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Old Aug 13th, 2019, 03:55 PM
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Prologue - Swirling Rumors

DM's Note and WelcomeWelcome to the game! I know it will take a few days for everyone to get their sheets done, so I thought I'd give everyone an opportunity to start RPing with each other in the meantime. You're welcome to keep posting in here once the actual game starts, if you choose. Since your characters have already met, there's less of that to sort through but this will allow the transition into the actual game more natural (at least, I hope.) When everyone is done their sheets we'll start on the actual game with your characters already on the road.



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Swirling Rumors and Hushed Tales -

Strange rumors have been swirling the countryside lately, brought back and forth between towns on the tongues of merchants and bards alike. Each whispered tale seems more curious and horrifying than the last. The hill giants are stealing all the grain and livestock they can, while stone giants have been scouring settlements that have been around forever. Fire giants are press-ganging the smallfolk into the desert, while frost giant long ships have been pillaging along the Sword Coast. Even the elusive cloud giants have been witnessed, their wondrous floating cities appearing above Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate.

The tales which started as whispers have grown in strength and frequency, leaving even the most disbelieving to wonder if their doubts are ill founded. Though none of the four companions sitting around the fire had seen any evidence themselves, the stories had reached their ears as well. Perhaps another time they would have pushed the last few miles to Nightfort after the fall of dusk, yet this night they crowded around the small fire instead.

The ridge they camped upon lent a gorgeous view of the Ardeep Forest and Nightstone off in the distance. A faint ringing of bells can be heard, just low enough to make one wonder if they weren't imagining it entirely. Soon, that too fades and all that can be heard is the croak of frogs and chirps of grasshoppers as night lays its claim over the land.

The sizzle of the fire is punctuated with an occasional pop as the meat roasting upon the spit cooks, lending a savory aroma to the eagerly awaiting campers.
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Old Aug 13th, 2019, 05:29 PM
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Koehilas ‘Koe’ von Okintin
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Koe lay on his back on the cool patch of grass, his fingers laced behind his head as he stared up at the night sky, watching the wispy clouds passing by. The firesmoke caught the breeze and drifted away, mingling along with the scent of their cooking meal.

He was humming to himself as attempted to recall a certain cadence to a song. It was a good song...Or at least, it was a funny one. If one didn’t have a sense of humor, or if it were sung around the religiously inclined, it might’ve landed wrong. It was all about reading the crowd, after all.

“When first I went to Devilshome, some pleasure there to find
A damsel there from Baatortown was pleasing to my mind
Her rosy cheeks, her ruby lips, like arrows pierced my breast
The name she bore was Zariel, Lily of Avernus.”


He was certain that’s the way it went. If not, well, it didn’t bother him none. It sounded good, and he went with it.

“I courted this sweet Zariel, some pleasure for to find
But she told me I must marry her, which sore distressed my mind
She'd rob me of my liberty, sedate my muse and jest
I had to leave sweet Zariel, the Lily of Avernus.

'Squattin' in a caldera bog, was a man of high degree
'Twas Zariel's pa, Asmodeous, whose horns glint dangerously
She'd broached his time of gut relief, to plea her case to him
Lo', then I saw my doom at hand, in his visage red and grim

I twisted in her loving grip, escaped her clinging hand
Her scream of pure frustration, incited him to stand
As he stooped to raise his trousers - his curse I could not parse--
I first beheld the glowing cheeks of Asmodeus' golden arse.”


Koe bit back a chuckle. Golden ares. Heh. That was a good one!

“I had to ply swift knees, my friends, to save my own dear life
The hounds of hell were sent in chase, their howls bring fire and strife
Zariel's cries of woe awoke the fiends from in the pits
By my luck I escaped the ball and chain, thanks to a devil's sh*ts

And now I roam from town to town, with song I buy my drink
Over my shoulder I must peek, lest back to hell I sink
It follows me in all the lands, south, north, east, and west
The fury of Zariel scorned, dire Lily of Avernus.”


The Half-Elf cracked a broad smile and turned his head to look at the others. “I do love me some good imagery in any story.” This time, Koe couldn’t help but to chuckle. It was kind of catchy, really. He'd have to keep it on mind.
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Old Aug 14th, 2019, 01:20 PM
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Del Corgan
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Del squinted hard and tried not to look like Koe's song was causing him physical pain. His head was pounding and the singing was not helping. How many days had they spent traipsing around this forest looking for elves? He'd lost count somewhere, but he could count exactly how many elves he'd seen. One and a half.

Koe was probably his best friend in the world (not there was much competition), but the man's music and upbeat nature was a lot easier to take after a pint or two... or three. Unfortunately Del was on duty, and there wasn't any ale to be found out in the woods. Maybe if they'd actually found some elves, he could have tried some of their wine. He glanced over to the boss. Estorio looked unperturbed by their mission's lack of anything resembling success. But then he was an elf, he never really looked perturbed by anything. He just looked like he'd smelled something. But then he always looked like that.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow they'd be back in Nightstone, and Del would be back in the tap room of Morak's Inn, with the barmaid Rhonda bringing him a foaming mug of something. He smiled wistfully to himself. Rhonda wasn't exactly a looker by anybody's standards. She had a body like a handle and a flat, round face. Plus, she had a tendency to be a bit blunt. But when she came around the bar with that tray in her hands, she could be the most beautiful thing in all of Toril.

Del let out a quiet sigh. The song was over, but it would only be a matter of time before Koe started up again. He levered himself to his feet and looked out into the dark for a moment. He picked up one of his hatchets and glanced to the boss. Technically he should ask for permission, but he needed a moment. "I'm gonna see if I can't find a little more firewood. Gell, you got things here?" Del still wasn't quite sure what to make of the half-orc. He wasn't much like the bruisers he'd know from his watch days, but all the same, Del was glad they were on the same side. Easy enough to trust the boss's safety to the big green fellow for a few minutes.

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Old Aug 15th, 2019, 11:22 AM
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Gell Thundersnout
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Gell brayed with laughter and good cheer as Koe finished his bawdy song. With a deep, bass chuckle, the druid returned to his tome, watching over its edge the grimace across Del's face. Gell laughed again, this time quieter, more to himself. Great Bear, the man's a misery without a mug. He wondered, not for the first time, why Del carried a blade, and had chosen the trade he had. Surely there was more beyond the coin it brought. Perhaps not.. The idea confused Gell, and the storyteller in him hungered for answers.

The metal chain connecting Gell's tome to his belt rattled softly in the night breeze as the druid shifted about, musing and scratching at the paper with a quill dwarfed by his massive, mottled-green hands. Absently, he finished and let the thickly-bound tome fall to his side, thudding into the grass carelessly. He rose and stood listening to Koe's continued musings as he tended to a stunted Wintergreen bush at his side.

Del caught his attention and Gell nodded. "Be safe." He said. His voice was more grave than intended, and he winced at the effect he was sure it produced. His face was lined with scars, and punctuated with jutting tusks. That said, the rumors the group had been hearing seemed more than idle tales to the half-orc, and he'd walked among the trees of the surrounding woods as they settled camp, sensing about for worry or fear from its inhabitants.

Estorio's unerring confidence was encouraging, but Gell didn't think the Elf would admit terror until he was on a Fire Giant's dinner plate. He chuckled again at the thought, bending to Casting "Druidcraft"breathe on a cluster of withered berries on the shrunken Wintergreen, smiling as their color brightened.

Gell wanted fiercely to commune with his group, and to share the stories and songs he gathered, but he held himself back, even from the mercurial, playful Koe. Too many villages had he been chased from. Too many words had cut and bled the orc. He had been hired for his strength, and for now, that would suffice.

As the cook smoke rose and drifted away into the star-lit expanse above, Gell breathed deep of the pine-scented air as his eyes found the Great Bear's constellation. No matter where, Gell traveled in Her protection, and for that, he gave a prayer of thanks.
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Old Aug 15th, 2019, 04:44 PM
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An night for the unexpected
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"Ahhhh!"

A startled cry escaped Vadania as her hands gave out beneath her just as she passed through the portal which, by all accounts, should have been inactive. The pitch of the ground changed to a steep slope and she tumbled down the hill that wasn't there just moments before. The last thing she heard was a sickening crunch as her head cracked against a rock before her world went black.


V's eyes fluttered open and she stared up from her back where her body had finally come to a rest, sprawled out on the forest floor. It was dark, darker than it had been before her fall, though it was impossible to tell how much time had passed. Her body ached as she tried to move and her head throbbed. Caked blood and tenderness greeted the fingers that explored her wound, but nothing too worrying. As she stood, her eyes began to adjust to the darkness bringing the surrounding area into a blue-grey focus. 'Where am I?' she thought, searching for any indication that she was in one of the groves in Farmeadows. It couldn't be, the trees around here weren't native to the island of Evermeet. 'The mainland then,' she mused silently.

Her gaze fell on her whip a few feet from her and relief washed over her. Regardless of where she'd landed, she wouldn't be able to return without it. She retrieved it, her hands squeezing tightly around it as she coiled it back in place. Its leather felt comforting in her hand, like an embrace from a friend - if she'd had any. Her whip was probably the closest thing to one she had and she couldn't imagine losing it. At least now she had one less thing to worry about.

Feeling a bit more at ease, she brushed herself off and haphazardly ran her fingers through her braid, once more arranging it in a way only Bryn'ja would understand. She circled around the spot she'd arrived in, unable to see, or even sense, any arcane energy lingering. Dirt from her fall lingered in her mouth, irritatingly distracting her as she contemplated how to return home. She reached to her bag for her waterskin when she froze. Her bag was gone. Not gone. She hadn't had it on her when she went for her whip. It sat back on the grass in Evermeet where she left it. The sting of failure and embarrassment rushed back to her once more like salt in a wound.

Thump

A noise like a boulder hitting the ground echoed in the distance and V's head snapped up, looking for its source. Silence. She was about to resume her search when she heard it again, closer this time.

Thump
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The ground shook, bringing V to her knees as she lost her balance. She scrambled up to the top of the hill, taking care to stay at the edge of the treeline as she looked over the valley below. Towering over the treetops, a large humanoid stopped and searched below him. He wore little other than large unkempt patches of hair and something akin to small bushes that seemed to be sprouting from his shoulders. The creature was bigger than anything she'd ever seen before. Though she'd read of giants, she never expected to see one. Normally they stayed to themselves, a close leash kept on them by the mighty Storm King. At least, that's what the books had said. What was one doing wandering around out here?

A murder of crows flew from the tree above her, their call drawing her attention upwards as they flew away. As she looked back to the giant, she found its gaze settled upon her where she stood on the hilltop. She froze like a scared doe, not wanting to make a single movement, hoping that she'd gone unseen. Luck was not on her side today.

The enormous creature pulled up a small tree with a distinct lack of effort and threw it in her direction. She ducked and pressed her back against the tree she'd been standing next to. Afraid to peek out, she stood silently and waited once more. Until she heard it again, closer.

Thump

Instinct took over and V slid expertly down the hill, breaking into an all out sprint as she got to the bottom. She ran hard and fast, using every bit of her many years of training to stay on her feet, darting between trees and cover, always staying out of sight. She ran hard for about an hour, only slowing after the footsteps changed from fading to non-existent. She leaned her side against a tree, her breathing labored and heart pounding in her chest.

Finally calming, she turned to move before she heard a gruff voice behind her.
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Old Aug 15th, 2019, 06:00 PM
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Del Corgan
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Del walked out into the woods a ways, taking deep breaths of the night air and trying to ease the throbbing tension in his head. Once he was out of the campfire's ring of light, he was nearly blind, but he wasn't exactly planning on rushing off anywhere. A fallen branch cracked beneath his foot, dry and splintery. Right, firewood. May as well actually do what he had claimed he would. He bent over to pick up the stick. Okay, that was a mistake. The world swam before his eyes as his brain tried its level best to escape out his eye-sockets. Staggering a little as his headache returned in a tour-de-force performance, it took him a few moments before he could stand up straight again.

Looking around for a moment, he realized that he was lost. Well, he corrected himself, he had temporarily misplaced his bearings. Still, it shouldn't be too hard to find the others in short order, not with a Koe's singing and a campfire to light the way. But... yeah. He could already hear one of his companions just a little ways over there. Strange that they'd come so far from the fire, but nature sometimes made pressing demands for privacy. Maybe it was best to leave them be for the time being? Or better to sneak up on Koe and scare the living daylights out of him?

A few more steps brought him around the bole of a large tree and face-to-face, well face-to-back of head with an unfamiliar figure. It was hard to make out details in the darkness, but it certainly didn't look like Koe, Gell or the Boss. He coughed uncertainly, just one person alone in the woods at night? "What are you doing out here all alone?"

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Old Aug 15th, 2019, 06:29 PM
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Vadania Amakiir
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Vadania let out the kind of close-lipped moan familiar to those who were previously intoxicated, freshly battered, or both. She had never had a hangover of course; the magic of Evermeet prevented them, and she had never lost a fair fight badly enough to feel this beat up. Then she remembered. Himo.

She reached for her right hip where he had caught her with a whirling kick, but stopped part way when she realized the worse pounding was coming from her head. What happened? Then it hit her. The loss, the portal, the hurricane of faulty magic that dragged her in, and then the tumbling descent down the hill. She moaned again, frustration accompanying the throbbing pain all over her body. Eyes still closed, her palm slapped the nearby dirt in search of her whip.

With a wave of relief, her hand closed around it. Only then did she open her eyes. The trees didn't look familiar, and the sky in Evermeet was never as dark as it was above her now. She came to her elbow, then gritting her teeth, propelled herself to standing. Wherever this was, it wasn't the school of the Viper.

That's when she heard it. Thump. Thump. Thump. Something big coming her way. Vadania spun around, surveying the unfamiliar undergrowth for whatever was making the noise. When she saw the massive form, fat and naked except for blessedly well-placed tufts of hair, her silver eyes widened in alarm. Giants? Where was she?

The enraged humanoid left her with little enough time to contemplate this as an uprooted tree careened towards her. She dodged it, took a deep breath, and ran.



V hurt all over, from toes to the tips of her pointy ears, but she had lost it. Thank Salderine for her training. She would be dead otherwise. As it stood, she was sore as hell, completely lost, and gasping for air. Doubled over with leaves strewn through her tangle of copper hair and wearing nothing but a training shift, she held one tattooed hand against a tree for support.

This time when she heard the snap of a branch behind her, she was quicker to react. Her eyes narrowed when she saw the man. The first man she had seen in decades. The first man who wasn't a well-rendered drawing in a book. She wasn't impressed.

"Who." Gasp. "The hell." Gasp. "Are you?"
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Old Aug 15th, 2019, 07:13 PM
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Del Corgan
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Del took an involuntary step backwards as the figure whirled on him with sudden intensity. For a brief moment, his aches and misery were forgotten, pushed aside as a burst of adrenaline flooded his system. Her, for he could tell now that it was a woman, question caught him off-guard and the only possible response was to answer.

"I'm Del."

The answer came as quickly as it was useless, devoid of any context. But Del's mind was in no state to compose a proper response, or even a query to offer in return. He stood there, slack-jawed for a moment that felt like an eternity. His eyes were finally beginning to adjust to what little light there was from the moon and stars, and he could see the faint glimmer of light reflecting off the woman's high, pointed ears. Suddenly, everything clicked into place, in an instant of clarity, Del's whole demeanor shifted to one of immense relief.

"Oh, thank the gods! We have been looking for you forever!"

He turned around in place and suddenly spotted the campfire's light filtering through some thick brush. He hadn't wandered nearly as far as he had thought, he'd just lost track of everything among these dark-blighted trees. He took a few steps towards the faint glimmer and raised his voice to carry.

"Boss, BOSS! I found one!"

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Old Aug 16th, 2019, 02:35 AM
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Estorio sat cross-legged by the flames, the Tinkerer's ToolsBasteln Gauntlet laid in his lap as he fiddled with the device's inner workings. It was a device of his own design - a wearable glove constructed of various metals within which he had integrated all the instruments he might need to do his tinkering. The front panel of the thing, what would usually lay over the upper part of his forearm, lay open, the inner workings of gears and thin wiring exposed to the cold air as he poked and prodded with long tools that resembled the limbs of some mutant insect made of iron. A buzzing *zzzzttt!* accompanied his work and occasionally sparks would leap from his hands and illuminate the cold, focused expression that masked elf's swirling thoughts.

He had hoped to make contact with the elves of Ardeep Forest before they entered Nightstone. He had lead his merry band of misfits to various places where his memory, now foggy, of his childhood had led him to believe they might find the elf scouts. Instead they'd found only disappointment. So far this gamble for influence was failing miserably and his family was running short on time. The future was grim for them if made no headway and for the thousandth time he wondered if he was making the wrong choice.

Koe sang his bawdy song and Estorio knew better than to let his irritation show. That would only encourage the little bastard's performance, so the artificer ignored his nephew's braying and focused on the task at hand, barely looking up as Del excused himself. He could not let the other's see his doubt.

It was in this state that the Del's shouts reached him. "What?!" Estorio looked up sharply and snapped the panel of his gauntlet shut, before sliding the device smoothly onto his left and dominant hand. He had no trouble following the sound of the drunkard's voice and soon came upon his bodyguard face-to-face with what was unmistakably an elf. "Well done," He says quietly to the man before turning his attention to their strange visitor. Why was she out here? Her garbed seemed strange to him - not at all the fashion he remembered of his people.

"Walk in the Sun," Estorio says, giving the female elf the first half of the traditional greeting of the Ardeep Forest elves, expecting her to finish the ritual. His elvish was halting and almost embarrassingly shaky. "We've been looking for you, sister."


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Old Aug 16th, 2019, 03:45 PM
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Vadania Amakiir
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"Boss, BOSS! I found one!"

Vadania had her whip unwound before the man (Del? What kind of a name is Del?) finished his sentence. Some men were good, she had read. Others less so. If this one was fool enough to be hunting elves, she would show him the folly of his ways. That was her first reaction. The logical portion of her brain told her to run, that even if one, two, or three humans were no match for her superior elven heritage, there could be more right around the next tree.

Her shoulders fell in relief as one of her own appeared instead of more manlings. He was the boss. That made more sense. The wizard brushed past Del, bumping into his shoulder when he didn't move out of her way. She matched Estorio's appraising stare while a teasing bend found the edge of her lips. Where the Waterdhavian noble's elvish was halting, hers flowed like a stream in spring thaw. "I would, had you any to show." His words were nothing to her except an odd and inaccurate phrase.

V met his greeting with one of Evermeet's rarer ones, reserved for unexpected encounters with unexpected folk. A step forward, hands outstretched. One palm down and one up, to suggest silence but offer friendship. Together, they looked like two old friends that had mangled a secret handshake. It wasn't pretty. Vadania took a jerky step back. Her mouth went hard and her chin dropped protectively. "What stars are these, brother? Why have you been looking for me, and what is this company you keep?"

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Old Aug 16th, 2019, 04:16 PM
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Estorio glanced down at the female elf's hands, unsure of what her bizarre gesture meant and then back up as she stepped away, her posture suddenly more defensive and wary. The noble was hopeful, desperate even, but he was no fool. This was no elf of Ardeep, but that did not mean their meeting was not fortuitous. Though it pained him to admit it, she seemed connected to the ways of the elves than he - the beautiful poetry of her elvish alone was proof of that.

"Ah, you are not who we hoped you were, sister," He says with some disappointment. Then the noble switches to common, for Del's benefit he tells himself, but also because his childish elvish has begun to grate even on his own ears. "My name is Estorio Cassalanter. We are on the path to the city of Nightstone. We had hoped you were one of the elves of Ardeep as our objective is to act as mediators between them and the people of Nightstone - the long brewing hostilities between the neighboring civilizations is threatening open war."

The elf looked wary still, so Estorio raised his open hands in a signal of peace. "We mean you no harm, sister. We have made camp nearby, come join us. I mean no offence when I say you look a little lost." The noble gives his bodyguard a small nod to lead the way.


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Old Aug 16th, 2019, 04:46 PM
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Koehilas ‘Koe’ von Okintin
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Koe was dozing on the grass after his song. At least Grell liked it. Estrorio didn’t like a lot of what he did-- not that it stopped him, of course. Del hadn’t said anything other than mentioning getting firewood. He did that sometimes. Overall, his musical number went by unappreciated. Tough crowd.

Del shouted something and Koe popped up from the grass. “Wha--!?” He scrambled up to his feet, but Estorio was faster. He cursed as his foot slipped before he managed to start off toward Del, somewhere off in the woods.

The Elf Del had found was...Well, a wild beauty at first glance, but with a stern way about her. His uncle and this woman started talking, and the more she spoke the odder she became. Then, she made some kind of crazy gesture. What caught him off guard the most was how she pushed by Del, as if he wasn’t even there. Koe felt heat boil in his gut. What a wench!

She was strange, but in so many ways, very similar to Estrorio. Arrogant and haughty, to say the least. He raised his eyes to the sky, blurting, “Oh, gods. Another one.” Full-blooded Elves. He was glad to have been watered down a bit, if it meant being more down-to-earth.

Koe trudged back to camp, finding some sort of cruel irony in having found an Elf, but apparently, not right kind of Elf. Whatever that was supposed to mean. She mentioned she didn't recognize the starts. Did she hit her head too hard?

"What kind of elf gets lost?" Koe said to her from over his shoulder as they started back toward camp. Although, frankly, he knew many elves who could get turned around. Estrorio didn't appear to have the look of one that knew bum-from-butt, as an example.



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Old Aug 17th, 2019, 11:08 AM
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Vadania Amakiir
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Vadania eased only slightly at Estorio's explanation. It meant he wasn't an immediate threat, but the names meant nothing to her. She'd heard of a few places on the mainland: Waterdeep, Luskan, Neverwinter. She might be able to point to them on a map, given enough time. Ardeep though, and Nightstone? They meant nothing, so she let the topic drop for now.

"If the people of Nightstone dare intrude on elven territory, they deserve what comes," she observed in elvish before joining the others with the common tongue. It felt ugly in her mouth, like mealy bread.

"I am lost. Or at least, I don't know where I am yet," V couched. Don't show weakness, she chided, the words ringing in her mentor's voice. "Thank you."

Vadania followed Del back to the camp. When Koe appeared, she was about to greet him as she would any other elf. Something about his features were off though, and she stopped. Her nostrils flared at the sharp words tossed casually over his shoulder, and her temper flared. "What kind of elf lays with a hu-"

At that moment, she broke through the undergrowth and into the camp. The first thing she noticed was the smell of well-cooked meat. Who knew how long it had been since she had eaten? The second thing was Gell. Her eyes met his and she froze, all thoughts of food forgotten. Her sudden halt caused assuming he's following behindEstorio to bump into her. Both hands went to her hair, rapidly untangling and brushing leaves from it, then stringing together a braid that combined Panic and Revulsion.

When no one else reacted, she continued her scan of the site. She took a seat on an overturned rock as far from him as possible, pointedly ignoring the great bear of an orc. Shadows from the fire flickered across her skin and played tricks on the half-finished viper tattoo that stretched from her left hand, under her shift, and up to her right eye. The wizard's silence stretched awkwardly out as she contemplated the last half a day. "I was chased by a giant earlier. Are they common in this forest?"
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Old Aug 17th, 2019, 12:57 PM
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Del Corgan
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Del quietly led the new arrival back to camp, glancing back over his shoulder frequently. He wasn't quite sure what had passed between her and the boss, but apparently she wasn't the right kind of elf? Just their luck, to spend all this time looking for elves only to find the wrong one. This one was barely dressed, almost unarmed (for all she'd tried to threaten him with a whip) and wandering the forest of a completely different kind of elf. She seemed ludicrously out of place, and for that reason alone she was a threat.

Still, for now he'd accept her at face value. Headache forgotten in the excitement, he stepped into the ring of light around the fire with some semblance of professionalism. But her reaction to Koe caused a sharper reaction and he went completely stiff, standing up straight, for once looking like an actual warrior. He turned away, tending to the fire while standing next to Koe. He muttered quietly to the half-elf. "No need to worry about her virtue from this human. There's plenty off-putting about her before race even enters into it."

He eventually turned back when she mentioned a giant, rolling his eyes slightly. He smiled reassuringly and shrugged nonchalantly. "Probably just an ogre. They're pretty tall if you're not used to them. Dangerous if angry, but mostly they're content to just be left alone."

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