Reok's pace never slowed; a half-days walk meant little to the Barbarian. He was far from alone at any time, all manners of races and professions of people walking through the streets, as wood was replaces by mortar and brick, and the cobbled roads became less worn as he left the waterfront completely. It was clear the major races of the city, though. Humans and Dragonborn, as history has always shown in this part of the continent. However, one would be hard pressed to find another human city in which so many minotaur and orcs also walked, wearing well-woven cloth and carrying the tools of tradesmen or messengers like so many humans and dragonborn, not weapons and armor.
Indeed, more glances at Reok were due to his weapon than his injury. Still, no-one stopped him or gave him any trouble, and he felt the slight stirring or the restless spirits that clung to him, but transmitting no rage at the moment.
Though...it was interesting. For such a city, the surrounding, latent Primal Spirits were far from reclusive or dead. Even Reok could tell.
As Matrim followed the scholar into the small cabin, he instantly noticed the importance of the man, even on such a small ship. A clearly expensive bed, however small it may be, a selection of chests and footlockers, as well as shelves of tomes, texts, scrolls and books along the walls - a 'fence' like bar of wood on the front of the shelves and weighted bookstops on the sides to keep the books in place even in the case of a storm at sea. A small idol was also placed along the windowsill opposite the door, in front of the currently closed curtains. A well-crafted statuette of an aged Dragonborn holding a staff high, wearing billowing robes; a small shrine to Sra-Amun.
There was an armchair; a surprisingly basic wooden construction with a single cushion somehow attached that couldn't possibly be all that comfortable at sea. It did appear to be either heavily weighted at the legs or attached to the floor, for the same reason as most things in the cabin.
Going over to a bookshelf, Tryaen frowned as he ran his fingers over what was there, looking for something.
"Feel free to sit on the bed or chair, whichever is more comfortable, Ferr. There is no need to rush, for I fear the expedition is not for two weeks yet, as I mentioned to Reo. Anyway, I'd like to know about what these 'interested parties' you speak of seek. I can think of several possibilities off the top of my head, but there's no need for secrecy if it is one and the same as the one funding this expedition." Tryaen suggested, though not seeming overly suspicious.
"Of course, what man-at-arms experience you have I am interested in. You're no Paladin of the Temple of Sra-Amun, or I would have been told of you beforehand, and your armor is of an excellent make, so I can't imagine you being allowed to take it with you if you had it for military duty. And if you bought it yourself, you don't sound like a traveller or foreigner, so perhaps you came from a rich family?" Tryaen finished. He was certainly an open book of information, more or less. He was perceptive and insightful, but if someone wanted to trick him, he'd also be a fool for stating everything he already knew.
As he waited for a reply, Tryaen finally found a tome he was clearly looking for, taking it out of the shelf gently and beginning to leaf through the pages for something.
Matrim merely nodded at the mention of a seat. Noticing the glean in Creek's eye however, he soon found himself sitting upon the armchair. The man was certainly insistent. What is more the man had besieged him with another slew of questions.
Frowning slightly as he composed the phrasing, Matrim had to wait for Creek to leave an opening.
"I am afraid I am not at liberty to discuss who the 'interested party' is good sir. I fear they do not wish to draw avert attention to themselves for showing their interest openly. Thus the lack of identifiable insignias or coat-of-arms.. Surely you have a fine understanding of the game of maneuvers and money played by the nobility. Whenever one acts it always seems as though two aim to counteract the first. As for their investment, you are looking upon it; My services are at your disposal if you will accept them. I ask not for payment, simply food, lodge, and repairs upon the journey."
He paused for a moment, judging Creek's expression at the consistently vague response.
"As for my work, I've plenty of experience in both individual and group emissary work as well as protection details in the regions outlaying Arvale and a bit beyond. I have learned from first-hand experience the value of well kept equipment, and my benefactors have seen it fit to ensure that I embark with so fine a set. Beyond that, rest assured my skills are finely tuned as well; I'd not be a hindrance upon the expedition."
It was obvious that Creek would not like complete secrecy, but Matrim could not afford openness. Not yet. If only he was not so insightful. He seems keen on knowing everything ahead of time. He recalled part of his orders... a prediction of sorts. There are some things better left unknown...
As Ferr spoke, Tryaen finally selected a page from his held book, signalling that he was still listening by frequent glances back at Matrim. As Matrim finished, Tryaen raised his eyebrows, raising his eyes from his tome.
"Well, how remarkably vague. Well, that more or less throws out my estimation as to the 'interested parties' you spoke of, if you insist upon secrecy which the one I'm thinking of would have no reason for."
"Now...Matrim Ferr, you said? This is the most complete collection of merchants, nobles, priests and other notable family names and family histories that I know of for this country...and I find very few mentions of any 'Ferr' family. So you're no noble...but it doesn't sound like a Paradisian name, at least. Still, that leaves how you came by equipment of such value out of my knowledge, besides these 'benefactors'. Regardless, I suppose I must accept your generous offer of refusing payment and accept your need for secrecy. Your actions do not speak of a malicious or treacherous man."
Tryaen finally closed the book, placing it back on the shelf beside him. A strange mix of a smirk and a grimace was on his face.
"Consider yourself a member of the crew, Matrim Ferr. We leave at the end of the month in two weeks. Well, considering my unintentional interrogation - of which I apologize for - do you have any questions for me in turn?"
Hearing that he had been hired relieved Matrim. It was hard to keep the wool over an insightful man's eyes, but Creek seemed willing to let it go. He had done his job well to not be perceived as a threat.
He nodded in acknowledgement that their business was concluded, and rose to shake hands with Creek. "You will not be disappointed."
Moving across the room he reached the door of the small cabin and a thought flushed into his mind. Perhaps it would be best to leave Creek with some insight. Turning to the scholar as he opened the door he spoke again.
"One question if you will: Many things are hidden, lost within the darkness. Are you certain you want to bring them into the light?"
He did not wait for an answer, but simply turned and left. No doubt Creek's suspicions were rekindled, but it was necessary to keep the man aware of his actions. This almost certainly meant that he would have a tail once he left. Wyrepynn. Let us hope he is not as foolish as perceived.
As per his orders he would not be returning home, but he had some friends and mentors to meet with to discuss certain elements of the trip and pick up some supplies. A series of good-byes, as it were. The first of these contacts was undoubtedly buried among the stacks of the Great Library.
Posted on 2011-08-03 at 16:20:33.
Edited on 2011-08-06 at 04:07:37 by Tuned_Out
'Fine.' Reok thought to himself after passing another identical street and making seemingly no headway towards the tower. 'If this his how civilisation works then I'll play by their rules.'
Striding over to a wealthy looking gentleman, the Barbarian did his best to strike what he tought a dashing figure.
"I'm looking for the Library, you got any clue where it is?"
As an afterthought he also flashed his filed teeth...it had worked well enough back on Sylvour and Pandemonium.
The gentleman looked at the equal-heighted Barbarian, appearing surprised at the unexpected interruption. A human of some wealth; his fine clothing alone displaying that.
"Ah...which Library is it that you seek? Nearest to here, your best bet would be the waterfront Library and Ahrân shrine, about an hours walk to the north of here on the Western side of the bay." The man helpfully responded, even though he hid his discomfort at the armed man's proximity poorly. Strangely, it did not stop him from continuing to aid Reok.
"The largest one in the city by far, though, is the Great Library, adjacent to the Tower of Bahamut's Rest, the smaller of Arvale's two great towers, well over 12 hours of travel, unless you hire alternate transport such as a wagon."
Matrim left the ship without further delay, seeing no-one on the deck as he walked over to the gangplank leading back to the docks. The Great Library was some distance away, he knew from experience. His trip to the docks was an overnight event as it was. If he intended to walk back, he knew he'd need to stay at one of the famous 'Waystation' Taverns of the city, designed to cater for those taking or desiring to take various methods of travel throughout the massive city as well as having foods and bedding appropriate to a great variety of races and cultures.
Alternatively, Matrim knew there would always be other places where he would be welcome to stay.
Posted on 2011-08-08 at 21:09:10.
Edited on 2011-08-10 at 10:44:04 by Celtia
Matrim knew it would take hours to get to the Great Library, and he had little desire to spend those hours amongst the dark streets of Arvale -especially coming from the dockyard. Knowing it would be best not to draw too much unnecessary attention to himself, he moved at a steady pace to the nearest 'Waystation' Tavern in order to arrange for a wagon to take him across the vast city.
There were a few important figures he needed to see before he left, but they were instructed to ensure that everything ran smoothly as well; the order of meetings was set - the Great Library was to be his first destination. Despite the urgency of the mission, he remained calm and kept his senses about him.
Posted on 2011-08-09 at 15:22:56.
Edited on 2011-08-09 at 16:10:03 by Tuned_Out
Matrim stuck to the docks, knowing the fastest route to the nearest waystation tavern by memory, no map being necessary in the slightest. Twenty minutes should be enough, most of the wait will probably be for a wagon going in the direction he wanted unless he paid for a private one. It's not the most comfortable or cheapest way to travel, but it'll keep you out of trouble and it is the fastest unless you're some kind of mage. Certain individuals have been known to make their way across the roofs so as to move as the crow flies, but few are athletic or acrobatic enough to brave such heights and distances without growing tired.
The walk along the docks was uneventful, despite the variety of cultures that make their home in the area. Knowing the streets well, Matrim turned to the left to leave the docks, and instantly saw a mere hundred meters away one of the famous Arvale Waystations.
Where a normal tavern would, typically, be sizeable enough for a tightly-packed crowd of a couple of dozen, with a half-dozen rooms or more and a basement to stock food and drink, a Waystation was designed somewhat less reservedly.
Taking up the majority of its side of the street was a two-storey wood and stone construction. As with many Arvale buildings, the doorway was larger than expected, and the sign stating 'Waystation Inn and Travel' was higher to match - a testament to the races that dwelled within Arvale at a height of seven or more feet.
Unlike most taverns with shuttered windows, the Waystation had geniune - if murky - glass. The ground level alone, seperated into a more traditional tavern as well as a common room, would be able to comfortably contain 40 seated people, and all Waystations often had at least 20 small rooms on offer on their upper story, with larger rooms for the well-paying customers.
Beside the Waystation, though, was another building of identical height and similar width. The lower 'storey' of the second building was completely open to the street, no wall blocking the view of what was clearly a huge stable complete with horses and wagons off to the side, along with sacks of equipment ready to be carted off and all of the tools and food necesary for the animals. An open staircase led to the fully walled upper story, held aloft with many structural pillars and beams, where certain items were stored and administration was taken care of for hiring or buying. Standing around both buildings were 6 Clerics of Sra-Amun, along with two Paladins acting as guards.
The cost of hiring a wagon, if he were willing to wait, would be a mere 5 silver, Matrim knew. Expensive for day-to-day standards, but perfectly reasonable considering the safety and speed they provide and the effort of maintaining the horses and wagons. If he wanted to hire a horse or one of the horse-drawn carts designed for one or two passengers in mind, it may reach into the cost of several gp. It was usually considered good manners - though not strictly necessary - to check with the Innkeeper inside the Waystation before going to book travel arrangements, to prevent unnecessary queuing.
Matrim debated for a moment about directly heading to the office to sign out a wagon. On one hand it could get set upon his journey faster, on the other it could draw a lot of unwanted attention upon himself if he didn't speak with the innkeeper. His orders were clear on the importance of both subtly and efficiency. However things were never as simple as he hoped. Moving to enter the inn itself, he sought to acknowledge its keeper, and perhaps gain a bit more insight into this expedition or some of its 'characters' while he was at it.
The nearby clerics gave Matrim a polite nod as he passed them to reach the main doorway. Walking through the heavy wood-and-iron door, Matrim found himself in the more traditional 'Tavern' area of the Waystation. Wooden floors, basic seating and cheap tables showed it was more suited to survive spilt drinks or angry soldiers than cater to nobleman and scholars. Though not advertised as a feature of Waystations as such, common rumor speaks of minor enchantments through the means of Divine Runes to resist fire and other more magical means of destruction in a Waystation, to prevent any in the chain of expensive buildings from simply collapsing under the influence of an angry - or drunk - wizard.
At such a time of morning, with midday yet to strike, many who would otherwise be drinking in the Waystation are out to work or travelling, and so - despite the size of the room - Matrim could count the patrons on one hand. Two men, possibly mercenaries, undoubtedly gambling, considering the petty coin on the table and the strange mix of dice and cards between them. A casually dressed orc sitting at the bar quietly, and a female human, probably younger than Matrim, speaking with the dragonborn behind the counter, acting as both barkeeper and innkeeper. Little attention was given to Matrim as he walked in, though as he approached the occupied innkeeper he could not help but hear some of the womans's words.
"I am aware of my chances of speaking with him, but I would like to make my way to Bahamut's Rest regardless. If I must wait, then I shall make use of the Great Library there. But may I once again implore you to reconsider the cost of immediate transportation? I believed and still believe that 3gp should be well within reason, and even for that I must take from my funds for food."
The woman did not look overly desperate, nor poor. Indeed, if anything she looked as calm as a priest, if not far more so. Her loose but lengthy linen leggings and shirt looked functional beyond all else, suggesting freedom of movement and lightweightedness above warmth or fashion. No visible weapons, and her hair was cropped remarkably short, an inch long at most, leading to a wholly unremarkable appearance.
The dragonborn was shaking his head.
"I'm sorry. At that distance, this early, that is below the rate that we would charge. As expensive as the cost seems, the administration efforts, as well as the unscheduled hired cart, horse, driver and security adds up quickly. I cannot allow below four gold pieces." The innkeeper clearly held no glee for turning the young woman away, with his grimace. He whispered two words that Matrim suspected was 'I'm sorry', before turning to armor-clad newcomer.
"A bit early in the day for a drink, good sir? Or do you wish to hire transport?"
The woman regarded Matrim with interest, keen eyes looking him over, before stepping to the side politely to let him talk directly to the barkeep, drumming her fingers softly along the counter as she waited for the two to talk and finish.
Matrim absent-mindedly listened to the exchange at the bar as he looked about the inn. The other patrons were each set in their own tasks, keeping to themselves. Matrim waited patiently- he had time.
"A bit early in the day for a drink, good sir? Or do you wish to hire transport?"
Matrim nodded to the dragonborn as he moved forward, the woman side-stepping to let him through -he was almost certain she gave him an appraising look. "Aye, transport. I seek to make pilgrimage to the Great Library. And the sooner I depart the better..." He paused for a moment, turning his gaze back to the woman who had moved. He wasn't entirely sure what her goal was, but perhaps his mistress was lining things up again. He began to speak again as his gaze shifted back to the barkeep "...now I ask pardon of both of you as I did not mean to eavesdrop on your discussion, but I believe the young lady is headed in my direction. If it would be faster for us to travel together across the city then I see no problem in covering the extra cost of her trip. At least then we would all be satisfied in this exchange." He shrugged then, an attempt to make it clear he was merely trying to be helpful. "If there is any objection to such a course of action..." He trailed off with a slight grin on his face, allowing the others to respond.
Posted on 2011-08-28 at 15:43:35.
Edited on 2011-08-28 at 15:43:55 by Tuned_Out
The woman's head raised, turning her head back between Matrim and the barkeep before shifting over, leaning over the counter slightly with what appeared to be an attempt to conceal a smile.
"Excellent. We may share the cost for a coach between us then; two pieces of gold each. I trust that's acceptable for instantaneous transport, barkeep?" She asked, suddenly more active than before at the knowledge that she can make the trip, "We both wish to leave early as it is, so-"
The woman was cut off as the Dragonborn pulled out what appeared to be a small, furled scroll from underneath the counter, as well as an inked quill. A strange place of writing implements; a tavern. With a glance laced with amusement at the human and half-elf in front of him, he unrolled the parchment and began to write at a fast pace over a few parts of the scroll, before turning it towards the two customers. On it was unusually flat, neat text detailing in Common that the bearer of the scroll was entitled to transport. The dragonborn seemed to have written in where the transport was from and to, what was paid for it, what mode of transport and what races/genders bore it.
"Very well. Leave your gold on the counter, write your name in the spaces provided then hand this to whomever is behind the desk in the first room you come to in the upper level of the transport section of the Waystation. They should be able to set you up in a matter of minutes."
Even as the dragonborn spoke, the woman had already scribbled in her name in rather well-scripted common, before she handed the qriting utensil to Matrim with a small smile. The name on the parchment spelled "Shiel Stone".
"Thank you for this." She almost whispered, before looking away to fish out some currency from a tiny belt-pouch, bringing out two carefully-counted handfuls of silver pieces, adding ten copper pieces to the small pile to bring a total equivalent to 2gp.
Matrim almost chuckled as the woman was cut off by the quick actions of the barkeep. Within a matter of moments there was a document before them and his new-found companion was already signing her name. He nodded to the dragonborn as he spoke, hearing the instructions as he fished two gold coins from his small belt pouch. The writing instrument was thrust towards him before he even had a chance to bring them to the counter, and before the man had finished talking for that matter, a near-whispered 'thank you' escaping her lips. Matrim had that amused 'things happening for a reason' feeling again; this would be most interesting. Placing the coins upon the tabletop he quickly, but neatly, signed his name upon the scroll.
"Many thanks, friend" He spoke again to the barkeep, the young woman was just finishing counting out her coins "The day is young, and I believe we're ready to go." Seeing his companion was ready he nodded once more to the dragonborn. "Good fortune be with you."
Not the typical parting words I'd use. he mused but then, I'm not sure who might be watching The afterthought bothered him but he shook it away. There would be no links to his orders by traveling with a stranger, but then he didn't wish to get her involved in any incidents that might occur because of him; he knew too well that it was up fate, and he was not about to question the will of his mistress.
Looking to the woman he smiled, bowing slightly as he spoke up. "Matrim Ferr, at your service miss. Now then, let us set out. I'm sure we've both a busy day ahead of us."
At that he began to head towards the yard where the two of them would ascend to the offices and arrange their transport. The nagging thought that he could have inquired about the expedition bothered him, but he had already set his course.
Posted on 2011-09-01 at 21:28:51.
Edited on 2011-09-01 at 21:30:19 by Tuned_Out
A dragonborn, a half-elf, a human and a horse (walk into a bar)...
Picking up the final scroll at a nod from the dragonborn, the woman bowed politely in return to Matrim before following him quickly, her sandals making little noise across either wooden or cobbled floors. As she walked beside the taller half-elf towards the necessary office, she introduced herself.
"Pleased to meet you, sir Ferr. I am Shiel Stone. Thank you so much for your help. And it will be nice to have company besides a cleric and driver for the seven or so hours." Sheil thanked Matrim. She spoke neither timidly nor overenthusiastically, but rather stood at a point of politely social. As she walked, an quiet jingle of metal could be heard, but whatever it was - sounding similar to some kind of bracelet or necklace - seemed to be concealed in her clothes too well to identify.
She'd stopped talking as thet had already finished their short walk, having ascended the open staircase from the stables leading to the offices above. The staircase ended with a tiny sort of hall or landing, as you rose from the open space of the stables to a tiny walled space. Directly forward from exiting the stairs, though, was an open arch to the 'indoor' offices and administration. There was nothing unusual about the lack of a door; certainly, security wasn't an issue in the night due to the round-the-clock nature of the Waystation and of transport. Moving through, the duo saw a single desk attended to by a human looking down, frowning as he looked through some book. From the pieces of silver-lined steel hung and sewn around his linen clothing, marked with the symbol of the Sra-Amun temple, he seemed to be a Cleric of some description, despite his more comfortable outfitting.
Obviously familiar with the process, Shiel stepped up to the male cleric, handing him the scroll as he looked up to see the newcomers.
"Sir, we're here for immediate transportation to the Grand Library. Security, horses, cart and driver have all been paid for."
The cleric looked up and between Matrim and Shiel, before nodding and placing the scroll he was given inside a drawer on his side of the desk. Closing his eyes, he took out a holy symbol from around his neck: A silver, circuar amulet depicting a dragon's head surrounded by a series of semicircles along the edges of the amulet, varying in size and placement in an unusual, partly overlapping pattern. He held it in his hand for a moment, before returning it underneath his clothing.
"Very well. Everything is being arranged. Your cart will be waiting downstairs as well as your security, and you are welcome to wait within. They may be busy handling a horse for a few minutes, but you should be able to leave very soon."
Sheil bowed her heaf with a polite 'thank you', before turning around and walking past Matrim, heading down towards the stairs, looking back to see if he was following her, before continuing down into the stable where a cleric standing next to a cart beckoned her over. A horse was in the process of being hitched up, and in the meantime the two-wheeled wagon was held horizontal by planks of wood. Bundles of cheap, yet clean, cloth were heaped onto the back of the relatively spacious wagon, to assist the comfort of the passengers regardless of how they liked to sit or lay.
Reok nods to the nobleman before striding off in the direction he had indicated, whichever idiot had decided to build a city this big was fooling themselves...a few determined men with torches could bring the place to its knees in a matter of hours...continuing along the train of thought Reok began to idly search the streets for about a dozen other prospective arsonists, just in case, giving up when he heard the clatter of hooves...one of the wagons that had been mentioned no doubt.
Turning, the barbarian steps out in front of the horses holding up a hand.
"If you're going to this library of your's then I'll jump on board..." He trails off when he notices the familiar armoured figure from Trean's boat sitting in the back. "Big city, small world, eh Matrim? It look's like everyone want's to go to this library today."