran through endless alleys, chased by Tonno and the others, and Dapple could only watch, helpless. Every time they caught the hapless girl, Dapple woke, dry mouthed. Finally, the little thief gave up and waited for morning.
The keep lay below, and Dapple absorbed every detail as she lay flat on her belly, peering over the ledge as she regained her breath. The climb would not have been difficult had it been a wall, but fighting branches and shrubs while moving silently was something she’d been slow to master. Char didn’t laugh at her too often, but she knew she’d looked foolish clambering through the bush. She scrambled back away from the edge as everyone gathered to plan their next move.
"Da keep be der, sures 'nuff," Char began, crouching effortlessly as if the climb had been nothing. "It be boarded up, same as da magic sight did show back at Freegate, bu' I'll nee' be gettin' closer t' da grounds 'fore I be able t' tell ya wha' lies widdin'" The ranger glanced about before sharp blue eyes settled on Dapple. "Da Moon an' me'll be back 'fore nigh' fall."
Dapple nodded, and started thinking about how Sunset might be able to help, if she was willing to, when Jal spoke up. His words about the compass were interesting, but Dapple heard the unspoken request to go along. So, apparently, did Char, and he disapproved.
"All da more reason t' let dose o' us who can sneak 'ave a quiet li'l look abou', no? ‘Less ya can conjure up wha' we saw back a' Freegate, only so's we can see da whites o' them Imperials' eyes should dey be der, I donna know dat I'm too keen on 'avin' t' try an' keep 'idden wit' a cityboy in tow... no 'ffence, bu' da only reason I feel Da Moon can go be because Da Moon done it 'fore, see?" Char motioned between himself and Dapple with a gloved hand covered in dirt. "We been in practice."
“I’m not exactly countrified, Char,” Dapple drawled drily, before turning her gaze on Jal. “Can you make yourself invisible? Can you do the same to me?” She tried to hide the eagerness in her voice, but likely failed. She’d remembered the feeling of complete nothingness when Alloryn had cast the spell on her, and it was the one time she’d wished for mage skills.
Posted on 2007-01-21 at 01:38:07.
Edited on 2007-01-21 at 01:40:56 by Vanadia
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 365/54 6858 Posts
Another day of mostly silent riding had passed. The night before had been awkward, to say the least - Jal has shared what was obviously a very personal tale of his past, and had explained once and for all why he was always babbling on about winter, and where much of his "Second sight" came from. Arien felt bad for the mage, and felt bad for snapping out at his companions, as well. The words had needed to be spoken, but he probably could have been more diplomatic about it.
While others might have been concerned a bit about Jal's tale, if anything, it made Arien feel more at ease with the man. After the things he had personally seen, the knight had no real problem accepting that some could speak with the dead. If that was how Jal fit with the world, so be it.
Far more troubling to Arien ws the need to remove his armor during the journey. Alloryen had joked that he would sleep in it if he could, and the knight knew she was probably right. Without it, he felt naked and exposed, but such was the necessity of their trip.
Once they had reached the end of the journey, Char volunteered himself and Dapple to scout the area. Arien nodded in agreement. "Should one of the mages put an enchantment on you?" he asked. "I would think that making you harder to see or hear would be beneficial."
Adrian, much like the rest of the crew, took the trip in silence, although he was more interested in Jal. Not that he had any sympathy. He could have enlisted, could have became a mercenary (Adrian knew of several street thieves turned epic beguilers), and besides he was a fool to have trusted that wizard.
Nobody deserves to be enslaved, but it was his own actions that brought about his situation. If you trust in evil, then the full force of evil you shall recieve. Much like the young bandits, who chose to embrace theivery. They would have had to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Adrian hated nothing more than being forced to do something, but he also hated those who deny responsibility for their actions. Whether or not Spellbinder did so was yet to be seen.
Finally, they reach their destination. Char and Dapple would be doing some scouting. Fine. However it was Arien, feeding off Dapple, who made the next absurd comment of this adventure...
"Invisibility? Don't be foolish. Deception is for those who cannot accomplish through natural skill. I have never, nor will I ever touch such magics. My arcana is strictly for enhancing direct abilities... of course, others in our company might have reason to hide from the mundane eye. (glancing to Jal, wondering how he'll take this bait. If he has such magic, at least he is learning to forge his own path, even if is that of a coward. That deserved respect in Adrian's mind.)
However, since recon is such an important tool, I am capable of providing a resounding distraction should our two scouts desire. Of course (turning to Char) if you do get discovered, expect reinforcements in full. The Reds down there will not hesitate to ignite you and dance on your burning corpse, defectors or not."
Posted on 2007-01-24 at 18:47:39.
Edited on 2007-01-24 at 19:06:29 by Admiral
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 365/54 6858 Posts
Arien stared at Adrian for a moment as if the mage had grown a second, evil head. The knight himself had quite the reputation as a fervent acolyte of the complex strategem known as the frontal assault, but to ignore - and worse, insult - the obvious value of enhancing the abilities of one's scouts was almost suicidally foolhardy.
"Adrian," the knight began, hoping to keep his voice level, "masking our scouts by use of magic is neither foolhardly nor cowardly. If I waltz up to an enemy castle's wall and demand to be admitted, can I blame them for dousing me in burning pitch?"
The absurdity of this argument is not lost on the heir of House Thedell. "If a diversion is needed, it is good that you can create one, there is no doubt of that - such skills will doubtless prove useful in the coming encounter. By why lauch a diversion of any sort right now, and thus alert our enemies to our presence, when we can simply spy out their positions, hopefully undetected?"
Ye gods! the knight groans inwardly. Am I the voice of caution? Alloryen would never let me live this down!
Posted on 2007-01-24 at 19:39:49.
Edited on 2007-01-24 at 19:40:34 by t_catt11
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 462/28 8482 Posts
Hmmm... and I'm the crazy one?
Jal looked a little dejected when Char seemed to vote him out of the recon party but smiled and nodded at Dapple’s almost eager-sounding question. “Of course,” he said, hoping that his answer might put the ranger more at ease with taking him along, “taking you out of mundane sight is simple enough. Should you wish it… and trust in me enough to do so… I could even fly you from…”
“Invisibility? Don’t be foolish,” Adrian chose to interject even after Arien suggested masking the recon party, “Deception is for those who cannot accomplish through natural skill. I have never, nor will I ever touch such magics. My arcana is strictly for enhancing direct abilities... of course, others in our company might have reason to hide from the mundane eye.”
Jal sighed softly and rolled his eyes but didn’t so much as glance in Valentine’s direction. The spellbinder felt Adrian’s eyes upon him, almost encouraging him to engage in another verbal sparring match, though.He knew that the former Red’s perception of such magics must have been skewed (aren’t they?) and that there were plenty of uses for deceptive magic (aren’t there?) but, after his argument with Adrian the previous day had caused Wynter to flee, Jal dared not allow himself to repeat that episode. Thankfully, Sir Thedell rebuffed the battlemage before Jal’s irritation could coax him into words.
“Indeed, good knight,” Jal agreed, turning his eyes toward both Arien and Valentine, “While a distraction of the nature you suggest, Adrian, might be useful, it would more likely draw more attention than necessary. Stealth and caution, I think, are called for here…”
((OOC: Just figured I should at least answer Dapple's question and such... Jal had hoped to go along on the recon but he'll stay at camp if the others think it best. ))