The sun is rising over the town of Tithuana. Early morning when the group arrives at the Giant Dwarf tavern, near the main gates, in the lower part of the city.
The four step forward and reach the front door of this ordinary tavern. The streets seem empty, but they all know that this is the fourth day of the Knowledge Festival of Tithuana, a great event: traditions dictate that six days are spent to research - be it through books or through actual discovery - and that the seventh day be spent teaching at least seven people something that they didn't know before.
There are even Knowledge "duels" where two well-known people face off for about half an hour, and whoever teaches the other the most wins.
But now they enter the tavern, and a very classic tavern scene meets the eye, with scattered wooden tables and patrons, centred on the bar area in a circular manner.
To the group's right as they enter is a group of about a dozen people drinking mainly weak mead. The taverner sits on a stool behind the bar, serving a patron a mug of lager, whilst a well-dressed man sits alone at a big table in the far corner of the room.
As the group approaches the bar the man turns to them and greets them with a small, cordial salute, "Welcome to the Giant Dwarf tavern, the only greater paradox being just how good our home-brewed ale is! What can I get you all?"
Posted on 2011-03-05 at 17:57:58.
Edited on 2011-09-04 at 14:40:07 by Darren
With the sun just starting to lighten the sky, a group enters through the Main gates in the lower part of the city of Tithuana. One man, wearing a long cloak with a hood raised to protect him from the chill of the departing night, pauses before entering the Tavern before which he stood.
The man pulls back the hood of his long cloak and glances about at the quiet city; a town just starting to awaken on this fourth day of a great event. The Knowledge Festival of Tithuana; the man smiled as he thought of how he had made it back to town before it was all over. He had his doubts that they would return in time; he hated to miss such an important event in which he loved to participate.
He let his companions proceed him into the tavern as he unclasped the long cloak from his shoulders and removed it; draping the garment over his left arm. The man was of average height (5’10”),with sandy brown closely cropped hair and clean shaven.
His clothing was as drab as his looks; a simple brown robe of loose fit hung from his frame cinched at the waist by a simple braided rope, leather sandals that laced half way up his calves adorned his feet. No weapons were visible on his person unless you considered the plain oaken staff in his left hand as a weapon.
With one last look about the street the man turned and with a smile he entered the establishment they had chosen in which to stay. Being the last of his group to enter; he closed the door behind him and paused to take in the ambiance of the room. His steel gray eyes took in everything in the room as they passed over it; being a ‘gather’ of information he was adept at ‘noticing’ things. He was a trained observer and seldom did anything miss his attention.
He memorized the layout, the locations of all the patrons, the apparent professions of those gathered here was also filed away somewhere in his mind. Most appeared to be simple folks just here to enjoy their drink perhaps before starting their days; one well-dressed patron sat alone at a corner table distant from the others. That lone patron commanded the newcomer’s attention for a few seconds longer before he moved his gaze on to the bar tender who greeted them.
"Welcome to the Giant Dwarf tavern, the only greater paradox being just how good our home-brewed ale is! What can I get you all?"
“Good Morning Tavern Keep,” the man returned the greeting with a smile as he approached the bar and gestured to a nearby empty table, “We would love some drinks if you don’t mind over at that table. I would like a glass of Deckian Wine if you have it.”
After placing his order, DHarem, Seeker for the Great Library moved to the table as his companions placed their orders for drink. After the drinks were brought they could order some food, but for now he just wanted to get off his tired feet. He laid the long cloak over the back of his chair and slipped the extra long drawstring of a large carry sack over his head and sat the sack on the floor next to his chair. He sat down and rested the staff atop the sack as he let out a long sigh of relaxation and glanced once more about the room as he waited on his drink.
(Ok, there is my first post. Hope it is satisfactory. )
As the unusual group approached the Tavern, the shortest among them, standing just over 5 feet and 7 inches, stretched out his arms to either side to clear the circulation within and to dissipate the numbness settling on his shoulders. Warmth was not his major problem, as his thick cloth shirt and cloak let little enough of the cold breezes still gusting through the city touch his skin. Not to say that he wasn't cold, but he was bearably so. Rather, his discomfort emitted from the pack he kept underneath his cloak, the weight of various travelling items as well as his unworn armour pulling down on his back.
As the tavern loomed, the man arched his neck, looking briefly around the city surrounding them. He vaguely recognized the area, though he had to prevent himself from biting his lip at the state of some of the housing nearby. He was unused to seeing the damage time had on the city: the wealthier areas he was accustomed to held themselves in better condition than the lower areas, naturally. The Caese family of which Varis belonged had made their financial success generations ago.
Varis briefly considered taking off his sword, for even in such an area-it was unlikely to be needed; even in a tavern that, strangely, he didn't recall ever travelling or performing in. But the chill of the night and the ache in his shoulders and feet changed his mind, he didn't want to spend any more time outside than he could help. Once he was warm and seated, then he'll unpack his sheathed weapon.
Instead, with a glimpse back at the others who followed him, Varis strode into the tavern, opening the door with an aura of confidence, yet obvious relief at the sudden warmth inside. He let his hood back as the warm air soothed him, revealing young, sharp features that radiated good humor, and short-cropped blond hair.
As his companions entered the room behind him, Varis was distracted momentarily by a familiar face across the room, almost missing the exchange of greeting between Tavern Keep and DHarem.
"Welcome to the Giant Dwarf tavern, the only greater paradox being just how good our home-brewed ale is! What can I get you all?"
"Good Morning Tavern Keep. We would love some drinks if you don’t mind over at that table. I would like a glass of Deckian Wine if you have it.”
Varis, shaking himself into the present, made a swift, trained bow to the tavern keep, responding in a tone of true thanks.
"And what a fine establishment the Giant Dwarf is. I confess I am intrigued...I think I will try some of your homebrew ale, if it is no problem."
With that, Varis followed the Seeker to the table where he had sat as Varis ordered for himself, letting the others take care of their orders. However his sore feet ached, though, Varis didn't sit down yet. Rather, he unclasped his cloak, laying it over the chair next to DHarem, gratefully slid his heavy pack off his shoulder to leave it on the chair and finally unhooked his sword and hand-harp from his belt to place on the table where he intended to sit.
As he did so, he was keenly aware that even as DHarem visibly relaxed, his eyes watched Varis' movements, curious as to why he had not sat down. Varis gave a brief nod to him, before striding over to the well-dressed man in the corner, executing another perfect bow, this time one far deeper. Varis spoke, softly enough so that the other residents of the tavern did not hear with ease.
"Councillor An'Jantar Ulrick. It is wonderful to see you once again."
(Out of character, quick note: First post here too. I won't make them usually this long, though, by the way)
"The ale sounds fine," Bon said simply before following DHarem and sitting down at the table, relaxing similarly.
Thomas frowned expressively, then replied, "Got any cider, no, the ale seems a better choice, thanks!"
The tavernkeep took a few moments to pour the ales, and took them to the various people, before pouring a goblet of wine for DHarem.
Thomas grinned and leant on the bar, talking to the lager-drinking patron.
"Why so sad, stranger?"
The man stared back at him with the strangest of expressions, or... fear.
"I'm Thomas, some call me Tommy, I'm a warrior with plate armour as you can see. And I have a longsword!"
Bon sighed in sympathy with the man at the bar...
"Councillor An'Jantar Ulrick. It is wonderful to see you once again."
"Good to see you too, Caese," An'Jantar replied before extending his hand for a vigourous handshake. "We can speak freely here, for as you have no doubt noticed this district is, proverbially speaking, 'going downhill'. Tithuana is in a bad period, I can feel it in my bones."
He sighed, before continuing, "I need your help, as I know I can trust you."
Posted on 2011-03-06 at 11:37:01.
Edited on 2011-03-07 at 16:47:25 by Darren
Varis frowned, worried at hearing his suspicions confirmed. A quick glimpse behind him at the rest of the tavern allowed him to notice for the first time the cheap fabrics and hide many in the tavern wore, and the higher quality of clothing having clearly shown many decades of wear. Varis also gritted his teeth at the sight of Thomas' occasionally catastrophic lack of subtlety at work.
"Of course, Councillor. It would be my honor and pleasure to help. May I...?" Varis asked, gesturing to the seat opposite the table as his pained feet demanded of him. Seeing Ulrick nod his permission, Varis pulled up the chair and sunk into it with an audible sigh of relief.
"Councillor, I fear before we go on, I must mention in advance... You know my aid is free for whatever you need, and I am perfectly willing and able to help politically, diplomatically...and thanks to my companions, militaristically if it comes to that. However, I suspect not all of them feel the same. DHarem, a Seeker of the Great Library, has a good heart, but Thomas and Bon...I am unsure. I have formed us in the guise of mercenaries, if you have not already heard, and though I have little need of riches at this point in my life...Those I travel with will expect rewards of some kind."
Varis idly scratched at the back of a palm as he spoke, awkward as ever when asking for payment of some kind. He was not a greedy man, but a fair one.
"I have formed us in the guise of mercenaries, if you have not already heard, and though I have little need of riches at this point in my life...Those I travel with will expect rewards of some kind."
"You appear ill at ease. Don't worry, for if my suspicions are true, then you will have all you can get as a reward... if not, then I will reward you nonetheless for your time and effort."
An'Jantar frowned and took a swig from his tankard, "I hope you don't mind if I make this quick. Tonight is to be a duel of knowledge between the Councillor of Magic and a foreigner who has decided to challenge him. I would like you all to be in the area in case, as I fear the worst. Call it intuition."
"Five hundred Electrum each, paid full in advance as a retainer, if you accept, plus more if your actual help is needed."
Posted on 2011-03-06 at 13:17:26.
Edited on 2011-03-07 at 16:47:36 by Darren
Varis' eyebrows raised in surprise. The sum was an inordinate amount for what sounded like a simple watchful task.
"Such a great amount you intend to pay us, and in advance no less. But why? No guards would be needed at a Duel of Knowledge, surely? Even if they would, you wouldn't need to hire independant mercenaries, rather simply take city soldiers or guards for the job." Varis exclaimed, before clasping his hands together in front of him.
"Councillor, I don't know what's behind this, but something is up. I trust you, and even if you had intended to take advantage of us-paying us in advance wouldn't be the way to go. But I ask you to trust me. I won't disclose anything you want kept quiet. Who is this foreigner? What is happening? What do you expect?" Varis asked, infusing his voice with every ounce of trust he can.
Unbidden and almost silently, Varis' foot twitched consistently, a quiet set of taps on the ground, even as his fingers absently drummed a silent rhythm on the table, as slivers of magic slipped into his words without his intent.
"An'Jantar, I have to know if there's anything we should expect..."
DHarem raised an eyebrow when Varis, their selected leader, didn’t seat himself but instead walked over and spoke to the well-dressed man at the corner table. He watched them and saw the handshake and then Varis sitting down and talking. The Seeker didn’t eavesdrop but he did cast a glance every once in a while to check up on Varis.
He assumed this might be the reason that Varis had brought them here; he had learned to trust their leader. The man had a talent with people and was a natural born leader and negotiator.
“Please bring us some meats, cheese, bread, and whatever else you have on hand,” DHarem told the person who brought their drinks, “We wish to break fast and are sure your fine establishment will have far better than our meager trail rations we have enjoyed these last few days.”
He laid 10 Electrum pieces on the table to cover the drinks and the food. As he sipped the wine and nodded his approval he glanced once more over at Varis and the man who to him appeared to be some type of noble or perhaps a city leader. DHarem admitted that he didn’t know all of the Councillor’s on site; and if it was a leader he wondered what business they might have for them.
When the food arrived he partook of some of the repast and sipped his wine, he glanced at Bon who had joined him at the table, he shrugged slightly at the situation signifying that they would know shortly what was going on. For now he invited the man to join him in breaking their fast and enjoying something other than simple rations.
"That is the problem, Varis," the councillor replied, "... I don't know what's coming. But I feel a bad wind coming on, and I can see the signs. One of the councillors, the Defence Councillor, seems to be mustering great support. I just need someone I... KNOW... I can trust. You proved that to me..."
He began again.
"The foreigner isn't the problem here. He isn't the element that needs watching, I think..."
Losing his cool, he sputtered out, "I really don't have a clue, that's the bad thing. This situation is out of my control, and I need your help."
Posted on 2011-03-06 at 17:13:06.
Edited on 2011-03-07 at 16:48:19 by Darren
((OOC: Don't laugh at the names of the creatures and plants on Anchor, there is a historical reason for their ridiculous names ^^))
Bon nodded, and tucked in, yet slowly and deliberately, remaining nonetheless silent.
In the food brought to the table on a round, metal platter: among the classic fare such as salted slices of Fluff meat, garnished with two or three sweet Blueberries; a few bittersweet Timoa root slices too, along with rarer fare: a few slices of Shrum "cheese" from the Depths, sprinkled with Spicevine spice, all on a bed of Spicevine leaves.
A tankard thrown by Bon with deadly accuracy knocked Thomas unconscious instantly, and the man at the bar silently tossed a small bag onto the table with one of the deepest expressions of thanks, before paying and leaving.
Posted on 2011-03-06 at 17:24:41.
Edited on 2011-03-07 at 16:48:31 by Darren
Varis' head whipped around in time to piece together what had happened after the "THUNK". Raising an eyebrow at his still-conscious companions, he turned back to An'Jantar, seemingly unconcerned, if anything-just relieved.
Varis placed a gentle, comforting hand on the back of the councillor's arm.
"Very well. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrogate you. Keep my share of the advance payment, if nothing happens at the duel, you can call it just a free favor from me. It's the least I can do, for the work you've given me before...regardless of how it turns out. So...give me the details. When and where. You have my word we'll be there." Varis paused for a second, glancing back, "Ah, I think my ale's ready, perhaps you'd like to give the details to whomever in my group isn't already knocked out? I'll introduce you to them, unless you'd prefer it kept quieter?" Varis offered, grinning.
DHarem turned his head and watched as the tankard that Bon threw connected and rendered the fighter unconscious and he shook his head as the bar patron used the lull to extricate himself from the talkative man.
"Was that necessary?" He asked Bon in between bites, "I know he often talks to excess but perhaps he is just making up for those that do not talk enough."
He was of course referring to Bon himself who didnt do alot of talking normally. He didnt blame the man really, often people talked without need. DHarem himself tried to remain silent and observe; you were often able to glean more information that way.
He glanced back over at Varis and the man to whom he was speaking; it almost looked like Varis was ready to return to their table. Perhaps their business was concluded; he wondered what trouble Varis was getting them into this time. Oh he didnt mind the work; it carried him places and allowed him to practice his trade of gathering information, but sometimes it resulted in violence and though he could handle himself he abhorred having to hurt people even though he was so good at it.
It brought to mind the first time he and Varis had met each other; it was here on the streets of Tithuana itself.
He had been walking along and seen a man being accosted by some young street toughs who were bent on doing harm and possibly even robbery. The man had looked capable of handling himself but there were 8 of them and the man seemed more into talking them out of their ill intent then in defending himself.
While the man did talk very eloquently and he was sure it would sway a lot of learned people; these young men were hungry and only interested in the coins in this man’s pocket. When they began to push the man around and it looked like it would come to violence, then DHarem had stepped forth.
“Excuse me gentlemen,” he said stepped up behind the men holding his staff before him, “I do believe this fellow is a friend of mine.”
The toughs whirled as if struck at his sudden appearance; he did tend to move silently and often snuck up on people even when it wasn’t his intent. They looked at him in wonder for a second and then seeing no sword or weapons in sight, other than a wooden staff, the toughs laughed and then moved to encircle him as well.
“Well then,” the one ugliest looking one, obviously their leader, said, “you can pay the fee for passage that he seems unwilling to pay.”
DHarem knew that he could offer to pay them but in so doing he would expose his coins and then they would want it all so he would offer nothing. As they moved behind him he moved over closer to the previous object of their violence and stood next to him.
“I’m afraid I am as broke as he is after all,” he said with a shrug moving to turn and face those on his side.
“Well then we will have to take the fee out of your hides,” the leader said gesturing to the toughs who drew out makeshift clubs.
“I thank you for your assistance,” whispered the man to DHarem as they stood shoulder to shoulder now preparing to defend themselves, “but I could handle myself.” DHarem thought the man sounded more confident than he appeared. Perhaps he could have but the Seeker couldn’t see a man being beaten without stepping in and helping.
“I am sure you can,” he replied as he turned to face those on his side, “but you see I can’t fight.” As he said this is lowered the staff in his hands down to the ground to rest at his feet.
“Cant fight?” the man said incredulously, “then perhaps you should have stayed out of it. Now I have to defend the both of us.”
Just then the leader gave the signal and the toughs rushed them with cries upon their lips. DHarem slipped his toe under the staff where it rested on the ground and flipped it towards two of his attackers. The hardwood caught them horizontally across their faces and then when they recovered they found the Seeker in their faces.
With swift blows almost too fast to follow both of them were down, pains suddenly in their arms and leg joints. They attempted to move but found only pain as their response. One more rushed the seeker from the side to find the man no longer there when his club fell; instead he felt something hard strike the back of his right heel and his feet when out from under him. His head hit the hard ground and he groaned as unconsciousness claimed him.
The man proved to be able to handle himself well against the others and he was able to fend off his attackers so far without any injuries to himself. DHarem moved then to the leader who suddenly realized that the robed man was no simple target. He back pedaled away and waved his hands in front of him.
“No, Wait!” He cried and swung clumsily at him but DHarem simply let the club go by then he grabbed the man’s wrist and locking it in an arm bar the relieved the boy of his club. He then twisted the man’s immobilized arm behind his back into a painful joint lock and grabbed him by the throat.
“Enough!” DHarem said to all of them.
Seeing their leader held so effectively, the others stopped trying to attack the man and backed away. They were stunned as they outnumbered them 4 to 1 and they had been so effectively neutralized so quickly.
“Ok now,” DHarem said, “Off with you! If I catch you accosting poor people again I will break some bones next time. Now OFF!”
Giving the leader a shove into the others he reached down and grabbed up his staff and then made as if he would chase after them with it.
“GET I said!” The boys got, taking with them their wounded companions.
The man laughed at the Seeker as the boys fled and turned to DHarem with a smile.
“I thought you said you couldn’t fight?” He asked.
“It’s not so much that I can’t,” he said with a growing smile, “I’m not supposed to fight. It’s against my religion … sort of.”
They both laughed.
“Well let me buy you a drink then,” the man said, “by the way my name is Varis ... Varis Caese.”
“I am DHarem.” He replied as the two of them went off to have a drink and to forge a friendship.
Violence was not the answer; Knowledge was the answer. When would people learn that immutable fact? As he sat eating and drinking his wine; he feared that they never would learn.
"Ah, I think my ale's ready, perhaps you'd like to give the details to whomever in my group isn't already knocked out? I'll introduce you to them, unless you'd prefer it kept quieter?"
An'Jantar replied quickly, "I am needed at a meeting soon, so I fear I am unavailable to meet your companions and discuss this problem. I may have time to greet them as I leave, however," he added with a grin, "The fellow with the bow intrigues me, as does his aim with a tankard," he chuckled lightly.
"Oh," he quickly added, pulling out a pouch of coins, "This is 2500 Electrum. Consider the 500 extra a bonus, and if you don't want your part I presume that your companions will be happy to share it."
Posted on 2011-03-07 at 16:37:11.
Edited on 2011-03-07 at 16:48:56 by Darren
Varis rolled his eyes before shooting the councillor a friendly glare as Varis took the electrum with some hesitance.
"Hey, politicians are supposed to be good at accepting gifts!" Varis laughed, "But regardless, thank you. I'm sure Thom-the one now lying safely on the ground will be thilled, as well as Bon, the one whom I have just learned of his talents with a tankard. DHarem will probably relish the oppurtunity to observe such a Duel of Knowledge, himself."
Varis absently traced circles on the wood of the table with his finger.
"Well, I won't keep you. If all goes well, DHarem and I will learn a few things, and Thom and Bon will get a well above average payment." Varis said, rising from his chair before making yet another good-natured bow. "And, of course, allow me to officially declare this job accepted on behalf of our mercenary band."