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  #16  
Old 12-22-2019, 11:49 PM
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Sarillar
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Sarillar

Sarillar turned to the group assembling around him as they approached the man with the eyepatch and grimaced. It was bad enough that he was forced to accept the altermatum of joining the Flaming Fist, both to avoid his likely demise at the hands of the Fist (though he estimated he could probably kill at least ten of them before that happened) and as a means of gaining exit from the city so that he could resume is next objective, but to find himself once again joining ranks with those he worked with the previous night was beyond irritating.

Sarillar turned toward Relena as she introduced everyone and was about to speak when the man with the eyepatch spoke first.

Bane. His master has had dealings with him in the past. Sarillar would not object to snuffing the lives of followers of that broken god. And they think themselves the purveyors of fear and death. They are nothing next to the terror and might that is Szass Tam.

When Captain Zodge finished, Sarillar continued glaring at Relena as he said, "Captain Zodge, know that I, and no one else, speaks on my behalf. I do not need nor did I request the endorsement of anyone."

Erna then asked Sarillar about his wound.

"My name is Sarillar, cleric. And your bandage performed adequately, though it has since been removed. There is strength to be found in pain."


Last edited by Silent Rain; 12-23-2019 at 12:34 AM.
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  #17  
Old 12-23-2019, 01:43 AM
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The Adventure Begins
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Bethrynna had finished her rounds as a makeshift medic, though she had been able to do little but clean up a bit and make people a bit more comfortable. It was still more than anyone else seemed interested in doing, but it had come automatically to her mind to do something. She'd been rather focused throughout, so she missed the captain's subtle disapproval, or the various introductions and characterizations as to her nature. She approached the group, lingering on the edge and magically removing the blood that had made its way onto her dress. She saw the short-haired human female doing a lot of the talking, and came in at the end, though Beth lacked the context to make out what she was talking about.

She got all of Zodge's statement, though. She was amazed and stunned that Elturel was apparently no more than a crater at this point. That was something that would definitely need to be communicated. She wondered at what could cause such a thing. Was it incredibly powerful magic? An artifact? Science? Something entirely new and unheard of? Beth was curious, and wondered if she would have the opportunity to study the aftermath, dangerous though it may be. Beth was aware of many spells that could create a hole in the ground, but a city-sized crater? That was a bit beyond anything she'd heard of.

She was roused from her rumination with the offer of a badge, apparently a sign of her deputization. She took it awkwardly, then turned it over in her hands, inspecting it. She glanced around and noted the tall half-orc fastening the badge to her cloak, and did likewise, though she had no trouble with the clasp. She kept fidgeting with the badge, unused to the weight.

She was surprised to hear that they were heading to the Elfsong tavern. That was where she'd stayed when she first arrived! She hadn't noticed anyone that looked like a spy while she was there, but then again, it wouldn't be a very good spy if she had been able to pick them out.

As the group began shuffling off, Beth was again surprised when the half-orc began chatting with her. Beth had never seen a half-orc in person, though this one seemed pleasant enough. Beth wasn't used to people talking so quickly, though, and she had to concentrate to follow the cleric's banter. "Bethrynna," she corrected with a gentle smile. "A great pleasure to meet you, as well, Erna of Tymora." The smile faltered a bit as Erna mentioned the night everyone had 'met'. It was not a pleasant memory for Beth. "I, ah...I was there, yes. An unfortunate matter of timing, I'm afraid. I wasn't directly involved." And yes, there had indeed been quite a bit of blood.

Before the words were cool on the air, the cleric had moved on to the subject of cards, though Beth knew little of the specifics of the games Erna mentioned. "Ah, n-no, I'm not as familiar with Three Dragon Ante," she admitted, "though I do enjoy Gwraig y Ddraig...Dragonchess, I believe it is called here. I don't have a set with me, though, I'm afraid. I have also played 'Gambit of Ord' on occasion, though I'm not very good at it." She looked a little confused at the last statement. "I don't understand," she said puzzledly. "What do you mean it 'costs fewer friendships'? You don't bet your friends when you gamble, do you?"

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  #18  
Old 12-23-2019, 08:04 AM
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Erna Luckschild
Half-orc Cleric of Tymora (Life Domain)

 


"Sarillar. Sarillar. Sarillar. I was just telling Unferth that the best way to remember a name is to say it a lot! Sarillar. I'm really bad with names, I might forget again. Sarillar.

"This strength in pain thing sounds suspiciously like something a follower of Loviatar would say. Do you follow her? It seems like unnecessary suffering to me, but I've always followed Tymora! She's the patron of good fortune, you know. But I'll tell you a secret."
She drops her voice to a stage whisper. "The best fortune is the fortune you make for yourself!"

Now she's back to Bethrynna, and she silently mouths her name, over and over. "So many names today! Oh, I'm going to forget some. But I wanted to say thanks for taking care of the wounded back there. I wanted to help, but my friend Henrick? He's a sergeant in the Fist. He told me that I needed to 'show justice not mercy.'" She puts on a throaty deep voice and pumps her arms like a tough guy for that last bit. "So I was trying to impress the Captain with my seriousness. I have to confess that I don't think it worked. He looked at me like I was a child. I'm not a child." Well, actually....

"But thanks. Those poor people! So many of them just trying to take care of themselves or their family!

"Hey, my friend Henrick is at the Elfsong. Or he was an hour ago. I wonder if he knows Tureen. I guess we'll find out! You'll like Henrick, he's a good man! Watch out for his friend Halred, though, he's a little grabby. Unless you like that sort of thing. You don't look like you would, though."

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  #19  
Old 12-26-2019, 04:44 PM
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Unferth took the captain's hand and gave it hearty shake. "Aye, Cap'n. I leave the stories of Darmin for when we are all off duty." The dwarf finished with a sly wink and took another puff of his cigar, waiting for the others to arrive. "Well, truth be-" The dwarf had started to answer Zodge's question when the religious sneak-thief spoke up for all of the gathered adventurers, going so far as to say Unferth was a 'fine fellow'. He chuckled a bit to himself at that one before returning to his Vanilla Cavendish, savoring the sweet taste of the smoke as Zodge filled them in on their assignment and the fee. Two-hundred gold apiece? The Fists must be getting desperate to hand out that serious of coin... Before moving on, Unferth wagged his cigar in the captain's direction. "I assume a single report once the job is finished, Cap'n? No use in wasting time writing extra bits between interrogations and hideout storming. Besides, what captain worth his salt reads more reports than he has to, eh?"

The warlock started down the way he came, heading for alleyways that would lead them towards the Elfsong without the need to be noticed by anyone important. Sadly, his small attempt at subterfuge was thwarted by the chatty half-orc and her rhythmic pounding of the cobblestones. Well its not like we are going to blend in well anyway, especially with a masked soldier of Thay marching alongside us... The dwarf kept his reservations to himself as he listened to Erna chat away with the elf about card games. "Three Dragon Ante is fine for a night at the tavern sure, if you got the time to explain the damn thing. I will just stick to my dice poker and taking your gold the old fashioned way." He listened to the cleric continue on about some sergeant. Never heard that name before, must be a new promotion.

Unferth waved Bethani forward and whispered softly into her ear, before turning back to the motley crew that were trailing behind him. "Given this is the first time most of you have been employed with the Fists, perhaps we should get a game plan established for meeting this person of interest." He was careful not use the word spy for reasons that would become abundantly clear. "First rule, do not call them spy or informant. You could potentially blow their cover and ruin our chances of snuffing out this cult, or even worse their life could be put in danger for your carelessness." He took another drag of his cigar before continuing on. "Second, we are going to stick out like a sore thumb and out them unintentionally. So I would think one or two of us meet the contact while the others keep a subtle eye on the rest of the establishment. You don't need to cause a scene, just be mindful and observant."

The dwarf looked up to rogue with a questioning eye. "Well Relena, given your silver tongue with Darmin, would you mind coming along to get the information with me?" He waited for her answer before continuing on with his thought process. "Once we have the lay of the land, we will all reconvene to discuss how best to deal with these cultists. Agreed?"



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Last edited by Anea; 12-26-2019 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 12-30-2019, 03:57 AM
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A look of confusion crossed Bethani's face as she distinctly heard the captain ask Relena a most curious question. She looked to Relena, wanting answers, and received a smile as a reward. A slight smile lifted at the corner's of Bethani's lips, then almost as quickly fell back to their usual neutral position. All questions were lost, as she returns her attention back to Captain Ze...

She shrugs her shoulders slightly at Captain Zodge's correction. The Captain talks to Unferth, obviously familiar with the mercenary. Seemed like the pair were familiar with one another, enough that the Dwarf had called him by his first name.

And then Relena made introductions for them all. Bethani nods to the captain when her turn to be introduced comes. She then looks to Bethrynna, as she learns the full-blood's name for the first time. She thanked the gods above that it wasn't her name the rogue shortened. She hated it when people called her Beth.

The worse part was soon to come, as Relena hooked her arm with the Half-Orc's, Erna. Bethani could feel a tinge of jealousy begin to harden her features, and so closed her eyes. She imagined herself once again drinking that wonderful free ale she'd ordered on Unferth's coin many days ago. She had not imagined anything so good before. She opened her eyes, and the moment of envy was done.

The captain was busy telling everyone what they'd be doing to earn their pay, as his sergeant, or whatever, handed out badges to everyone. Bethani clipped hers to the quiver that hung on her hip. ~ Isn't this just nice. Never been deputized before. she thinks to herself, as she continues to listen.

And then the talking was over, and it was time to head to the Elfsong, find the spy, and interrogate her. Bethani stuck to the back of the group, happy that the chatty cleric hadn't chosen her as her victim. She began looking around, watching for potential targets, wondering to herself how much the barkeep would charge for a nice cold ale at the Elfsong. Her eyes flitted to Relena, and before her mind could wander further, she noticed the Dwarf motioning for her.

Bethani stretched her legs to move a little quicker so she could walked beside him, then leaned closer to hear his whispered words. A pained expression was in her eyes as she looks to the Half-Orc, "Chì mi dè as urrainn dhomh a dhèanamh.", Translation from Dwarvish: "I'll see what I can do."she whispered back to him.

She then drops back to walk beside Erna. "Hi. Irma, was it?" she asks, trying to sound friendly. "I was wondering if you could show me how to play... that game you were lucky at?" she asks, only half remembering the conversation she had tried not to listen to. "Unferth figures you and I should hang back, so as to not intimidate our soon-to-be friend. And to kinda watch the other's backs." she adds a smile, a smile that most definitely doesn't reach her eyes.

 

 

 

Last edited by In the Mix; 01-04-2020 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:27 AM
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some games of chance
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Erna Luckschild
Half-orc Cleric of Tymora (Life Domain)

 


"I'm Erna," Erna says. "You bad with names, too? I've forgotten yours but it was Beth something right? But not Bethrynna, that's her." She points a thick finger at Bethrynna. She will have forgotten again in an hour, but she remembers it for right now.

"I'd be happy to teach you whichever game you like. Especially if Henrick is still there. He's like my brother? We grew up together at the Lady's House. He plays a mean hand of whiskeyjack. Have you played that one? It's nice for beginners. But stripeback is good. Or three-dragon ante but everyone plays that one, and it's got a lot of rules." She pauses for a second, then looks at Relena. "It sounds like Relena is going to be busy. It's a shame, she could be our fourth. Except Relena likes to cheat. Says it's part of the game. It's not really part of the game, but it is when Relena's playing."

"Anyway, I'm not that lucky. The card games all have some skill to them. I just played a lot, growing up. I liked the cards, they're pretty. I'll show you mine when we get to the tavern!" she smiles, a genuine smile, at Bethani. "Unless you really don't care. In which case it's fine, I'll just talk to Henrick. He'll be proud of me for joining up. I think."

"Do you think we'll have time for a drink? The Elfsong has the best cider in town, I think. They make it on site! I don't know where they get the apples, but wow that stuff will start a brawl nine times out of ten, it is strong." She remembers herself then. "Uh, not that we want a brawl. I didn't really mean it would start a brawl. It's just really good."
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:58 AM
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Fringes
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Bethrynna blushed and mumbled when the half-orc thanked her for helping the wounded, remembering her own hesitation and initial fear. Actually, the fear never really went away, she had just been too busy at that point to notice it. Beth wondered what justice could possibly be shown by leaving wounded citizens bleeding on the ground, but she knew very little of the ways cities or law enforcement worked. The cleric seemed genuine, though she also seemed doubtful of her own actions, and perhaps a bit regretful. Beth gave a reassuring smile and shrug. "I simply did what needed to be done, I suppose. I'm sure you did as well." Whatever that means, she thought to herself, but it had seemed like the thing to say.

She listened to the dwarf, who seemed to be smoking some sort of rolled-up pipeweed tube, as he gave instructions on how to conduct a meet with the agents they were trying to find. The instructions seemed to boil down to 'stay out of the way and let the professionals handle this', which made perfect sense to Beth. She could sit, she could mind her own business, and she could certainly stay out of the way. She wasn't sure what she should be keeping an eye on, but she resolved to do so nonetheless. Anything that seems suspicious, I suppose, she decided.

Lingering in the general vicinity of Erna and the half-elf who drank a lot, partially because she was already in the vicinity, and partially because she couldn't decide if it would be rude to wander off or to stay in the conversation. So she wound up compromising and just sort of...lurking.

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Old 12-30-2019, 06:42 PM
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Sarillar
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Sarillar

Sarillar listened to the instructions given by Captain Zodge. He could imagine Szass Tam laughing at his suffering, having to endure joining this laughable town guard while being accompanied by these detestable maggots.

He took the badge from Zodge and fastened to the front of his chest, feeling himself die a little on the inside. This had better be worth the time and effort

Turning to the others, he listened to Unferth. At the least the dwarf was somewhat bearable and had some sense about him. Sarillar nodded. "I will follow your lead, dwarf, while dealing with this spy."

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Old 01-02-2020, 10:06 PM
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Captain Zodge looked at Erna with bemusement as she began to rattled off conversation to the people around her. With a raised eyebrow, he looked to the others and shook his head as if unsure of what to do with the lot of them. It was when Sarillar spoke that he finally responded with a curt nod.

"If it is pain that you wish, you've come to the right place," he said with a low chuckle. "Normally, I'd agree," he said to Unferth, "however, this isn't your normal job, in case the bounty didn't clue you in. If you find yourself in need of anything, find me. As far as payment - you'll be paid in full once the city has been free of cult-related killings for a ten day, and no sooner. I'm sure Unferth can get you there."

He gave one last look at Erna who seemed to have taken a break, only to begin rattling away again. He shook his head and began walking back towards the gate.



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The narrow streets of Baldur’s Gate, normally cluttered at daylight, gave way to night as people scrambled for the perceived safety that four walls would often give. Stalls made by peddlers were being boxed up and carted away, orphaned children scurried into hovels and holes too small for many to bother them but not small enough to rid them of unwanted rodent guests, and the homeless gathered together whatever materials they could in an attempt to find shelter. Now and then the cry of a child, or even an adult, could be heard from one direction or another. Puddles spotted the cobblestone streets as a dingy sky loomed overhead, its muted color seemingly reflecting the dour mood of the city below.

As the group passed a merchant loading his wares onto a small hand-pushed wagon, he turned and called out to them, not foolish enough to turn away a potential sale even with twilight settling in. "Magical potions!" the vagrant called out, his once fine clothes now soiled and torn. "Charms, potions, and restorative items! Assure your own salvation. There’s no need for what happened to the poor citizens of the Holy City to happen to you! Let not your children suffer!"

With night began to fall and the streets emptying out, a group as large and well-equipped as theirs were a particularly alluring target. The man ran forward, forcing himself into their field of view. Even as they tried to walk around, he continued to call out to them.

"You there! Surely you have needs that can be met. A ring of teleportation, perhaps!" he exclaimed, his movements as frantic as his words as he dug around in a pocket of his cloak, eventually pulling forth a silver ring. As the group continued moving, he pushed along side of them, nearly tripping over a discarded wagon wheel. "I came here from Elturel, my shop and home gone. Yet, I am here still because of powerful magic items such as this. For only five gold it is yours! Need a locket of Devil’s Charm? How about a potion of nightvision?! I have all these and more!" He waited, not wanting to stray too far from his cart, but eager to speak to anyone willing to pay him any mind.

As the walk continued, grey, darkening alleys branched from the street out as legs from a disgusting creature, more than one featuring an unseemly situation unfolding. In one, two men in full-plate with the Flaming Fist insignia on the front had cornered some fool who'd gotten himself in to trouble. The man was visibly shaken and emptied his pockets in such a hurry that two copper coins fell and rolled across the cobblestones. One of the Fists' head snapped towards the group as they walked by, silently staring them down as if challenging them to intervene while his companion threatened the frightened man with a spear. Luckily, it was only a few doors down that they'd find the Elfsong Tavern.

The Elfsong Tavern
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Eventually, they rounded on the Elfsong Tavern. A large female half-ogre sat outside guarding the brightly-lit entrance and blocking some of the golden hue from spilling it across the ground. She looked the group over for a long moment before nodding them in. Within, uproarious laughter that came and went from the many patrons in the brightly lit tavern. Upon the left-hand side, a large suit of armor holding a longsword stood against the wall, its head occasionally moving despite the fact that it was obviously empty.

Before them, they found a diverse group that had two things in common. Every patron in the room had a weapon and it was evident that each of them knew how to use them. Three padded chairs sat angled toward a fireplace on the east wall, underneath the creaky wooden staircase that led to the second floor. A couple of what looked to be typical Baldur’s Gate thugs shared stories with a Fist soldier, recounting tales of the last few weeks which had been particularly lucrative given the exploding population of the city and the extra security needed by merchants and the Fists alike. The bald soldier with a thick beard looked up, a wide smile breaking across his face as he recognized the half-orc among the group, and held up a finger to indicate that he would be right over.

A man and a woman seated by the doorway spoke in hushed tones while another woman sat alone against the far wall, taking a particular interest in the masked man before returning to her drink. Directly before the adventurers a table erupted in laughter as one man threw down his fist, slamming it into the table in disgust. One of his companions started pulling a small pile of coins towards her, a wide smile on her face. Off to the left, several private rooms sit unoccupied. A waiter came and delivered drinks to the table before rushing off to the bar once more, behind which a man stood. As the group crossed the room, he looked up and shot a friendly smile.

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Before they could get very far, a disembodied voice began singing and the entire room grew silent almost in unison. On the stairs, the ghostly image of a young elven woman floated downward, her voice ethereal and full of grief. Slowly, she made her rounds about the room, sharing her woeful tale. As she did, many of the patrons in the room become unexpectedly restless and attentive.

One of the men near the fire shifted in his seat and began whispering to the man beside him, earning nothing more than a shrug, a tiny bob of the shoulders, in return. A woman at the table near the entrance began quietly sobbing into her sleeve. When the man with her tried to comfort her with a palm on her shoulder she pulled away, crumpling into herself. As the song fades, the ghost lingers, yet few pay her much mind. Conversation starts up once more and Alan, the barkeep, shakes his head as if ridding himself of a daze.

"Right, then," he said in an attempt to sound jovial, "what can I be getting you? I imagine there’s an interesting story behind how you got all tangled up together." As he spoke, he poured six glasses of elverquisst wine. "Here's a glass of wine, on the house, in exchange for leaving the bar as in tact when you leave as when you find it" he said winking as he handed over a glass to Bethrynna.

"Erna!" the Fist soldier called from near the fireplace. He stood and nodded to his company, then made his way to the bar to speak with his good friend. "Finally got some sense in you? At least enough to change your mind?"

Behind him, another tavern boy brought out a tray of hard cheese and even harder bread to set on a nearby table. A delicious myriad of smells wafted from the swinging kitchen door with promises of cheese-and-potato soup and fresh crab cakes. Punctuating it all was the almost sickly sweet aroma of load cake drenched in syrup.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:59 PM
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Bethrynna listened carefully to the ghost's mournful song, eyes shining with unshed tears as she listened to the tale. The melody was hauntingly beautiful and morose, but something about it tickled Beth's curiosity. As she pondered, she glanced at the tavern owner, then frowned and followed is gaze to one of the waiters, then over to the lingering ghost. Curious, she thought. Does he think they know each other?

Her mind continued to work while she watched, matching the song to tales she'd heard while passing through Elturel earlier. "The reference to Hellriders is obvious," she muttered to herself. "The 'devil hordes' are the undead in the city, prior to the Companion." Folding her arms across the table to prop herself up, she absently accepted the glass of wine from Alan. She swirled the wine out of habit, aerating it and causing the rich ruby liquid to play the light's reflection on the table, golden specks circling the interior of the glass like a miniature galaxy. "The last verse," she muttered, "must refer to the Creed Resolute."

Her eyes went back to the waiter, then the woman who'd collapsed in tears. I wonder if they're from Elturel? Glancing down, she blinked at the wine in her hand as if surprised to find it there. Closing her eyes, she leaned down to gently inhale the aroma, then lifted the glass to better capture the light. Glancing over at the crystal bottle the barkeeper held, she [Elven] May the thirteen points of Correlian never dim.whispered, "Bydded i dri phwynt ar ddeg Correlian byth leihau.". As she finished, spots of light within the crystal bottle began moving and gathered into thirteen distinct points resembling a constellation. Beth smiled at Alan in gratitude, and took a small sip of the fruity wine, feeling the warmth of sunshine spread inside her, warming and cheering her. "I had not thought to find Elverquisst here," she said with a bow of her head to Alan. "Diolch yn fawr iawn, my friend."

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Old 01-03-2020, 04:13 PM
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Sarillar

Sarillar walked near the others, though not so close as to appear with the others. Thankfully, the various merchants and other refuse living in the city that attempted to support their insignificant lives by hawking cheap wares to those passing by all but ignored him.

The tavern was full, though this hardly came as a surprise. The weak willed always sought to drown their problems in ale instead of doing something about them. His hand came to rest on the handle of his sword as he slowly scanned the room. Spending much of his adult life enslaved and forced to fight in the pits had instilled in him an expectation that everyone was a potential threat.

It was not long before the ghostly elf girl appeared on the stairs singing her lament. The sight of the ghost did not affect Sarillar, having dealt with the undead daily in Thay. What did strike him however, was the effect the song had on those in the tavern, especially the barkeep who cast a curious glance at one of the waiters.

As the barkeep approached the group, offering a drink and a change of topic, Sarillar would have neither. "The elf's song", he asked from beneath his helmet. "You nearly pissed yourself a moment ago. Why? What did she say?"


 
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Old 01-03-2020, 10:40 PM
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Unferth nodded once more to Zodge as he left them with some final words of wisdom as well as some of his standard bluntness. Damn, looks like I shall have to get my penmanship up to snuff so he can read it all... He puffed on his cigar as the group made their way towards the group in the waning hours of daylight. He kept his head on a swivel, sweeping the area before them for potential threats. Most civilians made way for the heavily armed group though the occasional merchant tried to pitch their wares with dogged determination. The man from Elturel was especially persistent, forcing the experienced merc to lightly push him aside as the group passed without slowing or even speaking to him. A short while later, two Fists members were performing advanced interrogation techniques on a possible suspect. Unferth silently gave them a nod and moved on, seeing as it wasn't his business.

He made his way up to the half-ogre with a knowing wink and a nod before pulling the cigar from his mouth. "Evening Skoona! Mind if my friends and I pop in for a drink?" He waited in silence for the long seconds as the bouncer looked over the group before giving them all the nod. "Skoona, outside bouncer. She and Klank in the corner protect the bar. Probably won't stop a fight between patrons, but will smack the teeth outta ya if you threaten the staff. So like I said, play nice and don't make a scene." Unferth whispered his knowledge to those he assumed were probably less accustomed to the shadier parts of Baldur's Gate.

The damn ghost was singing again and Unferth wished they would replace this attraction with something that could sing more than one song. After a few bars of music wafted over his ears, the dwarf stopped and stared at the ghost, certain he must be mishearing. He scanned the bar and determined that he was not the only one hearing a new song echoing throughout the hall. "Well I'll be...." He listened as best he could, not quite knowing elven speech, before he made his way to the bar where Alan had poured them all drinks. "Skol!" boasted the dwarf before throwing back the wine in a single gulp. He chuckled to himself as Bethrynna took her time inspecting and sampling her own glass. "If you admire it any longer, might as well put it on a shelf for later." He gave a hearty laugh before lightly tapping the table and settling his eyes on the game of bones being played before him. Let's see if I can earn some extra coin!

He Summerizing the dice threadjoined the players for a round but sadly went bust by a single pip to two other perfect scores. He cheered their success before he began to ply his trade. "Thank ye lass for the offer, perhaps I will later in the night after a few more drinks have passed me lips and my purse grows heavy. Speaking of drinks, would you two lads be so kind as to go to the bar and get us all a round? Least you could do, eh Brunor, after that nice bonus I just handed over to ya?" He winked and turned on the
Dice * Persuasion Check:
d20+5 (20)+5 Total = 25
charm so that the gentlemen gave Unferth and Karra a moment of peace. Once they were gone, the dwarf turned to the woman beside him and spoke with a soft whisper. "I was assuming the same Persuasion check holdswondering if you could help an old soldier find a friend he was supposed to meet here. Woman by the name of Tarnia, heard of her?"

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Old 01-04-2020, 11:10 AM
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Erna catches the glance that Captain Zodge threw at her, and she thinks, What's HIS problem? But she doesn't say anything, nothing good comes of saying a thing about a thing like that. Erna knows; Erna's tried saying a thing in just this kind of circumstance, and it made things worse. Lots worse. So she held her tongue. For a few moments, at least, while she worked out what to say next.

She falls into step naturally, still abreast of Bethani as they set out. "The city sure has taken a strange turn. A dark turn, I would say. It's always been a bit rough around the edges — part of its charm! — but lately its gotten tougher. More desperate, I guess? It's now more than ever that people who want to help need to step up. Right?" She looks at Bethani with surprisingly sharp eyes. "Or I suppose it's a good time for opportunists, too. But I like to think I can help."

She pauses in her chatter when the bedraggled gent offering up wonders approaches. She turns her sharp gaze on him, too, her brows knit as she studies him. "Look," she says, "Even if you're telling the truth, we are not wealthy. We are just footmen for the Flaming Fist, off to an honest day's work. Peddle your wares elsewhere." She brandishes her badge. "See? Fist." She's as subtle as a rhino up the backside.

Moments later, though, they pass a pair of Fist soldiers intimidating someone with weapons. Erna stops her chatter, dropping her eyes. It's not right, she thinks, and I know it. But I can't help everyone, can I? Even as she thinks it, she feels small for thinking it. Could she prevail on her new group of associates for help? Or perhaps they were all looking forward to similar behavior. Not Relena, though. And maybe Bethrynna (she remembered!) was the sort to do the right thing. But Bethrynna kept right on walking, and so did Erna. I wonder how many times I will need to look the other way.

* * *

The troupe's arrival is met with some interest, and Erna would have expected nothing else. It is an illustrious band she found herself working with. Not that she entered too many rooms without drawing notice, even by herself. And she has, in the form of Henrick noticing her right away! He's in a chat with some scruffy types, though, so she keeps her distance. Another turning of the blind eye, she thinks. I'm getting too good at this, too fast.

That's when the ghost comes down the stairs. Erna is initially pretty excited — she loves this part — but she's almost immediately troubled. This isn't the right song, she thinks. "This isn't the right song," she says.

It's not the ghost's usual song at all. She has sung her usual song every other time Erna has been here for it. Erna looks around, trying to puzzle out what's going on. It does not help at all that she does not understand the words to the song. It's pretty, and sad, but not in a language she can understand.

When the woman near the door starts to sob, Erna frowns. What song has the power to provoke so strong a reaction? she wonders. The song fades, and Erna is still perplexed — as much by the way people shake it off as by the weird song. "That wasn't the right song," she says, to no-one in particular. She continues to look around, befuddled, until Henrick breaks into her awareness again.

"Henrick! Hi! What was that?!" She doesn't exactly ignore his question, so much as brush it aside. "She was singing a different song! When did that start?"

Henrick shrugs. "First time I've heard it too, Erna. Strange, isn't it? But wait, what's this I see? You have an insignia! You did it, then?" He looks a little dismayed. "Erna, I'm really not sure this was a good idea."

"Henrick, you think too little of me," Erna replies. "I can handle myself in a fight, whether it's a brawl or whether it's a moral battle. Acceptable losses and all that other stuff."

Henrick looks as dubious as Captain Zodge had. "Did you ask Zodge about joining my squad?"

Erna frowns, then shakes her head. "No. I spotted Tymora's hand in my current assignment," she says.

Henrick's doubts deepen the furrow between his eyebrows. "Tymora's hand?" The question drips disbelief.

Erna hears it, and heaves a sigh. "It's a lot to explain, Henrick, but I have faith even where yours has flagged. Tymora speaks to me in dreams and portents. You know I wield her power; why is this such a stretch to imagine?"

Now Henrick looks wounded, but he turns it into a nod. "I can't argue with faith," he says, though his expression speaks otherwise. "So what are you doing here?"

Erna glances at her companions, frowns, and tells a little lie. "Just a little break. Then back on patrol!"

She changes the topic, then. "Bethani, my new friend, was looking to learn some card games! I thought we might try a couple hands of whiskeyjack. What do you say? Maybe Bethrynna wants to join us? She could be our fourth."

To Bethrynna she says, "You can be on Henrick's team. He was the whiskeyjack champ at the Hall."

"Just because you can't bluff worth a d**n," Henrick responds, laughing. He gestures toward the last open table with his stein of ale. "Look, there's a table. Let's go grab it before someone else does."



 
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Old 01-04-2020, 11:35 AM
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Bethrynna gave a small smile at the dwarf's enthusiastic toast, and leaned over slightly to explain the complexities of the drink and the need to sip slowly in order to appreciate the interwoven flavors and experiences. How it was distilled from sunshine and rare summer fruits and the significance of the elven tradition that accompanied drinking such a rare and exquisite drink.

Then the dwarf opened his gob and poured the wine down his gullet like he was emptying a chamber pot into the street.

Beth nearly fell out of her chair. Even worse, she almost dropped her own wine, but was able to recover in time. Mouth agape, she stared incredulously at the dwarf, unable to speak for a minute while her jaw worked, trying to understand what just happened. "You...you just...you..." she sputtered, shifting her eyes between the dwarf and the all-too-suddenly empty glass. "That was...it's made with..."

The dwarf, of course, didn't even notice her flustered outrage, and wandered off to gamble. Exhaling in exasperation, she sullenly vowed to take even longer with her own wine, to try to make up for the barbarism she'd just witnessed. Leave it to a dwarf to cause such abuse, she pouted to herself. "Expecting that...that...uncultured cretin to appreciate something like elverquisst is like asking a mule to dance."

Somehow, Erna's repeated insistence that the ghost's song was 'wrong' managed to filter through Beth's emotional trauma, and she pulled herself out of her reverie to blink over at the cleric. "What was that you said earlier?" she asked in slight confusion, one Erna had finished explaining about cards. "What did you mean, it isn't the right song? Does she usually only sing one song?" She recalled that the ghost had sung a different song the last, and only, time Beth had heard her before, but Beth had assumed that the ghost knew several songs, and changed them occasionally. After all, spirits were usually in the world for a long time, so it made sense that they'd learn new songs every so often. Perhaps part of the curse of remaining as a spirit was that you were eternally sick of your own music?

"The song she just sang," Beth said quietly to Erna, returning to the subject, "seemed to refer to current events. The verses talk about Elturel, and its days of peace before becoming infested with undead. I heard about it while I passed through the city previously. The Hellriders in the next verse are the soldiers who were fighting a losing battle against the undead, until the city received a gift called the Companion, which was a sort of miniature sun...only without the heat. The residents said it destroyed or drove out the undead, and protects them with eternal daylight. That's what the final verse is about...the Companion."

Her exposition finished, she sat back in her chair with the satisfaction of a professor who'd just finished a lecture. It was short-lived, however..."Wait, what? Cards?" She looked at Erna with dismay, not even knowing what in Hades 'whickyjack' was, much less how to play.

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Old 01-04-2020, 01:03 PM
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Relena Goodknight
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"You'd be amazed at who I know, Erna; just look at me now, the right hand of the law! Father Irrienil will be so proud." She doesn't bother with the talk of such unpleasant cultists, the Dead Three have little interest for her. They're just not fun, though she can think of a few Bhaalspawn from lore she would have loved to have met; alas, for the poor dead Grand Duke a mere decade ago. When Sarillar bats at her, she merely clicks her tongue, smiling at Erna. "Is he not the most pricky pup you've ever met? So sweet with a sword, but his words could use work. And his philosophy, too."

"Is anyone into that sort of thing?" notes Relena to the mention of Halred, rolling her eyes. Unferth worries about the details of who to report to and when, and she indulges him, ever the hard-liner but a fun one, observant and good. "Three Dragon Ante is fun, but not a game that you learn by playing. Too many variables, unlike a simple deck of cards. But if anyone comes to you offering you Tarokka, don't take them up on the offer. I've heard tale of terrible fates await those who step into mists after that, never to be seen again save in sordid stories. And have we got a sordid tale ourselves, hm?" She offers a wink to Unferth and Bethani, a reminder of their meeting, lingering for a moment on the Half-Elf.

"Me, come and get information? Now Unferth, what kind of girl do you think I am? I have silver elsewhere, you know, it's not just my tongue." She takes Erna's hand and kisses it, sticking out her tongue for a moment thereafter, leaving the question open of whether or not she is going to lick her friend's wrist. She does not, and instead moves to the Dwarf, choosing not to take his arm: they are not yet that close, and she does not want to put off her new-found friend.

And off they go, through the streets of Baldur's Gate, not yet stained red with blood. Today, that is. Relena smiles at plenty of familiar faces, waving to a few others, but does not do much in the way of speaking, having too much to do and indulging the business-like nature of Unferth before anything else. They are on assignment, after all, and her silver tongue is desired.

And wasted on the Elfsong Tavern, most days.

The song has long been something Relena has found relaxing, though she doesn't speak a word of the language. She knows the flow of the song, the way it sounds, had patrons translate it for her. It is a sweet tale, and yet, it take sher almost no time to notice the tone is different, the song is changed, the words are wrong. "Ern. Erna, what's going on? What's she saying? What's happening?" Bethrynna speaks almost for Erna, answering enough: the ghostly singer speaks of the Hellriders. Of Elturel. The Creed Resolute, the Companion, the history of the last half-century of that thriving theocracy. She has never been, and Relena has little interest in going there. She could play the part of faithful to Torm, but it would drive her to madness. Distant enough to have plausible deniability to the majority of the strangers (though she could never pass off not knowing Erna), Relena keeps her distance.

And soon, it is off to business. She elects to stand behind Unferth and not play, not caring much for dice herself. She keeps close, arms around the top of the chair with her head not far from his, suggestive but not explicit of a relationship between the two that does not, of yet, exist. "Oh my, the dice board is hot, wouldn't you say dear?" She pets Unferth's head. As he asks for Tarnia, he uses charm she has never heard before.

And he said he needed her silver tongue, when he had a forked one all along!
 
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